Venice: August 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: August 1609', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, ed. Horatio F Brown( London, 1904), British History Online [accessed 15 July 2024].

'Venice: August 1609', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610. Edited by Horatio F Brown( London, 1904), British History Online, accessed July 15, 2024,

"Venice: August 1609". Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610. Ed. Horatio F Brown(London, 1904), , British History Online. Web. 15 July 2024.

August 1609

Aug. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 566. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
In obedience to your Serenity's orders I went yesterday morning to the ordinary audience of the Pontiff and said that I had discharged the commission his Holiness had given me to write to your Serenity on the subject of the book published by the King of England, about which the Nuncio had also made representations in the Cabinet. I was now charged by your Serenity to say that thanks to her accustomed piety and religion the Republic would, in this case also, act as she had always done in all that concerned the service of God and the Catholic Faith, nor would she permit the book to be seen, circulated or published in her State. His Holiness showed his pleasure at hearing this. The book, he said, was really full of most vicious heresies and it must be admitted that it was the work of a great heretic; that it would have been better had your Serenity prohibited it. I replied that his Holiness as a prudent Sovereign must have duly weighed all the considerations which bore upon the present case, and that the word of your Serenity, a truthful Prince, that this book should not be seen, circulated nor published in your State, should be enough, for these words had the force of a tacit prohibition; and it is necessary in such like matters to use due regard, for the King of England was in other respects a great Sovereign and worthy of esteem. His Holiness appeared to be satisfied. He praised the piety of the Republic and said that he hoped for still better things in time. As to the book he would refer the matter to the Inquisition which would take the necessary steps.
Rome, 1st August, 1609.
Aug. 1. Senato Secreta, Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 567. Giacomo Vendramin, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The question of a safe-conduct for the pirate Ward was re-opened in Council the other day. It met some opposition on the ground that his crimes were so great and that he had offended so many Sovreigns, to which the answer was that every Sovreign would be glad to see him withdrawn from his present calling; and so the resolution was taken to open negotiations with him. They intend to send him to live in Leghorn, if he will come here, and to employ him against the Turk. There are some who urge that it is rash to trust a man who has been in such close relations with infidels and who might quite well play some trick on those who least expected it.
The King of England's book reached Florence a few days ago. It was forwarded by the Grand Duke's agent at the English Court. The Nuncio here made strong representations in the Pope's name against the reception of the work. He put in a note of the points of heresy said to exist in the book. It was at once consigned to the Confessor of his Highness, by the Nuncio's leave, and on his finding the note verified by the book itself, it is said that it was burned. The Nuncio has been praised in Rome, where the agents who accepted the book to forward it to their Masters are blamed. The Spanish Ambassador who refused is highly lauded.
Florence, the first of August, 1609.
Aug. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 568. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Sully and Jeannin are advising war over Juliers. Couriers have been sent to the States, to England, Denmark, and the German Princes to find out their views.
Paris, 2nd August, 1609.
Aug. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 569. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Ambassador here (Cornwallis) has obtained leave to retire, without the appointment of a successor. This gives offence and bad blood is waxing between the two Crowns. The Ambassador himself told me that it would be some time before they would see another English Ambassador at this Court and unless they changed their tone friendly relations could not last long. Every day questions arise over piracy. In England they promptly meet the Spanish Ambassador's wishes, while here by their usual delays they have exhausted the patience of the English Ambassador who leaves very ill pleased and, on his arrival at home, will not fail to do them all the mischief he can.
Madrid, 2nd August, 1609.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 2. Senato Secreta. Despatches from Turin. Venetian Archives. 570. Gregorio Badoer, Venetian Resident in Turin, to the Doge and Senate.
An Ambassador from England to present the King's book. The Nuncio objects.
Turin, 2nd August, 1609.
Aug. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives, 571. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Ambassador has had two audiences within the last few days. Will try to discover the subject.
Paris, 5th August, 1639.
Aug. 5. Minutes of the Senate, Rome. Venetian Archives. 572. To the King of Great Britian.
By the hands of your Ambassador here resident, we have received the letter you have written and the book which it has pleased you to give us. Both are highly esteemed by us, as we see in them a proof of the continuance of that good-will which you have always shown towards our Republic. We receive the book as a gift and a special favour conferred on our Republic, and we, therefore, return you our abundant thanks for such worthy and proper proof of your benevolence and of your magnanimity. We assure you that you shall ever find in us cordial affection and regard, and the best good-will coupled with every demonstration which may tend to preserve and increase them, as suits our ancient and perfect amity towards your Crown and our regard for your Majesty, for whom we pray God to grant long and happy life and every prosperity.
Ayes 140.
Noes 2. expulsis papalistis.
Neutrals 7.
Aug. 5. Minutes of the Senate, Rome. Venetian Archives. 573. To the Ambassador in England.
