Venice: August 1606

Pages 382-396

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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August 1606

Aug. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 556. Zorzi Giustinian Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of Denmark arrived on the 25th of last month. He had eight ships, all large and fine; the one in which he was is most striking, both on account of her size, armament and fittings. The moment the King heard of his arrival in the river he sent the Duke of Lennox to welcome him; and the day following his Majesty, the Prince, and a large suite went in many boats to meet the King. The King of Denmark received the King of England at the companion and led him into the saloon; there they partook of wine and comfits, and then embarking again to the roar of guns and the sound of many bands they went to Greenwich, followed by a vast number of boats. At the steps of the Palace were the Princesses and the little Duke of York. They all went upstairs to the Queen's apartments; she still keeps her rooms because of her recent confinement. After staying awhile with the Queen the King of Denmark was conducted to his own apartments, which are sumptuously furnished. During these last few days the Kings have followed the chase there at Greenwich and other amusements. To-morrow they will move to a house belonging to the Earl of Salisbury, where they will lodge till the preparations for their solemn entry into London are completed. The King of Denmark has brought with him his guard, his private band, as he is very fond of music, six of his Privy Council, and about fifty gentlemen, so that his suite is not very large. (fn. 1)
I and also the other Ambassadors offered to be present at the reception, but his Majesty, while expressing himself pleased at the proposal, caused us all to be informed that the reception was a private one. I accordingly sent my secretary to offer my services to the King of Denmark. The Duke of Lennox procured him an audience, and the King graciously said that on his arrival in London he would gladly receive me.
The opinion is gradually growing that this last conspiracy was not directed against the King's life, but rather that its object was to corrupt the commander of some fortress in the Low Countries and to take possession of it. But against the Irish servant of the Spanish Ambassador (Ball) it seems that no proofs are forthcoming, except the evidence of the informer, and so they are thinking of setting him free. The Ambassador complains of this mode of proceeding; and has sent a courier express to his master. When the Council invited his presence yesterday he sent back answer to say that if they intended to touch on this subject he declined to attend, as the affair was no longer in his hands, but in those of his Sovereign. Nothing will check the bad impression, however, among the public, which shows so marked a desire for the declaration of war as to seriously alarm the King and Council.
The Flemish Captain (Tomaso Franceschi), who used the expression, “A good pistol and a swift horse,” will not get out of the Tower so easily.
News from Flanders that the Marquis Spinola with a part of his army is under Grave, and with the other division has assaulted and captured Zwolle. The agent of the States, however, tells me that he has more recent and more precise news, that the Marquis with an army of about thirty-five thousand men is on the march for Cleves, with the intention of invading Friesland and capturing Emden, a city of great importance on account of its harbour, and for other reasons, He was held in check by Count Maurice.
Deaths from plague are on the increase; last week there were fifty; this week it is feared that the figure will be higher.
London, 2nd August, 1606.
Aug. 3. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 557. To the Ambassador in England.
Expressing satisfaction at his conduct in regard to the question of precedence. Orders to thank the Earl of Salisbury for his good-will. Condolences for the death of the Princess.
Ayes 114.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 1.
Aug. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 558. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier arrived this morning from Paris, having made the journey in five days. He is sent, they say, by order of the Spanish Ambassador in England with instructions to report verbally that the English secretary of that Embassy had been arrested and put to the torture. But as couriers' reports are not to be trusted I do not venture to affirm the truth of this story. All I can say is that immediately upon his arrival the few Councillors of State here resident were summoned to meet.
Madrid, 8th August, 1606.
Aug. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 559. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day one of the Council informed me that Don Pedro de Zuniga, Spanish Ambassador in England, reports that the King of England shows himself delighted with this quarrel between, the Pope and the Republic, and said, in course of conversation with the Ambassador, that he had that in hand which allowed him to promise himself that the Serene Republic would presently shake off the yoke of the Roman Church.
