Venice
December 1618, 16-20

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1909

Pages

384-401

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'Venice: December 1618, 16-20', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 15: 1617-1619 (1909), pp. 384-401. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88691 Date accessed: 24 November 2014.


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December 1618

Dec. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Corfu.
Venetian
Archives.
652. DANIEL GRADENIGO, Proveditore and Captain of Corfu, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Complains of shortness of money, the difficulty of paying the troops, and their consequent dissatisfaction. Sixty soldiers of the garrison have deserted, including French, English, Flemings and some few Italians. They have taken refuge upon the ships here, and it will not be easy to get them back owing to their turbulent and rebellious nature.
Corfu, the 17th December, 1618.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 18.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Lettere.
Venetian
Archives.
653. To the Captain General at Sea.
From enclosed copy from a letter of our ambassador at the Imperial Court you will see what he writes about the offer of Henry Brus, a Scot, for our service. He affirms that M. de Roccalaura with whom he has served, can speak in his favour. We desire you to speak with him and obtain full and exact information about the intelligence and general qualifications of the said Brus, and then send us word.
[Italian.]
Dec. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
654. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I will try to obtain information about the Dutch ship taken to Ragusa, when it was bringing soldiers to serve your Serenity. They say that this ship was taken to Brindisi and there sold by the Duke of Ossuna to Giovanni Domenico Purpara in company with Captain Henry Real, an Englishman, for 2,000 ducats, but the sale was not completed, because the vessel sprang a leak and foundered in the port.
Naples, the 18th December, 1618.
[Italian.]
Dec. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
655. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Henry Dich, who was going to Flanders, has not yet left. He is said to be waiting for money. The ship Susannah from England has been allowed to go and will proceed to Zante to lade raisins. It will leave in a few days.
Naples, the 18th December, 1618.
[Italian.]
Dec. 18.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
656. The Ambassador of England came into the Cabinet and said:
I must first thank your Serenity for sending me the money with your imprint. I will take it home with me to show to his Majesty, who will be pleased, as the excellency of the money is one of the chief evidences of the greatness of princes. I have seen the prudent regulation of money by the Senate. Some irregularities are common to all governments, and the money difficulty is excessive in our kingdom, so I have sent a copy of the decision home, as I am sure the king will be pleased to see it and will make use of it.
Colonel Peyton arrived some days since from the fleet. He wished to present himself immediately to your Serenity, but as he is expressly recommended to me by the king I could not let him come for the first time without introducing him. The colonel is indebted to the general for his leave and for many others favours besides. In spite of my indisposition, I have lost no time, as he has fully informed me of your Serenity's fleet, of the men of our nation, of the general and other matters. I have been much gratified by his account, as he has represented to me the efficiency of the fleet, which lacks nothing. Our men are in a fairly fit condition; there were many sick at first but now they have become hardened. General Barbarigo has praised their valour and skill to me, and at his departure he gave me his promise as a Christian and a gentleman to treat them with the utmost consideration. The disturbance which took place upon the arrival of our ships forced me to make complaint, as the general showed great severity, but I have now been consoled by the gentle behaviour of his Excellency. The colonel also told me of Morosini, the commander of the ships, whose office has brought him into contact with our men, with whom he is so popular that they would willingly lay down their lives for him.
When the ambassador proposed to introduce the colonel, his Serenity remarked that he had given him the money in accordance with the custom, as it was usual to coin it every year and distribute it to the nobility, while he thanked him for his courteous remarks. The colonel was introduced and seated beside the Doge. He presented his memorial, which was given to the Savio della Scrittura. The ambassador subsequently presented two of his gentlemen and then took leave.
[Italian.]
Dec. 19.
Senato,
Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
657. Order for the payment of 8,020 ducats to the English ships Hercules, Royal Exchange, Abigail, Matthew and Dragon, from the 11th, 19th, 20th and 30th of November, in proportion.
Like order for the payment of 4,260 ducats to the ship Centurion from Oct. 1st.
Like order to pay 4,260 ducats to the ship Anadem, from Oct. 11th.
Ayes125.
Noes2.
Neutral3.
[Italian.]
Dec. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Relazioni,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
658. RELATION of ENGLAND of ANTONIO FOSCARINI. (fn. 1)
After eleven years of continuous service, I, Antonio Foscarini, should have delivered my relation of the affairs of France and England in the year 1616. But at the moment of my return I was subjected to the same persecution which had for a long while harassed me in England and had notably affected the public service. While I have been enduring this persecution, the affairs of the world have changed and what might have proved serviceable then may now be useless in great measure. I proposed to say nothing about England, as the matters are already old, but as your Excellencies have had no account of that kingdom for some time, and as the Ambassador Contarini is appointed to Spain, so that you may not have another soon, I will make as brief a statement as possible. (fn. 2)
Everyone knows that the island of Great Britain is divided into two parts, one slightly larger than the other, even when the adjacent isles of the Hebrides and the Orkneys are added to Scotland, the lesser. On the west stands Ireland, in no way smaller than Scotland. In Virginia the king has three towns built by his subjects and Bermuda is a convenient island for the voyage to America. This is all that his Majesty possesses to-day. It comprises three kingdoms, 5,200,000 souls, and supplies 3,000,000 crowns a year, rather more or less according as the duties at London rise or fall, as this forms the basis of the royal income.
