Venice: July 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: July 1608', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, (London, 1904) pp. 143-154. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

July 1608

July 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 271. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The latest despatches to the King from Madrid bring news that they have not yet made up their minds whether the Cordelier (Neyen) is to return to Flanders in the company of Don Pedro di Toledo, but it is supposed that he certainly will. Don Pedro will propose a matrimonial alliance with the object of lulling his most Christian Majesty to sleep, and so to assist his Catholic Majesty in the negotiations for peace with the States. But here they have already taken counsel and have resolved on their answer, and if the Spanish ask the hand of the Princess for the Infante they on the contrary will ask the hand of the Spanish Princess for the Dauphin.
Paris, the first of July, 1608.
July 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 272. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Late on Saturday the President Jeannin arrived, and next day went to Court without making a communication to any one save to the Grand Chancellor. On Sunday d'Aerssens, who represents the States here, went to Fontainbleau, and yesterday the Grand Chancellor followed Villeroy and Sully (Sogli). They will all consult on the report brought by Jeannin, which is that the issue of war or peace lies with his Majesty. The Dutch are much more inclined to peace than formerly. The Spanish Commissioners continue to do all they can to corrupt the Dutch deputies, and Spinola has recently gained over one called Barneveld, who is a man of supreme authority in those parts; he therefore can be of much use to Spanish interests especially as he is not yet known to be bought by Spain (et il Spinola ha guadagnato novamente uno chiamato il Bernauelt, che è huomo di suprema autorita in quelle parti, onde potrà giovar molto alli interessi del cattolico, particolarmente hora, che non è ancora conosciuto per guadagnato da Spagna.)
Desires vary in the States. Those who live near the sea and derive their gain from it wish for a continuance of the war. Those who live inland desire peace. In the absence of Jeannin and the Cordelier negotiations are almost entirely suspended.
In Antwerp it is discovered that some of the leading merchants have embarked large sums in the Dutch India navigation. One has been arrested, and in order to liberate him and secure the rest they are paying a considerable sum to the Archduke.
Paris, the first of July, 1608.
July 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 273. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of England is much disgusted at the reception granted by Fuentes to Tyrone in Milan. He has sent a courier with instructions to his Ambassador here to lodge a serious complaint, and to say that this is not a friendly act but an open indication that they want the peace to be weak and disturbed. The English Ambassador has not thought well to go to Old Castile to fulfil this mission because it would seem like attaching too much importance to the Earl of Tyrone. He has, however, complained to the Ministers who are here. They reply that the reception, slight as it was, was granted without orders from Spain, and is not altogether approved of. If there is any one to blame it is Fuentes. When the Ambassador insisted that the reception was splendid, and that Tyrone had left loaded with presents and with money, they denied it categorically, declaring that Fuentes could not possibly take such a step without orders from here. They said that the Ambassador might assure his Master that the King of Spain had had nothing to do with the matter, and that, in view of his well-known niggardliness, Fuentes would never have given Tyrone anything out of his own pocket. In conversation with me he said that his Master was growing daily more and more disgusted at his treatment by Spain and that the prospects of maintaining friendly relations were far from good.
Madrid, the first of July, 1608.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 274. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The house where I dwell has been for many years assigned by the King as the residence of your Serenity's Ambassadors. It is an honourable abode both on account of the arrangement and the number of rooms, and the beauty and convenience of the site, which render it remarkably conspicuous. But it has one grave drawback; it is in such a bad state that one may say it is a mass of ruins, and unless steps are immediately taken to repair it it must fall in. I have been trying to change it, but all the good houses and even the medium ones are occupied. The King never would put his hand to it, and as it is now the dwelling of your Serenity (stanza di Vostra Serenità) he who is the master will not interfere. It is therefore a question of the public dignity that a Palace belonging to the State should go to ruin, especially as above its main door, looking on to a much frequented square, are the words SAN MARCO cut in conspicuous letters of gold, and in the principal chamber a figure of the Saint in gilded marble, so that both in fact and in appearance the house belongs to the most Serene Republic. The Republic has the upkeep of the Palazzo di San Marco at Rome, at Naples, and also at Turin, and it is only right that this one should not be abandoned.
I send no report of experts, for my predecessor will bear witness that a planta pedis usque ad verticem capitis non sit in ca sanitas.
Madrid, the first of July, 1608.
July 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 275. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Enland, to the Doge and Senate.
