Venice
November 1627, 11-20

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1914

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459-478

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'Venice: November 1627, 11-20', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 20: 1626-1628 (1914), pp. 459-478. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89137 Date accessed: 26 November 2014.


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November 1627

Nov. 11.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
578. The English ambassador came to the Collegio and said:
I have received a letter from the Prince of Brandenburg, who tells me of his return from Transylvania. When he reached Prince Gabor he found that the French ambassador at Constantinople has induced the prince's ministers to make peace with the emperor, the Most Christian thus throwing over the old agreements arranged for the general welfare. Finding matters in this condition and seeing that he could do no good in Transylvania, while his services were needed, the prince decided to leave. But Prince Gabor told him that they would find plenty of opportunities for upsetting the peace when the proper moment arrived. Meanwhile, the prince desires me to ask two favours of your Serenity, firstly, that he may be excused quarantine at Spalato, as he does not come from an infected part; secondly, that your Serenity will favour him with a galley to bring him to this city, and he wishes this journey to remain secret.
The doge replied: We have heard of the prince's return and have already ordered our representatives to make things easy for him as regards the quarantine, though with a due regard for health, and to provide a galley and every convenience, as we wish to satisfy him in all things.
The ambassador remarked that the prince's agent had only given him the letters yesterday and he had had no opportunity of speaking with him before performing this office. He returned thanks for these fresh favours. He then continued:
Since my last audience the disputes between the two crowns have rather grown more bitter and Frenchmen have issued many papers against the honour of the king, my master, which will have come here. I must therefore inform your Serenity of the actual facts, and I will submit a written account of the French behaviour, feeling sure that your Serenity will sympathise with my king, as he would with the republic in like case. He then presented an instruction of the king to his ministers in Italy and another paper signed by himself. (fn. 1)
After the reading the doge said: We grieve that the differences between the two crowns do not cease, as we have so strongly desired. We know that the welfare of all Christendom as well as their own is bound up with their tranquillity and prosperity. We have done our utmost to this end and are always ready to do what we can. We especially desire every satisfaction for his Majesty, and we will deliberate upon the matter and let you know. With this the ambassador took leave and departed.
The papers he left are as follows:
Instructions sent from England to the royal ministers in Italy.
The Cardinal Richelieu has become absolute ruler of France through the favour of the queen mother, the easiness of the king, the subjection of the Duke of Orleans and the disgrace of all those of the blood, his sole object being his own advancement; for this he will stand at nothing, benefiting the kingdom if he can, but content to ruin it if he cannot. He has gone to extreme lengths and brought under his control all the forces of land and sea, and has induced the king to exclude all the heirs from the Councils and government. To maintain this greatness he considers three things necessary: (1) That the king shall have no forces engaged outside the kingdom, as this would involve giving out to various persons charges and money and the participation of secrets of state, and it would not be possible to keep the king permanently without knowledge of his affairs, as the daily necessity of consulting with allies would not allow it. As this involved deceiving the allies, breaking faith and offending them, he has accepted all this.
(2) To persuade the king that if the two crowns of France and Spain are united they need fear no other power but can dictate to Christendom, as France is so great that she has only internal risings to fear from the Huguenots, through their relations with England and Germany on the score of religion. But Germany is practically in extremis, the States have heavier burdens than they can carry, and England has more need of respite than of taking up fresh difficulties, seeing the heavy expense of supporting the States and Denmark. Accordingly, this is the time to join the Spaniards and the pope also for the extermination of the Huguenots; and as this cannot be done without definitely offending the King of Great Britain, that does not matter except that an effort must be made to have it generally believed that no arrangements were made between the two crowns upon the peace for the Huguenots, as it was partly done by verbal promises, partly by ambiguous documents.
(3) To find means to assure the Spaniards that he intends to stand by them against any one soever the cardinal appointed a council in France consisting entirely of pure Spaniards. In times past there were good Frenchmen in the secret Council among the Hispanophiles, but now it consists entirely of Spaniards, and although divisions exist among them, Schomberg, the Garde des Sceaux, the cardinal and the queen mother are utterly Spanish. Abroad he has been concerned with the Spaniards more nearly. As master of the Britanny seaports, with the title of superintendent of the maritime forces the cardinal has taken steps to secure their trade for Spain. Things would go in the name of France and pass from the ports of Britanny to Spain in safety because the Dutch could not hurt them, owing to the alliance, and so the States were cut off from that trade, the source of life, without a remedy.
This is a great bond of interest to hold the Spaniards fast and ruin the Dutch, cementing a union between France and Spain for the destruction of all the others, who have apparently nothing left but the favour of Polyphemus, to be devoured the last.
To give this a specious pretext they adopted the usual one of religion, announcing that all the Protestants had united against the Catholic faith with England at their head. Therefore the ministers of princes concerned for the common liberty ought to insist that this is not on the score of religion, and with God's help to try and break the yoke of slavery with which the alliance of the French and Spaniards threatens all the rest and demonstrate not only the interest but the necessity of those who have arms to come and help expiring liberty.
