Report to the Master of the Rolls On Documents in the Archives of Venice. Originally published by Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, London, 1866.
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To the Right Honourable Sir John Romilly, Master of the Rolls, &c. &c. &c.
Public Record Office,
30th November 1865.
Pursuant to your directions, and with the approbation of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, I visited Venice in the month of September last. My instructions were to make a report to you, for the information of their Lordships, relative to the documents contained in the Archives and Public Libraries of Venice, illustrating the history of this country.
1. My first object was to ascertain what progress Mr. Rawdon Brown had made in his Calendar of Venetian Papers. His first volume, bringing the work down to 1509, was published in September 1864. Since that time, he has prepared the Calendar for press down to 31st December 1522, extending to about 1150 pages. The manuscript is in the hands of the printer, and 208 pages have been printed off.
2. Mr. Brown was very desirous, not only for his own satisfaction, but also for your Honour's, that I should compare his published volume with the originals in the Venetian Archives. I was induced, at his urgent solicitation, to examine a portion of it. I found upon examining the originals that his abstracts had been made with great care and accuracy, and, so far as I could discover, every point of importance in each document had been noticed in the fewest words possible. In justice to Mr. Brown, I ought to state that his Calendar gives but a faint idea of the extent of the work he has performed. In making his selections, he was compelled to wade through volume after volume, and document after document, page by page in closely cramped handwriting in a foreign language, with no marginal or other indications to guide him as to the contents of the papers; and, to extract the information required, he had to examine not merely the series relating to England, but also those which referred to France and Germany.
3. To show the interest which literary men in England take in Mr. Brown's labours, I may mention that immediately on the appearance of his Venetian Calendar, several men distinguished in the world of letters wrote to him for information relative to the different periods of history upon which they are severally engaged. With his usual ready kindness, Mr. Brown liberally gave them most valuable information, as he considered that by so doing he was carrying out the object of the Master of the Rolls and the Government, by facilitating the researches of English students. These frequent applications occupy much time and add to the official labour, the amount of which can only be appreciated by seeing the numerous documents and collections preserved at Venice. Moreover, considerable expense is incurred by Mr. Brown in paying for transcripts.
4. As in the preface (fn. 1) to the first volume of his Venetian Calendar, Mr. Brown has given a very detailed account of all the Archives and Collections at Venice, it will be unnecessary for me to travel again over the same ground. I shall therefore confine my remarks to the National Archives in the Frari, the Marcian Library, and Correr Museum; which depositories I myself examined as carefully as I could during the limited period I remained in Venice.
5. The ex-convent of the Franciscans, commonly called the “Frari,” was established as the National Archive, by an Imperial Decree, in the year 1817.
It is impossible to go over this establishment without being amazed, not only at its extent, but at the extraordinary order and neatness which prevail throughout the 300 rooms appropriated to the National Archives. Several of these rooms are of great extent, and very lofty. The smallest is much larger than a good-sized chamber in England. The documents are placed on shelves rising from the floor to the ceiling, occupying nearly 18,000 feet in clear run. In many of the rooms, the papers are arranged in double rows, and in each room there is a catalogue of the papers in the bundles, so that any particular document can be instantly produced. No general catalogue of the whole Archives, however, has been compiled. I had an opportunity of testing the facility of the access afforded to applicants, and I was surprised at the rapidity with which several papers deposited in distant parts of the building were produced by Signor Luigi Pasini, a most zealous and efficient officer. This establishment is under the control of Count Girolamo Dandolo, the Director-general of the Archives of the Signory, who in the most obliging and courteous manner not only gave me permission to inspect the whole of the immense establishment, but afforded me every facility for accomplishing my purpose.
6. The documents deposited in the “Frari” are as multifarious in their nature as are those in our own Public Record Office. They are divided into four classes:—political, judicial, commercial, and territorial; each of these is again divided and sub-divided into heads and sections. It is not, however, my intention to notice any of the papers, except such as have reference to this country.
7. Among the Archives of the Council of Ten (a portion of the political compartment) occurs an interesting series of letters written in the English language, being a part of the correspondence of Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, who died in the year 1556. As Mr. Brown has called attention to this fact in his preface, and will calendar the documents in question in their proper places, it is needless here to do more than allude to their existence; and I do so merely to show the absolute necessity of searching through all the various series of documents, although apparently they have no reference to England.
8. Another important class in the “political” division is the Ducal Chancery, in which the Public State Papers are preserved. These of course will form a very important feature in Mr. Brown's Calendar. He divides them under six heads, viz.:—
I. The instructions or commissions given to the ambassador on his departure.
II. The despatches written by the State.
III. News-letters which accompanied the despatches, having been compiled in the Ducal Chancery, for the information of Foreign Powers. These news-letters were styled advices, “avvisi,” and although they no longer exist in the Archives, a collection of them, commencing with the year 1510, may be seen at Vienna.
IV. The despatches written by the diplomatic agents during their missions.
V. Advices transmitted by the ambassadors from Foreign Courts.
VI. The “report” which the ambassador read to the College and Senate on his return.
9. It is unnecessary, however, to go into details respecting each of these classes, but the value of such documents for the elucidation of history, both general and particular, cannot be questioned. I may say there is scarcely a subject upon which these papers do not throw some interesting light; be it in relation to literature, arts, manufactures, manners, or customs. I will take a few subjects indiscriminately to show their diversified nature. One would scarcely expect to find entries relating to the drama; such as the following instance relating to Arabella Stuart:—
On the 18th February, in the year 1610, the Venetian ambassadors Francesco Contarini and Marc Antonio Correr wrote from London to the Signory thus:—
“The Lady Arabella quits her apartments but seldom, and is more dispirited than ever. She has complained that the public players have introduced a certain parody of her person, and of the negotiation carried on with the Moldavian prince, in a comedy, which has, however, been prohibited. Her Excellency remains very much dissatisfied, and seems determined to seek the punishment of certain individuals (whose names are unknown) at the next meeting of Parliament.”
10. Another instance is scarcely less curious:—
On the 10th January 1620, the ambassador Lando writes from London,—“I do not think fit to omit mentioning to your Serenity, by reason of the mystery which envelopes it, the following circumstances:—On the day before yesterday the Prince's players, in the presence of the King his father, represented in a comedy a subject thus:—A king, the father of two sons, causes the death of one of them by poison, on the sole suspicion that this son meant to deprive him of his crown, which is afterwards taken from him by the other son. This disturbed and agitated the King greatly, both internally and externally, though in this country the players have such absolute liberty to say whatever they please against any person soever, that the demonstration against them will limit itself to what the King said to them by word of mouth.” (fn. 2)
11. Other notices in the Venetian Despatches throw light upon Othello, or rather as to the person whom Shakespeare intended to represent under that character; but the subject is too long to be introduced into this report, and Mr. Rawdon Brown may feel disposed to publish the documents himself.
12. I will adduce one more instance which gives the earliest recognized date for the performance of John Webster's celebrated tragedy, entitled the “Duchess of Malfy.” Mr. Dyce remarks that its first representation certainly took place before the death of Burbadge (March 1619), and Mr. J. Payne Collier says:—“The only certain point at which we can arrive is, that the ‘Duchess of Malfi’ was originally acted before the death of Burbadge in March 1619, because he had the part of Ferdinand in it, which in 1623 was in the hands of Joseph Taylor.”
From the Venetian documents we learn that “The Duchess of Malfi” had certainly been performed in London before the 7th of February 1618 (N.S.).
The ambassador's chaplain writes on that day, “the English deride our religion as detestable and superstitious, and never represent any theatrical piece, not even a satirical tragi-comedy, unless larded with the vices and iniquities of some Catholic churchman, which move them to much laughter and mockery, to their own satisfaction, and to the regret of the pious spectator. As an instance, I may mention that on one occasion my colleagues of the embassy witnessed the performance of a play in which a Franciscan friar figured. He was represented as astute and replete with impiety of various shades, including avarice and lust; and then the whole was made to end in a tragedy, for they beheaded him on the stage.
“Another time the players represented the pomp of a cardinal in his identical robes of state, very handsome and costly, and accompanied by his retinue; with an altar raised on the stage where he pretended to perform service, ordering a procession; and then they produced him again before the public with a concubine in his arms. He played the part of administering poison to his sister, for a point of honour, and, moreover, of going into battle, having first solemnly deposited his cardinal's robes on the altar, thro' the agency of his chaplains. Last of all he bad himself girded with a sword, putting on his scarf with the best grace possible; and all this they do in derision of ecclesiastical pomp, which in this kingdom is mortally scorned and hated.”
13. In the Appendix (A.) I have given a list of such documents as I could find at the Frari, relative to the divorce of King Henry VIII.
14. Preserved in the Archives of the Frari is a volume containing the despatches of Michiel, the Venetian ambassador at the court of Queen Mary. Of these, about one-sixth part is written in a cipher that has hitherto baffled the skill of every one who has attempted to explain it. Several of these letters are only partially written in these secret characters, the remaining portion is in the ordinary writing of the period. The context shows that many of the secret passages evidently relate to the release of the Earl of Devonshire from the Tower, and of the Princess Elizabeth from Woodstock. I should recommend that copies or photographs of these letters be sent to England, in order that steps may be instantly taken to decipher them, which will, in all probability, throw light on the events of the reign of Queen Mary. That they are matters of great secrecy may be inferred from the fact that the despatches in cipher of the Venetian ambassador from England are of very rare occurrence.
15. The documents belonging to “the Council of Ten” deposited in the Frari, and are replete with curious historical information. As Mr. Brown has given a very interesting account of this branch of the Venetian government, it will not be necessary for me to follow in his steps. The first time the Council appears in connexion with English affairs is in the year 1508.
16. Amongst the files of motions made by the Council of Ten is one showing that Sebastian Cabot, in the year 1551, was anxious to do by Edward VI. and England as he proposed doing by the Emperor Charles V. and Spain in 1522.
The letter addressed to Giacomo Soranzo, ambassador in England, as noted in the motion, runs thus:—
“By your letters of the 17th ulto., addressed to our chiefs of the Council of Ten, we perceive what you had to tell us about our right faithful Sebastian Cabot which was very agreeable to us, and we praise you for your diligence in giving us minute information concerning his qualities and parts (qualità et conditioni sue); in reply to which we desire you to let him know that this his offer has proved most agreeable to us, and you will address him in such bland terms as shall seem fit to you.
“Touching the request made to you by the Council (quei Signori) concerning the credits claimed by him, (fn. 3) and the recovery of his property, you will answer them that it is our wish in all things possible to do what is agreeable to his Majesty and to their Lordships; but as the said Cabot is not known to anybody here, it would be requisite for him to come to Venice in person to identify himself and his claims, the matters in question being of very ancient date.
