Venice: September 1616, 1-15

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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'Venice: September 1616, 1-15', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 14, 1615-1617, (London, 1908) pp. 287-296. British History Online [accessed 4 March 2024]

September 1616, 1–15

Sept. 1. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Venetian Archives. 416. To the Ambassador in England.
Our troops have ravaged towards Plez, a foraging country for the enemy. They made a show of opposition more than once, but ultimately withdrew. We have destroyed the bridges there. Pontieba has been strengthened by a new fort. The enemy has made no sign near Chiavoredo. Goritz and Gradisca are better guarded. The Proveditore General in Dalmatia has inflicted some damage upon Buccari and punished the people there for their insults to our subjects.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, France, Spain, Savoy, Constantinople, Mantua, Florence, Milan, Naples, Zurich and the Hague.
Ayes 143.
Noes 0.
Neutral 3.
Sept. 1. Cinque Savii Alla Mercanzia. Risposte. Venetian Archives. 417. We have read the petition of Zuanne Budeache, part owner of the English ship Unita, asking that he may take from Zante 200 loads of native oil on that island, paying the usual customs, to take them to England where ships serve, as a return for having brought troops here on his ship which was to have gone to Calamata, at the request of the Proveditore of Zante, we are of opinion that this request is contrary to the laws and ought not to be granted, but your Serenity will find some other way of rewarding him for his service.
Zuanne Falier.
Zuan Marco Molin.
Antonio Longo.
Zaccaria Bondumier.
Sept. 2. Consiglio di X. Criminale. Venetian Archives. 418. The committee to examine Ottavio Robbazzi, valet of Antonio Foscarini, entertain doubts whether, in order to obtain from him what justice requires for the crime of having delivered into foreign hands and to ambassadors and others the registers of the despatches written by Foscarini to the Senate, they should torture him, or put him on his defence at once, and pass sentence.
The white balloting urn will receive the ballot of those in favour of his being racked, the green one those for his being put upon his defence, and that a report be made to this council as speedily as possible. The red urn for neutrals.
In the white urn 3.
In the green urn 11.
In the red urn 0.
Carried to put him on his defence.
Sept. 2. Inquisitori di Stato. Lettere agli Ambasciatori d'Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 419. The Inquisitors of State to Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England.
We are much pleased with what you obtained from M. de la Forêt, as related in your letters of the 13th inst. We are also pleased with the reward of 100 ducats given to him, and have given orders for the payment of that sum. We await your further orders and should be glad of other light upon the subject. Excessive diligence and watchfulness are impossible in so grave a matter.
Sept. 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati, Venetian Archives. 420. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Resident in Holland, to the Doge and Senate.
A gentleman arrived here last Sunday from the duke of Wirtemberg with letters for the king of Great Britain. He arrived in great haste and left immediately for London.
The Hague, the 7th September, 1616.
Sept. 7. Consiglio di X. Criminale. Venetian Archives. 421. Resolved that sentence be passed on Ottavio Robbazzi.
Ayes 13.
Noes 0.
Neutral 1.
Proposed that he be condemned to the galleys for ten years. If unfit for this, that on Saturday the 10th his soundest hand be amputated between the columns of St. Mark and that he be imprisoned for twenty years; should he escape he shall be outlawed and hanged if taken.
Ayes 7.
Noes 9.
Neutral 0.
Proposed that on Saturday next he be strangled in prison.
Ayes 4.
Noes 4.
Neutral 1.
Proposed that he be condemned to five years in the galleys, or ten years imprisonment without amputation of the hand.
Ayes 3.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
The last proposition withdrawn.
