Venice: November 1611

Pages 231-245

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 12, 1610-1613. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1905.

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November 1611

Nov. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 360. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen determined to summon before her the Huguenot Deputies and to promise that all the privileges granted by the late King would be maintained, and that she would add fifteen thousand crowns a year to the eight thousand they already draw for the upkeep of their Churches and Ministers. De Vic, Caumartin and Boissise have been sent into the Provinces to proclaim this.
Paris, 2nd November, 1611.
Nov. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 361. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As soon as the Spanish Ambassador had spoken, to the Council first and then, two days after, to the King, in the sense that I reported as to the answer in the affair of the Infanta, he immediately reported to his Sovereign by express via Brussels, explaining the motives which had induced his action, as the lesser evil, so as to avoid the risk of being dismissed and the recall of the English Ambassador in Spain, which would have caused open disgust to this crown and brought small dignity to the Spanish. Time may soothe the bitterness of mind, although the resentment is great, not only in the mind of the King and of the royal family, but also of the Council. Everybody is considering the inclination towards some change; this kingdom flourishes in time of war, for it is so situated that it is protected from all attack while it can easily attack others. If the King would grant licences, thousands would fit out at their own charges. The times and the deeds of Queen Elizabeth are a proof, and yet at that epoch England was separate from Scotland. The Ambassador declared that it was more than ever necessary to pension the great personages to this Court, and to give some kind of satisfaction to the King. The Ambassador is incensed at the treatment he thinks he has received from the Duke of Lerma, and attributes it to his enemies and to his kinship with the Constable. He has the greatest difficulty in containing himself. A person of importance, from whom I have the above information, assures me that if the King of Spain should make up his mind to pay pensions, the King of England will prevent it, as he has his eyes open, and will make this quite clear; he will punish the first who dares to accept a pension. My informant thinks the Spanish will make secret donatives and so seek to pacify the ill-humour.
After the King had despatched letters to the Princes of the Union he instructed his Ambassador to the States to ratify the decisions of the Diet of Rothenburg, and to declare that his Majesty entered it as Chief. The decisions include a most binding confederation, obligation to an annual contribution, in time of war for expenses and in time of peace to be funded; demands on the Emperor for the absolute restitution of Donauwerth, and the reform of the Chamber of Spires; peace and religious liberty and finally an exhortation to the Emperor to resume the entire Imperial authority with offers to assist him with arms. The convention is nominally defensive, but it is conceived in such wide terms that on the smallest occasion it might be amplified to become offensive as well. The Landgrave of Hesse and the Prince of Anhault are endeavouring to rouse the Emperor by means of a third party and they do not despair; if they succeed they will think they have gained a point of great moment.
On the conclusion of the Diet another will be held in Holland, for purposes of ratification. It is hoped that the Duke of Brunswick will enter, also the Elector of Saxony and the King of Denmark. All have promised; and so the construction of that Union, if, as seems likely, there are two Kings, the Dutch, three electors and many German princes, will be capable of balancing the power of Austria.
The Marquis of Lancester, who, as I informed you, has arrived at Brussels as Ambassador from his Catholic Majesty, brings great hopes for the Election of his Highness as King of the Romans, and an order for one hundred thousand crowns payable in Germany, which in this present tightness of money will not be easily negotiated. We know for certain that the mission of Bucquoi, as the Archduke's Ambassador to Spain, was intended to facilitate the said election and to urge the necessity for the prompt supply of money, of which the Archduke is in great need. I am informed that besides all this the Marquis has some other business that is little to the mind of the Archduke and the Infanta, and this brought about the mission of a person of such importance as is the Count of Bucquoi, General of the Artillery. I have visited the Archduke's Ambassador here, and he told me that the object of Bucquoi's mission was money.
