Venice
May 1630

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1919

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329-345

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'Venice: May 1630 ', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice: Volume 22, 1629-1632 (1919), pp. 329-345. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89270 Date accessed: 19 September 2014.


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Contents

May 1630

May 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
406. To the Ambassador in England and the like to the Hague.
Open war likely between two crowns. Don Filippo Spinola captures Pontestura from French. Austrians and Savoyards number 23,000 to 24,000 against 28,000 French. Bassompierre ready to invade Savoy. King eager to come in person, after making provision against attack from Germans. Collalto moving on Mantuan. Venetians defending Mantua. Wallenstein supplying emperor with troops against Italy.
To England add:
We have your letters of the 5th and 12th April, which show that you uphold our interests to our entire satisfaction.
Ayes, 93.Noes, 4.Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
May 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
407. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Nothing has been heard about the negotiations in Spain since I last wrote, as they have no news of what is being done at the Court with the arrival of Cottington's secretary or of what that minister will obtain for certain for the satisfaction of the king here. However, I do not neglect to work in the opposite sense, so far as is possible. I am not disheartened by the really very great propensity shown by the people here towards peace, with the ends and aims which I have frequently reported, and, until the negotiations are concluded, there is always plenty of room for action. It is more than necessary to assist them, so that they may have the opportunity of taking cover under the pretext of representations made by the foreign ministers. But as yet I cannot promise myself anything, because my unaided offices cannot have the strength and vigour which they would receive with a good and declared union. These last days I have tried to interest the French ambassador in the matter by every suitable representation, but so far without success. He told me in great confidence that in consequence of the constant reports made to France by M. de Castelnovo of their lack of the will and power here to do anything at present for the common service, they had given him very guarded commissions, so that he could not interest himself in negotiations. He assured me, however, that since the departure of Castelnovo he had written his views frankly to the king and cardinal, so that he hoped to receive somewhat larger commissions, and then we should not fail to make every effort in conjunction to prevent this treaty from taking place. In the meantime I am playing upon him bit by bit, and if, in the course of time, the Ambassador Fontane receives powers to lend a hand for the destruction of this machine, the effort may prove successful.
I have written at length about the views of Castelnovo, the opinions he published about the government here and how vigorously he maintained that in their present state of weakness it did not conduce to the reputation or advantage of France to interest herself in these affairs, on the supposition that it did not matter much in effect whether they concluded a treaty or broke off negotiations. No result can be hoped from the rupture beyond the gain in prestige to the common cause from having the King of Great Britain declared for it; for the rest we must not expect either armaments for enterprises or assistance for the powers, because the treasurer will not incur any expense. I think that the safest plan to pave the way for a rupture will be to show that there is no thought of such claim and to prove to the treasurer that if the treaty is dissolved he will not be bound to any further expenditure, because he is too much afraid of finding himself in want of money, and consequently of being compelled to contemplate the convocation of parliament. If this first thing is secured time will afford opportunities for the rest for going further, and for my own part I believe, and well informed persons think the same, that after the queen's confinement, with the succession established, the name of parliament will not sound so terrible, and we may profit by that.
Since M. de Castelnovo left it seems that they speak more freely about his negotiations, and those who are pleased the first because he showed great warmth over the interests of the queen's household, and also influenced the queen to some extext against the treasurer. That official is very ill disposed for the same reason and also because Castelnovo never approached him about his affairs, as is only reasonable with those who enjoy such favour as he does, but rather supported those who had any special quarrel with him, in order to overthrow him. I hope to profit by this state of mind, because, in order to strike Castelnovo, the treasurer will show himself more ready to satisfy his successor, who may have the same intentions, and being also ill pleased, he may strive with more assiduity than he would otherwise to reach some good and effective declaration in those affairs, from his own good service, which Castelnovo could not achieve after such a long time.
I saw the treasurer recently, in order to encourage the confidential relations which are necessary, to congratulate him on the honour done him by his Majesty in conferring the Order of the Garter. There were three vacant stalls. The other two were conferred on the Earl of Lorisi, High Chamberlain of the realm, who commanded the last succour for La Rochelle, and on the Earl of Esserster. They have postponed the ceremony of granting them the habit, in order to escape the danger of the plague, among the crowds which usually attend.
