Venice: January 1612

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


'Venice: January 1612', Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 12, 1610-1613, (London, 1905), pp. 266-280. British History Online [accessed 18 June 2024].

. "Venice: January 1612", in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 12, 1610-1613, (London, 1905) 266-280. British History Online, accessed June 18, 2024,

. "Venice: January 1612", Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 12, 1610-1613, (London, 1905). 266-280. British History Online. Web. 18 June 2024,

January 1612

1612. Jan. 2. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Principi, Venetian Archives. 407. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and said:—
Wishes the Doge and the Cabinet a happy New Year. The King is especially attached to the Republic and is bringing up his sons in that same spirit. The Ambassador recognises that he has always been well treated.
The Doge replied in terms of compliment.
The Ambassador remarks that this goodwill between the Republic and the Crown of England causes some who are either envious or suspicious to say that it is a fruitless friendship and a useless union of minds, seeing that the two powers are so far apart; they talk of it as a theoretical union which can never become practical. Those, however, who are wiser, who have read history and noted the course of events, consider that this is a friendship at once sincere and stable; for the Republic has never received from the Crown of England any rebuff, nor any displeasure, and this cannot be said of other Princes; but it might even be said that when the Republic had the whole world against her, from England she had clear proof of her friendship, for England considers the interests of the Republic as identical with her own. The policies are the same in both States, the King is in the best of dispositions, such as none of his predecessors displayed, his power is ample, for now the kingdom of Scotland is united to England, and so he can easily lend aid to his friends, and this Republic, as being among the most intimate, can always rely on his utmost assistance. I trust the occasion may never arise; but the world is full of change.
The Doge replied that those who call this friendship fruitless do not know how easy it is for the wings of friendship to reach its object, how easy for friends to unite even in the face of serious difficulties. Although it is true that England is far away from Venice, yet it is evident that English ships come here with ease. The voyage which would cost six months for others the English perform in forty days; and so it would not be so difficult for us to receive the fruits of this friendship, should occasion require. Nay! we preserve in our archives the lively memory of favours received from that Crown, and also from his Majesty's predecessors. We therefore consider this friendship highly fruitful, and we are convinced that we shall certainly receive the like friendly services in the future, should they be required.
The Ambassador said “I fear to be tedious, but this topic is so pleasant that I should never weary of dwelling on it. To be brief I will merely say that I trust never to see this friendship diminished but rather increased, if increase can be looked for where the fullness has been reached.” Although he had already returned thanks for favours received, yet, as his Serenity was then absent owing to his indisposition, from which he is now happily recovered, the Ambassador renews his acknowledgements for the honours paid to the English Ambassador (Pindar) on his way to Constantinople; he is charged to do this both by his Majesty and by the Ambassador himself, who declares that in all places he will be the devoted servant of this Serene Dominion.
The Doge replied that they had done very little for the Ambassador. It was always their intent to shew favour to his Majesty's Ministers and Representatives. The Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople knowing the intention of the Republic, will put himself in relation with the English Ambassador. The Doge knew that Pindar was to leave for Constantinople but did not know he had left. The Ambassador said that certain considerations for his Majesty's service had rendered it undesireable to divulge his departure. He must be at Constantinople by now.
Jan. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 408. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Christmas Eve a solemn Mass was sung at the Spanish Embassy. On coming out a certain Sir George Freer (Frier), doctor, and some others were assaulted by pursuivants and royal officers. Freer was arrested and the others fled for refuge into the Embassy, from which a number of armed men came out and freed the prisoner. The rest of that night a large number of men and women stayed in the Embassy to avoid a collision. Six days later the same pursuivants meeting Sir George elsewhere made a rush to seize him; he drew his sword, and encouraged by some other gentlemen who were with him, offered resistance; others came up to his support, and the pursuivants were either wounded or put to flight or forced to jump into the river. This event has annoyed him who rules. The Ambassador declares he will complain to the King of the violence used at the doors of the Embassy; on the other hand it is said with probability that the King, urged on by the Bishops, will tell the Ambassadors clearly what his desire is in the matter of admitting so many persons to hear Mass in their Embassies. In any case I will be guided by what I know to be your Serenity's intention, and I hope I shall be able to serve God and your Excellencies as well.
