Venice
December 1617, 1-15

Sponsor

Institute of Historical Research

Publication

Author

Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1909

Pages

63-75

Annotate

Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'Venice: December 1617, 1-15', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 15: 1617-1619 (1909), pp. 63-75. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88666 Date accessed: 30 September 2014.


Highlight

(Min 3 characters)

Contents

December 1617

Dec. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
104. To the king of England.
We have received from Captain Bell your Majesty's letters when he offered his services. These have served to show your favourable disposition towards us. In the present uncertain state of affairs we are acting so that we may have no need to make use of him, but we have assured him of our satisfaction and we shall always feel the same towards all who come with letters from your Majesty, for whom we wish long and prosperous years.
Ayes137.
Noes0.
Neutral3.
[Italian.]
Dec. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
105. To the ambassador in England.
In conformity with what we wrote a week ago we passed an office with the Ambassador Wotton informing him of the difficulties raised by the Spaniards over the treaty and what we wrote to the Ambassador Giustinian about the two princes nominated by their Majesties of Germany. We send copies of these. We have only to add that on the 11th the Viceroy of Naples ordered his galleys to enter the Gulf, although the pirate who furnished the pretext was near Sicily. We hear from Rome that an encounter took place between the two fleets on the 19th, but no particulars. It is important as a sign of confidence and in our interests that his Majesty should have full particulars of this direct from you, and we direct you to obtain a special audience to strongly urge our claims. You will also speak to such ministers as you think fit, and to the ambassadors of France and the States.
We have no despatches from you this week, so we cannot say more. Other despatches have been delayed and we suspect some fraud for the purpose of procrastinating.
You will see for your information what we have decided about the earl of Oxford and Captain Bell.
Ayes137.
Noes0.
Neutral3.
[Italian.]
Dec. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci.
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
106. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
During the last few days I have conferred with several of the lords of the Council in order to acquaint them thoroughly with the present state of the affairs of Italy, and how, although the peace had been established and confirmed in Spain, yet they continued to hostilely invade the territory of the republic, as relying on the peace small guard had been kept, nor did I fail to acquaint them with every detail, so that should the king desire the business to be discussed in the Council, the well-affected may be enabled to support our interests on good grounds. I found them all well disposed and they evinced great regret on hearing of the proceedings of the Spanish ministers, it seeming too inconsistent to them that their deeds should differ so widely from their words, and from the accounts given by them to all the powers, and which they circulate in every direction; they also told me of the good will of his Majesty here and of his great affection for the republic, saying I might be assured of it and give ample promise to this effect to your Serenity, with the conviction that under these circumstances the king will prove his leanings by strong and speedy action.
Yesterday the post came in from Italy bringing the news of the withdrawal of the Spaniards into the Milanese and of the suspension of hostilities in the Friuli, which gave great satisfaction to all who wish for the peace of Europe. Having received confirmation of this in letters from your Serenity of the 11th ult., I shall impart the intelligence to his Majesty, regulating myself according to the instructions I may receive.
London, the 1st December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 1.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Inghilterra,
Venetian
Archives.
107. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The queen, having somewhat recovered from her indisposition, gave me my first audience on Monday, when she sent her own coaches to fetch me, together with some of the chief cavaliers of her court. After I had complimented her in a fitting manner and presented the letters of credence, she read them herself and answered me in language replete with esteem and affection for your Excellencies. She asked me about the state of affairs in Italy and evinced regret that the Spaniards should continue to molest you, blaming their proceedings in language of a facetious character (con certo gracioso termine).
The king remains away, spending all his time in hunting. His Council remains here, forming such decisions as necessary, and when anything important occurs they immediately acquaint him with it and await his orders. He will not come to London until Christmas, and is expected to leave again immediately afterwards. Before his departure he saw the Muscovite ambassador, who presented his Majesty, the queen and the prince with a quantity of sables and black foxes' skins, to the value, it is said, of 10,000 crowns. The expenses of this ambassador are paid by the English merchants of the Muscovy company, and prove heavy, for he has a numerous retinue, nor can he return to his master until the end of the winter, owing to the frozen seas in those parts.