I did not lose the opportunity of passing those offices with the treasurer about the treaties with Spain which are requisite, pointing out that with the present resolutions of the Most Christian, what your Serenity is doing and what the States and the King of Sweden declare that they mean to attempt, no better opportunity could be desired for advancing the interests of his master. He seemed to favour a defensive and offensive league, saying that if princes did not bind themselves in this way it was impossible to rely on them. The war of Italy was nothing but an accident, and they might come to terms in a day. It would take too long to report all the conversation between us, which lasted more than an hour. But the only substantial result which it afforded me was the certainty it gave me that Castelnovo never made those vigorous proposals which he always professed to have done. In my despatches, however, it will be found that I was always sceptical about them.
With respect to the negotiations with Spain I had the usual constant assurance that peace will not be made without effective satisfaction, although it is difficult to believe this. The French ambassador told me that before Castelnovo left they saw the treasurer together, and in talking over this matter they pointed out that here they ought to claim the restitution of that portion which the Spaniards hold before everything else, because the English held it for the Palatine. The treasurer seemed very cold about this, remarking that if that part only was restored it would be impossible to maintain and hold it, whereupon Castelnovo assured the treasurer that if they could induce the Spaniards to make restitution, the Most Christian would contribute for the defence and the States would do the same; but he added to me that the Spaniards would never make restitution.
The ambassador of the States has communicated to me the good news of the capture of Olindo in Fernambuc. His advices are from the Lords of the Admiralty of Zeeland. They expect confirmation from the States. Meanwhile the Spaniards here, arguing from the manner, the time and the facilities, throw discredit on the news, which they hope may not be true, owing to the very serious prejudice that it would mean to the Catholic.
They have sent to Anstruther the necessary commissions for taking part in the diet. They pretend that he will appear in the name of the Palatine, so as not to commit the king here too far. I know that they came to the same decision on a previous occasion when the opportunity presented itself.
The king and queen stay on here, as there was grave suspicion of the plague at Greenwich, whither they had proposed to go. Their Majesties do not know now where to betake themselves, because many places of the country are suspect.
The Secretary of State told me recently that the merchants of the Levant Company have sent a consul to Aleppo. (fn. 1) The king had supplied him with letters and the consul had charged him to inform me, so that he might always enjoy good relations with the ministers of the republic in those parts. I thanked him and assured him that he would always find the representatives of your Serenity most anxious for the best relations. Upon this he remarked to me that these merchants complained of some wrong received some months ago by the imprisonment of their consul, but he would not go into that grievance, as it was better to let them settle it on the spot. I approved of this and made some friendly remarks about his countrymen. This is all that has been said to me since I was informed of what took place with the Consul Salamon.
This week I have received the ducal missives of the 5th and 11th ult. in two despatches. I am unspeakably consoled by the gracious appreciation which your Excellencies express about my operations. I am more weak and ill than ever, to such an extent that I know I shall frequently prove useless just where I ought to be of most service.
London, the 3rd May, 1630.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
408. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Another courier has reached the English ambassador, but all business is suspended until his secretary returns. It seems most likely that the ministers there are by degrees committing the king. because they are all too eager for peace with the Spaniards. English ships may now be seen entering the ports here, with various patents, and in this way they give satisfaction upon the less knotty subjects of negotiation with the kingdom of England.
Madrid, the 3rd May, 1630.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
409. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They are hurrying on the preparation of ships in every direction, but the forces of the crown are so enfeebled that they will find it hard to arm enough, and if they had not allowed the English to enter with a million's worth of goods they would have been utterly destitute of all the materials required for fitting out a fleet.
They are going on with the English negotiations, and personally I believe that the delays suggested by one side are seconded by the other. The count dropped a word to me about the sending of an English ambassador to the diet in Germany, a sign that the matter is advanced, but it certainly will not be to the advantage of the King of Great Britain.
Madrid, the 3rd May, 1630.
[Italian.]
May 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
410. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Ven leaves for England to-morrow. He came to see me and expressed his king's great esteem for the republic. I replied suitably, and later returned his visit. I spoke of the state of affairs in Italy and the republic's efforts for the common cause. He declares he will return in three or four weeks and that he has been sent for without knowing for what his services may be required. It has been suggested to me that he may have wanted to make this journey and the king may have granted him leave more to satisfy him than for any business of state.
The Hague, the 4th May, 1630.
[Italian.]
