Venice
April 1623, 1-10

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1911

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610-622

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'Venice: April 1623, 1-10', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 17: 1621-1623 (1911), pp. 610-622. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88855 Date accessed: 26 October 2014.


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April 1623

April 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
833. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Upon the manner of the prince's departure from England, what happened to him in France, and further since he was not sent for by the Spaniards, what motives moved the king to send him your Excellencies will have received more authentic information from other quarters. Here they discuss boldly the motives that may have induced that sovereign to take such a step. Firstly to force on the marriage by the prince's presence, compel the waiving of difficulties and make his subjects consent to liberty of conscience by alleging that otherwise the prince will turn Catholic, because he has fallen in love with the Infanta, or else that he acted in order to prove to the Palatine and the persons who desire his protection that he has left no stone unturned for the relief and restitution of his son-in-law, having gone so far as to interpose the intercession of his own son-in-law with the Catholic king, and if that does no good he will abandon all other means, especially as the blow against the Palatine has already fallen, since the emperor has announced by special courier that he has fulfilled his promise to the duke of Bavaria by conferring the electorate upon him.
Before this news arrived, the nuncio, not feeling satisfied with what was said to the emperor, tried hard to obtain the king's consent to facilitate his negotiations with the Count of Olivares for finding some way to satisfy the King of England, to remove any objections because of the promises made to him, and thus deprive the heretics of any grounds for making a disturbance as Olivares asserted they meant to do. The nuncio also said previously that the emperor advised the final conclusion, and I did not hear the Ambassador Digby deny it, or that his king disapproved of the proposal made by the count to the nuncio, namely, that the Palatine's son should be brought up a Catholic and married to a daughter of the emperor and the father readmitted the favour. Digby merely remarked coldly that the proposal did not come from his Majesty and was not yet in negotiation so far as he knew, and he believed or feigned to believe that the Spaniards would punctually fulfil their promises about the Palatine. The nuncio, however, asserts repeatedly that the king of Great Britain does not care one jot for the interests of the Palatine, and even thwarts him so that he may not recover his strength, and will rest satisfied with the benefit of his grandson.
The ambassador of Germany shows undisguised resentment at the coming of the prince here, perceiving that he has been played with, because he feels they have induced him to encourage the hopes of the emperor to have the Infanta for his son. The count assured him immediately the prince arrived that it was utterly without their knowledge. At the beginning the ambassador laughed with me at the protestations, but now he declares he feels certain that they are sincere. Some think he hopes that all may yet come to nothing, but I personally cannot believe him so credulous and stupid. Thus when we happened to meet at the embassy of Savoy to see the prince's entry, he informed me distinctly that on the day of the drive the king was laughing with the Infanta in the coach and when they met the prince he said to her, Here stands your gallant (such as we term lovers). Your beauty must have great power to draw him from such distant countries with such great consequences. He continued to joke in this strain, to which the Infanta replied precisely thus: Is he a Catholic? The king rejoined I do not know but I hope so. She answered I will never take a heretic as a husband, and to safeguard your Majesty's interests I would rather take the veil with the bare footed nuns (anchorche ritrovandosi noi insieme in Casa del Sig. Amb. di Savoia per vedere l'ingresso del Prencipe chiaramente mi significò che ridendo quel giorno del passeggio il Re nel cocchio con la Infanta incontrandosi nel Prencipe le disse, Qui sta il vostro galano (che inamorato chiamiamo noi) gran forza e nella vostra bellezza a levarlo con tante conseguenze da cosi paese lontani, continuando a scherzare in burli simili, a quelli per appunto respondesse l'Infanta: E Cattolico costui? Soggiunse il Re Questo io non lo so, ma lo spero; et ella replicasse Non prendero mai marito heretico et più tosto per salvezza delli interessi di Vestra Maestà mi monacaro nelle Scalze). The ambassador of Germany told me that others heard this, adding that the Infanta wept continually and further that the Count of Olivares had asked that a paper should be drawn up setting forth the advantages and disadvantages to be expected from this alliance. He also told me various jests of the King of England and Buckingham in their desire to create the belief that the prince would be converted by the Infanta's exhortations, declaring that these jests had made a great impression. I report what this ambassador told me, but either he easily believes what he wishes or he is trying to keep up the emperor's hopes; but I cannot imagine what may be in the minds of the ambassador and the count. I have heard from a person of consequence, that seeing all negotiations for marrying the Infanta to the emperor's son to be hopeless, the ambassador may easily have urged his imperial Majesty to open negotiations with the Most Christian for his sister. The French ambassador also said something to me on this subject.
