Venice: July 1605

Pages 256-264

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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July 1605

July 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 392. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
All the time that the English Admiral was here affairs have been at such a standstill that even those who are in actual touch with the Crown have been unable to conduct any business,
Yalladolid, 3rd July, 1605.
July 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 393. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish ministers continue to press the English Ambassador (Cornwallis) for the restitution of Flushing to the Archduke. He considers the request impossible, and refuses to enter on the subject, affirming that the despatches from his master, which have arrived since the Admiral reached England, clearly show the results of any such negotiation, and declining to take any steps out of regard for the Admiral. But to me he has hinted that he only abstains, in order that the Spanish may see that they have not got England in their pocket, though the Admiral is back there. He hopes that this will both damage the Admiral in the eyes of his master and mortify the Spanish. In the hope of attaining their object the Spanish have offered large sums to himself and his suite, two hundred crowns a month to the Earl of Perth. (fn. 1) The Ambassador also told me that they propose a matrimonial alliance between the Infanta and the Prince of Wales, and to give it greater importance they declare that the King of France is desirous of a match. But this assertion he found to be baseless, and so he doubts that the original proposal is merely a ruse, more especially as they make vigorous representations against the Dutch levies in England. He does not think that his master will assent, especially as, to please the Spanish, he has allowed all the officers commanding the Archduke's levies to be Catholics, known as such to himself. He is not afraid that they will make a revolution, even though armed; and indeed, in order to encourage the departure along with these officers of all who are hostile to the Calvinists, he has published rigorous edicts against the Catholics. In this way he thinks to rid himself of a part of his useless subjects.
Valladolid, 3rd July, 1605.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 4. Consiglio Dieci. Processi Criminali. Venetian Archives. 394. That Thomas Seget, Scotchman, who for other crimes has been condemned to three years' imprisonment, be, on the charges just read, held a prisoner of the Chiefs of the Ten and the Advocate Fiscal.
Ayes 11.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 2.
Messer Zuanne Malipiero withdrew from the sitting on account of relationship. (fn. 2)
July 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 395. Anzolo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The French are suspicious about the splendid reception of the Lord High Admiral in Spain, and the way in which he and many other nobles with him have been won over by large presents. The Spanish Ambassador in England is also winning over many to his side. The English are deserting Count Maurice's camp on account of the bad treatment, and are going over to the Archduke and the Marquis Spinola.
Paris, 5th July, 1605.
July 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 396. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Their Majesties returned to London with all the Court on Tuesday week, the fifth inst. The King left the following day for Richmond, and three days later he went to Oatlands, where when out stag hunting he was thrown with his horse under him, and might have suffered a great injury. But by God's grace he took no other harm than a blow on the knee, which has kept him in bed two days. He is all right again, and goes a-hunting more than ever. He is expected back on Saturday, and the next week he will begin his Progress, which will last about two months. The Queen has been kept in town by a toothache, which caused great pain, but she is better now.
On Wednesday the Scot (Thomas Douglas), (fn. 3) who was sent a prisoner here by the Count Palatine, was condemned to death. He was to be quartered and his limbs exposed in the usual places; the sentence was carried out on Thursday, to the universal grief of the Scots, who could not believe that a man of such noble blood as his would be put to death with every mark of infamy. The Scotch complain all the more that it is not the custom to execute a sentence against a noble so rapidly, but an interval of eight days at least is always interposed between the sentence and the execution. In that interval the Scotch would have implored his Majesty's grace. They say that the English, out of hatred for their nation, have far exceeded the proper limits; and considerable noise has been caused at Court by this affair.
The High Admiral has returned from his mission to Spain, and ought to be received to-day by the King at Oatlands. He is said to have been highly honoured by his Catholic Majesty; but one point is greatly commented on here, the Ambassador never dined with the King. The Spanish say it is the custom of their Kings to dine alone, but still it is thought extraordinary that while the King of England entertained the Extraordinary and Ordinary Ambassadors of Spain at his own table, the King of Spain should not have used a like courtesy to the English Ambassador. Don Pedro de Zuniga is coming here as lieger; the Count of Villa Mediana will leave.
The Imperial Ambassador is said to be at Calais. Two royal ships have been sent to accompany him to England. His mission is said to be to ask for help in Hungary. He will be given leave to raise troops, but if he asks for money it will be refused.
