Venice: December 1635

Pages 482-496

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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December 1635

Dec. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
573. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Teller has arrived but has not yet had audience of the emperor, who is trying to put him off, to avoid the necessity of a categorical reply about the Palatinate before he learns the precise intentions of the Duke of Bavaria in the matter, and then proceed in concert and arrange what offers shall be made to appease that crown. They may possibly offer an exchange in Flanders or elsewhere, a point they are now discussing, I understand, but with various opinions. The emperor is somewhat fearful of a union between the English king and the king of Poland, notwithstanding assurances received from the latter. Father Magno has been sent by Cæsar to try and keep that monarch away from the Sieur d'Avaux, to prevent the truce with the Swedes and to break off the match with the Palatine princess, though for this last he may arrive too late, as report says that it is concluded.
Vienna, the 1st December, 1635.
Dec. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
574. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A regiment of English has arrived at Calais. It will be employed in Picardy, where in the neighbourhood of Abbeville, the Croats have recently made an incursion, torturing and killing the peasants in an unheard of manner.
Paris, the 4th December, 1635.
Dec. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
575. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince has written to their High Mightinesses urging the despatch of an ambassador to England, as he feels certain that if he does not give some fillip to the affair it will fall through. The States General sent yesterday to the Assembly of Holland asking that the Sieur de Somerdich should be sent, or some one else in his stead. The Ambassador Joachimi also urges the necessity of this mission, telling them that he sees no sign of the release of the ship.
The English Resident announces the arming of a fleet of fifty ships to show that if these Provinces do not behave properly and inflict injury upon the merchants, his king will know how to avenge the affront. No reply has ever been made to his remonstrances and he feels aggrieved. Nevertheless the merchants enjoy their customary privileges and the Resident speaks contemptuously ; being aware that under present circumstances the Assembly of Holland must keep its counsel through fear of consequences. As a sop the States have decided to release a small English ship seized several months ago by the Zeelanders, but it is not believed that this will avail.
The Hague, the 6th December, 1635.
Dec. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra, Venetian Archives.
576. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After a long and dangerous crossing the Prince Palatine reached these shores on Saturday evening. Off the port of Dover Sir John Pennington was waiting to give him the first welcome, and as soon as he came in sight the guns were fired, taking the news to land, and showing the fitting signs of respect and rejoicing. But this first honour proved an unlucky one, for the guns were loaded with ball, as is usual here, to show the skill of the gunners, and a badly aimed shot struck the Palatine's ship, killing five persons, including two German gentlemen, who were not more than a couple of paces from the Palatine himself. Having come through this peril he landed on the following day, and was received by the Earl of Arundel, who brought him to this city with a numerous train of gentlemen of the Court. Other leading men met him at the Tower in his Majesty's name and took him to Court with the king's coaches. The Earl of Pembroke, his Majesty's Lord Chamberlain, awaited him at the gate and the prince at the hall in order to conduct him to the queen's chamber, where the king was ready to receive him. Thus their Majesties welcomed him in a private manner, but most courteously, while he in quite a modest and pleasant manner paid the compliments due, presented letters from his mother and remained for a space conversing with the king in English, at which his Majesty seemed very pleased. The rooms prepared for him are those nearest the king's apartment, for which special guards are appointed. About 70l. a day are assigned for table expenses, which will amply suffice, as the whole of his train, including the lowest servants, does not amount to sixty persons. Some of the ambassadors have not seen him yet, because he went to the country with his Majesty to enjoy some hunting with him. All have sent to pay their respects and I was not among the last. Two of his councillors have remained here, who frequent the house of the archbishop at all hours with great assiduity, undoubtedly to give shape to some business, but I have not yet been able to discover anything.
A courier arrived from France last night sent by the Ambassador Scudamore, they say with some matter touching the Palatine ; but nothing is known for certain, as the French ambassadors here have not yet received any advices about it.
The Ambassador Poygne continues without hindrance to levy and send to France a certain number of troops, and this is all he says he has been able to do for his master's service at this Court during the eighteen months of his residence here.
