368. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Bellievre has had a private audience of the
king. After a short talk about the alliance, which remains as
described, he told him that the Most Christian, moved by the
complaints of his subjects, who were attacked at sea by the ships
of this nation, supplied with letters of reprisals issued by the king
here to those interested in the ship Pearl, taken by the French as
already reported, had not been able to refuse them justice, but
had ordered the arrest of English ships in all the ports of France,
in order to dispose the parties by this means to an amicable
settlement. He asked that some one might be sent to Paris
with the necessary instructions and to go through the case again,
as the best means of putting a stop to all ill feeling between
the two crowns. The king replied with some feeling pointing
out the inconveniences that might ensue, but he did not refuse
to make this last trial as to whether their deeds would correspond
with their words. Accordingly they at once sent a fully
instructed person to Paris, with special instructions that if the
matter was not settled at the end of a fortnight he was to return
to England. The letters for reprisals still remain in force and
two ships are at sea for the purpose.
A secretary has appeared on the mart here of that Polish
ambassador who recently left here without ever being admitted
to the king's presence. He is treating with the merchants who
trade at Danzig, who are dissatisfied about the dues imposed by
his king on the goods which enter and leave that port. They
threaten to remove their business, being chiefly stirred by the
difficulties in progress for that cause between that king and
town, which, being one of the Hanse towns of Germany claims to
live free, and only under the protection of the Kingdom of
Poland, and that the king must not violate its privileges except
in the sea subject to the crown, and where its liberties do not
extend, he imposes some duties, on goods there, following the
example of other princes. The Danzigers are not satisfied with
these arguments, and so the king has decided to keep some ships
of war at the mouth of the port, to enforce his will. Moved by
these proceedings the inhabitants, together with the English
in question, have made a humble representation to the king here,
to obtain two of his ships for the defence of the ancient liberties
of that port, and relieve his subjects from the hurt which they
receive. Their demands do not meet with any response from the
king, who only inclines to express his dissatisfaction with the
Polish king without proceeding to further acts of hostility against
The English Agent writes from the Hague that this Polish
Ambassador has asked the States to approve of the measures
taken by his king, and that the Dutch merchants may not refuse
to bow to the duties in question. The king here is more convinced
than ever that the subject upon which that ambassador was so
anxious to confer with him for the good of the public cause, and
for which he tried so long and adopted so many devices to be
received, was just this, and he is the more pleased at his determination
not to see him.
Since my last offices with Secretary Cuch nothing has been said
touching Fildin's last instances, which every one recognises as
out of place. I regulate my remarks in accordance with the
interests of your Excellencies, as instructed.
Six days ago the extraordinary left taking Fielding's
instructions for Turin, and from all that I see I conclude that he
is at the end of his residence at Venice, and that after he has
stayed some time in Piedmont he will return to England. I
am on the watch to learn more about their plans, and if any
one will be nominated in his place, although I think the time is
not yet ripe. He has written to Court about the visits made him
on behalf of your Serenity during his illness, and it has given
The letters from Germany, I fancy from Teller, report the
emperor deputing five persons to negotiate the peace with the
deputies of the crown of Sweden, to which that monarch is
devoting great attention. On the other hand the ambassadors
in France write of the extension for five years of the alliance
recently arranged between that crown and France, and this
deprives the first news of credit.
Count Parella has arrived at Court, sent by the Duchess of
Savoy as a simple gentleman to inform their Majesties of the death
of her husband, of the guardianship she has taken up of his
children and dominions, and of the intimations to the Cardinal,
her brother in law, not to enter Piedmont, to avoid trouble, in
the hope that these measures may meet with approval, as aiming
at her own welfare as well as that of her children and subjects.
The Princess of Mantua has also written to his Majesty of the
death of her father in law, and is going to send some one to perform
the proper compliment at this Court.
Since the enclosed from the Ambassador Corraro I have heard
again from his Excellency, on the 15th inst. from Larii, where he
was still waiting for the wind to change, in great distress of mind,
although free of the fever. As the wind seems inclined to become
favourable today I hope that he will soon get away from that
place, and will not miss its first offers before putting to sea.
