Venice: June 1603

Pages 42-57

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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June 1603

June 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 67. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Ambassador has had another audience after the arrival of his instructions, which were to declare that his master desired to maintain the existing friendly relations. This pleased the King of France, who had been annoyed that the first audience contained a complaint of his Ambassador in London. His Majesty declared that the real cause of it all was the sinister action of an individual, who wished to remove M. de Beaumont. The Baron du Tour has brought no positive information as to the exact situation in England.
In Scotland, the Queen, finding that she could not take her son to England, was completely upset, for she was pregnant.
Paris, 3rd June, 1603.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 68. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. de Rosny has been despatched to England; although he is a Huguenot the Nuncio has procured that he shall be charged to exhort the King to become a Catholic.
Don Juan de Taxis is expected here on his way to England. Count d' Aremberg will also go as envoy from the Archduke.
Paris, 3rd June, 1603.
June 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 69. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary, to the Doge and Senate.
News of the change of sovereigns is bringing back into these ports these privateers who have been plundering everyone, but more especially the Venetians, some of whose property has been sold in Barbary, some brought here. I made representation that a certain parcel of sugar should be sequestered by the Admiralty until the interests of your Serenity's subjects therein had been ascertained, but the Secretary sent to beg me to abstain from presenting any petition until I had received my new credentials from Venice, the ones addressed to the late Queen being of no further value; moreover these were letters of limited credence, referring to a single subject. This answer forced me to draw back, but this will not prevent me from pursuing my object by another road. I am told that his Majesty had intended to give me a private audience, but that this same obstacle had restrained him.
Three days ago I received letters of May the 2nd and 9th from Niccolo Tron and Paulo Querini, representatives of the interested parties. They inform me that as their business is successfully finished I am to return at once. I will await Your orders, failing any I will return immediately, for I came here in such a hurry, old man as I am, almost flying one might say, in the belief that my mission would last a few days only, and so I have all the more urgent need to return home.
The son of the Earl of Mar has arrived to report on the affair of Stirling. He was greatly praised by the King for having exactly carried out his wishes. Soon after came the Earl of Orkney (Orches), who had been with the Queen on the occasion, and brought letters from her to the King, who received them with disgust, which showed itself towards Lord Orkney.
The Queen, though really seriously ill, has made herself out worse than she is, in order to win the King's pity for her in her disobedience. The King, understanding her maternal affection, has given her leave to bring her son with her to England, and it was on this business that Mar and Lennox left for Scotland.
The question of the Coronation is coming up. The anointing has always been performed by a Catholic Bishop and with the Catholic rite, both in the case of Edward VI. and also of Elizabeth, although Protestants. Queen Elizabeth, indeed, could not persuade the Archbishop Primate to dispense with the Elevation of the Host, and so, at the moment, she hid her face in a handkerchief. This was the first public sign of her heresy, which she had dissimulated when she succeeded her sister Mary. As anointing is a function appointed by God to mark the pre-eminence of Kings it cannot well be omitted, and they cannot make up their minds what expedient they should adopt. The people loath the priestly benediction be it in oil or in water, nor do they admit the sign of the cross except in baptism. The King is an ardent upholder of these objections, and he says that neither he nor any other King can have power to heal scrofula, for the age of miracles is past, and God alone can work them. However he will have the full ceremony, so as not to loose this prerogative, which belongs to the Kings of England as Kings of France.
In the firm intention not to permit the practice of the Catholic religion in this kingdom, they give it to be understood that they will allow the Catholics to sell or let their property, and leave the kingdom on the proceeds, and in this way, say those about the King, the Pope will have to content himself with an absence of persecution if he cannot have allegiance.
The King has heard with disgust that the States have sent six armed vessels to Calais to cut off the Ambassadors of the Archduke, nominated to England.
He thinks this is an act of disrespect to himself, and, in addition to the safe conduct, he has ordered his Commander-in-Chief to take the sea, and to secure the passage of the Ambassadors. These ships of the States have made some prizes, among others a richly laden vessel on her way from Spain to Flanders.
