Venice: September 1616, 16-30

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, 16-30', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 14, 1615-1617, (London, 1908) pp. 296-310. British History Online [accessed 4 March 2024]

September 1616, 16–30

Sept. 16. Inquisitori di Stato. Lettere agli Ambasciatori d'Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 432. The Inquisitors of State to Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary Resident in England.
Your letters of the 26 August inform us of the free offer of the Frenchman in the matter of Foscarini's letters. When he comes, he must have every encouragement to say all that he knows. With regard to the copies of the relations of the ambassadors and representatives of the republic, seen by your Excellency in the library of Oxford, we understand that you are actively engaged in discovering all matters concerning the public interests. No doubt you will forward particulars if you find anything of the present time.
Sept. 16. Senato. Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 433. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Three days ago I received from your Serenity letters of the 18th and 23rd August relating the progress of the arms of your Excellencies in Friuli, which not only rejoices those who by some bond are bound to desire the prosperity of the republic, but all who receive the news express their pleasure and praise God for favouring the just cause. Those of the 20th contain the opening of the accommodation proposed by the Tuscan ambassador, of which I have not heard anyone speak here, except some conversation and hopes upon the going of the duke of Nevers to Germany, and I will therefore use it simply for information. The other letters of the 20th contain the two expositions of Sir (Henry) Wotton with the prudent reply of the Senate both in the matter of the league and in the offer of the duke of Holstein (Ostoe). Of this I am sure that news has reached the king by letters from his ambassador, and therefore, upon another pretext, I have sent someone immediately to the court, who without being aware of the affair, will nevertheless be able to report to me in some detail what His Majesty thinks of the last despatches from Venice, as by myself I am unable to form a judgment whether the king is more or less content at the delay of your Excellencies in replying more decisively, as on the one hand the reason which induces your Serenity to proceed with this prudence may afford tolerable satisfaction by itself, but on the other hand the anxiety of His Majesty to see this confederation formed, and all these powers united in the common defence, might induce him to desire more speedy progress. I, therefore, believe that in this case His Majesty will have settled his disposition according to what Wotton has written, and in the same way that the ambassador received and interpreted the said reply. However, I will not say anything about this or about any other matter unless I am spoken to, and in such case I will rule myself by what your Excellencies command.
Yesterday the king came within twenty miles of this place (fn. 1) and appointed the audience for the ambassador of Savoy for to-day. He should be speaking to His Majesty at this very moment and performing those offices which I reported in my last despatch. Besides the commissions which he held from the duke, a letter has reached him by way of France from the prince of Piedmont, who writes from Savoy what has taken place with the duke of Nemours, who intended to go to Milan if he could do nothing else. The prince has sent over to M. d'Alincourt and to M. le Grand in Burgundy, requesting him not to grant a passage, and with the same purpose he not only wrote to the count of Moretto at Paris, but also sent the President Fresia. After this narrative of events, the prince concludes his letter to the ambassador in these formal words: As we are not certain whether His Highness has written about this we have given orders to the count of Moretto to explain what has taken place, and what will take place in this matter, and we have given this summary account so that you may acquaint the king with the state of necessity of His Highness, who is opposed both openly and secretly by the Spaniards, contrary to the treaty of Asti, for which His Majesty is answerable. Now or never he must take up the defence and protection of His Highness by his royal and generous subsidies, as M. de Bethune who has been to Milan and returned, has brought no settled resolution for an accommodation, as was expected.
With all these orders the ambassador had been to the king to-day, disposed to make the warmest and most lively representations to move His Majesty to help the duke, according to so many promises made, now that there is nothing else to be expected except the news of some carnage or other unpleasant thing. He will return to London to-morrow, and if he brings back any weighty reply I will try in some way to send word immediately, by courier.
