Venice: May 1610, 16-31

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: May 1610, 16-31', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, (London, 1904) pp. 484-498. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

May 1610, 16—31

May 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 903. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
They place great hopes in the Prince of Condé and think that if the King of France were to die they could put the whole Kingdom in an uproar. They are thinking of bringing the Prince here.
Madrid, 16th May, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 17. Consiglio de' Dieci. Parti. Communi. Venetian Archives. 904. After hearing the petition of Giacomo Cumano and seeing that he is entirely deprived of the use of his arms and hands, motion made that he be allowed four servants to wait on him; they may carry arms, but must be Venetian subjects, and their names must be given in to the Chiefs of the Ten and to the Chancery of Padua.
Ayes 8. Second vote, Ayes 8.
Noes 1. Noes 1.
Neutrals 9. Neutrals 9.
Not carried.
May 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 905. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On Thursday the Queen was crowned by the Cardinal de Joyeuse in S. Denis. The Nuncio, the Spanish Ambassador (Cardenas) and I were about to depart; the Nuncio went first, then as the Ambassador was following I took my leave of him in the third person which I had used the whole day, and as was agreed upon with Don Pedro de Toledo. What I said was “The Ambassador's servant.” He asked me whom I addressed and whose Ambassador he was. I replied: “I address the Ambassador of Spain.” He, muttering “Ambassador of Pantaloons! why don't you give me my title?” swept his hat towards my face. I did the same with mine, and I caught at him and gave him a shove and so on, (fn. 1) as he deserved. Then his suite, seeing that he was unable to withstand me, came at me, but the illustrious Signor Pietro Gritti, who was close by me, stepped forward, and, some of my suite coming up, we should easily have put them in an awkward position had not others interposed. Next day the auditor came, in the Nuncio's name, to say that it was desirable to find some arrangement so as to prevent a violent encounter from occurring at the Queen's entry, which is to take place on Sunday; the Ambassador of Spain did not declare himself insulted by what had happened, nor need I consider myself so. I replied that I would never be the first to begin; I was sorry that I had been forced to act as I had done, and no one of us considered himself entitled to satisfaction. So all ended. The evening of the incident the King sent the Marquis de Bonnivet to me to say that he had heard all, and that I was entirely in the right.
Letters from the Archduke to the late King granting free passage for his troops.
Paris, 18th May, 1610.
May 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 906. Marc' Antonio Corer, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The unhappy news of the death of his Most Christian Majesty has stunned the whole Court, which is grieved beyond all belief. The Ministers in particular give signs of their regret, not merely for the nature of the deed and the loss of so great a Sovreign but also for fear of the consequences which may ensue and for the particular interests of this Kingdom, which never at any time in its history has been so closely allied with France; to which must be added the hope that by aid of the Union they were going to secure a long peace and to add considerably to the prestige of Great Britain. I am assured that the King was profoundly moved on the receipt of the news, which was sent him in haste two days ago. His Majesty is seventy miles out of London, with the Prince of Wirtemberg, enjoying the chase. It is thought they will return to London forthwith. The Envoys Extraordinary of Germany and Holland are in affliction for the loss of their true foundation, and indeed they have been robbed of a great support, upon which depended their safety and their fortune. They do not, however, omit to have interviews with the Council and with the Ambassador of France, for whom couriers are constantly arriving. From this quarter nothing will be wanting to maintain the affair of Cleves.
These ambassadors say that they desire to conclude their business as soon as possible and to depart. They declare that the misfortune in France will not retard the despatch of troops from Holland in aid of the “possessioners.” The Archduke Leopold's troops that were besieged near Liege have come to terms with the inhabitants that they are to receive so much a day and nothing more, the people being free of all obligations to lodge them. The defeat of Leopold's troops by the Dutch horse near Mæstrich, is held in Brussels for a distinct violation of the truce, but the Archduke's desire for peace will prevent a rupture. The arrival of a courier in Brussels gave rise to the rumour that he had brought two millions in gold and the troops were to be sent from Spain by sea.
