Venice
February 1630

Sponsor

Institute of Historical Research

Publication

Author

Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1919

Pages

279-293

Annotate

Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'Venice: February 1630', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice: Volume 22, 1629-1632 (1919), pp. 279-293. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89267 Date accessed: 03 September 2014.


Highlight

(Min 3 characters)

February 1630

Feb. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
351. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Spanish ambassador has not seen the king since his audience of the 22nd ult. I have found out that there was nothing particular said in it about the accommodation, but it consisted on both sides in an office about a general conclusion, good will and a mutual desire to come to peace upon reasonable conditions. Those who are most in favour of peace would like to see Don Carlos eager. So far, however, he avoids occasions for meetings on the pretext that he has no commissions, and that the most necessary overtures must be made in Spain. Before he arrived here it was announced that his coming was merely complimentary in response to Cottington's mission; yet the treasurer and the others of that party, including the Earls of Arundel and Carlisle, deluded themselves into hoping that when he arrived at this Court they would be able to get on with the treaty with him. Now they see that they were mistaken, at the expense of the king's reputation, and possibly with loss of credit with his Majesty, whom they had led to believe that Colona would have sufficient powers. They are trying to make good their mistake, declaring that Cottington also has no commissions to treat, but has only gone to hear what they have to propose. In this way they imagine that they will stop the mouths of those who go about saying that the King of Great Britain, after so many horrid threats against Spain, which all came to nothing, has sent to his enemy for an oracle.
In spite of these shows of precision we hear reports of an armistice. So far this only proceeds from merchants, but, as they are among the leading ones, called aldermen, it is supposed that the words have been put in their mouths, under the pretence of their interests in the safety of navigation, and the king would not close his ears against the advantage of individuals, since there is no one among the Lords of the Council who would venture to make a proposal to his Majesty, who has always declared, as I have often reported, that he will not accept any compromise and has always insisted upon this one thing, that if the Spaniards will give him satisfaction he will make peace. For this reason he openly refused to suspend hostilities as the Spaniards themselves desired when the first foundations of these negotiations were laid. The French ambassador told me that an office for this suspension had been secretly passed with him, in the hope that if he approved it might be easier to push it forward. The pretext they used to induce him to take it up was that it would facilitate his negotiations about navigation, as with the cessation of hostilities between this king and Spain, freedom of trade would follow immediately. He expresses his disagreement, indeed he says openly that those who bring it forward mean to deceive the king. With respect to his affairs about navigation he has no need to go begging for such advantages, with prejudice to the state. He hopes to have satisfaction even if the war with Spain continues, and if he cannot have it, his king is strong enough to take it for himself.
The Dutch ambassador has also heard some whisper. Yesterday he told me that he had spoken freely about it to many of the Lords of the Council. They all assured him that there was nothing on the carpet. This is very likely, as yet, for the reasons given above, but I am afraid that they will push matters so strongly, assiduously and cunningly that they will make the king give way, even against his will. If what the French ambassador told me is true, that those who disseminate the idea go about stating that the Spanish ambassador has let it be understood that it is in the power of the King of England to put a stop to the activities of the Dunkirkers it is quite evident that by the inducement of this offer they want to make the king believe that he has the affair in his power, with the advantage of reputation. For my part I believe it will be difficult but not impossible to bring his Majesty to it. When all is said and done the treasurer and all the others see very clearly to the bottom of this affair. They know that the Spaniards will not be so easy in satisfying the king, and perhaps they recognise that the sole object of the Spaniards is to gain time. They will labour to the same end here, to persuade the king, by such means as they consider best, that he must profit by the advantage of time until he has a better opportunity of insisting upon his rights, and they will show that this cannot be done with greater advantage and convenience than by the opening of trade, which is necessary from them here and easy to obtain, because the Spaniards also desire it, for the advantages which they derive therefrom and to keep alive the business of the accommodation as much as they can. The French ambassador has further told me that some of these same aldermen have taken passports from the Spanish ambassador to trade freely, and he has let them have these. The Lords of the Council here have pretended as yet not to see this, from which one may conclude that they will open a way to trade by connivance if by no other road.
