Venice: September 1603

Pages 88-98

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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September 1603

Sept 2. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives, 119. To the King of England.
Acknowledging the mission of Sir Anthony Standen and announcing the despatch of Ambassadors to congratulate the King.
Ayes 158.
Noes 2.
Neutrals 10.
Sept 2. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives, 120. The official answer to Sir Anthony Standen.
Ayes 158.
Noes 2.
Neutrals 2.
Sept 2. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives, 121. Motion made that, in accordance with our ordinary usage, a chain of gold, worth five hundred ducats, be bought and presented to Sir Anthony Standen, as a mark of esteem and gratitude.
Sept 2. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives, 122. Votes for one hundred ducats to entertain Sir Anthony Standen; then for another entertainment, twenty-five ducats; and then for a breakfast in the arsenal, another twenty-five ducats.
Sept 2. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives, 123. In order to please the King of England the decree of expulsion against Sir Anthony Sherley is revoked. He may come to Venice and stay there at his pleasure.
Ayes 146.
Noes 8.
Neutrals 10.
Sept 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives, 124. Anzolo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
At last I have obtained sight of the actual agreement signed by the King of England, and signed here by the King of France (ho finalmente otteunto di veder li proprii capitoli che venero con la ferma del Re d'Inghilterra li quali sono stati fermati anco da Sua Maestà Christianissima). I should have had a copy had I promised not to forward it for the present to your Serenity, so that they should not be published before the conclusion of the negotiations between Spain and England, which are to take place in England; and for this reason both English and French use extraordinary secrecy. I, as entirely devoted to your Serenity's service, elected to be free to write the contents of the document rather than to be bound not to send you the papers which might come into my hands, and I rely on the prudence of the Senate to allow nothing to become public, which might be prejudicial to your service by damaging the reputation of your minister.
The contents of the document are very much what I have already transmitted to your Serenity, but I will recapitulate, so as to put you in possession of all details.
The agreement stands thus :—
The King of England re-affirms all previous treaties with France. He promises never to allow the States to fall into the power of Spain, nor yet under the government of the Empire. For that purpose he will contribute to their aid, in conjunction with the King of France, and his quota shall be one-third of the cost. He does not intend to declare war on Spain, just at present. But if Spain attacks either of the contracting parties then an offensive and defensive alliance between them is thereby created, entailing reciprocal obligations. If France is attacked England shall furnish six thousand infantry, and in conjunction with the States, shall send a squadron to the coast of Spain, and another to the Indies. In this case France shall, in the course of three years, pay back the million owing to the Crown of England. On the other hand, if England is attacked by Spain, the King of France will send six thousand infantry in aid, and will attack Spain by land, but he shall not be called on to pay the million as long as the war lasts.
If war is declared with Spain both the contracting parties will enter the Low Countries, expel the Spanish, and divide the spoil. England to take the maritime towns, France the land. I am certain I have made no error as to the meaning of the clauses, though the wording may not be exact; and I am certain that I am sending you sound information, which I have verified with both parties.
(L'accordato sta dunque di questo modo :—
Che il Rè d'Inghilterra raferma tutte le coleganze che erano prima fra l'Inghilterra e la Francia. Promette poi di mai non acconsentire che li Stati caschino sotto la potenza di Spagna, ne che manco habbino à restar sotto la protetione dell' Imperio, pero egli si offerisse di auitarli unitamente con questo Rè, contribuendo per la parte sua al terzo delta spesa, non intendendo per hora far altra guerra à Spagna. Ma quando il Rè di Spagna assalisse una di queste corone che s'intendi fermata lega difensiva et offensiva fra essi con altri oblighi reciprochi che essendo assalito il Rè di Francia, il Rè d'Inghilterra li mandi in aiuto sei mille fanti et con una banda della sua armata unita con quella dei Stati, vada alla costa di Spagna, et con l'altra verso le Indie. Restando in tal caso obligato il Rè di Francia a restitiure in tre anni a quello d'Inghilterra il milione che deve a quella corona.
All'incontro quando il Rè d'Inghilterra fosse assalito da Spagna che il Rè di Francia li mandi sei mille fanti in aiuto et che con esercito terrestre si muova contro li Stati del Re di Spagna, restando libero dalla restittdione del milione mentre durerà quella guerra. Che rotta la guerra con Spagna, entrino ambe due questi Rè nelli Paesi Bassi per scaciarne assolutamente Spagnoli, dividendoseli fra essi, la parte marittima all'Inghilterra, et la parte terrestre alla Francia.
