205. To the Ambassador in England.
We have received your despatches of the 2nd and 3rd ult.
We note the efforts made for the recall of the Ambassador
Fielding. We approve of what you have done and the information
obtained by the friendly offices of the individual who spoke so
wisely to the king, for which he deserves the thanks of the republic.
The case against Andrea della Nave will follow its ordinary
course. You will continue to advance the same arguments
and we hope that you will have been able to tranquillise the king's
mind to the advantage of the public service. Advices.
Ayes, 109. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.
206. Astzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
They have hold long and frequent conferences this week about
the Swedish proposals, but although time presses, a decision has
been delayed. The chief reason is supposed to be the doubtful
state of negotiations with France, whom they possibly mean to
stimulate by this policy, or else, as the king is not settling with
one crown, he may be averse from beginning negotiations with
another, but would rather make terms with the Austrians, who
offer secure and advantageous terms, exempt from the chance of
war, and indeed this week the Spanish Ambassador made fresh
offers of the complete restitution of the Lower Palatinate showing
the special powers which he holds, and adding that until it is
entirely handed over and the Palatine enjoys secure possession,
some strong and important fortresses in the Netherlands will
be placed in his Majesty's hands, and they will treat afterwards
about the remainder and the electoral dignity, with proposals
which certainly will not cause dissatisfaction. Meanwhile,
as a mark of good will he has left with his Majesty a present of
two most beautiful Spanish horses, and he presented another
to the Marquis of Hamilton, the Master of the Horse, saying
that he had other very swift ones to send to his king when he
wished to send him speedy news of the successful conclusion of
These offices, which have some semblance of sincerity, since
it is known that the Spaniards have possession of the Lower
Palatinate exactly as they held it in the year 1630 before the King
of Sweden entered Germany, by no means displease the Palatine,
who has never been able to conceal his apprehension of exposing
himself in an army. So it appears he has intimated that they
ought not to disdain the proposals of the Austrians where it is a
question of certain gain, and it is better to enjoy what is certain than
to expose oneself to manifest peril for uncertain gain, with so much
dependence upon fortune. These opinions confirm the impression
of his lack of courage. As this is the basis of every appeal to arms,
people imagine that little vigour will be shown, and without this
foundation not much can be hoped for the rest. Prince Rupert
also seems more inclined to the ease and charm of the Court than to
the practise of arms, so that one does not know what to expect from
either of them in case of emergency.
Meanwhile the Swedes circulate a report that they have already
sent Count Brandestein to Vienna and to the Elector of Saxony
to hear proposals for a separate adjustment, as without help
they cannot hold out, the imperial army having hemmed theirs
in and obliged it to retire to fortified positions, in the hope of
starving them into a retreat ; that a secret alliance against
them, the Swedes, is being formed by Denmark, Poland and
Saxony, to expel them altogether from Germany, as proved by
letters intercepted from General Harnheim, showing that he
himself was conducting the negotiation, for which he had been
arrested and sent prisoner to Sweden. All these threats fail to
decide the king here to help Oxestern, unless he is sure of France,
as he is afraid she may make terms with Austria if she is not
bound by any treaty, and let the flood of all the evil influences
descend upon them. If this should happen, they recognise
clearly that their cause would be beaten down for ever, as they
cannot expect to have sufficient force to resist such heavy blows.
However they have decided to devise some other expedient
for unmasking this affair with the Most Christian completely,
so that afterwards they may have solid foundation for taking
such steps as they may consider most advantageous. If the
letters from the Earl of Leicester do not bring some good news
this week, it is stated that in the following week they will send a
special envoy with fresh instructions, though it is thought it
will only be to charge him to make protests that if they do
not give him his answer in a few days he has orders to abandon
the affair and to return to England without further delay.
With regard to the reports of the Count dalla Rocca about
what happened here in Fielding's affair, his correspondents
blundered badly in anticipating events, as they send word of
things before negotiations were opened. Audience was never
denied me. Nothing more is said on the subject, but they
are waiting to hear from Fielding. It is hoped his reports may
be good, as many letters from his private friends have advised
him to abandon the indefensible attitude he showed at the
outset, and his own mother has several times assured me that she
hopes that the old confidential relations between this crown and
the republic will be advanced at the time of his departure rather
I hope soon to be leaving for France. I shall be grateful
if the Senate will be pleased to grant me a coadjutor in addition
to the secretary. For a fortnight I have been kept to my bed.
London, the 1st May, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
207. Aivise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
They have taken to the English Ambassadors in the king's
name the reply for which they were waiting. This does not
seem to satisfy them, and they say that it is not definitive and
that they do not wish to pledge themselves here because they
Paris, the 5th May, 1637.
208. The English Ambassador came into the Collegio and
spoke to the following effect :
It will seem strange to your Serenity that I appear now after
such a long interval. I could not do otherwise without express
orders from my king. He has directed me to return and so I
obey. I was very greatly offended at the incident which caused
me to withdraw, because it affected his Majesty's honour, and I
could not dispose of that without consulting him. I regretted
deeply being prevented from coming to see your Serenity, as
I feared I should lose your favour which I value so highly.
