Venice: June 1605

Pages 243-256

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 1605

June 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 373. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Easter Sunday the Queen went to church. The King is to go to Windsor soon. It is customary here to have a jail delivery (spedire tutti li prigioni) each term. There are four terms. This time, however, when the judges went circuit, they found many Catholics, who are in prison for religious opinions, among them some priests, two of whom are under sentence of death. The judges being unwilling to come to any decision without consulting the King, Cecil went to his Majesty and informed him that the judges desired to know his will in the matter, whether the laws were to be put in force or suspended. The King replied that he did not know what course to adopt, for he had declared publicly and also to Ambassadors of foreign Sovereigns that for questions of conscience he would never touch the property or life of any man; but the great pressure brought to bear upon him by some of his Councillors had forced him against his will and his word to allow the laws regarding the property of recusants to be put in force; now, however, that they desired to carry out the capital sentences he could not give his consent; and as regards the property he was determined that not a penny of the money should come into his pockets; he intends to bestow it all upon his servants and those who deserved well of him. This answer gives a sort of open indication of his Majesty's goodwill to the Catholics, but it also renders them more anxious, because they would far rather pay their fines to the King than to private individuals, for they would be sure of easier terms, the Crown money being exacted in this kingdom with far greater leniency than private debts (le disse il Rà non saper in che rissolversi, poiche egli haveva detto assai publicamente et alli Ambasciatori de Principi ancora, che per conto di Religione non haverebbe mai voluto ne robba ne sangue di alcuno, che con tutto cio le instantie et persuasioni grandi, che le erano state fatte da diversi suoi consiglieri lo havevano violentato contra la propria volontà, et la parola data, di assentire che le leggi contra a Cattolici toccanti la robba siano esseguite; che hora mo si voglia esseguire anco quelle del sangue egli non lo poteva approvare; che quanto alla robba anco era rissoluto di non voler che di essa venisse un soldo nella sua borsa ma che più tosto donerà questi utili alli suoi servitori et benemeriti. Questa risposta ancorche dia certo et manifesto segno a Cattolici della buona volontà della Maestà sua verso di loro, tuttavia restano maggiormente afflitti desiderando più tosto dover pagar al Rè che a particulari, poiche senza dubbio haveriano conditioni assai migliori non riscotendosi li danari del Principe, et in questo paese massime, con tanta severità come si fanno quelli da particolari). The larger part of the petitions presented to his Majesty come from the four, six and eight Catholics, more or less according to their merits and desserts; and the poor Catholics are, one may say, put up to auction (onde hora la maggior parte delle gratie che vengono dimandate alla Maestà sua è de' 4, de' 6, de' 8 Cattolici più et meno conforme al proprio merito et pretensioni loro, onde li poveri Cattolici sono hora venduti si può dir, all'incanto) (fn. 1) and their sufferings are insupportable. They have resolved to petition the King, setting forth their misfortunes and imploring some relief. Beyond a doubt if the King chose to take the matter into his own hands they might hope for some good result; but as he entrusts everything to his Council, the majority of which is bitterly hostile to the Catholics, we cannot reasonably look for aught but misfortune. The whole question is undecided as yet. (fn. 2)
The Earl of Hertford, Ambassador in Flanders, returned on Monday. Yesterday he had audience. He says he was the recipient of extraordinary honours. From Flanders he went to Flushing to embark. He found the Dutch bent on attempting Antwerp, in spite of the failure of their first effort to effect a landing and to cut the Flemish dyke. Their object was to flood the country and to prevent succour reaching the city. But the enemy is warned, and so the design will prove abortive, it is thought.
News that Don Giovanni de' Medici has landed at Dover. He is expected in London to-night.
London, the first of June, 1605.
June 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 374. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassadors of Spain and Flanders, on receiving news of Count Maurice's unsuccessful attack on Antwerp, are giving all their attention to raising the four thousand infantry, for which they have the King's permission. They have begun to pay out a considerable sum of money, but they encounter great difficulty, for they wish all the troops they enroll to be Catholic. This would present no real obstacle, for the country is overflowing with Catholics, were it not that these men shrink from declaring themselves as such, for fear of falling under the legal penalties, which are most severe. And so although they are implored and large promises are made them they refuse to enlist. Those who are heretics of course refuse and complain loudly of the King and Council for having granted leave; while many of them take service with the Dutch. Then again there, is this other difficulty, that the King has let it be known that although as a friendly neutral he could not refuse the same permission to Spain and the Archduke as he had qranted to the Dutch, still he will never love nor reckon as a faithful subject anyone who serves a sovereign whose religion is different from his own. These two reasons, fear of the penal laws and fear of the King's displeasure, are sufficient to detain those who would otherwise have taken service with the Archduke.
