Venice
January 1618, 2-10

Sponsor

Institute of Historical Research

Publication

Author

Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1909

Pages

90-103

Annotate

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

Citation Show another format:

'Venice: January 1618, 2-10', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 15: 1617-1619 (1909), pp. 90-103. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88668 Date accessed: 26 November 2014.


Highlight

(Min 3 characters)

January 1618

Jan. 2.
Senato,
Senata.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
149. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Their High Mightinesses have decided to write to France and England about the damage inflicted upon their shipping [by Algerian pirates] and the letters have already been sent. President Magnus gave me the enclosed letter for your Serenity, in the same terms as those written to the kings, asking them to join in exterpating the pirates, England supplying ships and France money.
The Hague, the 2nd January, 1618.
[Italian.]
Enclosed in
the preceding
Dispatch.
150. The States General of the Low Countries to the Doge of Venice.
The care we have for our subjects has led us to incur great expenses for several years in succession to protect shipping and clear the two seas of the numerous pirates, whose retreats line the coasts of Africa. However, numerous complaints still reach us, and we cannot carry out this work alone. We beg your Serenity, who also suffers from the pirates, to second us powerfully, either sharing a part of the expense or contributing a fleet, to help to clear the seas and secure the immunity of trade. We are unable single-handed to earn this glory of delivering Christendom, and this compels us to prefer our request.
The Hague, the 21st December, 1617.
[French.]
Enclosed in
the preceding
Dispatch.
151. Translation of the above.
[Italian.]
Jan. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
152. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Mr. Haruert, captain of the ship stopping in Zeeland with the English crew, has come here with two other English gentlemen, and complained of being detained when he was setting sail to depart. The ambassador in person and by his secretary requested me to obtain permission for them to go, assuring me that they had nothing to do with Alexander Rose, their destination being Guinea, so that their journey would be rather prejudicial to the king of Spain than otherwise, that there was a near relation of his among them and he knew the rest to be gentlemen of honour. I excused myself from taking any action which might prove prejudicial to the service of my prince. Finding me firm he spoke to the States, who saw me on the morning of the audience. I acknowledged the favour they had conferred and said that the withdrawal would be prejudicial. They told me that unless the suspicions were verified they could not detain a ship with subjects of the king of Great Britain, when they swore, and the ambassador affirmed, that they were going to the West Indies. I begged them to take care what they were doing, I did not wish to detain the subjects of his Majesty without reason, but I based my action upon what the admiralty of Zeeland wrote about this ship. However, in spite of my opposition, the English ambassador succeeded in getting them to write to Zeeland to let the ship go. Nevertheless, at my suggestion, they inserted the proviso that there should be no suspicion of the participation of Rose or that the ship was destined to serve against the friends of these States, more especially the Viceroy of Naples against the republic. The letters will leave on Sunday; I will tell your Serenity what happens. I could do no more against the English ambassador, whose side their High Mightinesses thought fit to take. Possibly in this way they have tried to make up to him for the offence which he received upon another occasion.
The ambassador saw me yesterday, when he came with good wishes for the new year. He assured me that the Captain and fifteen other young English gentlemen, some of whom had as much as £2,000 sterling involved, were going to the Indies, and so far as he could discover from what Biondi, the agent in London of the duke of Savoy, told him, they had patents from him in the name of his Highness, to inflict damage on the Spaniards. (fn. 1) He added, laughingly, I am daily expecting that something will happen to stop the ship, either the weather, or orders from the king to arrest it at the instance of the Spanish ambassador in England, as I am advised that letters have been written from Zeeland stating that the ship is to serve against his Catholic Majesty. (fn. 2)
The Hague, the 2nd January, 1618.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
153. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Here they are awaiting provisions of biscuits. wine and other victuals and appointments for the fleet. They are detaining some vessels in the port to arm them, and are expecting others from England and Amsterdam sent under pretext of trading.
Naples, the 2nd January, 1617 [m. v.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Prov. Gen.
delle Armi.
Venetian
Archives.
154. PIERO BARBARIGO, Venetian Procurator of the Forces in Terra Ferma and Istria, to the DOGE and SENATE.
