Venice: December 1607

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: December 1607', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, (London, 1904) pp. 69-77. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

December 1607

Dec. 1. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Roma. Venetian Archives. 124. The Nuncio came to the Cabinet and complained of a work against the Jesuits, which came from England, was reprinted in Venice by a certain Vangelista Eucchino [? evangelist, [Bernardino] Occhino] but suppressed. The paper was obviously Venetian. It is not likely that he would have printed without the support of some persons of quality. The Nuncio begs that steps be taken. The Doge replies that the Venetian paper does not prove that the book was printed in Venice.
Dec. 3. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives. 125. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and spoke as follows:—
Professes that his chief object in his mission is to unite the Crown of England and the Republic. An occasion now offers by which the Republic, without prejudice to herself, might do a service to the King. The Earl of Tyrone, an Irishman, was summoned to England. Driven by a bad conscience he fled to Brussels. The Ambassador there has announced the arrival of the Earl and his wife and sons and four leading gentlemen. He is to stay three days in Brussels and then go to Louvain; in the University there he will leave his wife and younger son and will go to Spain and thence to Borne. Should the Earl enter Venetian territory it would be an act of true friendship to the King if his Serenity would order the arrest of the Earl, and would inform the King of this disposition. It is quite certain, however, that the Earl will not enter Venetian territory; of that the ambassador is sure, for he knows the Earl well, having dealt with him during the wars in the late Queen's reign, when the Earl of Essex negotiated the suspension of arms that proved fatal to himself. “The Earl of Essex sent me with the necessary instructions and I went to the army of the Earl of Tyrone which numbered twenty-five thousand Irishmen; I stayed with him a whole day. I say this to your Serenity, not to recite my own actions but to prove to you that I know him for as cunning and suspicious a character as you could find; and his bad conscience will deepen that suspicion. (Il Conte di Essex mi espedi con le necessarie instruttioni; io andai allo esscrcito di quel Conte de Tiron die era di m/xxv Irlandesi, et tratta seco una giornata intiera; il che dico alla Serenitä vostra non per citar le mie operationi ma per dirle che lo conobbi persona molto scaltrita et sospettosa al possibile per natura; et tanto più sara sospettoso al presente quanto ra accompagnato alla sua mala coscientia.) If your Serenity condescends to inform me of your wishes between to-day and Friday next, I will not fail to execute your orders, and I assure you that this suggestion comes entirely out of my own head.”
The Doge replied that the suggestion would be submitted to the Senate.
The Ambassador renews his petition in favour of granting to Alberghin Alberghini of Salò a licence to bear arms. Doge replies that his recommendation has been submitted to the Ten and information taken from the Governors of the Riviera di Brescia.
Dec. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 126. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The States of Holland have proposed to the English Commissioners that the King of England should, before they come to treat with Spain, enter into an alliance with them; the treaty to be offensive as well as defensive if his Majesty so chose. They believe here that a similar proposal has been made to France with a view to strengthening themselves in the coming controversy. The Council are at present engaged in discussing this proposal. As far as one can gather at present they are disposed to accept the league, but only so far as the common safety is concerned, and limiting it to a purely defensive alliance bound by two obligations, first that it shall be extended to no other power, and second that it shall come into being only after the States have secured recognition of their independence of Spain. The first condition is clearly intended to keep them free of any alliance with France, the second is the result of the circumspection which they use in order to avoid any steps which might lead to a rupture with Spain. They have, however, withdrawn this second condition on the representations of the Agent of the States that the chief result they expected from this alliance was to hasten the peace. The Agent had from Salisbury that the King would assent to the conclusion of this alliance. The flight of Tyrone and their doubts about the attitude of Ireland have moved them to take this step, and if those doubts increase they may be carried even further.
London, 5th December, 1607.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 127. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Courier of the Spanish Embassy who was sent to Spain after the Council had made representations to the Spanish Ambassador on the flight of Tyrone, has returned to London. As yet we do not known the nature of the reply he brings, but as he was despatched with speed, it is possible that he is the bearer of a reply conciliatory in form at least, though if not confirmed by facts this will hardly suffice to pacify the King of England, whose mind is full of suspicion that this business was hatched in Flanders by the warmth of Spain, all the more so that his Ambassador at the Archduke's court reports that, upon his vigorous representations that the Archduke should no longer shelter and support a rebel of a friendly and neighbouring sovereign, he received an answer in general terms, while the favours openly bestowed on the Earl prove how little account was taken of his observations. There is news that orders from Spain are expected as it is uncertain whether the Earl will go there or to Rome, though it is most certain that in any place so ever he will he supported by Spain. Here they would rather that he should go to Rome than to Spain, but over there they are somewhat anxious as they do not know what may be the real intentions of the Pope towards them, though they think they must be closely bound up with those of Spain, all the more so as they are advised that he is anxious for peace in Flanders, a result which can only be perilous to them. Here they have taken no other steps than the reinforcement of the Irish garrisons and the refitting of the fleet and other preparations for enabling it to take the sea when occasion may arise.
