Venice: February 1608

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: February 1608', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 11, 1607-1610, (London, 1904) pp. 90-101. British History Online [accessed 13 April 2024]

February 1608

Feb. 1. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Roma. Venetian Archives. 165. The English Ambassador, invited to attend the Cabinet, was first asked by the Doge how his health was and was congratulated on having a fine day; the Ambassador said it was the best day he had seen for some time; and that he who belonged to a people far nearer the Pole, could never have believed it possible to experience such cold and such bad weather as he found here. During the whole time he had never left his house and very seldom his rooms. He then went on to say that after the departure of M. de Fresne and Don Inigo de Cardines he was the senior Ambassador. Promises his good offices in the matter of the cargo of the “Soderina.”
As to the rumoured alliance he too had heard something of it. It would seem that there could be no other explanation of the King of Spain's desire for a peace so damaging to his prestige, than the intention to employ his troops against some other Sovereign. This conduct must rouse the suspicion of all who are excluded from this alliance.
The Ambassador then recalled the question of Stephen Stock, who offered to supply the Pope with powder. “Stock spent some time in Lucca and I kept a spy upon him. Stock had made an advantageous contract with the Pope and had even gone to Bologna, where, on the Pope's orders, he was very well received by the Governors. From Bologna he went to Ferrara, whence I am informed by those who watch him, that his object is not so much to export from England as from other Italian States and especially harquebusses from Brescia.”
The Ambassador returns thanks for the grace granted to Alberghini. Regrets that pistols (terzaruoli) are not included in the permit.
The Doge said that pistols were too dangerous, for they could be carried hidden.
The Ambassador refers to the death of Julius Cæsar in Padua; says though a little too full of youth he was a good lad, of high promise. Admits that the Podestà of Padua has done all he could to give satisfaction to the English; is sure justice will be done.
The Ambassador expresses surprise that he had had no answer to his proposal about the Earl of Tyrone. After the publication of the Proclamation concerning the flight of the Earl the King of Spain declared, by means of his Ambassador in England, that if the Earl came to Spain such steps would be taken as would prove his Majesty's sincere friendship. This was very pleasing to the King of England for such a demonstration was not looked for. The Ambassador has no information that the Earl has left Louvain and can say nothing as to his journey, though, as he knows the danger, he will not touch Venetian territory. There is still time for the Doge to take the step suggested.
The Doge replied that the necessary steps had been taken, and the three monthly change in the Cabinet, the bad weather, the fact that the Ambassador had not been to audience and the fact that his advice was not official, were the reasons why no communication had been made to him.
The Ambassador asked if he might assure his Majesty that should the Earl touch Venetian territory “you have made up your mind what to do, or pray tell me in what form am I to make the communication; or do you prefer to write to your Ambassador. I am sure such a resolve would be very well received as a proof of friendship.”
The Doge replied that steps had been taken to prevent the Earl from touching Venetian territory. “That is what we have been able to do.”
The Ambassador begs to be informed of the Earl's movements should he go to Rome as seems inevitable.
The Doge promised on all occasions to prove the affection of the Republic for the King.
Feb. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 166. Girolamo Soranzo and Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassadors in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
News from Flanders points to the conclusion of peace, though three points remain open, freedom of conscience, navigation to the Indies, and restitution of Sluys.
Madrid, 4th February, 1607. [m.v.]
Feb. 7. Consiglio de' Dieci. Processi Criminali. Venetian Archives. 167. The Bravo Giacomo Filla, called Tagliaferro, of Padua, condemned to five years in the galleys.
Feb. 7. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 168. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King is still far away from London, not so much to enjoy the chase as to prepare his answer to the book by the Jesuit, Persons. He began by drawing up an answer, under a feigned name, to a letter addressed by Cardinal Bellarmin to the Arch-priest persuading him to retract his oath. The King discovered in this letter many points which seemed to him to menace his own safety and he therefore thought it advisable to reply in writing. His answer is now in the press. The whole controversy turns on the deposing power of the Pope. The King attacks this vigorously and maintains his right to exact the oath from his subjects, on the ground that this oath does not aim at injuring others but merely at securing himself. He professes himself amazed that this oath should be prohibited when it is really so much milder than the oath exacted by his predecessors. Thus one party is trying to make the Archpriest recede from his position and the other to confirm him in it. The King thinks it would be highly dangerous were such a doctrine to be imbibed by his subjects.
