Venice: May 1612, 16-31

Pages 358-366

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

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May 1612, 16–31

May 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 516. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday the 6th of this month the Duke de Bouillon arrived in this city. On Tuesday he was received by the King in the Great Hall, under a very rich baldacchino, along with the Queen. They were seated on two thrones, and behind them were the Prince and the Princess, while on foot and uncovered the Duke of York stood hard by. In the same way the titled gentlemen formed in ranks along the walls along with the Ladies of the Queen and the Princess. The Hall was full of gentlemen with gilt swords; in short, the greatness and grandeur of this Court was set forth that day as they know how. The Duke appeared supported by more than a hundred French gentlemen. The King received and honoured him, and after a very long speech he kissed the Queen's hand and made suitable compliments to the Princes and the Princess. On Thursday he had a long and very favourable audience of the Queen, after which I paid him a visit. I did not omit to meet him on his arrival and to cause him to be escorted to his audience by my carriages. On Sunday at the Royal Chapel there were three Ambassadors, the Due de Bouillon, the Count of Hanau and M. de Plessen. They stayed to dine with the King. The Count of Hanau showed some signs of intending to take precedence on the ground that, in this present interregnum of the Empire, the Palatine is Imperial Vicar, but on the first sign from the King he withdrew and submitted. The banquet was served by the same persons who had served the banquet given to the Savoyard Ambassador, only without the collars of their orders. The food was the same, but the concert of music more varied. The King invited Hanau to drink a pledge, whispering something in his ear. Hanau replied aloud that his Majesty's wishes would be met. It is supposed that what the King said to him was that he drank to the Palatine's coming which, his ambassadors say, will be in less than two months' time. Meanwhile they will negotiate preliminaries, but will not conclude anything, as the King requires the Palatine's presence as an act of respect, and also that the sight of him should dissipate the rumours that he is suffering from various hereditary diseases—rumours which are not credited and are ascribed to malignity. The Envoys were with the King on Friday of last week and Tuesday of this; on Saturday in Council they presented a long memorandum to his Majesty. The business is not very far on as yet. They are negotiating with certain delegates who make summary reports to the King. He and all the Court is well disposed towards this match.
On de Bouillon's arrival I took steps to discover his instructions, availing myself of my acquaintance with several personages in his suite. His first remark was to ask me what I thought of the state of France; no King had ever been so absolute, nor so implicitly obeyed as was the Queen. He then spoke of the suspicions awakened by the Spanish matches, here and elsewhere; he said that he had come in order to convince the King of their determination to keep their word. I gather that he is charged to offer the King anything that will convince him of the sincerity of France. If his Majesty desires a federation they will agree. The Spanish Ambassador discussing the question with me, said he thought that de Bouillon might say something in the name of Spain, and I divined that Zuñiga will make the same proposals as though in accord with France. The Marshal, however, and the Lieger of France do all they can to show that the understanding between the Crowns of France and Spain is not of the nature that is conjectured. They had a private audience on Wednesday the 9th; then on two other occasions. The day before yesterday they went to Hampton Court, where they stayed till late yesterday evening. De Bouillon has pleased the King and adduced very convincing arguments. As yet all his discussions have turned on two points—one is that although owing to reasons of State, during the King's minority, they have contracted matrimonial alliances, that does not breed full confidence and should not arouse suspicion. The other point is that France will always be loyal to England; will maintain her alliance and should the King desire a still closer one France would agree to it on any conditions the King may choose to impose. He also touched on the question of the marriage of the Prince, recalling the offers made some time ago to give him the eldest Princess of France. The King saw them at Hampton Court for greater secrecy and convenience.
The Marshal is sumptuously entertained by the King along with three hundred mouths of his suite. They will remain at least two or three weeks. The Spanish Ambassador wished to wait on the Duke but without the presence of the French Ambassador in ordinary, whom he cannot endure ever since the affair of the Savoyard Ambassador. The Marshal would not assent, declaring that they could not separate from each other as they had been together when receiving all other visits. The Duke was willing that the Spaniard should say to the French Lieger “My Lord, I would not have waited on you had it not been for the Marshal,” but he would not consent, and so no visits took place. The first visit returned by the Duke was to your Serenity's Ambassador. I have reported the substance of his remarks.
Last week Signor Carlo Rossi, Ambassador of Mantua, was here. On Thursday the 10th he had an audience of the King. There was no one with his Majesty but the Duke of York; there was a sprinkling of peers and many gentlemen. He stood under the baldacchino. The audience was very solemn. The Ambassador has not yet seen the Queen, although he has pressed to be received; he is now resolved to kiss her hand and to take his leave at the same time. He had hardly arrived before the Spanish Ambassador sent to wait on him, and escorted him to his audience with the Spanish Embassy carriages, and actually visited him before being visited; he also caused the Flemish Ambassador to visit him, he gave him a dinner and showed all manner of courtesies to oblige him. I did not fail to send to wait on him the moment I heard of his arrival, and I offered to put him up in the Embassy, for which he thanked me. I pressed the invitation. Moved by the conduct of the Spanish Ambassador, I instantly visited him. What the Ambassador said to me is reported in the next dispatch. I will only say that he bewailed the death of his Master and Mistress, whom he praised and professed attachment to.
