Venice: May 1606

Pages 341-354

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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May 1606

May 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 516. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday last I had an audience of the King, and in order to approach the subject of my precedence cautiously I said that I had long desired to find myself in his presence to offer my congratulations on his sound health, in spite of the false rumours that were spread about him. I had hoped to perform that duty when his Majesty had honoured me with an invitation to attend the ceremony of Coronation-Day, and I, therefore, felt the more deeply the vain pretensions of the Archduke's Ambassador, as they had deprived me of that privilege, and also of the opportunity to testify my own devotion to his person. Nevertheless I had, through all these days, consoled myself with the assurance that his Majesty would never encourage such attempts at his Court, but that he would follow the custom of all other Sovereigns, and would maintain for the Ambassador of the Republic that ancient and well-established possession, which for hundreds of years he has enjoyed in all the Courts of the world, where it is evident that he is treated on the same footing as the Ambassadors of other Crowned heads, and with all the privileges belonging to the representatives of Kings. And here I entered on a detailed account of the usage of Courts where the close relations with the Archduke might have been expected to encourage these new claims, though they had never been advanced, as their instability was fully recognised. I dwelt on what took place at Rome in 1603, where the Flemish Ambassador, finding his pretensions unfavourably viewed, abandoned his title as Ambassador. At Rome only the Ambassadors of Crowned heads and of the Republic and no others are received in the Sala de' Rè. I added that I was sure that his Majesty would discover a way to remove such vain pretensions, and by maintaining your Serenity's Ambassador in the rank which he universally enjoys, would prevent any similar attempts elsewhere. The King listened with great attention, and replied, “My Lord Ambassador, if it rested with me to decide between the conflicting claims of Princes I would make, out of my love for the Republic and of my own accord, that public declaration which you seek. But such is not my duty nor my policy; and so I have always declined to decide between France and Spain, between Tuscany and Savoy. I beg you, therefore, to hold me excused; but I shall never cease to honour and esteem the representatives of the Republic, nor will I ever permit that, at this Court, they should receive any affront.” I, knowing how determined the King was on this point, declared that if he declined to act as judge I could not think of pressing; but I would request him in a matter where there could be no question of arguments, to make some public sign of his agreement with the action of all other Courts. This, I remarked, would not imply a change of policy, for neither France nor Savoy could advance a universal practice as regards their rank, Spain and Tuscany being able to produce cases where they have the precedence, whereas the Archduke could not show a single instance; and, therefore, his Majesty might quite well base himself on universal custom, without in any way making a judicial award. The King, who had been standing all the time, now said, “Let us sit down; you have opened out a way for me; and I promise you if Venetian precedence is really universal I will maintain it. But I must tell you in confidence that on Coronation-Day the Spanish Ambassador, pretending not to know the cause of your absence, enquired what it might be, and on learning it he entered into a long discourse, during which he denied this universal precedence of Venice which you claim. He claimed precedence for the Archduke as Duke of Burgundy, as brother of the Emperor, as an Austrian Archduke.” Here I was about to reply, but the King interrupted me, saying, “Do not trouble about that, for I do not see how any of these titles justifies him in taking the place of the Republic, which, as everyone knows, would, if its Government were Monarchical, enjoy the royal title on the strength of its condition, its kingdoms, its dominions. But I am not surprised that the Archduke puts forward such claims, for in his letters to me he addresses me as brother,' with how much justification you can quote well see;” and here he laughed, adding, “I think he does so because he was once a Cardinal, and Cardinals claim to be the equals of Kings. This question of precedence must be finished some day, and I shall be glad of it.” I thanked him, and expressed my satisfaction that the words of the Spanish Ambassador in favour of the Archduke had left no impression on his wise understanding. I did not dwell longer on the point, for I saw that his Majesty attached little importance to the arguments advanced, and also because he never once mentioned the question of Burgundy and the alleged admission of precedence by a Venetian Ambassador, and I was afraid of putting into his mind what was not there. I accordingly returned to the main point, the usage of all European Courts and his Majesty's promise that if that were established he would cause it to be observed here, and I said, “Well then, Sire, this