Venice
January 1632

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1919

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573-583

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'Venice: January 1632 ', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice: Volume 22, 1629-1632 (1919), pp. 573-583. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89291 Date accessed: 21 August 2014.


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January 1632

1632.
Jan. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
752. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
News has come from Leghorn that the Sultan has forbidden the sale of grain to anyone without his express permission, and they say that some ships which were going to the Archipelago to buy it have been seized. The decree is attributed publicly to your Serenity. The mart here is much disturbed because they profit greatly by this trade, while Venice will benefit. They also write from Leghorn that the loss of the English ships wrecked off Piombino will amount to more than 20,000 crowns, without counting the ships.
Florence, the 3rd January, 1631 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Jan. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
753. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Prince Palatine has decided to go to the King of Sweden, and is all ready to start. He is waiting for one of his gentlemen of the Slavata family, (fn. 1) as well as for Carleton, who is daily expected from England. He will go unarmed, as England is unwilling to give him any support. He will take forty or fifty gentlemen and officers in his suite. The Prince of Orange and the States approve of his decision. They would have liked some decided resolution from England, to which they would have added their co-operation.
The Hague, the 5th January, 1631.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
754. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The courier sent by Ven brought the most pressing instances and the most outspoken demands of the King of Sweden about the conquest of the Palatinate. These were for a prompt payment of 250,000 ducats, of 50,000 ducats a month until the spring, and then, instead of this contribution, to send 10,000 men and supply their pay until the end of the war. Ven adds his own remarks about the king being determined not to bind himself to any restitution of the Palatinate without this assistance. He is marching in that direction with every indication that he will conquer it. The king has had long discussions about this with the most intimate members of his Council, and several Councils have also been held, at which his Majesty has always been present, as being the most arduous and pressing business that could occur in the shortness of money and the abundance of disorders, which block the surest and most obvious ways for the provision, the king's purse not being nearly long enough, while that of the people is closed by civil dissensions. They have indeed talked of convoking parliament, but it has been rather a vague general idea, based upon the necessity of the present case, than the view of those of the government, who direct affairs. These have not openly opposed the idea, but in secret, rather than encourage the king's inclination, they have tried to turn him away from it, and his Majesty has finally declared that he does not wish it on any account. Against those who proposed it, indeed, he expressed himself with much feeling, saying that such a suggestion was derogatory to his authority, and was equally remote from giving him satisfaction. It was very necessary to think about help for the King of Sweden, but not by such means. Any other would prove more opportune, if not more easy, and he hoped they would find the means of supplying it to him without opening the gates to fresh scandals (che tale apertura derogava alla sua autorita non meno di quello si allontanose delle sue sodisfattioni, che di pensar agli aiuti del Re di Suetia era ben necessario, ma non con tal mezzo, che ogni altro sarebbe riuscito piu opportuno se non piu facile e che sperava dover trovar modo di poterglieli somministrare senza aprire la porta a novi scandoli).
The first suggestion made for raising money was to have a general request made in all the churches. This was not adopted because they feared the method was too abject, although the intent would easily have been realised, the generality being very well disposed towards the interests of the Princess Palatine. The other plan, which is now under discussion, is to withhold the pensions which the king pays to individuals and even impose some charge on the expenses of the Court. This cannot be done without a great commotion and hurt to many. Thus everything remains in suspense and nothing is done. It is necessary to do something, but it cannot be prompt. If they are so long about coming to a decision it is thought that the opportunity will slip away, because the King of Sweden continues to progress ever more rapidly. We hear by the last advices that after crossing the Rhine he has taken possession of Mayence, Oppenheim, Bein and Bacarac in the Palatinate. It is considered quite certain that by this time Heidelberg will have surrendered, because the slight resistance offered by the garrison of Oppenheim was avenged by the 2,000 Spaniards who formed it being put to the sword. Thus only Francandal and Craisnac remain in the hands of the Spaniards.