London, 18th May, 1612.
May 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 517. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Mantuan Ambassador told me that after he had had his first audience of the Queen of France her Majesty said that he must come to the Palace every evening now, for as he had discharged his business as Ambassador he was to be considered as a private person and she desired to speak privately to him. This took place one evening in a small cabinet where there was no one present save Concini, a little apart. There, with his wonted frankness, the Ambassador told the Queen that the publication of these Spanish matches was inopportune, for it had disgusted the Duke of Savoy, made England suspicious, and also the Dutch, the German Princes and the Princes of Italy, who were most closely united to the Crown of France. The Queen replied that the Spaniards insisted on the publication, and he remarked that they did so for their own advantage, with a view to affecting the Imperial Election. The French Huguenots may not unreasonably suspect that these matches will have the result of suppressing them. The Ambassador then reviewed the situation in Italy. The Duke of Mantua, whom the Spaniards held to be theirs, was at heart the enemy of Spain. Savoy was ill affected towards Spain, and ready for an alliance with France, but the publication of the marriages and his own exclusion had disgusted him. The Duke of Mantua's policy was to stand well with the Republic. There will soon be a rupture between Villeroy who does not desire the return of Soissons, and Concini who works for it.
London, 18th May, 1612.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 518. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In all my conversations with these Ministers about the affair of the Grisons they have all tried to convince me that the Spanish matches have nothing to do with it.
Paris, 18th May, 1612.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 18. Senato, Secreta. Communicate. Venetian Archives. 519. Antonio' Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Chiefs of the Council of Ten.
I have been waiting letters from your Serenity thanking the King for the honour done by beginning to treat your Ambassadors on an equality with those of Crowned Heads, and the promise to treat differently all who cannot adduce such convincing proofs as I have done. There is no other security for this attitude than the word of the King; it would therefore be well by writing to thank him to draw out letters from him which would constitute written evidence; this could be advantageously done as long as the Earl of Salisbury is here, for in his absence there is confusion.
London, 18th May, 1612.
May 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 520. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In addition to what I reported as having been stated to the King by the Ambassador of the States, he further assured his Majesty that his Masters would never make peace with Spain, not even if the Spanish renounced all pretensions absolutely, as they had done in the truce, and abandoned any question of the Catholic rite. The Ambassador in conversation with me declared that there was no need to talk of a peace for five or six years to come, as the truce had upwards of eight years to run, and in this interval many things might happen; the King of France would, by that time, have come of age and would be governing his Kingdom himself; the Archduke Albert might easily die and in that case most probably a change would take place; the United Provinces are eleven in number and are called United because they can not afford to be separate, the remainder that are still subject might with justice claim their freedom if Spain failed to observe her obligations; three years ago he, in the name of the States, had offered them liberty both in temporal and spiritual matters. All the Magistrates are dependents of Spain and the Jesuits, and so for the present matters stand where they are, but it is certain that in their hearts almost all desire to join the free Provinces and to enjoy a like liberty; they are only waiting the opportunity, which would be offered by any change of Government.
From this discourse I seemed to gather three points; one, that the King of France on attaining his majority will prove to be like his father, closely bound to them for State reasons and an enemy of Spain; two, a firm resolve on the part of the United Provinces to risk war to free the Provinces still dependent on the King of Spain, in the certainty that they are only waiting an opportunity to rise; third, a horror of peace. I have no doubt that all this is well known in Spain, and that one of the reasons, apart from lack of money and men, which restricts their actions and designs is the fear of not being able to hold that district. The Spanish Ambassador discussing the military power of the various Princes and dwelling on their money, men and Councillors, placed the United Provinces higher than many other Princes combined, for they are rich, provided with excellent troops, and directed by a sound and liberal council; and in general he exalted their power.
M. de Plessen, first Councillor and Ambassador of the Elector Palatine, who, along with the Count of Hanau, visited me on the fifth of this month, assured me that the four great Swiss Cantons are seeking admission to the Union. This is very acceptable to many of the German Princes, chiefly because as the Grisons alone lie in the way, they could then come into touch with your Serenity, and so spread to this kingdom a line of friendly, united and confederated states. And although the Dutch have not sworn to the confederation at Wesel, out of deference to the King so as to allow him to enter alone, they have passed their word sufficiently to bind them (che li 4 gran Cantoni de Svizzeri procurono d'haver luoco nella Unione di Prencipi della quale è capoil Rè, che ciò piaceva a mo'ti principi de Germania principalmente per potere, non vi essendo che Grisoni in mezzo, dar la mano alla Serenità Vostra et continuare fino a questo Regno con paese amico, unito et confederato; et sebene li Stati non hanno giurato la confederatione a Guselle per differir quell' honore che si dovera al Rè lasciandolo entrar solo, ma habbino già dato la parola quanto basta ad obligarsi). He pointed out to me that at the most important crisis, the Federated Princes had kept a Resident at Venice, (fn. 1) and declared that they were willing to bind themselves still closer; he dwelt on the advantages that would accrue to both parties.
