Venice: July 1617, 16-31

Pages 545-561

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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July 1617, 16–31

July 16. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 828. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After I left London, on the day I notified your Excellencies, I began my journey with all diligence towards Berwick, the first town of Scotland. Shortly before arriving there I had the misfortune to fall under my horse, and I hurt my thigh so much that I only reached Edinburgh with great fatigue and much pain. There I have been forced to keep my bed for some days, and I am not completely recovered yet. However this has not in any way hindered the service of your Serenity, as when I arrived here on Saturday last, the final day of the parliament, I heard immediately that the king was intending to leave Edinburgh on the morning of the following Monday, to make a tour through some part of Scotland, which would take a month, and then enter England by way of Carlisle. Therefore, on seeing my opportunities so limited owing to the sudden departure of His Majesty, I abandoned the ordinary ways of asking for an audience and had recourse to the one infallible means of obtaining anything from His Majesty, the earl of Buckingham, who so contrived matters that on Sunday morning almost before day a gentleman came to tell me that His Majesty would be fully occupied for the whole day with the Scotch lords and on the following day he would leave early because he had a journey of 24 miles before him, so that he could not give me any other time than one, which he had never before appointed for such affairs, namely after supper. He did this and that evening he sent three gentlemen of his chamber to fetch me from the house, who brought me to His Majesty's apartments. I found him wrapped in a cloak, in a gallery, where he received me with a smiling countenance and friendly words. With excess of courtesy he adapted himself to the way he thought would best fit in with my infirmity, now walking about and now standing still, but in spite of all this I am much worse now through the efforts I then made. I presented your Serenity's letters, and by way of introducing the matter I told him that if it were not for the important events which are now occurring to the prejudice of the liberty of Italy, your Serenity would not again have troubled His Majesty at this moment by sending me to Scotland, as you know that his short time was fully occupied in revisiting his native country and most noble kingdom; but the necessity was so urgent that your Serenity could not do less than commit this important mission to me and I hoped His Majesty would receive it as a sign of confidence and as a matter worthy of engaging his royal thoughts.
I then went on to tell him of the result of the recent negotiations at Madrid, omitting no particulars which might show him that the Spaniards never meant to have peace, and they were simply negotiating to obtain some meretricious advantage. When I spoke to him about the pretensions of the Spaniards upon the accommodation of the differences between your Excellencies and the Archduke, in which they desired you to give up the places taken, and trust to some petty and uncertain provisions, upon what grounds past experience shows, the king smiled somewhat scornfully, showing that he quite well understood the course of the negotiations. He said that when he left England he was strongly of the opinion that a treaty of peace would be concluded in Spain.
With regard to the differences about the negotiations of Savoy, His Majesty interrupted me at the point that the Spaniards wish to make peace leaving the powers free to remain armed. He declared that this would mean the ultimate ruin of the duke and of the republic. He did not allow me to pursue the thread of my argument, but interrupted, asking whether your Serenity was at open war with the Spaniards. I told him that the Spaniards were doing the worst they could against the republic; there were two fleets at sea, and if they met they would fight, as the Spaniards wished to come and disturb the sea and state of Venice, and our sea captains had instructions to stop their progress by force. The republic was determined upon this, that she might not be exhausted little by little. The king replied, Then there is open war; but the ambassadors have not been recalled? I said that according to my last advices from Italy they remained at their customary residences, the Spaniard at Venice and the Venetian in Spain, and at this point I took up the thread of my discourse again. I said that not only did the negotiations at Madrid show that the Spaniards had no inclination for peace but other signs as well, such as the provisions, plots and snares which I knew that they had prepared some months ago, and when I perceived that some of these things excited His Majesty, I laid the more stress upon them. He was most scandalised by the practices of the duke of Ossuna at Constantinople to excite the Ottomans to attack the states of your Excellencies, who had always served as an outer defence of Christendom, to protect which all Christian princes should be bound to concur out of pious and common interests. The king asked me how many slaves Ossuna had sent to the Grand Vizier. I told him that I thought they numbered about twenty-two or twenty-four. He said that is not many. I added that the Viceroy used these slaves simply as an introduction to the Turkish ministers, to incite whom more powerful inducements were not wanting, such as were sent on purpose with letters, offers, presents and everything that could help.
