Venice: December 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: December 1608', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, (London, 1904) pp. 194-208. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

December 1608

Dec. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 374. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Nuncio had audience and returned thanks for the condemnation and execution of a man who, they say, called himself the son of the Pope. (fn. 1) He was killed and then burned. The event has caused much talk and little to the credit of the Pope.
Paris, 3rd December, 1608.
Dec. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 375. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Pedro had audience. He informed the King that a million of gold had been sent from Spain to Flanders to pay the troops in part. The King of Spain assigns two hundred and fifty thousand crowns a month for the cost of the war.
Paris, 3rd December, 1608.
Dec. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 376. Marc' Antonio Corror, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I hear that each one of the six Provinces that are in favour of treating for a truce has sent an agent to Zealand to endeavour to persuade that Province to concur with them. They assert that they are assured by the French and English Commissioners that the Cordelier (Neyen) is on his way back from Spain with confirmation of all that the Archduke had promised and will arrive for certain before the meeting can take place. They pledge themselves to reject any sort of accord supposing the Cordelier does not appear.
I have discovered that the real reason why the King of England favours the truce is in order to prevent its being concluded without his participation through the instrumentality of France, although his true interests oblige him in reality to desire the continuation of the war. He knows that if commerce is thrown open to the Dutch the trade and the revenue of this kingdom would greatly diminish (se ben conosce che col liberarsi il commercio a gli olandesi questo Regno diminuerebbe di negotio et d'entrata grandamente).
Three of the Catholics who suffered for religion's sake in Scotland, have been excommunicated; that is to say that if within a year they do not abandon their Catholic habit of life they will be punished in goods and in person. Two of them are in prison and one has fled. The King has this business of religion much at heart. It is becoming clear that he is seriously disturbed by the fact that not only in Scotland but also in England many of the leading personages are Puritans, a sect he loathes more than he does the Catholics because it more than any other destroys the authority of the Crown. I am told by a person of great importance that the King is stirring up the Bishops against the Puritans. A few days ago the Bishop of Chichester in the presence of the King said some very severe things on this subject to one of the leading men of this kingdom who has the greatest voice in the government.
The Prince of Wirtemberg who came here three months ago on behalf of his brother, to restore the collar of the Garter belonging to their father, has just left. He stayed on to visit England and Scotland. He was highly honoured by the King and at his going he received twelve dogs, two horses and a jewel of great value.
The King has ordered his three Commissioners, sent to Ireland for the suppression of piracy, to stay there ten months. The Spanish Ambassador besought this order and the King never refuses anything for the suppression of that class of people.
London, 4th December, 1608.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 377. Zorzi Giustinian, retiring Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Continuing my journey I arrived on the 4th from Calais. I thought I could not pass further without paying the usual compliments to the Princes, and accordingly I sought audience for the next morning. It was granted me for that day. The grand chamberlain and other gentlemen came to fetch me in two court carriages. I was taken first to the Infanta, who received me graciously. After further compliments she entered on a conversation about England and about my journey. As this is not her custom it was taken by the Court as a sign of great regard for the Republic, an opinion subsequently confirmed by the Archduke. He was waiting me in a separate chamber. He also, contrary to his usual habit, engaged in conversation about my journey, about the City of Venice and so on. He enquired if things were all quiet in Italy. I said, “Quite quiet, and in Tuscany they are in the midst of festivities for the wedding.” He then asked me what I thought of the long war and of the little fortress of Ostend that had made such a defence.
In all the cities through which I have passed the governors, out of respect for your Serenity, have visited and honoured me. In this city the Nuncio, Monsignore Guido Bentivoglio, though indisposed, invited me to dine.
To-morrow, please God, I go to Antwerp.
Brussels, 6th December, 1608.
