197. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the
Doge and Senate.
Sir [Thomas] Roe, ambassador designate to the emperor in the
interests of the Palatine, arrived here from England last Tuesday.
He was received with the customary ceremonies and treated with
the greatest honour. He informed the States of the reasons
which had moved his king to send him, and asked advice on the
subject. He assured the government of the gratification of
the king and queen at the union between the young Prince of
Orange and the princess, their daughter. He set forth the reasons
which had induced their Majesties to make an alliance with the
House of Orange. Finally he asked their High Mightinesses to
maintain certain conditions recently established in the renewal of
the old alliance, touching freedom of trade. They granted this
The disturbances in England and the progress of the Imperialists
in Germany keep the Princess Palatine on tenter hooks.
She knows that the greater the prosperity of the emperor and the
difficulties of her brother, the less hope she has of an accommodation
for her son, and she cannot conceal her distress.
I paid my respects to this English Ambassador. He responded,
expressing the utmost devotion to the most serene republic.
The Hague, the 3rd June, 1641.
198. The Secretary of England came into the Collegio and
said in substance :
I recently presented a letter of his Majesty recommending the
English merchants in general and Mr. John Hobson in particular.
His case consists of two things, one about the judges and the
rejection of his arguments. The king requests justice and I hope
Hobson will obtain satisfaction. The other is the deposit of the
goods which Hobson has in hand, which belong to other merchants
who are absolutely unconcerned in this affair. It is clear that it
serves to divert trade from this mart, and yet the deposit must
soon be made in the Mint. I beg your Serenity to be pleased to
consider his Majesty's request and that I may have an answer
to my representations as soon as possible.
The doge replied : We gave full instructions some days ago to
our representatives to show consideration to the English merchants
in the islands where they are accustomed to trade, so as to
afford them every facility and relief. With regard to Hobson,
this is a civil case about money, subject to the laws of the state,
and the Courts are open. Hobson may be sure that he will find
everything that he can desire there.
The Secretary, without further reply, made his bow and retired.
199. To the King of Great Britain.
Our action in the interests of the English merchants is constantly
showing the exceeding friendliness of our disposition and
the affectionate respect which we bear for your Majesty. To this
end we have recently repeated special instructions to our representatives
that these same merchants who trade in our islands
shall be well treated and protected from all molestation, not
otherwise than if they were our own subjects. The merchant
John Obson, likewise recommended by your Majesty's letters of
the 1st April last, will also experience our good will, subject to
the aim which we always keep in view, of the maintenance of
justice and the laws to which our will is subject, corresponding to
the goodwill and upright intentions of your Majesty, to whom
we wish all prosperity.
Ayes, 116. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
|200. To the Ambassador in England.
We enclose an exposition of the secretary of England and a
copy of the paper presented by him about the merchant Obson.
This is for your information. If the subject is raised you will
answer that our constant aim is that justice shall be allowed to
follow its due course.
With regard to the English merchants trading to the islands you
will make use of the reply given to the king and to the secretary,
of which copies are enclosed.
Ayes, 116. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
|201. To the Ambassador in England.
Commendation of his reports of events. Promise him consideration
of his expenses incurred in connection with the arrival
of the young Prince of Orange. Enclose advices from Vienna
and Naples. Commend his reply about Prince Rupert's offer of
service. He is to let the matter drop dexterously while making
profuse assurances of affection and esteem, but without committing
the state in any way.
Ayes, 116. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
|202. That the Secretary of the King of Great Britain be
summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
We are always pleased to see you and are anxious to gratify
his Majesty by giving satisfaction to your requests, as a sign of
our devotion to him. We have already issued suitable orders
for the favourable treatment of the English merchants trading
at our islands in the Levant and for the removal of difficulties.
These orders have been recently renewed. As regards the
merchant Obson, since his case is purely civil it should be settled
by the ordinary course of justice. Obson will find our Courts
full of good will towards his cause whenever he cares to apply
to them. He should, however, make his demands through the
channels and in the ways provided by the laws, which are quite
well known to those who have charge of his affairs. This is
our answer, and we will ask you to forward as well what we are
giving you to send to his Majesty. (fn. 1)
Ayes, 116. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
203. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England
to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch ambassadors and the Prince of Orange left this
city on Monday. The prince made presents to all the Court,
but rather on the side of mediocrity than with excess of magnificence.