With regard to the resentment shown by the Spaniards at the going of the Dutch to Venice, His Majesty told me that he had seen the letter written by the duke of Ossuna to the pope, and he quoted almost the whole of it to me by heart. He added that our free republic might introduce into her states what troops she pleased; what had the Spaniards to do with it? I urged thereupon that in such a state of affairs powerful and immediate assistance was required and that all the powers who are concerned about the greatness of Spain ought to devote all their forces, and that it became the greatness of His Majesty, his service and his royal promise in particular to do so, and interpose his protecting arm. I told him of the burdens borne by your Excellencies, in the naval preparations, the great assistance given to Savoy, the expenses in Istria, Dalmatia, Friuli and Lombardy, that you could do no more, and were not strong enough to resist the weight of the Spanish attack alone; of your decision to employ your own forces and the favour of friends to repel this assault and recover your original peace. In coming to the principal point of your Serenity's commands I did not neglect to urge him to come to an open declaration in your favour, for the just cause of your Serenity and of the duke of Savoy, with whose consent and co-operation I was acting. I touched upon the interests which compelled him to do so, his obligation and the advantage and glory which he would acquire, the gain which would accrue and the fruit which the mere rumour of it would bring to other princes, who were only awaiting such a declaration to move, the fear which the Spaniards had of it, and the warning it would give them to desist from their violence and let the world enjoy peace again. I urged His Majesty with all my poor ability; he remained silent the while, moving his head as if to show that he approved of all this, and thus giving us courage and occasion to speak freely, although I felt faint from the pain of my hurt, caused by my remaining standing for so long.
When I had finished speaking, the king assumed a royal gravity and addressed me in French in practically the following words: When once before I declared myself for the republic in her tribulations, it was simply out of the goodwill which I felt, and not because she had ever done anything for me. Since that time the republic has always kept up the friendship so auspiciously begun, and has done everything for my gratification, so that now I find myself bound to do what I can for her. Therefore I will now declare myself in her favour, and I will render her every service; but as I am leaving to-morrow, go and see the Secretary Lake and give him a memorial of the way in which this declaration is to be made. You may wait a day or two in Edinburgh for this before returning to England. I cannot delay my journey, but I will send it as soon as possible. I kneeled and kissed his hand, saying that I thanked him warmly in the name of your Serenity for such a gracious expression of his goodwill, by which he increased the indebtedness of the republic, from whom he might always expect a hearty reciprocity of sentiment, which would extend to his successors also. I told him that I would see the Secretary Lake, and took leave.
On the following morning I called on the secretary, just as he was about to leave this city to follow the king. We agreed that I should send back my interpreter with the note, as I have done, and I forward a copy to your Excellencies. I thought it would be better to make the declaration thus, to render it more open and more fruitful. I then waited six days for the return of the interpreter, who got back yesterday evening. He brought me the enclosed despatch of the king for the Ambassador Wotton and the accompanying letter of the Secretary Lake for me in reply to my memorial and the note I had written to him to recommend the affair. I send all to your Excellencies, and you will do wisely to send letters immediately to the Ambassador Wotton.
The interpreter told me that the king while travelling had held two councils with the small number of persons who happened to be with him about my affair, so he had been told, in which they decided to reply to the request of your Excellencies in the way that you will hear from the lips of Mr. Wotton. I hope that it may conform to the courteous declaration which the king made to me, though I should have been better pleased had His Majesty decided to send it direct to your Serenity in his own letters, to have something in hand to show; however, for the present I can do nothing more than send this despatch to your Excellencies by express courier as far as France, both because your Serenity directs me to send the king's reply with all diligence, and because as they contain His Majesty's instructions to his ambassador, I do not want the Spaniards to smell them out, and if they went by the usual route of Flanders they might be detained and all the fruits of their labours lost.
The day after to-morrow I propose to cross an arm of the sea and go to Falkland (Faclang) where the court will be, to have the actual points which His Majesty has commissioned Mr. Wotton to tell your Excellencies, and to examine into the reasons why he would not declare himself in private letters to your Serenity, and to try that at least he will inform all his ministers throughout the world of his declaration.
Edinburgh, the 16th July, 1617.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 829. To the Secretary Lionello.
Sir: I have recommended the affair of the Signory to the king with the utmost diligence. I have to inform you that His Majesty finds it more convenient to reply by the mouth of his ambassador, and sends him instructions with which I doubt not the Signory will be greatly satisfied. I send them to you with letters of credence for your servant, so that he may travel with as much ease as before.
Your most affectionate friend and servant,
Thomas Lake.