The Ambassador Senneterre is fully primed to make every possible effort now that the arrival of the Palatine has removed the reasons by which the ministers here tried to justify their delays. It seems that some ill feeling has arisen between these French ambassadors and the Resident of Savoy. It arose from some criticisms passed here on the bad behaviour of the forces of the league in Italy. Both the Frenchmen and the Savoyard defended the honour of their own side, each at the same time accusing the other. The Resident has published a paper sent to him by the duke in which every circumstance touching the siege of Valenza is narrated to his great advantage. The Frenchmen contradict this in their talk, but here they give more credit to the paper than to the talk.
The Italian came back to London on Sunday night, and the Secretary Coke, who was on the watch, received the information the same hour. On the following morning he had him arrested and examined forthwith, without giving him time to think. He persisted that he was what he professed to be. He called as witnesses some young Polish gentlemen who are passing through. When asked they said they did not know him, indeed they had been deceived by him with a false command he had shown them of the King of Poland, whose secretary he called himself. With this he made them stop here to honour the ambassadors who, he said, were near at hand, and in this way made them incur much unnecessary expense for clothes and liveries. Being thus condemned by his own witnesses and still more by some forged passports and patents, which were found instead of letters, instructions or other indications to qualify him as a minister of the King of Poland, he has little chance of escaping, especially as it appears by other papers of his, unless these also are forged, that he is one Antonio Fulgentio Mascheroni, of Cremona, and not Antonio dalla Valle, a Roman, as he claimed to be. They have also found by some other letters written to him that he is a religious, which aggravates his crime. It is not clear whether he is a priest or a friar, but they believe him a friar. Meanwhile they are bringing to light many pecuniary offences and a thousand other ribaldries of his, and the more they perceive his mendacity in everything, the more the belief they had in the approach of the Polish ambassadors vanishes, as he alone gave credit to the reports. Thus the articles of the truce with Sweden which I sent and which the whole Court believed here, must also be false, as well as all the news about that affair, as he spread it ; but I hope the general credulity will excuse my weakness in the matter. The ministers here are much annoyed at having allowed themselves to be deluded by this man, and they are mortified about assigning a house and the orders given for receiving the Polish ambassadors, published everywhere. This man, after deceiving every one by his subtlety, from confiding too much in the credulity that every one showed, by foolishly venturing to tell the very secretaries of state that he had spoken twice to his Majesty, a manifest lie that could not be hid, himself opened the way to disaster, which he might have avoided, if he had not aimed so high, or at least have postponed a long time. Meanwhile they have put him in the prison of the richest persons, (fn. 1) where he will remain a long time before they deal with him, as before going any further his Majesty wishes to inform the King of Poland about it.
The fears of the plague seem to be dying away here, as it is not making any further progress, being stayed by the cold.
No letters have arrived from Italy this week.
London, the 7th December, 1635.
Dec. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
577. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Teller has at last obtained audience of the emperor. He told him that the king, his master, wished for peace. For the sake of this he will not mind so much if the Palatines suffer some tolerable prejudice, but if his Majesty means to insist on oppressing them and on depriving them of their own dominions, then his king will change his views and will never allow matters to go so far in the face of the world with evidence of so much contempt for those who are of his own blood. The emperor replied that the matter did not depend on him. The empire was concerned in it and would uphold the sentence against the late Palatine. Accordingly he could not give a categorical reply, but he would say more on his return from Ort. In this way Teller's negotiations are held up. He went to see Ognat, but the Count, on the plea of indisposition, would not enter into the merits of the case and dismissed him with a few words. I had these particulars from Teller himself. He said he thought his king would be satisfied with an exchange wherever they wished, and if he saw any hope he would not be the one to kindle any fresh flames, but otherwise troubles which are possibly not contemplated will overtake the House of Austria.
Vienna, the 8th December, 1635.
Dec. 13.
