Venice: April 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.

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'Venice: April 1610, 1-15', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, (London, 1904) pp. 450-465. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

April 1610, 1–15

April 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 837. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
This Lent the King has seldom stayed two days running in this city and so I have abstained from demanding audience.
On Monday last I went to his Majesty and carried out your Serenity's instructions as regards the prisoner (Gibbons) who had been offered to me. Guided by your Serenity's orders I returned thanks for the favour, expressed satisfaction at this proof of regard, and urged that the stolen wine should be restored to its owner. His Majesty replied with his own lips that at all times he would be found most ready to support the interests of the Republic; never had he once refused or postponed an audience to me. He pointed out that, moved by his affection, he had taken a step not merely unusual but actually contrary to the law of Scotland. He told me to settle the matter with the Secretary of that kingdom, whom he would instruct to act entirely in conformity to my wishes. I returned a few words of thanks and assured his Majesty that his benevolence in these special circumstances was fully recognised and appreciated.
I then presented Giovanni de Priuli and Pietro Loredan, who kissed hands on their arrival from France to visit this kingdom. I said that as his Majesty possessed the heart of the entire Venetian nobility it was only right that these two should come in person to lay their devotion at his feet.
The Secretary of Scotland informed my Secretary, Christopher Surian, that he desired to examine the prisoner in his presence, either to-morrow or the next day, in order to find out where the wine has gone to. The Secretary showed a wish that we should not press for the prisoner's death. Although the King desires that decision to depend on me, yet I will attend to the indemnification of Tizzoni and will leave the other matter to those whom it concerns.
The King has consented that Parliament should deal with the question of Wardships. This has been welcomed by all parties. On Monday both Chambers returned him thanks. His Majesty testified to his goodwill towards the Commonwealth, explained the needs of the Crown, and begged that, in lieu of Wardship and Purveyance, he might receive an adequate grant.
The difficulties in the way are the amount of money demanded, the doubt lest the laws may be revived some later day, the means by which both the King's honour and service as well as matters of policy can be reconciled. These two last points are occupying their attention at present. They offer the King little less than five hundred thousand ducats a year and a million for the discharge of his debts. The King has ordered a detailed account of the Crown lands. Yesterday he summoned Parliament again before him, and in a long speech he excused himself for not having spoken about relief. He offered again to abolish not only Wardships but many other burdens. He endeavoured to remove the suspicion that the burdens might be reimposed, and he complained that certain members had too freely accused him of extravagance and prodigality in gifts. He lied outright who said that large sums of money were sent to Scotland. Then, showing them the Prince, he said he desired to advance him for the service of the nation but could not do so without aids. If the way to overcome these difficulties be discovered the favour the King is showing to his people will be very remarkable, for he is depriving himself of a means which his ancestors had for abasing certain houses prone to rebellion. The Prince does not like the abolition of Wardships. He always aspired to the post on the suggestion of his intimates, and in truth there is no position in the Kingdom that would bring him in greater revenues nor give him greater opportunity to benefit his servants. Lord Salisbury, who at present holds the office, is well aware of this; he thinks that by abolishing it he will increase the royal revenue, of which he is treasurer; that he will relieve and console the Commons of the Kingdom; that his pension will more than recoup him for the revenue he loses, and that he will remove a possible reason for one day falling under his Highness's displeasure.
This business occupies the entire attention of both King and Parliament.
There is no talk of the Union, only some ten Scotch gentleman have been naturalized; and as there is discovered great difficulty in the way of this Union they intend to leave the matter to ripen by time and to become familiar by the intermarriage of the two races, by a gradual naturalization through graces, and by the doctrine that all children born after the King's accession to the throne are ipso facto admissable to the privileges of both Kingdoms. On this subject the King consulted the Doctors in Common Law, who, all save one, favoured his Majesty's design. To deprive of all power those naturalized by grace they have quite recently resolved that a Fleming so naturalized and returned as member for a county must be excluded from Parliament, where he had sat more than once.
London, the first of April, 1610.
April 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 838. Marc Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The second son of Wirtemberg is expected in court. He has been sent along with another gentleman to give an account of what happened at Hall and Düsseldorf in the matter of securing the “possessioners.” He will be well received and he comes opportunely, for I know that his Majesty has complained that those Princes, while claiming and expecting aid from him, have never sent to inform him how matters were progressing. On Saturday the secretary to the French Embassy arrived from France, and that same day the Ambassador visited Lord Salisbury, and on Tuesday he also saw the King at a brief audience. The ambassador has been given another house nearer to the Court in order that he may the more easily carry on his negotiations, which are those I have been reported, the affair of Cleves and a defensive alliance. Negotiations are conducted very secretly and it seems that they are rather pleased that certain people should be suspicious and raise chimæras thereon. The French probably exaggerate on purpose the preparations for war. The English, however, declare that an accommodation about Cleves will be reached and that the Duke of Savoy (fn. 1) will join the two Princes in the hope of carrying through his arrangement with Brandenburg. All this talk, be it fictitious or be it genuinely believed, we hear in the mouth of those who are most intimate with the King.
