Venice: December 1631

Pages 566-572

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


December 1631

Dec. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
742. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They are expecting Ven back here, who has already gone to the army of the King of Sweden. The Prince Palatine in particular is most eager for his arrival, to learn what arrangements he may have made with the King of Sweden in the name of the King of Great Britain.
The Hague, the 1st December, 1631.
Dec. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
743. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
A courier is about to leave soon for England, the same one that Abbot Scaglia sent recently. They want the King of England not to help Sweden, and say that they have scant satisfaction here from the replies. I am told that Scaglia will return here, and that he pretends he is coming to give an account of his negotiations in England. Some think that if he comes he will never return to Piedmont.
Madrid, the 6th December, 1631.
Dec. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
744. To the Ambassador in England.
Advices. No letters from him this week. To congratulate the king and queen on the birth of a daughter.
Ayes, 137. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
Dec. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
745. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The secretary of the Ambassador Anstruther, (fn. 1) who has come from Vienna, has brought the true interpretation of all the delays which have hindered his negotiations, with the conclusion that nothing can be hoped from that quarter, especially now that the emperor, from the requirements of his own interests, cannot attempt anything against the service and satisfaction of the Duke of Bavaria, his sole prop in these revolutions of the empire. Anstruther, accordingly, asks leave to return home. The king has been very undecided, and those who advised him in this affair have found themselves within an ace of being utterly discredited. But the Imperialists, who have perhaps found out the secret of this expedition, have got a Capuchin to come here with all speed. He thus comes from Vienna in order to discredit Anstruther. He speaks freely against him, accuses him of having always showed himself a violent partisan of the King of Sweden. For that reason he could not enjoy any intimacy at Court, and had rendered himself very hateful to the emperor and the ministers. That was why he had not received any satisfaction. The Capuchin declares that the intentions of the emperor are always excellent. He had recently written to Spain about this affair, and the reply should arrive very soon. With respect to Bavaria, they certainly were determined that he should agree and should accommodate himself to the restitution. Those of the party have derived fresh vigour from these ideas, and have found a way to justify themselves to some extent with his Majesty, if not for the business, at least for themselves. I am assured, however, by an intimate who is well informed about these secrets, that the king is by no means satisfied, and has commanded that Anstruther shall have instructions to persist more vigorously than ever in his instances, in order to obtain a final decision. If he obtains no success from this, he must return without further order. On the other hand, they have repeated their instructions to Sir Henry Ven to go on with his proposals for a league with the King of Sweden. Up to this point, with things as they are, there would seem to be some hope that they might take a good resolution, but as a matter of fact there is no sign as yet of the most necessary means.
They have talked of late of convoking parliament to obtain two subsidies, which, with all the extras, might be worth a million ducats. It is the usual tribute given for the education of the princes born in this kingdom. They also consider it necessary to have one in order that it may vote security for the dowry of the present queen, as the marriage contract provides. It seems that they recently insisted upon this in France, and stayed the payment of the residue, which should have been handed over to the merchant Burlamacchi, who went for the purpose. They have not said anything about devoting it to the interests of Germany, because they think that the people might easily become captious if they entered upon such matters, which are not a matter of indifference, like the two others mentioned above, and this would also revive their pretensions to make enquiry into the government, which is the sole cause of the bad relations between them and the king. But without a good union of these two members they certainly cannot achieve any great deeds.
I recently went to see the Secretary of State. In talking with him about the interests of Germany, I perceived that although they have done so little for the King of Sweden, they make great pretensions that he must, under all circumstances, restore the Palatinate, if he conquers it. They make much of the expedition of the Marquis of Hamilton, and excuse themselves by saying that this is not the time of year to send troops out of the kingdom. I tried to insinuate the notion adroitly that a declaration for the King of Sweden would be very useful for his interests. He told me that the king would have reason to be satisfied with the overtures that would be made to him. I suppose he referred to the proposals of Ven, the more so because he added that it was necessary to wait for that minister's report upon his first interviews. He also hinted at some proposals made by the States, as something untimely and pure waste, without more ado, about helping the Palatine to enter Germany with a powerful force, paid half by them and half by England.
