Venice
January 1628, 1-10

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1914

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540-557

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'Venice: January 1628, 1-10', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 20: 1626-1628 (1914), pp. 540-557. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89142 Date accessed: 21 October 2014.


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January 1628

Jan. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
682. To the Ambassador in France.
We have abundantly expressed our wishes about the reconciliation of the two crowns. We expect you have already performed the offices we directed. Upon the king's return you will repeat them with him, his mother, the cardinal and the other ministers. You will try and get the queen mother to speak openly, as you have express orders to impart in England what her real opinions are in order to put matters on a straightforward footing. You will tell the Ambassador Contarini what you learn, so that he may carry out the orders we have given him.
That a copy of these presents be sent to the ambassador in England for his information.
Ayes, 143.Noes, 0.Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
Jan. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
683. ANZOLO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the DOGE and SENATE.
On St. Stephen's day, in the chapel, the French ambassador told me that on the preceding day he had heard that the English fleet had arrived home utterly shattered, and Buckingham was most ill looked on by all and especially the parliament. Soubise had been fetched almost by force to justify Buckingham's action; parliament had granted a good sum of money to the king to help Denmark; the Most Christian had given all the English prisoners to the Queen of England, his sister, including many of high rank. He was determined to reduce La Rochelle and would not leave the spot till this was achieved. The ambassador said he would tell the pope all these particulars.
Rome, the 1st January, 1628.
[Italian.]
Jan. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
684. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have seen letters to M. de Balagni from Lorraine stating that Mansfelt was expected with a large force on those frontiers. Four hundred horse had gone to rescue Montagu. The duke has word that Montagu has reached Paris and has been placed in the Bastille and that Buglion has also arrived to examine him. His Highness told me that besides his own letters to the king, queen and Buckingham, which contained nothing, they would have found another of the Count of Verua, all in cipher, possibly unsigned. He had offered the French ambassador to have it deciphered in his presence, as it contained nothing prejudicial to the king's service. He added that they might find some memorials attacking France, but immediately added that he knew nothing about any. In reality the memorial is the paper which I sent, which has been thoroughly ventilated more than once in the Council.
His Highness is advised that the queen mother is most anxious for peace. When the flags taken from the English were sent to her to be placed in a church, she decided to send them to the Queen of England, in order to facilitate an accommodation by this remarkable courtesy. The duke said he had received letters from the Abbot Scaglia, though very old ones, advising him that he found feelings were greatly stirred and in no way inclined to peace, but he did not despair. In this connection I may add that the Count of Verua asked me if it were true that your Excellencies had decided to send an ambassador to England and another to France to reconcile the two kings. I told him that I knew nothing about it. He replied: His Highness's ambassador says so and even adds that they are deliberating whom to choose. He mentioned the names and seemed to suspect that I was hiding the matter from him, though it could not be kept concealed for long.
I heard from the duke that the Spanish ships have arrived at Morbihan, ill provided and in worse order, so the Council decided to send them away. Marini has the same news.
Turin, the 1st January, 1627 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Jan. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives
685. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have carried out your Serenity's commands of the 27th November, and trust that I have done as you wished in a difficult and important affair. I introduced myself to his Majesty, as instructed, and assured him that whatever befell this crown, good or bad, the republic would always remain most anxious for the tranquillity of this realm, and for his Majesty's satisfaction. I said that as soon as you heard of the return of the fleet, you desired your ambassador in France, after weighing the disposition of the two crowns, not only to continue incessantly his good offices in all quarters for their reunion, but also to make every other possible demonstration of your excellent disposition towards the welfare of these two crowns, which are equally your friends and alike respected. I said that speedy succour was needed for the restoration of Germany, and if not supported in the spring, it would be so reduced that all the forces of Christendom united would not be able to repair the mischief, whereas any fairly vigorous movement at present would revive it, and the patient would either recover entirely or would protract the extremities. I hinted that although La Rochelle has no apprehension under his royal protection, yet as the main body of the Huguenots is far from the sea and unable to avail itself of this assistance, it runs the risk of perishing by the sword rather than by treaties, so that to preserve a single member the whole body is endangered. I declared that as the season was not suited to hostilities, it would serve admirably for negotiation, which I felt sure would yield him more glory and commendation than any conspicuous undertaking whatever, as by sacrificing individual passion to the common weal, reason would be made to triumph over personal feelings. In short, I limited myself to details rather than to generalities, which, from being frequently heard, cause impatience, and I tried to impress him in a way to secure what is desired.
Never had I found the king in a better humour, for he listened to me attentively, answered to the point, and took pleasure in talking. He kept me with him more than an hour, in a very confidential manner. This convinces me that the impostures, to which I alluded, have caused no ill feeling.