The ill-will between English and Scottish goes on rising rapidly. It serves nothing that the King declares his resolve to extinguish both names, and that both people shall pass under the common name of Britons and be governed by one and the same law. The English, who were at first divided among themselves, begin now to make common cause against the Scots, but so powerful are the latter, and so highly valued by the King, that there can be no doubt but that they will win, unless they split over some questions; and indeed, one begins to hear that there is a diversity of opinion among the Scottish over the two important points of peace with Spain and the pacification of the States and the Archduke. Some of the Scots are French in sentiment and perhaps by interest, while others are slightly bound to Spain, above all the Queen, beyond a doubt, to say nothing of the King himself, who was often in need of Spanish help to a sum of money, especially before Spanish and Flemish commerce came to Scotland, when their ships traded to Brittany and Denmark for the most part. It was then only and not earlier that the revenue, which ordinarily did not exceed one hundred thousand crowns, was greatly increased, as the King was able to tax the seaports, which were growing rich by imposing customs upon wine and other commodities throughout the kingdom.
The States, too, thanks to this war, have become in these thirty years great and powerful, by appropriating the Church property in eight cities, which amounts now to the value of four hundred, thousand crowns a year, and by introducing important imposts, not merely upon laud but a poll tax on men and animals as well. These imposts are exacted in monthly rates at the moment when the army takes the field and the fleet puts to sea. Moreover, they have levied such sound and solid taxation upon articles of food that everyone knows that if he requires so much for his household he cannot escape paying so much to the government, and likewise in the taverns the tax on wine and beer, etcetera, brings in an incredible revenue, for the larger part of the population are sailors, soldiers, or fishermen, and by habit or by circumstance spend most of their time and money in the public houses. The Government, thanks to their long experience and to the continuance of the war, has become very astute, and now, in this negotiation to prevent the King from abandoning them, their Ambassadors omit none of those ways to win the Scottish by presents and promises, which the English suggest to them. They declare that they do not want an accord with the Archduke, and that if they did they have no need of the King of England to help them to it, and they touch on even wider interests, for they declare that if the King does abandon the States that means abandoning France and Italy, too, and inviting Spain to make everything an excuse for pretensions to the States, not only of others but of himself as well.
The issue, as everyone sees, will be this, unless there are some secret countervailing reasons, that the union of Scotland and England will induce the King to make peace with Spain, otherwise Scotland, which he dearly loves as his ancient birthplace, would fall into the depths of misfortune. Besides this, the King is naturally pacific, and claims to be able to bestow peace where he will.
London, 4th June, 1603.
Dead of the plague, twenty-two in thirteen parishes.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 70. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish hopes for peace with England go on increasing. The envoy of the Archduke has brought back a most favourable answer. The King sends greeting to the King of Spain, and the Queens exchange similar compliments, but as to the question of withdrawing the aid to Flanders and surrendering the fortresses, which are the essential points, nothing is settled as yet. Those who understand the nature of the business and the interests of the English do not think that these points will easily be conceded by the King of England. At the outset of his reign he will speak fair, until he is well established in his new kingdom, and will follow implicitly the advice of his Council. The Nuncio, it seems, is urging his Majesty to arm as the best method for securing favourable terms.
Valladolid, 7th June, 1603.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.
June 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 71. Maffio Michiel, Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Although stringent orders have been sent from Constantinople to the Turkish officers in the various ports that they are not to shelter nor trade with the English privateers but to capture and punish them, all the same the Turks openly and courteously admit them and barter with them as they would with any honest merchant.
An English privateer, whose name I do not know, captured and carried into Nauplia a Ragusan laden with linen and leather. In that port they are openly selling their plunder, and I am told that the Sanjak of the Morea has sent to ask the Captain for the present of three guns for the Castle of Lepanto.
I must repeat that as long as the Turks shelter the English these waters will never be free.
Zante, June 9, 1603. O.S.
June 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 72. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As soon as I received your Serenity's despatches of the sixteenth of May, containing news about the capture of the ship, “Balbiana,” attributed to the English, I resolved to endeavour to overcome the repugnance displayed here to receiving any further memoranda from me. This repugnance may be based upon the interest which some of the Lords of Council have in this buccaneering, although they declare that it is a question of the dignity of the Crown, which they exalt in the highest degree, especially where other Princes are concerned, and hold as an injury the smallest indication that France or Spain ranks higher. Those who are best versed in the etiquette between Princes are those who most frequently enquire what the Republic intends to do about the King of England. They suggest this attitude to the King who, of his own accord, would probably hardly have changed his modest habit of life which he pursued in Scotland, where he lived hardly like a private gentleman, let alone a sovereign, making many people sit down with him at table, waited on by rough servants, who did not even remove their hats, treating all with a French familiarity, reserving all expenditure and pomp for the service of the Queen. But now the Government are re-introducing the ancient splendours of the English Court, and almost adoring his Majesty, who day by day adopts the practices suitable to his greatness. On Sunday last he dined in state, as it is called, waited upon by the greatest lords of the realm; it was a splendid and unwonted sight.
