Venice
December 1627, 21-31

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1914

Pages

527-539

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'Venice: December 1627, 21-31', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 20: 1626-1628 (1914), pp. 527-539. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89141 Date accessed: 23 October 2014.


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December 1627

Dec. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
665. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Botru, the gentleman sent with the news of the action with the English, remains here. He will leave this week if a courier arrives bringing word of the arrival of the Spanish fleet with Don Federico di Toledo, off that island. The Spaniards claim that the movement of their fleet did more to drive away the English than the sword of the French, and put the victory to their account.
Madrid, the 21st December, 1627.
[Italian, the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
666. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
On Tuesday Montagu at last arrived with a very large escort of infantry and cavalry. He is placed in the Bastille, but will not be examined before the little Buglione reaches Paris. As Richelieu sent to him several days ago it seems strange that he has not yet appeared. They fear that the report may die away, and the minister, being inclined to gain time and make him suffer, there will be all manner of obstacles. His favour and intimacy with the Duchess of Chevreuse certainly will not help him with the cardinal. However, the Prince of Falsburgh is his proctor here and neglects nothing in his interests. Although he has received no definite promise, yet the queen mother said enough to him to give him grounds for hope; but he must not expect excess of kindness. What the one asks and the other does not deny is that after they have made him pay his due (preso il suo debito) once, twice or thrice, he shall be freely released and restored to Lorraine, in order, to some extent, to cover the reputation of the duke there. Onlookers judge that the queen mother is not free in the matter, but very nearly in a position to decide. Others believe that Falsburgh will not be able to stay here long, and she is unwilling to satisfy him with acts, but proposes to let him go with fair words. We shall see.
On the day after Wednesday, the feast of St. Thomas, the standards and guns taken from Buckingham at the Isle of Res, entered the gate of St. Jacques with the greatest pomp and ceremony. Besides the infantry and cavalry countless numbers of the beau monde here accompanied them, with the greatest rejoicings. They were first taken to the Louvre and presented to the queens, and then taken in procession and placed in the church of Notre Dame. In this also the queen mother broke her word, allowing herself to be dissuaded from a generous act by Cardinal Berulle. In response to one who longs for peace between the crowns and suggested the idea, she said that if the king had presented the prisoners to his sister, she also would give the standards to her daughter. Monsieur, who was present, commended what she said and begged her to do it. But she changed, I know not how, and instead of diminishing the bitter feeling has only increased it, since they have now triumphed over England and the English for two days running.
The queen mother has sent M. de Meos or the Seigneur delle Rame, as they call her steward, to accompany the English prisoners and present them to the Queen of England, but with orders, under pain of her displeasure, to see and visit no one but the queen, her daughter.
Paris, the 23rd December, 1627.
[Italian.]
Dec. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
667. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
As Targoni's wooden stockade proved unable to resist the storms and the guns of La Rochelle, he proposes fresh plans; but as experience has not justified his hopes and the expense has been very great, the cardinal inclines to turn to other professors of the same arts. They propose to build a mole across the mouth of the port of stone instead of wood, and another engineer has come forward. This occupies the attention of every one at the present time. They can only work at low tide, but if the work is completed the Huguenots themselves see that La Rochelle is lost. They promise the king that the mole will be completed in less than three months.
I hear on good authority that one, Baron di Poisol, a man of spirit and a creature of the cardinal, under the pretence of going on his travels, is being sent by the cardinal to Holland to find out what secret understanding exists between the English and the States, to Piedmont to discover the objects of the Duke of Savoy and the Count of Soissons, and to Venice to clear up once and for all what intrigues the Duchess of Rohan and the Duke of Candales are carrying on with your Excellencies, and if the Senate is giving help or advice to them or to other malcontents and enemies of France, as they suspect.
Paris, the 24th December, 1627.
[Italian.]