He answered me as follows: I thank the republic, not only for her steadfast affection, which is well deserved owing to the great good will I bear her, but also for her sound judgment and knowledge of my affairs. I will not say that the retreat from the islands was fortunate, neither can I assert that it was ruinous. I always had the common weal in view, without the remotest idea of ever gaining a span of territory from France, as I knew that circumstances forbad such a design. If the king, my brother, had not engaged me as a surety for the Huguenots, I should not have moved, but as his intentions were always false, as shown by his employing Mansfelt, by the league of the Valtelline and by the edicts promised to the Huguenots, I thought it a lesser evil to have him for an open enemy instead of a false friend, and thus prevent his corrupted policy from taking effect. I am aware that this is not the moment for recalling the minor injuries I have received, although they are numerous. I commend the prudence of the Signory in making overtures to both courts simultaneously, because we shall never agree between ourselves. For myself, I can say that I shall always have the common weal in view, and whenever the king, my brother, gives me reason to know that he is of the same mind, we shall be friends. We shall unite for the relief of Germany, which I know I cannot effect single handed, and give peace to the Huguenots, whom, by the last treaty, he himself compelled me to take under my protection. I see, however, that we are far from this, for he is determined to destroy La Rochelle, and I am no less resolved to support it, as otherwise my word and my promises would be void, and that I will never allow. I believe the safest plan would be to fight again, and that I should send an army of 20,000 men to La Rochelle, in order to help all the Huguenots from that place, as I am convinced that in this way we shall become friends sooner. However, this shall not prevent me from attending to my uncle, the King of Denmark, if not as due, at least to the best of my ability, and I shall always be firm in what concerns my own honour and the common weal.
I gently deprecated harshness and heat, and said we must suppose the Most Christian to be equally well affected to the common weal, but he shook his head, implying that he did not believe it. I hinted that it was very difficult to hope for peace and union through force, and that they should try courtesy, and I was glad to see this mutual exchange of prisoners. I prayed him not to believe all those who brought advices, invented for the sole purpose of causing dissension. He admitted this was only too true. I remarked that he never said anything expressly to me about the mediation of your Excellencies, although I gave him an opportunity, as instructed, but he merely glided over the subject, as I have described, so that you can draw your own conclusions.
I also had two conferences with the duke on this matter. One was before the audience, which helped me, as I found the king prepared and well disposed. In the second, afterwards, I made the same observations to him, but in a stronger and more resolute tone. He said to me: The French have no wish for peace. They give every one to understand that they desire it, but only to lull us to sleep. They have vowed to destroy La Rochelle, and we to save it at any cost. So long as this punctilio exists, it is useless to think or speak of peace. Let all men beware of treating with the French, for they are false. They will promise and retract to gain La Rochelle, but we shall certainly not believe them. I know that the republic is prudent. She understands them, and is also aware that the first overtures must come from that side, else all is vain. As I have always found him bent on this point of La Rochelle, which evidently interests him extremely, I thought it well to get at the bottom of it, as it seems useless to indulge in stale generalities, and unless a good result be achieved in a few days, there will be an end of it for a long while. I therefore remarked that some persons pointed out to me that this was a matter to be despatched, at small cost of time or negotiation. As for the Huguenots, there was the treaty still in force, to which there was no objection. There was also, seemingly, a treaty about the navigation arranged between King James and King Louis. The French had promised a million florins yearly for the King of Denmark, and the English were leagued with them, so they might let each perform his part, for which the Danish ambassadors were working. Other matters, such as mutual injuries and offences and the seizure of property and ships, might be referred to commissioners in the usual way.
The duke heard me most courteously. He answered that the last treaty was too disadvantageous for the Huguenots, but in a way that showed he did not reject it entirely. He said nothing to me about the other points, so from his silence I infer that he did not spurn them, though I did not think it advisable to make any rejoinder, as I had no orders. I may have prepared the way for others, but that I do not mind provided the end is gained.
As the opportunity seemed a very good one, I tried to get some light on another matter. I said I had heard that they had referred the peace here absolutely to the Duke of Savoy. He answered: It is true that several letters have passed between the king, my master, and the duke, who is a friend of long standing and bound not by writing, but by affection and interest. For love of us he has practically made France his enemy. As his understanding with Spain is slight he would be alone if we deserted him. Thus from gratitude and the fitness of things the king could not find anyone better, should the matter come to arbitration. He then paused, and perhaps seeing that he had gone too far, for after all he is an amiable man (e un buon Signore), he took me by the hand and added: But we have not yet come to this pass, and indeed so far as can be seen, we are a very long way off it.
I have also spoken to the same effect with other ministers, but more generally. All commend the zeal of your Excellencies, as much as they condemn this war, some whole heartedly, others with circumspection, pondering the perils of Germany. I do not record their remarks, to which I do not attach much importance, as I think the mere conjectures that can be gathered from the duke have more weight than the advice or wishes of all the rest put together.
From this much your Excellencies will see that I have endeavoured to unravel all the knots which might shackle the business, so that in a single letter you may see clearly to the bottom and decide freely. I can state that words and acts tend in the direction of quiet. I cannot promise that this mood will last, because of the constant changes, while in war between neighbours accidents so easily occur. If the French insist on La Rochelle, as many believe, the affair is utterly hopeless. If not success is possible, especially if some similar bias could be introduced in France. I think that very little more can be got from this side, and I rather apprehend that even if this much were published the French would be so elated that they would raise their demands. So profound silence is required.