M. de Goleme. formerly sergeant major of the Dutch troops, and now captain of a company, this morning sent a challenge to Captain Stephen Cop, (fn. 3) to meet him outside the trenches. They met secretly at a dismantled house a musket shot from these quarters. They fought with swords in their shirts, and though Captain Cop was wounded at the first blow, he struck Goleme in the mouth, and with this and three other wounds Goleme expired. The event has caused great regret because he was an experienced soldier. The quarrel was about a horse which one would not lend the other. Hitherto they had been great friends. I have given orders which will. I hope, prevent further disorder arising from this.
The camp, at Facra, the 2nd January, 1617 [m.v.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
155. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The orders of your Serenity, which reached me in your missives of the 1st and 8th ult were executed by me this morning, when I gave a circumstantial account to his Majesty of what had been done by the Spanish ministers since the settlement of the peace in Spain, not only on your Serenity's frontier on the mainland, but also recently at sea by the duke of Ossuna. I mentioned the delay and procrastination to which the surrender of Vercelli and of the galleys and their cargoes had been subjected, and added such comment as I deemed necessary to convince his Majesty that similar proceedings offorded small hope of peace, in order that he might the more readily prepare to make such declarations and remonstrances as were of yore most readily promised by him in the event of their becoming necessary. The king listened to me attentively and said that before seeing me he had thought fit to hear the ambassadors of Spain and France; that he spoke to the former openly, telling him that he marvelled vastly that the king, who on every account is so great and powerful, should, by acting so differently from his promises diminish the extreme reliance due to his word, and that if ministers, whose appointments proceeded from him alone, act thus with impunity, it must appear to the whole world, either that there must be an understanding between them and his Majesty, or that they have utterly renounced the obedience due to their sovereign. He added that the best way for the king to exculpate himself in the eyes of the world from similar acts would be to send the duke of Ossuna in person (he being in fact a madman) handcuffed to Venice. That he himself had several times acted thus when in Scotland, sending his officials who had molested the English borders without orders, in this form to the Queen for her to punish them, in order to remove any suspicion she might otherwise have entertained of his being privy to their misdemeanours. To this the ambassador replied that the peace would assuredly be carried into effect, that the king willed and commanded it, nor could any fears be entertained of the non-execution of what had been agreed to in Spain. The proceedings of Don Pedro of Toledo on the confines of your Serenity had merely for object to avert the fall of Gradisca, which was then unable to hold out any longer and that what the duke of Ossuna had done could only be attributed to his own individual caprice, since neither the Viceroy of Sicily nor the other Spanish ministers had chosen to associate themselves with his projects. He added that by this time the whole would assuredly be at an end, to the satisfaction of all parties. That subsequently when he asked the French ambassador what he thought of these fresh doings of the Spaniards, he shrugged his shoulders and knew not what to say, and when his Majesty followed up his enquiry by saying, What will your king do now that he has declared himself and that he has so pledged his honour? The ambassador made answer that should the Spaniards not perform their promises, but continue to molest and ravage Italy, his king would assuredly move his forces and make war on the Catholic king, it not being in his power to do otherwise. Upon this the king told him that he on his part would not fail to do what was becoming, and to me his Majesty added, I have again written into Spain to my ambassador to obtain positive information from the king concerning his intentions about Italy, telling him plainly that if matters proceed thus, he cannot desert his friends, and by declaring himself, will prove the reliance which those who treat with him may place in his promises.
His Majesty then expressed to me in warm language how desirous he was of obliging the republic, saying that he should wait to hear from Spain the result of these present affairs, which could assuredly not remain in their actual posture, and that he would then not merely declare himself, but do whatever else might prove for the service of your Excellencies.
London, the 3rd January, 1617 [m.v.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
156. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have again reminded the king how much the interests of your Excellencies would suffer were that Alexander Rose allowed to quit this kingdom with vessels, and besought him to give fresh orders to the Council to investigate this matter more narrowly. He promised me to do so willingly, saying that he was sure in this and every other matter your Excellencies would receive satisfaction.
