Venice: April 1606

Pages 329-341

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 1606

April 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 501. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day the Marquis de San Germano left for England. Among other matters he is to make his Majesty's excuses to the King of England for the refusal to consign the two conspirators (Owen and Baldwin), at present in Flanders. The English Ambassador complains loudly and almost protests, and the whole affair may entail some serious consequences.
Valladolid, 3rd April, 1606.
April 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 502. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When the Ambassador of Archduke Albert came to reside here he gave out that he was ordered, under pain of severe penalties, not to yield precedence to your Serenity's Ambassador, as already reported by the Ambassador Molin. An occasion to test the question has never presented itself, for a similar difference is on foot between the Ambassadors of France and Spain, and hitherto his Majesty has declined to decide the point, but has always invited the Ambassadors separately. The Ambassador of the Archduke goes with, the Spanish Ambassador, your Serenity's with the French. But on the anniversary of the King's coronation, which took place on the third of this month, the Council ordered the Chamberlain to invite all Ambassadors here resident, thinking, perhaps, that as there was no French Ambassador here at present no question of precedence would arise. The invitations were issued, but Sir Lewis Lewkenor, the receiver of Ambassadors, being aware of the Flemish Ambassador's claim, warned the Council, and the invitations were suspended till the King's return to London. I got wind of all this, and, in order to be fully informed without seeming myself to raise the question, I sent my secretary to Sir Lewis, and he, in course of conversation, said, “I have been ordered to invite all the Ambassadors, but I do not know what will happen about the claim of precedence advanced by the Flemish Ambassador against your master.”
The secretary showed the greatest surprise, made a suitable answer, and came to report all to me. I seized the occasion to send for Sir Lewis and to express my astonishment at his communication. I dwelt for long on the strong grounds upon which the Republic stood, grounds approved at all other Courts, where for more than a hundred years the Venetian Ambassadors have been treated as the representatives of Crowned heads. I enlarged upon the greatness, strength, freedom of the Republic, which was dependent on none, save on God alone. And finally I declared that I would submit to no infringement of rights, and that I was sure his Majesty in his absolute justice would summon your Serenity's Ambassador to his proper place among the Crowned heads, and so put an end to any such attempts for the future; a similar attempt made in Rome in 1603 had, I told him, ended in the Flemish Ambassador renouncing the title of Ambassador when he found he could not prevail against the Venetian. I begged him to let me lay my arguments before the Council and before his Majesty, although I hoped that the King would of his own accord settle the question on his return. Sir Lewis assented, and said that in truth the arguments of the Republic were most powerful. All the same he feared that the King, who has always declined to settle questions of precedence before, will certainly not break through the rule, for fear of raising further questions, which are dormant at present. I pointed out that the case of Venice was quite different from that of other powers, where there was no fixed rule of precedence, one holding it at one Court, the other at another, and that the Ambassador of the Archduke was putting forward this claim, in the hope that the King would not decide the question, and thus would leave him with some shadowy claim to equality. Sir Lewis took his leave, promising to report all to the Council, who, however, he said, would certainly decide nothing till the King came back, which would be the next day. Next day was Saturday, and the King returned late to London. I would have asked for an audience, but it was impossible to obtain one on account of the event which I shall subsequently relate.
