Venice: January 1617, 16-31

Pages 409-426

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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January 1617, 16–31

Jan. 17. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 599. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
No decision has as yet been made with regard to the numerous proposals of Lesdiguieres. They have decided to answer the French ambassador, thanking him for the friendliness of His Most Christian Majesty, and saying that your Serenity and the king of England must be informed of it.
Turin, the 17th January, 1616. [M.V.]
Jan. 19. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 600. To the Secretary in England.
Our troops have lately erected a fort at Lucinis in Friuli. Some cuirassiers protected the work, who were dismissed to quarters at its completion. One company went to the villa at Cruglio, where they were attacked and defeated by the archducal forces. In Istria, however, our troops have captured a convoy of flour.
Ayes 150.
Noes 0
Neutral 1.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, France, Spain, Turin, Constantinople, Milan, Naples, Florence, Zurich, the Hague, Padavin.
Jan. 19. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 601. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
This week I have four letters from your Serenity, those of the 16th, 22nd and 23rd December, with information about the archduke and Savoy and the negotiations in France on the Grisons. I can add but little to what I have written in my past despatches.
With regard to the other letter of the 23rd, I will speak to the ministers or the king, expressing your pleasure that His Majesty has begun to help Savoy, and will try to induce him to do more. I spoke to the king a fortnight ago, and also to Winwood as you will have seen from my past letters. The ten or twelve days given the count of Scarnafigi have already passed, but he has not been allowed to do any business, because this is the most festive time at the Court, and on Tuesday His Majesty leaves London for Theobalds. He will return on Saturday, and possibly then he may give audience to the count, who continues to importune him.
I have taken the opportunity of the new year to speak to many of the leading councillors, and I found that almost all feel for the duke and think that His Majesty is bound to do something, or suffer in his interests and reputation, but when the conversation turns upon giving help or money all shrug their shoulders, and are silent, as it is notorious that His Majesty is very short of it. Unlike other princes he does not depend upon his own treasury, but upon the great wealth of his people, and he spends with extraordinary liberality all the money that comes into his hands. The archbishop of Canterbury, with whom I had a long conversation the other day, told me many things on this head with which I need not trouble your Excellencies. In substance he said that he personally is not greatly inclined to the Spaniards, and so far as he can the duke of Savoy shall receive real help, the marriage with Spain shall not be made, and the Spaniards shall never set their feet on this island.
For the rest the king and the greater part of the English are glad to hear of the progress of His Highness against the governor of Milan, and they hope even better, from the valour of that great prince. The republic has greatly increased her glory by helping him, as all recognize that without the money of your Excellencies he could not have done what he has. Many ask if your Excellencies will gather the fruit of your toil now the opportunity offers itself.
The payment of 120,000 ducats to the employés on the royal ships was quite true, and so was the proposal to arm a certain number. Winwood said so himself, and it was discussed in the Council, but the difficulty lies in the large amount of His Majesty's indebtedness and the cost of provisioning the ships, for which the money paid does not nearly suffice. As much more is necessary to arm a large number, and so they postpone doing anything for the present, and I believe that His Majesty's journey to Scotland will make this plan fall through.
In letters of the 16th you direct me to note offers made by those who are instructed to bring men from England to your service. Among the persons best qualified who have spoken to me, there are Lord Willoughby (Vilibi), an Englishman, who was general in Denmark, and would be well fitted; Gray, a Scotch knight; a Captain York (Jorch), and others of less condition; others have approached me secretly, who will not declare themselves, unless they have some hope of success; I am sure that if your Serenity orders a levy you will be able to obtain one in a short time, as the best men of these kingdoms offer themselves as generals, colonels, captains and officers, and here as elsewhere, there is an extraordinary desire to serve the republic with the sword. I have not gone so far as to treat with any of the above persons about means and the cost of obtaining their levies, but from what I gather in casual conversation I think that since the report of the levy of the Dutch reached here every one would offer, even if the conditions are not known, and would agree to serve on the same terms. However, I will try and find out what they think and will send word next week.
The other day when I went to see Lord Dingwall and thank him, as he cannot yet leave his house, owing to his severe illness, I tried to discover upon what conditions he would make the levies which he offered to your Serenity, but I could get nothing from him except that he had left a note of all the expenses and other particulars in the hands of Sig. Agustino da Mula, and he would not propose anything, but treat when the occasion presented itself. If your Excellencies would send me a copy of this note supposing that it still exists, it might serve me as a basis for future negotiations.
London, the 19th January, 1616. [M.V.]
Jan. 19. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 602. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Three days ago the king had letters from France with news of the mission of the Baron de la Tour as extraordinary ambassador. He should arrive very soon, ostensibly to return thanks for the congratulations offered by Lord Hay, but really to justify the action of the Queen Mother after the late treaty with the princes, remove any evil impression made upon His Majesty thereby and divert him from lending any countenance to those who incline to revive the troubles of France.
Meanwhile Edmondes, the English ambassador, who has returned from Paris, is trying to preoccupy the king's mind in favour of the princes, with whom Edmondes has always sided, being in particular very friendly with Bouillon. He told me yesterday morning that he has great hope of convincing His Majesty of the importance to his state and reputation of assisting the princes, so that they may live in safety and have their proper share in the government, without most things being in the hands of dependents of Spain. Edmondes since his arrival has shown himself a man of sound opinions, and being a member of the Council he has spoken a great deal upon this matter and upon Italy, and on both accounts he greatly blames the king's journey to Scotland, and is almost alone in the opinion that His Majesty will be compelled to give it up. (fn. 1)
So far as they have yet arranged this journey is definitely settled to begin on the 25th March, and all necessary orders have been issued to make ready the roads, which are very rough in some places at this season. They are trying to collect money. Besides the jewels which were sent over sea, they propose to ask for money from the city of London. They are asking for loans from many rich individuals of the country, and a merchant is dealing with the king for 150,000 trees at 4 crowns each; they want much more, but I do not know if they will settle.
