Venice: October 1616, 16-31

Pages 324-341

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, 16–31

Oct. 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Brescia. Venetian Archives. 471. The Rectors of Brescia to the Doge and Senate.
The father Inquisitor here has asked that the enclosed list of prohibited books may be published in this city and posted in public places. He said the note had been sent by the Father Inquisitor of Venice. We agreed to do this after it had been submitted to the congregation of the holy office in our presence.
Brescia, the 18th October, 1616.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 472. Note of the Prohibited Books.
“Thelogiae Calvinistarum libri tres, auctore Conrodo Schlusselburgio.”
Isaaci Casauboni de rebus sacris et ecclesiasticis exercitationes xvi ad Cardinalis Baronii prolegomena in Annales ex officina Nortoniana, apud Jo. Bellium, 1614.”
“Gravissimae questionis de Christianarum Ecclesiarum in occidentis praesertim partibus ab Apostolicis temporibus ad nostram usque aetatem continua successione et statu historica explicatio. Auctore Jacobo Usserio sacre Theologiae in Dulbiniensi Academia apud Hybernos professore.” (fn. 1)
“Nicolaus Copernicus de revolutionibus orbium coelestium donec corrigatur.”
“Donelli Enucleati sive Commentarius Hugonis Donelli de Jure Civili in compendium ita redactorum etc.”
Oct. 19. Senato. Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 473. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The English merchant is still in prison, because the Pasha demands 20,000 sequins of him. He professes to be letting him of easily, saying that he might have made him pay the whole of the damage suffered by the two ships which were taken, amounting to 200,000 ducats. They are inflicting numerous torments upon the merchant, as they know he is very rich, and they even threaten him with death. The Pasha, to remove any imputations against himself, says that he will employ the money for the release of slaves. The English ambassador has done his utmost to obtain the merchant's release, and he would even spend a considerable sum of money, but the Pasha's pretensions are too high. He asked that the cause might be tried, but the Pasha refused, saying that the king commanded the payment of all the money lost by the two vessels.
As I suspected there might be a great quantity of similar property at Zante, brought by English and Flemish ships, I immediately sent a man post to the Proveditore, telling him of what had happened and advising him to prohibit under severe penalties the sale of such plundered goods.
Your Serenity should secure the detention of Cariati, to obtain the value of the archenda from him, even if you do not punish him as he deserves, in order to redeem the promise which I made to the English merchant by which the public was saved from great trouble and expense.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 19th October, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 21. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 474. To the Ambassador in England.
We heard on the 16th inst. of an important engagement between the Spaniards and Savoyards near the abbey of S. Lucedio, in which the Savoyards lost 3,000 men, while the Spaniards claim not to have lost more than 200. But on the 19th the Ambassador Donato, who had been with the duke's army, sent word that the duke's losses do not exceed 160. The governor had only engaged the rear guard of 4,000 men.
The General in Dalmatia has recovered some barques and slaves taken by the Uscochi; and in Istria our troops have won an engagement. In Friuli some Uscochi and men of Carlisfot made a raid, but only took one cart; on their return they were attacked and some killed. General Priuli attacked the Ponte Vecchio at Goritia successfully.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, France, Spain, Savoy, Florence, Mantua, Milau, Naples, Zurich, the Hague, Constantinople, the General of the forces, the Proveditore beyond Menzo.
Ayes 114.
Noes 1.
Neutral 11.
Oct. 21. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Venetian Archives. 475. To the King of Great Britain.
The events of Istria are in such a position that they desire to be specially represented to your Majesty. We have, therefore, directed the Secretary Giovanni Battista Lionello to inform you of them in our name, as a sign of our continued confidence and esteem.
Ayes 120.
Noes 0.
Neutral 1.