On Sunday Sir Lewis came to me and said he was sent by the King to invite me to the joust for the next day. I returned thanks, and wishing to find out what place I was to occupy, without seeming to show that I had any doubt on the subject, I remarked that I was all the more ready to attend as I should, being so long in close proximity to his Majesty, have an opportunity of expressing my regret at the bad news spread about concerning him and my pleasure at finding it false. Sir Lewis replied that he did not know whether I would have an opportunity to speak to his Majesty, for the King having learned of the difference between the Flemish Ambassador and myself had resolved to assign a separate place to each of us, namely a window each in his gallery, while he and the Spanish Ambassador would occupy a third window in the middle. The King begged me to accept this arrangement for the present, as he would later on come to a decision upon the point, and would never permit any injury to the dignity of the Republic. I showed great annoyances, and said, “Why, this is a very serious injury; for I shall be separated from his Majesty and thrust out of my due place next to Spain. And although his Majesty tells me that he has decided thus because he has not had time to consider the point fully, yet the fact remains that meantime I am deprived of that place which in every Court of Europe indubitably belongs to his Serenity.” While showing that I would not be satisfied with this proposal I kept a watch to see whether he would say which of the two windows was destined for me; because it is obvious that, in this temporary arrangement, the Ambassador who had the right-hand window would be at an advantage. He, however, made no declaration, nor did I make any direct inquiry, so as not to leave him with the impression that I would accept the arrangement upon that condition, and he took his leave. I then, in order to show how important I thought the matter, and also to find out, if possible, which window was designed for me, resolved to send, although it was very late, my secretary to Court to complain to the Chamberlain. This he did, and the Chamberlain, turning to the Earl of Salisbury, who was present, said, “Well, I suppose there is nothing to be done but to recall both invitations; for the time is too short to allow of mature deliberation, and we do not wish to prejudice either party.” “Yes, I suppose so,” said Salisbury, “but I must say I am surprised at these pretensions of the Archduke, nor can I imagine upon what they are based.” At these words the secretary moved nearer to the Earl and, after explaining to him our reasons, begged him to support them with the King or wherever necessary, and promised that I myself would visit him and explain still further our position. “Tell the Ambassador,” he said, “that in every place I shall freely say what I think.” Then turning to the Chamberlain he added, “To-night we will speak to the King again, and to-morrow morning we will send a gentleman to the Ambassador with the decision.” On Monday morning accordingly came Sir Lewis Lewkenor to say to me in his Majesty's name that he begged me to abstain from attendance at that day's solemnity, as there had not been time enough to arrange the matter. A similar message was conveyed to the Ambassador of the Archduke. Sir Lewis added that the first words the King addressed to the Council on the subject were, “Take care that you in no wise prejudice the rights of the Venetian Ambassador.” I expressed my thanks, and said that I could not but obey his Majesty's commands, and I would, in patience, remain away from today's function, in the full expectation that his Majesty would presently give a clear proof of his views by restoring your Serenity's position. I begged for an immediate audience, both to congratulate the King and to lay before him your Serenity's rights. I will also speak to the Chamberlain and the Secretary, whose authority will be of great service. I must add that, as my secretary was leaving the Chamberlain's, and it was already night, he met the secretary of the Spanish Ambassador, who having heard what was afoot had lent his support to the Archduke's representative. The Spanish Ambassador has great influence at Court, thanks to his Spanish methods, without which all business flags and droops. Sir Lewis, in the course of conversation, said with some ostentation that the Archduke's Ambassador had orders from the King of Spain on this subject; to which I replied that I thanked God for it, but I had orders from nobody but the Republic of Venice, and I added, “How is it possible that the Ambassador by admitting that he has orders from another Prince, greater than his own, does not see that he admits the inferiority of his master and destroys any shadow of a claim to compete with a free and independent Republic such as Venice?” When I have had audience of his Majesty and the ministers I will report the results. I must add that the Archduke rests his claim on his title of Duke of Burgundy, alleging that at Rome in the time of Pius II. precedence was granted to Burgundy over Venice. I can easily meet this, first by denying the fact, and then by asserting that the Duchy of Burgundy has ceased to exist on account of dismemberment, that the sovereign rights of Burgundy were reserved to the Crown of Spain, as is proved by the King of Spain being head of the Order of the Golden Fleece, which was founded by the Dukes of Burgundy; that the Archduke recognises the King as such by accepting the Order from him. I shall easily persuade the King of England of this fact, for when D'Aremberg, then Ambassador from the Archduke, wished to stipulate the peace on his master's behalf before the Constable of Castille arrived his Majesty said, “I cannot possibly do without the assent of the King of Spain, as he has reserved the high Sovereignty of the States, now possessed by the Archduke.”
However, as his Majesty is wont to settle nothing, I cannot say what will happen. The French Ambassador is expected here soon, and all may return to the old method. I will take care that the whole question is made as little public as may be, in order that it may not be known that I have had a dispute over a point which may remain unsettled. And I will guide myself as best I may from the remarks of his Majesty, praying your Serenity to send me explicit instructions.
