Venice: January 1613

Pages 471-488

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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January 1613

1613. Jan. 3. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 731. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and said:
“The reason that brings me here this morning is far removed from my mourning robes which I wear for the death of a Prince, for I am come to offer congratulations to another Prince, though he is not present, a Prince who by the Grace of God has reached to hale old age. History shows how closely bound together have been the Kingdom of England and the Republic to their mutual benefit on important occasions, though they are far away from one another. Though three New Years' days have passed since I came here, I am prouder of nothing than that I shall return to my country without a single cloud having arisen during this whole period.” Francesco Moresini, the senior Councillor present, replied.
The Ambassador said he had delayed to present his compliments until his letters arrived from England, so that he might give news of that Court, but unfortunately, by whose fault he knew not, the cover of the despatch alone without any enclosure had been delivered at his house. Moresini replied that he was sorry to hear of this, and Antonio Priuli, Procuratore and Savio of the week, asked if the Ambassador knew whether this had happened inside or outside the State of Venice. The Ambassador said he knew nothing. Priuli then told the Ambassador that Foscarini's despatches showed that the King was well, and was about to return to London, where the wedding was to take place in May.
Jan. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 732. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King was here this day week. I at once went to kiss his hand and to congratulate him on his return. He expressed his thanks in very warm terms. He then fell ill and has been for four or five days in bed with a pain in his side and right arm, the beginnings of gout and some fever caused by the pain. All the same, they hope that he will be up again in two or three days. No ambassador has had audience since the death of the Prince, but they will be received as soon as the King is better. I am sure of being admitted in the order and with the ceremony that is due to your Excellencies, as I have taken care to secure. I will then present your Excellencies letters. Four days ago the Secretary of the Ambassador in Spain was here; a Council was held in the morning and in the afternoon. The alarm about Ireland and Virginia is growing, and they are studying the way to meet it. The Spanish Ambassador has had no other satisfaction than words in the affair of the plundered ships. It is believed that in Germany the spring will not pass in peace.
The request of the Palatine that the marriage should take place at once has proved efficacious with the King, who has given orders that every one is to go out of mourning on March the 14th and to don gala dress. The officers of the Court and of the Crown have issued the necessary orders for the solemn celebration of the marriage in a way that befits the only daughter of so great a King. The post of Governor to the Prince is being eagerly sought by all the great nobles; but as the Queen has begged the King to leave that duty to her it is likely that he will not refuse to allow the mother to have the charge of her only son.
On the last day of last month the King, on a sudden resolve, gave the Garter to the Elector, who went to Windsor the day before yesterday, accompanied by the knights, to take the usual oath. The first ceremony was conducted privately in the King's Chamber; the knights wearing their robes over their mourning; the other ceremony will be conducted in a like manner. The King is doing all he can to forget his grief, but it is not sufficient; for many a time it will come over him suddenly and even in the midst of the most important discussions he will burst out with “Henry is dead, Henry is dead.” (Procura la Macstà sua divertir quanto può dal dolore per la morte del Principe, ma non è quanto intieramente basti; perchè ben spesso si risente d'improviso, et dice anco nel mezo de' i più importanti ragionamenti Henrico è morto, Henrico è morto.)
There is news from France that the Queen has broken up the Huguenot Diet, granting some of the points they claim. But the Duke of Rohan and others are very ill-satisfied with the three who govern as they choose. My informant is in a position to know, and he assures me that since the death of Henry IV. the pensions have risen till they now exceed by three hundred thousand crowns a year the revenue; this is serious; the treasure in the Bastile is gone. Sully told me that of the vast treasure which existed at the death of King Henry nothing now remained but one million six hundred thousand crowns.
The day before yesterday an Ambassador from the Duke of Lorraine (fn. 1) arrived. I sent to wait on him. He comes to condole. Ambassadors from Neuburg have reached England for the same purpose, and to negotiate. The gentlemen from Conti and Joinville are usually with the Ambassador of Lorraine. He first told me of a violent scene between the Duke of Guise and the Chancellor. Guise told the Chancellor that the nobility of France would not stand being ill-treated; that he himself could always have two or three thousand gentlemen at his back for the Queen's service, his own and that of his friends; he declared that if the door were shut against him he would kick it in. The Chancellor replied that he took these words for a bad sign, and the Duke said “Yes! a bad sign for you; for I'll open a way for myself with the sword wherever I choose.”
The latest news from Düsseldorf is that the “possessioners” are closely united. Both are afraid of the arms of Austria and of Flanders. Count Furstenberg and two Imperial Councillors are in Aix-la-Chapelle. They demand the restoration of the old magistracy and the free exercise of the Catholic rite. They have invited the citizens to lay down their arms and to restore the Jesuits to their property and monasteries; they added that if any difficulty were raised his Cæsarean Majesty would know how to exact obedience for his commands by force. An assembly is to meet at Erfurt, where the Landgrave of Hesse, the Marquis Ernst of Criembach and two other Commissioners will discuss the Cleves succession. The Diet of Hall will then meet to decide what help is to be given to the “possessioners.”
