Venice: April 1636

Pages 538-552

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

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April 1636

April 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
629. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Resident here told me that he did not think his master would unite with France as the French are indifferent and say that England thinks nothing of the Palatinate. But the Princess Palatine asserts that she is perfectly certain that the Prince Elector will leave content and that the king will hazard his own kingdom to re-establish his nephew in his dominions.
Their High Mightinesses are making representations that his Majesty should begin to forbid the transport of provisions to Flanders, of which the Spaniards receive a great quantity from England. The Dutch merchants have such interest in this that without a thought for the state they compete in sending foodstuffs to England and from thence to Dunkirk. The States are aware of it and do not know what to say. Great scarcity was being felt in the enemy Provinces, but with this way open, they have everything in abundance.
The Hague, the 3rd April, 1636.
April 4.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
630. To the Ambassador in England.
Commendation of the action taken by him to controvert the things put abroad by Panzani in the matter of the eulogy. To continue this course so that every one may be convinced of the just cause of complaint that the republic has in this question.
Ayes, 71. Noes, 4. Neutral, 5.
April 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghiiterra. Venetian Archives.
631. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Count Palatine, in despair at the last news from Vienna has asked the king to take some decisive step which would serve to keep up his hopes, so much cast down by the replies received. He demonstrated how the arts of the Spaniards were devoted to spinning things out. Although they had decided not to move a step before they had heard what the Aulic Councillor had to propose, these representations of the Palatine moved the king to resume discussion of the matter in the Council, with the firm intention of deciding on something for his satisfaction. They met and after considering Caesar's demand for a person with full powers they have decided to direct the Earl of Arundel to get ready at once to set off to that Court within two weeks at most in the capacity of ambassador extraordinary, in order to obtain an open reply from the emperor as they are tired of being put off with ambiguities. Meanwhile, in order to create the impression that if they do not obtain a satisfactory reply they think of trying some other way, they are beginning to collect troops, and they have directed all those who enjoy ecclesiastical goods to get together the men they are bound to maintain, and have them ready at the king's disposition. When they are assembled his Majesty himself means to review them and they say that all together they will form' a corps of more than 12,000 men.
This will delay the negotiations of the French ambassadors, as it will be necessary to wait for the result of so solemn a function as Lord Arundel's mission. Many bring themselves to believe that under this pressure the Austrians will give some satisfaction, perceiving that they would not have committed themselves so far if they did not mean to see the thing through. But all the negotiations will gain time for the Spaniards, at least in the present season, which is a considerable point for their immediate interests. The haste with which the Earl proposes to proceed to Germany and the eagerness with which he announces his intention to negotiate are not considered sufficient to arrive in sight of the end of an affair of such consequence in a short time. The Palatine takes courage and hopes that things will take a favourable turn and that such an important step must lead to results greatly to his advantage. He went at once to thank his Majesty, who received him with tender affection. All these indications go to make it likely that they are beginning to speak seriously. Even those very persons who have always held back good resolutions are beginning to speak sharply, saying that once they have seen to outcome of this embassy they will lose no time in carrying into effect what may be considered proper for the re-establishment of the Palatine family in the possession of their dominions, whether it be by negotiation or by the sword, and it does not matter which of the two it may be. But this sudden ferocity does not impress every one in the same way. Those who are willing to shut their eyes and not look beneath the surface, believe in it thoroughly, but those who take the trouble to penetrate to the quick cannot feel any assurance that they mean to follow any course in this affair but that of negotiation. The Spaniards are well aware of this, and set about to confuse the issue by their subtleties, so as to make it go on for ever, unless they can make, a settlement with the utmost advantage to themselves.
