Venice
December 1636

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1923

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105-117

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'Venice: December 1636', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 24: 1636-1639 (1923), pp. 105-117. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89409 Date accessed: 17 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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December 1636

Dec. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya, Venetian Archives.
118. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The matter of the fishermen has been taken up again, and they show themselves more and more embittered against England and correspondingly disposed to proceed to a rupture and to take steps to carry this into effect with all speed. The States General try to point out how inauspicious existing circumstances are for such rash action. The Prince also went to the Assembly of the States of Holland two days ago and spoke to them at length. He pointed out they must avoid precipitous action and not encourage the Spaniards to risk another war. Taxes could not be increased. But when a truce is arranged conditions may be better and they would be able to uphold their liberty at sea. He was listened to with great attention. In reply it was urged that the Provinces had fought for liberty against the Spaniards and should do the same against England. They could cut down expenses on land, as the Spaniards were kept busy with the French. The result is awaited with curiosity. But even if the states of Holland decided on a rash step it is not thought that the States General would agree, as they would rather do anything than spend money and would suffer any injury rather than engage in a new war before the struggle with the Spaniards is ended.
The Hague, the 4th December, 1636.
[Italian.]
Dec. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
119. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
No further ratification has come from France. They seem to resent this here and criticise the slowness of the French in the matter, calling it calculated indifference, in order to obtain better terms. An impartial observer can easily see that the Most Christian merely for the sake of a few levies from this kingdom and the promised defence of his Ocean ports, which is the utmost he can expect from the terms, cannot agree to bind himself to maintain the war for the satisfaction of the English and not to embrace an honourable peace unless the interests of the Palatine house are accomodated to the satisfaction of the King of Great Britain. Besides the slight advantage to France, one must also consider the consequence of permitting the English to be arbiters over these seas, and affording them an opportunity of grasping the lordship which they claim, a point to which they have devoted so much attention in France and upon which they declared last year that they would not always abandon themselves to the present connivance. However the ministers here do not take it in this way, but pretend that the French raise difficulties about stipulating the present articles because they do not wish to prejudice their conventions with the Duke of Bavaria ; and also, perhaps, intent on adjusting matters by private treaties with the queen mother and the Duke of Lorraine, so as not to have opposition at the congress of Cologne from such great obstacles to the conclusion of peace on their side they think it more advantageous for them to keep England occupied with negotiations for a long while, than to cause the establishment of the agreements with so little profit to themselves. At all events, the very considerable disturbances which may arise from the unexpected departure of Monsieur and the Count of Soissons, (fn. 1) about which they do not yet know all the particulars, though it excites much comment, give good reason for believing that great changes may ensue, and meanwhile those who look on cannot help feeling perplexed about future events.
I am assured that most strenuous remonstrances have been made to the councillors and secretaries of the Prince Palatine here, because they have awakened his ideas of having an army, and they have rebuked them for encouraging him in the urgent instances which he makes for it. This suffices to show that all the discussions on the subject were mere artifice, and that they do not mean to do anything. So after all the Palatine will have this additional mortification to his princely character. Meanwhile he shows great impatience at remaining idle here, and his countenance really betrays the most acute sense of shame, as he never takes part without blushing at any conference where the present agitations of the world are discussed. His brother, on the other hand, finds all his delight in the amenities of the Court, and in particular passes his time by amusing himself in the society of the ladies (nella giocondita delle conversazione delle dame) without any preoccupations besides what his own youthful inclinations at present supply him.
They have heard with general dissatisfaction and to the extreme mortification of the Palatine, of the departure from France of the Polish ambassador with portraits of the two princesses of Bourbon and Mantua, as they conclude that the marriage of the Palatine princess with that king is considered impossible. The ministers here now seem sorry that the ambassador was dealt with so severely here, and possibly they wish the matter was in its original position.
The Vice-Admiral of the Fleet, who remained at Plymouth with five or six sail, still keeps at sea. They do not know the reason for this, as he had orders to withdraw with the others.
One hears of no real preparations, but only the noise of orders, for renewing the provisions for the fleet, and nothing is said as to who will command it, if it puts to sea. The contributions, moreover are only raised slowly, as many still maintain obstinately that they cannot be compelled to make them.
The state despatches of the 1st and 6th November have arrived together.
I see no sign of the Spanish ambassador taking steps to correspond with the numerous assurances received from Spain and elsewhere.
