Venice: August 1603

Pages 73-87

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

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August 1603

August 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 103. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Some English merchants, suspected of complicity with the pirates, have been arrested at Salonica. The English Ambassador made representations for their liberty, but fruitlessly. I pointed out the damage that your Serenity had suffered this year, and urged the execution of the orders against the Governor of Modon. The Pasha said, “Are you ready to take the execution on your conscience? for if so I will send at once and have him hanged.” I replied that I should have been satisfied if it had been carried out at once, but now I would not press the matter, but should leave it to his pleasure. “Well, then, don't you talk about it any more,” said the Pasha, “leave it all to me.” He enquired whether the guns of the castle could prevent ships lying in the harbour. I think the English Ambassador has adopted the usual methods for quieting matters, for I find the ministers far from eager.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 2nd August, 1603.
[Italian; deciphered.]
August 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 104. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The States have sent three agents, men of middle rank, to hasten the levy of troops. They, the Court and the Council, hold it for certain that the troops will cross the water, but Count d' Aremberg whom I often see, as our villages are hard by each other, and as he is a gentleman of easy access, a German, and of an excellent disposition, told me that the King had used these actual words to him: “Count, I should be a bad King if I allowed help to be sent to the States after the assurances their Highnesses have given me that they truly desire a sound peace with me. And although I have no cause to fear anyone, and reason urges me to support the States until we have concluded our agreement, in order that I may obtain the better terms, nevertheless I assure you that these troops will not cross the Scottish border.” This fills the Count with hopes that things will go well this year in Flanders. The delay in the arrival of Taxis is due to positive orders from his Catholic Majesty, that he is to wait in Brussels till his Majesty can come to a decision upon information to be rendered by Count d' Aremberg, so as to miss none of those advantages which spring from the deliberation and attention employed by the Spaniards in all their affairs. They certainly owe much to the discovery of this conspiracy, without which the succours would most surely have been despatched. It is still possible that the King may come to this after all, in spite of the peaceful resolves which he brought from Scotland, more especially as France, undoubtedly, is furnishing pecuniary assistance. The King of England will ally himself, if he must, with France rather than with Spain.
M. de Bourbon, Ambassador of Lorraine, has a merely complimentary mission. His Majesty's affairs with the Grand Duke are all conducted through Lorraine and the Grand Duchess, so, too, his negotiations with the Pope.
The conspirators are all lodged in the Tower. The reason why his Majesty has never looked favourably on any of them is because they had a hand in the death of Essex, who was in secret understanding with the King and working for his cause.
Another conspiracy has come to light, it was managed for long by Father Persons (Presonio), an English Jesuit, and they say, though it is hardly possible, that Creichton, another Jesuit, but an enemy of Persons, laid the information, but I at present find no confirmation of this.
I have discovered that there is a Roman here, a soldier, called Giovanni degli Effetti. He speaks excellent French, plays brilliantly, and has very good manners. He handed to the King a letter from Monsig. Inocentio dal Buffalo, the Apostolic Nuncio in France, conveying simple compliments to the King on his accession. Degli Effetti is cautiously collecting all the news he can to forward it to the Nuncio or to Rome; on, the other hand he is in excessively perilous relations with a certain Catholic gentleman, and is spreading the report the Pope most certainly does not desire a rising, nor has nor ever will have art nor part in conspiracy, or in any action prejudicial to the King, whom he loves, and by whom he is loved in return, and that his Holiness prefers just now to rely on the Divine Grace for the support of the true faith.
Secretary Cecil has informed me that I ought to tell the King what are the charqes aqainst Anthony (Sherley). He uraes me to speak out freely, for Sherley has been writing home to the King and to his father to say that I had made a garbled report about him.
I have visited the Princes at Oatlands to the great satisfaction of themselves, the King and Queen. The Prince is ten years old, little of body, and quick of spirit. He is ceremonious beyond his vears, and with great gravity he covered and bade me be covered. Through an interpreter he gave me a long discourse on his exercises, dancing, tennis, the chase. He then himself conducted me down one flight of stairs and up another to visit the Princess. I found her surrounded by her Court, under a canopy. They both said they meant to learn Italian.
Sunbury, 6th. August, 1603.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
August 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 105. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The late events have made the King always more and more anxious to receive and to take the oaths of Coronation, in order to settle his affairs. Various orders were issued so as to prevent the presence at the ceremony of any of the dwellers in London, where people are dying by the thousand every week. Tickets of admission have been issued to those attached to the Court, and to a certain extent the very private character of the ceremony has been modified. On the last day of last month eight earls and four barons were created, (fn. 1) and on the first of this month the Court left Hampton in two divisions, with a guard of five hundred men each. They lay that night a mile out of London, and on the following day they came to Whitehall (Oital), hard by Westminster Abbey.
