Venice
January 1619, 12-20

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1909

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430-436

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'Venice: January 1619, 12-20', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 15: 1617-1619 (1909), pp. 430-436. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88695 Date accessed: 19 September 2014.


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January 1619

Jan. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
692. To the Ambassador Donato in England and the like to the ambassadors in France and at the Hague, mutatis mutandis.
The manner in which the Spaniards have conducted their negotiations shows that no reliance can be placed upon what they say. Our confidence with his Majesty and our mutual interests lead us to inform him of all that has taken place. We direct you to obtain an audience and say that while the republic has punctually performed its obligations and proved its sincerity, the Spaniards keep on their accustomed way, increasing the existing perils. They shift the negotiations from one point to another, never definitely settle anything and often contradict what they have said. At first we attributed this strange conduct to the ministers, who were blamed for disobedience to repeated orders, but afterwards they began to say the Viceroy was right. Cardinal Borgia, perceiving that our Ambassador Soranzo was negotiating with sincerity appeared to be taking a right view of things, but now we hear that he has shifted the responsibility to Spain and again lays all the blame upon Ossuna. Thus everything remains in greater suspense than ever, and yet the Spaniards proclaim that everything has been completed, hoping at once to gain credit this way and to lull the world into security. But both in Spain and in Naples they are making extraordinary preparations, seeking them even in England and Flanders. They design to make disturbance in this province and to subdue in particular our republic, which offers the greatest resistance. Various indications point this way; and in pursuit of this object they allow their subjects to suffer from pirates. To cover their evil designs they are always pretending to defend Mantua, to help their kinsman in Friuli, to be arming at sea to obtain peace and to keep a fleet in being because of the Turkish navy. Now at length they pretend that they wish to send help to the emperor against the Bohemians through the Gulf. They could help better with money than with men, as they have always done. They are aiming at the very vitals of the liberties of Italy. They are introducing projects of alliance for the sole purpose of increasing jealousy and mistrust. In this way they are making serious attacks upon the republic without professing enmity or a wish to do us harm, and yet they wish to strike her to the heart. The entry of a powerful fleet into the Gulf is as great a menace to us as the confiding of a fortress by a prince to the troops of another would be. Our city has no other defence than the Gulf, and it would be a violation of what is the very bulwark of Christendom. The evidence upon these points is clear and we desire you to draw his Majesty's particular attention to them, as he has always taken a lively interest in the affairs of this province. We beg him to interpose his royal authority, to notice the differences between what the Spaniards say and do and how they habitually cloak their designs under an appearance of friendship. You may mention the invasion of Don Pedro into our open country on the borders of Milan, the capture of the galleys, the attempt to attack our fleet in port, the incitement of the Turks against us. All these things took place while they were declaring that they were not hostile or unfriendly to the republic.
In such a grave matter we have touched upon all the essential points. You will use this material with the ministers and friendly ambassadors as you think best. You will confine yourself to the more particular parts with the king, to avoid becoming wearisome and so that you may speak with greater warmth to move his Majesty.
[You will insist that the Spaniards must fulfil their obligations under the treaty and renounce all idea of aggression in the Gulf, which would throw Italy into the greatest confusion. His Majesty will not permit so great a disturbance to occur during his happy reign, and every consideration of honour and of interest calls him to move his royal forces to divert the blow and save this province, which has always enjoyed the protection of his crown. The republic will always be ready to make grateful response, the more so if she is free from embarrassment and at liberty to do what she desires.]
To England add:
You must not omit to point out that the safety of England is threatened by the assembling of 70 armed ships on the coasts of Spain, since something might happen to change their plans and opportunity sometimes leads to the most unforeseen decisions.
What you tell us about the arrangements made by the Spanish agent for artillery, etc., is a point to consider in connection with the above. We should have thought they would have discouraged rather than assisted the evil designs of the Spaniards. We wrote before, during these troubles, to the Ambassador Contarini and he obtained favourable orders. If these are not observed it will be necessary to obtain some more severe and express.
The paragraph between brackets not sent to the Hague.
Ayes149.
Noes2.
Neutral6.
[Italian.]
Jan. 15.
Senato,
Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
693. That the purveyors and masters of the Arsenal provide a new hawser costing about 1,280 lire to the English ship Centurion, serving in our fleet, which it needs in exchange for some which it lost by the fortunes of the sea, the value thereof being paid down in cash before taking it from the house.
