475. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
An extraordinary courier from France arrived here the day
before yesterday with news of the declaration of the Most
Christian of an open rupture with the Austrians. (fn. 1) He brought
orders to the ambassadors here to impart this to his Majesty.
They did this without delay, representing to him that the king,
their master, finding himself insulted every day by masked
foes, had determined, joining in a new alliance with the States
of Holland, to defend, with his own honour the life of his
subjects and the interests and dominions of the princes, his
friends. Of this he desired to impart full particulars to his
Majesty as a true and oldstanding ally of his crown, in order
to excite his generous sentiments to take prompt steps to join
in support of the public cause, now that the balance of things
can no longer be maintained, and when considerable changes
may possibly take place very quickly. The ambassadors added
that his Majesty would have already started for the Picardy
frontier, and that on the other side he had caused all the
posts of the Valtelline to be occupied. Here, after a full review
of the circumstances which oblige this crown to a union with
the Most Christian, they seized the opportunity to urge his
Majesty to make up his mind promptly to arrange this alliance,
which they are treating for. The king replied that he thanked
their master for communicating to him a matter of so much
importance. With all his heart he wished him every success
towards the attainment of his glorious aims. With regard to
the alliance he assured them that he was as favourably disposed
as ever, and that he had even directed a reply to be
given on the subject. But now that affairs had taken so great
a change he felt sure they would not take it ill if he postponed
his decision a few days longer. The ambassadors replied
that they would never willingly do anything that would not
please his Majesty, but they thought it their duty to remind him
respectfully that in such matters a speedy decision was almost
equivalent to a favourable one.
The Ambassador Poygni came immediately after on purpose
to tell me the substance of these particulars. He said that now
we shall see clearly whether the Spaniards are speaking sincerely
when they profess themselves so devoted to peace, because
if they want it, they have only to intimate so much,
by the proper methods, and in such case they will find France
perfectly ready to meet them, quite as much as they can desire.
If, on the other hand, they want war, there will be ample opportunities
in more than one quarter, to give them plentiful satisfaction.
He then urged me to tell him the attitude of the most
serene republic to these affairs. I made a general reply and
asked what were the intentions of the Duke of Savoy. He said
he understood that the duke would not detach himself from
their party. He then began to speak of his own private affairs
and told me that after he had repeated his request three times
for leave to lay down the burden of this embassy, the Cardinal
had finally sent him word to abandon his efforts, because his
Majesty had no intention whatever of granting him leave. I
expressed my gratification, and so our interview ended.
The moment the news of these events reached me, I set to
work to find out, with due circumspection, what were the views
of the Court upon circumstances of such grave importance, and
principally what effect they might produce upon their decisions
here. I find, however, that the ministers here remain as uncertain
and ambiguous as ever, indeed more so, if I may deliver
my opinion freely. It seems to me that the more troubled foreign
affairs become the more confirmed are they in their policy of
maintaining their reputation with both sides by means of neutrality,
and by rendering them now anxious, now hopeful about
their friendship, to keep their own proud, position of always being
valued and sought after. Certainly this is the course they are
now following and there is no sign that they are likely to alter
their principles lightly, because if they had desired a change
since the conditions of the present time do not admit of such
long delays, they probably would have wanted it now. However
as the events of war are always uncertain, so circumstances may
arise with the changes brought about by future accidents which
will be strong enough to make them change their resolution
(trovo che restano tuttavia questi ministri nel incertezze e ambiguita
di prima anzi piuttosto se devo dire liberamente il
senso mio, parmi che quanto si vanno piu gl' affair esterni
intorbidando, tanto si vadino qui maggiormente confirmando nell'
opinione di volersi con mezzo della neutralita in riputatione
appresso l' una e l' altra parte mantener, e con dar lor hora
gelosia hora speranza della propria amicitia continuar nel posto
fastoso di esser sempre stimati e pregati. Con questi passi
certo si cammina qui di presente, ne apparenza si scorge siano
cosi facilmente per alterar le massime, perche se ad altro volessero
pensar non permettendo l' istessi conditioni di tempi
presenti cosi lunghe dilationi, haveriano fino a quest' hora
qualche cosa forse desiderato. Tuttavia potrebbe esser anco
che si come i successi della guerra sono sempre incerti, cosi
con variar di futuri accidenti nascere potessero congiunture
tali che bastanti si rendessero a far loro cangiar risolutione).
