Venice: September 1604

Pages 178-184

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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September 1604

Sept. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 264. Anzolo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. de Rosny has advised his Majesty to attempt the capture of Gravelines and Dunquerque, which would be a counterpoise to the English. Nor are the places very strong.
Paris, first of September, 1604.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 265. Anzolo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
English merchants in Spain are forced to accept copper as payment; this entails a loss of twenty per cent.
Paris, the first of September, 1604.
Sept. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 266. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King came to London on the 24th of last month. The Constable wished to send that same day a gentleman to wait on his Majesty; but the King would not receive him, pleading that he was busy and was also tired with the journey, but he announced that the following day he would receive the Constable. He was attended to Court by Lords Southampton and Effingham, son of the High Admiral. The audience lasted about three quarters of an hour, and was entirely confined to compliments. On Thursday he was received in private audience, which lasted an hour and a half. I understand that he asked leave to raise three thousand men in these kingdoms. The King replied that he did not intend to prevent his subjects from taking service where they choose. The Constable did not like this answer, as he wished the King to interpose his authority, in order to facilitate the levy, which he knows will be difficult, owing to English dislike of Spain.
On Friday he was to have been received by the Queen, but while she was waiting him he sent to say that he could not attend at the hour appointed. Later in the evening he attempted to see her Majesty, as he was told she was somewhat offended, but he did not succeed. The following day he had audience. He begged that he might be allowed to see the Prince at his dances and exercises, that is, pike exercise and horsemanship. The Prince danced twice or thrice, and then he and the Constable went down into a garden, where the Prince showed his skill. The Constable made him the present of a richly caparisoned pony.
On Sunday at eleven o'clock in the morning, the Earl of Devonshire, with a suite of fifty gentlemen, richly dressed and on horseback, went to escort the Constable, Taxis and the other Commissioners. The Constable and Taxis were dressed in white, most splendidly embroidered. They were on horseback, the others in carriages. The King was waiting them at Court, and all of them descended to the chapel. The altar was covered with silver gilt plate, and on it stood the Gospels in English. After some hymns in praise of peace had been chanted in English, Secretary Cecil handed a copy of the treaty to the Constable, and read aloud the oath by which both the King and Prince bound themselves to the observation of the terms concluded and signed by both parties, the King and the Prince meanwhile laying their hands on the Gospels. The King embraced the Constable, Taxis and the other Commissioners. D'Aremberg was not present, being confined to bed with the gout. Then they all left the chapel and went upstairs to a great hall, where a banquet was laid. The King, Queen, Prince, Ambassadors and Commissioners seated themselves, and presently his Majesty drank to the Constable, wishing health to his Catholic Majesty. Then the Constable drank to the King's health out of an agate cup, with feet and lid of gold, which he offered to the King, and added that he had a ewer and basin of the same stone, which he would send to-morrow; these objects are said to be worth ten thousand crowns. Taxis did the same to the Queen, only his presents are of rock crystal. The rest of the day was devoted to dancing and various sports. The Constable was to have taken his leave of the King on Monday, but in the night he had an attack of the kidneys, and as the King did not wish to delay his own departure he settled the question by visiting the Constable and Count d'Aremberg at their houses, thereby attaining his own object and honouring these gentlemen all the more. They are still in bed, but they say they will leave on Friday. Taxis is making presents every day, and one hears of nothing else just now. It is said that he has spent upwards of two hundred thousand crowns in jewels, and that money has been given as well. The Spaniards are lauded to the skies; for in fact this is a country where only those that are lavish are held in account; and since my arrival in this Court ten months ago, I have heard of nothing so often as presents. All the representatives of foreign Princes have made more or less liberal gifts; nor do the great nobles and members of the Privy Council make any scruple about accepting them, and scoff at those who hold a different view. (fn. 1)
The Queen, Prince and Council are all to leave London in three or four days to join the King at Rockingham (Rackinghen).
The King begged to be excused from granting an audience of mere compliment on the conclusion of peace.
The Marquis Spinola is still before Sluys watching Count Maurice's moves. The Dutch have brought upwards of a thousand boats full of earth into Ostend to raise fresh works.
Thirteen deaths from plague last week.
London, the first of September, 1604.
Sept. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 267. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King, before leaving London, gave with his own hand a diamond worth six thousand crowns to the Constable. He also left orders to make presents to the other Commissioners, and for that purpose they have bought eight thousand crowns worth of plate. The Constable received twenty thousand ounces and solid gold vases weighing about a thousand ounces; Taxis received ten, thousand ounces, and d'Aremberg the same; the rest was divided among the other Commissioners.
