Venice
October 1629

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1919

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196-216

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'Venice: October 1629', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice: Volume 22, 1629-1632 (1919), pp. 196-216. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89261 Date accessed: 27 August 2014.


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October 1629

Oct. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
250. To the Ambassadors SORANZO in England and GUSSONI at the Hague.
About 30,000 foot and 5,000 German horse have already entered this province. They are under Collalto's command, and quartered on the Oglio. They have left unhappy signs of their barbarity, not sparing their friends. Various specious proposals have been made to the Duke of Mantua, to separate him from the allies and to despoil him of Mantua and the Monferrat. He always answers that he cannot desert France and the republic, who have done so much for him. Scappi and Massarini have not been able to obtain an armistice and have both left, the latter going to Turin to advise the duke of peace. Their designs are great. They propose with these Germans to reduce the Duke of Mantua and to invade our states, besieging Mantua itself. We momentarily expect to hear the first results of their fury. A troop of horse has scoured up to Canetto. The Spanish troops are sent as far as the Monferrat. Don Filippo Spinola was ready to leave for those parts. They said the marquis would go there, and there seems some idea of a fresh siege of Casale, at the same time as Mantua. We have sent forces into Mantua, and keep supplying the duke with money and munitions, although we ourselves are surrounded by the Austrian arms. We are prepared to do anything else to help the common cause. We have already heard of the Most Christian's intention to support the common cause. We have not yet heard of Cardinal Richelieu's arrival at Court. With that we expect the most vigorous resolutions. We will keep you advised, and we send you the duplicates of the letters stolen from the courier.
You will speak to the ambassadors of Sweden and Denmark about the engagement of the Austrians in this province, where a war, once begun, is not likely to end soon. By telling them all that the republic is doing, you will make them realise the importance of the diversion, and the opportunity afforded to their kings of giving effect to their generous ideas. The success of the States and the anxiety which Hungary causes to the Imperialists should encourage them, and the truce with Poland provides a bridle. You will know how to make use of all this, so that the warmth of your offices may ripen the fruit which is expected from the generous resolutions of those kings.
To England:
If you chance to see his Majesty, you will communicate current affairs to him in such a way as your ability suggests, adding such offices as seem adapted to the circumstances and which may prove helpful. You will point out to the French ambassador the need for the Most Christian to consider his reputation, seeing that the house of Austria has such powerful forces.
The Hague and England:
If there are any merchants willing to sell powder, you will advise us, with a precise statement of the price and quality, and if it can be exported without difficulty. You will do the same for corn and rye.
Ayes, 80.Noes, 0.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Oct. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
251. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Four days ago I received the ducal missives of the 7th ult., continuing the series of events in those parts. The disturbed condition of affairs there show the urgent need for obtaining assistance from every quarter. I therefore direct all my conversation towards arousing them here, but to my deep mortification I find them fast asleep and with the scantiest inclination to listen to those considerations which are the most appropriate for the moment. I shall work without ceasing, so as to fulfil every part of the duty which falls to my lot.
In conformity with my instructions, I made strong representations to the French ambassador, such as present circumstances require. I enjoy excellent relations with him, and while I do not forget to make representations and to stir him up, I also inform him of all that I am doing, so that he may perceive that your Serenity is trying to serve the common cause in every way and by every means, and so when he sees that you are not found wanting in any particular he also may wish to show himself more zealous in encouraging and importuning the king here to join the others and hasten to the assistance of his friends. This would be a most notable result if one could expect it, but he maintains his customary indifference, and I am already aware that even at this Court, where they certainly are not desirous of being over importuned, he has won a reputation for excessive reserve.
I have passed the office with the Dutch ambassador that your Excellencies enjoined upon me, expressing your satisfaction over the success at Wesel. He was pleased at this, as showing the constant affection of your Excellencies for his masters. He said nothing definite to me about the contributions, although in general terms he made me a long speech about the need in which the States found themselves owing to the heavy expenses under which they succumb.
There is nothing left for me to do about the ships plundered by Digby, as I have already written. I will perform the necessary offices with respect to the petition presented to your Serenity by the merchants of the Venetian mart in order to obtain some relief in the matter of the capture of the saetia by the ship Golden Cock, master, John Barach. I would remark, however, with due respect, that the first steps ought to be taken at Zante, because, according to present information, many of the goods were disposed of there, and others were sent to Leghorn, as the petition states. So far I have nothing to show that any of that capital has arrived here, but the news was known some days ago, as I wrote. For this reason two ships which were ready to set sail for Constantinople, postponed their departure until they could hear how the incident was taken at the Porte. It cannot fail to be helpful to the business for me to have all the information that can be obtained from Zante and from Leghorn also, because if any portion of the goods should arrive here, their greed is so great and their conscientiousness about returning what has been taken is so exiguous that I shall have all my work cut out to deal with one and the other.
