Venice
May 1628, 1-15

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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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75-92

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'Venice: May 1628, 1-15', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 21: 1628-1629 (1916), pp. 75-92. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89183 Date accessed: 22 October 2014.


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Contents

May 1628

May 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
96. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Last week the king sent his heralds to La Rochelle to threaten them with destruction if they did not surrender. Reports differ as to what happened. They report from the camp that the English fleet has sailed and has been sighted off La Rochelle. The Cardinal has made the following arrangements against it. Outside the mole almost at the mouth of the channel he has placed thirty-two large barques, double sheathed, of 250 tons each, provided with a quantity of light artillery and filled with musketeers. These troops, after the first shots, will retire to the forts and the mole, and as the English ships will have to pass in single file they expect to do much execution, as the ships will be fired on from the barques, the mole, the forts, Coneglie and St. Louis, a hail of shot from every quarter. Supposing the English over came all these obstacles and reached the opening of the mole, they will encounter two more difficulties, of equal peril, they will be exposed to a constant cannonade from the mole to La Rochelle, as the forts and banks are well supplied with guns, which command the channel from both sides. They will also have to meet the fleet inside, called the floating chain, composed of 80 large barques of the same burthen though not so large, chained together by separate beams, twisted in and out like cables, and with a thousand other bonds, practically indestructible. These also are furnished with guns and troops; indeed the cardinal expects that at the worst he will be able to put 10,000 infantry in action. The English will have to overcome all these obstacles if they mean to relieve La Rochelle, as they claim. Yet some small barques, braving every danger, frequently bring help, showing that the port is not so much closed as to prevent any one who wants from entering. Half a dozen oxen have also been got in from the land side, six or eight days ago.
With the exception of the Jesuits, Berulle and all that faction, there is not a soul in the kingdom, from the highest to the lowest, but deplores this civil war and would feel it deeply if La Rochelle fell. Thus every one would be glad if the English fleet achieved some worthy exploit, even if it was to their own hurt, though it is considered hopeless that France will ever come to herself, unless it be by some violent shock. All are incensed at the audacity of the Spaniards; but whether from respect for the queen mother or because the cardinal keeps all in subjection, there is not one who ventures to bell the cat.
San Desir, the 1st May, 1628.
[Italian.]
May 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
97. GIROLAMO SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Ambassador Carleton is still detained by the wind, but as soon as it is favourable he will not tarry a moment. He has already sent his goods on board the ship which the States have assigned to take him. He came to see me two days ago and gave me copies of the enclosed papers upon the king's declaration, and an office of the Duke of Buckingham for a favourable issue of the parliament. He told me he had heard that the ambassadors extraordinary of the States in France have written here that it was not possible to arrange any agreement, owing to the excessive pretensions of the French in the assurance that the English would not be able to interfere with their designs for a long while or molest them in any way. He told me there were extravagant ideas and this might be proved very soon. He told me the confidences of the French might help the English who would be the more likely to catch them unprepared. I said I did not think the French held such views, but even if they had, the decisions of the parliament would have dissipated them by now. I hoped that now each side saw that the other could hurt it, they might be the more easily persuaded to reconciliation for the welfare of Christendom. As a fact, replied Carleton, my king has never had an inclination for the war, except when he saw that his forbearance generated contempt. I assure your Excellency that he is of the same disposition now, and if the French are satisfied with what is reasonable the peace will be made at once without trouble for those who intervene. I see that this affair is taking a bad turn, because the French, who hold the advantage, seem steadily opposed to an adjustment, and the English also do not move, in order to abase so much vain glory.
There are letters of the 20th from Calais reporting that the English fleet has not yet sailed. If they persist in their decision and move so slowly they will incur shame and loss in the end, as if La Rochelle is not succoured it will fall, and open the way to the greatest evils. By letters brought from Paris from the ambassadors extraordinary of the States, they hear that those ambassadors do not accord well with those in England. I have not been able to learn further particulars, except the ones in France have written that those in England have taken a false and very harmful step, but they have sent their secretary to London to put matters straight. God grant I may be wrong, but I do not believe that any good will be done from this quarter, because the Dutch are neither esteemed nor loved either by the French or the English; both make claims upon them, and while they wish to remain neutral they lose instead of gaining ground with both crowns.
The Hague, the 1st May, 1628.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.98. His Majesty being informed of the decision taken to-day by parliament, he expresses his very great satisfaction not so much at the money granted as at the liberality of their hearts, shown by the manner of acceding to his wishes. Although reasons of state called for a larger sum, he would never lack money, as his treasures lay in their affection. Although his treasury was empty, it was that day filled with better treasure than gold or silver. He would love his people more and more and have recourse to parliament more frequently than ever. He assured those who had been fearful hitherto and he would create such confidence for the future, that they should ask for nothing reasonable of all the things that had been granted by his best predecessors, that his Majesty would not concede to them with equal promptitude.
On hearing these words the gentlemen of the Lower House were so gratified that they could not restrain their tears, and never uttered a word. (fn. 1)
[Italian.]
