Venice: February 1636

Pages 509-525

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 23, 1632-1636. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1921.

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February 1636

Feb. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
598. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Wednesday morning the king left for Newmarket, satisfied at leaving the queen in perfect health. The day before he granted a long audience to Joachimi, the object of which it has been impossible to discover, except that he announced the embarcation with the first fair wind of the expected ambassador extraordinary. It has transpired that the king reproached him about his masters negotiating an agreement with Spain without acquainting him with the fact. Joachimi apologised by saying that no substantial negotiation had taken place, but it was natural for a nation which had so long suffered from war to seek or at least not to despise the repose of peace, after having struggled against so powerful an opponent as the House of Austria, but that the States were determined not to desert their allies. From all this it clearly appeared that the matter deeply interested England and that if Holland made a show of really closing with Spain the king here would make some concessions in favour of the Dutch. Joachimi sees this advantage and dexterously avails himself of this dread to nullify or at least slacken the intrigues of the Spaniards at the Court.
His Majesty's intention to gather at an early moment the fleet decided on, continues more vigorous than ever, though little has been achieved so far. He has decided to arm in any case twenty-eight of his ships, and twenty-two will be hired from the merchants, forming a body of fifty sail. With these he proposes and declares that he will maintain his superiority at sea, prevent disputes between the other nations and secure trade for every one. He also claims that he will no longer allow any one who likes to fish but will only grant leave to those who will pay some recognition that shall be determined, for tho privilege. The reasons for this jurisdiction are set forth in a book recently printed on the subject, entitled "Mare Clausum," (fn. 1) which treats of it at length. As the dominion of your Excellencies over the Gulf is cited as the principal among many examples I have thought fit to send a copy herewith foir your consideration.
This declaration will ruin the hopes of the Palatine that he would have the disposition of this fleet, and it has given the neighbouring nations and especially the Dutch cause for the greatest dissatisfaction, as if the use of the fisheries is interrupted they will lose one of their greatest advantages. The ambassador extraordinary is expected to remonstrate, for as long as it was merely a question of punctilio and seniority, the Dutch gladly avoided occasion for dispute and obeyed : but now that it touches their interests and an attempt is made to prejudice their advantage so seriously, they certainly will not be able to suffer it so easily.
The French keep quiet, because they have not got these interests and because the moment is not suitable for raising disputes, but the ambassadors here told me in confidence that when the other affairs, which at present require all their attention, have taken a better turn, the king, their master, certainly will not willingly bear so servile a yoke, and they hope that the English will not be able to keep this up for long, because the interests of many princes are concerned, and it will be to their advantage to prevent such a pernicious novelty from taking root. They say that the material is ready and the pen chosen to answer this book, so the curious will await the result with impatience.
Although the Palatine is better he still keeps his room and will not follow the Court until next Monday. Nothing fresh has been done for him. They have no news from Teller, beyond the appointment of commissioners.
Owing to the dissatisfaction which Douglas, who has hitherto acted as ambassador extraordinary for this crown with the King of Poland, has caused in all his transactions, the king here has ordered him to lay down his charge. There is some suspicion that, corrupted by the Spaniards, he has tried to prevent the marriage between that king and the Palatine princess. He is not without friends here who wish to defend him ; but the king is very angry against him and will not listen to argument, insisting that he shall be deprived of his charge, intending, if his crimes are proved, to proceed still further in punishing him.
The Italian who pretended to be a minister of the King of Poland, and who was imprisoned until the replies arrived that are expected thence, has given a fresh proof of his cunning. He has escaped from prison in the dress of a collier, leaving in his stead a real collier, whom he had made drunk in order that he might remove his clothes. (fn. 2) The king is exceedingly wroth and is making every effort to have him found, but without result so far, as the man is no less clever at hiding than he was at escaping.
The queen mother is renewing her manoeuvres to obtain permission to come to this Court. The Marquis of Sordiach is negotiating the affair, under the pretext that she wishes to proceed from here to Spain. The king does not incline to it, because he fears that she will want to stay. The queen is sorry for her and would like to see her satisfied, but she does not declare herself expressly. Those who do not wish it tell the king that if she wishes to proceed to Spain he can offer her one of his ships to take her to Dunkirk, and that is the present position of the affair. The French ambassadors say nothing about it, but affect to ignore it entirely. It is considered certain that the king will not agree to it, because even the expenses incurred over the Palatine begin to prove heavy, the more so as there is no sign that they will cease soon.
I have the State's despatches of the 4th January.
