Venice: July 1606

Pages 368-382

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.


July 1606

July 3. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 541. The English Ambassador is summoned to hear the resolution of the Senate of 30th June.
The Ambassador has already forwarded to England the answer about the affair of Constantinople, which he holds was a rumour set afloat by some other Sovereign jealous of the good terms between the Republic and the King of England. The incident may be considered as closed. Hopes that when his report on the question of precedence reaches England the question will be settled.
The Doge announces to the Ambassador that at that very minute Ser Alvise Loredan had put in a document in stay of payment, and the Cabinet had not had time to read it.
July 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 542. Piero Priuli Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of England has let it be understood that he wishes his representative to take precedence of the Nuncio at the baptism of the Princess. The King of France will appoint the Dauphin himself to represent him.
Paris, 4th July, 1606.
July 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 543. Piero Priuli Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Father Cotton (Gottone), a Jesuit here has the ear of the King; is busy doing an ill turn to the Republic.
Paris, 4th July, 1606.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 544. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have left no stone unturned in order to come to the conclusion of this affair of precedence over the Ambassador of the Archduke. It seemed to me that mere expressions of good-will were not sufficient for your Serenity's reputation and dignity, and I endeavoured to secure a public demonstration of the sentiments which the King and Lord Salisbury expressed. The decision of the point really lies with Lord Salisbury, but owing to his numerous engagements it is very difficult to procure an interview with him. Even yesterday, after making an appointment with me, he sent to put it off on the ground of urgent business at his Majesty's commands. I will seize the occasion of the arrival of the King of Denmark to secure a solution of the difficulty. I will find out what orders are issued as to invitations, and will make it clear that I will not agree to any arrangement which leaves the precedence of the Serene Republic in doubt. I gather that they will arrange to send Venice with France and the Archduke with Spain, and will assign them different places. That is an arrangement which does not altogether displease the French Ambassador, who sees in it an augmentation of his own position; but I do not consider such an arrangement as sufficient redress for the injury already inflicted on your Serenity's reputation. I will insist upon a public declaration of your Serenity's proper place, so as to remove any pretext for the Archduke or any other to affirm that the precedence granted on that occasion was due to any other cause than your just rights. They calculate here that I cannot refuse to go with the French Ambassador without offending him; but I shall endeavour to prevent him from making the request, always however keeping in view the need there is in the present circumstances to show to the world the excellent relations which exist between the Republic and the Crown of France; and so if I cannot obtain the public declaration I desire nor yet refuse the French Ambassador without offending him, I will go with him in the hope of sharing any advantage that may be given to him. I will, however, in that case enter a protest with the government that I do not accept this arrangement, but demand an open declaration in your Serenity's favour. I will report in full.
The audacity of the Jesuits has reached such a pitch that those who are in hiding here do not scruple to whisper in the ears of their Catholic followers the same attacks on the Senate which they sow broadcast elsewhere. They especially blame the Republic for keeping an Ambassador at this Court to the prejudice of the Holy See; this conduct in other Princes they say is excusable in view of their interests, which the Republic cannot plead. But members of other Orders, who are also here in hiding, oppose the Jesuit teaching, both on account of their experience of the Order and out of regard for your Serenity, as also out of hatred for the Order itself, caused by the persecutions inflicted upon them by the ambition and greed the Society displays in seizing all that riches which they have extracted hitherto from the Catholics.
They are anxiously watching the outcome of the quarrel between the Republic and the Pope, and every rumour of an accommodation disturbs them greatly. The King talks of it at all hours of the day, and reads all that Italy puts out, be it serious or satirical, upon the subject. I always endeavour to find out what he says on these occasions. He repeats in substance what I have already reported.
The Queen gave birth to a daughter on the night of last Saturday, at Greenwich. I have asked for audience of the King to congratulate.
Having written thus far comes news of the child's death.
London, 5th July, 1606.
July 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 545. Francesco Priuli Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Marquis de San Germano has returned from England. He does not seem much satisfied with his journey.
Madrid, 8th July, 1606.
