Venice
March 1628, 1-10

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1916

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1-14

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'Venice: March 1628, 1-10', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 21: 1628-1629 (1916), pp. 1-14. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89177 Date accessed: 23 October 2014.


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March 1628

March 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
1. PIETRO VICO, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
In fulfilment of my instructions I have been investigating whether there are really negotiations for a league between the emperor and the Kings of France, Spain and Poland. In conversation recently with one in a position to know I was told that this had been proposed, and he thought it might be arranged, as the emperor is sure that another has been arranged between England, Denmark, Sweden and the States, not only defensive but offensive, negotiated by persons of rank. If the war continued, as seemed likely, his Majesty ought to join in such a confederation with France, Spain and Poland, as they were all fighting against the others. When I asked about the articles, this gentleman replied that they merely proposed to make a defensive and offensive war against England, Denmark, Sweden and the Dutch. He added that it had been reported to Cæsar that the ambassador of the States, who arrived recently at Venice, had asked the republic to join the league, because their hopes of peace between France and England had vanished, and a prompt decision was necessary in order to supply assistance in time. He assured me that neither the emperor nor the Prince of Echemberg attached any importance to this advice, indeed that very morning they had discussed in the Council of State the exclusion of English cloth, a great quantity of which came to the empire every year. They proposed to obtain it in future from Venice as well as the drugs and spices they have obtained hitherto, which have mostly been brought by the English and Dutch.
Prague, the 1st March, 1628.
[Italian; copy.]
March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
2. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
While waiting for the passport, which is delayed by the king's absence and the usual dilatoriness of the government, I am sending my despatch of the 29th ult. with this letter to Holland, though even had the passport come I see no reason for incurring cost and risk by using it. To-day I have received a packet from France with the queen mother's reply to Zorzi. It is terse and stiff, so that I do not know how to present it, as the English, who have much the worst of it, are required to be the first to ask for peace. This would at once excite open distrust and break the neck of everything, unless I spoke in another tone, of which I see no appearance. It is evident to me that the hopes of the speedy fall of La Rochelle, and the weakness of England make France raise her terms. On the other hand, if parliament here proceeds in concert with the king, in a reasonable manner, the English government will certainly no longer be so mild, nor will the soil be so capable of cultivation. It may reasonably be supposed that both sides are now awaiting the result, the French of La Rochelle, the English of the parliament; all with great hopes, but I do not know with how much advantage for the public cause.
Before the king departed, the Dutch ambassadors had a secret audience, and a long conference with the duke. I understand that the duke confined himself entirely to generalities about loving peace and wishing for it, without ever descending to particulars; so they were not very well satisfied. They also took amiss the king's departure immediately after their arrival, although it is supposed to have been contrived by the duke to save his Majesty from demands for money, from the evil consequences thus produced and to have free scope for convassing the parliament.
A council of war has been formed, consisting of thirty-six persons. Two days ago they were sworn in before the king. (fn. 1) Among them was the Swiss colonel Bebliz, sometime in Mansfelt's service. They have held two sittings, both about the defence of the kingdom and the want of discipline, of counsel and of arms, though Dulbier has been commissioned to send a supply of these from Holland.
A rigorous proclamation has been issued for the billeting of sailors in the houses of the citizens here outside London, with a certain small allowance for their board until the arrears due to them are paid off. (fn. 2) But those who continue to wander about are declared guilty of high treason, as they had begun to rifle houses and take other unbearable liberties.
London, the 2nd March, 1628.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
3. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
To-day I saw Arbo by appointment. He tried to make me believe that the channel of La Rochelle was completely closed and so the place would be forced to surrender.
He went on to say that he rejoiced extremely to learn from the king that the most serene republic expressed a wish to negotiate peace between France and England. To tell the truth he despaired of success, as it was not possible to find a middle way to reconcile two opposite opinions. Nevertheless, I might tell him the orders I had from your Excellencies and he would try to smoothe the way; but I must not despair if I encountered a thousand difficulties, especially at the beginning.