Meantime Colonel Cecil, destined to the command of the troops which his Majesty has promised for Cleves, has not yet been despatched hence, though he urges that he should be. In consequence they delay the payment of the troops on his Majesty's account. Very likely this business will be arranged on the arrival of Wirtemberg and of the three Ambassadors from the States, who, by latest advices, were ready to embark. It is thought that the United Provinces, bound as they are to each of these Crowns by special capitulations, will do all they can to push forward an alliance in order to please the King of France. From Cleves we hear that the two “possessioners” are in perfect accord. This is considered of such supreme importance that, in comparison, they make no account of the fact that some days ago the archduke Leopold's troops cut to pieces five hundred of the Princes'. Rumours of an enterprise in the Duchy of Milan are greatly modified. Everybody at Court is awaiting the issue of the negotiations in Turin carried on by the two Spanish Ambassadors. (fn. 3)
With the three ambassadors from the United Provinces will come two others, one from Amsterdam and one from Rotterdam, on the subject of the fishery off the English coast.
Lady Arabella, in addition to the gifts I have reported and the increase of her table allowance, has been granted, in increase of her ordinary income, the duties on wine in Ireland, which bring in four thousand ducats a year. (fn. 3) It seems she is well pleased.
The Prince of Brunswick ought to be in this island by this time. He is nephew of the Queen's sister. He is to lodge with the Prince, and they desire that the ordinary joust which is held on Coronation day should be especially splendid this year. I hear that at on this occasion the King has ordered Lord Compton to do the honours. Lord Compton, by the death of his father-in-law, (fn. 4) the Merchant Spencer, has inherited fifty thousand ducats a year of income and half a million in cash and goods; all of which Spencer had accumulated by his industry and economy. All the same, in spite of such a large inheritance, the King would not refuse Compton a gift that he had promised a short time before to help him at his need. This shows his great generosity.
London, the first of April, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 1. Collegio Lettere, Venetian Archives. 839. Credentials for Pietro Priuli, elected to succeed Girolamo Soranzo as Venetian Ambassador in Spain. Addressed to the King of Spain, Queen of Spain, Cardinal of Toledo, Duke of Lerma, Count of Fuentes, Cardinal Borromeo, Signory of Genoa.
April 2. Senato Secreta. Despatches from Brescia. Venetian Archives. 840. The Rectors of Brescia (Zuanne da Lezze, Podestà and Antonio Lando, Capitano), to the Doge and Senate.
This morning we received special letters from the French Ambassador Resident with your Serenity, they were brought us by one of his suite, who had travelled express; he handed each of us our letter separately. The ambassador earnestly entreats us that should a certain M. della Motte with a suite of four, all dressed like Flemings, arrive in this city, we should arrest him on the ground that he had committed a murder in his house. The ambassador has also written to the Count Bartolomeo Nievo, the Castellan, to lend troops if need be. We enclose the letters. Yesterday, in fact, we heard from a sure quarter that the night before a boat containing eleven persons dressed like Flemings had arrived at Rivoltella, a village about a mile from Desenzano. At seven o'clock these men took post horses that were waiting for them and set out towards the Cremonese. One of them, who seemed the chief, was addressed as “Excellency.” As we suspected that this might be the Prince of Condé we conjectured that the French Ambassador was endeavouring to secure his arrest on grounds quite other than an episode in his house. We are confirmed in this idea because the ambassador did not explain the nature of the crime, nor could his gentleman say what it was. We have not failed to make fair promises to this gentleman and to assure him of a like reply to the ambassador, while on the other hand we have issued secret instructions to all officials that should such persons by chance come their way they were to take no steps to detain them without first informing us. We intend to cause the Prince to leave the city at once. Meantime we consider it our duty to report to your Serenity.
Brescia, 2nd April, 1610.
[Italian.] The Rectors.
Enclosed in preceding despatch. 841. Champigny, Ambassador of France in Venice, to the Podesta of Brescia.
Illustrious sir,
A theft of great importance has been committed in my house by one who calls himself M. de la Motte, in company with four others dressed like Flemings. I think they will all take that road. I have thought it right on my own initiative (spontaneo expediente) to advise your Lordship, so that, having in view my honour, which I place entirely in your hands should there be aught to injure it—as there is to a far greater extent than I can tell you—you may be pleased to have them arrested (while I use all possible diligence on my side), without the smallest regard to anything they may adduce against such a step. I throw myself on your Lordship's benignity; pray give credence to the bearer, who will explain my position and the obligation under which your lordship will place me.