The Count of Odolenzo, ambassador of the Duke of Mantua, has had no more than two audiences, the first introductory and the other for his dismissal. Both were merely complimentary, to impart the accession of his Highness to the duchy. He left six days ago, with the present of a jewel from his Majesty. He did not see any minister, owing to the pretensions I wrote of, which gave great offence to the French ambassador. This interdiction of visits also caused his mission to prove more barren than it might have been, because by properly concerted action he might have introduced everywhere those ideas which are highly necessary, both for the public need and for the private interests of his master. Left to himself I fancy that he has achieved nothing, as he is a wellmeaning gentleman, without much experience of current affairs. He has embarked to go to Denmark and Sweden. From an intimate of mine who has had dealings with him, I have gathered that after those journeys he intends to proceed to Germany, to the emperor's Court. He said it would be for his own private affairs, but he would not fail to commend the duke's interests to the emperor. I have pondered this announcement, and although I think it is impossible to believe that the duke has a share in that journey, yet I imagine that the ambassador seemed to have in his mind the dissatisfaction of Monsieur, the Most Christian's brother, especially if he decided to go to Germany, pretending to believe that if they would not allow Monsieur to marry the Princess Maria, he might make an alliance with a daughter of Cæsar, and in that way become mediator with the emperor for the investiture of the Duke of Mantua. I am only afraid that he may have spoken more freely than he ought about this affair of the marriage, and if that reached the ears of the French ambassador it might serve to ruin those offices which I performed recently to convey the impression that the duke does not support Monsieur in his discontent. I am well aware that there is a certain amount of impropriety in this reasoning, but in spite of this I think it right that your Serenity should be advised about it, seeing it comes from such a minister.
No further confirmation has arrived of the capture of the island of St. Christopher, and it is believed that after capturing the ships the French did not take any further steps. The French ambassador maintains that his countrymen cannot have done wrong, and until they have greater certitude they ought not to speak about it in France. I fancy, however, that the interested parties here mean to despatch six well armed vessels to go and encounter the French and recover the booty. The French ambassador has preferred various requests to have a conference upon this affair of navigation, which is so important between the two nations, in which they might resolve the most contentious points and those calculated to give rise to disputes. He wishes to get a resolution carried that for the future they shall not claim to search French ships, because as they have been trading here with Spain for some time past, with great liberty, the French will not suffer that trade to be forbidden, and they already declare that they are too powerful at sea to submit to dictation. However, everything has been postponed, because the king and all the ministers are in the country, going through with the usual annual progress, and the ambassador himself has been seeing the country for several days past, because he has no business to transact.
Cottington, according to some, will start in a fortnight, but I will not make any pronouncement until he has gone, as one knows by experience how they procrastinate here and that nothing is certain until it is done. There is no doubt but that this delay is very prejudicial, because they suspend all their decisions, on the pretext that before they do anything they must first see what he brings back from Spain. Moreover, as his mission is inevitable, it would have been better for him to have left at the time originally arranged. From a person in a position of confidence at Court, I have learned that their proposals to restore the Palatinate to the King of England are in order to get his Majesty to interest himself in the accommodation between them and the States, and in any case, supposing their High Mightinesses will not come to terms, to get the king to bind himself not only to protest, but to abandon them altogether, and to give the Spaniards the free use of the ports of this kingdom, so that they may have better opportunities for harassing the Dutch. I consider this point about the ports the only one worth considering, because it would be a small loss if England undertook not to help them, since at present they receive no assistance what-soever, and there is no appearance of their being able to do any good to their friends here for a long time to come. However, I gather from this that Sir Henry Vane will make the proposal for an accommodation, and the King of Bohemia will work hard for the sake of the Palatinate, while the Prince of Orange, who is deeply concerned and very friendly to those princes, might fall in with it. These proposals were laid on the carpet before the surprise of Wesel and the fall of Bolduc, events which may make a great alteration in things on the side of the Spaniards, as well as of the States. I do not fail to keep my eyes fixed on the matter and to advertise the Ambassador Gussoni. The surrender of Bolduc has to some extent brought home to the ministers here the loss of time and of such favourable opportunities; but unless this goodwill is followed by good works these lucid intervals of perceiving what is necessary will profit nothing.
The Dutch ambassador continues to ask for help, but receives the same replies about their helplessness. He declares that his masters cannot hold out, and that the burden of their expenses will make them lose all the advantage which they ought to derive from their numerous successes, because as they have no money ready to satisfy their troops they are in danger of some mutiny. They sympathise here but give no help. Lord Carleton's secretary suggested to me that this would be the moment for the observation of the league your Serenity has with the States. I told him that those who were much more deeply engaged did much less, that your Serenity was sinking under heavy expenses from which their High Mightinesses derived a singular advantage, and that if all their friends did as much the Ambassador Joachim would have no need to be begging daily for assistance.
Carleton himself recommended to me with great instance the interests of the physician, Despotini, and said he had orders from the king to write to your Serenity the letter of which the enclosed is a copy.
Accordingly, I took the matter upon myself, as I did not think it advisable to let the king commit himself too deeply, especially as the terms of the letter seemed to me to go quite far enough. This Despotini is in high favour at Court, and if it is possible to satisfy him within the limits of justice, I am sure that it will be much appreciated here.
The merchant Burlamacchi has left for Holland at last. Your Excellencies will hear of his negotiations from the spot. I have written fully about them before, and have sent full information to Gussoni.
Vane continues here. His departure depends upon Cottington's, and both on the certainty of Don Carlo Coloma coming.With the disasters of the Spaniards in Brabant, it is thought that he has withdrawn with the Cardinal de la Cueva, from fear of the people doing them some harm.
Oliver Fleming will be leaving one of these days, who is going as resident for his Majesty with the Swiss and Grisons. He has been to see me, and assured me that he had instructions to cultivate the best relations with the minister of your Serenity.I pointed out the necessity for a close union and the opportunity he would have of rendering great good to the public cause. He seems to have good will and considerable experience of affairs there. But I found he favoured the Duke of Savoy, at whose Court he has been before. I think he is a creature of Wake and a dependant of Carlisle, with whom he returned here when he came back from Italy. It will therefore be necessary to observe his proceedings. I will afford Scaramelli all the light I consider necessary. Fleming asked me for letters to him, and I gladly obliged him.
Some report arrived the day before yesterday by way of Zeeland of the arrangement of a peace between Sweden and Poland. As yet the news is only among the merchants. God grant that it be confirmed.