I replied that the republic would always feel the same towards the general welfare and the greatness of this Crown. He could see that public and private well-being depended upon the reconciliation of these two powers. The state had therefore directed me to speak on the subject to the king and the queen mother, offering its most sincere interposition. In the absence of his Majesty I had spoken more than once to the queen mother, to the same effect as I did with the king on Sunday morning. The substance was what he had already heard.
Arbo replied: I have already said that I do not see how two opposites can be reconciled, and I repeat it. The King of England wishes to succour La Rochelle and foment the Huguenots. My king, on the contrary, is absolutely determined that neither the English nor any others but only his crown shall be recognised and respected in France. I can tell you one thing, though unauthorised, that if the King of England abandons this indefensible claim, there will be no difficulty about the rest.
Work at this and I will gladly do so also, so far as the king's service allows, I answered. This is one of my first commands from the senate. But tell me, in the last agreement with the Rochellese, did not France accept the King of Great Britain as surety? that is the universal belief. If that is true you see how that king's reputation is involved. I hear he is most excellently disposed.
Arbo replied: The King of England is not bound unless he likes, and my king needs no intermediary with his subjects. You will see the truth from the treaty. But tell me, does that king desire peace, and have you these particulars from him? I am the representative of the republic, I replied, and do not know the secrets of others. I only say what I have heard and suppose that both sovereigns must desire peace if they have any regard for the public well-being.
That is enough, said Arbo, I have heard your exposition and will report everything to the king, from whom, if I receive fresh orders, I may have more to tell you at another time. Come with your proposals and we can advance the matter.
This was the whole conversation, from which I gather that the French would not lose the opportunity if England was the first to relax her rigour. I am the more confirmed in this opinion because the little Buglione has pressed Montagu hard to put in writing the desire of his king for peace and an accommodation. I know what the Ambassador Contarini has done in England, which is worthy of his abilities, but what he has achieved is far from what they claim here, and I do not see how a middle way can be found. I shall therefore await instructions, while not neglecting such offices as may dispose them to a more reasonable state of mind here.
Paris, the 2nd March, 1628.
[Italian.]
March 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
4. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Falsburgh has gone, leaving Montagu's affair unsettled as usual. In order to give some sort of consolation to the Duke of Lorraine, the king, at the instance of the queen mother, has granted that the Duchess of Chevreuse may return to Court.
Several of the French prisoners have arrived from England these last two days, but M. d'Achino has not come yet, who was sent in response to what France did with the mission of Meos, being appointed as an escort for the prisoners. They await him here with both curiosity and desire. I do not know whether it is more to extract some overture from him, and make it appear that England was asking for peace, or in order to find out what is passing between the English and Rochellese and what is the strength of their fleet and what that mountain will bring forth.
Paris, the 3rd March, 1628.
[Italian.]
March 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
5. To the Ambassador in France.
You spoke entirely to the purpose to the queen mother about the reconciliation of the two crowns, and the composition of the differences between the two dukes. We send you the reply of the Ambassador Avaux to our last offices. You will regulate your conversation and offices by it.
As the affairs of Mantua and the common cause may well be facilitated by the reconciliation between the two kings, you will be able to renew your offices with his Majesty and press him when you see an opportunity. If the king proves immoveable about who shall be the first to ask for peace, you can point out that it is the part of the mediators to speak and report between the parties, and so that point vanishes, especially as they are both disposed to reunion, and they will acquire greater merits with Christendom.
Ayes, 120.Noes, 0.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
March 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
6. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Court of Soissons is advised that he is to go to Paris to find some way of adjustment and to obtain Montagu's release.
Turin, the 4th March, 1628.
[Italian.]
March 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Svizzeri.
Venetian
Archives.