Io non credo errar certo nella sostanza delli capitoli, sebene non mi obligo alle parole; ben assicuro la Serenità Vostra di mandarle cosa che ho voluto comprobare con l'una et l'altra delle parti.)
I ought to add that, while endeavouring to extract a confirmation of these terms from one of his Majesty's principal ministers, he refused to admit them, but said if this is so then every pains must be taken to keep the matter secret.
The result of this treaty must be that Spain either accepts the nomination of an heir to the Archduke, who owns no other dominions, or she must arm to resist this alliance.
The King of England discovered that the Ambassador of the Archduke (d'Aremberg), was in relations with Lord Cobham (Cuban), the chief conspirator. By means of Cobham d'Aremberg was informed of the disposition of the Council, and a letter from Cobham to d'Aremberg was intercepted, in which Cobham said that in place of toiling to negotiate a peace he had better find four or five thousand crowns, with which he could render the Archduke a service; and all this will have facilitated the accord with France.
Paris 4th September, 1603.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 125. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In God's good time the man who captured the “Balbiana” off Cyprus in April last has been discovered. The two English ships, the “Rabuca” and “Alsecho,” after leaving Venice put into Tunis for water, and they report that the offender is a certain Captain Tomkins (Tanchinss), of Southampton (Antona), who passed the Straits with them, and then disappeared. I would have gone myself in person to the King, but for the next twenty days he will be without his council, away upon a hunting party, and everything is at a standstill. Moreover a few hot days have reinforced the plague in London, and it has killed three thousand and fifty-six persons in one week. I hope to wind up the affair of the “Veniera.” At Tunis, Biserta, and two other ports of the Barbary coast are twelve Englishmen, ail pirates. In those ports they sell the goods they steal for less than half their value. They are growing all the bolder because the King, in spite of all the heroic virtues ascribed to him when he left Scotland and inculcated by him in his books, seems to have sunk into a lethargy of pleasures, and will not take any heed of matters of state. He remits everything to the Council, and spends his time in the house alone, or in the country at the chase, where he finds himself in company with a few persons only, and those always the same, people of low degree, as is usual in that exercise (si compiace di star in casa solitario et in campagna alla caccia di trovarsi con alcuni pochi signori che sono sempre i medesimi fra quelle genti basse che porta l'uso di quell' essercitio), and had the King or the Council sent a single ship inside the Straits to arrest and proclaim these pirates, as his Majesty, out of his own mouth, promised me, we would not have to fear any serious damage for the ensuing winter.
Sunbury, 4th September, 1603.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 126. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The master of the English ship, captured by the French in Milo, has arrived here; he brings proof that the ship was not a privateer out a merchantman, trading in corn for Zante. He has approached the English Ambassador. From the Turks he will get little satisfaction, but he will report the matter to the King of England, for the recovery of his ship, on board which were five thousand sequins. The French Ambassador says, that, as he himself has lost thousands, owing to English pirates, this is a just retribution. The Grand Vizir has addressed a letter to the new King of England on the subject of these piracies. The English Ambassador wished the Grand Signor to send congratulations to England on the King's accession; but the Turks say they cannot be the first.
The English Ambassador promises to send to England, in irons, that Englishman who gave succour to the English ship which had escaped from Cyprus. An Ambassador from the King of Fez has arrived here on board an English ship, (fn. 1) which is hired at the rate of five hundred dollars a month.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 6th September, 1603.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.].
Sept. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 127. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King having heard that M. de Rosny left large presents behind him in England, has sent bills of exchange to his Ambassador Taxis, to the amount of one hundred thousand crowns, to buy jewels and presents.
Here they say openly that the last conspiracy was bred in France; but some suspect its roots here.
