Venice: November 1606

Pages 418-437

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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November 1606

Nov. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 607. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Anthony Sherley came here six days ago, accompanied by upwards of thirty persons, all splendidly dressed. He says he has been to Morocco to negotiate on behalf of the Emperor, from whom he holds commission to negotiate with the King of Spain. Not much faith is placed in his statements, and the English Ambassador's attitude will do him harm, for he is accused of having cheated English merchants by means of false letters, purporting to be signed by the King of England. Any way he is very hostile to the Republic in this affair with Rome, and strongly urges the King to declare war, because he says that he knows for certain that the cities on the Milanese frontier are full of people as ill-affected to Venice as they are favourable to Spain. He had an audience of Don Juan d'Idiaquez to-day, but not much attention was paid to him. I will do what is necessary to represent him as a man of the worst condition.
Madrid, 1st November, 1606.
Nov. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 608. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As I was unable to make any communication directly to the Count of Vaudemont I took the opportunity to do so by means of the Chevalier Verdelli, who remained behind on account of an illness, contracted in the country when the Count was hunting, and only reached London yesterday. He says the Count is disposed to remain in your Serenity's service and is ready to discuss the renewal of his contract, which expires this December. Verdelli told me that his Excellency had intended him to conduct the negotiations. He also said that one day out hunting the King enquired very minutely about the forces and power of the Republic, the naval and military armaments she commanded, what foreign troops she could most easily enlist, and so on.
The King is expected at Hampton Court in a few days, and it is thought that he will not move far off again; the Court and Council will return and the question of summoning Parliament will be discussed; also the question of the Union of the Churches, about which the Ministers of both sides hold very different views.
The rumour of a mutiny in Spinola's camp causes great satisfaction here; but its importance is variously represented; by some it is regarded as a serious revolt of about five thousand Spanish troops, by others as a slight affair of a few Italians. (fn. 1) Any way everyone thinks that this is the beginning of disastrous consequences for the Spanish, especially as their lack of cash and of credit is irreparable. Spinola has attempted, but in vain, to persuade the army contractors to continue supplies. It is thought that Count Maurice, whose forces are fresh and intact, will attempt something more than the recovery of Grœnlo.
I am proceeding diligently with the purchase of grain, and have concluded a bargain for other consignments from the same district and of the same quality at a slightly lower rate.
London, 2nd November, 1606.
Nov. 3. Collegio, Secrcta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 609. Report by Zaccaria Rosso that the Secretary of the English Ambassador had met him that day at the Palace and informed him that the Ambassador desired an interview with him. The Ambassador was aware of the difficulties in the way, but still as leave had once been granted to Secretary Scaramelli he hoped for a like favour in this case. The Ambassador was well aware that the Secretary would never come to the Embassy, and begged him to name a place of meeting. The Secretary of the Ambassador said he would wait the answer. The reply was that this evening the Ambassador would receive the decision of the Cabinet.
Nov. 3. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 610. Seeing that the English Ambassador has expressed a wish to communicate to our Secretary Zaccaria Rosso matters of great importance, and seeing that it is desirable to gratify him, as on other occasions has been done:
Motion is made that Zaccaria Rosso be instructed to inform the Secretary of the Ambassador that he is ready to meet him wherever the Ambassador may appoint; and Rosso shall report the interview in writing to us.
Ayes 142.
Noes 3.
Neutrals 1.
Nov. 4. Covered by preceding document. 611. In obedience to your Serenity's orders I, Zaccaria Rosso, your humble servant and Secretary, informed the Secretary of the English Ambassador that I would meet his Excellency wherever he might appoint. He replied that I might come to the Church of the Nuns of S. Gerolamo, which is close to his house, between the hours of twenty and twenty-one; the place was convenient for him, and he had used it on another occasion for an interview with the Secretary Scaramelli. I accordingly was at S. Grerolamo at the appointed hour, and presently the Ambassador arrived. After a few words of compliment, to which I replied as was fitting, he said that, as he was about to make a communication of great importance both to the Republic and to himself, he begged my attention, so that I might report all in full to your Serenity; he supposed that I was aware of the request he had preferred before the Chiefs of the Council of Ten, a request that he hoped would be granted him if it had not already been so. “The other day,” he said, “I begged for the arrest of an English Captain (Turner), both in the interests of the Republic and of myself. I promised that when he was arrested I would, within three or four days, present myself to the Cabinet to explain his misdeeds. The Chiefs of the Ten replied to my secretary that the matter was serious, that they would give it due consideration, and that he was to return next morning for an answer. He did so, and was told that no decision had been reached and that the question was to be discussed at another meeting. However, on the evening of the same day they sent a secretary to my house to say that after mature consideration they had come to the conclusion that it did not belong to them to receive my petition, and that if I intended to proceed further I ought to apply to the Senate. I cannot deny that this answer came as a surprise, for I had hoped to be gratified. I thought over the possible reasons for this refusal, and it seemed to me that certain words the secretary had employed without my instructions might have generated a doubt, for you must know that in presenting my request the secretary said that certain papers, and especially a letter addressed to Don Francesco de Castro, who is expected here shortly on a mission from the King of Spain, would be found upon Turner. This was not communicated by my orders, but said of his own accord by the secretary, who had heard the fact from me in the course of our conversations on the matter. I imagine that this remark may have caused the illustrious Chiefs to consider that it is a serious matter to intercept a letter addressed to a personage of the importance of Don Francesco; and in this I agree with them, nor was it ever my intention to have demanded such a thing, but this letter is not the real business. You must know that this English Captain, who has come to Venice on account of the