Venice: June 1606

Pages 355-368

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


June 1606

1606. June 4. Original Despatch Venetian Archives. 528. Ottaviano Bon, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Mehemet, Grand Vizir, died after eight days' rheumatic pains. Dervisch Pasha, Capudan, elected in his place.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 4th June, 1606.
[Italian; deciphered.]
June 9. Minutes of the Senate Venetian Archives. 529. That the English Ambassador be invited to attend in the College, and that the following be read to him:—
My Lord Ambassador, although we have no confirmation of the news your Lordship told us you had by way of Brussels, and although our Ambassador in England writes that the King has come to no decision as yet, chiefly owing to the occupations of the Earl of Salisbury, nevertheless your communication has afforded a fresh and most grateful proof of your good-will towards us, and your ability in recognising what is proper under the circumstances. We have accordingly invited you to attend here, in order that we may, as we now do, thank you heartily for your kind offices performed in the past and promised for the future. And although we suppose your Lordship to be fully alive to the facts of the case, which are notorious to all, still we venture to recapitulate them personally.
In every Court, then, of the great Powers our Ambassadors have always taken rank with the Ambassadors of Crowned heads, and there has never been any question as to this rank, only as to precedence within the rank. This ancient privilege has always been preserved to the Republic without the smallest interruption. Any action contrary to this usage would be a distinct innovation.
We will not enter now upon the merits of the case, for the antiquity, the power, the nobility and all the conditions of our constitution, free from the beginning and preserved so to this day, are matters of universal knowledge, whereas his Highness the Archduke owes his dominions to another Sovereign. Furthermore, in 1603, Don Pedro de Toledo, an ecclesiastic, who was sent by the Archduke to reside for him at Rome, put forward similar claims, but recognising their invalidity he abandoned them. At the Court of his Most Christian Majesty the Archduke's Ambassador has never been present at public functions, though invited, and this shows that he recognises his claim to be baseless. All these reasons convince us that his Majesty will not allow our ancient privileges to suffer injury, and we look for a decision from his Majesty which shall be in conformity with the practice of other Courts, and such as might be expected from his well-known prudence, goodness and love, especially when seconded by your Lordship. Nor must we omit to say that we are equally obliged for your kind offices and offers in the affair of Rome, and shall always retain a lively and grateful memory thereof.
That the above be communicated to the Ambassador in England.
Ayes 148.
Noes 3.
Neutrals 3.
June 13. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Principi Venetian Archives. 530. The resolutions of the Senate, on the subject of the corn ships, taken on the 31st May were read to the English Ambassador; also the resolution of the 9th inst. on the subject of precedence. The Ambassador spoke as follows:—
“I imagined that your Serenity had sent for me to command me in something; I came right willingly, as to do so is my great desire. Put me to the proof and I will serve you in all loyalty, as bound to do by the precept of St. John, 'Love is not afraid.' All the more should I do so now, as I hear that in Rome they are beginning to take steps against me. A friend there writes that the Pope has been informed that I take your Serenity's side in the quarrel and that I have promised aid. This greatly displeases his Holiness, and my friend urges me to send him full information that he may clear my conduct. To this I have answered that I have no need to clear my reputation in Rome, for I am not dependent on her; and that when in August of 1604 I entered this thrice noble State, his Majesty, whom I serve, sent me with a double mission, as is clear from the instructions I hold, one to serve the King, the other to serve the Republic, his friend. I added further that when my master made peace with Spain he opened all his ports, which means that all his subjects enjoy the fullest freedom to serve any Prince they choose; and that the Pope himself, if these troubles go on, may quite well find some English in his service, nor would it be surprising if your Serenity found others in yours; and I accordingly offer myself.
“But I find I am not summoned to receive a command, but a favour, and for this I return my warmest thanks to your Serenity and the Signoria for your attention to my representations in the matter of the corn ship. As to the second point about precedence, Lord Salisbury's occupations just now, chiefly about the last details of the plot, have no doubt caused delay.”
After an exchange of compliments the Ambassador rose to take his leave, and in doing so he again recommended the case of the English merchants against the Loredan. He then asked to have the resolution of the Senate read over again, and was told that this would be done for him in private. Then with bows he took his leave.
