Venice
August 1627, 21-31

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1914

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331-348

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'Venice: August 1627, 21-31', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 20: 1626-1628 (1914), pp. 331-348. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89128 Date accessed: 23 October 2014.


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August 1627

Aug. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
411. ANZOLO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I told the French ambassador the news from the Valtelline. After some remarks upon that he began to speak of the present state of France, and how, with a hostile force in their country they must attend to their own affairs before those of others. Italy had profited greatly from the arms and declaration of the French, but had never got the least thing from the English, who could not play the Spaniards' game better, especially with the death of the Duke of Mantua imminent. He went on to speak of the landing of the English in the Isle of Rhé, the difficulty of relieving it, the loyalty shown by the Huguenots, and the misfortune of the king's fever at this crisis.
I fancy the French are more anxious about the English fleet than they care to show, especially about some secret intelligence to the prejudice of the state. Here it is said that they have no slight suspicions of the Duke of Savoy, though the ambassador of his Highness tries to remove the impression and spoke expressly to Bethune, who would disclose nothing except that the negotiations of the Abbot Scaglia in Holland caused them grave suspicion.
Rome, the 21st August, 1627.
[Italian.]
Aug. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
412. SEBASTIANO VENIER, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have spoken to all the ambassadors about this important business of the pirates, so that they may know the readiness of your Excellencies to co-operate in such an excellent work, saving always your peace with this empire. The French ambassador said he had word from Court that all the ambassadors here should discuss the matter and devise some plan, but he did not see how they could negotiate in the present state of affairs with the English ambassador here, though he thought these troubles would quiet down. The English ambassador said he was expecting news daily. His master had directed English ships to recoup themselves by reprisals on the goods of the Turks in the seas of India for the losses they suffered from the Barbary corsairs. He said he was sending word by his present despatch, with such reserve as the present circumstances demand; and he also said he hoped they would end peacefully. He said no one could intervene with the two crowns with more hope of success than the most serene republic. Flanders said he expected to hear that his masters had removed their consul from Barbary. They had received more damage from those rascals since the accommodation than for many years before. All are impressed by the gravity of the matter, but a concert will meet with many difficulties owing to the rivalry of the various nations and the private pique between England and France. However, great enterprises should not be abandoned, and the mere discussion of the matter may bring them to some good decision.
The Vigne of Pera, the 22nd August, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Milano.
Venetian
Archives.
413. PIER ANTONIO MARIONI, Venetian Resident at Milan, to the DOGE and SENATE.
A person of quality tells me that French ships have been warned not to go to Nice or Villefranche, as the Duke of Savoy not only detains them, but has sunk some that fell into his hands. At Genoa they are not sure whether this is because of some claim for duty at Villefranche, or because of some arrangement made between England and his Highness against France.
Milan, the 22nd August, 1627.
[Italian.]
Aug. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
414. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Spanish offers to this crown are not limited to forty ships, but extend to a much greater number, and promises of money at once and paid troops, but upon the conditions I have described. Three days after the news reaches Madrid that these have been accepted and signed the Spaniards will undertake to give the French whatever help they wish against the English. Their succours are already assembled in considerable numbers at Fuentarabia and are only awaiting orders to set sail.
It seems that both the French and the Dutch desire the speedy and successful renewal of the treaty of Compiègne. I have not seen the Ambassador Langarach for three days, so I have no further particulars, but it is clear that the king leans to this just as he disdains the Spanish help. Father Berulle, on the other hand, works hard with the king and ministers to establish this union between the two crowns.
Paris, the 23rd August, 1627.
[Italian.]
Aug. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
415. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Two ambassadors of the King of Denmark have gone on to England. (fn. 1) They avoided coming here, in order not to lose time over compliments. They wrote to Carleton and had a conference with him at Delft; but it only lasted two hours, and they left at once for Zeeland, where two English ships awaited them. They will have arrived by now. Their chief business is about the reconciliation with France, and Carleton, who visited me afterwards, seemed to think they might do something, as he has always affirmed the good will of his king to a just and reasonable arrangement.He said that all the difficulties would come from the French, and I think he is right, because in the present state of affairs the English can speak more mildly. He added that these ambassadors will proceed to France and even there they might do something, as his master had two excellent reasons for moving, his obligations to the Huguenots, with whom the French had not observed the treaty and had employed against the Rochellese the English and Dutch ships lent against the Spaniards, and secondly, the movement might be called Soubise's revenge. This shows their pretensions, and I do not know how they can achieve their aims by force. The French in their answer to the States bear this out, saying that if the English leave the island they will listen to negotiation. I do not think that the English will do this until they have achieved their object, the removal of the forts which restrain La Rochelle.
