Venice
February 1624

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1912

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205-225

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'Venice: February 1624', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 18: 1623-1625 (1912), pp. 205-225. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88902 Date accessed: 31 October 2014.


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February 1624

Feb. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
257. To the Ambassador in England.
Your special letters reached us last week but not the public ones, which makes us suspect that they have been intercepted, as we have some advices that this may have taken place at Crucignach in the Palatinate. We wish you to know of this, especially in view of what is taking place at that Court at the present time. We direct you, as we have done before, to write your letters to the Senate in the new cipher in the parts where you consider it most necessary and always to send duplicates with the next despatch, to make sure that they reach us in the end.
Ayes, 110.Noes, 2.Neutral, 4.
[Italian.]
Feb. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
258. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
To the request of the English ambassadors about the Palatinate they have replied that they will endeavour to obtain the restitution of everything either absolutely or after some time. Such a reply in substance was sent to London. Nevertheless the ambassadors raised difficulties and declared that it would not please their king, since he asked for a clear undertaking, such as his Catholic Majesty could easily give. As the ambassadors insisted, the matter was discussed at great length in the Council of State, but they ultimately decided that the king could not bind himself any further. The ministers have also uttered indications of the same thing as when a friend remarked on the extraordinary length of the Council, and that they must have had some great matter to deal with he replied, A very great affair, and it is not a good sign when the doctors hold such long consultations. Don Pedro di Toledo also remarked that now affairs were developing better in Spain as they were beginning to be undeceived about the negotiations with England. When I called upon the ordinary English ambassador, however, I learned that although in the general opinion at Court the marriage is absolutely broken off, yet this was not true yet, as they were waiting to hear the decision of her king. He added that he would work hard to bring about a happy issue. The ambassador further remarked that although hitherto he had favoured the marriage, as it pleased the king and prince, yet if they changed he would do so also, as his inclinations depended upon those of his sovereign and he had no personal feelings to consult. He said he expected despatches from London and with them all negotiations would be finished, there being no time to play upon except to next March. He represented that they ought to be very grateful here for the conduct observed by his Majesty, as after the prince had taken the Infanta and the dowry of two millions he might have demanded the restitution of his son-in-law and become openly hostile.
The ambassador spoke to me to this effect, but I found him very undecided, and he admitted that it was impossible for the Palatine to recover by way of agreement and promises what was occupied by so many princes, though he declares that Olivares assured him that he had written to get what had recently been occupied taken away from the Elector of Mayence, but he remarked that nothing had happened as yet. They have since been waiting attentively to see what will be decided in England, reflecting upon various advices that the ambassadors send thence. The promoters of the marriage blame the Marquis of Inoiosa very severely for having treated too harshly with Buckingham, declaring sharply that the Catholic was ready for war or for peace with that sovereign, and the Infanta was equally careless about his son, pretending that his king had played the suppliant, with other similar conceits which the Marquis of Aitona, Councillor of State, characterised as imprudent.
They also reflect that Buckingham and the Earl of Chierle, so report says, have suggested to the French ambassador resident in London that now is the moment to offer the sister of the Most Christian for the prince, as although the ambassador said he had no instructions upon the subject and did not even expect to receive any, seeing that the negotiations with the Catholic were so far advanced; they know from Inoiosa's letters that Buckingham replied that he had spoken for himself, yet with the influence and favour that he enjoys they see clearly that it was not merely a speech of his own and even pre-suppose that it was done with the prince's consent. The graciousness which his Highness shows to him causes extreme astonishment, as they expected the reverse, accounting an office of the French ambassador, announcing the opening of negotiations with the most Christian king as an artifice. But you will have full particulars from London. I must not omit to note, however, that many here continue to believe that the dissatisfaction of the English is shown designedly and that their zeal for the interests of the Palatine is a pretence with the object of declaring that they have used every effort with the Spaniards, even almost to breaking off the marriage, but this was so advanced that they were obliged to complete it for their reputation's sake, accepting what they could get for the Palatine. It is true that the zeal of Olivares over this business seems to be cooling, and he has certainly remarked that if it falls through his Majesty may rejoice. It is said that the king intends to go to Seville in a few days. This would seem to make the marriage very doubtful, especially as the ambassador extraordinary is certainly leaving soon, while the members of his household announce that the Marquis of Inoiosa is coming back, and it is thought that they may send a certain Dominican friar in the character of ambassador, as he took part at the opening of the negotiations and went to Rome, and is considered acceptable to the King of Great Britain.
Madrid, the 1st February, 1623 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Feb. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
259. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Secretary of his Majesty's ambassador arrived from England reports that Buckingham had informed the ambassador that the Spanish marriage is broken off, and without proposing to marry Madame he made overtures for some alliance. He added that they had sent to Spain for a final decision and that the King of Great Britain is determined not to consent to the education of his grandson in alien hands. Everyone understands the overture as intended for a marriage with this part. The Queen-Mother is most disposed. I find that the Count of Soissons, though he would show resentment, would consent to yield Madame to England. But some, under pretext of making negotiations, may try to throw hindrances in the way, as I find that they propose to delay the coming of Lord Riz under the pretence of not making a stir, and the fear that the English mean to use it to scorch the bellies of (per dal il foco sopra il Ventre) the Spaniards, as they say here, (fn. 1) and compel them to decide, and if England wants this marriage they can negotiate secretly through their ambassadors; now is the time to see how the States fare and if the rupture is assured, and they can afterwards take up the affair and settle it with success and dignity. The king listens to this advice; I know not if it comes from the party that is falling or the one that is rising.