The new Spanish Ambassador (Velasco) arrived there a few days ago and will have audience as soon as the King returns. He brings bills to the amount of 60,000 ducats and for Sir Charles Cornwallis—lately returned from that Court—a chain worth four thousand crowns. Don Pedro Zuñiga, the retiring Ambassador, on hearing of the death of the King of France, is thinking of returning home by sea, as he doubts whether it would be safe to go through France.
The King was not content with the offer Parliament made to him lately, and has informed them that he requires 800,000 ducats of income in return for renouncing Wardship alone. As this demand differed from the previous one the Commons took it for a refusal, and fell into such a passion that they were on the point of adjourning Parliament without voting the subsidies; they were stayed, however, by the members who belong to the King's party. As yet they have gone no further than the offer of 400,000 ducats, and have had a long discussion upon certain dues imposed by the King and on the limits of the royal authority. This is highly distasteful to his Majesty.
Yesterday, in a long speech, the Earl of Salisbury gave an account to Parliament of the death of his Most Christian Majesty. He extolled to the heavens the heroic actions of that Prince; he called him the lash for the insolence of more powerful Princes, bulwark against those who menaced Great Britain, mediator and moderator of strife among Sovreigns. He pointed out that this Kingdom had suffered an irreparable loss; that this event was a warning to open their eyes to what might happen here. He finally urged that now a still heavier burden was laid upon the King and they ought not to delay to give him every satisfaction. So deeply impressed are men's minds by the horror of this deed that it is hoped they will be disposed to increase their offer of money. If my indisposition permits me to go out this week I will endeavour to procure all information.
London, 19th May, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 19. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 907. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and, after taking his usual seat near the Doge, his Serenity paid him his compliments, as he had not seen the ambassador for many months. The ambassador replied that on that point an idea had occurred to him as he was coming upstairs, namely, that though merchants and ambassadors might seem to resemble each other they were really different, “for if a merchant were not seen on the piazza people said things were going ill with him, a ship has foundered or been seized by pirates, he can't pay his debts, he is broke; whereas if an ambassador is not in evidence it is a sign that things are going well. It is a maxim that where there is perfect accord there is little to negotiate about. Here, however, one may object: 'How is it that in all these perplexities, these leagues and counter-leagues, this massing of troops and moving of arms, this dread of turmoil in Italy, you have never come to offer the friendship, assistance and aid of your Master and your own person as well, like a good Venetian?' The question is a fair one; it might almost look as though the King were nodding in the midst of such grave affairs. But I take my stand on some conceptions of my own, and can reply that I have never believed in all that was said, and so I have not asked audience as I hoped that in the end Italy would preserve the peace. I will tell you what we foreigners know, that is that your Serenity has good towns, good frontiers, a population absolutely obedient to the magistrates—more so than in any part of the world—and that is a great comfort to rulers. You have two things, highly essential, money and arms, more ready to hand than any other Sovreign. You have an able Council inside and good friends outside. All these must relieve the Signory from any fears as to what may befall, and may God preserve and augment the Republic!”
The ambassador then went on to the special object of his audience, which was to present the King's thanks for the Extraordinary Mission of the Ambassador Contarini; he was glad it took place at the moment when a Special Mission from France was also at Court. From the qualities of the Envoy Contarini, the King, like Pythagoras, who by proportion measured up Hector from a single limb, was able to reckon the qualities of the whole Republic. He then went on to praise the sincerity of the Ambassador Correr.
