Venice
December 1626, 21-31

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1914

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64-74

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'Venice: December 1626, 21-31', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 20: 1626-1628 (1914), pp. 64-74. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89111 Date accessed: 23 August 2014.


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December 1626

Dec. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
81. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Although I have been kept at home by sickness, the King of Bohemia has honoured me with a visit. I gathered from what he said that he is inclined to think that Buckingham, for his own private interests and to secure his position, may arrange some support, but he could not say how. He agreed with the opinion of a great many that Buckingham had captured the king by some artifice because his Majesty there never thwarted any of the duke's wishes, but applauded them. Every day showed the results. He told me with some feeling that the lords here had said something to him about the English Court and what they thought of Buckingham.
One of the lords here told me that he was very suspicious about the duke's proceedings, because they had frequently changed their mind in a matter of so much importance as helping Denmark. Their ambassador in London had frequently expressed his suspicions of Buckingham's manœuvres, and that he had an understanding with the Spaniards, he could not clearly say whether it was direct or indirect, through the Infanta. But he had finally written very clearly that he was sure there was no cause for suspicion, that the duke was acting sincerely and to him in great part was due the completion of the operations for helping Denmark, and that the twelve ships equipped by the city of London together with the ten of this country were to go under a royal commander to the coasts of Spain.
The Hague, the 21st December, 1626.
[Italian.]
Dec. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
82. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ministry here have been most anxiously awaiting Calandrini, and were much afraid he had perished. He reached Brill late last Friday and came straight to the Hague. Every one welcomed his arrival, including the Prince of Orange and the Princess Palatine, when he appeared in the Assembly of the States on Saturday morning, especially as he brought the remittances for the four English regiments to be sent to Denmark.
Colonel Morgan, who has served this State for over thirty years, a brave soldier and sworn enemy of the Spaniards, brings the royal patents as general of this force, and they will have money to pay what is due to them. The king has written fully on the subject to the States, who have declared that, notwithstanding his absence, Colonel Morgan shall enjoy the full privileges of his colonelship here.
The States met to discuss the matter yesterday evening and this morning, and decided to send the troops by sea forthwith, especially as they have received letters from the King of Denmark that Tilly is coming back. Colonel Morgan, who is naturally ardent and stimulated by the honour of his command, is giving a hand; but I fancy that young Carleton and Calandrini do not want such haste, so that they may be able to remedy defects in the regiments and get the king to send the drafts required. But the States and the Prince of Orange want no delay. The King and Queen of Bohemia also urge dispatch, possibly because they fear a change of mind, such as has occurred so often. It is true that the show of preparing ships, and supplying them with food and munitions of war, would be quite sufficient excuse for procrastination.
A gentleman of the King of Denmark has passed this way. He did not stop, but went straight to England to ask for help. He will have to take care lest he share the fate of the Danish ambassador who was here a few days ago, who was taken prisoner by the Spaniards in Friesland.
Calandrini has also brought remittances for the princes here, to wit the king's monthly pension of 5,000 florins and the queen's of 12,000 florins; though the two sums are put together, in spite of this distinction.
The States here have decided to send ambassadors to all the allied princes. Some one from Zeeland is selected for England. He will go with the title of commissioner. They want to obtain orders from the king not to arrest ships, as it seems that monarch has done, to the prejudice of these provinces.
The Hague, the 21st December, 1626.
[Italian.]
Dec. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
83. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Letters from Bassompierre from Dover of the 12th which reached here on the 18th report that thirteen Dunkirk ships with 4,000 Spanish infantry on board have sailed under the auspices of Spinola and passed south of England. Not many leagues from that island they occupied another of the Earl of Derby, called Omano, Mona or Sciegli. Though uninhabited and woody, it is important, about thirty miles in circuit and situated between England, Scotland and Ireland. It has an ancient fortress and a very capacious port. They have landed, raised earthworks and prepared to resist. They expect not only small succours from Flanders, but powerful help from Spain. He adds that a large fleet, fully equipped, has left the port of San Sebastian for this purpose. (fn. 1)
The queen mother and the cardinal are most concerned about Italy and Germany, and attach less importance to England. They think it only a natural return for the affronts the Catholic has received, and that the English will be forced to show less obstinacy with France and to abandon their pretensions. The king may possibly think otherwise. The generality here do not believe the news, but I have thought proper to report it.
