Venice: September 1633

Pages 141-150

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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September 1633

Sept. 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
191. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Agent in his despatches from Brussels to the ministers here reports that great uneasiness reigns at that Court owing to the nearness of the armies to their frontiers. It seems that the Infanta has been advised by her commanders to give arms even to the peasants for their defence, since they have discovered, so they write, a plan of the Dutch army to attack by means of incursions or some other kind of powerful assault, although they imagine all the same that it will be more by way of surprise than by the siege of any of those fortresses, the Spaniards persuading themselves that the season will hardly permit any enterprise which requires a long siege. They are waiting here for news of some fresh event in that direction and they think that this may prove the best means for upsetting all negotiations for an accomodation and to render useless the journey of the Duke of Arescot to Spain. This is confirmed also by the two princes of Chimay, nephews of that same duke, who are at this Court, cordially welcomed by the king and entertained by the lords here at banquets, dancing, hunting and other diversions.
The Deputy Brasser encourages the idea of the determination of his masters who are very well prepared, so he asserts, and equally disposed by the incitement of France, not to leave their armies useless and idle in the present campaign. He has seized upon this very favourable opportunity to renew his instances for some reinforcements of the levies of this kingdom for the service of the States. A little while ago this was refused or put off, but henceforward he hopes to find things easier and to obtain it very soon.
The new move of the Most Christian in person towards Lorraine has attracted the attention and comments of the ministers here. They believe it is intended as a bridle and strong check upon that duke in his conduct which seems prejudicial to the interest of France on the one hand and to those of the princes of Germany on the other. Some further object is also discussed, and they believe the idea is revived, which they consider here more difficult to realise, about the handing over of the fortresses in Alsace, to which the French aspire.
Whatever deputies and commissioners may be sent on one side and the other for the new congresses about the universal peace in Germany, the lords here do not seem inclined to believe that any conclusion will be either easy or imminent, although they do not neglect to do what is proper from this quarter with the king of Denmark. United as he is with the Palatine house in blood and stirred by representations from this quarter, they have no doubt but that he will operate in any case by his intervention for the benefit of the sister and nephew of the king here. I know on good authority that the Lords of the Council here have discussed the question of the fortresses under the government of the Palatine Administrator as not yet rendered quite safe with their garrisons. Some one spoke upon the new danger they would be in if the Duke of Feria succeeds in overcoming the difficulties in his way and safely brings his troops from Italy into Germany. The Court here is paying particular attention to the manner and advantages whereby the passage of those forces into the empire may be effected, not without fear of the accidents which may arise to facilitate some other opening for the Austrians in the Lower Palatinate.
The king has taken leave of the queen and will remain away from her for the space of three weeks, which he wishes to devote to a new progress of hunting. The Court is scattered and will not meet again before his Majesty's return. My latest despatches from the Senate are of the 5th of August.
London, the 2nd September, 1633.
192. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In praise of the services rendered him in the course of his embassy at the Hague by the Secretary Vico ; this and Vico's other employments render him worthy of the munificence of the State in response to the petition he is about to present.
London, the 2nd September, 1633.
Sept. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
193. To the Ambassador in England.
You did well to pay your respects to the king on his return from Scotland, and to the queen also. In order that their Majesties may the better appreciate our esteem and our pleasure at the success of that journey, you will ask a special leave and congratulate them both in our name. Your letters of the 5th ult. relate the incident with the Dutch ships. We regret these occasions for dispute between that crown and the States. You will do all that you can to preserve friendship and a good understanding between them, to prevent the evil consequences which might arise for the States and for the public cause itself. We shall wait to hear what ensues. Meanwhile we send you an abstract of the advices which you will use in our interests.
Ayes, 96. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
Sept. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
194. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Deputy of Holland has aroused great curiosity and jealously also in the Spanish resident here, who has observed that recently, in a few days, after unusually frequent negotiations with the Council he has had many audiences of the king likewise, even outside this city. For this purpose he has made hurried journeys after his Majesty into the country, where he is engaged in his usual hunting. (fn. 1) The motive of these negotiations, so far as it has transpired, consists in a favourable declaration which the Dutch are eagerly trying to obtain for the treatment of their ships in the ports here. As it is clear that this would prejudice the interests of the Spaniards very considerably, owing to the consequences to navigation, the Resident works with all his might to oppose it. But as a matter of fact the Dutch minister, when he paid me a visit a short while ago of a merely complimentary character, expressed great hopes to me in the course of the conversation of overcoming the difficulties and bringing these negotiations to a satisfactory conclusion for his masters. Proceeding still further with his confidences he informed me about the fulfilment of the orders with which he was expressly charged to represent to the king the state of affairs in those Provinces both with respect to the negotiations for an accomodation, at present further off a conclusion than ever, as he said he had told his Majesty, and about the decision of the Provinces to pursue their enterprises with greater advantage owing to the new reinforcements which have reached them of German and Swedish cavalry, which notably increase their army. He repeated more than once that we should very soon hear of some brave exploit of theirs.
