Venice: June 1607

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1904.

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'Venice: June 1607', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, (London, 1904) pp. 1-9. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

June 1607

June 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The news that the Dutch have seriously defeated the Spanish squadron of Seville near the Straits of Gibraltar (fn. 1) has been received with satisfaction, for they hope that this will put an end to the truce, all the more so as there are reports that the disadvantageous terms of that treaty cause complaints against the Archduke and Spinola. They are waiting to learn the upshot of the negotiations which are being conducted by the President Jeannin on behalf of his Most Christian Majesty. The Agent of the States (Noel de Caron) hopes that this success will encourage the King to warmer action on behalf of his Masters. The Dutch fleet has taken shelter on the African coast and it is expected that it will, after resting, undertake some fresh enterprise; this report is confirmed by the ship that brought back the body of the dead Dutch Admiral.
On the other hand we hear that the Archduke is doing all he can to conclude a peace. He is considering how he can arrange for liberty of conscience in the hope that by this means he may win back many of his own subjects who, on that score, have joined the Dutch and hold high offices among them. He has now summoned a meeting of ecclesiastics for this purpose.
London, 6th June, 1607.
June 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 2. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I hear that for some time past the King has not been very well pleased with the Grand Duke of Tuscany on account of complaints that reach him on behalf of his subjects who have taken service with the Grand Duke, and more especially on account of some who were made prisoners in Barbary, and whom the Grand Duke now refuses to exchange against certain Turks. The complaint goes on to set forth that not only does the Grand Duke continue to employ English sailors and vessels to harass the Turk, a course of action which exposes the English merchants in those parts to reprisals, but he has not even returned an answer to the letters addressed to him on this subject. I hear that they intend to issue stricter prohibition against taking service with other powers, and this proves that they mean to continue their trade which is already expanding in those waters. Letters of marque have at last been issued to certain merchants who have suffered at the hands of the Spanish. These have passed the lower House but require, for their validity, the sanction of the upper, which was refused, not so much on the merits of the case as because of a certain ill-feeling which exists between the two Houses and which causes a general suspension of business. But if accord can be reached on the subject of the Union it will easily follow on all the others.
The King, the Prince de Joinville and most of the Court went the other day to Theobalds (Tibol) a palace belonging to the Earl of Salisbury, and which he has ceded, in exchange for another, to the Queen, who then took solemn possession. They were splendidly entertained by the Earl, who made a present of some magnificent horses to the Prince de Joinville. Every day there were jousts or hunting parties in the Queen's honour.
At the end of this week the King and Court will move to Greenwich. I will take lodging hard by.
London, 6th June, 1607.
June 7. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 3. To the Ambassador in England.
You are to thank the Prince of Wales for his offer to take service for the Republic had he been bigger.
The English Ambassador here has complained that our Ambassador at Constantinople has acted in a hostile spirit. If this question is touched on by the King or by any of his Ministers you are to reply in the same sense as the Cabinet replied to the Ambassador here, but you are to add, as though from yourself, that you cannot believe the report to be true.
On the question of the Earl of Salisbury's and the High Admiral's recommendation of Edward Feuntes, an Englishman expelled from our State, you will say that we are glad to do anything to please their Lordships. You will find out, if you can, by what Court Feuntes was banished.
We repeat our satisfaction with your conduct. We have voted the 300 ducats you ask for for extraordinary expenses.
Ayes 92.
Noes 0.
Neutral 2.
June 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 4. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Peace in Flanders is considered so essential for the re-establishment of this crown, that one may truly say the Council of State pays attention to nothing else than to the arrangement of terms as advantageous as possible. In the draft of the truce it is remarked that the rebel States are given the title of “Independent” and they suspect that the Archduke assented to this so that later on he might suppress it on condition that the Spanish kept entirely out of the country, leaving him sole master, a scheme which the Dutch are said to approve should the negotiations for a peace advance any further. They are forming a large fleet and have put an embargo on all ships with tops (di gabbia). The infantry intended for Milan is to go on board these ships. They intend to attack the Dutch who are cruising in sight of Portugal. From the rigour used against Franquezza at the beginning of his imprisonment a certain Aragonese Doctor persuaded himself that he could bring such false accusations against him as would win for the informer great favour from the Crown. But the truth was discovered and the Doctor confessed under torture and was put to death. Matters are looking better for Franquezza.
Madrid, 9th June, 1607.
June 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 5. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish complain that neither Venice nor the Pope sent to inform them of the accommodation between the Republic and the Curia.
Madrid, 9th June, 1607.
