Venice: July 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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Venice: July 1609', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, (London, 1904) pp. 292-308. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

July 1609

July 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 544. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Luis Fasciardo has sailed from Lisbon with sixteen galeons, fully armed, to find and attack the pirates.
Madrid, 5th July, 1609.
July 6. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 545. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Persian Ambassadors are still here.
Prague, 6th July, 1609.
July 7. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 546. The Ambassador of England came to the Cabinet. When he had taken his seat the Doge congratulated him on his return to Venice in good health. The Ambassador returned thanks for the favour shown to the Englishmen who were arrested. He added that the police (sbirri) had behaved most rudely, but police are always police all the world over. He could not entirely free the gentleman, but he would excuse his conduct on the ground of his youth and ignorance of the ways of the world. The Ambassador then went on as follows: “This morning I will touch on an affair of ours to see whether we cannot come to a resolution of our differences. This is a matter I have frequently mentioned before on express orders from my Master, the matter of the ship (the “Corsaletta”) which was seized by the great galleys. The interested parties cry out at court and your Serenity knows what weight they have and that Sovereigns must protect their own subjects. These parties in their efforts to recover their capital, have again petitioned the King to give orders to approach your Serenity on the matter, as they do not admit the arguments advanced on this side. Last week I received from Lord Salisbury a statement of their case, drawn up by the largest owner in the ship and its cargo. I cannot put the case better than by handing in a literal translation of the letter addressed by this merchant to myself.”
The letter was handed to the secretary and ran as follows:
“Letter from Thomas Cordal, English merchant, to his Majesty's Ambassador in Venice.” Dated “19th April last.”
“My Lord Ambassador, I have been informed by Libbi (sic) Chapman, my servant, of the reasons adduced by the Illustrious Governor-General of Candia, for not restoring my ship, the “Costley” (Costlei), her cargo and her crew, in obedience to orders from the Doge and Senate. I think it very strange for the following reasons which I now submit to your Lordship.
1. “My servant, Arthur Sheers, who, the Governor-General says, would not accept consignment of the ship and goods, went to Candia from Schio for no other purpose than to secure the liberation of the ship, its master and men; he spent time over the journey, and, besides, he neglected other important business at Schio.
2. “If he could have received the ship why need he have spent money in sending to your Excellency in Venice on purpose to get another order?
3. “I ask if it is likely that the Captain-General would have restored the ship and goods but required a second order for the captain and men?
4. “Arthur Sheeres (sic) came to Candia in the month of February 1607. At an interview the Governor-General first of all said he had no orders to release the ship; but he presently admitted that he had orders but not sufficient. Sheeres accordingly sent to Venice to your Excellency to obtain full orders. Now, if the Governor General had been ready to consign the ship, why did he not, in my agent's absence, hand her over to the captain, who was also supercargo and had as much authority as my agent, nay more according to Italian usage?
5. “Finally, only a small part of the cargo was insured. She carried goods to the value of 14,000 pounds sterling, and was only insured for 1,500 pounds. Arthur Sheeres did not know this except by conjecture. It is therefore improbable or rather impossible that he should have wished to refer to the insurance office.
“This is the case as it stands until I have further news from my factor, who is in Schio. I have laid these considerations before the Privy Council. I trust I shall receive compensation for my losses from his Serenity and the Senate, seeing that justice has been done here on English subjects at the instance of the Venetian Ambassador in England. And with this I kiss your Excellency's hand.”
When the letter had been read the Ambassador added “I will pause for a reply.” The illustrious Nicolo Sagredo, Savio of the Council for the week, rose and said “I was Governor of Candia at the time of the episode. It rests with me, therefore, to relate to your Excellency exactly what occurred. Your Excellency must know that the island of Candia is two hundred and twenty miles long. The fortress of Canea is a hundred miles from the fortress of Candia, the usual residence of the Governors-General. This ship was brought into Canea by the captain of the great galley. He had her unladed, the cargo put in one or more of the warehouses and the crew in prison, keeping four or five on board his own galley. Arthur Seles (sic) arrived from Schio, and petitioned me for the restitution of the ship and cargo and the release of the men. I replied that of myself I could not do this, and I added that he must bring me an order from your Serenity and I would obey at once. He returned to Schio, and after one month or two, I forget which, he came again to Candia and presented letters from your Serenity instructing me to consign the ship and goods to the accredited representatives of the owners, and to release the crew. I went to Canea to carry out these instructions. The warehouse was opened, and as some of the goods were found to be damaged—for, if I remember rightly, the cargo consisted of wine, currants, and, I think, webs—he said he wished to call a Council of Twelve (fn. 1) on the damaged goods. Presently he came back and said that on thinking it over, he would not take the risk of rendering himself liable to the underwriters in England, who had insured for eight thousand sequins, and he refused to accept con- signment, although I offered to specify on the inventory the sound, the ruined and the damaged goods if he would only receive them. My successor, the illustrious Capello, arrived, and Arthur wished us to sign some documents, but we would not interfere further. Thus I have done all that was necessary for the execution of your Serenity's orders, nor have I ever seen any despatch except this one. That is how the matter happened and I have reported it in all truth and sincerity. Arthur too would bear me out if he spoke the truth, for he could not say otherwise. As for the ship, Arthur said she would require overhauling; that it would cost three thousand ducats; that it would take a lot of wood which must be brought from Venice. I left him at liberty to take away the ship and to do what he liked with her. I have heard from the Illustrious Bon, who touched at Canea on his way back from Constantinople, that she had been refitted and sent to take in a cargo of corn. But that can be gathered from his Lordship himself. For myself I could not make surrender without orders and as soon as I received orders I carried them out; but Arthur, for his own safety, refused acceptance. I did not seize the ship, nor did I warehouse the cargo, nor did I see it, nor did I imprison the crew. All was done by the captain of the great galleys. I had no other part in it except in carrying out your Serenity's orders.”