With this I kiss your hand and pray you all happiness.
Venice, the last of March, 1610.
Sealed with Champigny's arms, quarterly 1st and 4th above a crescent a star of six points, 2nd and 3rd a cross anchorée; neither tincts nor metals indicated.
Enclosed in preceding despatch. 842. Champigny to the Captain of Brescia.
So monstrous is the assassination committed in my house (è cosi grande l'assassinamento (fn. 5) seguito nella mia casa) by one styled M. de la Motte and four others dressed like Flemings, and so closely is my honour touched that I cannot do less than supplicate your Lordship to assist me of your benignity by taking all possible steps to intervene should these persons pass that way and to cause their arrest in spite of aught they may urge to the contrary. I place my honour in your hands and hope, by your aid, to be comforted, while on my side I endeavour to clear up the facts of the case, which interests me closely and urges me to pray your Lordship's support. I kiss your hands, and pray you all true happiness while referring all else to the bearer.
Venice, 31st March, 1610.
Enclosed in preceding despatch. 843. Champighy to Count Bartolomeo Nievo.
I am sending one of my suite post haste to arrest an assassin who I understand is passing through to Verona. I beg your Lordship to grant my Secretary a sufficient escort adequate to the occasion. Without more words I kiss your hand. Venice, the last of March.
April 2. Senato Secreta. Despatches from Milan, Venetian Archives. 844. Giovanni Francesco Marchesini, Venetian Resident in Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
Soon after the departure of Wednesday' s courier I learned that the Prince of Condé had arrived and alighted at the Osteria del Capello. (fn. 6) I hesitated to believe it on account of the idle rumours which had been flying round. Yesterday early I learned that it was true. As soon as his Excellency was informed by a note, he sent to bring the Prince from the inn to lodge in the Castle, where the Castellan yielded him the right side and every other sort of honour. On Thursday his Excellency went to visit the Prince at the Castle in company with the Princes of Ascoli and of Marocco, and held him embraced for a while. He then took the Prince in his carriage and gave him the place of honour. He brought him to the palace, where he now occupies rooms close to his Excellency and just above the Secretary Ceresa. The Prince has been assigned a guard of light horse. He came through Germany, dressed as a valet, as is reported, with only three companions; among these the one who gave himself out as the Master was dressed as a priest. There is much discussion on this event, and it is thought his Most Christian Majesty will hardly put up with this.
Milan, 2nd April, 1610.
April 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 845. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope urged upon the French Ambassador the desirability of peace and begged him to write to his Master. The ambassador dwelt on the grave injury done to his Master in sheltering Condé.
Rome, 3rd April, 1610.
April 3. Collegio Screta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 846. Audience granted to Lenk, (fn. 7) Agent for the Confederated Princes.
Complains of omission of due Electoral title. The Emperor himself gives the title of “Serene,” which in its German garb is very restricted.
April 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 847. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I recently received a letter from the Consul at Aleppo telling me that the English Consul there had persuaded the English merchants to find and to pay the money which was agreed to here as their share of the present to be made to the Grand Vizir in order to tempt him to re-confirm the port of Alexandretta. I saw both ambassadors here, and it was settled that each should separately speak to the Grand Vizir and offer him an honourable gift. The French Ambassador had the first audience, and pointed out the damage and the danger which would arise from the transference to Tripoli. The Vizir replied briefly that such were the Grand Signor's orders. Two days later the French Ambassador again saw the Grand Vizir, and, without consulting me or the English Ambassador, he offered him ten thousand ducats, but to no purpose, and he came away with a confirmation of the refusal. The English Ambassador then saw the Grand Vizir, and had a long argument with him and offered him in general terms a handsome present. He hinted that the English merchants might give up the Levant trade altogether and go home, which would be a serious blow to the Grand Signor's customs. He did not succeed in moving the mind of the Pasha, who, in addition to the reply given to the French Ambassador, said to the English: “It is superfluous for you to make me offers, for even if you promised me one hundred thousand sequins I could never give you any other answer.” Accordingly, being unable to make any impression, the ambassador turned to other business. When I learned all this I made up my mind that I too