Venice
January 1628, 11-20

Sponsor

Institute of Historical Research

Publication

Author

Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1914

Pages

558-565

Annotate

Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'Venice: January 1628, 11-20', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 20: 1626-1628 (1914), pp. 558-565. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89143 Date accessed: 29 July 2014.


Highlight

(Min 3 characters)

January 1628

Jan. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
703. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
After the despatch of my last, which should be near Venice by now, I have seen many of the ministers and found them all equally inclined to the peace, as reported. Some of them in particular told me that after my last audience the king imparted to the Privy Council the offices I had performed with him, commending your prudence in seizing the opportunity and the sincerity of your arguments; in short he used expressions of the utmost affection. He confirmed the assurance that if the French reciprocate heartily, he will consider the four conditions I suggested to the duke. I impress the advantages of peace and the perils of war on the duke's sister, wife and mother, and not without profit. The most knotty point will doubtless be La Rochelle, should the Most Christian persist in taking it, as here they will certainly not abandon the Rochellese, and unless England negotiates about the place as if she were treating the affairs of her own subjects with foreign powers, the Huguenots might make a treaty of submission with the Most Christian, which might not be rejected. But if they refer back to the last agreements they might save the face of all parties. In fine, the attack must be made on France, and if some suitable decision or half measure should proceed thence, I hope they will take it into consideration here. My only doubt is that if the French get wind of this favourable disposition of England, they may attribute it to necessity and become more difficult in consequence. This ought not to be the case, as they have so much the advantage.
The Frenchman who brought the prisoners hither has departed. The queen gave him a diamond and told him to assure her brother of the affiction this war caused her, and of the good treatment which she receives here, both as regards liberty of conscience and other matters, utterly at variance with the reports of malignants at the French Court.
The succour for La Rochelle is being prepared, and may have been despatched by this time. But as a report is current here that the Duke of Guise means to intercept it, the government is compelled to have it convoyed by a stronger force of men-of-war. I believe that from this event one may to a great extent foretell whether peace or war will ensue, as if the ships get in safe they will supply the place with provisions for a year and more, and, with the stores already in the fortress, they will involve the Most Christian in a very long or else a bloody and difficult war, should he determine to take the place by storm. In the meantime he will entirely lose the profit and convenience of maritime trade, and receive constant injuries, without ever being able to take his revenge on the English, while at home the war will increase civil strife and discontent. So perhaps he will not risk the glory of his late success. On the other hand, should the succour fail to enter La Rochelle, it is universally believed that the Most Christian will be more obstinate than ever because of his greater hope of conquering that fortress, upon which the statecraft of France has been bent for many years.
The English ministry is intent above all on securing pecuniary supply. The duke himself proposed in Council to assemble parliament, as the ordinary and most expeditious way. But the king rejected it entirely, saying he would first of all find money, so that the present necessities may not render more audacious those who opposed him before. This is supposed to be collusion between the king and duke, for the purpose of hearing the opinions of the others, but no one uttered a single word either of approval or of disapproval. It was also suggested to lay duties on all articles of consumption as a means common to all potentates, but such an innovation contrary to all the privileges and customs of the realm cannot but exasperate without supplying the need, which is present and immediate. The debasement of the coinage, the monopoly of salt and other similar things are also brought forward, but there are objections to everything and as yet nothing is decided on. The burden of 500l. a day for the maintenance of the fleet continues, and so does the discontent of the sailors, whose arrears remain unpaid, while the ships are not repaired as they ought to be.
To the proposals for destroying the trade of the Marseilles merchants in the Levant it is objected that if the Turks lose the profits derived from the French duties they will make reprisals on English goods, so I cannot believe that Scaglia's project will be carried out, and the Dutch ambassador told me no later than yesterday that he understood that minister was suggesting plans to the king for making money, that his ideas were unsuited to the times and his vows as a Churchman rendered him not a little suspect in the matter of religion. He wished to have the merchants ordered to go to Villafranca, but as they reflect that trade considers nothing but profit, they remain at liberty, nor can he lure them except by blandishments.
Reports circulate in all quarters that in the spring ships will be sent for the service of Denmark, but unless the move be preceded by help in money, I do not know what to say, though I perceive that in talk at least they are beginning to attach importance to those affairs, which after all affect the well being of this kingdom.
