Venice
September 1627, 11-15

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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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365-380

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'Venice: September 1627, 11-15', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 20: 1626-1628 (1914), pp. 365-380. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89130 Date accessed: 22 August 2014.


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September 1627

Sept. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
456. To the Secretary in Savoy.
Our desire for a reconciliation between France and England was always an inseparable part of our zeal for the public cause. You will assure Marini and Montagu of this, pointing out the advantages of union and the perils of the quarrel. You will tell Marini that the republic deeply regrets the rumours of her partiality, as she is neutral and equally esteems both monarchs.
You will try cautiously to find out about the progress of Montagu's idea to transfer trade from Leghorn to Villefranche, so as to encourage it when you have an opportunity, always provided that you find success is probable.
Ayes, 95.Noes, 0.Neutral, 13.
[Italian.]
Sept. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
457. To the Ambassador in France.
Enclose copy of conversations between secretary at Turin and Marini and Montagu. Regret report of partiality to England; to deny this in audience of the king, insisting on the advantages of a reconciliation.
Ayes, 95.Noes, 0.Neutral, 13.
[Italian.]
Sept. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
458. ANZOLO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Every one here is speaking of the league said to be in negotiation between the two crowns. I will give your Serenity several particulars so that you may form your own judgment on a matter upon which I have no solid foundation. These negotiations for a union between the Most Christian and the Catholic originated four years ago while the Nuncio Massimi was in Spain. Out of zeal for religion or something else he encouraged the idea in the ministry of the time, who lent a willing ear, because they hoped to divert the French from the Valtelline. The terms were that the Spaniards should not claim actual help in men, money or anything else from France, only that she should give up her contributions to the Dutch, withdraw from the league and not supply the slightest help to any Protestant prince. The Spaniards on the other hand promised ships, men and every other favour against the Huguenots, and once they were expelled from the realm, his Majesty could call himself the real master of his dominions. The French would not accept the proposals, especially as they had recently concluded a league with the republic and the Most Christian could not in honour embrace a league so utterly opposed to it.
Upon the settlement of the Valtelline affair, and the conclusion of the marriage with England, which was hardly consummated before quarrels broke out between the two kings, Cardinal Richelieu finding himself discredited with all Frenchmen as the author of so many ills, and in very bad odour with England, the republic and the Duke of Savoy, and desiring support for his vast ambition and his personal safety, studied to win the favour of the Court of Rome by taking up their plan of hastening the policy of a settlement in the Valtelline. Not content with this, he desired to conciliate the Spaniards by sending to their Court as ambassador extraordinary the Marquis of Rambouillet, a man entirely devoted to Spanish interest, with orders to revive the negotiations for that league. He also took advantage of the English force which landed at Cadiz last year. The matters did not proceed smoothly, as the English force departed without having effected anything of importance and so the Spaniards had no further need of foreign assistance. Thus when Cardinal Barberino, when recently in Spain, made a similar proposal to the Count of Olivares about a union of the two crowns against the heretics, directed also against any prince who might disturb the peace of Italy, meaning the Duke of Savoy, Olivares replied that such a union could not possibly bring about the result desired as the nations differed too much in character and interests. Just as the Spaniards seemed to listen to M. de Massimi's suggestion of a league with France because they were anxious about the league for the Valtelline, and also listened to M. de Rambouillet when they were fearful about the English force, but would not do any more when the cause for anxiety had disappeared, so they may have renewed the overtures to France because of the Prince of Orange's move against Grol, seizing the opportunity of the English landing in the island of Rhé, just as similar emergencies had induced the French to listen to such proposals. Two conclusions arise from these facts, first this idea of a league is an old one, frequently revived to serve Spanish interests, lull France, win credit and alarm other powers; second, that Don Diego Messia really went to France to revive it again and actually spoke to the king and ministers about it.
When the ambassador of Savoy at his last audience spoke to the pope of the rumours of a league between the two crowns, his Holiness said: Do not believe it, their interests are too incompatible; such a union is impossible; we do not believe it. This reply shows the difficulty of such a union, but not that it has not been in negotiation. When another important personage asked the pope about this league, he said: What league ? the two kings cannot agree together, and if they did they would very soon try to deceive each other and break faith; lucky the one who did it first; we must not believe these things.
