Venice: May 1636, 1-15

Pages 552-561

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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May 1636, 1-15

May 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
647. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The States are devoting their attention to the protest of England, feeling being greatly inflamed, and they are thinking of answering the book entitled "Mare Clausum."
The Hague, the 1st May, 1636.
May 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
648. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Saturday I asked for audience, availing myself of the late Easter holidays. After the usual compliments I executed the Senate's commands about the interests of the English merchants here, recommended by the Ambassador Fielding and also about the Secretary Rolandson, who recently took leave to return to this kingdom. I told the king that it was only out of regard for his Majesty that, as a special favour, the state had released the merchant Obson from prison until the examinations of the witnesses in his defence arrive, as he has requested. I drew attention to the care taken that his Majesty's subjects should be well treated and respected at Venice. The king expressed his obligation and said he would always remember the favours gratefully. He asked me about the affairs of Italy. I told him what I knew and so took leave.
M. de la Ferte, eldest son of the Ambassador Seneterre has arrived here from France. He brought for his father and M. de Poygni some despatches from the Court, to inform his Majesty that, besides recovering the islands held by Spain in Provence, (fn. 1) the French fleet is to go to the Mediterranean to act generally against that crown. They make this announcement in order to let it be known that they are not coming into the Channel, about which the king and all his ministers have shown extraordinary jealousy. The communication pleased his Majesty and he was glad to see the obstacles to his plans for the present season entirely removed. All the same they do not relax their solicitude about reviewing the ships and in swiftly equipping another vessel in place of the lost vice admiral. (fn. 2)
It is believed that the ambassadors received further commissions in their despatches, but it has not yet been possible to find out what they are. It may be about the question of an alliance, which has been so long in negotiation here, for the recovery of the Palatinate, since it appears that in this quarier they wish to keep the business alive.
Since the departure of Arundel, Schidemor has been desired to renew his proposals about the exchange of Lorraine. Indeed he writes that he has already made strong representations on the subject and is awaiting the reply, which he hopes to be able to send by the next ordinary. It seems that the ministers here are looking for this eagerly, although they cannot expect an answer very different from the first, seeing that things are as they were then. It is supposed that their invention is to use it to fan the jealousy of the other side and thereby serve the advantage of their negotiations.
Yet they postpone giving the Earl of Leicester his commissions, although he announces that he must leave in a few days. He has not yet seen the French ambassadors here, indeed he practically lets it be understood that he will not see them unless they are the first to visit him. As this is contrary to what is practised everywhere, they are most determined not to do it. This pretention is recognised as a novelty by everyone and peculiar to himself, because when Scudamore left he was the first to visit these same ambassadors, and me as well. The Earl of Arundel did the like, without the semblance of any other pretension. This makes one believe that the king will order him not to move this stone because it would only excite ill feeling and do no good.
The new Spanish ambassador has not yet arrived. This delays Leicester's departure more than anything else, as the ministers will wait to hear his proposals to guide them about his instructions unless they are hastened by the French ambassadors.
The news of the death of the Duke of Bavaria proves to be false, and so the business in hand will go forward everywhere without alteration.
The negotiations of the Dutch ambassadors remain in uncertainty, and they conclude nothing. The jealousy they arouse about their masters thinking of taking up the negotiations for the truces is thought to be a dodge.
There is no fresher news about the marriage of the Palatine princess. Her brothers here are anxious, fearing that new em barrassments may prevent the conclusion. They are both going with his Majesty on the progress, which is already arranged to start at the end of this month. They will not, at the farthest, go more than 120 miles from this city. Absolutely nothing more is said about the journey to Ireland. The Viceroy, after having stayed here some time and fully satisfied his Majesty about the commotions reported in that kingdom, has received orders to go back with all speed.
London, the 2nd May, 1636.
649. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last week a ship was sent to Dunkirk to bring over Cæsar's councillor. But before it arrived he trusted himself to a Dunkirk ship, and got safely to England. He entered the city the day before yesterday, but wishing to remain incognito, he took up his quarters in a place entirely separated from the commerce and eyes of the Court, but he did not succeed in preventing the Spanish resident from knowing of it. By prayers and almost by importunity that minister constrained him to make use of his house. A vague report having got abroad thence, the Master of the Ceremonies tried to visit him, in order to take word to the Court, but the councillor held fast to his resolution not to make himself known yet, and had word sent, not only that he was not in that house, but that no news of him had even arrived there. It is conjectured therefore that perhaps he is not to see the king before they receive news of the first audience of the Earl of Arundel and it is thought that he will then negotiate in concert with the resident in question, or with the ambassador expected from Spain, if he arrives in time From what Gerbier writes from Brussels they gather on good authority that he stayed there some days with the Cardinal Infant, who to some extent arranged his commissions, with the emperor's consent.
The first advices from the Earl of Arundel since he left this kingdom were received yesterday by express from the Hague. He informs the king and the Secretary Windebank that he has executed his commissions with the States and the Prince of Orange He also narrates his negotiations with the Princess Palatine about his business with the emperor touching her son First of all is to try to obtain his pardon and the repeal of the imperial ban against the late Palatine, which it is thought will facilitate all other acts of remission In support of this expedient the news from Hamburg this week comes by no means inopportunely They report a firm declaration by the Chancellor Oxenstern in the name of Sweden, promising not to accept any terms of peace in Germany without the re-establishment of the confederate princes Among these the Palatine Administrator is included, as guardian of the prince, to prove to the world that the late king was not guided by his own interests, as many believed, but invaded Germany with the sole object of restoring the liberty of the princes of the empire. Thus with the removal of the difficulty about the prescription, through which Cæsar raised objections about including the Palatine in the treaties with the Swedes, they may hope that with the conclusion of peace in Germany only, even if a general one is delayed, the interests of the Palatine may easily be adjusted, and consequently England will be relieved of this embarrassment, from which she certainly wished to escape in some way or other, as being the only thing which disturbs her present most happy repose.
For the more speedy settlement of this question the ministers here most eagerly desire to see the Electoral Diet established. It is announced that it is to be held at Ratisbon, and they regret its postponement here as they are afraid that the Duke of Bavaria for the sake of his own interests, may prevent it from meeting.
M. de la Ferte announces his mission as one of compliment on the birth of the last Princess, he has not yet presented his despatches, indeed he does not seem to have any with him, but to be expecting them by the ordinary of Rouen. Although this function is not considered proper for him since his father occupies the position of ambassador extraordinary, they say at Court that he has undertaken it in order to benefit by the considerable present which is usually given to those who perform such compliments.
The Resident of Savoy recently asked his Majesty's permission to export some gunpowder, musket and cannon balls for his master's use. They have not refused it, and while the Resident perceives the king's reluctance to grant such permission, with the usual half measure of delay, he leaves no stone unturned to obtain their consent, such being his instructions.
Sir [William] Hamilton took leave of the king the day before yesterday. He has received his instructions from the queen and will set out for Rome at once. Panzani is very pleased at having induced the King of England to take such a step. He states that the person who is to come and reside here in the pope's name is a cavalier of high rank, who will live magnificently and will revive, by his splendours, the pope's reputation, which has perished for the most part in the hearts of the people here. So much magnificence will not please the Court, however, because the king's connivance will always be held in suspicion, and the less conspicuous he is the safer he will be. This Panzani, whenever he has an opportunity, continues to defend as well as he can the reasons of the pope for changing the panegyric attached to the representation of the affair of Pope Alexander III. in the Sala Regia. But he obtains scant credit. I am assured, however, that he has received fresh orders from Rome to act with the utmost energy. They have heard that the action is disapproved by everybody here and are afraid that this may redound to their prejudice and injure the advantages which they hope, by patience, to proceed to win over this nation. I do not fail to contend for the true version of the case, without betraying any passion ; but it is not necessary for me to trouble myself greatly, as since my first representations everyone sees that right is clearly on the side of your Excellencies.
London, the 2nd May, 1636.
