Venice: June 1634

Pages 226-240

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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June 1634

June 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
300. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I find that just now they are neither satisfied with England, nor without suspicion. They think that if the king there arouses from the lethargy in which the Lord Treasurer has so far kept him, and comes to an understanding with his people, they may interest themselves seriously in the affairs of Germany, support the Palatine and by no means favour the designs of France.
I am told that a gentleman of Monsieur has been arrested at Calais, whence he proposed to go to England and they have taken many important documents on him.
Moretta, the 1st June, 1634.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
301. Piero Foscarini, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Jew of the Captain Pasha, who is his great favourite, has married simultaneously two of his sons and a daughter. He invited all the ambassadors to the wedding. They attended with their wives, except the Count of Cesi, who pleaded the indisposition of his wife, on account of the disputed precedence with England, and sent his son. Some English gentlemen of quality were also present, including the Earl of Carnarvon. (fn. 1)
The Vigne of Pera, the 1st of June, 1634.
June 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
302. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, who hides his animus against the Lord Treasurer under the cloak of zeal, persists in seeing the king privately, when, as many have observed, he has long conference with him, and, it is whispered, tries to impress upon him how various difficulties are due to that minister. He recently showed his Majesty a letter written to him by the Viceroy of Ireland, with a detailed account of the most essential matters and of supreme importance for that island. He asserts that these have been laid before the Treasurer several times, who has been asked most pressingly for a decision. He has always promised one, put it off and never done anything. The Viceroy, finding that he pays no attention to his loyal representations protests that he is not responsible for any disorders that may arise in his government to the disservice of the king, for want of attention to the matters in question. An intimate of mine, who is in a position to know all about such particulars from the office which he holds at Court, assures me that the letter has stirred his Majesty greatly.
In consequence of the decision of the royal Council last week consenting to the convocation of parliament in the kingdom of Ireland, which has not met for twelve consecutive years, I gather from various sources that they are now preparing the patents to be sent to the provinces of that kingdom so that those who are to take part may be present at Dublin on the 10th of August next, that place being the usual residence of the Viceroy, for the opening of the parliament and for the decision of whatever else may be deemed best for the service of the king and kingdom.
The Ambassador Oxisterna has caused the utmost satisfaction at Greenwich by a private visit to his Majesty to communicate the good news which reached him by an extraordinary courier from Frankfort, sent by the Grand Chancellor, his father, with the account of a battle fought in Silesia between the troops of Harneim, general of the Elector of Saxony, and twelve Imperial regiments under the command of Don Baldassare Maradas, resulting in a considerable reverse for the latter and the loss of guns, ensigns and baggage, causing general consternation to the Austrian party in that province. (fn. 2)
Douglas, who is staying at Frankfort in the capacity of minister for this crown, confirms the news in his letters to his Majesty, who was very glad to hear of such success for the Protestant party in Germany, and also for the relief which the Upper Palatinate will experience therefrom, which was greatly harassed by the Imperial forces since it is believed that those troops will be summoned to a place where they are more needed, away from that much afflicted province.
Another defeat of no less importance is reported from Cologne as having been inflicted by the Swedes, joined with the forces of the Landgrave of Hesse and of the Duke of Luneburgh on the troops of the Catholic League in Westphalia, commanded by General Boniclusen. This has added to the satisfaction of those who favour that party. On the other hand the Spaniards have tried to discredit the news, declaring that it comes from a prejudiced source. Accordingly we remain in suspense and many are waiting for the confirmation with curiosity.
They have settled the case of Nedersolt, who was formerly Agent at this Court of the Princess Palatine, and who was arrested for a letter concerning the interests of his mistress, written with excessive freedom to Cuch, the first secretary of state. He is dismissed from his office and forbidden to discharge its duties any more, and he is confined to a country house of his 100 miles from here during the royal pleasure.
Sir [William] Bosuel, his Majesty's Agent with the States, who was recalled from Holland to throw light on some points of this case, will soon be returning to his post now that the affair is settled.
Dingli, the secretary of the Princess, has come back here unexpectedly with letters from his mistress to the king. He has not yet gone to the Court. It is believed that he has come to urge something about permitting Nedersolt to return to Holland. We shall know more about it after he has set forth his instructions.