The gentleman whom I sent with my account of the incident (fn. 1)
has returned with letters from his Majesty expressing his deep
regard for the republic and with full instructions about what I
am to do to obtain proper satisfaction from your Serenity. He
directs me first to represent the sorrow with which he heard of
the scant respect shown to his ambassador, and that he expects
a demonstration corresponding to his affection for this republic.
He feels sure that rather than omit such a sign of friendship you
will afford satisfaction corresponding to his greatness.
I think that your ambassador has offered some reparation.
This was not considered sufficient and his Majesty has honoured
me with full powers to treat about this. He has the matter
so much at heart that he has written about it with his own hand. (fn. 2)
He knows me for a devoted servant of your Serenity and now I
declare my desire to use every effort to remove all difficulties.
You will have no reason to complain of me. I shall await your
In my letters I have evaded the matters which might have
rendered this serious affair difficult and thorny, so I am not without
fear of what may ensue, as I may be blamed. However, I
prefer the maintenance of the mutual friendship to my own
I therefore ask your Serenity to give his Majesty just and proper
satisfaction, in the assurance that I will sacrifice everything to
maintain and increase this confidence, without considering my
personal position, so that the king has satisfaction. I hope to
show that I am worthy of your confidence. I must warn your
Serenity that noble and well born spirits always aspire to serve
their princes well, and I, who profess to serve well my king and
your Serenity too, promise myself that you, on your side will
remove all difficulties that may intervene and prevent matters
going to the last extremity, which I should deplore.
The doge replied, We are always glad to see you and were
sorry to be deprived of the pleasure for so long a time. We
rejoice to see again one whom we esteem so much and are also
glad that his Majesty has confided the affair to you, as you know
the good intentions of the republic and that we never had the
slightest idea of giving you any offence. We have always shown
our affectionate respect for the King of Great Britain and desired
to preserve friendship and confidential relations with him.
We can assure you that in what happened there never was the
slightest intention to prejudice his Majesty or you, and no different
interpretation should be given, as we could not show more
The house was considered private, and let to a private person,
without the ambassador having any interest therein. The one
who gave the order had express information that this was so.
We hope that you will give the matter due consideration. Your
house was not touched, and there was never the slightest indication
of any attack on your interests. You may rest assured that
the republic will do all that it can, but we ask you to take the
matter in its essence, without listening to the accounts of others,
holding fast to the maxim that there was no evil deed or intention,
and that the republic, in every way possible, will show the great
esteem it has for you, as we have not had for many years any
ambassador whom we loved more. We regretted the event,
the more because you took offence at very small matters.
The ambassador expressed his thanks and said, I am sure
that his Majesty has the most perfect confidence in the good
intentions of the republic, and his resentment is assuaged. If
your Serenity will propose something that satisfies his honour
he will be satisfied.
I had every reason to take offence, and my king was deeply
offended, so that I was bound to demonstrate his feelings at the
breach of his dignity and the scant respect shown to my house.
The doge replied, Your lordship may be sure that the utmost
regard will be shown for the honour of your king and his dignity,
and there was never the slightest intention to offend him. The
house was considered private.
The ambassador answered, The house was certainly mine,
hired by me, taken by one of my people for the use of my household.
The Marquis of Hamilton, my brother in law, wished to
come to Venice, and the house was taken to accommodate members
of my household, so as to make room for the marquis and his
suite in my own house. That was the case, and I am sure your
Serenity will take my word for it. In any case I can show you
the truth of this, and I feel sure that you will be disposed to give
the satisfaction that is necessany and due to my king.
The doge replied, Your Lordship may satisfy yourself by
proving what you please. In the mean time you may take this
as constant, that the affectionate esteem of the republic for his
Majesty is very great. The ambassador rose and said, I will
await the decision of your Serenity, took leave and departed.
209. To the Ambassador in England.
We have received your despatches of the 7th and 8th ult.
brought by the gentleman of the Ambassador Fielding, and
that of the 10th by Augsburg. We commend the prudence of
your offices. The ambassador did not appear in the Collegio
until two days ago. We enclose a copy of his exposition, made
in general terms, and of the reply of the Senate. You will
speak in conformity with the last to his Majesty and the ministers,
and endeavour constantly to persuade them to rest content, as
they ought. Enclose sheet of advices.
Ayes, 103. Noes, 4. Neutral, 28.
210. Resolution to prolong for another five years from the
present date the concession granted for five years on the 16th
January 1630 to the English and Flemings to import salt fish
to this city, in accordance with their petition, (fn. 3) chiefly because
we have experienced the arrival of very abundant supplies of
this very necessary food, and because those nations have expressed
their full intention of employing their capital in this city, the
concession to be upon the conditions previously set forth. And
further that of all the salt fish brought from the West the
merchants are bound to offer one half to the Art of the salt
fishmongers ; but if this is not taken up within fifteen days the
merchants are free of the obligation.