On Sunday, the first day of the year, the Savoyard Ambassador had audience of the King. He was admitted to the Privy Chamber and no one else was present. The sum and substance of the Ambassador's first remarks was merely to ask for an answer, and the King's reply was that he had a great regard for the Duke, and had thought much about the way in which certain important difficulties might be overcome. That the mission of Count Ruffia was a proof of affection and esteem to which he would reply by sending a special mission to Turin; that the Duke would then find a convenient way to get rid of the opposition which at present acted as a hinderance or impediment to the negotiations for a match between the Princess and the Prince of Piedmont. The Ambassador returned thanks to his Majesty, and added that perhaps he was in treaty with others, not mentioning Spain, which, perhaps, he did not dare to do, but specifying the Elector Palatine. The King declared that he had no definite negotiations with the Elector, who had however informed him that if he were not disdained by his Majesty, he would supplicate for the hand of the Princess. The King said that to this message he had sent no reply as yet, nor would he send one as long as negotiations with the Prince of Piedmont were on foot. The Ambassador furthermore enquired when his Majesty's Embassy was to leave, to which the answer was that it would follow Count Ruffia almost immediately. And when on the topic of dealing with other parties, the Ambassador remarked that the Duke in order to treat with this Crown in all due devotion and sincerity had first demanded a definite answer from France about the match arranged by Henry IV. between the Prince of Piedmont and a French Princess, a match which was subsequently confirmed by the Queen, and thus lost all hope and broke it off finally. All the rest of the audience which lasted for an hour at least was employed by the King in compliments. He said he desired to see the Ambassador more than once before he left; that he must come to dine the day of his departure; in short he did all he could to send the Ambassador away content.
The Ambassador reported the substance of this audience to the Duke. Three days ago the Ambassador received some cases of crystal vases and a good many silk and gold webbs to present to the Princess in the name of the Duke and of the Prince. The Ambassador will not leave for eight or ten days at the soonest; he has to visit the Queen, the Princes and the Princess, and to have an interview with Lord Salisbury; then he will call on the other Ambassadors. I will endeavour to find out who is to be named for the mission to Savoy; the choice will be made before Ruffia leaves. I hear that he wrote very briefly as he is soon to be in the Duke's presence, when he will supply what is wanting by word of mouth. There are those who think that his Majesty will really name an Ambassador but that he will not be sent, nor are there wanting pretexts first for delaying and then for preventing the mission. This match is opposed on all hands, although the King is not so far away from it; however, it seems that unless things change there is little chance of its taking effect.
The day before yesterday one of the Princes of Wirtemberg was here; (fn. 1) he has been long looked for. I do not know for certain what his business is, but rumour says it has to do with the Union between this Crown and the Confederates of Hall, and the demand of the Princess' hand for the Palatine in the name of all the Protestant Princes. The Prince has not yet had audience.
London, 5th January, 1611 [m.v.].
Jan. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 409. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday, the last day of last year, an Envoy from the King of Denmark arrived and immediately presented letters to their Majesties, urging the dispatch of succour. The day following this Danish Agent (Carisius) saw Lord Salisbury, who, without allowing him to speak, declared that he knew the reason for his coming. The King will make answer in two or three days; the troops were being got ready; in short, in a few words the substance was excellent. The Agent has orders to provide money for the levy, and for the purchase of ships, as they intend to increase the fleet. Other letters of the 15th of last month bring news that Gustavus and John of Sweden, who at first were opposed to each other, are now, by the influence of the Queen, mother of one and mother-in-law of the other, fully reconciled; but this cannot last, as John desires absolute equality in all things and the royal government cannot contain two. The Danish Agent told me in strict confidence that the King, his Master, will support the weaker of the two, and in this way may easily make himself master of the whole. In order to draw him I said that it would be well if Denmark were an hereditary Kingdom. He replied that it is absolutely necessary, and that it will be made one. Meantime they are occupied with the question, then he suddenly checked himself on the verge of even more important statements. However, he had said enough to let me see that they are arming and waiting till Gustavus and John come to blows, when they will seize their opportunity; they are plotting against the liberty of Denmark and wish to make it an hereditary Monarchy as is Norway. Such are the designs of the King of Denmark, though he is also a candidate for the election as King of the Romans; but owing to the great enterprise in which he is engaged, he cannot give his full attention to that business. Spain which is fully alive to all this has completely won all the Catholic and, may be, some of the Protestant Electors by large remittances of money to Germany, and by subtle artifices. She insists on the inconveniences in the Empire, and brings into view the necessity for a King of the Romans; she declares that her sole aim is the universal welfare; she fosters hopes in each party and presses on the Election.
