Venice
November 1627, 1-9

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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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444-458

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'Venice: November 1627, 1-9', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 20: 1626-1628 (1914), pp. 444-458. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89136 Date accessed: 21 September 2014.


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November 1627

Nov. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
564. GIROLAMO SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I went recently to see Carleton, who was indisposed. He asked me what news I had from Venice and if I knew whether your Excellencies had decided to send ambassadors extraordinary to open negotiations for a reconciliation between the two crowns. I said I was ignorant of anything fresh as my letters were lost. He took up a letter of Wake, written on the 8th ult., the very date of the lost despatch, containing your reply to his last office made on the 27th August. I reminded Carleton that I had shown him this, and he read me a paragraph from the letter, in which Wake states that the proposal to choose ambassadors was not adopted by the Senate, the majority being of opinion that they must not be in too much of a hurry and it will be better to let the fire spend itself and await an opportunity. I assured him that your Excellencies would never cease to do all in your power, not only by the usual offices, but in more special ways, to show your disinterested concern for the two crowns, especially if there was any indication that your overtures would be well received. At this point Carleton began a long disquisition upon what had happened, and said the King of Great Britain would always welcome any offices of the republic, which he esteemed highly, and in this affair we must not wait for a request to intervene as neither his king nor France could ever make it. I made objection to this, and Carleton replied that in the present case we must accept the punctilio, as if they made such a declaration there would be no need for mediators. The handling of affairs gave rise to good openings and the experience and ability of ambassadors were shown by utilising them. If any negotiation was to be introduced the present time was the most opportune, as almost all the provisions for the war were consumed, and we must not wait until new ones are made. The States also desire an accommodation and I am surprised that they tarry so long over naming the ambassadors. I suggested that Scaglia's going to Court might lead to the first overtures. He answered that as the king and the Prince of Piedmont had married sisters, Scaglia would be welcome. He added that the king would value the republic more than any other prince although his Majesty esteemed the Duke of Savoy highly.
I consider this a great declaration, and made by a minister who is very reserved in speaking, it led me to repeat the esteem of your Excellencies for his Majesty and say that I would gladly listen to anything more confidential that he might have to tell me. He at once understood that I wished to find out if he had any commissions on the matter, though I know he would not have told me. He replied: I cannot say I have anything further as I profess to be a truthful man. My instructions are merely to assure every one that the king, my master, will always accept an accommodation if a way is found to bring the French to reason, which means maintaining the edicts within the realm and the capitulations without. My king is guarantor for the first; France is bound so solemnly for the second that he cannot get out of it. These are the two leading points. As for Germany, the king is certainly bound by his word but there is nothing written and we cannot say he must do it. We may ask him to keep, his promises because it is in his own interest. All the rest can be adjusted. The affairs of the Isle of Ré can, because the King of Great Britain has not the idea attributed to him of reviving the ancient claims of the crown. He wishes to be a good friend and kinsman to the King of France.
I will send this account to both England and France.
The Hague, the 1st November, 1627.
[Italian.]
Nov. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
565. GIROLAMO SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They continue in their usual perplexity about the choice [of ambassadors], as many claim the post and this delays a decision, as they are not strong enough to eliminate private interests. There are also other considerations. They must soon hear from France what they think of the Texel affair, and the negotiations for the alliance are not complete. They can promise themselves a welcome from England, although they are ill treated there also. There is the Amboyna affair, and though they have appointed judges, yet the English have seized the three ships. This was done by the advice of Carleton, who is out of favour for this and some other matter, as he is a minister very zealous for the interests of his master and he has performed very rigorous offices to prevent the renewal of the league with France and to stop the sailing of the ships.
The Hague, the 1st November, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
566. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
My last of the 25th ult. will arrive by way of Antwerp.
Immediately on receiving from his Excellency Zorzi the order from the Most Christian to the governor of Calais not to include your Serenity's despatches in the general seizure, I obtained an order from the ministers here that the French boats coming across in my service were not to be detained, provided the crews did not land. On this foundation I sent to Calais to stipulate for the passage across of two boats per month and my messenger took the governor the letters of which I enclose a copy. If I succeed it will secure the safe delivery of my packets, which keep me in constant anxiety. I shall seize other opportunities, but I apologise in advance should four or five of my packets arrive together, as a month has elapsed since the departure of any boat for Holland, for want of convoy, although the winter is not far advanced.
