Venice
February 1629, 6-10

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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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524-533

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'Venice: February 1629, 6-10', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 21: 1628-1629 (1916), pp. 524-533. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89215 Date accessed: 25 October 2014.


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February 1629

Feb. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
729. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I do not hear that M. de Lila said anything to the duke about relieving Casale by a diversion against the Spaniards or in any other way. I think the English ambassador is somewhat doubtful about the business of this secret French agent, because it is clear that it does not serve the interests of England for this house to adjust their affairs with France if their own are not adjusted also, and he thinks it strange that the fears of contagion here do not touch the French, who go and come, but only the poor couriers and the members of his household. Valanse and this Lila had a passage promptly, while his steward was detained eleven days at Chambery.
Your Serenity's letter of the 27th ult. have reached me, with Carlisle's remarks to Soranzo at the Hague. He might have remembered what I have done to please him and not a matter of offence. I only made demonstrations of joy on one evening for La Rochelle, merely in unison with the nuncio and others, according to my instructions, and even then with reserve. Those gentlemen may rest assured that the ministers of the republic would do as much for any success of their king, which they would always desire.
Turin, the 6th February, 1628 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Feb. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
730. VALERIO ANTELMI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Two ships on their way from Spain for the affairs of Genoese and Spaniards have been taken at Sardinia by five English bertons which removed the guns from the smaller ship and released the sailors, who brought it to Naples.
Naples, the 6th February, 1628. [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Feb. 6.
Cinque Savii
alla
Mercanzia,
Risposte.
Venetian
Archives.
731. With respect to the capture of the ships Giona and S. Michele Angelo by the Englishman Digby, both laden with valuable cargos for merchants here, and the suggestion that your Serenity might arrest the effects of the English nation, in order to obtain restitution in this way, we have to say that such an arrest would be the most fruitful expedient that could be taken under the circumstances, if the sole object is the recovery of what has been stolen, as here there are two houses of English merchants, containing a quantity of goods, whereas in England there is not one of Venetian merchants, so far as we know. But there are more serious respects in the way of such violent proceedings, and we think it would be better to try the way of negotiation at the English Court and elsewhere, and if this does not prove successful there will always be time to proceed to the arrest of the effects of the English.
The 6th February, 1628 [M.V.].
RenierSavii.
Contarini
Valaresso
[Italian.]
Feb. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
732. To the Ambassador CONTARINI in England.
We have heard with deep regret of the recent capture of two large ships destined for Venice, the Giona, master Pietro Friso, of 900 butts with 60 men and 30 guns, sent by merchants of this mart to Cartagena and Alicante with our patents to lade wool, crimson cloth, potash, etc. for this city, and the San Michele Arcangelo, master Biagio di Luia, hired at Genoa and laded at the same marts with similar goods, to be brought to this city, to the value of 300,000 ducats. These ships were attacked in the Sardinia sea by Digby with four ships of war, and captured after a stout resistance. Digby has thus committed undoubted hostilities without any reason soever, and without regarding the patents of the republic, while the patents of his king oblige him not to injure the interests of princes friendly to his Majesty. This makes his action the worse, and we are excessively annoyed. Although such an act requires speedy steps for redress, the republic has such confidence in his Majesty's friendship and justice, that we have decided to direct you to ask for immediate audience and inform him of this event in the most lively and prudent manner you can devise, expressing our confidence that he will immediately do what is reasonable and necessary, so that the two ships and all their cargo may be released forthwith to continue their voyage to Venice. This should be the easier as we hear to-day by letters from Antwerp that Digby has arrived in England with these ships. Whether this be the case or no you will perform your offices with the requisite energy, in order to obtain this restitution without delay as well as compensation. The matter requires all your application, attention and energy. We feel sure that from these and his Majesty's good will we shall obtain the results desired. This will be very gratifying to us for itself and especially because we shall not have occasion to take other steps to indemnify ourselves, such as are customary and appropriate in such serious emergencies. You will also insist strongly upon the punishment of Digby, who thoroughly deserves it for this and his other lawless operations.
