Venice: February 1610, 16-28

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: February 1610, 16-28', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, (London, 1904) pp. 423-435. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

February 1610, 16–28

Feb. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 792. Franceso Contarini and Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
“The day after the despatch of our preceding letter we had audience of the King. The ceremony was of the most solemn and satisfying character and we could not have desired anything further. Lord Spencer came with several royal carriages and a train of gentlemen to take us from our lodging. Arrived at the Palace we stayed a while in the Chamber where the Council usually sits, until we were invited to go to his Majesty, who was waiting us in a room known as the Great Chamber, where preparation had been made for our reception as in a more conspicuous and ampler place than usual, for great was the concourse of gentlemen and courtiers. At the door we were met by the Great' Chamberlain, who preceded us, holding a long wand in his hand-the sign of his office. We passed between two rows of the great ladies and gentlemen of the Court, all richly dressed and covered with jewels. When we had drawn near to the King with many bows and mounted the steps of the dais, the King took a step or two forward and embraced us with a joyful countenance and signs of singular courtesy and affection. The Queen stood by him and with her the Princess, who, in common opinion, is held to be of a rare beauty; she is fourteen years old. On the King's right stood the Prince of Wales and hard by the Queen the Duke of York, his father's and mother's joy. The officers of the Crown and other leading gentlemen of the Kingdom, who were all present, each in his rank of pre-eminence and in seemly order, surrounded the dais at the foot of the steps; a magnificent spectacle. When I, Contarini, saw that the proper moment had arrived, that was after the King had of himself read the letter of credence which I handed to him, I unfolded as best I could, my mission.” He then said that the sole reason for sending him was to insure the good understanding between the Crown of England and the Republic. Although the King's own letters and the representations of his Ambassador in Venice had rendered the mission almost superfluous, yet it was resolved to continue it as a mark of esteem. Nor will the Embassy be of small results if it shows to other Princes how closely these two powers are united. He referred to the King's declaration in favour of the Republic during the late disturbances, and declared it to be among the most heroic of his Majesty's actions. It would be no compliment to the King's intelligence to dwell further on this point, enough to conclude that the gist of his orders were to convey a sincere expression of regard. “Such was the substance of my remarks. His Majesty graciously listened to them all, nor did he make any sign at certain passages. All the while he held his hat in his hand; and even until he had given his answer, when he covered and bade us be. His answer was that although this Embassy was superfluous as regards his firm and constant affection towards the Republic, still he was glad to receive it. He thanked me for the pains I had been at and the fatigues I had undergone, protesting before God (such were his very words as he laid his hand on his breast) that among all sovereigns there was not one who took the place of the Republic in his love. It is true that he has declared himself in the past troubles, truest of all that he will ever on all occasions show himself in the same way. He regretted the distance; if the Republic were nearer he would take other steps to show his feelings. He was very well pleased that other Powers should perceive this, and our mission would secure that. This will be good for both parties, as for example quite recently when his Ambassador at Venice had been insulted by an individual. His Majesty dwelt for some time on this topic, but we lost some of his words, for, carried away by his inner feelings, he spoke rapidly. Although he spoke in French, which we understand quite well, still owing to the English accent we were prevented from catching all he said, though the main thread of the answer was as we have set forth and seemed to proceed from a sincere and loving heart. Contarini made a brief reply and then begged leave to address the Queen, although we had intended to pay our respects on another day, but the Earl of Salisbury informed us that it would be better so. The Queen accordingly turned first and made a profound bow to the King, and then read the letter of credence. I advanced to kiss her hand and she instantly took off her glove and permitted me to do so.” A few compliments passed and the Ambassador went to the Prince and then to the Duke of York; the King said: “This one is determined to draw sword in the service of the Republic.” The Ambassador concluded by complimenting the Princess. The King treated the Ambassador Correr with the greatest intimacy. The suite and the Secretary made their obeisances. While Contarini was speaking to the Queen and the Princes the King assured Correr how sorry he was for the fatigue to which Contarini had been exposed, especially as he was no longer young. Correr replied that Contarini would not be the good Senator he was if he felt fatigue in the service of his Majesty, though it was true the season was a bad one, and Contarini was fresh from the toils of the legation in Rome. The King replied: “I imagine those labours must have been the heavier of the two, for travail of mind is heavier than bodily fatigue, but of the former he will find none here.” We then turned to the Queen and the Duke of York and exchanged some pleasantries. I, Correr, begged Lord Salisbury to say to the Duke that as I had frequently represented him as a champion of the Republic I was sorry to see him now without a sword. The King said “He does not want to be a soldier any more, he wants to go into the Church.” His Majesty himself interpreted my words to the Duke, when I asked if he really wanted to go into the Church, to which he replied that he was resolved to carry arms in service of your Serenity. With that we took our leave and were escorted home by the same company. The Embassy has been most honourably received and is most satisfactory in every way. Lewkenor has just been to invite us to dine with the King next Sunday, which we shall do.
