Venice
March 1621, 1-10

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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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584-592

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'Venice: March 1621, 1-10', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 16: 1619-1621 (1910), pp. 584-592. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88781 Date accessed: 18 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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March 1621

March 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
753. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Genevese become more and more suspicious of the duke's evil intentions. They have warned the Bernese, the Marshal and the Most Christian. The Bernese have written to the English resident asking him to make representations to his Highness, although they do not believe the rumours and have confidence in the duke.
Both the duke and the English agent have recommended Captain Tornone to me, asking that even if he cannot have satisfaction, a reply may be given to the letters of the king Palatine and the Duke of Brunswick.
Turin, the 1st March, 1621.
[Italian.]
March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
754. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Aerssens told me in confidence that they were negotiating through the Ambassador Carleton for an alliance between the Duke of Savoy and the States. Prince Maurice seemed well disposed and others also, but there were difficulties, by giving offence to France and other powers, in the duke's instability and the little assistance the States could expect from him. However, the ambassador continued to exert himself.
I will try and find out what is being done, to advise your Serenity.
The Hague, the 2nd March, 1621.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
755. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The two ambassadors of the King of England, who arrived here last week from Germany, will leave for home on Friday. As they received all possible public honours, although they had no letters of credence, they thought they could leave without paying a complimentary visit to the public assembly. They were there asked to recommend to the king the affairs of Germany and the interests of these provinces. They also called here.
The Hague, the 2nd March, 1621.
[Italian.]
March 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
756. To the Secretary SURIAN at the Hague.
Since occupying the Valtelline the Spaniards have greatly increased their forces in the state of Milan, and the ambasssadors of the Grey League, without the consent of the other two leagues, have made an alliance with the Governor of Milan. We wish you to inform their High Mightinesses of these circumstances.
You will give the Viscount de Lormes 100 or 150 ducats so that he may be able to come to this city about the affair of the ships if he wishes.
When you meet the Ambassador Carleton you will thank him for his communication of the most friendly disposition of the King of Great Britain towards our republic, and you will assure him ever of the esteem which we have for him personally.
Ayes, 126.Noes, 12.Neutral, 11.
[Italian.]
March 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
757. To the Ambassador LANDO in England.
The ambassadors of the Grey League alone have made an alliance with the Governor of Milan, to the notable detriment of themselves and the liberty of the Grisons as well as of the whole province of Italy. We send you a copy of the articles, which we desire you to use in order to show the aims of the Spaniards and their intention of cutting off communication between Italy and those realms, and consequently depriving the republic of the assistance of her friends for the defence of her dominions. They have increased their garrisons in the forts they have built in the Valtelline and augmented their army in the state of Milan, not to speak of the conquests made by Spinola in Germany. We do not doubt that all these events will excite in his Majesty's mind reflections worthy of his prudence. You will, as before, use your opportunities to keep these matters under the notice of his Majesty and others. You made a very wise and prudent reply to the Marquis of Buckingham (Porciningher) in your conversation with him about what passed with the Catholic ambassador by his Majesty's order, about the king's assistance to the republic in case of invasion. We shall await the advice of your audience of the king, in order to give such instructions as we may consider necessary.
Ayes, 126.Noes, 12.Neutral, 11.
[Italian.]
March 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
758. GIROLAMO LANDO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Two packets of letters from your Serenity reached me on Saturday, of the 29th January, one about the offers of the Count of Mansfelt, the other upon the vast designs of the Spaniards, with a communication from the Council of Ten, and upon the subject of making use of a certain number of his Majesty's ships, now in the Mediterranean. With regard to the first, I have done what I could, and I understand that the subject has met with a very good reception, except on the question of the cost, which so far as I can gather, has not been sent here by Wake with the exact particulars stated at Turin, but simply as a general incitement to his Majesty, saying that he can obtain great results with a little money. Accordingly I have nothing to add to what I have already written, that they will not meddle with such matters, and if they did think of doing so, they probably would not embrace the proposal of Mansfelt because he has served in Bohemia, for some of these subtle scruples which obtain here, so that they may not give the smallest imaginable appearance to the world that they have either fomented or wish to foment the movements in those parts, against the professions they so clearly make.