Yesterday I happened to meet the Dutch ambassador. In
order not to neglect any signs of friendship and confidence I
congratulated him on the good resolutions which France had
taken following the articles recently arranged with his masters.
This courtesy pleased him greatly and after thanking me he told
me that the day before he had been in audience of his Majesty
about some affair of the Dutch merchants. The conversation
lasted a very long time and he seized the opportunity to make
some observations to his Majesty in favour of the alliance in
negotiation. He found the king, while speaking quite courteously
much more irresolute and antagonistic than usual (fuor
del solito assai trovo il Re, nella cortesia delle parole sospeso
e renitente), and this had caused him very great anxiety. He
would have remained in this state of mind if he had not learned
soon after that the news on the subject brought to him by the
French ambassadors had left his Majesty in some agitation.
Last Sunday, as directed by his Majesty, the Swedish ambassador
extraordinary returned the order of the garter. All the
knights in the habit of the order were present with the king
at the ceremony. After a long Latin speech the ambassador
presented to the king the chain with the George and the garter,
on a black velvet cushion. In receiving it his Majesty said that
he took part in such a function with indescribable sorrow, as it
reminded him of the loss of a valiant king, whose sublime
memory was immortal and would always live in his heart. The
rest of the ambassador's negotiations were devoted to requests
for help. I have not been able to find out what he said about
the complaint against Douglas, although I learned that his
Majesty promised the most friendly assistance to forward the
peace with Poland.
Yesterday the annual solemnity of the knights of the garter
was celebrated, and his Majesty having admitted the Earl of
Northumberland again to the order the customary ceremonies for
this took place yesterday. Meanwhile, at enormous expense he is
preparing a sumptuous and numerous cavalcade for the performance
of the principal function at Windsor, in accordance with
custom. (fn. 2)
The second son of the late Treasurer, who was unfortunately
wounded last week as reported, now shows excellent signs of
recovery and is thought by this time to be out of danger.
I humbly thank your Serenity for conferring upon me the
honour of Savio of Terra Ferma.
London, the 4th May, 1635.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
476. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to
the Doge and Senate.
The Scottish Colonel Hebron went to see the king at Compiegne
and to offer to raise some more levies of his countrymen.
But he has returned to Germany with his recruits, without
any further commissions.
Peronne, the 6th May, 1635.
477. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
Great and weighty discussions take place daily in the royal
Council upon the last steps taken by France since the news
arrived here. They have considered that the aims of the close
union existing between that crown and the Dutch must be
watched closely with a very jealous eye, and that any successes
which they gain must be received 'here with regret as likely to
aggrandise those powers which are the only ones who can now
disturb the quiet of these realms. Accordingly even those who
used most steadfastly to counsel neutrality now intimate that
the altered state of affairs and the changed times must bring
about a change of policy to meet the altered circumstances.
By this they wish to infer that if the French should approach
to make themselves masters of Dunkirk or of some other place
contiguous to the sea, that it would not be reasonable to permit
it here, either in the interests of trade or for other more important
Out of regard for such considerations two matters were proposed
for discussion and one was actually decided. The first
that forty more ships should be armed with all speed, to make
secure the command of the sea ; the other that 10,000 men
should be immediately distributed to guard the sea ports. With
regard to the arming of the forty ships, their plans varied and
opinions wavered, not because they did not consider the decision
opportune but because it is not so easy to raise the money
to carry it into effect. On the second point of attending to the
guard of the ports and sea frontiers, all agreed with equal readiness
to accept and approve of his Majesty's advice. The orders
have been despatched to carry this into effect, although on this
subject many go about saying that this measure has been designed
more for the purpose of raising money than from any
real need for such action, and the reason is that those who are
called upon to bear arms on such occasions can easily evade
the service by the payment of a certain sum of money, if
they wish to do so. Accordingly it is believed that everybody
will prefer to pay rather than to serve.