Yesterday morning a gentleman of the suite of Count Ruffia, Ambassador from the Duke of Savoy, arrived here, and in the afternoon he went to the Earl of Salisbury, who gave the necessary orders to Sir Lewis Lewkenor for the reception. This gentleman announces that Count Ruffia is coming by way of Holland, and will stop two days in Amsterdam; he is expected here in five or six days. To-day the gentleman called on Lord Salisbury and tomorrow he will leave for Dover to meet the Ambassador on his landing in this Kingdom. I shall not fail to be on the watch to discover the subject of his negotiations and I will duly inform your Excellencies.
The Prince has gone to Royston, where the King is. He will come back with their Majesties to London.
London, 4th November, 1611.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 362. Antonio Foscarini. Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have various letters from France. First for Italian matters; M. de Jacob has urged the Queen to observe the movements of Spain as regards Sassello, and to allow Lesdiguières to speak secretly with the Duke of Savoy on matters of simple defence. The Queen sent off Bullion to join Lesdiguières, and to deal with the method for establishing his claim to the Canton Vaud.
The Duke of Savoy continues to urge the marriage of the eldest Princess of France with the Prince, his son. Although it is well known that the Princess is destined for Spain they do not fail to hold out hopes, but always conditional on the King's majority, until which they say they can settle nothing. All is quiet in France; though the Huguenots are disgusted. The Prince of Conde and some other persons of quality are little satisfied.
The day following the receipt of his despatches the French Ambassador went to Lord Salisbury and remained till night. He first of all dealt with certain appenages in France belonging to the Queen of Scotland, (fn. 1) mother of his Majesty; they are now to be reduced to money; then about the hundred thousand crowns due to his Majesty; then about the muster and the pay due to the Scottish men-at-arms. As to the French desire that the ratification of the confederacy should be made by Parliament, the Ambassador said nothing, as other affairs were pressing, and Parliament is not to meet till spring.
The Dutch ships which put out to attack the pirates, are lying in Plymouth, to the number of twelve; perhaps by this time they may have gone on their way. The Viceroy of Ireland is on his way here and cannot be much longer in arriving.
I have had more particulars about the North West passage. Besides confirming my previous report it is now added that near the end of the voyage they found a gulf of the sea, about fifty miles wide, which kept narrowing till it became only twelve; then the master took a small boat and pushed a few miles further on and found that it opened out again. He went far enough to discover an ample ocean, and with that back to his ship and so home. They propose to build two forts on these straits. The Prince desires this route to be under his protection. In two months' time they will send two bertons to make sure of the route and to push further on. They may even carry a little merchandise. They are lading some very rich vessels for the Indies which will take the long route, as they do not like to run the risk of this new route so imperfectly known.
London, 4th November, 1611.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 6. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy, Venetian Archives. 363. Gegorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Instructions have been sent to Ruffia to delay his journey and to retard his negotiations as far as possible; this is the result of French action to upset the English match.
Turin, 6th November, 1611.
Nov. 11. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 364. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King is still in the same attitude towards Spain. Against France too there is some feeling—more deeply rooted than was, perhaps, suspected.
The death of the Queen of Spain has given occasion to talk of this Princess. These remarks, brought to his Majesty's ears by one of his intimates, caused him to reply “You would like to give but few days to the Prince and the Duke, my sons, so I have heard,” but the French Ambassador adds that the remark was made about the Queen and the King himself.
In the Diet of Nürenburg, after resolving all the questions affecting the Union, it was determined to beg the King to give the Princess to the Count Palatine with a view to binding the Confederation more closely together. It seems that the youth of the Elector, who still wants four years of twenty-one, is an objection, but they think they can find some remedy for that. The Duke of Wirtemberg is to go to Holland to settle some questions with the States, such as the amount of money to be contributed and the number of men with which, in case of necessity, they are to help and be helped.
The Prince will come here along with his Majesty and I am told that he will now take his place in the Council. He will, beyond doubt, attend regularly, for he takes great pleasure in the conduct of important affairs.
The Spanish Ambassador has asked audience to announce the death of the Queen. The French Ambassador is awaiting a courier with the decision on various points, and then he will also seek audience.
I am informed that his Majesty's Ambassador to your Serenity usually sends home excellent reports. He is really deserving of your grace and favour.
