Venice: October 1604

Pages 184-189

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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October 1604

Oct. 1. Collegio, Secreta Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 277. The English Ambassador salutes the Doge in the name of the King; presents his credentials; dwells on the satisfaction felt at the restoration of the ancient amity between the Republic and the kingdom of England by the presence of Ambassadors from both parties. Presents a petition on behalf of a young Scot (Thomas Seget) in prison for some youthful error.
Oct. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 278. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King and Queen are come to Hampton Court, and most of the Scottish Commissioners have arrived. The King cares for nothing else save this question of the Union, and so, in spite of the difficulties, it is thought it will be carried through.
The twelve Ambassadors of the Free Cities have obtained little satisfaction and are resolved to leave, but two of their number stay behind to keep the question open; their mission here was to demand the confirmation of certain ancient privileges of monopoly in London, but the English, who are pushing their trade all over the world, insist upon open markets, and have succeeded in securing the rejection of the claim by pleading the rupture of certain conditions by the Germans.
Since the King's accession the tax on currants has never been exacted, though every merchant pledged himself to pay it whenever the King called for it. That he has now done, (fn. 1) as he is in want of money. The members of the Levant Company appeared before the Council, and pleaded that the late Queen had granted them the right of exacting the tax, on condition that they maintained the Ambassador and Consuls, and paid four thousand sterling a year to the Crown; if his Majesty should now insist on exacting the tax himself they could no longer maintain the Ambassadors and Consuls. To this the King replied that it was a matter of no moment to him that an Ambassador should reside in Constantinople, as he had no wish to continue friendly relations with the Turk; if the Company found an Ambassador necessary for their own interests they must pay for him themselves. This answer has produced an uproar and commotion among the Levant merchants. They don't know what line to adopt. The most approved suggestion is that they should sound your Serenity as to whether you would allow them to export from Venice free of duty, in which case they would pledge themselves to abandon all trade with Turkey.
The Spanish Ambassador, on learning that the troops, which the Constable succeeded in stopping at Gravesend, have now passed over to the service of the Dutch, resolved to go yesterday to Hampton Court to complain to the King. There is a general disaffection towards this peace, for no one can bear to see the Dutch abandoned; nor do they like this prohibition of the India navigation. The Spanish, on the other hand, are no better content, for the terms of the treaty are openly violated.
Your Serenity will have heard of the fall of Ostend. (fn. 2) The week before last, sixteen, last week, fourteen deaths from plague.
London, 6th October, 1604.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 6. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 279. To Ambassador Molin, in England.
Sir Henry Wotton has arrived. The terms employed by him on his reception have caused great satisfaction. We enclose letters to the King of England and the Prince of Wales (Vaglio), expressing our pleasure at receiving an Ambassador and our appreciation of the choice his Majesty has made. We congratulate him on the peace with Spain and the Archdukes.
Your despatches are always welcome on account of the important information they contain.
Ayes 105.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 2.
Oct. 6. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 280. To the King of England.
Thanks for his Majesty's letters and the honoured person of Sir Henry Wotton. Congratulations on the peace.
Ayes 105.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 2.
281. To the Prince of Wales.
Thanks for compliments conveyed by Ambassador Wotton.
Ayes 105.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 2.
Oct. 7. Collegio, Secreta Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 282. Secretary Scaramelli reports to the Cabinet that the English Ambassador (Wotton) has arrived in Venice, but that he desires to remain incognito for two or three days to put his house in order before receiving visits and to take a purge.
Although the Ambassador has been in Venice before he knows no official persons except myself; he accordingly begged me to wait upon him, in order to arrange the details of his public entry and first public audience.
I informed the Savii, who told me to obtain the permission of the Chiefs of the Council of Ten and to wait on the Ambassador at the hour indicated. I did so, and after some formal remarks the Ambassador said he desired to know when and in what state he would be received, for his master was inferior to no reigning Sovereign, and as King of Scotland was the oldest and the first Sovereign to receive baptism, and by the Union of the kingdoms of England and Ireland he acquired that power which all the world recognises now, and his Ambassador expected to be no less honourably treated than other Ambassadors.