In the same letters Bassompierre says that Buckingham sent several messengers after him to Dover, so he went to Canterbury, where they had another long conference upon matters already discussed. The question of the queen's chapel had been definitely arranged verbally, but some difficulties arose about putting it on paper owing to the suspicions of the English in the matter of religion and the king's concern for his own interests. Buckingham is to come to this Court soon to put the finishing touches to the questions of La Rochelle, navigation and the dowry. If these questions are not settled they will always remain a stumbling block, and will encourage bad blood between the two crowns. He is only waiting for a quiet sea and good weather to cross.
Paris, the 22nd December, 1626.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
84. To the Ambassador in England.
You have behaved very prudently with the ambassador of Denmark, to prevent the sending of an ambassador here. You will perform the same offices as regards the States, about a contribution in their present needs, mentioning the rumours of a truce or peace and showing how the mere rumour may upset the good resolutions of those provinces, and how England, which is deeply interested, has always prevented this. You can then take the opportunity to speak of the affairs of Italy, which are more involved than ever. We send you an abstract of advices thence and also of advices from Spain, especially about the fleet of Santa Croce and the galleys of Seville, so that you may show the confidence asked for by the English ministers. In order that you may continue this we have directed our ambassador in Spain and our secretaries at Zurich and Vienna to send you full information from time to time upon particulars which they think may serve his Majesty's interests. In this way you will advance mutual confidence.
We have told you of Mansfelt's coming here; we now send word of his death, a few miles from the Serraglio of Bosnia, so that you may not remain ignorant of a matter of common knowledge.
Ayes, 136.Noes, 0.Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
Dec. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
85. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Bassompierre got back yesterday. He went straight to the Louvre without dismounting. Not finding the king, he saluted the two queens and was going on to St. Germain, but on hearing that his Majesty might arrive at any moment, he stayed here, to recover from the effects of his journey.
A person, whom I cannot help believing, tells me that the Cabinet here have sent post to England to stop Buckingham. If he has decided to cross the sea, as stated, he would not be welcome here for several respects and might not even be received.
Paris, the 24th December, 1626.
[Italian.]
Dec. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Svizzeri.
Venetian
Archives.
86. GEROLAMO CAVAZZA, Venetian Secretary with the Swiss, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have your Serenity's letters of the 11th inst. about the negotiations of the Margrave of Baden's agent and the English ambassador. When the latter was here I tried hard to discover if he had given any hint of the succour which he said his king was ready to give the margrave. I have not heard a word about it; possibly the information will not reach here, as they do not want it made public. Even Colonel Boeto concealed the real object of his journey from me when he passed this way.
Zurich, the 24th December, 1626.
[Italian.]
Dec. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
87. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Since the conference between Buckingham and Bassompierre reported, contradictory reports have circulated about the duke's going to France. On the one hand I understand that in addition to the constant entreaties of his relations and friends Bassompierre himself dissuaded him, whilst on the other it is said that the king urges him to make the journey, some shadow of suspicion being thus generated that his favour is on the decline; though I see him very firmly seated as before and believe these rumours to proceed from private passion which willingly convinces itself of whatever it desires. As regards the French journey it is certain that everything remains suspended until the receipt of the essential result of Bassompierre's statements and the return of certain gentlemen. Meanwhile, the people here become more and more exasperated, nor can the ill-treatment they receive from France be tolerated. The king in Council complained publicly of the bad return made by his brother-in-law for what he lately granted to the queen. Among his chief intimates he does not conceal this displeasure, and indeed I understand that never was he known to be so irritated about any other matter. He wished hastily to allow the merchants, who insist on doing so, to fit out privateers against the French, but this act of hostility which would be followed as a necessary consequence, was rejected by the Council, although with much difficulty. Reason and necessity urge the trial of fair means first of all. Reason, to avoid multiplying their enemies and not give them this advantage, to get out of the hands of the French, in the first place, the vessels, sailors, guns and money, and because it is not credible that France, for fifteen ships only, which still remain for judgment, should seize property to the amount of more than three millions. Necessity, because there is neither money nor counsel, there is no affection on the part of the people, no force, no order, in short they are destitute of everything, and owing to the effervescence of these peccant humours, a vigorous body politic is reduced to a state of langour, whereas were it to attend to maritime affairs alone and direct them judiciously it might keep both France and Spain in their places. On this same necessity it is believed that the French base their projects against the Huguenots, and that on the strength of this corrupt policy Rambouillet is to obtain assurance from the Spaniards that they will not make terms with England, a condition advantageous for Spain herself, who in the meantime will meet with no obstacle to her projects in Germany, her object being to embroil France, without disbursing money as heretofore, perceiving the two crowns at enmity, so that she can turn the scale on whichever side suits her and thus take advantage of all parties indifferently.
