Venice
March 1629, 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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556-574

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'Venice: March 1629, 1-10', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 21: 1628-1629 (1916), pp. 556-574. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89218 Date accessed: 28 November 2014.


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March 1629

March 1.
Cinque Savii
alla
Mercanzia,
Risposte.
Venetian
Archives.
766. Venturi, Cossati and Company having a quantity of carob beans in the Island of Crete and other things, to be brought to Venice, and there being no Venetian ships there at present to bring them, they are compelled to use a foreign ship, and therefore ask leave to hire the English ship Benedne, (fn. 1) now here, we find on examination that no Venetian ship is available and consider that the petition should be granted provided that if any Venetian ships are there the goods shall be laded upon them.
Dated the 1st March, 1629.
BollaniSavii.
Renier
Valaresso
Pisani
[Italian.]
March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
767. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The most essential things now passing here are in the enclosures for the Ambassador Zorzi. Your Excellencies may add such offices as you think best in order that the peace may be settled by the French, if not as they wish, at least as circumstances require. You will have observed that the foreign ministers here have arrived at the same point as myself, without being able to advance further.
The English Secretary at Venice has written that the French ambassador is daily urging your Excellencies to declare yourselves, but after many debates in the Senate, you have decided, in view of past events and suspecting the French of not meaning to break in earnest with the Spaniards, but rather to commit others, not to move a step further until the French forces are in Italy. The person who told me this is accurately informed and commended the prudence of the republic, pointing out that England also before pledging herself should see something done. I replied that your Excellencies did not need urging when it is a question of the common weal, as you had always declared yourself in favour of it, so I did not believe the French wished for more. It was difficult to know the truth about debates in the Senate, which were often represented hypothetically.
In France it is sufficient that parliament here continues to sit, with hopes of good results, but I must inform your Excellencies that fresh troubles arise daily, and time passes without anything being done. They talk of fitting out their ships, which will not be ready for six months. In spite of the king's pardons, parliament would like to punish the bishops who vacillated in the faith. Some stale affair is being sifted about certain Jesuits who were arrested for having formed a very secret college, (fn. 2) and they subsequently obtained their release without any punishment. The customers who levied the duties and detained the goods of those who refused to pay them, have been summoned to give account, as the customs have not yet been granted to the king. On the first day of Lent a general fast was made to implore God's assistance. The king appointed the day, but many members of parliament did not approve, considering it their prerogative to name the time, and they objected to the day, as it was one kept holy by the Catholics.
They catch at every thread, because while their sessions last they are like so many kings, and to command is delightful. So far they have never thought of the common cause, the affairs of the nation absorbing all their attention. The system is ill suited to existing circumstances, but the cause of all the mischief is that the king does not trust the people or the people the king. The people will not grant money unless they receive privileges, and the king will not content them unless he receives advantages. Neither party will be the first to make concession from fear that the other may not respond, and owing to the difficulties days pass without any result. This matters more to the Danish ambassador than to all the others. After the meeting of the commissioners his master instructed him to obtain a categorical reply as to what the English meant to do, and to send it to him and the commissioners by an express. The ambassador made his proposal and gave it in writing. They replied that England will assist with troops and ships of those now being fitted out. The ambassador asked how many ships and troops, how they were to be victualled, and for how long, and to what place they were to be sent, but has not yet received the reply. He is a discreet man, well affected to the common cause, so that he would like to give vigour and not cause despair. Nevertheless, without a parliamentary grant he hopes for nothing, even if they were to promise. I try that the replies may be as little prejudicial as possible. He has letters of the 29th January, according to which, as the negotiations of the commissioners are becoming closer, it seems that the imperialists are inclining towards an adjustment. They would like to keep a footing in the Baltic, which is the most difficult point, owing to the access thus given to the Dunkirkers, and others, and as the revenues of the Sound would diminish, they offer to restore Jutland, but not Holstein, though they will do this when no other difficulty remains. Denmark would like to recover the bishoprics of Ferdem and Minden and others, purchased for his sons, but as he did not assist to preserve what belonged to himself, he will not care for his purchases, especially with the resumption of ecclesiastical property which the emperor proposes, which in the last peace remained in the hands of their possessors, whatever their religion might be. Under this pretext regiments have already been quartered in Saxony, so that duke, who has done so much for the Austrians, will fall into their clutches, without perceiving it, as universal monarchy does not acknowledge anyone.
Ten weeks' pay has been given to the troops who served on these last occasions. They claimed much more and behaved in a mutinous manner with the treasurer. They were ultimately obliged to accept the sum, but with very great dissatisfaction.
Joachim, the Dutch ambassador in ordinary, arrived yesterday, so the ambassadors extraordinary, who had already decided to depart, will go the sooner. The goods in the ships seized by Digby are sequestrated. The king granted what I desired, but it was not thought advisable to have the keys or to keep account of the unlading, as some runaway sailors have had recourse to me, informing me of many effects belonging to our merchants, notably to Bentio, and others of greater value, transferred from the prizes into Digby's ship before reaching these ports, to conceal the truth. Matters, however, are so arranged that he will have to give account of everything, and already, owing to the sequestration, he shows an inclination to restore certain things which undoubtedly belong to Venetians, without dispute. I do not listen to anything before I have your instructions, and the powers of attorney and references of the merchants to their agents here. So far as I am concerned everything prejudicial to their interests has been stopped. I hope that all will arrive with the first letters from Italy. I have received none since those of the 26th January.