Faucland, the 4th July.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 830. Copy of the Memorial of Lionello for the declaration.
Sire: For the reasons which I laid before your Majesty at the last audience, the republic of Venice in conjunction with the duke of Savoy beg you to make a full declaration of your favour towards us in our troubles with the Spaniards.
The most effective form of declaration would be similar to the one made in past years, of which Venice has always preserved a grateful memory.
It would be most helpful if His Majesty in replying to my credentials, which I presented yesterday evening, would include this friendly declaration of his mind.
To direct Sir [Henry] Wotton, his ambassador in Venice, to have audience of His Serenity and set forth this favour which your Majesty affords to the two princes.
To direct your agent in Savoy and all your other representatives with the princes of Europe and especially in Spain to do the like and to notify the Spanish Ambassador in London and the other ministers of princes in England, so that this worthy and glorious resolution may be known to all the world.
July 16. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 831. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In a few lines I can tell your Excellencies all that the king has done in Scotland. He has simply re-visited the country and summoned a parliament to Edinburgh. That is all and there will be no more. The parliament was announced throughout the kingdom for the 23rd of June, but its opening was prorogued until the 27th, and it rose on the 8th inst., the very day that I entered the city. Those present included fifty-six deputies of the counties and towns, an abbot, two archbishops, eleven bishops, twenty-three barons, three viscounts, eighteen earls, two marquises and a duke, with the king. (fn. 1) His Majesty went there in state on the first and the last day, riding on horseback, and accompanied by the whole parliament. There was not a single Englishman except the favourite, who rode at his side.
On the first day they remained closeted for eight hours, when His Majesty spoke for an hour and a half with extraordinary eloquence, and other lords delivered various harangues. The assembly met on the succeeding days, His Majesty always being present during the whole time from dinner to night, and sometimes he attended in the morning. Both within and without the Assembly they have laboured hard to advance his designs, but with the very slighest results, so that I can assure your Serenity at the dissolution the king's dissatisfaction with the parliament was as evident as that of the parliament with the king. His chief proposals were the ceremonies and ecclesiastical hierarchy of England, as he wished to be head of the church; the Scots proved themselves unwilling to suffer this, and upon certain occasions they displayed their detestation in the city.
His Majesty proposes that the nobility shall restore to the bishops their goods which they have enjoyed for more than fifty years, and which are now considered as their patrimony. However they would not agree to this either, but contented themselves with finding a way for the ministers of the churches to have a better livelihood. He also obtained that the bishops should have a place among the barons and earls and sit in parliament, which they had not done before. In other questions of laws and privileges of the kingdom, with which I need not weary the Senate, which has little concern therein, matters have been arranged partly to the taste of the king and partly to that of the parliament, but everything that has been done really amounts to nothing, and therefore it would have been better if His Majesty had not left England.
For the rest the demonstrations of one nation towards the other have been as warm and friendly as possible, especially that of the nobility, to gratify the king who expressed an earnest wish to this effect, but really the feelings of the English and Scots remain as hostile as ever and indeed it seems as if bringing them together thus has rather increased the hatred and contempt which they have for each other, as the English cannot submit on any account to consider the Scots as equals, while the latter will not yield to them one jot and preserve their lively and habitual contempt and rancour.
With regard to the country I found that England at a distance of from 50 to 60 miles from the frontier, and especially the county of Northumberland, was very poor, uncultivated and exceedingly wretched, while for many miles on the other side of the frontier I seemed to be travelling through uninhabited deserts. This proceeds from the sterility of the ground and also from the perpetual wars with which these nations have savagely destroyed each other.
Edinburgh, the 16th July, 1617.
I have received your Excellencies' letters of the 16th ult. and will use them as I am instructed.
July 17. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives. 832. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Grave dissensions have broken out in the enemy's camp between Marrada and Dampier. The latter has asked to be relieved of his command. Nothing has been settled as yet, but they propose to give Marrada the 3,000 infantry which belonged to Traumestorf and his 500 horse will be divided, part under the Prince of Saxony and part under an English captain, who is serving Neuburg, or another.
Prague, the 17th July, 1617. Copy.
July 19. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 833. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Sir [Thomas] Stodder writes that he will be ready to start in three days, and the 200 ducats which I have sent will reach him very opportunely.
The Hague, the 19th July, 1617.