July 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 546. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have once more pressed the Earl of Salisbury on the subject of precedence, in order to obtain a decision favourable to your Serenity. At this interview I had to argue very minutely upon various points, for, truth to say, I found him prepared to defend his action by sophistries rather than by sound reasoning. My object was to prove to him that they were in duty bound to make, either by act or by public declaration, such a demonstration in favour of the Republic that she should be entirely and adequately compensated for the prejudice she had suffered at their hands. I adopted this general line of argument, first in order to deprive them of their usual excuse that the King did not wish to constitute himself a judge of the merits and could not be a judge of the facts of the case, as some of the allegations were disputed; and secondly in order that he, Lord Salisbury, might not escape behind his usual proposal for an accommodation by associating me with France; and there is no doubt that if they can be brought to acknowledge that they have done your Serenity an injury they will be forced to give you satisfaction. Thé Earl, however, saw the conclusion to which I was endeavouring to lead him, and set himself to maintain that no injury at all had been done, for the King was quite at liberty to invite one Ambassador and omit another without doing them a wrong; for entertainments at Court were not on the same footing as “Chapel” at the other Courts of Europe, to which, by immemorial custom, Sovereigns were obliged to invite Ambassadors accredited to their Courts, whereas invitation to Court entertainments was a matter entirely within their option, and if none of the Ambassadors were invited still no one would have a ground of complaint. I replied that I would not enter on the discussion of this distinction, though I was well aware that those who were invited to “Chapel” were invited also to Court functions, while those not admitted to “Chapel” remained at home, and precisely because there was no “Chapel” at this Court it was necessary to transfer the “Chapel”-practice to Court entertainments. I remarked that the present difficulty, however, did not lie there. The fact that I by the King's orders had been kept away from my place at Court on the occasion in question, owing to the claims raised by the Archduke's Ambassador, constituted a genuine injury to the Republic and created the necessity for his Majesty to remove it. “Well,” said he, “supposing I deny that this was the real cause of the withdrawal of your invitation, what can your Lordship claim except the punishment of the official who told you that it was? And that he shall receive the moment you demand it; for he said more than he was authorised to say.”
When I heard this lame (fiacca) excuse I replied with some heat, “Does your Lordship really say and wish me to believe that this was not the true cause after my repeated conversations with his Majesty and with your Lordship yourself, as you are well aware, and when the affair is known to all the Court and quite clearly understood both by the Republic and by the King? You would be doing his Majesty a great injury by denying what both he and you have affirmed so often with your own lips and cannot now be concealed. I beg you not to have recourse to such excuses. Nay rather, as the injury to the Republic is there within hand-touch it were better to come to a decision to find out the way to remedy it, and so to bring this important episode to a close, —a result which the. Republic promises itself from the justice and wisdom of his Majesty. Such an issue has already been anticipated in all the Courts of Europe. Nay, the news has been forwarded from the very Court of Brussels to the Ambassador Wotton, resident in Venice, for the Archduke himself saw that there could be no other issue to the pretensions of his Ambassador at this Court.” “In truth,” said he, “I do not see how the King can or ought to constitute himself judge of the merits of the case, nor are there sufficient precedents in fact to justify your claim.” “He ought to do so,”I answered, “for justice requires that he who has done the wrong should grant the satisfaction; and he can do so, for the right is clear and the proofs of my precedence are universal.” And here I went into the practice of the other Courts of Europe, pressing the point home as far as I could. But he defended himself, and having no decisive reply he took to hairsplitting, declaring that no precedence could be established when no preceded person was present. I replied that this was a merely verbal discussion; that all I asked was that the Republic should hold here what she held at every other Court, and that this was a matter for the King and not for the Archduke's Ambassador. The question of precedence lay with the Sovereign to grant, and the consent of the preceded was never asked. “I should like information,” said he, “upon the attitude of other Princes in such circumstance, and more especially of the Senate of Venice, whose example I am sure the King would be glad to follow in the certainty that he would be doing right.” I replied that the Senate, like all great and independent Princes, would, in such a case, be guided by reason and by precedent. It is not the part of a great and free Sovereign to refrain from declaring himself upon a point settled by all other independent Sovereigns. The course of past events forced upon this Court a decision which could not be long delayed, for on the arrival of the King of Denmark they would be obliged to make the declaration I sought and, in the issue of invitations, to relieve your Serenity entirely from the injury inflicted; for if no decisive step were taken this would be a confirmation and not a removal of the injury done. On this and other points we spent a long time in discussion. I pressed the point, so as to find out what was the intention as regards these invitations, and I discovered that they did think of asking me to go with France, in the hope that I could not refuse, so as to avoid offending that Ambassador, for at last he said to me, “Come now, is not the place of the Republic along with the Crowned heads in such a way that no other intervenes between them?” I said “Yes.” “Well,” he replied, “that is the place you are to have here.” “Ah!” I said, then I am to take precedence of the Archduke and to be with each and all of the Crowned heads.” “I don't know about that,” he said, “but if you are ever in company with the Archduke's Ambassador you will take the pas.” “How,” said I, “do you intend to invite him without inviting me and, by asking now one and now the other, to leave the question in suspense, nay, rather to confirm the injury inflicted? I am sure the Republic will never submit to this, and indeed I see no other way except to invite us both on all occasions and in conformity with the promise just made me, to give me the pas. For what, I pray you, is the use of talking of precedence when an occasion for taking it will never be offered? How do I know that the same will not be said to the Ambassador of the Archduke? It is true I am assured that he makes no such claim as to be asked when I am, but that is only to save himself as best he can from the consequences of his position.”