“This same answer was made by us here to his Majesty s ambassador, (fn. 4) who preferred suit to us on the subject in conformity with your letter.
“You will therefore moreover announce the whole to the said Cabot, so that availing himself of this opportunity he may ask and obtain the permission to come. You will see that he endeavour to get it, and that he come hither as soon as possible; nor will you fail in the meanwhile to exert yourself to obtain as many further details as you can about his project for this new passage (navigatione), giving particular notice of the whole above written heads.”
Ayes 25. Noes 2. Neutrals 1.
17. Out of the body of the Council of Ten, which I have already noticed, there arose in the year 1539 another more influential and powerful tribunal, called the “Inquisitors of State.” It had a more prompt and secret jurisdiction than that of its parent, and was the most dreaded court in all Venice. It consisted of three persons, who were elected by the Council of Ten. Its proceedings are also preserved in the Frari, but to obtain access to them, as well as to those of the Council of Ten, it is necessary to procure a special permission either from the Governor of Venice, or the Director General of the Archives.
18. Many of the manuscripts deposited in St. Mark's Library are of the deepest interest to English scholars. Among them is a collection of Cardinal Pole's correspondence from 1548 to 1558; at one time it formed part of the Archives of “the Council of Ten,” but at the suggestion of the late librarian Don Jacopo Morelli it was given to the Marcian Library in the year 1795.
These letters which are of the highest value were unknown to Querini when he published his work entitled “Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli et aliorum ad ipsum,” 5 vols. 4to. Brix., 1757.
A list of the letters will be found in the Appendix (B.), together with a translation of a few of them in Appendix (C.). Those written by Marc Antonio Faitta, the cardinal's secretary, on the subject of the consecration of Pole as Archbishop of Canterbury, and of the ceremony of washing the feet of poor women by the Queen, are replete with curious information and interest; but the letter dated 27th November 1558 from Monsignor Luigi Priuli to his brother in Venice detailing the death of the cardinal, is one of the most touching and circumstantial epistles on record.
These letters so far as I have been able to ascertain are new to English readers, or at any rate the information contained in them is but imperfectly known.
While on this subject, I may mention a fact known only to very few persons, but which will interest many others. In the public library at Douai are six volumes containing an official register of the documents issued by Pole while papal legate; these are quite distinct from those at Venice. The correspondence for the most part is written by an English scribe on English paper; but one volume is apparently on Italian paper and by an Italian scribe. At the end is a treatise “De summo pontifice” in the form of a dialogue between Pope Urban and Pole, dated 13 Calend. Feb. 1550.
There are also in the Imperial Library at Paris copies of several letters to and from Cardinal Pole entitled “Negociati della legatione del Cardinale Reginaldo Polo, mandati da papa Guilio III., in Ingliterra per la redutione di quel regno all' obedienza della sede apostolica, et in Francia, per trattar la pace tra Henrico II. e Carlo V., imperatore 1553.” These also differ from the collection in the Marcian Library.
With the view of throwing as much light as I can upon Cardinal Pole's correspondence in case a new edition of Querini should, be undertaken, I may add that among the additional manuscripts (No. 25425) in the British Museum is a volume of 685 pages written in a bad Italian hand, containing Pole's correspondence on English affairs from 7th Aug. 1553 to 5th Oct. 1554. (fn. 5) I am not, however, able to state whether the contents are the same as in the manuscripts at Venice, Douai, and Paris. (fn. 6)
19. In St. Mark's Library I also inspected five volumes of manuscript letters, many of which relating to England have been noticed in the Venetian Calendar, p. 148 and following.
The history of the miscellaneous contents of these volumes, which were not bound until the year 1864, is worth recording.
Like the original letters from the kings of England to the popes, now in the Archives, they formed part of the plunder of the Vatican at the time of the sack of Rome in 1527.
I also read an original letter from James IV., King of Scotland, from whom there are seven addressed to Innocent VIII. and Alexander VI., all of which have been duly entered, pp. 199–215. Not one letter from any king of Scotland to any pope is to be found in the collection at the Frari, which I inspected. (fn. 7)
This series of most curious documents was given by the Council of Ten to St. Mark's Library in the year 1787, and had been collected originally by Livio Podacataro, Archbishop of Nicosia, who died at Rome on the 19th of January 1555, 1556. I am unable to state when or by what means the Ten got possession of these papers.
20. In St. Mark's Library I examined the “Portolano” or charts of Andrea Bianco, executed in the year 1436. (fn. 8) On the chart of the British Channel I read the word “Camera,” recognizing the identity of its position with that of Rye, alias Camber before Rye. This is its earliest delineation on any chart, but Portus Camera is inscribed on the registers of the Venetian Senate as early as the 2nd January 1397. The last Venetian record of Portus Camera is to be found in a letter of Guistinian, No. 205, dated Lambeth, 19th of January 1519; the paragraph was omitted in the edition of his letters of 1854, together with many other letters which will be noticed in the forthcoming volumes of the Venetian calendar. (fn. 9)
21. The following report of Giovanni Michiel, the Venetian Ambassador at Paris, dated 22nd May 1558, to his government, although it only indirectly concerns England, is not unworthy of notice, as it relates to the origin of the Huguenots:—
“The Duke of Guise departed on the 19th.
“The English fleet has again appeared in front of Dieppe, and continues cruising off the coast, but has not yet attempted any landing, or done any notable damage.
“Here, during the present week, a thing occurred, which besides appearing a grievous scandal to those who witnessed it, displayed in like manner extreme audacity on the part of its doers.
“In the meadows beyond the Faubourg St. Germain, (fn. 10) which belong to the Students, whither at this season persons resort after supper for air and exercise, there assembled publicly a concourse of some three to four thousand individuals (though others estimate the amount at from six to seven thousand) of every grade and condition, men and women, old and young, boys and girls, noblemen, plebeians, and artificers,—who marched processionally in dense battalions, singing aloud, in the French tongue, a sort of psalmody, the precise counterpart of that which is chanted in the churches of Geneva, and other Lutheran Conventicles, adding at the close of each psalm an invective or ballad against the Pope. (fn. 11) For their defence in case of need against the populace and the police not only had they a considerable force in the distance armed with pistols and other concealed weapons, but likewise several companies of cavalry, the greater part noblemen and adherents of great personages, in number 15 or 20 to each company, and who covered the van, flank, and rear of the psalmodists, escorting them on their march through the meadows. When it was dark they returned into the city, proceeding in this array, still singing, the whole length of the Rue St. Jacques; nor on the first night did many persons witness this display, but for the second performance there was an immense crowd of spectators, including even persons of high rank; and although on the third day, to prevent this tumult, the authorities issued a proclamation prohibiting its repetition, the psalmodists nevertheless went forth at the usual hour, continuing their chants, and in much greater number. Orders having been given to close the city gates at sunset, the whole company passed the night in the houses of the suburb or strolling through the meadows, re-entering Paris on the following morning, in number upwards of 10,000; nor did this deter them from going forth every successive evening in yet greater force with the same escort, but merely singing the psalms, and omitting the invective against the Pope. An account of this having been sent to the Court, the Cardinal of Sens, the Spiritual Primate of France, was ordered back immediately to investigate the matter, and to stop so scandalous a proceeding; but he will have much to do, the mischief having spread so far, and taken such deep root amongst the chief personages of the kingdom.
“The King gave orders for the prosecution of the ringleaders; but as amongst them were Antoine, King of Navarre, and his wife, it was not continued, though similar demonstrations were prohibited for the future, under pain of capital punishment.”
In date of Paris, 18th July 1559, Michiel alludes to the Protestants in Scotland; and his successor, Suriano, uses the term †Hughenotti” for the first time in date of Paris, 17th February 1561, when informing the State that the preachers there had been forbidden “di predicare contra Lutherani et Hughenotti.”
22. Acting on the conviction that the student of English history must not confine his researches to the papers expressly relating to this country, I thought it necessary to inspect some of the despatches from the Venetian ambassadors accredited to the various European Courts, and I found, as I expected, in many of them materials relating to England too important to be passed over.
Among them I may mention the letters of Priuli, the Venetian ambassador in Spain. They are remarkably graphic and interesting. I may take as an example the first that came to hand. It relates to the special embassy sent by James I. to Philip III., for the purpose of receiving “his oath for observance of the peace,” agreed upon between the two kingdoms. Charles Howard, Earl of Nottingham, Lord High Admiral of England, was the ambassador chosen. In the Appendix (E.), I have given several papers relating to the Earl of Nottingham's Embassy, which appear to me to be very interesting.
These despatches are important to literary history, as they have enabled Mr. Rawdon Brown to support the very ingenious theory that Don Quixote is a political satire, devised by Cervantes in condemnation of the policy of Duke of Lerma, Prime Minister of Spain from September 1598 to October 1618.
23. On the death of Philip II., his son and successor, Philip III., dismissed the practical statesmen employed by his father, and replaced them by the Duke of Lerma and his adherents, whose policy was considered by Cervantes a revival of knight-errantry. Mr. Brown has constructed a key to the characters in Don Quixote, with which the humour of Don Quixote will be better appreciated, and much of the tale which appears unintelligible will be better understood. That Don Quixote was intended as a political satire there can be but little doubt, Samuel Butler evidently considered it as such by his frequent allusions in Hudibras. Fifty years after the death of Cervantes, Louis Moreri informed the public that the great Spanish moralist took his revenge on Francisco de Sandoval (Duke of Lerma) for some insult, by lampooning him in Don Quixote. Rapin, who died in 1682, confirmed the assertion of Moreri with regard to the identity of Don Quixote and the Duke of Lerma, on the authority of Dom Lopé, to whom the fact had been announced by Cervantes himself Dom Lope imparted it to an anonymous individual, the friend of Rapin, through whom the circumstance got into print, and this assertion was corroborated in 1734. In that year the Abbé Lenglet du Fresnoy, under the pseudonyme of Gordon de Percel, published his work on the application of romances (De l'usage des Romans), in which he remarks, that although d'Aubigné escaped chastisement from the Duke of Epernon for having lampooned him in the novel entitled “Baron de Feneste,” yet was this good fortune solely attributable to his zeal for the service of Louis XIII, whereas in Spain, Miguel de Cervantes, who had done the same thing, did not execute it with impunity. His romance of Don Quixote, in which he represents a nobleman of the court extravagantly partial to the chivalry of old, obtained for him the reward which men of address and resolution bestow on satirists. The correction rendered Cervantes discreet, but it damaged his work. The second part, which did not make its appearance until after the practical hints, is very far from being so good as the first.
Daniel de Foe called it an emblematic history of, and a just satire upon, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, a person very remarkable at that time in Spain.