Dec. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
668. ANZOLO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Bethune went to chapel last Sunday as he promised. In the middle of mass he suddenly asked me if the most serene republic had sent a gentleman to France to arrange peace between his master and England. I told him I knew nothing about it. Bethune remarked: To tell the truth I am extremely sorry that this Mantua business has happened while my king's relations with England are so strained. If the two crowns could be reconciled it would greatly assist the public cause, and the Most Christian is quite ready and willing for an accommodation, provided they do not speak of his rebel subjects. But more powerful and influential means are required for this than the States of Holland, who have already sent an ambassador to France, and another to England for this peace. More zeal and better instruments are required to obtain this great boon.
I merely expressed my sense of the advantage Christendom would derive from the union of these two great kings, but I would not dwell on the subject, as it was apparent that this gentleman wished the most serene republic to intervene to bring about a reconciliation and peace between the two crowns.
Rome, the 25th December, 1627.
[Italian.]
Dec. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
669. AGOSTIN VIANUOL, Venetian Secretary at Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They consider here that the arrest of Montagu in Lorraine by the French will be very distasteful to the Duke of Savoy. Madame was advised of it, and is said to have offered large sums for his release. They have taken from him all papers about his negotiations at Turin. The Duke of Lorraine is also offended at the behaviour of the French in making this arrest in his state.
Florence, the 25th December, 1627.
[Italian.]
Dec. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Milano.
Venetian
Archives.
670. PIER ANTONIO MARIONI, Venetian Resident at Milan, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Florentine ambassador has advices from Paris of the 18th of the great victory over the English; the ensigns taken, numbering forty-six, and four guns, were to enter Paris on the 19th in triumph. The ministers would not need pressing to make peace with England, provided the English did not want the Rochellese included. At Morbihan they have begun to buy Spanish ships: they already have thirty. The others and those of Dunkirk being also tossed about by the fortunes of the sea.
Milan, the 26th December, 1627.
[Italian.]
Dec. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
671. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
All the consultations relate to raising money. The king and the duke always attend the Council when the matter is discussed, the best part of their time and attention being devoted to it. Many bargains are on the carpet, but none has been concluded as yet. This is a difficult matter anywhere, but above all where ancient customs have great authority. The judges of the kingdom being appealed to by his Majesty's advocates and the persons imprisoned for refusing the late forced loans, who maintained that their arrest was illegal, passed sentence in favour of the king. This award, which will have the force of a law, ought to facilitate the future contributions. But the public mind is truly obstinate. They already talk of a ten per cent income tax. With the London companies they are negotiating the sale of Crown lands to the amount of 120,000l. sterling. With the Catholics in the north it has been agreed that they are to pay an annual census for the free exercise of their faith in their own houses, and the like is in progress in these provinces. There is an idea of giving some prerogative to all titled persons for the confirmation of their privileges, for which they will pay a fixed sum down. This in short is the centre whither all the lines of the present negotiations tend, and in my opinion the course of the others which are yet more important will be regulated by their ebb and flow.
For the last campaign the army is creditor for the amount of 60,000l., without the transports, which will also require a certain sum. Until this debt is paid off the king pays exorbitant sums as interest. Being unable to disband the troops he has to keep on foot this considerable force at his own cost, without making any use of it. Since the army returned it has never been inspected for this reason, and also in order that the entire loss may not be known. Many of the officers who have come home fall sick; others are warned by their friends not to speak, unless under compulsion, and others remain as prisoners in the provinces for having talked too much. Even the king's own physician (fn. 1) has been dismissed for saying that his Majesty did not yet know the full tale of those who were slain at the Isle of Rhe.
Such unusal storms at sea prevail this year that more than a hundred good ships are known to have been lost in various parts of the kingdom, over 4,000 sailors having perished, while those who returned with the fleet from the islands fall sick wholesale by scores daily, especially in Plymouth harbour. Seven ships of war foundered lately, two belonging to the king, (fn. 2) and five the property of merchants, besides many others which can be saved. The loss thus incurred is considerable.