July 20. Senato. Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives. 834. Piero Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The fleet for New Spain remained at Cadiz until the 26th ult. Four galleons accompany it to protect it from pirates. The English ships in the port have been asked to join with the galleons to protect the passage, but they have refused to do so. The secretary of war made the same request in His Majesty's name to the English secretary resident here, but he excused himself, saying that as their ships were merchant vessels they could not engage in this service without risk and he could not give orders for it without instructions from his king.
Madrid, the 20th July, 1617.
July 21. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Venetian Archives. 835. To the Ambassador at Turin.
Yesterday we received news of the capture by the Spanish fleet of two of our galleys laden with merchandise of great value, for Spalato, and of a third which recently left this city with six others, which have escaped, as well as the crews of the three galleys taken. The Spanish galleys, directed undoubtedly by Ragusans, have come straight from Brindisi towards Sebenico behind the rocks, leaving their bertons at sea, and this has enabled them to commit this act of hostility.
The like to the following:
Prague. Milan. Mantua.
Rome. Naples. London.
France. Florence.
Spain. Zurich.
Ayes 119.
Noes 0.
Neutral 52.
July 21. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 836. To the Ambassador at Turin.
As we wrote recently, the archducal forces crossed the Lisonzo. They decided to take the same way in hope of relieving Gradisca. They crossed at night, but were discovered in the morning. The cavalry molested them somewhat but could not stop them because the infantry did not support them owing to the disobedience of the captains. A remedy will be provided.
The like to:
Prague. Rome. Milan. Zurich.
The Hague. Spain. Naples. Mantua.
London. France. Florence.
Ayes 119.
Noes 0.
Neutral 52.
July 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives 837. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Wednesday I crossed the sea and went to Falkland (Faclang) where the Court was, as I wrote on the 16th. I at once set to work to learn the news about the affairs of your Serenity since the king's departure from Edinburgh. I found that before doing anything the king had held a council with a few councillors who happened to be with him, some of whom tried to dissuade His Majesty, arguing that if he declared himself in your favour he would at the same time necessarily declare himself an enemy of the king of Spain before even the republic herself had done so, as although both Venice and the Viceroy of Naples have armed fleets this might be considered the result of mutual suspicion and necessitated by good government, as the Spaniards seeing how much the republic helps Saroy may reasonably suspect some designs upon the kingdom of Naples, and so they think it wise to secure themselves by a strong fleet. This has justly aroused the suspicions of the Venetians, who have armed also, yet without there being any open war between them or the ambassadors being recalled. That the king of France, the princes of Germany, and the States of Holland are more interested and nearer to the danger, and it is only reasonable that they should be the first to provide a remedy. His Majesty might then guide his conduct by their example. Such are the opinions of some of the Council. I do not know whether it is due to their influence or to await a more favourable opening that His Majesty has decided not to make an express declaration for the present, but has committed to the ambassador Wotton those friendly offices with your Excellencies which you will have heard from his lips. He has sent orders to London that one of his Council shall go to see the Spanish ambassador and complain strongly to him of the attitude adopted by the Catholic king not only towards the duke but to the republic also, and to protest that if he does not change this attitude the king will definitely take the side of those powers, because as the friend of the republic he desires to stand side by side with her in all emergencies, and has caused this office to be performed with a very high tone. At the same time he has ordered Sir [John] Digby (il Cavallier de Ghibi), who is going to Spain to make strong representations. He has written to the Most Christian king on the subject to discover his opinion and what he proposes to do, as he wishes to act in conjunction with him in the defence of Italy. He has written to his ambassador in Holland to try to strengthen the resolution of the States to give the help asked for by Savoy, and he is writing a special letter to prince Maurice strongly recommending this affair.