On the other hand, an important person of influence assures me he has read letters from M. de Bagni, nuncio in France, reporting that the French incline strongly to Messia's negotiations and Cardinal Richelieu would like the union, he being most acceptable to the Spaniards, but the letters had nothing about any invitation for the pope to enter the league.
When I met the French ambassador he told me spontaneously that he had letters from France of the 27th ult. reporting that the Most Christian had renewed his alliance with the Dutch, over which a quarrel had arisen between Richelieu and the Dutch Ambassador Langerach, now pacified by this renewal. Bethune remarked that this showed how far his king was from thinking of a league with the Spaniards. He said the rumours had led him to write very frankly to the king. I cannot say whether his communication, made without provocation, arises from real confidence or artifice to give me a false impression, but I incline to take a favourable view.
Rome, the 11th September, 1627.
[Italian.]
Sept. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
459. ANZOLO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Of the affairs of France and Flanders Bethune told me that Grol might fall at any moment. Messia had left France without saying a word about Genoa and Savoy, to the amazement of the ministers. He had gone in haste to Flanders. It was understood that he had orders to arrange an accommodation between his king and England. In the Isle of Rhé the French were afraid of losing, as help had been delayed by misfortune at sea. The ambassador of the States had orders to try to adjust matters. The king's brother was going to the army as general. The Rochellese were the cause of all the mischief. The king was building forts to overawe them and as a defence against the enemy. Once the Rochellese were beaten there would be no power against the Most Christian. They had always shown themselves the friends of the king's enemies and prevented him from attending to affairs abroad. I noted this remarkable outbreak against the Huguenots at a time when everybody is speaking of a league of the Most Christian with the Spaniards against heretics.
Rome, the 11th September, 1627.
[Italian.]
Sept. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
460. ANZOLO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have this moment received the enclosed advices about the league between the French and Spaniards, but if it is true that the Most Christian has renewed the league with the Dutch, all these machinations will fall to the ground. It is conceivable that the French have done this to prevent Holland helping the King of England on this occasion.
Rome, the 11th September, 1627.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.461. Some drafts of the league against England have appeared, providing that the French shall cease helping the Dutch and withdraw their men from Holland on the plea of requiring them for this war, and that if the Dutch move to help the English in any way soever the French shall never help them again. That the enterprise of Ireland shall pertain to the Spaniards. The pope refused to enter the league, saying that popes cannot enter leagues against heretics, thereby giving them a pretext to unite in defence of their faith. Spada seems to have given the Most Christian some hint that he wished to use his offices, but the pope cannot give great assistance without imposing fresh tenths on the clergy.
[Italian.]
Sept. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
462. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Scaglia still speaks of crossing to England in a few days. He told me he had written to England for a ship to take him, as he would rather go on an English ship than avail himself of a Dutch one.
The French ambassador paid me a long visit yesterday. He thinks the affairs of the crown are in a bad way; he considers the islands lost, though he does not accept the reports here that the English have already taken possession. He professes to believe that the matter will be terminated by a treaty, recognising what the English claim. He said they would have to take back all they had done for the last two years; they had offended every one; and they must join forces against the common enemy. He seemed to think that the adjustment would be managed here, as it cannot be done in France or England. The Prince of Orange urged it strongly, hoping it would serve his own interests. France might send the Marshal di Trie, especially if England reciprocated. He seemed to think that Buckingham might come here to arrange all these particulars. He spoke as if of himself, but I know that a courier reached him two days ago. He said that Scaglia, supported by his master and favoured by Buckingham, would have to go to England. He spoke highly of the abbot and said that the evil opinions formed about him were groundless. From the moment of his coming he had shown great zeal in the matter, and he had ability and experience. He did not altogether believe the reports about secret intrigues.
Carleton has returned from the army. It is announced that he has arranged with the prince the instructions which are to be given to Rusdorf, who is to leave in a day or two for Mulhausen. I do not place implicit faith in this announcement, though I have also heard that Carleton drew up the instructions in the interests of the Palatine, and so he may have inserted some particulars for the States also. Since his return he has been to audience in the Assembly. I hear that he communicated these instructions in order to have the opinion of the States on the point touching their interests.