Ayes143.
Noes1.
Neutral5.
[Italian.]
Jan. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
694. ANTONIO DONATO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Yesterday evening the king had me invited to a masque, which was conducted by the prince in the most charming manner, superbly mounted and proved a great success. (fn. 1) I was given a seat above the States and the Palatine ambassador, who claimed precedence over them and was given a place among the king's servants without any further declaration being made, though the case is clear with a prince who is the first elector. After a dance, at which all the nobility of the realm and the cream of the royal Court were present, a veritable image of ease, pomp, superfluity and comfort, we were conducted to a collation. There the king told me that he rejoiced that your Serenity was to have peace since the dash of the Bohemians in their determination to achieve great things would call off the Spaniards to those parts. I told him that these hopes did not quiet our anxieties, as they showed their spirit by their injuries and insidious hostilities, and then there were suspicions of the numerous and powerful fleet they were collecting. These ships could not be intended to serve against Bohemia. But his Majesty, instead of taking up the discussion as I had hoped, remarked that the prince, his son, had danced well and that all the young men here had comported themselves entirely to his satisfaction, on which account he rejoiced and received congratulations on every hand. Seeing that the moment was inopportune I said to him, Sire, either I will follow your Majesty to your hunting or before you leave I must speak to you about the great disturbances in the world. He said: Yes, I will see you when I have more leisure, but I assure you that Bohemia will be your peace.
The States ambassadors afterwards said to me that the affairs of the Bohemians had made such progress that either one half of the empire would fall, or that war would act as a cautery for all the ills of Europe and that Count Maurice would like to help them with men and money, but all the assembly does not agree to this; nevertheless it will be necessary to do this in order to sustain them against the powerful succour which the Spaniards are preparing for the emperor. The archduke is now levying 6,000 foot and 1,000 horse in Flanders, besides many other levies in other parts with Spanish gold, while the Elector of Mayence and Saxony are both arming. They urged me to write to your Serenity to say how necessary it is to watch these Spanish armaments and to afford help where necessary, to avoid accidents which might bring all the misfortune and fire to your own house. I regret that the Palatine ambassador here has published that your Serenity is going to grant a sea passage to Trieste for a large army against the Bohemians, when the Spaniards could not send a force by any other way except with great difficulty and effusion of blood. When I see him I will try to undeceive him, and your Excellencies will keep a diligent look out for this attempt. The same ambassador says that Ossuna lays his life that he will pass safely to Trieste with a complete fleet.
This evening I have received your Serenity's letters of the 15th and 22nd ult., to which I will reply by fulfilling your commands. I cannot use more zeal and energy than I have done hitherto, but I will pray for good fortune and a lucky star in a court and with a prince where neither patience nor eloquence nor necessity itself, I believe, will ever change their ideas and dispositions.
News comes from France that Gabaleoni has fallen sick. Accordingly the agent of Savoy is working for the reconciliation of the two crowns. The restoration of this friendship may be considered certain, but the good offices of your Excellencies will not be without fruit or force.
London, the 17th January, 1618. [m.v.]
I cannot as yet write anything which points to a decision about the negotiations of the Dutch or of the Palatine, who is asking for money.
[Italian.]
Jan. 17.
Consiglio de'X.
Parti Secrete.
Venetian
Archives.
695. ANTONIO DONATO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the COUNCIL of TEN.
In obedience to the letters of your Excellencies of the 10th ult. I have reviewed the old papers which I found belonging to the embassy. They are all of little moment.
With regard to Sir Henry Mainwaring (Manerino) the Englishman, and what the Spanish ambassador of the time did about his departure, I have heard the following: The ambassador did everything in his power to prevent Mainwaring from going to Venice, and obtained from the Council that he should not leave with the ships which are in service, some of which belong to Sir [Henry]. I have not found any evidence that the Spanish ambassador made use before the Council of any of the expressions against the republic such as are described in your Excellencies' letter. It may be that after using every means to try to prevent the service of this man—who has the reputation of being very courageous, although a pirate and not trustworthy (inconstante di fede)—the ambassador said those words privately, from his heart, as the actions are in conformity, and the Spanish preparations both by sea and land, carried out with such energy, threaten some great undertaking, which may well be feared. The said ambassador had a name at this Court for being very loquacious and by no means circumspect.