usage is quite certain, and has never been challenged, and I cannot understand how it can be denied or even called in question. Of this your Majesty may easily satisfy yourself.” He replied, “Perhaps the usage is denied because at none of those Courts does the Archduke keep an Ambassador, and so the question of precedence cannot be said to be raised.” I said, “And what is the reason, does your Majesty imagine, why the Archduke keeps no Ambassador?” “Certainly, because there exists this disagreement about precedence,” rejoined the King. “Very well then, does not that prove the universal usage?” “Yes, certainly for me,” said the King, “but they allege another reason for not keeping Ambassadors at the various Courts, and as a matter of fact there is another reason in the case of France.” I would have replied on the question of this Embassy to France, but I desired further information, which I got from the Secretary to the French Embassy, who told me that the representative of the Archduke in France did not actually assume the title of Ambassador though he lived like one. I concluded what I had to say after a very long audience, and the upshot is that his Majesty will make no judicial decision; that he will never allow the Venetian Ambassador to be injured in his reputation, and that if universal usage grants precedence to Venice in all other Courts, he will follow the same course here. The whole question, therefore, is to persuade his Majesty that the usage is universal, and that if the Archduke does not keep Ambassadors at the Courts of Europe that fact does not call Venetian precedence in doubt. I shall deal with the subject more readily with the Earl of Salisbury, who has recently gone into the country for change of air.
London, 4th May, 1606.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 4. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 517. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
It seems that the petition of the Turkey merchants to be exempt from the duty imposed on currants exported from Venice, is not progressing as favourably as they at first hoped. The private interests of several great personages, who draw no small profit from this duty, are a serious obstacle. Some of the merchants, (fn. 1) who refused to pay while the petition was before the House, have been imprisoned, and it is thought this will intimidate the rest into acquiescence. These same merchants who, in alarm at the capture of the Turkish galleon by the English berton (fn. 2) in service of the Grand Duke, have almost retired from trade with Constantinople, no sooner heard of the burning of the Englishman by the Turks in Constantinople harbour, than, considering Turkish vengeance satisfied, they have vigorously re-opened their traffic in those parts. They are at present occupied with the choice of a new Ambassador to the Porte. He will as usual take out many presents. But the merchants declare that their profits from that trade are so small that I am persuaded they would gladly embrace the proposals which they previously laid before your Serenity.
The expedition to the West Indies is being slowly fitted out. The Spanish Ambassador does all he can to hinder the enterprise, but it will not be forbidden for all that. In fact they show that they have no intention to abandon the West Indian trade.
Parliament will sit for some days more. The question of the Union is dropped for this Session. It is also thought that the laws against the Catholics will not be so sharp as they were expected to be in the heat of the conspiracy.
These last few days the King has been attending to his devotions, which, according to the custom of the country, occupy Holy Week. He has touched many for Scrofula, they say with hopes of good effects, remembering the earlier cases of healing conferred by his hand. Yesterday was St. George's Day, and the solemn ceremony of that Order was celebrated. Some of the Ambassadors were present. The King intended to raise the number of the Knights to the full twenty-four by the creation of the Earl of Salisbury and the Earl of Montgomery, his great favourite; but nothing has been done, owing, they say, to the complaints of the Kings of France and of Denmark, Knights of the Order, who have declared that, unless the Order is kept pure by the election of those only whose nobility of blood and rank are eminent, they will resign.
London, 4th May, 1606.
May 6. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 518. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and received congratulations on his recovery from an illness of some days' duration. The Ambassador returned thanks for the customary visit of enquiry. He then proceeded to say that he had for many days desired to have audience, but being attacked by violent pains and flux in the head he had been forced to give way to his malady, “for sure it is as that gentleman hath it, 'maximum negocium est sanitas.' Now feeling myself somewhat better it irked me to lie longer in bed, asleep or counting the hours, while all about me was the buzz of many things, and perchance in some corner of Italy the whisper of my name. I have come this morning to broach two subjects, I might fairly call them two disillusionments; one touches the honour of my master, the other the honour of the Republic. I am glad to see attention on your faces and the doors shut, for I shall speak freely.”