Madrid, 8th August, 1606.
Aug. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 560. Zorzi Giustinian Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
All to-day I have been engaged at the solemn entry of the King of Denmark into the City. All the Ambassadors were invited, but were accommodated in private houses far apart from one another. The ceremony was a magnificent and noble one, both on account of the great gathering of personages, the richness of their robes, and the trappings of their horses, Neither of their Majesties wore any insignia of royalty, but were both, in private dress and both alike; their horses were richly caparisoned. The City was not able to make such preparations as it desired—indeed there was nothing but a single arch of very happy design (assai ben inteso)—for the date of the entry was anticipated, because the King of Denmark had resolved to leave within ten days. The reason for this hurried departure is not known; though they begin to think that he never intended to stay longer. As soon as I have had audience I will report.
A few days ago the Ambassadors of Spain and Flanders were summoned together to the Council, when the surrender of the Irish prisoner (John Ball) was offered them, but on condition that they should bind themselves to produce him if called on.
The Spanish Ambassador asked time to reply, probably in order to allow of the return of the courier he had sent to Spain with an account of this arrest.
The Grand Duke's secretary is doing all he can to obtain leave to raise the crews for two large ships which his master has bought at Amsterdam. The recent conduct of the Grand Duke and the affair of the ship burned at Constantinople will probably create difficulties in his way. Still he promises himself success by the usual means employed by the Grand Duke in dealing with the Ministers of the Crown, means by which he acquires many advantages, especially in matters commercial and naval, to which he is devoting more and more attention.
The agent sent to Spain some months ago to recover a certain prize made by the Spanish in the Levant has returned. As he obtained no satisfaction he brings back a very bad report of the feelings of the Spanish towards this nation. The Earl of Salisbury told me that this agent says there is a great lack of money in Spain on account of the loss of four of the richest galleons of the fleet, a disaster attributed by a certain preacher to divine wrath with the King of Spain for having made peace with England. The Spanish Ambassador here has published the letter addressed by his master to the Pope about the quarrel with your Serenity. This renders the Spanish still more unpopular, for the King's action is interpreted as a sign that he claims superiority over all States.
News from Flanders that the two armies are so close together gives rise to constant rumours of an engagement. But this week there is no other positive news except the capture of Lochem (Locon) by the Marquis of Spinola.
The plague has carried off this week twenty more than it did last week.
London, 10th August, 1606.
Aug. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 561. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the evening of Saturday, the 5th, on my return from Greenwich, where I had been to visit the Princess, eldest daughter of the King, a courier from the Ambassador Priuli reached me with your Serenity's despatches. Seeing their importance I resolved to seek audience of the King next morning. He and the King of Denmark were lying at a house belonging to the Earl of Salisbury, about twelve miles out of London, where they intended to amuse themselves. Although I felt sure that in such circumstances it would be impossible for me to see the King still, as I did not desire to have my conscience reproach me for not having done all in my power to carry out your Serenity's instructions, especially where a speedy answer would greatly assist your deliberations, I made up my mind to see whether I could not manage to be received by the King. At the same time, in case of failure, I was unwilling to give rise to remarks unfavourable to your Serenity or to give pleasure to certain people; accordingly I announced that I was going out early that morning to take the air, and so took the road that leads to the place where the King lay, when a short way off I stopped and sent my secretary on with orders that if he saw any chance of my being able to have an interview he was to ask for it in my name, and to add that I myself was hard by; but if he saw that an interview was out of the question he was to ask for one at as early a date as possible. The secretary went on and found the Kings with a large retinue just sitting down to table; they had anticipated, by a long while, the usual hour, intending, after the custom of Germany, to spend a large part of the day over meat. Seeing this, and without saying that I was hard by, the secretary preferred his request to Lord Salisbury and to the Lord Chamberlain that I might be granted an audience after dinner. But the Earl of Salisbury replied quite frankly, “Beg