London, 11th October, 1611.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 11. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 365. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Count Ruffia, Ambassador of Savoy, (fn. 2) will be lodged and entertained at the King's charges. Orders for his lodging have already been given. It is thought that he is coming with very ample powers. As yet the King has shown no leaning to one more than to another of the Princess's suitors. The Spanish Ambassador, to whom I paid a visit of condolence, said that as the Duke of Savoy was so closely bound by blood to his Master, he would not fail to show courtesy to the Savoyard Ambassador, but he would not take any part in his negotiations except in one of two eventualities, either that he brings express orders from Spain or that orders are sent from Spain.
The French Ambassador assures me that the gentleman from the Duke of Radziwill has brought letters from his Master to the King in which the Duke continues the openings for a matrimonial alliance between the Prince of Poland and the Princess, a negotiation which the Duke initiated when the Grand Marshal was here. The Ambassador added that the King of Denmark, in his own interests, desires to see this match with Poland; he is most exasperated against Sweden, and he hopes that, if he had a good understanding with the Poles, he might easily make himself master of the rest of Gothland, and by driving out Charles he might also have a part of Sweden, leaving the rest to the King of Poland; a design which will hardly give pleasure here.
The progress of the King of Denmark is of some importance on account of the conquest of the island of Oland (Olant), considerable because of its situation and which contains 18 big towns and more villages. There is even later news that he has made himself master of a fort on the ocean; but on the other hand he has received a blow of some weight from the King of Sweden, and has lost a place which he had conquered at the beginning. But this news is not certain.
The letters from the King of Persia brought by Sherley have been translated and he asks for audience to open his negotiations. Also the Cha'ush is pressing for a reply to his letters.
They are getting ready a fresh expedition to be sent to Virginia. It will be larger than the former expeditions.
Lord Salisbury informs me that the King besides thanking your Excellencies through me and through his Ambassador, for what you have done in the case of Seymour, has also written with his own hand.
London, 11th November, 1611.
Nov. 12. Senato, Secreta, Despatches from Florence, Venetian Archives. 366. Giacomo Vendramin, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
There is no news from Leghorn about the commissioning of ships, nor any other news except that some slaves and Christians and other scamps have been hung for stealing silk brought from Messina, after having their noses and ears cut off.
Florence, 12th November, 1611.
Nov. 12. Senato, Secreta, Despatches from Florence, Venetian Archives. Expulsis papalistis. 367. Giacomo Vendramin, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Father Inquisitor in Florence, who is a Minorite, complained to Don Giovanni de' Medici that he could not remain in Florence with any honour as he did not receive that support from the Grand Duke which was due to his tribunal; nay, if a prisoner were conceded to him a means of escape was devised, and if he appealed to his Highness he was referred to the officials, who denied any knowledge, so that he appeared to be mocked. But his special reason for wishing to depart was to escape a situation which weighed greatly upon him; and it is this, a Jesuit called Father Seripando, a Neapolitan, who acts as patron of the English who come to Florence, told him to be on his guard, as I had in my house an Englishman who had written against the Pope and was a heretic; Seripando called upon the Inquisitor to do his duty. The Inquisitor asked the Jesuit if he lodged a complaint, and the Jesuit replied, Not yet, but he would presently return with the necessary information about this man's meeting place, which he could get from the English; and so in order to avoid this difficulty which must inevitably rouse a great outery, the Inquisitor wished to leave before the Jesuit came back to him; for he foresaw that if he asked the Grand Duke for leave to proceed against me he would refuse, and, as it would be necessary to report all to Rome, this would put the Pope in hostility to the Grand Duke, or, if his Highness acted differently, it would bring him into collision with your Serenity. His Excellency told me this out of the regard he bears me for your Serenity's sake, but begged that it might go no further, so that it might not appear as though the Inquisitor were revealing the affairs of the Holy Office. I was the most astounded man in the world when I heard this diabolical invention of the Jesuit, and after thanking his Excellency, I declared that this was the most malignant thing a man could imagine, for not only had I no Englishman in my house, but I did not know, nor had I ever spoken with, a single person of that race since I came here, about three years ago; this was the work of the Jesuit, and I could laugh at it and not trouble myself on that score, for it was absolutely false; and then it came from whom it came from, and the world knows how much cause they have to like the servants of the Republic.