The Earl in conclusion declared that he knew that it was his Majesty's intention to give satisfaction to the Republic, but that he desired to do so in suitable form; that very likely on the occasion of the King of Denmark's visit he would act so that all the world might divine his intention; that the affair was very delicate and ought to be dealt with very gently. I replied that I thought quite the reverse, and that such attempts ought to be cut short at a single blow; for all this consideration and regard only served to encourage and foster these pretensions.
The conversation ended, and I seem to gather that it is their intention to invite me along with France, and Flanders along with Spain. I will seek audience as soon as the King comes back to Greenwich from the chase, and I will do my best in the matter. It would perhaps be as well to speak quite clearly to Ambassador Wotton, so that it may not be thought here that my vigorous protests are the result of a personal resentment at my treatment as an Ambassador, and not the outcome of your Serenity's express orders.
London, 12th July, 1606.
July 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 547. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Earl of Northumberland has been sentenced at last. (fn. 1) He has been condemned to pay one hundred thousand crowns (25,000 pounds sterling), to be imprisoned for life, and to be deprived of all his offices. The proofs of his complicity in the plot are overwhelming, and he was saved from the capital sentence only by the grace of the King. The Earl had earnestly sought this trial in the expectation of being fully acquitted, but when he saw the case going against him he became so alarmed that he returned unsatisfactory answers, and such as were not expected from a man of his prudence and intelligence. This is a great blow to the Catholics, whose protection the Earl assumed when the King came to the throne, and this was not one of the smallest of the charges that led to his condemnation. A brother of the Earl (fn. 2) has lately been arrested, and the Earl's post of Captain of the Pensioners has been conferred upon the Lord Chamberlain. [Expulsis Papalistis. They have news that the Jesuits who left the kingdom on the proclamation of the Edict have held a meeting in Brussels, and have resolved to send one of their number to the Pope, in order to induce him to adopt another policy towards the King, and urging him to proceed to Excommunication, on the ground that, owing to the moderation hitherto displayed, the Catholic position is going from bad to worse. This causes the ministers to be on their guard and to take steps to meet eventualities, and all this is damaging to religion, for the more suspicion is aroused the severer are they towards the Catholics, especially in view of the Papal procedure against your Serenity. There is news of disturbances in Poland caused by the Jesuits.] There is also the greatest desire to know how things are going between your Serenity and the Pope. The wiser heads, and those who have no personal interest in the matter, hold that the Republic has been guided by a marvellous prudence, for while she announces her intention to abide by her pristine faith she shows herself equally resolute in maintaining the freedom which God has given her.
There is information from Rome that Cardinal Baronius has complained to an English gentleman there that the English Ambassador in Venice nourishes and foments these dissensions between the Republic and the Pope, offering armed support, and that he makes the same offers to other Italian Courts in his master's name. They say the King ought to be much obliged to the Cardinal for indicating his true course of action in this matter.
