Venice
May 1627, 17-31

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1914

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223-237

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'Venice: May 1627, 17-31', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 20: 1626-1628 (1914), pp. 223-237. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89121 Date accessed: 22 July 2014.


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Contents

May 1627

May 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
268. MARC ANTONIO MORESINI, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Scaglia left Paris for Brussels on the 1st, and on the 3rd the courier sent by the duke to Scaglia (a servant of Montagu) passed through. He is to go on to England with the abbot's instructions. Scaglia continued his journey without stopping, and the French ministers are more anxious than ever, and they urge Marini to watch these princes closely. His letters were brought by an English gentleman who arrived to-day. Montagu returned here to-day. He and the duke have received voluminous despatches from Venice. The short time and the great secrecy they keep have prevented me from discovering the contents.
One item of news they publish abroad, to show their strength and spirit, namely, that the English fleet has surprised twenty French ships at the point of Conche, capturing the goods which were partly laded and partly on shore ready to lade, together with the sailors and merchants, and carrying off booty worth half a million of gold or more. This news has given the greatest satisfaction to the rulers here, but has highly displeased those who consider the consequences, though it was foreseen by those who knew of the quarrels between the kings and the favourites. Many think an accommodation will now be easier, others class it as hopeless. The reply sent to Marini's letter, written by the duke's order, will enable us to form a certain judgment.
Marini has received two letters. In the first Arbo speaks of Montagu's journey, anticipates the duke's offers of mediation and says his Majesty will await the proposals to be made to him, and give a clear answer. This part ends with complaints against the English, calling their behaviour insolent and insupportable.
Turin, the 17th May, 1627.
[Italian.]
May 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
269. MARC ANTONIO MORESINI, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Montagu is said to have been to Padua and to have met Wake there, so we expect news of them from Venice.
The duke is full of ill will against the cardinal, whom he hopes to bring down by making use of the English, the Huguenots and other malcontents. At the last audience I discovered that his hopes are rising.
His Highness highly approved of the resolutions of your Excellencies to pass general offices in favour of a reconciliation between the two kings, as it relieves him of the fear that you may be taking that affair in hand.
Turin, the 17th May, 1627.
[Italian.]
May 18.
Senato,
Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
270. An English ship has arrived here, laded at Smyrna with 596 bales of cotton, two of camlet (Zambelotti) and nine of gall nuts (gale), with Robert Megan, an Englishman, as purser. Ralph Simes has petitioned that Megan may unlade his goods on payment of the ordinary duties or be allowed to take them elsewhere, and the English ambassador has several times made the same request in the Collegio. We have also heard the petition of the merchants of the Pizza, asking for the execution of the laws, and we have also heard the replies of the Avogadori di Commun and the Five Savii alla Mercantia. As this matter should be despatched owing to the repeated instances of the English ambassador:
Be it resolved as recommended by the Five Savii that the ship be allowed to depart freely with its entire cargo, though in recognition of the duty it shall pay 500 ducats, upon condition that it takes all the said goods outside our Gulf and will not leave them in any place of our state, even outside the Gulf, for which Megan shall give surety of 10,000 ducats, and shall bring evidence of unlading the goods from the place where it is done, within a reasonable time.
That the Collegio shall inform the English ambassador of this decision.
Ayes, 96.Noes, 1.Neutral, 29.
That instead of payment of 500 ducats it be resolved that in gratification of the English ambassador the whole duty shall be remitted with a bare acknowledgment of 50 ducats.
Ayes, 31.
[Italian.]
