Venice: June 1612

Pages 366-385

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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June 1612

June 1. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 540. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty's Ambassador to the States has first told Count Maurice of the King's resolve to make him a Knight of the Garter, and then, on the seventh, he informed the States General. He said that the King, to show his love and esteem for those provinces, had resolved to bestow this order on Count Maurice. The late Queen sent it to the King of France, and when his Majesty came from Scotland he sent it to his brother-in-law the King of Denmark as he sent it now to the States, which, however, being a large body could not actually receive it and so, out of regard for them, he proposed to bestow it on Count Maurice, their Captain-General, who by so many and such brilliant victories had achieved for them their freedom. On the 14th the States returned thanks, and said that it would be as well to know whether in the oath which the knights took there was any clause which might be repugnant to Count Maurice's duties. On Thursday the 24th of last month, the Ambassador of the States had audience of the King and kissed his hand for the favour; then he gently touched on the doubt that had arisen. The King replied that there was no oath, that all the others had accepted without saying a word, that the Count after entering the order would be as free as he is now to fulfil his duties. The Ambassador then handed the King some papers Vorstius had printed in his defence. His Majesty then remarked that the Duke de Boullion had told him that the States had undertaken to pay the amount due from France to the Crown of England. The Ambassador said he had never heard of it, and in fact it could not be so, for he had letters of the 18th in which no mention was made of that subject. The Ambassador then went to de Boullion, who told him that Villeroy had advised him that one might say the States were resolved to assume the debt, for only one or two Provinces were still undecided.
I have letters from Germany and Holland; they have begun to receive despatches from their Ambassador in Constantinople. The Admiral of Holland has returned with his whole fleet. He made a long report to the Assembly, setting forth all his operations. He has great praise for the courtesy received in Lisbon and other Spanish ports.
The French Ambassador (Refuges) has not yet received a definite answer, but expects it daily. The Ambassador of the States in Paris writes to the Dutch Ambassador here that he has never been able to obtain a promise that they would continue to pay the infantry and the cavalry. On Tuesday the second son of the Duke of Modena was here. I sent the next day to invite him to take up his abode in this house, which he did three days ago. He has brought letters from the Queen of France for the King and the French Ambassador, who has visited him, as has also the Spanish Ambassador by means of his Secretary; the others will do likewise. In two or three days he will see the King, then the Queen, the Prince, the Princess and the Duke of York. Honours and favours will not be wanting for him from the Royal Household. He is a youth of about twenty years old, of sound sense and a handsome presence; he thinks of going to Flanders and thence to the Imperial Diet. His departure from Modena was taken on the advice of a certain Count Ludovico, his governor, who gradually brought him to it; and I think I see clearly that it all comes from a very high source, though appearances are against such a supposition. At Paris he received a considerable quantity of money from the Duke his father. He spoke to me about a sentence passed by the late Emperor in favour of Modenese claims on Comacchio, and his journey to Germany may have something to do with this. I have thought it to be to your Excellencies' interests to make this Prince come here and to secure him a good reception at Court and from others, so as to bind his father to you, as Spain is endeavouring to do the same by the favours she showed to the Ambassador of Mantua and to others.
To-day week I will give you a detailed account of certain events. As the post is now leaving I must close this, merely adding that the Earl of Salisbury has been at death's door for two days but has rallied a little. The Court has been in mouring a few days for the death of the Queen of Denmark.
London, first of June, 1612.
June 2. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 541. Giacomo Vendramin, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Lotti is returned from England. He was warmly welcomed and at once received the gift of a golden chain worth four hundred crowns. This is taken as a sign of good news about the match; others say it is a reward for good service in those parts. He is to return there and meantime Chioli remains.
Florence, 2nd June, 1612.
June 3. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 542. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
It seems that there is a real desire both on the part of the Duke and of the King of England to become close allies, be it by marriage or by other means. The guiding reason is the need to restore the balance of power, which has been upset by the Franco-Spanish matches.
Wotton sent his nephew to England on Monday last, to explain the situation to the King. He promises to be back in twenty-four days. Wotton says he will not await his return, but that is supposed to be intended to convince people that his nephew's mission is not of importance. The Duke, however, will move cautiously, nor will he commit himself until he is sure of what he can promise himself from England, so as to avoid waking the suspicions of France and Spain. Wotton advises the Duke to employ the good offices of the King of Spain, who, he says, is omnipotent. Thus the English appear to be alternately suspicious of and confident of Spain. Wotton, on his Sovreign's orders, is to return via Germany, to be present at the Electoral Diet.
Turin, 3rd June, 1612.
June 3. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 543. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Besides his nephew Wotton sent off post to England, the day before yesterday, Baron Rich, a great English gentleman. He has, as I understand, upwards of fifteen thousand pounds sterling of income, that is to say sixty thousand ducats. He came in the suite of the Ambassador, and his sudden departure gives rise to observations. Some say he has been recalled to take command of ten thousand infantry to be sent to the aid of the King of Denmark. Others attribute his departure to a quarrel with the Ambassador over the extraordinary favours shown him by the Duke, which appeared to the Ambassador if not to surpass at least to equal those shown to his Excellency. As Lord Rich and also some others of Wotton's suite are good Catholics, they visited these Churches daily and especially the Consolata, even twice a day, which gave the Ambassador the opportunity to break with him. Whatever be the cause, Lord Rich is gone. It is more likely that he has really left on business, and that a quarrel is put forward as a blind to prevent people attaching importance to these frequent despatches. On Thursday, Ascension Day, Lord Rich was invited to Chapel, and after Chapel to dinner with the Duke, who engaged him in long discourse, and at his taking leave presented him with a beautiful Spanish horse worth a thousand crowns. On his return to his lodging, intending to mount and be off, he found to his surprise that his trunks had been forced and a thousand dobloons in cash and a bill for one thousand five hundred more had been stolen. A lacquey was accused of it, but there were not wanting those who said this was the Ambassador's doing to prevent Lord Rich from starting for England. The truth must soon come to light.