Enclosure.99. Discourse of the Duke of Buckingham to his Majesty at the Council board, on Friday, the 4th April, 1628. (fn. 2)
[Italian.]
May 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Milano.
Venetian
Archives.
100. PIER ANTONIO MARIONI, Venetian Secretary at Milan, to the DOGE and SENATE.
An Englishman has been here who comes from Spain by the posts. So far I have been unable to find out anything about him, except that the governor gave him 500 gold crowns.
The Camp under Casal, the 2nd May, 1628.
[Italian.]
May 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Capitanio
delle Galeazze.
Venetian
Archives.
101. LUCA PESARO, Governor of the Galleys of the Convicts, to the DOGE And SENATE.
By letters from Naples I hear that complaints are being prepared of the reception in your Excellencies' ports of the Englishman Digby and claims that your representatives must punish him for the capture of the first vessel laden with wheat bound for that city. There will be a louder complaint about the last depredations. This confirms my opinion that it is best to abstain from all dealings with him, and on the plea of health and other things to try and divert these transactions, which cause great princes much misgiving and offence, without profit. Two galeots are completely fitted out and well armed at Prevesa, and a foist at Sta. Maura. It is said they will go to Calabria. I should consider the corsairs very simple to publish their plans thus but I fear they may enter the Gulf, and so I will go to Apulia. This will deprive the Spaniards of the pretext for entering the Gulf to defend their own affairs.
The Galley at Corfu, the 4th May, 1628.
[Italian.]
May 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zante.
Venetian
Archives.
102. PIERO MALIPIERO, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I recently reported the capture of a Flemish ship laden with corn for Naples in the waters of Sicily by two English ships, one the William Ralph, Captain Thomas Transfilt, (fn. 3) which will by now have reached Venice, and how I paid for the grain. The English keep taking prizes; they have brought two others, a Flemish fly boat (filippoto) and a French saettia, with various goods. The interests of the public duties compel me to shut my eyes and let them unlade.
Zante, the 24th April, 1628, old style.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.103. On the 16 April, 1628.
Examination of William Helei, (fn. 4) an Englishman, captain of a Saittia here, and Frederick Windsor, English adventurer on the Flemish fly boat.
Came from England in company with other ships, and as adventurers under Sir Kenelm Digby. He helped two English ships and took them to a safe place and also captured these two ships, Spanish and French, as well as two others, which he has with him. Will probably arrive in this port soon, as he parted from them in the sea of Sardinia by misfortune. Left England on 1st January. No cargo, as war ships. Touched at Algiers for water, but only stayed a day. The flyboat captured in the seas of Sardinia; the Frenchman under a fortress of that place; one of the other two off Sardinia and the other off Minorca, both French. That capture made 18 days ago and those here about ten days. All the sailors of the prizes fled to land in their boats, only the fly boat has its sailors. As the fly boat has its hatches closed do not know its cargo except hoops, vats and some chests of pipe staves. The Frenchman had bales of canvas and casks; do not know contents. Not heard cargoes of others. The fly boat laded at Naples, the others at Trapi near Bolon in Provence, all for Sardinia. They would try to sell the cargoes as the goods of their enemies, when they had an opportunity. The knight who is coming in three days or more has the commissions from the King of England.
[Italian.]
May 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Capitanio
delle Galeazze.
Venetian
Archives.
104. BARTOLOMMEO CORNER, Captain of the Galeasses, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The news I received from the Proveditore Malipiero compelled me to hurry from Corfu, to ascertain what was the vessel flying the English flag that chased the berton Polani, and also to execute my commissions, as serious incidents are occurring about these islands between the ships of Spain, France and England. The last, with a strong force, claim to search all the ships they see, and it may easily happen, that if they meet ships destined for this mart, the masters, fearing they are being chased by Barbary pirates, will abandon their ships, losing both them and their goods. What is worse, all these foreign ships make use of your Excellencies' ports; the English in particular of those of Cephalonia, where they try to sell their booty. The Spanish consul is very irate about this because he has not been able to obtain from Zante the money for the wheat sold to that people from the ships taken when sailing to Naples. For this and similar business he is now at Cephalonia. The English are inclined to wax wrath because two French prizes taken by them to that port have been turned out. Edward Cherchen, consul of that nation, whom I brought hither from Aleppo, has told me of this. I feel sure your Excellencies will have heard of this and will have issued your orders. I will try and get them at Corfu.
The Galeasse at Zante, the 5th May, 1628.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.105. Deposition of GIO. ANTONIO PIGLAI of Venice, of the berton Polani.
Arrived in this port day before yesterday, on way to Crete. On 29th ult. sighted six bertons at the mouth of the Gulf between Salerno and the Cape of Otranto, apparently sailing towards the headland. When they sighted him they gave chase. After pursuing for two hours they abandoned the chase to one of their swiftest vessels. This came within cannon shot and fired, displaying the English flag, a red cross on a white ground. Replied by firing and flying flag of St. Mark. Kept on his way, pursued for another half hour. They fired again, this time with shot, but seeing they could not come up, they drew off to join their companions. The wind was in the north west when sighted the ships. Seghetti's from Alexandria was not among them.