Valladolid, 6th September, 1603.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 128. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Captain Tomkins (Tanchiss), who plundered the “ Balbiana,” has retired to the Isle of Wight, seven miles away from Southampton, his place of residence, but not of birth. The example of William Piers is a warning to him, and he will not land, but has sent ashore to learn how matters stand. It is said that he has sent four chests of money to the High Admiral, and that he sunk a Venetian ship, but whether the “ Balbiana” or another is not known. He is of noble birth, and was page to the Earl of Essex; he is about twenty-three years old. The most I can do now is to secure the arrest or proclamation of his guarantors; and in all things, as far as I can, I will pursue the same course as that I adopted in the case of Piers. This piracy has grown because there is a firm opinion here that all Venetians are secured fully, and sometimes for more than the value of the capital embarked, and the underwriters, either because they are isolated, or else occupied in more important affairs, neglect to press their just claims. Moreover they declare that they have grown bold on account of the general opinion that the Venetian fleet is feeble both in tight and in navigation. For this reason the English think that Venetian shipping would find little employment here; partly, too, because the ships are considered too big for these ports. The English ships run to about three hundred tons burden, although they carry a crew of seventy or eighty men.
The Ambassador Taxis has arrived with a suite of one hundred and forty, chiefly Spanish from the Netherlands. He has three carriages of six horses each. He goes to Oxford, where the King will grant him audience at Woodstock.
Strict orders that no one is to leave London, where the plague is raging. The plague follows the Court. Two of the Queen's household are dead. People are well and merry, and dead and buried the same day.
Enclosed is a memorial from English merchants interested in the ship captured last month by your Serenity's galleys.
Sunbury, 11th September, 1603.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 129. The “Angel,” of about two hundred tons, master, Thomas Gardiner, was chartered last September for Robert Offly, Thomas Garway, Robert Coxe, Mauritio Abbate, and Thomas Ivatt, merchants of London, from her owners, Andrew Brome, Nicholas Salter, and Isbrand Morris, for a voyage to the Levant, at the rate of one hundred and thirty pounds sterling a month, as appears from a public notarial Act.
The said merchants embarked a cargo of broad cloth, kerseys, tin, lead, and other goods, to the amount of £6,480 sterling, and consigned them to their agents, Walter Glover and Company, who were on board the said ship, with orders to sell the goods in Algiers, Tunis, and Alexandria. They had liberty to take on board any passengers they could find in Algiers and Tunis for Alexandria. They were to touch at Zante, and to consign to Mr. Jasper Rowles, an Englishman, four thousand piasters, or Spanish reals of eight, to be forwarded to our agents in Aleppo by the first English ship. When arrived in Alexandria, while selling our goods, they were to endeavour to secure a cargo of leather for Leghorn, and passengers. This would consume the summer months, and in August or September they were to lade the vessel out of the money gained in Tunis and Algiers, with currants from Zante, or with cotton and gall nuts in Tripoli.
In October the ship sailed from England, and we received letters from Walter Glover and Co., dated Algiers, 17th November, 19th December, 13th January, informing “us that they had arrived on the 13th November, and sold a certain amount of goods, and had had good hopes of passengers for Alexandria, but they had been carried off by a Flemish ship, which offered very low fares. The Pasha of Algiers, however, had earnestly requested that they should take a Turkish Ambassador on board, who was going from Algiers to the Grand Signor in Constantinople, and in return for this courtesy he promised, on their return, to allow them to lade corn without let or hindrance, and so they sailed about the middle of January.
They, wrote again on the 22nd January and 4th February from Tunis, that they had arrived there safely, and had found many passengers for Alexandria, whose fares would amount to three hundred pounds sterling. On the 14th and 22nd February they wrote from Zante of their safe arrival there. They discharged the Ambassador, and consigned the four thousand reals as ordered. But while there a great uproar against the English sprang up on account of a pirate, and they were threatened with arrest and seizure of goods. They then took the money on board again for greater security, and intended to carry it all to Alexandria, and to invest it there.
On April 6th they wrote from Alexandria of their safe arrival, and on the 10th of May they say that they have disposed of most of their goods, and hope to sail in a few days with a large quantity of Turkish goods for Algiers and Tunis, as much as the ship could hold, and that they were only waiting passengers to set sail.
All this proves that the ship was really a merchantman and not a privateer, both from the route she took and the passengers on board who, being Turks, would have confiscated both the ship and her cargo had she plundred.
Sept. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 130. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King, besides despatching M. de Vitry to England, is going to send two gentlemen in the services of the Duke of Guise and M. de Rohan to act as spies at the French Embassy.
Paris, 18th September, 1603.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 131. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Nuncio points out that, as the King of England permits Catholic Ambassadors to hear mass in their own houses, he may demand that his Ambassadors shall enjoy a similar privilege, and in that case what will the Pope say in Italy? Cavalli replies that the rights of nations cover the case and cannot be cancelled.