May 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
650. Piero Foscarini, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
An English ship from Smyrna recently brought a considerable quantity of French goods from Marseilles, especially cloth, with some 10,000 reals. The Count of Cesy claimed that the goods belonged to Marseillaise merchants taking cover under English names, and he asked the English ambassador to find out the truth of the matter so that he might be able to use the goods to pay part of his debts. The English ambassador declined, saying that he had received letters from very prominent English merchants claiming the goods as their own. This incensed the Count of Cesy, who went to the Caimecan and obtained an order to sequestrate all the French goods in that ship. This action roused the English ambassador and might have led to serious trouble. Accordingly I interposed and the Dutch ambassador did the same later. I have had great difficulty as these two fiery and inflamed characters were ready to go to any lengths ; however I hope that the matter will be settled before this despatch has been sealed.
The Vigne of Pera, the 3rd May, 1636.
May 9.
Senato. Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
651. As the English Ambassador has not yet been in the Collegio to hear the Senate's deliberation of the 10th ult., although through his secretary he is constantly urging the despatch of the affairs of the merchants Hider and Obson, that an ordinary of our chancery be sent to read the said deliberation to him, and to inform him further that letters will be sent to Cephalonia on behalf of Obson.
Ayes, 99. Noes, 4. Neutral, 11.
652. To the Ambassador in England.
Commendation of his offices with the earl of Arundel. At the Imperial Court the earl will find ambassadors from Denmark sent to urge the emperor to give satisfaction to the Swedes in the interests of a general peace in the empire. It is believed that Radolti is impressing on the Imperial ministers that the English are careless about the Palatinate and are only trying for an exchange against Lorraine. It is said that everything is being done to reduce the negotiations of the Imperial minister Radolti, sent to that Court, who is to represent the advantages of the alliance offered to England and of good relations with the Catholic in the interest of trade with Spain. To find out what he can about all these negotiations.
Forward advices of Italy. Enclose copy of the office to be read to the Ambassador Fildin.
Ayes, 99. Noes, 4. Neutral, 11.
May 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
653. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Aulic Councillor from the Emperor has left the residence of Nicolaldi and taken a house of his own, and announced his arrival to the Court. Yesterday he had audience of the king, accompanied by the Spanish Resident. His discourse was merely complimentary and delivered in Latin. On Monday he is to have private audience, when the general curiosity about the object of his mission will be satisfied.
The Earl of Leicester is to leave for France to-morrow. Before he took leave of his Majesty, whether spontaneously or by command, he decided to abandon his pretensions and call on both the French ambassadors here first. He did not come to me, however, and I do not think he will, as the time of his departure is too near. I have been unable to find out his commissions, but I am assured that he is to tell the Most Christian the reasons for Arundel's mission at a time when negotiations in the interest of the Palatine are also being actively carried on with him and to assure him that if the emperor does not speedily make up his mind to concede that which is asked of him with so much justice and reason, this king will lose no time in taking the most vigorous action. He is to intimate, but not to state explicitly, that this will mean a union with his Majesty in the closest bonds of alliance that he can desire. He will receive further commissions when some news arrives of the negotiations of Arundel with the emperor, and he is charged to despatch with all possible speed the fullest information of everything.
By Lord Arundel's letters last week from the Hague the king was informed of the honours done to him by the States, and in particular of the way in which they saluted and respected the ships which brought him, as not only at sea, but in their own ports the Dutch showed every sign of humbleness that could be desired in firing their guns and lowering their flags. The king and all the Court are highly delighted at this news, persuading themselves that the mere shadow of their fleet here is sufficient to keep the neighbouring nations in awe ; but it is evident that the action of the Dutch was induced by their own interests in the hope that they may win by mildness and submission what they cannot make sure of gaining by stiffness, in the matter of the fisheries. The ambassadors keep at work upon this, though without any sign of success as yet.
The earl adds that in the visits which he exchanged with the Prince of Orange he did not notice any sign of the order of the Garter. When he gently hinted that it was his duty to wear it, the prince replied that he did not usually forget it, and it was by accident that he happened to be without it that day. The earl's representations pleased his Majesty just as it displeased him to learn that the prince does not punctually observe the institutions of the order, as if he thought little of it. At the end of the letter the earl loudly protests his intention of devoting all his energies for completing his mission with some great advantage for the Prince Palatine and entire reputation for the crown. Many believe him sincere, because he has the inducement of his own reputation and because he hopes to obtain as a reward the title of Duke of Norfolk, anciently enjoyed by his ancestors, which he has eagerly desired for a long time.