On Monday morning, St. James' Day, old style, the King embarked on the Thames, accompanied by the Council and by both Courts, and landed at the ancient church of Westminster, where land access was forbidden by a strong body of guards placed at the gates of London, while on the water it was the penalty of death to bring people in boats from the City. Their Majesties landed and entered the church, and the Coronation proceeded in the following order:—
First came twelve heralds in open tabbards, displaying the arms of the four kingdoms, then certain merchant companies and the City officers, the Mayor coming last. All wore long gowns of red cloth with sleeves. The officers numbered about twenty. Then two drums and ten trumpets, officers of Justice, dressed like the City officers, with the Lord Chief Justice last, who over his shoulders wore a broad gold chain as wide as the collar of the order. The judges were twenty-five in all, and marched two and two, as did all the others. Sixty Knights of the Bath, an ancient Order of Chivalry; the knights can only be created at the time of a coronation, and, so, of those created by the late Queen only two survive. Their habit consists of a long robe, reaching half to the knee, with large sleeves, made of purple satin, a hood, fastened to the girdle and passing over the shoulder, and hanging down behind like a baldrich, white plumes, plain sword gilded, leather belt and tassels; no other device. About thirty Barons in long robes of scarlet cloth and mantles also scarlet, in many folds, lined with ermine, or at least the lappets, hood over left shoulder, the mantle has two bands of ermine, sword and plumes. Fifteen Earls, dressed in tabbards of crimson velvet, mantle of crimson velvet, lined with ermine, an ermine tippet (mozzetta) full of folds, a crimson velvet hood, hanging over the tippet like a stocking, cap of crimson velvet, with filet of ermine, and a small crown of plain gold, with a small thin sceptre in their hands; all, both Earls and Barons, walked uncovered.
Then the King, under a canopy, supported by four rods, and from the top of each rod hung a silver gilt bell. The King was robed like the Earls, only his tippet was of crimson velvet, lined with ermine, and the crown on his bonnet was a little larger. Before the King various Earls carried various objects. The Treasurer bore the crown on a cushion, then came the sceptre, the sword in its sheath, a chalice with wine, the patten, the ducal bonnet. The king-at-arms preceded his Majesty, acting as master of ceremonies, he wore a plain coronet, without a bonnet, a mantle of crimson satin down to the knees, and over it the tabbard, displaying the arms of the kingdoms. The King was followed by the gentlemen of his Court, with vests of crimson velvet, reaching” to the knees. Then one hundred and fifty halbardiers of the guard, in the ordinary crimson livery, but with extra gold embroidery, which covered the breast and the back. Then came about thirty pensioners, in scarlet, carrying weapons erect, with velvet handles. The Queen followed under a canopy like the King's. She was dressed in a long robe of crimson velvet, lined with ermine, without other ornament, simply girt, hair down, and a crown of plain gold on her head. Before her walked the Countesses, in robes of crimson velvet, lined with ermine, no ornaments, hair done up, and small crowns on their heads. Behind the Queen came her Court in crimson velvet.
When the King had entered the church, the clergy, robed as the Roman clergy, with stoles (cotte) and copes, met him at the door, and accompanied him to the choir. There the King mounted a platform, placed between the choir and the High Altar. This dais was all covered with crimson cloth, and the King took his seat on one chair and the Queen on another; these chairs were exactly alike, but about seven feet apart. Both faced the altar, if altar it can be called, being nothing but a common movable table. When the King was seated, the Archbishop of Canterbury, supported by the Admiral and the Chancellor, with the king-at-arms in front of him, presented the King to the people, and the herald cried three times in English, “Hear, Hear, Hear.” Then the Archbishop read out a formula, calling on any who denied James the Sixth of Scotland and First of England to be legitimate King of England to say so now, otherwise he would be held a traitor; the Archbishop announced that he was about to crown his Majesty in the confidence that he would govern his people well, and with prayers to God to grant him long life. The people shouted for joy. This done the King and Queen approached the altar and kneeled in prayer. Reseating themselves they listened to the sermon preached by the Bishop. The Archbishop read the Gospel from the altar, and gave it to the King to kiss. The Earls then unrobed the King, leaving him in vest and hose of white satin, unlaced; he then knelt before the altar, and the Archbishop anointed him on various parts of his person, touching the skin. The ointment was taken from a vase, enclosed in a goblet, and covered with a white cloth, standing on the altar along with other regalia. They say the oil was consecrated long ago, and is kept in the Tower of London. It served to anoint both Edward the Sixth and Elizabeth, both of them Protestants. The King's head having been rubbed with a white handkerchief, he was robed again, but in other vestments, a long vest of crimson velvet, lined with white, a Royal tunic over that, the Garter, the sword and collar of the order, over all a mantle of purple brocade. Thus robed he was conducted to a crimson brocaded throne, facing the people, and sitting there the Archbishop placed the crown upon his head. Thus crowned the King was led by the Archbishop to the altar, where he read from a book, and then held it towards the King; he laid his hand upon it, and took the oath. An Earl then took the sword from the altar, drew it, and bore it to the King as he went back to take his seat on the throne.
