Venice: March 1610

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: March 1610', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, (London, 1904) pp. 435-450. British History Online [accessed 11 April 2024]

March 1610

March 1. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 808. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince of Condé left Flanders because the Archduke Albert did not wish to keep him there in defiance of his Natural Sovreign.
Prague, 1st March, 1610.
March 1. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 809. In the course of an audience the French Ambassador enquired what news there was of the fleet of galleys under the Englishman Sherley. The Doge replied that it was reported at Messina, very badly commanded. It was to go to Trapani and Syracuse to take in biscuits.
March 2. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Zante. Venetian Archives. 810. Michiel Priuli, Venetian Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 22nd of last month some English merchants arrived here with three ships, having made the journey in fifty days. They say that near Gibraltar they fell in with two privateers and engaged them. They slew about a hundred men and broke the mainmast of one ship.
Zante, 2nd March, 1610.
March 2. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Milan. Venetian Archives. 811. Giovanni Francesco Marchesini, Venetian Resident in Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
Has been informed that after the return from England of his ambassador, Guicciardini, the Grand-Duke entertained hopes of marrying his sister to the Prince of Wales; eventually, however, he was convinced that their Majesties were resolved on a royal match. Marchesini's informant went on to say that there was a close understanding between France and England, but much closer between England and Spain, thanks to the Queen; and that very shortly events would prove whether he were lying; for the Prince of Wales would presently be sent to Spain and the Queen was anxious that he should marry the Infanta.
Milan, 2nd March, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 812. Francesco Contarini and Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I, Contarini, took my leave of the King last Tuesday. Audience was granted very readily, although at that conjuncture his Majesty was engaged with Council in consultation over Parliamentary affairs. These are concerned with demands for supplies and various difficulties arise; all the same his Majesty will probably get his own way.
Having accordingly entered his private appartment I said that having fulfilled my mission, which was to express the attachment of the Republic, I have received such a cordial greeting as left no doubt in my mind nor any need for further words, and therefore I came to take my leave and, with his good grace, to return to my own country, after rendering thanks for the honours so graciously bestowed on me.
The King replied “As far as regards myself I know not what to add to what I said the other day when we dined together. As to the reasons for sending this Embassy, I am quite satisfied, for I am convinced that all due regard was shown to my book, which I published in the interests of Sovreigns and for the support of their jurisdiction, nor had I any other object in view. As to the confession of Faith, that is my own particular confession and I declared it because at Rome they denied that I was a Christian. Let others do as they think best, I have no wish to instruct the subjects of other Sovreigns. My ambassador in Venice has expressed these ideas. If he has transgressed in taking too wide a flight this must be laid to the door of his superabundant zeal in my service; but in truth the ambassador, as I have said on other occasions, has always reported most favourably of the Republic's affection towards me. His first despatches on the subject of this book were rather of the nature of excuses for himself than accusations against the Republic. He had no orders from me in the matter. I know how cautiously the Republic has proceeded, no decree in writing being issued nor any mention made of my name; provisions characteristic of the prudence of the Republic; for certain subjects are not fit to be handled by the people. I inquire no further. I let it be clearly understood that when I make a request I expect it to be granted only on the supposition that it in no way prejudices the government, for it would be an act of evil friendship to ask for aught that could cause hurt, and I desire the increase not the diminution of that State.”
The King made this discourse with a cheerful countenance. Neither of us omitted to confirm his Majesty in the idea of the respect which was always paid to his honour, as had been done in the present case. His Majesty replied, and then said “The Jesuits and others continue to print books against the government and the tyranny, as they call it, of England, also attacks on myself personally.” He mentioned a work entitled “De Schismate Anglicano.” He showed a wish that such books should not be permitted, and pointed out that attacks on Princes was a matter that affected all Princes, and among others your Serenity. We promised to pay attention to this wish.