No news from Sweden since the death of the King, for all news from that quarter must pass through Denmark, and reaches us only when and as the Danes choose, whatever reaches the Danish Agent I shall hear in large part, as to that end I have won his confidence. As war is now ablaze in that quarter and likely to be fed by succours, I will briefly state the position for the information of those who have not a perfect knowledge of those distant parts. The Ambassador gives a brief sketch of the Royal House of Sweden.
On New Year's day I had an audience of the Prince. Talking of the Duke of Savoy he said one must admire him greatly, for situated as he is between France and Spain he has managed to preserve his Sovreignty, he draws large emoluments from Spain, and if he spreads out in that direction he will come in touch with France with whom he has an understanding. He concluded that he could not draw much profit from a Savoy match, as he would have to depend upon a foreign sovreign rather than upon his father or brother-in-law.
He praised the Duke's magnificence and vivacity; the Prince said very little about the Spanish Ambassador's suggestion of an Infanta for his Highness, and showed a suspicion that this might be a distasteful topic and one of which a full comprehension was lacking. I praised his Highness in fitting terms, and in truth he deserves all praise; I have noticed that spirits athirst for glory are pleased with praise as a testimony to their worth; and when I told him that in no century, and certainly not in this, could there be found his superior, he showed his pleasure in a few modest words. He professed attachment to your Excellencies, and bade me convey it. He enquired after your Serenity's health.
Some days ago the plague broke out in a house close to the Flemish Embassy, and only three doors away from this; a man died; they have put the cross (biglia) on it as is the custom with infected houses. This does not rouse in me excessive alarm, nor does it hinder that devoted service which is my duty towards your Excellencies.
London, 6th January, 1611 [m.v.].
Jan. 6. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 410. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have found out some points of importance in regard to the Savoyard negotiations which I now communicate. At the second audience which the Ambassador had, knowing that the doubts raised as to the validity of the match, the authority of the Pope, and the difficulties which might arise—all of them raised in order to induce the King to be content with a limited exercise of religion for the Princess—had produced the very opposite effect, the Ambassador now changed ground; he suggested an appeal to two sovereigns as mediators. His Majesty listened, and seemed satisfied and held out hopes. In the audience of the following morning he added further that the Pope, on the interposition of Spain, was not so far removed from granting a certain freedom in religion to the Princess and her suite. The King listened, but gave no favourable reply, merely formal words, so that the Ambassador went away very dissatisfied. The King asked the Spanish Ambassador if it was true that his master had spoken about the matter at Rome. The Ambassador replied that the King of Spain had said a word in the Duke's favour at Rome, and had promised to do the same here; but matters were now in a different position, and his Majesty would have an opportunity to make a better match for his daughter now that the Queen of Spain was dead. He did not say this on the King's orders but still these were the ideas of the Duke of Lerma, and he showed them set forth in a letter from the Duke.
The Savoyard Ambassador in order to support what he had said, showed to the King's Ministers and perhaps to the King, a passage from a letter addressed by the Savoyard Ambassador in Spain to the Duke; it is dated 18th May; also an original letter from the Duke of Lerma to Prince Filiberto, dated 30th June. Lerma told the Savoyard Ambassador that the King of Spain held the Pope's pledge to assent to the marriage of the Prince of Piedmont in England; the letter from Lerma declared that the King of Spain approved the marriage of Prince Victor with the Princess of England, nor was there a more suitable match, and the Duke was charged by the King to say so. I have seen both the passage and the letter. I am sure your Excellencies will keep this secret. With these instruments the Ambassador has endeavoured to do that in which he has not succeeded; for it is one thing to say that the Pope will assent to the match, and another that he will permit free exercise of religion and of preaching the Protestant doctrine in Italy. Talking to the Spanish Ambassador, he told me that it was true that the Pope gave it to be understood that he would assent, but always on condition that the Princess became a Catholic; than on no other condition could it be thought of; neither his Master nor the Pope would ever allow it; that one who calls himself heir to Spain cannot speak otherwise, nor could a Catholic of nine hundred years, like the Duke. I asked if the King knew this; he said that he had not told him as he had not been asked; but I am told from another quarter that the Ambassador had given these assurances to Salisbury and to Northampton, and possibly to the King. The Spanish Ambassador speaks in a tone quite contrary to that of the Ambassador of Savoy, and has done so from the first day to the last.
