Venice
March 1623, 1-14

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1911

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574-591

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'Venice: March 1623, 1-14', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 17: 1621-1623 (1911), pp. 574-591. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88853 Date accessed: 28 August 2014.


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March 1623

March 1,
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
780. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Apparently they are beginning to recognise the insincerity of Bavaria. Puisieux remarked to me that they might either confirm Bavaria or reinstate the Palatine, indicating that it was harmful to leave that state in the hands of the Spaniards.
I insisted on the need for union, for rousing England and getting him to work in the Palatinate while France acted for the Valtelline, when both would have an easy task. He replied that it was impossible to reckon upon the English king, but this business of Bavaria is of great importance.
Paris, the 1st March, 1623.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
781. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
As regards Germany some here are of opinion that the emperor should govern absolutely, and so should the Kings of France, Spain and England rule. They want to bring the French to civil war and prevent them from helping rebels, to wit, the States.
Paris, the 1st March, 1623.
[Italian.]
March 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
782. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I send your Serenity news which seems incredible and to tell the truth I thought it so when first informed by a great noble, but it is undoubtedly true. The prince accompanied by the Marquis of Buckingham and a single servant left post yesterday morning and crossing the sea are proceeding in the direction of Spain. A few hours before they left Cottington and Porter had orders to await them and join them on their journey. All the other courtiers have been severely prohibited from following him. The author of this journey is the king, who may have desired his son to follow his example in going to Denmark to take his wife, though the circumstances are very different as is only too apparent. The business was contrived very secretly without the Spanish ambassador himself being told or knowing anything about it. Perhaps it is not even known in Spain, and will be news to everyone except Gondomar. The consequences of such a great and remarkable step can hardly be gauged in so short a time and so little space. Your Serenity's prudence will understand it thoroughly. God grant that this action be not the seal of the worst that can happen. One may say that England is now in the hand of Spain. I have thought it necessary to send this important news post, without considering the expense, and as the sending of couriers has been suspended and a passage may be refused to everyone, I have decided to avail myself of the good will of a gentleman of Friuli, who served Cavalier Lando and whom I now have in my house. The French ambassador has also sent in this way. I hope my despatch may encounter no other hindrance.
London, the 1st March, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
783. To the Proveditore of the Fleet.
The Proveditore of Zante writes to us about two ships that went to take grain, candles and other things from Dragomestre and take them to Leghorn. He stopped this and induced them to lade raisins. It would prejudice us greatly if this grain were taken abroad, as it has always served for the needs of our islands, without counting the damage to our interests by the presence of such vessels in those parts under this pretext. You will keep yourself informed about such ships and try to make things so uncomfortable for them that they will leave; but you must act with caution and tact in order not to give offence to the Turks.
Ayes, 101.Noes, 0.Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
784. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have heard that the King of Great Britain fears that if the Spaniards are pressed about the Valtelline, they may give satisfaction, and in that case the recovery of the Palatinate will become more difficult; accordingly he would like to unite both affairs together, and this gives rise to the idea of simultaneous embassies to Spain, England and the States. I have remarked to the gentlemen here upon the necessity for union in action.
Paris, the 2nd March, 1623.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
785. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
From my preceding letter your Serenity has learned the strange, unexampled and incredible, although undoubted proceeding of the prince here in going unexpectedly by post to Spain. The stupor which at first filled the minds of everyone has changed to universal mourning. The secrecy was so necessary that if anyone had told been for advice or anything else, it would never have taken place, as everyone would certainly have opposed it strongly even with remonstrances. Yet some things foreshadowed this step and the dismissing of the nobles, which I remarked upon as mysterious, perhaps had this in view. There is no intelligence sufficient to penetrate to the bottom of the matter, moreover time has been too short. The outcome lies in God's hand, but in reason it can hardly fail to be bad. If the journey proceeded solely from this side the inconsequence is too patent, and if it was concerted with Spain one does not see the advantage of the prince's presence, granted that they had already decided upon the marriage. If they think to force the hand of the Spaniards in order not to give so great an affront as a refusal to the prince in person, it is a blind desire and a perilous counsel of doubtful success. Meanwhile the Spaniards will have the only prince, the sole heir of three kingdoms, and with him they will hold the reins of all negotiations.
All the sea passages have been strictly closed up to the present, so that he might go more incognito to avoid danger and for various other reasons.