The King then went on to recommend the Prince de Joinville, especially if the Republic meant to fill up the post of the Count of Vaudemont. He wished to urge nothing that could prejudice the Republic, but this Prince was a relation. He praised the Republic for declining Vaudemont's services on the ground that he had failed at the moment of need. He then commended the case of the owners of the “Corsaletta”; he said he could not fail to recommend his own subjects. We pointed out that the ship not only had contraband on board but had offered resistance to the galleys of the guard, and yet to please his Majesty at the first request presented by his Ambassador orders were issued to restore the ship; but, not content, the owners made still further unreasonable demands. His Majesty appeared to be satisfied. He held in his hand a paper which he opened and looked at from time to time, and it was clear that it contained a note of the points he had to touch on. With a smile he looked at the notes and then went on: “So closely bound is the Republic to this kingdom that Englishmen gladly go to Venice. It sometimes happens, however, that should one die there, he lacks decent burial, and is thrown into the water, (fn. 1) so I hear; I should like a suitable place to be assigned where in such cases the dead might be buried. I ask for no ceremony and no fuss, just a place where they may be decently interred.” Finally he begged that at the University of Padua students, his subjects, be not forced to take the oath. We answered that after finishing their course and when proceeding to their degree, by ancient and unbroken custom students took the oath, but no one was forced to take the degree. His Majesty seemed satisfied, for he added: “It is true that unless there be necessity one does not change an ancient practice. That is a rule I invariably follow.” Finally the King apologised for not having given me my leave earlier. He desired to shorten my journey and diminish the fatigue, but though he had some power it was not his to make bad weather good nor the long road short.
I, Correr, did not think this the right moment to return thanks for his Majesty's offer about John Gibbons.
To-day I, Contarini, took leave of the Queen, the Princes and the Princess; and to-morrow I hope to have an interview with Lord Salisbury, so that next week, by God's help, I shall be on my way back. I do not consider it advisable to take the way of France nor to visit that Court again; nor yet, in spite of the invitation to go through the States and the offer of a ship to convey me there, do I consider it advisable to accept these in view of the appointment of an Ambassador especially to that country. I shall accordingly take the Flanders route.
London, 4th March, 1610.
March 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 813. Francesco Contarini and Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The French Ambassador (fn. 2) at the Diet of Hall has gone on to the Ecclesiastical Electors to persuade them that the present negotiations do not touch religious matters but only the affairs of Cleves. The English Ambassador to the United Provinces (Winwood) ought to be in Düsseldorf by now in order to inform the “possessioners” of the aid determined on by his Majesty and to insure the continuation of the war. Letters from that quarter are not very recent owing to the bad weather. Such as they are they bring news that the Archduke Leopold has charged a Florentine, Signor Neri dell' Arena, to raise a company of horse.
Ambassadors will be sent from the States to France and to England to announce their decision. Meantime M. de la Boderie, who is at this Court as Ambassador Extraordinary from his Most Christian Majesty, is giving anxious attention to his Mission about a League. Yesterday he had a long conference with the King and Council. He has sent his Secretary with a report on his negotiations so far as they have gone. We have not, as yet, discovered their nature but we understand that there is some slight difficulty on the one side and on the other a great desire to conclude the business quickly.
The Count of Mansfeldt, who is here for the Duke of Saxony, has taken his leave. He has had little but fair words. He has orders to proceed to Brussels, then to the Hague and Denmark. We gathered from his own remarks that he thought the war would be finished sooner than his mission.
The Marquis de Cóuvre, not having received an answer to his liking in reply to his demand that the Archduke should dismiss the Prince of Condé, declared that the King himself would come in person to seize the Prince, and used other expressions of serious import. On the other hand the Prince's suspicions were aroused by the arrival in Brussels of the Governor of Aix-la-Chapelle, as there was also a rumour that armed bands had been seen in the country. He went home and met the Secretary to the French Ambassador in ordinary, (fn. 3) who had just been with the Princess, his wife; the Prince struck him with his stick and when he fled set some of his lacqueys after him, who wounded him with the sword. (fn. 4) The whole of that night, on the Archduke's orders, troops and town guard lay under arms and kept particular watch round the house of Condé. The Infanta sent for the Princess and kept her with herself. The Flemish Secretary here says that the French have warned His Highness to have a care lest the husband seek to rid himself of the cause of all these troubles by means of poison; all the same it is universally believed that the Prince is better pleased than the French, by whose representations he doubts but that his wife's resolve may be shaken. At present the Princess wears the Spanish dress, though she sometimes gives signs that she does not like it. Condé is ready to set out for Genoa on his way to Spain. As far as Milan he will have the company of Sig. Ottavio Visconti, Chamberlain to the Archduke. He will take the Innsbruck-Trent route, as safer than the others.
