Venice: September 1610, 1-15

Pages 30-40

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 and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


September 1610, 1–15

Sept. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 41. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday Lord Salisbury and other Lords of the Council met at the house of the French Ambassador, where the terms of the Alliance between the two Crowns were settled. They deal with three main points, one relates to commerce, one to piracy, and one to mutual aid with a definite number of troops in case of need. The King of France promises to pay, within the two following years two hundred thousand crowns in gold on account for the money lent to King Henry IV., and for the remainder, which has been the cause of so many missions to France and so long a delay in concluding the treaty, they are content that nothing should be specified. The United Provinces, however, show themselves resolved not to submit to any part of this payment, so that that debt will fall on his Most Christian Majesty, and he will be pressed for it as soon as he has paid the two hundred thousand crowns. It is possible that then another arrangement may be made, as the French claim should be greatly reduced. The terms of this treaty have been handed to Lord Wotton, who has, to-day, set out on his extraordinary mission.
The Swedish Ambassadors sought an alliance between England and Sweden against the Poles, but met with a flat refusal, his Majesty declaring that though he would not assist Poland neither would he show himself hostile. The Swedes then asked to be admitted to the confederation between France, Germany, and Holland, and to this it was answered that nothing existed save separate private agreements between State and State. They were assured of the King's good will and so departed for Holland, well content, and with presents worth one thousand crowns in silver gilt for each one of them; nor are they without hopes of concluding an alliance with the United Provinces, into which this King may be induced to enter. They were also quite satisfied by the civil words spoken as regards the marriage of the Princess; but their Majesties are inclined to no one so much as to the Prince Palatine, who is thought to be a youth of remarkable qualities. The Spanish Ambassador also is talking about marriage and is thought to be hinting at the King of Hungary; but he won't easily find any to lend credence, as he is thought to be merely seeking to increase his popularity and credit at this Court.
From letters intercepted between the besieged in Juliers and the Archduke Leopold the German Princes have discovered that there is a dearth of powder and of salt in that city, and that succour was urgently demanded; this, if it is true, is laid to the charge of the persons entrusted with furnishing the place, which had been expecting the siege for a whole year previously. The garrison defends itself bravely, and has repulsed the enemy who delivered an assault, nor do they omit to make valorous sorties. They harass the enemy's camp with their artillery, a shot from which killed the Marshal Sinischi, a Hungarian, Governor of Grave, who was held in high esteem in the United Provinces. In fact the enterprise turns out to be more difficult than they imagined. In the besieging army there is a certain discord which the arrival of the French was expected to increase; there are three commanders present and the natural diversity and antipathy of various races. Archduke Albert has caused all his forces to move on Rheinberg, and has paid the troops he enrolled these last few months. The numbers are greater than can be required for the safety of Rheinberg; perhaps they are intended to sustain the courage of the besieged, or to alarm the enemy, and to prevent them from thinking of other enterprises after the capture of Juliers.
I am informed from Brussels that on the 17th of last month a leading Spaniard reached that city from Milan. His mission was to raise petarders and miners, and to collect horses and artillery. My informant is a soldier of some intelligence, though without much support at Court, so he may easily have fallen into error, especially as he wrote only one day after the Spaniard's arrival.
Two ships on their way from Lisbon to Hamburg with sugar have been brought into the river, and another with salt. They will not hesitate to arrest every ship in which the Hansa has an interest until the Imperial orders forbidding trade with the English are withdrawn. The interested parties protest and declare that the ancient ordinance was called to light without the Emperor's knowledge by officers who were stirred up by Lübeck, which has always had a rivalry with England; they affirm that the Hamburgers had no hand in evoking the order nor in giving it effect. But all these pleas are not sufficient to secure the liberation of the ships. They are waiting to hear the result of the mission entrusted to the Envoy (Le Sieur) sent to Germany; who has not yet reached Court.
The royal Progress will terminate in two weeks, and as I have occasion to go in that direction to see some academies (fn. 1) (accademie) of this kingdom, much beloved by the King, I intend to follow the Court for a few days. At this time the city is almost entirely empty, most of the Ministers having retired to their houses.