Here in the kingdom the prince and the marquis travelled masked, not without risk owing to the suspicion excited by so unwonted a manner. If they keep it up in France they will incur great danger, so I understand. The French ambassador has done everything in his power to get the news through, for many reasons. Here they are hastily preparing the ships, which are to set out on their journey at the earliest opportunity. One of them will start very soon with the things necessary. (fn. 1)
The king is expected to issue a manifesto explaining his reasons for the step, according to his custom upon other occasions, to quiet the people. The Spanish ambassador seems greatly annoyed because they never gave him the slightest inkling. By a resolution taken before the departure of the marquis, as it were in anticipation of this journey, a cavalier named Bret, to whom the king showed signs of favour, had orders to leave the realm and go to France.
The king has deputed the favourite, the Earl of Arundel, the lord chamberlain and two bishops to hear the grievances of the people. (fn. 2) This appointment is a mere show, as it is clearly improper for the marquis to hear those grievances of which he may be called the principal author.
The ambassador Broscot of Brussels arrived yesterday. The master of the ceremonies, as usual, went to meet him and fetch him hither. A gentleman of title offered compliments in the king's name at the landing of the household. In short he was recognised and received as ambassador, although, to the common eye, it is not easy to see how he can sustain that title seeing that the Infanta lacks authority and is nothing more than a princess. He is lodging at the Spanish embassy. I understand that he brings proposals for an armistice in the Palatinate and for the placing of Frankendal in the hands of the Infanta, in order to encourage their usual hopes here and at the same time thwart Bavaria. Some think also that he will touch upon the question of a general peace, or at least one between Spain and the Dutch. He will go to Newmarket to set forth his mission, whither the king has desired him to proceed, for his own gratification, with little apparent honour to the ambassador and to the inconvenience of practically the whole Court, while it will certainly be very difficult to discover about the negotiations.
In conformity with the usual custom I presented my compliments to welcome this ambassador. To avoid any dispute about titles I imitated what the Spanish ambassador did at my arrival, and without sending any person of my household, availed myself of the master of the ceremonies, offering the very reasonable excuse that I did not know what else I could do with the guest seeing that I had never met the host. The ambassador accepted the excuse and made a very hearty response to my office, adding that he would willingly see me and treat me as I treated him. The Spanish ambassador was present at this office and the reply and sent me word that he was most anxious that the impediments which prevented us from exchanging visits might be removed somehow. Meanwhile if I called him Excellency he would address me in the third person, which would not prejudice my claims, but in any case as the Ambassador Broscot was lodged in a separate apartment he hoped this would not prevent my visit. I replied that the reasons for my accepting the third person would also apply to him, and nothing then need hinder our intercourse. As soon as I heard his decision I would act.
The Ambassador Wotton has received full freedom either to go or to stay. I hear that as an assignment has been made to him for his appointments he will stay if he receives it, and in any case he will not leave before Michaelmas.
By the king's order they restored to the Jesuit Fiserio everything taken from him, even to the hostia of the mass. Colonel Cecil, son of the Earl of Exeter, has been to me to offer his services to your Serenity. He has served in the highest appointments in the States, and still does. He belongs to a great house, and I believe him excellently disposed. I only answered him with general expressions of thanks.
London, the 3rd March, 1623.
Postscript.—It reaches me now that they are very doubtful whether the prince may not have been recognised in France, with some fear whether he might not, under some pretext, be arrested, by order of the Most Christian, who certainly is most interested on every account in preventing this journey, especially if he really means to take up the affair of the Valtelline.
Doncaster leaves to-morrow. I hear that he has instructions to offer excuses to the King of France for this unprecedented journey and perhaps to make him believe that it merely arose from a youthful caprice of the prince, and in case any mischance has occurred to perform the necessary offices. We shall be daily expecting new events, and those who know most anticipate the worst results.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
786. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I had audience of the king after the nuncio, speaking about the nogotiations at Rome and urging that the league alone would effect what was needed. In order to arouse him I pointed out how the Spaniards are surrounding France and Italy with their states and threaten to become masters of all Europe. The king said impetuously: I do not want that and shall certainly prevent it. I remarked upon the affairs of Germany and in order to kindle his heat still further, referred somewhat contemptuously to England. Although the king is not usually patient of long negotiations he listened to me attentively.
Paris, the 5th March, 1623.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
787. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Your Serenity has already heard of what they say here about Bavaria and the Palatinate. It is thought that so far the emperor has used his authority for the purpose of satisfying Bavaria to all appearance, but that at bottom he intends to satisfy the Spaniards about the Palatine, though on very hard terms, such as restoring him to his state, but leaving the best fortresses in the custody of the Spaniards, introducing the Catholic religion altogether or for the greater part, and give the Spaniards the free use of the Rhine, with other conditions, the King of Great Britain to act as protector of the whole for the peace of the empire and for the indemnification of the house of Austria.
