Venice
March 1633

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1921

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79-88

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'Venice: March 1633', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 23: 1632-1636 (1921), pp. 79-88. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89332 Date accessed: 21 August 2014.


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March 1633

March 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
118. Michel Zon, Venetian Secretary in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador had his first audience of the king and queen at St. Germains last Saturday. It passed in the offices usual on such occasions, to introduce himself to his charge.
Paris, the 1st March, 1633.
[Italian.]
March 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
119. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
I offered condolences to the Princess Palatine, in your Serenity's name, on the death of her husband. She thanked your Serenity, said she had felt the loss most severely, but it was necessary to bear such blows with patience, and so forth.
Anstruther has gone from Bolduch towards Liege and is supposed to have reached the Palatinate by now. He would not wait for the passport he asked from the Infanta, to avoid delay.
The Hague, the 3rd March, 1633.
[Italian.]
March 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
120. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In spite of the utmost vigilance on the part of the French minister here, the Sieur di Santa Croce, gentleman of the queen mother and Monsieur, continues his instances and proposals, although without any results as yet. Everyone has noticed the numerous audiences he has had, sometimes with the king and sometimes with the queen. It is stated on good authority that after various fruitless attempts, he has in these last days made the most earnest request for the grant of some fleet of ships of this kingdom. From this Fontane concluded from what he intimated to me recently, that the plan was probably for some understanding designed against the coast or ports of France. He remarked to me that the Spaniards leave no stone unturned to keep up and quicken disturbance in France. He repeated what he has several times told me before, that he is in possession of so much at present with respect to the king's good will and the disposition of the ministers, that he is perfectly confident that they will absolutely refuse these instances. Accordingly he asserts that this gentleman will very soon have to go away without arranging anything.
I gathered much the same from an interview I happened to have with one of the Lords of the Council, and it was also confirmed incidentally in a conversation with the Lord Treasurer, when I went, as did the other foreign ministers, to congratulate him on his new dignity. This was conferred on him by his Majesty at a stately public ceremony, when the king with his own hands girded him with a mantle and with a sword at his side these being the insignia of an earl, a rank of the most highly prized pre-eminence in this kingdom, although enjoyed without possessing an earldom or any sovereign jurisdiction. (fn. 1) I told him I was sure your Excellencies would be glad to hear of this new testimony from his Majesty of appreciation of his great merits, and by similar remarks I tried to confirm the great friendship which he professes towards your Excellencies. He thanked me copiously, professing himself a servant of the republic, as well for the honours to his son. An express courier had reached him a few hours before from France from this son, and he did me the honour of reading me a paragraph from the letter, which contained the news of the arrest of the Garde des Sceaux and of the flight of Altariva, his brother. (fn. 2) He went on to say that the French made liberal promises to England of co-operation for the interests of the Palatine. If they really meant this seriously, the means were readier to their hands through the negotiations of Fishiers, and with the additional transactions in progress for the possession of the fortresses in Alsace. They have a great opportunity for laying this crown under an obligation, and in the last commissions to his son, who wrote that he had already had his first audience of the Most Christian, his Majesty charged him to repeat his offices and representations upon this matter in the strongest possible manner, both with the king and the ministers. He told me further that his son had orders to remain in France or to leave according as he found the French disposed to set on foot some satisfactory provision for the affair in question at that Court or in this one.
