Venice
March 1619, 21-31

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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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504-511

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'Venice: March 1619, 21-31', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 15: 1617-1619 (1909), pp. 504-511. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88701 Date accessed: 17 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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March 1619

Mar. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
801. To the Ambassador in England.
We send you a copy of the last exposition of his Majesty's ambassador, and what we said to him about the league with Savoy and the affair of the Princes of the Union. You will communicate our decision about the league to the agent of the Palatine at London so that he may inform his master. With regard to the union with the princes, you will confine yourself to the ideas which we have expressed, as we wish neither to give a direct refusal nor to enter at present into negotiations which might bind us to anything.
We also send you a copy of what our ambassador at Turin writes at the duke's instance, that you are secretly spreading reports that the duke is cooling about the league and in his friendship for us. We have sent a copy of our reply and we are sure that you have given no occasion for such a rumour. We have told you of this not that you may ask anything of the ambassador or other dependant of the duke, but to see whence these reports come and to endeavour tactfully to prevent the dissemination of things prejudicial to our service.
Ayes132.
Noes4.
Neutral6.
[Italian.]
Mar. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
802. That the ambassador of the King of Great Britain be summoned to the Cabinet, and the following be read to him:
After waiting a long time for restitution by the Spaniards, the removal of all causes for mistrust and the fulfilment of the treaty, we find no disposition on their part to do these things, though we have made restitution ourselves, but they are increasing their forces everywhere. We have therefore thought it right to publish our league with the duke of Savoy, made solely for the defence of our states. We also think it due to the friendship and esteem which we have for the King of Great Britain, and to the concern which he has always shown for the interests of this province to assure him that this is simply for defence against a power which desires to upset everything. We feel confident that his Majesty will recognise the necessity and will applaud our decision, which we have instructed our ambassador to communicate. We hope that your Excellency also will lay the matter before his Majesty with your customary prudence, enlightened by your acquaintance with current affairs and your knowledge of our sincerity.
With regard to what you have said about the desire of the Prince Palatine, we know his good disposition towards us, and we thank him. The authority of the King of Great Britain is valued by us and met by our esteem. We will give every consideration to the proposal made to us. With the Prince Palatine and the other princes of the Union we shall not be different from what we have several times affirmed, being joined in heart, soul and will. The proposal is important and involves great consequences, so we cannot decide at once. We value their friendship for us and we shall always wish them the utmost prosperity.
Your Excellency may inform the Prince Palatine of our decision about the Duke of Savoy, to be communicated to the others; we will tell our ambassador to inform the prince's agent in London so that the princes may understand how we are aiming at the general safety. We shall always do our utmost for the preservation of this good understanding with them.
Ayes132.
Noes4.
Neutral6.
[Italian.]
Mar. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
803. To the Ambassador in Savoy.
With regard to what Gabaleoni wrote, that our ambassador in England is secretly spreading reports that the duke is cooling towards us since his alliance with France, we know the prudence of our ambassador and feel sure that he would do nothing prejudicial to the public interests. You must assure his Highness of this. We send you a copy of our letter to England.
Ayes132.
Noes4.
Neutral6.
[Italian.]
Mar. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
804. ANTONIO DONATO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The king will be here in two days on his way back from Newmarket, so I am assured. I shall then be able to speak with him about the ships, and with a certain modest freedom, which he likes, urge him to grant them. Although I have but little hope, owing to the opposition of the ministers, yet I must needs do my duty. At the same time I will communicate the advices of the 15th and 21st ult. and the 1st inst. which I received at the same time. The performances of Sir [Henry] Mainwaring do not correspond to his proposals, and his credit remains lower than his understanding. He can find no private sureties and the royal guarantee has only been given verbally. It would be most uncertain and dangerous to entrust so much capital into the hands of one who has nothing under the sun in these kingdoms and no credit to back him. The Earl of Montgomery and the Lord Chamberlain, whom Mainwaring offered as his sureties will not bind themselves in writing, but only pledge their word of honour. Accordingly the negotiations about his command are broken off, for this reason and because he has no ships. As my instructions stand, if he does not make other proposals to me I can do nothing without fresh orders. In addition to this he is under severe reprobation in the States, upon whom he has inflicted great harm, so that it is impossible for him to obtain their pardon or to fight jointly with them. He certainly told me that he would have a safe conduct from the Spaniards and that Don Diego Sarmiento, the ambassador designate to this kingdom, would bring it with him. This did not please me at all. But captains both valorous and loyal are not lacking and there are strong and powerful ships of private merchants; but that means time and very great expense.