However now there is no one here but a Dominican friar, and although he only has the title of agent, yet his influence is most formidable. He has free access to the houses of the great, every facility for carrying out what he wishes without hindrance, and unlimited ability to spend money. He is usually in the house of the Earl of Worcester, keeper of his Majesty's privy seal, and it is said that through the earl's means, that ship issued from the Thames, which I reported he had bought. Then his extreme intimacy with Sir [John] Digby, who is destined for Spain and has already been twice to that Court, is an unfailing means for opening the ears and the favour of the king to him. By such means he will always be able to obtain everything and the conclusion of the marriage alliance between these two Crowns, Digby being in high favour with his Majesty, vice Chamberlain and a member of the Privy Council (ma hora si ritrova qui se non un frate Dominicano che seben ha solo nome di Agente l'auttorità sua nondimeno è terribile; l'ingresso nelle case de'grandi liberissimo, la facilità di conseguire ciò che vuole senza ostacolo, la commodità da spendere infinita. è d'ordinario in case del Conte di Hester, che tiene 'l sigillo privato di Sua Maestà, et dicesi che con il mezo di detto Conte uscisse dal Tamigi la nave che scrissi haver egli comprata. La sua domestica familiarità poi con il Cavallier d'Igbi, che è destinato in Spagna, et è stato due altre volte in quella Corte, è quel mezo omnipotente che le apri ad ogni sua voglia le orecchie et il favore del Re, et sarà quella via che le farà sempre ottener il tutto, et che concluderà il parentado fra queste due Corone essendo Igbi favoritissimo di S. Mtà, vice ciamberlano et del consiglio secreto).
I have had note taken of what this Spanish friar said about the affairs of the most serene republic, but nothing has been reported to me except general expressions. Thus from a review of the facts, the conditions prevailing at this Court and the obvious inclinations of the king, your Excellencies will understand how heart sick I am at being obliged to remain buried in this most barren sand without any fruit or advantage.
London, the 17th January, 1618. (fn. 2) [m.v.]
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci.
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
696. GIOVANNI FRANCESCO TREVISAN, Venetian Secretary in Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Four bertons of English pirates recently cast anchor near Leghorn, a cannon shot away, and sent to reconnoitre in the usual way. Some of their captains obtained safe conducts to come to this city to treat with the Grand Duke about his interests, declaring that it will be greatly to his advantage. Arrived here they asked leave to use the port of Leghorn and to expose their stolen goods there, promising gifts and making other large offers. They further declared that there are other ships besides the four which will come here, in whose name they are negotiating. In reply the grand duke seems to have said that he desired three things: firstly, that all the ready money of his property, amounting to a large sum, should be invested in his Highness's state; secondly, they must live in the Catholic manner; thirdly, that they should contribute some increment beyond the ordinary duty, which all their merchandise should pay. With this they left, and it is not known what decision they will take.
All these English pirates are mortal enemies of this king and of the Spaniards from whom they have taken various ships near the Indies with immense booty. They do not know where to find a safe place of repair, and that is why they have come here to arrange something for their advantage.
Florence, the 19th January, 1618. [m.v.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
697. RANIER ZEN, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
With regard to the offer of your Serenity to assist the efforts of the ministers of his Highness in arranging an accommodation of the differences between France and England, since it appears that the English wish it, his Highness said that he would send instructions to Gabaleoni and to France to have a good understanding with the ambassadors of your Serenity so that everything might be done in concert. I have written to France to the Ambassador Contarini to this effect. His Highness told me, however, that some difficulties between his ministers and those of your Serenity on a question of title prevented them from acting together.
Turin the 20th January, 1618. [m.v.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
698. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I only had audience on Wednesday morning to communicate the instructions of your Serenity in letters of the 22nd ult. The President asked me to wait because on Tuesday they had to hear the English ambassador, who was going to present a divine of his nation, sent here by the king to take the place of one of four sent for the synod, whose health was not suited by the climate. (fn. 3)
The Hague the 20th January, 1619.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Nichols in his Progresses of James I, vol. iii, pages 457–464, 499–500, says the Vision of Delight, by Ben Jonson, was performed in 1618 and Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue, by the same author, in 1619. In a note to page 499 he expresses a doubt whether the dates of performance should not be reversed, although he has followed the order in the book, because a character in the Antimasque to the latter refers to the Prince having danced in it for the first time (Ibid, page 510). From the description given by Busino (No. 188 at pages 112–114 above) it is clear that Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue was the masque performed at Twelfth Night in 1618 and we may therefore assume that the Vision of Delight was given in 1619.
2 A copy of part of this letter is preserved in Senato, Secreta, Communicazioni dal Consiglio de' Dieci.
3 Joseph Hall, dean of Worcester, fell sick and was replaced by Dr. Thomas Goade, domestic chaplain of Archbishop Abbot. Goade's coming was announced in a letter of Naunton to Carleton of 29th Dec. 1618, old style. State Papers, Foreign. Holland.