The levy is, therefore, a matter of difficulty, and many think either that it will not be carried out or will yield a far smaller force than was expected. The Ambassadors do not relax their efforts, however, all the more as they have heard that the Dutch have captured a block-house (casa forte) close to Antwerp, where the Archduke kept two hundred men to overrun the country. This will facilitate the siege of Antwerp.
The Duke of Holstein's visit has cost, they say, eighty thousand crowns for the six months he has been here. The King has made him a Knight of the Garter and assigned him three thousand pounds a year.
The Council has ordered all copies of that book on the Italian States to be burned, and this was publicly carried out at St. Paul's. The author has been confined to his house till the Grand Duke's pleasure be known.
London, the first of June, 1605.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 375. Anzolo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Owing to the suspicion roused by the conduct of the King of England in giving free access to Spanish ships with troops for Flanders, his Majesty has ordered the immediate payment of the Scottish men-at-arms, which are commanded by the second son of the King of England. Very secretly, too, he has sent about ten thousand crowns by private hands. The object only can be to win over some one of importance, who will support French interests.
Paris, 7th June, 1605.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 7. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 376. That the English Ambassador be summoned and the following read to him:—
We are deeply obliged by the information conveyed to us that his Majesty has given orders that all his ships, when they meet our galleys, shall strike their fore-topsail (trinchetto di chebba) and send their boat aboard with their papers. But in order to put an end to the mutual complaints of our respective subjects, we must point out that these two regulations are not sufficient, because a pirate could quite well conform to them; we, therefore, hope that. the King will add these further orders that after striking their fore-topsail and sending their boat aboard, they shall follow the custom in our mercantile marine, which is to hoist the jib (fn. 3) (issar i carnali) and let go the main sheet (lasciar le scotte in bando delle vele maistre). We beg your Lordship to second the representations which will be made by our. Ambassador in England.
As to the case of Alexander, son of Alexander the Scot, in order to give you every satisfaction we have issued orders that he shall be paid at once.
As to the other two criminal cases we can only say that the Council of Ten has them in hand, and will deal with them according to the rules which govern its procedure, and they do not allow the accused to be defended by advocates. We have begged the Council to proceed as quickly as possible.
Ayes 44. Ayes 24.
Noes 18. Noes 13.
Neutrals 103. Neutrals 147.
June 7. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 377. To Ambassador Molin, in England.
The English Ambassador here resident has informed us that the King of England has ordered his ships to strike their fore-topsail when they meet our galleys as they do when they meet his Majesty's ships, and further that they are to send their papers on board.
You are to point out to his Majesty and urge upon his consideration the subjects which we have just submitted to his Ambassador.
Ayes 44. Ayes 24.
Noes 18. Noes 13.
Neutrals 103. Neutrals 147.
June 7. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 378. To Ambassador Molin, in England.
We should have been annoyed to learn that the Ambassador of their Highnesses the Archduke and Duchess claim precedence of our Ambassador had not the King's attitude shown that he thought the claim unwarranted. You are to make all due representations to him on the subject.
Ayes 156.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 7.
June 9. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Principi Venetian Archives. 379. The English Ambassador returns thanks for the resolution of the Senate of June 7th.
Withdraws request that the Cabinet should hear the case of Balbi.
June 10. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 380. That the English Ambassador be summoned and the following read to him:—
Thanks to the King for his orders to his ships to strike fore topsail and send boat on board. The Ambassador is requested to press for the sufficient publication of these orders and to promise that our ships shall use all regard for the English ships which they may meet.
Ayes 153.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 3.
June 10. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 381. To Ambassador Molin, in England.
You will take care that the orders issued to all English ships are sufficiently published.
Ayes 153.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 3.
June 13. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 382. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Sir Anthony Sherley, the Englishman, lately expelled from your Serenity's dominions, has come to Court. I hear the Emperor sent for him, and yesterday he had audience. I do not as yet know the object of his visit.
Prague, 13th June, 1605.