Their Majesties on the other hand presented him with a
rich sword, set with large diamonds and other jewels, to the value
of 170,000 crowns. He faithfully promised the princess that at
the end of the campaign he would return here and stay all the
winter, in the hope of persuading their Majesties to let him take
her back with him in the following spring.
They say that the ambassadors also will return in November
to add their offices about the bride and also for the proposed
alliance. Although, as I reported, the old defensive one is
prolonged, yet this was done by a private promise between the
king and the ambassadors, without the customary formalities
or affixing the great seal, possibly with the idea, before going
further, of seeing what the issue of the agitations in this kingdom
will be and then to establish the negotiations more solidly in
accordance with the times and interests, with the approval of
The people here are awaiting with great interest the report to
be made by the commissioners appointed for the process, which
I reported. It is maintained that the conspiracy is perfectly clear
and if it had not come to light the liberty of the country would have
been at the mercy of the king's ambition, and of his most favoured
ministers. The consequence of such views may be foreseen and at
the palace they live in great perplexity, their Majesties not being
quite sure whether these revelations are fabricated or if they are
proved by the depositions of witnesses.
After long disputes in the Upper Chamber about the demands of
the people for the total expulsion of the bishops, they have
decided not to pass it or even the bill for their exclusion from parliament.
The lords rightly suspect that this move of the people,
that is to say of the Lower Chamber, covers designs to take
away all authority from the Upper in the course of time, and to
render themselves complete masters, as the course of events so
far plainly indicates. The Lower Chamber expresses great
resentment at this event, which works to the king's advantage,
as by this means he preserves the strongest nucleus of his party
in parliament. Incited by the popular support, the Commons
are devising new means to obtain by violence those impious ends
which they have not succeeded in getting by their efforts. So
they are kindling these bitter feelings and many believe an open
division may come between the Houses and offer an opportunity
to His Majesty to raise his present fortunes. But he will have
to bide his time, which is the only thing amid all these disorders
that can straighten out what is most harmful.
The truce with the Scots is again prolonged for a fortnight, and
the negotiations for an accommodation are in the same state as
before. The lack of money multiplies delays and the testing of
the sincerity of the boasted readiness to withdraw when the sums
agreed upon are paid or merely false pretexts for keeping possession
of the most fertile part of England and the most necessary
for the provision of this city.
The Prince Palatine never ceases to urge the parliamentarians
to take up his cause vigorously, but so far his efforts have produced
scant results. Some hope has been held out of printing a
manifesto that if the Austrians do not satisfy England this time
with the restitution to the Palatine House of its states, the whole
forces of the crown will be employed for its relief. But the only
aim of such a declaration is to give force to the offices of the
Ambassador Roe at the Diet of Ratisbon, with the rigid determination
to do nothing to put the threat into execution. This is
well known to the Palatine and in confidence with me he deplored
his unhappy state, going so far as to say that he could expect
nothing vigorous in the way of assistance from England.
The queen mother is busily preparing for her departure. She
has sent her gentleman to Brussels (fn. 2) ostensibly to ask a passport
of the Cardinal Infant, but I find he has secret instructions to
try to get her received again in that country and that the former
liberalities of the Spaniards may be granted to her. With their
present dealings with the malcontents in France this does not
seem a difficult request, as her name and living in Flanders
might augment the credit of that party and consequently induce
the Catholic king to embrace the proposal.
The Spanish ambassador has swallowed his first feelings about
the reception of the Portuguese ambassadors, and resumed
audience of the king yesterday. He protested strongly at the
constant molestation of Catholic subjects of his king who
dwell here. He asked that parliament should provide for
this disorder, which, to tell the truth, disturbs the quiet of everyone,
and even this house does not escape. The ambassador took
the opportunity to offer his Majesty advice for resisting the proud
temerity of his subjects and to restore his old authority. Although
these offers won very slight credit they were most graciously received.