They continue suspicious about the naval preparations in France, and the king himself has spoken about it to the ambassador, telling him that when similar preparations have been made it has always been customary to impart something about it to their neighbours, as a sign of confidence and to remove suspicion. The ambassador tried to remove his Majesty's impression. He told him that although his master had decided to keep a fleet of eighty ships always ready, yet at present there were only six armed ready for service. All the others were destitute of rigging and many were not yet put on the stocks, so that there was no need for any suspicion. He assured him later that the feelings of the Most Christian towards this Crown were so friendly that they ought never to cherish suspicion on this side. Here, however, they speak about it freely, but no provision for defence is made in case of need. It is stated that the people of the Isle of Wight, as the most exposed, are in great alarm, and that many of the leading ones have left it and withdrawn into safety. It has also been said that they have found some French sailors sounding the ports, who were arrested. I believe that these reports have been spread by those who mean to carry out the peace with Spain at all costs. They are the ones who are ill disposed towards France, because it is a question of fact, and it is very easy to find out what preparations are being made in France, since such things cannot long remain hidden.
Two days ago very important news arrived from Ireland about a rising of the Catholics, who form a large, vigorous and influential party in that kingdom. They claim to erect public churches with the Catholic rite. One of the most notable acts of violence which they have committed as yet is the murder in a riot of a bishop who resisted them. (fn. 1)
The Countess of Carlisle has returned to Court, the king himself having asked the queen to pardon her. This in addition to the submission made by the earl, her husband, whom the king desired to see reconciled with the Earl of Holland in his presence. Some say that this reconciliation has been accelerated in order in some sort to give the French ambassador to understand that they do not wish him to meddle with the affairs of the Court. However, the ambassador remarked to me that the lady will never again be happy at Court, because she wants to be specially favoured by the queen, and as she can never recover that position of favour, she will not be able to reconcile herself to an undistinguished position. From this I gathered that he has a share in this business.
Two days ago I went to offer my congratulations to the queen on her pregnancy. The office pleased her and she seemed very content at the sincere affection with which I assured her that your Excellencies would always hear of her prosperity. Her pregnancy is causing her some inconvenience, and owing to her tender age and delicate constitution she suffers some discomfort (travaglio).
A very rich ship has reached Plymouth, one of the ports here. A private Dutchman captured it while it was sailing to Spain on its way from the West Indies. There is some confused rumour that the fleets of the Amsterdam Company have made a capture of importance in those parts.
The Ambassador Joachim has made a mild complaint to me that the proposals for the renewal of the alliance with France, made at the Hague, have not the foundation that was supposed, because when those in favour of the matter wished to enter into the details, they met with no response to the first overtures. He remarked to me that this would serve as a pretext to those who wanted the truces.
I have received your Excellencies' letters of the 4th ult. with further information about events in those parts, which I will use in your service.
London, the 1st February, 1629 [M.V.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
352. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They are not too well pleased here at the Ambassador Chateauneuf concerning himself so deeply in the Court quarrels between the Earls of Holland and Carlisle. For this reason they are making more than usual haste to despatch Fontane, who will start in a few days.
Paris, the 1st February, 1630.
[Italian.]
Feb. 2.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
353. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English ambassador has been to tell me that he could not refrain from expressing his regret at seeing their Highnesses here growing daily more bitter after they had been on better terms with France. He praised Crichi and said he felt sure the marshal had reported favourably, but Richelieu did not inspire the duke with confidence about his good intentions towards this house. He knew his Highness would have done all that France and the republic desired, but the cardinal behaved in a way that was very suspicious for the liberty of this state. He did not enter into particulars, but observed that the cardinal would not rest satisfied with the passage of the army through the duke's dominions, but wanted to follow three routes and demanded a fortress as security for a safe retreat. The ambassador said, It is too much; they ought to rest content with Susa, but France apparently wishes to spread her net over the whole state and put his Highness and the prince in a cage. That was playing the Spaniards' game. Scaglia's journey to Spinola showed the duke's bitterness at the behaviour of the French. He expected the Marshal d'Etre would leave here because they did not want to treat with him and he wanted to beg the marshal to write to the cardinal to show more confidence in the duke and not lose the union with this house after recovering it. I commended his zeal and said that everything went to show that the cardinal was coming with good intentions towards his Highness, and as he wished to work for Italy he could not stand apart from the duke. It was necessary to get rid of jealousy on both sides. The ambassador remarked that the duke knew for certain that the cardinal was not coming to Italy to break with the Spaniards, because there was no sign of any such intent. The duke feared they meant to play some trick on him. I assured him the cardinal was going straight to Casale and on to the Spanish frontiers, and it was unlikely he would strike at the duke and the Spaniards both together. I must add that I have heard nothing of the demands of which the ambassador spoke, though I heard the duke objected to the French going by Chambery and Momigliano. There is no doubt that the duke is incensed against France.
