Venice: June 1604

Pages 154-164

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 10, 1603-1607. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1900.

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June 1604

June 2. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 225. Instructions to the Ambassador in England.
Complains that last month several westerlings were lying in the port of Malamocco; among them the Englishmen, the “White Horse” and the “Plymouth” (Plemua). The crews quarrelled with one of our ships, ran up the sign of battle, and ran out their guns. We imprisoned the English for a few days. You are to explain the case, so that they may not misrepresent it.
You are also to complain of a certain Englishman, Giovanni Bianchini, who insulted the Governor of Cittanuova.
Ayes 139.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 5.
June 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 226. Maffio Michiel, Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
The Admiral arrived in port to-day. He had in tow the marciliana, “Vidala,” which had been captured by an English pirate. It was given back upon the orders of the Sanjak of the Morea. The English pirate has a very small ship, but very heavily armed. The crew is composed of English, Turks, Moors, Sclaves, and a Maltese, who is the pilot. The Captain is called Vespasian Saier, an Englishman.
Zante, 6th June, 1604. O.S.
June 8. Original Despatch, Venetian. Archives. 227. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Parliament has chosen the Commissioners for the union. The number is 44, thirty from the lower and fourteen from the upper House. The Scottish Parliament has not named its Commissioners yet. The King urges them on, but they show great reluctance, on account of the insults they say they have received from the English. They refused to allow the Duke of Lennox and the Earl of Mar to sit, declaring that, though they were Scotsmen, yet having been appointed of the English Privy Council, they had no right to a share in the debates of the Scottish Parliament, for they might report to the English Privy Council, with great injury to Scotland; they gave way, however, and news that Commissioners have been appointed is expected hourly.
Count Maurice has been at Sluys; he has mounted a battery of sixty guns, and hopes to capture the place. The Marquis Spinola is active under Ostend. He has recently captured the bulwark, known as the Porcupine (porcospin). There is heavy betting that the Dutch will capture Sluys before the Spanish get Ostend.
The King goes to Greenwich to-morrow; the Queen follows in a few days. The Court stays on here. The plague is increasing; in the last two weeks there were twenty-four death's in the first, and thirty-four in the second. A further rise is expected, and everyone is beginning to look out for a house in the country.
I have several times asked when I could see Cecil; he has always begged me to have patience, as what with Parliament sitting and the negotiations for the union on hand he has not time to breathe; and I can well believe it, for everything is entrusted to his care.
London, 8th June, 1604.
June 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 228. Anzolo Badoer Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
An English Catholic, servant of the late Queen of Scots, has been made prisoner for writing loosely about this Crown.
Paris, 9th June, 1604.
June 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 229. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the Spanish Ambassador was assured that the Constable was not coming to England he applied for the use of the palace, which was almost ready for the reception of the Constable, on the ground that his present lodging was so far away from Court that it would be inconvenient for all parties concerned in negociating the peace. This plea was accepted, and he is lodged in Somerset House. Some apartments, however, have, by the King's orders, been reserved for the meeting of the Envoys and the English Commissioners, who number five, the Treasurer, the Admiral, Secretary Cecil, the Earl of Northampton, and the Earl of Devonshire (fn. 1) (Devister). They have already met thrice, the first time on Sunday week, the 30th of last month; this meeting was occupied by the presentation of powers granted to the Constable. They only authorize him to treat, and are identical with those granted for the Boulogue conference, which the late Queen refused to accept as a basis for negociations. The English Commissioners raised another difficulty, that the powers were made out in the name of the Constable, and, therefore, it was not suitable to deal with substitutes in the absence of the principal, these substitutes being the Ambassador and Roveda, who was named by the Constable in virtue of his powers, while the Ambassador produced a letter from the King, bestowing on him the same authority and in the same terms as were conveyed by the Constable's powers. Finally, after much discussion, the powers were admitted, though there is no doubt it was only the King's known inclination towards peace that induced the English Commissioners to yield. The second meeting was on Tuesday, the first, when the following proposals were made:—
An offensive and defensive alliance between England and Spain. The English replied that, as the King and his nation were at peace with alt the powers, such an alliance did not seem desirable, as it would raise suspicion; this in answer to the proposal for an offensive alliance; as to the defensive, the answer was that Spain and England were too far apart to be of much practical use. There was a long discussion, but the Spanish saw that they were losing time, and droping this point they asked for an assurance that no rebels present or future should receive assistance. The English replied that, as regards future rebels, there would be no difficulty, but, as regards present rebels, they begged for a specification of who was meant. The Spanish promised compliance at the next meeting.