Oct. 21. Senato, Secreta Dispacci, Inghilterra Venetian Archives. 476. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Owing to the understanding that the count of Scarnafigi obtained recently from the king and ministers that he should at least have some quantity of munitions to help the duke, he went this morning to see the Secretary Winwood, who returned from Court two days ago, to hear His Majesty's decision about these particulars. The Secretary told him that His Majesty had considered the matter deeply and it seemed to him that so small a help in munitions could only prove of feeble use for the necessities of His Highness, and would not suffice for the fulfilment of the obligation which His Majesty recognized that he had incurred by the treaty of Asti. He had accordingly come to a better decision, to suspend for the moment the grant of the munitions and on his arrival in London in a few days he proposed to enter the Council of State or to send for its principal members and acquaint them with his obligation to succour the duke effectively, not only because of the treaty of Asti, but in the interests of all Christendom, on which account he was resolved to openly declare himself the enemy of the Catholic king if he did not keep his promises better, and to declare war upon him. But meanwhile, in order that matters may mature and that the king may proceed with a greater show of justice, he asks the count of Scarnafigi to send someone to Piedmont to observe the present state of affairs, so that he may the better base his deliberations upon his report. The Count replied that all this was good and he was delighted that the king had taken this decision, which was due to his obligations and his greatness, but that in order to do one thing it was not necessary to leave undone another, and while they were debating, in Italy fighting was going on, so that it was not advisable to abandon the grant of provisions for this new idea, but it would serve as a prelude to the declaration of His Majesty and would prove most useful to continue from this beginning. They arranged between them that the Secretary Winwood should write to the king to-day, expecting a reply the day after to-morrow, which would settle what was to be done in the matter of the munitions and whether anyone should be sent to Piedmont immediately. If I had not seen and noted their desire to keep alive hopes in the midst of perpetual delays, I should think that some moderate results might ensue from these words but from experience of past affairs my hopes are not raised high. I am inclined to fear that the ministers here, perceiving the scarcity of munitions which they have in the Tower, so that they cannot supply a reasonable quantity to Savoy unless they buy it from merchants for cash, have found this new means of postponing a resolution, since if they now send anyone to Piedmont it is certain that he cannot return before the winter is well advanced, at which time fighting will be stopped by the bad weather and they will gain some months here during which they may see what negotiations are proceeding. If the disputes have not ceased by the spring, they will not lack new pretexts. Nevertheless, when the ambassador of Savoy communicated to-day's conversation to me half an hour ago, I could not refrain from saying that I thought it superfluous to send anyone to Piedmont, as in addition to the loss of time I did not see what advantage could be obtained, since His Majesty had special ministers there, but I think it worse that the mission should be performed by the ambassador as it would have greater reputation and would cause less prejudice if it were commanded by the king himself. The ambassador thought my opinion good, but as he had already pledged his word to Winwood, it was too late to draw back. He told me that the Secretary Winwood had said to him several times, and this morning in particular, in a tone of complaint, that a considerable part of these misfortunes were due to your Serenity for refusing the proposals made by His Majesty more particularly in the lifetime of the Ambassador Barbarigo, to make a league for an offensive war against the Spaniards if they failed in their obligations. There is no doubt that he said all this to excuse himself as best he could for so much coldness, though I did not fail to make a proper reply to the ambassador, showing that there were a thousand reasons for disproving the idea.
London, the 21st October, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 477. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The letters of Don Pedro of Toledo to the Spanish ambassador resident here speak as if your Serenity and the duke of Savoy were under his orders. He says he has inflicted a great defeat upon His Highness and by feigning himself sick he gave him courage to come out into the open, when he encountered and routed him, so that he hardly escaped, and left the country free. Of your Excellencies he says that you are at the end of your financial resources and in great scarcity so that you are endeavouring to manage as best you can with your own citizens. The Spanish ambassador arranges that these advices shall be spread about through the city leaving the minds of men very perplexed at what they ought to believe. One thing that excites wonder is that Sir [Henry] Wotton writes very rarely from Venice, and it is seven weeks since they had a letter from him; the king is very angry about it and Winwood commented severely upon such negligence in speaking to Mr. Morton, Wotton's nephew. (fn. 2)
I am told on good authority that one of the principal reasons for the journey of the Spanish ambassador's confessor to Madrid is to procure money, the ambassador being considerably in debt, and it is necessary for him to be liberal in present circumstances with those to whom gifts are of use.
Lord Hay arrived in England on Monday and proceeded immediately to court. On the preceding day Lord Roos left London on his way to Plymouth, to take a royal ship to Spain. I must not omit to advise your Excellencies that this individual both by education and habit is entirely Spanish so that his embassy may be expected to be perfectly to the taste of the Spaniards. Although they know him to be very light brained yet they will not omit to make use of him whenever it is to their advantage to do so.
On the 4th of next month the title of Wales will be given to the prince of England with great pomp. Although the ceremony will not rival that of his deceased brother, yet they will spend money by handfuls. I do not know if your Excellencies wrote congratulatory letters to the prince upon that occasion, but think it would be a good thing to do now, to cherish in him as friendly a disposition as possible towards the republic.
I have just received your Serenity's letters of the 24th and 29th ult. which I will use for information and for the public service.
London, the 21st October, 1616.
