Venice: April 1634

Pages 208-217

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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April 1634

April 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
278. Francesco Corner, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The courier from London did not go to Lisbon as he said, but has been sent back from here. The English secretary conceals the motive for this despatch. The French ambassador is curious about it and it is believed that there may be some offer from that king to assist the peace of Germany, and that, at bottom, there is no friendly disposition towards France.
Madrid, the 1st April, 1634.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
279. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Rusdorf left a few days ago for the diet of Frankfort, in appearance with the title of Agent of the King of England, as he received a passport in that capacity from the Spaniards and the States here ; but as a matter of fact he only has old instructions, so that he may go the more safely on his journey, passing through Luxemburg and the Palatinate to Frankfort.
The Hague, the 3rd April, 1634.
April 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
280. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
There are rumours of an alliance between the Spaniards and the English and the Duke [of Savoy] but I have no certain news. Paris, the 4th April, 1634.
[Italian, deciphered.]
April 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
281. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king having returned, after having been expected any day, my audience for taking leave of his Majesty is arranged for next week, and I shall then perform all the state commissions. I have already begun with the secretary of state, telling him apart of the reasons for the leave granted to me and of the approaching arrival of my successor. He fully approved and said he was sure his Majesty would be quite gratified. He went on to an office which he said he had to perform with me expressly in the king's name, who directed him to beg me to thank your Serenity on his Majesty's behalf for the succour to the ship Freeman of London, by a galley sent for the purpose to the waters of Magnavacca, as the Agent Rolandson wrote. I told him I would punctually execute all that his Majesty desired, and I rejoiced that this occasion had come to show their good will towards this kingdom.
From this the conversation turned to other matters and to events in Germany. He remarked that two things had astonished the king and the Lords here, one that Volestain had allowed himself to be caught, the other that his death had not, as the first advices seemed to indicate, been followed by consequences more disadvantageous for the Imperialists that they heard had been the case so far. He said they had letters from Lorraine that la Motta the only place left with a garrison belonging to that duke, was in a position to gain a little time before it fell. (fn. 1) In this connection he let fall remarks expressive of sympathy, not only with the misfortunes of the house of Lorraine, but of grief that it had fallen, as he put it, under the feet of France. He went on to make comments full of jealousy at what the French have done up to the present and what they are going to do. He called this marching with great strides to a strong ascendancy, which, as one gathers from several indications, they look on here askance, either from the ancient rivalry between England and France or because any increase in the greatness of that neighbouring power makes them suspicious here.
The negotiations and proposals which must very shortly be definitely produced by the new ambassador from Sweden and Germany, arouse the curiosity of the Court, the attention of the ministers and the jealousy and opposition of the Spanish Resident here. It is already known that he will insist on proposals which interest England more closely in the union of those princes, chiefly through the supply of contributions, which will serve for the more secure maintenance of the Palatinate. The Dutch ministers also have orders to second his offices with tact. Yet they express very scant hopes of a favourable issue to the affair. They remarked to me with their habitual confidence, that just as they fear that even this conspicuous effort on the part of Sweden and the princes allied with her will prove useless in the end, so they recognise that the failure in this quarter will then be inexcusable, and, as they say, it will be interpreted by those interested in the right side as an open refusal and utter abandonment of the common cause. Proceeding they intimated further that from certain indications their suspicions were increased that they do not keep their ears utterly closed here to the cunning offices of the Spaniards, who leave no stone unturned turned to divert England from interesting herself more closely in the affairs of Germany, even to the extent of indicating that they would not object in time to co-operate for the removal of the imperial ban against the Palatine house. And indeed it is known that the strongest reason for England not agreeing to the heir of the Palatine entering Germany armed, was due in the last resort to considerations suggested by the Spaniards, that it might prove of advantage to the prince one day that he had so far done nothing to offend the emperor.
They speak of the levy which the ambassador Oxestern is to ask for. For this he already has many officers with him and has also brought a good amount of money in letters of exchange. But they reckon that the sum will not nearly suffice for the 10,000 to 12,000 men whom he wants to send from this kingdom to Germany. Accordingly they say that he will have to perform further offices to obtain succour from the king here in order to make up what is lacking for the complete effectuation of this levy. On his arrival I sent a gentleman of my house, in the customary way, to pay my respects, and he responded in the same manner. To his first audience, which was purely complimentary, he was accompanied in the usual way by the royal coaches, behind which followed those of the ambassadors, of your Serenity's in the first place, then the Dutch ones and many others of the Court after.