But now, to leave these topics, though I imagine that there is no harm in having reported them once at least, I determined to make some way with the Scottish, who in his Majesty's name have dealt with me hitherto. The upshot was that no sooner had the King heard my request than he issued orders to all ports of the kingdom, that whatever vessel suspected or known to be a privateer entered any harbour of this kingdom the Captain must first make a declaration in the Admiralty Court before any goods may be landed, and that the cargo is to remain in sequestration until ample proof is produced that no action prejudicial to Venice has been committed. This answer was most promptly and courteously brought to me at my house last night by Lord Kinloss, notwithstanding that he is a Privy Councillor and one of the great ministers. On his Majesty's behalf he made use of most honourable expressions towards your Serenity, and offered me audience any time I might require it, in spite of the objections raised by the English Councillors. He also said that as soon as I could give him any positive information about the case of the “Balbiana” he would send out a vessel on purpose to find out and recall this and other privateers, who have damaged Venetian property inside the Straits of Gibralter, for he holds that such a step is due not merely to his regard for the Republic but to the honour of his Crown, as he knows that there are as many as twenty-three English privateers in the Mediterranean.
I returned thanks, and then leading the conversation I begged, as of myself, to be told what was in the despatch which his Majesty had intended to send to the Republic shortly before the late Queen's death. Lord Kinloss quite frankly, but in strict confidence, said: “The King could not rely upon any of those sovereigns who had promised him aid in the question of his succession, for he knew that each one would claim some reward, and so he had resolved to ask your Serenity whether, in ease he met with opposition, you would not only say a favourable word for him, but would be willing to advance him a sum of money upon suitable security. That the King had conceived a hope that if the negotiations were conducted secretly your Serenity would see your way to making this loan, as the sum was not great, only twenty thousand pounds sterling (eighty thousand ducats), and although by a Divine miracle all has gone well, and there is no further need to talk of the subject, yet his Majesty will never forget the favourable impression, which he conceived and retains as to the greatness and wisdom of the Republic. The King thought of making a similar appeal to the Grand Duke, who for many years past has been making him great offers.” After begging me not to let the King know that I was aware of this, should he ever speak to me on the subject, and also to keep the information a strict secret, Lord Kinloss returned that same evening to Greenwich to the Court. The Danish gentlemen, after a private audience of the King, went to Scotland to visit the Queen, and passed thence to Copenhagen, whence a solemn embassy will presently arrive. It has been settled to give the various Embassies Extraordinary lodging only, but not board at the public charges as the French claimed.
The Ambassadors of the Elector Palatine had audience with the usual pomp. They presented a letter begging the King to intercede with the King of France to allow the Duke de Bouillon to return freely, without being obliged either to justify his action or to ask pardon. The King will not consent so readily. He is gathering information on the matter.
The Ambassadors of the States justify their action about their ships, by showing that the Archduke began the misunderstanding by sending eight of his ships to Dunquerque to capture the Embassy, as it passed with an escort of only three ships, this induced them to send three more.
As the plague is gaining ground the King has ordered all gentlemen, not immediately in service at Court, to return home to the country till after the August rains. When the cold sets in the plague usually stops.
The King has remitted the debt owing to the Crown from the father of Anthony Sherley, for moneys to be supplied in Flanders and to the States, and has asked his creditors to leave him in peace for six months, during which period he trusts to be able to make such dispositions as will allow him to satisfy them all.
In the case of the “Veniera” they have arrested the partners who fitted out William Piers, and some are already in London.
London, 12th June, 1603.
Dead of plague, thirty-two in fifteen infected parishes.
