Venice
December 1617, 16-30

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1909

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75-89

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'Venice: December 1617, 16-30', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 15: 1617-1619 (1909), pp. 75-89. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88667 Date accessed: 19 September 2014.


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December 1617

Dec. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
126. To the ambassador in Spain and the like to the other Courts, Constantinople and the Generals.
The Viceroy of Naples continues in his evil disposition towards us. He had one of our merchant galleys drawn on shore and proposes to do the same with the other, clearly showing that he does not mean to execute his king's orders. He seems very angry at the damage suffered by his galleons in the recent action. Don Ottavio of Aragon, on leaving for Spain, took 100,000 crowns to distribute among the members of the government on behalf of the Viceroy, and thus and by misrepresentation he hopes to obtain his way. He declares that he wishes to keep the republic armed everywhere in order to weaken her by the cost. He claims that he will soon have 40 galleys and 25 galleons ready, and he has sent a French captain to Marseilles for arms and sailors. Thus when we expected to be enjoying peace we are compelled to think of reinforcements, and we have therefore written to Holland and England for ships and have ordered other provisions elsewhere.
Ayes162.
Noes10.
Neutral2.
[Italian.]
Dec. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
127. To the ambassador at Rome.
In speaking of the Dutch troops you have previously had occasion to tell the pope how necessary it is for us to obtain outside forces. The present troubles in Italy and the Gulf cause us great grief, but if his Holiness does not use his authority to restrain the Spaniards we see no other remedy but such means. You will speak to this effect to the pope and Cardinal Borghese. No doubt news has reached them of the provisions which we have ordered in the west, but in discussing this with them you will not enter into particulars about the number of ships or the place whence we propose to obtain them, but will confine yourself to general terms, so that he may be assured of our determination to defend ourselves in every possible way.
Ayes147.
Noes3.
Neutral4.
[Italian.]
Dec. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
128. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Three days ago I went to the assembly of the States and gave them the particulars about Alexander Rose, in order that they might give fresh orders to the admiralty in Holland and Zeeland. The president thanked me and said they had received letters from Zeeland saying that of forty or fifty ships then off that coast awaiting a favourable wind, there was one which had left Texel, with eighty English sailors on board. Owing to the suspicions about Alexander Rose they had tried to find out all about it, but the sailors declared that they were going to make the voyage to the Indies by the new route through the strait of Maghellan and they were awaiting another ship from England, the captain of which would be a member of the house of Howard. It came well supplied with provisions and pieces of artillery, which placed the admiralty in no small difficulty as it seemed unnatural to them and to their high mightinesses also that this ship should be awaiting in Zeeland a ship coming from England, when it would be necessary to proceed from Zeeland to that island to make the voyage which they spoke about and they might be going to Naples but they feared they were awaiting some other ship from Texel, or possibly they have some other design. The admiralty wrote that so far as they could ascertain if Alexander Rose was not the owner of the ship he was at least a co-partner, and they had taken care that the ship should not depart before they heard from the States General what they should do, and therefore they had sent word by express.
This communication gave me grounds to press more strongly for the renewal of the orders for detaining this ship, as it was almost certainly one of those destined for Naples and consequently against the republic. They told me that they had written strongly but they were not sure whether they could absolutely prohibit the voyage, as the ship was manned by English sailors only, especially as they were destined for the Indies with another ship, but they would do everything possible for the service of the republic.
I urged that if the ship actually went to Naples, the king of Great Britain would not be displeased if they were arrested for going against the republic. I renewed this office after dinner, with the deputies of Zeeland, Magnus and Joachim.
Joachim told me afterwards that they had considered that as the ship had issued from the Texel which meant that it had been bought in one of the towns or villages of Holland and had now become the property of subjects of England, they did not see what they could do to settle the difficulty, as they had numerous disputes here with the king of Great Britain about the herring and whale fisheries, and the matter of the ambassador's exposition, and to forbid the voyage was a great matter if they were not certain of their ground and upon suspicion only, when the English said that they were destined for the Indies. However he assured me that all this would not prevent them from giving sufficient orders to the admiralty of Zeeland to get to the bottom of this affair, adding that the wind was very bad for leaving Zeeland and will apparently continue so, giving our messengers time to arrive. I replied asking that the orders might be given promptly. (fn. 1)
I thought it advisable to see the English ambassador. I found him yesterday evening. He was about to send a messenger to his king for the purpose which I shall describe in my next. He took a note of all the particulars which I gave him and promised to write to his Majesty. I gave letters to the same messenger for the Ambassador Contarini advising him of all the particulars.