The third session was held on Friday, the 4th, in which the Spanish named the States as rebels, who would have been subdued long ago had they not received assistance from powerful Princes, more especially from this kingdom. The English admitted that the States had often received help, but as allies and confederates, nor had England ever admitted that they were rebels, for although it was true enough that the Dutch were subjects of Spam, it was still most true that they were before that subjects of the House of Burgundy, whose heir Spain was, but upon conditions quite well known, and if those conditions had been observed by the ministers of Spain the population would not have rebelled. At these words the Spanish took offence, and rose to their feet to withdraw; but the English begged them to state what kind of assistance the Spanish wished to prohibit, for they would do all they could to give satisfaction, and with that they separated. They were to meet again yesterday, Tuesday, and Friday, but as it was a festival they did not. Meanwhile M. de Caron, agent for the States, does all he can to strengthen his position; he is well aware of the King's inclination towards peace, and the influence the Spanish have acquired at Court with the great presents they have made to many of the principal ministers and to many of the Queen's favourite ladies; her Majesty shows herself more and more of the Spanish party, and makes such strides in the King's favour that if she chose to devote herself to affairs she would, beyond a doubt, soon be mistress of the whole situation. M. de Caron is afraid that she will induce the King to make peace, which would be very prejudicial to his masters.
De Caron, however, lets it be very clearly understood, and especially by those who have the King's ear, that he cannot under- stand how the King can think of a peace, which would be other than honourable and beneficial to his subjects and his friends. That his masters are firmly resolved not to make peace with Spain, except upon condition of being left free, as they are now; that they are quite able to defend themselves as long as they are not prevented by the powers, especially by England, from raising their provisions and ammunition in their states, but if this was denied them they would then be compelled to seek new allies and fresh supports, and hinted that they would throw themselves into the arms of France, which would greatly displease the King of England. He hopes to be able to prevent the peace, for there are many who are working hard to impress on the King's mind these ideas; and the question has been raised in Parliament, though that is not the right place for it, as all questions of truce, of war, and such like depend upon the King's will absolutely. I enclose a copy of a speech on the subject.
London, 9th June, 1604.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 230. My intention is to speak weightily, and, therefore, I crave your ears. If the secrets of empire consist not merely in knowledge and in reflection, but also in practice, there is no fitter place for discussion than this, where this high and mighty assembly resides, wherein these matters may be handled and dealt with in detail in this very assembly, to which belongs the weal and preservation of the state.
Affairs of state are of two sorts, home and foreign. I will leave the first aside. I take it that in foreign affairs we are either in friendship or at war; there are two kinds of friendship, voluntary and necessary; voluntary friendship is represented by complimentary messages between Princes, for the sole purpose of knowing and being known, that is, a friendship of no practical utility; examples are our relations with Venice, Savoy, and other Italian states, or with Portugal and Spain, too, and others; should our friendly relations with these be changed or over-clouded it would matter little to England; whereas a necessary alliance must be most carefully preserved. An alliance of that kind may be for two purposes, trade or safety. For trade, as with Russia, Prussia, the Empire, Turkey, Barbary, and so on; an alliance for safety is of such moment that it may not be lightly abandoned. For the union of these two kinds of alliance no province, state, kingdom, or Republic is of such moment to England as her neighbours of Holland and the United Provinces.
For the conservation of this alliance there are many solid arguments; there is the ancient league, not the Burgundian, but the Batavian federation,—for our sovereigns were frequently allied with them long before the House of Burgundy usurped the succession to these states from the noble lady, Jacqueline, their lawful heir. Jacqueline was married to Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and was naturalized by Parliament in the second year of Henry VI., nor is there any doubt that the reason which induced our sovereigns to so close an alliance, was their recognition of that people as courageous and resolute to avenge themselves on those by whom they were injured. Their neighbourhood rendered their friendship more valuable than that of any other Prince. If they were our foes it would be impossible for us to protect our trade from their piracy, or to prevent our trade from being interrupted; they would always be lying-in-wait for us, and we should be forced to spend a large sum on the up-keep of a fleet; we have had experience of the mischief even Flushing could do at a time when it was merely a fishing village, unfortified, though afterwards enlarged and protected by England.