The whole weight and authority of the English negotiations rest with Buckingham alone, as the king gives him such powers in a special letter, placing everything in his hands, without mentioning his son as having authority in anything, except that he brought the official letter. The Count of Olivares, Gondomar and Buckingham meet very frequently, their discussions being subsequently referred to the Junta already appointed. One hears nothing about any negotiations as yet for the interests of the Palatine.
The nuncio assured me that if the prince does not become a Catholic or if his father does not grant liberty of conscience, with assurances to grant all that the pope asks, his Holiness will certainly not grant a dispensation. The French ambassador declares that the nuncio spoke highly and protested that if they were really acting seriously the pope would take such offence that he would manifest his feeling clearly, hinting that he would enter the league. No one can feel sure what the Spaniards would do in case of refusal or long delay, but most people firmly believe that they will not hesitate to bring the negotiations to completion in one way or another, and will ask for the pope's leave afterwards. Their excessive fear of the league is the chief inducement for this course, and they hasten to strengthen themselves against it.
Madrid, the 1st April, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
834. VALERIO ANTELMI, Venetian Secretary at Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Countess of Arundel was staying at Genoa, whither she went with very favourable letters from the Governor of Milan. They say she will proceed to Spain to serve the Infanta, who is destined for the Prince of England.
Florence, the 1st April, 1623.
[Italian.]
April 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
835. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
There may easily be a rift in the friendship of the members of the house of Austria. The Catholic does not like the alliance of the emperor with Mantua, made without his knowledge, and this English marriage will give Cœsar the greatest offence. Thus in June or July, 1621, when the imperial ambassador left for Germany, I reported that he took great hopes of having the Infanta for the emperor's son, and when he finds that he has been played with, he will resent it deeply.
There is little fresh news about the marriage. They say the Catholic's consent is obtained and that somebody has gone to Rome for the dispensation with a letter from the King of England, after conferring with the nuncio.
Madrid, the 3rd April, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
836. MARC ANTONIO MOROSINI, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I spoke to the duke about the duplicity of Bavaria. The duke thought that he might prove useful to our alliance, which he wants to enter. The duke further remarked that all thought of helping the Palatine now is both impossible and ridiculous. It is incredible that the Spaniards should rejoice at the aggrandisement of Bavaria, but it was by no means unlikely that Bavaria, being ill-used by the Spaniards and persecuted by others, should want to join our party. This is the more probable because this marriage, now arranged with England, must of necessity change the face of things. England will now always stand with Spain. The Palatine will recover nothing of his own, will look to Spain for favour and will have to enter the same party in conjunction with his father-in-law. This party is diametrically opposed to ours, so we must rather try to unite with the enemies of our enemies than raise a corpse which can receive no breath except what England and Spain supply. The duke told me to write this to your Excellencies to learn your opinion on the subject.