That a copy of the present letters be sent to the Ambassador Corner so that he may get the Ambassador Wake to write to England also.
That the same be done in our Collegio with the secretary resident here.
Ayes, 131.Noes, 1.Neutral, 5.
[Italian.]
Feb. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
733. To the Ambassador CONTARINI in England.
We deeply regret the accident to the eldest son of the Palatine. The only thing to assuage the bitterness is the escape of the Palatine himself. You will offer our condolences to the king, expressing our cordial affection, which participates keenly in all that concerns his interests.
The situation in Italy grows critical, as the Most Christian left Paris on the 16th January and should now be at Valenza near the pass into Italy. He has with him all his guards and the veteran troops of the realm. In Dauphinè they are getting ready artillery and making provision of money, victuals and arms for the relief of Mantua and Casale. As the Spaniards recently sent troops between the frontiers of Mantua and our own, we have also sent 9,000 foot and 1,000 horse to our frontier.
Ayes, 131.Noes, 1.Neutral, 5.
[Italian.]
Feb. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
734. To the Ambassador SORANZO at the Hague.
You will offer our sincere condolences to the Palatine and his wife upon the loss of their eldest son, expressing not only the affection which the republic bears them but also the grief we feel at such a lamentable event.
Ayes, 131.Noes, 1.Neutral, 5.
[Italian.]
Feb. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
735. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Four more French ships have arrived at Malaga and three from Hamburg; but these realms remain poor without the trade of England and without the liberty to import goods manufactured in the countries of their enemies they begin to feel that the orders so restricting trade hurt them more than the others, and they have relaxed to some extent, allowing merchants to import goods without being bound to export an equivalent quantity from the country.
Madrid, the 8th February, 1629.
[Italian.]
Feb. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
736. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have received no letters from Venice since the packet dated the 29th December. I have executed all the commands they contained, and it only remains to record the course of events here. Carlisle has returned my visit, expressing his obligations to your Excellencies. He assured me that the French would never do anything; they deceive everybody, as they will never break with the Spaniards. They give out that even if their auxiliaries granted to Mantua, should encounter the Spaniards at Casale or elsewhere, they will not break the treaty of Vervins, which is the most recent basis of peace between those crowns. The past affairs of the Valtelline show this, and the present ones will prove it, as their movements are merely intended to coerce and intimidate, to make an accommodation plaster in Italy, if possible, and then fall upon the Huguenots. Even if they wish to act in earnest they have not the power to do so, as they have no money, all their devices for raising it having proved fruitless. To cross into Italy twenty million would be required, in addition to which the time of year and the obstacles raised by Savoy would not allow it, and he will certainly not grant the passage unless his acquisitions are guaranteed to him. In conclusion, to make sure of everything and for the service of your Excellencies, it was necessary to add an article in the treaty of peace with England, including the Duke of Savoy and binding him not to sign the peace until the French were actually in Italy. He assured me that he did not wish to disturb the peace with France, but merely to express his opinions, in order not to deceive the king or his friends but rather to render war between France and Spain certain, so that England, with her mind at ease, might attend to Germany, which interests her supremely. But he was so far from expecting this that he would wager his head against its ever taking place.
