Venice: January 1634

Pages 179-188

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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January 1634

Jan. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
234. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The election of his successor will bring him home shortly, after a service of six years. Hopes the Senate will consider his heavy expenses and the loss occasioned to his house by death and his absence.
London, the 1st January, 1633 [M.V.]
Jan. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
235. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Joachimi continues the offices he began with the ministers here shortly after his arrival to obtain something definite out of the good intentions they express with regard to some effective assistance for Germany. His strongest representations are based on what the Agent of the Princess Palatine states about the need, which is more urgent than ever, for some armed force in the Palatinate, since that country, according to the advices which arrived here from the Duke Administrator, is defenceless and exposed to attack from the troops coming out of Luxemburg to join Feria, or any others who wish to go there. According to the whispers from several quarters, if ever it falls again into the hands of the Spaniards or Imperialists it will be vain to hope ever to have it again, a view which all the ministers here agree in recognising as correct ; it also seems to awaken them to the need for making provision, which does not admit of further delay. In spite of this, owing to the expedients taken by England in this affair, Joachimi's hopes seem very slender. In confiding to me the course of the negotiations he told me frankly that if the king here will not allow himself to be influenced by the interests of his sister and nephews, it will, as a consequence, relieve his masters of the occasion for doing more for Germany, while they claim, as he asserts, to have hitherto done their share and a great deal more. He further intimated that their replies there to the offices of the Ambassador Camerarius for the same affair would be guided according to their ability to get a favourable and definite resolution here.
Letters have come from the Ambassador Anstruther, and we hear that his negotiations with Denmark upon the matters indicated are proceeding very slowly. His last are from Hamburg and speak of numerous levies being made in the neighbourhood for the service of the princes of the party, with the tacit connivance of that city, because of its interests with the emperor. They hear from several quarters that those princes are in a position to use their forces to considerable advantage and to prosecute their resolutions with a stronger union.
At the palace they are interested to see what will happen in Bavaria, since the successes of Weimar draw together a powerful concourse of the imperial forces.
Many and various opinions are expressed at Court about the transactions of the Cardinal of Lorraine, who recently left France. In the mean time opinions are spread here on behalf of the queen mother and Monsieur as to their determination over the marriage, with the Princess of Lorraine, which is according to them, irretractible. The English Agent reports from Brussels that they continue their friendly demonstrations towards the queen mother, while Monsieur seems anxious to remove any mistrust of himself. The Spanish Agent here has not chosen to respond to the condolences offered on the death of the Infanta, before Tellieur, the Agent of Flanders, who is still here, has received the advice of it and puts on mourning with the Court. Although the Resident has excused his long delay on the pretext of letters which ought to come from the Marquis of Aytona, it would seem, none the less, that his excuses and behaviour have been interpreted in a sinister manner.
In conformity with what your Excellencies wrote to me about the affair of the two French ambassadors at Constantinople, the Dutch ministers here, by casual conversation, have shown that they possess full particulars ; but the Lords of the Council as yet have not said anything whatever on the subject either to me or to them. The information which I receive will serve for all that I shall require in discussion with them, as will the other advices which come with the last state despatches of the 9th ult.
Four bodies (universita) of students have joined together to collect a large sum of money to meet the heavy expense of masques and representations to be made a few days hence in a rare display, for the entertainment of the king and queen. (fn. 1)
London, the 6th January, 1633 [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
236. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The French are very anxious to have the fortress of Udenem, as pertaining to the Elector of Treves, which is said to be in dire straits, but the Princess Palatine declares she would rather it remained in the hands of the Imperialists, and all the Germans are not a little jealous of French ambition.
The Hague, the 9th January, 1633 [M.V.]
Jan. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
237. To the Bailo at Constantinople.
Herewith you will receive some patents entrusted to us by the English resident here in the king's name, to be delivered to his Majesty's ambassador in good condition. You will see that this is done because at the English Court they have selected a person of distinction to come to us as ambassador in ordinary.
Ayes, 136. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
Jan. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Svizzeri. Venetian Archives.