Turin, 3rd June, 1612.
June 4. Consiglio de Dieci. Parti Communi. Venetian Archives. 544. To the Ambassador in England.
As your Secretary Scaramelli has left the Embassy and separated himself from you and behaved so badly, you will order him to return here at once and present himself to the Chiefs of the Ten. We have appointed Guilio Muscorno to fill his place. He is to leave in eight days.
Ayes 17.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 0.
June 6. Senato, Secreta. Communicate Venetian Archives. 545. That the despatches from the Ambassador in England of the 18th May, on the subject of precedence, be sent to the Cabinet in order that the necessary steps may be taken in the Senate.
June 6. Consiglio de' Dieci. Parti Secrete. Venetian Archives. 546. That the despatch of the Ambassador in England, dated May 18th, on the subject of precedence, be sent to the Cabinet that it may take suitable action.
Ayes 15.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 0.
June 7. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 547. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday, the 3rd of this month, I had audience of the King. I sought it on purpose to find out precisely what his Majesty knows about the rumoured confederation between the Pope, the King of France, the King of Spain, and the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and so cautiously and dexterously to carry out my orders. I foresaw that a prolonged silence as regards the favour recently shown to him who represents your Excellencies, would not be pleasing to the King. I began by saying “Sire, I am charged by the Serene Republic to say two things, one is most cordial thanks for the honour done her by your Majesty in treating her Ambassador on a par with those of Crowned Heads and in promising not to show the same deference to any others unless they can produce the same proofs of their right. The second point is to assure your Majesty that you may count upon the Republic in all circumstances.” The King listened to me with extreme satisfaction, which was visible in his countenance and in his movements by which he expressed his approval. Then after a pause I went on “Sire, the audiences of the Ambassadors of the Republic will always be of this nature, they will always contain matter pleasing to your Majesty whose goodness exactly suits the Republic whose sole object is to preserve herself intact.” The King expressed his satisfaction at what had been done in favour of your Excellencies. He spoke of your Serenity's indisposition and wished you many years of life. He then touched on the action of the French Ambassador in the Grisons, and said it must be due to the influence of the King of Spain. He went on to say that Queen of France was Spanish with Spain, a Huguenot with himself, and attached to the Dutch, and also to the Archduke and the Protestant Princes, in fact, she desires to be on good terms with everybody. He blamed this policy and said that she would have done better to preserve as allies the friends of her late husband instead of filling them with greater suspicions by treating all alike. The Duke of Bouillon had made the lamest of excuses for the Spanish matches. “What do you think it was?” said the King, “why, that as Spain had made the proposals she might have made their refusal a casus belli.” The Duke had done all he could to show that the Spanish alliance was in appearence rather than in fact; only of brief endurance, and that nothing hostile to England or her allies had been mentioned. The King had answered that he did not doubt that the Duke believed what he was saying, but the person who desired to hoodwink the King had first hoodwinked the Ambassador; and as it was the King of Spain and Villeroy alone who had negotiated the match they alone will also have inserted some secret clauses which they will publish when it suits them. The Duke denied this and offered every guarantee and satisfaction. I then seized the opportunity and asked if it was true that France, Spain, the Pope and the Grand Duke were allied. He said he had no more certain information than a rumour to that effect; that France and Spain might quite well enter into an alliance without his knowing it, just as he might enter into an alliance without their knowing it. The Marshal had presented him with a signed declaration that no such thing had taken place nor ever would take place. The Duke de Bouillon had urged the King to invite the Queen of France to enter the Union of the Protestant Princes, the Dutch and England declaring that she would consent and charging himself with the negotiations. The King asked me if I had any details. He then enquired how the Republic stood with the Pope and touched on the question of Goro, which I explained. I told him your Excellencies were entirely inclined to quiet and so, we hoped, was the Pope. The King declared his willingness to assist if it should be necessary. He praised the pacific policy of the Republic and used these very words, “We do not want to take any man's possessions but only to defend our own. By God there is no one can blame us.” From all this I seem to gather that his Majesty does not really know anything further about this confederation; that he is not alarmed about it, and thinks he has dealt a great blow by means of the Union; that he is very ready to draw close to his friends; that he has a good opinion of de Bouillon but thinks he may have been duped; that he has the worst opinion of the two Ministers who govern France; that he is anxious to hear what effect de Bouillon has on the Queen on his return to France; and that he sets some store by the paper left with him.
The King highly praised his Ambassador at your Serenity's Court and declared his satisfaction with him. I supported and emphasised all that was said, for the Ambassador merits it; he always makes most excellent representations. If you only knew the terms in which his Majesty speaks of him you would fully understand how pleased he would be if this Ambassador were caressed and favoured, which would certainly prove to be to your Serenity's service. The King then mentioned Wotton and remarked that your Excellencies have had two Ambassadors whose ability he recognised. On taking my leave I said to the King that there was a Prince of Modena staying in the Embassy, and I remarked that the Duke his father was like a son to your Serenity, as indeed were all the Princes of Italy; and so it was through your Serenity that he should kiss his Majesty's hand and offer him the service of himself of his father and of his house. The King replied that he would be glad to see him for himself, and still more so for his attachment to your Serenity.