A whisper comes to me from a good source that while the king was away from this city, they sent by a courier to the English minister at Madrid, charging him with offices and overtures, showing their strong inclination towards anything that would lead to a closer and more friendly correspondence between this crown and that, a thing at which the Spaniards are also aiming, for the furtherance of their plans.
London, the 7th April, 1634.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
282. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
People begin to say that the King of England and these States think of interposing to prolong the truce between Poland and Sweden, as it is understood that the Elector of Brandenburg has sent word that in a month or so a diet will be held in Poland to discuss this question ; but many fear that it will prove difficult if the Poles continue their successes against the Muscovites, and that this may do considerable harm in Germany.
The Hague, the 10th April, 1634.
April 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
283. Francesco Corner, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Secretary of England, when I saw him, gave me no indication of his secret affair at this Court. He spoke to me of the offence done to his king by the attempts of Flemish ships to take Dutch vessels in the very ports of England, owing to which the Dutch try to chase Spanish ships right into English ports. There is a report in the squares that negotiations for an alliance are on foot between the kings of England and Spain, but I have no confirmation.
Madrid, the 11th April, 1634.
April 14.
Senato Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
284. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Being in a hurry for my despatch as soon as possible I had the audience arranged for Palm Sunday. For this, as a sign of honour the king sent expressly to this house the Earl of Bouchen, (fn. 2) a great lord of the kingdom, with the royal coaches, followed by those of the Dutch ministers and the Court. I took leave of his Majesty that same day with a suitable office, handing him the letters from the Senate and presenting the Secretary Zonca as minister to take charge until the arrival of my successor, who would come soon, I told him. The king received my office very graciously. He said he valued very highly his excellent relations with the Signory of Venice. He added even kinder remarks about my feeble service. Before I went away his Majesty chose, according to the custom, to dub me a knight. I similiarly took leave of the queen to whom I expressed the friendly good will of the state. She showed her pleasure by courteous gesture and a smiling face, while she spoke of the republic with esteem and friendship. I am informed from the palace that next week I may offer my good wishes to the princes, their Majesties' children, according to the custom.
The negotiations of Oxestern are pursued with eagerness and ardour on his part, but he perceives, as he himself intimates that the ministers here respond in a cold and dilatory manner. In spite of this he seems determined to press his demands, being imbued with the universal idea that what he cannot obtain now it will be utterly hopeless to expect from England at any other time. His representations are backed equally by the partisans of the princess, his Majesty's sister, and by the Dutch ministers here. They have seized upon this very opportune occasion to inform the king of the resolution of the United Provinces, notwithstanding the burden of the war, to continue the monthly contributions for the service of Germany. They add that this was the sole object of the despatch of Colonel Pilzen with a hundred companies in the direction of Rimbergh, (fn. 3) with orders to unite with the Landgrave of Hesse, who had withdrawn after having encouraged the princes of the Union on that side. The Ambassador Oxestern not only asserts this, but loudly approves it. I also hear that in his conversation he expresses satisfaction at the present assistance of the French, but he adds that all this does not suffice, and it appears that by the examples in question and by the interests of this crown in the Palatine nephews, he is urging them here with all his might to some good resolution.
Letters have arrived from the English ambassador at Constantinople relating some strange happenings at the houses of the merchants and even at those of the ambassadors themselves. (fn. 4) This outrageous news has excited a great commotion here and all the ministers, abhorring what has been done, look upon it as a manifest infraction of privileges and an open violation of the jus gentium. The Secretary of State communicated to me some of the particulars from these letters, which he held in his hand, and was glad to hear what news I had on the subject, for purposes of comparison. He told me that the French ambassador had been obliged to have the chapel for the use of his house demolished by his own people. Fortified very opportunely with the sheet enclosed with the public despatch of the 17th ult. I told him of the prompt offices of the Bailo Foscarini, who was the only one of the ambassadors to speak, when they all gathered before the Captain Pasha of the Sea, reminding him of what was right and of the respect due to the capitulations and obtaining some diminution of the excesses. All the leading ministers showed him every sign of affection and respect, and the Caimecan in particular expressed his disapproval of such proceedings. The Secretary replied, Such proceedings are indeed too barbarous and the powers will have to consider whether they will continue that residence or the trade either. Passing from this to another subject he told me that he had already prepared the commissions for the Ambassador Cari, but he was very ill, weak and suffering. I wished him good health and said that I understood that in the opinion of his physicians the change of air might do him more good than anything else.