Turin, the 3rd April, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
837. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They have at last admitted, what has hitherto been left unconfirmed, that the decision to send the prince here was arranged in England and that their ambassador also moved in the matter (ne hebbero anco moto dal loro Ambasciatore). They assert, however, that they were told that such a step could not be taken upon any account, as many points remained to be settled and in particular they had to obtain the pope's leave. They say that the prince was burning with love of the Infanta, kindled by the reports of the Count of Gondomar, and in his desire to bring about the marriage he thought he could compel it by his presence. Every one rejoices at his coming, but the Count of Olivares in particular, and as a sign of this the Count of Gondomar, as author of the event, is appointed to the Council of State, and his Majesty has declared that he is one of the greatest of the ministers who direct the royal service. This confirms the belief that the Spaniards mean to effect the marriage and even if they did not ask for the prince to come they did not strongly oppose it, considering it as an inducement to the pope to consent. Some speak of giving Flanders as dowry, though this seems incredible and unlikely. Yet what Don Agostin Messia said gives it colour as he clearly stated that this would prove an undoubted advantage to the king, as he could keep four of the leading fortresses as a bridle upon the country and leave the rest to the prince. All the revolted portion would obey him, or he would return it, with little or no expense to his Catholic Majesty, who would thus remain lord of Flanders, and he would not even lose that military school, as he could still send Spaniards and his other subjects thither to learn. He added that the conclusion of the marriage would bring countless other advantages. For instance they would save many millions for ships to guard the Strait against the Dutch, as the English would stop their trade and also prevent them from sailing in the home waters. They would also escape the injuries inflicted by the English in the Indies who would relinquish their capture of Ormuz. By such arguments this minister warmly advocates the conclusion of this alliance with England as soon as possible.
The generality, who previously blamed the report of this union, now displays more and more gladness about it every day, as almost everyone feels certain that the prince will become a Catholic, and they repeat that he came to Spain of his own accord because of his eagerness to see the Infanta.
I kissed his hands in performing a general friendly office and his Highness, through the interpreters, expressed his esteem for the most serene republic, was very gracious to me personally and treated me like the other ambassadors of crowned heads, coming some steps to meet me. But all the ambassadors cover themselves. The Count of Monte Re is appointed to attend him, assisted by other officials of his Majesty, including two of the Council of State. They are trying to divert him with comedies, tilting and hunting until the end of Lent, when they will extend themselves to display miracles if not excesses. The king sees him almost every day and the queen has given him scented presents of great value.
The Infanta has fallen sick of a slow fever. Some say it is real owing to her great perturbation, others that it is feigned to provide an excuse for delay, and that his Highness should not visit her. Yet the councillors were ordered to pay him their respects, and they desired almost all the prelates to do the same, especially the Cardinals Spinola and Zappata, the Grand Inquisitor and the Patriarch of the Indies, although the nuncio opposed anything of the kind before the pope had given his consent. I know that the nuncio had a long interview with the Count of Olivares, and afterwards sent his gentleman secretly to Rome by way of Barcelona. This happened on the 23rd ult. A person of quality told me that when the Count heard that they did not seem eager at Rome to grant facilities for the dispensation he told the nuncio plainly that he must send to urge his Holiness to decide immediately, and at the same time he said the king had made up his mind. I find the nuncio more undecided than ever. However I have spoken to him frequently on the subject in the chapel, and he repeated that if the prince does not become a Catholic or obtain assurances from his father of liberty of conscience and that the Palatine will remain quiet, he feels sure that the pope will refuse his consent. He clearly stated, however, that there is hope the prince may abjure and enter our faith. I merely report what he said, and the Marquis of Aitona says the same, but I have never given much credence to the nuncio, as I have always found him such a strong partisan. I flatter him and simulate confidence in the interests of the state's service.
Madrid, the 4th April, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 5.
Misc.
Cod. No. 62.
Venetian
Archives.
838. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The day before yesterday I saw Bavaria. He spoke to me about the Lower Palatinate. He said that the Catholic wanted to have the fortresses placed in his hands, and his ambassador here declares that if they are not, then he will take them. He says that I entered the Palatinate without orders from the emperor, who only asked me to recover Bohemia and Austria while the Spaniards were directed to assure the Palatinate. The emperor merely ordered me to attack the enemy. If the emperor ordered me to make restitution to him I ought to obey, if he repays my outlay. I might advance claims to keep the places, but I could not support them by force. The princes of the league would not help me. If I had any one to help me I certainly should not fear the outpourings of this ambassador. If the Spaniards once enter those fortresses they will never go out. I shall not give them up until I am compelled. The Spaniards lull England to sleep. They are expecting at Brussels the return of the ambassador sent to that king, to have Frankendal. They want the Palatine's son to make him a Catholic and to obtain what they want from Caesar. They say that when that prince has become a Catholic they can give him his Majesty's second daughter to wife with the Palatinate, while they retain the fortresses, and England also will be satisfied thus. They want the boy in Spain, however, not at this Court. I know their tricks, but I cannot resist them single-handed. If I had any help I feel sure that I could maintain the common liberty.