Turin, the 2nd February, 1629 [M.V.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Feb. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
354. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
At my last meeting with the English Ambassador Vane, who called upon me here, I find that he is doing everything possible to give their High Mightinesses to understand that England will not come to any accommodation with Spain without the restitution of the Palatinate; but I know, on the contrary, that they place no faith in his assurances, as the ministers here are well informed of the progress of that business as well as of the negotiations of the Spaniards with Bavaria to alienate that part of the Palatinate which they hold, with the sole object of shutting out the Palatine for ever from their transactions.
The Hague, the 4th February, 1629 [M.V.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Feb. 8.
Senato,
Secreta,
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
355. To the Ambassadors SORANZO in England and GUSSONI at the Hague.
The Imperialists have increased at Goito, and these preparations cause suspicion of some attempts, though we have heard of nothing as yet. They are attending to the fortifications of Mantua, and we are supplying the duke with all he wants. Collalto, seeing his designs thwarted by the republic, is trying to turn the Imperialist forces against us. He does not dare to risk his reputation under Mantua again, but asks to return to Vienna. Spinola is busily preparing to take the field, and wants to unite with the Imperial forces. Collalto presses for reinforcements, and Spinola is sending Count Ottavio Sforza to Germany to represent his needs. Many troops have been sent already, but some have been diverted into Wirtemberg, to take that state. They have sent orders to Verda, who is to offer Lusatia to Wallenstein, though it is promised to Saxony. Things are not so quiet in Hungary as the Imperialists would like. The Pasha of Buda gives them anxiety. Bacovio has gone to Constantinople for the investiture. The Turks are increasing their forces and raiding. Richelieu left Lyons on the 29th ult. La Force has leave to take his troops by la Muriana. Bassompierre has gone to the Swiss, after seeing the cardinal, taking a good sum of money. Efforts have been made for the Prince of Piedmont to confer with the cardinal. He refused and seeing him resolute the prince promised to give him complete satisfaction within a fortnight provided he did not advance with his army. This included the investiture of the Duke of Mantua, the withdrawal of the Imperialists from Italy and of the Spaniards from Monferrat, the disarmament of Milan and the liberty of the Grisons. The cardinal would not listen to these lures and said he had orders to take the army to Casale and nothing would stop him. Mazzarini found him equally determined. Open war between the two crowns is considered certain. The cardinal has ordered that 5,000 men shall be sent to him every month to keep his army at full strength. Money and supplies are plentiful. This is for information to use for the public service, especially with the ministers of Sweden and Denmark, pointing out the opportunity afforded by this diversion in Italy, leaving the way open to glorious enterprises. You will also see that the advices reach the free towns, to produce a good effect in the diets of Lubeck, Hamburg &c.
To the ambassador in England add:
We have no letters from you this week.
Ayes, 98.Noes, 0.Neutral, 5.
[Italian.]
Feb. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
356. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Spanish ambassador remains absolutely idle, because he neither makes nor receives any proposals. No advices from Cottington have arrived from Spain yet, and while they are waiting for the first steps from him they will not make further overtures here.
The proposal for an armistice, which seemed likely to make headway, looks to have cooled. I do not believe, however, that the idea and the desire for it are abandoned among those who have a large share in this matter of the accommodation. Thus many have not given up their suspicions and there is no lack of industry to divert it. This cannot be my office since I am already aware that the speeches I have made on the subject arouse no response, because they believe that your Serenity's minister at the present moment has no other object than to encourage differences in his own interests. I know that they have spoken to the king himself in this sense as a measure of precaution and to fill him with suspicion at the very spot where, in accordance with all reason my most just and sincere representations might produce an effect. In spite of this I will not neglect every possible means so as not to remain utterly useless.
