Venice: June 1633

Pages 110-119

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 23, 1632-1636. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1921.

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June 1633

June 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
160. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty pursues his journey to Scotland, and even on the road he does not give up his pleasures of the chase. They believe that he will have reached the county of York by now, that is to say, half way. Nedersolt, the Agent in ordinary for the Princess Palatine here, is following the Court, with the intention of returning to confer with the gentleman of the Duke of Symeren who is waiting for him in this city. He also wishes to have the latest decisions about the money remittances in connection with the matter of the restitution of the fortresses in the Palatinate, about which there is no longer any doubt whatever. He laments so many delays and fears that Nedersolt may be constrained to go to Scotland, to obtain the final decision. The long round of promises and deferred hopes in this matter cause the interests of the Palatinate to languish in the meantime. He says that the Administrator has already pledged himself to the Swedes to some actual payment in cash, being induced to do so by his confidence in the succours from England and by Anstruther's persuasions as well. As a matter of fact, so far as I can ascertain, there are very considerable indications that they will make some money contribution, which the ministers here call ransom money to the Swedes for the Palatinate fortresses. Cholb wishes to remain here until he obtains assurance, in addition to this payment, at least of the remaining provision required for the payment for the garrisons, in conformity with his Majesty's intentions, and I fancy this matter is progressing very favourably.
Cottington opened out to me on this subject the day before yesterday in the course of our conversation. He has stayed on here in the king's absence and had occasion to see me on an ordinary visit of courtesy. I sounded him adroitly in order to see if he might have anything to tell me with respect to the ordinary ambassador to Venice, but I could not get anything more, in spite of the fact that the Secretary Cuch, shortly before the king's departure, promised to let me know. Accordingly it grows more and more evident that they mean to procrastinate. To tell the truth the government, just at present, devotes but scant attention to foreign affairs, to such an extent that it has been observed that England at present has no minister of her own at any Court of Europe soever in the capacity of ordinary ambassador, except the one at Constantinople, who, as they say here, is maintained for the interests of trade at the instance of the merchants, and he is, moreover, paid by them and not by the king.
Fontane has left at last, after performing all the civilities incident on his departure, at this house, to which I duly responded. Just at present France has no minister whatever at this Court. They say a secretary will be sent thence to take charge until the despatch of Guron, who is selected, so they say, to succeed to the embassy. From what one hears and from the general talk, it seems that his movements will be regulated according to what they decide here about Anstruther, who was chosen some time ago as ambassador in ordinary to France, and is at present engaged as ambassador extraordinary in Germany.
A gentleman arrived recently express from Anstruther (fn. 1) and went straight after the king, after having stayed for a few hours with some members of the government who are staying here. From what I gather on good authority, he leaves a report that owing to the ever increasing warmth of the union among the princes of the party, the negotiations for peace in Germany are cooling off considerably. The ministers here have always adhered to their conviction that in the present state of affairs these would never come to any conclusion. Thus Cottington intimated to me that while they neglect no offices here to encourage the closest union between those princes, so they hope that although Saxony is allured by the Imperialists, yet after the deliberations come to at the last diet at Heilbronn he will reflect more than ever upon the danger he would incur every time he separated himself from the others, against the common benefit.
A brother of the Landgrave of Hesse has arrived these last days, and he is making preparations to follow his Majesty on his journey to Scotland, although we do not hear so far that he is going there by reason of any business.
They are expecting shortly two young princes, nephews of the Duke of Arescot. (fn. 2) Although it is announced that they are coming solely for the purpose of seeing the country, yet the lords here who have remained at the palace have orders to receive and welcome them with every cordiality, and even to send some one with them to follow his Majesty's journey, if they seem desirous of doing so.
So far the last communications from your Serenity are of the 6th ult. With respect to the two master workmen for great anchors for the requirements of the Arsenal, I will devote my efforts, as instructed, to obtaining information.
London, the 3rd June, 1633.