They talk of an ordinary ambassador from France coming here soon, the Most Christian having recently nominated the Sieur di Poigni (fn. 5) in place of Guron. New hopes have risen of a fresh accomodation with Monsieur, whose familiars write from Brussels to a person in a high position at this Court that his favourite Pyloran will have the title of duke for reward. But all these things are so uncertain that they say here the only thing to believe are the events themselves.
From the house of the Spanish Resident here before any other quarter has appeared an order of the emperor printed at Vienna, dividing the command among four persons, Galasso, Aldringher, Piccolomini and Marradas. They are not pleased here at the Princes of Lorraine going to France, as they consider that the cession of their claims, which it is whispered they are to make, will consolidate still further the hold which the French have at present there and which is by no means approved at this Court.
London, the 14th April, 1634.
April 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
285. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I am just returned from St. James, the residence of their Majesties' children, where I have been to pay my respects to confirm the affection of the republic towards this crown, when the news reaches me of the death of Cari from an old standing complaint, seriously aggravated. He had been chosen as ambassador in ordinary to your Serenity. In the few days that remain I will try my hardest with the leading ministers and the royal Council to induce them to get his Majesty to nominate some one else, and the sooner this is done the better the republic will be pleased for the sake of mutual correspondence.
The commotion about the events at Constantinople continues here and even increases. The English ambassador has written very strongly about the offence committed against the jus gentium. The letters containing particulars only make their complaints the louder, as they show that the devices to get money out of them are becoming unbearable. Accordingly there is a universal murmur about the loss and heavy charges upon merchandise exported from this kingdom to the Turkish dominions. Owing to this accident, after a discussion among the Lords of the Council these last days, a royal command has appeared suspending the departure of four English ships laden with cloth to considerable value, which were all ready to start for the Archipelago and Constantinople (fn. 6) and at the same time they have suspended the commissions and orders to Sir Sachfil, who was already chosen by his Majesty as ambassador to the Sublime Porte and was ready to start any day to succeed the one who is now there. (fn. 7) They have further directed the merchants who trade in the Levant marts to draw up a paper to be presented to the royal council containing their considerations and interests in this matter, to which, in the meantime they are devoting their assiduous attention. Many seem strongly in favour of a rupture of business with the Turks ; others seem more cautious about it, particularly those of the government. In the general opinion the majority of the merchants are disposed to agree to breaking off the trade. Thus it is said that they contemplate in their paper asking for permission without expense to the king, with well armed vessels of their companies, to go and do all the harm they can to the shipping and trade of the Turks, with the idea of withdrawing their capital and correspondents at a time when their interests will suffer least, as it seems that at present, owing to the sales already effected, there is not, so they say, a great quantity of English goods at those marts. They have also sent to Sir Thomas Roe, who has gone on his own affairs to his residence a long way from this city, (fn. 8) as they want his opinion as one with a great deal of experience, owing to his long stay in that embassy. It is already known that he has frequently recommended the breaking off of business with the Turks as the only means of reducing them to desire it again and to set it up once more with greater advantage and honour for this nation. But this idea, which was not well received in the past, will, in the opinion of the most intelligent of the ministry here, provoke many other considerations in the future, involving other conclusions.
The Resident of Tuscany is persuaded that the flow of trade to Leghorn will become more abundant supposing direct commerce between this kingdom and the Turkish dominions ceases, and he believes that in such case they would be obliged here to send a larger amount of capital to the merchants of that mart.
The Ambassador Oxestern has frequent meetings with the ministers here. He has not so far been able to arrange anything, either about the levies of troops or about the contributions of money, but while he is confident about the first he seems to entertain little hope about the second request. He came to this house to return my visit, as a mere matter of courtesy.
They are making hasty preparations to arm four war ships, with the intention to unite them with the ordinary squadron which cruises about this kingdom. (fn. 9)
The last public despatches to reach me are of the 24th ult.
London, the 21st April, 1634.