London, 5th January, 1612. [m.v.]
Jan. 6. Collegio, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 733. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke, discussing the sudden death of the Prince of Wales and the rumours about it, remarked that neither the King nor the Queen were too fond of him. He was expecting Gabaleone hourly at Court. Gabaleone arrived in Turin two days ago.
Turin, 6th January, 1612. [m.v.]
Jan. 11. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 734. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday, which according to this rite is the third feast of Christmas, the nuptial contract was solemnized between the Princess and the Elector. He went in the morning to the Princess's Chamber, gave her his right hand and led her to the King's Chamber, surrounded by her ladies. There they kneeled to receive the blessing which his Majesty gave. They then went to the Great Hall, where all their festivities are held. There they found the Prince, and presently the King took his seat. The Princess, with the Elector by her, then stood forth from the baldachino. The Hall was all hung with tapestries. Standing opposite each other thus, Lake, who fills the post of Secretary, read a form of contract and pledge, quite brief in terms. Then the Palatine said, “I, Frederick, Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of both Bavarias, take you Madame Elizabeth, daughter of the most powerful, high and glorious King of Great Britain, for rich or poor, for well or ill, to be my wife while life me lasts.” Then the Princess, when the Elector had ceased, said, “And I, Elizabeth,”—repeating the same words. The Archbishop then gave the blessing, and added a few words. The King withdrew to his Chamber, and so did the Elector after accompanying the Princess so far. They dined with his Majesty, as I shall presently relate. The King would not consent to the wedding taking place at once, though many personages endeavoured to persuade him on account of the great expenses; but his Majesty stood firm, declaring that mourning should be mourning, and marriage rejoicings rejoicings. The ring was not given, nor was aught else done save what I have reported, with the sole object of stopping talk and convincing the world that the match was fixed. The Elector was in colours and gold; the Prince in black and silver. Both afterwards resumed their mourning. The marriage will be celebrated and consummated at the date I gave. The couple will be together for fifteen days; then the Elector will go to Germany, whither he is called by important affairs. The Princess will be sent by the King with a great train and will be received by the Elector, after they have seen what bent affairs may take, especially in Germany. The Queen could not be present at the ceremony as she is suffering from pain in her foot, and the King came in limping and walking with difficulty. At dinner the King pledged the Palatine without removing his hat; adding, however, with great affection, that on any other occasion he would have treated the Elector as a Prince and removed his hat, but now he wished to treat him as a son and without ceremony. They are preparing, against the marriage day, four masques, one of Earls and Barons, one of Countesses and Baronesses, the fourth of Knights, and the fifth of lovely maidens. They are to cost upwards of one hundred thousand crowns; and besides this there will be fêtes and tourneys. The Elector is awaiting letters from Heidelberg. They have been greatly delayed on account of the storm; none of last week's despatches have arrived yet. The despatch I sent with the news of the Prince's death ought to have reached you in ten days, instead it took thirteen and more, having lost three days at sea. During the last two months there have been more than three hundred wrecks with great loss of life and goods on these shores. It is believed that many pirates have also suffered, as we know that two or three of their ships have gone to the bottom.
I have now learned from a sure source the details of the despatches brought by the Secretary of the English Ambassador in Spain—namely, that the Spanish are putting together, in various ports, a fleet of eight ships of war, and that it is certain they are intended for Ireland or Virginia; he warns the Government to be on the watch and to provide a remedy, for it will depend on Don Pedro de Zuñiga's report as to the relations he has established in Ireland whether the fleet will go there or to Virginià. Here they are all agreed as to preparations but not quite as to their nature or the time. Finally, as regards Ireland, orders have been sent to guard the ports and towns and shores, though it is thought that the season will protect them for the present; nor are they sure that the Spanish fleet is really gathered yet. They are studying the way to fit out a number of ships, but before doing so they will await further news, and they will be ready in time, thanks to the closeness of Ireland, and the ease with which the King can fit out a fleet at very little cost, as seamen and others are bound to serve at very low rates. For Virginia, which is separated by so wide a tract of sea, all are agreed that the garrisons must be strengthened with fresh forces. But of the one hundred and sixty thousand crowns which, as I informed you, was the outcome of the lottery, a large part is missing. All the same, as the Colony is supported by a large and wealthy company of merchants, a remedy will easily be found by raising a proportionate contribution from the members, and the succours despatched will be adequate to garrison and secure the four fortresses of those parts. Six days ago the Spanish Ambassador received a courier from his Master; he has not seen the King nor Council since.
London, 11th January, 1613. [m.v.]
