Venice
April 1627, 2-12

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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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165-183

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'Venice: April 1627, 2-12', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 20: 1626-1628 (1914), pp. 165-183. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89118 Date accessed: 20 October 2014.


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April 1627

April 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
193. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
At a special audience which the Dutch ambassador had of the king, he offered him the mediation of his masters for the adjustment with France, just as I wrote last. He expatiated particularly on the great danger in which his masters find themselves, being more and more alarmed, no less by the Spanish forces than by those of the empire. It now appears that all the designs of the prepotence are directed to that object. The king welcomed him graciously and in reply complained bitterly of the bad return made by the French for the good will he has shown them on so many occasions, especially with regard to Bassompierre, saying that remedies must be applied where the disease most requires them. For his own part he averred he should never be averse to peace, and yet he did not urge or request the ambassador to undertake the mediation. The ambassador performed a like office with the duke and other ministers, and he told me in confidence that whereas these last received this offer of the States as a perfect act of friendship, the duke declared an accommodation hopeless and that there was no remedy. It seems he showed himself more piqued and dissatisfied with France than the king himself.
I have gathered on good authority that the offer of the States was not valued as it should be owing to their bad opinion here of the Dutch Ambassador Langarac in France, who, since his residence there has married a relation of Richelieu, which makes him suspect. They say openly that for the same reason he also in great measure disserves his own country. Moreover a friendship so expensive as that of the United Provinces cannot have the reputation requisite for an affair of this nature. The ambassador, however, never ceases his good offices, and with the opportunity thus afforded, properly remonstrates about the danger of his masters, who, but for their alliance with England and Denmark would have no reason to fear the imperial forces.
Amid these negotiations I can assure your Excellencies that those who have most power are not inclined towards France, neither do they desire the adjustment, and it seemed very strange to them that the Danish ambassador at the Most Christian Court should have consented to receive the 3,000 Frenchmen under the command of the Count of Lavalle, a scion of the Tremouille family, on condition of their being all Huguenots, raised in the neighbourhood of Gascony, as if he had not understood the artifice of the cardinal who in this open manner seeks to weaken the Protestant party by that much. I understand that on this account Montagu will have orders to prevent the progress and realization of this levy by means of the Huguenot leaders, England preferring that the King of Denmark should remain without such help rather than that the Most Christian should be relieved from that suspicion.
News has come that two English fishing vessels when endeavouring to enter La Rochelle with certain merchandise, were captured and their crews thrown into the sea. Whether the story be true or an invention for the purpose of exasperating the multitude, as usual, I cannot say, though I well know that the king has spoken about it resentfully, everybody else following his example, court fashion.
Notwithstanding the receipt here of several corroborative advices that the French have not a sufficient force afloat to blockade La Rochelle, the six galleons which came from Amsterdam being also in bad trim, yet orders have issued for the rendezvous at Portsmouth in the middle of next month of the four regiments I wrote of, and the thirty ships, on board of which they daily lade provisions and military stores, especially scaling ladders, some thinking that they intend to seize one of the islands nearest to La Rochelle, by which the place is most incommoded.
Of the thirty ships, eleven, which are now ready, have set sail to convoy into the river here all the ships belonging to Frenchmen, which, having been lately seized, are scattered about in various British harbours, where the sale of their cargoes is not so easy. This new service arouses the supposition that the aforesaid succour of La Rochelle may have been prematurely published to alarm the Most Christian.
I cannot find anyone, even among the ministers, who hopes for an honourable result from the negotiations at Brussels, as reason itself convinces men that the Spaniards will merely entertain them in appearance, in order to profit the better by the rupture with France and by the internal debility of both kingdoms. However, I gather that stimulants are administered by Savoy with a view to obtain the most advantageous terms possible, and that the Ambassador Wake wrote especially to this effect in his last letters. His father-in-law, the Secretary Conway, told me this in set terms, assuring me that the repeated offers of the Duke of Savoy were never answered except by mere complimentary phrases expressing satisfaction and esteem for the goodwill shown towards this crown. I rejoined that it was reported at Court that Montagu was either to go to the Duke of Savoy or to treat with Scaglia in France about this same affair. He replied he had heard the same but such matters passed through Buckingham's hands alone; if they continued to follow this road they would certainly ruin the kingdom and the common cause, and he would say as much openly to his Majesty and every where else, because of the frankness he always professed. All these ideas correspond with what he said previously to the Dutch ambassador, as reported. He added in confidence that the king was not inclined towards these negotiations, and the duke, when he went to Newmarket, waited more than a day before he would make the overtures to him, in order to have the opportunity of finding the king in a good humour.
The Dunkirkers continue their depredations. Eleven of them, well armed, put to sea lately, and five, steering north, captured three ships bound from Amsterdam to this country, with cargoes worth some 600,000 florins. They were convoyed by a man-of-war, which perceiving its own peril, took to flight and brought the news hither, adding that another man-of-war, English, at a little distance refused to give any help. (fn. 1) In this connection I understand that the eleven ships which sailed lately had orders not to give battle to the Dunkirkers, save only in self-defence. The other six, pursued by nine Dutchmen, gave battle off Gravelines, the noise of the guns being heard for three days in many parts of England. As yet no certain news of the engagement has arrived, but according to report hitherto the Dutch have had the worst of it and lost the Vice-Admiral of Zeeland.