would speak to the Pasha on the subject, about which, in truth, I never entertained any hopes, so resolute was the answer I had received several months ago from his Lordship. I begged him, at an audience I had of him, that, even if he had given a refusal to other ambassadors on the subject of the port of Alexandretta, he would listen to me on this topic. The Pasha replied: “Pray do not touch on the matter to me, for it is impossible for me to listen to you.” I seeing him so set asked him if he spoke from his heart. “From my heart,” he replied, “I always speak to you, and from my heart I now speak.” I endeavoured to come down to some facts of the case but the sherbettwas brought in and he said “No! please; let us drink and that's enough.” So thinking that I would only fling away words and prestige I held my tongue and left. (Il Signor Ambasciatore d'Inghilterra fu egli ancora dal Bassà et li ragionò assai, procurando di farli variar pensiero in questo fatto et proponendogli in generale un buon donativo che tutti uniti gli faressimo quando S.S. Illma volesse stabilir di nuovo quella scala in Alessandretta, con aggiongerli the i suoi mercanti potrebbero risolversi a lasciar affatto quel negocio et tornarsene alle case loro con molto pregiudicio delli Datii del gran Signore. Non puote egli anco svoglier punto la mente del Bassà, che oltre, la risposta che diede al Signor Ambasciator di Francia, gli disse E superfluo passar meco a proferte perchè se mi dasse anco m/100 cechini non ne responderei mai altro. Onde non potendo far alcun effetto l'Ambasciator entrò in altri suoi bisogni. Tutto ciò inteso da me non volli lasciar io ancora di ragionar al Bassà di questo negocio, del quale non hebbi in vero mai speranza alcuna, tanto determinata fu la risposta che gia molti mesi n' hebbi da S.S. Illma la quale nella prefata mia audienza pregai che se bene haveva dato la negativa agli altri Ambasciatori intorno la scala di Alessandretta, fosse contenta d'ascoltar me ancora nello stesso proposito. Mi disse il Bassà che di gratia non gli tratassi di questo perchè de nessuna maniera poteva essa udirmi, et vedendolo io cosi risoluto il dimandai se me la diceva con il cuore. Di cuore, mi rispose, son sempre solito a trattar con voi, e di cuore ve'l dico. Volli pur toccar alcune ragioni del fatto, ma venuto il sorbetto, “No, di gratia,” mi disse, “beviamo, non più.” Onde parendomi di gettar via le parole et la reputatione, mi tacqui et me n'andai.)
Dalle Vigue di Pera, 3rd April, 1610.
[Italian, deciphered.]
April 3. Senato Secreta. Despatches from Brescia. Venetian Archives. 848. The Rectors of Brescia to the Doge and Senate.
Our despatch of yesterday will have informed your Serenity of the request made to us by the French Ambassador that we should arrest certain individuals dressed like Flemings, on the pretext that they had committed a crime in his house; also that eleven persons dressed like Flemings passed through Desenzano on their way from Riva; among these one was thought to be the Prince of Condé. Now Monsignor Corradello, Canon of this City, has informed us that he has been assured that the Prince of Condé really was among them, and that he was taken to the Cremonese frontier by a person in the confidence of the said Monsignor Corradello. Thence he went to Milan, where he is now supposed to be. This we consider it our duty to report. Brescia, 3rd April, 1610.
April 3. Senato Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 849. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Lesdiguières has informed the Duke that he is awaiting the arrival of M. de Bullion from Paris, who is to bring him news of the conclusion of the league between his Most Christian Majesty, the King of England, and the States of Holland; and a place will be kept open for the Duke. Vives complains of the difficulty of obtaining audience of the Duke.
Turin, 3rd April, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 850. Francesco Contarini, retiring Ambassador-Extraordinary to England, to the Doge and Senate.
To reach Cologne from Antwerp by the straight road I passed through Liege. They were raising, in all haste, two regiments of foot for the Archduke Leopold, also some companies of horse. They were billeted among the villages, to their extreme suffering. Reports that the troops of the “possessioners” always treated him well. The roads are infested with disbanded troops. Had to take an escort against them from Maestrich. Met no troops of the Archduke Leopold in the district of Juliers. The “possessioners,” have better and more numerous cavalry, and so are masters of the country. The two Princes are in Düsseldorf. Their differences are arranged. The Marquis of Brandenburg styled himself, when signing commissions, Duke of Cleves. They are awaiting the aid promised them by the Sovreigns who have declared in their favour. I have found out that they are hard put to it for money; for in a very important town, where I lay the night, the troops had not received a penny for three months. Here in Cologne they live in lively dread of war, which is close at hand.