7. GIROLAMO CAVAZZA, Venetian Secretary with the Swiss, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The last letters from Brussels announce the arrival of Gabor's nephew, with the title of Count of Hulst. The infanta gave him a very cordial reception. He has so few persons with him that it is thought he can easily make the journeys to France, Spain, England and Italy that have been committed to him, before he returns home.
At Dunkirk and Ostend the Spaniards are building a number of ships. They hope to complete forty to be employed in the Baltic, and the Imperialists hope to collect sixty, if they can overcome their difficulties, as the Hanse towns are very reluctant to take action prejudicial to the King of Denmark.
Zurich, the 4th March, 1628.
[Italian.]
March 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
8. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English and French ambassadors have multiplied their offices of late, the latter insisting that Dulbier and Balfour shall not be permitted to make the levy in this state, and protesting that he has orders in such case to recall the French troops serving here. Carleton opposes, not because he claims to make the levy in this state, which was never his Majesty's intention, but to show that the French ambassador's protest is a personal caprice without orders from his master. The news of the decision could not have reached that king, as no sooner had it been made in England than the persons were sent here to carry it into effect.
As usual, the States are much perturbed by this contest, and very fearful that worse may befall, as there is very little sign at present of an adjustment between the two crowns. However, it has been decided that the English must not only make the levy outside the state, but those in charge of it must go to the German frontier. They mean to appoint commissioners to guard against fraud, and to give the French no grounds to complain.
The English might complain that this rigorous decision showed a leaning to France; really it is nothing of the kind, but it will serve as an admirable pretext for their own levies, as they are very short of cavalry.
The French ambassador told me that the States had thanked him because his offices had enabled them to defend themselves against the demands of the English. However, he has presented a paper in which he says he believes the English have not so far made any demands, but he would like to know what the States will decide if they do so. The Prince of Orange told me that this was asking too much. I found him imbued with Carleton's opinions, who had been to audience before me, with Dulbier. This made me suspect that they wanted some facilities here, because if they had never given the matter a thought, as they declare, there would have been no need for so many sittings.
Be this as it may, the prince kept nothing back from me, and although he did not tell me that Carleton had spoken of this, he assured me that the States would not allow the levy to be made in the country, though he remarked that if the king wished to make use of his offices in this country it would be impossible to prevent them from going. He gave me an important instance, that of Balfour, who commands a company of horse in this service, who would leave his lieutenant and go to serve the king with 400 horse, for which he has the patents. They would not agree to this, but would give the company to some one else. The English would have no reason to complain of this because they would do the same with the French and, indeed, always. It was only reasonable that captains should remain with their companies in the time of a campaign, and especially of so much pressure. The English have ordered arms here for the soldiers, and this, apparently, has not been forbidden, as the French also have had what guns and ships they pleased. The French ambassador says that the grants to them were made before the war began, but I do not think they will trouble about this.
In conversing with the prince about what the English want with this cavalry, we concluded that it was merely for the defence of the duke, who fears ruin from every quarter, and in spite of his entire favour with the king, he does not feel secure. He had certainly given this token under another pretext, but in order to make use of it for his own advantage. An additional proof of this is afforded when we see that not only are those officers his tried creatures and he promises himself much from them, but that we also hear of secret confidential intercourse which he keeps up with the Spaniards. I have been assured in particular that there is staying at his house regularly a secretary of that Count of Gondomar who was recently Spanish ambassador at the Court. (fn. 3) Men of affairs and all those competent to judge the matter from their general experience and their special knowledge of this kingdom predict, without exception, one of two things, either the ruin of the duke or his retirement, which will inflict a great blow upon the service of the king himself, especially if things go on as they are at present (si e concluso che cio non habbi a servire ad altro che per difesa del Duca, il quale teme da tutte le parte il precipitio, et se ben si trovi col favore del Re tutto intiero, ad ogni modo non tenersi sicuro, et certamente haver lui dato questo raccordo sotto altro pretesto, ma per valersene a suo beneficio; serve a maggior argomento di cio non solo il veder che questi officiali sono sue creature esperimentate, et delle quali molto si promette, ma l'intendersi etiamdio le pratiche di secreta confidenza che egli ha con Spagnuoli, particolarmente mi viene affermato che in casa sua si trattenga ordinariamente un secretario del Conte di Gondemar, che fu ultimamente Ambasciatore di Spagna alla Corte, tutti pronostichi d'huomini prattici et atti a giudicar di quest' affare cosi per isperienza delle cosi in generale comi per le particolari di quel Regno circonscrivono o la rovina del Duca o la sua retirata che dara colpo grande al servitio del Re medesimo massime continuando le cose presenti).