This news, which has come from many quarters, has been confirmed by the courier of Venice, who arrived yesterday. He also brings word of the defeat of Thefembac, who fought a portion of the army of Saxony commanded by the Count della Torre in Bohemia, when he had gone to succour Buduiz. It is stated that this defeat was much more bloody than that of Leipsig, Thefembac himself being among the slain. He adds that the Spanish party is so disheartened that even those who have their interests most at heart seem very tepid about hastening to their assistance. Thus his imperial Majesty having requested the states of Austria themselves for prompt succour in money, they asked for several days to make up their minds. It is thought that their decision will not be of much use even if it is favourable, and this is very doubtful, because all their hopes of escaping utter ruin depended upon the promptitude of the succour. It is also stated that a universal dejection has arisen from the loss of the states, and that the emperor himself has withdrawn to Graz. This has been stated before and it is only now that it obtains credence. They are preparing succours in Flanders, but these either will not be considerable or they will prove of little use, because the King of Sweden can easily prevent their passage. In Germany itself they can promise themselves but little, because even if money is supplied to them, the king, by occupying so much country, with the applause that usually accompanies such glorious successes, deprives them of the means of raising troops, because all go to serve under the victorious standards.
The approach of the Most Christian to those frontiers for the enterprise of Moyenich, which we hear is already stormed, does not pass without exciting the impression that it may be followed up by some other designs, and it is thought that the most likely thing will be to obviate so far as possible any hurt which the Catholic faith might suffer. That is the way they talk about it here, and I have it from my intimates that the king and ministers flatter themselves with the belief if the Palatinate falls into the hands of the King of Sweden he will have to hand it over to the Palatine in any case, even without assistance from here. But what they fear most is that the French will oppose, and if the Duke of Bavaria happens to be chosen King of the Romans he may try to add to the portion which he holds that which is at present in the hands of the Spaniards, giving the King of Sweden the kingdom of Bohemia with some other portion as well, as a recompense for his expenses and risks. There is also an idea that the Most Christian himself has designs on the imperial Crown. Scaglia was the first to put this idea abroad here, with the object of stirring up still more the jealousy between the two nations; but I have since seen letters from other parts, which have been shown to me in confidence, which made mention of it. I have thought it right to add this particular to these presents because it may serve for purposes of comparison, as I know that so far it lacks better grounds. The Dutch ambassador informed me that the Spaniards, being anxious about what England might do under these circumstances for the Palatine, had artfully made this reach the Hague.
The painter Rubens announced at Brussels that he was going to arrange the truce, but when he arrived at the Hague with a passport granted to him two years ago, and addressed himself to the Prince of Orange only, he took him severely to task for the temerity he had shown, protesting that if he did not leave at once he would have him arrested as a prisoner of war, because his passport was invalid, especially for such a purpose. Accordingly Rubens returned with more fear than he had come with confidence, and he certainly deserved more severe treatment.
The gentleman expected from the queen mother has arrived, but the report of her coming does not increase, indeed it has rather died away. The French ambassador spoke about it to the king, who assured him that the gentleman was merely sent in response to the visit paid by Balfurt. They feel sorry for that princess, though they do not excuse her, because at present she is in such straits that she does not know where to turn, and she cannot remain where she is now, in any peace of mind. They gather from what the resident of Spain here says that she will find it necessary to withdraw from those parts. They hear no news whatever of her making any accommodation with France, although one with Monsieur is not represented as very difficult or remote.
The Duke of Vendome set out two days ago on his return to France. It is not thought that he will go to the Court, but that he will await the king's pleasure at his house. Here he had every satisfaction that they could afford him, receiving a cordial welcome without the inconvenience of expense. The king intended to give him some present when he left, but through some defect of liberality it was not ready in time, before he left, and so they had to send it after him. It was a diamond worth 6,000 ducats. Scaglia still remains here, and although he is not transacting anything yet his ideas are suspect, and persons of proper sentiments either wish that he had not come or that he would go away very soon. By the last letters from Spain the agent of this king there writes that they have come to the decision to form a powerful force and that the king himself will assist it with the intention of going straight to attack France. This news is neither approved nor believed. The French ambassador told me that the king himself finds it more full of vanity than probable. The Lord Treasurer, however, stands by it and says that his Majesty will be obliged to believe it in a few days.
I have your Serenity's letters of the 28th and 29th November and the 4th ult. With respect to what those of the 29th tell me about the Duke of Rohan going to the Grisons, I may state that both M. de Soubise, his brother, and the French ambassador have spoken to me about it very confidentially. Both of them seemed to suppose that his departure had taken place with the entire assent of your Serenity. I will now try to make an opportunity in order to disabuse them of this idea.
London, the 9th January, 1631 [M.V.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Svizzeri. Venetian Archives.
755. MODERANTE SCARAMELLI, Venetian Secretary with the Swiss, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The resident maintained at Zurich by England has left for that court by permission with the purpose of seeking better fortune in souvenirs than he could obtain from the four Protestant Swiss towns and the Genevese for the Palatine now that the time for the recovery of his state draws nigh; although personally, I do not believe that it will ever amount to much.