the Ambassador to have patience, for these two days are dedicated to this business,” pointing to the table, “and God forbid that these Danes should hear that we devoted ourselves to anything but the table; they would take us all for enemies; Tuesday evening the King will be at Greenwich and on Wednesday he will receive the Ambassador gladly. Tell him to put up with this little delay, for we are in the hands of others, and for these two days we shall not be our own masters.” When the secretary returned with this answer I saw that it was impossible to insist, as the delay was so short a one. Accordingly I went to-day to Greenwich, as by appointment, where I found the whole Court in a buzz on account of the King of Denmark's sudden resolution to leave in a day or two, which had thrown all arrangements for his entertainment into disorder, especially the solemn entry into London. The King said that he was sorry for this occurrence, as it would compel him to be much briefer with me than he intended, and begged me to pardon him if he requested me to detain him as short a time as possible. I was very much disturbed at this, for it seemed to deprive me of the method I had proposed to adopt in laying before the King your Serenity's declaration. All the same, without losing my presence of mind, I approached his Majesty, and in the fewest words I explained my instructions, and as I could not avail myself of elaborate discourse I did my best with forcible and lively language. I dwelt upon those points most likely to bring out his true opinion, namely the constancy of the Venetian people, the unity and vigour of the Senate, the traps set by the Pope, the rumours put about by the Spanish, the preparations of the Republic, her confidence in his Majesty. The result was that from his words I am, in this letter, justified in promising every help as far as he is concerned. For he briefly replied that I had greatly consoled him by insisting on the constancy of the people and the unity of the Senate which are guarantees for a favourable result. “It matters little about Spain,” he said, “for as you know, those who talk seldom act; and any way if they take one side we shall take the other.” He went on to express his regard and affection for the Republic, and his appreciation of the fact that she has done all she could to avoid throwing Christendom into a war, and of her unselfish policy, which was directed solely to the preservation of her own freedom. “Assure the Republic” he continued,” that I shall assist her with all my heart in all that depends on me. I only regret that I am so distant, though, as you said to me the other day, where there is neighbourhood of ideas Sovereigns can easily do all the rest. I have written to my Ambassador to make a similar promise in my name to the Republic.” He then expressed his satisfaction with his Ambassador and his regard for him. Then he rose to his feet and said, “I am told that the Duke of Mantua is declaring openly for the Republic, and if Savoy shows signs of a similar intention I am extremely glad.” I replied that if matters went further many other Princes would join, for the question was a general one affecting them all. The King said, “I am sorry that I cannot stay longer with you for the reasons I have already given.” The King left the room, followed by the Earl of Salisbury, who begged me to wait as he would return. He came back presently and said he was sorry that, on account of this business at Court, he could foot stay long. I repeated briefly to him the observations I had made to the King, and he told me that his Majesty had charged him to confirm the royal promise, and that I might accordingly assure the Republic of his Majesty's support as far as in him lay. He did not do this in order to foment discord, for he knew that the Republic would never abandon its faith; though if the King of Spain declared himself on the one side, the King of England would have to declare himself on the other. But his chief reason was that, as this movement was an attach on the freedom of Sovereigns, he as a just and independent Prince was bound to oppose it. Lord Salisbury then said, “ Well, and so the Spanish have declared, for the Pope?” “So they themselves say,” I answered. He said he did not. think they were in earnest, and that their real object was to hamper France. He asked what the King of France was about, and I told him that he was doing all he could on behalf of the Republic. This, in substance, is what I was able to arrive at in the brief space allowed me. The conversations were conducted in French and Italian, as I did not think it well in a matter of such moment to employ a hired interpreter, and knowing that the King would thus speak more freely, so I may possibly have mistaken some words, but certainly not the sense, for to make quite sure I repeatedly said both to the King and to Lord Salisbury, “ Then I may assure the Republic that in these circumstances your Majesty will assist her?” They always replied “Yes” I gather they would like to see war break out in Italy and would gladly join the Republic and France.