What the King said to the Savoyard Ambassador was that he should tell the Duke he must make it clear that the Pope will approve the match and suffer free exercise of religion and that the Duke must pledge himself to some great Sovreign for the observance of the conditions. I hear on good authority that from certain words of his Majesty the Savoy Ambassador has conceived the idea that if the Duke, without the Papal consent, would grant liberty of rite and give such security for the observance of his pledge as could satisfy them here, then the King would consent.
I now think I have given your Excellencies a full account of all that the Savoy Ambassador has done since his arrival.
London, 6th January, 1611 [m.v.].
Jan. 8. Senato, Secreta, Despatches from Savoy, Venetian Archives. 411. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
No news about the matrimonial negotiations in England. His Highness still intends to send out the Marchese d'Orfe with various ships. He has sent eight thousand ducats to Naples to Jacques Pierre to pay what was owing on Pierre's ship, which he intends to join to the others.
Turin, 8th January, 1612.
Jan. 11. Collegio, Lettere, Venetian Archives. 412. To the Pasha in Aleppo.
Announces the appointmeut of Gerolamo Morosini to succeed Francesco Sagredo as Consul for Syria.
Ayes 22.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 0.
Jan. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 413. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
After the publication of the order against the Jesuits they appealed to the Nuncio, pointing out the injury done to the Apostolic See by the order. They insisted that he should secure the withdrawal of the order from the Queen. The Nuncio promised to do so if the Jesuits would try first; so Father Cotton went on the 29th of last month to the Queen, and throwing himself at her feet implored this favour, playing on all that could touch her feelings. At the request of Parliament there was present at the interview Servin, a liberal and frank personage, who opposed Cotton, and maintained the justice and utility of the order, destroying Cotton's arguments; he replied boldly to Cardinal Gonzaga, who was present by an understanding with the Jesuits and spoke in their favour. The next day a meeting was held in the Nuncio's house and it was resolved that he should make lively representations to the Queen and use every effort to cancel the order, which dealt a mortal blow at Pontifical authority. The Nuncio went at once to the Queen and preferred his request with much heat, he grew so warm about it that he went the length of saying that the Arrèt was a proof of the separation of the kingdom of France from the Church of Rome, and from its obedience to the Pope; if the interests of his Majesty demanded this he begged to be told so, but if, as he believed, this was not the case, then he besought the cancelling of the order, and that so grave and scandalous an injury to Papal authority should not be tolerated. The Queen was amazed at such language and replied that France had ever been the eldest son and bulwark of the Church; Parliament was its proper council, and Parliament did not act on its own judgement but was governed by the Sorbonne, the greatest theological school in Christendom. The Nuncio left with this reply and went to the Princes who support him; and with the help of the Cardinals Gonzaga and du Perron, they succeeded in obtaining a modification of the decree. They will not be called on to sign the four declarations which take away from the Pope all temporal power over Princes, and abolish the seal of confession in cases of læsa Majestas. This is a serious blow to the position of the Jesuits. Father Gontier will be prosecuted for his attack on Parliament.
Paris, 11th January, 1611 [m.v.].
Jan. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 414. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Lesdiguières arrived yesterday. He was met by a great company. With him comes the Colonel Allardo sent by the Duke of Savoy to conclude what had been agreed to in the interview. Something will be done for the Huguenots, on whose behalf the English Ambassador has orders to speak.
Paris, 11th January, 1611 [m.v.].