The despatch expected from Anstruther has not yet arrived from Germany. The ministers here are doubtful about what the diet of Vratislava may bring forth. They seem to remark the numerous gathering of deputies both on the part of the emperor and of the united princes. The Danish minister here, who remains on, though he has taken leave of his charge, represents that he is advised that his king will operate very actively for his interposition for the universal peace in Germany. The employment of the minister of Poland for the same purpose is also observed. In spite of this I find that some of the government who devote the most attention to the affairs of Germany are all very much agreed in inclining to believe that little towards a conclusion can be expected from that diet, at which there are deputies from Bavaria. Of the other three Electors, as your Excellencies intimate in your letters of the 12th ult. you have heard from Rome, the Lords here have not heard anything certain as yet. Their curiosity is very keen as to the way in which these negotiations will proceed ; and they believe here that they will undergo great changes accord- to the way in which the fortunes of war favour one side or the other in the meantime.
The attention of the ministers here is also directed to the declarations of Lorraine, which are drawing down the forces of the Most Christian. With the difficulties in the way of the passage of Feria's army, they are persuaded that the Austrians will find it even more difficult to help that duke, engaged as he is between the French and Swedish forces, who are now engaged in this without a definite agreement according to the general opinion at this Court.
News has arrived here by way of Marseilles of a fight of some kind between some English ships and the Turkish fleet. The Court no less than the mart here are alarmed lest the Turks may show some resentment against English subjects and merchants. (fn. 2)
They are about to despatch Montegu, son of the earl who holds his Majesty's privy seal. The character of this person, who has previously been employed by the king makes it probable that he is not going without some charge, though no statement on the subject has been made as yet. It gives rise to a great deal of discussion which does not succeed in penetrating the real reason for his departure, as the report which he himself circulates seems very unlikely, that he is going to Italy, from his own curiosity. There is an opinion that he takes no commissions for negotiations at present, but may receive them on the journey. It has already been scented out that he has letters from the palace for France and for Savoy, although not in the capacity of an ambassador or public minister, but only as an ordinary gentleman of this crown, who has to proceed from one Court to the other. (fn. 3)
The queen has been overtaken by a serious defluxion which was so bad that they feared injury to the whole of her right side. Her arm in particular was greatly affected, so that she could only use it with the greatest difficulty. She is now very much better. It seems that the physicians attribute it to a troublesome pregnancy, and now the time of her delivery is at hand.
London, the 9th September, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 16.
Senato. Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
195. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Court says that Montagu's departure has been arranged with intent, although they want to give it another aspect. It is certain that he has to go and not from personal curiosity, as was stated. Yet it is uncertain if he will have orders from here for any employment. It is whispered that the Lord Treasurer has intimated to him that he wishes him to absent himself whatever else happens, in spite of the dissatisfaction that the queen herself has all but stated it will cause her. The Lord Privy Seal also feels it deeply, but he dissimulates as much as possible, so that he also may not experience some gale, although he is an old minister in his office. They say that Montagu may have letters for Savoy, but even if this be the case he certainly will not take matter for negotiation, but rather some compliment and he will not have the character either of ambassador or minister.
They are not yet proceeding to send any ordinary embassies. The queen here in particular is deeply hurt that they go on without any minister at Court from her brother, and the opinion held here is confirmed that there is some mystery about this. They have heard nothing as yet from her Grand Almoner, who left for France, of what he has been able to do about the despatch of Gurron. They would like Anstruther to go to the Most Christian now, but they do not see how they can take him away from Germany in the present state of affairs. He writes thence that he is going to the King of Denmark, with the idea, on which the ministers here entertain no doubts whatever, that his offices will meet with the best possible response from that monarch, particularly for the Palatinate. Amid the operations for peace which may be progressing, they think it the more necessary to obtain support because they have such scant confidence in the Duke of Saxony, who has always shown a reluctance to make any declaration whatever, more particularly in favour of the nephews and sister of the King here. The Lords here in their discussions seem very doubtful about what decisions that Elector may come to, constrained as he is by the imperial forces under Colonel Holch, the express intention of Volestain being, as the ministry here intimate they are advised, to avenge himself on that prince, by whom he declares he has been deceived, and compel him to separate himself from the others.