present state of affairs, is a man of the most vicious life and habits, a great rogue, up to the eyes in evil principles and plans, of a most restless nature. He came here and frequented the Embassy. One day when there together with the English gentlemen whom I presented to his Serenity in the name of my Sovereign, the conversation turned on the arrival of the German Captain Colonitz, (fn. 2) who is going to take service, so they say, with the Republic; it was stated that through his means the Republic would receive from Germany all the men and munitions of war that she required. Whereupon Turner went straight to the Imperial Resident and told him that the English Ambassador had said so and so about Captain Colonitz. As Turner cannot speak German, nor any other language, an interpreter was employed and he came and revealed all to me. Now it seems to me that the Republic is as much, interested as I am in this matter, and through me my master, who deigns to employ me, is also affected, to say nothing of the interest he takes in the present juncture of affairs, both as a Sovereign and as that Sovereign who has so openly declared himself on the side of the Republic. I now beg you in my name to entreat his Serenity to give orders for the arrest of Captain Turner and his committal to close prison for two or three days, for at my first audience, which will be on Monday or Tuesday at the latest, as I have other important business to transact, I will solicit his removal to the daylight prisons, and will explain the meaning of all this. I don't claim to see letters or papers; all I ask is the arrest of the man. If letters or papers are found let his Serenity do as he pleases with them, I put in no claim to have them. And should the letter addressed to Don Francesco be found on him and opened I am convinced it will prove to be merely a letter of introduction; for I have learned that it is a simple letter of recommendation, which Turner begged from an English gentleman, who was in this city, and who as he was once at Naples claims kin with Don Francesco, which is a mere folly. Turner is so cunning and bold that it certainly is not well that he should be at liberty during the time that Don Francesco is here. I should like him to be secretly arrested as soon as possible and before I go to audience in the Cabinet, not after, so that it may not appear as though I were the cause of the arrest. When he is arrested I will ask for audience on Monday or Tuesday on other business, and in the course of it I will petition that Turner be removed to a daylight prison; then I will send my secretary to the prison to tell the Captain why he is there. I beg you to execute this commission for me and to entreat his Serenity to issue orders that the Chiefs of the Ten shall carry out this arrest. I thank him for having granted me this interview with you.”
I promised to report all he had told me, and assured him of the great esteem in which he is held, and as he said no more I took my leave.
Nov. 8. Covered by preceding document. 612. To-day, in the afternoon, the Grand Captain came to the Chamber where the Cabinet sits and reported to the secretary that this morning, about fifteen o'clock, he went to the house of Giovanni Tedesco in the Corte del Forner between the bridge of S. Giovanni Grisostomo and the other bridge leading to S. Cancian on the right hand side, where the night before he had sent one of his men to enquire if Captain William Turner, an Englishman, was going to lodge and sleep there. He was told by a woman that she was not sure that he would. The officer immediately afterwards met Captain Turner and three others in the Calle of the Madonna dei Miracoli; he did not arrest him then because he did not think that Turner's height answered to the description which had been given to him, but he followed Turner at a distance till he reached the court of the Palace, there he came up and received information that this was the man for whose arrest he held a warrant. He waited till, the English Ambassador left in his boat, after having had audience, and then arrested Turner in the courtyard and put him in one of the prisons of the Chiefs of the Ten. When searched by the warders a letter was found upon him and taken from him against his will, for he did all he could to tear it up, but was prevented. The letter was handed to the illustrious Signor Zorzi, Savio of the Council, who was present; the officer added that although, he had been ordered to put the prisoner in a separate cell he had not been able to do so, as they were all full, but he had put him in the emptiest there was, where there were three others only. Signor Zorzi said it would be as well to know who these other three were, and the officer went to enquire. He returned and said that one was Signor Antonio Longo, another Girolamo Zorzi, a Romagnolo, the third a certain Francesco, boatman. He reported that he had taken from Captain Turner a gilded sword, which he was wearing.
Note: It was stated in the Senate that the letter found on him was not addressed to Don Francesco de Castro, but to a Jesuit Father. The Secretary showed the letter in public in the Senate, sealed with three seals.
Nov. 13. Covered by preceding document. 613. By order of the whole Cabinet the letter was sent unopened to the Ambassador, with permission to do what he liked with it, and a statement that no other papers were found upon the prisoner.
Nov. 13. Covered by preceding document. 614. Report of Giovanni Rizzardo, Ducal Notary.
I took the letter and handed it to the Ambassador, as ordered. He said, “I am informed that the prisoner is a dangerous subject. I was not aware that he had any letters on him, but I have heard about a box, and I have ordered it to be opened. This letter must be in English; I will read it, and if it contains anything relating to the Republic” . . . and here he paused, and then added, “Well, any way I will communicate the contents to his Serenity. If you like we will open it now.” To this I replied that my sole orders were to hand him the letter. He expressed himself deeply obliged, and I took my leave.
Nov. 6. Consiglio Died, Processi Criminali. Venetian Archives. 615. On May 12th of last year Lorenzo Zanoli was sent to Verona with instructions to the commander to hold him in custody in one of the forts till further orders. His sister Anna has arrived from Flanders with letters from the Count of Bergen, and she begs that Lorenzo may be handed over to her, promising to take him away with her to Flanders. It is consonant with the mercy of this Council to grant her just request:—
Be it therefore decreed that the said Lorenzo be consigned to the said Anna on condition that he goes to Flanders and never returns to Venice; and that for the settlement of his affairs he be allowed to come to Venice for fifteen days, on condition that he never leaves his house (fn. 3).
Ayes 9.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 6.
Nov. 6. Collegio, Secreta, Lettere. Venetian Archives. 616. That after what has been said and read a warrant for the arrest of Captain William Turner be issued.
Ayes 8. The Doge.
The Councillors:
Niccolo Ferro,
Piero Moresini,
Zuanne Marcello.
Piero Barbarigo.
Chiefs of the Supreme Court:
Ruberto di Prioli,
Pietro da Molin,
Bernardin Vitturi.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 0.