From Flanders we learn that Spinola has left Brussels, and it is generally thought that he intends to attack Bergen-op-Zoom. The States are well provided, and their fleet greatly reinforced will proceed to the coast of Spain. The French Ambassador urges the English to support them, but although here they understand their own interests quite well they wish to live in peace with everyone.
It seems that the troubles in Scotland will quiet down, as the Court appointed by the King is convinced of the innocence of the Grand Chancellor and of the President. (fn. 3)
London, 12th July, 1606.
July 15. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 548. To the Ambassador in England.
Expresses satisfaction for the way in which the Ambassador has conducted the affair of precedence, and orders him to pursue the same course.
Ayes 134.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 2.
Amendment moved by Ser Francesco Contarini, Savio ai ordeni.
That the following instruction be added. If no promise of satisfaction for our just demand is forthcoming, you will say that you do not see how you can continue to reside with dignity at that Court.
Ayes 8.
July 18. Minutes of the Senate, Roma. Venetian Archives. 549. To the Ambassador in England.
You are to inform his Majesty that the Pope has not only fulminated his censures against us on the most trivial grounds, but he is using every kind of secret endeavour to rob us of the allegiance of our subjects and to corrupt our very government. He has not succeeded, for our subjects display the most constant, fidelity and a desire to share our fortunes. We are absolutely at one in our resolve to maintain the native liberty of our Republic and our temporal dominion, which we owe to God alone. The Pope has begun to raise troops. The Spanish are spreading the report that their Sovereign has declared himself for the Pope. You are to endeavour to extract from his Majesty some declaration of his intention, and to report to us his answer and also the remarks of the Earl of Salisbury.
Ayes 144.
Noes 6.
Neutrals 6.
July 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 550. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have taken the occasion offered by the French Ambassador (fn. 4) sending his secretary over to his master with an account of the plot against the King's life, discovered two days ago, (fn. 5) to send all the information I have upon this affair. It is some days now that Lord Salisbury has been very suspicious about a plot that was being hatched in Flanders against the life of his Majesty. Three days ago he arrested two individuals lately arrived from Flanders; one was a brother of that English officer who was a conspirator in the late plot, and who had taken shelter with the Archduke, to the King's great disgust, the other is an Irishman, (fn. 6) who has been here in the service of the Spanish Ambassador who preceded the present one. These men were lodged by the Ambassador in a tavern hard by the Embassy, and had already begun to sound the mind of an English Captain, ‖ a Catholic, and after some circumlocution, and administering a most stringent oath, couched in terms never before heard of, they laid before him their plan to kill the King, and pointed out the ease with which it could be done and they could escape, by the help of good pistols and swift horses; they suggested that the deed should be done in the country, while the King was at the chase; or else to render it more glorious, and at the same time to rouse less suspicion, they proposed to wait the arrival of the King of Denmark. The reward was to be two hundred thousand crowns, for which they showed him sufficient bills of exchange. They say Neuce listened and showed himself willing, all that he asked was to be first allowed to consult a priest to resolve him whether he could or could not do the deed with safety to his conscience. Accordingly, it would seem, they arranged a colloquy between him and a Jesuit, who, in the garb of a Dominican Friar, lives as chaplain at the Spanish Embassy, where the interview took place. They say the Englishman was fully satisfied that he might undertake the deed without a single scruple; but the other two seemed to perceive that he was not as firm as they could wish, and to fear that the plot might be discovered through him, and so when bidding him good-bye, under colour of friendship they, as is the custom here, offered him some sweetmeats, of which he ate a considerable amount on the spot, and took some home and gave them to his two little daughters, who presently fell ill and died; and Neuce, being so ill that the doctors diagnosed poison and that he was in danger of death, revealed all, and through him the Council came to a full cognizance of the whole affair. They sent to the Spanish Embassy to demand the Jesuit, but the Ambassador denied that there was such a man in the house; and as a few days before these events his audience was fixed for yesterday, he went to Greenwich. After a long interview with the King, he was summoned to attend the Council, and there, as far as I have heard, before a very few of them, Lord Salisbury addressed him in terms of much resentment, and urged him to give the Jesuit up for the safety of the Ambassador's own life, as not even the authority of the King would suffice to save him if the people were once persuaded that in his house was sheltered a man who had had a hand in so nefarious an enter prize. The Ambassador's reply is not known, though it was observed that on leaving he showed no outward signs of disturbance. It is true that before the Ambassador left Greenwich some of the Royal bodyguard were sent on ahead to London, without arms or ensigns, and with orders to anticipate the Ambassador's arrival and to search his house, but with as little noise or outward demonstration as possible.