I have received two despatches from your Serenity on the subject of the precedence of the Ambassadors of the Archduke and of your Serenity. I will obey your instructions.
London, 13th July, 1605.
July 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 397. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassadors of Spain and Flanders, after long labour and the employment of all means to obtain the use of the King's ships for the transport of the Spanish troops to Flanders, have got nothing from the King, but promises that he would beg the Dutch to allow the troops to go back to Spain unmolested. They have finally resolved to write to the King of Spain for instructions, for they hold that the affair concerns not merely the service of Flanders, but the reputation of his Catholic Majesty. The courier has left express. The troops meanwhile remain at Dover. The Dutch fleet is lying off the harbour mouth. Their ships in the Channel number upwards of a hundred, and in a way England is blockaded as well as the Flemish ports, and none can enter or leave this kingdom without being reconnoitred by the Dutch. This causes the greatest annoyance to these Ambassadors, not only on account of the troops arrived from Spain, but of the troops raised here, who are almost all ready, but dare not embark. It is true that some make the passage every day, under the guise of merchants or passengers, but they are very few. If no other means for carrying them over be discovered the winter will be upon us before a third has got across. The Ambassadors regret having embarked on this enterprise, and had they not already spent a considerable sum of money they would give it up. The expense is certain and is great, the benefit doubtful and precarious. They do not omit to point out to the King of England that the action of the Dutch is damaging to his honour and to the reputation of England, whose Kings used to claim sovereignty in these seas, and have frequently engaged the French, the Spanish and the Flemish to prevent them traversing these waters, but now the Dutch have usurped that dominion for which the English often fought. They point out that it would be to his Majesty's reputation, as well as of great use to the nation, to keep fifteen or twenty men-of-war in these seas. But these arguments have borne no fruit, for the Dutch are looked on as the most faithful of allies, and their fleet so far from hurting is held to add lustre to and confer safety upon this kingdom (essendo li olandesi tenuti qui per confidentissimi et pare che la loro armata non solo non apporti pregiuditio, ma riputatione et sicurtá a questo Regno).
The Earl of Worcester (Huster), whose mission to Wales to put down the Catholic rising I have already reported, has left at last. Nothing new is announced except that when the Catholics heard of this mission and of the displeasure of King and Council they resolved to despatch three of their number to explain how all these events came about, and to prove to his Majesty that the cause was neither a rebellious spirit nor seditious intentions, but the absolute need for their own salvation. However, not only were they not heard, but no sooner had they arrived than they were clapped into prison and condemned to death. The gibbet was kept up for a couple of days, and then it was settled that they would wait for Lord Worcester's report; and there are hopes that the matter will quiet down. (fn. 4)
London, 13th July, 1605.
July 17. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 398. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Ambassador has presented claims for restitution of goods to the value of eighty thousand crowns, which he says were wrongfully seized by the Spanish after the declaration of peace.
Valladolid, 17th July, 1605.
July 17. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 399. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
That Scottish Knight (Lindsay), who some months ago went to Rome and claimed that he had been sent there by the King of England, is now here. He has received a pension of two thousand crowns a year from the King. The English Ambassador is greatly surprised at this, and he himself told me that he had written to his master to tell him that in Spain they make profession of welcoming all who leave the kingdoms of England, Scotland or Ireland. He has also informed his master that his dominions are full of Spanish pensioners, especially among the Privy Councillors, and these he has named explicitly. In this way he claims to have discharged his conscience, for his Majesty's prudence will teach him how to act; but for himself he cannot help feeling anxious, all the more that he has discovered that the Spanish are not acting loyally; for while they were pressing upon him the marriage of the Infanta and the Prince of Wales and asserting that the King of France is urging the same through Rome, he found out for certain that not only was this statement false, but that they were resolved not to give the Infanta in marriage unless the Prince is well furnished with brothers, or is in a fit state to beget heirs to the succession, as was done in the case of the Infanta of Flanders. He added that it was only the desire to curtail the support furnished to the Dutch and to re-open Spanish trade with England that brought about the conclusion of peace, but this did not cause the Spanish to renounce the designs that they have had upon England in the past. Nay, they hope to further their interests by holding France in doubt; and they say that as the late Queen put the crown on the head of Henry IV. because of the identity of their religions, so on the same reasoning the King of England may snatch it from the Dauphine's head by supporting the party opposed to his legitimation, on the ground that the Papal dispensation for the second marriage was invalid, according to the precedent of Henry VIII. of England, and so to foment those hostile sentiments which religious considerations alone do not permit them to foster. In this way they hope to prepare the ground, so that on the death off his most Christian Majesty they may reap some advantage. The Ambassador, however, declares that his master made peace in order to enjoy universal quiet, and will never have any ideas in opposition to this intent; nay, anyone who suggests them will lose credit with the King, who professes to be a simple-minded Prince and lover of the public weal.