Nov. 8. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 617. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and spoke as follows:
“My master orders me to return thanks for your Serenity's letters acknowledging his Majesty's declaration in favour of the Republic, and especially for the passage in which you recognise his Majesty's disinterestedness. Your Ambassador in England in presenting your letters added a vigorous appeal to his Majesty to act as mediator, so that the King of Denmark and the German Princes may be induced to make a similar declaration. I am to reply that although his Majesty supposes that in such a cause his friends will not be backward, yet he does not think the moment opportune, seeing that as yet the Pope has not gone beyond “Monitoria” and “Interdicts,” names that have been brought into use again at that Court. Moreover your Serenity has done all that a prudent Prince should do to defend your states in case of attack. As regards the King of Denmark my master says that when his Majesty was in England he took care to work him up on the general question to such a heat that should matters come to an extreme pitch we will not have to pipe for long to that Sovereign, for he will dance of his own accord without the need of our music.
And here I would like to add a private opinion of my own. Philosophers teach us that the sun warms all bodies that are here below, and yet itself is not warm; that is a proposition of natural science, but it is not so in the world of politics; your Serenity must grow warm yourself if you desire others to be warm. But to return to my instructions, his Majesty says that as regards the Princes of Germany he will be well content if the question of united action is dealt with by your Serenity's Ministers, but on the express condition that his Majesty's motives are cited, namely that not for the fomenting of discord, not out of hostility to any Sovereign, not in rivalry with any friendly power has his Majesty declared himself on the side of the Republic, but for the honour of God and the merits of the cause, which is common to all temporal Princes. His Majesty, who is far removed from either alarm or shame, leaves this Serene Republic to make whatever use it may deem best of this declaration, either in the way it has adopted up to this time or in any other way that may seem more suitable to its service. For, as I have stated, his Majesty has offered to join the Republic with all his forces, both military and naval, and when occasion arises he will do all that in him lies; nor will he retire from this position, even though he had all the Princes of the world against him; should his forces not prove sufficient he will rely on the Lord God, whose cause this is, for it is a just cause, and therefore must be God's, who is the essence of justice. And not only in the present crisis, but on all other occasions your Serenity may rely upon the support of my master, in virtue of the perfect accord and friendship which is now renewed and established between his Majesty and this Serene Republic. Thus far my instructions.
But now I cannot refrain from giving vent to a personal grievance. I feel it strange that, as I was the person who frequently urged upon your Serenity the advisability of forming a league with other Sovereigns, I have never received a reply upon the subject, but that your Serenity should have instructed your Ambassador in England to negotiate with my master without ever saying a word to me on the matter. All through this crisis I have always represented to his Majesty the justice of your Serenity's cause, the nobility of your spirit, your magnanimous resolves. I have used all good offices as suggested by the devotion I feel towards your Serenity. That your Serenity should have shown so little consideration for me in this matter of the league has hurt me deeply. I must further say that as his Majesty has highly honoured me by taking me from the schools to send here to this thrice-noble city to fill the post I now occupy, if he does not now await information from me before coming to a decision I shall beg him to grant me his good leave to go home and to serve him with my prayers, my life, my blood, but no longer with my pen. And thus I vent myself to your Serenity, and so doing I purge myself of all inward rancour, so that not a note of bitterness remains, and I conclude by begging your Serenity, if really resolved to form a league, to deign to consult me, for I possess better means to serve you than you may be aware of.”
The Doge returned thanks, and especially for the announcement that his Majesty was content that the Republic should form a league with other Princes, a suggestion which would receive consideration and be settled as the interests of his Majesty and the Republic demanded.
As regards the modest complaint advanced by the Ambassador, he should free his mind of the suspicion that this was the result of any want of confidence, which would be quite the reverse of the truth. This only arose because no fitting occasion for making a communication presented itself. The instructions sent to the Ambassador in England were to sound his Majesty as to what help might be looked for from his allies in case of need. The Doge thus defended the action of the Republic, and eventually persuaded the Ambassador that what had taken place was not due to any want of confidence in him, and convinced him of the high esteem in which he was held. Finally, the Doge thanked him for his offer to act as intermediary in the formation of a league, and promised to store up that offer against the day when it might be of service.
The Ambassador replied briefly; and then went on, “I desire now to come to a question which affects the person of Don Francesco de Castro, who is expected here in a few days. Rumour is very busy ahead of him, and it is said that he comes with an earnest proposal for the peace and tranquillity of Italy. I shall have to see him, and I do not know what attitude to assume towards the present crisis, and desire to be advised by your Serenity as to how I should bear myself, and as I am advised so will I act.”
The Doge replied, “According to our advices Don Francesco was to be at Ferrara yesterday; thence lie will go to Rovigo and Padua, which is quite close. But either the weather or private reasons may induce him to prolong his journey. Any way he will be here by the end of this week or the beginning of next. We do not know the object of his mission. There are rumours afloat, but ill-founded. We shall hear what he has to say, and will communicate to your Lordship all that may concern you to know. Meantime the Council will consider what attitude it would be advisable for you to adopt when you meet Don Francesco, and will communicate with you, as the custom of our government requires.”
The Ambassador said he would await instructions. He then went on to say that he was instructed to make representations in favour of an English gentleman, called Sir Thomas (? Glover), well known to the illustrious Chevalier Molin. This gentleman, who had been bred in the Court at Constantinople, and was therefore deeply versed in matters Turkish, had been chosen as Ambassador to Turkey, and had meant to travel viâ Venice, but on account of his wife and others he had taken ship direct from England. He now presents his duty to his Serenity and offers his services.
The Doge replied, thanking Sir Thomas and asking the Ambassador to tell him that in return for his kind offers he might rely on the friendship of the Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople.