24. In St. Mark's Library I inspected several original “letter books” of Venetian ambassadors which have the following advantages over the “files” of original despatches preserved in the Archives.
1st. The letter books contain no cipher, being meant exclusively for the ambassador's own use; 2nd, they comprise the despatches addressed to the chiefs of the Ten, and to the Inquisitors of State, which despatches do not exist in the original files at the Archives.
For instance, amongst the papers of the “Inquisitors of State” at the Archives, is one endorsed 1st of December 1617. “Received the 27th. England; Ambassador, Contarini. Discourse of a leading member of the Council concerning the Ambassador Wotton, at Venice.”
The contents of the letter are in cipher without any key, but in the Contarini letter book its substance is legible thus:—
“When conferring with one of the most influential members of the Privy Council, (fn. 12) he requested me in great confidence to tell him how the ambassador served the Republic; whether the Signory was satisfied with his conduct, or suspected him of being dependent on the Spaniards, as it was known in London that he held secret and nocturnal interviews with the Spanish ambassador at Venice, and also, that when, owing to the current events, his presence and assistance there were most needed to prove to every one the good understanding between the Republic and the English Crown, he on the contrary had absented himself from the city.
“I replied.that I was unacquainted with these particulars, nor did I know what to say about them; that as he was their minister it was their business to weigh his actions.
“This privy councillor added that not merely were the interests of the King concerned, but likewise those of the Republic, who fancying that she had a friendly minister in her bosom, might possibly endanger the public service, urging me for the good of my country to say freely what I knew on the subject.
“I, however, merely repeated what is aforesaid without any addition, and he then inquired of me what answer I should make if the King catechized me hereon, and requested me to discuss the matter with him freely; to this I made answer that I could tell the King no more than I had told him (Secretary Lake).
“I have chosen to give respectful account to your Excellencies of all these details, in order that, should his Majesty broach the topic to me, I may be able to answer him in conformity with such instructions as you may be pleased to give me, and I avail myself of this opportunity for paying my most humble respects to your Excellencies.”
25. The history of the life and death of Antonio Foscarini, an illustrious senator of Venice, who had filled the office of ambassador to the Court of France, and who was intimately known to our King James the First, is of the most romantic character. He was denounced to the Inquisitors of State by two professed spies of mean condition, and put to death on the 21st of April 1622, under the following sentence: “We will that tomorrow morning before day-break, in the very dungeon where he now is the deathsman do strangle him so that he die, and when dead the said deathsman do hang him up by one leg on a lofty gallows between the two columns of St. Mark, and that he be left thus for a whole day.”
I should not have alluded to this event except for the interesting episode connected with it relating to the celebrated Alethea Talbot, Countess of Arundel, wife of Thomas Howard.
As I have given the documents at full length in the Appendix (F.), I shall merely offer a few words on the subject.
In the evening after the execution of Foscarini, the Countess of Arundel left her villa on the Brentna, and was travelling towards the Lagoons to reach the Mocenigo Palace at Venice. On the road between Dolo and Fusina the carriage was stopped by a horseman who announced himself as John Dyneley, secretary of Sir Henry Wotton, the English ambassador to the Signory. He informed her that he had been dispatched by the ambassador to deliver a message to her in private. The Countess declined to receive any private communication, and requested Mr. Dyneley to deliver his message publicly before her suite. The secretary complied, and informed her Ladyship “that on fitting accounts “both public and private, the English ambassador had sent his secretary to inform her Ladyship that he had heard from good authority, and that it was very generally reported in Venice concerning the unhappy fate of Foscarini, that his sentence had been partly grounded on the frequent conferences held by him with certain public ministers in the house of the Countess on the Grand Canal; that according to credible intelligence received on that very morning the ambassador understood that the Republic intended assigning a fixed period to the Countess, within which she was to quit the Venetian territories; that in consequence of this, to avoid the affront of such an intimation, as also the peril which threatened some of her attendants, it was the respectful opinion of the ambassador that she would do well to remain abroad at her villa without coming to Venice, until such time as she should receive further intelligence from him.”
Lady Arundel immediately answered the ambassador's secretary, that having nothing to reproach herself with she saw no reason for her return to Dolo. She immediately alighted from her carriage, entered her barge, and proceeded, not to her residence at the Mocenigo Palace, but to the English embassy. There in the presence of all her attendants the Countess had a long conference with Ambassador Wotton. He further asserted that he had received earnest assurance of its being reported that the Papal nuncio and the Imperial resident had frequently met the Cavalier Foscarini at a late hour in the night in her dwelling, where Foscarini was in the habit of presenting himself in disguise with a broad-brimmed French hat, a short mantle, and fully armed. The peril to which the ambassador had alluded threatened Signor Francesco Vercellini, her attendant, because he was a Venetian subject. The ambassador further stated that the report of the stealthy conferences held in the Mocenigo Palace by Foscarini was circulated immediately after his arrest became publicly known, and that when the ambassador was informed of the intention of the State to expel the Countess, he, although himself convinced of the rectitude of her conduct, had forwarded the intelligence to her with all speed in conformity with his special duty to her noble self, and to her name, as also in his quality of servant to the King, since any indignity offered to a lady of such exalted station could not fail to be viewed in the light of a national insult.
In reply to this statement Lady Arundel said that the assertions it contained were notorious falsehoods, and that the report was an infamous one devoid of the slightest grounds, as she had never exchanged any compliments or civilities, however transient, with either the Papal or Imperial envoy, and that the only intercourse between herself and Foscarini consisted in a message which she received 18 months ago on arriving at Padua, whereby he announced his intention of calling on her at Yenice, a project which he never realized, contenting himself with sending a Jew as the bearer of his apologies
After vouchsafing this explanation to the ambassador, Lady Arundel asked his advice as to her best course to pursue in the matter. Wotton suggested that all proceedings should be delayed until he could ascertain in detail the source of the reamer. The Countess declined his counsel, since it was a matter affecting her honour; she determined to obtain some overt recognition of her innocence and compensation for the grievous injury inflicted on her; she thereupon requested the ambassador to send a messenger to the College with her request for an audience on the morrow. To this the ambassador demurred, alleging the lateness of the hour, it being then between 10 and 11 o'clock at night.
The Countess then withdrew to the Mocenigo Palace, and after consulting Colonel Peyton, a military commander in the service of Venice, and her attendants, determined on seeing the English ambassador early on the following morning. She then informed him that after mature consideration she had determined in justification of herself and her household to see the Doge and his council immediately. Much to his evident displeasure Wotton was compelled to comply with Lady Arundel's determination. The journals of the Venetian College give the curious facts which appear in the Appendix (F.), and I think they will be read with great interest and pleasure.
Papers Relating to English Naval and Military Celebrities in the 16th and 17th Centuries, found in the Venetian Archives.
26. The. Ambassador Hieronimo Lippomano writes to the Signory from Madrid, on the 9th of May 1587, relative to Sir Francis Drake: —
“It is heard thro' five Englishmen who were made prisoners at Cadiz, that Drake has vast designs against Spain, concerning which he often discourses with very great indignation; and that your Excellencies may understand the cause, and perceive how much the enmity of one single man, (altho' of low estate and a private individual,) borne against a sovereign, however powerful, may occasionally matter, I will tell you that this man was a very favourite page of King Philip's, so long back as when his Catholic Majesty was in England. (fn. 13) Being afterwards sent to India, he served his Majesty honourably in those parts, filling a certain post, on account of which he returned to Spain with a credit of 9,000 ducats, and after remaining a whole year at the court without ever having been able to obtain these arrears, owing to the fault of the ministers, he sold the debt for 3,000 ducats.
“On returning thus to England he said he would revenge himself with his own hand, and having obtained leave from the Queen he proceeded immediately to India with five armed ships, and in Magellan's Strait, amongst other prizes, he captured a vessel freighted with gold. Not content with this, he returned a second time last year in yet greater force, and then and there, and now in Spain, has done such great damage as is notorious; and yet worse may be expected, which may God avert.
“Here enclosed will be a detailed account received by the King of the damages done by Drake, which I have this moment received from a confidential friend.
“At 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the 29th of April 1587, Francis Drake entered with a fleet of 42 sail, vidt. 5 large ships of 500 tons each; 2 galeasses of 200; 6 ships of 100; 13 like frigates of 60 tons each; and other small vessels,” &c. &c.
27. The papers relating to Sir Walter Raleigh are highly interesting, and will, I think, be very acceptable to his future biographer. The following notices respecting him will afford some notion of their value.
Notice is given to the State by the secretary Carlo Scaramelli, in a letter dated Salisbury, the 13th of August, N.S., 1603, thus: —
“The conspiracy proves to be more and more replete with iniquity daily; and the conspirators are by no means in a state of safety, their offices having been already disposed of; and already has Walter Raleigh, a man of great authority and repute with the late Queen, attempted to stab himself to the heart, but the knife having struck one of his ribs prevented him from committing suicide, and his keepers in the Tower of London would not allow the blow to be repeated.” (fn. 14)
With regard to the conspiracy itself, and to the share taken in it by Raleigh, the Venetian ambassadors, Piero Duodo and Nicolo Molin, write in like manner from Salisbury on the 1st of December:—
“Concerning the eleven conspirators, six have been already condemned to death, and one acquitted, owing to the strong proof of his innocence, the rest will be despatched next week; those members of the Privy Council who came hither to the Court for our audience having returned to Winchester for that purpose.
“From the discussion of the crimes of the aforesaid, it transpired that their intention was to take the King's life, and to make Arabella [Stuart] Queen, and that having demanded 600,000 ducats from the Archduke Albert's ambassador to be divided amongst them, he promised them 300,000 ready money; and that he would also obtain the other 300,000 on his next return to Flanders.
“The ringleader of the plot, Baron Cobham, wrote a letter to the Lady Arabella, so long back as last August, requiring her to write a letter to the King of Spain, binding herself to grant liberty of conscience to this kingdom, to make peace with Spain and Flanders, to abandon the States, and not to marry without the consent of his Catholic Majesty. This letter the Lady Arabella presented to the King sealed, without having even opened it, by which act of frankness she has now saved her life; tho' it nevertheless behoved her to attend the meeting of the judges at Winchester to justify herself, had it been necessary; but she was very rightly exculpated by Walter Raleigh, one of the chief conspirators, after he himself had been convicted and sentenced to death. It is said that they intended to marry her to the Duke of Savoy.”