A report has just reached me, based on something said by the queen, that Monsieur and the Count of Soissons are about to arrive in this kingdom ; but lack of time prevents me from confirming this.
Hampton, the 5th December, 1636.
[Italian.]
Dec. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
120. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Leicester says that he is constantly meeting with obstacles and difficulties in his negotiations, and they do not make as much progress as he would like. The ministers here ought to accept what was offered them, because the rest will follow, referring to a declaration of open war against the House of Austria. Yet the influential personage who confided to me that a defensive and offensive alliance was arranged maintains, although certainly the ministers both here and in England make contrary announcement, that the affair has advanced so far that the few things which remain to be settled ought not reasonably to upset or break off the negotiations.
Paris, the 9th December, 1636.
[Italian.]
Dec. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
121. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
On the subject of the fisheries it is expected that orders will be sent to Joachimi to represent to England that with the ill feeling that exists no advantage will accrue to them from the action they have taken, and to intimate that these Provinces will endeavour to demonstrate their liberty at sea by other means, if offices and milder measures do not suffice to produce the result. They will continue on these lines, all the Provinces protesting that it will finally result in a breach.
There are various reports about Arundel's departure from Ratisbon. The Princess Palatine announces that he has left in high dudgeon, and that very soon we shall hear of a formal declaration by England. But others hold opposite views. The Ambassador Beveren writes that England's ardour to take up arms and join the French has greatly diminished, and there are reports about referring the matter to the Diet. Only a small number of people believed that England would declare herself, and very few credit it now after all these delays, as the Austrians, if given time, often work wonders, and possibly England does not mind being deceived.
The Hague, the 11th December, 1636.
[Italian.]
Dec. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
122. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Mutability and confusion reign in the foreign policy of the ministry here. This not only renders vain any judgment about the issue of things to come but leaves an equal uncertainty about the matters upon which they are actually engaged, so that it is impossible to draw any conclusion or make any forecast with anything solid to go upon. Thus it is stated that the Earl of Arundel has left the Imperial Court unexpectedly, in disgust, although those here most intimate with the government will not admit this. Although such action directly contravenes the decision recently taken in his Majesty's Council, yet it seems that some at least do not disapprove, indeed it looks as if this step has met with general applause and satisfaction. In the mean while they are about to send to him with all speed a courier with appropriate commissions, reviving once again the question, already so much discussed, of sending him to Cologne to superintend the interests of the Count Palatine. They are at the moment inclined to take this course, indeed they are all practically agreed upon it, and the question would be decided already were it not for some doubt as to the capacity in which they should send him there. In whatever way this point is decided, it is certain that the orders sent to him will be kept secret, in order that the announcement of this step may not give rise to some fresh imbroglio to delay the meeting of that assembly. They are anxious to see this realised and are displeased at the difficulties which the Austrians are raising about not wishing to treat with the Cardinal of Lyons.
The rumour about the sudden arrival of Monsieur and the Count of Soissons was false, but it supplied abundant material for conversation at the Court. The Earl of Leicester writes from Paris that owing to the stir caused at the Court there by the flight of these princes, he has not been able to make any effective progress with his negotiations. However he does not fail to hold out the brightest and most solid hopes of their conclusion in the near future. None the less, the ministers here are beginning at bottom to feel doubts about it, as they see full well that if the French thought it advisable to consent to the terms agreed they would not remain silent about the ratification to the prejudice of their own interests. But outwardly they affect to believe the exact opposite here.
The Dutch ambassador went to Court the day before yesterday and asked the king's leave to raise the usual recruits here ; but he was put off with ambiguous replies. He then approached the Secretary Coke, who told him that this was not a time to talk of such matters, but that in a fortnight, when the treaties with France had been stipulated, he also should receive every satisfaction. The ambassador retorted that such levies being an ancient concession on the part of England, had nothing at all to do with the treaties with France, and even less with the one in question. No notice whatever had been given to him or his masters. The secretary said that the door was open for the States to enter also, as it was reasonable they should. The ambassador then said, with some feeling, that they could not be forced or ordered by any one.