The Ambassador then said, “It remains for me to raise a question which is urgent; I mean about that Captain (Turner), my compatriot. He came here because of the crisis, meaning to offer his services to the Republic. But he is a man as short of cash as he is of honour. He is of no faith or rather of every faith. That being his character I thought it right to keep an eye on him. My position compels me to allow my house to stand open to all compatriots, and so I invited him to the Embassy and introduced him. One day he dined with me in company with the other officers who are taking service with the Republic. After dinner the conversation turned upon the German Colonitz. No sooner had we left table than Turner went straight to the Imperial Resident and said that at the English Embassy he had found out a great secret about a German Colonel, that the matter was serious and the Archduke Ferdinand should be informed, so that he might close the passes. When I learned this I was very angry that an Englishman should have been guilty of such an action. I thereupon petitioned the Chiefs of the Ten to arrest Turner. This they declined to do because my secretary, who presented the request, talked about letters addressed to Don Francesco de Castro that would be found on Turner. I do not deny that I talked to my secretary about such a letter; but I found out that it was a mere letter of introduction to Don Francesco, which Turner had obtained from an English gentleman who had known Don Francesco in Naples. I petitioned your Serenity for the arrest of this Captain Turner, and I hear that my petition is granted, but the arrest has not taken place yet, though it may be expected any hour to-day. I should like him to be put in close prison, and I will then inform him of the reason for his arrest.”
The Doge replied, “When your Lordship applied to the Chiefs of the Ten to issue a warrant, it seemed to them that the matter more properly lay with the Senate, and they recommended you to address yourself to us. We have approved and the warrant is already issued, and would have been executed by this time had the officer not felt a doubt as to the description of the person, and, in order to avoid a mistake, applied to your secretary for confirmation, who said that although Turner is here in the courtyard of the Palace, yet he is not to be arrested until your Lordship has taken your departure.”
The Ambassador made a lot of remarks, not worth recording, as to the manner of the arrest, but ended by declaring that provided the arrest took place he did not care a bit about the manner.
The Ambassador presented a petition for suspension in the case of Simon Dedichere before the Civil Court of Appeal. The Doge said everything should be done to please the Ambassador.
Nov. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 618. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received your Serenity's instructions of the 14th of October to clinch the King's offers of assistance. The King is expected to-morrow. He has been away on the chase, and the Earl of Salisbury is seldom in town. I have, however, endeavoured to see him in order to discover what may be their view as to the publication of the King's declaration in favour of the Republic. I have not succeeded in seeing the Earl either because he has been so little in London, or because the King's departure left him without instructions, or because the King wishes to act in accord with other Princes; and this seems to me the more probable reason, because M. de Caron a few days ago told me that the King with his own lips had made the declaration to him and told him to inform his masters.
M. de Caron took the opportunity to offer to the Republic all the forces, and especially the sea forces of the States.
In the absence of the King no business has been done. The Queen arrived here yesterday from Hampton Court.
Chevalier Verdelli told me that the Count of Vaudemont intended to ask for no increase of pay on the renewal of his contract with your Serenity, in order to show to the world his true devotion to your Serenity at this crisis.
Affairs in Flanders are going very badly for the Spanish. The mutiny is spreading. Count Maurice has recovered Lochem and Grœnlo. Spinola is obliged to keep his troops separated for fear of the movement spreading.
London, 9th November, 1606.
Nov. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 619. Zorzi Giustinian, Yenetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received, viâ Antwerp by ordinary post, your Serenity's orders to buy grain up to the amount of twenty-five thousand stara. There is not sufficient of last year's crop to carry out your instructions, but I hope that the new crop will soon be fit to travel, and then I can buy at a better price. I think I shall be obliged to approach the King, so as to avoid all possible difficulties, though it will cause some loss to your Serenity. I have received from the Corn Commissioners bills of exchange for 3,091 ducats 14 grossi. As they are at three months, whereas the custom here is to pay part in advance, there is a loss.
London, 9th November, 1606.
Nov. 10. Minutes of the Senate Venetian Archives. 620. That the arrest of the Englishman, Captain William Turner, upon warrant of the Lesser Council, dated 6th November, be confirmed.
Ayes 116.
Noes 11.
Neutrals 17.
Nov. 10. Minutes of the Senate Roma. Venetian Archives. 621. Assuring the Ambassador of England that he has been really and fully informed of all the instructions sent to the Venetian Ambassador in England. As to his conduct towards Don Francesco that shall be left to his own judgment.
Ayes 140.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 4.
Nov. 11. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 622. The English Ambassador, in reply to the resolution of the Senate of the 10th inst., returned thanks for the good will shown towards his master. “As for myself not a trace of rancour remains, although I did complain to your Serenity, and may be in terms which went beyond due bounds. I must say, however, that I never heard a word about the formation of a league. Should your Serenity resolve to enter on such a scheme I pray you to make use of me, for I have good means at my disposal.
“As regards an Ambassador Extraordinary I have not grasped the meaning; may I ask that it be read again?” When that was done the Ambassador said he thought his master would appreciate the compliment, and he himself would do all he could to smooth the way.
