Venice: October 1633

Pages 150-159

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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October 1633

Oct. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
201. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
So far as I know the English Resident here has never made any remonstrance in the Assembly about the landing of the Dutch in England against the Dunkirkers. He may have complained about it privately. They do not talk much about it here or seem to attach much importance to the matter, saying that the English did the same thing when pursuing the French who had landed at the Island of the Texel. (fn. 1) This matter belongs to another Court, so I need not weary your Serenity. It is an undoubted fact that if they had not to do with an enemy so formidable as the King of Spain, things would lead up to a rupture with England, as their quarrels constantly grow worse on the subject of navigation and other things. I have not neglected to supply my good offices, and will continue to do so, as instructed.
The Hague, the 6th October, 1633.
Oct 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
202. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The negotiations of the Ambassador Anstruther with Denmark are not proceeding so happily as they hoped here ; indeed I am informed not without good grounds that England has every reason for dissatisfaction. It is certain that the king there has made some remark indicating either an unwilling or perverse disposition with respect to satisfying this crown in the matter of the Palatinate where that sovereign must of necessity have occasion to treat about it in the interposition which he has undertaken for the accomodation in Germany. It appears that the root of the quarrel derives from some considerable claims for old debts which that crown has against this kingdom, amounting to a large sum of money, part of which was promised and not paid, and part lent there and never returned. It is known that this self same season was the prime cause of the certain amount of bitterness which occurred during the embassy extraordinary of the Farl of Leicester, sent recently. (fn. 2) At present they are afraid here that Anstruther may fare the same since the last despatches which have arrived from him in addition to an account of a sharp speech made to him on this very subject, relate the coolness and alienation which he has found in that king, who seems from what he said to him, disinclined to take much trouble about the interests of the sister and nephews of the king here. It is already stated that the ambassador's stay in those parts will be short. But they do not want to remove him before the arrival of the gentleman who has been sent expressly by the Princess Palatine. After that one does not hear whether it is yet definitely settled if he is to return to this kingdom or go back to help the operations in Germany.
The Lords here continue to receive reports that Saxony, owing to the blows received in his own country, is all the more anxious for peace just now, and is labouring with the other princes, his confederates, so that they may be disposed to some acceptable general settlement. If that does not follow they seem to believe here that that Elector will not ultimately separate himself from the common union unless he should succeed in carrying Brandenburg with him, although they are as mistrustful and suspicions of the Margrave as they are of Saxony.
The English Resident at Brussels writes that the Spanish and Dutch armies remain without the one wishing to attack the other at a disadvantage, foraging and scouring the country. He adds that the approaching season will compel both of them to retire.
The attention of everyone here is directed to the efforts of the Duke of Feria. The ministry here are fearful of what that force may undertake in the Palatinate after its passage and the attempts in Alsace, as since the accomodation which has finally taken place between the Most Christian and Lorraine it no longer has any reason to go to render help in that quarter.
Repeated commissions sent express with all speed by the States have reached their deputy here, with very urgent offices to soothe the king here with respect to his irritation over the incident which occurred in these waters, reported by me. In performing these offices he further presented to his Majesty in the name of his masters a small ship of Flanders taken inside the Thames by Dutch war ships, (fn. 3) handing over to the Admiralty for trial and punishment all the prisoners taken in that ship, commanded by a captain who although French, by nation bore patents from the Infanta to injure the Dutch. According to what the Agent told me in confidence his Majesty received this with indications of great satisfaction. I thanked him for the communication and commended the expedient as a prudent one for winning the royal good will. I intimated that a good understanding between these two powers was not only desirable for both of them, but for the public cause as well. I remarked that to encourage this I was always ready to employ my good offices, as I knew that the most serene republic desired the welfare of both parties with all sincerity. Brasser received my remarks in such good part that he became more confidential and asked me to create some occasion at Court for this purpose, as he considers it very appropriate, seeing my past experience as ambassador to those Provinces that I should supply the more earnest testimony to their great desire for every satisfaction and union with this crown. I have given my promise and will not fail to fulfil it.
