Venice: May 1612, 1-15

Pages 342-358

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.


May 1612, 1–15

May 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 501. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Bouillon left for England on the 22nd with a splendid suite. His mission is to remove any shadow of suspicion caused by the Spanish matches, and then to propose the second Princess in marriage to the Prince of Wales. He is to press this offer all the more vigorously because M. de Vucellas writes from Spain that Don Pedro de Zuñiga will make a similar proposal about the second Infanta. De Bouillon is also to sound his Majesty as to the conversion of the truce with Flanders into a peace. The Francescan Father (Neyen) who was employed in the truce negotiations has been several times with the Queen.
Yesterday Sig. Carlo de Rossi, Ambassador Extraordinary of Mantua, left for England.
Paris, the first of May, 1612.
May 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. Expulsis Papalistis. 502. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday I received your Excellencies' despatches of March 31st, in which I am instructed to use all diligence to find out everything about the league between the Pope, Spain, France, and the Grand Duke and to report fully and clearly. I at once applied my mind to the business. A member of the Council told me that two months ago the Spanish Ambassador informed the King that one of his Catholic Majesty's most intimate advisers had declared that just as the King of England had formed a federation two years ago, so now Spain was determined to form a federation between the Pope, France, and some other Catholic Princes. It seems that these negotiations are not very far advanced as yet, and that even when concluded they would not be aimed against England, which is united with France, and considering that the Grand Duke, who is so closely connected with Spain, is also seeking a matrimonal alliance with England; besides which, Ambassadors from both sovereigns are looked for day by day to secure the continuance of good relations, and so all suspicion may vanish; though to assure himself in any case the King of England has closely allied himself to the Protestant Princes and the Dutch. I have also sounded other persons and I seem to see that no one believes that much is likely to come of this federation, and it is held in but small account anyway. This is what I have found out so far. In a short time I hope to have fuller information and to be able to tell your Excellencies all that the King may have discovered through his Ambassadors and Agents. I can assure your Excellencies that whatever happens, you can count on the friendship of this Crown; and the Dutch Ambassador has repeatedly assured me of the same attitude on the part of his Masters, and it rests with your Excellencies to hold both this Crown and the United Provinces bound to your interests by any means which may seem desirable to your wisdom.
While the news was being sown broadcast probably by the Spaniards that the Dutch had agreed to convert the truce into a peace and had consented to the opening of a Catholic Church in each of the chief cities, the Proclamation, which I reported, has forbidden all exercise of Catholic rites, and so caused all rumours to fall to the ground and deprived the Spaniards of all hopes of peace and removed the last doubts in all other minds. The Dutch have also ordered all ecclesiastics to send in their names and quality to the Magistrates within two months; and the same is to apply to all who arrive later on. They are all to be free to stay on in their respective dwelling places or to leave and to return as they please. The youth is forbidden to frequent the Jesuit Colleges and their fathers and guardians are forbidden to supply them with money on pain of confiscation and expulsion. The prohibition of the Catholic rite was unnecessary in a country where it was already prohibited, and it is known that its principal object was to cause all the rumours of peace on the condition of allowing a Catholic Church in each great city to vanish, to cut short all negotiations, to deprive the Spaniards of every hope and to remove every suspicion from the minds of the English Sovreign and other Princes and friends to the United Provinces.
London, 3rd May, 1612.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 503. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador of the United Provinces had audience of the King on the 28th of April, and informed him of the Proclamation issued by his Masters. He pointed out that this step made their intentions clear, namely, that never would they conclude peace with Spain on condition of allowing a Catholic Church in each of their large cities, nor on any other condition which could in any way limit their Sovreignty, which had been acknowledged by the King of Spain himself when he named them “Free Lords, Supreme, over whom he held no claim.” The Ambassador then went on to point out that immediately after the King had ratified the League of Hall confirmed at Heidleberg, they had done the same; as to the inclusion of the word “offensive” as applied to the League they were willing to proceed pace for pace along with the King without hesitation and without raising difficulties. The King showed complete satisfaction, and although in the progress of conversation he did drop a word about Vorstius, he did so without heat, and indeed he professed that all he had done was done for the sake of the United Provinces.
On Sunday the Count of Hanau (Anò) (fn. 1), uncle of the Palatine, was with the King. He was very well accompanied in the royal carriages, and well received. He presented his credentials and made some formal compliments as was fitting at a first audience. The same day the French Ambassador had a very long and private audience. He announced de Bouillon's coming, said that the Queen was pleased that he would be here in time to assist at the conclusion of the match between the Princess and the Palatine. The Duke of Rohan has explained his attitude to the Queen, who, desirous of pleasing his peers, will gratify the Duke and so all will end in quiet. The Ambassador dwelt long on this point, declaring that prosperity in France was gain to his Majesty, as the interests of these two kingdoms are identical. The King replied with great kindness, as is his wont; said he would be glad to see de Bouillon, and that the match with the Palatine was agreeable to him.