Various news has lately arrived from France, which will all have reached you much earlier. They all accentuate the strangeness of the decision to detain the prince, and the king in especial is very dissatisfied, wherefore he has sent a courier to Paris with orders to his ambassadors to make loud complaints and all sorts of offices to set him at liberty. The English ambassadors at once wrote that immediately after the event they went to see their Majesties to complain of what had happened, the more so as it was to the prejudice of their king who had pledged his word in the making of the treaty. But the queen tried to quiet them with the ideas with which they carry off this affair in France, and she would not give leave to depart to Lord Hay when he asked for it, saying that she wished him to be present at all that will be done, so that he may be able to bear witness to his king that they acted justly in all things.
The French ambassador resident here has not asked for audience again and has not been invited, but continues to complain of the wrong which he received, and allows himself to be overcome by wrath more than befits the service of his master.
London, the 16th September, 1616.
Sept. 16. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 434. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
Asks for the 50 ducats of which he wrote and for the 2 ducats 2 lire mentioned in his last despatch.
From London, the 16 September, 1616.
Sept. 16. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 435. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
I have received your letters of the 26th August this week. I think the matter of the letters has been sufficiently proved. I have seen Nodari and satisfied him with 50 ducats, adding that the Ambassador Donato had instructions not to lose sight of him and that his services would always be valued and suitably rewarded. He expressed his willingness to serve and said he would place himself entirely at your disposition. He assured me that he had the means of showing his devotion in a matter of moment as he is to serve the prince of England in the new formation of his court. I told him of the satisfaction caused by the goodwill of Sir [William] Smith, asked him to thank him and say that his courtesy would greatly facilitate the recovery of his debt, and that something had already been done to that end. He will report all this to Smith, and he told me that the original deed of the loan was in the hands of the ambassador of England and that Smith wishes to know what course he must follow to gain his end.
In all this affair I have had to spend 152 ducats 2 lire, 100 to Forét, 50 to Nodari, and the rest to Forét's servant.
From London, the 16 September, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 17. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 436. To the Ambassador in England.
We have just heard of the first action between the Spaniards and Savoyards on the 15th. This must lead to grave results.
Our forces on the frontiers of the archduke maintain their advantage. In Friuli the Proveditore General continually gains fresh ground on the enemy, who have withdrawn from some considerable posts.
We are still disposed to peace, in spite of their successes, although the negotiations for an agreement seem to be entirely broken off. The archducal party, and those who foment them, continue to show the same artifices in negotiating, proposing articles only to dismiss them. Recently when we accepted a point he objected and rejected his own article. We are, therefore, compelled to consider our own interests.
The like to Spain, Mantua, Coire, Padavin, Dolci, Naples. Milan except the first paragraph.
Ayes 170.
Noes 0.
Neutral 1.
Sept. 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 437. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
In my last I wrote about the affairs of the carazo, which they mean to be paid indifferently by the subjects of France, England, Flanders, and your Serenity. The ambassadors united together for defence, but the French ambassador, although he promised to join the others, withdrew, saying that he must speak freely with the Pasha on this matter and did not wish it to be prejudiced by other affairs. Feeling how prejudicial this might be, I made representations to him by his nephew, who agreed with me. Accordingly we decided to ask the Pasha to grant audience in the name of all four of us and make a joint complaint about the innovation, as being contrary to the capitulations, and showing how it would damage His Majesty's revenues. We obtained audience for the 10th inst, but they immediately repented and put it off, and the Borisi did not wish us to appear together. Accordingly I had audience alone on that day. I insisted upon the maintenance of the capitulations and showed how the royal income would lose by the diminution of the customs. The Pasha insisted that it was the king's will and he could do no other. He promised, however, that the unmarried merchants should not be molested. I also complained about the prohibition forbidding the Franks to cross from Pera to Constantinople.