Paris, the 2nd February, 1623 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Feb. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
260. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Since the audience of the Spanish ambassadors I wrote of, things have undergone a change; so great will always be the difficulty of bringing this sick man to the knife. Thus is verified my prediction to Conway that when the Spaniards changed their roughness into blandishment they would fall into their nets. The chief points advanced by the ambassadors in their audience were to send the Infanta in March and to surrender the Lower Palatinate in August; while they promise to make urgent representations for the surrender of the rest to the Palatine corresponding to the three demands made by the English ambassadors in Spain—namely efficacious offices; a limited time for restitution; and assistance in case the emperor should refuse— saying in the first instance that they would give the utmost satisfaction; to the second that they would leave the limit to the king, who should treat thereupon with the Infanta of Brussels and come to an understanding with the Duke of Bavaria; and to the third, although they ought to avoid playing the part of mediators, yet if the Palatine gave the emperor due satisfaction they would not leave anything necessary undone. They touched upon the marriage of the Palatine's son to the emperor's daughter, apparently consenting to the son being kept in England with his bride the Infanta. Anyone who is not utterly blind can measure the quality and weight of these proposals. However, as negotiation is both in conformity with the king's genius and with the interests of the Spaniards, they have practically begun them again; the king seems determined, the ambassadors revitalised and the Hispanophiles relieved. They have postponed the missions to the various powers, and parliament is reported to be prorogued. The Council has sided with the king, either because many are dependants of Spain, or because no one willingly separates himself from the sovereign. All advance as the chief argument that they cannot be the first to break off the negotiations without causing a great stir, as if they were obliged to keep up negotiations recognised as fraudulent to their own detriment. Only the Secretary Conouel spoke strongly in favour of breaking away once and for all from the Spanish artifices. The prince and Buckingham, who thanked the secretary for this, persevere steadfastly in their former opinion; they are very closely united, but Buckingham has enemies; many think that he wants to arrogate too much authority to himself. Some who approve of a rupture with Spain disagree with him about the manner, while some in airing their personal opinions do not regard the public loss. These differences are all to the advantage of the Spaniards and of the king's intent.
It is certainly much to be feared that these two young men, without good advisers and without supporting props, may come off badly in opposing the obstinate will of a very crafty king and the powerful arts of the most sagacious Spaniards. God knows that I contribute towards the success of their cause, which is the common one, with due caution and circumspection, but it might be desirable for the French ambassador to assist with a zeal adequate to the necessity, and I do not think that the States could be more usefully employed than in supporting this party with advice and active assistance. I have said as much to the Dutch ambassador here and have also written to our ambassador at the Hague.
Such is the present fluctuation of affairs. They have not yet given the ambassadors their answer. The prince arrived yesterday and the Council has met twice without arriving at any decision; at least none has transpired. Meanwhile they encourage my hopes.
The king has remained at Newmarket, Buckingham staying with him like a sentinel. Many think that he is losing favour, but with that gone perhaps fear and necessity may enter in.
The Ambassador Digby upon some pretext is asking for leave. The Ordinary Aston, in a letter which I have seen, writes that the marriage will take place, so possibly he also has become a Spaniard, yet the ambassadors here previously reported the breaking off of the marriage to the Infanta at Brussels. I hear that she seemed glad and lamented that Oñate wished to open the way again.
These Spaniards do not cease to attack the reputation of your Serenity, strongly opposing the embassy designate, publishing a thousand calumnies that you have broken with the pope and have disinterred Father Paul's ashes, which though utterly false create a greater impression than one would imagine possible. These things certainly emanate from their embassy, and I know that they show letters from Brussels on the subject. Possibly they attempt a double stroke to make your name hateful to Protestants and Catholics alike. I do my utmost to refute these calumnies, and if facts did not speak for themselves some stronger remedy might be necessary.
The Spaniards have at last found out about the Capuchin negotiating for Bavaria; their first intimation came from Brussels. They complained bitterly to a friar, their friend, for not telling them, though he knew. They have denounced the Capuchin, being aware that he visited this embassy. The Capuchin, who told me this, persists courageously in his task, and with my help has had a conference with the Palatine's gentleman, with mutual satisfaction. That gentleman says that without some arrangement with Bavaria nothing will ever be done. A great argument of genuineness is that although Gabor has stopped fighting and Mansfeld has disbanded, yet they persist with these proposals. The king again promised the friar to send some one with him with authority to treat, but he has never written a word on the subject to the Palatine, his son-in-law. The Capuchin here is a colleague of Father Hyacinth. He assures me that he has written to the pope (fn. 2) pointing out how pernicious is the marriage suggested by the Spaniards for the emperor's daughter, as instead of quieting matters it might involve the Palatine and Bavaria in ceaseless war, adding that Europe suffered from three plagues, namely three Spanish ministers, Oñate in Germany, la Queva in Flanders and Feria in Italy. He told me all this with the utmost assurance. Your Excellencies will judge. I have received the ducal missives of the 5th January; the public thanks fully reward me for my labours and expenses.
London, the 2nd February, 1624.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 3.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
261. The nuncio came into the Collegio and complained of the heretical preaching at the Dutch embassy. The pope could not approve of ministers of heretics being accredited to Catholic princes, though this must be countenanced for the sake of trade and other things. But other ambassadors of a different religion showed more reserve. Those of England kept their doors closed and did not admit others outside the household. They have caused no scandal, probably owing to the prudent provisions made by the most serene republic.
[Italian.]
Feb. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
262. MARC ANTONIO MOROSINI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Prince Palatine has not received further news of importance from his agent in London about the negotiations of the individual who professes to speak in the name of the Duke of Bavaria, except that letters have reached that person from Bavaria and therefore he can now speak with better authority. However, here they remain of the same opinion and believe little or nothing. They are momentarily expecting two gentlemen, one sent by the king, the other by the Prince of England to the queen here, who is awaiting them most anxiously and hopes they will bring word of momentous decisions in her favour. She has spoken to me at great length about her affairs and her hopes and tried to sound me as to whether your Serenity would also co-operate for the public liberty and general welfare if the king her father decides to make war on the Spaniards. She pointed out to me their greatness, their acquisitions in Germany, the Valtelline and elsewhere, and with great prudence and address tried to convince me of the necessity of generous decision from your Excellencies. She told me that the moment was favourable for breaking down this vast monarchy; the king her father had sent a gentleman to your Serenity expressly to inform you of his decision, and to the Duke of Savoy, one to the Swiss, one to France, one to Denmark and one to the Princes of Saxony. If he meets with response and assistance he will certainly make war; the only difficulty was in taking the first step.
