Venice: November 1635

Pages 470-482

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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November 1635

Nov. 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
562. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Admiral Linge, having received his orders from the king about disarming the ships left the Court for the fleet the day before yesterday. Only seven ships which are in best repair are to remain in commission during the winter, under the command of Sir John Pennington. They are already thinking of preparations for the coming season. They have decided to fit out fifty of the largest and best ships. In order to be ready they have begun to exact the contributions. In the past these have been paid by the maritime counties only, but now they are made universal, and very rigorous from what they say. The people feel this new blow bitterly, but bear it more easily than they did last year. Perhaps habit makes it less sensible or at least more supportable.
With this disarmament the suspicions and uneasiness which the French and Dutch felt equally, have entirely disappeared for a time. But misadventures and mishaps have not been diverted. The Dunkirkers have become more daring and already scour these waters in large squadrons, like masters, so that within a single week of the withdrawal of the fleet they have captured four merchantmen and two men of war of the States with ease, to the great loss of the Provinces, as they say the former were very rich in goods and the latter in guns and admirably supplied with all other apparatus for war. The Ambassador Joachimi parades some of the captains and sailors about to prove to the ministers how utterly the Dunkirkers disregard the respect claimed by England for her Channel.
But it is not considered at all likely that the incident will have any effect in changing the decision already taken to withdraw the fleet, since the orders cannot be withdrawn without great confusion and disorder. In the mean time the ambassador does not relax his utmost efforts to obtain the ship that was seized, though he sees the hopelessness of the case. The ministers here indeed have gone so far as to intimate to him that they propose to deal with this matter along with the other affairs only after the arrival of the ordinary who is expected, and in this way they have deprived him of the opportunity of making any more efforts as well as of all hope, leaving him very dissatisfied, as if the business ever turns out well he would like to have the credit of it, after all his toil.
The French ambassadors considering the moment of the arrival of the Prince Palatine opportune, have reopened their old proposals for an alliance, adding copious arguments upon the need for the two crowns to unite in order to arrange peace. It is impossible to arrange this with the advantages which the interests of the Prince Palatine require unless his Majesty is willing to take some share, in which case he will necessarily be included in the capitulations and can reasonably withhold his consent if he is not satisfied in that which concerns the interest of his nephews. He can do this best by embracing the proposals for an alliance, without committing himself to occasions for expenditure, but enough to preserve his legitimate interests in that which concerns the cause of the Palatinate and the decisions that will be taken thereupon. The ministers here have devoted mature consideration to these most essential arguments and I fancy that they will very soon be laid before the Council in the presence of the king. Meanwhile the ambassadors cherish some hope that on the arrival of the Dutch ambassador extraordinary things may assume a favourable aspect, since the point of the negotiations for peace makes it necessary to take some decision.
News has arrived that the Spanish ambassador who was to have come over in the ship which took out Aston, has died, and that in his place they have named Benavides, who was recently ordinary in France. (fn. 1) If that is the case it is thought that he will come to his post soon, because since he left France he has been staying with the Cardinal Infant, and so he will not have a long journey. They are doubtful about the result here and almost repent of having sent Lord Astney to Spain so soon, before the other started.
Letters from Danzig have arrived this week containing the ratification of the truce between Poland and Sweden and the full articles. (fn. 2) As these come from the spot, I forward them herewith. The letters state that the two Polish ambassadors have started for these parts, one to notify his Majesty of the conclusion of this truce and thank him for his interposition and sending a special ambassador ; the other to assist the stipulation of a marriage between that king and the Prince Palatine's sister, of which the functions are to be solemnized, from what they say. That Prince Casimir, who is now serving Cæsar in Germany, has been recalled to Poland, no reason being given. The letters add that the Chancellor Oxenstern, was momentarily expected at that Court to take part in the diet of Warsaw for the ratification of the agreements. There has been some speculation here about the recall of Prince Casimir. Putting this together with the choice of this marriage, the king's disgust at the emperor's behaviour to him at his election to the crown, and over the death of Colonel Cratz, contrary to Cæsar's promise, they argue an unfriendly disposition on his part towards the emperor. But this is only talk, however plausible, born of the customary idleness of this Court and without other foundation.