Senato Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
578. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday I called on the French ambassadors. Among other things Brese said that the king of England was immersed in the delights of banquets, in his affection for his wife and in the pleasures of the chase, and he would never come to any decision of consequence, though occasionally some generous impulse was aroused in him by the glorious deeds of France. He added that the king had generous impulses enough to excite hopes, while all the ministers are in the pay of Spain. He repeated this more than once, saying that if the Spaniards had gold enough they would purchase an absolute dominion over that crown.
The Hague, the 13th December, 1635.
Dec. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
579. Anzolo Corker, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Saturday towards evening the king returned to this city with the Prince Palatine after staying four days at Theobalds, one of the most charming places belonging to the crown near London and especially enjoyable for every kind of hunting. His Majesty, indeed, neglects nothing that is likely to give pleasure to his nephew. He always wants him near, makes him dine with him nearly every morning, visits him frequently in his own rooms and treats him with a familiarity and affection in all things that cannot be exaggerated. All the others promptly follow the king's example. The Court has never been to frequented and they say it has not been in such a state for any one for many years past. In short the prince's manners are so pleasing and so generally acceptable that every one concludes that they will not let him go without previously coming to some generous resolution to console him.
On the following day the French ambassadors had made an appointment to go and see him and were setting out for Whitehall to keep it, when Windebank arrived in the king's name to know what title they meant to give him. They said "Monsieur," their language admitting of no other, and that being the title of their king's own brother. The secretary requested them to wait until he had made this announcement. They made no difficulty about this and he went off. He brought back word very soon that unless they would give the prince the title of "Electoral Highness" his Majesty had ordained that they would not be received, because he himself used this title and while the prince was in his dominions he would be received by that title by his subjects and in his own houses, and he could not permit others to treat him in a different manner. The ambassadors replied that their orders were different. The most they could do to please his Majesty was to call the prince "Highness" simply. The king would not agree to this, and so the visit was stopped for the time being.
These difficulties being put aside attention was immediately given to business and they intimated to the ambassadors that the king was by no means pleased with them, seeing that they had refused to oblige him in so reasonable a matter. They defend themselves on the ground of the instructions which they hold, which they say bind their wills as well as their tongues. They state that so far as their king is concerned he cannot make such a declaration without offending many princes, since it is clear that it would involve upholding it by deeds. On the subject itself the intentions of the Most Christian had been sufficiently manifested by the three proposals for an alliance which they have made here. So far as the restitution of the electoral vote is concerned he promises no more than to assist the Prince with his offices so that he may be reinstated in possession in an appropriate manner, which means by way of agreements, and it is only for the recovery of his dominions that the king offers at present to devote his arms. But these arguments are not accepted at Court, and it also appears that they attach scant credit to the excuse about the instructions which the ambassadors assert that they have received about the title, and they have sent expressly to France to learn the truth about it. This has give the greatest offence to the ambassadors and they declare wrathfully that if they are not to be believed it is useless for them to stay on any longer at this Court. Thus difficulties multiply about the affair to such an extent that if the serious interests of each of the parties did not make it necessary to pay more attention to business which is pressing than to questions of punctilio of no importance, ill feeling between France and England would certainly be not a little increased by leaving such a matter undecided, but it is believed that this counterpoise will keep everything in order in the long run.
The Resident of Savoy observed this dispute with great satisfaction and at once thought of turning it to account to advance the pretensions of his master, declaring that he will not call the prince "Electoral Highness" unless he responds by calling the duke "Royal Highness." This point also remains undecided, but it is not thought that the king will allow his nephew to buy the title of "Elector" from a petty resident at this price, and the Resident has little hope of it himself. The Florentine has not yet seen him and remains doubtful, observing what the others do. The Dutch ambassador alone has called upon him, without making scruples about titles or anything else. From what he admitted to me they responded very curtly but he is not sticklish about these formalities and devotes himself to the solid part of affairs.
