Venice
March 1629, 23-30

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1916

Pages

586-603

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'Venice: March 1629, 23-30', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 21: 1628-1629 (1916), pp. 586-603. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89220 Date accessed: 01 October 2014.


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March 1629

March 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
801. To the Ambassador in England.
Your letters of the 3rd February reached us yesterday and afford us entire satisfaction. You did wisely in having the two ships taken by the pirate Digby sequestrated. Luca Nelli is coming for the parties and we have written to the king. We send you a copy of the letter of the Captain of the galeasses so that you may know all that happened at Scanderoon, so that you can assist our service. We also send you what we hear from Constantinople with respect to the emperor's ambassadors and Gabor.
M. d'Avo told us this morning in the Collegio that the peace with England is in an excellent condition because the remaining difficulties about the queen's household and the ship have been removed. He has asked that the orders to our ambassadors may be repeated, to continue to labour, as it is not yet completely established. We know that you need no further incitement, and we send you this good news until the formal replies arrive from France.
Ayes, 173.Noes, 1.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
March 23.
Senato,
Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
802. To the King of Great Britain.
Our confidence in your Majesty tempers our serious dissatisfaction at the capture by Digby of two large ships laden for Venice, one of which, the Giona, he plundered, without any regard for our patents, while those he held from your Majesty bound him not to attack the interests of friendly princes. We therefore beg you to exercise speedily your royal authority for complete restitution and compensation to the parties concerned, who are sending their agent Luca to England for this purpose.
Ayes, 173.Noes, 1.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
March 23.
Senato,
Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
803. To the Ambassador CONTARINI in England and his successor.
By your letters of the 8th February and others, you have heard of the capture by Digby of two large ships destined for Venice, at which we are much incensed. You have received our instructions to make every effort for restitution and compensation. We repeat these with emphasis. We enclose a memorial presented in our Collegio on the 19th inst. by the parties concerned, who have decided to send Luca Nelli to England as their agent. We also enclose our letters to his Majesty. You will try to get the matter despatched speedily as between prince and prince, especially as there were our patents, without the expense and delay which would be caused by treating in any other way. We add no more, because you know what is necessary, and the importance of the affair, upon which we shall await your advices.
Ayes, 173.Noes, 1.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
March 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
804. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
By yours of the 23rd February I hear of the Ambassador Cornaro's office with Wake. I am in great need of help, as I cannot yet see any approach towards the execution of your Excellencies' wishes. I have worked hard all this week to obtain some better decision. The king and commissioners continued to insist that it was an affair between subjects, which ought to be judged by the Admiralty Court. I always maintained that your subjects asked for reprisals, and your Excellencies had taken the matter upon yourselves, wishing to show respect for his Majesty before proceeding to any act of rigour, and you expected Digby to be punished and compelled to restore what he had taken. An individual came to tell me covertly that if I asked the judge for the ship it would be restored to me in a few days. I replied that I claimed the whole and would not enter into a law suit with a pirate, or subject myself to the ordinary courts of justice, as it was of no more consequence to preserve this jurisdiction, because of the precedent, than to obtain the ships and much besides. Carleton made me two proposals. One that two months should be allowed me to receive fresh replies from Venice, and that the merchants might send their references, assuring me that the king would never interfere in this business by his absolute authority, denying justice to those who demanded it, under favour of his patents, thus affording a scandalous example to the kingdom, injurious with regard to claims which might be made by other nations, and offensive to the judge and justice of England. He said that if I agreed to this delay it would be necessary to give security to Digby for the interval, for all such effects which might legally be assigned to him, because they belonged to Spaniards, as according to law they could not be denied him. His other proposal was, that whatever belonged clearly to Venetians or Genoese, should be immediately consigned to me, Digby receiving what belongs to the Spaniards, but all according to a judicial decree, and that time and security should be given as above for the rest which is disputed.
I refused both proposals without hesitation, as I do not mean to subject myself to a sentence, except to prevent the progress of the mischief, without a command from your Serenity. I maintain that this is not an affair for lawyers and judges, but for ambassadors and princes. They will not understand this, and even if they did, they would not agree, lest other nations should avail themselves of this example. So I suspect that in the end we must come to a judicial sentence.
Digby demands justice of the king, and magistracy daily. As the king does not choose to interfere, I fear that Digby will be put in possession according to the laws, and the right of the magistracy, which requires possession of the prizes to be given within fifteen days, an estimate being made of them, and that they shall then be sold lest the goods perish. The pirate then gives security according to the estimate, being bound to indemnify the owners of such capital as may be declared unlawful prize. This would be very detrimental to the parties concerned, as the goods are estimated at one third less than their worth, and I should not wish this to be done. This very day Digby blustered before the judge for two hours in order to obtain a sentence, but I contrived that it should not be passed, and it was postponed until Tuesday week. So far no harm has been done, except the delay.