I tried to demonstrate to the ministers that an open declaration would be much more useful for our needs than all these offices, but seeing nothing more was to be obtained from them, I asked for a fresh audience of His Majesty. I obtained it yesterday evening in a garden, in the presence of all the English and Scotch nobility, although the king walked apart with me at a considerable distance from the throng, so that they could not hear us. I told him that when I went away from the audience at Edinburgh I felt greatly comforted, as I thought I left His Majesty not only well disposed but determined to gratify the republic by the declaration asked for, but after I had received the despatch from the ambassador Wotton, and sent it by express courier to Venice, I learned that his decision had been quite different, as he had simply been pleased to perform certain offices. For these I thanked him, but I feared that they would not produce nearly the same effect as an open declaration, and therefore I felt somewhat troubled in spirit, feeling that your Excellencies had received a serious prejudice in being deprived of the results which you so eagerly expected from such a declaration, and as my journey to Scotland was already known to all the princes as well as the reasons for it, they would doubtlesss also be aware of the little I had obtained therefrom, so that well disposed princes, interested in the common cause would faint and lose courage to take any useful decisions, while our enemies will become still more encouraged to continue their violence, the more so because His Majesty did not seem inclined to mix any further in these offairs. I had therefore again desired the honour of kissing his hands and beg him to devote his royal attention to the weal of Italy and of the two powers in particular, which esteem him so highly, and that he permit them to enjoy the fruits of his declaration and his assistance, because this is the proper time, and although it would have been better a little earlier, it would prove very effective even now, but if he proposed to put it off for two or three months, as I heard from his councillors, this would simply be letting the present year slip away, in which the differences with the Spaniards were to be decided, because the armies are on foot and already fighting, and the fleets are at sea, so that it it was not likely they would wait long to hear anything fresh, and possibly at the very moment when I was speaking to His Majesty something untoward had happened. Therefore after this year one of two things will certainly have happened, either the two powers will be beyond help owing to the losses which they have suffered, though I pray God this may not happen, and that where His Majesty might now help them with his finger he will not then be able to do so with his hand and arm, or else they will have prospered with the help of France alone, and in both events I foresaw that His Majesty would suffer serious prejudice of great consequence to England as he well recognized, and to leave the king of France to act alone, when he was so young, in a matter of so much importance would not redound to the credit of the king of Great Britain. I therefore begged His Majesty to comfort the two powers by an immediate public declaration, so that they might derive some advantage from it.
The king, who had listened attentively to my argument, then began to reply, and continued to speak for more than half-an hour, and with so much animation of gesture that the lords, who saw him from a distance, were amazed. His most essential points, which he repeated several times in order that I might be the better impressed, were that he was a king, and if he did not wish to be a feeble king, he could not despoil himself of that royal quality, and therefore it behoved them to perform all his actions, and especially the more conspicuous ones, with a due regard for his royal character. In my other audience I had asked him for a declaration in favour of the republic; he had decided to make one, but it was necessary for him to have some something to go upon (un fondamento), upon which he could take his stand, as to declare himself the enemy of Spain without any cause did not seem reasonable. Accordingly he thought it better first to perform a serious office with the king of Spain, and if this did nothing towards accommodating things, it would at least serve as ground for a declaration, and, in the meantime, by private letters, he would endeavour to do everything that the declaration itself might effect, as in addition to the offices of protest in Spain he had written to Venice as a confirmation and fresh testimony of his favourable disposition; to France to learn distinctly the intentions of the Most Christian, and to join with him, and to Holland to incite them to help the duke, so that he hoped that all the good results which might have come from a piece of paper containing his declaration would arise even better from these strenuous offices, with which he believed I should rest content, and he was sorry to see that it was not so. In reply to my fresh requests he replied that for my greater satisfaction he would willingly make a declaration at once, but that it is impossible, as he is constantly travelling, and does not remain in one place for two days together. The declaration is a thing that is not only to be seen at present by all the world, but which will remain for the censure of posterity, and to make it one needs no small time, and some rest of mind and body; it was not a thing to be done in one day. I had reminded him that a similar declaration had been made against the pope. He had no copy of that here, and the Secretary Winwood was not present, who has all the despatches in his hands. He swore to me by the wounds of Christ that he had been obliged to dictate the letter, word for word, which was written upon that occasion, and he could not do that at a moment's notice; neither would it become his dignity to do it in such a manner, for the world would say that he performed acts of such importance without examination and without taking counsel, as although he is a free king it is his habit to take the opinion of his councillors upon important matters, and they are not here, and I knew well that he did not govern by the advice of his councillors of Scotland. Directly he returned to England he would discuss the matter with his Council and would not only make the declaration but would provide the means to follow it up by action. That as for what I said about delay being prejudicial, I might say that if he had his armies and fleets ready here to send to Italy, but he had none to send out so soon; and what prejudice could the delay of a paper cause if he performed offices equivalent to it; he would make the declaration and in order to word it better, he assured me that he thought over its form several times a day and had already sketched out the beginning in his head, which would run thus. Since I came into my inheritance in England I have maintained a strong friendship with the republic of Venice, having found her always just, of good intentions and living peaceably with her neighbours, so that no one ever has just cause to complain of her; and I hear that the archduke of Carinthia is continually harassing her, and that recently the king of Spain has sent a fleet against her, &c. In the capacity of one who has long since decided to be the friend of her friends and the enemy of her enemies, I have made representations to the king to arrange these differences and to desist from molesting her, and as this has proved fruitless I have decided to declare myself in her favour as I have done previously, etc.