Oct. 22. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives. 478. Piero Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I have communicated to the secretary of England the recent events in Friuli and the negotiations at the Imperial Court. He thanked me and said he was sure they cherished more ill will towards the republic than against others, though they concealed it artfully. He did not think they would try at present to occupy the states of your Excellencies, as that would be too difficult. If they were sure of being free from the war with Savoy, they would give the archduke armed assistance and help him to obtain better terms. This affair preoccupies them greatly; the ministers had told him that they greatly desired the archduke to come to terms, but your Excellencies imposed too onerous conditions. The secretary Frisa, he added, had complained to him because his king had sent many men to help the republic. He had replied that he had no special news of this, but if men from England entered the pay of the republic, his king could not prevent it, as his nation had always enjoyed this privilege of going to any part of the world to seek their personal profit. When Frisa objected that these men had obtained leave from the king and council, the secretary replied that the republic was not making war on the king but on the archduke, so that His Majesty had no cause to complain of the English help. Frisa said that the king was closely tied to the archduke and esteemed his interests as his own, and thereupon England ought not to foment the republic, as His Majesty only desired to establish universal peace.
I thanked the secretary for this information and said I was glad he had noted the ill will of the Spaniards towards the republic, as when reported to His Majesty it would induce him to decide to act according to his greatness and the general interests. I said your Excellencies had done nothing to arouse this feeling in the Spaniards, but it was most unfortunate as it led them to endeavour to deprive the republic of the means of providing for her own defence.
Madrid, the 22nd October, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 479. Ottavio Bon and Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador here, who really seems devoted to the interests of Savoy, having heard that the duke of Guise was working for the Spaniards, went to see him this week and gravely expressed to him the feelings of his king and how grieved he would be to hear of this action of advancing the interests of Spain. He protested that the duke, who is a relation of his king, seems indifferent to His Majesty's good opinion and continually opposes his pleasure and service, the king being so interested in the preservation of the duke of Savoy. He told the duke that he was losing credit daily by those operations both within and without the kingdom. The duke recognised the truth of this and was somewhat confused. He excuses his action in ways which cannot be approved by impartial observes.
Paris, the 25th October, 1616.
Oct. 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Napoli. Venetian Archives. 480. Gasparo Spinelli, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
The consul of Lecce advises me by letters of the 15th that the berton Colletti from Candia arrived from Brindisi with some soldiers on board when the Governor of Lecce detained it, removed the sails and imprisoned the master. I went straight to the Viceroy to complain. His Excellency seemed very angry and gave instructions for its immediate release. As I was coming out I met the secretary Velli who on hearing these orders said that he must first see His Excellency. He stated that the Governor of Lecce had sent the articles of accusation. Some said that the ship came from England, some from Candia, some said the troops were to go against the Uscocchi, others against the house of Austria while others again said they were to help Savoy, and so the governor had acted quite correctly. However the order was sent off that same night.
Naples, the 25th October, 1616.
Oct. 25. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 481. That the Ambassador of England be summoned to the Cabinet and the following read to him:
The affairs of Italy are in such a condition that His Majesty should be fully informed about them. At the treaty of Asti His Majesty employed his great authority for the peace of Italy, guaranteeing that settlement with his own name and inciting the republic to do the same. We have not only done much to assist the duke of Savoy, but we are certain that His Majesty will do the same on his side. It is certain that the duke has fulfilled his part of the treaty of Asti as Marini, the minister of France clearly testified. All the trouble proceeds from the fact that the Spaniards will not observe this treaty, but have entered Piedmont with a large army and are determined to bring force to bear on the duke. They have also kindled against him the duke of Nemours, his cousin, having bought him with money. During the disturbances in France they are threatening our republic also, and aspire to a pre-eminence which may throw everything into disorder and occasion grave perils. Your Excellency may be well informed of all this, but the ministers of Spain in England put a different face upon things to their own advantage. They maintain that an arrangement and peace are almost certain, and yet your Excellency is aware that the transactions of M. de Bethune have already been interrupted for several days, his negotiations are ended and there remains no opening or hope for an agreement, but they expect nothing but force. At the same time the Spaniards use every artifice to prevent any accommodation between us and the Archduke Ferdinand, while they support him with paid troops and money. We beg you to represent all this to His Majesty, and our Secretary Lionello will do the same, as we are sure that he will feel great displeasure at this state of affairs.
