Venice: May 1608

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: May 1608', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, (London, 1904) pp. 129-137. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

May 1608

May 2. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 242. To the Commander-in-Chief in the Kingdom of Candia.
On the 28th of September and the 3rd of November last we sent orders that the English ship “Corsaletta,” which was captured off Prodano, should be set free at once, as she was a merchantman and not a corsair. We have received no answer during six months. We suppose that the orders were never received. We now enclose copies, and order the immediate free restitution of the ship and her goods to the agents of the owners named by the English Ambassador.
As to the salvage from the wreck of the other two English ships that went down at Canea, inside Cape Spada (Spatha), if the Rector of Canea does not make restitution as requested by the Ambassador you are to carry out the law and report to the Savii Sopra la Mercantia.
That this order be communicated to the English Ambassador.
Ayes 168.
Noes 2.
Neutrals 5.
May 3. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 243. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
This week the Earl of Tyrone, an Irishman, came to live here with his wife and others of his family. The Spanish would not allow him to stay on in Flanders, nor in Milan. They are giving him 300 or 400 ducats a month. It is said that the Pope will support him, and meantime he has been assigned a house in the Borgo Vecchio. (fn. 1)
Rome, 3rd May, 1608.
May 6. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 244. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday while the English Ambassador and I were at the Louvre, waiting for audience, I asked him what news from Flanders. He replied that the evening before he had received a courier express from Flanders with letters pointing out the way to break off all negotiations for peace. He thought that peace would not be concluded, for the courier who had passed through from Spain to Flanders carried despatches showing small intention on the part of the Spanish Council to accept peace on the terms laid down by the Dutch. The Dutch have let it be known that they did not intend to wait the return of the General of the Cordeliers (Neyen), and were beginning to muster a fleet and cavalry, so was the Archduke. I said I supposed that he had informed his Majesty about this way to break off negotiations, but he gave me no answer.
The alliance between England and the States is drawn up on the same terms as that between France and the States; the only difference being on two points; one, that whereas France is bound to supply ten thousand infantry, England is bound to supply six thousand only. The other point is some advantage to the King of England on the subject of the credit he holds against the Dutch. But if the peace is not concluded the alliance will not take place.
Some days ago a gentleman from the King of Denmark arrived here. He had been sent first to the King of England and then to his Majesty. He is lodged with the English Ambassador.
Paris, 6th May, 1608.
May 7. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 245. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
They continue to raise money and to send men, munitions, and arms into Ireland, though at present no open movement is going on. This shows that they have grave suspicions, and do not intend to trust to the assurances they constantly receive from Spain, as they know that these may be made only to prevent them from hindering the peace in Flanders. On that point they remain watchful without taking any resolution, one way or another, which could render them suspect of wishing to upset the truce, especially as its conclusion is now considered certain in view of the assent to the India navigation which is expected from Spain, and is delayed only by the usual dilatoriness of the Spanish government and the illness of the Friar (Neyen) on his journey.
Two days after the arrival of the King the ordinary ceremony of the Garter was held. No Ambassadors, except France, were invited. The reason for his invitation is that his Master belongs to the Order. The King dined with the Prince and the other Knights in public, the Ambassador in a separate chamber, for there is a point in the ceremony where the King is styled “of France.” The Ambassador came in afterwards, and announced the birth of the third son of France. The King and the Knights showed great content. The Earl of Dunbar and the Earl of Montgomery were then admitted to the Order by the King. The one is a Scot, the other an Englishman, but both prime favourites. They are now making ready to assume the insignia of the Order with the most splendid ceremony—as is the custom of these Knights—at Windsor, twenty miles away.
The Lord Treasurership has been conferred on the Earl of Salisbury, although he kept quite quiet about it while others were struggling for it. This is a proof of the great regard and esteem in which he is held. His conspicuous qualities, virtues, fruitful service to his Majesty, have so advanced this gentleman that not only are the real authority but most of the great offices concentrated in his person. Although the office of Treasurer is so important as to demand a man's whole attention still the King has not relieved him of the office of Secretary, which is even greater, but holds that his abilities render him capable of filling both posts. It follows that the Ambassadors will still continue to address him, though, in order to relieve him of some of the weight, a subordinate may be appointed. The Earl of Northampton has been made Privy Seal, a post of great prestige and profit.
A fire, whose origin is unknown, broke out in a town of Suffolk called Edmond, and burned it all, along with a large number of men and beasts. This gives rise to all sorts of rumours among the people, according to the varieties of their religious views.
London, 7th May, 1608.
May 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 246. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Franciscan friar (Neyen) is endeavouring to arrange the question of the navigation to the Indies upon the basis that it shall only be conceded for fourteen years, and that the Dutch shall not trade in the places held by Spain. But here they are very suspicious on the whole subject, and wish to exclude the Dutch altogether. A courier has been sent to Flanders to find out for certain what authority the friar really has.