“I must now come to my own affairs. It seems to me that I am not in such good repute with some as I was before the matter of his Majesty's book, in which I used too brusque a language. This may have led some to hold me a less good Venetian than I really am. But I assure your Serenity that I only did what I thought right for the honour of my King, and that in my written report I represented the matter with even greater moderation than I ought to have done, urging the arguments and considerations which weighed with your Serenity. As sovreigns very often have to depend on their agents for their information, my report was so couched as to preserve good will and friendship on both sides; I especially pleaded that his Majesty should not so closely regard his own interests as to forget those of his friends. Now that all has gone well except one point, it remains for me to know whether I am restored to my former favour or not, for I have never been able to obtain a re-hearing of Antonio Dotto's case, which I have more than once most humbly solicited. I therefore have lost prestige in Padua, where it is the common opinion that I am out of favour with your Serenity. Without leaving the said city of Padua I now humbly plead that you grant me signs of restoration to favour in the person of Gasparo Cumano, who is condemned to prison for a certain time on account of an accident that ended in the death of a man. Though hostility had existed previously the slaughter was accidental. I do not petition for absolution but for commutation of sentence, namely that he may be allowed to finish the remainder of his term of imprisonment in banishment, or if the Senate and the Council of Ten will not consent to that, I beg that he may be banished for an even longer period than his sentence has to run. I make my request under two conditions, which will prevent any ill accruing to public or private interests; one is that if on his account any mischief happens no further petition will be presented; the other that if banished he will go to England. Nor must I omit one fact which calls for pity. Cumano has been at death's door, and when receiving extreme unction he pardoned all his foes. This may also move your Serenity to grant my humble petition.
The Doge replied that they were under obligation to his Majesty for the honours he had bestowed on the Ambassador Contarini, who bore witness thereto both in his despatches and also in the address he gave on his return, an address that was brief owing to Contarini's indisposition. He will enlarge on the subject when he is better. (fn. 2) Venice hopes to preserve the peace, and hopes the King will enjoy the same. Congratulates the King on his son, the Prince, who promises, if he lives, to be the greatest sovreign in the world.
As to the matter of the King's book the Doge thought it had passed into oblivion; they certainly had forgotten all about it. “Your lordship acted as you considered yourself bound to act in view of your duty to the person you represent; you represented the matter as a good and loving minister should, and it is therefore impossible that a doubt should remain in your mind that our affection for you is in the least degree diminished. If you have not received satisfaction on the subject of Dotto that is because of the nature of his case, which is a very difficult one: all the same it has been taken in hand twice and the whole of that long trial read through. As to Gasparo Cumano we will introduce your petition into the Council of Ten and will bring it forward under the most favourable aspect. We must observe, however, that this is one of the cases where the presence of the full number of the Council is required and that all seventeen should vote unanimously, nemine penitus discrepante, a thing which rarely happens, there being usually some who, from a conscientious scruple, abstain from voting, and one dissentient voice is enough to prevent the passing of a grace to which all the others have agreed; nor is it possible to tell who dissents, nor indeed is it lawful to enquire; for the vote is taken in silence and is secret. We will introduce your lordship's petition, but we cannot answer for the result. It is true that the petition prays for commutation, not for absolution; this will be borne in mind, also that Cumano proposes to go to England.” The Doge then dwelt on the nature of the crime, which was a very serious one, so serious indeed that Cumano thought at first that his life would be forfeited; which would have happened had the trial taken place under the influence of the first emotion produced, but time modified that sentiment. The Government was aware of his dangerous illness and his forgiveness of all his foes.
The ambassador returned thanks for the remarks about his Majesty and the Prince. The Prince, he said, had a noble exemplar to imitate in his father. As to Cumano he did not ask more than could legitimately be conceded. He desired the maintenance of law and custom. If his petition were granted he would remain their debtor, if refused he would be content with their good will. He recalled the fact, however, that he had already once before obtained a similar commutation of sentence of imprisonment into relegation to Palma, and on another occasion when asking for a safe conduct for Dotto, he had all seventeen balls in one box. He then went on to say that the Prince de Joinville, who had offered his services during the late troubles, was still of the same mind; that his Majesty, who esteemed and loved him for his relationship and for his worth, would be glad to see him satisfied in this. If the Republic accepted the Prince's offer she would have in her service the boldest sword in Europe.
