Venice: August 1633

Pages 131-140

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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August 1633

Aug. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
183. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Anstruther has gone to see the Queen of Sweden (fn. 1) at Volgast, to offer condolences for the death of her husband in the name of the King of England.
The Hague, the 4th August, 1633.
Aug. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
184. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king has accelerated his journey extraordinarily by relays of coaches at several places, after the manner of the posts. By this haste he wished to take the queen by surprise, so as to make his return more welcome to her when she was not expecting him, although she awaited him with impatience when he tarried before for the space of some days. The Duke of Lennox, the Marquis of Hamilton, and three other great lords, no more, attended on his Majesty on this very hurried and almost flying journey. The Lord Treasurer, the Earl Marshal and others of the Council and Court have remained behind and will come by easier stages with the rest of the cavaliers and officials of the usual company that follows the king. His Majesty's entry into this city will be delayed for some months still. An idea is current that as the crowned king of Scotland he will have to make a public state entry here also, to be celebrated by arrangements and functions which the people here are devising. Meanwhile the usual round of offices and compliments for his safe return have performed not far from here at a delightful spot in the neighbouring country. (fn. 2)
It was my duty to offer congratulations, according to the custom of the Court, and the king ordered that the ambassador of the most serene republic should have the first audience. When I had left the royal apartment the residents of Spain, the Infanta and the Grand Duke were introduced after me on the same day for the same office. To the general astonishment and remark they not only put off the Dutch resident, in spite of a previous request on his part, refusing him for that day, but the king sent him word that if he wished for an audience he must wait a week to have one appointed for him. This unaccustomed reply and extraordinary delay in a matter which is usually granted as soon as requested, has supplied material for much comment among the general and has rendered that minister very uneasy in particular as it is thought to be connected with some offence or with some other mystery not thoroughly cleared up.
To the various occasions for bickering and disputes which arise daily between England and Holland, a new one has occurred recently, which has irritated and offended the king and Court. This is that some Dutch war ships, engaged in a fight in these waters with others of the Dunkirkers, who had with them a Dutch ship which they had captured shortly before, entered the port of Jamuth with their battle flags flying and continued the combat with their guns and muskets. Although the Dunkirkers had already landed there, to take refuge, and in spite of the protests of a few unarmed English peasants who had gathered there, who declared that violence to the people who had taken refuge there was violence to the King of England, yet they were taken prisoners by the Dutch, who also landed, and taken by armed force out of this kingdom, with their ships and booty. (fn. 3) An express upon this was sent with all speed to Bosuel in Holland, who was ordered to make very strong and resolute offices for the satisfaction which they claim in this affair, to which they attach the utmost importance here, because of the way it affects their reputation, security and navigation. Accordingly there are some who believe that they wished to give the agent time for a reply before offering facilities here for other offices by the Dutch deputy.
My office with his Majesty was devoted to suitable expressions upon his happy return. The office appeared to be very acceptable to the king. He told me he was always glad to hear of the friendliness of the lords of the republic. He went on to utter these words : I assure you that I also will always be a good friend. He asked me what the Cardinal Infant meant to do. I said that the consequences of his visit to Italy were altogether mysterious and full of jealousy and trouble for that province. The provisions for 25,000 infantry and 3000 cavalry far exceeded the requirements of the defence of Milan alone and gave the Italian princes good cause for remark.
The king remarked, Let us wait a little to see what happens in Germany. Sire I replied, your Majesty knows well that both there and in Holland the Spaniards are aiming at their advantage by negotiations for peace. The king replied, In Holland it is true that the negotiations are progressing little by little ; but in Germany, with the expiry of the armistices, they are now exercising their arms with more fury than ever, and even Volestain is pushing on. The conversation returned once more to the affairs of Italy. With respect to the possession of Spain in Correggio and their designs on Sabioneda the king asked me divers questions showing curiosity about that place as well as about the Princess of Stigliano, which I satisfied with the light afforded by the public instructions. The king seemed to know about the Duke of Medina Lastores, of whom he said a rumour was in circulation that he was to marry the princess in question. With this the audience terminated, and I took leave.