The Ambassador of the King of England came to the Cabinet on the 25th of last month, and presented us a book and a letter from his Majesty. We enclose a copy of his communication, which we forward solely for your information. We have replied, and enclose a copy of our reply, which you are to present to his Majesty in suitable form, and report to us. We are well pleased with your despatches and the diligence with which you send us news.
Ayes 140.
Noes 2. expulsis papalistis.
Neutrals 9.
Aug. 5. Minutes of the Senate, Constantinople. Venetian Archives. 574. Orders to the Ambassador in Constantinople to do all he can in the interests of the son of the Marquis of Vigliena, Viceroy of Sicily, now prisoner in the hands of the pirates.
Ayes 126.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 0.
Aug. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 575. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The ratification promised by the Archduke Albert arrived. The Audientiary, Verreiken, took it to the Hague the last days of last month. He besought and prayed, in the King's name, that the Catholics might be well treated in the United Provinces. The ratification was received with demonstrations of complete satisfaction.
The German troops, subjects of the Archduke, in garrison at Guelders, Lingen and Oldenzell have mutinied; they wished to force their leaders to pay a third of the arrears; they have seized their leaders and especially the general, the Count of Embden, and have expelled from Oldenzell a company of Scotch, not without bloodshed, and have made themselves masters of the place. His Highness intends to engage the mutineers, and the government of the United Provinces has sent orders to the frontier that none of their troops are to move and that they are to see that no one crosses their borders. Meantime the troops are to be maintained on their present footing, as the Dutch are unable topersuade themselves of the good faith of Spain.
The Princess of Orange, sister of the Prince of Condè, was in Brussels a few days ago on her way to Breda. She expressed a desire to kiss the Archduchess's hand, but on learning that she would be received as a subject she left without even seeing her Highness, to the small content of both parties.
On the 29th of July four great Dutch ships passed the English coast. They are on their way back from the East Indies with very rich cargoes. They are reported to vary from one thousand four hundred to two thousand tons. They have long been looked for and desired. The Dutch who were accustomed to employ small vessels have now for some time past found larger vessels better suited to that trade and are building others.
The buccaneers continue to make themselves felt; and lately they have plundered two other small English ships, setting free the ships and crews as a reward for their cowardly surrender without striking a blow. The Hollanders and Zealanders, too, have suffered within a short time damage to the extent of about six hundred thousand ducats. Quite recently a ship that was on its way from Amsterdam to Venice and another which sailed from Goro, also for Venice, with a cargo of rice consigned to the Duke of Mantua who was in Holland last year, were captured. The Dutch have opened a little business by sending to Italy a ship load of spices, leather and other merchandise.
Amsterdam, Middelburg and Flushing have sent ships to Barbary to operate against the pirates, they say, but from what I hear, with the intent to open free trade with the Turks, from whom rumour says that these ships have bought goods at very low prices. The Ambassador of the United Provinces told me that his Masters intend to make a vigorous effort to free the seas, on which their greatness depends.
The pirate Danziker (Dauncer) has been pardoned by his Most Christian Majesty on condition that he quits piracy and his quarters in Algiers and goes to Marseilles. (fn. 1)
The King of England before his departure went into the question of the disorders at the Admiralty. He was present in person at the reading of the cases, and, to the amazement of every one, he summed up the evidence of all the witnesses. Serious defalcations have been discovered and also the profit which the Ministers made by selling the cables, anchors and other tackle belonging to his Majesty. All the same he has condoned the past, and turned his attention to providing for the future and especially on the question of sharing in piratical loot. (fn. 2)
The difference between the Bishops and the Judges (fn. 3) I has been deferred till the end of the Progress, which takes place at the close of October. The King handles the matter with such dexterity that it is probable the question will be settled in favour of the Bishops. The Chancellor of Scotland (fn. 4) has been summoned more than once to England and more than once put off. Now it seems that he is really coming. The reason cannot be favourable to him. He lived for ten years in Rome, and on that account they have always kept an eye on him since the Scotch Catholics have been harassed. They cause more anxiety to the King than the English Catholics do.
The President has, as yet, been left in possession of his property; but his offices, which were of great value, have been taken from him. This persecution of the Catholics in Scotland renders the Earl of Dunbar's government odious; he weilds absolute authority, although with singular prudence and modesty.
The Queen left last Saturday for Windsor, where the King is. On Monday they went towards Salisbury, seventy miles off. The journey will take many days, for they will stop often to enjoy various pleasure-houses and hunting lodges. The Admiralty Judge who was charged by the King to give no ground for complaint in the case of the booty of the “Soderina,” has sent to apologise for the delay and to offer his services wherever he may be able. But as a matter of fact, as we are now in vacation, which lasts till the beginning of October, it is impossible to put pressure on the other side. Those who are in prison continually clamour for appeal. As yet they have only been informed that if they will pay up the entire sum in which they were condemned they will then have a Court appointed them.
