Venice: May 1613

Pages 529-545

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

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May 1613

May 2. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 827. To the Ambassador in England.
The differences between the Dukes of Savoy and Mantua did not finish quietly on account of various difficulties in the way. The Duke of Savoy secretly massed troops, and on the 23rd of last month he attacked Trino, Alba and Moncalvi in the Monferrat. Trino he took by petard; the other two are open places. We now hear that Mantua has recovered Moncalvi, and that Savoy has fortified the other two. Both parties are massing troops, both foot and horse. Everyone condemns Savoy for taking to arms while negotiations were proceeding, and for disturbing the public quiet. Mantua is judged to be in the right; and it is clear that France and Spain are of the same opinion, that the Duke must restore what he has taken, and that Mantua be preserved in possession of his States. We have resolved to support Mantua, a neighbouring and friendly Prince, and we are sending three hundred paid foot, and more if required, as the Grand Duke of Tuscany has done, sending horse and foot under the command of his brother, Don Francesco; the main object being to prevent the spread of this fire, and to resist any attempt to change the status quo in Italy, which by the grace of God has enjoyed many years of peace, thanks to the balance of power. This advantage might be lost if the position were changed, and if opportunity were given for the introduction of foreign arms, and the idea suggested to some who may be do not now contemplate it, that here is the occasion for aggrandisement. You are to lay all this before his Majesty and to inform him that we have moved all the other Courts to a vigorous intervention for the suspension of hostilities and restitution of places seized. Knowing what weight his Majesty rightly has with the Duke of Savoy, we beg him also to intervene; by so doing he will render a service to all the Princes of Italy.
These are your instructions; you will carry them out in appropriate form.
That a similar communication be made to the English Ambassador.
Ayes 198.
Noes 2.
Neutrals 6.
May 3. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 828. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
I enclose a letter written from Vercelli by a French Captain.
Turin, 3rd May, 1603.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding dispatch. 829. The Duke hopes to balance France by England. Gabaleone is to go to England. The English agent (Parkhurst) is with the Duke in Vercelli.
May 3. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 830. The resolution of the Senate on the affairs of Mantua, passed yesterday, was read to the English Ambassador, who replied as follows: “Most Serene Prince, I must first of all ask pardon if in this disturbed state of Italy I have not come to you as the other Ambassadors have done to lay bare their ideas on the point. I have waited to be summoned, for at this distance I cannot tell what may be his Majesty's mind on the subject.
There is danger if these troubles continue. It is well known to all that his Majesty is a lover of right and justice and hates oppression; it is therefore to be supposed that he will be displeased at this violence and turbulence. I am honoured by your communication and will forward it to his Majesty. The representation will arrive opportunely as the Marchese Villa, the Savoyard Envoy, has just reached England.” The Ambassador begged that the resolution might be read to him again.
May 6. Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives. 831. Antonio Foscarini has completed his two years' service in England; his successor shall be appointed at the next sitting of the Senate. He shall have two hundred ducats of gold in gold per month, for which he need not account. For outfit three hundred ducats of lire 6 soldi 4. His Secretary shall have 100 ducats, and each of the two couriers 20. For all extraordinary expenses forty crowns of 7 lire each, excepting postage. The salary of the chaplain and interpreter is to be paid.
Ayes 191.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 1.
May 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 832. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the morning of the day the Elector left he returned the Spanish Ambassador's visit. The Ambassador came down to the carriage, made him sit in a great chair while he took a stool, and on accompanying him back to the carriage he closed the door with his own hand just as he had opened it on the Palatine's arrival; the Ambassador always used most cordial and respectful language. The Ambassador went to take leave of their Highnesses at Greenwich the day following the one on which I had discharged the like duty. The Elector came down the stairs to meet him, and returned his courtesies. This action of the Ambassador has given rise to talk, for the first time they met he took the punctilio because the Elector addresssd him in French and without his titles, and so after once addressing the Elector as “Highness,” he spoke in Spanish through an interpreter and in the third person. He now shows himself content with the Elector's recent attitude.
That same day the Corporation (Università) of London presented the Princess with a necklace of gems worth twenty-two thousand crowns and the Elector with silver gilt plate to the value of twenty-five. The King gave eighty thousand crowns worth of diamonds to the Prince; most of them belonged to the late Prince. The next day the couple continued their journey, accompanied by an infinite number of carriages and horses. Their Majesties went as far as Rochester, and the Prince to the landing place, which was as far again. Their reception everywhere was most pompous; all the people were in arms, but the King would not permit a single shot to be fired for fear of that danger which, upon sound indications, they thought might be threatening them. We have no news of their passage yet. They embarked twice and were to have embarked again on Sunday, but four hours later the wind changed, and up to yesterday we have no further news. The Prince was recalled on the 26th and three days later he was in London. This affair has cost the King four thousand crowns a day; their Highness' suite does not number a fifth of the persons who are fed under that pretext. Count Maurice has been for many days at Flushing to receive them and accompany them to the Hague. On St. George's Day there was to have been a great fête and the Elector, Maurice, Lennox, Arundel and the High Admiral would have appeared in the robes of the Garter; but the weather has upset all. They calculate that the presents made by the Elector exceed the amount of the dower, but he has received from the King's generosity an amount that one can hardly credit. General Cecil has been appointed treasurer for the whole journey, in which the money will be spent in regal pomp; such are the King's orders and intent.