By a decree of the Council recently issued all sailors, whether English, Scots or Irish, who are serving foreign powers, are recalled under severe penalties if they do not return to their homes within a certain specified time. (fn. 3) The curious have a great deal to say about the objects of this decree, but those who seem best to understand the principles of this government consider that the ill feeling between this nation and the Dutch, which never grows less, has had a great deal to do with this step, so as to deprive the Dutch, by a general law, of the advantages they derive from the countless sailors, subjects of this crown, who serve on their men of war and merchantmen.
With regard to the negotiations for an accomodation between the Most Christian and Monsieur, Gerbier writes from Brussels that there is little sign of a favourable issue, as the individual da Bene has returned from Paris without anything being arranged. He adds that the ill feeling between Monsieur and the Queen Mother increases daily.
The same letters report the arrival at Dunkirk of various ships returned from Spain with a good sum of money and with 1200 Spaniards of poor appearance and destitute of everything, and that they have already despatched arms and clothing from Antwerp to supply their needs.
I learn from various sources that in the opinion of their Majesties the return of Monsieur to France has been delayed through fresh devices of Cardinal Richelieu. They say that the articles of his agreement had already been settled in a satisfactory manner, contrary to the Cardinal's expectation, who did not want to have him near, and that fresh difficulties had arisen when they were on the point of a settlement.
I have received the state despatches of the 5th and 12th ult. I am unable to add anything further about the merchant Sautin. For the rest, as regards the appointment here, I will spare no effort to find out all particulars and report them from time to time. For this the extracts of advices enclosed with the letters are very opportune. By the communication of these, with due circumspection, I shall be able to keep up the confidential relations which are so necessary to the proper discharge of my office.
London, the 2nd June, 1634.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.
June 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
303. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
There is a strong suspicion that the English had a hand in the despatch of the individual arrested at Calais as I reported. I hear he was obliged to go to that place as he could not get a prompt passage at Dunkirk. I have sent the information to the Secretary Zonca so that he may see if there is anything in these transactions.
Moret, the 6th June, 1634.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
304. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Dingli, the secretary of the Princess Palatine, who arrived recently in this city, has been to audience of the king, to whom he presented letters from his mistress of compliment and credence for affairs. I learn on good authority that they consist in substance of the usual humble and most pitiful instances for a final decision to supply the assistance which his Majesty has always declared his intention to contribute for the support of her interests, which are so depressed, and those of her innocent children. She points out that the occasion is more propitious than ever, with the present consternation of the Austrian arms, owing to their disasters in Silesia and Westphalia. She declares that with such an opportunity as this she is ready to proceed to the Palatinate herself, accompanied by her numerous family, provided that she has the means to maintain herself as becomes her rank. She goes on to express her confidence that the Provinces of Holland will follow the example set here in affording her assistance ; she cannot believe that England will abandon her, and that from this time forward things should be restored to their pristine condition with satisfaction to the king and his subjects.
The suspension of arms in the Netherlands is noted here with some astonishment. The ambassador of Sweden and Germany is more concerned about it than any one else, and I hear that he had a long discussion on the subject with the Dutch ministers, to induce them to make suitable representations to their masters, pointing out the opportunity offered by existing conditions, how much was being done in Germany in the interests of the common welfare, that others ought to give their support, and the Dutch in particular, who are so deeply concerned in promoting the success of the party opposed to the House of Austria, in conformity with the intentions which were expressed to him when he was at the Hague.
I hear that Joachimi told him that the States were as alert as they could be for anything that would serve the common cause. That although the Prince was not actually in the field, yet he did not neglect to provide in several directions to prevent the enemy from the possibility of supplying help to the members of the League of Westphalia, and he had so disposed his army that in a few hours he can direct it wherever the need may be most pressing, but he is awaiting an opportunity for employing it to the best advantage. That the army of Flanders is quite as strong as that of the States and each is equally afraid of the other. That to undertake a siege is very difficult in the present year and it is believed that both these armies will watch the proceedings of their opposite during the whole of this season, without taking the field, asserting that the one that takes the field first will be at a disadvantage. He ended by saying that his masters, in order to do everything possible in the interests of the public weal had instructed Colonel Pilzen, who is in command in the neighbourhood of Rimbergh with some regiments of infantry, to unite with the troops of the Landgrave of Hesse, and he thought this was already done.