I am sending this despatch open to the Ambassador Zorzi, as I know no better way to ensure that close correspondence which is enjoined upon me. I am asking him to send it on in haste, and according to his reply about his own proceedings, I will act myself.
London, the 2nd January, 1628.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
686. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Earl of Carlisle's journey is delayed, if not given up entirely. The reasons are the lack of money, the result of Montague's imprisonment, and scruples about irritating the French too much and also lest the peace should suffer if they seemed too anxious for it.
Besides Lord Mountjoy, the other prisoners have arrived at Plymouth, and all are loud in praise of the good treatment they have received. It is impossible to gauge the effect of these unexpected civilities on the nature of the English which is as sweet in courtesies as harsh in injuries. If the French mean to win them by gentleness, I am sure they will not be the losers, as they always have been in every treaty.
As a return, and in order not to be outdone, the duke has given a banquet to all the French prisoners, who will leave on Wednesday next, accompanied by Doulbier, who used to be in Mansfelt's service. They will be taken the whole way, always at the king's cost. Some are not pleased at this charge being given to a German, as if there were no Englishman competent to do it. Besides this, his leanings are all for war, in which he was reared, and from which he hopes for advancement and profit. If he is going to spy, as is supposed, his reports will not be of much use.
The French gentleman has seen the king, queen and duke several times. He is boarded and lodged grandly by Lord Mountjoy. He has not treated at all upon current affairs, or seen any of the ambassadors as yet, although another Frenchman, who came with him, spoke to some of them, reporting the Most Christian's leaning towards peace, the dismissal of the Spanish vessels, which arrived just a week after they were wanted, and such things, all devices to facilitate the espial of their projects here, and to keep England busy with the hope of peace. I enclose a copy of my answer to the governor of Calais, who wrote to me on this subject.
The deputies from La Rochelle here are doing their utmost for the despatch of the succour, showing letters, true or false, to the effect that the fortress is completely blockaded by land and sea, that the king intends to take it by storm and the like. Thus they have obtained the despatch within a fortnight of three of the king's ships and five armed merchantmen, already fitted out, as convoy for seven others, laden with grain and other provisions. It is certain that they will never abandon that fortress here, or its interests, happen what may. It is generally said that France without the Huguenots would alarm England more than all the other powers put together, because she is so near.
Although Carlisle's embassy is practically given up, yet Scaglia still keeps in close touch with the duke. He desired and obtained permission, not as ambassador, but as a private individual, to frequent the Court and their Majesties' most private apartments. At first the queen took pleasure in seeing him, but now he is only allowed to remain in the antechamber. He uses this solely to get it known in France how confidentially they treat him here, for very obvious reasons.
There is also talk of sending ships to the Mediterranean to interrupt the Marseilles trade. Scaglia advocates this in order to frighten the Genoese, which they talked of last year, but so far I cannot be sure whether the scheme either can or will be realised.
The duke has very frequent conferences with Cottington, late secretary in Spain. I fancy that he is to go to Spain accompanied by a certain Spanish Dominican monk, formerly captured in the Gulf of Mexico, under pretence of trading there, as he used to do. But as I know that all these proceedings are intended to arouse suspicion, I attach no importance to them as yet, except in so far as they may prevent the desired result, as the French recognise the device.
News has arrived of a contract made by the merchants of Amsterdam to arm ships for the King of Denmark, in order to have the passage of the Sound as security for a few years, until repaid for the cost. I cannot say if it is true, as five weeks have passed without any ships or letters from Holland. However, I think it my duty to send word so that watch may be kept, as if there is such a bargain it will cause no little jealousy in England, as they know the importance of that morsel and may have some design upon it. In that case one of two things will happen; help will be even more stinted or the two nations will come to blows. The matter is important, and I have notified his Excellency Soranzo.
The bargain with the City of London Companies for 120,000l. was concluded by the alienation of crown property to that amount, one half of the money to be paid down, the remainder at the time of ratification under the great seal of the realm. The assignments exceed the supply, and as a summary of all that can be said, your Excellencies may rely upon it that the money tide will also regulate the tide of affairs.
London, the 2nd January, 1628.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
687. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Danish ambassadors have at last departed for France. They will travel straight to Paris, as directed by the queen mother. They hoped to find the king there also, but it is said that he is staying under La Rochelle. This will undoubtedly protract the negotiations, especially as these envoys are ill provided with money. The duke gave them a written reply to the paper which they presented some time ago. As regards the ships, he said that he could not promise to weaken the necessary defence of this kingdom. Of the troops, now the Imperialists are in such force, he said it would be sending them to be butchered. There is no mention of money, but the duke added orally that the king would soon be strong enough to make himself feared by everybody, and to enable him to help his friends. Touching the peace, they must try to bring the French to reason by their urgent offices.
