Venice
December 1623, 1-15

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1912

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156-170

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'Venice: December 1623, 1-15', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 18: 1623-1625 (1912), pp. 156-170. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88898 Date accessed: 31 August 2014.


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December 1623

Dec. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
207. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
In the course of four days five expresses have been despatched to Spain. Each plan requires its courier and each decision ends with a despatch. But this has now become an inveterate custom here. Long experience shows that it will all amount to nothing, and it is evident that if all the couriers take the same thing it is superfluous to multiply them, and if they do not it is very weak to change about at such short intervals. Notwithstanding the extreme secrecy used I fancy that I detect that there are as many different commissions as couriers, that in one despatch they order the Ambassador Bristol not to make the match without fresh orders, while he being deprived of his powers, asked them back almost audaciously; with the others they prolong until March the powers which the King of Spain holds for them, and the prince also sent courteous letters to the Infanta. The first despatches were very determined about not desiring the marriage without the Palatinate, and the demand for its restitution seemed steadily to grow in volume, so that the Hispanophiles began to despair of the desired result, and the others began to hope for something good. But hopes here are nothing but the briefest flashes, and the Spaniards with their customary arts have now brought forward the question of marrying the Palatine's son, as already reported, as the best means to a satisfactory solution, intending to separate it from the question of the restitution, as was the case before with the prince's marriage, and I hear that they have made no small progress in their design.
The king, prince and Buckingham have had a long colloquy, lasting four hours, with the Ambassadors Inoiosa and Colonna, the doors being shut and every one else excluded; and though the room was a long way off, the king's voice was heard loud and almost infuriated. However, when they came out it was observed that all had ended with mutual satisfaction.
The question of a parliament has also been raised in the state discussions, but this is all quenched. They proposed to send to the King of Denmark. They mention a person well disposed to the public weal, and Buckingham remarked to him he would take some good decision; but this is all quenched if not obliterated. In fine, the king remains steadfast in his old ideas, which he will never abandon unless compelled, as I have said before. The Council does not dare to differ one jot from the sovereign's wishes. The prince continues in his dissimulation or stupidity, whichever it may be. I have been told, however, that at one meeting of the Council in particular he said that he was determined not to suffer any detriment upon three points, his honour, the kingdom and his own religion. (Il Consiglio non ardisce punto scostarsi dalla voglia del sovrano. Il Prencipe continua nella sua dissimulatione o stupidità, che sia; mi viene però riferto ch'egli in un Consiglio in particolar dicesse, ch'era risoluto di non voler assentire a quello che offendesse una di tre cose, la riputatione, il Regno et la religione propria.) Others believe that Buckingham is now either speaking with the prince's tongue or else will lead him wherever he likes. Certainly Buckingham's present situation, which seems to involve either the breaking off of the marriage or his own fall, gives rise to some hope, unless the king's fear at this alliance between his son and the favourite does not drive out his fear of the Spaniards, otherwise, in my opinion, there remains no other hope. But perhaps the king's art, which may be called very fine for his own detriment, will find a way either to upset this promised alliance, or, by satisfying Buckingham in some other way, relieve himself of this danger while upsetting the general welfare.
The Catholics here presented a memorial of thanks to the prince, of which I enclose a copy. He accepted it graciously, and Buckingham, who was present, spoke them fairly, assuring them that he was not opposed to them or to the marriage. This step of the Catholics arose from their fears of the rupture of the marriage. While their action seems prudent yet the rules of good governance require that all favours to the Catholics should come from the prince's own initiative, and I have frequently remarked to gentlemen here that there is nothing worse than to grant such favours at the instance of the Spaniards, because the intercessor obtains the gratitude and so the fruit of the favour is lost, and what is more important, the affection of subjects is lost by giving them over thus to subjection to the Spaniards.