Ayes, 136. Noes, 4. Neutral, 4.
211. That the English Ambassador be summoned to the
Collegio and that the following be read to him :
We rejoice greatly that your lordship receives every sign of
the king's confidence in your ability and prudence, because no
one knows better than his Majesty the sincere esteem of the
republic for him. We are equally persuaded that your lordship
will rest assured that our intentions and actions will always
correspond. We are gratified by your assurance that you will
always encourage friendly relations. We assure your lordship
that our desire is to show all honour and respect to your house
and our disposition is always to do that which may reasonably
conform to his Majesty's good pleasure and also to give evidence
of our affection for your lordship.
Ayes, 103. Noes, 4. Neutral 28.
212. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
As the king has not made any reply to the Spanish Ambassador's
proposals, he repeated them this week warmly, adding that his
king, in addition to the complete restoration of the Lower
Palatinate, which he steadily promises, will do even more if
the king here will enter a defensive and offensive alliance with
him against the Dutch, who, said he, deserve all his Majesty's
indignation, as they make no account of the example of the
greatest kings, and insolently dare to contest the sovereignty
of these waters with him. This point about the dominion of the
sea has not passed without notice, as it is considered of the gravest
consequence, but while they believe themselves strong enough
to maintain it alone they may not think it wise to commit
themselves so far with the Spaniards, as they cannot abandon
the old maxim that the defeat of the Dutch is a manifest disadvantage
for these realms, as if the Spaniards were powerful
and victorious in the Netherlands they know they would wish
to extend the arm of their power even further. But the
king wishes to keep Ognate in suspense, while he hesitates
between Austria and France, and perhaps Ognate is content
with ambiguous phrases, the gain of time being what he thinks
In order to prevent the ratification of the treaties with France
Ognate circulates reports of the feebleness of France, as unable
to maintain the Duke of Parma, incapable of holding her own
in the Valtelline, and unequal with all her forces to gain any
advantage over the House of Austria, opinions which make no
small impression on the ministers here, indeed one of them
remarked that if some successes in the Palatinate were won with the
help of the Most Christian they could not feel sure of securing their
conquests with his assistance, as the French were never known to
have the faculty of keeping for long what the fortunes of war gave
The Ambassador Senneterre tries to confute this and in a
special audience apologised for the delay in signing the treaty
on the score of its being necessary to consider Sweden and Holland
whose particular interests call them to come to terms with the
Austrians rather than to continue the war and so it is desirable
to coax them and it will not be wise to omit to include them at the
outset in a treaty of so much consequence. The congress which
is to meet at Hamburg is the proper place for making such an
arrangement with equal satisfaction to the parties and it would
be very apportune for his Majesty to send an envoy to that city,
whither Mons. d'Avo has already betaken himself on behalf of
the Most Christian. Senneterre also spoke of the extensive
French preparations for the approaching campaign, magnifying
and enlarging upon the numbers, which are not credited here.
The king here, who meant the alliance with France to precede
everything else, is disappointed at this tone, and complained
plainly to Senneterre. He declined to send to Hamburg, saying
that he must wait for Leicester's letters, which arrived soon after
with indifferent news, creating additional difficulties. Apparently
the old claims are now revived with vast additions, as besides
an open declaration against the House of Austria, France now
demands a number of ships for emergencies at sea, and troops
paid in Germany, points which England cannot possibly accept
in her present disposition, as the number of ships to be sent to
sea this year is already arranged, with little indication that it
can be increased, and they are in no position to maintain troops in
Germany, because great inroads cannot be made upon the purses
of the people, even with the laws in favour, without making trouble,
while the royal treasury is utterly exhausted. The present state of
affairs does not make a declaration against the House of Austria
advisable without great necessity, and if it costs so dear to make
it, it seems likely that the very thought of it will vanish away. They
say this will be discussed at full length tomorrow. Meanwhile
everything else is held in suspense. They are not negotiating
with the Swedes ; they are not giving ear to the Landgrave,
and nothing more is said about the departure of the Palatine
for Holland, although his mother keeps urging it.
They are merely equipping the fleet, and from what they say
it will put to sea within ten days, but it may be more. The
fifteen ships for the Palatine will be ready, but as they lack the
volunteers to man them that they hoped for, one does not see
for what they can use them. They are too weak for great enterprises
and minor ones are of no use for his cause, at the outset
of the operations.
Your offices urging the Queen of Sweden to send her plenipotentiaries
to Cologne have been made known at Court and the
king highly approved of them indeed, from what a confidant
of mine told me, I fancy he himself would like to be definitely asked,
as he does not think that such a step of his own motion would become
him, perhaps from a consideration upon which he is now irresolute
rather than determined, about recognising the new emperor. I
find support for this in what his Majesty himself said to me, and
which I reported on the 27th March about his gladly considering
sending a minister to Cologne, if the republic invited him to do so.