London, 6th August, 1609.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 576. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A wretched priest whom I had received in this house after the departure of the French Ambassador, whose second chaplain he was, has caused me anxiety and great trouble, but, praised be God, I hope to come out safely and even with honour. This man I employed to minister not only to the foreigners but to the many English Catholics who openly attend my chapel, especially since the departure of the Spanish Ambassador, who had four chaplains in his suite. I limited the ordinary Mass to myself and my suite, warned by the death of a plague-stricken woman who had attended Mass with me the day before. This priest had given leave to deposit a quantity of books in this house, and especially some parcels which, as he says, he afterwards discovered to be copies of the work which applied certain passages of Scripture against the King and the royal house. (fn. 5) These were taken out one by one, by the agent of a certain person, as they were required for sale (fn. 6) and circulation among Catholics. I, who knew nothing about this and who had even taken steps that this book should not be seen by any of my household, was warned by a good friend, just as I was going to Court last week, that it had come to the King's ears that the book had been obtained from the hands of my servants. I accordingly went to the King and declaring to him my duty, as representative of your Serenity, to spend my life-blood for his honour and satisfaction, I implored him to communicate to me anything he knew on the subject that I might take the necessary steps to fulfill my devoir. I said the same to the Earl of Salisbury, and from both I had thanks and marks of confidence. I was informed that some of those who sold the book had been arrested, that there were indications that they had made use of some Embassy, but mine was not expressly named; if any further information came to light I would be told. For all the diligence I used I could not find that any copies of the book had been brought to this house except four in the hands of this priest, who says he gave one to the French Embassy, one he consigned to me and the others to private individuals. The Assistant Secretary to the Council, Parkins, came to me in the King's name and told me that in the porter's lodge were about six hundred copies of this book. I took him at once to the place named and with the help of my Secretary only I made a diligent search. I then forced the doors of the priest's room—he was not at that time in the house—and also his boxes but found nothing. After Parkins had left the Chaplain came back, and partly by threats and partly by promises of pardon I made him confess how the affair stood, and promise that the books, which he had caused to be removed on the arrest of the principals, should all be placed in my hands by the next morning. When I got them I handed them all to Lord Salisbury. They numbered about seven hundred. I myself took the information to his lordship. He expressed great satisfaction, and both he and the members of the Council who were presented to me by him used terms of the highest regard, obligation and confidence towards your Serenity. In some of the cellars I found three cases and some bales of books in English. These I also sent to the Council, though they had information about a single case of books only. I am, at the King's desire, encouraging the priest and the porter, for his Majesty hopes to get something out of them when the other prisoners have spoken. I will then take what steps seem suitable. The book is scurrilous without any touch on religion; foolish, ignorant and witless. I shall make them understand that they owe their freedom to the finesse of the Government and the respect paid to this Embassy. Then his Majesty expressed a desire that some one should examine the priest here in the Embassy and I invited one of the Council to be my guest that morning. Sir Julius Cæsar undertook the examination, and found little crime in the prisoners beyond the fact of having housed the books. I consented that the rest of the Council should examine the priest, but only upon the subject matter in question. The Council have treated this Embassy with a respect that would not have been shown to any other Sovreign.
London, 6th August, 1609.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 8. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 577. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
His Holiness said that as to the book published by the King of England, he thought it not only right but necessary that it should be prohibited in such a way that everyone should know it, for in matters of this sort the English are very subtle (perchè gl' Inglesi in cose di questa natura sono molto sottili), nor will they fail to find means to circulate the book, and so the people, not knowing that it is prohibited and prompted by curiosity, will read it to their great danger, on account of the heresies it contains. The Pope has written ordering the Nuncio to mention the matter in the Cabinet, as the Assessors to the Holy Office have refused to do so, but there is no definite news on the subject. He begged me to represent his wishes to your Serenity, for the book was condemned by the entire Congregation of the Index. I replied asserting the zeal of the Republic and remarking that its action in the matter proved that it had far more regard for the smallest interests of Religion than for the satisfaction of the King of England; the case affected a great Sovreign who although of another faith was worthy of respect. The Republic would always display its ardent zeal for religion and as to the book it will not be published, seen, nor read. The Pope said that this was well but was not enough. It must be prohibited. This was no innovation; for another book by the same Sovreign had been prohibited, namely the book written for the instruction of his eldest son; he could not see why the same should not be done now. His Holiness only sought permission to publish in Venice the prohibition published in Rome. One must have more fear of God than of temporal Princes. He had renewed his instructions to the Nuncio and hoped that your Serenity would grant him this just satisfaction.