One may imagine anything of that king, but other advices speak of an armistice in the Palatinate for two years, Frankendal being placed in the Infanta's hands, the time to be employed in arranging amicably for restitution and completing the marriage with Spain, the said fortress to be restored as it was if this does not happen. That Don Alfonso or Christofforo Verdugo shall be governor of the Palatinate and the Palatine shall receive a yearly allowance for his maintenance; the King of England undertaking to disarm Mansfeld.
The English ambassador here does not know how to cover the weakness of his master. He says, however, that if the Infanta proves wanting in any respect the king can easily avenge himself upon Flanders.
The French do not like this action, but the worst consequences that I fear is that it may make them more timid rather than resolute in their duty. However, they will readily meet advances for good relations, to make sure that England will cause them no anxiety or damage.
They constantly speak of sending the Duke of Chevreuse or Bassompierre to that king as when his Majesty goes to Calais it is customary to send to that king as the master of those seas and as a sign of goodwill. Probably they will add something besides compliments if this mission actually takes place. The English ambassador seems to desire it and professes to do everything in his power to arouse his sovereign.
Paris, the 5th March, 1623.
[Italian.]
March 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
788. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The chancellor and Puisieux have spoken jointly to the Dutch ambassador about the armistice in the Palatinate, expressing their anxiety. The ambassador assured them that the States were more determined upon war than ever, provided the king helped them. He was told that they should certainly have money. He said that this armistice would cause the States to increase their forces and urge Mansfeld to create a diversion.
I am told that Madame de Tillières, wife of the French ambassador in England, came to this Court some days since for many affairs and would like to negotiate for a marriage between Madame and the Prince of Wales. With the Spanish negotiations so much in evidence they would want to be asked here, but if England broached the subject the negotiations would proceed with ease.
They have also treated with that king about our league. They hardly hope to gain anything, but they have not yet had a complete answer. An ambassador has been sent from Brussels on purpose to divert that king from any leaning in that direction. It is also said that they might even call off Spinola, but that is not credited. The object would be to offer various proposals, all easy, against this kingdom.
Paris, the 6th March, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 6.
Senato.
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
789. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
We learn here of the break up of the diet of Ratisbon without the electorate being disposed of. At Brussels the Spaniards announce that they have found a way of satisfying England by giving the electorate to the young prince, son of the King of Bohemia, provided he goes to the imperial court to be educated; and to satisfy Bavaria they would add two other electors to the number, making eight in all. But here they consider this the usual Spanish trickery.
The Hague, the 6th March, 1623.
[Italian.]
March 8.
Misc. Cod.
No. 62.
Venetian
Archives.
790. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They announce here the conclusion of the league. They do not say much about it, as being a matter not directly affecting this Court. Reports have come from France of such an extravagant nature that I enclose them for perusal.
Ratisbon, the 8th March, 1623. Copy.
[Italian.]
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
791. Summary of the articles of a league between France, England, Savoy and Venice.
1. The league is defensive and offensive for the liberation of Italy, the Grisons, the Valtelline and the Palatinate.
2. It shall be intimated to the King of Spain and the emperor by the ambassadors of all the contracting powers, who will demand the restitution of the Valtelline and the Palatinate.
3. The pope shall be notified and asked to enter; also the Grand Duke of Florence.
4, 5, 6, 7. Forces to be supplied by France, Savoy and Venice.
8. The King of England shall keep a fleet of a hundred bertons to keep the Spaniards from sailing the ocean, to occupy the Strait of Gibraltar and to plunder the fleets.
9. That king shall keep 12,000 foot and 1,000 horse in the service of the Palatinate until it is recovered.
10. If Milan is taken, it shall be disposed of as Henry IV arranged; any difficulty to be submitted to the pope. Copy.
[Italian.]
March 8.
Misc. Cod.
No. 62.
Venetian
Archives.
792. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Infanta and the Catholic Ambassador persist about the armistice in the Palatinate. They say that if the imperial and royal forces are withdrawn it will be England's business to see to the withdrawal of Mansfeld, and if not they can defeat him. They want the deposit of the fortresses which Bavaria holds, but so far he absolutely declines.
Ratisbon, the 8th March, 1623. Copy.
