Venice: August 1605

Pages 264-269

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 10, 1603-1607. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1900.

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September 1605

Aug. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 405. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The method of conducting business at this Court is so distasteful to the English Ambassador (Cornwallis) that one day he said to me, “Before the peace the Spanish treated my master like a mistress, now they treat him like a wife; then they did all they could to please him, now they neglect him altogether.” He complains that he cannot get answers. Lately his master wrote, instructing him to apply for the restitution of goods plundered by a Sicilian from an English galleon. For this purpose he sent his Secretary to Court, but there are no signs of his return. The Ambassador says that this neglect and contumely may rapidly lead to a breach of the peace, which was never popular in England. But before he finished his remarks he let slip that there were two reasons for the peace, one that the King of England was no soldier, the other that he hoped if at peace with Spain to be able to recover, during the tumults in France, those fortresses to which the English Crown lays claim. And one sees that it is not likely that a peace which has such deep roots will be broken.
Valladolid, 6th August, 1605.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 10.Original Despatch to Capi Dieci, Venetian Archives. 406. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England to the Chiefs of the Ten.
I have received your Serenity's orders as to the secret papers and their consignment to my successor.
London, 10th August, 1605.
Aug. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 407. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On last Tuesday week, the second of August, I went to his Majesty at Theobalds, as ordered. After some few words of compliment I said that your Serenity had received with great satisfaction the communication made by his Majesty's Ambassador on the subject of English ships meeting Venetian galleys. I assured him in your Serenity's name that if these ships would allow themselves to be searched, and if they were found to be really merchantmen, not pirates, not only would they not be molested but would receive all assistance. Nothing, therefore, remained but for his Majesty to give orders that English ships, on meeting Venetian galleys, shall strike their foretopsail and send their boat to the Venetian Commander's galley. The King said that details would be settled by the Council, and that I ought to see the Earl of Salisbury on the subject, to whom he would give orders to satisfy the Republic in every possible way. I returned abundant thanks, and assured his Majesty of the friendly sentiments which animated the Republic. The King begged that the Republic would see to it that her ministers did not overstep the limits intended by their government.
The King then proceeded to speak to me about his Progress, and invited me to Oxford. The University (studio), the masters and scholars are preparing many disputants and comedies to entertain the King, who, as he has never been to Oxford, desires to be received en fête. I promised to wait on him at Oxford during the first days of September. I then took leave, and his Majesty went to hear the sermon, as is his wont.
After dinner I saw Cecil, who told me that orders had been issued, and would be obeyed; but he begged me to request the Republic to order its servants not to ill-treat the English.
London, 10th August, 1605.
Aug. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 408. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Monday week the Imperial Ambassador left; he was very ill-content with his reception, but highly satisfied with the noble present of eight-thousand crowns worth of silver. I hear he asked the King for six thousand troops for service in Hungary. The King said that when he saw the other Christian Sovereigns acting he would not fail to take his share, as he earnestly desired to see the common enemy crushed and overcome, but he could not take up this burden all alone. The Ambassador then begged that the troops at least might be raised, the King naming the officers, and advancing the money till he could return to Germany. But here, too, he failed. The King said he had no money.
The subject of the Hansa next came up. The Hanseatic towns used to enjoy certain privileges of buying cloth in this kingdom; but in the late Queen's reign they were abolished. (fn. 1) Last year the Hanse towns sent their Ambassadors, but nothing was concluded, as the Emperor wrote to the King of England, begging him to hear the question in the presence of an Ambassador, who was coming from the Emperor to treat of other matters, upon which the Hansa Ambassadors declined to wait, saying that the Imperial Ambassador had nothing to do with the case. The situation is just the same now, for without the presence of the Hanseatic Ambassadors it is impossible to do anything.