The Ambassador replied that the Republic was as anxious as the Pope for the suppression of the book, but it must be done so as not to alienate the minds of Princes. His Holiness said nothing further save to pray the Ambassador to write to Venice.
Rome, 8th August, 1609.
Aug. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 578. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The courier from France brought news that the King of England's book was not entirely condemned by his Majesty. By the King's order the Cardinal du Peron examined it and so did Father Cotton. They declared that they had expected to find it more calumnious that it proved to be. The Cardinals of the Holy Office go about saying that when the English Ambassador presented the book to the King of France, his Majesty threw it down on a small table upon which he was leaning and said “Writing books is no business for a King, my peer; he had better have done something else.” The Cardinals declare that the French Ambassador here has confirmed this to each one of them.
In these days three priests have arrived from England to beg his Holiness, as they have done, to order the Jesuits not to meddle with the affairs of Catholics in that Kingdom, because they are the cause of great mischief to the faithful and do more harm than good. If they continue in their present course they will destroy the slight remnants of the Catholic faith that still survive. (Sono questi giorni arrivati d'Inghilterra tre Sacerdoti venuti ad efetto di far officio con S. Stà. come hanno fatto, che commandi alli Padri Gesuiti, che non s'impedischino più nelle cose de' Cattolici di detto Regno, poichè sono cagione di molti danni che ad essi Cattolici sono fatti, et partoriscono più male che bene; et sarianno anche cagione in poco tempo, quando continuino nelle cose da loro principiate, di distruger affatto quel poco di religione Cattolica, che avanzava in quel Regno.)
The Jesuits, who have been endeavouring to secure the Canonization of Father Ignatius, have at last obtained the consent of the Congregation of Rites to permit the title of “Beato,” and the celebration of divine offices in his honour. The Jesuits, wishing to inaugurate these with splendour, invited many Cardinals and the Ambassadors of Spain and France, unknown to each other. The Spanish Ambassador arrived first and took the highest place. When the French Ambassador (de Breves) came he was much put out, and calling for a chair to be put upon the high altar he seated himself in it. The French Ambassador is generally blamed; and his Holiness has reproved the General of the Jesuits for his imprudence.
Rome, 8th August, 1609.
Aug. 8. Senato Secreta. Despatches from Turin. Venetian Archives. 579. Gregorio Badoer, Venetian Resident in Turin, to the Doge and Senate.
Barclay, the English Ambassador, left on Wednesday afternoon. He did not present the King's book.
Turin, 8th August, 1609.
Aug. 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 580. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As I could no longer contain my indignation against this Flemish priest on the discovery in a cellar of more books which he had on sale, I shut him up in a very small chamber. This step and the securing of his person greatly pleased the Council. But the priest eluded the people who had charge of him, and escaped by a window, to my excessive annoyance. All the same after I had informed the Earl of Salisbury of what had happened, and sent to him the two persons suspected of complicity in the flight, I took such vigorous steps that the same day I had the priest in my hands again. This has confirmed the Government in their opinion of my readiness in his Majesty's service. To have the priest again I was obliged to renew my promise of protection which I gave when I first secured the copies of the book attacking his Majesty. Lord Salisbury has expressed satisfaction and again assured me that after they have obtained from the priest all the information they can about the origin and diffusion of the book, they will leave the whole question of punishment to me. It is certainly a sign of unwonted confidence that when I sent to Sir Julius Cæsar to beg that protection might be afforded while I was re-conducting the priest to this house, my request was granted at once, and there was no sign that they would rather see him in the King's hands than in mine, nay, that their officers were ordered to render mine every assistance. The priest and the porter I keep in custody, till I see what the occasion requires. I learned last Saturday, that the day following they intended publicly to burn the books. As I was afraid that the act might breed some injurious fancy in the popular mind, I sent my Secretary to call Lord Salisbury's attention to the matter. His Lordship, although he assured me that there was no ground for this dread, agreed to postpone the operation for a few days. This, if it serve for nothing else, will allow the idea to spread that all my actions have been directed to the service of the King. I have thought it well to adopt a modest attitude throughout this business, for I certainly could not have looked for a more correct or agreeable treatment.
The Earl of Salisbury left yesterday to join the King at Salisbury. He has promised to represent to his Majesty my readiness in his service. He would on no account allow me to undertake the journey as I proposed. Nevertheless I have resolved to send my nephew, Loredan, and my Secretary to-day to wish the King a prolonged prosperity on the occasion of the anniversary of the Gowrie plot.
News has been received that the Duke of Lorraine has accepted the King's book.
The populace of the Provinces of Holland and Zealand are so suspicious of Spanish intentions and are so little disposed to peace that, notwithstanding the fact that the ratification of the truce has been readily accepted by their rulers, they still go about discussing the meaning of the rider “in the hope that during the truce the Catholics in the United Provinces will be well treated,” which they declare to be superfluous, as the Catholics have always dwelt in their own houses in safety and exercised their rites.