I intended to perform a similar office with the queen, but in those few hours occurred the accident of her fall, when she tripped up on the level ground. Owing to her very advanced pregnancy the accident was considered dangerous and the king ordered her to go to bed at once. But being assured afterwards that no harm was done she sent me word that she would be glad to see me on the following day. Accordingly I performed the office I intended adding expressions of the esteem of the state for her, and further that the republic rejoiced to see that her Majesty, under the blessing of Heaven was about to increase the felicity of England with a new offspring, under happy auspices. This testimony pleased her.
The ministers here consider the last defeat of the imperialist forces in Westphalia as involving very considerable consequences to the prejudice of Cologne and for strengthening the united princes, and the king himself told me that he considered this defeat of the greatest importance. (fn. 4)
The Polish ambassador, after staying on at this Court for some days incognito to all except the Master of the Jewels, who gave him the usual present of silver gilt in the king's name, departed for his sea passage shortly before his Majesty's arrival.
They are still without not only ambassadors, but any other kind of minister from France. The report about Guron coming soon has died away. Accordingly there is a suspicion and a murmur among the Courtiers and those of the government that by the despatch of that individual to Lorraine, when he was previously announced for England, observing that Anstruther had been sent to Germany, the French mean to proceed in this delicate matter in exactly the same way as they do here. This has roused them to more diligent application here and they decided that the Secretary Windebank should speak to the queen's grand Almoner, as he has done, assuring him that as soon as the king can remove Anstruther from Germany, he will send him straight to France without permitting him to return to England. The last time this grand Almoner came to see me he himself told me that he had reported this office of the secretary to his Court. He added that as he had to go to Paris before long he would make the same report orally.
The despatches of the 6th ult. have arrived together with those of the 8th which are the last to reach me. With regard to the matter of the beheaded Cassinensian apostate I will make use of the information in case anyone speaks to me about it.
London, the 5th August, 1633.
Aug. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives.
185. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Your Excellencies will have herewith an account of the fight between the Turkish fleet and two English ships, which arrived at the same point by way of Malta, the evil augury which the Pasha must conceive of it, and the confusion of that fleet. They think here that it may divert them from coming to these waters.
Rome, the 6th August, 1633.
Aug. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
186. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The deputy Brasser has at last been introduced to his Majesty, a week after all the other ministers. The audience was not confined to compliments alone, but the king, mindful of the offence caused by the incident at Yarmouth, went on to express his resentment. The Dutch minister tried to mitigate the matter more by excuses than by denials or a different version of the facts. He showed that the Spaniards, by plundering Dutch ships in any places soever, were the first to violate the freedom of the ports of this kingdom. He made much of a similar case, indeed with much worse circumstances, which has occurred quite recently in Ireland, where some Biscayans, who entered the port of Dublin, had the audacity, in contempt of the king here, during these last days, to fight with their guns and muskets against his subjects who would not allow the plundering of a Dutch merchant ship which had gone to those waters for trade alone. As they could not get it into their hands they set fire to it in the very roadstead off that port. (fn. 5) The truth is quite well known here, as neither the Spaniards nor the Dutch show much respect for the immunity of these shores, but owing to the Spanish predominance in the government here, they seem to take a more haughty tone in their remonstrances with the Dutch.
Letters from the English Agent with the Infanta report that the armies on both sides in those countries, remain entirely idle, so that it is supposed the decision is mutual not to undertake operations of importance this year. Accordingly they are hastening the fresh despatch of the Brabant deputies to continue their negotiations at the Hague. From this the lords here apparently conclude that the desire for peace is equally shared by the Spaniards and the Dutch, and the king himself intimated as much to me at my last audience.
With respect to naval affairs news comes that the Dutch have at length captured some accessories of importance in the capitanate of Fernambuco, with hopes of great benefit for the sugar trade. (fn. 6) This by no means pleases the merchant companies of this kingdom, who compete with those of Amsterdam and who are much concerned about the prosperity of that nation. The Deputy Brasser announces at the palace with much exaggeration all that his masters have done for the common cause, since notwithstanding that they have the enemy at their gates they have paid down 100,000 florins at Frankfort, at the disposition of the Chancellor Oxestern. He further states that the Provinces have agreed to provide 50,000 florins a month for the next three months, for the same contributions. He spoke to me to the same effect, when he recently paid a complimentary visit to this house. I gathered from his discourse that the object of the States is to use this as an excuse if they are unable at the same time to show their good will towards the Princess Palatine. He intimated to me that the king and that princess ought to consider what the Dutch do for the common benefit as done in their own particular interests, since the arms of both serve this same end.