The Ambassador did not appear satisfied with this statement and said, with some heat, that the point of his complaint was this, that as Sagredo had not carried out the original order of the Senate, and in consequence the cargo had suffered, the interested parties now demanded compensation for loss, which took place in the time which elapsed between the arrival of the first and the execution of the second order. Nor was it probable that the first order had not been received, as Arthur, on his first arrival in that kingdom, had notice of it, and had informed the Ambassador about it. Nor could Arthur have said that he refused acceptance for his own security so as not to compromise himself with the underwriters, for the cargo was worth forty-two thousand dollars and was insured only on a fifteenth part of it. It was therefore unlikely that the question of the insurance had detained him.
Sagredo replied that “truth” was stronger than “probability.” That the affair stood precisely as he had represented it.
The Ambassador repeatedly endeavoured, by a line of conjecture, to prove that Sagredo had received not one but two orders and had neglected the first. He questioned Sagredo as to whether he had received the order which he acknowledges, the first or the second time that Arthur was in Candia, and whether Arthur himself had presented it or others than Arthur, or whether it had reached him in despatches.
Sagredo said he stood firm on this point only, not wishing to commit himself to particulars as he could not trust his memory, namely that the moment he received his Serenity's orders he put them in execution. The date of the receipt can easily be found in his journal now in the Palace.
As his Serenity noticed that the Ambassador grew hotter and hotter at these questions and replies, which were numerous on both sides, and that he showed no signs of being satisfied, but kept demanding a resolution on the subject to be laid before his Majesty, he turned to the Ambassador and said that as far as his memory served him there were two orders issued in the name of the Senate and at the Ambassador's request. The first, one might believe, though he did not affirm it, was handed to the petitioners to be by them presented. Two months later his lordship returned and asked for fuller and more explicit orders and these were also issued and the Ambassador seemed very well satisfied. It might quite well be that the petitioners had kept back the first order and had used the second and more favourable order only, and it was to this that the Governor-General Sagredo had given due execution. The Doge added that the obedience of public servants was not to be doubted. Woe to them if they disobeyed, for without obedience the Republic would not be a Sovereign State.
The Ambassador declared that he never doubted the obedience of the servants of the State; but he persisted in doubts about the receipt of the first order, and asked what he was to write in order to quiet his Majesty.
His Serenity replied that he might write thus; to assure the King and the Earl of the good will of the Republic and to tell them that accidents will happen. At that time the sea was swarming with pirates, much more than now. The great galleys were out for this reason and saw an enemy in every ship they met. They fell in with this ship, and from certain indications they took her for a pirate and captured her. Assured by his Majesty that she was not, and to oblige him, we gave orders to set the ship at liberty with all her cargo and crew; that when the order reached our Governor-General it was promptly obeyed, and he desired to hand over everything just as it stood. It would have been better had the goods not been damaged, but being damaged they could not be sound. All had been done that could be done by Venetian officials; one has to bow to accidents. It being impossible to wind up the affair in perfection it is as well to adopt the best course possible, especially as there is no lack of good will. Had the goods been kept back, then there might have been ground for complaint, but when all is restored just as it stands it is only reasonable that people should be satisfied.
While the Doge was speaking Sagredo had found in his journal the despatch of the Senate of May 2nd, 1608, and the date of its receipt, which was June.
This appeared to satisfy the Ambassador completely.
The Ambassador then spoke in favour of Henry Pravis (sic, Previs), an English merchant, persecuted by the goldsmith Pencini about the pearls sent from Constantinople, and kept back by the Ambassador Bon because they were found in a letter contrary to regulations. He asked for justice and the restoration of the Englishman's honour.
He was told that this would be done. Bon spoke briefly on the topic.
The Ambassador then introduced the Prince of Wales' Master of the Horse, who was in Italy to furnish the stables of his master. (fn. 2)
July 8. Consiglio de' Dieci. Parti Communi. Venetian Archives. 547. That the Jewels and the Armoury be shown to an English Baron who is passing through the city.
Ayes 17.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 0.
July 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 548. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The States of Holland are drawing up their constitution. There is some slight friction between them on account of ancient rivalries, but the desire to preserve their independence by uniting will render an accommodation easy. At the Hague are some Commissioners from Flanders to arrange the question of trade for Antwerp and Bruges. The Ambassadors who negotiated the truce have returned to London. They were honoured and feted by the States, and each of them received ten thousand crowns' worth of silver-gilt plate, and other six thousand crowns' worth from the Archdukes. Their Highnesses are advised that the confessor (Brizuela) has left Spain with the ratification and an additional sum of six hundred thousand crowns to pay off the troops and sixty thousand a month for the ordinary garrison.
