Venice: August 1604

Pages 171-177

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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August 1604

Aug. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 249. Anzolo Badoer Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has greater confidence in Father Cotton than in anyone else. He keeps the Father constantly in his private apartments.
The receipt for the money paid to the Dutch has at last been made out as the English desired, that is, giving the title of King of France to the King of England.
I have at last discovered that the suspicions which the French held and stilt hold about the King of England ail spring from a bad conscience, for they are aware that the Spanish, through the medium of Villeroy's Secretary, read all the despatches of his most Christian Majesty to his Ambassador in England, and therein learned that the King of France was fostering rebellion in England, the usual policy of securing peace for oneself by sowing discord among one's neighbours. The Spanish showed these despatches to the King of England, and this will compel him to demand that France should openly declare war on Spain.
Paris, 4th August, 1604 .
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 250. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier from the Constable arrived last week with news from England about the last conference on peace. Long sittings of the Councils of State and of War have taken place. The Constable will cross over to England.
Valladolid, 4th August, 1604.
Aug. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 251. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King and Queen came back on Saturday evening from Oatlands and Windsor. They stayed in London till yesterday afternoon, when they went to Theobalds, Cecil's huose. There they will await the Constable's arrival. Three ships have been sent across to Dunquerque to escort him. He and his suite will be entertained at the King's charges for five or six days, in which time the ceremony of swearing the peace will be concluded. The King will then begin his progress at once. Of the thirty-six clauses of the treaty twenty-two are settled and signed. They are the most important. The Spanish Ambassador has a hundred people in his house, making liveries and robes.
Some days ago, near York, a magistrate hanged a priest and another Catholic for no other offence than their religion. They had been in prison some time, but the execution was delayed until news that the King had confirmed the old laws against Catholics. Although the King declares he wants neither life nor goods of any man on account of his religion, yet sure it is that unless these laws are amended, we shall often hear of such like troubles, for most of the magistrates are Puritans. The King is annoyed at this event, but has taken no steps as yet to prevent its recurrence. Meantime a Proclamation ordering the Puritans to submit to the Bishops has been issued.
A few days ago the Dutch captured at sea a small vessel from Sandwich with goods belonging to the English. They wrapped the sailors in the sails and drowned them all, so as to prevent the deed becoming known. But the interested parties got wind of it and roused the people of Sandwich against some Flemish subjects of Holland, who lived in the town, killed three of them and threatened to kill them all. The King and Council are seriously annoyed at a town daring to fly to arms and execute justice of itself, and at the small regard the Dutch have shown for the English, who are accustomed to be treated with courtesy and respect.
Ten Ambassadors from the towns of Hamburg, Lubeck, Emden, Dantzic and Bremen have arrived to procure the confirmation of the ancient rights of trade between England and those cities; (fn. 1) but their chief object is to beg his Majesty to prevent his brother-in-law the King of Denmark from insisting on sovereign rights over Bremen as he has done in Hamburg and has attempted in Lubeck, for which purpose he is threatening to use force, and is massing troops. An agent from Denmark has been here for some weeks about this very question of raising troops. The question of privileges has been referred to Council, where opinions vary; the question of mediation his Majesty reserves to himself.
Marquis Spinola went from Ostend to Bruges to see the Archduke upon the subject of relieving Sluys. They settled to remove from before Ostend three thousand men to complete the number of twelve thousand, with which the Marquis, on the 30th of last month, moved on Sluys. The Governor of Sluys had informed the Archduke that he could not hold out beyond the 12th. This left only other three thousand before Ostend, enough to keep what had been won, but not enough to make any further acquisitions. Count Maurice is very strongly entrenched before Sluys.
Dead of plague last week, thirteen.
London, 4th August, 1604.
Aug. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 252. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I have obtained fresh instructions to the Sanjak of the Morea that he is not to hinder the execution of justice by the Governor of Zante upon the persons of the two English pirates. I have in order to give these instructions greater weight, secured letters from the Sultana, the Sanjak's mother, and from his agent. These have been despatched with the shipMartinenga.”
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 7th August, 1604.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 253. To the Sanjak of the Morea.
Imperial orders not to meddle in the affair of the English pirates nor to hinder their execution.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 254. From the Mother of the Bey Of Morea to the Bey.
” Light of my eyes, Lord Bey, my dearest son.”
Advising him to obey imperial orders; and to keep on good terms with Venetians.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 255. From Achmet Chiaus to the Bey of Morea.
Advising him to obey and not to risk losing the friendship of the Venetian Ambassador.
Aug. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 256. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Grand Vizir fell seriously ill on his way to Belgrade; he sent for a doctor from Ragusa. Seven days after reaching Belgrade he died. The Imperial Seal has been sent back by the hands of a Chief of the Spahis, who reached Constantinople in ten days. The day after his arrival, that is, yesterday, the Grand Signor named Mehmet Grand Vizir.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 7th August, 1604.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 257. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The French Ambassador has given me the enclosed memorandum of the terms agreed on between England and Spain. Your Serenity will have already received details from Ambassador Molin.