Jan. 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 415. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday, the eight of this month, the King desirous of showing some honour to the Savoyard Ambassador invited him to dinner. That day his Majesty was served in State by all the Knights of the Garter who were then in London, with their collars on and their robes and richest jewels. There were present Earls and other persons of title in great numbers, and each one vied with the others. The Earl of Pembroke gave the King to drink kneeling on the ground. The Duke of Lennox walked before the cup with a wand in his hand and made three profound bows. The Viscount Cranborne, son of the Earl of Salisbury, brought the napkin; the Server served on his bended knees; the royal dishes were brought by the principal Knights, and passed from hand to hand to the Server. The Ambassador was served by Esquires. In the hall, where his Majesty dined, rich was the decoration; a sideboard loaded with silver gilt goblets was erected, and reached to the roof, and another in the shape of a pyramid piled up with gold and jewels of inestimable value. While his Majesty dined, a concert of viols and voices and other instruments was heard from a neighbouring chamber, most graceful harmony, but low so as not to interrupt discourse. The King spoke long about the Republic, remarking that she once owned the Kingdom of Cyprus, the Morea, the Arcipelago, Greece, and had spread as far as Constantinople; that she still possessed the Kingdom of Candia and many other States; she was still great and had been greater. The Ambassador replied that if the Republic possessed less in Greece she held far more than ever in Italy, and was very powerful in those parts. The King showed some curiosity to know what it was that the Republic possessed in addition, and the Ambassador answered that Sir Henry Wotton, who had been with your Serenity, would be able to explain this. Wotton accordingly approached, and the King proceeded to ask him various questions. The conversation then turned on Genoa and the form of that Government; and so the time passed in such discourses. Sir Henry Wotton bore himself very well, and showed great devotion to your Excellencies, but he revealed some resentment that at his departure he was not treated in the same way as the Ambassador of France. When the Illustrious Correr was here he spoke excitedly on this topic, and has done the same with me. This was reported at the time, and my duty requires me to report it now. I do all I can to win the confidence of Sir Henry, as I know that he is the only Ambassador who has been with your Excellencies who is well informed of your power and greatness and is in a high degree of favour with the King; his Majesty pays great heed to what is said by those who are well informed and are his ancient servants as Wotton is.
After eating, the King retired, and desired the Ambassador's company and kept him almost the whole remainder of the day. He told the Ambassador in confidence what the Spanish Envoy had communicated to him touching the King of Spain and the Princess, which I have reported. The King said that the person he designs to send as Ambassador to the Duke is Lord Hay; that when once the difficulties, which are three, are removed, he promises to proceed to the stipulation of the contract. Over and above what the Ambassador will report to the Duke by word of mouth, the King talked familiarly on various topics, of which we know nothing, and which, may be, were of no moment. The Ambassador having nothing further to do here took his leave, both of the Prince of Wales as well as of the Princess and of the Duke of York. The following day he said adieu to the Earl of Salisbury, and visited the Spanish Ambassador. To me he showed himself very well content. He declared that he had never desired to conclude a treaty but only to secure the despatch of a mission so as to give the Duke the opportunity to treat in person. When his Highness married the Infanta of Spain his Catholic Majesty sent the Baron Sfondrato to receive confirmation of what the Savoyard Ambassador at the Spanish Court had said, and to clinch the negotiations; and so in this case the King will act. His Highness will thus be enabled to negotiate in person. I have not thought it prudent to make any reply to the Duke of Savoy's letter to me, which I sent to your Excellencies, though I have abounded in terms of courtesy to the Ambassador; and assured him that the Duke will always find in the Republic the good will and affection which a father bears to a son, than which none can be greater or more sincere. I recalled to the Ambassador that at the time of Henry IV. I was instructed by your Excellencies to tell his Majesty that it would be as well to give the Duke some satisfaction, and thanks to your authority with the King, this was done. The Ambassador replied in terms of great modesty towards your Serenity. He promised to report to the Duke the good feeling he has found. He then went on to express the satisfaction which his Highness takes in the Ambassadors of Venice and even now in the illustrious Barbarigo. The Duke's Secretary also spoke to me in the same sense.