The Hague, the 16th December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
129. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary to the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Yesterday evening the English ambassador told me that he heard that their High Mightinesses had replied to my exposition. I told him it was so and I told him what he seemed to know, about the desire for a league with your Serenity, in general terms. This reminds me to ask you to tell me how I must answer this ambassador, France or the others, if they speak to me, so that I may be able to guide myself in this important matter.
In spite of the opposition encountered by the English ambassador in pressing for a proclamation against the author of the reply to his exposition, he has urged his case so strongly that the States have finally decided to send the placard, which was already drawn up, to the six provinces to be published and printed, as Holland would not allow it to be printed there. The ambassador assured me that the provinces had orders to print it, but I have heard that they are free to let it alone. The ambassador seems satisfied with this, though it is not all that he asked for.
Orders have been issued to the four secretaries of the four chief towns of the province of Holland to make enquiries to discover who translated this ambassador's exposition from French into Flemish as they consider his fault as great as that of the author of the other composition, but it is thought that it will come to nothing and is only to save their face.
The Hague, the 16th December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 20.
Cons. de'X.
Criminale.
Venetian
Archives.
130. Owing to the extraordinary length of the processes drawn up touching the charges against Antonio Foscarini and Giulio Muscorno, that this Council be not prevented meanwhile from sentencing other culprits as they shall deem necessary and as justice requires.
It will be proposed that although the cases of Foscarini and Muscorno be introduced and continued, nevertheless, the despatch of some other cases appearing reasonable to the chiefs of this council, may also be treated, the council being bound, however, every time that it assembles, to attend for one hour, more or less, as shall be deemed fitting, to the cases of Foscarini and Muscorno.
Ayes13.
Noes1.
Neutral0.
Giovanni Battista Foscarini expelled.
[Italian.]
Dec. 22.
Cl. VII.
Cod. MCXXII.
Bibl. di
S. Marco,
Venice.
131. HORATIO BUSINO to the SIGNORI GIORGIO, FRANCESCO and Zaccaria Contarini.
I wish your Excellencies a prosperous Christmas. I have no recent news, but I omitted to tell your lordships of the first visits paid by his Excellency to the king and queen. After reaching London we waited some days for the return of his Majesty to the Court from his usual hunting. This allowed just enough time to make ready a very handsome carriage and procure six fine dappled gray Friesland mares, very tall and spirited, and also to have the liveries thoroughly completed. The precise day being appointed, the Master of the Ceremonies came in the morning to give notice, and stayed to dinner with his Excellency. After this, at about the 21st hour, a very leading cavalier, accompanied by many others, appeared in his Majesty's name with the royal carriages, to escort and honour the ambassador of our great republic. We proceeded towards the Court with a long string of coaches, fifteen or twenty in number if not more, with several other gentlemen who came to swell the retinue. We proceeded for nearly two miles through the finest thoroughfares of the great city. On reaching the Court we were taken into the Chamber of the Council of State, not by the chief entrance, though neither the one nor the other display very great beauty. The palace is not remarkable in itself except for its size, as in case of need it could accommodate more than 600 persons. In this Council chamber there was a large table covered with a cloth and at its head stood a red velvet chair surmounted by a small canopy, while all around were carpeted benches with arms. A short halt was made here, and then, escorted by the cavalier already mentioned, we proceeded along some passages to the first hall and thence to the second. Here were the royal halbardiers, dressed in a red livery with a huge rose embroidered on their breasts and backs, such large and powerful men that by my faith they looked like teriffic giants. At the entrance door of this hall his Excellency was met by the Lord Chamberlain, that is, the chief officer of the king's household. In these royal chambers we remarked that the floors were all strewn with certain dried rushes, which in plain language might be called simply hay. They lay it very deep. This custom is observed throughout the kingdom to keep their apartments dry. After passing the guard we entered a very fine large room filled with the most highly perfumed cavaliers. At its upper end, upon a very lofty and rich daïs there