Venice: April 1616, 16-30

Pages 174-187

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 14, 1615-1617. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1908.

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April 1616, 16–30

April 16. Senato, Terra. Venetian Archives. 250. Whereas by deliberation of this council the Counts Palatine have been deprived of their privilege of conferring honorary degrees in our State, it is resolved that the Reformers of the University shall appoint one of the College of Arts for three years to confer the degree of Doctor auctoritate Veneta, freely upon poor scholars and others. At the end of three years they shall appoint another, and so on.
Ayes 144.
Noes 3.
Neutral 6.
April 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives. 251. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
I have letters from Augsburg of the 8th from a correspondent returned from Stuttgart, where the Elector Palatine, the prince of Anhalt, the margrave of Anspach, the margrave of Durlach and other princes and princesses to the number of twenty-three assembled for the christening of the prince of Wirtemberg. They held various secret councils together concerning the Union and resolved to stand ready to defend themselves. They discussed the dispute between the republic and the archduke Ferdinand, and said that a diversion would prove useful for your Serenity; they prolonged their Union for some years and decided to further cement the good understanding with England, the States and the Hanse towns.
Prague, the 18th April, 1616. Copy.
April 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 252. Piero Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador and the duke of Sully have not yet returned to Loudun from la Rochelle, but it is understood that they have so arranged matters with the Huguenots that there will be no further difficulty in that quarter.
The duke of Epernon continues to arm. He wishes to pose as the protector of the Catholic religion against the Huguenots as though he would form another party in France, but it is not thought that he can do anything of much consequence when the accommodation has been made with the princes.
Tours, the 18th April, 1616.
April 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 253. Vincenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador designate for France, to the Doge and Senate.
His Highness hears from Cologne in letters of the 15th inst. that Count Frederick of Vandenberg has taken Dortmund and some other places in the emperor's name. He arrived before Lippstadt where the States had placed some companies of horse under Handenburgh to hold it against the Spaniards, on which account the archduke Albert had threatened to break the truce if they did not evacuate it. There is no definite news about the result, some saying that Handenburgh came out, to the general astonishment, leaving the place in the hands of the Spaniards. It is understood that the States are collecting their forces to send to those parts, and that they have sent ambassadors to the king of Great Britain to know if he will co-operate in their defence, as they are sure that if His Majesty and the United Princes of Germany do their part, great progress will be made against the Spaniards in that country.
Heidelberg, the 18th April, 1616.
April 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Savoia. Venetian Archives. 254. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The duke read me a letter from his ambassador in England of the 20th ult. saying that the king there seems anxious that the troops from the state of Milan should not be allowed to pass into Flanders, and promises to take steps to prevent it. The agent of that king here spoke to me to the same effect, and made urgent representations to the duke upon the subject. The duke, however, would like to see them sent and be free from them himself; but they are now dealing upon general terms and the reply will be courteous but non-commital.
Turin, the 18th April, 1616.
April 19. Senato. Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 255. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Since my letters of the 2nd inst. I have received those of your Serenity of the 11th ult., and subsequently from Gio. Battista Tassis, the courier, those of the 23rd and 24th, and by the next ordinary those of the 15th and 18th of the same month. I sent no word of this by the last ordinary, as I hoped later to be able to send further information by express courier. He arrived on the night preceding Friday, the 8th inst. I sent on the following morning to the Lord Chamberlain to ask for an audience of His Majesty. In the evening the Secretary Winwood came to see me. He told me that His Majesty was preparing to receive the communion on Sunday, which is Easter, according to the style here. On that account he could not appoint me an audience immediately, and he sent to ask if I could communicate to the secretary what I had to impart, and he would straightway inform the king. I thanked the king and secretary suitably, and told the latter what had taken place between your Serenity and the archduke Ferdinand, of the levies being made in Austria and the Tyrol with the money supplied by the Spanish ambassador, and what is being done especially about Gradisca to ensure your states against invasion. I told him of the representations made by your Excellencies to the governor of Milan, and went on to speak of the negotiations carried on by the duke of Savoy with the same Governor by means of the President Gioelo, telling him the same things which your Excellencies commanded me to communicate to His Majesty, especially with regard to the unreasonable pretensions of the Governor with respect to the duke, and his declaration that he would not carry out the treaty of Asti in any other way. I pointed out that when your Serenity heard this the same thought occurred to you as had occurred to His Majesty's prudence, namely, that these forces in the duchy of Milan are meant to keep the world in a state of disquiet, and that it is necessary for them to be dissolved in conformity with the treaty of Asti, as by this means the Spaniards not only harass the duke of Savoy and keep him in a state of suspense, but they use them to encourage the ambitions of the archduke. I enlarged upon these particulars.