June 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 531. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to audience of the King at Greenwich, in order to execute my commissions, first to complain on the subject of precedence, and then to explain the differences with the Pope.
On the first point I said that having reported to your Serenity you could not help complaining loudly that your ancient possession of rank along with Crowned heads, which is granted at the Roman, Imperial, French and Spanish Courts, should be disputed at this; that the Emperor himself, who is the Archduke's brother, would never consent to any change, and I repeated the arguments already employed, ending up with a declaration that if his Majesty should come to a determination other than what your Serenity looked for it would be impossible for you to acquiesce in such a diminution of your dignity. The King replied in the same terms as he had employed at my first interview with him on the subject; namely, that his sympathies were with the Republic, that he could not undertake to decide on the merits of the case, that he would have declared for the Republic on the special point if he had been convinced that they held precedence everywhere else, but that this was denied by the Ambassador of the Archduke who averred that at other Courts his master kept no representative with the title of Ambassador; that he could not, therefore, infer the undoubted possession of the Republic. I confined my answer to this that your Serenity asked nothing but that your representatives should be treated here as they were treated in every Court in the world; that you sought no innovation, and only resented such as were being attempted in this Court by others; and that so great, so just, so beneficent a Sovereign would surely restore your Ambassador to his proper place. The King replied most frankly, “If you only knew the argument I have had with the Ambassador of the Archduke since last I spoke to you you would be amazed; for I went very far indeed in support of the reasons you adduce. He saw that I was on your side, and made use of terms which raised a smile; cited the insult to the Emperor and the King of Spain; said the Archduke had meant to send me an Embassy about the plot; finally declared that he would renounce the title of Ambassador rather than yield. To that I was obliged to answer that such a step would cause less disorder than the injury that it was proposed to inflict on the Republic, for at no other Court did the Archduke's agents assume the title of Ambassador. In short I put forward warmly all your arguments. I promise I will never allow you to suffer an injury, but I hope the occasion will not arise again.” I thought he referred to the possible return to the old custom that Venice goes with France and Flanders with Spain; and I at once rejoined, “Sire, in order to remedy the injury already done to the Republic by the suspension, on your Majesty's commands, of her usual precedence, it will be necessary to make some public occasion for the restitution to her of her ancient prestige; anything short of that would only serve to confirm the injury, which your Majesty declares that you in no way wish to see inflicted. Your Majesty will pardon me if I remark that this would come all the more readily as a protest against those who are endeavouring to put pressure on your Majesty to act in opposition to your own conviction.” “Yes, that is so,” said the King, “but enough.” Then without allowing me to say more he asked, “What have you to tell me about the Republic and the Pope?” I replied that this topic was precisely the other reason of my seeking an interview. Our conversation will be reported in my second despatch.
On the question of precedence I had an interview with the Earl of Salisbury, and was able to speak more intimately with him than with the King. I urged upon his notice the injury received and the necessity for such a reparation as I sought. He said he was well aware that the King was generally favourable to the Republic, and that the Archduke's Ambassador had been frankly told that the whole trouble was the fault of the officials, who mistook the orders of the Council; had the message been delivered as intended I would probably have been satisfied. Now that the mischief had been done a remedy must be found, but that cannot be all in a minute, though such was the King's intention.