A council of six persons will be set up for the governance of England, comprising the queen, the prince, the archbishop of Canterbury, the lord Chancellor, the lord Treasurer and the earl of Worcester (Uster). The ambassadors will remain here, and for more serious matters they will send couriers daily, but it must needs be very difficult and prejudicial to all negotiations to communicate by letter with the king 300 miles away.
The ambassador of Savoy has requested the ambassador of the States to write to his masters and beg them to give the Spaniards grounds for uneasiness in Flanders, as they easily may without prejudice, so as to keep them employed in more than one place, but especially that they may not be free to send to Italy 4,000 Walloons and 1,000 horse as they propose. M. Caron approved of the idea and promised to write in its favour. The ambassador of Savoy also asked me to inform our resident at the Hague of this, so that he might tell the States how advantageous such a course would prove to their interests. I am writing to Surian to-day, leaving it to him to do what he thinks best.
The powder and other munitions granted by His Majesty to Savoy are laded and will leave the river to-morrow. The ambassador wishes them to await off the Downs the Dutch fleet, which is coming to the service of your Serenity, so that they may go more safely. Many here complain on seeing the winds so long contrary, preventing the Dutch ships from starting, remarking on the sufferings of the soldiers and the anxiety of your Serenity in waiting; but this is unusual and need not be anticipated on future occasions.
Last Saturday the Council dissolved the new company of cloth merchants of England, who had given rise to disputes with the States by wishing to dye the cloth exported hence themselves. The patents have been restored to the old company, and so it is hoped that this important difficulty, which arose recently, will be solved. It is also thought that the king will gain some money for his journey from the business from the old merchants reinstated. (fn. 2) Viscount Villiers, His Majesty's favourite has received the title of earl of Buckingham this week. (fn. 3)
London, the 19th January, 1616. [M.V.]
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 19. Consiglio di X. Parti Secrete. Venetian Archives. 603. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Council of Ten.
Some days ago I had a suspicion that the count of Scarnafigi, ambassador of His Highness the duke of Savoy, was treating of important affairs with the king and the Secretary Winwood. The ordinary means which I have adopted upon other occasions did not avail to help me to discover anything about these affairs which were passing at the court, and being impelled by curiosity and the service of your Serenity I went last Sunday to call on this ambassador. After we had beaten about the bush for a long time, I got so far that he could not deny that weighty matters were in negotiation, and finally, with some reluctance, he consented to tell me about it. But first he asked me to promise to keep it locked in my own breast, and not even write about it to Venice, so that nothing might be disclosed until all was ready for execution. I made a thousand protestations that if your Serenity should learn anything about it from me the king of Great Britain and the duke of Savoy would have good cause of complaint against the republic, owing to the damage that they would receive thereby, and by the spoiling of an excellent design which seemed to present hardly any difficulties and would be of notable service to the province of Italy and a severe blow to the unmeasured ambition of Spain. I assured him that whatever he communicated to me would be as if it had not been spoken and I even promised not to inform even your Serenity about it for the time being. However, this promise cannot prejudice my principal duty of serving faithfully and of bringing to the public notice everything that comes to my knowledge. Accordingly I think it best to send an account to your Excellencies, leaving it to your own great prudence to keep the discussion of the matter secret among yourselves until its perfect maturity, which will be in a few days, and if it be communicated to the Senate I beg that it be done in the most severe and secret manner, as is customary with that august body when dealing with highly important matters which concern the public interests in the highest degree.
Sir Walter Raleigh, an English knight of great wealth, formerly a great favourite of the late Queen Elizabeth, as being, in the judgment of many, the most experienced and ablest man in maritime affairs that England possesses, and who has made some very remarkable voyages in the Indies, was imprisoned in the Tower on the accession of the present king James, upon suspicion of combining with other great lords to prevent His Majesty from coming to the throne. After remaining in the Tower until quite recently he at length obtained his release from the king, upon promising and giving security to take some good armed ships and make acquisitions of a part of the world hitherto unknown. He gave the king to understand, with every reason and probability, that he could make extraordinary acquisitions for His Majesty, and fired by this hope the king provided him with some facilities for arming eight finely equipped ships, which being prepared in every particular are only awaiting a favourable season to start on their voyage. (Ser Vat Rale, cavalier inglese molto rico, amato già et favorito grandemente dalla morta regina Elisabeta, come il più esperimentato et inteligente huomo delle cose maritime, che a giudicio de' molti habbia l'Inghilterra, et che ha passato curiosisime navigatione nelle Indie, fu posto prigione nella Tore alla venuta del re Giacomo in questo regno per sospeto che volesse egli con altri gran Signori contrastar la sucesione di Sua Maestà alla corona; dopo esser dimorato nella Tore fino a questi ultimi mesi ha finalmente otenuto gratia dal re di poterne uscire con promessa et sicurtà di andar con boni vaseli armati a far acquisti di parti di mondo fin hora incognite, dando ad intendere con ragion anco probabili di dover far per Sua Maestù acquisti immensi; dalle qual speranze alietato il re gli ha soministrato qualche comodità di armar oto forbitissimi vaseli li quali essendo di già all'ordine par che altro non vi manchi al ponersi in viagio che stagion più farorevole.)