As to the advice for guidance in his dealings with Don Francesco de Castro, he felt honoured that the Senate left it to his discretion, but he would have been glad of precise instructions. “And talking of Don Francesco,” he said, “I must bring before you certain doubts that are in my mind. I hear on all sides that one must be very cautious in dealing with this gentleman, as his intentions are very subtle. I am told that he comes on a mission of pacification. Why, then, I ask, does he not go to the Pope first, that is to the prime cause and origin of the mischief? I am told that when doctors wish to cure a malady their first care is to find its seat. That this gentleman comes to us first and not to Rome makes me suspect that he comes not as a mediator, but as a judge, and with the pretence that all the movement began here. If I consider the action of the Pope it seems to me that he has not that willingness to come to terms, which they assert is in his mind. His deeds do not fit his declarations. Only yesterday, and indeed every day, I received from Rome an anonymous packet addressed to me. I open it, and find it contains a printed sheet headed, 'Interdict, published in April by the Pontiff, Paul V., against the Republic of Venice, printed in the Vatican.' Now when this Interdict was first issued in the Latin language it was affixed to four places in Rome, and the Pope would not allow it to be circulated, indeed when one of the four was taken down all diligence was. used to recover it, and recovered it was; but now that negotiations for an accord are on foot and an Ambassador from Spain is on his way to conduct them, the Pope sends copies of this Interdict translated into Italian. From this I conclude that the Pope is not sincere in his professions of charity. And I should be glad to know what your Serenity thinks about these doubts in my mind.”
The Doge replied, “We are informed that Don Francesco has arrived at Padua and may be here to-night. It is true that he ought to have gone to Rome first as the fountain head of the mischief, but it cannot be denied that during his stay at Gaeta he did all that was right by sending an agent express to Rome several times. This agent was a certain Cicala, who used to belong to the Society of Jesus; he was to have accompanied Don Francesco to Venice, but it seemed more expedient that he should not. We shall hear what Don Francesco has to say, and your Lordship shall be informed of anything that may concern you.
“The Pope professes a pacific mind, but his actions refute him. Every day he pours out pamphlets, and believes by their multiplication to justify his—yes we will use the word—errors, which are many and gross. If all these pamphlets were put together they would make a heap so great that my throne would not hold it. But after all, this activity with the pen is not surprising, for the race of friars, priests and parasites of the Court of Rome are so idle by nature that they do nothing but pry into other people's affairs.”
The Ambassador then thanked the Doge for the honour done to the two English officers. As the Ambassador rose to leave the Doge informed him of the arrest of Captain Turner.
Nov. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. Expulsis Papalistis. 623. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After receiving your Serenity's despatches and the writings setting forth the case of the Republic against the Pope I sought audience, which has been assigned me for Sunday next, the 19th. I will wait on the Earl of Salisbury and will endeavour to find out what has been settled about the publication of the King's attitude towards the Republic.
Everybody here is occupied with the meeting of Parliament, which will take place now that the plague has ceased. Among many points to be raised is the question of the extortions and injuries inflicted by Spain. The public temper demands a final decision on the matter, and the Spanish Ambassador is alarmed at the prospect of some check, and anxiously awaits the return of his courier, to allow him to delay these dangerous decisions by the help of hopes and promises; and meantime through the medium of those who attend Mass at the Spanish Embassy the English give him from time to time fresh causes for alarm.
Another project is to convey to the Crown various properties now dependent on the King only, and this with a view to checking the flow of those gifts which the King's liberality induces him to bestow on his servants. They intend, in fact, in view of possible complications to initiate economies, although if war should be declared on Spain they promise themselves abundant supplies from these kingdoms, owing to the popular desire for war and the large offers that his Majesty holds should that take place.
Yesterday with great solemnity they kept the anniversary of Gunpowder Plot. The King went in state to chapel and dined afterwards in public. The City had fireworks and feasting. An Act of Parliament has been passed ordering the solemn celebration of the anniversary every year.
I am going on with the purchase of grain, and hope to begin the dispatch of it presently.
London, 16th November, 1606.
Nov. 18. Original News Letter, Archives of Modena. 624. Sir Thomas Glover, the new Ambassador to the Sultan, has left London. He takes with him a magnificent of present from the King to the Grand Turk.
Nov. 20. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 625. The English Ambassador appeared in the Cabinet and said, “I do not know if I am to congratulate your Serenity or not. On all sides I hear that an accommodation will be, nay has been, reached, and that the Pope will yield. That seems to me impossible, for every day the Pope adds to the affront he offers by the citation of Master Paul (Sarpi) and the threats and judgments against that other one, Marsilio, and by forbidding trade, all of them actions which prove the contrary of what is asserted. But when I pointed out this objection I was told that the Pope, having made up his mind to yield towards the State, intended to remain firm against some individuals, in order to preserve his reputation in the eyes of the world. I come to your Serenity to learn the truth. I imagine that Don Francesco has not spoken on this subject yet, as he has not had audience, and it is to be supposed that the letter he brings will disclose the true intentions of his master. I beg your Serenity to keep me informed in this matter and to pardon my curiosity, which may and ought to be excused by my official position as the representative of a Sovereign who has shown himself so zealous for the welfare of this Serene Republic.”
The Doge replied that if anything of moment took place the Ambassador would be informed. Meantime no definite conclusion had been reached. His Most Christian Majesty had interposed, but as yet merely with the result that remarks had been exchanged. Don Francesco has been received in public audience only and his letters—in accordance with the custom between Spain and Venice—have not been opened out of regard for the Ambassador. But it is certain that the letter is merely a formal credential, conveying no positive indications; the King merely says he desires peace. The Doge promised that anything of importance would be communicated to the Ambassador.
The Ambassador then went on to say that sub sigillo confessionis he desired to impart a great secret about Spanish machinations as regards the election of the King of the Romans. “There is a passage in the Duke of Feria's instructions, ordering him to press on the question. The object is that if the brothers of the Emperor fall out among themselves the Duke can advance the Archduke Ferdinand or the King of Spain himself as a candidate. The Archduke Albert is not mentioned, as he is the least popular of the Emperor's brothers. But I know that the Marquis of Brandenburg and the Count Palatine have sent to the Archduke Albert to say that if the sister of the Duke of Cleves and Juliers, wife of the Marquis of Brandenburg, is secured in the succession to her brother's Duchies they will guarantee Archduke Albert's election as King of the Romans, and this might actually take place, for it would not be difficult to gain over two of the Ecclesiastical electors at least.”
