Venice: March 1617, 1-15

Pages 450-464

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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March 1617, 1–15

March 2. Consiglio di X. Parti Secrete. Venetian Archives. 662. To the Council of Ten.
That the letter of the Secretary Lionello, in England of the 3rd February last about the project of Genoa be communicated to the Savii of our Cabinet, like the preceding ones, after secrecy has been enjoined, and then to the Senate if they think fit. (fn. 1)
Ayes 15.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
The communication was made to the Savii, and a transcription of the letter was consigned to them in the hand of Domenico Dominici, the Secretary.
March 2. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 663. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Saturday the Spanish ambassador sent word to the Secretary Winwood that the republic of Venice, by her ambassador at Madrid had referred to the Catholic king all her differences with the archduke Ferdinand, and that the duke of Savoy was also willing that his differences with Don Pedro of Toledo should also be dealt with in Spain, adding that this disposition of the republic and the duke argued a near approach to a peaceful settlement in Italy. This news caused a great disturbance in the mind of the king of England, according to information which immediately reached me. On Tuesday His Majesty communicated it to the ambassador of Savoy telling him that the matter appeared so great to him that he would never have believed it possible, but that if it proved true, he promised emphatically that he would never intermeddle again in any affair of the Venetians or have anything further to do with them. The ambassador replied, as he himself told me, that nothing is known of such particulars, that so far as his master was concerned he certainly did not believe that he had given the Venetian ambassador power to promise such a thing, and as for the republic, it is most prudent, and such a thing could not be expected from her wise ministers. He thought it must be one of the innumerable artifices employed by the Spaniards to advance their interests and he pointed out how different it was from their negotiations, as he knew that upon this single point they speak in four different ways, namely, what king Philip himself said to Lord Roos, that he had sent orders to Don Pedro not to harass His Highness of Savoy any more, merely to please England ; what the French ambassador in Spain writes to the French ambassador here, that His Catholic Majesty has ordered Don Pedro to carry out the treaty of Asti ; what the ambassador Bethune proposed at their instance, that the duke should send an ambassador to Paris and treat for a composition there; and finally what the Spanish ambassador here now imparts to His Majesty that the Venetians have carried the negotiations to Madrid. He concluded from this manifest variety of speaking that the Spaniards are simply trying to deceive, and that their words must not be believed. His Majesty seemed greatly relieved by these reflections and was confirmed in his belief that it could not be true. I remembered what your Excellencies wrote to me on the 2nd December with regard to your sending a courier to Spain, for my knowledge, and to set forth the truth if they spoke differently here. I thought this was the occasion foreseen by your great prudence, as I imagined that the news was altogether false, or else was not in such crude terms as the ambassador had declared. Therefore, in order to suspend His Majesty's displeasure until more certain news, I went this morning to the Secretary Winwood. I told him that the information given by the Spanish ambassador had reached me ; that I knew nothing about it as yet, and that whatever happened the republic would never be unlike herself in the taking of mature resolutions, which might prove useful to herself and to her friends. That I was advised that your Excellencies at the end of November last, had sent commissions by express courier to Piero Gritti, your ambassador, a nobleman of singular prudence, to represent to His Catholic Majesty the true state of present affairs, and to ask him to direct his ministers to hold a general conference in Italy to treat of universal peace to remove all the present dissensions, and your Serenity had decided to make this representation seeing that Don Pedro disturbed all the negotiations for an accommodation made by Cardinal Lodovisio and Bethune and under the pretext of separating the peace of Savoy from the accommodation with the archduke, he brought the negotiations to a standstill, involving the continuation of the war. It may be this which gave rise to the report spread abroad, or that from the above some other affair arose afterwards, which up to now I have heard nothing of.
The secretary replied that it was true that the Spanish ambassador had communicated the news to the king, but His Majesty had not entirely believed it and he would tell him what I said at Theobalds tomorrow. He told me another matter afterwards which will be contained in the following.
London, the 2nd March, 1617.