Winwood heard me attentively, and replied that he would represent it clearly to His Majesty, who had upon every occasion displayed his excellent intentions towards your Serenity. As matters were narrowing down, it would be as well to abandon generalities and tell him exactly what your Serenity desired His Majesty to do. I told him it was what I had already fully stated, that His Majesty should make representations to France and Spain to secure the execution of the treaty of Asti; that with regard to helping the duke of Savoy, your Serenity, in spite of many other impediments, will do your part so far as you are able. His Majesty, by a declaration, will favour your Serenity in the manner he thinks best.
The Secretary Winwood replied that your Serenity was most prudent and needed no further advice, but it was necessary to speak of the help which His Majesty would give, and it would be as well to think it over: he would be with me on the following day and he would also say something about it to the ambassador of Savoy, so as to learn what His Highness required.
I told the ambassador what the Secretary Winwood had said to me, and when I went to see the secretary on the following day the ambassador was present. The secretary told me that he had reported to His Majesty what I had said to him. The king had heard it all very readily, but wished to be told what was judged necessary to secure the affairs of all, as it is clear that representations do not suffice in order to make the state of Milan disarm. I said that your Serenity, well knowing His Majesty's excellent disposition, felt that his influence and authority would prove of the greatest assistance if he would intervene with his knowledge of the common interests, and would inform your Excellencies of his intentions, with which they would act in conformity, as time was passing, the occasion was pressing and it would be easy to take up the affair and facilitate the replies as much as possible. He asked about the state of affairs in Flanders and hinted that according as the Spaniards were occupied elsewhere their forces in Italy would be greater or less as the case might be. Winwood replied that the States would not break the truce by themselves. The ambassador of Savoy then said that he would have nothing to state on behalf of the duke if His Highness had not been compelled to arm himself because of the arming in the state of Milan; that he could not stand by himself, as his State was too much exhausted and troubled by war and by past expenses. He therefore asked for help, and at once, because the peril was immediate, and while they were turning over other things it was necessary to take into consideration the urgent need of His Highness. He offered the same idea expressed in various other ways. Winwood replied: If it is desired that the governor of Milan shall disarm, the reply was yes. He continued that if it could not be obtained in any other way they would attack the state of Milan to compel them to do so. He asked if we required help for this. I said that all desired the disarmament of the state of Milan and that His Majesty should use his authority for this, and should supply such help as his prudence thought fit, and after we had discussed this I would at once write to your Serenity. He then asked me if I would make this request of the king and go to His Majesty with the ambassador of Savoy and he would secure an audience. The ambassador of Savoy seemed to agree to this, but I pointed out that it might he more useful to discuss the more essential things, without going to these appearances. The Secretary Winwood was satisfied and the ambassador of Savoy also. I spoke to the latter apart afterwards. I told him that these matters required discussion, that they could not be decided without orders from your Serenity and His Highness, and even if they agreed, and it was done, it would be proper to give the same orders in France, to proceed in concert. He approved this reasoning entirely and was completely satisfied, so that what he had at first inclined to was not done. At the end the Secretary Winwood said that he would report to the king what had been discussed, he would see the Spanish ambassador and afterwards return to see me. He did this on Friday morning, after he had first sent word to the ambassador of Savoy to be present also. In a discourse of considerable length he told us that His Majesty desired the universal good and the tranquillity of Christendom and had acted everywhere to preserve it, as he had done last year in Italy and this year in France, whence he is daily expecting to hear of the final consummation. He is still of the same mind. The secretary said that he had been to the Spanish ambassador and told him that His Majesty had pledged his word to the treaty of Asti, and as a religious and pious prince he wished to keep it, but it seemed that in doing so he would have to break off that friendship which he has with the crown of Spain. He wished to let the ambassador know that he should regret this, but owing to his obligation he could not do otherwise. To this the Spanish ambassador replied that His Catholic Majesty would have executed the treaty of Asti and had already given orders to that effect, and it would be completed by now if the duke of Savoy had not wished to add some words in a letter, and if your Serenity had not began to arm, but in any case he would write, and everything would be carried out in accordance with the negotiations. He had sent to France in conformity to negotiate with His Most Christian Majesty so that they might also decide to do what is proper and he hoped that all would end happily. I thanked him suitably and the ambassador of Savoy did the same; we went on to speak of matters which I report in my following letters.
