191. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
The English Agent in his despatches from Brussels to the
ministers here reports that great uneasiness reigns at that
Court owing to the nearness of the armies to their frontiers.
It seems that the Infanta has been advised by her commanders
to give arms even to the peasants for their defence, since
they have discovered, so they write, a plan of the Dutch army
to attack by means of incursions or some other kind of powerful
assault, although they imagine all the same that it will be
more by way of surprise than by the siege of any of those
fortresses, the Spaniards persuading themselves that the season
will hardly permit any enterprise which requires a long siege.
They are waiting here for news of some fresh event in that
direction and they think that this may prove the best means for
upsetting all negotiations for an accomodation and to render
useless the journey of the Duke of Arescot to Spain. This
is confirmed also by the two princes of Chimay, nephews of
that same duke, who are at this Court, cordially welcomed by
the king and entertained by the lords here at banquets, dancing,
hunting and other diversions.
The Deputy Brasser encourages the idea of the determination
of his masters who are very well prepared, so he asserts, and
equally disposed by the incitement of France, not to leave their
armies useless and idle in the present campaign. He has seized
upon this very favourable opportunity to renew his instances for
some reinforcements of the levies of this kingdom for the
service of the States. A little while ago this was refused or
put off, but henceforward he hopes to find things easier and to
obtain it very soon.
The new move of the Most Christian in person towards Lorraine
has attracted the attention and comments of the ministers
here. They believe it is intended as a bridle and strong check
upon that duke in his conduct which seems prejudicial to the
interest of France on the one hand and to those of the princes
of Germany on the other. Some further object is also discussed,
and they believe the idea is revived, which they consider here
more difficult to realise, about the handing over of the fortresses
in Alsace, to which the French aspire.
Whatever deputies and commissioners may be sent on one
side and the other for the new congresses about the universal
peace in Germany, the lords here do not seem inclined to
believe that any conclusion will be either easy or imminent,
although they do not neglect to do what is proper from this
quarter with the king of Denmark. United as he is with the
Palatine house in blood and stirred by representations from this
quarter, they have no doubt but that he will operate in any
case by his intervention for the benefit of the sister and nephew
of the king here. I know on good authority that the Lords of
the Council here have discussed the question of the fortresses
under the government of the Palatine Administrator as not
yet rendered quite safe with their garrisons. Some one spoke
upon the new danger they would be in if the Duke of Feria
succeeds in overcoming the difficulties in his way and safely
brings his troops from Italy into Germany. The Court here
is paying particular attention to the manner and advantages
whereby the passage of those forces into the empire may be
effected, not without fear of the accidents which may arise to
facilitate some other opening for the Austrians in the Lower
The king has taken leave of the queen and will remain away
from her for the space of three weeks, which he wishes to
devote to a new progress of hunting. The Court is scattered
and will not meet again before his Majesty's return. My latest
despatches from the Senate are of the 5th of August.
London, the 2nd September, 1633.
192. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
In praise of the services rendered him in the course of his
embassy at the Hague by the Secretary Vico ; this and Vico's
other employments render him worthy of the munificence of the
State in response to the petition he is about to present.
London, the 2nd September, 1633.
193. To the Ambassador in England.
You did well to pay your respects to the king on his return
from Scotland, and to the queen also. In order that their
Majesties may the better appreciate our esteem and our pleasure
at the success of that journey, you will ask a special leave
and congratulate them both in our name. Your letters of the
5th ult. relate the incident with the Dutch ships. We regret
these occasions for dispute between that crown and the States.