The depositions of the two prisoners are not known yet, their arrest being too recent; but it is generally thought that if the report about the money is true the plot must have its roots in Spain, though this is an opinion that the King and his ministers hide, for they say that at present they ought to blame the Jesuits of Flanders only, on whose suggestion the conspirators came over here.
Notice from Flanders that the Archduke's army of twenty-five thousand men has taken the field in three divisions; one a reserve, the second to attack Bergen-op-Zoom, and the third to operate in Friesland for the recovery of Emden.
More than a thousand English have recently taken service with the States; on the other hand the Archduke is thinking of discharging the few English he has in his service, for the double purpose of removing causes of ill-feeling with England and to show that he can do without them.
As soon as my audience is appointed I will attend to the question of precedence. I am waiting information about Rome. I hear that the King always uses terms of great regard for the Republic when discussing this question. He recently said, “If Venice held the larger part of Italy, Christendom would rest in peace.”
London, 19th July, 1606.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 551. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The despatch sent by the secretary to the French Embassy contains the information conveyed in the preceding.
London, 19th July, 1606.
July 21. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 552. The English Ambassador, having heard the resolution of the Senate, dated the I8th inst., spoke as follows:—
He returned thanks for the communication made to him, and read a despatch from his master, approving the conduct of the Republic, and hoping that other Princes would follow its example. The further contents of the despatch were being translated into Italian, and if desired would shortly be communicated.
The Ambassador went on to explain the reasons which made him doubt the news that the King of Spain had declared himself for the Pope, those reasons were the advice given by the Duke of Sessa that it was not Spain's policy to embroil Italy, and the difficulties in which the King of Spain found himself at present.
The Ambassador added that had the Doge shown himself franker towards him he would have enlarged upon certain considerations.
After an answer from the Doge, the Ambassador said that rumours had been spread by a certain Don Vincenzo Durazzo (fn. 7) that he had an Italian preacher in his house and that many people attended his sermons. This, he declared, had not a vestige of truth in it.
The Doge replied that they had information about the arrest of Don Vincenzo, which had taken place in Bologna, and about his subsequent liberation; also about the interrogations applied to him, but, as far as he remembered, the Ambassador was not named. They would look again, and if he were they would inform him. Meantime they wished to express their satisfaction at the discreet and quiet conduct of the Ambassador.
It was subsequently stated positively that the Ambassador was not named in the depositions of Don Vincenzo.
July 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 553. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I received your Serenity's instructions as to the representations I was to make to the King on the subject of the English ship that was burned at Constantinople, and I went to Greenwich to carry them out. I assured him of the great uneasiness felt by the Senate on receiving the sinister information from its Ambassador in Constantinople, and I declared that it was quite impossible that either upon orders from home or upon his own initiative he could have had any share in that fire; for he was a prudent Senator, very fully informed of the real sentiments of your Excellencies towards his Majesty; besides that, he himself had reported that he was in the closest relations with the English Ambassador at Constantinople. The King listened to me and replied, “My Lord Ambassador, I am as convinced that the Republic had no part in that affair as you yourself are, and, so help me God, such a notion never entered my head. I am well aware of the nature of your constitution, and I would not credit my own eyes, much less the mere report of others that so prudent a government could ever do anything contrary to the high opinion I have formed of it. I desire to believe the same about your Ambassador at Constantinople. My Ambassador confirms what you tell me about his good relations with the Venetian Ambassador. I am convinced the ship was burned out of revenge for the damage done by a ship hired by the Grand Duke. (fn. 8) I have written very frankly to him on the subject, and I have letters from him assuring me that such things shall not happen for the future.” I thanked his Majesty, and assured him that he might always be certain that any sinister rumours about the Republic were either false suspicions of the vulgar or machinations of those who did not desire to see good relations between the