The king has directed the Admiralty to give him an exact account of the navy, which I hear on good authority has been represented to him as in a worse plight than ever it was before. It may be expected to deteriorate daily, since many no longer care to build ships with trade declining. If the Imperialists remain in possession of the positions they now hold on the shores of the Baltic and in Holstein, the English will be unable, even if they wish, to keep up the amount and good quality of their vessels, as they will lack the most necessary materials for ship-building, such as cordage, pitch and tall masts, as those districts alone supply all nations. But all do not bear this in mind.
The want of money delays and may possibly bring to naught the already arranged journey of the Earl of Carlisle. I understand that he demands 20,000l. for his outfit, besides a fixed salary of 160 crowns a day, so long as he remains abroad. In addition to this there is the imprisonment of Montagu upon the plea that all those schemes have been discovered, as also the opinions of some, as reported, who consider the expense unseasonable, and the mission more hazardous than profitable or decorous under existing circumstances. Notwithstanding this I hear that the Savoyard ambassador is doing his utmost to keep it on foot in the interests of his master, some being of opinion that should this not take place he will attempt to have the matter transferred to the Court of Turin by means of the English ambassador at Venice, who, I understand, is very desirous of this task, as he is on terms of great intimacy with the Duke of Savoy.
The victuals for La Rochelle have not yet departed, much difficulty having arisen about hiring the vessels which are to take them, by reason of danger from the forts which command that channel. The deputies from La Rochelle have not seen any other foreign minister except the Dutch ambassador, to whom they gave the recently printed manifesto, which your Excellencies will have seen long ago. It was privately intimated to the Danish ambassadors that they wished to see them, but the Rochellese apologised for not being able to do so, without the duke's consent, in order not to create the slightest suspicion of renouncing the protection of England, into whose arms they have thrown themselves entirely. A certain wise man tells me that the Rochellese are very well pleased to have interested the King of England in their defence, before it was based on air, but now they think they have secured it for the future.
The arguments to be derived from the ruin of the common cause and from the sacrifice of Germany, and indeed of the English forces at the Isle of Rhe, coupled with the present debility, ought to induce the Rochellese to place their hopes at present rather in negotiation than in arms. But I am apprehensive of the counsels of Soubise.
Some Dutch vessels freighted with goods for France were stopped at Portsmouth, and on this occasion a consultation was held about forbidding them to carry such merchandise in general, being prohibited as military stores, as observed at present with regard to the Hamburgers who trade to Spain. The Dutch ambassador remonstrated with the king and ministers about this, setting forth the very great confusion which would arise in the Low Countries which support themselves and the war at the same time solely by trade and navigation. I believe they promised not to make any innovation, according to the paper given him at the beginning of this rupture. As some persons are still of opinion that England will endeavour by all means to make the United Provinces declare themselves in her favour, it may be supposed that this mixture of harshness has this in view, though the ambassador points out that a similar demonstration would on the contrary give the last blow to the common cause as well as to the private interests of England and of the United provinces, nor is he at all apprehensive of this declaration.
The two ships which were laden some time ago with woollen cloth have arrived at Dunkirk. The need of disposing of the surplus and providing for deficiency forbids the assignment of any reasonable limit. I understand that other vessels also are lading for that voyage, the premium for insurance being 12 per cent, nor can the declaration of war, the league with the States, or the remonstrances of the ambassador take their due effect since the Dutch off the coast of Flanders daily lose vigour and that ancient fierceness which heretofore rendered them the firstborn of Neptune.