June 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 6. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A Cavass is expected at Court. He arrived at Marseilles five or six months ago, and never could obtain leave to come to Court, indeed his Majesty sent him a present of 1,500 ducats on condition that he would keep away; this he refused to accept, and begged to be allowed to fulfil his mission. The King has finally consented. What his mission may be we don't know, but there is a rumour that he is a person of no importance, and is come to treat about slaves. He will proceed later on to England.
Moretta, 9 June, 1607.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 11. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 7. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and spoke as follows :—
“I come to recall to the memory of your Serenity and of the Council of Ten Signor Matteo Guagnin; I am thus importunate as I desire that the subject cities of this State should know how favoured I have been, and because the condition of the said gentleman moves my compassion. He is lying ill in prison.
The two English officers whom I recommended are still here, and although they know that the negotiations with the Pope are concluded, still Fuentes may be nursing some design, for he retains his Neapolitan and Spanish troops after dismissing the German; they therefore offer their services in that quarter.”
The Ambassador then read a letter from France, written in French; it said that universal attention was being directed to the affairs of Italy, for people were convinced that the Spanish would never have condescended to a truce with the Dutch had they not had some great designs in that peninsula; to that must be added the vast quantity of gold and silver brought in by the last treasure-fleet and the confiscation of the fortune of the Count of Villalonga, which may be reckoned as a second treasure-fleet. Further there is the approbation of the truce granted by his Majesty with the return of Secretary Metier from Spain to Flanders ; it is also rumoured that his Catholic Majesty has offered the Dutch two hundred thousand ducats, the cost of a fleet they intended to send to the West Indies, provided they did not sail. The Ambassador vouched for the ability and good faith of the person who sent this news.
He then went on to talk of a public matter that had given rise to much discussion among the ministers of various sovereigns, namely the question of piracy in the Levant. As a philosopher he saw the effect and therefore looked for the cause, which found, remedy would be easy. “I will speak freely. The first year I came here, his Serenity Grimani being then Doge, I never had a moment's repose; every day brought complaints of piracy committed by the English. I recall the arrangement made for the better distinguishing of good from bad, namely that all ships should strike their fore-top-sail and be searched by the officers of the Republic. His Majesty approved the arrangement, and from that day things have gone better. But there is an Italian Prince, and I will name him, he is the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who receives, shelters and caresses the worst of the English, men who are publicly proclaimed pirates by the King. I reported to his Majesty and made representations to the Grand Duke, pointing out the bad example. I was only too true a prophet, for another Prince, whom I will not name, has permitted another Englishman to sail under his ensign as a privateer. In Malta they do the same, and in Spain I hear that they are going to send out some ships under Anthony Sherley, whose character and disposition are well known, so that I am daily in expectation of yet worse mischief.” The Ambassador promises that the King will take vigorous action.
June 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 8. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the conclusion of the truce and during the negotiations for a peace that have been going on, the King and Ministers showed a growing interest in the affairs of Holland, but recently this interest has visibly waned. Frequent consultations are held and they have decided to strengthen the garrisons of the cautionary towns and to require their governors to take up their residence in them. The cause of this movement is not so much the negotiations for peace as their incurable suspicion of his Most Christian Majesty's action, and this is increased by the rumour that some of those provinces openly bow to his suggestions. This causes them to fear a rising in the cautionary towns whose inhabitants are not well disposed towards England, as the English know quite well.
The defeat of the Spanish is being magnified with great gusto here, all the more so as they say that the Spanish galleons were lying under Gibraltar in order to intercept any aid the English might send to your Serenity.
There is no further news about the rising in Scotland and they suppose that it has been put down. In the West of England the peasants have risen against the gentry (i baroni del paese) on account of certain encroachments; they have thrown down the dykes (argeri) and reduced all to its original state. As yet no remedy has been adopted to suppress what may be the beginning of greater disorders. (fn. 2)
In Flanders the people are showing a desire for peace and for the exclusion of the Spanish from Holland. The arrival of very rich spice ships is reported.
Four days ago the Prince de Joinville left for France. The King and Queen gave him jewels to the value of sixteen thousand crowns, and to please him granted a pardon for a cleric who had been condemned. The King and Court then went to Greenwich.
His Majesty came secretly to town and had an interview with the Agent of the States (Caron). The rumour is growing that peace is concluded, and that the ships bearing the orders to the Dutch fleet to return home have been seen passing down the straits of Dover.
London, 13th June, 1607.
June 18. Copy of Original Despatch Venetian Archives. 9. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and S>enate.