I replied that to beat the Huguenots France did not require such great forces, and it was not necessary for the king in person to stir, as he had done. They were all surrounded in the centre of his kingdom, so those who wished to save them ought to do so by gentleness and negotiation, not by violence, otherwise what remains of them will be treated like La Rochelle. The Most Christian would not have sent to ask for the passage if he had not intended to take it in case of refusal. This season was the best, as the Alps were more easily crossed when covered by ice than at any other time. The lack of money was common to all sovereigns, and if one made an expedition without any, the other might equally well defend himself. France is not a kingdom to be bound by treaties, and those who thought so deceived themselves, at the cost of this kingdom's repute. In my treaty place is reserved for Savoy and others, as well as for the furtherance of good relations between these two kings, if they wish it for the common weal. It would be a great mistake to talk of binding one's self before being united. I did not know the intention of the French about the adjustment, but even if they had a certain bias, it might possibly proceed from what is still passing between Spain and this Crown, by means of his visits to Brussels, of Scaglia's going to Spain and similar proceedings, which demonstrate that those who do not wish to entertain suspicion ought not to give ground for it. I tried hard to impress him, asking him to use his own maxims and reason for the benefit of his Majesty's service and for the common cause. He again vowed that he would always do so and had shown it in all the course of his negotiations, but that such great trust could not reasonably be placed where resolutions were very often formed from caprice and passion, as in France. He prayed God that my maxims and reasons might correspond with the facts. He persists in the assertion that Savoy will never grant the passage or join the French unless he has some security for his acquisitions. He told me that on the way he had met some of the troops of the Prince of Brabancon, raised in Flanders for Italy, at his own cost, and of some other great personages, who, as security for their outlay had received assignments of estates, fiefs, etc. They were all fine troops, numbering from eight to ten thousand foot, though some said much more. He had also ascertained that the moment the republic moved, whether in unison with the pope and French or not, the Friuli would be invaded by the imperial forces, some of whose cavalry were on their way to Swabia and Tyrol. As the conversation had taken us into Germany, he remarked that above all, no money must be given to the King of Denmark, as he wasted it, and he had not the strength or ability to maintain his kingdom and defend himself, but that owing to the importance of the Baltic and the Sound, it was necessary for the King of England and the Dutch to take upon themselves to defend and garrison those fortresses, half and half, the garrisons swearing fealty to Denmark, and promising that at the close of the war everything should be restored to him. But even if the Danish King refused his consent to this, it would be better for the Sound to be lost, rather than leave matters in their present disordered state, as his Majesty's forces together with the Dutch were masters of the sea, and would soon retake it, making restoration after the war.
I confess that I could not stand these ideas, not so much because of their extravagance, as because since the question is one of paying out money and repudiating the debts of the league, they might easily be accepted by the present government, and especially by the treasurer. I asked him to renounce such ideas, or at least keep them to himself, as if the King of Denmark knew, he would make terms with the emperor, even if he had not desired to, rather than disgracefully hand himself over in ward to others, as the suspicion of a friend, who seeks his own gain under the pretence of defence, makes a great impression. The King of Sweden, who is doing so much, would greatly suspect that foreign nations, who are strong at sea, might approach his dominions and make themselves masters of the mouth of the Baltic, which is so important for him. The best course would be always to help Denmark by money, unless they want him to come to terms with the emperor, such being the declaration of his ambassador here, and the common cause requires it. He answered that Scultetus, the Danish agent at the Hague, had shown him letters to the effect that the commissioners of Denmark, who joined the imperialists at Hamburg, were not empowered to conclude the peace, but to gain time by negotiations, and see in the meantime what might be expected from Denmark's friends. Even if this were the case, it should not be mentioned, and if it be true I am astonished at the agent telling him. I have sent word of this to Soranzo, but it is possible that it is a pretext of the earl. I am aware that the offices of us other ambassadors here always tended to prove that Denmark will make peace unless he is assisted and dissuaded by England, but whilst endeavouring to remove this fear, he saps the foundation of our structure. Notwithstanding this I hope that he will not have great credit, as orders have already been given to the Ambassador Anstruther to dissuade that king from the peace, to promise him assistance and to demonstrate to him that the safe conduct sent by Wallenstein for his commissioners was dated in June, a sure sign that they kept it for use at the fitting moment, and for the sole purpose of deceiving.
Parliament shows great interest in those affairs, and the passage of the Sound concerns the existence and well being of this kingdom. I suspect that the Danish ambassador has had some scent of these ideas, as there was a question of sending ships into the Baltic. He says that the king will not want many, or will want them under his command. However, he has not uttered a single word or complaint about this either to me or to the Dutch ambassadors, and efforts will be made to smoothe this disturbance, as has already been done with regard to the affairs of France. About these Carlisle seems to adhere to his own private opinion, and it is not generally approved.