He then passed on to say that he had letters from the Princes of the Union and from Prince Christian of Anhault, their general; they were anxious to draw themselves closer to the Republic. This was a body of considerable importance, between them they had an income of seven million dollars; they might easily be joined by other Princes. Talking of the Union the ambassador said he thought the present would be a brief affair (Cleves); the Spanish will not interfere, the Emperor cannot owing to the jealousy of his brothers, the Pope wont meddle, the Ecclesiastic Electors will only advise in their own interest—which must be against war, as their territory would be exposed to being overrun by the soldiery. For these reasons he thought they would soon come to an accord and close the incident. The King, his Master, was aiding with four thousand foot merely because the cause is just. The ambassador said he desired to join his offices to those of an honoured envoy (Lenk) of the Princes. He learned that owing to an oversight the Agent of Brandenburg addressed the Doge as “Most Illustrious,” the highest in the German language. This led to the reply being addressed to the “Most Illustrious.” He hopes they will consent to alter this into “Most Serene” as desired.
The Doge replied that the Savii had the matter under consideration to find out some remedy. He promises to take the request of Joinville into due account.
The ambassador begged that Joinville might be informed of this answer through Foscarini. He also recommended some English subjects suing a certain bankrupt, Vallemens, who seeks to delay payment of debt. The Doge said that all that was right would be done.
The ambassador opened a printed volume of a few pages which he had held in his hand. He said this book had just come from the Fair (Frankfort?); it was published under a fictitious name and date. It discussed the preface to the King's “Præmonition.” The book is a mass of lies and impudent slanders; among others it is stated that from his earliest days the King ate frogs (rospi), and that he was accomplice in his mother's death; that is blasphemy. The ambassador read a passage, towards the end of the book, where, discussing the late differences with Rome, it charged the Republic with meddling in affairs ecclesiastical, and threatened that if she did not desist she would bring down on herself vast ruin. It called the Republic a corpse and the King of England a crow that settled on it. The ambassador remarked that this composition must be the work of a Jesuit or some such bad character. He did not seek the suppression of the book; nay, he thought it might be better to reprint it so that its lies and indecencies might be patent to all men. The ambassador handed the book to the Doge.
The Doge replied that he would read it out of curiosity, but that nothing surprised him from such stinking mouths. He praised the ambassador's plan of not prohibiting the book so as not to give it importance or cause it to be sought. This was the true way to deal with such matters, to ignore them, and let the wicked fry in the oil of their own malignity, as the proverb runs.
The ambassador then wished them “buona festa,” and said he prayed God that his Serenity might celebrate many an Ascension Day to come, and that he might have to wed not only the sea but also the land of Italy. The ambassador apologised for so long and so prolix an audience and retired.
May 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 908. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Some well-armed English bertons arrived here a few days ago. The Pasha sent to enquire of me whence they come, what they had on board and why so armed. I sent back my dragoman with orders to say that his Lordship should know better than I, but I know that Venetian vessels got snapped up because they were not so armed. The Capudan, grasping my meaning, said to the Dragoman: “You never said a truer word,” then turning to those who stood by he asked: “These Englishmen put in here, but when they are out again they capture Turkish or Christian shipping wherever they can; and that red boar of an English Ambassador will he come to tell me anything about them?” One of those about him said: “Why don't you show what you think of them by capturing a few when they sail from here?” The Capudan replied that Occhiali, a man who knew what he was about, would never let them come in here.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 15 May, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 909. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday morning Trolliouz arrived. Two days after leaving (Piedmont) the Duke sent after him to say that the Nuncio-Extraordinary (Rivarola) to his Most Christian Majesty had had audience; he is the bearer of proposals about Condé and Cleves. In Nivers Trolliouz learned the death of the King. This changed the whole aspect of his mission.
Paris, 20th May, 1610.
Enclosed in preceding despatch. 910. Letter from Piero Gritti to Nicolò Barbarigo.
An account of the fracas between the Ambassadors of Spain and Venice. The Royal guard separated them.
May 20. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy, Venetian Archives. 911. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
It is about fourteen o'clock. The Duke has just been informed that two couriers arrived during the night with news that the King of France has been killed.
Turin, 20th May, 1610.
