Venice: April 1609

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: April 1609', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, (London, 1904) pp. 255-267. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

April 1609

April 2. original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 470. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have recently seen the Earl of Salisbury, and in order to prevent oblivion from falling on the Archiducal Ambassador's pretensions I told the Earl about the interview I had had with the King. I added that if I was not ready yet with a written statement of the case and precedents it was because I was awaiting answers to certain questions, as I considered that to place such a matter in writing called for full details, as it might come into the hands of people who were not as adequately instructed in the matter as his Majesty was. I reduced the case to writing merely in obedience to his Majesty, for the arguments for the Republic were so clear, and his Majesty was so fully informed of what took place at other Courts, that there was little need for writing. The Earl of Salisbury wished to make me believe that he had not spoken to the King, that he was obliged by my communication, but that the decision lay with his Majesty; that neither the King nor any member of the Council had ever said anything to prejudice the pretensions of the Republic, and therefore I was wrong in complaining, nor did he think that his Majesty was bound to decide the point. I replied that my complaint did not refer to any words but to deeds; that the decision in this Court depended on his Majesty, for there could be no doubt that he was absolute master in his own kingdom, and on him depended all the dispositions of his Court, and especially where the question arose from his own individual act in inviting this one or that. The position held by the Representatives of the Republic at the courts of all the great Powers of Christendom was matter of notoriety, whereas the Archdukes had no Ambassador, not even at the Courts of the Emperor and of Spain, where in spite of relationship they were given to understand that the precedence of the Venetian Ambassador would be preserved to him, therefore the Republic had all the more right to complain that it was so prejudicially treated in England, which set a very bad example to other courts, in view of the fact that England was an independent kingdom and an ally of the Republic. The Earl replied with some heat, perhaps because he found himself pressed and could not solve the dilemma, I urged that justice was as much concerned to preserve a man in his rights as to see that he got them. I insisted on my right to be inrited where any other Ambassador was, and again I cited the cases of the Ambassador of the King of Hungary, of the Archiducal Ambassadors in France, and of the attempt under Pope Clement. Lord Salisbury said that the Archdukes denied having ever yielded precedence and that it would be necessary to prove it. I replied that as I was dealing with persons of the highest intelligence the proof would be easy. I added that, being aware of your Serenity's desire that the remedy should come from the just and benign hand of his Majesty, and that you should not be forced to take another road to vindicate your dignity, I could not fail to busy myself in the matter.
On the 25th of last month eight Commissioners of the States entered Antwerp amid the indescribable joy of the populace. They attended to the signature of the two points demanded by the Archdukes, namely that as long as the truce lasts the places in the possession of the one party are not to pay contribution to the other, and that goods passing from Antwerp through places held by the States shall not be unladed. Although these two points have been reduced to such a state that they can easily be wound up, they have not yet received the final touches. It cannot be long before all the clauses are published; meantime I send the two most important, the clause about “sovereignty” and the clause about the India navigation. The Ambassadors of France and England have commended to the States Count Maurice, recalling the great services rendered by him and by his father, thanks to whom they enjoy freedom and their present good fortune. The States accordingly assigned him an honourable pension.
By the help of Don Antonio de' Medici the King has conceived hopes of recovering the English ship which was captured by the Florentine galleon. With this object in view they are drawing up a fresh statement in order to exculpate the crew from the charges advanced by the Florentines. All the blame is now being laid on the shoulders of the gentleman (le Sieur) who was sent to negotiate; they say that he employed threats such as are not to be used to Princes.
The Court is engaged on the preparation of a joust and a little fete for to-morrow, Coronation Day. No ambassadors will be invited, as his Majesty wishes to avoid the rock of precedence.
London, 2nd April, 1609.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 471. The terms of the Truce between the Archdukes and the King of Spain on the one part and the States General and the United Provinces on the other.
April 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 472. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
They are very much afraid that a famous English pirate, who has recently left England for fear of chastisement, will turn up near the Straits. Don Luis Fasciardo, Commander of the Portuguese galleons, has been sent to Lisbon in haste.
Madrid, 8th April, 1609.
April 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 473. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On Lady-Day the Duke of Cleves died. The King sent at once to warn the Archduke to take no armed action on the frontier, declaring that he desired no force to be used by either Spain or the Emperor. It is possible that some lively passage of arms (mossa gagliarda) may take place over this Duchy.
The day before yesterday the English Ambassador was with his Majesty. I cannot say what his mission may have been, as this is the seventh day I am in bed with fever.