June 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 383. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English and Spanish have been quarrelling over the place in which the peace is to be sworn. The Spanish do not wish to swear in Church, the English insist. On the afternoon of Corpus Domini it was signed in a room in the palace. The Ambassadors-in-ordinary were not present.
After the ceremony the King with his own hand gave the Admiral a diamond worth four thousand crowns.
Valladolid, 14th June, 1605.
June 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 384. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A few days ago a Catholic lady died in Wales. (fn. 4) As that part of the country is very Catholic she was borne by priests and followed to the Church by a large body of people. The incumbent, who is a Protestant, would not receive them, and refused to bury the body. The Catholics said if he would not, they would; and they did so. The incumbent went to the Bishop of Hereford (fn. 4) and reported to him. The Bishop informed the Justices. The Justices summoned the posse (fecero mettere insieme molti bargelli et sbiri) and sent it to arrest all who had taken part in the funeral. This they very easily did, for the meeting had already separated. About twenty arrests were made. Then all their friends flew to arms and fell upon the constables, threatening to cut them to bits if they did not let their prisoners go. The constables were in the minority, and were forced to yield.
In the same county there is a Church on a hill, where Mass was celebrated and attended by a great concourse of people. The Justices sent fifty or sixty men to arrest the priest and as many of his congregation as possible. But the congregation, suspecting that something of this sort might happen, came armed, and made so vigorous a resistance that they drove the officers away. The Catholics then sent one of their number to the Sheriff to say that they were good and obedient subjects of his Majesty; that for the service of him and of his kingdom they were ready to expose life and property to every danger; but that on the other hand they would shed the last drop of their blood for their religion in which they had been brought up; that as long as they were left undisturbed in their religion they would prove to the world that his Majesty has no more faithful subjects than themselves; but if persecuted on this score they would do everything they could to defend themselves.
The rumour of this having reached the ears of the King and Council has caused them a very great anxiety; they do not know what steps to take, for that country is full of Catholics, bold men of tried courage, and they fear if they employ force the whole countryside may fly to arms. It is thought that they will dissemble until they can get ten or twelve of the leaders into their hands.
The Duke of Holstein left on Friday, very unwillingly; for, as I have already reported, this country pleases him much. On the other hand he has disgusted everybody, and especially the Queen, his sister, who for two months has refused to speak to him. The King has frequently endeavoured to induce her to see him, but in vain; finally one day he took the Duke into the Queen's apartments, and some words of affection were exchanged. All the same the Queen is not mollified. The cause, it seems, was that the Duke claimed to go into the Queen's rooms whenever he chose; she did not like this. He would not take the hint, and the Queen gave orders that he was not to be admitted without being announced. One day he went as usual, but when he was informed of these orders he broke out into impertinences. Whereupon the Queen declined to see him again, and he fell into disgrace with the King and Court. One day he said to his Majesty that he had attended the King all through the winter in his hunting of the hare, and proposed to attend him in his stag-hunts, which are beginning now and will go on till Christmas. The King remained silent, and so the Duke knew that his presence was unwelcome. He has at last made up his mind to leave, giving out that he is going to take six thousand horse to Hungary. Before departing he visited all the Ambassadors except myself. The sole cause of this was the question of precedence which arose at the marriage of the Earl of Montgomery. He thought he was revenging himself by this act of discourtesy. At an audience I had of the King I informed him that, owing to the death of my two brothers, I had been obliged to ask your Serenity to name my successor, and that the illustrious Giorgio Giustinian had been chosen. The King addressed a few words of regard to me, and then began to talk of the chase, for which he was bound after dinner; and presently I took my leave.
London, 15th June, 1605.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 385. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassadors of Spain and Flanders have so worked upon the King that he has at last consented that the Earl of Home (Conte di Hun), a great Scottish gentleman, should raise a regiment of Scottish for service with the Archduke. This has caused much comment, for only a few days ago the King ordered the Earl of Northumberland's brother to resign the commission he had accepted to raise English troops. Lord Home has the order under the King's sign-manual, and no one knows what to make of it, nor what may be the real intention of the King. I hear that his Majesty has said that though, he has granted leave the troops will not go, though some have already begun to cross the water. It is true that the Dutch are on the watch, and capture almost all, as they go in divisions of forty or fifty in boats or on merchantmen, and cannot make any resistance. They are all captured, and part are drowned. The King and Council raise no complaint; and this leads people to think that the Dutch have his Majesty's permission to pursue all who take service with the Archduke. All the same it is a strange thing that the King should allow his subjects to go as it were to the slaughter. News has just arrived that the Dutch have sunk a boat with sixty soldiers in it; and these proceedings strike such terror into the hearts of everyone that the Ambassadors do all they can to induce his Majesty to lend them his ships of war for the transport of the troops, in the hope that the Dutch will respect the English ships as in duty bound, or if they should attack, which is most improbable, that they would meet such a welcome as would make them repent having done so. But the Dutch stand firm, and M. de Caron promises himself much from the support of Cecil. De Caron told me two says ago that he was sure the King would not grant the use of his ships; but as this depends entirely on the. King's pleasure, de Caron may not be so sure as he thinks.