The Archbishop then took the sceptre and staff, and placed one in the right, the other in the left hand of his Majesty. The sceptre is two spans long, with the globe on the top of the cross, the staff touches the ground, and has the globe and crown on the top.
The Archbishop, the Admiral, the Chancellor, and two Bishops, carrying the crown, led the King to an octagonal dais, and placed him on a throne The Earls then covered and took the oath, then the Barons, but uncovered. Then the Earls, Council, and Barons, one by one, kissed the King's hand, kneeling before him on a red brocaded cushion, and touched the crown, some even kissing it. The Earl of Pembroke, a handsome youth, who is always with the King and always joking with him, actually kissed his Majesty's face, whereupon the King laughed and gave him a little cuff. (Et fra questi il Conte di Pembruch, giovane gratioso et che sta sempre col Rè et su i scherzi, basciò anco la faccia a Sua Maestà, che si pose a rider el gli diede un schiaffetto.)
While this was in progress, the Herald having thrice called “Hear,” the Chancellor proclaimed his Majesty as true King and sovereign Lord, anointed and crowned.
The Archbishop then proceeded to crown the Queen, and placed the sceptre and staff in her hands, and then without further functions they conducted her to the throne. Up to this time she had been seated near the altar, without taking any part in the ceremony. Then the King approached the altar, and from the hands of the Archbishop he received the Lord's supper in bread and wine out of the chalice, which had been borne before him. The Queen did not receive the Sacrament, nor did she move from her throne.
They then retired to some chambers behind the altar, and the King exchanged his crown for a lighter one, and the Queen doffed her red crimson mantle, and remained in black. They took some refreshments, and then they went back in same order as that in which they arrived; and having gone on board a barge, royally furnished, they made show of themselves for a space on the river, and then retired to the palace, where they have lain till this evening, when their Majesties and the Council went back to Hampton Court.
The Ambassadors of France, Denmark, Wirtemberg, Brunswick, Lorraine, were present. The Ambassador of the Archduke excused himself on the ground that he still used a crutch, but the real reason was that he had resolved never to attend a heretic ceremony. I, too, received an invitation, and the terms were that at the church there would be a convenient and honourable place reserved for me, but as I did not quite understand the exact meaning, and as I could not look for a whole box to myself, and knowing that I was not commissioned for public ceremonies, I returned a suitable answer, and if his Majesty receives visits of congratulation I will not fail to make my excuses.
While the King was taking the Sacrament the French Ambassador and I believe the Ambassador of Lorraine left the church, but returned immediately.
Sunbury, 6th August, 1603.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 106. Translation of the oath of allegiance for Earls, Privy Councillors, Barons, Knights.
Since his accession to the throne the King has created seven hundred knights, and intends to make one thousand, in imitation of King Arthur, who created that number, but among those who had followed him to battle.
August 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 107. Anzolo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
After obtaining from my informant the account I have forwarded of the phrases employed by the King himself in discussing de Rosny's mission to England, I thought it as well to confront them with what the English themselves say. I, accordingly, made friends with the English Ambassador here (Sir Thomas Parry), and succeeded in reading the despatches he received from the Secretary of State by the King's orders. De Rosny made great offers to induce the King to declare war on Spain. The King said he knew it was necessary to check Spain, but asked for definite proposals. De Rosny saia if Englana would share the cost his master would declare war at once. James replied that Henry ought to bear all the cost of the land war, while he and the Dutch would bear the cost of the naval campaign, but that to show his goodwill he would bear a third of the cost, if the King of France would repay him in one or two years the million he owea to the English Crown. De Rosny replied that it was an inopportune moment for demanding payment of a debt when his master was about to embark on war. They agreed, however, that the King of France should pay to the States four hundred and fifty thousand crowns and the King of England one hundred and fifty, but this hundred and fifty is really to be paid by France on account of this debt.
The same despatch shows that the King believes he will have eventually to carry on the war with Spain, for on a full consideration of the demands to be addressed to Spain, it is clear that they cannot be other than those formulated by the late Queen, namely, the disbanding of all foreign troops in the Low Countries, the dismantling of all forts, the abolishment of the Inquisition, Civil Governments to be in the hands of citizens under the Archduke as Duke of Burgundy; and to these the King of Spain will never accede.