At this moment, through the means of a Frenchman, a most secret negotiation has arisen between this knight and the count of Scarnafigi to divert this undertaking into another channel, which promises an casier task with more beneficial results. If His Majesty will consent and will let him take with him four of his ships, to which others will be added from England and Holland, well provided with good troops, not only from this country but Frenchmen from Languedoc, who would be supplied by the duke of Montpensier, a relation of the duke of Savoy, he offers to enter the Strait without making his intentions known to anyone, and accompanied by other ships of Savoy, which he will find near Provence, he proposes to make a sudden attack upon the city of Genoa. He is excellently informed upon the situation and the conditions of this place, and he feels sure that he can take it by surprise. If the surprise should fail, though he thinks this impossible, his fleet would in any case be strong enough to take the place by force, as the Spaniards, occupied as they are with the defence of Milan, could not leave their own country a prey to their enemies in order to hasten to assist their neighbours. This same knight has conferred with the ambassador and shown him how this plan can be carried out, filling him with confidence that it will be fairly easy and almost sure of success; but he requires the leave of His Majesty, a certain number of the royal ships, and money for the men (hora col mezo di un francese è nato negocio secretisimo fra questo cavalier et il Conte di Scarnafigi di rivolger la destinata impresa in altra parte più facile et di più certa utilità oferendosi che se sara con bona gratia di Sua Maestà la qual vogli anco acompagnar seco quatro dele sue navi con quali se ne agiungerano delle altre de l'Inghilterra et dell'Olanda ben all'ordine non solo di bona soldatesca di questi paesi ma della francese di Linguadoca che li sarà soministrata dal Duca di Monpensier, parente del Sigr Duca di Savoia, vuol'egli entrar nel streto senza far conoscer la sua intentione ad alcuno et acompagnandosi con altre navi di Savoia che ritroverà verso la Provenza disegna dare all'improviso sopra la cità di Genova del sito et conditioni della quale essendo informatissimo sia sicura impatronirsene con sorpresa, et quando anco, cosa che stima imposibile, gli andase la sorpresa falita, si troverebe ad ogni modo cosi gagliardo di armata che la prenderebe a viva forza non potendo Spagnoli, ocupati nela difesa del stato di Milano lasciar il proprio paese in preda alli nimici per corer ad aiutar i vicini; si è abocato egli medesimo col Ambr et gli ha fato tal dimostratione come tutta l'impresa che gli ha imbuito conceto di asai facile et molto riuscibile, ma ricercandosi per essa la licenza di Sua Maestà, qualche numero di navi regali et denari per la gente).
The ambassador spoke about this to the king at the last audience and afterwards with Winwood. Both, according to what he told me, took it up readily, and the discussion and decision of the matter has been postponed to these last days. If they desire to go through with the affair, the ambassador proposes to send someone post, or to go himself in all haste to Piedmont to acquaint the duke of Savoy about it, as hitherto he is in complete ignorance of the affair, to learn his good pleasure and to get him to inform the republic, as they do not intend to take up this venture without the consent of your Serenity, and because they desire and will ask for a certain number of your galleys to have the use of them, especially in approaching the land, and until that time the count did not wish anything to be known or that I should write about it to Venice (ne ha già nell' ultima audienza parlato l'Ambr col re et poi col Vinut, li quali ambedue, per quanto egli mi diceva entrano facilmente, et è stata rimessa la consulta et la risolutione a questi prossimi giorni, per la quale quando di qui segue il progresso del negotio disegna l'Ambr di espedir alcuno a posta o andar egli in persona con diligentia in Piemonte a farne consapevole il Sigr Duca di Savoia, che fin hora non ne sa cosa alcuna, a prenderne il suo beneplacito et far che per esso ne sia data parte alla serenisima republica si per non esser intentione loro di voler tentar tal cosa senza il consenso di Sua Serenità si perche desiderano et farano instanze di haver qualche numero delle sue galee per valersene particolarmente nell'acostarsi a tera et fine a quel tempo non desidera il conte che sene sappia ne ch'io ne scrivi a Venetia cosa alcuna).