Republic and the Crown of England. I ventured to point out to him the serious inconveniences which might arise, owing to this liberty, to take service as privateers in the pay of other Sovereigns. He admitted this, and said he intended to remedy it. He then asked me what I thought of this recent plot, and complained greatly of the Spanish Ambassador, who though informed most positively that the plot was directed against his Majesty, still asked for time to write home for instructions as to surrendering one of his suite on the charge of complicity, and when spoken to strongly about it he merely turned the conversation on to indifferent topics, and showed very small interest in the question in hand. The prisoners hitherto maintain that the object of their visit to England was to arrange a scheme for the recovery of Sluys or some other fortress. “But,” said the King, “what has it to do with Sluys to make enquiries as to where I go hunting, at what hour I start, when I return, how many men I have with me, to talk of a fine stroke with a good pistol and a swift horse, to offer large sums of money, to poison one of their number for fear that he might accuse them; all that seems to me to have nothing to do with Sluys. I do not believe that either the King of Spain or the Archduke have any hand in such execrable designs; I do not see what they would gain by my death, for it is thanks to me that they enjoy the peace they so greatly desire; still it is a very remarkable fact that every plot against myself and my kingdom has had its roots in Spain or in Flanders. However that may be, it is not the part of a friend to support and protect rebels and traitors against another Sovereign. When Antonio Perez landed in England I turned him out at the very first sign from Spain, although he had not compassed his master's life;”in this strain his Majesty continued to talk to me, and displayed a great hostility towards that party. He told me that he had ordered the arrest by night and at the Spanish Embassy of that man (John Ball), who was not a Jesuit as reported, but an Irishman, who acted as interpreter. As yet he denies everything. The Council wishes to confront him with the informer (Neuce), but as Neuce is in a very bad way on account of the poison it has not yet been done. His Majesty declared his horror at these impious and barbarous designs, and said that when an offer was made to bring him the head of that rebel refugee in Flanders he declined the proposal because he would not have the man put to death without a fair trial. Throughout the audience, which was long, his Majesty displayed great regard towards the Republic, but the most marked demonstration he made was in the matter of precedence; for he put off the Archducal Ambassador, who had asked for an audience many days before I did, whereas he received me the moment I presented my request, which is contrary to the usage of this Court, where a few days are allowed to intervene between the request and the audience. This was no doubt done on purpose by his Majesty, and is held by everybody to be a declaration of his wishes in this matter.
The prisoners still assert that they never meant to attempt the King's life but only plotted how to seize Sluys or some other fortress. All the same the informer (Neuce) persists in it that they did approach him on the subject of assassination and made him offers of money, and then tried to poison him in some confectionery, from the effects of which he was saved by the antidotes given him by the doctors. One of the two who administered the poison was born in Flanders, but his father was a Venetian, named Franceschi; he has a brother in great favour with the Archduke, who sent him over to England on this business. It is thought that after the prisoners have been confronted they will be put to the torture to discover the truth. Meantime great is the ferment among the populace against the Spanish Ambassador, who was insulted on his way to audience, even inside the Court of the Royal Palace. And so universal is the desire to break the peace with Spain that it is publicly discussed, and everyone understands that such a proposal has actually been before the Council. The arguments on one side and on the other are eagerly canvassed. Letters of marque have been granted to West India merchants, authorising them to make reprisals; such letters had already been suppressed at the request of the Spanish Ambassador, who had promised a pacific indemnification for loss. The King, himself said to me, that such was the bad treatment adopted by the Spaniards that it might be said that the trade between the two countries was destroyed, and so if the suspicions about the plot were found to be justified modifications might be expected from this quarter.
The King of Denmark landed in England yesterday; on Friday he will be at Court. The King will go to meet him.
Nothing new from Flanders. Rumours of a rising in Ireland, possibly the work of Tyrone. Ammunition has been sent there.
The plague has done some damage this last week in London; but nothing seriously out of the common.