Two days ago I received an invitation to attend the dissolution of Parliament along with the French Ambassador, and the Earl of Salisbury pointed out to me that this was a clear proof of the King's disposition, for I was the first to be invited after the episode, and that this fact had greatly annoyed the Ambassador of the Archduke, who was scheming for some public recognition of his precedence, and added that this ought to satisfy me. I replied that this might satisfy the Archduke's Ambassador, who was in the wrong, but it could never satisfy me; for the reparation ought to be made in the same manner as the injury had been inflicted, and that was concerned not with the order of the invitation, but with the place assigned. Besides I pointed out that this invitation to assist at the dissolution was a private, not a public mark of esteem; moreover the Archduke's Ambassador had been invited last year, and could not expect to be this. Lord Salisbury seemed hard pressed by these observations, and said, “Your Lordship is quite right; and I do not say that this is reparation sufficient; but that it ought to be taken as a sign and testimony of what the King intends to do. Besides this is not a Court where there are public ceremonies to which only certain Ambassadors have the right of invitation, but as it is necessary to satisfy all by a division of favours the fact of being invited first ought certainly to count for something.” He knew, he said, that such was the King's intention, and as such it was taken by the world at large. I replied that the custom of separate invitation, which exists at this Court, was introduced in order to avoid deciding questions of precedence among Ambassadors, whose precedence varied at various Courts; but the Archduke's Ambassador had not the example of a single Court in his favour; and I could not be expected to waive my right to be invited along with Ambassadors of Crowned heads. Lord Salisbury assured me of the King's goodwill and of his intention to take an early opportunity to satisfy the Republic, intentions in which his Lordship shared.
They had, he said, cause to desire the humiliation of the Archduke, for he was an ingrate, and he added many expressions hostile to that Prince and to Spain, and a doubt whether peace would last long. On the other hand he enlarged on the affection of the King for the Republic, and his desire for a closer relationship, which he begged me to foster, and assured me that similar orders had been issued to the English Ambassador in Venice. I replied in suitable terms, and declared that I relied on these expressions of the King and himself to obtain a full reparation for the injury inflicted. He replied that all he had said was said as from himself, and upon that I might found what expectations I deemed advisable; but he begged me to observe silence, so as to avoid injuring his position here. I showed that, coming from so great and prudent and powerful a Minister, I took his declarations for certain promises.
I must add that for some days past, perhaps to smooth down the irritation they know they have caused, they have shown a marked solicitude to honour and favour me; for besides the invitation to the dissolution of Parliament, I have been received by personages of very high rank, which is quite unusual, and I am told this is done by special orders of the King, who also sent me a present of game, adding that he did so because it was the largest and the finest capture of the season.
London, 14th June, 1606.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 532. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After dealing with the question of precedence, I proceeded to inform his Majesty of what was taking place between the Pope and the Republic, and said that I was expressly charged by your Serenity to acquaint him with the unmerited annoyance which the Pope was causing to the Republic over the question of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The Republic had entertained the hope that the special mission she had sent would have brought these annoyances to a conclusion, annoyances which no other Pope ever thought of inflicting; but every attempt at justification proved futile. The Pope remained unusually bitter, and finally affixed a sort of edict against the Republic to the walls of Rome. He refused to listen to arguments, and went the length of recalling his Nuncio from Venice and dismissing the Venetian Ambassador from Rome, and by so doing he displayed a too deeply-rooted animosity against Venice, to your Serenity's great amazement and regret, seeing that the conduct of the Doge had always been directed to the service of God and the good of the country. That being so, the Republic desired to give information to all reigning Princes.
His Majesty returned thanks, and said he would be glad to learn from our mouth how the matter really stood. I replied that I was sure your Serenity would never wish to fail in all marks of confidence; that many days ago I had received orders to make a communication to his Majesty, but the affairs of Parliament had so occupied him that he was obliged to put me off. “Excuse me,” said the King, “that is the sole reason, and you see that the moment I am free I send for you.” I thought it well to say that I had had orders many days ago from you to communicate everything to him, because I fancied that he would have liked to have been informed directly on your orders. However, I persuaded him that the delay was caused by himself. I then went on to explain the three points of divergence between the Pope and the Republic. I pointed out that the laws objected to are of very old standing, made hundreds of years ago. They are constructed with a view to good government, and with not the smallest intention of damaging the Ecclesiastical authority; nor had any of the Pope's predecessors ever challenged them. In making this statement I availed myself of the information your Serenity furnished me. But the King did not let me go far; he broke in with a very resolute look and said, “They are pious, most just, most necessary laws. Not only do I