The Ambassador then explained at great length that a series of interrogations said to have been applied to a Jesuit Father in the Tower of London were being circulated by the Jesuits from their various colleges. He had received copies of these interrogatories, one from France, one from Genoa, one from Rome. The object of all this was twofold; first, to save the reputation of the society by cunningly occupying people's minds; the other, to arouse hostility against the King of England in Italy and elsewhere, especially in Venice.
The interrogatories were applied to Father Darcio (fn. 3) of the Society of Jesus in England.
1. Can the Pontiff excommunicate James, reigning King of England?
He answered that all Catholics held and hold that the Supreme Pontiff, as Christ's vicar on earth, can excommunicate all heretic Kings and Princes.
He was told that this was not a direct answer to the question. He was called to reply directly to this:—Can Pope Paul V., at present residing in Rome, justly excommunicate James I., at this time King of Great Britain?
He replied that he had made a general answer in accordance with Catholic doctrine, and by that answer he must stand; for it did not rest with him, but with a higher authority and a riper council to define what the Supreme Pontiff, Paul V., may do against James. He declined to reap in another's corn.
2. Are all English of the Anglican confession heretics?
He answered that all who left the Catholic Church were heretics. He declined to specify the English.
3. Had he any share in the late plot by his authority, advice or privity thereto?
He answered “No,” and added that such horrible crimes should be punished even more severely than they had been if that were possible.
4. Was he the author of a certain book attacking the realm of England?
He denied that he was the author, but admitted having seen and corrected the book in his official capacity.
The Ambassador said that this man was Provincial of the Society in England, that is a person of such importance that it was worth while to write at once to Italy in his defence; for if it were proved that a person of his rank had had a part in a conspiracy or such like, the ordinary pleas of the Society—for example the assertion that they were in England solely for the salvation of poor souls, but not to meddle in any way with affairs of state, and such like “fig leaves ”—would avail them nothing.
“I do not desire to speak of the first, second and fourth of these interrogatories, but only of the third, which is the touchstone. The third question runs thus, 'An ultima proditio ipsius auctoritate, aut consilio, vel scientia facta sit?' Your Serenity, I assure you that when I read that denial I was astounded to see such desperate impudence; for a few days earlier I had read certain News-sheets printed here in Venice by these good Fathers, relating their progress in Muscovy, the conversion of a King in Africa and so on.
I said to myself 'All right about Muscovy, it's a cold country afar away, few go there and few return. About Africa, it's a country separated from us by the sea, full of strange names, where every now and then a Portuguese or two may land. The Jesuits might have published had they chosen the conversion—God forgive me—of a crocodile. But now that the ancient friendly relations between Venice and Great Britain have been re-established and Envoys sent by both sides, who keep each party fully informed every week of all that is going on, upon my soul I am amazed that the Society should dare to treat Italy as a simpleton. For there is no manner of doubt whatever that the Provincial was examined by the Council without any sort of torture whatsoever, and confessed freely not only that he was guilty of this horrible conspiracy, but that he laid the plot and quieted the consciences of the accomplices, and by his confession he has involved five or six other members of the Society of Jesus who was the 'betrayed' not the 'betrayer.'
This much I was bound to say in defence of my master's honour, and I am confident that so wise an assembly as the Senate will admit that he has ample reasons to justify him in proceeding criminally against these masquerading Fathers. I am further bound to disabuse my country of a false impression which is current, namely, that it was the fear of the Pope that made Venice suspend diplomatic relations for so many years. This was frequently said by the late Queen Elizabeth to the illustrious Sig. Giovanni Basadonna, and repeated publicly to Secretary Scaramelli (fn. 4) at that first audience which laid the foundation of the renewed relations between the two countries, which we now enjoy; and although a vigorous reply was at once forthcoming, as was to be looked for from an Envoy who was wounded in the honour of his Sovereign, nevertheless some seeds of this inveterate error still lie about our Court, so vitally important, as Plato says, is the first colour given to the mind, in this I have served and will serve your Serenity in all the faith of a gentleman.”