Matters are quieting down in Ireland as far as internal affairs go; the rebels are growing daily weaker. But as regards external affairs although both the Archduke and Spain are endeavouring to remove suspicion from the minds of the English, they will never succeed in doing so until the English see Tyrone entirely cast off by them. I hear that the Earl of Salisbury has even used very sharp language to the Archiducal Ambassador when complaining of the reception given to the Earl. They will presently ask the City for a new loan, as the ordinary revenue has been absorbed by the Irish Expedition.
After news came that Spinola, Richardot and three other commissioners (fn. 1) had left for the Hague, we are anxiously awaiting the issue of negotiations for peace. It is the common opinion that it will be concluded. The Archduke's Ambassador has informed the King that no difficulty would be raised as to the point the States insist on, namely their independence; and that shows that the Spanish are absolutely resolved to secure peace or at least a long truce.
London, 7th February, 1607. [m.v.]
Feb. 8. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Padua Venetian Archives. Not only the English students and others of that nation but the English Ambassador, resident in Venice, have begged me to arrest and proceed against Giovanni Antonio Brochetta, on the charge of homicide. He was summoned to surrender at the prisons of this town, and has now presented a request from the Procurator to be allowed defence “per patrem.” I think it my duty to report this.
Padua, 8th February, 1608.
Almorò Zane, Podestà.
Feb. 8. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives. 169. The Secretary to the English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and spoke as follows:—
“My Master has sent me to say that, should your Serenity learn from Chioggia or elsewhere that a Signor Carlo is coming as Ambassador from the King of England, he begs you will suspend your credence.”
The Doge replied that from Chioggia they actually had news of the arrival of a certain Carlo Pellegrini, Chamberlain to his Majesty. They were surprised at having no information about this person from their own Ambassador in England, nor yet from the English Ambassador here. They were obliged for the present light. The Secretary said that this person had given himself out as a Marquis and an Ambassador and had received all honours from the Podestà of Chioggia.
The Doge said “How did the Ambassador know of his coming?”
The Secretary answered “This person paid a visit to the Embassy last night, accompanied by four servants. In course of conversation the Ambassador found out he was a fraud by asking him for his letters. When the Ambassador discovered that he had none he called me early this morning and sent me here.” “So he is at the Embassy?” said the Doge. “He was,” replied the Secretary, “but he is not now, for the house is too small to put up people of importance. He said he was going to “The sign of the White Lion,” where I could find him; but this morning when I went there he was gone.”
Feb. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 170. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The news that the Duke of Savoy determined to put M. d'Albigny (fn. 2) to death has caused surprise. His Highness wishes to make it appear that death resulted from natural causes and not from his orders. There is no positive information here; but the larger part hold that the real cause was intelligence between d'Albigny and Fuentes and Spain. The President Jacob is expected here on a mission from his Highness to explain the matter.
The ministers are of opinion that the Duke of Savoy intends to declare himself absolutely independent and strictly allied to the Crown of France.
Paris, 12th February, 1608.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 171. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A despatch dealing with the negotiations for peace or long truce at the Hague. Spinola's reception unsatisfactory to him. Jeannin's report to the King.
The affair of the ship “Soderina.”
The Nuncio and the Spanish Secretary in close alliance.
Paris, 12th February, 1608.
Feb. 12. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 172. To the Commander of the Great Galleys.
The hinderance to Levant navigation caused by the incursions of the wes tern buccaneers and of that Captain Wardand other English who have put together eight vessels, two in each squadron, and put on board a large number of Turks raised in Tunis and Goletta, with the intention of invading and plundering all kinds of shipping and ours especially, as we are informed from various quarters, has given us occasion to issue orders that, in spite of the provisions we have already made for the security of our Syrian and Alexandrian trade, ships are not to go beyond Corfu without our further orders. But as we know how important it is for our dignity and service that these ships should reach their destination without further delay, we charge you to fit out your three great galleys with all that you may deem necessary, especially with gunners—for which purpose we send orders to the Proveditore of the Fleet and the Proveditore and Captain of Corfu, as you will see from enclosed copies; by the time these arrive the commanders Canal and Memmo will have fitted out their ships in obedience to orders to place themselves under your command. All united, you will escort the ships as far as Cape Salamon. Thence the ships for Alexandria will proceed under the escort of Canal, while you will escort the rest to Syria. When you are off the Salt Pans in Cyprus you will enquire whether those waters are free or infested. If free you will send the fleet on under the escort of Captain Memmo; if infested you will take on the fleet to Alexandria (? Alexandretta) where it will discharge with all possible speed. During this time, which is to be as short as possible, you will take care to avoid all danger to our men from bad air and bad food. You will then return to Candia and Zante with all speed so as to be back before the North winds set in. You are to avoid if possible touching any Turkish port or allowing your men ashore. But should you be constrained to put in you will take care to inform the nearest Turkish official of the cause that compels you, and will point out to him that the object of your cruise is highly beneficial to the Grand Turk as well as to us. You may possibly fall in with the men-of-war which the Grand Duke of Tuscany is sending towards Cyprus to carry out his designs. You will take all the steps that are indicated by the rule of the sea. We are sending an extra supply of biscuits as a precaution.