[Italian.]
May 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Venetian
Archives.
106. To the Ambassador at the Hague.
It is advisable to keep an eye upon the movements of the ambassadors of France and England who are returning home in order to have a more precise enquiry about their movements. With Carleton in particular you will pass such offices as you consider most opportune to urge a reconciliation between the two crowns. We have written so often upon the subject that repetition is superfluous. You will make use of your past instructions.
Ayes, 110.Noes, 2.Neutral, 42.
[Italian.]
May 6.
Senato,
Secreta. vDispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
107. AGOSTIN VIANUOL, Venetian Secretary at Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
We hear from Leghorn that on Monday two English ships arrived there, which on their way back from Alexandria fought with a ship of Barbary with 70 Turks on board. They sunk it, killing 42 of the Turks and taking the rest prisoners.
Florence, the 6th May, 1628.
[Italian.]
May 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
108. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
In letters from Lyons of M. d'Alincourt they say the king arrived at La Rochelle on the 25th. He hoped to finish the enterprise soon. The time considered dangerous for breaking the mole had passed. The English fleet had shown itself, but it was considered impossible that it could do any good for the town, and if they betake themselves to the islands they will be beaten again. Nevertheless I understand that the sight of the fleet has given some courage to the Rochellese, and the surrender of the town may not be so near s St. Simon and Marini suppose.
The courier sent by Guron has arrived. He reports the same thing, he had seen the English fleet at a distance and the whole port of La Rochelle was closed; but they say nothing of the besieged treating.
The Duke of Lorraine was at Paris. He was going to find the king, and they write to Marini that Montagu is released for the gratification of Lorraine and that prince thought of acting as intermediary for the adjustment with England.
Turin, the 7th May, 1628.
[Italian.]
May 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
109. GIROLAMO SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Captain Bergh came to see me yesterday. We told me he had spoken to some of the lords here to learn if there would be any difficulty in case it was necessary to make levies for your Serenity. He received doubtful replies on the supposition that the case would not arise. I do not anticipate a refusal however. Bergh told me that in case of difficulty he could make a levy in Scotland with the help of a Scottish captain, his comrade, supposing that the King of Great Britain did not raise any objection. But the chief consideration is that so much time will be lost in enlisting and transporting the troops that the best season will have passed.
The Hague, the 8th May, 1628.
[Italian.]
May 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
110. GIROLAMO SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I went recently to see the Prince of Orange. I found him very troubled. He spoke at length of present disorders with respect to the French and English, all being to the profit of the Austrians.
He told me important news from England, that parliament granted the subsidies on condition that the extraordinary troops should be taken away and that the 1,000 horse now on the frontiers here, should not be brought in. It thus appears that things are not going so smoothly as they announce, and that the rust is not thoroughly removed.
Carleton is still here. He expected to leave to-day, as the wind remained good almost an hour yesterday, but it is now quite contrary. There are advices here that the English fleet has sailed, but that it was driven back by bad weather. The English themselves publish this, and it comes from the ambassador's house. Thus I do not think I am far wrong if I say that they are inventions to escape censure and cloak the weakness shown by the delay of this expedition. The French assert this and that it will do no good, as the port of La Rochelle is so closed and well guarded that even a small boat could not get in.
I have just heard that Carlisle has arrived at Rotterdam and that he will make his entry to-morrow. I will pay my respects in the name of the state and keep an eye on his proceedings here.
The Hague, the 8th May, 1628.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
111. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I arrived here yesterday, and shortly afterwards a courier arrived from the camp. I learned from him about the siege but could not discover why the cardinal had sent in such haste for the governor, M. de Brise, his brother in law. Various reports are current here. Some say because the cardinal had certain news that the English fleet might appear at any moment and try to introduce succour into La Rochelle. It has recently been announced that next Friday, the 12th, the cardinal will arrange a treaty of accommodation with La Rochelle. The news immediately caused a great commotion in this city, exciting feelings of hope and relief.
Saumur, the 10th May, 1628.
[Italian.]
May 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Ceffalonia.
Venetian
Archives.
112. MARIN MUDAZZO, Venetian Proveditore in Cephalonia, to the DOGE and SENATE.
On the 20th I wrote of the arrival of Sir Kenelm Digby at Argostoli with an English consort and a Flemish prize, laden with wheat at Barletta and destined for Naples. The wheat has been bought by Mr. John Hobson, an Englishman trading here, and was afterwards distributed among the people here. It was impossible to prevent this and so I connived at it, especially in view of the scarcity, since we are deprived of the help we expected from the mainland.