After the Earl of Salisbury assumed the office of Lord Treasurer the subject which chiefly occupies them is the regulation of expenditure and the increase of the revenue. As Lord Salisbury is applying all his attention to this point it is hoped that they will soon bring finances into a far better condition than they have hitherto been in. Though the King is by nature inclined to be liberal he is seconding his Minister in this respect, as he recognises that this policy will contribute to his greatness and is for his service. He is curtailing the grants to his subjects of which he has hitherto been very lavish, and he keeps the Council hard at work on the exaction of the new duties that have been imposed. Although these new imposts amount to the sum I reported, so great is the wealth of this nation that they do not seem to be felt, in spite of the fact that the duties on almost all imports have been doubled at a single stroke and the taxes greatly increased. It is said, however, that the duty on currants will be slightly reduced, but I cannot guarantee this, for the order is not issued yet. Of this increased revenue the King has assigned twenty-five thousand crowns a year to the Queen, who also intends to put her household in order.
Such is the scarcity of provisions for some time past now that the King is in doubt whether he should make his usual Progress or not. The people of Northampton, which was the county destined for the Progress, have informed him of their inability to support the charges, and so will all the other counties that he might think of visiting. The want of grain is particularly felt, and although a large quantity has been imported from Danzig and those parts, which is most unusual, yet this country does not seem to feel the relief.
After the news that President Jeannin had left for France and President Richardot for Flanders, various rumours are in circulation about the peace negotiations. Some think they may still be broken off; but the wiser hold by their first opinion.
The Duke of Guise is coming over to visit their Majesties as so many other relations have done.
London, 2nd July, 1608.
July 5. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives. 276. The English Ambassador came this morning to the Cabinet and spoke as follows:
It is now some months since he received autograph letters from his Master touching the Prince de Joinville, a near relation of his Majesty. He put off fulfilling his orders because he understood that a gentleman was coming from the Prince to offer his sword and person in the service of the Republic. This gentleman arrived two months ago, and in talking to the Ambassador he let it be seen that the Prince's regard for the Republic began four years ago when he passed through Venice on his way to the wars in Hungary. The Ambassador had suggested to the Prince's Agent that this might possibly not be the moment to make his offer, as the Republic was at peace; the offer would have come better in the time of trouble than now that all was quiet. The Agent on this wrote to his Master. Answer has been received that he is to make this offer. The Ambassador says all this to explain his delay in carrying out his instructions. He has now received fresh letters in his Majesty's hand ordering him to assure the Republic that just as he was ready to support the Republic in her late conflict with the Pope, so, if she is again attacked, he will support her with all his forces and those of his allies. He is glad that the Republic enjoys peace at present, but regrets that she never had occasion to make proof of him. He quotes the King's actual words to him. “Thou, who knowest full well the sincerity of my intent, from the instructions thou holdest, wilt bear witness that in the past controversies I had no other end than to ward off from the Republic the injury done her in her jurisdiction, to the damage and prejudice of all Princes alike. I shall on all occasions be her good and loyal friend, and be this said once for all.” The King added that he had sounded the King of Denmark and found him ready to support the common cause; this same disposition he also discovered in the Prince de Joinville.
The Doge replied that the Agent of the Prince had presented his letters and had his answer.
The Ambassador then said that an Agent (fn. 1) had been sent by his Majesty to Tuscany about the question of some galleys. The Agent passed through Venice a few weeks ago. The Ambassador had heard, not from the Agent, but in directly, that the relations between him and the Venetian Resident were not as cordial as might have been expected from the friendly feelings of the King and the Republic; it was doubtful even whether visits had been exchanged. It is possible that this bad understanding is the result of a question of precedence, as to which is to pay the first visit, and the fault might be with the English gentleman owing to his ignorance of Italian usages. All this he said entirely of himself.
The Doge replied that he could not believe that the Resident, Lio, who had been trained by himself could possibly have failed; it was more likely that the Ambassador's indirect information was not quite correct. Orders would be sent to Lio to treat the English Agent with respect and honour.
July 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 277. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Gives a description of the public sale of Philip II.'s private effects, after the King had reserved for himself two millions' worth in gold. Lerma and other court functionaries also had their pick; the remainder was arranged in a private house, each object labelled and sold to the public. Praises the beauty of the objects. They fetched four millions of gold.
Madrid, 6th July, 1608.