Jan. 11. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 735. Christoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassadors of France, England, and the Dutch, as well as myself, have taken into mature consideration the urgent request of the Grand Vizir as regards the Casaplick; we came to the resolve to offer a vigorous resistance. We determined to use the proper arguments and to strengthen them in the usual way of this country if the necessity arose. We had to come to this decision under pressure for time, for if the point remained unsettled we ran the risk of the Emin, in the Pasha's absence, enforcing the orders he had already received. We, therefore, all together, went out to find him already under canvas outside the city, and we said that we did not wish him to depart without hearing our answer, which we placed before him at great length, dwelling on the injury to our Sovreigns, and to the Sultan as well, by the breach of ancient capitulations solemnly sworn to by his Majesty. Our Sovreigns, we knew, were firmly resolved that these capitulations should be observed on both sides. Although the Turks paid the Casaplick they were relieved from half the other burdens which our people had to pay up to the amount of six or even seven per cent. If, as the Vizir had claimed in our previous interview, the object was to put Turk and foreigner on an equal footing, it was the foreigner who ought to be relieved. The Sultan should not condescend to such a trifling imposition as this, which, however, if enforced, would help to drive away the merchant and his goods. The Pasha listened with close attention, and replied somewhat disturbed, that he did not expect such a rebuff from us, especially as he had treated us as a true friend. If he were to compare the present capitulations with the originals there would appear many modifications in our favour which had been introduced illegally and by the mere consent of the previous Grand Vizirs; in particular, the Ambassadors would not be in their present Embassies—referring, in this remark, to the old idea of removing the Embassies from Pera to Stamboul. He concluded that as this tax was intended for the benefit of the Grand Signior we ought not to oppose it. I, among others, replied that the gain to the Sultan was small, while the injury to the merchants was indubitably great. That your Serenity might easily have taxed Turkish merchants in Venice, and so might every other Sovreign, but as this would have been a breach of the covenant they had abstained to their own great disadvantage. Any variation between the original and the present capitulations could be explained by changes in the circumstances and the indisputable freedom of Sovreigns. The Pasha, who always listens to me with benevolence, did not appear to be displeased at my observations; but he repeated that we ought not to oppose the advantage of the Sultan, for neither in the Gospels nor in the Alcoran, nor in any other law could it be found that a Prince might not do in his own State whatever suited him best; he had already issued the orders and did not know what else he could do. It was answered him that it was much nearer the truth that no law permitted a Prince to break his oath. At this point the Mufti arrived and the Grand Vizir rose to receive him with the wonted honours; we also rose and then resumed our seats, and the Pasha gave the Mufti a brief account of what we claimed, and the arguments we were putting forward. The Mufti, after keeping silence for a while, was playfully urged by us to put in a good word for us. Then the Pasha sent for the sherbet and let it be understood that no change would be made for the present. For that we tendered due thanks and departed after wishing him a good journey. This affair, which was firmly fixed in the mind of the Pasha owing to the profit which the Emin promised from it, is, thanks to God, now in such a position as no one ever dreamed of seeing it. We all played our parts, and we meant next day to send the Vizir a robe in order that he might leave in our hands an order that would guarantee us against all difficulties, but as the Sultan insisted on starting that morning we could do nothing more. We hope no trouble will arise from the Emin, who hates this resolution.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 11th January, 1612. [m.v.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 736. Christoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador reports that he has got an order from the Grand Vizir keeping open the port of Alexandretta to Venetian and other merchants.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 12th January, 1612. [m.v.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 12. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 737. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
An Ambassador in Ordinary has arrived from England. Vienna, 12th January, 1612. [m.v.]
Jan. 13. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 738. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Gabaleone, who has returned from England, is never weary of praising the munificence of the King, who made him a Knight of the Rose (Cavalliere della Rosa), and gave him a beautiful diamond. He has brought most courteous letters from the King to the Duke, lamenting that the Prince's death has cut off the hopes of alliance between their houses; he adds that he is not without hope of effecting it by some other way.
Turin, 13th January, 1612. [m.v.]
Jan. 15. Senato, Secreta. Communicate. Venetian Archives. 739. The Certificate of Gaetano's Lodging.
Executores con. Blasphemiam. M.D.C. XII. A di 15 Zener.
Alloggiate per essersi dato in nota nell' officio nostro per l'infrascritto tempo. Et partiti li Forastieri date in nota la loro partenza il giorno seguente sotto quelle pene che parera al Magistrato.
Vicenzo Gaetano da Roma in casa de Iseppo di Rossi per giorni quindese.
Marco Trivisan, Executor.
Alberto Zantani, Secr.
Jan. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 740. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
During these last few days the Elector has made rich presents to the under-servants of the Princess in cash, to her gentlemen in gold chains, and to her ladies in jewels. The Governor and Governess received silver plate and her Highness a wreath of flowers made of diamonds, four pearl earings and two great diamonds. The King and Queen had agate bowls.