May 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
411. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The negotiations with M. di Bervevert and Colonel Hay about a levy having broken down, I approached the Prince of Orange on the subject. He recommended Sir John Suynton, who is very highly spoken of by Colonel Hauterive and others. He is a Scot, but trained to war in this country. He has passed through all the grades and has commanded companies both in Bohemia and Denmark. I have been fortunate in concluding a bargain with him. With respect to his own private interests and salary he proved himself most discreet, modest and reasonable, showing that he will be a good servant to your Serenity.
The Hague, the 5th May, 1630.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.412. Laus Deo, the 2nd May, 1630, at the Hague.
Colonel Sir John Suyntonne promises to take 2,090 good veteran infantry to serve Venice, all to be taken from Holland.
They shall all embark at once, and payment shall begin from the time they arrive at the Lido.
The Venetian ambassador shall pay for the levy 45 Venetian lire of 15 florins; for transport 231 lire or 77 florins. These payments shall cover all expenses for hiring ships, food &c. until the day of their arrival at Venice.
The Colonel shall take all these troops to the Venetian state or forfeit the money. Money to be returned for those who die.
The troops shall be paid according to the musters, taken monthly.
The Colonel shall select officers, to be approved by the republic's representatives.
At dismissal payment shall be given to return home.
The captain shall receive 80 ducats, the lieutenant 40, the ensign 30, two serjeants 15 each, three corporals 10 each, paymaster 10. For each company of 200 foot, 60 ducats.
While serving in the field the soldiers shall have 30 lire 6 grossi a month, instead of thirty as at other times.
The doge shall supply their arms, which shall be restored on disbanding.
They shall swear fealty and serve where ordered.
The Colonel submits himself to the munificence of the state.
The Colonel shall send the troops on good ships fully supplied and armed, and the soldiers shall be distributed among the ships so as not to be too crowded.
[Signed]:
VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador.
JO. SUYNTONNE.
[Italian.]
May 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
413. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Prince of Orange has notified Colonel Suynton and me that if their High Mightinesses grant the levy, Delfzyl is selected as the place d'armes, and the troops will be taken thence through Friesland to embark at Harlinghen.
The Hague, the 6th May, 1630.
[Italian.]
May 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
414. FRANCESCO CORNARO, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Abbot Scaglia has gone. He has orders to complain of Spinola for not rendering enough help and because he wants peace. The abbot also is to labour for the conclusion of the peace between the English and Spaniards and the truce with the Dutch, thus preventing a new alliance between the States and France.
Turin, the 5th May, 1630.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
415. To the Ambassador in England and the like to the Hague.
German reinforcements reach Spinola and others from Grand Duke. Austrian forces collected in Mantovano. Troops from Champagne to join Bassompierre. King going to Lyons. Fresh reinforcements for Richelieu. Savoyards fortifying Pancalier. Proveditore General introducing supplies into Mantua. Five ships arrived at Venice from Marseilles with French troops to serve republic.
To England:
You will use these events for the advantage of our service. Acknowledge his letters of the 19th.
Ayes, 90.Noes, 1.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
May 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
416. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
A courier has recently arrived from Spain bringing the reply to the letters which were despatched on the 1st ult., at which time Cottington's secretary had not yet arrived here. The particulars of the despatch have not transpired, because they have always observed great secrecy in this affair.
It seems as if they study to intensify this every day, because yesterday the ambassador of the States came to see me and said that not only had they omitted to communicate to him what the courier brought, but they had even denied his coming. From this one may conclude that their intentions are not good, and that the outcome of this business will be hurt and prejudice to their friends. For my own part I do not believe that the courier can have brought anything of importance, because he left the Court before the ambassador's secretary arrived there, by whom they sent the draft for the articles, as I wrote, and I believe that in a few days they will have the reply, from which it will be possible to form a judgment. Some think that there will be no conclusion until after the diet in Germany, because they might wish to see here how the interests of the Palatine are dealt with there. The Ambassador Gussoni writes to me that they have asked for passports from the emperor for an agent of the Palatine to take part in that assembly, and I imagine that he will have the backing and help of Anstruther. The Spanish ambassador here, on the other hand, believes that peace will be concluded within a fortnight, and he now lets it be understood that the Spaniards desire it, because their trade with the West Indies will be greatly incommoded and restricted by the loss of Fernambuch, which is confirmed. If they can have peace at a cheap rate, as there is only too much reason to fear, I could wish that those who ruled here would take the matter into consideration, for the sake of their own advantage, if for no other reason; but the course they have taken leads to destruction, and I see no way of stopping them, although I keep constantly vigilant.