The French ambassador continues cold as usual. Some think that it is in order not to commit himself, but I am more inclined to say that while he sees their inclinations all directed towards the peace he wishes to affect to despise the business. This is done under his nose, and it would be something of an aggravation if he concerned himself to upset it and did not succeed. It would certainly be very difficult for him to upset it unless he offered great advantages, and in the present circumstances it is difficult to see what they could be. He is most assiduous in observing their proceedings here and he attends the queen's apartments every day. His reports to France cannot differ from his conversation. This turns upon expressions of contempt for the style of the government here, from which he concludes that there is no reason to be disturbed about any peace or war that they may make with the Spaniards. He has been at some pains to remove ill feeling and never ceases to do so, although on the other hand I have noticed that he rejoices at suspicion as something that may help his negotiations about the shipping.
Quite recently he has had some satisfaction in the matter of Canada, because the goods plundered in that enterprise have been sold and the treaty is to be submitted to the judgment of the Council of State, as he claimed. He experiences more difficulty in obtaining satisfaction about trade. It has so happened that these last days some ships coming hither with wine and other things from France have been taken by the Dunkirkers. Here they maintain that if the Spaniards take the French when they are coming to England, the English also can take them when they are going to Spain, which is not so unreasonable while the war lasts. The ambassador replies with his usual arguments, that everyone is naturally allowed to defend himself. If the English intend to plunder French ships on their way to Spain, they will defend themselves. From that defensive they will of necessity proceed to the offensive and thus lead to a new rupture. He knows the disorder and weakness that prevail here and so he perhaps speaks more sharply than he might otherwise do.
The people of the Isle of Wight have sent a deputation here to represent their fears of the French fleet and to ask for some assistance in defending themselves. (fn. 2) The leading persons have already removed their more valuable possessions to a place of safety. This has stirred the people more, causing them to adhere to their first impressions, than it has the king and Council, and so far as one can see their suspicions are not as yet thoroughly aroused.
They have learned with great satisfaction that the revolution in Ireland has not progressed further than was reported. Thus the death of the bishop reported in the first advices is not confirmed, though it is quite true that he ran great risk of being stoned in the fury of that rising.
This week I have no letters from your Serenity. They should be of the 11th ult.
London, the 8th February, 1629 [M.V.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
357. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The count lets it be known that he has great designs with the English ambassador here. He causes the ambassador to be constantly receiving new favours from the king, and he recently went hunting with his Majesty.
Madrid, the 9th February, 1629 [M.V.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Feb. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
358. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Ambassador Vane presses for a formal reply about the negotiations of the king, his master, with the Spaniards. Here they put it off as much as possible, with the aim of preventing the conclusion of the agreement of the English with the Spaniards, and so that, in any event, their interests here may not be separated from those of England, until they see what kind of rupture the French forces will make. An informant tells me that they discussed in the assembly the great advantage the Spaniards would have, once they had come to terms with England, as they could make use of the English ports for their fleets. That would be very prejudicial to the ships and navigation of these States when they sail on their annual expeditions.
The Hague, the 11th February, 1629 [M.V.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 13.
Consiglio
di X.
Parti Comuni.
Venetian
Archives.
359. In the Council of Ten.
That the jewels of the sanctuary and the halls of arms of this Council be shown to the Cavalier Samson Luces, an Englishman, and to the councillor of the German nation with others who are with him in this city.
Ayes, 15.Noes, 0.Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Feb. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
360. To the Ambassadors SORANZO in England and GUSSONI at the Hague.
The Imperialists continue their preparations at Goito; their object is unknown. The Duke of Mantua continues to forage there, although the Imperialists have greatly increased in numbers. In a sharp skirmish the Imperialists lost heavily, including a commander of note. We have introduced fresh supplies into Mantua, the Germans not making the slightest effort to prevent it. Richelieu may have reached Susa by now. On the 8th Spinola came out of Milan with the Dukes of Neuburg and Lerma, followed by Guevara, Serbellone and other Milanese and Spanish cavaliers. He is to see Collalto and then proceed to Alessandria. It is supposed that the troops in Alsace and Wirtemberg will come to Italy. Troubles increase in Germany, especially on the part of Hungary. The going of the Chiaus from the Pasha of Buda to Vienna is very noteworthy.