The Doge returned thanks. As regards Marsilio and others the Doge declared that the State would always protect them, and also Roberto Megietti, (fn. 4) the publisher, as they imagined that the Ambassador referred to him when he spoke of trade being forbidden.
Nov. 23. Minutes of the Senate, Roma. Venetian Archives. 626. Motion to authorize the Doge to inform the English Ambassador of what passed at the audience granted to Don Francesco de Castro.
Ayes 157.
Noes 2.
Neutrals 5.
Nov. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 627. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday last I had an audience of the King. Almost all the Councillors were present. As instructed I said that although negotiations were afoot for an accommodation of the differences between the Republic and the Pope, the movement of the Pope and the attitude of his supporters rendered the Republic uncertain of the issue, and she still continued to count on a corresponding movement on the part of his Majesty, as promised. The Republic intends to send an Ambassador Extraordinary to render thanks. I seemed to gather from the countenance of his Majesty, who listened with his usual attention, the pleasure he experienced, especially when I spoke of an Extraordinary Embassy, for he at once took me up cheerfully and repeated the expressions of his good will. “God knows” he said, “how I love and esteem the Republic, and how ready I shall be to prove it, for my feelings are based on an old predilection of mine for the form of that government. And as to the Ambassador that is coming he may rest assured of a hearty welcome and of every desire on my part to satisfy him.” I replied in order to lead him on to an explicit repetition of his offers, which he made. I returned thanks, and then he said, “What is his Most Christian Majesty about?” I replied that he is still working away at an accommodation.
The King then rose to return to the Council, who were waiting him. I said that I was commissioned to purchase grain for your Serenity, and in your name I begged for licence to export. The King declared his willingness to do all that your Serenity desired, and said that by law if the price of grain passed a certain point the royal licence was required for exportation, and if that were now necessary he would cause it to be drawn up. As I was taking my leave the Earl of Salisbury approached me and begged to be excused if he could not receive me at once, as he had to wait on the King.
London, 23rd November, 1606.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 628. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I saw the Earl of Salisbury yesterday with a view to finding out what intention they have as regards the publication of the King's declaration in favour of the Republic. I repeated in substance what I had said to the King, and insisted upon the confidence with which the Republic looked for deeds corresponding to the promises made her, should occasion arise. From time to time I touched on this question of the declaration, with a view to ascertaining how far he held by what the King had said to me, for I am well aware of the great influence the Earl of Salisbury exercises over the King. I found that on this question of the declaration this Minister kept silence, and this leads me to suspect that they intend to go cautiously in this business and to watch events. I beg your Excellencies' pardon if I have thrown out a vain suspicion, but the caution I am bound to exercise on your service makes me diffident. The Earl replied that the King had informed him of all that had, passed between us, and that I might rest assured that his Majesty would continue in the same mind. “But,” he added, “it is perhaps as well that I should tell you what some people are saying here about this declaration of his Majesty, and it is this that in the end he will add little to his reputation, for the differences between the Republic and the Pope will soon be accommodated by another Prince, to the augmenting of the Papal claims and pretensions, for the Republic will withdraw from the position she now assumes, and will be obliged to make public demonstration of obedience and subservience to the Pope, even on those points which she now maintains to be temporal. Thus his Majesty, who has no other object than to assist the Republic and to defend the sovereignty of Princes in matters temporal, and especially on those points defended by the Republic, will draw but little honour from his declaration in your favour, which will have served merely to give an advantage to the Republic in the concessions she will certainly make at the instance of other Princes, none of whom, though the cause is the cause of all, have done for the Republic what his Majesty has done, and yet it is they who in the long run will reap all the glory; and when the Ambassador Extraordinary arrives they say he will merely come to announce some accord arrived at to the prejudice of that very liberty which the King has pledged himself to support. That is what people say to me; but I do not believe it, for I am well aware of the prudence of the Venetian Senate.” I replied that no action of a Prince, how magnanimous soever it may be, is safe from the adverse criticism of the ignorant or malicious; no action, how worthless soever, will lack its need of praise from the same quarter; hut such appreciations deserve to be met with contempt by the good. His Majesty's heroic and magnanimous resolution was taken with a sole view to the glory of God, the assistance of his allies and the benefit of Christendom; he declared from the outset that he ranged himself with the Republic all the more willingly that he was sure she would do all in her power to maintain the peace. In that sense he praised the dispatch of the Extraordinary Embassy to Rome and all those other demonstrations of regard for the Pope, which the Republic had adopted in order to induce him to take up a more reasonable attitude; he applauded the efforts of other Princes to reach an accommodation. “And so,” I said, “I cannot see how anyone reasonably censures the attitude of his Majesty or the action of the Republic, and if an accommodation were reached it ought to be attributed chiefly to the declaration of the King; and if war be declared and carried on successfully the merit would also be his. To show their gratitude the Senate had resolved to send a special Embassy. And so you see how empty is all this adverse criticism. God grant they be not the handiwork of those who love not his Majesty's welfare.” The Earl replied, “I know that these remarks may well be the work of ill-wishers, but they will not move his Majesty.” “Nay” said I, “they ought to confirm him in his resolve.”