London, the 1st February, 1635. [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
599. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have referred to the proposal of the English Ambassador for an exchange of Lorraine for the Palatinate. They told him that the suggestion was a very unequal one, as the king has spent a great deal of money and lost many men in the defence of Lorraine, while England has laid out nothing for the Palatinate. If the English had some place in that country in their hands it might be possible to satisfy them. They subsequently proposed that if the King of Great Britain would make open war on the Spaniards, His Majesty would undertake never to make peace without the restitution of the Prince Palatine to his dignity and states. As the ambassador's instructions did not cover this, he asked for time to write, and is now awaiting the answer. He had audience of the king recently at which he informed him of the birth of the king's daughter. (fn. 3) He also asked that the French ambassadors should give the Palatine the title of Elector. His Majesty referred the matter to the young Bottillier, who has told the ambassador that he does not see how they can give the title, since none of the states or princes of the empire has declared him elector, and the dignity of Elector is bound up with the town of Heidelberg. But the English complain saying that the king's ministers recognised the Administrator of the Palatinate as Elector in the diets of Elbrun and Frankfort and it is strange to refuse to the Palatine himself what they conceded to his representative. The English ambassador has also had a special audience of the Duchess of Lorraine, but merely complimentary, and with the unusual form of not covering himself.
Paris, the 5th February, 1635. [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghiiterra. Venetian Archives.
600. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince Palatine, having entirely recovered from his indisposition, left on Monday for Newmarket, desiring to share for some days in the pleasures of the chase which his Majesty is enjoying there, at present. It is not thought, however, that the king will stay so long as he intended, as something important recalls him to the city. Meanwhile the Palatine's affairs remain practically asleep here, and they do not seem to think of anything but waiting for the replies from France and Germany.
One of the ministers here told me the other day that if the French knew how to use their opportunity they might easily win the king here, as he is very dissatisfied with the proceedings of the Spaniards and only needs a legitimate pretext for breaking with them. The Council had debated the matter fully and the only suggestion they had to make was to propose to the Austrians an exchange of the Palatinate and electoral vote for Lorraine, to which it is certain the Austrians cannot consent because of Bavaria. His Majesty would therefore be easily induced to join with France and they do not understand why the French, who seemed so anxious for an alliance, do not seize the opportunity.
I thought it advisable to broach the matter to Seneterre. He took fire at once and said with determination that if they could really be induced to believe in France that they are talking sincerely here, the opportunity would certainly not be allowed to pass without due consideration. But it is not possible to feel any certainty about the genuineness of what they say, since it is folly to talk of needing pretexts because every one knows how many occasions for offence the Austrians have already given them and how strongly the interests of their own reputation invite them to an open rupture wiih that nation. Even if the Most Christian consented to such an arrangement it would serve for nothing except to make him a party in the comedy which the Spaniards and the English are playing with the emperor when they treat with him on this question. Although there is not the slightest doubt that they will never arrive at such an adjustment, it is equally certain that they will not break off the negotiations, but will arrange by such means to carry on the affair for ever. TiJvis is the sole object to which they aspire. He added that he had stated these arguments very frankly to the ministers here and to the king himself, but either they were unwilling to consider the matter or they are so wedded to their oicn opinions that they do not think the opinions of others, or the truth of any consequence. But in the long run, always supposing they really wish to alleviate the miseries of the Palatine family, they will be obliged to decide upon something here. But they will lose the opportunity afforded by present circumstances, because the king, his master, having a free hand, wotdd make peace whenever it suited his convenience, and would not trouble himself to consider anything beyond the requirements of his own personal interests. I said I thought it would be wise to foster any good will shown here, because of the importance of the matter in negotiation. He could easily secure himself against deception.
Such are the difficulties and distrust between these two nations. They increase, and there is no sign of matters taking a more favourable turn during the time that they are engaged in negotiations, unless some unprejudiced party acts as mediator. Indeed it is practically certain that they will end in disaster, as quarrels about ships and merchants crop up in swarms every day so that it is all but impossible to assuage the ill feeling aroused and make way for that mutual confidence wlhich such a business demands.
Just now there is fresh trouble about an English ship seized in a French port with Spanish goods. (fn. 4) This helps greatly to foment the lamentations and threats against France. They do not listen to the apologies of tihe ambassadors, who declare that the injury is not offered to England but to the property of the enemies of France.
They are also very excited here at the Most Christian collecting such numerous naval forces, as they suppose, believing that he intends to dispute with England the sovereignty that she claims. In short everything that each of them does is observed by the other with great jealousy, and the ministers who ought to remove this, being incompetent, only serve to increase it.