Joachim has sent the copy of a letter given to him in reply to the offices of the States. They told him that Carleton would present the original in the Assembly. I understand that he passed no office about this, and the States, in astonishment, wished to know if he really had received this despatch. He replied that he knew nothing of it. This has made the States suspect that they are not being treated with sincerity, and they propose to make more energetic offices a few days hence, possibly by sending ambassadors to the two crowns. One of the ministers said to me that the continuance of this quarrel was incompatible with the welfare of this state. The help of the two kings was so necessary to them that ruin will stare them in the face if they do not find an adjustment. The Assembly of Holland has met and they will try to find some way of checking the career of these hostilities, especially as the French ambassador has told them of the good will of his country.
The proposal to renew the alliance is confirmed, but the French want the States to promise to help them against all who attack the crown, and that is considered impossible. They are therefore trying here to bring about a reconciliation, as when that is settled these difficulties will vanish.
The Hague, the 13th September, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept.13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
463. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The States have pressed for assistance from your Serenity; they get little from their friends and allies, who are busy injuring each other.They spoke at length of the rupture between France and England and foresee their destruction if this continues. They can expect nothing from them for the present and therefore appeal to your Serenity.
Scaglia has just been to see me and says that the courier has brought him letters of credence for the States. He does not know if he will present them as he has to go to England soon. He said the time was coming to negotiate an adjustment. Buckingham will soon return to England, and I think Scaglia will wait for that before crossing, as he can do nothing without the duke. He said he had no doubt the French would listen to reason.
The Hague, the 13th September, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
464. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
A courier from France brought the duke letters of the 30th ult. The Count of Verua sent to inform me that they did not confirm the surrender of fort St. Martin, though it seemed impossible to relieve it.
The count informed me later that the demand of the Spaniards for a port and a fort for their ships had so incensed the cardinal that he had arranged the league with the Dutch the very next day. Yet they wrote that the help from Spain would be ready by the 20th, so he did not know how to unravel this intrigue.
The count also told me that the Huguenots were arming and we should see a revolt; but the French ambassador told me that they were asking for money, and Buckingham did not know how to find any to give them. The Most Christian would soon join his army and then things would go differently. He confirmed the league with the States and said that the twenty ships from Spain would be ready soon and would create a useful diversion. If the king loses the isles of Ré it will not matter much, as they have been in the hands of the Huguenots for many years. In return he will ruin La Rochelle, after which he can easily recover the islands. He declares more than ever that they will listen to no proposals for an agreement before the English leave France. The cardinal told the Count of Moretta as much, when he showed the letters for Montagu, though I understand from the Count of Verua that the cardinal has undertaken personally to speak about it to the king.
Turin, the 13th September, 1627.
[Italian.]
Sept. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
465. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
At audience of the duke I impressed upon him that the true remedy for removing the troubles and provide against the imminent dangers was an accommodation between France and England. I spoke of the glory he would win by success in this. I spoke of the good offices of your Serenity to the same end. The present state of affairs greatly helped my office and the news from France, the renewal of the league with the States and the Spanish demands. He admitted that the reconciliation of the two kings was the true specific. He seemed much distressed at the illness of Montagu, who is in bed with fever and dysentery, not without peril to his life. He said that Montagu, though young, was very able and both easy (facile) and well intentioned, and negotiating with him one could hope for every good from England, chiefly because he had Buckingham's wishes in his hands; but if some other Englishman was sent here, more reserved and hard, things certainly would not go so well. He said he had caused Montagu great alarm if the English did not take the fort, because of the loss of reputation. If they took it and carried on war alone against France and Spain they would involve themselves in great difficulties. Montagu assured him that the Huguenots would act vigorously. The duke endeavoured in this way to induce England to withdraw, and Montagu had sent a courier on the subject.
On the other hand, the duke had pointed out to the French ambassador the danger to France in the hope of bringing the French to reason. He told me that the English require the demolition of fort St. Louis, as promised. He did not think the French would refuse this and seemed hopeful of a happy conclusion to the matter, believing that fear would bring the cardinal to terms. He remarked that fear alone had influence with him. He said the Count of Moretta had shown the letters written to Montagu, and he expected Montagu to speak in conformity. He did not tell me the replies made by the cardinal, of which the French ambassador informed me, namely that they would not listen to any overtures while the English flag was planted on French soil.
Turin, the 13th September, 1627.
[Italian.]
Sept. 15.
Senato,
Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
466. Whereas our decision of the 5th August last year does not fully express the intention of the State about western ships which come to this city and go to take cargoes in our islands of the Levant,
Be it resolved, that western ships that take cargoes at any place soever in the west cannot go to lade currants in our islands of Zante and Cephalonia, unless they come to this city or to the ports of those islands with their entire cargoes from the west, and the masters of the ships, on arriving here or at the islands, shall present their official books of lading in the usual way.