Whatever result the speculation may have I have notified the Ambassador Moro, as the information reached me from a competent minister.
Meanwhile, the populace here is practically frantic. It is calculated that in the city of London alone 5,000 to 6,000 families gain their livelihood by the wine trade. The number of butts seized at Bordeaux is 16,000, on which, in the first place, as reported, a duty was levied. Having been already shipped, the liquor runs a risk of turning to vinegar unless soon released. The London merchants have hitherto disbursed 500,000 crowns on this account. The trade is utterly destroyed and all that reaches England is merely plunder, so that the distress is incredible and intolerable. There are about 200 ships detained at Bordeaux and elsewhere, but not all of great burthen. To these must be added 4,000 mariners and nearly 2,000 pieces of ordnance, which altogether may be said to amount to the entire force of a whole kingdom.
The natural antipathy between the two nations is inflamed by this fresh and inordinate animosity based on interest. Many persons say (I know not whether in accordance with their own wishes or at the instigation of others) that if the king will convoke parliament, the whole nation will march against France, give their substance and not impeach the duke, all for the sake of avenging this affront. The point is one to consider, as it concerns the duke's personal interests, the popular feeling, beyond comparison, being more against the French than against the Spaniards. The fire is lighted, nor can we extinguish it here; fair and loving words produce no effect, unless they blame the French excesses; and in this matter, for good reasons, it is necessary to proceed with moderation. The Dutch minister and I, as the only foreign ministers now at this Court, bring water and not fire, as the greatest gain is time, which serves to allay heat.
They have accordingly sent a gentleman of Lord Holland to the French Court to learn the projects on foot and above all to seek the release of the wine. On hearing his statement and that of two other gentleman sent previously by the duke to Paris, (fn. 2) they will decide about the embassy extraordinary and other matters also.
Meanwhile M. de Soubise remains at the Court and negotiates, and as there is no result after so many days, one may suppose the object to be to cause suspicion rather than strike a blow.
The ships of the city of London have put to sea under the command of the Cavalier Watson. (fn. 3) They will first cruise off the coast of France, perhaps towards La Rochelle, and seize such ships as they fall in with, but the fact is they are only provisioned for three months and a good part of the supply is already consumed. However, I believe that the vessels being employed against the French, the city and the whole kingdom will vie with each other in re-inforcing them. France awaited a good opportunity, and the result causes the belief that for reasons previously given the blow was premeditated long ago. The King of England cannot indemnify himself at present, though he may in the course of time, the impression being very deep. Here, besides the general sequestration of French property, the king has forbidden the importation of wine either by English or other nations, without a special permission, the decree having been issued at the request of the company of merchants trading with France, in their apprehension that the Dutch may take the business out of their hands, as they do almost everywhere, bringing wines, for which the French have great need, in Dutch bottoms, and thus ruining the English company.
The Dutch admiral left as reported. Some of his ships came into these harbours and the English urge their not going out of the Channel in order to facilitate the negotiations with France through jealousy. But the idea is frivolous, as powers are not guided by the interests of their neighbours, though they may remain a few days until the fears about the Biscay shallops die away, though nothing more has been heard of them.
The complaints of the Dutch ambassador, also about the seizure of ships, increase more and more, and the proceedings of England may certainly lead the United Provinces to look to their own interests, though as yet I have no authentic corroboration of what reaches your Excellencies through the Brussels news letters. The ambassador here proceeds with address, still hoping that the deputation of commissioners already appointed to devise some remedy for maritime affairs may produce a good effect no less with France than with his masters. This result is delayed, as the members of the Council are still in the country for the subsidies, the result of which is not despaired of though it does not promise much, as in any case the money will fall far short of the debts already contracted, nor can this heavy tax be rendered serviceable.
A very rich ship, laden with plunder in Barbary by a Jew who destined it for Amsterdam, has been brought into these harbours. Among other things I understand there is gold specie to the amount of some 40,000 crowns, mostly in sequins, and because of the quality of the alloy it may be reduced to a lower standard, such as that of the United Provinces. They tell me that without more ado the whole will be confiscated here and declared a fair prize, as this windfall has proved very convenient and by no means unseasonable.
The King of Sweden has made remittances to England for the levy of two Scottish regiments I wrote of. The levy of the same nation for Denmark does not take effect from lack of money, though it is hoped that the king will accommodate him with a loan and transports, to reduce his debt to the League. Upon this topic I have some confirmation of the death of Antonio Vespa, whom I placed in the Danish army by order. He was killed in the last battle with many others. More precise news will have reached Venice, but I cannot help referring to the readiness with which that young man sacrificed his prospects in order to serve your Serenity, so that others may follow his example.