March 2. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 664. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In my letters of the 24th February I informed your Serenity that the Ambassador Tour had had a most secret audience of the king, without the intervention or knowledge of the ordinary ambassador. In it he urged that His Majesty ought not to help the duke of Savoy or the princes of France, assuring him that the money employed upon either of these would be thrown away, without hope of obtaining any results. With regard to Savoy the king replied that he was bound to assist that prince, and was determined to do so, and France herself was bound to help him, so that he marvelled that she had not done so. It was true that owing to his inclination for peace he would try to obtain it, but if this failed, he certainly would not let His Highness succumb.
About the princes of France he said various things, but far removed from anything definite. He blamed with considerable freedom what has been done in that kingdom for some months past, calling it too Papistical and Spanish.
On the following Friday the same Baron Tour had another audience of the king, accompanied by M. Desmaretz (de Mares) the ordinary ambassador. In this he spoke quite differently about the affairs of Savoy, saying that France is interested with that prince, that she desires his preservation and will supply him with troops with which to defend himself. From this it is clearly recognised that the orders which he has to speak against His Highness cannot have been made known to all the council of France, but only to a few, since he did not wish the ordinary ambassador to know it. As a matter of fact the king showed himself much opposed to him upon both points and I clearly understand that His Majesty is more inclined to help the princes of France than the queen and I am sure he will do so in such matters as do not involve an expenditure of money. With this idea he is sending back to France as his ordinary ambassador Sir [Thomas] Edmondes, who is very partial to the princes, and who will have instructions to go to Germany to treat with the princes there upon some matter serviceable to the princes of France. Baron Tour had instructions to work so that Edmondes should not be sent back to that residency again, but as he sees that His Majesty is determined, he has not cared to do anything further for the present. Edmondes himself told me this to-day when he came to call upon me; he added that after Tour had left they will negotiate for his own mission.
At the audience of Friday the king repeated to both ambassadors his offices for the liberation of the prince of Condé, being warmed up to this by a Frenchman who was sent here secretly some days ago by the princess, Condé's mother.
His Majesty also told these same ambassadors that the duke of Savoy had asked for his advice upon the last proposal made by Bethune to refer the negotiations for a settlement to Paris. He was greatly astonished at this as he did not know why the Most Christian King desired the duke to descend to it, feeling sure that the affair would be spun out a great deal, to his great prejudice, seeing the great influence of the duke of Monteleon at court. He therefore thought that it would be better for the negotiations to proceed in Italy, when it would not be necessary to send couriers backwards and forwards, the duke of Savoy being there in person for himself, Don Pedro for Spain, Bethune for France, Lodovisio for the pope, an ambassador for the republic, and an agent for himself; that this would be substantially what he would reply to the duke, and he told them that in order they might inform His Most Christian Majesty. To-morrow Tour is going to audience of the king at Theobalds. I think this will be the last. He will dine with His Majesty as he did on Friday.
An extraordinary courier recently arrived from France brings word that the ambassador of the States and another diplomatic minister, I know not whether the nuncio or another, had spoken to the Queen Mother for the duke of Nevers, obtaining from her that she will no longer treat with her subjects, and whoever desires to be friendly with her will not meddle between her and them, and if any one desires pardon, she wishes him to submit freely to her pleasure. Thus all things are tending to civil war, which has already been begun, both sides making many prisoners and showing other signs of hostility.
London, the 2nd March, 1617.
March 2. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 665. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of Savoy in his audience of His Majesty on Tuesday asked what advice he had given to the duke upon the proposal of Bethune to transfer the negotiations to France. His Majesty made the same reply as I reported in my preceding letter he made to the Baron of Tour, insisting that His Highness ought on no account to consent. On the point of assistance he said he wished to succour His Highness and within two days he would get Winwood to tell him the manner and the amount; that he had written to the Palatine, his son, and to the States upon this, although with respect to the latter he began to feel doubtful whether he could expect much owing to the dissensions in those provinces upon religious matters.