From what I understood from him the matter will certainly go forward and the attempt will be made; seeing that almost all who are concerned in it are of such a temper that even if it offered greater difficulties than it does they would rather take the hazard and make the attempt than abandon it from fear. There is no question but the duke of Savoy, with his native high courage, will readily embrace the project, owing to the long standing quarrel between himself and that republic, and because there is no love lost between them. This feeling has been immensely strengthened of late owing to the facilities they have offered to his enemy against him upon several occasions. He knows that the loss of Oneglia was due to them; that their money constitutes the treasury of the Spaniards, while their port is always open to them and all their belongings are put at the disposition and pleasure of the Catholic King. But the greatness of these services rendered by that city at the present moment are the measure of the loss that would be suffered were the place to fall into the hands of others and Milan deprived of that port. Besides this he will be further stimulated by the hope of acquiring infinite riches, with which he will be better able to confront the army and the violence of Spain, and even if it should all come to nothing, His Highness would still, in the opinion of his ambassador, derive two notable advantages, on the one hand, because it would in great measure divert the forces of the state of Milan, which would have to turn to the defence of Genoa, while the enemy would be obliged to direct their attention and their outlay to more than one place owing to the uneasiness caused by the presence of such a powerful fleet in those seas; on the other hand, the king of England, by committing himself to this undertaking, whatever the event may be, will be driven to enter upon war with the Catholic king, and other momentous results must arise from this starting point (per quello che ho da lui inteso poso credere che di certo la cosa caminerà avanti, et ne seguirà il tentativo imperochè quasi tutti chi vi hanno da concorere si ritrovano di tal dispositione che quando anco l' impresa contenesse dificoltà magiori di quello che contiene tornerebe più a comodo ad essi l'arris chiarvisi et il tentarla che per timidità rimoversene; il Sigr Duca di Savoia non è dubio che con la grandeza naturale del suo animo prontamente abracierà il partito imperochè è molto antica la competenza et la poco bona voluntà che passa fra lui et quella republica, acrescuita hora in estremo per le comodità che dano al suo nemico contra di lui in molte ocasioni, sa che per il loro mezo gli fu presa Oneglia che i loro denari sono l'erario de' Spagnoli ma loro porto sempre aperto ad essi et tutte le cose loro servono alla volontà et alla comodità del Catolico, onde quanto è grande il servicio che al presente ne cava Sua Maestà da quella cità allretanto sarebe il dano quando restando Milano privo di quella parte capitasse in mano di altri; oltre ciò li sarano acresciuti stimoli dalla speranza di acquistarne infinite richeze con quali potrà poi meglio contraporsi alle esserciti e violenzie di Spagna, et quando tutto andase anco a vuoto non restarebe per ciò, a giudicio del suo Ambr, di non ricerverna Sua Altezza doi segnalati beneficii, l'uno di divertir le forze del stato di Milano in gran parte, che dovranno rivolgersi alla difesa di Genova, et doverà l'inimico aplicar l'animo et la spesa in più di un luoco per il sospeto et dano che li cagionera questa potente armata ne' mari d'Italia; l'altro che il Re l' Inghilterra impegnandosi con questa atione, qualunque evento sortisca, sara per necessità tirato alla guerra col Catolico et doverano uscir da questo principio altre consequenze rilevanti).
With regard to the king here, the undertaking has been represented to him as a very easy one, in which, by risking a small outlay, he may gain considerable wealth and glory. So far he seems attracted by it; Winwood's inclinations also point the same way, and in the hope of some personal profit he has offered to venture some thousand of crowns of his own money in the undertaking. Sir [Walter] Raleigh also would willingly exchange his proposal to look for new worlds and go to Genoa, where the hope of gain seems brighter to him, and even if he did not succeed he would find himself free from any obligation and so strong at sea that he would have nothing to fear from the forces of Spain (questo re medesimamente essendoli rapresentata l'impresa per molto facile con poca spesa che vi avanturi può guadagnarvi asai di richeza ei di honore, fin hora vi si dimostra inclinato et con l'isteso fine vi si dimostra il Vinut, et con speranza de qualche profito particolare si è oferto di ponervi del suo proprio bisognando qualche migliora di scudi; il Cavalier Rale cangerebe ancor lui volentieri le sue oferte di cercar novi mondi col andar a Genova, ove la speranza di guadagno gli pare più facile et in ogni caso che non riuscise si troverebe già fuori dell'obligo et cosi forte sul mare che non temerebe in esso alcuna forza di Spagna).
I will inform your Excellencies from time to time of any further negotiations about this and whether they will direct their plans against any other places in the same way under this Sir Walter Raleigh. I also had an idea of employing him and his ships if your Serenity should decide at any time to give your flag to ships of war in the Mediterranean, but there will be no lack of other schemes and perhaps this will do for a beginning (di quello poi che più oltre si andera tratando ne daro di tempo in tempo riverente aviso all Ecc. VV. o in altro luoco ove esso lo comanderano agiongendoli solo come sopra Ser Vat Rale, havevo anch'io l'ochio di ralermi di lui et di suoi vaseli quando da Sua Serenità si fosse deliberato in qualche tempo di dar i suoi stendardi a vaseli da guerra nel Mediteraneo, ma non vi mancherano altri soggetti et forse che questo servirà di principio).
During the above discourse of the count of Scarnafigi I preferred to listen and gather information rather than talk, as in so important a matter I was unwilling to form any opinion of my own without first learning that of your Serenity.
London, the 19 January, 1616. [m.v.] (fn. 4)
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 604. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Bethune had a long interview with His Highness this morning and saw Verua afterwards. They thanked His Most Christian Majesty and bound themselves to nothing, but simply to inform your Serenity and the king of Great Britain, so that the proposal may disappear, because it is clear that the French only desire the duke to continue in travail, so that he may not be able to foment the princes and his other friends in France.
They are proposing to send the Cavalier Gabaleone to Berne, and the duke wishes the agent of Britain resident here to go there also. He has orders from his king to negotiate the settlement of the question of the Pays du Vaud for an obligation to pay 4,000 foot for six months.
Turin, the 20th January, 1616. [m.v.]
Jan. 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Corfu. Venetian Archives. 605. Gieronimo Loredan, bailo, and Antonio Ciuran, Proveditore and Captain of Corfu, to the Doge and Senate.