I replied in courteous terms, but said that as to a further alliance it hardly seemed the moment to raise the question, as there were so many States which lay between your Serenity and the Princes. Moreover I did not see any immediate danger of attack. The Ambassador agreed that the Princes must first gain over and secure the great Cantons, and then proceed to negotiate with your Serenity at the fitting moment. The Count of Hanau approved and confirmed, and so the conversation was carried into another field.
The next day the Count of Hanau sent his Secretary to me with paragraphs out of letters recently received from Germany. They give the news that the Constable of Castile had been so successful in the Grisons that, with the help of the Bishop of Chur and of the French Ambassador, he had persuaded them to abandon their Alliance with Venice, and to open the passes to the Spanish for as many troops as they chose to send into Germany. The Count dwelt on the extreme importance of this news. On Tuesday the Duke of Bouillon came to visit me, accompanied by the Lieger. He dwelt on the advantage to the friends of France that she should continue as she is at present, united and obedient to the King and Queen, and he added that this ought to be reassuring to your Serenity above all others. When I heard the Marshal talking in this fashion—as I had known him fairly well for some time, and as I had also received confirmation from other quarters of the Count of Hanau's news as to the abandonment of the Venetian Alliance by the Grisons, and that the Constable of Castile had availed himself of the French Ambassador in this affair—I remarked to de Bouillon as from myself that this operation in no way coincided with the good will displayed by your Excellencies, nor with the friendly attitude of the late King, which de Bouillon himself had so often assured me that the Queen desired to continue. I pointed out that while his Excellency had assured me most warmly that Venice might count on France, the French Ambassador's action in the Grisons bore a very different aspect. De Bouillon affected to hear this with surprise. He thanked me for my frankness and for my evident desire for a good understanding between France and Venice. He said he would write that very day to France so that the Queen might take steps to remedy the mischief if things were really so. He was sure that the Ambassador had no instructions to take such a step. He used vigorous language; declaring that her Majesty was resolved to hold by her friends; that the Spanish matches were merely false legs; that recently M. de Villeroy had clearly told the Spanish Ambassador that France would never allow the Duke of Savoy to be oppressed. They intend to send an Ambassador to the Duke. At this mention of Ambassadors I asked how M. de Créqui was, who had been named to the Embassy in return for the mission of the Illustrious Gussoni and Nani. The Marshal made some remarks on the various Embassies. I must add that when speaking of the ill turn done by the French Ambassador in the Grisons I repeated that I was speaking for myself. He said he was quite convinced of it, for otherwise your Excellencies would have instructed the Ambassador Giustinian to raise the question in Paris; our talk was as between friends and would do good. The Lieger when visiting me declared that if the Ambassador in the Grisons had exceeded his instructions he would be punished. He told me that the Queen continues to pay the two regiments of infantry in the service of the Dutch, and they are now sending one hundred thousand crowns for that purpose; this continued protection of the United Provinces is a proof that the Queen does not intend to abandon her best friends. The Princess of France will not go to Spain nor the Infanta to France for at least three years to come. In spite of all the festivals and rejoicings there are still some points to settle. He begged me not to report this in writing as it would easily be known in Spain—enough for me to know it without divulging it.
I have gathered from the words of the Marshal and also of the Lieger that they are resolved to write to the Queen and to Villeroy to give orders to the French Ambassador in the Grisons that he is to act in conformity with the interests and the wishes of your Excellencies, towards whom it is necessary to show the same regard as is shown to other Princes, all the more so that more than a year ago the Count of Rosafaglione was named and proclaimed Ambassador, and later on the more experienced M. de Créqui. The Ambassador of the Palatine confirmed the wish of the great Cantons to enter the Union, and showed that he thought this news of great importance, as they are warlike people to say nothing of the passes. The people of the Grisons will be obliged to follow their lead, both on account of the federation between them and also because they are so infinitely inferior in numbers and in discipline.
London, 19th May, 1612.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 521. Cristoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch Ambassador is studying the French, English and Venetian Capitulations, to extract from them what suits his purpose.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 19th May, 1612.
[Italian; deciphered.]
522. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
May 20. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archive. The Ambassador of the King of Great Britain arrived on Sunday the 13th at Rivoli, where the Duke awaited him. His Highness sent to say that he desired to see him at once that he might embrace him, but the Envoy excused himself on the ground of his fatigue and the fact that he was in a burning fever which had held him from Mont Cenis to Rivoli, and that therefore he was obliged to go to bed. He was visited by his Highness' doctors, who declared the cause to be an over heating while crossing the mountain due partly to his being extra clothed against the cold, which is usually bitter in those regions. On Monday they bled him slightly, with which remedy and with rest they promised a speedy cure. His Highness, however, was impatient, and the very day the Envoy was bled he summoned him to audience, and the Ambassador had to go. They stayed two hours in close and secret conference and the same the day following, which was Tuesday. The same evening he came on to Turin and the Duke followed in a few hours. Up to his arrival at Rivoli the Envoy has received such abundant honours that he lets everyone see he has had enough of them. I gather that after his interview these compliments are somewhat moderated. He is however, lodged in the Palace of the Marchese di Lanz, richly furnished for the occasion with his Highness's own tapestries, and especially with some velvet hangings wrought in gold and silver thread. There is also a baldacchino. He is boarded at the Duke's charges.
On Wednesday I sent to wait on him and condole on his illness and to ask when he could receive me. He replied that for that day he was given over to doctors and medicine. I sent to enquire for him the two following days and on the third he said he was ready to see me. Accordingly on Friday afternoon I waited on him.
After an exchange of compliments and expressions of devotion, Wotton went on to describe his journey. He confessed himself outworn by the attentions shewn him. At every place he reached he was met in his Highness' name and entertained at collations and banquets. On this side of the mountains the compliments were redoubled, so that he could not move two miles without fresh honours and favours. All this proved the hopes of the Duke for a favourable conclusion. The Envoy told me in confidence that he brings a decided negative, but covered up in terms of esteem; the Pope being the chief obstacle, and the action of Spain a warning.
Wotton introduced his suite to the Venetian Ambassador, with the words “I swear to God we are all good Venetians.”
Turin, 20th May, 1612.
May 20. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 523. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Wotton complains that since his arrival in Turin he had not been able to see any of the Duke's Ministers except the Count of Ruffia. Supposes that the Duke has few whom he can trust, as the majority belong either to the Spanish or to the French faction.
The Duke told Wotton that he would leave it to him whether he would visit the Cardinal or not; Wotton replied that he was a gentleman and would consider it an honour to visit the Cardinal. He added “I have no scruples on this point; indeed the first person to embrace me after I left England was the Cardinal of Lorraine, whom I visited in his bed and who kept me a while with him; but I do not know what the Cardinal may wish, nor do I know if it will suit him, as a prelate of the Church, to receive the Ambassador of a heretic Sovreign who is separated from the Roman Catholic Communion.”
Turin, 20th May, 1612.
May 21. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 524. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 7th the Earl of Salisbury left for the baths. Later news reports him the same or a little better. In his absence the King has given the charge of opening despatches to two Secretaries; the seal to another; and Salisbury's other offices are distributed, for the time of his absence, between the Earl of Pembroke and Sir Julius Cesar, a son of one of your Serenity's subjects. (fn. 2) The King avails himself also in parts of the Earl of Northampton, and he has created Viscount Rochester of the Council, but notwithstanding all this he settles nothing without the advice of Salisbury, who, in spite of ill heath and absence, governs everything. The post goes daily from London to Bath, and from Bath to London. Whether his Excellency will die of this disease is a disputed point, but all are agreed that the loss would be great; and I should feel it severely owing to the devotion which he shows to your Excellencies and his regard for him who serves you. I have been anxiously waiting letters from your Excellencies conveying thanks to the King, and wish they had arrived while the Earl of Salisbury was still here, as that would have helped greatly to confirm the King's desire and his word. Your Serenity is aware what trouble your Ambassadors have had in former times over this point, and the failure to render thanks to his Majesty may induce them to think that the favour is not appreciated and so render it valueless.
On the arrival of the Palatine's Ambassadors the Spanish Envoy said to me that the Elector had never once written to his master, that he was of a different religion and that he would not visit them; but afterwards he went, remarking to me that the Count of Hanau was not only Ambassador but also uncle of the Palatine, an independent Prince, and that at this juncture of an Imperial election it was desirable to conciliate all Princes. He accordingly treated them with the greatest courtesy and respect, but they understood the object. The Ambassador recently received an express from Spain, and asked for audience, which was granted him yesterday. The Palatine's Ambassador told me that all votes will be concentrated on Mathias unless things change, but first of all the Electors desire to modify abuses and raise the prestige of the Empire and its members where it is oppressed. The Elector of Brandenburg will be represented by proxy. News from the Hague that Count Maurice on his return reviewed and strengthened all his garrisons on the frontier.
The Dutch Envoy has not reached Constantinople by the letters of the 20th of March. They have sent a reply to the letters of Halil Pasha.
Up to yesterday the Spanish Ambassador had not visited the Duke de Bouillon; the difficulty about the Lieger, from whom the Duke will not part, still remains alive. The King retains his rancour against Spain, and the fact that they are sending here Don Pedro de Zuñiga, who is neither Duke nor Grandee, is displeasing, especially as it is known that to France they have sent both Duke and Grandee, and France has sent here a Duke and an officer of the Crown in the person of de Bouillon. The King attends to his affairs as he ought. I will seek audience one of these days after the arrival of the ordinary post, which may bring desptaches from your Excellencies. I will endeavour cautiously to lead the conversation so as to find out exactly the value of the rumours about a League between the Pope, France, Spain and Tuscany; it is possible that the King, who is so deeply concerned, may have got to the bottom of it, and I repeat and firmly hope that he will confide in me.