The Duke of Buckingham's only son has died. (fn. 2) I will condole with his Excellency and the family, as they feel the loss deeply; and the duchess has presented the queen with a costly coach and six horses valued generally at 20,000 crowns.
The secretary of the Queen of Bohemia has been to see me in the name of those princes. He told me he had come for money and to pay debts according to the promise already given by the king to his sister, who contracted them in the Netherlands to the amount of 20,000 florins. He said he had communicated to the king the last proposal of Wirtemberg, which it was impossible to carry out, and remarked that in the midst of these delusions the king was was the more bound to prove the vigour of his good intentions with regard to the maintenance of his kindred and his own repute. His Majesty constantly excused himself, alleging the evil behaviour of the French which compelled him to turn aside from the path he had at first taken. This minister confined himself particularly to urgent suit on behalf of his masters that I should employ your Serenity's mediation for the adjustment which no less vitally affects the Venetian republic than the general advantage of Europe. I assured him in general terms that the republic desired and sought it, being aware, in common with every other power interested in the general welfare, of the detriment caused by the current disorders, while I did not fail to represent them to the government here, the Ambassador Zorzi doing the like in France, according to the reiterated commands of your Excellencies. With this person and others I have availed myself of the instructions contained in the last missives of the 5th March, and when a favourable opportunity occurs I will do the like with the Earl of Holland, who previously expressed himself as I reported.
London, the 2nd April, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
194. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Montagu, for whom the cardinal has waited and sighed, arrived yesterday from England. He brought no letters from Buckingham except for Bassompierre and the Ambassador Scaglia, the latter, I fancy, on affairs, the former merely complimentary. The cardinal sent to visit him, and the messenger began of his own accord to speak of affairs, affording an opening to France to proceed towards an adjustment. Montagu never made a sign, asked for his passport, took leave and will start in the morning. Although Bassompierre went on purpose to see him and made every effort to induce him to pay his respects to the queen mother and to see the cardinal, it was all in vain. This may have been from resentment, as when he was here before he was not received by the king or ministers, or because he really had nothing to negotiate at this Court. He leaves to-morrow for Lorraine, sent on a special visit, so he states, to the Duke and Duchess of Chevreuse. The cardinal's suspicions have risen as his hopes have sunk. He believes that some negotiations for peace are on foot between the English and Spaniards and that Scaglia is the go-between, while Chevreuse has a share. That the affair originated in Lorraine and will be settled at that Court. As the Infanta in Flanders will put the final touches, Gerbier is to go to Brussels in a few days.
From Lorraine, Montagu is to go straight to Turin to pay his respects to the duke. While France shows how little she cares for her friends, the King of England wants the world to see how much he honours the duke. I hear on good authority that Montagu will assure the duke in secret that his master will not proceed so far in the accommodation with France that the duke shall not be the arbiter, in order to multiply jealousy. Scaglia may have managed this. I do not know for certain, but I suspect it.
Scaglia has taken leave of all the Court and will start this week. He announces that his first journey will be to Brussels. He will go thence to England with special commissions from the duke. One may put this together with the movements of Montagu and Gerbier and his own share in the negotiations between the crowns, and conclude that his sole object is to move this wheel, which is as suspect here as it is gratifying to England, and he makes every effort so that this business may not be settled without the vigorous ministrations of his industry.
The Council of State met on Tuesday to discuss whether they should come to terms or break with the English and La Rochelle. Schomberg pointed out the hurt suffered by France and advocated peace at all costs, but Marillac wanted war with both, being obstinate in his inveterate passions, though he stands well with the Spaniards.
Paris, the 2nd April, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
195. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I called upon the Prince of Orange two days ago and thanked him for the letters from England which he had shown me. He told me that the Ambassador Joachim advised him that they had spoken to him about the proposals which Gerbier brought from Brussels, and after the communication to the king, who was away from London, Carleton had been to tell him that his Majesty wished him to come as ambassador extraordinary to the States. I asked the prince if he knew what Carleton would bring. He said the ambassador sent no particulars; that when Carleton came to tell him he was just back from seeing the king, and had dismounted from his horse at Joachim's house and told him the king's decision in a great hurry, without entering into further particulars. I asked what he thought such a sudden despatch might mean. He said we must not be astonished at the suddenness, as that is the way in England. For example, when Buckingham and Holland (Olac) came they had crossed the sea as soon as their selection was known here. He said that for some time he had known what had passed between Gerbier and the painter, Rubens, at Brussels, and personally he thought the matter would be arranged. I was sorry for this reply, and remarked that they could not possibly have arranged such an important treaty in so short a time, the overtures were made by a painter, the king hardly knew of them, and they required more deliberation for a conclusion. He said they would not require so much deliberation because the hostilities between Spain and England were not so serious as to prevent them from settling their differences speedily. Efforts had been made to render England tired of the expense and to induce him to bend his efforts against France. You will see, he concluded, that there is more than people think.
I replied that it was bad news and I hoped the States would try and prevent it. He agreed, but very coldly. I spoke of the States intervening to bring about a reconciliation between England and France. The prince said that Carleton might be coming to learn the views of the States in the event of open war with France and to secure at least their neutrality. They would gladly listen to anything leading to a reconciliation. I could get no more out of him.