May 21. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy, Venetian Archives. 912. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassabor in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
A very full account of the murder of Henry IV. furnished by a gentleman of the constable who was an eye-witness.
Turin, 21st May, 1610.
May 21. Minutes of the Senate. Mar. Venetian Archives. 913. To the Ambassador in England.
The owners of the “Balbiana,” plundered in 1602 by Thomas Tomkins, captain of an English berton named “Holy Mary Anne,” have called our attention to the fact reported by you in your despatch of April 29th, namely that the King, motu proprio, has arrested Tomkins. You are to thank his Majesty and to lend all aid to Federico Federici, agent for the owners, in his efforts to recover the value of the property stolen.
Ayes 132.
Noes 3.
Neutrals 2.
May 22. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Florence, Venetian Archives. 914. Giacomo Vendramin, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
News from Brussels that two memorials on the affair of the Princess of Condé, one from the Duchesse d'Angouléme and one from the constable Montmorenci, have been presented to their Highnesses, dealing with the bad conduct of the Prince and hinting at particulars that they dare not write, on the ground of which they demand a separation. The Princess herself has presented a memorial confirming the others.
Florence, 22nd May, 1610.
May 22. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 915. Giacomo Vico, Secretary, sent to the French Embassy to announce the death of the King, the news of which had been received through the Venetian Embassy in Savoy. The ambassador was in the garden along with the Cardinal Dolfin. The ambassador burst into tears and remained speechless for a time.
May 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 916. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Here in Marseilles they hold that the King was killed by Fuentes and Condé, because of the great danger that threatened the Spanish from his Most Christian Majesty's forces.
There are many vessels in this port and the trade is active. But this year they have suffered a loss of 400,000 crowns, thanks to pirates. There is also here Simon Danzer (Danziker) a most notable freebooter; he has four galleons, well-armed, at the King's orders. I thought it could not but be wise to make some representations to him that if he went on a buccaneering expedition he should not molest Venetian shipping. To this he gave me his word. He thinks of making an attempt on Algiers, on condition, however, that he is allowed to fly the French flag.
Marseilles, 23 May, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 25. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi, Venetian Archives. 917. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and said, that on his Majesty's orders he had come to discuss a certain point that had long been suspended. But first he presented condolences for the monstrous crime committed in France. “For myself, as I think it over, I can come to no other conclusion than that this enormous crime is the outcome of the new doctrine professed and preached throughout the world by the Jesuits, the fount of which is stained with blood, as was the old Draconian code. For I cannot understand how a man, however desperate, could have the courage to attack an heroic and martial Sovreign in the city where he dwelt, and, one might say, in the midst of fifty thousand armed men,—when he knew that he must die, nay must suffer a thousand deaths, a thousand tortures, as will happen to this fellow. I say that it is impossible to understand how a man could face certain death without hope of reward. Two rewards must have been held out to drive him to this execrable deed, the first 'If you escape' after doing the deed; the second 'If you die,' and in that case the greater the torture the greater the prize. There must also have been two agencies, one instigation the other conscience. The results are evident. I am aware that everyone is anxiously awaiting his confession, but I would rather know not his confession but his confessor. I know this for a fact, that Gontier, preaching in Paris on Easter Tuesday last, said these actual words: 'Whoever draws his sword on behalf of the Protestant Princes in the matter of Cleves, draws it to plunge it into Christ's side'; from which we deduce this necessary consequence, that on the other hand whosoever prevents the drawing of the sword so that it should not be plunged in Christ's side was doing the service of Christ. All this is not Catholic but Jesuitical doctrine, this mixing up matters spiritual with matters temporal as is this affair of Cleves, which is a purely civil case, as the Duke of Bavaria himself confesses. Thinking over our own past historyI recall that great rebellion in the late Queen's days raised by the Earl of Tyrone, who is living now in Rome. He raised such a revolt and confusion in Ireland that he reduced the Queen to a state little short of despair. I recollect that among the other officers whom her Majesty sent to Ireland was Colonel Norres, a very brave gentleman; he desired to end the business as soon as possible, and as it was impossible to come to a pitched battle with the Irish, whose habit is to strike and then to fly into the dense forests where they are safe, he thought the only way to finish up the matter quickly, was to find some Irish and to offer them a reward if they would kill Tyrone and so end the business. This was a good, just, and laudable plan to secure the slaying of so great a rebel who had jeopardised her Majesty's States. But it was a notable