On his Excellency's request I have said nothing to anybody, but I could not fail to report to your Serenity.
Florence, 12th November, 1611.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 12. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 368. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
A Transylvanian Ambassador has arrived. He comes to demand anew the declaration of Prince Stephan, who lodges with the English Ambassador.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 12th November, 1611.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Nov. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 369. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. de Jacob finding that it was in vain to endeavour to persuade the Queen to proclaim the matrimonial alliance, endeavoured to persuade Villeroy to support a match with England. Villeroy was taken aback at this unexpected demand, and said he would convey it to the Queen. Three days later he met de Jacob and said that the Queen was pleased at the Duke of Savoy's confidence, but that she knew that the King of England was on the point of concluding a match in Germany and she did not wish to risk her reputation by preferring a request in vain. Jacob suspects the Queen of the design to thwart all the matrimonial projects of the Duke of Savoy so as to force him into a Tuscan match.
Paris, 15th November, 1611.
Nov. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 370. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
For some time England has been suspicious of a matrimonial alliance between France and Spain. The English Ambassador has been instructed to use all diligence to find out the truth. He has spared no pains and has frequently spoken with the King on the matter, as well as to the Ministers. He was told that there was no substance in the rumours; that all was merely intended to fill in the period of the King's minority. The King of England, far from satisfied with this reply, instructed his Ambassador at the Spanish Court, Digby, to make a formal proposal for the hand of the Infanta for the Prince of Wales. Digby reported great hesitation in the minds of the King and the Duke of Lerma; they pleaded the question of religion, and said they must get the Pope's leave. A long time was spent over this, and in the meanwhile every thing was done to gratify the Ambassador so as to divert him from his proposals; but he insisted. Lerma then told him that as his Master had not paid attention to the first advances from Spain, the Infanta was now engaged to France, but if he would be content with the second Infanta she would be given in marriage, with no difference made between her and the first, who would be induced to renounce her claims to succession. I have been told all this by a person of great importance whose close acquaintance I made in England, and who is passing through on his way from Spain. He tells me that the King of England, on receiving the Spanish reply, used very lively expressions to the Ambassador of Spain, and complained to the French Ambassador that the Queen of France, after all he had done for the quiet of her kingdom, should have gone so far without informing him. I know that the English Ambassador has complained to Villeroy, who has again denied the fact, but not so positively as at first. The Queen has ordered M. de Vitry, who is in England, to do all he can to pacify the King.
Paris, 16th November, 1611.
Nov. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 371. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King was here this day week. The Spanish Ambassador had audience on Sunday and gave information about the death of the Queen; he endeavoured to demonstrate the good will of his Master. He received a quiet and brief answer, though some phrases were lively and indicated resentment. The King, nor indeed the Prince either, has not forgotten his annoyance. The Ambassador of France, and the Ambassador of the Archduke have been to the King, though I have not had time to find out what they did.
On Tuesday as a singular favour I spent the whole afternoon with their Majesties, the Princes and the Princess. I found all the Lords and Ladies of the Court assembled to congratulate their Majesties on this solemn anniversary of the day on which, six years ago, their lives were miraculously saved as from the Gunpowder Plot. I had only two words with the King while walking. I said that as not only mankind but also the heavens were showing their joy on this clear and lovely day, I too must add my congratulations in the name of your Excellencies. The King seemed pleased with the words and the feeling they conveyed, and said that that day six years ago you could not see the sun, the sky was all cloudy and there was a great darkness—this he said with energy. I replied that such an inhuman and impious plot deserved no better light. The Queen then came up and taking me by the hand insisted on my giving her my arm. That day the King and the Prince tilted at the ring, and so did many gentlemen of quality. While the fete lasted, which was till sundown, I was at a window along with the Queen, who showed me great attention. The King was on horseback most of the time and spoke with such affability that it was a marvel to see. He desired me to come down stairs and he showed me some animals he keeps. He made me walk with him and used expressions which clearly prove the esteem and love he has for your Excellencies. Finally I went back to the Queen and waited on her to her appartment, which is close to the King's; there I took separate leave of their Majesties, the Princes and the Princess and departed. Throughout the Queen's conversation I discovered a great desire that the King of Denmark should be successful; she praised him to the skies.