Narrative of the proceedings of the French. (fn. 2)
His Majesty with trouble and personal danger (con la fattica et rischio della sua real persona) discovered how the Spaniards were insidiously contriving the utter ruin of Christendom, to invade his dominions and those of his dear sister and thereby pave the way to the monarchy of Europe and that no hope of remedy remained except by recourse to the sword. Nevertheless, before entering upon war with so powerful an enemy, like a prudent prince he first directed the necessary preparations in his realm, and then tried to strengthen himself by alliances, notably with France, recognising that the two crowns together with their allies could counterpoise the Austrian forces both by sea and land. Accordingly, he proposed through his ambassadors to arrange an offensive and defensive league and a marriage alliance, offering to take the king's sister as his bride. These proposals of his Majesty were apparently received with equal cordiality by the Most Christian king, who various reasons desired that the marriage should take place first so that it might not depend upon any other arrangement, and that done the other would follow immediately. He promised this to the Earls of Carlisle and Holland in the presence of the two queens, the princes of the blood and the peers and councillors of state, and afterwards confirmed it by his ambassadors, the Count of Villeauxclers and the Marquis Fiat. The marriage accordingly took place, although after many interruptions, the French having annulled what was done by their Secretary of State and disgraced him, to set their first treaty aside and begin a fresh one each day. This procedure made his Majesty suspicious about their designs, although to prove his affection and oblige his dear brother of France he graciously conceded their extravagant demands, and the world has since seen to their shame how they have travestied this royal goodness. But after the conclusion of the marriage, when his Majesty's ambassadors proposed the treaty for the promised alliance, which affected not only his Majesty's interests but the common cause, they then modified the original agreement, laying the blame upon the man they had discredited, and making that an excuse for breaking faith. However, they always protested that although they could not enter such a league with specific stipulations, for important reasons, yet they would act as if it existed. To give credit to their variations they proposed to employ the Count of Mansfeld in Alsace with their forces and ours. The world knows what became of that plan. Upon this his Majesty sent the Earl of Holland and Lord Carleton to expostulate and to ask for a more punctual fulfilment of their promises in the future. They excused themselves for refusing a passage to Mansfeld owing to the danger to the provinces through which he would march. A fresh difficulty then arose, that the King of France could not attend to external affairs without prejudice until his own subjects were reduced to conformity and peace, but they suggested that his Majesty should use his influence with the Protestants and especially those of La Rochelle to persuade them to accept terms consistent with the king's honour and their obedience as subjects, and they would at once join forces with us to help the King of Denmark and take up the common cause. His Majesty was right in suspecting these ambiguous proceedings, yet to win the French and show his zeal for the cause he agreed to persuade the Huguenots and become surety for the terms stipulated by their king, agreeing with him to become their protector in case of a breach thereof. Thus peace was made through his Majesty's efforts. But what happened? First, an open infraction of the terms on the part of the king; secondly the building of new forts and the levies of new forces against the Rochellese by land; thirdly, a secret treaty and peace with Spain with secret articles to bring pressure to bear upon their allies if they resisted; fourthly, the cancelling of the acts of their ambassador here, after he had received more satisfaction than they asked or could expect; fifthly, a general detention, first, of the goods and then of the ships of his Majesty's subjects in France; sixthly, permission to the Spaniards for their ships from Flanders to use their ports, supplying them, moreover, with men and money; eighthly, secret intelligence in Scotland, Ireland and England, with clerical as well as lay subjects, and in Germany for the confirmation of the electorate and Palatinate to the Duke of Bavaria. All this instead of their promises about a league, showing that our easy and friendly concession of all they asked only made the French despise us and imagine that they could do what they liked with us. Yet those who really understand the nature of the French monarchy must admit that such courses are not calculated to establish their greatness, and cannot proceed from persons well affected to that crown, especially under the circumstances, as the Protestants of France in a memorial in the name of all have besought his Majesty for his help and protection, and if his own subjects appeal to his justice for defence and reparation for injury and so much time has been spent in embassies and negotiations without any results, what could his Majesty do to meet such contemptuous usage except gather his forces to make them sensible of their mistake. If anyone imagines that more patience or a ready suspension of arms or the offer of a treaty might do any good let him consider the aims, passions and distractions of the French, and whether he always finds them the same and controlled by the same instruments and counsels, and if they maintain the same intimacy with Rome and Spain while constantly harrassing and persecuting their own Gallican church, because it supports their government. One can clearly see that any yielding on our part would only result in loss and shame.
No one doubts his Majesty's leaning to peace, and he has not only sought good relations and friendship with France, but paid a very high price for it. His Majesty recognises full well the importance of the treaty for us and our allies, but the best way to attain it is first to put French humours right and not bring forward the subject of an accommodation before they are capable of better judgment at home and more sensible of their interests in the common cause, which may happen after a short lapse of time, by God's grace.
Most Serene Prince. (fn. 3)
From the narrative and instructions read your Serenity will have full information of my king's sincerity and of the malice of the French ministers, so you will not expect me to apply the one or point out the other, as words are superfluous where deeds speak. His Majesty had hoped that the Most Christian would respond to his good will and desire for good relations with his brother-in-law, but perceiving that the more he tried to please him the more the French ministers influenced him against responding, and that the machinations of Cardinal Richelieu had brought about a union between France and Spain menacing to the public liberty, he thought it behoved him to forestall those who sought the ruin of himself and all free princes simultaneously. The cardinal observes the maxim of those councillors of the King of Persia, non sumus inventuri contra istos occasionem ullam nisi inveniamus de lege ipsorum; and the fact that he covers his malice under this mask causes his Majesty to interest himself in the protection of the Huguenots, as the Rochellese and others are compelled to have recourse to him for help upon the Most Christian breaking the treaty, and this will give some colour to the union of the French and Spanish forces under the pretext of religion, making a bridge to cross to the ruin of Europe's liberty.
By this gate the Spaniards first entered the Valtelline, and by the same arts Cardinal Richelieu has confirmed the possession of that important pass. But these artifices are now recognised, and one cannot sufficiently admire the cardinal's effrontery in trying to make the world believe that all the Protestants are united with his Majesty against the Catholic faith, whereas the Protestants can hardly defend themselves in the islands and northern parts against the violence of the Austrians, who are taking away their liberty under the pretext of religion. This is worth the consideration of all free princes as the union of those two crowns is formidable while the French ministers openly help on Spanish greatness and after a while to be a Catholic will not avail for those who wish to be free, and men will have to go to Madrid for indulgences and not to Rome any more.