The Ambassador Messia from Brussels went to his audience with a noble company and showing sumptuous liveries. He briefly offered congratulations and I am assured that he has no other business. On Wednesday night Buckingham entertained the Ambassadors Mendoza, Colonna and Messia at his own house. Inoiosa was not present as he never leaves the house with Mendoza because of the question of precedence. The expense was royal, and borne by the royal purse. There was a sumptuous banquet finely set out; a masque with various intermezzi, followed by a dance of twelve masked gentlemen; many ladies were present with a show of rich jewels. They professed to celebrate the prince's return. The king and the prince were present and ate at the same table as the three ambassadors. Thus the Spanish ambassadors eat with the King of England while the king's own son never ate with the King of Spain. At table, in addition to the usual toasts to the king, the Infanta and practically all Spain, the king remarked in the hearing of many that there was nothing he desired more than the marriage with the Infanta, as his son was in love with her and he would go and meet her at the ships. The feast was made by Buckingham either as a token of reconciliation with the Spaniards or to leave it doubtful whether the king went to that house to honour the ambassadors or Buckingham. The king's skill consists almost entirely of such artifices, which would better become a private gentleman than a great sovereign.
I enclose copies of the king's letter and the Palatine's reply about the fresh proposals for a marriage with the emperor's daughter. The king's letter can hardly be read without nausea, I think.
London, the 1st December, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in
the preceding
despatch.
208. To His Highness.
Memorial of humble thanks from his Majesty's Catholic subjects for the great favours which your Highness has obtained for us in many ways from his Majesty, especially for the remission of the impositions and money payments. We profess before God that we receive it as the fruit of his Majesty's clemency and a new bond for our loyalty and devotion to him and his posterity.
We beg your Highness to maintain his Majesty's favour towards us, and we hope that God may never show favour to our souls if we do not pray sincerely for the temporal and eternal felicity of both.
[Italian.]
Enclosed in
the preceding
despatch.
209. Copy of letter of KING JAMES to FREDERICK, Elector Palatine.
My dearest son: We perfectly recall the promises we have so frequently given to do our utmost to obtain your re-instatement and we adhere to that decision, and if we cannot obtain it by gentleness we will use force. But as we have always preferred lovingkindness and sought peace we desire to use every effort to obtain our ends by the first way rather than the second, to which we shall only have recourse at the last extremity. For this reason we have earnestly sought for the negotiations to be held at Cologne for the settlement of your affairs, in which we foresee that great difficulties will be encountered to delay a settlement, and this renders us the more zealous to discover better methods of getting those negotiations to result in a manner satisfactory to you. Among other things we consider nothing more efficacious and salutary than what we propose in the present despatch, to which we ask you to devote your earnest consideration. We think it best to strike at the root, and as the emperor is so strongly opposed to you, we therefore consider that the best way to extinguish this feeling is by a good alliance, such as is proposed, between your eldest son and the emperor's daughter, in the assurance which we hold that overtures will not be refused if you give your consent. The better to ensure success we have decided to induce the King of Spain to interest himself in this affair with us before proposing it to the emperor, and we feel sure he will lend a hand to bring it to a happy conclusion and also to ensure the observation of the conditions. If the emperor asks that your son should be brought up at his Court we see no objection provided the young prince has a tutor such as you approve, so that he may not become a Roman Catholic, and that neither he nor his be forced in matters of conscience. If you approve of our conducting this business we ask you to signify the same by letter. We have a good opportunity just now in replying to a courteous letter sent to us by the emperor congratulating us upon the conclusion of the marriage of our dear son. We can thus easily suggest the marriage, as a proposal should always come from the man's side, and we shall know how to govern our proceedings so as to make absolutely certain of an honourable, complete and punctual restitution of all that belongs to you before putting your son in the emperor's hands. We shall carefully provide that he shall have liberty of conscience for himself and his attendants, such as we have granted here in the case of the Infanta. In fact we see no objection against this course which in our opinion is the best, safest and most honourable expedient for your reinstatement and to secure your peace with the emperor. We hope that in this your opinion will coincide with ours and we beg you for an answer as soon as possible, so as to smooth the way for the great task which we have undertaken. Meanwhile, dearest son, we pray that God may keep you always in his holy protection.
JAMES.
Royston, the 8th October, 1623.
[Italian.]
Enclosed in
the preceding
despatch.
210. Copy of reply from FREDERICK, Elector Palatine, to KING JAMES.
Sire: It was a great consolation to me in my affliction to receive your letter of the 8th October, assuring me of your intention to put me in full possession of my hereditary dominions and dignities in conformity with your repeated promises from the beginning of these troubles until the present moment. I humbly thank your Majesty for what I value more than I can say, feeling certain that it is due to your perfect benevolence towards me, my queen and our children. As your Majesty thinks it best, as you have always done, to seek my restitution by means of negotiation, I refer myself again to your singular prudence and my own previous declarations, humbly beseeching you to press on these negotiations and to insist on the speedy restitution of what has been taken from me. without allowing any drawing back or that I should be compelled to any conditions prejudicial to me or mine, in the way you have allowed me to hope.