June 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 73. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of England, by two letters and by the mouth of M. Foschis (?), his Majesty's Ambassador in France, has begged the King of France to allow the Baron du Tour (di Turs), who was French Ambassador in Scotland, to remain as Ambassador in Ordinary. He supports the request by affirming that M. de Beaumont had shown himself hostile to the succession. M. de Beaumont declares that all he ever said, when the Queen died, was that it became every good Catholic to protect and favour ladies, and this to encourage Lady Arabella. The King of France replied with some heat that as far as the King of England was concerned he had had no notice of the late Queen's demise, nor of the King's accession, and yet his Majesty's first act was to bring charges against the French Ambassador. However, he did not lay this to the door of the King, so much as to the ambition of the Baron do Tour; and he intended to place the question of M. de Beaumont's conduct in the hands of M. de Rosny. He is resolved that if de Beaumont is innocent, as he certainly is, then either he shall remain Ambassador in England or there will not be an Ambassador at all. The English Ambassador has immediately given formal notice of the King's accession, and at the same instant has asked for payment of the debt due from France to England. The King of France replied that he was quite ready to pay on any date to be established in a friendly spirit; meantime he offered two hundred thousand francs, which sum the King of England readily accepted, and has appropriated it to the cost of the Coronation. As regards the question of the Ambassador the King has already received M. de Beaumont twice, so that is settled, and he wishes no more to be said on the matter.
Among the annoyances which I understand that the King, while still on the throne of Scotland, received from the King of France were these, that the King of France endeavoured to impose two conditions upon his succession to the Crown of England, one that he should abandon the title of King of France, the other that he should leave one of his sons behind as King of Scotland. But there are now come to light two other annoyances, hardly lighter, one that the King of France has refused to restore the Scottish guard, which was suppressed at the revolution under Henry III., unless the Prince of Scotland is sent to be educated at the French Court. The King of Scotland was extremely anxious for the continuance of the Scottish guard, which would furnish him with a number of trained soldiers bred at another's charges. The second point is that the King of France, speaking to some Scottish Colonels and Captains, said that the King of Scotland did very well as a scholar, but if William of Normandy, King of England, was a bastard, there was no reason why another bastard—referring to his own, Cæsare de Bourbon—should not pretend a similar conquest. All the same the King of England beyond a doubt is, at present, desirous for peace with everybody, and he has caused it to be notified to the King of France, in order to bind him to take no separate steps with the States, and to come to no resolve1 without the King's knowledge and advice. The proposals before the Council are that in Flanders they should make a reciprocal suspension of arms, to date from the conclusion of peace between England and Spain. It is thought necessary to take some formal step of this nature, though as a matter of fact war has never been actually declared by either party. It is said that whenever it suited them to say so, and especially in this last conference at Boulogne, the Spanish have always maintained that the war was a private quarrel between Philip II. and Queen Elizabeth, which began, as the English now say, in some lovers' disagreement, and was fed by reasons of State, and gradually passed into hatred, and finally into open hostility. When the suspension of arms has been effected they will endeavour to formulate special terms between the States and the Archduke only, by which the Protectorate shall remain in the hands of the Archduke, with a sufficient income and sufficient forces, and with power to levy extraordinary forces for the security and benefit of all the seventeen provinces of the Duchy of Burgundy, while the supreme power in Fries land, Holland, and Zealand is to remain in its present condition, with freedom of conscience and the right to elect among themselves to the offices of justice and of command, both civil and military, with the revenues that they at present possess, and a certain limited right of navigation in the East Indies. Both parties are to pledge themselves to the King of England for the observation of the terms, and he undertakes to cause them to be observed by lending his aid against the party that violates them. For this purpose the King is to retain possession of the three fortresses of Flushing, Brill, and Rammekens (Ramachin) (Souburg) without any right in the States to recover possession on payment of a fine. The seven members of Council, who support the King's views, hold that the question of Ostend is no obstacle, for in the meantime till the suspension of arms is agreed upon, the siege will go on to its issue, whatever that may be. But the remainder of the twenty-four, for that is the number of the Council at present, who are of a contrary opinion, continue to support the policy of the late Queen, and to declare that any deviation from that policy means the ruin not only of England but of all the world, owing to the most important fact that the Infante has no children. Various reasons are alleged for the pacific attitude of the King; as I gather them I will send them on to your Serenity, as I have hitherto done every week by the costly Antwerp route, which runs day and night.