The absence of the ministers here necessarily delays the execution of the orders about the affair of Cassin, declared Viceroy of Tunis. I will report everything at the first opportunity. As regards the advantageous proposals of the Ambassador Wake, which are desirable rather than practical, I have already said what was necessary. The well-pondered replies of your Excellencies will serve as my guide when I have occasion to discuss the matter. I will push the confidence to the utmost, and believe that I have already attained it. The commands contained in the ducal missives of the 19th, 24th and 27th November, which all arrived on the same day, shall be obeyed throughout. They are a great help to my poor ability and benefit the service of the State by the light they throw on events in Venice.
London, the 25th December, 1626.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
88. To the Ambassador in France.
Notification of sentence passed by the Council of Ten against Carlo Querini, lately appointed Bishop of Sebenico, for actions prejudicial to the republic and for correspondence with persons most suspect to the republic. This is not only for information, but that he may make known the grievous crimes of Querini if provoked to speak about him.
The like to the following:
Spain, England, Savoy, the Hague, Valtelline, Germany, Milan, Florence, Naples, Zurich.
Ayes, 95.Noes, 0.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Dec. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
89. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The wind having changed and prevented the four English regiments sailing, Calandrini has gone to Amsterdam until it changes again. General Morgan has sent a messenger to the King of Denmark promising to come at the earliest opportunity. Carleton and Calandrini have sent word to England of their operations up to the present.
Letters from the Ambassador Anstruther from Hamburg of the 9th inst. confirm the capture of Hoya, and relate the king's narrow escape. Tilly has retaken Renten and threatens Holstein.
They are stunned here, although they do not show it, at the news that the Spanish gold fleet has arrived and is in safety. It is said to be worth 24 millions, besides the 6 or 7 millions as the ordinary donation from the Indies to a new king. It is also stated that it passed in sight of the Dutch and English ships, who did not dare to attack it.
The Hague, the 28th December, 1626.
[Italian.]
Dec. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
90. To the Ambassador in England, and the like to the Hague, Zurich and Savoy.
We enclose for your information a copy of what our ambassador in France wrote about a proposal of the cardinal nuncio to Richelieu about a league. You will find out if any rumour of this has reached England, in such way as not to cause irritation but to confirm our confidence and to revive those considerations which would divert France from such a course. It must be supposed, however, that France will not let himself be diverted from his own obvious interests, and we see that the king is sending great sums to the Valtelline through Lyons, that he has confirmed the assignments to the Duke of Savoy for the months of June, July and August, and he seems more inclined to protect the Grisons and the public cause from injury. The same thing is made clear by the haste of the Spaniards to complete their new fortifications about Riva and to increase their troops. It is clearly necessary for us to keep our forces on foot and maintain our expenses.
To England and the Hague add:
The notion of the Savoyard ambassador to proceed to Brussels is to cover the necessity for his departure from that embassy; but it may also originate from orders of the duke. If he should really go thither you will make every effort to obtain every possible information about his negotiations with the Infanta and his proceedings with the Spanish ministers, advising us with your usual diligence.
Ayes, 127.Noes, 0.Neutral, 6.
[Italian.]
Dec. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
91. LUNARDO MORO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The thirty-six galleons which went out to meet the fleet have received orders to disarm partly at Cadiz and partly at Lisbon. I believe those of Portugal will do the same so soon as they have escorted the ships from the East Indies, which are going to Coruna. This is a sign that while they have no fear of hostile fleets at the present moment, neither have they any plans of their own for the time being, although I understand that they persist in their intention to have great fleets in the spring.
Madrid, the 31st December, 1626.
[Italian.]
Dec. 31.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni
Principi,
Venetian
Archives.
92. The secretary of England came into the Collegio and said:
The ambassador, my master, is suffering from a severe cold. His chief concern is that he cannot come to pay his respects to your Serenity and wish you a happy new year and all prosperity, and personally make those representations which the arrival here of the ambassador of Denmark and the present circumstances require. As these matters admit of no delay, his Excellency has sent this paper. The secretary handed it over and it runs as below.
After it was read the doge said: We are sorry to hear of the ambassador's indisposition and we wish him a speedy recovery. You will tell him this and our satisfaction at his courteous announcements. As regards his paper about the ambassador from Denmark you will tell him that we shall consider the matter and that he may rest assured of our entire good will. With this the secretary took leave and departed.