approve, I commend and sustain them. The world would indeed be fortunate if every Prince would open his eyes and behave as the Republic does; but some hold their tongues because on that condition they are permitted to do what they like, others are indifferent, others afraid. It is the mutual jealousy of Princes, not the will of Christ that has made the Papacy so great and so insolent. The Pope holds me and my Crown for the most abominable thing in the world; but I claim to be a better servant of God than he is. To his Divine Majesty and before mankind I protest that I have no greater desire than to see the Church of God reformed of those abuses introduced by the Church of Rome. There is nothing I am more desirous of than the convocation of a legitimate Council. I have informed the King of France, with whom I am on good terms, and who knows but that through these present troubles of the Republic God may open the way for the effectuation of my pious purpose? The Popes, however, do not desire this, for it suits their designs to keep the world in darkness. What wonder then if Christianity is ruined and if Princes are exposed every day to annoyance from the intolerable pretensions of Rome? Pope Clement VIII. invited me to join the Roman Church. I replied that if they would resolve the various difficulties in a general Council, legitimately convened, I would submit myself to its decisions. What do you think he answered?—just look at the zeal of the Vicar of Christ—why, he said, 'The King of England need not speak of Councils; I won't hear of one. If he will not come in by any other means things may stand as they are.' What do you think of that? Is it not an answer which clearly shows their resolve to be guided by nothing but their interest and their passions? And so it is in every case; so overweening is their personal claim and so outrageous the flattery of those who, from ambition and avarice, worship them with an execrable adulation, that may be they hold themselves superior even to Him whose vicar and minister on earth they are. I am not surprised that in their controversy with the Republic they will not listen to reason, for their habit is to admit no reason but their own will.” And here the King embarked on an exceedingly long discourse against this usurpation of supreme and absolute power by the Popes, employing such a force of reasoning, such a riches of citations from the holy Scriptures, such a marvellous flow of eloquence, that had his Majesty's speech been taken down and sent to the Pope perhaps he would turn his attention to other objects than the molestation of your Serenity. His Majesty said that he studied Bellarmine every day, and found him full of falsifications of the text and the authority of the Fathers, whom he cites in support of his Papal idol, to whom he not only attributes spiritual authority, but actually sells temporal authority, too, at the price of a red hat. In short I cannot report half of what his Majesty said on these points. He expressed himself in most vigorous language to his own so obvious satisfaction that the Lords of Council, who were present,—though somewhat apart,—declared that they had never seen him more content and delighted.
He went on to ask me what the religious orders were doing in this crisis. I replied that they recognised the undoubted justice of the cause of the State confirmed by the opinion of many famous academies of Theologians and Canonists, who had been consulted and that they remained firm in their allegiance and performed the Divine offices in every city, with such a disposition and consent of all orders towards the Doge that it was a marvel the like of which history does not record. “Oh,” said the King, “this will very soon completely confound the Pope. And here already are the firstfruits of spiritual arms used unjustly; we may see others yet.”
I thanked his Majesty, and was about to take my leave, when he said, “Wait a moment; you have said nothing about the Jesuits. Is it true they have been expelled?” I said, “Yes.” “O blessed and wise Republic,” he exclaimed, “how well she knows the way to preserve her liberty; for the Jesuits are the worst and most seditious fellows in the world. They are slaves and spies, as you know.” He then embarked on a discourse about the Society. By an able induction from all the kingdoms and provinces of the world he demonstrated that they have always been the authors and instruments of all the great disturbances which have taken place. “I may tell you that had it not been for them the religious conditions in this kingdom would have been far more satisfactory.” He concluded by saying that as the Senate always acted after prudent deliberation he took it that the Jesuits would never be re-admitted. Then, after having discoursed thus lengthily with me and on the approach of Lord Salisbury to deal with other affairs, he let me depart.
In this audience I noted a true and genuine sympathy with the Republic, and a desire to be informed from time to time how the affair progressed. The King made no offers except general ones; nor did he ever descend to a consideration of what results such disturbances might have on Christianity. But I am informed that this business is the sole topic of conversation at Court, and there is a report that there will be war in Italy, that all the powers of Europe will be drawn into it, and that England, France and Venice will take one side, the Pope and Spain the other. All I know is that I never dreamed of seeing this Court so moved, so full of longings and hopes that occasion may arise for standing in with your Serenity. Indeed I can hardly protect myself from the continual offers of men and of ships, made me by great and small alike, English and Scotch, the latter being admirably disposed towards the Republic. I return thanks to all, and show gratitude for this friendly attitude, at the same time declaring that I hope there will be no trouble, and that all will soon be settled quietly, as the whole question is one of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and such questions are usually arranged by compromise not by force.
