Venice: February 1610, 1-15

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: February 1610, 1-15', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, (London, 1904) pp. 415-423. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

February 1610, 1–15

Feb. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 777. Francesco Contarini and Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Saturday I, Contarini, arrived at Court, thus closing, by God's grace, this part of a long and troublesome journey, whose details may be imagined without any description by me. The day before, I had been met at Deptford (Dortfort) by Signor Pietro Loredano, and Signor Vincenzo Correr, son of the illustrious Ambassador, accompanied by the Secretary Surian. There too came Sir Lewis Lewkenor, Receiver of Ambassadors, and, as he is styled in these parts, Master of the Ceremonies. He informed me that he was sent on purpose to honour me and that he had brought with him the royal carriages. In these I made my entry into London. Outside the city I was met by the illustrious Ambassador with a suite of English and Italian gentlemen. On Sunday came the Baron Hay (Dè), a great favourite of the King, to visit me and to say on his Majesty's behalf how sorry he was not to be in London at the time of my arrival, that he intended to remain in the country for six or eight days longer, but if this delay was inconvenient to me he would come to London on purpose to visit me.
Lord Hay saluted me, Correr, also in the King's name. And here I must report that before he left London Lewkenor came to see me on behalf of the Council and asked if it would be sufficient if an honourable gentleman went to meet Contarini, as he, Lewkenor, in his capacity of Master of the Ceremonies was engaged to meet the French Ambassador. I replied that as these honours were entirely within his Majesty's competence I left the decision to the prudence and love of the Council, of which I could entertain no manner of doubt. Lewkenor came back next day and said this answer had given great satisfaction; that it was resolved that he (Lewkenor), on the pretext that he spoke Italian, was to go to meet Contarini while Digby (Dicbi) would go to meet M. de la Boderie.
The Queen is at Greenwich; Secretaries of both Ambassadors went to announce the arrival of Contarini. Complimentary visits paid by the Secretaries to the Prince, the Earl of Salisbury and the Lord High Admiral to thank him for the royal galleon sent to Calais to conduct Contarini, though he had thought well not to avail himself of it, partly because it would have wasted time, partly because it would have cost more.
London, 4th February, 1606 [m.v.].
Feb. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 778. Francesco Contarini and Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In the absence of the King the French Ambassador hoped to begin his negotiations with the Earl of Salisbury, although they are in no such hurry here. On the one hand his Majesty is very anxious that the States of Cleves should not fall to the house of Austria; he is very well disposed to Brandenburg, and above all would like to advance his own religious party; on the other, he is not willing that the King of France should have a larger rôle in this war than he himself has, while both large expenditure and the assumption of responsibility are equally far from his intent, to say nothing of the fact that he will always have about him some to give him advice not altogether foreign to the interests of the King of Spain.
The Prince of Anhault when in Holland took notes of the way Count Maurice ruled and paid his troops, for the issue of the war has conferred the greatest lustre upon all that soldier's acts.
In Flanders the deduction of a third of their pay from those who are not in active service and the regulation of all extraordinary payments have caused many to go to Spain to obtain favours, and others to feel resentment and a readiness to throw up their service.
The plantation of Ireland is again on foot. The City is willing to find eight thousand crowns to found two cities (fn. 1) upon two rivers distant twenty-four miles from each other. They are to be governed as London is governed, and the King is to grant them the same privileges, which are great. (fn. 2)
The guard in London has again been increased, not only on account of the soldiery returned from over seas, but also because of the frequency of robbery; the consequence is that at any hour of night one may walk without the smallest danger.
Before the King left for Royston he went to see a great ship of one thousand eight hundred tons, built by the merchants of the East India Company, which entertained the King, the Prince and other gentlemen at a splendid banquet. His Majesty gave the Governor a chain worth a thousand crowns. (fn. 3)
Another book in answer to the King's has arrived from France. It has been composed by one of his Most Christian Majesty's chaplains. We do not know yet how his Majesty takes it. The Court considers it very temperate, and it is said that as long as discussion is confined to matters of religion no one can take offence; nay it is thought that other new books will appear every day.
London, 4th February, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 779. Orders from Spain for retrenchment.
A reduction of a third of the pay of all who are not on active service.
Abolition of all extra payments.
Reduction of servants' pay.
The Royal Archers not included in the reduction of one-third.
Abolition of the mechanical engineers.