I went some days ago to visit the Princess and the Duke of York at Richmond and Kew. They omitted no expressions of regard for your Serenity. The Duke made enquiries as to your Serenity's health, the prosperity of the Republic, the preparations for war in the Duchy of Milan, the negotiations of the Duke of Savoy and the war in Cleves. I showed pleasure that in his youthful years he should thus study war. It pleased these Princes two days ago to invite my son to join them in the chase, and they welcomed him and my nephew, Messer Pietro Loredano, most cordially, keeping them overnight and yesterday giving them a part of the bag.
Two tartane have arrived from Virginia. They were built out there by the crew of a ship which was lost in a storm. They announce the safe arrival of Lord de la Warr, sent out as Governor, and that all is quiet. This news is very welcome here, where they have always been anxious about the success of the enterprise.
At Rotterdam (Retordan) a privateer has been arrested. She put into that port in order to unlade some rich merchandize. Her captain is an Englishman, and is in England, and they are in diligent pursuit of him.
The damage these villains do grows greater day by day, and is almost insupportable. The merchants are planning a remedy, and have informed me that they wish to wait on me to invite the Venetians to join them, the French, and the Dutch, in destroying the pirates. If they do come I will find out what they propose, and will confine myself to general terms in my reply.
London, 2nd September, 1610
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 4. Minutes of the Senate Secrete. Venetian Archives. 42. That the English Ambassador be invited to attend in the Cabinet and hear what follows:
“My Lord Ambassador, after the Senate gave the necessary orders in reply to your petition in the matter of the ship `Corsaletta,' which were the very most that it was possible to give, and after an exhaustive handling of the case in the Cabinet, where our thrice beloved Noble, Nicolo Sagredo, had and still has a seat, and after he had rendered the fullest information, which he was able to do as he was Governor of Crete at the time of the incident, and after reading articles of justification—it is absolutely clear that neither we nor our officers have been guilty of neglect, and we believed that your Lordship and the interested parties had admitted the justice of our position. But seeing that your Lordship has made fresh complaints and handed in letters from his Majesty and asked for a reply, we think it desirable to rehearse the series of events and then to make such comments as your Lordship's native intelligence will for itself deduce from the narrative.”
The communication proceeds to relate the facts, and states that, as the master of the ship did not comply with the orders agreed on by the Convention, but resisted and compelled the commander of the great galleys to employ force, the ship was justly seized. On the 28th September, 1607, at the instance of the Ambassador, orders were issued to the commander of the galleys that he was to ignore the infringement of the Convention and if the ship really proved a merchantman and not a privateer he was to set her at liberty. In the month of October the Ambassador again raised the question on special orders from his Majesty, who gave his assurance that the ship was a trader and not a privateer, and requested that the previous orders should be renewed without the proviso that her true character should be first established. On the 3rd November we despatched fresh letters to the captain of the galleys ordering him to release the ship at once and to let her pursue her voyage, as we were willing to accept his Majesty's word without taking any further account of the depositions in the inquiry. This second order was, like the first, addressed to the commander of the great galleys, but neither reached their destination, owing either to the commander's change of place or to some accident of sea or pirates which may have befallen the vessel that took the orders, for the journey is a long one from Venice to Crete. Your Lordship then returned on April 30th, 1608, and informed us that the ship was still detained in the port of Canea, and requested fresh orders to the Governor General of Crete. We wrote on the 2nd May giving orders that the Governor was to restore both ship and cargo to the agents of the interested parties named by your Lordship and to whom these orders were entrusted in duplicate. The Governor General on the receipt of these orders, the first addressed to him, went from Candia to Canea and found the ship half sunk in the harbour; he opened the warehouse in the presence of the Agent, and there found the entire cargo, not a thing missing, but part of it damaged, partly owing to the nature of the goods, easily spoiled, partly owing to the length of time they had been lying in the warehouse. The Governor General was ready to make restitution, but the Agent while accepting the sound goods refused to accept the damaged, as he did not wish to prejudice the question of insurance in England. Your Lordship will see that in the foregoing relation there are three points to observe: first, that the arrest of the ship was justified by the failure of her captain to do his duty; second, that the Senate complied with every request of your Lordship in order to oblige his Majesty; third, that our officer was ready to make consignment of everything in obedience to our orders, and consignment would have taken place had not the Agent refused a part.