Baden, the 10th January, 1632.
[Italian.]
Jan. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
756. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Slavata is momentarily expected here from the Swedish camp. When he arrives the Palatine will determine the time of his start. The Ambassador Camerarius, who is now with the king, maintains that he has been delayed much longer than was proper by the very cold offices of England.
The Hague, the 12th January, 1631 [M.V.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
757. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
In the matter of the Palatinate, England, who ought to speak, as being deeply interested, continues steeped in the lethargy of voluntary deception. Wake remains here sucking (bevendo) tobacco, instead of acting; but I know as a fact that this poor minister, who seems well enough disposed himself, has had no letters from his king or from any minister since the 30th November last. The Palatine, who ought by now to be with the King of Sweden, remains at the Hague, and if he takes no other means than those of England he will be left without dominions or reputation.
Metz, the 14th January, 1632.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
758. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador designate to England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have handed over my charge to my successor, and have come here to take ship to England, to which the crossing is more perilous than usual, owing to pirates and the season. My leave taking was most honourable. The Prince of Orange came to see me and told me of the reasons for sending Vosberg to France. They were also sending to England to awaken that king if possible from his pernicious lethargy.
The Prince Palatine also honoured this embassy with a visit. He told me of the arrival a few hours before of the gentleman sent by him to England. He said he brought the king's approval, but no help for his decision to join the Swedish army in Germany. He did not despair, after he had departed about the end of next week, that England would come to some more vigorous decisions about him, especially as the king wrote that he had directed Ven, his minister with the King of Sweden, to contract a very close alliance, offering to contribute 100,000 florins a month to the Swedish forces, once the agreement was concluded, in order to make more certain of the conquest of the Palatinate.
The port of the Meuse outside Rotterdam, the 18th January, 1631 [M.V.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
759. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They maintain that the departure of Anstruther's secretary from Vienna in company with the Capuchin Alessandro d'Ales was arranged with Echembergh and the Spanish ambassador so that the King of England, to obtain some advantage for the Palatine, may constitute himself mediator of the peace between the emperor and Sweden. I know that Anstruther is very fond of such operations, and Soranzo writes that the Capuchin was sent to act as a counterpoise to his secretary; so it is clear that they aim at rendering the offices of the English for the Palatine useless.
The Palatine's agent has spoken to the cardinal and the ministers to prevent Breze's negotiations hurting his master. They gave him every assurance, but I am afraid he will find himself deceived. England does a great wrong in not speaking for him. The ambassador tries hard to say something, but he cannot be explicit for fear of acting against the intentions of his king. A gentleman from England went through recently on his way to the King of Sweden, but he brought no letters for Wake or anyone else. It was merely announced that England would contribute money to the King of Sweden, and Burlamachi, who is here about the queen's dowry, told me that his house was really asked to make some provision for Germany.
Metz, the 19th January, 1632.
[Italian.]
Jan. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
760. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They have chosen the Syndic of Delft to go to England with the title of Deputy. (fn. 2) He is ostensibly sent about the Amboyna affair and shipping, but really to co-operate with the Ambassador Joachim in exhorting that Crown to help the public cause. They have some hope of good from England here because they understand that negotiations for a league have been opened with Sweden, and that they will proceed with them.
The Palatine has received permission from the King of England to go unarmed to the Swedish army. This has relieved him greatly, as he has been very anxious these last days, fearing that his decision might displease England. He will start next week and may not wait for Slavata.
An eighth son was born to him on the 14th. (fn. 3) He at once sent word to this embassy.
The Hague, the 19th January, 1631 [M.V.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
761. GIOVANNI CAPPELLO, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Consul Marini of Smyrna advises me of the presence of the berton Boneri at Scios where it experienced much extortion from the Bey and Cadi. A strong order had arrived there from the king, it is believed at the suggestion of Jews, for an imposition of some 10 reals on every bundle (cola) of silk, 13 on finished silk and 5 per pound on bunches of raw silk, and for the French, English, Venetian and Flemish nations to render account for the silk bought by them respectively for the last two years and sent to their countries. The ministers met at the English consul's who stood upon his capitulations, which provide that if they pay 3 per cent. duty no one soever can molest them. In spite of this he had to spend a lot of money for having the capitulations reviewed and noted, 40 days being allowed for the purpose. The consul reports that the interests of the French and English are very great as they have exported thousands of bales these last two years. I shall wait to hear the event. So far the English ambassador has not said a word to me on the subject.