London, the 5th October, 1629.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.252. Tenor of letter to be written by the KING to the DOGE of VENICE.
Regret to hear that the succession of Sig. Despotini, physician to a certain sister of his, is disputed on the pretext that he is in England in his Majesty's service, where he is reputed a heretic of the Calvinist faith. Testifies to Despotini's good qualities, and commends his cause as if it were the king's own, so that it may be decided without his being torn to pieces by litigation in the place, and that the cause may be delegated to a College of Senators, to decide it without appeal and as briefly as possible.
[Italian.]
Oct. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
253. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
By the ducal missives of the 7th ult. I have orders to arrange for the purchase of grain, that is wheat, at 28 to 30 lire the Venetian bushel, and for rye at 18 to 20 lire the bushel, including carriage to Venice. In the short time I have tried to gather some information, and I find that there will be many difficulties in the way. The first arises from the small number of persons who are willing to attend to such business, because of the risk of the grain being spoiled. The second comes from the existing state of penury in this kingdom, as in addition to the prices being very high, it is unlikely that we shall be able to obtain leave to export, because on such occasions the people readily rise in revolt. The Council pays special attention to this, and when the Dutch ambassador recently asked leave to export 10,000 bushels for the use of the army under Bolduch, they only granted him permission to take 2,500, and the ministers who had charge of the business ran some risk of being stoned. Some time since the price of wheat was such that it was not necessary to take licence for export, but now it is more than 25 per cent. above that limit. So far, although I have negotiated with several merchants, I have not been able to obtain an estimate of the cost. There is also the question of time, to which they are unwilling to bind themselves in making the contract. If I am successful, I will try and make a bargain with all the clauses necessary for the advantage of your Excellencies. I really should have liked to know what quantity you want, because it is difficult for me to estimate your requirements; however, I propose to limit myself to 25 to 30,000 bushels. Seeing the difficulty of exporting from here, some of the merchants have suggested making the provision elsewhere. I shall agree to any arrangement provided it does not exceed the limit which your Excellencies have set me, and does not take longer, and provided they give me such security as is requisite. I must not forget to remind your Excellencies that it would have been a considerable advantage if you had sent the remittances, because the merchants, being repaid at Venice the money which they have expended here in the purchase, will stand to lose more than 4 per cent. by the exchange, as money remitted here from Venice is usually at 6 per cent., slightly more or less, while that taken here to be received at Venice frequently rises to more than 10 per cent. In addition to this, the course of trade for Venice is very depressed, and the merchants here have hinted to me that it is unlikely that anyone will be found to pay out so much money for repayment at Venice. The chicaneries of merchants have no end, and no argument suffices to convince them.
London, the 5th October, 1629.
[Italian.]
Oct. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
254. VICENZI GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to his colleagues in France.
I have written to Soranzo in England about preventing the negotiations between Spain and England. While Sciateonuf is still at that Court you might suggest to Cardinal Richelieu that he should help in preventing the prejudicial negotiations of the Spaniards at that Court. I leave this to your prudence, as you know their feelings in France better and what success may be expected. Here they are much afraid that the accord between England and Spain will end in an accommodation and they take Vane's delay in coming very ill. The States are in the dark about the substance of these negotiations, in which they are so deeply interested. If they receive encouragement here from France and England it may prove a great benefit to the common cause, and to Italy also.
Bolduch, the 7th October, 1629.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
255. GIROLAMO SORANZO and ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Yesterday we went to audience of the Cardinal at Flori. We told him that France never had a more favourable opportunity of breaking with the Spaniards. He approved, but said: We must first settle our domestic affairs, alluding to Monsieur, and it is advisable to make sure that the English do not make peace and the Dutch a truce. We replied that the true way to prevent both was to declare openly against the Spaniards. He went on to speak of the great provision of vessels of high board which the Most Christian had in the ocean, numbering a hundred. He remarked that if England wished to be against Spain and could not do anything by land they should do it at sea. If they supply two-thirds of the ships, said he, we will supply the other third and they shall conduct the enterprise, but if we supply two-thirds and they one, we shall provide the commanders; write about this to your ambassador in London.
Melun, the 9th October, 1629.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
256. To the Ambassadors SORANZO in England and GUSSONI at the Hague.
The Imperialists have made no progress since the occupation of Ostiano, delayed perhaps by the weather or Collalto's sickness. They are posted on the frontiers of Mantua and our state and are increasing in numbers. They are preparing everything necessary for war. We have heard of the generous resolutions of the Most Christian by express courier; 20,000 of his foot and 2,000 horse under the Marshal of la Force will go to Bressa. Crichi will be reinforced and supplied with money. They want to make the Duke of Savoy declare that he will go to succour Mantua, if it is attacked, as he is bound, so that they may send their forces on to uphold the cause. They have decided to levy another 6,000 Swiss and 4,000 French with some companies of horse, at the expense of the king and the republic. His Majesty seems disposed to come in person, being so deeply interested in every way. This will serve for information, to uphold our service.
To England:
We have received your letters of the 21st ult. and are very satisfied with your negotiations and advices.
Ayes, 88.Noes, 0.Neutral, 8.
[Italian.]