Now I know that such an invitation is desired I would recommend
the writing of a letter if it can be sent in time.
I have not been able to find out if the Spanish ambassador
has received instructions as asserted by the Count della Rocca ;
but my informant was told by the Resident Nicolaldi that he
did not believe such orders had reached the Count of Villa
Mediana because if they had he would certainly obey them.
They have not met since. The delay will do no harm.
I have received the ducal missives of the 11th April with copies
of the sentences against Nave and Bon. I will tell his Majesty and
the ministers the particulars about the delinquent taking refuge
in the house of this Ambassador Fielding after committing the
scandalous crime at Easter, and also the matter of the
ambassador's servant taken by force to his house and there beaten,
making them aware of the just resentment of your Excellencies
and pointing out the licentious behaviour of the ambassador
in every way, with scant regard for the moderation which you
have always tried to observe. This fresh incident may possibly
supply the last stroke for his removal, which is already practically
decided anyhow, but it will also cause all the king's ill humour
to descend upon him, seeing that right is on the side of your
Excellencies even more clearly than in the first case. During
these few hours I have been trying to find out if any news of it
has reached the Court, and I find that they are already beginning
to talk about it, although confusedly if they misrepresent things
I will meet this at the proper time, and will not let the truth go
by default, even if I have to defend it at the cost of my own
London, the 8th May, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
213. The Ambassador of Great Britain was summoned to
the Collegio and the Senate's deliberation of the 7th was read
to him ; he spoke as follows :
I am glad that your Serenity concedes the disposition of the
affair of those prisoners to me if my king approves, as that is
the way to make good the offence to his reputation and also to
give satisfaction to the republic, as I earnestly desire. I am
especially obliged for what is said about me personally.
I fully understand that the republic did not intend in any way
to offend his Majesty's dignity, and your Serenity's intention
to show all courtesy and allow all privileges to his ambassadors.
I have not neglected to bear witness to this, but if you will
consider the circumstances of the incident the violence of the
officials, the violation of the house, so near mine, and the
contempt for me personally, I am sure you will see that my honour
was offended, and that I was right to ask for reparation, due to
my position as his Majesty's ambassador. That renders me
desirous of removing all hindrances that may stand in the way
of the perfect concord which has lasted so many years between
the King and the republic.
There were two offences, one of the two persons arrested,
one in the house, the other on the water. I cannot deny that
they came to my house to ask the favour of asylum. When I
asked why, they said they were afraid of justice, though no
declaration had been issued against them. I allowed this, not
thinking to do anything distasteful to your Serenity, as they were
not declared guilty. But if I had known that the state did not
like me receiving them, I should not have acted so, as my sole
desire is to do what pleases the republic. No such idea entered
my mind, so I granted them the house, but upon condition
that whenever your Serenity took exception to their actions in
anything or any court of justice took action against them, they
should at once depart and look for a house elsewhere. I do not
think that I could possibly have acted more circumspectly.
It may be true that the owner let the house to another, but he
let it afterwards to my servants who paid him with my money, for
the purpose I have indicated. It is true that the information given
to my king differs from this, but I hope he will perceive that
the person who informed your Serenity of the contrary departed
from the truth, because I should be unworthy of the name of
gentleman and of the position I hold if I represented a thing
that was not. I claim to be sincere and truthful in all things.
Thus I claim to prove that the officials acted upon false information.
I have no doubt that the orders of the Council of Ten are
entirely directed by reason and justice, and I am sure that they
ordered my house to be respected, and if they had known the
other house to be mine they would not have permitted what
took place ; but the offence is in the fact.
Further, the officials carried out their orders with such rigour
that the whole neighbourhood was disturbed, rendering the
affront to me the greater. They attacked the house violently
without asking my leave. If they had asked me I might have
given permission, when I knew the cause, as I have never wished
to protect bad characters and I should always be ready to draw
my sword against any one who attacked the republic. Excuse
this digression. I say those men entered the calle with an armed
company, passed through my very house, set guards at my door,
broke down the door of the other house with a great noise, and
fired shots so near that they might have hit some in my own house.
I certainly do not believe that such was the will of the state.
A servant of mine, who happened to be sleeping there in his
livery, was beaten with muskets and fists. It is true that when
they saw who he was they recognised their mistake, but the
injury had been done, and with so much insolence as to increase
There was more to show the temerity of those officials and
their lack of respect. One day a man wearing the habit of religion,
using lying pretexts of religion for infamous purposes
assaulted a woman near my house. He came to my house and as
there was no one to resist, he easily entered and demanded protection.