London, the 2nd March, 1629.
[Italian; the first part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.768. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to Zorzi Zorzi, his Colleague in France.
The gentleman despatched by the Danish ambassador here so long ago as the 1st of January, has returned with letters dated the 23rd February and the day after, I received yours of the 10th. I regret your indisposition for your own sake and because it hinders our negotiation. The ministers here placed in the hands of the Danish ambassador an agreement, similar to the one you sent me, but modified with regard to the queen's household, as you will see by the copy, and thus I perceive they seek their advantage in every way, while to you they announce a mere doubtful intention of what they offered to others. It is indeed true that these speculations are of little use, as after having tried the ford, the ambassador came to give me an account of it. He made the attempt with some of the ministers in his confidence, and found, not only that it was impassable, but also endangered the whole affair, which would be wrecked by it, as I have always written. I am very glad that the French will thus be able to see that I have always represented things accurately, and what they might expect from this side. They now have it confirmed by others. In the despatch in question the Danish ambassador in France strongly urged his colleague here to send him back an express with what improvement could be made in the agreement, with the intention of betaking himself to the army. But knowing that everything would go topsy turvy if one merely began to speak about a fresh negotiation here he consigned his letters to me with remarks about the impossibility and danger of making fresh attempts, that his colleague may represent them to the queen mother. I hope this will serve to encourage her negotiations, and I have endeavoured to effect this. These letters are addressed to your steward, together with these present, supposing that you are in Italy or near. They will not move a step further here, and to attempt it would be to risk losing everything. They see that they have omitted many things, which they now think ought to be included, either because they pledged their word, or from policy.
In proof of this, a gentleman arrived here lately, sent in all haste by Wake, (fn. 3) who not only brings the replies to what the Commander de Valencai negotiated, but confirms the assurance that Savoy will never swerve from a good correspondence with this crown, all for the sake of pledging it not to make terms with the French, in conformity with the maxims of that Court. Many believe, however, that this is a trick of the duke to reprove the English for having forgotten him, as it was announced that peace had already been concluded between the two crowns, and to justify himself with England and the world for not being the first to concede the passage to the French, as many expect he will do at length. It matters little whether it is truth or artifice, as it it quite sufficient for these ideas to foment the insinuations of Carlisle and others, and to discourage those who have conducted our negotiation thus far. This gentleman has not yet been sent back, and I do not know when he will leave. I do not know how they can reply, as the last dispatch sent from here brought him resolutions in favour of the peace, and quite the reverse of what Savoy sends. Many ask me when your replies will arrive, and if they come soon it might easily be that they would not wish to despatch this gentleman, in order to give a fresh form to the negotiation, according to the news from France. These are manifest facts and dangers, which might overthrow the whole structure if the French do not avail themselves of the opportunity.
Those who encourage sinister ideas have begun to render the king suspicious, owing to the delay of your replies, but I hope I have made all clear, as your last gave me a very distinct account of your indisposition, and I showed that part to Carleton. I have constantly to rebut not only inventions, but also certain facts. I am now alone, as the last affair of Orange, (fn. 4) of which you told me nothing, though it is now confirmed by several letters, has confounded the Dutch ambassadors and raised the spirits of the restless. It has excited very great anger, not only because of what the malignants have always maintained about the intentions of the King of France being exclusively against the Huguenots, but also because, supposing the Prince of Orange, and consequently the States, to be exceedingly offended, they may the more easily detach themselves from France and either join this Crown or make terms with Spain. From this event the more valid diversion in favour of the common cause may easily be either lost or weakened. If the thing is true one can only say that it is very unseasonable, and that fate conspires against the cause. They still believe here that the French will not care to cross the Alps or will not be able to do so, because of the season, the passes and the hostile armies, the obstacles to their having such a wish being the broils with England and the Huguenots, fomented by the emperor and by the Spaniards so they will always have a reasonable pretext, not to say an obligation to return, even if they have crossed and are engaged in Italy.
Barocio has received letters from the Abbot Scaglia dated Madrid, the 29th January. I fancy he will not come so soon, and the ship which was fitting out here to fetch him will not go directly. From this it might be inferred that the affairs of that Court are not in such a good state, but I do not rely on this and rather believe that with the return of the courier they are expecting some reply from here, which will not be decided in earnest until the resolutions of the French make their appearance. I have been told on good authority that Scaglia has represented the Catholic as excellently disposed to reconciliation with this Crown, remarks on the detriment caused to both crowns and so forth, in general terms. Others tell me that some one might be sent from here to Spain, as Scaglia has no full powers, but I think this will not be done, or else very secretly, and that no decision will be made so long as parliament is sitting.
The Ambassador Langarach has written to his colleagues here that the queen mother told him she considered the peace with England settled, but its announcement was delayed for a certain reason. The Duke of Lorraine has written the same to the king in his own hand, and Savoy also. The French boast about this peace everywhere, to intimidate their neighbours. From what the queen mother said it is supposed that the conditions sent from here will be accepted; yet it may be a device of the Dutch ambassadors, who might wish to spoil a work in which they have not had a hand, especially with this fresh offence about Orange.
