16. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The English Ambassadors, extraordinary and ordinary, have
been to audience at Fontainebleau, where they are treating
with Bottiglier. From what we hear they are discussing the
original proposals, already introduced by Schidmor, about a
general peace and the exchange of Lorraine for the Palatinate,
and also about an English barque seized at Calais, adjudged here
to be lawful booty. There seems no doubt that they expect
more precise commissions after they have heard from England
of the first negotiations of the Earl of Arundel at the Emperor's
Court, and in the mean time they are acting for show and to
make manifest their importance to the Austrians.
Paris, the 1st July, 1636.
17. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
After the unsatisfactory experiences reported the Polish
ambassador left for Paris, having taken leave of their Majesties
and received the usual presents. His proceedings about the
marriage of the Palatine princess leave that matter more
ambiguous than ever, and induce them to hasten the departure
of Gordon here more than ever. They have already given
him his despatches. They direct him to take up the matter
again, if possible, in some other way, in an agreeable manner
and without abandoning decorum, above all, making clear the
justice of the resentment felt here in the matter of religion as
a point that neither conscience nor reasons of State can allow
to be discussed here. He will represent, however, in a proper
manner, that while the king here will not allow his soul to be
soiled under any circumstances in affairs of this character, so he
will never prevent his niece from adopting what belief she thinks
best, inferring that if, before or after the marriage, she lends an
ear to any instruction in the Catholic faith, she will do so with
all the connivance that can be desired on the part of England.
By this means they hope to assuage the present ill feeling, and
they pretend to penetrate to the bottom of the intentions of
Poland to proceed safely in this, or to think without distraction
of some other expedient which time and circumstances may
mature for the service of the Palatine house.
The Secretary Windebank, in speaking to me of this affair
on the very day that the ambassador took leave of the king told
me that there were many difficulties which might upset the
affair. Even if the question of religion was settled there remained
the claims for dowry and other things, not so easy to arrange.
When I asked him what he thought the outcome would be, he
replied that he could not say, except that the greater the things
the more difficult they are, which means in plain language that
he does not think it feasible. All the rest of the Court speaks in
the same way. Those who are reputed the wisest say that if the
affairs of the Palatines are not previously arranged with Cæsar,
it is vain to imagine that this business will take effect, as it is
unlikely that the King of Poland, instead of a dowry, will consent
to take on himself troubles and burdens which cannot fail to
disarrange and upset greatly the interests of his own kingdom.
They hear by private letters this week of the arrival of the
Earl of Arundel at Ratisbon, and that he has taken lodgings in
the house of one Scherer, who was previously destined for the
service of the Duke of Bavaria. In the fear that some dissatisfaction
may arise out of this, which may serve to render the
progress of his negotiations more difficult, they will send him
orders to proceed with gentleness in any case. They say at
Court that they ought to try and prevent the diet ; that the
earl should have proceeded to Germany before with this object,
because the emperor will try to make himself absolute thereby,
and it may be said to be achieved when his son has been chosen
King of the Romans ; and Bavaria will not consent to go away
before a fresh declaration definitely establishes the electorate
as the perpetual inheritance of his house. Both these points are
very important to England, both because of the interests of the
Palatines, and from the constant jealousy which the excessive
power of the House of Austria will cause to the repose of this
kingdom, but his commissions do not go so far as necessity requires,
as it seems that they confine their energies here at present to
keeping a sharp look out.
They learn from very recent letters from Hamburg that the
Chancellor Oxestern is about to proceed to the King of Denmark
to treat about peace negotiations with the emperor. The news
has given great satisfaction as they cling to the hope that the
affairs of the Palatine can be more easily adjusted in that way
than in any other.
After having cruised along the coasts of France for many days,
without meeting so much as a single fishing boat, and finding
his hopes of making some notable reprisals vain, the general has
withdrawn with the fleet towards Plymouth, there to await
fresh orders from his Majesty before proceeding elsewhere.
I have worked hard in the interests of the Persian merchant.
I have had lodgings to his taste found for him in the city ; I
have obtained from the Lord Treasurer most ample patents for
landing all his goods without paying duty, and wherever I can
help I shall let him see the constant friendliness of your
Excellencies. The case with the pocket pistols laded on the
ship "Fior Dorato" has not yet arrived, but they think it must
come before long ; when it does I shall not fail to do what you
Cersey, the 3rd July, 1636.
18. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the
Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The king of England has written to the Princess Palatine that
he is only waiting to hear from Arundel to take decisive action.
But she greatly fears that England will do nothing serious and
that he is only trying to frighten by noise, to avoid disturbing
peace at home, which is so advantageous, as with trade forbidden
between France and Spain, it all goes to England, with incredible
profit to the crown.
The Hague, the 3rd July, 1636.
19. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in
Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
After his first audience of the emperor, the earl of Arundel
was introduced almost immediately to the empress. He would
not cover, although he remained more than half an hour in
conversation with her, the time being spent in passing compliments.
Their suave manners have not diverted his Excellency
from the essential part of his business. At his second audience
he expressed the determination of his sovereign to put the
finishing touches to this affair, after so many delays, otherwise,
he says frankly, England will take more vigorous steps. He
says they should make no difficulty about giving his king complete
satisfaction, as is proper, not only in equity but from written
promises. He produced a letter consigned to Teller in which
the emperor says : Principibus Palatinis restituemus partem
nequaquam contemnendam, and two others from his Majesty to
the late king James clearly promising to yield the electoral vote
to the Palatine Princes immediately after Bavaria's death.
The emperor said nothing about the last two letters. As regards
the first he said it would be promptly fulfilled, but it was necessary
to be clear about the terms. Arundel said this would be difficult
as it is understood to mean all that the late Prince Palatine
possessed, and he formulated the demand for all the Palatinate
and the electoral vote. The emperor replied, though always
with great suavity, that he could not give what did not belong
to him, and if they want so much they should apply to the
Elector of Bavaria. Nevertheless, to prove his sincerity he has
appointed fresh commissioners, who are the bishop, Swalendorf
and II Ghibardi. The Aulic Councillor Haubiz has been sent
to Munich to learn Bavaria's decision and they have also written
to the Count of Ognat to set out at once to take part in the discussions
upon the subject, and he started forthwith. Bavaria
replied two days later, defending his claims and declaring that
he will not give up the electoral dignity, though he is ready to
restore the Palatinate provided that suitable compensation is
given to him.
It is supposed here that the despatch from England with such
promptitude, to meet the wishes of Cæsar, of an ambassador
who is one of the most distinguished personages of that Court,
is intended to settle this point by mild measures, without an
appeal to arms and without noise. I have also heard that as
soon as they learned that an ambassador was coming, they sent
instructions to Radolti to confine his negotiations as much as
possible to generalities, and if he had to speak at all about the
Palatinate he was to make his proposals in writing and not to
commit them here in any way. But with the high tone taken
by the ambassador they began to change their opinion, and it
is thought that they will have to do something in earnest. But
they do not know how to do this without offending Bavaria or
without stripping themselves of the best part of their hereditary
dominions, and to this the emperor will never consent. They
hope to appease Arundel by every mark of attention, but this is
in vain, as he declares that he will leave at once if he does not
receive all the satisfaction that is claimed. They hope that
Ognat will do some good, but that is not enough. They believe
that the ambassador is building upon the present weakness of
the Spaniards and of the House of Austria. A compromise has
been suggested, but not taken up, to give the Lower Palatinate
and to hold out the hope of more in time.
The earl of Arundel has conferred also with the bishop, and was
told that he ought for the present to be satisfied with the removal
of the imperial ban, and a declaration that the Palatines are
Princes of the Empire, with an assignment of a suitable pension.
He suggested a part of the Lower Palatinate. Arundel seems to
have been greatly incensed at such ideas, saying that they must
go further than this if they wanted quiet, as England was quite
able to enforce her claims, and if they did not propose to do more,
he would leave at once. The bishop, like the emperor, suggested
applying to Bavaria.
The mere report of these difficulties will suffice to prevent the
meeting of the electors at Ratisbon, as they will be unwilling to
risk their own interests by nominating a king of the Romans
until they see what turn these negotiations and the course of the
war will take. Some think that France may act in concert with
England in these negotiations, as they would not make such
resolute declarations if there was not some previous understanding.
Ebersperch, the 5th July, 1636.
20. Copy of Bavaria's reply.
Electoralem dignitatem quam Carolus Quartus Imperator a
domo Bavaria ademit et in lineam Rhenensem, transtulit se
jure belli recuperasse ; propterea nequaquam consentiri posse in
petitionem Regis Britanniae. Quo ad Provincias ad Palatinum
pertinentes se libenter eas restituere velle.
(1) si linea Rhenensis Palatina refuderit fructus perceptos a
tempore Caroli IV.
(2) si domus Palatina refuderit damnum Bavariae per regem
(3) si imperator refuderit domui Bavariae sumptus quosque
21. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassadors have returned from Fontainebleau.
The Earl of Leicester assures me that since the Austrians have
declared that without the restoration of Lorraine they will never
make peace, the King of England desires a declaration to that
effect here, in order to advance it, but although the ordinary
ambassador has frequently touched on the subject he has never
succeeded in obtaining a formal reply. From this I gather, as
others also bear witness, that they are returning to this point.
The Cardinal, as usual, expressed to me how little he expected
from their negotiations with the English, although he thinks
well of the ambassador extraordinary. The Polish ambassador
has arrived here from England, but as yet he remains incognito.