Digby is still in the port and has brought in four little ships captured by him in the waters of Sardinia and Majorca, with salt, oil, cloth and silk. I have not agreed to his landing, but have armed the shores of the port with troops. I have put the Croats in three caiques and stationed them at stern of the ships, so that no suspicious goods may be taken from them. I act on the pretext of the sanitary regulations in order to constrain him to leave as soon as possible, as his stay here mortifies me exceedingly, especially as he proposes to repair his ships from the damage they suffered on the voyage, as they had to fight several times.
Cephalonia, the last of April, 1628, old style.
[Italian.]
May 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
113. To the Ambassador in England.
Commendations upon the matter of the letters and the accuracy of his advices. Quite right to wait for orders about the adjustment. Rejoice to hear of the good fruit obtained by the king from parliament, so that he will be the better able to serve the public cause. To express the satisfaction to the ministers of the right views. Observe that among the contributions granted by parliament there were all those which aim at counterbalancing the Austrian arms in Germany, and no response about the requests for La Rochelle. From this may be argued a disposition in parliament to make peace with France in order, perhaps to attend to more urgent needs elsewhere. It will be very opportune to see what effect this has upon the resolutions of the king and his Council, and why parliament left out this point about the Rochellese, in whom all England seemed so interested. Has their instructions about the reconciliation and will use them when opportunities occur. He will keep up confidential relations with the Dutch ambassadors to this end, though without joint audiences or such things, which might be less helpful as the ministers do not seem friendly to them in other matters.
In Italy Mantua relied upon the diversion caused by the affairs of Germany, the States and the Palatine. If the help which he relies on from the Most Christian fails him, he must fall, and that will release the powerful forces kept on the frontiers of Italy. This is a great point. He should bring this forward adroitly, urging that it is not advisable to divert France from lending a hand to the Duke of Mantua, with consequent harm to the common cause. He will represent the state of affairs here in this manner, so as to act in a counterpoise to the sinister impressions that Scaglia may have made. He will pay attention to this, guide his remarks thereby and send all particulars.
Ayes, 117.Noes, 1.Neutral, 5.
[Italian.]
May 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
114. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Count of Olivares is recovered and I gather that they hold to their decision that the missions shall go, as arranged by the king, especially those destined for Portugal, as they propose to make two fleets for the Ocean, one at Lisbon and the other at Cadiz. The motive for this decision is the knowledge that they are preparing forces in England, and the suspicion that now the differences with the French are accommodated, they may turn against these parts.
Madrid, the 11th May, 1628.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Capitanio
delle Galeazze.
Venetian
Archives.
115. ANDREA ZULIAN, Captain of the Gulf, to the DOGE and SENATE.
By letters of the Consul of Naples of the 22nd ult. I am advised that a Flemish ship called Three Kings has been captured by two English ships when coming from Barletta, laden with wheat for the Court and private persons. He has been asked to inform us here, so that if they arrive in the ports of your Serenity they may be detained as pirates. According to my information they have gone to Zante and sold the wheat there. I think the Proveditori of Zante and Cephalonia should abstain from this traffic, in order to avoid very serious consequences, especially as their claim to search all vessels cause the sailors to abandon their ships, when they are approached by powerful vessels they do not know.
The Galley at Corfu, the 12th May, 1628.
[Italian.]
May 13.
Seneto,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
116. SEBASTIANO VENIERO, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
At the end of March two very powerful English ships arrived at Alexandretta, the Royal Merchant and the Royal Exchange. They brought 225,000 ryals in cash, 12,000 Londons, kerseys, lead, cramoisy and other things. I hear that one of them is to come on here, after unlading, to take the goods of the ship Patiniota, shipwrecked these last months, such is the impression of all the English here. The merchants here urge me to the utmost with all the reasons they can invent, but I shall not permit the hiring without the Senate's orders.
The Consul of Smyrna writes that some of the merchants there hired an English ship for this city, as those they expected were late, and I see he says they paid the consulage to the English. The consul there cannot know of the wishes of the State, sent long before my arrival, as he is very modest and obedient. I wrote them at once not to consent to such a prejudice and stop it all he can. I also sent the last notice about not permitting lading on foreign ships.
The quantity and quality of the English ships in these waters augment greatly.
The Vigne of Pera, the 13th May, 1628.
[Italian.]
May 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
117. SEBASTIANO VENIERO, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Todolachi, ambassador of Prince Gabor, arrived here lately with the prince's submission to this empire. He has seen the ambassadors of England and Flanders together, for whom he brought letters from the prince. Those for England are long, in answer to the ones sent. He apologises for what he has done and refers to what the ambassador will say. Those of Flanders are merely of credence. Orally, the ambassador, said his master was the same as ever. He had not dissolved the league with England, Denmark and the States. He had been forced by them to make peace with the emperor. He offered to do his share if the opportunity was given to him.
England replied that there was not only opportunity but necessity, pointing out the power of Austria, which threatened final ruin if not prevented. The way was easy; he could mount horse at once in the assurance that on their side they would carry out their obligations under the league.