Ayes 114.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Oct. 26. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 482. The deliberation of the Senate of yesterday was read to the Ambassador of England, and re-read at his request. He then said:
I thank your Serenity for the confidence with which you favour me in such grave matters. The Spaniards certainly seem to be carrying matters with a high hand (con grande ardore et vantaggio). I am sure that my master will not fail in his obligations both to the treaty of Asti and the common service. The maintenance of the duke of Savoy is a necessity, but it is certain that he cannot subsist by himself, and that his preservation must depend not only upon help from within Italy and upon the support of this republic, but also on aid from without. The preparations of the Spaniards are considerable; the forces of the house of Austria are great, and it appears that the king of Spain dearly wishes to subdue the duke of Savoy. If this succeeds, the consequences will be very serious. Your Serenity must be aware how different are the obligations of my king by the treaty of Asti from those of the crown of France. The French undertook upon the marriages then in negotiation with Spain to see that the Catholic king should observe all his promises to the duke of Savoy in the treaty of Asti. In this the ministers of Spain and France at Milan acted together. My king promised to help the duke if Spain failed to fulfil her engagements. The difference is that France is bound to compel the Spaniards to observe their treaty obligations; the king is bound in case the Spaniards fail to observe the conditions. He certainly will not fail to make good his word. I think it well to inform not only His Majesty but the princes of the Union of Germany, to warn them of what is taking place and acquaint them with the designs of the Spaniards. If your Serenity thinks fit I will go to Germany for this purpose. It would cause less remark than sending another person expressly. I could obtain letters of credence from His Majesty to the court of the Palatine. It could be done at less cost, I could go by the posts and spend possibly two months on the journey. If the republic does not wish to go so far as an alliance, I might at least treat for the beginning of a rapprochement. I may say without presumption that I think I should be a good intermediary owing to my knowledge of the country and of the affair in hand. I would act with great spirit, but this cannot be done without treating for a league. His Majesty desires peace and so do I also. But after the republic has entered upon this affair it is necessary to have a firm understanding in the common interests. I will inform His Majesty of the particulars which have been read to me. I will employ a youth who arrived from Constantinople, two days ago, and who is going to England on business to-morrow, and will travel post.
The duke of Saxony asks me to thank your Serenity for accepting his offer of 3,000 infantry and 300 horse. He is quite ready to serve, but at the last conference between his captains and the Savio deputed to treat with him, the question of the pass presented a difficulty. I told him that the republic would not spend its money upon impossibilities. He recognised the justice of this and proposed that the republic should arrange a provision of money at Hamburg or some other place, so that it may be ready for him at need, as he does not believe that the Grisons will shut their ears to the instances of one of the princes of Germany. This affair has followed a different course from that between the republic and the Grisons and is governed by other conditions, as the Grisons and the others are united and have common interests. The prince is likely to succeed, since before his coming he consulted the princes of Germany and was supported by them. I may say that the princes are awaiting the issue with interest.
The doge replied thanking the ambassador. He said, the present state of affairs should cause all princes to reflect, as the general interest and well being are bound up with the preservation of the liberty of Italy. This is all that we can say. The ambassador made a formal reply saying that it was necessary to enter into somewhat closer relations with the princes of Germany. He would wait two or three days for instructions. After making a reverence, he departed.
Oct. 28. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 483. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A week yesterday the Secretary Winwood wrote to the king at the instance of the ambassador of Savoy as I reported, and in order to move His Majesty more he enlarged upon the fact that if the duke of Savoy were lost, there would be no more liberty in Italy besides that of Venice, which, shut up within too narrow limits, could not long defend herself against the violence of Spain without calling in the help of the Turks, to the very grave harm of Christendom. Although this idea is very improper and does not correspond to the natural piety of the republic it is certain that the Secretary has said this with a good purpose. The king at once sent back his reply, which was to be passed on to the ambassador, almost precisely the same as he had said three days before; His Majesty clearly saw the necessity of assisting the duke, and that such help ought to be considerable and substantial. Accordingly he resolved to supply it, but desired to have the best possible reasons and therefore begged him to have patience for a fortnight. He will return to London and consult his united council or at least the principal among them, mentioning in particular the archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor and the earl of Arundel. The ambassador did not seem very well content at this delay, as meanwhile the affairs of Italy are wavering in the balance and tending to descend on the wrong side for His Highness, and he asked why they did not at least give him the munitions promised at once. Winwood begged him not to disturb the favourable state of affairs by too much haste, but since he had already waited for so long, he could submit to wait these few days longer for the coming of the king, and that if he wished for munitions he should have them on the arrival of Lord Lisle in London, who has charge of them. And so they parted, the proposal to send some one to Piedmont being given up, the ambassador showing that he thought better of it, and pointing out that it would be of no use. For my own part I cannot venture to guess what results will proceed from these new promises of the king. I am much inclined to believe that when the matter is brought before the Council it will meet with great difficulties not only owing to the scarcity of means, which prevent His Majesty from taking any great resolutions at present, but also owing to the dependence of a good part of the Council upon Spain. However, the results will be better if the matter is discussed by a few and I have already discovered that the archbishop of Canterbury is very inclined to help the duke and has promised to do all he can to that end. Of the Lord Chancellor I do not know what to promise or of the earl of Arundel either. I am to see the latter one of these days upon another matter, and I will not fail to dwell upon such particulars as I think will incline him to right views.