The queen, with the burden of her troublesome pregnancy, the time of her delivery being not far distant, lives in retirement and does not leave her quarters at St. Gems. The Archbishop of Canterbury has entertained all the Lords of the Council at a most sumptuous banquet, on the day appointed to celebrate the declaration of his entry upon his office. He has been carried to that honour by the particular favour of the king, who is always showing him more signal marks of his favour, by choosing as bishop of this city a person strictly dependent upon this archbishop and united with him in interest. (fn. 4)
I have not succeeded so far in learning any more about the remarks made by the Earl of Arundel to the Cavalier Biondi about the embassy to Venice nor have I anything whereby I can form a definite judgment as to whether that opinion is shared by the others, since so far it appears to be peculiar to him alone. However I will keep my eyes and ears open, as it is very necessary to do in such an important matter.
The state despatch for the week has not yet put in an appearance in the usual way.
London, the 7th October, 1633.
Oct 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
203. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
To Anstruther's gentleman, (fn. 5) who left recently, they consigned the state despatch for that ambassador with the contents which I reported in my last. I hear some suspicious remarks circulating among the Lords here, although they do not yet state that they have authentic information, about some sort of transactions on the part of Denmark and Saxony for a common understanding with the imperialists, with some idea, under pretext of defence and restoring the status quo ante in Germany, of setting up a union shutting out all foreigners of whatsoever nation and their armies at present existing in that province. Although this concerns the Swedes in the first instance, yet, as they say here, it does not leave the interests of the French untouched. Through their successes in Lorraine they have reduced that prince to complete dependence, and according to what they believe at this Court, they now have better grounds and greater hopes of achieving their designs for the possession of the fortresses in Alsace. As the report persists here that the Duke of Feria is to go to that part, they are eager for news about what that army has been able to do, now they have at last heard of its passage across the Alps.
They write from Brussels that the Spaniards are making strenuous efforts to recover the fort Filippino in Flanders. The same letters state that the Dutch under Count William show a determination to hold out, and defend that important capture to the last extremity, having bravely repulsed the enemy more than once. They have also laid contributions already on the country around, right up to Ghent, while their cavalry scour the neighbourhood to its very gates.
The Admiralty judge has released the prisoners handed over by the Dutch deputy. The Dutch, who hoped to see some punishment for those people, guilty of piracy, according to them, complain about this release, and are labouring to supply further information to the Admiralty in order to avoid a like judgment with respect to the ship, which remains sequestrated and dis mantled in port.
The king continues his round of hunting and has now reached the most distant parts of the surrounding country. They say he will hasten his return in order not to be very far from the queen now she is near her delivery. They are not going on with the preparations which they had apparently begun for the state entry which it was announced his Majesty would make into this city. There are some who believe that this delay will put an end to the ceremony, which is considered at once superfluous and costly.
The last from the Senate are of the 3rd and 9th of September. I will use the advices about the protest of the Princess Mary of Mantua and the departure of her mother from that city for information. I may add that I know there was some talk at Court recently on this subject, about differences and quarrels at Mantua between the duke and those princes, and both amongst the ministry and in all the Court they show a universal abhorrence of the whisper that is going about of that marriage. (fn. 6) The Catholics of this country are for the most part Hispanophiles, and some of them, who also have a place in the royal Council, say freely and openly that such a dispensation cannot be granted without the gravest scandal to Christendom. When anyone has mentioned the subject to me, I have replied, by way of an incidental consideration, that the preservation of states and the welfare of the people are supreme laws which admit of exceptional treatment.
I will obtain in a suitable manner the audience which your Excellencies direct me to have within a few days of his Majesty's return, and I will not neglect the opportunity for performing good offices for the continuation of a good understanding and friendship between this crown and the United Provinces, and it gives me the utmost satisfaction that in this matter I have rightly interpreted and anticipated the intention of your Serenity.