England is almost entirely flat and fertile, and Ireland also. Scotland is almost all mountainous and barren. England is rich in good soil and in population; Scotland and Ireland are poor, the former through the sterility of the country, the latter owing to the scarcity of cultivators. England contains about 3,560,000 souls, Scotland slightly over a million, and Ireland 500,000, mostly Catholics. In Scotland the majority are Puritans. In England there are twelve parties, one of Catholics dependent on the Jesuits and Spain; two of Catholics who swear fealty to the king, and obey his Majesty in temporal matters; three of the indifferent; four of the religion of his Majesty, and two Puritan parties. The last are constantly growing, while those of the king's religion are dwindling.
The royal income comes almost entirely from England alone, because Scotland gives 80,000 crowns a year with difficulty. His Majesty has given a part of this to various Scottish lords, and the remainder is devoted to the necessary expenses of the kingdom. To what is obtained from Ireland the king has to add a sum which he remits from England.
The English are naturally almost equally hostile to the Spanish and French. Owing to their nearness to the Dutch and to trade, disputes frequently arise between them, which prevent a perfect understanding. They are best disposed towards your Serenity because differences cannot easily arise owing to the distance, and the English nature, which does not love Spanish gravity or French levity, agrees fairly well with the Italian temperament. However, a part of the nobility lean to Spain, by opposition to the Scotch, their natural enemies, who have French sympathies, and because the Spanish ambassador by bribes, pensions and a thousand other underhand ways, has corrupted a great part of the Council of State, the nobles and all manner of people. The Scotch, as I said, lean to France, but after Prince Henry's death, when the king would not allow the Duke of York to continue to command the Scotch troops in French pay, the Most Christian King deprived them all of their salaries and would not give the command to the Duke of Lennox. The Spanish ambassador took this opportunity of winning some of the chief men by pensions and gifts, such as the Earl of Somerset and others. He had an easy task owing to their poverty and venality. The Irish by sympathy, custom and an ancient and very close correspondence with Spain are much drawn to the king of that country.
The maritime strength of the three kingdoms is immense, and the number of vessels, especially English ones, almost innumerable. The port of London alone, from the river's mouth to the city, a stretch of eighty miles, generally contains three to four hundred vessels with tops. Newcastle on the Scottish border has a hundred; Bristol, which faces Ireland, rather less, and Plymouth and Edinburgh about the same. The English, Scots, and Irish are all fond of war and make good soldiers. It may be said that his Majesty possesses as many men capable of bearing arms as subjects. They have all necessary things. Wales and Cornwall in particular have a large number of lead, tin and copper mines, and they have all the other metals except gold and silver. They have skilled workmen to make arms, especially arquebuses of all kinds. They possess a quantity of saltpetre and the other ingredients of gunpowder, and a great supply of Kersey cloth, and they can supply their friends with all these things. (fn. 3)
The king is endowed with a strong intellect, a perfect memory and a good disposition. He has a natural hatred of the Spaniards and leans rather towards the French, whose language and dress he affects. He is familiar in his intercourse and so is the whole Court, especially those who are most about him. He was born in Scotland, where he was brought up by Buchanan (Burcano), who kept him hard at his studies and made him spend his leisure in hunting hares in the park of Stirling, (fn. 4) to accustom him to fatigue. Habit becomes second nature and the king has always continued this kind of life, spending all the time he can upon hunting and his studies. He is very liberal both by nature and education, to such an extent that when he ascended the throne of England he gave a Scotch lord the entire wardrobe of Queen Elizabeth, about 2,000 articles of inestimable value, as they were very rich and some were embroidered with gold and pearls. He gave away a large part of the crown jewels, which were worth a mint of money, without any regard for their value, throwing them into the caps of one and another. He gives chiefly to two sorts of persons; the magnates and those in his company, who are almost all Scots. When there is anything worth having they invariably ask for it and receive it at once. To many magnates he has given as much as six, eight or ten thousand crowns a year, assigned upon various duties, a part of these is farmed out by them at very low prices. All extraordinary revenue, except that of wards, is given away, and even the wards are granted for a very small sum. He takes so much pleasure in giving that it rarely happens that he does not readily grant whatever is asked. Accordingly he has seriously reduced the royal income, loading it with debts, and reduced the treasury from wealth to poverty.
He treats all those who serve him with the utmost kindness and familiarity. There are eight or ten of them who sleep habitually in his very chamber, who can enter when they please, no matter how private his Majesty may be, and who have the greatest influence with him. These have mostly been aggrandised by him. He generally prefers one to all the others and raises him to the highest dignities. He then bestows his affection upon another and does the like, but does not entirely deprive the first of his favour, though he restricts it. He acted thus with the Earl of Montgomery, Lord Hay (Daes) and many others in England and Scotland, who all remain in favour. (fn. 5) He has never thrown down any one, except the Earl of Somerset for his felonies, for which any other prince than his Majesty would have taken his life. He prefers living in the country and dislikes too large a following, prefering to have a few with him. He spends his time in almost constant progresses and (fn. 6) exercises. He has a large number of pensioners and maintains an immense number of people. This is his greatest outlay, and the cost of his household exceeds beyond comparison that of any other king in Christendom. He loves equity and is much more inclined to the nobility than the people. He learns with wonderful ease, argument has great power with him, he is easy to persuade, especially by those whom he likes. He is vivacious and easily moved, but just as easily appeased. Those who know him can easily lead him where they wish.