The Ambassador Oxisterna sometimes goes hunting with his Majesty, where he is welcomed and made much of, being often invited to banquets by the principal gentlemen of the Court. He is impatiently waiting for the replies from Frankfort, which are to make plain the qualifications under which he acts. It is stated that this is the sole reason for his stay, but many do not believe this, as they do not think he would have stayed so long on a mere question of punctilio.
The courier of Antwerp this week brings confirmation of the two victories in Silesia and Westphalia, with other successes against the cavalry of Bonichusen. This has rejoiced the hearts of those who belong to the Protestant party here and has correspondingly depressed those of the opposite faction, although they do not fail to discount these advantages with the hope of all that the King of Hungary is to accomplish. They boast that he has taken the field with 80,000 combatants and that he will soon be joined by the army of the Cardinal Infant as well, to put a better face upon the affairs of the empire.
From Cologne they report the death of the Duke of Bavaria. The ministry here believe that if this is confirmed the aspect of affairs in Germany may be changed, and may turn towards a general peace with complete restoration of the Electorate and hereditary dominions to the young Prince Palatine, which is desired here above everything else (sopremamente desiderata qui), and also to relieve them of the yearly contribution from this quarter for the support of his Majesty's sister.
I have received the state despatches of the 19th ult.
London, the 9th June, 1634.
June 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
305. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassadors extraordinary of these States [to France] (fn. 4) left last week. They both came to take leave of me ; Pau told me they had orders to do so and tell me their commissions. He added that they had orders to tell me that by this new alliance the States did not intend to prejudice in any way those which they have with the King of Great Britain and your Serenity, and they had freely said as much to M. de Ciarnasse, asking him to inform the Most Christian.
The Hague, the 12th June, 1634.
June 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
306. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The courier has returned whom the Ambassador Oxisterna sent to Frankfort with a summary of his negotiations and the objections raised against him at this Court. He keeps the answer brought to him very secret, and it has not yet been possible to learn what it is, although' the curiosity of his intimates uses every means to induce him to speak. This much is known that so far he has not produced the clear definition of his powers, which he gave it to be understood he would have sent. We know that after the arrival of the courier he proceeded to Greenwich to audience of the king. He told him in the first place of the numerous difficulties encountered by the officers whom he sent to Scotland to raise the recruits promised by his Majesty, and he repeated his original request for whole regiments, asking for a final and categorical reply. He represented how grateful such a testimony of the royal good will would be to the princes his masters and to all those in Germany who follow their party, and what benefits would result for the pressing interests of the sister and nephews of this crown in the Palatinate.
All these considerations with others of less moment availed nothing to induce his Majesty to make any alteration in his first answer, which I reported in my letter of the 12th ult. The ambassador received this final refusal in the same terms, to his infinite mortification. Accordingly recognising that he can do no good at this Court, and showing the dissatisfaction he feels without disguise, he is asking for letters in reply to those which he brought here, declaring that he is recalled and must, leave very soon.
In conversation with some of the gentlemen of the Court he has let out that his letters were read in the full Diet at Frankfort, and excited deep feeling among all the princes there, who were scandalised at the neglect of the affairs of Germany in this quarter. Some of them openly suggested the abandonment of the Palatinate, now it is seen that England, which, has such strong ties of obligation, cares nothing about it. They hava discussed among themselves about granting Filipsburg, the key of the Palatinate, to the Most Christian, who desires it so greatly. He added that the Administrator of the Palatinate, in the hope that Oxesterna's mission, out of regard for the United Princes, would mitigate the harshness of the ministers which he himself encountered at this Court and move the king to undertake the defence of the Palatinate, had broken off some negotiations which he had already begun with France, for recommending it to her protection, following the example of other princes but now that he saw that this last essay was fruitless he proposed to resume the interrupted transaction, to avoid leaving that unlucky province which was powerless to defend itself, utterly defenceless and a prey to its enemies.