The Dutch ambassador extraordinary had his first audience publicly last Sunday, in which he performed no offices except compliments. On Wednesday he had another special one, at which he made the most ample offers to do all in the power of his masters for the interests of the Palatine family ; but he did not treat of this or any other business particularly, because this second function was destined for the presentation of the gifts which he brought for the king in his masters' name. He gave the king seven very fine horses ; a clock set in a mirror of excellent workmanship, and five or six pictures of exquisite craft. He gave the queen a large piece of ambergris and a casquet of mother of pearl, full of very fine linen and work of Flanders, everything being received with particular gratifification. (fn. 1)
On the day following he called upon me here and we exchanged compliments. I promised to do all in my power to further his negotiations. This pleased him greatly. From what he said his mission will be chiefly concerned with the situation at sea and with the question of the fisheries, although he will also discuss with them matters concerning the common cause.
He brought special orders from the Prince of Orange to all the officers of the States, now here, who came with the Palatine brothers, to return to their posts without delay, and they obeyed forthwith. The Court likes this solicitude, because it confirms Joachimi's assurances that they are no longer thinking of negotiations for a truce.
I was not able to see the new Lord Treasurer before last Saturday. He apologised to the French ambassadors and me for not receiving us before, because he was so busy at his entry into office. He was much pleased at my assurances of your Excellencies' esteem, because your regard for his Majesty made you esteem those who are dearest to him. He assured me that from his earliest years he has professed a sincere devotion for the most serene republic, and now he hopes he will be able to show it by deeds. He is certainly a man of great integrity, not fanatical for any party. This is a valuable characteristic not usually found nowadays in any one.
The ministers here are at last satisfied with respect to the, reported negotiations between your Serenity and the Spaniards. Some of them told me as much explicitly assuring me that his Majesty is very pleased about it. From this one may surmise that they are uneasy over the good fortune of the Spaniards, although on the other hand the Spaniards daily derive a thousand advantages from this quarter.
I enclose the book of Grotius entitled "Mare Liberum," though I imagine you will have it, but I thought it necessary because you considered the other that I sent worthy of your attention.
In the state despatches of the 7th ult. I have the bill of lading of the pistols to consign to the Persian merchant. When he comes I will not fail to carry out your orders.
London, the 4th April, 1636.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered]
April 10.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
632. That when the Ambassador of the King of Great Britain comes into the Collegio, the following be read to him :
The republic has the interests of English merchants as much at heart as those of her own subjects, especially those merchants recommended by your lordship. But in order to profit by this disposition the merchant Hider must express himself clearly and not in generalities, so that we may be able to do all that is possible, in justice, to gratify him as we wish. Your lordship will see what has been done for the merchant Obson, and we shall do all in our power to make it easy for him to obtain satisfaction.
Ayes, 79. Noes, 2. Neutral, 0.
633. To the Ambassador in England.
We forward you a copy from the despatch of the Resident Ballarino about the despatch to the English Court of the Councillor Radolti in place of Verteman, in case this information has not reached you ; and also of what the ambassador in Spain reports about the designs of the Catholic for an alliance with England, and the action of the English ambassador with respect to the negotiations for peace with the Dutch. We send these for information and to help you to penetrate into the essentials of these transactions.
We enclose a copy of the office of the English ambassador about Hider, Obson and other English merchants, so that you may be able to answer if the king or any of the ministers refers to the subject. With regard to the petition of Hider in particular you will show how insubstantial it is, contrary to all good order and to every sound rule of justice, and that it cannot be considered unless Hider puts his requests into a proper shape.
Ayes, 79. Noes, 2. Neutral, 0.
April 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
634. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king is urging the immediate departure of the Earl of Arundel for Vienna. He wants him to leave before the Spanish ambassador, whom they expect to arrive very soon, and that he shall find the earl out of the kingdom as well as away from Court, fearing perhaps that he will alter or prolong by some artifice this function which is thought so necessary. In obedience to his Majesty's commands the earl is busy over his preparations and expects to start in two days. He will go straight to Holland, as he has to stay some days at the Hague to inform the Princess Palatine in his Majesty's name of the cause of his despatch. I have been told in confidence by one through whose hands his commissions passed that their sole impulse is the determination to know on good grounds the real intentions of the emperor in the matter of the Palatine ; they are confined to this and say nothing about proposals, protests or anything else beyond generalities and compliments.