Dec. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 378. Zorzi Giustinian, retiring Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Confessor of the Archduke, (fn. 2) a Dominican, left a few days ago for the Court of Spain. He was sent on the business of the truce. The Archdukes have received orders from Spain to send as Ambassador extraordinary to England, in their own name and in that of Spain, Don Fernando di Giron, who has held the post of Master-of-the-Camp during this war. This is done because it seems that the Knig of England is displeased at not being consulted. Giron starts to-morrow. There is a great lack of money. Spinola and the principal officers are studying a change of garrison in dread of a mutiny. In Friesland some companies of the States' Army have cut to bits almost the entire garrison of Rheinberg, in a sortie. This is a breach of the old practice of not shedding the blood of those who surrender, but revenge for the death of their captain was the cause. Had it not been for the truce the town would have been stormed. The army is now all in garrison quarters, and if a truce takes place, I gather that many experienced English troops will try to enter your Serenity's service. I recall your Serenity's orders to look out for some capable engineers, and I have taken notes about those who seemed to me most likely.
Brussels, 6th December, 1608.
Dec. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 379. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The reason which induced the king to reduce the duty on currants, about which I am instructed to obtain true and accurate information, was simply a wish to please the “farmers,” who have almost all this traffic in their hands, or rather to give them a premium; for other duties on goods that are not necessaries, such as wine, sugar, Spanish raisins, oil, silk, alum, etc., have been raised by, perhaps, four hundred thousand crowns a year.
In addition to the old duty on currants, which is about two Venetian lire per cent. for the English and two and a half for foreigners, when your Serenity imposed a tax of ten ducats on each half ton (migliara) for foreign vessels, Queen Elizabeth raised the tax as much or a little more in this kingdom. She granted the product to the Levant Company and ordered that upwards of 9,000 crowns a year should be given to the ambassador whom she sent to Constantinople on the request of the Company. Then seeing that no more Italian vessels came to England she imposed this tax on the English as well and allowed the Levant Company to collect it for a yearly payment of sixteen thousand crowns. The Company paid two years and a half during the Queen's reign, and when the present King came to the throne they showed themselves recalcitrant, urging that it belonged to the Council alone, not to the King, to impose taxation. The King obtained a judgement from the Barons that he had authority to tax all imports and exports. The right to levy the duty was then taken away from the Company and more than doubled, to the disgust of the merchants. This may very likely have helped the present petition for a reduction as a kind of premium. The reduction amounts to a little less than three Venetian lire per cent.
As I told your Serenity six ships with currants from Zante have reached England. Three more have arrived since. Though they give out that they laded at Clarentza I am informed they all bring currants smuggled from the islands belonging to your Serenity. The seamen are themselves amazed that such a thing should be tolerated. They have brought two thousand four hundred half tons of currants, and they are expecting other two thousand; of these, six hundred half tons are from Patras; very inferior to our currants. The consumption of this kingdom is about three thousand five hundred half tons. God grant that by lowering the duties the English may be induced to go to Venice to lade; but I see that they attach more importance to the damage the currants suffer by breaking bulk than to the dues upon them. They come in sacks from Crete and are shifted to casks for transport here.
A few days ago the garrison of Berg made a sortie and attacked Arnold, of Nassau, cousin of Count Maurice, who was slain. The count's men there cut the garrison to pieces in vengeance for the death of their leader.
A courrier from Spain brings news that his Catholic Majesty is going to send a mission to the King of England to beg him to bestir himself to secure the truce with Holland on no other condition [than?] the ratification of the archduke's promises (senza altra conditione [?che] de ratificar le promesse dell' Arciduca Alberto). I hear a like request will be sent to the King of France. This might imperil the truce, which has hitherto been held for sure, especially as the Zealanders are firm in their resolution not to accept it.
London, 12th December, 1608.
Dec. 13. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 380. To the Ambassador Correr in England.
Congratulations on safe arrival and good health. Ambassador Giustinian has reported the great favours received from the King in the matter of the stolen goods. We have received notice of the decision in favour of our subjects to the extent of sixteen thousand ducats to be paid within a few days; we recognise that this result has been obtained chiefly through his Majesty's protection. You are to present him with our thanks in proper form.