Sir Henry Ven, the ambassador of this king to the States, arrived unexpectedly yesterday from Holland. The Ambassador Joachim learned from an intimate of his that they sent for him, and it was at the moment when the negotiations with Spain seemed to have taken a bad turn and to be tending towards rupture, and when the treasurer said something to the ambassador himself about a closer union between the king and the States. He therefore hoped that this arose out of a desire to carry out the good intentions which they expressed to him, and that they wished to have a verbal account from Ven of the position of affairs in Holland, in order to take a vigorous decision. But yesterday he told me that he became more and more hopeless about this every day. I will keep on the alert to find out what the coming of this minister may bring forth.
With him came one Marino Marini, a Genoese, who passed from Spain to Holland, and professes that he can give the king a revenue of 100,000 crowns by means of an instrument whereby ships can draw water from the sea, and make it fresh every day for use in drinking. He made some proposals in Holland, but they did not take it up. He did the same in Spain and says that the king would make half a million out of it, the advantage increasing with the number of ships. If there is anything in this notion they might take it up here, because the sole preoccupation of the treasurer is to obtain money.
The talk about the Court leaving this city seems to have died away with the appearance that the plague is already ceasing, while it is growing worse in the country.
No letters from Venice have arrived this week. Those from France also are much delayed, and although I notice that the ambassador here is somewhat perplexed, I do not believe that he has advices, because he is accustomed to communicate them to me very punctually.
A son of the Secretary of State, Bottillier, arrived here two days ago. He has come to see the country, at least so they announce, and I do not think he brings anything new.
London, the 10th May, 1630.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
417. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They propose to recover Fernambuco, and as they have not enough ships, sailors or munitions, they think of obtaining them from the Hanse towns, in which they anticipate no difficulty. For facilities in getting what they want from those parts, they count upon England for which Cottington is daily making fresh motions, and so far as I can see the English ministers are laying foundations for a close union between their king and this crown. They have grown jealous of the Dutch and complain that their enemies receive asylum there, while their power becomes more and more formidable to Great Britain and its trade. Cottington has let fall some of these ideas, and the Spaniards are trying to win over that king against the Dutch. The resolutions there are so feeble that one may fear the worst, and the States should try and parry this blow.
Madrid, the 11th May, 1630.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
418. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
A few hours before Ven embarked for England a courier arrived with all speed from Brussels with passports from the Infanta for him and M. de Rusdorf, for both of them to go where circumstances might call them in the interests of the Palatine and also to the diet of Ratisbon. Although it is thought unlikely here that any efforts will succeed, yet the English cherish some hopes, encouraged by the usual artifices of the Spaniards about some adjustment which shall satisfy the Princes Palatine in part if not entirely.
The Hague, the 13th May, 1630.
[Italian.]
May 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
419. To the Ambassador in England and the like to the Hague.
Reconciliation of Most Christian and Duke of Orleans facilitates king's departure for Lyons to join Richelieu. Reinforcements for Collalto. Measures of Venice to defend Mantua; republic's forces constantly increased.
To England add:
Acknowledge letters of the 26th and commend. Particulars given of artful Spanish proposals to restore Palatinate are most important. It shows their object to gain advantage by the conclusion of that peace. The English should see through this. He will have a thorough understanding with the ambassadors of France and Holland, and observe the negotiations of Wake, keeping the Senate advised of everything.
Ayes, 126.Noes, 0.Neutral, 4.
[Italian.]
May 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
420. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ducal missives of the 19th and 26th ult. have reached me together. The first bring me your views about the Catholics. I need say nothing on this subject, because I find that I acted entirely in the sense you recommend.
Moreover, in my case there have been none of those acts of violence which have occurred in the case of the Spanish ambassador and quite recently with the French also, which great danger of a riot among the people, since the members of their households attempted, but without success, to rescue the prisoners from the pursuivants, blood being shed on both sides. The satisfaction I have received has been the more marked because I have behaved tactfully, since of those who were arrested for having come to this house not one now remains in the hands of justice. The first were released ex officio with a statement that the act of grace was due to the king's favour alone without any regard to the offices performed by the ambassadors. This was done in order to disabuse the Catholics of the opinion that we others might protect them in some way or other. Carleton, the Secretary of State, put it to me even more clearly when I was speaking to him on the subject, saying that no one could complain if the king commanded his subjects; that in this matter of religion there was no one who could claim jurisdiction. There was not liberty of conscience here. At Venice they would do the same if they knew that Venetians and others were going to the preaching at the embassies of England and Holland. Every country had its laws, and princes were bound to see that they were observed. In spite of this I thought it due to piety and decorum that I should not give up my instances for the release of those who applied for my protection. While they continue with this customary rigour some are released every day out of consideration for me. This is very advantageous for the most serene republic's reputation for piety, and I should be much distressed if I thought that I had given your Excellencies occasion to believe that I had neglected to show the necessary diligence in this matter. I admit that I have omitted to report every week in detail all the circumstances that have occurred in this connection, but perhaps I shall not be blamed for this if in the meantime I have not failed to operate with the necessary zeal. The omission to write only injures myself, because by not reporting my assiduous service to the state I defraud myself of the merits to which I might lay claim.