Without proceeding with the discussion or waiting for an answer he went forthwith to the apartments of the Prince Palatine. He told him that he had been sent as ambassador extraordinary to this Court on purpose to offer the services of his masters in any way that might serve his Highness's cause. After so many months they not only made no reply to his repeated overtures and proposals, but without giving him any intimation, as they ought, they were negotiating a special treaty with France for the same purpose. He had come again to confirm the disposition of his masters to do all in their power for his Highness's house, and begged him to say freely if he thought he had any cause for dissatisfaction with him, and if he might return to Holland with his full concurrence. The prince was surprised at his resolute tone and did his best to assure him of his deepest gratitude for all the benefits received by himself and his family from the States. With regard to the French alliance he said that it was not yet concluded, and in it, not only was a place reserved for the States, but they would be invited. The ambassador replied that he did not know with what good will or with what reputation the Provinces could take part in an affair which had been arranged without them and without regard for their rights. They were not treated like allies or in accordance with their agreements with the Most Christian, which stipulated that no particular alliance should be arranged without mutual consent. Dwelling on the resentment felt by the Dutch for this treatment, he said that the emperor, on behalf of the Spaniards had newly made considerable offers for a good agreement. They would never have been the first to violate their obligations, to their allies, but if others abandoned the game first and treated separately with those princes and of those affairs which they considered their interests, he did not think they could be blamed if, for their own advantage they entered into negotiations with the Spaniards, leaving an opening for the French to enter the treaty, as they might do, just as much as the French can make a separate alliance with England or others, leaving the Dutch free to come in if they like.
These outspoken remarks are sure to be taken to his Majesty by the Palatine, and as they contain such important matter the ambassador no less than anyone else is waiting attentively to see what reply they will give him as the prince of himself did not think fit to say any more.
In order to accelerate the collection of the taxes for the fleet, they are working with the solicitude reported. On the other hand the unwillingness of the people to contribute becomes more strongly felt. Not only the lower classes but the greatest lords are beginning to make themselves heard seriously, in expressing with great resolution, their intention to maintain, with the common laws, as they call them, their own jurisdictions and privileges. Accordingly the Earl of Dambi, moved as many believe by the incitement of many of the leading men of the realm as well as by his own inclinations, unexpectedly decided to write a letter to the king. While expressing his loyalty, as one who from his earliest childhood and during the life of the late king had the honour to be numbered among his most familiar servants, he took the liberty to represent to him the extent of the outcry of the people and the discontent of the great, and the scandals which seem imminent everywhere, because in a manner never before practised and repugnant to the fundamental laws of the realm, they proposed to continue to burden his subjects with impositions and extraordinary taxes, without caring about undermining mining the prerogatives which their forefathers always and they themselves up to the present time had enjoyed in complete liberty. He went on that while everyone feels deeply injured by the present form of the contributions, no one will object to the contributions in themselves if they are levied in the proper manner. He ventured to assure his Majesty that he would find the greatest readiness in every one of his subjects to give not only their substance but their blood to please him. To unburden his conscience, as a mark of his devoted loyalty, to assure the peace of the realm and above all for the greatness of his Majesty he could not refrain from making these representations, feeling sure that he should best please him thus. He begs him to consider how good it will be to satisfy his subjects by summoning parliament, as he knows it will really be for his greater service. Such in brief are the principal contents of this letter. When it was presented to his Majesty at a time when he was conversing familiarly with a few persons in his chamber, he was seen suddenly to change colour when reading it, while his face hardened. Without saying a word he paced the room, giving every indication of being much moved and angered.
The incident is considered serious, but as it is still recent, one does not know what result it will produce. It is quite clear that it has not only been long premeditated, but is the outcome of the consultation and deliberation of the most powerful, not without evident encouragement from the Spaniards, who are very hopeful of forwarding their interests by this means in the present state of affairs. The whole Court has been fluttered by this, but everyone keeps his thoughts to himself, the matter being essentially too important, delicate and jealous. I know well how much attention it deserves and shall keep on the watch for what ensues, in order to inform your Excellencies.
With the ducal missives of the 14th November I have nothing but the pistol cock to be consigned to the Persian merchant, which shall be done when I have a convenient opportunity.
Westcourt, the 12th December, 1636.
[Italian.]
Dec. 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
123. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassadors have been to audience of the king, whom they congratulated on the recovery of Corbie. (fn. 2) They also urged him somewhat to bring their negotiations to completion. They seem to have moved slowly in these here since they heard the Earl of Arundel was staying at Ratisbon.
I have drawn the attention of some of the ministers to the considerations sent me by your Serenity on the 15th ult. They replied that they know full well that the Count of Ognat rules in Germany more than the emperor himself and their interests would always be united with the House of Austria. The most that can be done will be to warn the electors not to rivet the fetters on their legs. The Earl of Arundel, by his good disposition, may propose peace between the two crowns, but he has no authority for this, and all things are moving towards the peace negotiations at Cologne with their friends. These transactions showed that the Austrians had no desire for peace. To get a favourable one it was necessary that the parties should be practically equal.