When the knowledge of these commissions reached the ears of the Prince Palatine, and on his being informed that the decision was taken by Arundel's own advice, he showed very strong feeling, as it seemed to him that with all the noise of this move they were not proposing to go any further than in the past. He remarked very freely that Arundel only encouraged this decision and got the appointment for himself in order to have the direction of the affair in his own hands so as to keep up the usual irresolution and in this way satisfy his own private sympathiies, which he knew were always guided by the interests of his own house in particular, and that as a general rule he avoids anything that will serve or please the great (si alontana dal servitio o dalle sodisfaltioni de'Grandi). These words, spoken by the prince with great frankness and scant regard for who might hear them, were very speedily reported to the earl. He took great offence and remonstrated strongly with the Palatine, informing the king with much warmth of the reason for his sentiments. He protests that these would not have prejudiced his loyal and sincere discharge of his office, even if his Majesty did not excuse him from it, as he earnestly besought him to do. The king, for personal considerations, did not think fit to agree to this and so the earl is to leave in two days. He will go with no goodwill and with scant satisfaction of the Court, which forms strange judgments at seeing him depart so dissatisfied. They think that this mission will have the same results as the others, and certainly if the negotiations are limited to the single point mentioned, they cannot expect much better fruit.
The king somewhat regrets the outbreak of his nephew, but he dissimulates in order not to increase his dissatisfaction. The prince, on the other hand cannot conceal his feelings even in his own interests. He made a sudden and violent demonstration to the king of his fears and jealousies, urging him hard, while they are waiting for Caesar's declarations to order the Earl of Northumberland to harass the Spanish ships or make some hostile demonstration against them. The king refused this utterly, it being unsatisfactory to him as too resolute and contrary to his aims but he promised to satisfy his nephew in his own way. The prince, however, is not satisfied, and now seems very sad, as one hopeless of any good result. He speaks with great freedom and lets it be understood that he means to return to Holland very soon.
The ardour of youth, spurred on by interest, and without listening to good advice, are beginning to lead this prince into unsafe ways. If he continues to follow them he will soon ruin all his affairs, as they have not such deep roots that they cannot be thrown down by any slight shock. Yet his Majesty continues to show every desire to please him ; but he has become impatient and cannot settle down to wait for the issue of such slow affairs since he has got it firmly into his head that the Spaniards mean to deceive, while here they do not think or care to expose the rottenness, because they must know full well that to make the Spaniards change their behaviour there is no way more certain than the sword.
The day before yesterday the Earl of Leicester was appointed ambassador extraordinary to France, with instructions to start soon. It is stated that he is to forward negotiations on behalf of the Palatine. The Court is surprised at the step and cannot see that there is any hope of good results, but if this means the exchange of Lorraine for the Palatinate, Scudamore has already been answered on that point. The French will be better entitled now to await the result of Arundel's mission than when they could only allege a mere courier's journey. Some think that the king here wishes to alarm the emperor in this way ; others that he will appoint Leicester ambassador in ordinary in place of Scudamore, who has given scant satisfaction ; a few days will show.
They also talk of an embassy extraordinary for Spain, and Arundel is canvassing it, saying that to arrange anything with the emperor it is necessary to have the good will of the Spaniards and to be ready to ratify the adjustment with them so far as they are directly concerned.
The Dutch ambassador extraordinary has begun his negotiations. He asks that the Dutch fishermen may not be prevented from following their avocation in the seas of Scotland by the British fleet. The Secretary Coke went to him yesterday to propose that if the Dutch would acknowledge British supremacy in these seas and pay so much a year for each fishing boat, the king would guarantee them against the Dunkirkers or any others, and would do the same for their merchantmen. The ambassador objected to this saying that they have hitherto had the royal protection for nothing and if the king claims the dominion of these seas he ought to render them safe for all flags, and he trusted that the Dutch would be covered by the shadow of the royal protection without paying more than others had to pay. The secretary replied that the Dutch derive more profit from the seas than others and so they ought not to marvel at the king exacting some acknowledgment. The ambassador would not commit himself but promised to write. When this matter has once been fairly launched it is believed that they will take in hand the affair of the Indies, which has been pending such a long time amid the most complicated difficulties, but it will be no easy matter to bring it to a conclusion.