sat his Majesty the king of Great Britain. In this hall, which is called the presence chamber and in the other similar rooms, no one is permitted to remain covered, even though the king may not be present. Occasionally some of the chief lords and the favourite wear on their heads richly embroidered caps there, under pretence of having some imaginery indisposition. Upon the entry of his Excellency way was made with no little difficulty. However he obtained room to make the due obeisances. When he reached the centre of the chamber, his Majesty rose from his seat and came to the edge of the royal platform. His Excellency mounted this by two steps, when the king embraced him, giving him his hand. His Excellency made a low reverence, and seemed to kiss the royal hand. In brief but dignified language he stated his mission. The king replied in a few words spoken in French. The letter of credence, on a very large sheet of parchment was then presented, being handed up by the Secretary Lionello. The king took this graciously with every mark of good-will. The Secretary of State then fell upon his knees and gave a penknife to the king, who opened the missive with his own hands. He read or seemed to read it. Shortly before his Majesty covered himself and caused his Excellency to do the same. The latter, after answering a few questions, took leave respectfully, having previously acquainted himself with the king's humour, who does not relish long speeches, as he is ever intent upon his hunting and enjoying the society of those dearest to him.
He is a man of ordinary stature with a red face. He is now beginning to turn white. He wore tawny satin, the whole suit being embroidered, while his black velvet cloak was trimmed with lace right up to the shoulders, and lined with sables. He had a gilt sword at his side and his hat was rather low than otherwise with a broad brim, one side of which was looped up by a very costly ornament of very large rubies and diamonds. It is said that he eats little or no bread and a great deal of meat, and that he drinks the strongest wines he can get, but in reasonable quantity, and some other national liquors. Sometimes when he walks he likes, for display, to be supported under the arms by his chief favourites, but in riding he cares for nothing, never holding his reins in his hand and relying entirely upon the address and dexterity of the grooms, who run on either side of him, keeping pace with his horse. It is true that every now and then he gets awkward falls, but these are attributed to the hot temper of the breed of hacknies here rather than to any other circumstance (è uomo di statura commune, rosso in faccia, che hormai si va facendo bianco; era vestito di raso tane, tutto l'habito ricamato feraiuolo di veluto negro listato sino alle spalle, et fodrato di zibellini, con la spada dorata al fianco; il capello era più tosto basso che altrimente con le ali grande, una parte delle quali era sostenuta da uno preciossissimo gioiello di rubini et diamanti molto grossi. Vien detto che mangia poco o nulla di pane, carne assai, et beve de'più potenti vini che può havere in honesta quantità però, con certe altre sue bevande. Ha gusto alle volte di farsi sostentar sotto i brazzi nel camminare per grandezza dai suoi gentiluomini più grati, ma nel cavalcare non stima nulla, non tenendo mai le redini della briglia nelle mani, solo se fida del valore, agilityà et destrezza de suoi parafrenieri, i quali lo accompagnano da una parte et l'altra, nell'istesso corso del cavallo, bene è vero che ogni tratto piglia qualche sinistra stramazzata, la quale nondimeno viene attribuita piutosto alla razza precipitosa di questo chinee, che ad altro evento).
We afterwards had audience of the prince with the self same ceremonies or nearly so. He resides with his court in a separate palace, very far from the king's. We passed through the first chambers, where there were guards, and then into the throne chamber, though the prince was not seated there, but stood waiting in another room. On seeing the ambassador he advanced as far as the last step beyond the canopy. Through the medium of an interpreter he returned his Excellency's salutations. The resulting conversation was soon ended.
The prince is a youth of about sixteen, very grave and polite of good constitution so far as can be judged from his appearance. His hair is light and he much more closely resembles his royal mother. He was dressed in scarlet and gold lace, with a gilt sword and white boots, with gold spurs according to the fashion of the country, for they are almost always booted.
Before visiting the queen, who was then rather unwell, his Excellency had private audience of the king, at which he no doubt stated the principal reasons for his embassy. We were taken privately along some galleries as far as the ante-room Thence his Excellency entered the chamber where his Majesty was scated on a splendid chair. A velvet stool was at once placed for his Excellency.