On the 15th of December 1603, Nicolo Molin wrote to the Signory:—
“Only one of the eleven conspirators was acquitted; the others were all condemned to death. The two priests have already been executed, and on Friday the like will be done to all the others, excépt Raleigh, who was Captain of the Guard to the late Queen. He will be taken back to the Tower of London; some persons declaring that the like will be done by him also, after a few days, during which they hope to elicit some other details from him, it being supposed that he was better informed about this conspiracy than any of the others” (fn. 15)
“On Monday, 26th March 1604, at about the 20th hour, the King, Queen, and Prince, with the Council and the whole Court, went by the river from Westminster with a very great quantity of boats to the Tower of London, where, after landing, with much difficulty could they ascend the stairs by reason of the crowd which had flocked to see their Majesties; bulls and other animals were baited, and there were several other amusements, as a mark of rejoicing; the King having caused all the prisons of the Tower to be opened, and all the persons within them to be released, tho' a day before his Majesty's coming, the four conspirators, [the Lords Grey and Cobham, and Raleigh and Markham,] whose lives were spared lately, were removed from the Tower and placed in other prisons. (fn. 16) The like was done also by Sir Anthony Standen, he having been imprisoned lately after his return from Italy; his Majesty not having deemed these persons worthy of such a grace.”
At p. 196 and following, in the Italian translation of Mr. Brown's preface, there are three letters written by the Venetian secretary Leonello, from London, in January and February 1617, giving an account of Raleigh's projected sack of Genoa, a fact hitherto unknown to his biographers.
Those letters were addressed to the Council of Ten, and on the following 14th of April, N. S., Leonello adds, in a letter to the Senate:—“Sir Walter Raleigh has gone down the Thames with his seven vessels, with the commissions announced by me, to proceed to Guiana in quest of mines. I know very well that he did not assume this undertaking for any other end than that of freeing himself from perpetual imprisonment, and that he would gladly change his scheme for any other soever; and many other persons know this, so he leaves behind him a general curiosity for news of his doings.”
Of those doings many details are given by the Venetian ambassador in London, Pietro Contarini, and amongst them are the following:—
“It is reported to-day, 14th June 1618, that Sir Walter Raleigh's crews have taken him by force to Ireland, the truth of which must soon be known, as in that case we shall see him here in a few days.”
“Sir Walter Raleigh has arrived at Plymouth, from Ireland, 21st June 1618, with a single ship, the others having left him, and his friends are now endeavouring to obtain a free pardon for him from the King, that he may be at liberty to come to court and not go back to the Tower again.”
The death of Raleigh is narrated briefly by Pietro Contarini, thus, on the 16th November 1618:—
“After a long trial, the evidence and examination having been most careful, Sir Walter Raleigh has suffered, death. He invariably denied having plotted aught to the prejudice of his Majesty, saying that he merely negotiated with the Frenchman to free himself from prison; and altho' these fresh practices [queste nove prattiche] (fn. 17) gave occasion to proceed against him, he was beheaded in execution of a former sentence, having been many years in the Tower, under sentence of death for conspiracy.”
28. In the Appendix (G.) to this Report I have given extracts from letters relating to two Englishmen of note, Sir Henry Peyton and Sir Henry Mainwaring.
29. The “Esposizioni Principi”explain the story of the medal alluded to in the “Domestic Calendar” for the year 1614 (a passage which would be otherwise unintelligible).
30. Another enigma is solved by the Letter-book, in St. Mark's Library, of Alvise Contarini, whose original despatches also exist in the Archives. At the meeting of the Archæological Institute, at Warwick, in August 1864, the late Earl of Denbigh exhibited a dagger, said to be that with which Felton stabbed the Duke of Buckingham. Sir T. Winnington enquired the history of this dagger, the appearance of which was at variance with the account in the “State Trials,” where Felton is said to have stabbed the Duke with a “common tenpenny knife,” whereas the Earl of Denbigh's weapon is a curious double-bladed dagger.
A year before the Duke of Buckingham's death, his life was said to have been threatened by the Frenchman Toiras, as written from London by Alvise Contarini, thus:—
“The Court announces, that an individual has been arrested, sent by Toiras to murder the Duke of Buckingham, who was much exasperated, and had determined to press the siege [of St. Martin] to the utmost.”
“Buckingham has sent to his wife, the dagger [“il coltello”] with which, as written, a certain individual commissioned by Toiras, the Governor of the fort (St. Martin), meant to assassinate him. A drawing of this dagger was immediately engraved, that, if true, the deed may irritate the people of England against the French; and at the same time, thro' compassion, render the Duke popular; which is the object sought above all others.”
The Warwickshire antiquaries will, perhaps, be persuaded that the relic at Newnham is no less genuine than any thing that can be exhibited as “Felton's knife.” The Duke's connexions had some reason to preserve a weapon which had but threatened his death. It was a tacit act of thanksgiving, an “ex voto” for escape from peril, but to make a trophy of the implement with which the assassin accomplished his crime would not have occurred to many persons.
The Toiras dagger is no less historical than Felton's knife; it is also one year older, less ignoble, and less bloody. (fn. 18)
31. The following account of the execution of William Howard, Viscount Stafford, on the 10th January 1681, narrated by Paolo Sarotti and Girolamo Vignola, the Venetian secretaries resident in London, and that of Lord William Russell's execution on the 6th of August 1683, narrated by Girolamo Vignola, the Venetian secretary resident in London, will both be read with much interest. They show how minutely every matter, although it in no way concerned the Signory, was reported to the Venetian State.
“On this day last week (10th January 1680–81), which was Christmas eve, according to the Old Style, the Houses of Parliament adjourned, the Commons until yesterday, the Lords until Monday next, and many of the members having quitted London all business of importance awaits their return; tho' I have to announce that Viscount Stafford was beheaded in the city on the morrow of the Christmas holy days. He was conveyed in a chair from the Tower to a lofty scaffold on its hill. He ascended this scaffold with great intrepidity, and turning towards the assembled multitude, exceeding 30,000 in number, and of every class, he addressed them at great length, protesting and swearing by the salvation of his soul that he was utterly innocent, even in thought, of the crimes laid to his charge. He declared that altho' it was maintained that the Catholic Church upholds the legitimate right of subjects to depose and put to death sovereign princes excommunicated by the Pope, yet did he, Lord Stafford, consider this doctrine diabolical and detestable, contrary to the laws of God, of nature, and of nations, and especially opposed to the fundamental laws of Great Britain. In the next place, with regard to the indulgences, dispensations, an I pardons of the Church of Rome for homicide, rebellion, perjury, and falsehoods; he professed before God that he never believed in them, and that similar doctrine had never been learnt or practised by him, neither had he ever been guilty of equivocation or reserve. Touching the crimes imputed to him, he would be the greatest madman in the world, and no less treacherous than those who had so falsely accused him, were he not to reveal any wicked design soever if acquainted with such, as by confession he might save his life, by so much the more as great offers had been made him to that effect; though, as he knew nothing which could implicate either himself or others, he preferred losing a hundred lives to bearing false witness in either case. To the truth of all this he swore by his salvation. He prayed God to bless the King, declaring that there was no power on earth that could authorize him to raise an arm against his Majesty; that he had always so abhorred murder, that if then, whilst in the act of speaking, he could save his life, and establish any religion and government he pleased, rendering himself as great as mortal could desire, through the death of but one of those who had so falsely accused him and brought him to the block, yet it was so odious to him to have the blood of any man on his head that he should reject such an alternative; whence it might be inferred that still less could he have thought of assassinating so good a king. Hereon he expatiated at great length, and then asked pardon of God and the people for all his offences, declaring that he forgave those who had offended him. He swore by his death and salvation that never in his life had he uttered a single word to two of the three witnesses who had accused him, and that with the third he had never spoken about anything but servants and lackeys, and that he had never been alone with him. In conclusion, he said he hoped he had sufficiently proved himself a man with a clear conscience, as, were it otherwise, he could have saved his life by pleading guilty, but would not now at the point of death tell a falsehood, as he very well knew it would doom him to eternal punishment. He said a few other things, and spoke about the manner in which his trial had been conducted; and, last of all, he prayed God not to avenge his innocent blood on the nation, repeating that with his last breath he asserted with all truth, and vowed that he died innocent, beseeching God, just and Omnipotent, to treat him according to his deserts.
“Such, in substance, was the most essential part of this nobleman's long discourse, which, it is said, will be printed. It is added that he has left a letter for consignment to the King.
“He was beheaded with a single stroke of the axe, and some English and foreign catholics gathered his blood in their handkerchiefs like that of a martyr, as much as a hundred pounds sterling for each of these handkerchiefs having been since paid by certain devotees. The body and head were taken back to the Tower, and, having been sewed together, were, by an act of grace from the King, consigned to his nearest relations, the law which ordained otherwise being dispensed with.
“So firmly are the people impressed with the truth of the conspiracy, and of the Viscount's guilt, that he was pitied but by few, and many insulted him in abusive language; (fn. 19) nor was his speech held in any account, owing to the rooted belief of the Protestants that the Catholics have a dispensation and pardon from the Pope (of whom anything is credited) for swearing to what is false even at the time of death, rather than say anything of the slightest detriment to the Catholic religion, or of the “Romish See,” as they style it.
(Signed) “Paolo Sarotti.
“On Saturday last [21st July 1683, N. S.] the sentence of death was executed upon Lord Russell, son of the Earl of Bedford, one of the most noble and opulent peers of England; the great offers made to the King even for a short respite having been of no avail.
“Lord Russell was taken in his own coach,surrounded by 200 musketeers, besides the numerous city trained bands, to a spacious square [Lincoln's Inn Fields] at no great distance from Whitehall, the site being guarded by infantry and cavalry.
“He alighted unbound, and in his usual costume, and having ascended the scaffold with incredible intrepidity, walked unconcernedly [“con disinvoltura”] up and down a while; he then knelt for a few moments, and on rising divested himself of his apparel without assistance; after which he took leave of [“complimentò”] his friends, made them a public speech, brief, but of a most violent nature [“scandolisissimo”], and laid his head on the block in such form, that a demonstration of greater contempt for so tremendous a passage would be impossible.
“On its accomplishment, the populace crowded to dip their handkerchiefs, hats, and garments in his blood; and one universal shout declared him innocent, all expressing pity and compassion.
“He left a sealed letter addressed to his wife, for delivery subsequently to the King, to whom it was shown by one of Lord Russell's uncles. It was full of the most unbecoming expressions, having for object to justify himself and the Duke of Monmouth with regard to the assassination of the King; according also to what he said in his dying speech, and the seditious seed which he has left behind him, is of no less treasonable nature than that invariably displayed by him in life against the King, the royal family, and all Catholicism.
“On the morrow of the execution his son, some 13 years old, went to the King to kiss hands, and to swear allegiance; he was received graciously, and, by a spontaneous act of very great generosity, his Majesty then and there bestowed on him that considerable paternal inheritance which by law was confiscated.