When these particulars were reported to the king dnd Council it is understood that they were all much concerned, as any suggestion for introducing the French into the Palatinate is most distasteful to them both from natural rivalry, opposed to the progress of that power, and also because it is very well known that once those states have fallen into the hands of the Most Christian, no matter under what title, he will never let them go again. Some also represented the great condemnation and discredit that this kingdom will suffer in the eyes of the world for having so weakly abandoned the just cause of that innocent people. But in spite of this they decided upon no remedy, while there is still time to apply it, indeed they care little about allowing this ambassador to depart ill pleased in every respect, so far as all indications show up to the present, and as he himself declares.
Signor Benicausem, who was ambassador extraordinary here for the Princes of the Union in the year 1624, writes to a certain German gentleman of his acquaintance employed here by Cuch, the first secretary of state, on the affairs of Germany more particularly, and with whom I cultivate the most intimate relations, in the interest of the public service, from Paris, where he now is, and dated the 3rd inst., that the Protestant Princes have a poor opinion of this crown, and if it is unwilling to declare in their favour, they would be glad, at least, if it did not unite with their enemies ; but that as the Spaniards were spreading reports of some treaty of alliance between the House of Austria, France, Great Britain, the Duke of Savoy and some other princes of Italy, they would like to have definite information from him on the subject. He told me further that he had shown this same letter to the secretary himself in order to extract from him some reply to send to Sig. Benicausem ; but he had not got anything substantial out of him. In reply to my enquiry he said he did not know whether there was any one here secretly or publicly for Savoy, or for any other Italian prince either, except the minister of the Grand Duke, and he had not heard that he was conducting any negotiations. He knew quite well that your Serenity did not hold such opinions. Finally he declared that he did not believe that England, even if asked, would join such an alliance, as the present government prefers to be free from all troubles. I thanked him suitably for his confidential communication and promised to be on the alert for any further particulars, communicating everything to him, as he asked me to do, to keep up the mutual understanding between us. Although so far I have learned nothing to corroborate this I have thought it my duty to communicate the particulars to your Excellencies, so that you may know what is reported, and discover what foundation there may be. I will keep carefully on the watch for anything further and will keep your Serenity punctually advised, forwarding all particulars to his Excellency Soranzo as well.
Dingli is vigorously pressing the negotiations begun by him with the ministers here in order to hasten a reply. Through some of his friends they have intimated to him that 100,000 crowns in ready cash will be supplied for the moment for the proposed journey of the princess and her family to the Palatinate. He declares that the assistance which he confidently expects to receive from the States will be governed by the help which he gets from this quarter. He receives fair words from everyone, but the categorical reply lags behind, and the wisest are of opinion that it is based upon slender hopes.
In the instructions sent to Douglas they direct him to start some kind of negotiation until Anstruther arrives. Oxisterna says that this is to make a show before the assembly of princes and ambassadors gathered at that meeting, that they are anxious here to co-operate on behalf of the common cause in Germany. I do not fancy, however that these orders are as definite as they want to make Oxisterna believe.
So far we have heard of nothing fresh in the matter of the Treasurer. He continues to enjoy the king's favour as before, although much discredited with every one at Court. He cares little about that, and in the mean time he goes about making his profit.
The courier from Italy who should have arrived here this week with the despatches of the 26th May, has been robbed near Cologne by soldiers and so no letters have arrived here from that province.
London, the 16th June, 1634.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
307. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It is stated that the Duke of Orleans has concluded a treaty with the Spaniards. (fn. 5) It is asserted that England, Savoy and Lorraine are included and that they found letters of Gerbier, the English Resident at Brussels, on the gentleman arrested at Calais, but they cannot verify the contents.
Paris, the 16th June, 1634.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
June 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
308. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
A sort of confession of the Duke of Arescot has appeared here. (fn. 6) He tells the Catholic king that he was urged by the Count of Enim and the Princes of Epinon and Brabanzon to join with them, because all the Provinces would follow him. He also names the English Agent at Brussels, who passed a similar office, intimating that the Kings of Great Britain and France and these States would favour the design. The duke asserts that he would not listen to them. He says he did not report the matter to the Infanta in order not to prejudice his relations.
The Hague, the 19th June, 1634.