I have been told that there were some who advised the King to make some open declaration in favour of the Republic, such as the despatch of a special Envoy to offer assistance, with a view to correcting a common opinion about him that he shrinks from war.
Lord Salisbury also had a conversation with me on this topic; he was briefer than the King, but expressed nearly the same ideas. He said the act of so great a Senate was very welcome to them, for it showed that one could sometimes refuse obedience to the Pope without becoming a heretic. He thought the Pope prudent, and believed that he must have given full attention to his line of action. That judged by the experience of history the whole difficulty will probably disappear, especially as such great Princes as France and Spain are intervening to prevent the serious consequences which might accrue to Christendom. He descended to no particulars except to assure me of the King's devotion to your Serenity and his desire to strengthen the bonds between the two states.
Parliament has been adjourned to November. The laws against Catholics are of the greatest severity, though not so severe as some desired. The King made a long speech, in which he was more hostile to the Puritans than to the Catholics, demonstrating that these will be quite quiet when once the fomentors of all scandals, as he calls the Jesuits, have been removed. The day previously the French Ambassador, in his master's name, made representations in favour of the Catholics; he received a kindly answer; but the results do not exactly correspond to it. As the French Ambassador was present at the adjournment, it is supposed that the tone of the King's speech was intended to please him. The laws are not promulgated yet, and so I cannot give any information about them.
The Spanish Ambassador only employs general terms when talking of the conflict with the Pope. He hopes for a peaceable conclusion, and one that may be satisfactory to both parties.
London, 14th June, 1606.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 21. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 533. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and said:—
I am of opinion that for the future all Sovereigns, of whatsoever faith they may be, are bound to hold this Republic in far higher esteem than ever they did before, for at the present crisis she is upholding temporal jurisdiction in a most laudable manner, and every Prince ought to be deeply obliged to her, and whatever the Ambassadors of certain Sovereigns may say, either at Rome or here, their masters are secretly pleased, as I have cause to know; and seeing that your Serenity declines to command my services I must not fail to give you all the information that comes to my knowledge, not because I suppose you to be ill-informed, but as a pledge of my good-will towards you.
I have a most important piece of news; a friend of mine writes to me that the General of the Jesuits, in accord with Cardinal Bellarmine and presumably with the consent of the Pope, is going to summon a General Chapter of the Society, no General Chapter having been held for upwards of twenty-seven years. I am also told that the place of meeting will be Ferrara. They will discuss and reform their rules, and will study the best way to insinuate themselves at the various Courts and to secure the direction of affairs of State. They intend to draw up a book of rules for the guidance of each member of the Society and to decree that it shall be a mortal sin to show the book to anyone. I am further informed that Cardinal Bellarmine's book, “De Militia Ecclesiastica,” is divided into four parts, the last two deal with matters theological, the first two deal with the present crisis. It is proposed to print this part first, and to render it from the Latin into the vulgar tongue. It will be published under a pseudonym, as it is thought that the name of a Jesuit as the author might injure its effect.
The Doge replied that the Republic would always defend her own cause, which was that of all secular Princes, for it is certain that should the Pope succeed in establishing his claim everyone would have to bow to him and his would be the sole dominion upon earth and that monarchy which the Lord God wields in heaven over every mortal thing, that monarchy so vast and omnipotent that words fail us to express the same, that monarchy would then be brought down to earth for the use of the Pontiff, to whom omne genu flecteretur to the total destruction of the jurisdiction which belongs to secular Princes.
The Doge returned thanks for the communication about the General Chapter of the Jesuits, which was news to the Government. About Bellarmine's book they knew something. “It seems that it contains some propositions not altogether in favour of the Pontiff, and that was the reason why the publication was suspended. For although a Jesuit Cardinal Bellarmine had no desire to offend the Pope, as he had begun to taste the sweets of priestly ambition.”