London, the 9th February, 1629.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
737. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
By the enclosed letters your Excellencies will see the vacillation of the ministers here, owing to the last decree of the Most Christian about the Huguenots. It is considered a pretext for ruining them utterly, rather than a pardon or peace. They therefore are very inquisitive about the king's approach with the armies towards Savoy. According to it and the replies of France to my treaty their decisions here about peace abroad will be gradually formed. It is quite certain that civil war in France cannot render the one in Italy secure and durable. This is demonstrated by past events, when the mere movements of Soubise towards Blavet terminated the war of the Valtelline. The Huguenots here exclaim about their approaching utter destruction, saying that the Most Christian invites them to come to terms, and if they will not, the blame and loss will rest with themselves. I tell the well intentioned ministers to urge the Huguenots to send to the king, because there is no other way to save them but negotiation and humbling themselves. It is impossible for them to receive any foreign assistance as they are shut up in the heart of the kingdom. They say they have already written to Rohan, and from another quarter I hear that Soubise and Laval would like to send someone to treat for them, but as the printed edict makes no mention of those who are in foreign parts, they do not know if they are included or not, while the term of fifteen days has already expired. Some tell me that France shows contempt for England by pledging herself to a new war before making sure of this peace. I reply that as they are sure of his Majesty's good will they feel confident of the peace. On this ground they provided for other emergencies, for which England, from policy, should make a bridge of gold. Moreover the citadel of Casale cannot long hold out without succour, and the enemy should not be allowed to fortify and obtain reinforcements. In short the French are in such bad repute that everything causes suspicion, and each single circumstance is brought upon the carpet.
Parliament, which continues to sit, has begun to censure the customers for having levied the duties in his Majesty's name without the usual approval of that body. The king sent word that they were not to proceed further in this matter, and invited them to go to him. Both Houses did so last Monday. His Majesty spoke very mildly, saying that hitherto he had levied the duties not as a prerogative of the Crown, but for its needs. If the duties were continued for the future, he would acknowledge them as from his subjects, as his predecessors had always done. He asked them only to hasten the despatch of the bill, with honied words, which more than once caused the parliament to applaud him, from their great contentment and satisfaction. On leaving the Hall many of them said that they perceived Buckingham was no longer alive. Nevertheless, I fancy that, before advancing this matter, they intend to adjust the points about religion, especially to depress the Arminians, who are going far ahead, the preventions enacted by his Majesty not satisfying them, and to avoid this rock. If they undertake this business delay may be anticipated, owing to the numerous articles it comprises. Before bringing anything forward they have asked the king for a solemn fast day. This has been granted but not yet fixed, to implore God's help. It is certain that the king by consulting the best persons, assiduously advances these affairs of the parliament, to render it useful to the kingdom and his friends, restoring the good understanding, which has not existed hitherto, between him and his subjects. This same parliament has had four ships sequestrated, which were being laded in Dartmouth by that Adrian Pas, a merchant of Malaga, who brought patents from the Catholic, as I reported. The patentee being in partnership with others who are Englishmen, they obtained connivance through the favour of certain members of the government, which is said to have cost them rich presents. As the ships are laded with fish for the approaching season of Lent, the merchants will not have much cause to congratulate themselves on their gains, and in this way parliament will have punished them. (fn. 1)
They say that two ships will be sent from here to fetch the Abbot Scaglia, but so long as parliament is sitting and keeps its eye fixed on that quarter, it is probable that chord will be struck very gently, as it grates extremely on the public ear.
Sir [Robert] Cher, a Scot, Gentleman of his Majesty's Chamber, has left for Holland to condole with the Countess Palatine on the death of her son. He is also taking her some money to help her expenses. The king has written her a long autograph letter, having spent a whole morning shut up in his room for that purpose. I have informed Soranzo, in case it contains matters of importance.
The Dutch ambassadors here and those in France, from what they have told me, have permission to return home, but it is left to them to regulate their movements according to the progress of the peace between the two crowns. Notwithstanding this I fancy that those in Paris have taken leave of the king, supposing that they are not to follow him into Dauphiné, and that the king's movements will merely delay the negotiations very greatly owing to the remoteness and inconvenience of treating with the ministers. I think the ambassadors here will make up their minds in accordance with the replies to my last despatch.