There are despatches express from Spain not only for the King, but also for the Council of Virginia. The Ambassador says he has sent agents about the country to note the ships of war which are being fitted out; in Catalonia and in the port of San Sebastian there are twenty galleons quite ready, but the victualling does not seem to be meant for a long voyage and this increases the suspicion that Ireland is the object. To the Virginia Council he writes that if the Spaniards push on to those parts they will certainly attempt to capture the Bermudas, past which the Spanish are compelled to voyage on account of the Magellan current (corrente di Magaglianes). This island is forty miles in circumference; its shores are rocky; it has two ports which the English fortified six months ago and there they keep a garrison of three hundred infantry. They get from the island a considerable quantity of amber, and what is more important, it is very handy for harassing the Spanish flotta. The Virginia Council met recently and fixed the subscription and has begun to make preparations. A courier has also arrived from Savoy; instead of taking his despatches to the Savoy agent he took them straight to Lake; there are letters for Rochester. The Duke says he will send an Ambassador to condole on the death of the Prince; and adds that as his Majesty has shown such a good will towards one of his daughters, he must point out that there still remains the Infanta Caterina, between whom and the Prince there is no great disparity of years. Thus he has opened the question. Wotton has letters from Gabaleone at Paris. Wotton says that when the Savoyard Ambassador arrives many questions will be dealt with. My latest news from the Hague is that the ships fitted out for the East Indies, to the number of twenty-four, are ready to sail. News from Brussels that Spinola is making arms at Naumur. The Garter has been sent to Maurice; it was conveyed by the King-at-arms, with a message that the King would be glad to see Henry here to take the oath and to be present at the wedding festivities. The Elector has news that the new magistrates in Aix-la-Chapelle have refused to reply to Fursten-berg—who was sent by the Emperor and supported by Ambassadors from Cologne and Archduke Albert—until the arrival of Ambassadors from the Palatine, a Baron and one of the long robe. The “possessioners,” too, have sent persons to support the new magistrates.
Three days ago two couriers arrived together from Antwerp with despatches from Venice containing an account of the affair of Cardosa and his release after the Council of Ten had got what they wanted. I return thanks for the vote of one thousand five hundred crowns; overcome by the favour; I will lend my best efforts to the service of your Excellencies.
London, 18th January, 1612. [m.v.]
Jan. 18. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 741. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Tuesday the 8th, the Ambassador of Lorraine had audience, and on the following day, the gentlemen sent by Conti and Join-ville. His Majesty received first those who came expressly to condole. The Ambassador took his leave on Monday. He saw the Elector, but is leaving without having been able to kiss her Majesty's hand, as she is still in bed in great sorrow, quite unable to forget her grief. The French Ambassador has had audience of the King before all the other Ambassadors in Ordinary; then, as the Spanish Ambassador was indisposed, your Excellencies' envoy was received. I presented your letters of condolence, upon which I enlarged. While I was speaking the King showed himself deeply moved by his grief. He sighed five or six times from the depth of his heart; he changed colour and his eyes betrayed his profound affliction. He said his Ambassador had informed him of the honour bestowed upon him by the visit paid to the Embassy. As I was bowing he embraced me and held me fast, declaring that he ever desired to be closely conjoined with your Excellencies. He then told me that his Ambassador reports that the Spanish Envoy is complaining of not being treated like the others; and here the King of his own accord made a fresh offer of his forces at the disposition of your Excellencies. As his Majesty discoursed in praise of your Excellencies all the Councillors approved and also showed that they approved his remarks laudatory of myself. I did not desire to detain his Majesty, and so after begging him in that intimate manner which he wishes me to adopt to take heart, I assured him of a complete return of affection on the part of your Excellencies and took my leave. One of these days the Flemish Ambassador will have audience, which he has earnestly demanded. As I had my audience first your precedence is established, and in truth your Excellencies may promise yourselves everything from his Majesty.
The Duke of Mantua, by letters from his Resident in France, is asking the King to allow his Ambassador at Venice to go to the Court of Mantua so as to return in a certain fashion the mission of Signor Carlo Rossi to this Court at the time of the death of the Duke's predecessor. I, who am ever vigilant in your service, am of opinion that it would be well that the Duke should receive this favour at your Excellencies' hands, that you should show a certain gracious superiority among the Princes of Italy by extending your protection in a matter which cannot injure you and would be the affair of a mere word properly addressed to the King. I shall think over this, and if Wotton, who has the mission to speak on the subject, does not make haste, I will not let the occasion slip.
So far I have written with great difficulty owing to a serious flux in the right jaw, which keeps me in pain, owing to the extraordinary damp, which is injurious to the very natives themselves.
London, 18th January, 1612. [m.v.]
Jan. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 742. Piero Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
From certain indications I do not cease to believe that there may be some renewal of the negotiations for a match between this Crown and England.
Madrid, 19th January, 1612. [m.v.]