The fleet will certainly consist of fifty sail, in the manner reported. They will arm them the quicker because speed is of consequence, owing to the events aforesaid. The contributions, however, are coming in very slowly, because those who do not want to pay delay as much as possible. They propose to lay fresh duties on wine, tin, silk and other things, because many duties, even when paid by few, produce the same result as is expected from one alone when it is paid readily. Complaints about this rise from every quarter, and vigorous remonstrances that they are acting against the laws of the realm. But he who wishes is able to have it so, and any one who does not like the form of the present government must be content to have patience.
The few ships which stand on guard of the ports here have received orders to search all the Dutch ships which they fall in with in order to remove from them all Englishmen whom they find on board, in fulfilment of recent proclamations. They are carrying out these instructions, so far without incident.
The eight Dutch sailors arrested at Plymouth for the outrage reported, have been condemned to the gallows, and the sentence will be carried out one of these days, since no one has opened his mouth in their favour.
With respect to the queen mother's visit here, they have decided, after a few consultations, to tell the Resident Gerbier to offer her ships and every other convenience for her passage to Spain or Italy ; but if she persists in her idea of coming here first, he must try with tact to dissuade her, and if she will not be persuaded he must indicate that she will not be welcome. The French, ambassadors are afraid that she may coma unexpectedly and that necessity may make her decide, because they assert that at present she is very badly treated in Flanders, he attitude of the Cardinal Infant towards her becoming steadily worse.
The latest from Paris states that the partisans of Duke Charles of Lorraine at that Court go about stating that he has gone to Brussels with the object of coming here, full of hope of obtaining great assistance for his interests. It cannot be denied that they sympathise greatly with his afflictions at this Court, but that will not carry them so far as to think of relieving him by anything but good offices and negotiations, so that if he is well advised it is thought that he will spare himself the trouble.
1 have received this week the state despatches of the 5th ult.
London, the 8th February, 1635. [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 9.
Senato. Secreta. Dispacci. Germania. Venetian Archives.
601. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Since Teller's negotiations reported on the 19th ult. there have been various consultations about the best way to secure the interests of the Duke of Bavaria and of the Spaniards. In the first instance they thought fit to inform Teller by a third party that they would always be ready to restore the Lower Palatinate if the King of England would pay the Spaniards three million florins as an indemnity for the expenses incurred in its acquisition. That it was not just to despoil Bavaria of the electoral dignity or to treat of the matter during his life time, but after his death this difficulty could also be adjusted. The desire of the Catholic to gratify the Palatine was shown by the Spanish minister in London giving him the title of "Electoral Highness." In the midst of all this and feeling doubtful whether he would obtain anything, as the demand for so great a sum clearly showed that their object was delay, Teller decided to renew his offices. He denied that there was any ground for claiming such a sum from his king, and if they could give him no better satisfaction he would leave at once. If trouble came of it, that would not be his fault. They told him that they must wait for the bishop's return. At the suggestion of Ognat they have decided to send a gentleman to England to treat with the king there, on the pretext that Teller's commissions are not sufficient. They have chosen for this one Verteman, an Aulic Councillor. This decision, so unexpected by him has struck Teller to the heart, as he sees it is due to his excessive zeal, especially with the Spaniards, who have had the greatest share in taking the business out of his hands. However he stays on and will not leave without express instructions from his king.
Vienna, the 9th February, 1635. [M.V.]
Feb 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
602. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Bavaria, stimulated by the reports of the supplications of the Palatines in England, and fearing some disturbance, is trying to secure himself in the affections of his subjects in the Palatinate, and has had the oath of fealty administered at Heidelberg and in a great part of the country.
The Hague, the 14th February, 1635. [M.V.]
Feb. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
603. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When the Prince Palatine reached Newmarket, before he could see the king, he was attacked by another severe fever and had to take to his bed. He is still suffering from it, and they have not been able to find out here if he is in great danger, although, we hear that in addition to the fever he is also suffering fering from deep melancholy. This is unsuitable to his years, and especially amid the diversions he enjoys it is thought it will do him a great deal of harm. They say that all his trouble originates from the unfavourable turn he has seen his affairs take, and not without reason, because the resolutions which he expected from this quarter move very slowly and are involved in difficulties. The king still remains there, entirely devoted to the pleasures of the chase. As no discussion about grave matters can be held at this time, they do but little. He is expected back any day, but no time has yet been fixed. The French ambassadors desire it impatiently, because the ministers here use this pretext to delay the progress of their negotiations, which remain precisely where they were.