The ambassador has got a coach and is seeking a house, so his stay is not expected to be so very brief. The Resident Nicolaldi watches his actions closely and yesterday had a long audience of the king. The matter of it has not transpired. The ships have returned which convoyed the money from Spain to Dunkirk. They say that another considerable sum has arrived and he may have asked for its safe transport.
The good news which arrived from Holland this week about the hopes of the speedy recovery of the fort of Schench Scans, was communicated to his Majesty by the Dutch ambassadors themselves. He was not sorry to hear it, as the fear that necessity may drive those Provinces to conclude a truce induces them for the moment to rejoice at all Dutch successes.
London, the 11th April, 1636.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
635. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England to the Doge and Senate.
In spite of the incident reported the Earl of Arundel is determined to set out to his post without further delay. He wished first to come to this embassy to show his devotion to the republic. In proof of this he told me in great confidence and I believe with sincerity, the reasons for his going which are the same as I reported. He confirmed that his commissions only contain generalities, but he has more secret orders from his Majesty and powers not only to enter into negotiations but to conclude what he considers to be for the service of the Palatine and the honour of this crown. When I sounded him adroitly he disclosed to me that the king was resolved, once for all to get at the truth of the emperor's intentions about his nephews, and then to make demands and reduce them subsequently to fair limits. He would insist on the restitution and investiture of the Lower Palatinate, and on the death of Bavaria would treat about the rest, giving an electoral vote for the Upper Palatinate. As the restitution of the Lower Palatinate does not depend entirely on the emperor, since the Spaniards hold a good part, who would not choose to give it up and claim considerable sums for its custody, the king means to propose a general peace so that under the cover of it the Palatine may be able to enjoy quietly the possession of his dominions, while he himself is relieved of the burden of any other obligation whatsoever. He is certainly determined not to commit himself to any occasion for strife, so that it may be readily inferred that all these strenuous movements have nothing vigorous about them except the appearance, since fundamentally their sole aim is peace. Apparently they are indifferent to the consideration that the hopes of the advantages to be derived from it are very remote. Accordingly if the Palatine sees to the bottom of their real intentions and shows some resentment, those who feel some sympathy for his passions may not be so very reprehensible.
On taking leave of me the earl spoke of acting in concert with the Venetian minister at Vienna and expressed the hope that he might have instructions to help the peace negotiations if they progressed favourably. He then spoke very fulsomely about the regard of his family for the Signory, fomented by the great favours received by himself personally and also by his wife, when she made a long stay there. He seemed most eager to see the city again on his return privately, in order to prove to your Excellencies the reality of his devotion. I replied that he could not go anywhere where he would be received with more regard. This ended our conference. As I have said before it shows that their peaceful thoughts here will not be moved from their natural bent for any events that may occur, and there is no hope of seeing any change whatever in the manner in which the machinery of the present government is conducted.
London, the 11th April, 1636.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
636. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Beveren reports his first negotiations in London. He says that any disposition they may have felt to declare themselves has been weakened exceedingly by the proposals of Caesar, which are all directed to waste time. And it seems that the English are playing the very game which the Imperialists desire by the nomination of an ambassador to Vienna. This shows the confidence they place in the Austrians and will doubtless serve to keep things going until the season has passed, which is just what the Austrians want. The Princess Palatine told me that the Earl of Arundel had always shown himself a Spanish partisan. She laments her misfortunes, saying that she perceives that the Austrians will certainly beguile her brother. She feels strongly that if, under present circumstances when all the world is at war, she does not receive the restitution of her dominions, it is useless to think about it any more. She is all but desperate and every one feels sympathy for her. In spite of all this England enjoys great prestige at the moment, because she is arming, and the Austrians, the French and these Provinces are alarmed and the one side is as eager as the other to win her. But if the Austrians mock her again this time and she does not resent it she will undoubtedly lose this prestige, and all esteem and credit.