Ayes 99.
Noes 11.
Neutrals 54.
Feb. 12. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 173. To the Captain of the ships destined for Alexandria.
We have ordered the Captain, Venier, in command of the great galleys, to escort you as far as Cape Salamon.
To the Captain of the ships destined for Syria.
You will obey the orders of the commander of the great galleys.
Feb. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 174. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The moment the King gave me the chance by coming to London for two days, I discharged my mission.
I assured him that the Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople could not possibly have taken any action hostile to English commerce. Such a suspicion can only have been suggested by those who desire to injure the perfect understanding that exists between this Crown and the Republic.
The King declared himself satisfied.
The Ambassador then informed the King that the ship “Corsaletta” had been liberated upon his simple guarantee and in spite of many proofs that she was a privateer.
He then raised the question of the “Husband.”
The King declared he would never pardon Ward without the assent of the Republic, although Ward was spending large sums to obtain it. The King promised his support in the whole affair. He finally promised to appoint a Commission of the Council. To obtain this had been the Ambassador's main object so as to remove the case from the Admiralty. “I must inform your Serenity that I am conducting this affair to a good issue, and if the Admiral receives a certain gratuity he claims we shall soon be in possession of some of the goods.”
Before taking leave I informed his Majesty of the appointment of my successor, the illustrious Antonio Correr. While talking on this point the young Duke of York, the King's second son, came in; he is the joy of the King, the Queen and all the Court. His Majesty began to laugh and play with him. In the course of his jokes he took up the Duke and said, “My Lord Ambassador, you must make my son a Patrician of Venice.” Lord Stanhope, who was with the Duke, said something to make me think the remark was not put out by mere chance.
London, 14th February, 1607. [m.v.]
Feb. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 175. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After many days without news from Holland, owing to the great frost which has blocked the roads for the post, a despatch reached the Agent of the States, informing him that they had concluded a defensive alliance with the King of France in case of peace being effected. The Agent went at once to inform the Earl of Salisbury, as the King was away, and he apologised for the fact that his Masters had not been able to conclude a similar treaty with the Commissioners of his Majesty because they declared that their powers were insufficient. I hear that the English were only waiting for France to lead the way, and now that this has taken place, they will be quite ready to follow suit on condition that the alliance is strictly defensive and limited to the States. No other obstacles are contemplated, except that they are not satisfied that Holland should be bound to supply only half the forces, as is stipulated with France; they wish a little more and propose that the King should bind himself to supply eight thousand infantry, five hundred horse and twenty ships at his own charges. Nor do they like the condition that the money which the King of France has pledged himself to furnish yearly to the States for a certain period should go to the extinction of their debt towards England. All the same this will not hinder the conclusion of the treaty which they desire to see established before the publication of the peace.
The same courier brings news that the Marchese Spinola and the other deputies had reached the Hague on the first of this month. Count Maurice met them a league out of the city. The seven Provinces will send one deputy each to the conference. Representatives of the Powers will not intervene, but will receive reports from time to time. William cousin of Maurice will take a part.
London, 14th February, 1607. [m.v.]
Feb. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 176. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King, finding that he may require money at this juncture, has issued strict orders to his Council to devise means for raising it. After discussing the question for many days they have come to the conclusion that the best way would be the usual way of a loan not only from the City but from a large part of the country. The amount is to be a million of gold and it will all be raised in a few days, owing to the wealth of private individuals and to the diligence employed by Council, which, without putting pressure on any one succeeds in inducing them all to contribute in proportion to their wealth. The King pledges himself to pay ten per cent., which is the usual rate of interest in this kingdom (s'aggionge a questo l'obligo del Rè di pagare dieci per cento, eh'è l'ordinario interesse del Regno), and each contributor receives a bond under the great seal guaranteeing repayment, that is to say the very highest security they can possibly desire, and one which is very seldom given by the Sovereign. Foreigners are not exempt unless they show repugnance. The object for which this money is required, though not specifically stated, is for Ireland, where matters though quiet are still a cause for suspicion, especially as the peace in Flanders will leave Spain the freer.