They are showing the utmost activity about the preparation of the new fleet, and they circulate the report that as soon ,as the weather becomes somewhat milder they will send it out.
The contributions come in slowly, but in the end every one pays them, to the bitter dissapointment of those who hoped, by hanging back, to compel the king to convoke parliament. They have abandoned their hopes and given up the practices they had begun, realising at last that they were only grasping at shadows, because when the king has established such a power at sea, that will suffice for him to carry on his affairs without them. Besides this they will have to bend their necks to the new contributions, which are being laid rigorously on everything sold in the kingdom. With a very large annual revenue assured in this way to the crown no further attention will be paid to any proposals or instances for parliament under the pretext of the public weal.
There has been some disturbance in Ireland owing to the Viceroy sentencing one of the leading lords of that kingdom, who commands the troops, to be shot. (fn. 5) The people, unused to such forms of justice, have made reclamations to his Majesty with one voice, and it is thought that he will annul the sentence to content them, especially as every one here condemns it as too severe. This circumstance has given an impulse to the Irish to petition the king to gratify them with his presence for once, and he has expressed some intention of going there at an early date, but this will not mature very soon.
It is whispered that the Secretary Coke will be ordered to resign his office as too old and unequal to the fatigue, though with the recompense of another, no less useful than honourable. He is really very old, but not so feeble that one can call him incapable of his duties, of which he now has so much experience. But the change may easily take place, because he is entirely sincere and by no means partial to the Spaniards, and so there will be many after the office. (fn. 6)
The Duke of Wirtemberg's brother departed this week for Holland on a Dutch ship. By his brother's command he asked and obtained from the king here protection for his chancellor, as if in the service of England, to negotiate with the Imperial Commissioner Ossa about Wirtemberg's castles and the restitution of church property.
The ordinary of Antwerp has arrived with the Senate's despatches of the 12th and 18th ult. I will observe the instructions sent with regard to my behaviour to the Prince Palatine. The French ambassadors have never met him except in the queen's chamber. They have orders not to give him the title he claims. I might adopt the same device, in order to prevent confidential relations from dropping altogether.
London, the 15th February, 1635. [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
604. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has recently held long conferences with the Secretary Bottillier. I hear that his negotiations no longer consist in what I reported, and in substance the English do not wish to commit themselves to any declaration, while here they make difficulties about giving the title of Elector to the Prince Palatine.
Paris, the 19th February, 1635. [M.V.]
Feb. 20.
Cinque Savii alla Mercanzia. Risposte. Venetian Archives.
605. Recommend the granting of bail to John Hobson, as it is necessary in his case to obtain evidence from Zante and Cephalonia and even from England, so that it will take a long time to get it.
Dated in the office, the 20th February, 1635. M.V.
Polo Morosini. Savii
Marco Contarini.
Polo Antonio Valaresso.
Feb. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
606. To the Ambassador in England.
The English Ambassador has been in audience this morning and has again pressed for the despatch of the affair of the English merchant as shown by the enclosed copy. The matter has been in hand for several months and has been referred to the competent magistrates. We will do what is possible to satisfy his Majesty and will advise you of the result.
We learn from the Imperial Court that steps are being taken for the restoration of the Palatinate, it being reported that the Spaniards incline that way, provided England will undertake to make good the costs incurred and that they give the Duke of Bavaria his rights. Also that the Aulic Councillor Vertman has been sent to England. We wish you to know this so that the information may serve to compare with what may happen at that Court and so that you may observe the proceedings and offices of this imperial minister.
Ayes, 86. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
Feb. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
607. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Prince Rupert left last week for London. The French say that he was sent for by the king, acting on the advice of the Spaniards, to show their influence. Brese told me that their ambassadors in London had powers to bribe the English ministers, but knowing that they were heavily pensioned by Spain, the ambassadors were at a loss as to what they should do.
The Hague, the 21st February, 1635. [M.V.]
Feb. 21.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives.
608. The Ambassador of Great Britain came into the Collegio and spoke to the following effect :
I have waited until now, as I feared to importune your Serenity when you were occupied with more serious affairs, but as the expedition of the English merchants is still delayed, about whom I made such efforts and you gave repeated promises, I thought I should not hang back, since nothing has been done, although my recommendations were made last August. The merchants are still excluded from those acts of justice which they are awaiting, and two of them have gone voluntarily to prison to prove the equity of their cause. I have made many movements in this matter, and seeing further delay I am bound to come and refresh your Serenity's memory for their despatch. 1 am moved to this by a fresh and express command from his Majesty and by the sufferings of the prisoners. I ask that they may be relieved in some way, so that his Majesty may see that your Serenity means to give effect to the promises made to his Majesty by the ambassadors, as he expects nothing from your Serenity but good relations and friendship. This is a question of justice, and my king hopes that this matter will be terminated for the relief of the poor merchants.