When asking for passports for the courier Lord Salisbury asked me to keep him back last night, as the King wanted to send a dispatch to his Ambassador in Venice. I consented.
London, 10th August, 1606.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug.11. Original News Letter Archives of Modena. 562. The conspirators in the last plot in England have denied complicity, but this will avail them little, for one of them has confessed the whole business. Among them are a Tomaso Franceschi, an Italian, but born at Antwerp; Neuce, an Englishman; Ghoen, an Irishman; and Ball, an Irishman, secretary to the Spanish Ambassador in London.
Aug. 16 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 563. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As I have already informed your Serenity I have done all I possibly could to secure the settlement of the question of precedence before the arrival of the King of Denmark, all the more so that I knew beforehand that the King of Denmark would follow the practice of the King of England in the matter of the reception of Ambassadors in audience. The Ambassador of France was pursuing a similar policy as regards the question of precedence between him and Spain. Neither of us, however, has succeeded in obtaining any outward and visible declaration, only kind phrases and private assurances of the King's sentiments, which are, we are told, in our favour, though no public demonstration of them will be made. Accordingly no Ambassador received a formal invitation to any fête or function, only on the day of the entry into the City they were all told, but not in the King's name, that if they wished to see the show each of them should send a member of his household to choose the house that suited him best, and that would be assigned to him. The French Ambassador and I took counsel together whether in the choice of our houses we ought to try to get the better of the other side. But, seeing that our invitation was purely private and that the route of the procession was more than two miles long and any spot was open to us, we came to the conclusion that it would be more for the dignity of our masters if, as the invitation did not come from the King, we were to show a certain indifference about the matter, taking our places far apart from each other and observing no formality of rank between us, so that if the Spaniards by their usual stratagem should succeed in getting the better of us as regards the site, still they and all the world would feel that we had not stooped to such trifles, for this rank of our masters entitled us to obvious and essential precedence, which required no puerile and unworthy artifices to sustain it. We therefore choose our sites far apart, and resolved to occupy them provided the others did not come on purpose and place themselves in the neighbouring houses on our right. When the day of the entry arrived the French Ambassador was just setting out for the house he had chosen when he was told that the Spanish Ambassador, who had previously chosen a house a long way off, had moved into the next house on the right hand side. As the time was so short and nothing could be done the French Ambassador resolved to remain at home and not attend at all. The Flemish Ambassador did not act so by me, though it is true that he took a different house from the one first chosen, but far away from mine.
The day following the French Ambassador complained to the King, who showed his displeasure and assured the Ambassador that he had wished to avoid any such occurrence by inviting no one and by leaving each one free to choose his own place; such liberty made it possible for the inferior to put himself above his superior, and, therefore, in his Majesty's opinion, the Spanish Ambassador by acting as he has done has rather diminished than increased his prestige.
As the French Ambassador and myself were aware that the Spanish intended to take precedence of us at the King of Denmark's receptions, each for himself did all we could to secure the opposite result. But the Spanish, by bribing the officials of both Sovereigns, brought it about that the King of Denmark, declining to decide any question of precedence, appointed one single morning for the reception of all Ambassadors, and announced that he would receive in the order of arrival. I thought such an arrangement eminently unworthy of the dignity of the Republic, that in order to keep her rank she should be reduced to seeing who could run the fastest, and I frankly said that I was the servant of so great a Sovereign that I was not called upon to race for that rank which was reserved for my master at every Court in the world, and that if his Majesty could not receive me with becoming honours I would abstain from seeing him. Finally, the King declined to see anyone, and sent two of his gentlemen to each Ambassador to excuse himself, on the ground that these questions of precedence forced him to act so, to thank us for the honour we desired to do him, and to say that he took that honour for received.