April 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
286. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Sig. Cornaro informs me that the English minister at that Court is busily engaged over the reported alliance between Savoy, the Spaniards and the English. The conclusion of this alliance seems likely from the indications, or at least it seems that Savoy is very greatly inclined to break off from this Crown and to seek its own advantage by a union with the Spaniards.
It is supposed that the alliance with England is merely for a diversion to harass trade at sea and trouble all the Atlantic coast, which is the most that England could undertake at present. It would be an advantageous war based upon the genius of the nation, which is devoted to plunder more than any other, in which all the merchants would interest themselves in the hope of gain and the king would not have to spend a farthing and would even share a portion of the booty. The people would gladly take part, as besides their interests they are inspired by their hatred of this nation and by their desire to avenge injuries received and the hurt done to their religion.
But these are only general rumours and I do not find that the ministers attach much importance to the matter. Indeed one of them said with regard to the report about the provision of a fleet in England, that it was to favour the passage of the Cardinal Infant to Flanders. I do not enjoy very good relations with the English residents here but they do not know or do not seem to know anything about the designs of their master, although they make a fuss about the progress of the French in Germany.
Paris, the 21st April, 1634.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
April 23.
Collegio, Secreta. Lettere. Principi. Venetian Archives.
287. Henrica Maria, Dei gratia Magnæ Britanniæ etc. Regina, serenissimo principi Francisco Erizzo, Venetiarum Duci, amico nostro charissimo, Salutem etc.
Serenissime Princeps etc. Nobilissimum virum Vincentium Gussonem, equitem Serenitatis Vestræ legatum, in patriam revocatum sine nostris redire noluimus Debemus illi modeste et prudenter obitæ legationis testimonium ; Debimus oblatæ benevolentiæ vestræ non Levidense hostimentum : utrique debito per hasce satisfactum cupimus, unaque serenissimæ reipublicæ persuasum, nos erga tam benevolo semper fuisse animo et in eodem medesmenter permansuras : Quod quia prædictum legatum (qua est fede) fusius vobis expositurum confidimus, nos compendifacimus. Deum Opt. Max. interea venerantes, ut Serenitatem vestram diu incolumem aeternum felicem esse velit.
Datum e palacio nostro Londini, idibus Aprilis 1634.
Vestri amantissima.
[Signed] : Henriette Marie.
April 24.
Show Case. Venetian Archives.
288. Carolus, Dei gratia Mag. Brit. etc. Rex, fidei defensor etc. Serenissimo Principi dom Francisco Erricio Venetiorum Duci amico nostro charissimo, Salutem et prosperitatis incrementum. Serenissime Princeps consanguinee et amice charrissime : Super vacaneum sane arbitramur nobilissimi viri, Vincentis Gussonii equitis aurati, Legati et Oratoris vestri merentissimi virtutis Vestræ Serenitati totique inclytæ Reipublicæ jamdudum perspectas recensere eumdem tamen ad vos dimittere nec debuimus neque voluimus quin hisce tentaremur eum sibi multa sua prudentia et solertia nostrum æque ac vestrum parasse et meruisse affectum et benevolentium. Ob quæ quidem meriti dictum vestrum legatum omni laude et commendatione dignissimum solito vestræ Serenitatis serenissimæque Reipub. in viros prestantes favori fovendum reliquentes ejusdem fidei constantem nostrum in vos animum et amorem commemorandum relinquimus : Deum toto corde rogantes ut cum inclytissima Republica vestram Serenitatem quam diutissime sospitet et prosperet.
Datum e nostro palatio Westmonasteriensi xiv Aprilis anno Christi MDCXXXIV., Regni nostri decimo.
Vestræ Serenitatis Consanguineus amantissimus
[Signed] : Carolus R.
April 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
289. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
While hastening with all speed to rid myself of this charge I do not forget the fulfilment of the state commissions in taking leave of the ministers here. Thus the incident of Cari's death, which has much grieved the Court here, serves me to urge. them to make a fresh choice. The Secretary of State assures me of his readiness to bring the matter before the king, and says he is sure of his Majesty's desire to nominate someone who will be acceptable to the most serene republic. I made a suitable response, and while remarking that his Majesty's choice was bound to be most suitable I tried to impress upon him how necessary it was and that it should be proportionately expeditious.