May 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
271. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
My foregoing despatches went off at length with the Danish ambassador and will reach Venice by way of Holland. These will travel the same road, as the ports remain more strictly closed than ever, so I take advantage of the ship which is taking Lord Carleton to the Netherlands. He came to see me, and in telling me of his departure added that the king ordered him to listen to any proposal made to him at that Court, either on behalf of the French or of friendly powers for the reunion of the two crowns, which it is evident cannot take root either here or in Paris, because of punctilio. He urged me to write to your Excellencies at the first opportunity, that you may remain well impressed with his Majesty's affection for the common weal. For the rest, I might avail myself of the announcement with such circumspection as I thought proper, lest it be supposed, I believe, that the overtures come from this side. This fully agrees with what I wrote, and consequently in my conversations I have laboured always, as on my own responsibility, that the sound views which I know this nobleman entertains might be corroborated by his master's commands, as has come to pass, especially as he himself at every consultation, as a confidant told me, always maintained that a door should be kept open for an accommodation, as necessary for the welfare of Christendom, while they should repel the affronts of the French unless they give satisfaction. The consideration of his own reputation in so conspicuous a business, besides many other circumstances already mentioned, ought to raise the hope of some good result, if the French reciprocate as I perceive it will not be easy to obtain greater advances from this side.
I thanked Lord Carleton for his confidence, stimulating him by remarks about the common weal and private interests alike pledged to prop this falling fabric, and assured him that your Excellencies would rejoice at this communication as much as at the results which may ensue, while your ministers everywhere use their best efforts, especially in France and at the Hague, where the Ambassadors Zorzi and Soranzo would contribute to the perfection of the work. I remarked, however, that although this first step demonstrated the good will of the king and himself towards the common weal, yet they would profit very little unless hostilities were slackened and especially the putting to sea of the fleet, to see in the first place what negotiation might effect. He answered that to delay sending the fleet to sea was impossible; the repute of the kingdom, the king's word and the duke's interests being too deeply pledged. He did not enlarge much on the progress of the expedition, this reserve being necessary, and I also believe because few other persons, perhaps none save the king, the duke and M. de Soubise in a small way, can discuss the subject securely and with knowledge.
He, indeed, dwelt much on the usual grievances against the French, from which I took occasion to repeat that while they are intent on revenge here, the adjustment will certainly not take place, and the orders which he spoke of taking to the Netherlands would serve for mere show, as I suspect is the case. He added: The duke will not go forth to return without doing anything, like the last two unfortunate English fleets. If the hopes of an adjustment or the difficulties of any successful attack in France deter him from hostilities there he will have another project, hinting that he might steer towards the coasts of Spain. Some days previously another leading minister spoke to me to the like effect, adding that they might easily burn the Spanish ships in port now they were understood to be without suspicion or defence.
Although I suspect that these ideas aim at tranquillising friendly powers who disapprove of this flame being kindled, or that the announcement of such projects might lull the French in their defensive operations, I thought it desirable to expatiate on the facilites and good results of this Spanish expedition, as the fleet might instantly be reinforced, not only by the ten ships in those waters, under Admiral Real, a most able seaman, but by many other Dutch corsairs who are always cruising off that coast.
I added something of the obligation contracted by his Majesty in the face of the whole world, to call to account those who oppressed his kinsfolk, despised his forces and scoffed at treaties, and then that he was bound to act by the others according to circumstances. I said that the duke had no better way to secure good fortune than by the stratagem of a truly good soldier and commander, feigning an attack on one quarter and striking in another. Then again, if he went to France it would be incumbent on him to perform great feats, as mere captains had entered French harbours, seizing and carrying off ships, whereas in Spain very trifling success would bring him glory as compared with the empty results of the two other fleets, which were much more powerful. I alluded to the naval help against England promised by Olivares to Richelieu, pointing out the ill will and devices whereby they hoped to kindle a flame between these two crowns, and when burning to profit by it in every way, an argument which I clearly saw the ministers here had pondered with suspicion and disgust.
I report the whole conversation because it proceeded from one well affected towards the common cause. I can only hope that he expressed himself truthfully rather than according to his wishes. Nevertheless I made suitable comments and always shall do so when I see that they can be of use, always making it appear that I speak in a private capacity, interested in his Majesty's welfare, without betraying any passion or interest on the part of your Excellencies beyond that of the union of the two kings, on account of the general good which may result therefrom.
For the rest I consider the seal to be that of the personal, but powerful and authoritative interests of the duke, which leave me small hope of good, as I have often written, and what follows will bear it out.
London, the 20th May, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
272. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The departure of the fleet is postponed from one week to another and may be delayed for another 15 or 20 days on account of deficiencies, especially of money, the hinge on which such machinery turns.