With regard to the opening suggested by your Majesty of marrying my eldest son to the emperor's daughter, when I have obtained the aforesaid full and complete restitution, if your Majesty thinks fit to insist upon it, I will readily consent, out of my filial respect for all that is found good for the advancement of the glory of God, in conformity with your Majesty's good advice, and necessary both for the public good and the particular welfare of my house.
I pray that the Creator may heap blessings upon your Majesty and give you long life.
FREDERICK.
The Hague, the 20/30th October, 1623.
[Italian.]
Dec. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
211. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
It is four days ago since a person calling himself an Italian come from Poland asked to speak with me in my room. (fn. 1) He began by praising my diligent service. He said he would not make himself known to me or who sent him, as I could partly find out for myself, and went on to enlarge upon the frauds perpetrated by the Spaniards upon the king here, their desire to subject Bavaria also, and especially to take Heidelberg and Mannheim from him, as then they would command the Rhine, join these States, hold Germany and dominate the ecclesiastical electors. He then praised Bavaria's intentions towards peace and some compositions, commending this as the best means for arranging the Palatine's affairs, remarking that the Spaniards would never make restitution or to arrange with the Palatine, though they could not do this even if they wished, as Bavaria was not a prince to be compelled so easily by force. The Spaniards had not the power, as they required their forces for other and more important enterprises; this matter could be referred to a diet where Bavaria would be in a favourable position, so a composition with Bavaria would be the shortest, easiest and safest way, as he was entirely sincere.
I listened attentively, thanked him for his praise, said that peace was necessary to Germany, and in short confined myself to generalities, so as not to commit myself but not show any mistrust of him, and as some other business then occurred opportunely, I took leave of him. He proposed to call upon me at another time, which would allow me to dive more deeply into the matter and discover if he is the one who made similar proposals to the king recently, as I reported. I have since found that he is the Capucin friar sent by the Elector of Mayence with the goodwill of Bavaria. But it has occurred to me that it is a strange thing to send a friar to treat with a heretic about restoring a heretic and one might fear some trick on Bavaria's part from dread lest the Spaniards in their own interests might conclude the negotiations to his detriment, though possibly the absolute hopelessness of deriving any advantage from negotiations with the Spaniards might lead Bavaria to take this course.
Two days after, this person returned to me, repeating and enlarging upon what he said before. He said it was well known that the Spaniards were not serious, but promised and acted as they pleased. A paper presented in the diet by Bavaria would throw everything upside down. He could settle with the Spaniards to-morrow if he liked by giving up the two fortresses, but Bavaria recognised that it was necessary to diminish rather than increase the formidable Spanish power. Mayence had ultimately obtained Berstat, though with great difficulty, and they took it very ill because Bavaria stood well with him and the other electors.
After praising Bavaria's prudence and good disposition I pointed out the difficulty of arranging a composition and the need for a mediator. He spoke of Bavaria's sincerity and the blood relationship, and the proposal for a marriage between the Palatine's son and Bavaria's daughter. He expressed a readiness to concede much, suggesting that they only wanted the electoral vote for life. He named the pope as mediator, and when I objected to the difficulty of his favouring a heretic, but he assured me that this would be no objection, and produced a letter with a few lines in cipher saying that the pope would certainly be ready to lend a hand to this affair. The pope was not a Spaniard although the Spaniards proclaimed him as on their side. I remarked that they not only did this but tried to stir him against heretics to involve him in troublesome affairs and so make him docile for their purposes; but he ought to see that their dominion did not increase, else the apostolic see would become a Jus patronato and the pope a chaplain. By acquiring the Palatinate the Spaniards enslaved the ecclesiastical electors and so greatly injured the pope's interests.