Paris, 10th April, 1609.
April 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 474. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Jesuits continue to do all the mischief they can. But for some time past their authority is greatly diminished, thanks chiefly to the action of Sully, who is in full favour. Father Cotton is not to be seen now at the King's dinner as he used to be.
Paris, 10th April, 1609.
April 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 475. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope said he did not like the English Ambassador. He understood he was a bad man (mal huomo). He feared they were all nursing the viper in their breast; for in Venice, Spain and everywhere the Agents of the King of England will do their best to spread his errors.
The Ambassador answered that the English Ambassador in Venice kept quite within bounds, as he was aware that such was the desire of the Venetian Government.
Rome, 11th April, 1609.
April 11. Minutes of the Senate, Terra. Venetian Archives. 476. A vote of 300 ducats of lire 6 soldi 4 per ducat, to be paid to the representatives of Marc' Antonio Correr, Ambassador in England, in accordance with his request dated 20th March. He is to render account of the same on his return.
Ayes 111.
Noes 13.
Neutrals 9.
April 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. Expulsis Papalistis. 477. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Have received despatches of 16th and 17th of last month. Will attend to instructions in the matter of precedence. As to Vangadizza I endeavour to convince them that your demands are just and the concession of them a matter of small moment. The Earl of Salisbury spoke to the French Ambassador about it some days ago and was told that he had news from Rome that some arrangement would be found. I must report that at Court there are rumours very unfavourable to the Serene Republic, which were discussed in the Queen's apartments in the presence of some of my suite.
The Deputies of the Archdukes and of the States are so anxious to conclude the truce that although they have not reached a complete understanding as to the questions of contributions and the passage of Antwerp goods, the truce was subscribed on Tuesday the 7th of this month, and three months were assigned for the ratification by his Catholic Majesty, which is to be in his name and not in the usual formula “I, the King.” The subscription would have taken place earlier had not Count William of Nassau been delayed by an indisposition.
They have agreed that property confiscated by either side shall be restored to owners; though there is some difficulty about the property that no longer exists and that which has, either through alienation or some other process, passed out of the hands of the leaders. The Church property presents a still greater difficulty, and over this the Dutch show some stiffness.
The terms of the truce differ little from the statements I sent you. I will therefore put off sending them till I have them in their final shape. I merely include here the guarantee given to the States by the French and English Ambassadors that the India navigation shall be maintained; clause four, named in the guarantee, is the clause I sent on the 2nd of this month. Clause five provides that the Dutch shall have the same freedom to trade as that accorded to the King of Great Britain.
The House of Nassau has been handsomely rewarded by the States. Prince Maurice has been confirmed in his post of General and Admiral and in all his other offices and emoluments. And as many extraordinary sources of revenue will now cease they have doubled his pension, raising it from 30, to 60,000 crowns; if he marries he is to receive landed estates to the value of another 10,000. To Prince Henry his brother, a young man of about twenty-two, they have assigned 8,000 crowns; to his mother other 8,000. To Count William, who has laboured hard in the war, they have given 20,000 ducats, and they are doing all they can to satisfy those by whom they have been served.
I am informed that John Gibbons has been arrested in Scotland. He is the man who last year carried off to the Islands the cargo of wine belonging to Tizzoni, bound from Crete to London. I have written to thank the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, (fn. 1) and have pressed not only for punishment of this rogue but for compensation. The arrest was most opportune, as Gibbons was just going to put to sea again to try his fortune elsewhere.
In Ireland too Captain Jennings (Giens), a pirate, has been arrested. He is very rich, thanks to the plunder he has acquired in these seas. He fell into the hands of the very people who had tried to secure a safe conduct for him. Finding that they could do nothing that way, they resolved to enrich themselves out of his property and the price set on his head. (fn. 2)
At this moment too I have just received news that the Vice-Admiral to whom I commended the interests of the Venetians before his departure to examine into the support given to pirates, has arrested two companions of Ward who were present at the capture of the “Reniera and Soderina,” and has also acquired further light on the opposition raised by the merchants who brought the cargo to England. Your Serenity will gather details from the enclosed copy of a letter written to an Italian, of whom I make use to induce them to speak and to come to me.
On the other hand another companion of Ward has seized three English ships near the Straits. They were bound from Marseilles with but little cargo. It is said that he has fitted them out as men-of-war to add to his strength. The Judge who in the King's name came to promise me every assistance towards the execution of the sentence obtained at the instance of the Chevalier Giustinian, has as a matter of fact, obtained for me nothing at all. As he speaks neither Italian nor French he now says that he never said anything of the sort. I have been obliged to make fresh representations to the Earl of Salisbury and other Members of the Council. They seem inclined to issue some secret orders which may possibly lead to a conclusion of this blessed business.