Expulsis Papalistis. The King has been much pleased with the news that his most Christian Majesty has accepted the book and has promised to read it in a French translation, though he added that it would have pleased him better to hear that his advice to abandon the undertaking had been adopted, and that he would like to have two hours' talk with the King on this subject of religion in which his own case had given him such experience that no one was better fitted to offer advice. The book has not been sent to Switzerland, as the King intended, for it seems that this Crown has never written to that nation. Nor has Chiz, who was to take it to Sweden, left yet.
His Majesty is considering the marriage of the Princess, who is now fifteen and growing daily in beauty and grace. After the marriage of the Margrave of Brandenburg's daughter to the son of the Duke of Wirtemberg, to whom his Majesty had leaned on the ground of religion, it seems that he has turned his attention to the Prince of Poland, and possibly some movement may be made in that direction when the King's book is sent to that country.
The King continues his support in the case of the goods stolen from the “Reniera and Soderina.” He ordered one of his Sergeants-at-arms to force the houses of the debtors. By this extraordinary means the other two sureties for the execution of the unconditional judgement—which was for ten thousand ducats—have been made prisoners. For further security certain furniture has also been sequestrated. The Judges raise great difficulties on the point, in spite of the fact that the execution is made in virtue of their judgement. I have supported it so far, also Portis (sic) has been put back in his original prison from which he was removed on the appeal of sham creditors, who had him transferred to another tribunal with a view to proceeding against his property, but this merely meant restoring him to his friends and relations.
As to piracy his Majesty has come to no decision in spite of all the petitions and offers of the merchants of London Market. It seems, too, that the abuses in the Admiralty are being hushed up.
Yesterday the King left for Theobalds, whence he will return in five or six days, and after a week at Greenwich he and the Queen and the Prince will set out on their Progress towards Salisbury. This will occupy about fifty days. I will not fail to offer my services to his Majesty either to attend him or to await him here, and I will take the opportunity to forward your Serenity's interests.
London, 8th July, 1609.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 549. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
This evening at twenty-one o'clock, the Pope, having heard of my indisposition, sent to call my secretary. He went and the Pope enquired affectionately after my health and insisted on hearing all the details of my illness; he said that had he known he would have sent to visit me.
The Pope then went on to say that the King of England had recently published a book—its nature might be gathered from a consideration of its author—and had issued eight-hundred copies, but finding that there were points in it which would not stand the hammer he had recalled them all; only fifteen, however, came in. It was republished in English and Latin and widely circulated. The Pope had not seen it, but had been told by some one who had read it, that it contained most impious heresies. The Pope had a paper in his hand and read out all the notes it contained and discussed them. He said the book was addressed to Sovereign Princes. It was possible that, as there was an English Ambassador at Venice, he would present it to the Republic; that it would be circulated, would fall into many hands and be read, owing to human curiosity. Thus evil doctrine would be inbibed. He therefore desired to tell me all this, so that, in his name, I might write to your Serenity in order that if the book were presented your Serenity might not receive it, and might issue the orders necessary to prevent it from being read by anyone. He would give sufficient instructions on the subject to the Inquisitor.
The Secretary replied that he would obey his orders and that I would comply with the request. For himself he desired to assure his Holiness that the piety of the Republic would take the necessary steps to prevent the publication of such damnable doctrine.
The Pope replied that he did not doubt it, but he had made this request in discharge of his duty. He then handed the paper to the Secretary and begged that it also might be sent.
Rome, 11th July, 1609.
Enclosed in preceding despatch. 550. The King of England, in the preface addressed to all Sovereigns, declares that he is the propagator and defender of the Catholic faith, and yet he openly teaches the following, among other, heresies:—
p. 42. He condemns the intercession of Saints, private Mass, Communion in one kind, Transubstantiation, adoration of Christ in the Eucharist, Works of Supererogation, the treasure of the Church.
p. 43. The worship of relics and images he styles “intolerable idolatry.”
p. 45. He denies that the true Cross on which our Saviour hung is to be worshipped.
p. 46. He denies purgatory, jubilees, indulgences, and satisfactions for the dead.
p. 48. He denies that Saint Peter was the head of the Church and held the true primacy.
p. 51. He says that not Peter but the Holy Ghost is the Vicar of Christ. This is a new heresy or a return to the old, which makes the Holy Ghost inferior to Christ.
p. 56. He contends that the Pope is Antichrist and Rome the seat of Antichrist, and this he endeavours to prove at length.
p. 76. He says that Enoch and Ham, for many thousand years, were in heaven with glorified bodies. This is a new heresy, for it puts them in heaven before the ascension of Christ.
p. 77. He says he holds not for Christians those who believe that Enoch and Ham were slain by Antichrist and yet it is expressly stated in Apoc. II. and in the Holy Fathers.
p. 93. He says that the Agnus Dei of wax puts out fire by witchcraft.
p. 139. He says that every one should search the Scriptures and base his faith on that sure foundation, that is equivalent to saying that every one is to create himself a judge of the dogmas of faith, not to believe in the Church but to be content with his own private judgements.