You will do all that you can to preserve friendship and a
good understanding between them, to prevent the evil consequences
which might arise for the States and for the public
cause itself. We shall wait to hear what ensues. Meanwhile
we send you an abstract of the advices which you will use in
Ayes, 96. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
194. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
The Deputy of Holland has aroused great curiosity and
jealously also in the Spanish resident here, who has observed
that recently, in a few days, after unusually frequent negotiations
with the Council he has had many audiences of the
king likewise, even outside this city. For this purpose he
has made hurried journeys after his Majesty into the country,
where he is engaged in his usual hunting. (fn. 1) The motive of
these negotiations, so far as it has transpired, consists in a
favourable declaration which the Dutch are eagerly trying to
obtain for the treatment of their ships in the ports here. As
it is clear that this would prejudice the interests of the Spaniards
very considerably, owing to the consequences to navigation, the
Resident works with all his might to oppose it. But as a
matter of fact the Dutch minister, when he paid me a visit
a short while ago of a merely complimentary character, expressed
great hopes to me in the course of the conversation
of overcoming the difficulties and bringing these negotiations
to a satisfactory conclusion for his masters. Proceeding still
further with his confidences he informed me about the fulfilment
of the orders with which he was expressly charged to
represent to the king the state of affairs in those Provinces
both with respect to the negotiations for an accomodation,
at present further off a conclusion than ever, as he said he
had told his Majesty, and about the decision of the Provinces
to pursue their enterprises with greater advantage owing to
the new reinforcements which have reached them of German
and Swedish cavalry, which notably increase their army. He
repeated more than once that we should very soon hear of some
brave exploit of theirs.
The despatch expected from Anstruther has not yet arrived
from Germany. The ministers here are doubtful about what
the diet of Vratislava may bring forth. They seem to remark
the numerous gathering of deputies both on the part of the
emperor and of the united princes. The Danish minister here,
who remains on, though he has taken leave of his charge,
represents that he is advised that his king will operate very
actively for his interposition for the universal peace in Germany.
The employment of the minister of Poland for the same purpose
is also observed. In spite of this I find that some of the
government who devote the most attention to the affairs of
Germany are all very much agreed in inclining to believe that
little towards a conclusion can be expected from that diet,
at which there are deputies from Bavaria. Of the other three
Electors, as your Excellencies intimate in your letters of the
12th ult. you have heard from Rome, the Lords here have not
heard anything certain as yet. Their curiosity is very keen
as to the way in which these negotiations will proceed ; and
they believe here that they will undergo great changes accord-
to the way in which the fortunes of war favour one side or
the other in the meantime.
The attention of the ministers here is also directed to the
declarations of Lorraine, which are drawing down the forces
of the Most Christian. With the difficulties in the way of the
passage of Feria's army, they are persuaded that the Austrians
will find it even more difficult to help that duke, engaged as he
is between the French and Swedish forces, who are now engaged
in this without a definite agreement according to the general
opinion at this Court.
News has arrived here by way of Marseilles of a fight of
some kind between some English ships and the Turkish fleet.
The Court no less than the mart here are alarmed lest the Turks
may show some resentment against English subjects and merchants. (fn. 2)
They are about to despatch Montegu, son of the earl who
holds his Majesty's privy seal. The character of this person,
who has previously been employed by the king makes it probable
that he is not going without some charge, though no statement
on the subject has been made as yet. It gives rise to a great
deal of discussion which does not succeed in penetrating the
real reason for his departure, as the report which he himself
circulates seems very unlikely, that he is going to Italy, from
his own curiosity. There is an opinion that he takes no commissions
for negotiations at present, but may receive them on
the journey. It has already been scented out that he has letters
from the palace for France and for Savoy, although not in the
capacity of an ambassador or public minister, but only as
an ordinary gentleman of this crown, who has to proceed
from one Court to the other. (fn. 3)
The queen has been overtaken by a serious defluxion which
was so bad that they feared injury to the whole of her right
side. Her arm in particular was greatly affected, so that she
could only use it with the greatest difficulty. She is now
very much better. It seems that the physicians attribute it to
a troublesome pregnancy, and now the time of her delivery is
London, the 9th September, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
195. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
The Court says that Montagu's departure has been arranged
with intent, although they want to give it another aspect. It
is certain that he has to go and not from personal curiosity,
as was stated. Yet it is uncertain if he will have orders from
here for any employment. It is whispered that the Lord
Treasurer has intimated to him that he wishes him to absent
himself whatever else happens, in spite of the dissatisfaction
that the queen herself has all but stated it will cause her.