The day before yesterday the King sent the Ambassador a very rich present of silver gilt goblets, and it is said that the presents made to the King and the Princes exceeds the value of sixty thousand crowns. Yesterday on a sudden resolve the Ambassador took his departure, so that I have not been able to return his visit. Yesterday I was with the Spanish Ambassador, who told me that one of these days he will be received in audience to thank his Majesty for the favours shown to the Ambassador of Savoy and also about the affairs of his Catholic Majesty. Here it is thought that this Savoy match is quite impossible, the difficulties insuperable, and the despatch of a mission uncertain; if it does go it will be charged on the points I have mentioned and this in short means a breach of the negotiations; maybe the Duke will have embarked on other negotiations before the mission starts.
London, 13th January, 1611 [m.v.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 416. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The brother of the Duke of Wirtemberg had audience on Saturday the 7th of this month. He also saw the King later and gathered that his Majesty had done his part as regards the Confederation of the Princes united at Hall. He announced that he accepted the leadership of the Union, he ratified all that had been resolved in the late Diets, and pledged himself to assist in case of need, with four thousand foot and five hundred horse. He has ordered his Ambassador in Holland to take part in the Diet which is to meet to give effect to the resolutions already taken. The Diet will meet in Holland or at Heidelberg, nothing therefore remains but to summon the Diet, and that the other members should do their part. It does not appear that Wirtemberg has any important charge. The meeting of the States General has separated. They have begun to raise the contributions destined to extinguish in part the debt to this Crown. The Dutch Ambassador has made some payment, and within three weeks he will discharge the whole quota which fell due in October. The Ambassador has had a very long audience of the King, and has struggled hard with the Earl Salisbury about that Professor of Leyden whom his Majesty insists on seeing punished, which the States are not willing to do without hearing him. Judgement can be passed on him only by the States General which appointed him; such is the constitution. An arrangement has finally been found which will satisfy his Majesty, and judgement will be published in March, when the States will be again convened to please his Majesty. Before proceeding to judgement the opinion of the Protestant churches will be heard. The King's intention is excellent. He fears that this professor is sowing seeds of Arianism, which is not merely heretical but infidel. But as I said an arrangement has been reached, and the day before yesterday the Dutch Ambassador sent a full report on the business. Last week the French Ambassador paid fifty thousand crowns, as promised by their Most Christian Majesties, towards the extinction of the debt due from France to England.
The King has made no reply to the Archduke's request for support in the election of the King of the Romans. It will be put off some days yet, and then it will be the same as was given on other occasions.
The King is asking for a loan of one million, six hundred thousand crowns from the London merchants; he promises prompt repayment. This sum is being apportioned according to the faculty of each merchant. Payment has already been called for, and will take place if not entirely yet in great part. It is not known what his Majesty means to do with this money, opinions vary, and the order does not explicitly state the objects; it merely says for urgent and weighty needs. The merchants who have claims for indemnification against Spain have formed themselves into a company. So far they demand two hundred thousand crowns for goods and ships plundered by subjects of his Catholic Majesty at sea, and even, in part, they say by the King's paid officers. This claim will be vigorously presented in Spain. The King is determined that they shall be indemnified, and if this is refused he hints at permitting reprisals against Spain which would be the beginning of other events.
Rumour still runs that Parliament is to meet in May.
After dealing with various points affecting the kingdom the King will renew his demand for an increase of the royal revenue. I must report that his Majesty continues to honour this house with gifts of roe deer and stags.
London, 13th January, 1611 [m.v.].
Jan. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives 417. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Danish Envoy has letters from his Sovreign, dated the 16th of last month, with news that in Brandenburg and Brunswick troops were being raised; and beyond doubt it is certain that in spring the King will push forward into Sweden with all his forces. In spite of the bitter cold many experienced soldiers urge him to push on without delay, so as to catch the enemy in confusion and uncertainty. They adduce many arguments in support of their contention; the facility of passage, now that all the rivers are frozen; the colder days are the brighter days, and the army can keep itself warm by marching during the day and at night by great fires for which the forests yield the necessary wood; now, however, the King leans to the opinion of the majority, which is to move in spring. The Envoy has orders to provide one hundred pieces of light artillery, and he is doing so.
