Venice: March 1607

Pages 475-486

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 10, 1603-1607. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1900.

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


March 1607

March 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 693. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In obedience to orders he has sounded M. de Villeroy on the subject of the League. Vileroy said that their Ambassador in England had touched on the subject with Cecil, but had gathered a mere expression of opinion rather than any indication of a desire to carry the proposed into effect. In fact I seem to discern a wish on the part of France, if the League is concluded, to include the King of England, but if an accommodation is reached, to include the Pope instead. It is daily made clearer that France will not break with the Pope, though he would not mind breaking with Spain.
Paris, the first of March, 1607.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives 694. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador will execute his Serenity's orders to buy two big fierce dogs to be sent to Constantinople.
London, the first of March, 1607.
March 2. Minutes of the Senate. Roma. Venetian Archives. 695. The English Ambassador is to have audience tomorrow; motion made that the following be communicated to him: Although Don Francesco de Castro has been in consultation with us twice and the Cardinal de Joyeuse once, the question of Rome remains where it did at the time of your last audience. The Pope maintains his pretensions, and we, in doubt as to the issue, continue our preparations.
Ayes 160.
Noes 2.
Neutrals 8.
March 3. Collegio Secreta Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 696. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and Said:—
“Most Serene Prince, in certain districts of my country when the possession of a piece of land is in dispute custom requires that the claimant should, at least once a year, stand upon the land and cry aloud that it is his, otherwise his rights are lost; so it seems to me in these troublesome times I must appear here now and again to keep alive the claims of my master in this controversy, both as a Sovereign, as an ally, and as an interested party. If that was ever necessary it is so now, when so many Envoys of other Sovereigns are here in Venice, each with his claim; the Lieger and the Extraordinary of France, the Lieger and Extraordinary of Spain, the Envoy of the Grisons, the Secretary of the Duke of Lorraine, an Ambassador from the Emperor expected, Envoys of other Princes, and lastly myself, who in truth would rather be employed upon my proper mission, to demonstrate the renewal of amity between the Republic and the King, than as a mediator in such troublesome and difficult circumstances. Among these Envoys some display great zeal for the Pope, some for the peace of Italy, some urge the necessity to curb Ecclesiastical ambition and pretensions, some profess the common interests of Princes. This diversity of aims and counsels calls on your Serenity's side for the greatest prudence and on ours for straightforward speech. Let others speak for their masters, this morning I will speak for mine. I am fully informed of his mind both by letters from the Earl of Salisbury and also by a despatch from the King himself, received two days ago.”
The Ambassador went on to say that his Majesty renewed his offer as first made, and added that he had no curiosity to pry into the conduct of the Republic, but would be quite content with what they chose to tell him. He was sure that the Republic would not refuse suitable terms of peace, but equally certain that she would never accept dishonourable conditions; nor would she ever allow herself to be intimidated by a third power. Briefly, the Republic should adopt that line of policy which her prudence indicated in this controversy which, now that it had become public property, required to be far more thoroughly ventilated than when it lay covered by the silence and mute ignorance of the vulgar.
As to the League he had written most warmly about it, and if he had no communication to make that was only because there had not been time enough for an answer to reach him.
“I have nothing to add this morning, except that the King, Queen, and Princes are quite well and all the Court very gay, more especially on account of the entertainment at the house of your Serenity's Ambassador, where many Lords, Councillors, and Ladies met at a splendid banquet. My brother and the secretary I sent to England were present, and have told me of the flattering terms the Ambassador applied to me.”
The Doge returned thanks, and informed the Ambassador that the Duke of Savoy and the Marchese di Castiglione were expected as Imperial Ambassadors. He endeavoured to impress two points on the Ambassador, first that the Republic had made no definite reply as yet to representations of the Envoys from France and Spain on the point of suspending her laws; she would endeavour to secure peace, but would never submit to any diminution of her independence; and secondly that the chief assistance to which the Republic looked was that promised by the King.
The Ambassador said that as regards the case of the English officer arrested at his request and reported to be very ill, he had sent Doctor Santorio to visit him, and he reported him very well. He repeated his charges against him and said that prison would not injure him, for he was quite used to it. He had been in prison in Germany for a long period and escaped by a miracle. He would, however, out of compassion beg for his release at the end of the week, but hoped that he would be banished from Venice after coming to the Ambassador's residence to hear the charges against him.
The Ambassador presents a petition for the admission of a boy, who was still under age, to the Seminary of San Marco.