Eighty ships passed from England to Dunkirk some days ago, laden with wheat, wine and other goods.
The Hague, the 17th April, 1636.
April 18.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
637. To the Ambassador in England.
We have received your letters of the 21st ult. with the news of the appointment of the Bishop of London as Treasurer. We feel sure that you will have congratulated him, but in order that the office may be more emphatic you are to perform it again in the name of the Senate expressing our satisfaction at the appointment of a person of so much worth. We commend your reply about the reported alliance of this state with the Spaniards. You will continue in the same way to divert the sinister impressions created by those who spread reports without foundation.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 0. Neutral, 6.
April 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
638. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Tuesday the Earl of Arundel took leave of the king and of the Palatine brothers on his way to Holland and thence to the Imperial Court, with all speed. He is accompanied by Rusdorf, the Palatine's chief Councillor, who is to supply him with the necessary information. To satisfy his nephew the king desired that to the written instructions which the earl takes with him there should be distinctly added the particulars touching the faculty which he freely gives him orally to negotiate and establish some arrangement which may be of service to his nephew and honourable to his crown. The king further straitly charged the earl to press for a decision from the emperor and to assure him that any delay would be considered as a decided negative ; but with all this the Palatine does not seem content. He complains, indeed more bitterly than ever of his bad fortune, and he seems to repent that he ever decided to come to this kingdom and that he did not take the advice of the Prince of Orange, who counselled him against doing so, predicting exactly what has happened. He asserts that he really did not want to come but was obliged to do so in order not to offend his mother. Accordingly he again states with the utmost freedom that if, while the ambassadors are talking, they do not make some move against the Spaniards, no one will be able to persuade him that his interests are of any account here.
His depression is increased by the news received this week of the idea of excluding him from the treaty of peace with Sweden, under the plea that he was under the ban before the Swedes entered Germany, whereas the Duke of Wirtemberg and the Margrave of Baden, who are included with other Swedish partisans, misbehaved themselves subsequently. In addition to this the Duke of Bavaria steadily asserts that he will not agree to the restitution of any portion of what he holds in the Lower Palatinate. As he definitely holds Heidelberg there, the place with which the electoral dignity goes, and as, only a few months ago, he got a great part of the remainder to swear fealty, including Frankenthal and other places guarded by the Spaniards, it is calculated that nothing remains at the emperor's disposal, so that his last promises to Teller practically amount to nothing, and all the time spent will have been simply thrown away. But all the hopes which rest upon the Earl of Arundel are confined to this alone that he may be able to produce in a satisfactory way a general peace. He assured me at his departure that to forward this he would gladly devote all the energy of his offices, and would leave nothing untried, well knowing that if anything good is to be expected in addition from his negotiations it must be drawn from that wellspring, every other resource being subject to countless difficulties and obstacles. Such ideas are already circulating at Court and are pleasant hearing for the Spaniards giving them solid grounds to confirm the belief that they are in no danger of molestation from this quarter, and that they are sure to have the advantage of the present season in their favour.