Until the return of the courier whom I reported had been sent to Spain, not without some idea of counter operations against the progress of France, the ministers here have chosen to postpone their answers to the Ambassador Oxestern. He guessed at the reasons for the delay, by which he perceived he was being put off day after day, and has become the more suspicious of some secret intrigue from this quarter for opening a more confidential understanding with Spain, when the long expected reply proved to be merely in general and inconclusive terms, and little if at all adequate to what he felt sure he would obtain, at least in the matter of the levy, as he now sees that all hopes have gone of obtaining contributions of money from the king here for the service of Germany.
I know on good authority that Oxestern has been busily engaged these last days with repeated audiences of the king and by presenting fresh papers as well as by repeated instances and offices with the Lords here apart, in order to consolidate his instances and give them greater vigour. So, although he cannot yet be absolutely certain of the royal decision, which is not yet settled, the general opinion persists that as regards the troops, but not for the money succour, they will finally grant him what he asks with so much insistence.
The Lords of the government here do not seem to be quite certain as yet of what arrangement there may be between the Spaniards and Savoy, with the arrival of Prince Tomaso at Brussels. They write from that Court that he has been met, welcomed, lodged and entertained royally by the Marquis of Aytona.
The Dutch ministers have gone off to a special and very long audience of his Majesty at which they gave him full information about the negotiations conducted by Sciarnasie at the Hague, and of the agreement recently arranged by the French with those Provinces. (fn. 10) By this they are obliged for a definite period of time not to treat for any peace or truce without the consent of France. They made great efforts to remove the suspicion that seems to have got abroad here about the inclusion of some article considered prejudicial to England.
The last state despatches to reach me are of the 30th of March, and I hope that I shall have begun my journey before any more despatches arrive from the Senate.
London, the 25th April, 1634.
April 29.
Senato Mar. Venetian Archives.
290. To the Proveditore of Zante.
We have decided to continue the duty of 5 per thousand on currants laded for the West by ships which have not brought their entire cargo to Venice. You are to exact payment of this duty without intermission and to await further instructions.
Ayes, 122. Noes, O. Neutral, 6.
The like to the Proveditore of Cephalonia.


  • 1. La Mothe held out until the 18th July, after a seige lasting 97 days.
  • 2. James Erskine, earl of Buchan, a lord of the bed chamber.
  • 3. Colonel Pilsen, sent towards Borken. Aitzema : Saken Van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. II. page 150.
  • 4. The reference is probably to Wyche's dispatch of 25th Jan., 1633 (4th Feb. 1634 N.S.) in which he describes the arbitrary proceedings of the Captain Pasha at Constantinople, the sealing up of the houses of all the Christian Merchants, on the pretence of a search for weapons, followed by the imprisonment of all the merchants, who were held to lansom, restraint being put upon the persons of the ambassadors themselves, because of the unauthorised building of a new house and church by one of them. S. P. For. Turkey. See also the draft of a letter from the King to the Sultan, undated, referring to "that great and insufferable injurie and injustice done unto the merchants residing at Constantinople in the year 1634 by the imprisonment of their persons, menacing them for their lives and enforcing them to redeeme and ransome themselves with a great sum of money upon most unjust and groundless pretences." S. P. For. Archives. Vol. 109.
  • 5. Jean d'Angennes. Marquis of Pougny, of the house of Rambouillet. In his letters of credence dated 26 June he is styled the Marquis of Poigny, but he signs himself Pougny. S. P. For. France.
  • 6. The Company decided to hold back their ships for Constantinople at their Court held on 17 April. S. P. For. Archives. Levant Co. Court Book. The royal order to stay the ships was not sent until the 25th June and this remained in force until the 14th Sept. Id. Royal Letters. Register Book. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1634-5, p. 208.
  • 7. Sir Sackville Crowe, chosen early in the year to succeed Sir Peter Wyche.
  • 8. At Bulwick co. Northampton.
  • 9. These would appear to be the Unicorn, the Garland, the First and the Tenth Lions Whelps, under the command of Sir John Pennington. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1633-4, page 569.
  • 10. The new treaty between France and the United Provinces was signed on the 15th April. The terms are given in the Mercure Francais Vol. XX. pages 330-336. Dumont : Corps Diplomatique Tome VI. pt. i. pages 68-72.