They also think of waiting first for some movement of the Huguenots in France, under pretext of securing themselves against the numerous fresh levies raised by the Most Christian. On the one hand it seems dishonourable for a king, the kinsman and friend of a neighbouring sovereign, to invade his territories without first of all urging as a pretext his own military reverses, whilst on the other, should the Huguenots not stir, the success of the expedition would be hazardous, and indeed all France might unite to expel the English, who are most hateful to the nation. Some therefore persist in the idea, already reported, of giving the Most Christian to understand that he has no reason to be suspicious of this fleet, provided he fulfil the promises previously given to the Huguenots, as seeing they appealed to this king to mediate the last adjustment, he could not desert them. By this course they hope to interest the entire body of the Huguenots, who on the other hand are very unwilling to afford any fair pretext for English aggression or to diminish the chances of France, though the duke is still averse even to this overture, saying that it is too late.
Meanwhile they are hastening the supplies and hold frequent consultations with Soubise. As he is obliged to employ many Huguenots I contrived to learn the following particulars through one of them who returned lately from your Serenity's service and should have been employed on that business, but refused, preferring to go and work in the Netherlands. He tells me that the Huguenots in France are much perplexed, because if the English land under the pretence of succouring them, they will offend the king and the duke, if they do not help the invaders, and deprive themselves for ever of the protection of this crown, so that in future treaties with the Most Christian they will be subject to great disadvantages. On the other hand, if they stir they anticipate their ruin, considering in the first place the feebleness here and the consequences of any failure; the final effort made to get together forty ships without the hope of any prompt succour, as is needed to begin an important war such as this; the small stock of provisions, the inexperience, the delicate constitution and the interests of the commander which will not allow him to remain long abroad; the small amount of soldiers, no less than the pretext for this attack, which render the Most Christian more vigorous and France more united to resist it. It is also said that the Huguenot forces are divided, being hemmed in by those of the king, which can easily prevent them from uniting and forming a compact body. One of their chief perplexities is the small credit enjoyed by M. de Soubise with the Huguenot party, owing to his past reverses and because he is not a man of much ability, although he directs every movement here and his opinion predominates over that of the duke. So they infer that the entire Huguenot faction will not do much, but rather a few individuals, who indifferent alike to the Huguenot religion and the English nation, aim solely at making their terms with the Most Christian, receiving some good sum of money as usual. Among these are mentioned M. de Rohan, Soubise's brother, M. de Mombrun in Dauphiné, and others of less consequence. Some of Soubise's dependants have been sent to Guienne, where the strength of the party lies, with letters from him and from the Duke of Buckingham to give them greater weight, and to urge the Huguenot gentry there, the leaders, to keep their correspondence ready so that on the arrival of the fleet they may unite in a few hours. Some emissaries have also gone to La Rochelle and I fancy that in like manner as the populace, always fond of change, wish to admit the English, so persons of more experience who have something to lose, adhere to the plan unwillingly, but they are in the minority. As the islands about La Rochelle are understood to be garrisoned by 8,000 men, they will not dare to attack them with 4,000, and should the landing take place in that quarter they will attempt Fort St. Louis, where, however, there is supposed to be greater risk of defeat than hope of success. In other parts, such as Normandy and Britanny, where there are not many Huguenots, the landing without assistance would be too hazardous.
The soundest scheme proposed is certainly that of disembarking in the province of Guienne, and especially on the Garonne. They have their eye on a small but very strong castle at its mouth, called Royan, where there are but 300 infantry in garrison, and whence they might easily have communication with all the Huguenots, who are in great numbers in the neighbourhood of that province; the choice of the king's galleons, which are of middling size, indicating that the expedition is merely destined for a river or harbour without sufficient draught of water for a larger vessel. But as they do not meet with the alacrity desirable for the better execution of the plan and its success, they delay the departure, at one moment under pretence of raising the 200 horse, at another of providing ships for their transport; first one device then the other, whereby they give the French time to secure themselves by strengthening these defences and keeping the aggrieved powers quiet.