I will now close this account of the wedding festivals with some curious details about the Masques. The first, which was at the King's charges, and was danced by ladies and gentlemen of title, was remarkable for the decoration of the theatre, for three changes of scene, for the dresses and for nine choruses of voices and instruments. The Masque of Monday appeared in this order. First came a hundred gentlemen on horseback, accompanied by a hundred grooms with lights in their hands. Then followed a little Masque on horseback with a large number of torches all alone; then two triumphal cars with musicians dressed in silver with turbans on their heads. These represented the priests of the Sun in Virginia. Then came the great Masque, all being dressed in cloth and silver, golden suns, and plumes. They represented Princes of Virginia with crowns of feathers and pearls on their heads, and their hair down to their shoulders as is the custom of that country; their horses, too, were all caparisoned in silver and suns. Then came a hundred blacks dressed in gold and blue, the dress of Indian slaves. Then came a great number of lights borne by men on horseback, dressed in silver and gold, like the great Masque, except the crowns. Then a triumphal car with two figures inside, representing Honour and Riches, and round it marched two hundred halberdiers. When the King entered the Hall one saw a mountain all full of crags and on the top the Temple of Honour, made of silver; an octagon with silver statues round the cornice; on its summit two golden wings sprang from a silver ball, signifying that Fortune and her son Honour had resolved to settle for ever in this Kingdom. Hard by the Temple was a wood and in it a huge tree-trunk which contained the whole of the little Masque. Hardly had the King appeared when the crags came forward five paces towards his Majesty; clouds gathered, the mountain split, and there appeared a rich mine of gold with all the Masque inside and a vast number of torches; it all took place in a moment. Then appeared the sun as at its setting; the priests adored it and part of them sang to lutes; they were answered by voices and instruments from the Temple, and from other parts of the Hall. Then Riches began to speak and again the crags moved; then after great eulogies of the couple, pronounced by Riches and Honour, all the Masque began to dance a ballet, with such finish that it left nothing to be desired.
The last Masque (fn. 1) arrived by the river. It was preceded by twelve boats, filled partly with gentlemen and partly with music, all of them full of lights. On board the King's great brigantine came the Masque, followed by many other boats full of lights. At the entrance of their Majesties and their Highnesses, one saw the scene, with forests; on a sudden half of it changed to a great mountain with four springs at its feet. The subject of the Masque was that Jove and Juno desiring to honour the wedding and the conjunction of two such noble rivers, the Thames and the Rhine, sent separately Mercury and Iris, who appeared; and Mercury then praised the couple and the royal house, and wishing to make a ballet suitable to the conjunction of two such streams, he summoned from the four fountains, whence they spring and which are fed by rain, four nymphs who hid among the clouds and the stars that ought to bring rain. They then danced, but Iris said that a dance of one sex only was not a live dance. Then appeared four cupids, while from the Temple of Jove, came five idols and they danced with the stars and the nymphs. Then Iris, after delivering her speech, summoned Flora, caused a light rain to fall, and then came a dance of shepherds. Then in a moment the other half of the scene changed, and one saw a great plateau with two pavilions, and in them one hundred and fifty knights of Olympus, then more tents, like a host encamped. On the higher ground was the Temple of Olympian Jove, all adorned with statues of gold and silver, and served by a number of priests with music and lights in golden candelabra. The knights were in long robes of silk and gold, the priests in gold and silver. The knights danced, their robes being looped up with silver, and their dance represented the introduction of the Olympian games into this kingdom. After the ballet was over their Majesties and their Highnesses passed into a great Hall especially built for the purpose, where were laid long tables laden with comfits and thousands of mottoes. After the King had made the round of the tables everything was in a moment rapaciously swept away.
London, 10th May, 1613.
May 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 833. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
This day fortnight the Spanish Ambassador paid me a visit. He told me he had found out for certain that the States had made no agreement to furnish the Turk with ships of war. This report had been sent from Flanders to Spain upon a baseless rumour, spread by the Dutch perhaps with a view to alarming Spain. Since the Truce the whole attention of the Dutch has been directed to the Indies; he considered this of great importance, and concluded by saying it must occupy his Master just now above all else.