Ratisbon, the 5th April, 1623. Copy.
[Italian.]
April 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
839. To the Ambassador in England.
The question about the deposit of the fortresses of the Valtelline with the pope continues doubtful, since the pope adopted the suggestions made by the Catholic king when Selleri seemed roused by the representations of the Ambassador Zeno upon what was arranged with Lodovisio. Meanwhile it appears that Feria refuses to hand over the places without fresh orders from his king, to whom they have sent another courier, and we hear that he wrote soon after to his Holiness saying he was ready to carry out the arrangement and was expecting the Duke of Fiano. Amid these uncertainties ourselves and Savoy keep insisting upon the prejudices, and if the French withdraw, worse may be feared. We send you this information to use to advantage in conversation.
We hear from the Hague that the King of England has issued certain orders very advantageous to the Spaniards forbidding Dutch ships that passage for their ships which that free people has hitherto enjoyed, as you will see from the copy. They have made very wise comments there upon the preceding unexpected resolutions, from which they augur badly. The moment does not seem opportune for raising the question, but if you meet some well-disposed minister you might bring up the point of these new regulations and remark that there is danger of thereby forcing the States into some harmful agreement, and of compelling all the friends of the Palatine to abandon his cause for ever. We leave this to your prudence, and if the affairs of the States become extremely bad you must not neglect any favourable opportunity of doing them a good turn.
Pietro Dolce has started to go and serve you as secretary. He has only just returned from diligently serving the Proveditore General Erizzo.
Ayes, 128.Noes, 2.Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
April 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
840. To the Secretary at the Hague.
We hear from England that the day before the Prince of Wales started he wrote a letter with his own hand to his sister. We desire you to find out about this and write to tell us what that princess and her husband say about this journey to Spain, with all particulars.
Ayes, 128.Noes, 2.Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
April 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
841. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
On the completion of the respects paid to the prince, which were universal, Buckingham opened negotiations with the Count of Olivares. He asked chiefly that the marriage negotiations should be brought to an issue without delay, this being especially necessary owing to the coming of his Highness, a step induced by the news that his Catholic Majesty had announced his sincere consent to a conclusion. Olivares replied that the king fully confirmed his announcement and desired the conclusion in his gratification at the prince coming here, but everything depended upon the pope alone, whom his Majesty had approached upon several occasions. He thought that in order that the pope might hear him more readily the King of England should decide to permit liberty of conscience in the manner that the pope required, and in that way all the other difficulties might be overcome. Buckingham explained that his king could not agree to this proposal without risk of disturbance and rebellion, and he foresaw that the Catholics themselves would inevitably suffer, for whom he only had power to give the royal promise that they should not suffer persecution and that inquisition should not be made in their houses. But with the progress of time, after the completion of the marriage, they could easily enlarge in every direction under the protection of the Infanta.
Olivares reported all this to the Junta newly appointed for this business, with the exclusion of the persons previously shut out and including Don Agostin Messia, Don Fernando Giron, the Count of Gondomar and the Marquis of Montesclaros. They told Olivares to inform the nuncio, and get him to send to Rome and repeat his request for the dispensation. The count accordingly met the nuncio and told him what Buckingham had said, adding that his Holiness must not be too hard but send the licence speedily, as Buckingham had remarked that the prince did not want to remain long away from his father, and his Majesty on no account wished him to return dissatisfied.
The nuncio told the count that to oblige this crown the pope would do anything consistent with his honour and conscience, but as the matter had been referred to a congregation of cardinals, he did not think it possible that this congregation would advise the pope to dispense without the grant of liberty of conscience. He added that if they could not obtain some substantial advantages for the Catholics when the king and prince were so eager for the alliance, all hopes of doing any good in the future would be vain. The nuncio further remarked that they might not obtain the advantages which they promised themselves from this marriage, as the power of the King of England was limited by the wishes of parliaments. It was therefore perfectly clear that they would not keep their promises once they had obtained the Infanta; the Catholic should therefore break it off, and if he dissimulated England would not trust him, being conscious of his own disengenuousness. In this way the nuncio spoke against the marriage. The count replied that it was not in the royal power to impose a change of faith upon the people; at the same time he tactfully conveyed that it was useless to offer advice upon the subject, since it had been fully examined and debated by the royal councillors, so he merely asked him to obtain a decision from his Holiness.