In a long conversation I had with the Earl of Carlisle at this embassy, he told me that the king cannot abandon the Rochellese because the Most Christian himself has pledged him to them by the last treaties. La Rochelle would never be lost; the head being preserved, the whole body would live. State policy required this, as without this fever France would be too vigorous, and intimidate all powers, especially her neighbours, her ancient claims upon Italy being also stronger than ever. The deceit about the Valtelline was not for the sake of making war on the Spaniards, but in order that when all the powers were occupied and at the height of the contest France, might crush the Huguenots, as witnessed. If these views still prevail the war will be long. It will weary the French without much cost or labour to England. It will cause them to lose their maritime trade as well as the profits from wine and salt, should the Dutch be forbidden to carry them, as they, more than others, are bound to save La Rochelle, as from that place alone they might indirectly trade in Spain. To grant convenience to an enemy in order not to offend a neutral friend was bad policy. I replied that it was not my province to decide between two parties, whether the Huguenots were well off in France or not. But if they meant to support them they ought to consider whether the safest way would be by force of arms or by negotiation. The latter would more and more easily pave the way to a reconciliation between the two kings, and by causing distrust destroy the mutual profit and understanding of others. The Dutch without trade would be ruined and one single mutiny in their fleet from unpaid wages or maltreatment would risk in a moment that liberty for which England had laboured and spent so much, to prevent greater powers from being masters of the sea in her neighbourhood. Without the salt from France the whole salt fish trade, both of the Dutch and English, would be destroyed, and if they take the surplus from France they succour England also with this same profit. He answered that such negotiations would in fact have caused suspicion, and his embassy would therefore have incensed both the French and Spaniards, but as ill luck will have it, it is not all good remedies that are adopted. I added that I was glad to see that the malady was understood, as it would very soon be cured. He offered to use every good office on this occasion, but said it would be impossible to obtain anything beyond a good disposition on this side, because of honour and state policy. I fancy I left him well impressed, and believe it is in accordance with the wishes of your Excellencies that I should state clearly the words and views of those who are at the head of the government.
Seven despatches are due to me from Italy, the frequent and violent storms prevent vessels from putting to sea. The Dutch ambassador is provoked because the envoys extraordinary from the States so long delay the conference, especially with those destined for France. The opportunities here are certainly excellent. If they are not taken advantage of at once, they will never return. It is fatal that even the elements should conspire with the passions of man against the common weal.
London, the 11th January, 1628.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zante.
Venetian
Archives.
704. PIERO MALIPIERO, Proveditore of Zante, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Has sent the Albanian galleon to Venice in company with the English ship Margarita, which arrived recently and is large and well armed, to go together at least as far as Corfu, binding the Englishman to do this, especially as the rich cargo of the galleon may tempt some pirate, some being reported at Modon and Coron.
Zante, the 2nd January, 1627, old style.
[Italian.]
Jan. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Milano.
Venetian
Archives.
705. PIER ANTONIO MARIONI, Venetian Resident at Milan, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The news from Spain, sent on the 24th ult., has been confirmed from another quarter to-day with the addition that the frequent appearances of the French ambassador in the Council of State are to negotiate a league against England, which should be arranged as soon as the Marquis Spinola reaches Madrid, as they want his opinion about the way to carry it into effect while they propose to give him the superintendence of a great part of the enterprise, should it be arranged.
Milan, the 13th January, 1627.
[Italian.]
Jan. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
706. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
At La Rochelle all the royal hopes depend upon the mole. That advances slowly, and they have scarcely completed a tenth of it, and that in the easist part. They are having a quantity of boats built at Bordeaux to sink in the middle of the channel. These will be filled with stones and earth, and some have come already. The Rochellese seem to be leaving their defence at sea to nature, but they are active on the land side. They are getting rid of useless mouths. They have ten or twelve large barques waiting for favourable weather to take the women and children to England.
Sobol, the resident of Denmark, arrived from England four days ago and called at the embassy yesterday. After compliments he told me of the bad management of the affairs of that kingdom and how little succour can be expected from that quarter, either for his king or the Rochellese, in spite of their lavish promises. He told me that his king was not disheartened by his misfortunes. With his own forces and help from the Dutch and Sweden he hopes to do more than defend himself in the spring.
In order to thwart any offices that the Earl of Carlisle might perform with the Dukes of Savoy and Lorraine, to the prejudice of France, the queen mother, under other pretexts, has this week sent Labar, one of the gentlemen of her chamber, to both courts; to Piedmont ostensibly to visit her daughter, and to Lorraine about the interests of Montagu, which sleep at present.
Paris, the 14th January, 1627 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Jan. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
707. To the Podesta of Padua.