June 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
309. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Swedish ambassador went on Sunday last to take final leave of his Majesty. The Earl of Holland accompanied by divers gentleman of rank was appointed to escort him, with the royal coaches and many others of the Dutch ministers and the principal members of the ministry. They conducted him as far as the Tower of London, and from there by water they travelled in the royal barges to Greenwich, where his Majesty is still staying. The Court crowded with numbers of ladies and cavaliers, and the stately arrangements ordered made the ceremony more notable than had been expected, seeing that he has never made a satisfactory reply to the objections raised against him, as he undertook to do. Arrived in the presence of the king he spoke for a long half hour in the most elegant Latin, recapitulating the whole of his negotiations and the answers given to him with the objections raised. He replied to all this again with an office adapted to the occasion. Raising his voice somewhat and turning his head first in one and then in another direction, an action he repeated several times, to make himself heard better by the bystanders, he said that he had been sent by the kingdom of Sweden and by the United Princes in Germany upon a matter that concerns the dignity of this crown as well as the public good. The English ministers had always assured them of the goodwill of their sovereign towards them. In order to obtain a full assurance thereupon they had sent him, by common consent to obtain a categorical declaration. The postponement of this up to the present under various pretexts had been interpreted by his superiors as an open refusal. He took his departure with this consolation only, that he had punctually discharged what had been laid upon him, although neither his representations of the benefit to the cause nor even the special and lamentable case of the princess and her family, the king's sister and nephews, which he had amply set forth, had been able to move this realm, at one of the most favourable opportunities, to support the party in Germany, who were so sympathetic both in the matter of religion and in everything else. Such was the substance of his long office, at the end of which he concluded his discourse with a few complimentary phrases for his final leavetaking.
The first secretary of state began to answer him, also in Latin, upon the question of fact, being prompted by the king in English. But whether from lack of memory, considering his advanced age, or from some other circumstance, he did not report it in accordance with the king's intent, although' corrected more than once, and his Majesty himself took it up from the beginning and explained to the ambassador in French, a language he understands well, his real meaning much better. As it was spoken in a very low voice only a few heard it, who were standing nearest. I gather, however, that in substance it was the same answer as the first one, with very little alteration ; and that it only enlarged upon an attempt to make him believe that the incompleteness of his powers with regard to what the United Princes would do touching the Palatinate, supposing the levies for which he asked were granted, was the only reason for the delay here in granting permission and that the matter would be settled satisfactorily by Anstruther at Frankfort.
At the conclusion of his office with the king the ambassador turned to the queen, who was present, and took leave of her also in a brief ceremonious office, according to custom. He afterwards returned with the same company and in the same manner to this city, where he is visiting the lords of the Council and telling people that as soon as he is free he will be leaving for Frankfort.
An extraordinary judgment has been delivered these last days upon the Portuguese ship which, was captured about three years ago by Dutch ships, when on its way from Brasil with a cargo worth over 80,000 crowns in sugar and tobacco, and seized by the Resident of Spain, with the King's orders, in the ports here, whither it had come on its voyage. The Admiralty here adjudicated it to the Dutch in the first instance, as lawful booty, and the Resident appealed to the king. The Lord Treasurer, the Earl of Linze and the two secretaries of state, Cuch and Vindebanch, were deputed by his Majesty to decide this appeal finally. After a long interval and a consideration of the arguments on one side and the other, they have presented their decision in writing, confirming the original sentence, but with a clause that the Dutch shall pay the costs of the appeal and other damages to the Spaniards, to be assessed by the judges themselves, and paid by those concerned before they enter upon possession of the ship and its cargo. (fn. 7)
The Spaniards, who desired better conditions, protest strongly against this. The Dutch are not satisfied either, as they do not know what laws condemn them to the costs of the action instead of claiming their own from their adversaries, on every ground of justice, seeing that right is declared to be on their side by a twofold sentence. They say that the sugar and tobacco may be for the most part perished in the warehouses, where they have lain for more than two years. The ship will be practically rotted in port and the sum which they are condemned to pay added to the costs of prosecuting the action will probably exceed all that they can raise from the far gone remains of that booty. Joachimi has sent full particulars about this to his masters with all speed and he will await their reply so as to decide whether the sentence shall be accepted or not.