The States General were to meet at the Hague on the fifth of this month to consider the question of dues levied on goods in transit for Antwerp and elsewhere and all other commercial affairs relating to trade with Flanders and Brabant.
The mutineers of Oldenzel and Grol have surrendered and many have been punished by the gallows.
After the arrival of the Archduke Leopold in Juliers, Archduke Albert showed a disposition to support the Imperial claim in the Duchy of Cleves. But as French troops advanced towards the borders and the United Provinces displayed an inclination to take the same line, if the Archduke moved, urged to this by his Majesty of England who favours the Markgrave of Brandenburg—it is supposed that he will not interfere.
The Ambassadors of Saxony and the Marquis of Borgau have set forth the claim of their Masters, and declared that they will abide by the Imperial decision. The French Ambassador received orders when on the road that he was not to leave. But as his luggage had already reached France he sent back the courier and on his return obtained leave to continue his journey.
London, 13th August, 1609.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 14. Collegio, Lettere. Venetian Archives. 581. Petition of Paolo Gradenigo. His son Angelo, in 1602, presented the Doge with a pair of gloves (manopola) in the name of the King of Persia. He has never had any other desire than to serve the Republic.
“This unhappy creature left Persia and came here, where he spent much money on commission for the King. He set out again in 1603 for Persia in company with Fatibey, an agent of the said King. At Aleppo they were both arrested by the Pasha, and his goods were seized. He managed to hide some, however, and on his release he came back and went to Prague to try to sell some of the goods to his Imperial Majesty. A certain Robert Sherley (Sciarner), an Englishman, brother of Don Antonio, a man well-known as a bad character,—this Robert on a forged authority from the King of Persia, and being a personal enemy of my son, so wrought on his Imperial Majesty that he consigned to him my poor son and 15,000 florins that belonged to him; that was a sum due to Don Antonio and not intended for the satisfaction of the King of Persia as is pretended. This unhappy, innocent, Christian youth, your servant, has been taken by a false heretic to the King of Persia to be impaled. His innocence is attested by your Ambassador Cavalli and by the Ambassador of the Pope, Francesco di Costa, who offers protection and invites me to Rome.” Paolo begs for countenance from Venice.
Aug. 14. Collegio, Lettere. Venetian Archives. 582. To the Ambassador in Rome.
Recommending Paolo Gradenigo, who is going to Rome, to procure the release of his son Angelo, who is a prisoner of Sherley (Sciarner), one of the Persian Ambassadors, to whom he was consigned on Imperial orders in Prague, to be taken to the King of Persia.
Ayes 20.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Aug. 14. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 583. The Nuncio came to the Cabinet and said: “As to the King of England's book I hold fresh orders from our Lord, who has also sent me a Brief on the subject requesting the publication of his prohibition of the book. There is no doubt but that this is a book full of heresies and every religious consideration requires that no one should see it. I, however, out of regard for the satisfaction of your Serenity, will be content if in this case the same course is adopted as was adopted about another book by the King, that is to say that the Prior of the Guild of Booksellers be summoned to the Holy Office and that the prohibition be intimated to him, with orders to register it, so as to proceed with the least possible disturbance. Our Lord is very anxious about this prohibition. It has been printed, published and affixed everywhere in Rome, and although he is desirous that other Sovreigns should do the same, on consideration I am of opinion that it will be sufficient if your Serenity will do as I have suggested.”
Aug. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 584. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
His Holiness has ordered lodgings for the Persian Ambassadors.
Rome, 15 August, 1609.
Aug. 15. Senato Secreta. Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 585. Giacomo Vendramin, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Nuncio, who has shown great zeal in carrying out his orders about the King of England's book, has news from Turin that the King's Envoy could not, in spite of reiterated efforts, succeed in making his Highness take it.
Expulsis Papalistis.
The Nuncio has drawn up a list of the heresies it contains.
Florence, 15th August, 1609.
Aug. 18. Despatches from Zante. Venetian Archives. 586. Michiel Priuli, Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
This very moment an English ship has arrived. As your Serenity will see from the deposition of the Captain, twenty-three privateer ships have been burned in Tunis belonging to that famous Captain Ward; I hope it is true.
Zante, 18th August, 1609.
Enclosed in preceding despatch. 587. 17th August, 1609.
Captain Walter, captain of the English ship the “Gioanato,” just arrived from Messina, where he said he heard that twenty-three privateers belonging to Captain Ward had been burned at Tunis by a French saettia and other ships which went there on purpose. This news was held to be true at Messina.
Aug. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 588. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
There has recently come from France an answer to the King's book. It is written in French and pours contempt and derision on the work. It has greatly annoyed his Majesty.
Expulsis Papalistis.
