Venice: May 1607, 1-15

Pages 494-497

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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May 1607, 1–15

May. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 726. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador had an interview with the Earl of Salisbury on the subject of the accord with the Pope.
London, 2nd May, 1607.
May. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 727. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the subject of the truce the Earl of Salisbury said that the terms were so advantageous to the Dutch that we must believe that either great necessity or some subtle object had induced the Archdukes and the Spanish to grant them. I pretended that I could discover no ulterior motive, and he added that in the opinion of some the movement in Italy was the cause, but the truth of this would soon be apparent, for now that an accord had been reached a pretext for not ratifying the treaty would soon be found; others think that the Spanish now hope to subdue the States by pacific means more easily than by war, for they can flatter the populace, and finally win over their leaders. I said, “How can that be done, when the States have been declared independent?” He replied, “My master, on reading the capitulations, interpreted that point of independence as applying only to the right to treat (interpretò quel punto della libertà dechiarito per la sola trattatione), and perhaps that is the strict meaning of the words.”
The King is expected to-day in London to attend the Chapter of the Garter, which is held each year on St. George's Day. Meantime the Lower House has prepared its reply to the address delivered to them by the King; and as his Majesty has very wisely flattered the small fry with soft words and shown his displeasure in vigorous terms against some of the great, who were seducing the others to oppose his will, it is hoped that he may at last effect that union of the two kingdoms which he so ardently desires.
At this beginning of summer the plague begins to give signs of spreading. The King and Court will leave immediately, and I, as do the Ambassadors, will endeavour to take up my abode in the country, as near as possible to the place where the King lodges.
London, 2nd May, 1607.
May. 7. Collegio Secreta, Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 728. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and presented a petition on behalf of two Englishmen. (fn. 1) Both are English, but one might be almost reckoned a Venetian, because he is married to a Venetian wife and has resided so long there. They are agreed on the principal points, but are at variance about the question of weights. The Ambassador had proposed arbitration, but one of the litigants is principal, while the other is merely agent, and so finds it absolutely necessary to proceed by means of the Courts.
The Doge said the two suitors would be summoned and heard on the subject.
The Ambassador begs a permit for Alberghino Alberghini of Salò to bear arms.
The Doge promised to forward the petition to the Council of Ten.
The Ambassador expressed the satisfaction of certain English gentlemen, who were in Venice for their pleasure, at the reception they had met with. They had repeatedly expressed the same to the Earl of Salisbury. The Doge said that the officials at Padua would be instructed to show them all civility when they go there.
The Ambassador quoted a passage from a letter from the Prince of Wales, in which he said that if he were of age he would come in person to serve the Republic.
May. 9. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 729. Instructions to Zuanne Bembo, Captain-General of the Sea.
He is to carry out the instructions of September 24, 1605, as regards English ships.
May. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 730. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Four days ago a certain broadsheet was published here under the title of “News from Venice.” It was submitted to the King, and contained certain points of religion contrary to the doctrine of the Church of Rome, which they say are taught by preachers in Venice with toleration of the Senate. This paper was brought to me at once, and as I saw that it contained falsehoods prejudicial to the unblemished fame of the Republic for piety, and being unwilling to allow time for the spread of the libel, by seeking an interview with the Earl of Salisbury, I sent my secretary at once to him to complain and to demand the instant seizure and burning of all the broadsheets and the severe punishment of the printer; for his Lordship and all the world knew that the quarrel with the Pope had nothing to do with religion, but only with merely temporal points affecting the preservation of liberty. The Earl was much annoyed at the occurrence, and declared that he had no knowledge of the matter. He at once issued the necessary orders, and sent to inform me that he would keep me acquainted with the result. According, shortly afterwards, he sent to say that he had caused to be suppressed and burned all the broadsheets found at the printer's and bookseller's, and had forbidden them to keep them on pain of death; that as to the printer he would have proceeded to punish him, but on examination he found that the printer held the Archbishop of Canterbury's licences; that this could only have been obtained upon a false report spread here, and not out of any bad faith. The Earl expressed his regret for the annoyance I had experienced.