I took a favourable opportunity to speak again to Carleton. He shrugged his shoulders and said that all things at present are conspiring towards the continuation of the war, especially as in France they breathe out fire against La Rochelle. He spoke strongly about the appointment of Cardinal Richelieu to be generalissimo of the forces both by land and sea, and he told me that Cardinal Berulle was destined to replace Bethune, the ambassador at Rome. On these two resolutions he based the strongest part of his argument and concluded that peace was impossible in the hands of such ministers, and so it was time to think of arms. They were doing so in England by the preparation of a strong fleet. He told me he had informed their High Mightinesses about it. They would like to find some remedy, to avoid greater evils, but they stick to their point and their good will, with fear of being deprived of means.
Aerssens should be in Paris by now. The prince told me he heard the Most Christian would receive him well. God grant that they be well treated, as upon that depends their adherence to their proposals and resolutions for an accommodation.
The Hague, the 6th March, 1628.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
9. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Danish ambassadors made two representations at their first audience of the king; the great need of the world for peace between this Crown and England, and the need of their king for help from France. The king gave them fair words on the second point, but nothing essential. He said he would not show himself averse from an accommodation if the English asked for it and promised to give up all thoughts of La Rochelle and the Huguenots for ever. This is the sole reply, which his Majesty always makes to those who treat with him on the subject, and from all one can judge he will not change until he hears what the English fleet will do towards the relief of that place during the approaching spring tides. They vainly hope that the English will abandon that place, even with this excellent opportunity. If the place is revictualled and regarrisoned it is certain that the cardinal, with every hope of taking it by hunger extinguished, and in the certainty that he cannot take it by force, will also change his opinions, and then everything will move in the direction of quiet. The cardinal maintains this show of rigour in order to obtain 4,000,000 lire from the French clergy, who would hardly consent thus to despoil themselves if they saw any disposition to make peace with England and the Rochellese.
The general opinion is that between now and Easter everything will be more developed, and the situation will either be hopeless or much easier.
This evening the Dutch ambassadors extraordinary should reach Paris and will lend a hand, but I do not build great hopes on them, and they arrive at a most unfortunate moment.
Paris, the 8th March, 1628.
[Italian.]
March 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
10. PIETRO VICO, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE. (fn. 4)
The other day I saw the Chancellor Verda, and passed the office committed to me in the letters of the 22nd January last about the alliance. I told him that the republic had always shown the most sincere affection for the emperor, and by the continuance of an old standing intelligence, aimed at the same end of peace and tranquillity. He said he was glad to hear this, as it would facilitate the union. However, I kept to generalities, and tried to find out their objects, and whether the league was to be defensive or offensive. Verda told me frankly that the league was to be both defensive and offensive. The emperor knew that the republic feared the Spaniards most, and he would make the league against any potentate whatsoever. He spoke of the strength of the emperor's forces, which would relieve the republic of any apprehensions from the Spaniards.