July 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 278. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters from the Earl of Tyrone in Rome have been intercepted. In them he encourages the rebels in Ireland to carry on the rising and holds out hopes of speedy and sound assistance. The consequence is that although the rising is almost crushed the English are still very anxious, and the King, putting together the Papal breves condemning the oath of allegiance, these new risings in Ireland, and the way in which Tyrone is treated by the Pope, is convinced that his Holiness is nursing very serious ill-will towards him. The Ministers in their anxiety to secure themselves in all directions meet the open rebellion in the way I have described, and the secret rebellion by the administration of an oath which they are resolved that every subject of the King shall subscribe. These suspicions cause the Government to proceed more harshly against the priests who are found in this kingdom, for whereas as formerly they were merely urged to take the oath, now they are punished with death if they refuse. This happened to two priests in this city who had condemned certain other priests who had taken the oath. The Catholics are so divided that confusion reigns among their leaders. They had hoped by liberal subscriptions towards the sums being raised by the King to obtain some larger liberty, but in view of the present suspicions they will abandon any attempt.
Here they are waiting anxiously to learn what may be Don Pedro di Toledo's business in France. They are persuaded that the Pope is at the bottom of it. Their anxiety is all the greater because, in the common opinion, the issue of the Flanders negotiations depends on Don Pedro's mission. The Court will leave Greenwich in two days, the King for Windsor and the Queen for this city, where she will live in her private palace. They will meet again at Theobalds and set out on their Progress, for the arrival of large quantities of grain has relieved the country somewhat it seems.
London, 9th July, 1608.
July 10. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 279. To the Ambassador in England.
A gentleman (fn. 2) from the Prince de Joinville recently reached this city and presented a letter from the Prince, offering himself and his sword. We replied that for the moment there was no occasion for his services, but that we would bear the offer in mind. As the Earl of Salisbury in the name of the King of England recommended this Prince and the English Ambassador has renewed the recommendation, you will take the first opportunity to inform his Majesty of our reply.
Ayes 145.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 4.
July 12 Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 280. Roberto Lio, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
He had not visited the English Agent (le Sieur) because both City and Court considered him as representing English merchants, not as Agent of the King. Had now met him, made excuse for the delay in the visit and received a courteous answer. The Agent had not been able to see the Grand Duke, who was ill. The captain of the English ship was in prison, very badly treated. The Agent will find the case difficult, for it is considered as an affair already adjudged.
Florence, 12th July, 1608.
July 12 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 281. Ottaviano Bon, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
From Aleppo I have received a letter, dated 21st May, written by Nicolo Bernardo and Benetto Mezan informing me of the unjust claim put forward by the English Consul to consular dues on goods which arrived from Venice on board Flemish ships, and this in virtue of the last order the English Ambassador obtained here, namely that the English might exact the consular fees from all foreigners whose goods were carried in Flemish bottoms hailing from the four Maritime Provinces. I reported this order, and also how its revocation was effected by the French Ambassador. On receipt of this information I sought the English Ambassador and complained of such a supposition; pointing out to him that Venetians were not included in the privilege he believed he had obtained. He seemed satisfied, and said this was an idea of the Consul's own in order to ingratiate himself with the company of English merchants. The Ambassador said he would give me a letter to the Consul, Paul Pinder, ordering him not to meddle with business that did not belong to him. I received a letter, couched in polite terms, for the Ambassador has no power to command the Consul, both of them being elected by and dependent on the Merchant Company of the Levant. I informed the French Ambassador, as being the person who claims to have caused the revocation of the privilege. He expressed astonishment, and gave me a letter addressed to the French Consul warning him not to admit this unjust claim of the English Consul. The privilege extends only to those nations which have no Consul to protect them.
I cannot refrain from pointing out the ingratitude of the English. Although it is quite obvious their trade in the Levant entirely depends upon the courteous permission to use the Venetian post both for Venice and Aleppo, yet they act as though they were under no sort of obligation and Venice was in duty bound to serve them.
These letters I have sent to Aleppo via Cyprus; but not being sure that they would be effective I obtained a vigorous order here, which shall be sent direct to Aleppo.
The quarrel between the English Ambassador and the French soldiers is not over yet. But as the soldiers will have to leave in a few days with the Defterdar it may blow by. Meanwhile the English Ambassador and all the English have to keep at home.
Prince Stephen of Moldavia, lately returned from England, is lying hidden in a villa near this; by the help of the English Ambassador he conducts his business. It seems to me that in place of gaining the Princedom he may lose his life.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 12th July, 1608.
July 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 282. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
President Jeannin has laid the situation before his Majesty. The King will keep him here till Don Pedro's arrival. News from Madrid that Don Pedro and the General of the Cordeliers (Neyen) left Madrid on the 23rd of last month. Don Pedro has a suite of eighty gentlemen. He has reached Bordeaux.