With regard to the particulars of the alliance of which Signor Benicausen wrote here, with all my efforts I have not been able to discover anything further. I have confirmation from several sources that the ministry here, no matter what offers or overtures are made to it, has no inclination to declare itself the partner (parciale) of any one soever. However, I have sent the necessary information to all the Courts, as I do every week.
A person of quality writes here from Cologne on the 12th inst. that the Count of Mansfelt is there and that he was urging the Duke of Neuburg to unite his forces with those of the League, assuring him that he holds a commission from Cæsar releasing the duke's subjects from their oath of allegiance to him and to forbid them to continue to pay their taxes if the duke should venture to disobey. In spite of this the correspondent reports that the duke remains uncertain. He points out his dangerous situation, and also the threats of the Dutch, as well as the example of the Bishop of Wirtenberg, who, so soon as he declared for the emperor, lost all his states. He asks that they shall allow him to remain neutral, to avoid the risk of leaving his possessions at the discretion of enemies.
Douglas writes from Frankfort that Duke Bernard of Weimar, after forcing the army of Bavaria to withdraw from the siege of Ratisbon has written to the Diet there to arrange for the junction of his forces with those of Horn. When they are united he proposes to fight the army of the King of Hungary, and it is supposed that Aldringer, with some regiments may have set out to prevent such a union.
The Agent Bosuel is ready to set out on his way back to the Hague to take up his charge there again. They say that he has instructions to look after the interests of the Princess Palatine which crop up at this Court, and in this way to deprive her of the pretext for keeping another agent here.
A fresh matter for increasing the ill feeling between the English and the Dutch has arisen these last days. A ship of this country which left Dunkirk was captured by the Dutch men of war which guard that port, according to their point of view. Remonstrances have been made to the Ambassador Joachimi, who points out that this has been done in fulfilment of an order made by the States as far back as 1598 and several times renewed, declaring that the States consider the coasts of Flanders to be besieged by sea, and accordingly that ships of all nations, without distinction, must abstain from trading there, or they will be treated as enemies. (fn. 8) But these arguments do not content them and it is said that Bosuel's departure is being accelerated and that he has particular instructions upon this business.
London, the 23rd June, 1634.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
310. Piero Foscarini, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Since my last I have seen the Bostanghi Pasha twice and believe I have won him completely. The other day an English merchant named Pech appealed to him for the restitution of a sum of money, as his share in the late troubles. The Pasha sent to me and said he would wait three or four days to hear from the ambassadors, as he understood the proportions were to be settled between them. We met at the English embassy and three of us agreed, the English ambassador dissenting, that each nation should contribute to the expense in proportion to the amount of its trade, and that for this, precise information should be taken of the capital employed in trading by each of the nations during the last three years, and that the portion touching each of the nations should be assigned to each in proportion at a soldo per lira. The three ambassadors assigned to the English 3½ parts out of 8, to the French two, to the Venetians two, and to the Flemings a half. But after much discussion the English ambassador would not accept the judgment, thus causing the affair to go back to the Bostanghi Pasha, with the worst consequences. I am not surprised that the English ambassador is indifferent about allowing his merchants to appear in the Turkish Courts, because upon some claim for three slaves bought by one of the Beys here the ambassador himself procured the judgment of the Cadi of Constantinople before the Bostanghi Pasha.
The Vigne di Pera, 23 June, 1634.
June 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
311. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
A gentleman of the Duke of Orleans has been arrested and imprisoned at Calais. He was taking letters from that prince to the King of England, asking for help because he could not make things up with the king his brother so long as Cardinal Richelieu rules. It is thought that the alliance between his Highness and the Spaniards is offensive and defensive.
The Hague, the 26th June, 1634.
