Venice: January 1641

Pages 110-117

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 1641

1641. Jan. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
147. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The two younger brothers of the Palatine have recently arrived at Paris, to learn chivalrous exercises in the Academy. (fn. 1) It is said that Windebank, the secretary of state of the King of Great Britain will arrive here in a short time, having fled from England for reasons which your Excellencies will know.
Sciatu, the 1st January, 1641.
Jan. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
148. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The three ambassadors left for England on Tuesday. A special vessel reported their arrival yesterday morning. The Prince is very delighted and the people await the issue of their negotiations. They have already begun to cherish great hopes of a new alliance with that kingdom and of favourable communications for trade. The Ambassador Joachimi writes that the king informed parliament of the marriage amid universal applause and acclamations. This news intensifies the gladness of the Prince and heaps up the rejoicing of the common people, who anticipate every good from this wedding.
The Hague, the 7th January, 1641.
Jan. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
149. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Windebank. secretary of state of the King of Great Britain, has arrived in Paris and seen the Ambassador Leicester incognito. Besides the restitution of the ships taken by the Archbishop of Bordeaux they have also granted to the ambassador the goods laden in them, belonging to the English. But there are disputes at present over the claims of the Marine Office here that the English had no interest in the goods, and that their name simply served to cover those of the Spaniards ; and so the dispute has flared up again.
A deputy of Holland has arrived to report the marriage of the daughter of the King of Great Britain to the son of the Prince of Orange. (fn. 2) They will recognise the compliment, but not cordially, as the ministers here resent the Prince of Orange having concluded such a great affair without any previous intimation to the king here.
Sciatu, the 8th January, 1641.
Jan. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
150. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch ambassadors reached Gravesend two days ago in three ships of war. They have arrived here, and are awaiting the royal barques and other customary attentions for their state entry to this city today. When crossing they fell in with five Dunkirk ships, which after a vigorous combat were obliged as usual to seek safety in flight, though not without damage to the Dutch, who lost several soldiers in the fight, while some of the ambassadors' suite were severely wounded. Meanwhile the Court is consumed with curiosity to learn what special proposals they bring besides the complimentary one for the marriage. It is confirmed that the strongest inducements which prevailed with His Majesty were those reported in my last. But there is no sign so far that he is going to attain his end by such means. The commissioners of Scotland show more clearly than ever that they do not mean to separate the interests of that kingdom from those of England, and the English parliamentarians on their side, with the object of confirming them in this purpose, by demonstrations of confidence, do nothing without consulting them or without their consent, so it is thought that every attempt to separate them will prove vain, and that is the only stroke with which His Majesty aspires to conquer the hydra of so many troublesome seditions.
After the members of the Lower House had carefully discussed the way to make a new law for parliament to meet every year at a definite time, and to take away the king's ancient prerogative of calling it at his pleasure, they sent up their proposal to the Upper House, and endeavoured by many arguments to persuade them that this proposal would be equally useful to the lords. But a matter involving such important consequences demands mature reflection, and in their reply the Upper Chamber has not seemed entirely favourable, fearing lest such an attenuation of the royal authority and the frequency of parliaments might not augment licence among the people, with manifest danger that after shaking off the yoke of the monarchy they might afterwards apply themselves to abase the nobility also and reduce the government of this realm to a complete democracy, which is the definite object at which the most seditious among the Puritans in particular aim all their efforts. His Majesty, on the other hand, for his own interests industriously encourages this idea and is exerting himself actively to prevent the Lower Chamber from realising this audacious design, which strikes the royal authority in its most sensitive parts.
They are more active than ever over the reform of religion. Already with the consent of both Chambers the canons added to the Anglican liturgy of recent years by the Archbishop of Canterbury have been condemned and prohibited. New charges having been accumulated against that prelate by the Scottish commissioners, parliament has had him arrested to the general satisfaction, though very distasteful to His Majesty and especially to the queen, who is full of generous spirit and shows that she feels very strongly at seeing her husband not only deprived of his most faithful ministers, but so effectively despised by his own subjects. For this reason she never ceases to urge him to throw himself into desperate courses, and it is to be feared that he may at last lose patience and listen to her, with danger of more serious consequences.