The English ambassador went on the following day, and Flanders the day after to endeavour to obtain something more, but did not succeed. I do not know what will be the outcome, as the Pasha is not obeyed by this Cadi Moro, who is always introducing novelties; so that we never feel safe.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 18th September, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 438. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
After the census of the Franks and Greeks in Galata had been completed, the Cadi Moro sent for all the dragomans of the ambassadors, declaring that they were subject to the carazo. He put one of them of the French ambassador in prison, for saying something in defence, and another one of England for no cause whatever. He also demanded admission to all the houses of merchants to see what was there, and having found a case of sword blades in the house of the Flemish merchant, he at once sent it to the Pasha, thinking it a sign of some evil intent. This and other causes made us resolve to return to the Pasha to make complaint. We decided to go all together and not to send and ask for an audience, and the French ambassador changed his mind and came in person. Accordingly we went to the Pasha on Thursday the 15th inst, at the Arsenal. We at once obtained admittance. The French ambassador spoke first, complaining loudly of the proceedings of the Cadi against the merchants, and that he could not have behaved worse to open enemies. If a remedy was not applied he said we should be forced to inform our princes, tell them that the capitulations had been broken and that it was impossible for us to remain here. We had been further forbidden to leave the city on horseback, so that we were shut up in it like prisoners. The Pasha replied that there was no intention of breaking the capitulations, which do not contain this particular, and that we enjoyed perfect liberty. The ambassador said we could not be tied to the express words of the capitulations, for example they said nothing about eating. The Pasha said the Cadi had visited the house because the king was told that there were 20,000 Franks in Galata, and he wished to assure himself; the dragomans were not covered by the capitulations which only referred to foreign subjects. The ambassador said the capitulations embraced all, and as there are some Jewish dragomans of England and Flanders they both took up the defence. This prejudiced the common cause, because it was necessary to speak of the dragomans in general. I also spoke and claimed that there ought to be no distinction between the married and the unmarried. The whole difficulty rested upon the point that princes would not suffer their subjects to become the subjects of others, and this was clearly contrary to the capitulations. The Pasha replied: They leave in a month and then everything will be settled. The argument continued, and we all said rather too much, but without any success, obtaining nothing more than I did at my first audience, namely, the exemption of the unmarried merchants. All we can do is to wait for the passing of this cloud. We must never cease to devise remedies, though this is difficult where reason has no part.
I am inclined to think that this Pasha is unwilling to proceed to extremities and the other ambassadors are not far from the same opinion, but they cannot decide upon anything; on the one hand it seems that it will be good to keep the capitulations intact, while on the other hand it is not to the public interest to allow these wounds to go uncared for while they are still fresh, as in time they might mortify; while if we all act together we might soon heal them.
At this point I hear that the Cadi interrogated the Dragoman Grande of England, who was such an Englishman that he passed before him and replied that in the ambassador's house he had precedence of him; the Cadi said: You recognize another master than the Sultan Achmed, and gave him forty bastinadoes, asking who was his master. Seeing matters take this turn he replied the Sultan Achmed. The Cadi Moro said: Now you answer so.
I greatly fear that harm will come to some of our dragomans, as they can find no safe way of escape from this dog. If they appeal to the Pasha it only makes matters worse.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 18th September, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 439. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
I went yesterday to see the duke at Ziano. He gave me an account of the recent battle. He said he had allowed the Spaniards to enter Piedmont of set purpose, and would obtain many good results therefrom. The principal one was to interest his friends to support him and especially the king of Great Britain, who had always promised to help if the Spaniards attacked him, and he hoped by him to obtain greater assistance from France. It would rouse interest in his cause and expose the ambitions of those who aspire to nothing less than the monarchy of Italy.
Vercelli, the 18th September, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 19. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 440. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I intended to send off this despatch yesterday evening, but new matters have since arisen. I have already written that the Pasha promised me, and ratified this to the ambassador of France, England and Flanders, that the unmarried merchants should not pay. Now this Cadi, either out of his own head or by an understanding with the Pasha, pretends that unmarried merchants who have been here for two or more years shall pay the carazo, so that partly from fear, partly from violence all are subjected to this tyranny. The rascal protests that matters shall not rest here, that he knows all our interests well, and he will make me sweat for it. He is the worst man who has been in Constantinople for 200 years, and even the Pasha is afraid of him.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 19th September, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 22. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 441. To the Ambassador in England.