London, the 19th April, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 19. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 256. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After I had thanked the Secretary Winwood for his representation to the Spanish ambassador and the letters sent to France, I went on to show how frivolous were the reasons advanced by the Spaniards for not disarming. I said that they did not maintain their forces for the sake of the duke of Savoy, but of your Serenity, as if they were bound to disarm absolutely, they would have no reason to attack your Serenity, and the duke of Savoy knew and complained of his danger, so that every reason willed that they should execute the treaty, for which they had given a special promise to His Majesty. Your Excellencies therefore hoped the more that His Majesty would see it carried out, especially as the interest of your Serenity and of all the other princes in his confidence were involved. The ambassador of Savoy also began to speak about the letters which the Spaniards said they had not wished the duke to write. However the Secretary Winwood interrupted him and said he knew quite well that they were bound to disarm, and yet they were not bound not to make war upon your Serenity, but all the same, after the affairs are settled in France, as it is daily expected they will be, the princes will send their troops to the duke of Savoy. After saying some more to the same purpose, he asked me what your Serenity desired, whether you wished the treaty of Asti to be executed, or to be assisted. I replied that your Excellencies desired both and what you proposed with regard to the carrying out of the treaty of Asti was not because you desired in any way to withdraw from the very great obligation towards His Majesty, but to inform him of what you considered to be beneficial, and on this account you hoped that His Majesty would be the more anxious to obtain it. This would render your obligation the greater. To this Winwood replied that the execution of the treaty of Asti and the assistance were two things in which your Excellencies sought the help of His Majesty. He then went on to say that His Majesty would perform every good office for your Serenity, but it was not convenient to make war with the Spaniards. He added, partly clearly and partly between his teeth, among other words, that once his king had entered upon war with Spain your Excellencies might come to an accommodation, so that it was only right that if His Majesty helped your Serenity he should in his turn be helped by you. I spoke strongly and earnestly about the obligations of your Serenity to His Majesty and of the desire which you have to show your gratitude and goodwill effectively; that the republic had always been grateful and mindful of benefits, especially with respect to His Majesty. He replied courteously, but in few words, and then went on to say that His Majesty had offered his alliance to your Serenity and had received a somewhat lukewarm reply that it was sufficient to preserve a union of hearts and such like things, showing that the king was considerably dissatisfied with the answer; and yet he put in the remark that if your Serenity desires help you should ask for it and state exactly what you require; that he had nothing more to say, and I understood very well.
I did not fail to assure him most strongly of the affection and esteem of your Serenity for His Majesty and that you would always be concerned in the interests of this crown, that in the negotiations which you have carried on you have never placed anything before your wishes to respond to his friendship and discharge your obligations. That the reservations made at other times did not arise from any selfish motives, but from a sincere conviction of what would be best for the common good, and so at the present time, when you are acquainted with the intentions of His Majesty and enlightened upon the other interests, you will find it useful to rule your proceedings more frankly in making decisions. You will then do everything in your power for the good of others and will make known the great influence of the prudent counsels of His Majesty. Winwood spoke upon all these matters in various strains, and at last he said haughtily: If the Republic wishes to have assistance and to be sure that she will never be attacked by the Spaniards, she must enter our union, and all will be for her. He stated this to me as a settled resolution, and with that the discussion ended. I did not rest until I had seen him again to procure further particulars. He confined himself to telling me that your Serenity must decide, and that a strong attack is the best defence.