To the ambassador in England:
We have two of your despatches this week, proving your ability and diligence. You will try to remove all diffidence and jealousy between England and France, preserving confidential relations with the French ambassador to uphold the right and discredit the Spanish ambassador and these negotiations, showing that the object of the Spaniards is to keep England at sleep and drag things out, without a conclusion, and they are very far from treating sincerely, let alone from concluding anything about the Palatinate.
Ayes, 125.Noes, 2.Neutral, 4.
[Italian.]
Feb. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Svizzeri.
Venetian
Archives.
361. MODERANTE SCARAMELLI, Venetian Secretary with the Swiss, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English resident here says he will not see M. de Bassompierre unless he come here and it is seen that he has no other negotiations, either among the Swiss or in Germany.
Zurich, the 15th February, 1630.
[Italian.]
Feb. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
362. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have recently had a confidential interview with the English Ambassador Ven. He seemed anxious to speak very frankly. He told me in a confidential manner that notwithstanding the despatch hinc inde of the English and Spanish ambassadors, the negotiations between the two crowns were not so far advanced as was announced and as the States here, in their excessive jealousy, believed. He was at great pains to make me believe that the king his master would not arrange any accommodation with Spain without including the interests of the Palatine and particularly without the complete restitution of the Palatinate. This involved such great difficulties, as everyone could see, that the consequences could hardly rest in doubt that all the negotiations would prove fruitless. I replied that the Spaniards always worked in their own interests with mystery with no ultimate idea of satisfying England or her allies. It was enough for them to lull to sleep the more energetic and generous spirits of that realm, from which they knew they might receive serious harm, especially in the present circumstances. They knew how to keep them amused with vain hopes while they were engaged in Italy. The ambassador answered, I see the States are so jealous over this business that I have decided to go to the assembly to-morrow or the day after and make a full and strong statement, that what my master has done up to the present is not calculated to hurt anyone, either the common cause or the alliance with these States, who likewise ought not to go so far as they have done with the truce. If they accept this, they must not afterwards lay the blame on England. I perceived that the office he said he was going to perform would be very useful and opportune, if not to prevent the negotiations for the truce, at least to put obstacles in its way. I thanked him for the confidence and encouraged his idea, and to-day an intimate of mine in the assembly has sent me a copy of Vane's statement there. He asked them for a reply in writing, his statement being just what he said to me. I enclose it for those of your Excellencies who may wish to see it.
The Hague, the 18th February, 1629 [M.V.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.363. Proposition made by the Ambassador of Great Britain in the Assembly of the United Provinces on the 12th January, 1630, new style.
His Majesty frequently informed you of his inclination to treat with Spain about the restitution of the Palatinate. He means to continue to treat, saving his honour, the restitution of his brother in law, sister and their family and to do nothing contrary to his alliance with the States. The basis of this is the restitution of the Palatinate and the liberty of these States. You answered this proposition on the 29th December. In reply you ask his Majesty to conduct the negotiations so that his friends and allies may be relieved, especially in the restitution of the Palatine, thus throwing all the onus on his Majesty, language which does not seem in conformity with the treaty of Southampton. His Majesty wishes to continue the help always afforded by England to the States and wishes to know from you what is your attitude to the conditions of Spain, so that he and you may make a mutual declaration of alliance. He therefore asks you to make a prompt and categorical reply before you proceed further with the negotiations for a truce, to be given in writing.
Extract from the treaty of Southampton, made on the 7th September, 1625, with respect to negotiations with the King of Spain.
[French.]
Feb. 20.
Cinque Savii
alla
Mercanzia.
Risposte.
Venetian
Archives.
364. The English and Flemish merchants petition your Serenity to grant them the same facilities for disposing of their salt fish as was decreed by the Senate on the 25th September and the 21st November, 1626, to bring it here and then send their ships to lade currants at Zante, and that they may have three months for paying the duties on the fish, and also for some concessions in these duties when the fish is exported from this city. After hearing the advocates of the Flemings and of the salt fishmongers, and seeing that much more salt fish has been brought to this city during the last ten years than heretofore, the Flemings saying that this is due to the concessions made to them, while the fishmongers say it is because of the abundance of fish, especially of white sardines, which they cannot dispose of easily elsewhere, we consider that your Serenity should extend the facilities granted in 1626 for such time as the Pregadi may think fit. We also consider that they should have three months for paying the duty, provided they find security. With regard to the duty, one half is remitted when fish is exported by sea, and we consider this sufficient, as it would be too difficult to control by land.
