Venice
December 1620, 18-31

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1910

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499-507

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'Venice: December 1620, 18-31', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 16: 1619-1621 (1910), pp. 499-507. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88775 Date accessed: 23 September 2014.


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December 1620

Dec. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
657. GEROLAMO PRIULI and ANZOLO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I, Priuli, went to return the English ambassador's visit. He told me that the Catholic ambassador here had called upon him, who had told him that his king would restore the Valtelline, that he did not desire the possessions of others, and would make peace if Bohemia were restored to the Emperor. He accordingly invited the English ambassador to make representations to his master to this effect, because it would be for the advantage of the whole world.
Paris, the 18th December, 1620.
[Italian.]
Dec. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
658. GIROLAMO LANDO, Venetian Ambasssador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The news of the disaster to the new king is confirmed from various sources, and increases the shame and passion in this quarter. However, letters have not yet arrived from the king himself or from any of his Majesty's ministers on the spot. Reports have certainly come of the interception and murder of couriers. While the main facts are accepted as only too true, there is great diversity over the details, even on the point of the place where the wife and children have taken refuge. Some say Silesia, some Moravia and some Hungary. There is also a rumour, though doubtless false and utterly groundless that the Hungarians have recovered Prague and driven off the enemy, but all men are perfectly ready to believe what they desire.
Letters have come from the United Princes, besides those already reported from the Duke of Deuxponts, making the most urgent requests for effective action. Moreover the Ambassador Caron has received instructions from the Hague to speak very warmly to his Majesty, this being no longer a time for reserve but one in which every one should clearly state his real opinions to his friends and allies so that they may provide for their own emergencies. It is thought that they will receive a completely satisfactory reply since the king seems constantly more and more inclined to devote his mind to a question that touches him nearly in so many respects.
30,000l. equivalent to 120,000 crowns are ready to be remitted immediately to the United Princes by means of the fair of Presburgh or Strasburg. They are zealously endeavouring to gather in the remainder of what they intended, but the collection is rendered difficult through the preoccupation of everyone in the near approach of a parliament, which should meet some six weeks hence and will probably lay an obligation upon all and with the aim of compelling his Majesty in such fashion to humour his people in the decisions of the parliament and especially in loosing himself from his confidential relations with Spain and from the marriage negotiations, which is the special objection of the generality. Not a few even conceive the idea of recalling all the English merchants in Spain, who are very numerous and who are considered the trumpters and gulls for many things prejudicial, although they also bring notable advantages to this country. But success in this matter would not prove easy, (il resto di quanto si disegnava, con ardore si procura di raccorre, ma con difficultà si riscuote arrestito ogn_ uno nel procinto del Parlamento, che dovera ridursi di qua a 6 settimane e che doverà addossare obligo a tutti e nella mira di necessitare Sua Maestà di tal modo a compiacere il Regno nelle risolutioni d'esso Parlamento e nel disbracciarsi principalmente dalla confidenza e dal negocio di matrimonio con Spagnoli a che in specialità l'universale mira; come Ron pochi hanno fino in animo di richiamare tutti li mercanti Inglesi di Spagna, che sono in grande numero, e che vengono stimati li trombetti c li scemi di molti pregiudicii se bene apportano anco notabili commodi a questi Paesi. Ma il punto non è di facile riuscità).
Sir Robert Murton (fn. 1) has not yet started, who was selected as early as last week to proceed to Germany, where he has been employed before, to hearten the Princes of the Union in his Majesty's name. He has received his despatches from the Secretary Naunton and been to Court to take leave and receive verbal instructions as well from the king, who recently wrote two letters with his own hand to the said secretary, expressing his feelings clearly and stating his decision to employ all his power in the present emergencies, directing him to send the aforesaid knight and to write letters to the princes of the same tenor, exhorting them earnestly not to lose heart but to stand firm in the defence of their own dominions and the Palatinate, for which he will put on both dry and green wood, such are his very words, not only to heal their hurt but by diversion and invasion as well. They may rely upon him and as a start he sends them money at once, to be followed, from time to time, to the best of his ability; and after Christmas he will send 80,000l. of the loan promised by Denmark, recently augmented to that sum from 25,000l.