The English Ambassador assures me that the Earl of Tyrone is at Rome very ill content, and has supplicated his Master to admit him to his grace. Signor Ghintrot (sic) has received a letter from the Queen of England complaining bitterly of the King of France, and declaring that had she been given the opportunity she would have shown herself as good a French woman as he now calls her Spanish. The King heard this and sent for the gentleman, who showed him the letter; whereupon the King said, “write to your Queen that I am her humble servant.”
Paris, 15th July, 1608.
July 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 283. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports that the Grand Duke of Tuscany's agent, Cavaliere Guidi, had told him that the Grand Duke had proposed to the King of Spain a joint enterprise on Cyprus. The King of Spain did not lend an ear.
Paris, 15th July, 1608.
July 15. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives. 284. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and spoke as follows:
He asks to be informed of the nature of the reply to the Agent of the Prince de Joinville, in order that he may keep his Master fully advised of all that touches this matter.
The Doge said that the Ambassador had heard the answer at his last audience. After some consultation the Savii agreed to show him the letter.
July 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 285. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the Court left Greenwich, the King for Windsor the Queen for her private palace here, nothing has been discussed except the order of the Progress. As during the past years these Progresses have weighed very heavily on the counties where they have taken place, his Majesty has resolved that both the numbers of the suite and all other expenses shall be cut down. Moreover, in the present dearth of provisions he intends to curtail its duration. He is expected at Theobalds in a few days to set out with the Queen for Northampton. He did not think it well to assent to that county's prayer to be released, so as not to create a precedent for breaking the ancient usage of this kingdom.
Only yesterday the French Ambassador, in his Master's name, invited the Queen to the baptism of the Duke of Anjou. He had been instructed to assure himself first whether she would accept it owing to the question of Queen Marguerite's precedence, and so he chose to speak to the Earl of Salisbury and also to the King.
In Ireland, though the rising is considered as in a large measure suppressed by the abandonment of the forts by the rebels, still as ill-humour is in the air from time to time the atmosphere is clouded. Another great personage (fn. 3) who feigned fidelity has been found to have had a hand in this rising. He has been captured and will be brought to London. After his arrest the rebels attacked the royal troops and handled them badly. The result is that they have determined to continue the provision of troops, all the more so that they learn from Flanders that the Irish regiment is disbanded and they fear that the majority will pass over into Ireland. All this movement would cause but little anxiety were it not for the reception that Tyrone meets with from the Pope who, they think, will take the first favourable opportunity to encourage the rising.
Things are just as usual in Flanders. The attention of the English is turned to Don Pedro's mission in France. It is thought that the issue not only of Flemish but of Irish affairs will depend on that.
London, 16th July, 1608.
July 17. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 286. To Giusti Antonio Bellegno, Captain of the Galleon; instructions.
Chiefly as to his operations against pirates.
In the case of English vessels he is to act in accordance with the Convention of September 24, 1605.
Ayes 122.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 11.
July 19. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 287. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and spoke as follows:
“Most Serene Prince, I am come this morning to discharge my mind about certain rumours that run in the city; if I do not I must burst with rage or with laughter. There is a rumour that I have been recalled by my King, and certain Envoys have even been to pay me their respects on my departure. Friends write to me from Rome asking me what road I am going to take as they have heard I have a mission to other courts on my way home. I owe the honour of this constant observation to my position at your Serenity's Court, but I would not that you should come to some erroneous conclusion on the strength of these rumours. I must add that his Majesty has been thinking of providing for some of his Ambassadors elsewhere—I will say it out—in Spain, and certain gentlemen who do not like the warm climate and difficult negotiations of that Court are seeking to withdraw thence and to work their way into this Embassy. This I am told by my friends and by his Majesty himself in very gracious terms. He has given me leave to please myself. I have replied that I place myself in his hands, but beg him to allow me to finish my life here, or if he wishes to relieve me of this post to restore me to private life. Were I to speak my mind out I would say that I desire to remain here the better to establish the friendly relations between England and the Republic, though in truth they are so well founded that they are in no need of further support.
The second point is that I hear from Rome that the English Jesuits spread a report that I have made a request about the Homilies of St. John Chrysostom. I remember that I did ask your Serenity's leave to collate the text existing in the Library of St. Mark with a view to subsequent publication. I do not know how this information leaked out.
There is a further rumour that on alternate days political lectures are given at the Embassy; these attract the curious and disseminate heresy. But what passes all belief is that they spread a report showing that they take Doctor Camillo, a Neapolitan, who resides at the Embassy, a man erudite in mathematics and of exemplary manners, to be the same as Father Camillo, the Augustinian, who wrote or rather subscribed the book published in defence of the Republic.”