In the galleries we saw a number of portraits of divers princes of Germany and England, and a very handsome metal clock with various chimes. From the windows of the ante-room there was a view of the Court gardens, with many spacious quadrangles intersected for the most part with flower beds and all hedged with privet. In the corners were pyramids or columns, carved in wood, with gilt trophies surmounted by pennons.
Audience of the queen was at length obtained and took place with similar ceremony, his Excellency being conveyed thither in her Majesty's own carriage, by a different master of the ceremonies and by the cavaliers of her particular household; but after our arrival in the Court her Majesty was much longer in showing herself. The palace is sufficiently handsome and convenient, with a southern aspect towards the gardens on the river. Here also we entered a small chamber, which was that of the council, and then a large hall where the halbardiers were, and another adjoining with a red daïs and hay on the floor. In the chamber where the queen received the visit under a very costly canopy of gold brocade, with a white ground, there were no rushes but some extremely handsome straw mats. Her Majesty's costume was pink and gold with so expansive a farthingale that I do not exaggerate when I say it was four feet wide in the hips. Her bosom was bare down to the pit of the stomach, forming as it were, an oval. Her head dress, besides very valuable diamonds and other jewels, consisted of such a quantity of false hair dressed in rays (sparsi in giro) that she looked exactly like a sun flower. His Excellency advanced along the spacious hall, on one side of which were ranged some of the most noble and favoured ladies of the Court, and on the other side, the right, there was a row of as many cavaliers, her Majesty's Lord Chamberlain, holding his long wand, occupying the first place. After his Excellency had made the proper number of bows, at the right distances, her Majesty rose from her seat and came to meet the mystic lion as far as the extremity of the daïs. That ruddy lion was indeed covered with lynx's fur, but was quite gentle and grave. He stated his mission, which her Majesty seemed to receive very graciously, answering in French without the annoyance of an interpreter; it was remarked that all the bystanders drew aside, without listening to every word, as at the public interviews with the king and prince. His Excellency made polite replies while her Majesty answered with kindness, ever fixing a gracious glance upon his Excellency's face. He then presented the letter of credence, which she caused to be opened immediately by her secretary, who fell on his knees and raised it unfolded on a level with the queen's eyes. She seemed to peruse it, smiling all the while. His Excellency then took leave. As he was in the act of departing two pretty little dogs began to bark at him, as they had done on his entry. Her Majesty herself quieted them, indeed she was most gracious in every respect. Her face is somewhat long, but very majestic. She has fine eyes and a rather hooked nose, though in every respect graceful. From a distant view it is impossible for me to give a more detailed account, as my share in these audiences resembled that of those who go to see enclosed gardens through the railings, not being allowed to draw near to have a good view, or to touch the plants.
London, the 22nd December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
136. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary to the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The States General met a week ago and decided to write about Alexander Rose to Zeeland and Holland and to M. Caron, their ambassador in England. They informed me of this decision on Sunday. M. Magnus of Zeeland told me that they had received several letters from the admiralty of Zeeland confirming their suspicions that the ship with the English sailors that was staying here, might be going to Naples. They had written to the admiralty that as it was impossible for it to leave during these contrary winds they should keep it under the observation of their ships of war, and if it wished to set sail, they should not allow it to leave or any other of which they had suspicions, without making sure about their destination.
They have written to M. Caron in England that if the king makes any complaint, he should excuse them by telling his Majesty of the warning I had given them that the vessel was going to the Viceroy of Naples, and he requested me in the name of the States that I should see the English ambassador and get him to write to his king in conformity. He further told me that they had given express orders to the admiralties of Amsterdam, Nord and Enckusen to make enquiries in the Texel whether any other ship had been brought or hired to go to Naples, assuring me that all this had been done for the sake of the mutual understanding between the States and our republic. I thanked him warmly.