London, 18th February, 1609.
Feb. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 793. Francesco Contarini and Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
We have been assured by the Earl of Salisbury of the great pleasure felt by the King and the Court at this Embassy, which will prove to the world how excellent is the understanding with the Republic. He added that this amity was the chief jewel in the English Crown, and that it must be carefully guarded, for there were not wanting those who threatened it. He said he would not fail to do his part and declared that the English Ambassador in Venice continued to use all good offices towards this end, as here the Ambassador Correr gives the highest satisfaction. He enquired about the late Ambassador Giustinian. Contarini replied, dwelling on the King's prudence in maintaining these friendly relations in order to be able to meet those who may wish to offer violence or in any way to prejudice either State; at this Lord Salisbury nodded his head in sign of approval. Contarini then praised the English Ambassador in Venice. Salisbury then expressed satisfaction at the honourable reception granted to the Dutch Embassy (Vandermyle's) at Venice, as he greatly desired the preservation of the United Provinces, as a bar to him who aimed at making himself sole Sovereign. But after the King of England had succeeded in effecting an accord there, war was coming on apace about Cleves. The Princes intend to abide by the judgment not of the Emperor but of the Empire; remove his rank and the Emperor would be an object of pity rather than of fear. Nor are the Electors to be feared even if joined by Bavaria. There is no indication as yet as to how the King of Spain will act, though in view of the weakness of the other parties war can hardly take place without him. The King of France has acted and acts like the great Prince he is. He supports the cause and has the means ready. The King of England, too, is resolved not to abandon the Princes in the support of their claims, but England cannot be ready so soon as France, where regiments and troops are always kept on foot and where all you have to do is to shift them from one place to another, whereas in England, thanks to protection by the sea, such provision is not maintained. There was no question of meddling with the Duke of Saxony. Cleves was important as a frontier Duchy and as lying between the United Provinces and the territory of the Archduke Albert. (fn. 1)
Throughout all this discourse he showed himself worthy of the high position he occupies, a position equalled by none. He further declared that if the English Ambassador in Venice or the Venetian Ambassador here encountered difficulties they must be attributed to the customs and laws of the respective countries, not to any defect of good-will; Correr understood the Earl to refer to the cases of the “Corsaletta” and the “Soderina.” On this point Contarini reports that some English merchants had been to him, asserting that they were the owners of a ship called the “Corsaletta,” which was held prisoner at Canea. They put in claims for damages and urged that the affair might be wound up, for they said they heard from the English Ambassador in Venice that Contarini had orders to deal with the matter; Contarini affirmed that he had not. The merchants then complained that the Senate's orders had not been carried out and that no answer had been sent to two letters from the King, a fact which they say has caused great ill-humour here. On this account I, Correr, am informed that the case of the “Reniera” and “Soderina” has suffered much here. The sentence for 3,500 ducats in favour of Venetians amounts to only about half the sum claimed, the remainder being suddenly deducted by the Court on the plea of expenses and for the ship, without giving me time to instruct Counsel.
London, 18th February, 1610.