All this I have succeeded in discovering although for many reasons by no means blameworthy, it has been kept most secret, as I remarked in my last. All depends upon whether this succour may not prove unseasonable after the conflagration and whether time, Spanish artifices and other things may not damp down this ardour, which they try to quench by such reports as I have mentioned above. Although none of such reasons can be anything but unreasonable, yet I have misgivings, as it seems to me that Murton is lingering too long at the Court, whither all the leading Spanish partisans have hastened, to delay if not to stop his departure, to withhold if possible the king's hand from signing anything and by the water of their sagacity to quench his Majesty's fire.
On Thursday in next week his Majesty should reach the city, travelling to Theobalds, if the gout, of which he has a slight touch, allows him. He will have a great deal to do then both upon home and upon foreign affairs.
London, the 18th December, 1620.
[Italian.]
Dec. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
659. GIROLAMO LANDO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Spanish ambassador professes to have been warned one night recently from several quarters of a plot concocted by the people here to murder him and his all together in their own house. He sent with a show of shivering fear to notify this to some of the Lords of the Council. All that night he remained on guard with his friends, dressed and with arms in their hands, while for two days and two nights the Lords of the Council gave him special protection by a large number of officers. Finally the latter, in order to bridle the many by punishing some, asked him to tell them who had brought the report. He said that one of the conspirators had revealed the plot, but would not name any one. Accordingly they have removed all the guards and have written to his Majesty saying that they do not consider it is becoming for the realm to show any further that this nation is so barbarous that even ambassadors cannot live safely in this city. (fn. 2) The whole business is ascribed to a trick of the ambassador. There are much discussion and many suspicions. Some think that under this pretext he may depart from this Court; so that he wishes me to render himself more secure and make the people more odious in the king's eyes and so strike a blow at the meeting of the Parliament when he can remain armed with his followers, and to give a greater show of reason to the reports of internal disturbances in this country. It is certainly true that from this time forward he has experienced great difficulty in passing through the streets. The other day when he went to visit the French ambassador, he returned to his quarters, amid the insults of the populace. One of his followers who let slip some expressions of rejoicing in a tavern here about the emperor's success, was thrown upon a large fire by some cavaliers, and trampled upon, being reduced to a sorry plight. In this connection one of the leading ministers told me that the Spanish ambassador has taken leave of your Excellencies, not to return home on private affairs, as he professed, but that he has left in dudgeon because his confessor was not allowed to exercise the privilege granted to him by the nuncio, of confessing others besides those of the ambassador's household.
His Majesty's ambassador reports from France that the Prince of Condé assured him that the French king would not interfere to negotiate peace or to prolong the truce between the States and the Spaniards. He would no nothing which could advance the good fortune of the latter, which has risen so high that not only good Frenchmen, but others also confess that it must excite misgivings. The Spaniards in every direction even in this season, beat the drum and press on their preparations with vigour to maintain the speed of their progress in a road that seems to have been so well prepared for that monarchy, whose star appears to be in the ascendant. Nevertheless many prudent ministers here continue to believe that the French in conjunction with the Spaniards will not act for the real benefit of themselves or of Italy in the affairs of the Valtelline, but will merely see that the forts are dismantled and at most that the pass remains free to all the Catholic princes and for Catholic troops, but not to those of another faith.
The Ambassador Carleton sends word from the Hague that he has faithfully made to their High Mightinesses the offices committed to him to induce them to give ear to the instances of your Excellencies. They received them most graciously as well as other offices performed in favour of the Elector of Brandenburg; accordingly they anticipate the best results.
The merchants of the companies of the East Indies here are much exercised in mind lest the intentions of the Spaniards in those parts be carried out to the detriment of themselves and the Dutch. Accordingly they have sent a mission to Amsterdam, under the ægis of the royal authority to negotiate with the Dutch for the purpose of settling their differences and conflicting claims, and so put themselves in a condition to fear nothing from a third party. (fn. 3)
London, the 18th December, 1620.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
660. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The reply given to the English ambassador upon the affair [of the Valtelline] was very brief. They told him that they did not claim or desire the possessions of others, but simply wished for the settlement of these disputes, which, in the interests of religion they neither could not would abandon.
Madrid, the 20th December. 1620.
[Italian.]