The Earl of Salisbury, fearing that his representations to the French ambassador about the passage granted to Tyrone might have seemed more warm than the occasion required, and that in reporting to his master the Ambassador might exaggerate, took an opportunity to remove any cause of ill-feeling; and it is obviously their intention to conceal their annoyance rather than to give Spain a chance of making capital out of their misunderstanding with France. The King after the audience granted to the various Ambassadors in the City is now in the country at the chase; though he requires the Council to keep him duly informed of all that is going on. Interests and inclinations vary, and his Majesty is urged towards war or peace in obedience to them; but as he is by nature disposed to peace, only necessity will cause him to abandon it.
London, 5th December, 1607.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 128. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A few days ago I heard from a good source that there was an English ship lading in Tunis with certain goods plundered from the “Soderina.” Her intention was to make for Flanders to dispose of her cargo the more safely. On the receipt of this news I took such steps with the Lord High Admiral that as the ship was passing up the channel she was seized and taken into port where she is now lying. It seems that the information was correct, and her crew declare that her cargo consists of salt, indigo and other goods. As the High Admiral sent me the news only to-day and the ship is a hundred miles away, I can give your Excellencies no further information. I trust, however in the justice of the King and his Council, and I hope not only to recover in the interests of the injured parties but also by this example to deprive that perfidious pirate of a great incentive to continue his diabolical designs; for if goods are thus recoverable the others will soon lose the taste for buying stolen goods. I am moved to take this step in the public and private service, though I do not know who the interested parties are. I beg your Serenity to inform them.
London, 5th December, 1607.
Dec. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 129. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received your Serenity's despatches of the 14th of last month with information as to the representations made by the English Ambassador in Venice. When the King returns to London I will carry out my instructions. Meantime I must report what has come to my notice on these subjects. As to the complaints against the Bailo at Constantinople, I think they must proceed from two causes; first, a groundless suspicion rooted in the minds of English merchants that English trade in the dominions of the Turk is displeasing to the Republic, which is trying to destroy it; and secondly, a charge brought against Thomas Sherley, brother of Anthony, now at the Imperial Court, that while he was at Constantinople he had a hand in some such business, and that the English Ambassador in Venice had intercepted letters from him, which prove his complicity; and this is the cause of his imprisonment which I reported. The representations of the Ciaus have I think fomented this suspicion, though they were dictated chiefly by his personal pique against Sherley and by his hopes to open a road for gain from these merchants, in which he was, after all, disappointed, unless, indeed, he had the deeper design of sowing suspicion between England and the Republic—the two maritime powers whose union would be the most serious menace to the Turk. I merely put this out so as to leave no suggestion unstated, not because I have the shadow of suspicion that it is the case. I will exculpate the Bailo with his Majesty, and will see that his mind is for ever cleared of this vain and groundless charge.
As to the pirate Ward, I have reported his request and the answer I made in order to cut short the hopes which he builds on his ill-gotten gains, and to cast him back solely upon the clemency of your Excellencies, so that in this way may be effected the indemnification for injuries inflicted on private fortunes and public honour. Here they magnify Ward's preparations, and the High Admiral sent to inform me that he has joined to himself two other Dutch bertons, and to warn me to take steps to avert the impending peril. I replied that your Serenity was all ready to check him, and that if he came out he would perhaps find what he did not look for. I made this answer because, although I fear that the reports of Ward's strength are only too correct, I know that here they are very willingly exaggerated by those who expect to draw large profit from Ward's restoration to his country; for beyond a doubt they will make him pay dear for it.
I will revert to the subject of the “Corsaletta” in my next audience, pointing out that although she was not above all suspicion of piracy, still she had been set free on his Majesty's sole attestation.