Amid these fluctuations and utterly in the dark about your Serenity's wishes I thought the best course was to tell the Secretary Coke, who spoke to me about it, that I was ready to deal with the prince in the same way as your Serenity's ambassadors in Holland had done, because he had not changed his quality and I bore the same character as the other ambassadors so there was no reason to make any alteration. They have made me no reply as yet, and I am glad of this respite, which frees me from taking any step on my own responsibility. Meanwhile I have written to the Ambassadors Contarini and Michiel to advise me of what they have done in similar circumstances, and if your Excellencies send me your commands there will still be ample time, as it is thought that the Palatine will remain at least six months in this kingdom.
This affair impedes the league with France, whereas the presence of the Palatine ought to have facilitated it. What is worse, the Spaniards will not lose the opportunity for gaining ground, as they are always on the look-out for accidents and ready to seize every opportunity of securing an advantage. With this object the Resident Nicolaldi, contrary to his usual practice, frequents the Court, sowing jealousy rather than operating, although those of the Austrian party boast great things.
The ministers here seem very dissatisfied with the negotiations of the Ambassador Scudamore in France. Although they very courteously make allowances for his inexperience in many things, they have not been able to bear with patience the too positive way he has spoken to that sovereign about their resolutions here for the union with that crown and the assurance which they say he has given that the new fleet will be consigned to the Palatine in the spring, because nothing has been decided, indeed opinions differ greatly. So they are very annoyed at such commitments, the more so because Senneterre here does not a little to foment the ardour with which he negotiates.
The one remarkable thing here these last days is confined to a single intimation made very resolutely by order of the Council by the secretary Windebank to the Spanish Resident, that if they do not propose there to satisfy England with respect to the promised restitution of the Palatinate, and if the consequences are not seen very soon, they will be compelled here to throw themselves into the arms of France. The resident answered boldly that his king thought of nothing else but of intervening for such an adjustment, and he was sure they would have every satisfaction, almost hinting that he himself would vouch for this to the Palatine. The device would not be mal a propos, because while he sees that the prince's presence here supplies so much heat, he also recognises that it is his business to keep it tempered by simulations and hopes.
From Teller, who went to the emperor for this affair they have received letters this week from Frankfort, and when he arrives at that Court they will await some news of his negotiations by his first letters, although with more curiosity than hope.
So far the councillors of the Palatine have negotiated nothing substantial in their frequent meetings with the archbishop. They have only tried to put that minister in a favourable state of mind, as he is so powerful with the king. With his scant knowledge of the interests of state, which he has only approached in his old age, he is very anxious to direct the affairs of the realm. It is feared that he may oppose all steps proposed in the interests of the prince, their master, on the other side the prince devotes himself with all his heart to thoroughly win his uncle's favour. He avails himself with great prudence of the good inclination he has found, so that in the end it is thought he will not depart entirely dissatisfied.
With regard to the new fleet, which they propose to send to sea very strong in the spring, before they dispose of it, as Scudamore declares, prudence would suggest that they should look after the best way of getting it together and then of the means to maintain it. Of this they have as yet no certainty, because from the example of the past they thought every thing would be easy from the beginning, but the position has changed and experience shows the contrary, as many refuse to pay the contributions laid on them and very many declare that they are not able, so that it will be impossible to collect the money required without severity and force. They use violence without any regard, but that also avails little, such being the present state of affairs at the Court here.
London, the 14th December, 1635.
[Italian : the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
580. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have confirmation from several quarters that the English ambassador has commissions to speak of the restoration of Lorraine in exchange for the Palatinate. He has already made the proposal to Bottillier, appointed sole commissioner for his negotiations. I have not yet learned what reception he has met with as he conducts the affair secretly. This much is certain, that they listen here ; but the English mistrust their sentiments, fearing that they are not acting sincerely, not only because of the interests of Bavaria, but because of Galasso's retirement. (fn. 2)
Paris, the 18th December, 1635.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
581. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
To the surprise of everybody, except perhaps the Secretary Windebank, who is supposed to have suggested the step to him, the Spanish Resident Nicolaldi appeared at Court last Sunday, where, being introduced to audience of the Prince Palatine, he uttered with resounding tones the title of "Electoral Highness." He said he had been so glad to see his Electoral Highness come away from a country in rebellion against his master that he wished to be among the first to pay his respects and to assure him that his interests were not of such little account in Spain as he had been led to believe. He assured him that he would soon see the most certain and abundant results of this. The Prince answered with few words, merely thanking him for the favour he had done him.