To the two gentlemen who came to me I replied that I thanked his Majesty, but that I could not refrain from expressing my wonder and regret that such vain pretensions as these of the Archduke's Ambassador should have deprived me of a visit to his Majesty in order to assure him of the esteem and affection borne towards him by the Republic. I added that I would say no more; but I knew that the King of Great Britain, who was fully aware of the greatness and nobility of the Republic, had advised the King of Denmark to admit me first, which had he done he would have been following the counsels of a wise Sovereign and the universal practice of Christendom, and of those, too, who, though so nearly allied to the Archduke, have always given the Republic rank with crowned heads. I quoted the King of England's advice because he himself had assured the French Ambassador that when the King of Denmark consulted him he had recommended him to receive France before Spain and Venice before Flanders. But so powerful is Spanish bribery, especially among the Court officials, that in spite of the just claims of our Sovereigns and our own diligence, events took the course described. This induced the French Ambassador and myself to attack the King and the Earl of Salisbury, but each of us as for himself, pointing out that the honour of our masters requires an end to this state of uncertainty. As regards your Serenity it is clear that by this uncertainty your rank, which at every other Court is undisputed, is called in question. The King of Denmark, for example, excused himself from acting as he would naturally have done, on the ground that the question of precedence was an open one at this Court. I do not know how his Majesty will decide, but decide he must, and that soon, for this question gives rise to continual controversies; and a new one has just arisen, namely, who shall be received first by the Queen, after her confinement. As between France and Spain that is settled by the fact that the French Ambassador has not yet been presented to her Majesty, and so beyond a doubt he will be summoned first. But there is the difficulty between your Serenity's Ambassador and the Archduke's, in whose favour the Spanish Ambassador employs his usual methods, and your Serenity may imagine in what a state I find myself; still I will do my best.
London, 16th August, 1606.
Aug. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 564. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The French Ambassador told me that in the last audience he had, the King spoke confidentially with him about these disagreements between the Pope and the Republic, and more particularly about the recent declaration made by the King of Spain in favour of the Pontiff. The King asked if the Ambassador thought the Spanish were really resolved to help the Pope or whether this was not all a ruse of theirs to rob the French of the glory of arranging an accord, and to assume to themselves the right of judging between Sovereigns. The Ambassador told me he had replied that on the one hand the condition of Spain made him doubt whether they were in earnest, for they must be most unwilling to see Italy in a blaze; on the other the well-known ambition of Spain seemed to point the other way. As to the wish to rob France of the honours of concluding an accord, the French Ambassador in Borne had been assured by the Pope himself that he could never entrust to other hands what he had not entrusted to his Most Christian Majesty, who was the first to come forward as a peace-maker. The King told the Ambassador that the Spanish Ambassador was doing all he could to find out what the French Ambassador was about.
A deputation of merchants recently waited on the King, complained loudly of what they had to suffer from the Spanish and begged for some redress. The King is said to have grown angry, and the King of Denmark, who was present, expressed surprise that his Majesty could submit to such injuries inflicted on his subjects. This and the report of the Commissioner, lately sent to Spain for the recovery of some prizes, lead people to hope that privateering will soon be permitted against the Spanish. The Lord High Admiral, when consulted by a friend as to certain capital he had in Spain, advised his friend to recover possession as soon as possible. This and the words recently used by the King may point to the beginning of those events so eagerly desired by this nation.
It seems that almost all these Catholics are resolved to take the oath, and although many clerics who are here do all they can to prevent it as too great an injury to the Apostolic See, still as loss of property and ruin overhangs those who refuse, and as there are to be found some clerics who hold that in such dire stress the oath may be taken without jeopardizing the soul, it is thought that the greater number will submit to necessity. This will greatly disturb the Pope.
In Scotland it seems that they have submitted on the Church question and agreed to rule the Church as the King desires. This will assist the question of the Union.