On Sunday after the sermon the books, about which I have already reported, were publicly burned. The preacher said that they had been found in possession of one Dabscot, who, with his wife, is now a prisoner. He had them brought from over seas as merchandize; that they were secured thanks to the good offices of good friends to his Majesty. In this way the Council answered his request that they should meet any unfavourable impression that might have been created in the mind of the mob. The preacher inveighed against the author, who, not content with insulting the King, had blasphemed the Deity and shamefully treated the meaning of the Scriptures. The woman who has been arrested was set at liberty yesterday. The priest is still here shut up in this house, I may say willingly for he is well aware that this is the best thing for him. With the priest is the porter. Sir Julius Cæsar informs me that this female prisoner deposes that the priest had previous knowledge that the books were to arrive and from this it is argued that he probably knows the author. The King himself begged me to extract the truth from the priest. But neither by threats nor bribes can I get anything out of him except that he knew that the other prisoners received many books from persons in Flanders where there is an English college directed by Jesuits, who were employed in sending books into England, but that he knew nothing about this particular one. This he asserted again and again, and for the satisfaction of his Majesty he has offered to write to Flanders to his brother begging him to be at pains to find out something positive.
His Majesty told Messer Pietro Loredan and the Secretary (whom, as I have reported, I sent to the Court to congratulate the King on the anniversary of the Gowrie plot) that he thanked me for what I done in the matter of this book. They replied that all I had done was out of duty; and they apologised for my not having come in person, as Lord Salisbury had undertaken to present my duty to his Majesty.
On the King's orders the Duke of Lennox invited Loredan and the Secretary to dine with the Lords of the Court on the occasion of this solemnity. Everyone was much pleased at the representations they made. So was the Queen, whom they found on their return at Basing (Besin).
The whole Council has gone to Court and so all business is suspended.
Orders have been given to bring to London the two pirates who are prisoners at Plymouth, and who were present at the plundering of the “Soderina.” This is done at my request. On their arrival I will see whether I can get any profit or information for the service of the interested parties. I am likewise awaiting John Gibbons, from Scotland, who has not appeared yet, though it is many weeks since the Ministers promised that he should.
The Lord Treasurer, with his usual diligence, has paid back to the City the two hundred and forty thousand ducats which, fifteen months ago, the King borrowed at the rate of ten per cent. secured on the Customs. The contributors are well pleased, as they are not accustomed to receive either capital or interest. The larger part of this money has been raised from the estates of the rebels concerned in the late plot.
Many Portuguese merchants in this City have been discovered to be living secretly as Jews. Some have already left and others have had a little grace granted to allow them to wind up their business in spite of the laws, which are very severe on this subject. These men are such scoundrels that, I am told, the better to hide themselves they have not only frequently attended Mass at some one or other of the Embassies but have actually received the Holy Eucharist.
London, 20th August, 1609.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 589. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope told me that he was expecting the Persian Ambassadors next week. It is three years since they set out from Persia.
Rome, 22nd August, 1609.
Aug. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 590. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador of Savoy informed his Holiness that the King of England had sent a gentleman (Barclay) on purpose to present the book composed by his Majesty, but in spite of the representations made to his Highness and the respect due to so powerful a Sovreign, the reverence for his Holiness and the desire to obey his orders had proved more potent, and the book was declined, to the chagrin of the Envoy. The Pope expressed his satisfaction. He communicated the news to the French Ambassador almost by way of reproach for his most Christian Majesty's attitude. The Ambassador replied that the King and the Duke were swayed by dissimilar considerations and it was not for a Duke of Savoy to set an example to the mightier Sovreigns of Christendom.
Rome, 22nd August, 1609.
Aug. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 591. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The pretended Prince of Moldavia is supported by the English Ambassador. The Polish agent spoke vigorously to the Grand Vizir on the subject.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 23rd August, 1609.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 23. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 592. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and, showing signs of emotion, he took his usual place and spoke as follows, still under emotion:—
“Most Serene Prince and Excellent Lords, I implore your Lordships to hear me with your wonted benignity and to mark what I am about to say this morning. I desire to be clearly understood and I will endeavour to be as brief as possible. I will be frank and distinct as becomes a good Minister and befits the office I hold.
It is some days now since I went, as usual, into the country. I had hardly arrived when I was informed by my Secretary Gregorio (Monti), whom I usually leave here for the conduct of affairs, that orders had been sent round to the booksellers of this city that should a book entitled 'Apologia super juramento fidelitatis' come into their hands they were not to sell nor circulate it, but were bound to hand all copies to the Inquisitors. As this word 'Inquisitors' has a double meaning, applying either to the Inquisitors of State or to the Monkish Inquisitors, I wrote to my Secretary to find out which Inquisitor was meant. He replied that they really meant the Papal Inquisitor as they call him.