Feb. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 794. Francesco Contarini and Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Wednesday the Earl of Salisbury gave answer to the Ambassadors of France and the United Provinces, one after the other; the substance was that the King was resolved to stand with their Masters in rendering help to the two Princes to establish themselves securely in Cleves. For this purpose he offers four thousand infantry paid; this is the same help as England has on other occasions given to France and to the States. His Majesty excuses himself for not acting as France does on the ground that this Kingdom is surrounded by the sea and does not keep troops on foot, and therefore it was both more costly and more difficult for him to raise troops than it was for the King of France. Lord Salisbury said that his Majesty's Ambassador in Holland (Winwood) would go to Düsseldorf to convey the King's decision, and that very shortly we should hear that the question was to be settled by arms, in which case use will be made of the English and Scotch troops at present in the service of the United Provinces, if the States disband them. If they prove insufficient and the need grows greater his Majesty will augment his aid proportionately. The Ambassadors of France and the States showed great pleasure at this answer, for they had not been assured that it would be of this nature, as the King has always shown an aversion to mixing himself up in wars, even in the guise of aid; and although they think that Leopold will not dream of resisting such a display of force, all the same they are convinced that an alliance of this nature will be a great gain to their Masters, and will persuade the world that they will exhibit a like spirit in other circumstances where they are called on to oppose the supremacy of one or other of the Great Powers. The Count of Mansfeldt, Ambassador of the Duke of Saxony, arrived on Saturday last. In his public audience, which took place two days later, he touched on little but formal compliments. He presented to his Majesty lengthy letters in which the King is begged to intervene so that, until a judgment is issued, each party shall enjoy what he at present holds. The King is not at all inclined to adopt this course. We hear that he will urge the Duke to join the two Princes and will offer his services to that end, in order that their claims may be examined together either by the Empire or by mutual friends appointed to arbitrate.
To-morrow Parliament opens. There is a great concourse of titled persons and members from all the districts. The King will not take part in State, for this is not the opening of a new Parliament, but a continuation of the past Parliament, which was not dissolved.
Lady Arabella is seldom seen outside her rooms and lives in greater dejection than ever. She complains that in a certain comedy the play-wright introduced an allusion to her person and the part played by the Prince of Moldavia. The play was suppressed. Her Excellency is very ill pleased and shows a determination in this coming Parliament to secure the punishment of certain persons, we don't know who.
The Ambassador appointed to Florence (le Sieur) to reply to the Embassy of Salviati and also to deal with the merchants' claims has been suspended and it is said he will not be sent; perhaps they will appoint some one else more acceptable to his Highness.
The Council of the Virginia Company has issued a printed proclamation that as Lord De la Warr was about to sail shortly no one was to be allowed to embark with him except artificers of certain specified trades; pay is offered on caution paid by those who propose to go. The proclamation sets forth that many vagabonds who would not put their hands to any work have returned and spread unfavourable reports about the colony, and that the Company will not cease to send and send again until the establishment of the colony is complete. We enclose a copy of the proclamation.
Of eight ships that made the voyage last year one never arrived, and now there is a rumour that two others have gone down; this is concealed as far as possible from the interested parties so as not to create an unfavourable impression against the enterprise.
Some ships arrived from Spain bring news that in Seville and other places trade with London has been prohibited, they say on account of the plague. This causes surprise, for the city has not for a long time past been as free as it was all this winter. It is said that the reason for this proclamation is the desire of some other nation to stop English rivalry in trade.
We have received despatches with instructions about John Gibbons. On the first occasion I, Correr, will make proper representations to the King. Nor will I fail to do all I can in the interests of Tizzoni.
From Cleves comes news this week that the troops of the two Princes are pressing Juliers and have taken some mills in the neighbourhood.
London, 18th February, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 795. Proclamation by the Virginia Company.