Sherley has not had audience, nor the Cha'ush his dismissal, since the King's return.
The Savoyard Ambassador will, to-day, be met by the royal carriages. He will be lodged and boarded as I said. I shall not omit any marks of courtesy. He will have audience at once, and they have already held some consultations on the subjects that he is supposed to be going to handle.
Paul Pindar, appointed Ambassador in Constantinople, left a few days ago, with a very small following. His Secretary and the rest of his household will leave at the beginning of next month on board two bertons laden with merchandize for those parts. His sudden departure is caused by the dissatisfaction which is felt with the conduct of the present Ambassador (Glover). From Pindar your Excellencies may look for the closest and sincerest friendship, such is his Majesty's will, well known to Pindar.
Since I was last with Lord Salisbury the King ordered Murray (More) to find out whether I had received satisfaction in the affair of your Serenity's subjects in favour of whom sentence had been issued; Murray came to see me, and everything was so arranged that with very little loss and in a month's time all the money would have been recovered, only a certain Bernardi, who says he is commissioned to act, came to an agreement without my knowledge, causing considerable loss. I have sequestrated the money and if I receive orders I will not fail to make the man who committed the error pay for it by refunding the loss, as is just.
London, 18th November, 1611.
Nov. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 372. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The most recent letters of Denmark are of the 12th of last month. They bring news that the King had garrisoned, with three thousand infantry, the town and Castle of Kalmar, and pushed on two miles into the island of Oland; there are no fortresses of any importance there, only one little one. The rest of the army has pushed forward to Helsborg, which they hope to capture; that would be a most important step, for then Gottenburg, a commercial town, must fall, and it is the only port Sweden has on the ocean. The King of Sweden has withdrawn far into his own Kingdom, and the King of Denmark has gone in haste to Copenhagen, his capital, whence he means to rejoin his army immediately. He has placed all the cities and fortresses he has captured in the hands of German or Scotch Governors; he has trusted none of his own subjects. This is a point of importance, and shows that he has higher aims than are generally seen. He has sent money to the States and expects to raise troops; he hoped to have the French regiments which were to have been disbanded. In spring the King will also be succoured by the King of England with four thousand men at least, two thousand English and as many Scotch. The Scotch commander has already been appointed, and the English commander will be in a few days. The Dutch Ambassadors who were in Denmark have reported to the Hague that their mission has borne little fruit, though they extol the kindness of the King, and the esteem in which he holds the United Provinces. They have also reported to Count Maurice and to Barneveldt the most secret aims and intentions of the King, which are, it seems, first to turn Denmark from an Elective into an hereditary Monarchy, and then to present himself as a candidate for the Kingdom of the Romans. As this war is now blazing, I will in two words explain the claims of Denmark and Sweden. Christian II., grandfather of the present King, was King of Sweden as well as of Denmark; but as his Government was distasteful, his subjects rebelled, and Sweden separated from Denmark and chose a King from among its own people, from whom King Charles is descended, as well as the King of Poland. Now the King of Denmark says that if his father did not know how to attempt successfully the recovery of his own, he both ought to and will do so. To-day there is news, via Hamburg, that the King of Sweden after retiring some miles inland suddenly pushed forward a part of his forces on light boats to the island of öland, and established himself in it with great slaughter of the garrison, which was scattered. The Agent of Denmark has no news of this nor is there any confirmation.
The Protestant Princes of Germany hoped that the Elector of Treves, an old and infirm man, and the Elector of Cologne, hostile to Austria, would not be present at the Diet, and that they could therefore discuss more freely, but the Spanish, by promises and bribes, have persuaded both to attend; all the same those Princes do meet separately, and I am told that with a view to binding this Crown to the Union, the Princess will be asked in marriage for the Elector Palatine.