June 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
161. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The news lately arrived of the capture of Heydelberg by the Swedish troops with great hopes that that of the citadel will follow, (fn. 3) has been sent after the king to Scotland with all speed. In addition to the constant solicitude of the two ministers here for the Duke of Symeren and the Princess Palatine, it would seem that this same news has given them some fillip here, since Cottington and Windebank, who have remained here with the insignia of the government, received orders from the king the day before yesterday that they were to send Colonel Douglas to the Palatinate immediately ; they are also to consign to him letters of exchange for the amount to which the two instalments arranged with the Chancellor Oxestern will come, estimated at 60,000 thalers. The state tax collectors here, holding as they do a security for the assignments, have already undertaken to transmit the remittances for this either to Amsterdam or to Frankfort, as Anstruther may prefer. He is to arrange this according to the advice of the Duke of Symeren, no less than in accord with the good pleasure of the Chancellor Oxestern. A well grounded rumour is already circulating that the Swedes, into whose hands this money is to arrive, propose to have it from Amsterdam, to be transmitted thence to Sweden for the benefit of the fleet of ships which they have already begun to prepare there for the Baltic.
Cholb is on the point of returning to his master the Administrator. He goes ill pleased at the little he has been able to obtain after the numerous promises and hopes held out to him, although just at present, by the provision referred to above everything points to a prompt and effective fulfilment. But the point upon which he insisted most here was to obtain the money required for the payment of the garrisons in the Palatinate. They still postpone their contributions for this, which they have so often promised, but never yet fulfilled. It is true that Colonel Douglas has express orders in his instructions to join with the Swedish Colonel Puebliz in the Palatinate to arrange with him about all that is required for the defence and maintenance of those fortresses. But Cholb intimates to me in confidence that he is well aware this is a middle course in order to procrastinate without coming for the time being to any actual disbursement beyond the 60,000 thalers. He told me that he feared a change of fortune or of arms might lead to some accident there such as would cause England to regret that she had not supplied in time what was required to make sure of the captures.
From York, where we hear his Majesty has recently arrived, Horst, Anstruther's secretary has been sent here. He is going straight on to the Palatinate to represent to the Duke administrator, who proposes to proceed to his residence at Franchendal, the good intentions of this crown to supply every possible succour from time to time. He is to proceed thence to Saxony, to rejoin Anstruther.
That ambassador was charged by his commissions to proceed in that direction, to procure in the first place the closest possible union between that Elector and the common interests, and those of the Palatine house in particular.
All the letters and advices from Germany which pass through this city on their way to Scotland agree in representing that affairs in that quarter point rather to deeds of arms than to negotiations for peace, it is confirmed from several quarters that Wallenstein has taken the field. He has amassed such large forces that he claims he can conquer single handed all those of his opponents.
Amid the uncertainty about the negotiations for the truces in Holland the Deputy Brasser here publishes the news which has reached him from Zeeland of the capture of Rimbergh by the Prince of Orange. (fn. 4) If this proves true it is thought here that it may serve as an inducement for further progress, and put a stop, at the same time, to all further negotiations for an accommodation.
At Vapin and Blackwall where those most skilled in making great anchors live I have opened negotiations to get some of them to go to Venice to work in the Arsenal. There will be great difficulties as the number of those capable of skilled work is extremely limited. However I will do my best to fulfil the wishes of the state in this matter.
London, the 10th June, 1633.
162. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The change made by the Duke of Savoy in his arms has excited little or no remark in this city, beyond the comment of a certain amount of general amusement. In the meantime his Highness has not obtained or attempted to get any advantage here which might encourage him in taking such a step. So far there is no sign of any kind that would lead one to conclude that there is any support from this quarter for any such idea. What I am able to gather, in the absence of the king and leading ministers, leads me to believe is that while it would not be easy for the duke to obtain any sign of approbation from this quarter before he got it elsewhere, yet if he obtained recognition from France he might hope to get some similar confirmation here also. Since the Abbot Scaglia, who stayed here while he was in disgrace with his master, no one has resided at this Court in the capacity of ordinary minister for Savoy. Yet they have always maintained excellent relations by means of extraordinary missions of gentlemen from either side. Owing to this and also to the queen, sister to the duchess, it has been intimated to me by one acquainted with the opinions and sympathies of the government here, that Savoy would have a good prospect of getting England to join in with any declaration made by France if a way could be found to induce France to declare herself first. I will not lose sight of anything that occurs in this delicate question in order to supply your Excellencies with the fullest particulars if occasion arises.
The actual arrival of the Cardinal Infant in Italy is announced at last. The consequences and resolutions arising from such a move excite general attention and curiosity, and so I know that the news of it has gone from here to the king. Cottington further intimated to me, although very superficially, that he had heard something about the Duke of Savoy not having got much satisfaction from the conference he had with the Cardinal Infant. I could not get him to dilate any further upon this subject.