The enemy surrendered the fort of Fara to our troops on the 18th inst., saving their persons and baggage. They left behind three pieces of artillery and some munitions and food. They were all escorted to Gradisca and treated courteously, very differently from their own behaviour. The fort has been well garrisoned as the situation is valuable. The Proveditore General thinks of attacking the forts of Goritia towards the Ponte Vecchio.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, France, Spain, Constantinople, Milan, Naples, Florence, the Hague, Coire, Mantua.
Ayes 120.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Sept. 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 442. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As I wrote a week ago, the ambassador of Savoy had audience of the king at Windsor, and spent nearly an hour with His Majesty. He had ample opportunity to fully execute the duke's instructions, relating all the most essential of recent events and coming to the particulars about assistance with all the skill and inveterate prudence of this minister, derived from his knowledge of His Majesty and the nature of the court.
The king received and heard him as graciously as possible, and with many interruptions of his argument and various remarks, he seemed to approve of the whole argument of His Highness, using expressions full of satisfaction and confining the principal matters with regard to help upon the following ideas. His Majesty had decided to write to the king of Spain and tell his ambassador resident there that he has no wish to break the peace with him, but that he is determined to help the duke of Savoy in conformity with his obligation, as it is not right that he should allow two powers friendly to him to fall, upon the pretext of this peace. That this weight of assisting the duke is very great, and, therefore, the more there are to join together to bear it, the lighter it will be. Accordingly he will induce the States and the princes of Germany to join with him in supporting these common interests. His Majesty allowed himself to be carried so far as to say that he has sufficient troops, and he can send to His Highness as many as any prince in Christendom, but that he has no money. The republic of Venice, on the other hand, has plenty of money, but no great quantity of men. His idea remained somewhat undeveloped, but possibly he wished to infer, by what the ambassador told me, that your Serenity should pay some money for the troops which he would send to Piedmont, and form a credit with this crown, to be subsequently extinguished by way of assignment or otherwise. To this the ambassador replied that your Excellencies were doing more than could be expected of you and it was necessary to consider your present necessity for expenditure, when you have upon your shoulders an army in Friuli, one in Dalmatia and one in Lombardy, while reinforcing the ordinary fleet and affording a considerable succour to the duke, and that you could not do everything by yourselves. In the end the king said that he could not give any reply for the present except that he should go and see the Secretary Winwood and do what he told him. With this the ambassador took leave. He at once saw Winwood and told him the same things. He was informed that he should draw up a document with all these particulars and the king would deliberate upon them. He did this on the following day and showed the document to Winwood. The latter advised him to make a more condensed and trenchant one which should make more of His Majesty's obligations under the treaty of Asti, since it was the king's intention to show it to the Spaniards and use it with them. Accordingly he drew up another form of request (fn. 2) and presented both to Winwood, who informed the ambassador that he might return to London and he should receive the decision on Tuesday or Wednesday.
On the following Tuesday evening the king entered London and on Wednesday he proceeded to Wanstead, after first sending Winwood to the house of the Spanish ambassador to show him the second paper presented by the ambassador of Savoy, adding that His Majesty was obliged to keep his word and to succour the duke from the violence of Don Pedro of Toledo, contrary to reason and against the treaty of Asti, and that, therefore, he wished to notify his Catholic Majesty, as he did not mean by this to break the peace existing between their kingdoms. The ambassador replied to the Secretary: Tell His Majesty that I have orders from the king, my master, to go to him immediately and ask him for help against the duke of Savoy and to beg him, under his obligations, to see that the treaty of Asti is observed, as it is clear that the duke will not stand to it or carry out any part, wherefore, I ask you to obtain audience for me. With this Winwood returned to the king. His Majesty appointed the following day at Wanstead, which was yesterday, but an accident occurred so that it could not take place. His Majesty was out hunting yesterday morning, and having killed one buck, he desired to kill another, but unfortunately his horse fell under him and one leg struck the ground so hard that the spur broke in two pieces, and the king was somewhat hurt. To-day I understand that the leg is much swollen, and more harm might be done than was thought, as he is accustomed to suffer ill humours in his legs. Owing to this accident a gentleman was sent off, who met the Spanish ambassador on the road, and put off the audience until Sunday, the 25th of the month. Winwood has informed the ambassador of Savoy that the delay is due to this unlooked for event, and begs him to have patience and wait until Tuesday or Wednesday next for a resolution. The ambassador can do no less than wait upon the king's pleasure, but he spends the interval in that disquietude and searching of heart that every good minister must experience when he cannot perform an important service for his prince, which is only reasonable. In addition to this unexpected delay of a week he is very doubtful as to what decision will be taken, and has written to Turin everything which has taken place, adding that if at the present time the king be not moved to some active steps, worthy of so many promises, His Highness may abandon all idea of obtaining anything effective from England.