The Ambassador then continued to say that on such an occasion the Doge might well expect from him the statement of his feelings towards the Republic, and he went on to tell a story of how once in Switzerland he had remarked to his host that he thought it folly of the Swiss to visit the plague-stricken, and he had for reply that while friends are well they can do without visits. This he thought applicable to the present crisis. “Now that the health, that is the freedom of your Serenity is attacked, now is the time to come forward and publicly show one's regard; and that is the duty not merely of Venetian subjects, but of all of us who live here in enjoyment of the protection and civilization of the state.”
“A party of gentlemen, who put to sea and were becalmed, took to cards to pass the time. A breeze sprang up, but they never rose from the table, leaving the business to the master and his men; the breeze, however, grew to a gale, and then every man was called to lend a hand with the ropes and sails. And by the way, talking of this reminds me of something which I am driven to say; your Serenity will pardon me, it must out. I have been reading the life of Pyrrhon the Sceptic, who taught his pupils that all accidents were indifferent, and that they ought to believe that whether you ran against a cart or did not was all one, and therefore on meeting a cart you ought not to move out of the way to one side or the other. And so it became necessary to introduce into that sect a philosopher of another sect to prevent them from following out their deadly teaching. This story pleased me, and on thinking it over it seemed to me applicable to the present crisis, for it might be as well perhaps for your Serenity to introduce some philosopher of another sect to assist you. I trust your Serenity understands my meaning, which is clear enough to myself. The conclusion is that I am neither Guelph nor Ghibelline, but first and foremost an Englishman, and next, by God, a Venetian, and as I am going into the country for five or six days' change of air, should your Serenity desire my presence pray inform my household, which I leave here, and I will come with all speed to your service as in duty bound.”
The Doge returned thanks, and said that if matters came to an extreme the Republic would defend itself, and in that case would certainly communicate to his Lordship the steps it meant to take.
May 12. Minutes of the Senate, Roma. Venetian Archives. 519. Resolution to communicate to the English Ambassador the recall of the Nuncio and the dismissal of the Venetian Ambassador in Rome.
Ayes 134.
Noes 2.
Neutrals 4.
May 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 520. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday the English Ambassador (Cornwallis) arrived in Madrid, and when I visited him he complained that they had lodged him outside the inhabited part, as though he were plague-stricken. He said this would displease his master, and all the more so as the news would reach him just about the same time that he would learn that the Archduke had set free the two English conspirators. All the same this Ambassador does not protest now as he did at first, for being in straits for money owing to the excessive costliness of this Court, he accepted a present of three thousand crowns from the King of Spain. This he says nothing about for fear that it would displease his master. But I know it from a very sure source, and I tell your Serenity as an instance of the way the Spanish win over the English.
Madrid, 13th May, 1606.
May 16. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 521. The English Ambassador was invited to attend in the Cabinet to hear the resolution of the Senate, dated May 12th. On his taking his usual seat the Doge made some enquiries as to his health. The Ambassador said he was quite well and had been for three days in the Paduan district for change of air.
The Doge said, “Your Lordship probably found the Padovano a fair territory, and there is the convenience of water-carriage by which you reach it.” “Yes,” said the Ambassador, “it is a fair land and very fertile; but I am told that a third of it, and that the best, is owned by the Church, and they are not content even yet. I must tell your Serenity a really marvellous fact. At the time we English were still Catholics, before the change, three hundred years ago, in the reign of Edward III., a law was passed precisely similar to this law of your Serenity forbidding the accumulation of temporal goods in ecclesiastical hands; and yet neither the reigning Pontiff nor any of his successors made any complaint down to the time of Henry VIII., when we ceased to be Catholics. It is therefore strange that the present Pontiff should make such a noise.”
The Doge said, “So it is. Your Lordship is well informed as to the present state of affairs, and as a further sign of confidence the following resolution will be read to you.”
