Venice: January 1640

Pages 1-14

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 25, 1640-1642. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1924.

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January 1640

1640. Jan. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
1. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador came the day before yesterday to tell me of the audience which Windebank recently had with him of the king about the Palatine. His Majesty replied to their requests for his release that the manner in which he had passed through France, made the affair considerable and forced him to reflect before deciding. But in the meantime he could tell them that this action would not affect his friendliness to the Palatine. The proofs of it would be seen at Cologne, where his ministers had obtained honourable passports for him, and when the time came he would show how much he had at heart the interests of that house. The Cardinal had spoken to Windebank in the same terms, but they are fully aware that the French aim at forcing the King of Great Britain to some decision agreeable to themselves. This is not the right way to keep them friendly or place them under an obligation.
He also said they had some occasion to complain of Savigni. Last year he had expressed the intention and practical certainty of exchanging Prince Casimir for Prince Rupert, and now they say they do not remember this. He pointed out to me how opportune this exchange would be to dissipate much of the present bitterness and urged me to impress this upon the Cardinal if an opportunity occurred. Without pledging myself to anything I said I would gladly sound his Eminence and do what I could.
Since the decision of the King of Great Britain to summon Parliament in England, it seems that they are beginning to fear its resolutions and are considering more seriously the disturbance which may arise from that quarter. They are thinking more particularly of getting the Duchess of Chevreuse back to France. From her more than from any other cause they apprehend that precipitous movements may find encouragement.
Paris, the 3rd January. 1639. [M.V.]
Jan 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Belluno. Venetian Archives.
2. Almoro Thiepolo, Podesta and Captain of Belluno, to the Doge and Senate.
The memorial presented to your Serenity on behalf of the French Ambassador for Thomas Bachero, an English gentleman, is not quite exact. He and his servant have been arrested, not for a broken pistol found on him, as the memorial states, but for possessing a pistol fully loaded and provided with all the usual accessories. It is proved by their own admissions, in which they plead ignorance of the prohibition. He, in particular, pleads for a remission of the extreme penalty. It is perfectly true that during his stay in this neighbourhood for the purchase of pictures, no other reprehensible action has transpired, and even in prison he has shown extraordinary fortitude, fearlessness and composure. This shews him to be a person of quality which renders him worthy of the clemency of the state.
Belluno, the 9th January, 1640.
Enclosure. 3. Memorial presented by the French consul on behalf of the Ambassador, on the 28th December. Thomas Buchers, an English gentleman of rank, who is at Cividal di Belluno with his servant, to buy pictures, has sent a special messenger to relate that they have been arrested and imprisoned because of a broken pistol found on him. As there is no English ambassador at present in Venice, he has appealed to the French one to lay his case before your Serenity and ask for his release. His Excellency will take it as a singular favour if your Serenity will do this as soon as possible.
[Italian. Copy.]
Jan. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
4. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Some uneasiness in connection with the Swedes has arisen again, as they have better authenticated indications than before of their close negotiations with the emperor. It is believed that besides the King of Denmark, the sovereign of Great Britain may also be encouraging such action. They observe the proceedings of the latter ever more closely. They consider the levies which are being energetically raised are too numerous for the disturbance of Scotland. It is suggested that the English have opened some negotiations for a truce between the Spaniards and the Dutch for the purpose of uniting with them against France. In treating about the arrangements for the new campaign, these same Dutch are making stiffer claims than ever before, and the worst consequences are deduced from this.
In conformity with your Serenity's instructions I will do nothing to encourage the exchange of Prince Casimir against Prince Rupert. I may say positively that the ministers here have no inclination that way.
Paris, the 10th January, 1639. [M.V.]
Jan. 11.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
5. The Ambassador of the Most Christian came into the Collegio and said : I have not come here to-day by order of the king or for any public affair, I know it is usual to ask for audience the day beforehand, but I did not do so.