I was very angry when I heard about it, and would
gladly have driven him out, as deserving severe punishment ;
but as he had already entered the house and the officials were
following him, I thought it undignified to hand him over to
justice myself. But I ordered him to seek protection elsewhere,
and as I could not honourably hand him over to justice I gave
orders for him to be sent to some place where he could only
owe his safety to his legs. This was done, but in spite of it all
the sergeants entered that narrow calle and passed before my door
with so much disturbance that a crowd gathered, there being
many people abroad on that holiday. I stood ashamed at the
scant respect shown to me. This was not done by order of
the republic, but your Serenity sees what scandals might arise,
as when men are transported by passion they cannot control
their actions, and tragic events may occur, involving even
friendly princes in war.
Your Serenity will consider these things and take such steps
as you think will satisfy the king as reparation for the affront,
adequate to the king's friendly feeling towards the republic, so
that I may be able to continue here with decorum.
The doge replied, You have seen from the deliberation of the
Senate the desire to show every honour to your house. With
regard to the villainous act you speak of, you need not wonder
at the crowd, because such a deed would excite the inanimate.
We are glad that you drove the man away. There is no marvel
either that the officials, seeing a disturbance, hastened up to
prevent worse scandals, which you wisely prevented by not
affording protection to the scoundrel. The republic is desirous
of pleasing his Majesty, and if we are assured that excesses were
committed in the matter of the prisoners, in setting guards, as
you say, which would be contrary to the intent of the state,
we should not neglect to make the proper demonstrations. We
shall give your lordship every proof of our good will in the matter
and in all other occasions.
The ambassador replied, The coming of that man to my house
could not be prevented. Ambassadors are tied in such matters
and cannot move a limb. But that does not make it allowable
to give asylum to persons who break the laws of the republic,
and if they were guilty of treason I would drive them out. I
have instructions from my king to act in a proper manner in
such cases, as no one desires the greatness of your Serenity more
than his Majesty.
I forgot to say that reports were current in the city that the
house was a resort of evil livers, infamous persons, given to
gaming and every other vice, where they took refuge, as in an
asylum. I may say that when the Resident who was here
provided my house, as he was instructed, before my arrival, it
was his business to keep an eye on things, but when I came and
saw with disgust such people in the house, I made every effort
to hire it, without prejudice to any one. When the person
who had it was arrested, I was glad, and although I spoke in his
favour, I did so because I was near and sometimes in his house,
so I did not think I could refuse him this good office. I did by so
asking that he should be less severely treated, although I knew
that he did not deserve my protection. Desiring to prevent
the place from being a resort for the base any more, I took it
on hire, after purging it and putting persons of honour and my
own people there. In the arrest of that person in the open and
not at home I recognised your Serenity's courtesy in respecting
my neighbourhood, and I recognised this in asking the favour
for him. The reports I have mentioned were therefore false, as
immediately I could I delivered my house from that association.
I do not know if I have made myself understood, owing to my
imperfect command of the language.
The doge replied, Your goodness and straightforwardness are
very well known and manifest in your actions, and you acted
nobly to clear your neighbourhood of vicious persons. You
may always expect the affection and esteem of the republic, and
his Majesty may rest persuaded of our affectionate observance.
The ambassador said, I beg your Serenity to consider what I
have represented, and thus facilitate reparation to my king's
offended dignity. I shall certainly never abuse the privileges
and favours of the republic. With this he took leave, and went
to take a copy of the office. He remarked to me, the secretary,
I do not know if they have thoroughly understood me. It is
necessary to touch upon many things, and I must have been
somewhat confused. I praised his good offices. He expressed
ignorance of the manner of the procedure in the Collegio and asked
if they had taken his remarks for an answer to the office read to
him, and if they would discuss it. I said I thought they would
take it for an answer, but I could not tell him the intentions
of the Collegio.
Gerolamo Cavazza, Secretary.
214. A gentleman of the English Ambassador was introduced
into the Collegio and said :
The ambassador has charged me to present this paper to your
Serenity. He handed it to the secretary, and after it was read
the doge said, These Signors will decide what they consider
proper at the earliest moment. With this the gentleman bowed
Most Serene Prince : If I have not succeeded in making myself
plain in my speeches, I will endeavour to do so here as briefly
as possible. It is known that the house where Nave and Buoni
were imprisoned, before I was in Venice and before the house
where I live was taken by Mr. Rolandson, was a public resort,
to my annoyance. But when the tenant was arrested and the
house happened to be free, I took it after some time by one of my
servants and it was purged. Being so very near to my house it
was convenient for my servants, and when these people came from
time to time to ask my protection, I told them that I was not
accustomed to take delinquents under my protection. They
told me that they were neither proclaimed nor condemned and
there was no detention against either Nave or Buoni, and they
promised that if they were proclaimed they would immediately
depart. I received them in that place upon this condition. So
far from my integrity being recognised the door of my house
was besieged at night, and that of the other forced, shots were
fired, my servant was beaten and the two persons were taken
to prison, one by water and the other by land. No one can doubt
that a manifest wrong was done to my king, as the house is mine
and only three braccia (fn. 4) from the door of my dwelling. There is
a way between, but it is not a thoroughfare. I cannot think that
the state means to refuse me those privileges and immunities
which are enjoyed by ambassadors in his Majesty's dominions
and when it was said that the place was a resort of malefactors
and those guilty of abominable crimes, I feel sure it was thought
that Varotero lived there, which was never true, as he lived in a
small room apart, rented to him by the owner of the houses which
are above, as the sbirri know, since they did not find him there,
besides I have always abhorred such infamies. Your Serenity
may be sure that I should not consider myself a true gentleman
if I related what was not entirely true. I might add that while
I was waiting for satisfaction a fresh incident occurred on Easter
day, in the sight of everyone. The sbirri passed armed and in
great numbers before my door, with great prejudice to me and
to your Serenity, as your ministers should show respect to
ambassadors, especially on this occasion, when I refused asylum
to the fugitive.