The Vigne of Pera, the 21st January, 1631 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Jan. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra Venetian Archives.
762. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
From the last despatch of Sir Henry Ven it seems that the report of Thefenbac's defeat appears to have toned down, although the authenticity of the news is not absolutely denied. That minister is more urgent than ever for some resolutions upon the demands of the King of Sweden. Here they respond very slowly because the impediments are practically insuperable. Although by the last courier sent back to him they expressed their intention to supply a considerable assistance, no sign of the fulfilment of this has appeared as yet. Their real object was to ward off the anger of that king by such hopes so as not to prejudice the interests of the Palatine, now that monarch has it in his power to benefit him. To give satisfaction to the people here, which cries out against the government, it was announced that they had amassed 100,000l. sterling by handing over to merchants for a yearly rent the duty on wine, which is money set apart for the king's private purse. By this announcement they have satisfied the majority, which is less able to detect artifices and is accustomed to prove the more violent. They are trying to silence the others by authority rather than by reason.
A gentleman arrived recently from the Palatine bringing the news of the birth of another son to that prince. The prince himself announces that he is about to leave Holland in a very few days, to go towards the King of Sweden, and that the States have allowed him an escort of 2,000 horse. He is to pay these himself, as he has decided to make use of the money he has collected these last years by his economies with the idea of making some provision for his numerous but unfortunate family. When speaking with the ministers about these movements, it seems to me that they may not serve them badly, as in this way they withdraw that rigorous prohibition which they made before under the pretext that they were waiting for favourable replies with the return of the courier who was sent to Spain. In conformity with this consent they have made known to the agent of the Catholic that the courier in question is bound to arrive late, and present circumstances do not allow of any further delay. By this declaration the Lords of the Council here imagine that they have corrected all their mistakes, and repaired all the mischief done by the past negotiations, as if the world was not able to form a more correct judgment of all their conduct in this affair.
News of the progress of the King of Sweden is late in arriving, because no letters are coming from those parts just now. It has been believed for some days that he has laid siege to Frankenthal, and even that he has taken it by assault, with the loss of more than 4,000 of his men. But yesterday it was announced that the Spaniards have greatly improved in numbers, in fortifications and munitions, so the king is not thinking at present of attacking them, but only proposes to reduce them to the necessity of surrender by capturing all the places which give access to it. Some say that the approach of the Most Christian made him somewhat jealous,not only because he might wish to defend the ecclesiastical electors, but because he might wish to defend the ecclesiastical electors, but because he might claim to share the spoil, and it is already thought that he has decided to attack Agneau.
The reports of the queen mother coming to this kingdom have entirely died away, and with them the fears of the Court, to which this visit would prove one of the heaviest burdens that could come just now. However, M. de Biscara, her secretary, remains here, and M. de Valenze is also here incognito, both of them conducting confidential negotiations with Scaglia, who keeps putting off his departure under various beggarly pretexts. It was recently announced that he would return to Spain, and every one thought it was for his own private ends, because he was by no means pleased to see the French having so much influence with his master, of whom he is not sure, although he fears the cardinal prince more. But to-day I have been told that he thinks of going straight to Piedmont, without touching Flanders as he originally intended.
Your Serenity's letters of the 26th ult. reached me to-day. The despatches of the 12th and 19th are missing and have probably gone astray on their way through the Palatinate. I have done as I was instructed about the going of the Duke of Rohan to the Grisons, both with the French ambassador and with the Count of Soubise. I have shown no little passion in the matter in justifying the operations of your Excellencies.
The Ambassador Gussoni arrived in this kingdom yesterday. He is still staying at Gravesend because he is bound by custom to await the arrangements for his entry. So far as is possible I will try to secure that his reception shall be such as befits the dignity of his charge and the respect due to the greatness of the state.
London, the 23rd January, 1631 [M.V.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
763. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Palatine left to-day to join the King [of Sweden] at Mayence. He left in high spirits, having heard from Slavata that his subjects were eager for his rule. He takes with him over 100,000 crowns saved from his allowance from England. He told me that he hoped for help in arms and money from that quarter. Before going to Mayence he will see his sons, who are studying at Leyden. His little son was christened on the 23rd, with the name of Gustavus, in honour of his benefactor.