The Portuguese ambassadors were received in the Council of
State on Tuesday, together with merchants of this mart. They
treated of the establishment of reciprocal trade, but nothing was
settled. The Portuguese claimed to prohibit the subjects and
ships of this country from trading in the Indies, which is what
they desire more than anything else, so that if they do not agree
on this point the ambassadors will leave without a decision,
though they will have the advantage of their official recognition.
The Marquis of la Vieuville came to this house last week and
informed me that he was going to Holland to perfect himself in
arms in the next campaign. When I told him that I had no
reply about his offers, he begged me to repeat them.
The queen has expressed to me her great appreciation of the
promptitude shown in the despatch of her letter. Yesterday also
I sent another letter of hers with my packet for France.
London, the 7th June, 1641.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
204. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the
Doge and Senate.
Sir [Thomas] Roe has gone on his German embassy. He has
left an impression of great ability. Their High Mightinesses
wanted to present him with a gold chain, but he asked that this
honour might be saved up for his return, as he hoped to do something
to deserve it by the success of his negotiations. He announced
here that he had instructions to inform the emperor of
the steadfast determination of his king to assist the Palatine with
all his might, adding that the English parliament was maturing
some pregnant decision in favour of the Palatine House, to be
put into execution if Caesar showed any hesitation about granting
reasonable satisfaction to the claims of the Prince Palatine.
Reports persist of the queen mother coming to Utrecht, and
their High Mightinesses are trying covertly to prevent it happening.
The Hague, the 10th June, 1641.
205. The decision of this Council of the 7th inst. having been
read to the Secretary of England, he spoke as follows :
His Majesty is sure of the excellent disposition of your Serenity
to our merchants trading at Zante, and he will be very pleased at
the facilities promised. I will inform him and thank you most
humbly for it. As for Hobson, he desires no more than the
despatch of his cause as a matter of pure justice, in which he has
The doge replied that all due and proper facilities would be
afforded to the merchants. With this the secretary made his
bow and retired, taking a copy of the office.
206. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the
Doge and Senate.
The ambassadors who arrived from England on Tuesday with
the young prince, proceeded to the army without visiting the
Hague, to make report to the Prince of Orange of their negotiations.
The States do not disguise their displeasure at this
lack of respect, but out of regard to the Prince of Orange they have
abstained from expressing publicly their resentment against the
The young prince seems quite placid although he has come back
without bringing his bride. He says that the tender age of the
princess and her constitution render her too weak to be exposed
to a change of air and of diet. He wishes her to keep well and is
satisfied with the promises made that in less than two years he
shall enjoy the possession of her here at the Hague.
Further letters from Brussels of the 12th inst. report the arrival
of the Queen Mother at Dunkirk, on her way to Cologne, and
thence to the dominions of the Grand Duke. They say she is
unwell and desires to stay there, fearing the trials of a long
The Hague, the 17th June, 1641.
207. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
After their long secret enquiry the commissioners about the alleged
conspiracy began their report to parliament yesterday. They state
that the queen, determined not to suffer meekly the insults which
she considered that she and her husband had received from their
subjects, had persuaded the fugitive gentlemen and others to sound
the English army and induce them to march on this city and second
her designs. In the first instance she thought of forcing the Tower
and releasing the late Lieutenant of Ireland. In the meantime the
Master of the Horse, one of the absent and the most favoured, had
orders to proceed to Portsmouth, and secure that place for their
Majesties, by intelligence with the governor, and then proceed to
France to ask for help to support these efforts. A leading person
was charged to collect a thousand horse and the leaders of this party
had an understanding with the bishops for their maintenance. The
prince was destined to command the forces under the guidance of the
Earl of Newcastle, his tutor, with the idea of crushing the liberty of
the country completely in the end. Such is a summary of the commissioners'
report. It is of the highest consequence, but I cannot
say if the proofs bear out their assertions, as the process has not been
read and the account is not yet completed. Many believe that the
bias of the commissioners may have affected the sincerity required
in a matter of such moment. The queen is tortured by cruel distress
and even her spirited nature has not been able to prevent her eyes
from performing their tender office. She fears that hate and temerity
may induce parliament to take steps unbecoming her greatness and
innocence, the more so because Colonel Goring, governor of Portsmouth,
despite his promise of loyalty and secrecy, has revealed the
particulars of these designs. Even if they are true they certainly
have not gone beyond their intentions here (li quali quando siano
anco veri non hanno trapassato l' intentione certamente). For
these important reasons the queen sighs impatiently for the arrival
of the French ambassador, who has been several days at Dieppe
on his way to this Court, where his presence cannot fail to be very
helpful to her Majesty.