In a printed declaration in the name of his Most Christian Majesty I find a statement of the care he has always had for the weal of Christendom, of the embassies sent everywhere to allay discord and the help afforded to those in danger of persecution. In answer I will say: God grant that the Most Christian may do in the future what he claims to have done in the past. I should like to believe in his good will to the cause, but since he ascended the throne I have not observed that his ministers have done anything to advance the public liberty. The embassy sent to Germany in the year 1620 had no results except that the treaty of Ulm opened the way for the German troops who were going to the Bavarian, and that point being gained for the Austrians. France appeared no more upon the scene. That began the ruin of Germany and we owe it to the Duke of Angoulême. M. de Cesi, the French ambassador at Constantinople, publicly boasts of being the sole author of the peace made between the emperor and the Prince of Transylvania, which strikes the last blow at the public hopes. Who can say that these operations tend to the public liberty. The Marquis of Coeuvres came here for the repatriation of the Jesuits, the upsetters of the public peace, and this was the prologue of the tragedy of the Valtelline. After him came M. de Chateauneuf to induce the republic to approve of the treaty of Monzon, which sapped the foundations of the liberty of this province, ruined Rhaetia and endangered Helvetia. This formed the epilogue to the tale. As regards helping oppressed princes or states his Most Christian Majesty has always produced results contrary to his professed intentions. The Duke of Savoy can bear witness to this, and the Grisons lament with tears of blood the self seeking charity (la carita pelosa) (fn. 4) of the French ministers. No wonder that things are going to rack and ruin in that realm, as the king is most devoted to his mother who is most acceptable to the Austrians, Cardinal Richelieu is moved by his own private interests, Schomberg and the Garde des Sceaux are more Spanish than the Count of Olivares and the Jesuits are omnipotent with all those who think of nothing but the aggrandisement of the country of their origin.
The king, my master, acts quite otherwise, his only aim being to help the common cause, and if the perversity of the French ministers had not disturbed him at an unfortunate moment, Germany would have had time to take breath ere now. I leave your Serenity and your Excellencies to judge upon this parallell.
WAKE.
[Italian.]
Nov. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
579. To the Ambassador in England.
We are sure you will know how to act towards the Ambassador Scaglia. Montagu is leaving Turin, and it is not known who will take up the peace negotiations. He is returning by Lorraine, and the frequent visits to that quarter deserve attention; we shall be glad to hear what you can find out.
We enclose a copy of what the Proveditore of the fleet writes about the hostile acts of an English ship against our subjects. You will use this as our service requires.
We enclose the exposition of the English ambassador, made this morning, and our reply. We have given suitable orders for fetching back the Prince of Brandenburg to this city.
That these presents be sent open to the ambassador at the Hague, for his information.
That 300 ducats be given to the agents of the Ambassador Contarini for couriers and the carriage of letters.
Ayes, 103.Noes, 2.Neutral, 2.
Not given in time.
[Italian.]
Nov. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
580. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Since the arrival of the Sciambonetto no news has come from the island or the camp, perhaps because of the incessant rain. If there was good news the Cardinal would have sent it, in spite of all, while bad news would have come without couriers. In spite of all hindrances it must have got through in the eleven days which have passed since the French landed in the island. Thus the alarm which was prevalent at Paris for some time has given way to the firm assurance that the English and French, being equally afraid, have betaken themselves to civil means, avoiding the dangerous clash of arms. All conclude that this silence means a truce of at least a brief armistice, for the purpose of maturing a stable peace. Meanwhile they are eagerly waiting for certitude. Curiosity is on a par with interest, and the queen mother is now frequently praying and weeping. It cannot be long before advices come from the king or from some private person to clear things up.
The apprehension of good Frenchmen about a league between the crowns [of France and Spain], appears to me to be a bugbear rather than a reality. I come to this conclusion owing to what happened the day before yesterday. Mirabello was with the queen regnant, when the queen mother arrived there. As she entered one door he escaped by the other, which I consider a conclusive argument that the promises and negotiations of Spain will always be possibilities which can never be realised in substance.
Paris, the 11th November, 1627.
[Italian.]
Nov. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
581. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
This night letters reached the queen mother from the king and cardinal. I send a brief account of their contents by special courier, and will give further particulars later. The troops landed in the island were as reported. It seems, according to these last advices, that Schomberg, who had the command, has not yet been able to cross, owing to the bad weather, though he made several attempts. The king writes from Estre, near la Rochelle, that the English offered a stout resistance to the landing of his guards, but were repulsed, not without loss on both sides. Among persons of rank Marsan, who was Monsieur's tutor, and one of the colonels were slain, while Malissi one of their captains was mortally wounded.
The cardinal reports from Broaggio that Canaple, Crichi's son, advanced against the enemy's quarters, and while he was preparing to entrench himself and take up a defensive position, he was attacked by Buckingham, who at the same time attacked fort St. Martin. He was defeated and roughly handled in both places, losing at least 700 men in the fight with Canaple, and a still greater number near the fort, from which Toras made a sudden sortie, thus gloriously giving confirmation of his high qualities and putting the seal on his obstinate defence, inflicting more loss on the English in the last engagement than in all the rest put together.
The cardinal writes the queen mother to this effect, and at the end assures her that the English fleet will depart very soon.