London, 7th June, 1612.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 8. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 548. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Soon after my return from audience, the Master of the Ceremonies came to the Embassy in the King's name to visit the second son of the Duke of Modena, and to say that the following morning his Majesty desired to embrace him and would send carriages to convey him, as happened. I did not omit to cause him to be attended by my suite, my carriages and others besides, and so he appeared at Court as becomes a guest of your Serenity's Embassy. The King received him very graciously, and he presented the compliments of the Duke, his father, and also his own. He was brought back again in the same carriages, accompanied by Baron Burleigh, who, along with some other gentlemen, remained to dine here. The next day the King sent as a present to him and to your Ambassador a deer, and a message, delivered by a Scottish gentleman of rank, that his Majesty invited us to the chase any day that suited us best. We returned thanks and said we would receive that honour on the day that pleased his Majesty. The day before yesterday the Prince appointed an audience, which had to be put off till the Queen had been visited. She is to send her carriages here at two in the afternoon. After seeing the Queen the Prince of Modena will visit the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York and the Princess if he has time. During these days the Chamberlain, the Master of the Ceremonies and many other gentlemen have honoured this house. The Spanish Ambassador has visited the Prince of Modena, and has invited him to dine as well as myself. The Ambassador laid himself out in many promises, gave him the title of Excellence, told him he must visit Spain, assuring him that he would be very well satisfied. Thus does this Envoy actively serve his Master and endeavour to bind them all to him, so that your Serenity's Minister must not fall short either. I treat this Prince in such fashion that there can be no doubt that on his return his father will be much indebted to your Excellencies, for he receives extraordinary honours from their Majesties and the Prince, and he knows from which quarter they come. In this house he is treated as is becoming. The Count of Hanau and M. de Plessen, Ambassadors of the Palatine, have visited him and made many offers which he values as he is going to Germany. He will stay some days longer, as he wishes to see the King's Palace in the country and various things in the City, to pay a number of visits and then to take his leave of the Royal Family. He has written to his father and I enclose the letters, begging your Serenity to see them safely and speedily forwarded. I hope that your Excellencies will be able to count on this Prince, and if you think it to your service you might engage him by granting him a pension on condition that his father allowed your Serenity to raise five or six thousand infantry in his States at your slightest sign; that would be a fine stroke. The State of Modena is full of warlike people and close to your territory.
The Earl of Salisbury is dead. The King is greatly disturbed by this severe loss and all the Court shows striking grief. It is not known who will succeed him in his offices, though it is certain that they will be divided, and there is not a single man who has the ability to carry such a weight as he did. Rumour says he has left only twenty thousand crowns revenue burdened by two hundred crowns of debt. (fn. 1) The death of this great Minister must inevitably be unfortunate for your Serenity's service, for he showed a sincere and particular devotion to your interests, and great kindness to him who serves you. He drew a marked distinction between friends and friends. He nourished the ideas that flourished in the time of the late Queen, and in sooth your Serenity's loss is heavy. There remains, however, this consolation that in the King and Prince the determination to be united in bonds of affection to your Serenity lives in ineradicable strength. For me I shall feel acutely the need to deal with a new Minister—one does not know as yet who it is to be; it will take months to win his regard and may be I will never get so far forward as I did in the affection of Lord Salisbury, from whom I always received favours and obtained whatever I desired—a gentle confidence in regard to your Excellencies.
The King has sent two Scotch gentlemen, one to Denmark the other to Sweden, to negotitate a peace between the two Kings. The King of Sweden, who ran that danger which I reported, is alive, but injured in the arms and legs, which are all but dislocated, and this owing to the cold and the great blocks of ice that damaged him, so that in undressing him and especially in taking off his boots, which they had to cut, pieces of his flesh fell off. It is thought now that peace is certain, and the King said to Lord Willoughby who left a few days ago with the remainder of the reinforcements for Denmark, that he thought he would arrive when peace was concluded or on the point to be so.
The Palatine's Ambassadors, after signing the terms of the marriage contract, left the day before yesterday and take the road to Holland to negotiate about the Confederation. Two points remain before the marriage can be carried out. First, the Princess' consent, for she wishes to see him first and to be courted. The other is that as the Ambassadors exceeded their instructions further guarantees for the observance of the treaty are required.
A Council sat on the suggestion that an Ambassador should be sent, on the pretext of visiting the Italian Princes, to negotiate a match with the Grand Duke; but as the majority were hostile nothing will be done. It is known that on the 8th the Secretary Lotti was at Lyons; he is expected on the 16th at Florence. News was expected from him and as it has not arrived displeasure is felt and those who were favourable are now less inclined and those who were opposed make themselves heard.
London, 8th June, 1612.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 9. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 549. Giacomo Vendramin, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Secretary Lotti is still here, but will soon be sent back again. Continual prayers are being offered up for the success of these matches; but there is a serious obstacle in the way of the English match, which is perhaps the furthest forward, the question of the exercise of the Catholic Rite, which the King will grant to the Princess only in her rooms in the Palace, and a still graver difficulty is the question of the education of children; the King desires them to be brought up in his faith, while the Pope absolutely refuses his assent to the match except on an assurance here that the offspring will be brought up in the Catholic Faith. I hear that Don Giovanni de' Medici has been summoned from his villa with a view to sending him to Rome and also to England, to examine and arrange the difficulty. He has had frequent secret audiences of Madam at the Palace but I do not know their purport. He returned to his villa two days ago. There is another difficulty which is causing trouble in this English match. The King is in need of money and demands at least five hundred thousand crowns of dower, whereas here they do not wish to overstep the three hundred thousand left by the will of the Grand Duke Ferdinand. (Vi è ancora un' altra difficoltà die da travaglio in questo parentato con Inghilterra, so che quel Rè che ha bisogno di denari, dimanda almeno m/500 scudi per la dote, et qui non vorrebbono passare li m/300 lasciati per testamento del G. Duca Ferdinando.)
