Venice
April 1623, 21-30

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1911

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634-644

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'Venice: April 1623, 21-30', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 17: 1621-1623 (1911), pp. 634-644. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88857 Date accessed: 23 September 2014.


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April 1623

April 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
859. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Last Sunday the king arrived. On Wednesday the French ambassador had audience, and on the following day, that is yesterday, I had mine, as I had been careful to have it close to his. I found the king in good health, though not without the weakness in the legs now usual with him. I told him of your Serenity's esteem and how you had made a league with the Most Christian and the Duke of Savoy to redeem the people of Rhaetia from their present captivity, of which I was charged to inform him and of the article reserving a place for him becoming his greatness, and if he would accept, it would help the league, honour himself and assist the public cause. The king thanked your Serenity for the office and said that every one would recall how earnestly he had worked for the restitution of the Valtelline even before the death of the late King of Spain. The restitution did not take place then through the fault of France alone and especially the operations of Gueffier. At present with the affairs of the Palatinate and his own son he could only wish the league well but in time he might decide to do something more. He added he heard the matter had been referred to the pope, who had already sent to take over the forts. He said this with some pleasure, assuring me that he heard it from several quarters. I said I had no news of this in the letters sent me a month ago, though indeed my instructions to communicate the league were three weeks old, owing to his Majesty's indisposition and then because I had to wait upon the convenience of the French ministers. However I remarked that if restitution took place through the pope's offices that would be so much the better as it would cost less, without bloodshed; but it showed that only the use and fear of force did any real good in such matters. The king, however, continued with some amount of satisfaction to disparage the league, saying he understood they were to begin early in April but now we are near its end. I replied that the preparations were to be made in April but the campaigning must await a better season. I heard that the Most Christian and the Duke of Savoy had their forces ready and your Serenity had been fully prepared long since.
I thought fit to express the grief of your Excellencies at the transfer of the vote to Bavaria, remarking that it proved the evil intentions of the emperor and put an end to all hope of treating. The king said he was deeply grieved but said he heard your Serenity had procured and desired this assignment. He asked if this were true, though he did not seem to believe it, adding he knew the French had steadily urged it. I said I felt sure his Majesty could answer his own question, as he knew your Serenity's dislike of change, and your friendship for the Palatine, and how damaging to the generality was this abuse of the imperial authority. The king immediately remarked that this investiture was unlawful, unreasonable and required the consent of the States of Saxony and Brandenburg, who protested against it, as well as his son-in-law, who made a third elector. The emperor had written them a letter full of fine phrases, reserving the rights of the Palatine's children and only investing Bavaria for life. He would not rest satisfied with this but would obtain satisfaction or employ other means; he desired the marriage and hurried it on in order to settle the affairs of the Palatine; also he will never rest but will make war on the emperor and move Hell itself against him, quoting Virgil flectere si nequeo superos Acheronta movebo. I replied that his Majesty was so great as the ruler of three powerful kingdoms that he need do no more than use his own strength and the more decision to unsheath the sword would undoubtedly bring either satisfaction or victory. In these days reason was a corpse unless animated by force, and unarmed law was not only dumb but dead.
I then offered congratulations on the prince's safe arrival in Spain. He thanked me warmly and said with some frankness that he hoped by such means to put an end to delays, and once this was settled he would be his own master. As he referred to this I thought it advisable to speak of it as a master stroke which could not derive from any one less wise than his Majesty; I said that the conclusion of such long negotiations would be the best news that could reach your Serenity, and now the affair would not last longer than some few days or even hours. The king was greatly delighted at this commendation of the journey. He gloried in it and told me the Duke of Savoy had praised it highly, and all would be settled in a month. In speaking of the prince's health I said he had given good proof of his robustness and courage and provided an earnest of what he could do in the more important matters of leading an army and giving battle.
I concluded the audience by speaking of the Marquis of Buckingham and the honour shown him in Spain. I thought it might not be amiss by making the most of these honours to foment the jealousy of him which I understand they have aroused in the king. Certainly so long as the marquis maintains his favour he will prove a deplorable instrument against the public good, but the more beneficial his full would be the more difficult it is to effect.