The reply seemed very conclusive, so he began to say it was necessary to dispose them to move and write to the allied powers to send a new force to Silesia, as before. They pointed out that this would take a long time and would supply no remedy for the ills which require constant attention. They could get nothing more out of him, although he said his prince was sure that the emperor would turn against him and this empire as soon as he had done with Denmark.
The English ambassador has spoken on the subject to the Caimecan, who told him that Todolachi had seen him and made humble submission handing him a long letter. He had not said a word of war or of the league with those princes. He promised to let the ambassador know what happened. That ambassador has little hope from this business, but he works hard and speaks to all the ministers; but so far he has found them very unsympathetic, owing to their numerous embarrassments. However he has seen Todolachi again and will go to the Caimecan to hear about the letters and make fresh representations.
The new English ambassador has returned my visit and we exchanged the most friendly remarks. I hope this will continue to the public advantage.
The Vigne of Pera, the 13th May, 1628.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
118. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The debates in parliament about the maintenance of the prerogative continue, but the offer and readiness to vote the five subsidies remain as ever. The Lower House drew up a paper in which it distinctly demanded three things: first, that for the future the king shall not exact money from his subjects without parliament; second, that he shall not imprison any one without declaring the cause within a month, and otherwise the judges shall grant release on bail; third, that the billeting of soldiers in the country shall be abolished; all being based on their most ancient privileges. With respect to this proposal the Upper House immediately divided itself into two factions. The duke with the royalists, numbering sixty six votes, proposed to reject it entirely, and consequently to have a complete rupture. The Earl of Arundel, Bristol and others, forty-six in number, were in favour of receiving, examining and modifying the petition if necessary. They spoke warmly for the liberty of the realm, and on that day there was great danger of the parliament being dissolved, had not the Archbishop of Canterbury, by adding to arguments in proof of the interests of the country, those relating to foreign policy and friendly powers, stopped the voting and the catastrophe. They remained in the House for ten consecutive hours, and it is said that the duke and all his followers had promised the king not to quit it on that day, unless these proposals of the Commons were thrown out absolutely, an extremity which was thus averted by argument. The proposals were taken into consideration and a paper drawn up, differing but little from the first in substance though greatly in language, and they sent it back to the Commons for examination, alteration and addition, so far as they could agree together, and thus keep the matter in negotiation. Next morning the king sat in parliament, which is an unusual proceeding. He said he understood there had been some difference between the two Houses, and to prevent it going further he declared, according to the first arrangement, that he would maintain all the privileges of the kingdom, according to his coronation oath, as registered in what they here call Magna Carta, without diminution, indeed he would carry them to the highest grade ever done by the best of his predecessors. This determination of his Majesty gave universal satisfaction, especially as his going to parliament after the disputes caused fears of a dissolution.
At present, on the strength of the king's promise, the members of the Lower House would like to pass an act to show the people that they have not voted any money, save to the advantage of the realm. It appears that the king will agree to this provided that they keep to the general terms expressed; but as yet the majority insists on the three articles recorded, asserting that the abuses which occurred in violation of their privileges require fresh laws to correct them for the future. This is the difficulty now under consideration. The people, aware of the king's necessities, do not lose the opportunity for increasing their privileges, and it seems that they have drawn back somewhat from the offers they have made before. On the other hand the king will hardly agree to fresh declarations or interpretations of these privileges, to the prejudice of his descendants, as he thinks that his authority is too much curtailed already. So he hastens the conclusion and protests that if they do not decide by Tuesday, the 23rd inst. he will try some other way.
It cannot be denied that some are fanning this flame to make a conflagration, and wise politicians believe that the duke himself would wish the king to be absolute master, and not dependent upon parliament. If this were at one with his Majesty, it would be often assembled, and the duke in constant fear of reproof and compelled to go the straight road. Yet it must also be admitted that the king and honest men wish to extinguish it, as it would rage but too fiercely in every quarter, causing a fearful destruction of the public liberty.
The succour for La Rochelle put to sea at last. There were thirty-six ships of war victualled for three months, but without any landing force. It included nine royal galleons and other small vessels, forming a total of fifty-three; it carried grain, butter, cheese and salt meat for the maintenance during six months of ten to twelve thousand persons, besides which there is a certain amount of live stock for the sick. Instead of sailors, of whom there was a deficiency, they employed soldiers. As the wind has been fair this fleet is supposed to be already off La Rochelle. News has come of its capturing a French boat, sent in advance to spy its movements. No one doubts the entry of the succour, a result which may reasonably be expected to afford some opening for peace, since one of these two crowns must ultimately be undeceived. As no advices have arrived from France or elsewhere for more than three weeks, to the surprise and distress of every one, neither the Dutch ambassadors nor any one else have negotiated, while the king and his ministers have been engaged over the parliament. The said ambassadors had audience of his Majesty and mildly remonstrated with him because the intercourse between this kingdom and Dunkirk has become practically free, not only for merchandise but for the mutual exchange of prisoners. They also evinced a suspicion of an even more important understanding. The king showed that he was very well acquainted with the matter, which was not believed, and therefore deserves consideration. On this account he contented himself with generalities and referred them to the Council. They had a conference there at which it was said that the Dutch also had exchanged prisoners; but they replied that it was only done once and on the express condition that it should not be continued, so as not to introduce giving quarter at sea, which is what the Spaniards desire, to allay the ferocity of these two nations in action by the hope of saving life; and it would be the right way for them to obtain seamen, of whom they have great need. As regards trade, the Lords of the Council told them that it was set on foot owing to the great quantity of English cloth, which required an outlet; and as that was denied them every where, and insecure in the Netherlands, they were compelled to seek it where they best might.