London, the 10th June, 1633.
June 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
163. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
There are only three master anchor makers here of outstanding ability and intelligence. Two of them, owing to their advantageous position would never forego the great gains which they make here as I have learned from themselves. One is attached to the king's service and the other to that of the India Company. The third is named George Halli, and although he has a family and a well frequented shop he would allow himself to be persuaded to enter the service of the Arsenal. But to tell the truth his claims are too exorbitant though, owing to representations made to him, he has given up some of the most intolerable demands, but even so they are not reasonable. However, I enclose them herewith.
Two other young men, skilled in the manufacture of every kind of anchor, would come to Venice on much more moderate terms, which I also send. It is true that they have not the capital to set up a shop, but they profess, and it is said, that they know enough to be masters. This is what I have been able to do in fulfilment of the state's commissions.
London, the 17th June, 1633.
Enclosure. 164. To the Ambassador of Venice.
I, George Halli, am master of a shop here in England, and of all sorts of anchors for ships and galleys of any weight and size soever, and here in England I make 20l. sterling a month. If the republic of Venice will give me 25l. sterling a month, I am at its service for three years. I demand twelve months' pay in advance to be paid here in England, to wit 300l. sterling, for which I will give sufficient security.
I ask 15l. sterling for my expenses to Venice and 15l. more for my return to England.
165. To the Ambassador of Venice.
The work which Bartholomew Sovver and Geoffrey Reince, smiths, propose to undertake is the manufacture of all kinds of anchors for ships and galleys. For their voyage to Venice by sea they are told by old sailors to ask 8l. sterling of English money per man, it being estimated that their passage will cost that much, to wit 16l. for the two to go to Venice, and consequently the same for their return.
They demand 5l. sterling a month per man for their work while there, as it is laborious and hard.
Before they leave England they desire two months' pay in advance as a loan in order to buy what they will need before they start.
June 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
166. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
They have at last effected the despatch of the 15,000l. sterling, that being about the equivalent of the 60,000 thalers agreed upon with the Swedes. Douglas, to whom the letters of exchange were consigned, has already started. Horst, Anstruther's secretary, went with him, with a royal despatch for that ambassador. The Agent of the Duke of Symeren has gone too, ill pleased at such scanty succour, seeing the impossibility of obtaining any more from this quarter for the moment. He will travel by way of Holland in order to give a more detailed account of what he has done to the Princess Palatine. Those of the government who remain here in the king's absence make public the contribution of this money in order to show that England is giving more support than ever to affairs in the Palatinate. They add assertions and hopes that even greater things will be seen very soon, for continued and ever increasing assistance in a matter which touches his majesty's interests to the quick.
Windebank, who occupies the position of second secretary of state, when I met him recently on a visit of courtesy, intimated that despatches had reached him from the journey pursued by the Court in Scotland, with fresh orders from the king whereby they are to make arrangements here for greater provision for some more considerable disbursement which they have in contemplation for the future for the benefit of the same affair, to turn to the advantage of the common cause. He also assured me of his Majesty's good intentions to contribute to the monthly payment of the garrisons in the Lower Palatinate. With regard to the Upper he told me that while they knew it would be easy to recover, since it has no fortress of account, so it was impossible to keep it without the advantage of an army strong enough to hold the field. He further added that with respect to the garrisons in particular Colonels Puebliz and Douglas were expressly charged to inspect them with their own eyes and consult together about every thing in order to make a report immediately to his Majesty.
I observed, however, from his discourse the desire very openly expressed that the Palatine house should enjoy that security in what has been recovered and in what remains to be recovered joined with the inference that this is practically impossible, except by means of a general accomodation in Germany. This would indeed please them highly here, always provided that it comprised a full restitution of the Palatine heir. For his interests they undoubtedly count much upon the interposition of Denmark, since the transactions of Pare, which seem to have cooled at the moment, would make further progress with an advance in the offices of that king acting as mediator.