It is worthy of much consideration that on receiving this paper the ambassadors complained to the ministers and secretaries of state of the small profit obtained by them either for the common cause or for their master after such a long course of negotiations; and they were one and all astounded at knowing nothing about it, and that no such resolve had ever been laid before the great or the privy council. This is an infallible proof of the duke's omnipotence, especially in this affair of France, in which he means to have no other councillors than the king's humour and passion. The ambassadors came to see me in the greatest distress, despairing of any good result and complaining bitterly. In the same confidential tone they informed me that Buckingham, in two vigorous assaults, had prayed and exhorted them to pay their first visit to the ambassador of Savoy. He enlarged on that duke's good opinions, his energy and how much it might benefit their master's interests. They apologised for being unable to change the custom, and they complained to me that this minister here has constantly opposed their negotiations for his own private ends, according to a maxim of his that after what happened about the league of the Valtelline the French can never be trusted again. This may be a sound opinion, but it is ill suited to the present time and to this Court. In short they departed without seeing him, though they sent a gentleman to pay their respects, which he received very sourly. Through another channel I hear Scaglia said that whatever advantageous negotiations they may accomplish here they will never make amends for this affront, because of what it may lead to at other Courts, and because they thwart those ends on which the Duke of Savoy has set his heart. In answering, I thought it best not to dwell on these punctilios. Without persuading them to pay the visit or holding them back, I have always sheltered myself behind their example. Accordingly no suit was made to me, but I know that the king had determined to make it to the Danish ambassadors, but, considering the import of a refusal, the duke supplied his place. I did my utmost to keep them firm about the negotiation for peace, remarking to them what I had heard from elsewhere, that the English, by giving a paper containing either promises or conditions for the peace to ministers so allied to this crown, would certainly be construed in France as making the first overtures, possibly to the detriment of the negotiation itself, should the French know the leaning towards peace here and the obligation to divide their forces, should England promise assistance for Denmark; and by similar arguments I did all I could to encourage them.
Next day the duke went to visit them, and perhaps anticipating their complaints, assured them that his Majesty would always have the affairs of Denmark at heart and the project to assist them with ships in the spring. All the other ministers have since confirmed this. With regard to the peace, he urged them covertly to go to France to discover the definite resolutions of that Court, and confirmed the two proposals I reported. He hinted that even were Fort St. Louis to remain standing they should care little about it, provided a promise to demolish it be given as before; a point of very great moment if verified by the result. The ambassadors enquired of the duke what answer they could give if the French proposed to enter on negotiations, but he merely made answer that they were to return hither and to make haste. Buckingham wanted to send a creature of his with them, for the purpose of spying it is supposed; but the ambassadors excused themselves on the plea of not causing suspicion to the French, especially after obtaining so little. However, when I bade them adieu a few hours before their departure, they seemed to me very well satisfied with this interview. I have already written that in France they will first of all endeavour to obtain sure assignments for the yearly payment of the million florins promised to Denmark, not caring for troops, incapable of supporting the severity of that climate. They will endeavour to obtain the diversion previously promised them, relying on the constant fear of the imperial forces towards Lorraine and on the French having been deceived, as they say, by the policy of Bavaria and other princes of Germany. But as this diversion must depend on many considerations, and above all on the peace with the English, it will be rather accessory to their negotiations.
I venture to give your Excellencies firm assurance of these events and designs, as besides confirmation received from good quarters, these ministers have acted by me with such confiding sincerity, that I am convinced of the fact. They have desired their king's agent, who remains here, to have recourse to me upon all occasions, and they requested me to assist him, though I can only interfere within the bounds of the reserve prescribed by your Excellencies. They assure me that they will pursue the same course with his Excellency Zorzi. One of them is well impressed by his prudence and ability, as he knew him in the Low Countries, and they tell me that his assistance will be the more necessary at that Court, as if they depended on the Huguenot faction they would not have the credit they require.
The Dutch ambassador has spoken to me to the same effect. He remarked that the Rochellese, now as on a previous occasion, when the Dutch sent their ships to serve the Most Christian, did not have recourse to the Assembly, foreseeing that it was furnished with arguments of state, but applied to the preachers, who thundered from their pulpits, as I reported from the Hague, and that there was danger of some rising in the state, under the guidance of over zealous spirits.
London, the 2nd January, 1628.
[Italian.]
Enclosed
in the
preceding
despatch.
688. Copy of a paragraph from a letter to the Governor of Calais on the 1st of January.
If the French gentleman who brought Lord Mountjoy hither will present himself to me, he shall have proof of my esteem for the person on whom he depends and for your lordship's testimonials, always with a view to that auspicious result which good men desire between the two crowns, and especially the most serene republic. I omit no good offices or remarks to convince the whole world of her hearty impartial affection for these two kings to whom she is bound alike by the same degree of love and observance, and without any interest save the welfare of the two countries. God grant they find such means as I trust they certainly deserve to do. Your lordship cannot fail to co-operate in this work, to which you are well known to incline.
[Italian.]