I have come to ask for the release of an English gentleman, a leading cavalier of that kingdom, of good birth and connections and quite 25,000 ducats a year. He is in Italy for pleasure, and as he is especially fond of pictures, he goes where he can see any, and buys when he has the opportunity. He heard that there were some fine ones in the Friuli and went to Cividal di Belluno. When he was about to leave and his servants were packing up his things, some spy, of whom there is never any lack for watching foreigners, saw his servant putting a pistol into the chest. It was broken and of no use, but the man informed the authorities, and the Englishman was told to go to the Podesta. He was afterwards sent to prison, as it availed him nothing to state his rank, or that the pistol was unloaded, broken and could harm no one. As there is no English ambassador here he applied to me, because I know him well, to intervene with your Serenity for his release. I sent the consul to ask the favour because I was too ill to come. But the poor gentleman has now been confined for a fortnight or three weeks in a dark room, ill treated even for a person of the lowest station. Yesterday evening at six an express messenger reached me with an account of his sufferings. This is why I have come to trouble your Serenity, that you may order some relief, at least until the matter is decided, that he may be put in a decent place and taken out of the darkness, which ill becomes a man of birth, and especially foreigners, who deserve better treatment, that being only politic, because your own nobles may meet with the same perils in foreign countries, and I do not think they would like to be treated in this fashion. He is a gentleman of birth and property and ought not to be treated like a navvy. I am sure the English and their king will be glad to hear of his release. He would not employ the resident, because, to tell the truth they have met and are not on good terms.
The doge replied, The public wishes foreigners to be well received and treated everywhere. We regret the accident to this gentleman, but some bad account must have been given to the Podesta about his quality. We wrote for information, and we will repeat the order, as we wish to gratify your lordship, especially as it is an act of justice and a person of the quality you represent.
The ambassador added, The Podesta did his duty because a prohibited weapon was found, but the gentleman might have been better treated. Your Serenity knows distinction is made according to rank. That is the custom in France, In a case of this kind they would have given him a good room and he would have the means to pay all the expenses. Until a man is proved criminal he ought not to suffer the penalty of the crime. When his guilt is established then the rigours of justice have play. He has spent three weeks in a dark little room. I do not think your Serenity intended this and I am sure you will give orders for him to be better treated and also command his release.
By arrangement with the other Savii Francesco Cornaro, knight, savio of the Council rose and said that the Consul Vedoa had come with the memorial in his week and they had at once written to Cividal di Bellun for information which had not yet arrived. The doge said they would give fresh orders and try to have the affair despatched as soon as possible, with every desire to gratify the ambassador.
Jan. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
6. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Scottish affairs remain as before. The Treasurer has arrived but has done nothing of note for the king. The deputies who are awaited with great impatience at the Court have not yet appeared. This affords good reason for suspecting that these new overtures, like the others, are artifices and merely intended to delay his Majesty's military preparations and cool his ardour. But these are going forward with all speed, and the Earl of Northumberland is appointed commander of the army instead of the Earl of Arundel, who served last year, a sign of dissatisfaction with the latter and of hope of useful service from the former, because he is popular with all the people of the North, who are nearest the enemy.
The departure of the deputy for Ireland is arranged for the 9th prox. He has instructions to raise numerous levies of that nation, in which they repose their chief hopes of the best service and prompt obedience, because they are mostly of the Catholic faith, and consequently full of hatred and aversion for the Scots.
They are equally busy over the fleet, and devote ceaseless labour to providing the arsenals with everything required, as they are determined to have a well equipped fleet ready at sea by next April. If the amount of the contributions at all corresponds to the largeness of their plans, it seems likely that the royal forces will be very considerable this year. His Majesty has ordered that they shall be quartered in the most remote parts, in order to disarm the mischievous suspicion of the people that the assembling of such great forces is intended rather to kill the demands of the English parliament than to beat down the violence of the rebels. Meanwhile the Scots do not relax their efforts to offer a stout resistance. They keep 400 officers on half pay, and many other commanders of repute, whom they get to drill their militia constantly. They let it be freely understood that if they are attacked in their own country they will retaliate upon Ireland. As 40,000 of their own race live there, they believe this will be easy. Accordingly his Majesty has sent orders that the Scots in that country must be completely disarmed without delay.
His Majesty is very anxious to know the precise intentions of the Most Christian about the release of the Palatine. He has again expressed to the minister here how strongly he feels about the severity with which he is guarded, and that Wilbanch has not yet been allowed to see him, according to his instructions. The ambassador dexterously evaded the point and promised that if they found that the real motives of the Palatine's journey to Germany were not prejudicial to France, as he asserts, the king will set him at liberty without further delay.