I satisfied him on that score, and explained the usual ceremony observed in the case of Ambassadors of Crowned heads. We settled his entry for Friday afternoon. He will withdraw for this purpose to a convent on one of the little islands near by. His first audience will be on Saturday. In conversation he said he had two qualifications, the good will and the confidence of his Majesty, which would assure him attention for all that he might put forward in the course of his negotiations here. He said that he was well aware of the regard your Serenity had for religion, and so he desired before being introduced to say that he, too, was obliged to place his religious convictions before all other considerations, that he could not live without his religious rites, but these will be carefully limited to the service of himself and his staff; and he promises not to admit Flemish or Germans and barely the English, who are not in his suite, for to tell the truth most of the English resident in Venice are Catholics. This undertaking will secure that no scandal, public or private, shall take place in this City. The service will always be conducted in English. The King had given him special instructions on the subject.
He enquired how the Ambassadors of France and Spain conducted themselves on entering the Chamber, for he had heard that Spain only uncovered on reaching the steps that lead up to the throne. I replied that both these Ambassadors and the Imperial Ambassador and the Papal Nuncio uncovered at the door. He argued over this for some time, till I told him that the Doge rose from his seat on the entry of the Ambassador, whereupon he was pacified, remarking, “Oh! if the Doge rises the Ambassador certainly must uncover.” He added, “I was anxious on this point, for I could not accept a difference of treatment, which might serve as a pretext for arguing that my Sovereign was in any way inferior to the others. Of course we Ambassadors will visit and dine with each other, and will have company each in his own house, but on the score of religion I shall not be able to attend his Serenity at public functions, and thus any question of precedence will be avoided. Should his Serenity ever invite me to table I hope it will be when I am to be alone; and that I suppose will be rarely.” He spoke with great prudence and eloquence, and begging me to kiss your Serenity's and your Excellencies' hands he gave me my leave.
Oct. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 283. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Secretary of the English Ambassador has been received in audience, and has presented letters from the King of England on the subject of piracy. He says he is to go back shortly to England, and there he will receive credentials as Ambassador here.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 9th October, 1604.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 284. Maffio Michiel, Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
The supercargo of the ship “Pirona” recounts that on the journey from Constantinople on the first of this month, new style, they were attacked in the Archipelago by an English berton. They exchanged shots for about an hour, then the Englishman sailed away towards Constantinople, and the “Pirona” continued her route. We found she was damaged and making water, though the damage was quickly remedied.
Zante, 19th October, 1604. O.S.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 285. Deposition of Marco Salamon of Candia, supercargo on board the Galleon “Spelegato.”
Left Candia for Venice. Put into Suda for water and to wait for fair weather. Sailed again on the 26th of last month. On Thursday last, the 11th October, off Strivali, we were boarded and captured by an Englishman. Our mizen mast and sails were set on fire. Thirteen people were killed between crew and passengers, and five taken prisoners. Our crew numbered thirty-one, and there were about fifteen passengers; the berton was of about two hundred tons burden, and had one hundred and twenty people on board. He cannot give her name; but it was said that two Knights and two Captains were on board, and one of these was called Formin, a man of about forty years of age, black beard, medium stature, well built; the other squinted, but deponent remembereth not with which eye, thinketh it is the right; well built; about forty; thick brown beard, ordinary moustaches. Of the Knights are was thickset, pale, black beard, about thirty; has a mark on one lip; short; fat; called Saint Andrew. The other is short; thin; blond; deponent does not know his name. The ship had a variety of flags, and used them as suited her.
Enclosed in despatch from Zante, 20th October. Original Venetian Archives. 286. Deposition of Franceso Penzo of Chioggia, master of the marciliana “Grassa.”