You did quite rightly in agreeing to the satisfaction of the English ambassador, but we think it advisable to go further, because he has abstained so far from sending to receive his drum with the bread. We have decided that you shall send the drum to the magistracy of the Biave, so that they may send it back to the English ambassador full of biscuits, and you will assure him that he shall have every facility in the future for taking the bread required for his household from Padua from time to time.
That the official of the Biave shall send back the ambassador's drum full of biscuits, and inform him that he shall have every facility for obtaining the bread of Padua for his house hold.
Ayes. 142.Noes, 4.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Jan. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
708. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Abbot Scaglia's last letters from England confirm the disinclination of the English for peace with France. Among their demands they require an armistice for the Huguenots also; that the Most Christian shall not increase his forces by land or sea during the armistice and he must declare what he will do for the common cause. The Duke told Marini everything, saying that he would not propose to the French such an armistice as the English claim. He expressed his desire to serve the Most Christian and asked upon what terms he would accept peace. Marini confined himself to generalities, saying merely that his Highness must not suggest an armistice on the terms mentioned.
Scaglia mentions that Carlisle will come as ambassador to his Highness also, and they ordered Montagu not to leave, although the commissions did not arrive in time. I am informed that the abbot is detained in England for this and they will always carry on their negotiations for peace through him. They will evidently last for ever, as for one thing a great time must elapse before his letters arrive here, before the French proposals arrive and answers are given and sent to England.
They write here that Cardinal Berulle told the papal nuncio it was necessary that the pope should sharply rebuke his Highness for his negotiations with Montagu. They say here that this shows the cardinal was educated in the cloister and has always lived there among friars.
Turin, the 16th January, 1627 [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
709. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The French ambassador received orders to repeat his office, so he went again to the assembly. On Saturday they gave their reply, which I enclose. The ambassador told me yesterday that they have decided to go; M. de Châtillon has orders to meet the ambassadors and persons are deputed to treat with them together with the queen mother. I should hardly have believed this if the Prince of Orange had not confirmed it. Nevertheless, the ambassador maintains that they will not set foot in Calais. He said they would not prevent them landing, but they would go to Dieppe. The wind turned yesterday. If they are sent they will probably give and receive some satisfaction. They are very determined to succeed somehow. They will work hard for the adjustment, and will show that they desire nothing but what is reasonable for the renewal of the alliance. The prince told me that all the difficulties were in the four secret articles, which undo all that the treaty seems to arrange. They could not negotiate in this fashion, but must deal sincerely. They had to consider the interests of the English, who were only too eager to prevent any negotiation. If only France would rest content with what was reasonable, England might cry out as much as she liked, because the States are determined to keep on good terms with all.
Carleton has stated that he has advice from the Ambassador Wake that M. de Bethune at Rome is treating with the pope to bring about a closer union between France and Spain. He asked if I had heard of it. I said I had heard something entirely to the contrary, because your Excellencies had sent me word that Bethune wrote that some thought the pope might negotiate the reconciliation.
I have seen letters of the Ambassador Anstruther from Hamburg. He says he has received letters in the King of Denmark's own hand, who continues to offer a steady resistance, and that the nobility have promised him every assistance. He hopes to collect a good number of ships by the spring and to trouble the enemy. Hamburg and Lubeck fear the designs of the Imperialists. They wanted to put 2,000 foot in Lubeck, but the burghers would not consent. It is impossible to introduce succour into Stadem, but if remittances are sent from England they might make some exchange, because it is not so difficult to send men in with letters. Carleton showed me letters from Colonel Morghem, who writes that they have provisions up to the end of March, but for no longer.
The Hague, the 17th January, 1627 [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Enclosure.710. Reply of the States to the French Ambassador. (fn. 1)
In reply to the office of the Sieur de Pez, ambassador of the Most Christian King, their lordships desire to assure him of their desire to please his Majesty, but being apprehensive of the destruction threatened to Christendom and to their republic in particular by the good fortune of their enemy's arms and by the rupture between France and England they have decided to do all in their power to obviate this and to send an embassy to both sovereigns with instructions to try to bring about a reconciliation. Many accidents have delayed this, but now the ambassadors are ready to depart the States feel sure that his Majesty will receive them favourably, without crediting the attempts to discredit their government. In this they are not accustomed to accept the guidance or persuasion of others in matters which concern their common interests. If Langarach forgot his instructions and accepted things contrary to contracts previously made, their lordships do not believe that his Majesty will attribute to want of respect any small changes that they may want to make, as they have the alliance so much at heart that they have instructed their ambassadors to give his Majesty satisfaction in every other respect, and they will give him a satisfactory account of all the other matters. The States ask the Ambassador Pez to contribute his good offices to second their sincere expression, making a favourable report of their good intentions.