London, the 9th February, 1629.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.738. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to ZORZI ZORZI, his Colleague in France.
A messenger sent by the Danish ambassador arrived yesterday, bringing letters for his colleague here and for the Dutch ambassadors, dated the 21st and 26th January. The chief point, besides the king's move towards Valenza, was the edict against the Huguenots who persist in rebellion. Their partisans here immediately began to comment upon it in their own fashion, with additions, that in the Parliament of Paris, where it was registered, they abused this nation and the king very freely, all with a view to kindle the fire. The Dutch ambassadors came to tell me all before communicating with the king. I thought it advisable to insist on their contradicting these insinuations, and we decided to perform offices, saying that the king had opened the arms of his grace to the Huguenots, he had done his part and it was now their turn to reciprocate. If his intentions were not good he would not have made overtures for reconciliation, but would have crushed them with the forces he had in hand, without saying anything. The reputation of England was safe, and so forth, and after assigning reasons for the edict, efforts should be made to deprive the malignants of credit, as their insinuations had already got very near the king's ears. As I had no letters from you since the 26th December, I did not know how to regulate myself, but seeing the harm done and not being able to trust the Dutch entirely about a matter touching the Huguenots, I pretended to have received some, and endeavoured to remove the bad impression as well as I could. The ministers here remain doubtful of what will happen. Some hope that Rohan will embrace the peace, being invited by the Most Christian and urged by his Majesty here, who sent him an express a few days ago. Others think the Huguenots will never surrender at discretion, as the king asks them to do, and that they will not lay down their arms unconditionally. While all this remains doubtful, everyone awaits the result. The edict is more a protest than a pardon, and I have written so that if you have not despatched Christofforo you can add something on this subject, about which I depend on the reports of others, so that in such encounters as may befall me I may fortify myself with your prudent arguments.
London, the 7th February, 1629.
[Italian; deciphered; copy.]
Feb. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
739. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English ambassador is now very ready to suggest mistrust of the French to us. They do not seem to say any longer that the cardinal does not mean to intervene in Italy, but Wake says that they mean to wage war solely against the Duke of Savoy, and will leave the Spaniards alone; they will come to an agreement together, and if the duke is not supported by his friends, he fears that his Highness may fall between the two. The two crowns desire a union together and the destruction of the others. That the Spaniards do not send troops to help this state he takes as an argument that the passage will not be to attack them but only the duke, and that at the moment when the French fall upon these States they will make peace between the two crowns. I do not report this because I believe it.
Wake also remarked to me that he knew there was an understanding between the Most Christian and Bavaria, and this is of old standing, because the King of France does not wish England ever to recover the Palatinate. I contest these ideas and say that I do not find that policy teaches France this lesson, and I believed there would never be war between those two crowns except through passion; their interests were mutual and I felt sure that their quarrels would one day give place to agreement for the common cause. Wake replied that their own good sentiments were patent; his king had rather forestalled Contarini than been persuaded by him and he believed the trouble came from France, and after the fall of La Rochelle the cardinal had never said a word.
Wake told me that he had letters from the Duke of Lorraine, but said nothing about their contents. He is anxiously waiting to hear of the arrival and negotiations of the Earl of Carlisle at London. The Duke has sent to tell him that the earl has already arrived there but Baroccio had not yet done so. The business of these English depends on Carlisle's arrival.
Wake tells me there is some idea of giving him the Holland post, to serve the Queen of Bohemia, and he would like it, but I do not think he would be pleased, and he does not consider it a very conspicuous position. He tells me he knows the king will not disappoint him.
Turin, the 10th February, 1628 [M.V.].
[Italian; the parts in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 On the 27th January, o.s., there was a motion to acquaint the king with the desire of the House to stay ships preparing to go to Spain. On the 29th a Committee of the House reported that one Adrian de Bais had a licence from the King of Spain to import all manufactured goods from England, and that three ships were ready for Spain. Journal of the House of Commons, vol. i, pages 923, 924.