On Saturday the Constable left for Dover to cross over to Flanders. He presented jewels to the value of twelve thousand crowns to the Queen. Each member of the Council, that is, twenty-four in number, received a gift, the smallest was three, the largest twelve thousand crowns; many ladies, (fn. 2) many noblemen, and all the Court officials have received presents, and in fact the merchants, on whom the bills were drawn, say that the Spanish have left behind upwards of three hundred thousand crowns.
The Spanish are highly delighted because one of the clauses (fn. 3) of the treaty forbids either party to assist the rebels of his ally. But Cecil has told me often that this will not prevent the King from allowing his subjects to take service where they like. He pointed our that the peace of Vervins bound Henry IV. not to assist the Dutch, yet he did so whenever it suited him. And as a matter of fact levies for the Dutch continue. And many think this peace is apparent rather than real.
The Constable is urging his Majesty to call upon the Dutch to enter upon a new agreement as regards the cautionary towns; for, in their treaty with the late Queen, it was established that they should repay half their debt of 3,200,000 within thirteen years, at the rate of 120,000 crowns a year, for which England was to hold Flushing and Brill as caution; but if during that period England should make peace with Spain then a new agreement should be drawn up as regards the payment of the remainder of the debt. The Constable, in order to annoy the Dutch, is trying to make the King believe that they are very rich and can easily pay. Peace with Holland is earnestly desired by Spain, all the more so that since the fall of Sluys, the towns hitherto faithful to the Archduke have petitioned him to come to terms. Holland would submit to the Archduke if he would only promise to recognise the privileges accorded by the House of Burgundy.
The Queen and Prince left on Monday for Windsor, where Charles, Duke of Albany, has arrived from Scotland. In ten or twelve days they are to meet the King at Windsor, and to settle about his Progress, which he desires to make, against the wishes of everyone, for the plague is raging in the country. In London neither the heat nor St. Bartholomew's Fair have raised the death rate; last week there were only thirteen deaths from plague.
Nothing new at Ostend. The earth and fascines brought into the town have allowed them to raise new defences. They think the place can hold out for six months, and they even bet that the Spanish will not capture it. The Archduke openly says that all the reverses of this war are the result of his having an inefficient lieutenant. Many Spanish apply for the post, but Spinola declares that if it is conferred on any but himself he will abandon the service, while many of the Spanish swear they will not obey him if he is named.
London, 8th September, 1604.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 268. Terms of the treaty of peace. Signed by Th. Dorset, Nottingham, Devonshire, Northampton, R. Cecil, Juan de Velasco, Count of Villa Mediana, Alexander Rovidius, Count d'Aremberg, Richardotus, Verreyken.
Sept. 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 269. Maffio Michiel, Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
In obedience to your Serenity's orders of 25th September last, received 27th October, I wrote to the Sanjak of the Morea, pointing out that he ought not to raise any objection to my disposing of the two English Corsairs, who were my prisoners, sent me by him in the preceding May. I did all I could by letter and with the help of Francesco Mondino, a citizen of Zante, who laid various arguments before the Sanjak, and even on his own initiative offered him three hundred crowns. But in vain. The Sanjak always claimed the prisoners. Accordingly, I wrote to the Bailo in Constantinople, explaining the case, and begging for an Imperial order instructing the Sanjak to grant my just demand. This the Bailo Contarini obtained for me, and I sent it to the Sanjak by Francesco Mondino. The Sanjak, however, refused to comply. His excuse was that the Imperial order contained the words: “On receipt of these orders, when you have ascertained that these two malefactors, belonging to the English pirate galleon, really committed misdeeds on the high seas, you are not to hinder the Governor of Zante from proceeding against them capitally.” The Sanjak on that claimed that I should send him the prisoners for trial, and if they turned out to be guilty he promised to send them back to me. His real object was to get a large sum out of the men. I then reported to the Bailo, in order that he might obtain a fresh warrant without any saving clauses. This he has recently done; the orders were also accompanied by letters from the Sanjak's mother and from his agent at Constantinople. This brought the matter to a conclusion. The Sanjak wrote to me to do what I thought fit with the prisoners named in the Imperial letter. I and my Council proceeded to try the prisoners, and condemned them to death. On the eleventh of this month they were hung in a high and conspicuous place, whence they could be seen by all the city and the port; and they will hang there yet for some time as a warning.
Zante, 13th September, 1604. O.S.
Sept. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 270. Anzolo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of France has given the second son of the King of England the command of a company of the Scottish guard, but they do not want him to come with his men into France. Since the union of the two Crowns the King of France does not trust the Scottish guard.
Paris, 14th September, 1604.
Sept. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 271. Maffio Michiel, Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
I enclose depositions of the master of the ship “Ghirarda,” plundered by the English near Strivali, and taken into Modon.
