Venice: October 1616, 1-15

Pages 310-324

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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October 1616, 1–15

Oct. 1. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 451. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Gardinal Borghese spoke to me about the affair of the doctors at Padua, who take their degree without first making a profession of faith. He begged me repeatedly to ask your Serenity to provide a remedy, as it was not a matter of state but of the soul which greatly concerned His Holiness, who had warmly recommended this office to him, as great harm might be done to religion. I pointed out that nothing new had been done, the university of Padua had acted thus for countless years and no scandal had ever arisen. A single doctor attended to this; the republic was most careful about religion, and nowhere could people be baptised by force. I do not say that, replied the Cardinal but I ask that the privilege may not be granted to those who do not profess our faith, as it may do great harm, and all the other powers will want to adopt the same measure in their universities. In my reply I confined myself to generalities.
The pope and cardinal seem to attach great importance to this affair. If the Senate can see their way to satisfy the pope in this matter I believe that it will be much to our advantage, as the Spaniards are trying to prejudice him against us as much as they can.
Rome, the 1st October, 1616.
Oct. 4. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 452. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
In spite of all representations and resistance it has not been possible to stay the execution of the tyrannical imposition of the carazo, which all the Frankish nations pay indifferently. The Pasha has shown great perfidy as he always gave fair words, but on the other hand he had an understanding with the Cadi, which has rendered the latter more violent. The Pasha promised me first, and afterwards the ambassadors of France, England and Flanders, that those who were not married and our dragomans should not be subject to pay the carazo, nevertheless the Cadi has never suspended, its execution, and when our dragomans told him that this was not the intention of the Pasha, he replied, You have done all you could to stop me, I will do all I can to prevent you from succeeding, and we shall see which is the stronger, the word of the Pasha or the command of the king. The day after we had audience of the Pasha together the Cadi did no violence, but after he returned to Galata he showed more cruelty than ever, and some in order to avoid his violence came to pay of their own accord. It was really necessary as the Pasha was fomenting him. The English ambassador would not believe this and went to the Pasha with fresh complaints that his word had not been kept, and either the Cadi was despising his orders or he had not received any. He went so far as to say that if no provision were made he would leave with all the merchants. The Pasha replied, Do not worry, I assure you that your merchants shall pay nothing. The ambassador asked for an order in writing so that the Cadi should not raise further difficulties. The Pasha said, There is no need, leave it to me, I will send for him and all will be settled. In spite of all the ambassador said he would go no further. The ambassador also complained that the Cadi had taken an English slave from him, whom he had released some months ago, making him pay the carazo by force. He had also demanded a pietaria and because he would not pay it, threw him into prison. The Pasha promised to obtain his release, but he only did so three days later, at a reiterated request of the ambassador. For this he obtained an order in writing and he took umbrage because the Pasha would not give him one upon the principal affair of the carazo, as he felt that it was because they did not intend to satisfy him, as proved to be the case. The ambassador left, divided between doubt and hope, and decided himself to go to the Cadi Moro. He did this a day later in order to give the Pasha time to perform what he had promised. While he was on the way to the Cadi's house he met some of the Cadi's men who were coming to inform him that he must send all his merchants and dragomans to pay the carazo. The ambassador went to the house and asked to see the Cadi, and as the dragoman did not return with the reply, he went straight in. When the Cadi saw him he said it was useless to talk about the carazo, as his master meant it to be paid. The ambassador delivered a long and heated speech, but without any effect. The Cadi threatened to cut out the dragoman's tongue for talking in such fashion, and when he replied that he could do no other than repeat which was said, he grew the more angry, and declared that whether they would or no, all the merchants and dragomans should pay the carazo. The ambassador left much disturbed, but seeing that they had detained his dragoman, he returned and released him himself, declaring that he would not leave the spot unless the dragoman came too. After a long dispute, the ambassador saw that he could not resist violence and decided to pay the carazo for all his merchants and dragomans before he left the place, a thing which has dissatisfied many.