London, 21st May, 1612.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 22. Senato, Terra, filza. Venetian Archives 525. Petition of Southcot Vaymonth.
Most Serene Prince, I, Southcot Vaymonth, for many years along with friends and relations, have laboured to find a way to make knitted stockings (calze guchiade) cheaper than they are made at present. We made many experiments, costing us thousands of ducats, and have discovered the way. Considering to whom I should offer this beautiful and useful invention, I resolved to bring it to the City of Venice, which is wont to welcome every honest and industrious man, especially of our nation which is popular here. If your Serenity adopts my invention you will give employment to many idle hands, who could thus maintain themselves and their families by turning out stockings, not only sufficient for this city but for others as well, as experience will show. It is only just that I, a foreigner, should not be defrauded of my pains and my money. I ask for a patent for forty years under a fine of one hundred ducats.
On this an order was made that the Proveditori di Comun are to examine and report, as also are the Savii alla Mercantia.
Covered by preceding document. 526. Report of the Savii alla Mercantia.
We have examined the machinery, which is “bello, nobile et molto ingegnoso.” We consider the petition should be granted, but for twenty-five years only.
March 5, 1612.
Piero Soranzo.
Zuan Marco da Molin.
Antonio Barbaro.
Covered by preceding document. 527. Report of the Proveditori di Comun.
We have examined the invention, which differs essentially from the ordinary method of knitting which is done with needles, whereas these are woven on a frame. We consider the petition should be granted.
From our office, 14th April, 1612.
Zaune Corner.
Piero Emo.
Piero Capello.
May 22. Senato, Terra. Venetian Archives. 528. Patent to the Southcot Vaymont, an Englishman, for his invention for knitting stockings, on the recommendation of the Proveditori di Comun and the Cinque Savii alla Mercantia. Duration, thirty years; applies to the whole of the Venetian dominions; provided the invention is really new. Fine, one hundred ducats.
Ayes 69.
Noes 7.
Neutrals 13.
May 23. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 529. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish Ambassador in his audience of Saturday last stayed but a short time and was not well received by the King. He said that he had hopes that his successor would soon be appointed, and that he would depart, glad at being relieved from speaking on orders which were subsequently denied by him who gave them. He went on to say that Don Pedro de Zuñiga, Marchese de Flores, on his Embassy Extraordinary, would tell the King that his Catholic Majesty has been deeply distressed at the course of past negotiations for a marriage: had he known the King's pleasure before matters were so far advanced with France he would have proved to the King and the whole world the esteem in which he held his Majesty and the Prince; Zuñiga is to conclude by declaring that the King of Spain for two years past had given no orders that could be interpreted as an invitation to ask the Infanta's hand, for on a previous occasion, through the Constable of Castile, and again through Zuñiga, he had conveyed as much as seemed sufficient to reveal his inclination, and he had not thought it fit to multiply words. The Lieger dwelt on this point, and declared that no other consolation remained to him save that his Majesty himself had seen the orders conveyed in letters from the Duke of Lerma on this subject, and this fact was so firmly established in the Council that no further doubt was possible. One of the reasons which had induced him to seek this Embassy was the hope of conducting to a successful issue the negotiations which had already been begun by the Constable, who as a member of the same family and a near relation, had encouraged him to the task. The King made a very brief and unpleasant reply. The Ambassador then touched on the subject of corsairs and fared no better.
The day before yesterday I visited de Bouillon and the Lieger, who was with him. The Marshal praised the King, the favours he had received, the admirable tone of the King's mind, from which he says he has removed any shadow of suspicion caused by the Franco-Spanish matches. Among his other arguments he said, “Sire, your Majesty does not desire to encroach on any one, no more does France, nor Venice, nor the Dutch, nor the German Princes, nor is it to be believed that any one else will attempt a change except the King of Spain. Well then, let us agree together to prevent him; so that each of us may continue to enjoy his own.” This the Marshal said looking hard at me; so it may serve to inform your Excellencies; or perhaps it was thrown out as a feeler. He told me he had written to the Queen, as he promised, about the Grisons, and there could be no doubt but that she would send orders to her Ambassador and give proofs of her love and regard in all things. In France the Princes of the blood were about to return and everything was tending to peace. Yesterday the Marshal saw the King, and to-day he met the King in Council. He has most assuredly proposed a close alliance on the lines that may seem best to his Majesty, and if the King chose to think that a matrimonial alliance is helpful as uniting the interests of both parties, there is the King's second sister whom, in the Queen's name, he offers for marriage to the Prince, just as on a previous occasion the late King had suggested the eldest Princess. An intimate of the King told me that his Majesty desired all this to be set forth in Council, so as to enhance his prestige.