On the second point about whether you could obtain a grant as above in case of need, and if I find assurance of being able to do so, to ask for leave, I may say frankly that I can have no such assurance, or even very much hope, matters here being at present very far from indicating such a disposition, as your Excellencies will have gathered from my letters, in which I have so frequently represented their esteem and favour for the Spaniards, the irresolution, the wavering and the variableness here and the subtlety which are employed, I do not believe that the king would give his ships in any manner without first knowing precisely whether they would be employed for offence or merely for defence. He has repeatedly promised to assist the republic if she is attacked. But his Majesty will not listen to any thought of invasion before it has happened, and perhaps even then he will not consider as such the entry of the Naples ships into the Gulf on a single occasion, and he would not readily leave the question to your Serenity alone. The example of the Palatinate may suffice. Long beforehand the king declared that he would defend it, and he allowed it to fall before he armed for its defence, and now we see how he is proceeding for its recovery. When told that the Spaniards would attack he would not believe it, or seemed not to, and when they did attack and it was no longer possible to doubt, he said he would act if they did not make restitution. Either he does not act, or he moves with hesitating steps, mixed with constant retrogressions, and finally he considers the affair desperate and decides to abandon it.
The talk of peace and negotiation agrees only too well with his desire for the marriage. One day he speaks high, another he scarcely dares to open his mouth; between one audience and another one experiences notable changes, and this does not happen to a single minister only, but to all; the Spanish ambassador alone indeed experiences uninterrupted good fortune. Up to the present I have not observed any other manner of proceeding than this upon any occasion; it has already become notorious, admitted by every one, by many with shame. (La voce di pace e di negocio riesce troppo propria per incontrare con il desiderio del matrimonio. Un giorno si parla alto, un' altro non si ossa a pena aprire bocca, da un 'audienza all' altra si trova varietà notabile, ne ad un solo Ministro ciò occorre, ma a tutti; il solo Ambasciatore di Spagna in efetto provando continuamente di buona fortuna. Ne fin hora ho scoperto in tutte l'occasioni altra maniera di procedere che questa, gia fatta voce universale confessata da ogn'uno e da molti con rossore.)
I touched delicately upon this point with a leading minister, of great prudence and a most friendly disposition. He told me clearly that he did not know what he could say to me, and there was no one soever who could give me any assurance. He added: We ministers, even the oldest, can no longer be sure of his Majesty's wishes, not even after he has expressed them. Believe me, Mr. Ambassador, every day we grow more Hispanophile, and our government is become greatly changed. Perhaps, if you made the request, you would receive some specious reply, but afterwards the results would be as God might will. I should advise the republic to devote her attention at present to fomenting the States and to uniting with her neighbours and the princes of Italy, because here she may not obtain what is necessary and what every reason demands.
Time may possibly change the aspect of affairs, but for the present, although there are sometimes rays of light, no great alterations can be expected. I think it right not to suppress this. If you send me absolute orders to prefer the request, I will do so promptly as best I can. Otherwise I shall await a better opportunity and unless I hear to the contrary, I shall embrace it, because sometimes things change in a moment.
This might arise at the present time from the commodity which the parliament affords the king of spending, while it infuses fresh vigour into the spirit and forms not only of speaking but of acting. Possibly the best manner would be to suggest to his Majesty that an emergency might arise so suddenly that there would be no time to apply here for his help, to hear what he says, and then go further or not according to the nature of his remarks. I have found by experience on many occasions that this succeeds better than speaking first to those ministers who enjoy the highest favour, who, I have found, as on several occasions, when they get a hint of any matter of moment which may offend the Spanish ambassador, forewarn him and so spoil the whole affair. Thus more than one prudent minister has warned me that whenever I make a request I should speak to the king first, otherwise it will be cast aside, and also in such manner it may easily be followed by annoyances, but in any case that is the most proper course.