I must not forget to say that my intention of keeping near the king was due in the first place to my knowledge of what has always been done in such cases, especially as the other ministers do so; secondly because I have more opportunities of serving your Excellencies when near the Court. Even when one is at hand, opportunities for hearing news are very rare, and beyond a doubt they would be even more rare if one were at a distance. There is a further consideration, that if occasion arose for going to audience of the king, they let it be understood that those who are away from the Court will not be admitted, owing to fear of the plague. This is constantly on the increase, and although it was decided that the queen's confinement should take place in London, yet they are again thinking of leaving, as the mortality this week was greater than last. For my own part, with your gracious permission, I will take a house in the country, and retire to it out of the danger, which is considerable from every point of view. The Spanish ambassador has already done this, until he knows which way the king is going, and I shall be ready to serve with my good will, if with nothing else.
With respect to what you say about there being no ambassador or other minister from England at Venice for a long time, although I have not as yet said anything about it to the ministers here, I have not failed to give the matter proper consideration, and I have also spoken about it with an intimate of mine in the way of conversation. I learned that some time ago they nominated Sir Richard Spenser, although they did nothing for his despatch subsequently. This carelessness is worth noticing, but what is more important and deserves greater consideration is the difference in the way in which they treat the ambassador of the republic and those of France and Spain, which is most prejudicial. Sometimes I have complained about it, but they reply that it is rendered necessary because they must attend to considerable requirements. The absence of business, and the slight connection between their interests here and those of that province, especially Venice, cause the sending of an ambassador to be postponed in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and just at present they considered the expense superfluous. I should have reported this before if I had had occasion, and if I had not desired to encourage rather than to interrupt confidence. But if your Excellencies will give your confidence to one who serves you with zeal for your prestige, you will see that equality of treatment is essential. I have noticed that no answer has been sent to the letters your Serenity wrote on assuming the dogeship, at least I know of none, and I imagine I should have heard if they had made any response. I will seek an opportunity for speaking of both subjects.
I will use the information contained in the advices as the state desires. What you Excellencies send me from the letters out of Spain about the despatch of Cottington's secretary serves me for purposes of comparison. It confirms that the courier who recently came from Spain brings nothing of moment, as the ambassador there is reserving himself to send further particulars by another courier, whom he proposes to send after the arrival of his secretary, who is momentarily expected at that Court. These letters cannot be long delayed if indeed they have not already arrived, as I have not been able to leave the house for three days owing to my usual indisposition.
The real reasons for Ven's coming from the Netherlands has not transpired. To judge by appearances and by various indications it seems that he has been recalled for two reasons, one that he may give them a full account of the state of affairs in Holland, and what leanings the States have towards the truces and about their disinclination to treat in conjunction with England. There is very little sign of this, because when I was acting as ambassador there this same Ven arrived at the Hague in the character of a simple gentlemen, on the pretext of visiting the Princess Palatine in the name of the king here, but really to discover the intentions of their High Mightinesses about the joining together of the treaties. I know that at that time they decided to treat separately. The Prince of Orange, who was then about to go and besiege Bolduc, informed me that they told him it was no time to treat for an agreement, and in any case the States wished to conduct their affairs separately. Thus they will have little occasion here also to bargain with the Spaniards, and the States, who saw through the plan, showed themselves the more opposed to it. The other reason is supposed to be that they may have full information about the intentions of the Princes Palatine towards this accommodation, to enable them to shape their conduct in the conclusion and also to give more particular instructions to Anstruther, who is to go to the diet in Germany.