The eldest son of the Chancellor Oxesterna has arrived at this Court, accompanied by many Swedish gentlemen. Although, so far as I can see as yet, he keeps himself somewhat private, to all appearance, yet many have an idea that he may have some private commission apart. It may be that he has come to survey the land and possibly perform some office about the affairs of Germany, since there is no one here to represent Sweden. He has seen the king, being introduced by the Marquis of Hamilton. His Majesty gave him a very cordial welcome, out of regard for his father, and has got the officials of the Court to entertain him several times. He is calling on all the ministers, and had a long interview with the Lord Treasurer. The Earl of Carlisle and some other Lords of the Council have been to his house to pay their respects. He is established in the quarters occupied by the Polish ambassador a few days ago. I have entertained him to a banquet with all his suite, as it had come to my ears that he intended to come, as he did, at the dinner hour. From his conversation with me it appears that he has some orders, not to negotiate, but rather to find out the intentions of the king and the spirit that animates each of the ministers with regard to present circumstances in Germany. He told me that he had not conducted any negotiations in France beyond obtaining from Cardinal Richelieu some 80,000 francs, which remained to be paid under the terms of the alliance with Sweden. He spoke of the resolute determination among all the leading men of his country to pursue the enterprise they had begun. He added that his father would always keep up a close union with Saxony in particular, and among the Princes of Germany they could not find a leader of greater strength and reputation than that Elector.
Two days ago they sent fresh orders to the Ambassador Anstruther not to tarry any longer in Holland. At the same time they sent him a great bundle of letters, to be consigned to each of the Princes of Germany.
The royal decree about building two warships has been renewed. They wish to increase the number of some forty five which the king has, many of which they say, could hardly be patched up enough to be of any use in case of need, owing to the bad state they are in.
The French ambassador announces his departure, his secretary being left here until his successor is despatched. He apologises for being unable to accompany his Majesty on his journey to Scotland. The Dutch ambassador has gone already, a mere deputy remaining here until his return. Accordingly before very long your Serenity's minister will be the only one left at this Court with the rank of ambassador.
A considerable number of the inhabitants here have suffered serious loss through a sudden and lamentable fire. The flames spread with incredible speed and have devastated for a great space various houses and shops on the great bridge of this city, involving a great loss of property. (fn. 3)
Only one despatch from Italy, of the 22nd January, has arrived in the kingdom this week. The preceding one of the 14th is very much behind ; they hope it will come together with the others.
London, the 4th March, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
121. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has called expressing his condolences for my illness. He also expressed his indebtedness for the honours shown him by the republic. I shall not fail to respond suitably.
Paris, the 4th March, 1633.
[Italian.]
March 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
122. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Colbergh, the gentleman of Duke Louis, called the Administrator of the Palatinate, came to see me yesterday, by command of the Princess Palatine. He is momentarily expecting the answer of the States, and will then go on to England to perform the same offices as he has here.
According to the Ambassador Camerarius the Swedes are willing to restore the Palatinate and hand it over to England, provided that troops sufficient for its defence are stationed there ; but thev wish to retain Mannheim.
The Hague, the 10th March, 1633.
[Italian.]
March 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghiiterra. Venetian Archives.
123. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Unforeseen by the Court and quite unexpected by the Ambassador Fontane a despatch came the day before yesterday with the arrival of the Sieur di Mussoleins, a gentleman sent with special diligence to the king here by the Most Christian. He has not set forth his commissions yet and people already make various comments upon them. It is certain that the French are more apprehensive than ever about the continued offices and manœuvres of Monsieur with this crown. The Sieur di Santa Croce has recently been working very hard to obtain some grant of armed warships and some levies of Irish regiments, with the assistance of some members of the government, to win the king's consent ; but in spite of all they can do the king is unwilling to give this so far as one can see. This gives great satisfaction in France, and at the same time the French do everything in their power to prevent Monsieur getting any support from this side. To this end they try to increase more than ever their union and understanding with this kingdom. They pursue their intent with the Lord Treasurer as well as the king, conciliating his Majesty's good will by their offers with respect to the Palatinate, and the Treasurer by the cordial welcome extended to his son, who still remains at that Court. Many are of opinion that the despatch of the gentleman in question is intended with this object, since further particulars about his negotiations come out every day.