The Lord Privy Seal also feels it deeply, but he dissimulates
as much as possible, so that he also may not experience some
gale, although he is an old minister in his office. They say
that Montagu may have letters for Savoy, but even if this be
the case he certainly will not take matter for negotiation, but
rather some compliment and he will not have the character either
of ambassador or minister.
They are not yet proceeding to send any ordinary embassies.
The queen here in particular is deeply hurt that they go on
without any minister at Court from her brother, and the opinion
held here is confirmed that there is some mystery about this.
They have heard nothing as yet from her Grand Almoner, who
left for France, of what he has been able to do about the
despatch of Gurron. They would like Anstruther to go to the
Most Christian now, but they do not see how they can take
him away from Germany in the present state of affairs. He
writes thence that he is going to the King of Denmark, with
the idea, on which the ministers here entertain no doubts whatever,
that his offices will meet with the best possible response
from that monarch, particularly for the Palatinate. Amid the
operations for peace which may be progressing, they think it
the more necessary to obtain support because they have such
scant confidence in the Duke of Saxony, who has always shown
a reluctance to make any declaration whatever, more particularly
in favour of the nephews and sister of the King here. The
Lords here in their discussions seem very doubtful about what
decisions that Elector may come to, constrained as he is by
the imperial forces under Colonel Holch, the express intention
of Volestain being, as the ministry here intimate they are
advised, to avenge himself on that prince, by whom he declares
he has been deceived, and compel him to separate himself
from the others.
There remains the observation and fear about the passage
of the troops of the Duke of Feria. The Spanish Resident here
states openly that a good part of that force has by now set
foot in Germany, where, according to the reports which he
circulates, it will form a very numerous, powerful and absolutely
independent army of the king, his master. Accordingly,
amid the expression of many and various opinions the attention
of everyone here is directed to seeing whether that force will
be directed towards Alsace and Lorraine, the Palatinate or
The Princess, sister of the king here, has informed his
Majesty of the negotiations instituted by her with the Duke of
Neuburg for some place of jurisdiction which is in the hands of
that prince, but belongs to her sons, nephews of the king here. (fn. 4)
We hear from Brussels that they are momentarily expecting
to hear of some engagement between the Dutch and Spanish
armies, which have come very near each other. It is known
for certain at this Court that the former is much superior to
the latter, both in the quality of its picked and veteran soldiers,
as well as in numbers. Advices have already reached the
palace of the landing in Flanders of Count William of Nassau.
He at once set to work to capture some fort to get an entry
into that province from the West, and he has already succeeded
according to letters directed to more than one of the Lords here. (fn. 5)
They have already begun to make ready the palace of St.
Gems, because of its better air and convenience, for the queen's
delivery. The king pursues his usual hunting from park to
park in the country districts round.
London, the 16th September, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
196. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Princess Palatine has received a severe blow by the
treachery as they call it, against Prince Ildrico, third son of
Denmark. (fn. 6) She says she loved him as a sister, as they are
very closely related, and in all circumstances he was ready to
uphold the interests of her house by arms and by negotiation.
She declares that before breathing his last he declared that
God and his father would one day avenge his death.
Rusdorf has recently returned here from the Duke of Neuburg.
He is now going to the King of Denmark. Anstruther had
visited that king in the duchy of Olsacia and passed offices
for the Palatine family, seeing his interposition in the peace
negotiations in Germany ; but the king said he could not give
an answer then, as he was away from his kingdom and councillors,
and so they both set out for Denmark. It seems that that
king wants to be asked directly by the ministers of the Palatine
house to act for their interests.
The Hague, the 17th September, 1633.
197. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands,
to the Doge and Senate.
Anstruther had a very unsatisfactory reply at his first audience
of the King of Denmark to his instances that that sovereign
should recognise Prince Charles as Elector. The king said
he had already written to the Duke of Bavaria with the title
of Elector. After the duke's death he might do something.
It appears, however, that the king bent a little more at the
The Hague, the 22nd of September, 1633.
198. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
At Court they consider that the march out of Italy of Feria's
troops has certainly been achieved at this moment. The Lords
here believe that when the Spaniards have achieved the passage
of the Alps they will be able to bring a serious counterpoise
for the affairs of Germany. Nicolaldi represents the force as
a very strong one in numbers and in picked men. With respect
to the plans and proceedings of this army, the various opinions
expressed speak for the great interest and attention it excites.