During this interval I think of having a fresh audience of the king. Besides the point of state policy, which is my chief one, I shall have an opportunity of demanding justice of the king, which he so much delights in, not only because of the infringement of the patents, but because the patents were only valid for twelve months, and the prize was made in the fourteenth month. This point struck me when going over some papers, and many of my confidants consider it important. I do not know what to expect for I see that Digby has a strong party at Court, and those who usually side with your Serenity do not stand by me on this occasion. I suspect that the present need coupled with their natural leaning for their neighbours goods, may induce some design on these prizes, as Digby has let it be understood that he will spend 20,000l. to maintain that he acted lawfully.
I say this so that your Excellencies may give such orders as you think fit. I am assured by the merchants here, and by Ricaut in particular, who has many orders on this subject from Bencio, Vanasel and all the Genoese parties concerned, who form the majority both for insurance and as owners, that in two months they will so cover each other that very little will remain for Digby, as if it is impossible to treat between prince and prince I believe some appeal will be made for the Genoese. It would not be amiss for the Venetians also to send their powers of attorney and references, provided your Excellencies do not make other decisions, which are desired by those who would like to return to cruise in the Mediterranean, and by Barocio for the sake of Villafranca.
London, the 23rd March, 1629.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives
805. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
From the enclosed letters to France your Excellencies will learn the most essential things here. The communications you sent me about the surprise of Casal Maggiore and the other advices could not have arrived more opportunely, to confute the statements of malignants. The king himself said: I must believe nothing but the advices of the Venetian Ambassador, for I see that the others very often invent news. I am surprised that the secretary of England at Venice should have written the advices of the peace with so many particulars, but a shrewd speculator tells me it is grist from Wake's mill, for the benefit of Savoy. Here they are very inquisitive about the intentions of that prince, but we hear nothing authentic. Some say the French troops gave battle to those of prince Tomaso; some that an interview took place between the Most Christian and the Prince of Piedmont. The Secretary Barocio expresses himself in terms thoroughly Spanish, and declared that the duke will never concede the passage. Carlisle begins to undeceive himself. He told me that if the French choose to act in earnest, he will go post to make an adjustment between them and Savoy, but he must first see something more positive. Unless he decides to keep on the right side he will remain utterly without credit, for he has found that there are stauncher Spaniards than himself, who enjoy greater credit, so, for his own interest he must not be a follower but an opponent.
Now Parliament is dissolved I believe it will never reassemble during the present king's life. On Tuesday his Majesty went in the royal habit to the Upper House to thank the Lords for the satisfaction he had received from them, and to complain of the temerity of a few members of the Lower House, on whom it was the duty of a king to have some punishment inflicted, just as it became him to reward good subjects for their sincerity and affection. It was remarked that he returned from the House of Lords in high spirits, as if he had freed himself from the yoke. It is quite certain that from natural inclination the king was never partial to parliaments. The people are most dissatisfied, and in truth they run risk of losing their privileges for ever, by seeking to whet them too much, or else the king will have to relinquish some of his own, as even those about his person are interested in the liberty of the kingdom, for the sake of their posterity. The courtiers blame the petulance of the opposition members, who really exceeded all bounds, availing themselves of the opportunities and the promises made to them at the beginning of the session to quiet disputes. The hate against the treasurer and the Bishop of London increases, they being by religion and affection almost Spanish, and the king's chief favourites. His Majesty has administered an oath to all the councillors, enjoining extraordinary secret in whatever shall be treated, for the sole purpose of surprising the people by such resolves as he shall deem suited to his service, so that they may not have time to prepare and prevent him. It is said that the Keeper of the seal and the Privy Seal will be expelled the Court, because they are lawyers, as the king does not mean henceforth to have any other laws than those of his own will.
Various modes of finding money are discussed. Some say the Catholics will contribute considerable sums, but I do not believe it, as they have been too much flayed. But it is supposed that the king will necessarily throw himself into the arms of that party, as opposed to the Puritans, and thus in the end be circumvented by the artifices of the Spaniards, who have been ruling and turning him for a long while. Others say they will give new leases of the Crown property with great advantage. Others that the king will monopolise the sale of salt. Others that the nobility will make a loan, but they are too poor, the wealth of the country being in the hands of the merchants. But all these measures were tried and failed in Buckingham's time, and as they already experience difficulty in levying the duties, the Companies in particular refusing to pay them, it seems that there is some thought of suppressing them, as no single individual will refuse payment with the alternative of punishment, which cannot be inflicted when they are united. In addition to this, permission will be given to all nations to trade, and the king will levy the duties without difficulty. I do not know whether this advice comes from the Dutch, to render them masters of the trade here as they are everywhere else.