London, the 27th December, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
672. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
No answer has yet been given to the paper of the Danish ambassadors asking for ships, men and money for the spring, owing to the occupations reported, and perhaps because the government takes but little notice of them. The duke gave them fair hopes at the first conference, but since the arrival of Soubise and the deputies from La Rochelle it seems that these grand expectations cool, as they say that the defence of these coasts does not allow them to divide the fleet. The matter was discussed in Council, and they said the need of Denmark might be supplied either by the merchantmen which ply habitually towards the Sound and Hamburg, or by requesting the United Provinces to send those stationed off Dunkirk, while the English undertook to defend those coasts, as they have their vessels nearer France and at any rate under their own disposal. To this the Danish ambassadors replied in the first place that the States have done more than they were bound to do, that they are too deeply interested in the blockade of Dunkirk and cannot trust the English, whose trade with that place steadily develops. As to the merchants, they will either not employ their vessels for this service, or if employed they would not risk them save for their own advantage. Small and ill armed forces would merely induce the Hamburgers to make greater efforts in self defence, nor will they be able as they wish to excuse themselves to the Imperialists. In Spain there are fifty Hamburg ships which will return in the spring. The greater the forces left on foot the greater will be the enemy's strength. Thus they procrastinate and demand a written reply, in which, without talking of peace with France, they would fain insert expressions of readiness to support Germany, provided the French do the like and leave the Huguenots in peace. On these two conditions they declare that the arrangement of everything will be easy. The Danes wish to take this paper to France, that it may serve as the basis for some negotiation, which would be the more easy as by promising a certain number of ships to Denmark the French would no longer fear hostilities, and would bind themselves to give the assistance previously promised to Sobl, as I wrote.
Whether they will obtain such a paper I know not, but I have my doubts, as the English are suspicious that owing to ties of kin and the interests of their masters the proposals made by the Danish ministers may be construed as a first advance from this side. The Dutch ambassador, whilst negotiating earnestly for liberty of trade for his countrymen, had some opportunity, he tells me, for speaking about the peace. He thought of conferring with the ambassadors extraordinary who are to go over to France, if his masters approve of it, and draw up together a form of agreement, which when shown to either Court, at one and the same time, if it fails to take effect, will at least draw the objections, rendering them clear and negotiable. He tells me that this method has succeeded before in removing delay, which is more mischievous than anything, and unless the adjustment be made in two months at the most, it will be very difficult to manage, as they will not want to waste their preparations and expenditure. He spoke about this conference to the duke, who does not disapprove of it. The ambassador delays speaking of the details of the terms, which might be most acceptable here, until the States sanction his project. If this is the case, it seems to me that a tacit inclination to negotiate is a great step, and that all these severeties proclaimed against freedom of trade and navigation are for intimidation. With the same object they announce armaments in the spring, the recall of Vere from Holland and similar threats, which cannot be made good owing to the present penury and need of the kingdom, unless they find a considerable quantity of money.
The ambassador of Savoy also proclaims the need of peace, but modified by the interests of his master, and by the transfer of his power, as already made to him by Montagu, since whose imprisonment all the reliance on that side is shaken on account of what might transpire about their schemes, to break the Duke of Savoy's confidence in France. That country is apparently trying its hardest to gain ground for the sole purpose of winning advantage in the present negotiations for peace, hence also the hesitation about Carlisle's journey. Meanwhile this minister continues to second the operations of the king and duke, which are to effect a change in the policy of France and to oust the present government. Possibly his views would be the soundest, but it is not at all times desirable to stretch the string until it break, whilst Germany and the whole of Christendom are going to ruin. The physician who flatters his patient, harms instead of curing him.