Owing to the frequent journeys made by Marseville to Bavaria by order of France, it is generally believed that the duke gives promises without intending ever to perform them, and that he deceives Marseville himself and consequently France. A letter from France is in circulation here, written apparently from Madrid on the 29th January, with rodomontades about Spinola returning to Flanders with four millions, to wage war and with power to make a truce. They say this is in their hands if they will only concede the point about independence. That they will remit 800,000 crowns to Italy, that Feria is declared general to invade France from the Spanish frontier, that Wallenstein will approach Metz, to make 10,000 Cossacks ride to the very gates of Paris, that Bassompierre, on going to the Swiss, will find them in part disgusted and in part pre-engaged. All these things, or at least the majority, are inventions for the purpose of frightening the French or turning them aside from the work they have begun, it being quite certain that the Spaniards are not so rich either in money or soldiers, and the States are not so poor in sense as to abandon the good fortune offered to them through the gain of the fleets.
They have heard here on the departure of M. de Gianesei for Denmark to persuade that king on the strength of the Most Christian's offers, not to make terms with the emperor. He certainly will do so, as the commissioners are already beginning to lower the terms, and are willing to restore Holstein as well as Jutland. It seems that the chief difficulty is confined to the claims of the imperialists to keep ships in the Baltic. Denmark cannot consent to this from the danger of losing everything. To defend herself from that she can only be helped by England, who will do so, if not diverted by France, as of the thirty-six ships being fitted out, one part will steer towards those seas, if they are not required elsewhere, and Denmark cannot subsist without naval assistance, which the French are unable to afford them, so the true way to render assistance in that quarter is to make peace. Parliament still continues to make no progress, though with hopes that everything will end well.
London, the 2nd March, 1629.
Postscript.—The ambassador from Denmark has just sent me his letters, with this note, I have heard that the Spanish party is making great advances towards the treaty, offering the restitution of the Palatinate. They expect in this way not only to deceive them here, so that they will abandon the peace with France, as will be done at once if your resolution is not approved by the French. Please seal this note up again and return it to me.
You will make such use of this as you see fit. The things are not so easy to effect, but it is possible to promise them, and they cajole. If true, it would be a downright fraud, as the emperor's forces are said to be approaching those parts, to render France suspicious, so if the Spaniards were to retire, the imperialists would be the masters, and the result would be exactly the same.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.769. Third Article.
The two kings will comply with good faith to what was agreed between them about the household, the articles and the marriage contract of the Queen of Great Britain. In the meantime, from the respect borne by both of them to the queen mother, and from their affection for the Queen of Great Britain they will refer the execution of the conventions entirely to those two queens, promising to comply with what the queen mother shall deem most suited to the welfare of the Queen of Great Britain, with the consent of the said queen.
[Italian.]
March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
770. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I find that the gentleman from England came to tell them of his king's leaning to peace with France. Wake has seen the duke and will do so again, sending off the gentleman afterwards. They are expecting another, to start after the return of the Earl of Carlisle, who had not arrived when the other set out.
Turin, the 2nd March, 1629.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
771. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
A gentleman has reached Wake from London to-day. (fn. 5) He reports Carlisle's arrival and in a day or two I shall know what he brings. I observe that with this move of the French Wake is avoiding me, in the fear of causing the Duke jealousy. I will keep informed about his proceedings. Wake considers it a favourable sign that the French mean to attend to Casale and the occupation of Casal Maggiore by the Duke of Mantua although they say here that he relinquished it at once.
Turin, the 3rd March, 1629.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 3.
Cinque Savii
alla
Mercanzia,
Risposte.
Venetian
Archives.
772. We have summoned before us the chief merchants trading at Cyprus and Syria, to take information from them concerning the four English ships now in this port, named the London, the Delight, la Benedne and the Margarita. We learn that all four are adequate for any voyage. They depend upon Ralph Simes and Lawrence Hider, English merchants, who have a house in this city and are very well known. They will hire them for Cyprus and Syria at so much a month, and they do not want to arrange it any other way. For the two larger ones they ask 4,500 ryals the month 3,000 for the one and 1,500 for the other. They guarantee that the ships shall go straight to their destination and that the goods shall not be charged with cottimo or other expenses to foreign consuls, although our merchants here have some doubt that as the English are so stiff about their terms and ask such a high price, they mean to give a part to the consuls of their nation in those parts, instead of any other contribution that might be claimed on the goods. But these same merchants are in such necessity to send to the East various goods collected here, and greatly needed there, enough to lade three large ships, that they all accept the terms of the English, although they are not very advantageous for them. They hope to gain on the insurance which they estimate will not exceed four per cent. They have represented that the embarking of troops on the ships licenced by your Serenity for that voyage, the payment of which would fall upon the goods, would make the burden unbearable, and the troops would be of little or no use against pirates, as being unaccustomed to the sea they fall sick and even infect the sailors, and moreover the English masters and sailors would object strongly to having them on their ships.
We report this in obedience to your Serenity's commands.
Bolani.
Renier.
Valaresso.
Pisani.
[Italian.]