The Secretary Surian writes me from the Hague that in consequence of an application made by him to the States to prevent Rose from having vessels in those provinces, the admiral of Zeeland had kept a close watch upon an English ship which was rather suspected of belonging to him, and in corroboration of this, the Dutch ambassador here came to tell me that out of regard for your Serenity, a ship of war manned by about eightly Englishmen had been stayed in Zeeland, not without suspicion of its having been hired for the Viceroy of Naples; that by order of their high mightinesses he was to mention the circum stance to the king and tell him that it had been done at the sui? of your Serenity's ministers, lest he complain of interference with his ships and subjects. I have endeavoured to obtain information upon this matter, but up to the present I cannot discover that this Alexander is at all concerned in this business, indeed I understand that the vessel belongs to a member of the Howard family (Casa Ouard) who, in partnership with Sir [Thomas] Bromley (Brunle) are arming three ships privily abroad, lest it be forbidden them to do so here, with the intention of attacking the Spaniards at Rio della Plata. Thus, a few days ago these individuals gave it to be understood that they would willingly serve your Excellencies against your enemies provided patents were granted them to bring their booty into Venice and other towns belonging to the Signory. I shall, however, continue my researches in order to sift the business better and with such additional information as may be furnished me by Sig. Surian, and I will then take the necessary steps here.
The king continues to shower special marks of his favour and liberality upon his prime favourite Buckingham, and after having greatly enriched him during only three years of service, honouring him with the principal charges of the kingdom, he has recently made him Lord High Admiral of England, which is the highest office in the realm. (fn. 4) The appointment proves very unpalatable to many of the noblemen of the Court, who resent seeing an inexperienced youth raised to such high rank without having merited it by any signal feat. It is supposed that the old admiral will receive a good sum of money as recompense.
The post of Secretary, vacant by the death of Winwood, will be conferred on Naunton, a man little known because he has not frequented the Court much.
Lord Wotton, the brother of the ambassador at Venice, has chosen, on account of his great age, to resign the office of treasurer of the royal household, which has been conferred on Edmondes, lately returned from France, but I do not know whether on this same account Lord Wotton withdraws entirely from the Council also. (fn. 5)
London, the 3rd January, 1617 [m.v.]
[Italian.]
Jan 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci.
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
157. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
With the lost despatches of the 10th November were the last accounts for payments from letters by my Secretary Lionello, in two divisions, amounting in all to 24l. 13s. 9d. As the original accounts were lost, I insert a receipt from the post master. London, the 3rd January, 1617 [m.v.]
[Italian.]
Enclosed
in the
preceding
Dispatch.
158. Receipt by Matthew de Quester, master of the posts and couriers of the king of Great Britain in the town of London, from Giovanni Battista Lionello, secretary of Venice, on 27th October last, of 16l. 1s. for M. John Baptist Roelants, master of the posts and couriers at Antwerp, and 8l. 12s. 9d. for himself, due up to the said 27th October as by the account rendered.
Dated at London on 27th December, 1617, old style.
[French.]
[Note in Italian.] Total 24l. 13s. 9d. at 56 pence the ducat, according to the rate of exchange in October and November, amounts to ducats 105, lire 4, grossi 10.
Enclosed
in the
Preceding
Dispatch,
159. Translation of the above account.
[Italian.]
Jan. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Commissarii
in Armata.
Venetian
Archives.
160. In a letter of Francesco Molin, Venetian Commissioner with the fleet, to the Doge and Senate, of 4th January, 1618, mentioning ships in Venetian service.
The English ship Alethea, containing the following personnel:
Captain, master, 2 boatmen, cook, barber, 2 stowers, 5 gunners, 4 trumpeters, cooper, carver, carpenter, twenty-six sailors.
Total45 sound.
Soldiers to reinforce, taken from
Liesena22
Grand total67 sound men; no sick.
[Italian.]
Jan. 5.
Senato,
Terra.
Venetian
Archives.
161. To the ambassador at the Imperial Court.
New regulations for despatches. Instead of 1st, 2nd, 3rd at head of letters, put 1, 2, 3 and on the first put the number of the last, e.g. 1 to 3, so that the number of letters may be known. In continuing the series the numbering must be continuous, counting from the first sent, but the first in each packet must always show the number sent in it. Duplicates should be notified from time to time as well as the route by which they are sent.
Ayes152.
Noes0.
Neutral3.
The like to:
Germany.Milan.The Grisons.
Rome.Florence.Constantinople.
France.Naples.The Proveditore of the Forces.
Spain.Mantua.The Proveditore beyond the Menzo.
Savoy.The Hague.The Proveditore at Palma.
England.The Swiss.The Proveditore General of the Sea.
The Proveditore General in Istria.
The Proveditore General in Dalmatia.
The Proveditore General in Candia.