London, the 23rd September, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 443. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The French ambassador is daily receiving letters from the Court with news of what is being done in that kingdom in the present movements, and he has instructions to inform the king of them. But he continues determined not to ask for an audience, and even though the king has recently offered his excuses, sending the master of the ceremonies to his house, he transmits the information by the Secretary Winwood. The king, being informed of everything by the letters of his ambassadors, has sent two or three couriers to Paris. He is disturbed at the detention of the prince and the danger in which he stands. Here very few believe the imputations against him, especially as it appears that all those who have had a hand in this affair have profited greatly and advanced their interests, especially the Princess of Soissons, who is the one, under the name of a great princess, who is mentioned in the declaration of his Most Christian Majesty, and the fall of Condé draws the prince, her son, nearer to the throne, rendering him the first prince of the blood. Another who benefits is the duke of Sully, who in the same declaration is introduced under a disguised name as publisher of the Councils of the Princes, and who has again obtained the queen's favour and the superintendence of the finances and other honours.
I have not hitherto been able to discover anything certain about what the king and ministers think about the reply given recently by your Excellencies to the Ambassador Wotton upon the question of a league, but I hope very shortly to obtain their full opinion. I can assure your Excellencies that His Majesty has heard with great pleasure of the successes of your arms in Friuli recently, and has testified it in very decided remarks. On the other hand he has displayed great displeasure on hearing that a Captain William Smith, an Englishman, had fought on the side of the archduke. I also was informed about this, that he was a man of good condition, of uncertain religion, that he had a considerable knowledge of the employment of artillery, and that he had been transferred from the service of the duke of Bavaria, of whom he was an old servant, to that of the archduke Ferdinand.
His Majesty has also discovered certain practices of the Jesuits in the present affairs against the service of your Excellencies; he has made a great deal of these, not only because they merit universal abhorrence in themselves, but also because they are of a nature that most wounds the feelings of His Majesty, and upon which he is most sensitive (curioso).
They are at present anticipating the sending of Lord Roos to Spain. He will not go with such pomp as Lord Hay did to France, although he is much the richer man, yet he is spending a great deal of money, and I know that a single coat is worth 32,000 crowns, owing to a rich embroidery of pearls. From the commissions and instructions given to him it will be possible to learn the king's intentions about the marriage.
I have received your Excellencies' letters of the 1st September, and shall make use of the information as directed. I thank you humbly for the provision of 10 ducats a month, and hope for an early opportunity of showing my devotion.
London, the 23rd September, 1616.
Sept. 23. Inquisitori di Stato Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 444. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
Learns from their letters of 2 Sept. that hitherto all his letters have arrived safely. Learns from his father that he has received 100 ducats on account of those paid to Forêt.
From London, the 23 Sept., 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 24. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Venetian Archives. 445. To the Ambassador in England.
Letters from Prague confirm that the archduke will not accept his own proposal. He dismissed all thoughts of an agreement, and prepared for war. The ambassador of Tuscany complained about such methods of procedure. His free speaking led to the despatch of another courier to Gratz, who will return with the reply in ten days; but no decision is expected. This is for information. His Majesty may see from these proceedings how far the archduke is removed from peace, and how all his thoughts are directed to war.
