Venice: July 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: July 1607', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, (London, 1904) pp. 9-18. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

July 1607

July 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 17. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
President Jeannin writes from Flanders that the further he proceeds in his negotiations for dissuading the Dutch from the peace the more does he find them inclined to it. He suggests his own recall.
The Cavass has had an interview but with small results.
Paris, 3rd July, 1607.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 18. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The peasants' rising has died down as quickly as it sprangup. The King has issued a commission to visit and examine the places where the alleged encroachments have taken place. This is expected not merely to pacify but to satisfy the population. He has also issued orders to render his Progress less burdensome to the peasantry. The King knows that he will only arrive at the Union inch by inch. Even in the very first step of all, the abolition of the hostile laws, the English have shown much reserve, and introduced so many guarding clauses, that their intention is made manifest.
No resolution has been reached as yet about the petition for right of reprisals on Spain, presented to the Commons. The King desires that the question should be handled in Council in order not to grant a further extension of the power of Parliament, which has recently been growing greatly. They say Parliament will be summoned in September to discuss the Union.
I have received your instructions to thank the Prince of Wales for his offer. I will do so when I go to visit the Queen, who is devoted to him and never lets him away from her side. The King of France, through his Ambassador, has just made a present to the Prince. Great expectations are raised by his excellent qualities.
Acknowledges instructions as to the conduct of the Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople in the affair of the French and English.
Will assure the Earl of Salisbury and the High Admiral of the willingness of the Venetian Government to oblige them in the matter of Edward Peutres (sic), and will endeavour to find out details.
Crayford, 4th July, 1607.
19. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the news of Don Diego de Suara's (d'Ybarra) arrival in Brussels they have been living here in great expectation, for they do not know if his mission tends towards the conclusion of peace or the continuance of war. The Archduke tried to prevent the appointment of Ybarra on account of previous disagreements they had had. This conduct of the Spanish shows the small confidence they have in the Archduke.
But as regards the interest England has in this matter, I will say that the Agents of the States are expected here to deal with his Majesty. Their coming is not so much intended to upset the negotiations for peace as to make a show of respect towards his Majesty and to excuse their entering on negotiations with other Princes without consulting him. The King has hitherto shown so little desire to interest himself in the matter that it is thought things will remain as they are.
Crayford, 4th July, 1607.
July 5. Collegio, Secreta Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 20. The Secretary of the English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and spoke as follows :—
His master was going to Battaglia for a few days for amusement and change of air. He asks if the Doge has any commands. He communicates news from Flanders about the arrival of Suara (d'Ybarra) and his character for rigidity. Appeals once more for the liberation of Guagnin.
July 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 21. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope complains of a pamphlet printed in English. Suspects Venice to be its place of origin, where there is that Ambassador, “and we know how he speaks of us. He entertains at his house Giovanni Marsilio and Master Paolo. He has a printing press in his house.” The Ambassador declared that he had never heard a word of all this.
Rome, 7th July, 1607.
22. To the Ambassador in Rome.
On Tuesday last the Papal Nuncio came to his first audience. Instructions as to the false rumours spread about the Republic.
Ayes 166.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 2.
July 11. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 23. Orders issued for the purchase of two bertons to protect commerce against privateers. Instructions for their outfit and statement of their duties.
Ayes 126.
Noes 2.
Neutrals 22.
24. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador fulfilled his instructions to present the thanks of the Senate to the Prince of Wales for his offer to come to its aid had he been of riper years.
After that the Prince kept the Ambassador with him for a bit, showing him all “the sites and the delights of that Palace of Nonsuch, which is the most beautiful of all those owned by his Majesty. On dismissing me the Prince said that to-day he had shown me his amusements, another time he would show me his studies and exercises, so that I might bear ocular testimony to the pains he was at to reach the high estimate your Excellencies had formed of him. I have thought it well to report this at length, though merely an audience of compliment, in order that your Excellencies may appreciate the esteem in which you are held by all the Royal family.”
Crayford, 11th July, 1607.