The Earl of Worcester, who was sent to put down the Catholic rising in Wales, has returned. He reports that he found the movement far inferior in importance to what had been represented. He put a few fellows of the baser sort into prison, more to show that he had done something than because they deserved punishment. And so that affair is over far more easily than was expected. (It Conte d' Huster, che fù espedito nel paese di Gales per le sollevationi de' Cattolici è ritornato, riff erendo non haver trovato le cose di gran lungo in tanta commotione come fù rapresentato; ha fatto metter prigioni doi o tre huomini miserabili più per mostrar di haver fatto qualche cosa, che perche meritassero questo castigo; onde resta quel negotio terminato con molto maggior facilitá di quello che si credeva.)
The Spanish Ambassador (Taxis), who ought to have left, still lingers on as he wishes to return to Spain with the glory of having secured the passage of the Spanish troops into Flanders. These troops number about six hundred and are at Dover. He makes most vigorous representations to the King that as six or eight hundred Spaniards have been slain, one might say, in the very ports of England without the King making any remonstrance with the Dutch, as he really was bound to do by the clauses of the treaty, he ought at least to give the Spanish this satisfaction; all the more so as it was a mere handful of men, who could have little or no effect upon the issue of the war. Moreover there was the reputation of his master to be considered. The King replied that the Spaniards were killed and the ships captured on the open seas, where he was under no obligation. That when the rest took refuge in Dover the castle fired many pieces against the Dutch to cover the Spanish; and thus he considered that he had satisfied his obligations and his debt of friendship. However, as an act of courtesy towards the King, he would make representations to the Dutch. This he has done, but so coldly, as I am assured, that M. de Caron, the Dutch agent, easily understood that his Majesty had no real interest in the matter, but was only yielding to the insistance of the Spanish Ambassador. Although it is fifteen days since the King told de Caron to write to his masters no answer has been received as yet. There are some who think that as it is such a mere handful of men the Dutch will allow them to cross over, just to please the King.
London, 10th August, 1605.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 11. Collegio Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 409. The English Ambassador says, “ I have come this morning to introduce no new subject, but merely to touch upon three questions still pending: The case of Thomas Seget, the case of the English merchant, for whom judges extraordinary were appointed, and the bad case of Signor Balbi.
In the first case I hear that while I was in Villegiatura that unhappy man was examined, and in the course of his examination he cited me as a witness. He did well, for I affirm what I have previously stated, that the two lads, Lorenzo and Guiseppe, who are servants in the prisons, came to my house, and declared that Giacomo Piamontese, alias dall' Isola, in the service of Signor Leonardo Malipiero, had dealt with them to bear false witness against this said Thomas Seget. I, therefore, commend the case of this Thomas to the grace of your Serenity; he is young, poor, learned, and bred in the arts, has suffered much, and lastly is a subject of my master. And should it please your Serenity to grant him his liberty I undertake that he shall go away, and never return; there is no fear that he will stay on here at my house to plot against his enemies.
As to the second point, permit me to ask what use it is for Envoys to present themselves in the Council if what the Council orders is not done? As has happened in this case; for, in spite of the appointment of a special court to conclude the case, it has been adjourned from day to day, from week to week. As after your Serenity's promise 1 wrote to inform my master, I beg you to put your promise into effect, in order that my information to my master may be verified.
On the third point, it grieves me to have to speak again, but the looseness of certain tongues compels me. Throughout the town it is said, 'What is the English Ambassador about? Is he going to vilify the Venetian nobility?' I reply that they are in error, and know not the true definition of Venetian nobility; for he is the true Yenetian noble whose actions are in the right. I will say no more. Only I must inform you that the parties interested in the estate of the Englishman (Pert), who died on board ship, have induced the Earl of Salisbury to write out here that the 1,150 (errors excepted) sequins and personal effects left in deposit at Corfu are to be recovered.”
The Doge replied: “As to the Scot, justice shall be done.
As to the merchant we will renew orders for the conclusion of the suit.
As to the remarks made in the city, you know that no one can stop that, and great personages must just be content to do right, and leave comment to others. In England and elsewhere there is no lack of those who say just what they choose. For the rest be assured that the case of Balbi will be justly dealt with, and justice will be done in the matter of the sequins and of the effects.”