In Flanders they are arranging for the distribution of money; the Catholic Sovreign has sent the Golden Fleece to two gentlemen, and to others the Cross of St. Jago, and pensions to many. He has heard from Italy that the Duke of Savoy has sent an Ambassador here to treat of marriage; on which he observed that the Prince has not as yet thirteen years, whereas the Infanta has at least twenty-one; it is eleven years since her mother died. The Duke reports every thing here as accurately as a son would to a father. The Ambassador then went on to remark on the inconvenience caused by so many free ports in Italy, which become asylums for pirates. He showed suspicion about the French match for the Prince, and remarked on the powers with which the Elector had left England, being authorized by the King and the Federate Princes to conclude terms with the Dutch and to settle the way in which they can unite their forces.
I have several letters from the Hague, written by the person who has charge of translating the despatches of the Ambassador in Constantinople and elsewhere. The first declares that the capitulations with the Turk contain nothing other than what Schomberg told me; he has translated it and would have sent a copy had he thought it would have been useful; as soon as he gets access to the secret Chancery of the Dutch he will make a copy and in future will furnish all that falls into his hands.
I know your Excellencies will keep this secret, nor shall I fail to cultivate the good disposition of that person so that he may act. The Dutch cavalry is mustering between Arnhem and Nymigen on the borders of Guelderland, to escort the Palatine to Düsseldorf; there will be a review in the presence of his Highness. All hope of accord between Saxony and the “possessioners” is lost. The Landgrave at Berlin endeavoured, without success, to bring about an accord between Saxony and Brandenburg. Saxony declines to yield on any point; so all negotiations are broken off. The Elector of Saxony has, however, resolved to send an Ambassador in the name of all the Princes of his House to the Dutch, so as to explain his claims on Cleves and to urge them not to prevent his being admitted by force as a third in possession. He will not find the Dutch willing. Holland has proposed to the united provinces to join forces so as to secure free trade in the East Indies against those who would hinder it, not naming Spain. The Dutch commissioners have heard this with sorrow, as they knew it must lead to force. The first commissioner, Grotius, told me that a company might be formed, and the English could contribute in proportion to their power. The Spanish ought to be completely driven out.
The Archduke continues ill; in Brabant they are praying for his health. They desire his recovery, for they dread the Spanish Governor under whom they would come on his death.
The Savoyard Ambassador has reached Calais. Three days ago his Secretary went down to the coast to meet him and the King has assigned him a lodging and one hundred crowns a day to the person who is charged with feeding him. When that famous English pirate (Eston) was received at Nice or Villafranca, the Duke sent to inform the King and indicated that he would follow his Majesty's wishes. The reply was that it was only fair that those who had been plundered should each recover his share. The Ambassador will bring some definite resolution on the point. I will be on the watch and your Excellencies shall be informed.
The Spanish Agent in Denmark has the title of Ambassador and is endeavouring to acquire naval material which the late King Philip used to get from that kingdom during Elizabeth's reign. He has dwelt on all that his Master could do if requested, as regards the passage of the Sound (Sont), the causing of trouble with the Dutch, and has also touched on the possibility of marriage between the second Infanta of Spain and the Prince of Denmark—a very perfect youth in all his actions,—and shown a great desire that his Catholic Majesty should see him, when all would be concluded. The arts of the Ambassador are full of sagacity and he makes vast offers. All this King Christian reports to Queen Anne his sister, and also that he has sent away the Ambassador very well satisfied; and thinks of sending a return Embassy to Spain. This I learned yesterday week when I went to visit the Great Chamberlain, and it was told me by the person who deciphered the despatch, which was not quite finished. Her Majesty has received five letters and shows and feels great pleasure at the honour bestowed on her brother by so great a King. I was further informed that in the late troubles the King of Denmark had declared himself of the same opinion as the King of England in favour of your Excellencies. This Embassy from Spain to Denmark rouses suspicion in the Dutch.
Last week I received your despatches and have spoken to the person with whom lies the matter of audiences; but I have been suffering from the usual cold and toothache and had to give in to the illness, take medicine and go to bed, where I have lain till to-day. This has obliged me to postpone my audience.
London, 10th May, 1613.
[Italian: the parts in italics deciphered.]
May 11. Senato, Secreta. Despatches from Savoy. Venetian Archives. 834. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Gabaleone left by post for England the day before yesterday. His mission is to ask for English support. The English agent has long and frequent interviews with his Highness: I do not know whether about this present business or merely to enhance his importance. He called here yesterday and used expressions which made me doubt whether he had come of his own accord and not from the Duke. He did not say that his Master would put his forces at the disposition of Savoy, but he uses phrases which leave perplexity and doubt. He urged that as both Savoy and Venice were friends of the King it would be as well that they should stand together.