They rely much on the Count of Soissons, who is united with the Duke of Savoy and encouraged by him, as the disturbances in Dauphiné would prove a most useful diversion and argument through possession of some fortress held there by that prince. But in this they are disappointed, as the gentleman who was sent back to Montagu in Piedmont is understood to have been killed in France on his way, when they robbed him of his letters as well as of his money and apparel, thus cloaking their curiosity about state secrets under pretence of gain (fn. 1) They will not have discovered much, as his orders were conveyed orally, but at any rate they have prevented them from reaching the Savoyard Court, on which the French keep a very close watch. On the other hand, to repair the loss, I believe they have here imprisoned at Dover and seized the letters of the courier sent by the French secretary, Moulins, there to await his passage across the moment the ports were opened.
I also understand that negotiations are on foot with the Most Christian's brother, for the purpose of exciting him, but as yet I do not hear that any great hopes have been given them. A gentleman came here from the Duke of Lorraine and has departed. It is said he came with compliments in return for those paid by Montagu at that Court. In short, so far from being loved the English are thoroughly detested by the French, and unless religious interests unite them they will scarcely ingratiate themselves even with the Huguenots, the greater part of whom, not being much persecuted, will with difficulty be induced to repeat their former ruinous experiments without any valid pretext and with small hope, by reason of the feebleness of this government. The Catholics on the other hand, although dissatisfied with the Court, unless they declare themselves more zealous than the king himself, will have a very small following.
From all these considerations delay of the expedition results and perplexity to the duke, who has lately been taking a slight purge to enable him to stand the sea better, so there is no lack of comment and speculation about his going.
Meanwhile the French are providing for all the places on the coast and have forbidden trade with England. I believe they will also close the ports, so that advices may not reach this country. In that case your Excellencies may send duplicates of instructions by way of Holland, so that in addition to my other misfortunes here I may not have to negotiate at random.
London, the 20th May, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
273. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Scot named Seaton has lately arrived from France, who serves the Most Christian in the guard formed by his countrymen and is a creature of the cardinal. He brought letters of mere credence from the queen mother for the king, for her daughter one of visit only, and one from Chevreuse for the duke. It was supposed he would make some overture for negotiation, as he visited many of the leading personages, but the day before yesterday he asked leave to return and take a certain number of hackneys; this they flatly refused. This shows that the chief object of his mission was merely to obtain full information about the state of their forces here and the designs and consequences.
The ships seized by Pennington in the harbour of Conquet and elsewhere, entered the Thames three days ago, the most important part of their freight having been brought by land, but little to the glory of the English navy. They will hasten the sale of these effects to the utmost to avail themselves of the money, all their forces being raised by means of similar funds. But these Indies will very soon be exhausted, as the French, by withdrawing their trade inland and venturing little or nothing at sea, will prevent the English from taking prizes and making profit by them. And although they say that after this they will forthwith fit out a second fleet comprising a greater number of ships, to follow up the attacks, I at any rate am of opinion that this quarrel will remain very bitter until necessity compel some relaxation.
From what I hear Lord Carleton's commissions for the Netherlands state that he shall calm the existing misunderstandings between the Dutch and the English about trade, upon which the Dutch commissioner labours daily with hopes of success. He is to justify the king's movements against the French on the plea of their disapproval of Bassompierre's negotiations, of the rejection of Buckingham and of their tendency of strengthen themselves at sea, and to ruin the Huguenots, in whose welfare the United Provinces are no less interested than England. He is to try and keep the Dutch at least neutral and to prevent them from promising France any help in ships; to hinder if possible the renewal of the treaty of Compiègne, and in short to create distrust by every expedient. I understand on good authority, although Carleton spoke to me on the subject very reservedly, that when in the Netherlands on the spot where the events take place he will gather the intentions of certain persons so as to enter into negotiations with the Spaniards, and I strongly suspect that he will have an understanding with the Abbot Scaglia, who will simultaneously sound the ford at Brussels and act in concert with him. These negotiations might possibly be thwarted if the French or others set on foot an adjustment with France, whi h Carleton would prefer to the Spanish alliance. He will also take a small sum of money with him to comfort the queen and to pay the interest of the 650,000 florins which the United Provinces borrowed of the merchants as security for the king to pay Mansfelt's troops. He will witness the punishment of those concerned in the Amboyna affair and will come to an understanding about the affairs of Germany with the Protestant Princes, though I do not believe they rely any longer on the unfulfilled promises which have been their utter ruin.