The French ambassador came to see me yesterday. He said he had no letters and explained this by the king's journey. He is still irresolute and I am afraid that he has bad news, and that is why he has not communicated his advices to me. I told him of the capture of Volta in the Mantuan, of the breaking off of all negotiations with the departure of the cardinal legate from Pinarolo, the decision of Spinola to go and besiege Casale and of Collalto to enter the Mantuan, with the other matters contained in the letters of your Excellencies. He showed his usual frankness in the conversation, and surmised that if Spinola weakened his forces to go and besiege Casale he would go to Carmignola. I remarked to him that help was reaching him every day. He replied that help from France could be more easily supplied to the cardinal, but it is certain that unless they send strong reinforcements the French will be kept busy in Piedmont for a long time.
London, the 17th May, 1630.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
421. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Someone arrived here with the English ambassador's secretary, with orders that Wake should send him back to London forthwith with all speed. Wake had audience of his Highness yesterday, which had been previously postponed. I have not had time to find out about his business. I am on the watch to see if he is promising any help to the duke from his king for the present circumstances, or if it is about the progress of the peace between England and the Spaniards.
Turin, the 18th May, 1630.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
422. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English ambassador has not received satisfaction at his last negotiations, but he continues to meet the ministers of the Council and to postpone his departure. He does not seem likely to leave the Court this summer. He says, however, that his king has a good number of armed ships, and that the Spaniards will repent of treating everyone so badly, but he does not enter into any particulars about his negotiations.
Madrid, the 22nd May, 1630.
[Italian.]
May 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
423. FRANCESCO CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to his colleagues in France.
To-day I paid a complimentary visit to the Ambassador Wake. After talking on current topics, he began to speak to the following effect, though he professed not to be speaking ex professo. He said that he had represented to his king the state of affairs here, and his Majesty thought he might intervene if France and the duke would accept his interposition for the reconciliation of this house with France. The king instructed him to speak about it to his Highness, and he had done so and he wished to tell me that if your Excellencies could give him assurance that France would listen, he would gladly act, but he did not see how he could speak to them if he did not know whether they would hear him. I asked him if the duke gave him authority. He replied: I can say nothing about what the duke says, but you may be sure that I should not speak as I am doing if I did not know. I remarked: I understand his Highness always says that he can do nothing without the Spaniards. The public weal certainly requires the union of this house with France. He said: I have no commissions from my king except to treat for the reconciliation of his Highness and France and they would not serve for including the Spaniards also in this adjustment. He went on to speak with passion of the mistrust they have of him in France. They slandered him, saying that he had tried to throw difficulties in the way of levying Swiss for the French king. He said it was not true and seemed much distressed about it. I may say that since his appointment as ambassador at that court he seems anxious to recover its confidence and expresses proper views. He repeated that I might write to you to see if they would admit him to this negotiation. I replied: His Highness, without grounds, has expressed so much mistrust of us, though our actions have only been directed towards the general weal, including his own, that I do not know what to say. My country has always supported such proposals, and our ambassadors are doing more for his Highness than is thought.
The matter happened thus. I neither agreed nor refused to write, but this reconciliation would be most desirable, and I think we might count on Wake taking a pleasure in this business in order to win credit with France. I do not see any reason why they should not listen to him, at any rate to hear what he has to propose, because his proposals will prove illuminating.
I am sending a copy of this letter to the Senate and you will hear what they think. I have committed myself to nothing and merely report what was said to me and my answers. I may add when I remarked to Commendator Passer, the duke's first secretary, that if they liked they might do some good, he replied that the chief difficulty was that his Highness feared that the French by treating for an adjustment aimed at separating him from the Spaniards and so rendering him defenceless.
Turin, the 23rd May, 1630.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
424. To the Ambassador in England and the like to the Hague.
Imperial army in Mantovano constantly augmented. Proveditore General moving to defend Mantua. King left Dijon for Lyons on the 1st, intending to invade Savoy. Richelieu gone to meet him after taking Sismont. Spaniards take castle of Rossignano.