The consul writes from Otranto that orders have arrived from the Viceroy of Naples that all bertons of Holland and England arriving on that coast to lade oils or other merchandise, shall be detained, and the same is to be done with any ship of war of any nation, while the exportation of oils and other merchandise is prohibited. By virtue of these orders three bertons have been stopped at Gallipoli, which were lading oils for England, the men being made prisoners; at S. Cataldo four ships of Marseilles, three of ours and one of Ferrara were unladed; at Brindisi they imprisoned the master of one of our ships for three hours, taking away the ship's sail and rudder.
Corfu, the 20th January, 1616. [m.v.]
Jan. 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 606. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Resident in Holland, to the Doge and Senate.
The count of Holstein has been waiting for a favourable wind to cross to England, and he has finally decided to leave to-day for Zeeland. If the weather continues bad he will go to Calais and cross from there.
The Hague, the 21st January, 1617.
Jan. 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 607. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Resident in Holland, to the Doge and Senate.
The Predestinants have been granted the use of the church where the English ambassador prays with those of his nation. They will begin to preach there to-morrow, and are to arrange a time before or after the preaching of the English, according to the convenience of the ambassador Carleton. (fn. 5)
With regard to the treaty of Zanten I find that the French are ill-satisfied that the king of Great Britain should alone have taken on himself to make his proposal. The French ambassador said to me last Thursday that the king had had his little run and he wondered if he was satisfied with the reply given to him by the States. It was not proper to treat separately an affair in which the two kings had had a hand; the Spaniards are crafty and they may take advantage of this. From what he said and from other things I perceived that he had done what he could to deprive the king of England of the glory. I also perceived it from some words let slip by Barnevelt, who said that the Most Christian King ought to have his share in the affair.
The proposal to send ambassadors to the king of England has not been carried out. The provinces of Holland and Zeeland agree to it, as they are interested, owing to their trade with the English, but the other provinces have not yet decided. (fn. 6)
The Hague, the 21st January, 1617.
Jan. 26. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives. 608. Piero Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of England has recently arrived here with a great company of the cavaliers and magnates of that kingdom. (fn. 7) He was received at Lisbon by His Majesty's orders, and has been entertained by all these kingdoms. The duke of Lerma and the principal lords of the Court have been to visit him, and he has had his first audience of His Majesty, which was complimentary. The report continues that he has come to negotiate a marriage between the prince of England and the second infanta, an affair which met with many difficulties when it was broached here previously, owing to the conditions demanded on this side for liberty of conscience, and other satisfaction. However, there are many who believe that the king of England is greatly attracted by it, owing to the reputation he thinks the marriage would bring him, and, therefore the actual state of affairs may prove advantageous to the negotiations, as at the present time they will be delighted to have a chance of diverting the king of Great Britain from interesting himself in the affairs of Italy, and from encouraging the interests of the Dutch. He will also speak about Savoy, and will ask His Majesty to order his ministers to carry out the treaty of Asti. He told me that this affair had been strongly recommended to him, as it troubles his king greatly, and he read me a letter which he had recently received from the Secretary of State, telling him how important it is, not only to the interest of the king of England, but also for all the princes of Europe, not to allow Savoy to succumb, and urging him to be diligent in this affair. He told me that the chief difficulty was in disarming, as the Spaniards will never consent to lay down their arms until your Excellencies have settled with the archduke. He said that they do not understand this in England, where they only insist upon the execution of the treaty of Asti. This is not possible, he thinks, unless your Excellencies' affairs are arranged, as they are connected with those of Savoy.
I represented the present state of affairs, and justified the cause of your Excellencies. I also thought well to tell him of my recent offices with the nuncio and the French ambassador about my request to His Majesty to arrange a general conference to treat for universal peace, and I told him the substance of the reply, in order to dissipate any doubt he might have, and show that your Excellencies are aiming at the general quiet. I have not, however, told any one about my negotiations with the duke of Lerma for an accommodation.
Madrid, the 26th January, 1617.
Jan. 27. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 609. To the Secretary Lionello in England.
You made a prudent reply to the remark of the Secretary Winwood as reported in your letters of the 22nd ult. We also commend your resolution, expressed in yours of the 29th to represent to the king at your first audience that we look for a recognition from His Majesty of the true and sincere object of our operations. We direct you to continue on the same lines, pointing out the large amount of assistance rendered to the duke of Savoy by the republic, and that what we have done is far from having caused the rupture of the treaty of Asti or of the peace. Everyone knows that if the prince had been abandoned he could not have resisted alone, his fall would have gravely prejudiced Italy, while raising the pretensions of others, so that instead of peace we could only expect fresh troubles. The preservation of the duke of Savoy and of our republic are of great importance both to His Majesty and to other princes, wherefore we merit the greater commendation for our promptitude in fulfilling our promises, especially as our sincerity is known to all.
Ayes 113.
Noes 0.
Neutral 3.
Jan. 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 610. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
From your Serenity's letter of the 6th January, and the copy of those of Donato of the 1st inst., I have learned of the mission of Biondi to Savoy. The ambassador of Savoy directed Biondi to tell His Highness all that he had done at this Court and the slight hope he had of obtaining anything important, so that if His Highness could not obtain help elsewhere, he should seek all honourable means of coming to terms with the Catholic king, because a defensive war only would ruin the country and he would have to make peace afterwards at his enemy's will. This last idea is also that of the king and the English ministers. Winwood told the ambassador of Savoy and me that it was necessary either to make peace as best we might or an active war against the Spaniards, attacking the state of Milan. They have always favoured such an offensive war here and blame a defensive one as full of peril and costly without any hope of profit. If Biondi acted imprudently and insisted too urgently, I feel sure that it was not according to his instructions as your Serenity sees that the ambassador with the king treats very differently from such low and timid ideas.