Carleton told me that it was not the design or wish of his sovereign to take possession of La Rochelle as it would involve him in a heavy expense without advantage. At the same time, he did not mean to renounce his ancient claims to the crown. He raved against the offices performed in France by the Bishop of Mandes and others of the queen's suite, who had supplied most of the fuel for this fire, because they had represented that the English were too enfeebled to resent any injuries. He said that Buckingham had fallen so low both at home and abroad, that nothing could be better for him than this opportunity. He assured me that a parliament would certainly meet, and the king would have money and everything else he might ask for, since the employment of the favourite will have been most helpful. Nothing excited animosity more than the sight of luxury and case with such lavish expenditure while the affairs of the faith went badly.
No replies have yet arrived to the offices made at that Court. Joachim writes that the king has arranged an audience for him, so the news must come soon. Carleton told me he had instructions to express thanks to the States for their friendly offices, and again insisted that the greatest efforts must be made in France, as they made the most difficulties about an accommodation.
Thus Carleton is ready to go any day to camp to see the prince, and the French ambassador told me that Scaglia will go with him. This will cause suspicion, as beyond a doubt they will talk of a truce or peace, to which the prince is quite inclined, although, as this is his first enterprise, he may not listen so readily.
The abbot has asked me to be cautious in writing about his negotiations to Rome, as they would not be pleased to hear that he was negotiating an accommondation between the Spaniards or between France and England, as there they encouraged the rupture as much as possible, in the interests of religion, and he wished to be mentioned as little as possible.
Reports keep coming from France of the great honours shown to the Spanish ambassadors, so that here they believe the union against the English will take place, and the States are also afraid that there may be something on foot against them as well.
The Hague, the 23rd August, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
416. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I called on the French Ambassador Marini the day after my audience of his Highness. Among other particulars he told me that the Count of Moretta took a letter for Montagu, beginning with an earnest expression of the duke's desire for peace between France and England, to achieve which he will never relax his efforts; but at the end he says he does not see how he can negotiate anything while the English stand armed on French soil. On this point Marini said that the French certainly would not listen to any negotiations before the English had been driven out or had withdrawn of their own accord. On the other hand, the Count of Verua, whom I also went to see, told me that the cardinal was so confused and bewildered that he would come to terms, with the slightest concessions for his reputation.
Marini told me he did not think Savoy could do much against Dauphiné, and the duke must dread a union between France and Spain, informing me of all the negotiations for a league. I urged the harm that France would suffer if such a league was concluded. He said that necessity knew no law; his king had no naval force and must provide as he could, even by means of his enemies. They would go to England to create a good diversion and set Buckingham's party by the ears. Yet I understood from the Count of Verua that in spite of the forty ships the English will be stronger, and are determined to fight them if they come out. Thus we see that the train is ill laid, and the two favourites, the cardinal and Buckingham, do not base their views on sound maxims of state, but impelled by their own passions they see everything go to ruin. Buckingham abandons the enterprise begun against Spain, does not consider that the war was declared and inaugurated with scant honour, forgets the wrong done to his king by the Spaniards, abandons his king's sister and brother-in-law, dissolves every good arrangement and takes up arms against France because of his quarrels with Richelieu. The cardinal, incensed and bewildered, goes about seeking a way out for the safety of the kingdom and himself; the king's illness distresses him greatly, he hears the universal outcry, he sees the lack of money and the progress of the English, he considers the confusion of the realm and tries to save himself by means of the enemies of the crown, and to avenge himself on Buckingham he abandons his friends, ruins the kingdom, loses the king's reputation and his own; and he continues this course the more the Spaniards encourage his hopes. The offices of friends of the two crowns only serve to provoke both to break out into complaints and condemnation of injuries. Thus the interests and passions of these two favourites dye red the swords of the two young kings, who allow themselves to be ruled by them, so that this is everywhere called the war of the favourites. The Spaniards alone profit by these confusions and adopt a true policy.
I understand that an English gentleman (fn. 2) who went to France to visit the king in the name of his sister, and who was thought to have brought some overtures for negotiation, has gone back at once, so that hope has vanished.
Marini told me that they have sent 20,000 crowns to Angoulême. Crichi has received a small sum and returned to Dauphiné. The Duke of Guise has come round and received the generalship of the fleet, but had fallen sick forthwith. It seemed a fatality that all the commanders chosen against the English should fall sick, first the king, then Angoulême and now Guise. Rohan was making trouble, but could effect nothing. I have heard from another quarter that Buckingham has ceased to bombard fort St. Martin, because he knows that they have no water or munitions. He had let a sick gentleman come out and hoped to have the fort in his hands very soon.
Turin, the 23rd August, 1627.
[Italian.]