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 19. Senato, Secreta. Communicate. Venetian Archives. 743. While the Senate was sitting, Gregorio Monti, Secretary to the English Ambassador, appeared at the Chamber of the Chiefs of the Ten and said that, by means of the Secretary Ottobon, he had informed the Chiefs that he desired audience on the rising of the Senate, and for that purpose he would wait their convenience. Accordingly, on the rising of the Senate, the Chiefs introduced the Secretary to their Chamber and he said, “His Excellency the Ambassador kisses your hands and sends me to lay before you this, that a most serious matter has come to his ears, namely, that there is a plot against the life of the King of England. This information has been given him by a Neapolitan who came to the Embassy and told him that it was intended to send to kill the King. He named the persons who are to go and the Princes that have a hand in sending them, the plan to be followed, the time and the place, with other details of ships and of the port where they would land. The Ambassador showed that he did not believe the tale, but told the person to come back another day. The man did return and repeated his story word for word as on the first occasion. He returned a third time and gave consistent replies to the Ambassador's questions and stuck to his version. The Ambassador then requested him to put his information into writing and he did so with such perfect uniformity to his oral deposition, that facts and the details coincided absolutely without the slightest variation. It therefore would appear that there is some foundation for his statements. The Ambassador has written to his Majesty, and as it is clear that if this Neapolitan's tale is true he deserves a great reward, as, on the other hand, if it prove false he deserves severe punishment, the Ambassador is unwilling that he should go away, but would like to see him detained in Venice. He therefore begs your Excellencies to grant him the favour to arrest him under some pretext, but to keep him in some kindly place, and to examine him on certain points such as his being a foreigner, on the list of the Executori contra alla Bestemmia, or as a vagabond, whose business in this city requires explanation, or on some other pretext which will allow him to be detained till an answer comes from England; and this the Ambassador would receive as a signal favour in the service of his Master.” The Secretary added that he would hand in the description of the person and his place of abode. The Secretary was asked to retire. The Chiefs agreed to consider the request and decided to oblige the Ambassador, but they wished first of all to find out what sort of a person this Neapolitan was, whether he was a person of importance or of small esteem, also whether he had any support from the Envoy of any great Prince. The Secretary was again introduced and the necessary questions were put to him. The Secretary replied that this man was one who might quite well be treated as foreigners are usually treated who are bound to report themselves. He was living in lodgings; he did not appear to be rich nor yet was he without a crown in his pocket. He did not strike the Ambassador as having invented the story to get money. The Secretary then said that he was lodged at San Lucca, in the house of Iseppo di Rossi; his name is Giovanni Vicenzo Gaetano, a Neapolitan, a man of moderate height, about twenty-two years of age, with a small moustache. His coat and cloak are of pale seagreen, the cloak has three capes inside. The Secretary concluded by begging that if they granted the Ambassador's request they would not let the prisoner know that he had been arrested at the instance of his Excellency. The Chiefs of the Ten assented in terms of courtesy towards the Ambassador and regard for his Majesty; they were sorry for the anxiety his Excellency must feel, as the report of the plot might be true; they promised to take such steps as were necessary. The Secretary begged their Excellencies to give orders that when arrested the Neapolitan should be well treated, for the Ambassador would meet all charges. The Chiefs at once issued orders.
Jan. 20. Senato, Secreta. Communicate. Venetian Archives. 744. The Captain Marco di Zanchi reports that this morning early he went to the house of Iseppo di Rossi who keeps lodgings, and having assured himself that Giovanni Vicenzo Gaetano was there, he found him in bed. He made Gaetano dress and brought him to S. Marco without handcuffing him. There he was placed in a chamber belonging to the Capitano Grande, the Chief Constable, under guard. He produced the lodging-house licence of the 15th, in which he is called Vicenzo Gaetano of Rome, with leave for fifteen days. Captain Marco also reported that when he told Gaetano he must go with him, Gaetano said “I have done nothing wrong for sure”; and while on the road he said he knew no one in Venice save a man at San Marco whose acquaintance he had made when walking in the Piazza.
Jan. 20. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 745. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Agent came to see me, professedly to give me an account of the negotiations for a match between his Majesty and his Highness. He says had the Prince not died, the match would certainly have come off; and the King, though it would have been easier for him to leave all the other pretenders in the belief that they might have succeeded, yet out of regard for the Duke's behaviour, had given publicity to this statement.
The Agent had suggested to the Count of Verva that if the match with the Palatine should fall through the Duke might send Prince Tommaso to England to stay at Court. The Count of Verva reported this to the Duke. Gabaleone declared that the idea was not to be despised, for the English Ministers had let fall certain phrases which he had not understood at the time, but which fitted in with this suggestion. However, all this is based on the ideas of the Agent alone and as such I send them, not meaning thereby that I believe that his Majesty has any such notions. All I know is that Gabaleone is to be sent back again to England, and they are looking about for a person of position to send there as Ambassador. Count Emmanuele di Moretta and Count Visca are mentioned.
Turin, 20th January, 1612. [m.v.]