From the prince I went to the king and told him the prince's views. The king said that he differed. Carleton certainly will not bring any accommodation with Spain. I think he builds upon the naval preparations in England, and he said that these orders do not square with such proposals. Here they could not come to such a sudden decision and the matter would have to be communicated to all the provinces. The king entered into no further particulars and I had fresh confirmation of his coldness. He is not a man of great designs, but is rather overwhelmed by his misfortunes. Rusdorf, his agent, just back from England, is of very different ideas. He speaks openly of the defects of the English government, and declares that Buckingham for a long while past has thought of nothing but an accommodation with Spain, and that he is more eager about this than anything else. He says that Buckingham wants this in order to obtain help from that quarter. I do not attach much importance to what Rusdorf says as he speaks with passion and not seldom contradicts himself. He told me that Carleton, who is no favourite of the duke, had procured this employment in order to get away from the Court. He would not come so soon, because they are short of money. Rusdorf certainly publishes his disgust in every way. He called upon me recently, accompanied by one Discinton, (fn. 3) who is on his way to France, and no favourite of the duke. I asked if he was going to France on affairs, supposing he might be dealing with Scaglia and Rusdorf. He said, No. He is not of the party. He loves the king, as a gentleman of his privy chamber, and would like to see him on good terms with his subjects and resolved to summon parliament, which means the fall of Buckingham.
Rusdorf says freely that they will not have the least help from England. He assured me that when he left Joachim adjured him to repeat this, especially to the prince. Joachim did not dare write as much himself as it would immediately become known at Court. I marvel at the statement and think it is rather because Joachim is a dependant of the prince, and I believe he is an Arminian.
Persons well acquainted with affairs believe that Carleton is coming to propose a general peace, including the English, the Spaniards, the Palatine and Cœsar; but the differences are too great to be settled at one stroke. Some think he will speak about the Amboyna affair, and Rusdorf told me that England insists strongly on the exemplary punishment of those considered guilty.
The Hague, the 5th April, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
196. MARC ANTONIO MORESINI, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Ambassador Scaglia writes to me that the cardinal is in great trouble about the business of the English and he has refused to meddle in the matter any more, and thinks of passing it on to the Danish ambassador. In France they would like Denmark to continue the war and the English and Dutch to do the same, not only of good will for any one but merely to make themselves safer and more necessary to the Spaniards and to every one. Rumours of truces have roused the cardinal, who cannot bind the Spaniards to him when they have no need of him, and he therefore bitterly repents having dealt so harshly with the English, and he is now trying hard to make it up with them, though it may be too late. The Ambassador Marini has letters from the Secretary Arbo to much the same effect, showing an excellent disposition towards an accommodation, though he speaks strongly about the hostilities committed by the English and says that if they do not reform they will be punished for their audacity.
Turin, the 5th April, 1627.
[Italian.]
April 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
197. MARC ANTONIO MORESINI, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have been to see a Fleming staying here with his natural brother. He is a native of Brabant, called the Viscount of Fruges, from 28 to 30 years old. He spoke with contempt of the English and almost angrily, declaring them inept and without money, good counsel or forces. He had a better opinion of France.
Turin, the 5th April, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zante.
Venetian
Archives.
198. DEMETRIO RUCANI, Farmer of the Customs at Zante, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Represents frauds on the import and export duties. Collusion with foreign merchants over the export of oils of the Morea for foreign places, lading very large ships with bargains arranged in Zante under written stipulations between them, and openly defending those who come from foreign nations to trade. The culprits are Venetian subjects and they act openly without any stint or fear. If unchecked, the customs will be ruined. Quite recently English ships have arrived from Modon and Coron which had previously left Zante with bargains arranged there, having Venetian subjects on board who arranged the bargains and shewed the way they would take cargoes of oil in those countries for England, having invented this diabolical way of getting the oil into Zante and to Venice. Has approached the Venetian naval commanders, but they have no authority and can only urge the captains of these ships to go and discharge their cargoes at Venice; but they have gone away to enrich foreign countries. The principal culprits are Alessandro Cernovicchio, Agesilao Securo, at present consul of the English nation, and Zuane Balsamo.
Zante, the 5th April, 1627.
[Italian.]
April 7.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
199. The English ambassador came into the Collegio and said:
My disappointment at being prevented by indisposition from coming to wish your Serenity a happy new year is now assuaged by seeing your Serenity in excellent health as well as all the Signori here. I wish you all prosperity and content. After so long an interval I can speak of nothing more agreeable than the health of my master, who continues to prosecute successfully his generous designs for the common welfare. He has excellent relations with the queen, who, since the removal of some persons who made improper suggestions to her, has adapted herself to the customs of the realm, and leaves nothing to be desired. The negotiations with France now seem to be nearly settled, for which the Most Christian proposes to send an ambassador, and my master is ready to meet him half-way, to bring everything to a satisfactory conclusion, so that they may live not only as good neighbours but as good friends and kinsmen, as the common service requires.
I have a public duty with your Serenity to recommend the Prince of Transylvania; but I must first represent the state of the matter as it will serve as a basis of my office. Some months ago, since my return from Savoy, I requested the republic to help that prince with some money. I was told in response that your Serenity wished the prince every good and you would do what was fitting for him. I made no other representation and was quite satisfied. I did not renew my request for two reasons, firstly, the reply being general and not a refusal, I thought your Serenity meant to make some contribution, though you did not think fit to tell me so. Secondly, as diffidence is the mother of prudence, I became somewhat suspicious of the prince's sincerity, his action giving rise to the belief that he was treating for peace with the emperor.