Firuze, 9th June, 1612.
June 9. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 550. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I have observed that the Florentine Secretary is in long and frequent secret discourse with the English Ambassador, the sole subject being the project of marriage between a Tuscan Princess and the Prince of Wales.
Besides the compliments which Don Pedro de Zuñiga is to convey to England he is also charged to gather clear information about the North-West passage, and to endeavour to break up the design.
Madrid, 9th June, 1612.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 10. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 551. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador of Great Britain insists on taking his leave. His demand is so pressing that it cannot be a ruse. He will leave in five or six days. The Duke has already prepared a present of jewels, bought in Milan for fifteen thousand crowns. The Duke is overstepping his means. I am told that between Ruffia's double mission, the presents to the King and Wotton's visit, he has spent close on one hundred thousand crowns. On Thursday the Duke, Prince Victor, and Prince Thomas invited Wotton to dine at that delicious place, Mirafiore, two miles out of Turin. He was entertained with sweet music. He stayed till evening, and then returned to Turin. Every day he visits one or other of these suburban places, where he is entertained at the chase and the dance. Yesterday evening the Secretary of the Count Cartignana (Ruffia) told me that the Ambassador's Secretary, who is the same as he had in Venice, is to remain here in Cartignana's house, on the Duke's orders. But as Cartignana had dismissed his household, intending on Wotton's departure to retire into the country, the Duke assigned him the house of Dr. Busca, near the Castle, where he can be conveniently lodged.
I have tried to find out what route the Ambassador will take and whether he will go to Venice as reported. I am assured he will go by Milan, Trent, Basel and down the Rhine. He chooses this route in order to avoid France, and also to please the gentlemen of his suite who have come out solely to see the world. His hurry to be off induces some to think he has a mission to some German Prince. All negotiations for alliance or marriage are dead. Everything is suspended till the return of Wotton's nephew, in whose company is Signor Fulvio Pergamo, of Asti, on the Duke's orders. He is well acquainted with England, as he was Secretary to Count Ruffia's missions. Pergamo takes with him the portraits of the Princesses to show to the King and the Prince. Also a considerable number of gold piasters of ten crowns each, to be given to a certain Gioan Marco, a Genoese, sometime musician to the Duke and now to the Queen of England, so that he may continue to furnish news from that Kingdom.
The Duke is much put out by Wotton's assertion that the offices of the King of Spain are essential for the effectuation of an Anglo-Savoyard match. He cannot understand why the King of England should be so complaisant to the King of Spain. The Duke could not conceal from Wotton certain signs of his disgust; declaring they could not see the necessity to take Spaniards as intermediaries in the match. Wotton who saw he had awakened suspicion did all he could to allay it, declaring that his Master never dreamed of treating in other than loyal and sincere fashion, that he had never intended that Spain should act as mediator, only that as the question was about the marriage of the King of Spain's niece it was necessary to consult him. The Duke appeared somewhat satisfied.
Turin, 10th June, 1612.
June 12. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 552. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 5th de Bouillon returned from England. He visited the English Ambassador, who is ill. To-morrow he leaves for Fontainebleau. He gives a grand account of the honours bestowed on him, and since his return the rumours of a matrimonial alliance between the elder Princess of France and the Prince of Wales are greatly revived. The Huguenots are disgusted and very angry with de Bouillon. The more he loses with them the more he gains with the Queen, who has given him a beautiful house in Paris.
The day before yesterday a gentleman in the suite of Sir Henry Wotton passed through express from Turin to England. It seems absurd of him to have said that negotiations for that match are going forward when on all sides one hears that the match with the Palatine is completed.
Paris, 12th June, 1612.
June 14. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 553. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The day before yesterday a nephew of Sir Henry Wotton was here with letters of the last day of last month. He had been stayed four days at Dieppe on account of the wind; he made the land journey in a little more than nine days, which is very quick travelling. I have not seen him yet, but I hear that the Ambassador has had long secret audiences with the Duke, who has sent an Agent (Pergamo) here in company with the Ambassador's nephew.
There are very recent letters from Spain with news that Don Pedro de Zuñiga is coming with a mission to speak about the Princess for his Catholic Majesty should he find an inclination that way. At Brussels they hope that this will be so gratifying here that it will interrupt any resolution that has been taken. The truth is that the match with the Palatine is concluded and approaching effectuation. The Elector is to be in Holland early in August and here soon after for this very purpose. These arrangements can hardly be changed or altered, as they were made to suit the King's pleasure. With Spain there would be many difficulties, and, in the opinion of those who know, quite insuperable. The Bishops are vigorously opposed to any treaty for a marriage between the Prince of Wales and the second sister of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, an idea which is thwarted from all sides and fades away more and more. General Cecil, who supported it after the death of the Earl of Salisbury, is fallen from power. I know from a sure source that the Prince's Chamberlain frankly told the Florentine Secretary that if they could not come to some accommodation on the question of religion, such for instance, that the Grand Duke's sister should enjoy freedom of conscience and should not be compelled to communicate according to the Anglican rite, but should only appear in public to belong to it, there was no hope of carrying the negotiations to a conclusion. The Chamberlain cited precedents. The Secretary said he must await the orders which will arrive after Lotti has reached Florence; nothing could be said save that the decision lay with the Grand Duke. Recently when discussing with the Florentine Secretary the subject of the Franco-Spanish matches, he told me that ten months ago an agreement was drawn up in writing between the two Courts, and one may say that from that date the matches were virtually concluded. They were only published some months later. The negotiations had been going on for long, and had encountered many difficulties, chiefly on the side of France, owing to the dread lest the Princes of the blood should prove hostile, Savoy be annoyed, and the Protestant Princes suspicious. The idea that the Infanta should renounce her rights to the succession was most repugnant, and it was even proposed that the Salic law should be suspended, once in a way, but the difficulties were insuperable. They also discussed the date when the brides were to go to their husbands, and it was settled that they should go at twelve years of age. The marriage of the King will take place in France, of the Prince, in Spain. The Spanish were always ready for this match. The Secretary appeared to think that the marriages would not alter the position of affairs, for it was impossible that the two Crowns should assist, or even abstain from thwarting, the aggrandisement of each other.