[Italian.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
793. To the Ambassador in England.
We did not send you word last week of the investiture of Bavaria with the electorate, as we wished to be more certain about a matter of so much moment. We now enclose a copy of what our Secretary Padavino writes, giving full particulars of the ceremony. This shows the firmness of their resolution; no place has been left for the weighty interests of the Palatine and his house, to the grave prejudice of the dignity and honour of those princes upon whom he depends. It is difficult to see what remains untouched, and it behoves everyone to consider how to meet this situation. If a movement is made the other malcontent princes in Germany may support it, and we may note the increase of armaments in various parts of that province, and that Gabor is causing the Austrians grave anxiety by his close understanding with the Turks. We desire you to make use of all these particulars and considerations in conversation with the ministers, and with the king also when a favourable opportunity occurs, laying stress upon what you think will make the greatest impression, for which you will have abundant material, assisted by your own ability and prudence.
For your information we enclose what we hear from the Hague about the office with those of Frankendal in the name of the King of England, to get them to surrender to the Spaniards. Some encouragement would have been better seeing that they seemed disposed to offer a sturdy resistance, however, we cannot hide this from you, so that you may be able to guide yourself better in discussions.
Ayes, 95.Noes, 1.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
March 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
794. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I again take up the ample material supplied by the unexpected journey of the prince to Spain, a subject which is an abyss of marvels; a monster among decisions, a labyrinth without head or way out. No action more remote from all imagination or belief ever took place, or less founded in likelihood to say nothing of reason, utterly unknown to everyone and approved by nobody, has no example in the circumstances in modern history or possibly ancient either. It was done without the advice of anyone, being arranged between the king who proposed, the prince who agreed and the marquis who pressed it. Accordingly the councillors are offended, and Lennox and Hamilton have remonstrated with his Majesty. It was quite unreasonable since it is repugnant to the affections of a father, the interests of a king in his declining years, the safety of his life, to send to a distance, the only son, the sole heir, exposing him to the thousand risks of a long and dangerous journey and place him in the power, practically a prisoner, of those who for so many reasons must be mistrustful if not enemies, his safe return being uncertain while the extreme dissatisfaction of the people is sure. All these things while condemning the maturity of an old king do not absolve the youthful lightness of the prince himself, who by agreeing to or possibly desiring a thing so harmful to himself, has thrown a strong light upon the question whether his past obedience was always the result of incapacity (cose tutte che se possono condennar la maturità d'un vecchio Re, non assolvono la leggierezza benche giovenile dell'istesso Prencipe, il qual assentendo, a fosse anco desiderando per vani rispetti cosa tanto dannosa a se stesso, ha ben chiarito il dubio che anco l'opre passate d'obedienza furono sempre effetti di incapacita).
Consenting to the absence of the favourite is also repugnant to the very showing of favour; to reasons of state, allowing the favourite to approach a foreign prince and possibly to become too intimate with his own son. These considerations apply whether the marquis is at the zenith of his favour, as would appear from his having so great a task in hand, or whether his fortunes are declining as some argue because the king suffers this absence. It is also contrary to the marquis's own interests to go so far from the king, to share in such a difficult enterprise, and make himself responsible for every mischance involving his certain ruin. These evils can hardly be counterbalanced by the advantages of increasing his favour with the young prince and deserving well of Spain. Indeed the Spaniards themselves may not have desired this decision or at least not carried out in this way, since if they are quite sure of the affection of the sovereigns here, what good is the journey to them? while the danger of some mischance in France is too great. Moreover, once they have reached Spain every mischance that happens will be attributed to their perfidy. The death of the prince would make their enemy, the Queen of Bohemia, the heir, who meanwhile is physically nearer this people and certainly much nearer their hearts. Thus, although some believe the contrary, it seems likely for many reasons that the step was taken without arrangement with Spain, and as regards the manner and time it was certainly unexpected there. If, as some say, Gondomar remarked some time ago that the marriage would take place if the prince went to Spain, he probably meant to express the impossibility of either event; at any rate, so far as the marriage is concerned, if it is proceeding towards completion the journey is superfluous, and if not, useless.
Thus the true reasons for this momentous step remain not only secret but absolutely unknown. Indeed it is impossible to know them since knowledge fails where there is nothing concrete. The expectation of a manifesto or apology, employed by the king upon other occasions, has ceased because every art of the pen would fail where reason is so utterly lacking. None of the gentlemen here has succeeded in eliciting more from the king than that he had to yield to the warm solicitation of his son, who was so anxious to see his bride, and God will bless him. Truly, in order to find a motive one must have recourse to the fables of some that the prince has fallen deeply in love with the Infanta from her portrait, or the improbable idea that the king, being tired of the marquis, proposes to ruin him by such an improper and imprudent means; or the unnatural one that the king, without love for his son or affection for the marquis, cares only for life, supported by the argument that with these two away, the dearest objects of his affection, and amid the uncertainties of this affair, he goes hunting every day, seems cheerful, and does not betray the slightest trace of melancholy; or else that the king being weary of so many delays and impediments has rushed to this extreme of confidence to win over the Spaniards at all costs and gain his point. This last is perhaps the best reason that can be adduced, but heaven grant that the true reason of all be not that fatal decree whereby God deprives of reason those whom he means to punish with destruction.