Aug. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
417. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The King [of France] has seized two galeasses which were building at Marseilles for the duke, because of some fourteen galleys which his Majesty has in those parts he can only use four. The Count of Verua has remonstrated with the Ambassador Marini about this action, but Marini said he had heard nothing about it. The English merchants who used to trade at Marseilles and the neighbourhood have moved to Villafranca, as being a free port, and this has enormously increased ill feeling and suspicion.
Turin, the 23rd August, 1627.
[Italian.]
Aug. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
418. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I had audience of the duke on his return from Rivoli. Among other things he said that the Spaniards were trying to make them mistrustful of the French and the French of the Spaniards. The French thought that Prince Tomaso and the Count of Soissons were already in Dauphiné, though he had never had the slightest thought of moving against that king. The English, for their own advantage, might easily announce that his son and the count were about to go to Dauphiné, the French ministers had believed it and forthwith laid hands on the two galleys at Marseilles, while the king had forbidden ships of Provence to trade with those of Villefranche. He considered the league with the Spaniards as good as concluded; the French ambassador did not deny it.
His Highness also told me the news from France. The English had lost a trench, but recovered it at once. Buckingham had sent a barque furnished with scarlet and gold trimmings for the gentleman he allowed to leave the fort. The English had been there a month. Buckingham bitterly complained of Soubise, who had promised 10,000 combatants the moment they landed, with whom he could have done marvels, but he had not seen a single foot soldier. Marini has news that the bombardment still continues, but the duke's information is the opposite of this. Marini also hears that they hope to relieve the fort and that the king proposes to erect forts and besiege La Rochelle.
Turin, the 23rd August, 1627.
[Italian.]
Aug. 23.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
419. The English ambassador came into the Collegio and said:
Some English merchants trading in the Levant have had recourse to his Majesty for some wrong inflicted upon them in the islands of Zante and Cephalonia, and the king directed me to take under my protection these merchants or their agents whenever they came to Venice. One of these agents has recently arrived and I am bound to recommend him to the benignity and equity of your Serenity. He handed in the memorial with the papers for the delegation of the case.
After the memorial had been read the ambassador said: On the last occasion when I had the honour to be summoned hither for the reply upon what the Prince of Brandenburg as well as myself had to treat with your Serenity, I noticed some words about a desire among the well intentioned for an accommodation of the crowns, and not feeling very sure of the meaning I asked the secretary to read the reply again, and then I understood that it meant an adjustment between France and England. I will not stop to say much about this or ask whose is the blame of the rupture, because your Serenity will easily perceive that we had just cause. I will remark three things which are well known. The first reason my king had for just resentment was when Mansfeld came to Alsatia by arrangement for the common interests with a strong reinforcement of troops from England, when Schomberg sold them on the way to the Dutch for 40,000 thalers, and so Mansfeld only got 700 men out of 6,000 foot. The second act of the French, injurious not only to us but to the common cause, was when they did not fulfil the articles of the Congress of Susa, at which I took part, with Lesdiguières, Crichi and others, and when, as agreed, our ships joined them to go against Genoa, instead of going to help Savoy, when compelled to withdraw from Genoa, they took the ships to La Rochelle, and the sailors could never find the way to come to these parts and to have them it was necessary to use force. Thirdly, when my king interposed to arrange the troubles of the Huguenots in France and sent his ambassadors Holland and Carleton, after the accommodation took place, my king acting as surety, instead of subscribing it, they ratified the treaty of Monzon under the very eyes of the ambassadors. Afterwards there arose the serious disputes about the queen's attendants, two of the leading ones having formed a cabal against the king's service. Accordingly Carleton was sent to Paris and Bassompierre to England, the latter obtaining more than he had instructions to ask for. But Cardinal Richelieu, perceiving that Bassompierre would prove a good mediator to arrange all differences, left him in the lurch and the Most Christian did not confirm his arrangements. For the rest, the French have complained bitterly about the reprisals made by us on their goods. But the publication of the edicts of England was well known, when our first ships sailed, justifying the capture of all Spanish and Portuguese goods wherever taken, and the goods of our enemies when found on French ships were taken by our arms. When our men asked for the bills of lading to see to whom the goods really belonged, they threw them into the sea, a sure sign that the goods belonged not to Frenchmen, but to Spaniards. Contrary to the agreement of 400 years between France and England that the merchants should not be molested, reprisals were made upon our goods at Bordeaux and elsewhere, more than a hundred ships being seized at one stroke, while the French simultaneously helped the Spaniards.
Owing to these deceptions we permitted reprisals against the French, which may have equalled our own losses and balanced the account.