The Abbot Scaglia made his entry last Friday. He was met at Gravesend by the Master of the Ceremonies alone and at the Tower by a baron, with the king's coaches. He dismounted at the hostel where he still remains at his own cost, where the Earl of Carlisle visited him the very evening of his arrival. (fn. 1) Two days later he had public audience of his Majesty and saw the Queen. At all these complimentary ceremonies I played my part freely with full return. For the rest I watch the movements of the Danish ambassadors, following their example without prejudicing my position. Meantime, until I receive instructions I am resolved not to purchase merit either with Savoy or any other power at the cost of lowering the position of my country.
With regard to the proceedings of this good prelate, I note that even since his expulsion from France he his determined to maintain his rank as ambassador, because of the honour and advantage he received here before, as besides the ordinary present he got a permit to export leather for which the merchants gave him 20,000 florins; the country still suffers from this and talks about it. His journey to Brussels and his stay in the Netherlands were merely designed to arouse suspicion, as the negotiations with the Spaniards rather declined by reason of their progress and because they saw that the weapons, which by reason and nature should have been united against them, were levelled at each other's breasts. I will now add something more on this topic.
The apparent object of his coming to England is to return Montagu's complimentary mission; to secure and increase the confidential relations between the king here and his master, while he proclaims his wish to reconcile the two crowns, the Duke of Savoy being suspicious of the French who are in arms on his borders and of the Genoese, who have not made terms with him. But as yet he entertains a pernicious chimera, namely to compel France to receive the law from the king here for the express purpose of battering the cardinal's faction, as well as to be on the spot for the negotiations, so that his master may have a hand in them and profit thereby. The result can be better estimated near at hand. I suspect he brings fire rather than water. I know he has bargained with his host to lower his price as he proposes to remain some months. His attendants even say that he will take a house, and this delay also causes me suspicion, because if he really wished for peace in earnest, circumstances would lead him to hurry and not to lose time. I also understand that he told the Earl of Carlisle at a conference with other persons, that he had come to make a league between this crown and the duke; and that by means of Villafranca he would supply these realms with wine and other commodities which they used to import from France. But these are words merely indicating a wish for the development of that port and they are hardly worth consideration. It cannot be denied that the king and favourite have a good opinion of him, as when in France he supported the interests of this government, his advices being as much valued as those of the English ministers, and as his views always second the passions of the king and Buckingham it may be said that the service he has done them is no less great than the disservice rendered by him to the common cause.
He was accompanied from the Netherlands by Gerbier who had been sent hence about the negotiations with the painter Rubens, of Antwerp. All this, on Messia's arrival, was mysteriously dissolved, for I am assured that shortly afterwards, the Spaniards offered the English a peace of connivance, merely for free trade, but without any formal stipulation; in order not to be compelled to include the friends of this crown and especially those of Germany. It is not difficult to imagine the object of this, and I can almost assure your Excellencies that all the past negotiations are at present reduced to the point mentioned, to which they give no ear, the mission of the leader of the Catholics who was to go to Brussels being actually countermanded.
I will watch the progress of this very important affair, as well as Scaglia's machinations. Meanwhile your Excellencies may rest assured that the ministers of Holland and Denmark here despair so utterly of help from this king and his Council, owing to the feebleness and civil commotion, especially with this new war, that if their masters do not make terms it is because the Spaniards are unwilling and propose conditions which are too harsh and unsupportable, though otherwise they are disposed enough.
London, the 2nd November, 1627.
[Italian; the parts in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
567. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ambassadors from Denmark have not yet departed. The delay is due to their not having received either the present or the 1,000l. sterling, with which the king has decided to help them. I know not whether from his own purse or on account of sums advanced by their master. They veil this mystery with the feigned indisposition of one of them, which will cease on payment of the subsidy.
Soble, who came from France has also been seriously indisposed, but is now well and thinks of going back to the Most Christian before the ambassadors depart. As they have obtained nothing whatever here, they would like him, as Richelieu's confidant, to make the first overtures and meanwhile they hope either that the duke will return or the fort be taken or some other event occur to facilitate this business for them. Soble expressed a wish to go with the Earl of Holland to the islands, but the king did not approve, or of empowering the duke to treat at the camp, thinking it will not be for his honour. Holland is thought to have instructions to send home a faithful account of the state of affairs there, so as to regulate the matter here in accordance. Undoubtedly the king has no other will in this matter than that of the duke, to whom he pledged his word before his departure, that he would not treat without him, and that no one should dare to propose peace for fear of incurring the duke's indignation. On this subject I enclose a copy of the Dutch ambassador's proposals about peace.