He assured me that the pope quite saw through the Spanish devices, was determined upon peace and the balance of power and meant to imitate the other Urbans by turning Christian forces against the Turks. He said he had spoken to the king in the presence of the prince and Buckingham, and had told the king, besides what he said to me, that he ought to tear himself free from the Spaniards, receive the consent of the Palatine and join with the pope, at least as a prince. The king seemed to agree to the proposal for a composition, and did not seem averse from an understanding with the pope, but he could not even pretend a desire to separate from the Spaniards. The king dismissed him without any decision, but he asked him to wait here fifteen or twenty days longer. Apparently this man hopes to hear something from the king. God grant he may, but one fears that after his disgraceful custom, with the idea of ingratiating himself with the Spaniards, he may communicate to them this very proposal (ma forse e da dubitare ch'egli col suo corrotto costume pensando avantaggiar con Spagnoli non communichi con essi questa propositione medesima).
I think that Bavaria has certainly made the proposal in good faith owing to his fear of Spanish aggrandisement, just as they fear his, and so the best means of arranging affairs may be a settlement with Bavaria, negotiations with the Spaniards being useless. By sounding the gentleman acting here as the Palatine's agent I find he would be quite agreeable. (fn. 2) My duty is to assist the general good but to refrain from particulars unless especially instructed by your Serenity.
I have received the ducal missives of the 2nd November. The office enjoined upon me is rendered superfluous by the one I have already performed with the prince, and I rejoice at having anticipated your wishes.
London, the 1st December, 1623.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
212. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have not been able to confer with the English ambassador, although he said he would come to see me to-day, as he afterwards said he was unwell. I must humour him in order not to lose his confidence, and find out what is decided before the nuncio sends back the courier to Rome; as I have lost my trusty informant who always gave me such accurate knowledge of affairs, who is no longer at Court. I have found a person of some account, and I discovered that what he told me about the Count of Olivares is confirmed in some particulars by what I heard of the nuncio by another way.
The dispensation for the marriage of the Infanta to the Prince of Wales is confirmed; your Serenity will have full particulars from Rome. The English ambassadors were immediately summoned by the count, who communicated to them the glad news, which they received as such, and afterwards went to his Majesty, and a few days later to the Infanta, who also seemed most rejoiced. They will fulfil all the pope's demands, and already the king has sworn to this before the nuncio, and they are accordingly arranging for the marriage, in which, in conformity with the proxies, his Majesty will act as substitute. The queen would like the ceremony postponed at least until she has recovered, but Olivares hastens it on by various means. They say it will take place quietly in the queen's private oratory.
Although they are drawing near to this marriage in a way that hardly admits of withdrawal, nevertheless people do not cease to say either that the bride and bridegroom will never come together or else they will do so very late. The ambassador of Germany remarked that the Infanta's husband would ultimately be the nunnery of the Barefooted Carmelites. However, as the count continues in favour I believe that he will succeed completely, and that the Infanta will leave for England at the earliest opportunity.
Madrid, the 4th December, 1623.
[Italian.]
Dec. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
213. MARC ANTONIO MOROSINI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Yesterday the English ambassador here came to see me. He asked me in the name of the Prince of Orange to ask your Serenity to grant leave for some months to Sig. Alfonso Antonini, of whom he speaks highly, saying the leave will serve your Excellencies, as additional experiences here will do great things for Antonini as a soldier.
The English prince has sent a gentleman expressly to his sister with the whole of the very present made to him by the King of Spain on his arrival at that Court, and in addition to this, in a little casquet of rock-crystal he sent her a most loving letter with a lock of his hair, which she immediately placed in a rich jewel and wore as an earring. There exists a great affection between these two, and the queen bases all her fortunes and hopes upon this love.
Yesterday took place the state christening of the Palatine's last son. The Kings of France and Sweden, the Queen of Sweden, and the Electoress of Brandenburg were the godparents. The boy received the name of the Most Christian, and after the ceremony they had a state banquet, dancing for the rest of the night.
The Hague, the 4th December, 1623.
[Italian.]
Dec. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
214. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
By a courier arrived to-day from England it is reported that the marriage will be delayed and if it takes place it will not be before March. The reason is said to be due to a change in England.
Madrid, the 6th December, 1623.
[Italian.]
Dec. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
215. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Four couriers have arrived in this city in one day from England for the Catholic Court. The Spanish ambassador sent a courier to Rome the same day, who went and returned without knowing the reason.