He then turned to speak again about offensive war against the Spaniards and that if your Serenity does not decide to attack the state of Milan together with the duke of Savoy, no good will be done. The ambassador replied that His Highness lacked neither the will nor the courage to do it, but the means, and he ought to expect the last from the hands of His Majesty, and that in order to induce the republic to take such a step he thought it would be necessary to acquaint them with the nature of effective assistance which His Majesty proposed to afford. Upon this point the ambassador spoke with considerable freedom, as he has done upon previous occasions, as he wishes to see whether in this way he can obtain better results than he could after so many months of peaceful and supplicatory offices.
This morning Winwood recalled to the king what he had said to me at other times about this offensive war, protesting to me that otherwise everything would be thrown away. I asked him in conversation with what forces this offensive war should be made. He replied, with those of Venice and Savoy. I replied that these were not sufficient to drive out the Spaniards. He said that His Majesty was friendly. I said, even that without active assistance would not be sufficient. He added that it was a great matter that your Serenity would not make war on the Spaniards although they were making it on you. I told him that hitherto the Spaniards have not made war directly upon the republic, and in any event she would defend herself energetically, but at present it was only necessary to follow a fitting conduct as all other princes should do who hare interests there.
A ship has come from Cadiz, a port of Spain, which brings word that a fleet of the Catholic king of several ships had been staying in that port for several days until all was quite ready and had left, full of troops, for the Mediterranean. It entered the strait without its destination being known. I can find nothing further than this, but whatever it be, it may serve as a complement to the advices which your Serenity may receive from elsewhere.
At last the long desired wind from the north began on the 24th February and with it all the ships of these seas have begun their voyage. The ships of Holland for your Serenity cannot be so late as not to have passed the English channel by now and they will be near the coasts of Spain. I will look out for news of their journey when ships arrive from those parts and send word to your Excellencies.
The duke of Holstein, nephew of the queen, is here, who is coming with one of the Dutch companies to serve your Excellencies. He has spoken to me a great deal of his desire to take service under your Serenity, and if the pass of the Grisons is opened he will try to bring a larger number of men than can be managed at present. He told me that the king praised his purpose, but it seems to me that the queen does not give him such a welcome as she should; the reason for this I imagine to be his alliance with the Dutch, whom she hates so much on account of the king of Denmark, so that she has never allowed their ambassador to visit her.
Your Serenity's letters of the 5th and 9th February have reached me.
Biondi has just arrived, but I cannot delay the despatch until I hear anything from him.
London, the 2nd March, 1617.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 3. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 666. To the Secretary Lionello in England.
In your letters of the 9th ult. we notice your remarks about bringing troops here and your request for instructions: we direct you without going any further in negotiations, to respond in a friendly way to those who offer themselves, expressing gratitude, and to aim simply at keeping up their good disposition without binding yourself to anything.
Your diligence in obtaining news deserves commendation, and affords us satisfaction.
Ayes 159
Noes 0
Neutral 1.
March 3. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 667. To the Secretary in England.
The duke of Savoy has been to Asti with Lesdiguieres to alarm Milan and prevent Spanish help to Alba. Count Guido San Giorgo is besieging Alba, where he made a breach. The duke and Lesdiguieres were to arrive there on the 25th with the horse. The town is very short of provisions; all the surrounding country is in the power of Savoy. The demolition of San Damiano and Moncucco goes on, while prince Vittorio has destroyed Rocca di Masserano and Crevacuor on his way to Vercelli. The Spaniards have withdrawn to Treca. Don Pedro proposed to retire towards Valenza and Alessandria to collect a large force, but their troops are said to be few and poor and they make no movement.
Nothing important has happened in Friuli except that some rascals began to rob travellers by the canal of Cernignano, but they were captured, and the pass is well guarded. The Proveditore of Cividal, hearing that the enemy were raiding the pass of Clabuzar, put them to flight, killing sixty and taking arms and booty.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, France, Spain, the Hague, Florence, Naples, Constantinople, Zurich, Padavin.
The second paragraph only to Savoy, Milan and Naples.
Ayes 146.
Noes 0.
Neutral 2.
March 3. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Costant. Venetian Archives. 668. To the Bailo at Constantinople.