July 13. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 551. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Persian Ambassadors have received their congè.
Prague, 13th July, 1609.
July 13. Collegio, Notatorio. Venetian Archives. 552. The regulations for the auction of the tax on currants. (fn. 3)
July 13. Minutes of the Senate, Mar. Venetian Archives. 553. In the Cabinet; present the Cinque Savii sopra la Mercantia.
The time is approaching when the new duty on currants, imposed by the Senate in 1580, must be put up to auction. The Savii sopra la Mercantia are charged to draw up the regulations required to check smuggling aud to secure the proper working of the tax.
Clause 5. The officials are to keep a note of all sales, and all vendors and purchasers are bound to declare their operations.
Clause 7. All foreigners not domiciled in Zante or Cephalonia are required to pay caution money at the custom house.
Clause 8. All Venetians lading currants for Venice must do so on Venetian bottoms or others permitted by law, and must declare amount.
Clause 14. Any one who wishes to export currants must first deposit the dues for the amount he names and specify the ship on which he intends to lade.
Clause 18. The lease to last a year.
Clause 21. Venetians or Venetian subjects may not enter into partnership with foreigners by the decrees of the Senate 19th April, 1524, and 26th February, 1536.
Ayes 20.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 2.
July 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. Expulsis Papalistis. 554. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Nuncio in very moderate terms complained to the King that his Majesty had received and praised the King of England's book, although it contained passages in direct opposition to the Catholic teaching and to Papal authority. The Spanish Ambassador in England had refused to receive it, and so had the King of Spain.
I am told the King answered that as a present from a friendly Sovereign he could not but receive it and use polite expressions, but he had not read it, nor did he hold himself capable of understanding theological subjects. He had handed it to Cardinal du Perron to look at, and had ordered Cotton, the Jesuit, to do the same. Thanks to this affair of the English book Cotton is beginning to approach the King. He makes progress each day.
The King himself said to me in audience that the King of England's book exhorts all sovereigns to open their eyes about the papal claim to release subjects from their oath of allegiance, but those who held their tongues knew better still how to preserve their authority and dignity; referring to himself.
Paris, 14th July, 1609.
July 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 555. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Saturday an express arrived from France. This resulted in the French Ambassador asking for audience the day following. I have not been able to find out, as yet, what his business was but I surmise that it is about Cleves and his Most Christian Majesty's desire to be appointed arbitrator.
Yesterday the French Ambassador was in a great panic, as he was informed that three persons had left this kingdom with the intention of poisoning a shirt of his Master by means of the washerwoman. The informer declared himself a Catholic and said he was moved by his conscience to reveal the plot. He furnished many particulars of the height, the condition and the country of those whom he denounces as having undertaken this iniquity. He was taken before Lord Salisbury, who recognised him for a heretic minister. This has almost shattered his credit. Nevertheless, as a precaution, warning was sent by express to France. He is kept prisoner, but stands by his statement. It seems that he may possibly have come here by arrangement with the other three to effect something against the life of the Ambassador.
Three days ago M. de Caron returned from the Hague. He sent to inform me that he now bears the title of Ambassador, and that he will visit me as soon as he has been presented to his Majesty. The States have given the same title to their Resident in Paris and will send an Ambassador to Brussels. The patrimony of the family of Nassau is settled and divided between the Prince of Oranges and Count Maurice. Oranges has secured Breda, but not so independent as he wished. M. de Bethune is appointed governor and will enter the town with his regiment of French.
The Cordelier (Neyen), who has had a hand in Flemish affairs, has been appointed Bishop of Ypres.
The Grand Marshal of Poland arrived here a few days ago, merely on a journey of curiosity to see the Court. He has seen the King for the exchange of simple compliments and will receive his conge to-day or to-morrow, as he is to go at once to Spa. On his arrival I sent my Secretary to present compliments, and the Grand Marshall has not failed to return the compliment and to honour this house of your Serenity. He has not, as yet, visited any other Ambassador.
The book written by the Bishops in Latin as a rejoinder to the Chaplain of Cardinal Bellarmin and the Jesuit Parsons has been published, and so has Barclay's book “De auctoritate Pontificia.” An “Appologia,” directed against the King's book, has been added to the squib in which it was shown that passages of the scripture apply to his Majesty, to Queen Elizabeth and Henry VIII. This shows that it is merely a fiction that the work was printed in Flanders; it was really printed here. This has greatly increased his Majesty's indignation. Yet this week, it has been more widely circulated than ever, in spite of the obvious risk to the lives of those who sell it.
The Scottish Parliament is closed without execution of the sentence on the President. And so if no other cyclone from Rome burst upon his head he may hope to live yet. A bill was introduced to prevent the children of Catholic parents who had died abroad from inheriting. It was considered too harsh, and thanks to the opposition of the Earl of Mar, though he is a stern Puritan, it was thrown out. By the King's orders the heirs of Hamilton who slew the Regent have been reinstated in his confiscated property.
