273. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople,
to the Doge and Senate.
Learning from the Consul Orlandini of Cyprus that the English
consul there (fn. 1) was claiming to reduce the payment on all goods
from 5, 7, and 9 per cent., ad valorem, to a uniform rate of only 3
per cent., I took steps, not to oppose the grant of this favour
to the English, but to prevent unequal treatment as between one
nation and another. The Basha promised me that no wrong
should be done to any one.
The Vigne di Pera, the 1st August, 1637.
274. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The French and Dutch ambassadors extraordinary both
departed this week, with scant satisfaction to the Court, who
seem displeased at the removal of these two ministers under
present circumstances, before the ordinary ambassadors arrive,
as they feel sure these will not come soon, although that is
announced. Although they make it appear that this feeling
arises from regard for the treaty, the real vexation is due to
offended pride, as England has two ambassadors in France,
while the Most Christian is not represented at all here. Both
Beveren and Senneterre departed very well pleased with their
personal treatment, especially the Dutchman, who boasts that
at his last public audience the king made him mount the steps of
the dais, an honour never done to any of his predecessors, or to
himself either at his first audience. This will serve to increase
the pretensions of the Dutch as well as those of other ambitious
princes who wish to put their ambassadors on a par with those of
The Prince Palatine writes that the States have made a general
reply, though full of friendly expressions. They said they could
not decide to send a minister to Hamburg before they had
received overtures about the agreement with France, otherwise
they would be negotiating in the dark. Here, on the contrary,
they want the minister sent to Hamburg with full powers, to
whom the articles aforesaid will be communicated upon the fact
only, to decide thereupon what may be found opportune. But if
the Dutch persist in withholding their assent I think it likely
that the Palatine will give way to them and in that case he may
go even further in order to make sure of sincere action on their
The allies consider this undignified, and hence it is inferred
that the English do not really attach so much importance to the
matter as they pretend and ought, and that they would not mind
if something occurred to delay the conclusion, especially if they were
sure that the general peace will not be concluded, as they seem to
hope more and more, so far as such scanty indications as exist
In the event of any difficulty about arranging a congress at
Hamburg, England is content to have it held at the Hague or
in some other place which may be considered most convenient.
But wherever it may be held they are determined not to send any
one there expressly, but that the commissions which have been
given to the Agent at Hamburg shall remain in force or in case
of need that they shall be transferred opportunely to the Resident
at the Hague.
The couriers, detained by contrary winds, arrived at the
beginning of this week. They bring good news from Germany
and the Netherlands ; that the Swedes only abandoned the port
of Turgo for lack of food, and then they withdrew in good order,
evading a trap laid by the enemy. That the Prince of Orange,
giving the Cardinal Infant the slip, has laid siege to Breda, and
hopes to take it easily. Both events cause great satisfaction
here, and so do events in France, comprising the accommodation
with the Count of Soissons, the surrender of Landrecies and the
success of Duke Bernard in Franche Comté, although some
cannot hide their regret at the capture of the Duke of Lorraine. (fn. 2)
His Majesty's fleet has returned from Holland with a favourable
wind, and is now in the Downs awaiting orders to sail. But they
have not yet decided where it is to go, as they do not wish to
molest the Dutch fisheries, and cannot determine on anything
before they see what decisions are taken at the conference of
the allies. The ships, which are under the command of the
Earl of Northumberland, comprising the fifteen which are set
apart for the Palatine, do not at present exceed twenty five in
number. It is true that they have sent six to the Barbary coasts (fn. 3)
and they are keeping four here to convoy merchandise, and if
necessary these can join the others.
Yesterday I had a long conference with the Spanish ambassador,
being at his house for the second time. He talked about nearly
all the affairs of Europe and a general peace. He accused the
French of delaying the congress at Cologne. He spoke of the
restitution of Lorraine and Pinarolo. He did not consider it just
to take the latter from the Most Christian. If the Duke of Savoy
chose to break his head, he must do so. The King of Spain was
not called upon to be a father protector to the Italian princes. This
was his own opinion and his master's too. I declined to express
any views. He spoke at length about the affairs of the Palatine,
trying to prove that it was not in the general interest to treat of these
in the general peace. They have nothing to do with the present
war and the difficulties in the way would prevent a conclusion of
themselves, as it is impossible to take from Bavaria what he will
not concede. So this matter should be dealt with separately, and some
third party, not interested, should intervene. The chief points were
only a matter of show which could be adjusted. He was ready personally
to do all that was in his power, though he knew it was useless.
