Venice: April 1641

Pages 134-141

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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April 1641

April 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
174. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A serious difference has arisen with the English over the portion which they hold of the credits of the Count of Cesi. The Ambassador dell' Haye took to Constantinople the capital to pay, but mostly in cloth. The English say they want to be paid in cash here and not at Constantinople and they have forwarded to the king a request of the parliament to this effect. They are told that Cesi's debts were contracted at Constantinople and they propose to pay them there and no where else, and they believe they are giving the English a great advantage, since they offer to treat them in the same way as the subjects of the Grand Turk, who they say are satisfied with cloth. The ambassador Leicester is not satisfied with this and makes loud complaint, and Savigni, who possibly may have some interest in this cloth, opposes him with vigour. He takes especial exception to the king of Great Britain having let parliament interest itself in the matter, and protests that in the future they will deal with parliament over the other matters also, to the greater prejudice of the king's authority. (fn. 1)
Sciatu, the 2nd April, 1641.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
175. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince Palatine is working hard to induce parliament to declare in favour of his interests and to afford him some hope of obtaining prompt and powerful succour from this quarter. But so far his efforts have made no breach in the toughness of the parliamentarians. They seem less and less inclined to apply their thoughts to any external affairs whatever before they have settled the domestic ones of this kingdom by establishing a secure repose, upon which all hopes depend although now more doubtful than ever, so that no one can form a certain judgment.
To show his nephew his entire good will to his house the king has agreed to send two ambassadors, one to the Diet of Ratisbon and the other to the King of Denmark, with instructions to obtain for him that relief for which he has so long sighed in vain, from the opportunity afforded by the present peace negotiations in Germany. For the Diet of Ratisbon Sir [Thomas] Roe is nominated, who will be accompanied by a commissioner, sent by the Palatine : and for Denmark Mr. Anstruder ; both of them have previously served the crown as ambassadors on this business, with the King of Denmark and at the Congress of Hamburg. Both are sick at the moment, so that it is unlikely that they will start soon, as the prince would desire. This encourages the belief of many that we shall not see the ministers go out, that the king has acted solely to give his nephew this apparent satisfaction, and to try and send him back to Holland as soon as possible somewhat less dissatisfied. Time will show.
Anyhow they are writing to Brussels today to ask the Cardinal Infant for a passport for the passage of this minister. Meanwhile the Dutch ambassadors speak very bitterly of the Palatine, complaining that having lost the hope of having the princess for himself he tried hard to prevent the king from signing the articles of the marriage unless the States first bound themselves to embrace his cause with an open declaration and to declare war on the emperor, advantages which he could not obtain. These complaints cause serious concern at the palace as they fear that if these go further they may induce the princess Palatine to abandon her residence in Holland and come to this Court, which they say she is very anxious to do, although His Majesty has expressed his entire objection to consent.
The Portuguese ambassadors made their public entry into this city on Thursday, accompanied by the royal barges and met by the Earl of Canarvert. They have established themselves at the usual residence of ambassadors extraordinary, where they are defrayed by His Majesty with all the ceremony due to the ministers of crowned heads. They are to have their first formal audience on Sunday. (fn. 2)
A report which has reached the merchants here that the pirates of Algiers are preparing a number of ships to make a strong appearance at sea this year, has induced the Lower Chamber to decide to arm speedily eight ships of war, to be sent to the coasts of Ireland, to prevent any harm the pirates might do there. These will be maintained out of the customs revenue, which before parliament assembled, went into the royal purse.
In addition to this provision they are debating a means of constituting a fund with the money of individual merchants, which shall suffice for the support of twenty well armed ships, which it is proposed to send to the coasts of Barbary, to blockade the pirates in their ports there, and so secure the navigation of the ships of this nation.
No decision has yet been reached about the last proposals of the Scots, as this week parliament has devoted itself to hearing again the Lieutenant of Ireland, whose case will not be finished for many days yet. Meanwhile the Lower Chamber acts as prosecuting counsel in the matter and heaps every evil upon him with great ardour. The king on his side leaves nothing untried to save this minister, standing fast to his original idea to risk everything to save him. Thus every one here is very puzzled as to what will happen. To prevent the threatened risings among the people and to secure the accused against violence while he is defending himself in parliament, they are having the city defended by numerous guards, and the Houses of parliament in particular.
A courier arrived yesterday from York with news that the Scots quartered at Newcastle are extending their barracks, apparently in order to march in this direction. If this proves true, they will find no obstacle to oppose their resistance, as the Puritans here are most eager to strike a final blow at the Catholics of this country by this means, and His Majesty's troops are not equal either in numbers or in quality to offer sufficient resistance.
I have your letters of the 8th. I will assure the Marquis Wieville of your appreciation of the offer of his son's services. He is about 21 years of age. From what I hear he has engaged in two campaigns as an adventurer in the forces of the Prince of Orange, and he is at present at this Court. I will try and find out what he wants as well as all other particulars.