Finally, my king learned that Cardinal Richelieu, who like the rest of the government is more Spanish than French, had given a paper, signed by himself to Cardinal Spada, who recently left the French nunciature, promising that the Most Christian would join the emperor and King of Spain to drive the Protestants out of France and Europe, as the Moors were driven from Spain. Accordingly to avoid trouble at home we thought it best to carry the war into the enemy's country. Open enmity is better than insidious and covert hostility. I have said this much to show your Serenity that we have not acted without reason. My king desires to be a good brother, neighbour and friend to the Most Christian and will not avoid any opportunity for an accommodation, giving carte blanche to your Serenity or any other disinterested party, but upon two conditions, that France shall observe the treaty at the Hague with us for a defensive and offensive alliance, helping Holland, Germany and the common cause against Spain and the House of Austria; and secondly, that the Protestants of the realm shall not be persecuted, in accordance with the agreement for which my king is surety. With these two points guaranteed, but not otherwise, we may be friends, and your Serenity may rest assured that my king will always value your prudent judgment and offices.
In the absence of the doge the senior councillor, Francesco Zen, answered: Their Excellencies will deliberate upon what you have set forth and let you know the result if necessary. The ambassador remarked that he had gladly performed the office in order to exonerate his king. He asked leave to introduce a Scottish gentleman who desired to present an effort of his own composed in praise of the most serene republic. Accordingly he came and kissed Zen's robes, presenting copies of his work for his Serenity and the Collegio. Meanwhile the ambassador took leave and departed.
[Italian.]
Aug. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
420. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The new treaty between France and Holland is moving rapidly to a successful conclusion, despite the opposition of the bigots, the name given here to the Spanish party and the Jesuits. France has waived the point about the Dutch declaring themselves friends of her friends and foes of her foes and that they must not come to terms with the Catholic without her consent. France now agrees to pay to the States a million lire a year so long as the alliance lasts.
With regard to the Spanish help, the Ambassadors Mirabello and Messia have asked the cardinal for a port and a fortress to resort to in all eventualities, to which he made a very sharp reply. Many think this request was made as a way of getting out of their offers. Good Frenchmen are uneasy because Messia has not departed, although he took leave ten days ago. He says he is not well enough to travel. They think he is awaiting fresh orders from Madrid.
Paris, the 25th August, 1627.
[Italian.]
Aug. 26.
Senato,
ecreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
421. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The latest news from the island is in letters of the 19th. The greater the secrecy the more one imagines disasters. The truth is that the fort is reduced to extreme distress. They made signals of their need day and night, and Toras resolved to send help. Artagnan, a cornet of the king's musketeers, and Gioi, with a good number of the nobility of Poitou, entered two barques laden with provisions and waited for a favourable wind and a dark night. With no small danger from the constant firing of the English ships, they arrived near the island, when they fell among a large squadron of sloops which were waiting for them, and were all taken, slain and thrown into the sea, the same severity being shown to the sailors, either to frighten them against taking such risks so lightly or in revenge for the English hanged by Toras in Buckingham's sight when they first arrived at the island. Only two were saved by the compassion of one of the English captains, who took them prisoners to Buckingham. He at once released them and sent them safe to the mainland, but at the same time he had this English officer hanged at the yard-arm. It is not known whether this was for disobeying his orders, or because in saving their lives he received promises or money, or for some other shortcomings. The matter is much discussed, but no one is sure about the fault.
The cardinal has sent orders to the coast that every one must do his utmost for the defence of the realm and against the English. Sabladona, an island, has undertaken to provide the king with fifteen ships, but St. Malo has absolutely refused. Here they are expecting the ships from Holland. By the payment of several hundred thousand of these lire made at Amsterdam, they hope to see them soon unless they suffer some mischance on the way. However this may be, neither these nor others can come in time to relieve the islands or to try conclusions with the English fleet, either during its stay in France or on it return to England.
Buckingham has published a manifesto (fn. 3) setting forth the reasons which have forced the King of England to take up arms against France and his brother-in-law. This has not reached the hands of any but the ministers and those who have correspondents in Rochelle, where it was printed, although the imprint gives London. The courier promised me a copy, which I will enclose if it comes in time. I understand it is very harsh and it speaks of the wish of the English to maintain the last treaty for which they are surety, and the question of expense makes it necessary to give the matter deep consideration.
Letters have arrived to-day that the Rochellese have expelled the Catholics from the town, and forestalling the designs of the cardinal and Targoni they have occupied Coreglie strongly. There is a rumour that Toras has agreed to surrender unless the French relieve him before our Lady's feast in September.
Paris, the 26th August, 1627.
[Italian.]
Aug. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
422. To the Ambassador in England.
We send you the last exposition of his Majesty's ambassador, with our reply. You will speak in conformity. We also enclose a copy of our letters of to-day to the Ambassador Soranzo. With this information you will be the better able to serve the State. We shall be very glad to know if this present office of the ambassador was by express command of his king, as we must judge of it according to its origin and bear ourselves accordingly. You can easily manage this, especially by using the advices about a league between Spain and France. We have received yours of the 30th and commend your diligence and capacity.