238. Andrea Rosso, Venetian Secretary with the Swiss, to the Doge and Senate.
It seems that the Zurichers and Bernese are committing themselves more and more to the Swedish party, into which the English Resident and Colonel Peblitz are trying hard to draw them, in the hope of inducing Basel and Sciaffusa also to come, to strengthen their factions in this manner, and detach the Protestant Cantons from the Catholic ones altogether. The preachers second their offices.
Zurich, the 12th January, 1633 [M.V.]
Jan. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
239. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In accordance with the custom of the Court, followed by the other ministers I went to audience of the king the day before yesterday, the first of the year in the English style. I performed the usual office and took the opportunity to express the affection of the republic. I spoke of the orders which had reached me from your Excellencies after the arrival of the news of the birth of the Duke of York. The king seemed very pleased and expressed his thanks to the republic. He detained me for a while, as he generally does with me, and spoke of occurrences in Germany. He told me an extraordinary courier had arrived a few hours before to individuals, from France, with the report that the Duke of Feria had been attacked and defeated. He asked if I had heard anything of this. I said I had heard nothing about it from France, and there was not time to hear from Italy, but the news was desirable and seemed credible owing to other advices that his force was greatly weakened by the sufferings and desertion of his soldiers. The king remarked that if those troops were really defeated, it would put a stop to the plan of the Cardinal Infant of going to Flanders. With the information from the state despatches of the 9th ult. I told him that in Milan the leading ministers and the Cardinal himself were murmuring at Feria for not making progress, hinting that he was to march towards the Palatinate. I observed that the king was struck by this point of the Spanish designs against the Palatinate, and he remarked that many things might happen for the greater security of that country. I replied, Certainly, Sire, they will all be desirable, not only for the maintenance and defence of that state but for the advantage of the public cause in Germany. From this his Majesty passed suddenly of his own accord to other considerations about the state of the Cardinal's health in France and about Monsieur's marriage. In coming away from the audience I had an opportunity to pay my respects to the Earl of Pembroke, and soon afterwards I was able to do the same with the Lord Treasurer and Sir [Francis] Cottington.
What the English secretaries at Paris write about the new inspection and fortification of the strongholds in Picardy, gives rise to much comment at this Court and some of the ministry seem inclined to believe that matters between France and Spain are on the way towards an open rupture.
This week also no couriers have arrived from Antwerp or Germany, owing to the continued bad weather. The kingdom is also without letters from Italy.
The royal commissioners and the Dutch ones have held frequent meetings but with little or no result towards any desirable settlement, upon the differences between the India Companies at London and Amsterdam. With those differences undecided and unappeased, involving as they do commercial interests as well as those of navigation, there will always remain material for fresh disputes and dissensions. To this the Ambassador Joachimi and the Deputy Brasser add their remonstrances about the permission freely accorded to the Dunkirkers, to sell the ships and property plundered from the Dutch, the Treasurer having stated that the king cannot issue a prohibition against this because of the benefit which the king and his subjects derive therefrom. Both ministers conclude, for which they really have considerable evidence to justify them, that some of them here, including even some of the leading men of the royal Council are tainted with partiality and a very strong leaning to support the Spanish side.
The queen is better of a painful catarrhal affection of the cheek and eyes which has troubled her of late, though she has not yet left her room ; yet she has the assurance of a speedy and complete recovery of her health.