Zante, 15th September, 1605. O.S.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 272. Depositions of Domenico, son of Iseppo, Master of the ship “Ghirarda.”
Sailed from Canea on the 2nd inst. On Thursday last, the 13th, we were off Strivali, unable to make head against a strong north wind. At about two hours after dawn an English berton bore down on us. English and Turks came aboard; put part of our men ashore on Strivali; and towed away the ship. I begged to be put on shore, and they granted my request. The berton is of three hundred tons and upwards; a crew of ninety and forty guns. About forty of the crew were Turks from Tunis. The berton was eight days out from Tunis.
Sept. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 273. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Mehmet Pasha, General in Hungary, is made Grand Vizir.
The Secretary of the English Ambassador complains that off Brazzo di Maina his ship was attacked by your Serenity's admiral. I am informed that the fault lies with the English, who refused to make the customary signals. If worse had overtaken them they would have deserved it. These English ships are always doing damage under cloak of friendship.
Dalle Yigne di Pera, 18th September, l604.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 274. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King and Queen have been to Oatlands to see their second son, the Duke of Albany. After staying there two days they came to Windsor. This week they will move to Hampton Court. The King has given up the idea of making a Progress. Two reasons induced him to take this resolve; one is the plague, which is spreading in the country and also in London, where, in the last two weeks, twenty deaths have taken place each week, owing to the concourse of people for the fair of St. Bartholomew; the other and more vital reason is that the King is extremely anxious about the Union, and, as the Scottish Commissioners will be here in a few days, he intends to be present at most of the sittings, with a view to a thorough understanding of the difficulties and a moderation of the pretensions which both sides will probably advance.
The Constable on his way to Dover, when passing Gravesend, saw a number of ships full of men going over to the service of Count Maurice. He thought this monstrous, that while the ink of the treaty was hardly dry it should be thus quickly and openly violated. For the terms are that the King shall neither send aid nor permit aid to be sent. The Constable sent to the justices of the district calling on them, upon pain of his Majesty's displeasure, to arrest the troops. The justices seemed to be convinced, and the troops were forbidden to sail; but no sooner had the Constable crossed the sea than the ships continued their voyage.
M. de Caron affects to be satisfied with the peace; but really he is afraid that the Spanish will gain the ascendancy here, and that the King, who is guided by the Council, will finally abandon the States.
The negotiations between France and Spain about the thirty per cent, on French goods are still open. The French Ambassador did not succeed in arranging the matter with the Constable, who has left certain very limited powers with Taxis. England is interested because, until the question is settled, they remain deprived of their Spanish trade, for the French will not allow French goods to leave the country without a deposit to guarantee that they are not sold in Spain. There are two main difficulties, one that the Spanish wish to bind the French to sell Spanish goods nowhere else but in France, the other is that they wish to bind the King of France to keep the seas clear. This is merely intended to embroil him with the Dutch.
I have received your instructions about the saltpetre.
I shall have to bribe the ministers, otherwise they will raise a thousand difficulties. Bribery is so general in this country that it is useless to hope for anything unless this method be adopted.
London, 22nd September, 1604.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 28 Ceremoniali III. Venetian Archives. 275. Sir Henry Wotton's Arrival in Venice.
Sir Henry Wotton, the Ambassador of the King of Scotland and England, entered Venice incognito on the 23rd inst. He sent to inform Secretary Scaramelli that he desired to remain five or six days without receiving visits, so as to allow him to look about him, and also it make a purge which was necessary. He begged Scaramelli to come to him, that they might agree about the details of his public entry and audience. He was informed that he would be treated with the same ceremony as was adopted in the case of other Ambassadors of great sovereigns. Four days later the Ambassador went to the Island of San Spirito. There a number of Senators, with the Chevalier Vendramin at their head, went to meet him and conduct him to his lodgings, and the next day to the Collegio. On his entry the Doge rose to his feet, and the whole Cabinet also. He received the Ambassador with demonstrations of affection, and they all sat down. The Ambassador then explained the object of his mission, with abundant phrases, expressing the esteem of his master for the Republic. The Doge replied in suitable terms. The hall was full of people drawn together by the arrival of this new Ambassador. After the usual compliments the Ambassador took his leave.
Five and twenty ducats were at once voted for refreshments that day, and five and twenty for the following day.
Sept. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 276. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Vlasco d'Aragona has arrived. He brings from the Constable the ratification of the treaty of peace with England.
Valladolid, 30th September, 1604.


  • 1. See Gardiner, I. 214, 215.
  • 2. Among others, “Mistress” or Lady Jane Drummond, who received a pension of £350.
  • 3. Rymer, Fœd. xvi. 617.