An ambassador is also expected from the king of Sweden, and his mission likewise is one of thanksgiving to his Majesty for having acted as mediator to reconcile Denmark and Muscovy.
A son of the prince of Anhalt has arrived to see the court and pay his respects to his Majesty.
London, the 1st December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 1.
Inquisitori
di Stato,
Dispacci,
dagli Ambasciatori in
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
108. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the INQUISITORS OF STATE.
Finding myself with a very leading member of the Privy Council for the purpose of transacting important business enjoined upon me by the Senate, I was requested by him in great confidence to tell him how well satisfied the republic was with the Ambassador Wotton and how he served her, whether she suspected him of being dependent on the Spaniards, for that here they were aware of his having had secret and nightly interviews with the Spanish ambassador at Venice; and that at the very time, when his presence and assistance there were most needed, in the present exigencies, to prove to the world the good understanding prevalent between the republic and this crown, he had withdrawn himself from the city.
I answered that I had not been informed of these details, concerning which I knew not what to say to him, though as he was their minister it was their affair to weigh his actions. He added that it was not merely a question of the interests of the king, but of those of the republic also, who, believing herself to be in communication with a confidential minister, might possibly receive some hurt in her service. He urged me for the love of my country to state what I knew on the subject. In replying, I repeated the same particulars without any addition. He also enquired of me what reply I should make were the king to speak to me on the subject and request me to discuss it with him freely. I repeated that I could but answer his Majesty as I had done to him.
I have given these details, so that if the king does speak to me on the matter I may be able to reply in accordance with the instructions which may be sent to me.
From London, the 1st December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 5.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Signori Stati,
Venetian
Archives.
109. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Arminians do not desire a national synod, which most of the States are agreed upon and which his Excellency advised to the towns, as they say it is bound to be prejudicial. It is said that the States General will await the decision of the present Diet of Holland and will not decide upon anything of importance before the end of January next. For the moment they will publish their edict, already issued, summoning ministers from the churches of France, England, Germany and Switzerland for June next year.
In spite of fresh solicitation from the English ambassador they have not yet published any proclamation against the author of the book written against his proposals, although the placard has been drawn up and registered, because the province of Holland, joined by those of Utrecht and Overyssel will not allow it to be carried into effect, as they say that if such a declaration were made it would pronounce what the author wrote to be bad, though it agrees with what they profess; consequently they approve of the work, which is against the king of England, who cannot fail to be much offended. Such is the present state of this affair. May God interpose. The ambassador of France is endeavouring to provide a proper remedy by means of the General Assembly, and he has told me that he wishes the English ambassador had not gone so far or at least had not supported the printing of his exposition, so that they might have joined together in taking the steps necessary in these circumstances.
The Hague, the 5th December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 7.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Spagna,
Venetian
Archives.
110. PIERO GRITTI, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I told the nuncio and the ambassadors of France and England of the hostile operations of the royal ministers. He told me the reasons they gave here for their action. The French ambassador seemed much affected by the action of Don Pedro and said it would displease his king greatly. He promised to speak to the Duke of Lerma. The ambassador of England, after expressing his detestation of the excesses of Don Pedro said that your Excellencies ought not on this account to omit to carry out your side of the treaty. He said he thought he observed here the utmost readiness to carry out what had been agreed and he thought that at bottom they were sorry for what had happened as being as prejudicial to the king's dignity as to that of the republic, although in appearance they justify the action of the minister, both because it is the usual practice at this court and because he has many supporters in the Council which renders him bold to act even contrary to the orders of his Majesty, to do what pleases him best.
Madrid, the 7th December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
111. To the ambassador in Spain and the like to the other Courts, Constantinople and the Generals.