The arming of the royal ships goes on, and only two days ago 120 bronze canons of marvellous fineness were sent to Rochester. But no one knows anything about the sailing of these ships or the plans about them. His Majesty pretends that this preparation will serve not only for his own safety and defence, but to intimidate the Spaniards and prevent them from helping Germany or troubling the princes of Christendom. Nevertheless they have not nominated any commander for the fleet to join the Dutch and harry the coasts of Spain as they said they would, although it would be the best and safest way of benefiting themselves and the whole world. When I inform the king and Canterbury of current affairs I will not fail to urge the claims of your Excellencies to the best of my powers, and so far as my present unfortunate situation allows. But the arrival of the Spanish ambassador, who is expected in a few days, his power in this Court, and the proposals for the marriage, which are pushed on more every moment, always make me despair of good results, and I am always in uncertainty, being unable to rely upon words and promises, since they change here like the winds and as their interests demand.
With your Serenity's letter I have received the documents and the news of the journey to Turin of Sig. Simone Contarini. The pretensions of Savoy augment hourly and become more and more injurious. I conduct myself with Sig. Gabaleoni so that he may recognise either that he has ill grounded and too pretentious instructions, or else that he is abusing the dignity of the office which he occupies.
London, the 21st March, 1619.
[Italian.]
Mar. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
805. ANTONIO DONATO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The commissioners of the States have been to see me and have made the following communication about their affairs, which are of the highest importance to the general welfare. They have negotiated with great patience and skill for two months on end with five of the Council especially deputed by the king, upon the disputes about trade and affairs between the merchants of the two countries. They have at length settled the differences about fishing by a written document, namely the herring fishery near these islands and the whale fishery by Denmark. They have arranged the money differences between the two states and put an end to some private quarrels between individuals. After arranging these things they had long discussions about the most important controversy over the East India trade, where the Dutch possess eighteen strong places and almost all the Molucca Islands. With a great expenditure of blood and treasure they have obtained the exclusive control of the sale of cloves, mace, musk, nuts and pearls. At length they agreed to join the two companies together, share the expenses of war and continue the present trade together in a friendly spirit and share the greater acquisitions. But when they thought that everything was finished and they were going home, amid general satisfaction, such grave difficulties arose that the meeting was broken up. They had informed their masters and now they were only waiting to see the king to beg him to find a remedy or else to kiss his hand and depart. The difficulty was this. The States having opened the way by an immense expenditure and the loss of quite 20,000 of their countrymen, and having gained possession of the trade, claimed to preserve the foremost place and this lead, though they agreed to share the profits and the trade with the English. Thus they wished to retain the command of the strong places and an advantage in the pearl fisheries, granting only one third to the English. The latter demanded half the fortresses and half the pearls and to share the general costs of war and other things. Thus the proposed union of these two valiant nations at sea has fallen through. I have told your Serenity about it as being one of the most important things under negotiation in Christendom, on the happy issue of which much general prosperity depends and which would divert evil from your Excellencies. You must know that with 50 ships of war on each side armed with 300 sailors everyone is agreed that the coming and going of the Spanish fleets would be rendered for ever impossible. The commissioners declare that if this agreement takes place, all the Spanish ambitions in other parts will be rendered vain and this diversion would heal all other sores.
The king is expected. His Majesty's feeling in the matter is very temperate. The prudence of the Dutch is remarkable and common interests are very extensive. God grant that some way may be found. The affair remains in the condition I have reported; your Excellencies must forgive these few lines as the healing of the present evils depends upon the outcome.
News from Spain states that they are slackening their naval preparations, and they are only preparing twelve ships to send to the Strait for the purpose of sending them to join the fleet of Naples. Their intentions, as published everywhere, are to traverse the Gulf and succour the Emperor unless peace with the Bohemians takes place before, as is greatly feared. The courier sent to the Catholic Court upon the affairs of your Serenity, has not yet returned.