With the object of getting some light upon the views of your Excellencies about giving ear to negotiations for an adjustment with the Duke of Savoy the Secretary Vindebanch made a distant allusion to the matter the day before yesterday. I answered him according to my instructions, and without another word he let the matter drop, altho' he listened attentively to what I had to say. I welcomed this opportunity of putting a stop to any advances. The propaganda of the Savoyard ambassador seems to be damped down and the secretary will certainly have reported to him.
The brother in law of the Ambassador Fielding (fn. 3) arrived here yesterday evening, who left here with him and has remained in his company hitherto. A servant of Fielding has come with him, and so far as I can gather he is sent with the same instances as the other.
I have received this week the state despatches of the 5th ult. At this moment the Ambassador Poygni has sent to tell me that the Queen Mother is moribund.
London, the 2nd November, 1635.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. Articles of the Compact made between Poland and Sweden. Dated September, 1635 ; twenty two Articles.
[Latin ; 6 pages.]
Nov. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
563. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Teller, destined to this Court by the King of England, upon the claims for the restitution of his nephews to the Palatinate, has not yet arrived. Here they express their readiness to afford him every satisfaction, always excepting that they will not strip themselves of those territories from which Cæsar recognises that he receives great ornament advantage and reputation. The coming of this individual is talked of as the first step towards the announcement of a rupture, since authentic news has reached here that that prince will not be satisfied with anything except the effective restitution of the whole of the Palatinate. On the other hand the emperor will never reconcile himself to giving offence to the Duke of Bavaria, who is more closely interested than anyone else, as Cæsar is unwilling to dash his hopes of the election of his son as King of the Romans.
Vienna, the 3rd November, 1635.
Nov. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
564. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Sieur de Somerdich has no idea of getting ready for the embassy. The Assembly of Holland is dissolved and the States General talk of a fresh nomination. The French secretary urges the necessity of the mission, since delay prejudices the business, but his representations produce little effect.
The Hague, the 8th November, 1635.
Nov. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
565. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince Palatine has not yet appeared. The delay is thought to be due solely to the contrary wind that has prevailed. Although no news has come of his start from the Hague, his Majesty, showing all solicitude for his reception, has already sent the Master of the Ceremonies to meet him and directed the Earl of Arundel to hold himself in readiness to go and receive him at his landing. Meanwhile he has had an apartment made ready near his own and every day he seems more ready to see him, either from real inclination, owing to his relationship, or to join with the universal applause. The people are certainly impatient at the delay.
Meanwhile the French ambassadors are doing their best to impress on the ministers the reasons why they should accept the proposals for an alliance, especially with regard to the negotiations for peace. This subject has received their chief attention here. It seems, altho' in a muttered way, they answer that since a good peace cannot be made unless it is general, and as in such case the cause of the Palatinate cannot be excluded, England will have no need to look about for pretexts for taking part, as the interests of the king with that House cannot be more considerable, more just or more public. To this tune the ambassadors reply it is perfectly true that the reasons which his Majesty has for taking an interest in such a cause are reasonable and conspicuous, and they are also so just that when a universal peace is under discussion he may with propriety make his voice heard and not accept one for himself without receiving satisfaction in the adjustment of the affairs of his nephew. But in the case of the other princes accepting, while he alone dissented, he would be left alone also to make good his claims by arms. If on the other hand he finds himself united in an alliance with France and the Provinces of the Netherlands, upon the honourable conditions proposed to him, in which the Most Christian binds himself not to agree to any settlement unless the Prince Palatine is previously reinstated in complete possession of his dominions, then the emperor will either make up his mind more easily, or he will be obliged to bear the burden of war with his Majesty until such time as a mutually satisfactory compromise is reached proper for the establishment of the peace. Accordingly whether an adjustment is reached or no, the interests of the Palatine cannot fail in this manner to be greatly advanced. If such an alliance does not take place after all, the Most Christian, being alone, will not be able to consider the interests of the Palatinates so much as to neglect his own, the more so because as regards the Upper it would not require much to induce him to accept other claims, since it is a fixed and constant principle of his always to support as much as he can the interests of his friends and allies.