London, 15th July, 1609.
July 18. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 556. Giacomo Vendramin, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
A ship has arrived at Leghorn from the Indies, whither she was sent by the late Grand Duke to reconnoitre. She brings a cargo of parrots, apes and such things of little importance.
The famous pirates Ward and Danziker, desiring to enjoy their ill-gotten gains in peace, give out that they would like to settle in Italy, but they require guarantees that they shall not be molested.
I am told, however, that negotiations are going on on behalf of Ward only, who may possibly settle in Tuscany. He will bring with him one hundred and fifty thousand crowns of plunder. Nothing is said about the other, who is closer than Ward and finds no one to speak for him.
Florence, 18th July, 1609.
July 18. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Roma. Venetian Archives. 557. The Nuncio came to the Cabinet and said:
“I imagine that the Ambassador Mocenigo will have told your Serenity of the message our Lord sent through a secretary on account of the Ambassador's indisposition. It refers to a book printed, or about to be printed, by the King of England and addressed to all Sovreigns. His Holiness has charged me to speak to your Serenity on the matter and to say that having received a report on the book it is certain that it contains not only express heresies long ago condemned but also scandalous and intollerable passages. I have been furnished with specimens of some.” He here unfolded a paper and read the same passages as the Ambassador Mocenigo sent in his recent despatches. He then handed the paper to his Serenity and added “Our Lord trusts that the religion and piety of the Serene Republic will prevent this book from being circulated in its dominions, and will take care that it be read by no one, nor” he added in a low voice “received, for it may produce all sorts of ill effects for religion if the seeds of such evil teaching be published and spread abroad. His Holiness is pursuaded that this will not be permitted by the prudence, goodness and piety of the Serene Republic.”
The Doge replied, “The Ambassador Mocenigo has informed us that his Holiness sent him a message of the nature that your right-reverend Lordship has just explained; he has also sent us the passages you have read. As to the book we must say that in our Dominions we keep a watchful eye on all that may injure religion. The Republic is very Christian and very pious. On this point of the book all care will be taken, but we must use a suitable formula for, as you are aware, one must keep up one's friendships in this world and not break with persons so great as the King of England.” He then goes on to assert the piety of the Republic, which will never abandon the true Catholic faith.
July 21. Minutes of the Senate, Roma. Venetian Archives. 558. We have been informed by the English Ambassador that his Majesty has resolved to present a book, written by him, to all the Princes of Christendom, and that it has already been sent out. It is of the highest importance to come to a decision as to our answer to his Majesty's Ambassador, should he come to the Cabinet to present the book:
Be it moved that, should the English Ambassador come to the Cabinet to present this book, the Most Serene Prince shall say that this step is another proof of his Majesty's goodwill towards the Republic, which returns due thanks for the honour and the courtesy; and on the Prince receiving the book, he shall at once hand it to the Grand Chancellor, who immediately, and without allowing anyone to see it, shall place it under lock and key in the Secret Chancery, among the state papers committed to his care, where it shall lie till a further decision be taken about it by the Senate. Expulsis Papalistis.
Read to the Cabinet sitting in the Senate.
Strictest secrecy imposed upon the Cabinet.
Ayes 119.
Noes 10.
Neutrals 31.
July 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 559. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope renews his request about the King of England's book, that no one be allowed to see it. All Princes ought to take that step; but he feared the weight of the English Ambassador at Venice.
Rome, 25 July, 1609.
July 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 560. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope begged Cardinal Paravicino to approach the Emperor on the subject of refusing to receive the book and to cause his name to be removed from the frontispiece. He will instruct his Nuncios at other courts to make a similar request.
The Earl of Tyrone is living here in poverty, on the small provision his Holiness gives him. He has applied to his Catholic Majesty for some pecuniary assistance, and pleads his services in Ireland. He begs his Majesty, if he will not allow him to live in his kingdom for fear of offending the King of England, at least to save him from this life of poverty. I hear that Don Francesco de Castro encourages his hopes.
Rome, 25th July, 1609.
July 25. Minutes of the Senate, Roma. Venetian Archives. 561. To the Ambassador in Rome.
You will see from the enclosed what resolution we have come to about the King of England's book. This morning his Ambassador came to the Cabinet and made the statement of which we enclose a copy. These and the two clauses, dealing with this matter, touched on by the French Ambassador are to serve for your information. But should any representations be made to you about our having accepted the book, then, and then only, shall you use, as seems to you wisest, the papers sent you last week and those inclosed in this despatch.
As for the representations which his Holiness caused to be made to you through your Secretary and those which the Nuncio here has made to us, you are to inform his Beatitude that the wonted piety and devoutness of our Republic will cause us to act as we have always acted in all matters that concern the service of God and the Catholic faith, nor shall we allow this book to be seen, disseminated nor published in our State (nè si permetterà che questo libro sia reduto, disseminato ne publicato nel nostro Stato).
Ayes 116.
Noes 2.
Neutrals 14.