The ambassador of Savoy, both in my presence and separately, has made various requests for help in money, saying that His Highness has no need of troops. To this His Majesty has replied that he will see that the treaty of Asti is carried out and will help the duke with money. If the treaty is not executed he will declare war upon the Spaniards. He also negotiates for including His Highness in the peace of the States and the Princes of Germany his confederates. His Highness is equally anxious to see your Serenity included also. The same ambassador has asked and will receive further particulars from His Majesty of the assistance to be given to His Highness, and also, when he has an opportunity, he will ask for an open declaration for your Serenity, and for the rest he loses no occasion to benefit and help all that he thinks may assist the disposition of your Excellencies to enter the union.
The king has preferred that I should treat upon these particulars with the Secretary Winwood, not because he was occupied by reason of Easter Day or for any other cause which would prevent him from hearing me, but in order to make me know more freely his feeling about the union, and he will not interest himself further in the proposal before he has more knowledge of the intentions of the Spaniards.
His Majesty has returned to Newmarket but will be back soon. I will not fail to represent to him all the affairs in the best possible manner, to preserve and increase his good disposition towards your Serenity.
London, the 19th April, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 257. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
It is many days since the ambassador of Berne left this court to return to France. I have had a letter written to the Ambassador Wotton to get him to perform such offices as are necessary, according to the information which he may receive from Sig. Giovanni Battista Padavino or from the Secretary Suriano, and as he himself may see fit. It is not known whereabouts he may be just at present, but when the secretary told me this, I asked him to give me the letters which I was awaiting to send the present courier, and to send them to the Secretary Surian at Zurich so that he may give them to Wotton. I hope that the latter will do some useful work with them, as the assistance of His Majesty is much to be desired in these affairs.
Of the affairs of Flanders, even if the Margrave of Brandenburg has renounced his pretensions to the states, as your Serenity commands me to understand, I do not find that anything has actually taken place; at all events the States have such interests in that country that they keep it guarded with their troops, and owing to its nearness and other causes, they treat it with as much care as the most serious affairs of their own state, so that in any case it is probable that these disputes will lead to the taking up of arms this year. Your Excellencies will receive more particular information upon this head from the Secretary Lionello; there are already signs of a beginning. I shall not fail to inform the agents of the Elector Palatine and the king of Denmark of what is taking place, as a testimony of the confidence of your Excellencies towards their princes, and for a clearer declaration of the most just cause of your Serenity. I shall do the same with others whom I may think of, as the Spanish ambassador never ceases saying what he can in favour of the archduke, whenever he has an opportunity. He sent yesterday to inform the Secretary Winwood of the mission sent by the governor of Milan, of the marquis Andrea Manriques to your Serenity, from which he had not obtained the satisfaction which he desired, and accordingly he had been compelled to send some cannons and a certain number of troops to Cremona. By this communication beyond all other things he goes about manufacturing excuses for keeping the state of Milan armed.
The ambassador of Savoy has sent off a gentleman with all diligence to inform His Highness of all that has been negotiated hitherto, and especially to advise him of the proposals for a league with your Serenity.
With regard to the 200 thousand of powder of which your Excellencies commanded me to make some provision, a difficulty has arisen about obtaining it at Amsterdam, as the merchants here say that they are advised from that place that there is none ready there at the present moment owing to an arrangement made with your Serenity. I have, however, taken steps to obtain the largest quantity which can be had in this kingdom, which is certainly of excellent quality and of the fineness which your Excellencies prescribed, and at a reasonable price. By to-morrow or the following day I hope to hear what provision can be made now, but I fear that within a reasonable time it will not be possible to obtain more than 50 thousand or thereabouts. With this in hand I will afterwards see if the merchants here cannot overcome the difficulty of scarcity and other impediments and provide the complete quantity elsewhere. I will inform your Serenity and the Proveditori of the artillery of exactly what I succeed in doing.