London, 6th April, 1606.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives 503. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The event which I mentioned in my previous despatch happened thus. On Saturday last, the first of this month, the King was out hunting in the country. While he was passing through a certain village a hub-bub arose about a man whom the constables were trying to arrest for some slight offence; this fellow was on horseback, and had his drawn sword in his hand; thus armed he put his horse at the gallop; the constables pursued him, shouting “Traitor, traitor.” The people of the village joined in the hue-and-cry, thinking that he must have attacked the King, who had passed through a while before. The crowd grew from village to village, and also the rumour, until persons set off at full speed for London to tell the Queen and Council that the King was dead; this news was immediately confirmed by new comers, and was believed by the Court. The Council instantly took all necessary steps at the palace, and summoned an extraordinary meeting. The news spread to the City, and the uproar was amazing. Everyone flew to arms, the shops were shut, and cries began to be heard against Papists, foreigners and Spaniards, and had not the contradiction arrived some terrible accident would have happened to us all. The tumult did not last such a short time either, for his Majesty, who was in the country and knew nothing about it, did not hurry his arrival, until some courtiers went and reported all to him. Then he first of all sent a message that he was safe, and then came in person to show it. The people would not believe he was safe, but some of them, running out to the spot where he was said to have been killed, met his Majesty following the chase; when they saw him they fell on their knees, breathless with running and speechless with tears and joy. This made the King think that something serious had happened in London. The King sent news of his safety to the Queen and the City, which presently resumed its quiet. His Majesty shortly after entered the City, and was welcomed as one risen from the dead. He was seen and acclaimed by the populace with extraordinary signs of affection. There were fireworks and fetes, and bells were rung in the City. The Ambassadors were all informed of the event, and the Spaniard, as a sign of joy, put a chain worth four hundred crowns round the neck of Sir Lewis Lewkenor, who brought the news; and I, in my smaller way, did the same to my messenger. (fn. 1)
This episode prevented my having audience of his Majesty before the joust in honour of his Coronation Day, the third of this month. Only the Ambassador of Spain was present, and was highly honoured. The acclamations of the populace were renewed. And thus the King has received a striking proof of the affection his subjects bear towards him.
I have little other news, except that on petition by merchants they are discussing the abolition of the tax on currants. (fn. 2)
London, 6th April, 1606.
April 8. Original letter. Archives of Modena. 504. Sir Henry Wotton to the Duke of Modena, Cesare D'Este.
Thanking him for a letter received. Wotton rejoices that the Duke is satisfied with the assurance of the King of England's regard.
Venice, 8th April 1606 (Signed) Arrigo Wotton.
April 10. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 505. Report of Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli.
On the morning of the 8th the English Ambassador sent to the door of the Cabinet to say to me that if I could obtain leave to meet him in our own quarter of the town he had something of moment to communicate. I replied that this was unusual; that the Cabinet was the proper channel for such communications, and that he might rely on it that the whole would remain not merely secret but buried. The secretary said that this was an affair relating to Venice, not to England. I reported to the Savii, and they instructed the Chiefs of the Ten to give me leave to meet the Ambassador. The appointment was made for the afternoon of Sunday, between vespers and compline, in the church of San Gerolamo near the Ambassador's house, as the Ambassador goes there privately every time the nuns sing.
I went and found the Secretary of the Embassy sent to apologise for the Ambassador's delay, caused by a visit from the Ambassador of France. Presently the Ambassador arrived. There was hardly anyone in the church, as the nuns were not singing. After a few compliments he said that he had not sought audience of the Cabinet for the last two months, and did not intend to seek one, because he found that he never received any satisfaction for his requests. I replied that the cause of delay was not any want of regard, but the inevitable pressure of business and some doubts raised by his demands. “Well,” said he, “I am not come here to complain, though I think the King might spare himself the expense of keeping an Ambassador here. I want to say, under cover of the profoundest secrecy that, as is needed in sound government, we have very safe agents at Rome and in the very penetralia of the Papal Court. It must never be said that I have used such expressions, and that is the reason why I have desired to communicate with a single person only, so that if faith be broken, which I do not believe will happen, I can deny that I ever said anything of the kind.”