A letter arrived from the Isle of Rhé addressed to the Earl of Holland, urging his departure, blaming the delay in sending provisions and declaring that for want of them the siege must be raised by the 20th October. It was immediately published all over the city that the duke was returning and that he had been beaten; so much to the delight of the people that to vent their hatred they forgot the honour of the nation, a thing really worthy of remark. To stifle these reports it was proclaimed at Court that the writing was forged as the seal was not the one the duke generally used. On this account the Council sat thrice in the king's cabinet and it was determined that if the six ships laden with provisions which left a few days ago, should not arrive in time, there was no other remedy. The Earl of Holland had orders to proceed on his way without delay, as I understand he has done, taking with him 2,000 Scots and some boats announce having fallen in with the provision ships, very far on their voyage, with a fair wind and with the hope of arriving in time for the need. Certainly they are badly wanted, as the ships were only provisioned for three or four months, which have already expired. The hopes of the expedition therefore dwindle daily, especially because of the succour introduced into the fort and the approaching winter.
The English ambassador, Anstruther, writes from Hamburg that the estates of Bohemia have recalled Walstein, as one of the chief personages of the kingdom, in order that the emperor may not so openly violate their ancient privileges by pretending that the crown is hereditary in his family; that Schwartzenberg was negotiating briskly with that city to fit out a fleet, which they are expected to do, so as to facilitate the league at Brussels, thus rendering the passage of the Sound and consequently the entire Baltic subject to the House of Austria; that Denmark was in a deplorable state, although they will not believe it here, because they are ashamed of themselves.
The Dutch ambassador does not say a word either about the violation of the Texel or the Indiamen. The last, to save expense, sent 120 of their sailors to Holland, the king's officials having taken away their sails owing to the suspicions reported. They say the English merchants of the East India Company to facilitate their designs, have given or lent the king a certain sum of money, a great point in these straits. The silence of the United Provinces is supposed to be in order to give time for the despatch of an embassy extraordinary, both for these knotty affairs and also about the peace. It is certain that the Dutch by losing the trade lose the aliment of their war, and the trade is lost by the prohibition in France to export anything whatever by sea, whilst the outrages in this kingdom also increase in an incredible manner. Two Dutch vessels of the eight I wrote of, bound for the East Indies, having hugged the French shore, contrary to custom, to avoid disputes with the English, encountered a storm off the Isle of Wight, where one of them went to pieces, the other suffering much damage and loss.
I have already referred to my instructions to divert the French proposals to fortify the harbour of Alexandretta and other Turkish ports, and hope that they will write about it to Sir [Thomas] Roe in good form and that it will also be inserted in the instructions of his successor Weis, now about to start, that he shall oppose such pernicious attempts at all times. If able to obtain a copy of the order I will send it to your Serenity.
A few days ago I was requested to obtain for the queen some waters, oils and scented powder, which come from Italy. I wrote immediately to my brother to make the purchase, without regard to my impoverished means. I think it right to acquaint your Serenity with the circumstance.
London, the 2nd November, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.568. ALVISE CONTARINI to MONS. DE VALENCÉ, Governor of Calais.
The French ministers, who speedily sent back the packets forwarded by your Excellency to the Court, have granted a passport to the republic's ambassador for State letters, which are to be exempt from the general seizure ordained by you. I have received a copy of this order, the original of which you will have received by Sig. Carlo Steltius. I feel sure you will courteously assist me, in order to still further increase the cordial relations between our masters. I send the bearer to arrange the passage of some boats, having already obtained permission from the king here for them to return freely. I beg your lordship to command me, in the assurance that I shall reciprocate your courtesy.
London, the 25th October, 1627.
[Italian; copy.]
Enclosure.569. MEMORIAL presented to KING CHARLES by the Ambassador from the United Provinces.