The works about La Rochelle move very slowly, although the king frequently intervenes, owing to the abundant rains and the shortness of money. However, they make some progress every day. The forts alone do not suffice to cut it off entirely from the sea. Their hopes rest upon the chain, which Targoni does not promise to complete before five months. If this does not suffice, as they fear, they will have to sink several ships, in order to reduce the place. The cardinal lets it be understood that as this is his affair he is determined there shall be no miscarriage. In a sortie the citizens destroyed the demi lune defending the bridge, slew many and took several prisoners.
The roads between here and the camp are infested by assassins, Rochellese and Huguenots, so that it is impossible to pass without a strong escort.
Paris, the 12th November, 1627.
[Italian.]
Nov. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
582. SEBASTIANO VENIER, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Metaxa has begun to use the presses he brought from England, and has hired a large house. It was argued it had been taken away from the French and English ambassadors, but he stood out, speaking very strongly. He is printing the sermons of one Morgugni. The Jesuits accuse him of disseminating the heresies of the Archbishop of Spalato. They have greatly irritated the Greeks, and the Patriarch preaches against them every Sunday. The English ambassador declares he has been greatly insulted by the Jesuits, by the contemptuous and evil things they say against him and his countrymen since the beginning of the present war, to the French ambassador.
The Vigne of Pera, the 13th November, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Nov. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
583. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
While the queen mother was returning from offering thanks to God for the success against the English, she met on the Pont Neuf, Bergeran, the first gentleman of the king's chamber, who was present at the action. From him and from special letters from his Majesty the queen learned all the particulars about the 6th and 7th inst, of which I sent a confused account. I now give a more ordered narrative.
Last Saturday week Buckingham resolved to make a final trial of strength with Toras. He brought out from his ships all the troops fits for arms and made a most furious attack on the fort. Toras met this by defence behind his walls and by frequent sallies, showing a contempt for death and desperate bravery. After a long fight, with no small loss on both sides, the result was that Buckingham, seeing defeat was certain and that Fortune did not favour him, thought it best, as the lesser evil, to recall his men, and to bring them back in safety to their accustomed entrenchments. This occurred on Saturday the 6th. On Sunday, the 7th, Schombergh, who had been detained by bad weather, succeeded in getting across at night, and landed 2,000 infantry, including many nobles, in the island. He made good his landing with the pike, and sent word by Bergeran and another, whose name I have not succeeded in learning, to advise Toras of his arrival. They found Toras, early in the morning, outside the fort, directing the repairs of the bastions, half destroyed by the English attacks. He recognised them and sent them back to Sciomberg with a minute account of all that had happened the day before, and begging him to advance with all the haste possible, indicating the moment, as with him on one side, Canaple on the other and the marshal in front, they could all attack together upon an enemy already weary, discouraged and beaten, and perhaps drive them out of the island with shame and loss.
They proceeded to carry out this design, and with everyone doing his duty, English valour had to yield to the French. Buckingham resisted bravely, and the French themselves give him the honour of having wounded Malissi with the pike; but being pressed on all sides he gave ground until they reached a small water which intersects the island, over which they had built a bridge of boats, well guarded. Here they could not keep the retreat together, but everyone made for the point where he considered escape most likely. The battalions were scattered, and consequently the greatest losses of all the fight were incurred. In the two fights, if the royal letters are not modified, 1,500 English perished and 500 were taken prisoners, including persons of rank, the chief being Hachbornen, Buckingham's kinsman, who came to Paris a month ago with S. Saurino with proposals of peace, and Lord Mountjoy, kinsman of the Earl of Holland. We have not yet heard the numbers of the French killed and wounded. They said the general of the galleys was slain, a youth of 18 or 20 of the house of Gondi, of Florentine stock; but he was only slightly wounded in the neck, as we have heard since. I will send further particulars as they arrive.
Paris, the 13th November, 1627.
[Italian.]
Nov. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
584. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Many letters have come from France with news of the sufferings of the defenders of Fort St. Martin. Every hope rested on the new relief in preparation, and that a certain father, prior of the church of St. Martin in the island, promised to take it safely to the besieged, as he has done before. (fn. 5) They say that the king has promised him a bishopric and has vowed to rebuild the church of St. Martin, destroyed by the Huguenots and erect another to the Virgin on the shore. Monsieur has offered to take 5,000 to 6,000 men to the island in pinnaces, commanding them himself, compelling the English to fly to their ships for safety. The proposal was not accepted in order not to risk so many men and because the cardinal does not want Monsieur too far from the king. The prince was deeply offended and asked leave to return to Paris, but this also was refused.
The hopes that bad weather would force the English fleet to withdraw have disappeared, because naval experts have informed the Council that the ships could not be better placed for riding at anchor, even if storms arise, and the only way to make them go is to drive them away with a powerful force. But it is impossible to collect an overwhelming fleet in a short time. The English fleet consists of 160 sail, and the English do everything in their power to weaken France, both in seamen and ships. M. di Boissi writes to Marini from Brussels that the English have sunk three ships built for the Most Christian in the very port of Texel. Nothing is heard of the Spanish fleets, except Mirabello's promises, and the terms for their fulfilment have passed long since. The queen mother remonstrated strongly with him, but he only replied by repeating the promises. This is gradually leading to ill-feeling between France and Spain and many think that in order to make the French really enemies of the Spaniards it is necessary to unite them.