The French Ambassador paid me a visit, and I did my best to find out his business and that of the Archduke's Ambassador as well; as far as France is concerned the ill-humour is dying away, for the Ambassador, on express orders from his most Christian Majesty, has given the King of England satisfaction on every point. The Secretary will leave at once for Scotland to pay the men-at-arms; that question is settled as the King desired, nor will the French have anything to do except to provide the money. One hundred thousand crowns of the French debt to this Crown will also be paid immediately out of money which is here ready, and there is promise of speedy payment of a large sum more. On the question of the marriage, the Ambassador also spoke to his Majesty's taste, and after an audience of a couple of hours he left the King if not entirely satisfied, at least partially appeased. As regards the Flemish Ambassador's audience there was nothing of moment.
There is news here of the misfortune which befell the Spanish flotta at the Djerbe (Zerbi); your Serenity will have heard of it by now. The Queen told the French Ambassador that she is wearing mourning for the Queen of Spain only because the Ambassador implored her to; this leads one to think that pressure may have been brought to bear on the King as well—but I do not assert this for sure.
Here they are systematizing their finance, and some ships have arrived from Virginia. The Savoyard Ambassador has delayed a day longer at Gravesend. The royal barges were sent to meet him, and on his arrival, which will be late, he will find the royal carriages waiting to take him to the lodging destined for his use. Two days later there arrived here a gentleman from Neuburg, and another from Brunswick. A deputy from the City of Hamburg has had an interview with the King on the subject of commerce.
It is desired that the differences between Neuburg and Deuxponts should be terminated amicably without coming before the Diet. This is difficult, but it seems that Neuburg is yielding somewhat, though the same cannot be said of Deuxponts, who is in possession. The King is exerting his authority to bring them to an accord.
London, 20th November, 1611.
Nov. 25. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 373. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
It is settled that Parliament shall be summoned in the Spring.
The Prince proposed in Council to fit out eight galleons. There were difficulties in the way, chiefly owing to the dearth of money in the Treasury. The Prince spoke to the King about the matter, but the decision is not yet known, though it must soon be taken, and they think it will end in two galleons being fitted out.
The four thousand infantry, half Scotch and half English, destined as reinforcements for the King of Denmark are to be commanded, the English by Lord Willoughby and the Scotch by Lord Dingwall. I have received confirmation of what I wrote to your Excellencies as to the King of Denmark's designs.
The Duke of Radziwil's Agent is still here. The Agents of Neuburg and Brunswick have not seen the King yet. At the end of the month a Diet will meet in Holland. Some Protestant Princes will take part in it; they will consider how to carry into effect the deliberations of the Diet of Rothenburg.
The Secretary to the French Ambassador has gone to Scotland to muster and pay for a year the hundred men-at-arms engaged for the service of the King of France. In the Electoral Convention the Protestant Electors will do all they can to prevent them from proceeding to the Election of the King of the Romans. Spain will perhaps support Matthias.
The systematization of the coin will certainly take place, and gold will be placed on a par with French gold, which will be most convenient and will put an end to serious disorders; for eleven pounds in France and Flanders are only worth ten here, and therefore gold leaves the country and there is nothing but silver in circulation. Silver will be rated at a true proportion to gold and good results are expected.
London, 25th November, 1611.