As to your Lordship's contention that the Senate had ordered restitution in the same state as at time of capture, we can not see that the Senate so expressed itself; it could not give such an order. Three times has the Senate interfered in this matter; and the order to restore all implied all in its actual condition. If the interested parties complain that the goods deteriorated owing to the non-arrival of the first order, the answer is that no order other than that of the 2nd of May reached the Governor General; the other orders were addressed to the commander of the great galleys, hence the confusion in the minds of the interested. These first orders were never received, and if in the interval the goods deteriorated nothing can be done, for it is beyond human power to make damaged goods sound any more than it is possible to cancel the fact of the capture. It would have been better that it should not have happened and that the Agent should have received the whole cargo in its actual state, not a part only; but the interested parties should in justice submit to what is fair and honest, instead of blaming our want of good will or our officers, and should accept restitution of what remains of the goods, which will at once be made to them, for on our side nothing more can or ought to be done.
This is what we have to say to your Lordship in reply to your requests and in termination of the incident. The same answer will be given by our Ambassador in England to his Majesty, to whom we have written in reply to the two letters from him handed to us by your Lordship. We trust our representations, especially if brought to his notice with your Lordship's wonted prudence, will prove acceptable, and that he will be satisfied by all that we have been able to do in the matter, for we shall never fail on every occasion to prove to him our excellent disposition towards him.
Ayes 160.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 4.
Sept. 4. Minutes of the Senate, Secrete. Venetian Archives. 43. To the King of Great Britain.
We have delayed to reply to your Majesty's letters about the “Corsaletta” in order that we might send full information as to the true state of the case and show that the interested parties ought to be satisfied with the resolution taken both out of justice and to please your Majesty. Your Majesty is well aware that owing to the fact that bertons and other privateering craft infest those waters we have been obliged to arm and maintain our great galleys there for the protection of our subjects. These great galleys fell in with the “Corsaletta,” and, according to the usage of the sea, they wished to search her. Her commander, in place of conforming to your Majesty's orders on this head, offered resistance, and drove the commander of the galleys to take the steps he did. The fault, therefore, lies at the door of the Corsaletta's captain. Nevertheless, on the first representations of your Ambassador we immediately gave orders to the commander of the great galleys that if the ship were really a merchantman and not a privateer he was to let her go. Then, when your Ambassador gave us your Majesty's word that the ship was a merchantman and not a privateer, to oblige your Majesty, and on your simple word, we removed the condition contained in the first order and instructed our officer to set the ship free absolutely. Neither of these orders reached the commander of the galleys. We then, on your Ambassador's request, wrote to the Governor General of Crete to carry out the orders already sent to the commander of the galleys, who had taken the ship into Canea. These orders we gave to the interested parties. The Governor obeyed at once, but the Agent of the owners refused to receive a part of the goods that were damaged, alleging his unwillingness to compromise himself with the insurance in London, but saying nothing against our officer. It was the Agent's fault, therefore, that the goods remained at Canea, and they will be freely consigned on demand. Your Majesty will gather from this how groundless is the claim to complain, for we at once issued the only possible orders and our officers were ready to carry them out. If the goods have suffered this is due partly to the action of the Agent, partly to the long time they lay in the warehouse, and partly to the nature of the goods themselves, as they are easily liable to deterioration. We trust your Majesty in your singular wisdom and goodness will rest satisfied, for we have done all that could be done, as will be set forth more fully by your Majesty's Ambassador and by our Ambassador, Correr.
Ayes 160.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 4.
Sept. 4. Collegio, Lettere. Venetian Archives. 44. To the Ambassador in England.