We have heard with great annoyance your report about the currants which have reached England in English vessels. You are to make an inquiry into all the facts and inform us so that we may take the steps necessary for the public service.
Ayes 148.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 1.
Dec. 16. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 381. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and spoke as follows:
As I was mounting the stairs of the Palace just now, the merchants of my nation urged me to make representations to your Serenity in favour of the nation. The affair is this. There is in this city a young Englishman called Henry Previs (Parvis) (fn. 3); he is married to a Venetian wife and embarked on the business of a forwarding agent for goods and letters. He has correspondents in Constantinople; and it happened that a son of Lorenzo Pencini, an honourable goldsmith of this City, who is a merchant in Constantinople, had occasion to send a couple of pearls to his father. He begged the English Ambassador in Constantinople to enclose in his own despatches, a packet of letters in which were the said pearls, and to send them here. I am surprised that he did not apply rather to your Ambassador, for he regulates the post; but your Ambassador had very wisely issued an order forbidding the despatch of pearls and jewels so as not to jeopardize the whole mail; accordingly Pencini's son, being aware of the prohibition, applied to the English Ambassador, who took the packet and promised to forward it to Venice addressed to Previs.
Pencini was advised by his son that the pearls had been sent, and, after waiting three or four days, seeing that the Englishman gave no signs, he went to find him and asked if he had recently received letters from the English Ambassador in Constantinople. The young man said he had; on being asked if there was not an enclosure for Pencini he said “No.” Pencini then said that under cover of the Ambassador's despatch was an enclosure for him containing two pearls, and he showed the letter of advice. Previs denied and hence arose a suit. There were suspicious circumstances and the Signori di Notte condemned Previs to pay the value of the pearls; there were other clauses in the sentence as well. (fn. 4) Previs seeing himself condemned and knowing he was innocent had recourse to the Illustrious Avogador Priuli in order that his case might be taken in appeal before the Quarantia. This step has cost him a great deal; each morning five or seven sequins to the Counsel. I dont know anything about Venetian lawyers but I say of our own that they know quite well not merely how to manage a case but how to spin it out. I forgot an essential point, that is that your Serenity's Ambassador in Constantinople was secretly informed that Pencini had broken the regulations and enclosed pearls in the packet; the Ambassador retained the packet in his own possession and wrote to his brother to tell him about it and to say that he held the pearls at the disposal of their owner. This letter exists; but as far as I can gather it cannot be used in the present trial for there is a law of the Republic that no fresh documents, over and above those on which the judgement of the Court below was based, can be produced. That is quite right, for besides other considerations it safe-guards the reputation of the Courts of first instance. I therefore beg your Serenity to summon the brother of your Ambassador at Constantinople and make him show you this letter, and when you are convinced of the facts that I have set forth, namely that the pearls are in the Ambassador's hands, may it please you, for thehonour of our nation, to relieve the young man so that his innocence may be manifest to all men. This I earnestly beg.
The Doge replied that if the case stood as the Ambassador put it, namely that the pearls, for the loss of which the suit arose, were in the hands of the Ambassador at Constantinople the case fell. He added that they would send for the Signor Filippo Bon and for the letter, and if the contents were as represented, the Avogador Priuli would be informed, and care would be taken that the case should lapse of itself. The order to call Signor Filippo Bon was issued accordingly.
The Ambassador returned thanks, and then proceeded to read the following memorandum:
“I, Henry Wotton, Ambassador of his Majesty of Great Britain, beg, with all due reverence, that your Serenity grant to Antonio Dotto that his case may be reheard in the Council of Ten.”