Three days ago the Ambassadors of the Palatine and de Bouillon had audience of the King, the Lieger standing a little apart, though the King told him he might draw near, as he knew he desired the favourable issue of the negotiations. The terms proposed by these Ambassadors are various; they promise that the Princess shall have precedence of the Electress Dowager; she is to have a separate Court as befits a great Princess, and it will be composed of English, Scotch or any other nationality she pleases. They ask a dower of twenty-four thousand crowns a year, besides some small sum in cash down. They offer a counter dower. Signor Canut who was charged to come to an understanding on certain points has also laid them before his Majesty. The Palatine's Ambassadors have spoken to me about the idea of a Tuscan match with a great dowery for the Prince, and the difficulties in the way. The Princesses of France and Spain are still children, while the Prince is of marriagable age; they wound up with mentioning the Elector's sisters, three in number, and showed me their likenesses; all of this is sufficient to indicate what their wishes were.
Signor Carlo de Rossi, Ambassador of Mantua, has at one and the same time kissed the Queen's hand and taken his leave, as I said he would. He has also taken leave of the King and received a diamond as a gift. This evening he is getting ready to set out to-morrow. The Marshal de Bouillon will dine with the King to-morrow, the Lieger of France entertaining several persons of quality. I know from a sure source that the King desired to speak privately with the Marshal. I will continue to discover all that goes on at this Court, where there are so many negotiations in the air, as your Excellencies know. Meantime I will bring to your notice what happened the day before yesterday late in the evening, after I had sent off my last despatches.
London, 23rd May, 1612.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 24. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 530. To the King of Great Britain.
Thanking him for the favour shown to Foscarini by deciding the question of precedence and giving the Republic rank with Crowned Heads.
Ayes 107.
Noes 3.
Neutrals 27.
Amendment to foregoing.
May 24. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 531. To the King of Great Britain.
Thanking the King for having recognised for Foscarini the place which belongs to the Venetian Ambassador, by right of ancient possession, at all the Courts of Great Princes.
Ayes 24.
May 24. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 532. To the Ambassador in England.
Your representations to his Majesty made with a view to securing recognition as the equal of Ambassadors from Crowned Heads are worthy of your zeal and prudence, and we praise you accordingly. You are to tender thanks in our name, and to present the letter which we enclose if you think it prudent and if the matter is really concluded.
Ayes 107.
Noes 3.
Neutrals 27.
Amendment to preceding.
May 24. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 533. To the Ambassador in England.
Besides the representations you have made to the King in thanking him for granting you the same exemption as is extended to Ambassadors of Kings, you are to present our thanks as well and to hand him the enclosed letter. You are to support on all occasions the public dignity but are to avoid the necessity for adducing proofs.
Ayes 24.
May 24. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 534. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters from the Hague and copy of the Dutch reply to Halil Pasha. I send a translation into Italian. The Dutch expect a great profit from freedom to trade inside the Turkish Empire. They know who has been opposing them and they are convinced that their Ambassador is treated on a footing with the French and English Ambassadors. They have ordered their Envoy to convince the Pasha, by gifts, that he will bestow his favours well if he supports the United Provinces. They believe that many Dutch slaves have been set free, and they know that the fact of their having fought the Spanish for so long and having gained so many victories, has secured them the affection and respect of the Turk. In short they promise themselves great profit both public and private, as owing to their distance from Turkey they are freed from any grounds for suspicion, while they are united to the Grand Signor in bonds of common hatred of Spain and desire for her downfall. They have sent this letter in copy along with their Ambassador's, so that in any case it will reach the Pasha's hands, and he will see what orders were given about presents. It is now some years that the Dutch have frequented the Levant with a large number of ships and have tasted the profits of that trade; and as I have already advised, we may be sure that they will draw a large part of it to themselves. I trust that all their operations will come to your Excellencies' notice, and you may already have heard of the steps they propose to take in this matter and of the letters they may write.
On Monday, 7th of the month, the French Ambassador (Refuges) had audience of the States, to whom he presented the usual claim that they should pay to the King of England the third part of the money advanced to them by the late King; they pretend that this money was given them as a gift at the last confederation when war against Spain was on the point of breaking out in Flanders, Milan and Spain itself. The two French regiments in the service of the States have been paid by the Queen, and another pay will be made in a few days; but it does not seem that her Majesty is really bent on keeping them up. The Ambassador has paid the King one hundred and sixty thousand crowns in two instalments of eighty thousand each, in part payment of the debt due to this Crown. Here they are not neglecting commerce; nay, various conventions are confirmed and there is a plan for opening a Bank which shall have correspondents in all parts of these Kingdoms. The Prince, who is much interested in the colonization of Florida, has got leave from the King to open a lottery, so designed that they must reap a large profit.
The three ships sent out to make sure of the North-West passage sailed a month and a half ago. They have been sighted, by ships arrived here, in safety and sailing well. Nothing more is known of them, but one is expected back in three months or a little more with certain news of the passage. The Company is preparing to send out without delay a number of ships in cargo. To the ears of the Prince, who is keen for glory, come suggestions of conquests far greater than any made by the Kings of Spain. The corsairs continue to plunder along the Spanish coast, and this gives his Catholic Majesty a ground for complaint.