Oct. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
257. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ducal missives of the 13th ult. reached me on the 6th inst. They inform me of what the Spaniards are doing in Italy, and I go about circulating the reflections which this inspires, so that your Excellencies may realise more and more how utterly useless offices are in this quarter. Nevertheless the leading members of the Council here do not fail to attach importance to those movements, but they weigh everything in the scales of their own interests. At the present time these are concerned with the accommodation with Spain, and they believe that this conjuncture may serve them admirably for pressing their claims, as they suppose that the Spaniards will grant them the more readily the more they are occupied and harassed. So far as I am able I try to disabuse them of these ideas, pointing out that while England does not rouse herself or put herself in a position in which she can, of herself, compel the Spaniards to attend to her seriously, they can hope for little advantage from the wars of Italy or from the successes of the States, that they can expect nothing from that nation by way of negotiation, and while they know the weakness and internal disorders of this realm they will never agree to any advantageous compact. The truth is that these ideas touch to the quick those who advocate the peace negotiations, and I learn on excellent authority that the Treasurer in particular has displayed great resentment at my persisting so strenuously in pointing out the disadvantages that may arise from these negotiations and the scant good that the king here is likely to derive from them. I do not consider it my duty to consider individuals, and much less so when I know that by such ideas I encourage among right minded people a feeling of the zeal of your Excellencies towards the public service.
Although it appears that the Treasurer holds that first place in the king's favour which is usually the most regarded, yet as a matter of fact, so many believe because it comes out in the conversation of many of the leading men, the king lives in jealousy of him. I have had confirmation of this from the French ambassador, who told me recently that he had observed that in his negotiations the king had never referred him to the Treasurer, the usual course followed with favourites. He further told me he was sure that nothing would offend the king more than to have it believed that he was dependent on the wishes of that minister. Thus he is very feebly supported, and assuredly if there was nothing but his interests that stood in the way of convoking parliament, it would be most easy to persuade his majesty to summon it. But it becomes ever more apparent that the king abhors it of his own accord. A strong argument for this is the sight of so many grandees about his person, who have his ear both in the Council and in private, who are in great necessity and cannot hope for relief in any other way, yet they do not dare to utter a word about it, because they are afraid of irritating the king instead of moving him to have any regard for their interests. The chief of these are the Earl of Carlisle and the Earl of Holland, because through living in great splendour and perpetually following the Court they are borne down by their heavy expenses. In former times they had help towards this from the king's opulence and convenience; whereas at present his Majesty can hardly find the means to provide for the daily needs of himself and the queen, and so it will continue until he makes up his mind to a reconciliation with his people.
The longer this decision is postponed the greater the difficulties will be, because fresh incidents are constantly arising which depend absolutely upon the king's will. In spite of this, once parliament is assembled it will want to make enquiry, and the king pretends that this kind of enquiry immediately offends his authority. But so far he has found that making himself responsible for decisions has not proved successful, because the members of parliament tend to have a very absolute jus even over the actions of the king, when they find them done wrongfully, and up to the present the balance of advantage in the matter of authority leans to the side of parliament, because everyone is very cautious about doing anything that might prejudice the privileges of the people, although the king offers to make himself responsible, and pledges his word in any event for protection and safety in the matter of the customs, the name given here to that portion of the duties which comes from the custom houses, paid to the king by the permission of parliament. Although many consent to the payment, many others refuse it, not only to avoid exposing themselves to censure, but because they conscientously believe they would be committing a very serious sin in contravening the privileges of liberty, so that this very important matter strikes its roots also in the question of religious sentiment. On this account those who were arrested at the dissolution of the last parliament refused their liberty when all that was asked of them was that they should make a petition to the king for their release and ask pardon for having spoken too audaciously. Two of them humbled themselves to this extent and were set free (fn. 1) ; the others took exception to the terms and refused to accept liberty at the cost of their conscience. In ten days it will be term, in which the ordinary judges are bound by the laws of the realm to despatch all the trials of prisoners every three months. Already, by some devices, they have postponed the case of these members for two terms. Now the king himself recognises that the judges can legitimately settle the matter, and if they do not they will be exposed to censure whenever parliament meets. Accordingly, in order not to be forestalled, with loss of reputation and authority, he proposes to release those whom he considers to have offended least, upon security, and that they will put themselves in his Majesty's power whenever he pleases. Many still believe that these prisoners will not accept their release upon such terms, thus showing what I hesitate to call either their constancy or their obstinacy. Certain it is that affairs grow more bitter every day, and by these disputes the king has made his people see that he can do much more than they may have imagined. Thus what with the usual insolence of the populace and the reasonable claims that the entire body of parliament may make in the vigour of its privileges, the royal authority has been notably injured and diminished.
I am told that Cottington will take leave of the Court on the 14th inst. and that he will sail in ten or twelve days. At the same time a royal ship will be sent to Dunkirk to convoy Don Carlo Coloma, who is coming without any commission, and his embassy will be merely complimentary in response to Cottington's. The French ambassador told me this much, adding that the king had displayed some resentment at the affair having gone so far. But I imagine that all this was said to delude him, although he does not display as much interest in this matter as he ought. It is probable that the king thinks otherwise, because if he found that he regretted it, there would be no difficulty about finding pretexts for throwing up the whole affair. For my own part I believe that they are most anxious to come to an accommodation, although they announced at the outset that Cottington was only sent to bring out clearly the intentions of the Spaniards in order to come to some other decisions for keeping their promises. In any case he will have to insist on any terms, even disadvantageous ones, provided they come to some conclusion, and if they do not succeed in including the interests of the Princes Palatine, they will fall back upon the proposal for the renewal of the last peace of King James, which says nothing about the Palatinate.