The beginning of these troubles was the census of the Franks; then the Moro decided to revive the old idea of the carazo, which Nasuf had tried and abandoned. This time he has the support of the Pasha, of the Bastangi Pasha and Tefta di Mufti, so that it is impossible to stop him from executing his plan. However, as nothing is ever entirely desperate here, I went to the houses of the ambassadors of England and Flanders, the more so because there are rumours that this order will be extended to Aleppo, to discuss what we should do. I found England somewhat disgusted, not with me, but with the other ambassadors; I said it would be well for all four of us to discuss what we could do to throw off this burden. He said that for himself he would discuss nothing just then. I pressed him with various arguments, but he would not consent. I believe that in addition to the reasons given above, he proposes to leave in three or four months and he intends to advise his king not to keep an ambassador here and not to permit his ships to come to these shores, as if they see that no ships come from France, England, Flanders or your Serenity, the ministers here would undoubtedly allow matters to resume their former course.
The ambassador of Flanders has a similar idea. I went the other day to call on the French ambassador and discussed the matter at length with him. He decided to do nothing until the Moro had finished his charge, which will be in a few days.
I feel that we must do everything to bring things back to their former state, and I will do all I can, either alone or with the other ambassadors.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 4th October, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 4. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 453. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I have been recently in the greatest difficulties that ever a bailo had to encounter, but praise God, everything has ended well. The facts are these: 67 bales of archenda were laded at Zante upon the ships Tigona and Martinella for two Englishmen to be consigned here to Mr. Arthur Gaucai, also an English merchant; all these bales had Turkish marks and were directed to Turks. When the ships arrived here and the bills of lading appeared with the note of these bales, I foresaw trouble for myself. However I sent for the notaries and asked them why they had laded this stuff which had clearly been plundered by pirates and sold at Zante, as they knew quite well that archenda is an herb reduced to powder which grows in Alexandria and not elsewhere, and which is consumed greatly here, and it was not credible that it would be sent from Alexandria to Zante to be transported here. It was also directed to Turks and therefore had clearly been taken by pirates who had sold it at Zante. I put things as strongly as I could to make them see their mistake and the danger in which they were placed. They excused themselves saying they had not thought about it and would not have acted so if they had known.
This archenda was above all the other things in the ship, and to avoid trouble at the beginning, I ordered that it should be placed last to see what could be done. I then sent for the English merchant and told him the difficulties he would be involved in and suggested that he should settle with the customs before the matter became public; I told him that he must not think of the goods as they would take them from him without more ado and it would be well if that were the end of the matter. He said he did not wish to take them, and though they had been sent by English merchants, yet they had bought them from an individual at Zante called il Cariati. I said I could not say if this were so or no, but admitting it to be true it would not help him; at present he had no part in the affair except that the goods were directed to him. He supposed that he would have no trouble on this account and said: I do not want to lose the goods, and if you wish I will not say that they were bought from a person of Zante if you promise that if the goods are taken from me you will make the person pay who sold them to our merchants at Zante. In view of the importance of the affair, I promised, and certainly Cariati deserves not only to suffer this loss, but to be punished. After this I gave leave for the archenda to be unloaded. It was placed in the street outside the place where the merchants pay custom. Trouble arose about it at once, all the blame being thrown on the Venetians. Finally the Pasha sent for Bonisi and accused him of piracy, and would have thrown him into prison. However, one of the attendants suggested that the Englishman to whom the goods were consigned should be sent for. He was brought and confessed that the goods had been consigned to him by two Englishmen, and he had paid the customs. The Pasha, seeing that the Englishman, by his own simplicity or because the Cadi wished to favour our interests, had accused himself, and that the Venetians had no part in the matter, was greatly annoyed because he expected to make a great profit out of this affair, and he vented all his spleen upon Bonisi. Then, as his disposition was much turned towards plunder, he immediately sent the Englishman to prison, as Mehemet Aga, his great favourite, had told him that this merchant has 100,000 ducats capital. This is true and he intends, so I hear, to fleece him, and so he says that the king has ordered the payment of 200,000 ducats, the value of the property upon the ships from which the archenda was taken.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 4th October, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 4. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Spagna. Venetian Archives. 454. Piero Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
News comes from Seville that the fleet has entered the strait of Havana, and having thus passed the most dangerous nests of pirates, it is expected in that city by the end of this month. His Majesty has given orders for all the sailors upon the eight galleons brought by that fleet, to be detained, and I also hear that the royal ministers have recently taken away all the lead brought to Seville by ships from England, a very great quantity.
Madrid, the 4th October, 1616.
Oct. 4. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 455. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Resident in Holland, to the Doge and Senate.