I now have his letter of the 15th February which removes both doubts, since he tells me that your Serenity has made him no contribution, and he is not going to make any treaty with the emperor, indeed, at Constantinople he has had some proposals of his united princes signed and has induced the Sultan to suspend his negotiations for peace with the emperor, having confirmed Mortesan Pasha of Buda and the other Turkish ministers towards those confines with instructions to assist Prince Gabor for the preservation of his state and for those advantages which he might take for the profit of the common service. This decision came from the Sultan himself and his great Council, not from the Grand Vizier, to whom only its effectuation was committed. When my king's ambassador was informed about it he said it was just what they wanted, as they did not require an open declaration from the Sultan of being united with his Majesty and the others, as that might do more harm than good, but it sufficed to suspend the negotiations for peace with the emperor and give the orders mentioned above. But as deeds prove more than words I may tell your Serenity that Prince Gabor has paid the residue of Count Mansfeld's troops for two months, for the first in money and for the second in apples, salt, clothing and so forth, which they needed. He is a good economist and would not have incurred this expense without expecting some profit from it, and meanwhile he requested me to ask your Serenity for some contribution. I have done this the more readily because both my doubts were removed and I found the republic relieved of a great part of the expenses which she had to bear at the time of my first request, because her troops have left the Valtelline and those of Lombardy are greatly diminished, the troops in Milan being withdrawn across the mountains to trouble us. The contribution only means 40,000 rix thalers a month, which amounts to little enough when divided by five. France has not yet paid out anything, and it is not known what she will do, but probably she will not fail. My king has already paid 40,000 thalers for five months as his share. The States have remitted 30,000 for Gabor's agents. The King of Denmark has promised and sent copies to Cracow; so only your Serenity remains and I feel sure that you will not neglect what the common service requires.
The doge said: We value your compliments the more because we are sure of your friendly disposition and we reciprocate your wishes. We are delighted to learn the prosperity of your King's affairs, and we wish him every happiness. Accordingly to hear of hopes of an accommodation with France affords us great satisfaction owing to our esteem for both crowns, while the common service requires a friendly understanding between them, which our ambassadors have done their utmost to promote. We can assure you of our esteem for Prince Gabor. We will consider his requests, as our form of government requires. However, we must remark that although our troops have left the valley and our other forces are diminished, yet we are heavily burdened owing to past expenses, while the present state of affairs is not really secure.
The ambassador remarked: I should be glad to know if your Serenity's advices from Constantinople correspond with what I reported, as I know that my king's ambassador confides everything to your Bailo, and as my representation is based upon the supposition that Gabor is acting sincerely, my office would lose much weight if your Excellencies have not that assurance, and then instead of asking for contributions we should do better to take care not to spend our money wastefully. The doge said: The Signory will consider this question also, and the ambassador took leave, asking that instructions about a decision may be sent to the Council of Forty about a cause of Symes, an English merchant, which has already been pending two years before that Council.
[Italian.]
April 8.
Cinque Savii
alla
Mercanzia.
Risposti
vol. 147.
Venetian
Archives.
200. Representation has been made of the loss occasioned to the people of Cephalonia in the matter of currants by English merchants who have reduced the prices so much; and the English have monopolised the whole of that trade, so that they lade not only their own ships but those of the Flemings and French as well, thus preventing rivals from raising the price. They ask that through the ambassador in London a fixed price may be made for the English nation of 25 reals the thousand of currants, and petition that if the English refuse this they may be forbidden to buy currants at low prices and make markets for other nations, or to bring foreign cloth to that island.
In reply we wish to say that we consider it impossible for the ambassador in London to arrange a fixed price, as the abundance or shortness of the harvests will regulate the prices, and to restrict the liberty of the traders would notably prejudice the course of navigation, and cause notable loss to the most important duty of the new impost. We do not think either that your Excellencies should listen to the petition to prohibit English cloth, since it is permitted in this city and in every other part of the state, and it would hinder trade, including that in currants. We therefore conclude that the best course is to let things proceed as they have done up to the present, as the people will be much better off if every one can sell and buy currants freely, and the efforts of the ambassadors would probably only benefit the richest men of the island. It should be considered a privilege and considerable advantage that the currants may be sold in the island and taken to England by foreign vessels, which at other times was on no account allowed.
There are only two things which we think advisable to regulate, one that English merchants be forbidden to buy up by other nations currants for re-sale, as it is to the advantage of the islanders that there should be competition among the buyers; and the other that as regards all cloth consigned and money spent before the transaction to buy currants, the currants shall always be understood to be on sale at the same price according to the announcement (voce) made by the governor at the time of their sale or at the greatest advantage to the vendor at the time of consignment, so that the price settled by the announcement, whether in money or goods, shall be adhered to without any change soever.
Dona Moresini,Savii.
Antonio Canal,
Domenico Thiepolo,
[Italian.]