Ayes, 186.Noes, 0.Neutral, 6.
[Italian.]
Aug. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
423. That the English ambassador be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him:
We highly appreciated the confidence shown by your last office and we thank you warmly. We are glad to learn that the king aims as much at peace with France as at increasing his personal glory and advantage by arms. We will gladly do all in our power to bring about a reconciliation between two such great kings. Your Excellency knows our sincerity and good will, and you will inform his Majesty.
With regard to the memorial of the merchants whom you recommend to us, everything that reason and justice allow shall be done, as we are always desirous to satisfy your Excellency and your countrymen, for whom we have so much affection.
Ayes, 186.Noes, 0.Neutral, 6.
[Italian.]
Aug. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
424. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The messenger I sent to France crossed the channel with some difficulty, as here they are forbidden all intercourse with France. I therefore send this by Holland, whence I received your Serenity's letters of the 16th July. I believe the postmasters here and at Antwerp think of opening a passage, if not through some of the Spanish towns, at least by the coast of Flanders, so as not to lose their profits. Already in this way I have received the despatch from Venice of the 31st July. I observe that the officials of the king and Infanta will connive at this. If the Dutch blockade does not prevent it these first overtures may be followed by greater ones, the prisoners exchanged for the friars having lately returned from Dunkirk and some others are to be brought back reciprocally in like manner. It all serves to keep up these negotiations. Of this I have great suspicion, as the Earl of Holland and others of the ministry, well known as on the right side at present, following the Court and perhaps from necessity, now talk to me blandly about the good treatment used by the Spaniards, the favours received by the English in their territories, although declared enemies, and the very free passage allowed them by the Infanta, so I consider these circumstances are not devoid of mystery.
Since the first successes at the Isle of Rhé the English have captured some earthworks thrown up by the defenders, cutting off their water and destroying some mills. But altogether this does not hasten the final result, as the fortress is found to be better provided than was supposed, and the garrison consists of the most experienced veterans in the French army. The Court proclaim that they have captured a man sent by Toiras to murder Buckingham, who, enraged at this, determined to straiten the besieged to the utmost, though this is not generally credited, the resolve being attributed to necessity rather than passion, as with the winter season approaching, besides the danger of storms to the fleet, the long and dark nights may enable the besieged to receive supplies by small boats. They have done this already, the English having seized three boats conveying troops and stores to the Isle of Oléron. In any case the suspended reinforcement is now being mustered and they say that 2,000 Irish, 2,000 Scots and 3,000 English will leave in three weeks. I will give them double, as they require much money and have none at all. The Earl of Holland will command, the king's second favourite and much in the duke's confidence, this voyage being gladly undertaken by him in order to acquaint Buckingham with all that has happened since his absence and perhaps with a view to remaining in command of the army after getting possession of the islands, so that the duke may take a trip over here, as after the capture of Rhé they mean to attempt Oléron, which is also very important on account of its salt pans, and both islands are very convenient as they command the mouths both of the Garonne and the Loire, the chief rivers of France, enabling their possessors to take toll sufficient to pay the cost of the garrison and fleet with something over, indeed, some say that already certain Dutch ships which went to lade salt evaded a duty claimed by the English, by main force and flight.
Bichier, secretary of the Council of State, who left with the duke, has returned from La Rochelle. He said in the assembly that the Rochellese having frequently complained through their agents here that the promises of the Most Christian under England's guarantee had not been kept, his Majesty sent the fleet to those parts, whether they were satisfied with the Most Christian or not. If they were, the King of England declared himself henceforth released from any obligation and he would not trouble them any further. If not, the forces were for the maintenance of the promises and therefore they should assist him openly, their own interests being concerned. This was a neat device to corner them, but they merely replied that they would take time to think about it. As both French and English now aim at making La Rochelle, which still remains neutral, lean in their favour, the French urge them with the fear of the land forces, near at hand, the English, by setting forth the interests of the place and by blandishments to the inhabitants, having issued a decree that all may trade and bring provisions into that town and the islands, as according to ancient claims they belong to the English crown, hoping thus to ease the king of the cost and trouble of providing victuals and to attract the Rochellese by hope of profit, although in their own interests they must remain united with England, for the sake of being included in the treaties. It is true that the said decree was buried at it birth and interdicted, some thinking it inadvisable to publish it until the islands were taken and that the government ought not to pledge itself by a private act, as on coming to negotiations they will have to give way and relinquish the dominion. It suffices that the fact be generally known, and they will take full advantage of it, if it will serve, even without a decree.
The king has written to his wife, who is at the baths, expressing his regret at having to embark in a war with his brother-in-law, solely for the honour of himself and the nation, which the French have slandered. The queen replied, expressing equal regret, but said frankly that she wished him all success, being more interested for him than for anyone else.