The doge replied, The republic is especially anxious to do everything to satisfy the requests of princes, and especially about the trade of their subjects. It doeis so in its own interests, as we should do everything to open our city to trade, and we endeavour to draw all to this mart, from tne advantages which they may expect there. In these matters private and public interests coincide. We have seen no one who has solicited the despatch. Your lordship performs general offices and does what his Majesty's interests require, as is customary between princes, but in private affairs it is usual for some interested person to appear and petition.
The ambassador said, I have not failed to perform the necessary offices, and so long ago as last August I spoke for those poor prisoners.
The doge replied, We know you have not failed, but the multiplicity of affairs has obstructed our wishes. Be good enough to give a memorial, especially about those who you say are prisoners, so that, care may be taken to do what is right.
The ambassador repeated that he had not failed and had solicited the despatch of the affair. The doge answered, It is right to terminate this affair ; it shall be taken in hand, the magistrates shall be summoned to learn how it stands. The ambassador said that he looked for so much, took leave and departed.
Feb 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
609. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Teller's despatches received this week are full of hope. He says that the emperor is excellently disposed in favour of the Palatine and is hastening the convocation of a diet to give a categorical answer. The French ambassadors declare that this is merely a continuation of the usual cajolery, to keep the hands of tihe English bound. The time will have gone by for shaking off the bonds when they realise too late the stratagems which have been used to keep them thus immersed in irresolution. But here, with their unwillingness to do anything in this affair which involves a decision or expense, they seem ready to shut their eyes to tricks, and they do not in the least mind these devices being patent to others. Certainly, on no better foundation than these letters, which express nothing in substance beyond mere compliments, the ministers here affect to believe that the matter has been admirably launched in that way and that there is little occasion to negotiate in any other way.
Although the replies received by the Ambassador Schidemore in France upon the proposal to be made to the emperor for an exchange of the dominions of the Palatine and the electoral vote against Lorraine, have not been in conformity with their expectations here, as they did not believe that the matter would be dashed to the ground by so open a refusal at the very outset, yet they are not displeased with them here, for reasons already given. They are in no special hurry to send further instructions to Schidemore, since he bears nothing which has not been previously proposed by the French ambassadors here. So long as these hopes survive those of the French ambassadors here must remain altogether crushed, although there is still some faint spark of concluding something at this Court. Their negotiations certainly would not regain any prestige were it not that the proposals to be made by the new Spanish ambassadors are disapproved at the outset.
The Resident Nicolaldi applied for four men of war to bring over the new Spanish ambassador. The king granted the request at once. The French ambassadors say that one would have sufficed, but that under this pretext the Spaniards mean to transport a considerable amount of specie into Flanders, which they have all'ready. They do not dare to remonstrate openly for fear of increasing the existing ill feeling, but they have contrived indirectly directly to let the king here know how much their master disaproves of this. The large French squadron now putting to sea is said by them to be destined for the Mediterranean, to harass the enemies of their king in that sea. They hesitate to credit this here and will only believe deeds. The Ambassador Seneterre assured me that these were the real aims of France, and he said he thought that the fleet would be sent straight against the kingdom of Naples, which was ill provided. But like the English I think that we must wait to see what is done, as the French are very sensitive about this claim of the English to rule these waters. Thus they declare that this superiority will not be exercised for long without some scandal, since neither they nor the other neighbouring countries can tolerate it. Such announcements as this have greatly perturbed his Majesty here and. his ministers and it is because of them that all the operations and negotiations of the French are invariably regarded with the utmost fear and suspicion.
The king has returned from Newmarket. The Prince Palatine came with him, not recovered, but much better. Prince Rupert, his younger brother, has also arrived from Holland when least expected. The king received him with every sign of the warmest affection, but he is not so welcome at Court, because they, fear that by degrees they will all come and will take root. The French ambassadors have sent their secretaries with congratulations on his arrival and offering their service. I did the same and he responded very courteously. They cannot visit him, because they did not visit his brother, and I shall stop at the same point.
Although the King of Poland still seems disposed to conclude a marriage with the sister of these princes, they seem to have given up all hope of it here owing to the strong opposition of the diet of Warsaw. The king and Court deeply regret this news, but it is not known if they are thinking of any way to remove these difficulties.