He spends at least ten months of the year in the country, where he receives daily information from the Council, which meets generally in London, of what is taking place. He discusses and decides many things by the advice of his favourites alone who are with him. But he usually consults the Council upon the most important matters, if not at first, during their progress, when they sometimes come to him. The king is frequently opposed to the opinion of his councillors, as they prefer the expedient to the honourable and he is the other way and frequently blames them, telling the ambassadors as much. He generally decides on the spur of the moment, and directs his secretaries, whom he has with him for the business of England, Scotland and Ireland to state what he wishes to be done in his dominions and by his ambassadors.
All the rest of his time he spends in hunting when the weather does not prevent him, and sometimes he devotes himself to study. At meals he speaks of his studies and various matters. His familiars are allowed to speak intimately with him. He does not care for choice food, eats fat mutton and beef, likes fruit, drinks frequently and immoderately between meals, to the sorrow of those who love him. The doctors say that constant exercise is his salvation. He does not use tobacco, a root the English generally smoke in pipes which excites thirst and leads to excessive drinking, to which both English and Scotch are very addicted.
His almost constant stay in the country proves very inconvenient and expensive for those who have to negotiate with him, as they are sometimes obliged to go hundreds of miles. Thus when he comes to London, all the ambassadors procure audience, which leads to great difficulties. He gives audience alone, dismissing the members of the Council who enter with him, contrary to the late queen's practice, who had them present. He is very eloquent, not only in his own tongue, but in various others, especially French and Latin. He has been King of England sixteen years and was crowned in Scotland fifty-two years ago by the archbishop of the Orkneys, when he was little more than a babe, as he is now fifty-four. Owing to his long experience and the difficulties he has gone through he is very conversant with negotiations; he likes able men and is gratified by esteem and praise. He calls himself an old negotiator. Every one is glad to treat with his Majesty and dislikes having his affairs referred to the Council, because the king negotiates openly and the Council upon terms favourable to itself; the king decides at once, the Council drags things out, raises constant objections and when a matter is thought settled it turns out it is hardly begun. This arises from two causes, one, that the Earl of Salisbury for many years kept all important affairs for himself alone, and since his death the others have entered the Government without experience. The other is that they are easily moved by passions and interests as many are pensioned by Spain, others have sympathies for France and probably only a minority thinks only of the service of king and country. I have heard almost all the ambassadors unanimously speak more highly of the king's head alone than of all the Council together. His Majesty understands matters excellently; would that he acted by his own counsel alone, and were not ruled by others to the prejudice of his friends and himself.
He has a league with the princes and towns of Germany united at Hall, (fn. 7) of which he is chief. He has good relations with the Netherlands which are in the league. In France, in addition to the Huguenots, who claim relationship and some dependance, he has the Duke of Guise, who is a relation, the whole house of Lorraine and various others, and if he liked he could have a powerful party and influence in that kingdom. He enjoys good relations with the King of Denmark, his brother in law, and has exerted himself to reconcile that monarch with the Netherlands. He it was who made the peace between that king and Sweden, with the purpose of bringing them into the league of Hall (fn. 8) . He loves the Duke of Savoy, and nothing has increased this feeling more than the obsequious demeanour of the duke and the confidential way in which he has communicated all his affairs from time to time. The king likes this, and the best way of keeping him friendly is to show confidence and give him information, when he is easily induced to intervene and do what he can.
His authority over his subjects is considerably limited in various ways. He can impose customs, especially on things which come from abroad, as he has done to the notable advantage of his revenue, but it is doubtful if he can impose tenths and other contributions. When he does this he has to summon parliament, a clear indication that he cannot do it by himself. But in the time of Henry VIII and other dreaded kings, the parliament never dared to refuse his Majesty's desire and command. During the queen's life, while the wars lasted, the kingdom of England generally contributed 800,000 crowns a year, which were promptly paid, because the benefits received were worth more than the contribution because of the rich booty taken from the Spaniards. In almost all other matters the king is as absolute as any other, and in many even more so. He can make war with Spain on no more than 400,000 crowns a year for two reasons; one is that when the king arms, a number of privateers are at once fitted out, which alone suffice to inflict notable damage upon the Catholic king; the other is because all his subjects are bound to serve him, so that he saves the expense of loans and levies, as persons selected by his Majesty pick out those best suited, giving a crown to each as earnest money. They are then compelled to go and serve in the ships, where they receive their food and a small part of their pay until the time of disarming. The king can thus retain the money until their return, and even then the payment is very small, as owing to the chances of war only a small proportion returns. Then there is the booty taken from the Spaniards which frequently exceeds the expense. All these causes make the expenses insignificant. Provisions of war are abundant and cheap. For these reasons Queen Elizabeth was able to maintain war with Spain and at the same time to back the Netherlands with large yearly subsidies, subdue the rebels in Ireland, who had caused trouble and expense for many years, and accumulate a considerable sum of money, although she did not have the kingdom of Scotland and received from England a million of gold less than the present king, who has increased the ancient customs and imposed new ones. When he came to the throne he suppressed all expenses in Ireland and upon the forts on the Scotch border, which were left ungarrisoned at the union of the crowns. He not only left off paying subsidies to the Netherlands, but recovered from them a great part of what was advanced by Queen Elizabeth. Instead of accumulating he has squandered what the queen amassed, contracted debts amounting to 5,000,000 crowns, or 1½ millions, on which he pays 10% interest, according to the general practice in England. From this appears the perniciousness of so much liberality and peace, in which, really, the kingdom and king have both lost much in wealth and reputation. This proves so injurious to his subjects that many argue that no one can be a good king for them who is not warlike. They say freely that if the peace continues they must needs fall to the depths of poverty, as the island has no mines of gold or silver, which is leaving this kingdom owing to the excessive expenditure of the nobility in particular upon clothing, and because the king wishes to provide for the poverty of the Scots by numerous gifts.