Turin, 11th May, 1613.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 835. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Marchese Villa on his way to England had audience of the Queen on the 2nd, before the news of Monferrat had arrived. As he left immediately it is thought that he was aware of his Master's intention and wished to get away.
Paris, 14th May, 1613.
May 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 836. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday the Savoyard Ambassador was here; the next day I visited him; at my departure came the Ambassador of Spain and while I was there the Master of the Ceremonies, who waited on him in the King's name and informed him that his Majesty would receive him two days later. Accordingly on Tuesday he went with a great company. At the Ambassador's second bow the King rose, and at the third he raised his hat. The audience lasted a quarter of an hour. The King did not cover till the Ambassador had left the chamber. His Majesty raised and put on his hat several times. The only topic was compliments. The Ambassador will have a private audience. The next day he visited the Prince, then the Spanish Ambassador, and then this Embassy. He told me the Duke would have liked to come in person to kiss his Majesty's hand, but that the present position of affairs prevented him. He then asked me what news I had from Italy about the Infanta dowager, whom the Duke of Mantua had sought as wife. The Duke draws 292,000 crowns from Monferrat, and 170,000 from Mantua, and another 45,000 from extraordinary sources. In jewels, plate and furniture he has another million, while the debts left by Duke Vicenzo amount to little more than 400,000 crowns. He had reported all this to the Duke of Savoy and advised him to give his daughter to the Duke of Mantua. The Duke of Savoy had shown surprise, and he thought it a strange thing that his daughter should become the wife of her husband's brother, especially as there are sons. While discussing the income of Mantua, the Ambassador showed surprise at finding it so big. The Dukes Vicenzo and Francesco used to speak freely to him, and to use his own expression, told him all about their affairs. He remarked that Duke Francesco was quite Spanish, whereas this Duke was quite French; he said this as though it were a consideration which might hinder the match. He ended by saying that the Queen of France had spoken in kindly terms of the Duke of Mantua. The following night the King had a courier from his Ambassador in France telling him that the Duke of Savoy had seized a large part of Monferrat. The King sent at once to inform the Ambassador and to ask if he had any news on the subject. The Ambassador, when visiting me, dwelt on these acquisitions made by the Duke his Master, chiefly about Alba, a town, and Trino, a fortress. As long as he had had the management of the affair things had gone quietly, but when the Duke took charge he was his own Master. He regretted that, having settled with Duke Vicenzo that the Po should be the frontier, those who succeeded him would not assent. He had advised the Duke to buy Sabionetta. He thought all would be adjusted. Spain did not want war in Italy; this he knew for certain, as the Governor of Milan had told him that he had express orders from the King to settle all disputes quietly. I imagine your Excellencies will have heard all this already, but I send it as it may interest you to have it from the lips of the man who managed the business, and also his opinion on the affair of Monferrat.
The day he waited on the King the carriage of the Archduke's Ambassador endeavoured to press up next to Spain; but your Excellencies' place was kept; and some of his grooms who tried to prevent this got what they deserved at the hands of certain grooms of this Embassy. On the way back from Court each one had his proper place quietly. Yesterday on visiting the Prince the Flemish Ambassador was not seen.
The Queen has gone to Bath, (fn. 2) ninety miles away; she will not be back for three or four weeks. The Savoyard Ambassador has made up his mind to go to find her, in a few days, and to kiss hands. He will present her in the Duke's name with a crystal casket mounted in silver gilt of great value. He is expecting a number of lions as a present for the King and other kinds of beasts which are on the road.
London, 17th May, 1613.
Enclosed in preceding despatch. 837. Letter from the Duke of Savoy.
M. de Jacob has informed me of your courtesy to him while you were in France, and Gabaleone, my auditor fiscal, confirms the same on his return from England. I am much obliged and am ready to be of service to you if occasion arises.
Turin, 2nd April, 1613.
May 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 838. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On last Sunday week the Princess and the Elector embarked, but presently the wind changed, and so after nearly two days at sea they were forced to return to Margate, whence they had sailed. On Wednesday they made the passage successfully, and were met by Maurice and the Dutch fleet. From Flushing they went to Middelburg, where the Elector stayed only one hour, as he had received despatches. He left the Princess with Maurice and pushed on to the Hague to lay proposals before the States for a close union with the Protestant Princes, and to discuss the steps for uniting their forces. The King has sent orders to his Ambassador in Holland to lend his assistance to the Elector. The Hanseatic Towns have given, one may say, the last touch to their confederation with the States. The King would have liked them to have informed him, but they say the contract is not stipulated as yet, and that they will not fail at the right moment; so His Majesty is satisfied. The Dutch Envoys have drawn up a new statement, in which they declare that Spain alone hinders trade in the East Indies, and if the English are ready to join the Dutch in making war they have only to come to an understanding; in no other way can trade be secure; but if the English are not firmly resolved on this then it would be better to leave the Dutch a free hand; if the English want time to consider, the Dutch are willing to wait. They produce original orders from the King of Spain, intercepted on board a ship, by which he commands the expulsion from the East Indies of Italians, French, English and others; and further a copy of similar orders for the West Indies. The English are in some perplexity, and the affair is in his Majesty's hands. Grotius told me that if the matter rests with his Majesty it will soon be settled; if it be again remitted to others it will take time; in any case the Dutch are resolved to build new ships for the Indies and to strengthen their forces there and to expand largely. He launched out in praise of your Excellencies and dwelt on the esteem that the Dutch feel; and he said that on any occasion you could always count on their ships and men.