March 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
773. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Wake called on me recently and to-day I returned the visit. He did not take me into his confidence, but I gathered from the conversation that the first gentleman from London, who is still here is a secretary sent by Lord Carleton to tell his Highness that at the instance of the ambassadors of Venice and Holland and of a secret messenger sent by Cardinal Richelieu, the King of Great Britain has paid some attention to negotiations for a reconciliation with France, but that nothing has been done and they want to see if the French are sincere. The second gentleman is of Wake's household whom his master sent to London, and who started three weeks after. (fn. 6) Wake told me that the first brought more definite matter than the second, and they merely had to wait and see whether France was acting properly. I find that he wants to see how the French treat the Duke of of Savoy. He said the duke ought never to be abandoned by his king. If the French mean to force this pass there will be war. The duke is well armed and ready, and will certainly negotiate armed. It is thus clear that Carlisle and Wake will help this house. I gathered that Wake has orders to perform a good office here for the affairs of France. He is waiting to see if the king will enter upon negotiations satisfactory to the duke. In that case he will speak to me more frankly about his commissions and negotiations. I know that Passer had a long interview with the ambassador this morning. Wake told me that he very likely would go to the duke at Vigliana.
Wake treats Turin fashion, putting the rosiest aspect on affairs to gain his object. He said his king had answered Richelieu's paper without encouraging further steps. As the duke may not want this affair to pass through Contarini's hands, so Wake may not desire his Highness to have reason to complain of England for not keeping the position of mediator for himself, to which he knows the duke aspires when his interests are at one with France, and perhaps these English ministers have promised it to him. The ambassador has not seen the duke since the last despatch received yesterday. I fancy he may be postponing the communication in order to see how things are going, which must appear in a few hours. The day before yesterday Wake opened out to Valanse, telling him that if things go as he hoped, they would be good friends, and that no minister of his king was so anxious as he to find a way of humbling the pride of the Spaniards. The ambassador thinks that in the conference between the Prince and Cardinal Richelieu they will find a way for the duke to satisfy France with dignity and also to save Casale. I think this minister will speak to me more explicitly in a few days. I shall keep my ears open and speak of the republic taking up the reconciliation of the two crowns, thus serving the common cause and the true interests of the House of Savoy.
I hear that Carlisle did not wish Carleton's gentleman, then at sea, to continue his journey, assuring him that his negotiations would prove superfluous, but he pleaded his orders to come.
Turin, the 4th March, 1629.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
774. Vote of 300 ducats of good money to the Ambassador Contarini in England for the carriage of letters and couriers, for which he shall render account in the usual way.
Ayes, 120.Noes, 0.Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
March 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
775. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ambassadors extraordinary of these States arrived here from France the day before yesterday. With their arrival the conclusion of peace with England is announced, but from my meetings with the Palatine and the Prince of Orange I do not see any reason for attaching much importance to this announcement. This morning the Palatine sent his secretary to communicate to me the letters of the 17th ult. which he has from England. They merely relate their inclination towards peace; that the queen's pregnancy increases the desire for the reconciliation of the crowns; parliament is well disposed, but the members attended to nothing but the reform of religion, though if other proposals are brought forward it is expected that everything will go quite smoothly. Meanwhile the Lower House asked for the withdrawal of licences given to merchants to send goods to Spain, a matter his Majesty had promised to consider.
From another source I hear that Baroccio has left that Court for Brussels on his way to Turin, leaving no report except that Scaglia was to proceed from Spain to England at once, and the King of Great Britain had sent a ship to fetch him. If he arrives before the conclusion of the peace with France he may make some trouble, especially as he will have Carlisle's support as well as a bad feeling there to help him. However, if Wake performs his good office with the Duke of Savoy, we may reckon that the abbot will not do much harm, as he will find them tuned in England for another melody.
The Hague, the 5th March, 1629.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
776. To the Ambassador CONTARINI in England.
We have received your letters of the 2nd ult. We enclose the advices of current affairs in Italy. We have reinforced our troops in the field and have ordered our Proveditore General to confer with the Duke of Mantua to arrange for the relief of Casale, awaiting news of the powerful forces of the French arms. As our Ambassador Zorzi has been prevented by his indisposition from following after the Most Christian, we have decided to send Girolamo Soranzo as ambassador extraordinary to that sovereign, and he will set out quickly. If you have not received the answers in the peace negotiations, Zorzi's indisposition is the reason. Your offers to repair that damage and what the insinuations of Carlisle might give rise to, have been the more opportune and fruitful. You will keep a sharp look out so that the fruit may not be lost.
You will cultivate confidential relations with Roe. To confirm him in his good ideas and keep him well affected will be very opportune, as he may easily be sent as ambassador here.
In addition to Digby's operations you will see from the copy of our Bailo's letters and those of our Vice Consul of Aleppo what more they are trying to do to our prejudice. We send you these so that you may make strong representations.
Ayes, 90.Noes, 0.Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives
777. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have condoled with the king on the death of the Prince Palatine. He answered in general terms of compliment and good will, and the office seemed to gratify him. I have heard nothing since the first demands of that Antwerp merchant. (fn. 7) The affair is undecided because here the export permits for every sort of corn have been stopped, the crops this year having been very scanty, indeed the people rose in arms because of a few small boats destined for the Netherlands, where also there is great scarcity. In spite of this there is a merchant here who proposes to send a certain quantity of beans to Venice. I help him as much as I can, and shall do so with all others who may undertake to supply the need of Venice.