The Doge said his requests would be granted.
March 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 697. Girolamo Corner, Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Has sent out the “Foscarina,” and the English “Bonaventura” to rescue the shipping blockaded in Modon by pirates.
Zante, 8th March, 1607.
March. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. Expulsis Papistis. 698. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The French Ambassador said that the Nuncio had told him that the English Ambassador gives out that he has news from Venice, assuring him of the rupture; and that the Republic had declared to the Ambassador of England that she would never come to an agreement; that a League between England and Venice was being negotiated and that the King of France would enter it. To this the English Ambassador replied vaguely, thinking to help his cause by awakening suspicion, and admitting that in Spain he had learned the maxim that appearances will do as well as reality.
The French Ambassador went on to say that besides the preparations for war they were proposing to send Anthony Sherley out with twelve ships to scour the seas, for they think he is equally well suited to injure both England and the Republic. His knowledge of Venice has helped him in this. He has offered to the King one hundred pieces of artillery, lying at Bilbao, the property of the bankrupt firm of Valemen's, one of whom, Jeremy, is in his company, and is now desirous of going to Holland. But whether either will be sent is uncertain; only both are more made of than before. It is rumoured that Sherley will get the Order of St. Iago, and an increase of his salary from one to two hundred crowns a month, in the hope that he will keep up his relations with England. He goes on taking everyone in; but they do not grudge the money, for they trust by this example to win over other English.
Madrid, 8th March, 1607.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 699. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King this week has shown extraordinary desire to receive despatches from his Ambassador in Venice, and not having them he is much perplexed. I imagine he is in expectation of hearing what may be the attitude of the King of France. I am told that his Majesty waxes warmer and warmer on behalf of the Republic, and continues to use the same expressions as he employed to me upon the subject of assistance. To-morrow he leaves the City for his usual amusement of the chase. He will be away about a month. Parliament meantime continues to sit, and is engaged on nothing but the question of the Union, wherein greater obstacles are discovered every day, and every day the ill-feeling on both sides grows deeper. An English member of Parliament, (fn. 1) speaking against the Union, used terms of contempt for the Scottish nation, whereupon the King showed such resentment that Parliament was obliged to punish him by suspending him from debate, and committing him to the Tower during the King's pleasure. The King is so determined in this matter that it is thought he will carry it through. The main difficulty of the moment seems to be this, that the English insist that if the Union takes place the Scotch must give up their alliance with France.
They have put to death two priests who were caught in the kingdom after the order for their expulsion. This greater severity is attributed to the Papal Brief. It greatly incensed the King, and is likely to do more harm than good to the Catholics, both because it has caused this increased severity and because of the despair which begins to fill the minds of Catholics at the rigid attitude of the Pope.
A ship has arrived from Leghorn in a very few days; she brings wine and other things, the present which the Grand Duke is accustomed to send every year to the King and the great nobles at Court, by means of which he hopes to keep them well affected towards him, so that he may have leave to use the ships and men of this nation.
The agent of the States told me that his masters are well aware that the negotiations for an accord which the Archduke is carrying on aim only at their final subjection and are intended to free the hands of Spain in the Italian crisis; they are, therefore, determined to reject all proposals and to continue the preparations for the war; everything is ready for the fleet, which was only waiting good weather to set sail.
London, 8th March, 1607.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March. 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 700. Ottavio Bon, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Has experienced great difficulty in obtaining orders for the punishment of pirates and the recovery of the goods captured on board the “Liona.”
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 13th March, 1607.
March. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 701. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Lords of Council have with great justice pointed out to his Majesty that his continued absence from the city, especially while the question of the Union is on, is very injurious to the negotiations. His Majesty accordingly has, though much against his will, decided to stay here and to use all his authority to secure the conclusion of the business this session. This points to a favourable condition of the question and the probability that his Majesty will obtain the satisfaction he desires. It is thought that when the Union is carried the King will build upon that foundation many other devices for the increase of the power and greatness of his kingdoms. For there can be no doubt that when these kingdoms are united, which were formerly not only separated but hostile, his Majesty will improve the conditions of his greatness very much. They say he will pay particular attention to his navy, which is the main sinew of his power, and also to his finance, and it is certain that with a little attention he can augment his revenue; for it is well known that all alone in a short space of time he has effected a considerable increase. Nay, at this very moment there are individuals who are ready to offer for only a part of the revenue more than they draw at present, besides a donative of four hundred thousand crowns for a term of seven years. And although it seems that the King's character up to now has been more inclined to spending than to saving, all the same those who know how matters stand declare that this had to be so at the beginning of his reign, but that when the Union is once established, which has hitherto chiefly occupied his thoughts, he will devote his attention to the interests of himself and his successors.