April 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
201. To the Ambassador in England.
We are fully satisfied with your services and especially pleased with your letters of the 9th, 12th and 19th March last, which reached us all together. The news about the negotiations with Spain is so important that we feel sure you will keep on the alert to send us all the information possible about it. You will encourage confidential relations with the Dutch ambassador. You will continue your good offices for a reconciliation between France and England, while our ambassador in France has orders to co-operate for the same purpose. We sent you copies of the exposition of the Ambassador Wake and the reply we have decided to give him. This will serve you for information, to use the same items when opportunities arise. You will reply to the same effect about Prince Gabor, and prevent similar requests by your prudence.
Ayes, 142.Noes, 0.Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
April 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
202. That the English ambassador be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him:
We thank you for the expression of your good will, and are glad you are better; we rejoice at the health and prosperity of his Majesty, at his loving relations with the queen and the prospect of a reconciliation with the Most Christian. A good understanding between the two monarchs is more necessary at the present time than ever. The ideas of the Turks and those of Prince Gabor must be judged by their actions. We must represent to your Excellency the state of our affairs. Although the troops have left the valley the republic is still weighed down by the heavy expenses it has borne and must still bear. Matters are still uncertain, and it is necessary to remain on the alert as the republic has such great powers on all her frontiers. Your Excellency knows as well as anyone the very heavy expenditure incurred by the republic and what great sums of money we need to provide for our own affairs, and we feel sure you will represent this in a suitable manner.
With regard to the cause of Simes in the old Quaranta Civil, those lords will be ready to satisfy him immediately, and we shall always be ready to do anything to please you, to prove our high esteem and affection.
Ayes, 142.Noes, 0.Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
April 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
203. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
At this present moment the government has no greater anxiety than that of hastening the departure of the ships previously mentioned. A certain Colonel Gray, a Scot, (fn. 4) who was in the service of the Count of Mansfelt and also greatly wished for employment by your Serenity had the disturbances in Italy continued, is occupying himself, by the King's command, as an artificial fire worker, his special profession being the manufacture of projectiles, so that with scaling ladders and other military engines, they may be shipped as soon as possible. An English sea captain has also returned from France with great secrecy, who as I heard in strict confidence from a well informed individual whom I trust, went by the duke's order to spy off the French coast in the neighbourhood of La Rochelle and at the Bordeaux estuary where many rich ships are laded. This man recrossed the Channel, not by the straight course of Calais, from fear of arrest, but at the extremity of England opposite Normandy. What further statements he may have made, I know not, but am very sure that yesterday the king in person with very few attendants remained a long while in Buckingham's house, Buckingham also being there, and the Frenchman, Samblancard, the envoy from the Duke of Rohan, a manifest indication of the combined schemes I have frequently mentioned.
The reports of the duke's going himself on board this fleet continue, but having been circulated so often and not verified, I suspend my belief, nor will I vouch for the fact until after its accomplishment, the atmosphere of England being only too liable to change. I believe the duke is very much inclined to go to France as an enemy, having been refused as ambassador, but provided he were sure of inflicting an affront. It this can only be done by an open declaration of war, yet such is the violence of internal private passions that they leave no room for the consideration of public ruin. But even if one could make them ponder this, by good and timely offices, and even if the result of some attack upon France were doubtful, I believe that these forces have an eye to the advantages to be gained by jealousy, and that their negotiations with the Spaniards would be difficult if they were stripped of every sign of vigour, and for the rest that they will probably cross in the name of M. de Soubise, under pretence that he having applied to the king, his relation, to secure their common religion against the designs of Cardinal Richelieu, the English government assists him with these forces, seeing that two years ago a similar permission was conceded to the Most Christian, who asked for assistance against La Rochelle, so that this succour, afforded first to one and then to the other according to their need, cannot really be considered an open rupture.
Meanwhile, the goods belonging to Frenchmen are being sold, much stock having been disposed of for 40,000 crowns, being purchased covertly by the very merchants who were appointed commissioners to make the estimate. They were anxiously awaiting this mouthful, which at the cost of public disadvantage will procure for them very considerable profit. All good men have foretold great disorder and still do so, but this foresight is held in small account as compared with interest. The money derived from the sale is spent, so repayment will be impossible and more and more it is reported that they will subtract the residue of the queen's dowry. From day to day they are expecting the arrival of the other vessels, scattered over the kingdom, the eleven men-of-war having put to sea to convoy them, as reported.
In short, the more the French delay the more do they hurt their cause, it being calculated that the French property seized in England is worth twice as much as the English goods confiscated in France, and what matters more, that the French losses increase daily; and yet greater progress may be made and an accommodation rendered still more difficult by this side through their fleet putting to sea, according to the nature of those who derive benefit from their superiority. Of this the French were already aware and the merchants of Rouen have covertly attempted to obtain the restitution of English property to the amount of goods detained here, and which belong solely to that mart, but I do not learn of their having found open ears, which are at present but too firmly closed owing to the pretended affront by the disowning of Bassompierre, which I find hurt the king extremely, by the jealousy of the naval reinforcements and designs against the Protestant religion, by the advantage of using money obtained from French property at a moment of such need and on private accounts also.
Touching this matter the French Secretary Moulins told me very confidentially that the queen here would fain mediate but knows not how to proceed, as the first steps she took with her brother or her husband would be interpreted as due not merely to zeal but to the suggestion of the parties themselves. He added that just as he had already written to France to urge the queen mother to send some confidential agent, as she usually does every two or three months to visit her daughter, to open negotiations and avert extremities, thus affording some pretext to the queen here, so he politely hinted, as for himself, that I should instigate her Majesty in the name of your Excellencies by remonstrating against the ruin which threatens the common cause, that similar offices may furnish a foundation on which to base her good will.