“On the following days, in like manner, several noblemen came to pay their respects to the King after an absence from the court of about 12 years, during which period they lived with the “fanatics,” as it were, in open opposition; and on this morning the Duke of Buckingham made his appearance; all being greeted alike with affability, current events requiring this policy; but should any sinister accident arise, no trust could be placed in their present change.
(Signed) “Girolamo Vignola.”
32. As many materials for the history of this country are preserved among the manuscripts in St. Mark's Library, I thought it my duty to inspect them, especially as the library contains many State papers which ought to have been found among the Records in. the “Frari.” In this respect the Marcian Library is not unlike the British Museum, which contains many State Papers that properly ought to be in the Public Record Office.
St. Mark's Library was founded in the year 1362, in consequence of Petrarch having agreed to leave all his books to St. Mark's, for the use of the State. This noble library has always been held in special affection by the Signory, and many valuable donations have been made to it at different times. It is now one of the most celebrated libraries in Europe.
33. In connexion with the manuscripts preserved therein, I would mention as a donation thereto, a very valuable and highly-prized gift made to it by Sir Henry Savile, of his edition of the complete works of St. John Chrysostom, in eight large folio volumes, still in the contemporary binding of crimson silk. In relation to these volumes, I found in the Archives among the “Esposizioni Principi” the following details, which I give in full, as I am not aware that they have ever been published:—
“On the 30th April 1608 the Ambassador” (Sir Henry Wotton) “said” (in the College Hall, to Doge Leonardo Donato)—
“‘Most Serene Prince, a gentleman of ours in England is working indefatigably at an edition of the complete works of St. John Chrysostom, that holy father whose doctrine was so excellent, and who set so great an example. For this purpose the editor has sent persons express to several places, to review and transcribe certain parts of the aforesaid works, of which he stood in need, as, for instance, to the Palatine Library in Germany, to the Library at Vienna, and elsewhere, and I, by favour of the Signory, who gave me leave—having seen your Serenity's library —remarked there the aforesaid works, which are truly singular. As possibly our collections may have some trifling deficiencies, such as one or two homilies, I beseech your Serenity that the person who has come hither for the purpose may have permission to copy them, provided, however, that there be no order or prohibitory law amongst the statutes of said Venetian Library.’
“The Doge replied,—
“‘At the moment our memory does not serve us for particulars concerning these works of St. John Chrysostom in the Public Library; nor do we know whether there is any prohibition respecting them; but the Signory having heard your desire, will take care to acquaint themselves with the matter, and give your Lordship all possible satisfaction.’”
The “Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1603–1610,” p. 630, bears witness to the pains taken by Sir Henry Savile to render his work perfect, as seen by the following entry:—
“Instructions” (given by Sir Hen. Savile to Sir Dudley Carleton) “in reference to purchase of books, collation of MSS., “relating to St, Chrysostom, at Paris and in Italy.”
Sir Henry Savile's eight volumes bear the date of 1612, and on the 2nd January, 1613–14 we get news of the presentation copy now in St. Mark's Library from his son-in-law, Sir Dudley Carleton, as recorded in the “Esposizioni Principi” thus:—
“The ambassador (Sir Dudley Carleton, in the College Hall, “2nd January 1613) added” (to the Doge Marc Antonio Memo)—
“‘Most serene Prince,—Perceiving the good greeting conceded to the office performed by me, and that your Serenity is always pleased to honour me more and more, I shall take the liberty, being here at this season, to follow the English custom, or as they say at Venice, give la mancia, by requesting your Serenity to receive as a free gift a book printed by a leading gentleman, who is my father-in-law, a person of quality and of acknowledged endowments [honorate conditioni], no less beloved by his Majesty than by the Queen herself. His book is the complete collection of the writings of that famous and most eloquent Father of the Church, St. John Chrysostom. At the cost of some years labour, Sir Henry Savile has put together the entire series, diligently collating his texts with those in the Vatican and St. Mark's Library, in order to render it perfect, and I believe it will be really worthy of the public library; and having been granted the favour of inspecting the Signory's manuscripts, it was his wish to acknowledge the obligation, nor does he know how to do so better than by presenting the result of his labours. On receiving your Serenity's commands, I will have my secretary, who is outside, introduced, and he will present it to your Serenity’
“His Serenity replied that the laws did not allow the acceptance of anything without permission: that the Signory would give their commands, and that in the meanwhile he thanked his Lordship much for such additional mark of courtesy, and for this fresh loving testimonial.
“Immediately after this the Signory gave orders for the introduction of the Ambassador's secretary, who presented eight volumes in folio, bound in crimson satin, containing all the works of the Father St. John Chrysostom, in Greek; and one of the volumes being given into the Ambassador's hands by the secretary, who was then dismissed, he opened it, making some remarks upon the dedicatory inscription, of which he read the first words thus: —Serenissimo Principi Marco Antonio Memmo Venetiarum Duci,—adding that not without cause did the frontispiece bear his Serenity's name; but above all, because Sir Henry Savile, who presented the work, studied in the city of Padua whilst his Serenity worthily filled the post of Governor there. (fn. 20) Then concerning the paragraph, Nec non Excellentissimi Senatus Patribus prudentissimis, he observed that this title was most apposite, relating as it did to the writings of one of the most ancient and eloquent Fathers of the Church, which are now dedicated to most sage Fathers, who have maintained the real seat of ancient wisdom and eloquence; wherefore the dedication was very suitably theirs, and became them better than it did anybody else. Touching the words, Potentissimi Magnæ Britanniæ Regis, Domini sui, amicis carissimis, he said that of this he had no doubt whatever, as his Majesty was in truth the most sure friend of the State, and the most anxious of any sovereign for her utmost exaltation and welfare; that he loves the Republic by reason of the good understanding and mutual good-will subsisting between them, and on every other account likewise.
“In the next place, the person who dedicates the work is under such great obligations to the Signory, as mentioned by me; and presents it with such devoted affection that greater can be felt by no one; and the thing itself is so complete, and after much time and labour is brought to such a pitch as to render it very worthy of being willingly accepted and graciously received by your Serenity, as I beseech you to do for my own honour likewise, it being my wish in all matters to demonstrate and prove to you my devotion, this gentleman being, moreover, my kinsman, and very dear and beloved relation [dipendente], as already stated by me.”
I do not believe that any book of an earlier date of presentation to St. Mark's Library, by any foreigner north of the Alps, can be found there now than this, the gift of Sir Henry Savile, and printed for him at Eton, of which college he was then (in 1613) the Provost; but in Mr. Brown's Calendar it will be seen that 90 years previously, another English ambassador and distinguished man of letters, Richard Pace, raised his voice in the Venetian College Hall in favour of Greek literature; for on that day he obtained there from the Signory, for Nicolaus Leonicus Thomeus, a patent for the copyright of his Latin translation of Aristotle the Stagirite, which he, Leonicus, dedicated to Reginald Pole, in date of Padua, “Pridie Calendas Sextiles, 1524.”
These facts, coupled with the demand made by Cardinal Wolsey for permission to have copies of certain Greek MSS. bequeathed to St. Mark's Library by Cardinal Bessarion, will have convinced the Signory of the attention paid to classical literature by Englishmen in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Sir Henry Savile's present was acknowledged by a gift from the State, of which the following record is preserved also in “Esposizioni Principi:”—
“The Doge returned very loving thanks for all this to the ambassador (Sir Dudley Carleton), who said, ‘I have another private letter in my hand from my relation, Sir Henry Savile, who requests me to return most humble thanks to your Serenity for the favour done him, and he says your munificence has far exceeded his deserts, and that he shall constantly wear the medal given him by your Serenity as long as he lives, and that being now far advanced in years, he has determined to bequeath it to his children, that thro' the pledge of so great a favour, his descendants may remember the obligation; and as I likewise had a share in this favour, I also, together with Sir Henry, will not omit returning due thanks to your Serenity, and am no less bound and anxious to serve the State on all occasions than he is.’”
It is not known whether Sir Henry Savile's representative takes as good care of the medal as is yet taken of St. John Chrysostom's works in St. Mark's Library; but at any rate Sir Dudley Carleton's statement is corroborated by an entry in the Calendar of State Papers, thus:—
“Will not wear the medal sent him till it is completed, lest ignorant people take it for a whistle or a tool.”
34. Among other matters of interest in the Venetian Archives I have seen a collection of the Stuart Papers ranging from 1711 to 1737, preserved among the documents in the Secreta Senato, and another collection from 1715 to 1765 preserved among the papers of the Inquisitori di Stato. Copies of these, if they should not be duplicates of those in her Majesty's collection at Windsor, might be acceptable to her Majesty, who has graciously allowed a Calendar of the Stuart papers to be compiled and published.
35. While on this subject, it may not be irrelevant to state that there is among the papers of the “Gesuati” (one of the suppressed religious corporations) a document entitled “Testamento del Principe“Giacomo Stuardo,” by which it appears that he was the natural son of Charles the Second by the Signora Donna Maria Stuardo della famiglia delle Baroni de S. Marzo (the Earl of Mar), and that he married in the parish church of S. Sophia Capuana at Naples “D. Teresa Corona non piu casata,” and that when the will was made his wife was pregnant. There is also a copy of this curious will among the Public Records, and several other papers connected with the subject are at Rome. James Stuart appears to have been the eldest of Charles's natural children, and was begotten while his father was an exile in the Isle of Jersey, and at the early age of 17. The story connected with this person is one of the most romantic description, and well deserves a notice in the history of the House of Stuart. The subject, however, has been partially brought to public notice in an article in the “Home and Foreign Review,” which is written for the evident purpose of showing that Charles the Second died a convert to the Roman faith.
The following brief outline of the history of Giacomo Stuardo will, I think, prove interesting:—
During his residence in Jersey about the year 1646, it seems that Prince Charles (afterwards Charles II.) engaged the affections of a young lady whose name does not appear. She is said to have belonged to the family of the noble House of Mar.