There remains the observation and fear about the passage of the troops of the Duke of Feria. The Spanish Resident here states openly that a good part of that force has by now set foot in Germany, where, according to the reports which he circulates, it will form a very numerous, powerful and absolutely independent army of the king, his master. Accordingly, amid the expression of many and various opinions the attention of everyone here is directed to seeing whether that force will be directed towards Alsace and Lorraine, the Palatinate or elsewhere.
The Princess, sister of the king here, has informed his Majesty of the negotiations instituted by her with the Duke of Neuburg for some place of jurisdiction which is in the hands of that prince, but belongs to her sons, nephews of the king here. (fn. 4)
We hear from Brussels that they are momentarily expecting to hear of some engagement between the Dutch and Spanish armies, which have come very near each other. It is known for certain at this Court that the former is much superior to the latter, both in the quality of its picked and veteran soldiers, as well as in numbers. Advices have already reached the palace of the landing in Flanders of Count William of Nassau. He at once set to work to capture some fort to get an entry into that province from the West, and he has already succeeded according to letters directed to more than one of the Lords here. (fn. 5)
They have already begun to make ready the palace of St. Gems, because of its better air and convenience, for the queen's delivery. The king pursues his usual hunting from park to park in the country districts round.
London, the 16th September, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
196. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The Princess Palatine has received a severe blow by the treachery as they call it, against Prince Ildrico, third son of Denmark. (fn. 6) She says she loved him as a sister, as they are very closely related, and in all circumstances he was ready to uphold the interests of her house by arms and by negotiation. She declares that before breathing his last he declared that God and his father would one day avenge his death.
Rusdorf has recently returned here from the Duke of Neuburg. He is now going to the King of Denmark. Anstruther had visited that king in the duchy of Olsacia and passed offices for the Palatine family, seeing his interposition in the peace negotiations in Germany ; but the king said he could not give an answer then, as he was away from his kingdom and councillors, and so they both set out for Denmark. It seems that that king wants to be asked directly by the ministers of the Palatine house to act for their interests.
The Hague, the 17th September, 1633.
Sept. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
197. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Anstruther had a very unsatisfactory reply at his first audience of the King of Denmark to his instances that that sovereign should recognise Prince Charles as Elector. The king said he had already written to the Duke of Bavaria with the title of Elector. After the duke's death he might do something. It appears, however, that the king bent a little more at the second offices.
The Hague, the 22nd of September, 1633.
Sept. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
198. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
At Court they consider that the march out of Italy of Feria's troops has certainly been achieved at this moment. The Lords here believe that when the Spaniards have achieved the passage of the Alps they will be able to bring a serious counterpoise for the affairs of Germany. Nicolaldi represents the force as a very strong one in numbers and in picked men. With respect to the plans and proceedings of this army, the various opinions expressed speak for the great interest and attention it excites. They are equally intent on the progress of the French in Lorraine, right up to Nancy ; the opinion of the ministry being unanimous that the duke there will have to humble himself to the extent of giving the satisfaction that the Most Christian demands. That king has already proceeded in person to that quarter, not without a previous understanding with the Swedish forces, as the Lords here intimate that they are advised on good authority. On the other hand they consider it hardly possible to annul the marriage between Monsieur and the Princess Margaret of Lorraine, who is made much of by the queen mother and by the Infanta at Brussels, according to the last advices from that Court. The queen here, being informed more particularly by the arrival of a gentleman recently sent to her Majesty by the Duke of Vendome, seems more than ordinarily aggrieved by the resentment shown by her brother against that marriage. This same gentleman has had some private audiences at the palace during the past and the present week. It is known, however, that he is not here for any business, but merely for compliments. He has brought various presents, which he goes about making in the name of the duke, of horses of great value, brought to this kingdom on purpose to be given away to the most important personages at the Court. He has already begun by giving some to the Earl of Holland, and others to the Earl of Pembroke, the Lord Chamberlain.