Nov. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 374. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador of Savoy arrived late on Sunday. The following morning he had audience of the King in the Gallery; the Queen, the Prince, and the Duke of York were present. He was well received by the King, who detained him for a bit near a window, and then made everyone leave the Chamber; Lord Salisbury, the Queen, and the Princes remained in a corner. After about an hour the Ambassador's suite was again introduced, and kissed their Majesties' hands. The Ambassador presented a pard as a gift from the Duke. As far as I can gather, the upshot of so secret an audience was that the Ambassador excused his tardy return to this kingdom on the score of health, and was at great pains to eradicate from his Majesty's mind that bad opinion which he knew his delay had caused. He went on to say that in order to proceed more freely with the negotiations for a marriage between the Princess of England and the Prince of Piedmont, and in order to prove that he was not dealing in two quarters at once, the Duke of Savoy had called on the Queen of France either to proclaim the alliance concluded during the life of the late King or to set the Prince of Piedmont free to deal in England. The Queen, after holding out hopes and causing delays, had set the Prince free. The Ambassador did not conceal the fact that his Catholic Majesty had done all he could to induce the Duke of Savoy to place this matter in his hands, to negotiate through the Spanish Ministers and under the protection of Spain. That the Duke being so closely allied by blood to his Catholic Majesty, replied with formal words of thanks, but being the free Prince he is he had sent his Ambassador direct to his Majesty with assurances of his devotion. The following morning the Ambassador had an interview with Lord Salisbury, who left immediately for Theobalds where the King had gone the day before; on the evening of the same day his Majesty sent to tell the Ambassador that the next morning he was to come out to him. To-day the Ambassador returned to London and has had a special audience of the Queen. I have not had time to find out what answer he received from the King nor the true position of the affair. In my next despatch I hope to give full particulars. The same day that the Ambassador had audience I went to visit him. On my way I met the Spanish Ambassador, who had just been on the same errand. Ruffia gave me a letter from the Duke, which I enclose; in it he acknowledges the way in which I received Ruffia in Paris, of which he has made a favourable report by word of mouth and M. de Jacob by letter. The Duke declares his devotion to the Republic and announces his intention of sending a personage of importance to reside in Venice. Praises Barbarigo and Correr. As to his own negotiations he was reserved, but in the course of conversation he let fall words from which I gathered much of what I have now written. Further I gathered that the Queen of France had suggested a sister of the Grand Duke for the Prince, but found little sympathy. The Ambassador pointed out that as the House of Savoy was connected by marriage twice with the throne of Cyprus, once with the Emperor, and thrice with France and Spain, so the Prince, rather than marry a lady not of royal blood, would choose one of his own subjects.
All this the Ambassador said to the King and begged him to settle the question himself without referring it to the Council, some members of which were suspected of being gained over by those who did not desire to see the alliance concluded, and the Duke the obliged servant of his Majesty and his whole house.
London, 25th November, 1611.
Nov. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 375. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Savoyard Ambassador informed the King of the vigorous steps taken by the Pope to upset the negotiations for a marriage between the Princess and the Prince of Savoy. His Holiness had written a brief with his own hand couched in very vivacious language; the Ambassador had brought a copy. His Highness, all the same, was resolved to serve and obey his Majesty. The Ambassador had thought, when he last left England, that the whole difficulty reduced itself to the question of religion, and now the Duke placed the entire question in the hands of his Majesty to be settled as seems to him good.
The Ambassador observed that his Highness having consulted theologians, it appears that the Pontiff might declare the marriage null, and difficulties might arise in course of time. It was but right that the Princess should enjoy liberty of conscience, live as she pleased and have some intimates about her, but the public preaching of the Protestant creed would rouse opposition—as his Majesty could himself see. The States of the Duke were for the most part in Italy and England was far off; with these and similar ideas the Ambassador laid the foundations for his proposals in his first audience. I do not know what answer his Majesty gave, but I know that it was inconclusive; and this negotiation will meet with many serious difficulties.
London, 25th November, 1611.
Nov. 27. Senato, Secreta, Despatches from Savoy, Venetian Archives. 376. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
After the meeting between the Duke of Savoy and the Marshal Lesdiguières the Duke held several Councils, but I cannot find out what they have decided to do as regards orders to Ruffia to proceed with his negotiations for the match with England. It is thought that he will not be instructed to suspend them, but only to retard any definite conclusion till an answer to the new proposals shall come from France.