After reading he continued; some might say, but I will say it myself before they do, “only a day or two ago they granted thy petition in favour of Pietro Negri by relegating him to Palma, yet here thou art back again to bother them; of a truth thou must be either most ungrateful or highly presumptnous.” But certainly it is not so, for I am not trying now to take a man out of prison but to put one in; so there is a difference between the two cases. I must give your Serenity a piece of news which has reached me with this last despatch, and which may serve in this matter, perhaps. My friends at home write that certain persons wishing to injure me and give me annoyance, have been working for my recall (fn. 5) and the close of my mission. The king, my Master, refused to come to any decision until he had seen my own letters. I wrote begging him to do me the favour to allow me to continue for some years longer in the service of your Serenity. His Majesty has deigned to grant my request. This has given me the greatest satisfaction and I consider it a very great honour, for, may be, I shall find the occasion to show my respect for your Serenity and the desire I have to serve you always. If in the past I have been importunate I will take care for the future to prove myself most modest. I learn that a few days ago motion was made to rehear the case of Antonio Dotto; it obtained thirteen out of the requisite fifteen votes; I beg your Serenity to make me a present of these two balls, I will receive them as a great honour. Some time ago I had pressing letters from his Majesty in recommendation of Dotto. I never found the moment to use them; though Dotto was granted a safe-conduct for three months. He was living quietly at home when the late troubles came on. He expressed his readiness to place himself and his property at the service of his country and his safe-conduct was prolonged for three years, of which a great part is now expired. He is, however, anxious to live in the bosom of his family in his ancient esteem, and also to establish his innocence. But as he wished to achieve this by himself I did not move because, according to the philosopher “non sunt multiplicanda entia sine necessitate.” Now, however, recalling his Majesty's orders and the desire of this person I come to beg for the rehearing of the case.
He then passed on to say in the King's name how much pleased he was with the splendour of Signor Correr's Embassy; also that every one was satisfied with the ambassador Giustinian, and that the King will not let him leave without some special mark of favour.
The Doge replied that he was very glad to learn that the Ambassador was to stay on. It was true that the motion for rehearing Dotto's case was lost. These cases of rehearing are very important. In virtue of the law the original trial had to be read through, and possibly some of the Council, hearing Dotto's crimes and considering them grave, refused their vote. Rehearing is rarely granted, for the lapse of time is supposed to be favourable to the criminal either through the death of some one, or because it enables him to prove what he could not prove at the moment of the trial, by procuring fresh witnesses, and, in short, arranging matters to his own advantage, to the injury of justice. However the Ambassador's petition would be laid before the Council of Ten and nothing should be wanting to support it that could be done. The Doge added that he believed there was a law preventing the question from being re-opened until the expiry of a certain time from the last suspensory vote.
Returns thanks for the active support given by his Majesty in the matter of the goods plundered by Ward.
The Ambassador replied briefly; renewing his appeal on behalf of Dotto, who only desired to prove his innocence. He then went on to say that after business comes pleasure; then taking a bundle of letters from his pocket he said that a friend of his had sent him news from the Low Country which he communicated. In Rheinberg there had been a skirmish in which two hundred and fifty English had fallen, among them their captain Stanley (Stangel), who was the first to be slain. He was a great enemy of the Republic.
The Ambassador then presented the Baron de Roos, nephew of Lord Salisbury, of his family; then both took their leave.
Dec. 16. Consiglio de' Dieci, Parti Communi, Venetian Archives. 382. Motion to show the jewels of the Sanctuary and the Hall of Arms to Baron William Cecil of Roos, Englishman.
Ayes 15.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 0.
Dec. 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 383. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. Josef, called Boilieu (Boliu), who was to command M. de Varenne's privateers, is, I hear, a brother-in-law of a certain Beauregard, who is buccaneering on the Grand Duke's galleon and bertons.
The King has told M. de Rosny that he wishes him and his son to become Catholics and offers to give Madlle. de Vendome, his own natural daughter, in marriage to the latter. Sully replied that he placed his son entirely in his Majesty's hands, but as for himself he would never become a Catholic.
Paris, 17th December, 1608.