When I went to kiss the prince's hands three days ago, he asked me many things about current affairs in Italy and especially what help your Excellencies were giving to the duke of Savoy; whether he was strong enough to defend himself, and if the defeat which the Spaniards were publishing abroad were true. I told him of the true state of affairs, telling him in particular how essential was the help which your Serenity granted to His Highness, who was also trying to defend himself with his own forces with singular ability, but it would be most difficult for him to do so if he were not succoured by a greater power. I hinted at the hope cherished in Italy that the king his father would provide help.
He also asked me how matters were going with the archduke, and in speaking of the republic he expressed the warmest friendship and a great desire for her felicity. I replied in conformity with the truth and as I thought would best assist the affairs of His Highness, and with the king as well when he reads the written account which the prince is always accustomed to take to him about what takes place in his interviews with the ministers of foreign powers.
London, the 28th October, 1617.
Oct. 28. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 484. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
It seems that Lord Hay, who returned yesterday to London from the Court, was not so well received by the king as he expected, and one of the magnates said that he had brought back more presents from France than glory, as in addition to jewels of great value which he received from Their Majesties he also received from the princes and titled nobility thirty-two of the best horses to be found in that kingdom. To-day I went to call upon him, and he told me that he had served the interests of your Serenity with no less zeal than those of his own master, and he spoke at length of the prudence and ability of our ambassadors. Upon the more essential matters touching France he told me that the queen had promised her daughter to the Count of Soissons and the sister to the Duke of Longueville for the simple purpose of drawing them away from their party and balancing by them the duke of Guise who, by the fall of Conde, would remain too great and formidable without such a counterpoise. He wished to make me believe that when the present difficulties are settled His Majesty will not keep his promise to give his sister to Soissons. That the people of France, at the first shock, took very ill the imprisonment of the Prince of Conde, but by degrees the feeling caused by so strong a step had disappeared, they had quieted down and were almost glad of it, thinking that it might confirm a long peace and alleviate the disasters of war which they had undergone for some years owing to the caprices of the prince of Conde, since the other princes do not suffice to create a disturbance because they have no leader of the blood royal. I leave the truth of these things to the knowledge which your Excellencies must have from better sources, but it is clear that the baron was glad to talk about it to cover as best he could the two principal failures with which he is credited by common report, the imprisonment of the prince and the marriage of the princess of France to Soissons, which took place while he was in Paris, to the detriment of the king's reputation.
They have not yet been able to settle the differences between the merchants of this kingdom and the Dutch with regard to coloured cloth, which they will no longer receive into their country. A great quantity of it was sent to Middelburg in Zeeland and thence distributed throughout the world. Now, although the matter is kept secret, I understand from one who is concerned in the business, that the merchants propose to select another place to take their cloth to, and they are turning their eyes towards Villafranca or Nice, places of the duke of Savoy. His Majesty's ministers have already spoken about it to the Count of Scarnafigi, and he is to meet the heads of the company. The ambassador has not hitherto been willing to confess this affair to me, as I should have liked him to, in order to point out to him that this matter, which involves difficulties, may easily have been introduced by the English to excite the jealousy of the Dutch and to gain an advantage in the settlement while the duke would gain nothing beyond the offence which the States General might take, a matter of great consideration at any time, but much more at present.
The queen returned from Oatlands on Monday, where she has spent this summer, to her usual residence at Greenwich, and the whole court is hastening on the necessary preparations and decorations for the approaching ceremony of the prince.
Two ships left these shores a fortnight ago with 332 barrels of powder for the service of your Serenity, as in spite of all my efforts I could not obtain the 500 barrels granted by the royal Council. With this grant such an uproar arose among the merchants, because of the scarcity of powder, that the matter was not carried on with due secrecy and before the powder was laded the report got abroad, and, I suspect, caused more trouble. I will see that the balance is ready when next ships are going. I do not think that these have left the kingdom as yet, as they have to lade salted fish at Plymouth. I have not arranged the exact price with the merchant Vanderput, because they have not yet drawn up the bill, but I have an absolute promise that it will not exceed 15 ducats the hundred through to Venice.
London, the 28th October, 1616.
Oct. 28. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 485. That the ambassador of England be summoned to the Cabinet and the following read to him:
We have always recognised your Excellency's regard for our interests, especially in the readiness with which you undertook to represent our last offices to His Majesty and to recommend them with the urgency which present affairs demand. The Spaniards persist more than ever in their attempts to the prejudice of this province, as they have succeeded by spending a great sum of money in sowing a bad impression among the Grisons, aided by the connivance of the ministers of France. The Beitag (Pitach) has taken such a position that our two secretaries have felt constrained to leave Coire. The Grisons have recalled under severe penalties all their countrymen in our service, they make the pass difficult for us and allow the Spaniards that commodity; thus the danger to Italy, to the liberty of the duke of Savoy and other princes grows continually, making it necessary for His Majesty to help both with declarations and acts both by reason of the treaty of Asti and for the common service.
