Venice: February 1634

Pages 188-197

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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February 1634

Feb. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
248. To the Ambassador in England.
We have your letters of the 20th December. The Senate has chosen Angelo Corraro as your successor, who will get ready for the post at the earliest moment. We send a copy of the announcement made by his Majesty's secretary here of the selection of an ambassador to reside here.
Ayes, 80. Noes, 2. Neutral, 2.
Feb. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
249. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
With respect to the service of Monsieur and the queen mother at this Court one sees persons employed, although apparently with little result, who from time to time come from Flanders with this express purpose. It seems that their negotiations are conducted under the favour and protection of the Earl of Carlisle in particular, who makes greater declarations than all the other ministers, and from his own largeness of heart, alone, so he says, professes his leanings that way. They bring many reasons here to show, according to their own account, the utter impossibility of Monsieur consenting to the dissolution of the marriage, in spite of the public declarations of the king, his brother, and of the Parliament. However the lords here imagine and intimate that they have the information on good authority, that some difference of opinion has recently arisen on this subject between Monsieur and the queen mother. On the other hand it is asserted that she displays disgust and horror at anything which may violate the faith and maintenance of the marriage.
The English Agent writes from Brussels of great levies which are being raised by the Spaniards throughout those provinces, at a great expense, and with patents for a large number of officers. Apparently their plan is, by the raising of new forces to send the greater part of the veteran troops to Luxemburg with all possible speed. From there they hope they will be able to go and secure the passages of the Moselle. He further adds that the Marquis of Aytona, whose reputation is greatly enhanced, has been declared the chief man in that government by new patents from Spain. In the meantime it appears that they continue to feed the people there with hopes about the negotiations of the Duke of Arescot in Spain for the truces, which have now been abandoned by the deputies, who have left the Hague.
The last letters which have reached the palace from the English Agents at the Most Christian Court increase their suspicions here about an approaching conclusion, as they write, of some arrangement between France and the Swedes, with respect to the Palatinate in particular. The report is renewed although they are waiting for further confirmation, of the surrender to the Swedes of Filipsburgh, a place of consequence to the Palatinate. (fn. 1)
The Agent of the Princess Palatine has recently been taken to prison in the Tower by the king's command, as it seems that the material against him is increased by his papers no less than by his examinations. Here they pretend that as a subject of the king and one who also enjoys some salary from his Majesty he cannot claim any exemption or privilege from the capacity in which he serves the Palatine house. The Dutch ministers here do not neglect to make representations covertly in order to mitigate the severity against him, but so far they have not succeeded in obtaining anything in his favour.
In these last days several royal edicts have appeared about various provisions for the service of this kingdom and city in particular, but already one hears much murmuring and grumbling among the people who are persuaded that it will all end in increasing their expenses and contributions. The king is preparing a very stately and solemn masque in return for the entertainment given him by the queen a few days ago at Somerset House.
By the courier of the present week your Excellencies' letters of the 5th ult. have reached me.
London, the 3rd February, 1633. M.V.
Feb. 3.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
250. The Resident of the King of Great Britain came into the Collegio and spoke as follows :
With my good wishes for the new year I had to state that for the cherishing of the good relations with this republic my king had selected a person of condition as ordinary ambassador. I would say no more then as I was waiting for further particulars. I have now come by his Majesty's express command to inform you that the cavalier selected is Thomas Car, son of the Earl of Moz, who was his Majesty's tutor (hayo). (fn. 2) Thus this Thomas has been the king's companion and servant from boyhood and is greatly beloved by him. I am sure that he will do all in his power to carry out the king's intent, and I am charged to express this. He has fallen sick, but he hopes to throw this off and to leave for this charge in the spring. I repeat that he is a gentleman of notable station who will serve admirably.
The doge replied, You bring us good news this morning, as although we had the news of the selection of an ordinary ambassador from our Ambassador Gussoni, we are glad to hear the particulars which you give us by his Majesty's command. We shall give a cordial welcome to the representative of so great and so friendly a king.
The Resident added, With regard to the memorial which I presented, I ask your Serenity to give the necessary orders so that our merchants may not be unduly burdened, I do not mean about paying the duties, but those which are not right. They have written to their principals in England, who have applied to the Privy Council. The matter will be taken in hand, and they will give me orders to speak about it, but it will be better, before the ambassador arrives, to arrange that he shall not hear these complaints.
The doge replied that they had taken such steps as they thought proper to satisfy his requests, as the state wished merchants, especially those of his nation, to have the best treatment and every facility. With this the Resident took leave and departed.