It has happened by the will of God who governs all things that of the fleet of light ships that recently sailed for Virginia, the flag ship on board which were the principal officers, Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers, and Captain Newport, caught by tempestuous winds and terrible currents was carried so far West that she could not make Cape Henry and the harbour of Virginia. It is therefore to be hoped that the interested parties will have news of her with the return of the fleet. Certain disordered youths sent thither (seeing that they are of the very worst sort and such that the country cannot endure them) have been allowed secretly to embark and to return to England; they now spread most vile reports wherever they go, in order to cover their own bad conduct and colour the ground of their return, both about the nature of the country and of the government of the colony. The result is that diverse persons of the better sort have published disrespectful reports, though they are mere bide-at-homes and gladly accept all unfavourable rumours against honourable enterprises, and blame authors and actions alike although they have no understanding of either, nor yet of the objects which the Company has in view. It is well known that these rumours are spread merely to cover the unhappy state of some objectors and the lukewarmness of others in any enterprise that may touch their purse. All the same many are pledged to press forward the enterprise. Further they have agreed to put together a certain number of ships well found and under the Baron de la Warr to sail in support of the officers named above. Past experience has shown that fathers rid themselves of sons, masters of troublesome servants, wives of wicked husbands, all to the damage of the expedition, owing to the presence of this idle crew that would die of famine rather than work; it is therefore decreed that such useless folk are not to be accepted on future expeditions, but only tried artificers of the following crafts: smiths, gardeners, iron-workers, gun-smiths, sawyers, caulkers, turners, brickmakers, fishermen, fowlers, surgeons, coopers, iron masters, ploughmen, barbers, carpenters, salt-workers, bakers, brewers, vine-dressers. (fn. 2) Further, doctors for the body and learned theologians to instruct the Colony and to convert the infidels; all the above who, before the numbers be filled up, present themselves at the house of Sir Thomas Smith, Treasurer of the Company, and offer their services on this expedition, after giving good security that they will be ready to follow Lord de la Warr, shall receive such suitable provision as becometh each one's skill in his profession.
Feb. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 796. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Among Fra Fulgenzio's papers are found some that indicate negotiations for a journey to England. He has been removed to the most secret prison of the Inquisition; and they say he will fare ill.
Rome, 20th February, 1610.
Feb. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 797. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople to the Doge and Senate.
No news from Tripoli since the despatch of agents from the French, English, and Venetian Ambassadors to endeavour to persuade the English to bear their share of the expenses.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 21st February, 1609 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Feb. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 798. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of Spain has given orders for the protection of the Prince of Condé, and if he desires to go to Spain he shall be furnished with the means of doing so honourably and safely. These orders are entrusted to Spinola and d'Agnaville—a sign that the King does not entirely trust his Highness. The Marquis de Cæuvre's plot (fn. 3) against the Prince has been discovered, and on the Prince declaring that the Marquis intended to carry off the Princess the archduke caused her house to be surrounded by two hundred harquebusiers and a company of horse. On Sunday, the Prince found the Secretary of France coming out of the Princess's room and first abused him and then gave him two blows over the head, but his sword turned in his hand. He has begged the Infanta to admit the Princess to her suite. The Marquis de Cóuvre and the Ambassador in Ordinary (fn. 4) have made strong representations about the assault on the Secretary, and demand that the Princess be allowed to return to her father. I have it from a good source that the Marquis de Cæuvre's plot was known to the Archduke and the Infanta, who desire peace above everything.
The Spanish Ambassador complained to the King about Savoy. He declared that his Master was very well informed on the subject; he said that if the King of France began war the King of Spain would finish it.
Paris, 23rd February, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 799. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Diet of Hall closed on the 12th of this month with the resolve to assist the “possessioners.” Next day the Baron von Dohna was despatched to beg his Most Christian Majesty to hasten his levies so as to begin in earnest at once. Dohna arrived here on Sunday, saw his Majesty, and was assured that orders were already issued.
Sully told me that as regards the King of Great Britain, M. de la Boderie has dealt with the Earl of Salisbury, who showed satisfaction at learning the decision of his Most Christian Majesty, and promised that his master would play his part according to his power and forces; nor, even if he were alone, would he desert the “possessioners.” M. de la Boderie pressed for a specification of the English aid, and was told that Lord Salisbury had no precise orders, but that the King would be back in a few days and would give him audience. Later despatches say that he has had audience both public and private, but that the King has not yet arrived at any definite statement.
M. de Boissise is to go to Cleves to encourage the “possessioners.” The King had intended to send de Fresne, but he is ill. News from Cleves that skirmishes take place almost daily.
Paris, 23rd February, 1610.
Feb. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 800. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
News from Savoy that Fuentes is moving guns on Asti. His Highness (of Savoy) has thrown four hundred men into Asti and the same number into Vercelli. He presses for help. Here they have decided to send twelve thousand men and 1,800 horse.