The like to Rome, France, Spain, Milan, Naples, Florence, Mantua, the Hague, Coire, Constantinople.
Ayes 163.
Noes 0.
Neutrals 0.
Sept. 24. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Roma. Venetian Archives. 446. To the Ambassador at Rome.
With regard to the representation made by the pope about those who take the doctor's degree at Padua, privately, you will say nothing if he does not open the subject. If he does, you will say that no College has been founded for this, as he has heard, but as the privilege of the Counts Palatine to create doctors has been abolished, a single doctor has been allowed to do this to poor scholars and others according to the ancient constitutions. We have due regard in matters of religion. You will pass over the matter in these general terms. If he insists we may give you more particular instructions.
Ayes 158.
Noes 1.
Neutral 5.
Sept. 24. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 447. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
In addition to the usual irresolution of the king of England, in helping Italy with anything but words, I hear from a good source that it is highly probable that the solemn embassy sent to France by that king was rather to excite suspicion in the mind of the Catholic king with regard to the marriage in negotiation between one of his daughters and the English prince, than to actually come to terms with France, so that apparently no hopes of assistance from that quarter can be built on that foundation.
Rome, the 24th September, 1616.
Sept. 29. Senato, Secreta. Delilerazioni. Venetian Archives. 448. To the Ambassador in England.
There has been no change on the frontiers of Friuli owing to the very bad weather and the swollen streams. In Istria, Barbaro has taken Verme with considerable booty. Nothing was left there except a tower, where some took refuge, the remainder was destroyed. This is for information.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, Spain, France, Savoy, Milan, Florence, Mantua, Coire, Naples, the Hague, Constantinople.
Ayes 187.
Noes 1.
Neutral 3.
Sept. [30.] Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 449. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The affairs of Savoy at this Court are at present in such a position that whatever the count of Scarnafes does to receive due assistance from the king, the Spanish ambassador opposes both by public and secret offices. He does not even stick at advancing open falsehoods, to gain his ends, possibly knowing that they have some value here, and he protracts every deliberation of His Majesty which might prove advantageous to the affairs of Italy. The Secretary Winwood informed the ambassador of Savoy that His Majesty, owing to the pains in his leg, could not give audience to the Spanish ambassador last Sunday, the day appointed, but he would give him one on one of the following days and would afterwards see the ambassador of Savoy again and give him a reply in writing with his decision. The count of Scarnafes, after hearing this, employed the time in drawing up a third document, in which he maintained by many weighty arguments that it is patent to all the world that His Highness carried out the treaty of Asti, and that the Spaniards depart from the truth when they say otherwise. That the king of England may be informed about this not only by his ministers in Italy, but also by the assurances and testimony of all the princes in the world, and among others, the Most Christian King, by means of Sig. Claudio de Marino, and that the governor himself had confirmed it, having said many times that he kept his troops on foot solely by reason of the dispute between your Serenity and the archduke. The ambassador proposes to give this third document to His Majesty in order to remove all that the Spanish ambassador may have said to the contrary.