Paris, the 16th December, 1636.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
124. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
We have seen the king working assiduously all this week in his most secret Council at the two affairs considered of importance, without giving time for his customary pleasures of the chase. One of these is the speech recently made by the Dutch ambassador to the Prince Palatine, and the other is the letter of the Earl of Dambi. As regards the former, nothing has yet been decided, although they have held frequent debates as to the reply which they should give to the ambassador. Not only so but the question has been raised as to whether it is better that the reply should be made to him directly by one of the ministers in his Majesty's name, or whether it may be more expedient and commit them less if the Palatine himself gives it to him, speaking as if on his own responsibility.
If the very vigorous protest made by the ambassador about the disposition of the Provinces to come to terms with the Spaniards if they are badly treated by their friends, did not arouse any particular alarm, it certainly did not weigh greatly with them, since it is well known that on other grounds also the Dutch cannot remain satisfied in the end with the procedure of England. However as that particular interest is always a very sensitive one, and to avoid supplying material for criticism under existing circumstances, they would like to give them at least a verbal satisfaction. More serious interests, of which your Excellencies shall hear below, do not admit the possibility of their affording it in deeds.
The second point, the letter of the Earl of Dambi, has been discussed at great length, and suggestions were made to deal with the matter severely.
To quiet to some extent those ardent spirits which seem to be moving very boldly towards disturbances and at the same time to stifle the lugubrious voices which have lamented because nothing has been done these last two years with such a numerous and expensive fleet, they have decided to set a report going that will fill the ears and satisfy the desires of the people, that they mean, even in the present season, to employ not only their naval forces but others as well for the service of the Palatine, whose cause is made that of the crown, for the sake of reputation, besides kinship, and that they will act with all vigour to secure the lordship of the sea, making all who wish to fish render such tribute as is considered proper. In conformity with this they will publish most clearly throughout the realm that all those who in the future intend to practise fishing in these seas must, before they begin, come here or send their accredited agent to England to take a written license from the magistrate appointed and submit to such obligations as shall be decided, otherwise, if they are found they shall be arrested and their goods confiscated as lawful booty. They expect to secure two results by these reports and decrees, one that the people, satisfied by the hope that their money will be usefully spent, will become less impatient with their present, impetuous clamours, and will become less insistent upon the calling of parliament ; the other, that the Dutch, aroused by the proclamation to produce their arguments, if they think of doing so, may produce them so speedily that they can be refuted by force or by connivance if they keep silence that will amount to an acceptation of the English claims as just, and a submission to the practice at a time when they may be at their greatest strength and so make it easier for them to put up with the burden of this acknowledgment and the hurt which is inflicted upon them.
In the mean time in order to establish their claims to this dominion more firmly and to increase the benefits for the satisfaction of their daily needs, they have begun to seize the ships which come through the Downs, a place claimed to be in the open sea, laden with all kinds of goods for all kinds of places, even if they have not touched at any port of the realm. They did this lately with an English ship which sailed recently from a port of Flanders for Spain, making it pay just as much for everything as if it had sailed directly from this kingdom (fn. 3) , and they intend to do the same with all others that they find in the future.
On this account also the Dutch claim to have received fresh injury, and the Dutch ambassador, backed by the whole nation, is preparing to make a complaint before the king. With respect to the proclamation about fishing he says he will say nothing for the present, as he is waiting for orders from Holland to do it with more effect, having sent an express thither with a careful account of what has happened.
Frequent letters and couriers come from France about the treaty, but all full of hopes only and never bringing the conclusion which they desire. Yet the ministers here keep on affirming that the matter will be concluded in a few days.
The Palatine, convinced that his hopes of an independent force are vain, has renounced them, and utterly discouraged by the news of the birth of a son to establish the line of the Duke of Bavaria (fn. 4) , has fallen sick or feigns to be ill, and not only does little but is seldom seen to leave his rooms.
They feel sure that the Earl of Arundel has left Ratisbon, but not Germany, indeed they think that he may stop some time of his own accord at Cologne, even if they do not come to any more open decision. He wrote that very specious proposals had been made to him for the termination of his transactions, but only covertly and with no security that they would be clinched ; the Duke of Bavaria was implacable, possibly in concert with Cæsar, and this made a favourable issue impossible. He also makes a passing reference to the renewal of the proposal being made to him for an alliance between this crown and the House of Austria, when satisfaction should be given reciprocally, with a request in particular for some assistance against the Dutch, but it does not seem that they have devoted more attention to this here than it deserves.