I have no doubt that this intercourse with Dunkirk is rather for the sake of rendering France and the States suspicious, to compel them to remain united with England, as they have always wished here. Yet these beginnings are not of good odour, especially as they agree with the duke's schemes, nor are they to be despised.
They also said something in favour of the fortress of Stade, although it is supposed to be already lost; but they were told that the whole business has already been referred to Carleton. This means that they must urge the States themselves to succour the place, so they do not rely in the least on this side for its defence. The King of Denmark has written a letter of recommendation to the king for certain vessels which have been seized, and he insists, peremptorily, I am told on peace with France.
The Delft ships with cloth are still detained, on account of the suspicions reported, which they make a pretext for opening the clandestine trade with Dunkirk. For the rest, I fancy the English would like to remove that business from Delft to Middelburg in Zeeland, where it was before, and where there are not so many Arminians or persons concerned in the East India trade, who are so powerful in the province of Holland.
A fleet of Dutchmen and Hamburgers, sailing towards the Strait, caused, caused great alarm on these coasts. Fire and smoke signals were made in every direction, as they were believed to be enemies. Four couriers, one after the other, came with this intelligence to the Court, and that same night the Earl of Holland was sent to the coast. Intelligent persons considered this a feint whereby to intimidate parliament and the people into giving money speedily. On the other hand it would be folly to dread a hostile landing without news from abroad of its preparation. It is true, however, that this intelligence causes a great stir and confusion among the populace. It is also true that the Earl of Holland, on his return, reported that although the governors along the coast issued the best orders for its defence, yet very few of the peasantry appeared at their posts. This excites serious comment and men do not approve of habituating the people of these fears and to a false panic, as when the reality occurs they no longer credit it.
The Earl of Carlisle left as reported. He was delayed by the reduction of the sum promised him for his journey from 20,000l. to 12,000l. By this time he will be at the Hague and will proceed on his way as reported. Some tell me that for the indulgence of his private curiosity he will get as far as Rome. I took advantage of his passage to get my last despatch to Holland. No ship has arrived thence for several weeks, and seven mails are due to me from Venice. Letters do not come from other places either to me or to the Court, or the other foreign ministers. This prevents negotiating, conversation or obtaining information. Here they think and talk of nothing but parliamentary matters, and as these depend on many persons, it delays the result longer than was expected or was necessary.
The reports of open war in Italy augment constantly, and are accompanied by some murmurs of disapproval at the high handed treatment of the most serene republic in particular. Many rejoice at the diversion, irrespective of her interests; others say that this is the true time for making France break with the Spaniards, and Savoy ought to regulate matters by this pole star, as unless the French move in earnest now everything will be ruined, and that speedily; but if they bestir themselves as they ought, all the enchantments of the Spanish Court will be dissipated, the peace with this crown will be more easy, and Savoy also will be in a state to bring them back to their original principles. If not, by cultivating friendship and confidential relations here, he will be rather a mischievous instrument. Some mystery attaches both to the presents which he sent to the queen, and to his keeping an ambassador in England without any business to transact. I communicate all this to his Excellency Zorzi.
London, the 15th May, 1628.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia,
Venetian
Archives.
119. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I arrived here on Saturday, the 13th. Targoni's son was the first to call upon me. He said that the English might still easily relieve La Rochelle, and the French might spend years there. His father was in disgrace because he had condemned the sinking of the vessels to block the port, done at the outset. This was the cardinal's invention. The outcome had justified Targoni's strictures, as not a single vessel of all those sunk had been able to resist the sea. They were all broken and scattered and fragments of them were constantly injuring the mole. Accordingly the way remained open, and there was little or no risk in entering. With all their preparations against the fortress the chief preoccupation of the royal forces was merely to prevent the English from entering, and they neglected everything else.
With the approach of full moon the English fleet, after coasting along the shore, brought up off the mouth of the port on Thursday night; they cast anchor between Coreglie and St. Louis, where they remain, awaiting tide or wind, neither or which has favoured them so far. This force consists of fifty men of war and 54 pataches (pettacchie) with the succour. One of the latter, being more bold or more lucky, passed between the mole and the French ships last night and entered La Rochelle. The news incensed the king, who forthwith rose from his bed despite the hour, and with a few courtiers went to look at the mole. He sent for the cardinal, who came with all speed, and conversed with him until the dawn showed the French a fresh loss, as five of the best pinnaces of their guard had fallen into the hands of the English that same night.