The consequences of the victory in Westphalia are represented as ever greater for the princes of the party. One of the Lords of the Council here has letters stating that besides the fall of Hamelen they consider that of Minden practically assured and that the whole province will very soon be entirely relieved of subjection to the emperor, while making Cologne very fearful as well. The Lords here say that that prelate will ultimately have to cast himself upon the protection of the Most Christian. One of them has remarked to me, not without some concern, that neutrality would not displease Bavaria either. But they added that no trust can be placed in that prince, although he is having representations made expressly about this in France. I perceive from what they say that while they do not consider peace in Germany near at hand, yet whenever it is concluded they would like this crown to have some share in it. I am assured on good authority that the ambassador extraordinary of Poland who has recently gone, passed some office on this point when he saw the king in Scotland. On this account fresh commissions were recently sent to Anstruther to have this same end in view in his negotiations with Saxony and Brandenburg, directing him, as often as it may be necessary, to proceed from one Elector to the other, from Dresden to Berlin.
They speak at the palace of some new action in which the imperial forces had the worst of it, but so vaguely that further confirmation is awaited. The Resident of Denmark here, although out of his office, has word that the son of that king has returned to Gluckstadt. It would seem, as they write to him from that Court, that the king there, to give greater credit to his interposition for peace, has chosen deliberately to withdraw his son from armies hostile to the Austrians in Germany.
Divers reports come from the house of Nicolaldi about the advantage which the Catholic receives from the arrival of the fleet, which they announce has certainly reached Spain. The queen's grand Almoner, before starting for France, came the day before yesterday to take leave of me. He repeated to me that he was to pass offices at that Court to remove any doubts they might have about the Ambassador Anstruther, so that Guron may come as he hopes, to act as ordinary ambassador here. He further remarked to me that unless France was sure of a due correspondence from this side, they would not send Guron to this Court. Meanwhile this long period without any French minister of any kind in this country is disliked, especially by the queen. The only one here in the capacity of an ambassador is myself, as Joachimi still delays his return, and Brasser takes charge as simple deputy.
The English secretaries write from Paris that good progress is certainly being made to some agreement with Monsieur. The queen here would like her mother to be included in it, with some concessions to recompense her for her long absence which they call here her most bitter exile.
A deplorable accident involving the burning of two large ships of this kingdom is understood to have occurred in some port of the West Indies, since one of them had already laded a great part of its cargo of most rich merchandise. This will mean a great loss to the traders and to the joint owners in those merchant companies.
The last letters to reach me from your Serenity are of the 15th ult.
London, the 12th August, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
187. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Resident Bosuel has returned from the camp, where he formally presented the order of the garter to Prince Charles. They now style that prince Elector, and he has also been declared such by England. The prince's party here say that the English king has announced that whoever invades the Palatinate will be considered as the enemy of England herself. The administrator is raising levies to garrison the fortresses, and it is thought that they will be paid chiefly by that sovereign.
The Hague, the 18th August, 1633.
Aug. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
188. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The day before yesterday a despatch arrived from the Ambassador Anstruther brought by a gentleman express, who also gave the king some account of the affairs of Germany, apart. The verbal and written accounts with the particulars of what he has done in carrying out the negotiations with which he was charged with the Duke of Saxony, lead to the conclusion that he found that Elector rather tempted than disposed towards an accomodation apart from a common one in the interests of Germany. From casual conversations I have had with members of the royal Council who are here, I gather that the opinion which they all seemed to hold alike was confirmed about the difficulty, which increases with every day, of arranging a peace, in spite of the efforts of the Austrians. Yet they are doubtful here about what orders to give to Anstruther with respect to what the interposition of the King of Denmark may obtain, who does not cease to operate in the matter with the utmost energy. Anstruther writes that he has already set out for Hamburg, where he will await the royal commands about proceeding to that Court to perform the offices which they may consider suitable here in the interests of the Palatine house.