With regard to the ships in the Mediterranean your Serenity will permit me to add that some are royal ships while some belong to merchants. The royal ships were denied to your Excellencies on a previous occasion, when Sir [Henry] Mainwaring brought such hopes (fn. 1) ; it would not become the king's reputation to hire them, and I do not think that they would be sent without payment at his Majesty's expense, especially under the command of representatives of your Serenity. You do not seem to afford me any light upon the way in which you mean me to have them.
Those paid for by merchants will not engage themselves readily for any employment in which the merchants have no interests, such as is the case when they are engaged against pirates, unless it be for the needs of their own kingdom, their king or his family.
Even if permission were obtained and we could negotiate with their agents about hiring I do not think that at the present moment they would want to allow us to defray the expenses of the fleet upon any account since they consider that the honour of the crown is deeply involved in hastening the extirpation of the pirates, who are understood to have become more bold than ever, and because the Lord High Admiral here aims chiefly at using the fleet to bring the Infanta of Spain to these shores, besides the idea that it may serve as a diversion and to transport troops across the sea. The entire number of ships amounts to only twenty under the General Mansfelt, and so the smallest diminution would appear to reduce his strength and reputation. Moreover, as I have so often written, this fleet is going in concert with the Spaniards, and so it would rather appear necessary for them to push the Spaniards forward rather than to give ships to fight against them, and we have also heard the refusal to join with the ships of the States for the same purpose of harassing the pirates.
Those ministers who, as I wrote, suggested to me that his Majesty might help the republic with these ships, meant, so far as I could gather, a succour with the whole fleet, since one of them remarked to me that it would be imprudent to risk the reputation of the King of England with a few ships commanded by captains only. But their remarks rather conveyed their own inclinations, from respect for your Serenity and for other objects, than any real hopes. I must leave the consideration of the matter and what can be done to the prudence of your Excellencies.
London, the 5th March, 1621.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
759. GIROLAMO LANDO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
News from without sounds ill from every direction with the exception of the report of the defeat inflicted by Gabor upon Bucquoi. Your Excellencies will hear from every part, but I must not omit what reaches me from Brussels, that the Spaniards have already divided the dominions of your Serenity, and are talking of attacking Crema, and descending suddenly upon Verona by the Lona, thus cutting off Bergamo and Brescia by preventing help from reaching them.
The news that the emperor has proclaimed the ban against the Palatine (fn. 2) does not seem to have produced a great impression upon the king here, who says that he always thought they would take such a step, and he says the same thing about the hostilities begun by the ecclesiastical electors. Indeed he has not been much stirred by this, in spite of all that the Princes of Germany and the States do to urge him on. Nevertheless the Ambassador Dohna when he asked that the resolutions about the Palatinate might be hastened on and carried into effect, was asked by the favourite marquis what could be done. He replied, the fulfilment of what had been so frequently promised, and that at least they should supply some immediate reinforcements and a certain number of troops to join Vere's 3,000. When asked by what route they could be sent, since the members of the council of war raise so many difficulties; he answered that by arms they could open every way, and without arms no way would be safe. At the end the marquis asked him to put this clearly in writing. What the actual outcome may be does not yet appear, but they have ordered a muster of those registered in the extraordinary list, it is thought to be in order to show how much they can do here at one stroke.