I have received this week the state despatches of the 15th ult. with the enclosure about the Spaniards granting equality of title ; but the Ambassador Ognat has not made any move.
Westcourt, the 19th December, 1636.
[Italian.]
Dec. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
125. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Bonica the favourite of Duke Bernard (fn. 5) has come here from England. He expresses himself as well pleased with that Monarch. He wished to join his master, but the duke wrote to him to stop because he himself would come here soon.
Paris, 23rd December, 1636.
[Italian.]
Dec. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
126. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
To day the Princess Palatine is expecting the Earl of Arundel. She says that he will leave without staying as the king will decide nothing before seeing him. She seems to think that everything will be arranged to the entire satisfaction of the prince, her son. The French say that the king will do nothing and that the negotiations in France are only meant to alarm the Austrians, and that his Majesty decided long ago to let his nephews drop if these means failed. The English try to represent the Spaniards as greatly alarmed. The general opinion is confirmed by the constitution of the crown of England, which must be on good terms with parliament to obtain money and from the policy of the present king, who wants to be absolute and does not wish to be dependent upon parliament. All agree that the best way to persuade the Austrians to peace would be for England to join in the blockade of Flanders.
The Hague, the 25th December, 1636.
[Italian.]
Dec. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
127. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Accompanied by a numerous following of merchants the Dutch ambassador appeared before his Majesty last Tuesday. He expressed the universal discontent of his countrymen at being burdened with new and unaccustomed imposts on goods which happened to pass through these seas, even if they did not touch the shores of this kingdom. The king listened patiently and even accepted a paper with the case of the merchants, promising to take its contents into consideration and to give a speedy answer. He assured the ambassador of his goodwill towards the States. The step however is supposed to have produced but very small effect, because they are most determined to insist upon their lordship of the sea, from which they hope to obtain reputation and safety no less than very considerable profit. It is therefore vain to believe that with the field apparently free to England, all the neighbouring nations being in commotion, to gain without a struggle the place to which she aspires, that she will abandon her advance upon any consideration, as she knows full well that if she lost the present opportunity things are not likely to remain so easy always or with so little opposition.
One of the most important points still remains to be settled and that is the opposition of the King of Denmark, who has already let it be freely understood that when he has occasion to visit these waters he does not intend his flag to show obedience to the English, beyond the rule always observed at sea, whereby the weaker always honours the stronger ; but they hope to find a way out of this by negotiations set in motion a long time ago. It is stated that there is a secret agreement with that sovereign that each shall honour the other equally, the English being recognised as superiors in the Ocean and the Danes in the Baltic. For this reason and no other it is considered that the King of Denmark has asked Cæsar for a patent of Admiral General over the whole Baltic sea, in order to enlarge the limits of his present dominion over it without opposition from the empire, partly by use, partly by authority and power, encouraged by England's example, cloaked under the appearance of a dependent jurisdiction, making everyone who wishes to navigate there, unconciously subject to his absolute command. In order to remove the opposition of the Swedes to this suzerainty I am assured on good authority that very strong representations have been made from this quarter but I cannot find out if they have received an answer. From all these things your Excellencies can see without a doubt that all their attention at present is devoted to the sole object of the sovereignty of the sea, and if they carry on other negotiations besides, these only possess solidity in so far as they are closely related to this object.
They think that the Earl of Arundel will arrive here before long, impelled by a desire to return to his native land. Letters from the Hague of the 14th inst. relate that the Princess Palatine was expecting him at any moment ; but as he has not even yet given notice here, I must refer to what you will hear from the spot. As it is supposed by this that the negotiations with the House of Austria are entirely broken off, they will devote all their energies, with their eyes on the pole star, to secure the pacific domination of the sea.
For the establishment of the treaties with France they sent two days ago new and most urgent instructions to the Earl of Leicester, but the French either wish to make the most of the advantage offered them or think they can serve their interests better in another way, and they give no security for the conclusion yet. Here they are becoming very uneasy because, arguing from the exhaustion of both sides, they give great credit to the reports that secret negotiations are on foot between France and Spain, for a truce and possibly even a peace, and the latest news from Cologne of another serious defeat of the Saxons encourages the same belief, as it is known that the special affairs of the empire also call for some speedy adjustment.