Meanwhile the news of the arrest of Sciateoneuf, the Garde des Sceaux, suspected, so they whisper, of an understanding with Monsieur and the queen mother, provides still further material for discussion among the ministers here. They talk a great deal about the connections and the party formed by him, very splendidly, with various supporters, when he was at this Court on his last recent embassy. At that time the Chevalier di Giarsin, (fn. 4) his confidant, and now a prisoner also, engaged in some sort of intrigue, which proved a vain chimera in the end, to discredit Fontane in France and the Treasurer in England, so that he might enter into the place of the former, with Sciateoneuf's assistance, and raise the Earl of Holland to the position of the latter, through the influence of the queen. Thus both Sciateoneuf and Giarsin are quite well known here, and for the reasons indicated the Lord Treasurer in particular has little love for them. The Sieur di Mussoleins has express orders to make some statement about the arrest of these two to the Court here.
The son of the Chancellor Oxestern stays on here. The king entertains and favours him ever more and more, with invitations to dances, hunting and divers pleasures of the town and country. By such entertainment they aim at sending him away content, but he intimates that when he returns to his father, as he is to do, he would like to be able to report a declaration and something substantial in the way of assistance from this quarter for the affairs of Germany. The Ambassador Anstruther has already set out for that country, having left Holland, and presses strongly for a provision of money in letters of exchange, asserting that with this alone will he be able to push his negotiations with the princes, and second the more speedily the very considerate promises and good intentions which he writes he has been able to obtain from his meetings and discussions with the Dutch. The presence of Sciarnasse, a French minister, in that country arouses rather more than ordinary interest here to see what success he may have in his efforts to prevent the treaties.
Some considerable disturbance is said to have occurred these last days between the leading lords of Scotland ; but with the orders already sent, no one doubts but that it will all calm down very quickly, when the king goes to those parts, as is now definitely settled.
The despatch of the 14th January has come at last together with that of the 28th. They arrived together in the present week.
London, the 11th March, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
124. Pier Antonio Marioni, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Vessels from Flanders and England arrive at Leghorn every week, but that mart may be said to be in ruins because of the plague, and many claim exemption and privileges to escape molestation by their creditors.
Florence, the 12th March, 1633.
[Italian.]
March 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
125. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador extraordinary of England went to take leave of his Majesty yesterday, as he is to depart in a few days.
Paris, the 15th March, 1633.
[Italian.]
March 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
126. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The gentleman of the Landgrave of Hesse has returned and again applied for succour. He also brought his prince's consent for the Princess Palatine to levy two regiments for her service, offering all his army if her interests require it. She praises the Prince of Orange, who is beginning to do something, but is very dissatisfied with the slowness of England. Anstruther has never written since his departure and she has known nothing of the intentions of the king, her brother, for a long time. He wrote that she should learn them from a gentleman, who was coming with many despatches.
The Hague, the 17th March, 1633.
[Italian.]
March 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
127. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
There is no sign of anything being definitely arranged with respect to the negotiations carried on at this Court on behalf of Monsieur and the queen mother, and it is not expected, although they are more persistent and solicitous than ever with their offices and instances. On the other side Fontane has frequent meetings and audiences with the ministers here and with the Lord Treasurer, and labours with all his might to prevent any leaning that way or any support.
There is a great deal of talk about the designs and resolutions of Monsieur, it being stated that he either has or seems to have some idea of proceeding to Spain. The English Resident Gerbier writes from Flanders that he has tried to dissuade him from taking any such journey. He indicates that if this happens, and there is some sign of it in whispers of the preparation of ships at Dunkirk, he thought it a certainty that in such case he would pass to this kingdom first under the pretext of taking the opportunity of seeing his sister beforehand. The members of the government here, in the familiarity of their private conversation, say very freely that his coming here would be a gratuitous act of folly, both from the offence to France and because this crown can derive no advantage from mixing in any way in an affair of this character. With respect to France they say that England cannot do more about it than she is actually doing in keeping all invitations and inducements at arms' length. Yet they state that if, in spite of everything, he is determined to come to this kingdom, they cannot refuse him, hospitality for such time as he proposes to stay, on his way to wherever he means to go. Such seems to be the present position of these affairs ; but Fontane is not altogether satisfied, and presses hard for some form of absolute exclusion, though, so far as one can see, the ministers here do not take it in very good part.