They have not yet decided on the instruction to be given to the earl of Leicester, and nothing is heard of the appointment of anyone else for Spain. Nicolaldi has sent the ships to Spain for the new ambassador who is expected in a few days, possibly thinking that this may hasten the sending of the embassy extraordinary from here to Madrid, which is supposed to be delayed merely for the sake of hearing his proposals. In the midst of all this stir the French ambassadors have dropped their negotiations, being obliged to stand and watch the effect of these new moves. The Dutch ambassadors at their last audience offered their fleet to help the king's against the Spaniards in aid of the Princes Palatine. The king neither accepted nor rejected their offer, but desired them to put it in writing. In reply to the Secretaries Coke and Windebank, who spoke to them again about the payment of an annual tribute from the Dutch fishermen, they stated that if other difficulties could be overcome, it must at least be inserted among the first clauses that the king shall bind himself to indemnify the fishermen against all loss from their enemies, as otherwise it would be more advantageous for the Dutch to employ the tribute money in keeping a fleet of their own on whose constant assistance they could safely rely. But they will not hear of such a thing here, saying that they will be so powerful at sea that every one will have to bow to their will. So it is expected that the matter will drag out to great length, will fall through or will result in some serious incident.
The individual who was to have gone to Rome to reside there as agent for the queen, (fn. 2) has ended his days after a long illness. They will choose some one else in his place. Sig. Panzani is very busy over this, and the king seems ready to consent to it as well as to receive a new secular agent, whom his Holiness will send here shortly. All this does not happen without exciting much comment and talk, everyone's opinion being guided by personal feeling and by interest. The generality are certainly exceedingly irate, as it seems to them that the steps taken in every direction are leading to a complete change of system. Owing to this his Majesty's Court is seen to become constantly poorer, and the few who frequent it are mostly Scots ; all the greatest nobles of this realm, in despair of ever seeing parliament called, keep away as much as possible.
The Ambassador Douglas, after having received orders not to exercise his office any more, has died suddenly in Pomerania, while on his way back to England. (fn. 3)
Gordon writes from Danzig confirming the resolution of the King of Poland to marry the Palatine princess. For this purpose he says that he is to return to this Court, and he will travel with Zaraschi, who is coming with the title of ambassador for the same end. When they arrive they will certainly be welcome as the whole Court desires the conclusion of that affair with the utmost eagerness.
Orders have been sent to the English agent at Hamburg to proceed to Denmark, so that, for the service of the common cause, the king there may charge all his representatives in Germany to act in concert with those of this country. This serves to confirm what I said before that all their hopes of doing anything for the advantage of the Palatine are based upon a peace.
I have received no despatches from the state either this week or last.
London, the 18th April, 1636.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered]
April 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Zante Venetian Archives.
639. Stefano Capello, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
When I was expecting a polacca of the English merchant Hyde back from Crete, laden with wheat, news came that it had been robbed by Mainotti in the port of Vitullo, who carried off 2500 reals belonging to that merchant. I cannot express my distress at the loss of this eagerly expected succour.
Zante, the 10th April, 1636, old style.
April 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia Venetian Archives.
640. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. de la Perte, son of the Ambassador Seneter, has started for England with royal despatches to congratulate their Majesties on the birth of their daughter, and it is thought, with some more secret commissions to the ambassadors there. The English minister here, however, complains of making no progress with his negotiations.
Paris, the 22nd April, 1636.
April 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
641. Francesco Mtohiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Beveren writes from London that the king informed him of the sailing of the fleet, for the purpose of keeping the sea free which belongs to him. The secretaries of state insisted on the question of possession and drew his attention to the book "Mare Clausum." This claim has created a great commotion, as the action cannot fail to encourage the Austrians. The Prince remarked to me that England is full of ill will and in speaking about convoying ships they mean to indicate that they will always help the Spanish ships, as they have done in the past. He told me further that it was not a time to think of a union but rather of being in readiness to defend their own rights, as there was every sign of disturbance and discord. He exclaimed that it all arose from the offices of the Spaniards, who have acquired such great influence with that government. The English have become aware of what has taken place and are getting their minister to announce that the king has no other object than to give help and to render all ships safe, without speaking about dominion over the sea, declaring that the secretaries, who speak French badly, did not know how to express themselves. The Princess Palatine, the earl of Arundel who arrived two days ago, and Bosuel the Resident all say the same. But the wound is there and to heal it the Earl of Arundel announces that he is being sent with all speed to Vienna to receive Caesar's final decisions; and if these are not satisfactory his king is resolved to break with the House of Austria. The earl has refused all ceremonies, saying that he is only passing through ; but he had a complimentary audience in the Assembly.