We praise you for your efforts about the carazo in which you have obtained so much success.
We enclose a copy of a letter of our secretary resident in England of 3 February last, in which you will see not only what is said about the affairs of that nation generally, but the ideas which they cherish and what they are planning to do, as well as about the silk trade, for the exclusion of the Turks. With this knowledge you can do what our service requires.
Ayes 126.
Noes 0.
Neutral 7.
March 3. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Costant. Venetian Archives. 669. The Inquisitors of State to Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England.
It is a long time since we gave you hopes that the 600 ducats would be paid to Sir William Smith by Muscorno; we have the matter constantly in our minds, and Muscorno has shown the utmost readiness to fulfil his obligations, from the first moment, and at once made assignments to our satisfaction. Nothing remains but to raise the money, and this presents difficulties. It will be deposited in our hands to be straightway handed over to Smith's agent, and we hope that you will be advised of the receipt by the first ordinary. You will thus be able to give assurance to Smith, and we wish him to be informed as soon as possible so that he may know of the readiness of Muscorno in this affair, which really could not be greater.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 4. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 670. To the Secretary in England.
We have directed the Proveditore of the fleet to take note of all the ships in this port, and we have recently instructed the same magistrate to detain and arrange with five of the most suitable, taking information upon the number of men and the munitions. To increase our force of Italian troops we have augmented the pay of the soldiers a crown a month. There is nothing fresh from Piedmont and Friuli except that the robbers from Gradisca have been taken at Cervignano, and Don Giovanni has burnt some houses in the marshes which they had fortified, and brought up some boats to totally destroy them.
The like to Rome, Germany, France, Spain, Constantinople, the States, Grisons, Mantua, Milan, Florence, Naples.
Ayes 135.
Noes 0.
Neutral 3.
March 6. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetain Archives. 671. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambasssador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Colonel Stodder will soon be here, who commanded the Emperor's mercenary troops, to ask for promotion. If he does not obtain it he is determined to serve no longer.
Prague, the 6th March, 1617. Copy.
March 7. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Roma. Venetian Archives. 672. That if the secretary of the English ambassador makes fresh representations or begins to reply in the Cabinet upon the passport for the property of the late archbishop of Spalato, he be told: the republic continues its affections and esteem for the king of England, and entertains a special regard for the ambassador, but as regards the late archbishop of Spalato we desire to know nothing. We regret that no other reply can be given to a request of this nature, as the ambassador in his prudence will understand, and we are sure that his lordship will recognise our good disposition. (fn. 2)
Ayes 115.
Noes 0.
Neutral 17.
Sig. Geronimo Trevisan, savio of Terra Ferma, proposed:
That if the Secretary of England renews his requests of the Savio of the Cabinet for the week about the passport, the Savio shall tell him he advises him not to press the request, as he does not think it possible it can be granted, as the person and matter in question cannot be mentioned without causing pain to the republic for various reasons; and he might suggest what England or any other prince would feel in like case about a fugitive subject of ill repute, contumacious like this one about religion or anything else.
Ayes 15.
March 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 673. Ottaviano Bon and Vincenza Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The duke of Guise is besieging Richecourt (Rissiecuor) in Champagne. The princes have also taken the field with forces only slightly inferior to the royal army. There are various opinions about their intentions. They are carefully guarding their own interests and strive particularly to conciliate those of the religion. The duke of Bouillon, who has never tired in his efforts to obtain help from Germany, England and the States has received letters from Holland with promises to help him to defend Sedan if it is attacked by the Spaniards. Those of the religion have announced that they take the duke under their protection. This has greatly displeased the queen. The princess, mother of the prince of Condé, who is now at la Rochelle, never ceases in her representations for the Huguenots, and with the king of England and the united princes of Germany for the release of her son. She has received the enclosed letters from the king of Great Britain, promising to move in the prince's favour.
The same king is sending here as extraordinary ambassador the Mr. Edmondes who was his ordinary ambassador here a few months ago. He is to treat of affairs of the highest importance concerning the peace of this kingdom, the satisfaction of the discontented princes, and the liberation of Condé.