The bitterness of these events has been assuaged by the arrival of the Cavalier Ghito who at daybreak with a small vessel which he commanded, captured a good sized one of the English. It is not known if the booty is small or great. (fn. 5)
Several ambassadors are expected, but most of all the ambassador extraordinary of Spain who according to common report is coming to offer naval forces and assistance against the Hugenots and the English alike. It is easy to see that it is only in order to turn the king's attention away from Italian affairs.
Niort, the 15th May, 1628.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
120. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The entry of the Earl of Carlisle was arranged for last Tuesday. Accordingly all the Court and the Prince of Orange went to Ryswick bridge, the usual place, to meet him. At the time when he should have arrived, there came a messenger from Carleton reporting that Carlisle was somewhat indisposed and could not go any father that day. He apologised to the Prince who had to return to the Hague. On the following day, the 11th, the orders were repeated, the Prince went out again with all his suite and the ambassador arrived and made his state entry.
The cavalier travels with a great equipage, though it does not attain to the usual splendour of his journeys. Some tried to discover the reason for the delay of the first day, and it seemed he had not the clothes ready in which he had decided to make his entry, and therefore would not move before the day following. The Prince of Orange himself told me this declaring that such things are very characteristic of the man, who is very devoted to pleasure and the care of his own person; and indeed he is most elegant in every respect.
I have paid my respects with the observance the position demands, and even more, in order to please him. To tell the truth he responded most fully, with an excess of courtesy. This has encouraged intimacy, so that I have had long interviews with him. Yesterday, in particular, he came to see me and stayed quite two hours. He began by thanking me for favours received and promised to inform his Majesty. He spoke of his Majesty's very high esteem for the republic, which he would always be glad to prove. The opportunity might easily occur, as with the pass of the Valtelline closed through the negligence of the French, there was no safer way than the sea for your Excellencies, and you might always have the use of all that his Majesty possesses, in men, ships, arms, munitions, etc.
Secondly, as he was to go and pay his respects to your Serenity by his Majesty's order, he was instructed to make the same declarations as he had to me, and he hoped I would inform the Senate at once.
I responded suitably, lamenting that the republic had few opportunities of showing its esteem for his Majesty, but I would do my best to show this goodwill. I thanked him for telling me of his commissions and promised to inform your Serenity. Your Excellenies would receive him in a manner befitting his rank and would await his coming with impatience, especially as they supposed that so important a mission could portend nothing less than peace and reconciliation between the two crowns, which was so necessary to Christendom. Your Excellencies desired this passionately and had contributed all your offices to bring it about. I assured him that he would find the Senate indefatigable about procuring this reunion and ready to do everything to forward it. I gave him a brief outline of the offices I had been charged to perform in the matter, adding that representations about requirements abroad would have greater weight at present, owing to the events in Italy, which indicated the near approach of a fierce war.
He listened attentively, and even interrupted sometimes so that I might repeat what I said, owing to the difficulty of the Italian idiom. He told me that he desired nothing more passionately than this peace with France; but it was true that offences increased daily, and things had reached such a pass that it was replete with difficulties, which it would require a great master to adjust. This would not come from his king, who was excellently disposed and had proved it by his forbearance, which was almost unworthy of his royal greatness, before he actually broke. In spite of all that had happened his Majesty had never abandoned the idea of an accommodation. If some means can be found whereby his honour is secured, I assure your Excellency, said he, that we shall make peace at that moment, but without this, let no one speak to the king or his ministers, and for my part I protest before God and the world that before speaking of it I would see everything go to rack and ruin.
Seeing him so passionate I remarked that the matter must be negotiated by friends, and they would thus know that proposals derogatory to his Majesty's honour would not be made. Your Excellencies had insisted on this from the first. But in this case punctilio must not stand for honour. There are major and minor difficulties in all negotiations, and by skilful treatment and goodwill the minor ones disappear and the major become minor.
He replied that the question of reputation would always demand the greatest consideration and his king was obliged to stand firm as he was the first offended. The point of honour was bound up with the punctilio about speaking first. I told him that vendettas sometimes go so far that the one first offended is also obliged to be the first to ask for peace. He could not contain himself but broke in, I would rather endure every misfortune, that my wife, my children, the king and the kingdom should perish rather than be the first to speak of peace. He ought not to do it for his honour, and he cannot because of advantage, as we keep gaining and the French losing over the reprisals. Those made on our side amount to over 600,000l. sterling that is three millions of gold, and the French have not taken 200,000 florins' worth, so they have something to think about on that head. On the point of reputation I will give you a brief account of all that has happened. He began with his embassy to France in the time of King James, but I need not repeat the particulars. He pressed me to tell him what I thought about it all, and if his king could be the first to speak of an accomodation.
I excused myself from giving a formal reply, but said I would tell him in confidence that there were advantages and disadvantages in both sides adhering so rigidly to what had happened. In my opinion the most zealous should show themselves the most determined on peace. I delicately suggested that the King of Great Britain was almost forced to think of it the first, as his most intimate interests were concerned. I spoke of the King of Denmark and the Princess Palatine, enlarging in her praise, as she really deserves from her great qualities. I did this intentionally because the earl professes to be a strong supporter of his interests and a great opponent of the Spaniards.