They have sent to the Ambassador Weston the royal commissions for taking leave of his charge in France. The Lords here are awaiting his return to obtain fuller information from his lips of what the French really mean to offer in fulfilment of their promises and offers to co-operate for the interests of the Palatinate.
Mussoleins, gentleman of the Most Christian and captain of a regiment of the guard in Piedmont, has had no audience since his first, which was merely complimentary on his Majesty's recovered health. He also told him of the arrest of the Garde des Sceaux and of the Chevalier di Giar, as persons very well known at this Court.
The young Oxestern still remains here. Before he leaves he would like to take away something more satisfactory than what he calls their unsubstantial and tardy resolutions for the affairs of Germany. He has published news which has reached him of a considerable defeat inflicted on the troops of Bavaria by the Swedish forces. When some of the ministers here reported this to me it gave me an opportunity for confidential conversation, and to hint with due circumspection, in the manner suggested to me by the state despatches of the 14th of January, at the reasons which should lead them to clear away anything that delays the generous resolutions which they profess they mean to carry into effect for the honour and interests of this crown no less than the assistance due to the public cause. From the conversations I had I was able to see quite well that they think they have done a great deal here by the despatch of the Ambassador Anstruther and the commissions entrusted to him, and also with respect to effective contributions ; Anstruther presses for these in his letters, but they are not above seizing upon pretexts which will serve to gain them time.
The favour accorded to the English merchant Hyder by the order to restore to him the chest detained at Zante has given satisfaction to the Treasurer, he has shown this by his warm thanks and the order for his son when he shall have arrived in this city.
With respect to the matter between the Most Christian minister at Constantinople and your Serenity's Bailo, I will act in conformity with the wishes of the state ; and I will also perform the offices of condolence about the Palatine's death, in accordance with the instructions of the 14th of January and the 10th of February.
On the night of Tuesday last, the end of the carnival according to their reckoning here, the queen produced her masque in the public hall, when the king gladly took part in the dancing until near daybreak.
London, the 18th March, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
128. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Colbergh left for England last Monday, having received the reply of the States. He is well informed about German affairs and an old servant of the Palatine House. The Princess here has ordered the levy of two regiments of infantry, paying her own money for this. She has arranged with the gentleman of the Landgrave of Hesse that they shall remain in his service if England does not want to support them.
The Hague, the 24th March, 1633.
[Italian.]
March 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
129. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After M. di Mussoleins had performed jointly with the Ambassador Fontane the complimentary offices for the occasion reported, he took his congé the day before yesterday from this Court He left the same day, having received from the king a diamond worth 1500 crowns. He did not enter upon particulars for any proposals whatsoever about the affairs of the Palatinate, as the ministers here expected and desired, but simply enlarged upon universal considerations, expressing the good intentions of his king to co-operate with this crown in that affair. As for what the Ambassador Weston may bring back, who is expected any day, it seems that the hopes of the members of the government here have grown very cold, so far as one gathers from their conversation, since they declare that nothing has been arranged from the mission and negotiations of Fichiers, the French minister to the Princes of the Union in Germany.
The Bishop of London presses forward with his manœhuvres, which rest on sound foundations, to obtain the charge of the great seal, to the exclusion and ruin of the Lord Keeper, (fn. 5) who is manœuvring in opposition, although he is tottering and everyone whispers that his fall is near.
In reward for his services with the levies which were taken to Germany and ultimately dispersed there, his Majesty has honoured the Marquis of Hamilton by selecting him as one of the Lords of the royal Council. He has also permitted him, to indemnify him for the expenses and loss he incurred, to make a profit in parting with the office he previously held of Master of the Horse. Accordingly the Marquis has sold it to the Earl of Newcastle, they say for the sum of 20,000l. sterling, equivalent to 120,000 ducats.
It seems that the king is not disposed to leave the post of Lord High Admiral of this kingdom vacant any longer. The duties have been discharged by commissioners, while the entire yearly revenues were handed over by the royal assignment to the wife and son of the late Duke of Buckingham, who enjoyed them when alive. Many aspire to the post, but everyone fears and respects the claims, although unexpressed, of the Lord Treasurer. He seems reluctant to declare himself on the subject, possibly with the object, as people think, of receiving the honour from the simple and spontaneous motion of his Majesty.