Paris, the 7th March, 1617.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 674. Letter of the King of Great Britain of the 3rd January last, to the Princess of Condé.
Madam, my cousin: We have received your letters about our cousin the prince of Condé. We are grieved at his imprisonment, both because of his connection with the royal house and because of the esteem which we have for his good inclinations. We are sure that owing to his great interest in the preservation of the state he cannot have conceived the wicked designs which are imputed to him, and we can state that we have never yet known anything incompatible with his innocence, loyalty and affection to the king our brother. We are, therefore, most anxious to see him released and restored to his proper station, and we will employ every possible means to procure this result.
Your most affectionate cousin,
James R.
March 9. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 675. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The news is confirmed this week from various parts that your Excellencies are carrying the negotiations for peace to the Court of Spain, with the consent of the duke of Savoy. This offends the king here for various reasons which will be better understood by your Excellencies than expressed by my pen. However, at the last audience he made the remarks to the count of Scarnafis which I reported on the 2nd inst. On the following Tuesday night Winwood begged me by letter to go to Court on the following morning, as he wished to speak to me upon matters of importance on the king's behalf. When I went, he told me that His Majesty heard from Spain and elsewhere and finally from Venice herself that the republic was negotiating for peace in Italy at Madrid, and that the negotiations were nearly concluded. If the peace took place without the king of England being informed it would be of great disservice to His Majesty, and he did not think, owing to his friendship with the republic, that he ought to be excluded from all knowledge of the affair. He therefore asked for information upon the whole matter from your Serenity, and that it should not be settled without his knowledge. He repeated the same idea two or three times with considerable emphasis, so that I believe he has it greatly to heart.
I replied that I would write to your Excellencies what His Majesty commanded and would communicate the answer when it arrived from Venice. Meanwhile I could only repeat what I had said six days before that I had no further knowledge of the affair except that a courier had been sent to his Catholic Majesty to ask for a general conference of the Spanish ministers in Italy, and it might be that some other affair had arisen out of this; that the republic had always used the greatest confidence with His Majesty in communicating events to him at every opportunity, and I was sure that if God brought the negotiations for peace to a prosperous issue, whether in Spain or elsewhere by his means, you would still continue to acquaint His Majesty about it. Meanwhile His Majesty might rest assured that he could not suffer the smallest disservice from anything that passed through the hands of your Excellencies, and still less so in these affairs, because the ideas of His Majesty and the republic are at one, tending towards the general peace and tranquillity, in striving for which the republic would never employ any means that would not equally serve the interests and honour of her friends as well as of herself.
The secretary replied that His Majesty never doubted but that the Republic would show her habitual foresight and prudence in dealing with this affair, and praises her desire for peace which corresponds with his own, but the only thing that led him to speak at present was his desire to be informed and introduced in some manner into the conclusion of the peace. I replied that I would write to your Excellencies and await the reply.
Biondi has returned to Piedmont. He brings no letter for His Majesty except a complimentary one for the leave given to the count of Scarnafigi, who will take leave of the king to-day to return to Piedmont immediately. Biondi will remain here without a title to serve His Highness in whatever occurs. He brings a verbal reply from the duke to the offers made by the king of England to interpose with the Catholic king for an accommodation, which runs substantially, that His Highness will always be ready to receive peace from whatever quarter it may come, so that it make provision for his security and honour, but acquaints His Majesty that during this talk about peace he found himself involved in a dangerous war, under the promise of the two crowns.
