201. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands,
to the Doge and Senate.
So far as I know the English Resident here has never made
any remonstrance in the Assembly about the landing of the Dutch
in England against the Dunkirkers. He may have complained
about it privately. They do not talk much about it here or
seem to attach much importance to the matter, saying that the
English did the same thing when pursuing the French who
had landed at the Island of the Texel. (fn. 1) This matter belongs to
another Court, so I need not weary your Serenity. It is an
undoubted fact that if they had not to do with an enemy
so formidable as the King of Spain, things would lead up to
a rupture with England, as their quarrels constantly grow worse
on the subject of navigation and other things. I have not
neglected to supply my good offices, and will continue to do
so, as instructed.
The Hague, the 6th October, 1633.
202. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
The negotiations of the Ambassador Anstruther with Denmark
are not proceeding so happily as they hoped here ; indeed I am
informed not without good grounds that England has every
reason for dissatisfaction. It is certain that the king there
has made some remark indicating either an unwilling or perverse
disposition with respect to satisfying this crown in the
matter of the Palatinate where that sovereign must of necessity
have occasion to treat about it in the interposition which he has
undertaken for the accomodation in Germany. It appears that
the root of the quarrel derives from some considerable claims
for old debts which that crown has against this kingdom,
amounting to a large sum of money, part of which was promised
and not paid, and part lent there and never returned. It is
known that this self same season was the prime cause of the
certain amount of bitterness which occurred during the embassy
extraordinary of the Farl of Leicester, sent recently. (fn. 2) At present
they are afraid here that Anstruther may fare the same since
the last despatches which have arrived from him in addition
to an account of a sharp speech made to him on this very
subject, relate the coolness and alienation which he has found
in that king, who seems from what he said to him, disinclined
to take much trouble about the interests of the sister and
nephews of the king here. It is already stated that the ambassador's
stay in those parts will be short. But they do not want
to remove him before the arrival of the gentleman who has
been sent expressly by the Princess Palatine. After that one does
not hear whether it is yet definitely settled if he is to return
to this kingdom or go back to help the operations in Germany.
The Lords here continue to receive reports that Saxony,
owing to the blows received in his own country, is all the more
anxious for peace just now, and is labouring with the other
princes, his confederates, so that they may be disposed to some
acceptable general settlement. If that does not follow they
seem to believe here that that Elector will not ultimately separate
himself from the common union unless he should succeed in
carrying Brandenburg with him, although they are as mistrustful
and suspicions of the Margrave as they are of Saxony.
The English Resident at Brussels writes that the Spanish and
Dutch armies remain without the one wishing to attack the
other at a disadvantage, foraging and scouring the country.
He adds that the approaching season will compel both of them
The attention of everyone here is directed to the efforts of
the Duke of Feria. The ministry here are fearful of what
that force may undertake in the Palatinate after its passage
and the attempts in Alsace, as since the accomodation which
has finally taken place between the Most Christian and Lorraine
it no longer has any reason to go to render help in that quarter.
Repeated commissions sent express with all speed by the
States have reached their deputy here, with very urgent offices
to soothe the king here with respect to his irritation over the
incident which occurred in these waters, reported by me. In
performing these offices he further presented to his Majesty in
the name of his masters a small ship of Flanders taken inside
the Thames by Dutch war ships, (fn. 3) handing over to the Admiralty
for trial and punishment all the prisoners taken in that ship,
commanded by a captain who although French, by nation bore
patents from the Infanta to injure the Dutch. According to
what the Agent told me in confidence his Majesty received this
with indications of great satisfaction. I thanked him for the
communication and commended the expedient as a prudent one
for winning the royal good will. I intimated that a good understanding
between these two powers was not only desirable for
both of them, but for the public cause as well. I remarked
that to encourage this I was always ready to employ my good
offices, as I knew that the most serene republic desired the
welfare of both parties with all sincerity. Brasser received
my remarks in such good part that he became more confidential
and asked me to create some occasion at Court for this purpose,
as he considers it very appropriate, seeing my past experience
as ambassador to those Provinces that I should supply the
more earnest testimony to their great desire for every satisfaction
and union with this crown. I have given my promise
and will not fail to fulfil it.
The queen, with the burden of her troublesome pregnancy,
the time of her delivery being not far distant, lives in retirement
and does not leave her quarters at St. Gems. The
Archbishop of Canterbury has entertained all the Lords of the
Council at a most sumptuous banquet, on the day appointed
to celebrate the declaration of his entry upon his office. He
has been carried to that honour by the particular favour
of the king, who is always showing him more signal marks of
his favour, by choosing as bishop of this city a person strictly
dependent upon this archbishop and united with him in interest. (fn. 4)
I have not succeeded so far in learning any more about the
remarks made by the Earl of Arundel to the Cavalier Biondi
about the embassy to Venice nor have I anything whereby I
can form a definite judgment as to whether that opinion is
shared by the others, since so far it appears to be peculiar to
him alone. However I will keep my eyes and ears open, as it
is very necessary to do in such an important matter.