As the King is by nature of a mild disposition, and has never really been happy in Scotland, he wishes now to “enjoy the Papacy.” as we say, and so desires to have no bother with other people's affairs and little with his own; he would like to dedicate himself to his books and to the chase, and to encourage the opinion that he is the real arbiter of peace. He has a suspicion in his mind because he has heard that the Pope has occasionally discussed the possibility of uniting France and Spain against England as well as against the Turks, and for this reason he is resolved, if possible, to stand well with all Catholic Princes, and with your Serenity in particular. He will draw close to the strongest of them, the King of Spain, and will seek to gratify the Emperor, while he is bound to the Protestant Princes by his religion; and in this way he calculates that he can secure the friendship of France and even the alliance of France and the respect of the whole world. From these calculations, made in Scotland and carried with him to England, the English find it difficult to move his Majesty. They are glad that M. de Rosny is to arrive before the Archduke's Envoys and the Spanish Ambassador, and they hope that the representations of France and of the States together may possibly succeed in causing the English view to prevail; that policy is entirely directed to preventing the King of Spain from, even at any time, now or after the death of their Highnesses, becoming possessed of the naval forces of the States, which they say would be sufficient to secure for him the command of the sea.
Meantime the Ambassadors of the States are spending upwards of three hundred crowns a day, which the world thinks monstrous and the King ridiculous, for while here to beg for aid it is they who are ruining themselves, and they are no longer visited and favoured by the Court as they were at their first coming. The news that they are in a fair way to fail in their mission has soon crossed the water, and only four days ago the people of Flushing were within an ace of cutting the English garrison to pieces. Should negotiations be broken off some similar disaster will inevitably take place in one or other of the cautionary fortresses, for it is impossible that the people or the Government of Holland should not seriously resent the hostile attitude of the King, when one remembers that up to now, owing the small distance of only one hundred miles of sea. they have been able to supply themselves from England with all necessaries, more especially with artillery,—which they cannot make over there, nor can they even recast a single piece,—cannon-balls, powder, saltpetre, and above all men and arms and, at a pinch, even money; besides this there is the danger that the King of England, owing to his close relationship to the King of Denmark, might succeed in closing the Belt against them, and that would cut them off from Dantzig, which now yearly supplies them with corn for bread and barley for been. and thus virtually blockade them in their marshes, even if France assisted them and allowed them to draw grain from Normandy and Brittany. These are the matters which at present are on hand, such the events, such the policy. and opinions, which I regret my inability to set forth less tediously.
London, 12th June, 1603.
June 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 74. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The cavass with a letter for the Queen of England has left for Marseilles. His mission is the question of English pirates. The news of the death of the Queen made them think of altering the letters and addressing them to the new King, but they have not done so, in order to avoid being the first to make advances.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 13th June, 1603.
[Italian; deciphered.],
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 75. Letter to the Queen of England.
Recites the capitulations by which foreign merchants sailed under French flag and could claim protection from French Consuls.
Recites the capitulations with Venice. English merchantmen have begun to sail fully armed as if for war, and to plunder the unarmed merchant ships which they meet, and to wrap up the crews in the sails and throw them into the sea. Turkish ships, too, are plundered by the English.
The Queen is requested to compel her merchants to behave as other merchants do, to restore the stolen property, and to punish the offenders.
June 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 76. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Juan de Taxis arrived on the seventh. Several Scots have passed from Spain into England, especially one, Andernethy, who had an audience of the King on his way. These persons are acting for the King of Spain in making offers to win the King of England.
The English Ambassador has had an audience in which he entirely withdrew the request for M. de Beaumont's recall. The King of England professes himself convinced that the charges against the Ambassador are false. The Ambassador has been visited by the Council.
Paris, 16th June, 1603.
June 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 77. Angelo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Two Benedictines, one educated at San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, the other at Santa Giustina in Padua, have been sent by the Pope into England ad propagandam fidem, but nothing else. They will wear lay dress.
Lyons, 18th June, 1603.