Lord Craven arrived here with the determination to make the levy I wrote of. When engaged in carrying this into effect, he met one of the ministers here, who has dissuaded him by his advice. I do not indeed know whether this was the king's wish, but it is certain that the enterprise is abandoned, and Lord Craven has gone back followed by a few adventurers, intending to go and join the King of Sweden. They talk about the Palatine having left Holland, with help begged from elsewhere, in addition to the concession made him by the King of Sweden of the monthly payments he receives from the States. It must also be assumed that the king here has consented, because it is unlikely that the Palatine would take any step that was not approved in this quarter, as until he sees the issue of these affairs, he must pretend not to be aware of the scant affection they show for him.
They are afraid here of the coming of the queen mother, since it is known that the Spaniards are tired of that burden and will try every way to rid themselves of it. They declare that they will not invite her, but that if she comes, she will have the best possible treatment. The French ambassador told me recently that he thought she would go to Lorraine with the object of being near Monsieur, so as to make sure that no accommodation is made with him that does not include her.
With respect to Italian affairs, he told me that his master was having Pinarolo fortified, and he had ordered an arsenal to be made there to provide for a force of 20,000 men. They had also secured Casale. Some here have stated that this place has been given to the Most Christian by the Duke of Mantua, so that his Majesty might pay his debts in France.He does not doubt that the progress of events may bring about war, but I fancy that the chief object is to keep a bridle on the Spaniards, so that they may not assist the queen mother and Monsieur, so that if an accommodation ensues France may not show so much enthusiasm, especially about the affairs of Germany, as it seems that she would prefer to see things balanced rather than the ruin of one of the parties.
The capture of Prague by the King of Sweden gives rise to hopes of great progress, the more so because it happened through a rising. It is believed that this example will be imitated by the neighbouring provinces as well. News has arrived of the death of the mother of the King of Denmark, the grandmother of the king here, (fn. 2) who has ordered all the Court to go into mourning for this.
I have received your Serenity's letters of the 7th ult., with further information about the subversive designs of the Duke of Feria. It is announced here that Don Diego Messia has been nominated in his place.
London, the 12th December, 1631.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
746. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Palatine is waiting daily with great anxiety for the reply to his recent despatch to England. He greatly fears irresolution and coldness at that Court, and is the more distressed because in such case he would necessarily be deprived of all help from this quarter also, as they have decided to do nothing here unless England moves first.
The Hague, the 15th December, 1631.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
747. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
It is observed that the English secretary here speaks differently from what he used. He has stated that his king perceives that he has been played with in the hopes held out to him with the peace for the restitution of the Palatinate, and therefore they ought not to complain here of his helping the King of Sweden, and he declares himself deeply interested in the news of the successes of that king.
Madrid, the 20th December, 1631.
Dec. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
748. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Spaniards are beginning to renew their attempts for some composition with these States. To that end the painter Rubens has recently arrived at this Court incognito, under the pretence of private affairs. By his skill and ability he managed the accommodation between Spain and England. The supporters of the truces are working hard to encourage these proceedings.
The Duke of Neuberg's agent, Vespein, is shortly expected back at this Court. Some say he is coming under other pretexts. All the same he will have instructions to support the negotiations begun by Rubens. The Palatine here grieves that England believes or tries to believe that it can help him by negotiation, when he thinks that arms are the only way, favoured by present circumstances.
His repeated messages to England obtain no reply. He awaits one anxiously, but in the meantime he knows that the Baron di Crovel, who left here to make levies for him in that kingdom, has encountered impediments and obstacles there, which were the less expected because the baron promised to raise and equip three English regiments at his own expense, provided only he obtained the royal assent.