It is rumoured that in England they are beginning to change about the marriage. The English ambassador told me that it was not yet broken off, but the matter was being discussed with the Council, that war is more likely to result than the marriage, and they have joined with the marriage the question of the restitution of the Palatinate.
Paris, the 7th December, 1623.
[Italian.]
Dec. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
216. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Since the holding of the councils and the sending of the expresses everyone seems anxiously awaiting the decision of Spain. The number of the couriers, the reiteration of the commissions and the limitation of time given for a reply are here considered a great matter. But while threats issue from their mouths their hands remain in their pockets, as if the methods which have so often proved powerless would now succeed better, as if the Infanta and the Palatinate were things they could send by letter. However, the change in the king arouses the hope of some good from this quarter. He now communicates to the select council what he previously kept shut up in his own breast.
The open opposition of Buckingham to the marriage at present and the various actions whereby he seems anxious to make himself popular, while his evident favour makes it improbable that this is contrary to the king's wishes, render it likely that the king is using him as a secret but adequate instrument to win back the affection of his subjects and introduce a confidence that has been wanting in the past, which it will always be necessary for him to have before breaking with the Spaniards. God grant that this surmise about the king's intentions may prove correct, and in that case that he may not find it difficult to regain the confidence of those who have so many reasons for mistrust.
Meanwhile some prudent person has instilled into the mind of the prince how perilous it would be for his person if ever they should hand the Palatine's son over to the house of Austria, and he has openly declared against the proposed marriage upon such conditions. The king, after writing the letter and receiving the Palatine's reply, which I have already sent, has not answered again, and seemed undecided about the affair. I cannot as yet give the real reason for this, but I do know that although he advises that marriage in his letter, as though it were his own idea, yet the Spaniards are at the bottom of it, but by making the king the author of the proposal they expect to advance this affair and in any case to evade the responsibility of an unsuccessful issue, while indeed proving the genuineness of their protests. I have heard something of an exclamation of the prince upon one occasion, threatening to remember those who have participated in the evil counsels of his father (mi parve intendere che sia uscito una volta dalla bocca del Principe minacciando dover raccordarsi di quelli che partecipassero ne' mali consigli del Padre). I also hear that the Catholics here, despairing more and more of the marriage with the Spanish princess, in order to exclude anyone else who might not be of the same house, suggest that the best marriage for the prince would be with a lady of his own dominions. I know further that the Ambassador Colonna remarked that in the long run a war would be better for the Catholics than the marriage.
They have resolved once more upon the mission to the King of Denmark of a knight named Anstuder. He himself does not yet know his instructions. If he is ordered to proceed by way of the Hague it will be a good sign. I imagine his chief business will be to ask for money. The Ambassador Mendoza has left. He received a jewelled chain of 1,200l. sterling and a recommendation to the King of Spain for the coveted title of marquis. He is going to take up the embassy at Brussels, and will afterwards return to Spain through France. They have not yet opened the prison doors for the Earl of Oxford, although they seemed to hold the keys in their hands, and personally I consider this a bad sign for the public resolutions desired.
The new bishop here, (fn. 3) having chosen some of his subordinate ministers, has irritated the council not a little, and they intended to take him up rather sharply, but the Spanish ambassador himself reproved the bishop and stopped the Council.
The unknown person whom I mentioned in my last has returned to me. In a long conversation he told me that Spinola was the only one who did not want war. All the other Spanish ministers in Flanders, notably the Cardinal dall Aqueva, urge it strongly; the pope has the best intentions for the restitution of the Valtelline; Mansfelt will not be paid by France any more. He admitted to me that the king had previously shown himself desirous of a good understanding with the pope. As regards the Palatine, he let out that the matter might be settled by making an eighth elector, which could easily be done, if the pope, the emperor, the Palatine and all the rest with their dependants would concur. He repeated to me the dissatisfaction of Bavaria with the Spaniards, assuring me that the Ambassador Ognat had never visited the duke in order not to recognise him as elector. He remarked that one ought to consider that any restitution to the Palatine by means of the Spaniards would be to their great profit by creating an eternal material for bickering between the members of that royal house. However, he had no other reply from the king. In dealing with this individual I am generally content to listen, but I contrived to suggest to him that even if Bavaria's proposal was sincere, as I believed, there were other matters to consider; that the Palatine should consent, which may be considered easy; that this king should agree to treat on the subject, which might not be hopeless by God's grace, and in that case the negotiations might be carried on under the auspices of another sovereign. The gentleman of the Palatine of whom I wrote, in discussing with me the question of making an eighth elector, argued that such a thing was impossible, but he approved of the expedient of an alternative vote under certain conditions provided by the laws.