I was amazed and astonished beyond measure and still am that in this City and under the eyes of your Lordships a Friar has had the audacity to prohibit the work of his Majesty my Sovreign which only a few days ago your Lordships had accepted so readily when presented to you as a pledge of perfect amity. This morning I complain to your Lordships of this injurious act. For to have received the book may be considered rather as a compliment and act of friendship but to prohibit it is a downright offence and carries a graver injury than the favour implied by accepting it, 'turpius ejicitur quam non admittitur hospes.' Although our adversaries and those who are opposed to the jurisdiction and temporal sovreignty of Princes seek to put it cunningly about that many have declined to receive the book, I do not know this to be true for I have had no information, but what I do know is that there are Princes just as great, just as prudent, just as powerful, just as Christian who have received it as those who will not. I therefore implore your Excellencies in whose hand lies the government of this State to come to that just, resolute and prompt decision which I demand.
I now proceed to another point. Your Excellencies' Ambassador in England has been gravely suspected on the subject of a certain book; he has extricated himself with dexterity and to the satisfaction of the King, who, I can assure you, treats the ministers of the Republic not merely with affection but with tenderness. I am ordered by his Majesty to give your Excellencies an account of this affair. A certain book under an assumed name was written, published and brought to England. A copy came into the King's hands and seeing that it was full of blasphemies and tended only to render his Majesty odious he caused inquiry to be made as to who was selling it. Your Excellencies must know that no book is prohibited in England even if it touch on controversy with Rome—the works of Cardinal Bellarmin are better known in England than in Italy; provided books do not endeavour to destroy loyalty they are not prohibited. But this book, as I have said, has no other tendency than to render his Majesty's name odious to the people.” Here the Ambassador offered a quarto volume which he held in his hand, and which he said was the book in question, and had been sent him from England. He added “I have found no better description for this work than 'Sterquilinium oprobriorum et meadacii.' The object of the devilish author is to hold up to hatred, not merely the present King, but the memory of deceased Sovreigns. His method is the most hideous, horrid, infamous that was ever invented, it consists in taking passages of the Scriptures and wresting them into phrases of defamation, derision and vilipending of their Majesties. And it may be said truly that the author has outdone the devil himself in malignity. For the devil when he tempted our Saviour used the Scriptures but reverently, whereas this man uses them to stir dishonest mirth. The title is 'Pruitanus,' alluding to Puritans. I have marked some passages to read to your Excellencies.” The Ambassador then read the passages marked, which in substance were as follows: talking of Queen Elizabeth, who styled herself Head of the Anglican Church and Virgin, the writer accuses her of immodesty, of having given birth to sons and daughters, of having prostituted her body to many different nationalities, of having slept with blackamoors; of Henry VIII. that he gave out that Anna Boleyn was his wife whereas she was his daughter. Laughing at the reigning King he is styled “a foreigner,” hailing from a “barbarous land,” and the verse “In exitu Israel de Ægypto Domus Jacob de populo barbaro” is quoted. Speaking of Scotland he calls the Scots locusts. “All,” said the Ambassador, “for the purpose of rendering the name of his Majesty odious. His Majesty considering the blasphemies contained in the book, the which could not be tolerated, made inquiry and found that a few of the copies came from the Embassy of this Serene Republic. The Ambassador is dear to his Majesty both for the sake of the Republic he represents and for himself as well, and his Majesty, therefore, considered how best to deal with the matter so as not to offend the Ambassador, and came to the resolve to employ a certain Doctor of Laws, by name Parkins (Parchias) who was wont to frequent the Embassy. Parkins went and brought back a very prudent reply from the Ambassador, namely that as he had no part in the affair he could never protect the disseminator of such libels and pasquinades. Parkins said that it was known that copies of this book were at the Embassy and that a chaplain was circulating them. The Ambassador's answer was loyal and worthy of him, that he would make diligent search. He found a case of books and also learned that some copies had been circulated in the city by the Chaplain, who was not then in the Embassy. He promised to use all diligence to recover the books that had been issued, and he has actually recovered a large part, to the great satisfaction of his Majesty, who was desirous of knowing how the Chaplain had obtained the book and sent Sir Julius Cæsar, of the Treasury, to examine the Chaplain, which was done at the Ambassador's house and in his presence, and learned what was necessary. Now your Excellencies must know that his Majesty was not ignorant of what should be done, and what other Princes would have done, perhaps, in such a case of læsa Majestas in the highest degree and læsa divinæ Majestatis to boot, for such we must style this diabolical defamation. If the Chaplain I have at the Embassy here were to do such a thing as to circulate books in the city and defame the Councils of State and the existing Government, and your Serenity were to send a battery from the Arsenal to my house to arrest him, as I know has been done in the case of another Ambassador some years ago, I should have no right to complain, for the Embassies are not asylums for such scoundrels; I say that his Majesty, though aware of what he might and could do, yet, out of regard for the Republic, when he desired to confront the Chaplain with Julius Cæsar's report, promised the Ambassador to send both to the Embassy and did so. His Majesty charges me to express his complete satisfaction with the Ambassador and with his action throughout this affair.