A Savoyard has arrived here in the capacity of a simple gentleman with letters from that duke. He has gone to find the king, who remains away from this city at his usual pleasures of the chase, scouring the country round. (fn. 7) They do not speak of his intending to stay at this Court for more than a few days, or of his having come for anything but friendly and complimentary offices of ceremony. These compliments are frequent, sometimes in the name of the duke and sometimes on behalf of the duchess, now with the king and then with the queen, by missions to which they respond here in the same manner, accompanied at times by some curiosity as a present, on one side or the other.
Nedersolt, the Agent of the Princess Palatine was confined to his house by the king's order for an insulting letter written by him to the courtier Gorin. (fn. 8) He claimed immunity in his capacity as a public person, but they told him that as one born in this kingdom and an English subject he was not included in the privilege. This has excited a great deal of talk because of the strangeness of the step. Meanwhile the Princess by sending her secretary Dingli with all speed, has obtained from the king that no further steps shall be taken in the matter on condition that Nedersolt is dismissed from his post, and this has been done.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is dead, and the Bishop of London here, who enjoys the particular affection and favour of his Majesty, feels sure of being very soon announced as the successor to that very rich and most highly valued position. (fn. 9)
The king has chosen to take part personally in the prayers, repeated for three days for the happy progress of the queen's pregnancy.
I have in hand the state despatches of the 21st ult.
London, the 19th August, 1633.
Aug. 20.
Cinque Savii alla Mercanzia. Risposte, 149. Venetian Archives.
189. Richard Gresuel, English merchant trading at Cephalonia represents to your Serenity that owing to the damage to currants there in 1630 the Proveditore Erizzo allowed Marin Megliarissi, a native, to export a great quantity and to pay the duty afterwards, by virtue whereof Megliarissi arranged with Gresuel to export 80 thousand thereof, for which amount Megliaressi was entered as debtor in the chancery, for which export proceedings were afterwards entered against Gresuel and a ship of his seized and sold by auction for 700 ducats ; alarmed by this he kept away and as a consequence was banished from the island for ten years, and he asks that enquiry may be made in this city and justice done, professing his readiness to give complete satisfaction.
We cannot give such full information as we could wish, as we have not the full particulars, which should be in the process. From what we learn from the petitioner we gather that the matter reduces itself to two considerations (1) order and (2) desert. In the first and the matter of his banishment, the grace rests with your Serenity. We understand that other interested parties have appealed to the Council of Forty. In the second he has shown us a paper signed by Megliaressi and Tedoro Ulterra, stating that all the currants exported by him were laded in their presence and by virtue of the licence granted to the former, with payment of the usual duties within the terms set by the Proveditore. Upon this we have to say that such arrangements are not in accordance with the interests of the state, because of the uncertainty of collecting the duties, which ought to be paid immediately upon the exportation, but he has the defence of having acted in good faith, being assured by a state official, and as he was banished in his absence we think he may be worthy of such clemency as your Serenity may see fit to show after due information is taken.
Orsato Giustinian. Savii
Antonio Capello.
Andrea Dolfin.
Alvise Mocenigo.
Agostin Bembo.
Aug. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
190. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although they adhere to their usual intention not to intervene with the Dutch in the matter of the truces, this does not mean that the lords of the council here are free from some jealous apprehension. So far they have seemed to believe that the manifold difficulties of the affair with the offices of the French in opposition would suffice to prevent any conclusion of those negotiations. At present they seem to fear the contrary, indeed they begin to say that the Spaniards and Dutch are equally eager for them. Every one of the ministers here recognises that the circumstances are very inopportune, and is aware, from what I hear of their talk, of the prejudice that may result to the interests of Germany and consequently of the Palatinate. These voices of the Court, having reached the Deputy Brasser, have induced him to make representations to the contrary to the king, to prevent such an impression taking hold of him. He said that their High Mightinesses had most definitely decided to push forward with their forces, even in the present season, to some other considerable enterprise. For this purpose, he asserted, they had sought and finally obtained the cavalry of Hesse for the service of the States, with a certain number of infantry. These veteran troops would not be kept idle. He declared that the Prince of Orange had express orders to employ them immediately he had passed them under review. He took the opportunity to enlarge upon the good will of his masters, and their correspondence with the Chancellor Oxestern. He said they had obtained from him in particular the greatest assistance in faciliating the transfer of the troops in question to the service of the Provinces.