London, the 13th January, 1633 [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
240. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A despatch sent express from France reached the French secretary here two days ago upon his negotiations. It gives him permission to make his proposals here in writing, and to receive the reply, also in writing, such being the idea which the ministers here have intimated to be their intention. He told me that after the audience which he would ask for to-day, for the purpose of winning the king and impressing him better, he would immediately back up by an office in conformity in the royal Council to-morrow, when he would hand in his proposals accompanying these with the strongest representations. It so happened that the despatch arrived unexpectedly at dinner time when he chanced to be at my house. This led him to speak more confidentially, and he told me that he had thought it necessary to proceed in a dilatory way with his proposals until the arrival of the royal commissions. Now they had arrived his reputation was clear even if nothing was arranged, and if putting the matter in writing served for nothing else than to give them a chance here of showing it to the Spaniards afterwards and driving a bargain with them. Owing to the principles and opinions which he said he had quite clearly discerned in the ministry here he showed me that his hopes were very feeble of being able to induce England to pledge herself to any effective resolution, which would serve the public cause in Germany. For that purpose he remarked that while on the one side they seem anxious here for a closer union with France, on the other hand they do not wish for an alliance which excludes or rather which does not include an open declaration of the Most Christian against Bavaria. The more he has pointed out that this does not suit the interests of France and does not concern the essence of what they are treating of now, the less he has been able to remove their insistence in which they persist more than ever. Accordingly he argues that the aims of the English are mysterious when they become sticklish and difficult so far as to upset a satisfactory conclusion of what they desire as he says, in appearance at least, they seem to do. He added that by this same despatch from France to authorise his negotiations here they sent royal letters, which he showed me, directed to the King of Great Britain, which he said were merely credentials, sent expressly for this particular affair. With the same confidence he read me another part of the same letter written to him by the Secretary Bottiglier, containing an order to him to intimate, if the subject happened to be raised, that they have not sent and will not send any person or letters here with congratulations upon the birth of the Duke of York beyond the office which he has performed by word of mouth since the English secretaries performed the duty there by word of mouth by order from here.
A further incident, giving rise to much comment, has occurred to Nedersolt the Agent of the Princess Palatine, who has been arrested again by the king's order. He escaped from the guards who were set over him, strict orders being issued for his recapture, and they sent the two secretaries, Cuch and Windebank to take the papers from his house. They say he betook himself to the Dutch ambassadors, who refused him an asylum in their house, but when he heard of this he elected, as the lesser evil, to return to prison of his own accord, saying that he could not be accused of any crime except by a malicious interpretation of some letters written by him.
At the palace they hardly know what opinion to form about what Bottard maintains with respect to the dissolution of Monsieur's marriage, and the revision of it which he asserts the Parliament of Paris is to make.
Owing to the continued bad weather we are still without the letters which ought to arrive from Germany and Italy, both last week and this. The last from your Excellencies are of the 9th ult.
The queen has recovered from her catarrh and gone to her apartments at Somerset House. There she chose to entertain the king at a banquet in her own private apartment, with a representation of a comedy and dancing, lasting a whole day.
The partisans of Savoy are reviving the report of an embassy from that duke to this Court, but we hear no confirmation from other quarters, and no one has come yet.
London, the 20th January, 1633 [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 20.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
241. The Resident of the King of Great Britain came into the Collegio and spoke as follows :—
I have always understood the excellent intentions of your Serenity that all foreign merchants and the English in particular should be well treated in your dominions. I have had the best proof of this and I obtained the letters for Zante for which I asked. Now that deeds seem contrary to the intentions and instructions of your Excellencies it seems likely that this is not due to the fault of your Representatives but to some ministers for their private ends.
The Resident then had a memorial presented by a merchant introduced with him to the audience, and went on : I cannot do less than recommend these merchants, his Majesty's subjects, when they are ill treated, though not when they are guilty of smuggling or anything else. This Mr. John Obson here was sentenced at Cephalonia to pay 6000 ryals, as set forth in a paper laid before your Serenity some days ago. The sentence was afterwards compromised by a payment of 2000, with a promise not to appeal, if the sentence was just. Why this hurt to your Serenity in presenting him with 4000 ryals? If it was not just, why condemn him to pay 2000 ryals on condition that he should not appeal? I ask for justice and the customary favour from your Serenity so that the English may receive their usual good treatment and continue their trade, which is of some moment. For some time past things have been unfortunate for them, as divers of them have experienced similar treatment. May your Excellencies be pleased to delegate this cause to one of your Councils which will render prompt and speedy justice.
The doge replied, We could not be more disposed to treat merchants well and especially English ones. The necessary orders are always issued, and if these are not carried out, through neglect, there is recourse to our own magistrates to institute enquiries and make provision for the merchants. However, these lords will consider your request and decide what seems proper. The Resident asked for a delegation, to avoid delay in the despatch of the matter, and prevent inconvenience to the merchants, who suffered greatly from their voyages and goods being stayed and the destruction of their credit. He then took leave and departed.