Sept. 8. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 422. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The king has a foolish fear that the Franks are so numerous in Galata that with the assistance of the Greeks, who also live there, they may make a rising in the city. Turkish subjects have been ordered to wear long cloaks with caps of black cloth and a fur border; the Franks, under which name they include French, English, Flemings and Venetians, are to wear a cloak and a short coat. In one day a complete metamorphosis of clothes has been seen at Galata, as all fear the fury of this Cadi Moro.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 8th September, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 8. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 423. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The census of the Franks in Galata continues, and the prohibition of the Franks to pass from one district of Constantinople to another, which is no small inconvenience to traders, but it cannot last and it must be removed as soon as the census is completed. That he may not lose all the trouble upon the census, the Cadi Moro has published a declaration that all foreigners who have stayed here for more than a year are subject to the carazo, a thing they have attempted before, and which has been opposed by all the ambassadors. It is very different now, because they say it comes from the king.
The Cadi Moro has also demanded a note of all those of the households of the ambassadors of France, England, Flanders and Venice, and it has been impossible to refuse. All their troubles arise from the fact that the Pasha is not equal to his task.
The matter of the carazo is most important and all the ambassadors resident here ordinarily will unite for a common defence, but at present nothing has been definitely decided.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 8th September, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 9. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 424. To the Ambassador in England.
The General in Friuli went to Lucinis, where the enemy left a force well provided. This was occupied; the site is important and the capture will facilitate further progress. We do not know further particulars. Nothing of moment has happened elsewhere.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, France, Spain, Savoy, Florence, Mantua, Milan, Naples, the Hague, Zurich.
Ayes 143.
Noes 3.
Neutral 4.
Sept. 9. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 425. The Nuncio came into the Cabinet and said:
Cardinal Borghese writes to say that he has learned that your Serenity has instituted a new college at Padua, where the doctorate may be obtained without a profession of faith. One who sets up to teach others ought to profess the Catholic faith and those who are to become physicians ought to consider it their first duty to remind the sick of the most holy sacraments. Any departure from this would be a scandal. The canons are very precise upon the point and there is a bull of Pope Paul IV. on the subject. I beg your Serenity to think well upon the matter.
The doge replied that they were ever zealous for the preservation and increase of religion.
Nicolo Contarini as a Reformer of the University of Padua explained that the step had been taken for the benefit of poor students who could not afford the cost of taking the doctorate from an ordinary college and also to remove the abuse of the Counts Palatine.
The nuncio praised the case for the poor, but he referred to heretics, who would not take the oath. He would await their decision in the matter.
Sept. 9. Senato. Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 426. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Now that the progress of His Majesty is drawing towards its close, (fn. 1) it happens that news and important affairs are accumulating at this Court, and old matters are being revived which for some reason had been abandoned long since. Among other things the recent event in France is of great moment, the imprisonment of the prince of Condé and the flight of the other princes. The first news of this reached this city on Monday morning by a courier expressly sent by his Most Christian Majesty to his ambassador resident here. He, thinking the matter one of great importance, and in order to be the first to impress it after his own fashion upon the mind of the king, set out to go and meet him at a distance of thirty-seven miles. He returned to London yesterday evening, but highly disgusted. When he reached the place where the king, queen and prince were, he sent M. de la Chesnay (Scienè), his gentleman, to ask an audience of the king. His Majesty does not much care about negotiating with ambassadors, and greatly dislikes being suddenly taken by surprise by them, and in addition he has a personal dislike for the ambassador. Accordingly he gave him an appointment twelve days ahead at a place a considerable distance away. Dismayed at this, the ambassador decided as a last chance to send the same M. de Chesnay to communicate his news to the queen, so that she might inform the king and arouse His Majesty's curiosity to hear for himself and send for him immediately. However, this did not succeed, as some rumours reached the king's ears, and he became very anxious to know what had happened; but instead of summoning the ambassador he sent the Secretary Winwood to him. On seeing this the ambassador began to make loud complaints. He felt aggrieved because although a public personage and the representative of the greatest prince of Christendom, who had made a journey of forty miles, not for his own pleasure, in order to see the king, His Majesty has never had the curiosity to stir out of his house to see him, and though he brought matters of the greatest importance, he was refused an audience. Such treatment would justify a similar reception to the English ambassadors in France, only they would not do so, because it was unseemly. He swore by God that he would never again go to audience with the king upon this affair, even if one was appointed for him, nor yet upon others unless he was instructed to do so by very express orders from Paris. He afterwards told Winwood the substance of the news which he had, and then left the place to return home. On the way back he was overtaken by the secretary of the Lord Chamberlain, sent after him by the king's command to say that His Majesty would see him in three days at a place fifteen miles from London and would give him audience. But in spite of all the efforts made by this gentleman he could obtain no other reply from the ambassador except that His Majesty must not expect him, as he was quite determined, and he neither could nor would go.