Such is a compendium to this date, of the schemes, ends and designs of the ministers resident at this Court. As for my own opinions, I will say with all respect, that the king and duke are intent on revenge; but their ardour may be tempered by necessity as well as by public opinion, which by no means approves of this unnecessary war, combined with so many disasters. England, having suffered in repute, cannot be the first to speak, the more so because the slightest suspicion of a leaning towards peace would discourage that small remnant of friends by whose means she may be hoping to disturb France again. Although the two demands made by the duke are in some respects exorbitant, they may easily serve to open negotiations, should the French incline thereto, and if the French make any reasonable overture here they will not let it drop. The first step should be either a suspension of hostilities, by sea on this side, and at La Rochelle by the Most Christian, or else, and this would be the surest, that the Huguenots themselves should make a separate peace with the Most Christian, which would remove the impediment of any pretext on the part of England, and of one point, which in my opinion is impracticable, namely that the Most Christian should negotiate about his own subjects with a foreign power. All these particulars I communicate to his Excellency Zorzi, either for his own instruction or for such operations as he may be ordered to undertake in order to bring the parties to a favourable state of mind, elicit their views and acquaint me with them with such circumspection as may render them the least exposed to private passions, to vulgar discussion and to the artifices of malignant persons, who delight, in these broils and profit by them, and also that the dignity and advantage of your Excellencies may thus be augmented.
London, the 27th December, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
673. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Temple departed without having negotiated anything, and the present moment does not seem favourable for overtures. However, since the last advices from London some suspicion has been aroused by the expedition of the Earl of Carlisle to Lorraine, as he is to go through Brussels, and they fear some treaty of adjustment with England. Of a surety they will only think of standing on the defensive, as when the ice comes it will facilitate invasion.
From what Carleton told me, the earl will not start before the ambassadors extraordinary of the States arrive. They are still detained here by contrary winds, and the Danish ambassadors have been waiting more than two months to leave here. Carleton told me that a fleet of Hamburgers might interpose and endeavour to achieve something. I replied that there was good reason to believe that they would know how to win some advantage, because the interests of so many friendly and allied princes were concerned, the kinsmen of his Majesty. He said the matter is very difficult, and I do not know what to expect. I believe that the offices of Scaglia are very much to be feared, the more so as it seems the intentions of the king and the interests of Buckingham tend towards the continuation of the rupture. This will be encouraged by that minister so far as he can make good the pretensions of the duke to be the sole motive power of this great machine and arbiter of the adjustment. If Carlisle arrives here and proposes negotiations for new leagues, (fn. 3) I foresee that they will not listen to him, because it is now recognised that he is only trying to gain time in order to postpone the succours, with similar specious pretexts, and in the present state of affairs here they cannot receive greater hurt than from delay, while the interests of Denmark also require diligent application.
We hear from Stadem that General Morghem has retaken the fort which the Imperialists occupied, and is making himself safe.
The Hague, the 27th December, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
674. To the Bailo at Constantinople.
It is in our interest in present circumstances that you should maintain good relations with the English ambassador. You will remonstrate strongly with him, because English ships not only attack French ones, although laden with the goods of our subjects, in which case they should rightly be considered as Venetian, but even attack in our own waters and in sight of our islands, the ships of our subjects, on the pretext that they are French, as happened recently near Zante. If they continue to act thus we shall have to take steps in the matter. He is a prudent minister, and will be able to give the necessary orders to the ships of his countrymen which arrive in those parts. For your information we enclose a copy of the decision of the Senate strictly forbidding our subjects to navigate foreign ships. You will see that this is carried out.
Ayes, 131.Noes, 3.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Dec. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
675. To the Ambassador in England.
We have informed you of the good understanding between his Majesty's ambassador at Constantinople and our Bailo. The Englishman expressed his regret at the continuation of the war between his king and the Most Christian, and suggested that the republic was the instrument best adapted to accommodate those differencies. The Bailo made a prudent reply. He says the ambassador is a good Englishman, no friend of the Spaniards, against whom he would like to see his country's sword drawn. He told the Bailo in confidence of the orders the English ships have to plunder French goods in the Levant, and their designs upon a certain ship which is shortly to leave that city, laden with the goods of our merchants for Venice. The Bailo tried to stop this; and as some English ships have attacked ships of our subjects at Zante, which has led us to take certain measures for defence, and we are sure that such acts are contrary to the wishes of his Majesty and the views of his Council, you will take occasion to commend to them the prudence of the ambassador, and remonstrate strongly about the attack on our subjects, trying to obtain orders that our ships shall be respected in the same way that we respect those of the English.