As we reported, the King is anxious that the marriage of the lady Arabella with the nephew of the Earl of Hertford should not go forward, so as to avoid the union of the claims of these two houses, who are the nearest to the Crown. After examination separately they were both summoned before the King, the Prince and the Council and ordered to give up all negotiations for marriage. Lady Arabella spoke at length, denying her guilt and insisting on her unhappy plight. She complained again that her patrimony had been conceded by the King to others. She had sold two rings he had given her. She was then required to beg the King's pardon, but replied that seeing herself deserted she had imagined that she could not be accused if she sought a husband of her own rank. All the same, if error she had made she humbly begged pardon. This did not satisfy the King; he demanded an absolute confession of wrong and an unconditional request for forgiveness. That she complied with, and received fresh promises of money and leave to marry provided the King approved.
The morning of the first of this month, the 19th of February according to the English style, the Earl of Salisbury in a very long speech laid before Parliament the King's needs. He asked for money upon four grounds: first, to meet ordinary expenses; second, to pay debts; third, to create a war fund; fourth, to enable the Prince to maintain himself with decorum. He pointed out that his Majesty did not waste money in luxury; that he had paid off the Crown debts; had spent two millions of gold in Ireland; helped his allies; made other payments for the aggrandisement of the kingdom to which it was undesirable to refer. Wars come suddenly and unexpectedly, like lightning; it is necessary to provide money by times, for at a crisis it was not always possible to summon Parliament and vote supplies. There were clouds on the horizon in the discord about Condé and the change in the State of Cleves; they might bring about a great movement of arms. It is impossible to abandon one's friends or to neglect the cause of religion, which is implicit in the present crisis in Germany. He concluded by praising the Prince and declared that everyone ought to be greatly obliged to the King, who had reared for the government of this kingdom a son of such high promise and desert. In the afternoon of the same day the Speaker (il Procuratore del Parliamento) also addressed the House in favour of the demands; he took advantage of the fact that it was the Prince's birthday, and urged that they should show their gratitude to the King for so precious a treasure bred to govern. This did not suffice to remove the difficulties, which are great. A commission has been appointed. The matter will end to the King's satisfaction. Parliament wants the King to state the sum he requires; but he thinks it best to leave the whole question in the hands of Parliament, which demands the abolition of Wardships and Purveyance, and offers in lieu an annual sum. It will hardly obtain this.
London, 4th March, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 5. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 814. Commission to Tomaso Contarini, Ambassador-elect to the States General of the Low Countries.
The States had recently sent Cornelius Vandermyle to communicate the conclusion of a truce with the Archduke by the intervention of the Kings of France and England, a truce whereby their absolute independence was recognised.
March 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 815. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Orders sent to the Pasha of Tunis to instruct the English pirate Ward to come with his ships to join the Turkish fleet; and if he declines, thirty or forty of his gunners are to be sent to join the Capudan Pasha at Rhodes.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 7th March, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 8. Despatches from Zante. Venetian Archives. 816. Michiel Priuli, Venetian Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports from Milo the presence of Anthony Sherley in command of eight Spanish galleons.
Zante, 8th March, 1610.
March 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 817. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of Great Britain is ready to help the “possessioners” with four thousand foot and, if need be, with ships to prevent aid arriving from Spain. The King of Denmark has written to say that he will do precisely what the King of England does. The Danish Ambassadors in Düsseldorf spoke in the same sense. M. de la Boderie's negotiations in England on this subject are nearly concluded. The English Ambassador at the Hague (Winwood) has orders to move to Düsseldorf on the 20th of this month. M. de Bongars will be there for the King of France till M. de Boissise arrives on the conclusion of his mission to the Ecclesiastical Princes.
Paris, 10th March, 1610.
March 10. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 818. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Marshal Lesdiguières is thinking of employing Danziker and his ships for a surprise attack on Genoa. I am informed by Sully that the King's most intimate advisers are little pleased at your Excellencies' silence. He insisted that Spain must always be an object of suspicion to you; that if Spain has been a quiet neighbour so far, that was solely due to the war in Flanders; that England and Denmark are declared and will join with the United Provinces, the Protestant Princes, and the Duke of Savoy; the Grisons are ready to move at a nod from the King; in short, never was there a more favourable opportunity for your Excellencies to expand in the Milanese and to render your position secure for ever.