Such is a brief account of my audience, which lasted almost an hour without the king showing the slightest trace of fatigue. I did not say much about his joining the league as the French ambassador had asked him, and it only excites wrath to press for things which are impossible and hopeless. For the rest I tried to convey the truth modestly, but the king's blindness is a judgment of God only to be healed by His omnipotent hand. The French ambassador, with every show of honour and confidence, which I have certainly done my best to encourage, called upon me this day after his audience, before I went to mine, to communicate to me what he had said and the king's replies, which were practically the same as those given to me. He merely mentioned that the king said something about his coming after the Swiss and seemed to think that the Most Christian was turning his thoughts from the war for Rhaetia to repressing the Huguenots. His Majesty said nothing of these things to me, but as I went to see the ambassador to-day, to exchange reports of our audience, I thought fit to enter at length upon this doubt about his king's resolution hoping thereby to bind France to maintain what was arranged as being a point of honour. I know that these are slight props where there is strong resolution. However it does no harm to try every way, and the ambassador is advised from France that they are about to dismiss their fleet. If this is true it would be of excellent augury.
This morning letters have reached his Majesty from Spain, but I will keep them for the next despatch. I am eagerly awaiting the secretary.
London, the 21st April, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
860. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
When I met the French ambassador upon the Easter celebrations we spoke about the deposit of the Valtelline in the pope's hands. He urged me to advise your Excellencies to give what you cannot sell. I do not know whether he is sincere in his advice. He is very intimate with the nuncio and seems to lean more and more towards satisfying the Spaniards. Thus in discussing the English marriage he even said that our masters ought not to try to put any hindrances in the way, as it would be quite useless. He said he had written to his king and suggested that I should write to your Serenity, because it was said that efforts were being made to prevent the pope granting the dispensation. This seems to confirm his disposition towards the interests of this Crown.
Madrid, the 22nd April, 1623.
[Italian.]
April 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma,
Venetian
Archives.
861. RANIER ZEN, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Two couriers have come from Spain this week, one extraordinary from the nuncio, and the other from the king, and with them has come a gentleman of the Prince of England. The former were sent off the very next day. Upon their arrival reports instantly spread that they brought word that the marriage was already accomplished, and came for the absolution, which was sent off at once; the matter caused great discussion at the Court and now it is said that they came for the dispensation, which has been sent as I reported.
The couriers bring word of the great favours showered by his Majesty and all his family upon the Prince of England, having made him as it were King of Spain. His Majesty desired that the prince should confer all charges and benefits, making the Count of Olivares give him the papers, (fn. 1) and that he should dispense the golden fleece to whom he pleased, after taking it for himself, in fact favours that beggar all description and imagination. The Cardinal prince also informed him that all ecclesiastical benefices were at his disposal, and he dispenses them, being adored by all. On his side the prince is dispensing an enormous quantity of jewels and he has received some from his Majesty.
They also bring almost absolute promises that the prince will become a Catholic and the leading men of the kingdom will follow. The Spaniards go about publishing all this. A letter is shown written by the King of England to the King of Spain, of a very affectionate character, wherein he places his kingdom at his disposal. They also publish that the son of the King of Poland was about to start on a journey to come and take this Infanta, but on hearing this news he gave it up. What is more important they say that the report of this union has produced such an impression in Germany that Saxony and the whole of the Protestant faction opposed to the house of Austria have given way, and there will be no more wars or obstacles to its greatness.
Rome, the 22nd April, 1623.
[Italian.]
April 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
862. VALERIO ANTELMI, Venetian Secretary at Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Earl of Warwick, an Englishman of high rank entertained here by the Grand Duke, has word from England that the king's decision to send his only son to Spain is considered a great risk, highly prejudicial to the honour and interest of his own crown, and an offence to his kingdom, including even the Catholics. By this demonstration of such a strong desire for this alliance England is not going the right way to secure an equal and reciprocal contract, with dignity and splendour, but is rather performing an act of subjection, contrary to her very existence and glory. She will lose the friendship and understanding with the States of Holland, the Protestants of Germany and the Huguenots of France, and will afford support and vigour to the Spaniards, her principal enemies, at a moment when Spain is more weary and exhausted than ever and involved in various difficulties.
Florence, the 22nd April, 1623.
[Italian.]
April 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
863. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
There is nothing to add about the marriage as they are awaiting the pope's decision. The Duke of Pastrana is working hard to obtain this speedily; as they have appointed a Junta of thirty-three divines and lawyers, it is reported that they are again discussing the principal point though it is thought to be rather to show that the prince did not come to a finished affair (tuttavia credesi sia per maggior apparenza che il prencipe non e venuto a negotio finito), and possibly also to prepare arguments in favour of the dispensation (per preparar dotrina a favore della dispensa) if the pope refuses or delays too long. Some say that his Holiness has sent secretly, as every one considers that both parties have gone too far to draw back and even if one side raised difficulties over certain subjects the others would facilitate an adjustment. One understands this from what I reported the English ambassador said.