June 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
312. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In accordance with the expectation of those who know most about the affairs of the world, the Ambassador Oxisterna refused the royal present, consisting of vessels of silver gilt, of the weight of 2000 ozs. which is more than was allowed to the ambassadors extraordinary of France and Poland who were recently here, with whom, in all matters of ceremony he was placed on a perfect equality. When the Master of the King's jewels took the present to him according to the custom of the Court, delivering it with suitable compliments in the name of the sovereign, Oxisterna replied that he thanked his Majesty with all his heart for the favours which he had bestowed, especially on another occasion when he was here in a private capacity, (fn. 9) when there was nothing left that he could desire, and the very great obligations he was under remained ever fresh in his memory. That the present demonstration must be due either to regard for the office which he holds or for him personally in his private capacity. He did not think that it could be the former, when he reflected upon the uniform refusals with which they had answered all his requests in the public name, no matter what they were. If it was for him personally, he humbly thanked his Majesty, but as he had not achieved the chief object of his employment, about which he was concerned above everything else, he hoped the king would allow him to refuse the accessories relating to his private satisfaction. He appreciated to the full the courtesies offered by his Majesty and besought his pardon if he did not show it by deeds, his sole object being to justify himself better in the eyes of the world, and in those of his superiors above, all, and to show that he had conducted the negotiations with which he was entrusted in a manner befitting the urgency of the common cause, without the slightest reference to his own private interests. He ended by charging the Master of the Jewels to take back this answer to the king together with the present, with assurances of his most devoted service.
The English official was astonished at this unexpected turn of affairs and tried his utmost to persuade the ambassador not to treat so lightly the king's token of regard. He intimated that it was contrary to all custom and an affront to the king's Majesty. But the ambassador only smiled and taking him by the hand, as if going for a walk, led him into another room, where he told him that this was not the first time such a thing had happened in England. Among others he told him of the similar case of Sig. Benicausen in the year 1624, when he was sent as ambassador extraordinary by the Princes of the Union to the late King James. That embassy proving fruitless, like his own, that wise man thought fit to refuse every other demonstration touching his own private convenience. (fn. 10) The Master of the Jewels replied that the Polish ambassador who was here a year ago, accepted the present although he had not obtained what he asked. To this Oxisterna rejoined that the two cases did not tally owing to the difference in the circumstances and clinched the matter by saying that even Ven who was for a long while ambassador in Germany, had not taken any present from the Princes at his departure. Accordingly seeing this minister so constant in his resolution the Master of the Jewels took away his plate and told the king what had happened, point by point.
The refusal is interpreted in different ways at the Court, and each one speaks of it according to his personal opinions, but the majority including those without bias, approve of his action as generous and dignified. Those who have most experience refuse to believe that these instruments have not been supplied to him by the Director, his father, possibly with the advice and concurrence of the General Union whom they admit to be right and well advised. At present the ambassador is only waiting for a favourable wind to take him across to Holland in a man of war of that country, sent here on purpose, as he did not even ask the king here for one. He will proceed to the Hague and go on from there to Frankfort, to lay down his charge, according to what he gives out.
One Fulvio Pergami has arrived here recently from Brussels with letters of Prince Tomaso for their Majesties. He styles himself secretary of that prince, and he proceeded at once to the Court, which is now at Richmond, about eight miles from here, taking with him some letters of Gerbier for the Secretary Cuch. (fn. 11) It has not yet been possible to discover his business.
Another gentleman has also arrived, and he also has gone to the Court to set forth his commissions. (fn. 12) I am keeping a close watch upon all this, as is my duty, and I will not lose sight of anything that is essential.
Dingli, secretary of the Princess Palatine, will leave with the Agent Bosuel in a few days. The substance of the replies to his negotiations amount to no more that the giving of instructions to Bosuel to impart the decisions taken here to the Princess, and it is confirmed that he is to act in her interests and to report here by letter, without her employing any other minister at this Court.
My confidant at Antwerp writes to me that Don Carlo Coloma was about to start for Milan, where they state he has been proclaimed governor in the absence of the Cardinal Infant, who was going to marry Cæsar's daughter, as already rumoured. He goes on to say that it is reported from Milan that after the marriage has taken place the Cardinal will be invested by his brother with the sovereignty of the Netherlands, as was the late Archduke Albert. Here, however, they are not disposed to believe that the Catholic will deprive his own son of those Provinces to hand them over to his brother, and they rather incline to assert that such ideas are circulated for the purpose of upholding the failing energy of the people there.