Dec. 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 384. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Count Maurice has made peace with Barnveldt at last. The Deputies have agreed to receive the clauses of the truce as proposed by the Ambassadors of France, England and the others. But they have introduced three striking amendments. First, where it is declared that his Catholic Majesty and Archdukes are treating with the States as with a free country over which they claim no dominion, the amendment adds “Neither during the truce nor after it has expired.” Second, where it is provided that outside Europe the King of Spain shall within three months declare whether the truce is to be valid or not, the amendment requires this declaration to be made at once. Third, that the truce shall last for more than ten years. The Archduke has declared that he has no authority to accept the amendments, and demands a prorogation of the truce to March.
The General of the Cordeliers (Neyen) passed through Paris eight days ago. He had audience of the King, but as he said nothing of moment it is supposed that he has orders to keep silence.
This despatch should reach Venice about Christmas Day.
Paris, 17th December, 1608.
Dec. 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 385. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It is believed that for some time past the King has been informed of the nature of Don Pedro's instructions and of Spanish secret intentions, by the Papal Nuncio. His Majesty said the other day to a person of quality that the Nuncio was well aware that the King had obtained the hat for the Nuncio's predecessors, and that he would not secure it for him unless he gave him complete satisfaction.
Sully's troubles are attributed to the Jesuits urged on by the Nuncio.
Some weeks ago Father Cotton, the Jesuit, sent to Rome a treatise on the way to unite the two religions. It has now come back, and he is working on it with the intent to publish it, by permission and possibly by order of the Pope.
Paris, 17th December, 1608.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 386. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the news that his Catholic Majesty refuses to treat the States as Sovereign Princes, all talk of the truce has grown cold. As the Deputies of all the Provinces are to meet at Flushing we shall soon learn their decision. The Archduke has sent a Dominican Father, his confessor (Brizuela), to Spain in addition to the Zoccolante (Neyen) upon this business. The confessor is fallen ill and has not moved yet.
An Ambassador Extraordinary (Giron) is expected here from Spain. His mission is to thank the King for his conduct as regards Flanders and to encourage him to continue it. He will be here in a few days and I will take care to find out if he has any other mission.
The slaughter at Rheinberg (Berck) is greater than was thought; it amounts to six hundred and more. Among these are the remains of an English regiment which was still in the service of the Archduke, all that survived were two soldiers and one officer who had stayed behind ill.
Not a day passes without news of some new depredation by the pirates who swarm in these waters. In a single year they have captured perhaps thirty French ships of various kinds. The French and Spanish Ambassadors make frequent complaints to his Majesty, urging him to see to it that there be not connivance on the part of his Ministers. The pirates, however, sometimes do not respect even English ships. They recently captured two of them. Ministers say that unless an understanding is reached between the Powers it will be impossible to extirpate piracy, so deep has it struck its roots. We hear that Ward has made great muster of mariners, ships, munition and all that is needed on a buccaneering expedition.
During these last few days the English merchants who brought the cargo stolen from the “Soderina” here, have worked so hard that they have induced the leading Members of the Council to allow them to appeal in the case which was settled in favour of the Venetian merchants under the guidance of the Ambassador Giustinian.
When I heard this I took such trouble that the same Council decided that the merchants must pay down the money in the full terms of the sentence. This they began to do at once. No security was taken for the two thousand eight hundred pounds sterling which were freely awarded to the parties interested in the “Soderina,” represented by about eleven thousand five hundred ducats. And so if the sentence be quashed they will have no redress against Venetians but rather against the King himself.
A brother of the Duke de Rohan (Soubise), (fn. 6) a near relation of his Most Christian Majesty and a relation of the King of England, has come to this kingdom. He left France because of an attempt to carry off by force a very rich young lady from whom he had had some encouragement. He assailed her house with a petard, but it was defended. The young lady is married to a son of the Grand Constable.
London, 18th December, 1608.