“I am informed by one of these emissaries whom we keep to watch the Pope,” and here the Ambassador showed me a letter in cipher, dated Rome, April the first, “that as his Holiness knows nothing about politics or statecraft he has at last made up his mind to apply to the greatest school of such science, the Order of Jesus, which is scattered throughout every kingdom of the world on purpose to study the affairs of Princes. The Order has become all powerful, thanks to its use of spiritual comforts and to the manipulation of consciences, and its master spirit and leader, Cardinal Bellarmine, has written a book, “De Militia Ecclesiastica,” in which he learnedly sets forth the nature and the legitimate causes of wars between Sovereigns. He lays down as a first principle the primacy of the Church. As this book will not be given to the world just yet, the Republic had better procure a copy, so as to see what doctrines are maintained therein, with a view to the claims which the Papacy is at present advancing. That is one point.”
“The next point in the letter is that the Pope is secretly proceeding against a master Paul of Venice, Servite, for a book in which he not merely defends the Republic against the excommunication, but lowers the authority of the Pope upon many points.”
The Ambassador then drew from his pocket another letter, and began to read it to himself down to the foot of the first page, then he said, “The first paragraph of this letter deals with Bellarmine's book; the second refers to purely English affairs; and the third to Friar Paul.” I showed great curiosity to see the letter, and pointed out that to crown his act of confidence he could not refuse to let me have it to lay before your Serenity.
He replied, “The letter itself will tell you little more than I would tell you; but to give his Serenity the core of my secret I will add that this an intercepted letter, written by the Provincial of the Jesuits in Rome to Father Possevino here in Venice, and I will hand you the letter on condition that the Doge on his word as a Prince, promises not to reveal our methods and to hand back the letter under seal to my secretary, who will call for it to-morrow.”
He then added, “The Nuncio is writing to Rome to say that in my master's name I have offered the Republic the whole support of England. That is a mere conjecture on the part of the Nuncio, for I said nothing of the kind in my master's name, and this shows how ill-informed he is about what is going on here. Indeed he seems to me to be more fit for a seminary still than for the handling of great affairs. But to return to my master. All he has ever done was to instruct me to give a hint of his sentiments to his Serenity either by one mouth or at any rate by the mouths of a few Senators only. His Majesty's plans are not ripe yet.”
“I am told that the Republic, in order to alarm the King of Spain and to keep him in perpetual expenditure, has exaggerated the rumour of a Turkish fleet. He is in the same doubt as to what England will do this year in Flanders; our Ambassador in Spain cannot obtain an audience, a thing that happens, I understand, to the Venetian Ambassador as well. In fact the King seems to me like an impregnable fortress, not to be reached except with time and difficulty.”
He added, “There is in Rome an English Jesuit named Persons (Personio); should he conceive the slightest suspicion of what I have told you, that we keep agents in Rome, we should so to speak be in the fire. I therefore repeat my earnest recommendation of secrecy.”
I gave him assurances, and then held out my hand for the letter as though there was no doubt about my having it. He hesitated a little, and then gave it me, but on condition of having it again this morning. I then took my leave. The copy of the letter is subjoined—
“Pax Christi,
Right reverend Father in Christ,
If things are going so well in France, as your paternity writes to us on the 18th of last month, we may still nourish our hopes; and if we can induce a good understanding between his Most Christian and his Catholic Majesty the affairs of the Church would be in an excellent position. Our Cardinal Bellarmine is growing in repute, both for his native worth and for his work, 'De Militia Ecclesiastica.' It is not to be published yet, but we have sent copies to some Sovereigns, our patrons. Only four copies have been printed as yet. By the help of the Cardinal we hope to be victorious in the controversy (fn. 3) with the Dominicans; his Holiness having given orders that various Cardinals shall send in their opinions in writing. Bellarmine and Baronius, in conversation with our Lord's Holiness (la Santità di Nostro Signore), seem to have convinced him.