The King of France represents his debt to this Crown as less than they claim here. The King on the invitation of Viscount Haddington (Edinton), his favourite, who, when he was his page in Scotland slew with his own hand two brothers who were trying to kill the King—has stayed on here in order to be present at the Viscount's wedding (fn. 3) which took place the day before yesterday at Court. The Ambassador of France and the Archiducal Ambassador were present. The French Ambassador made great difficulties about it as he held that both in point of time and in the nature of the function he had been postponed to the Spanish Ambassador (fn. 4). On the other hand as he affects to demonstrate the great devotion of the Scots to his master, and as the festival was given by the great gentlemen of that nation, he finally allowed himself to be persuaded to appear. The Archduke's Ambassador having failed to obtain an invitation to the Masque, though he made handsome presents for this purpose to the Queen's first Ladies-in-waiting, has been obliged to accept the invitation to the wedding. Two young Princes of the House of Saxony were also invited.
London, 21st February, 1607 [m.v.].
Feb. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 177. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The French Ambassador and some gentlemen of the Court were here at supper with me two days ago. The King took the opportunity to send to each of us, by the hands of Lord Salisbury's first Secretary, a copy of his book in answer to two papal breves and a letter of Cardinal Bellarmin against the oath of allegiance. The Secretary addressed to each of us the message sent by the King. To me he said the book was sent as a mark of esteem for the Republic. It contained a defence of the freedom and sovereignty of Princes in matters temporal, which was precisely the point which the Republic had sustained with so much glory and reputation. He assured me the book did not touch the question of religion, nor of ecclesiastical jurisdiction at all. That it was entirely concerned with the oath of allegiance which had nothing to do with aught but the duty implanted by God in the minds of subjects towards their King, and which cannot be cancelled by any human authority. The King did not wish his name to appear for reasons which he would subsequently explain to me.
I replied with a suitable recognition of his favour and with the object of assuring him that your Serenity held a high opinion of his wisdom and ability.
The Secretary then went on to inform me from Lord Salisbury that he had just had news that the first clause (in the treaty of peace) regarding absolute independence had been already agreed to; and that the Commissioners of Spain and of the Archduke, in the names of their masters, had made full renunciation to any claim over the States. The question of the India Navigation, freedom in which the Dutch claimed, was now under discussion. That some accommodation would be found for this point too. The question of religion had not been raised yet but, in view of the first clause, that too would be settled in their favour. They were negotiating not a truce but a perpetual peace and the publication of it might be looked for daily.
The English Ambassador lately returned from Constantinople (Henry Lello) has been to see me. He showed himself very sensible of the favours received during his passage through Venice. I led the conversation to the subject of the Venetian Ambassadors he had met at Constantinople and I extracted a confession that he had always received the greatest attention from them. I shall make use of this admission on their part if they ever raise the question of the Bailo again.
The second ship, which I have caused to be seized on suspicion of carrying a cargo for Ward the pirate, has arrived here. To-day they have begun to unlade her. My trouble in the case of the first ship is thus well repaid.
London, 21st February, 1607 [m.v.].
Senato, Secreta. Dispatches from Padua. Venetian Archives. 178. To-morrow the excellent gentleman Chevalier Pellegrini will leave this city to obey your Serenity's orders.
Padua, 24th February, 1608.
The Rectors.
Feb. 24. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 179. The Secretary to the English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and said:—
“My master, the Ambassador, has ordered me to kiss your hand in his name and to present the accompanying memorial, which may it please you to cause to be read.”
The memorial having been read the Secretary continued; The Ambassador asks for nothing beyond the ordinary course of Justice, for who ever heard of a person accused of homicide who was not imprisoned until justice had run her course.
It is quite clear that at present it is impossible to find any witness who will depose that Bortolameo Tagliaferro had a part in the death of this man, nor that Antonio Brochetta was the slayer, such is the terror and respect which this sort of people commands in Padua. For this reason his Excellency asks that the enquiry be held by the Podestà with closed doors, as is done in doubtful cases. Three points induce the belief that your Serenity will grant this request; first, this is not a case of simple homicide, as is alleged, but of premeditation; second, it was not the Englishman who fired the shot; third, that the favour which the culprits enjoy is so great that if the case proceeds, as the Procurator has permitted, namely that Brochetta should be defended “per patrem,” it will be impossible to arrive at the truth.