I have also obtained information about taking troops in ships by sea. I find that the time spent on the voyage is generally from two to three months. For this reason it is necessary not to put more than 200 soldiers upon a ship of about 300 tons. For these ships the merchants usually pay 25 ducats a ton for the journey out and home, of which they reckon 16 for the journey out. The price of hire for transit may be raised according to various accidents. In Dutch ships, which are, however, worse armed, the voyage would cost less, but to obtain the whole number there would cause too much bad feeling here. Those who wish to serve your Serenity chiefly desire that if the Spaniards wish to make war on your Serenity they may be allowed to treat them as enemies on the voyage out. With regard to the payment of the troops, they would be satisfied with the wages which they received in the Low Countries, according to the enclosed note. To a large extent the same soldiers could be obtained; they can be more easily obtained and it would probably be both for their own satisfaction and that of your Serenity. The captains claim a capitation fee of 5 or 6 crowns for taking the soldiers to the ships, but upon this head it might be well to consider if it be not necessary to cut down these claims. They ask for a sum of about 12 ducats to clothe the soldiers and of 6 or 7 to arm them, or else that arms be given them and consigned to the captains, to restore them to your Serenity after they have used them. It is usual to give a fourth part of the pay in advance. Owing to the length of the voyage they also claim that some consideration shall be taken about dismissing them, so that there may be some provision for their return, or some obligation to maintain them for a certain time. They have suggested a year to me, saying that if your Serenity did not need to employ them, you would not incur the expense necessary for their passage.
Lord Dingwall, a leading Scotch lord at this court, high in favour with the king, has always cherished a strong desire to serve your Serenity. He has offered himself to me for this service, to take 6,000 infantry or 1,000 cavalry from England, Scotland and Ireland, in all of which countries he enjoys the highest consideration, to serve your good pleasure, and he has the notion of going himself to offer his services to your Serenity.
I have received the letters for Sir [Henry] Wotton and will send off the courier, who is Giovanni Battista Tasso. I have given him orders to take the route through Paris, and thence through Lorraine and Switzerland, avoiding Flanders and Milan, where he has met with difficulties. Though this is longer it is much easier and safer. He has begged me to inform your Serenity of this, as also that he had to stop two days at Calais on his way here as he could not cross the sea, while even now it is difficult. I have given him 200 ducats, which your Serenity may order to be put in the account.
When I was about to seal these presents I received the letters of your Serenity of the 26th and 28th ult., containing the information about the armistice for two months and of the conditions upon which it was made. I will communicate all this to His Majesty as soon as possible.
London, the 20th April, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 258. Piero Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador and the duke of Sully arrived yesterday at Loudun. They report that although the people of la Rochelle are not entirely satisfied with what has been arranged, especially in postponing to another time the declaration upon the first article of the third state, yet they approve all that the prince has arranged, and do not wish the peace to be prevented on their account.
Tours, the 20th April, 1616.
April 22. Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives. 259. The Proveditori of the Arsenal have arranged with Henry Parvis, an English merchant in this city, who undertakes to consign immediately in the house at his own charge soft English lead in small vessels, about a hundred miaro good and sufficient, to the satisfaction of that house, to be paid 41 1/2 ducats the miaro; he shall be released from the custom on the lead, for which he will abate 2 per cent. of the tare, and shall be paid when the lead is duly consigned.
Ayes 152.
Noes 2.
Neutral 3.
April 22. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 260. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary sent to Holland, to the Doge and Senate.