The report of an action between the fleets is confirmed. Our fleet discovered the royal galleys near Sta. Croce when they were attempting to surprise us. Cannon shots were exchanged and the Spaniards retreated towards Apulia. Our fleet pursued till we lost sight of the Spaniards in a storm. Five of our light galleys were driven on to the rocks, but the artillery and most of the crews were saved. Thus we are being attacked both by land and sea after the making of the treaty. Ossuna and Don Pedro are doing the exact opposite of the orders sent to them, they continue to munition Vercelli and reinforce their troops, and everything goes to show that the Spaniards intend to keep this province continually spending throughout the winter, and to make some serious attempt in the spring either against us or somewhere else, at any rate to the grave prejudice of all the other powers, and some remedy ought to be provided.
The Spaniards recognise the impropriety of this behaviour and of their shutting up the pass of the Grisons, but they pretend that we and Savoy have not fulfilled our part although Bethune has offered to give the necessary assurance and we have throughout shown our disposition for peace, but this is removed further off by such difficulties and dangers and by the various pretexts and inventions of the Spaniards.
Our ambassador in England shall be further commissioned to communicate so much to his Majesty and the ministers and urge them strongly to make the declarations.
Ayes168.
Noes0.
Neutral0.
[Italian.]
Dec. 8.
Cl. VII
Cod. MCXXII
Bibl di San
Marco Venice.
112. HORATIO BUSINO to SIG. GIORGIO CONTARINI.
Last week I was greatly upset by the sudden death of Sig. Sigismondo Lucchese, his Excellency's butler. To distract me, they took me, at the suggestion of Sig. Giovanni Battista Lionello, to one of the numerous theatres here in London where comedies are recited and we saw a tragedy performed there, which moved me very little, especially as I cannot understand a single word of English, though one may derive some little amusement from gazing on the sumptuous dresses of the actors and observing their gestures, and the various interludes of instrumental music, dancing, singing and the like. The best treat was to see and stare at so much nobility in such excellent array that they seemed so many princes, listening as silently and soberly as possible, and many very honourable and handsome ladies come there very freely and take their seats among the men without hesitation. That very evening the secretary was pleased to play off a jest upon me. I was surrounded by a number of young ladies, and after I had been seated awhile a very winning dame in a mask took her seat beside me and spoke to me as if I had been her husband. She asked me for a rendezvous in English and French, and as I turned a deaf ear to both, she showed me some fine diamonds which she wore removing no less than three gloves which she wore one over the other. She was richly dressed from head to foot. I also had from her eyes a few modest glances, perhaps from surprise at seeing an extraordinary and old and ugly phiz. Nevertheless these gallantries have scarcely shaken off my lethargy.
London, the 8th December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costant.
Venetian
Archives.
113. ALMORO NANI, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ministers here suddenly one morning put in prison three dragomans and the secretary of the French ambassador, and afterwards the Pasha sent for all the ambassadors. The Pasha made bitter complaints against the French ambassador, accusing him and his men of assisting the flight of a certain slave. The ambassador affirmed his innocence, and begged that no harm should be done to the dragomans, and promised to punish any of his household if they were guilty. This somewhat appeased the Pasha.
However the ambassador was unable to obtain his dragomans. Some days later his house was surrounded and his servants examined about the affair. When the ambassador refused to admit any complicity in the slave's escape, they took him away from his house by force, though it is not thought that he was taken to prison. They subsequently sent him as a prisoner to the house of the Chiaus Bassi.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 8th December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costant.
Venetian
Archives.
114. ALMORO NANI, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople to the DOGE and SENATE.
Owing to the gravity of the accident which has happened to the French ambassador, I thought it well that the ambassadors of England and Flanders and I should go together to the Pasha to make representations in favour of the ambassador. I first ascertained that the English ambassador would readily take part in this office, and the ambassador of Flanders also embraced the idea. Accordingly we all three went to the Pasha on the following day, representing how sorry we were at what had been done to the French ambassador especially as we felt sure that he knew nothing about the flight of the slave, and even if he had, it would be wise to overlook it. We asked him to allow the ambassador to return to his own house, whence he would not depart without leave, or a guard might be set there. The Pasha replied that he had considered the representation of the ambassadors, as he might have attacked all our houses, but had refrained. The French ambassador had a hand in the flight of the slave, and as he would not admit it, they had to use force. We should send to tell him to give up the slave, when he promised that no harm should come to the ambassador or his servants, otherwise he would have him hanged, as he hanged a French consul at Cairo, and then he would write to his king to send another. We represented that even in case of a war with France he could not do more than he had done against the ambassador. But in spite of all our arguments we could get nothing out of him although we have subsequently understood that he has reflected upon our representations and has let fall words which indicate that he will soon release him.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 8th December, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
115. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Encloses terms of league between the Dutch and the Hanse Towns. Has tried to obtain those with France and England, and will send them if he does, though he has already sent their contents.
It appears that the province of Holland has decided to take no further steps to satisfy the English ambassador beyond what has already been done in suppressing the book and forbidding its sale. They say this ought to suffice, and although the four Provinces seem to wish that the ambassador should be satisfied, the other three stand firm for doing nothing more, saying that to make a proclamation, burn books and such things is nothing less than the proceedings of the Inquisition, a name detested in these countries, and largely owing to which they revolted from Spain; and therefore they do not wish to do anything which might create a bad impression among the people. That is what the Arminian party state. However the English ambassador does not cease to insist and speaks in the form of protest. Nevertheless, the provinces of Holland, Overyssel and Utrecht remain firm, believing that in going further they would weaken their cause, and they defend their attitude because the ambassador did not confine himself to general terms, but entered into particulars against the Arminians, calling them seditious and rebellious and that he spoke in favour of establishing the doctrine of Gomarus. These opinions and the refusal given have greatly increased the ambassador's wrath.
I have met various persons of those who served your Serenity in Friuli, and in particular Captain Seiton, a Scot, who was among those engaged by Count John Ernest. He came to see me and spoke at length about the reforms introduced. He said that he was sorry because de desired to serve your Serenity still, and even more that he had not been thanked for his good will. I endeavoured to assure him that your Excellencies would always remember his services. There is not one who does not admit that your Serenity paid very well, but you were badly served by lack of discipline and a lack of good understanding among the captains.
The Hague, the 9th December, 1617.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costant.
Venetian
Archives.
116. ALMORO NANI, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I send this at the request of the French ambassador, to tell of his release. I believe that the representations of the ambassadors of England, Flanders and myself contributed not a little to this. However they are still detaining seven of his household. The ambassador never believed that they would go so far, but the ambassador of Flanders is becoming involved, as yesterday they took one of his dragomans and a Pole who frequents his house.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 10th December, 1617.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
117. That the ambassador of his Most Christian Majesty be summoned to the Council and the following be read to him:
We have received word of an encounter between our fleet and the royal galleys near Santa Croce. The Spaniards fled, but five of our light galleys perished in the storm. We are being attacked both by sea and land. Nothing could be more abundant or explicit than the promises of Spain, repeated by the duke of Lerma and the king himself, but their actions are utterly different, and justify us in communicating everything to your Excellency.
This concerns his Most Christian Majesty nearly, as we have conformed to his desires upon the faith of his promise in favour of peace. We feel sure that his Majesty will be indignant at this news and will make such demonstrations and resolutions as are necessary, recognising that the honour of his name and crown and the interests of friendly powers, of this province and of all Christendom are involved.
Ayes109.
Noes0.
Neutral2.
[Italian.]
Dec. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
118. That the English ambassador be summoned to the Cabinet and the first paragraph be read to him as above and then the following:
We communicate this in order that you may inform his Majesty, so that he may recognise the necessity of the declarations and resolutions which should no longer be delayed, as it is impossible to place any trust in the promises of Spain, as events prove, and we feel sure that his Majesty will prove his friendship by worthy deeds and demonstrate to everyone how much he has at heart the interests and the preservation of our republic and the well-being and liberty of the province.
Ayes109.
Noes0.
Neutral2.
[Italian.]
Dec. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci.
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
119. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Two Turks granatini have arrived here in an English ship from Constantinople. They bring letters for his Excellency and from the Starzer in particular. They have quarters in the palace.
Naples, the 12th December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 13.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni.
Principi.
Venetian
Archivos.
120. The deliberation of the Senate of the 10th inst. was read to the Ambassador of England; he said:
I thank the Senate for this confidence and I will report all to his Majesty, who will be glad to hear of these successes at sea, the more so as I have received from a friend in Rome a copy of the letter written by the admiral of the galleys to Ossuna and published by him, couched in the usual vainglorious Spanish vein and very far from the truth. The Senate is well advised to inform friends of these things, which disclose the ill will of the enemy. I should advise it to make proof of its friends so that it may not incur the reproach of the Athenian Senate, which was the wisest in the world, but while the Athenians deliberated the Spartans were acting. Deliberation is very dangerous at this time without making preparations and proving friends. I will represent everything to his Majesty as vividly as possible.
The earl of Oxford has not left yet; he has moved to Padua. There is time if your Serenity wishes to give any command. There is also a German nobleman who offers to bring 1,000 men without an advance and is able to fulfil his promise. I pray for peace. My idea is that the Catholic king desires peace in Italy, but Don Pedro of Toledo desires that the restoration of the places may be deferred until the arrival of his successor, so that he may have to himself the military glory of having acquired them.
In the absence of the doge the senior councillor Daniel Diedo said that there was nothing to add to what had been read, showing how different were actions from promises. It remained for the ambassador to represent this to his Majesty as well as the confidence of the republic in him. This he promised to do, and departed.
[Italian.]
Dec. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
121. OTTAVIANO BON, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
At Dieppe one of the Duke of Guise's household has been arrested. When he was about to take ship for England he had remarked that little good would happen at Rouen, because if the Dukes of Guise and Epernon went there, by their influence at Court and with the nation they would have the king taken away from there and bring back the Queen Mother, putting the king in her charge. Guise seems to pay little heed to this, saying that it is the man's own invention and he shall pay for the calumny with his head.
Paris, the 13th December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
122. To the ambassador in England.
The operations of the Spaniards and their increasing naval preparations show how little reliance we can place in their word. Accordingly we are writing to the Resident Surian to provide some ships and we direct you also to procure some six or eight in that kingdom, of those best fitted to fight completely furnished with artillery, fireworks (fuochi artificiati), weapons, munitions, gunners, sailors and swordsmen, with captains of experience and discretion for each ship, to command and promise to obey whoever is appointed by the republic. You may settle the time of the engagement for as short a term as possible, leaving us the power to prolong it as much as we require, and you will obtain the best terms possible, as ruled by the general practices there. Our necessities require that they be sent without delay to Corfu to receive our orders there and be there in March at latest, so that all application and diligence will be required. A company of 500 good soldiers to serve on land and sea would be helpful. You will arrange terms with whomsoever you think best and where you can obtain the greatest advantage. To obtain this it will be necessary for you to pass an office with his Majesty, and the communication of the news we sent a week ago will afford a favourable opportunity. We send you a duplicate of this and of the instances which we desire you to make for a royal declaration, urging the reasons which you consider most likely to move his Majesty to facilitate by his authority the execution of this important and most urgent affair.
We send you a copy of the Ambassador Wotton's reply to what was read to him and of our office.
Ayes128.
Noes8.
Neutral20.
[Italian.]
Dec. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
123. PIERO GRITTI, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They are working, but very slowly, at the construction of a mole at the Strait of Gibraltar, but if they do not proceed with more energy it is thought that it will not be completed for many years to come.
The Biscayans have obtained leave from his Majesty to go privateering (andar in corso). This was forbidden in the time of the Emperor Charles V owing to the way in which they plundered all manner of vessels, without any distinction.
The English ambassador continues his negotiations with the Duke of Lerma and the ministers, but the particulars are not known. Those who side with the Dutch States are very anxious about them and they fear that if the marriage takes place it will be aimed at their destruction. His Majesty has written to the Cortes a letter informing them of the coming of the English ambassador and asking for a grant for the dowry of the princess. It is also published in the Court that the ambassador proposes that liberty of conscience shall be granted in England, but this report is not credited; I have not been able to gather anything upon the subject from my conversations with the ambassador. He told me that the affair was in train, that there have been many meetings of theologians here to discuss the difficulties that are involved in the matter of religion; and that the ministers here now seem disposed towards it, when at first they refused to listen to a word about it and thought that it did not behove the religion of Spain to draw close to the Protestants in this way. He added that if the pretensions on this side are reasonable, the marriage will be made and he will ask for the princess as he has orders to do, it being the privilege of women to be asked; that matters were far from being settled but yet it might take place, as there were only two kingdoms where the prince could marry, France and Spain, there being no one suitable among the Protestants; they were negotiating with France but the queen does not seem to favour it. But no matter with whom the marriage takes place, it will not prejudice the interests of the kingdom or the obligation of his king to help his friends, as his Majesty is prudent and knows how far his policy will lead him.