The King applies himself to business assiduously since the death of Salisbury, thus following his advice before he left for the Bath, namely, that his Majesty should conduct business himself, and not entrust it to the hands of a single man, or even to two, but rather to employ the whole Council. The Lord Treasurership is not yet filled up, and it seems that the King is thinking of putting it into Commission among four Ministers, Pembroke, Northampton, Rochester and Sir Julius Cæsar, who at the present fills the post. He is also thinking of dividing the office of first Secretary. Lord Wotton greatly regrets that Sir Henry, his brother, is absent in Savoy, as he might now hit the mark, and become one of the two Secretaries who will be named to fill Lord Salisbury's place. No decision has been reached, and for the present his Majesty himself superintends all; applying himself courageously and indefatigably to business. If Sir Henry Wotton did become Secretary it would be of great service to your Excellencies.
London, 14th June, 1612.
June 15. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 554. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The same day as I sent my last despatch the Queen's carriages came to convey the Prince of Modena to audience. The Queen received him very graciously. He then paid his respects to the Princess, as the Prince had that day gone hunting. The day following he saw the Prince and the Duke of York. The Prince's Chamberlain told me that his Highness would like to see the Prince of Modena at Richmond, whither he went the day before yesterday. Yesterday he went hunting with the King, and although I too received an invitation I let him go alone so as not to rob him of any of the honour, but the moment the King saw I was not there he sent to tell me to come at once. I told his Majesty that I had come to receive his commands and to thank him for the favour. On going out to hunt the King, with whom I was, laid his hand on the Prince's shoulder, who bowed low and said that he was for ever his Majesty's most humble servant, and begged his Majesty to receive his father and all his house in the like degree. The King replied with these very words: “You will find as much friendship here as at Venice, for the Republic and ourselves are so closely bound together that we shall never separate, and it is, therefore, natural that we should have our friends in common and our interests identical. You and your father the Duke may therefore promise yourselves from us all that you would have from Venice.” At this the King looked at me as if inviting me to confirm, so I said that the Princes of Italy were all sons of your Serenity, and so much was the Duke of Modena beloved that he was worthy to be his Majesty's servant. With that the King and I passed on ahead, and the Prince fell behind and walked with the Duke of Lennox. It is quite clear that this Court attaches great importance to your Excellencies, and the Prince recognises the honours that are done him as due to your Serenity. Last week he reported to the Duke, to the Prince and to the Cardinal, all by means of a certain Cavaliere Cortese. He came by way of Provence on purpose to meet the Duke of Guise, a relation, and to avail himself of his means to introduce him to the service of the Queen of France, and so to make a career, as he has five brothers and three nephews. At Paris for some days the house of Lorraine supported him, but when they found he intended to stay in France they were opposed to any further difusion of the Queen's bounty. She, however, welcomed him kindly, and engaged him for a certain period, and advised him to see Flanders, England, Germany. But the answer was of a nature to induce him to look elsewhere. He would like to serve your Excellencies, and being the favourite son of his father it might be possible to obtain leave to raise four or five thousand infantry in his territory. He told me he would on his return to Modena lay this idea before the Duke.
Yesterday the King talked of little else than the chace, as is usual when he is in the country.
London, 15th June, 1612.
June 15. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 555. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Along with Sir Henry Wotton's nephew and the gentleman of the Duke of Savoy there arrived here Lord Rich from Turin. The Ambassador's nephew went straight to the King, to whom he gave letters in which Wotton writes “the favours received at this Court, the nature of these Princes and the Duke's devotion to your Majesty you will learn from the lips of my nephew.” He then goes on to give an account of his actions and of the replies made by his Highness, and says that as he is on the point of departure he will keep all in his breast till his return; the Duke begs the King to delay deciding about the marriage till he has heard the Duke's proposals. At first sight the Duke is not entirely satisfied, it seems, though he tried to appear so. He did not conceal the fact that there would be much to answer, only he desired to conform his conduct to his Majesty's taste. He then put forward other proposals such as the Princess Maria for the Prince; the despatch of an express was intended chiefly to cut across the Grand Duke's negotiations. The Duke's agent brings the portrait of the Princess Maria, of her other sister, of the Prince, of the Duke and of the late Duchess, the Infanta; he is lodged and boarded at the King's charges and his Majesty has lent a gracious ear. This in short is all that I have been able to find out these two days in which I have given my mind and my attention to it. Sir Henry Wotton will be here in twelve or fifteen days; he will bring more than one proposal. After he has seen the King I will do all I can to find out what has taken place, and by the help of God your Excellencies shall be duly informed, although, of course, thanks to the Ambassador Gussoni's diligence you must by now know all about it.