The Captain in the Gulf.
The Governor of the Condemned.
The Captain against the Uscochi.
The Captain of the Guard, Candia.
[Italian.]
Jan. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
162. To the ambassador in England, and the like to the other Courts, Constantinople and the generals by sea and land.
We have less reason than ever to hope for peace, and more cause to suspect the insidious practices of the Spaniards. They give out that peace is certain by means of the Cardinal Borgia at Rome, their ambassador in London, the letters of the Catholic king himself to Tuscany and elsewhere, and have assured our Ambassador Gritti of the same, but they have excused Don Pedro's invasion of our state and Ossuna's action, and by introducing new clauses and altering the treaty they are aiming at the continuance of disturbances in Italy in order to obtain the fruit of their desires by exhausting the princes there. They have shown their evil intentions by allowing the Biscayans to arm a large number of ships by the great provisions ordered for Ossuna, and by reinforcing the royal fleet. Don Pedro is not attempting to disarm and lays the blame on Bethune. Such tricks and artifices have never before been seen, and their own subjects, those who are honourable and sincere, lament their conduct, and inform us of the snares which are set against this province and ourselves in particular. The justice of our cause calls us to look to our own defence, and calls to all other princes to assist in the defence of our republic and for the common service.
We direct you to set all this forth in a special audience of his Majesty, so as to remove the false impressions left by the Spaniards, show how urgent it is to oppose their evil ambitions and to urge him to make the declarations which he has so fully promised, in an affair in which his dignity, honour and interests are so nearly concerned.
You will see from the enclosed copy what the Ambassador Wotton has replied to our communication about our orders for ships, of which we are anxiously waiting to hear from you, and what he said about Ossuna's plan to obtain ships from those parts. We also send what the Resident Surian writes about the English shipping and Spinelli's information about the ship at Naples with fish. You will press these matters the more strongly so that the world may not see the king's forces employed against the republic, after he has shown such friendship and declared himself in our favour.
We have no news this week from Germany. We hear that Ossuna's vessels suffered severely, both in men and material, when we drove them off, so they clearly owed their salvation solely to the favour of the winds. Our fleet remains at sea: we have chosen Lunardo Mocenigo to be Captain General at sea.
Ayes146.
Noes0.
Neutral2.
[Italian.]
Jan. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci.
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
163. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Everyone who has heard of the decision of your Serenity [to hire ships here] approves of it and the English ambassador, when I visited him yesterday confirmed what Prince Maurice told me about the readiness of the States to look to the security of your Serenity. The same English ambassador also told me that he had discovered that the French ambassador had written to his king about this commission of mine, possibly to ask for instructions. Before I saw England I had been with France, who said he admired the prudence of the republic in making preparations for war in order to secure a favourable peace, and so far as he was able he had assisted my offices, for which I thanked his Excellency.
With regard to [the proposal to unite for the extirpation of the pirates] the Ambassador Carleton told me that he thought his king would approve of the idea, to obviate the losses suffered by the nations through the interruption of trade. He added that he thought it a very good plan because it might serve as an introduction to a league between these powers, which was the true way to thwart what the Spaniards might be contriving against the common interests.
The Hague, the 6th January, 1618.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
164. PIERO GRITTI, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have been to see the nuncio and the ambassadors of France and England to tell them of the news of the encounter between our fleet and the galleys of the Viceroy of Naples. The nuncio said he had made representations to the king and the duke of Lerma, urging them to bridle their ministers in Italy, and that they seemed well disposed. The French ambassador declared he was convinced that their intentions are different from their professions made hitherto about carrying out the treaties. He promised to make strong representations to his Most Christian Majesty. The English ambassador expressed the same opinion about the carrying out of the peace, adding that the Spaniards wish, if possible, to increase their prestige at the conclusion of these negotiations, but those who discuss the situation without prejudice see that the dignity of his Majesty itself is attacked and they attribute it to the greed of the ministers and to the great licence which they take under this government not only because each of them has his partizans in the Council, but seeing that the decision of almost everything of importance rests with a single minister they know that he will not have the courage to assert his authority as the prince himself would.