Madrid, 11th May, 1608.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 247. Ottaviano Bon, Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
This evening, as I was closing this despatch, Simon the Dragoman arrived from the Morea. He reports that Volterra and Balsamo, at whose instance he undertook the journey, now refuse to pay the expenses. But the letters exist (le lettere sono in essere), and I trust that they will be obliged to discharge the debt.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 12th May, 1608.
May 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 248. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The suspicions about Ireland begin to take shape in troublesome movements against the safety of that kingdom and the quiet of this Crown. A nephew of Tyrone has openly taken up arms, and, under pretext of making a communication, tempted the Governor of the new Castle on the shores of the Scottish sea to come out; he then compelled him to surrender the Castle and by that means has made himself master of Derry. (fn. 2) This is considered of great importance. The news has greatly disturbed the King and the Government. It comes accompanied by two circumstances of gravity; one is that the chief strength of this rebel's forces is drawn from Flanders, whence they say that a great part of the Irish regiment which was campaigning under the son of Tyrone has come over to Ireland; the other that it is becoming ever more certain that support is given from Scotland. Besides the money, men and arms which, as I have already informed you, were sent to Ireland, they are thinking of sending four thousand more infantry, and have ordered Lord Danvers, the Military Commandant, to recover what has been lost. He will have to abandon that part of the country where he now is and which is not quite secure. They are thinking of increasing the fleet that guards the sea between Scotland and Ireland, and it seems now that they regret not having opposed the peace in Flanders, and may even yet think of doing so if not too late. It is thought that news of all this when it reaches Tyrone in Rome will greatly add to his credit, and will lend great weight to his instigations. They are keeping their eye on all that may take place in Spain and Rome.
The news that the great galleys of the Republic have captured the bertons and killed a number of corsairs, (fn. 3) thus punishing their wickedness and crushing their pride, has been received, in appearance at least, with much satisfaction by the English; but in reality not without some regret for the large gains that were reaped from the booty, and because they had an idea that their ships and their men were not to be beaten. The King, however, and all who love order and quiet are pleased.
The Earl of Salisbury on assuming the office of Lord Treasurer invited to a sumptuous banquet in his city house the King, Queen, Princes and Court. Their Majesties put off their departure for Greenwich to attend it.
London, 14th May, 1608.
May 14. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Milan. Venetian Archives. 249. Antonio Pauluzzi, Venetian Resident in Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
Three days ago the Englishman, Anthony Sherley, returned. He is lodged at the “Falcon,” as he was before. He has a large and noble suite. He has had secret audience of his Excellency. He received presents. Has been in long conference with M. Piccoté. Hears he has been at Ferrara since he left Milan, and has conferred with the Legate, Cardinal Spinola. A secretary of his, a man from the Marches named Biaggio, and a Milanese page named Piati, fled; and he feared they had gone to Venice to betray his secrets. Yesterday he left for Spain.
Milan, 14th May, 1608.
May 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 250. Marco da Molin, Venetian Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
He will not report all the details given him by the master of the English ship “Good Hope,” bound from Scanderun to Venice. The master will report himself on reaching Venice.
Zante, 14th May, 1608.
May 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 251. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Franciscan is hastening his departure as much as he can. Though he has not had any definite answer as yet, still it is held for certain that the Spanish will remain firm on two points; his Majesty will abandon the supremacy in the islands of Flanders, while the Dutch in return must permit the exercise of the Catholic rite and freedom of conscience. The second point is the India navigation, and they intend to conclude this affair in the same terms as it was settled with the English at the time of the treaty of London. The Spanish now declare that the English never enjoyed free navigation in the Indies, which belongs to Spain alone; the English reply that by the lex naturœ (fn. 4) and on every other consideration they have a right to go there. As a matter of fact if they go at all they go armed, and if they fall in with the Spanish they give battle.
Madrid, 18th May, 1608.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 19. Consiglio dei Dieci, Parti Communi. Venetian Archives. 252. The Revisers of the Public Revenue apply for a return of income and expenditure of funds administered by the Council of Ten.
Order made that it be made in the following terms, for the period 1st March, 1601, to last day of February, 1607.
Among other sources of revenue the Consulate of London (dall' offitio del Cottimo di Londra) figures.
May 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 253. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has highly honoured the gentleman sent from the King of England. He met him at dinner at the house of Zameti and drank to the health of the King of England and of the Prince of Wales. The gentleman asked leave to drink to the health of the Prince's future wife, and it is conjectured that a matrimonial project between a French Princess and the Prince has been discussed.
Paris, 20th May, 1608.
May 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 254. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has informed the English Ambassador that the Queen of England will be god-mother to his third-born. The Ambassador does not like the invitation. He says that as the baptism of the second-born is to take place at the same time, and as Queen Marguerite is his god-mother, his Queen cannot yield the pas to her.
Paris, 20th May, 1608.