The nuncio answered that it was useless to try unless they obtained advantages and guarantees for religion. If the King of England pleaded that he had no power to admit Catholic public worship, from fear of the Puritans and other heretics, he should give the Catholics some guarantee such as was afforded to the Huguenots in France, by giving them some fortress or place of refuge.
The Count of Olivares reported this to Buckingham, who was astonished and pointed out that there was no parallel between the two cases. The fortresses were granted to the Huguenots to pacify the country when they were armed, incensed and had acquired fortresses. This was not the case with the English Catholics, who lived secretly, timidly and with no consideration. Thus the king would have no reason and would never venture to lay such a proposal before parliament. He showed Olivares that such fresh proposals would destroy the whole business even after it had gone so far. The Count defended himself and said it had come from the nuncio and he promised to write again to Rome asking for the dispensation speedily. He urged Buckingham to get the prince to do the like. The nuncio, however, forwarded the particulars to Cardinal Lodovisio telling him how eager they are here. The courier also took a letter to the Ambassador Alburquerque.
I have learned these particulars from a person, whom I have always found trustworthy, who frequently meets the Count of Olivares, and I have also seen a note from Albis, the Count's secretary, to the nuncio asking him to write strongly to the Cardinal Lodovisio and to send soon in order to satisfy the English, as he reports that the last conference left them with feelings of resentment, to the sorrow of his Majesty.
Buckingham has also sent various couriers to England with account of these considerations, it is believed. I will not venture to affirm that the nuncio does not advertise his opposition to the marriage as a blind, as it seems to me absolutely impossible that he should oppose anything, but I did not like to suppress what I have heard from one whom I have always found truthful.
Buckingham afterwards remonstrated about the transfer of the electoral vote to Bavaria, recalling the obligations of the Catholic to the king his master. The count assured him that this event had greatly displeased his Majesty, who would not permit his Ambassador Oñnate to offer congratulations, but declared that he would not concur in Caesar's action and had even refused Bavaria's offer of his veteran army in Flanders.
The count reported to the nuncio what Buckingham had said, insisting upon the obligation upon the king to keep his promise about the Palatine. His Holiness ought to intervene and find some way of reconciling the Catholic religion and the royal word, otherwise unexpected events would happen for its fulfilment. The emperor must first cause Heidelburg, Mannheim and all that Bavaria held in the Lower Palatinate to be placed in the Infanta's hands for subsequent restitution to the Palatine or his son, to satisfy the King of England. If they began to satisfy him, the emperor's excuse, that Bavaria raised difficulties about giving up his conquests, was worth nothing, because he held them as Caesar's general. The emperor ought to repeat at a diet that the vote was only granted to Bavaria for life, and must then revert to the Palatine or to his son, brought up as a Catholic, as accepted by the King of England.
It is thought that the count spoke thus with Buckingham's approval, although he did not tell the nuncio so. That prelate said that the pope would undoubtedly try to prevent any breach of the friendship between the emperor and the Catholic king. They must not offend Bavaria, who had rendered such great services to Christendom. The Count of Olivares merely replied that they must on no account excite suspicion in England that they had a secret understanding with the emperor and Bavaria; but the nuncio keeps doing his utmost for the duke. It is considered certain, however, that what Buckingham said about the interests of the Palatine was to give a fillip to the speedy completion of the marriage, which he has most at heart.
Madrid, the 6th April, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 7.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
842. The Ambassador of the States came into the Cabinet and said, among other things:
Our ambassadors will be leaving England after having settled the question about the fishing and received expressions of goodwill from the king there. But the treaty is greatly to our disadvantage, and obliges our people to too great expenses. We have received no confirmation of the goodwill of that king, and the departure of the prince his son for Spain rather argues the contrary and gives rise to much searching of heart and debate among us.
