316. The English Ambassador came into the Collegio and
spoke to the following effect :
Anthony Watts, master of an English ship, arrived in this
city three or four months ago, and has been sentenced to five years
imprisonment for infringing the sanitary regulations. I know
how delicate is this matter of health. I do not complain of the
severity of the sentence, and still less do I excuse the fault of
that poor man, who should have been more careful. I pity his
misfortune and his very numerous family, as well as the loss
to the ship and sailors. I have therefore come to ask your
Serenity for grace. I can assure you that the poor man did not
sin from malice, or from desire for gain, which usually tempts
that sort of man to do wrong, but merely from ignorance, as a
foreigner. I therefore hope for clemency. I may add that no
harm has resulted from his fault and all my king's subjects will
behave with obedience and reserve, as his Majesty desires. I
leave a memorial sent from the prison.
In the absence of the doge, the senior councillor Pietro Foscarini
replied : You have recognised the need for severity in sanitary
matters, but these Signors will consider the matter with every
desire to gratify you and the king you represent. (fn. 1) They will
try to think more of your intercession than of the fault, since the
intercession rests upon two such excellent bases as the favourable
inclination of these Signors and your lordship's merits. The
ambassador thanked him and departed.
Memorial of Anthony Watts, Captain of the Elizabeth Dorcas,
to the English ambassador.
It is about four months since I reached this city with my ship,
laden with goods, consigned here. When I was preparing to
depart I was accused before the Magistracy of Health of concealing
the place from which I had come. Although at my examination
I answered all that was asked, the magistracy sentenced me to
five years' imprisonment, and I have been here two months. I
appealed to the Avogador Donado, who laid the matter before
the Quaranta Criminal, who referred it back to the Board of
Health. I fear the issue of this, and my miserable detention
brings ruin not only on my affairs but on my wife and eleven
children, as well as the interests of my owners and the fifty
sailors who are wasting their time at great expense, Moreover
the merchants of this mart, who have hired my ship for Spain,
have drawn back since this trouble, and will not lade their goods.
I therefore beg your Excellency to intercede for my release, so
that I may pursue my voyage.
1637, the 14th October.
By order of the Collegio the Board of Health shall answer this
memorial without the slightest delay.
Gio. Batta. Gratarol, Secretary.
Reply of the Board of Health.
On the 19th of August last our magistracy condemned Anthony
Watts to five years' imprisonment without light because on his
arrival in this port he omitted to state the first place from which
he set out, which was the port of Dover, suspected and banned,
and because he had laded 17 bales of goods of Flanders, where the
plague was raging, so that the crew and the rest of his goods
were suspect. He deceived the representatives of Health at
Zante with manifest peril to that island, under the pretence that
his first place of lading was in Spain, and he obtained a legal
permit from that board, by which our magistracy admitted him.
Being miraculously warned of this before the ship began to unlade
and any harm could happen, the crew and goods were sent to
the Lazzaretti for quarantine. We consider the sentence well
grounded because of the necessity for preserving the public health,
and to prevent similar offences by making an example. We
considered that the crime deserved a greater punishment, but we
took his nationality into consideration and some other considerations
of state. The Avogador Donado referred it to the
Quarantia Criminal, where they considered the sentence too
severe and referred it back to us. The sentence seems just, but
your Serenity can always exercise your munificence, especially
when you consider that it is in the interest of the state, and we
are glad that we have nothing more to do with the case than the
carrying out of the sentence. We therefore refer to your Serenity's
Dated at the office of Health, the 15th of October, 1637.
Anzolo Contarini, Proveditore.
Francesco Maria Zen.
318. That the ambassador of the King of Great Britain be
summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to
Your lordship has received every proof of our disposition to
gratify you. The English shipmaster who has been arrested
is scarcely amenable to pardon because of the nature of the
offence and the example to others. We have pointed out the
difficulties to you, but we have ordered his release out of consideration
for you, feeling sure that he and his fellow countrymen
will be warned not to commit similar faults again, which
would be more blameworthy than the original error and more
severely dealt with.
That the shipmaster named Antony Watts be released by the
authority of this Council.
Ayes, 88. Noes, 17. Neutral, 15.
319. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the
Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Princess Palatine told me in confidence that in a few days
the Prince Palatine is going to East Friesland to take command
of his troops and decide upon the best course to follow. The
Palatine family hope that England will grant liberal supplies of
men and money and she also hopes that the prince will soon have
a strong army with which to enter Germany and undertake
something really important.
The Hague, the 15th October, 1637.
320. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Secretary left here by the Dutch ambassador went last
Sunday by express order of his masters to inform his Majesty
of the surrender of Breda, which took place, he says, on the 10th
inst. From what was observed the news pleased him exceedingly,
and he expressed this emphatically not only to the secretary
but to the lords of the Court also. He asked the secretary for the
particulars and when he had heard them he said that he rejoiced
sincerely and now was the moment for the States to enter the
alliance he had arranged with France, as the present weakness
of the Spaniards promised every advantage to the arms of the
allies. He asked him to urge them in his name to send their
deputies to Hamburg where he had a minister ready to put the
finishing touches to the matter. The secretary readily promised
to do so. On coming to me afterwards to tell me about the
surrender, by order of his masters, he said, he began of his own
accord to tell me what the king had commanded him to write,
pointing out that it was not so easy for his masters to commit
themselves to an alliance with the English, with the memory of
past events so fresh, and the experience of how little can be hoped
here in any event. It was not to their advantage that this
alliance should be effected now, since little can be done now and
even less in the coming season, while in the spring a change may
have taken place. It was always a very difficult question for the
Dutch to make a league against the House of Austria in general,
without very considerable and assured advantages, as it was not
in their interest to break the neutrality with the emperor. These
opinions which are based on reason and reasonably set forth
clearly show that this alliance will not be seen soon, especially
as they are only pressed here on the ground of reputation, while
they can say that they have done their part they will always be
pleased at delay, since it certainly is not England's interest to intervene
openly in the war, because those who are so eager for change in the
interests of religion and parliament are only waiting to see the king
compelled to have recourse to his people to make him accept what
laws they wish, or to enable them to arouse dangerous movements
in the state without hindrance. The Royal Council has duly
considered this and it will not take the step in any event without
corresponding deliberation. Their chief attention is now directed
to Scottish affairs, as a matter of immediate urgency, as by the
confused reports which arrive thence there seems a strong
disposition to disturbance. They speak of a protest to be
signed by the nobility and the leaders of the churches to send to
the king, of tumults among the lower classes and other serious
scandals, but I have not had time to find out about it yet.
No further news has arrived about the Duchess of Chevreuse
coming to Court as his Majesty's efforts have not obtained him
further information. They have not answered Monsigot, and his
papers have not left the king's hands. He himself feels more
than certain that his proposals will die without result ; but this
does not excite him and he hopes to start something more
satisfactory. They say this will be the reconciliation of the
queen mother with the Most Christian, to be managed by the
king here with full powers from that queen. If that be so, and
hopes of an adjustment are not too remote the king will not object
to acting in order to rid himself of the constant importunity to
have her here, which certainly distresses him greatly.
All the knights of the Garter took part with his Majesty this
week in the usual ceremony at Windsor chapel. This usually
takes place on St. George's day, but this year it was postponed
on account of the plague. At the first meeting they nominated
the prince to give him the order at the earliest opportunity, as
he seems to desire it exceedingly. The Polish ambassador
was present incognito in the church, at the banquet and at all
the other ceremonies which were public. His Majesty observed
he was a foreigner, sent to learn who he was, and on finding out,
seemed content. On this occasion the ambassador had an
opportunity of speaking to more than one of the lords of the
Council, and they say he began again about his reception. He
might even succeed in this in the end as determination and
patience achieve great things, the character of this country being
what it is.
I received the state despatches yesterday about the English
ambassador's information upon the capture of Venloo and Ruremond
and other particulars. Since the news of the capture of
Breda it is understood that the Cardinal Infant has suffered a
considerable defeat losing his baggage and guns, while the Duke
Bernard has inflicted an even greater one on Giovanni de Vert,
and they say the Swedes have gained an important advantage
over the Imperialists, All those events have excited great
attention at Court, where they reckon that when added to the
loss of Landresi, la Capella, Mobeusa, Breda and other important
places in such a short time, they will make the Spaniards anxious
for the friendship of England, and consequently will try to give
them proper satisfaction about the Palatine. Thus do those who
value the reputation and weal of the Palatine flatter themselves,
but they would not go so far as war to win them.
My audience for taking leave has been postponed until
tomorrow because of the Garter ceremony, and at present the
Earl of Denbigh, Fielding's father, is deputed to take me to it.
I must admit that all delay is both inconvenient and painful
to me as I have been tired a long time of living idle here, an
unprofitable servant of your Excellencies.
I have just received the ducal missives of the 4th ult. by way
of France with my credentials and instructions.
Richmond, the 16th October, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
321. The Senate's deliberation of yesterday was read to the
English Ambassador, he spoke as follows :
I am constantly receiving favours from your Serenity. I
regard this, of the release of the English captain as one of the
principal, as the question is a very delicate one. I will apply to
my king to express suitably his satisfaction. In this affair
your Serenity has united justice with clemency, both attributes
of a great prince. This favour and the severe sentence will
serve as a warning to our nation and oblige them to show circumspection
in the future, while it will encourage my king's subjects
to resort to this city more gladly with their capital. I will try
to keep them all within the limits of their duty.
Pietro Foscarini, the senior councillor, in the absence of the
doge said that they rejoiced in his gratification. The request
was a difficult one owing to the delicate nature of the affair,
which concerned the interests of all, but the good will of the
Senate towards his lordship and all his Majesty's subjects had
The ambassador expressed his thanks and departed. In going
out he said to me, the secretary, I shall not take a note of this
office, as it is not one to write in ink but in letters of gold.
Antonio Antelmi, Secretary.
322. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Swedish ambassador has remonstrated with the English
ones on behalf of the Chancellor Oxestern because their king only
showed an extract from the articles of the alliance between
France and England. He said they must see the whole treaty,
and if there are any secret ones which it may not seem convenient
to publish to every body they will be content in Sweden if the
Chancellor alone sees them, and the Prince of Orange might do
the same for the Dutch but it is not likely that they will commit
themselves in the present way of doing things.
Paris, the 20th October, 1637.