The pacific nature of the king not only harms his subjects and himself, but his friends also, especially the Netherlands and the princes of Germany, to whom he has been more liberal in promises than in help; not from any lack of good-will, but partly from shortness of money, partly from a desire for peace, and partly through the ill advice of those who are moved by their own interests or bribed by the Spaniards, many of whom possess the most influence. Unfortunately those who are most under obligation and who should be the most faithful, betray him most, and the corruption is as great among the English as the Scots. When the Count of Villa Mediana arrived in England as the first ambassador of Spain in the time of the present king, he experienced some difficulty in finding persons to whom to give pensions or money, owing to the hatred of the English for the Spaniards and because the king had taken possession of the fortress of Berwick on the Scotch border and afterwards of the whole kingdom and showed such decision in governing that every one was afraid. But afterwards matters took another turn and that ambassador expended 28,000 crowns a year among his Majesty's council. This was increased to 35,000 crowns in the time of Don Pedro Zuniga, being divided sometimes among eleven persons, (fn. 9) sometimes twelve, and matters have come to such a pass that some receive pensions with the king's knowledge. Although they profess that this has no effect upon their natural obligations towards his Majesty it is only too clear that the money serves the interests of those who give it and without it Spanish affairs would take a different course. The Spaniards incur other expenses under other names and pretexts and at my departure they had consumed more than a million of gold in England in thirteen years. This is well known through the remission of the money, and the Spanish ambassador does not deny it. By these arts they have facilitated the restitution of a part of the ships plundered by the English, for without it they would never have obtained anything and they would of necessity have lost the peace which they so greatly desired in the time of Queen Elizabeth and which they secured from the present king. This is the reason why they are able to trouble others and it is therefore very advantageous to them. They use great corruption with those who are near his Majesty and cause advice to be given in conformity with their interests. They have particular information of what the king is doing and thinking, especially from the ambassador whom I left there. He is the most sagacious and crafty minister imaginable and has done much harm to England, nevertheless he maintains himself in great consideration by his gifts.
At my departure the Council was almost entirely composed of Englishmen but the king intended to introduce some Scots, such as the Earl of Mar, the Marquis of Hamilton, the Marquis of Huntly, Viscount Fenton, captain of his guard, Lord Hay and others, (fn. 10) in order to balance ideas and interests and so be better served. It is most harmful that the king has maintained in England the form of government to which he became accustomed in Scotland, as what was adapted for a poor King of Scotland is pernicious for a King of England who has other interests and is great and powerful.
The queen is a princess endowed with the utmost kindness and affability. She is daughter, sister and wife of a king, which cannot to-day be said of any other. She claims that her greatness comes not from the king but from God alone and her motto runs, My power is from the Most High. She is descended on the female side from the House of Austria, in which she takes great pride. She has an intimate friendship with the infanta archduchess and calls her sister. She takes great pride in her beauty, which she carefully cultivates, and to praise it is a sure way to acquire her favour and influence. She is fond of music and has excellent French and one Italian performer. She is passionately attached to her brother, the King of Denmark, and to the prince above all her other children, calling him her little servant. She is very anxious for him to marry in Spain, and does her utmost to that end; she hates a French marriage and opposes it openly, speaking unreservedly against the legitimacy of the Most Christian King and of his brothers and sisters. All this leads her to desire the marriage of her son to any one rather than to France, and this is well known by the Most Christian King and his ministers. She spends a great part of the year in the country. Since the fall of her enemy, the Earl of Somerset, Mr. Villiers has risen, supported by her and dependant upon her. She seems well disposed towards your Serenity and has always spoken to me in terms of friendship and esteem.
The prince has a gentle and amiable character, loves the chase and spends much time upon his studies. Those who attend him are mostly Scots, but his tutor and preceptor are English. He is tenderly loved by his father and mother, is very popular with the English and even more so with the Scots. He has always shown a special devotion towards your Serenity and the highest esteem for the republic. Having been born in Scotland and his attendants being mostly Scots, he is naturally more inclined to that nation, a matter which is very distasteful to the English. He has a good understanding and an abundance of the qualities befitting a prince. He has been carefully brought up, He was formerly delicate, but since the death of Prince Henry he has become strong and healthy. So far as one can judge he will probably be indifferent as regards peace or war, suitably liberal, popular with his subjects, especially the Scots, well inclined towards the ancient friends of the crown and therefore influential with them, beneficial to his realms and such that your Excellencies will find his friendship advantageous. He is now eighteen, and he is the only son; the king has frequently proposed to marry him to various princesses. In France he was offered the second princess, a great beauty of about his own age. This alliance was favoured by the king's own sentiments and backed by the Duke of Lennox (fn. 11) and others of French sympathies. When the principal points had been arranged and everything seemed settled, and it was laid before the Council as such, the Spaniards upset all by the offer of their second princess and bribed a large part of the Council to offer such strong opposition that the affair was broken off. They introduced such proposals that the princess should lose her dower immediately after the marriage, and if the prince died she should be able to claim nothing beyond a yearly assignment for life, according to the English custom; that the marriage should be celebrated in London by a Protestant minister; that the princess should come to England at once and France should pay all the expenses of the journey.