Quarters are already prepared for the ambassador extraordinary expected from Holland. They await him with some impatience owing to their suspicions that those Provinces may go on with their negotiations for the truces. They have discussed the advisibility of sending some one to Holland on purpose to try and dissuade the Dutch, but judging that this would give rise to requests for assistance, they decided not to touch this chord unless the occasion becomes more pressing. The Ambassador Joachimi artfully encourages such fears, so that they may treat the Dutch fishermen more gently in the matter of the fishing in Scottish waters, which they wish to prohibit entirely.
The deputy from the Hanse towns left this week for Holland, after obtaining the consignment of the real property in question and every other satisfaction in the matters he negotiated. (fn. 7)
A dispute which went dangerous lengths has occurred between the Duke of Lennox and the Earl of Pembroke over their claims to a box at the comedy. They would certainly have fought if his Majesty had not intervened. They are now reconciled, though both of them seem dissatisfied. (fn. 8)
The gentleman sent by the queen, (fn. 9) with the king's permission, to reside at Rome in her name, has been driven on shore by a contrary wind, after having been many weeks at sea, and he is now very ill. He had instructions on no account to make the journey except by sea. This has given rise to speculation here and no one knows the reason.
Monsignor Panzani has already adjusted the differences between the religious here to the satisfaction of both parties. (fn. 10) But the Jesuits have declined to enter the accord and prefer to manage their affairs apart. Perhaps it does not suit them to be guided by principles which they esteem common and vulgar. Panzani is now negotiating for the establishment here of a bishop who will keep things in order for the future, and although he encounters great difficulties he hopes to overcome them by patience.
The Italian imprisoned for pretending to be a minister of the King of Poland, and who escaped, has been recognised when about to cross the sea, and taken, his second disguise in the habit of a preacher not having served him so well as that of the collier. (fn. 11) He is now imprisoned more closely and in chains, while they are waiting to hear from Poland.
London, the 22nd February, 1635. [M.V.]
Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
610. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Three advices confirm the entry of a Spanish garrison into Franchental. Those who believe in an arrangement between the English and Spaniards about the Palatinate announce that the latter are ready to consent to restitution, keeping the principal fortresses and the right to the passage of Spanish troops to Flanders, and they think the English may consent, to rid themselves of a troublesome business. The negotiations of the Ambassador Schidmore made no progress indeed dissatisfaction and offence have occurred between him and the Secretary Bottillier upon punctilio and other matters.
Paris, the 26th February, 1635. [M.V.]
Feb. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
611. That the Ambassador of the King of Great Britain be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
Our republic desires nothing better than to gratify his Majesty upon all occasions, and we certainly should wish to help the merchants recommended by your Excellency. With regard to your new requests for the merchants Obson, Ider and Grissol, we have decided to grant Obson's release from prison until the papers upon his case arrive from Zante, Cephalonia and England. The magistracy of the Five Savii will arrange about his trial. We will also urge the magistrates to despatch the cases of Ider and Grissol.
That for the gratification of the English Ambassador the Magistracy of the Five Savii be instructed to admit John Obson to bail until the papers on his case arrive from Zante, Cephalonia and England. They are to be specially careful about the pledges given.
That the necessary instructions be issued to the magistrates concerned for the despatch of the cases of Laurence Ider and Richard Grissol.
Ayes, 83. Noes, 0. Neutral, 4.
It requires two-thirds.
On the 27th February in the Collegio :
Ayes, 20. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
It requires two-thirds.
Feb. 28.
Csollegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
612. The deliberation of the Senate of the 27th being read to the English Ambassador, he spoke to the following effect :
I am always glad to receive your Serenity's commands, and especially now that you have begun to exercise your justice for Mr. Obson, who should be relieved in part of the troubles he has suffered. I thank you in the name of my king, hut I must renew my instances because Obson's petition has not been completely answered. We ask that the money taken from him may be put in the Zecca or where your Serenity thinks fit, in deposit, until his cause is despatched, so that it may be safe and he may be satisfied of the continuation of your Serenity's justice.
With respect to Hider and Grissol, I feel sure that they also will have the despatch desired. It appears that the petition which I presented for Hider on the 2nd of August last (fn. 12) is lost. I present another copy so that your Serenity may come to some decision for his relief.
The doge replied, Your lordship has heard what the Senate has done for the merchant Obson, which is in order to prove the friendship, which the republic professes towards his Majesty and our esteem for you, merely that he shall be free from prison until the examination of his defence comes from England and the Levant. This is a particular favour, because he was subject to the laws, which have been abrogated in this particular. His Serenity seemed about to continue, but was interrupted by the ambassador who repeated what he had said before about the money being deposited.