Being rendered cautious by the late tumult at Delft, and knowing that an irritated people is not tractable, especially now there is no war, they have decided to continue the usual taxes, notwithstanding the payment of such a large sum to the king of Great Britain for the recovery of the cautionary towns, and the money for maintaining the French regiments.
The Hague, the 4th October, 1616.
Oct. 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 456. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday evening the king's reply in writing was sent to the ambassador of Savoy upon his late requests. They are as follows: His Majesty is not only engaged in seeing that the treaty of Asti is carried out between His Highness and the governor of Milan, but has also endeavoured to secure its effectuation by his ministers in Spain and France, and recently through the offices of Lord Hay at Paris, the Most Christian King charged M. de Bethune a second time to make a new journey to Don Pedro of Toledo to try and settle the differences. In addition to this, as Lord Roos is about to go to Spain, to act as extraordinary ambassador to congratulate them upon the marriages, he has given him strict instructions to urge upon the Catholic king the execution of the treaty, and it is therefore necessary to wait and see the results of these offices. If they do not produce the results desired and it is clear that the failure comes from the side of the Spaniards, His Majesty will then endeavour to unite with the king of France to defend the duke of Savoy. In the meantime he exhorts His Highness to comport himself so that the Spaniards may have no reason to lay the fault of new disturbances on his back.
When the ambassador had read this reply he at once recognised the drift of the matter, that they not only refuse to execute at present their numerous promises, but have also deprived him of the hope of being able to obtain anything in the future, as the articles are so arranged that they may easily serve to drag things out, by the constant introduction of fresh pretexts, and at the end they will refuse every favour.
For this cause he went to see Winwood on the following day, and spoke to him very roundly about the wrong which was being done to His Highness, adducing many cogent reasons why His Majesty was bound to keep his word and not to defraud the duke of that assistance which he had offered in writing and by so many promises by word of mouth. He finally left a document with him which he begged him to give to the king, of which I enclose a copy. The secretary did not make the smallest reply to his long speech, he simply embraced him, begging him not to be so hot and telling him that possibly in order to unburden himself he should ask audience of the king and advance his arguments himself. He advised him, however, not to present the document, because being the length of a sheet, His Majesty would never read it for the half of his kingdom. In conformity with this advice the ambassador insisted upon speaking to the king, who has sent for him for to-day at Hampton Court, where the ambassador intends to speak with all freedom, reminding His Majesty of the obligation he is under and how he will lose reputation with all the world in not showing himself more ready to keep his word. He has also made an abridgment of the document which he left with Winwood, reducing it to a single page. At the end he adds this idea, that if His Majesty intended to help the duke, the favour would have been two-fold, in declaring his feelings on the subject to the Spanish ambassador, treating with him and showing him all the documents, as he has done, but if he has not the intention of doing anything. His Highness will manifestly suffer serious prejudice and be put at a great disadvantage, since the Spanish ambassador, by means of His Majesty, has come to know of the whole of this affair and has seen his documents, so that by these means the Spaniards will obtain some knowledge of the difficult position in which the duke finds himself, see how eagerly he asks for help and displays his weakness, while at the same time they may assure themselves that His Highness can hope for no alleviation from this quarter, all of which is very advantageous to them both for war and for peace.
He obtained this audience rather with the hope of relieving his mind of his just grievances by telling the king of his reasons, and in order not to fail in any point in the diligence and care which he owes to the service of his master than with any hope of inducing His Majesty to take a more stedfast resolution. After his return he will send the news to Piedmont, which he has not yet done.