I only ask your Serenity to consider the offence and the
satisfaction I have previously asked, namely the restitution of
the two arrested, if one of them has not been found guilty of
high treason, as you have declared that they were taken because
it was not known that they were in my house and also to punish
the sbirri, who behaved so violently, especially against my servant.
I therefore ask your Serenity to inform me of your decision
with reasonable celerity, so that redress may be given as soon as
possible, and that the old friendship may be confirmed, for which
I will work with all my heart.
215. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince of Orange has asked for troops to attack Dunkirk,
thus creating a diversion for the royal forces in Picardy. He also
undertakes to try and capture Gravelines and hand it over to France.
They have refused the troops but apparently offer the States money
instead. The English also would like to have the port of Dunkirk,
but neither France nor Holland inclines to hand it over to them if
it is taken, so that they shall hold it only until the Palatines' dominions
The reply to the English ambassadors contains that the Most
Christian, seeing that the king there does not wish to declare war
at present, suggests a suspension of the treaty until he knows the
intentions of his allies, the Swedes and Dutch. The Earl of
Leicester declares that his king will never agree to this, and that
he has already refused it, as he is less inclined to treat of such a
matter at Hamburg if this treaty is not concluded here first.
Paris, the 12th May, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
216. That the English Ambassador be summoned to the
Collegio and that the following be read to him :
Your Lordship's representations both orally and in writing
cannot fail to increase our high opinion of your honour and
integrity, and your birth and other qualities render you most
dear to us. We are sure that you will recognise the intention of
the republic to show all decent respect for the dwellings of
ambassadors and their privileges. In response to the king's
desire, expressed by the secretary to our Ambassador Corraro,
and represented by your lordship, for the release of Boni, we
are ready to set him at liberty, out of our esteem for his Majesty
and from our desire to please you also. For the rest, as the
officials may have committed some excess contrary to their
orders, we have decided that proceedings shall be taken against
those who have offended, in order to show our resolute intention
that your lordship's dwelling shall enjoy every honour and
advantage, and that all your dependants shall remain exempt
from every outrage. This was confirmed by the incident of
Easter day, as the officials, in view of the asylum in which the
offender took refuge, held back the people, who were incensed
by the outrage, and this saved him from the punishment that
every one called down on his head.
That authority be given to our Collegio to order the release of
Boni, in such manner as its prudence shall suggest.
That the Chiefs of the Council of Ten be directed to give
orders for the punishment of those officials who shall be found
to have exceeded their instructions and shown scant respect
to the house of the English ambassador, or maltreated his
servants in the arrest of Nave and of Boni.
Ayes, 46. Noes, 51. Neutral, 49.
Second vote : Ayes, 42. Noes, 52. Neutral, 49. Pending.
217. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the
Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Beveren writes that in the general opinion
the fleet is to maintain the sovereignty of the sea. The Princess
Palatine tries to remove the impression. She says the treaty
will be made with France and the French will be obliged to ask
for it. She asserts that the king will obtain satisfaction for his
nephew in any case and begs the States to rest assured of the
friendship of England. All express their readiness to serve
her but excuse themselves on the plea of the weakness of the
state. The Prince told her frankly that they would do nothing
unless they first had a formal declaration that the liberty of the
sea would not be infringed. Some here fear that with the threat
of an alliance between England and Sweden the Austrians may
be impelled to come to terms with France and then other powers
would make signals for peace and accept the terms offered to them.
The Hague, the 14th May, 1637.
218. That the English Ambassador be summoned to the
Collegio and that the following be read to him :
We are persuaded that your lordship is assured of the excellent
intentions of the republic which has always kept in view as one
of the principal objects, the most confidential relations with the
king. Your nobility of character is one of the outstanding
qualities that render you a worthy minister of his Majesty.
You will reflect that while the republic has always had due respect
for the ambassadors' own dwellings, yet it is not proper or usual
anywhere that a house altogether separate and destitute of any
royal mark should share the same privileges and immunities.
But we readily consent to release Boni at his Majesty's desire,
expressed by the secretary to Corraro and represented by you,
as an indication of our desire to gratify his Majesty in all things
and also to please you. We have also decided to prosecute
those officials who may have exceeded their orders, as a further
sign of our good will.