The king's journey to Scotland for his coronation in the month of May next is not only confirmed, but may be said to be settled irrevocably. A great part of the preparations has already been made, and the money, which matters more than all the rest put together, is also ready. They have sent the necessary orders for opening parliament in that kingdom. This has stirred the people here to a desire to see one summoned in London similarly. But in the present state of affairs this is considered a long way off, since it depends on the will of the king alone, who seems more opposed to it than ever, remembering past events, and fomented by the interests of the more influential ministers. He chooses rather to remain in want of assistance and contributions from his subjects, than to see their parliament assembled.
Santa Croce, the gentleman of the queen mother and Monsieur stays on here, although he took leave when he found that all his efforts and offices were fruitless. I hear on good authority that he is detained by a despatch which reached him from Brussels with orders to remain in this kingdom until further advices about the negotiations of the Count of Mora, sent to Spain also by the queen mother and Monsieur.
The French ambassador has now obtained his leave, with permission to leave his secretary here until his successor is des patched. We do not yet hear of anyone being nominated. He told me he will stay here until the king starts for Scotland, and he will take leave upon that occasion and not before.
Since the departure of the Ambassador Joachimi, of whose return nothing is said as yet, Brasser has had some troublesome interviews with the ministers here about matters of navigation, upon which feeling is growing more bitter than ever.
The last despatches of the Senate are of the 18th of February.
London, the 25th March, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 31.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
130. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Anstruther has sent word here that he was very pleased with his interview with the Administrator. He had gone on to Frankfort, where he had sent some one to the Chancellor Oxisterna to know where he could find him. It does not seem that he is so determined about going to the Diet, now, as was supposed. The Chancellor is not one to trust to words and offers. He will not hand over any place in the Palatinate to England unless he sees something done.
The Hague, the 31st March, 1633.
[Italian.]
March 31.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Zante. Venetian Archives.
131. Zuane Bondumier, Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
I have carried out your Serenity's commands about the restitution of the silk from Messina for Henry Hide, the English merchant here and those accused of smuggling. I may state with due submission that in all my actions I have had no other object except the public and private interests of your subjects here. My actions were supported by justice and duty, especially in this matter when it was a question of taking away the property of the subjects of a foreign prince, the act being justified by the confession of Hide himself by way of Constantinople. So I had no course but to proceed to the sentence of confiscation, while I also punished those who took part in this smuggling. I have now released them, and in my own justification I enclose the process on the subject. I am consoled by the notification that this has been done solely to gratify the ambassador of Great Britain. I have further fulfilled your Serenity's orders by proclaiming a rigorous prohibition of trade in such silk in this place.
Zante, the 31st March, 1633.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Weston was created Earl of Portland on Sunday 17/27 February at Whitehall. Birch Court and Times of Charles I. vol. ii. page 168.
2 Chateauneuf was arrested on 25 Feb. and the Marquis of Hauterive fled to Holland. The news is contained in a dispatch of the agent Augier of 27 Feb. and of Jerome Weston of 28 Feb. S.P. For. France. Vol. 93.
3 The fire broke out on the night of Monday 21 Feb. N.S. and devastated about sixty houses on London Bridge with all the goods in them ; the loss being estimated at £100,000 sterling. Birch Court and Times of Charles I vol. ii. page 167. Salvetti letter of 25 Feb. Brit. Mus. Add MSS. 27962 F.
4 Francois de Rochechouart, Commander de Jars. He was imprisoned in the Bastille ; taken to Troyes where he was condemned to death. reprieved and brought back to the Bastille. For his stay in England, see the preceding Vol. of this Calendar page 527.
5 Thomas Lord Coventry, however, held his office until his death in 1640. The reference is possibly to Sherfield's case, in which Laud and Coventry took different sides. Gardiner Hist. of Eng. vii. pages 255-7.