At this same interview I took occasion to speak about the affairs of Italy. I remarked upon the misgivings aroused by the arrival there of the Cardinal Infant. Availing myself of the state's instructions, the last being of the 20th ult., I gave him the full particulars. I also had an excellent opportunity for doing what the Senate charged me with in the matter of the claim made by the Duke of Savoy to the arms and title of King of Cyprus. (fn. 5) I must say that upon this I find the members of the government here treat this not only with a certain amount of derision, but even go further and seem opposed to such a change, as one involving prejudice to other princes of Italy. Thus the secretary of state uttered these very words to me : If the Duke of Savoy obtained his intent the Grand Duke also would claim the title of King of Tuscany, from what his Resident here says. He said this as if ridiculing the idea, fully confirming the notion that this new idea of Savoy is not admissible.
Nedersolt is back from York, where he left the king. He brings commissions to Gerbier here to return to his residence at Brussels. He also handed him letters from his Majesty for the queen mother, full of friendly sentiments with regard to the affronts she has received. But there is no handle for anything definite, with respect to her unceasing demands for assistance from this kingdom. But here they adhere to the principle which I have reported so frequently, that it does not behove England to intermeddle against the wishes of the Most Christian in the affairs of his own mother. The report spread here about an accomodation between that king and Monsieur by means of a person who has already proceeded on purpose from France to Flanders, still remains without any further confirmation.
The queen remains at Greenwich, enjoying the pleasant position and the more healthy air there. She assembled the few members of the royal Council who are left and informed them of the certainty of her pregnancy, in accordance with some form of ancient ceremony. For the happy progress and issue of this those lords at once ordained public prayers in all the churches.
By the last letters from Spain, which were immediately sent on to his Majesty, I hear on good authority they are advised that the Spaniards have armed some English galleons, which are specially destined to convey troops to Italy, while others are for other emergencies, though all will fly the Spanish flag. (fn. 6) It seems that this is taken very ill here.
The report persists that an ambassador from Poland will arrive here shortly. Cottington and Windebank have sent with all speed to the travelling Court to know if they are to defray and entertain him in this city, or if they are to send him accompanied to Scotland. The two princes, nephews of the Duke of Arescot, set out for that country two days ago.
London, the 17th June, 1633.
June 24.
Senato, Senato, Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
167. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
They reckon that the king will certainly have crossed the Scottish border by now. The last letters from the travelling Court bring word of a decision newly come to by his Majesty, who is most determined to make the shortest possible stay in that kingdom. The majestic ceremony of the coronation will be the first business, with the object of getting rid of it as soon as possible. All the rest they will despatch in the most speedy manner. The parliament, already convoked, would require many sessions, but the king has intimated that he wishes matters cut short. I keep up suitable confidential offices, sometimes with one, sometimes with another of the ministers who remain here. One of them, opening out more freely in ordinary conversation, expressed the belief that until his Majesty's return nothing can be provided and no further resolution taken about the contributions, although they are more necessary than ever for the Palatinate just now. So far as I can gather, they mean the remittance of the 15,000l. sterling to constitute a full stop for the time being to any further expenditure. But apparently they do not cease to encourage hopes about the further monthly payments required for the garrisons. But this matter must necessarily be hung up until they have the reports they are to receive from Colonels Peblitz and Douglas, who have orders to inspect those fortresses and report their requirements. This pretext is invented purely for delay, and it will certainly lead to more than the urgency of the case demands. The ministers here, possibly aware that any one can easily see through this, try on the one hand to confirm and magnify the constant application of England to the interests of Germany, while on the other they almost apologise for the small amount of money recently sent and the delay of further contributions, remarking on the present difficulty of providing sufficient ready money, which is greater than ever here, seeing that the necessary expenses of the king on this journey of his are by no means inconsiderable, so they say, amounting according to their account to 100,000l. sterling equivalent to half a million of ducats.
Cottington who from his own autocratic ideas now rules preeminent in all matters that occur during this absence of the king, in what one may call a supereminent capacity over the few other members of the government who remain, imparted to me the advices which arrived yesterday about the surrender of the citadel of Heidelberg also. He has sent the good news to his Majesty, although they are waiting for more authoritative confirmation. If this proves true the whole of the Lower Palatinate will be freed entirely and handed over to the administration of the Duke of Symeren.
With respect to the peace negotiations in Germany he asserts that Denmark through the dexterity of his intervention, besides winning the confidence of the Imperialists has also made great advances in the confidence and esteem of Saxony. On this subject he made this remark. If any commotion ensues it will be better to make it before the emperor has the upper hand in arms. Here he confirmed as a matter of great importance the large force collected by Wallenstein. He said it was necessary to wait for the turn the negotiations would take, in accordance with the fortunes of the attacks which are now near at hand, on one side and the other.