Paris, 18th September, 1603.
Sept. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 132. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I despatched the sequestration order against the ship of Captain Tomkins, which I had obtained from the supreme judge of the Admiralty Court, addressed to William Cotton, Lieutenant and Vice-Admiral in Southampton and the Isle of Wight. The order was executed, and I would have secured the arrest of the Captain had he not, on learning that his crime was to be punished, or that I would attempt to secure his punishment, come on shore in the night with all that he chose to take out of his ship, and gone into hiding. This he succeeded in doing through bribes, which open every door in this country. He disbanded his crew, each of whom carried off what they chose. My agent tells me that two cartloads of money have gone, one to the Lord High Admiral at Court, the other elsewhere, under the protection of the late Lord Chamberlain, who is now Governor of the Isle of Wight; but Cotton is seriously afraid that he may get into trouble. Yesterday I despatched orders that the whole ship is to be inventoried and sequestrated in my name; when the inventory is ready I will forward it.
A certain quantity of muscatel has arrived from Amsterdam. It was originally intend for England direct, but was landed on the other side of the water to avoid duty.
The law officers have met to draw up the charge against the conspirators. The King, it is said, will order the trial before a Parliamentary Commission to meet in some town, for London is out of the question, the mortality touches four thousand a week. Besides the question of fact as to conspiring against the King's life, the Priest Watson will be interrogated, (1) as to whether he holds that subjects are bound to listen to his persuasions to rebellion, founded on Papal Bulls, (2) whether he holds the King to be legitimate King of England, (3) whether the Pope can free the subjects of any Christian Prince from their oath of allegiance, (4) whether he thinks that the works published in favour of the claims of other Princes to the throne contain truth or falsehood, (5) if the kingdom were attacked what course ought faithful subjects to follow? The Lord High Treasurer (Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst). who is a man of singular gentleness, told me in a conversation I had with him at Sunbury that the Council intends, if Watson withdraws his objections to the King's Majesty, to represent this to all Catholics as an abjuration.
Watson, in his first depositions, named a number of families which, if not actually implicated in the plot, were at least consentient parties to some other future covenant. But the Council does not think it wise to press deeply into this, and has caused it to be known both by voice and by writing in a private way, that if possible rebels will only give up their intentions, and seminary priests will confine themselves to their studies and their prayers, they may rest assured that all intention of shedding blood will from now onward vanish from the King's mind, for he is benignant, compassionate, and entirely inclined to peace.
Parliament is to deal with the question of the union of these two crowns, and to propose that both kingdoms should be united under the one name of Britain. The Scottish already let it be known that they will never consent to abandon their name, under which they have had down to the present one hundred and eight Kings, in the space of one thousand nine hundred and thirty-three years. They reckon from A.M. 3641, that is three hundred and thirty years B.C. They claim to preserve their ancient laws, and point to France as an instance of a kingdom possessing various codes. They have petitioned his Majesty that, if the question is to come up in the next sitting of Parliament, he will allow the Scottish Estates to take a part in the debates; those Estates consist of two Archbishops, eleven Bishops, twenty-four Earls, thirty-three Barons, forty-four Abbots. As the question becomes burning the hatred between the two races grows more intense, and French, Spanish, and Flemish all begin to see that the power of the two kingdoms is not what they thought it.
The King's chief object in summoning Parliament is to come to some conclusion on the religious question, and by adopting the decisions of the majority to free himself from all responsibility; also he desires money and the settlement of some important questions relating to the kingdom and the King.
The Queen's jointure has been fixed at thirty thousand crowns a year, the same as that enjoyed by Queen Katherine, first wife of Henry VIII. This sum is free of board, which is supplied by the King's table.
M. de Vitry, Captain of the French Royal guard, has been sent here with, perhaps, thirty hounds, as master of the chase, to amuse the King, and is in the highest favour. His presence inspires the Spanish and Flemish with suspicion, and the English, too, perhaps, who are jealous because he has suggested to the King that he should conduct his hunts all through the night, for in the present juncture, when plots against his life are in the air, this proposal may cover grave consequences.
Taxis is to have audience on the 21st, and will be well received. He has only twenty-five thousand crowns in all, and most of this will be used on the mission, for one must calculate one crown a day for each man in his suite, even if they be moderate drinkers, and this does not take into account extraordinary expenses.