I courteously endeavoured to assure this princess of the friendly disposition of the most serene republic. Without committing myself to anything, I pointed out how much your Excellencies had done in the past for the general good, and how much you lamented her misfortunes, and that you would always remain the same.
She told me many other particulars about the affairs of England, and the English ambassador here communicated to me some more, but I do not send them because they are not of great importance for the affairs of the Senate and because I know that you will be advised of everything from the proper quarter.
The Hague, the 5th February, 1623 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Feb. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
263. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The balance of affairs leans to the side of the prince; while Buckingham remains at Newmarket to prevent any harm, he stays here to achieve the good. Thus they both co-operate towards the same end, although with different functions, yet with a good understanding. The prince has recently summoned the Council frequently. By the king's order they have deliberated how to break off the negotiations while saving their honour, and whether the satisfaction promised, as mentioned in my last, would suffice. The king may have hoped to obtain an opinion in conformity with his own, or by casting the onus upon others to escape himself from the dreaded strictures of the Spaniards, and in consequence to secure himself against the danger to his life.
All the councillors pretended to desire the breaking off of the marriage, but opinions differed about the time and the manner; some desired a public declaration from the prince, possibly in order to secure their retreat in any event; some asked for detailed information about the whole affair. These last aim at the ruin of Buckingham, thinking that a disclosure of what has happened will expose him as guilty of serious faults. Such were the motives if not the ostensible ones of their differences. It may be that a strong feeling of hatred against him predominated in some, but I fear that others, under this less dishonourable cover, supported the true cause of the Spaniards, as in any event the ruin of so great an enemy would have benefited them very greatly. Various meetings passed thus with loss of time through these disputes between the councillors, but ultimately the prince's authority induced them all to unite in deciding to break off the negotiations, the proposals made by the Spaniards not proving satisfactory.
Conowel and Carlil left yesterday for his Majesty with this decision, but they have not yet said anything about it to the Spanish ambassadors. One point, considered very important, remains to be decided, namely whether the declaration of the rupture should be made in the parliament or in the Council. Buckingham would like to have it made in the parliament, the true reason possibly being to commit it to his salvation, but the one alleged by him is to interest it in making the contributions. The king fears too greatly the prejudice to his prerogatives and detests committing so much authority to the parliament. The prince does not perhaps trust the Council entirely and he desires by every means to win general popularity among the people. Thus the question remains unsettled as yet.
The Ambassador Bristol is expected in a few days. The parliament will meet without further postponement. The election of Sans has been approved by the king. Sir [Edward] Cuc, being stopped on the way, may not proceed further. The general opinion about the results of the parliament is uncertain. The mere decision to call it is good and a strong argument that they are quite determined to break with the Spaniards and have a good understanding with the people, for without such objects its meeting would be the merest folly. Many Puritans have so far been elected, the most violent sect among the heretics. It is to be feared that these in the first place will demand the execution of the laws with all the old restrictions and severities against the Catholics. This would involve evil consequences even for reasons of state, as the pope will take umbrage, it will render difficult any alliance with Catholic states, it will irritate the band of native Catholics, throwing them more into the arms of the Spaniards, and will destroy the hopes of a marriage with a Catholic princess, a consideration which may do more to prevent this evil than anything else, although as practically all these Catholics are Spanish agents one can never feel sure that by leaving them their present liberty they may not become the instruments of some harm to the kingdom at Spanish instigation (seben dall' altra parte chi a lor lascia la presente libertà non si puo assicurare ch'essendo quasi tutti essi Cattolici fattionarii de Spagna, non siano a loro istigatione ministri di qualche male contro il Regno), and so the question is a difficult one to resolve.
I find that at a great meeting which took place at the Spanish embassy, at which the two Jesuits were present, they came to the conclusion that their affairs were in a hopeless position. However, Inoiosa says nothing about leaving, and for my part I believe that he wants to see the outcome of the parliament. I am now assured on excellent authority that the Spaniards are now extremely anxious for the marriage, but I cannot find the precise reasons for this. If their desires are disappointed in this, I believe that they will try by their arts to sow such suspicions between father and son that some great inconvenience may arise therefrom to their profit; and woe to the prince if the Queen of Bohemia did not exist.
The Spanish ambassadors rejoiced greatly, I hear, at Puisieux's loss of favour. I pointed out to the French ambassador that this augured ill for the interests of his sovereign. They are very suspicious about the negotiations introduced on Bavaria's behalf; they are ashamed of having discovered them so late; they are most curious to know whether they began under the late pope and what the proposals may be. They said that the king had recently communicated this affair to them, but I consider this an invention, although I know the king has done as much upon other occasions.
They have caused some sort of justification to reach the Capuchin, that they have never performed bad offices or spoken against Bavaria, but I know that the Capucin remarked that this was a light and gratuitous excuse. The French ambassador speaks of these proposals of Bavaria with great energy; he says that if the English reject them they evidently do not desire a union with Catholic princes; as if to say that France would not unite with them in such an eventuality.
The Capuchin keeps telling me that the Spaniards are making liberal offers to Bavaria if he will cede the two fortresses (fn. 3) to them, but he recognises that this would result in war and so he would be satisfied with less to bring about peace, but he must secure himself in one way or the other. He also suggested to me that the Palatine should become a Catholic, as that would prove the best remedy for his ills.