The Dutch ambassador also lately presented letters from his masters and proposed negotiations at the Hague. The king replied that when France makes overtures he will prove his good will to the world and how much he desires peace. Indeed, he has taken a high tone, or did I deceive myself in what I wrote, as after referring himself to Savoy his Majesty can scarcely accept any other mediator. However, the ambassador informs me through the Secretary Agostini, who has returned from Court, that he finds the ministers inclined to peace, which can no longer be thought of should the present opportunity escape, neither side having any decided advantage. I note that these two nations, naturally hostile to each other, encouraged by two kings in the ardour of youth, seconded by two favourites full of hatred and passion, become more and more exasperated and, unless the necessities of both sides and want of money extinguish the fire violently, I suspect it will burn Europe for many a day.
The Abbot Scaglia has not yet arrived; every one expects him and the ministry here having recalled their ships request the Dutch ambassador to obtain a passage for him from his masters. I fancy he has remained in those parts to thwart all negotiations save the arbitration of the duke, his master.
The Council sat in his Majesty's presence as reported. They decided upon the succour mentioned; they proposed to declare war openly and publish the manifest to that effect, but this will depend upon the capture of the islands, it seeming improper to anticipate it by similar declarations. They resolved to press those who refuse to contribute to the subsidies, as the quickest way to find money for the urgent need. Some few have paid, many obstinate persons have gone to prison. Someone ventured to say that without a parliament they could not obtain adequate funds, but the duke's partisans tabooed this as dishonourable to the king. The same partisans proposed a public thanksgiving in all the churches for the auspicious landing at the Isle of Rhé. All the members did not approve of this as being premature and unbecoming with the king's brother-in-law concerned, but flatterers who want to propitiate the favourite are not so squeamish.
There was talk of sending the Earl of Carlisle into Lorraine to encourage the French malcontents there and the dependants of that family, so as to be near Savoy in case France also refers the peace to the duke's arbitration, to aid the Palatine's negotiations transacted by Lorraine and to cause suspicion to the French and perhaps to all the princes on the Brussels route. On this matter, although it seems very strange for an ambassador of rank to ask passage as a favour through the territory of an open enemy, they excuse it on the plea of necessity, saying that the French route is completely closed and the prohibition is more difficult to overcome. This measure also remains suspended, first by reason of a large supply of money, that noblemen being used to extravagant expenditure and not having any private credit whatever, and also because I fancy they would fain advance the negotiations so as to include Denmark, the United Provinces, the Palatine and others of that party, so as to form a general compromise with the Austrians. I believe, however, that although this obeisance is very advantageous for them, yet they act with reserve and give nothing but words, perhaps less now than before, so as to profit both by arms and negotiation.
Since the return to the Hague of Rusdorff, the Palatine's agent, who had been in Lorraine and will perhaps go to Denmark, Carleton wrote of the arrival of some Danish envoys, who, I now hear, are on board their ships at Gravesend. I shall keep on the watch, as present circumstances require and so far as is possible away from Court, from which I alone am absent of all the ambassadors.
Strozzi, the ambassador from Mantua, has arrived with a retinue of only seven persons. He lodges at an inn, is not boarded and receives no present, for they assume that the example afforded last year in the case of Bassompierre will henceforward relieve the king of such costs. He also has gone into the country to pay his compliments to their Majesties, and will make a tour of eight or ten days at the least.
London, the 27th August, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
425. To the Ambassador in France.
We enclose the last exposition of the English ambassador, our reply and our letters to the Ambassadors Contarini and Soranzo. This will show you our views so that you may act in accordance with them. You can tell the confidential ministers what has happened and express the desire of the republic that all occasions for quarrels may be removed and France reconciled with England. It is superfluous for us to repeat the main lines of our instructions, and your own abilities will supply the details.
Ayes, 123.Noes, 0.Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
Aug. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
426. ANZOLO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Ambassador Bethune told me that the English were fortifying in the island of Rhé, but the king's forts were well supplied and garrisoned and his Majesty had sent for some 20 ships built in Holland, which would prove useful to relieve the island or at least save the forts. It was rumoured that the Duke of Savoy was interested with the King of Great Britain in this affair, but Bethune could hardly believe this as there was nothing to make the duke the enemy of France, from which he might expect great benefit and great hurt, while England could not serve him at all. Despite the rumour that a good number of English had arrived at Nice, this was absurd, as England himself needed them at this crisis; even if it were true they would have to return hastily for lack of money to support them, England being very short of gold, and certainly the Duke of Savoy could not support them.
In reply I expressed the desire of the republic to see better relations between the crowns of France and England.
Rome, the 28th August, 1627.
[Italian.]