A burnt child dreads the fire and those who have experienced disaster may speak of it more than others. Even before your accession your Majesty evinced a special regard for the preservation of the reformed faith and your wish for the maintenance of the United Provinces. The States General desire you to allow your disputes with the Most Christian to be adjusted and to authorise the ambassador at the Hague or any other person you may think fit, to act accordingly. My masters having suffered countless ills in a 60 years' war against one of the greatest kings of Europe, can appreciate the consequences of current events. They have preserved their liberty through the contributions of their people and the assistance of their friends, principally your Majesty and the Most Christian, without whose intervention, speaking humanly, no force in Europe can make head against Spain. Austria has Germany in its power, only Denmark resisting, and if he succumbs, no hope remains. The numerous rivers discharging into the Baltic and North Sea give Austria an additional advantage. My masters find their burdens increase so that revenue does not meet expenditure, and if the disputes between the two nations continue, their trade will suffer, and the inhabitants of the Netherlands dependent upon it will be reduced to extremities and unable to pay their contributions to the war. Though the liberality of your Majesty and the Most Christian is great the States do not see how they can make provision in so many quarters. They fear ruin for themselves and Denmark unless your Majesty provides a remedy or God helps them by miracle. Your Majesty's zeal for the reformed churches of France is highly laudable but your prudence knows how far it may be carried. It does not become my masters to constitute themselves arbitrators of the honour of princes, but in the world's opinion you demonstrated by Captain Pennington's expedition that your minor forces can greatly injure France, and your royal fleet can oppose when you please all the naval forces the French can collect, while the landing at Rhé proves how you can attack them on shore. This should check any bad advice given to the Most Christian against the Huguenots and serve to secure the promises made to them. All other Catholic forces will remain powerless as no Popish prince will find favour with the people of France or do anything of consequence against the king's will, unless they show themselves more zealous than his Majesty for his faith. Your influence with his Majesty will thwart more effectively than war any schemes against the repose of those who wish to live quietly under your favour. I beseech your Majesty on the part of my lords to overlook the injuries complained of, even if you have not received satisfaction, for the sake of the common weal, and to authorise your ambassador at the Hague or anyone else to negotiate an adjustment immediately. Your magnanimity will be eternally remembered as having had more care for the weal of Christendom and of your friends than for personal injuries. Delay and feats of arms can only exasperate both sides, while time may bring about accidents, such as storms at sea, mortality among the troops, foreign forces or the like, obscuring the glory which at the present your Majesty can maintain entire and stable.
[Italian; copy, translated from the French.]
Nov. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
570. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The queens having returned to Paris I thought it my duty to pay my respects to them both. I congratulated the queen mother on the repeated relief of the fort. I begged her to give me authentic news about the fort and La Rochelle, as during her absence, the advices which reached me were always late, frequently uncertain and generally scanty and untrustworthy. The queen replied most graciously. She told me that letters from the camp of the 26th and 28th reported that in spite of the relief the fort was no better off than before. They could not secure the countless things they required, and it was more difficult to make provision because the garrison was more numerous. Toras wrote that he could not hold out any longer, being in the greatest need of food, munitions and medicaments. They were also in a deplorable state, as they had no cover, and not a foot of ground dry, so that the sound and the sick were all exposed, day and night, to the air, and the open sky, and with these incessant rains they had the waters halfway up their legs. His Majesty has decided to see the matter through, and that 600 foot as well as the 400 horses shall enter the island under Marshal Schomberg. With these and the 2,000 men, at least in Fort St. Martin and the 1,000 others in the fort of la Preda, he hopes to drive off the English quickly and also drive off their fleet in all haste, giving them an unhappy memory of the Island of Res, and of their rash and unjustifiable enterprise. So far the letters of the 26th from those of the 28th I gather no more than the landing of these picked troops at Broaggio and at the port of il Piombo, whither the nobles flocked pell mell, everyone desiring to cross the sea in order to take part in so important an affair, so that the king had hard work to satisfy those left behind, but he was pleased to see the eagerness to serve him. The queen remarked here, with a half sigh, that the enterprise seemed very hazardous, and she prayed God it would succeed; but the gain would be slight while the risk was great and she could not help feeling anxious.
She told me that the Ambassador Langarach and another ambassador of the States had been to see her, and they justify their perfidy about handing over her galleons to the English. France knows what she has to expect from these allies.