In speaking of her after he came to the throne it is reported that Charles wrote thus respectfully of her: “Il nous est né lorsque nous n'avions guères plus de seize ou 17 ans, d'une jeune dame des plus qualifiées de nos royaumes, plustost par fragilité de nostre première jeunesse que par malice.” The history of the young lady is not to be traced in any documents at present known, nor is she named by Charles in any of the letters he is said to have written to her son. This child, according to the papers which have been preserved, remained on the continent during the Usurpation and for a few years after the Restoration; at least the first notice of him occurs in the year 1665, when his father sent for him, supplied him with money, and acknowledged him as a son by a special document under the Sign Manual, dated Whitehall, 27th September 1665. This document is in the possession of the librarian of the Gesù at Rome. By what name the youth had previously been known does not appear, but he now is called James de la Cloche du Bourg. About eighteen months afterwards, King Charles by another grant, dated 7th Feb. 1667, also in the possession of Boero, again recognizes him as his son, and settles on him a pension of 500l. per annum on condition that he should reside in London and continue in the religion of his fathers and be faithful to the Anglican liturgy. Six months afterwards, however (29th July 1667), the young man abandoned the faith of his fathers and became a Roman Catholic at Hamburg, with the avowed purpose of entering the Society of the Jesuits. This fact was attested by Christina, Ex-Queen of Sweden. This certificate is likewise in the possession of Boero. (fn. 21)
On the 29th of August Charles, having heard that the Ex-Queen Christina was on her road to Rome, wrote again to hasten the departure of his son, who was not to stop at Paris, as he had previously advised, but to come straight to London and make himself known to the Queen Mother by delivering to her a sealed letter in the form of a petition. This letter was scarcely sealed when Charles wrote a third time to the General of the Jesuits requesting, for reason stated in his letter, that his son might travel in the dress of a layman and under the appellation of Henry de Rohan, a name familiarly known as one of the great Huguenot families of France. Disguised as a French cavalier this young man started for England in the middle of October 1668.
Charles also wrote a letter to his son couched in terms of warm affection; he said the temper of Parliament had hitherto made it necessary to defer the public acknowledgment of his birth, but the time was approaching when it would be possible for him to assume the rank which belonged to him. It behoved him, therefore, to reflect maturely on his altered prospects before entering irrevocably into sacred orders. His title was better than the Duke of Monmouth's, and he had a right of precedence over him, “par toutes raisons et à cause de la “qualité de une mere. The queen was childless, the children of the Duke of York were delicate, and if the Catholic religion should be restored in England he would have a claim to the crown. (fn. 22)
The young Jesuit, whom the King now denominates Prince James Stuart, remained but a short time in England. He was despatched on a secret mission to Rome in the middle of November.
Now comes the more romantic part of the story. On the 30th of March 1669, Kent, the English minister at Rome, wrote to Sir Joseph Williamson: “You will read in the advices from Naples of an extravagant person arrived there, who falling in love with the hoasts daughter where hee laye, married her, but being observed to live as well as to talke high of his great birth, the Vice-king haveing account of it, sent an officer to seaze upon his goods and coffers, where they write from thence was found many jewells of vallue, some quantity of pistolls and some papers or letters directed to him with the title of highness, for it seems hee vaunted to be the King of England's sonn, borne at Gersey, which circumstances invited the Vice-king's curiosity or suspition of his quality to imprison him in the Castle of St. Elmo to bee the better informed of him; being there hee sent for the English consult, Mr. Browne, to assist him for his delivery out of the castle; but it seemes hee could not speake a word of English nor give any account of the birth he pretended unto. Since the Vice-king hath taken him out of that castle and removed him to the fortresse at Gaetta, and shutt his wife (with child) into a monastery, and this is all the light I can pick out of the nation and others of this extravagant story, which, whether will end in prince or cheate I shall endeavour to informe you hereafter.”
On the 6th of April following, Kent writes: “Noe further news from Naples of the English prince now prisoner in the castle of Gaetta.” Kent's next letter to Williamson relative to this subject is on the 16th of June. He writes: “The gentleman who would have been his Majesties bastard at Naples, upon the receipt of his Majesties letters to that Vice-king, was immediately taken out of the castle of Gaetta, brought to Naples, and cast into the grand prison called the Vicaria, where being thought amongst the most vile and infamous rascalls, the Vice-king intended to have caused him to bee whipt about the citty, but means was made by his wife's kindred (who was likewise taken out of the nunery she was put into till the discovery of this pretended prince,) to the Vice-queene, who in compassion to her and her kindred prevailed with Don Pedro to deliver him from that shame, and soe ends the story of this fourb who speaks no languadge but French.”
On the 31st of August following Kent thus announces the death of the young pretender: “That certaine fellow or what hee was, who pretended to bee his Majesties naturall sonn at Naples, is dead, and having made his will they write mee from thence wee shall with the next poast know the truth of his quality.” According to his promise Kent communicated to Williamson on the 7th of September the chief heads in the will of the pseudo prince, “That certaine person at Naples who in his lifetyme would needes bee his Majesties naturall sonn is dead in the same confidence and princely humour; for haveing left his lady Teresa Corona, an ordinary person, seven months gone with child, he made his testament, and hath left his most Christian Majesty (whom hee called cousin) executor of it. He had beene absent from Naples some tyme, pretending to have made a journey into France to visit his mother, Doña Maria Stuarta, of his Majesty's royall family, which neerness and greatness of blood was the cause saies hee that his Majestie would never acknowledge him for his sonn; his mother Doña Maria Stuarta was it seemes dead before hee came to France. For his will hee desires the present King of England, Carlo 2do, to allowe his prince Hans in Kelder, eighty thousand duckatts per annum, which is his mother's estate; he leaves likewise to his child and mother Teresa 291 thousand duckatts, which hee calls legacies. He was buried in the Church of St. Francisco de Paolo out of the porta Capuana (for he dyed of this religion); he left 400 francs for a lapide to have his name and quality engraven upon it, for he called himself Don Jacopo Stuarto; and this is the end of that princely cheate or whatever he was.”
On the 14th September Kent writes to Williamson, “Enclosed you have the will of Pce Dr Jocopo Stuart, sent me from Naples.”
The before-mentioned facts are all that are at present come to light respecting this mysterious story, which, to say the least of it, certainly staggers credulity; but this is neither the place nor the occasion to enter into a criticism upon the subject. One fact, however, may be noticed which appears to me to throw discredit upon it. The King in one of his letters says that the young man's title was better than that of the Duke of Monmouth, and he had a right of precedence over him “par toutes raisons et à “cause de la qualité de une mère,” yet in spite of this he grants him an insignificant pension of 500l. per annum, clogged with certain conditions, while he had already granted a pension to the Duke of Monmouth of 6,000l. for life without any condition whatever, and had likewise given him a dukedom.
A list of the documents upon which this statement is grounded will be found in the Appendix (H.), and a translation of the “Testamento Giacomo Stuardo” in Appendix (I.).
36. I cannot resist the present opportunity of calling your Honour's attention to the highly interesting and graphic despatches of Giacomo Querini. Through the kindness of Mr. Rawdon Brown I have obtained a full account of these papers. They relate to a period of our history for which the materials are not abundant.
At the close of the year 1714, the Porte had declared war on the Republic of Venice, whose navy had of late been neglected; for the purpose of recruiting it, the State thought fit to have recourse to England.
They wished besides to complain of the English resident, accredited to Doge Cornaro, by name Christian Cole, who, during the last five years, was supposed to have done bad service to the State. At this time, Nicolo Trono was Venetian ambassador at the court of St. James'. (fn. 23) He had been married about four years to Chiara Grimani. She accompanied the ambassador to England, and there is reason to believe that George I. paid so much attention to her as to cause uneasiness to Madame de Schulenburg. Madame de Kilmanseck and the Duchess of Shrewsbury (the Bolognese Adelhida Paliotti) on the contrary maliciously encouraged the intimacy; but Chiara Trono is represented as a novice—a silly girl. The Princess of Wales is reported to have said of her, that she did not know how to support her diplomatic rank, and so the king's other female favourites always contrived to take precedence of her in various ways. She gave birth to a daughter in London on the 29th Septr./3 Octr. 1715, for whom George I. stood sponsor by proxy, on account of the difference of religion. The ambassador on his part was reproached with being niggardly, the entertainments at the Venetian embassy being of rare occurrence; in short, Nicolo Trono had failed to make himself popular with the court of St. James' and the country. The Inquisitors therefore determined to approach the new King by means of a secret agent, the first and last ever sent expressly by their tribunal to any British sovereign. The person selected to execute the orders of these statesmen was a Venetian nobleman of illustrious birth.
The correspondence of Giacomo Querini with the Inquisitors of State commences on the 5th of April 1715 from Hanover, where in 1709 he had married a Hanoverian lady, Emily Magdalen de Croi, sister of the Baroness Brinckman, who, with her husband, accompanied George I. to England in 1714. The correspondence closes in 1716, 6/17 July, and would be interesting from its superscription on the casket afterwards alluded to; but it is yet more so, because, as already mentioned, there is no other instance on record of an agent resident in England by commission from the Inquisitors of State at any period, still less for a term of fourteen months, and whilst the Republic was openly represented there by an accredited ambassador, and by a so-called “resident” or secretary.
It may reasonably be supposed that the letters were received and immediately placed in their proper places, according to the dates of their arrival in Venice, so that the series in the archives of the tribunal, written by Querini from London, was considered closed and complete in August 1716; but the Inquisitors were “at fault,” the supplementary writings of Giacomo Querini, which reached the tribunal on the 12th of July 1747, are yet more copious. They are more curious than those which he had addressed to it thirty years previously. Giacomo Querini lived to be an old man; he died at Venice on the 11th of May 1747, in his 85th year, and had a stately funeral.
On the 12th of July 1747, two months after the funeral, Laura Correr Querini, his daughter-in-law, being the widow of his son Giacomo, “Count and cavalier,” consigned to the tribunal of the Inquisitors of State a quantity of papers discovered by her in a remote and closed chamber of the Querini Palace. They were contained in a casket, on which was a label in the hand-writing of her father-in law, thus,—
“For consignment to the State.”
(Che siano consegnate al publico.)
The casket was bound with iron, and contained autograph copies and minutes of the private correspondence of Giacomo Querini during his stay in England in 1715–1716 as the agent of the Inquisitors of State; and their successors in 1747 returned the empty casket to the noble lady, the widow Laura Correr Querini.
These private memoranda, in addition to State secrets, give the prices of things in London. They show that in November 1715 George I. interested himself about the archives of Venice. He wanted documents for Leibnitz, who was writing a history of the German branch of the House of Este; and the King, who had also applied to the State in favour of Muratori, he being similarly occupied by order of the Duke of Modena on behalf of the Italian branch, then delicately modified this last request, lest it should interfere with the Signory's territorial claims, &c.
In the month of October 1715, Querini tells his patron that he will canvass the First Lord of the Admiralty, Edward Russell, Earl of Orford, to obtain naval aid for the Republic; but in this matter the King could render no assistance, because his Majesty was unable to speak in English to “the First Lord,” who, on his part, knew not one single word either of German or French; but Secretary Town send promised to act as interpreter. In this same letter, dated 7/18 October, we hear of Sir William Wyndham having surrendered himself a prisoner on the evening of the preceding Monday; terrified either by the promised reward of 1,000l. for his apprehension, or because he despaired of succeeding in his attempt. Querini styles him the “Chief of the Tory faction,” and the principal correspondent “of the Earl of Mar and of “Bolingbroke,” adding that it would not be difficult for the Duke of Somerset to obtain pardon for his son-in-law, if Wyndham would reveal the names of his accomplices.