The causes which have led the king of Great Britain to fail so openly in his obligations may very properly be laid before your Excellencies. The chief are the daily increasing abhorrence which he feels for the toils and cares involved in government. In order to escape them he lives almost entirely in the country, accompanied by a few of his favourites, whose counsels, conceived in their own interests, are very remote from decisions involving expense and trouble. Another reason is His Majesty's powerlessness to incur any considerable expense unless he receives the material from parliament. He would summon it unwillingly, because as he cannot restrain his wonted liberality he has reason to fear greatly as it is certain that the people in general are dissatisfied owing to the manner of living which he has adopted for some time past. In proportion as his reputation continues to diminish abroad the dissatisfaction of his subjects keeps increasing and thus he is constrained to keep carefully at a distance the slightest prospect of a disturbance, to which this people is naturally disposed, and owing to the recent concurrence of certain events nothing seems wanting to cause an upheaval except suitable leaders (de' più particolare sono l'abhorimento in che ogni giorno più va cadendo delli travagli et pensiere che porta seco il regnare, onde per schivarle se ne vive quasi perpetuamente alla campagna, accompagnato d'alcuni pochi suoi diletti, li consigli di quali per proprio loro interesse sono lontanissimi dalle ressolutione di spesa et di travaglio, vi entra poi l'impotenza di sua Maestà la qual non può venire a spese di gran'momento se non le viene somministrata la commodità dal Parlamento, che da lui mal volontieri sarebbe chiamato, poi che non potendosi restringere la ordinaria sua libertà, ha occasione di molto temere, essendo cosa certa, che per il modo di vivere che tiene da certo tempo inqua, li popoli in generale ne restano mal contenti, et quanto va scemando la sua reputatione apposto li esteri, tanto si accresce la mala sodisfattione de'sudditi, e però è astretto di tener con avertenza lontano ogni principio di tumultatione, al quale essendo questi popoli per natura disposti, pari che à questi tempi vi concorre certi accidenti chè altro più non vi manche che capi di proposito).
London, the 7th October, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 457. To the answer given by His Majesty on the 18th inst., the Count of Scarnafes humbly makes the following reply:
His Highness is aware that His Majesty engaged himself by his ministers in Spain and in France for the carrying out of the treaty of Asti, and nothing remains but to confirm the obligation. His Highness returns thanks for what has already been done and for what Lord Roos is commissioned to do. At the same time he begs His Majesty to consider the expenses and the peril of His Highness, while time is being lost in discussion rather than in effecting what is known. If it is decided to enter into an examination, centuries will not suffice, since the Spaniards have never lacked excuses and pretexts. His Majesty has ministers everywhere, who must have informed him of the disarming of the duke and of the cavilling of the Spaniards from time to time until finally the pretext of the Venetians has made them openly obstinate in arms.
With regard to the negotiations of M. de Bethune, His Majesty may be sure that they will only serve to give the Spaniards time to increase their forces so as to be able to take Piedmont. But to wait upon the negotiations of Lord Roos will be the best way of bringing His Highness to extremity. Under the word of the two kings His Highness had to defend himself or to surrender. The latter is not to be thought of, and to remain simply on the defensive is ruinous. War would be a thousand times better.
With regard to His Majesty's exhortation to so comport himself that the Spaniards may not be able to lay the fault on his shoulders, His Majesty must allow that His Highness is naturally bound to defend himself, and as the weaker power he must make the most of every advantage. If he had attacked the Spaniards on the frontier and cut them to pieces as he could have done, the Marquis of Inoiosa would never have built the fort before Vercelli and Don Pedro could never have menaced him, but respect for His Catholic Majesty only renders his ministers more insolent. Moreover His Majesty may rest assured that even if the duke sleeps and allows his state and all that he has to be taken, the fault will always be his in the eyes of the Spaniards. Fifteen months ago the treaty of Asti was signed, and even the blind might see what His Highness has done, though they have the effrontery to pretend that he has not observed it.
With regard to the point that His Majesty promises to unite with France for the execution of the treaty, the Count of Scarnafes would point out two things, the first that France, as he has frequently told His Majesty will not move in favour of Savoy owing to her present Government and her interests with Spain; the other is that France has at least a colourable excuse because she always insisted that the duke should disarm under the promise of his Most Christian Majesty, alleging that the Spaniards would not attack him, their arming being caused by the Venetians. But His Majesty, on the other hand, has always advised His Highness to arm again, if the Spaniards did not disarm, when he would declare for the duke against Spain. This is a most important point for His Majesty's reputation, as it contributed powerfully to induce His Highness to arm again.
As it is simply a question of what His Majesty is willing to do, a new decision will be awaited in the hope that one will be taken worthy of a great king in virtue of the obligation undertaken at the treaty of Asti and private promises, such important interests being involved in the liberty of Italy and the relief of a prince who is so devoted a servant of His Majesty.