Valladolid, 17th July, 1605.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.”]
July 19. Consiglio Dieci, Processi Criminali. Venetian Archives. 400. As there is a doubt in the minds of the Committee of Council appointed to try the case of the death of Nicolas Pert, English merchant, which took place on board the ship of Ser Nicolo Balbi, whether they shall proceed to torture or call on Balbi to plead, the question be now put to the ballot; white balls mean torture, green mean summons to put in his defence, red, neutral.
White 3.
Green 8.
Red 4.
July 20. Consiglio Dieci, Processi Criminali. Venetian Archives. 401. As the judicial Committee of the Council appointed to try the case of Thomas Seget, Scotchman, are in doubt whether they shall proceed to the torture of the cord or call upon him for his defence, the question is now put to the vote. White balls mean torture, green mean call for defence, red, neutral.
White 4.
Green 9.
Red 2.
Green has it. Messer Zuanne Malipiero retires on account of relationship.
July 19. Original Despatch Venetian Archives. 402. Anzolo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Ambassador asked for audience in a great hurry. It was granted him, and the sole subject dealt with was a request that the King would oblige his master by sending over to England M. de Vitry, a famous sportsman, in order to teach the English his art. The King granted his request, but when the Ambassador was gone he remarked to his suite that he was amazed that in such troublous times his Majesty of England should think of nothing but the chase.
Paris, 19th July, 1605.
July 27. Original Despatch Venetian Archives. 403. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I waited on Cecil and told him that your Serenity was well satisfied with the arrangement suggested for the reconnoitring of English ships by the galleys of the Republic, namely, that they are to take in their foretopsail and send their boat and papers on board. Cecil replied that the King would issue orders in this sense, that the boat should be sent aboard, but as to the taking in the foretopsail that was an act which recognised superiority, and could not be observed towards the Republic outside the Adriatic, where other Sovereigns claimed that it was open sea. “But,” he added, “your Lordship may rest assured that the English ships will be forced by circumstances to take in sail if they are obliged to send their boat to the Venetian flagship and to wait her return; and thus the Republic will obtain what she wants, and we shall not compromise the dignity of the King, nor of the kingdom nor the freedom which every Prince enjoys upon the high seas; and your Lordship may inform the Republic that the order will be issued in the form I have stated.”
I answered that the order had been represented by the English Ambassador as stated by me, and that it could in no way compromise the dignity of this crown that it should be so issued. Cecil replied that the order would be issued as he had explained it, and not otherwise. He then went on to say that he had frequently interceded on behalf of Paul Pinder, who had obtained a judgement in his favour, but after two years had not succeeded in securing execution. I promised to write, but said that there ought to be some advocate for Pinder in Venice.
The Lord High Admiral and other members of the Council have earnestly begged me to implore your Serenity to remove the ban imposed on Captain John King (Chin) by the Governor of Cephalonia, or at least to grant him a safe conduct for two years. They assure me that the ban was pronounced against him on false charges brought against him in his absence by others who wished to free themselves; moreover, they urge that, as many of the Governors know, this Captain King has frequently in times of famine brought corn to the islands; he offers to establish all this. If your Serenity thinks that this man deserves your grace I am sure that these gentlemen will take it as an act of singular favour, for Captain King is one of the best seamen in this kingdom and much loved by all.
London, 27th July, 1605.
July 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 404. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King came back to London on Friday at two in the afternoon. At Oatlands he received the High Admiral on his return from Spain; he reports that he was the recipient of all sorts of honours, and finally was presented with sixty thousand crowns worth of jewels and pearls, besides the twenty thousand crowns worth distributed among his retinue. It is further asserted most positively that his Catholic Majesty has assigned forty thousand crowns a year as pensions to the Admiral and certain other gentlemen of this kingdom. This will not he made public, for they wish first to find out what may be the King's desire on that point. But it is held for certain that they will give such a colour to this offer that they will finally persuade his Majesty to allow them to accept it; or if he objects to the Privy Councillors receiving it in person it will be assigned to their brothers, sons, nephews.