That France is not fulfilling her obligations under that treaty is no subject for wonder, owing to the disturbances there. The republic is fully observing her obligations to the duke of Savoy under that treaty, and we are sure that His Majesty will do what is right. We beg you to represent all this.
We thank your Excellency for your offers with respect to the princes of Germany, which are worthy of your friendly disposition. We have to say in reply that we have always endeavoured to preserve a good understanding with those princes, and our Ambassador Gussoni has been sent to show our confidence and express our esteem. Our Secretary Surian, now at the Hague, had similar instructions. The preservation of the duke of Savoy, which is important for the common service, demands present and powerful assistance, which may be expected from His Majesty, who besides setting a good example, may make such representations to the princes as may seem good to him, acquainting them with the importance of maintaining Savoy and the liberty of Italy, which must needs be advantageous at this present time.
With regard to the duke of Saxony, we highly value his person, his disposition towards us and his qualities. When we are sure that he has the pass open and can bring his men through to our service, we will send the money without delay to any convenient place in Germany.
Ayes 122.
Noes 0.
Neutral 1.
Oct. 28. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni Venetian Archives. 486. To the Secretary Lionello in England.
The ambassador of England has returned to this city and we have had the enclosed read to him, which we sent to you for information. You will tell His Majesty what you find there about the Grisons, so that he may know the action of the Spaniards, the present state of Italy and the need for prompt and powerful help to the duke of Savoy. With regard to the king's obligations under the treaty of Asti, you will, if the matter is broached, reply in the sense of this answer of ours. We have to add that we have engaged 4,000 Dutch troops under Count John Ernest of Nassau and made some other provision of troops. This is for information. We are without letters from you this week. We desire to have them always.
Ayes 122.
Noes 0.
Neutral 1.
Oct. 28. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 487. To the Ambassador in the Imperial Court.
The duke Francis of Saxony has been to offer his services with 3,000 foot and 500 horse, bringing letters from the king of Great Britain and being introduced by the ambassador of that crown. We are treating about the difficulty of the pass. He has come here privately. The ambassador has given us the enclosed particulars of his birth and condition. We direct you to obtain particulars as cautiously as possible about his qualities and what prospect he has of fulfilling his offers.
Ayes 119.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Oct. 28. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Venetian Archives. 488. To the Ambassador in England.
We hear that the Ponte Vecchio of Goritia is impassible, and it is commanded by certain pieces of artillery to prevent repairs. The enemy remaining this side the Lisonzo have fortified an eminence.
The General of Istria, on hearing that the enemy had fortified the monastery and campanile at San Piero di Selve, from which they raided the country, had them destroyed. The place surrendered after an honourable defence. Our troops have ravaged the country round San Servolo, carrying off some booty.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, France, Constantinople, Savoy, the Hague, Florence, Milan, Naples, Mantua and Padavin.
Ayes 119.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Oct. 29. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 489. To the Ambassador with the Duke of Savoy.
We have informed the ambassador of England resident with us of the present state of affairs in Italy, and of the designs of the Spaniards both against His Highness and us, so that he may inform His Majesty about it. Our minister in London will do the same, representing how much it becomes his greatness and generosity not only to apply his authority but to give effective help so that these pernicious ideas may not result in the general loss, when a remedy could no longer be applied and repentance would come too late. We direct you to inform His Highness of this, telling him that we have used every possible means to help his cause, making representations to France and the States and also at Rome.
Ayes 120.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Oct. 29. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 490. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the ordinary courier of Flanders left last night with my letters of that day to your Serenity, a courier arrived from France with letters from the English ambassador there to His Majesty. The contents came to m knowledge immediately, and I thought your Excellencies would be glad to compare them with advices from elsewhere, so I am sending them by way of Zeeland.
The ambassador writes that he heard that the duke of Guise had licence from the Queen Mother to take a good number of men to help the duke of Nemours in his undertaking against Savoy. Accordingly he went to the duke of Guise and told him that he could find no more certain way of displeasing the king of Great Britain than by molesting the duke of Savoy, and if he desired to please him he would abstain from such a resolution, that His Majesty would remember whichever of the two courses he took. M. de Guise replied that it was true he had intended to go and help the duke of Nemours to recover his estates occupied by the duke of Savoy, as in addition to their being brothers, he was heir of whatever Nemours might leave if he died without sons. But upon perceiving the displeasure of the king of England, whom he so highly esteems, he gave up the idea, and he would never go. He gave a solemn promise to this effect, but he begged His Majesty to employ his authority to accommodate the differences between Nemours and His Highness.
After this the ambassador went to the queen and complained greatly about the leave which she had given to the duke of Guise and of the orders to open the passes to the troops of Nemours and Burgundy. He begged her to withdraw this, and pointed out to her some of the numerous reasons which supported this.