Following the example of the Secretary of State Windebank, the Lord Keeper has also sought safety in flight. He crossed the sea on Monday profiting by his Majesty's favour, who gave him secret proofs of his regard, and he has not as yet made any appointment to the office, which is the first and most necessary of the crown.
Parliament has voted four subsidies to be collected before the end of next April, on the express condition that they shall be controlled by their own commissioners, who are charged to employ the money solely for the monthly payments promised to the Scots and for the maintenance of the English troops who are quartered on the frontier. On the other hand they have taken from the king the use of the revenues of the customs, which are the most accessible and best which he possesses, so that the cashiers themselves declare that if these revenues are not returned to his Majesty or if he is not provided by parliament in some other way, it will be impossible for him in the future to support the private expenses of his own Court. Owing to these fresh restrictions they have withdrawn the monthly assignment to the queen mother, so that she also is subjected to the most painful stringency.
The Ambassadors of the Catholic have urgently pressed the king to permit them to raise recruits and fresh levies of Irish troops. He gave them assurances about the former, but could offer them no hope of the latter, and although they have the opportunity to levy the number of soldiers that they require under the name of recruits, yet they seem put out about the reply. The ambassadors extraordinary announced that they are leaving very soon and are expecting instructions from their master by the next courier to set out. They will feel bitterly that they have incurred expense to no purpose whatever in this conspicuous mission, with scant honour for the crown which they represent.
The French secretary informed His Majesty yesterday of the selection of the Sieur de la Fertbo (fn. 3) to reside at this Court as ambassador for that Crown. The news pleased His Majesty greatly and the whole Court shows its gratification.
London, the 11th January, 1641.
Jan. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
151. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France to the Doge and Senate.
It seems they are thinking of sending an ambassador to England at last, indeed it is announced that la Ferte Imbo has been nomiated, to go there as soon as possible.
Sciatu, the 15th January, 1641.
Jan. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
152. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The three ambassadors extraordinary of Holland had their first public audience of His Majesty yesterday. It was made notable by the great crowd of people and of the nobility, and also because the king as an extraordinary demonstration of esteem, chose to receive them in the Great Hall which is ordinarily used only for the ambassadors of kings. This shows clearly the power of goodwill at this Court, a circumstance which makes the claims of the ambassadors boundless, as your Excellencies shall hear.
M. de Brederot spoke in the name of all. By his birth and from his close relationship to the Prince of Orange, he is head of the embassy. His first offices were confined to compliments. It was left to other private audiences to set forth the precise commissions of the embassy. The king gave them a most gracious welcome. Meanwhile they say freely at the palace that in a short time this crown is to make a new offensive and defensive alliance with the United Provinces against all alike. Everyone forms his own judgment about the secret bargains and aims for which the Dutch have entered into this alliance, in accordance with each man's private passions and sympathies. Many think that they do not intend by this alliance to increase the happiness of France ; others that it will not be pleasant for the Spaniards either. Time will show the true motives, and very likely, as is customary with this country, they will not produce the results, in the present troubled state of Christendom, that many have vainly conceived.
As regards the marriage, the report that it will be with the king's eldest daughter, Princess Mary, gathers strength. This only serves to increase the resentment and shame of the Spanish ambassadors, while the news, which is confirmed, of the revolt of Portugal, tends to destroy the high opinion of their master which was held here before. Everyone predicts fresh and more serious troubles for that crown.
The armistice with the Scots which terminated at the end of last month, has been extended for another month, with equal promptitude on both sides. The king works harder than ever to bring about an accommodation. On this he bases his chief hopes of supporting his own authority with his subjects. Accordingly he has consented to all their demands except the payment of the 1,800,000 ducats, which they persist in claiming as an indemnity. It is an impossible sum to pay and this excites the suspicion that under cover of such high demands the Scots purpose to strengthen their footing in England, and that they will only be dislodged from their quarters at Newcastle by force. In this they have the advantage from the experience of their commanders and the discipline of their soldiers, so that many are doubtful whether the issue would be favourable.
In parliament they are proceeding with the customary slowness. Many things are proposed but so far, after mature consideration, nothing has been decided. There have been long debates in the Upper House about the annual meeting of parliament. Their first suspicion that this was to make the authority of the people pre-eminent, in a prejudicial manner, having disappeared, it seems that the lords not only agree in this sentence but propose to set up a new magistrate, who, when parliament was not sitting, would be specially charged to see that its decrees were carried out. If this innovation is introduced it will hand over the reins of government completely to parliament, and nothing will be left to the king but mere show and an image of royalty stripped of credit and destitute of all authority.