Feb. 5. Original Despatch, Archives. 780. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Report on the expulsion of the Moriscoes. Great complaints that his Most Christian Majesty has pledged his word to Danziker, the pirate, and does not compel him to restore the galleon he captured from the Flotta. In a conversation with the Duke of Ossuna, who is going to Sicily as Viceroy, he said “That Englishman, Don Anthony Sherley, came here with fair words and great promises, and induced the King to allow him to fit out some galleys in Sicily on plea of attacking the Turk. But he acts like a regular buccaneer. Let him go on till I come, for as soon as I get there I mean to make him disarm. I have informed the Council and secured their approval, and I am determined to dismiss him.” I said this was a laudable design and must meet with applause. It required large and genuine forces to attack the Turk. These thieves did nothing but disgust the friends of this crown.
Don Alonso de Velasco has left as Lieger to England, although there is no English Ambassador at this Court at present nor do we hear of the appointment of one. Returns thanks for his election as Savio di Terra ferma.
Madrid, 5th February, 1609 [m.v.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 781. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King urges the Republic to join him and Savoy in an attack on Spain in Italy. Spain, he said, was in a state of extreme weakness. He would gladly see the territories of the Republic rounded off by Cremona and Ghiarradadda. He told me that his Ambassador Boissise (Bocisa) had reached the Diet of Hall at the right moment to crush some seeds of dissension.
Paris, 9th February, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 782. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Archduke Leopold invited the Duke of Neuburg to a conference on a suspension of arms. This was declined. Rumours of severe fighting. M. de la Boderie has had an interview with the King of England, who has not as yet made any declaration of the nature of the aid he intends to give; nay, his Most Christian Majesty said to me that just at the moment when he ought to act vigorously it seems that he is more inclined to withdraw. The Diet of Hall will be dissolved by now, and the Prince of Anhault is daily expected with the resolution arrived at.
The League of the Catholics makes slow progress.
Paris, 9th February, 1610.
Feb. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 783. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King had news from Brussels that the Prince of Condé having entertained the Marquis de Cóuvre (Coure) (fn. 4) the Marquis asked him to drink to the King. The Prince replied in a way that made it obvious that he drank to the King of Spain, not of France; the Marquis made some remark to clear up the point, and the Prince then declared that he drank to the King in whose country they were. The Princess, invited to drink to the Queen, declared that she drank to the Queen of France; whereupon the Prince said that he did not know there was a Queen of France, there were four or five. This enraged the King, who went straight off to the Arsenal and took the Queen with him. There they held a long consultation, and it was decided to crown the Queen; they then confirmed the resolution already taken, to assist the “possessioners” and to act at once, also to urge the Kings and Princes concerned to play their parts; they further discussed the affairs of Savoy in terms that your Excellencies will gather from enclosures; it was also proposed to induce the United Provinces to declare war and to attack Flanders. Orders were sent to the Marquis de Cóuvre to declare to the Archduke that unless his Highness ceased to give any kind of help to the Prince the King would cease to hold him for a friend.
Paris, 9th February, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 784. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King ordered Lesdiguières to present a report on the number of men necessary to assist Savoy in an attack on Milan. This was done and presented in the gallery of the Louvre, where a Council was held. Sully opposes war in Italy.
Paris, 9th February, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Feb. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 785. Francesco Contarini and Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The representations made by the French Ambassador in order that he might be allowed to unfold his mission as quickly as possible have been so efficacious that the King has assented, and sent the Earl of Salisbury to confer with him in his lodging, which he has declined to leave till he has seen his Majesty. These first negotiations turn upon the declaration of the aid which England will give to Brandenburg and Neuburg. That aid has already been promised to the Ambassadors of the two Princes. It is now said that the aid will be ready and will take the form of men and money. The Earl wished, before coming to particulars, that the United Provinces of the Low Countries should come to their resolve and declaration on this matter. His Excellency has had two conferences with the Ambassador of the States on this topic, but finding the Ambassador firm in insisting that his Majesty's declaration must come first, he promised that this would be made within three or four days. The King is disposed to employ on this service the companies of English and Scotch who are in the service of the States and who, with all who have served in the late war, are still kept on foot because of the troubles about Cleves, though they are weeded of the men past service. It is possible that his Majesty will endeavour to employ for the payment of these troops a part of the moneys due to him from the States. We hear from a good quarter that apart from the present negotiation the Ambassador is charged to make proposals for a defensive alliance.