June 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 78. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As soon as I had received your Serenity's despatch of the 17th of last month I sought an audience, which was granted me yesterday at the usual hour. I presented your Serenity's letters of congratulation. The King took them smiling, and said, “Pray open them for me, for some years ago in Scotland I had one of these letters in reply to my recommendation of M. Crichton (Lord Sanquhar), and I could not open it without breaking the seal.” I accordingly opened it and left the seal hanging, and the King read the letter through quite easily, and said, “Certainly I am pleased that, at the moment when I succeeded to my rights, there should be here an envoy of the Republic, without this I, too, (fn. 1) might have been neglected. But seeing that the Republic desires my amity she will find in me a loval correspondence. I have always heard so much of the state of Venice that from the days of my boyhood, when my tutor, Buchanan (Boccanano), gave me instruction on the excellence of that Government, up to reaching man's estate I have ever loved her and highly honoured her, and have always been glad to read about and hear about so sage a Republic.” I informed his Majesty about the appointment of Ambassadors Extraordinary, and he showed evident signs of satisfaction. I further informed him about the character, birth and fortune of the illustrious Molin, who is coming here as lieger of Venice. The King replied that he was especially pleased at this, all the more so as the Republic had never taken such a step during the reign of the late Queen, and added that he would see to it that in sending his Ambassador he chose a person of the same quality and importance as the Ambassador resident. With his hand laid on mine he prevented me from uncovering to reply, and added that as far as my business was concerned he had given orders at the ports that all vessels arriving from the Mediterranean should be sequestrated and their cargo, sailors, soldiers, and passengers detained, until examination had been made as to their voyage, and to see if they had, during the year, plundered any Venetian ships. As for the privateers who had seized the Venetian ships he had given orders to appoint a commission, and the goods of the guilty are to be escheated to cover the damage; he is going to send a ship through the Straits to put down buccaneering. I returned cordial thanks for so favourable a reply and so kindly a disposition, and also for the present of a stag, which his Majesty himself had slain in the chase and sent to me yesterday. I then took my leave. The Ambassadors of the Count Palatine were waiting” for audience to take their leave. I only report this to show your Serenity what may be hoped for in the case of your Ambassadors, when a simple secretary is thus treated.
I came here, as I thought, for a few days only, and had but one trunk with me; I have been here months, and will have to stay on six or seven more at the least, even if the illustrious Signor Molin leaves in September; this at your Serenity's orders. But I have to maintain a decent state on my poor pay of eighteen per cent, on the exchange between London and Venice, and four per cent.
on the bank rate, making twenty-two per cent; I fear that the reason for leaving me in this poor plight is the small satisfaction I have been able to give to your Serenity and your Excellencies, and were that so I confess that what now afflicts me would kill me outright.
At Plymouth and Portsmouth some of William Piers's crew have landed. They came to England in a ship belonging to Thomas Sherley, and they say that Piers is at Milo. He intends to come to England and to anchor in a bay near Falmouth till he sees how his affairs stand. This I am told by Thomas Daumbel, whom I hold prisoner here in the city, as a partner in fitting out Piers as a privateer. And if the interested parties will show a little more activity in their affairs than heretofore some considerable benefit may still be looked for. Two other privateers were arrested, but were set at liberty again without my being able to oppose it.
Mountjoy, Commander-in-Chief and Viceroy in Ireland, arrived here three days ago, accompanied by the Earl of Tyrone, head of the Catholic party in Ireland. The populace on learning this burst out into furious cries against him as the cause of such squandering of gold and of so much bloodshed. The King ordered him to stop, and really hid him, a few miles outside London, and has issued a proclamation threatening severe penalties against anyone who ventures to injure him. (fn. 2) The King then held a conference with Mountjoy, who has been named of the Council, and the audience with Tyrone is deferred.
The pre-emption and privileges (fn. 3) in tin, granted by the late Queen, have been abolished, and trade in that commodity is now free except for the ordinary dues. The act is universally popular in the City. The same step will be taken as regards the Levant Company, which trades with Venice. It is generally thought that its charter will be revoked, and so the duty on currants, which was paid by the Company to the Crown, will fall through. I have done what I could to secure free trade in this commodity.
Yesterday Count d'Aremberg arrived; to-day M. de Rosny. He, however, will have precedence in audience; Sunday for him, and Monday for Count d'Aremberg. They bring very different instructions on the question of peace or war.
London, 19th June, 1603.
Dead of plague, 30.
June 25. Minute of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 79. Despatch to Secretary Scaramelli in England.
Orders for him to stay on at the public cost, and at a salary of one hundred and twenty crowns a month. Instructions about Venetian goods stolen by English privateers. Enclosing the resolutions of the Senate about Anthony Sherley.
Ayes 131.
Noes 7.
Neutrals 16.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 80. Credentials for Scaramelli till the arrival of the Ambassadors Extraordinary and lieger.
June 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 81. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As the Marquis de Rosny embarked at Calais on board an English man-of-war, which the King had sent for him, M. de Vic, Governor of Calais, to do him honour, accompanied him in two light French vessels as far as Dover, and the Marquis's suite of ninety gentlemen and three hundred servants was divided among the three vessels. All three set sail about ten o'clock from Calais. The English Vice-Admiral signalled to break ensign, the French took no notice, and, indeed, one of the Frenchmen, being a smaller and a lighter craft, took the lead of the English, whereupon without more ado the English Admiral fired three rounds of bail cartridge, one ball cut the shrouds and placed the ship in peril, and then the Frenchman ran up the ensign and fell into the wake of the Englishman. The French Ambassadors take no notice of the affair, and hardly mention it.