Dec. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 387. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Archdukes sent President Richardot to the Hague with an explicit statement that his Catholic Majesty had never granted any authority to renounce “Sorreignty” in the terms proposed by the Ambassadors of France, England and the other Powers, far less in the terms propounded by the States. As to increasing the duration of the truce to fourteen or sixteen years his Highness promised to send a special agent to persuade the King. As to the Indies the King would allow the truce to be valid there also; that the States may voyage there. The King of England has certainly made a suggestion to Spain that he by himself is quite able to bring about a truce with the States to the greater advantage of his Catholic Majesty, who will not be called on in any way whatever to renounce “Sorreignty”; the truce to be a simple, unconditioned truce for twenty years. To induce the States to accept this he will offer a perpetual alliance to them. On this the King of Spain has sent Don Ferdinand de Giron to Flanders to prevent the Archduke from taking any further steps. Don Ferdinando will then go on to England to thank the King and settle the means. I do not think this is generally known. When it came to his Most Christian Majesty's cars he was violently enraged. He declared that the Spaniards are deceivers, and, though he is in bed with gout and a touch of fever, he sent for the Nunico and bitterly complained of the part he had taken on the Pope's behalf in this matter. The Nunico showed the greatest pain and promised to see Don Pedro. On Wednesday the King made similar representations to the Archduke's Ambassador, and sent off a courrier post-haste to the Hague to exhort the States to adopt the truce as proposed by the Ambassadors, but to allow no prolongation of the truce and offering of himself the usual support and much more. This much I have discovered with great difficulty and verified from persons who have seen and read the letters.
The action of England and the arrival of the flotta have rendered the Spanish claims more vigorous.
The King of France is suspicious of the King of England and very ill pleased with him.
Paris, 22nd December, 1608.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 388. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
This very moment, while day has not yet dawned, I hear that the King is sending a courrier to Rome, possibly about the subject of my yesterday's letter. As soon as it is light I will try to find out.
Paris, 23rd December, 1608.
Dec. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 389. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Archduke's Confessor (Brizuela) is expected here. Something will then be settled about Flanders, where the Franciscan (Neyen) has retired, without any instructions. It is generally thought that a truce for some years will be concluded.
Madrid, 23rd December, 1608.
Dec. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 390. Zorzi Giustinian, retiring Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
At the Hague he visited Count Maurice. After compliments the Count entered on a discussion of the war with great intimacy and military frankness. He showed a keen desire that it should continue, though he thought the warm interposition of England and France would eventually bring about a long truce.
Amsterdam, 23rd December, 1608.
Dec. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 391. Zorzi Giustinian, retiring Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As far as I can gather from Count Maurice, from the English and French Commissioners, who have visited me, and from others who handle it, this affair is likely to end in a truce for ten years. On the 18th of this month the Deputies of the Provinces met at the Hague and those who at first dissented now seem inclined to agree. In a very few days the question will be decided. If the decision is in favour of negotiating the truce will be prolonged for one or two months; it is on the point of expiring, and the extension will be employed to arrive at the ten-year truce. The Kings of England and France are vying with each other in their efforts to conclude it, and as Count Maurice said to me they are thus waging a worse war on the Provinces than Spain does by arms. The Count, the soldiers, and the people desire the war, the men who govern desire a truce to enable them to consolidate their riches. This diversity of view may breed discord. President Jeannin told me that he held two commissions from the King one was to secure the truce, the other to set up a stable government. This last is full of great difficulties. If they can be overcome beyond all doubt there will be set up in Christendom a great and notable power, the riches and forces of which, both by sea and by land, I have found far to exceed my expectation (non è dubbio alcuno che si venirà a stabilire nella christianità un grande et per ogni rispetto considerabile potentato, le richezze et forze del quale, cosi terrestri come maritime, veramente ho trovato di gran lungo maggiore della mia aspettatione). As to the conditions of the truce they are confined to the three which have been discussed hitherto; religion and the India navigation do not present any difficulty, for the Spaniards do not raise the first, except for form, and the second will be granted to the States, it resting with the King to say, within three months, whether he will include or exclude it from the truce. The most difficult is the question of “Sovreignty,” owing to the resolve the King now displays to allow the Archduke to assent to it without committing himself in any way. But as the States have informed the English and French Commissioners that they absolutely reject this proposal, the Commissioners inform me that in their opinion the King of Spain will ultimately assent; nay, as there is news that the Franciscan (Neyen) has arrived in Brussels they think he may be the bearer of the King's consent. With that the States would have got all they asked, and yet in general there is more inclination to war than to an accommodation. This is based on two reasons, first because of the profit which they draw from the war, a profit that exceeds the profits of peace, for both the State and the private individual have been incredibly enriched thereby (il primo per il proffitto che tragono dalla guerra, maggiore che dalla pace, essendosi il publico et il privato col mezo di essa incredibilmente arichito); the second because they are firmly convinced that the truce is only intended to deceive them, and the result is that the larger the terms offered by Spain the more suspicious they grow. This city is much in favour of the war, for with the truce they fear that trade may return to Antwerp.