Be it resolved, that the three ships, Prudence, Talbot and Sapphire, come from the west to this city with a good part of their cargo, be permitted to go and lade currants at Zante and Cephalonia under the usual regulations and according to the laws.
Ayes, 124.Noes, 3.Neutral, 12.
[Italian.]
Sept. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
467. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Lords of the Council sent me the enclosed papers by one of their secretaries. One contains a decree issued by Sir Thomas Roe, ambassador at Constantinople, prohibiting all English mariners from loading merchandise belonging to foreigners unless they bind themselves to pay a contribution to the English consuls in the Levant. He bases it on something that happened on the part of the bailo, who stopped the unloading of a ship at Constantinople by virtue of orders from the Five Savii alla Mercantia in September, 1626. I wish I could have seen this.
The other paper is a letter from Roe asking for the king's approval of this decree and disparaging not a little the very fair and just proceedings of the most serene republic. As the Lords of the Council gave me to understand that I might reply, I thought fit to see the Secretary Coke, the president and other Lords of the Council, urging the postponement of any decision until I received instructions, as after searching diligently among the papers of my predecessors I do not find anything to enlighten me; nor could I get at the bottom of the matter without knowing the reasons of the last decree, promulgated since I arrived here, which is the basis of all these innovations. To obtain vantage ground for myself in the negotiation, I let drop that Sir Thomas Roe's decree being a novelty, it could not fail to generate some alteration in the trade which benefits all sovereigns as since so many years matters had gone on regularly without this innovation. I added, it was evident from Roe's own letters that this was a mere private affair with a view to the profits the ambassadors at Constantinople and the consuls expected, and the Lords of the Council of their prudence ought not to let it compete with the general interests of trade. I assured them that the decree of your Excellencies would not prove new but based on ancient custom, on privileges or other rights, which the ambassador has not thoroughly apprehended, from what I saw of the letter. I said this to refute certain portions of the letters and because they told me that Roe's decree was not a novelty, but induced by the necessity of countering the Venetian one, which the English consider prejudicial, and to confirm to the consulates the rights they have always enjoyed.
The ministers replied that the decree concerned all nations in general without mentioning the Venetians in particular, and it merely gave orders to his Majesty's subjects, about which no other power could complain. Being without instructions I answered briefly that although sovereigns might do what they pleased with their states and subjects, yet many things were sometimes inexpedient, because of evil consequences to friends. Two days later the Council sent me word that Roe's decree was merely a confirmation of ancient possession, whereas that of your Excellencies was innovation, and so forth, as other lords had already remarked to me aside, and the papers sent me were merely a mark of courtesy. This made me suspicious, as otherwise the step was unnecessary and I thought fit to repeat that I was not now disputing the merits of the case, as I had no information about it and no instructions. I asked for another reply, so that the approval of the decree might be delayed. This was promised, and if in time I will enclose it.
I have discoverd that many are inclined to approve of Roe's decree and to desire Wake to acquaint your Excellencies with it, so as to gain time. Others think nothing should be written until after hearing their friends' reasons. In general all approve what Roe has done, and from what I hear covertly they are determined to confirm it, the Levant Company especially urging this, suspecting that silence and delay alike may prevent the execution of the decree. I may add that the company favours it because as the ambassador at Constantinople and consuls in the Levant are maintained at their cost, they have the right to nominate them, the king giving his approval. They are usually members of the company, as in Roe's case, and now in order to defray these officials without cost they strongly press the matter, after the fashion of merchants who never have any regard for friends or anything else where profit is concerned. It is true there is some dispute in the body of the company itself about this affair, because some few of them, who are ship owners, foreseeing that they will lose a good part of their freights, do not approve of it, preferring their own private profit to that of the community. But by far the greater number, over 300, insist on the confirmation of the decree, and I understand they themselves presented Roe's letters and papers. He declares the matter no less private than public. These persons will oppose the arguments of your Excellencies and it will be difficult for me to obtain impartial information, the merchants being interested parties. Should it be decided to follow the matter up, I await everything from the prudence of the State, who being in possession of some advantage must make practical use of it, there being nothing to hope from the corrupt awards of the Admiralty Court, as the Dutch and other nations have found out to their cost, especially where money is concerned, that being assuredly the sole tyrant of these northern regions.