M. de Buglion informs Marini of the relief entering the fort and says they are sparing no efforts to shut in La Rochelle effectively. The cardinal has charge of the mole. In the middle they propose to keep some large pieces of ordnance to batter the ships which try to force it. But those who remember the efforts of the Duke of Parma to make one before Antwerp do not expect success here, where the force of the waves would destroy not only the mole but a regular fortification. Buglion also says that they propose to storm the two towers of La Rochelle, between which is stretched the chain preventing the entry of hostile ships. This might be easy, but it is considered impossible for them to close the mouth afterwards. His Majesty was to send a herald to summon the place, and Lodrieres protested to Buckingham that if the fleet left they would immediately open their gates to his Majesty.
We hear that Bassompierre has been sent to that fortress, though some say Bellegarde and others Vignoles. Buglion does not say a word about it to Marini, and although there is some talk of a revival of peace negotiations with England the names of the persons discredit it, because it is known that Vignoles is no confidant either of the cardinal or Buckingham. Bellegarde is Buckingham's bitter enemy, and Bassompierre is deeply mistrusted by the cardinal, while his unratified treaty stands in the way. He is in the habit of saying that one must draw the sword to settle disputes.
Turin, the 14th November, 1627.
[Italian.]
Nov. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
585. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They have prevailed upon Aerssens to accept the embassy, which will now consist of Aerssens, Vosbergh, Randuich and Pau. The first two for France and the others for England, although Carleton does not seem pleased, because Pau is interested in the West India Company and may make difficulties over the ships arrested. He tried to shut him out, but did not succeed, as if Pau went with Aerssens both would be of the Province of Holland, and Aerssens would have to yield precedence to Randuich. They should leave in a fortnight.
Rusdorf has arrived. He stayed at Hamburg after leaving here in order to go on to the diet of Mulhausen with Anstruther. Wallenstein prevented this, and Anstruther proposes to withdraw because the imperial party keeps growing stronger in Hamburg and endangers his safety. The Palatine regrets this because he expected some advantage from the presence of those two ministers at the diet, especially as the Electors will be present in person, except Brandenburg.
Colonel Morgen holds the three positions of Stadem, Bosthude and Hornborgh. He is in great danger as he has no more than 4,000 men, who can offer but little resistance to the 60 regiments of Wallenstein and the 37 of Tilly. There is a report that the States of Denmark have resolved not at admit any foreign troops into their fortresses.
The French ambassador called yesterday to see me, He said he heard from Aerssens that the pope had intimated to the Duke of Savoy that it was not well for him to intermeddle in the matter of the adjustment between the two Crowns and exhorted him to draw back. It seems that the same report has reached Carleton and he asked me for confirmation. I would not tell him anything. He remarked that even if it were true we must not stop doing this good work, and the pope might say what he liked.
The Hague, the 15th November, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
586. SEBASTIANO VENIER, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English ambassador called on me on Sunday to inform me that a letter had reached him from the administrator of Brandenburg in Transylvania, brought by a German gentleman who came with Gabor's ambassador, who delayed to present it for ten days because that ambassador forbad him to do so. (fn. 6) It relates that he had come at great peril to serve Denmark, but found the forces in Silesia destroyed and Gabor at peace with the emperor, alleging that he had taken this step because the money remitted for his use had been denied him. In the peace between the emperors two points are left unsettled, the restitution of Vacia and the contributions of the frontier towns. He urges him to do everything to upset this peace, and for that purpose the prince was sending his ambassador with the usual tribute.
The ambassador explained to me why he had not paid the money to Gabor and remarked on the fact that the prince's ambassador had not yet been to confer with him though he has been here some twelve days. He said he proposed to go on the following day to the Caimecan with the ambassador of Flanders and do all in his power to prevent the peace. He had a copy of the peace of 1606, but not the revision of 1608. I gave it to him with comments which he received gladly. He never asked me to co-operate with his offices either privately or publicly, but merely professed to show me every confidence. He asked me to delay my despatch until Tuesday night, after his offices.
Yesterday he came straight here from his audience of the Caimecan, saying he wanted me to know all from his own mouth. He said he had called on Gabor's ambassador before the audience, who made excuses for not visiting him, because of his important affairs. England retorted that he did not know of anything more important that to tell him if what they wrote about the views of his prince was true. England was afterwards introduced to the Caimecan together with Flanders, the Mufti of Buda, who made the peace, being present. They reminded him of his promises not to conclude anything without their assent; they asked him if he valued the esteem of their masters; and asked him for a copy of the articles so that they might point out the snares laid. He answered that he esteemed their friendship highly; he could tell them the substance of the articles but not show them as they were not drawn up. They said it was important to see everything. They remarked that if the peace was based on that of Xitua, the emperor and Spain would have great advantage in that of 1606, whereas that of 1608 made great changes. The Caimecan replied that the peace was a new one and the Spaniards would be absolutely excluded from it. Gabor's ambassador had made the same demands as they had, and claimed to be named in the peace, but the Imperialists objected saying that a general mention sufficed, including him and all his friends. He said this showed that the Imperialists meant to attack Gabor.
The ambassador told me this was the substance of a very long interview with the Caimecan. It was arranged that if the emperor's minister produced the articles at his audience, they should be shown to him. He did not tell me of the Caimecan saying anything about my request for the special mention of the republic. The reluctance to mention Gabor is a point of great importance.
These ambassadors are also to visit the Mufti and the Cadileschier; in short they will leave nothing undone, although they consider success practically impossible owing to the eagerness for the peace here.
The Vigne of Pera, the 16th November, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
587. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Danish ambassadors are still here. They have received the present but not the 1,000l. I wrote of, so one of them remains sick and the other does not leave the house or negotiate. I understand, indeed, that since the last bad news of their king's retreat to the island of Fionia they propose to try a new ford, hoping that this and other intelligence may effect some change though I dare not promise so much. Meanwhile, Sobl also remains here awaiting the three deputies daily expected from La Rochelle, (fn. 7) to see if the first overtures can be made through them, a scheme in which I believe the Dutch ambassador concurs, under the pretext that if these two powers ruin themselves over the French war, which is largely based on the interests of the reformed faith, the Rochellese would lose their support on other occasions.