To-day the French Ambassador has sent his Secretary in haste to his Sovereign, and he ought to be back in six days. I will endeavour to find out the cause of this and hope to explain it this day week.
London, 15th June, 1612.
June 16. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 556. Giacomo Vendramin, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Giovanni de' Medici has returned from his villa to the town, and has long interviews with Madama. They say he is to go to Rome and England; it is also rumoured that Baron Coloredo will go to England. But one can say nothing positive.
Florence, 16th June, 1612.
June 17. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 557. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
When the Duke was assured of the resolute determination of the English Ambassador to stay no longer at this Court, his Highness prepared to grant him the congè he had so frequently sought. And so on Whit Monday the Duke invited the Ambassador to dine with him in public here in Turin; and after a long conversation which turned upon agreeable subjects rather than on business, he invited Wotton to be present at a tilting match (correre al Fachino) in the Piazza Castello. It was a fine sight, both for the number of gentlemen of the Court who took a part in it, and especially for the presence of the Princes Victor and Thomas and the Duke of Nemours, who took especial pains to excel the rest. It was an easy matter, however, to award the prize, for Prince Victor far surpassed the others, to the marvel not only of the Ambassador but of all who were looking on. The Princesses, although a balcony had been prepared for them looking over the Piazza, chose to attend in their carriages with their suites, and either by chance or on purpose their carriages was drawn up opposite the carriage of the Ambassador, who had leisure to observe them during the whole time of the joust.
The next day Wotton took his leave of his Highness, of the Princes and Princesses, and received from the Duke a most lovely jewel; all his suite and his officials also received presents, the suite jewels, the officials chains worth two hundred crowns a piece. Wotton left on Wednesday, escorted by the guard, and in the Ducal carriages which took him as far as Milan. His Secretary accompanied him for a bit, and is to return here. What astonished me was that Wotton did not pay me a farewell visit as is the custom. He had pledged himself to do so, and seeing him depart without a word, perplexes me as to what can be the reason. If his Secretary returns I have determined to touch on this point cautiously, so as to see what excuse he offers for his Chief.
Turin, 17th June, 1612.
June 18. Consiglio de' Dieci. Parti Secrete. Venetian Archives. 558. That to gratify the English Ambassador the safe-conduct, granted for five years on the 5th April, 1607, to Hieronimo Monte who on the 27th June, 1605, was banished in perpetuity from our State on pain of death and under the condition that he could not be absolved under ten years, be now extended for three years more.
Ayes 6. Second vote Ayes 6.
Noes 1. Noes 0.
Neutrals 3. Neutrals 3.
Not carried.
June 24. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 559. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Wotton's Secretary, William Parkhurst (Parco), has returned. He called on me and without a word from me offered his master's apologies for not having waited on me before his departure. He said he had not intended to leave that day, but had to do so suddenly; in fact he admitted the error, and strove to cover it as well as he could, but had nothing really to say. I said I regretted that such an incident should have arisen between the representatives of two friendly powers, giving occasion to remarks. Wotton's nephew is not to return here. The Secretary will stay on to wind up affairs here, as Pergamo will do in England. He admits that it is true that there are negotiations for the marriage of one of these Princesses to the Prince of Wales, and the negotiations for a league he does not deny. But I could not bring him down to particulars. Of your Serenity he spoke in such terms as showed that in England they desired rather than expected a union; he professed astonishment that when all other powers were procuring alliances your Serenity alone remained in your wonted neutrality. He went on to praise the Dutch, who, he said, desired a closer union with your Serenity, and they especially desired that both your Serenity and they should keep Ambassadors at the respective Courts. He urged that at a pinch no power could more effectually assist the Serene Republic, as the Dutch always had a large number of ships inside the Straits, and by a simple order to them to join the Venetian fleet they could greatly assist the position of the State. He added that his Master had caused his Ambassador in Venice to touch on this point, but the Nuncio and some other Envoy were the reason why nothing had been carried through. He told me that on the Duke's orders Wotton had been received in Asti by the governors, who had given a review of the troops, which number in reality two thousand, though called two thousand three hundred. Wotton is going to Frankfort via Basel. At Frankfort he will stay some weeks to see whether, after the Imperial election, they will proceed to elect the King of the Romans.
Turin, 24th June, 1612.
June 26. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 560. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
De Bouillon went last week to Fontainebleau. They have made public his report of the honour bestowed on him, but kept secret the account he gave of his negotiations. It seems, however, that it has not given satisfaction. The King of England on receiving de Bouillon's justification of the Franco-Spanish matches displayed nervous irritability. The English Ambassador here went soon after to Court to mark the result, and to conclude the affair of the Scottish soldiers of the Guard. On the 22nd Don Pedro de Zuñiga, Ambassador Extraordinary to England, was here.
Paris, 26th June, 1612.