Seeing that I confined myself to generalities, Verda entered into particulars. He said the league was necessary for the common service. He hoped I should receive further commissions to bring it about. If these points were arranged, all the drugs, spices and other goods would come back to Venice from Spain, and be taken thence to Germany, as was done before. In the Council they were discussing the exclusion of English cloth, in favour of that from the Venetian state and other powers of Italy. If this good understanding is arranged speedily, it will set up a trade worth millions to the revenues of the emperor and your Serenity. At present this is taken from us by the Dutch and English, who alone hold the sea trade, with so much advantage in wealth and reputation. He further spoke to me of the designs of the General Vuolestain. When we parted, he pressed me to report these proposals of his, and he hoped that your Excellencies would take up an affair so advantageous to the quiet of Italy.
Prague, the 8th March, 1628.
[Italian; copy.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
11. To the Ambassador in England.
We have heard with regret of the seizure of your packets, and we commend your offices on the matter. We enclose our remonstrances with the ambassador. You will abstain from audiences of the king and from seeing Buckingham and the other ministers. We are sending this by express courier, until we give you further orders upon your reply to these and Wake's. Meanwhile, it is advisable to drop some hint covertly to the Earl of Pembroke and some other confidant, to assist a decision there. It is not advisable to state precisely what redress is claimed, as it would commit us too far if all was not obtained. But as an indication we suggest some suitable public punishment for the secretary of the Lieutenant of Dover or other culprit, who stopped and opened the packets; complete verbal satisfaction from Buckingham in a special visit to your house, and some special demonstration of honour towards your person from the king, who has taken some of it upon himself. His Majesty should grant this without difficulty.
We send this for information, not as proposals, but to show within a little what to listen to and to advise us. We cannot consider anything less than our claim for the recognition of the public despatches, and the interception of our letters cannot be allowed.
Ayes, 92.Noes, 2.Neutral, 61.
[Italian.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
12. That the English ambassador be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him:
We are always glad of complete reciprocity in our offices with you, corresponding to our affection for his Majesty and for the benefit of the common cause. We now have a very different matter in the extraordinary news of the arrest of the letters directed by our Ambassador Zorzi to his colleague, Contarini, of their being opened, an attempt to read the cipher, delay in restoring them, and stopping subsequent packets. Such acts destroy all relations between princes and are contrary to the law of nations, so much so that they are not committed even in the event of open disputes. It is an additional affront that this has been done on the pretence of doubting the straightforwardness of the republic and her ministers, and they have also violated the passport of the royal Council for their safe passage.
We feel sure that his Majesty, upon due reflection, will grant redress on a scale corresponding to the offence given, sufficient to ensure against the repetition of such things in the future, and to enable our ambassador to resume the confidential relations, he has so far maintained, as if they are not continued we could not permit him to remain. The matter is most serious from every point of view. The only comment that can be made must be most derogatory to his Majesty's interests. We feel sure that while you represent to his Majesty our most just remonstrances, your Excellency must yourself recognise that it is not fitting to allow the injured feelings of so great a prince to go unredressed, with a harmful interruption of negotiations, when he has always evinced the greatest esteem and affection for that Crown on his side.
Ayes, 92.Noes, 2.Neutral, 61.
[Italian.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
13. That the letter to the ambassador in England be deferred until the reply of the Ambassador Wake is received to the office read to him, which office shall be sent as follows:
We should never have expected the seizure of the packets of our Ambassador Contarini, in the midst of his friendly and sincere offices. The incident is aggravated by the opening of latters, an attempt to read the cipher, the delay in restoring them and the claim to inspect subsequent packets, also seized. This has rightly stirred our feelings to the utmost, and we feel sure every one will recognise the justice of our cause. One may easily imagine the consequences of such an action, which is not committed even where there is open dissension. As this is a cause in which commerce, dignity and the law of nations have been openly outraged, it only remains for us to enlarge upon it, as we feel assured that his Majesty will reflect in a becoming manner upon so grave and important an incident.
Ayes, 26.
[talian.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
14. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
From the enclosed copy of my letter to Zorzi, your Excellencies will understand what has been done about the peace negotiations.