The Memorial presented by the English Resident :
The authors of the calumny against me, John Obson, English Merchant, before the Proveditore of Cephalonia, seeing the success of their manœuvres in extorting 2000 ryals from me, as I have previously represented, forthwith took up another diabolical imposture, and only four days after I embarked at Zante for this city a proclamation was issued summoning me to prison on a charge of smuggling a great quantity of currants. As a consequence I am advised that I have been banished from that island in my absence, that all my goods and credits have been sequestrated, and they are releasing my debtors from their obligations if they only pay the half of what they owe. Their obvious greed tries to fatten on the blood of poor innocents. I come again to the feet of your Serenity, and beg you to intervene to prevent my unjust ruin by delegating both of my trials to one of the Councils or Colleges, so that I may be able to set forth my wrongs and obtain relief ; and in case I am banished from this city also I beg you to grant me a safe conduct against such a ban.
Jan. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Ceffalonia. Venetian Archives.
242. Gasparo Querini, Proveditore of Cephalonia, to the Doge and Senate.
By decree of the 26th August 1626 foreign ships were forbidden to lade currants here or at Zante unless they took their entire cargoes to Venice or paid an additional 5 ducats per thousand for the new impost. Mr. Henry Hider, an English merchant, being more acute than others, realising that this decree had expired, asked me on the arrival of the Abigail here to permit it to be laded upon the mere deposit of the new impost, although it had not taken its cargo to Venice. I pretended to consider this, the period having really expired, but I made him give a proper security until your Serenity should give definite expression of your intentions. I enclose his paper and my act, and if I may express my opinion I think the decree should be confirmed because it has been tried and does not seem to burden the merchants or inconvenience the ships, while your Excellencies derive great profit therefrom.
Ceffalonia, the 12th January, 1634, old style.
Jan. 27.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
243. That on the first day this Council meets, an ambassador be chosen to the King of Great Britain, in place of Vicenzo Gussoni, under the penalties prescribed for those who refuse embassies to crowned heads. He shall have 300 gold ducats a month for his expenses, for which he is not bound to render account. For horses, trappings and chests he shall have 300 ducats at 6 lire 2 grossi each and 1000 gold ducats as a gift. For all expenses, except couriers and the carriage of letters, 40 crowns a month shall be assigned to him. To his secretary 100 ducats for his preparations, and 20 ducats each for two secretaries who go with him. The chaplain and interpreter for salary and table expenses shall have 126 and 100 ducats respectively and the interpreter shall also have an additional 100 ducats a year.
Ayes, 115. Noes, 15. Neutral, 50.
Jan. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
244. To the Ambassador in England.
Your letters of the 16th ult. show us your good service and afford us complete satisfaction. With respect to your just and reasonable request that a successor may be chosen for you, we may say that the Senate has decided to gratify you, so that you may return home speedily.
Ayes, 135. Noes, 11. Neutral, 59.
Jan 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
245. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Agents of the Duke of Symeren and the Princess Palatine, the Dutch ministers and the French secretary do not relax their offices, although they act separately, to obtain some suitable resolution here for the assistance of Germany, and I also tactfully put in considerations proper for the public welfare. To the first and most interested, namely those of the Administrator and the Princess, they offer hopes and fair words. They tell the Dutch that for what they so zealously propose to his Majesty's great satisfaction it would be necessary to have a general alliance, in which the Swedes and the Elector of Saxony were also included. They announce to the French in clear and resolute terms that England is quite disposed to the closest union provided France in any such treaty does not require reservations which prevent her from declaring herself against Bavaria. I gather from the confidences which these ministers make to me daily, that without cutting the thread of the negotiations, the ministers here wish to proceed in such a manner as to ensure delays and gain time, by raising first one difficulty and then another. They all with one accord agree in this opinion and tell me that they have all informed their princes fully to that effect. The Agent Carius intimates that if they will not come to some adequate resolution here the Palatinate Administrator will be forced to contemplate some arrangement under the protection of the Most Christian, since the French aim at getting a footing in the Palatinate, as they recently attempted to arrange with the Swedes in the business of Udenein, (fn. 2) when it was captured, a place in the region of Treves, under the Bishop of Spires and in a position of importance to the Palatinate. The Lords here do not like to hear of such transactions on the part of France before some reasonable and safe arrangement has been made on the part of the king here with that monarch without which they are afraid here that it may prove very difficult afterwards to induce the French to give up possession.