June 27. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 561. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I acknowledge, with due reverence, the receipt of despatches with orders to insist upon just precedence, but gently so as not to give rise to the necessity of adducing proof. I wish to say that my letter to the Earl of Salisbury setting forth my claim, stated things so patent that no further proofs were required than the mere opening of the eyes. It is as well that the letter is in existence as it is the basis of the claim, and sets forth not only your Excellencies' rank but also the fact that no other Princes nor Crowned Heads enjoy a similar rank and that is very important. I was in doubt as to whether I should present your Serenity's letter to his Majesty, especially as it was left to my judgement, and there was no word in it about thanks for the promise that no one else should be treated in this way until he had proved as much as I have proved. However I did present it at my audience of Monday the 18th, and added words of thanks. The King took the letter, withdrew a little and read it; then he returned with a cheerful countenance and said “Yes, you are right, the letter speaks in these terms, and I am glad I was able to grant this favour.” To this I replied merely with a bow, waiting a more favourable opportunity which I knew would not fail me when at the chase, for which everything was now ready. After going downstairs with his Majesty he caused me to be seated next him in the carriage, with the Prince of Modena and the Duke of Lennox opposite. The King chased the roe-deer for at least four hours on end, in perpetual movement. When it was over the King dismounted and was pleased to drink to my good-hunting. I took the opportunity as we were returning to the carriage to say “Sire, in the reply which your Majesty will send to the letters of my Masters, I beseech you to touch on two points, one is the honour done them in treating their Ambassador on a par with the Envoys of Crowned Heads, the other is that no one else will be so treated until they can establish a like pre-eminence of royal rank such as I have demonstrated on behalf of the Republic. I should esteem it a special favour from your Majesty; because as I have reported word for word your Majesty's remarks to me, I naturally desire that your Majesty's reply should confirm my report.” The King told me to draw up a note on the two points, and he would give orders immediately. His Majesty desired me to wait on him again at the chase in the afternoon, and that over I took my leave and he went to Theobalds while I returned to London. I reminded him in the most gracious terms I could find about the two points to be included in his answer and he repeated that I was to send in a note thereon the next day, just a couple of words; he was coming to London and would see that it was done. He said he would be pleased to see me now anytime when it suited me, at the chase in the same informal way as to-day. For all of which I kissed his hands. The next day I sent to Sir Thomas Lake, in whose hands I knew that your Serenity's letters lay, begging him to receive me, so that I might press the matter viva voce, but as he only fills the post provisionally he excused himself; and so I, unable to do anything else, sent him the following words on a piece of paper: “The two points, which the King ordered the Ambassador to recall to his memory, are to confirm the favour shown to his Serenity in the person of his Ambassador, and the promise not to grant a like favour to any others until they have proved what the Ambassador has proved.” Sir Thomas promised to speak to the King and to send a draft of the reply to your Serenity and to inform me of everything as I begged. On Friday the 22nd Mr. Edmondes, (fn. 2) Clerk to the Council, came to say on his Majesty's behalf that if I had business to conduct I was to apply to the Lord Chamberlain or to one of the Clerks of the Council, I therefore took the opportunity to explain to Edmondes what had taken place, and to say that the King had given me his word; I therefore begged that it should be put into effect in the reply to your Serenity, by the inclusion of the two points. I said that since he was at my service I should be pleased to deal with him, and I begged him to so act with Sir Thomas Lake that the King's word should be kept. He promised to help me and said that as the matter was in good hands it would end well and quickly, as indeed happened the same day. I sent twice to Lake, the last time on Tuesday. The first time I was told that the answer had been sent to the English Ambassador with orders to present it in suitable terms; the second time they gave me the copy, which I send, though I am assured that the Ambassador will have already presented the original; I did not wish to report all this to your Excellencies until the reply had been sent, and I did not know about that until too late to catch the ordinary post. His Majesty's letter is an explicit reply to your Serenity's letter on the first point, the honour done by ranking your Ambassador on a par with Envoys of Crowned Heads; the second point, the promise not to grant this honour to others unless they prove a like right, is stated somewhat more concisely. During the Earl of Salisbury's life I would have had the courage to press for a clear statement; but even as it is your Excellencies have gained a great point. Only two writings have left my hands during the whole of this business, one was that brief note to Sir Thomas Lake recalling the points, which has proved useful, as it has induced a reference to the King's promise on the second head—this may have been set out more fully in the letter to your Serenity; the other was the answer to Lord Salisbury proving that at other Courts the Venetian Ambassador was treated on a par with the Envoys and Crowned Heads, while the Envoys of all other Princes were excluded. This is virtually the second point in his Majesty's reply.
I have thought it my duty to give a full account of all that I have done, and of the aims which I had in view. If in all this I have entirely fulfilled your Excellencies' wishes, I humbly thank God, only wishing that my abilities were equal to my desire.
London, 27th June, 1612.
Copy of the King's letter.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 562. James, King.
The honour done to your Republic is, we learn from your Ambassador, very gratifying to you.
Your Ambassador has proved the rank your Envoys hold at other Courts. We who desire the increase not the diminution of your honour have gladly conceded your Ambassador's request, although the favour is only granted to Ambassadors of Kings.
Westminster, 12th June, 1612.
June 28. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 563. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Secretary sent to Paris by the French Ambassador had orders to deal with the debt due from France to England. The Ambassador is awaiting a courier whom Villeroy was to send off immediately on the arrival of de Bouillon. I am told by a person in whom I place faith that they are negotiating a match between the second French Princess and the second son of Spain, and that it is quite near to a conclusion. They are getting ready the Queen's Palace (fn. 3) here, where the Palatine is to be lodged when he comes in the autumn. The Duke of Savoy's Agent is still living at the King' charges; and over and above the offer of the Princess Maria's hand for the Prince made to Sir Henry Wotton by the Duke, I hear that the Duke proposed a defensive alliance as a counter balance to the Franco-Spanish matches and alliance. My informant said that the Duke would very likely find an inclination in his Majesty either to conclude such an alliance or to cause the Duke to enter the league of Princes of which his Majesty is the head. His Majesty intends to send Sir Henry Wotton's nephew back to meet him; with what orders I know not, nor indeed whether he has started.