Savoy offered all his daughters, with the same dowry as France, letting it be understood that the king should receive every satisfaction in matters of religion and everything else. But as all the infantas are older considerably than the prince this affair made no progress like the French one, while it was opposed by the Catholic and Most Christian kings. The Spaniards carried on lengthy negotiations both with the dead and the present prince, but results prove that they acted more to prevent the conclusion of other alliances than arrange one for themselves. During the lifetime of Prince Henry they got Don Alonso of Velasco, their ambassador, to say that they would readily offer their first infanta, and urged him to ask for her, saying that ladies must be asked and it was for the prince to speak first. But when the king, relying upon this, did ask for her, he found arrangements had been made with the King of France, and was refused, to the disgust of his Majesty and the princes. They then offered the second, saying that his Catholic Majesty had other daughters equally dear for whom they might treat; they excused themselves for the first, saying that the Ambassador Velasco spoke without instructions. But the ambassador, when charged with this, produced the Duke of Lerma's letter telling him to make the offer. This increased his Majesty's feeling against Spain and the ambassador was in grave danger of his life through his king's displeasure, and I believe he is living in his country house far from the court. Afterwards to upset the negotiations with France with the present prince, they instructed Don Diego d'Acuña, (fn. 12) the present ambassador, to make proposals to the queen, and through her, to the king, who remained undecided owing to this past experience and for other reasons.
Some words were passed about the daughters of the Elector of Brandenburg, the sisters of the Palatine and the daughter of the Landgrave of Hesse, a great beauty, but nothing serious was done; the king had no inclination that way, saying he was sufficiently allied to the princes of Germany, and called a marriage with them a poor thing. However, those of proved experience think that though they may negotiate with France and Spain, they will have to marry the prince in Germany. Experience shows that Spain has no inclination for it, and possibly England has none either, as while the negotiations were proceeding the protestant ecclesiastics, when they saw a conclusion was near, tried all means to upset it, as they did upon the marriage of the princess to the King of Spain, to ask for whom he sent the Marquis of Florese Davila (fn. 13) expressly, his chief nobleman; indeed he made great efforts to obtain her, as by the laws of England and Scotland women can succeed to the throne, and as there were only two princes, nature as well as art might procure him a fortunate result from the tragedies of others, such as princes are accustomed to hope for. I heard it said by prominent men after the death of Prince Henry that if the princess had been married in Spain they would have given nothing for the life of the present prince.
It is somewhat less difficult to arrange with France, because the Most Christian King has shown a desire for it and the king himself inclines that way, while the Protestant ecclesiastics of England, although they would not like it, would not oppose it nearly so strongly as a Spanish alliance. But the queen would oppose openly, and as the authority of the Spaniards in England is great, that alone would suffice to prevent the union of the two kings. I therefore conclude that in the opinion of those who best understand the interests of England, that the prince ought finally to marry in Germany. It will strengthen the union of the princes there with the Netherlands and will totally separate the King of England from the friendship of Spain and in time will bring him to interest himself more keenly on the side of the princes and Netherlands against the House of Austria.
Your Excellencies will see that a great king like his Majesty can confer signal benefits and favours without any expense or inconvenience to himself. He can render great assistance by his representations, and with these he will ever be most free. Your Excellencies will always get him to say what you wish, the favours rendered in my time afford evidence of his disposition. There is abundance of soldiers, sailors, ships, arms, provisions of war and victuals, all of which are promised freely. To these important advantages which all may see, many others can be added. If the republic needs armed ships and the king is willing to help her, he can permit your Serenity to enjoy the same advantages as he does himself, under the name of his own service. The republic would be spared the heavy loans, which constitute a great part of the expense, and would have picked men. The benefit is evident to all and would not affect the king at all. He can also allow his subjects to arm privateers against Spain, a thing they are most eager to do. They would certainly do so in such numbers as to harass the Spanish shipping and work great damage upon the Spanish Court, rendering the return of the fleets difficult. This is the true way to harass the Catholic king in what touches him nearest, as experience showed in the time of Queen Elizabeth. If his Majesty showed some reluctance to take this step he might allow them to serve under your flag, in which case, in addition to the damage inflicted upon your enemies, you would have the advantage of the tenth, as Queen Elizabeth and all other powers have done in like case. From arming ships in those parts your Serenity would derive three notable advantages; one that they would be armed by warlike men; two, that if the men were lost it would not matter, as they are not your subjects; three, that the expense of arming and provisioning ships in those parts would cost less than doing so here, as everything is much cheaper and each ship can carry provisions for a long time, having no other cargo. Such provisions made upon good conditions would secure your Serenity from all complaints by the men for the scarcity experienced by them in these parts.