No despatch has arrived from Italy this week either, and everyone is without letters thence. They expect them under date of the 16th ult.
London, the 14th October, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
204. Piero Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Some days ago the Vizier sent to all the ambassadors to ask a dragoman of each, and when these went they were all sent for to his presence. He told them that he wanted to see the Turkish creditors of the late French ambassador satisfied and so he had invited M. de Marcheville to have all the ambassadors assembled so that the matter might be settled by their means. The dragomans promised to report to their masters. On the following day the Count of Cesi sent to ask me to adjudicate in the differences between the new ambassador and M. della Picardiera. I excused myself, but he sent again. Finally I agreed to act if all the other ambassadors had accepted this responsibility and if they could not decide without me. Accordingly on Thursday the 6th all five ambassadors met with their secretaries, the representatives of Marcheville and Picardiera were present and the Capigilar Chiaiassi of the Chief Vizier also attended. When all were seated Marcheville asked us to give our opinions on the affair of the Count of Cesi. He told me that his king's letters clearly stated that the opinions of the ambassadors of England, Venice and Flanders were to be decisive. We all three agreed that we could not intervene in such a matter without the full consent and at the express request of all the parties concerned. Cesi wished to read the king's letter, but Marcheville claimed his right to do this. After a heated altercation Cesi left, saying You do not wish to do me justice, but the king will. When he had gone Picardiera, who had remained quiet until then, said that the king's letters were perfectly explicit and required no interpretation. The ambassadors then said they would like us to adjudicate about the principal creditors, that is, the Turks. The English ambassador could not agree to this, saying that the English had been recommended to his Excellency by the King of France. When Marcheville appeared to accept this Picardiera said that the debts of the old ambassador ought also to be settled. There was much discussion, but nothing settled. Cesi asked me to write to Soranzo in France to see that the truth was made manifest. (fn. 7)
The Vigne of Pera, the 16th October, 1633.
Oct. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
205. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As soon as the king had returned he appointed the audience for which I asked. I performed the office in exact conformity with the Senate's commands in their letters of the 10th of September. I did so in order to exhibit the regard of your Excellencies for this crown. His Majesty received it graciously and expressed himself in corresponding terms. He added these words: I shall always be a good friend to the Signory of Venice. He went on at once to ask me if it was true what they said about a marriage between the Duchess of Mantua and the Cardinal Infant. Sire, I replied, those whose object it is to separate that princess from that house have never lacked a pretence even to the extent of instilling similar absurdities with hopes and other suggestions to sow discord. The king replied, I am indeed advised on good authority that the pope has already decided on the dispensation, but that for the present he keeps his decision secret. To this I answered that as the public weal was involved one might credit the dispensation, but there was not time for the news to be known before the next despatch, as by the last one we did not hear of any report having issued from Rome. The king paused a moment with a gesture of astonishment. He then laughed and said, Say what you like, this will always be a scandalous dispensation. At this I remarked tactfully that since the object was to secure tranquillity the method of the dispensation might claim some privilege beyond the ordinary. Continuing the conversation the king went on to tell me, smiling all the time. A report is circulating that Volestain has rebelled, but it is spread by the letters of merchants. I replied that no authentic news on the subject had reached me, and intimated that the advice was rather desirable than credible. The king agreed and added, There are circumstances which give it some air of probability.