I remarked that his most Christian Majesty would do all he could secretly to injure Spain, but that it would be difficult to induce him to declare open war. The Ambassador answered that they knew it, and that in his last interview his Majesty had proposed an alliance between his daughter, one year old, and the Prince of Wales, eight years old. The Ambassador said that they were too young yet to think of this business, but the King replied that now was the moment to draw the two Crowns together. The Ambassador told me that this proposal of the King was intended to cover him from giving a direct answer to the subject in hand.
Paris, 7th August, 1603.
[Italian; deciphered.]
August 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 108. Anzolo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King, in his zeal for the Catholic religion, has imprisoned certain booksellers here, who had reprinted a book, published long ago in Scotland, attacking the Pope and the Mass. This is an unusual rigour in these parts.
The King of Spain, as a recompense for the death of Federico Spinola, has given the Marquis, his brother, the title of Duke of Santa Severina, the naval command in those waters, and the command on shore of twenty-four thousand foot and four thousand horse. (fn. 2) The fire of red-hot cannon balls from Ostend has burned a whole platform, and so they don't see how the Roman engineers movable battery is to escape a like fate.
Paris, 7th August, 1603.
Aug. 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 109. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As the illustrious Nicolo Molin will shortly receive instructions as to his mission in England I think it my duty to furnish such information about the Levant Company, as may prove of service to him.
Beginning with the year 1580; they say that the Queen, being struck by the enormous quantity of currants and Cretan wine that was being brought into England, and holding that such abundance was superfluous, granted to Acerbo Velutelli, an Italian resident in London, a concession that no one except himself might import currants and Cretan wine. Her object was to moderate the influx. Upon this concession, which was graciously granted without any reserve in favour of the Crown, Velutelli made a small profit, that is to say, about two shillings and twopence (soldi due et denari due in circa di starlini), on every hundredweight of currants, and a similar profit on wine; whereupon your Serenity laid double that duty, not only upon currants and wines exported from your dominions, but upon all English staple goods imported from England to those places which produced currants and wines; you levied these heavy duties in violation, they say, of all precedent stipulation between England and the Republic. These duties were ten ducats on every ton of currants, six ducats on every hogshead of muscatel, seven ducats on every web of cloth; on kerseys two ducats; two ducats on every hundredweight of tin; three ducats on every hundredweight of wool. All these goods were specified in the order, one by one, and the words, etcetera, were added, which covered all English goods and left them exposed to such duties as it might seem good to you to impose. Thereupon her Majesty addressed several letters to your Serenity upon the subject of these taxes, which had been imposed because of a licence granted to one of the Italian nation; she begged for the revocation of the order, and promised to cancel the patent. To this answer was returned in 1582, that as soon as the patent was actually revoked and the duties imposed upon Venetians abolished the order would be withdrawn. Upon this Acerbo Velutello's patent was revoked, but in spite of your Serenity's undertaking the duties in Venice have not been abolished, on the plea that the revocation of Acerbo Velutello's patent ought to be taken as a revocation of all duties and customs upon foreign goods imported into England (sotto color di pretensione interpretando la lettera di Sua Maestà che promettava di liberarli da pagamenti che facevano per conto delta patente di Acerbo Velutello che si dovese estendere fino a discaricarli di tutte le costaune ciò è Datii, susidii et dovuli, che erano stati imposti gia fa lungo tempo sopra forastieri et altri in questo Regno). The English declare that this would have made foreigners freer than the English themselves.
In 1593 an English ship, the “ Grace,” master, Abraham Nottingham, was riding at anchor in the waters of Zante, near a Spanish ship. The master or pilot of the Spaniard spoke ill of the Queen and of England in such a fashion that no Englishman could have stood it if opportunity for vengeance had presented itself. Nottingham endured it until the Spaniard sailed away, then he set sail, caught her up, and captured her, after killing some of her crew. Thereupon the Governor of Zante clapped all the English merchants, who had had dealings with Nottingham, into prison, and threatened to hang them if the Spanish ship was not restored. The English merchants were, therefore, obliged not only to procure the restitution of the ship, but to pay four thousand ducats of damage besides.
Then came the case of the “ Thomas,” Captain, Hugh Whitbrook, whose corn was confiscated by the Governor of Zante. In 1596 the case of the “ George Buonaventura “ took place; she was captured by the Spanish galleys with seventy thousand ducats on board, as she was leaving a Venetian port. The owners petitioned your Serenity for a letter of recommendation to Prince Andrea Doria, but could obtain nothing.