July 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 25. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Deputies from Holland have not arrived yet; but the English Agent resident there (Winwood) has been summoned in order to inform his Majesty in anticipation of their coming. The King as yet shows little inclination to interest himself to upset the peace negotiations, but they say that after the Deputies have been here he will send an Envoy to act in concert with the French Agent there. This however is believed chiefly by the French, who desire it; for they hope to induce the King after taking this step to proceed to the others, which will conduce to the maintainance of the the war. We shall know the upshot of the negotiations when the Deputies arrive, for the King is resolved to discharge their business at once, as he is on the point of starting for a Progress which will last two good months. For this reason too Parliament will be adjourned to November. The Scottish Parliament has been summoned and its consent will be asked for various points in the scheme for the Union which have been agreed to in the English Parliament. These points have not been made public yet, but they are said to be of little moment to the main object. It is expected, however, that there will be less opposition in Scotland than there has been hitherto, for the form of the national religion is being continually modified into approximation to the English form, and they have begun to take the oath of supremacy in matters political and ecclesiastical as they do in England, where they continue to require that Catholic Ecclesiastics shall conform to the law and leave the country. For transgression of this law the Archpriest (Blackwell) was arrested a few days ago. He has had almost legatine powers from the Pope. It is thought it may fare ill with him, for for many years he has managed to escape the great efforts they made to catch him, and now they will exact a full account of all that he has done in discharge of his office. (fn. 1)
From Flanders they write that Don Diego (d'Ybarra) has not even begun to negotiate about peace. Hitherto he has only undertaken the management of affairs that were formerly in Spinola's hands, to Spinola's great disgust. From Holland we hear that in spite of the hopes of peace, orders have been sent to the fleet to remain in Spanish waters.
Crayford, 11th July, 1607.
July 13. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 26. The Nuncio, in audience, was told by the Doge that if he enquired he would find how absolutely false were the rumours, circulating in Rome, that preaching went on at the English Embassy and was much frequented. There was not a soul in Venice who even dreamed of such a thing.
That the pamphlet in question was received many days ago and had aroused disgust.
July 14. Minutes of the Senate, Roma. Venetian Archives. 27. To the Ambassador in Rome.
As regards the pamphlet from England which his Holiness gave you, and in reply to what he said about the English Ambassador resident here, you are to say that some months ago our Ambassador in England sent us a copy of the same pamphlet. It caused us the greatest indignation and displeasure as being entirely false to our intent, and far removed from our expectation. But we were consoled by the knowledge that our Ambassador, fully conscious of our piety and religion, and aware of the great annoyance this would cause us, without any further orders from us and entirely of his own accord, made vigorous representations to Lord Salisbury, the Chief Secretary to the King of England, and by the energy of his action secured the burning of all copies of the pamphlet, and the threat of severe penalties for any one who reprinted it. Therefore if his Holiness is displeased in one way he must rejoice in another, as he has it under his hand that we have done all that could possibly be done for the service of God and the increase of the holy faith. This will serve, too, to refute the calumny that in the house of the English Ambassador they print such matter; the truth is that all is done in England, and it is there that we had to take action and to prohibit the printing. As to what his Holiness said about the English Ambassador, although you have already answered very properly, still you will add that just as we are ever ready to listen to his wise and loving admonitions which as a good Shepherd he uses in matters concerning the service of God, so we beg him to believe that in the interests of that very service we ourselves at the first coming of that Ambassador gave all the orders that we deemed necessary to avoid any scandal. His Beatitude may rest assured that we are so watchful in the conservation of the Catholic Faith, in which this city was born and bred, and so zealous are we for the service of God, that our care therefor is no whit less than that of his Holiness in the due discharge of his pastoral office. We rejoice that there is here a Nuncio who can assure him of the facts, namely that in virtue of our laws it is quite impossible for any of our nobles to frequent the English Ambassador's house; that no one frequents it far less any who are well known and in the public service. His Holiness, therefore, should not lend an ear to notions so far removed from the truth, and only suggested by ill-disposed persons who cause the greatest annoyance to him and to us.
You will add that we accept the recommendation which he makes in favour of the English Catholics, and from the very first we have instructed our Ambassador there to lend them his protection, and we know that when the occasion to serve them presented itself he has not lost it. We will gladly associate ourselves with his Holiness in his recommendations to the great powers.
Ayes 107.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 6.
July 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 28. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
An English berton, under cloak of trading in these waters, has plundered a Spanish ship with a cargo belonging to various nationalities. Strong representations have been made to the English Ambassador, but he excuses himself on the ground that this is a privateer who has sailed without the King's consent. This answer does not satisfy, and they threaten reprisals if indemnity is refused in England.
Madrid, 17th July, 1607.
July 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 29. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports the negotiations between the Franciscan friar (John Neyen) and d'Aeersens; the bill for fifty thousand ducats and the ring.
Paris, 18th July, 1607.
30. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King and Court left two days ago for Theobalds, from which place the Progress will begin. It is now thought that it will not last as long as was at first intended. I kissed their Majesties' hands before they left.
The King congratulated the Republic on the better attitude of the Pope, which seemed to show that he now grasped the truth. He added that he had heard that a certain Cardinal (fn. 2) of the Roman Inquisition had spoken to the Venetian Ambassador in terms of respect and esteem about Master Paul. “This pleases me much,” he said, “for it will serve as a testimony to his learning, provided always that they be not words used to flatter him and to tempt him to come to Rome.”
As neither the King nor Lord Salisbury said a word to me about the complaint of the English Ambassador in Constantinople, I imagine either that they have no news or attach little importance to it.
The Queen expressed the great affection of the King and herself for the Republic. The Ambassador asked to see the Duke of York, but was told that he had gone to Nonsuch a few hours ago.
Crayford, 18th July, 1607.
31. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The two Dutch Deputies (fn. 3) have arrived; their mission is to give information on the subject of the negotiations that are going on in Flanders. After their arrival the rumour grew that the negotiations have become very difficult. The day before yesterday, they had audience of his Majesty. It lasted a very short time and it is said that they were referred to Council, after discussion with whom they are to see the King again. They mean to leave England very soon, and so it is supposed they have merely come to open the door for his Majesty to send Commissioners into Holland, a thing he had refused to do until the Dutch had taken some overt step which would allow him to do so with dignity. We shall then see more clearly what his Majesty's intentions are. At present it is thought that he will send his Commissioners to Holland to deal more closely with this affair, and the French Ambassador urges him to this step, in the hope that this mission may easily lead to some concerted action for maintaining the war. On the other hand the Spanish Ambassador, anticipating the reception of the Dutch Envoys, has done his best to persuade the King that his Catholic Majesty will never consent to any conditions of accord which would withdraw the States from the subjection which is due from them to him; they are styled rebels in the hope of binding the King of England to observe that neutrality which, up to the present, he has professed solely upon the ground that the Dutch are rebels. When the King remarked to the Ambassador that the Archduke recognised the Dutch as independent the Ambassador said it was no business of his to defend the Archduke's action, but he was certain that such recognition never could gain the assent of his Master. In confirmation of this, I, finding myself with the Queen, she remarked to me that a very grave difference of opinion existed between the King of Spain and the Archduke, which might easily be of great service to the States, because while people here thought the King of Spain was bent on the accord they showed themselves far from desiring to hinder it, which they knew they could not do without drawing down on themselves the whole burden of the war, but now that the affair is very doubtful they will not cease to fan the war in order to keep things in their primitive condition, and by the simple act of interesting themselves they trust that they will preserve their present position of power and security.
An Emissary from the Count of Emden is also here. His master recently made an unsuccessful effort to recover the City and he now hopes through the mediation of the Dutch Envoys to secure his Majesty's intervention to obtain the town for him. But as he has in this negotiation made use of the advice and support of Spain, it is not thought likely that he will succeed.
The Archpriest (Blackwell) has been subjected to a searching examination more than once since his arrest. And as the Earl of Northumberland's imprisonment has recently been made severer, they conjecture that the Archpriest's depositions may have revealed something against the Earl in regard to the late plot. Parliament stands adjourned till November.
Crayford, 18th July, 1607.
July 21. Original Despatch Venetian Archives. 32. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope expresses himself satisfied with Ambassador Giustinian's action in England as regards the pamphlet. All the same there are still those who thought the pamphlet came from Venice. The English Ambassador in Venice used to have his services in English; now the sermons are in Italian.
Contarini replies that there is a Nuncio in Venice who can testify to the conduct of the English Ambassador and to the provisions made by the Republic from the date of his arrival. The Pope replied that he was perfectly well informed, for at the time he was Secretary to the Congregation of the Holy Office he wrote to the Nuncio, Offredo, advising him to act with circumspection so that the arrival of the Ambassador should not prove an injury to the faith. His answer was that having raised the question to the Senate the reply given was that all necessary steps had been taken. Contarini informed the Pope that by the laws of the Republic it was forbidden to any noble to enter an Embassy, and this law was very rigidly observed; and no other Venetians went either. His Holiness said, “But there is that Neapolitan, that Marsilio.” At this point Contarini begged his Holiness not to lend an ear to such sinister reports, which under cloak of doing good only unsettled his mind. The Pope admitted that extraordinary things were reported to him, but he would suspend his judgement; at the same time, to speak out quite frankly, certain nobles were actually named as attending the sermons in the Ambassador's house. Contarini replied that this was the greatest lie of all, and that his Holiness would learn the truth, in due time, from his ministers; he added that the Republic had interested herself for the Catholics in England.