July 25. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Roma. Venetian Archives. 562. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and, when he had taken his seat, he drew from his pocket a letter and a book from under his cloak. It was a quarto volume bound in crimson velvet. Holding this to his breast he said, “To-day is St. James' day, a day of happy omen; the coronation day of our good Lord and King; and to-day I, though all unworthy, will be the means of binding still closer the bonds of friendship and good understanding which exist between the King of Great Britain and this thrice happy State, and to that end I am charged to present this letter from his Majesty.” He handed to the Secretary the following letter.
“Jacobus Dei gratia Magnæ Britanniæ, Franciæ et Hiberniæ Rex, fidei Defensor etc. Serenissimo Principi et Domino Leonardo Donato eadem gratia Venetiarum Duci, amico nostro charissimo salutem. Serenissime Princeps et amice noster charissime, Quam insigni et geminata jam injuria a Pontifice Romano, eiusque sectatoribus quibusdam, seu potius assedis, affecti simus, haud cuiquam, res ipsas æquo animo expendenti, obscurum esse potest. Primum enim cum Publicis ac solennibus Regni nostri Comitiis iurisiurandi formula (quo magis subditi nostri in fide atque officio erga nos continerentur) composita et sancita esset; protinus interdicta quædam (quæ Pontificis Brevia nuncupantur) edita et promulgata sunt, quæ iusiurandum illud a quoquam subditorum nostrorum illius disciplinam ac religionem amplexante susscipi, severissime vetabant: Idque èrat causæ cur illius iurisiurandi Apologiam (licet nomen nostrum illi appositum non fuerit) ipsi conscripsimus et evulgandam curavimus, cujus quidem exemplar legato vestro tunc temporis apud nos degenti tradidimus. Sed ne istam quidem iniuriam satis erat nobis inferri, nisi etiam graviori et recentiori lacesseremur, nimirum duobus libris nuper editis, quibus non solum superbe atque arroganter, sed etiam (honoris atque existimationis nostræ violandæ causa) maledice, contumelioseque facta est responsio. Atque ea nobis causa est, non solum eiusdem rursus Apologiæ (nostro jam nomine) edendæ et divulgandæ; sed etiam tractatus cuiusdam (præfationis loco) conscribendi e adiiciendi, quem omnibus Principibus Christianis, aliisque ordinibus, rerum publicarum admisnistrationem habentibus (quorum omnium communis nobiscum nec minori illorum quam nostræ potestatis discrimine, causa agitur) dicavimus. Cum autem vestram conditionem ac fortunam nostræ non absimilem, animo nobiscum reputaremus (nam perinde ac nobiscum nunc agitur quæ ad civilem Reipublicæ vestræ statum pertinebant a Pontifice Romano in questionem et discrimen adducebantur) non alienum existimaviums e libris nostris in lucem jam prodituris, unum ad vos mittere; eoque magis quod in illa iniuria repellanda et propulsanda, quæ ecclesiæ authoritatis prætextu rerum civilium jura occupare atque usurpare conatur, animi magnitudo in vobis clariuso eluxerit quam in aliis nonnullis quibus eam rem curæ esse multo magis expedit et in ea controversia jus ac libertatem vestræ Reipublicæ tanto cum honore defenderit. Quod quidem in extrema præfationis nostræ parte (sed ita ut nominis vostri haudquaquam facta sit mentio) strictim attigmius. Itaque ut per legatum nostrum illo tempore sumus polliciti, nos in ea causa defendenda nunquam vobis defuturos, sic librum hunc nostrum, quasi Tesseram eiusdem voluntatis erga vos propensissime a vobis accipi cupimus, quam si occasio postulabit libentissime comprobabimus. Quod reliquum est Cel. Vestræ salutem et felicitatem exoptamus.
Datum ex Palatio nostro Vuestmonasterii die 28 Maii 1609.
Cel. Vestræ Amicus Amantissimus Jacobus Rex.