Owing to the dissolution of parliament, and the pecuniary necessities of the Crown, peace abroad is believed to be necessary as to bark without being able to bite brings a government into discredit. Parliament was a great curb upon the affairs of Spain, and so they revived at once on the dissolution. The ships laded for those realms will go on their way, or have already set sail. It is true that the Dutch are on the watch to capture them if they can. They could not inconvenience this country in any other way, as for some time England can have no share in public affairs except to show the States the mere name of war, so as to encourage friends, as it costs the kingdom nothing. On the other hand peace would discourage everybody, at least in appearance, and would give the last shock to his Majesty's credit. They repeat the idea of not showing their teeth without biting, and say that without trade the country is too depressed, but if the French were to anticipate this storm, it would at least be delayed.
What matters most is that the King of Denmark cannot have any help from this kingdom, on which his chief hopes were placed, and I believe that as soon as he hears of the dissolution of parliament he will make peace on any terms. His ambassador here is in despair, not without reason, and intends to depart. It seems that the States and especially Amsterdam, will do something for the defence of the Sound. If that is lost they will hardly maintain themselves, and England will not be out of danger, but with her own house on fire, I do not see how she can run to extinguish the flames which are destroying that of her neighbour.
Colonel Chiphausen returned lately from Emden, his native place. He tells me that Denmark has not got 6,000 effective troops, that the fortress of Gluckstadt is irreparably destroyed by the sea, and the military commanders are not well agreed Morgan, indeed, who got in there, professed himself displeased with the king because he gave him four commissioners, without whom he cannot decide anything. Besides the written terms offered by the emperor, he tells me that they demand that Denmark shall hold that kingdom as an imperial fief, and that the peace is for that king alone, without including Germany in general, the princes of the circle of Lower Saxony, or other foreigners, chiefly in order to detach Denmark from the Hanse Towns. Walstein is strengthening himself at sea, and gives himself the title of Lord High Admiral of the Baltic. So far he has got 25 good ships, which he sent for from Dunkirk, with captains and sailors, Denmark will have forty sail, but the Danes have but little aptitude for the sea. Popnaim is ordered to pass into Italy with seven regiments. Another army will be led by the Margrave of Brandenburg into Prussia against Sweden. Saxony is arming. The princes of the Catholic league are discontented and will not disband Tilly's army until the emperor does the same with Walstein's. Many regiments are being disbanded in the empire, but at the same time they give fresh patents for new levies, because all those who undertake a fresh service, forfeit their claim to old arrears, so that for a bounty of one rix dollar, they are content to lose ten months' pay, claimed and not disbursed.
This person also asked me for a reply to his offer of levies. If he does not receive any he is almost determined to go to Venice with Pepliz, both of them being veteran colonels and much esteemed by Mansfelt, to see the wars in Italy and to make levies on the confines of Switzerland, if your Excellencies wish it. They already have numerous adherents in the imperial armies, so that from 500 to 1,000 men at a time offered to go with them to Venice by sea; but as they both served England lately against France, and dare not pass through the territories of the infanta and Germany, where they are known, they asked me to write to Zorzi to get a passport from the Most Christian, as they intend to cross the Channel with me, as my passage should be near at hand. Accordingly I sent their memorials to Zorzi this evening, and your Excellencies will be able to give your commands, as I consider their decision a good one because of the service the republic may derive from it. So to them and to all others who care to take the journey at their own cost, I willingly give letters of recommendation for your Serenity. I have done so lately with several, and I think this is right, unless your Excellencies warn me to the contrary.
London, the 23rd March, 1629.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.806. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to ZORZI ZORZI, his Colleague in France.
Your letters are very much desired, the last were of the 20th February. I am most anxious to have them as I have been told by a great minister and one of the most confidential that his Majesty had authentic letters from France, that the treaty sent by me would be accepted, and concluded by the hands of the republic's ministers. This is confirmed by appearances, as by the last letters from the Senate I heard of the surprise of Casal Maggiore by the Duke of Mantua, and was enabled to confute the malignant reports of peace, and of the negotiations of Botru, disseminated here through bribery, showing that if Mantua had not been sure of French help he never would have made such a move, which puts his existence and well being in Italy in jeopardy. He saw the profit that would result from reconciling the Duke of Savoy with the Crown of France, of which there is fair hope, provided the replies thence are such as desired.