The same evening I went to see the English ambassador and told him what M. Magnus had said, making the request I had been asked to prefer. He said he had heard of the decision of the States and was glad they showed so much friendship towards the repubic, but he frankly thought they were rather indiscreet, because it was not fitting to arrest a ship upon mere suspicion. He continued, I shrewdly suspect that it does not proceed entirely from love, but private interests are at the bottom of it, for the sake of giving their merchants an advantage so that no other may proceed to that part of the Indies whither they say the ship in question is destined. He added, I do not say this because I do not desire to safeguard the most serene republic. Every one knows that my king desires its welfare, and will never permit his subjects to go and serve against it, but because I fear that they wish to use a plausible pretext to serve their own designs. He said he would not fail to write to his Majesty and to a friend in Zeeland to give him information and he would not allow the republic to suffer the least prejudice. I thanked him but assured him that the suspicions of the States were well founded, and they had moved circumspectly in order not to give offence to his Majesty. I again begged him to use his good offices. He promised, and I gave him other letters for the Ambassador Contarini. He did not send off his messenger until Tuesday. I think the delay arose from his wish to tell his Majesty what had been done about the placard, which was sent by the States to him and to the six provinces. In spite of the declaration of this province Amsterdam and another town have published it.
The Hague, the 23rd December, 1617.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 23.
Inquisitori
di Stato,
Busta 445.
Venetian
Archives.
137. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary to the Netherlands, to the INQUISITORS of STATE.
I have been unable to discover anything further except to obtain confirmation of the surmise that the Frenchman is the writer of the letters. The English ambassador told me so himself. He told me they were sent to Amsterdam through Cologne. I think they come in the packet of Sig. Filippo Calandrini, but are addressed to the ambassador himself. I have also found that the ambassador has more than one correspondent, and he has unsigned letters in cipher from a Venetian of some standing, who knows M. Aselinau. I could learn nothing more about him, but I will not relax my efforts.
The Hague, the 23rd December, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
138. That the English ambassador be summoned to the Cabinet and the following read to him:
The Viceroy of Naples is more active against us than ever. He is putting in order all the galleys in the Arsenal of Naples, is constructing a galleon for himself, issues patents for new levies and has sent to England and Holland to secretly procure merchant ships for his service. We have informed our ambassador with his Majesty from time to time of the continuance of his evil practices as we have also informed your Excellency, showing how little confidence can be placed in the promises of the Spaniards and the necessity of looking well to one's own safety and the common service. He has therefore asked for and will endeavour to obtain a number of ships of war there to send to us. We have thought fit to inform your Excellency of these new preparations and plans of Naples and of the need for us to provide for our defence, as we feel sure that his Majesty will help us in a cause which concerns all the others so nearly, and we feel confident that your Excellency will confirm the good disposition of your king.
Ayes146.
Noes5.
Neutral3.
[Italian.]
Dec. 27.
Senato.
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Padova,
Venetian
Archives.
139. BATTISTA NANI, Podestà of Padua, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The father inquisitor of this town has brought the enclosed printed list of prohibited books, which he has recently received from Rome. He wished to show it to me before doing so. I forward it in order that you may instruct me what to do.
Padua, the 27th December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Enclosed
in the
preceding
dispatch.
140. Decree of the College of Cardinals.
The following prohibited books are placed on the Index.
Georgii Cassandri Belgae Theolog. Imp. Ferd. Primo et Max. Secondo a consiliis. Opera quae reperiri potuerunt omnia.
Supplication à l'Empereur etc. sur les Causes d'assembler un Concile general contre Paul Ve dressée par Nicol de Morbais.
Theatrum historicum etc. ab Andrea Hondorffio et Ph. Lonicero.
Sessanta Salmi di David tradotti in rime volgari Italiane etc.
Liber cui titulus Deus et Rex Londini impressus, 1615.
Papatus Romanus liber de origine, progressu atque extinctione ipsius. Londini ex officina Hortoniana apud Joannem Bellium, 1617.
Opus de Republica Ecclesiastica Marci Antonii de Dominis.
Epistola Marci Antonii de Dominis, Archiepiscopi Spalatensis, ad Episcopos Ecclesiae Christianae scripta, in qua causas discessus a suo Episcopatu exponit. Campidoni, 1617. Romae, ex Typographia Camerae Apostolicae, 1617.