The count of Scarnafigi at his last audience to-day, is to tell the king by the duke's order that the Catholic king himself and the duke of Lerma have opened a way for negotiation with the Venetian ambassador for a general peace. His Highness has been urged to this by the republic and has decided to notify your Serenity of the conditions which he will accept, that your Excellencies may have authority to treat for him, and for the conclusion of the affair he has sent a fresh courier to Spain. He imparts all this to His Majesty as a sign of his continued devotion and because of the part which he took in the treaty of Asti, feeling sure that he will welcome this both because he has always counselled peace and also because the chief condition to be inserted will be the carrying out of the treaty of Asti, made by his authority. I doubt whether the king will be entirely appeased by this office, because he will perceive that the duke tells him of it after he had decided to give the republic authority to negotiate, that he asks for no advice and does not even give particulars of the conditions, while at the very time that he is giving this information he is removing the Ambassador Scarnafigi from the court without naming anyone in his place. More than anything else I believe that the sending of a fresh courier to Spain will cause offence, to arrange a treaty without his knowing anything about it. As time does not permit me to obtain any particulars of the conversation with the ambassador, I hope to send all particulars next week.
The same office which the count of Scarnafigi is to perform at this court is also to be done, mutatis mutandis by the count of Moreta at Paris with Their Majesties, as identical instructions have been sent to both ambassadors.
The king is greatly incensed because a Scot of the house of Stuart has been publicly put to death at Paris. He was collecting troops for the Princes. (fn. 3) This accident has stirred him the more to hasten the expedition of Edmondes to Germany and France, affairs in the latter country having come to an open rupture, all doing their worst and the king having already taken the field.
Lord Roos is shortly expected in England on his return from Spain. In passing through France on his return he wrote to the king from Paris that if His Majesty would give him any commands to treat with the Most Christian, as there was no other ambassador at the Court at that time, he would remain to a wait his instructions. The king wrote telling him to leave Paris immediately and continue his journey without meddling with what did not concern him. I am told that His Majesty is highly dissatisfied with the entire embassy of that nobleman.
Baron Tours has taken leave of the king and is now saying his farewells at Court, to leave at the earliest opportunity.
A Spanish caravel has recently taken refuge at the port of Plymouth after some unpleasant experiences, its consort having perished at sea. Those on board say that they were driven there by the winds, but it is thought that they may have come to spy upon the ships for the Dutch troops since they have no merchandise on board and it is not usual for their ships to appear in that part of the sea.
A fortnight to-morrow His Majesty leaves for Scotland, as he would not change his mind for any considerations whatsoever. To obtain the money he has raised loans, sold lands and anticipated the customs. The expenses will amount to the extraordinary sum of half a million. He will stay two months in Scotland and will be absent from London six months in all. Winwood told me that he will remain here and that I may address myself to him upon all my affairs, and they will be as well and as speedily disposed of as if the king himself were in the city.
London, the 9th March, 1617.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 10. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 676. To the Secretary in England.
The duke of Savoy with M. Lesdiguieres proceeded to Alba, which surrendered on the 6th. This was due to failure of provisions. The bulk of the forces of the duke and prince will proceed to the frontiers of the Astegliano, and the Spaniards will do the same.
M. de Crichi has proceeded from Piedmont to Dauphine to assist the governor in the absence of M. Lesdiguieres.
In Friuli our general decided to erect a small fort called Bruma under the fire of Gradisca and almost at its gates. It was built in a night and a day without any molestation from the enemy.
Our troops in Istria have taken and sacked the land of Treviso, a haunt of robbers, of considerable wealth, from which they took about 30,000 ducats of booty.
We hear from Naples that on the 4th inst. the Viceroy sent out nine galleys for the Gulf of Venice, to take ships and do all the harm they could to the republic. We have therefore decided to at once increase our naval provisions. This is for information.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, France, Spain, the Hague, Savoy, Milan, Mantua, Florence, Naples, the Grisons, the Swiss.
Ayes 149.
Noes 1.
Neutral 2.
March 11. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 677. Christofforo Suriano, Venetian Secretary to the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Count John Ernest of Nassau will leave to-morrow. He told me that he wished to get away from the French ambassador, who more than once had urged him to give up the undertaking. I have assured him that his men will receive the best treatment. The troops are being favoured by good winds, and should by now have passed the Strait, indeed two days ago news reached Rotterdam that they had been seen in the seas of Spain.
I enclose a receipt for what I have spent in this connection, and a receipt given me by the count. I also enclose a list of the captains of the companies.