Last Saturday parliament censured the affair of the customs, and determined to continue prosecuting the customers, who forcibly levied the duties from the merchants contrary to law. On Monday morning the king sent to tell them that they were not to meddle with those who had acted by this special command. Parliament arose almost tumultuously, and would not attend the House for a day. When, on the Wednesday they thought of sitting, the king, to repay them in their own coin, sent to tell them that he prorogued parliament for five days, until Monday next. These affronts generate very great rancour, and there is great fear of a rupture, as the king and parliament are brought to such close quarters, that neither can give way without forfeiting their word and authority. If this happens, your Excellencies may imagine in what a miserable condition this kingdom and the North of Europe will be. It cannot benefit the common cause and must do harm, for it will either succumb or make peace. I am sorry that Denmark also will either go to ruin, or despairing of any assistance, will rush into servitude, the United Provinces also faring badly. In short, the people hate the king, and gladly avail themselves of what ever they can to cause him displeasure. In spite of the many messages sent to them by his Majesty to attend to public affairs, they never moved a step, and they have never cared to open their lips except about reforms of the kingdom, which are suited to a time of absolute peace rather than to the present circumstances.
By the enclosed letters your Excellencies will learn about the affairs of France.
London, the 9th March, 1629.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.778. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to ZORZI ZORZI, his Colleague in France.
The lack of any letters from you makes me think that you are nearer Turin than Paris. I have little to send, except to tell you what the king said to me when I saw him on another state matter. He enquired about the affairs of Italy. I told him they were on the direct road to a good war, the Most Christian being firmly resolved to cross the Alps, and had none of those thoughts falsely attributed to him by some for the sake of arousing suspicion. I told of the preparations of the Most Christian, his resolves, the proposals made by the princes of Italy, the feebleness of the Spaniards, the negotiations with the Huguenots, the estates reserved for Rohan in Britanny, in short whatever suited my purpose. He replied: For the affairs of the Huguenots I will say nothing further, but this affair of Orange does not bear it out. If the French really mean to pass into Italy, it seems to me they ought to hold my friendship in a little more account, and that is not the right way, but owing to past successes they are rather high. I suppose that by this he meant to allude to the delay of the replies, but the moment I referred to your indisposition, he said: I know it, there is no need of justification, but I will tell you that I am warned by my friends in France that the replies will not be conclusive to bring the matter to an end, and this you will see. The opportunity seemed favourable for telling him that we supposed quite the contrary, and we perceived an excellent intention on the part of France. The modification of the article about the household, the only one remaining, approaching his Majesty's intention, rather implies that they are perfectly well inclined, and all reasonable suppositions warrant belief in this. He answered I have done all that becomes me to declare my good will to the world. I shall certainly not move a step further, for I will have neither partners nor masters in my house or that of my wife. In the opinion of everybody I have given satisfaction to their honour, and all the rest of their claims are mere private punctilio. I wished to reply, but he answered that nothing more was required, merely that I was to be convinced that the French deceived him and us; he knew it for certain, and we should very soon see it.
I infer that this can come only from the Spaniards, in these last despatches, in which the French may have disclosed that the peace with England is in their hands, as remarked by the Dukes of Savoy and Lorraine, that they may trade upon it. I observed to the king that the common cause and his own required him to encourage the good resolves of the Most Christian, by facilitating his union with the Duke of Savoy, for the sake of the passes and a good mutual understanding. Otherwise the French will be unable to cross and will be compelled to fall back upon the Huguenots. He answered that they certainly would not cross, because the Duke of Savoy assured him so, but if they were his friends, he would prove to them and the world, not only in this, but in everything else, that he has not changed his principles, but he must not endanger his friends to gratify an enemy. I replied that princes have no greater friends or enemies than state policy, which not only bound the Most Christian to the common cause, but to facilitate it by peace and good offices.
At length we agreed to wait and see. I maintained that the intentions of France were most sincere, while he doubted it. I used this opportunity to insinuate what seemed good to me, and it might prove advantageous to remove the evil impressions of others. With the ministers also I keep gently insisting that the modified clause about the household might be accepted, but I get no reply which encourages hope, everyone feeling that if the business returns here undecided all will be turned upside down. For this reason they have not yet sent back to Savoy the last gentleman who came from there, (fn. 8) perhaps so that he may await the replies from France and to give a new form to the affair, not without a view to Savoy being able to make the bargains he desires, as I understand he urges.
On the other hand I have some hint from a great personage that the Spaniards offer the restitution of the Palatinate, but when I ask how this is to be done, it reduces itself to mere inventions to gain time, though all here do not acknowledge this, merely for the sake of being able, by this fresh negotiation to break off the one already begun with France.
Parliament limps along. This week it was in danger of being dissolved, and they attend to nothing but making shift to adjust matters. The Dutch ambassadors extraordinary have taken leave of the king and queen. The Dutch commissioners of the East India Company have come to treat about the old affair of Amboyna, which will be of long and difficult digestion. The Spanish captain who brought Porter has departed. This is all the news now current in England.
London, the 9th March, 1629.