Madrid, the 8th January, 1618.
[Italian.]
Jan. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
165. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Viceroy has sent Don Ottavio of Aragon to incite the king against your Serenity. He hopes to surpass all the captains who have ever been. However, the news published here of the preparations made by your Serenity and the orders given in Amsterdam and England for as many as twenty galleons, provide him with food for reflection, as he thought that the republic was already so enfeebled by the expenses which she had incurred that she could no longer increase her forces. I am told that his Excellency is much perturbed, and now says that he will get together a fleet to prevent these ships from coming to Venice. He continues to wait for what your Serenity does and always seizes some pretext for doing what he wishes.
They were expecting six well armed vessels from England, with artillery, sent under colour of trade by that Alexander Rose, and all the city was full of it. But now those who are in a position to obtain information, tell me that news has reached the palace that they cannot have those ships, the king there having put a stop to it. If this be true it will be owing to the offices of Sig. Contarini in England, which will prove of the greatest service, because if his Excellency is deprived of the hope of obtaining vessels from those parts, I do not know whither he will turn in order to increase his fleet as he proposes.
Naples, the 9th January, 1617 [m.v.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
166. By deliberation of the Council on the 6th ult. it was decided that when the processes arrived drawn up by the Proveditore General at Sea against those who disobeyed his orders, a summary should at once be read to the Council; and this morning Pietro Foscarini, who has returned from England in the fleet, announced in the Cabinet that he had brought these processes with him: that this council meet to-morrow and require Pietro Foscarini to report the contents of these processes, and that the Savii of the Cabinet immediately suggest what shall be done in conformity with justice and the public service, and that Foscarini also propose one or more courses to follow, so that the decisions judged necessary may not be delayed.
Ayes145.
Noes1.
Neutral1.
[Italian.]
[Jan. 10].
Collegio,
Secreta,
Letters,
Venetian
Archives.
167. To the ambassador in England.
Letters reach us from the Resident Surian with particulars about bringing ships and with a request for our opinion. We have sent a reply, which we enclose with copies of his letters so that you may be better able to fulfil the public wishes. (fn. 6)
[Italian.]
Jan. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
168. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
On the 5th I received your Serenity's letters of the 14th ult. forwarded to me by the Secretary Surian from the Hague, and on the 6th by the ordinary mail I got the duplicates together with a missive also dated the 15th ult., charging me to endeavour to hire six or eight good vessels here capable of doing good service in our fleet. I lost no time in sending a very experienced person to make survey of the whole of this river and of the ships upon it, and I find that the best and most suitable are already chartered, some for one voyage and some for another. Nine very fine galleons are destined for the Indies with at least 1800 experienced hands and as many more vessels and sailors are engaged for the usual fisheries carried on annually in these seas, where I could only find two disengaged which might be suitable, of about 240 tons each and each carrying upwards of twenty pieces of artillery. I have already given orders to treat with the owners and masters, with the intention of closing immediately provided they be willing to undertake a similar service, but as this is the height of the English carnival it will be difficult to get any one to attend to business just now. There are no other ships here at this present adapted for war service, but I shall make enquiries at the neighbouring ports in order to find something better. They say, however, that when the wind changes there will be speedy arrivals both from the Levant and from Spain likewise, and should this be verified I will use every exertion to execute the commissions of your Serenity entirely, being aware of how great importance despatch is, nor shall I fail to attend to the details enjoined upon me.
I have not thought fit to speak to the king on the subject until something be settled and also because I am aware that great caution and circumspection are necessary lest the Catholic ambassador impede my operations, for as the greater part of the Council are well disposed towards his king, he would not find it difficult to do so even were the king inclined to favour the present needs of your Serenity (et perche conosco esser necessario di caminare con gran circonspettione et avertenza, acciochèe da questo Amb. Catco con i suoi ufficii non venghi disturbato quanto si anderà operando, poiche havendo egli la maggior parte del Consiglio di buona dispositione alle cose del suo Re, non le riuscirebbe difficile, quando anco la volonta di Sua Mta piegasse ad avanzare il presente bisogno della Serenità Vestra).