Montecucoli, Ambassador from the Grand Duke, has arrived. I am going to Court on the affair of the “ Balbiana.”
Staines, 18th September, 1603.
Sept. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 133. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Ambassador has put in irons that Consul Jonah, who came here some days ago from the Morea, with letters proving that he had defer, ded Patras, and who received a present for it. He is accused of writing secretly to England to solicit the post of Ambassador here.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 27th September, 1603.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 134. Orders from the Grand Signor to the Beglierbey of Cyprus.
Foreign pirates are in the habit of taking their prizes under the shelter of Turkish forts. They make terms with the governors, and sell their booty at a low price. They make many presents, and are favoured and protected. The customs suffer accordingly. The Venetians have armed three ships to clear the seas. They fell in with the English privateer that captured the “ Balbiana,” but she fled. They fell in with another, and took her into the salt pans in Cyprus. The Turkish officers praised and honoured the Commander of the ship, but Pervis, the farmer of the salt pans, who is in constant communication with the pirates, secured the restitution of all the good on board the Englishman. You are to open an enquiry and to imprison Pervis and report to me.
Sept. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 135. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary in England; to the Doge and Senate.
No sooner had I arrived here than I had two conferences with the Lord High Admiral. I confined myself to the affair of the “Balbiana,” and let him see that I was quite aware of the money that had been sent here to him, and established by the testimony of two persons arrested at Southampton at my instance, and forwarded to me by the Mayor. At the very outset he admitted that he had received six sacks of silver money, which he did not believe to be worth four thousand ducats, might he be held for a rebel to his King if it were a penny more, and that he had always believed what he had been told, namely, that it was all loot from a Spanish ship; if, however, it was proved to Be Venetian he would consign it all to me. The crime of Captain Tomkins is that he went privateering without a licence, on the allegation that he was sailing for the Indies, where he had already been twice before; the ship was, therefore, forfeited to the Admiral, but if it were a Venetian ship exchanged for Tomkins' own, the Admiral declared that he would give it up; and as a matter of fact Cotton, the Vice-Admiral at Southampton, has refused to make any inventory, and has sent the ship into Portsmouth. When I represented to him the enormously big sum at stake, he warmed and promised that he would do all he could to secure Tomkins' arrest, and that as this was an affair belonging entirely to him I need not disturb his Majesty on the subject. We, accordingly, made an appointment to meet again at Winchester, a town forty miles away from Oxford, and only ten from Southampton, where an enquiry may lead to the discovery of the whole truth. But I have little faith in his promises, and far less in my own, by which I hold out hopes of reward at so much per cent, on the value of the goods at stake. I renewed my application for an audience, and that has been almost promised me, for the Council have told me that as soon as they are settled at Winchester they will take up this affair, and the affair of some English ships arrested by your Serenity. I only wish they were more in number.
Oxford, 28th September, 1603.
Sept. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 136. Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Just as the Ambassador of Spain was on the point of having his audience of the King in the Royal Palace of Woodstock, six miles out in the country, a servant of his household died after a few hours' illness. Rumour spread that he had died of plague, and the audience was not only postponed, but the Ambassador was told that he must go to Winchester, where he would be received. They have finally settled to establish the Court there for the winter, as the plague is raging in London and the suburbs. The Ambassador left, and all the other Ambassadors were told to take the same road; but the Flemish Ambassador made an earnest appeal to be admitted to audience, on the ground that he had been waiting for forty days. The King, in spite of the fact that the Ambassador had been dining with the Spanish Ambassador on the day his servant died, as was pointed out by the French party—though, as a fact, the servant died in a house far away from Jesus College, where both Ambassadors were lodging,—resolved to grant an audience in the presence of the Council. The Ambassador went through all the professions of peace and amity already expressed by the Archduke, and came to these positive terms: The English are to enjoy all the privileges of traffic in Spain now enjoyed by the Flemish; the English shall be free to carry to Flanders and to Spain all cargoes, not only of their own but of the Dutch enemies as well; and the Dutch, if trading in English bottoms, shall be exempt from the thirty per cent, lately imposed; his Highness, out of desire to please his Majesty, consents to restore a rich English prize, captured by his galleys in the waters between England and Flanders, although the claim to the dominion of the sea between England and Flanders is invalid. The Archduke returns thanks to the King for preventing the passage of troops to the assistance of the Dutch, and assures him that, although he had heard that the King of France had paid to the Dutch a sum of money due from him to the King of England, he would not believe it, but would reckon it a ruse of the French to destroy the good understanding between them. The King showed his satisfaction at the statement, and said that on his side a loyal return would never be wanting; that he had issued a proclamation, forbidding the passage of the Scottish levies into Flanders, and that the English levies were already disbanded; that if some few, enticed by the desire to fight, should disobey and follow the Baron of Buccleugh (Buclù) they would not be many in number, and another year more effective measures would be taken, absolutely prohibiting the levies; that in past times the Scottish were French in sympathy, the English Burgundian, but now both were united under him in a general desire for peace with Spain, and that he did not wish to endanger the trade of both. The Ambassador, seizing the opportunity, remarked that an alliance, defensive and offensive, had existed between the Crown of England and the Dukes of Burgundv for two hundred and forty years consecutively, and that he trusted that the accord, which was now in course of establishment, would last another century. He then asked what answer the States had returned to his Majesty's proposals, to include them in the present negotiations for peace. The King replied, “The answer I expected, namely, that all the gentlemen and the larger part of the Government of the States were in camp with Count Maurice, and the Government at the Hague was unable to summon the States General until the armies had abandoned the field; the earliest date for which will be November.”