He also writes that they are making arrangements for the Spanish army to take the field, and if this proves true, Monsieur and Prince Tomaso will go with it, but both of them in a private capacity. Common report confirms that upon the arrival of the Cardinal Infant Prince Tomaso will be proclaimed Lieutenant General of his Highness. In the mean time the Prince is staying at Brussels in great splendour, and continues to attach a peculiar value to the counsels of the Abbot Scaglia, of whom he makes as much as ever.
These advices correspond with what is written by Gerbier, who reports in addition that he has discovered an agreement which has been or will shortly be concluded between Monsieur and the Marquis of Aytona, in which the former undertakes not to come to any adjustment with the Most Christian for two years or thirty months.
The advices which reach the Court from every quarter agree that the present season in Germany will be a very bloody one. This opinion is based on the universal scarcity of food in all the provinces alike, for the most part left unsown or devastated, and for this reason it is asserted that the armies will be compelled to fight, no matter what the risks may be, in order to have the means of supporting themselves each in the face of the other.
The hopes of those who desire a general peace in Germany are raised by the approval accorded at Frankfort to the negotiations of Denmark for such a peace, although the clashing of so many different interests makes success very unlikely.
I have received this week the state's letters of the 9th inst.
London, the 30th June, 1634.


  • 1. Clarendon refers to his travels abroad and to his having been in Turkey. Hist, of the Rebellion, Vol. ii. page 350 He had been in Italy in the preceding Autumn, S.P. For. Savoy, desp. of 29 Oct. and S.P. For. Venice, desp. of 28 Nov.
  • 2. Arnheim's victory at Liegnitz, won on the 13th May.
  • 3. Proclamation of the 5th May. Steele : Royal Proclamations Vol. I. p. 200, No. 1675. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1634-5, page 7.
  • 4. Adrian Pauw and Jan Van Knuyt.
  • 5. Articles of agreement between Monsieur and the Marquis of Aytona were signed at Brussels on the 12th May, 1634. Memoires de Montresor, ed Michaud et Poujoulet, pages 190, 191.
  • 6. Dated the 16th April. Printed in Mercure Francais Vol. XX. pages 281-3.
  • 7. The Portuguese ship Nuestra Senora de Rosario was captured by the Dutch ship Salamander, Capt. Daniel le Clerk, with letters of Marque from the Prince of Orange and put into Plymouth on 5 February, 1631. after the peace with Spain. It was objected by John Lopez the owner that Le Clerk was a Frenchman and not capable of any commission from the Prince of Orange. Cal. S.P Dom. 1631-3. page 565 ; 1633-4, pages 357, 572, 573. It would appear that the abstract of the sentence printed in the Domestic Calendar under date July 7 is incorrectly given. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1634-5 page 67.
  • 8. Salvetti writing on the same date reports the capture by the Dutch of two large English barques, in the execution of the new decree of the States against those taking goods to the port of Dunkirk. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962.
  • 9. In February. 1633. See Birch : Court and Times of Charles I., ii. page 168, when the date is given as 1632, without indicating that it is old style.
  • 10. Benjamin Buwinckhausen de Walmerode, councillor of the Duke of Wirtemberg, came to England in 1620 as the envoy of the Princes of the Union. Although he refused the present three times, he ultimately accepted it, but meant to leave it behind in the hands of Baron Dohna. Ultimately the King persuaded him to take it with him. Vol. XVI. of this Calendar pages 220, 229.
  • 11. Gerbier's letter of introduction is in the Public Record Office, State S.P. For, Flanders, dated 17 June, N.S. He calls Pergami secretary and gentleman of the Chamber of Prince Tomaso, and says he had resided in England in King James' time. He had come as secretary to Count Ruffia, who visited England as Ambassador Extraordinary of Savoy in January and November, 1611, and he came again in June, 1612 and acted as Agent of Savoy until the arrival of the ambassador in ordinary Vol. XII. of this Calendar pages 374, 375.
  • 12. He went on to Poland by way of the Hague (No. 313 at page 241 below), and is reported as being there by the Venetian Ambassador on the 24th July (No. 325 at page 249 below). Boswell calls him "Prince Razwill's gentleman." S.P. For. Holland. desp. of 12/22 July.