As the result of my last audience, the king has sent me a very liberal passport, and has expressed the fullest confidence in me, through the Secretary Conway. I desired this passport both to uphold my reputation before the world after the affair of the packets, and because, without this convenience it would be impossible to negotiate with France. I am aware, however, that the duke, with his ideas, is not pleased with this, so I must act with reserve, for fear of envy and malice, since no other foreign minister or anyone else can send boats from England to France without their being seized. So the privilege gives rise to comment and jealousy.
It seems that there is no longer any doubt about parliament meeting at the time appointed. In the meantime the king continues his country diversions until the very eve of the opening. The duke may take a trip as far as Plymouth, where they are getting together the succour for La Rochelle. I understand it is still deficient in many respects and will not put to sea very soon. With respect to the outcome of this parliament, there is more doubt than hope, as not only in the more distant provinces, but even in the city of London, that is to say, under the eye of the Court, they have returned members who refused to pay the late subsidies. Thus I hear it has been voted in Council that unless the Commons grant the money immediately and without further debate, the king will be justified in exercising his prerogative burdening them with taxes and compelling them. For this end it is said that they have raised the thousand Reiters, given the orders for corslets and for the Scottish and Irish regiments. I do not know how these sudden and violent remedies can cure a feeble frame.
At their secret audience the Dutch ambassadors spoke in such a way about the affairs of Denmark and enlarged upon them with such effect that the king admitted he had caused the loss of that kingdom. They pointed out the serious danger which threatens the United Provinces through the understanding between the Imperialists and the Spaniards. I fancy they asked for 6,000 paid infantry in lieu of those who passed into the service of Denmark some time ago with Colonel Morgan, as the offensive and defensive league between England and the United Provinces requires the two countries to assist with all their forces if either of their allies is invaded in his own country. They also asked that commissioners might be appointed to treat about the peace with France and other current emergencies. Twelve members of the Council were nominated for this; too many for secrecy and displaying too great a desire for peace and it is ridiculous to appoint commissioners for a business which depends on another Court, where it is eschewed rather than desired. I believe, however, that this deputation will serve as a conference and warning of some Catholic league or union which might be arranged on the other side of the Channel, in order not to be taken unawares, seeing how many extravagances are committed by the French. The Dutch do not wish to give them umbrage, and use the pretext of treating about peace, though I believe they will attempt it with all their might. It is quite true that the English government complains that the Ambassador Langerach signed the renewal of the alliance in France, with clauses prejudicial to this country, and he has not been reprimanded for it. So the hobgoblins say that he acted by order and that his masters must apologise. Carleton is one of the commissioners appointed and I understand he has permission, but not a command, to leave when he pleases. They do not talk of sending anyone else. This might increase ill feeling, which could have been diverted by a man of understanding such as he is, especially about the Amboyna affair and navigation.
The Lord Mayor of London has advanced 20,000l, with which they have paid some of the arrears to the sailors. When they gave a banquet to the duke and some of the personages of the Court, they were obliged to line the streets with the armed train bands, to prevent any mischance, a thing never known before.
A general fast was proclaimed lately in the French churches for the preservation of La Rochelle. The Dutch ambassadors were present, though many considered this a mistake, because of prejudicing their negotiations with the Most Christian. The prohibition issued a while ago against the general trade in French goods is suspended as usual, because, in the first place, the farmers of the wine duties, who had advanced 30,000l. to the king, laid claim to indemnity, so they connive at the entry of wine and the government has written to Carleton and the States to make some arrangement to the mutual satisfaction of the two countries.
London, the 9th March, 1628.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in
the preceding
despatch.
15. Copy of letter written by ALVISE CONTARINI to the AMBASSADOR ZORZI in France.
By your letters I note the stiff reply of the queen mother about the peace. If I had made the slightest overtures here on that basis it would have inflamed the wound rather than healed it. I prefer to believe that on the arrival of the king and ministers in Paris you will elicit some more important particulars, which may not be utterly rejected when I present them here. There is no doubt that the government here is well disposed as they see that the common liberty and that of their friends is on the brink of ruin. But this does not mean that they are afraid or will behave indecorously, as after all they are favoured by their position and will be the last morsel devoured. Such at least is what they believe and say in England.