None of the individuals selected to go to the powers has started as yet, but these wheels move all together. I should like to feel quite certain about the ambassador for your Serenity, but without hastening his departure, as that involves a necessary honour (perche da quella nasce un necessario honore) and that might lead to unseasonable demands.
They have certainly made the same proposals to the French ambassador in the king's name as they did to me, although he has said nothing to me about it. They have asked the States to send commissioners, suggesting a union for an offensive and defensive league. Their arrival would certainly prove most opportune to fortify the prince's good disposition, not to mention all the other reasons.
Three Dutch ships have retired to Plymouth, having suffered severely in a fight between 35 of their ships and 4 of Dunkirk, which were proceeding to Spain with many sailors of various nations.
London, the 9th February, 1624.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci.
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
264. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The king left for Seville on the 8th inst. and will not return until April. This is an argument of his slight inclination towards the English marriage. The Infanta has given up learning the English language.
Madrid, the 10th February, 1623 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Feb. 10.
Misc.
Cod. No. 62.
Venetian
Archives.
265. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They report from Brussels that the marriage with England is completely broken off, that the prince has declared that he does not wish the Infanta to be called the Princess of Wales on any account, and that they have sent some one from England to France to discover at large whether they have any inclination to open marriage negotiations. Many here believe nevertheless that the marriage is more on foot than ever, and that the mission to France and the prince's utterance are pure invention, a Spanish trick concerted with England to lull the Most Christian to sleep and the Dutch in particular, as orders have gone from the Catholic Court to the Infanta to close every avenue for negotiation of a truce with the States.
Vienna, the 10th February, 1623 [M.V.].
[Italian; copy.]
Feb. 10.
Collegio
Lettere.
Venetian
Archives.
266. To the Ambassador in England.
From the enclosed memorial presented to us by Simon Tosi you will see the credit of 2,000 ducats which he has in that royal chamber for goods given to Thomas Glover while he was ambassador of that king at Constantinople; as it is only just that he should receive prompt satisfaction, we direct you to afford him every assistance and favour to help him to obtain this sum and so help him partly to recoup himself for the loss of a ship and goods of great value.
Ayes, 22.Noes, 0.Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.267. Most Serene Prince:
I was creditor for a great sum of money from Mr. Thomas Glover when he was ambassador at Constantinople for the King of Great Britain, and as I could not compel him to pay, for many respects, I resolved to go to London in the time of the Ambassador Lando, through whose kindness and efforts I obtained a considerable portion. The rest, amounting to 2,000 ducats, his Majesty undertook to have paid to me out of his treasury in the term of two years, namely 1,000 ducats in March, 1621, and 1,000 ducats in March, 1622. As this time has passed without my receiving anything, I beg your Serenity to summon the Secretary of England to the Collegio and give him such instructions as you may think best for the recovery of this debt, and also to send a letter to the Ambassador Valareso to approach the Lords of the Privy Council and especially the Lord Treasurer, who has full particulars of the debt and who undertook to pay it when Cavalier Lando left that Court. My need could not be greater owing to the loss of a trading ship at Messina when proceeding to Tunis in Barbary to open a depot for Venetian merchants and ships, and for other misfortunes well known to all.
[Italian.]
Feb. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
268. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The most evil offices of Puysieulx against the Queen-Mother are now coming to light here, and in particular that her Majesty broke off the marriage with England heretofore and is now trying to traverse further negotiations. He artfully uses what passed between her Majesty and a friar who came from Spain, confessor of Buckingham's mother, who suggests that the time is favourable to arrange Madame's marriage. But the queen did not think fit to make a declaration to an unknown person, and told him that she was so closely related to his Catholic Majesty that she ought not to thwart his plans. The English ambassador wrote to the queen with impertinence about this matter (con impertinenza di questo proposito). Puysieulx made even worse representations to his Majesty, who told his mother everything, and allowed her to send a gentleman with an autograph letter of the King of England to verify the affair. The friar has lied to the ambassador, and to make the matter clearer the gentleman has induced the King of Great Britain to imprison the friar; and so the Queen-Mother has triumphed and the gentleman has made the whole story clear.
They have discovered that a chaplain of the King of Spain, who pretended to be going to Flanders and Germany, is staying in this city merely in order to thwart any designs of a marriage between here and England. It is known that he secretly proposed, apparently without the knowledge of the Catholic ambassador, but on behalf of Olivares, to rase the forts of the Valtelline if they assured him that they would not make this marriage. (fn. ) *
Paris, the 11th February, 1623 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Feb. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
269. MARC ANTONIO MOROSINI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The contrary winds do not allow news to come from England or permit the arrival of the gentlemen sent to the queen here. The Count of Mansfeld and the Duke of Brunswick arrived here these last days. The count called upon me and explained how he was forced to disband his army. He complains bitterly of the States, but is not discouraged and says he can soon collect another force to serve the league.
The Hague, the 12th February, 1623 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Feb. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
270. To the Ambassador in England.
All the operations in England which tend to render that Crown independent of the passions of others, as it has always been in the past, must always prove satisfactory to those who love the common welfare. Accordingly the recent decision of the Prince of Wales to provide effectively for the relief of his brother-in-law the Palatine, before they go any further with the marriage, is most laudable and worthy of the vigour of his Highness. In encouraging this idea in a reserved and cautious manner, you will employ your customary ability. Your letters of the 22nd and 29th December and the 5th January, which reached us altogether, give us the particulars. We do not think it advisable to proceed to further offices ex professo in our name, until there is more certainty as to what turn events will take, of the results of the new parliament and in what direction different from the past the king may be led. All that we can prescribe from a distance and which we know you will in any case carry out without stimulus from us, is to keep yourself accurately informed, to be ready for all emergencies and in conversation to express general ideas and sentiments which, without committing yourself, will serve to point out the advantage of the individual in question, using opportunities in the way you consider best.