The queen mother has sent to the queen here by special messenger news confirming her improved state. Advices have recently reached this queen from France, as she herself has said, in the king's absence, that the Most Christian, her brother will not have any dealings with his mother or Monsieur so long as both of them remain in the arms of the Spaniards.
The little prince here has during these last days been suffering from a severe attack of fever, accompanied by rather troublesome symptoms ; but this has passed and he is now quite out of danger.
M. di Soubise, having recovered from his illness, has been to see me, to confirm his devoted attachment to the most serene republic. He told me that at the least sign from the Signory his brother the Duke of Rohan would gladly return to his customary service. I responded in a suitable manner.
London, the 24th June, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
168. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Last week Colb, gentleman of the Administrator, arrived here with Colonel Douglas. Colb left immediately for the prince of Orange. He is expected back at the Hague to return with the Colonel to the Administrator.
The Princess Palatine declares that the king her brother promised to be back in London by the 25th prox. Her people would like that sovereign not only to think of the preservation of the fortresses in the Palatinate, as he seems inclined to do, but to supply a good round sum in cash every month. They declare that the Lower Palatinate is utterly wasted, and that the Swedes did more harm in one year than the Spaniards in ten.
The Hague, the 30th June, 1633.


  • 1. Mr. Crofts. Despatch of Anstruther 1/11 May. S.P. For. Germany States.
  • 2. Albert and Philip, princes of Chimay, nephews of Philip, prince of Arenberg and Aerschot.
  • 3. The town was taken on Whit Sunday the 15th May, and the citadel capitulated on the 26th of the same month.
  • 4. Rheinberg capitulated to the prince on 4 June.
  • 5. The Venetian Republic claimed royal rank by virtue of the Kingdom of Cyprus, which they held by bequest from Catherine Cornaro, widow of James, the last king of the island of the House of Lusignan. The claim of the Dukes of Savoy derived from the marriage of Louis, Duke of Savoy, to Anne of Lusignan, and though they represented a younger line, their title was better, because James was illegitimate. The revival of this claim naturally disturbed the Venetians, but Gussoni's reference to the matter comes singularly late. Already, on 18 Feb. Salvetti wrote : "Si e diculgato in questa Corte come il Duca di Savoia si sia assunto il nome di Re di Cipri e messo sopra le sue armi la corona coperta alla Reale, e cio con il consenso dell' Imperatore concessogli per quanto dicono nell' ultima inrestitura secreta da S.M. Cesarea e che i Veneziani, subodorando tal cosa, facessero anticipatamente mettere essi ancora la corona regia sopra la loro di San Marco ... Il Sig. Segretario di Stato e dirersi principali del Consiglio di Stato mi hanno domandato si io ne harero arrise nessuno, ed io dicendo loro do no, mi replicarono assolutamente che era vero." Later, on the same date as this dispatch, 17 June, Salvetti wrote : "Questa Ambasciatore di Venezia harendo arriso ... qualmente Saroia hareva con havere battuto nuore monete e fatto nuore sigilli con li insegni Reali dichiaratosi Re, et anche di pin imposto ai sudditi di trattarlo di Re, ne fa qui grandissimo strepito, mostrando che i Veneziani non siano mai per approrarlo, come ne anche altri Principi. Dubita assai nondimeno dei Francesi et che anche forse a loro esempio Inghilterra possa condescenderri, e per cio credo che quando con i suoi officii potra divertirlo se ne sbracciera per farlo, benche per essere la sua persona poco grata, siano per oprar poco." Brit. Mus. Add, MSS. 27962F.
  • 6. There is no reference to this in Hopton's despatches at the time, but what is almost certainly an allusion to the subject occurs in his despatch of the 18 Nov. following. After stating that he had warned the English Merchants at Seville not to carry money to Flanders, as it would be taken ill in England, to which they had retorted that if they did not take it, others would, Hopton writes that they went on to say that "they may as well carry money to Flanders as Mr. Secretary (meaning myself) may write to have them carry the King of Spain's colours to their main top, when they carried the soldiers for Italy. It may be they may say as much in England" adds Hopton, "which, if they shall do, I desire this may be my answer, that I never wrote word to any such purpose." S.P. Foreign. Spain.