[Italian, the part in italics deciphered.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives
779. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
When Digby returned from privateering it was reported that he had two ships with him, one the Jonas of Hamburg, the other a Ragusan, on board of which some believed there might be goods belonging to Venetian subjects. As your Excellencies remarked that the name of Longboat had been given to the Archangel Michael, and it was known that it was lading at Alicant for Venice, upon this sole report, I had the ship and goods seized. Without this everything would have been sold and plundered, before the arrival of the letters from Italy.
The instructions of the 9th February reached me in the midst of these perturbations. These completely change the aspect of affairs, for as the Jonas is a Venetian ship sailing with a patent from the republic, the whole cargo must be restored, regardless of the persons to whom the goods belong, because Venetian ships must not be searched by any one soever, and the matter must be dealt with between prince and prince. I understand the wishes of the state to be thus, and with this guidance I went straight to the king. I told him the circumstances, and the bad features, the destination of the whole cargo for Venice, the privileges of a Venetian ship protected by a patent from the state, the very bitter feelings of your Excellencies on this account and because of Digby's past hostilities, with other particulars in demonstration of the warmth enjoined upon me. I added that your Serenity's subjects, on hearing of the occurrence, applied to you, not that you might perform offices at this Court, but that they might make just reprisals on the goods of Englishmen within your dominions; but you preferred to neglect the interests of your own subjects rather than fail in respect to this Crown, feeling sure that they would receive from his Majesty not only the restitution of the ships and their cargo, but also the punishment of the pirate. He had been sent against the enemies of this Crown, but acting solely for his own profit, he had attacked the king's best friends, with the object of rendering his Majesty utterly friendless in Europe.
The king answered that on the first demand he had willingly ordered the seizure of the ships and goods. On this second request he had no information but my own, but he would give all satisfaction, though he must acquaint the commissioners of the Admiralty with the matter, in order to proceed with deliberation, without prejudicing anyone. This very morning I conferred with the six lords, who attend to maritime affairs, namely, the treasurer, the earls of Pembroke, Lindsey and Dorset, and the two secretaries of state. I made the same representations to them as to the king, with additions suited to the occasion. They asked me to give my reasons in writing, but I did not think it advisable to comply, in order to avoid delay, and so as not to enter into disputes with Digby, as my demand is for the restitution of the ships and their entire cargo, not according to due course of law, but as from prince to prince, and the punishment of Digby, as instructed. All they told me was that they would see the king and then give me the reply. I shall wait for this, and shall urge it. I have also petitioned the Admiralty judge in ordinary to suspend the proceedings, as Digby is doing all that he can in order to get some award in his favour. He would certainly succeed if I did not oppose him, as none of the parties concerned has endeavoured to do so. By the laws of the realm it is difficult for the king to prevent justice being rendered to those who demand it. Besides this, many members of the Council are concerned with Digby and have a share in the prizes, not to speak of the presents which he continues to make in large quantities. They are all famished, as there is not one penny in circulation at the Court, so I do not know if my protests will be able to resist these blows of gold and silver.
So far, thank God, nothing prejudicial has happened, but I would not promise better treatment for the Venetians than for all the other nations who clamour to the sky incessantly, Dutch, Hamburgers, and Danes, and the French themselves after many of these intolerable extortions, made the seizures you know of, and afforded a great pretext for the rupture. Digby demands the confiscation of the Jonas for having conveyed contraband of war to Spain, and the St. Michael, which was Ragusan, was unladed and given by him to the captain, who went home, after Digby had taken out the goods, ten guns and two thick cables. So the only ship here is the Jonas, with the cargoes of both. As soon as he arrived here he had the sailors examined many of whom gave evidence more in his favour than in that of justice. Some deserted, and will be ready to tell the truth when the proofs are ready. From what I learn, I believe that all that really belongs to your Serenity's subjects will be released on proof of the fact being given before the ordinary judges. This was done with the French, and they are still in treaty with the Hamburgers, Danes, Dutch, and others, although they were sailing with patents from their rulers. For this reason I think it would be very difficult to obtain their consent to treat such matters from prince to prince.
Your Excellencies' rights are so clear to me and so different from any of the others, that I cannot quote examples or tolerate these acts of violence. In the first place the republic is not at war with the Spaniards, like these other nations, and England has never passed any office on the subject with your Excellencies. Indeed, lately, when they wanted to prevent the Dutch from carrying French goods on their ships, by publishing a proclamation, allowing twenty days for the parties concerned to give the necessary orders, this document was modified or suppressed at the request of the ambassadors, as being too exorbitant. Then, a patent from the Senate does not permit smuggling, and it is not purchased as in this country and elsewhere. Thirdly, goods on Venetian ships ought in equity to be as safe as in Venice itself. Fourthly, it is intolerable that the English should search ships, as the Spaniards and Turks would claim the same privilege. There are countless other arguments, with which I am well supplied to obtain the requisite result, provided they can prevail against the present corrupt practices. As yet all these are suspicions and inferencies of mine, derived from my knowledge of this government, its way of treating other nations, and the remarks which I make about affections and interests. I shall await the replies, and to facilitate them I shall begin to-morrow to solicit the ministers separately, to try and advance as much as possible. This nation is incredibly fond of its neighbours' goods. This is proved by their professing to rob everybody and everywhere. But at these critical times, the natural bent is stimulated by necessity and corrupt practices, which are very great indeed.