Paris, 10th March, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 819. Antonio Foscarini, Venetion Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Marquis de Cóuvre, seeing the Prince of Condé was resolved to leave for Spain, on the sixteenth of last month declared him a rebel and guilty of lósa Majestas. The Prince replied that as adequate security was refused him he could not return, and he protested against the Marquis' intimation. On the 20th the Prince left at night (fn. 5) and no one knows for certain which road he has taken; for the Archduke caused four city gates to be opened simultaneously and sent persons out by them. The Prince left with a very small suite, and he thinks his greatest safety lies in travelling incognito and with speed. Next morning the Marquis de Cóuvre and the Lieger (Bruslart) sent a secretary express to his Majesty to whom the news, though anticipated, is very displeasing. The Prince's resolution to go to Spain was chiefly determined by a letter from his Catholic Majesty saying that as the Prince at a crisis of his career had shown such confidence in his Majesty as to retire to his dominions his Majesty regretted that he was not in Flanders to receive him, and promising, if he came to Spain, that he would be welcomed and treated in accordance with his rank. The same courier brought letters for the Archduke and the Infanta, begging the one to furnish the Prince with suitable escort, the other to keep the Princess with her unless it were thought desirable that she should accompany her husband. The King of France sent agents into Switzerland and messengers to the Princes of Germany begging them to arrest the Prince, but in vain, as no one knew the road he had taken. On the 27th the Marquis de Cóuvre returned and had long audiences with the King and excessively long ones with the Constable (Montmorenci), who ardently desires to have his daughter with him. The Ambassador of the Archduke endeavoured to convince me that his Highness could not have done more to secure the return of the Prince. The Ambassador says the Prince has gone to Milan. M. de Vaucelas (Vuccllas), (fn. 6) French Ambassador in Spain, has complained of the letter written by the King to the Prince, which his Most Christian Majesty considers an act of hostility and an infraction of the Peace of Vervins, which forbids the one King to receive the enemies of the other. His Catholic Majesty made no reply, but referred the Ambassador to Lerma who told him, next day, that the King of France had been the first to violate the treaty of Vervins by assisting the States and that France was a refuge for Spanish rebels, naming Antonio Perez in particular; that the Kings of Spain were ever wont to pity, assist, and receive afflicted princes such as was the Prince of Condé, that the King of France not satisfied with his own act had also corrupted the Duke of Savoy, the Spanish King's brother-in-law, and on this the Duke dwelt in bitter, strong, and stinging terms. This has further disturbed the King of France, who is pushing on the preparations for war with greater diligence. The Spanish Ambassador has sent two couriers with news of this to his master.
M. de Fresne, a devoted servant of your Excellencies, and of whom the King proposed to make further use, has passed to another life. Signor Pietro Gritti, who has been here for six months and has always maintained a lordly train of life, is presently going to England. He desires to render himself ever more capable to serve your Excellencies. He has made himself very popular with the Court and the King.
Paris, 10th March, 1610.
March 10. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Milan. Venetian Archives. 820. Giovanni Francesco Marchesini, Venetian Resident in Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day a new Pittag (fn. 7) is to be held in Solothurn to ratify to the French Ambassador the permission to raise troops. Fuentes has done all he can to cause fresh difficulties to be raised or at least that the Swiss should extract a declaration of the enterprise for which these troops are required and a promise that they shall not be sent out of France. It is thought that all this will produce nothing more than happened in the Diet at Baden.
Rumour that the Prince of Condé will soon arrive in Milan to settle there.
Milan, 10th March, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 821. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday last Contarini left by the Flanders route. He received in a present many goblets of silver gilt, and was escorted by the royal barges and received other unusual honours. The French Ambassador accompanied him down to the water, and I some way down the Thames. His Excellency has not fallen short of the high opinion they held of him at this Court. His representations made to the King were listened to with attention, praised and duly weighed word by word. The day before his departure he visited the Earl of Salisbury, who also showed the great regard the King had for him.