What their real aims may be is not so easy to discover,
although the results are apparent enough and afford good reason
for believing that on such an occasion the secret intrigues of
the Spaniards are likely to prevail at this Court over all other
and open negotiations. However the French ambassadors, who
have attempted to get to the bottom of this affair, have realised
that all their past efforts have been utterly thrown away. But
while they see clearly from the action taken that no decision
in favour of their side is possible, they hope, though without
abandoning their original proposals, that by skilful manipulation
they may be able to make sure of an absolute neutrality, believing
that it would be a considerable point gained ; but there
is no indication that with the obligation of such a strict agreement,
the Dutch ambassador would on any account allow himself,
to be led. He stands jealously watching the objects of such
a resolution, and he has good cause, because while 400 English
were gathered together all ready to take ship to cross the sea,
to go as recruits for some companies which are in Holland by
the royal permission, the officers in command were forbidden to
transport them, and they themselves were stopped when they
wished to cross without them.
The king proposed to go yesterday to the port of Monsbai (fn. 3) to
see the ships go out, which are all ready there in accordance
with orders, but hearing that the small pox, which was very
severe in this clime last year, was at its height there just now,
he directed that the ships should gather at another port near
Dover, intending to go there next week to send them off. In
addition to the twenty six already armed another large one is
made ready laden with all sorts of munitions of war, which
is always to keep near the body of the fleet for all emergencies.
The Ambassador Anstruther arrived here last week from his
embassy in Germany. He kissed his Majesty's hands and told
him that the Protestant party is much stronger than report states,
and that the interests of the Palatinate can be adequately assured
by a moderate assistance.
They talk more freely here than ever about the marriage of
Poland to the Princess Palatine, and while they declare at
Court that the negotiations with Florence have altogether died
away, they make quite sure in consequence that these are certain
to be concluded.
The Swedish ambassador having concluded his affairs, with
scant profit, is only awaiting the convoy of two Dutch men of
war to secure his return. But he has not yet taken leave of
his Majesty and will not do so before the ships have arrived
at the ports here.
The Agent of France who resides at Brussels writes to the
ordinary ambassador here that having received instructions from
the king, his master to prefer a request to the Cardinal Infant
for the release of the Archbishop of Treves, he had several
times requested an audience for the purpose, but in spite of all
his importunity he had never been able to have it. In the end
they sent him word that if he had anything to impart he must
put it in writing. He did so and they then told him that without
the participation and assent of his Catholic Majesty and that of
the emperor the Cardinal Infant would neither answer nor
decide. When the Resident heard this he started off at once
on his journey for France.
The affairs of Germany are much discussed here, but news
from those parts reaches this country late, so I will not weary
your Excellencies by repeating it.
I have received the Senate's letters of the 13th April this week.
They have been delayed because the courier who used to go by
Calais now travels by way of Dunkirk. This route takes more
time but it will certainly be much safer.
London, the 11th May, 1635.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
478. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
Last Sunday, the 13th inst. Baron Schiti, the Swedish ambassador
extraordinary, went to take public leave of the king.
He thanked his Majesty copiously for the favours received,
and in particular for the favour shown to his own son and two
other gentleman of his suite, dubbed knights two days before. (fn. 4)
2000 ounces of fine silver gilt plate were brought to present
to him, by his Majesty's order, he was to go some miles
out of the city, to await, at a suitable place a wind favourable
for his passage. He came to see me the day before yesterday
and told me that he had every reason to be satisfied with the
honours shown to himself and his gentlemen, but for the rest
he might say that he went away as he had come. He repeated
this when I returned his visit.