The present state of affairs in Flanders causes some anxiety, for the interest which the King of France is displaying in the protection of the States, though it affords some hope that it may lead to an open rupture with Spain, also rouses the jealousy of the English for their ancient rivals the French. They have, therefore, learned with suspicion that the Dutch are about to surrender some strong places as security for French aid, and some difficulties have arisen over the money due from the King of France to the late Queen, which with the consent of the present King was devoted to assisting the Dutch.
The ships that have been ready to sail to the East Indies for some time now are on the point of departure. Others are being prepared for the West Indies. During the last months some vessels have been seized by the Spanish out there, and these new ones will be sent fully found and armed, so as to keep that navigation on foot.
London, 15th March, 1607.
March. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 702. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After a long interval the Spanish Ambassador has had an audience of the King; this gave rise to a rumour that he was commissioned to tell the King that his Catholic Majesty had resolved to support the Pope in the Italian crisis, and that the King had communicated his resolve to support the Republic. I am not yet assured of the truth of this rumour.
I hear the King said that he had news that in the Valtelline the Grisons had begun some movement. He is curious about the Cardinal de Joyeuse's mission. Only one of the priests sentenced to death was executed; the other agreed to take the oath of allegiance, which was offered them as an alternative, The one who suffered gave great satisfaction at his death, however, by declaring that though he recognised the Pope as his superior in matters spiritual, in matters temporal he had always recognised the King as his Sovereign, and would be the first to defend with his blood and his life the independence of his King were it attacked by the Pope under the cloak of his spiritual superiority; that he trusted this declaration would be acceptable at the Tribunal of his Divine Majesty, before which he was shortly to appear.
London, 15th March, 1607.
March. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 703. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The more the Ambassador of England goes about declaring that a rupture has taken place and proclaiming ill-will between the Crowns of Spain and England the more attention do the Spanish ministers devote to the affairs of that kingdom. They hope that, owing to the venality of that nation and the small worth of its Sovereign, they may be able to achieve something profitable. All those who come from England are welcomed here; the poor are supported on charity and the others are attached by the conferment of honours and pensions, and in the pursuit of this policy the King in a single day distributed four crosses of the order of Sant Iago, one to Sherley, one to a Scot named Lindsay (Linz), and two to a couple of Irish youths who came here almost secretly, and who have been created pages-in-waiting, in order to bind them all the closer to this Court.
Madrid, 18th March, 1607.
March. 19. Minutes of the Senate. Roma. Venetian Archives. 704. That the English Ambassador be invited to attend in the Cabinet and to hear as follows:—
Both Don Francesco de Castro and the Cardinal de Joyeuse have urged us to send our Ambassador (to Rome) before the censures are removed, to re-admit the Jesuits and to give our word that we will not enforce our laws while the question is under amicable discussion at Rome. We have replied that our dignity will not allow us to send our Ambassador before the removal of the censures; that the Jesuits were punished not for obedience to the Interdict, but on many other serious charges, and the Pope ought not to mention the question of their recall; and as to passing our word, which is the chief point of all, we thank the Sovereigns who have interested themselves in the matter, but we will never submit to anything which may damage our prestige; we can assure them, however, that in the application of our laws we will proceed with moderation.
With this answer the Cardinal de Joyeuse has left for Rome; Don Francesco stays on here. As we cannot count upon the issue we continue to make our preparations.
We are expecting the Duke of Savoy and the Marquis of Castiglione here as Imperial Ambassadors.
We hope that the King of England's kindly intentions towards us will be carried into effect.
Ayes 159.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 1.
March. 19. Minutes of the Senate. Roma. Venetian Archives. 705. To the Ambassador in England.
We enclose a copy of our communication to the English Ambassador here, and instruct you to repeat the same to his Majesty and to Lord Salisbury.
Ayes 159.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 1.
March. 20. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 706. The English Ambassador sent to excuse himself from appearing, on the ground of indisposition. A secretary was sent to read to him the resolution taken yesterday in the Senate. At the passage about the impossibility of assenting to the representations made in favour of the Jesuits the Ambassador said, “A prudent and praiseworthy resolve.” At the end of the reading he asked to hear it again. He returned thanks for the confidence thus shown to him.