Most Serene Prince:
As I have express orders to assist the ambassador sent hither by the King of Denmark, your Serenity will allow me to add a few words super totam materiam. The glory of the most serene republic now shines with remarkable splendour. Of the neighbouring powers some are allied with her, others have a close correspondence and all enjoy a good understanding. The King of Denmark now seeks her friendship, the monarch of a people that has left memorials of its prowess in Italy, France, Spain and throughout Europe. This great king of the North, with his rich treasure and numerous subjects, now makes advances to your Serenity, informing you of his operations and promising to stand firm in the defence of the common cause provided he receives the support which he has a right to expect from those who are interested in the same cause. From my master he has received all that can be given and it is no small matter that the King of Great Britain should continue to give that help, seeing the great expenses he must incur for the safety of his realms and in attacking the common enemy. His Most Christian Majesty likewise has not failed to contribute a little to this good work and there is hope that he will soon apply remedies adequate to the greatness of the evil. The States are doing all they can and the princes of Lower Saxony are not failing in their duty. It only remains for your Serenity to lend a hand with vigorous help befitting your greatness, encouraging all to continue as they have begun. The two kings know how faithfully the republic has observed the articles of the league, doing even more than was stipulated, and that she will not agree to the treaty of Monzon, but continues to maintain a large force in her dominions and a considerable one in the Valtelline, to do what she can in carrying out the objects of the league.
The resolution and constancy of the republic cannot be sufficiently praised, and the two kings will always value her prudence and generosity, although without admitting any obligation for anything done so far by the league or any of the allies, as the league was made two years and more before the King of Great Britain broke with Spain or the King of Denmark declared himself. Since these two kings entered the ball your Serenity has not levied a single man and your present army is only levied and maintained for the primary objects of the league, not in contemplation of them. All they ask for now is concerted action and that those who now find their burdens too heavy may be relieved by their friends, either by diversion or succour. The scale now descends on our side and so we ask your Serenity and the other powers interested for help, seeing little hope of a diversion. Supposing the peace between France and Spain is confirmed, it will not help the generality Italiae incendium ruinam Germaniae extinguere, to put out a small fire in Italy with the total ruin of Germany. In chronic distempers physicians do not pay so much attention to symptoms and accidents as to the root of the mischief. The Valtelline, the Palatinate, Hesse, the margraviate of Baden, the duchy of Brunswick and so many other provinces attacked by Spanish and Austrian ambition are certainly serious accidents, but symptoms all the same. The root of the mischief lies in the innate ambitions of the Spaniards, whose sails are spread for universal monarchy. If suitable remedies are not applied, all local remedies will avail little. The King of Denmark offers a remedy which will keep them within bounds. With the help he expects from your Serenity and other princes he hopes to carry through this holy work, and being animae magnae prodigus there is no fear of his drawing back unless he is abandoned.
Thus the public liberty now rests in the hands of your Serenity. If the Senate decides to help his Majesty, liberty will be preserved, if it abandons him there is danger that all will be over. Accordingly your Serenity will be earnestly besought to carefully weigh this serious matter and to give the help for which the King of Denmark asks through his ambassador.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 The report thus given by Zorzi would point to the Isle of Man as the place occupied. Bassompierre's despatch, which he quotes as his authority, refers unmistakeably to the Scilly Islands. The French ambassador wrote as follows from Dover on the 13th December: "Il vient arriver nouvelles de douze vaisseaux Espagnoles, on ne mande point si ce sont les Dunquerquois et ceux de l'escadre de Dom Fadrique de Toledo, sont venus descendre aux isles de Sillees . . . qui a un des meilleurs ports du monde, capable de cent vaisseaux, et ou les navires de 600 tonneaux entrent de toute marée, ou il y a un très fort château. Ces douze vaisseaux Espagnoles avaient pris la bannière de Hollande pour se desguiser, et comme tels ont ete recu dans le port sans alarme, et la minuit ils ont mis a terre 1,200 hommes, qui se sont rendus maîtres de l'isle et du château, ou il n'y avait que vint soldats." Negotiations de M. de Bassompierre, Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 30651.
2 Edward Clarke and Balthazar Gerbier. Sir Contarini's despatch of the 15th January, below. Lord Holland's gentleman was perhaps William Lewis. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1625–6, pages 579, 582.
3 Apparently Sir John Watts is meant, and it was intended that he should have the command; but at this time Watts was at Portsmouth, while the London ships had got no further than the Downs. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1625–6, pages 488, 500.