The Ambassador, after warmly advocating the cause of the English merchant against the Government of Zanthe, expressed himself satisfied and took his leave.
Aug. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 410. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King and all the Court continue the Progress. He is about a hundred miles off. His presence causes the greatest inconveniences, for harvest is just coming on, and yet the peasants are bound to serve the Court with waggons and animals. The Court is very numerous, and never stays in one place more than a day or two. Moreover those who follow the Court, either to take short cuts or else when hunting, pass over the fields and trample everything down. Complaints are daily presented to the King, who returns soft answers, but the matter will go on like this up to the end.
They are beginning to talk about the next Parliament, which is summoned for Michaelmas. The elections to fill vacancies caused by death have begun. The King desires to order fresh elections in the case of certain turbulent spirits, who are little to his taste. He is well aware how much his neglect of the elections cost him last year. It is thought that he may quite easily affect the bye-elections, but that it is difficult, not to say impossible, for him to unseat members already elected.
Taxis has had an answer at last; the King told him that the Dutch excused themselves from compliance with his request, on the ground that though it was true that such a mere handful of men could have no effect on the issue of the war, still the precedent was dangerous in this way, that the Spaniards, seeing themselves safe in England and then assisted in their passage of the sea, might repeat the same game; and further such an act would lead the world to suppose a close understanding between Spain and England to the damage of the States. This answer pleases the Spanish Ambassador but little, and he is preparing to leave.
London, 25th August, 1605.
Aug. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 411. Nicolo Molin, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Sir Charles Cirnwallis, who went as lieger to Spain, in company of the High Admiral, was very much annoyed because the Admiral insisted that all Peers in his train should take precedence of Sir Charles on the score that he had not the rank of Ambassador till he had presented his credentials to his Catholic Majesty and been received as such. Cornwallis now writes home many complaints of the Admiral's conduct while in Spain, with the result that he has to live a retired life far from Court. The chief charges are that the Admiral took two ministers of religion with him in his train, but after landing he would never permit them to preach to the suite; he compelled them to dress in coloured clothes more fit for Court jesters or mountebanks than for men of their profession; that one day in the streets of Valladolid the Admiral met the Host, and not only went down on his knees himself but ordered all his suite to do the same; that he had gone beyond the limits of his commission, more especially dealing with the question of a match between the Prince of Wales and the Infanta; that he had held out the certainty of an offensive as well as defensive alliance, and had led the King and his ministers to believe that the King of England would not merely withdraw his help from the States, but would declare himself openly their foe, and would give the Archduke every assistance in his power. All this induced the King of Spain to give the Admiral enormous presents, and what is more, a pension as well for himself and his sons. The King and Council are very angry, although there are some who try to defend or at least to excuse the Admiral, and who say one should not so lightly lend an ear to Sir Charles, because of the well-known quarrel between him and the Admiral, which exposes these statements to the suspicion if not of falsehood, at least of exaggeration. The Admiral, on the other hand, omits no effort to excuse himself, and as he is a great personage with many relations in the Council he may very likely succeed, especially as the King is of such clemency and benignity that he would not do an injury to any man. The King resents most of all the statement that he would abandon the States.
London, 25th August, 1605.
Aug. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 412. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The General of the Jesuits endeavoured to expel from the company the two brothers Cigàla, who under Clement urged the Pope to suppress the order in Spain, and who carried out many negotiations for Cardinal Aldobrandino. The support of the Spanish Ambassador and of the Cardinal has saved them. The Pope means to send them to Spain or, as others say, to England to look after Catholic interests.
Rome, 27th August, 1605.


  • 1. The suppression of the Stillyard was ordered on Jan. 13, 1598. See Cal. S.P, Dom.