The first of your despatches of the 22nd arrived a week late and open. We see that you have fulfilled every duty to our entire satisfaction. The Master of the Posts has declared that your said letters were stopped and opened at Crucignach by Colonel Vemugo, a Spaniard. This will help you to discover the particulars.
Ayes, 122.Noes, 0.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Feb. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
271. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
On the affairs of Bavaria and the Palatine the Secretary Ocher remarked to me that it would be a great boon to arrange an accommodation between them, but Bavaria would require some pledge from the Palatine. Villeocler said that his charge was to foster friendly relations with England, though it could be wished that the Spaniards were more backward with their negotiations in that quarter.
Paris, the 16th February, 1623 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Feb. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
272. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ebb and flow of the sea here are no more regular than the changes in their resolutions; those involving action are always doubtful; those already taken may always be changed; but as my pen has to follow their progress I can only represent them as they take place, with all their diversity, which is due to the things, not to the pen. This statement must serve to exonerate me from apparent contradictions in my letters.
Since Conovel and Carlil went to his Majesty, as I reported, no other decision has been taken, and we have not heard the king's intentions, but we expect to when he arrives on Monday. The evil disposition of many against Buckingham continues and steadily increases. They contrive every way to ruin him, complain that he keeps the king practically besieged, accuse him of the most serious error of taking the prince to Spain, the origin of so many mistakes, and do not give him the credit of leading him to a rupture, which they themselves desired, but which has displeased them when done by him, as if it rested with him alone to do or undo at his pleasure; in short, they would like to sacrifice Buckingham and with his blood wash away the stain of so many failures. However, he recognises the needs of the situation and studies to involve the prince's cause with his own safety. Certainly the prince will support him to the extent of his powers. Parliament is a doubtful quantity; I am assured that the king is tired of Buckingham.
I happened to meet the Lord Chamberlain, one of Buckingham's greatest enemies, a worthy man, though I think his passions blind him. I remarked to him in conversation that it was necessary to preserve Buckingham as the enemy of the Spaniards if for nothing else, and it would be sheer waste of time to enquire into and punish his actions, prejudicing the principal business and playing the Spaniards' game. But I found him very set in his opinions, namely that they must consider internal foes before external ones, and they must punish those who err seriously so that everything may take place not only without detriment but to the advantage of the chief object, which means leaving to parliament the dissolution of the treaty with Spain.
The election of all the members of parliament is practically complete. The elections were very free and the persons chosen are independent. Some recommendations made by the prince have failed; every courtier has been rejected. All those who spoke most freely in the past are nominated for the present house. Those lords who are declared Catholics, numbering about twenty, seem inclined to take part in it. Sir [Edward] Cuch is among those chosen, being excused his journey at the prince's intercession. Among the people they say, as a favourable portent, that this parliament will not be the king's but the prince's. At all events, although some hope, there are doubts about a satisfactory issue expressed by the wisest men. The reasons are the king's jealousy, the people's mistrust, the prince's youth, the unpopularity of the favourite with many, religious differences, the corruption of manners, the scarcity of gold. They have trouble in finding this, the greatest difficulty they have to encounter, because if they give the king a free hand with it they fear he will employ it as he has done before, and if they give it to others they will offend the king; in short, the ship of state will be in the midst of countless rocks.
I hear that Buckingham has not so many friends in the parliament as he hoped; its meeting will certainly take place within a week; but the weather is so cold and snowy that progress may easily be delayed some days owing to the distance that some must come. I believe that the king will open it with his customary flow of eloquence. He has issued an edict on his own responsibility, without anyone else having a share, ordering the religious to leave Ireland within a stated term. (fn. 5) A copy has been promised me, which I hope to enclose. All the Catholics here are very apprehensive, but perhaps with his usual trickery he has done this without intending to carry it into effect. The king's object, according to some, is to insinuate himself into the affections of his subjects by this step, and improve his position with the parliament; according to others, to suppress the overweening audacity of the Catholics there, which has passed all bounds, and to secure himself in that kingdom; God grant that an edict without force to back it may not produce the contrary effect. That kingdom is full of Catholics who are filled with devotion for Spain.
Although the negotiations about the marriage are practically in a hopeless position, I understand that the Spanish ambassadors have been to audience of the prince to-day on the subject, and I have just heard that they intend to send a courier about it to Spain. The Persian ambassador (fn. 6) had audience of the king at Newmarket. He has not yet returned to London. The moment he arrives I will call upon him. His business appears to concern Ormuz and about the silk promised entirely to the English. However, the individual has no great credit and the business is considered visionary.
The usual masque will not be performed or will be performed without ambassadors, in order not to offend any. There is nothing certain as yet about the marriage with France. Many detest it quite as much as the one with Spain, and indeed all would hate it were it not canonized, so to speak, by that. The French ambassador wants to press it, although he speaks with so much reserve on the subject that he discloses what he wants to hide, as is usual in such cases. Some have advocated the King of Denmark's daughter.
News of Puisieux's fall has reached this Court. (fn. 7) They are sorry about it, and I believe that if it had happened before they had moved so far from the Spaniards, they would have proceeded with more caution. They are now much afraid of a war in that kingdom, although they recently believed that from consideration for the parliament here the French inclined to peace with the Huguenots.