The Doge replied that he had heard nothing about the recall, but that he was glad the rumour was false, as the Ambassador was highly acceptable to the Republic. As to the other rumours he was not surprised, for he was aware of the methods the Jesuits used to attain their ends; but as a matter of fact he had not heard these rumours except the one that political lectures were delivered at the Embassy, and this they did not believe as they knew how quietly the Ambassador lived, and also as they recalled the falseness of that previous rumour that sermons were delivered in his house when, as everyone bore witness, he had not even a chaplain in his suite.
The Ambassador returned thanks, and then begged for a favour on behalf of a condemned man (fn. 4) and put in a memorandum.
The Doge said the case must be studied. That there were great difficulties in the way of such graces, and if the petition was unsuccessful the Ambassador must attribute it to the rigidity of the law, not to lack of will to please him.
July 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 288. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
While the King is on his Progress he has desired the Council to remain in London, chiefly with a view to watching the result of Don Pedro's mission in France. It is considered of high importance for England as well as for other countries. For this reason the meeting of Parliament is put off. The Council is considering Lord Salisbury's various schemes for augmenting the revenue. Since his assumption of the office of Lord Treasurer he has applied his mind to this question, and the results obtained so far promise a still greater increase.
Before the Court left the City I desired to pay my respects to the Queen in the King's absence. She informed me of the invitation to the baptism (of the Duke of Anjou) and expressed her satisfaction at being united with your Serenity. She spoke about these negotiations between France and Spain, and said that the French were endeavouring to make it appear that the object was a matrimonial alliance. She took little interest in it, for her intention was to place the Princess either in Italy or in Germany. She heard yesterday from her brother the King of Denmark that a general Diet had declared the succession to belong to the present King's eldest son, with hopes that it would be extended to all his posterity.
London, 24th July, 1608.
July 26. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 289. Roberto Lio, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Chevalier Alidosi will be sent to England after going to Lorraine, they say, though it is not certain.
Florence, 26th July, 1608.
July 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 290. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Saturday week, late in the day, Don Pedro arrived at Fontainbleau; the Cordelier (Neyen) was not with him, and his whole company does not exceed a hundred. He was met by M. de Brise, four leagues off. The Resident of Tuscany visited him on behalf of the Queen, as a relation; but he refused the visit on that basis, declaring that great kings have no relations.
Gives an account of his reception and audience of the King.
Paris, 29th July, 1608.
July 30 (fn. 5) Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 291. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Court began its Progress to-day. Hitherto it has lain at Theobalds, whence the King made a run to Greenwich for no other reason than to see the silk manufactory which he is trying to introduce into England. He is so charmed with the industry that he has brought over a number of workmen from France. They promise excellent results, and he has set up all the plant and expects in a short time to manufacture here as much as is at present imported. (fn. 6)
His Majesty has issued orders for the Council to meet him in a few days in Northamptonshire at a Palace (fn. 6) which he has bought for the Duke of York. This leads to the belief that he means to have the Council with him, as he does not think it right that it should be so far away at the present crisis.
The news received post haste from Ireland that the royal troops have defeated the rebels (fn. 6) and slain Tyrone's nephew, the leader of the rebellion, has greatly relieved the King's mind; the Council too think that this example will suffice to crush all machinations both inside and outside the Kingdom.
From Flanders we hear of no progress with the negotiations for peace, but only that many troops have been disbanded on both sides. Though this is taken as a sign that peace is assured, still these negotiations between France and Spain cause remarks inspired by doubts and injurious for the Dutch, and here they are profoundly suspicious of the French King's designs, though his Ambassador endeavours to reassure them.
London, 30th July, 1608.


  • 1. Stephen le Sicur.
  • 2. He was M. de Monplesir See Minutes of the Senate, under this date.
  • 3. Neill Garve
  • 4. The case was that of Pietro Negri, tried and condemned for rapine in the house of Angela Centanni. See Avogaria del Comun. Filza 172. P.
  • 5. On the planting of mulberry trees and the encouragement of the silk trade see Cal. S.P. Dom. 1603–1660, pp. 304, 344, 540.
  • 6. Holdenby. See Cal. S.P. Dom., 1603–1610, pp. 423, 451, 453. The mansion and park were bought from Sir Christopher Hatton.
  • 7. The defeat and death of O'Dogherty at Kilmacrenan on July 5. Cal S.P. Ireland, 1606–1608, pp. 608, 609.