Barocio has received letters from Scaglia in Spain, dated the 16th February and he immediately obtained audience of the king. They announce the departure of Botru from the Catholic Court dissatisfied. The Abbot makes believe that he will be here in about two months, and renews his request for a ship to fetch him. He says that some of the ministers already speak to him of the emperor's intention to restore the Palatinate to one of the Palatine's sons, but not to the Palatine himself, with certain conditions about religion. But these are vanities, with the object of favouring Bavaria's interests there. It is also vanity what Scaglia writes, told me by one who saw the actual letters, that the Spaniards have made remittances to the amount of eight millions for Spain and Italy, and they promise a true correspondence with his master, and they are unlikely to make an agreement with the French, chiefly owing to his offices. He made much of the greatness and the forces of that king, but the more he exaggerates the less impression he makes. It is all for his own ends, to upset the peace with France, and forward one with Spain. I hope he will not succeed, if the replies from France prove such as may reasonably be expected.
It is true that on the dissolution of parliament they sent Sir [Henry] Vane to the Netherlands, a man of some ability, who left with the Dutch ambassadors. He has a commission about the jewels of this Crown, which were pawned at Amsterdam some time ago, to prevent them being sold by auction, as the period for repayment has expired, and it is not possible to redeem them. For the sake of England's reputation they do not want them sold, but that the States or the East India company should take them without more ado. Some proposal will also be made to the Palatine to take them, with some money which he has on that mart. If they are to be sold for much less than they are worth, they would prefer them to fall into his hands than those of others. The Merchant Filippo Calandrini, who was here for this affair, has also left, with some offer to the merchants about exporting guns for the recovery of the jewels. Everything possible is being done to screen reputation. Vane also takes autograph letters of the king and is to inform the Princess Palatine of the present state of affairs of England, the dissolution of parliament and the difficulty of getting money, so that they have not the means to assist Germany or Denmark, and suggesting that it might be advisable for her to make a virtue of necessity and try negotiation, as the way of arms is impossible at present. He also tells her of the terms proposed by the Spaniards, and assures her that he will never abandon her interests, as after the death of her eldest son she had written to the king and some of the ministers of her deep sorrow, not merely for that event, but because she saw the hopes of any relief decline daily. It is said that when Vane's replies arrive, he may be sent to Brussels, or desired to stay as ambassador with the States, so as to act in union with them about the negotiations. But if they remain firm at the Hague, I believe they will thwart the progress of all these schemes, and France ought to contribute her good offices for the same purpose. I hear that Vane is a worthy man, in spite of which, he exerted himself much at the time in favour of the Spanish marriage.
The queen's pregnancy is no longer in doubt, as she has already entered the fifth month auspiciously. The king's satisfaction defies exaggeration. They are already providing nurses, and many ladies are offering themselves. The queen would like them all to be Catholics, and in this as in future matters of similar importance, the assistance of some representative of the Crown of France is required.
Parliament is completely dissolved, and men think that it will never reassemble during the lifetime of the present king.
London, the 23rd March, 1629.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 23.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni.
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
807. The ambassador of the Most Christian came into the Collegio and said, among other things:
The peace with England is nearly arranged, as the two difficulties are removed, about the queen's household and the ship. The ambassadors of the republic have exerted themselves with great zeal and success over this important work, and I therefore beg your Serenity to renew your orders to your ambassadors in England and France so that they may persevere until the task is completed, if it is not already. This will afford great pleasure to his Majesty and the common weal is concerned in it.
[Italian.]
March 24.
Senato,
Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
808. To the Queen of Great Britain.
Letters of credence for Giovanni Soranzo, who is going to reside at that Court as ambassador for the republic.
Ayes, 113.Noes, 3.Neutral, 11.
[Italian.]
March 24.
Senato,
Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
809. To the King of Great Britain.
Letters of credence for Giovanni Soranzo, who is succeeding Luigi Contarini as ambassador, and has special commissions to confirm their affectionate regard for his Majesty and their confidence in his royal goodness.
Ayes, 113.Noes, 3.Neutral, 11.
[Italian.]
March 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
810. To the Ambassador SORANZO, destined for France.
You will see by the letters of the 19th from Turin what Wake has said, that we have sent you to get the king to return to France, with other ideas, most alien from our intentions. Corner is to tell Wake that your despatch and offices are due solely to the most serious situation in Italy, which we desire to remedy, and the Most Christian must not be diverted from Italy on any account. He himself knows how hard we have worked to bring the negotiations for peace between the two crowns to their present position. You also will express the same ideas, upon every occasion; and as the Ambassador d'Avo here has told us that the peace is nearly arranged and has asked us to facilitate its completion through our ambassadors, you also will employ all your efforts to that end, it being a matter which we have much at heart.
Ayes, 114.Noes, 0.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
March 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
811. To the Bailo at Constantinople.
The Vice Consul Salamon at Aleppo behaved courageously in defence of our captains in the incident with the English ships. On their arrival in England they made the enclosed false announcement. We consider the matter important, if the French and English continue their complaints against us, with so many false assertions, and we intend to make full provision against this. Besides your energetic representations to the Vizier, you will keep on the alert for all emergencies, and with a friendly and courteous office you will inform the other great men of the government, in order to impress them fully with the truth. You will send us word of what you do.