Feb. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
251. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Rusdorf has arrived and brings word that with respect to the inheritance of the Princess Palatine from her aunt, (fn. 3) he has arranged with the King of Denmark that she shall have everything readily when some accounts with England have been liquidated, and that king has declared for the cause of the Princes Palatine.
The arrest of Nidersolt, her agent in England has greatly perturbed the Princess, although she tries to hide her feelings and she asserts that she does not know the reason. The Resident Bosuel went recently to tell her about it in the king's name, though he assured her that her affairs will go forward all right, in spite of this accident. The messenger who brought the news was sent back at once with the reply, and so she is anxiously awaiting the issue.
The Hague, the 6th February, 1633 [M.V.]
Feb. 10.
Senato, Terra. Venetian Archives.
252. Whereas Anzolo Correr has been chosen Ambassador to the King of Great Britain, and the public service requires that he shall be informed of what is taking place, that he may come to this Council until his departure, but he shall not vote.
Ayes, 93. Noes, 2. Neutral, 22.
Feb. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
253. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The French secretary came to this house to see me, as he frequently does, merely on a visit. With his usual confidence, which I encourage, he imparted to me the course of his negotiations at this Court, quite useless, as he remarked, but which he has never neglected. He intimated that with regard to his most important business, to wit about the affairs of Germany, it was now quite clear to him that nothing can be expected from this quarter for the public cause, in spite of the obvious and most urgent interests of the Palatinate. They are merely aiming at gaining time here, without ever meaning to arrange anything. Thus they gave no reply to the proposals which he had produced in writing. This by no means removes the difficulties previously raised by the Lords here in the same affair. The instructions of his king obliged him to return home whenever he recognised the impossibility of bringing this affair to a satisfactory termination. He enlarged extensively upon all that the French had done to obtain from England some proper resolution in this matter. In the end he told me he was quite determined to take leave of his Majesty now he saw there was no hope of a favourable issue. For this purpose he proposes to go to a special audience to-morrow. I was able to see pretty well from a long conversation the dissatisfaction of this minister who may have hoped, even if he could not arrange some form of agreement, at least to sketch some parts of one. In thanking him for his confidences, I tactfully insinuated that he should do all that lay in his power to make the most of the generous ideas of his king. He replied that the most he could do would be to wait for another courier from France, and he would reconsider the question, if with some little delay something might turn up which would serve to set what he called this almost desperate affair on its legs again.
They are much aggrieved at this Court at the attempt of the French to obtain the cession of Udenain or Fillipsburg, recently taken by the Swedes, and the ministers here do not conceal their joy that the matter has completely fallen through. Thus they announce that they will support with all their might the offices of the Duke of Symeren and the Princess Palatine, who urge upon the Swedes the dismantleing of those fortresses, pointing out that that place concerns the Palatinate owing to its position, and was formerly granted in fee to the Arbishopric of Spires, and that subsequent archbishops had fortified it, contrary to every agreement.
The publication here of the last declaration of the Most Christian made in the Parliament of Paris has given rise to many and varied opinions. (fn. 4) We hear on good authority that biting and disparaging remarks about it were made in the royal Council. It seems that the Lords here put a very sinister interpretation on the part of that declaration which concerns the reputation of the arms and the interests of the trade of this kingdom.
The Ambassador Anstruther has sent a gentleman of his household here express with letters relating his negotiations with the King of Denmark. He writes that at his last interview with that king he obtained that to gratify England facilities should be afforded to the negotiations, which anyhow were proceeding favourably, of the deputies of Hamburg, both with regard to the tolls on the Elbe, and other differences with that crown. It seems that with the offer of the Hamburgers to make some money contribution, that affair, which he had always backed, had taken a favourable turn, which promised to lead to the establishment of peace.
The last letters from Brussels inform the Lords here of the opinion that the queen mother will make her peace. Since her last quarrel with Monsieur, Gerbier writes that she has begun to sing the praises of Cardinal Richelieu and to abominate the counsels of Piloran.
They say that the son of the Chancellor Oxestern has received the appointment of ambassador extraordinary to this Court. He will be very welcome here, not only from their desire for what they call this necessary correspondence with the princes of Germany, but for his own qualities, as he was popular at this Court when he was here before as a simple gentleman.
The letter with advices has reached me together with the state despatches of the 12th ult.