The results of this step correspond to the reasons for it, so impenetrable by their nature, being numerous, of evil nature and uncertain issue. The advantage of the Spaniards in all current affairs is too patent to all. Here the discontent of the people has reached a climax, although owing to divers circumstances it is all but impossible for it to lead further (qui il discontento de Popoli e gionto al colmo, seben il passar ad altro e per diverse circonstanze poco men che impossibile). This precipitous flight to the bride cannot but bring great delay and prejudice to the dowry, a thing already foreseen owing to the Spaniards' present lack of money, and extremely dreaded by the people here, upon whom the weight will fall of the contributions to make it good, which are always detested, especially in the present poverty of the country and particularly for this marriage. The detestation of the marquis has increased beyond all measure. The taking of the only prince out of the realm, or agreeing thereto, is called by some, including great lords, an act of treason for which he will have to answer one day to parliament. Whatever the marquis's share may have been, it is certain that he stood out strongly for travelling by post, when the king inclined to a sea journey. One of the worst results to be feared from this close union with Spain may be that the Dutch, in despair of assistance from England, may be led in their necessity to some pernicious and mortal division, to the advantage of the Spaniards. But all rests in God's hand, who may have permitted an action so utterly destitute of good sense for some great purpose. He knows how to bring light out of darkness, and great good out of great evil.
The only good part of this business was the secrecy with which it was carried out, and for an ill act nothing could be better. It rested between the king, the prince and the marquis. When they came to execution, only Cottington participated. He begged to be excused on his knees. He accepted with tears and made his will before leaving. The prince reached the coast unrecognised, all the passages were closed in a moment, a very easy matter here, and so although all the ministers of the powers sent off word with all speed the messengers had to stop at Dover for five days, rendering the diligence of dispatches ineffective, though not superfluous as a duty.
They were very anxious here lest even if others did not carry the news, the prince might be recognised in France and betray himself. Letters of the 5th reached the king from Cottington at Paris with the news that so far they had passed unrecognised. Nevertheless their anxiety remains about the long journey to the Spanish frontier. If France knew of it she certainly has not moved to put a stop to it, in spite of the question of the Valtelline, though here also they judge that their plans are rather directed against the Huguenots.
The prince takes to the King of Spain a very long letter of credence, entirely in his Majesty's own hand. The day before his departure the prince wrote another long letter to his sister, the Queen of Bohemia, to which the king added some lines.
Before this journey the Agent Pauli presented to the king letters of the Palatine, his master, asking for his release and to try his fortune by other means. The king in reply said he wished to write first to his daughter, as he did.
The ambassador from Brussels negotiates with the usual forms. He had his first audience at Newmarket and was referred to the Council which is here. He will negotiate in conjunction with the Spanish ambassador.
The Council desired that the king should approach London and sent a gentleman for the purpose to represent the need for his presence during the prince's absence, but there remains no hope of his return or approach before Easter. The guards have been increased and proper orders issued to the militia of the country. All the gentry are urged to withdraw to the country.
Under these unhappy auspices I feel the gravest forebodings. Every avenue of hope seems closed. I can only report what is unfortunate and anxious. It is true that on my arrival I at once recognised and in my letters I have always represented the evil state of this government, but I confess that this last blow has gone beyond all my calculations.
London, the 10th March, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Mar. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
795. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
His Majesty has sent the Councillor Chichester to offer excuses to the French ambassador for their silence about the prince's journey through that kingdom, saying that on their return the prince and his bride might have occasion to receive honours from the Most Christian and added that if matters did not turn out as expected, the prince might stop either at Rochelle or Aubigny. The ambassador replied that in such case his king would desire to receive and honour the prince in his own palaces. Certainly la Rochelle is a town very suspect to the French and Aubigny is a small place of the Duke of Lennox. I heard of this office on good authority, which admits of no doubt. However, in order to make absolutely certain I contrived to meet the French ambassador. I waited in vain for him to say something, but was ultimately obliged almost to extort the truth from him. I do not know why he was so reserved or why the king took this step, as it seems doubtful whether the office was merely complimentary. If it was sincere one may understand what I have always written upon the uncertainty about the Spanish marriage, and that they desired to force the hands of the Spaniards by this journey and in any case to be free to conclude with France, with whom they may have some arrangement. For this purpose they may have sent the Ambassador Doncaster, who has thoroughly French sympathies and is very intimate with their ambassador here. Be that as it may, the voyage can only be considered blameworthy and precipitous. I thought it advisable to add this to the letter I despatched yesterday evening.