Oct. 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 458. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In one of their last conversations between the Count of Scarnafes and the Secretary Winwood, the latter remarked with some appearance of pain, that the Duke had made a league with your Serenity without saying anything about it to the king of England. The ambassador replied that His Majesty might be quite certain that this was not true, since he has ministers both at Venice and at Turin who could not have written to him so manifest a lie, and if such a league should be made it would be with His Majesty's knowledge and through his interposition, as through him the two powers were reconciled to each other. He then went on to tell him of the great pretensions of the Spaniards over all free princes, as they will not allow them liberty to treat together and come to an understanding.
The French ambassador has at length been to see the king, his dissatisfaction having been finally mollified by the master of the ceremonies. His Majesty spoke to him about the prince of Condé and made the usual representations, which I think will have little effect towards procuring his release. It certainly seems remarkable and is considered as a sign of contempt that the princes assembled at Soissons have not sent any one here to give an account of affairs and to ask for the king's help, since the last treaty was made under his promise. But the example of what His Majesty is doing for the maintenance of the treaties of Santen and Asti has deprived them of the hope of obtaining any advantage. It is said that the Marquis of Bonnivet, who has recently become a Huguenot, has about 600 horse in Picardy where he is doing some damage.
The Spanish ambassador continues to deprive of their pensions all the English Catholics who take the oath of allegiance to the king, saying that they cannot do it, and by doing so they render themselves unworthy of the favour of the Catholic king. Similarly the priests of his church do not admit such persons to the celebration of the mass, at least for the first days, in order to restrain others from a similar course by fear. The bad seeds might easily produce their fruit more quickly if the marriage is carried out which is so much talked about. (L'ambasr. di Spagna a continua tuttavia a levar le pensione a tutti quei Cattolici Inglesi che prestano il giuramento di fedeltà al re, dieendo che non lo possono fare, et facendolo si rendono indegni della gratià del Cattolico, et medesimamente i sacerdoti della sua chiesa non admettono questi tali al sacrificio della messa almeno per li prima giorni, per ritener con questo timore gli altri da simil rissolutione, li quali cattivi semi potrebbono tanto più presto produr i loro frutti quando si effetti quel matrimonio, del qual tanto si parla.)
The superb funeral of the Earl of Shrewsbury is over, who died four months ago. (fn. 1) It cost 70,000 crowns owing to the banquetting which lasted for a fortnight, to many thousands of persons, and the clothing in mourning of three to four thousand persons, with many other costly things. The brother and the wife of the deceased are now disputing about the rich inheritance of 100,000 crowns a year and more. Recently they came out into the field with well armed forces, and even went so far as to exchange cannon shots, but it is thought that the strife will proceed reasonably by the king's interposition (questi giorni sonno uscite in campagna con buon genti armati, essendosi fino battuti col canone, si crede però che con la interpositione del re si lascierà seguir la litte per via di ragione).
Lord Dingwall is in London, so seriously ill that when I sent yesterday to enquire how he was, he was considered to be dying, to the great sorrow of the king.
His Majesty has not yet entirely recovered from the fall from his horse and may possibly suffer more discomfort this winter than he would desire.
London, the 7th October, 1616.
Oct. 7. Inquisitori di Stato. Lettere agli Ambasc. d'Ing. Venetian Archives. 459. The Inquisitors of State to Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England.
We have given orders for the repayment to your father of the rewards paid by you to the Frenchman and Nodari, as notified in your letters of the 9th and 16th ult. We are satisfied with your diligence and judgment. We will instruct the ambassador Donado, when the time comes, to recognise the services of Nodari.
We have received from Muscorno the money due to Sir [William] Smith, and will arrange for its payment.
Oct. 7. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 460. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
Acknowledges letters of the 16th ult. Nothing further of importance in this matter. Will investigate whether any other public document is at present abroad in this country.
From London, the 7 Oct., 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 8. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Roma. Venetian Archives. 461. To the Ambassador at Rome.
In the matter of those who take the doctor's degree at Padua privately you will tell the pope that the republic is always zealous for religion. It was simply ordained that in place of the Counts Palatine who used to grant the degree privately, one of the doctors of Padua should do so for those who cannot incur the ordinary expenses out of regard for His Holiness will make special enquiry whether these commissions of the republic have been transgressed, and we assure him it is not our wish that heretics should receive the doctor's degree at Padua. You will speak to Cardinal Borghese to the same effect.
Ayes 94.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Oct. 8. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 462. To the Ambassador at Rome.