The occasion of this audience, seeing that his Majesty's own remarks afforded me an opening, gave me a favourable opportunity to introduce the offices committed to me on behalf of the States. In these I tried to impress firmly upon his Majesty, how steadfast the Dutch are in their desire for every real satisfaction and union with this crown. From this a mutual benefit resulted in which the common cause participated. Accordingly it was not astonishing if those interested on the other side were glad, on their own account to hear of anything that might in any way disturb these good relations which, they envied. I begged his Majesty to take this from me as due to the zeal of the most serene republic, which was united by an equal friendship both with this crown and those Provinces. I perceived that the king took what I said in a favourable manner, and after he had listened attentively he said he must thank the republic. So far as this was concerned he wished to live on good terms with his good neighbours. England had always benefited Holland. He knew that this was recognised and admitted by those who had a share in the government there. But perhaps the lower classes and the common people of that country were not all so well intentioned and for this reason incidents occurred from time to time, due to individuals and not to the state, which were not in accord with the duty and respect they owed as neighbours to this kingdom. In the end he smoothed down his remarks and displayed excellent good will as well as the strongest desire to be a good neighbour, and repeated his willingness to believe that Holland would be, as she professed to be, a bulwark and safeguard for this kingdom.
I performed similar offices with the Lord Treasurer and the Secretary Cuch. Both of them commended to the skies the republic's good intentions. The secretary indulged in a long account of all that this kingdom had done for the Provinces, which he said were nurtured on the assistance from England which had continued without interruption, both for war and for trade. He wound up by saying that although troublesome incidents occurred from time to time owing to the faults of private individuals, the king would not make a public question of a private one. The Treasurer, on the other hand made a more sober and reserved response, expressing the wish that the Dutch would practise in deeds the friendly correspondence which they spoke of in words. At the end he confirmed that his Majesty was well disposed to keep to this friendship, which he recognised as profitable to both states and to the public cause as well.
I have informed the Deputy Brasser about these offices, telling him I had found the king excellently disposed, and had tried to make the best impression upon him in the interests of their High Mightinesses. Brasser thanked me warmly. He promised to inform the States and the Prince of Orange about it, and they would be greatly indebted to the republic, that state being the most proper means for preserving a better union between the king and his masters. He was so pleased that he has been to this house to-day, to repeat his thanks. I do not forget to inform his Excellency Contarini at the Hague.
Shortly before the despatch of these presents the state despatches of the 15th and 23rd ult. have at last arrived together.
London, the 21st October, 1633.
Oct. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
206. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The whole Court is full of rejoicing at the happy birth of a son, of whom the queen was delivered on the night preceding the day before yesterday. (fn. 8) The king seems most delighted, the people rejoice at the birth of a new duke of York, the usual title of the second son from the hour of his birth as this one is and the third child living in order of birth. The city showed its joy by bonfires and ringing the bells. I also have observed the custom and joined in the general feeling, by lighting bonfires at this house also. For the rest, I will perform the usual offices of congratulation, and the other foreign ministers will do the same.
A fresh individual has arrived at this Court from France, but in the capacity of a gentleman agent only, not as ambassador. (fn. 9) His arrival after the long absence of anyone in the name of the Most Christian has confirmed the general opinion that Anstruther having been chosen ambassador for France and Guron for England, while the former has been sent to Germany and the latter to Lorraine, the one will not come here before the other proceeds to that Court. They are well aware of this here and wish they had not given occasion for such punctilio, which arose, so they say, from an unforseen accident, whereby the embassy extraordinary which still goes on in Germany after all this time, was conferred on one who had been previously chosen as ordinary to the Most Christian.
The gentleman mentioned has announced at the palace and published everywhere the absolute determination in France to annul the marriage between Monsieur and the Princess of Lorraine, a thing they did not believe at this Court that it would be so easy to adhere to, and which, even now, does not seem agreeable to the king, and much less so to the queen. Their Majesties here had intended to offer congratulations to both of them through Gerbier the English Agent at Brussels. This has been stopped owing to the representations of a doctor who arrived at the moment when the order was being despatched, that it would amount to a kind of approbation of something which the king his master would not accept as properly done, in fact considered as null. (fn. 10) The eyes and ears of the ministry here are turned towards the recent events in Lorraine, (fn. 11) which are so advantageous for the French, with a sentiment which is nearer jealousy than admiration, whether the reason be the ancient rivalry between this nation and that or because they are by no means pleased to see so considerable an accession to a neighbouring power, and from time to time they let slip remarks from which one can easily discern these inner sentiments of theirs.