The Ambassador of his Majesty has been three times to the Cabinet on the subject of the “Corsaletta,” demanding damages for the spoilt cargo. We forward the answer drawn up by the Senate. You are to seek audience and present the accompanying letter; you will dwell upon the case in the sense of this answer and letter, pointing out the error of the captain in failing to follow out his Majesty's orders, and the confusion caused by the Agent of the owners, and observing to his Majesty that it is impossible that perishable goods can be restored in their primitive condition. We are ready to restore in actual condition at any moment they may select.
You will thank his Majesty for the arrest of Tomkins the pirate.
Ayes 160.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 4.
Sept. 4. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 45. To the Governor-General in the Kingdom of Crete.
Our beloved Nicolo Sagredo, your predecessor, at his departure left in the port of Canea the ship “Corsaletta,” which had been seized by the captain of the great galleys. She is in a very bad state. We do not know if she has been sold and sent to lade with corn. We have no information about this, and we charge you to advise us at once what has happened to the said ship, whether she is still in the port of Canea in her original condition, or whether she has been sold, to whom, at what price, and where the money is and the ship herself is and all particulars worthy of our knowledge. This news you will send us in double and triple copy.
Ayes 22.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 0.
Sept. 6. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 46. The English Ambassador having heard the resolution of the Senate passed on the 4th inst. spoke as follows:—
“I understand that this is the reply of the Senate, and I too consider the question closed, nor have I aught to add; your Serenity is doubtless right, though as your information is taken from your side and ours from ours, some doubt might still remain. The captain of the ship has deposed on oath that he fulfilled his obligations under the Convention; he had no cause to fear or to fly a friend, for his ship was a merchantman, nor had he contraband on board, for the currants were shipped in a Turkish port. However, as I observe in the preamble to the answer, this is considered as a definite resolution, nor can I reply; I will represent the matter to his Majesty as your Serenity desires me, and I will do it in the best manner possible so that the friendship between the two States may continue as heretofore. It is true that I am very pleased to hear that your Serenity has charged your Ambassador with a like mission, for this relieves me of a large part of the burden. I shall refer to the Ambassador's statement of the case, and will beg his Majesty to hear him with his usual benignity. I will only beg your Serenity to leave the door open for the owners to receive at another time some favour in recompense for the losses they have sustained, losses that, had they been persons of less substance, would have caused them to become bankrupt.”
The Doge replied that they had never doubted but that the Ambassador would be satisfied. Thanks him for his promise to make favourable representations. Where possible will do all they can to favour the owners; and will issue orders to the great galleys to use all courtesy towards ships belonging to his Majesty's subjects.
The Ambassador went on to recommend the Prince de Joinville. The reason for this renewed request is a dialogue which took place between the King and the Prince when the latter was in England some months ago. Lord Salisbury had repeated the dialogue as follows: “My cousin,” said his Majesty to the Prince, “thou speakest much of thy great zeal, of thy desire to serve the Signory, tell me, should they have need of thee in war or in other occasions, would'st thou keep thy promise and maintain thy word of honour that thou hast pledged to them? for if so I bind myself to interpose my earnest representations on thy behalf.” The Prince laid his hand on his breast and replied that he would never fail to keep his word, and added that if nothing else bound him his Majesty's intercession would. The King accordingly has ordered the Ambassador to renew the request. The Prince is the finest sword in the world. It is true that Italy enjoys just now a profound peace, but a fungus grows in a night.
The Doge replied that they were in no need of assistance at present, but would hold all offers as a precious deposit of friendship. The Savii will take the matter into consideration.