London, 12th December, 1607.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 130. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I shall not detain your Serenity with a long account of how the affair of the ship “Husband,” of London, arrested at my instance, now stands. I have reported fully to the interested parties. I will only say that if they are minded here to act justly and to live up to the good-will they profess, they will be obliged to adjudicate the cargo of the “Husband,” amounting to the value of thirty or forty thousand crowns, to the owners of the “Soderina,” as every day shows more clearly that the cargo was plundered from her. The merchants who bought these goods at Tunis are preparing to defend themselves by all means in their power; they declare the cargo was bought from Turks and not from Ward, and that though it may be stolen goods, it was not stolen from Venetian ships. They trust that the difficulty of proof will bury the truth; but I hope to succeed by the help of such information as the interested parties will furnish and I can gather here. I am in constant communication with the Lord High Admiral, and will mention the subject to the Earl of Salisbury and to the King himself. The opposition is so strong that I require strong support. The King is at the chase. The Earl of Salisbury is busy with the affairs of Flanders and Ireland. The Viceroy has just sent over two Irish gentlemen, prisoners on suspicion of complicity in the flight of the Earls. The Spanish Ambassador, even after the arrival of the courier from Spain, has taken no steps to justify his master, though his silence is attributed to the absence of the King.
From Flanders we hear that on the 10th of this month the Deputies of the United Provinces were to meet and discuss finally the question whether they would or would not enter on negotiations upon the conditions which have come from Spain. The answer is to be communicated to the Archducal Commissioners by the 20th. As to the ratification, they have entered a protest in writing declaring that as for the point of independence they do not require an affirmation as it was in no sense dependent on the will of Spain: they accepted it, however, in order that all other powers might, by this admission of the King of Spain, feel themselves freer to deal with the States. The object of this is to facilitate the negotiations I have already reported. At first it was supposed that this declaration might disturb the progress of negotiations, but such is the desire for peace on both sides that it is held that they will come to terms, and they are waiting the arrival of the Envoys of the Emperor, of Denmark and of the German Princes.
London, 12th December, 1607.
Dec. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 131. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I am informed that the Earl of Tyrone has left Flanders and it is said he is going to Rome. He has with him some of those gentlemen who shared his flight. The rest, along with his family, he has left behind in Louvain. Soon after his departure he was recalled by the Archduke upon grounds that are as yet unknown. This resolution to go to Rome rather than to Spain is considered to be less menacing as far as Ireland is concerned, though the Ministers conjecture that it may indicate some ill-feeling on the part of the Pope towards the British crowns, and that therefore the visit of the Earl to Rome is a cause for greater anxiety than had he gone to any other place, as the Pope can foment disturbances both outside and inside Ireland. Nor is it thought prudent to abandon suspicion of Spain which can easily second the Pope's designs. It is said that the Earl first of all addressed himself to the Spanish, but they succeeded in putting him off so as not to endanger the conclusion of the peace in Flanders.
They continue to denude Ireland of those subjects whose loyalty is open to doubt. They are brought over to England, where they are closely watched. They say that the departure of the Earl from Flanders was greatly hastened by the representations made by the King to the Archduke's Envoy and the proclamation that was issued, for the terms in which it was couched were clearly directed rather to remove any justification for other Sovereigns to help him, than to branding him as a rebel. The Catholics hope that the Earl's visit to Rome will suspend the execution of the laws against them, but God grant it have not just the opposite effect.
Although the King continues at Royston on the plea of the chase, there may be a deeper reason. He is living in almost absolute retirement in the company of one man, a Dean, very learned. They say that a book composed by the Jesuit Persons in which he advocates the liberty of the Catholic rite in this kingdom, has appeared, and the King, out of a certain rivalry of learning which he has always had with Persons, is amusing himself by preparing an answer. He must come to London for Christmas, however, and, at his request, the Queen and the principal Ladies of the Court are preparing to give a magnificent Masque.
The truce expires at Christmas and they are thinking of renewing it for six months chiefly in order to let them carry on the peace negotiations.
London, 19th December, 1607.
Dec. 22. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 132. To the Ambassador in Rome.
As regards Pomara's request, that he be allowed to export from Brescia from eight to ten thousand harquebusses, we approve your conduct and the delay. We must tell you that as long ago as last year we had information that Pomara was in treaty with an Englishman, Stephen Stock, for thirty thousand harquebusses.
Ayes 142.
Noes 2.
Neutrals 5.