Jan. 21. Senato, Secreta. Communicate. Venetian Archives. 746. The Secretary of the English Ambassador came to the Chiefs of the Ten and said:—
The Ambassador returns thanks for the courtesy shown, and wishes to know if the person has been arrested and examined, and if so what sort of a person he proves to be, and whether they had learned anything that the Ambassador should know in order to inform the King. The answer was that the man had been arrested, but nothing else had been done, for there had not been time. The Secretary said that the Ambassador desired that he should be examined to find out what sort of a person he was, and to see whether anything could be discovered. The Chiefs requested the Secretary to withdraw for a little, but they presently learned that he had left the Palace.
Jan. 21. Senato, Secreta. Communicate. Venetian Archives. 747. On the 19th of this month the Secretary of the English Ambassador applied to the Chiefs of the Ten on the subject of information which he says was given him about a plot against the life of the King of England. The person who laid the information was arrested. He is a certain Giovanni Vicenzo Gaetano. The Ambassador asked that he should be examined. All this is to be brought before the Cabinet, so that the necessary steps may be taken and the proper report made to the Senate. Secrecy enjoined. Should the Ambassador again come to the Council of Ten the Chiefs shall refer him to the Cabinet.
The oath was administered on the missal and the names taken.
Jan. 21. Consiglio de'Dieci, Parti Secrete. Venetian Archives. 748. An order to communicate to the Cabinet all that has passed between the Chiefs of the Ten and the English Embassy in the matter of Giovanni Vicenzo Gaetano, so that along with the Senate they may take the necessary steps.
Should the Ambassador come again to the Chiefs he is to be referred to the Cabinet.
Ayes 15.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 2.
The communication was made to the Senate on the 24th.
Jan. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 749. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Last week despatches arrived from England for the Ambassador instructing him to advance in the negotiations for a marriage between the Prince and the second Princess of France. Villeroy declared the Queen most ready, not only for the advantage that would accrue to her son and to France, but also in her own interests, which required that she should form a party for herself which would counteract the Spanish, who would certainly endeavour to diminish her influence and augment that of their Princess. Villeroy announced his resolve to retire from public life. From such favourable beginnings a prosperous issue may be expected. But the Spanish who have got wind of the negotiations are working underhand to thwart them. There is no Spanish Ambassador here just now, but there are those who act for Spain, and I am told that the recall of Don Inico and the delay in appointing a successor are due to the suspicion of the Queen and the desire to protract all business till the Princess reaches France, when they hope to have so much weight with the King, who will then be of age, that they can prevent the English match altogether.
The late English Ambassador at Constantinople was here a few days ago. He left without seeing the King, for as he is an Ambassador from merchants rather than from a Sovreign he would not have been received as he wishes (perchè essendo più tosto Ambasciatore de Mercanti che del Rè non sarebbe stato trattato come pretendeva).
Paris, 22nd January, 1612. [m.v.]
Jan. 24. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 750. The Secretary Padavino came to the Cabinet and on the orders of the Chiefs of the Ten made the following report:—
This morning the Secretary of the English Ambassador came to the Chiefs to return thanks for the favour shown him by the arrest of that person who had revealed to him what he had already communicated to their Excellencies, and to assure them that his Majesty would be much obliged by this sign of good will. The Ambassador now begs that the prisoner may be examined or that in some way or other more light may be thrown on the matter, for to-morrow is despatch day and he wishes to forward some information to his Majesty, who is naturally expecting it anxiously. Moreover, since the arrest of this man, two others, who were perhaps in his company, have fled the city. Neither the Secretary nor much less the Ambassador could go about making enquiries; they are both too well known and the affair would become public, to the injury of the matter in hand. The Ambassador, therefore, begged their Excellencies to oblige him, so that if this prove to be a trick they may proceed in one way; if it turns out to be true they may act as the occasion requires. The Chiefs had replied that they had arrested the man to please the Ambassador, but the matter belonged to the Cabinet, to which he should apply.
Jan. 24. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 751. That the English Ambassador be invited to attend the Cabinet to-morrow morning, and that the following be read to him:—
My Lord Ambassador, the request which was addressed, in your name, by your Secretary to the Chiefs of the Council of Ten for the arrest of Giovanni Vicenzo Gaetano, on account of the notice which he gave you of certain machinations against the life of the King of Great Britain, met with an immediate issue of the necessary orders to oblige you. The said Gaetano was arrested, as we held that this was required by the perfect good will which exists between the Repubic and his Majesty. As we have taken this step solely out of regard for his Majesty so we promise to keep the prisoner under safe custody until his Majesty's pleasure be known and at the disposal of your Lordship at your merest request in all that may prove to be for his Majesty's service. The Republic can not go any further in this matter, having done all it can for the satisfaction of his Majesty. We have thought it necessary to inform you of this, so that you may take whatever steps you consider necessary for his Majesty's service.
Further, that Giovanni Vicenzo Gaetano, arrested on the warrant of the Chiefs of the Ten, be kept in safe custody till further orders.