London, 24th May, 1612.
Postscript.—I omitted to say that with the letters for the Pasha from the States of Holland, others to the same purport have been sent by Count Maurice. Here the rumour still runs that at Leghorn they admit English pirates with their prizes, and that Florentine merchants pass the goods on to Sacca di Goro or Ancona, or wherever they find the highest profits.
Enclosed in preceding despatch. 535. Letter from the States of Holland to Halil Pasha.
We are duly informed that your Excellency's good will towards our country causes you to regret the delay in the arrival of our Orator in Constantinople. We are aware that in the meantime there are some who endeavour to countermine his position at the Porte. We wish to thank you, as our Orator will have already done by word of mouth, as we expect he will have arrived in Constantinople long before this reaches it. We add a copy of the letter our Orator bears in case by some misfortune he should have been delayed. We count firmly on your Excellency's support, so that our Orator may obtain a full and gracious reply.
The Hague, 4th May, 1612.
To the Most Excellent, Valiant and Prudent Lord, the Capudan Pasha, Admiral-in-Chief of the Grand Signor in Constantinople.
May 26. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 536. Giacomo Vendramin, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Many English pirates have arrived at Leghorn, where they are selling muslins and Holland cloth very cheap. Here they call them merchantmen.
Florence, 26th May, 1612.
May 27. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 537. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Savoy at an audience granted to the Venetian Ambassador gave him to understand that he still had great hopes of an alliance with England. Though he could not offer such a dower as the Grand Duke of Tuscany was proposing, still the nobility of his blood was such that great Sovreigns might quite well seek to ally themselves with him. He asked the Ambassador what he thought, and Gussoni replied that his Highness would, no doubt, carry the negotiation through; that gold did not count for everything with great Kings, and that the influence of the Queen of France was not likely to be great at the English Court. The Duke replied that he feared it would not prove so, for the King of England was lavish, and money would have great weight. He went on to say that certainly the King of Great Britain showed great regard for him as he had sent him a very handsome present, of a sword, valued at forty thousand crowns, and some handsome horses richly caparisoned.
The English Ambassador has spread the rumour here that the Grand Turk has declared that he will no longer take tribute from the Ragusans, but will make himself absolute master of their city. The Ragusans, it seems, would choose rather to become Spanish subjects than submit to the Turk.
The English Ambassador continues here, though he gives out that he will leave in three or four days. He is entertained by the Duke at jousts, tourneys, dances, the chase, but all without any pomp of liveries and quite ordinary. The eldest Prince was to have given an entertainment at Mirafiore, but finding the time too short to allow him to carry out his ideas he resolved to do nothing. The Ambassador visited the Princes and the Cardinal, and told me the Cardinal had paid him the most attention in the way of carriages. Neither his Highness nor the Princes treated him in any way out of the ordinary; indeed I am told that in walking down the gallery the Duke took the right hand side of the Ambassador. The Ambassador visited the Princesses and made them his compliments, standing hat in hand: and they say he made them laugh and blush; he chiefly addressed his remarks to the eldest, the Princess Maria—who, if any alliance were concluded, would be the bride of the Prince.
Turin, 27th May, 1612.
May 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 538. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I continue to use the greatest diligence to find out if they are really negotiating an offensive and defensive league between the Pope, the Crowns, and the Grand Duke. The English Ambassador told me that he is informed that the Pope is still very anxious to create the League, but nothing more will be done. I hold that a defensive alliance between the two Crowns actually exists as a result of the matches, but that without urgent necessity they will not include other princes. I have secret agents in the houses of the Nuncio and the Florentine Ambassador, and know that they are not in close treaty.
The Spanish Ambassador in England says that Wotton is taking a very rich present to the Duke of Savoy, but he has orders to break off all negotiations for a match. That agrees with the remark of the English Ambassador here, that his master would take care not to mix himself up with the Duke of Savoy, so as to avoid being embroiled in the adventures on which the Duke loves to embark. The Duke, finding his hopes of an English or Spanish or French match illusory, will be compelled to fall back on a Tuscan match. The talk of the match between the King of Spain and the English Princess is dying away. As I said, I think that the rumour was put about to pacify English suspicions of the alliance with France. Don Pedro de Zuñiga has delayed his departure for London so as not to arrive there while the Duke de Bouillon is at that Court.
Madrid, 31st May, 1612.
[Italian; the parts in italics deciphered.]