Disturbances continue in Ireland. In addition to the petition for the restitution of privileges there and the relief of the people from many insupportable burdens, they persist in their demand for liberty of conscience. The Catholics in particular not only ask with piteous zeal for the public exercise of the Roman Faith, but supported by the military, who refused to disband, as I wrote, have riotously entered the Protestant Cathedral Church of Dublin, where they had a solemn mass celebrated, attended by a great crowd. This news has stirred the parliament deeply, and the English Catholics are not without fear that this action of the Irish, although just, may increase their own loss and danger.
In the continued shortage of money, experienced by the king, he is unable to allow the queen mother to enjoy any longer the use of his own liberality. She has therefore decided to dismiss the residue of her household and to adopt the frugal life of a private lady, affording a singular example to the world that even the royal state of the greatest princes is subject to the same vicissitudes as affect the fortunes of private houses.
London, the 17th Januray, 1641.
153. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
At the public entry of the Dutch ambassadors I sent my coach, being invited. This took its place at the landing place after the royal ones. The Master of the Ceremonies alighted before any one else and thinking only of the advantage of the ambassadors, he ordered my coachmen to yield place to those of Holland, on the ground that the day was set apart for their honour. My master of the horse replied boldly that he was astonished at such an order, and would not allow the coachmen to move. In the end the coaches started without change and mine kept its proper place although the Dutch tried more than once to take it away.
On the following day the ambassadors sent their secretary to this house to thank me, and to express their desire to maintain the best relations. I replied suitably and subsequently sent the secretary Agostini to pay my respects on their arrival.
The day after the Master of the Ceremonies came to me and tried to excuse his palpable fault by lying pretexts. He said that the ambassadors had made the claim, for that day, although they did not deny the right of my coach to the first place in other public and private functions. Arsem had enjoyed this advantage in France and wished for it here also. I pointed out the futility of such claims, and said I would never consent to my coach taking any place than what was due to the greatness of the prince, I represented. Finding it useless to try and persuade me he departed, and he did not invite my coach, as usual, to the audience of the ambassadors. I have thought fit to report this affair, which has caused some talk at Court, and I will also send word to the Ambassador Giustinian at the Hague. The chief author is Arsem, who has enjoyed your Excellencies' favour, and perhaps he aspires by this means to open the way to greater advantages in the future.
London, the 17th January, 1641.
Jan. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
154. Piero Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador, Gieronimo Trivisan, Bailo and Alvise Contarini, Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Two English ships have arrived here with a very great quantity of bombasine (baracani) and carcasonnes (carcassoni), (fn. 4) they are called, which are forbidden and cannot be sold at any price. One is curious to see what will happen. To take them elsewhere, without payment of the duty, as the English are at liberty to do by their capitulations, will mean a considerable loss to the merchants, and they may not know where to dispose of them. To unlade them here being prohibited, would be worse. It is probable that the needs of the merchants and the greed of the Vizier will find a common ground, and a substantial present may settle the difficulty, with the hope that other nations may follow the example.
The Vigne of Pera, the 19th January, 1640. [M.V.]
Jan. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
155. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cardinal told me of the choice of la Ferte Imbo for the English embassy. Though he will be styled extraordinary, the Cardinal said he would stay there such time as the king pleased, just as the ordinary ambassadors do. The representations of your Serenity had great influence in the decision. I thanked him for the honour of his confidence. The Cardinal took the opportunity to speak to me superficially, of the marriage of the second daughter of the King of Great Britain to the son of the Prince of Orange, but he went far enough to show me, with the information I already possessed, that they suspect the marriage has been made with the consent of the Spaniards, the Prince of Orange having promised to arrange a secret truce between them and the Dutch States. Some go further and are persuaded that the Prince has taken this step with a long view, anticipating that with the Provinces at peace they are certain to split up on the question of religion, when he will lead the stronger party and easily reduce the other, making himself supreme with the help of the English, with the Spaniards rather favourable than otherwise. This view will gain still greater credit if the marriage between the Prince of Spain and the Princess of England is concluded. It is considered as good as arranged, although the Ambassador Leicester has announced that they are in negotiation to marry her to the Margrave of Brandenburg, with an obligation upon him to take action for the restitution of the Palatinate. The Ambassador has further told the ministers, perhaps to learn their views, that the Palatine is negotiating with the King of Denmark, hoping to win him entirely to the protection of his cause, and in that case he will receive powerful assistance from the English parliament. They told him that the King had no other desire than to see the Palatine restored to his states and dignities, and when a suitable opportunity presents itself His Majesty will not be among the last to support him.