London, 23rd November, 1606.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Nov. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 629. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When I mentioned to the Earl of Salisbury what the King had said to me on the subject of the licence for the export of grain his Lordship replied that he had received no orders on the matter, and that without such orders he could do nothing. When I insisted on the promise I had received the Earl replied, “My Lord, the King is Sovereign, and when he commands one must obey, but I cannot imagine how he can issue orders so prejudicial to his country and his subjects, from whom we daily receive complaints and lamentations on this subject of the exportation of grain. If he asks my opinion I certainly shall not advise it, for I know the ill-humour such concessions will waken in the public mind. We have an Act of Parliament which forbids the export of grain when the price has reached a certain point, which is taken to be an indication of dearth. That point is already long past, a proof of a veritable famine. I cannot see how, in these circumstances, the King can consent unless he wishes to take the bread out of the mouths of his own people and give it to others, especially when Parliament is on the point of meeting, and as it is composed chiefly of members for the boroughs and counties it is absolutely necessary to do nothing under their eyes which may give rise to tumults.” I expressed surprise at meeting these difficulties in the way of operations, which were carried out daily and more especially this year, when there was a dearth abroad and an abundance in England. I cited among recent instances the agents of the Grand Duke, who had received a licence after some slight difficulty not on account of the grain, but because they had bought and embarked it all before they said a word on the subject. I pointed out that there was no dearth in England, for the crop was a full one, and there was still a quantity of last year's grain in the market; the rise in price was due to the scarcity abroad, not to the want at home. The grain that was sought for export was not of the quality they consume here, and they ought to be allowed to sell at such a great profit. “Your Lordship argues well,” he said, “ but still I am of opinion that each one knows his own business best. As to export, a great deal did actually go on, but while grain was still below the statutory price. As to the agents of the Grand Duke only a small part of the grain they bought exceeded the statutory limit, and even that caused them great trouble; but as the grain was already shipped and as the Grand Duke wrote urgent letters leave was granted.” “They themselves,” I replied, “tell me just the contrary; and I have seen the bill. All the grain exceeds the limit; public, and therefore presumably permitted exportation has been going on all this year; and I must add that much of this grain when it reached Italy was sold at a profit in the States of the Church, where there is a famine. I cannot, therefore, believe that the King will refuse to grant leave and to maintain permission to the Republic to export for her own sole use a quantity of grain so small that it can neither affect the prices nor alarm the minds of his subjects. The King has promised, and I rest assured that he will keep his word.” “Enough,” said the Earl, “I have told you what I think. It rests with the King to do as he pleases. Your Lordship can talk to him again on his return. Meantime without his orders I can do nothing.” I begged him to do nothing to thwart the favourable disposition of his Majesty; and remarked that the Republic in return might be able to gratify his Majesty, for example, in the case of some of those requests which his Ambassador Wotton prefers from time to time. I went on to say I had already bought and paid for a considerable amount, and had hired the vessels to carry it, and I begged him to grant me licence for that, all the more so that on his Majesty's return I was sure to obtain leave for the whole. The fact that I had not asked leave before was due entirely to his Majesty's absence. He excused himself on the ground that without express orders signed by the King he could not act. He said his Majesty would be here again in a few days and I could speak to him. I could get nothing more than this and took my leave.
On this subject I am bound to say that I do not know what the upshot may be, for though the King has passed his word, I fear that the authority of the Minister may be sufficient to cause him to draw back, and the fact that he has not spoken to the Earl of Salisbury makes me think that this is the line he will adopt for escaping from his promise. Whenever the King returns I will seek an audience, and insist as strongly as possible on the fulfilment of his pledge; but I fear it will be difficult for me to obtain audience, as that is their plan when they wish to avoid concessions. Though using all diligence and speed in the purchase of the grain I have taken care not to go so far as to be involved should any difficulty arise about the licence; and as a matter of fact I am only pledged to the first ship, about which I have already written.
London, 23rd November, 1606.
Nov. 24. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 630. The English Ambassador attended at the Cabinet and introduced his secretary (Albertus Morton), a thing he had never done before. This he explained on two grounds; one that he was on the point of sending the secretary to England and the Doge might wish to entrust him with despatches for the Venetian Ambassador. He said that the secretary was well born, a close relation, and dear friend of one of the King's most intimate councillors, and in fact was a person who might be useful to the Venetian Ambassador.
The other reason was because Don Francesco de Castro had introduced his secretary, and if that was done as an indication of superiority the Ambassador of England could not let it pass unnoticed.
The Doge returned thanks for the offer of the secretary's services. He enquired if this was the secretary of whom the Ambassador had spoken a few days ago. The Ambassador said, “No; that secretary I dispatched in company with an English gentleman to England. They were bearers of a despatch of great importance, but when passing through Lorraine three horsemen set upon them, killed the Englishman, wounded the secretary, and carried off the despatch; hence the need to send this secretary home.”
As to the second reason for bringing the secretary the Doge said it never was forbidden to Ambassadors to be accompanied by their secretary if they liked. That this was nothing new and certainly no sign of hauteur, for it was more honourable to go alone to audience than accompanied.
The Ambassador returned thanks and then signed to the secretary to withdraw.
The Ambassador then said that he was commissioned to raise the question of the anchorage tax. The Doge promised once again to take information on the subject, with a view to seeing what could be done.
The Ambassador proceeded to render thanks for the letter which was found on Captain Turner. “I understand,” said he, “that Turner tried to destroy it, and I do not wonder. He is the worst fellow alive, and I was quite right. In the proper quarter I have expressed my appreciation of the favour your Serenity has conferred.” He then opened the letter and said, “This is addressed to a Jesuit at Gratz, who was to act as emissary between Turner and the Archduke. Turner writes that he had been in the Lazzaretto, which I do not believe, that I had secured his release, which is not true, and had introduced him to your Serenity, who had offered him a stipend, which he had declined. That your Serenity had asked him what provision the Archduke was making to support the Pope and that he had replied, 'None at all.' Turner adds that he had made friends with a priest who is agent for the Emperor here; and that he had also worked his way into the house and the confidence of the English Ambassador, and had hopes of seeing his despatches and of having some in his hands. He reports the presence of Colonitz and his offer of four thousand horse and two thousand foot. Turner adds a passage that I cannot understand, all the same he said in the presence of two other English Captains that he had found a merchant who was ready to supply him with money if he needed it, and in this letter to the Jesuit he repeats the statement. I do not understand it, and suspect that this is some cipher concerted between them.”