Valladolid, 9th August, 1604.
Aug. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 258. Anzolo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of England has sent three splendid mules to the King of France; but this notwithstanding, the suspicion between them grows daily.
The French ministers could not refrain from saying to the English Ambassador that they suspect his master of having signed some secret clauses in the treaty of peace with Spain.
A letter from the agent of the States has been intercepted. I enclose a copy.
Paris, 18th August, 1604.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 259. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King is out of London at various hunting lodges. He will not come in till the Constable has arrived. They say that he reached Dover last Monday, so he may be looked for in London by Friday or Saturday. The Spanish Ambassador has gone to meet him along with the other Commissioners. The Constable would not leave Flanders till the King had passed his word that the Dutch would do him no harm, for they were fifty strong on the sea, and said they meant to capture him. The King sent for M. de Caron and declared that if the Constable received the slightest annoyance while on board an English ship he would take it as an insult to himself. De Caron was obliged to promise that the Constable should not be molested.
Cecil, on the King's orders, has communicated all the terms of the treaty to the French Ambassador, as a further proof of the confidence he has in his Most Christian Majesty, and as a guarantee that this treaty contains nothing which can contravene the one concluded with France last year by M. de Rosny. This greatly pleases the French Ambassador, as there were rumours of clauses prejudicial to France.
The French and Spanish Ambassadors have all but come to an agreement to remove the prohibition to trade and the tax of thirty per cent. These concessions are to be made simultaneously, so as to avoid any appearance of yielding on one side or on the other. The actual conditions are still to arrange, for the Spanish wish the French to pledge themselves, as the English have done, not to carry Spanish goods into Holland, and that the caution money shall only be returned on the production of the proof of sale. The French Ambassador is unwilling to accept this condition. The question will be settled at the coming of the Constable.
Lord Burleigh (Michael Balfour), who was sent to Italy to make enquiry as to Sir Anthony Standen's conduct, returned eight days ago, and reports that he has found out nothing of moment against Standen. Standen has been released from the Tower and confined to his own house. The same has happened to Henry Constable, who was a prisoner on account of letters he wrote to the Nuncio in France on religious matters. It is thought that both will be sent out of England, at least for some months.
The Dutch are anything but satisfied with the peace between England an I Spain. They complain that they will lose the protection of this kingdom, and object to the King's announcement that Spain or the Archduke shall be at liberty to raise troops in England. They say that though it is true that the English hate the Spanish and like the Dutch, yet gold works miracles everywhere, and nowhere greater than in England. They will be left alone to face Spain, and cannot hold out long. The Spanish Ambassador, who will now reside in England, will soon corrupt the whole kingdom by the ordinary means and artifices; and this is the real object for which Spain has accepted the peace.
Spinola has made two attempts to relieve Sluys; neither was successful; in the first he was repulsed by the artillery; feigned to withdraw towards Ostend, but returned suddenly under cover of night and delivered a second assault.
The garrison of Ostend seized the occasion of Spinola's absence to make a sortie; the besiegers were forewarned and let them through; then cut off their retreat and killed six hundred.
In the last two weeks twenty-five deaths of plague.
London, 18th August, 1604.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 20. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 260. Instructions to the Ambassador in England.
As peace between England and Spain is now a certainty, it should not be difficult to obtain saltpetre. We order you to negotiate for as large an amount as possible, and you may go as high as 120 ducats the ton for it, refined and consigned to our arsenal in Venice.
Ayes 113.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 3.
The original contract was made by Secretary Scaramelli, and the name of the merchant therein anonymous, is Signor Angelo Balbani, merchant in London.