London, the 17th December, 1637.
369. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
In obedience to my instructions of the 19th of November, I
have been on several days in this week upon the Exchange,
where all the merchants of the mart congregate. I met there
divers of those who trade in the Levant, who have shares in ships.
I entered into conversation with them about the trade of Candia
and dexterously extracted from them the reasons why their ships
have given up frequenting that island. They say it is too far
from the others that they visit, and consequently wastes a lot of
time and money. They cannot export oil thence, but only a few
muscats, for use in the kingdom, which pay heavy duties, while
their ships are subject to countless other charges. They run
the risk of serious loss, since it frequently spoils, and with little
hope of profit ; and above all because the inhabitants there have
an evil nature, and frequently their sailors are injured and killed
for trifling causes. They have nothing to take there except a
great quantity of salt fish, a few kerseys and other cheap cloth.
As these are also furnished from Venice and elsewhere, the two
ships of this nation which usually touch at those ports every year
have to take ready money with them to exchange for muscats.
I heard the same things from several of them. In the presence
of many I remarked, but as if from myself, that your Serenity
had provided for their relief with respect to the expense and other
charges, the Senate having halved the duty, making an abatement
of two soldi for every lira paid, and exempting one butt in every
hundred, for their use at table, with various other advantages,
and I showed them the decision. The injuries and homicides
were inevitable accidents which occurred everywhere, and the
state could only prevent them by the ordinary measures of justice.
If they happen again the representatives of your Serenity would
mete out exemplary punishment. I said those wines were
greatly in demand here, and fetched a higher price than all the
rest. A great quantity was sold under this name, though it is
not the same, and this is perfectly true, and by importing a
greater quantity, with the advantages now held out to them and
the care for their protection, they could not fail to make it a
profitable business. These arrangements had been made with
special regard to them, and others would be made if they were
considered necessary, as this nation receives more favours than
any other in your Serenity's dominions. After I had read the
decision and distributed it among eight of them, exactly as it
came to me, the word went round admitting that it was very
advantageous for their interests. They welcome above all the
article which exempts them from the valuation of the goods made
in their ships by the justiciars, from which they say they suffered
many extortions. They say your Excellencies will find it profitable
to have the same done elsewhere in your dominions, and
thus encourage their ships to frequent them. They asked me to
present a request for this. All the above ideas with others which
came into my mind I have repeated several times to most of
these merchants, and I have tried my best to impress them with
the advantages to be gained by frequenting those ports. I will
continue to do so whenever I see an opening and observe the
results, which I will report.
I had another talk with Vassel about the trade of Spallatro.
He told me he had directed Obson in his preceding despatch to
hasten on the arrangement and if he arranges it in time, he will
send the news to Leghorn by express to a servant of his who has
embarked on the Golden Fleece in charge of 150 bales of
kerseys for Ragusa, so that, in conformity with orders received
here, he may divert the course of the ship, if he hears from Obson,
and go to Liesina instead of Ragusa, where Obson is charged to
see that the 150 bales are unladed and taken to Spallatro. He
asked me to solicit your Excellencies for the most speedy despatch,
so that the orders may find the ship at Leghorn, before it starts
for Ragusa. I told him that any delay would proceed from his
asking too much, and if he made reasonable requests he would
obtain them immediately. He quoted the case of a Jew, who
introduced some trade in Spallatro and had a similar privilege.
I told him the mart was now on its legs and his example was not
to the point, and as this was a question of his greater convenience,
advantage and safety he ought not to persist in making excessive
demands. He told me again that Obson had powers to settle
the terms. He hoped your Serenity would grant him some
facilities and he would try to deserve them.
He is really very dissatisfied with Ragusa. He wants to
avenge himself in this way, besides the benefit which he expects
to derive from the export of his goods to Hungary, so he will
certainly come to terms for the slightest advantage. He has
1040 pieces of kerseys left at Ragusa, which he cannot dispose of,
so that if he comes to terms with your Excellencies he is
determined to remove his house from there at once and transfer
it to Spallatro, in the assurance, so he says, that English ships
will not touch at that port any more, since it is not worth their
while to stop there for the small portion which Richaut sends.