Dec. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 133. Ottaviano Bon, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports an act of piracy suspected to be done by the English. The captain is called Adele, a noble of London.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 23rd December, 1607.
Dec. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 134. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I am told on good authority that the king, while in the country with his intimates, has frequently discussed the affair of Fra Paolo. His Ambassador in Venice has informed him that the accomplices in this crime have been sheltered not only in the States of the Church but in Rome itself, and his Majesty shows the greatest horror at this news, inferring from it an evident proof of the origin of the crime. He praises the wisdom of your Excellencies in removing from the state those ecclesiastics who attempt by scandalous methods, in public and private, to subvert the conscience of the people.
I understand that his Majesty has given very clear signs that he suspects the Pope's intentions in the matter of Ireland, and is persuaded that he will foment in every direction the disturbances there. This is an opinion that is gaining ground daily, not merely on general considerations, but also on account of the movement of the Earl of Tyrone towards Rome, and because it is known that certain Jesuits and other Ecclesiastics have gone to Ireland, whose sole mission is supposed to be the setting of Ireland in a blaze.
There is a rumour, confirmation of which is awaited with anxiety, that one of the principal Irish gentlemen, arrested on these suspicions, has escaped from prison and taken the field with a vast number of followers who thus hope to escape a terrible oppression which is threatening them. It is feared that this may be the beginning of a long trouble. The King's return is eagerly awaited so that we may learn what answer his Catholic Majesty has made to the representations addressed to his Ambassador here.
Spinola paid and pacified his mutineers, but then having separated them skilfully he gave them over as a prey to his army. They holding that they had been betrayed by trusting to his word, withdrew to the French frontier. Some Dutch soldiers, in spite of the truce, are said to have violated the Archduke's territory.
London, 27th December, 1607.
Dec. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 135. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen left the city yesterday to go and join the King at Theobalds. They will continue there for some time and will assist at the Masque which the Queen has prepared at her own charges. The King will discuss the Dutch Alliance, but it seems that since they have let it be known that they would require an annual subsidy, he has grown cold and shows himself more disposed to claim from them the payment of their debt. The King requires the Council to make provision for working the mine discovered some years back in Scotland. They look for great gain. The Earl of Dunbar is the chief mover. The King places the greatest reliance on his advice in all matters.
I had written thus far when I was obliged to go at once to the Earl of Salisbury to avoid the total ruin of all hope of recovering from the ship “Husband.” The Earl had summoned the High Admiral because the merchants, by illegitimate means, had obtained from him leave to keep the cargo in their own hands upon deposit of sufficient security, they alleging that the goods were bought bona fide from the Pasha of Tunis and not from the pirate. I resisted this arrangement and, in the king's absence, I had recourse to the favour of Lord Salisbury who has shown himself in this matter as warm a supporter of your Serenity as I am myself. In spite of the Admiral's strong objection I obtained from him the revocation of his own order and the issue of others to the effect that all the goods should be unladen, inventoried, under the direction of my commissary, and stored in a safe warehouse, of which I have a key, until such time as it shall be proved to whom they really belong. Hàving won this point, which by the law of the land is the most important, it is to be hoped that the affair will now proceed favourably, and that this will deal a mortal blow to the interests of Ward and his followers; for this will prevent him from disposing of his booty, and without that he will not be able to maintain that excessive expenditure which he incurs just now. I must assure your Excellencies that in this business I have found in Lord Salisbury a disposition entirely corresponding to his declarations when I informed him of the removal of the anchorage tax and of the steps taken about the “Corsaletta,” for he spoke very plainly to the Admiral and to the Judge Deputy, affirming that it was his Majesty's firm resolve that the interests of Venetian subjects should be respected above all others. All the advantages which can be looked for in this affair must be ascribed to Lord Salisbury's weight and influence; and he himself swore to me that for no one else would he have exerted them, as he does not desire to draw on his shoulders the animosity of so great a subject as the Admiral. I returned suitable thanks; but I am of opinion that it is necessary that your Serenity should take special notice of the matter to the Ambassador Wotton. It is quite certain that, as the Admiral will be against us, we require the support of the Earl and of the King himself, otherwise it will be impossible to resist the numerous scandalous proceedings which in such cases take place at the Admiralty.
London, 27th December, 1607.
Dec. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 136. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Confirmation of news that the Earl of Tyrone will come to Rome to persuade the Pope to undertake an Irish expedition. He has had ten thousand crowns from the Archduke Albert.
Rome, 29th December, 1607.