The doge said that this certainly was not in the petition presented by Obson, in which he asked to be released from prison while his defence was on the way, neither was a word said about it in the reply of the Five Savii, and so, if he wanted more he must give a memorial. On hearing this the ambassador agreed, rose, bowed and departed without taking a copy of the deliberation.
Feb. 29.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
613. To the Ambassador in England.
We enclose the decisions taken in the case of the merchant Obson. If the subject is brought up you will justify the action taken and declare that it has been done out of special regard for his Majesty through the offices of his ambassador, beyond what the strict interpretation of the laws permits.
With your letters of the 1st we have the book on that king's claims to dominion over the seas there. (fn. 13) The work and its subject are of consequence. You will keep your eyes open and use all your skill to find what are the most sound and forcible grounds upon which those who claim to be injured or offended by the title and essence of this composition base their objections. In due course we shall expect to see a reply to this book.
We also think worthy of consideration the conversation of the king with the Ambassador Joachimi about the negotiations of the States with the Spaniards. We shall wait to see what resolutions that Court may take, since they seem so displeased at hearing of the progress made with those negotiations.
Ayes, 86. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
Feb. 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
614. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In spite of their determination here not to involve this crown in war or in any serious occasion for expense, yet to satisfy the Prince Palatine and to meet the strong representations of the French ambassadors, the Council has met three times this week in the king's presence. From an intimate in a position to know, I learn that after a very long discussion and balancing of the pros and cons, it was considered that to put in practice the original French proposals would inevitably introduce countless difficulties without any assurance about the issue, since everything everywhere would depend upon the instability pf fortune. Once things were fairly launched on that way it would be useless to think of ever putting them right again. So it was not advisable to submit to tire judgment of fate, with iso much toil and expense, that which must necessarily be settled in the long run merely by the passage of time, if the worst comes to the worst. On the other hand it was argued that the cost in time is not to be despised, indeed it should be considered above everything else, especially in this affair, in which delay not only wastes away the interests of the Palatine Princes but corrodes the reputation of this crown as well, which is so deeply pledged to support them. So much so that it cannot be set up again by an ordinary composition. It is not seemly that a slothful repose should triumph over this nation, once so formidable and warlike, or that the Spaniards, by keeping it immersed in its present vile lethargy, should constantly render themselves more formidable. The real state of affairs will appear if ever this war is terminated without their losing anything of their own and if what they possess of other people is not taken from, them. They will then undoubtedly put forward more far reaching designs. These may possibly involve a disturbance of the peace these realms now enjoy, the felicity of which the Spaniards leave, in tranquillity at present rather because of their own embarrassments than from any good will. Accordingly it would comport much more with the interests of this crown, even if those of the Palatine family were not so urgent and just, to endeavour to trouble and weaken them rather than wait to be troubled and weakened by them. To argue that an honourable and friendly settlement can ever bring such a business to a satisfactory conclusion is as remote from the actualities as the acts of the Spaniards are incompatible with their words. These are all honey and suavity, and convey the impression that they mean to be the only and sincere mediators with the emperor for the adjustment of the question, while at the very time they are distributing their garrisons about the most important fortresses of the Palatinate, appointing governors and indicating by every sign that they are contemplating anything rather than giving up possession.
Thus on one side and the other the matter is debated at great length but in the end it all concludes with the invariable decision to wait and see and to seize the opportunity which time and the state of affairs will show to be appropriate and useful. Accordingly I fancy that one may very reasonably conclude that this affair, which has been discussed at this Court for so long, will finally perish in irresolution, as they cling more particularly to the present policy that the more pacific this state remains the happier it will be ; that for its security all that is required is to maintain predominance at sea, and for the rest to shut their eyes will never do them any harm.
In spite of these principles and resolutions they circulate great ideas about numerous levies of troops both infantry and cavalry, so that they may be all ready in case matters proceed to ,a rupture to leave the kingdom under the command of the Prince Palatine, to go where it best suits his interests. But these announcements may only be invented for the prince's consolation, and they also will end in nothing as did those of last year, or at least the rembrance of that episode does not make one inclined to believe that any thing will be done.