The Muscovites, who are dependent on the Patriarch, have made large offers through the King to the English Merchant Company which trades there. They have sent agents and laid matters before the King and Council, but nothing has been settled as yet. (fn. 3) What the Muscovites ask is troops and orders to drive out the Poles; in return they offer to place ports in his Majesty's hands, to depend on his orders and to pay the troops themselves. I am told that the King is inclined to the idea, but the Council is divided in opinion.
The Savoyard Ambassador, yesterday, had audience, which was granted him late in the day after the King's return from Richmond. The Ambassador went very privately with his staff only, as he will continue to do. They spoke in a loud voice so that many were able to hear. He only asked his Majesty what news he had from France and elsewhere as to his Master's attack on Monferrat; and endeavoured to find out what his Majesty thought of it and what would be his attitude if the affair went further. The English Ambassador in France writes that when the Queen heard the news she at once sent despatches to Rome, Spain and Turin. She wants to come to an understanding with the Pope to work for peace, and to find out whether the Duke's action was taken with the consent of Spain; the despatches to Turin contain vigorous protests addressed to his Highness. It is the first wish of the Queen and of Villeroy to find out whether the Duke acted by himself; in that case he would be in some peril, or whether Spain gave her consent and why. It is not honourable to use force without first showing cause. In any case it seems that there is an intention to support Mantua, and some orders have been issued to Lesdiguières. The King of England, I can assure your Excellencies, loves peace and will never act unreasonably. I shall see the person who usually gives me my confidential information; he can be trusted, for he knows; and this day week I will inform you of what his Majesty has said and written, as well as what his inner thought is.
London, 19th May, 1613.
May 23. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 839. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet, and spoke as follows:—
“As the question between Savoy and Mantua continues and as all are interesting themselves in it in obedience to their own wishes, public or private, I have thought it right to stay no longer with my arms folded but to come here and to make such representations as the times require. And as I am too far off to have full light on my Master's mind, I act as does the sailor on the high seas and I turn my gaze to the three stars that circle round that pole, love of peace, his own honour and dignity, and the community of his views and ideas with those of the Republic coupled with the interests of your Serenity. I do so all the more willingly in view of the confidence you have shown me and because of the rumours afloat that his Majesty fosters these troubles. How great is his Majesty's desire for peace he showed when he entered his kingdom of Great Britain; he found it engaged in war which was favourable to his subjects, yet he restored all to the original calm. It is well known with what sincerity he applied himself to the conclusion of the truce between his ancient foes and the United Provinces, and what he has done in the quarrel between Denmark and Sweden. Wherever he has laid his hand he has succeeded. No one is ignorant of his active intervention in the affair of Juliers with a view to secure general peace to the satisfaction of all. Though many occasions have presented themselves in which he might have enlarged his possessions, he has always preferred to every other consideration the desire for peace. No one, therefore, can reasonably urge that it is he who is fomenting these troubles.
As to the second head, I need not say much. It is clear that his Majesty loves justice, nor can his honour be injured by rumours afloat, especially in Rome, where, as their passions sway them, they say things credible and incredible. They said at one time that Protestants were coming to occupy Saluzzo; they say the same now of Monferrat. I know your Serenity will lend no ear to such conjectures until the truth is cleared up. I, being well aware of his Majesty's regard for the Republic, am come this morning to give a proof.” With that he drew some letters from his pocket and said they were from the Grisons, and that he would leave copies so as to save the Secretary trouble, as they were very difficult to read, being written in that character. The first was old, he had kept it without showing it as it was not so clear as the second, which had given him reason to present both.
The letters run thus:
“Chur, 8th March, 1613.
I have nothing new to report, only that I suspect that those who brought about the rupture of the Venetian League are now scheming for a treaty with Milan, which would be to the great prejudice of the Republic. I should, however, like this to be locked in your Excellency's breast; I can assure you that some of these Cantons would dearly like to be the means of renewing the League between these two Republics; but attention must be paid to this before negotiations with Milan have gone too far, and before the expiry of the existing league, which takes place in August next.”
“Chur, 4th May, 1613.