I urged the need for a reconciliation with England. The queen replied that she recognised this and she had done what she could, but what good could be achieved when they were proceeding from words and negotiations to hostilities. Princes were bound to uphold their rights. She would try again, however. If the king did not come by the middle of the month, they would all go to join him. There would be time then, unless something unfortunate occurred in the meantime. When present she might be able to do more than by letter. I bowed, commending her views, and so took leave.
Paris, the 2nd November, 1627.
[Italian.]
Nov. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
571. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The troops entered the island without accident. 700 gentleman volunteers went with the 4,500 foot and 400 horse, for the honour of the affair. So reports Sciambonet, sent by Angoulême to Paris, where he arrived yesterday, with letters from the king to the queen mother of the 31st ult. There is much talk here about this serious step. It is generally blamed and no man of judgment commends it. They say that the risk is too great, that there is no example except a barbarous one, on the part of the one who devised and he who permitted it, as even in case of success against the English, who can doubt but that the victory will be miserable for the conquerors; but if it turns out ill, this large force and especially all those nobles, will be a prey to the swords of the enemy or the pitiless waves of the sea; while, if fortune makes the balance even there being no great disparity of force, it is easy to imagine how much bloodshed there will be. All know the king's kindness of heart and how averse his nature is from such African methods of warfare, but they see he is yielding to the advice of others. It is not hard to see on whom the blame is laid. But in defence of the ministers here I must report what the nuncio told me yesterday; he considered it was due to the inspiration of Berulle, either to render a reconciliation between these two crowns impossible or to bring about an indissoluble union between France and Spain. He thought this was done out of pure zeal for religion. He thought that the authors and advisers of this policy were equally deserving of reprobation and punishment.
I hear that Monsieur has offered to go to the island to command these troops, but they told him that the risks were too great. He then asked to command the army in Languedoc, but that was also refused.
Matters in Lorraine seem to be proceeding satisfactorily to France, with respect to the disarming.
Paris, the 5th November, 1627.
Postscript.—Since writing the above, a confidant, whom I have never found untruthful, has informed me that the easy entry of the French troops into the island was due to a treaty of peace which is on foot, for which Cardinal Richelieu with other troops has betaken himself to the island of Oleron. This news is not given me as absolutely certain, but that it is quite certain that a special individual has been sent backwards and forwards for this affair by the Cardinal and Buckingham. If this is the case, the outcry against the ministers at Paris ought to die away. They are freely condemned.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
572. ANZOLO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the DOGE and SENATE.
A courier reached the French Ambassador with letters up to the 22nd ult. He told me they had again introduced men and food into Fort St. Martin; Buckingham had replaced the guns in his ships and had written to La Rochelle that as they would not receive his king as lord he would withdraw, though he had not done so yet. The Most Christian was waiting to see what he would do. If he withdrew the king would return to Paris, if not he would send for the queens and remain with the army. He denied that the Huguenots were strengthening themselves. Only Rohan was doing anything in Languedoc and he was abandoned by every one. Condé was going against him.
Events had occurred to estrange the English and Dutch, as the English had captured three large Dutch ships returning from the Indies, who had taken some English on board as a greater security against the Spaniards, the cargo amounting to over a million and a half of gold. He did not yet know the reason; perhaps the English were incensed at the alliance recently concluded by the Dutch with France. He had not heard of the arrival of the Spanish ships to help the French, though he was advised they had left Flanders, being paid by the Most Christian. They had been delayed by a large one running aground.
Rome, the 6th November, 1627.
[Italian.]
Nov. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
573. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Montagu started on his journey on Friday after dinner, having received rich jewels from the duke. He paid visits to the whole ducal family and also came to this embassy. I thanked him and tried to impress him well with the upright intentions of your Excellencies, your esteem for his king and the benefit that all those who have the common cause at heart expect from the reconciliation of the two kings. I urged him to forward it, pointing out the progress of the Austrian arms in Germany. He said that his king had never been averse from an accomodation, provided his reputation was secured, but as the present moment did not seem opportune for negotiation he was returning to England. After remaining there a few hours he would join Buckingham on the fleet. He would do all in his power for an adjustment as he saw how necessary it was.
Montagu has had several long interviews with his Highness since his departure was announced. It is impossible to know the essence of the negotiations, but from hints dropped by the duke at the last audience I can give some particulars about the stage at which the peace negotiations at this Court have arrived. I am told that Montagu promised the duke with solemn oaths that his Highness should be the mediator of the peace, at least through his ministers. When the duke objected that Buckingham had sent to Paris and tried other means, Montagu protested it could not be true and offered to stake his life on it. I am assured that this has not satisfied the duke, especially as Montagu would not wait to hear something from France, saying that he must obey his orders and not go further with the matter.