In 1600 the agent of Alderman Anderson despatched to Zante four thousand Spanish reals of eight, under the same conditions as those allowed to the Fuggers, but on their arrival they were confiscated; and though eventually restored Anderson suffered great loss. In 1600 a war vessel, sent out by Sir George Gilborne, captured a vessel bound from Lisbon to Venice. Certain Venetians declared that they had goods on board, and immediately all English goods in Venice were sequestrated, and damage done to the extent of ten thousand ducats, they allege.
In 1602 your Serenity issued an order that no foreigners might lade currants in Zante, but that they must come to Venice for them; and further that no foreign ship might lade currants in Venice unless it had brought two-thirds of its capacity laden with merchandize, and had discharged at least a part inside the Adriatic. Further you have forbidden any foreign ships to bring into Venice from Alexandria, Cyprus, Syria, or any place in Turkey linen, cotton, wool, thread, under pain of confiscation. The object of these orders is to ruin English trade in the Levant, and to secure for Venetians the whole Levant trade with England.
In carrying out these decrees the English complain that you have adopted a line of action never before employed by any power; for the decree against lading currants in the Ionian islands was issued when the port of Zante was full of English ships, which had already bought their cargoes, causing a loss of upwards of fifty thousand ducats. The goods were perforce put on board Venetian vessels for Venice, and those ships being badly handled and leaky, the goods were ruined. The Venetians have received very different treatment in England, where those ships which had sailed before learning about the new duties were excused, and given eighteen months' grace.
If free trade is to be established reciprocal and friendly steps must be taken.
Sunbury, 13th August, 1603.
Aug. 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives, 111. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Danish Ambassador, who has upwards of one hundred and forty persons in his train, is lodged at the palace of Richmond. The Ambassador of Brunswick, with upwards of twenty, is lodged and entertained at Kingston. The two cost the Crown upwards of four hundred crowns a day. The Ambassadors of Brandenburg and Wirtemberg are merely lodged, not fed.
The King earnestly besought the Queen to take the Sacrament along with him, after the Protestant rite, on his Coronation Day, and that same morning the Archbishops also endeavoured to persuade her. They urged that if she did not, she would be living without any religion at all, for no other would be permitted in this kingdom. 'Her Majesty, after very quietly saying “No” once or twice, declined to make any further answer. After this the old members of the English Council, who are heretics, have set themselves more vigorously and openly than ever to keep the Queen down, and they immediately reject anyone who is recommended by her. The Queen, however, has not only a very sound judgment of her own, but she has some hard-headed Scots about her, who assist her secretly. Moreover, as the King is devotedly attached to her, and as she never leaves his side during all the fatigues of travel and of the chase, which is the King's real and one might say only joy, it is likely that she will win in the long run, especially on questions of policy and of promotion, for on the subject of religion the King stands very firm, so much so that when Degli Effetti, who is here on behalf of his Catholic Majesty, said, apropos of the plot, that the Pope loved him his Majesty and prayed for him, and that he neither desired nor would countenance any rising or conspiracy, the King replied that he, too, loved the Pope, and was obliged to him, but he could not deny God for the Pope's sake, nor change his faith. This weighty answer goes to-night to the Pope, as Degli Effetti himself confessed; and on the strength of it he intends to leave as soon as possible to return to France to the Nuncio (fn. 3) who sent him. The King of France is showing himself the most Catholic of Princes, he takes the part of the English Catholics, and his lieger comforts and supports them as far as he is able. The recusancy fines (fn. 4) have been entirely abolished upon the discovery of the plot, of which the Catholics have taken advantage, and the French Ambassador claims all the merit of this as something which he himself had obtained through the sole intercession of his most Christian Majesty. The heretic members of the Council, however, declare that he has added nothing to the representation made by M. de Rosny. (fn. 5) I must inform you that the French are doing all they can to foster the belief that they hold the mind of his Majesty, they say that if England has peace with Spain she will also have an alliance with France. The fact remains that the King has said with his own lips and announced it to the Ambassadors from Flanders, that he desires a perpetual peace with the Spanish, and the same with the Archduke, if a means can be found whereby the States can remain separate from Spain. All sorts of incredible proposals are flying about; that the States shall become a part of the Empire, or that the patrimony of the Archduke shall pass, after his death, to his brothers, if he has no children.
The iniquity of the conspiracy becomes daily more apparent. The conspirators are in a very bad way; their posts have already been filled up. Walter Raleigh, a man of the highest eminence during the late Queen's reign, tried to plunge a knife into his heart, it glanced off one of his ribs, and so saved his life, for his jailors prevented him from repeating the blow. Sir Griffin Markham, who was proclaimed, has been captured, and only the two priests now remain at large.