May 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 255. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the news of the rising in Ireland, which I sent in my last, the Earl of Thomond (Tumont), a trusty vassal of the King and Tyrone's great enemy, arrived here in much haste. He is come to make offer of himself and all he possesses for the King's service. Although his Majesty was much disturbed at the news of the rising, all the same he does not wish to apply, in a hurry, a remedy more violent than the malady itself, and so he has determined to suspend all further provision until such time as he may be positively assured of the true aim of the movement. It is said that the Earl who headed the rising has instantly informed the Royal officials of that island that he moved for no other reason than to secure his person and his property from the designs of that Governor (fn. 5) who was menacing them, and that he would ever be as faithful a vassal and servant of the King as any man. All the same they are very anxious here about Irish affairs, and besides the provision already reported, they intend to send over with the title of commander-in-chief (carico del generalato) the Earl of Southampton, an officer who has fought with distinction on previous occasions in that island.
The Dutch seize the opportunity of these suspicions to move the mind of the King to come to some firm resolve about themselves. They see that the prospects of peace grow weaker daily, owing to the insuperable difficulties which arise on both sides, and so they are endeavouring to extract from this quarter some sure foundation for the continuance of the war; but here they preserve their usual caution and use language which may serve rather to encourage the idea of it than bind them to anything which is necessary for its continuance.
A few days ago the King conferred the insignia of the Treasurer-ship upon the Earl of Salisbury with the usual ceremony. He used expressions of praise and esteem. He was highly honoured by all the principal gentlemen of the Court, and the King and Queen and their children were present at a sumptuous banquet the Earl gave at his house.
The King of France has invited the Queen of England to the baptism of his third-born, and said that knowing the great esteem they had for your Serenity he intended to invite you to join them in this act of friendship.
London, 21st May, 1608.
May 24 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 256. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Earl of Tyrone, after kissing the Pope's feet, is visiting the Cardinals. Before the French Ambassador left Rome Tyrone visited him and begged him to intercede with his Master that he might be allowed to settle in France, a sign that the Spanish are not supporting him as fully as they promised, and the Pope is only giving him enough to keep eight or ten persons, that is 50 or 60 crowns a month, whereas he has a suite of 50 people.
Rome, 24th May, 1608.
May 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 257. Marco da Molin, Venetian Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports the arrival of grain ships from Toulon, England and the Archipelago.
Zante, 27th May, 1608.
May 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 258. Ottaviano Bon, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Simon the Dragoman reports that the ship “Balba,” which was captured by pirates and taken to Navarino, has been fitted out as a corsair. On sailing from Navarino she was wrecked off Coron. At Navarino they took out of her all the corn and cotton that remained after they had lightened the ship to save her from a gale (che gli restarono dal libò che gli fece per salvarsi da un gran fortuna). Everything was ruined by these ruffians. The Dragoman could recover nothing.
As regards the ship “Liona,” Balsamo has handed the whole business over to the supercargo of the ship. The officials of the Morea who decline to obey any royal orders, banded together, and Simon, and the few who were helping him to recover the goods, had to think of their own lives first and foremost.
The Ambassador is highly dissatisfied with Simon and reports him as unfit for his post.
He lodged a formal complaint with the Lieutenant Grand Vizir and the Capiagà, pointing out the damage done by armed pirates, Turks and English, in Algiers; and also owing to the favour and protection the pirates found in the Morea from the Turkish officials. He declared that if steps were not soon taken the Morea would be worse than Barbary.
Mustapha Aga Casnadar has arrived at the Porte from Venice, France and England, on board the English galleon.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 27th May, 1608.
May 30. Collegio, Lettere. Venetian Archives. 259. To the Ambassador in England.
The parties interested in the stolen property which has reached England send enclosed in this despatch the proofs needed to show that the property belongs to them. Orders the Ambassador to continue negotiations.
Ayes 22.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 1.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 260. Most Serene Prince
The Ambassador resident in England has charged us, the parties interested in the cargo of the “Soderina,” to cause witnesses as to the nature of the cargo to be examined before the justices. We have done so, and now send the affidavit with the Magistrates' seal, begging your Serenity to forward it to the Ambassador.


  • 1. See Cal. S.P. Ireland, 1608, Nos. 896, 897; giving an account of Tyrone's reception in Rome “where the Pope publicly nourishes him.” He was met by members of the English College and Cardinals Montello, Farnese, Colonna, and Barberini. When he saw Sir Anthony Standen he said “Sir Anthony, it is better to be poor at Rome than rich in a prison in England.” He was lodged in the Palace where Sir Anthony Sherley stayed.
  • 2. See Gardiner 1, pp. 424–425, for an account of O'Dogherty's seizure of Captain Hart, the Commander of Culmore at the mouth of the Foyle, and the surprise of that fort. Cal. S. P. Ireland, 1606–1608, pp. 503–507.
  • 3. Thirty-six were hanged in sight of Zante. See Cal. S. P. Ireland, 1608–1610, p. 279.
  • 4. That was the Dutch argument. “Oceanum quippe nullis clausum cancellis ounctis patere.” See Motley op. cit. p. 410.
  • 5. Sir George Paulet, Governor of Derry.