A paper was sent to France with Montagu's consent upon which they hoped to begin serious negotiations; but it contained nothing but what I have reported more than once, because I have seen and read it. It consists of the duke's request for the withdrawal of the forces, when the Most Christian will treat, of Montagu's reply that his commissions do not suffice, his demand for a guarantee of peace if this is done, his promises to represent the requests to his king and the duke's reply that if the English withdraw they will treat as relations not as enemies. Now before the letters have had time to reach England or Abbot Scaglia has been able to get a decision from the English Court upon what Montagu has represented, orders have come for his return and he would not await the reply to his first offices or hear what was coming from France, although Marini said he had heard of the receipt of the paper, Arbo had not yet shown it to the king but would do so and report his Majesty's opinion. The negotiations had reached this point, but if it is true that the English have withdrawn from the island or have to do so, in despair of taking the fort, the aspect of things will change and Montagu's departure will make a great difference.
It is feared that the flame will grow hotter every day with increasing bitterness over the events that happen. Marini judges from what Arbo writes that they will not listen to the slightest word of negotiation, and in that case the suspicion that the cardinal had begun to treat with Embresem would vanish away. Marini's repeated assertion that the Most Christian will not suffer the Huguenots who have taken arms to be included in the treaty of peace with England, has been repeated by Arbo, who says that the king will stake his crown, kingdom and life rather than agree to this. This may prove the most difficult point to adjust owing to the obligation which the King of Great Britain has taken to uphold the reformed churches in France.
Turin, the 7th November, 1627.
[Italian.]
Nov. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
574. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The custom of visiting the king on his return from a progress compelled me lately to see his Majesty. I confined myself to compliments until he asked me what news I had from France and elsewhere. Sir, I replied, my advices from all parts give a sorry account: Europe reduced to the brink of ruin, Denmark all but utterly lost, Germany without liberty, the emperor endeavouring to make his son and family heirs of Bohemia and then of the Empire; peace between him and the Turks practically arranged, Count Suarzembergh persuading the Hamburgers to arm at sea and join the Infanta to seize the Sound, while Valestein rules the Baltic coast, greatly to the detriment of this country, owing chiefly to trade and to the facility for equipping fleets, the Netherlands losing strength through disturbance in trade; the Huguenots besieged in La Rochelle, their safety depending more on treaty than on arms, and small trust can be placed on the other malcontents in France, as once their demands are granted they forthwith make terms with the king. For all these ills there is but one remedy, that your Majesty should take the lead for redress, carrying out the ideas which covered you with glory at your accession, succouring your friends in danger and sacrificing at their intercession your personal grievances against the Most Christian. A declaration of your intention for peace would immediately introduce jealousy and suspicion into the negotiations said to be taking place between the French and Spaniards and crush them. If you wish France to make the first overtures everyone believes that Soble, who comes for the purpose, did not speak without the knowledge of the French ministry, some thinking that the French themselves wished your Majesty to refuse openly the offers made by them in writing to Denmark to render him double assistance provided they are freed from the diversion caused by the powerful forces of this kingdom, thus to cloak their own slackness and lay the blame of Germany's ruin on your Majesty.
The king heard me graciously, especially pondering what I said about disturbing the negotiations of Spain and France, and the point of Germany's ruin, which in fact the ablest men believe. He dwelt on the notion, learned by heart I believe, of having to await the result of the fort, after which he hoped the Huguenots would declare themselves, who were restrained so far by fear. The king's brother had not been allowed to enter Fort St. Louis, and even if anything were concluded he could not rely on the French keeping their word, instancing the disavowal of Bassompierre, a point on which they lay great stress of late, all their other arguments being confuted.
I rejoined that nothing was more uncertain than war. The time was favourable, his honour being already vindicated; no other consideration could weigh so much as the evident ruin of Europe. The only barrier against this was this reunion. It was unlikely that the French would play false as they would deceive themselves and should matters proceed at this pace there is no remedy against universal destruction, it being merely a question of who shall fall first or last.