The Ambassador then went on to touch upon certain topics; the case of a Dutch Captain who, while pursuing a French pinnace, whose Captain and crew had taken refuge on English soil, had followed them two miles inland into a public-house, captured two of them, and taken them and their ship to Holland, where both were hung: then that the Dutch generally spoke ill of the King and his peaceful intentions, saying, that if those were his real intentions they would know what to do. After that the Ambassador presented the portraits of their Highnesses and, the Queen being called, there was some conversation about them, in the course of which the Queen expressed her pity that so great a lady should endure the sorrow of not enjoying the sweet name of mother.
The English think that the Spanish Ambassador is not so sorry about the delay in his reception, chiefly because he is aware that he has not the full powers to conclude a peace, for which he knows that he will immediately be asked, and he is glad to leave time for the couriers, sent by the Archduke into Spain, to return.
As England shows inclination to the Spanish peace the States of Holland draw closer to the King of France.
M. de Vitry, attached to the suite of the French Ambassador-in-ordinary, loses no opportunity when he is alone with the King in the country at the chase to urge upon him the conclusion of the defensive alliance, which they say was promised to M. de Rosny; most people assert that the King replied that he would wait the arrival of the Spanish Ambassadors; the French have been endeavouring to make everyone believe that this league was not merely promised, but concluded from the very outset of de Rosny's mission, in order that the receipt of this news in Spain might rouse suspicion in the mind of his Catholic Majesty as to the sincerity of the English in negotiating for a peace with Spain; but whatever the French Ambassadors may have done here they have certainly upset the negotiations for a Savoy and Tuscan alliance by marriage, by declaring that their master has resolved to bestow the hand of the Dauphin on the Princess Elizabeth (Isabella) of England. The Spanish and Archducal party, however, answer that the King of Spain will marry his daughter to the Prince of Wales, but the difficulty about religion makes this incredible.
The King and Court begin to feel deeply this scourge of the plague, which is now almost universal. Fear drives men to religion, and every Wednesday there are fasts and prayers at every church in the kingdom. All those who have not urgent business are sent away from Court, nor may anyone enter the palace without a ticket, signed after an examination proving that the person has not come from an infected district.
This city is really remarkable, for besides the University (il studio universale) sixteen ancient colleges, richly endowed, maintain a large number of students in all the sciences, especially in theology. Cambridge possesses as many, and both bear ample witness to the piety, religion, and zeal of Kings, Queens, Cardinals, and Bishops, the founders of such marvellous and excellent institutions; though now the chapels are desecrated, and the scholars give their whole mind to debasing the authority of Pontiffs, in order to extoll the name of their own absolute monarch.
The King has summoned the Theologians to a conference in November. The conference is to be held in his presence. He shows a growing desire for the assembly of a free Council to discuss the basis of religion and the question of Papal authority.
The other priest implicated in the plot, Clerk by name, has been caught at last, and taken before the King, and so there is not a single conspirator who is not in his Majesty's hands. The King is going to send the Garter to the Duke of Wirtemberg.
Oxford, 28th September, 1603,


  • 1. The “Angel,” see No. 129.