On Monday the Count of Hanau saw Lord Salisbury, whom he found a little better, and next week he is to go to the baths that are one hundred and twenty miles from here. That will prolong the conclusion, which cannot be taken without his advice. The following morning the Count of Hanau was again with the King along with de Plessen, first Councillor of the Palatine, and very well informed, as he has for long managed all the Elector's affairs. They discussed the match. No other dower than the yearly allowance which it may please the King to bestow is asked for. There was also some talk about confederation and about the affairs of Germany. On the subject of the marriage the King merely listened; on the other points he dwelt at length and showed an excellent disposition. After dinner the French Ambassador visited Lord Salisbury, as did I yesterday. He assured me that the Elector was very well inclined towards the Republic. He said that Spain was entirely taken up just now with the affairs of Germany; that the Spanish Ambassador was doing all he could to secure that the Coadjutor of Cologne, who is now styled Elector, should have a vote.
The Spanish Ambassador continues here in disgrace. I hear that Don Pedro di Zuñiga has started. On Sunday the French Ambassador goes down to Gravesend to meet de Bouillon, who, they say, will be in London on Monday. The Dutch Ambassador is to go to Holland in a few days. So far I gather that M. de Plessen has orders to proceed to Holland. I am told that the Florentine Secretaries have dropped some hints, saying that if the second sister of the Grand Duke became the wife of the Prince, the question of religion could be settled with a little time; the Spanish Ambassador confirms this, but both the Prince and Queen are quite opposed.
Every day the King has paid long visits to Lord Salisbury; as he is to leave in a few days for the baths, they are endeavouring to come to a decision upon the more important points.
London, 4th May, 1612.
May 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 504. Cristoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Lieutenant Grand Vizir made great complaints as to the quality of the woollens and silks which were brought from Venice. He said that whereas they used to be of excellent quality, now the only good thing about them was their name. He told me to warn your Excellencies to give orders for the manufacture of better stuff, otherwise he would dismiss all vessels bringing such cargoes; nor would he allow them to discharge in Constantinople nor elsewhere. I replied that your Serenity's regulations were excellent, and that great diligence was used to prevent any but the best quality from going out; and if inferior qualities were found they were burned in public; that if poor qualities were found in Constantinople there was no reason to wonder, for the Jews introduced foreign goods from Florence and Messina through the port of Ragusa, and sold them as Venetian.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 4th May, 1612.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 505. Cristoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The English and French Ambassadors and the Greek Patriarch of Alexandria inform the Venetian Ambassador that the Turks are planning an attack on Crete.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 4th May, 1612.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 5. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 506. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
I am told that Sir Henry Wotton will be here on Wednesday next. His suite consists of about forty persons. (fn. 2) It is said that on his Majesty's express orders he did not pass through Paris. His Highness has given orders that the Palace of the Marchese di Lanz is to be cleared for Wotton's reception, as the intention is to honour him extraordinarily.
Turin, 5th May, 1612.
May 5. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 507. Cristoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Ambassador has begged me to commend to your Serenity Parvis, an English merchant, and John Berton, who are being tried in Court of the Ten Officers on account of some barrels of white lead. As the Ambassador is very well disposed I advise that his request be granted.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 5th May, 1612.
Enclosed in preceding despatch. 508. Letter from Paul Pindar to the Venetian Ambassador.
My most Illustrious and Excellent Lord. The business I would specially commend to your Lordship is this: Henry Parvis, an English merchant, married, and dwelling in Venice, bought on my behalf and shipped on board the English ship “Matthew” some barrels of white lead for Constantinople. For this he has been prosecuted in the office of the Dieci Officii, and Giovanni Berton, a Venetian broker, has been fined for making out the bill. I beg your Illustrious Lordship to favour me with your recommendation that Parvis and Berton may not be harassed over this business.
From my house, 4th May, 1612. At your service, Paul Pindar.
May 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 509. Cristoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador of the Dutch, despairing of success owing to the opposition of the French Ambassador and others asked leave to retire, but supported by Halil Pasha and the Mufti he was admitted to kiss the Sultan's hand, and received a banquet in town after giving two thousand dollars to the Lieutenant Grand Vizer, who the day before had expressed indignation at the Ambassador's pretensions. He gave the Grand Signor seventy robes of silk, four great vases of ivory, and four cups of delicately cut rock crystal, some fine webs and other things. The Sultan was quite pleased, also the Vizirs and the whole Court. He is certain that he has succeeded in his object of obtaining free traffic for his nation. He promises abundance of webs, both of wool and of silk, and declares that his Masters will furnish fifty ships to the Turks when they need them.