Ayes, 102.Noes, 2.Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
March 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
812. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Delays in negotiation about peace with England through having to wait for replies and information from the cardinal and England, causing the loss of months. Had not sent the Senate his letters to Contarini to avoid fatiguing them by his obscure style and because he had not time, with his incessant journeys. Now encloses the letters he sent recently to England by Christofforo about the second article. If the English are obstinate about this he can hold out no hope. England ought to yield about a word or two of compliment and not insist on a new article. England must not ask France to-day for peace with the Huguenots and for this restitution of Rohan and Soubise to-morrow.
Grenoble, the 24th March, 1629.
Enclosed copy of letters to England of the 4th February, 1628 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
March 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
813. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English ambassador told me to-day that with his last despatch from the Court he could perform good offices for the public cause. He had in hand to reconcile the Duke of Rohan with the king, if his Majesty wished. He had some one here waiting to go to him but he thought the French did not care about their friendship or to give up tormenting the Huguenots. He would send to England the moment he saw things moving. He was waiting for the answer of the princes here to the letters of the king to the duke and prince and of the queen to Madame. But I see clearly that he is seeking the pleasure of the duke and I observe that he never speaks of the interposition of the republic in the peace. I observe a like reserve and do not speak to him about it.
Turin, the 24th March, 1629.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
814. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Two ships laden with goods from England have arrived at San Lucar, by virtue of the license granted to Portuguese merchants through the Jesuit fathers. In spite of this the Almerantasgo has laid claim to the ships and goods, producing a royal schedule which states clearly that all such goods shall be confiscated, even if introduced by his Majesty's licence. However, the claim will not be pushed because the Jesuits are concerned and this was done for the common service of these realms, so impoverished by the stoppage of trade.
Among the goods which reach Cadiz, Malaga and San Lucar from England and other northern parts, munitions of war and other supplies for the royal forces which cannot be obtained from these realms are of great importance for his Majesty's service. At the present time a shortage of these things has prevented them from sending as many ships as they otherwise could, to ensure the safety of the [plate] fleet, just as the remainder of the foreign goods serve for the most part for the trade of the West Indies.
Madrid, the 24th March, 1629.
[Italian: the part in italics deciphered.]
March 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
815. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ambassadors extraordinary of these States in England have crossed the sea. They have not yet arrived at the Hague, so I cannot learn if they return content. Contarini's last letters from those parts are not good because the quarrels between the king and parliament cannot produce good results and will rather hinder those which were expected. Here I do not think they will change their plans or grow cold, since they do not depend upon any support from that quarter. I am much more afraid that the King of Denmark may hasten to conclude peace.
The Hague, the 26th March, 1629.
[Italian.]
March 27.
Collegio,
Lettere.
Venetian
Archives.
816. To the Ambassador CONTARINI in England.
Our ambassador Soranzo is coming to take up that charge and relieve you. On his arrival you will consign to him the necessary papers and instructions, and after taking leave of the king, queen, and others in the usual way, you will proceed to France to take up your post with the Most Christian. Your accurate diligence has afforded the most complete satisfaction, leaving nothing to be desired, whether in Holland or in England. In both charges you maintained your position with splendour and decorum, as we are sure you will do in France.
Ayes, 21.Noes, 0.Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
March 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
817. To the Ambassador CONTARINI in England, and the like to the Ambassador SORANZO at the Hague.
With the advices which come from Turin about peace we thought it necessary to suspend collecting our forces and making provision for war. A large body of our troops is now in the field, well furnished with everything necessary. The troops are encouraged by the increase of pay we have given them. The Duke of Mantua owing to the lack of provisions from the Cremonese, has quartered his troops in positions where they can obtain food more easily, and he is showing great courage and spirit. Gonzales has raised the siege of Casale; as with the French across the Alps and the passes open, he saw the time had come to look after his own safety. He refuses to sign the capitulation and threatens that the wrong done to his king shall be paid for, a clear proof of his evil intent. He is fortifying Ponzon and Nizza della Paglia in the Monferrat, he is selecting places d'armes towards Valenza, Alessandria and Novara, and is disturbed because he does not know where the blow will fall. He sighs for help from Germany, Naples and everywhere, sending out couriers to show his danger, and troops are reaching him from several quarters.