Although the Upper House has indicated to the Lower the
most just reasons which induced it not to pass the bill for the
expulsion of the bishops from parliament, it has not been able to
alter their original idea, and they seem more obstinate than ever
to attempt new means to force the lords to pass the bill removing
the bishops entirely from this false Church. The Upper House,
however, stands fast to its opinion that this change would be
equally hurtful to the nobility as well as to His Majesty. With
the progress of these disputes, some considerable disagreement
between the nobility and the people seems inevitable, and this is
the sole means of delivering the king from his present troubles.
Meanwhile amid all these agitations the negotiations for an
accommodation with the Scots proceed slowly. The truce has been
prolonged for another fortnight, the Lower Chamber carefully
protracting a conclusion so that the troops may not leave their
quarters in England before all their machinations have been
carried to perfection, that about the bishops in particular, upon
which the Scots are equally zealous.
Parliament is busily engaged in providing sufficient money to
pay the English army at York and the sums granted to the Scots.
They have entered into negotiations with Hamburg merchants to
arrange for 200,000l. A careful enquiry has been made into the
proceedings of the last customers and the discovery made that
they have illicitly enriched themselves at the expense of the
crown. They have been condemned to pay 160,000l. which will
all be devoted to these forces.
In this connection it has come to light that the United Provinces
remain in debt for loans made to them by Queen Elizabeth
for 720,000 ducats. They propose to ask for satisfaction without
delay, or to hand over this credit to the Scots in compensation
for what is due to them. If this decision is acted upon it will not
add to the cordiality with that government.
The deputies sent have arrived in Ireland. They report that
the troops will disband without disorder and the Spanish ambassador
has already arranged with their commanders to bring
over six regiments of that nation to serve his master. The
Portuguese ambassadors, on the other hand, urge strongly that
this permission be witheld, showing that such a numerous force
arriving opportunely in Spain will increase the danger of the
Duke of Braganza in holding that crown : but here they only
think of the opportunity for gain, so it is not thought that these
ministers will get much satisfaction. At present their proposals
to establish the correspondence between the two kingdoms upon
a solid basis, remains the subject of negotiation. There remain
to be settled not only the question of the navigation of the Indies,
but numerous exemptions which the English claim and to have
a public church in Lisbon for the exercise of the reformed religion.
With regard to the exemptions the ambassadors declare that
they will make satisfactory offers, but they persist in their
original refusal on the subject of trade in the Indies and the public
use of religion. They promise, however, that the merchants of
this nation living in Portugal shall not be disturbed in their own
houses, and may live privately in their own way.
For the purpose of harassing the Catholics further parliament
has directed that all convicted recusants, as they are called here,
and those suspected of being such, shall take the oath prescribed
in the time of Queen Elizabeth, i.e. to acknowledge the king as
supreme head of the Church, with other particulars obnoxious to
the authority of the Apostolic See and to the pope's briefs. The
most zealous, who have flatly refused, are forced to prison and
to lose all their goods. Others, although few, terrified by the
penalties and persuaded by the Jesuits that they can take the
oath with a safe conscience, have done so, to the disgust of the
papal minister here, who is exerting himself to suppress this new
doctrine, which shamefully affects the decrees of the Roman
Church and is capable of producing a scandalous schism among
Catholics. Such will be the result of the help of the Jesuits in
this country to the service of God and His Church.