The Spanish Ambassador discussing with me the question of the King of the Romans indulged in the same considerations as I have repeatedly represented to your Excellencies. He says that after Mathias, who is old, with a young wife, there is Ferdinand, in praise of whom he said much; the King of Spain is always fully satisfied with him. I touched on the question whether his Catholic Majesty might not think of one of his own sons who are growing up, but the Ambassador replied that Ferdinand was almost like a son of the country, and is greatly esteemed and beloved by the King of Spain.
News from France that the Princes are very ill pleased, especially those of the blood; but generally in the cities and everywhere there is a determination to keep the peace.
A Savoyard gentleman, relation of the Marchese Lolin, was at Brussels some days ago. He is styled and treated as Ambassador. He communicated the marriage of Nemours, and then mentioned some other business. He is staying on on the plea of private business, as he has a Flemish wife. The Archduke wishes that this Ambassador had never come to him, and desires to be rid of him as soon as possible.
London, 19th January, 1611 [m.v.].
Jan. 20. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 418. Gerolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Death and character of the Emperor. An English Ambassador is close to Prague. His coming is awaited with curiosity. His object is to sound the Protestant Electors, and to unite them with a view to taking the Empire out of the hands of the House of Austria.
Prague, 20th January, 1611 [m.v.].
Jan. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 419. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Tuesday week the Spanish Ambassador asked audience of the King to complain of what took place at his house on Christmas Eve, and of the small respect shown to it. The King sent an answer that if he wished for anything he should apply to the Council, which would await him next morning and would listen to him. The Ambassador, however, did not go; he excused himself on the plea of indisposition. He insisted on an audience from his Majesty, and declared that he had business which he could confide to the King alone; and so it was granted him on Saturday late. He apologised for the inconvenience to which he was putting his Majesty; and said that as the leading Councillor was the Archbishop, who is the cause of all the trouble, he could not have spoken frankly, nor could he look for other answer than such as an interested party would give. He dwelt on his own position in the case; he insisted that he could not have shown more prudence; he enlarged on the licence of the pursuivants, and attacked the Archbishop. The King's answer showed, beyond doubt, both annoyance and deliberation; for when the Ambassador had asked for audience, it was known that he would touch on this topic and the Council was consulted. The King gave the Ambassador the same answer as the Council would have given.
Sir Henry Wotton is named Ambassador to the Duke of Savoy, and will leave in three or four weeks at the latest. Lord Hay's mission was withdrawn in obedience to his private interests. It seems that the King desires to conclude the marriage of the Princess somewhere, and so he sends to the Duke in order that, if he does not get full satisfaction, he may be free to negotiate elsewhere.
It is not known whether the Spanish Ambassador in the secret audience which he had of the King, and which lasted upwards of an hour, raised the question of the Princess or of the Prince; at all events one understands that he neither brought nor received satisfaction. The preachers have frequently touched on the question of marriage with Catholics in their sermons, but in general terms, without naming Spain or Savoy; they confine themselves to exhorting their congregations to pray that the marriages may take place with Princes of this religion.
The Elector Palatine will be here in Spring, so the brother of Wirtemberg assured the King when talking to his Majesty about the Elector as a suitor for the Princess, and urging that he would thus bind to himself all Germany, and would find not a son-in-law but a servant of his own faith, and one who would depend on his Majesty's nod. The King has not concealed from Wirtemberg nor from others who advocate the Elector's cause that he is pledged to the Duke of Savoy not to deal with the Elector while negotiating with the Duke, though he added words of great hope and of goodwill towards the Elector and towards the Princes who support his suit. The Prince of Wirtemberg has also frequented the house of the Prince, who favours him and desires to see the Palatine gratified. The Spanish Ambassador at his audience of the King at New Market discussed the marriage of the Princess with the Prince of Spain in the terms I have reported; he dwelt on it as an idea of the Duke of Lerma and showed a letter to that effect. A courier has been dispatched to learn the facts. The Ambassador will make it be understood that these are merely words meant to gain time and not intended to reach any definite end.
The French Ambassador assures me that when the Spanish Ambassador proposed the Infanta for the Prince he meant the elder sister; but from another quarter, which I trust, I gather that the younger sister was meant, but with the condition that she should have the same right to the succession that her sister would have in the case of heirs male failing, which right her sister had renounced in accord with his Most Christian Majesty.