The King has appointed me audience to-morrow at Nonsuch. He will send the royal carriage for me.
Sunbury, 13th August, 1603.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives, 112. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Great attention is being paid to English affairs. The King is not pleased about the three thousand infantry which are to go over to Flanders. The frequent sittings of Council have had nothing of greater importance before them than the question of winning over three of the principal English ministers. They think nothing more important can be done in his Majesty's service than to secure the members of the Council by large offers of money, an old. method adopted in France, and easily introduced, they think, into England.
Valladolid, 15th August, 1603.
[Italian; deciphered]
Aug. 20. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives, 113. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Lady Arabella has been summoned to Court, and placed near the King and Queen as a Princess of the Blood; in her appointments, table, and rank she takes precedence of all other ladies at Court She has already begun to bear her Majesty's train when she goes to chapel. For the rest she is living very retired, nor is there wanting a certain mystery in the situation.
The Earl of Rutland has come back from his embassy to Denmark Their Majesties on the 15th inst. gave a solemn banquet to the Ambassadors of Denmark and Brunswick. The same ceremony was observed as in the case of M. de Rosny, only at this banquet the drinking was German rather than French. The Ambassadors drank twenty toasts each, and the King replied with twelve; among them I will not omit this one, which has already attracted attention; he said, rising to his feet and uncovered, “Eqo defensor fidei christianæ per totum orbem præbibo pro salute Principis Daniæ,” Two days later these Ambassadors and he of Wirtemberg—who was not at the banquet—took their leave. All of them received handsome presents. Four days ago two Irish knights and two Irish lawyers presented themselves to the King to ask for a change in the officers of justice, the restoration of the. currency to its value before the war, and liberty to use the Catholic rite. To the first and second his Majesty showed some inclination, to the third great repugnance. He declared that had he to wade in blood up to his knees, had he out ten followers, and were such conditions his sole means for recovering his “kingdom, he would lose what was left to him and his life as well, rather than accede to their request, and he ordered them into the Tower. This step, the toast referred to, many other public remarks of his Majesty and those which are uttered in the pulpits,—of such a horrible nature that the pen refuses to record them,—have caused all those who had understandinq with the Roman Degli Effetti to withdraw from any promises. He has given up all hove of succeeding in establishing relations here, and is returning to the Nuncio in France. Seeing that heresy waxes and wanes in proportion as it receives more or less support from foreign powers, and as this unhappy question is the real foundation and mainstay of the King's authority, one may say that the Catholic faith is for the present in a desperate plight; all the more so as Watson, the head of the conspiracy, has been, taken, and has named more than two hundred noble houses, which were if not accomplices, at least cognisant of this or similar machinations.
The King has written to the States to say that, he desires to be the means of procuring peace between them and the King of Snain and their Highnesses, he, therefore, begs them to summons their States General, and to commit to paper the demands which their Ambassadors have expressed verbally. This answer will be delaved, as the armies are in the field and the States cannot meet. The English Commissioners appointed to treat with Count d'Aremberg, meantime, have told him that they will not negotiate further with him until he presents adequate powers to treat for peace. D'Aremberg has accepted the communication, and declares he will satisfy them, only reserving to himself the right to introduce into the negotiation the President Richardot at the moment he may think opportune, in order to draw up the documents. The Commissioners also remarked that the Ambassador Taxis must bring similar powers, whereupon d'Aremberg replied that he imagined Taxis would only prepare the way for peace—after making suitable congratulations,—and that his Catholic Majesty would vest, if he had not already done so, full powers to conclude it in the person of the Archduke Albert. In this interval the English succours will not. go over to Flanders, and English trade will remain free with Flanders and Spain. Upon this conclusion their Majesties have left for a brief forty days' hunting, although they call it a progress, which means a visit. The Princes, two-thirds of the Council, and more than half the Court are left behind. The King has reduced his suite as far as possible, because some deaths from plague have taken place among the servants. He has given lodging to the Ambassadors of France and Flanders and to the Agent for the States at Basing, a town about the middle of the district, where he is going a-hunting, so that they may be handy for negotiations. I had an audience of congratulation, and his Majesty promised to send me a paper showing his route, so that if I required to speak with him I could choose the most suitable occasion. This he has done. He let me see that he supposed the Ambassadors of your Serenity are net far off, and told me I was to keep him informed of their moves, in order that he might give orders for a proper naval escort.