This unexpected event has been the chief subject of conversation at Court this week. Opinions vary, but the greater part are so blinded by prejudice that the truth only appears under a mask. Some say that the Resident's action cannot possibly be received as a sign of honour and respect, but must rather be considered an obvious mockery, by which the Spaniards have wished to make game of the King of England, showing his nephew, to mortify him the more, the shadow of that body of which they themselves have taken away the substance. Others persuade themselves, by art or innocence to take it as genuine, making a pretence of believing that better and more desirable ends will follow from this beginning. But those who have pondered the affair with more prudence and who have penetrated more profoundly into the nature of the artifice, conclude that this adroit minister took the step for no other purpose than to cast greater discredit on the behaviour of the French, and in order to lull to sleep with vain hopes those who, since the Palatine's arrival, have shown themselves rather more awake and ardent than usual. The Spaniards really desire nothing in this matter except that nothing shall be concluded. There is nothing new in their using words and titles freely, when by these they can hope to stay the course of events when they seem against them. Meanwhile the Resident glories in his action with much ostentation. He had the presumption to say that by his visit he had given the Palatine a title which could not be denied him in the future by any one soever.
The French ambassadors seem contemptuous both of the effects and of what he says. They adhere more firmly than ever to their first decision. They have told the ministers here and the king himself clearly that the Spaniards only supply this wind in order to gently waft the Palatine's affairs to final perdition. Under the honey of their words and behind the vanity of titles they hide the poison of everlasting procrastination, whereby they hope to conduct them to the most deplorable calamity, and they are trying to mitigate the sinister impression caused by the memory of the countless evils which they have inflicted by holding out hopes of immediate benefits. It is necessary to remember who they are that traffic in such goods and to realise from experience that the matter will never get beyond promises. However, from what one is able to learn the king has not taken the visit in ill part, and even seems very pleased ; possibly he approved it before it happened owing to the advantageous representations of his ministers.
They pay no attention to the Resident of Savoy, who holds to the point I reported, and so far he indulges in vain dreams over the advantages that he claimed.
Nothing more has been said to me since I spoke to the Secretary Coke, so I hope that this silence will give me time to receive the state's commands. The holding back of the French ambassadors has met with as much approval from the general as it displeased the king. Many say very freely that it would be more honourable for England to try and make his nephew Elector in a proper way, in a manner which might endure, rather than call him such by vain reputation, which having no substance will wither and die as easily as it was born.
What they adduce against the ambassadors is that when Senneterre first came to England he found his negotiations flagged because he would not concede the electoral title to the young Palatine ; so he ceded the point. Being now reproached with inconsistency, he says that he did it on his own responsibility and was reproved and desired to abstain from any repetition of the act. In the mean time the French ambassadors contrive to confer with the Palatine without proceeding to any further declaration. They have found an expedient which will prove very opportune for them in time ; this is, when they meet him in the queen's chamber, where they both have occasion to go almost every day, they have already had more than one colloquy with him, without a formal visit and merely as private courtiers ; but so far they have not entered into any substantial particulars ; and so they think that Nicolaldi, with all his arts and stratagems, will find himself mistaken in the end.
It seems that his Majesty wishes the second prince Palatine (fn. 3) also to come to this realm, and they were thinking of sending a man of war to fetch him but this is not settled yet. Comedies, festivities and balls are the order of the day here, and are indulged in every day at Court for the prince's sake, while all the greatest lords vie with each other in entertaining him at noble and sumptuous banquets.