What he had instructions to tell the king, and what in fact he did tell the Secretary Winwood was contained in a short letter written by His Most Christian Majesty to this effect: that he had heard and seen from various notes that there were certain authors of fresh machinations against the well-being and peace of France, and they have gone so far as to plot against his own person and the person of the queen, his mother, the matter being sufficiently proved by the flight of the persons implicated. What is more, these same persons have endeavoured in various ways to bribe the Prince of Condé, his cousin, to join with them, for which reason His Majesty has been compelled, though much against his will, to make sure of the person of the said Condé in one of the rooms of the castle, in order to clear up the truth, but without any intention of harming him.
On Wednesday at midday a courier passed through to the king, sent from France by his ambassadors, with a more circumstantial account of the affair. He arrived so late because he was hindered on the road by the French, who wished to allow their ambassador time to make the first impression upon His Majesty and to induce him to believe this important step to be less momentous and more just than it is believed to be. There is no doubt that it will seem very strange to the king of England, not only for reasons common to all the powers friendly to France, but much more because of his interposition a few months ago in the treaty and because the Prince of Condé went this last time to Paris practically at his instance, in order to be present and give his advice upon the matters introduced by Lord Hay, the extraordinary ambassador. I hear that the Secretary Winwood, when he heard these things from the French ambassador, betrayed his wrath and dissatisfaction by the movement of his body and the colour of his face. I have had no time, owing to my distance from the Court to learn more of what the king has said and done, but next week I will send your Excellencies full particulars.
There are rumours that the negotiations for the marriage with France are meeting with insuperable difficulties, and it is probable that after the arrest of the prince they will encounter much greater ones. This would not grieve them much here, as the inclination of the magnates is almost unanimous in preferring a marriage with Spain (Corre qualche voce la negociatione del matrimonio in Francia incontra troppo difficoltà, et è credibile, che doppo la retentione del Prencipe ne incontrera di molto maggiore che per qui non dispiacerà molto, essendo quasi universale l'inclinatione de' grandi all' effettuarlo più tosto con Spagna).
London, the 9th September, 1616.
Sept. 9. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 427. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A month passed without the ambassador of Savoy receiving any news from Piedmont, so that he is considerably perturbed because he does not know how things are going, and because he cannot continue negotiations with the king for the service of his master. At length on Wednesday morning he received letters from His Highness by the ordinary way, with two documents, one containing the first proposals made by Bethune to Don Pedro, the reply of Pedro and the answer of Bethune, and the other the copy of a letter written by the duke to M. d'Alincourt, informing him especially of the affairs of the duke of Nemours, and begging him to help the marquis of Lanzi for the defence of Savoy. But the principal letter written by His Highness to his ambassador speaks of the armistice granted by Bethune at the request of the Spaniards, who are expecting their final levies. When they have reached the state of Milan and the armistice has expired, he says he has no doubt that they will draw near to attack him, as this clearly appears from their having posted all their troops on his frontiers. By that time he also hopes to be in a posture to give a good account of himself, as he will have 30,000 foot and 3,000 horse; but he cannot last a long time with so many troops, as his country is much wasted by its past troubles. However, he directs him to impart all this to the king, and beg him to give some assistance, at least in money, to maintain his liberty, and if he is inclined to this, to give it quickly while he can make use of it, as if the king delays, he may not be in time, as he is compelled to make use at least of the shadow of his assistance, seeing that his offices are of no avail. He directs the ambassador to ask for powder, munitions and artillery, such as was promised at other times as a gift if war should break out before. He finally directs him to see about sending ten or twelve ships of Holland into the Mediterranean if His Majesty should think of sending his English there, to whom he would give a haven in the port of Villafranca, and they will be able to render useful services.