Some months ago an English merchant named Garset left London with letters from my Secretary Lionello to your Serenity, his object being to offer a certain number of armed ships for the service of the state, and as he is perhaps now in Venice his proposals might be entertained. On leaving here he went to Naples and sold the Viceroy a ship which had been seized some months previously, and he says he did so on compulsion, but the lords of the Council here consider him contumacious on this account and should he return to England he will be punished for having transgressed the orders of his Majesty which forbid any one to sell ships to foreigners without the royal permission.
Since my first application, which was repeated to the king, to prevent the evil designs of Alexander Rose, I have continued to make strong representations to the lords of the Council, showing them how prejudicial it would prove were they to allow this dependant of the duke of Ossuna to reach the Neapolitan harbours with vessels, which from the evil disposition of that Viceroy might act hostilely against the republic, and they at length again summoned the owners of the ships to appear before the Council and charged them, under the most severe penalties, by no means to serve the said duke, and as a guarantee against any force that might be employed, they have charged them not to go to Naples at all, but to unload at Procida where force cannot be employed, and they will be at liberty to depart after landing their cargoes.
Caron, the ambassador of the States, has been to his Majesty and told him at the request of your Serenity's ministers that their High Mightinesses had stayed an English vessel on suspicion of its being destined for the duke of Ossuna for the purpose of molesting your Excellencies. The king approved of the proceeding and requested that the like might be done for the future, as it would prove to his satisfaction by reason of the wish entertained by him for the welfare and prosperity of the Signory, but from several circumstances I am more than ever convinced that the ship of Sir [Thomas] Bromley was destined for the Indies, as I have already reported to your Excellencies.
One hears of constant prizes made by the corsairs in these seas, and although but few English vessels have been captured the States have lost a good number. (In queste mari si sentono continue depredationi di Corsari, et se bene poche Navi Inglese sono state prese, ve ne sonno però restate molte de'Stati.)
London, the 10th January, 1617 [m.v.]
[Italian.]
ANGLIPOTRIDA by HORATIO BUSINO.
Jan. 10.
Cl. VII.
Cod., MCXXII.
Bibl. di
S. Marco.
Venice.
169. The city of London renders itself truly worthy to be styled the metropolis of the kingdom and the abode of royalty. It is handsome and very extensive, with a circumference of seven miles. It is three miles long and very densely populated. Two-thirds of its extent consist in the suburbs where the nobility and the people also reside and where all the royal palaces, parks and gardens arc situated. In the third part are the warehouses of the principal merchants, from whom they select the chief magistrate of the city, called the Lord Mayor (milormero), and the officials.
It is situated, as I have perhaps already mentioned, on the banks of the Thames, which flows from west to east, so that the greater part of the city stands along the banks of the stream and has a southern aspect. There are also some good dwellings on the opposite shore, but less numerous. They are connected by a very noble stone bridge of ni-very lofty arches, on each side of which are convenient houses and shops, so that it has rather the air of a long suburb than a handsome structure such as a bridge. The parishes are large, each having its church and belfry intact, but bare of altars save one in the choir. Two boards with the ten commandments are inserted instead of an altar piece. The Cathedral is St. Paul's, which towers loftily above the others.
The streets are commodious and wide, with their shops furnished in every direction. There are very handsome stone fountains, especially in the heart of the city, stocks for the neck and hands, gyves for the ankles and chains to place across the way and bar the passage if required. Besides this there are also in the suburbs oak cages wherein to imprison malefactors taken at night and pounds for the confinement of animals doing mischief to anybody, so well regulated and severe is the law in these parts.
One of the most notable things I see in this kingdom and which strikes me as really marvellous is the use of the queen's weed, properly called tobacco, whose dried leaves come from the Indies, packed like so much rope. It is cut and pounded and subsequently placed in a hollow instrument a span long, called a pipe. The powder is lighted at the largest part of the bowl, and they absorb the smoke with great enjoyment. They say it clears the head, dries up humours and greatly sharpens the appetite. It is in such frequent use that not only at every hour of the day but even at night they keep the pipe and steel at their pillows and gratify their longings. Amongst themselves they are in the habit of circulating toasts, passing the pipe from one to the other with much grace, just as they here do with good wine, but more often with beer. Gentlewomen