Letters have passed between the king and the nuncio of Brussels about Bavaria's proposals. The king has empowered two ministers to treat with the Capuchin. The negotiations are on foot, and the nuncio is more content to propose that of the Palatine's son asked for by Bavaria for some time. The French ambassador has recommended the affair to the prince and performed other offices, but from ambitious motives he would like to transfer the negotiations to France, and thus those who ruined the affair of the Valtelline would like to undertake the settlement of the Palatinate. When the friar discovered this he was much annoyed, possibly for other reasons, but he says it is because it would prolong the affair, the means would not be suitable with the emperor, and it would not accord with Bavaria's dignity. I constantly find new reasons for believing in his sincerity, but I am not quite sure how they take it here, and I believe that the friar relies too much upon the meeting of parliament, and I do not know if they will proceed with these negotiations. The Spanish ambassadors certainly seem very uneasy about it. They have sent a special courier to Spain on the subject. They are trying every way to discover the proposals; mistrust has naturally arisen between the Spaniards and Bavaria.
Lord Chinsinton, destined for France, is only awaiting 2,000l. sterling; when the prince made a pressing request for this of the treasurer, he replied that he had not got it ready, to the no small offence of the prince.
London, the 16th February, 1624.
Postscript.—When I was closing this packet the ordinary arrived from Italy. I hear in a letter from my brother that my letters had not then reached your Serenity. This has greatly astonished me, as I wrote and sent them under the number 85. I enclose a copy of them made hastily; the most important particulars are in cipher. Grisli has arrived from Spain; he brings word that Bristol and his household are on the way.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.273. By the VICEROY and COUNCIL, an edict for the exile of Jesuits, Priests, etc.
It is well known what mischiefs have accrued to this country by the extraordinary frequentation of titulary Popish archbishops, bishops, vicars-general, abbots, priors, deans, Jesuits, friars, seminary priests and others. The lower secular priests have exercised all spiritual and sacerdotal functions, such as christening, marriage and the like, seeking to pervert the hearts of his Majesty's subjects and to erect and maintain a foreign power and authority. They therefore command that all of these shall quit the country within forty days.
Dated at Dublin Castle, the 21st January, 1624.
[Italian.]
Feb. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
274. MARC ANTONIO MOROSINI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They have appointed two extraordinary embassies here, one for France and one for England. For the latter they have nominated M. d'Aerssens, who was ambassador to your Serenity, and M. Joachim, one of the deputies of Zeeland, and for France M. di Norduich with another not yet selected. Their object is merely to implore help, the country being reduced to the extreme of poverty, the people heavily burdened and the enemy ever more powerful.
The Hague, the 19th February, 1623 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Feb. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
275. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Ambassador Bristol must have set out on his journey four days after Grisli's departure; the decision to do so makes this considered as an accomplished fact. I am assured that he is undoubtedly returning, although it is also true that he was or professed to be without money for the journey, chiefly because of an old debt of some 25,000l. received by the prince and not repaid. The Ambassador Aston writes that the king there promises him his protection and gives him carte blanche. He will come very well furnished for his defence against all charges, so I hear, as he did not take a step without express orders from the king.
Inoiosa now says that he must leave here soon, and it appears that Colonna wants to do the same, but they do not mention any definite time, although for the sake of reputation they ought to receive commissions from home similar to those sent from here to Bristol; but the Spaniards only weigh their actions in the balance of utility. When they have left we hear from Spain that Father Maestro will take up the charge here, without any definite appointment. He was one of the first to negotiate the marriage, a creature of Gondomar and a very sagacious man. Thus they always wish to maintain the instruments of their designs.
The edict against the religious sent to Ireland was certainly the work of the king alone. When the Spanish ambassadors made representations on the subject, the prince said that he knew nothing about it, and that he would tell his father, a very poor reply. I understand, however, that the Secretary Conovel in the king's name gave them a much more vigorous one, enlarging upon the extreme audacity of those religious, and in some measure taking the edge off the Spanish remonstrance in like offices. It is certain that some restraint was necessary and that they could not be allowed to go unbridled. There was not a rite of the Catholic religion that was not performed in that kingdom with the utmost liberty, processions, the burial of the dead, the exaction of tenths and even the building of monasteries, things which gave great offence to the Protestants and went far to try the king's patience; they also caused dissatisfaction among a large proportion of the English Catholics, who fear they may suffer for the faults of others. When I have an opportunity I try, for reasons of state, to persuade the Protestant ministers not to exasperate the good Catholics, and to the Catholics I represent that their imminent peril, and their being brought to the very brow of the precipice, is the very grave fault of the Spaniards alone, who under a show of helping them have prejudiced their cause by keeping up these delusory negotiations such a long while, and doing so much to offend the prince and contemn Buckingham. The Viceroy of Ireland fears some disturbances and asks for money to raise fresh troops, as he has no more than 4,000 soldiers; however, I hear from others that they place great reliance upon the English and Scotch of that colony.
The parliament began yesterday, although the opening was devoted to clearing up and preliminaries. The lower chamber will number about 480, representing the towns and counties, but one half of them has not yet arrived owing to the present cold weather, which is much stronger than they remember for a long while. The electors have instilled into everyone economy of money and the preservation of religion. Some, under the pretext of religion or otherwise gained by the Spaniards, show themselves very zealous for the liberty and privileges of parliament, and I anticipate that under this specious pretext they will spread schism and encourage disputes with the king, rendering the assembly harmful or useless.
The king's speech has been postponed until Monday next, either because since the Gunpowder Plot it has been customary as a matter of precaution to delay the day, or because they are not quite ready. The more suspicious think it is because they are expecting fresh letters from Spain. But no man living knows what is really passing in the king's mind; he is sagacious, deep and impenetrable. Some think that he is playing his usual game, having secret objects very remote from external appearances. Others believe that he has an understanding with his son and the favourite, and while they seem on the popular side he follows his ordinary and natural inclinations solely, but the most certain thing of all is that the king will do nothing good unless by force or by fraud (quello che veramente passi nell' animo del Re non c'e huomo che possi saperlo, tanto egli è sagace, cupo et impenetrabile, alcuni vogliono che giochi la sua solita persona, havendo i fini interni in tutto remoti all' apparenza esteriore, altri che s'intendi con il figliuolo et con il favorito, i quali mentre si mostrano popolari, egli si serbi intiero alle sue naturali et ordinarie risolutioni, ma di tutto il più certo è che il Re non fara cosa buona se non o per forza o per inganno).