On receiving these letters the ambassador at once wrote to the Secretary Winwood, asking him to obtain an audience of the king in which it is only reasonable that he should obtain something definite from His Majesty now that the purposes of the Spaniards are manifest and that all the points have been passed which His Majesty prescribed for himself before passing from words to deeds. In connection with this same audience the ambassador asked me if I should like him to put in something with His Majesty which I might think useful for the service of the republic. I thanked him and said that the account and information which he is to give the king may also prove of great assistance to the interests of your Serenity, even the persistence of the Spaniards in remaining armed and compelling the republic and the duke by force to obey their wishes, prejudices equally the affairs and liberty of both, and therefore the king ought to give the greater attention to relieving these two devoted friends of his from such a menace, and it would be equally advantageous to both if the ambassador should inform His Majesty of the mutual understanding between our masters and how openly and readily your Excellencies do everything you can to help the duke, notwithstanding the great weight of your own troubles.
This week I received your Excellencies' letters of the 13th August with news of the armistice, the proposal made by the duke and your reply, which I will use for information as directed. I do not think that the ambassador of Savoy here knows anything about it, and that His Highness has written nothing to him on the matter. I am almost sure of this because I have seen and read His Highness's letters, containing the same ideas, though set forth with greater amptitude of phraseology.
Hitherto I had the impression that though the sons of Barbarigo did not receive from His Majesty on their departure from England those signs of honour which are customary with ambassadors and which were due to them on every account owing to the death of their father, yet I thought that he would one day make good this omission, and therefore I put off writing to your Excellencies what I nevertheless think that you ought to know. They left here after having made the proper visits and having done all on their side, without His Majesty presenting them with the customary gift, although Sir [Lewis] Lewkenor, master of the ceremonies, and other gentlemen said that the king had remarked that the same should be given to them as would have been given to their father had he lived. But afterwards the matter was passed over in silence without another word. I believe that it is due to the bad intelligence between the ministers and courtiers among themselves, as what one inclines to, another denies, and very often a third party suffers, as has happened in this case. The sons of Barbarigo, with their natural generosity and nobility of soul, have not wished a word to be said about this, but I cannot help thinking it strange that they should be deprived of what, so to speak, belongs to them, especially as I know that in other cases of the death of an ambassador matters have passed very differently, and they have sent the donation due to the father to the sons at Venice. Everything conspires to the detriment of that unlucky house, and they have nothing to set against the loss of their father and their property except what they may expect from the gracious benignity of your Excellencies.
London, the 9th September, 1616.
Sept. 9. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 428. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
The Frenchman, Pietro, has been to see me, saying that he would have come before if he had not been detained by fear of assasination. I questioned him closely and learned that his master had had intelligence with Ottavio the valet for some time, and had obtained from him for gold public letters, which M. de la Forét copied and gave copies to the ambassadors of France and Spain, the latter giving him 5 lire a month, employing him as a spy upon the ambassador of France and other ambassadors. He showed me some copies on Forét's handwriting, which I took from him, giving him two crowns. I wish I had had this information a month or two ago as it would have spared me much trouble and anxiety and saved 150 ducats.
With regard to Nodari and Smith I have done nothing hitherto, as Nodari is away and in his absence I cannot bring myself to speak of this with the knight.
After I had paid the 100 ducats to Forét, he, kindled possibly by the hope of something similar, showed me more confidence than usual, coming to report something from the house of the French ambassador, but his principal design is to hear some news from me to report elsewhere.