In England one of our Fathers has undergone an examination about the plot and other matters touching the Faith. He has justified and defended himself very well.
A certain master Paul, a Servite of Venice, is on his trial here, but under the profoundest secrecy, for a certain work in which he not only defends the Venetians, but lowers the Papal authority by citing ancient privileges. They say he has received two hundred ducats a year as a pension for this service. A copy of this work was sent to the Venetian Ambassador last week secretly, with express orders that, if our Lord did not calm down, he was to hand it in and leave Rome at once. If that be so God avert a schism.”
Rome, the first of April, 1606.
April 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 506. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English and Spanish Ambassadors are very suspicious at the rapidity and ease with which the King has restored order, and because he now finds himself at the head of a large army. The Spanish fear these troops will be sent to Flanders by the Meuse.
Paris, 11th April, 1606.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 12. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 507. That it is desirable to inform the Ambassador of England that our Government appreciates the communication he has just made. That Secretary Scaramelli be instructed to convey our thanks to the English Ambassador for his good offices. That for this one occasion Scaramelli may visit the Ambassador's house.
Ayes 156.
Noes 2.
Neutrals 4.
April 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 508. Ottaviano Bon, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The arsenal here has bought tin and tallow from an English ship which reached Chios.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 13th April, 1606.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 14. Collegio Secreta. Esposizioni Principi, Venetian Archives. 509. Secretary Scaramelli reports that on the orders of the Senate he had returned thanks to the English Ambassador for his communication.
The Ambassador sent to inform his Serenity that if any movement took place in Italy the King of Spain would have no part in it. That the Ambassador knew for certain.
The Ambassador added, “We Ambassadors here, in talking over the present crisis, have come to the conclusion that the Republic will yield on this occasion as she has done before. Not that we penetrate her secret counsel, but we see that she consults none of us. Were she not sure to come to terms with the Pope would she not have opened her mind to us, who stand with arms outspread to receive her? If you say that it will be time enough when the storm bursts, I say that the difficulty will be doubled then; for we shall have then to upset the fabric of the Papal prestige before beginning to raise that of the Republic's principles.”
April 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 510. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I had hoped to be able in this despatch to inform your Serenity of what had passed between his Majesty and myself on the subject of the precedence between myself and the Ambassador of the Archduke, but the King has been occupied partly by the chase and partly by the dissolution of Parliament, and sent to apologise for the delay in granting me audience. I resolved in the meantime to wait on the Earl of Salisbury to strengthen his favourable attitude, but he has been ill for some days, and sent to say that he would let me know when he could see me.
A few days ago the Jesuit Provincial of England, imprisoned for complicity in the plot, was publicly tried. His Majesty was present incognito. The interrogation did not afford that satisfaction which Catholics expected, nay, he has scandalized the very heretics, and greatly disgusted his Majesty. For besides being on his own confession—not wrung from him by torture, as he affirms, but compelled by irrefutable evidence—cognisant of the plot, he further endeavoured to excuse his previous perjury, in affirming that he was ignorant of it, by a disquisition on equivocation, maintaining a certain doctrine which has shocked the ministers, and especially the King, who is particularly versed in such matters, and has caused a great outcry against the Roman religion. This man used every effort to remove the suspicion that the Pope was aware of the plot, if not in detail, at all events generally; but it is more likely that he has increased it, for in reply the Earl of Salisbury produced in public a document, from which it appeared that the Pope had been informed by the prisoner and by other conspirators through a special messenger, (fn. 4) who was sent to beg his Holiness to incite the Catholics to assist and support the good effects which such an event would produce in this kingdom. The hatred and suspicion of the Holy See increase daily. The Jesuit Provincial, talking as he thought secretly with a companion in prison, said that he had not yet been examined on the great question. These words reported by the spy to Council have caused anxiety, for the Jesuit has refused to offer any explanation whatever. For this reason they delay execution of the sentence against him, in the hopes that they may extract from him some information on a still greater subject.