Jan. 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
689. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The States are much troubled at the intimation from France that the Most Christian does not desire their ambassadors extraordinary at this Court before the signing of the treaty sent by Langarach. I saw the French ambassador, who confirmed this and that he was to go to the assembly this morning to make his exposition. He told me in confidence that it was not possible for the States to accept that treaty, as it strikes directly at their alliance with the English. He added that this was an attempt to sound their wishes, since it is well known in France that it does not serve the interests of this state to sign such an agreement. It was sent at hazard, so that if they refused it here they might have a clear pretext for separating themselves absolutely.
Those who speculate deeper say that everything depends upon their decision here. Personally, I do not think they can avoid offending one party or the other. In that case they will have to take some decisive step in abandoning the neutrality they have maintained so far and deciding to which party they will attach themselves. From the fundamental laws of the state it is probable that they lean towards the English, because there is no doubt that in the first place they must seek strength and predominance at sea, the sole bulwark of this state. Moreover, the safety of the ports is very important because of trade, in which they have very great interests with the English with respect to the East and West India Companies, which they have together. Besides, in this way they can also put constraint upon France, because by joining forces with the English they can surround their coasts, both on the ocean and the Mediterranean, and prevent the smallest boat from passing, and thus cut off the trade in wine, corn, salt and other goods from which France profits. This consideration alone is sufficient to stir a great commotion in that kingdom, which is so seriously divided by the parties of religion. That also will be an important factor here and it might be the chief one in deciding their action since it is certain that they look askance at the great preparations against La Rochelle. That place would be invulnerable if the Dutch joined the English in supporting it. However, we must believe that they will not take such a step except in case of necessity, because for their own safety they desire the support of both kings, and I am sure they will do everything in their power to this end.
Nevertheless, the test is a severe one, and Carleton's chief pre-occupation is to bring about this separation from France, proposing offensive and defensive alliances with Denmark and Sweden. God grant that they do not come to this declaration, because it is easy to see how a war of religion may arise therefrom, to the great advantage of the Spanish monarchy. Amid these imbroglios the best course would be for the French ambassador to show moderation in his office, in order to prevent precipitate action; but it seems more likely that he will increase ill feeling here, as he has always done. I know his character and have very delicately insinuated to him the harmfulness of this step. He seemed to take this in good part and said that he knew they had been playing the game of the Spaniards for a long while, but it was necessary to carry out the policy of those in power. As for the state, said he, I have never failed to seek its advantage both with counsel and action, but believe me, and your Excellency will also experience it in time, there are spiders which turn the sap of the sweetest flowers into poison.
The Hague, the 3rd January, 1627 [M.V.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
690. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Carleton has once more assured me that the Earl of Carlisle will await the arrival of the ambassadors extraordinary from here before starting. It is true they do not know this new decision of France, which might change their intentions. I would not venture to assert it, but I think it very probable that if the embassy to the Most Christian is not despatched that to England will also be suspended, at least until they try to find some way of satisfying the parties.
In conversation with Carleton I have gathered that Carlisle is to go to Venice, either to treat about the league proposed by the Duke of Buckingham to the Ambassador Contarini, or to ask for money for Denmark. I have not been able to find out so much as I should have wished, because the ambassador has always dried up on the subject the more I tried to bring it up. If the earl comes here, as they fully expect, I will try and discover all particulars to report to your Serenity.
Some French ships have arrived at Texel, more because of the violent storms than because they wished to go there. There are also some English ships in that port, laden with merchandise. The merchants, fearing some hurt, either on the spot or when they sailed, have come to the Hague to ask the Ambassador Carleton to procure an escort for them. He has done so, and as they have shown no hurry, as usual in this country, Carleton suspects that they mean to leave the French a free hand to take revenge on the English for the ship of Toras, plundered in that same port. He has therefore intimated that he will send for ships from England to deliver his merchants, asserting that the States ought to guarantee them in their own ports, forgetting that he maintained the opposite in the case referred to. I fancy that orders have been sent to the Admiralty of Amsterdam to prevent any hurt to the English. This also has given offence to the French ambassador, who says they are partial to the English and they must declare themselves openly.
News comes from Stadem that owing to the storms at sea the rivers have swollen, broken the dykes and flooded the whole country, compelling Tilly's troops, besieging the place, to depart, with the reported loss of 20,000 men, considerable in any case. They can now introduce succour, but one does not see whence it will come, as there is no sign that they are thinking about it in England, which is under the greatest obligations, and here they cannot attend to so many places simultaneously.
The Hague, the 3rd January, 1627 [M.V.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
691. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I visited both queens to pay my respects. I told the queen mother how the world turned to her to terminate the quarrel between the two kings. It would be the most sublime action she could perform. She told me that she was daily expecting M. della Rame (fn. 1) from England, who crossed the sea with Mountjoy and the other released prisoners. He has, she said, some restricted commissions from me on this subject, and although he has express orders not to see the king or treat with others, he may find out from the queen, my daughter, how far their pretensions extend. She knows my good will. If the English are not unreasonable, they will find us ready to meet them. In short, there is room for overtures. Although the queen mother is very deep (cupo), yet she has at times shown some signs of being stirred by what I have said, although she has been unable to conceal her disinclination to help Nevers.