As the Dukes of Richmond and Buckingham cannot attend in person at the christening of the Palatine's youngest son, it appears that the Ambassador Charlenton will have orders to go there. The English gentlemen here being pressed by severe edicts of the king to leave the city and live in the country, take it in very ill part and show their feeling.
An ambassador has arrived from the King of Persia. (fn. 4) He brings, I understand, matters as beneficial for this kingdom as they are harmful to the Spaniards. God grant that they may not be more anxious about offending the latter than about injuring their own interests. The ambassador is an English gentleman, who has made the same journey previously with similar functions. I will not neglect to perform the proper offices with him. Wake, who was agent in Turin, has arrived.
The Ambassador Messia of Brussels, who was brought to this realm from a port in Flanders in a royal ship, although the captain only had orders to take him at Calais, has asked his Majesty that the same ship may take him back to Gravelines; but as it was granted for Calais, this was refused, to his not inconsiderable dissatisfaction, and some sharp words even passed between that ambassador and the Secretary Conovel, who took him the reply in the king's name.
I hear something of a new feast which Buckingham proposes to offer to Inoiosa. That is the way matters always proceed here. The king and the prince, however, are away from London. As Don Pietro Aldobrandino arrived here recently, I thought proper to send to pay my respects, but he left without making any response, possibly on the score of being incognito, though he made other visits. But as he mostly spent his days at the Spanish embassy, they may have put it into his head to neglect that polite office. I have thought it proper to let your Serenity know of his behaviour, and how he responds to the favours shown to him and his brothers, especially when they were staying in Padua.
The Marquis Martinengo is staying here at the embassy, who has come to obtain hunters for the King of France. He certainly seems to have made great progress in the schools of war and the Court. God knows that owing to my expenditure over the prince's return in gratuities and bonfires, festivities, liveries and journeys, amounting to many hundreds of crowns, I have great need of public assistance, but I know I must not ask too pressingly for what your Excellencies do not think proper to grant spontaneously.
London, the 8th December, 1623.
Postscript.—I send a copy of what the prince, before he left Spain, wrote to the Earl of Bristol about his powers for the betrothal.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed
in the
preceding
despatch.
217. Copy of letter of the Prince to the Ambassador Bristol. (fn. 5)
Your lordship will remember that shortly before my departure from San Lorenzo I spoke to you about a fear I had that after the betrothal the Infanta might be compelled to enter a nunnery, which I knew might easily be done by means of the dispensation. Although I did not wish to press that point too much at the moment, in order not to give offence and to avoid disputes, yet I have since considered that if the betrothal is made before I have assurances upon this point, and they afterwards adopt this way of undoing the marriage upon some ill-founded suspicion my father and all the world would rightly blame me for not having foreseen this contingency in time. Accordingly I command you by these presents not to hand my proxy to the King of Spain before I have obtained security both from the king and the Infanta that after we are betrothed I shall not be robbed of my bride, and when you receive it you will send it to me, so that if it proves sufficient, as I hope, you may receive orders from me to give him the proxy and so procure the marriage with all speed.
[Italian.]
Dec. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
218. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Pisiurs spoke to me about the marriage of the Prince of Wales, saying that he had contradictory news from England of rupture with Spain and that it was about to be effected. Together with many particulars upon the subject he told me that this marriage would be useful to France; I do not know whether that was to cover his fear of its being prejudicial, as the other lords judge differently. He also spoke of Germany with satisfaction at Gabor's success, saying the emperor speaks very suavely and asks us for help.
Paris, the 15th December, 1623.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
219. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Since by the employment of omnipotent means I have arrived at the reasons for the frequent expresses sent recently to Spain, I think it advisable to recapitulate what I have already written in order to give a full account of the whole matter. The delay must be excused on the grounds of difficulty of finding out, while the importance of the discovery affords compensation. Before the prince left the Spanish Court he left the proxy for the betrothal in the hands of the Ambassador Bristol, it being arranged that this should take place twenty-four days after the blessing of the present pope. But when the prince came to embark, he sent off the orders of which I enclosed a copy in my last. When the prince arrived here that letter of Bristol's, six sheets long, arrived, full of the King of Spain's sincerity, his resolute intention for the marriage, promises for the speedy arrival of the dispensation, and concluding with the brief but important announcement that unless orders to the contrary reached him he would consent to the solemnization of the nuptials twenty-eight days after the arrival of the dispensation.