In December 1715, we hear of the sale of Querini's pictures in London; he gives the names of the masters, and describes the subjects. They were 40 in number, and varied in price from six to 150 guineas. He seems to have inherited them from the last Duke of Mantua. From a letter dated 13/24 January 1716, it would appear that George I. then possessed a house at Venice.
In February, Querini announces his intention of repeating the procurator's friendly messages to his old acquaintance Louise de la Querouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth, who was then in London for the purpose of claiming from the Parliament long arrears of pension due to her. Querini says she was living on good terms with her son, the Duke of Richmond, and that she still enchanted and delighted everybody by her liveliness and brilliancy, though then 64 years old. On the margin of a letter concerning the prisoners of Preston, and the intended execution of Lord Derwentwater and his comrades, is a note about the famous fiddler Giordin. In another letter, 24 Feby./6 March 1716, Querini promises the procurator to send him for one of his family a supply of Lady Kent's powder (apparently some patent medicine); and on the 6/11 April he adds doubts of its being genuine, because Lady Kent was dead. In March, he tells of a portentous meteor, visible one evening from 7 (when it was most luminous) until 4 on the following morning, a phenomenon concerning which the Royal Society was drawing up a report. In short, a variety of miscellaneous details concerning English politics, manners, and manufactures may be gleaned from the contents of the “Querini casket.”
A selection from this correspondence will be found in the Appendix (J.).
37. From St. Mark's Library I proceeded to the Correr Museum, which was founded by Teodoro Correr, and bequeathed by him in 1830 to the municipality of Venice. It abounds in State records of various descriptions, and contains documents of which no copies or duplicates are to be found in the Archives. In this Museum I examined the “Portolano” of the Genoese, Pietro Visconti. It bears the date 1318, its charts being therefore 114 years older than those of Bianco, a facsimile of which was given in Mr. Brown's Calendar. Visconti's chart of the British Channel does not indicate “Camera;” but, on the other hand, he has delineated a port which seems subsequently to have disappeared, between Sandwich and the Thames; he writes its name Licrecer. These charts are painted on vellum, which is glued on wood.
38. I next inspected the letter-book of Andrea Navagero, Venetian ambassador at the Court of Charles V., from June 1525 to January 1528, during which period he negotiated with the English ambassadors—Sampson, Tunstall, Wyngfield, Lee, Ghinucci, and Francis Poynes; and also saw the English herald, Clarencieux, who declared war on the Emperor at Villa Verde, on the 23rd of January 1528.
39. Amongst the papers connected with English diplomacy in the 16th century, the Correr Museum possesses Edward Barton's account of the Turkish campaign in Hungary, where he accompanied Mahomet III. as the accredited agent of Queen Elizabeth, A.D. 1595.
40. A series of official letters, written from England in the 17th century, by a member of the Correr family, interested me extremely, because they are not to be found amongst the English correspondence at the Archives (as mentioned in the preface to the Venetian Calendar, p. cxxvi.), nor is it known by what fortunate accident the collector of this interesting Museum procured his ancestor's “original despatches,” addressed to, and received by the State, the ambassador's letter book being still undiscovered.
Angelo Correr had already been ambassador during three years at the Court of Charles I., from October 1634 to November 1637, on the eve of the civil war. I wished to know what he thought of Charles II., and the Restoration. At the moment the letters could not be found, but on the same evening, when they were discovered, the Director, Nicolas Barozzi, sent them to me at my hotel for my inspection. They contained the following particulars:—
The ambassadors extraordinary from the Republic of Venice, sent to congratulate Charles II. on his restoration, Angelo Correr and Michiel Morosini, embarked at Dunkirk on the 17th July 1661, and were brought to Gravesend on board a new sixty-gun frigate, “The Monk,” commanded (they say) by a man of low birth, but well deserving of the King, he being Anthony Tettersall, who, on the 15th October 1651, after the battle of Worcester, conveyed Charles II. and Lord Wilmot from Shoreham to Fécamp.
The reports of the failure of the King's marriage to Catherine of Braganza were contradicted, by the sale in London of engravings of the Portuguese Princess with title of “Queen of England,” and Queen Henrietta Maria was already styled “Queen Mother.”
The ambassadors made their formal entry into London on the first Saturday in August, and were introduced to the King on the following Tuesday (being by special favour accommodated with the royal coaches, and with others belonging to Correr's old friends of former times) by the Earl of Denbigh, who, as Lord Fielding, had been ambassador from Charles I. in Venice, where he resided, in the very palace in which I read these letters. The ambassadors, after congratulations on the restoration, hinted at the hopes of the Republic, that the King would aid them in their defence of Candia, and Correr alluded to his own renewal of that homage which he had first offered in the King's childhood. The King replied most graciously, and the ambassadors then proceeded first to the Duke of York, and then to the Chancellor, who had a fit of the gout, and turned a deaf ear to their demands for succour against the Turk. Thereupon the ambassadors inform the State that Lord Clarendon, being “of birth far below the post now filled by him, seeks but its confirmation and his personal advancement; and therefore applies himself exclusively to the home interests of England, nor does he wish the King to form any foreign ties, save those connected with Dunkirk, which are unavoidable, whilst his Majesty, having scarcely the means of maintenance for himself, and being unable to raise money save through the Parliament, cannot depart from its wishes; and as many members of the House of Commons are deeply concerned in the Turkey trade, they would with difficulty consent to measures no less expensive than repugnant and hazardous, from the confusion they would entail on maritime affairs.”
Concerning Parliament, the Presbyterians, (fn. 24) and the seditious books, the Venetian ambassador writes, 5th August 1661,—
“His Majesty was to attend Parliament this morning, so the present Session is supposed to be at an end, and we shall hear what Acts have been passed. It had been intended? [si voleva] that for the future the members of Parliament should no longer be nominated by the provinces, but by the King himself. The project emanated from the Upper House with a view to furthering his Majesty's interests, but the Commons, who would thus have received too severe a blow, rejected it; so that discontent is reappearing, and the other day a scandalous libel circulated publicly against the proceedings of the Parliament itself, which was said to be too much bent on gratifying the King. The author was discovered to be a most violent Presbyterian, and would have suffered punishment according to his deserts had he not pleaded guilty and promised allegiance to the royal cause, whereupon the King pardoned him.”
The next letter (11th August 1661) narrates the private audience which the ambassadors had of the King, who when expressing his regrets at being unable to grant the assistance required for Candia, said, “Your Lordships perceive that I am “not yet well re-established, but I will certainly do all I can,” an admission which the ambassadors believed to be too true. They then went to General Monk, who received them graciously, but like a soldier rather than as a courtier. He likewise limited himself to general expressions, showing that he had small share in the King's resolves, which the ambassadors also credited, because his Majesty relied exclusively on Lord Clarendon, Monk being in repute solely on account of past services, which caused universal reproof; they add that Monk spoke nothing but English, so that they communicated with him through an interpreter.
The character of Charles II. is thus summed up by them:—
“He is extremely courteous; he habitually extends his offers, we will not say beyond his intentions of performance; but occasionally he does not scruple to pledge himself to things, from which his ministers subsequently dissuade him easily, above all the Chancellor, who is intent solely on home affairs. They having freely hinted to us that the state of affairs is not yet very firm, is an extremely remarkable caution which the Signory will ponder maturely.”
The ambassadors were unable to see the Duchess of York, who was drinking “certain waters” probably at Tunbridge, but on taking leave of the Duke he said he would keep the King in mind of Candia, and that he, the Duke, was anxious to take the command of a fleet against the infidels, having been a soldier all his life, and averse to domestic idleness, from which he could not escape more satisfactorily than by exercising his post of Lord High Admiral on so just and grand an occasion.
The following extract (21st August 1661) relates to the King adjourning Parliament on the 30th of July 1661:—
“The King did not go in state to adjourn the Parliament until Tuesday last; he gave his assent to the greater part of the Bills presented to him, and made a very judicious and discreet speech. One important Bill in his favour was passed concerning the army and navy (la milizia) which henceforth are to depend entirely on his Majesty; he is to select the forces and to increase or diminish them at his option, appointing likewise the officers.
“In the meanwhile, as the monthly allowance of 500,000l. for the civil list and public expenditure, including the cost of the fleet and of the garrisons of Dunkirk and Mardyck, do not correspond with the Treasury payments, which exceed that sum annually by 1,500,000l., and as the Parliament cannot furnish any other funds until its next meeting, they have decreed a voluntary contribution (“Benevolence”) for his Majesty. The sum levied from each of the nobility (members of the House of Peers?) is not to exceed 400l.; the rest (members of the House of Commons?) paying 200l.; and this is being scrupulously [puntualmente] exacted well nigh from everybody.
“At its last sittings the Lower House proposed prosecuting all persons who circulate scandalous printed works, many existing in private houses; the Peers, however, refused the right of search in their abodes, as a breach of privilege; the Commons chose the search to be general, and the question is yet pending. It chiefly affects the King, to whom some one (said in jest that the Parliament was composed of members yet beardless, implying that he should change them: his Majesty, however, who considers the present Parliament quite devoted to him and chooses it to continue sitting, answered no less wittily, that if beardless, he must let them sit till their beards grow; from which one may comprehend that there are turbulent spirits, and very daring ones likewise (to oppose them?).” Angelo Correr and Michiel Morosini thus serve to annotate Pepys.
41. The Correr Museum likewise possesses what may be termed a MS. supplement to the English printed newspapers. “The Postman,” May 17, to Tuesday, May 20th, 1707, and “London Gazette,” from Monday, May 19th, to Thursday, May 22nd, narrating the public entry into London of the Venetian ambassadors extraordinary to Queen Anne, Nicolo Erizzo and Alvise Pisani.
42. The first account of the landing in state at the Tower Stairs of any embassy extraordinary from the Republic of Venice to the Crown of Great Britain, bears the date of June 1626. On the 16th of that month Marc Antonio Correr and Angelo Contarini arrived at the mouth of the Thames in two Dutch men-of-war, from Rotterdam.
On the preceding day, Thursday, King Charles I. (having signed a commission for the dissolution of his first Parliament, which had commenced its sittings on the 6th of February,) was walking in St. James's Park, when a deputation from the House of Peers accosted him. The deputation consisted of the Lord President Montague, and the Earls of Pembroke, Carlisle, and Holland; their announcement purported that for the interests of the Crown his Majesty should delay the dissolution. The King replied, “No, not for one moment,” and the speaker and the peers having returned to the Parliament, and the Commons being summoned to the House of Lords, the Lord Keeper Coventry read to them the order for their dissolution at the early hour of 10 a.m.