M. Vandermyle, who was ambassador with your Serenity, told me in confidence that you may assure yourselves of every good will on this side. The way by sea is easy; it would be as well to form a confederation between all the princes who have dominion over the sea. Barnevelt and the Prince would welcome this and so would most of the others, although there has been some diversity of opinion hitherto, but it would not matter if these few stood out or joined in. Your Excellencies' proposals would always be well received by the States, and it was not necessary to treat through the intermediary of others. I understood him to mean the king of England in particular, as they do not care to have negotiations carried on with them, through others, making it appear to the world that they are somewhat dependent upon others.
I returned to the Hague yesterday and reached this town to-day. Thence I shall proceed to Zeeland, where I shall await a favourable wind to transport me to England.
Dunquerque, the 22nd April, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 22. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 261. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
News has arrived from France of the settlement of the articles of peace between their Most Christian Majesties and the prince of Condé; that the prince would not sign them before they had been seen by the assembly of the Huguenots at la Rochelle. Accordingly the English ambassador and the duke of Sully proceeded thither to induce them to accept. All this has been heard with the utmost satisfaction, as they attribute the success of the accommodation to the interposition of the king here and the work of his ambassador. It is thought that the assembly will accept the articles, although some of them seemed very shy of doing so, owing to their fear lest they should suffer some prejudice after the composition, as the movement made by the duke (sic) of Gramont during the armistice against M. de la Force in Bearn created a very bad impression in their minds. We hear from there that M. de Candale, after declaring himself a Huguenot, published a pamphlet stating the reasons why he had changed his religion, in which it certainly might be wished that he had delivered himself more moderately. This has been condemned by the Parliament of Toulouse and burned by the public executioner, according to the custom in France. The same thing was done at la Rochelle by order of that Parliament.
The duke of Mayenne and the duke of Vendome have offered 12,000 foot and 1,600 horse to the duke of Savoy, and the duke of Rohan and M. de Soubise, his brother, with various other leading lords, have sent to make offers to His Highness. It is thought that this has been done not only because of their friendly disposition towards the duke and that the treaty of Asti may be executed as the prince of Condé has demanded in his proposals, but also because by overcoming the reputation and strength of the Spaniards they may increase their authority in France, and in this way maintain at the expense of others those troops by which they may always secure themselves and the effectuation of what is now being settled.
The queen mother has told the Ambassador Edmondes of her decision to send M. de Bethune, son of M. de Sully, to Piedmont, and to require that the treaty of Asti be carried out; and she also thinks of sending some other person of distinction to interpose in the affairs of your Serenity with the Archduke Ferdinand.
The Spanish ambassador has returned here to tell the Secretary Winwood that the treaty will be executed at Milan, and that His Catholic Majesty desires it to be done. The agent of His Majesty at Madrid having made the same demands in the name of his king to His Catholic Majesty, was told most emphatically that the king desires disarmament at Milan and the complete execution of the treaty.
The ambassador of Savoy has fresh news from the duke that his suspicions are continually increased by the augmentation of the forces at Milan and by the determination of the Governor not to execute the treaty, so that it behoves him to arm and provide for the safety of his states. He came to see me yesterday and told me that he had seen the Secretary Winwood and had clearly told him of all these things, and of the necessity for the duke to arm in his own defence, and the impossibility of doing so owing to the scarcity of money. He said that the Governor of Milan ought to disarm, and that in France, now that the agreement is settled, they will certainly do something, and in any case, both here and everywhere else, the end will be seen. The same ambassador added that it was desirable and should be sought, that before all these forces are disbanded in France, and if matters are negotiated speedily they will afford great assistance also to the good conduct of the negotiations of your Serenity with the Archduke Ferdinand; that this time of an armistice was the moment for negotiations, which are equally in need of being sustained by force and reputation as by war itself.
I applauded his views, and said he did well to insist as warmly as possible upon disarmament, the more so because this last offer of your Serenity to suspend operations removes the false and hollow pretext that the Governor of Milan is arming because of your Excellencies. This would give him fresh reason to consider and to strengthen his instances. He told me that he had thought of this, and will not fail to do so. I have asked audience of His Majesty, and as soon as he has granted it I will fulfil the commands of your Serenity.
London, the 22nd April, 1616.