The Secretary Conway told me in the king's name that they intended to write to your Serenity for leave for the Count della Torre, in conformity with what the Danish ambassador said to me. I find the demands come from the Palatine, who from his hopes of adjustment does not wish to declare himself head of this movement and displease the imperialists.
Conway requested me to back the demands of Wake by a letter, so that they may not be fruitless. They would fain send a gentleman for the purpose, the same who came before on Wake's private affairs, but the last example of the person who went to Turin may keep the matter in suspense, to avoid risking his life. I made general replies, promising to write as his Majesty wished, assuring him that wherever possible the republic will not fail to prove her affection for the king. I remarked conversationally that the disturbances of Italy were not yet quieted and the post you conferred on the Count della Torre was supreme; so that at any rate a refusal will not come unexpected and should the favour be granted it will become the greater from the necessity of overcoming this difficulty.
London, the 20th May, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
274. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The king came to Paris on Saturday. On Monday the parliament discussed the proposals for raising money, and rejected them all. Richelieu recognises that this refusal is not to the king but to him personally, and in order to have his fleet ready for war he is making every effort to induce the king to go in person to the parliament, when, if they will not yield, he desires the king to make the laws by his own will.
Of the numerous ships which the cardinal has sought to obtain from various quarters during the last few months, collected at the mouth of the Seine, all are to be fitted out in Britanny. Great and small they will number twenty-five to thirty, at least, a considerable number, but they will have to work awhile longer, so long as certain members of the body are wanting. The matters concern his reputation, and he goes daily to the Arsenal, the foundries and other places, where his presence helps the progress of the work. He lives in the thought that this united fleet, equipped in every point, will sail in two months at latest and scour these seas.
To meet the expense of this fleet and provide for it, the cardinal proposes to suppress two very costly offices, and take upon himself the generalship of the Mediterranean and the Artillery, held respectively by Rhoni and the Gondi. (fn. 2)
They say the king will go to Poitou, where he has 6,000 or 8,000 picked infantry. With this flying camp he proposes to go to all the places where the English may attempt a landing, but chiefly intends to intercept any succour that may be sent from Languedoc or elsewhere to La Rochelle.
Paris, the 20th May, 1627.
[Italian.]
May 21.
enato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
275. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
It is now a month and no letters have arrived from England unless sent by special messengers, the ports there being closed. A great personage friendly to your Serenity has shown me a writing from Gerbier, the contents of which I give below. It is that Carleton is going post to Holland to impart his king's negotiations with the Spaniards and to induce the States to conclude a long truce with the House of Austria. That Carleton is to make every effort to induce Prince Henry Frederick to sell or pawn the principality of Orange to the King of England. That the painter, Rubens, a great friend of Buckingham, has been made a member of the Council of State by the Infanta for the sole object of negotiating an accommodation between the English and Spaniards. That Gerbier has been sent to meet the Ambassador Scaglia in Flanders to put the finishing touches to this.
The Duke of Longueville has been to see me and suggested two things, that the republic should undertake the reconciliation of the two crowns, and that the treaty of Merizon should be torn up. I am sure that the cardinal urged him to advance the former. So I confined myself to the usual remarks about the good will of your Excellencies.
Parliament has decided on the prohibition of trade between France and England, though it is not yet published.
Paris, the 21st May, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
276. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Since I sent my packet to the post this Friday morning the parliament has published the order forbidding trade with England, which I enclose.
Paris, the 21st May, 1627.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.277. Declaration of the king forbidding all his subjects and other residents in the realm to carry on any trade with England.
At Paris, in the Parliament, the 17th May, 1627.
[French; pamphlet of 13 pages.]
May 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Svizzeri.
Venetian
Archives.