Ayes, 131.Noes, 3.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Dec. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
676. SEBASTIANO VENIER, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have at last obtained the articles of the peace. The English ambassador and the others have not succeeded in getting them yet.
The Vigne of Pera, the 28th December, 1627.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
677. SEBASTIANO VENIER, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Pesce Brun, which left here recently, has parted from the English ship, which took port at Vatica while it went on to Suda, where it will remain for fear of pirates.
I am advised from Scios that the English ship which left here for Venice, on arriving at the port of St. Nicolo di Leumona on the island of Cerigo, captured a French tartana which put in there on its way to Alessandria. Three sailors escaped and informed the Proveditore, who sent troops down. These captured nine English who were on land getting water. In this way he compelled the master to give up the ship and men. The captain made excuses saying he had orders to do this from his king, but the Proveditore replied that it was not proper to take prizes in the ports of the republic. It may easily be that the captain thought he would not be found out after he had parted from the Venetian ship, and acted thus in spite of his promise to the English ambassador.
The Vigne of Pera, the 28th December, 1627.
[Italian.]
Dec. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
678. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
After the despatch of my last letters, I received the ducal missives of the 27th November, forwarded by Zorzi, which crossed the sea in my boat. I rejoice that my poor services have given satisfaction. I will do as commanded with the king and ministers, and send a full report. For the greater advantage of the affair, I have to state that Lord Mountjoy, who was made prisoner at the Isle of Rhe, came over in the same boat. Mons. de Meaux (Demo), governor of Pondese, came over with him, but has not yet arrived in London, to present him to the queen, together with all the other prisoners, numbering ninety, who will follow by sea. De Meaux is a creature of the cardinal. It may be suspected that he is come to spy. In spite of this the governor of Calais writes me the enclosed letter about him, but I shall use it very cautiously, in order not to lose the confidence I enjoy here. Should I hear anything further from him or others it will serve to forward the intentions of your Excellencies, if not, I will not on this account delay acquainting the state and Zorzi with what I may elicit with respect to your commands. From what I wrote in my last and other letters, you will have seen that all the stimulants must be applied in France, until the real ends of the government can be ascertained. But little can be added to such overtures as the duke made to me lately without the utter ruin of the affair, because if the French see any eager desire for peace they will puff themselves up and grow too proud. For the rest, I regret that as war between neighbours was always most difficult to adjust, especially when coupled with natural antipathy, ancient hatred and crooked policy, so any day may procure unfortunate accidents to change the whole scene.
The replies to a despatch from Italy are more than three months on the road. Five weeks have elapsed since I received letters by the ordinary Dutch mail, and all this should be borne in mind by your Excellencies.
I am writing this evening to the resident, Vianuolo, at Florence about the person who styles himself Duke of Northumberland, so that he may have all possible light in the business which he has undertaken with him, of which your Excellencies send me word.
London, the 28th December, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.679. Copy of a paragraph from a letter of the Governor of Calais, dated the 21st December, 1627.
The same boat that conveys your letters takes back Lord Montjoy, whom the king is sending with other prisoners captured at the Isle of Rhe, to the Queen of Great Britain. I inform you that the gentleman who has charge of Lord Montjoy is the especial servant of the cardinal. In communing with him as you may think fit for the welfare and repose of the two crowns and for the satisfaction of the most serene republic, you may speak to him with all confidence. For the rest I can assure you that any persons coming with your despatches and recommended by you will be favourably received, as in this so in other matters, I wish to testify to you, etc.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