To this state then have the last negotiations upon this affair been brought and left. Although it is considered equally important and serious by each of the parties, yet these matters passed hastily over only serve as a rough sketch to be further elaborated, if it be possible when the Prince Palatine and the Dutch ambassador extraordinary have arrived. But as a matter of fact they will resolve upon nothing here and will not agree to commit themselves to anything unless satisfactory news reaches them of the negotiations of Teller on the subject at the Imperial Court. They already say quite openly that their resolutions here must be measured in accordance with the emperor's replies and that they feel perfectly indifferent as to whether they shall be made in one way rather than in another. But if the truth must be told one may confess without scruple that for any one looking on here the manifestations are so varied that it is most difficult to understand what the soul of this body really is. The declarations issued from time to time afford no sure basis as they are mostly ephemeral and inconstant. For all this the matter is so important that I will devote my utmost attention to getting to the bottom of it.
The Resident of Savoy has said nothing more on the subject of a reconciliation. He seems to be thinking more about upholding the claims to the titles than of this matter. In addition to the publication of the papers which I have sent he is now arguing against a book which has arrived from Italy, entitled "The Opinions of Gianotti," printed at Florence, which discusses this matter and condemns the vanity and impropriety of such claims.
The Marquis of Poygne availing himself of the permission to raise a few Scottish recruits, is raising not only Scots, but English and Irish also as many as he can, sending them over to France in small detachments. For this purpose he has given patents to new colonels, who, with scant caution, raise troops and prepare for their own departure. Although this abuse is known at Court, it is connived at, and is never referred to. The ambassador is glad of this connivance as it gives him hopes of more and of greater things. But what causes more surprise is the absence of opposition by Spain, whose English recruits had been opposed a few months previously by Senneterre, and the raising of them stopped thereby.
General Linge has carried out his Majesty's orders, withdrawing the fleet and distributing in suitable places the few ships kept armed. He has since returned to Court, accompanied with great pomp by all those who served under him. He has knighted seven of these, to preserve the general's privilege not because they had an opportunity of earning it. (fn. 4). The action has not pleased the king or the generality, because it is customary to grant this honour only to those who have distinguished themselves, and on this occasion, when merit and valour have been buried, such a reward seems more ridiculous than appropriate.
Young Montagu, son of the Lord Privy Seal, left nere last week. The queen gave him letters to the Duchess of Savoy to whom she sent some presents of embroidery, after the style of the country and some very fine horses. The election of the new Mayor of London (fn. 5) was celebrated yesterday with the usual rejoicings. I took part in the function, as is usual, having been invited with the other ambassadors.
I have received the state despatches of the 12th and 29th September with regard to Lord Fildin's application for permission for an English ship to go empty to the Levant, I will be on the watch. So far, however, I have not heard a syllable about it, and the secretaries of state with whom I spent a long time yesterday at the function reported, certainly never gave me a hint. His Majesty has at last decided to come to this city, the day being already fixed for Monday.
London, the 9th November, 1635.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
566. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Sieur de Somerdich is most determined not to go to England, and the States do not propose to nominate anyone else, possibly thinking it unnecessary because of the indications of a truce. But the French urge strongly that the Spaniards only mean to deceive.
The Hague, the 15th November, 1635.
Nov. 16.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
567. To the Ambassador in England.
We have received your letters of the 12th ult. You acted quite correctly with regard to the paper published by the Resident of Savoy upon the claims of his prince. We need add nothing more on the matter as we are sure you will do what is required. We also recognise your skilful conduct over the matter of the servant. The Senate is satisfied and we rejoice that you have been relieved of that anxiety with honour and reputation. When the king returns to the Court and when you thank him as for yourself for the favour, you will tell him that you will inform us.
Ayes, 78. Noes, 3. Neutral, 1.