The King of Denmark will leave, they say, on the twenty-first of this month. He gives the impression of not having enjoyed his visit, indeed he and all his suite have shown signs of being very soon bored with this country and more especially with the chase, which is so feverishly pursued by the King, and this has caused them to anticipate their departure. Every day they have been entertained with hunting, fetes, and other diversions. On Monday last both Kings tilted at the ring, so did the Prince; and yesterday the King of Denmark had a private joust. As soon as he is gone I will see the King and the Earl of Salisbury about precedence; before his departure I can do nothing.
The plague is increasing rapidly and has appeared in some parts of Scotland.
London, 16th August, 1606.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 22. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 565. The English Ambassador presented himself in the Council, and spoke as follows:—
“Most Serene Prince, my master is highly pleased with what you have told me regarding the ship that was burned at Constantinople; but I am sorry to say the Earl of Salisbury blames me for having failed to inform his Majesty at the proper time, for my despatches arrived the day after your Serenity's addressed to Signor Giustinian, your Ambassador. I trust, however, that my despatches will have made it clear that I did my duty in all sincerity. As always his Majesty is kept fully informed of what is going on here, and not only his Majesty, but the Court and the whole country; and a book upon the question of these differences between Venice and the Pope has recently been printed, whose author, I am credibly informed, is the Earl of Salisbury.
As to the impertinences of the Archduke's Ambassador I have nothing to say, as I have not received an answer to my last representations at home, though I may receive a despatch this evening.
I am here to-day, however, by order of my Sovereign, to communicate to your Serenity a new conspiracy, lately come to light in England. It grieves me greatly that every three months I have to appear in this place to recount such facts; but these actions, abhorred by all who have a grain of humanity in them, are the work of those who, in this our age, call themselves Apostles.
To make the matter clear to your Serenity I had better begin by describing the conspirators. The first is a certain Jacques Cotto, (fn. 2) in the service of the Archdukes in Brussels; the second is his brother, named Tomaso Francesco; the third an Irishman, named Ball, in the suite of the Spanish Ambassador; the fourth is a Scottish Captain, Giovanni Muss (Neuce). He commanded a company of infantry in England, but was deprived of it for some offence. Thereupon he resolved to go to Spain, and to render his resolution plausible, he enlisted a rabble of two hundred Irish. With these he went to Spain and offered his services to the King. Some suspicion was roused and he was arrested; but on its being proved that he was a man of metal, of courage, and of a good heart, a suitable provision was made for him in Brussels. Jacques Cotto happened to be at that time in Spain, and his attention was called to Neuce; he gathered information about Neuce's qualities, his past and his present condition, and found that first and foremost he was poor and sore about the loss of his command in England. Jacques fostered this mood, and presently told Neuce that he knew a way to let him put forty thousand pounds sterling into his pocket. Neuce lent an ear to the proposals. Then Jacques said he must return to Brussels, as the Court of Spain was a place to spend not to make money in, and that he would await Neuce in Brussels. Jacques then left for Brussels, and the Captain soon followed him. They met, and Jacques proposed that Neuce should go over to England and. endeavour to persuade some Captain of a resolute will to offer his services in one of the Dutch cities (mentioning Sluys), and then to betray it to the Archduke. Neuce went over to England, found his man, and wrote to Jacques, saying he was awaiting orders. Jacques replied that they were to take their orders from his brother, Tomaso Francesco, who was coming over to England on purpose. Tomaso went over, and in the Spanish Embassy he had an interview with Neuce, with the Irish attendant of the Ambassador (John Ball), and with a priest, a creature of the Jesuits. They talked of going to the Low Countries and capturing “Sluys,” but their talk was cryptic, for when they mentioned “Sluys” they meant killing the King. This Thomas, who was at the root of the business, said to Neuce, “Have you a good horse under you and a good pistol?” Neuce, in surprise, said, “What do I want with a horse when I am to cross the sea?” Tomaso replied, “How can I say? Look to it well, for with a good horse and a good pistol you may win your forty thousand pounds without crossing the sea. The King goes a hunting at Grav . . very often, twelve miles out of London, and then he has only two or three with him. One might strike a pretty stroke, and then on a good horse you might easily reach the shore; for the rest we will provide.”