I highly commended the queen's idea, with suitable remarks, showing how much more interested in the matter she was than anyone else, so that any attempt made by her would be exempt from suspicion and indeed more useful as the acknowledged effect of zealous, interested passion, and not due to the importunity and instigation of others. Whatever I or anyone else might say on the subject would be far less eloquent and persuasive than the tenderness of a wife and sister and the political interest of a queen bound by her own prerogatives to maintain and re-establish the union between the two crowns. In short I steered without deviating from my instructions, charging ambassadors to express your Excellencies' wish for an adjustment. I thought this the best course, as similar offices must be performed with the duke, to gain his good will, without which everything proves fruitless.
I observe that the French themselves begin to be apprehensive, though I do not know whether the favourite's assent affects this. I will keep a look out to see whether any gentleman comes from France in the name of the queen mother or for others. I know for certain that unless they again acknowledge what Bassompierre arranged, it will be all lost time; and there will also be difficulties in getting that re-approval. If urged I will speak, always as a neutral, to both French and English ministers, as instructed, and as I have so far done; and if this can profit this most important business I will certainly exert my poor ability to the utmost for the benefit of my country, and to rid myself of this insupportable charge, so as to deserve the good opinion expressed by your Excellencies.
London, the 9th April, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
204. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The first Secretary of State, Conway, father-in-law to Wake, the ambassador at Venice, has been created Viscount of Chiluulf in Ireland. (fn. 5) This new honour together with his ailments and political opinions, as reported, cause it to be said openly that he will be dismissed. In such case no better proof could be given of the change of policy and of the desired friendship with Spain, as he was no less unsuited to the post from having always led the life of a soldier than because he is an honest man, sincere and not at all Spanish. Whenever England changes her opinions it is remarked that she also changes her secretaries, and persons of experience produce a long series of them in illustration of the fact. They say Lord Carleton will have the place, though he also is not very friendly to the Spaniards. But in the end he will be whatever the duke chooses. Carleton's delay in setting out for the Netherlands causes some suspicion, that on his departure, others might intrude themselves, as competitors are many. In such case he might again serve as minister in Holland for a long while.
Some merchants are sounding the ford in order to begin trade between England and Dunkirk by a prearranged number of vessels, as the English woollen clothes having no market in France and Spain as heretofore, the people are ruined instead of being relieved. I do not hear that they have as yet obtained their intent, nay, the duke answered the person who presented the petition to him, that he must apply to the Council and expect many of the members to oppose it. On former occasions the Infanta had this same affair proposed, but always in vain, and I believe this reluctance is in order not to seem too anxious for the adjustment, so as first of all to have a strong force at sea whereby to obtain better terms and meanwhile avoid causing suspicion to the Dutch and their other allies.
After the three days' fight with the Dutch the Dunkirkers continued their voyage to Spain, conveying thither, it is said, a certain amount of merchandise. I do not hear of any great mischief on either side. The only advantage obtained by the Dutch was that during the action a large number of French vessels, which otherwise would have fallen in with the Dunkirkers and been captured, got safe to the Netherlands. The Dutch commissioner goes on supplying information to the Lords of the Council. He has drawn up papers and proposes either a remedy or the necessity for the United Provinces to grant their subjects letters of marque against the English. Many take offence at these pretensions, as they disparage the prerogatives of England and her supremacy; so they again bring forward the Amboyna massacre. Two nations, the most greedy of money of any in the world, near neighbours and living on the same food will always have disputes wherever the interests clash to which they attach such great importance. Possibly owing to the counter claims, they will refer the matter to arbitration, or have long delays, always with increasing dissatisfaction.
Anstruther, the English ambassador in Denmark, has sent hither one of his servants, who performed the journey in a few days, and conveys the usual urgent demands for money and for the prompt despatch of the levies, giving assurance that the king there is still bent on the liberty of Germany. He presented three intercepted letters, written by Rustorff, late agent for the Palatine at the English Court. They were addressed to the Margrave of Brandenburg, and to two foreign ministers, Rustorff's correspondents, and spoke in such desperate terms of this government and the duke as can proceed solely from the most violent passion and hatred increased by what happened. Fortunately for him he had crossed the Channel before this storm rose, as the king is extremely angry.
The levies for Denmark are being hastened. To facilitate them the agents of Sweden are forbidden to beat the drum, but recruit covertly. The recruits for the Netherland regiments increase in numbers, it being heard that many make their escape after being put on shipboard. The men raised in the western counties are to assemble at Hull on the 27th inst. and the others at Harwich, the recruiting sergeants taking off by force all the vagabonds they find in this city, so as to increase the numbers.
I have received the ducal missives of the 19th March and will avail myself of them as commanded.
London, the 9th April, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
205. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Of seven ships which the cardinal had built last year at Amsterdam in the name of the queen mother, two, the Admiral and the Queen, remain useless in that port. These with eight others, less powerful, recently ordered, are to form a fleet to resist the one being equipped in England. The cardinal presses these on daily, although aware of the risk they run, as it is certain the English would seek them out and fight them if they could, while the Dutch granted them against their will. Their losses, however, are so great that he is ready to take the risk, and hopes that they will arive in this kingdom without mischance.