I know that remarks of this kind do not easily reach the king's ears for reasons already given, and I wish I could see him frequently, but my remarks were mingled with compliments which usually captivate his Majesty, so as to avoid offence. I spoke especially of the sincere regard of your Excellencies, though without compromising you, as I have no such express orders to speak to the king as yet nor do I see that his first impressions, his tenacity and the language of the ministers and confidants are yet so far reduced as to give any hope of fruit. I keep on the alert so as not to risk the public dignity prematurely and indecorously.
His Majesty replied: I am perfectly sure of the affection of your Signory, as I have had so many proofs of it. I believe that they also are ill satisfied with the French and certainly with reason. I would not let this pass without remarking that the inveterate prudence of the republic willingly passed over all such difficulties as might impede the course of the common weal, so that the good understanding with France continued in such wise as the present emergency required, and his Majesty might possibly do well to consider this example.
About the last unfavourable news from the fleet given in the next letter, the king said a few words to me, but calmly, though I gather that if they return without having effected their object, they will be the hotter here upon the point of honour and revenge; but the evil being known, they must apply suitable remedies and in season. I will do the best of my poor ability should I be able to further these negotiations.
London, the 8th November, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Nov. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
575. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands.
When I was in the house of the King of Bohemia recently Carleton told me that Wake continued to write that your Excellencies were about to take up again the question of sending ambassadors and asked if I had any confirmation. It was the very day on which I sent my last despatch, and I had received your Serenity's letters which contained nothing on the subject. I repeated what I had said before. He asked if I had letters from Venice. I replied, Yes, but they told me nothing and I did not expect any such resolution for the present. I assured him of your desire that these troubles should cease, and your readiness to intervene if there was any prospect of success. Carleton replied as on the previous occasion. The queen was present and remarked that even if the interposition did not prove successful, though she did not think it likely, it would show good will. She went out and left me alone with Carleton. He said he felt sure that the greatest difficulties would be with France, as they declared they would not be the first to come to terms. The cardinal always talks in this way about us; I am sure the king desires peace and his Council will accept any reasonable proposals. I tried to get him to enter into particulars, but he confined himself to generalities. I gather that appearances will always cause the greatest difficulty. This is confirmed by Bethune's recent remarks to the ambassador at Rome. I told him that I greatly feared this union with Spain would encourage hardness in France, owing to the help promised. I said this as of myself, but really it was said to me by the French ambassador himself. Carleton replied that the two nations could not remain united. There was too much antipathy. It would be impossible for the French and Spanish forces to work together without great disorders. I replied that necessity had caused the French to unite with the Spaniards, and the same cause might induce them to put up with some disagreeable things, at least until they had achieved their purpose. Be assured, replied Carleton, that they cannot carry out anything with so much despatch. They will need months and years and they cannot remain united so long. I am sure this will be one of the reasons to make them decide upon an accomodation very quickly. We have not heard of the promised ships arriving in France, and the longer they tarry the less use will they be, owing to many things that may crop up.
I have made many attempts to discover if he really has commissions to make overtures about peace, but he has always told me that he had none. He remarked: I wish the most serene republic had the honour of this accommodation, and that is why I have unbosomed myself so far to your Excellency in saying that I consider the moment opportune. I tried to find out why he promised so much from the offices of your Excellencies when the Danish ambassadors had received no satisfaction although they represented an ally whose interests corresponded with those of the King of Great Britain. Carleton replied, firstly, that the moment of their visit to England was not propitious for such business as they came when the fleet was starting and it was impossible to restrain the ardour of a young king who had been offended. Secondly, we must not make a comparison with other ambassadors. He had seen the two Danish ambassadors at Delft on their way to England and he swore that one of them had not uttered a word, so one might judge the quality of the men. They had made another mistake in both leaving for France, leaving no one in England to look after the affair. Princes wished to be pressed and stimulated on such occasions. He asked me, supposing your Excellencies send, if there would be more than one ambassador, or if a single one would be sent to both Courts. I said I could not say. The custom of the republic was to nominate one only, but the decision depended upon circumstances. He said two would be better as they could go together to France and obtain full information upon the opinions of the king and ministers. They could then separate, one remaining there and the other going on to England to impart what he had learned, and they could correspond with each other in the course of the negotiations. This would shorten the negotiation. To this I made no reply.