I had some conversation with the queen regnant. I asked her if there was any truth in the report that the two fleets would set themselves before La Rochelle. With transparent sincerity she replied that the French one was not ready and the Spanish only had orders to help the king to expel the English from the Isle of Res, and so Don Federico di Toledo ought not to meddle in the siege of La Rochelle or other matters without fresh instructions.
Paris, the 6th January, 1627 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Jan. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
692. To the Ambassador in England.
You could not have done better to dissipate Buckingham's suspicions. You will perform more vigorous offices for the reconciliation with France. With the progress of the Austrians, the plight of Denmark and of all Germany makes misunderstandings between France and England more dangerous and to put aside minor differences and provide for greater matters more than ever necessary.
We may tell you for information that the Spaniards are moving troops to upset the succession of Nevers to Mantua. The pope, who was very friendly over the dispensation, continues to show his good will. St. Simon is charged to settle the differences with Savoy, and we shall not fail in our good offices everywhere.
That these presents be sent open to the ambassador at the Hague for his information.
Ayes, 107.Noes, 0.Neutral, 4.
[Italian.]
Jan. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
693. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The king is tired of the siege of La Rochelle, and the cardinal will find it difficult to prevent him from returning soon to the city. He sees the realisation of his hopes is by no means near. Four ships having entered La Rochelle without hurt, he spoke very sharply to the cardinal. The condition of the royal camp is wretched.
Two couriers have recently been sent with all diligence to stop the Dutch ambassadors extraordinary. The king has resolved that they shall neither be heard nor admitted unless their masters have signed the alliance or if they think of meddling in the affairs of La Rochelle and the Huguenots. The Ambassador Pes is to declare his Majesty's intention in the full assembly.
Montagu has been examined several times, but as he refused to answer anything and shows his contempt for Buglione, they been compelled to let him alone and send his examination to the Court. Nothing is yet known of what they learned from his papers. There is a general report that they have found intelligences between the most serene republic with England and with the Dukes of Savoy and Lorraine; the utmost was that it did not approve of the war against the Rochellese and the Huguenots. But I can aver nothing for certain.
The Duke of Guise had orders from the king to proceed to Provence, but I do not fancy he will leave Morbihan before the Spanish fleet has departed. Meanwhile, ten of his men-of-war have arrived at the island to assist the blockade and prevent the succours that enter La Rochelle every day.
Paris, the 7th January, 1627 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Jan. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
694. To the Bailo at Constantinople.
The plan to capture Gibraltar, of which you write to us, is important. When you are sure about it you will communicate everything to the ambassadors of England and the States, whose interests coincide with ours, pointing out the grave consequences to the nations if the plan of the Emir of Saida is carried out, and you will point out to the Caimecan and other ministers the loss of the imperial treasury from the decline of trade at Aleppo and the introduction of all the trade of Syria at Gibraltar; but you must be careful not to offend the Grand Vizier Callel.
Ayes, 148.Noes, 0.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Jan. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
695. SEBASTIANO VENIER, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I told Metaxa of your Serenity's decision to set up a college at Padua for the Greek nation. He seemed very pleased and admitted that he would have to give up his idea of setting up colleges in other places and of sending boys to the university (studio) in England, where they are invited and favoured, or elsewhere.
As far back as last July, the English ambassador asked me to obtain the protection of the republic for the Archbishop of Smyrna, whom he understood to be greatly persecuted by the French ambassador. He passed this office at the request of his secretary, who is a Sciot and related to the archbishop. He asked me recently if I had received a reply. He said he had also written to your Serenity.
The Vigne of Pera, the 8th January, 1627 [M.V.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
696. AGOSTIN VIANUOL, Venetian Secretary at Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Madame is advised of an arrangement made between France and Lorraine about Montagu, to wit, that he should go to Paris, but be given up to the duke after a certain time.
Florence, the 8th January, 1627 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Jan. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
697. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Up to to-day eight English ships have arrived in Villefranche, but I do not know what facilities they have found for disposing of the goods which they brought.
Turin, the 9th January, 1627 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Jan. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
698. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Letters have arrived from England from the Abbot Scaglia relating that he has treated for an armistice between the two kings, but the English make so many conditions that his Highness did not think fit to lay them before the French ministers. Marini told him not to do so, chiefly because the English want to include the Huguenots, and the French mean to separate them from England. Thus it seems very difficult to bring about peace between the two crowns, which are wasting their forces to no purpose and allow those who mean to destroy the liberty of others to profit by their discords.
Many write that Montagu has been placed in the Arsenal, not in the Bastille, not a prisoner though under guards, and that he will be released so soon as his examination is taken. Zorzi, however, writes that he is in the Bastille and the duke thinks that they will torture him in order to find out what they can. I have heard on good authority that besides the papers and letters I have mentioned Montagu took a letter from Madame to the Queen of England in which she says: I cannot do more than your Majesty yourself can, to bring about peace with the king, our brother, since he has Cardinal Richelieu at his side, who is all powerful, but I hope his Majesty will soon rid himself of such a sorry rascal as he has of others. They fear that this letter may prejudice the queen mother against Madame.