Lord Chinsinton has left for France. I cannot find that he has any orders except to listen, although he must be on the alert for the faintest overtures which may be made to him about the marriage. It is thought that the Queen-Mother is well disposed thereto, and certainly Buckingham desires it greatly, though for the rest there will be countless difficulties, and for the most part this mission is considered beside the mark. I have seen Anstruther, who is selected for Denmark, a very honest gentleman, and I find that he will not be sent before parliament is well started. He told me that the King of Denmark is excellently disposed and had told him some time ago that with an alliance with this king he would be ready to take the field in person with 25,000 men in favour of the Palatine. Sir [Isaac] Wake is hourly expecting orders to start, although Sir [Henry] Wotton, his personal opponent and rival, is doing his utmost to upset the embassy itself.
The king has come from Newmarket, but I have not been to greet him, as I could perform no office without engaging your Serenity to do what you might not wish, so far as I know; however, I have not remained altogether idle, as I am urging the ministers here that they ought speedily to help the Dutch, because with this earnest the other princes can rest assured that they really mean to do right, and because their needs are pressing, especially now the Spaniards are in Flanders with such large forces, which concern them also, this kingdom being so near. The King of Sweden is asking for levies of 2,000 foot, and from what I hear offers to help the Palatine with 6,000. They have granted the levy of 8,000 to the King of Poland, but upon condition that he shall not use them against Christians; but I do not know how they will overcome the difficulty of transporting them.
I have called upon the Persian ambassador. He assured me of that king's great esteem for your Serenity, and when he returned the visit he made some allusion to the silk trade concerning you. He is an English knight and was ambassador in Spain about four years. His business, I believe, is connected with the taking of Ormuz, and for the purpose of making this sure, extending his conquests and totally expelling the Portuguese, the Persian monarch desires a good understanding with this Crown, which can easily provide him with ships, which he lacks. I hear that this affair does not even displease the Dutch. They are now on very good terms with the English merchants over the East India trade.
I have sent duplicates of these letters by way of Flanders, and shall continue to do so in the future to avoid the dangers I perceive they are exposed to when they go by way of Germany; certainly the action of taking the letters out of the packet is insufferably injurious. I am glad to have made all right with my duplicates reporting the last audiences and Conovel's exposition. The ordinary of this week has not yet arrived.
London, the 23rd February, 1624.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
276. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Capuchin keeps hard at work. He is a man of ability and behaves with spirit. He spoke to the prince and obtained some satisfaction. He afterwards sent the memorial of which I enclose a copy. He recently went to the king, making his proposals under four heads. He remonstrated with his Majesty for communicating his business to the Spanish ambassadors and so greatly injuring it, while betraying a lack of sincerity. He proved the genuineness of his negotiations, declaring that Bavaria was disgusted with the Spaniards and is converted. He asked for the Palatine's son, protesting that nothing could be done without him, as otherwise they could not rely on the Palatine's promise, and lastly he asked for a final categorical reply in a few days, pointing out that delay injured every one.
The king, as usual, said a great deal to little purpose, deploring the ills that had occurred with words and tears, and saying that now they wanted to reach his children also. He said they could have his word as a security, and if that did not suffice, he would give it to France and to the Venetians, saying he would never consent to give up the boy. They are certainly very jealous over him here, though it is hard to believe that they would bring the boy here. They recognise that if they gave him up they would give tremendous offence to the people, and they fear that an education under Catholic princes might easily make him a Catholic. On the other hand, the friar spoke very resolutely, that without this it is useless to negotiate, and if he receives a refusal he has orders to leave. He says that if they do not decide something before the marriage with Spain is quite broken off, the rupture will not come in time, as the Spaniards will draw closer to the emperor and do their worst with the Palatinate, dividing some parts among numerous ecclesiastical claimants so as to render its recovery practically impossible.
Many things go to show that Bavaria really desires this composition, though the ultimate object is hidden. The interest of the Nuncio of Brussels and Father Hyacinth is merely to make this boy a Catholic, which they would consider an important result of the late victories, but if it resulted in uniting the whole house of Bavaria and separating it from the house of Austria, the temporal results would also be very great. I pointed out to the friar the difficulty, if not impossibility, of getting them to agree to place the boy in Bavaria's hands, chiefly because they think him ruled by the Jesuits, whom they detest so cordially here. He recognised this fully and seemed inclined to agree that he should be given to some other Catholic prince of the empire, suggesting the Duke of Lorraine.
I have confined myself to generalities in this matter, as I have no detailed instructions and because I fear this way of a composition is very plain sailing, and in the present state of affairs I do not hope much from arms. All rests in God's hands. The king has not yet informed the parliament of these negotiations. There is some mystery, though I cannot find where. I surmise that the Spaniards will themselves make a proposal like that of Bavaria.
London, the 23rd February, 1624.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in
the preceding
despatch.
277. Most Serene Prince,
The affairs of the Palatine and his children concern no one more than your Highness. You have no way to determine these affairs except war or a good and speedy composition. Flatterers might persuade you to make war, suggesting that you might make a league with the Protestants in which almost all the north would join, Denmark, Sweden, Brandenburg; that you may move the Dutch in Flanders, the Protestants in Germany, the Huguenots in France and Gabor in Hungary. If you wished to move, can the realm contribute enough to fight with any power soever? I have heard great doubts expressed about this by men considered of great judgment in this kingdom. But your Highness will put the right value upon the deductions drawn from possibilities, especially in war, which have led unwary princes into terrible mistakes.