Besides, war with them means the loss of our commerce with them.
Thirdly, alliance with them would render us masters of the sea, and would enable us to circumscribe and limit the trade of all nations east of us, and to lay down the law for France and Spain in all that regards their commerce; and we should always, in case of hostilities, be able to disarm them and deprive them of ships.
Fourthly, we are strictly bound to them in matters of religion by the alliance sworn by the late Queen, who received them under her protection; were we to abandon them now after all our success, due to their assistance, we should not only merit the charge of ingratitude, but the Government would be accused of injustice.
Finally, it is against all policy to allow them to fall into the hands of another monarch, who might avail himself, at the fitting moment, of that advantage against us; for the country must inevitably come under the yoke of France or of Spain, if England abandons her.
If we support the States we shall not offend Spain, for no one can be blamed for doing all that is necessary for his preservation; and England is and always has been interested in maintaining the States in their ancient privileges, and especially to see that the dominion of the sea is not taken from them. No Prince ever imposed upon them any Admiral than one of their own choice, down to the days of Charles V.
As to the Spanish I confess I have a particular regard for them above all foreign nations; all the same I owe fealty and submission to the King of England, as I received the name I bear from the good King Alfonso of Castille, in the reign of Edward the First, and in the time of Charles V. several other favours, yet am I a true Englishman, and so I must say that I consider the Spanish alliance as belonging to the class of voluntary alliances, for the interests are small, and Spanish trade is as valuable to us as Spanish arms. As to the trade you have recently heard the report presented by a weighty member of Council, that in Spain the difficulties in the way of recovering monies are so great that no merchant trading there can come back with any profit, and that, on the whole, war is more advantageous than peace. The King of France has recently issued a severe edict, prohibiting his subjects from trading in Spain; and there is no doubt but that the Spanish, upon the pretext of their holy faith, might any day confiscate all our shipping, to the ruin of our merchants.
As to their arms, offensive and defensive, we are never likely to use them, the defensive because Spain is too far away, the offensive because it is highly improbable that England would ever require them.
As to Spanish good faith or treachery it is not my intention to enter on the discussion, as it is always well to expect the best from such a sovereign as I understand theirs to be. But I know that his ancestor, Pedro, perjured himself and broke his oath, and lost the Duchy of Aquitaine; and Ferdinand played us a nasty trick, when he induced England to send a fleet to assist him against the French and then changed his plans and attacked Navarre, causing the loss of many brave gentlemen, and the damage which all fell on us. Nor have we any reason to vaunt the friendship of the late King Philip, who caused us the loss of Calais, while many think we have no reason to hope for better at the hands of his son Philip III., for like most young Princes he leaves everything in the hands of his Council, which is torn by ambitions and private feuds; as one sees in the corruption, which the Popes employ; for they are ever ready to dispense them from their oath, and in return the Spanish are ready to execute the Papal orders, as in the case of the kingdom of Navarre; and proofs of their allegiance have been visible enough recently in France, in the murder of the late King, the many attempts against the life of the late Queen of England, the threatened invasion by the great Armada in 1588, and many other demonstrations too long to enumerate.
The occasion is suitable for this discourse of mine, for we are at this moment treating of a union, which I may call domestic, and which may God in due time effect; and it is not the time now to break our ancient alliances, which are so vital to us. As for the fitness of the place no place could be fitter than this honourable assembly which, though some esteem it lightly, I hold to represent the power of this kingdom the coffers and cabinets of the King. Our Kings have always taken council with their Commons in questions of war with France, Scotland, Spain, and other powers, during the glorious reigns of Edward III., Richard II., Henry IV., Henry V., Henry VI.; and in the late Queen's reign the question of declaring war with Spain was discussed in this House. In the ninth year of Edward IV. the Commons took part in sanctioning the conclusion of a reasonable peace by the King. In the second year of Henry VI. the Commons, learning that the Protector was negotiating a matrimonial alliance for the Scottish King, then a prisoner, claimed to be informed. Let it not be thought that I seek to advise his Majesty, that wise Prince, whose prudence is known to all, but I move that the Speaker be ordered to approach his Majesty humbly in the name of the Commons of England, and to inform him of the affection of the kingdom towards the states of Holland, and our zeal for the preservation of their ancient rights and privileges, and to commend them to the King's prudence and wisdom.