As regards Don Carlo, I imagine that he will not remain here absolutely idle, but will try to wean the king from his pretensions about the Palatinate. In this he will undoubtedly have the assistance of the Treasurer's influence, as well as of the others who lean to this accommodation, and although the French ambassador says openly that he does not believe they are going to conclude anything, yet I think he really thinks otherwise. He is a man of fine judgment, and from the freedom and confidential nature of his relations with the Court he is able clearly and constantly to recognise that their principal object is to accommodate external quarrels, seeing that this kingdom is divided by its internal dissensions. I have written previously that he speaks about it with great derision, and I must repeat it. Every day it becomes more and more clear that the French count the weakness here as a proof of their own glory, and they do not wish to serve as a spur or as a leader to greater resolutions, because while England continues in this lethargy they may have a chance to advance their own special interests, particularly at sea where they are growing stronger every day.
The booty they have taken since the conclusion of the peace is of the greatest importance, and already the merchants here have applied to the king and Council to procure them relief. The merchants indeed say that if the peace is carried out in this fashion it cannot be durable. The ambassador goes about answering remonstrances. He told me recently that it is their fault here, because since he has been here he has never ceased to ask for a meeting with the Lords of the Admiralty in order to terminate all differences and establish proper arrangements to obviate difficulties, but that up to the present he has not been able to meet them a single time. In this matter also he does not seem to mind because he knows that the English have not the power to enforce their claims. Nevertheless, if the king had not prevented the sailing of the ships which were already prepared to go towards the island of St. Christopher to recover the booty taken by the French, they would have already departed and some important incident might have occurred. Individuals are very spirited and strong, and although the king is weak at sea, they at any rate could do a great deal if they had permission to go privateering. It is observed that when they go to sea in their own interests things proceed with greater order and profit than they do when the royal fleets put to sea under the command of an admiral in chief. It is contended even now that if, in the past differences with the French the king had been content to issue letters of marque, without undertaking to set foot to earth, this nation would have had that advantage in reputation which is now so far to seek.
Sir Henry Vane will leave at the same time as Cottington. I have already written all that I was able to find out about his commissions. The other day I went to call on the Dutch ambassador, and this Vane happened to be there. At my entry he took leave. With such a favourable opportunity I tried to get the ambassador to impart some particulars to me, but really I found him very taciturn. From this I conclude that if he must not speak to me about the matter there must be something detrimental on foot. I am making investigations in every direction in order to find out, but so far I have discovered nothing of importance.
Some days ago a courier arrived here sent by the Ambassador Edmons, who is in France, about the differences about precedence he had had with Cardinal Richelieu. Preo grew very hot about it, and moved by his instances and by the convenances they have sent word to Edmons to behave in the manner observed by the other ambassadors of crowned heads. Edmons presses for leave to return, especially as his wife has recently died, but he will not come back so soon, because they do not wish him to leave the Court before the arrival there of Wake, who is to succeed as ordinary ambassador. I gather that Wake will not leave Italy so long as matters continue so disturbed there, because, as I have said before, they count upon those affairs and think it best for that minister to be with the Duke of Savoy in order to fix and encourage the designs and ideas of that prince. The French ambassador spoke to me about it recently and said these were not very good offices. He assured me once more that Wake would not be welcome in France, and he had said as much here, but in this also he found the same lack of judgment (consiglio) as in everything else. I also have spoken to the same effect to one of the ministers with whom I am most intimate, always bearing in mind the commissions given me by your Serenity to have some other person substituted in Wake's place, but I do not find them inclined to make another choice.
Every day of late I have been treating with merchants who might take up the matter of the grain. After much consideration they have all begged to be excused. They consider the present penury, owing to which, after including the purchase money, the cost of hire and insurance, the price would come to about the figure that your Excellencies wish to spend. In any case they are more apprehensive about the difficulties which would inevitably arise from a revolt of the people, and do not want to have anything whatever to do with it. They told me quite openly that after they had arranged in the county of Kent and elsewhere where it would be convenient to make the provision, owing to the quality of the goods and the convenience of shipping them, their agents had advised them against meddling in such an affair, when there was so much want about, because a rising would be inevitable. In addition to this they pointed out to me that even if I had the permission of the king and Council to export freely, yet, as the price of wheat now exceeded the figure fixed by law, there might be some danger of a parliamentary enquiry. I fancy that there are some other reasons besides of mercantile subtlety, such as the inconvenience of raising money here to be repaid at Venice, where they have no great occasion for trade, the risk of the fourth and the usual reluctance of merchants to make contracts with princes, though for that matter I think they would be very ready to deal with your Serenity. However that may be, all these thing together make one reason upon which they base their refusal. One of them offered to make the provision in my name, but as in that case it would be necessary for me to give the commission to merchants, I could not calculate the price, and your Serenity would be exposed to the risk of its being spoiled and even worse, so I did not listen to the proposal, upon the very adequate ground that I had not instructions to do so.
London, the 12th October, 1629.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
258. SEBASTIANO VENIER, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
For some complimentary office I sent my secretary to the English ambassador. By my order he spoke about Gabor and what was necessary for the common good. The ambassador seemed to understand the matter rightly and to be zealous. When Giusuf arrives here and he has further particulars, he will pass the proper offices with the ministers here so that they may make a diversion. I fancy he and the ambassador of Flanders have an understanding about this.
The Vigne of Pera, the 13th October, 1629.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
259. PIETRO VICO, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Elector of Cologne continues afraid of the Dutch invading his dominions, and, like the Duke of Bavaria, repeats his instances for help. Some think, however, that all will be arranged and a truce will ensue owing to the advantageous proposals made by the Spaniards to the Dutch, and that this is the real reason why the Marquis of Aytona has gone to Flanders and not to Milan, as they think he will facilitate matters as well as the peace with England, because he is very well informed about what took place over the confiscation of the Palatine's states. I hear on good authority that the Palatine will be included in the capitulations and that they will restore to him at least some part of the Palatinate, occupied by the Spaniards, who are most anxious to put an end to hostilities with England and the Dutch by a truce or a peace, in order that they may continue the war in Italy with more ease.