680. To the Ambassador in England and the like to the other Courts.
Duke Vincenzo of Mantua died on Christmas night, leaving the Duke of Nevers as his heir. He agreed to the marriage with the Princess Maria upon obtaining the pope's dispensation. He avoided seeing Count Serbelloni, ambassador of Don Gonzales. He passed away after getting his subjects to recognise M. de Retel as the son of the true heir. Retel began by sending the Count of Revara as governor of Cittadella di Casale, married the princess, introduced troops into the city, took the oath of fealty from the people, and informed the ambassadors. We hope he has thus established the succession of Nevers, but Don Gonzales has sent 4,000 foot and 1,000 horse to the frontier and 1,000 horse towards Monferrat; Cerbelloni declared that he had no one to treat with after the duke's death, and protested about the marriage, while Guastalla, as imperial commissioner, invoked the authority of Caesar. The state of Milan has never been properly disarmed since the Valtelline affair; there are rumours of the emperor's claims as his fief, and as husband of the late duke's sister, and with such powerful forces in Germany these circumstances call for reflection. The Council of the Valtelline has been constrained to give way under pressure from Don Gonzales, despite the protests of the French ministers; attempts have been made on the life of il Schenardi, and they are trying to stop commerce between the Huguenots and the Catholics of Rhetia.
We send this for your information. You will try to find out what they think about these things at Court and what the partisans on either side say, and what offices, communications and requests have passed, sending us a full account.
Ayes, 122.Noes, 1.Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Dec. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
681. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Little Buglione arrived two days ago to examine Montagu. They have given the former two coadjutors. These have not yet begun their examination and are now waiting to examine the papers. They expect these will provide them with materials for their interrogations. Cardinal Berulle, who always takes the worst side, does all he knows to keep civil war going, in the interests of the Spaniards and Austria. Thus recently at the Carmes he told the nuncio in the presence of the queen mother that these papers made clear the intrigues of Savoy, the vanity of Lorraine and the perfidy of Abbot Scaglia and your Excellencies. I know he has maintained that the republic is leagued with those princes and the English for the hurt of France. But say what he will, I know that beyond a few pleasant letters of the Duchess of Chevreuse which do not contain matters of state, the rest of Montagu's papers are so far impenetrable, owing to the difficulty of the cipher, so I do not understand the object of his slanders.
The fleets are still in the port of Morbihan, both very ill furnished. The French as usual is without orders, while the Spaniards are forbidden to sail until they hear again from Madrid. Owing to the designs of the English upon this realm with the new fleet, which is about to sail, it seems that the cardinal will not consent to the Spaniards going away. Perhaps the desire of the one to detain them will hasten their departure, as there will always be the lack of agreement between the French and Spaniards. The Spaniards will not lack pretexts. Don Federico di Toledo and the Duke of Guise have already quarrelled frequently. They feel certain here that the Spaniards will do all in their power to prevent the king finishing up the enterprise of La Rochelle. This has been confirmed by a recent incident. A small ship arrived at Marans last week, laden with Spanish wines and a quantity of lemons and oranges. The garrison of the fort demanded whence it came and whither it was going. The sailors replied that they came from Spain and were going to supply their fleet. That night, as she lay at anchor, several small armed pinnaces of the Rochellese, which scour those waters, fell upon her, by accident or design, took her without a struggle and carried her into La Rochelle. They say that the people there found 30,000 ryals under the oranges and lemons. They conclude that this was arranged by the Commander Toledo in order to assure La Rochelle of the friendliness of the Catholic king.
Paris, the 31st December, 1627.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Dr. John Craig. Birch: Court and Times of Charles I, vol. i, page 305.
2 A great storm on the 6th December, n.s., when 15 or 16 ships of the fleet were driven on the rocks in the Hamoaze at Plymouth. The royal ships Bonaventure, Esperance and Rainbow were thought to be total wrecks, but were all saved eventually. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1627–8, pages 449, 511.
3 The decipher reads maneggi di novele, e presento, but the text gives 5321, 5137, 5119, 5380, 5118, no-ve le-g-he.