After hearing it the Ambassador returned thanks, and then said that he had been continually revolving in his mind how he might be of service to the Republic, and he had resolved to lay bare a secret of his mind, if haply, like the ant, he might add one little grain to the mound of Venetian greatness. “I am in a free state, and in a secret council I will speak openly, but under seal of confession.”
“I have read in the histories of the Republic how on occasions like the present crisis it has been the custom for the government to form leagues, be they open or secret, for the safety of the state and to preserve the balance of power. It has occurred to me that such a league might now be formed on the condition that it was secret and defensive. The members might be the King of Great Britain, the King of France, the Grey League, certain Swiss Cantons, and perhaps a German Prince. I venture to lay this before your Serenity as a possible scheme, in order that you may give me your mind on the subject. To prove that this idea is not fantastical, capricious, in the air, I must tell you that it first came into my head at the time when the Count of Fuentes issued citations on the subject of certain fiefs. Although that citation was suppressed, yet it made a great commotion at the time and induced the Duke of Sessa, who was intimately acquainted with Italian affairs, as he had resided so long as Ambassador in Rome, to draw up a memorial on the subject, discussing two points, one whether it was the King of Spain's true policy to throw Italy into commotion, and if it were was this the time to do it? This memorial I have had by secret means, and I will presently leave it with your Serenity. I will merely quote, for the present, the following passage, which says that such a policy can serve only to injure his Majesty's reputation and to provoke the formation of new leagues and confederations among Princes, both Italian and foreign. Now, your Serenity, I have always been taught that it is a wise plan to put in execution what you know your enemy dreads; and this has induced me to lay my plan before you.
I must add that at Genoa they are arming twenty galleys over and above the ordinary squadron of fourteen. Then there are the usual six Genoese galleys, forming in all a squadron of forty, obviously intended to have some bearing on the present crisis.
Again, one of my secretaries, who is also my nephew, (fn. 5) was in Milan when the news came that the Pope was going to publish the Interdict against the Republic, and he assures me from personal observation that Count Fuentes was delighted and did not conceal it.
But by far the most important point, and one that I venture to say is known to no other Envoy but myself, is this, that the King of Spain on the advice of the Jesuits and of two or three Cardinals intends to change his title and to style himself not the 'Catholic King,' but 'Defender of the Faith.' The Jesuits hope in this way to bind him more closely to the service of the Pope and the defence of the Holy See. This I have thought it right to submit to this grave Council, as I shall all other information I receive.”
The Doge assured the Ambassador of the safe secrecy of that chamber. Returned thanks for the Duke of Sessa's memorial. The Duke is now dead.
As to a league, the Republic is resolved to maintain its faith while maintaining its possessions. She cannot therefore for the present embark on such a negotiation, although the Council thanks the Ambassador for having thrown out the idea.
The Ambassador, in replying, presents two petitions, one in favour of English merchants and the question of payment for the corn unladen in Zante. An agent has been in Venice for a long time waiting for the consignment of the money. His expenses are heavy, and moreover he is now ill.
The second petition was in favour of a certain Thiene that he should be absolved from the remaining years of his banishment.
To this the Doge replied that the matter was an affair for the Council of Ten, who would do all that was possible to satisfy the Ambassador.
May 18. Original Despatch Venetian Archives. Expulsis Papalistis. 522. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received your Serenity's despatch of the 21st of last month, and along with it the copy of your communication to the English Ambassador, respecting the difficulties raised by the Pope. I will make use of this in my conversation with the King and the ministers. I have also received instructions for my own private use. It is stated here that excommunication has been pronounced, and that your Excellencies have ordered preparations for war. This news is received with execration and invectives against the Pope. The King is not in London, and the Court has not yet received the information, though yesterday the Queen's Secretary sent me a note with this and other details, relating to the Grisons, which had been received from France. I think he did this on the Queen's orders to find out the truth from me. The Spanish and Flemish Ambassadors have spoken of this hitherto under their breath, but since this news was published, as far as I am aware, they have not mentioned it at all.