London, the 5th April, 1641.
April 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
176. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cardinal told me about the agreement with the queen mother. He said that while she enjoyed all that she needed in Flanders and England the king did not feel himself called upon to supply her with anything ; but now that she was in need, it was right to be liberal. It must, however, be on condition that she would consent to end her days at Florence as a private individual. If the queen complies she will not travel through this kingdom, but by way of Holland and Germany. His Eminence spoke very strongly against the king and queen of Great Britain, the latter in particular, for permitting Her Majesty to suffer want without helping her, and this supplied the text for a long digression about their weakness, to which he attributed all the present disorders of England, to the perpetual destruction of the royal authority.
Paris, the 9th April, 1641.
April 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
177. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king received the Portuguese ambassadors on Sunday with the most conspicuous honours, in the Great Hall, reserved for those of crowned heads, and with every befitting circumstance. They informed His Majesty briefly of what had taken place in that kingdom, of the accession of the new king and of the rights of the house of Braganza to that crown. They assured the king of the esteem of their master and all his people for the greatness of this crown. Their more particular offices they reserved for the private audiences. The king responded with the like courtesy. They have not yet been introduced to the queen, and her Majesty does not seem so well disposed towards them as the rest of the Court, indeed she intimates that to avoid giving unnecessary offence to the Queen of Spain, her sister, she will only treat with them in general terms and formal matters. They have made advantageous offers to many English and Scottish commanders who are idle here, to induce them to enter the service of their prince. Most of them are disposed to go, in the hope of gain, with His Majesty's permission, which they have no doubt about getting. The Spanish ambassador on his side makes known his great resentment at the courtesy shown to these ministers and absents himself from the Court, but this will not interfere with the negotiations of the Portugese when they propose matters acceptable and useful to them here.
The Prince Palatine is making every effort to get the Ambassador Roe off to Ratisbon, and urges that the necessary instructions be given him as soon as possible ; but as he still keeps his bed it is not likely that any time can be fixed for his departure. From his presence at the Diet the Palatine cherishes the hope of deriving considerable advantage, the King of Denmark having written that the emperor had assured him that he was most anxious to settle this thorny business by an amicable composition. But those who know most do not credit this, and everyone thinks that these new advances of Caesar are only intended to divert parliament from generous decisions in favour of the Palatine and at the same time to obtain from this crown, by the sending of an ambassador, some recognition of his person, which so far has been avoided.
Meanwhile Doctor Spiringh, a servant of the Palatine House, has set out for Holland. He is to present himself at the diet as deputy of the prince and to take part in the business, though there is little or no hope of any success. (fn. 3)
Parliament is still engaged every day on the trial of the Lieutenant of Ireland. He defends himself boldly in the presence of a numerous gathering of people, endeavouring by his subtle representations to change the universal hatred against him into compassion. The king and queen are present privately at all the sittings, and show their especial satisfaction at the hope, which seems to be growing, that this minister so valued and beloved by their Majesties will be saved. Parliament will be engaged all next week in hearing the prisoner and then they will proceed to the sentence.
Before then the parliamentarians are not disposed to decide anything about the last demands of the Scots. These on the other hand, fearing the increase of the suspicion about their willingness to withdraw to their own country, have offered parliament through their delegates, that if 300,000l. is paid to them promptly they will leave Newcastle without delay, and relieve England of their forces, leaving the settlement of the other articles to negotiation. No reply has been given to this specious suggestion, and although the subtlety of it is clearly recognised from the impossibility of providing so great a sum in so short a time, yet the supporters of that party laud the proposal to the skies, and try to gain credit for the sincerity of the Scots and that they have no other aim than the preservation of the public liberty.
Orders have reached the merchants here from France for the payment of 100,000 francs to the queen mother. Although her journey to Italy was announced as definitely arranged, Fabroni the only minister who at present has any credit with her, speaks about it as uncertain. Meanwhile the queen has sent word to the Duke of Vendome that as she hopes soon to be reconciled with the king, her son, she desires that he will abstain from visiting her, in order not to give offence to the Most Christian.
I have informed the Marquis of la Wieuille of your favourable reception of his son's offer. He told me that the States have offered him a regiment and the Duke of Candal also, but he was most anxious to serve the republic and so he had not listened to these proposals. He was not induced to do this by avarice and would accept such conditions as you pleased, having due regard to his birth. If necessary he would raise levies of foreign troops upon the same conditions as others have had for a like service. I made him nothing but a formal reply and merely report in accordance with instructions.
London, the 12th April, 1641.
April 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
178. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Eighteen well armed ships are ready to take the young prince to England. He has received a valuable jewel from the Portuguese Ambassador, and in a few days he will set out to meet his bride.
The Hague, 15th April, 1641.