Dated the 20th February, 1629 [M.V.].
ALVISE RENIER,Savii.
BERNARDO GRIMANI,
LORENZO CONTARINI,
ZUANE MORESINI,
[Italian.]
Feb. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
365. To the Ambassadors SORANZO in England and GUSSONI at the Hague.
Collalto and Spinola met at Alessandria to concert measures for resisting the French. They are hastening their preparations. Spinola is trying hard to win Savoy, though the duke may hesitate which side to take, because the French armies are so strong. Richelieu stayed four days at Grenoble to let the troops come up. He left on the 6th, and though he stayed a day or two at Ambrum, we believe he will be at Susa by now. France will keep up the number of his forces and it is believed that the king will himself soon come to Italy.
The Marshal of Etre has arrived here as ambassador extraordinary and had his first audience this morning. He is going on to Mantua to help the duke. M. de la Valetta, who was to bring us a French regiment, embarked at Marseilles and arrived here in 25 days with eight ships. He brought 400 more men than he promised. We omit nothing for the good of the common cause. You will be able to point this out whenever opportunities occur.
We hear of some dissensions between the Kings of Sweden and Denmark. You will speak to the king and ministers [or the States] about offices to prevent this doing harm to the public cause, so that the Austrians may not profit by it.
Ayes, 130.Noes, 2.Neutral, 6.
[Italian.]
Feb. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
366. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The progress of the negotiations of the Spanish ambassador might give rise to important occasions for sending letters to your Serenity, but even this ground for service disappears when he stays on here in his usual way, without approaching any proposals, either because he is waiting for instructions or in order to claim that they shall be the first here to enter more fully into the matter, with him, or else because of the necessity I have already reported that news must come from Spain of what Cottington has done before any more conclusive overtures can be made. I wish I could devote myself to this service with advantage corresponding to the great assiduity with which I devote myself to the nothings which are all that can be done here at present. I must therefore repeat my humble supplication that you will not attribute to me deficiencies in action and good will for what ought to be ascribed to the corruption of the government here. It must be considered a great misfortune to see this kingdom enfeebled by the serious inconveniences which result from the king being out of sympathy with his people, unequal to governing by himself, and his Councils distracted by private interests. All these things result in his finding himself without money or reputation, advantages which include all the other prerogatives, and which in time past brought this flourishing and powerful kingdom into the highest estimation (come a grande jactura putariesce il veder questo Regno indebolito dai considerabile inconveniente che nascono da un Re desunito dal populo, per se stesso insufficiente al governo, e con consiglio discorde per interesse particolare, cose tutte che lo fanno esser senza denaro e senza riputatione, sotto le quali vantaggi pur sono comprese tutte le altre prerogativi e nei tempi passati rendevano questo florido e potente Regno in grandissima estimatione).
In this state of affairs I find myself destitute of special business, and observation is my only resource for obtaining material to report. Nothing can be picked up, because months and even years pass without anything to employ the time except some discussions upon the home affairs of the kingdom, which involve no consequences and do not call for remark. Here they do not speak of war because they have not the means to carry it on; and if they treat for peace the same helplessness makes them throw away their own interests, so that they do not uphold their reputation and do not pay the slightest attention to what is reasonable.