The Casalese did not allow the Spaniards to depart at their ease and they had to leave behind all their flour and wine. The first succour reached the besieged without any opposition, and they would have borne even greater deprivations rather than surrender to the Spaniards, who by their barbarity have stirred the people of Monferrat against them. The Most Christian has sent 15,000 sacks of grain to Casale by way of Trino and also a good quantity of wine. They say he has arranged with the merchant Baronio to provision it for a year. We have also helped with a grant of 50,000 ducats for the purchase of grain for the fortress. In this as in all else, we are doing everything possible for the common cause. Everything now goes to show that the Most Christian will do the right thing. According to the last advices his Majesty was at Susa, and Madame of Piedmont had gone thither to see her brother. It is hoped that every day will strengthen the union with the house of Savoy which would be a great gain to the common cause. We wish you to be informed of all this.
The Sieur de Ferenbach is about to depart. We have provided him with a galley, and presented him with refreshments and a gold collar. He will receive every attention on the voyage.
From the enclosed you will see what Wake said to Cornaro. Your efforts for the peace and your numerous officers will provide you with ample material for refuting him and showing the truth, as the republic has always tried to prevent the Most Christian from striking at his own vitals. In order that Zorzi's indisposition may not prejudice the peace we have directed him to supply the necessary instructions to the Secretary Cavazza, whom we have sent to the Most Christian, so that the negotiations may not be interrupted while they are waiting for the arrival of our ambassador extraordinary, Soranzo, who will take up the matter actively, and who will speak with Cornaro and pay his respects to the king.
Your efforts have proved very successful about the goods in the ships stopped by Digby. You will persevere zealously. You will insist in particular that the mart here is interested in all of the cargo of those ships, with respect also to the security given here by merchants, which we hope will not receive prejudice, when assisted by your prudent officers, in which you have nothing to be desired.
Ayes, 120.Noes, 1.Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
March 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
818. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have made the third and last attempt to get the two ships from the English. I had audience of the king, and told him that your Excellencies can never allow the English or others to search your ships, because of the evil consequences with other powers. The Venetians claim free trade everywhere, without rendering account to anyone, so that goods may be as safe on board Venetian ships as in Venice itself. Otherwise your liberty would be a mock whereas this Crown ought to have it at heart as the prerogative of the only state that is friendly to it. The English themselves traded in Spain, and so they ought not to prevent others from doing so. The Venetians carry English goods into Spanish territories, and with this example the Spaniards might claim to confiscate them. His Majesty had no jurisdiction in those waters, least of all over the ships of the republic, to whom he had never given the least notification of any such intention. Digby's patent clearly forbad him to attack friendly powers. It had expired when he made these prizes. He had forced your Serenity's harbours and endeavoured to suborn your subjects, perpetrating many other hostile acts, which convicted him of piracy. He thus forfeited the good grace of his Majesty, who alone, with the Council ought to decide every point, and not refer it to the ordinary judges. I laid stress on this last point.
The king replied: I beg the most serene republic to believe that I have no wish to prejudice their interests but rather wish to advance them. Hitherto you have had no occasion to make such complaints to me, and I hope it will be the same for the future, as although many of my subjects have suffered great damage from the French, and keep an eye on the trade of Marseilles, with the certainty of its yielding a very great profit, I have decided not to issue any more letters of marque for the Mediterranean. This will remove the cause for similar troubles. In the present case I can give the republic no other reply than I gave to the Most Christian, when we were friends, and to all the other powers, my allies so I hope she will not take it amiss if I can do nothing to oblige her which would cause displeasure to the others, as that would furnish a very bad precedent. Digby cruised with my patent, which gave him powers to seize the goods of my enemies wherever he found them. Now he has returned, he demands justice of me, in conformity with the laws and custom, just as the republic's subjects demand it of you. I cannot refuse it without injury to my conscience and my honour and causing dissatisfaction to the whole kingdom. If my subjects trade in Spain, I give my word that they do so at their own risk, without my consent, so that if they are captured I shall not open my mouth to protect them. I have had you told again and again, and repeat that justice shall be done to all, suitable time will be given for proving rights, and whatever belongs to the republic's subjects will be punctually restored. On the other hand whatever belongs to the Spaniards will be Digby's, because that has been the practice of all nations, since I have been at war with them. If in the present instance Digby has infringed his patent, either by attacking ships or forcing harbours, or if he has made prizes after the expiry of his term, the judges will see to that, and he will be properly punished.
I rejoined that I had the more reason to claim the ships, as his Majesty by disapproving of privateering in the Mediterranean, admitted that it was a thing ill done. The replies given to other powers did not apply to your Serenity, whose interests were very different. If one power agreed to its own hurt, that need not form an example for all the rest. If your Excellencies had considered it an affair of private individuals, you would not have expressed yourselves so clearly. You consider it a very important matter of state policy, and therefore the remedy ought to proceed from his Majesty.
He repeated that if he was able to give a satisfactory answer this time, as he saw from my countenance and the offices I had performed, I must attribute it to necessity, and to what was due to justice. He hoped your Excellencies would take it as such, and not in the least diminish your regard for him. He felt sure you would be content with justice, which he promised, but for the rest he could not change his resolve.