A ship of this nation proceeding from the Indies to Holland laden with tobacco, was recently taken by the Dunkirkers and confiscated on the plea that by the last agreement with Spain the English may not take any succour or munitions to the Dutch. The owners of the ship have moved and tried to prove the confiscation unlawful, as tobacco is not a necessity or for use in war. They asked the opinion of the lawyers on the subject, but they said it was not in their province but rather of the physicians. Accordingly they applied to the physicians who said that tobacco was neque alimentum medicativum, neqwe medicamentum alimentativum. but in spite of this sentence which decides that it is good for nothing, the Dunkirkers have disposed both of the tobacco and of the ship to their own advantage. The king remonstrates because they have ventured so audaciously to take the ships and goods of his subjects. In this case he is the more urgent because the ship did not touch at the ports of England before going elsewhere, as it ought, or pay the ordinary duties, and so it is considered as forfeit to him. Gerbier will make complaint to the Cardinal Infant and they will wait for the answer. (fn. 14)
The ministers here are much incensed to hear that the ships of this nation arriving in the ports of France, Flanders and Holland are searched for goods belonging to their enemies. This seriously prejudices the large profits they hoped to obtain here from the war between neighbouring princes by freely carrying the goods of all. However, they cannot fail to make very large profits, because every one has to run risks, the goods arrive here and do not go out unless tire duties to the king are fully paid. This reason and some increase in the ordinary duties has augmented his Majesty's customs' revenues for this year by 85,000l. sterling. They hope to obtain more in the future considsring the present needs which are very considerable and which mill always make them against peace here.
The Secretary Coke is ill, a very serious matter at his advanced age. They are postponing a decision about giving his office to some one else until they see how his illness ends. The Earl of Carlisle also is in an almost hopeless condition, and the pretenders to his office (fn. 15) are on the alert.
The queen mother never ceases her efforts to obtain permission to come here. Possibly owing to her importunity the king has muttered something to the effect that if the French will pay her pensions and give a guarantee, he might not refuse to receive her, but the question of the guarantee is very difficult. Some incline to believe that the affair can be adjusted in this way, being persuaded that the Most Christian will prefer her to stay here rather than with his enemies or even in France itself because this is the spot most likely to keep her quiet. But the French ambassadors never give ear to such suggestions, which makes one doubtful what to believe.
London, the 29th February, 1635. [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. By John Selden, written by him at the instance of King James in 1618, but not published. On the 15th April O.S. a proclamation was issued forbidding the importation, buying, selling or publication of any foreign edition of this work. Steele : Royal Proclamations, Vol. i. page 206. No. 1720.
  • 2. See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1635-6, page 182. He escaped on the 14/24 January.
  • 3. The Princess Elizabeth.
  • 4. The Agnes, capt. Henry Salmon, on her way from Plymouth, seized by the officials of the Admiralty on the 11th January and brought into Havre. De Vic to Coke 8/18 Jan., Scudamore to Coke 11/21 Jan. S.P. For. France.
  • 5. Francis Annesley, Lord Mountnorris. Vice Treasurer. He was an officer in the army and as such Wentworth procured his sentence to death by a court martial on 12/22 December, 1634. Gardiner : Hist, of Eng. Vol. viii. pages 186-8.
  • 6. See Strafford Letters, Vol. i., page 507. Coke was born on 15 March, 1563 N.S. and was therefore nearly 73 years of age at this date.
  • 7. Leo ab Aysema. An order in Council on the settlement was issued on the 19th January, O.S. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1635-6, page 161.
  • 8. "A little pique happened betwixt the Duke of Lennox and the Lord Chamberlain about a box at a new play in the Black Fryars, of which the Duke had got the key. Which if it had come to be debated betwixt them, as it was once intended, some heat or perhaps other inconvenience might have happened. His Majesty hearing of it, sent the Earl of Holland to command them both not to dispute it but before him. so he heard it and made them friends." Garrard to Wentworth, the 25 Jan. O.S. Strafford Letter page 511.
  • 9. Arthur Brett, See No. (585) at page 495 above.
  • 10. He effected this reconciliation between the regular and secular clergy on 17 Nov., 1635. For particulars of this settlement See Berington : Memoirs of Gregorio Panzam page 217.
  • 11. The so called Antonio della Valle, he was apprehended at Great Yarmouth on the 23rd Jan. O.S. where he gave yet another alias Nicholas Avellin. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1635-6, pages 185, 186.
  • 12. See page 428 above.
  • 13. "Mare Clausum" by John Selden. See page 509 above and note.
  • 14. Not a recent case, but that of the ship Robert taken on 3rd March, 1635, reported in Correr's despatch of 23rd March of that year (No. 449 at page 351 above) see also Cal. S. P. Dom. 1635-6. page 208.
  • 15. That of first gentleman of the bedchamber, estimated by Salvetti to be worth 12,000 crowns a year. News letter of 30th May, 1636. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962.