The letter written by the duke announcing his intention of retiring if not succoured was not an invention, but true, for Dalbier on arriving at the islands found that part of the artillery and baggage was already on board. As he brought some provisions with him and the hope that the Earl of Holland would soon follow with more supplies, the duke came to the decision to attack Fort St. Martin or the smaller fort, La Pree, where the French are fortifying themselves, as they can easily obtain ingress, but cannot communicate as the duke is encamped between the two. The English have made a bridge to communicate with the neighbouring island of Loye, so as to have a safe retreat and embark without confusion and loss, a very bad sign. Two hundred English infantry have entered La Rochelle and in their stead there are 500 Frenchmen with the duke, for the purpose of creating emulation between the two nations in the assaults which they propose to make. To prevent Buckingham's departure La Rochelle has also furnished him with boats, ammunition, etc., though with a moderation compatible with the siege of the place, now begun by land. Three deputies from the city have held a conference with the duke and are expected daily with demands for assistance and to be included in all negotiations treated by England, so as not to be left alone, especially as the last manifest of the Huguenots declaring the Duke of Rohan their general had not the assent of all the reformed churches of France, but is merely ratified by a few of them.
Including the Irish, the duke has 5,000 men and 2,000 sick. The number of the last increases daily from the want of clothing at the approach of winter. The ships and the army are without provisions and necessaries, not having the succour from La Rochelle they expected, while it is difficult to supply them from England owing to the lack of money and dependence on the winds. So the duke inclined to make the last effort by assault against the opinion of Soubise, who advocates a siege. Between the duke and the colonels and between the colonels themselves there are disputes and dissatisfaction. At the first, the duke, to make himself popular, treated them well, and now when hardships begin they say they must not risk the honour gained at the landing. I hear of no commander of experience or remarkable ability among them. In short, the more hope declines the more anxious are they for the result, which cannot long be delayed. I believe that the next advices will show what good or evil may be expected for the future from these pernicious emergencies. I think the Council here and the king himself begin to disapprove of the army remaining out this winter, as therein consists the entire force of the kingdom, and they would risk too much by leaving it at the mercy of the stormy winds; so I feel all the more certain that some resolute attempt will speedily be made.
The Earl of Holland put to sea four times but was always driven back by tempestuous winds with the loss of some ships and no slight damage, so he is still at Plymouth. As this is the sole hope of succour, many believe that the force has already withdrawn while others say that Buckingham will enter La Rochelle with some reinforcement of troops, though I believe there are many obstacles to this. The king sends expresses to Lord Holland daily, enjoining departure, but it is very difficult to combat the elements.
The Marquis of Spinola is at Dunkirk to send out 26 ships, but owing to the boisterous weather two of them ran aground in the harbour. On this account and by the usual devices delay continues in order that the United Provinces, who have strengthened their guard to prevent the Dunkirkers from coming out, may become suspicious of the French, for whose service the Spaniards let it be understood this squadron is destined. But I hear on good authority that at present France, whether alone or in company, will not attack the English fleet because it is too strong, preferring to await events at the island. Should the English retire without taking it, France will not need Spanish help, and if they succeed the English must keep a certain number of ships there, in which case France intends to attack them with advantage. So happen what may, the English, even if victorious, risk a loss, being compelled to incur loss and trouble.
London, the 16th November, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
588. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Abbot Scaglia is urging the Villafranca matter and would like the king to order the merchants here to desert Leghorn. I do not see any sign of his succeeding, as trade wants a free course, and to turn in the direction where gain is greater.
Upon current events he has hitherto spoken with the ministers in general terms, saying that if the king wants war with France his master will try to second it with all his might, as he wishes to remain always united with his Majesty, but should he incline towards peace the Duke of Savoy is anxious not to remain alone, distrusted by both the French and the Spaniards at the same time, so he would fain act as mediator or be included in the peace. He evidently aims at personal advantage, whatever may happen. On this same subject a gentleman sent by Montagu arrived lately from Turin, announcing the duke's suspicions that some treaty is being negotiated in France without him, the report having been artfully circulated by the cardinal when Buckingham's gentleman arrived with the one from Toiras. For the rest, Scaglia believes that the moment for benefiting the public cause is past, and the right time was two years ago, through the league of the Valtelline. He pledges his master soberly to save his decorum, and awaiting Buckingham's return transacts but little other business. He complains that I do not visit him, saying your Serenity's ministers treated him very differently. I answer courteously that he must address his complaints to the Danish ambassadors, as I merely follow their example in this affair, though I can assure him of your Excellencies' esteem. I do not know if he is satisfied, because I suspect he is rather ill-used.
Lionel Wake, who came as reported from Antwerp to arrange about the two ships between England and Dunkirk, has at last succeeded and the ships at once obtained a heavy freight of woollens, which it is difficult to dispose of elsewhere. At first this caused me some suspicion after Gerbier's coming and the peace proposed by the Spaniards for trade alone, but I subsequently ascertained that Lionel Wake got thus far by means of a certain sum of money. However, the Dutch ambassador remonstrated, and they told him that his masters also negotiated a treaty for trade with the Infanta's provinces without England's knowledge. He therefore warned the Dutch blockading squadron which certainly will not allow them to pass, and although the merchants are content to run some risk this may easily augment the ill feeling between the two nations. Owing to this resolve of the ambassador and the remonstrances he keeps making, the business may be delayed through the difficulties thus raised, many of the Council being still opposed to what was decreed.