At this Captain Neuce, it seems, grew cold; but presently recovering his spirit he said, “It would be as well if the man with the empty purse had it filled.” Tomaso, however, put off further discussion till the following day, when it was to be resumed again in the house of the Spanish Ambassador. Before separating Tomaso exacted an oath of secrecy, and also by means of the priest he set the conscience of the Captain at rest. On separating Tomaso said that he had never intended anything else than the capture of Sluys. The following day Neuce, as agreed, came back to the Spanish Embassy, and waited an hour alone without seeing Tomaso or anyone else. Then the Irish attendant of the Ambassador appeared with a dish of sweetmeats and gave them to Neuce, who ate a large part; the rest he tied up in his own handkerchief in all good faith, and took it home. There he found two neighbours sitting with his wife, and he gave the women the sweets, which they ate, but in small quantity. During the night the Captain found his stomach quite upset and all swollen, and over his body appeared obvious indications of poison. His wife and the other women showed the same symptoms, but in a milder form. When Tomaso heard of this he attempted to fly, but by order of the King he was arrested and put in the Tower. The King, on considering the case, resolved to send a note to the Spanish Ambassador, asking for the consignment of his Irish familiar, and to demand that he should be safely guarded in the Embassy, so that he should not escape. The Ambassador sought audience of the King, and, in discussion, insisted on the point that the inmates of an Embassy are entitled to the same immunity as that enjoyed by the Ambassador himself. The King replied that an Embassy ought not to offer asylum to evil doers. After a lively discussion it was settled that the justices should arrest the man in the Embassy, the Ambassador, however, protesting, so that this is a case where we may draw the philosophic distinction that the King had the man not “against,” but “because of” the Ambassador's consent. Out of respect for the Ambassador the prisoner has not been committed to prison, but to the custody of the head of the administration. The trial has begun, and the results are what I have explained above. The plot was discovered, one may say, in its infancy before it had had time to mature, for the Captain, who was poisoned, revealed all. Tomaso, however, up to the present denies everything. The ease with which the plot was unmasked proves that we have a King whom God loves.”
The Doge remarked that he had heard that the Captain was dead. The Ambassador replied that he had only been in great danger of his life. He added that it seemed that the Earl of Salisbury had set someone to spy the meeting of the conspirators on Tower Hill, and his testimony bears out the depositions of Neuce.
Doge made a formal reply, expressing satisfaction at his Majesty's safety, but advising that he should take more care of his personal safety, and when he goes a-hunting should take a larger escort. The Ambassador is requested to forward this advice.
The English Ambassador presents an offer from Antonio Dotto to furnish a company of two hundred for the service of the Republic, in return for which he begs his Serenity to interest himself in the reconciliation of the Dotto family.
The Doge replies, and adds that they hope to settle the question of the credit due to the English merchants by the end of the month.
Aug. 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 566. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Monday, the twenty-first, the King of Denmark embarked. He left everybody well satisfied on account of his presents, which including those to the King, Queen and Prince amount, they say, to two hundred thousand crowns worth. The King of England made presents, too, but not of such great value, and the Queen sent her mother some fine horses handsomely caparisoned. No business was concluded between them; for as far as the question of the King of Denmark's rumoured candidature for the Empire, when the French Ambassador offered to the King of England the support of France in that design, he was told that Denmark did not aspire to that succession. There were those who noticed that in taking leave of each other on board the Danish vessel, after dining sumptuously there along with the Queen and the Prince, the King of Denmark assured the King of England that he would always preserve the accord between their respective kingdoms. He added in reply to a remark from the High Admiral, “What has the King of Spain to do with this?” A remark which is taken to refer to the India navigation and to prove that the English intend to hold on to it.