Nov. 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
568. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
By order of the Council a strict investigation has been made about the seizure of the Dutch ship, claimed by Joachimi with such persistence. They find that the captain, who is kept in close custody chased a small Dunkirk vessel into an English harbour, and having landed there pursued the crew and attacked them on shore, answering most insolently the governor of the place, who charged them to desist, in the king's name. (fn. 6) It is thought he will pay with his life and that the case will end with a sentence against the captain and the crew alike, as so far the captain seems to have little to advance in his defence. The ambassador is working his hardest to avoid this, but his efforts are rather to gain time until the ambassador extraordinary arrives, and he feels sure that that minister's departure will be hastened by this affair.
They have no news yet as to whether the Prince Palatine has started, and yet the wind which previously hindered his passage has been less violent for some days. The Master of the Ceremonies, who went to the coast last week to receive him, has returned to London. Here they form various opinions. They say his Majesty has told him that on account of the plague he must not bring any people with him beyond those necessary for his personal service, and if he has any more, they must stop in the ship. If this is true it undoubtedly amounts to an open declaration that his coming will not be agreeable ; otherwise it would be doing the prince too much wrong to forbid him to land his household, because all sorts of people and goods come from all the most infected countries to this city and the whole kingdom with the greatest freedom. This report is very widespread and although many believe that it is made up by the Spaniards and that there is not enough behind to make it certain, yet it is plausible enough to confirm in great measure that they do not mind and that they think of supporting the interests of the Prince with nothing more than words. It is well known that as he attains his majority next month he is coming on purpose to find out what the king means to do about helping him to recover his dominions and the prerogatives that are waiting for him.
The Italian gentleman sent by the King of Poland (fn. 7) in advance of his ambassadors and possibly with some special business, went to Court this week and saw the king for the first time. His reception ception was somewhat reserved and he complains about it openly. He did so to me, saying that they seemed to care little about the coming of the ambassadors for whose reception, apart from an empty house, no preparations had been made. I told him that with Seneterre still here and the Prince Palatine expected at any moment, it was impossible to attend to every thing at once. He said that he had made remonstrances, but to no purpose so that he had been obliged to buy furniture at his own expense. I have not been able to find out anything about his negotiations.
The Resident of Florence here goes about everywhere showing the book of Giannotti. Although printed at Frankfort as early as 1633, and not in Italy as I wrote by mistake, it has only recently arrived at this Court. The argument of the book is to uphold the claims of Florence to the royal title. He declares that he would rather his master deserved that title than obtained it, knowing it is more glorious to bear the name of Grand Duke lawfully than to go about begging that of a petty king. The Savoyard, on the other hand, rejects his arguments while exalting those of his master, and for this reason they do not meet. At Court however, these squabbles do not attract any attention.
Nothing has been said so far about the case of the English ship for the Levant, raised by the Ambassador Fildin. (fn. 8) I fancy they have paid no attention to the matter, or are satisfied with the reasons advanced by your Excellencies.
I have received this week the state despatches of the 19th ult.
London, the 16th November, 1635.
Nov. 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
569. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The very day that I saw the king the English ambassador had his first audience. I am assured on good authority that that crown wishes to act seriously for the restitution of the Palatine House. There is some proposal to give the young prince the fleet of fifty sail to use next spring. But I do not know what solid ground there is for the proposal.
Paris, the 20th November, 1635.
Nov. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
570. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Saturday the whole Court returned to London for the season, a month later than usual by reason of the fine weather, which their Majesties enjoyed extremely. I went to congratulate the king on his return and good health. I went on to speak of Lord Fielding's announcement to the Signory about his upright intentions towards the tranquillity of Italy. When I had said this I noticed that his Majesty hesitated somewhat and then he briefly replied that his objects were indeed good and he had shown it by his actions. From this your Excellencies will see, beyond a doubt, what I have written more than once, that Fielding's office came from his own caprice and not by order of the Court. So are all those which he keeps bringing in the interest of merchants and ships, as he barely writes here once in four months, and they write back to him a great deal less. (fn. 9)
I then began to thank the king for the favour conferred in releasing my servant, regretting that I had troubled him. He told me he regretted the incident more for the feeling that I had displayed than for itself. He was glad he had been able to satisfy me as he had no other intent. He next asked me how the siege of Valenza had been raised. (fn. 10)
I told him I had no news from Italy ; the advices had come by extraordinary couriers. If the news is true, replied the king, as I feel absolutely certain it is, it will serve to render the making of a good peace very much easier, and it will be necessary to make one, since it is clear by so many incidents, that it is not God's will that the war should continue. I commended these ideas warmly and so took my leave.