News has reached some of the ministry from Frankfort that there is a proposal at the diet there to send a special embassy to this crown. The Lords here consider this only right and indeed necessary, since they say that three embassies have been sent from here to Germany without one of the princes there responding as yet. The Landgrave of Hesse also sends offers to pledge himself for the security of the Palatinate provided England will contribute to the increase of his army. The insistence and persuasions of the Princess Palatine seem to incline to this proposal more than to any other, and she proposes to send her eldest son together with the Landgrave but the king has announced with his own lips that the idea of sending the young prince armed into Germany requires much greater reflection, since up to the present he has done nothing to offend the emperor.
Bottard has received a remarkable slight and offence. The queen, displeased with him because he spoke too warmly in defence of the Ambassador Fontane who went away without ever having recovered the queen's favour, spoke strongly and almost contemptuously against him in the king's presence. The secretary spoke with modest zeal and defended himself very reasonably, in order to excuse himself to some extent, but the queen would have nothing of it, indeed she persists in her indignation and has chosen by special letters to make complaint to the king, her brother. Bottard has no doubt but that they will approve in France of the way in which he has behaved in this thorny incident. However, things had reached such a pass that he thought it best to take leave of their Majesties, as he did at once, to return to France, but as fresh royal commissions reached him thence soon afterwards, he has been obliged to stay and go about attending to them.
They write from Spain to Brussels that the Cardinal Infant wishes to leave Milan as soon as possible, and he himself writes to precisely the same effect to Flanders, promising to employ all those who served the late Infanta.
They do not like here the permission granted by the emperor to Denmark to levy tolls on the Elbe for a certain time. The Ambassador Anstruther is working hard to find some compromise over this for the English and Hamburgers as well.
After a very long delay three despatches from Italy have arrived in the present week, and with them those of the Senate of the 16th, 23rd and 30th ult. The new ambassador Carr is getting ready with the better will because the physicians make him believe that a change of climate and that of Venice in particular will be very beneficial for some complaint from which he suffers. I will not forget in due time to perform the offices proper to preserve a friendly union between the king here and the United Provinces of Holland.
London, the 27th January, 1633. M.V.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
246. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The news from England that the king had forbidden other ships than his own to take goods to these Provinces has not been verified, although the order has been renewed that none but English may bring cloth. Here they say that the more they try to preserve friendship with that crown the more difficulties they encounter, because when they have yielded and given satisfaction in one thing, another demand is made, and so it is necessary for them to show their teeth sometimes in order that they may not be trodden upon. I tried to persuade my informant that it was necessary to treat with mildness, to avoid a rupture with neighbouring and friendly princes, which would only be helping the Spaniards, who desire nothing better than to see them at blows.
The Hague, the 30th January, 1633 [M.V.]
Jan 31.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Rettori. Venetian Archives.
247. To the Inquisitor Basadonna in the Fleet.
Upon the two enclosed petitions of John Hobson, English merchant, as we propose to accept his offer to give a proper security for the sum in question we direct you to receive and keep him secure on his arrival without subjecting him to the ban, to make enquiry about his allegations and do all that justice requires. You will punish the guilty or caluminators in a proper manner.
That the Presidents for the raising of public money, in conformity with the representations of John Hobson, shall receive pledges from him for 4400 reals, which with 2000 reals already paid for his sentence make up the 6400 reals offered as a pledge in his petition. That Hobson be informed of this decision so that he may present the pledges within ten days, and within twenty days submit himself to the Inquisitor Basadonna, and that his process be restored to him to use as he sees fit.
Ayes, 95. Noes, 1. Neutral, 6.
On the 3rd February.
The said papers were consigned to Hobson.


  • 1. The Masque was performed at Court on the 14th Feb. by the gentlemen of the Inns of Court, and repeated on the 23rd after a Supper at which the Lord Mayor entertained the King and Queen at Merchant Taylors Hall. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1633-4, page 464.
  • 2. Udenheim the original name of Philipsburg.