The topic of the “Corsaletta” was discussed, and a revision of the case was sought on the ground that the crew of the ship had not committed any error. Contarini promised to report his Majesty's wish. The Count of Mansfeldt left the day before yesterday. I hear from a very good source that the King entertains some hopes that the Duke of Saxony will draw towards the “possessioners.” Mansfeldt had another audience on this account and it passed off most satisfactorily. The King's hopes seem to be founded on a certain rebuff which the Duke received in the meeting of the Princes at Prague, to which he was not invited. This gave great pleasure here, for they desire to unite all the Protestant Princes of Germany, and think that with them and the King of France they will be superior to the Ecclesiastical Princes and draw some profit out of the affair.
The courier who took the King's decision as to aid to the “possessioners” into Holland and a request that the States would allow the King to raise four thousand foot from among the English and Scotch companies at present in their service has brought back a written compliance and the statement that from the first of April these troops are to be considered in the pay of his Majesty, to whom they offer their thanks for taking “into his protection” a matter which touches them so closely. The States are gathering together the aid they intend to send. The amount of this will be stated by the Ambassadors who, to the number of four, (fn. 8) are appointed to visit this Court. It is possible that all four will not come; nor can they delay their journey much longer. This aid, if they do not change their mind, will amount to five hundred horse and four thousand foot, and a large quantity of guns and their mountings. This, they think, will be of great use to the “possessioners” and a heavy charge to themselves.
The last news from Juliers reports the Archduke Leopold not quite well. He is busy fortifying the approaches to the town, and has given orders to raise three regiments of 1,500 men each. Although military opinion considers him weak in money and necessaries, so that terms will surely be reached, all the same there is no lack of volunteer soldiers and officers.
After the Ambassador of France despatched his secretary (fn. 9) to that Court he has not been at the Palace, and I am told negotiations are proceeding less warmly.
The tumults of Utrecht are not entirely subsided. There is still some dissension among the citizens. Prince Maurice is labouring at the affair. He will presently inspect various places in Guelderland, for it is a common opinion, also among those who are inside, that if these troubles on the frontier continue it will be impossible to preserve the truce with Flanders.
The Prince of Condé on being ordered to return at once to France, under pain of being declared a rebel, demanded some towns as security and a statement in writing. This was refused by the Marquis de Cóuvre. The Prince then left suddenly by night for Cologne. From place to place he took a guard of a hundred horse. With him went a gentleman and a secretary who have been with him throughout this business. From Cologne they will go to Milan and Genoa at the time and by the road they deem safest, for they know that nets will be spread for them in many places. Count Ottavio Visconti, who was to have gone to Milan also, has been appointed by the Archduke as Ambassador in Germany to deal with the many serious questions still on foot. I am assured that the Princess of Condé is extremely discontented and regrets now that she left France. (fn. 10) The Ambassador and one of her own chamber women are accused of tempting her to fly. This gave rise to tumults in Brussels and to the withdrawal of the Princess to the Infanta's dwelling.
Here nothing is so pressing as the desire to obtain provision and an annual assignment from Parliament. Council is continually engaged on this business, for the Commons have been most seriously disturbed at the Earl of Salisbury's vast demands. They complain of extravagance at Court and of lavish donations which cause the Crown to contract debts even in times of peace. In their speeches they have enlarged on this topic with incredible freedom and have adduced thirty-two grievances of impositions and laws made by the King and his predecessors illegally, whose repeal they demand before they will grant any money. Among these grievances the chief are wardship and purveyance; both are very burdensome though they do not yield a proportionate revenue to his Majesty. On these grievances a conference of the Upper and Lower Houses was held on Saturday. Lord Salisbury addressed them at such length that his speech came to an end for want of breath and strength rather than for want of ideas and the will to continue. He showed that the deficit on the ordinary expenses amounted to eight hundred thousand ducats a year; when he became Treasurer he found debts to the extent of five millions of gold and upwards, of which by industry and care he has as yet cancelled two millions. He declared that they could not refuse the King this necessary provision, and the discharge of the entire debt. That if it were deemed for the public service to abolish wardships, even though he himself was the person most deeply interested, he would not hesitate to recommend that step to the King. This offer won for Lord Salisbury great good will, and his reputation for liberality and devotion to the public weal and to the King's service has greatly increased. The matter is under daily discussion, and will go on for a long time yet. Great difficulties spring up. All the same, as the King does not show himself entirely averse from the renunciation of wardship and purveyance, it is hoped that he will receive every satisfaction.