Paris, the 8th July, 1636.
22. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the
Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
They are very intent here on news from the sea, fearing that
some storm may descend upon the fishermen. Beveren reports
the king's determination to have the mastery, as well as England's
increasing leaning towards Spain. Nevertheless the fleet has
not yet sailed from these Provinces, and cannot do so without
It is stated that the king of Denmark, stirred by the example
of England, is equipping twelve well armed war ships, with the
sole object of making himself recognised as master at sea.
I have spoken at length with Sig. Gravinghel about the pretentions
of England and the book entitled "Mare Clausum,"
and the reply which he is to make to it. The essence of our
conversation was this. The King of England claims to be
recognised as master in the waters of England, Scotland and
Ireland and in what they call the "narrow seas." Gravinghel
replies that the dominion claimed by England is either natural
or acquired. It is not natural because there is no argument
for England that does not apply equally for France, or these
Provinces. It is not acquired, because that is a question of
fact, and the fact is not apparent. He said later that the sea,
as sea, is not subject to private dominion, although it is as a
gulf. He quoted the lordship of your Excellencies over the
Adriatic, and argued that as the King of England has no gulf
he cannot have lordship over the sea. He will reply in general
terms and come to particulars afterwards. He will argue just
as strongly to uphold before the world the just dominion of your
Excellencies in the Gulf as for the rights of his own country,
because he professes as much devotion to the most serene
republic as to this one.
The Hague, the 10th July, 1636.
23. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
The Prince Palatine has never recovered his serenity of mind
since the offence he took about the negotiations of the Earl of Arundel
in Germany. He has become more suspicious than ever and no
longer believes anything whatever that the ministers here tell him.
Thus he tries secretly to find out what is really happening about
his affairs by every means which he considers disinterested. With
this object he sent secretly to me that Curtius, one of his secretaries,
who was here before in the capacity of his agent. He prefaced his
remarks with a long discourse about the great value which
his master put upon the friendship and advice of the most serene
republic He went on to disclose in large measure the reasons
why he mistrusts the operations of the Court here, the unfriendly
bias which he presupposes in the Earl of Arundel towards the
interests of his house, and the interested leaning of the greatest men
of the government towards the house of Austria, alleging these as the
chief reasons. He therefore begged me, if I knew anything of what
had been negotiated at the imperial Court so far upon these affairs,
or if I had any special knowledge of the views of the emperor, that
I would be good enough to communicate it to him, under the veil of
In order not to commit myself I told him that my letters
contained nothing but what was known to everybody. Upon
this he rejoined that his master well knew that no one was more
regularly informed than I of the affairs of the world, as it was
an ancient custom of the republic to send their ambassadors a
record of the most important events, and all the ministers did
the same among themselves. He therefore begged me again, if
I had anything of substance, to oblige the prince by communicating
it, with the assurance that the confidence would be kept inviolably
secret amongst ourselves. I expressed regret at having nothing
for the moment to impart, but promised that if I heard anything
hereafter I would do so willingly. I said this in order not to lose
his confidence, but I shall do nothing, in order not to displease the
Court by my action, as I am quite sure they would take such a
correspondence in ill part, at least that is my humble opinion.
Curtius left me well satisfied, giving me a paper or manifest with the
Palatine's signature, enclosed herewith, imparting the attainment of
his Highness's majority, to take up the direction of his dominions.
The contents show how little substance there is in their efforts on
behalf of the Palatine House and what scanty results can be expected.
It shows that this Court will do nothing more than the interests of
these realms demand. Such steps as they do take are rather to show
their willingness to act abroad, and the only motive is the need to
do something to quiet the criticisms which are uttered, wherever
an opening is found, to the detriment of their reputation, with every
licence and without reserve. But in substance they lull themselves
in the belief that in a treaty for a general peace or for a particular
one in the empire, there must of necessity be a final adjustment,
without any trouble about all these points which the toils and
expenditure of a long time might not suffice to make entirely secure
in the end. This supposition while lulling to sleep all generous
and appropriate resolutions causes the interests of Christendom
at large, as well as those of the Palatine family to retire into the background,
possibly with the most serious consequences.
Cersey, the 11th July, 1636.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
24. Letter of the Elector Palatine to Francisco Erizzo,
Doge of Venice.
Desire to maintain the ancient friendship between his Electorate
and the most serene republic, especially as he has now attained
his majority and the electoral dignity of Palatine of the Rhine
with everything pertaining thereto ought to be transferred to
him. Considers this statement of his undoubted rights would
not be displeasing to the doge, and that it would be his care that
he should obtain peaceful possession, with which the peace and
tranquillity of Germany and of the whole of Christendom are
bound up etc.
Dated at London, the 8th May, 1636.