April 26. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 262. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The agent of France keeps importuning the duke not to arm and asking for leave to go to Don Pedro to introduce fresh negotiations, for which he says he has commissions from Their Most Christian Majesties. His Highness recognises that this is an artifice to imperil his affairs. Accordingly he postpones a decision. However. to-day he summoned his council and desired that I and the minister of Great Britain should attend also. In the presence of all he asked what commissions he had. He said he was simply told to discover the intentions of Don Pedro and to assure His Highness that his states should not be attacked. When the duke remarked that the treaty of Asti provided that no attack or suspicion should be given to neighbouring princes, the agent replied that he had no instructions upon this, that Their Majesties commanded him to reassure His Highness, but no more. This so disgusted the duke that without any further proceedings he dismissed the agent and all the rest of us. I do not know what the outcome may be, but His Highness has declared that whether the agent goes to Milan or no, he will arm and join his fortune to that of the republic.
Turin, the 26th April, 1616.
April 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 263. Vincenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador destined for France, to the Doge and Senate.
Among various conversations which I had at different times with the margrave of Anspach, he asked me how it was that the republic, while recognising the prejudice caused by the greatness of Spain and of all the House of Austria, did not think of joining those European powers, who by their confederation endeavour to balance the Austrian power. He mentioned the king of England, the States, the United Princes of Germany and the duke of Savoy. I said that your Serenity fally recognised the value of the friendship of all these powers, with whom it would always have friendly relations. At the present time the chief consideration with your Serenity was the opening of the passes, and when that is secure the republic will be free to take other resolutions. He said that the duke of Savoy could make a powerful diversion if matters went further with the archduke and the Spaniards intervened, and I have heard from one of the principal ministers that the king of England, the States and all the princes will afford assistance to the duke of Savoy to make war on the state of Milan, if they think it will please the republic, as otherwise they will do nothing.
Anspach, the 27th April, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives. 264. Pietro Vico, Venetian Secretary in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A book has appeared here, printed in England, in which the author proves that the present pope was not elected in the ordinary way in the consistory of Cardinals, and that he ought not to be considered as a legitimate pope. The nuncio has obtained the king's authority to destroy all copies, those possessing them being considered guilty of high treason as well as excommunicate. The nuncio so far has obtained five or six copies and has sent them to the Cardinal Borghese at Rome.
Madrid, the 27th April, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Milano. Venetian Archives. 265. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident at Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
The Governor has given orders that the agent of France, resident at Turin, who is expected here this evening, shall be lodged and entertained at the palace. The ambassador of France is also expected and news has come that Sir [Henry] Wotton, who is returning to reside with your Excellencies, will travel by way of Turin and will come here and pass on to Mantua, to negotiate upon the current affairs and procure the execution of the treaty of Asti, to satisfy the instances of the duke of Savoy.
News from France relates that the Huguenots raised some difficulties about the reply given by His Most Christian Majesty to their petition, and that the English ambassador and Sully have gone to remove them and the conclusion of the peace has been postponed on that account.
Milan, the 27th April, 1616.
April 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Svizzeri. Venetian Archives. 266. Christofforo Surian, Venetian Secretary with the Swiss, to the Doge and Senate.
Gio. Battista Tassis, the courier of your Serenity, has arrived here from England with letters of the Ambassador Barbarigo enclosing one addressed to Sir Henry Wotton, to whom I am instructed to deliver it if he comes this way; and telling me what I am to do.
Zurich, the 27th April, 1616.
April 30. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 267. Piero Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have not been to the prince or even sent the secretary to him, as it would be of no use when he is not at Court. I have not, however, neglected to inform him and the others, in a very confidential manner, of the union of Gueffier with the Spanish ministers for closing the passes. Bouillon has spoken somewhat warmly about it to Villeroy, but obtained nothing definite from him. Those proceedings are condemned by everyone here and the ambassadors of England, Holland and Berne, to whom I have spoken about it, consider it exceedingly bad, and are willing to make complaints, as they are unwilling that the ambitions of Spain should encounter no obstacle.
Blois, the 30th April, 1616.