The nuncio on the other hand declares, although I believe him insincere, that he will combat the conclusion in every way, and it may not come off, or will at least be much delayed, as the Marquis of Inoiosa would have first to negotiate for countless advantages for the safety of the Catholics, and try to get the utmost advantages out of that king's eagerness, as shown by his sending his son here.
As the prince was beginning to grow tired and to show some resentment at not being admitted to see the Infanta, with whom he professes himself deeply in love, it was arranged after much discussion that he should go to offer her his respects at Easter, accompanied by the king and followed by all the grandees and many cavaliers, in the queen's apartment where the prince seated himself while the king sat next his sister. After offering his salutations to the queen the prince approached the Infanta to whom he delivered a rather lengthy compliment in an affectionate manner, which caused whispering in the room. On this account he finished sooner than he wanted, as well as from certain indications given by the queen and because the Infanta was becoming wearied. She answered correctly with the precision prescribed to her, in a few formal phrases. It was especially observed how composed she remained without the slightest loss of countenance, so that all the by standers were amazed and spoke of it with universal astonishment, because it is notorious that she regards this marriage with extreme aversion and dread, her only consolation being that she says she will die a martyr. (Annuntiato ch'hebbe felicità alla Regina si approssimò il Prencipe alla Infanta, et gli espose complimento assai lungo, et con maniera affettuosa, di che si sussurava nella stanza, et percio fini prima del suo gusto, vedendo anco certi segni della Regina et che si annoiava la Infanta; qual rispose compitamente et con la puntualità prescrittale di pochissime parole d'ufficio, et se notò per osservatione principale ch'ella si tenne tanto composta et senza minimo segno di mutatione, ch'tutti gli astanti remaserò stupiti parlandosene con maraviglia universale, perche è certissimo ch'ella ha una estrema antipathia et timore di queste nozze non si consolando con altro senon col dire che morirà martire.)
The Senate will permit me to give them a laugh in recording a trifle. The prince put on a gala costume as they say here, with various ornaments after the fashion of his country, to appear before his beloved. He had in particular a pair of blue hose and a collar such as they wear in England. When the king's chamberlains in attendance upon him objected to these and similar things, persuading him to put them off, he defended himself saying that they were customary in his country. Finally the Count of la Puebla frankly asked him for the hose as a present, hinting that it was not becoming for him to appear in them before the Infanta, and the Countess of Olivares afterwards sent him some things among which she introduced some Vallone, which are collars now in fashion, begging him to do her the honour of wearing them on the day that he saw the Infanta. As love exacts obedience from his vassals without exception or distinctions, the prince readily obeyed in everything. This news is not suitable for the gravity of your Excellencies, but it serves to show to what an extent these people idolise their own things, and how they are bent on commanding under the show of asking a favour.
The king has taken the prince to Aranjuez to enjoy the pleasure of the country in the present season. On the holy days they showed him numerous processions of flagellants, and the royal Council ordered the reformed bare-footed friars to appear with acts of outward penitence; so two hundred friars gathered, their heads all bleeding from the crowns of thorns which they wore, with other signs of suffering, calculated to arouse feelings of edification and compunction. But the prince began to argue with the Jesuit father Florentia, and in particular asked where they prove the practice of confession in the Scriptures. The father answered with ability and truth. Thus it looks as if the prince wishes or feigns a wish to be enlightened upon the errors of his detestable faith. As Spain, for all their boasts, does not possess a divine perfectly adapted for this task, the nuncio has sent for the Capuchin named Father Zaccaria di Saluzzo to come back, although he had already embarked with his general at Barcelona for Italy. Accordingly this friar, who is very learned, has begun to work against the follies and false dogmas of England, and as he confounded the archbishop of Spalato and made him revise his opinions, they hope that he may also convert the prince, although it is suspected that it is all a pretence since he has with him some of the greatest and most fanatical heretics that exist.
Madrid, the 23rd April, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian.
Archives.
864. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They are arming twelve ships in Portugal for the recovery of Ormuz and have asked help of this kingdom. The undertaking is considered almost hopeless, as they hear that the Dutch have sent reinforcements. However they propose to make a treaty with the King of Persia and give him a share in Ormuz, as they think he will not fight without the support of the English, as they are most anxious to avoid expense, the Count of Olivares being well aware of the reduced conditions of the Crown. They are reduced to notes for money for their daily needs, which are increased by the visit of the Prince of England. These notes keep falling in value, while bullion rises, so that the price of everything is doubled here.
Madrid, the 24th April. 1623.