London, the 15th September, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in
the preceding
despatch.
468. Letter of Sir Thomas Roe to the Lords of the Council. (fn. 1)
Enclosed in
the preceding
despatch.
469. Declaration of the English ambassador at Constantinople about the right of consulage on the goods of aliens laded on English ships for conveyance from one port to another in the Ottoman dominions. (fn. 2)
Constantinople, the 14th April, 1627.
On the dorse: copy of the declaration sent to Sir [Isaac] Wake at Venice touching the consulage on foreign goods.
[Italian; translated from the English.]
Sept. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
470. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Three days after their entry the Danish ambassadors had their first audience of the king, 40 miles hence. On the same day they pressed for their private audience, which was granted. They expatiated on the perils of Germany, especially those of their master, as well as the very important consequences to Christendom. They confined themselves to saying that for the sake of his uncle and his interests the king should negotiate a peace with France, just as he undertook a war for the sake of the English, at the risk of his dominions, his honour and his life. The king replied alleging the affronts received from the French and his duty to avenge them. He did not wish for war with his brother-in-law provided the promises made to the Huguenots under his mediation were observed, an allusion to the published manifesto. He assured them that these hostilities did not deprive him of the means of helping the King of Denmark, whose interests he had much at heart, but he believes his kinsman will not compel him to forget his own honour, as with that safe he desires peace. He ended by saying they should receive more ample information from one of the secretaries. The ambassadors rejoined that they appreciated his Majesty's reasons, but their instructions related to a remedy for the future and to stopping the tide of distrust, as the whole of Germany was in flames. They added that if his Majesty continued the war with two of the greatest kings in Christendom, no hope remained of adequate help for their master, as provided by the league, which besides ordinary quotas binds the confederates to employ all their forces when any one of them is assailed in their own territory, as is now the case with Denmark. Should this be overcome the present war prevents French help, which, though feeble, caused uneasiness because of what they might do. They had some hopes, as 3,000 men were about to embark, but these are now countermanded because of recent events.
The next day they were accompanied to audience of the queen by the Earl of Dorset, a creature of the duke, who told them openly that until Buckingham's return the king would not move a step in the business. I had this confirmed from another quarter and indeed I hear that some of his dependants, foreseeing that the capture of the fort may be deferred longer than supposed, would gladly use this opportunity for the king to fetch him back on the arrival of the Earl of Holland at the islands. I fancy the ambassadors themselves second the idea, suspecting that they will obtain nothing without the duke, but I think him too far committed and piqued against the French to come home without effecting something more.
These particulars were communicated to me by the ambassadors on the two occasions when we met. The business has not yet gone further, as they are still awaiting the information to be given by the secretary. Although three days have passed since the audience he has not yet been to see them. They asked for my good offices with the ministers. I assured them I had spoken and would do so again, especially as they did not ask help of your Excellencies. I shall always be quite confidential and united with them, but always within the limits of my instructions. I know not what results to promise or what they hope, for I find the English ministry has lately conceived that the war against the French is the sole preservation for the reformed churches and consequently for the public weal, in order not to leave the Jesuitical faction unbridled, being already convinced that the cardinal and the Spaniards have conspired for their total repression, both in France and elsewhere, and that according to intercepted letters the pope is impressing these maxims upon both crowns. Your Excellencies may compare this with what you have from those courts. The ambassadors are determined to press the matter, and should they see no appearance of success, they will return home without going to France, being here at their own cost. They wisely remark that the true moment for negotiation is while victory remains uncertain, as should the French lose the islands they will assent to nothing until they are restored, so they would have to wait till both kings got tired or their ardour diminished. The ambassadors apparently desire that the king, for the sake of the public weal, their master and the friendly powers, should order Carleton to negotiate some treaty in the Netherlands. That obtained, they would go to the Most Christian, as they think their master ought first to obtain something from his nephew to clear the way for persuasions addressed to his friend.