News of the fall of Schench Scans, they say on the 29th ult., has reached his Majesty by a special route. (fn. 3) The king and his ministers are pleased about this and would like to have a confirmation, and the Dutch ambassadors say they have no certain information yet. If it is confirmed their fears of a truce in Flanders will be in great measure removed, and in this way, upon which the ambassadors based great hopes, they will be able to benefit their negotiations.
M. de la Ferte has not yet presented himself to their Majesties. Nothing is known of the contents of the missives delivered by him to the French ambassadors, who are supposed to be waiting for news of the Aulic councillor's announcement, as they are kept very secret. Up to the present he has certainly not made any fresh representations to his Majesty. Possibly they want first to hear what the Aulic Councillor will have set forth, so that they may have something better to go upon in directing their offices to meet the circumstances and needs of the time.
The Earl of Carlisle, after having languished for six months under a most painful disease, was released by death from his sufferings last Monday. Some days before he died his Majesty visited him, to whom he commended the interests of his wife, and in particular besought him to confirm for her life those benefits which he himself enjoyed, and to consent to receive all his other possessions into his own hands, in order to hand them over to the Countess and thus relieve her from the molestation of his creditors, as his debts amount to more than 120,000l. sterling. His Majesty readily undertook this and it is reckoned that the Countess will have 5000l. sterling a year for her life and more than 70,000l. besides with jewels, furniture and plate, which will be at her free disposition. The earl refused to remember his son, whom he hated in life, even at his death, and never made the slightest mention of him. The Court has already disposed of the post which he held, which was the first after his Majesty's person, and even of his wife, giving them both to the Duke of Lennox. (fn. 4) Many however believe that the office is designed for Prince Rupert, as the king wishes to keep him at his side, and he could not have a better opportunity for doing this or one that would cost him less.
The Princess, his mother, recently asked for his return to Holland, so that he might take the field with the Prince of Orange, as he shows a strong disposition towards the profession of arms. But his Majesty would not let him go on any account, and this gives further support to the belief that his Majesty intends to give him some employment here.
London, the 9th May, 1636.
654. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
There has been great excitement at Court all this week and a stir throughout the whole city because one of his Majesty's own barques, coming with the courier from Dunkirk has been taken by the French. Every one exclaims bitterly against the act, but more against the cause, because it strikes directly at the superiority at sea. The truth of the matter is this. The barque in question, when approaching Dover, fell in with an armed French ship in the narrowest part of the Channel. They sent a skiff to the Englishman informing him that he must lower his flag and humble himself before the Most Christian's standard. When the English captain refused, they began to fire, and so they continued a long while, each side hoping to gain the advantage. But with two other French barques coming up, very well armed, the Englishman had to surrender, the captain being wounded and most of his crew hurt. It was taken to Calais and consigned to the governor there, but when he recognised it, he set it at liberty at once and sent the letter bags to Dover. The captain, however, refused to leave the port of Calais, and sent the news of the incident to Court at once, while he waited for orders to be sent to him. (fn. 5)
The Ambassador Seneterre, knowing that the king was greatly stirred, tried to mollify him through the queen, assuring him that it was all due to the lack of prudence of the French captain, who certainly did not have such orders from his king, who is greatly displeased at the incident and also because the captain perished in the fight, because he would have liked by inflicting exemplary punishment to show his Majesty how far he was from desiring such disorders. The king replied that he would be satisfied if the Most Christian expressed these words with his mouth and if the ambassador repeated them publicly by his order, because the affront had been public, otherwise he would let the orders take effect which he considered proper to issue, declaring that he was very ill pleased with the governor of Calais for many reasons. The orders are understood to be that his ships shall fight any French ships soever that they meet at sea, without any reservation. For this purpose he is supposed to have ordered the Earl of Northumberland to put to sea with all the fleet without further delay and without waiting to put right the matter of the Vice Admiral I wrote of. He has already obeyed, and it is believed that he will be at sea with all his ships by to-morrow evening. The French ambassadors fear that some mischief may happen before they receive orders from their king. In the meantime they do not desist from their particular offices, but they are heard with some impatience and make practically no impression. The Aulic Councillor and Nicolaldi are expected to make good use of this circumstance and their partisans already descant upon it loudly.