London, the 21st December, 1635.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
582. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Palatine's councillors have held long and secret conferences with both Secretaries of State more than once about giving the new fleet to the prince to act against the Spaniards, as they despair of getting any other efficient aid, because they clearly see that the king is in no position to do much in the way of land armaments, because he is so very short of money ; and even if, by a great effort, he assembled a certain number of troops, he would find it impossible to maintain them for long, for the same reason, unless he made up his mind to have recourse to parliament, and he seems most determined not to humiliate himself to that extent for this occasion. All the same they ask for troops, but obtain no decisive reply to either suit, as the English ministers are determined first of all to try negotiation. For this purpose they think of sending Rusdorf to Germany. He is one of these councillors and a man of great experience and loyalty. He is to take the Palatine's instances to Cæsar for the investiture of his states with the prerogatives that belong to him. Upon this the Spaniards have spread the report that the Palatine will obtain nothing unless he humbles himself, that is to say, asks formally for pardon. But they show great reluctance about that here, saying that the prince is only just attaining his majority and he cannot have erred or have merited punishment and that the proscription of his father cannot justly be allowed. The others maintain the opposite and it all serves to put things off and to gain time, which, in the present state of affairs, means everything. If they decide to send Rusdorf it is thought that they will also give him instructions from his Majesty to be presented together with those of his master, to give more warmth to the affair.
Meanwhile the French ambassadors are trying to prevent any alliance with Spain, owing to a rumour that overtures have been made about consigning some states in Flanders to the Palatines until some suitable compromise can be arranged for the re-establishment of their interests. Thus when these ambassadors were pressing the king hard the other day on the basis of the obligation to which France submits for the recovery of the Palatinates, his Majesty stated that if they would undertake to bind the Most Christian to restore Lorraine when the Palatine's dominions were given back, he would enter into it with all his heart, because upon those conditions the result would be obtained, for if the Austrians would not agree he would then promise to enter into an alliance with France with all his forces. As the ambassadors did not seem inclined to accept this proposal, he also refused absolutely to undertake any operations. Orders were sent to Scudamore in France to ask for the deputation of commissioners, and he has reported having done so, with great despatch, that the old secretary Bottiglier is appointed for one and he was expecting the nomination of the others. This stone has been set in motion by the Spaniards, who have made them think so much of the interests of Lorraine at this Court that they are set beyond comparison above those of the Palatine nephews. They offer the restitution of the Lower Palatinate and give hopes for the remainder if this crown will undertake to assist them with arms for the recovery of Lorraine, but it is quite clear that these are all artifices to break off the negotiations with France.
The ship has returned which took the Ambassador Astney to Spain, and with it a gentleman sent by him, with the news of his arrival at that Court, but without any further particulars. The same ship brought a million francs which the Spaniards are sending to Flanders, though they have not yet found a way of sending them across. It is thought that they will not be moved from the ship and that it will cross to Dunkirk in company with some others. (fn. 4)
It is said that two ambassadors from Spain, one ordinary and the other extraordinary are to arrive at this Court before long ; but it seems that one of them, who is reported to be staying in Flanders is hunting for every possible procrastination, to avoid coming. The captain of the French ship with three other officers detained in the prisons here, have been condemned to the gallows, without regard to the offices of M. de Poygne. (fn. 5) Both ambassadors implore the royal mercy, but without much hope of obtaining it. The Dutch ambassador, alarmed by the example, will try to have the despatch of his postponed, at least until the extraordinary arrives ; but he will find it very difficult to achieve this.
I have received the Senate's despatches of the 3rd, 8th and 16th ult.
London, the 21st December, 1635.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
583. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The ministers here, possibly for their own ends, do not neglect to tell the English representative here that numerous difficulties stand in the way of the peace negotiations, and that they find it hard to believe that the king will ever be ready to enter the temple of peace unless the French first open the gates not only of the fortresses occupied in Germany, but in Savoy as well. Concurrently with this the Spaniards keep up their negotiations with that Court for an alliance and keep them in hope of a marriage between the prince here and the daughter of that king. But just as the effectuation of this marriage is considered out of the question by the most discerning, so these negotiations are believed to be merely a device to soften by the hopes of this alliance the bitterness which that crown must necessarily feel on account of his nephews.
Madrid, the 23rd December, 1635. Copy.