Schomberg is in danger of a fall, at a moment when his victories should have established him in favour. They accuse him of remaining several days at sea without proceeding to the island, as if the authority imparted to him by the Most Christian extended to the winds and waves. Toras also has lost the king's favour and his general reputation is the sole reward for his labours and services. They accuse him of having allowed the English to land through cowardice, although they lost their best commanders and he offered a brave resistance. They say he shut himself up in the fort without food or munitions, although he held out for so long. Cardinal Richelieu alone claims the reward and glory for the success, though he concedes a small portion to his two nephews. He declares that the fort would have been lost if he had not supplied it with succour, and the English would not have been expelled if he had not thought of the way and provided the means for beating them. Thus without risking his life or incommoding his person he alone delivered France from the English, if not in the general opinion at least in the king's, which suffices. Discontent multiples and revolutions are predicted in France if it is governed any longer by the cardinal.
Turin, the 9th January, 1627 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Jan. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
699. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I enclose a copy of the office performed by the French ambassador in the assembly. Much comment has been excited by it and it compels the attention of every one. The States complain of the imperious attitude of the French about the going of the ambassadors. The Prince of Orange spoke to me about it, and although he earnestly desires to maintain neutrality in order to keep open a way for negotiations for a reconciliation, he considers the step taken a violent one. He told me that the French would not treat their subjects as they do the States, and it was insupportable. I urged patience as these actions probably arose from the king's success and that they did not really mean to offend the States. In order to accommodate these differences it was necessary to dissimulate. The prince declared that he would remain steadfast in spite of this incident and the States would devise a conciliatory reply, while the ambassadors would certainly go, because they could not believe that the king could take offence at such a step, taken out of zeal for the cause.
He spoke at length upon the renewal of the alliance. It is evident that the States desire the treaty more than the Most Christian, both for the help and money and to relieve them from the constant annoyances they receive from the English, who are constantly trying both by deeds and words, to prevent the conclusion, and to force the States to declare for them. But it was only reasonable to point out that they could not embrace a treaty obnoxious to their interests, from which they would, receive notable hurt instead of benefits, as well as loss of reputation because they have an offensive and defensive alliance with England and are not at liberty to arrange a new alliance directly opposed to it. Finally he said: If the French are our friends they ought not to wish to separate us from the English, because these States have as much need of that country as of their friendship and help. The ambassadors are appointed in order to find some arrangement satisfactory to the king and the interests of this state, and it is only right, if the treaty is to be negotiated, that the French shall consent to listen to us, and allow us to modify the articles, which ought to be arranged by consent not by violence, to which this state will never submit. They are to beg for a million florins; the king must hear the ambassadors, and if he does not agree with what they say the States desire his good graces without further interests. Langarach's signature counted for nothing, as it was subject to the approval of the States. Nevertheless, he has done ill and may repent of it. I asked wherein the difficulty consisted. He replied: In an article in which the States are bound to assist the French against any one soever, even the English, although excepting this time. Carleton interprets "this time" as meaning the time when the English were at the island, and consequently, now they have left, something else is meant, so that if the signature is worth anything these States must be against the English, and he says this is one of the usual subtleties of Cardinal Richelieu.
The prince spoke to me again about the paper presented by the French ambassador, taking exception to the statement that the king was informed of what took place in the Assembly, and that they styled him Governor of the States. I afterwards went to the Queen of Bohemia, where Carleton was, and heard the same subject discussed, observing that the English ambassador tried to encourage mistrust. I saw the French ambassador later and obtained a declaration from him that he meant no harm by the title, of which I subsequently informed the prince, also telling him that I had it from the ambassador that the first part of the office was copied straight from the king's letters.
The Hague, the 10th January, 1627 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Enclosure.700. Office of the French Ambassador with the States.
I have received a letter in which my king commands me to state that he knows what takes place in your assembly and that at the instigation of the English difficulties have arisen about the ratification of the treaty made with M. de Langarach, so that it is even proposed to recall that ambassador. I have to intimate that his Majesty considers this very extraordinary, after the proofs you have had of his good will, and in view of the success which God has granted him over his enemies I must inform you that his Majesty does not wish to see your ambassadors extraordinary until satisfaction is given in the matters upon which he has just cause of complaint, and that he will not allow any fresh proposals to be made with regard to the treaty in question.
You know my efforts to prevent the accident to the ship of M. de Toras, as I feared that your connivance might give your best friends cause of complaint; although you had command of the sea the ships you built for the first monarch of Christendom were not safe in your ports, although you were fully informed of the design of the English to attack them. The household of the king's ambassador was insulted for three days running, not only in the hall of your governor, but in the house of the President of your Council of State. The last reply given to my remonstrances had not been seen by the king's Council when I received his last of the 8th ult. I am sure it will cause grave dissatisfaction in France; yet satisfaction must come before your ambassadors go to France. However, I will say no more in order not to render the beginning of this year unpleasant by a multiplicity of complaints, and I beg you are an answer as speedily as possible to send to my king, as he has commanded me. I wish all prosperity to the United Provinces this year.