278. GIROLAMO CAVAZZA, Venetian Secretary with the Swiss, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I hear that Montague is to proceed from Turin to the state of your Serenity. With the information you give me of the movements of the Ambassador Wake, I will send word of the conference between them which takes place in Rhetia or Helvetia, and find out what I can.
Zurich, the 21st May, 1627.
[Italian.]
May 21.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
279. The English ambassador came into the Collegio and spoke as follows:
The signal favour of your Serenity to the Count della Torre about his departure has laid him under a great obligation and he has asked me to express his thanks, and present his own letters. After handing these in the ambassador continued: The count has delivered himself so fully that he leaves me nothing further to say. I need only remark that the republic will never find a more devoted or grateful servant. I am sure he is well on his way, as in spite of rumours that Robustelli meant to attack him in the rear I have letters of the 11th from the foot of Mount Spluga, that is outside the Valtelline, so I hope your Serenity will soon have news of him from Zurich.
I have another letter to present from the King of Denmark. This also was read. Afterwards the ambassador said: As these are only letters of credence for me from that monarch, I will not at present set forth to your Serenity the orders which I hold, which require a special audience, if you please. Meanwhile, I will give you some news which will please you. In letters from Hamburg of the 12th I learn that the administrator there has been declared by Denmark general of the force in Silesia, comprising 20,000 men, rather over than under; the administrator has gone to the Hague on his way to France and may come to Venice, where I have orders to show him every favour. He will be most acceptable to the Prince of Transylvania, of whose wife he is uncle, and those provinces desired him greatly. They have made entrenchments for two miles near Bremen, which will prevent help reaching Tilly from that quarter. The King of Denmark has 16,000 English foot with him and is expecting a regiment from France under Atramoglia. They think Tilly will make some attempt before these forces unite, but the king is well prepared. It would be a great boon if they could be sure of the steadfastness of Prince Gabor, and any light your Serenity can throw will be most welcome to me.
The doge replied: The republic will always preserve the highest regard for the Count della Torre. We are anxious about his journey and rejoice to hear that he has got so far. With regard to the letters of credence from the King of Denmark we need only express our great esteem for that monarch, and we shall always listen attentively to what you have to say on his behalf. We thank your Excellency for the advices, and if we have anything to communicate we shall not fail to do so. The ambassador returned thanks for this, took leave and departed.
Most Serene Prince: I am so deeply indebted to your Serenity that I cannot find words to express myself. I am leaving in body, but my spirit will always remain in the centre of the gracious favours received from your Serenity. My absence will only incite me the more to this happy service. I only regret that I have not had occasion to exert myself to my last drop of blood. The honours received from your Serenity constitute the pomp of my good fortune. I do not know how I could hope for more. I will tell my king of the exceeding deserts of the most serene republic.
Bressa, the 3rd May, 1627.
HENRY MATHIAS, COUNT DELLA TORRE.
[Italian.]
Christian IV, by the grace of God King of Denmark and Norway etc.
Letters of credence for Sir Isaac Wake, ambassador of the King of Great Britain, to act for him.
Stade, the 8th March, 1627.
[Latin.]
Dorse: Serenissimo Principi, amico nostro charissimo Domino Joanni Cornelio Duci Veneto et Generosis ac Nobilibus Honorandis sincere nobis dilectis, ejusdem Reipublicae Senatoribus.
May 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
rchives.
280. To the Ambassador in France.
It was opportune of you to commend Cardinal Richelien for leaning towards a reconciliation with England, and what we wrote to you a week ago on this subject will prove the more useful because some are passing comments about the reserve we have shown in interfering. In the matter of the reconciliation they are expecting the answer of the Duke of Savoy as Montagu has already returned.
Ayes, 135.Noes, 0.Neutral, 4.
[Italian.]