His Majesty went on to say that in effect he was compelled to act thus because of his interests with the republic, and not to allow the Spaniards to aggrandise themselves. He would not mind them increasing their state in Africa and against the Turk, but he would not let them do so in Christendom. There were three leading monarchs in Christendom, of whom he was one. The others ought to look carefully to it that no one of them made himself formidable, and he certainly would not neglect to do his part; I had been able to see on my journey how the whole island of Great Britain from one end to the other was faithful to him and well provided with men; he hoped so to unite all the spirits of England, Scotland, and Ireland that neither the Spaniards nor the French nor anyone else shall be able to obtain entrance (che io ho già potuto veder in questo viaggio come tutta l'isola della Gran Bretagna da un capo all altro è sua fedele, et ben all'ordine di gente et spera di unire cosi ben tutti li animi dell'Inghilterra, Scotia et Irlanda che ne Spagnoli ne Francesi ne chi si sia vi potrà haver l'addito). He would do so abroad, and in Italy no serious war should be made in which he would not have his part. I was not to believe that the marriage negotiations, which rumour reported, or any other interests which he had with Spain would restrain him, as he knew that nation very well and all their tricks. He commanded me to assure your Serenity of his good feeling towards you, and that you will never find a prince more ready or more sincere in your service; that I am to report to you the state in which I find him here, firstly, involved in the affairs of a parliament, which has not given him an hour to breathe until his departure, and further that he has since then been travelling without stopping anywhere, with no councillors near him, and no convenience or means for making the declaration which your Excellencies desire, but that immediately upon his return to England he will discuss it with his Council to satisfy the desire of the republic.
When he had finished speaking I begged His Majesty to excuse me if my eagerness to serve my prince and my knowledge of the urgent needs of Italy had possibly made me more importunate than was becoming, as I well knew the multiplicity of his affairs, how he was in a constant whirl of travel, as I had already informed your Excellencies, and that I felt sure that you would be quite satisfied and also most indebted to His Majesty for so full an expression of his gracious regard, but I hoped His Majesty would keep his eyes constantly fixed upon those parts and his hands ready to quickly raise that province as much as possible from the evils which weigh upon it, by his declaration and assistance, and as His Majesty was at present so occupied in travelling and with other affairs that he could not now do what I had asked him I would not importune him any more, even with my presence, and therefore I humbly took leave to return to England, where I should come to see him once more at a time when the Lords of the Council would also be there.
His Majesty replied that he had never considered my offices importunate, but he praised my zeal for the public service and approved of my project of seeing him again in London, whither he was proceeding himself this time, and that we should meet at a convenient season.
Edinburgh, the 23rd July, 1617.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 838. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have observed in all the offices with His Majesty performed in accordance with the commands of your Excellencies for the common service of yourselves and of the duke of Savoy His Majesty has never given me any answer with respect to the affairs of His Highness and the ministers have said exceedingly little. With regard to the declaration in particular it seems as if they do not think of including the duke. I do not know if this arises from a lack of consideration, or because they think that they are so interested with that prince that a declaration for him would be superfluous, or else they are offended because His Highness has no minister here and nothing is said about it. I make this conjecture because some days ago the Secretary Winwood remarked to Biondi that the duke never wrote or let anything be known of his fortunes, and this is really the case, as since the departure of the Count of Scarnafigi, no advices have ever arrived here from Piedmont in His Highness's name either for the king or even for Biondi, although he bears the name of his minister.
His Majesty is going to Woodstock (Ustoch), a place in England seventy miles from London, where he is to arrive on the 16th September, and will be met by the queen, prince, and councillors. One of the ministers has given me to understand that the decision about a declaration may be made there. The time will serve very well, as I shall be able to receive some reply from your Excellencies to my present letters, in which you may be pleased to signify your wishes upon this particular of Savoy, in case they make the declaration without including him. It will relieve me greatly if I know what to do, as if I do not receive orders from you to the contrary, I propose to go myself to meet the king at Woodstock, and I will not leave until something has been decided for the benefit of your interests, and possibly it is not superfluous to hope to obtain something further from His Majesty.
