Venice: April 1605

Pages 232-236

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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April 1605

April 2. Collegio, Secreta Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 356. The English Ambassador presents his compliments on the recall of Ambassador Molin and the appointment of Ambassador Giustinian.
Asks leave for Giustinian to frequent his company before leaving for England, in order to discuss the common interests of the two countries.
Asks that before Giustinian leaves the government should state its grievances on the subject of trade.
Doge replies that as to Giustinian frequenting his company that is not necessary, as absolute secresy is secured in the Cabinet, and the Ambassador can speak freely there. As to the formulating of grievances that shall be done.
The Ambassador then presented a note on the case of the “Angelo,” begging that it should be concluded, for it was monstrous that, when a ship had been taken into harbour in all good faith, two per cent, should be charged on its cargo as if for salvage.
The Ambassador then said that Lord Erskine [Baron di Esbins], son of the Earl of Mar, had arrived in Venice; as heir of so illustrious a house and of so intimate a councillor of the King the Ambassador begged the Doge to receive him; he was waiting outside the door, and was introduced; as he approached the steps the Ambassador rose, and taking him by the arm presented him to the Doge, who received him graciously, and ended by saying that his good looks showed his nobility. This the Ambassador interpreted, and both bowed and took their leave.
After they had retired Francesco Moresini rose and said that it was not true that two per cent, had been claimed on the cargo of the “Angelo.”
April 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 357. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier who has come from London in ten days, brings news of the great levies raised in that country for the Dutch, the preparation of the fleet, and the King's annoyance with the Dunquerquers. The ministers have not come to any decision; they await the arrival of the High Admiral. They are going to send to meet him at Corunna; and are preparing large presents for him. Sixty thousand crowns have already been assigned for his entertainment.
Valladolid, 6th April, 1605.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Undated. Private Archive of the Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople. Files 307 and 311. 358. Undated documents referring to English pirates in the Levant.
April 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 359. Anzolo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English cloth, which was seized in Rouen, has been restored at length, after many sharp letters from the King of England.
Paris, 12th April, 1605.
April 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 360. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King and Court remain at Greenwich, nor will he move far, as the Queen's confinement is expected hourly, and everyone is amazed that is it delayed so long.
The tournament was very magnificent, and was conducted by the Duke of Holstein. No Ambassadors were invited. The French Ambassador requested that the Spanish Ambassador should not be invited. This he did on orders from his master, who, after the episode of the masque, this carnival, has enjoined his representative never to appear in public unless he is sure of having precedence over Spain; if he cannot secure that he is to keep away himself, and to request that Spain be not invited; when the Spanish Ambassador heard that he presented a similar request, and so the King resolved to ask no one.
The Admiral left for Spain on Wednesday in Holy Week, but I hear he is still at the sea side, the weather having prevented him from sailing. He goes with great pomp, and has upwards of five hundred persons in his suite, among them many Earls and Barons, and Sir (Thomas) Cornwallis (Cornovalles), who is to remain in Spain as Ambassador in Ordinary. His commission is, besides the ceremony of swearing the peace, to use every art to induce his Catholic Majesty to believe that the English intend to observe the peace strictly, and that they will deal with the States as the treaty obliges them to deal. The Ambassador is to insist on this, for it is known that the Spanish Ambassador here reports very differently, and declares that the Dutch are assisted now just as they were before the conclusion of the peace. As a matter of fact that is not far from the truth, for every hour fresh levies of troops are made to take service in Holland. And although the English affirm that the Archduke is free to do the same, and in appearance he is so, still should anyone entertain the idea of leading troops to his service, they whisper in his ear that he will be noted in the King's black books, and so he abstains. Thus not a soul, or at least very few, take service with the Archduke, while on the other hand great numbers enter the Dutch service (il che non è molto lontano dal vero, perchè qui ogn' hora si fa levata di gente per servitio de olandesi, et se bene dicono questi che il medesimo si permetterà anco di fare al Serenissimo Arciduca, et che in apparenza sia, nondimeno se vi è alcuno che voglia condur gente al suo servitio le viene fatto saper nell' orrechio, che egli sarà notato nel libro de quelli che sono in disgratia di Sua Maestà, onde quello per non incorrer in questo prejudicio se ne astiene et per cio si vede che al servitio di sua Altezza non ne va alcuno o molto pochi, si come all' incontro in servitio de olandesi ne passa ordinariamente numero grandissimo).
The Earl of Hertford . . . . . . . . . . . . . Edmondes, who is to remain as Ambassador in Ordinary. The Ambassador of their Highnesses, Ordinary or Extraordinary is not yet known, has arrived at Dover. His mission is to prevent help being given so freely to the Dutch.
On Easter Day there was some noise at Court, for his Majesty let it be known that he desired each of his Councillors and his gentlemen to take Communion with him; and had ordered a list of those who abstained to be drawn up. There are many about the Court who are Catholics at heart, but who, to avoid ruining themselves, attend Protestant preachings, but they were unwilling to commit this further sin, and so absented themselves from Court that day. The list was drawn up, but we don't know what will result as yet.