May 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
281. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
On Friday morning a letter reached me from the Abbot Scaglia at Brussels asking me to obtain a passport for him. I obtained this and sent it the same day. His arrival cannot be far off. I have prepared the way and I fancy that if he undertakes any business contrary to the present need, he will not get much satisfaction. I am assured that they have not the slightest idea here of what he is coming about. They will not listen to any request to lend ships against the Genoese. Vosbergh told me that I should find that Carleton would follow him immediately. He told me nothing else except that they might together negotiate some adjustment with the Spaniards. I asked him if he knew that Scaglia had treated of at Brussels; he said he knew nothing. I said there was little likelihood that the Spaniards desired an accommodation with England just now, since they profited by the quarrel with France without suffering the least hurt from the declaration of war. They might not accept the mediation of Savoy, even if they listened to everything at Brussels.
I hardly think, from appearances that these two ministers can unite. The death of Carleton's wife and the lack of money, not only for his dispatch but for the Queen of Bohemia and this state, must necessarily delay his coming. Even if their negotiations take place, they will be directed rather towards separating the States from France. That will not be easy, but the situation is perilous owing to the difficulties over the renewal of the alliance, of which they now speak coldly.
The Hague, the 24th May, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Padova.
Venetian
Archives.
282. GIROLAMO LANDO, Podestà, and HIEROLAMO DA LEZI, Captain of Padua, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Ambassador Wake sent two days ago to inform us that he was coming for a stay of some days in this city, at his usual residence, the Ca Priuli at the postern. On the following day he sent to ask me, the podestà, for my coach, in which to call on me. We went to meet him with an honourable company of nobles, and to-day he paid us his visit. We offered him sweet-meats, sugar, wine and a sturgeon, for which he thanked us heartily. He told us he was expecting the Administrator of Magdeburg, to take him to Venice and there put him on ship for Spalatro. He gave us very recent advice from Germany, and said there were no despatches from England, because the ports were closed owing to the despatch of a strong fleet of twenty ships commanded by Buckingham himself, and he heard it had already taken some French ships. He spoke at length about the bad behaviour of the French.
Padua, the 27th May, 1627.
[Italian.]
May 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
283. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Cardinal Richelieu, seeing the clouds gathering about him, now seems inclined to change his maxims. He has made advances to the Countess of Soissons.
News from Flanders state that a truce is nearly arranged between the Spaniards and the Dutch. Carleton is to treat about the Principality of Orange, and if he does not cross the sea I fancy the affair will be entrusted to Scaglia. I understand that not a few Spaniards and Englishmen would like the composition now in negotiation between them to be referred to Scaglia.
News has come from Calais that the English fleet, a hundred sail strong, is at the mouth of the Thames. Upon this rumour the Rochellese press hard for the demolition of fort St. Louis, and I am assured by a trustworthy person that if their request is refused this time they are determined to admit an English garrison into their town.
The gentleman who was going from the queen mother to the Queen of Bohemia left several days ago with a most noble present of diamonds, with the sole object of opening negotiations with her for the reconciliation of the two crowns.
Paris, the 28th May, 1627.
[Italian.]
May 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
284. MARC ANTONIO MORESINI, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Encloses intercepted letter sent from the Resident of Florence in France to Milan, the letter written by the king to his ambassador in reply to the duke's offer of mediation, obtained with more than ordinary difficulty, and the reply to Montagu's paper sent to France by his Highness.
Turin, the 28th May, 1627.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.285. Letter of Giovanni Gondi, the Florentine Resident in France, to the Resident of Florence at Milan.
With the English, things go from bad to worse. The English have recently captured some twenty ships, great and small, of Normandy and Britanny, which were going to Spain with cargoes worth over 600,000 crowns. A defeat from the English is so hard for this Court and nation to bear that if their passions were not restrained by powerful considerations of state, the wrath of the king, ministers and every one is such that one would expect a rupture rather than an accommodation. In addition to this booty, it also hurts their honour that the English have taken, in the very port of St. Malo, two large ships of Cardinal Richelieu, under the nose of the commander of the port, the English thus pouring scorn on the French and on the cardinal in particular, of whom they say that he had better go with his red hat to recoup himself (andasse con la sua beretta rossa a ripigliarsi) and many other things even more biting and insolent. Even worse is feared owing to the great naval preparations in England, the numerous engines of war and artificial fires, for landing men and surprising some place. It is feared that they have some design to recapture the islands of Re and Oleron, to demolish the neighbouring fort and hand it over to the Rochellese, as they promised the King of England they would do in the peace of 1625.