On the receipt of this despatch the prince summoned the select Council, to whom, without the king being present, he communicated some letters which he had written to the King of Spain, full not only of feeling but of resentment, saying that he recognised many wrongs and grave injuries done to his reputation, especially in not granting the Infanta to him on his return, and adding that if the restitution of the Palatinate did not come first, it was futile to discuss the marriage. These letters were despatched by the first courier and sent to Bristol so that he might present them without delay; and to make quite sure of this they sent the second courier a few hours later with duplicates to the ordinary ambassador, Aston.
Scarcely had these expresses been despatched than Inoiosa, who may not have been ignorant of their purport, came to audience of the king, the prince also being present, and that was the long audience I wrote of. The king began by insisting strongly that he must have the Palatinate before the marriage. Inoiosa replied that there was never any doubt about the restitution, but it had always been considered as the necessary consequence of the marriage, and although they had kept the two subjects of negotiation separate for such a long time, yet as the separation surely arose from their desire to please his Majesty by a speedy conclusion of the marriage, so they would not refuse to unite them again if his Majesty would grant the time necessary to complete them, after which he produced a letter of the Infanta ostensibly written to the Count of Olivares, to that self same effect, saying that she could not believe the prince could love her if he neglected the interests of his only sister, and she considered his zeal for his sister's affairs as an argument of his affection for herself. Accordingly she begged Olivares to help on a satisfactory solution about the Palatinate. This letter undoubtedly made no small impression upon the prince, who seemed considerably mollified, although it may possibly have been a very subtle trick, since it is not unlikely that others were written to meet various emergencies. Accordingly they sent off the third courier with letters which were not communicated to the Council, so that one may conjecture that the first instructions were modified; this may be suspected the more as they afterwards debated whether the procuration left in Spain was valid, as the prince made it, though subject to his father's will, and Cottington wrote it, who has not the character of a notary. Accordingly Cottington was made a notary and the procuration was renewed and sent by the fourth courier. And whereas in the first excitement they discussed in the Council the question of summoning a parliament, the king, in order to arouse some anxiety in the mind of the King of Spain, thought fit to inform him about this, assuring him that even if it took place it should make no difference to the marriage. This was the subject of the fifth express. They may have meant this hint of a parliament as a kind of threat, although the reports and hopes of one are growing stronger. Such are the five despatches which I reported.
They made two more this week. One very secret one by the Secretary Calvert, which is not easy to guess, sent by a courier who mounted his horse without a moment's delay; the other left yesterday with the duplicate of the dispensation come from Rome by way of Brussels. This dispensation adds a fresh article about a public church for the Catholics, undoubtedly introduced by the Spaniards in order to spin out the negotiations; even if it were granted it is not likely that it would confer essential benefit upon the Catholic religion, as while private exercise is permitted one may fear that a public church may one day cause an outbreak and popular violence. As these expeditions have not been communicated it is difficult to form any judgment about them, and one cannot be sure whether they have prolonged or confirmed the first term of the procuration for the nuptials, or whether, as some say, the ambassadors have been recalled absolutely, since they have not received the satisfaction of a promise signed by the King of Spain that the Palatinate shall be restored within three months, until which time the marriage shall remain in suspense, and if restitution is not made, the negotiations shall cease; as as regards the dower they want all the money in one payment, as arranged from the first. Those who know most consider Bristol's fortunes in a desperate plight. Certainly Buckingham has declared himself his enemy. The prince does not seem satisfied with him; only the king is inclined to the affair, and possibly favourable to the minister. A nobleman remarked to me that the failures of others were to be discharged upon Bristol's shoulders, and he was to be sacrificed to the common service.
Buckingham's freedom of speech with the king continues and even increases, even against the Spaniards. He told him he could not bear to see his reputation taken away by the Spaniards. They have complained that Buckingham told some Flemish gentlemen who accompanied the Ambassador Messia that he marvelled how such worthy gentlemen could tolerate the Spanish yoke, and Inoiosa certainly informed the king that Buckingham's favour was not compatible with the friendship of Spain.