The Spanish proposals for obtaining the services of twenty English ships do not make the progress expected. The king, urged by the strong representations of the French and Dutch ambassadors, has looked more closely into the matter, and so far witholds his permission. The partisans of the Dutch labour to persuade his Majesty that it will be both hurtful to the interests of the crown and contrary to the ancient laws of the realm, and in particular to the last acts of parliament. The Dutch ambassadors importune for a reply to the paper they presented so long ago, but their efforts have proved fruitless so far, and this serves to increase their suspicion that this delay is due to secret negotiations for a league with the Catholic, who seizes on the favourable opportunity of the present ill feeling against France and Holland and tries every means to bring this crown to do what he wants. To the old proposal for a marriage with the princess here they now add an offer to give the Infanta to the prince here if his Majesty will make an offensive and defensive alliance with the House of Austria. Although these offers conform to the king's sentiments, as he is passionately inclined to a marriage alliance with the Austrians, yet in order to sound the real intentions of the Spaniards, which prudent men characterise as trickery, his Majesty has replied that if the Catholic agrees to send the Infanta here at the same time as the princess sets out for Spain, he will readily agree to do all that crown asks. It looks as if this reply was intended rather to break off the negotiations than to set them going as they know from past experience how difficult they are to conduct.
Count William of Nassau stays on in this city, but he has not performed any offices at Court beyond the complimentary ones reported.
After four weeks, during which the high winds have prevented the couriers from crossing the sea, the Antwerp one has arrived to-day, bringing me your Excellencies' letters of the 2nd ult. I can say no more about Fildinch's return except his repeated declarations that he will soon start, and he repeated the same two days ago, when he came to this house because of my indisposition. I cannot say whether his deeds will correspond with his words as I know he is trying his hardest to get a post at the palace. On the other hand I think I can say that until he is deprived of the embassy, of which he enjoys all the salary and every other emolument, his Majesty will not appoint anyone else to go to your Excellencies, not only to avoid offending Fildinch, but his mother and the Marquis Hamilton as well, for both of whom the king has a singular affection.
London, the 13th January, 1639. [M.V.]
Jan. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
7. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch ambassadors in England report that negotiations proceed slowly, indeed the king studiously affects delay, while the Catholic minister offers the strongest opposition. The ancient pretensions of the English against these Provinces over the unsettled affairs of the Indies appear to be revived. The Admiralty of each country is endeavouring to secure an advantage for its own side. The coming meeting of parliament in that kingdom gives everyone here cause to regard it with esteem and consideration (Vespettatione della reduttione del parlamento in quel Regno eccita qui nel concetto d'ogn' uno motivi di stima e di riguardo).
The Hague, the 14th January, 1640.
Jan. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Ceffalonia. Venetian Archives.
8. Giacomo Donado, Venetian Proveditore of Cephalonia, to the Doge and Senate.
Thomas Simens has not been here, but a Greek, Balsamo, came to lade currants in his name. I forbade this and ordered him to leave. The people here are in the greatest straits. The other merchants of the island depend solely upon Simens' will and he is the absolute arbiter of the fortunes of the rest. This has led to claims being made against him. Although the English Company fixed the price at 20 reals the thousand, Simens has bought them at 18 and even less, owing to the fear of everyone that his stock of currants may remain unsold.
Cephalonia, the 7th January, 1639 old style.
Jan. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
9. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cardinal seems very anxious for the affair of the Palatine to take definite shape. He asked me to perform some friendly office on the subject with the Ambassador Leicester, assuring him that if the Palatine will give the king some verbal satisfaction as a matter of courtesy, saying that he was not passing through France with any intentions contrary to his service, and if the King of Great Britain, on his part, will promise him some considerable and certain help, he will not only receive his liberty but the protection of His Majesty so that it will not be difficult for him to recover his states. I gave him my word to serve him, but on my responsibility, as I had no power as minister of the republic to interfere in this affair. I commended his decision highly. The arms of the King of Great Britain now that he has summoned parliament, are indeed very considerable. It is always in his power to make a peaceful settlement of the affairs of Scotland, and then he can direct his forces in whatever direction the accidents and circumstances of the time may suggest.
Paris, the 17th January, 1639. [M.V.]
10. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Bellievre in England has been commanded to come to Court. It is not known yet whether the intention is to employ him elsewhere, or to send him back after he has given his Majesty orally a clear account of the true state of affairs there. Their jealousy at the military preparations which the King of Great Britain is hastening on, has been not a little increased by the news from Flanders that the Marquis of Velada has received commissions from the Catholic to proceed immediately to England in the capacity of ambassador extraordinary.
Paris, the 17th January, 1639. [M.V.]
Jan. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Belluno. Venetian Archives.
11. Almoro Thiepolo, Podesta and Captain of Belluno, to the Doge and Senate.
Your Serenity's missives of two days' ago about releasing Thomas Bachino, the English gentleman, with his servant, reached me yesterday. It was done forthwith and they are not charged with any costs whatever. During their incarceration they received every commodity and good treatment. Your Excellencies' orders for transferring them to a daylight prison reached me in good time and were promptly carried out.
Belluno, the 18th January, 1640.
Jan. 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
12. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Marquis of Vellada is expected at this Court in the capacity of ambassador extraordinary of the Catholic. He is a man of great note owing to his high rank and his favour with the Count duke. So far as I can gather his instructions are to obtain from his Majesty permission to take a certain number of English ships to serve his master, to unite with those which are being prepared with great haste at Dunkirk, and to make every effort to induce him to believe in the sincere wish of Spain to draw near to the conclusion of the reciprocal marriages reported, with the idea, on the one hand of assisting the overtures for an alliance with this crown, and on the other to keep up the useful ill feeling with the French and Dutch. The ambassadors of both countries sigh for a reply to their offices, for which they have asked so often, and Arsem intimates that if they keep him waiting any longer he will go back home. A courier has reached the French ambassador with orders to take leave and return to France. As we do not hear of anyone else being appointed this arouses misgivings as well as strange comments. But the news sent by Wilibanch of the permission at last granted to him to see the Palatine and present him the letters of the king assuage their jealousy and raise the hopes of many ministers, which are not shared by the wisest, that he will soon obtain not only the prince's release, but that the outbreak of disturbance at Breisach, which they persuade themselves to be considerable, and also the quarrels among the leaders of Weimar's army, will suggest to France the necessity of consenting to the prince having the control of that important place as well as the command of the army.
Under the pretext that the sureties sent are not sufficient, the Scots are delaying the despatch of the deputies to his Majesty. In order to decide upon the best answer to give to the proposals made to them by the Treasurer, they have decided to call a new Assembly, on whose deliberations they say their resolutions will depend. This all goes to show that they are dragging things out of set purpose, and that all their actions are calculated. Accordingly they are devoting great attention here to the new levies and to raising money ; but as everyone seems reluctant to submit to new burdens they meet with serious obstacles and the greatest hopes of supply rest solely on the liberality of parliament, without which the proposals reported cannot be brought to perfection.
Meanwhile the Deputy of Ireland advances daily in his Majesty's affection and favour, and the most weighty affairs of this monarchy now receive their impetus from his prudent counsels. This week the king has honoured him with the rank of earl and declared him his lieutenant in Ireland, (fn. 1) a title which has not readily been granted in the past to any other minister, and so it is expected that in the course of time he will enjoy even greater fortune.
Many ships from Spain have arrived in port with 400 chests of money, most of it destined for the expenses of Flanders. To-day I have received your Excellencies' letters of the 9th and 15th ult. I regret that the bad weather, which has lasted three weeks and caused the loss of twenty large ships on these coasts, has prevented my own for all those weeks from reaching you. (fn. 2) I hope that they will have arrived since. I hope you will excuse me for the sterility of news here, and I assure you that nothing vexes me more than the absence here of any opportunity of rendering useful service.
London, the 20th January. 1640.
Jan. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
13. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The attention of the States is drawn towards England where the Catholic minister is making remarkable efforts to their prejudice. Their ambassador reports that besides attempting to hire English ships to send to the West Indies, he also proposed to fit out forty to cruise about the seas and take troops and materials to Flanders. Their High Mightinesses threaten to oppose this scheme by arms rather than by negotiation ; but it is thought that the question is unlikely to be settled until parliament meets.