The state despatch for the week has not yet put in an appearance
in the usual way.
London, the 7th October, 1633.
203. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
To Anstruther's gentleman, (fn. 5) who left recently, they consigned
the state despatch for that ambassador with the contents which
I reported in my last. I hear some suspicious remarks circulating
among the Lords here, although they do not yet state
that they have authentic information, about some sort of transactions
on the part of Denmark and Saxony for a common
understanding with the imperialists, with some idea, under pretext
of defence and restoring the status quo ante in Germany,
of setting up a union shutting out all foreigners of whatsoever
nation and their armies at present existing in that province.
Although this concerns the Swedes in the first instance, yet,
as they say here, it does not leave the interests of the French
untouched. Through their successes in Lorraine they have reduced
that prince to complete dependence, and according to
what they believe at this Court, they now have better grounds
and greater hopes of achieving their designs for the possession
of the fortresses in Alsace. As the report persists here that
the Duke of Feria is to go to that part, they are eager for
news about what that army has been able to do, now they have
at last heard of its passage across the Alps.
They write from Brussels that the Spaniards are making
strenuous efforts to recover the fort Filippino in Flanders.
The same letters state that the Dutch under Count William show
a determination to hold out, and defend that important capture
to the last extremity, having bravely repulsed the enemy more
than once. They have also laid contributions already on the
country around, right up to Ghent, while their cavalry scour
the neighbourhood to its very gates.
The Admiralty judge has released the prisoners handed over
by the Dutch deputy. The Dutch, who hoped to see some punishment
for those people, guilty of piracy, according to them,
complain about this release, and are labouring to supply further
information to the Admiralty in order to avoid a like judgment
with respect to the ship, which remains sequestrated and dis
mantled in port.
The king continues his round of hunting and has now reached
the most distant parts of the surrounding country. They say
he will hasten his return in order not to be very far from
the queen now she is near her delivery. They are not going
on with the preparations which they had apparently begun
for the state entry which it was announced his Majesty would
make into this city. There are some who believe that this
delay will put an end to the ceremony, which is considered at
once superfluous and costly.
The last from the Senate are of the 3rd and 9th of September.
I will use the advices about the protest of the Princess Mary
of Mantua and the departure of her mother from that city for
information. I may add that I know there was some talk at
Court recently on this subject, about differences and quarrels
at Mantua between the duke and those princes, and both amongst
the ministry and in all the Court they show a universal abhorrence
of the whisper that is going about of that marriage. (fn. 6)
The Catholics of this country are for the most part Hispanophiles,
and some of them, who also have a place in the royal
Council, say freely and openly that such a dispensation cannot
be granted without the gravest scandal to Christendom. When
anyone has mentioned the subject to me, I have replied, by
way of an incidental consideration, that the preservation of
states and the welfare of the people are supreme laws which
admit of exceptional treatment.
I will obtain in a suitable manner the audience which your
Excellencies direct me to have within a few days of his Majesty's
return, and I will not neglect the opportunity for performing
good offices for the continuation of a good understanding and
friendship between this crown and the United Provinces, and
it gives me the utmost satisfaction that in this matter I have
rightly interpreted and anticipated the intention of your Serenity.
No despatch has arrived from Italy this week either, and
everyone is without letters thence. They expect them under
date of the 16th ult.
London, the 14th October, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
204. Piero Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople,
to the Doge and Senate.
Some days ago the Vizier sent to all the ambassadors to
ask a dragoman of each, and when these went they were all
sent for to his presence. He told them that he wanted to see
the Turkish creditors of the late French ambassador satisfied
and so he had invited M. de Marcheville to have all the ambassadors
assembled so that the matter might be settled by
their means. The dragomans promised to report to their masters.
On the following day the Count of Cesi sent to ask me to
adjudicate in the differences between the new ambassador and
M. della Picardiera. I excused myself, but he sent again.
Finally I agreed to act if all the other ambassadors had accepted
this responsibility and if they could not decide without me. Accordingly
on Thursday the 6th all five ambassadors met with their
secretaries, the representatives of Marcheville and Picardiera were
present and the Capigilar Chiaiassi of the Chief Vizier also
attended. When all were seated Marcheville asked us to give
our opinions on the affair of the Count of Cesi. He told me
that his king's letters clearly stated that the opinions of the
ambassadors of England, Venice and Flanders were to be decisive.