Cologne, 5th April, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 5. Senato Secreta. Despatches from Milan. Venetian Archives. 851. Giovanni Francesco Marchesini, Venetian Resident in Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
The Count of Fuentes omits no outward indications of the desire he has that the Prince of Condé should be honoured and protected. The Prince on Friday went to worship at the Madonna of the Fountain, a mile beyond the gates. In the carriage with him were the Prince of Ascoli and the Marquis Sfondrato, who yielded him the place of honour. Three other carriages with the principal gentlemen of this Court followed him. The Prince always has an escort of four light cavalry mounted, two before the carriage and two behind, and ten dismounted on the right hand and ten on the left. On Saturday he publicly visited the Castle and was accompanied by Don Fernando Borgia, who has not left yet. He was received with all the honours he could desire, with salvoes of artillery, musketry, and mortars (codette). Yesterday, Sunday, he went to Mass accompanied by Sig. Castello; in the afternoon he heard a sermon at the Jesuits along with the Prince of Ascoli, and always with his usual guard. The Count of Fuentes gives him the title of “Excellence,” but I hear that he is very ill pleased that every second day leave to go out is denied him for fear of some accident. To show his Spanish sympathies he dresses entirely as a Spaniard, and, as I am told, is entirely taken up with his hose and his braid. In the city they don't call him Prince of Condé but Prince Va Con Dì, that is to go to —. Some of the Spanish Ministers do not approve of such honour being paid him. The Spanish say this is the consequence of ancient rancours, and that the King of France did worse when he sheltered Perez who knew all His Catholic Majesty's most intimate secrets.
Orders have been given to Casati to raise six thousand Swiss. In short Fuentes is resolved to have a large force in this State; but he may have made his preparations too late, and, any way, he must accept his orders from Spain.
Apologises for writing so often, but in the present juncture thinks it his duty.
Milan, 5th April, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 852. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Besides the six thousand Swiss who, by the twenty-fifth of this month are to be at S. Jean de Losne (di launa) in Burgundy, the King has raised other three thousand, to be known as “Adventurers.” Between the Swiss in his guard and others he intends to have ten thousand in all. The French infantry continue to concentrate at Chalons. Sully is collecting horses for the artillery.
Yesterday eight-days the Prince of Anhault arrived here. He has received all honour from the King. He brought a declaration of the readiness of the Princes of the Union, and a request that the auxiliaries might be hurried up and be put under his command. The King replied that were he not going in person he would have assented to that arrangement, but he had resolved to march. The Prince, however, continued to press his demand; at first the King said it was impossible to break up the forces into various commands, but yesterday and to-day he showed some signs of yielding; and Anhault leaves to-morrow for Holland. The forces of England and Denmark will effect a junction with those of the “possessioners” by way of Holland. Anhault told me to-day that it was he who advised calling the three thousand Swiss by the name of “Adventurers.” The size of the armaments leads him to conclude that the war of Cleves will lead to a larger war. The Archduke Albert is raising twelve thousand infantry and the Marquis Spinola announces that he will dispute the King's passage to Cleves through the Archduke's territory. The Archduke, I am assured, is very much distressed to see war approaching when he had hoped, by means of the truce, to enjoy peace. The Spanish Ambassador had an audience on Wednesday, and complained of these armaments. He said that among friends they were useless, and there were no enemies that he could see; that his Master had the best of wills towards his Majesty. The King replied that to receive the Prince of Condé was an hostile act. The ambassador also complained of the honours bestowed on the Prince of Anhault—a man of another faith, and so ill affected towards the Emperor and the House of Austria. The audience lasted an hour. The King said with heat that he intended to make much of his friends, and that the Empire and the House of Austria were no affair of his; and as to his forces, if those that he had collected were not sufficient he could easily find the way to double them. The ambassador withdrew very ill pleased. I am informed that it was on the Nuncio's advice that the ambassador sought audience, and the object was to soothe, not to irritate the King; in this he failed, and he even declared that should his Majesty speak like that to him again he would never ask for another audience.
Paris, 6th April, 1610.
April 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 853. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
These last few days there have been serious differences between the King and the Queen; but finally she managed so cleverly that when certain merchants, who had laid out much capital, pointed out that they would be ruined, the King consented that the Coronation should take place on the fifth of next month. This will not prevent the King's departure, though it will defer it twelve or fifteen days. The Duc de Rohan leaves to-morrow for S. Jean de Losne to muster and review the Swiss. Six thousand crowns have been given to those who make the royal tents. The Court is getting ready to follow the King, who will set out immediately after the fetes and the Coronation.
The King heard with great regret of the rising at Utrecht and wrote at once to the States urging the employment of negotiation rather than of force. The affair is not considered of great moment here, as Utrecht lies in the heart of the States and cannot be assisted from outside. Count Maurice was in the city at the time of the rising, and was arrested, but managed so that he was able to get away. The defeat of the “possessioners”' troops by those of Leopold, at Bredebent, is confirmed.
The Ambassador of the States sets out to-morrow towards Amiens to meet the Ambassadors Extraordinary.
Paris, 6th April, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 6. Minutes of the Senate, Terra. Venetian Archives. 854. Order to pay to Emolo, Leon and Alfonso Strozzi 393 ducats 11 grossi, the equivalent of 100 pounds sterling paid by Federigo Federighi on the order of the Ambassador Correr to the post master in London (fn. 8) for transmission of letters, as appears by advices and bills of exchange drawn by the said ambassador dated March 11th. Dti 393 s. ij.