[Italian; translated from the French.]
Jan. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
701. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
When Carleton heard that orders had reached the French ambassador to stop the embassy to France, he sent to inform me at the tenth hour of the night, and to hear any particulars I might have. He said he would like to come on the following day, knowing that the time was inconvenient and I was occupied with this despatch. The secretary told me that the ambassador was undecided, thinking this was a trick of the French ambassador. I thanked him for the communication and said I had already heard it. I went to see him on the following day and found him torn between confusion and satisfaction, because he could not penetrate the object of this decision and because he hoped to turn it to the advantage of his master. He said the States ought to show prudence and not deviate from the steps they have taken, because they could not exist without the support of the two crowns, and while these are engaged in a quarrel between themselves it is evident that they cannot help the States, while trade is stopped. He then contended that if these disorders continue it will be impossible for them to maintain their neutrality, because every one will claim some advantage. It was already announced that on the score of reputation they cannot withdraw without creating the impression that the French have an absolute power over them, which indeed they seem to claim, and that was the cause of all the trouble, because his king could not suffer it. He called the French demands impertinent and said that if the States granted them the French themselves would call them traitors. It is true, he added, that the French are past masters themselves in such breaches of faith, and so they are trying to have companions to share the blame. When the States were negotiating their league with my king, there was no one who took so much pains for its conclusion as the French, who now want the States to make one with them which goes directly against it. One could only conclude that they claim to be the arbiters of the wishes, actions and even the honour of princes. Such a policy does not uphold kingdoms but ruins them. All these absurdities are due to the ministers. The cardinal and the Bishop of Mande are utterly ignorant of the affairs of the world. They can only bark like dogs at the moon, filling the world with plans against the Huguenots. But they do not fish deeper as to whether a war of religion is reasonable and beneficial in France. Sciomberg and Darbo, the obedient slaves (pedissiqui) of the Jesuits, follow these. Your Excellency sees the state the poor king is in, in consequence, with the additional misfortune that the queen mother is a strong partisan of the Austrians. My transactions in France and the present affairs have made me acquainted with the nature of that government. Please God we may not have made the experiment with too great disadvantage, because at that time they were using our cloaks to make the peace of the Valtelline with the Spaniards, and now they are making war with the Spanish arms themselves. For my part I do not believe they will alter here what they have already decided, and although I am urged by my friends, and I believe the Queen of Bohemia is going to make an office counter to the French one, I do not want to go so far. I state freely that whether they go to England or no the king will have these States for friends.
I detected some passion in this discourse, betraying a deep desire that they should not go. I fastened on this, because one may argue that they want mediators, but because of reputation they cannot ask for them. He told me there was some talk of a parliament at Court, and if that was realised the war would continue and with vigour, as so far they had been playing at it. However, I do not believe that the king will find it easy to make up his mind, as even those of Carleton's household do not believe it; so I conclude that it is an arm which they use for show, not for striking.
The Prince of Orange told me he had heard something of this parliament, and seemed to think that in such case the Duke of Buckingham would come here on an embassy in order to escape censure, as the laws of the realm direct that no enquiry shall be made against those engaged in the service of the crown.
Meanwhile, the French ambassador is waiting for his reply. He came to see me yesterday and told me that they are determined to send here, and I feel sure of it, although it is dangerous. All turns upon the disapproval of what Langarach did.
The French ambassador asked me if I had seen an office recently performed by Wake in the Collegio and instructions sent to him from England. I pretended that I had not, in order to see his copy. He said he had it from Venice, but it was not convenient to show it to me then. He had sent it to the cardinal.
We hear from La Rochelle that Targoni's machines have failed and they propose to build a mole. The prince told me that ships go in and out freely, but Carleton said he was afraid they were very short of provisions and it would be hard to succour them. From this one may gather that they are not over ready in England. It might also be an artifice, but the last advices relate that 52 English merchantmen have sunk in the storms and 6,000 sailors perished, including two of the king's ships, and this might create difficulties.
I have your Excellencies' letters of the 17th ult., with those for England. I regret that I am dependent on the wind, which has been uniformly contrary for two months and a half. I have sent five packets to Zeeland to be ready to cross.
The Hague, the 10th January, 1627 [M.V.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 10.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
702. The secretary of England came into the Collegio and said:
The ambassador is greatly obliged by the favours received from your Serenity. Among these the prompt command of the republic for the restitution to him of the box of bread detained by the ministers of Padua has greatly honoured him and he thanks your Serenity accordingly. But he considers it his duty to place the convenience of himself and his household below even the slightest interests of this state, and having induced his wife to accustom herself to the bread of this city, he comes freely to renounce the favour, considering that he shows his regard better in this than in any other way. He puts his own box at your Serenity's disposition.
Councillor Foscarini replied that the state desired that the ambassador should receive every satisfaction. The Savii added that they would not accept the ambassador's renunciation as they wished him to enjoy every convenience. The secretary then took leave and departed.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 The sieur de Meaux, chevalier de la Ramée, a gentleman of the Queen Mother.