Apparently they have decided to beat the drum and to add a certain number of soldiers to Vere's forces without delay, possibly about five or six thousand men, which will serve for the moment to afford some satisfaction to the people, to those of the parliament and to the instances of the princes abroad. The said ambassador of Bohemia remarked to me that this must not divert them from the idea of the declaration already made, to send 20,000 men for the undertaking of the Palatinate or from a diversion, since the king here is having arms made to furnish 8,000 men and has replied to the letter of the Prince of Orange asking him to have the 12,000 arms ready, which I wrote of before, as the money would be ready for them. However, the wisest believe that all this is rather intended to make an impression by the report of such preparations, and to afford assistance to the negotiations for an agreement and to the embassy they are sending to Brussels, than to engage in anything manfully, although in any case it may be considered commendable and noteworthy, if it be not weakened by fresh appearances of vacillation. But really his Majesty fears the troubles and the burdens of war more than any prince who ever lived, and his real idea is to patch things up as best he may. Accordingly, from the contents of the communications sent me by your Excellencies, with other particulars in despatches the ambassador of Bohemia himself believes that his Majesty will easily be induced to give up some fortress of the Palatinate to make peace, more especially because the emperor has many pretensions upon Opegnain and some other places, as not being really members of the Palatinate. (fn. 3)
Digby is ready to depart any day. The day before yesterday he came to call upon me and met the ambassador of Bohemia. He said very secretly (molto chiuso) that all the affairs of the Spaniards proceed very slowly, and years are required to effect restitution, since that was their fashion. They would restore the Palatinate, but as the ministers frequently do not obey the royal orders, even when repeated, we must not be in a hurry. He was sure he would do nothing at Brussels and that he would be obliged to go to Spain, but he would return here first.
The members of the parliament have decided to grant the two subsidies, I reported, to the king, the first to be collected at the beginning of May and the second at the beginning of November. By this means they hope to win his Majesty over and induce him to afford them every satisfaction. He sent to tell them what I reported. But recently when the representatives of the Assembly went to present their offerings they came away very dissatisfied with the reply to some proposals which were particularly directed against the Catholics. The king thanked them very warmly for the subsidies, saying that he would certainly devote them to anything except his own pleasures, as there were only too many occasions. He offered all reasonable satisfaction to the people, but with regard to the said points he said that he did not consider rigour to be expedient in these days, since it produced no other results than to strike a blow at all those of the religion in other countries. He spoke of the humours already kindled against them in Germany, Bohemia, the Valtelline and France. Many were very ill pleased with this speech, and parliament has gone back to its original attitude, and wavers about with greater bitterness, especially as quarrels and disputes have arisen between some of the peers, (fn. 4) rendering the commotion universal. Amid this his Majesty proceeds with a harshness which may seem excessive and not a little dangerous. If what he said proceeded from his own leaning towards our most holy faith, well and good, but the mischief is that his only object, in the belief of the most prudent, is to facilitate the Spanish marriage and please the Ambassador Gondomar (per il quale discorso malissimo contenti molti il Parlamento è ritornato riverscio come prima, e va fluttuando con acerbità maggiore mentre massime rumori e dispute sono anche nate fra alcuni Baroni, che rendono il moto universale, nelle quali la Maestà Sua procede forse con sovverchio e non poco pericoloso rigore. Se ciò che ella ha proferito, fosse per proprio inclinatione alla santissima religione nostra, ben sarebbe, ma il mal è che non per altro, si crede da più prudenti prononciato, che per facilitare il matrimonio con Spagna e per dar gusto a questo Ambasciatore Gondomar).
In the said parliament they began to discuss the question of the restitution of the Palatinate, and considered that the only real way of effecting it was by a diversion, especially in Flanders, by a good understanding with the States and sending out a strong fleet, with which they could at once assist the Huguenots and do everything to advance the interests of this kingdom, as every one considers it impossible to recover the Palatinate in any other manner. With regard to Bohemia the general feeling is not to speak about it, as his Majesty never wanted to meddle with that affair. But the Secretary Calvert boldly interrupted the proposal, doubtless by the king's command, saying loudly that the consideration and decision of such matters belonged to his Majesty's prerogative and that Assembly had nothing to do with them. Nevertheless they will bring forward the question again, with more ardour, it is thought, in order to convey their opinions to his Majesty at all costs.
The king is again suffering from the gout. He had arranged an audience for me at Theobalds, but it will have to be postponed since he is in bed. He has caused the Council to send a reply to the Ambassadors of the States, as they themselves have told me, showing good intentions upon the requests which they have made, but in general terms, not binding, and asking for greater clearness in their writing, which they themselves claim to be most clear. This all means delay, which seems most inexpedient.