Your Excellencies must know that when Biondi was sent by the ambassador news had not reached here of the duke's success, that the Spaniards were dislodged from Piedmont and other things. The ambassador feared that without help from England the duke could not maintain himself, and that is why he gave such advice. It may have been presented differently by Biondi and was very inopportune as events have turned out, and little to the taste of His Highness.
The ambassador of Savoy had audience of the king last Sunday and made the usual request for help. His Majesty replied that he was so occupied with the affairs of the kingdom, that in order to escape from the annoyance of these perpetual audiences he had appointed the Secretary Winwood and Edmondes, with whom he could speak of anything that he liked, and with a few other words dismissed him. The ambassador has since conferred with these two more than once, and received the usual replies to keep up his hopes and postpone a decision. Nevertheless he is daily expecting something better.
The king has recently been in continual motion, one day he has come to London and departed the next, and thus a thousand things which need his presence remain undone, and the Court is without any news worthy of note. His Majesty is expecting the Baron de Tour, the extraordinary ambassador of France, who is his old servant when he was in Scotland. He has prepared lodging and entertainment for him, so as to receive him with extraordinary honour.
Some news has arrived from Spain from Lord Roos, that he had not yet reached the court. They are pleased here that he has been received honourably, but someone, noting a small matter, has asked why the Spaniards gave him a Jew's house as his first lodging given in the king's name.
An event connected with religion in Ireland has displeased the king, a lord of the country having hanged some serjeants in his garden, who had orders from the Viceroy to hang a priest there, who was living secretly in his house.
One Grimaldi, nephew of the Marquis Spinola, another Spinola and one Meltz, a relation, have been here recently. When they left on the 7th ult. they took with them secretly one Don Ascanio. an Italian, who from being a Capuchin had become a Protestant here, was minister of a church and married. This event has caused a considerable stir, and has greatly prejudiced the reputation of the archbishop of Spalatro, as they conclude from this and similar other events that the Italians who change their religion do so for any reason but a spiritual one, and when they have filled their purses they take to their heels. (fn. 8)
London, the 27th January, 1616. [m.v.]
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 27. Consiglio di X. Parti. Secrete. Venetian Archives. 611. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Council of Ten.
In the audience which the count of Scarnafigi had on Sunday, he spoke with His Majesty about the undertaking of Genoa, of which I wrote in my last despatch to your Excellencies. He found the king quite disposed to take up the matter and he seemed to approve of the scheme, telling him to talk it over with Winwood and Edmondes. They met on the following day and discussed the matter, and carly yesterday they sent the ambassador again to confer. They told him that they had turned over his proposals in their minds and they wished to be informed upon two points, the ease of the enterprise and security that if it succeeded His Majesty should have his proper share of the booty. The count replied that the execution of the scheme would be a very easy matter in itself, and especially if it were placed in the hands of a prince of such ability as his master, if he wished to undertake it; hitherto he had not spoken by order of His Highness, but of his own motion. They might trust him that no pains would be spared to bring about a successful issue. With regard to the other point he replied that with all the benefits received by His Highness from His Majesty, and from the even greater ones expected, if this action increased the hostility between the king and the Spaniards, His Majesty need expect nothing from the duke but the most constant efforts to please him upon every opportunity. How much more certain was it, therefore, that when a monarch of the first rank employed a number of his ships and men, he would have his share of the booty, and the greater the force sent the more assuredly would matters proceed to his satisfaction. The solution of the two points satisfied the ministers and they told him that on that evening or on the following day they would report the whole interview to His Majesty and they would afterwards inform him of the decision. They expressed the desire that the count should go in person to Piedmont with all speed, upon another pretext in order to acquaint His Highness with everything and arrange the matter on that side also, he is quite ready to do this for his own personal satisfaction. (Nell' audienza che hebbi domenica il Conte di Scarnafigi parlò con sua Maestà sopra il negotio dell' impresa di Genova del quale nel mio passato ne scrissi reverentemente all' Eccelenze VV. ritrovò tuttavia il re assai disposto alla trattatione che mostrò di aplaudir i suoi pensieri et li disse che anco di questo ne parlase con li Signori Vinut et Edmond; con qual essendosi ritrovato l'Ambasciatore il giorno seguente et passato fra di essi qualche discorso per all' hora, hieri di novo lo chiamarono a coloquio el li disero che havendo posto essi consideratione sopra le sue propositioni desideravano di esser informati di due cose: della facilità della impresa et della sicureza che riuscendo bene ne sia Sua Maestà per haver la parte che se li deve del botino. Rispose il Conte che la facilità si giova grandissima da se stessa et che poi posta la esecutione nelle mani del Sigr. Duca, suo Sigr., principe di tanto valore, quando però la vogli intraprendere che fin hora non parla di ordine di Sua Alta., ma di proprio suo motivo, si poteva credere che non vi harebe mancato di ogni industria per condurla a bon fine et sopra l'altro quesito li rispose che da quella oservanza che ha sempre dimostrato Sua Alta verso la Maestà del re, fra li beneficii reccvuti et da quelli che ne aspeta masime hora che con quest'atione più sc inimicherà con Spagnuoli non si deve atender dal Sigr. Duca sc non in tutte le ocasione quelli efeti che potrano riuscire pià à sodisfatione di Sua Maestà ma per tanto magiormente rendersi certi de haverne la sua parte del botino si poteva impiegarvi il re magior quantità di vaseli et di genti perche quanto più fosse stata potente la sua armata tanto più si asicurava che le cose precederebono a suo gusto. Piacque a questi ministri la risolutione delli doi punti et li dissero che quella sera o il giorno seguente haverebono riportato l'inticro della tratatione a Sua Maestà et di suo ordine poi li havercbono dato la risolutione dimostrando essi inclinatione che il Conte vadi in persona in Piemonte con diligenza soto altro prctesto per far saper il tutto a Sua Alta ct acordar anco da quella parte il negotio, il che farà egli molto volontieri anco per suoi particolari rispeti).