When Count Maurice, after his vain attempt on Antwerp, retired, the Marquis Spinola followed him up, but was so delayed by the refusal of Antwerp to allow passage through the city to his troops, that he lost considerable time, and Count Maurice was able to take up a strong position and fortify himself. The armies are a league away from each other; but the Marquis, who is inferior in numbers, will wait reinforcements from Italy.
Don Giovanni de' Medici arrived in this city on the third of this month. I am just this moment informed that news has reached his Majesty, who is here in London passing through, that some ships on their way from Spain with troops for Flanders have been met by the Dutch in the Channel, defeated and destroyed. (fn. 5) Particulars are wanting, but they will soon be to hand.
London, 15th June, 1605.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 386. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
They have promised the Admiral twelve and his son four thousand crowns if they succeed in persuading the King of England to restore Flushing to the Archduke.
Valladolid, 21st June, 1605.
June 27. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 387. The English Ambassador addresses the Cabinet on the case of Nicolo Balbi. He declares that but for the orders of his master he would not move in the matter; he is bidden to thank the Cabinet for its prompt procedure in arresting the said Nicolo Balbi; and to express a hope that the conclusion will resemble the opening of the affair.
The memorandum he first presented showed that there was in this case fraud and malice prepense, as is proved by the linen bag, in which Balbi told Nicholas Pert that three hundred and fifty dollars had been stitched, whereas there were only one hundred and fifty. Pert was found dead in the morning; mouth, nose and ears charged with blood and a chest on his head. Pert's lad was at once shut out of the chamber, so that he could not see the body of his master, and all the papers and everything else were carried off. Then there is the caressing conduct of Signor Nicolo Balbi to the lad, when he said to him, “Listen, my dear John, you are to say that your master left nothing or only very little.” “But,” said the boy, “I have already told everything; all the sailors know it.” “You are young,” replied Balbi, “and ignorant of the ways of the world. You give ten ducats to so-and-so and ten to so-and-so and they wont accuse us. I'll take you with me to Venice and keep you in my house. I'll love you like a son and get you a wife.” “I beg your Lordships,” said the Ambassador, “to note this, Signor Balbi was bound for Zante, yet he talks of coming to Venice, as if he had come in for some large gain. I do not reject the evidence about the gathering from which Pert was suffering, and his ill-health before he came on board, and other miserable pleas, which I know will have no weight with the grave Senators and Judges before whom the case will come. I am here now in the name of the King of Great Britain to demand civil and criminal justice against Signor Nicolo Balbi; civil to-day, for the criminal I will speak another day. On the civil side I demand the restitution of all effects, papers, clothes, plate, and of three particular sums, namely, one hundred and fifty sequins, lent to Balbi at Ragusa; one thousand five hundred dollars taken out of the strong box of Nicolas Pert, and one thousand one hundred and sixty sequins, deposited in the custody of Signor Nicolo Balbi. These are ascertained sums, in part even acknowledged. But I ask more, though some might say, 'Take care what you are about, for qui plus petit cad-it à causa,' I do not shrink, however; I affirm that Signor Nicolo Balbi holds more than we know of. Read this letter written from Ragusa by an honourable merchant.” He handed in the letter, which was read slowly. Then the Ambassador proceeded, “ I could produce other letters written in English to Pert's correspondents, which talk of larger sums. They have been sent to me. But this letter I have put in proves that Pert left Ragusa with six thousand ducats, a far larger sum than the three thousand stated above. To conceal all this Signor Nicolo Balbi, the evening before the murder, took all the papers out of the safe. It may be said, 'How can you prove that he has these papers and this money, supposing he denies it ?' I reply that the facts narrated are proof sufficient, but God has not wished to leave us without further evidence. Signor Lorenzo Zanoli, who lived in the same street as I did do, and is at present in Verona, was chosen to deal with me about this business, as being well acquainted with the English. Balbi's friends sent him to me on