The state of affairs in Germany does not indicate, according to what the Lords here say, that alteration which the imperialists announced after the advantage which they claimed to have obtained from the incursions into Misnia, sent by Volestain under Colonel Holch, enriched in the sack of Leipsig. Yet they are not without fear of some unfortunate decision on the part of the Elector of Saxony, intimidated by the ruin in the heart of his dominions.
Salvetti, the minister of the Grand Duke of Tuscany has shown to all the Lords of the Council and to me in particular a letter from his master to inform him of what has occurred between General Volestain and the princes, brothers of his Highness, (fn. 7) who have unexpectedly withdrawn from that army owing to a decree that three leading officers of Volestain's household, not receiving the title of Most Illustrious from those princes, should respond in the same manner in which they were treated. The duke expresses the hope that some compromise may be found about these punctilios. He disapproves of the decision of his brothers and wishes them to fight in the service of the emperor in one place or another. He directs Salvetti to publish at this Court that such is his decision.
The new Archbishop of Canterbury, is devoting himself to regulations and ordinances little to the taste of those of the Puritan faith. He pretends that he wishes to bring back to the true Anglican form the rites and ceremonies of the church. Accordingly the king, advised that some trouble might ensue, has directed that nothing shall be carried out in this connection without previous notice and information to the Lords of the Council, in order to have their deliberate opinion.
The Princes of Chimay, nephews of the Duke of Arescot have taken leave of the king and queen and have left, amid many honours and festivities at Court the last being a banquet given, by the Spanish minister. Their presence here has not been altogether useless for the despatch of the recruits obtained from this kingdom for the service of the Infanta in Flanders, since in the same business the Dutch minister has not been able to overcome the difficulties he has encountered, in spite of the good intentions and promises he received several times in the king's name.
Fresh advices have come that Joachimi's return to the embassy here is postponed, and in the mean time Brasser will continue to act in the capacity of a mere deputy.
The last public despatches to reach me are of the 26th ult.
London, the 23rd September, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
199. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch minister here is charged by his masters to put more vigour into the offices performed at Court for the Princess, the king's sister. Dingli, her secretary, when he saw me on a complimentary visit, told me about this as a sign of confidence, and the Dutch deputy did the same shortly before. Both are acting in concert for some good resolution in the necessity, which they represent as most urgent, of garrisons and reinforcements in the Palatinate. Stripped of garrisons, as they declare, it is practically a prey to fortune, without the power of resistance, whenever Feria's force chooses to go there. This is supposed to have entered Germany, although this is not known yet. In their interviews with the Lords here they represent the very evident danger, notwithstanding that there are some who believe that the first blow of the Spanish forces will be directed to succouring Alsace and Lorraine, after they have overcome the difficulties of the passes. They also adduce the pressing instances of the Duke of Symeren, who asserts that he was committed to that administration by this crown, without assistance from which he declares that he cannot defend the country alone. Being once recovered by the Swedes and restored for a small outlay of money, it would be vain to hope ever to get it back again if it should fall once more into the hands of the Spaniards and Imperialists. It would seem on the one hand that these two ministers, by the efficacy of their joint representations, are not without hopes of having already made a good impression on his Majesty. On the other hand they are very doubtful when they see the difficulty, which daily becomes greater here, in making provision of money, without the support of the contributions, which cannot be obtained unless they proceed to convoke parliament.
The last letters from Anstruther are from Gluckstadt, whither he has gone to the King of Denmark to support the interests of the Palatine house in the interposition of that sovereign in the treaties for an accomodation in Germany. He writes that he is expecting commissions from this quarter to return home when he has fulfilled the duties laid upon him at that Court. But here they wish to keep him until the arrival of the gentleman who is to go to that monarch in the name of the Princess Palatine and her sons, so that when their offices are united for the same affair they may produce the greater impression. The new decree published in Denmark (fn. 8) for the exaction of a heavy and universal tax upon the goods of all nations which pass through the Elbe is very distasteful to this kingdom owing to the interests of the mercantile marine. This means a most notable prejudice to the English in particular owing to the important trade in cloth at Hamburg, and the need for a remedy from one side or the other causes much painful reflection, since present circumstances are considered most unsuitable for remonstrance or open complaints and quarrels between this crown and that one.