The attack by the Duke of Saxony on Mantua gives an excellent opportunity for renewing negotiations upon which the door seemed closed. For as this dangerous innovation has taken place almost at the gates of the Venetian Dominions, no prudent Prince could reasonably suspect hostile designs if the Senate resolved to protect its possessions by garrisoning its fortresses with soldiery from its good neighbours and friends; and so, by making a discreet levy among our nation for service in their garrisons, I take this to be an excellent opportunity, in the brief space which remains to the end of the ten years, for pushing on negotiations for a renewal. It would also help to cut across the Milanese negotiations, which are being pushed ably and secretly. The supporters of that treaty have secured from the Governor of Milan leave to import one thousand casks of wine and several hundred measures of rice into the Grisons, and have begun the work, to the content of our people, to whom this is exaggerated as a proof of goodwill and neighbourliness on the part of the State of Milan. As that State has promise of abundant crops, it can in the future always resort to the same method when it wishes matters to take a turn favourable to it. In addition to the advantage a levy of troops in our nation would bring with it, we must add the readiness of the Swiss Cantons also to have some part in the new treaty.”
After the letters had been read, the Ambassador remarked “This appears to me an excellent conjuncture and an easy way to serve the Republic and to renew the treaty with the Grisons; it is well known how long it took and what pains and expense it required, what difficulties had to be overcome, before the original treaty was signed. Now the opportunity presents itself as easy. It would secure your cities and would please the Grisons; the occasion should not be lost.”
Francesco Moresini, the Senior Councillor, replied that the praises of his Majesty were always grateful; and, as to the second point, it would receive that close attention which its nature required.
The Ambassador said that in order that those who were on the look out as to who came and went in the Cabinet might cease to pry into what the English Ambassador had said or done, he would prefer two requests; one on behalf of a poor Scot whose suit is sent from Court to Court; he now begs that a special tribunal may be appointed to try and finish his case. A memorial had already been presented on the subject.
His second request was that as England was now free of plague he begged that he might be relieved from the annoyance of the Lazzaretto and the activity of the Sanitary Officers. This is a request he made six months ago, and he was told that they would speak to the officials. He was sure it could be done now without any danger, and at this juncture it would be all the greater favour as he was receiving letters on important affairs and they would not be opened or lost.
As to the first request, Moresini said he believed the memorial existed and their Lordships would take it into consideration; he could say no more as he was not informed. As to the second, they would speak to the Sanitary office to do all they could, but the office acted very cautiously in such cases, more so in Venice than elsewhere. As to his letters, every care would be taken that they were neither lost nor read.
May 23. Minutes of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 840. To the Ambassador at the Cæsarean Court, and the Same to France, Spain and England.
You will have heard of our resolve to assist Mantua. Thereupon the Duke of Savoy gave our Ambassador eight days to leave Turin, and we replied by express that he was to leave at once, for though our assistance is intended in the interests of peace it does not suit us that our Envoys should continue where our intentions are misunderstood. The Duke sent fresh troops, both foot and horse; he appealed to Geneva and Bern and made it clear that he intended to support his claim in every way and showed no sign of desiring to come to an accord. Judging by his nature it is easy to believe him capable of any attempt. On the other hand the Duke of Mantua began to arm, but in view of the general prohibition he found difficulty in equipping his own troops and those that were sent in his aid. We do not know whether the Grand Duke's troops are yet in the Monferrat, but they will arrive soon it is hoped. The interview between the Cardinal Duke and the Governor of Milan, and the negotiations of Monsig. Massimi, envoy of his Holiness, have produced no results; Savoy is too firm in his designs. The Governor of Milan continues to show a disposition to assist Mantua, but his preparations so far proceed slowly. He has sent a certain number of Spanish infantry to Ponte Stura in Monferrat, in the hope that the Savoyards will respect the royal ensign, and desist from attacking that place. He has sent the Prince of Ascoli, his general, with some cavalry into Monferrat, with orders to effect a junction with the troops of Mantua, and to succour Nizza. Every one is waiting to see what orders come from Spain and France, as they will give the true direction to this affair. The Pope will be influenced by them, though as yet he is inclined to recognize the justice of the Mantuan cause. This for your information.
Ayes 187.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 3.