After the arrival of M. de It Rosny Secretary Cecil went to visit him in the King's name. The interview was long. It has been settled that the mission is to have four audiences, two public, the first and the last, and two private. The first audience was on Sunday last, five days after the arrival, the audience of introduction. The Ambassador and the French nobles were all to be in mourning, on express orders, so they .say, from his most Christian Majesty, who desired to show by outward sign the grief he felt for the death of the late Queen, and his grateful memory of reciprocal goodwill between her and him. On Saturday, at midnight, the King sent to say that neither he nor his Council nor the English nobility could take their mourning in good part, and that they had better change their dress, if not their feelings. They did so, and all got into their most fantastic costumes and went to Greenwich, where they found the Court in right sumptuous array and very crowded. The compliments were of the fullest description. The King omitted no phrases of regard towards so honourable an embassy, and the French were highly pleased with the whole ceremony and with the exchange of civilities, and thought that the King acquitted himself after the French fashion.
M. de Rosny rehearsed briefly all the preceding alliances between England and France, and dwelt upon the marriage of James V. with Madalene, daughter of Francis I. Upon her death without issue James married Mary of Lorraine, Duchesse de Longueville, daughter of Claude Due de Guise, by which marriage he had his sons, who died, and Mary, mother of the present King. After many expressions of congratulation he said that he would reserve for another audience his further remarks. The King replied in general but gracious terms, and then they talked for long on the characteristics of England and France, and about the chase, and finally the Ambassadors took their leave well satisfied. To-day is fixed for the first private audience. They have not come back yet. On Sunday they say they are to be invited to a banquet.
The Ambassadors of the States, learning the proposals of the Council as regards their affairs, and having failed altogether to obtain an audience, have arranged with the help of some Scottish gentlemen, of the Chamber that Barneveld, their most weighty member, should be introduced into a certain gallery, through which the King often passed when moving about the chambers of Greenwich Palace. There, possibly with the King's knowledge, Barneveld met his Majesty, and had a long conversation, and was heard with attention. The Envoy showed that it was the King of Spain who was the first to invade the ancient privileges of the States, granted by the Dukes of Burgundy, and mere than this, he was the first to break the agreement which had been made between the States and the Emperor Charles V. By every law, human and divine, the States had won their freedom, and since 1567 had been engaged in the just defence of their rights. Barneveld, as he himself told me, then went on to point out the dangers and inconveniences to which England would be exposed if she abandoned the States, and he thinks that some of his many arguments have made an impression on the King's mind, for his Majesty asked if he was prepared to repeat and to establish all that he had said in the presence of the Spanish Ambassadors and those of the Archduke, a challenge which Barneveld accepted, and pledged himself to adduce abundance both of arguments and documents.
The Ambassadors of the States lodge hard by M. de Rosny, and are in constant consultation with him, by night more than by day, and with M. de Beaumont as well. It is clear that their whole object just now is to give a satisfactory answer to a question, which the Council advised the King to address to his most Christian Majesty, namely, “How can you ask me to live at war in order that you may live in peace?” The Council is unanimous in desiring that this question should be put. Both parties wish to hear the answer. The peace party say that if the King of France showed himself ready to throw in his lot with England that would raise a new point to be discussed. The French Ambassadors, who are fully informed of all that goes on, keep couriers constantly on the road, so that their master may be possessed of the minutest details. It is said that the Spanish and Archiducal Envoys are bringing great offers, either to marry a daughter of the Duke of Savoy to the Prince of Wales, or Elizabeth, daughter of King James, who is bred a Catholic, to the Prince of Piedmont, although she is only eight years old next August, but all this is merely a ruse to facilitate the conclusion of peace.
Count d' Aremberg has an attack of his usual malady, the gout, which has prevented him from having an audience. M. de Rosny is impatient to be gone; he has all the affairs of France on his shoulders. It is generally thought that as the King's relations with Spain and the Archduke have always been both close and cordial, it is not likely that he will say to an embassy of congratulation, “I mean to foster your rebels, and, consequently to go to war with you.” As to Barneveld's argument that the King of Spain violated the privileges of the States, they ask whether the original pacts contained any obligation upon the States to rebel against God, to pluck out the eyes of saints, to burn images, to destroy churches, to appropriate Church revenues, to annihilate that divine religion which gave its sanction to the very privileges which they now say have been violated.