The Spanish ambassador has at his disposal passports to merchants to trade freely. He takes advantage of this form, seeing that he has come here to negotiate an accommodation and union between the two kings, and it is not reasonable that acts of hostility shall take place to the prejudice of the subjects of Great Britain, and so, by the authority he holds, he commands that the ships of those to whom he dispenses such patents shall not be molested. When the king first heard of it he displayed strong feeling, although with the usual reservation of not believing the report. He excused the ambassador and his subjects at one and the same time, though he protested that if the latter committed such a fault they would assuredly be punished. He spoke thus to the French ambassador, who may have been the first to give his Majesty some light on the subject, seeing that the treasurer, Carlisle and all the others who favour the peace go about publishing the truth as much as they can, regardless of the reputation of the king and kingdom. Nevertheless one of the Lords of the Council was found who was determined to show his Majesty one of these passports signed by the Spanish ambassador in the Council itself. The members of the faction were dumb and the king himself was confounded. Yet it still goes on and no steps have been taken to condemn a certain individual who has obtained one, because before giving it he determined to have a caution of security, and this serves for his own individual case only. With respect to the generality of the others who might do the same, the merchants say among themselves that the customs duties are paid to the king on the understanding that he shall keep the sea safe and so long as he does not do that they are not bound to pay, or they may look out for means to trade in safety. Although they are told that they must not trade in prohibited places subject to the King of Spain, they can answer boldly that the sea is so full of Spanish pirates that it is just as dangerous to trade in the countries of friends as in those of enemies, because the Dunkirkers prey upon those which go to Spain, Flanders and Holland as much as on others which go to France and elsewhere. Actually, owing to the disputes between the king and parliament, the duties are scantily paid at present. Everyone tries to get off, there being no authority sufficient to compel them to make payment, since that must depend immediately upon a parliamentary grant of the custom free to the king. Owing to the recent disputes he cannot obtain this, and upon this basis the merchants, instead of being ready to pay protest against those who want to compel them and the most ardent have protested that if they pay the matter shall be enquired into the moment parliament meets. Thus all that the king obtains at present from that source is rather by the connivance of individuals than from any well grounded right that he possesses.
In spite of this they have quite recently decided to make some provision. I gather that they are already preparing three royal ships and four other smaller ones to send to sea at once, because the freedom with which the Dunkirkers scour the sea is really unbearable and dishonourable. They recently plundered three vessels, one of 22 pieces of ordnance and the others of less size. It has been noticed that since Don Carlos has been here they have gone in for reprisals, to such an extent that this mart has received more hurt in the last six months than for many years in the past. It has been remarked that this may be intentional in order to render those who desire an armistice more urgent and compelling in their petitions to the king.
Public rumours about an armistice have died out, but the notion is kept alive in secret, not only on the ground of its necessity for the safety of trade, but in order to secure themselves against attack from the Spaniards if the designs of the French prove true. They continue to be suspicious about these, and it may be that was the reason that decided them to arm these ships. The Dutch ambassador told me that the treasurer shows great zeal over it, but he is more suspect than anyone, because he will encourage suspicion against France for the sake of the peace with Spain, and meanwhile no advices come from Cottington in Spain. The same ambassador told me also that the treasurer is in doubt, and remarked to him yesterday that he perceived they could hope for nothing from that quarter and it was necessary to think of a good union with the States. The idea is a good one, but the ambassador and I are sure that they have no such intention, although they sometimes give utterance to such fair phrases. However, I would not let the chance pass and urged the ambassador to encourage the idea, as it could not progress without at least making the Spaniards suspicious through the introduction of the affair, if by nothing else, although there is no danger of their coming to terms, because on the single question of Bavaria's interests in the Palatinate they cannot give them the satisfaction which they claim here even if they wished. They will simply gain time by fair words while withdrawing hopes, and if they bring themselves to grant an armistice it will be the utmost they can or will do. As I have remarked before, this is what we have most to fear, because it may be granted to one side or the other at any time, without going any further into the claims of the king here about the Palatinate.
The Earl of Carlisle is the most indefatigable of all and tries every road for advancement. He recently gave a banquet to the Spanish ambassador, to which all the leading officials of the Crown were invited. At his instigation the king's high steward, the Earl of Pembroke, went to fetch the ambassador from his house and take him to Carlisle's. From this remarkable compliment it was thought that the king himself had done this honour to Don Carlo, and from what I gather his Majesty is by no means pleased at the circumstance.
Carlisle has also tried to induce the queen to send one of her gentlemen to Spain to congratulate her sister on her delivery. To this end he brought forward Rubens to inform her of the birth of the Prince of Spain. The king was present as well as the French ambassador, who had an opportunity of exposing the device, pointing to Carlisle as the author. Accordingly, considering the object, and because Rubens did not present letters, they judged it superfluous to do any more in the matter. Carlisle believes that after Cottington has laid the foundations he may be sent to Spain to conclude the negotiations; but the treasurer is not very friendly to him and he will thwart it.