Sunbury, 20th August, 1603.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 114. Anzolo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of France urges the King of England to declare war on Spain. He has recently received through his lieger in London certain conditions signed by King James. The substance is that the King of England shall do his best to effect a peace between the States and the Archduke, if he fails, then it is understood that an alliance between him and the King of France shall be concluded, with a view to helping the States. If Spain threatens France, England shall attack Spain by sea, but in that case the King of France is to pay back the million due. If Spain attacks England, France shall attack Spain, but in that case the million of debt shall not be exacted. This will induce the Council to urge the King to go to Provenee, but his natural vivacity will induce him to move nearer to England to see what is the upshot of the treaty with the States.
It is now hoped that no accord with Spain can take place, for it is said that the King, in addition to other conditions, will propose that the successor to be named to the Archduke shall possess no other territory than Flanders. This proves that the King of England is aware that the re-union of the States to the Crown of Spain on the Archduke's death would be a serious counterpoise to his power. The English Ambassador showed me letters in which it is said that although public opinion there holds for certain that peace will be concluded, those who understand affairs are of another view, for such terms will be offered to Spain as would mean a most advantageous peace for England.
The King professes to desire peace, but he is massing troops and manning ships. Such secrecy is observed here upon this whole business that full information can only be obtained by putting together what is collected from various sources. Signor Scaramelli will supplement my reports. The King of England, while still King of Scotland, had in his service a son of M. de Vitry, Captain of the Royal guard. The young man is now here, and King James has sent to recall him. The King will take this opportunity to send M. de Vitry, the father, under pretext of convoying his son, but really to observe closely what is going on.
Paris, 21st August, 1603.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 115. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The ship belonging to the French Ambassador with his daughters on board, and those French soldiers, who decline to remain in the Grand Signors service, left some weeks ago for Marseilles. At the island of Milo it fell in with an English ship, and attacked and captured it, killing eight Englishmen and losing three of its own crew. A question has arisen, for the English Ambassador declares that the ship was a merchantman, not a privateer. This week an Englishman named Jonah (Jona) has received a present from the Pasha. He bears the title of English Consul in the Morea. He brought here various pleas from the Turkish officers about the attack on Patras. This is a proof that the Pasha has taken the English under his protection at a time when he certainly ought not to have done so, I am sure bribes are employed.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 23rd August, 1603.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 23.Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 116. Letter from the Grand Vizir to James King of England, Moderator of Matters Ecclesiastical, Master of the Mantle of Fame.”
Recalls the capitulations granted by Murad. Complains of acts of piracy. Asks for punishment of offenders.
The end of August, 1603.
Aug. 23.Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 117. To the Secretary in England.
Orders to Scaramelli to accompany the new Ambassadors to their first audience, then to take his leave and to return with Pietro Duodo.
Ayes 123.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 3.
Aug. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 118. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the King's departure from Hampton Court I had an opportunity to speak to several Lords of Council, and found that they were all convinced that your Serenity did not wish to send your Ambassadors here till the King had been crowned, and apropos to this question of Ambassadors, Cecil said, that as the illustrious Signer Molin would be allowed to exercise the Roman rite in his house for the benefit of his suite and of those Venetians and Italians who are in London, it was only reasonable that his Majesty's Ambassador also who should be sent to reside in Venice, should enjoy a similar privilege. I replied that although I believed that the English Ambassador would be at perfect liberty to do as he liked in his own house, yet I must point out to his Lordship that the cases were not parallel; for at the present moment there were no Venetians in London, except the two brothers Federici, people of very moderate pretensions, and only six or seven other Italians, and if they could lot hear the Mass in the house of the Venetian Ambassador the French Embassy would always be open to them as heretofore whereas in Venice there were thousands of English with whom the Flemish associate themselves, and in this way the English Ambassador might draw such a number of people as would certainly cause a scandal and might invite reprisals. I suggested that as there were about the Court many able men, openly declared Catholics, and still more living in retirement, his Majesty might choose one of these for the post of Ambassador. Many objections were raised, but I think I left him impressed.
Next day, while I was talking familiarly with Lord Crichton of Sanquhar, he complained of being refused by the Council a certain pension of about two thousand crowns, for which the Queen had named him. I then suggested to him that he should apply for the Venetian embassy, because both as a Catholic and as a personage already known to your Serenity, he would find himself doubly welcome, and by keeping out of sight of the English Council for a while he would by his services win a larger pension than that which has just been denied him.