This trade has enormously enriched Amsterdam. They are now building three great ships of war (fn. 7) of 1,800 tons (fn. 8) each, to sail to the Indies. They will be ready in a few days. Ships of a similar type are to be built in other ports, to the number of eight. With these they intend not only to continue the India trade, but to establish themselves in those islands, and to this they are encouraged by the inhabitants. They draw great profit from this trade and it seems that the attempt to discover the Northern route to the Indies is, for the present, allowed to grow cold, although an Englishman, who is here, is negotiating with the city of Amsterdam to renew it. The Prince of Orange, brother of Count Maurice, is at the Hague. His long absence breeds suspicion, as he is in Spanish service.
Amsterdam, 23rd December, 1608.
Dec. 24. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Milan. Venetian Archives. 392. Gian Francesco Marchesini, Venetian Resident in Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
There is news from Genoa that Don Anthony Sherley has received orders to raise a squadron of galleons to oppose the Dutch and English who have retired to Algiers, whence they go buccaneering in those waters.
Milan, 24th December, 1608.
Dec. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 393. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Monday Don Ferdinando Giron, Knight of Malta, arrived in London. He comes as Ambassador Extraordinary from the King of Spain. (fn. 9) He is lodged with the Spanish Ambassador. Except for the usual reception by the Master of the Ceremonies he has had no other favour as yet. When the King comes to London for Christmas I will endeavour to discover his mission. As yet nothing is disclosed except that he comes to return thanks for the King of England's attitude towards the truce. This mission is considered as a make weight against Don Pedro di Toledo's to France. Giron has been advanced to this post by the Duke de Ossuna, head of his house. Ossuna in Council openly opposed the concession of “Sovreignty” to the states as injurious to the prestige of his Catholic Majesty.
The Commissioners of France, England and the German Princes have recently sent a member of President Jeannin's suite to the Archduke to enquire whether it is true that the King of Spain declines to treat with the States on the basis of their independence. The Archduke replied that so it was announced from Spain, but he had sent his Confessor to the King and begged that the truce might be prolonged till his return. The Archduke was asked to put this request in writing, but declined to say that he asked for a truce; he wrote that he would abide by all that President Richardot had promised, and that this was the reason for sending the Dominican friar to Spain.
The prayers of the King of France and of the six provinces have induced Zealand to agree to the truce. Now, in spite of the shiftiness of the King of Spain, Zealand has been forced to assent to a prolongation for six months. This breeds bad blood between them and the Hollanders, who are accused of having been corrupted.
The Prince of Wales, who has been staying in the country some distance from the King, his father, complained to his Majesty of this distance and was told that he might make what arrangements he liked. He sent to tell the Earls of Southampton and Pembroke to move their households and their horses as he desired to occupy their lodging. They refused and the Prince had them removed by his people to the indignation of these gentlemen, who are of very high rank. This is a great proof of spirit on the part of the Prince, who, though only fifteen years of age, gives the highest promise in all he does.