Dec. 28.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
141. The ambassador of England was sent for to the Cabinet and the deliberation of the Senate of yesterday was read to him; he said:
Firstly I offer all good wishes for the new year. I rejoice that one of the English ships for the defence of the Adriatic, and not one of the greatest, fired quite 400 cannon shot in last sea fight. I had it from one who was present.
With regard to the preparations of Ossuna, your Excellencies may not know that an Englishman named Alart, a fugitive for many years, and entertained by the Spaniards at Naples, though not a man of birth, introduced to the duke of Ossuna an English merchant named Rodit, (fn. 2) the agent of other leading merchants of London, with whom he arranged to bring a number of ships with dried fish to supply Naples, designing to employ those ships and their artillery for his own purposes. I wrote immediately to my king about it, who will take steps accordingly. The provisions of our kingdom are clear that no one shall take away artillery powder or other things for foreign service without the king's leave. This has not been strictly observed and fresh remedies are needed. Your ambassador has described the preparations of Ossuna and has asked for our ships. I am sure that he will find the king friendly and I will support him with all my heart. I may say that your ambassador has acquired universal esteem. The Secretary of State and all my friends tell me this uno ore.
I have letters from a friend from the court of the Count Palatine. They tell me of the Count's return to Heidelberg after visiting his brothers, with whom he discussed the current affairs of Germany and Italy and the conference with the Count of Brandenburg and Saxony. In the conference between that prince and the emperor and king of Bohemia, every one felt sure that his Majesty had secured that vote for the new election, but the Palatine was assured by the duke that he had not treated of this with his Majesty, that his vote was free and he wished to keep it so. Therefore I think that Ferdinand will have more trouble than he expected in obtaining the position to which he aspires. The duke only confessed to having pressed for a hastening of the diet.
A Grison captain has made certain levies in Alsace in the name of the king, of Bohemia. The number does not exceed some 2,000, but as he is of our religion the Spaniards and others ought not, I think, to make so much capital against the republic for its necessary provisions.
The Count of Brandenburg, owing to his proposed journey to Prussia, has obtained the delay of the diet as solicited by the duke of Saxony. I expect it will continually be postponed in the usual way.
The doge replied that the steps taken by the English ambassador to divert the ships from going to Naples were worthy of his prudence and his friendliness to the republic. They greatly valued the news he communicated, and were glad to hear of the progress of affairs and the disposition of the Count Palatine. With this the ambassador took leave and departed.
[Italian.]
[Dec. 28.]
Cl. VII.
Cod MCXXII.
Bibldi S.Marco.
Venice.
142. HORATIO BUSINO to the SIGNORI GIORGIO, Francesco and Zaccaria Contarini.
I think it necessary to send your lordships the account of another audience which his Excellency had this very day of the queen, so that you may be acquainted from time to time with what takes place worthy of your notice. With extraordinary favour her Majesty was pleased to honour his Excellency by seeing and listening to him in private. It was intimated to him yesterday that he should go, without telling any one and with few attendants, and that on reaching the apartments of one of the chief ladies of the court he would be introduced to her thence by the secret stairs. The orders received were executed punctually, and for better compliance with the tastes of one whose service became a duty, the ample toga was laid aside. He reached the lady's apartment who went to inform the queen of his arrival. She returned shortly and they proceeded together by stairs and unknown passages, which I fancy are not even visited by the sun. We poor satellites, as if we had fallen foul of the columns of Hercules, seemed stopped by the tacit intimation non plus ultra and thus we remained. After an hour and more his Excellency returned preceded by the lady, who for his safe guidance held a lighted candle in her hand. She raised the door curtain and appeared before us like an angel of radiant beauty, covered with gold and in a costume at once lascivious and ornate, performing this ministry with so much grace as to make it evident that from constant service she had learnt this duty on other similar occasions. Although it is not lawful for other mortals to penetrate the royal secrets, it was nevertheless known that his Excellency was received with extreme kindness. He was made to sit down and detained by long and most sweet discourse. Had I been able to investigate further I would have given further details to your lordships.
[Italian.]
Dec. 29.
Inquisitori
di Stato.