The Hague, the 11th March, 1617.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 678. Receipt by John Ernest, count of Nassau Catzenelboges, from Christofforo Surian, resident of Venice with the States General of the United Provinces, of 7,200 florins for the pay of his troops going to the service of the republic.
The Hague, the 10th March, 1617.
[French. Holograph.]
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 679. Names and condition of the colonels and captains of the 3,200 foot levied by Count John Ernest of Nassau.
Count John Ernest of Nassau, general of the troops of the Low Countries.
John Vere (Weer), lieutenant-general, an Englishman, nephew of the late general Francis Vere (Weer). He has been thirteen years a captain in the Low Countries. He is 34 years of age, a good soldier, and popular with his countrymen.
M. Gulena, a Frenchman.
The duke of Holstein, nephew of the king of Denmark and the queen of England. Aged 22.
Count William of Nassau, brother of Count John Ernest.
Sieur de Clertiny, a Dutchman, brother of the Sieur de Brederode. Mr. Henry Woodowes (Woodhousen), an Englishman, about 40 years of age; has been captain in the Low Countries for 16 years and more, of a company of his nation, a valiant and experienced man.
David Morlot, a German.
Peter Melander, a German.
Lewis Brederode, a Dutchman.
M. Monbon, a Frenchman.
Names of the captains of the second regiment.
M. de Rocalaura, a Frenchman.
Captain Heven Koop, a Dutchman, took part in the naval fight of Gibraltar.
M. Lavel, a Dane.
Leonard Weesterbeeck, a Dutchman.
M. Famà, a Dutchman.
M. Metoin, a Frenchman.
Capt. Seiton, a Scot, lieutenant of a company of his brother. Sieur de Wandernoob, a Dutchman.
Captain Haan, a German.
Sieur Paigh, a Walloon. (fn. 4)
March 11. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 680. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The naval preparations of the king of Denmark are causing some pre-occupation here. It is reported that he intends to besiege Danzig or some other coast town. This might prejudice the Dutch trade with Danzig, Muscovy and other parts of those seas.
The Hague, the 11th March, 1617.
March 13. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 681. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Grand Vizier recently informed all the ambassadors that the carazo had been removed from the subjects of our four nations. I found that the order was directed to the Cadi of Galata without any periphrasis and it looked as if the carazo had been removed by favour and not owing to the promise contained in the capitulations. That might benefit us while this Pasha remained at Constantinople, but owing to the mutability of the government and the frequent changes of ministers and the prejudice that this order would cause to our capitulations, I gave notice that the order did not satisfy me and it would be better to change it into an Imperial decree which I could use not only here but anywhere in the dominions of the Grand Turk. The Pasha agreed, and so the matter has turned out fortunately.
I did not think it necessary to confer with the ambassadors upon this affair, as I do not know how to walk with the legs of others, as the saying goes, and 1 know by experience that working together in affairs increases the difficulties and nothing is ever finished. However they will enjoy this service from me, that as I was the first to try and settle about this order, they will find the way smooth and easy to bring their affairs into better train than they now are. I have not as yet said anything to them about it, and they have not received word of it from anywhere.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 13th March, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 682. Translation of the Imperial decree removing the charge of the carazo which was imposed in the past upon the Venetian subjects and merchants and the Dragomans. Dated at Constantinople on the first of the moon of Rabeaulhacchir, the year 1026, that is on the 10th March, 1617.
March 13. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives. 683. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Marrada and Stodder of the archduke's army are both here. The first is arranging for new levies of cavalry. Stodder is petitioning the Emperor for promotion, protesting that if he does not obtain it he will serve no longer. As he and his troops are the best in the camp, the archduke is striving so that he may have satisfaction, and it is thought that he will obtain it.
Prague, the 13th March, 1617. Copy.