Paris, 23rd February, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Feb. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 801. Francesco Contarini and Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
We were invited in the King's name to dinner on Sunday last. A similar invitation was also sent to M. de la Boderie, Ambassador-Extraordinary of France. We met at the Palace at the appointed hour. The dinner was served in full State; the Prince was present, and his Majesty was waited on by the great Lords of the Kingdom with an attitude of adoration almost, not merely of reverence and respect, for in bringing the water, the drink and the meat they sank upon their knees. The entertainment was royal, especially on account of the great number of silver-gilt vases upon the side-board, piled up to the ceiling, and for a service of flaggons (bottigliaria) holding goblets of precious stone studded with gems. The King wore on his hat a jewel made of five diamonds of extraordinary size, and also a chain of diamonds from which hung the George, that is the Order of the Garter. Throughout dinner his Majesty indulged in pleasant talk. He told us how his ships had captured some pirates, and how he hoped to extirpate them. He dwelt at length on his hatred for such folk, many of whom he had put to death. He said he would never pardon them, and declared that one pirate had offered him forty-thousand pounds sterling, equal to one hundred and sixty thousand crowns, to recover his favour, but he would not even consider the proposal though the fellow was far off and out of his power (affermando che un corsaro, per ricuperar la sua gratia li a offerto m/40 lire de sterlini che ascendono alla summa di m/160 scudi, nè le è piacuto di admetter l' offerta, se ben costui è lontano nè si trova in poter suo). We do not know whether his Majesty introduced this subject with intent to allude to his Most Christian Majesty, who has lately given his assurances to the famous pirate Danziker (Simon Danzer) perhaps not without valuable consideration to some one (forsc non senza utile di alcuno). His Majesty told us about the danger run by the King of Denmark who a few days ago was almost drowned in a storm when at sea in a beautiful boat of his. He asked as to the state of the Turkish Empire, and recalled that Ambassador of Persia (Robert Sherley) who had already been in Christendom, taking him for a humbug, all the more so that he wore a turban with a cross on the top, and asking whether that person had ever been at Venice (et commemorò di quell' Ambasciator di Persia che gia venne in Christianità interpretandollo ad una fintione, massimamente che esso portava il turbante con una croce sopra, et ricercò se colui era stato a Venetia). But the point we must report to your Serenity, omitting this and other topics of conversation, is that after drinking to the French Ambassador to the health of his Most Christian Majesty, being covered immediately after, he then drank to me Contarini to the safety and increase of the Republic and again to me Correr, and yet a third time to both of us together, out of a goblet of jewelled emerald, to the preservation of his friendship with your Serenity; swearing to God that as you had made this demonstration of your affection in a way that no other Sovreign had done, he would never forget it through the whole course of his life, and would ever be allied to you with all his might against whomsoever without reserve or exception, and without enquiring the cause or the disagreement which might have arisen. He repeated this idea over again, standing up with his hat in his hand, and speaking with a loud voice so that everyone could hear him. (Ne fece uno (un brindes) a me Contarini per la conservatione et augmento della Serenissima Republica, et un altro a me Corraro, et poi il terzo a tutti doi insieme in un bichiero di smeraldo gioellato, per la conservatione della sua amicitia colla Serenità Vostra, giurando a Dio, che, havendo cssa fatto questa dimostratione del suo amore, cosa che non ha fatto alcun altro Principe, non se lo scorderà mai in tutto il corso della sua vita, et però sarà sempre con tutte le sue forze unito con essa contra chi si voglia senza riserva o eccettion alcuna et senza essaminar la causa o differentia che all hora occorresse, et replicò di nuovo questi medesimi concetti, stando continuamente in piedi col capello in mano, che proferi et replicò con voce alta che ogn' uno puote benissimo intender.) There was a great concourse of people not only of his Majesty's subjects but also some of the Envoys of foreign Powers were present, according to custom, to see what was going forward. The episode made a deep impression and gave rise to various remarks, especially because of the warmth with which his Majesty uttered these words. We replied to them with due reverences, the occasion not being favourable to a lengthy discourse on the point. The French Ambassador said that he too could associate himself to the toast, as the King, his Master, held the same sentiments of affection which would make him support the Republic at her need. Dinner ended by three Bishops in their rochets returning thanks, and the King withdrew into a chamber, followed by us. There it seemed suitable to enlarge on what the King had publicly said. His Majesty repeated his views and said the French Ambassador had engaged his Master in this matter and he would make his declaration when it was needed. He also said he had received two despatches from his Ambassador in Venice, since the arrival of Contarini in England, reporting certain favours shown him. Then his Majesty withdrew to his apartment, dinner having lasted upwards of two hours.