The Cardinal Infant has refused the queen mother the passports
she asked for, on the plea that he has not the authority to grant
them. She has therefore changed her plans and is uncertain
where to go.
London, the 21st June, 1641.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
208. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the
Doge and Senate.
The Queen Mother will remain in Flanders for some time, on
the plea that she is unable to stand a longer journey.
The Hague, the 24th June, 1641.
209. To the Ambassador in England.
We have received this week your letters of the 24th ult. and
those of the 31st, which show an increasing upheaval in the
constitution of that government. With your customary prudence
you should observe their actions and opinions with the sole object
of inculcating the peace, welfare and tranquillity of the community.
We approve of your cautious behaviour. As you are on
the spot and these events are passing under your eyes the more
reserve and caution you display the more peace of mind you will
enjoy. You will endeavour above all not to commit the public
reputation. We will consider your request in due course and would
desire that you should be relieved so far as our service will
allow. We enclose a summary of advices.
Ayes, 125. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
210. Giovanni Giutstinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The report upon the conspiracy has been completed in the
Lower Chamber, and those implicated had some confidence that
the proofs did not suffice to justify the charges made when the
Earl of Northumberland suddenly brought forward in the Upper
House letters written to him by Lord Percy, his brother, one of
the accused and a fugitive, in which while commiserating his own
misfortunes he gives the earl a clear account of all the transactions,
discloses other accomplices and begs him to obtain immunity
for himself by an offer to disclose every particular. Upon this
information they have arrested Lord Wilmot and two others,
both leaders of much credit in the English army and named in
Perey's letter. (fn. 3) After a long examination it is asserted that these
men have revealed the whole plot and there is no longer room to
doubt its truth. After these exertions the Upper Chamber sent six
members to the king petitioning him that as reports are circulating
on every hand of pernicious intrigues against the liberty of the realm,
he will be pleased to make them public, for the consolation of his
subjects, and so divert those dangers which a more extended investigation
might generate in so thorny a matter. To this demand, which
capable men consider a trick to obtain a confession of guilt from the
king himself, His Majesty replied, that he assured them he had not
taken up anything against the laws of the realm or the liberty of
the people. He protested this before God and the world and had
nothing more to tell them. With this they departed and are now
examining many persons. The end of this enquiry remains uncertain,
and it keeps the whole Court in a state of anxious expectation.
Meanwhile as they are searching ancient documents to find out what
was done with other queens in like circumstances, the fear grows that
parliament intends to force the queen to clear herself, and will possibly
take steps even more injurious.
The officers of the English army have sent letters to the parliament
remonstrating at the calumnies directed against them of
having conspired against the liberty of the realm. They demand
that these vain suspicions be swept away, otherwise they protest
that they will right themselves by such means as they find most
convenient. These protests have only increased the suspicions
of the parliamentarians, in the Lower House, especially, that this
army is very disposed to support His Majesty's fortunes. Accordingly,
on the plea of diminishing expenditure they have proposed
to the Upper House to disband five regiments. But as the Lords
did not consider it safe or honourable to weaken the army while
the Scottish troops remain in England they refused the proposal.
This has increased the ill feeling, and it looks as if that division
between the two houses will finally declare itself, which is so
impatiently desired by the king's most devoted servants.
In Scotland the king has conducted intrigues similar to those
contrived here, to raise a party of malcontents to the hurt of their
forces and of the new government, in the hope of facilitating the
success of his manœuvres by troubling both kingdoms simultaneously.
But being conducted with bad fortune or with scant
caution these designs have been discovered by the Scottish
commissioners. Rendered suspicious by His Majesty's despatch
last week of Colonel Stuart to the Earl of Montrose, a leading
noble of the country, they reported their misgivings to Scotland,
where this gentleman, who is a kinsman of the king, was arrested
on his arrival and the king's letters taken from him with others
that he was carrying to Montrose. Some of these, written in
cipher, only increased the suspicions of the government and they
decided to secure the earl with two others, reputed to be fellow
conspirators. It is feared that they will all pay the extreme
penalty. The Scots sent news of the event at once to the commissioners,
charging them to remonstrate strongly at the king's
laying fresh snares against the liberties and privileges of his
subjects there in the middle of negotiations for an agreement.