The bad news received by the Dutch ambassador of the retreat from Denmark of Morgan's troops back to Stade, whither the United Provinces sent secret agents and provisions to keep them on foot, and of the obstacles raised by the emperor to the peace between Poland and Sweden, have caused him to renew his offices with the ministers here for a settlement with France, but as yet he meets with no better success than heretofore. Here they strongly object to the help promised by the emperor to the Bishop of Verdun by means of a strong diversion by the French there. But honest men think that this ought rather to give an impulse to peace, so that these two kings might conspire together for the reparation of Germany, especially as the ambitions about the empire are manifest from intercepted letters of the Infanta, as she desires Valstein and Tilly to make sure of some of the Baltic fortresses, against the fleets, and to make forays with the cavalry in the territories of Cleves belonging to the States, or in Friesland and Groningen under favour of the coming winter's ice.
I hear that a gentleman (fn. 8) has arrived in Scotland from the King of Denmark to warn some levies of that nation not to go to the Elbe as originally ordered but to join him towards the Sound.
Some 4,000 more English are being pressed with difficulty, and they find it equally hard to provision the fleet for three months. All these supplies will proceed as slowly as the former ones.
The king has commanded the Scottish colonel, Bruce, to go to the islands, without any charge, to act as counsellor to the duke. He was formerly governor of Gradisca during the disputes with your Serenity and he left the emperor's service immediately the wars of the Palatinate began. (fn. 9)
London, the 16th November, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
589. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Both queens have received congratulations upon the success at the islands. I also fulfilled this duty, going first to the queen regnant. I afterwards saw the queen mother alone. She received me graciously. She told me she had received further letters from the king, confirming the news, and somewhat increasing the losses of the English. She heard that Buckingham was wounded in the face and side; that the Earl of Holland's brother was slain, and the general of the artillery taken, in short, all the prisoners are persons of rank and military officers. They will have cause to remember France and the Isle of Res; she did not know what praise Buckingham would get from posterity for his enterprise. They are driven back to their ships, but are not leaving. They had asked for their dead of the highest rank, and she thought that would be granted. She did not know what they meant to do or why they did not go. She had hoped by the marriage to bind the two crowns more closely together, but their relations had become worse than before. She esteemed both kings, and there was the public need as an additional stimulus. She assured me that she would do all she could, but she could not always do all that she would like. The king, her son, had ennobled all the garrison of St. Martin. It was a great thing, as they would enjoy all the privileges, and might aspire to any position of honour and advantage. Monsieur would be here in a couple of days, so the king will not be far behind, since he had decided to spend the winter at Paris, leaving Angoulême and Targoni to besiege La Rochelle.
Paris, the 18th November, 1627.
[Italian.]
Nov. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
590. To the Ambassador in England.
We enclose a copy of our reply to the exposition of the Ambassador Wake. You will, at the first opportunity, point out to his Majesty our zeal and try to discover his views. The present state of affairs may possibly facilitate the intent of your discourse, and we need not enlarge on the subject, referring you to our reply to the ambassador. We have no letters from you by this ordinary. Those from the Hague tell us of a long conference between Carleton and Soranzo. You will see what support that minister has, and we are sending the particulars to Zorzi, to find out what they think there, so that we may have a good foothold in such an important matter.
Ayes, 84.Noes, 2.Neutral, 2.
Not given in time.
[Italian.]
Nov. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
591. That the English ambassador be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him:
No one regrets more than ourselves the differences between his Majesty and the Most Christian. Your recent communication proves your confidence, for which we thank you, and corresponds with our evident desire to see the two crowns united, in order to balance the forces of others. It is only too evident what grave prejudice the two powers are suffering in Germany and elsewhere, while they are consuming their forces against each other. Those who desire their welfare are sorrowful spectators of such a calamity, which touches the public cause to the quick. Our zeal has induced us to make this reply, and we would willingly employ our good offices if an opportunity presented itself. We eagerly desire to see some good result of what we have frequently said in both Courts in favour of a reconciliation. (fn. 10)
We have given full satisfaction to the English merchants trading at Zante and Cephalonia, and we have issued orders about the Prince of Brandenburg which show him more favour. The republic will always show alacrity to please his Majesty, to whom we wish every prosperity.
Ayes, 84.Noes, 2.Neutral, 2.
Not given in time.
[Italian.]
Nov. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
592. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
There are various reasons for the agitation and confusion of the queen mother; they say the chief is her anger with the Spaniards for the way in which they have conducted the affair. The Spanish ambassador has avoided her. Last week she sent for him and asked him when the Dunkirk ships or the galleons of Coruña would appear, as she was assured that the latter were immoveable and the former were sailing for other parts. He replied that as the Cardinal Laqueva had advised him of their departure he was amazed at not having heard from Brussels of their arrival, though it must come soon. The queen perceived the daring falsehood and that Mirabello was at his usual tricks, but she let him go without betraying her wrath. She published afterwards that the ships which she expected to help France must already be in Denmark for the enterprise of the Sound, adding that if any one was not clear about the Spaniards after such an experience, it would be necessary to conclude that difficulties which stood in the way of a favourable issue were not the open assistance of the English, but the secret help of the Spaniards, of which she had undoubted proofs.
I have impressed upon my informants, that, now the veil is removed, the opportunity is favourable for friendly princes to take active steps to bring about peace between France and England.
The affairs of Lorraine are adjusted and Chevreuse expects to return very soon. The blow received by the English has produced an effect in Lorraine, so that everything was immediately settled.
Paris, the 19th November, 1627.
[Italian.]