After the King's departure his Majesty suddenly resolved to set out on his usual annual Progress. I fear this will deprive me of the opportunity to have an audience of the King and of the Earl of Salisbury, who will accompany him. The Progress will last a month.
The Council has absolutely refused leave to the Tuscan Secretary to raise men for the ship the Grand Duke has recently bought in Amsterdam. They will be obliged to man it in Flanders. She is to take out a cargo of grain to Leghorn. The report of a bad harvest in Italy is sending up the price of corn.
The King of Denmark has been delayed by unfavourable winds, but though invited to land again he has declined to do so.
As the plague has not made much progress lately it is hoped that it will gradually die away.
London, 24th August, 1606.
Aug. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 567. Ottaviano Bon, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador lives in the closest relations with the Ambassadors of France and England.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 27th August, 1606.
Aug. 28. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 568. The English Ambassador again commends Signor Antonio Dotto. He says he has received two letters, one from Rome of small moment, the other from Spain of great moment. He read the one from Rome, written in Latin; it said that they had decided not to summon the Venetian Bishops before the Inquisition.
He then read the letter from Spain, dated Madrid, 27th July, but so hestitatingly that it was clear he was translating it into Italian as he went; the letter gave an account of a sermon preached before the King, exhorting him to undertake the defence of the Church.
The letter contained further information as to the straits they are in for money and the three methods suggested for raising it—concessions to the Jews, a tax on the clergy, and a tax on silver. This would give them the faggot to dry their shirt, but not the log to cook their meat.
The Doge, in the course of his reply, informed the Ambassador that in the case of Antonio Dotto one son was in exile, the other at home. He said that for his part he would make peace, but could neither answer for his brother nor act without him.
Aug. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 569. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Earl of Salisbury has not followed the King on his Progress; but in the absence of his Majesty and the Court there is not much going on except the enforcement of the recent laws against Catholics. The greatest diligence is employed in the search for Catholics, and last Sunday a number of persons were arrested at the door of the Spanish Embassy as they were coming away from the Ambassador's Mass; a great injury and insult to the Ambassador, all the more so because, though the houses of the French and Venetian Ambassadors are in the same street and quite close to the Spanish Embassy, nothing of the sort took place at our residences, and it was hinted to us that they preferred that the example of another should be a warning to us, rather than ours a warning to him.
A courier has reached the Spanish Ambassador, he is supposed to bring a reply to the message about the servant (Ball) arrested at the Embassy, but what the reply is we don't know yet. I must inform your Serenity that after the publication of the King of Spain's letter in favour of the Pope the Spanish Ambassador has shunned my company.
The King of Denmark after his departure sent letters for their respective masters to the Ambassadors of France and Spain, explaining that owing to the quarrel about precedence he had been unable to receive them.
The plague is on the increase, and they fear the consequences of a fair to be held here soon.
London, 30th August, 1606.
Aug. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 570. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The complaints of the merchants about the damage inflicted by the Spanish are so serious and so frequent that the Earl of Salisbury has been obliged to stay on here instead of following the King. It seems that urged by the universal desire and perhaps by his own personal wish he will drive the King to consent to the issue of letters of marque against Spain. But before coming to that resolution he has determined to summon the Spanish and Flemish Ambassadors to the Council, and to let them understand that unless some improvement were visible the English must take other steps. He will speak in the King's name and very firmly. It remains to be seen with what effect. It if were not for the King's resolute desire for peace we would soon see a change, for the Spanish on their side complain of many things, chiefly that aid is cut off from Flanders. And although the English Captain, an accomplice in the late plot, has been dismissed the Arciducal service, still the English are not content, for he left very well provided by the Spanish and only after much difficulty.
News from Flanders that Spinola has captured Grœnlo (Gruel). An achievement greatly exaggerated by the Spanish.
London, 30th August, 1606.


  • 1. The total number was 314, besides mariners. See Cal. S.P. Dom., July.
  • 2. Alias Franceshi.