June 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 231. Maffio Michiel, Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
When the officer of the Sanjak of the Morea arrived at Modon, the English pirate was arrested, but soon after liberated by the violence of the populace. This shows how difficult it is to obtain any justice on these corsairs. I have reported all to the Bailo in Constantinople.
Zante, 20th June, 1604. O.S.
June 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 232. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have recently had an interview with Cecil upon the points which I had discussed in audience with his Majesty. I dwelt on the insolence of the crew of the “Greyhound” in expelling the Governor's officers, and hoisting the signal for battle off the city for six days; also on the conduct of a certain Captain Bower (Baor), and I just touched on the robbery of which I had been a victim. Cecil replied with these very words, “I believe your Lordship is aware that in all well constituted states there are various tribunals and judges for hearing and deciding all cases; they are various in kind, to meet the convenience of suitors, and because the nature of the cases is various; one set of tribunals taking civil, another criminal cases; for the King and his ministers are reserved the most important cases only, those which affect the State; I, therefore, think your Lordship might have refrained from troubling the King and myself upon a matter which belongs to the Admiralty Courts. I am sure had you applied to the judge of that court you would have received all fitting satisfaction, but had it not been so then you would have had a legitimate reason for approaching the King.” I replied, “I am well aware that there are courts for such cases, as your Lordship says, but they are for private individuals; ambassadors and representatives of powers have no court but his Majesty's presence.” “Well,” said he. “since your Lordship is acting upon orders from your Prince I will say no more.” He took my memorandum and began to read it. On the first clause, about the “Greyhound,” he said, “What do you want me to do?” I said, “I want them punished.” He replied that if they were arrested they would justify themselves in the wav I have pointed out, namely, by pleading that they cannot be punished both in person and in property, and that if there were previous examples of such rigour having been used it was only done to please your Serenity, but must not be taken as a precedent, for then the French and Flemish would claim the same, and that would be the destruction of the sailor class, and the death blow to the devotion of the English. I answered that it was impossible to doubt the facts, for they were affirmed by your Serenity. Cecil replied, “Yes, but your Government speaks only from report,” “That is true,” I said, “but the report of one of her own officers.” At that he folded the memorandum, and calling a secretary bade him tell the Admiral to attend Council that afternoon, when he promised me that the question should be raised, and he pledged himself to do all he could to obtain satisfaction.
Last Sunday the Admiralty Judge and Sir Henry Wotton, Ambasador-elect for Venice, came to call on me. They brought me word that, as regards the conduct of the “Greyhound,” they did not take the matter very seriously; all the same to please your Serenity the crew had been imprisoned, and should not be released till I pleaded for them. I said I was amazed that such insolence was treated so lightly; to which the judge said, “Oh! every merchant tries to smuggle; it is a very ordinary affair.” I replied that however common smuggling might be it never could be legitimate, and when it was supported by force it became unendurable; and on the top of all came the third misdeed, that of lying off the city for six days with the signal for battle flying. The judge said that if they had fired it would have been serious, but as it was this was merely trivial. I replied that unless such conduct was checked now some day more serious complications would arise, for these corsairs might come across some Venetian official, who either had not or would not exercise such patience as the Governor of Zante, and who would punish them in some violent fashion. “Sir,” said the judge, “they shall be sent to prison, nor shall they come out without your consent.” Passing to the case of Captain Bower, he said that he would be arrested and condemned to death if caught, and if he had any saleable property indemnification would be made to the injured. As for the men who robbed me the judge promised that he would hang the two now in prison, and do the like to the others who came into his hands. I answered that, in my own case, I would rather recover my property than bring about the death of anyone. He said, “Your Lordship knows that the two in prison are miserable devils, without any possessions save their life, and with their life they must pay their debts.” He renewed the promise for the despatch of a man-of-war to suppress piracy in the Méditerranean. In your Serenity's name I then submitted to him the suggestion that every ship should carry a King's officer, in order to repress these scandals. The judge replied that it would be very difficult to obtain an alteration here; but he would raise the question; he added, however, that I might rest assured that, now the war with Spain was over, no corsairs would be allowed to put to sea.