The Danish envoys announce the birth of a son, and invite the “King to the baptism. He has sent the Earl of Rutland with two men-of-war to represent him, and to convey the garter to the King. He has given the garter to the Prince of Wales, and with his own hand and with great pomp he has also invested the Earl of Southampton,—and added a post worth six thousand crowns a year, (fn. 4) —the Earl of Mar, and Ludovic, Duke of Lennox; his nomination as President of the Council is not certain yet, only as a Duke, in the absence of the Primate, he will take precedence, and this I mention so that Secretary Padavino may know what titles to employ should your Serenity think of sending letters of credence to him, too, along with your Ambassadors. Although it has been customary for your Serenity to send letters of credence to four or six of the principal ministers, it will be best on this occasion to address the Duke only, and to send a general letter to the Council, not as a credential but merely out of compliment. The King is absolute now, and declares that there are no ministers and no law of which he is not the master.
The Earl of Tyrone has been most favourably received by the King, and he is well treated, but will not be allowed to go back to Ireland.
The King declines to do anything for the relief of the Duke de Bouillon, and so the Ambassadors of the Count Palatine have been dismissed after receiving gold chains.
The Queen is approaching, and the King will go one of these days to Windsor, a royal residence, twenty miles out of London. The place is free of infection, and he will stay there till the date of the Coronation, which has been fixed ten days earlier, that is St. James' Day, new style.
Prince Henry is coming with the Queen, but the other was left on the Scottish border.
The King says he intends to send one of his gentlemen to inform your Serenity of his succession. The person is not named yet, but in Court they say he may be Anthony Standen, an Englishman, who was once with the Grand Duchess Capello, an old man of noble blood, and a Catholic as best he can. He will pass on from Venice to the Grand Duke.
London, 26th June, 1603.
In seventeen parishes, 43 dead of plague this week.
June 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 82. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The hope of peace with England not only continues but increases, and with it the certainty of recovering Flanders, unless they by chance should secure the support of France, in case of being abandoned by England.
Since Taxis left for England no further discussion of that question has been held.
Valladolid, 26th June, 1603.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 83. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I have time to add something to my despatch of yesterday. I have it on excellent authority that the peace and alliance between the Crowns of England and Spain are making great strides. His Catholic Majesty is sending a large sum to the King of England to meet the needs of the beginning of his reign. I am told that the four Scotsmen, newly added to the Council, have for long been in receipt of large sums from Spain, which gives the better hope of a favourable issue. This money is sent to England by means of drafts on Octavian Centurione, who has been in receipt of ten millions.
The offers of the Dutch to place themselves for ever under the King of England, on condition that he remains perpetually hostile to Spain, has caused serious anxiety to these ministers. It is said that the King of England has replied that he would accept the terms provided they admitted an English garrison into twenty of their towns. All this has hastened the despatch of the gold I have referred to above. The Spanish ministers hope that this will not only please the King but will also serve to indemnify him, should he accept a Spanish alliance, for the money which the Crown of England has advanced on the guarantee towns. Seventy thousand crowns have also been sent with the greatest secrecy into Ireland to the Catholic leaders to encourage them to continue their conquests over the Lutherans.
Valladolid, 27th June, 1603.
[Italian; deciphered.]
June 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 84. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador complains that the fortresses of the Grand Signor give shelter to the English corsairs. The Grand Vizir showed a hostile spirit towards the English Ambassador. He wished to send to Modon to hang the Governor as an aider and abettor of pirates, but he met with opposition from other ministers. A rigid inquiry has been ordered, and if two witnesses establish the Governor's guilt he will be hanged.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 28th June, 1603.
[Italian; deciphered.]
June 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 85. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Beglierbey of Tunis has made vast gains by keeping well with English privateers. He has been able to spend four thousand sequins on securing his removal. In Tunis the English are said to have twelve French prizes. An English berton arrived here with only one hundred and ten pieces of cloth. She drew off again in alarm at the great galleys. Everyone supposes her to be a privateer, and the Grand Vizir is urged to take vigorous steps against her.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 28th June, 1603.
[Italian; deciphered.]


  • 1. As well as the late Queen.
  • 2. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1603, p. 14.
  • 3. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1603, pp. 13–14.
  • 4. Keeper of the Isle of Wight. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1603, July 7.