There is repeated confirmation of the rumour that on the 19th January the troops of the two Princes gave battle with three cannon to the Count Ernest of Mansfeldt, who, on the 15th, had sallied from Luxembourg with three hundred good horse and by the help of petards had seized the passage at Schleiden (Sleden) between Cologne and Juliers. (fn. 5) The troops of the Princes recovered the position and took Mansfeldt prisoner after cutting almost all his men to pieces, though not without loss on their side. On the other hand some soldiers of the Archduke Leopold who had gone out to escort some money on its way from Cologne routed two companies of horse belonging to Brandenburg which were trying to capture the treasure. His Most Christian Majesty's promises of help given to the Prince of Anhault and conveyed to the Diet of Hall by his Majesty's Ambassador, Boissise (Bocisa), have so encouraged the two Princes that they are now far removed from any idea of an agreement unless coupled with possession of Juliers. Brandenburg is going to invest that city more closely. In this state of things, which all point to war, it is matter for surprise that the Archduke Albert should cause to be carried into effect the proclamation against all who have been in three mutinies or taken any lead in them, a step which will drive to despair so many brave and practised soldiers. The regulations about pay, which we forwarded last week, also greatly injure the army and produce in some disgust, in others a determination to leave the service. Among these are Don Alfonso d'Avolos and a brother of the Count of Embden, both of very long service with his Catholic Majesty. The cause of the Archduke Leopold is not in very high esteem, as it is thought that his Highness has little money and other necessaries of war; the Count of Bucquoy, who was offered the rank of general, has declined to serve.
Up to the present it does not seem that the earnest representations of the Marquis de Cóuvre, sent by his Most Christian Majesty to the Archduke Albert and the Prince of Condé, have had any effect; nay, the rumour runs that that Prince is about to go to Spain with the Marquis of Spinola, but not many believe it.
The Marquis of Guadalest, his Catholic Majesty's Ambassador in Brussels, has left for Spain on plea of private business; it is held, however, that he has really gone to report on the present situation.
The Archduke Albert has been ill for three nights running in a state of coma. They say it is an old malady of his, but he has never had so violent an attack. There has been some talk of a marriage between this Princess and the son of the Palatine of the Rhine, and all the royal family are being painted in order to send their portraits to him, nor is there wanting a certain inclination to take the Palatine's daughter for the Prince of Wales.
The violent winds of these last days have caused great floods in the Low Countries, such as have not been seen for forty years. The city of Amsterdam has suffered greatly, for the streets were flooded and the warehouses too, and the merchandize ruined. (fn. 6)
There is a rumour among the merchants that four ships, bound for Italy and for Venice in particular with cargoes of fish, had fallen into the hands of pirates. God grant it be not true.
The King arrived in London to-day and sent Lewkenor to say that his Majesty had not been an hour in the City before sending to inform us. Audience is arranged for to-morrow.
London, 11th February, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 786. Francesco Contarini and Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Bishop of Ely has been commissioned to reply to Cardinal Bellarmin, and we understand that the King, too, while at Royston worked on the subject. At Court they say the Cardinal's book shows little learning and less wit and that it is not worthy of the Cardinal's reputation acquired by his other works; all the same they have taken pains that it should not be seen, and while it was being bound Lord Salisbury always kept a guard over it. The two books published in France are not circulated here, though they are not censured for they do not touch the question of the oath of allegiance and because their authors are of little importance. The Archpriest (Blackwell) who took the oath has published his defence in English, affirming that the oath may be taken with a clear conscience (tuta conscientia). This defence has also been printed in Latin by order of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to the annoyance of the author, from which some conclude that the translation cannot be faithful. The King is extremely pleased with this work, which he hoped for and did all he could to procure. With great pains they have retained another most learned priest with intent to make him also write on the same subject, but as yet he is loath to take the oath. The Archpriest receives a stipend from the King for his maintenance, and except that he is called a prisoner he is not deprived of the opportunity to go out or the liberty to converse, and so he shows no signs of desire to be discharged. (Riceve l' arciprete dal Rè un ordinario assegnamento per sostentarsi, et fuori di haver il nome di prigione non gli manca comodità per uscire o libertà per conversare, onde non si scopre che lui desideri di esser licentiato.) Likewise another work has been published De pseudomarterio; in it they affirm that those who refuse to take the oath cannot be truly called Martyrs. All this activity at this conjuncture alarms the Catholics lest some provision against them may be taken in the coming Parliament to shift hatred on to him and relieve the King (per transferir in lui tutto l' odio, et solevarne il Rè), who is proceeding in this matter very mildly. Recently he set free two priests who were prisoners on condition that they lodged with Protestants. If they cannot find such a lodging within six weeks they are to return to prison.