Ayes, 120.
Noes, 1.
Neutrals, 3.
April 8. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 855. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Constable of France has asked the Infanta to restore to him his daughter, the Princess of Condé, so that she might be present at the Coronation of the Queen. The answer was that the Princess could only be restored to the person who had consigned her, that is her husband.
Prague, 8th April, 1610.
April 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 856. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Friday last the King, on his return from Hampton Court, sent Sir—Keats (?) (Chiz) to invite me to the joust which was to be held next day on the anniversary of his coronation. The ceremony was disturbed by a continous downpour and was adjourned till the Tuesday following. On both days Keats (?) came to take me from my house. I thanked his Majesty and wished him long life. In the course of conversation with his Majesty I discovered that he did not like the marriage between France and Savoy. He said he could not believe the Duke really preferred France to Spain; he added that the Princess was so young that many things might happen before the marriage was carried out.
Talking of Cleves, he asked me if I had heard that the troops of the Archduke Leopold had cut to bits five hundred men belonging to Neuburg and Brandenburg who were encamped by Bedeburg (?) (Bredemberg) and had taken two guns, and that Count Solms was slain. He declared that this was not a matter of moment in the course of the war. He told me he thought the war would end in an accord, and the fact that he continues to put off taking into his pay the troops he intends to send in aid of the “possessioners” is a proof that he really believes it.
His Majesty made many reflections on the rising at Utrecht, about which your Serenity shall be fully informed in my subsequent despatches; he seems to hope that the remedies swiftly applied by the United Provinces on his especial suggestion (li celeri rimedii applicatigli dalli Signori delle Provincie Unite per suo particolare raccordo) will bring about an accommodation. He did not omit, however, to remark that Prince Maurice gave indications of pernicious designs hostile to the liberty of those Provinces. All this his Majesty said with so much emotion that he made me see quite clearly how anxious he was that peace should not prove more disastrous to the States than the war had been favourable to them. (Non lasciò però di considerare che il Principe Mauritio dii inditii di haverfini perniciosi et contrarii alla libertà di quelle Provincie. Il che S.M. proferì con tal affetto che ben mi fece conoscer il desiderio che tiene che non nuoci più la pace a quei Stati di quello li ha giovato la guerra.)
No other ambassadors were invited to the joust; those of France and Spain perhaps because of their quarrel for precedence; the Ambassador of the States in order to confer greater honour on your Serenity, all the more so as it has not been the custom for ambassadors to attend his Majesty on that day.
Lord Compton, who, as I reported, on coming into the great fortune from his father-in-law, was ordered by his Majesty to make ready a magnificent costume of black velvet adorned with the richest embroidery, now appears to be not quite sound in the head (fn. 9); all the same another gentleman took his place in his name and in his costume.
Yesterday came news that the Prince of Brunswick has passed the seas. He will remain many weeks in this city, as he is to assist at the ceremony of taking possession of his Principality which the Prince of Wales will celebrate a month hence. I am told by a person of high quality at Court that their Majesties have some thought of lodging him with the Princess. They are right to think of this, for every day she grows taller and more beautiful. She is now in her fifteenth year and Parliament has recently voted her one hundred thousand crowns.
Parliament is still engaged in negotiations about Wardships. It is thought that the sum of four hundred thousand crowns a year, which they offer his Majesty for the abolition of the law, is very large considering that at present it only brings in one hundred and twenty thousand; but his Majesty says they must not look at what he gets but at what he might get. When the question of money is settled, they will settle other points of great moment. Some persons have moved his Majesty to take measures against the recusants (so they call those Catholics who refuse to attend their parish churches and to take the oath of allegiance); but he replies that it is sufficient to enforce the existing laws, and to suppress the mischief that certain Ladies are making.
The King of Denmark, some days ago, was in great danger of being drowned. He had gone out to see a great new ship which he has lately built, and wishing to pass on to a house of his twenty-five miles off, he was overtaken by such a storm that they had to cut the masts. They were unable to cast anchor and they passed a whole night out with little hope of being saved.