Good Friday—a day that appeals to compassion—and also, as he told me, to anticipate the departure of that evening's post. This Zanoli confessed to me that Signor Balbi had the papers and everything else. He implored me to doctor the affair, and discussed with me the way to restore the papers by the agency of some priest or friar or confessor, as a sort of amends and discharge of his conscience, but at the same time securing the personal safety of Signor Balbi. It may be said that all that was put forward to tempt me, and that I am not to be believed; but it is not so, for I withdrew on purpose to the country, and wrote thence to an honourable English merchant, Geoffrey Lutario, begging him in my absence to re-open the question with Zanoli, who was his neighbour, and to bring it to a close. Signor Zanoli confessed all to this merchant, and added that Signor Balbi had more than we know of, and again went into the method by which the property was to be restored. He said that, seeing me well disposed, he was determined that both papers and money should be restored, otherwise he himself would give evidence against Signor Balbi. But perhaps, after what has happened to Zanoli, to be sent off almost like a prisoner on account of his pleasures and his loves, of which I know the whole history, he may have forgotten all about what he said, for worry destroys the memory and the judgment? Not at all, my Lords; he has written to his eldest son, who brought me the letter, and on his father's orders came to renew all his offers. I don't know if the said Zanoli is being fraudulently kept out of Venice, so that we may not make use of him as a witness, for this I rely on your Excellencies, who will recognise the clearness of the case, and I rest assured that I shall receive justice.”
The Vice-Doge, Lorenzo Loredan, replied that they had sent to Corfu for papers necessary in the trial, and when they came all that justice required should be done.
Enclosed in the files of the preceding. 388. Letter from Ragusa, written by Vincenzo Holbini to “Geoffrey Lutario, English merchant in Venice.”
“I should not have failed to salute your master Nicolas, the Englishman, but that he had left for the Levant on board the ship of Messer Balbi, and we heard that on the journey he passed from this life, and only a little money was found upon him, while from here he took 6,000 ducats.”
June 27. Consiglio Dieci. Processi Criminali. Venetian Archives. 389. That Thomas Seget, Scotchman, be called upon to put in his defence within ten days.
Ayes 5. 2nd ballot. Ayes 5.
Noes 6. Noes 6.
Neutrals 3. Neutrals 3.
No decision.
That Thomas Seget, Scotchman, at present in prison, on the charge of writing a libel on Ser Thomá Malipiero, which libel was found on the Broglio at San Marco, be considered a criminal in the power of this Council, and his person handed over to the Chiefs and the Advocate Fiscal Foscari.
Ayes 6. 2nd ballot. Ayes 6.
Noes 1. Noes 1.
Neutrals 7. Neutrals 7.
No decision.
June 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 390. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After long discussion about the recent events in Wales, the Council came to the conclusion that to use force of arms in a country so full of Catholics and men of mettle was to run the obvious risk of something more serious, and resolved to refer the whole question to the magistrates of the county, with orders to use all dexterous means for having the chiefs of the movement in their hands, and punishing them severely, and this they are to do as in virtue of the authority they hold, but not on the orders of the King or Council; and this so as to avoid compromising the royal authority, for they hold that if execution were ordered on the royal warrant it would have to be carried out with greater severity. When the magistrates received this commission, being bitterly hostile to the Catholics, they failed to carry out their orders with that dexterity, which was contemplated by the King and Council; but they proceeded with rigorous fury to arrest hundreds of persons. When the Catholics saw what was going on perhaps a thousand of them banded together in arms and took up a strong position. The constables sent by the Justices were compelled to retire; the Catholics declaring that they would not permit any of their number to be harassed on the score of his religion, while in all that pertained to the King's service they offered to spend their fortune and their blood. This news arrived in Court on Sunday. Many, and above all the King, felt that they must take up arms in earnest and repress the audacity of these persons before the evil spread further roots; but in the end the opinion of the majority