The Hague, the 26th January, 1631 [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Jan. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
764. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Palatine has reached Wesel and is supposed to be with the Swedish army by now. They are expecting the resolutions of England after the news of his leaving the Hague. Wen, the English ambassador in Sweden, has sent a secretary here, Wake says, to assure him that that king will not make any accommodation without including the interests of the Palatine. These two ministers do their utmost to take a conspicuous part in this affair and uphold the dignity of their master, but I know for certain that the secretary came to observe the resolutions to be taken back by Chiarnesei and also to try and raise some money through Burlamachi for the domestic needs of his master. In fine these poor English grow giddy because the principles of their government are corrupt. (In sostanza questi poveri Inglesi vanno con il capo a torno perche i consigli di chi li governa sono contaminati.)
Metz, the 27th January, 1632.
[Italian.]
Jan. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
765. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The entry of the Ambassador Gussoni is fixed for Monday next. He has come from Gravesend to Greenwich, a more convenient place for such a long stay. This delay, in the absence of the king, who will return here from the pleasures of the chase, has merely occurred to make it possible to procure for so worthy a minister such testimony of esteem and honour as is proper, and as I hope he will receive. I enclose letters from his Excellency and I only send my own to show my careful application, not because I have material worthy of your notice, because here, as usual, they cling fast to their aim not to apply themselves to foreign affairs which may disturb the quiet of this kingdom. I beg your Excellencies to forgive the brevity of this despatch for this reason.
M. Biscara, secretary of the queen mother, is on the point of leaving. He has received a definite answer upon his negotiations. Yet the Treasurer would not make any special statement about them to the French ambassador, but merely assured him that Biscara does not take back anything to turn to the prejudice or dissatisfaction of the Most Christian. He spoke in the most fulsome terms of the king's great esteem for his Majesty and of the good relations which he hoped would always endure, showing in particular how much they were gratified by the last declaration of France that they would not agree to any composition with Lorraine, which did not oblige him, as he has done, to withdraw his troops from the Palatinate. But in spite of all these appearances they still have lively suspicions that the Most Christian may thwart anything to the advantage of the Palatine, for reasons which I have reported, although since the despatch of Vosbergh from Holland to that king (fn. 4) their hopes have revived that those negotiations may be built upon foundations which will serve for the support of the Palatine. It is supposed here that that prince has already gone and they are waiting for more certain information here.
Authentic news about the King of Sweden is still scarce. The French ambassador told me that there is some idea abroad that an arrangement will be made between his master and that king, that the former will remain for the preservation of the Palatinate, while the latter goes to Bohemia to consolidate his conquests and to make himself master of the rest of that kingdom. It is stated that in Germany, after Cæsar had repeated his urgent requests in every quarter to obtain provision for the preservation of the empire, Valestein condescended to bind himself for three months to defend the hereditary dominions of the House of Austria alone. There is no great certainty about anything, and confirmation is awaited. Ven does not write, although the most authentic information should come from him. Anstruther, after trying every means in vain, is doing his utmost to obtain leave to return home. It is thought that this will not be delayed, because the evidence of facts has awakened them here to a realisation of the insubstantiality and feebleness of the promises of the Austrians with respect to those negotiations.
The assistance of 100,000l. sterling which was talked of for Sweden seems based on ever feebler hopes. Many believe that some amount has been already despatched, but in my efforts to discover the truth I have found that no ready money has left the kingdom, and no remittances have been made by merchants, so one is forced to the conclusion that nothing has been done as yet, and there is every appearance that they have no intention of carrying this plan into effect even in the future, since the ministers here say extremely little about those affairs, and those who see the present constitution and weakness of the government here well know how impossible it is to do anything.
Scaglia has not gone yet. About his journey I have nothing to add to what I wrote in my last despatch.
London, the 30th January, 1631 [M.V.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
766. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
My intention to proceed to England at the earliest opportunity was not frustrated. The worst danger was meeting a strong squadron of powerful pirate ships, far stronger than my escort. By good fortune and putting on all sail we got away from what looked like an inevitable conflict, and at length I reached Gravesend. I sent to inform Soranzo of my arrival and I am staying here to allow time for the preparations for my state entry next Monday. His Excellency has done everything possible that this shall take place with all decorum and splendour.
Greenwich, the 30th January, 1631 [M.V.].
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Count William Slavata, a Bohemian refugee, who had been sent to Gustavus Adolphus.
2 Govert, Brassert.
3 Gustavus Adolphus.
4 Gaspar van Vosberghen. See Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, vol. i, page 1249.