I passed an office of congratulation with the queen also on her happy return and her excellent health in her advanced pregnancy, now in the eighth month. I did so also in the name of your Excellencies, wishing her continued health and a happy delivery. She received the compliment very graciously and charged me to thank your Excellencies.
On the same day I saw Senneterre who has just come back from the country. He deplores the check under Valenza and says that in France they are afraid that the Dutch may conclude the truces, and they will have every reason, owing to the attempts recently made by the Spaniards.
He said he did not think that their High Mightinesses would take this step without the consent of the Most Christian. If they did and all the other allies disappeared, his king would rather be abandoned by all than be the first to abandon others. He would abide by his promises at all hazards and he would maintain his principles in the face of all the world. Even if he is left alone he will know how to uphold his own interests. This was directed not so much at the Dutch as at the Duke of Savoy, whose want of faith both of the French ministers condemn strongly.
I have found out the substance of the private negotiations between his Majesty and the Italian gentleman sent here by the King of Poland. He represented how that king would like to negotiate a second marriage with the Palatine house, giving his own sister to the Prince to wife ; but before making any overtures he wished to have his Majesty's opinion, by which he would be guided. He therefore asked him frankly if he approved or no of such an alliance. He added that until the prince could adjust his affairs in Germany he would try and get him some independent maintenance, suggesting the governorship of Prussia. The king merely promised to give him an answer, but he has not told him anything yet. There can be little doubt but that he will consent readily, although some of the ministers here seem to disparage the matter, saying that the princess, born of the second marriage of the late king, is rather a cross (pin misto) than of the essential stock of that house. (fn. 11) I do not know if these views are stated to uphold the Palatine's reputation, but they certainly are not considered entirely prudent, as it is hardly proper to offend one who seems so anxious to confer benefits.
For the conduct of this affair one of the ambassadors who are expected from Poland has arrived in this kingdom, but he is staying some miles away from the Court, in a most private manner. It is stated that the other is still at Hamburg. Although some have talked about both of them having gone to Holland, yet neither will certainly enter this city before the Prince Palatine has been publicly received. That Prince has not yet arrived, although news has come of his having been many days already at Flushing, and the Master of the Ceremonies has gone for the second time to receive him at his landing, while the Earl of Arundel holds himself in readiness to proceed to the place of his disembarcation immediately the first news comes of his approach.
The Spaniards have started a report that the king here has concluded an alliance with them for the purpose of preventing the further progress of the Dutch in the Indies and of driving them, if possible from the places where they have so successfully set their feet. They not only talk of this freely here, but the news having passed too freely to the other Courts, it seems that they write about it as something certain. I have tried to get to the bottom of the matter, and not entirely unsuccessfully, I think, as I am assured on excellent authority, that the king does not approve of taking any part in this business, although the Spaniards have pressed it beyond all limits ; but that the company which trades in those parts has made some fresh agreement with the Portuguese with such an object, which is not thought much of. In any case the Dutch continue their successful progress with too powerful forces and with no ordinary fortune.
The royal vessels have seized that French ship which captured, two months ago the barque of the courier, coming here from Dunkirk. They keep the captain and officers severely guarded, threatening them with some severe punishment besides the loss of the ship. (fn. 12) The Ambassador Poygni has taken charge of the affair. He excuses their inadvertence and says truly that as the letters were all restored soon afterwards, the fault is pardonable. He has presented memorials to the king on the subject, but with little effect so far, as they have given him no reply, and he is afraid that this affair also will drag on in the usual way.