He then asked how much longer I was staying at this Court I
told him very little, I believed, but I was not sure as it depended
on the state instructions. He said he was sorry. I fancy he wished
to intimate that he would like to treat of the affair with a minister of
your Excellencies, and this confirms my idea that what the Palatine's
Agent said to me was not done without previous arrangement with
the ministers here although he has not been to me again.
I have received this week the ducal missives of the 4th ult.
Richmond, the 6th August, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
275. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in
Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
They are very apprehensive about the declarations of England.
Teller maintains that they will not take place although it is more
than likely that they will supply some help covertly to the
enemies of the empire. Although news to the contrary has come
from London, yet they suspend judgment until there is more
thorough confirmation. This may arrive with the first letters
thence. One thing is certain that this English minister keeps
alive the hopes of an adjustment, and he labours hard to obtain
from Cæsar some final decision, with which he promises absolutely
the abandonment of all thought of any movement of that crown and
the Palatine in favour of Cæsar's enemies. It is added that a letter
has appeared these last days from the Earl of Arundel to the
Bishop of Vienna. Although it contains no business yet it
appears that it is couched in terms of great cordiality, a tone
which he has not adopted hitherto. It looks as if England was
developing a disposition to determine the present controversies
by way of negotiation rather than that of arms, especially
considering the irresolution of Denmark and the promises made
to the emperor by Castagneda in the name of the Catholic, that
they mean to put a term in Spain, with entire advantage to those
here, to every pretension of the Palatine. This causes them to
keep their hand raised as peradventure it would be easier to
concede greater satisfaction.
Vienna, the 8th August, 1637.
276. To the Ambassador in England.
We approve of the manner of your reply to the Palatine's agent.
If he returns and raises the subject again, you will say, as if on
your own responsibility, that the republic desires nothing more
sincerely than the prosperity of the Palatine House and will
always welcome opportunities of serving it. Your departure for
France is at hand and you cannot delay it because of the season
of the year. You will thus cut short the matter while assuring
him of our good will. We commend your action with reference
to the Ambassador Ognate. We enclose a copy of an exposition
by the English ambassador.
You are to proceed to France as soon as possible, arranging
the time with the Ambassador Contarini. You will direct the
Secretary Zonca to remain until the Ambassador Giustinian arrives.
You will present Zonca, on your taking leave of the king, as the
minister and resident who is to act until Giustinian arrives. For
his equipment, maintenance for horses etc. he will have as a
donation 300 ducats of lire 6 grossi 4 each and 130 crowns a
month for all expenses except for couriers and the carriage of
letters. You will also give him provision for two months on the
day you leave for France and give him the donation of 300 ducats
as well with some money for couriers and letters.
Ayes, 110. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
277. The Ambassador of Great Britain came into the
Collegio and spoke to the following effect :
Your excess of favours towards me makes me seek every
opportunity to give you pleasure. As you were pleased to hear
of the alliance I am sure you will be glad to hear of its progress.
I have no doubt you will have heard of the arrival of the Palatine
in Holland and of his meeting with their High Mightinesses.
Although he received a general reply, it was very favourable,
so that there is hope for better results.
I have letters from Brussels of the 1st inst. informing me of the
accord between the Most Christian and the Count of Soissons,
which he reported. The Queen mother and Prince Tomaso did
not believe it. The latter wrote to the count to remonstrate,
because he had used him as his mediator with the Catholic.
The queen mother said that she must now seek a reconciliation,
as she clearly saw the results of the alliance between the Most
Christian and my king, and other advantages might be expected
I venture to inform you that the news of the truce is confirmed,
showing the success of the Duke of Candales. Landresi was taken
and he advanced to the gates of Nave in Hainault, (fn. 4) only meeting
with a slight resistance, there being only the Count of Buquoi, who
raised a small force constituting the principal power of the
Cardinal Infant, and under the Duke of Balanzon, but incapable
of resisting Candales, the garrisons being scattered in various
places. We hear that the army of the States consists of 15,000
foot and 5000 horse and that they intend to besiege Breda.