The pope has proposed to intervene for a suspension of arms between Spain and Savoy, to include a promise from the Spaniards not to molest our republic. We beg you to thank His Holiness. At the Imperial Court the craft of those ministers becomes continually more apparent; the archduke does everything to avoid a settlement.
In Friuli, in spite of the weather, our troops have taken Vipulzano, after a long resistance.
In Istria our troops raid and capture considerable booty.
The like to Savoy, France, Spain, Milan, Florence, Mantua, Naples, Coire, the Proveditore beyond the Menzo, England, the Hague.
Oct. 10. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Padova. Venetian Archives. 463. The Rectors of Padua to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday evening the duke of Saxony arrived here on his way to your Serenity. We received him with every demonstration of honour and courtesy. He has come to offer his services to your Serenity, being advised to do so by all the Protestant princes and also by the king of Great Britain, to whom, he says, he first imparted his purpose, and they all promised to help him in executing his design. He will leave here to-morrow.
Padua, the 10th October, 1616.
Oct. 11. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Francia. Venetian Archives. 464. Ottavio Bon and Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador extraordinary, after a stay here of two months, has received presents and been entertained royally, for four days, and then returned to his king. He received a very fine jewel from the king and a valuable diamond from the queen, altogether, they say, worth 10,000 crowns. He takes back no decision about the marriages, as the affair has evidently been approached with great coldness on both sides, with little inclination to proceed further.
Paris, the 11th October, 1616.
Oct. 13. Collegio, Ceremoniale. Venetian Archives. 465. The English ambassador came into the Cabinet accompanied by Prince Francis Julius, duke of Saxony. The ambassador sat on one side above the senior councillors, and the duke on the other. The ambassador offered the service of the duke. After they had gone orders were given to offer them entertainment at the cost of 50 ducats.
Oct. 13. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 466. The ambassador of England came into the Cabinet accompanied by Prince Francis Julius of Saxony and said that would act as interpreter, because the prince was not yet familiar with the Italian language. He added: I have come to execute the commands of His Majesty, accompanying Prince Francis Julius, who offers his services. He has served for some time in the court of His Majesty, who has encouraged him in this purpose, as have other princes of Germany. The King sends the following letter:
Jacobus etc. Domino Joanni Bembo, Venetiarum Duci, amico nostro charissimo, salutem.
Franciscus Julius, Saxoniae dux, antea nobis in Aula nostra cognitus, nuperrime nobis consilia quedam sua communicavit, quae nos tum a generosissima hominis indole, tum a singulari in Rempublicam vestram propensione proficisci existimamus; cupere se scilicet, cum dubiam vobis vicinorum vestrorum amicitiam intelligat, si militaribus copiis Reipublica vestra indiguerit mille equitibus, aut mille quingentis pedibus vobis adesse prout electio vestra fuerit. Hoc hujusmodi sua studia in presens tantum defert, avet in super inposterum stipendia sua continuare, quotiescumque rebus vestris usui esse possit. Quo in loco presentes res vestrae sint, quo ad pacem attinet, cum nobis non constet certe amicitiae nostrae esse putavimus, vota ejus vobis impensius commendare; gnari tanti Principis amicitiam operamque magno vobis usui futuram, tum ob gentis et familiae suae claritatem et egregium in Imperio locum, tam ob singularem animi affectum quo nos eum merito suo semper proseguimur. Quas quidem ob causas, ut nos minime diffidimus quin haec ipsius consilia per quam grata vobis futura sint: ita quoque speramus propter commendationem nostram potiorem vos Principis Illustrationem habituros, quod ipsum vobis spondemus, quandocumque in simili Re consimile studium nobis deferetis.
Datum e Palatio nostro Westmonasterii 2da die Julii, Anno Dm 1616.
Jacobus Rex.
After this letter was read the ambassador added: Your Serenity sees how readily His Majesty moves in all that concerns your service. Many offers have been and will be made, but none greater than this. If you choose, the prince can bring 2,000 horse or 3,000 foot, whichever you prefer. It is remarkable that a prince should offer his service who is a neighbour of the house of Austria and is important by reason of his relations with the count Palatine and other princes of Germany. Yesterday in conversation I asked him how he would manage to bring these troops. He said, although the pass of the Grisons is not so open as might be desired, yet I will ask a passage of them for myself and the electoral house of Saxony, and aided by the favour of the other princes of Germany, I feel sure that I shall not be denied. Your Serenity will see that I have not neglected to draw his attention to essential points.