[Italian.]
April 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
843. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England to the DOGE and SENATE.
A courier arrived in twelve days brings his Majesty a letter from the prince from Madrid written two days after his arrival. He narrates the first offices passed with the king, his honourable welcome and the promises given about the Palatinate and the marriage, nothing lacking to complete the latter but the dispensation of Rome. He had the king's hand in his coach, and an apartment was assigned to him in the palace. Something in the letter did not please the king, which I have not been able to discover as yet. For the rest, what seem great shows of friendship on the part of the Spaniards are recognised by the prudent as ceremonies of no significance; moreover, dark tragedies usually have happy beginnings.
The portion of the prince's Court appointed to serve him in Spain left in the two merchant-ships escorted by a royal one. Including gentlemen and servants there will be about 200 persons. The two preaching ministers of whom I wrote received their instructions from the king himself. (fn. 1) He directed that in their ceremonial they should conform as much as possible to the Catholic rites. On the other hand, he ordered the steward that no one should be allowed to go to mass and that he should strictly make all those of the Court always attend the divine offices. Thus, as usual with the king, hot and cold issue from the same mouth. They take jewels of great value to the prince, the property of this Crown. Some of them, by his Majesty's express order, are destined for the use of the marquis, rather befitting a king than a marquis, such is the outward demonstration of favour towards him. The king seems anxious for him to return as soon as possible, but his dependants advise him not to part from the prince an instant. We hear that the Count of Olivares welcomed him very warmly. His party cherish great hopes, among other things that he will be made a grandee, although in any case he can cover himself in his character of ambassador extraordinary.
Digby, now Earl of Bristol, has felt this coming of the prince acutely, as it takes the ripe fruit out of his hands and deprives him in great part of the glory of the arrangement. He has represented that the Spaniards make a great fuss about Ormuz, although the excuse is too evident, that the English were compelled to share in that undertaking. This may be the part the king does not like, and from what I hear if any one leaves it will not be the prince.
Here the pragmatic (fn. 2) recently issued from Spain has excited much commotion and discussion, owing to the damage which the kingdom feels therefrom; the circumstances make it appear worse.
They have sent to pay off and dismiss the troops of Franchendal and carry out the deposit agreed upon, if so it may be called when it is placed in the hands of interested persons, as owing to the insufficiency of the Infanta, who is merely governor, they asked for a promise from the Spaniards themselves. However, here they think they have gained a great deal by this agreement, which provides that no change shall take place during the eighteen months of the deposit, especially in liberty of worship, and if no other arrangement has been made the fortress shall be restored to the king at the end, who may place there 200 horse and 500 foot with munitions for six months. (fn. 3)
Meanwhile the Spaniards seem quite content, and with reason, as they get what they want with a slight variation in the method, and they can use the 4,000 soldiers engaged upon that undertaking.
The emperor has written a letter to his Majesty, in which as the utmost satisfaction he agrees to leave room to the pretensions of the Palatine's children. I have a copy, but do not send it because it seems superflous.
I have seen the Lord Chamberlain and conversed with him about the uneasiness this journey of the prince must cause the Dutch and the need of confirming the king's good disposition towards them. He has the best sentiments, and at my instigation promised to perform a good office when he went to his Majesty. He returned to-day and sends me word that his Majesty had sent a despatch to his ambassador in Holland directing him to assure the States in a special audience, of his unalterable friendship, so that he would never do anything to prejudice them. In sending his son to Spain he had no other object than to finish those long negotiations once for all, to render himself more free. He also wrote to the King and Queen of Bohemia the usual promises of protection and restitution, repeating that he would draw the sword if everything failed and alleging the motive given above for the prince's journey, saying he will certainly call him back if the matter is not settled very speedily. He sends them 6,000l. sterling, 3,000l. to his daughter for three months and 3,000l. to his son-in-law for six months, according to the sum assigned to them. The States may be satisfied, as in the actual circumstances not to lose is a sort of gain and fair words are almost as good as deeds. It is true the king has asked the States to gratify him by letting go the two Dunkirk ships they have blockaded in Scotland, while the prince is situated as at present, though they may chase them at sea.