This is important news because of the consequences. I have
only to add that these great affairs require great reflection. Your
resident at the imperial Court knows this. In spite of his efforts
to obtain passports for the Protestant princes he has not succeeded.
The nuncio also proposed an armistice, but it is not expected,
as the Spaniards desire a peace not an armistice. From this
it is clear that their objects are very various, and one may infer
that the Austrians merely aim at transferring the negotiations
from Cologne to Rome. It is therefore necessary to keep one's
eyes open, to avoid the harm that such ideas may cause, and your
Serenity should keep wide awake.
The doge replied, Your news of the alliance between his Majesty
and the Most Christian is very gratifying to us, and we consider
your remarks on the subject very prudent. It should be enough
that the Count of Soissons has returned to his obedience, and we
are very pleased, especially as we understand that it may have
been due to the accord between their Majesties. We thank you
for the advices. We had heard them but not with so many
particulars. The nuncio's proposal for an armistice is indeed
worthy of consideration, and even more so the idea of transferring
the peace negotiations to Rome. It will be necessary to keep our
eyes open, as you say, and to see that the peace negotiations,
which were to be managed at Cologne, shall be carried on there.
We pray God to inspire the princes to peace. We can only praise
his Majesty for aiming at this particular object, and your lordship
for your devotion to it. The ambassador made some complimentary
remarks, rose from his seat, took leave and departed.
278. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The English have proposed that the congress fixed for Hamburg
shall be held at the Hague. Although they have instructed
M. d'Avo to attend it the Cardinal fears there may be difficulties
about the Hague because the States are unwilling to meddle in
the affairs of the empire so as not to have too many enemies and
to avoid stopping the trade which is very important to those
Provinces. It is observed with some astonishment that the
ambassadors here seem in no wise moved by the reports circulating
of an armistice, as if this is concluded on the basis of everyone
keeping what he holds the Palatine house will be deprived of its
dominions, and the treaty agreed upon between France and
England but not yet signed here, because they have not obtained
the assent of the Swedes and Dutch, will remain incomplete and
The Chevalier Seneterre is here back from London. M. di
Bellievre left for that city a few days ago with the title of
ambassador extraordinary, although he will stay there a long
time, practically as ordinary.
Paris, the 18th August, 1637.
279. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The last letters of the Palatine of the 10th August announce
that the States referred him to the Prince of Orange, whom he
found so strongly entrenched under Breda that all the forces of
the Cardinal Infant have not sufficed to disturb him, and so they
will not be able to prevent him taking the place in a short time.
The news gives great satisfaction here, and with the House of
Austria at a disadvantage they hope to settle the Palatine's affairs
peacefully, since they perceive that it cannot be done by arms and
that time is being wasted to no purpose. This is why they are
proceeding so languidly to bring about the union of the allied powers
to stipulate the treaties concluded in particular with the Most
Christian. They are indifferent as to whether present circumstances
afford the best opportunity for carrying into effect the proofs and
deeds. To the amazement of everyone in a matter which they have
pushed with so much vigour the ministers here now show themselves
very tepid, and care little or nothing about the reports arriving from
France and Germany, which gain more and more credit, that
negotiations for a truce are in close negotiation between the House of
Austria, the Most Christian, the Swedes and the Dutch. This
attitude gives just cause for believing that they always intended
to attain their ends more by the name than by the essence of this
alliance. It may be that it did not suit the particular interests of
this kingdom, which is seriously disturbed internally over questions
of religion and the extinction of the liberty of the people, to engage
it in a foreign war, which would be long, costly and dangerous, with
the even greater peril of kindling a yet greater conflagration in their
own midst to extinguish which it would be necessary to abandon
the other war, with loss of honour as well as of money, and possibly
involving the necessity of making some concession to the people,
which they would wait for in vain without such an opening.
This then is the real question which forms the subject of all their
deliberations, and I know for certain that they have been frequent
even during the king's journey, so this view is not far from the truth.