In the absence of the doge, the senior councillor Nicolo Donado replied: We are deeply indebted to His Majesty for his constant care for our service. We beg your Excellency to thank His Majesty and to assure the prince of our esteem for his offer. After the matter has been considered, we will give a reply.
The ambassador said: As I have to change house, I shall be away for five or six days. I leave here the prince and the Secretary Gregorio. He understands Italian, though he does not care to speak it, not being so familiar with it as with French and Latin. The prince then added a few formal words in French, and after Donado had replied the Secretary and four other gentlemen of the prince were introduced to make reverence.
Afterwards the ambassador, the prince and the others made a reverence and departed.
Oct. 14. Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Inghilterra, Venetian Archives. 467. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of Savoy went on Friday to Hampton Court to audience of the king, as I wrote that he would do. While he was awaiting His Majesty's convenience in the apartments of the Lord Chamberlain the Secretary Winwood came to him, being sent by the king, as appeared afterwards. He began to speak to the ambassador about the sincere good-will and affection which His Majesty bore towards the Duke of Savoy, and he also spoke in the same strain about the Count of Scarnafes, whose merits he praised highly, especially the modesty with which he had always borne himself at this Court. By such means he sought to assuage the first feeling which he might imagine the count would display to the king in the coming audience upon the reply given to him in writing.
After this he was introduced to the king and found him seated, owing to his bad leg, with a watch in his hand which he kept looking at and trifled with during the whole of the time, showing that he himself was conscious of the inadequacy of this reply. The ambassador had a long interview, and beginning at the beginning he spoke of the present state of Christendom, which is divided into three great monarchies. One, namely Spain, simply seeks aggrandisement by the ruin of inferior powers, who can hope for little from France, which is the second, and therefore they must have recourse to the king of Great Britain, who is the third, so that he may divert the evil by his power. In this way His Majesty is bound to think of the condition of Italy. His promise constitutes another obligation, no less binding, and the ambassador reminded him of all that had taken place, touching upon the things which the duke might reasonably expect from His Majesty, and how different was the purport of the replies which had been given to him. He supported his arguments with many words of great feeling.
The king replied, also at considerable length, that he recognised the obligations which he was under to the duke, but as a great king he was very subject to the censure of men, and therefore he desired that his actions should be thoroughly justified before the world and he did not wish to commit himself for His Highness unless his reasons were very clear, and therefore he wished to await the result of Bethune's negotiations. To this the ambassador replied that Bethune would do no good, and before many days had passed the news of this would arrive here. I think the same, said the king, and the sooner I am likely to know it, the less harm is it for me to await it, and after various replies he said: In what way can I help the duke when he is in need? The ambassador replied: Owing to the greatness of the prince, who is making war on my master, everything is necessary, especially money, men and munitions.
With regard to money, His Majesty replied, you know well that it is scarce with me and I cannot give any, men also are very difficult, and as for munitions, what kind and how much do you want? The count replied: War, Sire, is a gulf, which consumes everything, and therefore His Highness needs every kind of munitions and in very large quantity, such as powder, rope, artillery, lead and balls. To this the king said that in order to show how greatly he was disposed to succour the duke, and that he did not wish to delay carrying this out, he asked him to draw up a list of the munitions he required, both in quantity and quality, and to give it to Winwood, who would look at it and do whatever he could. On the following day the ambassador drew up a list of all the things mentioned above without any definite quantity and gave it to the Secretary Winwood, who promised to give him a reply in a very few days. Accordingly he sent for him yesterday evening, and told him that His Majesty had seen the list and had given orders to the Keeper of the Tower to bring him another list of all the munitions under his custody, because he wished to share them with the duke of Savoy, and in two or three days he would see what could be given. A few days ago I was in the Tower and went to see all the munitions there. They seemed to me very poor, so that I cannot persuade myself that the king's assistance, being reduced to powder, ropes and balls, will be anything worthy of consideration.
The English ambassador writes from Paris that he has made new representations to the Queen Mother in the interests of Savoy. She told him that everything originated with Don Pedro of Toledo, who was a fiebrand of a fool's humour; she had sent Bethune to him, but it had been of no use, and she gave orders to Marshal Lesdiguières to take 3,000 infantry to succour His Highness, believing that these, when added to his own forces, would prove sufficient for his defence.