The Jesuits still pursue their object of being reinstated in your Serenity's favour. They took the occasion of the feast of the Corpus Domini to invite me to the procession, to which all Ambassadors are usually invited. The procession did not take place owing to the bad weather, but they seized the opportunity to show themselves deeply grieved at what had happened. They declared that they would be ready to procure, at the cost of any kind of humiliation, their restoration to your Excellencies' favour; that if any of them had erred they would punish him; and a thousand other like stupidities. I said they had no one to blame but themselves, and that they had brought their misfortunes on their own heads by their ingratitude; that their errors must have been great indeed if the Senate had taken such steps against them. They informed me that in September there was to be a general Chapter of their order in Rome and that this was convened on the suggestion of his Most Christian Majesty. They meant me to understand that they hope by his Majesty's means to recover the favour they have lost.
Prague, 18th June, 1607.
June 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 10. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Agent of the States signified to the King that an extension of the truce on the sea had been agreed to by his Masters and the Archduke. It was to be understood as applying only to merchantmen. A pinnace (pinazza) has been sent to warn the fleet.
The Agent also suggests that the King should send an envoy to the Hague to act with the French envoy in discussing their affairs with the States, and so to avoid any clauses of the treaty which might seem inopportune to him. The King refused to send an envoy as he was waiting information from the Hague. The Agent pointed out that in view of the Archduke's eagerness this process would be too long. The suspicions of France increase. The King is angry that preachers have dared to inveigh against the peace from the pulpit.
London, 20th June, 1607.
June 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 11. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Before leaving London the King desired to put an end to a famous and ancient controversy between the Spanish Ambassador and the Agent for the States about a ship, laden with sugar and belonging to the Dutch, which had taken shelter in an English port. This ship was sequestrated by the Ambassador, as I reported at the time. The question passed through many courts with varying result. It was finally submitted to the King's judgement and he placed the question before a special commission of his Council, who have finally pronounced in favour of the Agent to the great disgust of the Ambassador, who in spite of all his expenditure and his labour has never been able to win the case. He is all the more annoyed because as the question turns upon the right of free trade in places where the Spanish claim to have the sole dominion, it is become clear from the present judgement that this nation is fully resolved never to allow another to appropriate the rights of free navigation. (fn. 3)
The rising in Northampton, to which I referred in my previous despatches, has gone on growing. A proclamation of pardon in the King's name if the peasants disbanded within three days, was not enough to calm them. It has been necessary to send certain great Lords to use their authority and advice; and though the rising had its origin in the causes already explained, they fear that it may spread owing to the many ill-humours which prevail, thanks to the diverse religions which exist in this Kingdom, where the Puritans are expanding continually.
So too from Scotland comes news that the highlanders instead of quieting down have seized three castles belonging to the Crown on the plea of defending their rights and privileges. This causes considerable anxiety to the King, all the more because the question of the Union is getting into deeper and deeper difficulties, so much so that it is thought it will soon be abandoned.
The merchants of the Levant Company insist that the duty on the importation of currants from the State of Venice should be assigned to them, offering to give a higher price than that paid by the Lord Chamberlain, to whom the duty was granted by the King. This shows that there is small intention to listen to those who press for the abolition of the custom.
London, 20th June, 1607.
June 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 12. Ottaviano Bon, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I have obeyed your Serenity's orders as regards the Ambassadors of France and England. They profess themselves satisfied and will report home. The disagreement between them continues and there is little prospect of peace.
Dalle Vigne di Pera. 20th June, 1607.
June 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 13. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate. (fn. 4)
The Cardinal d' Ascoli told me that he had lain awake whole nights, unable to sleep, not because of the quarrel between the Republic and the Holy See, for he always thought that would be healed, but because he feared that heresy might take root in the States of the Republic owing to the introduction of false writings and loose preaching; and although an accommodation had been arranged the danger had not been removed as long as the Republic supported such proceedings. He added that he was well informed of everything, and how Fra Fulgentio had been first suspended from preaching, by the action of the Cardinal de Joyeuse, and then again permitted to preach; that his sermons were so scandalous that even the English Ambassador, who attended them, said that to preach like that in his country would not have been tolerated by his Master; it was from England that Fra Fulgentio got his bold and insolent answer to his citation. The Cardinal went on for a long time with great vehemence and much exaggeration, and wound up with this—that they allowed the English Ambassador to live as he liked in Venice; that his house was thronged by nobles and others who went to hear sermons (fn. 5); that the Republic could quite well do without an English Ambassador, as she had been without one so many years.
I answered him fully, assuring him that any one who knew our constitution would know that there was not the least danger. . . . that if the English Ambassador went to listen to all sorts of preachers indifferently, this was a praiseworthy course as it would illuminate him. For the rest he lived in his own house, without creating scandal; and it was far removed from the truth to say that either our nobles or anyone else went to hear sermons there.
Rome, 23rd June, 1607.