May 31. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 539. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have found out the instructions given by the Queen of France to the Duke de Bouillon, his negotiations here and, in great part, the replies of the King. His commission had six points; (1) to assure the King that the Spanish matches did not imply anything more than matches, nor would they prevent France lending the support of her arms to England in case of attack, and the same in the case of all her other Allies; (2) to offer an alliance if the King thought it desirable upon even closer terms than the one of a year and a half ago; (3) if occasion offered, to propose the second Princess of France as wife for the Prince of Wales; (4) to exhort the King to keep the Princes of Germany well together, and to praise him for what he has done so far; (5) to advise him to remain allied closely with the States, dropping any little displeasure he may have felt over the affair of Vorstius; (6) to promise full satisfaction over the money due from France to England. There is a special clause empowering de Bouillon to speak as Ambassador of France concerning the marriage of the Palatine to this Princess, and to interest himself in the negotiations as far as occasion allows or necessity dictates. The Marshal has very fruitfully carried out these instructions in all their details, and has received sound, good and practical replies. He showed that during the King's minority the Queen of France was bound to seek peace with Spain by means of marriages. He pointed out that these marriages of children are nominal rather than actual. The Princess will not go to Spain, nor the Infanta to France for three or four years, and then the King will be fourteen and by the constitution will have attained his majority and be master of himself and his Crown. He pointed out that if France were acting on any other principle than that of gaining time she would be running counter to all maxims of State, nor was it conceivable that she should seek the aggrandisement of Spain, which would mean the abasement of herself. He promised that if Spain took up arms against England France would come to her defence, and concluded that every security would be given for this pledge by drawing together in a still closer alliance with any conditions which the King might be pleased to require. The position of France on the death of the late King rendered it desirable to negotiate, and then conclude a match with Spain, especially as all honour had been shown to this Crown by the offer of the eldest Princess to the Prince, an offer to which no attention was paid; nay! his Majesty had opened negotiations in Spain. The Marshal then insisted on the need to keep the Protestant Princes together, and to stand well with the Dutch, dropping any ill feeling which the affair of Vorstius might have produced. He made promises that in one way or another the debt due from France to England would soon be discharged. From de Bouillon's negotiations we gather that he had two objects, one to quiet the King, the other to please the Protestant Princes by friendly offices. As to the King this Embassy has been most successful; it would have been impossible to find a person more agreeable to his Majesty or who could have spoken with greater weight. The King replied that he would always live in harmony with France, provided she did so with him; that the rumours flying about to the effect that the matches with Spain implied still closer bonds had caused him to look to his own affairs and to have recourse to the steps which appear to him most opportune. He complained openly of Villeroy and the Chancellor. The former, he declared, had for long been hostile to England and far too friendly to Spain and Rome, considering that he was the minister of a great sovreign. As to the Princes of Germany and the States he showed that he appreciated the observations of de Bouillon; he touched on Vorstius, and displayed a particular liking for the Marshal.
The Queen remarked to one of the leading personages of de Bouillon's suite that she would prefer a Princess of France without a dower to a Florentine Princess with any amount of gold they might offer. As to the marriage with the Palatine, the Marshal has done wonders, and in company with the Count of Hanau and M. de Plessen, he has overcome many difficulties and concluded the business subject to the Princess' pleasure, who wishes first to see the Palatine and to be wooed a while. He will be here in a couple of months, and will stay the whole winter. The Marshal left for France the day before yesterday. He was accompanied to the port, which is three days' journey from here, by the Master of the Ceremonies and other gentlemen in the royal carriages. He received a gilded side-board of eight thousand ounces, most richly wrought, and a diamond set in a ring of other large diamonds as a jewel from the Queen, besides other gifts and favours. He frequently dined with the King in public and private in the city and outside, always lodged and boarded at the King's charges. The King took pleasure in his conversation and frequently sent for him without the Lieger. He left without being visited by the Spanish Ambassador on account of his refusal to be separated from the Lieger. The Spaniard when visiting me complained that de Bouillon had passed his word to the Flemish Ambassador that he would receive the Spanish Ambassador alone, and had then changed his mind. The quarrel between these Ambassadors grows bitterer daily; each of them confides in me, and I keep in good relations with all of them. De Bouillon came to take his leave of me and I went to wish him a good journey the evening before he left. It would have been impossible to do more than he has done in the time; he never let an hour pass without conducting business and that with equal prudence and good fortune. On his arrival he visited your Excellencies' Embassy immediately after being at Court, and it was the last house he called at before his departure. This he said he had done on purpose to show the esteem in which the Republic is held; and if any one ventured to disturb your Excellencies France would come to your aid as vigorously as the late King would have done. I was to write this. In taking my leave of the Marshal he said he had not had an answer yet about the Ambassador in the Grisons. I dwelt on the importance of the matter.
In spite of all that de Bouillon did here in favour of the Dutch and the German Princes the States especially are suspicious, and still believe that Spain will leave France alone in order to take advantage elsewhere; until the terms of the contract are published these suspicions will continue but diminished. Villeroy declares that there are no clauses of a treaty signed; when they are signed they will be shown to the Dutch Ambassador. The Palatine's Agents, having effected their object, with soon depart.
London, 31st May, 1612.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. Lenk. See Moriz Ritter “Die Union und Heinrich IV.” pp. 379–462.
  • 2. Adelmare of Treviso.