Dec. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
661. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The confessor of the Count of Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador in England, arrived here recently. He is the one who in the ambassador's absence remains as resident at that Court. (fn. 4) He has come upon the business of the marriage of the prince there to the infanta here, and they say that he may proceed on the same errand to Rome, since the arrangement of the matter seems in good train. The English ambassador here told me the other day that the negotiations were very advanced. In spite of all this many consider that it is all a show that they keep up here as long as they can for the sake of other objects and purposes, which are, moreover, well known in England, although it suits the king there to pretend to ignore them, for other reasons of his own (con tutto ciò da molti si tiene esser tutte queste apparenze, che qui si sostentano quanto più possano, per altri fini et dissegni. et che anco ben sono conosciuti in Inghilterra ma che giovi a quel Re di dissimularle per altri suoi rispetti).
Madrid, the 20th December, 1620.
[Italian.]
Dec. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
662. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I spoke to the duke about the events of Bohemia, showing how the successes of the house of Austria increased the pride of the Spaniards. I told him that the republic would play her part with vigour, opposing those who try to harm this province. I remarked how helpful it would be to stir France, and England to action, with a good understanding among the princes of the provinces.
The duke heard me attentively, asking for particulars about Bohemia. He thought the desires of the Spaniards increased with their prosperity, and their designs were all directed against this province. They did everything to render your Excellencies odious. He would do what he could, but had not the necessary strength. He proceeded to say that to have France and England in alliance would prove the general salvation. He had done his utmost to stir them up, but your Serenity would have greater influence with those kings, as he had none in England, and in France only through Lesdiguières.
He continued volubly, that the declaration of the King of Great Britain showed a mind utterly alien to war; his fears and the desire of a marriage with Spain, make him commit unworthy actions. He feared there would be an accommodation in Germany, with the restoration of Bohemia, and of the Palatinate, while the truce with the Dutch would be confirmed, leaving the whole Spanish power free to fall upon Italy. They ought not to join with heretics, but were compelled by necessity. Your Excellencies had a league with the States and might make one with the King of Great Britain. The agent here had mooted the point to him.
The French king was opposed to the Spaniards, but there was this affair of the Hugenots, and for the time being they could expect nothing except representations about the Valtelline.
He said that he would not fail to make representations both in France and England, but it was necessary that your Excellencies should approach the King of Great Britain, as he had no influence in that quarter.
He spoke of Parma, Modena, Urbino and the Grand Duke. He did not say much about the pope except that he could not enter a league with the King of England, but for the sake of liberty he ought not to stand a part from the others, but France and England, if they would, could satisfy every need.
Turin, the 21st December, 1620.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archivos.
663. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They think that the ambassadors will leave about the middle of next month and not earlier. They decided on Saturday to inform M. Maurier the French ambassador and M. Carleton the English of their election and mission, but the communication has not so far been made to either.
M. de Langerach writes from Paris that the king is going to Calais and will send Cadenet the brother of Luynes thence to the King of Great Britain. He does not say why, and their High Mightinesses suspect that it is to perform some office prejudicial to the interests of the King of Bohemia. His Excellency said as much to me.
They are awaiting news from England with curiosity here, but they fear that they will be the same as on previous occasions, irresolute and of no service to the King of Bohemia.
The Hague, the 22nd December, 1620.
[Italian.]
Dec. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
664. ALMORO NANI and ZORZI GIUSTINIAN, Venetian Ambassadors in Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ambassador of Slesia is dead. The English ambassador attended the funeral, standing between the ambassadors of Hungary and Bohemia. The Pasha remarked on the absence of the Venetian Bailo.
Six or seven Englishmen have arrived here with some slaves, who have abandoned the service of Poland to enter that of the Schender Pasha. They have been placed in the Company of the Colonel of the French here.
The Vigne of Pera, the 26th December, 1620.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
665. GEROLAMO PRIULI and ANZOLO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
We have been to call upon M. de Bassompierre, who expects to be appointed ambassador extraordinary to Spain. He told us in confidence that they proposed to make a levy of the Swiss and to arm Lesdiguières so that the King of Spain may see that if he does not restore the Valtelline the necessary measures will be taken in this kingdom. He thought such a levy would benefit the kingdom quite remarkably, as since the Huguenots at the present moment are receiving no encouragement either from England or from Germany, they would be alarmed by such warlike preparations, and would not disturb the country by their movements.
Paris, the 28th December, 1620.
[Italian.]