Meanwhile I have been watching the progress of events, and what good or evil may result from the decision of the king on one side or the other. I see clearly from some letters of your Serenity and especially from those of the 13th May, that you would like to see the duke succoured by the king here. Consequently I have had conference with Winwood, and I now think that the time is opportune to assist this work. Yesterday I went to see the secretary, my chief pretext being as I shall tell in my following letter. I began the conversation by saying that although I was sure that the king was daily advised by his ministers of the affairs of Italy, yet it was only reasonable that I should tell him that matters were now in such a state that the province was in imminent peril of losing its liberty, because, beyond a doubt, it contained more than 100,000 armed men, the greater part of whom are commanded by the governor of Milan, who intends, as he has declared, to suppress the two powers who alone maintain its liberty. If his projects succeed entirely or only in part, His Majesty may easily perceive how much harm the whole of Christendom would suffer and all these powers who value their own independence and flee from the monarchy of Spain. That this is, therefore, one of the most important matters which has ever been set before His Majesty, not only for his most prudent consideration, but for the exercise of the influence and power which God has conferred upon him for the public benefit and the preservation of his friends. That your Serenity and the duke will not fail themselves in any manner, but confident in the justice of their cause they are straining every nerve to defend themselves, and they are rendered stronger by being united in spirit and by a good understanding together. However, this is not sufficient, as the enemy is too powerful, while there are many who adhere to him either from love or fear, and thus increase the difficulties of defence. That in particular the republic has given and will continue to give considerable help to the duke in troops and a good sum of money, and that, not only by reason of old friendship and common interests, but also because since His Highness has fully carried out the treaty of Asti, as is known to all, it is contrary to reason that he should be unduly molested by Don Pedro. Consequently with the same readiness that your Serenity shows in helping His Highness, you would be glad to see him assisted by the powerful hand of His Majesty, as you feel sure that he would be, owing to past experience, the continuance of his friendship and the promise given at the treaty of Asti, to the great benefit of Italy, with the universal approbation of the world and to the immense glory of His Majesty.
The Secretary Winwood first answered what I had said before. Then passing to the others he told me the Spanish ambassador had been to audience of the king two days before, namely, Tuesday. He had assured His Majesty that the things which Don Pedro of Toledo was doing at present in the state of Milan had nothing to do with the breaking of the treaty of Asti, but with two other most important reasons: one the war which has broken out between the archduke and the Venetians, and the other a close and secret understanding and league, which the duke of Savoy concluded with the Venetians after the treaty of Asti, for which reasons it was necessary that he should do what he is doing for the service of the Catholic king. He also told the king of the new journey of M. de Bethune to Pavia to treat for a composition, and he left a copy of the reply made to Bethune by Don Pedro. Winwood added that in this state of affairs, and owing to the hopes of a good peace with which the English ministers in Italy encouraged the king by their letters, His Majesty did not wish to come to any immediate decision to help the duke, but had decided to await news of the outcome of Bethune's negotiations.
I replied that His Majesty's prudence could easily recognize how much artifice there was in what the Spanish ambassador said, as for whatever reason Don Pedro might keep the state of Milan armed, it was nevertheless done to the prejudice of the treaty of Asti, which ordained total disarmament. That of the two reasons which he adduced, I would submit the first, which concerned the republic, to the consideration of His Majesty, and he was quite sure of the unreality of the second, as he knows quite well that no fresh confederation has taken place between two powers since the treaty of Asti, but that the friendly relations between them arose from an ancient friendship, and for the other reasons which I mentioned above. But even granted that this news were true, I could not understand how or when your Excellencies and the duke of Savoy had so lost your liberty that anything which you might decide for the benefit of your states should be submitted to the decision of the Spaniards and be governed by their forces. This idea is full of imperialism and emits a general odour of the vast ambitions of the Spaniards and the superiority which they affect towards free powers, which of itself ought to persuade His Majesty to take a generous resolution to bridle its so much overweening pride.
With regard to the new negotiations of Bethune, I did not know what to promise myself, as the Spaniards seem determined to use force and to employ these interpositions and interruptions for their own advantage; but the surest way of causing the treaty to be respected and of re-establishing the peace of Italy would be for His Majesty to display by deeds his good-will towards the powers friendly to him, affording them his great and powerful assistance.