The plague has begun to strike its roots in this kingdom, and is already making considerable progress at Greenwich, only five miles away. If it gains ground in this season, which is now very cold, there would certainly be danger of great mischief. The ministers here are devising their own remedies to stamp it out, and have ordered that goods coming from suspected places shali pass some quarantine in the pest houses in the future. (fn. 13) This shows praiseworthy diligence, but the measure would have been much more fruitful if it had been adopted earlier.
No couriers have arrived from anywhere this week.
London, the 23rd November, 1635.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
571. To the Ambassador in England.
We note in your letters of the 26th ult. the expected arrival of the Prince Palatine at that Court and the universal feeling in favour of something being done for him. We have no doubt you will intimate to the king and to the well affected ministers how greatly the existing state of affairs in Germany and the progress of the French and their allies in the Valtelline call for reflection as to what steps should be taken with things as they are.
Ayes, 102. Noes, 3. Neutral, 3.
Nov. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
572. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
It seems that at the present moment all the most serious resolutions and the conduct of all the more weighty matters of business so far as they relate to foreign affairs, are kept absolutely in suspense. It looks as if everything, without exception, depended upon the coming of the Prince Palatine. Although there is no authentic news of his approaching arrival more recent than that reported, nevertheless the negotiations of the French ambassadors make no progress whatever, and neither do those of Joachimi take a step forward. Both parties are put off with fair words and led to believe that with the arrival of the Prince Palatine and of the Dutch ambassador extraordinary, all their affairs can be brought to a satisfactory state both easily and quickly. But the French have now scant hope of the Dutch ambassador being sent, seeing this mission so much delayed and obstructed by private interests, and they even believe that the States are going on with negotiations with the Spaniards for an agreement. They are very suspicious and have made representations to the Court here pointing out how any settlement with the Dutch will strengthen the Spaniards and give cause for considerable alarm to these realms. Nevertheless the ministers here trouble themselves little about it, not because they do not recognise the prejudicial results which might ensue from such a step, or because they do not attach importance to the matter, but because they do not believe that any such thing can easily be arranged, and they consider that these suggestions arise more from the jealousy of the French than from a concern for their own interests here. However they talk of the matter with considerable concern and try to find out the real truth about it. They express many opinions, which I will not trouble to report, although they are well adjusted to the needs of the time and quite probable. All sorts of opinions are expressed because the extravagant proceedings of the Italian gentleman render everything suspect. He represented himself as sent by the King of Poland to advise the despatch of the ambassadors, and in particular to make overtures to his Majesty for some business. He announced this everywhere, said as much to me and told it to both secretaries of state, telling them that he had already spoken twice to the king and asking them to obtain some answer. The Secretary Coke, who has charge of such matters, thought the request genuine and the matter important, as concerning a marriage between the princess of Poland and the Palatine, and lost no time in urging his Majesty to reply. As the king assured him most positively that he knew nothing about it and had never seen this Italian, Coke tried adroitly to get from him his letters of credence, which he said he had in duplicate. He did not succeed in this, as the Italian always evaded it with dexterity. This naturally only redoubled their suspicions about him, and they thought of laying hands on him and making him give an account of himself in a more confined place. But yesterday morning, owing to some presage of disaster or the pricks of conscience, he left this city unexpectedly, no one knows for where. He left no indication of returning except that he entrusted some of his goods of a certain value to an Italian who lives very near this house, and frequents it a great deal because of the chapel. I thought proper to inform the secretary of this, as he had previously spoken to me on the subject in confidence. He intimated, by the king's command, that I shall greatly oblige his Majesty if I let him know secretly immediately this man comes back. He wrote this and repeated it orally with great insistance, so I promised to do my utmost.