prevailed that it is better to proceed cautiously; and to lay the blame for what had occurred upon the magistrates, who either could not or would not execute their orders in the proper spirit, and who had thrown the whole country into revolt by their harshness. There is the further consideration that by the use of force they would not only imperil the royal reputation, but unless that policy succeeded, which it certainly would not in a country so full of Catholics and men of mettle, they would encourage the other Catholics in the country to join the rebels and to produce some really serious revolution; and for this they are all ripe, thanks to the despair to which the insupportable cruelty and extortions have driven them. His Majesty and Council are in perplexity, and know not what course to pursue. Council meets every day, and contrary to his practice the King is present. As far as I am informed no resolution has as yet been taken, but we must soon hear something. (fn. 6) (Doppo haver questi Signori del Consiglio discorso lungamente sopra le cose successe guesti giorni passati nel paese di Gales tra Cattolici et protestanti si come scrisse alla Vostra Serenitá con le ultime mie, et conoscendo loro molto ben che il voler loro metter mano alle armi et usar la forza in quel paese pieno di Cattolici et di huomini molto corraggiosi era un cader in manifesto pericolo de incorrer in qualche inconveniente assai maggiore delli passati, determinorono finalmente di rimetter la causa in tutto et per tutto alli giusdicenti del paese, con ordine che destramente procurassino di haver li capi di quei motivi nelle mani, et quelli severamente castigare, mostrando però di far tutto ciò per l'auttoritá che hanno ma senza ordine o commandamento ne del Ré ne del consiglio, el ciò per non interessar la suprema auttoritá Regia, parendo a loro cke quando l' esecutione dovesse esser fatta di ordine del Rè dovesse per riputatione, farsi con maggior rissolutione et ardore. Li giusdicenti riceruta questa commissione essend o loro scerimi nemici de Cattolici non hanno potuto, o saputo. eseguirla con quella destrezza che dovevano, il che era intentione di Sua Maestá et del consiglio, ma hanno voluto procedere con molto furore et rigore, procurando di far prendere centenara di persone; onde questi aveduti delta cosa si sono messi insieme forse mille et con le armi si sono impatroniti di un sito forte dove essendo andate le genti mandate dalli giudici per far l' esecutione soddetta, hanno havuto di gratia di ritirarsi lasciandosi intendere liberamente di non voler permetter che alcuno de suoi sia travagliato per conto di religione, cosi come all' incontro in tutte le cose che saranno di servitio di Sua Maestá si offerivano di spender la robba et il sanque. Quest' aviso fu portato domenica alla Corte dove si trovava il Rè et il consiglio, et fu inteso con gran alteratione. Molti, fra quali la Maestá Sua principalmente, sentivano che si dovesse metter mano all' armi da dovero per reprimer l'audacia di quelli avanti che il male acresesse (sic) più la sua radice; ma in fine l'opinione di più ha prevalso che è che si debba procedere con ogni destrezza; attribuendo la causa di questo disordine principalmente a quei giusdicenti li quali non hanno saputo o voluto esequir la commissione di quella maniera che dovevano, havendo con il loro rigore messo in rivolta tutta quella Provincia; considerando di più che il voler usar la forza oltre il pericolo in che si mette la riputatione Regia. che riuscendo la cosa come indubitamente non riusceria per esser come si è detto la provincia piena de Cattolici et de huomeni molto rissoluti, et arditi, ciò darebbe quest 'animo et ardire alli altri Cattolici che son sparsi per il Regno in gran numero di unirsi con questi et far qualche gagliarda rivolutione a che grandemente pare siano inclinati per la disperatione in che si trovano, non potendo più soportar la crudeltá et estortioni grandissime che le sono usate per conto della Religione. Onde resta la Maestá Sua et il consiglio molto perplessi, ne sano a che partito apprendersi; ogni giorno il consiglio si riduce nel quale vuole la Maestá Sua oltre il suo solito intervenire, dove per quanta intendo non hanno sin hora fatto alcuna risolutione, ma presto si doverá intendere qualche cosa.)
Don Giovanni de' Medici on Thursday last, the twenty-third, left for France. He was little pleased with this country, where he had not received the honours he looked for. He saw the King three times, but was never bidden to cover except once, the day he went hunting. He is annoyed, for the King of Spain used to make him cover. He has received no compliments except the use of a royal ship to convey him to Calais.