They speak calmly of the passage of the Elbe by Tilly's troops, declaring them to be in danger, and that the king with his three armies is not less strong. The one commanded by the old Margrave of Baden, consisting of 12,000 men, is facing the Duke of Lunenburg, who has an equal force near Avelbergh, where the said passage was effected. The other commanded by the Englishman Morgan, is opposed to that of the Count of Hanolt, each numbering some 8,000 men in the environs of Niemburg; the third of 15,000 men in the country of Holstein is under the king, following Tilly's movements, should Valstein join him. As he is not employed elsewhere they fear mischief, but as he has turned towards Pomerania they think he means to prevent assistance or alarm the King of Sweden; but better still, in order to seize some place on the shores of the Baltic, where he now is. The Elector of Brandenburg has lost half his country under pretext of securing it, and with the promise of restitution at the end of the war. This will come when the Austrians have taken everything, when no further restitution will be necessary.
They asked me about Gabor, and I used the last information sent me about the dissolution of the peace with the Turks and the offices of the foreign ministers at Constantinople to second those of Gabor. They answered that there was no further difficulty about the peace except sending an embassy to the Porte; the adjustment remained in the breast of the Austrians. They complained that Gabor had deluded their king by promising to help the forces in Silesia, and their hopes of the Turk, by reason of his hostilities in Persia, is as small as their wish is great for war in Hungary. The Germans have a proverb that that country always keeps the peace for them and the rest of Europe. I encouraged them and expatiated on the importance of these diversions. I alluded to the honours paid by your Excellencies to the Administrator of Magdeburg, which pleased them and they returned thanks. They told me that the diet of Mulhausen was doubtful, as all the electors would not attend and good results could not be expected, the Austrians having such a superiority in generalship and in conquests. They assured me their king had no negotiations on foot at present with the emperor.
Among other things one may remark that the Duke of Bavaria is offended with the Austrians and suspicious of their progress with the forces of the league and the conquests they are appropriating to themselves. To secure themselves against any reverse they introduce Valstein's army, which is entirely dependent on them; and make levies and quarter troops in the ecclesiastical states. They usurp many prerogatives granted to the sole general of the league, whose contributions consequently fall off. They recommend blowing these coals gradually and without affectation. I remember Bassompierre said much the same, but I believe it desirable rather than feasible so long as the Jesuits govern Bavaria. They also tell me that by letters intercepted by the Dutch, whose ambassador confirmed this to me, the Cardinal della Cueva recommends the Catholic to employ his whole power in Germany to second his good fortune, letting the United Provinces alone for the present, but securing for himself the whole empire which will always be doubtful so long as Bavaria commands an army. I know not if this is so or only a story invented by these Danish ambassadors to keep the flames blazing.
London, the 15th September, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
471. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The last advices from the fleet of the 27th August state that the fort can only be taken by siege, as the ground does not suit approaches and mines, and the English troops are limited by comparison with the defenders, especially since the departure of 500 Rochellese, who were recalled to defend their country on the advance of Angoulême. Their sole hope consists in want of victuals, for the consumption whereof the English have sent back into the fort the wives and children of the besieged, who gave them admittance after two days rather than see them die of hunger before their eyes. The fort is completely surrounded and no one can enter, 25 French adventurers of the chief families in the country who attempted to get in having been killed lately, and three were taken prisoners. Captain Scott, late in your Serenity's service and now lieut.-colonel and quartermaster-general in the force, has written the same thing precisely to me. The lack of troops will be supplied by the reinforcements I reported, which they say will put to sea with the Earl of Holland towards the end of this month provided money be forthcoming for which they are contracting with the merchants.
The decree permitting the merchants to export victuals from this kingdom to the islands, giving security not to take them elsewhere, has been republished. They suppressed the clause that the places belonged to the crown of England according to ancient claims.
They have sent some oxen for the artillery train and a quantity of oats for the horses. I understand they intend to send other supplies for the winter, should the fort be able to hold out some months; although at Court they proclaim the contrary and that they are hourly expecting the close of the expedition.
As they had already decided for reasons given not to print here the manifesto about the present outbreak, they adopted a half measure and made the duke publish it as of his own accord. I enclose a copy for comparison. It is not generally approved since the pretext of religion is obviously false, as at the outset there was no complaint save on the score of private passions and interests. Then it is couched in such form as if they would encourage those ideas of a Catholic League which are only too much suggested by those who hope to profit therefrom.
Buckingham has sent his wife the knife with which the man sent by Toiras, governor of the fort, meant to murder him. This was immediately engraved that the deed may excite the people of England against the French, supposing it true, and at the same time render the duke popular by compassion, the chief object of all.