May 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 841. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Savoyard Ambassador asked the Spanish Ambassador if he had any news about what had taken place in Mountferrat; the Spaniard replied that he knew only too much; just as minds were growing calm, the Duke had suddenly and of his own design disturbed the peace of Italy. This will certainly be displeasing in Spain. The Savoyard was struck dumb. Next day he had audience of the King and said that if, as he believed, the report were true, his Master had the following reasons for his action; the Duke of Mantua had refused to allow the daughter to follow the mother and had kept back her property, furniture, plate and jewels, which amounted to two millions of gold, to which he was undoubtedly heir. He touched on the threats of France. The King gave him fair words; and with that and some other remarks on the match and on Geneva he sent off a courier that same night. Since then his Majesty has not uttered a word in favour of the Duke, and I am told that he is displeased that force was used before reason; this is the view of the Council. The Spanish Ambassador told me that the Governor of Milan at one time had a command in Piedmont and had received favours from the Duke, who sent to beg his assistance in terms which were displeasing after he had undertaken to act by himself. It is true that the Governor had the title of Marquis of San Germano from his Highness, but he has since dropped it. Times are changed. Spain's orders now are that all is to be settled quietly. Accordingly the Governor told the Duke that he must make restitution, and at the same time he marched his horse and foot for the support of Mantua. Lesdiguières has pushed forward. Savoy's action is blamed. The proposals about the match advanced by the Ambassador were concluded in general terms, and were mingled with expressions of sorrow for the death of the Prince. He also mentioned Geneva and showed an inclination to accept his Majesty's views; he urged his Majesty to intervene. Both these points will be laid before Council, so his Majesty desires; and both will take time. The day before yesterday the Ambassador waited on the Prince, but merely treated him with high respect, to win his favour.
London, 24th May, 1613.
May 25. Minutes of the Senate. Venetian Archives. 842. To the Ambassador in England.
Previous despatches will have informed you of the movement of Savoy in Monferrat and of our resolve in favour of Mantua. The Duke, on learning it, showed great resentment and used unbecoming language to our Ambassador, fixing a date for his departure; when this came to our knowledge we instructed the Ambassador to leave at once without waiting a further answer. We are now informed that the Duke has sent the Agent of the English Sovreign at Turin and the Count della Ruffia (Cartignana), one to Geneva and the other to Bern, to ask for aid. They have orders to go on to England to explain the situation. The Duke says he hopes to have five and twenty ships from that part and with these and his own he intends to come into the Adriatic to damage us. We have no doubt that such is his real intent; but we are sure that such a request will not meet with the slightest support in the just mind of his Majesty; nay, we are convinced that his resolution will be guided by his singular wisdom and love of peace. We have, however, decided that you should lay these plans of the Duke before his Majesty, because we do not desire that our silence should raise a doubt in his mind that we are not sure of his attitude. As his ample kingdoms are full of men bred and broken to privateering we would beg him to take such steps as may render vain any secret attempt to induce some of these, in the hope of gain, to entertain proposals in that respect, and to prevent the Duke, with the support of such forces, from joining hands with those whom we least desire to see united with him.
You will carry out these instructions as soon as possible; and we are sending an express to overtake the courier who left yesterday; if he does not succeed in this he is to go right on to you. You will take care that his Majesty does not suspect that we doubt his attitude. You will forestall the Savoyard Envoys and watch their proceedings.
That the above be communicated to the English Ambassador here.
Ayes 182.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 9.
May 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 843. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Friday I received your Excellencies' despatches of the 2nd informing me of the Duke of Savoy's action in the Monferrat, the general disapproval, and your resolution to assist Mantua with three thousand infantry. Also the instructions to beg his Majesty to interpose his great weight with the Duke of Savoy to induce him to lay down his arms, to restore what he has seized, and to set forth his claims by the methods of law and order. I at once sought audience through the Chamberlain. The King returned to London the following evening, and on Sunday the Chamberlain asked for audience, which was granted me for Tuesday morning. I found the King attended by the Prince and various Lords of the Council. He listened graciously. I said I had two missions to fulfil, and I would begin by the elder. I presented your Excellencies' letters of congratulation on the marriage of the Princess and the Elector, which I accompanied with expressions of regard; he opened the letter and looked at it with a cheerful countenance and signs of pleasure. After a few further remarks I proceeded to say “Sire, your Majesty will have heard that the Duke of Savoy has seized the fortress of Alba, as well as Trino and Moncalvi. This he did while negotiations were still afoot and the Duke of Mantua was living without any suspicion of such an unforeseen invasion; he has however, recovered Moncalvi, and both sides are gathering troops. This event has displeased all Italy; it is thought the Duke would have done much better to have acted quietly; justice is on the side of Mantua. It is thus that the Envoys of France and Spain view the case and so does the Serene Republic, which has resolved to assist Mantua with three thousand men. The Grand Duke too is marching troops. Everyone's object is to keep the peace in Italy, for taking arms may easily rouse the idea of making conquest in the minds of those who are not thinking of it as yet. I have orders to lay