March 14. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 684. Ottaviano Bon and Vincenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
They are much struck here at seeing that the imprisonment of Condé has created a bad impression everywhere, as it is considered unreasonable and without any grounds of crime to go upon. The king of Great Britain, the Princes of Germany and others besides have expressed this idea, and it is also the general opinion of the people. To justify their decision of keeping the prince in confinement they two days ago sent M. de Baranton, master of requests, to the Bastille to interrogate the prince upon the truth of his intrigues and machinations, pretending that if he made a free confession they would set him at liberty. When he heard this, whether by too much credulity in their promises or in desperation or for other causes, he disclosed not only things which might possibly have some show of truth, but other matters which, it is said, he had never dreamed of. This has been published as a justification of the government, although it is not expected to profit them much owing to their wrongful means of obtaining the confession.
Paris, the 14th March, 1617.
March 14. Senato. Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli. Venetian Archives. 685. Gasparo Spinelli, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
I have seen the Cardinal Sforza. Among other things he said to me: I am sure the Viceroy wrote several times to Spain in favour of peace, but on seeing how matters were going and the prejudice caused to His Majesty by your help to Savoy, he also wished to have a share. I do not think his galleys are intended to commit acts of hostility unless it comes to open war, which I greatly fear it will. The pope would never accept the treaty of Asti, because you insisted upon the inclusion of the King of England, who is so great an enemy of the Church and of all the rest of us; neither can His Holiness agree to this help from heretics to the duke. The Spaniards have also incited the pope and the rest of us because the Archbishop of Spalatro has recently torn himself from Venice and gone to England to foment heresies against the Church and us, and the Signory might easily have prevented this.
I replied that the archbishop was an ecclesiastic and subject to another jurisdiction, but it was not reasonable to accuse the republic because some rascal escaped from Venice to England or elsewhere. While I was at Constantinople I had seen many renegade Neapolitans, Milanese and even Romans, but it had never so much as occurred to me that their rascality could be a slur on those most excellent cities. The Cardinal replied: What you say is true, but you must know that the archbishop was several times warned by the nuncio in Venice, as he himself states in his published writings, and the Signory might have provided a remedy.
I enclose a letter of the consul of Otranto which reached me to-day.
Naples, the 14th March, 1617.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 686. Gasparo Basala, Venetian Consul at Otranto, to Gasparo Spinelli, Venetian Secretary at Naples.
All the ships which were detained have been released; besides our own there were ten ships of Marseilles and three English bertons.
Otranto, the 7th March, 1617.
March 14. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli. Venetian Archives. 687. Gasparo Spinelli, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses letter from his correspondent Vespa at Messina.
Naples, the 14th March, 1617
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 688. Bernardino Vespa to Gasparo Spinelli, Venetian Secretary at Naples.
Hopes that by this time Francisco Rocheta has arrived with full information about the difficulty of obtaining suitable men for the service of the republic.
The Jesuit father Petraci in his sermon in asking them to pray for Christians and the king of Spain, stated that the king was assailed not only by Turks and heretics but that the Venetians also, being without the fear of God, fetched thirty English and Lutheran ships to help them and shed Christian blood.
There are an incredible number of bertons about Tunis and Barbary, and they make captures every day. These last months they have taken seventy ships, without counting frigates and barques.
Messina, the 6th March, 1617.


  • 1. Also found in Senato, Secreta, Comunicazioni dal Cons. di. X. Letter printed No. 625 at p. 433 above.
  • 2. On January 13th the Archbishop of Spalato asked for a recommendation to the Venetian Ambassador that his clothes, and especially his books, might be permitted to be put on board an English ship and sent to England. Calendar State Papers, Domestic, 1611–8, p. 424.
  • 3. Un ancien garde du corps écossais fut decapité la Louvre. Bazin Hist. de Louis XIII. i. p. 246.
  • 4. “We heer by privat letters from the camp before Gradisca that the loss of our men was greater then is published in theyr assault and retreit at Rubia; there being two Captaines slain; one Setton a Scottish man and one Pay a Wallon. with betwixt 30 and 40 of theyre men. Captain Woodowes. an English man, sergeant major to Coronel Roquelore, acquitted himself well in that service without hurt.” Carleton to Chamberlain, 22 June, 1617 o. s. State Papers. Foreign. Holland.