London, the 10th February, 1633 [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 17.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
254. To the Ambassador in England.
In response to your desire to return home after an absence of six years, full of untoward events, we grant you leave on receipt of these presents to set out on your journey, in the assurance that you have afforded us complete satisfaction. You will first present the enclosed letters to explain your departure and will introduce Francesco Zonca, your secretary, who represents us, to act for the few months that the ambassadorship remains vacant, with whom you will leave such papers and instructions as you deem necessary. We have assigned to Zonca for the time that he occupies this position 130 crowns a month, that is the usual 120, and 10 crowns a month for extraordinary expenses, exclusive of couriers and the carriage of letters. You will supply Zonca with what he may require for such expenses, for which he will render account, and you will give him a present of 100 ducats in mint money, entering it in your account.
That 130 crowns a month be assigned to Zonca for the time that he represents the republic at that Court and that 100 ducats be given him by the Ambassador Gussoni as a present.
Ayes, 73. Noes, 29. Neutral, 33.
Second Vote : Ayes, 70. Noes, 21. Neutral, 31. Requires ¾.
On the 17th February in the Collegio :
Ayes, 20. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
On the 24th February :
Ayes, 126. Noes, 13. Neutral, 10.
255. To the Queen of Great Britain.
Notification of the departure of the Ambassador Vicenzo Gussoni, and that Angelo Corraro has been chosen as his successor.
256. To the King of Great Britain.
The like.
Feb. 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
257. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Resident has unexpectedly received orders by express courier to return to England. He has therefore taken leave of the States and of all the foreign ministers. He says he will be back in three or four weeks and is only awaiting a favourable wind to depart. We cannot learn the reason for such an unexpected and sudden order. Some suspect it is because of the arrest of Nidersolt or for some other more secret reason. The Princess Palatine says she is glad he is going away, for her interests.
The States here remonstrated with the Resident and pressed strongly for the recruits, about which there seem to have been difficulties ; but we have heard finally that they have been granted, which has given great satisfaction here, especially to the Prince. When the Resident came here I urged him to perform good offices for the States and to soften asperities, as he could do much orally for the common cause. He seemed excellently impressed and to hope that no rupture would occur, although he let it be understood that if such a thing did happen it certainly would not be the fault of his king, and complained that ships of war show little respect for his Majesty, contrary to the intentions of the state and the orders of the Admiralty.
The Hague, the 20th February, 1633 [M.V.]
Feb. 17.
Secreta. Senato, Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
258. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Of the two negotiations conducted by the Ambassador Joachimi since his return to this Court, one, which touches the affairs of Germany is subject to the usual delays and ambiguities, without the possibility of arranging anything as yet ; the other, which concerns the no less urgent interests of the Dutch with respect to granting levies of troops from this kingdom for their service, has finally been adjusted to Joachimi's entire satisfaction, after much opposition and difficulty increased by the active efforts of the Spanish minister here. Owing to the manner and tact of his representations they mitigated the severity of the last royal decree on this subject, and made a special declaration that for this occasion only, as a special favour to the States, his Majesty permitted some suspension of the laws, which were otherwise unalterable.
They believe that the coming of an ambassador extraordinary from Germany will not be long delayed. This affords a pretext for delay and excuses in the negotiations with the Agent Curtius, which are still incomplete. In conjunction with the agents of the Duke of Symeren and the Princess Palatine he objects and complains, bringing forward the most obvious reasons showing the damage done to the Palatinate by such a long delay over the decisions which should be expected from this quarter. Notwithstanding this, as they gladly embrace anything which gives them a chance of procrastinating in such a matter, which requires effective contribution of help and the prompt disbursement of money, so they will not allow themselves to be moved by solicitations of any kind, and seemingly they hold fast to the point that they must wait to hear the particular proposals of the princes of Germany, by their special mission to this Court, announced as near at hand.
They are much preoccupied here with what is whispered among the Lords about an approaching settlement from the negotiations of Sciarnasse with the States, but as the Dutch ministers here have not yet made any statement at the palace, the Court is still curious about the issue of the affair, and they are not altogether without some idea of their own interests here. The English secretaries in France in their last letters represent the feeling of the Most Christian with regard to the behaviour of the Duke of Lorraine, who has absented himself unexpectedly after the cession of his states to the Cardinal, his brother. They add that this fresh act which has not failed to arouse some new suspicions of that prince, will only increase his own hurt, without being able to harm France.
They write from Brussels that the demonstrations of affection towards Monsieur increase daily, and have done even since the Infanta's death. He has declared to the Marquis of Aytona that he does not wish his return to France at any time unless it be with the confidence due to his Catholic Majesty who has laid him under such great obligations.