This week a ship has arrived from Syria with a cargo worth upwards of two hundred thousand crowns, mostly in indigo and silk.
London, 26th December, 1608.
Dec. 29. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 394. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Rumours that Calvinistic doctrines are preached in Venice in the house of the English Ambassador. This gives occasion to heretics to misrepresent matters to suit themselves. I replied to certain prominent members of the Court that I could not say what took place in the house of the English Ambassador, where only English was spoken, but I was certain your Serenity would never permit anything that could cause scandal, and that the English Ambassador in Venice lived just like the English Ambassador in France or in Spain.
Prague, 29th December, 1608.
Dec. 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 395. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Maine sent at once to inform the English Ambassador and myself of the King's decision as regards duelling; which is that if Princes of the blood unreasonably insult private gentlemen, the King himself will defend their honour, but private gentlemen are not, upon caprice, to challenge Princes of the blood upon pain of death.
Owing to the King's indisposition no Ambassador has had audience except the Marchese Malaspina, who has just returned from England.
Paris, 31st December, 1608.
Dec. 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 396. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The courier despatched to Rome was sent on account of the new situation in Flanders. The King declares that unless the truce is concluded in the terms he proposes he will be obliged to continue his support to the States. The King says that if the Spanish lend an ear to a heretic sovereign that must be an offence to his Holiness. He is ill pleased with Spain but thinks himself even more deeply injured by England.
The reason which induced the King of England to make his proposals to the King of Spain was the dread lest the Pope should bring about an understanding between France and Spain. The English Ambassador did not deny this when I touched on the subject.
Paris, 31st December, 1608.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 397. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
On Christmas Eve the Archduke's Confessor (Brizuela) arrived. The Council has not assembled yet on account of the festivities.
Madrid, the last of December, 1608.


  • 1. Birch. “Court and Times of James I.” 1, p. 82. Chamberlain to Carleton, “One Borghese, a young fellow who gave himself out to be the Pope's bastard.” p. 84. “The execution of Borghese is generally ill taken in France, as savouring too much of severity, for the sentence read at his death was only for usurping the name and arms of the family Borghese.” See Cal. S.P. Dom., Jan. 19, 1609. “Verses on the poor young Pope who was so pitifully massacred by the mad Monsieurs.”
  • 2. Inigo Brizuela. See Motley, op. cit. p. 476. He succeeded in persuading Philip to treat with the States as independent.
  • 3. His will, dated 2nd April 1607, is in the Archivio Notarile, Testamenti chiusi. Stranieri. He left all his property to his wife Cecilia, daughter of Ser Vincenzo Gritti.
  • 4. The trial is missing in the archive of the Signori di Notte, which is very imperfect.
  • 5. Birch, “Court and Times of James I.” Vol. I, p. 79. Chamberlain writes to Carleton who was seeking an Embassy, that “there is no sign of removing those that are now employed.”
  • 6. See Cal. S.P. Dom., Dec. 9, 1608.
  • 7. “Tre gran navi da guerra di 1800 botte l'una.” That is “ships royal.” See Corbett, “Successors of Drake.” p. 411, note 1, where the rating of ships, in the year 1614, is given thus: (1.) Ships Royal 800 tons and upwards. (2.) Great ships 600 to 800 tons. (3.) Middling ships 450 to 600 tons. (4.) Small ships 350 to 400. (5.) Pinnaces.
  • 8. The “botte” is given by Martini as 751 170000 litres, therefore about 3/4 of a ton. Guglielmotti. “Vocab. Mar. e Mil,” gives the “botte” as equivalent to a ton; so, too, Stratico, “Vocab. di Marina.”
  • 9. See Cal. S.P. Dom. Dec. 23rd, 1608. “The new-come Spaniard has had audience”