Our interview then closed, he being satisfied with what I said, and I having some fear that he may be more rigorous than is requisite. However I did not find him unreasonable or insincere in upholding the interests of his master, and that is a sign that he desires what is just.
The Hague, the 15th May, 1628.
[Italian.]
May 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
121. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Carlisle will remain here some days longer, the time of his departure being undetermined. It was expected to be to-day. Carleton, owing to contrary winds, laments that he cannot get away, and it is unfortunate for him, as with the arrival of this other minister he cannot advance his credit. It is stated that Carlisle will put the finishing touches to the Amboyna affair, at which Carleton has worked so hard without success. The reason was perhaps the great rigour Carleton showed, and they say Carlisle has instructions to moderate it to secure a satisfactory settlement. I believe, however, that Carlisle may import some greater subtlety to support his own negotiations. Thus for the sake of this business and for the satisfaction of the States and Carleton himself it would be better if he had already gone. Once this matter is settled all the others will take a favourable turn, the ships detained in England will be restored and they will agree upon better arrangements for the safety of trade and the security of the sea.
With respect to the league which Carleton once proposed for these purposes, I fancy he made some overtures to the ministers here, but with little sign of conclusion, as the greater the number of articles the less the promises seemed likely to be kept and it was thought better to remain free and act effectively than to make a union without fulfilling its terms. It was also observed that when one side is willing and the other negligent, relations are more strained the closer the bonds of the contracting parties are.
I knew that Carleton spoke about it to Camerario, the resident of Sweden, who confined himself to generalities, though he said his king would always side with those who helped the cause.
There are various opinions about the journey this minister is to make when he leaves here, and they think he may go to Brussels. He certainly told me he would not, and Carleton confirmed it. It has come from his house and from several confidants, however, that he will go there. He will certainly go to Antwerp, and I know on good authority that he is expected there, when he will be met, received and defrayed. For the rest, time will show. I have learned by the same means that commerce and the traffic of letters increase daily between Brussels and London, special expresses being sent on both sides. We may believe that the English Catholics keep up this correspondence, but I think it is best to believe the worst and admit that they are encouraging the late negotiations, especially as I have noticed that all the letters pass through the hands of the Painter Rubens, who worked with Gerbier, also a painter and a go between for the Duke of Buckingham. If Carlisle goes to that Court it will be something worthy of note, and I will try and find out all about it.
The most weighty business is about a declaration against neutrality. Carlisle confines himself to asking for the observation of the alliance between the States and his king, by which they are bound to declare themselves absolutely for him. They replied with submission, although the Prince declared freely that his vote would never be given for war with the French, with things in their present state and they ought to be making friends, not enemies, especially as appearances and reason agree that the differences between the two crowns should be near a settlement. A declaration from the States could have no other effect then than to disturb the public weal and deprive them of the merit of having remained indifferent thus far. England herself ought not to desire this declaration as it would plunge her further into war.
They are still disputing, but I think I can assure your Serenity that they will not move a step, although the French are acting in a very hostile manner towards them in seizing their ships.
Letters of the 27th ult. have come from the ambassadors in France, reporting that they have been to audience of the queen and renewed their offices for the peace. They also complained of the slight esteem shown for their intervention, so that they did not know what to do, and they asked her Majesty to declare her will. They say the queen assured them of the king's good will and her own, and that they were equally welcome to both, but said no more. I am told that they write they are sure that the remission of the treaty of peace has been made by France to the Duke of Lorraine, the Duchess of Chevreuse and Montagu. I blush as I write it and would gladly pass it over were it not that the corruption of these days forces me to pay attention to the most unlikely things. They add that the difficulties of the treaty will be removed, and they think some arrangement has been made between the French and English so that the latter shall confine themselves to a mere show of succouring La Rochelle and favouring the rest of the party. I am without light on such profound abysses. It is certain that Carlisle and Carleton declare with all possible assurance that the king will not abandon the Huguenots, even if he risks losing his own kingdom. He cannot do it and the French cannot claim it, as they themselves made him the surety for their promises.
The despatches for Contarini which I have received this week, shall go on to London with the first favourable wind. I have sent two packets, which are still this side of the water, and there are two others to send at the first opportunity. I think the Ambassador Carleton will be the messenger.
The Hague, the 15th May, 1628.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 See Cal. S.P. Dom., 1628–9, page 62, No. 30.
2 Ibid, printed in Ephemeris Parliamentaria.
3 Thomas Trenchfield, Cal. S.P. Dom., 1628–9, page 302.
4 Healey. It would seem that his companion's name should be Woodcock (Journal of a Voyage of the Mediterranean, pages 26, 28).
5 The Chevalier de Guiltaut, who took an English ship laden with food and munitions. Mercure Français, vol. xiv, page 614.