While going from one chamber to another the King asked the French Ambassador what news there was of Cleves. The Ambassador said that there was some slight difference between the two Princes pretenders. The King replied “We must see to mending that.” The French Ambassador also told us that in the German Union there were nine Confederate Princes, twenty-three Counts and ten Free Cities. Provision was being massed on all sides. Leopold has lately received two hundred thousand crowns; it is thought they come from Spain, and may be part of the sum remitted recently to the Spanish Ambassador resident in Prague. We thought it right in addition to the public audience, where the whole Royal family was united, to pay separate visits to the Queen and the Princes. We were most courteously received, especially by the Queen, who caused us to be seated, and engaged us in conversation for some time.
And so I, Contarini, having fulfilled my mission, will, one of these days, ask audience to take leave of their Majesties.
London, 25th February, 1609 [m.v.].
Feb. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 802. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
An Embassy from the Princes will go to England. (fn. 5)
Paris, 25th February, 1610.
Feb. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 803. Francesco Contarini and Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As soon as the French Ambassador had his answer from the King as to the aid his Majesty intended to give the “possessioners,” he proposed a defensive alliance between the Crowns of France and England and the United Provinces. As yet he has had no answer on this point; all the same a person of experience and intelligence informs us that it would not be a difficult matter to conclude it. We are now waiting to see what succours the States will offer to the “possessioners.” A courier express has been despatched to Holland on this subject; it is thought that as the Dutch have a larger stake their aid will also be larger; indeed we hear that they have already begun to raise money.
The English will be commanded by Colonel Cecil, (fn. 6) nephew of the Earl of Salisbury; he is at the present moment in the service of the States at the head of a company of horse and a regiment of infantry.
The Danish Ambassador will accompany the English to Düsseldorf. It is expected that if the need arises the King of Denmark will likewise assist the “possessioners.” But at present, though Leopold receives every kind of assistance from the Mainz League to enable him to fortify and provision Juliers, yet they have no doubt but that he will be obliged to abandon the place provided the two Princes proceed in accord, as to which, however, there is some doubt.
The Ambassador of Saxony has recently been in the Council. He excused his Master for having drawn towards the Emperor on the ground that this was the ancient policy of his house. He endeavoured to prove that it was more to the common weal that these differences should be settled by reason than by force. He begged his Majesty to exert his influence to bring about a suspension of arms. He proposed that the territories at present possessed both by the Archduke and by the Princes should be placed in the hands of some person friendly to both parties until such time as the case could be adjudged. Receiving no encouragement on this point he said that, without further contention, his Master would be satisfied if each party remained in possession of what he at present held; but neither to this did the Council lend an ear.
The day before yesterday he alone, without the presence of his other two colleagues, was received in audience by the Queen. He remained standing the whole time and, in the name of the Duchess, he begged the Queen, her sister, to favour the Duke's cause with the King. He did not receive an answer calculated to encourage hopes, partly because the Queen does not mix willingly in politics, partly because she knows that the King is entirely bent on supporting Brandenburg ... as Saxony is held to be the servant of the Emperor; while though Saxony is brother-in-law of the Queen the other is dependent as brother of the Queen of Denmark who is the King's sister-in-law. Moreover here they have always had more sympathy with Brandenburg than with Saxony ever since they came to the throne, because Saxony has never sent an Embassy to congratulate them as other princes did, and when an Ambassador came here on some other mission he always found it difficult to see the Queen. This Ambassador will not stay here many days more, and when he leaves he will go to Denmark before returning to Saxony.
The people of Utrecht have risen and deposed their magistrates. There have been risings in two other towns, one about some preachers the other about taxes.