The Residents of the Catholic and the Infanta have obtained a levy of two regiments in Ireland, to be used in Flanders, so the Spaniards announce. This only serves to increase the dissatisfaction of the Dutch, seeing that for the small number of recruits for which they asked their captains and officers have had to return home without effecting anything, tired of the long delays and the difficulties they encountered.
The Earl of Arundel, Earl Marshal of the realm, who has a place in the royal Council has discussed the matter of an ordinary ambassador to your Serenity as shown by the enclosed letter of the Cavalier Biondi, an individual who continues the confidential relations at this Court which he has always had with all my predecessors. I am at a loss to know what opinion to form about it, since all the Lords here have always spoken with me on the subject in quite a different way hitherto, in response to my offices, which I have reported from time to time. So I have nothing to add for the present and must leave the matter to your Excellencies. Meanwhile I will not neglect my exertions for the future.
Very remarkable accounts have reached the Lords at Court here from several quarters about the embassy extraordinary in the name of your Excellencies to the Cardinal Infant, (fn. 9) exciting commendation for the minister who by so splendid an appearance and such magnificence has upheld the character of the public greatness.
London, the 30th September, 1633.
Enclosure. 200. Giovanni Francesco Biondi to Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England.
I have just come from your house, where I had not the good fortune to find you. I have to go 12 miles off with my wife and the coach is waiting for me. I do not know if I shall be back before Friday, so I must say what I want to now. This morning I called on Lord Arundel, who took me to the riverside at his house to show me a new boat which he had had made. We entered this and remained there a while noting its defects. When speaking of his wrecked gondola and of Venice he asked me if your Excellency was leaving. I said I did not know. He asked if a successor would be sent. I replied, Yes, but he said he had heard otherwise. I told him I did not believe it because the republic valued the friendship here and made every effort to keep the embassy filled. He said a mere agent would suffice, and they would do well not to send an ambassador. Formerly, I think he said under Henry VII., they had decided not to send or receive a person of minor rank. I then took leave of him. He said he would be back in three or four weeks. I am amazed at his language, as he repeated twice that they would do very well not to send. I cannot think he spoke with design as the meeting was accidental. I think that this idea is not his alone, as it would be too dangerous for him to originate an idea touching the king's service. I think he told me in order that I might repeat it to your Excellency. But I must leave this to your prudence.
From my house, the 27th September, 1633.


  • 1. Charles was at Woodstock, but left there for London on 7 Sept. on hearing of the Queen's illness. Finding that she only had a slight cold he returned to Bagshot on the 9th. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1633-4, page 196.
  • 2. See the account at page 129 above. In his instructions to Wyche on this affair, the Secretary of State wrote, on 14 November ; "I thought fit to move his Majesty to write ... both to the Grand Signor, the Mufti and Visier Basha to demand justice and for delivery of his subjects from captivity and those indignities they now suffer ... You must take care not to engage the whole Company as interested in this action or as justifying the proceedings of those ships... but must only defend them as His Majesty's subjects oppressed and wronged... and that intercourse between the states may not be discouraged or interrupted. By the Capitulations between the States His Majesty's subjects are licensed to ride in any port of the Grand Signor's dominions. These two ships were surprised by the Basha within a haven in Cassandra gulf, without giving any warning or time to give unto him that answer and observance which they would readily have performed, whereby they were forced against their wills to stand to their own defence. S.P. Foreign. Turkey.
  • 3. Writing of this mission on 21 Oct. Salvetti says ; "Montagu se n'e andato in Italia, e credo che andara a stanziare a Roma. E uomo di spirito e bello ingegno, ma fazioso al possibile e da no fidarsene. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962F.
  • 4. She sent Rusdort to demand the restitution of the fiefs occupied since the death of the Duke of Cleves and Juliers. Letter of Boswell of 12/22 Aug. S.P. for. Holland. Vol. 147.
  • 5. He landed south of the Schelde and took Sterre Shans (Fort del' Etoile) on the 5th and Fort Philippine on the 11th September. Aitzema : Saken ran Staet in Oorlogh, Vol. ii. page 65.
  • 6. Uhic, youngest son of Christian IV. of Denmark was treacherously shot in the back while walking with Colonel Prccolomini during an armistice, in Sleswig.
  • 7. Matteo and Fiancesco de' Medici.
  • 8. On 29 August, at Gluckstadt. S.P For. Denmark. Vol. 13.
  • 9. The ambassador was Bertuccio Vaher, who was received by the prince at Milan. Nani : Historia Veneta, lib. ix, page 275.