London, 23rd June, 1604.
June 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 233. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The peace Commissioners have met several times since last I wrote. The subject of their discussion has been the question of “aid” to the States, which were always styled “Rebels,” but seeing that the English Commissioners took it ill they have substituted the word “Enemy.” Roveda, the Spanish Commissioner, defined “aid” as all that contributes to strengthen the enemy or discourage the ally. The English replied that these were very vague terms, which might cover an indefinite field, and suggested that specification should be made if the Spanish really desired to come to any conclusion; at the same time they recommended the Spanish to be reasonable in their definitions of what was “aid,” so that his Majesty might not find himself forced to refuse or else to become the declared enemy of the States, with which, for many reasons, the Crown of England ought to preserve friendly relations. After much discussion the Spanish put forward their proposals:—
(1) One of the principal was that all trade between England and the States should cease, for the Dutch drew large profits from the English market for their tapestries, cloth, tweeds (?) (scotti) and so on, the manufacture of which employs many hands, all of whom contribute to the funds of the war; whereas, on the other hand, the States draw munitions of war from England, to their great advantage.
(2) The King of England is to keep the seas open for all who chose to use them. The Dutch, at present, completely prevent anyone from using the ports of Flanders, which are, as it were, blockaded.
(3) They ash for Flushing and Brill (la berilla), and offer in return to pay off the entire debt due from the States to the Crown of England, which amounts to about two millions.
(4) That the King of England shall not permit the Dutch to raise troops in his dominions.
The English Commissioners replied that they were amazed at such proposals, for they thought they were negotiating for peace with one Prince, whereas they found themselves expected to declare war on another. They hoped for benefit from the negotiations, instead they were to reap in jury; for the prohibition of trade with Holland meant the ruin of all the merchants trading there. They could not be expected to make peace with one Prince merely to declare war on another. The King of England could not be asked to keep a large fleet in commission simply to suit the King of Spain. “Then,” replied the Spanish, “You ought to allow us to come into these waters with a fleet large enough to fight those who are preventing us from free entry to our ports, and. you should further allow our fleet to shelter in your harbours.” The English Commissioners were taken rather aback at this request; but as far as I can other they will yield this point. As to the two cautionary towns the English declared that it was useless to speak, for his Majesty would never consent to so unworthy an act: they had been received in pledge from the States, and to them only will they be returned, whenever the debt is paid; that debt is already diminished, by almost half, as the States pay forty thousand crowns a year, and as yet two millions have been paid off, while about as much still remains. The Spanish said that their master was resolved to make every effort to reduce the States by arms: his only obstacle was that he would be forced to shed. English blood, as the garrisons were English, and he begged that the King of England, if he found he could not hand over the towns to their rightful master, would at least withdraw the English garrison. To this no reply has, as yet, been made. As to the fourth point, the prohibition of recruiting, the English answer that England is so populous that, unless the people are allowed to take service abroad, a serious crisis might arise at home; but a similar permission would be extended to Spain and to all other powers. The Spanish, therefore, could have no proper ground of complaint. They added that they had two requests to prefer, one that the tax of thirty per cent, on merchandise should be abolished, the other, that the trade to the Indies should be thrown open. The Spanish replied that the tax would be removed provided the English did not import goods manufactured in the countries subject to the Dutch, meaning that the English are not to act as intermediaries for the sale of Dutch goods. As to free traffic with the Indies it was not to be thought of, and if they insisted on this they might as well go no further in the present negotiations. That is, the present position of the peace negotiations. Up to now there have only been discussions; nothing has been set down on paper as yet. In spite of all these difficulties, however, it is generally thought that peace will be concluded, as both parties desire it, but it will be a false and masked peace.
The Lower House, on a petition complaining of monopolies signed by many merchants, has dissolved all companies; if this Act passes the Upper House and receives the Royal assent, everyone will be free to trade as he chooses.