London, the 11th March, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
796. GIOVANNI PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
After the Prince of Wales had been two days in this city, spending all his time in the Louvre, seeing the king at table and the queen at the masque, unknown to all, lodging above an hostelry, he left at the moment of the arrival from England of an express messenger with news of this remarkable occurrence and at the same time a person with an extraordinary despatch for your Serenity passed through, who served me without my writing by express courier.
Shortly afterwards the Earl of Carlisle arrived in this city, ambassador extraordinary of the King of Great Britain, to inform his Majesty of this journey, offer excuses for the prince's behaviour, as induced by necessity and not being from lack of respect, and to ask for a passport in this kingdom, to go, stay and return. The passport is not yet obtained because his Majesty is away hunting. He will return to-day to release the ambassador who has to follow the prince.
This event has excited various comments, since it is considered most important for the interests of this Crown for countless reasons. The French, who believed that the marriage with Spain could never take place, are much dashed because of the hope which they cherished, that when it fell through they would be asked for Madame.
The ambassador says plainly that the French have not been as good as their word, or their promises, and if they had agreed last year to the conditions arranged in the other marriage the nuptials would already have taken place.
Here they still consider the marriage uncertain. Apparently the prince will proceed to Bayonne and send the favourite Buckingham thence to the Catholic court to arrange for carrying out the marriage.
Amid this uncertainty and all the various opinions, everyone is agreed in blaming England for risking the only prince on a dangerous journey with perils of a thousand kinds in France and Spain, accompanied by four persons only. It is not certain whether the prince has got very far, and he may be only twelve leagues from Orleans at the residence of Madame d'Aubigny, mother of the Earl of Lennox, where he may wait for his passport. In taking the post Buckingham injured his leg, although this did not delay the journey.
There is some fleeting idea here of staying the prince if he stops at Bayonne under the pretence of contracting a relationship and it is possible that orders have already been despatched to the governor there; accordingly the decision seems to me a most momentous one (passa qui qualche pensiero di arrestar il Prencipe se si ferma in Baiona, con pretesto di stringer parentela, et di gia può esser che a quel Governatore si habbi espedito qualche ordine; a me pero riesce la risolutione di gran peso).
The king is offended at this journey and at the prince having come so freely to the Louvre.
The comments of the generality are full of a thousand suspicions; that the prince will pass through the whole of France, where he has special claims besides those of the Kings of England to the Crown of France and to a part of this kingdom, and that the Spaniards may have some deep laid scheme in this marriage. The English state that this step is due to a desire to cut short the delays and force the Spaniards to fulfil their promises; that the conditions of the marriage are arranged in temporal matters, but are not yet decided in spiritual ones; that the marriage is to be effected in Spain in order not to offend the people of England by the ceremony, and to avoid further disorders.
Here they declare that disturbances have already broken out in that kingdom, though they do not descend to details. They reckon that the pope has not granted the dispensation and therefore the Spaniards may seize the opportunity to detain the prince and drag things out, with such a good pledge in their hands. Others say that the pope will not grant the dispensation but when the marriage is performed he will send absolution and that the marriage will be like those between Catholics and Huguenots in France, which are allowed after confession and pardon.
The English display great bitterness at this event. All ascribe it to the power and influence of the favourite Buckingham. A very few conclude that the prince means to become a Catholic and that in his heart he confesses the faith taught him by his mother. Time will bring the truth to light. (Inglesi rimostrano gran amaritudine di questo successo; tutti attribuiscono alla potenza et all'interesse di Bochingram favorito; alcuni pochissimi giudicano che questo Prencipe vogli esser Cattolico, et che nel petto porti la Religione che la Madre gli ha insegnato: il tempo chiarera la verityà.)
It has been said here that this union between the Spaniards and England will compel France to put aside her civil strife and satisfy the Huguenots completely. This does not seem to find favour and they are more likely to mortify England by some division, so that the Spaniards will triumph everywhere.
Paris, the 12th March, 1623.
[Italian.]
March 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
797. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ambassador of Poland, besides the compliments, is also to ask for the Infanta for the prince and propose a league against the Turks. So far, however he has not made any definite proposals.