On that same evening Carleton sent to my house to express the same reasons, adding that his Majesty had sent for the judge and recommended him expressly to give satisfaction to the Venetians as if they were English subjects. I answered suitably pointing out what evil consequences and disagreements might result from this, as had already been seen with other powers. I fear I shall not be able to have the matter treated as between prince and prince, as your Excellencies wished, as neither the king, the Council nor the merchants will agree to this, because it has never been done with any other nation. They all answer with one accord that such is the custom in England, and all sovereigns have their own laws. I have told the king and every one that I am not satisfied with this reply, that your Excellencies have too great an interest at stake, and very evil consequences may ensue both for the public and for private persons.
I hear that Vanaxel has sent a power of attorney to recover his ship. Some applications for protection have also appeared from persons who insured at Genoa and Leghorn. I should not wish any law suit to begin without permission from your Excellencies, but as the Genoese and others, who are not the republic's subjects, are concerned in the matter, I do not know if those who have these powers will follow me, or if I shall have any influence with them. During the interval the ship and goods are deteriorating. I will not agree to the ordinary court of justice without an order from the state, and if the others choose to proceed, I shall pretend not to see, though I shall always keep my eye on the matter, so that no wrong or injustice may be done. I think this the best course, as so long as I profess dissatisfaction, your Excellencies are always free to do what you think best.
London, the 30th March, 1629.
[Italian.]
March 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
819. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The king has appointed eight commissioners to draw up the process and pass sentence on the members of the Lower House now in prison. A long manifesto of the king has been printed, with the reasons which induced him to dissolve parliament, and the necessity for maintaining his position as king. The merchants, rather than pay the duty, decline to trade, and by the suspension of business ruined both the people and the sailors, who have no employment. Many of the populace, when they saw goods going in or out of the custom house had the audacity to hoot and call their owners traitors to the country. Several remedies have been proposed, and especially that of dissolving the companies, which constitute so unruly a body that one obstinate member influences all his fellows, and allowing all foreign nations to trade freely, as they would pay the duties and all other charges without resistance. From fear of this because self interest predominates or perhaps from seeing the king determined, I fancy the merchants, when summoned singly mostly consent to pay, and by this means a great point will be settled to his Majesty's advantage.
They continue the fitting out of thirty ships for the defence of these coasts. Nothing else will be done for the present year, as all the military officers have received permission to seek their fortune wherever they please. This illustrates the felicity of this kingdom, although it is at war with the whole of Europe yet they fear no one. It is possible that some few of these ships may appear towards the Sound, but God knows how and when that will take place. The treasurer, by not paying any salaries has amassed a certain supply of money for this purpose only, and not without good reason.
On Sunday the 25th inst. bonfires were lighted at Court and all over the city for the queen's pregnancy, there being no longer any doubt about it. The foreign ministers have been to compliment their Majesties, much to their satisfaction.
I do not think that Barocio finds the government inclined to send a ship to Spain to fetch Scaglia, as he desires, to show the Spaniards the influence he exercises here. Many think it would be an act of too great condescension, and if he wants to come he can easily get a Spanish ship, as Porter did. But Carlisle, who made this arrangement at Turin, is not very well pleased, and is exerting himself to get it for him.
The negotiations at Hamburg between the imperialists and the Danish commissioners, are suspended owing to three difficulties, upon which they have sent expresses to the emperor and king. The first is that the patent of the imperial commissioners allows them to treat but not to conclude, and to treat not with the king or his commissioners, but with the nobility in order to sow discord. The second that Schomberg, who was released on parole by Denmark and offered to forward the peace, has been appointed one of the commissioners by Walstein, but the Danes will not admit him, as he is their king's prisoner. The third, that in the patent, Walstein styles himself General of the Baltic, and the Danes will not pass this. From a variety of circumstances it may be inferred that the peace is not very near, because the mode of treating betrays deceit; one who is victorious is treating with one who is weak; the hopes of making greater progress are approaching certainty, and because Walstein cannot maintain himself in the state of Mecklenburg, given him by the emperor, in the quality of an absolute prince, unless he contrives to make himself master of at least one port in the Baltic. Besides the profit from trade this would secure him against foreign interference, which causes him more anxiety than anything else. In spite of this, I know on good authority that the Danes wish for peace at any price. It may be expected, as the king is without help either at home or abroad. On the 2nd inst. an interview took place between the kings of Denmark and Sweden on the frontier. Particulars are not yet known, but to-day Spens is to enter this Court as ambassador from the King of Sweden, though it is not known with what end. It is inferred that nothing but warlike ideas can come from that king.
The chapter at Bremen has elected the emperor's second son as coadjutor, although a long while ago one of the sons of the King of Denmark had been sworn and acknowledged as such. The matter is considered important because of the control that city has over the Elbe and Weser, which are somewhat dependent on this kingdom for trade.