The statement of the case against the Florentine galleon embraces not merely the case of the ship which was captured on her way from Cyprus, but also the case of two others which were captured with goods and persons of Hebrews and Turks. They have served the claim on the Agent of the Grand Duke in spite of a promise he obtained that the matter should not go further. And this morning notices are posted in public places calling on those representing the Grand Duke, or others interested, to rebutt the evidence. The Agent complains but is unable to arrest proceedings. I hear, however, that he has been promised that after evidence of witnesses has been taken nothing more will be done till the arrival of the Ambassador from Tuscany.
London, 15th April, 1609.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 478. Declaration was made by Pierre Jeannin and William Count of Nassau for the States and Spinola and Richardot for the Archdukes, that a difficulty had arisen on the point of the India navigation. The representatives of the Archdukes wished it to stand as stated in clauses four and five of the truce, though India was not expressly mentioned; an omission made not to prejudice the States in any way but merely to oblige the King. The representatives of the States do not consent to this. They desire the express mention of the Indies and that so clearly that there can be no kind of doubt. The representatives of both parties begged us, the Ambassadors of France and England, to attend the conference and to act as mediators. We accepted willingly, and did our best to induce the representatives of the Archdukes to grant what was requested, for they were agreed as to the intention and affirmed on solemn oath that the King of Spain was acting in good faith when he declared that he never intended to hinder the navigation. On the other hand we pointed out to the representatives of the States that clauses four and five were really sufficient. Both parties held to their opinion and on this account negotiations threatened to collapse when the Commissioners for the States announced that they would accept clauses four and five provided the Kings of England and France undertook to guarantee the observation of the truce and pledged their support in case of rupture, binding themselves especially for the observation of the freedom of the Indian navigation precisely as if the word “Indies” had been expressed. The French and English Ambassadors assented to this, being well assured that any action will fully satisfy their Majesties which conduces to the conclusion of the truce. The above named Ambassadors and Commissioners have drawn up this present instrument and declare it true upon their honour.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 479. Copy of a Letter dated from Plymouth in the island of England from John Rander, Vice-Admiral, on the 28th of March last, old style.
Since leaving London I have done my duty as an honourable man, for the King of England and his allies, and more especially for you and the Venetian business. I have got the pirates Longcastle and Taverner prisoners. There is another called Cade, who will speak the truth upon good terms. They are rich and it cost me twenty pounds to have them and to seize six hundred pounds of tobacco which they held, and which is now in my hands. What I want of you now is that you should approach the Venetian Ambassador, informing him that I have been diligent, as I promised on my departure, and that I now have those in custody who can tell the truth in the Venetian suit.
April 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 480. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
There is a great difference of opinion between the French and English Ambassadors as to which of them has the command of Flemish subjects and ships. This is a point that has been contested before, but never with such heat. Earnest appeals have been made to the Grand Vizir who, however, declined to decide without hearing from me first precisely the nature and position of that country, and my opinion on the subject. The English Ambassador has sent to beg me to support his contention, and has made use of great expressions of respect towards your Serenity. My answer was that my information could not be really necessary to the Grand Vizir, who was fully instructed as to the affairs of the world; that I as minister of the Serene Republic so affectionately bound to the Crowns of England and of France could not and ought not to open my mouth on a subject in which I had no other interest save a great desire to hear that it had been settled. The Secretary of the Ambassador appeared to be satisfied with this answer and retired. Should the Vizir speak to me on the matter I will take care to confine myself to the line sketched above.