In addition to this the agreements are now made public which were settled a long time ago between the Spaniards and the English for the reception of the fleet, now routed. The Catholic minister has produced before the king himself the very paper by which that monarch bound himself to the maintenance of the fleet and to preserve it in port from all injury. (fn. 3) It is reported that the king replied that the arrival of the fleet was several months behind the time prescribed and agreed upon between the crowns, and it had been necessary, to avoid keeping his ships unoccupied any longer, to permit them to disperse on various employments. In this way he was left unprovided with the means of watching over the fleet, and so that force, through its excessive tardiness had lost the advantage of his protection. From all this it would appear that a definite understanding existed between the two crowns, and with ever fresh intimations of the king's hostile feelings these States are warned to keep on the alert, so that England may not take them at a disadvantage. However, they derive great hopes from the movements of the Scots, and they believe here that more serious disturbances will occur in that country.
The Hague, the 21st January, 1640.
Jan. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
14. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Two days after my last despatch Savigni came to ask me in the Cardinal's name if I had had any conversation with the English ambassador about the Palatine. I said Yes, and that while I had found the ambassador perfectly ready to do all in his power to get the matter adjusted, I had also found that his king was determined not to enter into any negotiations before his nephew was released from his present captivity. I suggested that a way out might be found by giving him a conditional liberty, that would satisfy his uncle and the world while safeguarding the interests of His Majesty ; by releasing him on parole in Paris where he would readily stay if he were led to hope that they would treat with him about his interests. The ambassador raised no objection and even seemed inclined to move in the matter. Savigni expressed approval and said he would speak to the king about it. He did so and the day after came in his Majesty's name to ask me to tell the ambassador that he was ready to set the Palatine at liberty if he would promise not to go away from the Court without his consent, the king of England giving the same promise and both declaring that the Palatine had not passed through that kingdom with the intention of taking command of the army of the late Duke of Weimar and using it against the interests of France. I reported this to the ambassador who, after many objections about the difficulty of the promise, asked of his master, at last undertook to write about it, not without hope of success.
To both parties I have declared myself the private servant of the two kings, and that I have not acted in this affair as minister of your Excellencies, although I am sure you will be glad to see friendship restored between these two crowns through the meditation of the republic. I have acted the more readily in the matter as, besides the need of gratifying the king and His Eminence, which I could not evade, I have observed the irritation between these two nations extremely exasperated by the accident and threatening a considerable upset very soon, most prejudicial in the present state of affairs of Christendom. The ambassador has more than once declared publicly that his king would not tolerate the affront of the imprisonment of his nephew, the King of Denmark is ready to interest himself in the cause, and the Spaniards, fomenting the bitter feeling, lose no time in making offers to England which are not to be despised.
Paris, the 24th January, 1639. [M.V.]
15. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It was not for any immediate business that the Ambassador Bellievre obtained permission to return here, and he will not go back to England again. No one has yet been selected to fill his place. They speak of the Count of Moruer (fn. 4) and possibly of the Marshal d'Etre, if he should be recalled from Rome.
Paris, the 24th January, 1639. [M.V.]
Jan. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Zante. Venetian Archives.
16. Francesco Marcello, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Thomas Simons, general factor of the English merchants, came here last October. I informed him of the wishes of your Serenity and he expressed the best of intentions. It is unquestionable that the price of currants this year is very low, as although the quality is excellent, money is so short that the poor people have to sell for anything they can get. Complaints have reached me that the low price is in great measure due to Simons, who has an arrangement with the other English merchants which prevents them from entering the market. I sent for him and told him that he must allow complete freedom of trade. He assured me that he did not prevent it. Since his arrival from Venice the price had risen to 18 reals. This is quite true. Still it is reported that there is an arrangement between Simons and the other English that the price shall not rise above 18 reals, although their leading merchants have commissions to pay 22 reals here and 20 reals at Cephalonia. Even if this is true it will be difficult to establish as the merchants keep secret their arrangements among themselves. The people are much distressed at the difference in price from last year and they implore relief from the state.
Zante, the 15th January, 1639, old style.
Jan. 26.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
17. The Secretary of England came into the Collegio and expressed himself in the terms of the attached memorial, which was handed to the secretary after his exit.
The Memorial.