A Scotch gentleman, squire to the Prince, who has lately returned from Italy, reports that in Florence he was very well received and that the Dowager Grand Duchess said to him, “Pray beg his Majesty to recall that we are of the same blood and desire to be his humble servants.” These words have greatly softened the King's feelings towards Tuscany and cleared away certain ill humours generated by the reports and invectives of the merchants. All the same the departure of the Ambassador designate is countermanded, nor as yet are they disposed to elect another subject.
His Majesty thinking it undesirable to drive the Lady Arabella to further despair has given her ten thousand crowns to pay her debts, and has also greatly increased her annual pension, and instead of eight dishes a day from the kitchen she is now allowed eighteen. All the same there is still much suspicion about, partly because she is not satisfied and is a lady of high spirit and ability, partly because the malcontents may some day use her as a pretext for their schemes. And so, there being a rumour of some design of marriage with a son of the Earl of Hertford, himself a person of royal descent, on Friday the Earl was summoned before the Council and questioned thereon. He himself showed no dislike of the plan, but as it is highly distasteful to the King it is thought that obstacles will be raised (non mancano però in questo proposito molte gelosie cosi perchè ella si trova poco sodisfatta, et è di gran spirito et valore, come perchè li mal contenti potrebbono in alcuna occasione valersi di lei per pretesto nelli loro dissegni. Onde intendendosi alcuna pratica di matrimonio con un figlio del Conte di Herford, che discende esso ancora dal sangue regale, Venerdi fu chiamato esso Conte avanti li Sigri. del consiglio et interogato sopra questo particolare dal quale egli non si mostrò alieno, ma dispiacendo ciò grandemente al Rè si tiene che vi sarà messo impedimento). To this suspicion is attributed the fact that on Saturday about mid-night search was made in almost all houses in the City, and great diligence used to find out if strangers were lodged there. This, however, we are told, is no uncommon occurrence when they have any reason for suspecting the presence of priests or other doubtful characters. They can easily carry out the operation thanks to constables and other officers who have charge of each quarter. Perhaps the recollection of the machinations against the last Parliament have warned them to be vigilant.
The King has sent to complain to the Spanish Ambassador that in Spain trade with England has been prohibited; he takes this as a hostile act. The Ambassador said he believed that the Plague was the cause, as he had been asked to report on it. But when it was pointed out that such a step had not been taken in Italy even in a time of great mortality and that for weeks past the City had never been so free of Plague, he did not know what answer to give. It is perfectly true that for some months past many days have gone by without a death from the Plague.
Parliament met on Friday last and was at once adjourned to Wednesday; the usual prayers and ceremonies were omitted. Yesterday the subsidy was moved, and also the petition of four counties to be removed from the principality of Wales, which is very heavily taxed, and included in England, which is less heavily burdened. On both subjects a committee of 100 Commoners and 50 Peers was appointed to take information.
London, 25th February, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 25. Collegio, Secreta. Letters from Kings and Queens of England. Venetian Archives. 804. Letter from Queen Anne presenting compliments to the Doge and the Republic.
Dat. in Regia nrã Lond. 25 Feb. 1610.
Feb. 26. Minutes of the senate. Venetian Archives. 805. On the 28th of this month the two years of statutory service will be completed by our beloved noble Antonio Foscarini, Ambassador in France; motion made to elect a successor. Salary two hundred ducats of gold in gold a month, three hundred ducats of lire 6 soldi 4, for expenses; forty crowns a month for extras.
Ayes 135.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 1.
Feb. 27. Senato Secreta. Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 806. Giacomo Vendramin, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Count who built the new galleon has gone to Pisa to buy wood for two new vessels of war.
Florence, 27th February, 1610.
Feb. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 807. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
As regards the Turks held slaves at Marseilles the Mutaferika, who is here, was told that they would be set at liberty as soon as certain friends of Danziker's in arrest in Algiers were set at liberty.
Paris, 28th February, 1610.


  • 1.
  • 2. These are very nearly Smith's requirements. See Gardiner II., p. 57.
  • 3. See Winwood, Memorials. III. 110, for the reported attempt by de Cóuvre to carry off the Princess.
  • 4. Mathieu Bruslart, Sieur de Berny. See Sully, Memoires.
  • 5. The Envoy chosen was the second son of the Duke of Wirtemberg.
  • 6. Sir Edward Cecil.