London, 8th April, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 857. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In the course of the French Ambassador's negotiations about the aid to be given for Cleves two difficulties arose; one is now settled thus; that the French contingent is to march along with the four thousand English and Scotch foot and the two thousand foot and one thousand five hundred horse which the Dutch are going to send. His Most Christian Majesty at first wanted to send his troops by themselves through France. The other point is of more importance; the English insist that the French should pay the debt, contracted to Queen Elizabeth, towards the bill they will incur for this aid. On the return of the Secretary the Ambassador again sent off a courier to France. Negotiations are at a standstill, and although the house prepared for him in the vicinity of the Court is quite ready he has not yet inhabited it. I am told that the terms of the alliance will be confined to a simple renewal of the capitulations in Elizabeth's reign. These are not very binding and are rather of a formal, honorific nature. All the same the fact of the secrecy which surrounds these negotiations and the presence of so many ambassadors suggests that something of greater moment is on foot. For it is certainly highly improbable that the States would send here three great personages merely to return thanks for a truce which was concluded so long ago, and when, in the meantime, they had sent an Ambassador-in-Ordinary; nor yet that the Prince of Wirtemberg would come here merely to relate what had passed in the Diet. I have been reminded, however, of an offensive alliance between the Dutch and this kingdom for an attack on the Indies; an enterprise proposed on other occasions before the peace with Spain; an attack on the duchy of Milan on the side of France was included in the scheme. Such designs are approved of by the English, and encouraged by the opinion of statesmen that England has greatly diminished as a naval power and has lost, by making peace with Spain, a great opportunity to enrich herself; and this consideration throws glory on the name and the memory of Elizabeth. On Sunday the Council issued an order for the reviewing of the Royal Navy, which counts thirty-five ships. The officers were ordered to have all in readiness to embark at a moment's notice. These are steps that have been taken on other occasions when Spain had a fleet of any moment ready. The defeat of Bredeberg is thought by the States to be of importance in that it will raise the prestige of the Archduke Leopold, and thereby secure him a supply of good troops, for many shrank from offering their services in the doubt whether he could hold out for long. Accordingly the States, on the 17th of last month, sent orders to their ambassador here resident that he was to hasten the departure of Colonel Cecil to pay and march the troops destined in aid of the “possessioners”; all the same despatches of the 30th of last month cancelled these orders in consequence of the bad turn the rising in Utrecht had taken. This affair will not only delay the enterprise at Cleves but may even prove a stumbling block in the way of the consolidation of the States and may risk the reputation they have acquired. It is universally believed that Prince Maurice has an understanding in these disagreements. He has always claimed to be heir to a certain proposal made to the Prince of Orange his father, to place him at the head of the United Provinces in case the war should come to an end. The States General live in great suspicion of the Prince, for during the long time he has been in Utrecht, not only has the City not returned to a regular government, but the authors of the rising have insisted on making him their leader on condition that he should renounce the office which he holds under the States. Accordingly the States recalled him to the Hague and sent three commissioners to order the citizens of Utrecht to send representatives to Woerden (Urdem), a place on the borders, where they would meet the commissioners-general and could agree upon a suitable form of Government. The Prince obeyed and left Utrecht with a promise to the citzens that he would return that evening. This he was not allowed to do by the commissioners. But the City remained in revolt and refused to hear the commissioners. Accordingly resolution was taken to assault it with fifteen thousand infantry. Prince Maurice remained at the Hague on the pretence that he was ill; his brother intended to do the same, only he was informed that unless he went on that enterprise he would most assuredly be deprived of his salary. Meantime the citizens of Utrecht recall the Prince and cast it in his teeth that he promised to return; and this is still more unwelcome to the States. It would seem that some other places were inclined to accept the rule of Prince Maurice, but the States have met the difficulty by making appeals to the Prince and sending commissioners where necessary, lamenting that the Prince, after so long a struggle for independence, should wish to wipe out his deserts and the people to lose the fruits of all their trouble. Apart from his universal popularity the whole soldiery are entirely in the Prince's hands, and so should he take umbrage at the resolution of the States—which certainly can be but little to his taste, both because the truce has robbed him of much of his authority and also because on this occasion an unwonted note of command has been adopted towards him—it is quite possible that those Provinces may have to face no lesser troubles than those they encountered at the time of Anjou and the Earl of Leicester.
The Ambassador of the United Provinces told me that the Archduke Albert was about to hand over Rheinberg to the Imperial commissioners on the plea that the Emperor has a claim to that place, but really to bar the succour that might be sent from Holland to Cleves. Rheinberg is on the Rhine and admirably suited for that purpose.
The Prince of Wirtemberg has not arrived yet, nor the Dutch Ambassadors, who, as leading men in the government, will have been detained in order to see what happens at Utrecht. I am informed that the two Ambassadors from Amsterdam and Rotterdam have no other business except the fishery question in these waters, from which, especially off the coast of Ireland, the Dutch are wont to draw large profit.