Ayes 138.
Noes 7.
Neutrals 41.
The oath was administered on the missal and the names of all present noted.
Jan. 24. Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives. 752. The Arsenal has bought from Martin Haureau and Alvise de Bois soft English lead, forty tons at 38 ducats 18 the ton.
Jan. 24. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 753. To the Ambassador in England.
The English Ambassador here sent his Secretary, a few days ago, to ask the Chiefs of the Ten to arrest Giovanni Vicenzo Gaetano, from whom the Ambassador had received information as to a plot against the King of England's life, as you will gather from the enclosed. The Ambassador was gratified on this point by the orders which were at once issued by the Chiefs, and Gaetano was arrested. In order to avoid further requests to examine the prisoner and to take yet further proceedings in this matter, we resolved to make the [enclosed communication to the Ambassador. As we think it desirable that you should make the necessary representations without waiting till you are spoken to, we, therefore, instruct you to seek audience at once of his Majesty and to give him a full account of all that has taken place, following the lines of the information enclosed, as a proof of our continued regard. You will add that as we took this step solely out of regard for his Majesty, so the man will be kept under custody at his disposition in all that touches his interests, which we consider the same as our own. We are unable to go further, however, in the matter, as we have done all that is possible. You are to regulate your conduct on the lines of these ideas, which are those we have expressed to his Majesty's Ambassador, and you will persuade the King that we cannot take any further action. You will also speak in the same sense to the leading ministers if they address you on the subject; and report fully to us].
Ayes 83. Ayes 87. Ayes 40.
Noes 2 Not carried.
Neutrals 31. Neutrals 31. Neutrals 88.
The oath was administered on the missal and the names of all present were noted.
An amendment was moved that the words within brackets be omitted and the following substituted: [all these enclosures are to serve for your information in case his Majesty should speak to you on the matter, when you will persuade him that all this has been done solely out of regard for him, nor can we take any further proceedings].
Ayes 67.
Noes 63.
Neutrals 52. Not carried.
Jan. 25. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 754. To the Ambassador in England.
The English Ambassador recently sent his Secretary to ask the Chiefs of the Ten to arrest a certain Giovanni Vicenzo Gaetano, from whom he had had information of a plot against the King of England's life, as you will gather from the enclosed. The Ambassador's request was at once granted and Gaetano arrested. In order to prevent further requests that we should examine the prisoner and take other steps in the matter we yesterday made to the Ambassador the communication of which we enclose a copy. This morning he replied in the terms which you will gather from the copy of his representations. We consider that you should make the necessary representations to his Majesty and so we commission you to seek audience and to lay before his Majesty the contents of the enclosures, and an account of our action, which we took solely as a proof of our continued esteem. You will add that the prisoner will be kept in safe custody at his disposal, and that this is the most we can do in the matter. You will conform your remarks to these ideas and will persuade his Majesty of our readiness to oblige him. Should he wish that the prisoner should be examined by us you are to use all diligence to prevent such a request from being preferred; if he persists, you are to convince him that we cannot take any steps beyond what we have done, but that he may dispose of the prisoner as he thinks fit. You will report.
Ayes 186.
Noes 3.
Neutrals 5.
The oath administered as yesterday.
Jan. 25. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 755. The English Ambassador was invited to attend in the Cabinet and the resolution of the Senate, carried yesterday, was read to him. He then said :—
I frequently abstain from troubling your Excellencies with many audiences on my Master's business, and as occasion requires I apply direct to the Magistrates, from whom I have always received complete satisfaction, as has happened precisely just now in the case of this person in question. He often came to me and laid before me the details of a plot to kill the King of England; in all particulars he was quite uniform and consistent. He begged me to provide for his safety, for as there were several of his accomplices in the city, he feared lest he should be assassinated by them, and he hinted that I might take him into my house. But as the Embassy has always been uncontaminated, nor have I ever given shelter to such doubtful characters who under this pretext might nourish other evil designs, I went about to secure him it is true, but myself as well, lest he should fly. Accordingly when I heard all this from him, as the matter affected the life of the King my Master, who is so devoted to the Republic, I sent my Secretary to the Chiefs of the Ten to lay the matter before them and to ask for his arrest. The Chiefs immediately, without losing time, issued the warrant and the arrest took place to my satisfaction. When I was informed of the arrest I resolved to come to the Cabinet to tender my thanks, as I do, to your Excellencies, and to beg for such further steps as may seem necessary, but as usual I find myself forestalled by the favours of the Senate; for I gather from this resolution that the prisoner is to be retained under custody; for this I return thanks and I can assure you my Master will be much obliged. As I have already reported to his Majesty I must wait his reply. For though the Ambassador is eyes and ears to his Master the final decision of things does not lie with him, especially in a matter of such importance. In the meantime I warmly beg your Excellencies to order the examination of the man in whose house this fellow was lodging, in order to see whether any information can be got on the business. I hear that after this man's arrest two or three who were lodging in the same house have fled; they may possibly have been accomplices in the plot. If this man's tale prove true he will deserve handsome reward from his Majesty, as, on the other hand, if it prove false I shall hope to have the opportunity of presenting a good man to your Excellencies' galleys, as he is young and well built.