Their decisions here with respect to the reported approach
of French forces continue to be hesitating and uncertain. Although
they are still discussing the means of arming the forty
additional ships, yet they are busily equipping twelve of his
Majesty's own vessels, and for the provision of the others they
have laid an embargo on all which are adaptable for war
purposes which are at present in the ports here. All the same
it does not seem reasonable to believe that in the present season
it will be easy for them to assemble a considerable naval force,
beyond what has already been done, notably for the provision
of the necessary food and of meat in particular, which may be
termed the unique sustenance of this nation. Moreover it is
not so easy to find the money, and even if they had it some
time would be needed to extract it from the pockets of the
people here, who always show the greatest reluctance to make
For the despatch of the 10,000 men for the guard of the
sea ports, the orders issued are already being carried out,
but after the militia has been called out, everyone concludes
that with the expenditure, of the prescribed sum
it will undoubtedly be dismissed and they will use the money
for the arming of ships, of which, for the moment they consider
the need to be much greater. This much may be asserted, that
beyond the orders mentioned there is no one who can assert
anything positively. Nevertheless, alarmed by the reports of
these measures, the French ambassadors here are doing everything
in their power to demonstrate to his Majesty the necessity
and appropriateness of the steps now being taken by France,
and to assure him that the Most Christian will never move his
forces with the intention of causing this kingdom the least
shadow of anxiety, but being aimed directly against the Spaniards
they will also serve to render it secure from such molestation
as the Spaniards have encouraged on previous occasions when
England was enjoying quiet.
Such is the thesis which they steadfastly maintain before the
king and elsewhere in public, and all those who have any
dependence upon France do the like. At the same time there is no
lack of those who go about loudly controverting there statements.
These say that dangers from the Spaniards are very remote
and at present in particular rather imaginary than of any
apparent subsistance. That from the French, on the other
hand is now most patent and very near, and with their arms
in their hands they give just cause for fearing, if not immediate
acts ; yet because of the possible consequences of their successes,
especially as regards the ports of Flanders, of which, there
is no doubt, the English could not tolerate with patience to
see them masters. Such are, indeed, the common opinions, or
more correctly the pretexts, which based upon a certain amount
of reasonableness, serve to conceal the different and much more
recondite aims of some of the ministers here, who chime in with
the universal desire, some out of zeal for the Catholic religion
and the others, indifferently to see parliament convoked, would
like help to be given to the Spanish party, although for such
an end they would not wish to see the interests of this kingdom
exposed to any great risks, in the assurance that without great
need of money the king will never make up his mind to any
such step, and he cannot easily be brought to such a necessity
by any means save that of war (tali sono veramente le communi
opinioni o per dir meglio i pretesti che con fondamento di
qualche susistente ragione vagliano a cellare differenti e molto
piu raconditi fini di alcuno di questi ministri, i quali concorrono
nel desiderio del universale, che parte per il zelo della religione
Cattolica e gl' altri indifferentemente per veder convocato il
parlamento, vorrebbero fosse assestito il partito de' Spagnoli non
solo, ma per un tal effetto poco anco si vorrebbero di veder
ad ogni maggior azardo esposti gl' interessi di questo Regno,
sicuri che senza gran bisogno di denaro non devenira gia mai
il Re a simil risolutione ne in necessita tale per altro mezzo
che per quello della guerra non puo essere facilmente condotto).
The French ambassadors sent a courier yesterday to the king
with all speed with an account of the above particulars. With
his return they expect fresh instructions as to how they are to
conduct themselves in the future. The Ambassador Seneterre
told me this himself yesterday morning. Proceeding to talk
about the affairs of Italy he told me that the Duke of Chrichi,
who by this time may be well on his way to that province with
a large force, is to proceed to the dominions of the Duke of
Parma, and is not to stay any longer where he was first commanded.
The ambassador went on to say that the Most Christian
did not propose to send fresh forces to Italy, but only to secure
every one in the possession of his own territories, and to restrain
the ambition of the Spaniards. His king would look for no
advantage and would rest content with the glory. He hopes
that his friends will recognise that he wants nothing for himself
in Italy beyond what he already holds. If he acted otherwise
it would not make for peace but only foment trouble. Both
of the French ambassadors are always speaking in this sense.