The nuncio is anxious to impress the emperor and the world that the Spanish Crown does not object to Bavaria having the electorate, in order to neutralise the impression caused by the violent offices of the Ambassador Oñate in particular. The Count of Olivares in general tries to keep in with the nuncio, assuring him that they will not oppose the wishes of his imperial majesty, and that the ambassador resident with him did not mean to do so, but merely to represent the circumstances which control the Catholic, who must not fail in his word to the King of England, owing to the upright behaviour of that sovereign in not encouraging the ambitions of the Palatine, his son-in-law. Such conduct obliged the emperor also to reflect and not to offend so great a potentate, as if he took offence and united with the heretics he could inflict infinite loss upon Christendom and upon Germany in particular.
This has encouraged the nuncio, and through his influence at Court he has obtained a special letter for the emperor, it is said, though merely stating that here they desire the weal of Christendom and there is no reason to yield and the Count of Olivares had not excluded the interests of Bavaria. The Count of Olivares subsequently pointed out to the nuncio that the pope should not despise giving satisfaction to the King of England, or the appeasing of the claims of the Palatine by substituting his son with the electoral vote, educating him as a Catholic at the emperor's court and marrying him to one of his daughters, indeed his Holiness should favour and forward this, as it provides the surest way towards peace. In short only by force or lack of power will the Spaniards come to agree to the Duke of Bavaria becoming an elector of the empire and they mock and grow irritated with the emperor for persisting so much about it.
Madrid, the 12th March, 1623.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
798. To the Secretary Padavin at the Imperial Court.
Proposed diversion by Mansfeld in Burgundy. Bos from Savoy and Montereau from France sent to him. The latter has orders to confer with the Duke of Bavaria and the emperor. Instructions to watch this proceeding carefully; also to keep on the alert about the affairs of Bavaria and the show made by the Spaniards of being at variance with him and the emperor. This attitude is unlikely and probably only adopted by the Spaniards to cover and excuse themselves with England in a matter concerning the interests of the Palatine.
Ayes, 114.Noes, 5.Neutral, 52.
[Italian.]
March 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
799. MARC ANTONIO MOROSINI, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Countess of Arundel left yesterday morning for Genoa. The duke made her various presents and with the princes, his sons, accompanied her a part of the way. She declares that she intends to proceed afterwards to Marseilles and thence to the Hague to see the Princess Palatine again. Some, however, do not hesitate to say that she means to proceed to Spain to remain there in attendance upon the Infanta until the completion of the nuptials.
Turin, the 13th March, 1623.
[Italian.]
March 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
800. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
For three or four days of last week a very dismal rumour was circulated here that the Prince of England had been assassinated in his coach with the Marquis of Buckingham and other gentlemen, and for that reason all travellers had been forbidden to leave the ports of the country and all ships stopped. The queen was particularly upset by the news, especially as there was nothing to go upon but popular report. But last Saturday it was known that the prince and the marquis had crossed the sea to Boulogne, where they took the posts, it is said in the direction of Spain. This news has caused general consternation, and if previously they expected little from that monarch, they now look for even less, with this new marriage, which they consider absolutely assured by the prince's journey to Spain. They conjecture that the affair of the Valtelline and the alliance of the confederates alone induced the Spaniards to complete the marriage.
Your Serenity has probably heard that the Spaniards announce among the Swiss that they have made a truce with the Dutch. Such a truce is not even in treaty. The French ambassador mocks at the report and the English feel sure that there is nothing in it.
On Saturday after midday a gentleman of the Count of Mansfeld left here for England, whence he had come shortly before with news of the good intentions of the king there to allow Colonel Gray to levy some 6,000 foot in Scotland. But this fresh event has apparently altered the king's course, and it does not seem that Mansfeld can promise himself much at the present moment from that king.
The Hague, the 13th March, 1623.
[Italian.]
March 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
801. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Prince of Wales departed from the way announced and went to Toulouse and Narbonne, whence he will cross the frontier into the dominions of the Catholic king. He will send Buckingham to the Court for the agreement, as I have written. The English ambassador extraordinary will leave to-day after having obtained the passport referred to.