Dec. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
584. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Princess Palatine is very pleased with her son's reception in England and hopes that the king will support her House with all his power. She told me that the French ambassadors in London had refused the prince his title, although the Spanish Resident had given it. As regards the marriage of her daughter she told me that she knew the King of Poland desired it, but no more. The Prince of Orange assured me that the king stated clearly that he would have the Palatine princess or he certainly would not marry.
The Assembly of Holland has excused the Sieur de Somerdich and has appointed M. Beveren, a person who has never held a public appointment outside the Provinces, although he has had long experience of the business of the Court. Everyone is sorry at Somerdich's refusal.
The Hague, the 27th December, 1635.
Dec. 28.
Senato Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
585. Anzolo Coreer, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The ministers here are still hesitating in their minds, without taking any decision. They incline, however, to despatch the councillor of the Palatine to impart to Cæsar the offices and instances I wrote about on the question of the investiture. It seems that the chief difficulty consists in the humiliation and asking for pardon, which the Spaniards insist must of necessity precede everything else, as the foundation stone of the whole affair. But the more they go about artfully airing this opinion, the less approval do they meet with, as no argument can avail to persuade them here that an innocent prince should humble himself to ask for such an absolution. So matters remain in the balance ; the councillor is not despatched and no other decision is taken. This means that they are playing precisely the game that the Spaniards desire, intent as they are in forwarding their most secret designs by taking advantage of the benefit of time.
In the mean time they are waiting here for some news of the dealings of Teller with the emperor and of what Schidemor is achieving by his negotiations in France, not without hope that by his means not only the interests of the Palatine but those of Lorraine also may be adjusted in a friendly way without an appeal to arms. But those whose intelligence and wishes are least clouded by prejudice recognise clearly the difficulty of achieving this most essential point, as they reflect how important it is for the Most Christian to maintain himself in possession of Lorraine because of the consequences involved and the manifest advantage it will give him in the negotiations for a general peace, not only for upholding the interests of the Palatines but for adjusting those of the Duke of Virtembergh to remove in part if not the ill feeling at least the disputes about the purchase of Pinerolo and for many other reasons besides. But whether because hopefulness is a satisfaction to the spirit which never fails or persuaded by the Spaniards, as many believe, they adopt the policy of delay already indicated. They do not take this line without some subtlety. Possibly they prefer to be thought self deceivers and to be bandaging their own eyes voluntarily, rather than to display their perspicacity in seeing to the bottom of the stratagems of the other side, and in refusing to take those measures which equity and their own reputation show them to be no less necessary than opportune.
They even profess to hope great things from the coming of the new Spanish ambassadors. They induce the Palatine himself to believe this and it appears that the prince's councillors, imbued with such ideas, feel confident of achieving every advantage by this route. Nevertheless they do not neglect to make the most strenuous efforts to make sure of the disposition of the new fleet, whatever the event may be, but here they are not willing to commit themselves so far.
In some counties, but without success, they are employing both mildness and severity for the raising of the taxes for the fleet. To avoid running into a dangerous situation his Majesty has decided to speak himself to the leading men among them. So he has had them summoned one by one and in a suave and pleasant manner tries to persuade them to contribute, asking them to consider the necessity of being found armed at sea for the safety of the realm and of trade and for the honour of the crown. By this means their bitterness seems to have been in great part removed and themselves rendered much more disposed to satisfy the king although disorders have not disappeared everywhere.
Nothing more is said about the advent of the Polish ambassadors and as regards the marriage it is as if it had never been mentioned, not because they are altogether hopeless, but because, after the disappointments that followed the reports too freely spread before, no one ventures to speak about it any more. They lay all the blame for past errors upon the imprisoned Italian. His purse and his health are already in a parlous state and when the replies expected from Poland arrive, it is thought that his proceedings will come to a very bad end.
A deputy from the Hanse towns arrived here these past days upon some business of the merchants there, but more particularly to try and recover a quantity of real property anciently bought by them for the dwellings of those who trade over here. (fn. 6) As their trade has all but disappeared entirely here, some persons made the king believe that they were ruined, and that there was no one left to demand possession of this property, so that they easily succeeded in appropriating it. The deputy has laid the claims of the merchants before his Majesty in good form and he, wishing to do right in the matter, has ordered some lords of the Council to take special cognisance thereof, so that things may be restored to their original position, as justice requires.