He added that they might possibly take his excuse for not appearing at the Palace as a sign of laziness, as his indisposition was of slight moment and he was able to walk about. But he had taken a dose that morning and had had one or two attacks of fever; he hoped, however, to come soon to the Cabinet.
March. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 707. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received your Serenity's despatches, informing me of the assistance voted for the Grisons. It is thought that this may be the beginning of some movement; as the Duke of Lennox assured me that his Majesty was informed from France that the King was urging on the Greg Leagues. They are glad of it, for it may prevent his Most Christian Majesty from interesting himself too much in the Dutch. The English policy is to depress the Spanish it is true, but not to the aggrandisement of the French. In my last audience his Majesty said the French attitude in the Italian crisis might be gathered from their conduct towards the Grisons.
There is news that an English merchantman, (fn. 2) worth two hundred thousand crowns, on its way back from the Levant, was arrested at Messina and her crew imprisoned on the plea that they were pirates. The merchants have resolved to apply for redress not to the Privy Council, but to Parliament. As Parliament is largely hostile to Spain and is not open to the usual influences, it is thought that Ministers are acting with greater vigour than they have hitherto displayed.
After waiting a little longer than he intended, the King left for his sport in the country the day before yesterday. The question of the Union is so far advanced that they hope shortly to reach a conclusion.
The Duke of Holstein is expected.
London, 22 March, 1607.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March. 27. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 708. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet, and after being congratulated on his recovery he said that it would be a matter of satisfaction to his Majesty to hear about the Jesuits, and begged his Serenity to communicate some account of the proceedings against that Society, which may help them to understand and guard against their artifices. “To those Fathers may aptly be applied the phrase of Tacitus, 'Genus hominum principibus infidum, sperantibus falax, quod et in civitate nostra vetabitur semper et retinebitur.'”
The Ambassador said that he had communicated with the Earl of Salisbury, who is among all the privy councillors the most devoted to the Republic. The Ambassador said that he had taken steps about that Stephen Stor who had undertaken to supply the Pope with powder and whose name the Doge had communicated to the Ambassador a few days ago. He had written to his Majesty on the subject.
Turning to private matters he said that there were two outlaws, one of Vicenza, the other of Venice; some of their friends who were his friends had begged him to interfere on their behalf; Hieronimo Monte is the Vicentine, and Agustin Carpan the Venetian. (fn. 3) Hieronimo Monte was forced in self-defence to commit the crime he did on Easter Sunday and in church; and the Council of Ten recognised the extenuating circumstances by not putting a price on his head in foreign lands.
“As for the other, the gentleness of his nature made me love him in a way, and he me; nor can I deny that he took shelter in my house, but two days before the sentence, for the Embassy, as long as I live in it, shall never be sanctuary for criminals, great or small, after sentence, but while guilt or innocence hung in doubt it seemed only natural that he should seek refuge in the house of a friend. He swore to me with tears in his eyes that he was not guilty, but that all this came upon him from the machinations of a certain courtezan; enough! It may move your compassion if I say that he is a man of extraordinarily quick and lively spirit and has been expelled from Ferrara, Bologna, and all Spanish dominions, so he knows not where to go.”
The Doge said the question should be referred to the Council of Ten, but it was extremely difficult to obtain releases, for they required a unanimous vote.
March. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 709. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Ambassador demanded the release of some British subjects captured while trading in the Indies and sent to the galleys. This was refused, on the ground that they were captured in forbidden territory; it can only be obtained on the personal application of the King. This the Ambassador declines to recommend, and adds that this discourtesy will be repaid to the Spanish resident in England. To-day the English Ambassador went to audience and borrowed my carriage, so as to show the excellent relations between England and Venice.
Madrid, 28th March, 1607.
March. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 710. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King in discussing the attitude of the King of England said that the Republic should place no reliance on his assurances, but should treat his words as wind. The Ambassador replied that he could not believe the King of England would not keep his promises; had he had other intentions his Ambassador in Venice would not have proposed the League. The King replied that had matters come to a crisis the King of England would not have had the courage to make this proposal for fear of the King of Spain. He went on to say that it would be time enough to treat of an alliance when the differences with the Pope were arranged, and that his view was to include the Pope in place of the King of England.
Paris, 28th March, 1607.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 711. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Villeroy tells the Ambassador that M. de Fresne's proposal for a League was made in his own name. It would be time enough to talk of a League when the differences were arranged.
De Rosny tells the Ambassador the same thing and says that little reliance is to be placed on the King of England.