Aug. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
427. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Marquis of Rambouillet has been to call here. I asked him about the English fleet. He hesitated a moment and then said he did not understand how the English could come to such a decision, so contrary to all their interests and which nothing could excuse. Buckingham might possibly be responsible for it in order to maintain his credit and keep up his present fortune and influence. He added: I cannot believe otherwise; it is against reason that they should persist in this humour, upsetting every one else, turning things upside down and spoiling every good design. France had got things into good train: by a slight support to the Duke of Savoy they compelled the Spaniards to keep armed at Milan and Genoa; the present movement of the States, to which France contributed so much, distracted their wits; if England had contributed the smallest thing, the Spaniards would have been constrained to surrender the Palatinate at the least. These follies of the English spoiled all their opportunities. I interrupted here, saying that they talked at Court of a league between the two crowns. He said: No, but if the English go on we shall be compelled to do it in earnest.
I said that the republic deeply regretted these disputes, and because of the harm done to the public cause, she hoped that good relations would be re-established. He replied: I believe that the republic will not fail to pass its good offices; unless Buckingham is moved by his private interests to preserve himself; it is an ugly game. I asked if they were sending ships from here to help France. He said they had been promised and orders issued for their equipment.
In all his conversation his Excellency displayed great zeal for the public welfare. The grandees here ask when he is going and complain of the expense. The Duchess of Sessa, whom I visited some days ago, told me that the French do not trust their ordinary ambassador and are replacing him; but the extraordinary will not move until they see what the English fleet does. If the English irritate the French any more, they may easily unite with this country, whereby the French will certainly profit. The French need them, and it is more necessary than ever now in the langour and weakness of this monarchy. I am persuaded that the difficulties of this crown have never been greater than at the present time. The present government has the esteem of no one; internal disorders are great, the people discontented and the king unpopular ... In this state of affairs they rejoice at the rupture between France and England. They are looking after themselves, and one sees no sign of any desire to send their ships from Biscay or the Portuguese coast leaving their own kingdoms exposed, at which the English could easily strike. It is thought that they will encourage the hopes of the French but not give them any help against England, using their ships also to secure the arrival of the fleet, which is expected next October.
Madrid, the 28th August, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
428. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Carleton went to the army on Wednesday. What business he takes is not announced. Some say it is to bring about a union with Spain before the one with France takes place, and I hear that he had some commissions from England about the intervention of the States and has gone to communicate it to the prince, with whom are the deputies appointed for his affairs when he arrived here. He told me, indeed, that he had instructions on this business, but did not unbosom himself further. Joachim has not yet sent anything.
The news of the declaration of La Rochelle in favour of the English augments the fear of some precipitate decision, seeing the intrigues of Father Berulle and Marsigliach with the Spanish ambassadors, while the Dutch ambassador is treated somewhat harshly. Here they are dissatisfied with France, but I do not think they will do anything to compromise their neutrality unless they are compelled.Langerach told the cardinal as much when he stated that if France joined with the Spaniards the States would continue to prosecute their designs, though some hopes of renewing the alliance still live.
Langerach writes that the Count of Moretta, whom the duke is sending to France, has already left Turin. It is thought that he may come here and go on to England, taking up the intervention business instead of Scaglia. When I sounded the abbot he told me that the count was going to France with condolences on the death of the Duchess of Orleans. He said the count would not come here, but he expected the Secretary Barozzio, on his way to England, and Montagu on his way back, or some extraordinary despatch from the duke. I am told that his Highness has sent a courier to Spain to obtain powers to negotiate an accommodation with England and the Dutch. There is also some whisper from England of the Earl of Carlisle going to Spain to forestall the accord with the French. Those who weigh these interests consider that the Spaniards will come to terms with England and the States more readily than they will join with France, as they cannot expect any help from France, while they must always fear that naval forces, especially those of the English and Dutch, will inflict constant damage on their interests.
The Hague, the 30th August, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
429. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The league between the two crowns negotiated by Albuquerque at Genoa is announced as practically concluded. The Count of Verua thought it impossible and remarked to me that the eagle might tear the lilies with it claws. I do not know if the news is true or if it has been sent to stay the movements of his Highness, about which the French are very suspicious. The headstrong character of the cardinal, the English arms which deeply wound the honour of France, the king's having no naval force are all considerations which make the worst credible; but the giving of money to Denmark, the help to the States and other enemies of the House of Austria, and the fear that this union might induce the Dutch fleet to join the English, while the Most Christian has no need of land forces are things which puzzle the finest intellects, who do not understand the cardinal's cabalistic policy. All the French at this Court are unanimously of opinion that a strong party will be formed in favour of the English, fomented and assisted by all the princes hostile to the House of Austria if this league is concluded, so that great upheavals must ensue in France and ruin will descend upon the kingdom, that being the aim of all the actions of the Spaniards. Those who know France say that if the king besieges La Rochelle all the Huguenots will arm, as they know full well that if that place falls, which alone provides an opening for foreign help, they will lose all the rest in a few months; and so they will do everything in their power to keep it free.