The thirteen Dutch ships which were seized have been released owing to the loud complaints of the merchants, the decree of the Council stating that this is because England is not at open war with France, alluding thus to the terms of the manifesto, which is the more true as they did not even search for military stores, the conveyance of which is always prohibited in the case of a rupture.
The Dunkirkers who landed on the isle of Shetland departed with a good amount of plunder. The direction they have taken is not yet known. Coke, the secretary of state, went about this to the Dutch ambassador to ask for the blockading squadron from the coast of Flanders, but was told frankly that the true way to prevent such accidents was an accommodation with the French.
We hear that at Hamburg some 300 of the burgesses insulted the house of the English ambassador, Anstruther, claiming the removal from the mouth of the Elbe of the king's men-of-war, which guard it, a matter arranged by some whom the King of Denmark sent thither; but shortly afterwards a fleet of some 30 merchantmen having departed thence for Spain, some of them were maltreated by these guardships, so that dissatisfaction augments as trade declines, and English merchants will be in danger in that quarter also.
By means of a despatch which arrived lately from Carleton from the Netherlands, I have confirmation on excellent authority of the schemes with the Spaniards. Rubens, who lately left Holland for Antwerp, went solely to obtain some paper or instruction, accrediting him for the matter which he has to negotiate. I fancy some difficulty remains about the place where Rubens is to meet Gerbier, but Carleton writes that this, as a matter of small importance, will not cause any difficulty. It is true they told him they did not believe the Spaniards would give the title of Free Princes to the States. Nothing has yet been put to paper, nor do the Spaniards give anything but fair words and promises, which it is not yet certain that they will authenticate by instructions and powers to Rubens. Certainly no hint has been dropped to the States, but the object is so to arrange the scheme that if possible they may not absolutely reject it. I learn that Abbot Scaglia is hand in hand with them. I enquired whether he acts thus by order of his master. They believed so, but did not know. In a word, so far the Spaniards do not depart from generalities, seeing that thereby they make fresh acquisitions on one side, put to sleep on the other, and fan these flames. Carleton will not return until the affair is well advanced or they are aware of the delusions, as I could wish, though meanwhile the public suffers.
The ambassador from Mantua has gone. The king presented him with jewels to the amount of some 1,000 crowns; the queen gave him a diamond of equal value. The Court declares that he brought something for the queen mother about current events; possibly some loving office on behalf of her daughter, with whom he has had several private conversations. On the king's part he certainly has nothing and I do not know how the ambassador can urge any suit without commissions. He is to go to Lorraine, and I have not seen him.
Since the despatch of the 6th August nothing has come from Italy, and this week the third has failed to reach me. With the bad weather beginning, the Dunkirkers, who command the sea, perceiving the enemy's fleet occupied at a distance, the Dutch who bar the openings already begun between this kingdom and the Infanta's territories for their own interests, and the closing of the ports in France, which is more rigorous than ever, prevent me from writing or receiving letters and make me dependent on uncertain opportunities.
London, the 15th September, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
472. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The same evening that the Marquis Pompeo Strozzi, ambassador of Mantua, arrived here, although incognito and without any appearance of being a minister, I sent to compliment him and offer whatever this house could afford, especially as his nephew was ill. I offered him my coaches, the convenience of the mass and many other things he needed owing to his limited retinue and because at this Court, especially at present, many things are neglected. I thought that with the minister of an Italian prince, the republic's friend, I ought not to stand on ceremony but exceed in courtesy. He appreciated my offers, thanked me and said he would avail himself of the mass, as he had no chaplain with him. In conversation with some Italians who went to see him he expatiated on the great esteem in which he held the republic, on his relations with certain senators and the many favours he received at Venice. But when we came to the chief point about the post I am bound to maintain, I became aware that these compliments were artifices to entangle me by flattery. In short his words have not corresponded with his actions, for he said he would not come to see me unless I first went to him, contrary to the custom at this Court, where Blenville, the French ambassador, would never be the first to visit the Abbot Scaglia, although he came after him, and the Spanish ambassador, Mirabel, who in France did not go to see him; and many other examples.
Perceiving the mistake made by this gentleman, perhaps from being unaccustomed to embassies, I thought fit to let him know the republic's right, of your position among kings, your place in the Sala Regia at Rome, your chapels at the Courts of the emperor and the Catholic, and other prerogatives, only disputed by some few, while many ministers of the emperor and the Catholic treated as equals with those of the republic. If the Duke of Mantua wished for this honour, he must seek it from the emperor and the kings, and in such case the republic would follow the example. But to pretend that the republic should be the first to give precedence would only serve to lower her position without raising the duke's, because your example would not cause other crowns to cede the place.