The queen said that she had done everything to gratify Guise, and if he had not pressed for it she would have been quite contented for matters to have proceeded in another way. The ambassador added that His Most Christian Majesty proposes to give the Government of Auvergne to the Count of Auvergne, including therein the Lyonnais and the other Governments near Savoy, so that all those governors may live in a good undertanding with His Highness and close the passes to those of another turn of mind. (fn. 3)
From the other letters of this ambassador and of other well-informed persons of France, it is understood that things are now fairly quiet in that kingdom, but with every appearance of only remaining so a short while. The royal army is disbanding, one part being kept on foot for service under the count of Auvergne. The malcontents are scattered here and there, the duke of Epernon was harassing la Rochelle and at the Court they devote their chief attentions to keeping the pope and the Catholic king in a good humour.
The same courier brought letters for the ambassador of Savoy, from Crotti, the first secretary of His Highness, who sends him particulars of events up to the 28th September, and tells him that from Venice they are receiving some help in money, from France levies of men, and from England nothing but ambiguities, wherefore His Highness desires that they shall proceed freely with him and say what they mean to do, as these amusements cause too much harm. With these letters the ambassador has been to Winwood to-day and was told that within a week he will see such resolution in His Majesty that both His Highness and he will remain satisfied.
London, the 29th October, 1616.
Oct. 29. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 491. Ottavio Bon and Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
We have recently visited the chief ministers of the crown here, particularly Villeroy, Mangot and the President Jeannin, nominated by the queen to treat about the alliance with the Grisons. We have asked the ambassador of England and the ambassador and agent of Zurich and Berne to favour the affair when they have an opportunty as we have no other friends at the Court, the Spanish ambassador opposing us vigorously.
Paris, the 29th October, 1616.
Oct. 29. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 492. The deliberation of the Senate of yesterday was read to the Ambassador of England; he said:
I am gratified that the Senate recognises my goodwill and my conscience tells me that it is deserved. I proposed to go to Germany for two reasons, the first to inform the princes of the purposes of the Spaniards and stir them to action; the second to initiate a closer intelligence between them and this republic, not to go so far as an alliance but to increase the mutual friendship. This was useful because the princes form a powerful body in themselves and would be much more so if united with others. I know that this would have pleased the king, who would have sent letters to the court of the Palatine and other suitable places. I understand, however, that your Serenity considers the way to this friendship to have been well prepared by the sending of the Ambassador Gussoni and the Secretary Suriano to those parts, so I will await another occasion when you may please to command me. I will use every effort to make His Majesty alive to the artifices of the Spaniards. I am particularly struck by one which has proved most successful, namely that by which the duke of Nemours has been alienated from the duke of Savoy. The friendship between them was great, and when I was at that court upon the marriage of the Princess Elizabeth of England, His Highness never spoke of him to me but as 'Mon frère, mon frère le due de Nemur.' Their friendship was such that His Highness had decided to give him his daughter, the Princess Cattarina, to wife. But the Spaniards, by means of a special embassy, persuaded the duke not to do this, and thereby he offended the prince. They nourished this feeling, which arose from their own advice, and by the aid of money have obtained their desire. But I hope that the duke will be able to save himself by means of his friends, with the succours of this republic. His Majesty will doubtless do his share, as bound by the treaty of Asti and by the common interests. He will inform his friends in Germany and the States of these occurrences, so that if the Spaniards persist in their determination to dominate Italy there is no doubt that the consequences will react upon the Low Countries in Flanders. The king will not fail the duke of Savoy and I will use my pen in the same interests.
I will see the duke of Saxony when he leaves and assure him of the esteem of your Excellencies and how much you value his offer, leaving the difficulty about the passage of the Grisons to his reply.
Before leaving I may say that I understand that the difficulties with the Grisons have been fomented by the Spaniards and by the connivance of the French. I hear that the ambassador of France has informed the residents of the republic that he has received express instructions from his Most Christian Majesty to favour all the affairs of your Serenity for the opening of the pass. They have also stated that they have express instructions to oppose the league. This is favouring the accessory and opposing the principal, as it is certain that the pass cannot be had from them without an alliance. My idea is that the Grisons desired a league with the republic similar to the first. They ought now to be much more desirous of an alliance which includes the princes of Germany as well. It is true that the capriciousness of those people is notorious. From thence proceed all their disorders and troubles, as they are unstable and, to speak frankly, venal. But this common union would serve to hold them fast to the league, because every time that they wanted to change they would have in mind their obligations to the princes, and that would serve to keep them firm.
The doge replied with thanks, but said that they had no other answer to give than the one which had been read. After the ambassador had made a reverence, he departed.