On Saturday his Majesty received the Landgrave of Litemberg, Imperial Ambassador; he had arrived eight days earlier in London. At Gravesend he was met by three Earls, four Barons and many gentlemen. He was conducted to London, where a house was provided for him, but it was empty and unfurnished with any of the necessaries; and he was, moreover, informed that he would have to bargain with the proprietor about the rent. The Ambassador showed his amazement, and said that as he was to be here for eight or ten days only he would put up in some tavern, as he did, declining the arrangements made for him, and complaining bitterly of being so meanly received, and he did so to me also on the occasion of my paying him a visit. The Duke of Lennox, the Earl of Pembroke and other gentlemen conducted him to audience, which was confined to compliments, and very brief.
On Sunday the King received Don Pedro de Zuniga, the new Spanish Ambassador; he was conducted to audience by the Earl of Northampton and the Earl of Pembroke. The Imperial Ambassador had another audience on Monday, which lasted an hour and a half. He dined with their Majesties and the Prince, went to the chase, and afterwards took leave; yesterday he was in Council for three hours. I will find out what business was handled there. Yesterday the King left for Avrin, and to-morrow he will go to Theobalds to await the Queen. They will start on their Progress, which is to last about six weeks, from Theobalds. I will go there to audience on Tuesday, partly to pay my respects before he leaves, partly to touch on the question of the orders to English ships on meeting Venetian galleys. Cecil tells me that I will find more reason to return thanks than to lodge complaints, for when he reported my last conversation with him to the King his Majesty gave orders to the Admiral to issue the instructions as I reported them to you in my last. The King will take no Ambassadors nor members of the Council with him. They are all to go home and to meet him again at Oxford, where the Progress will terminate.
The levies raised by the Spanish and Flemish Ambassadors for service in the war are progressing very slowly, partly because the Dutch keep such a diligent outlook to prevent them from crossing the seas, partly on account of his Majesty s words, often repeated, which make it clear that he does not approve of his subjects taking service with the Spanish. Two days ago, when talking about some prisoners made by the Dutch, he took occasion to say quite openly, “ I am not only not sorry that they have been captured, but if the Dutch put them to death I will not complain; nay! I would be glad, for it would serve as a warning to the rest, who ought to know by this time that I do not approve of their going to the wars, although I do not intend to expressly forbid them” (havendo doi di fá havuto a dire assai publicamente, ragionandosi che olandesi havevano fatto prigioni alcuni che havevano tentato di passare, Io non solo non ho dispiacere che siano fatti prigioni, ma se li facessero anco morire non me ne dolerò et l'haverò più tosto caro, accioche questi servino per essempio a gli altri li quali doveriano pur hormai intenderla che io non ho per bene che vadino a quella guerra, anchorche publicamente non voglio prohibirglielo). These and similar observations prevent many who are ready to go from going, and cause others who have promised to go to draw back. This year the Archduke will receive little service or rather none from this quarter.
A few days ago an order was issued forbidding any subject of his Majesty to serve on board any foreign man-of-war, on pain of death if caught, and confiscation of the ship should he enter an English port. Various reasons are assigned, but it is generally stated that the order was issued because many Spanish ships have been captured by Dutch and English, about which questions as to whether they are fair prize or not have arisen. It is impossible to satisfy all parties; and so they have ordered that no Englishmen shall serve on foreign men-of-war.
London, 27th July, 1605.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. James, 4th Lord Drummond, 1st Earl of Perth.
  • 2. The charge was libel against one of the Malipiero family, Ser Thoma.
  • 3. See Cal. S. P. Dom., June 21, 1605, also page 245 of this volume.
  • 4. Father Garnet writes, July 14th, to the General of the Jesuits that he has hindered four tumults, and will restrain the Catholics of his own Province from taking arms; but fears an outbreak elsewhere. They deny the Pope's right to prohibit them from arming in self-defence. George Blackwell, archpriest, wrote, July 22nd, to the priests, Shaw, Standish, Stanford, Clenok. and others, enjoining obedience to the Pope's mandate, that Catholics shall not attempt to procure liberty of conscience by unlawful means. Cal. S. P. Dom.