He replied that he had received very different treatment in France, as the Most Christian paid him every honour, the Duke of Nevers, one of the leading princes at the Court, meeting him, a thing not done with any other king. By making him cover and by every other demonstration, the king, the queens and the whole Court showed an esteem exceeding rather than equalling that displayed towards his master's equals. The nuncio and the Ambassador Zorzi paid him the first visit, but the Spanish ambassador had no relations with him. He was therefore already in possession and only obeying his master's orders. I said I thought it strange that the duke should give such an order, as offensive to a prince to whom he was more obliged than to any other power whatsoever, as the republic had helped him in the late troubles and upon other occasions, even to the detriment of its good relations with the House of Savoy; the Duke of Mantua ought to show the way to others in honouring the republic instead of being the first to open the door for prejudicial innovation in these unbecoming claims. The honours paid in France did not surprise me; the Duke of Nevers went to serve his own private ends, as he had a son at Mantua. The king and the queens acted thus owing to ties of blood, and this was a private not a public matter, for in England he had not even received the ordinary honours paid to everybody. I did not know the motives of the Ambassador Zorzi, but he would only have acted with his customary prudence. Here the matter was treated differently. The case of the nuncio was never taken into account, as he was the minister of a spiritual chief and no one was jealous of his power, which all Catholic princes respect. Though his arguments were thus confuted the ambassador stuck to his position, and said he hoped I would not defraud him of the honour. I replied that courtisies were not claimed but awaited, and they could not be expected where they might constitute a bad precedent. It would be tantamount to helping a man off with his cloak out of politeness and then not giving it him back.
In short, I would not give way. I would not mention the matter before his departure as to the last I hoped he would repent and that I need not give your Excellencies this trouble. If such persons do not uphold and seek the advantage of your Excellencies, I know not what can be expected of the others. I confess to deep mortification and expect Bozzolo, Mirandola, Guastalla and all the petty princes will claim the like. It is therefore a lesser evil to let them realise their mistake and your Excellencies will perhaps remonstrate, especially as the Danish ambassadors expressed surprise at the claim, to a gentleman who told me, and rejoiced at my firmness. At any rate, I ask for precise instructions for other occasions, as being the sole minister of a crowned head at this Court, I cannot follow the example of others; but I laid stress on the practice of the Spanish ambassadors at Paris, and acted firmly in order the better to settle the dispute with the Dutch ambassadors and avoid evil consequences to my country which is only too much combated and betrayed by those who ought to act otherwise.
London, the 15th September, 1627.
[Italian.]
Sept. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
473. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They have announced here that thirteen barques with munitions and food have entered fort St. Martin. The report is not credited generally, as those who spread it are dependants of the ministers and deeply interested with the Spanish party, and they can give no particulars, as even with all this succour they only say that Toras can hold out three weeks longer. It is considered an invention to discredit Buckingham and help them here in any negotiation for an accommodation between the crowns introduced by the States, and also to prevent the king from going to Poitou, as he has announced he will do on the 25th inst.
They continue to press La Rochelle, although they have not laid hands as yet on Coreglie, the most important point. Thus the ministers are not satisfied with a war at sea against foreigners, but must needs attack their fellow countrymen on land. While France is thus in its frenzies, others advance to the empire of the world. I am assured that the cardinal did not readily consent to this step, the quarrel with Buckingham, as his own, being enough for him.
The cardinal continues to do what he can for the fleet and presses for help on every side. Mirabello promised the Spanish ships for the end of the month. Yesterday Manti returned from Santander, reporting there were forty-two ships in all, twelve large and powerful and the rest adapted to these seas, and all ready to sail.
Letters have this week reached the Count of Moretta from Scaglia, saying that some succour goes to Buckingham every day from England and the United Provinces. The brother of the Earl of Holland was going thither with seven ships. He had sunk four Spaniards on the way, and the earl himself was going thither with 18 ships and 4,000 men and was only awaiting favourable weather.
Paris, the 15th September, 1627.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 This paper, dated at Constantinople on the 19th April, o.s., is printed in the Negotiations of Sir Thomas Roe, page 635.
2 Printed in the Negotiations of Sir Thomas Roe, page 637.