London, 26th July, 1606.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 554. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the discourse reported in my preceding dispatch, the King went on to ask me how matters stood between the Pope and your Serenity, and whether it was true that he was going to publish a Jubilee for all Christendom except the Cities under Interdict. I said that so my private letters affirmed. The King said this is some subtle game of the Pope's to catch the Republic in a noose, but she is so wise that she is sure to find a remedy; and he prayed that every effort to maintain the religious Orders inside the States of the Republic might fail, so that she should not be exposed to a revolution among her subjects. I replied that the Republic was secure in the loyalty of her subjects, lay and cleric alike. The King added that he had seen the copy of a letter on this subject written by the King of Spain to the Pope, and his Majesty was pleased to recite it at length to me; it contained nothing but an expression of regret for the Pope's difficulties and for the danger which threatened Christendom, and a lament that the weapons of the faithful, which ought to be turned against the foes of the faith, might for such a cause as this be converted to their mutual hurt. His Majesty also told me he had heard that the Grand Duke had made a proposal, namely, that the Pope should remove the Censures and the Republic repeal its laws, and said that he could not for a moment believe that the Republic would consent, for reason required that the Pope should first remove his condemnation, and then the Republic might listen to him either directly or through some friendly Sovereign. “I cannot see,” he said, “how anyone can fail to approve the punishment of clerics by the civil power, unless it be those who call the crimes of the two (fn. 9) Venetian clerics mere peccadilloes.” He then asked if the expulsion of the Jesuits was really settled in such a way as to render it probably permanent; when I said that I was told so he broke out into commendations of the wisdom of the Republic, and declared that if he ever required advice he would seek it from no one but from Venice; that he hoped the King of France, on the strength of this example, would make up his mind to be quit of the Jesuits too (si risolverà finalmente a chiarirsi di loro). Talking of this general Congregation which they propose to hold in Italy, he added, “How rightly may they use this formula in their decrees, 'Visum est Satanœ et nobis,” and other witticisms. Finally, after highly praising your Serenity, he said that he hoped his refusal to attend the baptism of the daughter of the King of France would not lead the world to think there was any ill-will between them, for the sole reason was the question of precedence between him and the Pope.
I thanked his Majesty for these daily and evident signs of friendship and confidence towards the Republic; and after a few more compliments I took my leave.
London, 26th July, 1606.
July 27. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 555. The English Ambassador, having entered the Chamber and taken the usual seat near to the Doge, drew from under his cloak a book and laid it on the bench where he was sitting; he then said, “Most Serene Prince, in my last despatch I carefully communicated to the King, my master, and to the Earl of Salisbury what your Serenity wished me to say, and I supported it warmly myself. I am now in duty bound to explain to you how affairs stand in England and to expound this new oath, which by Act of Parliament all subjects of his Majesty who take service with foreign Princes will be expected to subscribe. The questions now pending between your Serenity and the Pope have given occasion to this resolution, and the new oath is directed to no other end than to the establishment and preservation of the temporal Power. (Havendo data occasione a questa rissolutione le differenze che versano al presente fra la Serenità Vostra et il Pontefice in materia di giurisditione temporale. . . . Non essendo questo novo giuramento ad altro fine indricciato die al stabilimento et alla conservatione del dominio temporale). I am aware that your Serenity is fully informed by your Ambassador Giustinian, but all the same I here present a copy of the oath.” (fn. 10)
After reading through the oath the Ambassador proceeded to make some comments; he said that one of the clauses of the peace between England and Spain declared that his Majesty of England intended to leave all his subjects free to take service abroad where they liked, in that liberal method they had proceeded up to the time of the late plot. The principal conspirator had been brought from Brussels, where he had grown up in the service of the Archduke. In the course of the trial it was found that of three other chief conspirators, an Irishman, a Scot and a Jesuit, two had taken refuge in the Low Countries, and no efforts or representations of the King had sufficed to secure their surrender. The whole object of this oath is to bind subjects more definitely to their allegiance to their natural Prince.
The Ambassador then announced the death of the Princess.
The Doge replied, praising the wisdom of the new oath.
The Ambassador then mentioned the case of Antonio Dotto.
That gentleman having returned from service with the Grand Duke, has written a courteous letter to the Ambassador, begging him to use his good offices to induce the Government to intervene and to pacify the family of Dotto. He is aware that as an outlaw he has no weight of himself; but the Ambassador pleads on his behalf.
The Doge replied that the Cabinet had intrusted a Senator of great weight and prudence, the illustrious Antonio Priuli, with the management of this affair, he has already entered on his duties, and is dealing with the parties.