Given in the assembly of the States General at the Hague, the 10th January, 1628.
NICOLAS DE BOUCHORST, by order of the States General.
[Italian; translated from the French.]
Jan. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
711. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
While I was hoping that my despatch extraordinary had crossed the Channel with the Danish ambassadors, to whom I consigned it for greater safety, as many of the small boats perished from stress of weather, I hear that the Governor of Dover took it from them, together with all the other letters in their possession, giving them dire offence.
On receiving this intelligence, I immediately sent the Secretary Augustini to Dover, not merely to learn all the circumstances of the case, and make my remonstrances on sure grounds, but also to enable me to send the duplicate, so that my most humble service and your Excellencies' intentions might not suffer delay by any accident. I am bound to say, however, that the state of affairs is such that much to my vexation I have to balance everything (tener lo scandaglio in ogni cosa con gran pena), past events and present confusion having so weakened what is most noble as furiously to agitate the entire body politic, without regard for any person soever.
In the meantime while the secretary is away I do not lose the opportunity afforded by a passage boat for Holland, to send the triplicate of that despatch and the triplicate of the ones preceding. I have only just received the ducal missives of the 11th and 19th November, having been over two months without letters, and I am still creditor for despatches.
The Frenchman who brought over the prisoners was also stopped at Dover, after he had been promised a free pass. All the sweetness of his late reception has thus turned sour, and he complains loudly. I did not see him, but from what I hear he takes back word to the French Court that the English are exceedingly anxious for peace, that no great quantity of ships can be mustered for many months, that money may be found but it will require time, and there is neither counsel nor command for great undertakings. Your Excellencies may imagine what impression he will make at that Court. On the other hand, he and the Governor of Oléron, (fn. 2) who is a prisoner here, say that the Most Christian will not abandon La Rochelle, and that he said he would rather lose Paris. Until now he had never been master of Cape Coreglia, and other very important positions to close the passage. The Rochellese have erred in declaring themselves against him. In the patents the Duke of Rohan is styled general of England. All the Huguenots do not approve of this war, and in short if the Danish ambassadors or others speak to the king about giving up La Rochelle, they will not even receive a reply. On the contrary, should that chord not be touched they will meet with every sort of courtesy and inclination towards peace, though I suspect that it will not vibrate long. Indeed, I understand that this same Frenchman, being unable to cross with the ambassadors, wrote to the Governor of Calais, to give notice beforehand of all these details so that their overtures may be answered with better foundation.
The victuals for La Rochelle are not at sea, and they will not leave soon for the reasons I have given. It is now said that they are being sent by private merchants, not by the king, who merely binds himself to secure them against enemies. The deputies from La Rochelle exhibit letters to the effect that Targoni having built a stockade, the winds and the waves completely destroyed it. Some believe this, but others consider it a device for hastening the succour. A Dutch ship which went to La Rochelle with merchandise and has returned, reports that Guise's galleons forbad the entry, though that is very difficult in any case owing to the guns of the forts.
In the meantime the Council meets daily to raise money, but nothing is yet decided.
At the moment when the Dutch ambassador was going to the seaside to confer with the ambassadors extraordinary of the States for France, he got letters from them showing that the interview was not approved by their masters and that it would cause more jealousy to France than benefit the affair of the peace. I have no further particulars as yet, but I will send them at the first opportunity.
The king after obtaining sentence in his favour against the prisoners who refused the subsidies, very graciously pardoned them all, so that they ought not to be so obstinate in the future.
The ambassador of Savoy is in disgrace with the duke. They were going to arrest near his house the wife of one of his brothers, (fn. 3) who is said to be mad, in order to have her declared an adulteress, so that the son may not inherit from him, as he has no male heirs. The police even entered the ambassador's house, and the crowd rendered the proceeding a spectacle. In order to rid himself of all parties by a carnival trick, he had his page disguised in female attire, and accompanied by others of his household, made him get into his coach, which was completely closed, and away they went, the police and the whole crowd following for a space, thinking it contained the lady, who was making her escape. But when the passengers dismounted at a friendly house, into which the police followed, the trick played caused much amusement to the mob. The duke has taken great umbrage at this proceeding and refused the ambassador audience. He would not even accept a present of pictures which Scaglia sent him. The ambassador no longer frequents the Court, and indeed there is so much bad blood that it will be hard for it to resume its former channel.
London, the 20th January, 1628.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 The text in French and Dutch is printed in Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, vol. i, page 750.
2 Claude de Razilly, sieur de Launay.
3 Frances, daughter of Sir Edward Coke, the wife of John Villiers, Viscount Purbeck.