[Italian.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
865. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The deputies of the States have returned from Emden, urged on by the Count of Mansfeld to represent the condition of his troops and their need of money, and how he might be compelled to make terms with the Spaniards and Austrians. The relation was made by a Scottish captain, sent by the Court to move the States to help him. These fresh requests perturbed the States not a little, and they resolved to approach the ambassador of the Most Christian and myself.
The Scottish captain, who is named Corbun presses his cause very zealously and importunes his Excellency and some of their High Mightinesses every day. Yesterday morning Colonel Golstein also arrived from Mansfeld to prefer the same requests.
There are some doubts whether Mansfeld has the number of troops required. However the Scottish captain came to see me and assured me that he had 3,000 horse and about 10,000 foot.
The Hague, the 24th April, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
866. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
In addition to his other demands the Scottish captain Corbun is asking the States to interest themselves in the levy from England and Scotland, using their name, offering that Colonel Gray shall give them a promise in writing that he will not ask for any payment from this republic, but apparently they are not at all disposed to this at present.
The last letters from Cologne report that the people of Frankendal are not at all pleased at the purposes of the King of Great Britain to get them to submit to the Spaniards, whether it take the form of a deposit or of sequestration, and they manifest a reluctance to accept the arrangement made by that monarch with the ministers of his Catholic Majesty and the Infanta, and apparently they will not do so unless driven by absolute necessity.
The Hague, the 24th April, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
867. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The letter of the Prince of Wales to his sister was written three days before his departure, but the contents were as I reported. Just now they say no more about it, but the king and queen here are awaiting the outcome of such an unexpected step, which causes them great anxiety, especially the queen.
The Hague, the 24th April, 1623.
[Italian.]
April 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
868. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The prince's last letters from Spain tell his Majesty of the continued honours and presents showered upon him by the king and queen. The choice of Gondomar to the Council of State has been made to appear due to the prince's favour. The hope of the dispensation, for which the Duke of Pastrana is going to ask, and for which the prince is also sending there his surgeon named Andreis. The sending of the Marquis of San Germano here as ambassador, who has left or is about to leave. The request made by him to visit the Infanta, but not accorded under the pretext of Lent, a time of retirement. The great haste in making ready and the departure of the ships, which they feared would not be ready before the prince got to sea, and finally the preparation of a tournament for which he asks for his harness, some horses and a field tent. Meanwhile they have shipped the ambling nags (cavalli di maneggio) (fn. 2) with some hackneys as presents, the arms and a very rich tent. Two ships are going and, according to the king himself, they are to bring back the marquis. (fn. 3) Eight others will be ready in a few days and I hear that the Earl of Rutland will command them. Some of the gentlemen have been to look out a place for building the Infanta's chapel, with some addition of rooms to the prince's palace of St. James. They are making preparations to entertain and regale the Ambassador San Germano with all pomp. I can only report the news thence and the things done here, although it is apparent that some are self contradictory. It will require about two months before they can use the horses after a long and trying voyage and this does not agree with the hurry over the ships. The two ships for the return of the marquis seem superfluous since they already have there the royal and the merchant ships which might bring him back. The choice of San Germano for the embassy is a bad sign, in a matter where the negotiations have been so long drawn out. Some think, however, that he is to negotiate about assuring the dowry, an important point which cannot be settled without parliament, and even so not without delay and difficulty. But the most remarkable thing of all is the refusal to allow the prince to visit the Infanta upon so feeble an excuse, when she is to be his bride and when for her sake he has exposed himself to the perils of so long a journey. It is certain that this seems strange even to some of the Spaniards themselves. However here they are so blinded in their desire for the marriage and dazzled by the false light of these empty welcomes that they do not perceive anything wrong in such a refusal, and do not suspect that this superabundance on one side may be intended to cover defects on the other. The king, in order to feed others on the smoke upon which perchance he feeds himself, has commanded the printing of a long account of all the honours accorded to his son, wherein however they do not omit the refusal of the visit.
The Ambassador Digby or Bristol writes that the Spaniards have never on any previous occasion so cast aside their natural gravity as with the prince. In any case, from what I hear on excellent authority, he is at heart ill content not to say very sad and is not eating with his usual appetite. In the palace he is not allowed to practice his religion, for which he must go secretly to the ambassador's house though he has not yet done so. I am also told that they have turned back the two ministers sent recently as I reported. The outcome of this business still remains obscure. A Spaniard has said that they will send back the prince soon to rid themselves of the expense of entertaining him and to avoid the danger of the king's death in his absence. I cannot foresee the result, but I think that as usual the disposition here is such that they will suffer any delay still, as one sustained by constant hopes never knows how to put an end to lengthiness. The king hopes ever, the magnates follow him, the others do not care; all have made themselves effeminate in the ease of a long peace. The Earl of Bristol has taken 35,000 crowns in Spain, to be paid by the king here to the Spanish ambassador. His Majesty has asked the city for a loan of 100,000l. They excused themselves owing to a sum of 100,000l. previously lent and never repaid, the present decline of trade, and the great prejudice they suffer from the proclamation, recently renewed, sending all the gentlemen into the country.