The Earl of Salisbury and his protégé, Viscount Bindon, (fn. 6) have received the Garter at last. The Earl of Salisbury is entirely occupied in preparations for his installation with extraordinary pomp, and by the many affairs of state incident upon the close of Parliament. I have not been able to see him on the subject of precedence; but he has sent several times to excuse himself, and promises that this delay shall in no wise prejudice the firm opinion he holds upon this matter.
The Marquis de San Germano, Ambassador-Extraordinary from the King of Spain to convey congratulations for the escape from the plot, has arrived. He was received in public audience the day following, and the morning after that he was invited to dinner, and to the chase afterwards. Yesterday he went to pay his respects to the Queen, and in his master's name he presented her with a robe and other adornments, more remarkable for the beauty of their design than for the richness of the stuff. On the fourth day he left. This rapidity is attributed to the acuteness of the Spaniard, who, being aware that the King was going to leave London shortly for the chase, determined to hurry over the ceremonies of his own accord and not upon his Majesty's orders. He will return to Spain viâ Flanders, where he will see the Archduke. I visited him, and he returned the visit.
The Baron de Molart, gentleman of the Duke of Lorraine, has also arrived on a similar mission.
London, 18th May, 1606.
May 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 523. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A few days ago (fn. 7) capital sentence was executed upon the Jesuit, who was condemned for the plot. He died like a Christian, but in addressing the crowd, which was immense, he used the word “Pope,” whereupon rose such an uproar that it was feared lest the fury of the mob should forestall the course of justice. He has disclosed no further plot, as was hoped that he might do when they prolonged his life. Thus all the partners in that villainy are being extinguished. As to the Earl of Northumberland, he has not been convicted, and he is so powerful that it is generally supposed he will be neither condemned nor set at liberty.
The King of Denmark is expected very soon. His object is to see the Queen, his sister, and to visit the King; though some attribute to him ulterior motives.
Next week some of the vessels of the West Indies expedition will sail. Others are being fitted out to follow them. This shows that all representations, which have been made with a view to stopping the expedition, have been of no avail, and that the ministers are resolved to grant letters for that to no one else.
M. de la Boderie, (fn. 8) Ambassador-in-Ordinary from France, reached London two days ago. He has publicly announced his intention of maintaining a close and perfect understanding with me, as representative of a state so beloved and esteemed by his master. I sent my secretary to him, and as soon as the formal reception is over I will visit him myself.
London, 18th May, 1606.
May 29. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 524. The Ambassador of England had audience, and spoke as follows:—
Promises the affectionate support of the King of England in the Roman affair.
Renders thanks for the grace bestowed by the Council of Ten on the gentleman of the house of Thiene.
And this renders him bold to ask favour on behalf of Antonio Dotto, a Paduan gentleman.
Also commends to the attention of the College some English merchants, creditors of a gentleman of the house of Loredan; as appears from memorial now presented; which runs thus: —
Certain English merchants, for whom appears Geoffrey Lutario, are creditors of a member of the house of Loredan, for the sum of 2,458 ducats 12 grossi, due to them in virtue of a sentence obtained in the court of appeal in August, 1605. setting aside a hostile sentence of the year 1600; Loredan opposed this, and judgment was given on March 17 in favour of the English. Since then they have not succeeded in obtaining anything. Loredan, as a last resort, has offered to pay in Ongari instead of Zecchini at the rate of eleven lire each, although the sum was paid into Court by the merchants in Zecchini; and in spite of the fact that they have had the use of the merchants' money, and in spite of so many sentences and orders of the Court it has not been possible up till now to recover the 2,458 d. 12 g.
Your Serenity is therefore entreated to summon the said Loredan and to order the payment as is just and due.
When the Ambassador had read the memorial he added, “I dealt with this subject before, during the reign of the Doge Grimani, and it was even concluded, but execution was always delayed. I now earnestly beg your Serenity to cause execution to be made.”
The Ambassador also mentioned the subject of the decision in the case of the corn ship, and begged for immediate execution, especially as there was a gentleman waiting on in Venice at his own charges about this very point.
Execution was promised the week following, when the illustrious Signor Giacomo Corner, who has had the business in hand, shall have come home.