In England they have no galleys and many suffer capital punishment for minor offences. By a sign the king could command his judges and councillors to introduce the punishment of the galleys, and as his realms are extensive, the number of the condemned would be very great. It he granted them to your Serenity it would be a great advantage owing to their numbers and because all the English and his other subjects are quite accustomed to the hardships of the sea. The anxiety shown by your Serenity in the long negotiations with the emperor to grant you for the galleys those condemned to death, shows how much you have this at heart; but the emperor's subjects are inland folk who have never seen the sea, while the English are born in it and thoroughly at home there.
In the present state of affairs the republic cannot obtain better captains for war than from England. Among them are two who spent many years in the wars of Flanders, serving under Count Maurice, both have commanded regiments and carried through important undertakings. One is Horace Vere, and the other General Cecil, the one nephew of the Earl of Oxford, the other son of the Earl of Exeter. The latter served in the war of Cleves and the taking of Juliers as a general, and was sent by the king to help the two princes. Both have a considerable following in England owing to their high birth, and in Flanders and elsewhere for their military qualities. Of the Scots, beside the Duke of Lennox, who is the first person of the royal blood, there is Lord Dingwall. As he was born in Scotland, married in Ireland and lives in England, he might bring men from all three kingdoms. Both follow the Court and stand high with his Majesty. They both showed particular desire to serve your Excellencies, the latter especially, who has frequently spoken to me about it.
The Irish are mostly Catholics and renowned as soldiers. They are more inclined to the Spaniards than they should be, but with pains a number of good and well-intentioned men could be found. The Scotch are inured to discomfort by the poverty of the country. As soldiers they are in no wise inferior to the Irish, and most capable of bearing hardship. Count Maurice speaks highly of the English. He says they have been with him in a large number of his most honourable undertakings. They are accustomed to good living owing to the fertility of their country, but in Flanders, where everything is very dear, they serve upon very small pay without receiving any contribution or living upon the country. When the King of Denmark raised troops in England I succeeded in learning the conditions. I found that Lord Willoughby, who commanded, received a thaler a week, which comes to about four ducats every 32 days, as eight days count as a week. With the wages of the officers the whole outlay would come to less than 5 ducats a month. In Flanders the States give the same pay or rather more, according to the quality of the soldiers and their nationality. They assemble the troops weekly for pay. This has two advantages, as the frequent payments render it difficult to pay for deserters and the dead, as each week is of eight days, a month of four weeks consists of 32 days which is a considerable advantage when dealing with a large number. It is also advantageous for the men, as they have their pay regularly every eight days, receive the whole and are not obliged to borrow from their officers at a loss. I must not conceal that the English troops serve the King of Denmark very unwillingly, as he exposes them to constant fatigue and hardship. The country also, is disagreeable, the island upon which Copenhagen stands being surrounded by the Baltic sea, which is covered with ice for many months of the year, while the country suffers from excessive cold and many discomforts. I found a general inclination to serve your Excellencies whenever I spoke about it. The chief expense and difficulty of taking troops from these parts, seems to be upon the passage, but it your Excellencies armed ships, they would serve to take the men, and ten or twelve ships would easily pass the Strait, and once on the coast of Africa would be in safety. In Flanders the soldiers use fusees for arquebuses instead of wheel locks. (fn. 14) Before leaving I sent 500 of these as instructed, and I believe they were approved of. I sent some of all kinds, namely, for arquebuses and muskets. They cost about a ducat each of our money, and more can always be obtained at the same price. Arquebuses and other munitions of war can always be taken by these ships. They serve as ballast and do not prove of too great a weight. In case of arming it would be a great advantage to have the royal ships, firstly for their prestige and secondly because they are so great that three or four alone would suffice to account for a large number of ships. I do not think it would be difficult to obtain this favour of his Majesty if your Serenity insisted, and sent letters to the king to help the ambassador.
He could confer an advantage by excepting metals and whatever else your Excellencies obtain hence from the customs, and by commanding the heads of the Company of the Indies to increase their forces as much as possible, doing so in conjunction with those of the States, he could create a considerable diversion for the Spaniards in those parts. In case your Serenity were hard pressed, the king, by his commercial relations with Marocco, might induce them to raise the Moors of Spain, as they did at the instance of Henry the Great of France, and could send them help in men and arms. This would strike at the heart of the Catholic king. That he dreads this danger was shown by his proceedings on the discovery of the plot, when he laid waste a large tract of the country and expelled many from Spain, though large numbers still remain there. The king can also help greatly by his influence with the united princes of Germany and the Netherlands, also by diversions. He can do all this for your Serenity without expense or trouble. What renders these benefits more considerable is the fact that your Excellencies cannot receive any injury from the friendship with England, because it is too far off and this union of interests destroys all suspicion. The friendship of that king has never been harmful but has frequently proved helpful. In short no friendship is more proper than that between your Serenity and the King of Great Britain, as the two powers united have abundance of everything that constitutes a strong prince, while the king has an abundance of the things for increasing the strength of your Excellencies.
Your Excellencies may hope for much more from the prince, who is naturally much less devoted to peace and has been brought up with other ideas, and who is conscious of his greatness. He is more active naturally and more reserved and may take decisions which are not so easy for the king. As those who know best think that he should marry in Germany, there is no doubt that he will draw constantly closer to the princes there, will increase his influence with them and with the Netherlands and so will necessarily draw further away from the friendship of Spain.