Some bands of the richest young students in this city have collected a large sum of money and devoted it to presenting representations, music and dancing for the entertainment of the king and queen.
Their display at the palace with a numerous, stately and glittering cavalcade, by their dresses, liveries and devices, attracted a great crowd, exciting the curiosity and applause of all the people, and afforded particular gratification to their Majesties, so that they had to repeat their procession and representation. (fn. 5)
The last despatches from your Serenity to reach me are of the 20th ult. and arrive as I finish this.
London, the 17th February, 1633 [M.V.]
Feb. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
259. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The negotiations of the French at this Court have been put a stop to for the time being, and at present one sees no opportunity at hand for resuming them. Bottard left two days ago, with a favourable congé, but not with the usual present. He goes away ill pleased, not only about the affairs he has conducted but for the treatment he has received. He achieved nothing towards a conclusion, indeed everything went wrong in the first matters and in others, while even his welcome at the palace was prejudiced by the especial dislike which the queen conceived for him. No minister of any sort remains here for France. Nothing is said about any other coming. Nothing more is heard either of the one already appointed, (fn. 6) the report having died away long since. The Lords here seem confirmed in their idea that this is due to punctilio, due to them in the first instance in sending Anstruther to Germany ; but in the present state of affairs they do not know how to remedy it as they are bound, so they say, to await his return, and owing to the affair with the King of Denmark he is bound to make a long stay in those parts.
The Princess Palatine by offices and letters is trying to dissipate any shade of displeasure that the king, her brother may feel about any negotiations or ideas of her brother in law, the duke administrator of the Palatinate, about subjecting himself or giving place in any way to French protection, a step most abhorrent to them here, unless there is some previous formal agreement between this crown and that for this question in particular, and all hope or appearance of this has dissappeared for the present.
The reports which circulate about the great accumulations of arms and money in France, the capture of Haghenau, which is known, and of Saverna, which is believed to have taken place, and the approaching move which is whispered, of the Most Christian towards Picardy, give rise to many and various comments at this Court. The English secretaries write that the object is to secure the frontiers of Flanders on the one side, and to push forward powerfully on the other to the assistance of Germany, Fichiers having proceeded to the last diet for the arrangements required for this purpose, and also to remove some fresh suspicions of the Chancellor Oxestern.
At Brussels they were awaiting the return of the gentleman sent to France by the queen mother, who, they say, contemplates re-establishing herself entirely in the heart and will of the king and a reconciliation with the Cardinal. They add that she called him an angel and Piloran a devil. Monsieur outwardly persists in his opinion that he cannot return without his wife and security.
A book of a kind has issued from the English press, no one knows how, with scandalous and biting remarks about the civil and ecclesiastical government of this kingdom. The author has been summoned to the Star Chamber to abjure it publicly, after a heavy sentence. (fn. 7)
It is reckoned that the Lord Treasurer has increased the royal revenues by 40,000 to 50,000 crowns yearly. In the form of a monopoly he has granted to a single individual the sale of all the tobacco which is consumed in such great quantity in all these three kingdoms. (fn. 8) A fresh imposition has been decreed on the export of coal or combustible earth, which is transported in great quantities from this island to France, Flanders and Holland. This added to the other inventions to amass money confirms the general idea that they are always devising ways to supply the ordinary and extraordinary expenses of this crown without summoning parliament.
There reaches me with the state despatches of this week the decision to elect my successor. This is the more grateful to me because it enables me to hope that relief will be afforded to me soon after, which will give me some breathing space.
London, the 24th February, 1633. [M.V.]


  • 1. Philipsburg was taken on 13th January.
  • 2. Robert Carey, Earl of Monmouth, had been master of the robes and later chamberlain to Prince Charles.
  • 3. Her grandmother Sophia queen of Denmark.
  • 4. The declaration made on 18 January is printed in the Mercure Francais, Vol. XX. page 25. The offending passages refer to the Huguenots and La Rochelle.
  • 5. See Note at page 180 above.
  • 6. The Sieur de Guron. See No. 160 at page 110 above.
  • 7. The book referred to is Prynne's 'Histriomastix.' Proceedings in the Star Chamber began on 7th Feb. and sentence was delivered on the 17th O.S. Camden Soc. 'Proceedings against William Prynne' Rushworth, Hist. Collections, vol. ii., page 220.
  • 8. This seems to be a misunderstanding. The sale of tobacco was only permitted by licence of the Star Chamber, not by a single individual. The Proclamation was not actually issued till 13th March O.S. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1633-4, page 500.