Paris, 28th March, 1607.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 712. Ottaviano Bon, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The new English Ambassador (Glover) has tried to achieve two designs, employing therein the greatest secresy; the one was to obtain one of our churches for the introduction of his particular religion. In this he failed, for the Grand Vizir and the Mufti on hearing of the proposal to introduce a new sect rejected the application. The other was a claim that all nations not represented here by an Ambassador shall sail under the English flag; this he secured by the help of some presents and on the ground that the English alone of Christian Powers supplied the Sultan with powder and arms; and a very ample instruction was drawn up in this sense. But when the French Ambassador heard of this damaging action he made such vigorous representations, based on his ancient capitulations, that further steps were suspended and the orders recalled, and the French Ambassador is now in treaty to have them annulled and his own privileges confirmed.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 28th March, 1607.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March. 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 713. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Parliament is discussing the naturalization of the Postnati. This motion if carried would in the course of a few years produce the Union automatically. This is violently opposed by those who do not desire the Union. The King complains bitterly that his advisers, by representing the achievement of the Union as an easy affair, have committed him to a labyrinth, in which his honour is involved. Two evils are indicated, one the revival of the ancient enmity between the two countries, the other the growth of Parliamentary as opposed to Royal authority. Both France and Spain are pleased at these difficulties; Spain because as long as they last England can come to no resolve prejudicial to that country, France because they do not desire to see the termination of their ancient alliance with Scotland. The Scottish claim that either the King or the Prince shall reside there. They have addressed a letter of complaint to the King after the last attack upon them in Parliament.
London, 29th March, 1607.
March. 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 714. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
While the question of the Union is in suspense the question of the injuries inflicted by the Spanish has been raised in Parliament. The point under discussion is the legality of reprisals, which is asserted on the strength of an old Act of Parliament. (fn. 4) I am told that some of the injured parties will receive letters under the Privy Seal, addressed to the King of Spain, explaining that the King of England is obliged to yield at last to the just claims of his subjects, as it has always been impossible for them to obtain satisfaction for their injuries. The Earl of Northampton, a member of the Council and much in the Spanish interest, has privately made strong representations to the Spanish Ambassador here, urging him to secure the satisfaction of claims and especially the liberation of the ship (the “Trial”), which was arrested at Messina. The results of this conference are said to have been highly satisfactory to both parties. The Earl displays great attachment to the Spanish Crown; his influence is very powerful and the Spanish count on him to prevent any decision hostile to Spain, and endeavour by every possible means to keep him attached; but so pressing is the demand for recall advanced by the English Ambassador in Spain on account of the way he is treated that I believe he will soon be satisfied and another will take his place, with the title of agent only as a sign of resentment.
The King is much annoyed by the publication in Flanders of the life and death of the Jesuit executed as an accomplice in the plot (Garnet).
Owing to want of money a general mutiny is feared.
The ships destined for the East Indies sailed some days ago.
London, 29th March, 1607.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. Sir Christopher Pigott. See Gardiner I, 330.
  • 2. The “Trial.” See Gardiner I, 349.
  • 3. Wotton's protégés would appear to have been great ruffians. See Consiglio X., Processi Criminali, reg. 22. April 9, 1605. Girolamo da Monte and a band of bravos attacked Mauritio Cavagion and two of his sons in the Cathedral of Vicenza, and slew the father and wounded the sons. The cause of the quarrel was a dispute about a seat in the church. Mauritio was chased up to the Episcopal throne and there fell. Girolamo avoided arrest, but was tried and condemned to perpetual banishment by the Ten. The sentence could not be revoked under ten years. Augustin Carpan was an even more desperate villain; his crimes must be left in “the decent obscurity” of a foreign tongue. See Consiglio X., ut. sup. July 20, 1605. “Che Augustin Carpan, imputato di haver più et più volte nel spatio di un mese in circa in Muran, in casa di un Anzola Mazina, havuto comertio carnal con Antonia fiola de Hieronimo Verglierzin et di Iseppa furlana, nutta di anni otto in nuove, havendo quella non solamente deflorato et sverginata ma anco sodomitata et rotta et guasta cosi dalle parti davanti come da dietro.” Carpan avoided arrest, but was condemned to perpetual banishment; all his property was confiscated, and five hundred ducats of it were deposited in the Mint as a dower for Antonia should she either marry or go into a convent. Anzola Mazina, who was arrested, was condemned to imprisonment for life; all her property was confiscated, and five hundred ducats of it were deposited in the name of Antonia.
  • 4. Gardiner i. 351.