To England add:
We have yours of the 7th. Your observation of the Spanish negotiations and your good understanding with the French ambassador may be very useful for the common service. The ill treatment of Cottington at Madrid should arouse England to protect the right side and see through the cunning with which things are conducted to the prejudice of that Crown. You will continue your offices for the benefit of the common service. We regret your indisposition and hope you will recover your health. The need of the republic to obtain troops from all quarters makes us wish for some valiant and experienced colonel from those parts with a regiment of 2,000 foot or 1,000 at least. We feel sure you can manage this. To help you we send a copy of the bargain made between our Ambassador Gussoni and Colonel Scianton, with power to add 5 to 6 ducats of Venetian money more per soldier for bringing them to Venice. For this we send you letters of credit of Ridolfo Cimes for 8,000l. sterling, 4,000l. on Daniel Harvie and 4,000l. on Thomas Cimonds. We will send more if you require it, in the assurance that you will leave nothing undone to persuade some colonel to undertake the levy, and especially Colonel Morgan and Captain Scot, who formerly served the republic to our complete satisfaction, and to see that in any case the troops are embarked and despatched soon, performing the most diligent offices with the king and ministers to obtain leave, making the request in the name of this state on the grounds of the common service, for which we are expending so much money and exposing our state to such danger. We shall await with anxiety to hear of your success in making this levy.
Ayes, 84.Noes, 1.Neutral, 10.
[Italian.]
May 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
425. To the Ambassador in England and the like to the Hague.
Chambéry has fallen to the Most Christian. The French are determined to succour Casale, which is hard pressed. Bassompierre's Swiss are crossing the Rhone. Spinola is preparing to take Casale before there is time to relieve it. Savoy has dismissed our ambassador. We have had some sanguinary engagements with the Austrians in the Mantovano, and our Proveditore has decided to withdraw the bulk of his force within the fortress until reinforcements arrive and allow him to take the offensive.
To England add:
We have no letters from you this week. You will use the above events as your prudence may suggest, to advance our service. The Ambassador Wake has confided to our Ambassador Corner that he has instructions to offer his master's interposition for the reconciliation of France and Savoy and he had spoken about it to the duke. He wanted an assurance from the republic that France would accept his services. It will be very helpful for you to ascertain if it is true he had such orders and we shall wait to hear from you. Last week we ordered you to engage a colonel and men to serve the republic. We recommend this to your zeal, with every application, so that we may have that levy, or at least some picked company under brave captains. Captain Scot would suit us, and if you could persuade Colonel Morgan we should hope to receive the best service. From our urgency in this and from the above events in Italy you may imagine our pressing need and how glad we shall be to have your letters advising us of your success.
Ayes, 92.Noes, 2.Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
May 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
426. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The answers to the negotiations advanced by Cottington have not yet arrived from Spain. They are expected at any moment, and meanwhile, as is usual in such cases, their remarks, by their variety, betray great indecision. They talk of a truce for two years, but there are no grounds for this. In the meantime I have not neglected to perform what offices I could, though I am more troubled than ever by my ailments, which make me manifestly useless. The French ambassador also has tried to throw cold water on the business, if not to destroy it. He recently came to see me and said that he had spoken with the treasurer and urged him not to be in any hurry to make peace because they would always have time to make it. Before they went any further they ought to see what turn affairs in Italy took. As things are at present there the Spaniards have a great advantage in the present negotiations for peace with England, because they do not actually bind themselves to restore the Palatinate, whereas, on the other hand, if the Spaniards come off second best, Great Britain could always claim advantageous terms and obtain more effective satisfaction. There is not very much breath in this business, although enough for present purposes. It is necessary to insinuate oneself rather than try to carry away the treasurer altogether, who is most determined upon an accommodation. Deception is more than necessary, because it is certain that many here are passionately anxious to see the French suffer some check in Italy. Clear and manifest evidence of this is afforded by the offices of their Resident with the Swiss to prevent Bassompierre's levy. I heard of this by way of France and will use it as I find opportunity. I have already spoken about it to the French ambassador, saying that that minister is a dependant of Wake, which is perfectly true, and that Wake may have given him some instructions. I followed this course in order to check jealousy between the two crowns as much as possible, and to make use of the ambassador to prevent Wake going to France. We arranged the matter between us. I do not know how far it will succeed, because the ambassador has no instructions on the subject, and although a sign of such unfriendliness might move him to take official steps against Wake going, and though I have always assured him that Castelnovo will try to have the nomination altered, yet he told me that he would first write to France for instructions, so that he could speak with more resolution.
This ambassador is already very ill pleased with the ministers here, and indeed with the whole nation. One reason among many stronger ones is that every day they invent news which is very prejudicial to the interests of his king. These last days they announced that he had suffered a great defeat, and that the cardinal himself was slain. These rumours still circulate and it is not possible to suppress them. The Earl of Carlisle is generally the author of them, as he is the most violent partisan that the Spanish party has just now. He admits this and boasts of it, thus showing once more how far he has forgotten the favours he received from the republic when he was there. I came here in the well grounded expectation of finding him friendly and grateful, but I found out how far I was deceived. I have observed and still observe instances of his disrespect towards the greatness of the most serene republic, that being indeed his normal behaviour. I will take a more suitable opportunity to inform your Excellencies of exactly what has taken place, because I fancy this may prove a difficult matter.