The Ambassador passed on to another point, of a delicate nature; that was the case of Giovanni de Paula, a Luchese of honourable family, but now in the galleys in absolute destitution. He had come out of France and at Verona speaking frankly, after the manner of soldiers, he had let fall some phrases about the abuses of Rome. He was accused and arrested by the Inquisition. After cruel tortures he was condemned to seven years in the galleys and handed to the secular arm. It does not appear from the trial that he is “relapsed,” nor is it the usage of the Inquisition to punish corporeally those who are not “relapsed.” The Ambassador begged that this poor fellow, now in the power of the secular arm and in his Serenity's hands, should be set at liberty, all the more as he is quite unfit for the oar. He said he hoped to be gratified in this his humble petition when he recalled to mind that in England—and it was well that the Pope should know it—the King, out of regard for the Republic, had set at liberty a priest who was a prisoner for the crime of lœsa Majestas in the first degree. (fn. 2) If the King freed a criminal guilty of so grave an offence merely out of regard for the Republic, he thought he had a right to promise himself the liberation of this man, whose case was similar though not the same. The Ambassador then went on to say that when Jesuit priests and their followers go to England they avail themselves of the apparently palliative plea that they are spreading their religion, but they watch the bent of mind and in their private discussions they begin to attack the Government in the person of the King and the Council and seek to undermine obedience. “We on the other hand,” said the Ambassador, “hold as the first article of our religion, that authority, that Sovereign which God has set over the subject, and the divinity that emanates from the Prince; obedience is due even to bad Princes; one must pray for good ones and endure bad.” Returning to the case of the Luchese he said that the tortures inflicted on this poor gentleman were sufficient to wipe out any due of punishment he might have merited for any loose or scandalous word he might have spoken after the manner of a man-at-arms. He was quite unfit for the oar, and so it was all the more proper that he should be set at liberty and sent away, so as to remove along with him the scandal, especially as it was the use of the ecclesiastical arm in consigning a prisoner to the secular arm to pray that he be treated compassionately.
The Ambassador added that this case gave him an opportunity to discharge his conscience by saying a few words on a case which had occurred in Rome a month or so past, the case of that unhappy and insignificant fra Fulgentio, who was strangled and burned. He added, “I have been informed from a sure quarter that the Pope availed himself of my person, as an instrument to procure Fulgentio's death. This I know for certain, for there is in my house at this moment a young Englishman who has been a pupil of the Jesuits in Rome, and who was present in St. Peter's at the reading of the trial. This youth assures me that in the charge it was stated that Fulgentio had dealings and understandings with Envoys of heretical Sovereigns, and with such Sovereigns, and especially with the King of Great Britain by means of me. I swear upon my soul and by my faith and on my honour as a gentleman that I never had dealings nor any kind of business with fra Fulgentio, neither by letter nor by any other channel after he left this city; the charges in the trial and sentence are a lie, as express and manifest a falsehood as any falsehood can be, and like the others of the Curia Romana. This testimony I have borne before your Serenity for the discharge of my conscience; for the Romans by dragging me into the case appear to have desired to fasten the scandal on this most Serene Signory. (Ho presentito per via certa, et sicura, che il Papa si sia valso della persona mia per instrumento della sua morte, et questo lo so di certo, perchè si trova qui al presente in casa mia un giovane Inglese che e stato scolare dei Gesuiti in Roma, et si trovò presente nella chiesa di San Pietro alla lettura del processo; et questo giovane mi ha rifferto, che nel processo si conteneva, che fra Fulgentio havesse havuto prattica et intelligentia con Ministri de Principi heretici, et con Principi tali, et specialmente con il Re della Gran Brettagna con il mezzo mio. Io giuro sopra la l'amima, et sopra la fede mia, et in parola di huomo da bene di non haver hacuto mai prattica, ne trattatione alcuna con fra Fulgentio, ne con lettere ne con altri mezzi doppoi che cgli parti di questa cittè, et quello ch'e stato letto in quel processo et sententia è una buggia, et una falsità manifesta, et espressa, come qual si voglia cosa che falsa sia et come tutte le altre della Corte di Roma. Et io ho voluto far questo testificato alla Serenità vostra per scarico della conscientia mia, perchè con haver voluto quei di Roma metter qui di mezzo la persona mia, è parso ch' habbiano voluto addossar il scandalo a questa Serenissima Signoria.) In all the years I have served your Serenity it is known how I have borne myself in the matter of ceremonies and religion, without giving rise to the slightest scandal, living with the greatest modesty, as indeed is my bounden duty.”