There is no further authentic news about the marriage between the King of Poland and the Palatine princess, about which your Excellencies ask for particulars, except that a merchant who has recently come from Danzig reports that the Polish ambassador and Gordon have already started for these parts. From this and from Gordon's last letters it is calculated that they may arrive here within three weeks at longest. This serves to keep up the belief that this troublesome affair will finally have the successful issue that is so greatly desired.
Panzani has said nothing more on the matter of the eulogy and this leads me to believe that he has grown tired at last of labouring in vain.
It is arranged that the Court will leave this city for Hampton Court, as to first stage, on the 27th inst. but it is thought that the king will not wish to wait so long, so as not to be exposed to the plague, which grows worse every day. It has already broken out in some of the houses of the nobility, an unusual thing, especially at the beginning. People foretell great destruction, the evil being aided by the warmth of the season. Accordingly every one is exceedingly afraid and if it makes much progress the city will not only be abandoned by the Court but deserted by all sorts of the civil population. In that case I believe the scanty services I render will vanish away entirely unless your Excellencies command me to keep near the Court. If you wish this I beg you to send me word.
London, the 9th May, 1636.
May 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
655. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Swedish ambassador has seen the Cardinal, who highly commended the generous actions of the Chancellor Oxestierna. Provisions of the alliance between Sweden and France. (fn. 6) The ambassador remarked to his Eminence that there was a difficulty about communicating the alliance to the English ambassadors, as if he told him of the stipulations to restore the Palatine by force or by peace, the English would refuse to have anything more to do with it. The Cardinal replied, You must tell the ambassador that if England will not join, all will be nought.
Paris, the 12th May, 1636.
May 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
656. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince has proposed to forbid the exportation of food to England because Flanders receives abundant supplies in that way and this will enable the king there to stop issuing licences. But the merchants interested began to clamour at the first suggestion. The Prince laments that private interests should prevail in so important a matter. All the same it is believed that he made use of this device in order to induce England to prohibit the transport. If England should do this those Provinces would be beseiged, and in this way England, without breaking her neutrality and without moving could produce remarkable results.
Their High Mightinesses have charged Mons. Grasvinghel to answer the book entitled "Mare Clausum."
The Hague, the 15th May, 1636.
657. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Polish Ambassador Zavaschi arrived on Friday. He saw the Princess Palatine on the following day and has has secret audience twice since. It is not possible to learn particulars yet. One gathers that the Princess does not approve of the conditions. She says it will be a long affair and will not be settled before the Diet meets next November. The ambassador says it is necessary to arrange conditions which will be acceptable to the Diet. He said the Princess was sad when he saw her yesterday because the matter was no easy one. Yet no one doubts but that she will accommodate herself to circumstances because of the advantage to her daughter. The point of religion is the only insuperable one.
The Hague, the 15th May, 1636.


  • 1. The islands of Sainte Marguerite and St. Honorat, off Cannes, taken by the Spaniards on 14th September, 1635. They were not recovered until May, 1637.
  • 2. The St. Andrew a ship of 670 tons built in 1622, to which Sir John Pennington transferred his flag and the crew of the Anne Royal. though he did not get to sea till late in June. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1635-6, page 554, Id, Add 1625-49, page 529. Oppenheim. Administration of the Royal Nacy page 202.
  • 3. The garrison began to parley on the 24th April, but the place was not given up to the Dutch till the 30th. Le Clerc : Hist. des Provinces Unies ii. page 162.
  • 4. First gentleman of the bedchamber. The appointment was given to the earl of Holland. Salvetti, news letter of 30 May. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962.
  • 5. His Majesty's ketch the Miniken, Capt. Henry Dunning, was taken by a French pinnace and a shallop 2½ leagues from Calais, on the 1st May. N.S. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1635-6, pages 392, 393.
  • 6. Signed at Wismar on the 20th March. Dumont : Corps Diplomatique, Tome VI. pt. i. page 123.