June 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 534. Zorzi Giustinian Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I enclose a copy of the oath, which Parliament has just ordered all subjects to take under heavy penalties for refusal. The object is to counteract the consequences of a possible excommunication, and the cause of the step was the quarrel between the Republic and the Pope, who is considered to be very fiery and hot-headed. Catholics here see only two results of the Papal action as possible, either a persecution of their faith or a great diminution of the authority the Pope lays claim to. For those who refuse to take the oath will suffer severely in goods and in person, and those who do take it will thereby declare the invalidity of all that the Pope may possibly do against this kingdom. For these reasons the Catholics are but little satisfied with his Holiness, for it seems to them that instead of bringing them any relief for their ills he has, by his recent innovations, increased the ones they were already suffering under. For this reason the laws are also more severe against the Catholics than they would otherwise have been. If I receive the translation in time I will forward a copy of the Act.
News of the Archduke's attempt on Sluys on the twelfth. The petard acted well, and the French officer (du Terrail), in command of four hundred men, penetrated into the town. They were not supported by the Spanish, and three hundred of them were killed.
The Dutch fleet is back from cruising off the Spanish coast.
There is still some disturbance in Scotland over the trial of the ministers. The Chancellor and the President, (fn. 1) suspected of fomenting the disturbance, have been removed by the King; this will probably increase the difficulties.
London, 21st June, 1606.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 535. Translation of the oath of allegiance. (fn. 2)
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 536. Laws against recusants. (fn. 3)
June 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 537. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of Denmark is expected here every hour. As the Duke of Wirtemberg is to arrive at the same time common opinion has it that they are here on business and not merely to visit the King. Most people imagine their business to be the election of the King of the Romans, and the negotiations for securing a candidate not hostile to their interests.
The preparations for their reception are very magnificent and costly. Part of the subsidy has already been called up, not without some grumbling, for people do not like to see money thrown away on the first opportunity like this. I will wait on these Princes when they arrive, and will take care that in the invitations to Court ceremonies the Republic shall gain some advantage over the Archduke.
The King has sent a gentleman to France to congratulate the King on his escape from the flood. (fn. 4) It is clear that both sides take every occasion to show their good understanding. True it is that the King of England has been invited by his Most Christian Majesty to attend the baptism of his eldest daughter in September, but has excused himself, on the ground that he cannot be represented at that ceremony, on account of his claim to precedence over the Pope, who is also invited. And so, unless some way is discovered out of the difficulty, the King of England will not send a proxy.
They are more anxious than ever here to learn how matters stand between the Republic and the Pope. Nay, one may safely affirm that this is the sole topic of conversation. The King is the most anxious of all, and from time to time he asks me if I have any news to give him from your Serenity. They have printed in English the protest your Serenity issued, and it is, one may say, in everybody's hands, and the populace by reading it have been disabused of that false conception of the Republic which they had formed.
The other day, when I was with Lord Salisbury, he guardedly complained of the way in which your Serenity's agents at Constantinople were endeavouring to injure English commerce in those parts. I replied that the principle of the Republic was to live and let live. He said he would send me a note of the particulars, but as that has not reached me yet I imagine the matter is one without foundation or of slight importance.
The English Ambassador in Venice (Wotton) has just reported an extraordinary favour, which he has recently received from your Serenity. The nature of this I have not heard, but perhaps it consists in public thanks for his good offices in this affair.
London, 28th June, 1606.
June 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 538. Zorzi Giustinian Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Recently they have concluded the trial of two gentlemen, who were prisoners in the Tower on the charge of complicity in the plot. They were convicted of nothing else than of having resolved to absent themselves from the opening of Parliament, and that for private affairs; all the same one has been condemned to pay eighteen, the other thirty thousand crowns. (fn. 5) It is conjectured, accordingly, that if they ever come to sentence the Earl of Northumberland, who is very rich, the fine will be far heavier.
They have also published a proclamation that all Jesuits and Catholic priests (fn. 6) except two, named as accomplices in the plot, are to have left the kingdom by August 1st on pain of capital punishment for them and their abettors; your Excellencies cannot imagine what heat the present conduct of the Pope has imported into these deliberations. It is the common opinion of the people that the Pope is going to take steps against England, and every day fresh precautions are adopted.