The Baron, who is an impressionable person, not only at once embraced the idea but began to long for the post, and the next day being, as usual, with the King in the evening, in his privy chamber, he preferred his request. The King answered that I had made representations to him that it would be advisable to send a noble, though the Council wished to tend a Doctor or someone of the long robe; that the King of France always kept a resident there, who was not a noble, and that he would think it over. The following day Lord Sanquhar renewed his request with the assistance of the Queen, who supports him all the more vigorously because the Council had refused his previous petition. The King replied, “ I am satisfied; you shall have the post, be sure of that; but I will keep silence for the present.” Crichton kissed the King's hand. I had told Crichton of what Cecil had said to me, and as it is not advisable to overreach the Secretary, the Queen called him into the Cabinet and told him that the King had given his word to Lord Sanquhar for the Venetian embassy, and begged him to see that the promise was not revoked, and that if it were she would hold him alone to blame. Cecil, who is pleased at being specially consulted, replied that he hoped her Majesty's wishes would be satisfied. Lord Sanquhar himself came on purpose to tell me this. Four years ago he was sent to the Pope ana the Grand Duke, with whom he still keeps up a correspondence. He has left for his house in Scotland by the post, as it were to pass the time while the King is on his hunting party. He will be back in twenty days, and if it turns out that the first English Ambassador to Venice is a Catholic it will free your Serenity from certain anxieties, and will have the effect that subsequent Ambassadors may also be Catholics, But I am of opinion that secrecy about this negotiation must be maintained. The King has at last dismissed Father Creichton, by saying that as neither can convert the other there is no need for them to meet. He has sent a similar message to the Bishop of Vaison (fn. 6) in the territory of Avignon, who had likewise demanded leave to come to Court. The Queen had accepted certain devotional objects, sent her by the Pope through the Bishop, and had caused a servant of one of her Scottish gentlemen to go to Paris to receive them, but leaving him ignorant of their nature (fn. 7) On his return to Rome James Lindsay (Giacomo Lingi), another Scot, is to inform the Pope verbally, in the King's name as from Prince to Prince, that his Majesty cannot concede liberty of conscience in his kingdoms, for fear of tumults, nor can he educate the Prince as a Catholic, for fear of endangering the succession, two points which his Majesty told the Pope, some time ago, he must concede if he came to this Crown. The Queen has written a letter of compliments to the Pope, and declared that she cannot refuse his gifts, and will serve him as far as she can. She has given Lindsay four hundred crowns.
The Earl of Tyrone, finding himself out of favour at Court, has asked leave to return to Ireland. The King made him a present of two thousand angels, equal to four thousand ducats, and granted his request, but he has taken fright at the imprisonment of the Irish deputation, and is afraid that if he sets out now the King will have him killed on the road (eon gran timore se si mete in camino di esser per strada fatto ammazzar dal Rè), and he wishes he had never left Ireland.
The Queen has received a large number of valuable jewels from the King, the palace of Nonsuch, and an income of forty thousand crowns a year, they say, so that should she be left a widow, she will be independent of her son.
Many English have come back from the camp of Count Maurice on account of a quarrel between them and the French. And had not the Scottish interfered with arms more than the two hundred who fell would have been slain. The Dutch are extremely anxious for any assistance from England, not so much for the actual troops as for an encouragement to the spirits of their people; for the rumour that this Crown withdraws its support has shaken their confidence. Numbers of English are going over to the Archduke's camp, where they are very well received.
The plague, yesterday, attacked a groom of the Wardrobe in the Princes' service. They were hastily removed from Oatlands to Nonsuch.
In London, they say, there is an improvement to the extent of two hundred fewer deaths a week. The rate now is a little over three hundred a day. The tenor is all the greater, for they still bury the dead to the sound of the parish bells, and no steps are taken about the sick, except to close the infected houses and commend them to the mercy of God. But, as upwards of two hundred thousand persons have fled, it is to be supposed that this monster of a scourge makes fewer victims because there are fewer victims to feed its fires. We may hope, however, that as the cold season approaches the plague will diminish as is its wont, and there is a good sign that many infirm now recover.
The “Little Phœnix” master, Robert Hot.......has left London for Venice, with the usual cargo of tin, lead, broad-cloth. She goes to Plymouth to complete her cargo with salt fish. She cannot be at Venice before November in the ordinary course, but I send this information for the Sanitary officers.
Sunbury, 27th August, 1603.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. Cal. S.P., Dom., July 21. 1603. Barons Danvers, Grey, Russel, Gerard, Petre, Ellesmere, Harrington, Mountjoy, and Spenser. Earls Suffolk and Southampton.
  • 2. The Marquis was appointed to end the siege of Ostend.
  • 3. Del Buffalo.
  • 4. The contemporary decipher reads parlamento, but the word should he deciphered pagamento.
  • 5. James announced to de Rosny his intention to remit the recusancy fines as early as June 17; and they were remitted in Council on July 17, Gardiner 1. 115.
  • 6. William Chisholm, cf. Gardiner 1, 80.
  • 7. Cf, Gardiner, 1, 142, 143