The Doge returned thanks for the information. Turner had no money and had refused food, but gave way when told that by order of the government it would be administered to him. The prisoner was held at the disposition of the Ambassador.
The Ambassador returned thanks and asked for any information about Don Francesco de Castro.
The Doge, in obedience to the orders of the Senate, communicated the substance of the private audience.
Nov. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 631. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Anthony Sherley is still here. Report says that his business is to recover forty thousand crowns he spent on freeing some Portuguese from slavery in Morocco. But every day some new fraud comes to light. Sherley endeavours to insinuate himself into the favour of these Ministers by laying before them suggestions made, as he says, by the King of Morocco. As he can produce no written evidence he does not make much progress. The English Ambassador, seeing him in favour with some Ministers, spreads, wherever he can, a suspicion about Sherley. He continues to live in great splendour, though, without money, and there is an idea that he is supported from some quarter for services very different from the objects which he publicly professes.
Madrid, 27th November, 1606.
Nov. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 632. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Parliament met on Tuesday last. The King and Prince were present with the usual ceremony. His Majesty made a long and careful speech. He recommended the Commons more especially to study the means of carrying out the union of these Crowns, and made every effort to demonstrate the advantages of such a step. As this and other subjects of debate present many difficulties it is thought that this session will be a long one.
Meantime his Majesty is much exercised about the obstinacy with which the Scottish Ministers oppose the Ecclesiastical Reforms which he proposes. He dreads the results of this bad example, and has resolved to remove the leaders by banishing them in perpetuity, and to forbid the Ministers who are here to return home. He hopes that by the removal of these he may easily find the road to reform, which consists in nothing else than in reducing the Church to obedience to the Bishops, and thus establishing his own authority.
The news that the Dutch are going to send an Embassy here is confirmed. A like Embassy will be sent to France, for they mean to declare to both Sovereigns that unless they receive more vigorous help they will be compelled to seek support elsewhere. It seems that here they are rather suspicious of the French Sovereign's action; they think he may be the adviser of this step in order to force the King of England to take upon himself the whole burden of supporting the Dutch, or else to give a sufficient colour to his own action in assuming the absolute protection of the States. The whole question is receiving serious consideration, all the more so as the Dutch offer to keep a powerful fleet in the West Indies. (fn. 5)
A courier has arrived at last from Spain. He is said to bring instructions about the Irishman (Ball), who is still under arrest; but the Spanish Ambassador has made no move as yet.
I can add nothing to what I wrote in my last despatch about the purchase of the corn. I have not been able to have an audience of the King. But I fear lest the influence of the Earl of Salisbury should prove sufficient to hinder the conclusion of the business. He has once more refused me licence for the amount I have already bought, and showed himself more firm and hard than ever, so much so that I begin to suspect some hostile influence exerted from Italy by those who desire to force the Republic to accept their terms.
London, 30th November, 1606.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. The mutiny was serious; the result of the collapse of Spinola's credit and the financial disaster in Genoa, which caused a want of cash. See Motley, op. cit., iv., 216.
  • 2. The offer of John George Colonitz to bring 3,000 foot to the service of the Republic was read in the Senate on Nov. 25. See Senato, Sec. Reg.
  • 3. Wotton suspected that Zanoli, a wealthy merchant living at the Ponte Ormesin, near the English Ambassador's house in Venice, who was one of the chief witnesses in the case of Ser Nicolo Balbi, accused of having murdered the Englishman, Nicholas Pert, had been removed to Verona on purpose to get him out of the way. The true story appears from the Criminal Trials of the Council of Ten, to have been this. In April, 1605, Ser. Domenico Gritti, a Venetian noble, complained to the chiefs of the Ten that Zanoli was annoying has sister, the noble lady, Betta Calergi, and in proof thereof he handed to the court a love letter and a box of trinkets which Zanoli had had pressed upon the lady. The Ten, on April 6th, sent for Zanoli and told him he must abandon his suit; they burned the letter and gave him back his box. Zanoli declined to desist. From Venice he sent to the lady's villa near Oriago, on the Brenta, a boat containing four boxes of presents, and told his men to put them by force if necessary into the Calergi villa. At the same time he sent by hand a letter tied' with a golden thread. When the Calergi servants saw that, they suspected the origin of the letter and the presents and forcibly expelled Zanoli's men, boxes and all. Thus rebuffed Zanoli went into the country, and took a house about a mile away from the lady's villa, which he proceeded to besiege, and eventually grew bold enough to climb the wall and enter the orchard. There, however, he was found one evening in the dusk by the Calergi servants, who had gone to let loose the dogs. As they opened the orchard door a strong smell of musk made them suspect Zanoli's presence, and seizing clubs they went on into the shrubbery. There they saw Zanoli sitting on a garden bench and asked him “What he was up to there?” For answer Zanoli drew his dagger and was immediately knocked down and shoved through the door. As he was going he shouted out that he would endure anything for the honour of the lady whom he loved and longed to marry. He seems to have been roughly handled, for a certificate of his condition represents him with contusions on his head, and his body, especially the arms, black and blue. Meantime the local physician, Dr. Quattr'occhi, reported on the case; he considered Zanoli mad and likely very scon to become a dangero as lunatic, for he had begun to talk of “thrashing someone.” Moreover, the doctor on more than one occasion had seen Zanoli swimming the Brenta to reach the Calergi villa. All this Domenico Gritti reported to the Council of Ten, who, finding their orders of April the 6th set at defiance, banished Zanoli to Verona.
  • 4. See Reusch, Der Index den Verbotenen Bücher, s. v.
  • 5. See Birch. Hist. View, pp. 263, 264.