Most serene Prince : It was ordained in the Senate on 7 July and 2nd October, 1638, that l'Aquila with his son Girolamo and son in law Boldu should be sent to Corfu while their processes were drawn up. (fn. 5) This order was sent to the Proveditore of Zante, but as l'Aquila was in Cephalonia at the time, the order was sent on to the Proveditore there with letters from Zante. However, these orders have not been carried out and instead of being at Corfu Aquila has come to this city to make himself chancellor of Cephalonia, with the favour of the Proveditore last chosen. Your Serenity is besought to cause this Aquila to be sent away while the affairs of Henry Hide are being dealt with in the office of the Five Sages, and that he be relegated in accordance with the order of the Senate until his process has been drawn up, as well at Zante as at Venice.
Jan. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
18. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The French ambassador took leave of their Majesties on Sunday with the customary ceremony. His departure is announced for Monday. The Dutch ambassadors look with reasonable apprehension upon this as well as upon the mission of the Marquis of Vellada to this Court. Arsem sees more and more clearly that the delay in the reply he has asked for in vain means that they want first to hear the proposals of the Catholic ambassador. He also is determined to leave very soon, leaving old Joachimi in charge to maintain the original relations with this crown. The king, on the other hand, shows his pleasure at the appointment of Vellada and awaits him with obvious impatience. He states that he considers him a minister of the best intentions, with none of the artifices which have generally been inseparable from the behaviour of that nation. Such ideas will help the minister's negotiations and also show his Majesty's leanings to a closer connection with the House of Austria.
After having stayed several days at Brussels, where the Agent Gerbier courteously entertained him, M. di Talbot has arrived here in the capacity of a gentleman sent by Prince Tomaso. (fn. 6) He has seen their Majesties and the queen mother as well. His secret offices, from what I gather, have been devoted to show the readiness of his master to arrange a complete adjustment with Madame of Savoy, through the influence of the sovereigns here ; while he has made suggestions calculated to foment the ill feeling against France and he has laboured to induce them to support the trouble in Normandy by cautious assistance, as being the best way to compel the Most Christian to release the Palatine and to allow his mother to return to that kingdom. Although these incitements are known to be directed solely to causing fresh difficulties to that monarch yet they find the king and most influential ministers much inclined that way, if the present differences permit them to make any attempt.
As no couriers have arrived from Scotland this week they are most impatiently waiting to hear what has been decided in the Assembly there. Reports state that the people are powerfully armed and supplied with all they need for a stout resistance to the royal forces. They continue to assemble these busily in the North, and they have recently distributed the leading posts of the army. Lord Conway is made general of the cavalry, a man of reputation and experience ; the Earl of Newport commands the artillery while the entire naval forces are entrusted to the Marquis Hamilton.
They talk freely at the palace about replacing many ministers suspected of partiality towards the Scots and Dutch. Meanwhile the king has ordered the Earl of Lince, Lord High Chamberlain of the Realm, to resign to the Earl of Northumberland the governorship of Berwick, a vital fortress on the Scottish frontier.
The Lord Keeper has passed away. Many aspire to this important post and although there are some who offer 250,000 crowns for it, that being the key whereby to open the door to even the most difficult things, yet his Majesty has not chosen to make an appointment. He inclines to give it to the Treasurer, whose place he would then give to the Lieutenant of Ireland, (fn. 7) who, favoured by ever more conspicuous indications of his Majesty's esteem and benevolence, is stepping quickly towards the entire control of this monarchy. This affects the interests of France at this Court prejudicially, as it is well known that this new and influential minister is entirely Spanish in his sympathies.
The courier of Antwerp has arrived this week without the despatches from Italy. It is supposed that the couriers have been stopped by the armies in Germany. I report this because my own letters may be delayed.
London, the 27th January, 1640.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
19. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
We hear of no further progress with the negotiations of the English ambassador. He sent back the couriers who came from England many days ago. It appears that they resent here the English king having admitted the Dutch ambassador to his Court and to audience.
Madrid, the 28th January, 1639. [M.V.]
Jan. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
20. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
There is a report of negotiations for an agreement between the Infant, England and Denmark. This receives some support from the permission given to a natural son of Denmark to raise two regiments in that kingdom for the Prince Cardinal (fn. 8) ; and it is thought that the detention of the Prince Palatine may help a union between England and Denmark. The Infant and England have a common grievance against the Dutch over the late action. But the strongest proof is the knowledge that negotiations have been opened for a marriage alliance between Spain and England. The French ambassador tries to dissipate unfavourable impressions, but the States know that resentment is felt in England at the arrest of the Palatine.