The Jesuits at the French Embassy want to occupy the pulpit at San Francesco. The Ambassador urges the Friars to resist.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 15th April, 1609.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 18. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 481. That a Notary of the Ducal Chancery be sent to read to the English Ambassador what follows:
As regards the urgent appeal recently presented by your Lordship that Master Edmund Garder, Englishman, should be relieved of the prohibition imposed by our Savii sopra la Mercanzia forbidding him to lade in this city, we are informed that this prohibition was the result of the due application of the law which strictly requires that leave to lade be given to no foreign ship which does not fulfill two conditions, one that she has brought here two-thirds of her cargo, the other that she has not discharged any cargo on either side of the Gulf. The certificates put in by the master himself prove that he falls under the prohibition on both counts; he brought only a small part of his cargo here and discharged the rest at Ragusa. To relieve this vessel from the operation of these laws which, in view of their importance for this market, always have been and still are strictly observed, would constitute an act at once pernicious, of evil consequences and worse precedent, and a grave injury to our interests. Yet such is our desire to oblige your Lordship that, in spite of the difficulties, we have agreed to order the Savii to grant permission to the master of this ship to lade. We grant this favour for this one time only and merely to please your Lordship, in order that you may see what extraordinary weight you have with us. We are persuaded that your Lordship, recognising the irregularity we incur in gratifying you—a thing we should probably not have done for anyone else—will perceive how important it is for a well-regulated State to abide fast by its laws, especially those which concern its vital interests, and being thus convinced of our reasonable attitude will find ample occasion in future to dismiss all those who trouble you with like requests.
Further that the Savii sopra la Mercanzia be ordered, for this one time and to gratify the Ambassador of England, to grant licence to the vessel, Master Edmund Garder, to lade in this city, the law of August 31st, 1602, notwithstanding.
Ayes 96.
Noes 8.
Neutrals 8.
April 20. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 482. Yesterday I, Marc' Antonio Bussenello, most humble and devoted servant of your Serenity, went to the residence of the English Ambassador to read to his Excellency, as I did, the resolution of the Senate, dated 18th of this month, on the subject of the vessel, Master Edmund Garder, Englishman. The Ambassador said that as he was in ignorance of the regulations he was sure his Court was also. When this man arrived in England and explained the nature of the rules, the Ambassador hoped to have no more occasion to trouble your Serenity. He begged me to thank you for the favour, which he esteemed a most signal grace which would certainly gratify his Majesty.
April 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 483. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I enclose the clauses of the truce translated from French into Italian; also a copy of the publication which took place on the 14th of this month in Antwerp. After that the Ambassadors departed; the Commissioners of the States and the English Ambassadors have gone to the Hague, where they will liquidate the debts due from the the States to the Crown of England. The contributions are entirely removed. During the three months allowed for the ratification the Zealanders shall continue to unlade the Antwerp goods. After that they promise to hit upon some compromise; but in any case this question is not to upset the truce. Restoration of confiscated goods is fully set out. The French Ambassadors have secured that certain places belonging to Breda may practice the Catholic religion. The Court here thinks the motive for this is the desire of the King of France to show the Pope that in this negotiation he has done something to please him. Brabant and Flanders are pledged to pay to the House of Nassau one hundred thousand crowns already assigned to the late Prince of Orange for debts contracted and in recognition of his great labours, especially in connection with the siege of Ghent.
The death of the Duke of Cleves has given rise to much talk here. I will not say anything as to the succession, about which you will be fully informed from other quarters, nor yet about the intimation from his most Christian Majesty to Archduke Albert to refrain from any step in that direction. Before the death took place his Majesty had exhorted the parties to settle their pretensions. The States lean to the side of Brandenburg. It is said that the King of England puts forward some claim, but it cannot have any foundation; it seems, rather, that he too leans to Brandenburg.
Expulsis Papalistis. I have been assured that the remarks touching the religion of the Republic, about which I have already advised you, were uttered by the King himself. I declared that the Republic while never failing in the good government of her State, would at the same time never depart from the faith in which she was born and bred.
London, 22nd April, 1609.
April 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 484. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The answer made by the King to Bellarmin's chaplain in reply to the King's “Apology,” was held back in the printer's hands for many weeks, during which time it was revised and corrected by his Majesty. Now they had hardly begun to sell it than it was once more recalled by a very severe order, because both printer and reader have made some grave mistakes in it. The order not only compels, upon pain of the King's displeasure, the booksellers not to publish it, but all who possess copies to bring them back, when they will be exchanged for the revised edition without further payment. All the same the city is full of copies and although it has appeared in the English tongue only it must, by now, have been translated and sent out of the kingdom. Along with this is modestly reprinted the “Apology” which the King first issued without his name. The “Apology” too has been revised and corrected in places. The present work is called a preface to the “Apology,” though it covers many pages and is longer than the “Apology.” It is addressed to the Emperor, and to all Kings, Princes and Free States of Christendom. In this work his Majesty acknowledges that he is the author of the “Apology.” It is not to be supposed that it will remain unanswered, nay, it is the universal belief that there is a desire to cut off one of the Hydra's heads and there are some who are at work on it. In it the King complains of being nine times insulted, accused and given the lie, and seven times charged with falsehood by Cardinal Bellarmin in his reply, though he was well aware that the “Apology” was the work of his Majesty. The King is biting and free in speech and makes frequent use of jokes. He declares that he had great cause to write the “Apology” in defence of the oath of allegiance in reply to numerous Pontifical Breves and to save his life from the machinations of the Catholics. He says he does not now reply to all Bellarmin's points, as the Cardinal has omitted to reply to some of his. He begs his adversary to proceed chapter by chapter.