Madrid, the 14th December, 1617.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
124. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Last week Alexander Rose arrived here on his return from Yarmouth, with a quantity of salt fish. He immediately began to make arrangements for shipping it on board several vessels, one of which is called the Royal Merchant of 350 tons, and three others of not more than 200 tons burthen each. I acquainted Secretary Lake with his arrival, so that in accordance with the intention announced to me by his Majesty and with what passed between us ourselves, steps may be taken to prevent the interests of your Serenity from being injured by these vessels. The said Rose was called before the Council and closely questioned to ascertain his ends, and although he was sworn and the examination was very searching, the Secretary assures me that nothing could be elicited to inculpate or fix suspicion upon him of being under any obligation to take vessels to the duke of Ossuna, he being merely concerned in the merchandise and having nothing to do with the ships, which are freighted with the goods of other merchants as well, nor are they all destined for Naples, but to Leghorn also. The ship-owners have also appeared before the Council and been questioned about this and they were very severely threatened and put upon oath not to serve the Spanish fleet, and the Secretary has sent me word to inform your Excellencies that your interests will suffer no detriment from that quarter as the owners are men of substance; that they know the king's wishes, and might incur considerable loss. Among them is a brother of the archbishop of Canterbury, who would rather lose both his ship and his life than disobey the orders of his Majesty, and although I repeated that when once they were in the port of Naples the enemies of the republic might compel them to act against their will and that therefore it would be well for them to leave sufficient security, I could obtain nothing further owing to the conviction on the part of the ministers here that these vessels will not molest your Serenity.
Letters have arrived from his Majesty's ambassador in Spain announcing the very firm resolve of the king there and the duke of Lerma for peace in Italy, and to propitiate your Excellencies by surrendering the galleys and their cargoes, the court not approving the proceedings of Ossuna, which were greatly blamed by every one. Secretary Lake informed me of this adding that the news had given great satisfaction to the king, who rejoiced to hear that they had begun to comply in part with what had been agreed to. I returned many thanks to his Majesty for his most gracious bias in favour of the republic, assuring him that he would on all occasions meet with equal promptitude and a perfect disposition on the part of your Serenity.
London, the 15th December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
125. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ambassador Digby writes from Spain that with regard to his negotiations for the marriage with the Infanta the difficulties augment on the score of religion, the Spaniards laying claim to the free exercise of it without any impediment, whereas here they do not intend to grant privileges greater than are enjoyed by foreign ministers at this Court. The papal nuncio at Madrid has already begun to make his protest, remonstrating warmly, so as to utterly break off the negotiations, and consequently at this present the hopes of those, by no means few in number, who deemed this marriage certain, are much diminished. His Majesty, however, has bound himself, while the negotiations remain on foot, not to listen to other proposals, and in Spain, to dissipate the suspicion of any intention to marry the Infanta to the son of the king of Bohemia, they have interested themselves to obtain for him one of the sisters of the Most Christian King. They have already taken the necessary steps and by so much the more willingly as they thus hope to thwart the duke of Savoy who, it is known, was about to send his son the Cardinal into France for the purpose of obtaining the princess for his brother.
The ex-archbishop of Spalatro began preaching last Sunday in a church of this city to a dense congregation, and by this public act has chosen additionally to confirm his opposition to the Roman church and his own false doctrine. After bidding the congregation to pray for his Majesty he said they ought to do the like for the greatness and preservation of the republic of Venice. His words already published are being translated into various languages, and having sent some of them into Holland to the States General, he obtained a present of some pieces of plate.
London, the 15th December, 1617.