The Scottish Parliament has, at last, named the Commissioners for the Union. They are now discussing the place of meeting; the Scottish decline to go to England, and the English decline to come to Scotland.
The Grand Duke has obtained licence to export gunpowder.
On the 17th of this month (fn. 2) the Marchese Spinola delivered a vigorous attack on Ostend. Many fell on either side; the Governor was seriously wounded; though the Spanish effected no capture. But matters are at an extreme, for the besieged have made a new entrenchment, by which the whole place is reduced by a third. The garrison, however, is resolved to defend it till the end. Count Maurice does all he can to aid the town; he has just sent eight hundred men under very good officers. He is working hard under Sluys. His batteries are planted, but he has not begun to bombard yet. He is endeavouring to get his army across the fosse, in order to deliver an assault when the breach is made. The fosse, which is long, deep, and full of water, presents a serious obstacle; at low tide there are twelve feet of water and more. The Archduke is massing troops for thè relief. Count Maurice intercepted a letter from him to the Governor, and now knows all his plans.
The plague is greatly diminished, to everyone's great surprise. The week before last 14 deaths, last week 11.
London, 23rd June, 1604.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 234. Anzolo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Ostend is said to have fallen at last. It was defended inch by inch. Sluys is better garrisoned than Count Maurice thought.
Paris, 23rd June, 1604.
June 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 235. Anzolo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has found out from the English Catholic, whose arrest I reported, that M. d'Entragues, father of the Marquise de Verneuil, has been plotting with the Spanish Ambassador, in order to induce the King of Spain to support the claim of the Marquise's son to the title of Dauphin. M. d'Auvergne supports her. D'Entragues has also approached the King of England, but in vain.
Paris, 23rd June, 1604.
[Italian; deciphered.]
June 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 236. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Grand Duke has bought one-thousand-two-hundred barrels of gunpowder, I hear; also a very fine ship of five-hundred tons, fully found, and he is in treaty for another. Now that peace with Spain is thought to be an accomplished fact, everyone is trying to sell their big ships. When the Council became aware of this they resolved not to permit it, in view of the injury which might arise to this nation. The Tuscan Secretary accordingly meets with considerable difficulty in despatching the ships he has bought, although the bargain was carried out under the signed and sealed permission of the King. I am informed that now is the moment to buy saltpetre, of which there is great abundance in England, in spite of the many years of war now past.
It is thought that the royal assent will not be given to the Commons' Act, dissolving the merchant companies. The Muscovy Company, which was on the point of sending an Embassy at the cost of ten or twelve thousand crowns, suspended its action till the decision should be known, but on the King's exhortation they resolved to despatch the mission, and that is taken as a sign that his Majesty will not grant his assent to their dissolution.
The King has revoked the letters addressed to the Grand Duke on the Barbary incident, as he is unwilling to cause the Grand Duke any pain.
Negotiations for peace are approaching an end. The question of trade, which presented such difficulties, is almost entirely settled thus:—Trade between England and Holland to remain free; abolition of the thirty per cent, lately imposed in Spain, provided that the English do not introduce Dutch goods; that the King of England shall guarantee the safety of Spanish ships when in English waters; if the English choose to trade in Flemish ports they shall be free to do so, but must protect themselves from any molestation by the Dutch. As the Spanish are bound to protect themselves they will be forced to come in large numbers fully armed, and are to be allowed to shelter and victual in English ports, but on payment for all they take. The English Commissioners are in considerable doubt as to conceding this point, for it seems to them to be dangerous to allow forty or fifty Spanish ships to freely enter any English port. It is hoped that some way of compromise may be found. The Spanish also are endeavouring to induce the King of England to intercede, so that the King of France may remove the prohibition of all trade between France and any Spanish dominions. It is generally hoped that the King of England will succeed in composing these difficulties.
I have lodged your Serenity's complaints about the insolence of the English, Flemish, and Dutch off Malamocco. If I can I will identify the man Giovanni Bianchini (John King), who insulted the Podestà of Citta Nuova.
Only 16 deaths last week of plague. The weather is bitterly cold, and everyone is in furs, although we are almost in July.
London, 30th June, 1604.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy. Gardiner, 1. 208.
  • 2. Cf. Motley. Op. cit. IV. 182.