fact that for all that he offered the greatest rewards he never could find a man who would slay the Earl. Yet here one finds many who with the utmost intrepidity expose themselves to certain death in order to slay not rebels of Sovreigns but Sovreigns themselves, annointed Kings, so great, so potent. We are forced to the conclusion that there must be those who promise them paradise after death; nor is there the smallest doubt that if the Colonel, who promised ten thousand pounds sterling or even more to the man who should kill the Earl and escape, had had authority to promise paradise on death, the Earl would most assuredly have been slain.” Here the ambassador again bewailed the unhappy state of Christendom; he dwelt on the danger to which all Sovreigns were exposed, whose life was never safe in any place nor at any moment, thanks to these new doctrines. He added that this was a common cause, as the Republic, in her wisdom, would recognise; nor could he say anything further than to quote the words of our Saviour: “Voluntas tua fiat, Domine”; he would hope that as the skilful physicians of Venice were wont to extract health-dealing medicine from evil substances, and Triaca (fn. 3) from vipers, so the Lord God, Creator of the Universe, would extract some great boon for Christendom out of this viperous deed.
The ambassador then went on to touch upon the affair of the 'Corsaletta,” pending now for a long time. The King had written twice on the subject and the ambassador was now instructed to raise the question again. Here the ambassador drew from his pocket a letter, which he said contained nothing save a report of the interview held in England with the Ambassador Extraordinary, Contarini. At the instance of the merchants the King had caused a full discussion of the matter. The ambassador pressed for a rapid solution, and pointed out that the longer the delay the greater the damage, owing to the nature of the goods.
The Doge replied, praising the justness of the terms and the wisdom of the considerations wherein the ambassador had lamented the death of the King of France. The way in which the ambassador expressed himself had profoundly moved his Serenity. It is possible that this detestable deed may be traced to the new doctrine of the Jesuits, or it may come from others, for this doctrine is now widespread. It would, as the Ambassador remarked, be as well to know the confessor rather than the confession of this scoundrel. One must believe that the Lord God, in His secret councils, which we cannot penetrate, has permitted this great evil in order to draw from it some greater good.
As to the “Corsaletta,” Contarini had touched on it but had been unable to continue his report owing to his ill health. The remedies applied had been efficacious; Contarini would soon be well again, and they would then see what was to be done. Meanwhile the documents on the subject shall be collected. The ambassador expressed his pleasure at learning that Contarini was better; he would await his recovery. He went on to urge his recommendation of Cumano. Begged that his petition to convert the sentence from one of imprisonment into one of banishment for a still longer period should be declared not subject to the rule about the number of votes necessary to carry it, because here they were not treating of diminution but of augmentation of punishment. The ambassador said that during his six years' service he had learned that if his Serenity and the Cabinet desired they could find a way to gratify their servants.
The Doge replied that the request was notified but not dealt with, as the Ten had been entirely engrossed with one subject. He promised to support the request.
May 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 918. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King received at Royston the news of the death of the King of France. He would not believe it till it had been repeated. He at once sent Lord Hay, his prime favourite, to condole with the French Ambassador, and he himself came back to London on Friday last to deal with current affairs. Such treacheries as this assassination are always detested by his Majesty because of their very nature, but now the quality of the victim increases that horror. There is also the dread that on account of diversity of religion the same may happen here to his own person. Consultations have been held and they have come to the resolve to proceed more cautiously for the future, especially in going to the chase. Of this we have already had proofs, for his Majesty entered the City surrounded by his body guard, a thing he has not been accustomed to do. The authors of the plot are held to be the Spanish, for during the first days they were unable to conceal their joy. And so every day the memory of that great King grows in splendour among this people; they recall his exalted virtues and his loyalty to his friends; and this works as much inclination towards France as hatred for all that belongs to the Spanish Crown. This ill-will towards Spain feeds on the idea that all Catholics depend on that nation, and diffidence has reached such a pass that of friendship little remains but the name. This was made quite clear at the first audience granted to Don Alonso Velasco, the new Spanish Ambassador. No sooner was he out of the presence than everyone began to discuss that nation. The ambassador feigns not to notice this attitude, and continues to make great chains of gold to bind, as best he can, the mind of some one among these ministers to the interests of his Master (attende a far fabricare grosse cattene di oro per stringer, come meglio potrà l'animo di alcuno di questi Ministri cogli interessi del suo Signore).