In the opinion of the lords here there is little expectation of a successful issue to the negotiations for an accomodation in Germany referred to the assemblies of Vratislavia, since they tell me they are advised from there and from several other quarters of more steadfast and better united resolutions on the part of the princes of the party. For the most part they believe these princes will be obliged to advance their interests by arms to a position of greater advantage, which will render Cæsar more ready to give way in the treaties and make Volestain more flexible in his pretensions.
They specially remark the declarations of the Duke of Lorraine. They consider it will be difficult for him to take up a position which is not opposed to the interests of France. Upon this point the two English secretaries represent in their letters the intention of the Most Christian to reduce that prince to his duty towards France at all costs.
They write from Brussels that the Infanta has permitted the city of Antwerp to send its own deputies to negotiate with the Seven Provinces some arrangement to free themselves from the floods caused and maintained by the Dutch about that city. It is believed that this fresh opening of negotiations is intended to facilitate the other and more important ones of the Brabant deputies.
Nedersolt has been restored completely to the king's favour, through a reconciliation obtained from the Courtier Gorrin, who claimed to be affronted by him. Meanwhile the hopes have grown feeble and have practically died, of the succour which that princess counted upon receiving from a universal voluntary contribution, which they proposed to obtain from the people of this kingdom for the support of her interests. But the king, realising the difficulty of carrying this into effect without obtaining the assent of parliament, the calling of which he hates, has withdrawn all the promises which he had been induced to make shortly before, moved solely by the wish to please his sister.
The Spanish Resident here, according to the reports which come from his house, reckons that by now the troops under the command of the Duke of Feria will have effected their march out of Italy. I am told that he intimated to one of the Lords of the Council here that this ought to dissipate the alarms of the princes of that province for the future. Even the Dutch who are at this Court seem apprehensive about Feria's move with so many troops but the difficulty of the passes and the opposition in Germany reduces their fear that this Spanish army is intended for the requirements of Flanders.
The Abbot Scaglia has raised a great sum of money from this mart, which he kept in his own name in the hands of the merchant Richaut, from whom he has, during these last days, received a remittance through Antwerp amounting to 10,000 crowns. One of his friends here has whispered that he intends to proceed to Spain, but as yet one learns of no good reason and hears nothing said to explain what may be the motive of this proceeding.
The information brought me by the public despatches of the 23rd, which reached me together with those of the 29th ult. will be very opportune, in what they say about the fruitless attempt of the Savoyard ambassador at Rome in his visit to M. di Crichi, with the object of obtaining some open testimony that France agrees with his new pretensions to the royal title.
London, the 26th August, 1633.


  • 1. That is the Queen Dowager Maria Eleanora, widow of Gustavus Adolphus, slain at Lutzen on 6 Nov., 1632. The actual queen was her daughter Christina, who was seven years old at this date.
  • 2. Presumably Greenwich where Charles arrived on Saturday, 30th July.
  • 3. This affair at Yarmouth took place on 5th July. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1633-4, page 117.
  • 4. The victory won by the forces of Hesse and Sweden outside Hameln, over the imperialists at the end of June, followed by the surrender of the town on the 11th July, Khevenhuller : Ann. Ferd. Vol. xxi., 708-712.
  • 5. This seems like a confusion of two events. A ship was burned early in the year, but in this affair of 8 Aug., the Grey Eagle of Amsterdam was carried off by Biscayans and recovered by Captain Plumleigh in the Antelope. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1633-4, pp. 173, 246-8.
  • 6. The Dutch captured Ithamaraca captaincy on 17 June, Truxillo on 15 July and Rio Grande on 21 August. Leclerc ; Hist. des Proc. Unies Vol. II., pages 145, 146. Only the news of the first would have reached Europe at this time.
  • 7. Charles set out on his progress to Woodstock on 16 August. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1633-4. pages 176, 180.
  • 8. This was in connection with the proposed benevolence for the Princess Palatine. This plan had been spoiled by being prematurely disclosed, and Nethersole charged Goring with betraying the secret. Gardiner : Hist. of Eng. Vol. vii. page 344.
  • 9. George Abbot died at Croydon on Sunday, 14 August. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1633, 4, page 176. Charles nominated Laud to the vacant See the day the news reached the Court, 16 Aug. Gardiner : Hist. of Eng. Vol. vii. page 299.