That the chiefs of the Council of Ten give orders for the
punishment of those officials who may have exceeded their
instructions and shown scant respect for the dwelling of the
English ambassador in the arrest of Nave and Boni.
Ayes, 72. Noes, 27. Neutral, 44.
As the office is superior to a single ballot, it was referred to
another council, in accordance with the laws.
On the 16th of May the above office was again proposed, and
the voting was :
Ayes, 70. Noes, 22. Neutral, 37. Carried.
219. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
On hearing that Fielding's version of the affairs was much
extenuated, ill as I was I went to the king, and told him the
story of the duenna and of Fielding's servant who was publicly
arrested and afterwards in his house, with outrageous remarks
against the nobility. I explained your strong feeling and the
general disgust throughout the whole city at the incidents
themselves and the evil example they afford. At hearing of
the abominable crime of the villain against a woman his Majesty's
face clearly showed the compassion and horror that he felt, but
he was very constant in the defence of his ambassador, saying
that he knew him to be very discreet and he did not believe he
would have passed the bounds of moderation in either case.
If he had received more satisfaction from the republic in the
matter of the prisoners previously arrested in his house, he thought
Fielding would have proceeded with more regard in this new
incident. I mildly remarked that past circumstances for
which he could not reasonably take offence, gave him no cause
to excite fresh dissatisfaction. I seized the opportunity to
make much of the circumstances of the first case, showing that
the nature of the day and place, and the mutilated victim being
a helpless and innocent woman, aggravated the offence, and
rendered the culprit unworthy of any protection whatever,
least of all of one who bears such a high character, and who by
birth and disposition makes such high pretensions to honour.
With respect to the servant I said that the nobility had every
reason to take great exception to seeing their privileges violated
in their own boats, which ought to enjoy the same privileges as
their houses, as they had never before been disgraced by such
outrages. The king reflected a little at this and then asked me
if I came of myself or by command of your Excellencies to
make this exposition. I told him I had been commanded,
because you wished him to hear the truth from my mouth in
a matter of such importance, so that with his high prudence he
might judge of the matter. You did not wish to represent to
him anything but the pure truth, and in spite of all that might
happen you wished to live united with him in true affection
If you speak to me in the name of the republic, said his Majesty,
inform your Signory that I have no information upon the matter
beyond what you have just told me. I will make enquiry and
if my minister has erred, I shall not fail to punish him, as I wish
to show the republic my great desire to give her satisfaction ;
if, however, my ambassador is right, I do not think she would
urge me to punish him when innocent. I said that your
Excellencies did not ask for his punishment, but only wished him
to know the truth, so that he should realise in other incidents
also their only desire was to show their esteem for him and his
representatives. At this point the king let our conference drop,
his face clearly showing that he was very angry, and perhaps
he was displeased at the multiplication of incidents tending
to the discredit of the ambassador.
To account for the strong support Fielding receives I find that
he is son of the late Duke of Buckingham's sister, the whole of
whose race enjoys his Majesty's favour absolutely. I have
been assured, indeed, that the place in his bedchamber of the
late Earl of Carlisle, which was never been filled, is reserved for
this Fielding. (fn. 5) This honour is one of the greatest, and if he
obtains it, it will open the way for him to the secret councils
and the highest employments and dignities of the realm. These
are the only real reasons which serve to sustain him, and without
such support he would have fallen utterly, as faults which in him are
not noticed or are condoned, would be believed and punished in
others, possibly as faults of the most serious description.
I have spoken to the same effect to the ministers, and sought
especially to impress the Secretary Coke, as instructed. He knew
from Fielding's letters of the Easter day incident, and seemed
more struck by the displeasure shown by your Excellencies
and the atrocity of the crime, than by what the ambassador
did, considering that for his reputation's sake he could not
hand the criminal over to justice, or do better than get him out
of the house at once, as he did. The other ministers agree with
these views, but one sees that they all feel some vague dissatisfaction
in their hearts, although they apparently seek to cloak
the action of their master's minister with decent pretexts. Yet
I have represented the facts in a moderate and telling manner.
My offices have not been ill received and will not produce a
bad effect, because the incident itself suffices to show that your
Excellencies are in the right.
The Secretary Coke favoured me by reading what the
ambassador wrote, and I have also obtained a copy, which I
enclose. While the secretary was reading to me what the copy
contains my eye travelled further, and I saw that the ambassador
clearly states that he welcomed the opportunity of saving the man,
to indemnify himself for past affronts, a point which may alone
suffice to condemn him. I did not fail to make objection to the
particulars which differ from the information I have. You will
see that he says nothing about the affair of the gondolier, and I
have made a great point of his silence, so that his action is
absolutely condemned by everybody, and all agree that before
proceeding to violence he should have tried entreaty and courtesy
with the noble whom the man was then serving. I am now
assured that the king is awaiting the resolution of the first affair
with the hope that it will be good, in order that he may remove
the ambassador with the customary friendly forms, as they say
he has already completed his three years.