His Majesty on the other hand denies that he had such intentions
and declares that the letters to Montrose contained nothing but
formal acknowledgment of his faithful service on many occasions,
and states that to render his sincerity more manifest he will have
the letter printed. But these excuses do not affect the universal
belief, and His Majesty's popularity with his people is clearly
waning. The king is now exerting himself to induce parliament
to take some months' rest in their work, now that the season is
calling everyone to his private affairs in the country, so that time
may soften the existing asperity and allow the people to forget.
But there is no sign as yet that he may look for such advantage,
which might possibly prove the best and safest of all.
In the weighty matter of the bishops, although fresh discussions
have taken place in the Lower Chamber, nothing has been decided
owing to the strong resistance of the Upper. But with the people
persisting the Lords may not be strong enough to avoid compliance.
The parliamentarians say freely that next week they will
give the final stroke to this hierarchy and all the other dignities
dependent upon it in the Anglican Church. They propose to
place its government in charge of commissioners, until new rules
have been settled for the exercise of religion. They propose to
establish the same as is now practised in France by the Huguenots,
in Scotland and in Holland, which inculcates that peoples shall
not support the yoke of monarchy. Already in the public
pulpits the ministers licentiously teach that no government is
legitimate or acceptable to God except one which divides the rule
among all indifferently ; so that, led by such scandalous principles,
the people here abhor any other kind of government.
The queen mother, although she seems very hurt at the Cardinal
Infant's refusal of her request for passports, has repeated her
demand with greater insistence. The king has added his offices
and has spoken to the Spanish ambassador in a pressing manner.
A further reply is expected and meanwhile he has sent a gentleman
to Holland (fn. 4) with the pretext of obtaining the queen's passage
through that country if the Spaniards persist in their refusal.
As this gentleman is one most deeply in the king's confidence
and carries letters in His Majesty's own hand to the Prince of
Orange, it is believed that more important business than the
passage of the queen mother has occasioned this despatch.
London, the 28th June, 1641.
|211. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The directors of the Levant Company have recently presented
several memorials in parliament touching the hurt they receive
from the Barbary corsairs, and also as regards means for the
improvement of the trade with the islands of Zante and Cephalonia.
I enclose their petition which before presenting the
directors secretly sent to their correspondents at Venice, to consult
them and find out what they are likely to gain by the threat of
force towards obtaining those unjust profits to which they vainly
aspire. Having got wind of this I have cautiously obtained full
information of their aims. I find that while nothing has been said
in parliament about this affair their aims are all directed to lowering
the price of currants at Zante by parliament forbidding their
import into this kingdom, where the consumption is so great and
the use so universal that the people would not support the lack of
them with patience. It is unlikely that they will get this order
owing to the serious loss that would result to the ship masters,
who draw large profits from the freights for this merchandise,
and to the wool trade, which would no longer be able to dispose of
the quantity of cloth which they send out to exchange for the
currants. Moreover if this trade was interrupted the customs
would suffer, owing to the duties paid by the currants in coming
in and the cloth in going out.
With the object of improving the conditions of purchase at
Zante this Company once tried to introduce currants from the
Turkish dominions, but they did not find the market they expected
and gave up the practice entirely.
I have sent these particulars, but without express instructions
I have not thought it advisable to make any protest, to avoid
betraying a premature alarm, which would only act as a stimulus
upon those who are interested in these demands.
London, the 28th June, 1641.
212. Petition of the Levant Company to the House of
Your petitioners have for many years past traded in the Islands
of Zante and Cephalonia and have transported thence to England
every year a great quantity of currants. For this they have had
a number of ships built, to the increase of navigation and profit
to his Majesty's customs. The trade has been going on since
1570 favoured by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth and King
James and confirmed by the present king.