I thanked his Lordship for what he had done, but said that as the matter had been made public it required a public rectification; that this was a good opportunity for showing how sincere and candid was the king's intention, directed solely to preservation of the common liberty; that as to the Archbishop of Canterbury I could not understand how a man of his prudence and virtue could have lent an ear to so vain and frivolous a matter or have allowed a common salesman to have coloured these lies under the King's name; though I was convinced that there was no bad faith in the matter. I displayed great heat in the affair, both to check these ecclesiastics who are always ready to use both tongue and pen to help their cause, and also to show to other Catholic Ambassadors how earnest your Serenity is in support of your true and native faith, in order that they may report this at Rome and to their own Courts.
I must say that I believe every copy of these sheets has been destroyed, for I secretly endeavoured to get one, and only succeeded in securing the copy I enclose.
The Ambassadors of Spain and Flanders begin to throw off the mask about this truce. I gathered that the Archdukes hope by means of the peace to unite all the provinces under them, and to remove the Spanish altogether, introducing a more liberal form of government, but this may be merely the idea of the Ambassador, who is a good Fleming. They have more hopes from the King of England than from the King of France.
The Earl of Salisbury and the High Admiral have both earnestly begged your Serenity to liberate or to grant safe-conduct to Edward Peutres, an Englishman, banished, as they say, from Venice for two years upon a slight offence. It is desirable to keep these two great Lords favourably disposed.
London, 9th May, 1607.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 731. News from Venice.
An extract of certaine poyntes and articles of religion, which now are publicly taught and maintained in the city and state of Venice, against the doctrine of the Church of Rome, sent over from Venice into England by way of true and certaine intelligence and reported unto the King's Majestie.
In Venice, the 13 of March, 1607.
Imprimis. The preachers doe preach heere loude against Free-will; teaching the people that we have Free-will only to evil, and that if we doe good it cometh not from us, but from God.
Item. That our justification is given us gratuitly by ye death and passion of Jesus Christ; that we cannot be saved by any merit or intercession of saints; laying all our salvation on Jesus Christ only.
Item. The Church is not tied to any particular place, and that he that maintaineth it is a devil and sonne of predicion.
Item. That it is altogether necessary that the people reade the Olde and New Testament, to know the will of God, and that it is no more time to put their salvation to the discretion of their confessors, who are become cousners, juglers, merchants of their souls and shopkeepers of their bodies.
Item. They affirme also that sermons are more needful than masses, and doe prove that by sermons infinite people have been converted to God, and that none have been converted by hearting of masse.
Item. The Senate doth permit this doctrine to be preached, to take away the errors of the people, and to put downe the authoritie of the ecclesiastiques, who are gone out of the way of religione and reason, and doe command Princes as their pages and slaves.
This doctrine is thought will hinder the peace. If this seed be fallen in good ground the fruite will appeare. God of his grace make us worthy of his mercy.
Reader I presume, that the occasions of the disagreements between the Pope and the renowned state of Venice are unto the world alreadie so well knowne (being well neere at open warres thereupon), as that almost nothing is more notorious then those proceedings. But this one thing I thought good to note by the way, that this is assureedly the worke of God for some great and special purpose, and who knoweth but that God hath appointed it as a meanes to pull down the pride of the whore of Babilon? For it is very observable that the first falling from the Pope in England was occasioned by the ambitious intermeddling of the Pope in some matters meerely temporall, and not for religion; but after that, upon those groundes occasion beeing offered was happily apprehended and pursued, to examine the authoritie of that usurped power, and also the grounds of their false Doctrine, whereupon the Prince armed with resolution proceeded so far that in tract of time the Pope's usurped power in matters, both spiritual and temporal, became heere utterly abolished, and the light of the Gospel clearly manifested. Even so also may it be by God appointed that these proceedings in the hart of Italy by the Popes arrogancie occasioned, may bee a means to shake to the ground the false foundation of the Church of Rome and hir doctrine, which is already ready to fal. The Lord grant that the issue may be happie unto his Church. Amen. God save the King.
Imprinted at London for Francis Burton, 1607.


  • 1. Ruberto Arnall and Eliseo Sopheme, both Englishmen, have a suit which they desire to submit to the Clarissimi Signori Sopra Gastaldi, for arbitration without appeal.