The Doge replied that, as to the first point, the case of the young man condemned by the Inquisition, as the Inquisition condemned him to the galleys it may rest with the Inquisition to recognise his inability to serve the oar. However, the Cabinet will take information and will do its best, giving weight to the Ambassador's recommendation. As to fra Fulgentio he lived in esteem in Venice; he chose to go to Rome tempted by hopes that turned out ill. He alone is to blame for his misfortune; the Government had nothing whatever to do with it. As to the charges against the Ambassador his protests are superfluous, for his modesty and goodness are quite well known by experience.
The Ambassador went on, “I will now conclude with a personal matter most distasteful to me. It has pleased his Majesty to recall me. He has appointed in my place a gentleman of most honourable birth, whose ability will make up for my defects. This gentleman is Sir Dudley Carleton; he is highly appreciated by the King and Council and his qualities procured for him the Secretaryship in Ireland, a post of great importance. He will come with a goodly company, for he brings his wife and family.” Here he expressed his regret at the remark he sometimes heard that England was in the wilds, while Paris was hard by; and yet from Paris to England is only three days; but he rejoiced at the coming of this lady for she would show herself as spirited as any lady of France and would prove that England was not in the wilds, and by her example she may induce more of these gentlemen to visit England than has hitherto been the case.
The Doge replied in terms complimentary to the Ambassador and asked if he was leaving at once. The Ambassador replied that he would not take his departure till his successor arrived.
Sept. 7. Minutes of the Senate. Mar. Venetian Archives. 47. Order to pay to the representatives of Antonio Foscarini, Ambassador elect to England, eight hundred ducats of gold in gold, being four months' anticipated salary: also one thousand ducats of gold as his donative, also three hundred ducats of lire 6 soldi, 4 the ducat, for out-fit; also one hundred and fifty ducats for couriers; also one hundred and sixty crowns, being four months' anticipated pay for extras; also one hundred ducats for his secretary, and twenty ducats a piece for his couriers; and he may take at the risk of the State four hundred ducats' worth of plate.
Ayes 131.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 2.
Sept. 7. Minutes of the Senate, Mar. Venetian Archives. 48. Leave to Foscarini to appoint a chaplain and an interpreter as all other Ambassadors at that Court have had; the salaries and food of both to be discharged by the State in spite of the order of July 28, 1609, disallowing any extras except for couriers and messengers. Be it ordered that the rule of April 4, 1483, forbidding any ambassador to augment his household after his election be suspended for this one time only.
Ayes 114.
Noes 6.
Neutrals 6.
Sept. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 49. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
An account of the siege of Juliers. The English made a mine, but the besieged countermined and blew it up.
Paris, 8th September, 1610.
Sept. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 50. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The people of Marseilles, in order to meet the cost of the six galleons for the suppression of piracy, have agreed to a tax of two per cent. upon all merchandize in that city, which will bring in about eighty thousand crowns a year, a sum amply sufficient to keep up the six galleons with three thousand foot on board.
Paris, 8th September, 1610.
Sept. 9. Collegio, Lettere, Venetian Archives. 51. To the Podestà of Rovigno.
Some days ago we caused the Englishmen who were arrested by the Captain Nani to be set at liberty, and to have all their property restored to them. We convey the same orders to you, so that if the said captain has left for Zara you may give them effect.
Ayes 22.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 1.
Sept. 9. Collegio Esposizioni, Roma. Venetian Archives. 52. Marin Cavalli has reported to the Savio of the week a conversation between the French Ambassador and himself. The Ambassador's Secretary met Cavalli at St. Mark's, and said his master wished to pay Cavalli a visit the next day, in return for an official visit made by Cavalli with the consent of the chiefs of the Ten. Cavalli told the Secretary, Mazi, that he could not receive the Ambassador, but that he would wait on him to receive his commands. Mazi said his master was resolved to call. Cavalli said the Ambassador would never find him at home; but Mazi insisted. Cavalli then reported to the Chiefs of the Ten, to await their orders. The Ten authorized Cavalli to receive the visit and to report the conversation. The Ambassador came and among other topics he announced a new alliance between England and France for mutual defence.


  • 1. The Ambassador intended to visit Oxford.
  • 2. Wotton is referring to the case of the Flemish priest at the Venetian Embassy. See Cal. S.P. Ven. 1609. Aug. 6.