I have carefully examined the clerks and some of the sailors of the ships. I understand that the captain of the Jonas might have saved himself either by flight or by fighting. He only fired four shots, and then lowered sail immediately, indeed he thrice saluted the flag of England. Had he made head the wind was in his favour. He had the flag of St. Mark, but it was in the locker, and he sailed under that of Hamburg, from which city they had another patent. The entire cargo of the two ships was for Venice, but the greater part belonged to Genoese. The clerks and sailors have made their depositions to this in Court. It is said that all the goods of Englishmen at Venice are of less value than these two ships. Digby, supported by many great personages, says that if he is commanded to return into the Mediterranean, he will requite fourfold all those who may have suffered on this account. I shall keep the straight road enjoined me, because it is certainly reasonable, and in the next despatch I hope to send his Majesty's reply, which I shall do my utmost to obtain in the form you desire.
London, the 9th March, 1629.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
780. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Enclosed is an offer of 2,000 foot from Sir [James] Scot, and an information about the ships, so that you may decide to take them either together or separately. I say no more about the Colonel's qualities, as he has been in your service for ten years running. I will merely add that a well known man, whose claims are not great, can be more easily managed without so many punctilios which very often produce confusion and danger in an army. He tells me that he has already obtained the king's word to raise this regiment, and export the troops and arms, if you engage him. His offer consists of three conditions either for the levy alon; for the levy and provisions for the men as far as Venetian territory; and for the levy, provisions and hire of ships. This third, which amounts to a considerable sum, he is less anxious to undertake than the others, as he would like your Excellencies to incur the cost of passage and provisions. There is no doubt that much would be gained if the republic needed men and ships at the same time.
No one doubts that it is more profitable to buy the ships than to hire them, because the amount spent for hire would buy them in little more than a year. For instance, a ship of about 300 tons, with 24 guns and 50 sailors, including officers, supplied with victuals for ten months, would cost about 12,000 ducats di banco, whilst the hire would amount to about 800 ducats di banco per month, so that in a year or rather more it would be paid for. If bought it would remain at the disposal of your Excellencies, if the need continues, and if not, it might be sold to the merchants or hired for trade. Moreover, if the ships are chartered, the captains and sailors will not risk them, as was seen lately at Rochelle, and your Excellencies may have experienced it before. I say the same of ships from 400 to 500 tons, which with 80 men, 30 guns and ten months' victuals, would cost about 24,000 ducats di banco, whereas the cost of chartering one would be about 1,500 ducats a month, and the same for others in proportion.
I understand that eight or ten good ships could be had on sale or hire, but for the guns it is necessary either to have licence from the king, or give heavy security for their return, which is not the case with the ships. If your Excellencies wish to build ships now, the mere hull of those of 300 tons will cost about 13½ ducats per ton, those of 400 about 15, those of 500 16. The masts sails, cordage and the rest of the tackle for a ship of 300 tons, will cost about 4,200 ducats, for one of 400 tons, 6,000, for one of 500, 8,000. The first for the merchant service will carry fifty men, the second sixty, the third eighty, the wages amounting in proportion from 220 to 240 ducats a month, and if fitted out for war, the crews and consequently the salaries must be doubled. The English sailors are all good gunners, and from what I hear your Excellencies have great need of them, as they are the essential nerve of a fleet. The provisions are reckoned at the rate of 4 grossi a head, one with another, for officers and sailors. Two sorts of guns may be had here, the one light, invented lately, which does not weigh one half of the usual artillery, and will cost about 5 ½ ducats the quintal that is 112 pounds weight. (fn. 9) The heavy guns of the old sort will cost about 3 ducats di banco the quintal. A ship of 300 tons would mount 26 guns, weighing in all 56,000 pounds; one of 400 tons, 30 guns, weighing 68,000 pounds, one of 500 tons, 36 guns, weighing 80,000 pounds. The gun carriages and other timber and iron furnishing for the guns will cost at the rate of 15 grossi for each thousand weight of canon. Powder here is now worth from 16 to 20 ducats the hundred, and it is one third better than that of Flanders.
I have confined myself to calculations about chartering, buying or building, so that you may be able to decide, and I apologise if I have not exactly given what you require, in a matter which lies outside my profession.
London, the 9th March, 1629.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.781. Offer of a Levy from Sir JAMES SCOT, kt.
First, I will undertake to make a levy for the republic of 2,000 foot, English and Scots, all soldiers who have served in these last engagements, or in the war elsewhere. The officers also will not only be all old soldiers of the good school, but will have served in commands. This with the consent of his Majesty, to be procured by me or the republic, according to need.
Second, the companies will not be more than 200 strong each, or under 150, at the pleasure of the republic.
Third, if I am to undertake the levy, and also conveyance as far as the confines of the republic, at my entire cost, I ask 40 ducats di banco per head, besides 5 ducats for the levy, as granted by the General Paruta to Colonel Peyton. I wish to have one third paid in England before leaving, one third to the captains of the ships, and the remainder on my arrival.