The prince also seems to be rousing himself, and speaks with more freedom, not against the princes but against Spain. He shows somewhat less respect to the king, and gives more satisfaction to others than usual. He has reconciled Buckingham with some gentlemen, and especially with the lord chamberlain, with whom he had a quarrel. He is very gracious to the Earl of Southampton, who was out of favour with the king, although even he now regards the earl with a more friendly eye. Only the king holds to his first opinions, or at least has changed but little; but the opinions of the king, the prince and Buckingham seem irreconcilable, and it also seems impossible that the state of affairs should not ultimately undergo a decisive change. Every argument and every indication point that way, and a great lord told me it must be so, but I confess that experience of the past and the subtlety of Spanish artifice make me suspend my judgment (Il prencipe ancora par che ognor più si risvegli. Parla con più libertà, non contro ai Prencipi ma contra la Spagna. Col Re usa qualche minor respetto, a gl'altri da maggior soddisfattione del solito. Ha fatto riconciliare il Bochingam con alcuni Signori et in particolare con il Gran Sciamberlano, con chi passava qualche disgusto. Accarezza assai il Conte di Sutanton gia disgratiato dal Re, seben hora veduto con miglior occhio anco da lui. Solo il Re sta ne suoi primi concetti o almen mutato di poco. Ma mostrandosi irreconcilabili gl'affetti del Re, del Prencipe e del Bochingam, pare anco impossibile che in fine certamente non muti lo stato degl'affari. Ogni ragione lo vuole qualche apparenza lo mostra et Signor grande mi assicura che cosi debba esser; ma io confesso che l'esperienza delle cose passate et la finezza dell' artificio Spagnuolo mi fa tener sospesa la credenza).
The Council, composed of twelve persons, seems to be divided into two parties, one for a rupture and the other for negotiation. It is to be feared that the royal authority and wishes will prevail, and perhaps the action and words of the prince and Buckingham may be thrown away, through petitioning for the sending of the Infanta, spurred on by fear, or, as has been suggested to me, the prince having made some secret promises while he was in Spain very prejudicial to this kingdom, he wants now to escape from fulfilling them by bringing forward petitions impossible to grant. But even if this be so God grant that once they have recovered the will here to do right they may be able to do it, with the imperfection and corruption in the head, in the principal members and the whole body of the state.
The Ambassador Messia has left for Brussels, very dissatisfied because they refused him a ship to Gravelines. A knight called Garim (fn. 6) was sent to the Queen of Bohemia six days ago. The rank of the individual would give rise to the belief that he takes something of importance. He takes to the queen letters in the prince's own hand-writing but not from the king, and the object of the mission seems to be to take the excuses of the Dukes of Richmond and Buckingham. The departure of the person destined for Denmark still remains in the balance. Amid these fluctuating affairs, with the king far away, although the prince is here, as I have no special commissions I shall abstain from audiences until I am obliged by the approaching occasions to wish these royalties the compliments of the season.
London, the 15th December [1623.]
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 Francisco della Rota.
2 Valaresso does not appear to have mentioned Rota to Rusdorf, who writes of the Venetian ambassador's conversation on the subject (Memoires et Neqotiations Secretes de Mr. de Rusdorf. vol. i. pages 143, 144), and who in referring to Rota later on calis him "un certain Gentil-homme secretement ici, qui fait les ouvertures." Ibid, page 145. It was not until the end of December that Rusdorf found that this "gentleman" was a disguised Capuchin, an Italian named Alexandre d'Alix, but calling himself Francesco della Rota. Ibid, page 177.
3 William Bishop, Bishop of Calcedon, appointed to preside over the English Catholics.
4 Sir Robert Shirley. Mr. Evelyn Shirley (The Shirley Brothers, page 88) puts his arrival in England in the month of January, but it is clear from this that it took place some weeks earlier.
5 Quoted by Gardiner. Hist. of Eng. vol. v. page 118. The original is among the Sherborne MSS. and is printed, Hist. MSS. Com. Report VIII, App. i. page 215b.
6 Sir George Goring, who left on the 6th December. Birch, Court and Times of James I, ii, page 436.