I have sent to present my compliments, as have the Ambassadors of France and England.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 5th May, 1612.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 5. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 510. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Prince Filiberto has taken up his command as General of the Sea, but is not expected to do much this year. No attempt to take Ma'amura will be made till they have more money, though it is quite well known that the King cannot be master of the Straits of Gibraltar until he holds that port which is a nest of pirates; the attempts to “bottle” their fleet having proved a failure.
Madrid, 5th May, 1612.
May 5. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 511. Giacomo Vendramin, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
I have heard that in a sermon preached in the Palace by his Highness' Confessor, in the presence of all their Highnesses, the preacher dwelt on the way in which a Catholic woman should conduct herself if married to a heretic. This is taken as an indication of a match concluded with England.
Florence, 5th May, 1612.
May 7. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Zante. Venetian Archives. 512. Francesco Donado, Venetian Governor in Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
The berton “Colombo” and the ship “Pigna,” towed by the English ship “Royal Exchange,” arrived in this port from Constantinople; the Pigna had lost her main mast, which was struck by lightning off Andros on the night of Thursday in Holy Week.
Zante, 7th May, 1612.
May 8. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 513. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador sent his Secretary to Villeroy to complain about the Grisons and the orders given to Paschal. He is to explain the surprise of Venice when the Three Leagues in a Pittag (fn. 3) at Chur agreed not to renew the treaty with Venice, and when it was discovered, that Paschal had instigated this step . . . . Villeroy said it was true the late King had first of all supported the treaty, but he subsequently found many inconveniences arising from it; one being that, on the excuse of this treaty, the Spanish had built fort Fuentes.
Paris, 8th May, 1612.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 11. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi, Venetian Archives. 514. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and spoke as follows:
Expresses regret for the absence of the Doge; had heard that he was in good health, and had hoped to report so to his Majesty in the despatches he was sending that day. Dandolo, Vice-Doge, replied that his Serenity had been present in the Cabinet these last days; he was detained at home to-day as he was taking medicine. He will convey to the Doge the Ambassador's courteous remarks.
The Ambassador continued; he will inform his Majesty that the Republic has recently cured certain acute sores which had been laid bare, (fn. 4) also that in foreign affairs it had concluded some negotiations to its great prestige. His Majesty, not out of any personal interest, but from his love and esteem for the Republic, will be very glad.
Dandolo replied that they were quite convinced of this. The Ambassador then said that his Sovreign, seeing that the face of affairs was changing, had thought it advisable to draw close in bonds of alliance with the Princes of the Union. This alliance was concluded in April in the city of Wesel, where his Majesty's Ambassador had met the Envoys of the Princes; the duration of the Treaty was to be six years.
He has news that the King of Denmark is well and is arming against Sweden, which is doing the same, but the King of England is endeavouring to find a way to settle their differences, and hopes to succeed.
The Ambassador will say nothing about Wotton's arrival in Italy, as it is well known. His friend, Girolomo Monte, of Vicenza, a friend of Wotton's as well, had obtained a safe-conduct for five years, which expires on the last of this month. Monte desires a prolongation, and has begged the Ambassador to support his request. He handed in the safe-conduct.
Dandolo promises to take the question into favourable consideration.
May 13. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 515. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Sir Henry Wotton, who was expected on last Wednesday, has not appeared yet, although three days ago his Highness sent the Count Francesco Martinengo with the cuirassiers of the guard and the archers to meet him two miles beyond Rivoli. Wotton cannot be much longer now, as his Highness this morning set out for Rivoli, where he intends to receive the Envoy and may be to stay a day or two there with him the better to learn the purport of his mission. I am told that the Cardinal and the Princes are to go as far as Mirafiore to meet him; if that be true Wotton will be treated almost as though he were the King himself. There are already signs of preparations for festivals. Generally it is thought that Wotton brings nothing but fair words, though his Highness has other ideas and hopes for some advantage; hopes in which he is confirmed by the report of the Marchese de Lanz, who says that Wotton, whom he met in Savoy, told him that he was the bearer of good news.
Turin, 13th May, 1612.


  • 1. See Cal. S.P. Dom., Ap. 23. “The Count of Hainault here, on a marriage treaty between the Princess and the Count Palatine,” Bishop King to Carleton. But the person called “Anò” is the Count of Hanau. See Winwood, Mem. III. 357, Winwood to Trumbull. “The Count of Hannaw is now on the way towards England, assisted with two Councillors of the Palatinate, de Plessen and Dauthenes.”
  • 2. See Nichols, Progresses of James I., Vol. II., p. 438. Wotton's “company of note is a son of the Lord William Howard, two sons of Sir Charles Cavendish, one Yorke and Sir Robert Rich tarries for him in France.” “The presents he carries are ten light ambling geldings with variety of saddles and rich furniture. There is likewise a rich sword with a hilt, pommel and chaffe of gold, set full of diamonds to the value of £16,000.”
  • 3. A corruption for Beitag, the body which discharged current affairs in the Grisons.
  • 4. Referring to the case of the noble, Anzolo Badoer, accused of selling State secrets.