The money sent to Holland for the pay of the four thousand infantry does not exceed eighteen thousand ducats. The Treasury officer who was to go to Holland to carry out this operation has been detained for the present. Negotiations are suspended, as they are awaiting the issue of affairs in France, where it seems things will change their aspect. Everybody thinks that the French will not, for the present, send their troops out of France. The Princes “possessioners” will therefore be as far inferior in forces as they thought themselves superior, at first; and there are not wanting signs of a disposition towards an agreement, a disposition which up to now was considered the key to Leopold's conduct. As I have already observed, the King of England is more inclined to negotiation than to force. And now that by the cessation of the French aid the burden will fall the heavier on him, he is still more eager. The Dutch Ambassador, grasping the situation, urges that the deficiency in aid should be made good from England. The French, however, declare that their troops will march, and that they have already secured passage; while the German Ambassador affirms that even without the French their Princes are strong enough; that Denmark will help them; that in any case they never counted more on foreign arms than they did on their own. They are expecting day by day the return of an agent sent express to Düsseldorf on the death of the King, to enquire whether on this account they are to hasten their departure from this Court.
The Dutch Ambassadors will set out on their return the day after to-morrow. They have received honours and presents from the King. Last Monday the King invited them to dine with him, and made a most laudatory appreciation of the prosperity of those Provinces, drank to the success in the war of Cleves and long life to Prince Maurice. After dinner he knighted them all; an honour which they accepted subject to approval by their Masters. They hold that the true greatness of those Provinces consists in attending to business which brings profit and gain, and keeping afar from ambition, which is as great an enemy to gain as it is a friend to expenditure. The Dutch Ambassadors laboured for long to exclude the Dutch from the prohibition against foreigners fishing off these shores. They obtained a certain satisfaction. The King desired that they should be obliged to ask leave from time to time, but on the ambassadors displaying great reluctance it was agreed that the fishery would be connived at and no obstacles placed in its way. I have on several occasions met all these envoys; both Dutch and German paid me more than one visit, especially during these days of my indisposition. Daniel Hutten (Daniel Duten), Envoy of Neuburg, who came more frequently than the others, charged me to express to your Serenity the devotion of his Masters and also his own obligation for favours received in Venice. The Dutch Ambassadors profess the greatest satisfaction that your Serenity should have sent an embassy to Holland.
A person of weight has remarked to me that your Serenity was not pleased at the prospect of war in Italy, and that statesmen had looked for greater promptness from you and desired a change there. I replied that anyone who knew our government must recognise that we are bound to a strict neutrality.
The proclamation of Prince of Wales, which was destined for the seventh of next month, has been adjourned eight days to allow of the completion of the preparations. The Prince is pleased to see so much honour paid him by everyone and desired to go to Parliament in procession, but the King was not content and has ordered him to go and to return by water, though there will be no lack of pomp even in this arrangement.