We hear that fort St. Martin is being battered by the English, who hope to take it soon, as there is a great scarcity of food and munitions. Some have been introduced into the fort of la Prea, but the English do not mind this, as it cannot hold out when the other falls. The English have cruelly cut to pieces some gentlemen who tried to relieve the fort, declaring that they will wage good war on land but not at sea, unless the French give way to superior force. They say the Duke of Guise has gone to Nantes to command a fleet, which is invisible as yet, but they have sent a good sum of money to the Hague for the speedy completion of the ships building for his Majesty in that country.
Turin, the 30th August, 1627.
[Italian.]
Aug. 30.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
430. The English ambassador came into the Collegio and after the deliberation of the Senate of the 27th inst. had been read to him, he said:
I thank you for taking my last office in good part, which I performed in justification of my king. His Majesty will be most gratified to learn the feeling and friendship of the republic, and I will faithfully report all. That I may do this the better I ask your Serenity to allow the office to be read to me again.
The doge replied: The republic greatly desires the glory and welfare of his Majesty with a reunion with France, from the affection and esteem which she bears for both crowns, as it is clear that the advantage of these two great kings and the good of all Christendom may result. We all feel sure that his Majesty will allow an opening for concord and peace, and for this end we shall always sincerely adopt such a course as seems opportune. At this the ambassador again expressed his thanks and said he would inform his Majesty, and so took leave and departed. In taking notes he remarked to me, the secretary, that he heard a courier had arrived from France, and the ambassador was to come to the Collegio to ask for leave, his goods having been sent on already.
VALERIO ANTELMI, secretary.
[Italian.]
Aug. 31.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
431. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Yesterday a gentleman came to say that the duke wished to speak with me. I went to the castle and as soon as Marini came out I was introduced to his Highness. He said: The French ambassador believes that Montagu has arrived, but he has not really, and I fear some harm has befallen him, imprisonment or something. The French would like him to come here in the the hope that he would bring some negotiations for peace, on the other hand they do not like it because they are afraid of some agreement with the Count of Soissons and my son, Tomaso. The ambassador demanded first of all the withdrawal of the English forces from France, but I do not know what we can do. I hear that the English are sending strong reinforcements to Buckingham, many English, 2,000 Scots, 4,000 Irish, making 8,000 or 9,000 foot in all. Fort St. Martin is in great danger, so I think the time has passed for urging the English to withdraw. They have written to the ambassador that the king is very well supplied with everything and he will certainly relieve the fort; but the letters are old. We have later ones of the 23rd, so that the ambassador has come to us to learn news of France, which sometimes is the exact opposite of his own. His Highness went on to tell me the news, which is the same as I reported in my last.
On the duke's table were plans of the Isle of Ré, La Rochelle and the neighbourhood as well as of Grol. He considered the fort of Ré feeble and called it a closed trench, like those made in campaigns. He does not think St. Martin very strong either. He said the points of the bastions were so sharp and confined that there would be no room to move. He showed me two doors which I feel sure are tenailles leading out between the bastions, which he considered good and safe, but added: If they have no water and are short of everything, as reported, they will not be able to hold out.
He put his finger on the place where he thought the king would build the fort to command the channel to La Rochelle. He went on to speak of the union between the two crowns. He said he heard they were moving rapidly towards its conclusion, only it seemed hard to the French to abandon all the old friends of the crown and make a defensive and offensive alliance against any one soever, clauses upon which the Spaniards insist. By this means, with but little fuel, the Spaniards would keep blazing the fire which would consume England and burn France, and under the show of friendship would wage a cruel war. Yet he felt sure the league would be made. They gave money to Denmark so that he should make peace with the emperor. The French were treating for a renewal of this league with the Dutch by Buglion and Preo, the most double-faced and deceitful men in France. They kept this up until the ships building for his Majesty were out of the republic's hands, as the Spaniards would not join the king's ships unless they had twenty-five ready. The Dutch will then be abandoned and the league with the Spaniards announced. That could not last, and those interested must keep on the watch.
While I was still at audience a messenger arrived with the news that Montagu was near at hand. The Count of Verua went to meet him with a coach of the duke and his own, and took him to his house. He has not the title of ambassador, but comes with great authority and very ample commissions. He will not be so retired and incognito as last time, so I will send to pay him my respects to-day. I will try to find out everything possible about his negotiations.
Turin, the last of August, 1627.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Christian Thomassen of Tanderup and George Brahe of Huedholm. Their letters of credence are dated the 21st July. S.P. Foreign, Denmark.
2 Henry Jermyn.
3 Printed in the Mercure Français et Richer, vol. xiij. page 809.