The Vice Admiral Pennington having approached to enter the river with the six ships of his squadron, they have ordered him to proceed without delay towards the Barbary coasts in the hope that he may make some notable capture from the Turkish pirates. They announce this as his object, but actually they have no other aim, than to appease the people which continues to murmur because in spite of their paying for such a considerable fleet they continue to suffer such serious prejudice as was inflicted by these same Turks last summer in Ireland.
The plague, being confined by the very sharp cold, is beginning to lose the malignity with which for nine months on end it has troubled a great part of this kingdom. It is hoped that the country is entirely free, and in the city of London the deaths from it do not exceed some 200 a week. If this improvement continues the Court will make no further scruples about admitting intercourse with the city. Accordingly I expect to be among the first to return in order to escape from the expense, which has already proved insupportable for my poor unaided fortunes.
I consigned to the Persian merchant the two pocket pistols transmitted to me by your Serenity, to be handed by him as a gift to his king. I enclose his receipt as directed, signed with his own hand.
The state despatch of the 22nd ult., reached me by the ordinary of this week.
Westcourt, the 26th December, 1636.
[Italian.]
Enclosure. 128. Laus Deo, the 22nd December, 1636, at London.
Acknowledgment of receipt from Angelo Corraro, ambassador of Venice to the King of Great Britain, of two pocket pistols, with shagreen mounts, and on mountings of embroidered velvet, four stones and a mould for the balls, the whole to be consigned by me in the name of the most serene republic to the King of Persia, my master.
[Italian.]
Dec. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
129. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier arrived from England two days ago. I hear that he brings the consent of that king to the proposals put forward by the Imperialists and Spaniards to restore the Lower Palatinate to his nephew if England will induce France, by negotiation or by arms, to give up Lorraine. It is said that the English ministers have been conducting negotiations in France on the matter, and so it is possible to cherish greater hopes of an agreement.
Madrid, the 28th December, 1636.
[Italian.] Copy.
Dec. 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
130. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The satisfaction felt at the election of the king of the Romans (fn. 6) is somewhat damped by fear of what England may do, although they expect that definite measures may be delayed. After the Earl of Arundel left the emperor, to keep up hope, entrusted the affair to the Elector of Mainz, and sent an express to Arundel, intimating his readiness for an adjustment and suggesting that Bavaria and the Palatine should hold the electorate jointly. But Arundel continued his journey and is now reported to be at the Hague.
Radolti has reported the project announced in London of an alliance with France ; but they do not seem to attach much importance to it here, as the protection of the French ports on the Ocean, the cutting off of food from the Spaniards and the refusal of levies to the Catholic are not measures thought likely to hurt the empire. They would feel more alarm at contributions of money and men from England to Sweden, of which there are reports ; but these are not confirmed from England. The emperor has approached the Count of Ognat again to get him to offer more liberal conditions about the Palatinate ; but the Count declared he would rather his master engaged in an honourable war than see him surrender what he held by a just title. Amid all these hesitations and doubts nothing is more anxiously awaited than news from England, so that their own decisions may be guided by those taken by that crown. Meanwhile Teller stays on here negotiating with the princes and the Spaniards. This shows that the thread of the business is not broken altogether ; but no further resolution is being taken as everyone foresees that the removal of this minister also is at hand.
Ratisbon, the 29th December, 1636.
[Italian.]
Dec. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
131. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English agent Oger, has been summoned to Ruel and is there negotiating with the Cardinal on behalf of the Ambassador Leicester. The earl says that it is a month since he made his proposals and he expects a reply ; difficulties have since arisen on one side and another, and thus postpone the conclusion of the matter.
Paris, the 30th December. 1636.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 The two princes left Paris secretly on the 20th November, pretending to be afraid for their liberty or their lives. Monsieur retired to Blois while Soissons took refuge at Sedan. Bazin : Hist, de France sous Louis XIII., Vol. III., pp. 227, 228.
2 On the 14th November.
3 No doubt the Sarah of London, Thomas Gibbes master, which was laded at Dunkirk for San Lucar in Spain. It was known that Gibbes intended to evade payment of the duties, estimated at 2,000l. at least, and he was stopped in the channel by the Tenth Whelp, Capt. Francis Smith, sent into Dover and imprisoned. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1636-7, pages 138, 212, 345.
4 Ferdinand Maria, born 31st October.
5 Ponickau. See No. 58 at page 57 above.
6 Ferdinand, eldest son of the Emperor Ferdinand II. was chosen king of the Romans at Ratisbon on the 22nd December.