moreover and virtuous women accustom themselves to take it as medicine, but in secret. The others do it at pleasure. So much money is expended daily in this nastiness that at the present moment the trade in tobacco amounts to half a million in gold, and the duty on it alone yields the king 40,000 golden crowns yearly. Throughout the city pipes and tobacco are sold in most of the shops, so that these with the others where they merely sell ruffs and wristbands, would of themselves form a large city. This is in truth an affair of vanity and smoke and his Majesty therefore abhors it. It is prohibited throughout the Court, though not by a decree. In my opinion no other country ought to introduce tobacco, for it enters cities with vapouring ostentation and then, after being well pounded, departs loaded with gold, leaving the purses of its purchasers empty and their wits addled.
I also deem it a marvel to see such quantities of butchers shops in all the parishes, the streets being full of them in every direction. The very fat meat is exhibited at the gratings from the top of the windows to the bottom, precisely in the same way as the unique Bartholomew dal Calese used to do at Ascension tide in Venice, framing, as it were, his rich gold stuffs.
There are endless inns and eating houses, for board alone or for board and lodging, beer and wine shops, wholesale and retail for every imaginable growth, alicant, canary, muscatels, clarets, Spanish, Rhenish and from hundreds and thousands of other vineyards, all excellent, though one must drink them, forsooth, out of a silver cup, as they are very dear. Thus they hold their very hiccoughs in account, nor is it considered impolite to discharge them in your neighbour's face, provided they be redolent of wine or of choice tobacco.
Let us go back to the river for some water to wash or remove this stench from our minds. They are very badly off for water, although they have an immense supply. They raise it artificially from the stream, even by windmills, and force it into all the fountains throughout the suburbs, but it is so hard, turbid and stinking that the odour remains even in clean linen. In the heart of the city, however, they have fountains supplied by conduits, where the water is clear and tolerably good. Thither flock great crowds of women and porters, who for hire carry it to such houses as desired in long wooden vessels hooped with iron.
The river ebbs and flows so rapidly that under the bridge between the arches any mill might be kept at work, the tide turning every six hours with great strength, the difference between high and low water mark amounting to from ten to twelve feet. Notwithstanding this the wherries shoot along so lightly as to surprise everyone. These wherries look like so many mutilated gondolas, without prows or felzi, though they have seats aft with sundry convenient cushions. They row like galley oarsmen, with extremely long oars, and are very dexterous at steering clear of each other. There are also long covered barges like Bucentors, very handsome, especially those of the king and other noblemen and gentlemen, pulling six or eight oars and which really fly over the water.
One sees pastry cooks without end and innumerable poulterers, especially of those who sell rabbits also, of which every shop has hundreds and there are customers for all. Then there are the bird fanciers shops, where they train and sell falcons, hawks and other birds of prey. One day in his Majesty's ante-room the Master of the Ceremonies told his Excellency that he himself saw a fine feat performed by a falcon, who seized a large fish in the air. He was flying at a heron who in the strife by instinct threw the fish which he had in his claw, into the falcon's face, and thus escaped the enemy's talons.
Here I make a stop, as I must subsequently revert to certain topics already touched on, such as the beauty of the churches, their ministers, rites etc.
London, the 10th January, 1618.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 See the preceding Volume of this Calendar, page 437.
2 Carleton's surmise was nearly correct. On Dec 29th old style Lake wrote to him: I have received an advertisement that certain English gentlemen, whereof one Bromham or of such like name is a chief, are departed hence or are about to depart secretly into those countries with purpose to employ themselves in piracy, hoping to furnish themselves there with a ship and some others to follow them. I thought good to give your lordship notice of it and to pray you to have an eye to it, that it may be prevented, if you find that this advertisement hath any grounds. Letters from and to Sir Dudley Carleton, page 227.
3 In the list of captains given in the preceding Vol. (p. 461) the former is called M. de Gulena, a Frenchman, and the latter Steven Koop, a Dutchman.
4 Chamberlain, writing to Carleton, says that he was 'joined in a new patent with Nottingham.' Cal. S. P. Domestic, 1611–1618, p. 504.
5 Lord Wotton was 70 years of age. According to Chamberlain he counted upon exchanging offices with Edmondes, who was comptroller. The king conconsented, but Lennox, as lord steward of the household, objected, as if it were a degradation to him that any such place should be bestowed without his approbation. Birch; Court and Times of James I, i. p, 451.
6 Undated but placed between papers dated January 10th.