The second son of the Duke of Neuberg, who belongs to the family of the Palatines of the Rhine, is here. He says he comes for his pleasure and to see the country, but in reality he is seeking some support from the King if the Duke of Cleves, who has not nor can have any children, should die. But the King, who hates taking trouble, will hardly do this to please someone else.
London, 14th April, 1605.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
14 April. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 361. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When the French Ambassador found out that the King and the whole Court were greatly disgusted with what has taken place at Rome, as the result of Sir James Lindsay's mission, he took the opportunity to remark to the King and to two ministers that the whole affair was due to the Spanish who, for many years, have had Lindsay in their pay, and have made use of him to make the Pope believe that they alone have zeal for the faith, and they alone have been able to induce the King to send a gentleman to treat of that subject in Rome. Lindsay has no other instructions than those I have reported, but here they hold it for certain that he has far exceeded his orders. This they think is proved by the fact that his Holiness has appointed a congregation of Cardinals to deal with English affairs; and now that it has been named the honour of the Holy See requires that it should do something; he says that if any trouble, such as excommunication comes from that quarter, all must be attributed to Spain. The King was well pleased with these observations of the Ambassador, which seemed to him to be based on sound considerations, although the Pope's death has suspended everything, and we must wait to see what is the nature of the new Pontiff, still they very freely declare that they hope the next Pope will have the same policy as the last, which was entirely directed to the maintenance of peace in Christendom. They praise his conduct, and display great sorrow for his demise. They watch with anxiety the coming election, for though they outwardly profess small regard for the Pope and laugh at excommunication, yet really in their hearts they would take it for very bad news if the future Pontiff proved hostile to them and proceeded to excommunication, for they know very well that there are a great many Catholics in the kingdom, whose disaffection is daily increasing on account of the extortions practised upon them. They live quietly just now because they are supported by no foreign sovereign, and because the Pope has forbidden them, under pain of excommunication, to conspire or in any way to take part in any action hostile to their sovereign or his kingdom. It is the opinion here that as long as matters continue on this footing and the Pope is friendly, they can live in peace and security; but, should the Pope prove hostile, fulminate his excommunication, give liberty to, nay incite, the Catholics to conspiracy and revolution, they think that, considering the ill-humour of the Puritans, who are still more numerous than the Catholics, there would be great danger of some widespread rising in the kingdom. The Catholics are subject to very cruel laws, which deprive them of life and property unless they are willing to abandon their faith. Although these laws have been administered with gentleness up to the present, still they begin now to use rigour and severity against recusants. The prisons are full of Catholics, whose lives are menaced for every slight offence, as was the case a few days ago, when a Catholic was accused of theft, but sufficient evidence was not forthcoming; he was asked if he would abandon his religion; he refused, and was condemned to death and hanged the following day. They have also a priest condemned to be hung and quartered; but as he is of noble family and related to many great personages, who are doing all they can to help him, and as no other crime is charged upon him save that of being a priest, which here is interpreted as læsa majestas, his execution is postponed; but they fear greatly that he will be put to death after all. Accordingly these poor Catholics expect that the persecution against them is going to be most severe, as it was in the reign of the late Queen, and they are in the depths of despair, for they are now deprived of the hope they once nourished, that a change of sovereign might mean an amelioration of their lot.
London, 14th April, 1605.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 362. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish are so suspicious about the attitude of the King of England that they don't know what to do to confirm his good will. Now they try intimidation, now blandishments. On learning about the order he has recently made, that foreign ships may not leave his ports until they have lain there for three tides, they have ordered most of the militia in Corunna to sail to England. This will serve to sound his Majesty's feelings and also to impress him with the resources of Spain. They will wait till they have the High Admiral in Spain, as a hostage for the good treatment of the ships.
Valladolid, 15th April, 1605.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 363: Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday, at two o'clock in the morning, the Queen gave birth to a daughter, contrary to the expectation and desire of the King, who showed a great longing for a son. His Majesty, as is the custom, has come here for ten or twelve days.
The Ambassador of the Archduke reached London on Sunday. It is not certain whether he comes as Ambassador in Ordinary or Extraordinary; his mission is to induce the King to urge the Dutch to accept a reasonable composition with the Archduke, who thinks that the Spanish Ambassador has handled this matter in a way that is not consistent with his interests.
The Duke of Holstein is still here; he is living a life of pleasure.
The Earl of Hertford took his leave yesterday to go to Flanders. He has many nobles in his suite.
London, 20th April, 1605.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]