Levies of 15,000 infantry and 2,000 horse are being raised in England. This is ascribed to some hidden intention against France in case the disturbances in Scotland are settled. But the Dutch ambassador in France writes that the French are keeping an eye on this and at the opening of parliament they will direct their attention to conciliating the goodwill of that body and preventing any accident.
The Hague, the 28th January, 1640.
Jan. 31.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
21. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have been to audience of the king at St. Germains. He seemed very curious to know what the English ambassador had said to me about the proposals made to him in writing for the release of the Palatine. I said I had found him most disinclined to believe that his king would sign them, as even if the Palatine agreed he could not in honour give the assurance which is required about his nephew's intentions or even give a promise that the Prince will not leave the Court without his Majesty's consent. So far as the Palatine is concerned it is certain that he will give the promise not to leave and will justify his intentions, but not in the form proposed to him. His Majesty replied that if the King of Great Britain wished to treat of the interests of his nephew he must consent to the satisfaction demanded ; if not, there is nothing more to be said. He asked me to see the Cardinal about it and not to let the matter drop. I will try and serve his Majesty in this matter, as if some means of accommodation is not found and they allow themselves to become incensed, more harm may be done than is looked for.
Paris, the last of January, 1639. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 22. Promise of the English Ambassador.
Nous soubsigné Comte de Leycester etc. Declarons que le Roy etc. n'a jamais eu connoissance d'aucun dessein que le Prince Palatine Electeur. son nepveu ait eu de debaucher du service du Roy Très Chrêtien l'Armée commandée par feu M. le Due de Weimar ou aucune de ses troupes et officiers pour s'en rendre chef et que pour rien du monde il ne voudrait souffrir un tel dessein qui offenceroit le Roy Très Chrêtien, son frère qui soldoie la dite Armée.
Nous promettons en outre au nom de Sa Majesté de la Grande Bretagne que s'il plaist au Roy mettre son dit nepveu en liberté dans Paris et dans sa Cour il n'en sortira point sans sa permission.
Faict etc.
23. Promise of the Prince Palatine.
Nous soubsigné etc. Declarons qu' encores que nous passassions incogneu par la France pour aller en Allemagne nous n' avons jamais eu intention de debaucher du service de Roy Très Chrêtien l' Armée commandée par feu M. le Due de Weimar ou aucune de ses troupes et officiers d' icelle ny de nous en rendre chef, et que rien du monde nous ne voudrions penser a une telle acte qui offenceroit Sa Majesté Très Chrêtienne qui solde la dite Armée.
Nous promettons en outre, en foy et parolle de Prince, que sa dite Majesté nous donnant la liberté de demeurer dans Paris et dans sa Cour, n'en sortirons point sans sa permission.
Faict etc.


  • 1. Wentworth was created baron of Raby and earl of Strafford on the 2/12 January.
  • 2. On the night of the 6-7 Jan. there was a particularly violent storm which even wrecked ships in port. Le Clerc : Hist. des Provinces Unies, Vol. ii., page 197.
  • 3. It is noteworthy that the Marquis of Velada in his speech to the King only claimed that the Spanish fleet had entered the Downs with his permission, and that he had forbidden hostilities between the two fleets on pain of siding against the one that attacked first. Discorso pronunciado ante el Rey de Inglaterra por D. Antonio Sancho Davila y Toledo, Marques de Velada, apud Duro : Armada Espanola, vol. iv., page 253. There seems nevertheless to have been a vague promise of support. See Gardiner : Hist. of England, vol. ix., page 59 note.
  • 4. Presumably the Sieur du Mauroy is meant.
  • 5. See the preceding Vol. of this Calendar, pages 449-452, 530-532.
  • 6. The sieur d'Allot. The French agent Montereul calls him Hallot on the 2nd Feb. and later the sieur de Dalot. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
  • 7. Thomas lord Coventry died on Tuesday 24 January n.s., and the great seal was delivered to Sir John Finch on the 27th. Cal. S. P. Dom., 1639-40, pages 341, 344.
  • 8. Apparently Christian Ulric von Güldenlow. See Boswell's despatch of 1 Nov., 1640. S. P. Holland.