When the letter had been read the Ambassador said “and here is the book which his Majesty sends in a present to your Serenity, and I now present it.” He accordingly handed the book to his Serenity, and then added, “Forasmuch as it is possible that your Serenity or some of your Excellencies may conceive suspicion of the passages which affect the Pope's person on the ground that they are written by the King of England, a Sovereign who professes a different religion, his Majesty has expressly ordered me to remove all doubt by declaring that he did not write this book to criticise other Sovereigns nor to sow other religions in their States. The principal scope and intention of the book is to warn Princes not to permit their authority to be touched, as the Pope is endeavouring to lay hands on crowns, sovereignty and temporal jurisdiction. Nor has his Majesty desired, in doing so, to play the part of Theologian but of King; and when a King plays the part of a King he is fulfilling his proper functions. And in truth we must hold that the reasons which induced a Sovereign, who is forever immersed in the affairs of his government, to write a book and dedicate it to all the Sovereigns, his brothers, are grave indeed. If you will allow me I will briefly explain those reasons. It is now three years since that horrible plot in England, which we name the Gunpowder Plot, was laid, hatched and brought to an issue by those who are called of the society of Jesus. At this very day five of the principal conspirators are still alive. The high court of Parliament (la gran curia del supremo Parliamento), considering the danger which had been run and the machinations against the King's life, met together and drew up a declaration that when a Sovereign is excommunicated his subjects are not thereby absolved from their oath of allegiance, nor is it lawful to slay him. They drafted a form of oath and submitted it to his Majesty who with his own hand cancelled many passages, and confined it strictly to the point of temporal dominion and authority, and the law of nature. I remember to have presented a copy to your Serenity. When this form of oath, which my master exacted from his subjects, was known at Rome it caused displeasure. The Pope addressed a Brief to his dependents in England, who are numerous, condemning the oath, but not making it as clear as he did a few months later in a second Brief, that he intended to forbid the taking of the oath. Then followed the arrest of the famous Archpriest (Blackwell) and his subscription of the oath. Whereupon Cardinal Bellarmin, by the Pope's orders, published an attack on the oath. To this his Majesty thought fit to reply, but not under his own name, for two reasons, first, because a King's business is to command not to discuss; second, because the Cardinal was not his peer. Two answers to this “Apology” appeared; one by Mathæus Tortus, a creature of the Cardinal—this is supposed to be the work of the Cardinal himself—the other by the Jesuit Parsons, a well-known man, and one of the five conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot. These two books, one in Latin the other in English, reached England and greatly disturbed the King because of the defamations and calumnies in which they abounded. His Majesty is styled “apostate,” “heretic,” “persecutor;” that is touching on government. The King accordingly has been obliged, when replying, to abandon his original intention and to show, in various passages, the growth of his belief, and that which touches his conscience, not, as I have already said, with a view to impeaching other Sovereigns or spreading a novel doctrine, but to arouse them to a consideration of the question of temporal authority, which the Pope is attempting to violate. Sure it is that if the Pope publishes provisions and decrees to prevent the inundation of Rome by the Tiber, Sovereigns ought to employ the same device and make every provision to prevent inundation by the Pontiff. This simile is just to my purpose: for as long as the Pope confines himself to matters spiritual, his proper sphere, he may be said to flow in his bed; but when he tries to lay hands on temporal authority and jurisdiction, and thereby to overflow and flood the whole world, then he leaves his bed. Spiritual and temporal are incompatible; they cannot stand together. It is to the consideration of this that my master rouses and stimulates Sovereigns and this Most Serene Republic; nor can he believe that any of them would ever give up so important a point and prove a traitor, I will not say to himself—no Prince can be that—but to the commonweal. To conclude, I can not find more suitable words than those of his Majesty's letter,” and taking a copy that he held in his hand he read, “itaque ut per legatum nostrum illo tempore sumus polliciti, nos in ea causa defendenda nunquam vobis defuturos; sic librum hunc nostrum quasi Teseram eiusdem voluntatis erga vos propensissimæ a vobis accepi cupimus, quam si occasio postulabit libentissime comprobabimus.” He then said he was glad that his Majesty had named him, for, although it was not necessary, he was able to assert that his Majesty would ever be ready to defend the Republic, which might, in the King's own words, preserve this book as a pledge of his good-will, and he added “I will close with this infallible precept of my master, 'the King of Great Britain can never deceive any man.'”
The Doge replied, “My Lord Ambassador, over and above the other bonds, which are many, that bind us to his Majesty, it has pleased him to give us this further proof of his regard, love and confidence, for which we thank him much. This book, so skilfully compiled, is worthy of his Majesty's ability, and becomes all the more so from the fact that it was not written with a view to disseminate strange doctrine, but solely for the defence of temporal jurisdiction which closely touches all sovereigns. On this ground we receive the book and also as a fresh sign of his Majesty's kindly disposition towards the Republic, which the Republic heartily reciprocates.” The Ambassador said that he was very glad to find that his Serenity took his representations in the sense intended by his Majesty. He then went on to add that he had, contrary to current rumour, been confirmed for some time longer in his Embassy. He professed his satisfaction at this resolution of his Majesty, as he was well content with his sojourn in Venice.
He again recommended the suit of Antonio Dotto, for the rehearing of his case.
The Doge replied that the rumour of the Ambassador's recall had been displeasing to him, as the Ambassador was greatly liked, and his Serenity expatiated in praise of his Lordship.
As to Dotto, the question would be brought up again in the Ten as the necessary six months had now elapsed since the question was suspended, and all lawful help is promised.
The Ambassador returned thanks and retired.
The moment he was gone the Doge handed the book, which he had held all the time, to the Magnificent Grand-Chancellor, in obedience to the order of the Senate, and he carried it away to the secret Chancery, where it was deposited among the Public Archives which are under his keys.
July 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 563. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On Thursday morning the English Ambassador had audience, and a very brief one, as his Majesty had a touch of fever and was going to bed.
Paris, 28th July, 1609.
July 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 564. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday, the King set out on his ordinary Progress, and in spite of the fact that he stayed only one day in London he was pleased to allow me to kiss his hand and to offer him my humble service. I did the same severally to the Queen, the Prince, the Duke of York and the Princess. They all received me very graciously; nay, as I had orders to go to audience of the Queen the previous day, when she learned that I was dining in good company with the Ambassador of the States, she, to my confusion, sent to say that I was not to leave my company but was to go to her the day following, at the hour appointed for the Dutch Ambassador, who was postponed to me. The Court takes this for a mark of singular esteem. Her Majesty was pleased that I should give her full particulars about your Serenity's person, and while I was endeavouring to do as little injustice as possible to your singular merits she lamented bitterly that she had never had the opportunity to make your acquaintance.