I need not say what the republic might hope from a warlike king. I have said enough, and past experience of Queen Elizabeth and her predecessors shows; certainly no other monarch could give more. Although the king's revenue only amounts to three millions, he does not seem poor as compared with France or Spain, who have four or six times as much, as a king who has rich subjects cannot be called poor, and those of his Majesty are very rich, at least in England. If he has not the revenue of those other kings, it is because he has not laid upon his subjects such heavy charges. Besides, though the King of France has a revenue of 11,000,000 gold crowns, one half is appropriated and does not reach the royal treasury. Everyone knows the debts of Spain and the heavy interest paid. The King of England spends the whole of his revenue as he pleases, as he maintains no garrison in any part, except the very few troops in the two forts at Plymouth and a few sea ports, with three armed ships, kept for the safety of the kingdom or rather for prestige, and when I left there were only two. All this amounts to no sum worth mentioning, yet it is all the expense which he has, except that of the royal household, for which the country is bound to supply what is required at a very low price. All the rest depends upon his caprice. This cannot be said of Spain, where the kingdoms are so divided and there are so many enemies and ill affected subjects that they have to spend the ordinary revenue and much more to secure themselves from internal and external disorders, which compels the king to take money from his subjects. France being bordered by many princes by no means friendly has a quantity of fortresses, and by ancient custom is bound to pay vast amounts in pensions, so that a large part of the royal revenue is swallowed up, and the remainder goes to keep the princes of the realm, the nobility and the Huguenots in a good temper, in paying a guard for the royal person of 4,000 foot and a large number of light and heavy horse, all the parliaments, the maintenance of the royal house and an endless list of things, which taken together balance the whole of the royal income.
I will now relate how the king may be induced to do what one wants. It is necessary to make a confidant of one of those who has most influence with him, especially the secretary of state, and above all to win the favour of his Majesty. This is done by praising and admiring him and making him believe that all those who have the honour to treat with him learn a great deal from his extraordinary wisdom; by showing him the frankness with which your Serenity negotiates, your affection and esteem for him and by making him recognise one's truthfulness and straight-forwardness in all things. If your Excellencies observe all this and show that you have full confidence in his Majesty, there is no doubt that the king will completely open his heart, and as he is naturally inclined to love the republic, he will do what he can to serve it, for his own sake also. If it is necessary sometimes to argue closely with him more is gained usually by a few words than by many, by leaving him to discourse, in which he takes pleasure and applauding him. When he comes near to the point, one stops him with a word or two and never leaves off until one has obtained the execution of the promise given. It is necessary to see that he is not influenced by hostile ambassadors or corrupt ministers, to which he is very subject. For this purpose one of the confidants and especially the secretary, is very useful; without their help it is difficult to do any good. For those who know their nature it is not difficult to win them. They are prone to flattery, and it is useful to invite them to dinner and send them away satisfied. This has been the practice of all my illustrious predecessors and of myself also, and though it is costly, the money is well spent.
The above is an abstract of the most important things which I have learned in my experience of the five years during which I served your Serenity at that Court. I could add a great deal more, but it seems to me that I have said enough. (fn. 15)
In the year 1605 it pleased your Serenity to appoint me governor of Chioggia. I occupied that post for two years and was then sent as ambassador to France. I left France in a state of ill-health and proceeded straight to England. There I found an active dispute about precedence going on with the archduke's ambassador, which had engaged my predecessors for some nine years. I took this affair in hand and by God's help I obtained the king's promise, and at the marriage of the princess and upon other occasions I profited by it, as I was always invited and the ambassador of the archdukes excluded. When the Ambassador Carleton made his tiresome demands for the restitution of the ship Coastley (Corsaletta) with its cargo, a question of many thousands of crowns, I induced his Majesty to promise that he would never speak of the matter again, nor has he done so. The same thing happened with other questions about ships during the five years. I endeavoured by every means to foster the good understanding between his Majesty and your Serenity and succeeded so well that the king always expressed his earnest desire for the preservation and greatness of the republic. When there were rumours that the Turks intended to attack Candia, he offered his forces for your defence. When your Excellencies were negotiating a league with the Swiss and Grisons he offered his services to facilitate a favourable issue. When Savoy entered Montferrat against Mantua and tried to obtain ships in England to enter the Gulf against your Serenity, I obtained a promise from his Majesty not to let any go, so the negotiations of Savoy for ships and men proved fruitless. When I informed the king of the claims of Mantua, he forgot all claims of his religion and his friendship for Savoy and spoke freely in favour of Mantua, directing his ambassador Carleton to go there and offer his services. He gave no thought to his dignity in sending his ambassador to such a minor potentate, nor did he care that he was a cardinal and in close touch with the pope. When the Spaniards troubled the Duke of Savoy I induced his Majesty to make strong efforts for the peace of Italy, when he sent special messages to the Catholic king. Through my efforts the king wrote letters to the Grisons in your Serenity's favour, hitting at both France and Germany, and inducing the Palatine and other princes of Germany to aid the same cause. At the beginning of the troubles of the republic I induced his Majesty to declare in favour of your Excellencies, when he promised to protect your cause by force. He repeated this to my successor Barbarigo. I always enjoyed pleasant relations with the three Spanish ambassadors of my time, and I kept up the national dignity, always dealing with them as equals. During the course of my embassies in France and England I have expended 64,000 to 65,000 ducats di Banco, that is to say 70,000 ducats and a good deal more of current money. Your Excellencies have the particulars. I have spent all my income and incurred debts to the amount of 14,000 or 15,000 ducats, to pay which I have been forced to sell some property. Whenever your Excellencies wished I went to see the king, even if he was several miles from London, at considerable inconvenience, when I might have awaited his return. But the expense and inconvenience were as nothing to me as compared with the service of your Serenity. When I went to see the king at Salisbury he sent his carriages twenty miles to meet me, lodged and entertained me, had me at table with him, sent Viscount Cranbourne to meet me and showed me unparalleled honour. When I went to Apthorpe his Majesty sent Lord Hay (Daes) to me and had me at table with him three days running; the royal carriage took me to him and he put one of the royal coaches at my disposal for some days. To honour your Serenity among other princes he came in person to fetch me from the place where I was staying, to the admiration of the whole court, for which signal favour your Serenity wrote a special letter of thanks. He gave me a special audience at my departure, after I had taken leave in presenting my successor, and he again sent for me when he was eighty miles from London. The ambassador Carleton came to meet me, and after he had kept me three days he let me go, laden with honours and favours. In every important negotiation his Majesty has spoken freely with me.