The French ambassador is still determined to inform his Majesty of the league at a separate audience. I am bound to him and can only move as he does. He is awaiting the king's arrival at Theobalds next week, when I shall hope to congratulate his Majesty on the prince's safe arrival in Spain.
I mentioned to the Lord Chamberlain that in the audience which I had conditionally asked for before his Majesty's last departure I would not have omitted, with the usual confidence, to inform him of the negotiations for a league, then incomplete, and your Serenity had arranged a special article concerning his Majesty to invite him. I think he reported this in a suitable manner; it can do no harm, and I hope it may prove helpful, if anything can do any good here.
Mansfeld has repeated his demand for any sum his Majesty pleases, if not to help future designs at least for past services. The king now adduces the absence of his son in addition to the other excuses. However, he encourages him to hope for something on the prince's return. It is perhaps as well that Mansfeld should not be beholden to this king for a little assistance, as in consequence of it the king might one day claim to upset the best laid schemes and some undertaking successfully begun as he has already done at the instigation of the Spaniards. Things seem to be taking a favourable turn in Germany. Denmark does a great deal and the neutrality of Brunswick is a mere pretence, while Mansfeld seems to intend attacking the enemy at the heart through Bavaria.
London, the 7th April, 1623.
[Italian.]
April 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
844. To the Ambassador in Savoy.
We hear from the Hague of the perturbation of the States because of the little hope of help from France and their despair of any from England in their present serious emergency, which is increased by the idea of a truce and the fear that it may be suddenly arranged, to the disadvantage of the whole of this province. This merits the duke's special consideration and we direct you to draw his attention to it, telling him of the proposal made to the States by the English Ambassador Carleton about their ships in favour of the Spaniards, pointing out that this is a serious step on the part of that king to the prejudice of the States, which may easily drive them to some precipitate decision. It is therefore to his Highness's interests to unite with us in strong representations to France for that Crown to afford them assistance, in conformity with its interests and numerous promises.
Ayes, 112. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
April 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
845. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Count of Mansfeld has asked Prince Maurice for patents to give him the services of the five or six thousand Scottish foot of Colonel Gray, though granted by the King of Great Britain for the service of these States, promising that they shall actually serve this country. His Excellency refused, not wishing to lose credit with the King of Great Britain. He did not say what answer he gave, but he dissimulated with some excuse, saying he did not see how it could be done. They are expecting this Gray here.
The King and Queen of Bohemia are very anxious about the negotiations of Bavaria with the French Court, as they feel sure he is doing this in order to be maintained in possession of the electorate, contrary to the intentions of the Spaniards.
The Hague, the 10th April, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
846. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I must add what I hear the Queen of Bohemia said to some one who spoke to her about the proposals made by the Spaniards to induce the King of Great Britain to get her to go and live at Brussels, where she would receive honourable treatment becoming her quality, much better than she could have among these Dutch boors and rebels. She said, If my father writes to me to that effect I have my answer ready, that the first of April is past. On that day it is customary in Holland and the Netherlands to send people with letters or some message to several places which ultimately leads to nothing but jesting and laughter between intimates. She added, I will never go there. She is a courageous princess of a most lively temper (disse ella se mio Padre mi scrivi questo io ho la risposta pronta, che e passato il primo giorno di Aprile, in questo di si acostumara in Holanda e nei Paesi Bassi mandar in più parti uno o con lettere o con qualche messaggio che in fine non rileva che un riso et una burla tra le compagnie, et aggiunse, nonvi anderei mai. È questa principessa coragiosa et di spirito vivissimo).
The Hague, the 10th April, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 They are preserved at the Public Record Office, State Papers, Domestic. Vol. cxxxix, No. 76.
2 Dealing with trade. See Aston's despatch of the 2nd April. State Papers, Foreign: Spain.
3 The agreement about Frankenthal, dated at London on the 19th March, old style, is printed by Dumont: Corps Diplomatique, Vol. v, part ii, pages 422–5.