A son of the ambassador of Savoy has arrived here bringing word of a reconciliation between the two crowns. The Most Christian has agreed to nominate an ambassador first and has appointed M. de Lieter (fn. 1) to be ordinary ambassador here. He will arrive next month. This agreement has been hastened on by the troubles of France, which are represented, on excellent authority, to be very serious. The Huguenots of the kingdom are irresolute about a declaration, the banished queen is daily finding fresh favour and followers, the king has not a penny while everyone complains that the government is in the hands of foreigners. All the people are anxious for the return of the old queen to the head of affairs. She has written to the king and to the Prince of Piedmont deploring an appeal to arms, while she is preparing her own. The king has issued forth from Paris and set out for Tours with 12 guns, 10,000 foot and 2,000 horse, seeming determined to decide the issue by force. The whole business, the king's safety and the peace of the kingdom are said by all wise men to depend upon the liberty of Condé and by associating with the young king a native prince of the royal blood enjoying great popularity. Your Serenity will have received all this before from the spot, with further particulars.
London, the 21st March, 1619.
[Italian.]
Mar. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
806. RANIER ZEN, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
His Highness sent for Gabaleoni's letters from England of the 22nd ult. and ordered them to be read. They contained various news which you will have heard, but what struck his Highness most was this. The Spaniards had asked the king to arrange a settlement between the Bohemians and the emperor by sending a special ambassador. They had chosen Lord Hay for this, one of the leading nobles of the court, who was to set out at the earliest opportuntiy. There being a rumour of the Emperor's death, he had powers to treat with the electors of the Empire in such case. However, Gabaleoni said he had been told that the king could not well do less, but Lord Hay had orders to be on his guard, and if things settled themselves to let be, but otherwise to support the Bohemians, so he surmised the mission was more for this than for an accomodation. Commenting upon this his Highness said they must not be allowed to succumb, as in such case all the stress would fall upon us. I asked who the French minister might be who was to unite with the English representative. The duke said, possibly Nevers, but Crotti promised to enquire.
The Count of Mansfeld stood spurred all ready to depart, but before he left, the duke wished to show him the news from England.
Turin, the 21st March, 1619.
[Italian.]
Mar. 22.
Collegio,
Secrets.
Lettere.
Venetian
Archives.
807. To the Ambassador in England.
When we sent for his Majesty's ambassador to read to him the office of which we advised you, we learned that he was at Padua, remaining there possibly until after the feast. (fn. 2) We have therefore thought fit to advise you of the delay in performing this office with him for your information but not to stay the execution of the duties committed to you.
Ayes22.
Noes0.
Neutral0.
[Italian.]
Mar. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
808. RANIER ZEN, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The duke sent for letters of Gabaleoni of the 27th ult. in which he states that Donato goes about saying that his Highness will not sign the league now he has the French alliance, and he wishes to keep in with the Spaniards also. He said it to Wake and others, including, he thought, the king himself. The duke grew warm and said: I am not a Spaniard. You know the reasons for delay. I think this is going too far. He produced another letter in which Gabaleoni said Donato had called upon him, and he had told him what was said by Wake and others. Donato could not deny that he had said it to Wake, but not to others or to the king. I tried to sooth the duke, seeing him so much angered, assuring him of the affection of your Serenity.
Turin, the 26th March, 1619.
[Italian.]
Mar. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
809. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The arming of ships in this kingdom has been suspended. I hear that orders have been sent to Seville to sell everything, and I have been assured that up to now the king has spent two millions of gold on this fleet. No one knew its destination, though all said it was for Algiers and so they told the King of England when he urged them to tell him the reason for such extensive preparations, so that he might reassure his friends, who were much alarmed. Fresh orders to make renewed representations reached the English resident here only recently. Although the English king has strongly pressed them to allow him to join the fleet which he is now preparing against the pirates, with the Spanish fleet, in order to make the more sure of destroying them, they will not consent here and simply promise to write to their commanders directing them to have a good understanding with the English and render them every assistance. They have sent similarly to their ports telling them to receive the English fleet and treat it well if it arrives there.
They are not pleased to hear of the English king joining his ships to those of Holland and they would much prefer that everyone should embark upon this undertaking for himself.
Don Diego Sarmiento has been sent to Germany to offer condolences upon the death of the empress. He will then proceed to England to carry on the negotiations for the marriage of the prince. These negotiations will be pressed the more as they wish to divert the king's attention from the affairs of the Bohemians.