Some months ago there was a Scot (fn. 7) here who could imitate the King's hand so well, the seals also, and other marks which are employed in patents, privileges, licences, etc., that it was impossible to say whether they were forgeries or not. He has deceived a number of simpletons promising to present petitions; but stipulating first how much he was to receive if he should obtain the grace they sought; after a few days he would bring them the patent drawn up with all due formality. In this way he made heaps and heaps of money; hut the fraud was discovered, and he, seeing that he was in danger of arrest and punishment, fled the kingdom and went to Germany, where he gave himself out as the Ambassador of the King. He displayed forged credentials to various sovereigns, and carried on important negotiations with them, as well as receiving many presents. To colour his procedure he declared that he was travelling thus privately because the King, who had trusted him with important affairs, thought it better, in order to avoid gossip, that he should not bear publicly the title of Ambassador. However, the affair could not go on so secretly hut that it presently reached his Majesty's ears. The King was extremely angry, and wrote to all the courts of Germany, begging them to place no confidence in this man, but to arrest him and send information of the arrest, so that the King might have him brought to England and punished as his offence deserved. The King's letter reached the Count Palatine just at the moment that the Scot was about to open negotiations; whereupon he was arrested, and sent over here under escort. On Saturday last he was sent to the Tower, and they are now examining him before giving him the punishment he merits.
I have just heard that the Council have decided to send to Wales the Earl of Worcester (Huster), a great Lord and member of the Council, favourably inclined to the Catholics; he is to pacify the revolt, but if he can arrest the leaders he is to bring them here.
The Secretary of Florence just returned from Dover, tells me that Don Giovanni de' Medici did not find the royal ship awaiting him, and had to ask one of the Dutch Captains for an escort.
London, 29th June, 1605.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 391. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I informed your Serenity that certain vessels on their way from Spain, with troops to be disembarked in Flanders, had been met and destroyed by the Dutch; but I could not at the moment send particulars. The affair happened thus: The Spanish determined to send some companies of Italian, Irish and Spanish infantry, which were in Lisbon, over to Flanders by sea. In the port of Lisbon were some English, Scottish and Dunquerque ships. The infantry, to the number of one thousand two hundred men, were put on board, and the ships were chartered for England, with orders to touch at Corunna, where other ships were being put together and also troops. The object was the more securely to convey the troops to Flanders. The ships, to the number of eight, left Lisbon, and sailing to Corunna, as by instructions, they met a boat sent out by the Admiral with orders that they were to push on, and that he would follow with the rest of the fleet. It seems, however, that the Lord High Admiral, who has just been sent to Spain as Ambassador, had touched at Corunna, and while there, had pointed out to the Spanish commander and other officers that they would be exposing themselves to an obvious risk if they went to Flanders with that fleet; for the Dutch were in the Channel, to the number of eighty sail and upwards, with no other object than that of fighting the Spanish. The Spanish officers determined not to sail, but to let the eight ships from Lisbon go on alone, which they did. When they reached the Channel they were attacked with great fury by the Dutch, and in order to save themselves they attempted to enter Dover harbour; but they were followed up by the Dutch, and four of them were sunk or burned, and four, with about half the people on board, took refuge in Dover. The battle at the harbour mouth was very severe, so much so that a cannon ball killed a woman in the town of Dover, and the guns of the castle had to fire many shots, in order to terrify them into ending the conflict. Four ships, as I said, escaped, but they are in the greatest danger, for the Dutch fleet is lying off the harbour mouth determined to give battle if they attempt to come out. The officers of the Spanish levies have come up to London to consult with the Spanish Ambassador as to what should be done. The Spanish and Flemish Ambassadors have been to the King; they complain loudly of the Dutch, and tell his Majesty that he is in honour bound to make representations to them for having had the audacity to fight inside his very harbours and to kill his very subjects. They assert that by the treaty of peace he is bound to protect the ships of the King of Spain in the harbours of this kingdom, and also to secure them free egress from those ports. The King replied briefly that he was sorry for what had taken place; he gave his word that as long as the Spanish lay in Dover nothing should happen to them; if they went out he would not be responsible. He said he would instruct the Council to see what could be done. The Ambassadors accordingly have often been present at Council; their object is to secure a safe passage to Flanders for this remnant