A few days after the arrival of Wake's secretary there came another sent by him. Both are staying here. The first brought a request from that minister for instructions as to how he is to act with Cardinal Richelieu. I have not heard of any reply being sent, because they would rather that the ambassador remained without instructions than involve the Council. The same secretary is also trying to get himself substituted so that he may remain at Turin after Wake has left for his embassy in France. It has not been possible to find out what the second brought, but from a revelation made by Carlisle that your Serenity and the Duke of Savoy have declared to the Most Christian your intention to assist the Duke of Mantua, but that you absolutely refuse to enter the Milanese, supposing his Majesty to have thought about it, I fancy he must have brought some of those disturbing notions that habitually issue from that Court. It was two days ago that Carlisle communicated this news to the French ambassador, who came to see me yesterday. He told me of it in such a way as to show me that he wished to hear my opinion. My reply satisfied him, because I remarked first that it was two weeks since letters had come from Italy or France, so that the Earl of Carlisle could not have these advices; his notions have been chimerical for some time past and entirely coloured by Spanish prejudice. I imagined that all decisions would be taken on the spot, there being nothing new; the cardinal had arrived; it was impossible to make any certain conjecture, though it was absolutely certain that your Excellencies would fall in with all necessary resolutions so far as they are concerned, as they have proved hitherto, doing even more than you are bound to.
After remaining three weeks without letters from home I have received three despatches to-day with the ducal missives of the 17th, 19th, 24th and 31st ult. I will use those which continue the course of events as may be necessary, and also the information about what took place with the papal nuncio, in case I am provoked, in order to let them see what an ill return he makes for the singular privileges which he has received from your Excellencies. Your continued incitements to me to keep up correspondence with the Ambassador Gussoni make me fear that you consider that I have been neglectful in this. I know that this is undeserved, and am correspondingly humiliated and mortified. In my defence I take the liberty of enclosing herewith a copy of a paragraph from his Excellency's last letter to me.
I will present to his Majesty the letters with the news of the election of the doge, (fn. 3) accompanying them with an office in conformity with the tenor of the letters. I feel sure he will appreciate the confidence and will add his applause to the general chorus aroused by the name of so eminent a senator and the fame of your Serenity's singular virtues. With all my heart I wish you a happy series of years in the rank to which it has pleased God to call you, as an augury of blessing to our country in its present difficulties.
London, the 22nd February, 1629 [M.V.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.367. Copy of a paragraph from the letter of the Ambassador at the Hague of the 26th January, 1629.
Having written thus far, your Excellencies' despatches of the 28th December and the 7th and 17th inst. reach me, full of your great prudence and of advices of all that you are able to inform me about your parts.
[Italian.]
Feb. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
368. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The States have drawn up their reply to the last office of the English ambassador in the assembly, in such general terms that he is very ill pleased, because he sees full well that they do not intend, in their negotiations with the Spaniards, to include the interests of England, by whom they profess they have been abandoned. Joachim writes that Don Carlo Columa has either concluded or is on the point of doing so, an armistice between the Catholic and the King of Great Britain, suggesting that they have found this middle term to cover the reputation of England, which declines in the opinion of the world, when the interests of one so closely connected with them as the Prince Palatine are utterly neglected.
The States especially regret to hear from Germany that the Spaniards have concluded their agreement with the emperor about the Palatinate, which they are to evacuate, leaving Bavaria in possession. The prince remarked to me that it was now impossible for Great Britain to recover the Palatinate either by negotiation or interposition; there was just a slight ray of hope that French arms might effect it one day, though it was unlikely and all but impossible.
The Hague, the 25th February, 1629 [M.V.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 This refers to a riot that took place in Dublin on St. Stephen's day (Dec. 26) because of the suppression of several priests' and nuns' houses, and schools. The Archbishop of Dublin was reported to have been killed, but this was not correct. Cal. S.P. Ireland, 1625–32, pages 500, 504; Birch: Court and Times of Charles I, vol. ii, page 9.
2 This would appear to refer to the petition of the inhabitants of the Isle of Wight to the king. S.P. Dom., vol. cliv., No. 16 (Cal. S.P. Dom., 1629–31, page 132).
3 Nicolò Contarini, who succeeded Giovanni Cornaro.