The Doge thanked the Ambassador for allowing the representatives of Brescia to precede him in audience; his Serenity also assured the Ambassador that as regards the grace granted to Thiene the Government are always most ready to do anything that will please him, as he is personally loved and honoured by the Republic (essendo la sua persona grandemente amata et honorata dalla Republica). In this case the Council of Ten have done for him what they refused to do for others, and have surmounted the many difficulties there were in the way of granting his request.
As to interposing to reconcile the family Dotto, which is in truth one of the great families of Padua, the Government, which is always concerned in the preservation of peace among its subjects, will make enquiries as to the causes of dissension, and will adopt the necessary steps. At the same time the Ambassador is informed that the Government is always ready to please him, and if it cannot on great occasions it will do so on small.
As to the case of the Loredani the Government will send for Signor Alvise, and see that he fulfills his just obligations.
The Ambassador returned thanks to the Doge, and then added, “There is one thing I would say, I have heard something from Brussels, which touches the interests of this Republic, and I desire to communicate it with all confidence in this place. A servant of my master (fn. 9) writes to me that in Brussels they are much displeased at the news from England that his Majesty has decided the question of precedence in favour of the Republic. I have written to England to say that the decision is one in accordance with the greatness and antiquity of this Serene Republic. I would have done this any way, whether your Serenity had had ample reason on your side or not, for, as I am residing at your Court, I am bound to uphold your dignity.” The Doge replied. “We have been informed of the Arciducal pretensions by our Ambassador in England, but we have no news of any decision. Our case, however, is so valid that it is not to be dreamed of that we can be deprived of our ancient rank next to Crowned heads. All the same we render due thanks for your kind offices.” The Ambassador replied in few words and a very low voice; the substance was that he could ans—er for it that his master would never take any decision prejudicial to the dignity of the Republic. He then rose, took his leave and departed.
May 31. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 525. That the Ambassador of England be invited to attend, and that the following be read to him: —
As regards your Lordships' representations, made to us some months ago and renewed quite recently, in the matter of the corn ship, belonging to Hugh Westerbrook (? Whitbrook. Hugone Westribrock) of London, which our beloved noble, Giacomo Corner, Governor of Zante in the year 1597, caused to be unladed at that date. We have been obliged to await for information, which it was not so easy to obtain about an event which took place upwards of nine years ago.
We can now inform you that Giacomo Corner sold both the corn and the ship which was abandoned by Hugh and was rotting in the Port. The proceeds, two thousand three hundred and fifty ducats, grossi five, picioli twenty-five, were deposited in the Mint on his return from his Government, that is all that we can find from the deposit account at the Mint.
Now although the said Hugh appears to have committed such deeds in our waters as would probably render him incapable of sueing, still, out of a desire to gratify your Lordship, we will give orders to pay the money to the said Hugh or his lawful representative.
Further an order shall be issued to the Deposit Clerk in the Mint to pay to Hugh Westerbrook (? Whitbrook) the said sum, which was deposited on July 6th, 1599, by the noble Giacomo Corner.
Ayes 102.
Noes 2.
Neutrals 20.
May 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 526. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have not yet been able to execute your Serenity's orders as to what I am to say to the King on the subject of precedence, as his Majesty is away in the country at the chase, and will not be disturbed by business. None the less I have asked for audience, so that I may at once obtain it the moment the King goes to Greenwich, whither all the Court has already been moved.
This perpetual occupation with country pursuits, though possibly not distasteful to those who hold the reins of government, is extremely annoying to those who don't. The people, too, desire to see their Sovereign. The discontent has reached such a pitch that the other day there was affixed to the door of the Privy Chamber a general complaint of the King, alleging that his excessive kindness leaves his subjects a prey to the cupidity of his Ministers. The King read it with some annoyance, and showed it to those who were about him. The expressions did not go beyond a paternal warning to the King not to give his subjects further cause for acting so that he should have to complain of them. Nor has Parliament given him the satisfaction he looked for. The Commons presented their remonstrance, to which the King listened, but in an elegant discourse he deferred all consideration of the points raised to a future Session. The members complain that, after granting subsidies, they have obtained nothing but an announcement of further expenditure; and the populace makes this shrewd remark, “Three subsidies, much evil, no redress.” The Bishops have received the greatest satisfaction of all, for they were relieved of a heavy pecuniary penalty to which they had become liable for omitting from their decrees the style they use here, “By the Grace of God and of the King,” the King having convinced himself that the omission took place through negligence and not with any intent to impugn the royal supremacy in the Anglican Church.