The Hague, the 24th April, 1636.
April 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
642. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The only negotiations this week worthy of remark are those with the Dutch ambassadors about their proposed alliance. They have been busy over this with all good will but scant hope of a favourable conclusion. The Dutch repeated their proposals in writing, to oblige his Majesty, about a junction of the fleets, to strike a notable blow against the Spaniards and compel them to listen to reason about the Palatinate. After examining this suggestion the royal Council has answered unanimously with thanks, but adding that as the king has no reason to be dissatisfied with Spain either on account of his nephews or for any other cause, he did not see how he could bring himself to take such severe measures against her unless she gave provocation. That with respect to the matter of the Palatinate, of which the Spaniards held a certain portion, he proposed to address himself directly to the emperor, who has absolute powers of investiture. If he cannot obtain justice in this way, he will claim to have received an affront. He feels persuaded that if the emperor proceeds to grant the investiture, that which remains in the hands of the Spaniards will be promptly restored. If this does not prove to be so, that will be the time for action and revenge. This is not the moment for taking so resolute a step without occasion, by which, instead of gaining any advantage, everything might be upset and thrown into confusion.
The ambassadors seemed ill pleased with this style of talking although they may not have expected anything different. They say that it does not correspond in any respect to the goodwill and sincerity shown by their masters they consider it most strange and novel that they chose to separate and distinguish in this case "the interests of the emperor from those of the Spaniards, when everyone knows that they are identical. They conclude that there is no intention to take any action in the matter by arms at any time, whatever appearances there may be to the contrary, when they refuse such a favourable opportunity of doing against Spain what it is impossible to do at any time against the emperor, where the distance of his states, the inconvenience of transporting troops, the expense and the length of time will always render action difficult. Accordingly as the ambassadors have repeated the same office both orally and in writing it is not thought that they will take any further steps as the answer has taken away all their hopes of being able to arrange anything of value. The affair of the fishermen also remains dormant in its original condition, and one does not see what compromise will suffice to settle it to the equal satisfaction of the parties.
There is a report among the merchants, though on slender authority, that the Duke of Bavaria is dead. It has at least raised the spirits of the Court and the ministers are trying to find out its origin, as if true it may be necessary to send fresh instructions to Arundel, and they will not consign to the earl of Leicester his despatch before fresh news arrives from Germany.
They say that a ship has been sent to Dunkirk to fetch the emperor's Aulic Councillor, who is expected. Some think it has gone to bring money; but I have not been able to find confirmation of either report.
Yesterday the vice admiral's ship, foundered unexpectedly when proceeding to join the rest of the fleet, causing the death of more than twenty four persons and the loss of all the munitions and goods on board. The disaster is attributed to the age of the ship. (fn. 4) Some say the loss was designed. However that may be, his Majesty is very sorry for it, not only for the loss of the ship, considerable in itself, but because the accident will delay for some days the sailing of the other ships, which are practically equipped with everything, because before they sail he wishes them all to be carefully inspected.
Sir William Hamilton, a Scot, has been selected by the queen from more than ten claimants to go and reside with his Holiness in her name. (fn. 5) He will set out in a few days.
This year the king proposed to remain in this city rather longer than usual, but as the plague is beginning to make itself felt more severely than was expected, with the fear that it may grow worse, considering the time of year, he has decided to leave in a few days. He has not yet made up his mind where he will go. It is believed that he will go a long way off, and perhaps if the plague spreads further through the kingdom he may cross to Ireland to gratify the people by his presence, who seem to desfre him so much because of the circumstances which I reported.
I have received this week the state despatches of the 28th March. I will express to his Majesty and the ministers the satisfaction given by the Secretary Rolandson.
London, the 25th April, 1636.
April 25.
Inquisitori di Stato. Venetian Archives.
643. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
I have your Excellencies commands touching the deliberation of the Great Council on wide sleeves. (fn. 6) I will execute these diligently and send you full particulars. So far little or nothing has been said on the subject, since the news is not made public yet and very few indeed know about it, but I will practise the utmost diligence.
London, the 25th April, 1636.
April 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
644. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Progress is being made towards an alliance with Denmark. The Danish ambassadors suggested it, always provided that England made one too. Accordingly it is believed that they are committed here to give the fullest satisfaction to the Prince Palatine. I hear that Bavaria writes openly that England is pressing for the restitution of Lorraine more earnestly than for that of the Palatinate, and so there is more hope of that crown moving against France than fear of any formal step against the emperor. Accordingly they should not be in any violent hurry to give satisfaction by a prejudicial and disadvantageous adjustment, as the Palatine family will be easily satisfied with all that is offered to them in moderation. But if those princes found out that there was any fear on the imperial side of what the English king might do, they would undoubtedly raise their pretensions. This is precisely what Bavaria writes to some of the ministers here. He adds that it would be as well to make this more clear to Radolti in certain particulars, so that he may proceed with more reserve in his offices. I learn that an intimation to this effect has been sent to him in the last letters from here, but always with the same end, to avoid offending that king and rather to interest him as much as possible and make (him see the necessity for his own advantage of this alliance to enable him at the same time to maintain good relations with the Catholic, which is so profitable to the interests of that kingdom, the trade with Spain constituting the Indies of England.
Vienna, the 26th April, 1636.
April 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
645. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Imperial Ambassador here continues to press for a decision and a specific reply about the Palatinate, and so does the English one, but so far without success, although they say that all the powers and instructions for this have been sent to the Count of Ognat. But I find that they are waiting for a reply to the express sent to the Spanish Resident in England with the master of the horse of the English ambassador here. (fn. 7) From what I see, if the king of England really joins the Austrian party, of which they first require proof, the Spaniards will certainly get some satisfaction for his nephews.
Madrid, the 26th April, 1636. Copy.
April 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
646. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It seems from what the English ambassador says that to gain time he asked to know with what forces and means France would work for the restoration of the Palatine, if England should declare. At first they seemed inclined to answer, but since they have heard of the appointment of an ambassador extraordinary, they seem to wish to wait for him, without proceeding further.
Paris, the 29th April, 1636.


  • 1. As recorded by Sanderson the present consisted of "a massive piece of Amber greece, two fair and almost transparent china basons, a rare clock of extraordinary art and four very admirable pieces of painting, the originals of Tintoret and Tisian, those admired ancient artisans." Reign of King Charles ed. 1658, page 207.
  • 2. Arthur Brett.
  • 3. He died at Demmin in Pomerania. after a day's illness, on the 25th March, John Fowler to Coke the 16/26 March. S.P. For. poland.
  • 4. The Anne Royal, which was to carry the flag of Sir John Pennington. She was built is 1587, probably for Raleigh and named the Ark Royal and being bought for the royal navy, served as the Admiral's flagship in 1588 against the Armada. She was rebuilt in 1608 and renamed Anne Royal in honour of James's Queen. The loss was caused by her bilging her own anchor, when brought to in the Thames, when she came up from Chatham to be fitted.
  • 5. The third son of James Hamilton, first earl of Abercorn, a young man of 25 years of age. Berington : Memoirs of Gregorio Panzani page 233.
  • 6. It had become habitual in Venice for those who had occupied the position of Councillor, of Savio of the Council or of ambassador at a royal Court to wear, for the rest of their lives, the costume called "ducal" or "with large sleeves." This practice being called in question it was decided by decree of the Senate of the 15th March that this ducal costume should be confined to the Procurators of St. Mark, the eldest son or brother of the doge and the Grand Chancellor. Nani : Historia Veneta ed. Bologna 1680, pages 304,305.
  • 7. Arthur Hopton, who left for England on the 3rd April, N.S. Aston to Coke, 26th April. S.P. For. Spain