It was reported that Franchendal would not accept the terms. The ambassador of Flanders has left. He has obtained a truce in the Palatinate to begin in four and to last twelve months. It seems absurd to suspend hostilities which do not exist. But there is some mystery. He treated but little upon the serious parts of the business. He pressed for the marriage of the Palatine's son to the emperor's daughter and seemed anxious for a truce with the Dutch.
The French ambassador assures me that the decision about the deposit will not weaken their conception of the league. I remarked that it was serious to lose time, especially with the Spaniards, who are excellent merchants of time, and said God grant that with the Valtelline we may not lose the pope also, The French ambassador at Venice writes that your Serenity is very suspicious, but otherwise shows himself a good minister and does not approve of the deposit. The ambassador at Rome raised some doubt about this deposit. The English ambassador in France tells the king that the matter is desperate and the ambassadors of your Serenity and Savoy complain bitterly. A league of the Princes of Upper and Lower Saxony has been concluded with the Kings of Denmark and Sweden. They hope well of it and it should soon shew its worth in the approaching case of the Landgrave Maurice of Hesse.
At the coming of the Spanish ambassador I forsee the usual difficulties, perhaps even greater, owing to the quality of the individual and the increased prestige of the Spaniards at this Court.
I have received a courteous invitation from his Majesty to be present at the ceremony of St. George which takes place one day next week at Windsor, twenty-two miles away, when they will confer the order of the Garter upon the Marquis of Hamilton with the usual solemnities, to fill up the place vacated by the death of the Earl of Exeter. The king left for that place to-day, and I fear that the ceremonies of that day, clashing with the day of my despatch, may hinder me.
London, the 28th April, 1623.
[Italian.]
April 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
869. ZORZI GIUSTINIAN, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
It has occurred to the English merchants at Smyrna to claim compensation from the Venetians, as authors of some inconvenience they experienced last year, for the losses they suffered to the amount of some 1,000 thalers. The ambassador has spoken about it to the Bailo, who made him listen to reason and told him that the French would also claim the same.
The Vigne of Pera, the 29th April, 1623.
[Italian.]
April 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
870. VALERIO ANTELMI, Venetian Secretary at Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
A gentleman of the Prince of England arrived at Pisa three days ago on his way back from Rome. I hear that he is taking to Spain the pope's dispensation for the marriage. His Holiness has also written to the prince a brief full of affection and esteem.
Another English gentleman, who stayed at Rome longer should arrive in Florence, by his king's command, to perform complimentary offices with their Highnesses here. He will be received at the palace in the most courteous fashion.
People here never cease expressing their astonishment at the step taken by the King of England in placing his only son and his very crown in the hands of others for the sake of this marriage. It cannot be denied that the mere aspect of this helps the Spaniards for the moment, yet it is both true and manifest that the pressing needs of their own weakness have compelled them to change their purpose and prefer the Prince of Wales to the emperor's son, though strong reasons called them to confirm a closer union with the latter.
Florence, the 29th April, 1623.
[Italian.]
April 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
871. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I tried to ascertain from the French ambassador what they really mean to do about the deposit of the Valtelline. He insisted upon the danger of the pope joining with the Catholic, in which case the league would find it more difficult to achieve its objects. The pope claimed to be arbiter in the matter. I asked if his king had conferred this power on the pope. He said that his Holiness might assume so much from the approaches made to him but added that they would try all sorts of ways to obtain the objects desired by the league. He knew that other proposals were being urged against it, in particular by the King of England, in order to facilitate and hasten the marriage. He assured me that that sovereign offered to do the Catholic's slightest wish and, as a beginning and indication, he would at once remove his ambassadors from France and Venice, in his eagerness to announce himself as completely at one with this Crown. I am quite certain of the truth of this.
Madrid, the 30th April, 1623.
[Italian; deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 i papelli, Sp. papel, paper.
2 "Ambling nags" is the expression used by Conway in his letter to Sir Henry Vane of the 19th April. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1619–23, page 562.
3 The two ships were the St. George commanded by Sir Francis Stewart, and the Antelope, Capt. Thomas Love. Ibid., page 558.


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