London, 11th February, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 13. Senato Secreta. Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 787. Giacomo Vendramin, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Alidosio has been liberated from the prison of the Inquisition. He will go to Rome to make submission and on his return will attend to his duties as Receiver of Foreigners.
Florence, 13th February, 1610.
Feb. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 788. Anxonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Couriers from Savoy saying that the Duke put himself in the King's hands in all matters affecting the amount of aid France would give towards the attack on Milan. The Duke of Nemours wrote separately urging immediate action and offering to place Nice and Montmelian in the King's hands as security for the Duke's good faith. On Thursday morning a general consultation took place; all the Marshals of France, the Count of Soissons, the Duke of Guise, the Chancellor (Sillery) Sully and Villeroi were present; resolutions were taken as in next despatch. Lesdiguières was ordered to raise forty ensigns and six thousand Swiss, to be ready by April next; not to march, however, but to hold them ready to strike where needed. The aid to Savoy will, I am told, amount to ten or twelve thousand foot and 1,500 or 2,000 horse. Lesdiguières has set to work. His departure is delayed until they know what resolutions were reached at Hall.
Paris, 14th February, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 789. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Despatches from M. de Boissise at Hall. He has adjusted some difficulties which arose between the Electors and the Barons. Forces decided on.
Paris, 14th February, 1610.
Feb. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 790. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The French Ambassador's Majordomo was sent with despatches to France. A few miles out of Madrid he was arrested and brought back a prisoner. (fn. 7) The despatches were opened, all except the King's. Reason alleged was connivance with certain rich Moriscoes who wished to pass into France with all their treasure and jewels. The French Ambassador has complained and has reported all to his master.
The Persian Ambassador, who is brother of Don Anthony Sherley, now cruising with the Sicilian galleys, arrived in Alcalà (fn. 8) twenty days ago. He went to Aranjuez to kiss hands, and three days ago he arrived at Madrid. He is lodged and fed at the royal charges. At his first audience he presented credentials from the King of Persia, and said he came on purpose to inform his Majesty of the great Persian victories, of the size of the territory which the Persian has recently won from the Turk, that its revenue amounted to six millions of gold. He urged the King of Spain to join the Persian in attacking the Turk
It is rumoured that two galleons belonging to Turks and English have, in the waters of Algiers, captured the galleon “Spinola” and another Genoese.
Madrid, 14th February, 1609 [m.v.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 14. Senato Secreta. Despatches from Milan. Venetian Archives. 791. Giovanni Francesco Marchesini, Venetian Resident in Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
The rumours of French armaments cause suspicion of some attempt on Franche Comté or Artois. Fuentes steadily refuses to raise troops, and this breeds a certainty that if war there be it will take place beyond the Alps.
Milan, 14th February, 1609 [m.v.].


  • 1. Derry and Coleraine.
  • 2. Cal. S.P. Ireland, 1608–1610. Conferences with the Deputies of London for the plantation of Ulster, pp. 347–350.
  • 3. The ship was the “Trade's Increase” with her pinnace the “Peppercorn.” Sir Thomas Smith was Governor. Winwood, Memorials III. p. 118. where the tonnage is given as “above 1200 tun.”
  • 4. See Winwood, Memorials III. 102. François Annibal d' 'Estrées, Marquis de Cóuvre was brother to the Dachesse de Beaufort.
  • 5. See Winwood, Memorials III. 109. “Count Frederick of Solmes (the taller of them who were lately in England) hath by assault taken u small town called Sleidan not far from Juliers.”
  • 6. See Winwood, Memorials III. 117. “The third of Holland is overflown with water,”
  • 7. See Winwood, Memorials III. 118.
  • 8. See Winwood, Memorials III. 104. Cottington to Trumbull, “Mr. Robert Shirley is not yet come to thys Court but remains at Alcala .... He wears as I understand a Turbant on his head.” Jan. 7, 1609, o.s.