The Ambassador extraordinary of Spain is expected here and the officials are getting his lodging ready, but as the King left yesterday and will not return, they say, before the Progress, which is to begin thirty days hence and to be through the County of Nottingham, one hundred miles away,—it is supposed that the Ambassador will have to go out to a more or less distance to find the King.
Recently at the discussion of various affairs the King required the Prince's presence; he will take him on Progress and the Council will also attend; a thing that has not happened recently owing to the feeblensss of the Earl of Salisbury. If this takes place I also propose to follow the King so as the better to serve your Excellencies, without any regard to the cost, which will be great, for it is my duty to spend my very blood in your service.
On Sunday, the 24th, the French Ambassador came to see me. He told me what M. Paschal, the French Ambassador to the Grisons, had done on the orders of Villeroy. He imagines that for the future Paschal will not act otherwise than in a friendly way; the confederation will remain active for a year longer, and all cause of friction between their most Christian Majesties and your Excellencies will be removed. I replied that it was to French interests to keep the federation alive; the late King attached great importance to it, and he was a sovreign so powerful, so revered, so admired, that he justly deserved the title of “Great.” The Ambassador thereupon said he would use his best offices, and I promised the same on my side.
A gentleman from the Landgrave has been here some days. He comes to return thanks for favours shown to the Landgrave's son, and to present some horses to the Prince. He has also dropped a word about the Landgrave's daughter as a match for the Prince. He praises her beauty, and dwells upon the fact that it might be useful to have his Master and his State the devoted dependent of this Crown. The terms would be such as pleased the King and the Prince. But here they lend but little ear.
The Florentine Secretary continues to negotiate through General Cecil, but very feebly. He has recently given some bronze statues of great value to the Prince, and to the Queen a quantity of silk and gold webs. He told me he had news of Lotti from Genoa, and expects every moment to hear of his arrival in Florence.
It is held for certain that Parliament will meet in September, when the marriages of the Prince and Princess will be discussed; and certain points unsettled in the last Parliament, will be wound up. Meantime the King has given the Wardship of Minors to Carr, who was Ambassador in France.
News from Denmark that the King has made himself Master of Ellenborog Castle, where he has taken most of his troops, including the English.
Letters from the Hague and from Germany. They are pleased that the marriage of the Princess and the Palatine is settled, and thus they are freed from all suspicion that there might be a Spanish match. They have great hopes from this marriage and the confederation lately stipulated. The news from Denmark shows that the King is leaning towards peace; there is a dearth of money, and the Hanseatic towns are not favourable.
The King told me that the natives of Guinea are willing to obey this Crown.
London, 28th June, 1612.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 28. Original Despatch Venetian Archives. 564. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Monday week the second son of Modena took his leave of the King, having the same day had the honour to wait on the King before and after dinner. The King charged him to greet his father the Duke. On Saturday he took leave of the Prince at Richmond and then of the Duke of York, and the Princess on Sunday sent to present him with two beautiful mules. The Prince then returned the Ambassadors' visits and left the day before yesterday. He has been exceptionally honoured, and is duly grateful, so that the expense of feeding and lodging him for a whole month along with the six gentlemen and all the other servants in his train, will not be thrown away.
On Sunday the Chamberlain and four or five other leading gentlemen of the Queen's household came to dine here. In the Queen's name they wished him a good journey, as her Majesty, on account of a slight indisposition, was unable to receive him herself as she desired. He is leaving via Germany and may stay in Frankfort. When he reaches Modena he will speak to his father and brother and then communicate with me.
London, 28th June, 1612.
June 30. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Florence. Venetian Archives. 565. Domenico Dominici, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Baron Coloredo has reached Rome. He is sent to obtain the Pope's consent to the marriage of the Princess with the Prince of England, and to resolve theologically the difficulties that may arise owing to the different religions of the pair. Madama's confessor, Fra Centurione of the order of S. Augustine, a man of great erudition, has also been sent to his Holiness.
Florence, the last of June, 1612.
June 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 566. Tommaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Grand Duke has sent Baron Coloredo to express his satisfaction at the alliance which Don Virginio Orsini has contracted with his Holiness' family. Don Giovanni de' Medici is still here. He arrived late on Monday—but incognito and receiving no visits except from those with whom he has business, which is to secure the Pope's assent to the marriage of the second Princess of Tuscany to the Prince of Wales. At the Palace they say he will meet with opposition from the Pope; but on the other hand the arrival of Don Giovanni at the Court causes people to say that he has come on a fait accompli, and the delay is merely to satisfy the Pope's prestige. The question is referred to Cardinals Bellarmin and Molino. (fn. 4)
Don Virginio Orsini arrived on Sunday, but an attack of the gout kept him in bed. He has with him the Ambassador in ordinary and the Grand Duke's confessor, who are dealing with this English match.
The French Ambassador told me that the Dutch Ambassador at the Porte, besides his negotiations for commerce, has offered the Sultan munitions and ships in abundance if he will attack the States of the Church or of his Catholic Majesty. This offer has greatly assisted his negotiations though he was opposed by the French and English Ambassadors.
Rome, 30th June, 1612.


  • 1. See Cal. S.P. Dom., June 25. “In his last letter to the King, in which he recommended Sir Henry Wotton, he vowed that he was £100,000 poorer than when he entered the Treasury.”
  • 2. Clement Edmondes, Clerk of the Council. See Cal. S.P. Dom., 1611—1618, p. 262.
  • 3. Somerset House.
  • 4. Johannes Garsia Millinus; see Ciaconius, Vitæ et res gestæ Pontificum Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalium. Tonm iv. 404.