Your Excellencies' letters of the 5th ult. have reached me with the letter of thanks to his Majesty and the paragraph of the Secretary Antelmi, added to the commission to arrange a levy of 1,500 foot. With regard to this, time and matter only permit me to state that the present state of affairs will render it exceptionally difficult. In addition to the king's preparations for arming, the States are also beginning to raise levies and many of their captains and officers are now here for the purpose. I must also add that the note sent to the Secretary Suriano at the Hague has been forwarded to me, but without the most important part, an enclosure being indicated, which is not there, giving the pay of the soldiers now serving Venice, corresponding with that of the Dutch troops under Colonel Roccalaura. As I can do nothing without it, I am compelled to beg you humbly to send me more light, especially about the ships which are to transport the men, so that no time may be lost in writing backwards and forwards. I have also written to the Secretary Suriano asking for the enclosure.
London, the 5th March, 1621.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Padova.
Venetian
Archives.
760. FRANCESCO VENDRAMINO, Proveditore and Captain of Lagnago, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English ambassador arrived here, on his way to Venice by boat. I sent to offer my compliments with a present of sweetmeats and wine. He received my advances very graciously and sent his secretary with his thanks, though he asked that his journey might not be delayed, as he seemed in a great hurry to reach your Serenity.
Lagnago, the 6th March, 1621.
[Italian.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
761. GIROLAMO PRIULI and ANZOLO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
From President Jeannin, appointed to negotiate with the Dutch ambassadors, we gathered that if this realm is quiet, the king will devote all his forces to the affairs of Italy. If they cannot settle with the Huguenots, his Majesty will do what he can. He told us that the Dutch ambassadors had dealt with many things, but never said a word about the truce. He asserted that if the King of England would act in concert with the king here war would certainly break out between the States and the Spaniards. He lamented the lukewarmness of that monarch who had no other object than the marriage with Spain, and that being so, it encouraged all the ambitions of the Catholic. king, either to prolong the truce or to make war, whichever he preferred.
Paris, the 9th March, 1621.
[Italian.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
762. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Although the truce expires a month hence, there is no sign of what they really mean to do. The people would like to see the peace continue, while the soldiers speak in contrary fashion. But they have no assurance of steady assistance from France and England to maintain the war, and their ambassadors have given them no indication of the intentions of the two sovereigns. The civil war in France and the irresolution of England leave little room for hope, although the ambassadors in London have sent word of the 800,000 crowns granted by the parliament, and the promise to maintain the war for the recovery of the Palatinate. But the results may not correspond and meanwhile the Spaniards are fully armed everywhere. Nevertheless this news has greatly consoled the government here and aroused great expectations.
No news has yet come of the arrival at Brussels of the English ambassador Digby, who has gone to claim from the archduke the redemption of the Spaniards' promise to restore the Palatinate. They think here it will all end in talk, or else they will recall Spinola, thus making a show of giving satisfaction, while putting the places taken in the emperor's hands. They wish here that the king would shut his ears against enchantments and decide to throw himself upon Flanders; but they also consider it important not to offend France by such action.
The Hague, the 9th March, 1621.
[Italian.]
March 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
763. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
M. de Bassompierre told me that his king wished to feel sure of the obedience of the Huguenots, in which case he would be very gracious towards them. But he would do nothing against them unless matters were settled with this crown. The King of England would not move for the restoration of the Palatinate except with simple offices and almost prayers. They certainly would not restore the places which the elector's ancestors usurped from others.
Madrid, the 10th March, 1621.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 See the preceding volume of this Calendar, Preface, pages xxix, xxx.
2 The ban was pronounced on the 22nd January, 1621.
3 Oppenheim was anciently an imperial free town, but it had belonged to the Counts Palatine since 1398.
4 Probably an allusion to the dispute about precedence between the Earl of Berkshire and Lord Scrope on the 16/26 February. Journal of the House of Lords, iii. pages 19, 20; there had also been rough words between the lord chancellor and Lord North, because the former did not make the customary reverence on entering the house. Birch: Court and Times of James I, ii. page 232.