In the course of the trial the Attorney General went into the question of the Jesuits' operations in England, and was compelled to trace the thread back to their endeavours at Rome and in Spain and Flanders to hinder the King's succession to the throne. Although this took place before the peace still the mere recital of it was highly distasteful to the Ambassadors of those powers on account of the bad impression produced on the populace, which crowded the hall, and especially because his Majesty left the Court with signs of great anger, and to his intimates burst out into expressions of resentment at the methods adopted, under cloak of religion, for the disturbance and overthrow of Sovereigns and their states.
Parliament is on the point of being dissolved, though the question of the Union, for which it was chiefly convoked, is not settled yet.
The merchants are still in hopes that the customs on currants will be abolished, and several vessels laden with currants and lying in English ports are delaying to commence unlading till they see the upshot of the business. I doubt whether anything will happen. One of the chief arguments of the abolitionists is that your Serenity would abolish at Venice.
London, 20th April, 1606.
April 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 511. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The news of the unexpected agreement between his most Christian Majesty and the Marshal de Bouillon has not been very well received here; for though it frees them for a certain suspicion that the King of France was relying on these arms to lay the foundations of his election to the Empire, yet on the other hand they had hoped great service to the States and the possible creation of an open quarrel between France and Spain. The English are naturally and perforce anxious that the States should be supported but by the arms and money of others rather than by their own, and so they observed the movement of the French with such satisfaction that it was even conjectured that the King of England had a hand in it. But money here is not to be had so freely, and they are unable to support the States as they desire to do, so that I am informed that, following the precedent in the Irish wars, they are offering a pardon to all criminals who will take service. On the other hand every effort is made to prevent any persons taking service with the Archduke; the Irish, for instance, are forbidden on the score of religion; only one port is open for embarcation in this island, because they know that a number of Dutch ships are cruising off its mouth to attack any levies for Flanders. This causes continual complaints on the part of the Spanish and Flemish Ambassadors, to which the English reply by loud resentment of all the damage they suffer in Spain or Flanders. For example, the other day the Earl of Salisbury came to words with the Spanish Ambassador over the capture of three English ships in the Indies and the slaughter of their crews. He declared that; they deceive themselves who hold that the terms of the peace exclude the English from traffic in the Indies, as the Spanish resolutely affirm. And so, were it not that the King of England desires peace and the King of Spain requires the English alliance, there would soon be a rupture.
M. de Caron, agent of the States, told us in conversation that the Dutch fleet is going on very well, and is in hopes of falling in with the Spanish; but as that has not happened in all these years, one sees that it is a wish rather than a hope. He complains of English coldness in helping his masters, and admits that the movement in France was of great service to them. He regrets that it has come to an end so soon; although he hopes that many of these disbanded troops will take service with Count Maurice, and perhaps under the command of the Marshal de Bouillon.
The visit of the King of Denmark is announced. They say to pay his respects to their Majesties; but probably it may have to do with the succession to the Empire.
London, 20th April, 1606.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 21. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 512. The English Ambassador was summoned to the Cabinet, and the resolution of the Senate, April 20th, read to him.
In reply he said, “I do not deny, most Serene Prince and noble Lords, that I have heard a good deal about the differences between your Serenity and the Pontiff; nor do I conceal from you my pain that I was not informed by you as the Envoys of other Sovereigns have been, not that I am moved by curiosity to pry into other people's affairs, but because this conduct seemed to argue a certain distrust of my master and of me; the former is a warm friend, the latter, though weak, is none the less a true and loyal servant of your Serenity. Nay, I will go further, and say that there appear to me to be two reasons why your Serenity should have confided in me rather than in any other Envoy; the one is that I am freer from interest or prejudice than any, the other that I represent a country where they know to a farthing how much excommunication is worth. The honour done me this morning has quite consoled me, and I will make due report to my Sovereign.
“As to this controversy with the Pope I see that the case for the Republic is based upon convincing arguments and on the conservation of her own, and by own I do not mean the city and its territory, which are material objects, but her honour and her freedom as a state and as a Christian; and though no professed theologian or Canonist, for my part I hold that God will never mar justice by theology. Those sciences and their like should be ancillary, not incompatible; and when theology invades other provinces she oversteps her just limits. But I will not, this morning, enlarge unnecessarily on this topic, for I am aware of my own intellectual limitations, especially as I shall shortly—that is on Monday next—have a grave occasion to seek audience again upon a subject germane to this very controversy. Meantime I will work out my conceptions, not with a view to advising your Serenity, for in truth I would serve you as recorder of your immortal fame, but with the intention to prove myself your faithful servant, as I am so commissioned by my King.”