The Catholics of this country are living in dread lest in the coming session some steps prejudicial to them may be taken. Some proposals have already been made, and there are not wanting many who desire to suppress and ruin the Catholics to the best of their power. All the same, even in Parliament they have many secret defenders, and they sometimes kill a proposition by demanding that it should be applied to the Puritans as well.
The three ships for Virginia are on the point of sailing. Lord De la Warr is to go with them as Governor General in those parts. They have brought four vine dressers on purpose from France; they had contracted to serve anywhere, but had no idea they were to be sent so far away. The French Ambassador did all he could to get them freed of the contract, but encountering great reluctancy they had to submit.
I found that I was in debt to the Postmaster for the carriage of letters from Venice, Flanders, and Germany for many months, besides other payments I had made. I accordingly disbursed to him one hundred pounds sterling drawn on Strozzi until such time as I shall receive a detailed account from Antwerp, which I will cause to be receipted and will forward to your Serenity.
London, 11th March, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 822. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
News from Boissise that the “possessioners” are growing stronger every day, but Leopold more so. He will be in the field first. The Princes of the Catholic League of Mayence, the Archduke Albert, the Emperor but chiefly Spain, support him.
The English Secretary told me that the aid proposed by his Sovreign was only for present needs; it would be increased if it were required; nor will the King of Denmark fail to do the like. Lesdigiuères is to see the Duke of Savoy to-day; news of moment is expected. They are little pleased that in all this time your Excellencies have not replied to their proposals.
Paris, 12th March, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 823. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The French Ambassador (Vaucelas) declares that the Prince of Condé has imprudently let slip that on the death of his Most Christian Majesty he considers himself his true and legitimate successor, as he does not recognise the Queen as legitimate royal spouse and her off-spring are, therefore, unable to succeed. This has caused the King of France to declare publicly that anyone who protects the Prince is no friend to his Majesty, who has determined to have the Queen crowned with all pomp.
Madrid, 13th March, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 13. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Turin. Venetian Archives. 824. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Lesdigiuères must certainly be in Lyons by this time, though there is no news as yet of his coming.
Turin, 13th March, 1610.
March 17. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Milan. Venetian Archives. 825. Giovanni Francesco Marchesini, Venetian President in Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince of Condé is expected here every minute. (fn. 11)
Milan, 17th March, 1610.
March 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 826. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Secretary (Vertault) despatched by the French Ambassador has not returned from France yet, and meantime the negotiations for a league are suspended. The Ambassadors from the United Provinces have not started on their journey, as yet, for England and France. Those States show themselves ever more and more ready to support the “possessioners.” But the party of peace is alarmed lest they should be dragged into a new war, which would not end so easily. Others hold that the present anger and suspicion of the French offer an excellent opportunity to lower the power of Spain; an opportunity which ought to be seized; nay, that everything should be done to prevent the Spanish from recovering strength and breath, for they are convinced that the peace will last only so long as it suits Spain to maintain it. These ideas do not displease the King and the Council, who, although they hate any aggrandisement of France, dread Spanish designs still more, and their continual schemes for insinuating themselves into other States by means of gold and under the cloak of religion. On these grounds, and thanks to the activity of the King of France, some of the chief ministers here are very much inclined to favour French interests. It is true that if they thought that France was contemplating an attack on Flanders with a view to absorbing it they would not like it, though they are well pleased at the very general rumour that his Most Christian Majesty intends to attack Milan at the instance and in the interests of the Duke of Savoy; nay, in conversation with me a gentleman among the most closely connected and intimate with the King gave me to understand that his Majesty would be delighted. Neverthless, as rumour says the Spanish are not moving, it is thought that the report of a projected attack on Milan is groundless. He also pointed out to me that Italian expeditions have always been unfavourable to France, which still retains a bitter memory of them, though he added that the real cause of their misfortunes was their inability to bring their aims into line with interests of Italian Princes. I must not omit to inform your Serenity that I am informed by a person of some consideration that in Brussels he read a letter from Fuentes to Spinola in which Fuentes, after giving an account of the troops the Duke of Savoy has put into Vercelli and Asti, goes on to add these very words: “Let your Lordship think then of the state in which I find myself.”