Madrid, the 27th March, 1619.
[Italian.]
Mar. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
810. ANTONIO DONATO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
For six days the king has kept his bed with the gout, and has had himself taken to Theobalds, where he stays without coming to London. Nevertheless the Ambassador of Savoy has been to see his Majesty, and after informing him of the appointment of an ambassador by the Most Christian king, obtained an exchange from this side, thus bringing about a complete reconciliation between the two crowns, to the great glory and satisfaction of this ambassador, who has to-day sent an express courier about it to his prince and to Turin.
I enclose a letter to your Serenity from one of the owners of the ships in your service. I may add that so great is the excitement and feeling among them, that in addition to continually threatening Burlamachi, who acts as surety for the republic, and who ought not reasonably to be allowed to suffer, they further cast discredit upon the name of the most serene republic and declare that they wish to leave her service immediately for the reasons which your Excellencies will see in the letter of Rycaut. I will speak to them after the holy days are past in the way I judge to be best. But arguments and questions of state (politica) have no weight with merchants, so I fear that their interests may prevail over honour and faith itself. Your Excellencies must consider what prejudice such an event would cause you. May God release your Serenity for ever from these necessarily excessive expenses and from the protection of such uncertain defenders.
London, the 28th March, 1619.
[Italian.]
Enclosed in
the preceding
despatch.
811. Letter of Piero Rychaett to Antonio Donato, Ambassador of Venice.
Your Excellency must be aware that the ship Centurion, Captain Richard Borne, was hired by me for Piero Contarini your predecessor, for the service of the republic upon conditions which you must know. Contarini undertook to pay us at Venice in current money. He assured us that the benefit of the exchange would decline from the rate then current, which was 6 to 7 per cent., but instead it increased to 9 per cent. This not only deprives us of all profit but makes inroads into our capital owing to the expenses in fitting out the ships. We believed that the republic would treat us with all liberality, but this has not proved to be the case as in addition to the loss on the exchange there is a great delay in the payments. By the contract these ought to be made a month in advance, but we only get them three or four months late. The first two months, involving 2,840l. have never been paid, upon the pretext that Captain Richard Borne received the money in the fleet, though he has never received a penny. The contract provided that the money should be paid in Venice to my agent. The captain writes that neither he nor any of the officers has received a penny from St. Mark. The general has at different times promised that he should be satisfied at Venice, but hitherto nothing has happened. I beg your Excellency to give me a letter for the General of the fleet, asking him to send such an assurance to Venice and give it to Captain Borne, so that these two months may be paid. I ask you to write to request that in future the payments may be made according to the contracts and that the exchange may be fixed at what it was when they were signed. It does not seem decent for a great republic to make such changes in her money in so short a time, while maintaining so many foreign troops and ships in her service. If nothing is done to remedy these grievances I shall be compelled to have recourse to his Majesty and to order the captains of the ships to leave the service and return home, it being only just that the contracts should be observed.
London, the 16th March, English Style.
[Italian.]
Mar. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
812. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English agent has recently received instructions to renew his representations for the restitution of our property and ships by Ossuna. He has hitherto delayed the execution of these orders because he is waiting to see the result of the recent directions sent to Ossuna. I shall now urge him to speak to the king and ministers.
Madrid, the 30th March, 1619.
[Italian.]
Mar. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
813. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The day before yesterday I saw the English ambassador to offer my condolences upon the death of the queen. He told me that the day before he had received letters from the Marquis of Buckingham, directing him, by the king's express command, to exert himself in all affairs which might serve the most serene republic. These instructions were permanent. He told me what he had written to the marquis on the subject, saying that it rested with your Serenity to decide what would be best, and if you decided upon a closer union with these States, he would render every assistance. He said it was not easy to make public statements here, but one could approach individual members of the assembly. I thanked him for this fresh evidence of friendliness and assured him that your Excellencies returned this feeling. I told him I expected the States would communicate their ideas to me and I could not say more.
The Hague, the 31st March, 1619.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Tillières. See No. 795 at page 501 above.
2 Easter, on 31st March in this year. Wotton went to Padua for his health, as he was suffering from "a kind of sciatical defluxion." He was back in Venice by April 22nd. Mr. Pearsall Smith's Life and Letters of Sir Henry Wotton, ii. page 166.