The agent of the States tells me that Count Maurice will, at the opening of this campaign, remain on the defensive; that there is more fear of a surprise than of a regular assault, for the town are well garrisoned and provisioned. The danger run by Sluys, (fn. 7) which, one may say, was half captured, has warned them to be more vigilant about the other places. They think it would be a great advantage for them if the Marquis Spinola would attack Grave, as he appeared inclined to do, for they count upon wearing him out and ending the campaign to their own advantage; that their fleet would continue to harry the West Indian trade, while towards the East Indies they were going to make another effort to overcome all the difficulties, and to open up the route they had already tried on several other occasions. He declared, however, that his masters were in urgent need of support; as for that which was furnished by the King of France they were content, but far from satisfied with the procedure of the King of England; although for all that not a day passes without some complaint from the Spanish and Flemish Ambassadors, to whom it seems that the King's favourable inclination towards the Dutch is only too obviously manifested. And so one may say that all that is done here for the Dutch simply serves to increase the ill-feeling in other quarters without adding anything to their strength.
London, 28th June, 1606.
June 28. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 539. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet, and spoke as follows:—
“I am here to discharge two commissions from my King, one of expostulation, the other of thanks. The first I am loath to fulfill, yet it is well that a friend should disclose rather than nurse any ill-feeling that lies in his heart, lest by keeping it to himself it gain strength and spread like sulphur hidden in the bowels of the earth.
“It is certain that a few months ago an English ship was burned at Constantinople on the Grand Signer's orders. Rumour has it that the illustrious Ambassador of Venice had a large share in this burning by representing that all the damage, of which the Turks complain, was the work of the English, who were excluded by Venice from trading in the Adriatic. This information, which seemed to aim at destroying English commerce in the Levant, made such an impression on the Sultan that he ordered the ship to be burned. All this was reported to my master, who did not and does not believe it; for he is neither very ready to credit rumours nor very tenacious of them, as he knows that the ears of Kings have no privileges beyond the ears of common men that they should never hear a lie. All the less does he credit this rumour, in view of the great regard which he knows that this most noble Republic has for him. Still it was just possible that a minister, in mistaken zeal for his Prince's service, might have done such bad offices, and, therefore, I beg your Serenity to issue such orders to your Ambassadors as may serve to show your good-will towards my master. Should your Serenity assent you might notify the same to my master, either through me or through your Ambassador in England.”
The Doge replied, “My Lord Ambassador, your Lordship's communication has greatly disturbed us. It is not to be believed that any of our ministers, and certainly not our Ambassador in Constantinople, who is a Senator, and very well aware of our policy—which could not be more friendly towards the interests of your master—should ever have inflicted so great a wrong; and anyone, who knows our form of government, must know that we should never do such a thing even to our foes had we any. It may well be, however, that some one at Constantinople has said that the damage done in those waters was done by English, called there westerlings, because Great Britain is the head of the west. We are much relieved to find that his Majesty does not credit the report; we assure you that the Republic never gave any such hostile instructions. We can not believe for a moment that the Ambassador did it of his own accord. This much we have thought it right to say to you in the name of the Government; these noble Lords may add any remarks that they deem opportune.” “I ought to add,” said the Doge, “that the relations between our Ambassadors at Constantinople and the English Ambassador are of the most cordial nature.”
The Ambassador replied that he believed the report was not due to the Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, but to another, who was jealous of the friendly relations between England and the Republic.