June 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 14. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The rising of the peasants has gone on growing from day to day to such an extent that they only required a leader to make it formidable and open rebellion. The flame burst out in the county of Northampton first, but spread so rapidly to other parts that they began to suspect it must have been fomented and arranged from higher quarters. Accordingly they are using the greatest vigilance here and keeping a watch on all who may be suspected on religious or other grounds. The City guard has been reinforced, owing to the alarm caused by the number of Catholics in the City. At last, though not without bloodshed, the royal troops have suppressed the rebels in Northampton. They had fortified themselves and defended themselves with arms, but being terrified by the death of some of their leaders, who were captured and hung in their sight, they agreed to surrender. It is therefore hoped that as the root of the mischief has been cut at its core this will suffice to kill it elsewhere. They say they will punish only a few held to be the authors of the tumult. They do not desire to enrage the peasantry; for their misdeed was not directed against the King but was caused by the usurpations of private individuals, and so while his Majesty blames the manner he cannot blame the cause; and as he devises to render this class of his subjects contented he proposes a remedy for the mischief. (fn. 6)
There has been such great expenditure since the King's accession that a scarceness has displayed itself in the privy purse, and the King has conceived some resentment against the Treasurer, who, on this plea, refused to disburse one thousand crowns promised to a certain Scottish baron. The King imagined that the Treasurer had so acted to mark his contempt for the Scots. The temper of the King and of the Treasurer as well, did much harm to the health of the latter. To meet the want of money they will have recourse to various expedients, among them to a loan from the City. With this in view the King, contrary to his custom, went to dine privately with the Mayor, two days ago. He hopes by this popular act to have rendered the citizens more ready to comply with his wishes.
From Flanders no news save that the Dunquerquers have captured some Dutch boats in those waters, as the truce by sea did not commence till the first of July.
The Court is at Greenwich; to-morrow, D.V., I will go there. London, 26th June, 1607.
June 28. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 15. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and spoke as follows :— He reminds the Cabinet that he has received no answer to his petition in favour of that poor gentlemen Mattheo Guagnin.
He has informed his Court of all that has passed in the negotiations between the Republic and Pontiff. As yet he has received no answer, the King being busy with the affairs of the Union and of the truce in Flanders. The Earl of Salisbury has written a letter, and so has the English Ambassador in France, forwarding a pamphlet on the Interdict; he does not know where it was printed, but it bears the signatures of four of the principal actors, the Cardinals de Joyeuse and d'Alincourt, the Count de Castro and Don Inigo Cardines. The pamphlet contains many inaccuracies in substance and in detail, and varies from the statements made to him by the Senate. He advises the Government to take some steps to defend the truth and their own honour. He offers to play his part. The Ambassador Priuli, in France, has done his by a vigorous protest, but the action of Ambassadors has but a limited sphere and does not spread far. “I know the wiles of the Jesuits and how they manage affairs to their advantage. I see the news they spread abroad from Japan, from the Indies, from the New World. That is all right for the salvation of men's souls; and if any one has doubts he may go and see for himself and verify them. But to attempt to obscure the affairs of Italy, patent and open to all, this rouses wonder and stupifaction. I imagine your Serenity has seen this pamphlet, but any way I will leave it.”
The Doge returned thanks, and said he had received a copy from the Ambassador in France. The King of France on the Ambassador's request had suppressed it. As a matter of fact every one knew whether the Republic had sought absolution or not, every one knew the ceremony with which the prisoners were consigned to the representatives of his Most Christian Majesty; all that had been said about the laws and the evidence of the facts themselves all proved the falsity of this pamphlet and others printed by these idle brains of Italy, who were demonstrated liars out of their own mouth.
June 30. Minutes of the Senate, Roma. Venetian Archives. 16. To the Ambassador in Rome; praises him for his answers to the Cardinal d' Ascoli upon the subject of the sermons at the English Ambassador's and the fear lest the State of Venice should contract heresy.


  • 1. Jacob Van Heemskerk's victory over Don. Juan d'Avila, on April 25th; see Motley, United Netherlands, iv. p. 298.
  • 2. See, Winwood, Memorials, London, 1725, II., 315. This was the rising in Northamptonshire and Leicestershire. Gardiner, History of England, London, 1883, I., 354.
  • 3. The point is as to the interpretation of a clause in the Treaty of London.
  • 4. Contarini was the first Ambassador sent by the Republic to Rome after the Interdict.
  • 5. The Chaplain was William Bedell, afterwards Bp. of Kilmore. He arrived in Venice about the middle of April. See “Life and death of William Bedell,” Camden Society, 1872, p. 103; and Cal. S.P. Ven., 1603–1607, p. 443.
  • 6. See Cal. S.P. Dom., 1603–1610, p. 362. Proclamation for suppressing riotous assemblies about enclosures and for the reformation of depopulation.