The rumour and decision about stopping the prince have entirely died away, because it was based upon their inclination to force a marriage with Madame in their uncertainty about the marriage. Orders have circulated at Bayonne, however, and the governor, not knowing the prince would have had him arrested off hand, such being his instructions for all travellers on that frontier, especially those taking gold and jewels, as they say his Highness has a great chest of precious stones with him (la voce et la risolutione di fermar quel Prencipe resta intieramente soppita, perche il fondamento consisteva che nel dubbio della certezza del matrimonio, havesse piacere di necessitarsi all' accasamento di Madama. A Baiona è corso pero qualche ordine, et il Governatore, non conoscendo il Prencipe, senz'altro lo haverebbe arrestato, essendo talegl'ordini per tutti li passeggieri a quel confine, et princepalmente per quelli che portano oro et gioie, decendosi che Sua Altezza habbi seco un gran forciero di pietre pretiose).
France considers this journey as an affront and a great insult. It is thought that the cavaliers who accompany the prince are all Catholics, and everyone is waiting to see the consequences of this event.
Paris, the 14th March, 1623.
[Italian.]
March 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
802. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
On the 14th the Prince of Wales arrived from England with the Marquis of Buckingham and some other cavaliers, having travelled post with all speed. This visit is clearly unexpected, and for the most part they seem in doubt about it, asserting strongly that it is without the king's knowledge or consent. The Count of Olivares assured the nuncio of this most emphatically, who also declared the same, and the count has also promised that they will not alter what has been written to his Holiness about the marriage, and that the Catholic will submit to what he approves. But it is thought, with much reason, that such a prince will never have come to Spain without a special invitation, and that they mean in this way to compel the pope to grant a dispensation, or that they have already obtained one secretly, but the pope has consented to the trick, concealing his knowledge of it, so that he may show that it was practically irreparable. The nuncio has clearly expressed himself as completely satisfied, and seems glad that the prince is here. When we ambassadors jokingly asked him in the chapel if the prince had any intention of becoming a Catholic, he answered coldly that he did not know, adding that he knew people would form wrong opinions, nevertheless he would formally state then that this event of the prince's had not only happened without the slightest knowledge or information of the Spaniards, but they could not even have had it. He hinted that we should see unexpected developments.
The Council of State met immediately to decide their action and the welcome to be accorded by his Majesty, but so far they had made no advances, the prince remaining in the house of the English ambassador. The Count of Olivares called upon him to express the king's great joy at the coming of his Highness, but being taken unawares he could not do all that he wished to show his esteem for the favour. He thought, ho wever, that he had not come about the the marriage, as if it were arranged his Majesty had proposed to send the Infanta to England, as a sign of his satisfaction and to spare him the trouble taken. This is exactly what the Count of Olivares said, and the nuncio confirmed it.
The Marquis of Buckingham has been to kiss his Majesty's hands in the duke's name and there are rumours that he presented a letter from the king, saying that he was sending his son as a testimony to their cordial feelings and he had orders to obey his Majesty and stay so long as he pleased. Buckingham and the Count of Olivares have also exchanged most friendly visits, and they say the Count inwardly rejoices at the prince's resolution because he feels sure that he will not leave without the Infanta. He greatly desires the conclusion of these negotiations, as I informed your Excellencies some time ago because he fears that the Infanta may injure his credit with the king.
Madrid, the 14th of March, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
803. MARC ANTONIO MOROSINI, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Early this morning an express messenger arrived here, sent by the most excellent Vallaresso with a letter for your Serenity and the news of the unexpected departure from London of the Prince of Wales, accompanied only by the Marquis of Buckingham, his secretary, Porter and two valets de chambre. He says that the prince is traversing France hurriedly on his way to Madrid to marry the Infanta. The duke immediately sent for me with great urgency and discussed this news with no ordinary feeling He seemed almost confused and in blaming this imprudent step remarked on the harm done to our common interests. He then opened out more fully than ever before, complaining bitterly of the French. In short he detained me for more than three hours. I cannot report all I heard as the courier is eager to be off and I have only succeeded in getting this ready. Meanwhile I will send these important particulars. The Marquis of Calus writes to the duke that the chancellor and M. de Puisieux strongly oppose making war on the Spaniards. They want to use threats only, but really mean to drag things out. The Spanish ambassador says he will not go again to audience and if they send money to Mansfeld or the Dutch he will take it as a declaration of war. Puisieux and the Chancellor spoke him fair in the king's name, and finally would not send money to Mansfeld. The duke takes a pessimistic view of the situation, and he spoke this time with absolute sincerity.
Turin, the 14th March, 1623.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Eight ships, including the Prince Royal, and two pinnaces were to be made ready. Before they started the Adventure or Bonaventure was to go with the prince's household and jewels to be presented in Spain. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1619–23, pages 494, 506, 510.
2 The commission consisted of Buckingham, Arundel, Pembroke and the Bishops of Winchester and St. David's, and was announced by proclamation dated the 14th February, old style. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1619–23, page 491.