At a second meeting with Carleton I again referred to the profit that was hoped from Scaglia's negotiations, since from the time of Montagu's first arrival here it was said that he brought full powers for the adjustment for the Duke of Savoy. He told me that Scaglia was certainly a worthy minister but he did not know what could be done. As regards referring the matter to the duke he could only repeat that he had never been told of this affair and it seemed unlikely to him that the moment the king entered upon war he had decided to put peace in the hands of another prince. He shrugged his shoulders and I perceived these were transverse lines which he did not like. However he is one of Buckingham's followers and is obliged to accept his views, and this makes him act against his own opinions.
I also passed some office with the French ambassador in conformity with your Excellencies' intentions and made him fully acquainted with your desire for the happy progress of this affair. But I got nothing out of him, and he merely stated that he had received no letters from Court for some time on this subject. He remarked It is our nature that when we seem to have the advantage, everybody is ours; now we are under the protection of Spain we will not listen to anyone. He said this angrily. I replied that he was aware of the damage done by this rupture. I merely wished him to believe in the good will of your Excellencies. I should never expect much from this minister, because he has not the ear of the cardinal and his personal opinions are not suited to his office.
The Hague, the 8th November, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Nov. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
576. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ambassadors have been chosen for France and England, but some have refused the task. (fn. 2) The leading one is Aerssens, who claims a superior position to the others and on this occasion would like to be employed alone, and so he declines. This shows his want of patriotism. Many of the Government have asked me about the procedure adopted at Venice on such occasions. They will choose another in his place to-morrow. They are making haste because they have delayed too long and now perceive the harm this has done, as it makes them almost hopeless of effecting anything at present. The commissions are already drawn up. In England they will treat about navigation, to arrange some accord or the observance of the old ones, to put an end to the difficulties which arise daily from the reprisals on both sides. They will also have the Amboyna affair, upon which the judges here have decided nothing, and a decision may be postponed in the hope that this embassy may remove the rigour hitherto shown by the English. They will try to obtain the release of the two East Indiamen, arrested because of that affair. There was some talk here lately of going to take them by force, but this has not been adopted, either because the English are on their guard and there is no hope of success, or because they prefer to obtain satisfaction by negotiation. I do not think they would possibly have succeeded.
In France they will treat for the conclusion of the alliance, about which nothing has been said since Langarach's secretary arrived with a draft of the articles, owing to the Texel affair. It is reported here that a Dutch ship has been detained at Calais, the French say as compensation for the one taken by the English. If it be true that will be another matter for negotiation.
In both Courts they will try to obtain satisfaction, though the offices will be different owing to the Texel affair. In all matters they will try to remove the present harshness. Carleton remarked to me that ordinarily the States speak rather severely. I fancy he anticipates some action by the French ambassador who thinks that a declaration here for either crown will greatly affect the balance. Carleton added that blustering would not do them any good in England. But I am sure that the States will maintain a strict neutrality, and for this they bear the most severe criticism with patience. Certainly both the English and French have tried hard to make them declare themselves.
We hear that Colonel Morgan has reached Stadem, but he has only 13 companies, a small force for such a task. But though few they display great resolution to hold out to the last extremity.
The Hamburgers have recently occupied a small island opposite Luistat, in the Elbe, to erect a small fort, to prevent the passing of ships as they are now free from the blockade which England has kept up so far. Carleton told me, however, that it would be re-established. Rusdorf is expected to leave Hamburg with Anstruther, but there is no sign of the latter moving, and I think he can do but little good.
The Hague, 8th November, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
577. To the Bailo at Constantinople.
As regards the payment to English consuls for goods laded on English ships, our ambassadors writes on the 23rd September that no answer had been given him, but he had heard from a confidant that the ministers there commended the action of Roe, their ambassador at the Porte, and recognising their error, declared they had only sent the papers to our ambassador, rather as a sign of confidence than to open negotiations, especially in a matter which they say immediately concerns English subjects, and is general upon all nations. This will serve you for light in dealing with the matter until we can give you further instructions.
Ayes, 99.Noes, 1.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 He had taken the house of an Italian named Jeronimo. Lord North was the nobleman who went to meet him. Finet; Philoxenis, page 229.
2 In his despatch of the 7th November Carleton says that Randuich, Aerssens, Pauw and Vosberghen had been finally nominated as ambassadors to the two Courts, but their distribution was not yet made. S.P. Foreign, Holland.