of troops; and for that purpose they insist that the King ought to lend them the royal ships, for they are convinced that the Dutch would never have the audacity to attack them. At first it seemed that opinion was divided on this subject; the majority held that to grant the use of the royal ships would be a violation of the neutrality they profess; others, relying on a certain phrase in the treaty whereby the King was bound to “procure” an open passage to Flanders, argue that the King is obliged to secure free passage for these troops, either by means of his own ships or by any other means. Those who held the contrary opinion accordingly went to M. de Caron and persuaded him to go to the Council and to say, as in fact he has done, that he had heard a certain rumour that the royal ships would he lent for the transport of Spanish troops into Flanders, and although he could not believe it, for this would virtually be a declaration of open hostility to his masters, who had never given the King cause to treat them in this way, still he would not omit to take all necessary steps in an affair of such moment, and he begged and implored them in the name of his masters not to do such a wrong to those who had always professed friendship and shown respect for his Majesty and this kingdom; he added, however, that should the fleet of his masters find the enemy on board his Majesty's ships he would not answer for their abstention from attacking or pursuing them (ma che non voleva restar anco da dirle che se l'armata de suoi signori trovasse nemici nelle propirie (sic ? proprie) navi di S. Maestá non sá se si potesse astenere di offenderli et perseguitarli). He accordingly begged most earnestly that for such a trifle the English would not force his masters to take a step which would possibly offend his Majesty. These representations were held to be of considerable weight by those who were opposed to the Spanish request, and they begot a serious doubt in the minds of those favourable to the request. After many and various consultations it was resolved to reply to the Ambassadors that his Majesty had no intention of taking offence at what the Dutch had recently done at Dover, and had, therefore, no ground for complaining of the Dutch, but that he had abundant ground for complaining of the Spanish, who had hired Scottish and English vessels to convey troops, although quite well aware that his Majesty desired to remain neutral in this war; and what was worse the ships were chartered for England, and this was a hostile act, for the introduction of troops into the kingdom of another Sovereign without informing him beforehand was an action of a suspicious nature and calculated to arouse alarm; and so if his Majesty were to announce that by this act the Spanish had broken the peace he would not be very wide of the truth, but as he really desired to preserve friendly relations with his Catholic Majesty he would not consider the effect, but only the intention, while begging him to abstain from such errors for the future, for it would be impossible for his Majesty to endure them for long. As for securing the passage to Flanders for the Spanish troops in Dover his Majesty did not feel himself in the least bound to do so, nay, if he did he recognised that he would be wronging the Dutch, who had never done him the smallest injury. However, to prove to the King of Spain his good will he offered to intercede with the Dutch and induce them to promise not to molest these troops if they should, return to Spain; but for passage to Flanders he would never intercede, and still less would, he lend his own ships for that purpose. The Ambassadors are highly ill-pleased and disgusted at this reply. The troops meantime, to the number of about six hundred, are in Dover, and something must soon be done about them.
London, 29th Tune, 1605.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. I do not understand this passage. Does it mean “from the Catholics who are fined 4, 6, and 8 pounds”?
  • 2. For the whole question of the enforcement of the recusancy fines, see Gardiner I., 227–230.
  • 3. Carnale, idiot, per Quarnale. Quarnali, nel einq uecento vele di flocchi (the jibs and fore staysails) nei galeoni e nelle navi, perche issavansi colla quarnale. See Guglielmotti, Vocabolario Marino e Militare. Roma, 1889. See also s.v. Flocco. La quarnale was a rope rove through the mast, and used either for hoisting weights or the yards or the jibs. See Stratico, Vocabolario di Marina. Milano, 1813, s.v Carnara, vol. 1, and Carnal vol. 2. See also Tommaseo, Dizionario della lingua italiana. Torino 1865. Carnali stays, and then the sails that are hoisted by the stays.
  • 4. Cf. Cal S. P. Dom., 1605. June 22. The lady was Alice Wellington, of Aliens-more. Her funeral took place March 21, 1605. †Robert Bennet.
  • 5. For the destruction of the Spanish fleet under Sarmiento, by the Dutch under Haultain off Dover, see Motley. Op. cit. IV., 213–214.
  • 6. This whole episode is briefly recorded in Gardiner i., 242. cf. R. O. Trans. Borghese. T. 966. Avvisi 1605, “dalle spese prediche fatte dalli sacerdoti Catholici ne monti di do. Principato di Vuallia, alle quali sono intervenuti auditori a migliaia.”
  • 7. Thomas Douglas, alias Gray. The Palatine Frederick sent, him over to England in charge of the Burgrave of Frankendall. Douglas was hanged. See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1603–1610. pp 206, 224, 226.