From London, the 9 September, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 10. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Roma. Venetian Archives. 429. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday evening, while I was occupied with my despatch to your Serenity, I had no time to tell you of an event which happened here perhaps that very evening. A certain Englishman, tall and of fine appearance, but by his mien and clothes apparently a man of moderate condition, while in the street near the Piazza Navona, saw the portrait of the pope in a painter's shop a little way off. He first threw some stones at it and then drew near and trampled under foot the pope's arms which stood hard by. The boys of the shop began to cry out, and a crowd collected, which stopped him. Then thirty sbirri came up and after a long struggle bound him and carried him off. He has been examined under torture by all the ministers here, but has suffered everything without once opening his mouth. The pope has been greatly upset, and the first night was unable to sleep at all. The matter has been much discussed, and the general opinion is that the rascal meant to kill the pope, but something having occurred to stop him, he vented his brutal fury upon the portrait. I understand that he will be handed over to the Inquisition and punished as a heretic.
Rome, the 10th September, 1616.
Sept. 13. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 430. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Resident in Holland, to the Doge and Senate.
Lord Dingwall, a Scotchman, arrived here yesterday and left for England on Saturday. He sent word to me to propose a visit, but I afterwards went with Colonel Horace Vere to dine at the house of the English ambassador, where he invited me to meet his lordship. He told me of the favours received from your Serenity, which he would never forget. He spoke at length of the friendship of his king for the republic; calling himself unfortunate in not having been able to serve when others could not so easily obtain men from England and Ireland. But he had at least fulfilled the promise made to the ambassadors and to your Serenity. All this showed how unwillingly he returned without having served. He said he thought from the evil offices of a certain Englishman about bringing men, that the distance had raised doubts in the mind of your Serenity. He had not been able to wait because of his wife; which is the same thing that the Ambassador Wotton touched upon at the beginning of his exposition. I endeavoured to assure him that his goodwill had given the utmost pleasure to your Excellencies, and that the only reason why you did not employ him was because there was no immediate occasion, but that you would always esteem him and remember his goodwill. He seemed satisfied and said he would give a good account to His Majesty of the honourable reception with which he had met in every part of your state.
When he was about to depart the English ambassador came to say good-bye, and as my house is near where the baron lodged, he came to see me. He was very affable, and protested that it was not a formal visit, as more ceremony was necessary with a minister of the republic, but that being near he could not refrain from coming to see me. After we had exchanged compliments he said that on the preceding day the baron had asked him to recommend him to your Serenity, and express his willingness to serve. He went on to say that he thought it would be prudent and judicious for your Serenity to take troops from his king's realm; and his master would always be ready to listen to proposals for a settlement with the Archduke Ferdinand; that it would be good to raise troops whether there was likelihood of an open rupture or of a settlement. The troops could not be ready before the winter; time would show what would happen, and whatever happened you would be ready for the spring. He remarked that in case your Serenity thought of enlisting English troops, he would remind you that it would be best to approach His Majesty to agree to the enlisting of a regiment of his subjects, as he was sure His Majesty would not refuse. That regiment, divided out among other new companies of English, would serve as a model and example to others. He called to mind that many brave knights had been here who would have served, and that Colonel Horace Vere had under him as brave and experienced men as ever served. He spoke in such wise as to show me that the English value themselves and do not like the advancement of the Scots. I remarked the same with General Cecil, who in speaking about Dingwall, used similar expressions. I thanked the ambassador for what he had said.
The Hague, the 13th September, 1616.
Sept. 13. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 431. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Resident in Holland, to the Doge and Senate.
The gentleman of the duke of Wirtemberg, who set out in haste for London as I reported, went to advise the king there of the Burgundians who are occupying the county of Montbeliard (Monbelgard) in considerable numbers. This is a county of the duke. Thy proposed to winter there.
The Hague, the 13th September, 1616.


  • 1. James reached Woodstock towards the end of August. Nichols: Progresses of James I., iii. p. 187.