Rome, 21st July, 1607.
33. To the Secretary in Florence.
The Grand Duke has expressed his regret for the mischief done by the Bertons flying his flag. He has issued orders that our property is to be respected, and he promises to punish any privateers who may come into Leghorn.
Ayes 107.
Noes. 5.
Neutrals 7.
July 25 Original Despatch Venetian Archives. 34. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the Dutch Commissioners had kissed the King's hand a few days later they met the Council to settle their business. They also had a special interview with the Earl of Salisbury. They are now awaiting the King's coming to receive a definite expression of his will. As yet these negotiations have been conducted with the greatest secresy, and this leads many to conjecture that the Commissioners may have found here no small inclination to break through the conclusion of a peace by offering help to the Dutch. As yet, I learn, they have secured nothing except that after their departure, the King will send his own Commissioners to Holland in order that they may take concerted action with the representatives of his Most Christian Majesty. This inconclusive answer has not satisfied them, not because they do not desire such a mission but because they hoped to be able to make some definite report to their Masters as to the King's intentions. They fear that this prolongation of the affair is intended merely to put off the conclusion of the peace, which the English dislike, without committing themselves to any definite assistance. On the other hand the deputies let it be quite clearly understood that unless they received certain, prompt and suitable support in the war they would be obliged to accept the advantageous peace which was now proposed to them. His Majesty's answer, however, will let them see what they can really expect from this side.
Meantime they have been received and treated here with hardly less ceremony than that which is employed in the case of ambassadors from crowned heads. Their arrival has reawakened the popular cry in favour of the war. From Brussels comes news that the ratification of the truce has been received from Spain, and the Archdukes hope that they will induce the King to consent to the peace. With that object in view they are sending back to the King the friar (John Neyen) who negotiated the truce; he is to beg for the recall of Don Diego (d'Ybarra) on the ground of previous quarrels with the Archduke.
These negotiations have roused up those who allege that they have been injured by Spain, and who claim the right of reprisals. The Council has replied to them and to other Spanish merchants advising the immediate withdrawal of capital from Spain. This gives rise to much speculation and to the hope that the peace between these crowns wont last long.
After the capture of the ship “Soderina” by the English bertons, I set to work to find out who the pirate was. It turns out that he is a certain Ward, a famous bucaneer, proclaimed and banished from this Kingdom. His usual haunt (ricetto) is Tunis and other places in Barbary. I can discover no more. If I do I will not fail to communicate it.
The King is expected here to-morrow for a few days, and I cling to his flanks the better to serve your Excellencies.
London, 25th July, 1607.
July 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 35. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Cardinal Borghese complains that the Theologians who had supported the cause of the Republic frequented the house of the English Ambassador in Venice and spoke ill of the Pope and of the Apostolic chair; that Marsilio and Master Paulo were among them and that the English Ambassador was a source of scandal in Venice.
The answer was the same as that given to the Pope, namely that there was a Nuncio in Venice from whom full information could be obtained, and an absolute denial that any Venetians at all frequented the English Embassy. The Cardinal replied that the report that the sermons were in Italian instead of in English was a proof that they were meant more for Italians than for English.
The Ambassador Contarini had answered the Pope that he was in communication with Venice and was waiting a reply. Cardinal Borghese took up a paper and said that they had “certain information from Venice that these Ecclesiastics and Theologians were in the habit of meeting the English Ambassador, as well as English and Flemish subjects in the linen-drapers' Exchange (fondaco delle biancarie) where they have a room prepared for them, and there they speak all the ill they can of us, of the Pope of the Holy Apostolic See. This is a notorious fact and cannot be concealed; these meetings and the place of them are known to every one; the chamber is a large one. The Ambassador can see how well disposed to us are these Theologians, and let him write to Venice to inquire if, besides the fact of their being excommunicated for the fine things they wrote against us, it is thought that, in view of these meetings, they ought to be protected and pensioned.”
Rome, 28th July, 1607.


  • 1. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1607, 7 July.
  • 2. Probably referring to Cardinal Bellarmin's testimony in favour of Fra Paolo Sarpi.
  • 3. They were Jehan Berkes, a Doctor of Law and Councillor of Dortrecht, and Sir James Maldaree. Winwood, Mem. II., 325.