Were the dead man alive your Serenity would certainly be persuaded that Tagliaferro deserved punishment or reproof for carrying a pistol. Now whoever considers the reasons which induced the Procurator to admit defence “per procuratorem” or “per patrem” will see at once that grave cases such as this are not contemplated. If it were not a grave case, and if Brochetta were innocent, what need would there have been to adopt this procedure merely that he might avoid presenting himself before the Court? Be that as it may, his Excellency hopes that if an Antonio Brochetta is able to obtain from the Procurator permission to be defended “per patrem” for a homicide of the nature I have described, the Ambassador of the King of Great Britain, who is so deeply attached to the Republic, will be able to obtain the two points he desires so earnestly, and which will so greatly please the English nation, which longs to shed its blood, not at the hands of your subjects, but in the service of your Serenity.
The Doge replied that he regretted the trouble the Ambassador had over this matter; that all that was necessary was being done. The Cabinet will take the Ambassador's request into consideration and give its answer.
Enclosed in preceding document. 180. I, Henry Wotton, Ambassador of the King of Great Britain, appeal to your Serenity demanding the immediate arrest of Antonio Brochetta, creature of Bartolomeo Tagliaferro, fencing master, and also of the said Bartolomeo, at present living at Padua, both accused of the cruel murder of Julius Cæsar, a young Englishman of eighteen, heir to a member of his Majesty's Council, Brochetta as agent, Tagliaferro as instigator. I ask for nothing beyond the province of the law. As both the accused are protected by certain people of Vicenza who endeavour to drag out the course of Justice, I beg that your Serenity will authorise the Podestà of Padua to proceed by secret examination, as is customary in cases difficult of proof.
Feb. 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 181. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received your Serenity's despatch with an account of the representations made by the Ambassador Wotton about the ship “Husband” and the orders which I have already executed. It is to be hoped that, now that your Excellencies have intervened, the parties interested in the case will awake to their own interests and send all the necessary information.
I have also received, in the same despatch, the news of the death of that young man in Padua. It is quite true that his father is not only a Councillor of State but is by birth a subject of your Serenity, his father being a native of Treviso (fn. 5). This man has managed so well that he now finds himself in this high rank (essendo nato di padre Trevigiano et saputosi cosi bene maneggiar qui, che si trora hora assonto a questo principal grado). I have thought it right to offer him my personal condolences and to point out the consolation to be derived from the action of the Podestà of Padua and of your Serenity. I put the case before him in such a way as to impress on him the error and rashness of his son. The gentleman professed himself grateful to your Serenity and did not deny the excessive vivacity of his son on account of which he had sent him out of England to Padua, where he had hoped he would absorb learning, manners and that devotion to your Serenity which must always be native to him and all of his blood.
The King left on Monday. He charged the Council to make diligent examination as to the profit to be looked for from the silver mine lately discovered in Scotland, whence is now returned the expert who was sent there on purpose, and has brought with him samples. The people are filled with vain hopes of great riches; exaggerated rumour reports that the vein runs for four miles. There are some who offer the King four pounds of pure metal for every hundred pounds of earth. This expectation of so vast a profit is certain to be disappointed, but all the same the King will reap some benefit from it in respect to the loan he is raising.
Colonel Cecil, the nephew of Lord Salisbury, left here yesterday for Holland. He is in command of a regiment of English in the Service of the States. The Secretary to the French Embassy left the same day. I have endeavoured to discover whether these departures had anything to do with the peace conference. I saw them both. The Secretary is going on some business of his own, the Colonel may have some commission as to the alliance. As he is a friend of mine I trust by his means to be able to send your Serenity some news as to engineers for your service.
London, 28th February, 1607 [m.v.].
Feb. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 182. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As regards the rumoured alliance of the Pope, the Emperor, the King of Spain and the Grand Duke, I will fulfill my instructions on the first opportunity. There is a rumour here of great preparations in Spain; as there is no longer the excuse of Holland they are suspicious lest it should be meant for Ireland. All the same I do not find this suspicion in the minds of persons of importance; they think the Armada is intended rather for Africa. As the season improves Tyrone will certainly leave Flanders for some other place.
London, 28th February, 1607 [m.v.].
Feb. 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 183. Piero Priuli and Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Negotiations in Flanders are advancing towards a peace. The point of “sovreignty” has been settled in favour of the Dutch.
President Jacob has not arrived yet. The delay is caused by his fear of bodily harm at the hands of the many adherents and friends of M. d' Albigny.
Paris, 29th February, 1608.


  • 1. Don Juan de Mancicidor, Verreiken and John Neyen, See Motley. United Netherlands, IV., p. 396.
  • 2. Charles de Simiane.
  • 3. John Ramsay married Elizabeth Ratcliffe. See Cal. S.P. Dom. Feb. 11. 1608.
  • 4. Who was invited to the Queen's Masque.
  • 5. The family name of Julius Cæsar was Adelmare.