His third fleet, of sixty sail, is not ready to sail and makes him realise the difficulty of perverting the course of nature and converting France from a continental to a naval power, with great outlay of time and money, as he has not yet been able to equip the first five. After all these labours the cardinal is making great efforts to open negotiations, and desires it the more the less the English seem inclined that way. The passing through of Montagu without treating with anyone has made him more anxious than ever and more eager to settle this difficulty. Accordingly, he sent recently to the Hague to urge the renewal of the treaty of Compiegne. The States entrusted this to Langerach, and commissioned him and Joachim to try to bring about a reconciliation, but the more advances France makes the more reluctant England seems. I hear on good authority that the cardinal would throw aside all punctilio, and send the Marshal de Vitry to England, who is liked there and a great friend of Carlisle, with full commissions, only he fears he would not be received and the ports might even be closed against him.
Paris, the 9th April, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Svizzeri.
Venetian
Archives.
206. GIROLAMO CAVAZZA, Venetian Secretary with the Swiss, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The old Margrave of Baden with his younger son really travelled towards France, but I do not believe he will go to the French Court, as he is doubtful about his reception. He will either proceed to England or go straight to the King of Denmark.
Zurich, the 9th April, 1627.
[Italian.]
April 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
207. To the Baili at Constantinople.
We enclose copies of the exposition of the English ambassador here, asking us to help Prince Gabor, and of our reply. But as we know that the general welfare requires that the Ottomans shall have a lively apprehension of that prince moving, you will encourage the other ambassadors in their offices to induce the Turks to help him and to postpone negotiations for a peace or truce with the emperor, without committing yourselves so as to excite the belief that the republic is likely to give help or anything else involving expense or the public prejudice. We can trust your prudence, so we need say no more on the subject.
Ayes, 124.Noes, 1.Neutral, 4.
[Italian.]
April 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
208. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They are anxious here lest France has some treaty with the Spaniards, and in particular they suspect a league against the Huguenots.
Carleton is expected. They say he has left London. I have no news from Contarini. The wind is contrary, but with the slightest change he could cross the sea. There is the same perplexity about his mission. I have heard some say that the English may want to make sure of the disposition of the States if the French turn against the Rochellese, whom England is determined to assist. I think it unlikely that they would make a free declaration here. The French ambassador feels sure that they will negotiate a general accommodation. I believe they would listen to such proposals here, although it is announced that they have instructed Joachim to divert Carleton's mission if he is coming with such an idea. This announcement only makes me the more suspicious.
I am also assured that the Abbot Scaglia is going to Brussels and that Buckingham will proceed to France to treat for an adjustment. There is no corroboration of this. The visit of Scaglia to Brussels has been spoken of before, and the ambassador himself told me he had it from England, but did not credit it. With the information I have from your Serenity I can believe in some movement of Savoy for this purpose, and I also know that Wake has written to England that while he was staying in Turin the duke gave him to understand that he would dearly like to settle the differences between Spain and England, and this idea would be admirably served if Scaglia went to Brussels, since he is the greatest confidant that the duke has with Buckingham, who is reported to be so interested in this adjustment.
I see no sign of Buckingham going to France, both for past quarrels and for recent ones with Richelieu, with whom some very sharp notes have been exchanged, and the negotiations which are now suspected with Spain would serve to cast suspicion upon such dealing.
The Hague, the 12th April, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
209. MARC ANTONIO MORESINI, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I went recently to Rivoli to wish the duke a pleasant Easter. He received me most cordially and spoke at length of the affairs of Germany, France, England and his own. When I told him of the negotiations between the Spaniards and the English, he looked very grave at first, and said we must at all costs prevent a peace or truce between the two. He asked me if your Serenity's ambassadors had done anything and offered to do everything possible to thwart such negotiations, even to sending some one to England on purpose. Continuing he said it was impossible for the English to keep up a war with both crowns. They could have no money without parliament and that restrained the king's authority. If they had to make peace with one he thought it would be Spain, as the offence was less recent, while the French were naturally antipathetic and there were the reprisals.
Invited by me he went on to say that a union between the English and French would not be good, as the latter were already agreed with the Spaniards, and relieved of fear from England they would come closer to the Spaniards, possibly to our hurt. I thought it best not to contradict him, but pointed out the manifest loss to the public cause if the Spaniards were at peace with the English. The duke was impressed and returned to his first thoughts. I am not sure, however, that his passion will not overcome his prudence, and the French already complain that the Abbot Scaglia has rather fomented the disunion.
Turin, the 12th April, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 12.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
210. The English ambassador came into the Collegio and after the deliberation of the Senate of the 9th inst. had been read to him he said:
I thank your Serenity warmly for deliberating upon my offices. I will inform his Majesty of your good will and of your excellent advice about an understanding and union with France, which will have great weight with his Majesty, as he has the highest regard for the judgment of the Senate, so I feel sure this will overcome any difficulties that might remain and your Serenity will see the results. As it seems that your Sernity cannot at present do any more about the Prince of Transylvania, I will not press my requests, as I feel confident that you will not hold back if you think that diversion sound. (fn. 6)
I have fulfilled my orders and will report the answer to his Majesty and the prince and I will prefer no further requests on the subject unless I receive fresh orders.