They are equally intent on the progress of the French in Lorraine,
right up to Nancy ; the opinion of the ministry being unanimous
that the duke there will have to humble himself to the extent
of giving the satisfaction that the Most Christian demands.
That king has already proceeded in person to that quarter, not
without a previous understanding with the Swedish forces, as
the Lords here intimate that they are advised on good authority.
On the other hand they consider it hardly possible to annul
the marriage between Monsieur and the Princess Margaret of
Lorraine, who is made much of by the queen mother and by
the Infanta at Brussels, according to the last advices from that
Court. The queen here, being informed more particularly by
the arrival of a gentleman recently sent to her Majesty by the
Duke of Vendome, seems more than ordinarily aggrieved by
the resentment shown by her brother against that marriage.
This same gentleman has had some private audiences at the
palace during the past and the present week. It is known,
however, that he is not here for any business, but merely for
compliments. He has brought various presents, which he goes
about making in the name of the duke, of horses of great value,
brought to this kingdom on purpose to be given away to the
most important personages at the Court. He has already begun
by giving some to the Earl of Holland, and others to the
Earl of Pembroke, the Lord Chamberlain.
The state of affairs in Germany does not indicate, according
to what the Lords here say, that alteration which the imperialists
announced after the advantage which they claimed to have
obtained from the incursions into Misnia, sent by Volestain
under Colonel Holch, enriched in the sack of Leipsig. Yet they
are not without fear of some unfortunate decision on the part
of the Elector of Saxony, intimidated by the ruin in the heart
of his dominions.
Salvetti, the minister of the Grand Duke of Tuscany has
shown to all the Lords of the Council and to me in particular
a letter from his master to inform him of what has occurred
between General Volestain and the princes, brothers of his
Highness, (fn. 7) who have unexpectedly withdrawn from that army
owing to a decree that three leading officers of Volestain's
household, not receiving the title of Most Illustrious from those
princes, should respond in the same manner in which they were
treated. The duke expresses the hope that some compromise may
be found about these punctilios. He disapproves of the decision
of his brothers and wishes them to fight in the service
of the emperor in one place or another. He directs Salvetti
to publish at this Court that such is his decision.
The new Archbishop of Canterbury, is devoting himself to
regulations and ordinances little to the taste of those of the
Puritan faith. He pretends that he wishes to bring back to
the true Anglican form the rites and ceremonies of the church.
Accordingly the king, advised that some trouble might ensue,
has directed that nothing shall be carried out in this connection
without previous notice and information to the Lords of the
Council, in order to have their deliberate opinion.
The Princes of Chimay, nephews of the Duke of Arescot
have taken leave of the king and queen and have left, amid
many honours and festivities at Court the last being a banquet
given, by the Spanish minister. Their presence here has not
been altogether useless for the despatch of the recruits obtained
from this kingdom for the service of the Infanta in Flanders,
since in the same business the Dutch minister has not been
able to overcome the difficulties he has encountered, in spite
of the good intentions and promises he received several times
in the king's name.
Fresh advices have come that Joachimi's return to the embassy
here is postponed, and in the mean time Brasser will
continue to act in the capacity of a mere deputy.
The last public despatches to reach me are of the 26th ult.
London, the 23rd September, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
199. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch minister here is charged by his masters to put
more vigour into the offices performed at Court for the Princess,
the king's sister. Dingli, her secretary, when he saw me on a
complimentary visit, told me about this as a sign of confidence,
and the Dutch deputy did the same shortly before. Both are
acting in concert for some good resolution in the necessity,
which they represent as most urgent, of garrisons and reinforcements
in the Palatinate. Stripped of garrisons, as they declare,
it is practically a prey to fortune, without the power of
resistance, whenever Feria's force chooses to go there. This
is supposed to have entered Germany, although this is not
known yet. In their interviews with the Lords here they represent
the very evident danger, notwithstanding that there are
some who believe that the first blow of the Spanish forces will
be directed to succouring Alsace and Lorraine, after they have
overcome the difficulties of the passes. They also adduce the
pressing instances of the Duke of Symeren, who asserts that
he was committed to that administration by this crown, without
assistance from which he declares that he cannot defend the
country alone. Being once recovered by the Swedes and restored
for a small outlay of money, it would be vain to hope
ever to get it back again if it should fall once more into the
hands of the Spaniards and Imperialists. It would seem on the
one hand that these two ministers, by the efficacy of their joint
representations, are not without hopes of having already made
a good impression on his Majesty. On the other hand they are
very doubtful when they see the difficulty, which daily becomes
greater here, in making provision of money, without the support
of the contributions, which cannot be obtained unless they
proceed to convoke parliament.