He frequently urges all Princes of Christendom to oppose the Papal usurpation of authority. He declares his faith to be that of the Primitive Church; says that the Popes not the protestants have changed it. In a long passage he shows that the description of the coming of Antichrist in the Apocalypse applies to the Popes of the last nine hundred years and that Rome is Babylon. He concludes that the shameless way in which Bellarmin has twisted the passages “Pasce oves meas” and “Tibi dabo claves” etc. has led him to prove that the Pope is the Antichrist, nor will he ever abandon that position till the Pope abandons the temporal superiority. Declares that the way to unite the Church is by general Councils, but that they are too deeply hated by the Popes. Throughout the book he attacks the Pope, Cardinal Bellarmin and the Jesuits. He inveighs against the supremacy and avarice of Rome, says that there they traffic in souls and that “omnia sunt venalia Romœ”; that one looks no longer to heaven but to one's purse for pardon. He attributes the virtues of the Agnus Dei to diabolical witchcraft. Says he is quite as deeply reverenced as the Pope, and that he has hundreds of thousands of subjects as well born as Bellarmin. Says the authority of the Cardinalate is usurped; and that they are merely priests or deacons. Says the Cardinal is at one with the Puritans in denying the divine origin of Episcopal Authority. Calls all the Jesuits Puritan-Papists who have introduced a Jesuitical theology. He often talks ironically and sometimes flippantly of things venerable. This may furnish subject for invective against the book to the embittering of feeling about the Catholics who are numerous, as I find to my surprise at this solemn season. So much in brief have I been able, with the help of others, to gather about a book written in a tongue so different from my own.
London, 22nd April, 1609.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 484A. First page.
“Triplici nodo triplex cuneus,”
An Apology for the Oath of Allegiance against the two Bulls of Pope Paul V. and the last letters of Cardinal Bellarmin to G. Blackwell the Archpriest.
Tunc omnes Populi clamaverunt et dixerunt, magna est veritas et prevalet.
2nd page.
An Apology for the Oath of Allegiance, first published anonymously, the author is now to be known as the Most High and Mighty Prince, James, by the Grace of God King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith.
Together with his Majesty's advertisements to the Most Mighty Monarchs, Free Princes and States of Christendom.
Psalm 2, verse x.
Et nunc Reges intelligite, erudimini qui judicastis terram.
Rom. 14, verse 13.
Non ergo amplius invicem judicemus sed hoc judicate magis, ne ponatis offendiculum fratri.
3rd page.
To the Most Sacred and Invincible Prince Rudolph the Second, by Divine Clemency elected Emperor of the Romans, King of Germany, Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia etc. Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and Wirtemberg, Count of Tyrol, and to all the other Most High and Puissant Kings and Excellent Free Princes and States of Christendom, our beloved Brothers, Cousins, Relations, Allies, Friends,—James, by the Grace of God King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Professor, Maintainer and Defender of the true Christian Catholic and Apostolic Faith professed in the ancient primitive Church and sealed with the blood of so Many Saintly Bishops and other faithful, crowned with the glory of Martyrdom—wishes eternal felicity in Christ our Saviour.
4th page.
To You, Most Sacred and Invincible Emperor, Most High, Mighty and Sovereign King, Most Excellent Princes and Free States, my beloved Brothers and Cousins.
April 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 485. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The truce for twelve years was signed on the 9th of this month and ratified on the 11th by the Archduke and by the Deputies of the States; on the 14th it was published in Antwerp and the 15th there was a fete and fireworks. The Archduke pledges himself to secure the King of Spain's signature within three months; if not he will join arms with the Dutch to compel the observance of the truce. The Kings of France and England are pledged to the same. For the next two years the King of France will pay two hundred thousand crowns a year to the Dutch to maintain four thousand French infantry now in their service.
No taxes are to be repealed, and so after the first two years during which they are to repay their debt to the English Crown and to recover the cautionary cities, they will rapidly accumulate money, and establish a well-ordered Republic.