all this before your Majesty and to say that the Republic has written to all the Courts urging the cause of peace, and that she begs your Majesty, should it so please you, to use your influence with the Duke of Savoy to this same end.” The King replied that everything had been settled and every difference resolved; and he added that he had not intervened because he supposed that in the time it would take to communicate with Savoy every difficulty would have been accommodated. His Ambassador at Venice informed him that the Duke of Mantua and the Prince of Piedmont had gone to Milan to treat of an accommodation. I asked his Majesty what were the terms and whence he had the news; he replied that his Ambassador in France had it from M. de Jacob, that the Duke of Savoy had restored the three places and had received instead some villages of small importance as caution for payment of the Infanta's counter-dower and some old debt he claims on the grounds of Monferrat. He said the Pope had not intervened, and here he uttered some expressions extolling Pope Clement, pausing in his walk and bidding me reflect. Certain it is that the King is full of zeal and piety. He showed amazement that the Duke of Savoy should have embarked on a war without any certainty of support, and if he thought to succeed against all the Princes of Italy, France and Spain, he must be daft. The French Ambassador has already spread the report that the Duke has accepted terms that bring him no honour, but that is not true. The terms are as the King explained. He praised your Excellencies' line of conduct; his Ambassador in Venice has reported to him that the Duke of Mantua had, as it were, thrown himself upon your protection. He asked me the leading motives of your policy, and I said “to preserve the peace of Italy, to defend the right and to remove the opportunity of aggrandisement for those who, perhaps, do not at present entertain such ideas; also the interests of a friendly sovreign.” He said your Excellencies were employing your money to keep the peace, where others spent it to make war. He then said that he had heard that the King of Spain had made offers to your Excellencies in case of a movement by the Turks, and added, “Write to your Masters that I am better at deeds than at words; they know how I acted during the late troubles; in the event under discussion, assure them that I would come to their aid with all my forces. I will prove it with the power of myself, my friends and relations. I shall also instruct my Ambassador in Venice to speak about this at the right moment. The King of Spain has also sent an Ambassador to the King of Denmark, with portraits of the Infantas; and yet he has no intention of matrimonial alliance. My brother-in-law could not do less than send an Embassy to Spain in return. Now the Spanish go about saying that this is the beginning of an alliance; but the King of Denmark will always be with us; all the same it will be as well to keep him to it. When the Republic was in difficulties, you know that along with me he openly declared for her and was ready to act vigorously; I do not know that he was ever thanked; yet one could hardly do less. Write that too in courteous terms; for one ought at all times to pay attention to one's friends, so as to be able to use them on occasion. The Danish Ambassador sent to Spain will be here on his way back and he has orders to report to me all his negotiations; I will inform you. You are probably aware of the efforts which were made to sow discord with the Dutch, who in truth did bear themselves somewhat rudely, but all has gone off well.” I took my opportunity and said “Sire! It is said that the Dutch have concluded an alliance with the Turk and bound themselves to assist him with a large number of ships against Christians, your Majesty will know if it be true.” He replied “It cannot be; my Ambassador would have told me; he would certainly know it, as he is a member of their Council.” He informed me that on an express agreement his Ambassador had a seat at Secret Council meetings as Councillor of the United Provinces. It is certain that they have made no such impious and iniquitous stipulation. He would write that very day to his Ambassador for full information, and he would have an answer in ten or twelve days. “Meantime assure their Excellencies that it cannot be; No, no.”
He has had no letters from the Princess and the Elector since they were at Middelburg, nor news since the ships returned. He attributes this to the contrary winds. From Germany attempts at an accord between Saxony and Brandenburg are on foot. In the Imperial Diet nothing of moment will be discussed, for the retirement of the Turkish forces has decided the Palatine and Brandenburg not to attend in person. While speaking of his Ambassador in Venice, the King showed perfect satisfaction with him, and I, seeing that this would please him, embarked on the Ambassador's praises. All favours shown to the Ambassador will be well bestowed, for he is very high in the King's good graces.
London, 30th May, 1613.
May 30. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Costantino-poli. Venetian Archives. 844. To the Ambassador in Constantinople.
You are to represent to the Turkish Ministers that the Duke of Savoy is a Prince of a turbulent nature, of small States and weak forces, who, to support his ill-founded claims, gives asylum in his harbours to all corsairs who sail from the West to damage the Turks. He allows them to fly his flag and has declared the port of Nice free port for all pirates. A very famous one (fn. 4) is even now in his service. This man has on other occasions injured the Turks and it is now intended to send him into those waters to commit the like excesses. We have therefore been obliged to give orders to our commanders to treat as pirates all vessels flying the flag of Savoy.
Ayes 150.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 5.


  • 1. The Masque, which was designed by Bacon, represented the marriage of the Thames and the Rhine.
  • 2. See Cal. S.P. Dom. Ap. 29. “The Queen with a noble train gone to Bath. At Lord Knollys' house, en route, she was entertained with a Masque by the Lord Chamberlain's four sons and others.”
  • 3. See Cal. S.P. Dom. Ap. 29. “Some of the nobility of Muscovy having offered to put themselves under the King's protection, he is full of a scheme to send an army there and rule that country by a deputy, and is sanguine of sucoess.”
  • 4. Eston.