It has come to my knowledge from a very safe source, that the
Spaniards are already beginning to carry on very secret intrigues
with the malcontents, to supply them with money so as to start a great
rebellion and even take the lead of it openly, if at any time the king
decides to declare war openly on them. I find, however, though I may
be wrong, that though appearances seem to show an exactly opposite
sentiment, yet for the reasons aforesaid, it would not displease them
if the truces were concluded at the earliest opportunity, if it were
possible with any real hope of success to revive such a business by
the adjustment of the affairs of the Palatine, that might serve to
determine the matter suitably, and this would be by entrusting it to
the hands of some third party, as I have written before. In the
mean time, so that there may be no apparent lack of vigour they go
about declaring the resolute steps they mean to take and that they will
carry them out sword in hand.
They still allow the Swedes to take levies ; only this week
Colonel Leslie, a Scot, obtained a patent to raise 500 foot.
The first levies have almost all gone and they circulate rumours
of fresh reinforcements for the fleet ; but in spite of this the
Earl of Northumberland remains idle in the Downs with all his
ships, without orders or occasion to sail soon.
News has come that they have captured some Turkish pirates
off Barbary, making rich booty. They rejoice greatly on the
score of reputation, being avenged for the damage done them by
these same pirates last year in Ireland, and because they hope
that the people will support the burden of the contributions more
patiently than they have done hitherto, when they see that there
is some advantage in being compelled to support the fleet.
The Resident Nicolaldi, having taken leave of the king, has
visited all the ambassadors except me. He is dissatisfied with
his present, which was such as is usually given to an agent.
They make no distinction here between Agent and Resident.
Nicolaldi claims as being a Resident and a degree above an agent.
They laugh about it at the Court. As it is never their practice
to alter old rules, especially where it is a question of giving, if
he persists in this mood he will leave in that frame of mind, and
will not get anything more.
The Ambassador Ognate also seems very ill content as he claims
greater privileges than are due to his charge. They complain
in particular that when some of his familiars were passing the
time with two loose women in certain fields, a constable recognised
these women and carried them off under their noses. When his
men told the ambassador, he sallied forth, sword in hand, followed
by all his household, armed, forced the house where the women
were guarded and took them away, placing them where he thought
they would be safer. He afterwards gloried in the action as a
conspicuous sign of his power. The incident displeased the king
who intimated his sentiments, warning the ambassador that if
he came to harm while he was behaving in this fashion, he would
have to put up with it. (fn. 5) The dissatisfaction of this minister,
which increases daily for many other reasons which I need not
narrate, may ultimately give rise to unexpected accidents
affecting matters which touch the interests of the common cause,
if he does not soon leave this country, as in his extravagant way
he says he will do before long.
I beg to thank your Excellencies for granting that I shall be
the first of the three ambassadors to move to my new appointment.
I hope to start very soon, directly the king has returned
from his progress.
I received last week the state despatches of the 11th ult.
together with advices.
Richmond, the 21st August, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
280. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
With respect to the treaties with England the Swedes raise
strong objections against accepting the first treaty. They say
they will not agree to it unless the King of Great Britain joins in
taking his proper share in supporting the war. They are also
afraid of the existence of secret articles in addition to those
published. Here they declare that they will act as mediators
with the Swedes and Dutch also, to overcome the difficulties, as
they want to lead England gently on to what they desire and not
to offend her on any account. It is not yet fully decided whether
the congress will be held at Hamburg or the Hague, but the latter
is considered the more probable.
Paris, the 25th August, 1637.
281. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain,
to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has expressed the readiness of his
master to interpose for a general accommodation. They replied
that the intervention of that crown would always be acceptable,
and that it may even render itself arbiter of the public peace.
When that is once established the House of Austria will not aim
... (fn. 6) on any account, intimating that if France will surrender
all Lorraine the Austrians will do the same with the Upper and
Lower Palatinate. These are all devices to render vain the
negotiations of that crown with France and to gain time, which is
considered the most remunerative investment.
Madrid, the 27th August, 1637.
282. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
After the Spanish ambassador had heard the remonstrances
reported, he set out for the Court under the pretext of other
important negotiations, and sent to ask audience of the king on
a day when it was not convenient to receive him, it being
appointed for continuing the journey. His Majesty sent him
word that if the matter was important he would gladly wait to
hear him on the following day. Accordingly an appointment
was made, apparently to the satisfaction of both. When no
news came of the ambassador the whole day, while his Majesty
was waiting, various conjectures were made, but towards night
a messenger arrived with news that he had fallen ill and had been
compelled to stop and postpone fulfilling his charge until a more
convenient occasion. It is probable that this was really the case,
but circumstances often affect the interpretation of things, and
so they did not believe him, and his Majesty is exceedingly
offended, being persuaded that the Spaniard meant to avail
himself of the meeting to kill two birds with one stone, indemnifying
himself for the audience which was not granted as he wished
and leaving them in doubt about what he was to represent.
Such an accumulation of unpleasantness on both sides may well
make one despair of opening fresh negotiations with this minister.
He is so austere and punctilious personally that now he is offended
one doubts if he will not stir up fresh ill feeling. In order to
forestall him they have sent this week to the Ambassador Astney
in Spain, representing the affair from their point of view, so as to
keep up relations with the Spaniards and above all not to offend them.
In the meantime it seems that they think little or nothing about
hastening on the congress of the allies, to put the final touches to the
treaties with the French. Two months have now passed uselessly
since they were arranged. Everything goes to show that they will
prove lengthy rather than solid, and ultimately they will push on
the negotiations for the truce, the less they seem to believe it here or
to care about it ; but if this is concluded and the affairs of the
Palatine have to remain dormant for six years more, or are only
kept awake by the resolutions of England, the wisest think, with
reason, that they may be considered utterly lost because if this nation
shows itself sotepid amid so many inducements, it seems most probable
that it will let them drop altogether when it has not such incitement.
There is a report, though not yet authenticated, that the
Palatine has gone on to Germany from the Prince of Orange's
army, in order to confer with the Landgrave of Hesse, but if so,
he has done it without informing his Majesty first ; but the king
will not mind, indeed he will be very pleased if the Palatine
makes some satisfactory arrangement without his having anything
to do with it. But there is scant ground for this because
it is well known that the Landgrave does not want commanders
but money to maintain his force. They are eagerly waiting for
Very bitter news has been brought from Scotland this week
about religious matters, owing to what may ensue and to the
encouragement they fear it may give to troubled spirits in this
kingdom also ; accordingly the ministers have devoted all their
attention and labour to it. It is reported that when the Bishop
of Edinburgh was performing the liturgy at the newly erected
stone altar, wearing his cope and acting according to the forms
set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the people, scandalised
by his dress, the altar and other ceremonies, suddenly rose up
against him and those who were assisting him, and not only
stripped off his vestments and trampled them under foot, but
handled him and the others so savagely that they barely escaped
with their lives. Following the example of the cathedral all
those assembled in the other churches did the same against their
ministers, so that they say even the women and children used
their teeth and nails against them, forming an extraordinary
spectacle. They afterwards went all together before the
magistrate of the city and made a very strong protest that they
would never tolerate such innovations in the church, even if
they were sure that to support the old institutions would cost
them their lives. (fn. 7) This has exceedingly afflicted and depressed the
Archbishop of Canterbury both because it concerns interests of state
and because it may stir up revolutions among the people here, who are
no less scandalised and discontented than the Scots. As he laid the
foundations of his supreme authority upon obedience to these
innovations, which he arbitrarily commanded, he sees his authority
waning now that they are not only overthrown but contemned. He
may also apprehend losing the king's favour when it is known that
his counsels produce such dangerous results. In the mean time they
are thinking of bringing the leaders to trial, but he is eagerly trying
to prevent them from taking any steps in this first ardour, and to save
up revenge for a more opportune time, making a law of necessity
for the moment, in order to appease the tumult quietly with as little
disadvantage as possible, as it might give rise to much greater scandals,
for which things are disposed everywhere. But as the Spaniards
secretly foment this material with all their might, your Serenity may
easily conclude how little occasion they have here to think of foreign
affairs, especially those which involve long and costly wars, and
before they can see what will be the final result of the articles arranged
with the French, which are held in such veneration and which
they are trying to hide with such art.
I have received this week the state despatches of the 18th
and 24th July, which arrived together, and the accompanying
sheets of advices.
Richmond, the 28th August, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]