London, the 15th May, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
220. An incident which happened here on Easter day,
which has raised an outcry against me, obliges me to inform his
Majesty of my actions. On that day a man of ordinary condition
dressed as a penitent, came to my house for protection, followed
by a great multitude of people. I asked what he had done and
he replied that he had been deceived by a girl, whom he expected
to marry, and had placed in charge of a woman whom he trusted
completely. This woman was the cause of the deception. He
was enraged against her and determined to adopt this habit of
a religious on purpose to punish her. He had done so when she
was coming out of the church after receiving the sacrament.
I told him that without enquiry into the case, I considered the
circumstances proved him execrable. I considered him unworthy
of my protection, but as I did not consider it consonant with my
honour to hand him over to justice or to keep him, I made him
enter my gondola and had him landed at a place where he could
safely escape. This was done, and he got out of my gondola
and took refuge in the house of the Spanish ambassador. The
sbirri afterwards came in front of my door, but did not stop there
or commit any indiscretion.
Venice, the 24th April, 1637. (fn. 6)
221. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
Four days ago the Spanish ambassador received an express
from Spain and on the following afternoon, he had a téte a téte
in the king's own room for two long hours. This long audience
has aroused great curiosity. It is supposed that he made fresh
proposals about surrendering the Lower Palatinate and attacking
the Dutch, in short the king has at last appointed him commissioner
for which he has so often asked. They are not appointed
yet, but it is thought they will be drawn from the six of the
Cabinet Council (sei del Consiglio del Gabinetto). (fn. 7)
The Ambassador Senneterre has told the ministers that if
England attacks the Dutch she must not be surprised if France
attacks her, such being the arrangement between the States
and the Most Christian. The Palatine's councillors remonstrate
and declare that Spain is deceiving as usual ; that she has not
the power by herself and must depend on the emperor, Bavaria
and the Elector of Mayence, who hold the territory. They even
go further and show conclusively that according to the laws
matters which concern the empire cannot be settled outside the
empire itself, so that whenever anything is arranged with the
Austrians here they can always appeal to this fundamental
principle to evade the obligation to carry it out. They will
thus have gained time, which is what they are after, and made
England lose one of the safest and most convenient opportunities.
But these remonstrances do not obtain the credit that one might
wish, either because that of the Spaniards is too powerful, or
because they propose to meet their artifice by counter arts.
But acts, which cannot lie, make one believe that a propensity
towards Spain is ineradicable from the hearts of the ministers here,
because even when profit holds out great inducements, under present
circumstances it does not seem reasonable that they should continue
to protect the barques and ships which daily cross to the ports of Flanders
with money, munitions and merchandise, as they have always
continued to do, without any circumspection. News has come quite
recently that forty merchantmen assembled in the Downs from divers
parts to pass more safely to Dunkirk, have been convoyed by the
Vice Admiral Pennington with two of the king's warships (fn. 8) . This
has deeply disgusted the French and Dutch. They complain freely
about it, saying that no greater sign of hostility can be shown
them than by supplying their enemies with the means of waging war
more vigorously against them. For this reason they have had notice,
but it seems by a secret way, that the Dutch have decided to besiege
the port of Dunkirk again with their ships of war. They take this
ill here, because it will mean their losing the profit which they derive
from such escorts, or they will continue them with obvious danger of
Since they began to exact duties even at sea from goods which
only stopped in the Downs on their way through, it seems that
trade has suffered great deterioration, as many avoid coming
here, and those who are obliged to, make great complaint and
raise difficulties about the payment ; the Flemings who benefit
the most, make more disturbance than the others.
The King of Denmark has written to the Prince Palatine
congratulating him upon having his affairs in such good train.
He feels sure that with the support and assistance of princes
who are as powerful as they are friendly to the prince, the results
cannot fail to be good, in short, with fair words and compliments
he evades taking any share, which was what the Palatine asked
of him. The king leaves nothing to be desired in the matter of
titles. It is known here that they are making great preparations
of arms and of ships in particular in Denmark, so that anxiety
as to their intentions grows hourly more intense among those
who are interested in the sea.
It is said that Mons. d'Avo, who has already left Paris for
Calais has asked for a man of war to take him, so there is a report
that he will land here first, and the Ambassador Senneterre
himself told me that he was not sure about it. (fn. 9) By his taking
this round about way the Cologne meeting is supposed to be far
off, and from this it is concluded the French want peace and therefore
give inconclusive replies. Yet from the slowness of their
procedure it is not thought that they are much inclined to a general
accommodation, but that they are encouraging the usual spirit
of mistrust and temporizing in everything in order to come to a
secret accommodation with the Spaniards.
In spite of Fielding's complaints he has written again to Coke
urging him to get the king to write a letter of thanks to the
Signory for the favour shown to the English merchants at Venice,
but under existing circumstances the Secretary did not think fit
to obtain it.
London, the 15th May, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]