The outcome of the congress of princes and electors at Heidelberg is expected with great curiosity, owing to the consequences, which are said to be extremely important.
With the despatch of the 2nd, received lately, I have not got any letters from your Serenity.
London, the 30th March, 1629.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.820. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to ZORZI ZORZI, his Colleague in France.
This week I have your letters of the 14th from Dijon. From the slowness of your journey I conclude that you are not quite recovered, and am sorry. I hope you will arrive opportunely. As the war with Savoy has broken out, and one with Spain near at hand in consequence, and possibly with the emperor, there is no reason whatever for the war with England to continue, I will not say because the French are afraid of this kingdom, because I know the natural vain glory of the nation, which is now increased by victory, but for the sake of the friendly powers, and especially Denmark, whose diversion will now become so necessary to France, Italy and the Netherlands. Through the queen mother the reports of your favourable replies are confirmed. She may perhaps couple state interests with affection for her pregnant daughter, and with the results to be obtained, regulating with ability both her delivery and the circumstances that may arise therefrom.
An express from Wake brought the first news here of the engagement between the French and Savoyards near Susa, after the rupture of the negotiations between the Prince of Piedmont and the cardinal. (fn. 1) As Wake would not allow him to bring letters from anyone else, though Cornaro announced his intention of giving him some for me, it is evident that he wished the first impression of that event to be made at this Court in his own fashion, to the advantage of Savoy. He therefore wrote that the French received the duke, and attacked him while negotiations were still on foot, that 2,000 of them remained under the citadel, and even if they take Susa, they will have a hard fight at Avigliana. That if any large body of troops remains in the midst of these mountains, they will die of hunger, and if in small numbers, they will be beaten. That the duke is very strong and has not at all lost courage, and the Spaniards help him vigorously. His subjects are full of loyalty and affection.
In general, envy prevents them from relishing the event here. Many think it was an arrangement made to deceive the Spaniards, or else that the adjustment between the French and Savoy is still easy, though there is good reason to believe the contrary.
Letters have come by this same gentleman from the Duke of Rohan, accompanied by others from Wake, at the request of Savoy, in terms favouring his service. Barocio has been several times to Soubise, who has spoken with the king. These letters are in reply to those I mentioned sent from here to Wake and Rohan about our negotiations for peace. Wake replies that the orders reached him unseasonably for Savoy, and he was unable to execute them, because the duke was occupied with something else that mattered more, so that he had not even audience, and because it was unsuitable to speak of this business when the armies were fighting and blood had been shed. I remember that I wrote that the orders had been sent and it only remained for the minister to execute them. He writes that Rohan will never depart from the advice of his Majesty, but he does not approve of the peace with France. He is very strong; and has 17,000 men who have all sworn to die rather than abandon him. He has promises of help from the King of Spain. He believes it impossible for the Huguenots to secure peace of themselves, as the king has never kept his promises, and at present he is treating separately instead of corporately as was always the custom.
I confess these despatches have not helped our negotiation, and I would pay a good sum if your replies had arrived first, as my proposals were made three weeks before the despatch of those letters. In spite of this I have tried to insinuate how collusive those schemes are; that the king kept his promise to Rohan and Savoy, and was no longer bound to consider their interests. I repeated that Rohan might object to the peace in his own interests, or at the suggestion of the Spaniards, but it was not right that the good understanding between the crowns, so necessary for the common cause, should succumb to them. Some of the most influential ministers repeated what they have said before, that the king has fulfilled his promise and must not be guided by Rohan's obstinacy, but do what is best for himself. I therefore hope, if your replies are favourable that I shall have rendered Rohan's efforts useless. All my offices were based on information from correspondents. I also learned something from the letters of the Danish ambassador in Paris, who alone has written about these events, besides Wake. God grant they may do good, and that by the peace between these crowns some remedy may be found for the trouble of Italy, as the king here has great influence with the Duke of Savoy, and might apply himself to the adjustment with the French, provided it were deemed advantageous for the common cause, and suited to the circumstance of your Excellency being on the spot. This is a mere idea of my own.
I enclose a copy of advices of events here, extracted from my letters to the Senate.
London, the 30th March, 1629.
[Italian: the part in italics deciphered.]
March 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
821. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I hear on good authority that only Monferrat will be called upon to provide food for the French forces, and the duke said that the pressure would not last beyond the 10th of April and it would be advisable to extend (allargir) for the Milanese. The English ambassador is delighted at this news but says that although it is not believed yet, there are signs of it. He told me he gathered that the Most Christian had sent to the Duke of Rohan to offer him peace.
Turin, the 30th March, 1629.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 The passage was forced by the French on the 6th March.


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