April 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
179. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Sir [Thomas] Roe is getting better and has promised His Majesty that within a fortnight he will be ready to travel and to start when his instructions are consigned to him, and he has the necessary credits to meet the expenses of the embassy. The last point will not be an easy one to meet in the incredible shortage of money in the king's treasury, and for the want of it the king has been obliged to suspend the wages of his own servants and to cut down all the other expenses of the court. The Prince Palatine is actively engaged in smoothing away these difficulties, so far as possible, as it is certain that without such aid the minister cannot move. The Earl of Arundel, a minister at present more employed than any other, had a long conversation with me in confidence on this subject. He disapproved and spoke with little or no hope of success, although he said that the King of Denmark was trying to persuade differently, expressing the assurance that this time England will receive from the emperor the satisfaction claimed.
On Sunday the Portuguese ambassadors saw the queen privately, with a few words of ceremony to which Her Majesty replied with like brevity and coldness. They have asked the king for a fresh audience, but so far he has put them off, on the plea of the present business of parliament. This excites remark, especially as his first eager desire to treat with them has cooled considerably. No minister of the Court has yet visited them ; those of the pope and Grand Duke abstain any way, and as there is no French ambassador, or of any other crown, I have thought it best to wait for the arrival of the French minister, to set an example, as I am instructed. I have been able to do so without causing offence, as I have been kept in bed for twenty days by a severe catarrh. In public occasions the Portuguese will claim that their coach shall precede that of your Serenity's minister, and I beg for instructions on the subject.
To meet the monthly payments due to the Scottish army the city here has taken up a prompt loan of 120,000l. upon condition of receiving compensation from the first subsidies collected. Meanwhile the Scots with increased forces, are penetrating further into the country on the specious plea that the Newcastle district, being stripped of food, does not suffice any longer for their maintenance. On the other hand the leaders of the royal army, who are in the country of York, being joined by the trained bands of that district, who are for the most part Catholics, have sent a courier to warn parliament of this move of the enemy, and protesting freely that to escape shame and to save England from further hurt they are determined to attack and force them to retire. But the parliamentarians, who wish at all costs to keep the Scottish forces in England for some time longer, so as to protect their own licence and serve as a bridle to any generous decisions that the king might take, have not approved the energy of these commanders, and have sent them orders not to leave their winter quarters without fresh orders. This shows clearly how far the Scottish party prevails in the parliament, and the suspicion grows that those forces supported by the most seditious, may approach this city and add to the trouble.
Parliament continues to devote its attention to the trial of the Lieutenant of Ireland. This takes up all the time and prevents other and more important business being attended to, and it also makes news scarce this week.
At the arrival of the Prince of Orange the Dutch ambassadors gave up their negotiations for the proposed alliance, and are now concentrating their efforts on inducing the king to consent to the princess going to Holland when the prince returns there ; but their Majesties persist that this shall not be until she has completed her 12th year. So all their efforts have been vain, so far, and many still believe that time may bring about considerable changes in this marriage, especially as the princess, although of such tender age, shows little pleasure in it. This is a very weighty consideration and may suggest the opportunities that they are so anxiously seeking.
There is no longer any doubt about the queen mother's journey to Italy, and Her Majesty speaks of it as certain, announcing that on the arrival of the French ambassador, who is expected soon, she will decide the manner and the day of her start.
London, the 19th April, 1641.
April 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
180. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The young prince of Orange, having successfully weathered a furious gale which broke the mast of his ship, as they left port, set out for England yesterday under favourable auspices. The Dunkirkers make as if to attack him and scour that section with more than thirty well armed ships. But he is guarded by all the forces of Holland and does not fear any encounter. He speaks of nothing but of seeing his bride. The Admiral who is convoying him (fn. 4) has received orders, sent express, that so soon as he has landed the prince he is to proceed with all speed to the coast of Flanders to prevent the sailing of the 12,000 Walloons, destined for Spain.
The Hague, the 29th April, 1641.


  • 1. Some particulars of this case are given by Le Vassor, Hist. du Regne de Louis XIII, Vol. XIII, pages 54, 55. See also Vol. XXIII of this Calendar, pages 154, 180. The merchants concerned petitioned parliament who set a limit of six weeks within which time satisfaction must be given. Leicester had audience of the French king on the 8th March, o.s., reported in his despatch of the 12th. The points in dispute are set forth in his despatch of the 23rd April o.s. S.P. France. The French case is stated by Montereul in his despatch of the 3rd May. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
  • 2. Dom Antao de Almada and Dr. Francisco de Andrada de Leitao. Their letters of credence are dated at Lisbon the 22nd January, 1641 n.s. and endorsed as having been presented on the 28th March o.s. S.P. Portugal. They were met by the earl of Carnarvon, Salvetti, on 12th April, Brit. Mus. Add MSS., 27962I.
  • 3. Dr. Spina was the envoy sent to Ratisbon. Montereul on the 11th April. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts. He set out on the 9th and was to be at Ratisbon on the 4th prox. Giustinian appears to be confounding him with Peter Spieringh the Swedish resident at the Hague.
  • 4. Lieutenant Admiral Tromp. Aitzema : Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. II. page 750.