The Ambassador then presented a memorial from English merchants, complaining that the ship “ Thomasina,” master Nicolas Isaack, had been stopped by the custom house officers, although her papers were all in order; the local exciseman had, furthermore, ordered a barge to go to Malamocco, and all its cargo was wetted and ruined, upon which the Podestà of Malamocco, in the presence of the exciseman, Rocco Zignoni, allowed the ship to depart. “ This hindrance and delay may have this result that the new currants will reach the English market before the old. And although the stock of old currants is not of great value in itself it has already paid to your Serenity 1,800 ducats, the interest mounts up daily, the value of the goods decreases, and there is besides all that the injury and risk to the ship; petitioners therefore pray that orders be issued that she may sail.”
The Doge replied that he would inform himself and would summons the customs officers to report the following morning; meantime he assured the Ambassador that if the English chose to trade in Venice they would meet with all possible satisfaction.
The Ambassador then took up the book which was lying on the corner of the bench and said, “ Most Serene Prince, I have seen many works in print, which support the position of your Serenity in your differences with the Pope; and although I find them all good, yet it seems to me that none of them hit the nail on the head so truly (che esse vadano così alla brocca).” Then opening the book he said, “This is the first of the three volumes of ' Lettere di Principi,' dealing with affairs of State. I have brought it with me from England, and I read it frequently for the pleasure it yields me. Yesterday, having the book in my hands, I read a letter which I have marked; it seems to me most admirably applicable to the affair in hand and to the present times, in which the King of Spain has very openly declared himself for the Holy Father, as is proved by the letter in circulation. Now this letter to which I refer was written by the Duke of Alva when Viceroy of Naples, minister to the present King's predecessor; it is addressed to Pope Paul IV., the present Pope is Paul V.; the circumstances in which it was written have points of contact with the present times. The letter contains observations worthy of careful consideration. Seeing that this book is not to be found in Italy I should recommend your Serenity to reprint this letter in numerous copies and to circulate it widely. It seems to me that if a minister is allowed to make use of such arguments for the preservation of the provinces committed to his charge, a Prince has even a better right to employ them for the preservation of his own dominions, of his own freedom. I will leave the book with a mark in it, so that your Serenity may read the letter and make what use of it may seem advisable to your great prudence.”
The Doge returned thanks.
The Ambassador rose to take leave, and said that he must again repeat his plea in favour of the English merchants, who a year ago had obtained a sentence in their favour in the Court of the Five Savii alla Mercantia.
The Doge replied that the Cabinet had already sent to summon Ser Alvise Loredan from his Villa, but he had declined to appear; the order will be repeated immediately, and this business shall be concluded.


  • 1. Gardiner, I., 284.
  • 2. Sir Allam Percy. Cal. S.P. Dom. June 25, 1606.
  • 3. Alexander Seaton Eart of Dunfermline and Elphinstone, Lord Balmerino. Gardiner, 1, pp. 301–316.
  • 4. Anthony le Fevre de la Boderie, appointed April 1606. Birch “Hist. View,” p. 257.
  • 5. The plot of Capt. William Neuce, Tommaso and Giacomo dei Franchesi. Birch op. cit., 259. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1603– pp. 323, 324, 325, 326.
  • 6. John Ball. See Birch's “Historical View,” p. 260. §Captain William Neuce. Birch op. cit., p.260.
  • 7. See Senatio Secreta. Delib. Roma. 1606, 18th July. Don Vincenzo Durazzo of the Order of S. Salvatore, Venetion subject, was arrested by the Inquisition at Bologna, and after examination, was ordered to Rome. He was set at liberty on surety gone for him by Bartolomeo del Calice, and left for Venice at the command of that Government. Thereupon the surety was sequestrated. The Senate order dall Calice to be refunded out of the money that Don Vincenczo's monastery sent yearly to Rome.
  • 8. The “Merchant Royal.”
  • 9. The Abbé Brandolin and the Canon Saraceni.
  • 10. The new oath of allegiance. See Gardiner, 1, 288. 3 Jac., 1, c. 4, 5.
  • 11. The total number was 314, besides mariners. See Cal. S.P. Dom., July.