There is lying in the port of Villafranca an English vessel which his Highness is endeavouring to buy, but there is a great dearth of money. An agent of Jacques Pierre has been here for many days trying to get eight thousand crowns due to Pierre on the ship he has at Naples. The Agent failed to get the money and left after entering a protest that his Highness would be held responsible for the damage that may accrue to the vessel with which Pierre means to put to sea in order to gain the money for her upkeep.
Turin, 27th November, 1611.
Nov. 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 377. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The death of the Duke of Orleans will hasten the conclusion of matrimonial alliances; for as a result, the supporters of the Spanish match have boldly approached the Queen, and, using a thousand spurs of fear and of safety, they have made efforts to induce her to defer the match no longer, representing it as the only true remedy for securing the peace of the kingdom during the King's minority. The English Ambassador aware of this action flew to arms again, and has renewed his complaints to M. de Villeroy, declaring that his Master did not resent the French attending to their own affairs, but he did complain of the secrecy with which they hid the matter. Villeroy I understand made his usual reply, which I have reported; he first of all denied, though coldly, that there was anything serious on foot; then he threw the blame on those who when, during the reign of the late King, the Princess was offered to the Prince of Wales, would not lend an ear. Finally, when the Ambassador complained that, trusting to Villeroy's word, he had informed his Master that no marriage would take place, the Minister declared that he had never given any assurance about marriages, but about alliances which certainly would never be concluded. I am told that at this reply the Ambassador flamed up, and ended by saying that his Master must view with great suspicion these negotiations, especially as he knew they were worked by the Pope, whose designs in uniting the two Crowns must always cause alarm. Villeroy did his best to convince the Ambassador that the Pope had nothing but a ceremonial share in these businesses—they were managed elsewhere—here by the Marchese Botti, without even the Spanish Ambassador taking a part in them. The Englishman, however, repeated his last observations and held his ground. He left Villeroy without even pretending to believe him. My informant who knows all that goes on, told me that the Queen is in great perplexity. But by the person who advises her and now governs everything, she is urged to conclude and publish the matches; on the other hand she is held back by fear of danger which begins to loom ahead. Even had Orleans not died she had made up her mind to keep negotiations open, but to defer the conclusion till the end of the King's minority. I, however, desired to sound the ground for myself so as to obtain as clear a view as possible of the matter; and finding myself with Villeroy, I seemed to discover that the matches of the King with the Infanta and the Princess with the Infante are considered on both sides as concluded. For Villeroy appears to attach the highest importance to the death of Orleans, and to think that this alone would compel the Queen to conclude these matches. He insisted that it was necessary to marry the King, and examining the parties he came to the conclusion that there was none other than the Infanta of Spain, nor any other match which was capable of rendering his minority secure and the kingdom peaceful. This match meets opposition in France among those who are now drawing incentives from Spain. He added that this match ought not to rouse suspicion in the friends of this Crown, for reasons of State outweigh all other bonds. All this in the mouth of so sage a minister who now governs all things, leads me to believe that they will conclude the match without heeding the resentment of England or the discontent in France.
Paris, 29th November, 1611.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 378. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Huguenots have begun to hold synods in the Provinces to protest against the answer to the Deputies from the Assembly of Saumur. They propose to send fresh deputies to the Queen to demand the right, without further leave, to convene an Assembly every year, and the right to admission to State offices.
The King of Great Britain, who hitherto has gone cautiously in this affair, now speaks more openly on their behalf. He has written to the Queen in support of the Huguenots and has ordered his Ambassador to show himself favourable if asked.
The Princes of the blood seeing the negotiations for the Spanish match so far advanced, complain that a matter of such moment is conducted by the Ministers only.
Paris, 30th November, 1611.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 379. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
News that the Duke of Savoy has gone to Susa to meet Lesdiguières. Jacob has recent letters from Ruffia, on his way to England; he is delayed at Flushing. Villeroy does not think the Anglo-Savoyard match will take place.
Paris, 30th November, 1611.


  • 1. See Cal. S.P. Dom., Nov. 7, 1611. Confirmation of Commission passed in France by French King for levying the remainder of the dower of Queen Mary.
  • 2. See Cal. S.P. Dom. Nov. 13.