This week also this kingdom has no letters, from Germany and Antwerp as well as Italy, owing to the bad weather, which has prevented any couriers from crossing the sea.
The Lords here are still eager to know the particulars about the movements of the Spanish forces under Feria.
For the moment they are not considering any further contributions for the service of the Palatinate. Dingli, the minister recently sent by the Princess Palatine, after having made the most vigorous representations in the matter to no purpose, has at last departed, without taking away anything beyond mere words and deferred hopes.
Those deputed by the king to settle the differences between the India Companies in London and the India Companies at Amsterdam have reported to his Majesty that in a paper presented by the former against the latter there are claims amounting to the sum of four millions of florins. The Dutch on their side mock at this and declare that the baselessness of such exorbitant pretensions was previously recognised by Burlamacchi, when he was set by order of the Lord Treasurer to make a more exact enquiry into the matter, when he reported that the debt due from the Dutch Companies to the English might reasonably amount to 500,000 florins. But Brasser complains bitterly even about this account, saying that it was made by Burlamacchi by word of mouth without producing any arguments, articles or proofs which could be answered from his side. He concludes that at the outside the English cannot reasonably claim to be creditors for more than 40,000 to 50,000 florins. This enormous disparity, mixed up as it is with mutual recrimination and ill feeling, owing to the consequences involved is considered so serious and important here that the king wishes it to be decided by judges who have seats in his Council from whom the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Chamberlain, Sir Henry Vane, and the two Secretaries of State, Cuch and Windebank have already been appointed for the purpose.
The Earl of Arundel has not yet returned to Court, and so far I have not succeeded in finding any solid grounds for believing that what he intimated to Biondi about the embassy represented any opinion but his own.
A large and well armed ship is ready to sail from these shores. It is going to Virginia under the command of Lord Baltimore, who is taking with him 800 persons to increase the English colony in those parts. (fn. 12)
London, the 28th October, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 31.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
207. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Anstruther has returned to Hamburg, having arranged little or nothing with the King of Denmark, perhaps because he did not find the king so well disposed as he expected. It is thought that he may come here on his way back to England. Rusdorf has continued his journey to that king to try and obtain some jewels and money, the inheritance of the Princess Palatine left her by the will of the late queen, her aunt. Apparently the king raises difficulties about this also. The Princess has despatched a gentleman, sent her by the Administrator, (fn. 13) with all speed to England, to urge the king there to provide garrisons for the Palatinate, especially since some successes which Feria is understood to have won with Aldringher.
The Hague, the 31st October, 1633.


  • 1. No doubt alluding to the cutting out of the French ship St. Esprit in October 1627. Contarini was ambassador in the Netherlands at this time. See vol. XX. of this Calendar, page 415.
  • 2. As to their claims see note at page 60 above.
  • 3. The ship was a pink of Dunkirk, captain Francis du pertoy, and was taken at Leigh on the 29th September. On the Sunday following (Oct 2). the Dutch Agent had the prisoners sent to the Marshalsea. S.P. Dom. Chas. I., Vol. CCXLVI., No. 95.
  • 4. William Juxon.
  • 5. Fowler.
  • 6. The proposed marriage of Charles I, Duke of Mantua to Maria, his son's widow.
  • 7. On these affairs at Constantinople See Le Vassor. Hist. de Louis XIII. Vol. XIII., page 53.
  • 8. James, afterwards King James 11., born 24 Oct.
  • 9. Le Sieur Boutard. His letters of credence was dated 6 Sept. S.P. For. France. Vol. 94.
  • 10. The doctor was the French envoy Boutard. See his dispatch to Bouthillier of the 9th November. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
  • 11. The capitulation of the duke and the handing over of Nancy to the King on the 24th September.
  • 12. Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore. The ship was the Ark of Maryland. Cal. S.P Dom. 1633, 4, page 160.
  • 13. This would appear to be William Curlius. See No. 210 at page 161 below and No. 226 at page 170 below.