The last letters from Anstruther are from Gluckstadt, whither
he has gone to the King of Denmark to support the interests of
the Palatine house in the interposition of that sovereign in the
treaties for an accomodation in Germany. He writes that he
is expecting commissions from this quarter to return home when
he has fulfilled the duties laid upon him at that Court. But
here they wish to keep him until the arrival of the gentleman
who is to go to that monarch in the name of the Princess
Palatine and her sons, so that when their offices are united for
the same affair they may produce the greater impression. The
new decree published in Denmark (fn. 8) for the exaction of a heavy
and universal tax upon the goods of all nations which pass
through the Elbe is very distasteful to this kingdom owing to
the interests of the mercantile marine. This means a most
notable prejudice to the English in particular owing to the
important trade in cloth at Hamburg, and the need for a remedy
from one side or the other causes much painful reflection,
since present circumstances are considered most unsuitable for
remonstrance or open complaints and quarrels between this
crown and that one.
The Residents of the Catholic and the Infanta have obtained
a levy of two regiments in Ireland, to be used in Flanders, so
the Spaniards announce. This only serves to increase the dissatisfaction
of the Dutch, seeing that for the small number
of recruits for which they asked their captains and officers
have had to return home without effecting anything, tired of
the long delays and the difficulties they encountered.
The Earl of Arundel, Earl Marshal of the realm, who has a
place in the royal Council has discussed the matter of an
ordinary ambassador to your Serenity as shown by the enclosed
letter of the Cavalier Biondi, an individual who continues the
confidential relations at this Court which he has always had
with all my predecessors. I am at a loss to know what opinion
to form about it, since all the Lords here have always spoken
with me on the subject in quite a different way hitherto, in
response to my offices, which I have reported from time to time.
So I have nothing to add for the present and must leave the
matter to your Excellencies. Meanwhile I will not neglect my
exertions for the future.
Very remarkable accounts have reached the Lords at Court
here from several quarters about the embassy extraordinary
in the name of your Excellencies to the Cardinal Infant, (fn. 9) exciting
commendation for the minister who by so splendid an
appearance and such magnificence has upheld the character of
the public greatness.
London, the 30th September, 1633.
200. Giovanni Francesco Biondi to Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian
Ambassador in England.
I have just come from your house, where I had not the good
fortune to find you. I have to go 12 miles off with my wife
and the coach is waiting for me. I do not know if I shall
be back before Friday, so I must say what I want to now.
This morning I called on Lord Arundel, who took me to
the riverside at his house to show me a new boat which
he had had made. We entered this and remained there a while
noting its defects. When speaking of his wrecked gondola and
of Venice he asked me if your Excellency was leaving. I said
I did not know. He asked if a successor would be sent.
I replied, Yes, but he said he had heard otherwise. I told him
I did not believe it because the republic valued the friendship
here and made every effort to keep the embassy filled. He
said a mere agent would suffice, and they would do well not
to send an ambassador. Formerly, I think he said under Henry
VII., they had decided not to send or receive a person of minor
rank. I then took leave of him. He said he would be back
in three or four weeks. I am amazed at his language, as he
repeated twice that they would do very well not to send. I
cannot think he spoke with design as the meeting was accidental.
I think that this idea is not his alone, as it would be too
dangerous for him to originate an idea touching the king's service.
I think he told me in order that I might repeat it to your
Excellency. But I must leave this to your prudence.
From my house, the 27th September, 1633.