Dispacci agli
Ambasciatori
in Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
143. The INQUISITORS of STATE to PIERO CONTARTNI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England.
With regard to the conversation with the lord of the Council which you report concerning the alleged understanding between the ambassador Wotton and the Spanish ambassador here, we attach great importance to the matter, which was previously mentioned by Sir Ralph Winwood to the Secretary Lionello. We have presented your letter to the Council of Ten and by its resolve notice of the same has been given to the Savii of the Cabinet so that the affair may be duly considered. We give you notice of all this, praising your prudence in these emergencies which require unremitting attention. Should anything further occur on the same subject it will be well for you to continue giving us advice thereof so that we may ever preceed with the same secrecy.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 29.
Cons de'X.
Parti Secrete.
Venetian
Archives.
144. That the letter of our ambassador in England of the 1st inst. upon a conversation with one of the Lords of the Council about the Ambassador Wotton, resident here, with regard to his relations with the Spanish ambassador here, be communicated by a secretary of this Council to the Savii of our Cabinet, and if they think fit, to the Senate, after exacting an oath of secrecy upon the missals, and taking the name of each one. (fn. 3)
Ayes16.
Noes0.
Neutral0.
It was communicated and a copy consigned to Antonio Antelmi the Secretary.
[Italian.]
Dec. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
145. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The king is to be here to-morrow to keep Christmas in London as usual. I shall endeavour to obtain audience of him immediately to execute the orders contained in your Serenity's letters of the 1st inst. and in the meanwhile, I have seen several of the members of the Council, acquainting them fully with the present state of affairs in Italy, and how the Spaniards do not abide by what had been agreed to, although they announce everywhere their intention of doing so, saying the like in Spain moreover, most positively, though the proceedings of their ministers in Italy clearly prove that they have any other object in view than peace. Here everyone is astounded at the policy now adopted by the Spaniards. They appear not to comprehend it, coming to the conclusion, either that the governors have rendered themselves absolute and rule according to their own caprice, without reference to the royal commands, or what is more probable, that it is all a fraud, in order to put other powers off their guard that they may be the better able to attack those territories of which they seem so desirous.
The ambassador of the Most Christian King whom I acquainted with what is passing in Italy, seemed to hear it with great regret, saying that he had discussed it at great length with the Spanish ambassador, who said that the good intention of his king was indubitable; that most positive orders had been sent and that they would assuredly be executed, and that with regard to the acts of the duke of Ossuna, he knew not what to say, but that he likewise would at length obey.
Subsequently, to-day, I saw Secretary Lake, to whom I communicated what I am charged to represent to his Majesty, and he told me that precisely the same things had been written to him from Venice by Wotton, and that as they were very important, he went immediately on the receipt of the letters to the Catholic ambassador, complaining to him in the king's name that the duke of Ossuna and Don Pedro of Toledo did not execute what he had so often promised on behalf of his Catholic Majesty, namely the peace of Italy and the full execution of all the articles settled and established in Spain. To this the ambassador replied that thus it was assuredly; that his king willed the peace and that the proceedings of Ossuna would in no way thwart it, as he was acting according to his own individual caprice, which might be easily understood by the fact that neither the Viceroy of Sicily, Doria nor Leva, although requested by him, had chosen to reinforce him with their gallies, to enter the Gulf for an attack on the republic, as they knew this was contrary to the orders of their common master.
The Secretary told me moreover that two days ago he had received letters from the Ambassador Digby in Spain mentioning the remonstrances made by him by the king's commission, and a long conversation held with the duke of Lerma, to whom he observed that unless the present disturbances in Italy were arranged and should the republic continue to be molested, it would behove his king to succour her to the best of his power, whereupon the duke made answer that there would be no occasion for this, as his king was bent on peace at any rate, although his ministers in Italy were doing their utmost to impede it, and that he was to write this off to England, and give his king assurances accordingly. He told me besides that he had moreover received letters from France purporting that the king there not only promises all his forces but also his own person in defence of the territory of the duke of Savoy, after having consented (to deprive Don Pedro of all pretexts) to the execution of the treaty of Spain, notwithstanding that his Majesty is not mentioned in it personally; but the Secretary considered such strong declarations much at variance with the order given to Monteleone, for a mere demand for the immediate dismissal of the troops who have been made to halt in Dauphiné.