We all three agreed that we could not intervene in
such a matter without the full consent and at the express request
of all the parties concerned. Cesi wished to read the
king's letter, but Marcheville claimed his right to do this. After
a heated altercation Cesi left, saying You do not wish to do
me justice, but the king will. When he had gone Picardiera,
who had remained quiet until then, said that the king's letters
were perfectly explicit and required no interpretation. The ambassadors
then said they would like us to adjudicate about the
principal creditors, that is, the Turks. The English ambassador
could not agree to this, saying that the English had been
recommended to his Excellency by the King of France. When
Marcheville appeared to accept this Picardiera said that the
debts of the old ambassador ought also to be settled. There
was much discussion, but nothing settled. Cesi asked me to write
to Soranzo in France to see that the truth was made manifest. (fn. 7)
The Vigne of Pera, the 16th October, 1633.
205. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
As soon as the king had returned he appointed the audience
for which I asked. I performed the office in exact conformity
with the Senate's commands in their letters of the 10th of
September. I did so in order to exhibit the regard of your
Excellencies for this crown. His Majesty received it graciously
and expressed himself in corresponding terms. He added these
words: I shall always be a good friend to the Signory of
Venice. He went on at once to ask me if it was true what
they said about a marriage between the Duchess of Mantua
and the Cardinal Infant. Sire, I replied, those whose object
it is to separate that princess from that house have never
lacked a pretence even to the extent of instilling similar absurdities
with hopes and other suggestions to sow discord. The
king replied, I am indeed advised on good authority that the
pope has already decided on the dispensation, but that for the
present he keeps his decision secret. To this I answered that
as the public weal was involved one might credit the dispensation,
but there was not time for the news to be known before
the next despatch, as by the last one we did not hear of any
report having issued from Rome. The king paused a moment
with a gesture of astonishment. He then laughed and said,
Say what you like, this will always be a scandalous dispensation.
At this I remarked tactfully that since the object was to secure
tranquillity the method of the dispensation might claim some
privilege beyond the ordinary. Continuing the conversation the
king went on to tell me, smiling all the time. A report is circulating
that Volestain has rebelled, but it is spread by the letters
of merchants. I replied that no authentic news on the subject
had reached me, and intimated that the advice was rather desirable
than credible. The king agreed and added, There are
circumstances which give it some air of probability.
The occasion of this audience, seeing that his Majesty's own
remarks afforded me an opening, gave me a favourable opportunity
to introduce the offices committed to me on behalf of the
States. In these I tried to impress firmly upon his Majesty,
how steadfast the Dutch are in their desire for every real
satisfaction and union with this crown. From this a mutual
benefit resulted in which the common cause participated. Accordingly
it was not astonishing if those interested on the other
side were glad, on their own account to hear of anything that
might in any way disturb these good relations which, they
envied. I begged his Majesty to take this from me as due
to the zeal of the most serene republic, which was united by
an equal friendship both with this crown and those Provinces.
I perceived that the king took what I said in a favourable
manner, and after he had listened attentively he said he must
thank the republic. So far as this was concerned he wished
to live on good terms with his good neighbours. England
had always benefited Holland. He knew that this was recognised
and admitted by those who had a share in the government there.
But perhaps the lower classes and the common people of that
country were not all so well intentioned and for this reason
incidents occurred from time to time, due to individuals and not
to the state, which were not in accord with the duty and
respect they owed as neighbours to this kingdom. In the end
he smoothed down his remarks and displayed excellent good
will as well as the strongest desire to be a good neighbour, and
repeated his willingness to believe that Holland would be, as she
professed to be, a bulwark and safeguard for this kingdom.
I performed similar offices with the Lord Treasurer and the
Secretary Cuch. Both of them commended to the skies the
republic's good intentions. The secretary indulged in a long
account of all that this kingdom had done for the Provinces,
which he said were nurtured on the assistance from England
which had continued without interruption, both for war and for
trade. He wound up by saying that although troublesome incidents
occurred from time to time owing to the faults of private
individuals, the king would not make a public question of a
private one. The Treasurer, on the other hand made a more
sober and reserved response, expressing the wish that the Dutch
would practise in deeds the friendly correspondence which they
spoke of in words. At the end he confirmed that his Majesty
was well disposed to keep to this friendship, which he recognised
as profitable to both states and to the public cause as well.
I have informed the Deputy Brasser about these offices, telling
him I had found the king excellently disposed, and had tried
to make the best impression upon him in the interests of their
High Mightinesses. Brasser thanked me warmly. He promised
to inform the States and the Prince of Orange about it, and
they would be greatly indebted to the republic, that state being
the most proper means for preserving a better union between
the king and his masters. He was so pleased that he has been
to this house to-day, to repeat his thanks. I do not forget to
inform his Excellency Contarini at the Hague.
Shortly before the despatch of these presents the state despatches
of the 15th and 23rd ult. have at last arrived together.
London, the 21st October, 1633.
206. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
The whole Court is full of rejoicing at the happy birth of a
son, of whom the queen was delivered on the night preceding
the day before yesterday. (fn. 8) The king seems most delighted, the
people rejoice at the birth of a new duke of York, the usual
title of the second son from the hour of his birth as this
one is and the third child living in order of birth. The city
showed its joy by bonfires and ringing the bells. I also have
observed the custom and joined in the general feeling, by
lighting bonfires at this house also. For the rest, I will perform
the usual offices of congratulation, and the other foreign ministers
will do the same.
A fresh individual has arrived at this Court from France, but
in the capacity of a gentleman agent only, not as ambassador. (fn. 9)
His arrival after the long absence of anyone in the name of the
Most Christian has confirmed the general opinion that Anstruther
having been chosen ambassador for France and Guron
for England, while the former has been sent to Germany and
the latter to Lorraine, the one will not come here before the
other proceeds to that Court. They are well aware of this
here and wish they had not given occasion for such punctilio,
which arose, so they say, from an unforseen accident, whereby
the embassy extraordinary which still goes on in Germany
after all this time, was conferred on one who had been previously
chosen as ordinary to the Most Christian.
The gentleman mentioned has announced at the palace and
published everywhere the absolute determination in France to
annul the marriage between Monsieur and the Princess of Lorraine,
a thing they did not believe at this Court that it would
be so easy to adhere to, and which, even now, does not seem
agreeable to the king, and much less so to the queen. Their
Majesties here had intended to offer congratulations to both
of them through Gerbier the English Agent at Brussels. This
has been stopped owing to the representations of a doctor who
arrived at the moment when the order was being despatched,
that it would amount to a kind of approbation of something
which the king his master would not accept as properly done,
in fact considered as null. (fn. 10) The eyes and ears of the ministry
here are turned towards the recent events in Lorraine, (fn. 11) which
are so advantageous for the French, with a sentiment which
is nearer jealousy than admiration, whether the reason be the
ancient rivalry between this nation and that or because they
are by no means pleased to see so considerable an accession to
a neighbouring power, and from time to time they let slip
remarks from which one can easily discern these inner sentiments
This week also this kingdom has no letters, from Germany and
Antwerp as well as Italy, owing to the bad weather, which has
prevented any couriers from crossing the sea.
The Lords here are still eager to know the particulars about
the movements of the Spanish forces under Feria.
For the moment they are not considering any further contributions
for the service of the Palatinate. Dingli, the minister
recently sent by the Princess Palatine, after having made the
most vigorous representations in the matter to no purpose,
has at last departed, without taking away anything beyond mere
words and deferred hopes.
Those deputed by the king to settle the differences between
the India Companies in London and the India Companies at
Amsterdam have reported to his Majesty that in a paper presented
by the former against the latter there are claims amounting
to the sum of four millions of florins. The Dutch on their
side mock at this and declare that the baselessness of such
exorbitant pretensions was previously recognised by Burlamacchi,
when he was set by order of the Lord Treasurer to make a
more exact enquiry into the matter, when he reported that the
debt due from the Dutch Companies to the English might reasonably
amount to 500,000 florins. But Brasser complains
bitterly even about this account, saying that it was made by
Burlamacchi by word of mouth without producing any arguments,
articles or proofs which could be answered from his side. He
concludes that at the outside the English cannot reasonably
claim to be creditors for more than 40,000 to 50,000 florins.
This enormous disparity, mixed up as it is with mutual recrimination
and ill feeling, owing to the consequences involved is
considered so serious and important here that the king wishes
it to be decided by judges who have seats in his Council
from whom the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Chamberlain, Sir
Henry Vane, and the two Secretaries of State, Cuch and Windebank
have already been appointed for the purpose.
The Earl of Arundel has not yet returned to Court, and so
far I have not succeeded in finding any solid grounds for believing
that what he intimated to Biondi about the embassy
represented any opinion but his own.
A large and well armed ship is ready to sail from these shores.
It is going to Virginia under the command of Lord Baltimore,
who is taking with him 800 persons to increase the English
colony in those parts. (fn. 12)
London, the 28th October, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
207. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands,
to the Doge and Senate.
Anstruther has returned to Hamburg, having arranged little
or nothing with the King of Denmark, perhaps because he did
not find the king so well disposed as he expected. It is thought
that he may come here on his way back to England. Rusdorf
has continued his journey to that king to try and obtain
some jewels and money, the inheritance of the Princess Palatine
left her by the will of the late queen, her aunt. Apparently the
king raises difficulties about this also. The Princess has despatched
a gentleman, sent her by the Administrator, (fn. 13) with all
speed to England, to urge the king there to provide garrisons
for the Palatinate, especially since some successes which Feria
is understood to have won with Aldringher.
The Hague, the 31st October, 1633.