Francesco Moresini, in the absence of the Doge, replied that they were glad to learn that the Ambassador was satisfied. They would always do everything to oblige him as far as the constitution permitted. They were sure he would never ask for anything outside their powers. His request would be considered.
The Ambassador again insisted, as he wanted to write that evening. Moresini said a resolution would be taken, though the time was very short.
Jan. 29. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Corfu, Venetian Archives. 756. The Venetian Governor in Corfu to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday there arrived here a man in Turkish dress. He calls himself Saaban, and says he is a Spaniard, and was captured four years ago by Barbary bertons manned by Turks and English. There was captured along with him Don Diego, son of the Viceroy of Sicily, the Marquis of Vigliena. This Saaban while he was a Christian was called Don Pedro Peravidasbassan, son of Don Alfonzo di Venavides, second Councillor of his Majesty. He says he fled from the Serraglio of the Grand Turk, as your Serenity will see from the enclosed depositions. We have determined to send him on to Otranto to-morrow.
Corfu, 29th January, 1612. [m.v.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 757. Saaban, a Turk, examined, deposed that he was a passenger on board the ship of the Corphiote Mano Mandignotti, which sailed from Bastia. He reached Bastia from Janina. He wants to return home to Spain. His father was a Spaniard of Madrid, his mother from Palermo. He is a nephew of the Admiral of the Neapolitan Squadron, the Marquis of Santa Cruz. About four years ago he and Don Diego, son of the Marquis of Vigliena, Viceroy of Sicily, were captured off Majorca by three Barbary bertons manned by Turks and English. They defended themselves for two days. They had 600 men on board between soldiers, merchants and sailors; 150 soldiers were killed and so was the captain by a canon ball. They were forced to surrender. Diego and himself were pointed out to the pirates as great Spanish nobles and were put under close guard. “We were taken to Algiers, and after remaining six months as slaves we were sent to Constantinople on board a ship commanded by Zafer Bey, a renegade Genoese of Constantinople, where we were presented to the Sultan as a gift from Retuan Pasha, the Viceroy of Algiers. Within fifteen days we were both made Turks on the order of the Grand Signior, who likewise ordered great festivals and rejoicings. We were then taken to lodge in the Sultan's Serraglio, and there we stayed two years and eight months. During that time by the help of the Bailo Contarini, we received letters from home and also sent them, but always secretly. We were educated in the Serraglio by Turkish masters and I had the duty of bringing the clock to the Sultan when he wanted to know what time it was, while Don Diego was charged with folding the Sultan's robes when he went to bed. Then came the time of the marriage of the Sultan's daughter to the Capudan Pasha, and we finding the opportunity favourable resolved between us two to escape from that place and to return to Christendom, for it had always been our firm intent to return home and to die Christians. Accordingly at midnight I first let myself down from a window in the Serraglio of Cigala, where they were celebrating the wedding and whither the grand Signior had come with all the Court to honour the festival; I went straight to the French Embassy, where I was hidden very secretly for a whole month. Diego, who had tried to follow me down from the window, was discovered and caught, and we could not carry out our whole plan he and I. When the Sultan heard I had fled, he ordered great diligence in the search for me. He sent to examine the houses of the Bailo and of the French and English Ambassadors; but I was so safely hidden in an empty barrel that they could not find me. After a month the French Ambassador ordered me to embark on a frigate and to go to the French Consul at Chios, and there I stayed thirty-three days. Then I went to Volo in a Greek caramusale, and stayed there eight days and then went to Salonica. There by dint of money I joined some Jew traders in the character of a Turkish merchant; all the same I had to hide myself during the day. After twenty-seven days at Salonica I came by land to Larissa and then to Tricala and Janina, and finally down to the port of Bastia, where the Emin kept me seven days, as he suspected I was not a Turkish merchant at all. I was obliged to leave in deposit twenty-five dollars and to promise to return to Bastia, but as I had no money I was supplied by a certain Ales-sandro of Corfu, whom I had met in the household of the Bailo at Constantinople, in the days when we were made Turks, for the Bailo was present at the festival along with his private band. My name is Don Pedro Peravidasbassan. My father's name is Don Alfonzo de Venavides, he is second Councillor at the Spanish Court; my mother's name is Catelina Bassan, she is cousin germane to the wife of the Marquis of Santa Cruz, Admiral of the Neapolitan fleet. I have no more to say.”


  • 1. See Birch. “Court and Times of James I.” p. 1, 217. “He had audience on Monday, and is a very proper comely man, bastard, they say, to the Cardinal of Guise that was strangled at Blois.”