At the beginning of this trade the state of Venice imposed a
duty of 40 per cent. on the currants exported, with which they
were satisfied ; but in the process of time they imposed a charge
of 10 ducats per thousand, which was also paid. Not satisfied
with this, that State some fifteen years ago imposed another
additional charge of 5 ducats the thousand, and at the same
time compelled your petitioners to constitute themselves the
payers of the revenues of the Prince, called the tenth, a thing
which gave rise to many controversies between the factors of
your petitioners and the Greeks, and between your petitioners
and their own factors, it being most unjust and unreasonable
that the State should impose upon foreigners the collection of
what had previously been collected and paid for the benefit of
the Prince by the subjects of the country, as ought to be done.
In addition to the above they have imposed a further charge of
15 per cent. with a due of 2 gazette per thousand for the Islands,
so that your petitioners pay more to the State in taxes than the
ordinary cost of the currants.
Moreover, notwithstanding the heavy charges imposed by the
State, the Rectors of the Islands, contrary to the laws and rights
of all nations, compel the agents every year to take a great
quantity of spoiled fruit, sometimes amounting to more than
1000 casks, at a higher price than the natives buy them at, with
intolerable loss to your petitioners, and the total ruin of many
merchants who have pursued this trade, at least 200,000l. sterling
being lost in the last ten years.
Your petitioners tried to meet all these difficulties, having sent
for this purpose a consul and principal agent to reside in the
Islands, in order to put the business on a better footing ; but soon
after his arrival he was banished and was not permitted to exercise
his charge ; and now, instead of relief, your petitioners perceive
that the evils grow worse and worse, depriving them of all hope
of remedy on the part of the republic. Thus the Inquisitor
General, who is sent out every five years to reform abuses, has
forced our agent, as appears by letters of December, to buy from
the Prince 500 casks of currants at a higher price and in a worse
condition than the natives buy, and would not permit the ships
to be laded until this was agreed to, causing great loss to your
petitioners, not only from the long detention of the ships and the
expense of maintaining them, but by being prevented from enjoying
their property. Further, the Inquisitor, against all law and
justice, annulled all the contracts made by our agents and compelled
them to pay a real per thousand in addition to what they
had agreed upon with the Greeks.
Your petitioners represent that the trade in currants is only
conducted with this kingdom, and if those Islands were deprived
of the money derived therefrom they would have nothing to
purchase the provisions which they buy from the neighbouring
dominions of the Grand Turk, as their own country does not
produce food for two months ; and yet owing to our submission
to this unjust violence the people of the country have become so
confident as to say that this kingdom would as soon go without
bread as without their currants, and this encourages them to add
fresh charges and make additional trouble for us and our agents.
Your petitioners having lost all hope of any remedy or justice
from that quarter, and judge from experience that there is
no means to prevent these inconveniences in the future save to
prohibit the transport of currants from those Islands to this
kingdom, either by your petitioners or others, whether native or
foreign, until the republic has ordained some suitable remedy,
fixing their duties in a more moderate form and granting your
petitioners liberty to buy such currants as are useful and proper
to be exported, without their ships being subject to detention
or their agents molested.
On all the grounds aforesaid, your petitioners humbly pray
for relief either by the said prohibition or in some other way which
may be considered proper.
[Italian, translated from the English.]
213. The papal nuncio came into the Collegio and said among
other things :
I must thank your Serenity for the good offices of your Ambassador
in England in favour of our minister there, Count
Rossetti, who was much tossed about in that storm. The
ambassador himself did not escape, seeing the peril to which
everyone is exposed by the maddened people there. In speaking
of a bad Christian we are accustomed to say that he spoils the
Credo, but there they seem disposed just now to remove I know
not what words from the Creed. I must thank your Serenity not
only for the pope but for religion itself, which the republic has
Councillor Capello replied that the piety and religion of the
republic had always been the same ; it was the foundation of the
state. Their deeds as well as their offices would always prove this.
214. Thadio Vico, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the
Doge and Senate.
Nothing has been said about the matter of the Princes Palatine
because Doctor Spina has orders not to treat without the English
ambassador, who may have reached Cologne by now. They are
also doubtful about the Danish minister, because of the change of
sovereign there. In any case they have little hope of effecting
anything owing to the hostile attitude of the forces of Bavaria.
Vienna, the 29th June, 1641.