The departure of Condé was so secret that, in spite of the rumour that he was bound for Cologne, near which I am told he had been seen, we now hear that he embarked at . . . . near Dunquerque on board the “Pearl” in company with three other ships. The Marquis de Cóuvre has left Brussels very discontented and with very little honour, no one accompanying him even as far as the city gates. The archdukes have grown chary of granting leave to the troops. There is some movement at certain points on the frontier, where Prince Maurice has sent seven companies of horse.
Parliament continues to sit twice a day on the King's demands for an annual sum of eight hundred thousand ducats and two million four hundred thousand to pay his debts. Meantime the number of grievances goes on increasing. I hear that they now amount to sixty. His Majesty offers to satisfy them about ten of these, including purveyance. Parliament stands firm, however, in demanding abolition of wardship, otherwise it will vote nothing beyond the ordinary subsidy. They let it be understood that if his Majesty will not regulate the numerous tables he keeps at Court the cost will be enormous. The King temporises about wardship. He says that as to the profits he places himself in their hands, but that he has to consider whether it becomes his conscience and his honour to renounce the wardship of minors. To-day is the final answer, and it is hoped that all will end in conciliation. Lord Salisbury's declaration that for the future he will draw no profit from the office but will place it all at the King's disposal has added greatly to these hopes.
The wild weather has affected the Queen and the Prince, but, praised be God, they are well again.
The plague has so decreased that it is not worth consideration now.
London, 18th March, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 827. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Owing to the opposition of the English merchants it has been impossible, so far, to negotiate with the Grand Vizir on the subject of the port of Alexandretta.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 18th March, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 20. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 828. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Lesdigiuères is at Grenoble. Trolliouz has been sent to meet him to arrange an interview with the Duke. The Duke declines to go to Savoy, so Lesdigiuères will come to Lingot, a place belonging to the Duke a little way out of Turin. It is being got ready. But the place though out of the way is not convenient, and the meeting may take place at Rivoli.
Turin, 20th March, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 20. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 829. Commission to Pietro Priuli, Ambassador Elect to the King of Spain.
March 22. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 830. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Visconti has arrived in Prague to represent the Archduke Albert at the meeting of the Princes.
Prague, 22nd March, 1610.
March 22. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 831. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The interview between Lesdigiuères and the Duke is being deferred by his Highness, who does not show his former impatience of delay. Yesterday he had a long conference with the Count of Verva, and I understand that the Spanish Ambassador Vives (Don Juan) is sending a courier to Milan.
Turin, 22nd March, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 832. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King's resolution to take the field himself and go at least as far as the frontier has caused the Queen's Coronation to be deferred. She is but little satisfied. The Prince of Anhault is expected to-day or to-morrow. On his arrival they will study the steps for the concentration of the forces provided by the three Kings, the States and the Protestant Princes. Anhault will pass on to the Hague and then to Cleves.
The Ambassadors of the States left for England on the fifteenth. When they come here they will be lodged in the Palazzo Gondi, the finest in this city.
M. de la Boderie reports from England. Yesterday evening an express arrived from that country. His Majesty now uses the most honourable terms about the King of England and also praises Lord Salisbury, who on the other hand is deeply grateful to his Most Christian Majesty for the honours showered upon his son who is at this Court. As Lord Salisbury is all powerful we may speedily look for an alliance between these Crowns, and consequently with Denmark. An alliance already exists with the States and the Protestant Princes, and we may very likely see a confederation directed against Spain and the House of Austria.
Paris, 24th March, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 833. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish Ambassador (Velasco), who is going to England, is here also; the Marchese Botti (?) (Boc) on his way back from Spain, where he has been for the Grand Duke. They say he will go to England.
Paris, 24 March, 1613.
March 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 834. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
News from Lesdiguières that he has sent the Captain of his guard to Turin to arrange for an audience with his Highness for Sunday, the 15th. The Prince of Condé is in Milan.
Paris, 24th March, 1610.
March 24. Senato Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 835. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Lesdiguières has written to Colonel Purpurati announcing his arrival at Grenoble and saying that he awaited the Duke's will as to a meeting. He added a postscript in his own hand saying that he would be glad to know that M. de Créqui (fn. 12) was in his Highness' good graces again.