The King is absent and the Queen pregnant, I could not, therefore, see them; but I had an audience of the Prince and some Ministers. I cannot tell your Excellencies the satisfaction which, owing to their hatred of the Pope, they experience at this news of excommunication. It is indeed a marvel; great and small express indignation and use such language that if it reached the ears of him who is thus unwarrantably annoying the Republic, it would most certainly cause him to desist. Nor do I doubt that if the King touches on the subject he will discourse at length, for it is one that suits his taste.
London, the last day of May, 1606.
May 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 527. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have been to visit the Ambassador-in-Ordinary of France (de la Boderie), who dwelt upon the affection of his Most Christian Majesty for the Republic and upon his orders to show himself here in the closest relations with your Serenity's representative. He then touched on the subject of the excommunication, and went over it in a sense favourable to the Republic. As he was French Ambassador in Rome at the time his country was under excommunication he can speak with authority. As to the question of the Archduke's claim to precedence he says he remembers a conversation with the President Richardot in which the same arguments were advanced as are employed here, with the additional one that the Infanta was then heir to the Spanish Crown, and as such claimed precedence. M. de la Boderie told me that the Archduke clung to these pretensions; that he did not name his representative in France “Ambassador” in his credentials, though he treated him as one whenever it suited him to do so. The reason for this was either that there was a question of precedence with the Ambassador of Venice or because the King of France did not give the title of Ambassador to his representative at the Archduke's Court. He added that at his first public audience here the King could not refrain from whispering in his ear some complaint of the Spanish, because they refused to surrender that accomplice in the plot who is in their hands, and that his Majesty has taken no notice of an excuse brought him by the Marquis of San Germano.
A few days ago the Earl of Salisbury and the other new Knight (Viscount Bindon) went to Windsor for the solemn reception of the investiture of the Garter. The pomp was such that the like of it is not in the memory of man; indeed all confess that it surpassed the ceremony of the very King's Coronation; so great is the power of this minister. All envy of him is now dead; no one seeks aught but to win his favour; it is thought that his power will last, for it is based not so much on the grace of his Majesty, as on an excellent prudence and ability which secure for him the universal opinion that he is worthy of his great authority and good fortune.
There is news that an English regiment in service of the Archduke showed signs of mutiny and its commander was removed. Count Maurice has thrown a Scottish regiment into Bergen-op-Zoom, and sent his brother, Count Henry, with a large body of troops into Friesland, where the attack was chiefly looked for. If things go well for them by sea, as they have done hitherto, they look for far greater success this year than they at first thought possible.
London, the last day of May, 1606.


  • 1. John Bates, or Bate. Hallam. Const. Hist., pp. 228, 229. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1603–1660, p. 311.
  • 2. The “Merchant Royal,” owned by Cockaine, was the English ship. The “Sultana” was the Turkish galleon. See Birch, “Court and Times of James the First,” vol. i., p. 59.
  • 3. i.e., Garnet.
  • 4. See Cal. S.P. Ven. ix., Nos. 505, 1,135.
  • 5. Sir Albertus Moreton.
  • 6. Thomas Howard.
  • 7. May 3–13.
  • 8. Antoine le Fevre de la Boderie, “a man of such extraordinary merit that the famous Monsr. Arnaud d'Audilly, who married his daughter, says that no man in France was thought so capable as he of filling the place of Monsr. de Villeroy,” See Birch's “Historical View,” p. 258.
  • 9. Probably Sir Thomas Edmondes. See Birch, “Historical View,” pp. 253–277.