The secretary again replied that they hoped for peace and His Majesty wished to see the outcome of these negotiations. He then asked: What kind of help does your Excellency desire His Majesty to supply in Italy. Do you not realise how distant we are from that province, and that amicus a longe non est amicus. He repeated, What sort of help do you want. I replied that the king of Great Britain was so powerful and so great a monarch that he would have several ways of helping his friends, and there was not so great a distance between England and Italy that the powers could not help each other in case of need. He repeated his request for me to tell him exactly how his king could help Italy. I told him that His Majesty would not lack means to do what he desired, as he had abundance of men and money and of everything which renders a prince great and powerful. He ignored the point about money, but as regards men he said: Do you want these men by land or by sea. I said I thought they could more easily be taken by sea. The secretary objected. This is impossible, to send two or three ships would be to lose them. You would need a royal fleet to reach Italy and it is certainly impossible. As you know, this is an old idea of Winwood, peculiar to himself, that it is impossible to send men to Italy. I turned to say something in reply, but abandoned the idea, knowing how little good it would be, and that the last part of our interview was rather a friendly conversation than actual negotiations. However the prudence of your Excellencies will easily draw the right conclusions from it.
Since then I have visited the ambassador of Savoy this morning and told him what Winwood had said to me about the king's decision to postpone his decision upon the ambassador's requests. He had not then heard about this and was considerably put out, but he will not take any steps until he has been informed of everything officially.
London, the [30th] (fn. 3) September, 1616.
Sept. 30. Senato, Secrete. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 450. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The principal reason which I gave for going to find the Secretary Winwood yesterday at Theobalds, twelve miles away, was to hear how His Majesty was doing after his fall from his horse, and fulfil my duty in this respect. I understand that his leg really is somewhat affected and it may be a long business, but in spite of all, he will not lose an hour of his hunting, and as he cannot ride on horseback he either goes in a carriage or has himself carried. I begged the Secretary to thank His Majesty in the name of your Excellencies for the offices which I understood Lord Hay had performed in France, saying that you had welcomed the favourable decision of his Most Christian Majesty about the pass of the Grisons, whither your Excellencies had sent a Secretary and the outcome would appear.
I also told him what was going on in Friuli. He seemed to have information about everything and asked me what would be the end of these disputes with the archduke. I told him that God alone could see that, but so far as the judgment of man could discern there was reason to fear a long and serious war as the archduke seems determined not to effect that to which he is bound by every possible consideration. The secretary remarked that he was sorry to hear it and that everything might be arranged by an accommodation. I replied that your Serenity desired the same thing, and it was not you who had been responsible for the breach, and the question of accommodation did not rest with you, though you had always shown yourself ready for one if you could obtain the necessary security with it.
It has not been possible for me to obtain any hint of the manner in which Sir [Henry] Wotton has reported here the reply of your Excellencies, or how it was received by His Majesty. I wonder greatly at this silence which they adopt, as if they did not act thus from some particular motive, I should not only have gathered something from the means which I have adopted but Winwood himself, in the heat of argument, would have dropped some hint about it to the ambassador of Savoy or to me.
They have written for Lord Hay to return, so that he is expected soon. They have very slight hopes of the release of the prince of Condé, and rumours have been started that he is in delirium.
Lord Dingwall has returned to England, but as he has been little to court and afterwards returned home without coming to London I have not had an opportunity of calling upon him, as I shall do so soon as he arrives in this city, or, at any rate, I shall wait until he comes nearer than he is.
This week the Council has dealt several times with the question of cloth, upon which this kingdom has a great controversy with the Dutch, who have issued orders that coloured cloths may not be imported into their dominions, as they wish to dye them themselves. They have introduced the art, which is proving very damaging to the English, and serious disturbances have taken place, which increase the dissatisfaction. I do not know whether they have found any remedy as yet, it will be tolerably difficult.
I have received the news of the taking of the fort of Lucinis in your Serenity's letter of the 9th inst. It has been immediately published to the great consolation of the servants of the republic.
London, the 30th September, 1616.


  • 1. Windsor, see Nichols, Progresses of James I., iii. p. 189.
  • 2. A paper of 18 Sept. 1616, among the State Papers, Foreign, Savoy, at the Public Record Office, appears to be this document. A longer paper (3 pages instead of 25 lines) probably represents the earlier representation drawn up by Scarnafes, though it bears a later date.
  • 3. Torn.