Meanwhile the Golden Fleece has not yet left these shores owing
to the contrary wind, and as it has to stay some time at Genoa
and at Leghorn, I hope, if this business serves the interests of
your Serenity, that the orders in question will reach Leghorn in
time to divert its course from Ragusa, according to the intent of
London, the 18th December, 1637.
370. To the Secretary in England.
We enclose the reply of the Ambassador Fielding and the office
read to him about the affair of the pistol. The ambassador objects
to the sentence of banishment. Possibly he is rather interested
than sensible of the sincerity of the steps taken or of the circumstances
of the case. Thus he has not been to the Collegio to say
anything about the commissions sent to him to go to Turin.
You will keep a look out to see if his instructions say anything
about returning here or if he is altogether recalled.
Ayes, 132. Noes, 8. Neutral, 15.
371. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
It was a procurator of the Government of England who came
to state the reasons why that king issued letters of reprisals
against the French. (fn. 1) He brings orders to the English ambassadors
to make what settlement they please in the matter, and the king
promises to ratify everything. They say, however, that it will
prove a difficult matter because the English claim as a right
what they grant here as a favour.
With regard to the alliance the king here has declared that he
will send one of his ministers to the diet, whether it be held at
Hamburg or the Hague, which ever the Swedes and Dutch prefer,
but the former rather than the latter. The Swedes intimate
that they would prefer Hamburg, but if England insists on the
Hague they will agree to it. The English state that they will
accept the place that France wishes, maintaining that she ought
to be the first to move, since it is the question of reinstating not
only the Palatine but all the other princes allied with him in
Germany for which she is at war, while England at present only
serves as an intermediary to present to the emperor the peace
proposals that will be drawn up at the diet, and if these are not
accepted by the Austrians within two months then she also will
declare against them. So nothing is decided and one may say
that they do not get beyond mere ceremonial.
Paris, the 22nd December, 1637.
372. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
The advices which arrived last week about the persons destined
by the emperor for the peace negotiations with Sweden, were more
authentic than people thought. The English minister at Hamburg
writes on the 30th ult. that there is a certain doctor in that city
who is negotiating very closely on Cæsar's behalf, and his negotiations
are well advanced with the Ambassador Salvio, sent there
by that crown with full powers for peace and war. (fn. 2) When the
French Ambassador d'Avo found this out, he tried his utmost
to stop it and induce Salvio to ratify the treaty of Vismar,
which was drafted about a year ago and never ratified. By it
the Kings of France and Sweden bound themselves not to make
any peace with the House of Austria for three years except
by common consent, on condition that France supplied a certain
large sum of money yearly to the Swedes. He adds that Salvio,
to gain time with the French and advantage with the emperor,
is haggling over every thing. He refuses to sign the treaty in
question unless the Most Christian pays down the money for the
terms expired, which he interprets as beginning from the first day
on which the articles were agreed, although never ratified. He
complains that that king has never declared war on the King of
Hungary, as he is bound to by the agreement, and it is necessary
that the adjustment of the alliance with England must come first.
D'Avo replies that they will find a way to satisfy them about the
money ; he shows his full powers to declare war on the King of
Hungary, which will be done immediately the treaty is signed.
With respect to the English alliance, he has the necessary
instructions and so has the English minister, and it can be
completed after a few hours conference. Salvio retorts that he
thought this affair was to be referred to the Hague, and they
tell him that at the Hague also his king's ministers have the same
instructions. He concludes that he will have to write to Sweden
and wait for the answer. These are all subterfuges which
reasonably lead to the conclusion that their negotiations with the
Emperor are far advanced. At this Court they maintain that if
Sweden is granted the peaceful possession of Pomerania, which
is considered to be worth more than the rest of the dominions
of that crown, she will certainly conclude peace. I have thought
it my duty to report all these things, which I have on excellent
The Secretary of the Polish Ambassador has had a confidential
talk with me about the dissatisfaction of the king here with
his master over the marriage with the Palatine princess. He
admitted that on the face of things they seemed to have right
on their side here, but one who knew the nature of the Polish
king's powers could not fail to excuse him. In time of war
his authority was as extensive as one could wish, but during
peace he was controlled by the laws of the republic. When armed
and victorious against the Muscovite he announced his desire to
marry the said princess, and meeting with no opposition he sent
the Ambassador Zavaschi to lay the first foundations here.