As to La Rochelle, although the succour is delayed, no one doubts getting it into the place in small boats, and the Rochelle deputies in London declare they are provisioned for many months, as proved by their not being urgent for supplies. To await in France the result of that undertaking, besides it being more dilatory than is supposed, even were it to succeed, would mean the beginning of daily war at sea, which would prevent France from selling her wines and salt, whence she derives the greater part of her gold. As the French will not always be united with the Spaniards, they will remain very inferior at sea, and lose their whole trade, which is the soul of a kingdom's opulence.
When Buckingham hoped to take the Isle of Rhe, the English would never hear of peace, but they were deceived and possibly repent. The like might happen now, and if La Rochelle is relieved, as every one expects, for if the English fail the Spaniards may succeed, as it was always their policy to keep that door open for civil strife, while England acts solely for religion and punctilio, France will have to make peace more disadvantageously, or else undertake a war which will exhaust all parties.
The present position of affairs here may never occur again. If parliament grants the king supply, a fleet will speedily and easily appear at sea, such being the habit of this most fortunate realm, that with parliament the people refuse nothing and the money once voted is as good as received. Again, if war be declared with the approval of parliament, it will not end so soon; and this may easily happen because the Puritans are most hostile to the Papists. This feeling has perhaps hitherto prevented a treaty with Spain, just as some heavier blow would have been struck at Spain had the king and his subjects been united. They are thinking about this now above all things.
On the other hand, if parliament refuses supply, it is already determined to lay on taxes and duties. Although this is a more tedious and perilous course yet it will render the king rich if it answers, and supply material to continue the war, and that is likely, as he is young and the injured party. It is worthy of note that when the favourite has recovered from his fit about parliament, his passions will resume greater strength, when freed from the dread of personal misfortune.
I have said this much about what men of great judgment say and foresee, leaving many other matters to your prudent consideration, including the spell the Austrians have cast over the French, in making them believe that the two powers together can give the law to the world and extirpate the heretics. This has injured France, leading her to injure her own limbs, while the Spaniards are strengthening themselves by the efforts of others, and gaining vigour for her destruction.
The chief difficulty is as to who shall make the first overtures. I think it should be proposed as an idea of our own. I fancy the Dutch ambassadors have followed this course, drawing up a paper to be shown simultaneously to the two Courts to ascertain where the chief difficulties consist. It is true that owing to their request here for commissioners, this measure was not approved. The best plan would be to familiarise the matter covertly through some familiar. This would save the mediator's face should the project fail, as we may fear, if France continues so harsh. I suggested to the Senate that if the Huguenots made submission matters would be as they were before the invasion of the Isle of Rhe, without any fresh treaty, requiring months, and without any delay, so fatal in the present state of Europe. If the French say they will not allow other powers to interfere, the English can reply that they pledged themselves to the Huguenots at the request of the French in order to bring about the peace.
The second point was that the maritime code should remain in force according to the last treaty between the Most Christian and the late King James, providing that reprisals should not be made on goods within the two realms, but that everything should be decided by law. This should satisfy the French, as though they have incurred some losses by these reprisals yet when the war broke out between England and Spain, they alone were at liberty to trade with both countries. War, on the other hand, will destroy them and the fishermen and merchants already deprecated it. Thirdly, I suggested appointing commissioners for minor differences, and fourthly that all parties should combine to render effective help to Denmark. England desired a joint league for this, but as the proposal was rejected on the score of religion, it is considered better for each to act independently.
If you see fit you can sound them about these suggestions, and I will wait to hear from you. The mere idea that the two kings are in negotiation will thwart the union of the French with the Spaniards, which I consider more important than anything, and it would be something to break this spell, even if nothing were concluded.