The sentence reported against the captain and officers of the French ship still holds but it has not been carried out, because the ambassadors here have already secured delay and hope to obtain a pardon.
The ship with the million of francs sailed for Dunkirk at the beginning of this week with a fair wind, and is shortly expected back. (fn. 7) The French ambassadors cannot conceal their displeasure at this but keep silent to avoid greater turmoil.
A few days ago the queen sent a gentleman of hers to Rome with orders to stay there in the capacity of her minister, al though covertly, but recommended to a Scot apparently in the service of some Cardinal. (fn. 8) To please his wife, the king gave his consent, a thing which has excited no little murmuring. Meanwhile a Monsignor Panzani continues to sojourn here most freely as the declared minister of the pope, tolerated not only by the Court but by the people, to the wonder of every one. He is trying to adjust some disputes which have been going on a long while between the secular and regular religious here. If his labours prove successful it will be a great gain indeed, because with these scandals removed the cult of the Roman faith will be much augmented. It seems that some complaint against him was brought before the Council a few weeks ago, but the queen's protection shielded him and the connivance of the king, taken with his own most modest behaviour will allow him to live in peace and safety. When he has reconciled the priests in question he thinks of attempting to re-establish the bishop of Chalcedon or some one else vested with a like character who can superintend the affairs of the faith ; but it is thought that he will encounter very great difficulties in the conduct of such a matter.
I have this week received the Senate's letters of the 25th November.
London, the 28th December, 1635.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
586. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador is busy with his negotiations over the question of the Palatinate and about the marriage as well. On the former, I fancy he has not so far obtained anything definite ; for the latter there is no inclination here and they have simply had recourse to it so as not to render that crown hopeless of anything being done, and to avoid giving them satisfaction amid the serious circumstances of the present time. According to what I have been told his Majesty cannot come to any decision in the matter without having the opinion and consent of Cæsar, whom the Catholic regards as a father. ... It is also stated that the ambassador proposes to interest himself in the private negotiations which are now on foot with the Dutch.
Madrid, the 29th December, 1635. Copy.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. The Gatehouse, Westminster. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1635-6, page 182.
  • 2. From Lorraine, begun on the 27 November.
  • 3. Rupert actually the third, but the second surviving son of the Elector Palatine Frederick V.
  • 4. The Henrietta Maria arrived in the Downs on 28 Nov.—8 Dec. after a three weeks' voyage. She had on board Mr. Henry Davis, bringing news of Lord Aston's arrival at Madrid, and 200 chests of silver, of the value of 100,000l. English. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1635, pages 508, 526. S.P. For. Spain, Vol. 37.
  • 5. John Journeaux. captain, Isaac Gosselin, lieutenant, and Moise Claveaux, boatswain of the Petite Marthe of Dieppe, convicted on 18th Dec. of pillaging the Grace of Weymouth at Hastings in July. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1635, pages 440, 463, 464, Pougny to Bouthillier, 19th Dec. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
  • 6. Leo ab Aysema. His letters of credence are dated 15 Sept., 1635. He came to uphold the claims of the merchants of the Hanse to the property of the Steelyard, London, which had been closed in 1598 by order of Queen Elizabeth. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1635, page 101. S.P. For. Hamburg and Hanse Towns. Zimmern : Hanse Towns, page 350.
  • 7. The Henrietta Maria sailed on the 5/15 Dec. and returned on the 10/20 of that month, Cal. S.P. Dom, 1635, pages 541, 557.
  • 8. Arthur Brett, who had served under the Marquis of Hamilton in Germany. The queen had selected him early in November. He had letters of recommendation to a Scot named George Conn, Secretary to Cardinals Montalto and Barberini, who was expected to take the chief hand in the negotiations. Salvetti, news letters of 9 and 23 Nov. 1634. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962.