The Prince went with the King on Progress, which will last six weeks. On Saturday the Queen and the rest of the Court will leave to join him.
After the usual compliments I thought it well to refer to the arguments on the subject of precedence on which his Majesty had previously shown doubts. He listened kindly.
I thanked him for his decision which had enabled me to arrest the sureties for the goods stolen from the “Soderina,” and I begged him to leave orders to conclude the case which is before the Judge of the Admiralty. His Majesty showed regret that there were such difficulties in the way.
I also took occasion to touch on the book (fn. 4) which applies certain passages of Scripture to his Majesty's predecessors. I declared my abhorrence and said that I let it be known that such bad servants of his Majesty would never be friends of mine; that the private conscience gave no warrant for interfering in the government of Princes of such high quality. I greatly grieved that some few unquiet souls should expose so many good people to suffering. The King showed great satisfaction and dwelt at length on the matter, although he was much pressed for time and was unwilling to miss the Tuesday's sermon, Tuesday being a lucky day for him.
I gave a full account of all this to Lord Salisbury, as it is not advisable to omit any signs of regard for him in order to preserve his help and protection, which is omnipotent everywhere. Finding that I spoke about this book from hearsay only, he gave me a copy. I think it deserves suppression rather than presentation to your Serenity. On account of this book a husband, his wife and maidservant, who had been selling it, are in prison. It will fare ill with them.
The Archduke Albert let it be understood that he could not with a clear conscience receive the book sent him by the King, as he had once been a personage in the church. It has not been presented to him. The Ambassador who has been sent to Flanders on this special mission is now coming back. He is designed to succeed the Ambassador in France. No one has been appointed to Flanders yet, nor has his Highness made up his mind whether he is going to replace Baron Boc, who represents him here.
The French Ambassador (fn. 5) has left, although his successor is not named yet. He has received great honours from the King, the Prince and the Court, for by his prudence and dexterity he leaves these two Kings much more united in ideas than when he came. Besides presents he has received as a favour three priests who were prisoners and has promised to take them to France.
The fellow who revealed the plot to poison his Most Christian Majesty will have won a halter, as is thought. He is found to be a villain who, for a certain sum, has twice before planned similar crimes in the Kingdom. The persons he denounced were arrested sixty miles from this, but they have cleared themselves in such a way that the penalty for his avarice will fall upon the inventor of the story only.
The Ambassador of the States was very cheerfully received by the King and treated as such.
The Spanish and the party of the Archduke do not like to hear him called Ambassador, and the Dutch have not yet named an Ambassador for Flanders, nor will they visit the representatives of those nations at this Court.
The Dutch Ambassador, in the name of his Masters, came to visit me and offered their service to your Serenity, and in the particular case of the Comincioli, whom I recommended some time ago for the recovery of some stolen goods, he told me that his Masters were determined that I should be fully satisfied and that only some details were now required for the winding up of the business. I returned suitable thanks and said that your Excellencies would always rejoice at the prosperity of the States. I will take care to maintain good relations with this Minister, which I can easily do.
The Archduke is suspicious of the large number of troops the Dutch still keep on foot. Of the fifty thousand they had they have disbanded about the fourth part only and that the most useless. The better troops they keep in their service along with all the officers. On the other hand the Dutch are much annoyed that the Archduke has garrisoned all his fortresses with Spanish troops. Many would have liked by the terms of the truce to have excluded foreigners; many hate peace by their very nature; others cannot endure the delay in sending the ratification from Spain. But nothing will really avail to reopen the war.
I have received your Serenity's despatches of the 27th of last month, enclosing information about Vangadizza.
London, 29th July, 1609.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 31. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 565. The Nuncio said “Cardinal Arrigoni has written to me about the English book and I have instructions to deal about it in the Holy Office.” Recalls that when the “Instructio aurea ad filium suum primogenitum” was published the Prior of the Booksellers' Guild was summoned and warned to allow no bookseller in Venice to sell copies. Asks that the same may be done now, and that the “Apology” be entered as a prohibited book on the register of the Holy Office. There was no intention to procure a public condemnation nor desire to mention the King's name.
The Doge repeated that all that was suitable would be done. On this occasion this book will neither be published, seen nor read. But these steps would be taken in a way to create the least dissatisfaction possible and to preserve friendship. The Nuncio professed himself well assured of the piety of the Republic. He thought the step he proposed was the best way to serve God and offend no one. He understood the claims of policy. Begged for a statement as to what the government was going to do, in order that he might forward it to Rome.


  • 1. For the Council of Twelve see supra p. 251.
  • 2. Cal. S.P. Dom., Jan. 8, 1609. A warrant to the Earl of Worcester for supplying horses for the use of the Prince. See also Birch “Life of Henry Prince of Wales.” London, 1770. App. XVII. The Prince settled his household in Dec. 1610, the Master of the Horse then being Sir Robert Douglas.
  • 3. The same as the following.
  • 4. “Pruritanus.”
  • 5. De la Boderie.