These last days Parliament has complained of impositions, of extravagance, and even of his Majesty himself, who, especially on Sunday at dinner, complained of the want of respect with which they proceeded in refusing to listen to the Speaker, who was charged with a message from him. He said they claimed that he should send a peer, but he would not. “I am lord and master, and intend to be obeyed by my subjects;” that he would cause him to rue it who had brought this about. Someone present excused the refusal to listen to the Speaker on the ground that he is the servant of the House and cannot speak for others. All the same, it is thought that through the interposition of some personages the King will restrict his demands of compensation for Wardship and that Parliament will increase its offer, and so an accord will be reached. The proposal to extend the oath of allegiance to everybody, so that no Catholic shall escape it, has not been accepted; nor does it seem that there is any intention to pass new legislation against the Catholics, only during these last few days the existing laws have been applied with extraordinary rigour. The King desires that there should be no respect of persons, and especially names ladies of quality, through whom he holds that many are tempted to abandon the Protestant religion.
London, 26th May, 1610.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 27. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi, Venetian Archives. 919. The Cabinet communicate to the French Ambassador a minute account of the assassination of Henry IV.
May 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 920. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Crequì and Bullion reached Paris on the 9th and brought news of the conference between the Duke of Savoy and Lesdiguières, also particulars of the terms agreed on.
Paris, 28 May, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 921. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
At the last interview I had with the Grand Vizir, after concluding my business, the Vizir dismissed his attendants and coming close to me he said that he suspected the so-called English merchants to be Persian Ambassadors in disguise; that on board one of the ships had been found a quantity of dollars; these he had seized and summoned the English to appear before him. He asked me to tell him if I knew anything about it. I said that if I had heard anything on the subject I would have informed him, but that all I knew about it was what his Lordship himself had told me.
Next day the English Ambassador waited on the Vizir. With him were all the English merchants. The Ambassador endeavoured to make the Vizir understand that the money was his own private property. The Vizir would not believe it. He grew hot on the topic, and the Ambassador answered him boldly in his defence; some ugly language passed between them, till at last both rose and turned their backs on each other without saluting. The Vizir would not receive the Ambassador at the usual place, but, after keeping him waiting four hours, he went out to the outer pavilion where the servants stay. At the close of the altercation the Pasha called two cavasses and bade them take the chest of dollars to the caramusale. He sent the Cadi of Constantinople to the ship and made him open the chest and take a note of the contents. He also made him carefully search the ship, and then ordered the chest and everything else to be brought to his camp. This was done; and there the matter rests, with great resentment on both sides.
I understand that this money belongs to the English merchants who, as I informed your Serenity, are going to open houses in Trebizond and in Persia. I gather that two considerations, both of importance, oppose the English design; one is that the Sultan is averse to the opening of a mart at Trebizond, dissuaded by a regard for Turkish interests and by jealousy of Persia; the second is that the Georgian and Armenian merchants are aware that English profits in that business would diminish their own. On both these grounds it is thought unlikely that the English scheme will be carried out, and that will be a gain to our merchants in Aleppo and Tripoli.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 29th May, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. Expulsis Papalistis. 922. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador said to the Grand Vizir that the Jesuits were going about saying that they had leave from the Sultan and the Grand Vizir to continue their residence in Constantinople. The Pasha showed some surprise, and said: “If those people say this they lie in their throats.”
The Ambassador declares that he fears he will not be able to carry through this business. The French Ambassador has been before him, with everybody of importance in the matter.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 29th May, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]
29272 2 I
May 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 923. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses a letter from the Bishop of Monte Pulciano to Cardinal Borghese, dated “14th May, three in the afternoon,” giving an account of the assassination of Henry IV. The courier that brought it was the first to leave Paris after the deed.
Rome, 29th May, 1610.
May 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 924. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On the news of the death of the King of France a gentleman of Condé's suite, who was in Rome, returned to Milan.
Rome, 29th May, 1610.
May 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 925. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
News of the King of France's death sent by Don Inigo de Cardenas (Cardines). The King in appearance is grieved and at once went into mourning. The rejoicings for the birth of a Princess suspended. The Constable, in the King's name, called on the French Ambassador.
Madrid, 30th May, 1610.
[Italian; deciphered.]


  • 1. The “so on” was a shower of blows with which Foscarini pursued Cardenas across the courtyard.
  • 2. It appears that Contarini never made this relazione.
  • 3. Teriaca sive otriaca, an ointment made of many ingredients. A speciality of Venice.