D'Aerssens told me that in a few days they will begin to disband. He said that the average pay of the troops, taking officers and men, foot and horse together, was at the rate of twenty-six Venetian lire per head per month of thirty days; except the Swiss, who get a little more. He said if your Serenity wanted any of these troops he could secure them for you.
Paris, 23rd April, 1609.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 486. The Terms of the Truce.
Thirty eight clauses.
April 22. Consiglio de' Dieci. Lettere di Ambasciatori. Busta 14. Venetian Archives. 487. Marc' Antonio Correr, to the Chiefs of the Ten.
Acknowledging copy of the sentence of the Ten against Michel Saler. (fn. 3)
London, 22nd April, 1609.
April 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 488. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
D'Aerssens told me that the alliances between his Masters and France and England will presently be concluded. He proposed that Venice should also come in; as his Masters are now declared Free States the King of Spain could not complain of such a step.
Paris, 23rd April, 1609.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 489. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports a fleet of 30 sail, pirates, at the Straits. Don Luis Fasciardo has express orders to engage them; but it is certain they will avoid an encounter. They have their nest in Algiers.
Madrid, 24th April, 1609.
April 27. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 490. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and spoke as follows in substance:
I will be brief. I return thanks for the grace granted to that unfortunate English mariner. It was an act of mingled mercy and equity. Wherever he may be he will extol the benignity of the Serene Republic, and from this time forward our ships will learn to conform to the laws of your Serenity, who will not be troubled any further.
I pass on to the affair of the “Corsaletta.” I am informed from England that the merchants interested are complaining and plucking his Majesty's cloak as he goes out, and he therefore urges on me the conclusion of the affair. If your Serenity desires to grant it of justice we will receive it of justice, if of grace, we will receive it of grace, but we implore you to bring it to an end; it would be but a brief business if you would command the execution of your orders.
The Doge replied that from the report of Sig. Nicolò Sagredo, lately a member of the Cabinet, who was present on the spot, it appears that he was quite ready to carry out the orders received, but the agent of the parties concerned refused acceptance in order not to prejudice the sureties in England; because the goods had deteriorated in warehouse. It is clear that there is here no failure on the part of officials to execute orders. Sagredo also declares that he advised the agent to call a Council of Twelve (fn. 4) to come to terms about the ship which was in need of overhauling, but neither was this suggestion adopted. We therefore do not see that the officials could have done more. God knows how ready we are to gratify his Majesty, but we cannot do the impossible. However, these gentlemen can call Sagredo again and hear his evidence, and if they can find a way to satisfy his Majesty they will take it most willingly.
The Ambassador said “I remember quite well the report made by Sig. Sagredo, which coincides exactly with what your Serenity has just said. If Sig. Sagredo is speaking of his actual knowledge there is an end of the matter; I must close my mouth. But if he is merely speaking out of prudence, making a case out of the facts, I beg your Serenity to tell me what answer I am to give to his Majesty. I will transmit it faithfully in your Serenity's very words. The Englishman who went from Schio to Canea with his merchandize was a mere factor, he had not sufficient powers; but let that pass. If Sig. Sagredo affirms that this Agent refused consignment there is an end of our case.” He then begged to be told what he was to say to his Majesty, or, better still, that the Ambassador Correr be instructed to communicate viva voce. The Doge promised that the Cabinet would deal with the matter in a way friendly to the King and the Ambassador.
The Ambassador then said that young Lord Arundel (il Baruncino di Aronden) who had been for some months in this city, and was on the point of departure, desired the Ambassador to present his thanks for honours and favours received, and not satisfied with that he was now at the door of the Cabinet and begged to be allowed to do his duty viva voce, to kiss his Serenity's hem and take his leave of these gentlemen.
His Lordship was introduced and paid his respects, speaking very low. He said he was going a tour through the Dominions of the Republic. The Doge promised that he would everywhere be welcomed. The Ambassador then presented his own nephew; afterwards they took leave.
April 30. Minutes of the Senate; Venetian Archives. 491. Instructions to Antonio Pisani, elected to the command of the galleys of the condemned.
As regards English vessels by which our commerce has been so long molested, we enclose copies of the convention of Sept. 24, 1605, showing the agreement with the King of England as to the method of dealing with them.
Ayes 150.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 5.


  • 1. Alexander Seaton, Lord Fyvie, Earl of Dunfermline.
  • 2. See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1608–1610, pp. 151–162, for the Earl of Thomond's account of the capture of Jennings.
  • 3. For fraud in the Mint. See Cons. X. Processi. 14 March, 1609.
  • 4. See sup. p. 251. Note.