They seem inclined here to arm sixteen royal ships for this undertaking, but as the expense would be very heavy it is questionable if there will be so many: if we add to these the eight of Sir Walter Raleigh and those provided by other individuals, they may do considerable harm to the Spaniards, especially as Raleigh intends to push the attack home, not sparing the coast, the ships nor anything else that is connected with Spain, and where booty may be expected (dimostrano qui inclinatione di armar per questa impresa sedeci navi regali, ma dovendo esser molto grande la spesa dubito che non sarano tante; onde congiunte a queste le oto di Ser Vat Rale et quelle che fornira altra privata si potra far delle cose asai in dano de' Spagnuoli, perche in particolar il Rale ha in animo di darle dentro ove può et non li perdonar ne a coste de'paesi ne a vaseli ne a qualsisia altra cosa che dipendi da Spagna et ove se ne posa sperar guadagno).
The other day when the ambassador asked me whether the most serene republic would be willing to take part in this enterprise, sending a certain number of their galleys with the flect, I replied that in such difficult matters as this the ripest reflection and greatest deliberation were necessary before a decision could be taken, and no one in the world could tell them exactly, but for my own part I advised them not to build this enterprise upon any hope of Venetian galleys, because it might easily happen that other affairs of the republic for the protection of the Gulf and similar circumstances would not permit them to send. In this way I avoided committing myself to any particulars, and I have not opened my mouth to anyone else upon this affair, and I will not do so without the express command of your Serenity.
London, the 27 January, 1616. [m.v.] (fn. 9)
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 27. Consiglio di X. Criminale. Venetian Archives. 612. That the 300 ducats payable to Guilio Muscorno for travelling expenses, by decree dated 27 March, 1615, be paid to the legitimate assign of Sir William Smith of England on account of his credit with Muscorno of 600 ducats, as stated in the receipt given to Sir William, which has been presented to the chiefs of this council by the Secretary of the English ambassador resident here.
Ayes 13.
Noes 2.
Neutral 2.
The mandate was made out on 28 February, 1616. [m.v.]
Jan. 27. Senato. Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 613. To the Secretary in England.
They write from Savoy that the duke has returned post from Turin to confer with Lesdiguières, but it is not yet known what decision they have taken. The marquis has arranged for a composition of the differences between the duke and the Bernese upon the Pays du Vaud, by which the Bernese are to pay 4,000 foot for six months for the duke.
Nothing of moment has happened in Friuli. Our troops have ravaged to within four miles of Fiume, and captured a convoy. Our troops have also gained successes in Istria.
This evening we hear that the Albanians under our orders have plundered all the territory of Veguinal near Moschenizze and have ravaged the country elsewhere, taking a quantity of booty.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, France, Spain, Constantinople, Milan, Naples, Florence, Padavin, Dolce, the Hague, Mantua.
Ayes 128.
Noes 1.
Neutral 2.
Jan. 28. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 614. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in Holland, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador sent to his king the reply to his proposal about restitution in Cleves and Juliers. He perceived the difficulties in the way of a speedy decision, and seeing that the ambassador wrote to him about the doubts whether the Spanish ambassador had instructions to treat of this, since the archduke asserted that he had not, and suggested that Carleton, as a young man ambitious for distinction, had passed the limits, His Majesty has directed his ambassador to again state that the king has been assured by the Catholic ambassador that his master is disposed to carry out the treaty of Zanten, and as it cannot be done by the end of February, he will appoint the end of March, old style.
The ambassador performed this last Tuesday in the General Assembly of the States.
Carleton communicated what he was to propose to the French ambassador. The latter was astonished, and said to me that the king of Great Britain continues to pledge his authority and reputation further; that this affair ought to be carried out in concert, and he saw that the Spaniards would try and sow discord between the States and the king of England. He added that he had fresh advices that the Spanish ambassador at Paris continued to assert that his king had certainly not given such orders to his ambassador resident in England, and M. de Langerach said the same in letters, which arrived the day before yesterday. Nevertheless the English ambassador asserts that the ambassador of Spain has express commissions, and he told me that general circumstances bear this out. He added that there was no reason to wonder why the Spaniards had approached England, as his king had always had the quiet of these states at heart, and asked Spain to make a settlement, which the French have not been able to do for various reasons.
Up to yesterday morning I had not heard whether the ambassador had given anything in writing as is usual, and as was expected, to be discussed for a reply.
The Hague, the 28th January, 1617.