Vienna, the 13th October, 1629.
[Italian; copy.]
Oct. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
260. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I hear that one evening lately there was a meeting at the palace, in his Majesty's presence, in which Cardinal Zappata, the Marquis of Scielucs, Don Diego Messia and the Conde Duque took part. After a long discussion they resolved to use every effort to make peace with England and the Dutch and to make war on France and in Italy. If this proves true Spinola also will be deceived, and they will let his negotiations fall through to benefit their intent with Holland and the English, waiting to see the issue of affairs in Germany and the empire with the Turks, and after a while, when matters are adjusted, to do their deed.
Madrid, the 13th October, 1629.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
261. To the Bailo at Constantinople.
We have seen your letters about the ship taken by an Englishman and brought to Zante. We approve of your conduct and we do not think anything more will be said. If anything is said you can show that there is no cause to apply to us, because the booty has fallen into the hands of the English. You can explain the Englishman being at Zante, because it is an open port; that we could not compel the captain to render account and give up his booty, and when our Proveditore tried to speak with him, because our subjects were concerned, he did not succeed, as the captain had sheered off, from fear of mishap. We send you what the Proveditore of Zante writes, and you will try to clear us and avoid all claims. We add for your information, to be kept absolutely secret, that we are writing to the Proveditore of the Fleet to make a thorough enquiry into the whole affair, so that we may have full particulars upon which to base our decisions.
Ayes, 86.Noes, 1.Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Oct. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Costantinopoli
Venetian
Archives.
262. To the Proveditore of the Fleet.
Last July a French saettia taken by the Bey of Lemnos and retaken by an English vessel named the Golden Cock, was brought into the port of Zante. We wish to know all about this, and particularly what happened to the saettia and its cargo. We direct you to draw up a process for an enquiry and send it to us at the earliest opportunity, so that we may know what steps to take. You can promise secrecy to the witnesses, and you will inform us of the receipt and execution of these presents.
Ayes, 86.Noes, 1.Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Oct. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
263. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English ambassador has been to see me to-day. He discoursed at length about current affairs, and the tricks of the Spaniards. He assured me the Duke of Savoy was ill pleased with Spinola for this attack on Monferrat. Baroccio had gone to take instructions to Scaglia and confirm the orders to leave Milan. He remarked that the duke was not on good terms with the Spaniards, and if the French approached him in any way but force they would win him entirely. The King of France might pack up his things at least and come to Italy any day, sending troops which the duke might eventually command. All the French should fight under him and something would be achieved. The duke could not declare for France unless he saw their good intentions towards him. To arouse the mistrust of the Spaniards without being sure of help from others would expose him to too great danger. He added: the duke is not the republic, which I understand has 50,000 effective infantry. I perceived that he made this statement under the compulsion of truth and from the account brought to him by his secretary resident at Venice, who reached Turin the day before yesterday. I have not yet found out why Wake sent for him, but it was probably in order to inform the duke of the strength of your Serenity's forces, and the ambassador of the affairs of Milan and of the Spanish and imperial forces. (fn. 2) I hear he stayed some days at Milan and has come very well informed. I have not seen him yet because he keeps his bed. I will carefully observe what he does. He was born at Venice; he afterwards served the Duke of Savoy as agent in England and is very dependent on this house.
I answered Wake in general terms, confirming your Serenity's good will to this house. I thought it would be easy to obtain every satisfaction from the French as well as help. Wake went on to say that the Spanish peace negotiations with England had evaporated and not a word was heard about them. I said it was no time for those who loved the public cause to hold such negotiations. It was necessary to undermine the strength of the Austrians. France was free and would do what was desired. I did not find him so ready as usual to discredit French movements. He said he thought that at the news of the attack on Monferrat they would no longer abide by what the proposals they made showed they were prepared to do. I observe that Wake would like your Serenity to get me to speak to the duke and offer your friendly offices with France. This prince may be useful and the opportunity is a good one to assure him of the sincere affection of your Excellencies.
Turin, the 18th October, 1629.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
264. To the Ambassadors SORANZO in England and GUSSONI at the Hague.
The Spaniards have overcome their difficulties and entered Monferrat. Don Filippo Spinola has pushed towards Acqui and Ponzon il Guevara, the French withdrawing without a contest. The troops have suffered hardships, because the country is stripped of provisions and of forage in particular. The men have had to share bread with their horses. Don Filippo expected to make more progress and move on S. Salvador, occupying Nizza della Paglia to open a way to Casale. M. de Toras has posted his troops for the defence of Casale, and feels sure of recovering Monferrat as easily as the Spaniards are now taking it, and that they will evacuate it when they are aware of the powerful forces of the Most Christian. M. de Chrichi will collect his regiments at Susa, and the Marshal of la Force should now be at Bressa. The Duke of Savoy may not permit such a force to descend upon his dominions. If he does not dispute the passage, the Spaniards will find their conquests less easy. The Mantuan undertaking is entrusted to Collalto. He lay sick at Lodi, grieved at the sufferings of his troops and fearing that the heavy rain so late in the year would help the defence of Mantua. He complains of the Spaniards moving first. He has received 100,000 crowns for the troops, which he is collecting round Ostiano. He has set up several guns at Cremona and had a quantity of munitions taken there. We are momentarily expecting news of an attack. The violence of the Spaniards outside Germany has brought this force; but Wallenstein is not content. They place hopes of conquest in Italy before their losses in Flanders. Wallenstein sees dangers near to Germany, feels his greatness enfeebled and hears that the troops in Poland are reduced to nothing, while those in Flanders are greatly diminished and in Italy they cannot be safe for long. He objects strongly. The truce between Poland and Sweden and his own ideas and resolutions agitate him greatly. Magdeburg holds out and has help. He fears that the rightful lords of Mecklenburg may be restored with help from the Swedish and Danish kings and the Hanse towns. He orders new levies and is trying to recover his former strength. Unrest grows in Hungary with Gabor's sickness. They say Bacovi has had himself proclaimed Gabor's successor, promising not to restore Toccai or the seven districts which Gabor holds; the Turks agree to this. Yet the Spanish ambassadors assure the emperor that the French must be driven from Italy and Mantua reduced, and they get their own way. Thus Caesar's forces are engaged in this province, and a great war may be expected here. May God uphold the right. As the Spaniards have lost two very important places since they took up this war, may He make their plans fruitless and that they lose more. They are already fearful about Flanders, as the States have announced that if the provinces subject to the king will join them, they will form a flourishing republic, promising liberty of conscience. The Spaniards therefore fear a rising, as those people bear a hard yoke, being devoured by the troops.