Whilst discussing the proceedings of Ossuna I took occasion to speak to him again about Alexander Rose and the vessels which accompany him, insisting upon some better and surer methods than have been adopted hitherto. He said that although he considered that what had been already done might suffice, yet for the better satisfaction of your Serenity, he would again propose to the Council to do more, if possible.
London, the 29th December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci.
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
146. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The difficulty of raising money here augments daily, although very frequent discussions are held on the subject. The debts and interest have greatly increased, whilst the natural prodigality of his Majesty has in no wise diminished. At this moment no small exertions are being made to obtain a certain sum for a masque to be performed by the prince and for the ordinary expenses of the king's household. (Si rende ogni giorno più difficile il modo di trovar qui danaro, benche le consultationi siano sopra di ciò frequentissime essendo grandemente accresciuti gli debiti et gli interessi ne punto diminuita la natural prodigalità della Maestà Sua; hora per haverne qualche somma per un Baletto, che deve far il Prencipe et per li ordenarii bisogni della Casa del Re si travaglia non poco.)
The ambassador from Sweden has had audience of the king and his statement, which was made in public, consisted in a return of thanks to his Majesty for his mediation to arrange the disputes between that crown and Denmark, requesting him to do the like with regard to Poland, who, instigated by the Jesuits under pretence of religion, was understood to be meditating an attack on Sweden. The ambassador said that such intervention became the king as defender of the faith, and that should his remonstrances not suffice, he besought him for aid. He received a gracious reply, which, however, did not descend to particulars, merely announcing the wish of his Majesty for the welfare and greatness of the king of Sweden.
A number of French noblemen, come over here for their private amusements to see this court, being tempted by the vicinity of that of their own king, who is yet at Rouen, where it is understood that the States continue to sit daily, and of the forty-five clauses for discussion only seven have been disposed of, as they merely move them one at a time. Amongst them the one for annulling all the pensions granted since the death of the late king, amounting to two millions of gold, and the other reforming what they call the Cabinet Council (Consiglio che chiamano del Gabinetto) in which the most important matters are decided, excluding from it moreover the chief lords of the kingdom and merely admitting them to the deliberative council (quello delle deliberationi) have greatly offended the princes, who complain of this and show dissatisfaction. The absolute management of all affairs and of the whole kingdom is in the hands of the Chancellor Sillery, and the will of the king is in those of De Luynes. The duke of Sully, in high dudgeon, was on the eve of departure, meaning to quit the court entirely, and the queen consort complained extremely, that although she had recovered her health the king would not allow her to come to him.
Herewith I send duplicates of my despatches of the 3rd and 10th November, which were lost when the courier was waylaid, and also those of my last despatch.
London, the 29th December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
147. ANTONIO DONATO, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The agent of England resident here has read me a letter from Madrid of the 15th inst, from Sir [John] Digby, the English ambassador at that Court. The letter was brought by your Serenity's courier, who recently passed this way. Digby writes that the Spanish ministers are very ill disposed to the Signory of Venice and show their feelings by what they say. Lerma does not wish for war, but does not desire a peace which would be tranquil. His object is to waste the Venetian treasure and raise endless pretexts to that end; that Italy ought not to have peace except for a short time. Those were his very words.
Turin, the 29th December, 1617.
[Italian.]
Dec. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
148. ZORZI GIUSTINIAN, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I hear that the four companies of Stoder, which were to have gone to Hungary for the Diet are being detained in Friuli, contrary to the first decision. They have sent cloth to clothe them from Vienna.
Valterdorf, the 30th December. 1617. Copy.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 The English ship which the Venetian residents complained of in Zeeland to belong to one Alexander Rose and to be bound for Naples for the service of the Viceroy against the Venetians, is stayed thereupon, but the captain. one Harvie is come hither and professeth to have another dessigne, which he cannot so well make appear as to be free from trouble. Carleton to Lake, 19 Dec., 1617. State Papers, Foreign. Holland.
2 The manner in which the secretary of the Collegio transforms English names has been remarked upon several times previously. In the present instance it is fairly obvious that 'Alart' is Robert Elliot, and there can be no doubt that 'Rodit' is Alexander Rose.
3 Also in Senato, Secreta, Comunicazioni dal Cons. di X. Vol. viii.