The Doge explained that the delay in communicating the controversy to the English Ambassador was due to the hope that the crisis would resolve itself upon the despatch of the Ambassador Extraordinary to Rome. The communication made to other Ambassadors was forced from the Republic by the Ambassadors who had agents in Rome, making communications to the government which could not do less than reply.
April 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 513. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Marquis de San Germano, Ambassador-Extraordinary from Spain to England, has arrived. I visited him. He says his mission is merely complimentary, but I am told he is to urge the King of England to press the peace on the Dutch. He left the day following.
Paris, 25th April, 1606.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 27. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 514. To Ambassador Giustinian in England.
Instructions how to act in the question of precedence claimed by the Archduke. You will demand audience, and explain to his Majesty that we cannot help feeling hurt at seeing our ancient right to the rank of Crowned heads, which is recognised by Rome, the Emperor, France and Spain, called in question at his Court. You will point out that the reigning Emperor, though brother of the Archduke, has never sanctioned any change; and that if his Majesty should come to a decision other than the one we look for we cannot be expected to concur in view so prejudicial to the Republic. You will report all to us.
Ayes 130.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 5.
April 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 515. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
My audience, which I sought when the question of precedence arose, was delayed; and meantime I took pains to be informed of what was said and done by all those who might have some weight in the matter. I am told that some members of the Council meeting together, the following observations passed:— “The Ambassador is asking an audience to lodge a complaint, but what answer will he give when the King tells him that previous Ambassadors have admitted that the Venetian Ambassador must yield precedence to the Ambassador of the Duke of Burgundy ?” And on that point I must report that a personage, who is very intimate with the Queen, and at the same time devoted to your Serenity, and therefore frequently a guest in this house, told me that her Majesty had asked him how long it was since he had seen me, and charged him to say that she was sorry her pregnancy had prevented her from receiving me. She had then added, “The Ambassador will have been annoyed at the recall of his invitation; but what could the King do? They say that it has been admitted that the Venetian Ambassador yields the pas to the Ambassador of Burgundy.” I undertook to lay before him all the arguments advanced by the Republic, with a view to his submitting them to the Queen. I believe their intention is to plead this pretended admission; but I will deny the fact, in such a way, however, that if it should be established it will not diminish the value of any of the other arguments or of the actual possesson, in which your Serenity, owing to the course of events, now finds yourself. I believe the delay in granting me audience, though partly due to causes already reported, partly to a slight indisposition of his Majesty, is also due to the fact that they cannot make up their minds what answer to return, in order to avoid altering their practice. I, however, have not omitted to protest, in case they should take my silence for consent. I am awaiting your full instructions.
The Marquis de San Germano, Ambassador Extraordinary of Spain, is expected day by day. They say he brings large presents for the Queen, towards whom the Spaniards intend for the future to make up for their neglect in the past, now that they are aware of her great weight with the King. Their object is to win her to their side.
The news that the Dutch have, in the Indies, seized six rich carracks and captured a port in those parts, after making a treaty with the natives, has greatly disturbed the Spanish Ambassador, and greatly rejoiced all friends of the Dutch.
Certain English gentlemen, who have been used to the hardships of war and of privateering, being now deprived of their profession by the peace, propose to fit out a number of ships and to sail for the discovery of unknown country in the West Indies, where, they say, there are indications of rich gold fields and other precious material. Spain will oppose the scheme and the Council will support it, and this will furnish a fresh cause for friction.
London, 27th April, 1606.


  • 1. See Cal S.P. Dom., 1606. March 27.
  • 2. See Cal. S.P. Dom., 1605–1610, p. 311. On Bates case see Hallam, Const. Hist., Cap. VI.
  • 3. i.e., de Auxiliis.
  • 4. Sir Edward Baynham.