London, 8th April, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 858. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Signor Pietro Gritti who for many months has been in France and then went to Flanders and Holland to gain, by honourable study, a knowledge of the world, took occasion to be in Utrecht at the time of the late troubles. Thence he came to England and brings news that Utrecht did not wait to be forced by the troops of the other provinces but consented to admit ten companies of infantry, on condition, however, that no punishment should be inflicted on anyone, that the deposed Burgomasters should not be replaced, nor the present ones removed till the expiry of their full term of office. This agreement, signed by Count Henry of Nassau within eight days of the troops arriving under Utrecht, during which time no act of hostility was committed by either side, has been received most joyfully by the Commissioners of the United Provinces and by all who wish them well, and who most naturally were in doubt whether this were not the beginning of a great rupture. For Utrecht had shown signs of an intention to resist; she had mounted artillery on the walls and had driven out three companies of English and distributed arms to ten thousand citizens who displayed great readiness and vigilance in all that they were called on to do. They also looked for help from Amsterdam and Rotterdam, to which cities they had sent their representatives, who were, however, countermined by the States General, who did everything possible to keep everybody loyal, above all the Prince Maurice never left the Hague. There are not wanting in the United Provinces, however, serious disorders that call for provision; for between Count Maurice, head of the Army, and Barneveldt, who may be called head of the Council, there reigns great disagreement and all but open hostility. The people, too, are divided between those who dislike and those who approve of the truce; these are nicknamed “trucites.” All this alarms those who desire to see this power firmly established. Perhaps at the approaching congress of Ambassadors here and in France the question may be dealt with, as I know both these Sovreigns are seriously considering the situation. The Ambassadors were to have set out for England and France many days ago; they are hourly expected. On their arrival Colonel Cecil will go out with the same ships to take up the command of the English and Scotch troops which, as yet, have not entered into his Majesty's pay.
As to M. de la Boderie's negotiations I have nothing to add to my last. As he has seen neither the King nor the Earl of Salisbury, it is clear that his business will wait till the arrival of the Dutch Ambassadors. As to the proposals for a defensive alliance I can find out nothing. The rumour about the consignment of Rheinberg to the Emperor is a mere suspicion.
The Ambassador Contarini is anxiously expected in Holland. His lodgings are ready, and every city through which he will pass is preparing to do him honour. This step of your Serenity has won the hearts of that nation and even the children and the lower classes talk about it.
All this week the King—as bearing the title of King of France—has touched for scrofula. To-day—Maunday Thursday, old style—the King received Communion in his chapel. Afterwards he and the Prince and the Prince of Brunswick went down to dine at Greenwich, where the Queen is for change of air, as she has not been quite well. The Prince of Brunswick arrived at the end of last week. He is lodged with the Prince and greatly honoured. I went to visit him, but he is almost always away hunting with the King.
Parliament is approaching the sum desired by the King. Last week they offered him six hundred thousand ducats a year on condition that he should repeal the laws I wrote about. But even if they reach the sum of eight hundred thousand, which his Majesty demands, there will be many other knots to unloose; for apart from various interests the King has the Lords let it be known that they will take no share in such payment.
They have also assented to pay six subsidies in five years. That means two million four hundred thousand ducats. To the Prince, on taking possession of the Principality of Wales, have been assigned one hundred thousand ducats, and the same sum to the Princess, to be given to her at the date of her marriage.
London, 15th April, 1610.


  • 1. Sic in decipher, but cipher reads b41 b44 g63 z10=sa so ni a.
  • 2. Don Juan Vives and Verva.
  • 3. See Cal. S.P. Dom. March 22, 1610. “Licence to Lady Arabella Stuart, Sir George St. Paul and Henry Yelverton to appoint such persons as they think fit to keep taverns and to sell wines and usquebaugh in Ireland for 21 years.”
  • 4. See Cal. 3, P. Dom. April 19, 1610. “Recovery of Lord Compton, who lives in Bishopsgate Street, transforming his late father-in-law's house into a gay court, the old usurer himself being forgotten.” Lord Compton married in 1594, Elizabeth daughter and heir of Sir John Spencer, Lord Mayor of London.
  • 5. Assassinamento does not necessarily mean assassination. Assassino, chi rovina qualcheduno. Petrocchi Vocabolario.
  • 6. The principal inns in Milan at this date were I tre Re, il Falcone, il Pozzo and il Capello. See Fuentes' Proclamation forbidding strangers to carry arms; enclosed in this despatch.
  • 7. Johann Baptist Lenk. See Moritz Ritter “Die Union und Heinrich IV,” pp. 379,462.
  • 8. See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1603–1610, p. 611. “Memorial soliciting a patent of the office of Postmaster for conveying foreign packets; M. de Quester, the present conveyer of letters, being very remiss in the execution of his office.”
  • 9. See Winwood. Memorials, iii. p. 136, “being on the first news, either through the vehement apprehension of joy for such a plentiful succession, or of carefullness how to take it up and dispose it, somewhat distracted . . . . he is now of late fallen again (but more deeply) into the same frenzy.”