The King and the Legislature were early in their habits, and the Venetian secretary Rosso, to whom we are indebted for these particulars, adds, in a postscript to his letter which was written from London on the 16th of June:—
“I understand that his Majesty has already commenced chastising the enemies of the Duke of Buckingham, having sent the Earl of Bristol to the Tower, and desired the Earl of Arundel to return with his wife and son and daughter-in-law (lately married) to the mother of this last [Duchess of Lennox], resident at a country-house 20 miles from London.”
The Venetian ambassadors were accompanied from Gravesend in the royal barges by Sir Lewes Lewkner to “Tower Wharffe,” where they were welcomed by the Earl of Dorset and Lord Herbert of Cherbury, whose first acquaintance with Angelo Contarini dated from the year 1619, when they were both accredited to Louis XIII.; and Marc Antonio Correr, who had resided at the Court of James I. as ambassador in ordinary from November 1608 until June 1611, was equally well acquainted with Edward Sackville, Earl of Dorset, whose duel with Lord Bruce (whose sister the Earl had seduced) took place two years after Correr's departure from England. Accompanied by the two duellists (Lord Herbert of Cherbury dwells with much self-complacency on his contempt for the risks of single combat) the ambassadors extraordinary appointed to congratulate Charles I. on his accession, proceeded in the King's coach to Lord Petre's house in Aldersgate Street, “defrayed there by the King.” They mention that the Earl of Dorset spoke Italian with great fluency, and that Lord Petre's house, amongst its other furniture supplied by the royal wardrobe, contained two Cloths of State, one for each of the Ambassadors, who were waited on by his Majesty's officers and servants, whereof 12 of the guard gave their daily attendance.
43. In the Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, date 1611, January 26, we find Sir Walter Cope writing to Sir Dudley Carleton about old paintings for Prince Henry, and for Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury. On the 25th of April 1615, in date of Venice, there is a note of consignment to the Earl of Somerset of sundry pictures painted by Tintoretto, Paul Veronese, Bassano, Titian, and Schiavone.
The favourites of James I. seem to have been partial to the Venetian school.
Amongst the letters of the Signory's ambassador in England (Alvise Vallaresso), there is one now in the Archives, dated London, 29th March 1624, of the following tenor:—
“Many days ago it was more than once hinted to me that the Duke of Buckingham would like to receive certain pictures from Venice; to which I thought fit to turn a deaf ear, on many accounts. This week, however, the Earl of Desmond (Richard Preston), now his near connexion, and who, heretofore, when Lord Dingwall, went to Venice to offer his services to the Signory, after conversing with me on some other topics, told me plainly that said Buckingham wished above all things to obtain certain paintings, according to the enclosed note; that for their purchase he would not hesitate to spend any sum; but that as they belonged to your Serenity, he should deem them a treasure, by whatever means procured. I determined to answer the Earl that I could assure him your Serenity wished above all things to oblige the Duke, as for his very noble qualities you esteemed and loved him greatly; but with regard to this demand for these pictures, it was the wont of your Serenity jealously to preserve similar things; and, according to a custom peculiar to Republics, rarely or never deprive yourself of works of art. Such was the course taken by me, nor will I say anything more to your Serenity, because, on the one hand, by granting the request I am aware that it would be opening the door to similar demands, whilst, on the other, it is by no means unimportant to gain by a trifling present a great personage, of yore the favourite of the King, as he now is of the Prince, and who was lately considered by the kingdom the polestar of his country's hopes.”
In Vallaresso's letter there is the following memorandum:—
“The Duke of Buckingham desireth, by any means possible, to have certaine picturs, made by Paul Veronese, that are in a certaine rume or passage towardes the great library, in the pallace of St. Marke, at Venice.”
In reply to this despatch, the Senate wrote to Vallaresso on the 2nd of May 1624:—
“With regard to the entreaties made to you on behalf of the Duke of Buckingham concerning the pictures in the halls of the ducal palace, you acted in a form calculated to prevent further persistence, and we commend you for it.”
Ayes 16. Noes 1. Neutrals 10.
Louis XIII., in order to facilitate his sister's marriage, was more accommodating than the Republic of Venice, to whom Vallaresso's successor, Giovanni Pesaro, wrote from London on the 28th of February 1625:—
“A present of choice pictures from the King of France is expected, he having selected the finest he has at Fontainbleau to give them to the Duke of Buckingham; (fn. 25) all sovereigns now-a-days seeking to gain such ministers as are most powerful by gratifying their tastes and furthering their interests.”
44. While on the subject of painting, I may state that among the papers of the Inquisitors of State, there is one dated August and September 1773, being an account of a scheme formed by the consul Udny, and Francesco Bulo, parish priest of St. Bartholomew's church at Treviso, to abstract the famous picture of the Crucifixion by Carlo Caliari.
45. Among the many documents connected with English manufactures I found several relating to our silk manufacture, which I think will interest your Honour. One letter, from a private collection, contained several patterns (fn. 26) of ribbons which were originally sent from St. Quentin, in France, to Alvise Contarini. ambassador in Rome, by the Venetian secretary Giulio Cesare Alberti on the 12th of May 1635. They were then the fashionable colours, and enable us to compare the ribbons of England with those of France. They also prove that half a century before the establishment of French refugees in Spitalfields (1685), English ribbons competed successfully with those of France. These patterns were sent to the ambassador at Rome in a private letter from the secretary, who mentions them thus:—“Enclosed your Excellency will receive some patterns of ribbons [cordelle] which I have with me, having brought them in my trunk by accident; some of them are much esteemed on account of their colours, and are the fashion of the day.
“Should your Excellency wish for any of another sort you will be pleased to give me notice, or I will not fail to obtain them from Paris, and even from London.”
The papers containing the patterns are inscribed:—
I.“Fashionable colours, and which are in use at the present day, and, from what I believe, manufactured in Touraine, although said to come from London.” (fn. 27) (Four patterns, coloured ribbons (silk); two one inch and one-Eighth wide, two half inch wide, query galloon.)
II. “Ordinary English colours, purchased in London lately. (Five patterns—three, one inch and one-eighth wide; one, one inch; one, half inch wide; query galloon. Colours—one plain yellow, and four variegated.)”
At the commencement of the year 1670, the Inquisitors of State bear testimony to the excellence of English ribbons and other manufactures in a letter addressed by them to the Republic's ambassador in London:—
“It would be profitable to encourage the emigration to Venice of some expert manufacturers of stockings, ribbons (cordellami), and other articles made in England, and which are much valued here; giving assurance that all similar artisans will be received and protected by the public authorities, and may, perhaps, hope notably to benefit their own interests.
“Your Excellency's prudence comprehends the nature of this business, which is of no slight importance; so, being convinced that you will do your utmost to obtain this intent, we await the result of your diligence, wishing you all prosperity.” (fn. 28)
The Inquisitors of State encouraged the residence in Venice of English artificers, but would not allow their own subjects to teach us the art of dressing and winding raw silk, or “cocoons,” the reeling of which is a very delicate operation.
In November 1772, the Venetian resident in London (Giovanni Berlendis), wrote to the Tribunal as follows:—
“A certain Tuscan, by name Philip Mazzer, who, during some years, has been a tradesman in London, induced by avidity of greater profit, has proposed to a company of merchants, to raise a troop [“raccolta”] of Italians, expert in the twisting and spinning of silk, and also in making of stuffs, to send them over to Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.”
“For this purpose, he has set out for Italy to execute his project, after having agreed with the merchants for a premium of fifty guineas for each man enrolled by him.”
“Heretofore, some Jews brought silk throwsters from Italy, who were sent to Bengal, but as the silks of that scorching climate are harsh and crude [aspre e dure], and not susceptible of minute and delicate manipulation [de fino e delicato lavore], it seems that the Italian trade will not suffer much from this proceeding.”
“On the other hand, in the temperate climate of Pennsylvania, where large plantations of mulberry trees [alberi da seta] have been raised, I am told that the quality of the silk is not inferior to that of Lombardy, and very great detriment would result to Italy were the English to obtain from thence those artificers of whom they have need for spinning the silk, twisting it properly into ‘organzine,’ and making stuffs and every other sort of (silk) manufacture.”
“I am informed, that one Mattocks, also an Englishman, has gone into Italy to hire Italian artificers at any cost, for the purpose of sending them to manufacture silk in Bengal; he has letters to the British consuls for assistance and protection, and will also act in concert with the above-mentioned Mazzer.”
In consequence of this hint, the Inquisitors, on the 22nd of December 1772, wrote to the Governors of Bergamo and Verona, giving them an account of Mazzer and Mattocks, and desiring that their projects might be thwarted in every way, and that no silk manufactures were to quit the Venetian territory.
46. I have now to express my hope that this Report will be the means of directing the attention of Her Majesty's Government to the extent, variety, and value of the Venetian Archives. It will, at the same time, show how much remains to be done at Venice, and how desirable it is to obtain copies of numerous documents with which Mr. Brown is acquainted, but the knowledge of which is confined to himself; having been gained by upwards of thirty years' experience and search among the papers of the Signory. I would therefore suggest that Mr. Brown should have an annual allowance, for the purpose of paying for copies of such documents relating to the history of this country as he may think worthy of being transcribed and sent to England, to be placed in this Office for public use.
47. I cannot close this Report without referring to and acknowledging the politeness of Count Girolamo Dandolo, the Director-general of the Venetian Archives.
I should be ungrateful were I to omit thanking Signor Luigi Pasini and his assistant, Luigi Guadagnin, for the great help they afforded me during my researches at the Frari.
I have also to thank the Librarians at St. Mark's, especially Signor Giovanni Battista Lorenzi, for their obliging attention.
I must not forget the noble Nicolo Barozzi, the learned Director of the Correr Museum, who took infinite pains to find some papers which I was very desirous of inspecting.
48. Of Mr. Rawdon Brown himself, I am somewhat puzzled how to speak, for were I to say all I feel of his kindness, it might have the appearance, to those who do not know him, of flattery, but at any rate I must mention that during my stay in Venice he was constant and untiring in his attention and assistance, that without his aid and profound knowledge, I should not have seen a twentieth part of what I did see; and that he has supplied me with copies of every document I required, and with very many more which I have been compelled from want of space to omit from this Report.
49. I have, in conclusion, to offer you some apology for the desultory character of these remarks, but such a defect is incidental to the nature of my task. It was my object to let you see by the variety of my inquiries, what readers of various tastes and pursuits might gain from the papers in the Archives of Venice, and how much they tend to illustrate the history of this country at different intervals rather than at one special period. It would have given more consistency to my work to have confined my researches to one subject, but I doubt much whether such mode of proceeding would have been so useful as the plan I have adopted.
I have the honour to be,
Your very faithful servant,
T. Duffus Hardy.