I left Venice twenty-nine days ago with a cargo of beans. I was driven by stress of weather as far as Strivali. On Tuesday last, the 17th, an hour after daybreak, an Englishman bore down upon me from the north-west. He demanded my boat, and I sent it and went on board myself. The Captain questioned me, and then sent on board the marciliana and took all that he wanted. A sail appeared to the east and the Englishman left us. He carried off a parcel of money. The ship was of about two hundred tons, with a crew of eighty. They called themselves Savoyards, but I think they are Maltese. Their ship was fully armed, and all the more so as they had the guns out of the galleon “Spelegato,” which I saw lying among the ballast. I do not know the name of the ship, but the Captain is a young man, without a beard, dressed in silk, very smart, about twenty-two; thin; wiry and fair; his moustache is just beginning to show; it is auburn. The crew was mixed.
Enclosed in despatch from Zante, 20th October. 287. Deposition of Zuanne Papilla, supercargo of the ship “Moresina.”
We left Syria on May 12th and Cyprus 14th September, for Venice. Before we left Cyprus three Florentine ships, two of five hundred and one of three hundred tons, sailed in.
Off Malta, an hour after sundown, a ship, possibly English, fired a blank shot at us. We answered with ball. She showed a light, but we would not trust her, and after exchanging shots she sailed away.
Oct. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 288. Girolamo Girardo, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador is in bed, with renal pains. The Court will not leave Hampton Court till Tuesday, when it comes to London. The King stayed on there because the Scottish Commissioners have not arrived yet; though they are expected daily.
The two Ambassadors of the Free Cities have taken their departure after two audiences, in which they obtained but little satisfaction.
After some opposition the Bishop of London (Bancroft) has been named Archbishop of Canterbury. The King attempted to make the appointment, but the Chapter of Canterbury declared that the election rested with them. The King gave way. The Bishop of Chester (fn. 3) has been translated to London.
The Duke of Lennox has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary in France to return the compliment of M. de Rosny's Embassy. The Spanish grumble and say that if a Duke is sent to France another must be sent to Spain. There is no English Duke, though the English endeavoured to persuade the King to create one, as they disliked a Scot taking precedence of them all, and now they are glad of this occasion, for they say the King will create three Dukes.
M. de Caron, the agent for the States, left on Monday last, the eleventh of this month, for Holland. He is to come back in a month. The King thought of sending an agent to invite the States to send their eighteen Commissioners from their nine provinces to discuss the exact sense in which the clauses of the peace are to be read; but he eventually entrusted the mission to M. de Car on. The Dutch people declare that they have been abandoned by the English. The Dutch are forcibly preventing the English from trading in any port subject to the Archduke. There is strong suspicion of a secret accord between England and Spain; and a proof is that the Spanish Ambassador, who went to the King to complain of the English troops that went into Dutch service, did not venture to say a single word, though the injury to Spain is obviously great.
When the Spanish Ambassador was at Hampton Court he came to the end of his presents, for there he found a number of English, who complained that they had received nothing, and he satisfied them all.
The week before last fifteen, and last week fourteen deaths from plague.
London, 20th October, 1604.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 30. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 289. To Ambassador Molin in England.
The Secretary to the English Ambassador in Constantinople, who has been in England, went to Bailo Contarini immediately on his return to the Porte, and complained that off Brazzo di Maina the ship he was on was attacked by our admiral, and exposed to the danger of being sunk. Contarini informs us that the incident arose from the Englishman not making the proper salutes, and that if worse had happened they would only have got their deserts. For these English ships, under guise of friendship, are constantly committing intolerable injuries upon our subjects.
Ayes 122.
Noes 2.
Neutrals 1.
Oct. 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 290. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Secretary Ronaccio is expected here from the Duke of Savoy to urge the King to press forward the proposed marriage of the Duke's daughter to the Prince of Wales.
Valladolid, 31st October, 1604.


  • 1. Cal. S.P. Dom. July 23, 1604.
  • 2. Ostend surrendered on Sept. 20. Motley's United Netherlands, iv. 200.
  • 3. Richard Vaughan.