I am sending this letter to Calais with a passport from the king, and orders to forward it immediately. If you have anything of importance, you can write to Steltius, who will send it hither by a French boat, sending the duplicate by way of Holland to guard against accidents.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
16. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They held several councils last week about Montagu and the Duchess of Chevreuse, and it was thought that the latter would return to Court and the former speedily leave the Bastille. From what I hear everything remains as usual, except that there is more confusion than ever. They want to release Montagu here, but with an undertaking that he shall remain in Lorraine for six months and during all that time he shall be bound to present himself in France whenever asked and give an account of all he has done. The Duke of Lorraine has rejected the conditions and the Prince of Falsberg has gone to and fro in vain, gaining the reputation of a good cavalier but a bad negotiator.
Paris, the 9th March, 1628.
[Italian.]
March 10.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
17. The English ambassador was summoned to the Collegio and the deliberation of the Senate of yesterday was read to him. (fn. 5) He spoke as follows:
I observe that the Senate speaks seriously upon a matter of which I had no knowledge until the present moment. I cannot excuse or condemn the deed, as I have no information. I can, however, assure your Serenity that my king does not wish to give you the slightest cause for offence. His Majesty highly esteems the republic and trusts it more than any other power, so what has happened must have been without his foreknowledge. I will do my part in informing his Majesty of what has been read to me, and much as I regret the offence given to the republic I am confident that she will receive full satisfaction. Your Serenity will excuse me for not going into further particulars, as I have no information.
The doge replied: What the Senate has represented to your lordship is based upon a great and just necessity for complaint. You may be sure that we should not have performed such an office without urgent cause, and such a violation of our ambassador's letters is not customary between unfriendly princes and certainly was not deserved by the republic. Your Excellency can testify to our partiality and zeal for every advantage for his Majesty.
The ambassador repeated that he had always recognised the cordial affection of the republic for his master. He then took leave and departed. When taking notes of the office he tried to learn from me, the secretary, by whose order the letters had been stopped and opened. I told him nothing except that the facts were patent. He said he was glad that the departure of the ordinary fell this evening, as he could write to his Majesty at once.
ANTONIO ANTELMI, Secretary.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Sixteen members were added to the existing Council of War on the 15th February by a decree dated the 12th February. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1627–8, pages 560, 563.
2 Apparently a reference to the proclamation of the 17th February, o.s., for repressing disorders of mariners billeted in Wapping, Ratcliffe, Limehouse, Blackwell and Stepney. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1627–8, page 568.
3 He probably refers to Henry Tailor.
4 This dispatch is printed by Zwiedineck-Südenhorat: Die Politik der Republik Venedig waährend des Dreissigjahrigen Krieges, vol ii, page 234.
5 Wake writes: "This morning I was sent for in haste into the College, where I received a furious entertainment, and was little better than arraigned as a criminal. The faces and countenances of all the Savii were changed and the doge did not, according to the custom, give me the good morrow nor bid me welcome, but Antelmi, the Secretary, without any previous ceremony, did read unto me a writing dictated by the Senate, by which it doth appear that the Sig. Contarini, then ambassador in England, hath written hither a letter of gunpowder, able to blow up in an instant all good correspondence between his Majesty and this State." Wake to Conway, the 10th March, 1628, S.P. Foreign, Venice. On the following day he wrote: "I may now stand here for a cipher, until either they or I do hear out of England, for if I should have occasion to propose or negotiate anything concerning the public I am sure that aut nihil respondebunt aut male respondebunt, for they are so transported with passion that they do despatch this courier with order to command their ambassador to retire if he do not receive satisfaction ... It is to be understood that if Sig. Contarini do retire unsatisfied in his pretensions, how vast soever, this state will command me immediately to retire, and therefore, in that case, I shall humbly desire your lordship that order may be given for money to disengage me here." Idem, the 11th March.


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