Signed : Carolus Ludovicus Dei gratia Comes Palatinus Rheni,
Sacri Rom. Imperii Archidapifer et Elector, Dux Bavariae.
||25. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
Gordon having left for Poland with the instructions advised, all
the talk at Court about the marriage of the Palatine princess
has quieted down, and they are waiting to hear from him how
far Zavaschi has disturbed matters. In the mean time attention
is directed to the effect of the treaties of peace in Germany and
the result of the diet of Ratisbon. They expect good for the
Palatine from the former and the reverse from the latter. Orders
have been sent to the Earl of Arundel to oppose with all his might
the confirmation for ever of the electoral vote to the house of
Bavaria, which the diet was expected to ratify, protesting that
if it takes place, England must of necessity take offence and
The earl's letters this week bring the king very unsatisfactory
news. They relate that the King of Hungary has refused to
see him, under the pretext that he ought not to do so before he
has seen his father. He asked for this of the emperor at Linz,
but it has been postponed until his Majesty arrives at Ratisbon.
From this title piece one may read both disagreeably and clearly
that their principles are always the same, to try and drag things
out at length ; but all these fluctuations do not suffice to rouse
them to thoughts of war. They still think about negotiating,
without knowing which way is the safest to take. Only this is
certain, that they will not make any decision until Arundel's
negotiations have made some advance.
Everything is quiet at sea, nothing having been done since
the capture of the Dutch war ship.
The Ambassador Beveren, after remonstrating with the
king, has proved by witnesses on oath that the captain of the
Dunkirk tartana was a notorious rover (fn. 1) and that the Dutch
had seized him solely at the instance of his Majesty's subjects,
because, out of respect for the place where they met him, without
being prevoked, they had decided not to touch him. As the truth
has thus been ascertained, Beveren trusts that the ship will be
On the arrival at Court of the news that the Dutch fishermen
have put to sea with a numerous escort of well armed ships,
determined to fish indifferently everywhere and to defend
themselves against whoever tries to molest them, the king and
ministers were greatly moved, and by their order the more speedy
sailing of the other ships, which were being slowly fitted out to
join the rest of the fleet, has been immediately commanded.
But the Dutch seem in no wise intimidated by this, saying that
they hope nothing unusual will be done against them, as they
have respected the royal flag more than any other nation. On
the other hand they announce that thirty more sail will be added
very speedily to reinforce their fleet. They show themselves
resolute and prepared for whatever may happen to them. From
this it is clear there is very dangerous material about, and when
to this are added the sinister ideas which the partisans of Spain go
about spreading odiously, it seems inevitable that occasions for
the worst events must arise.
Letters from Frankfort of the 27th ult. report the preparations
of the Landgrave of Hesse to introduce succour into Hanau and
that Duke Bernard is marching to join him. This raises great
hopes, and they are on the alert here so as not to lose any
opportunity of securing advantage.
The Earl of Leicester reports from Paris that at his request
commissioners have been appointed to hear him, namely Messieurs
de Bouillon and Savigny ; but he does not know what to discuss
with them, as his instructions remain the same as when he left
London, since the English cabinet is apparently awaiting the
result of the Earl of Arundel's negotiations.
Rolandson came to see me yesterday, having recovered from
his illness. He expressed his devotion to the most serene republic.
He hopes to return as soon as he has attended to his affairs here,
to end his days there as a private citizen. He said he had spoken
to some of the ministers here about the affairs of the English
merchants at Venice and found that they knew nothing about
Hider's business. He told them about it and of the kindness
shown to Obson. He had pointed out to them the extravagant
nature of Hider's demands, and as they do not attach much
importance to that merchant personally your Excellencies will
see that the demands put forward on his behalf at Venice receive
no impulse from this quarter.
Cersey, the 11th July, 1636.
26. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in
Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
My desire to confer with the earl of Arundel and Baron Rabata,
Captain of Gradisca, has brought me here. There arrived at
about the same time the Count of Ognat, the Resident of Poland
and Griffoni, knight of Malta. So far the field is free for conferences,
without affording observations and comments. But I
had no opportunity of speaking to these ministers as I wished,
since Rabata, left the same day for Gratz and Arundel for Vienna,
where he will pay his respects to the queen and the archduke.
Linz, the 12th July, 1636.
27. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to
the Doge and Senate.
The fleet has left for the Strait of Gibraltar. They hear that
it caused great anxiety when it approached the coasts of Galicia.
They assert here that if it meets the fleet going from Spain to
Dunkirk, it will fight it in spite of the presence of an English
ship with money. The Ambassador Leicester remonstrates,
declaring that if this occurs it may lead to some mischief. The
English barque detained by the governor of Calais is still under
arrest. They consider it a lawful prize here because they have
information that it was taking food and munitions to the
Spaniards, but since the last offices of the Ambassadors the
Cardinal has promised that it shall be released and restored in
a few days.
Paris, the 15th July, 1636.