I have now to inform you who the Chaplain is. This is the most important point in the whole business. He is an English subject, born of a father who lived at Bruges, brought up by the Jesuits at Douay (Douvre) in the Low Countries. He was sent to England to deal with his Majesty's subjects. He found shelter in the Embassy of the Archduke, and after the Ambassador left he removed to the Venetian Embassy. Here is the point. It is thought that this removal to the Venetian Embassy indicates a long matured design to disturb the cordial relations between the King, my Master, and the Republic. Why not remove to the Spanish Embassy? It was certainly a better change, as the relations between the two houses is more intimate. But the object was to disturb this amity. The Venetian Ambassador is to be excused. He trusted too much to the inner feelings of the man. He was taken in, as an ambassador might be, by anyone who insinuates himself into an Embassy; one cannot penetrate secret thoughts. Your Excellencies will consider how wicked the world is, how firm his Majesty's friendship, and will do all you can, I doubt not, to preserve it.”
The Illustrious Signor Constantin Renier, Senior Councillor, replied that as to the order which the Ambassador said had been issued to the booksellers, information would be taken and the Senate would determine what was to be done. Their desire was to give every satisfaction to his Majesty and his Ambassador. As to the affair that had taken place in England, the Republic had every good will towards his Majesty; the Senate will reply.
The Ambassador returned thanks and then warmly recommended the case of Antonio Dotto, and was told that the subject would come before the Ten when in full sitting.
Aug. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 593. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday the English Ambassador told me quite distinctly that his Master could not fail to support the Princes in Düsseldorf, and in doing so he would act in concert with his most Christian Majesty.
The Ambassador of England had an audience of the King. In a couple of days I shall see M. de la Boderie, (fn. 7) who has just returned from England.
News from the Hague that they have come to no resolution about the ratification of the truce. Minds are anxious; they are not disbanding their troops, nay, rather they are holding them ready on the confines of Cleves and of the Archduke, causing great suspicion to his Highness. On this account the despatch of Ambassadors to France and England is now fixed for October.
Paris, 25th August, 1609.
Aug. 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 594. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
A sort of answer to the King's book has been published by a Jesuit Father. Some few people have seen it, but it has not been widely circulated. It is thought that it will be suppressed, as likely to do more harm than good to the Catholic religion. The French Ambassador, on hearing about this reply, opposed the idea of multiplying controversial writings, and called to his Holiness' mind the example of Venice. The Ambassador said that his master had, through his Ambassador in England, made representations to the King of England that it did not become him to give his attention to writing and to attacks on other religions. That the King had accepted this representation, and had remarked to the Ambassador that had they desisted from plotting against his life in Rome, and ceased to pretend to absolve his subjects from their allegiance, he would have held the Pope to be the premier Bishop in the world, and would have shown him all honour. His Holiness seemed disturbed at this last remark, and as to the question of controversy he declared that in the Venetian affair he himself was opposed to embarking on it, but some of the Cardinals of the Congregation of the Inquisition thought otherwise, and the same had happened in the present circumstances, nor was he able to do anything but resign himself to their judgement.
On Thursday one of the Persian Ambassadors arrived. The Englishman (Sherley), who also calls himself Ambassador, will arrive in a few days. He has gone to Florence. The light horse and the Swiss went to meet the Ambassador. The reception was splendid. He is lodged and fed, though not very sumptuously, at the charges of the Treasury.
Rome, 29th August, 1609.
Aug. 31. Despatches from Zante. Venetian Archives. 595. Michiel Priuli, Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Confirmation of the news that 23 privateers belonging to Ward have been burned at Tunis.
Zante, 31st August, 1609.


  • 1. See Winwood, “Memorials,” III. p. 91.
  • 2. See Cal. S.P. Dom., Aug. 8, 1609. Nottingham to Salisbury. Defending himself against charge of too great leniency to pirates. Gives particulars of the pirates Bishop Sakell, Jennings and Ward, and hopes for himself that he will not “have cause to wish he had been put in the grave when his old mistress was.”
  • 3. The question of Prohibitions. See Gardiner, II. pp. 35–42.
  • 4. Alexander Seaton, Earl of Dunfermline.
  • 5. “Pruritanus.”
  • 6. Deciphered reads Vedendo, but cipher n42 z11 m32 z11 m34 = Vendendo.
  • 7. See S.P. Dom., Sept. 22, 1609. Warrant to pay 762l. 2s. 6d. for a basin and ewer of gold given to M. de la Boderie at his departure.