Nov. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
593. To the Ambassador in France.
We enclose our reply to the English ambassador. We wish you to go to the king and represent to him how much more glory he will reap from an accommodation, as we consider the present moment opportune, while he will suffer great harm if St. Martin surrenders to the English. You will show that we are moved by zeal for the welfare of Christendom by the reunion of the two crowns. You will try to discover the intentions of France, which it is necessary for us to know, and the information we send will help you in this.
Ayes, 88.Noes, 0.Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
Nov. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
594. ANZOLO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Some sensible men at this Court are much struck at the prosperity of the emperor and affairs in Germany at present, and wonder how far his victorious arms will reach especially considering that the two kings of France and England, who might put some obstacle in their way are at present engaged in settling their own quarrels, a deplorable vanity in our age and a fatality which goes side by side with the ruin of the general liberty.
Most conclude that owing to the emperor's poor spirit, his unfitness for military affairs and the uncertain attitude of the German troops he will not go to fight far from home especially seeing how short they are of money. All the same, I am assured on good authority that here at the Palace they devote some attention to the numerous successes of the House of Austria in Germany. The nuncio in Germany having written that the emperor's forces will not be used against the Dutch, who are too strong, they have written back that Caesar might send them against Bethlen Gabor and the Turk.
Rome, the 20th November, 1627.
[Italian.]
Nov. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
595. ANZOLO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ordinary of France arrived in the early part of this week. The departure of Montagu from Turin is confirmed, recalled by his king, who apparently does not desire peace, being alarmed by the good understanding between the French and Spaniards, and especially disturbed by the alliance the King of France has concluded with the Dutch, cutting him off from their help. The French ambassador believes that the King of Great Britain desires peace on his own terms and will not listen to the clause without which the Most Christian cannot listen to terms.
Rome, the 20th November, 1627.
[Italian.]
Nov. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
596. AGOSTIN VIANUOL, Venetian Secretary at Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have utilised with the necessary caution the news that the Duke of Savoy these last months had declared Villefranche a free port and taken other steps, showing how much he clings to the idea of introducing trade there. I have been assisted by the English duke who wants to make reprisals at Leghorn upon goods from England, and who has been prevented so far by the jealousy of that most flourishing mart, where I learn that English ships have recently arrived. I have similarly utilised the eagerness shown by the Duke of Savoy for the expedition of the Abbot Scaglia to England, and also of the recourse to Piedmont of the English merchants who were at Marseilles and in Provence, all with the object of inducing them here, when they realise the danger of losing the resort of the English to Leghorn in any case, to make up their minds to the said reprisals, owing to the immediate benefit offered to the duke, as I wrote on the 26th June last. With these efforts of mine, the duke's claims, and the announcement that they mean to cite to Rome the English merchants at Leghorn and the Florentines who have had commerce with them, to which ideas I give my approval, I keep hoping that something may happen to upset that trade and help ours to the same extent. I labour to this end and the arrival of some English ships in the port of Villefranche at this moment has helped wonderfully, by suggesting the imminence of that affair. Accordingly my hopes increase of co-operation from this quarter in destroying the trade of Leghorn. The duke has already remarked to me that their Highnesses contemplate a step which they did not previously approve, in permitting him to make reprisals to enforce his claims, and now they have better colour they may perhaps consent. The title of Duke of Northumberland, the leading duke in England, which the emperor adjudged belonged legitimately to him, they would not give to him previously for frivolous reasons advanced to the contrary by some of the Grand Duke's councillors, who have little affection for this individual.
I have informed your Serenity of this important matter and hope you will approve of my efforts. I will send word of future developments.
Florence, the 20th November, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 In writing of this audience on the 2nd Nov., o.s., Wake says that he first translated the narrative of proceedings between England and France written by Secretary Coke and sent him by Lord Carleton; then "having framed of myself some instructions I did cause them to be read likewise as if they had been sent unto me out of England; and lastly, upon these two papers I did ground my proposals, which I did likewise deliver in writing, signed by my hand. If your lordship will be pleased to avow that paper of instructions, you shall do me much honour but it is enough for me if you do not disavow them, because I put no name unto them." Wake explains that he acted thus because France had filled all Italy with relations, declarations and many libellous pamphlets prejudicial to the honour of his Majesty, so "I resolved to appear once more upon the same stage, with a desire to stop the mouth of malice itself." S.P. Foreign, Venice.
2 A copy of this, in Italian, is among the State Papers, Foreign, Venice.
3 A copy of this in Italian, with an English translation, is among the State Papers, Foreign, Venice; and it is also printed in the Negotiations of Sir Thomas Roe, page 711.
4 "Carità pelosa dicesi in proverbio quando sotto spezie di carità verso altrui si tende al proprio utile ed interesse." Vocobolario degli Accademici della Crusca.
5 Apparently Placide de Bremon, who called himself prior of Tonguy and Guinegaud, who also wrote a relation of the affair. Danjon and Cimber: Archives Curienses, IIe Serie, vol, iii, pages 59, 60.
6 Roe gives the name of Gabor's ambassador as Francisco Micoferenz. Negotiations, page 707.
7 Their names are given in a letter to Charles from La Rochelle of the 17th November as David, Vincent and Dehuisse. S.P. Foreign, France.
8 Sir George Keith; see letter of the King of Denmark to Charles of the 19th Dec., 1627. State Papers, Foreign, Denmark.
9 Sir Henry Bruce. There is a warrant dated the 13 Nov., old style, to pay him 300l., to be employed for the king's secret service. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1627–8, page 431.
10 The text of the reply up to this point is printed in Negotiations of Sir Thomas Roe, page 719.