Jan. 28. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Roma. Venetian Archives. 615. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The pope stopped me yesterday and said: With regard to taking the doctor's degree at Padua without a profession of faith, of which we spoke some months back, we were told that heretics would not receive the degree, and yet they are. I said that I had simply pointed out that no change had been made except to transfer the authority of the Counts Palatine to a doctor. The pope declared that the counts exacted a profession by order of your Serenity, but the point was that heretics, German and French, received the degree. I pointed out the difficulty of this, since the university was Catholic and the degree would be more prejudicial and dishonourable to them in their country than useful, and heretics can have all they want in many universities. The pope replied: But we believe the reverse, as the profession of the Catholic faith is not required. The matter weighs very heavily upon us, you will write and ask for a remedy. I promised to write, but said that His Holiness had been ill-informed, as your Serenity had no intention of conferring the degree upon heretics. The pope declared that he knew that heretics had received the degree this month.
Rome, the 28th January, 1617.
Jan. 30. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Costant. Venetian Archives. 616. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to congratulate Chalil Pasha on his elevation as Grand Vizier. I told him that I and all the other ambassadors were delighted at his appointment, and we hoped that his influence would be used to stop the unjust imposition of the carazo, which was contrary to the capitulations. He promised to make the proper representations to His Majesty.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 30th January, 1616. [m.v.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 30. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 617. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
After seeing the Grand Vizier, I went on the following day to call on the ambassadors of France, England and Flanders to arrange about the carazo. We resolved to meet in the house of France, where we decided to make a joint representation in the name of all four, and left France to draw it up. That done it was sent to the house of the English ambassador, who was not greatly pleased with it, as it related how the French ambassador in the time of Sultan Suliman went in person to the conquest of Van with 200 horse, while the English ambassador accompanied the Sultan Mehemet to Agria, with other irrelevant matter. The English ambassador declared that he did not want anything said about Agria, so that France also decided to leave out Van. The document was discussed for a long time, England and Flanders being anxious to accuse roundly the Caimccam and the Cadi Moro, relating all the ill-treatment accorded to their dragomans, possibly believing that when the king heard this he would punish the authors of such scandals. I represented that we ought to speak with great reserve of their officials. I also thought that we should ask that dragomans who were not subjects should be specifically exempted from the carazo. The ambassadors approved of my arguments. A slight difference arose between France and England, because France had spoken at the beginning of the document of the emperor of France and the king of England. France explained that they usually call his king emperor here. Finally the matter was settled by putting all the sovereigns together as 'our masters.' After discussing some other points the document was approved and we took leave. When I got home I felt that the French ambassador's document was hardly expressed with the requisite force, and I decided to draw up another. The next morning I sent it to the French ambassador for his approval. He was quite satisfied and both England and Flanders concurred.
Accordingly we went to present our document to the Pasha. Some of the officials raised objections, saying that it ought first to go to Chislar Agassi, but we all declared that if the document did not reach His Majesty, we would all four wait at some place where he must pass and present it, as our princes would never consent to their subjects paying the carazo. The Pasha was ready to give us satisfaction, but we fear that Chislar Agassi may wish to take the opinion of the Mufti, in which case the affair would fall to the ground. However, we can do no more and can only await the reply.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 30th January, 1616. [m.v.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 31. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli. Venetian Archives. 618. Gasparo Spinelli, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
They are collecting ships here for an expedition, but it is not known whither it is destined. Some talk of designs upon the places in the Gulf and even of the port of Malamocco. This rumour about entering the Gulf has caused many to desert. They have charged an Irish subject to raise troops for these ships. He has bound himself to find 500 men of that nation, partly here and partly in Rome.
Naples, the 31st January, 1616. [m.v.]


  • 1. The decipher reads admetterlo, but the text contains b 33-g 52-n 22-z 6-g 42, i.e. ri-me-te-r-la.
  • 2. This relates to the failure of Cockaine's company, established for the purpose of exporting dyed cloths from England. See Gardiner, History of England, ii. pp. 385–390. The proclamation restoring the old company to its former privileges is dated Aug. 12, 1617. Cal. State Papers, Domestic, 1611–8, p. 481, but from this statement by Lionello, they seem to have obtained them a good deal earlier.
  • 3. Villiers was created earl on Jan. 5/15, 1617. Cal. State Papers, Domestic. 1611–8. p. 423.
  • 4. This decipher was made from the original letter of Lionello. The official decipher may be found in the series Senato, Secreta, Communcazioni dal Consiglio de Dieci. The text here given differs in some particulars from that printed by Rawdon Brown from the decipher in his Archivio di Venezia in riguardo speciale alla Storia Inglese, pp. 196–200. This despatch and two following ones, given below, are also printed in the Appendix to Edwards' Life of Raleigh.
  • 5. Carleton sends an account of this in his despatch to Winwood of 24 January, 1617. Letter from and to Sir Dudley Carleton, pp. 86–8
  • 6. The resolution of sending commissioners to His Majesty, touching merchants affairs, sticks long in Zeeland, without answer from thence; which is the more marvelled at because the business doth chiefly concern that Province, but I conceive the stay to depend upon the Assembly of the States there. Carleton to Winwood, 14 Jan., 1616, o.s. State Papers. Foreign. Holland.
  • 7. Lord Roos arrived in Madrid on the 15th, accompanied by a train of some 150 persons.
  • 8. Here is a rumour that the Italian preacher Ascanio is run away, being, as is said, enticed by one Grimaldi, kinsman of Spinola's, whom he accompanied on his way as far as Dover, and since his wife nor friends have no news of him. Chamberlain to Carleton, 18 Jan., 1616 o s. Birch: Court and Times of James I., i. p. 389.
  • 9. Printed in Rawdon's Brown's L'Archivio di Venezia, pp. 200–202. See note to No. 603 at page 417 above.