Aug. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 261. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Constable crossed the Channel on Tuesday week, the 17th; at Dover he was received by Lord Wotton, brother of the Ambassador. He stayed all Wednesday at Dover, and on Thursday came on to Gravesend, where Lord Northampton met him; on Friday he came by river to London and landed at Somerset House, which has been decorated with the most gorgeous hangings that belong to the Crown. They are all lodged at the King's charges. The King came to town yesterday, and to-day the Constable will have audience. On Sunday the peace will be sworn, and a banquet given. The Constable brings letters of credit for three hundred thousand crowns, most of which will go in presents to those who have assisted in the negotiations,
I paid the Constable a visit on Monday. I saw Cecil a day or two ago, and he communicated the terms of the treaty; the same as I have already reported. The King will name friendly Princes, among the first your Serenity. Cecil added these actual words: “Had the Crown not been in straits for money on account of the late wars, your Lordship may trust me that peace would not have been signed; but necessity knows no law. The King, it is true, is a lover of quiet, but I don't know how long he will continue so, time will show
The King is hard up, and Parliament has not voted him any money; so some days ago he asked the City of London for a loan of a hundred thousand crowns, but here, too, he failed. He has resolved to issue under the Privy Seal bonds (fn. 2) for two hundred thousand crowns, the smallest are for a hundred, the highest for six thousand crowns. These bonds are by the King's orders taken round to various persons, and they are asked to advance money for his Majesty's service. The bonds, being for various sums, are distributed according to the wealth of the individuals, but those who are charged to place them out distribute them as they please. This is a method of raising money, which has been adopted before both by Elizabeth and by her father Henry, but only in cases of extreme urgency; as this urgency is not evident at this present moment everyone complains and cries to heaven. The bonds, it is true, promise to refund in eighteen months, but that has never happened in the past, and they do not expect it now. It is thought that many will decline to accept the bonds. (Ritrovandosi il Rè in molta strettezza di denari et havendo percio tentato con il parlamento per haver da quello o un sussidio o un donativo, nè essendole riuscito, come scrisse con altre mie a Vostra Serenità, procurò la Maestà Sua guesti giorni passati di haver un imprestido di cento mille scudi dalla Città di Londra, ma nè anco da questa banda ha potuto cavar alcuna cosa; in tanto che si è risoluto di far polizze sigillate con il suo sigillo privato per la somma di m/200 scudi, essendo quelle di minor somma di cento scudi et le maggiori di sei mille et le altre di somme diverse; queste sono portate di ordine del Rè a easa a diversi et con esse le viene dato imprestido per nome et servitio di Sua Maestà quella quantità de demari che è contenuta nella polizze che le vienne consignata, essendo come ho detto di diverse somme; et segondo la conditione et richezza de gli huommi cosi vengono date le polizze di maggior et minor somma, se ben quelli che hanno cura di dispensarle fanno poi quello che le pare, et segondo li amici cosi li trattano. Questa maniera di trovar denari se ben altre volte è stà usata dalla Regina defunta et anco dal Rè Henrico suo padre tuttavia non l'hanno fatto se non per cause molto urgenti et necessarie con tutto che non conoscendosi hora questa necessit´ ogn' uno strepita et si duole sino al cielo, perche, se bene nelle polizze vien promesso di restituire il denaro nel termine di 18 mesi, non essendosi mai per il passato restituita alcuna cosa, molto manco lo sperano per l'avvenire. Però viene creduto da molti che vi saranno di quelli che o non accetteranno on non sodisfferanno a dette polizze.)
I am informed from a good quarter that in Holland there is an agent of the Emperor, who nominally is commissioned to prevent the Dutch from assisting the Count of Emden (Comte di Ambdon); though really he is endeavouring to induce them to come to terms with Spain, on condition of declaring themselves vassals of the Empire and pledging themselves to furnish the King of Spain with a certain number of men to fight the Turks. The Dutch lend an ear to this proposal.
On the 17th Spinola tried to force Count Maurice's lines, but was repulsed; first at fort St. Catherine, where he lost two hundred men, and then at fort Oostburg (Austruburgh), where he lost three hundred. He then tried fort Coxie (Coixi), where his loss was even heavier. (fn. 3) The beseiged, seeing this, lost heart and sent to ask Count Maurice for leave to communicate with the Archduke, and promised that if in six days they were not relieved they would surrender. Count Maurice refused, and sent the messengers back. That was on the morning of the 19th; in the evening they sent again to arrange terms of surrender, which were that the next morning the garrison should march out with musket loaded, match burning, ball in mouth; with colours and arms, but without tuck of drum. Count Maurice to enter the place and to keep the artillery, numbering one hundred pieces, the galleys and their slaves, whom he at once set free. And so the Dutch have captured Sluys in three months, while the Spanish have failed to capture Ostend in three years. This news will reach Venice at the end of this month. Letters take ten days from Flanders to Venice, and twenty-two from England to Venice.
Nine deaths of plague last week. It is raging in the country. They are thinking of forbidding St. Bartholomew's Fair.
London, 25th August, 1604.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 262. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I have obtained orders against the Governors of Coron and Modon, who continue to give shelter to English pirates. The Sanjak of Morea is to visit those places in person, and to open an inquiry. The Grand Vizir was very unwilling to issue such orders, on the plea that the people suffer when the Sanjak appears in their city with a large retinue. As there is a prospect of making large and easy gains, the Sanjak will, I hope, act vigorously.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 28th August, 1604.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 263. To the Sanjak Of Morea.
Orders to open an inquiry into the conduct of the Governors of Modon and Coron on the subject of the shelter they give to English and other pirates. If they are found guilty orders to inflict capital punishment.


  • 1. The claim was rejected in Council 30th Sept., 1604. S.P. Dom.
  • 2. Cal. S.P. Dom., July 18, Windsor.
  • 3. Motley. United Netherlands, IV. 197.