The facts are that for a war to reinstate the Palatine nothing can be done without the assistance of the Protestant Princes of Germany; but who wishes to move for the Palatine there, especially against the armies of the emperor, the King of Spain and the Catholic League? Their principal commanders dare not raise their heads. Some may speak of Gabor, but his is a fire of straw, and he now offers peace to the emperor, and finding that he cannot obtain help from the Turk, he even offers help against the Turk and to give security for his fidelity. Those who might help do not move, while the enemy, being in possession, need only defend, but being victorious they can carry on an offensive war, and so they may begin to use their hands before your Highness moves; and this will prove the saying that the English brag while the others act. Your Serenity may be sure that many Protestant princes will never join in, as they love their own quiet, but what is more important, many will oppose, as has appeared already.
But granting the impossible, that all those who can will join in; a prudent prince will never build upon hopes of others. Neglect of this consideration has reduced the Palatine to his present position. Even if you were sure that the kingdom would contribute, you must take two things into consideration, either to wage an endless war or to make a treaty after a long war. In the case of war two things will happen, first, a war of religion, and so the pope will move and we know the power of a resolute pope. Secondly, the union of many Catholic princes, whose power is shown by what they did against the Palatine. But if you think of making a treaty after a long war, would it not be better to make it now with honour and advantage, avoiding the bloodshed and expense and the great risks?
There is another very serious consideration which I merely indicate, namely if the Palatine does not recover his dominions, and they think that this is by his Majesty's fault, as so many Puritans always represent, who are so well disposed towards him and so ill towards you, some even not being ashamed to say that they would like to see him here, as I have heard frequently even from leading men, your Serenity may never be free from the anxiety of providing for so many children or from suspicions that may involve you and the kingdom in a miserable tragedy, because discontented men make extraordinary revolutions. Sapienti pauca.
Your Highness should take the shortest way to end this affair, provide for those children and avoid anxiety. You should be the first to get those children educated in Germany, as their centre, outside of which they must necessarily be a source of disturbance. Your honour and reputation will remain unaffected, as the children are under age and ought to be put in ward, and many princes of the Empire are not only friends but kinsmen of the Palatine. There is no reason to suppose that these princes would do anything against the children, as that would involve them in war, not only with the Protestants, but with some of the Catholics also; but in reality, by a good understanding with your Highness, it will better assure their liberty, because they are Germans themselves. Those who say that they want these children for some ulterior purpose make me laugh. Have we ever known the Catholics of Germany to intrigue against foreigners? They seek their own peace and liberty, and you will find that their present war is defensive.
I know that some who cannot refute my arguments say, All this is true, but one must also satisfy the people who suspect the very name of Catholic prince. If your Highness wants to satisfy the people, then send the Palatine, his wife and children to England, as they so eagerly desire, and say so publicly (but princes are always the last to know things), and so divide the affection which the people owe to your Highness with the Palatine and his family. Wherefore the people will not give you this satisfaction of keeping those children away from you and free you from suspicion, as they should. But your Highness should take what they will not give in a matter of such importance. It is true the people will murmur a little, but they will quiet down at once, especially when by such means they find themselves at peace, free from subsidies and the other charges that war brings. It is certain that they will never be forced to change their religion, because the Church is not accustomed to do this. I therefore beg your Highness to reflect well upon this most important question and to take this humble advice in good part, as although coming from an insignificant person, he is one who would lay down his life in your service.
[Italian.]
Feb. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
278. VALERIO ANTELMI, Venetian Secretary at Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Letters from Flanders report that the Captain of the Guards of the King of England has crossed to France to negotiate for the marriage of the king's sister to the Prince of Wales. The hopes of the marriage with Spain grow steadily less, especially as the Spaniards now admit that they have neither authority nor power to force Bavaria to give up the Palatinate.
Florence, the 24th February, 1623 M.V.
[Italian.]
Feb. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
279. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They keep an eye upon England, but feel doubtful about the intentions of the king there, who is too eager for the Spanish alliance. The person who took the present of birds and horses (fn. 8) has orders to keep his eyes open and introduce himself into negotiations. The Queen-Mother is trying skilfully to induce the king to command without suspicion what she thinks will help to bring about Madame's marriage. Lord Ritz was delayed, as I wrote, but Cardinal Richelieu, who daily becomes more confidential, assured me that in this affair they will not stand upon ceremony and this nobleman will come.
Paris, the 24th February, 1623 [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
280. MARC ANTONIO MOROSINI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ambassadors for England (fn. 9) leave to-day, and if the wind remains favourable they hope to reach London to-morrow evening. They called upon me and asked me to write to the most excellent Valaresso to help their cause, thanking me for what he did last year for the advantage of these provinces at that Court. I assured them that the ministers of your Serenity would always display the utmost zeal for the common cause.
The Hague, the 26th February, 1623 [M.V.]
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 "Mettre le feu sous le ventre" de quelqu'un; l'irriter, l'aigrir, l'exciter. Littré, Dict. de la Langue Française.
2 The decipher reads "Elettore," but the text gives 240 240, i.e. "papa."
3 Heidelberg and Mannheim.
4 This chaplain, an Italian named Matteo Renzi, proposed to Puisieux a league between France and Spain for the extermination of heretics everywhere. Puisieux told him the Valtelline must be restored first. Herbert to Conway, 16 Feb., 1623, st. Aug. State Papers, Foreign, France, vol. 72.
5 A proclamation to banish all titulary Popish bishops, abbots, deans, Jesuits, friars, seminary priests, who must leave Ireland within forty days, dated at Dublin Castle on the 21st January, old style. The Lord Deputy, in a letter to the Privy Council, calls it the renewal of an old proclamation. Cal. S.P. Ireland, 1615–25, page 459.
6 Sir Robert Shirley.
7 It happened on the 4th February.
8 Bonneveau.
9 Francis Aerssens, lord of Sommelsdijk and Albert Joachim.