Sciatu, the 22nd January, 1641.
Jan. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
156. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the day after their state audience the Dutch ambassadors were again introduced to the presence of His Majesty and the queen separately. They made the marriage proposals to both and asked for the first princess, who is nine years of age. The king answered in courteous but general terms, and he has since appointed six commissioners to arrange with them the completion of the business. (fn. 5) This has been done rather for decorum and to fulfil the formalities customary in such occasions than from the need to examine the merits of the proposals, since all the conditions of the marriage have been arranged by mutual consent between the king and the Prince of Orange. The most remarkable particulars are still kept under the seal of secrecy, but they should soon be revealed.
The Spanish ambassadors are trying with all their might to trouble the carrying out of this affair. They urge that at least the eldest daughter shall not be given to Orange, but the state of the times and the unlucky conduct of their master's affairs deprive their intimations of all credit, and one feels sure they will make no impression.
The Dutch ambassadors have not neglected to make some overtures about the alliance, but only in general terms as yet. It is intimated that the complete settlement of the marriage is the first thing to deal with, and the question of the alliance can be considered after. They will find the most favourable reception here, especially for a defensive one, as the people here are most eager to see the trade between the two countries solidly based upon such a union.
They have not yet intervened about the difficulties over an adjustment between His Majesty and the Scots. Every one is waiting impatiently to see if they will do so and if results justify the King's original hopes from the interposition of the United Provinces and the Prince of Orange, of which unprejudiced persons are very doubtful, supposing the Scots do not give way in their demand for an exorbitant sum of money for an indemnity.
The greater part of the session this week in parliament has been spent in reading the processes drawn up against the Lord Keeper and the Secretary of State Windebank, who fled. These will soon be despatched and they will then pass on to that of the Lieutenant of Ireland for whose relief the king is showing the greatest activity, though it is not expected to save him.
Upon the important question of the reform of religion the parliamentarians disagree in their opinions. They follow with obstinacy such a number of different sects, of Calvin, Brown and Luther, while others profess themselves Arminians, Socinians, and Protestants. Every one studies to advance his own sect by the destruction of the others. For the purpose of uniting opinion, if it be possible, it is proposed in parliament to convoke a general synod in the spring, in which not only all the most accredited English doctors of their false theology will take part, but to invite from Germany, France and Holland those who are most esteemed in the errors of these doctrines, so as to form a new religion, with the approval of both parties. If this proposal is carried into effect it is thought that the religion will be that of Calvin, whose task it has been to instruct the peoples to set themselves at liberty and not to suffer any rule but that of democracy. For this important consideration and not to risk losing the title of Head of the Anglican Church, His Majesty is endeavouring to get the idea of this pernicious assembly given up.
The queen is most anxiously awaiting the arrival of the French ambassador destined to this Court, hoping that his presence will bridle the temerity of the parliamentarians, who are trying to take away from her the advantages which were granted to her in the marriage treaty and promised to France.
After reducing her household to twenty persons only the queen mother has this week sold her coaches, horses and plate in order to supply funds for her daily expenditure. Although this excites sympathy, yet the parliamentarians show no disposition to help her with any liberality. This is all that I have to report of the events of this most tiresome Court.
London, the 25th January, 1641.


  • 1. Probably Princes Edward and Philip.
  • 2. Louis de Nassau, Sieur de Beverweert.
  • 3. Jacques d'Estampes, marquis de la Ferté Imbault. His credentials are dated at St. Germain en Laye the 3rd May, 1641. S, P. France, Vol. 111.
  • 4. Baracame=stoffa bambagina, but Boerio gives baraccan, specie di stoffa forte di lana. Carcassoni is probably woollen cloth of the French town.
  • 5. The Lord Treasurer the marquis of Hamilton, the earls of Arundel, Northumberland and Holland, and the Secretary Vane. Montereul's despatch of the 24th January. P.R.O. Paris Trans.