Carlisle recently told the king that your Serenity could not now succour Mantua, not only because of the hindrance caused by the floods, but because you feared the wrath of the emperor in Friuli. I heard this much from an intimate, and I believe it because I know his peccant humour. If I could be at Court or at least see the ministers here, I would counteract him as he deserves, but I cannot move from my seat, and although I try to publish the real truth through the Secretary Zon and others in my confidence, yet this is not enough and I suffer indescribable anguish. The French ambassador told me that Carlisle commented upon the news that Cardinal Richelieu had gone to Grenoble to meet the king, saying they could judge of the distress they were in, when the general abandoned his army to go and consult with his master, but he said nothing about the changes that have taken place since the cardinal has been in Italy, and that he must now ask for instructions different from those he had when he left the king. The ambassador is still without advices from the Court, so he says, and he wishes people to believe that as he has none affairs must be still in the same position.
Sir Henry Ven, excusing my inability to go and pay my respects to him, has been to see me. He spoke very concisely and with great reserve. Yet my opinion is practically confirmed that his coming affects nothing except the interests of the Palatine, and that the king wished to hear from his own lips of the views, disposition and desires of those princes, not only as a guide in the negotiations with Spain, but so that they might draw up sound and final instructions for the one who will be sent to the diet of Ratisbon. From what I have learned it may be that Ven will go in person for that business. He denies this himself and so I do not think they have fully made up their minds. He brought very final decisions about the Amboyna affair, and so that may be settled to the satisfaction of the king and the States after lasting for six years. We spoke about the renewal of the alliance between the States and the Most Christian. I discovered that they are jealous about it here and do not want it settled. We may therefore fear that he has been working actively against it while he has been at the Hague, especially as he went there about the proposals for a truce. He asked me if your Serenity was having levies raised in Holland, because it was rumoured so. I could not tell him anything because I have no advice of it. I told him that during my service there I had occasion to treat with many colonels, but their terms were too high, and it was not worth doing except in case of great necessity.
When M. de Castelnovo was here, among other things for the queen's service he proposed that they should have a Catholic physician from France. He achieved as little success in this as in the rest. However, when at Paris he had one sent over, but no sooner had he arrived than the king refused him. (fn. 2) The Ambassador Fontane laboured to have him accepted, especially as he had been sent in the name of the queen mother, so as to authenticate his mission and almost compel the king not to refuse him. However, as this matter was initiated by Castelnovo and the queen managed it, Fontane has followed the same course as the queen, so as not to commit himself, because he suspects that Castelnovo wanted to do him harm by sending him here to a business that was incomplete. The queen has shown little enthusiasm on the subject, while the king took offence when spoken to about it, saying that the French want to force his hand, that Castelnovo is asking for more than was promised, he had always refused and always would. They have dealt so severely with the matter that after the refusal they asked that he might pay his respects to the queen, but so far have not been able to obtain it. To-morrow the ambassador is sending a courier to the Court on this subject. I think it fortunate that Fontane has taken offence with Castelnovo, because he lays the blame of this refusal upon him, otherwise he might foment the quarrels between the two crowns. My own belief is that Castlenovo deliberately had this man sent here, and intended to use the refusal as an argument to support his contentions that England does not wish for union with France either in their plans or in trifling courtesies. I am informing the Ambassador Contarini so that he may be able to countermine.
I have the ducal missives of the 3rd and 10th inst.
London, the 31st May, 1630.
Postscript.—As I was about to seal up this despatch the French ambassador came to see me and said that they had certain information at Court of the capture of Chambery and that the king was in Savoy in person, erecting forts about Momigliano. He read me an extract from a letter, which also stated that Casale and Mantua were in danger. I made due representations to him about this, but he had nothing to say except that we must take it that the cardinal is not operating at haphazard, and that he will provide for everything.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 John Wandesford, who succeeded Thomas Potton. He received his final instructions at a meeting held on the 7th April. S.P. Foreign, Archives, Levant Co. Court Book.
2 His name is given as the Sieur de Poix in Fontenay's despatch to Richelieu of the 2nd June. He arrived in England on the 10th May. Pub. Record Office, Paris Transcripts.