Turin, 24th March, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 836. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Amdassador Extraordinary to England, to the Doge and Senate.
Left London on the 6th of this month. Very bad weather. Has no need of this, considering his infirmities contracted on this journey. They are not dangerous but very troublesome, especially the insomnia, which keeps him awake often for the whole night. At Brussels he waited on the Princes. Was conducted to Court by the Count of Ste. Aldegonde. Received presents of comfits and wine. The innkeeper was forbidden to present his bill. He saw the Princess of Condé with the Infanta, she was dressed half in French half in Spanish costume. The French Ambassador said he held it for certain that the Spanish would take the Prince to Milan and hold him there like a prisoner as a counter to the King of France's dealings with the Duke of Savoy. He added that the Duke of Lerma had used brusque language to the French Ambassador on this subject, though he became more moderate after the Council. In his journey through the country he has discovered everywhere a lively dread of war. No one thinks that the matter will end with Cleves, but that there are deeper and more recondite objects and that the fire will spread. Troops are not disbanded.
Report of an engagement at Bredeban between the troops of Leopold and the “possessioners.” Spinola's journey to Spain is postponed. Met in Brussels the Illustrious Pietro Gritti, son of Pietro, who is travelling about. He is going to visit Holland and then England.
Antwerp, 26th March, 1610.


  • 1. This refers to the funerals of Sir Edward Rochester and of Richard Cave, both of whom were buried at sea off Malamocco. See P.R.O. S.P. Foreign. Venice. Wotton to Lord Salisbury. The last day of August 1607, reporting the death of Richard Cave after an illness of fourteen days. “A post mortem examination of his body was made and it was brought from Padua to Venice, and from thence to the port of Malamocco and there buried in the gulf where Sir Edward Rochester had been buried before. He might doubtless have been buried in any of the churches here, or we might without public leave have found measure to lay him in the Eremitana at Padua, where the Alemaigns of all religions are buried with Popish rites, but we feared that it would have been reported through Italy and Spain that he died in this faith and was buried with these rites, so we preferred to commit his body to the sea.” There is a monument to Richard Cave at Stanford, Northamptonshire. Wotton says Cave “hated foreign fooleries.”
  • 2. Boissise.
  • 3. Mathieu Bruslart, Sieur de Berny. Sully. Memoircs, lib. 28. Vol. VII., p. 291.
  • 4. See Win-wood, III, 120. Becher to Trumbull. “We have great rumours and discourses here, both of the enterprize against the Princesse as is generally believed, though some say against the Prince, and his strange deportment thereupon, not only in having so outraged the secretary of the Ambassador, but likewise in having driven the Ambassador's wife out of his house with very heinous reproaches.”
  • 5. Winwood III., p. 122.
  • 6. Andrè de Cochefilet, Comte de Vaucelas. Sully. Memoires, lib. 27, Vol. VII, p. 166.
  • 7. See Rott. Henri IV. Les Suisses et la haute Italie. Paris, 1882, p. 19. Pittag is a corruption for Beitag. It was the body which discharged current affairs in the Grisons and was composed of the landrichter, the landammann, and burgermeister, and three deputies from each League. Originally Pittag was distinguished from Bundstag or general assembly, but the name came to be applied indifferently to both assemblies.
  • 8. See Winwood III. 135. They were to be Waremendt, who died at Brill on his way to England, Berch, Barneveldt, pensioner of Rotterdam, to treat about fishing, Verins, to deal with commerce, and Jouchings from Zealand.
  • 9. M. de Vertault. Winwood III. 131.
  • 10. See Winwood III., pp. 150, 151. In the memorial she presented to the Archdukes she declared that she was “contrainte de l'accompagner et suivre (contre sa volontè)” the Prince.
  • 11. Winwood, Memorials. III. 145. “Touching the said Prince we do hear that under the Protection and Patronage of Monsieur Frittima whom he followed like a Lackey he is safely arrived in Milan. A simple glory for that great Friesland horse to have had his stirrip held up by the first Prince of the blood of France.” Frittima was Secretary to Spinola.
  • 12. Créqui was Lesdiguière's son-in-law. He had killed the Duke's brother, Don Filippo, in a duel at Quirieu, June 2, 1599. See Litta, Famiglie Celebri. Savoia. Tav. XV.