Although a reconciliation between the two kings seems further off than ever, and intervention seems unlikely to succeed, yet as they may abate their pretentions here to being, first asked by the English, and overcome their passions by the English, and overcome their passions by prudence, now they see that they have no force at sea equal to the English, who can also help the Huguenots while the French can do them no harm except by uniting with Spain, who would gain the chief advantages, and they would not like that much. It would be nothing remarkable if peace came about when least expected, because the way they dissimulate the injuries received from the English, especially this last at St. Malo, which generally would be considered the prelude to a declaration of war, can mean nothing except the desire and necessity for peace.
Paris, the 14th May, 1627.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.286. Letter of the Cavalier Gondi to the Florentine Resident at Milan.
The ambassador of Savoy will proceed from Flanders to Holland and thence to England, and the Dutch ambassador will also go to Holland for a short time, and we hear that he will proceed to England. This excites the belief that it may be about the reconciliation of the two crowns. It is thought that the interposition will fall to the masters of these ambassadors. If this does not succeed soon there will be danger, as they are moving towards complete rupture. The English are constantly capturing fresh French ships and there is a recent report of the capture of several off the coast of Britanny.
Montagu has sent couriers from Turin to London who have passed this way. It is thought that they will be about this reconciliation, for which Savoy's efforts will be all to the advantage of the English and not of the French, against whom he rails constantly. He hopes for great profit from the English, now or later on, but using them in the Mediterranean, against Genoa or other places.
Paris, the 7th May, 1627.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.287. Reply of the King of France to Montagu's paper.
His Majesty thanks his Highness for his good will, and assures the duke of his regard for his interests though the duke complains of his ministers, who have done nothing except by his Majesty's command.
His Majesty is ready to believe in the good intentions of the King of Great Britain as represented by Lord Montagu, but wishes that his actions corresponded. The opposite is seen every day, French officials have been expelled contrary to treaty, French ships and goods seized and sold and similar actions for the last eight months. These are sorry proofs of the good understanding that ought to obtain. The grievance about M. de Bassompierre's treaty is unfounded, because the king did not ratify it, moreover the Duke of Buckingham was aware that there were objections to raise and at the time of Bassompierre's return he sent Le Clerc and Gerbier with assurances that he would arrange what was wanting in the treaty, to his Majesty's satisfaction.
In conclusion his Majesty declares that he will by no means reject a good and honourable agreement, provided that some way is found to guarantee that the English will keep their promises better than they have done in the past.
[French.]
May 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
288. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They have not yet decided about renewing the treaty of Compiègne, because the French persist in wanting to alter it. There are two difficulties, one that the French assistance is an act of courtesy and not an obligation, and the other that the States must help France in case of need against any one soever. The first may easily be adjusted but the second is very difficult, as the French might want help against the English and the Huguenots, which the Dutch would be unwilling to grant. Thus much time may elapse before the treaty is signed and meanwhile Carleton and Scaglia will arrive and will seize the opportunity to prevent the signing of any agreement. They have begun to talk here again about these two ministers arranging an accord between the English and the Spaniards. As England cannot make any change without informing the States, they think that these also may be included. Nothing is heard here about Scaglia's coming. The time would serve for his meeting Carleton, of whom there is no certain news, although I heard yesterday that his baggage had crossed to Rotterdam. If this meeting takes place here I wish I had instructions from your Excellencies.
Vosbergh told me yesterday that he heard from France that the Duke of Chevreuse had gone on to England, being urged by the Rochellese to negotiate an accommodation. If this was true things would take a different turn, and good results might be anticipated, as the duke had influence and credit and the affair would not be mismanaged in his hands.
The Hague, the 31st May, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 Mr. Whittingham, But see Morosini's despatch of the 17th May, No. 268, at page 223 above.
2 He seems to have put these the wrong way about; Philip Emanuel de Gondi was general of the galleys and Maximilian de Bethune, Marquis of Rosny, grand master of the artillery.