Oct. 31. Consiglio di X, Parti. Venetian Archives. 493. That leave be granted to the sons of the late Ambassador Barbarigo to visit the ambassador of the King of Great Britain resident here.
Ayes 14.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Oct. 31. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 494. Christoforo Zurian, Venetian Resident in Holland, to the Doge and Senate.
Giovanni Battista Pasini, a Venetian subject, has come to me from Brussels to inform me of certain individuals who are in the service of the archdukes and who are anxious to serve the republic. Among them is an English knight, a Catholic, about forty-three years of age. He has served in these parts at other times under the leadership of the valiant Colonel Francis Vere. He was lieutenant of his brigade, served as sergeant-major and finally had the absolute command of it in the absence of his chief. Moved by the prospect of greater advancement offered to him on behalf of the archdukes, and stimulated by his zeal for religion, he passed to their service, in which he was also sergeant-major, and while he was living in the hope of honour and profit he was cashiered, but always with the promise of advancement. Tired of waiting any longer for the fulfilment of these promises he conceived the idea of coming to serve your Serenity, and with this idea he approached Pasini, asking me to make enquiries about him of Count Maurice. I did so last week, when I saw His Excellency on his return from Bitre [? Breda]. He assured me that the man was experienced and courageous, and had earned the reputation of a good soldier here under Colonel Francis Vere. The only thing he blamed him for was in abandoning this service to join the Spaniards and serve as a simple captain in the army of His Highness, but this was owing to the promises made to him. Pasini also told me that this knight, besides being a good officer, claimed great experience in engineering, understanding entrenchments and other similar things. Besides his native English he spoke seven or eight other languages, including Italian. At present he receives 110 ducats a month from the archdukes, but Pasini is sure that your Serenity can have him for 100 ducats and possibly for 80 if he receives the title of Colonel, which he claims very particularly. Your Excellencies will find particulars of his services in the recent wars in the enclosed sheet, which he sent to me to forward, and he desires to know your decision so that he may immediately present himself before your Serenity.
Pasini desires to know the intentions of your Serenity with regard to the Englishman, named Sir Thomas Studder.
The Hague, the last day of October, 1616.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 495. Account of the services of Sir Thomas Studder.
From 1593 to 1597 he served under the General and Lord High Admiral of England, at sea.
From 1598 he left the Admiral, intending to serve in the war of Hungary, but passing through Holland, he stopped with the leader of the English, called Sir Francis Vere, under whom he served for some years as a soldier owing to his respect for so famous a man.
In the same year, 1598, he was present with the English infantry, and in the company of Count Maurice at the time when the Admiral of Aragon took Rheinberg (Rimberga) with the Spanish forces.
In the year 1599 he was with the English infantry in Bommel, when it was besieged by the Admiral of Aragon, who was compelled to raise the siege.
In 1600 in the spring he was with the English infantry and Count Maurice at the taking of Crevecœur and St. Andrea.
In July in the same year he served with the English in the battle between Ostend and Nieuport, where the Spaniards lost. There he carried the standard, after its bearer had fallen, and as a reward was created captain.
In 1601 he was present with Count Maurice at the taking of Rheinberg (Rimberg) as captain of the English. At the conclusion of the siege he was sent with 3,000 veteran troops by water to enter Ostend with as many new troops from England.
In 1602, the English infantry being almost completely consumed, and the remainder being sent elsewhere, he was created sergeant-major with a company of 200 men.
In the same year he took part in the voyage made by Count Maurice to relieve Ostend, which was prevented by the arrival of the Marquis Spinola.
In the same year he was sergeant-major of the English in the affair of Grave.
In 1603 he was with Count Maurice at the relief of Hoestrat and Bolduche, where in the absence of his general he commanded his regiment, and was present with a part of his men at the assault made upon the Marquis della Bella, when they took the place.
In 1604 peace was made between Great Britain and Spain, and he, being a Catholic, resigned his post.
In the same year the Spanish ambassadors in England made tempting offers to secure his services.
In 1605 he accepted and was present with about 2,000 men at the siege and capture of Waeltendmeq, and afterwards at Cracow.
In 1606 he was at the affair of Rheinberg (Vimberga).
He is disgusted at the non-fulfilment of the promises made to him by the ambassadors, while his wages have not been paid.


  • 1. By James Usher, successively bishop of Meath and archbishop of Armagh. This work was printed at London in 1613.
  • 2. At the Public Record Office there are no letters of Wotton to the king between Aug. 4 and Oct. 1, but he wrote several times to Winwood, the most recent in date at the time of Lionello's despatch being of Sept. 9, 1616.
  • 3. Edmondes' letter is dated 17 October, 1616, and is preserved at the Public Record Office, State Papers, Foreign France, Vol. 66.