He then proceeded to his second point; the question of precedence, He narrated the whole episode from the beginning. “The King,” he said, “invited the Ambassadors of Spain, Venice and the Archduke to the ceremony of Coronation-Day, meaning to assign to the two latter places which would not cause a quarrel. The Archduke's Ambassador said that if he were not to take precedence of Venice he would rather not be invited. The King then recalled both invitations. The Ambassador of the Archduke sent a despatch to his master and, on receiving the answer, he had a stormy audience with the King. He declared that his master had been most seriously injured, for the Dukes of Burgundy always took precedence of all but Crowned heads; and if the Burgundy claim was disputed his master still claimed that precedence as son and brother of an Emperor: and failing that, in right of his wife.” His Majesty listened with patience—and indeed his Majesty is of such extreme goodness that he merits the brief but noble eulogy passed on the Emperor Vespasian, “Vir patiens ”—and said he was sorry to observe the Ambassador's temper, and hoped he would cool down; that your Serenity's representative had been with him the day before, and had shown an admirable modesty of demeanour; that had he found that the Dukes of Burgundy had ever had precedence of Venice he would have admitted the claim; but not desiring to judge the case he had resolved to recall both invitations. To this the Archduke's Ambassador replied still more haughtily, and the King said, 'My Lord Ambassador, I must lay before you the opposing arguments, advanced not by me, but by your adversaries. The Duchy of Burgundy was incorporated in the dominions of Spain. The document of donation, whereby the Duchy was conferred on the Archdukes, contains reserves. As to the rank of son and brother of an Emperor, it is well known that the Imperial rank is not hereditary, but elective. As to the rights of the Archduchess, her brother is alive, and that leaves her with no rank as heir to the crown of Spain.' My master writes to me that your Serenity's Ambassador has conducted himself throughout with great ability, combining zeal and prudence, two qualities which are rarely united.”
The Doge replied, thanking the Ambassador for his information; expressing satisfaction at the defence advanced by the King; repeating arguments in favour of the Republic, and pointing out that by not being invited the Venetian Ambassador had suffered a diminution of prestige.
The Ambassador then raised the question of the money due for the corn ship; and the case of the English merchants, who had been waiting five years for the execution of the sentence issued in their favour by the Court of the Cinque Savii, (fn. 8) and now are still waiting because their opponent claims to pay in ongari and not in zecchini.
The Doge replied that Loredan had been summoned and exhorted to pay, but had advanced other arguments, and claimed time to set them forth in writing. He promised that this affair would be wound up.
The Ambassador then rose, bowed and departed.
June 30. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 540. That the English Ambassador be invited to attend in the Cabinet, and that the following be read to him:—
My Lord Ambassador, the communication made the day before yesterday by your Lordship, in the King's name, about our Ambassador in Constantinople, has caused us great pain; at the same time we rejoice to learn that these sinister rumours have left no impression on his Majesty's mind. We are fully aware of his Majesty's wisdom and of his profound knowledge of our constitution, which will convince him that we could never have issued such orders to our minister and that he could never have taken such a course of his own accord. We have invited you here to beg you to assure his Majesty from us that our Ambassador had no share in the burning of that ship; nay, that, as he has just informed us, he never fails to maintain the most cordial relations with the English Ambassador at the Porte, in accordance with instructions from us, instructions which will be repeated to all our ministers, for it is our firm intention that our friendly relations with England should be strengthened day by day to the benefit of both parties. His Majesty may rest assured that if anything different from this is reported to him, such reports are the work of those who view our relations with jealousy.
As regards the question of precedence, with the help of your Lordship's good offices we hope for a satisfactory solution of the difficulty.
Ayes 178.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 7.


  • 1. Alexander Seaton, Lord Fyvie and Earl of Dunfermline, Lord Chancellor, James Elphinstone, Lord Balmerino, President. See Gardiner, I. 308. The rumour was false.
  • 2. See, I. 288. This is “the new oath,” calculated to meet the claim of the Pope to “deposing power.” 3 Jac. c. 4, 5. See also Hallem, Constit. Hist., Cap. VII.
  • 3. Gardiner, I. 237.
  • 4. See Cal. S.P. Dom, May 11, 1606, Dudley Carleton to John Chamberlain. “The King's coach overturned into the water.”
  • 5. Lord Montague fined 4,000 pounds; and Lord Stourton, fined 1,000 pounds.
  • 6. Cal. S.P., Dom., 1606 June 10, Greenwich.
  • 7. Du Terrail's attack, See Motley “United Netherlands,” IV. 239.
  • 8. I cannot find the case among the Processi of the Cinque Savii alla Mercanzia.