Fourth, if the republic means to hire the ships herself, I ask, besides 5 ducats a head for the levy, four months' pay in advance, for the cost of food for all the troops. If I arrive in the republic's territory before the expiration of four months. I bind myself to keep the troops at my own cost until the end of the four months.
Fifth, if the republic will assume all these, I ask 5 ducats a head for the levy, and I will take the troops to the place of embarcation within five or six weeks at the utmost after the stipulation of the present contract, however it be embraced by his Serenity.
Sixth, for arms of modern manufacture, the best that can be found, his Serenity shall make me an advance, at the rate of 4 ducats di banco per head, the repayment to begin in the first month after my entry into the republic's territory.
Seventh, the pay of staff officers, subalterns and privates shall be the highest given to all the other ultramontane nations, who are in the republic's service on my arrival.
Eighth, the placing of officers shall rest with the Colonel, as well as the punishment of culprits in the regiment, both on the voyage and in the said service, except for crimes which concern state policy.
Ninth, the regiment shall be kept in the service for at least one year after its arrival in the republic's territory, and as much longer as shall please his Serenity, subject to the king's good pleasure. If the regiment is dismissed, both officers and men shall receive two months' pay to enable them to return home.
Tenth, the colours of the flags shall be at the option of the Colonel, unless the republic notify him otherwise.
Eleventh, after the six weeks in which I have undertaken to have the men ready, and the muster having been made in the presence of some one approved by the republic, I ask that the pay of officers and men shall begin.
Lastly, as I have served the republic for ten years, and with the certainty that many will be able to render good account of my loyalty and service, both on sea and land, in garrison and in the field, with the whole regiment and singly, I refer myself for salary and the costs of so long a voyage, to the good pleasure of the republic.
[Italian.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
782. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
A courier from Nice to-day reports the Duke of Guise at the mouth of the Var with his fleet and they were momentarily expecting an attack. The Marquis of Castagnedo was at Monaco with 22 galleys, and the English ships had orders, if they were at Villefranche, to be ready to serve his Highness.
Wake sent back his gentleman this morning. I think a few days will show how things are going. Wake is now thinking of going to see the duke, whom he certainly has not seen since the last gentleman came from London; he has sent to Vagliana, but owing to his reticence I cannot discover what he is really after.
Turin, the 9th March, 1629.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
783. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I am making enquiries about the capture of the Jona by some English ships. She laded wool and casks at Alicante and Cartagena and was sailing to Venice with a Ragusan ship. Off the island of S. Pietro near Sardinia she fell in with five English ships, whose commander is the one, I understand, who fought the galeasses at Alexandretta. He sent on one of his ships towards the Jona, but she kept it off by gun fire. When, however, they all hoisted the English flag, she thought they were friends and fell into their hands without a struggle. I will send information to the Ambassador Contarini at the earliest opportunity.
Madrid, the 9th March, 1629.
[Italian.]
March 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
784. To the Ambassador CORNER in Savoy.
We observe that Contarini's letters of the 2nd February have reached you, with full information about the peace negotiations between France and England. The more the Ambassador Wake proceeds in the manner you describe, the more use you will make of the information Contarini sends you, as it is an advantage in every way for that peace to be arranged by our ambassadors in France and England, it being already brought so far successfully. But all the offices of the Ambassador Wake or yourself which may facilitate a free opening of the pass to France, will be very grateful to us.
Ayes, 128.Noes, 0.Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
March 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
785. PIETRO VICO, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They write from Warsaw that a gentleman had come from the King of England, who had secret audience of the king there. It is said he was sent to persuade that king to make a good peace with Sweden, offering his good offices for this. If the Poles would accept this interposition the King of England would send a person of suitable rank to negotiate this accord. It is not known what reply will be given, as it was under discussion by the deputies present at the diet.
Vienna, the 10th March, 1629.
[Italian; copy.]

Footnotes

1 Presumably the Benediction, a name not uncommon at the time. This may possibly be the Benediction of London, 300 tons, Capt. Tristram Stephens. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1628–9, page 288.
2 The college at Clerkenwell.
3 Anthony Hales, who brought Wake's despatch of the 31st January. Dorchester to Wake, 25 February, o.s. S.P. Foreign, Savoy. He arrived on Monday the 26th February. Salvetti, letter of 2 March. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962E.
4 Apparently an allusion to Richelieu's buying of Valchembourg, governor of the Principality of Orange. He promised him 100,000 crowns, the government of the principality for himself and his son, the marshal's baton and a domain in France. He was to hold the chateau for the king. Richelieu took this action to prevent Orange falling into the hands of Rohan. Pontbriant: Histoire de la Principauté d'Orange, pages 190, 191.
5 Mr. Morton. Wake to Dorchester, the 6th March. S.P. Foreign, Savoy.
6 The first was Dacres and the second Morton. See notes to pages 556 and 562 above.
7 See his despatch of the 5th January, no. 663 at page 463 above.
8 Anthony Hales See note to page 559 above.
9 John Browne, founder of iron ordnance, was recommended for a reward of 200l. on 28 April, 1626, for casting six pieces of iron ordnance, which endured the king's double proof, and yet were lighter than brass ordnance. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1625–6, page 320. Oppenheim gives the price of ordnance in 1625 as from 13l. to 14l. a ton.Administration of the Royal Navy, page 288.