About the King of Denmark, the ambassador added: I have a letter of the 20th March from Stad, from my king's minister, with news which I will read to your Serenity.
After the reading of the advices the doge said: We shall ever esteem his Majesty and wish him every good fortune. Your Excellency will recognise the justice and relevancy of the deliberation of the Senate upon the Prince of Transylvania and the considerable burden which still rests upon us, and we feel sure that you will represent this in a favourable light. We thank you heartily for the advices from Denmark, and you may rest assured that we are always glad to see you.
After expressing his thanks the ambassador added: When passing through Bergamo towards the Swiss I lodged in the house of the Signori Paganelli. They asked me to intercede with your Serenity for the release of the husband of one of their daughters, who is exiled. I undertook to do this on my return. The case is pardonable; another of the same house, the Cavalier Passo, has been released by the Council of Ten. This youth, Gio. Bragain, whom I recommend, has also made his peace with the injured parties. Your Serenity will recover a good subject and afford me a much valued favour.
The doge said: This is a matter for the Council of Ten, where such cases encounter great difficulties, but your Excellency may rest assured that we will do what we can. The ambassador repeated that another had already been pardoned, showing that pardon was possible, and he gave in the papers, which were sent to the Chiefs, made a reverence and departed, though he asked leave to take a note of the office read to him, and put it all down with his own hand.
Copy of the letter of advices referred to above.
Stade, the 20th March, 1627.
The king here has taken with him a large sum of money and has settled all the affairs of the kingdom, leaving his son behind in charge with the Council. Next week I expect Sir Charles Morgan with 6,000 English, who should land at the Weser. This is the fourth regiment which has been in Holland for the space of three years. We expect the recruits any day and with them Filippo Calandrini, their paymaster. 9,000 soldiers are coming from Scotland at his Majesty's charge; Niddal is bringing a regiment of 3,000. Lord Spain, son-in-law of the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, is bringing 3,000 more, and Colonel Magnar the last 3,000, so that before the end of May there will be 18,000 of our nation. In addition we already have 3,000 under Colonel Smitteler. We have already passed muster of 5,000 horse and 10,000 foot, and raise fresh levies daily, having paid them for three months. In Dolfembitel the king has 2,000 brave soldiers and 500 horse, which never allow the enemy to rest. There are also 2,000 soldiers at Niemburg on the Weser, who have repulsed Tilly.
The king is resolved to hazard life, crown and posterity for the cause. Although many say that this does not help us, he has really had hard work to hold his ground, as last summer he had Count Tilly with 36,000 men on one side, and il Valesain on the other with greater forces. Yet he sent the Count of Mansfeld and the Duke of Weimar with 14,000 picked men, who passed through Germany, took various places in Moravia and Silesia, and so brought Gabor into the field, so that he may be said to have supported single handed all that Tilly could amass, including the forces of the emperor, Spain and the Catholic league.
I send your Excellency a note of all the places which his Majesty's soldiers hold in Moravia and Silesia. Humanly speaking, if France and Venice support this king with a reasonable sum of money he will beat the enemy before they can unite, but if he is not helped he will be forced, nolens volens to make peace and will have to follow the emperor. Non est medium.
The ambassador of Bethlem has newly returned from England, and has received the amplest satisfaction here from the king, who has again paid his quota three months in advance, so that the prince may remain constant.
The neutrality of the Elector of Brandenburg endangers his ruin, as some of Tilly's troops are lodged in his country near the Elbe and Valesain has quartered as many near the Oder. He himself has gone to Prussia in great distress, calling upon the King of Poland as his vassal, to join him, and the King of Sweden as his kinsman, in short he minds neither heat nor cold. The king here is making a great fleet to infest the sea.
Names of places in the king's hands:—
In Silesia and the confines of Moravia, Troppau, Jeggendorf, Ciswitz, Fridenthal, Conlembergh, Weiskirch, Tistchin, Teschan, Odemburgh.
His forces in these places: 8,200 foot, 3,000 Hungarian horse under Elias Nasi, 3,000 horse and 3,000 Germans who are waiting for artillery. Colonel Bourbon has the chief command, a brave soldier of wide experience. Colonel Bandizen, Colonel Carpezon and Baron Flaador compose the Council of War, but can decide nothing without the Commissioner Midscaff. Their commissioners who were here with his Majesty have returned highly satisfied taking letters of exchange for the payment of their force.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 This must be the incident referred to in Sir John Hippisley's letter of the 19/29 March. The fight took place on the 25th and 26th March. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1627–8, page 99.
2 Charles Villiers, born on the 27th November, 1625. He died on the 26th March.
3 Sir Thomas Dishington, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber.
4 Sir Andrew Gray. There is a note of his military intentions. S.P. Dom., vol. Ixxxix, No. 19.
5 Lord Conway was created Viscount Killultagh, co. Antrim, by charter dated the 12th March, o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom, 1627–8, page 89.
6 Writing of this office on the 16th April Wake says: These Signori do as much exceed in ceremonies as they come short in substance. They cannot now allege that I am satisfied with their answer because I have declared the contrary and told them plainly that his Majesty and his friends could not take this money for payment and that if they do not resolve to contribute their quota, they must expect to be importuned again. S.P. Venice.