To England:
We have not received your letters this week. We send you the advices so that you may uphold our service.
To England and the Hague:
We have just heard that the Imperialists have attacked Mantua and taken some places. Officers have fallen on both sides. We will send particulars next week. You will use the news of the outbreak of a very important war in the way we have indicated.
Ayes, 94.Noes, 0.Neutral, 4.
[talian.]
Oct. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
265. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Four days ago the imprisoned members of parliament were brought before the Lord Chief Justice of the kingdom. In the king's name he offered them their liberty provided they would give security for their good conduct. This precaution is very derogatory to their position and on this account six of them refused to agree to it, saying that they knew their actions exonerated them and they could not make his Majesty desire that they should live better in the future than they had done in the past (dicendo conoscere che le lor attioni li disobligavano, ne potevano far desiderar a Sua Maesta che per l'avenire vivessero meglio di quello havevano fatto per il passato). One of them accepted the offer and was immediately set free. (fn. 3) The others were taken back to prison and were given eight days in which to reconsider their decision; but it is thought that they will not budge from it, because they have the support of the whole community, and every day makes it more clear to them that there are no laws which can condemn them, and this persecution enables them to show their loyalty towards the people, by whom they hope to be indemnified.
Cottington did not take leave of the Court as was expected and the delay is not due to any urgent cause, at least none has transpired so far. Vane's departure is similarly postponed, and there is nothing more certain about Coloma's coming than has been reported, except that the Master of the Ceremonies has received orders to provide a house for him to lodge in. This will be the only honour that he will receive, as their latest resolutions, inspired by their present necessity, forbid expenditure upon ambassadors extraordinary during their stay at Court.
Some two days ago a courier came for the French ambassador and went to the Court to find him. His people have since announced that it was an ordinary for private matters. Yesterday he was sent back again. So far as I can gather at present it was for no other reason except the confirmation of some Capuchins nominated for the queen's household. After many disputes the king has at last permitted that for her Majesty's service the full number of fathers of that order shall be granted, in conformity with the ordinary requirements, all other orders being barred. The confessor, however, who is a father of the Oratory, keeps his place, although it is thought that he also may be removed, as he will hardly succeed in maintaining his position when surrounded by a majority of his rivals. The same courier brought news of the death of Cardinal Berul. They have not grieved about that, because they still cherish their ill will towards him, owing to the scanty satisfaction they had from him when he was here in the queen's service.
A report has come that the fight with the French at the islands of St. Christopher arose out of the dispute about dipping flags, which has always been waged between the two nations in those waters. There is no confirmation of the invasion of the island, and indeed it looks as if the incident is smoothed over, although the interested parties make great demonstrations.
The Dunkirkers have latterly plundered two very rich ships, one of which was going to France, the other on its way here from the Levant. Those pirates are strong at sea just now, and are able to carry on their depredations with the more ease because no effort whatever is made here to stop them, and I fancy that they do not receive much hindrance from the States either, because all their attention at present is devoted to enterprises on land. While on the subject of reprisals I must not forget to inform your Serenity that up to the present I have had no opportunity to do anything about the saetia taken by John Barach in the Golden Cock, because I have received no information about any of its goods arriving here, indeed from the careful enquiry which I have made I am assured by merchants who have business at Venice that the goods were publicly sold there as well as at Zante. If this should prove to be true it would knock the bottom out of any representations I might make, though even in that case I will not fail to make them as strongly as possible.
Four days ago the ducal missives of the 21st ult. reached me, and to-day I receive those of the 28th. I shall try to make a profitable use of them, but at this Court opportunities for working and even for hoping are vanishing away, so that I become more and more conscious of my uselessness.
I have received a printed copy of the Senate's decree about outlaws, and will make use of it as your Excellencies intend.
London, the 19th October, 1629.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
266. GIROLAMO SORANZO and ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
We have always found the cardinal ready to strike a shrewd blow at the House of Austria. After the decision to assemble a large force they sent a courier express to the Hague and have stopped Castelnuovo in England, hoping that the report of their generous resolution would divert the Dutch from the truce and the English from peace with the Catholic.
Melun, the 19th October, 1629.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Arehives.
267. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The States are very doubtful about England owing to the proposals of the Spaniards to restore the Palatinate, or to pay some yearly pension, which might console him in the present straitened condition of his fortunes, but on condition that the King of Great Britain should interest himself for the adjustment between Spain and these States, and if they will not listen the king must undertake to abandon them and further promise to open the ports of England to the Spaniards, who, with the armed ships of the Dunkirkers, would undoubtedly find it much easier to harass the shipping and all the interests of these provinces. They are very suspicious here about these dealings of the Spaniards in England, which are so dangerous and prejudicial to them. Thus with their difficulties in renewing the alliance with France, the fear of some harmful adjustment by England and the specious offers of the Spaniards, there is every reason to fear that they may soon hasten to make terms with Spain. The ministers here say that the counter operations of France and England are of this kind and the most serene republic alone is acting sincerely for the true interests of the common cause.
Bolduch, the 22nd October, 1629.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosure.268. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to his colleagues in France.
With respect to what you suggest about employing the Princess Palatine, because of her intimacy with the Princess [of Orange] I must tell you that for obvious reasons there are few and perhaps none here who desire peace or a truce more than the princess does, and she does not hide it. It is to be feared that its conclusion is not far off.
Bolduch, the 20th October, 1629.
[Italian; deciphered; copy.]
Oct. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
269. To the Ambassadors SORANZO in England and GUSSONI at the Hague.
Fortune so far has favoured the Germans, who have taken Cogoso, Cigonera and Viadana. An arrangement to cut the dykes was badly carried out by Balduino dal Monte, who incurred the duke's displeasure. Another German force has taken Canetto, and the shores of il Chies, though bravely defended. The Germans began to scour our frontiers near Asola, but were vigorously repulsed. They also failed to take La Croce and withdrew with loss. They are now building bridges to unite their forces. We have supplied the duke with men, money and munitions and are sending him fresh succours in his urgent need. Powerful help from France is essential, and we expect to hear of their movements. We hear that the Spaniards have even taken Nizza della Paglia. They have sent Crichi 300,000 crowns and have put 4,000 sacks of grain in Casale. La Force was ready to leave for Bressa and Etré for the Swiss, as arranged, Bassompierre having declined the appointment. Every proposal for an accord must fall through, and for a long while we may expect this province to feel the horrors of war.
To England:
In this state of affairs, when France has promised resolute action, and the aims of the Spaniards are so unbounded it would be most improper for England, which is so interested in the public cause, to make peace with them, for reasons which your prudence can suggest. Such a peace would in no wise increase the security of the kingdom. The loss of reputation would be very great, the hurt most evident. You must devote your efforts to prevent it, uniting your offices with those of Preo. It will be advisable to prevent Cottington's mission to Spain, and we understand from that Court that they have given up hope of him. We have no letters from you again this week, and we are anxiously waiting to hear of your negotiations.
You see from what we write week by week the state of affairs in Italy. In order to incite the king to worthy, vigorous and great resolutions, becoming his generous spirit and necessary for the common need, you will inform him of what is happening, with such remarks as you consider most likely to make an impression and produce fruit.
Ayes, 87.Noes, 2.Neutral, 10.
[Italian.]
Oct. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
270. SEBASTIANO VENIER, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Four days ago some Turks from Aleppo related that the Vizier Asem had arrived there and had the English consul (fn. 4) put into the castle and his dragoman beheaded and that the merchants had fled and were in hiding. I have no further particulars.
The Vigne of Pera, the 27th October, 1629.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zante.
Venetian
Archives.
271. GIACOMO BEMBO, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the DOGE and SENATE.
When Captain Gerolamo Lando was about to embark on the Marciliane, because there was no better passage at the moment, and to avoid delay, the English ship London arrived in this port from the East. I thought it better, for greater safety and so that all the men might be together, to embark his company on that ship, although there was some difficulty about the hire raised by the Englishman and there is some difficulty about meeting this. I therefore beg your Serenity to order that he be satisfied immediately in order that he may show more willingness on another occasion. The ship Girlanda de Riose is also sailing and with it will come the company of Captain Giacomo di Rossi.
Zante, the 30th October, 1629.
[Italian.]
Oct. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
272. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Palatine, seeing that the States may come to terms with the Spaniards, has already begun to urge that they shall include his interests. They have promised to obtain all possible advantages for him. With this disposition for an accommodation with the Spaniards the efforts of the Swedish ambassador to obtain help for his king prove fruitless. There is no doubt that if England and France roused themselves in earnest to support Sweden, and the former gave up its harmful negotiations for peace with Spain and the latter abandoned its stiffness with these States, there might be some hope of setting up once more the public cause, which is lying prostrate.
Bomel, the 31st October, 1629.
[Italian; deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 William Coryton, member for Cornwall, and Sir P. Hayman, member for Hythe.
2 Rowlandson says that Wake sent for him because he did not know when he might be sent for to France, and he had to tell him something which concerned his Majesty's service, settle some affairs of the Levant Co., and give him some papers he could not send. See his despatch of 4 Oct. S.P. Foreign, Venice. Wake in his despatch of the 14th Sept., o.s., says he sent for Rowlandson to meet Vercellini, who was afraid to go to Venice because of private enemies "and that he may be fully instructed in that business and many others, which I will discharge myself upon him before my going out of Italy." S.P. Foreign, Savoy. On the 24th, forgetful of the "private enemies," Wake says that Vercellini was going to Rome and then to Venice for an answer, which he would take back to England. Ibid. Francesco Vercellini was a servant of the Arundel family. On the 9th July, o.s., a safe conduct was issued to him to go to Italy on the king's business. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1629–31, page 7. He left about the beginning of August. Salvetti says he was sent to buy pictures and drawings for his Majesty. Newsletters of 4th and 10th August. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962e.
3 Walter Long, member for Bath.
4 Thomas Potton, who still remained although John Wainsford had been chosen to replace him on the 9/19 Jan., 1629. S.P. Foreign, Archives, Levant Co. Letter Book, page 212.