Lord Roos has finally set out on his journey to Spain. The principal object of his mission is to offer congratulations upon the marriage. In addition to this he has orders to speak freely and openly for the duke of Savoy. With regard to the particulars about the marriage of the prince here, nothing definite is known about his instructions; it is certain that he will treat about it, with what results God alone knows.
London, the 14th October, 1616.
Oct. 14. Senato, Secrete. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 468. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I know on good authority that the marriage in negotiation in France between the second princess and the count of Soissons does not at all please the king of Great Britain, not only because he is shut out from that alliance, but because it is by no means agreeable to his greatness that a subject so inferior should be proposed at the moment when his extraordinary ambassador is at Paris with commissions to negotiate for the prince his son. The ambassador of Savoy came to see me the other day in this connection and told me an idea of his, begging me to communicate it to your Excellencies; to see if you approved. I do so rather because of my duty to keep you informed of everything that comes to me than from any obligation to write about it which I am under to the ambassador, or because I think it will please you. He began by telling me that he fears we shall lose the king of England for good, because as he is shut out from the marriage with France he will have to resolve upon that with Spain, which will not only separate His Majesty from the common interests, but the prince, through the influence of his wife will incline to the other side throughout his life, and the children, who will have Austrian blood in their veins will be more than ever tied to the Catholic king and their descendants likewise. Thus we are forced to believe that England, for at least two or three generations will separate from this good union and will join the other side. He had the king's promise that if he did not give the prince a French wife he would give him an Infanta of Savoy, but in the present state of affairs here, they want money, and that is the chief reason which attracts them to the Spaniards. The duke indeed has none, or he would do his very utmost to obtain some amount from his people to give to the prince, with a promise to make it up at a future time. He suggested that your Serenity, to assist this excellent work, might open up these negotiations with the king and accommodate him with something as a loan, with the certainty of being repaid. I made no other reply except that the present time, in which the republic was involved in so much expense seemed to me to be very inopportune for treating of affairs of this nature, and began to speak of something else.
Lord Hay has gone to Dieppe, but he will not cross the sea unless he is taken by one of the king's ships. Accordingly he is staying there for some days. It seems that this journey of his has been very unfortunate and that he has brought back little satisfaction. He has not increased the reputation of his king in the least and has in nowise strengthened the friendly relations with the Most Christian king, so that his embassy has rather proved pompous and expensive than of the slightest utility.
The Spanish ambassador resident here sent a courier to the Catholic king three days ago together with his confessor. There is no doubt but he has sent word of all that has taken place here, both the affairs of Savoy and the mission of Lord Roos. Nevertheless the sending of the confessor excites surprise, the more so because it is understood that the Archduke Albert also sent his confessor to Spain recently, as the Spaniards are not accustomed to send such men about without some profound mystery.
I have received your Serenity's letters of the 22nd ult. with news of the taking of the fort of Fara.
London, the 14th October, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 15. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 469. To the Ambassador in England.
The negotiations at the Imperial court continue in the same state; the archduke being more than ever determined on war. We have to record the death of Sig. Pompeo Giustinian, who was shot while making a reconnaisance.
The like to Rome, France, Milan, Florence, Savoy, Mantua, Naples, Coire.
Ayes 108.
Noes 1.
Neutral 1.
Oct. 15. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 470. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I saw the pope yesterday about the matter of the doctors at Padua. I told him that the new regulations were in place of the old privilege of the Counts Palatine to grant degrees, which had been abolished. It had simply been done for the benefit of poor students and Greeks. It was not your intention to give the degree to heretics and your Serenity would see that your orders in the matter were respected. The pope said he was very glad that the republic promised not to give the degree to heretics unless they made the profession of faith, but schismatics were on the same footing, as schism is a kind of heresy, and consequently the Greeks should also profess. I represented the danger of this. He asked me how long was it since the privilege of the Counts Palatine was abolished. I said, five or six years. He asked what the Greeks and others did in the meantime. The Counts Palatine took the profession of faith, but the new doctor does not; this is the innovation. I promised to make due representations to your Serenity. Finally he rose and said softly to me, We ask this satisfaction also in order to shut the mouths of some who speak to us about the matter.
Rome, the 15th October, 1615.


  • 1. He died on 8 May and was buried of 13 August, 1616, at Sheffield. G.E.C. Complete Peerage vii. p. 141.