Dec. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
666. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I passed the office with the agent of England which your Serenity commanded. He received it with great pleasure and I supported his disposition towards vigour in the matter. He told me that he wanted to send to England before the diet of the Union was held in January, but as he had no definite proposals he did not know what to do. He spoke strongly about the danger of the growth of the Spaniards, and the necessity that everyone should play his part. He said he knew that the republic could not deal with many things, but the Duke of Savoy ought to act vigorously for liberty, showing that he placed no great reliance upon his Highness. He did not feel sure that the Marshal Lesdiguières would resist the temptation of such a high office as that of Constable. He told me that if they were sure of him he thought he could induce his king, the States and some others to pay him for 4,000 or 5,000 men for each of those powers, and thus harass the Spaniards on that side. He said that the generous decisions of his king about the Palatinate would soon appear. He feared that France and Spain were moving together for the ruin of all, and spoke with great anxiety about the Huguenots. He said that the Bernese and Zurichers had recalled their troops from the Grisons as no further good could be expected there.
Turin, the 29th December, 1620.
[Italian.]
Dec. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
667. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
There is nothing much to report from Germany, except the hopes of the Palatine from Moravia and Silesia. The letters of M. Caron, ambassador in England, bring the exact contrary of what they desire, and possibly this will make them hurry forward still more the sending of the embassy to those parts.
The Hague, the 29th December, 1620.
[Italian.]
Dec. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
668. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
With regard to the pay of the colonels; I find that three or four have 300 florins a month, others 400. Sir Horace Vere has as much as 700 but he is English. Cecil has 600 as the foreigners are better paid. As for the levies I find that the English and Scotch receive 9 florins and sometimes 8 a head, or even 6; the Walloons and Germans 5 and the men of the country 3. I think they have to pay more to men taken far away, as was the case with the other levies for your Serenity.
The Viscount de Lormes writes from Sedan that he has been made prisoner by the Duke of Bouillon. He does not say why, but asks me to assist in his release. Those with him ask for money to continue the journey. I know not what to decide.
The Hague, the 29th December, 1620.
[Italian.]
Dec. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
669. To the Secretary at Zurich.
Our ambassadors at Paris have sent us word of their representation upon the affair of the Grisons and the reply received from the king. We direct you to inform the lords of Zurich and Berne that our ambassadors have been to the king, who assured them of his good will towards the republic and has rendered them great honours. Puisieux told them that the king had decided to send an ambassador extraordinary to Spain for the return of the Valtelline to its pristine estate, and to assert that if this were not effected speedily, he would join with other parties interested in the matter. He said that the king would send another ambassador at the Grisons to bring about a reconciliation among the people there. You will tell them that the republic has decided to send a courier to France to thank his Majesty, and that for the Grisons we have repeated to you our instructions for friendly offices in favour of peace. You will urge them to action, telling them that the Spaniards make steady progress in the Grisons, and the Grey league is even thinking of breaking off from the other two and joining the Catholic cantons, that is to say, make themselves utterly Spanish. It is therefore the more necessary to insist upon speedy remedies and strong representations, for which the new acquisitions of the Imperialists in Moravia and the positions held by Spinola in the Palatinate provide fresh arguments.
The like to England and the Hague, adding:
You will say that we wished to communicate the above to his Majesty as a sign of continued confidence and because he may arrange some remedy with the necessary means, in this serious business in which he also has so great a share, owing to the oppression of peoples always friendly to the common welfare and to the predominance of the Spaniards.
To England alone add the following:
We send you a copy of the course of events, showing the overthrow of the Grisons and the progress of the Spaniards. You will use it as the circumstances demand so that if his Majesty concurs in the declaration of the Most Christian king, he may not delay in making strong representations to Spain and pass on towards declarations and acts, to which his Majesty is called by every reason of interest and dignity.
Ayes, 146.Noes, 0.Neutral, 10.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Sir Albert Morton, Wotton's nephew.
2 There is an entry in Camden's Annals for 3rd December: "The rabble are in an uproar against the servants of the Spanish Ambassador for uttering some words which escaped from the Spaniard concerning the King of Bohemia's being routed; insomuch that the Chancellor commanded 300 men to keep guard all night about the Ambassador's house, under the command of Lewis Lewknor and Henry Spiller."—Kennet: Hist. of Eng. ii. page 655. See also Cal. S. P. Dom., 1619–1623, p. 197, No. 3, and p. 198, No. 18.
3 The envoys were Sir Dudley Digges and Maurice Abbot. See No. 640 at page 487 above.
4 Diego Lafuente, called Father Maestro in England.