One of these days, on account of the incident at the Embassy, the Spanish Ambassador and then all the others will be invited to hear his Majesty's determination, which is that pursuivants shall have the right to watch in the way that seems to them best whether English subjects frequent the Mass at the Embassies, or that the Ambassador shall promise to admit no one. This will happen in three or four days.
The loan of one million six hundred thousand crowns which the King wants, will be effected. It will be raised not merely in London but throughout the kingdom. It is thought that it may even reach a higher sum. As the apportioning has taken place the drawing of the money will follow quickly.
Yesterday the King left London. The Earl of Salisbury remains to carry out the King's resolutions. To-day I shall call on him to congratulate him on his recovery. It is many months since I saw him.
London, 20th January, 1611 [m.v.].
Jan. 21. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 420. Giacomo Vendramin, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 13th of this month, there arrived at nightfall in the Port of Leghorn, one English and five Dutch sailors. They said that the captain, pilot and sailors of the “Red Lion”—a Flemish (Dutch) ship—had gone ashore to bargain for freight, and they went on board, drove the four sailors left on board into the sea with stabs of the dagger and took possession of the ship and sailed away. She was seen in the waters of Genoa and an armed frigate has been sent out to recover her.
Florence, 21st January, 1612.
Jan. 21. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Zante. Venetian Archives. 421. Francesco Donado, Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports that for fear of the pirates who were cruising in sight of Zante, he had detained the ship “Tizzona.” She lay off the shore for thirty-five days. At last the Master, the Supercargo, Merchants and Consuls all presented a petition that she might be allowed to sail, as her present anchorage was dangerous in the rotten state of her tackle. The Governor agreed to allow her to sail for Venice in company of four other ships and prays God for her safe-arrival.
Zante, 21st January, 1612.
Jan. 22. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 422. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday the Secretary of Count Ruffia arrived from England. I have not yet discovered what news he brings about the matrimonial negotiations. It is clear, however, that there is nothing certain; four or five days ago there was even a rumour that Ruffia himself had been dismissed without reaching any conclusion. They are aware of the idea of marrying the Princess to the King of Spain; but think the question of religion very difficult to settle. The King of England would hardly consent to allow the Princess to become a Catholic before entering Spain, as the Spanish have greatly offended his Majesty by giving the eldest Infanta to the King of France.
Turin, 22nd January, 1612.
Jan. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 423. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Colonel Allardo, Envoy of the Duke of Savoy, will receive instructions after the Duke has learned the decision of England as regards a match. Your Excellencies are aware that there are little hopes of that being carried out, as also that Ruffia has left England. M. de Jacob has written to him in Antwerp. After Ruffia's return to Turin the Duke will send a gentleman to England to keep the negotiations alive.
Paris, 23rd January, 1611 [m.v.].
Jan. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 424. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Chiefs of the Ten.
As the Ambassador of the Archduke is displaying the usual unjust pretensions, which are well known to your Serenity, this day week I presented a request to Lord Salisbury that your Excellencies' Ambassadors here should be treated on an equal footing with those of Crowned Heads as is done in all other Courts. I did not mention the Archduke or anyone else by name, but contented myself with demonstrating that your Serenity was recognised and treated on an equality with Sovreign Kings. I shall continue to act as is my duty; and as I know that the success of this business lies chiefly in its being kept secret, I now impart it to your Excellencies, who will hold it in the wonted silence, and so I will proceed for the future.
London, 26th January, 1611 [m.v.].
[Italian, deciphered.] Holograph.
Jan. 29. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 425. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
I have been able to find out nothing as yet as to what has happened in England. The French declare that the Spanish Ambassador in London did all he could to prevent a match between Savoy and England, and that it was solely for this purpose that he proposed the match with the King of Spain.
Turin, 29th January, 1612.
Jan. 30. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 426. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Emperor's designs have now come to light. It is clear that he had an understanding with the King of England, the King of Denmark and Count Maurice; and that he had offered to raise a powerful army in order to oppose the assembly of the Electoral Diet. He was ready to employ all his power and all his wealth to thwart King Mathias. The King of England supports the King of Denmark as candidate for the title of King of the Romans.
Prague, 30 January, 1611 [m.v.].


  • 1. See Cal. S.P. Dom., Dec. 31, 1611.