This unusual manner of negotiating and all this concealment which have excited a great deal of suspicion at Court, have also made me curious to know as much as possible about this individual. As he stated that he was the son of Pietro dalla Valle, a gentleman of a most noble Roman family I thought I would get some information about him from some Roman gentlemen who are staying at this Court for their pleasure, one of whom is a nephew of Cardinal Spada. (fn. 14) They all with one voice declared that Sig. Pietro dalla Valle had no sons of the age of this man, the time of his marriage would not permit it. Spada remarked that he recalled him as a poor priestling full of chimaeras and sophistical inventions ; but this fresh knot cannot be entirely unravelled either, without some time. However the invention is very subtle, and makes one think a great deal, though it is not so easy to divine the object. One thing is certain, if the Polish ambassadors appear amid the suspicions aroused by this imbroglio, they declare that they will inspect very carefully the form and signatures of the letters they bring as this incident recalls one of a pretended ambassador of Poland who was treated as a real one in the time of Queen Elizabeth and received splendid presents from her. I will keep a look out and inform your Excellencies of what happens, as the affair seems to me more than ordinarily remarkable.
I have received this week the state despatches of the 26th ult.
London, the 30th November, 1635.


  • 1. Don Christoforo Beneventi di Benavides, who had been ambassador in France from April 1633 to the declaration of war. He had been appointed ambassador to England in 1631. Vol. xxii. of this Calendar, page 501. The ambassador designate who died was Don Francisco de Erasco. Count of Humanes. See No. 345 at page 269 above.
  • 2. The treaty of Stuhmsdorf signed on 2/12 Sept., to endure for 26 years. Sir Geo. Douglas sent off his report in his despatch of the same date. S.P. For, Poland. Dumont, Corps Diplomatique, Tome VI. pt. i., pages 115-117.
  • 3. Benjamin Weston, youngest son of Richard Weston first earl of Portland.
  • 4. Six of these are given by Metcalfe as having been knighted by Lindsey on the Merhonour on 23 Sept. O.S., viz. ; John lord Poulett, John his son, James Douglas. John Digby, Charles Howard, son of Sir Francis Howard, Elias Hicks. Book of Knights, page 193. The name of the seventh, John Douglas is given in the Domestic calendar, Cal. S.P. Dom. 1635, pages 382, 397.
  • 5. Christopher Clitherow.
  • 6. The incident occurred at Scarborough on 13/23 July when the Post of Amsterdam, Capt. Brown, chased a Dunkirker into Scarborough, engaged her there and carried her off. On another occasion Capt. Cornelius Clausen in the Prince Henry of Amsterdam had landed men at the same place to secure refugees from a Dunkirker. Capt. Povey, with the Bainbow Enterprise and Eighth Whelp had been sent to seize the delinquents and had taken the Sampson, Capt. Jan Verdieux. It was on behalf of the last officer that Joachimi was acting. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1635, pages 273, 365. See also No. 536 at page 446 above.
  • 7. An impostor, who styled himself at different times Antonio della Valle, a Roman ; Antonio Schinchinelli ; and Fulgentio Mascaroni. He deceived many people, but the Ambassador Correr more than any, who accepted him as what he pretended to be and lodged and defrayed him in his own house for more than two months, Salvetti, letter of 7th December. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962.
  • 8. The Hercules. See Nos. 539, 540, 544 at pages 448, 449, 453 above.
  • 9. Fielding's despatches preserved in the S.P. Foreign, Venice are, on the contrary, very regular and he received frequent instructions from home.
  • 10. On the 26th October. The place was beseiged by the French and their Allies.
  • 11. Anna Catharina Constantia, daughter of Sigismund III. by his second wife Constantia, his deceased wife's sister. The princess was aged 16 at this date.
  • 12. This seems to refer to the Petite Marthe, Capt. John Journeaux, a small warship of Dieppe, driven into the Downs by stress of weather and there seized by Sir John Pennington and her officers put under arrest on the charge of plundering the Grace of Weymouth at Hastings in the preceding July. It had nothing to do with the plundering of the mails in the month of September. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1635, pages 440, 463.
  • 13. A reference to the proclamation of 1/11 November. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1635, page 458. Steele, Royal Proclamations, Vol. I., page 205, No. 1709.
  • 14. Gregorio Spada Salvetti, news letter of 11 April 1636. Brit. Mus. Add. Mss. 27962.