The Hague, the 22nd December, 1631.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
749. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Sir Henry Ven has sent one of his gentlemen here, relating that he has had his first audience of the King of Sweden at Wurzburg. The only thing that has transpired about his negotiations is that the king has given him clearly to understand that the absence of assistance for his progress will give him the right to full and lawful possession of all his conquests, naming the Palatinate in particular, if England does not help, and he will consider himself released from any obligation to make restitution to the Palatine. This news is disagreeable to them, although it finds them tolerably prepared for it owing to the remarks which have been made before by all those who have an acquaintance with the affair; yet they have not come to any decision, and they continue to trust to time.
In accordance with what I wrote, the Dutch ambassador went recently to audience of the king. He told me that he represented to his Majesty the good will of his masters for the service of the Palatine, and they were only waiting to learn his Majesty's wishes. The king declared that he had recently declared his intentions by means of the person sent by the Palatine, and he did not propose to change them at the moment. The ambassador indeed believes that the king has thought fit to suspend every movement, and the French ambassador and I have heard that he protested to the Palatine that he would abandon him altogether if he made any disturbance. In that case the idea that he should go to Germany, even without help from this quarter, certainly falls through.
A courier arrived yesterday, also sent by Ven. In general the advices about the progress of the King of Sweden are not bad, but nothing has yet been published of what he brought about the operations of that minister. I have friendly relations with the ambassadors here, and perhaps I shall succeed in finding out something. If so, I will add it to these presents.
The French ambassador has received word that his master has marched towards Metz. He believes that the king intends to attack the fort of Mogenuich in Alsace, with some further design of a conference with the King of Sweden, possibly in order to arrange about the election of the King of the Romans. From what I gather, the French wish the choice to fall on the Duke of Bavaria.
The report of the queen mother coming to this kingdom neither grows nor wanes. They are expecting a gentleman whom she is sending here, they suppose, to arrange her journey. The Duke of Vendome, who is very anxious to prove his identity with the interests of the Most Christian, announces that he will quicken his departure as the arrival of the queen draws nearer. Scaglia says he will leave in a few days, but while he hopes that the queen will come here, they think he will wait to see her, as he always intended to pass through Flanders with that object, although he recently decided to travel through France, by express command of the duke his master.
I have your Serenity's letters of the 15th ult., which bring me the offices passed by the French ambassador in the name of the nuncio, and your Excellencies' reply, which I will use in case I am provoked. I also have others of the same date about the relief the city has experienced from the scourge of the plague. I must not forget to add that last week the letters from Venice arrived very badly handled, and out of their usual packets, and I had none from your Serenity of the 14th ult., as I should have. The Master of the Posts at Antwerp wrote to me that the ordinary had been robbed by bandits within your own borders, and your Excellencies may therefore have heard of this before.
London, the 26th December, 1631.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
750. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Five English ships recently left Leghorn, four with a large sum of ready money destined for the Archipelago to buy grain, the fifth laden with rich goods for Aleppo. They encountered a violent storm at night, and three were wrecked off Piombino, including the one for Aleppo. The other two have returned to Leghorn, but much damaged. Many persons have perished, and those interested will have suffered heavy loss. They have gone forthwith to Piombino in order to recover what they can.
Florence, the 27th December, 1631.
Dec. 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
751. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The reply from England has at last reached the Palatine, and the opposite of what he desired, though in no wise different from what the States here expected. They deplore the weakness and corruption of the Government of that kingdom, and they say freely that the king there will neither do anything himself nor allow others to operate for the service of his brother-in-law. A trustworthy person who has seen the royal letters themselves, tells me that his Majesty apologises for not being able to consent to any move or warlike action on the Palatine's part because of the promise sent to England whereby the Austrians bind themselves to give a categorical answer about the Palatine's affairs within three weeks.
The ministers here consider this simply a device to cause delay and lose the advantages of the opportunity. The Ambassador Camerarius hopes that in the future more may be done through his king than through the Spaniards for the restitution of the Palatinate.
The Hague, the 29th December, 1631.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. Mr. Hurst. He arrived on Sunday, the 23rd November. Birch: Court and Times of Charles I, vol. ii, page 141.
  • 2. Sophia of Mecklenburg, widow of Frederick II, King of Denmark. She died on the 4th October, 1631.