I would not venture to say whether these are their own private
opinions or if they rest upon a solid foundation, but I can
assert that the boldness with which they utter them leads one
to believe that they do not speak without good grounds, or at
least not without having been commanded to do so.
On Wednesday his Majesty went to Greenwich with the queen.
It is thought that they will both stay there at least six weeks,
the king to enjoy the pleasures of the chase, and the queen
to see the completion of a special erection of hers, which is
already far advanced. (fn. 5) The Council, however, remains here,
and will continue to meet on the usual days to assist in the
direction of affairs.
I have received this week the state despatches of the 20th April.
London, the 18th May, 1635.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
479. Andrea Rosso, Venetian Secretary with the Swiss,
to the Doge and Senate.
Last Monday the English Resident set out to see the Duke
of Lorraine. I will keep on the alert and try to find out all
particulars on his return. I hear that he stopped at Arau where
he met the deputies of Berne. I think his object was to divert
them from any leaning towards France, as he is always doing
with all Protestants, casting discredit upon that nation as much as
he is able chiefly with the manifesto published by Rohan after his
arrival in the Valtelline to the effect that the sole object of the
Most Christian was the maintenance of the Catholic faith everywhere.
Zurich, the 19th May, 1635.
480. That the Five Savii alla Mercanzia make enquiry concerning
the frauds committed by the merchants interested in the
English ship "Parangon," to avoid payment of the duty of 5
per thousand on currants, and to cause those found guilty to
Ayes, 152. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
481. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague,
to the Doge and Senate.
The States General have never been able to agree about choosing
an ambassador extraordinary for England. The States of
Holland object to the expense. The English Resident is trying
to persuade them that his Majesty's naval preparations are only
intended for the preservation of his own jurisdiction and that
the States have no cause for alarm. But he gets scant credit
as ill feeling only grows.
The English here some weeks ago received orders from the
king not to buy cloth except from the English Company at Rotterdam.
The other towns remonstrated and the States decided
that the Company should not be allowed to sell to the English
more than to any one else soever. (fn. 6) The Resident has tried his
utmost to have this prohibition revoked, but without avail.
The Hague, the 24th May, 1635.
482. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
The views of the ministers here about the present movements
of France grow more suspicious than ever, with respect to the
orders of the Most Christian upon the arming of the nobility
to assist in the defence of the provinces in case the paid troops
leave them. Some reverse inflicted on the troops of Mansfelt
by the army of Weimar, the unsuccessful attempt of the Cardinal
Infant upon the Fort Filipine (fn. 7) are both events which are received
with general regret here. But above all others the report
of the march of the royal army to effect a junction with the
Prince of Orange has produced the greatest effect in confirming
his Majesty here in his decision to provide himself swiftly with
arms also. To this effect, although under another pretext, he has
ordered that the twelve ships, picked out from the largest and
best that his Majesty possesses, shall all be provided with
300 soldiers each, a great number of guns and an abundance of
every other kind of military stores, by the middle of next month,
when they are to be ready to sail. He has further declared that
they are to be armed at his own cost, in order to afford a
proper example in himself of being ready for the contribution
which he proposes to lay upon the people for the armament of
the others. With this same object it has also been decided that
the eight ships which were to have gone to the Indies under
the command of General Gorges, shall remain with the others
of the twenty six. At the present moment they are paying no
attention to the affairs of those parts, a very clear sign that
the troubles near at hand are seriously pre-occupying them.
The 10,000 men also destined to guard the ports of the realm
are being assembled, although very slowly, and they have even
talked of raising their numbers to as many again and to oblige
ihe country to support them all ; but nothing has been decided,
indeed every resolution here ordinarily involves incredible delays.
A severe decree has been issued that all English sailors and
soldiers who are found in the future upon foreign ships in
every port of the realm, shall be immediately arrested, without
distinction, and that no subject of the crown shall sail on any
ship but an English one under any conditions whatsoever.