But when he laid down his arms soon after and asked the consent
of the diet of Warsaw, as is customary, they opposed it openly,
because the bride does not profess the Catholic faith. The king
was incensed at this, but the means employed to overcome the
difficulty having proved fruitless, he sent back Zavaschi to inform
the king and make proposals, but they displayed an utter
aversion here, and he decided to adopt another course. The
ambassador, his master, was to make the most sincere apologies
to the king, to declare his king's affection for the Palatine house,
and propose means for restoring it to its former greatness. If
they had listened to him he would have made satisfactory
proposals. Here, however, they seem to know well enough that
that king never intended to contract that marriage. The
original proposals were designed to pledge England to help him
in his plans against Sweden, but when he found they were not
disposed to this he invented the above excuses to evade an obligation
to which he was so far committed. Douglas, the ambassador
at that Court, frequently reported that he had found out these
arts, but such was their good opinion of the sincerity of that
king that they never believed him.
This week also I have been several times to Court to renew the
invitation to the merchants here to trade at Candia. I have
spoken to them and to others whom I have not seen before, and I
hope that my efforts will not prove altogether fruitless. I now
have a promise from one of the owners of the Golden Fleece
which left recently for Italy with a favourable wind, that he will
send a ship next year, and I hope that will be followed by another
of one Richard Berisford. I do not lose sight of the affair,
but I also try to seize every opportunity to introduce greater
openings, as the state desires.
Count Parella gave the queen in the.king's presence, a more
detailed account of the reasons which have led the Duchess
of Savoy to keep the Cardinal, her brother in law, at a distance
from Piedmont. He also asked for protection from this crown
in case the Cardinal, assisted by the enemies of his house, should
attempt to injure her. They seemed to feel great sympathy
for her. They tell her to be of good courage and express the
intention to help her in case of need. These offers will end in
words, and the interests of the Palatine, which are much more pressing,
serve to show how much anyone has to expect from this crown.
The Spanish fleet has arrived at Dunkirk, with 550 chests of
ryals and 4000 soldiers. Two of the ships, which dragged behind
the others, were attacked by the Dutch, who were following
their traces, and fell a prey to them, but the money has arrived
The wind which has been favourable to transport the
Ambassador Corraro across the sea, after a costly delay of three
weeks at the port of Larii, (fn. 3) prevents the passage of letters from
Venice to this kingdom.
London, the 25th December, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
373. To the Secretary Zonca in England.
With regard to the reception of the ambassador of Morocco and
the prejudice to the republic through our ordinary ambassadors
not being met at their entry by an earl, you will seize an opportunity
to represent the parity conceded to the ambassadors of
the republic at all the Courts, but in such a way as not to commit
the state, in order to obtain what is required at the arrival of the
Ambassador Giustinian, insisting that his Excellency shall have
this sign of honour.
Ayes, 89. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
374. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain,
to the Doge and Senate.
They persist in making every effort to excite ill feeling between
France and England, in order to bring to naught the negotiations
for an alliance between those crowns, and to lead England astray
by dazzling her with specious promises. After long sittings with
the secretaries of state the English minister here has sent his
own secretary (fn. 4) to his master with instructions to use the utmost
despatch. Details of the proposals which he takes have not yet
In the place of the young Count of Ognate at that Court, they
have selected the Marquis of La Fuente, a person in whom they
repose high hopes and one of those most strictly dependent upon
the Count Duke.
Madrid, the 31st December, 1637.