God knows and may God pardon those who subjected my patience to the sorest trials, heaping invectives and calumnies upon me, until at last the Almighty moved by my undeserved sufferings and my humble prayers moved the Council of Ten to deal speedily with my case and release me from my pains. I now return to resume my dutiful servico, forgetting the persecutions which I have suffered.
[Italian.]
Dec. 20.
Cinque Savii
alla Mercanzia
Riposte.
Venetian
Archives.
659. Opinions on the trade in the Levant.
Luca da Molin, one of the Savii, thinks that in the interest of the public funds the port of Venice should be open to all nations for trade in the Levant. He has come to this conclusion not at the instance of any particular nation, but simply for the public weal.
Andrea Paruta, savio, is convinced that freedom of trade is the sole remedy, if there be any, to recover what this mart has lost. He would be glad to see the removal of the prohibition on those who have not the citizenship from trading in the Levant, and that everyone living in the city might have the right. Let all be admitted on giving a note to the appointed magistrate and paying the import and export duties. Let them be obliged to bring the profits back here and give a surety for so doing. Let them consign their goods to Venetian subjects. Let those who receive goods in the Levant from this city be subject to our bailo and consuls, whatever his nation, and pay the regular dues. Let it be forbidden to send to the Levant Kersey cloth of London or Flanders taken from this city or any silk cloth made outside Venice. Let all goods be carried by preference by Venetian ships, going and coming. Let ships lading here for the Levant, whatever their nation, fly the flag of St. Mark. Let foreign ships be bound to have a proportion of Venetian subjects among their sailors. Let Venetian ships have an advantage of 2 per cent. in the customs over foreigners. At the departure of a ship let a magistrate notify its contents and send a copy to the public representatives at the port of destination. Let those who have lived and traded in this city for fifteen years acquire the privilege of Intus et extra.
Zuanne Basadonna concurs with the opinion given in March by the four Savii who signed.
Antonio Canal and Michiel Foscarini believe that there would be more danger than benefit to expect from conceding the Levant trade to others. The present time is too troubled. If the concession is made we shall lose our trade and shipping and fall under the direction of foreign nations. It would be better to provide a larger number of ships belonging to the republic and to rule our ships with a strong hand, to order the Levant trade in a desirable manner and so establish the defence of the state on a firm basis.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Printed in Le Relazioni degli Stati Europei lette al Senato dagli Ambasciatori Veneziani; Serie IV. Inghilterra ed Barozzi and Berchet, pages 167–188; referred to below as the printed text.
2 This first paragraph is omitted from the printed text, but printed in the French series. Serie II. vol. i, pages 297, 298.
3 The printed text gives 'quantityà grande di pane, di carisce o carnami.' The text should read quantità grande di panni di carisee, delle qrali tutte cose possono accommodar i loro amici.
4 Stirling omitted from the printed text.
5 This sentence omitted from the printed text.
6 'progresses and' omitted from the printed text.
7 'United at Hall' omitted from printed text.
8 The printed text reads 'lega di Alemagna,' instead of 'lega di Ala.'
9 The printed text reads 33,000 scudi and omits the words hora in undici.
10 The words come il Conte di Mar, il Marchese d'Ambleton, il Marchese d'Ontle, il Visconte Fenton, capitan della sua Guardia, il Baron Des et qualch' altro omitted from the printed text
11 The printed text gives portato dalla Signora di Lennox instead of the true reading portato dal Duca di Lenos.
12 The printed text reads Don Diego di Lamagna.
13 Flores Danila in the printed text.
14 The manuscript reads In Fiandra usano li soldati alli Arcobuggi in luoco di ruota focilli, which is rendered in the printed text In Fiandra usano li soldati alti archibuggi in luogo di fucili a ruota. See vol. xiii of this Calendar page 62, for the order to Foscarini to supply 500 of these fusees.
15 The printed text concludes here; but the continuation is given by the same editors in the French series of their Relazioni, Serie II, vol i., pages 384–396 from which the particulars concerning France are omitted here.