The Ambassador extraordinary of Sweden has at last embarked
for his voyage after having waited some days for a favourable
wind. Obion, (fn. 8) the Resident in ordinary of that kingdom has also
set out for the Hague, in order, so he says, to confer with
the Chancellor Oxisterna, who is to be there shortly. He will
not come back here before the end of the summer.
Lord Scudamore, the ambassador elect for France was all ready
to set out for his post and had taken leave of the French ambassadors
here ; but I fancy that they want to insert in his commissions
that Dewich, his Majesty's Agent there, shall remain
as coadjutor of the embassy, and as Scudamore objects to this,
his start is delayed. Many are inclined to believe that these
are devices to delay this action under some colourable pretext,
as they show little inclination here to do it, especially as the
ambassadors make no instance for it.
The day before yesterday the Earl of Northumberland went to
Windsor for the usual ceremony of new knights of the garter.
More than 300 gentlemen followed him, all upon most noble
horses, and richly adorned beyond description. The king and
queen came to London on purpose to see the procession, and
they returned to Greenwich that same evening, to continue their
sojourn there until the time comes to start on their progress.
Tullerie writes from Venice to M. di Pougny that in spite
of the vigorous opposition of the Sieur della Rocca he has
obtained from your Serenity a promise to have grain exported
from the states of your Excellencies as well as other food stuffs
for the support of the French troops in the Valtelline, at which
he seems to be exceedingly gratified. He says that the affair
of the consul of Ancona has been settled and there remains the
question of the frontiers to adjust. (fn. 9)
I have received this week the state despatches of the 7th and
17th of April. I will inform Spiesmo that he is at liberty
to go to Istria when he pleases. If you should consider his
proposals I have to advise you that I told him that all the
colonists that he brings must be Roman Catholics, and he promised
that they should be.
London, the 25th May, 1635.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
483. The ambassador of the King of Great Britain came
into the Collegio and spoke as follows in Italian :
I venture to speak Italian, although it will betray my imperfections,
in order to cause you less trouble. You will have
heard the report of the fleet my king is collecting, to send out
at the earliest opportunity. He found that his efforts at union
for the public welfare and tranquillity did not meet with a
response, his seas and coasts being attacked, commerce disturbed
and the ships of his subjects taken, to the grave prejudice
of the rights of his crown over the British sea. The fleet will
sail for the defence and maintenance of these, to keep the sea
clear, to do justice to his own subjects and to repress the
insolence of pirates ; not to break any treaty with any power
soever, or to begin a war, as his Majesty has the same sentiments
as ever towards general quiet. I have thought it my
duty to inform your Serenity, because different reports may have
got about, and because of your uniformity of interests with my
king in this matter, with the republic's ancient dominion in the
Adriatic, and owing to the confidential relations with his Majesty,
which it is my duty to cherish and to increase, if that be
possible, as I am deeply indebted for the many favours shown to
me since I entered this state.
The doge replied, We rejoice at the confidence and affection
which the king shows to us, to which we always respond, and
that he remains as ever intent upon the pacific government of
his kingdom. We welcome the communication your lordship
has made to us of his naval preparations and of the good
objects at which he aims. We wish him all prosperity. We
welcome your lordship's offices which will always be grateful to
The ambassador replied briefly that his king would be glad to
hear that his communication had been so well received, with
the usual friendship and entire confidence which existed between
him and the republic ; with that he rose, took leave and departed. (fn. 10)
484. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague,
to the Doge and Senate.
It has been reported that the Spaniards propose to put Dunkirk
in the hands of the English. But wise men perceive that
these reports cannot come true unless England is willing to go
all lengths in declaring herself on the side of the Austrians,
and a thorough examination of affairs makes it unlikely that this
would agree with the interests of that crown.
Their High Mightinesses have instructed the Ambassador
Joachimi in London to act in unison with the French ambassador
Seneterre, but it is feared that their offices will not effect anything.
I learn on good authority that the States have been
assured of the friendly disposition of that king towards them,
and that he may possibly prove it by a new alliance. This
may be in order to put an end to the ill feeling that keeps
The Hague, the 31st May, 1635.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]