I have left Falkland and have returned to Edinburgh. Tomorrow I propose to start on my journey. I have sent these letters by sea to the secretary Surian at the Hague, and I hope that they will reach your Serenity much earlier than if they had gone by way of England. However, I will also send duplicates when I get there.
The earl of Oxford, the first nobleman of England who holds the title of Lord Chamberlain of the kingdom by inheritance for ever, whose father, though enjoying an income of 150,000 crowns, squandered almost the whole of it and left the son so loaded with debts that he has found it expedient to live at Florence for some years in order to avoid the excessive expenditure (fn. 2) which the court of England involves, and thereby somewhat improve his affairs, has besought the king to grant him facilities to serve your Serenity in the present wars and further to grant him to levy as many troops from the country as your Excellencies may command. His Majesty has been pleased to grant everything and has sent the letters asked for and will allow the levies which may be desired.
I hear that the earl is a young man without experience of arms, but as he is a great noble, many gentlemen and people of this kingdom would flock to him if once the drum was beaten in his name.
Edinburgh, the 23rd July, 1617.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 24. Cons. di X Parti Secrete. Venetian Archives. 839. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Council of Ten.
I have been advised with great secrecy that a certain Captain Gioan d' Aquin, an Englishman banished from that kingdom and in the pay of Spain, who is now at Venice, is negotiating with the officers and sailors of five English and Dutch ships, of these which brought soldiers and are still in that port, to steal away secretly without the knowledge of their captains with those ships, under some stratagem, to set upon the main deck of some of them, and take them to Trieste or another place of the Archduke, where troops will be ready to man them, with the idea of going buccaneering in the Gulf against the subjects of your Serenity; and that an English Colonel named Mark Grafin, also banished and in the pay of Spain, and who is now here, has contrived this plot with Ferdinand and obtained patents from him to carry it into execution, under his flag and use his ports and his subjects, and one of these days he is to go to Trieste for the purpose. He has already sent men thither to make preparations and get barques ready to take troops to the ships in case they cannot enter those ports. That Captain d' Aquin has gone to Venice for this purpose, and when he recently fell sick at Trent there went thither from Venice a month ago to find him for this plot one Richard Thornton, master gunner of the said ship and an English pirate, and one Giacomo Garzi, under captain of another ship, also English, with four other minor officers, and that Angelo, a French Provencal, under captain of another of the ships, is also involved, and they count very largely upon him.
Captain d' Aquin is lodging in Venice at St. Luca, Pontc dei fuseri, in a hired room, which used to belong to one Giacomo Rossi, who is now dead, or another near by. He is a man of about thirty, of average height, with a short red beard. He dresses in the French style. An Englishman named Gioan de Vechin, a familiar of Aquin and Grafin, has told me all this. They have negotiated upon all these matters with him, and he has promised to go on the ships with them. Yesterday he left for Venice, whither he is going to see Aquino. I have given him letters for your Excellencies, and he will be able to give you complete information about everything. He is a tall thin man of a florid complexion, and a long red beard. He is going to lodge with Aquino and learn everything. He seems to have a grudge against him. He hopes to receive a reward from your Excellencies for the information. He tells me that Aquino also entered into negotiations upon this with the Archduke Leopold and with a Jesuit, his confessor, and he expects to carry out this design very soon. As he has been a considerable time in Flanders he has many friends and acquaintances among the officers and sailors of these ships. I do not know the aforesaid Gioanni, who has told me this, or if he is a credible person, but your Excellencies will easily be able to ascertain the truth. (fn. 3)
Prague, the 24th July, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives 840. Ottaviano Bon and Vincenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The marquis of Lanz has been to thank the ambassador of the States for the decision of his masters in favour of the duke. He took the opportunity to propose the league. The Ambassador Langerach approved of the idea, and said that a league was as necessary in time of peace as in time of war, and he thought it would be easily arranged, the States would readily embrace it, and he would forward it by his representations.
The Marquis told us that he had had a similar conversation with the English ambassador, who also approved, although he did not tell him that he had spoken to Langerach, nor did he tell the latter of his conversation with England. His idea was to negotiate first with the States and afterwards with the Protestant princes, because they would undoubtedly see the king of Great Britain at the back of the latter.
The Count Palatine has gone to Sedan to see the duke of Bouillon, his near relation, and to remove the suspicions which his visit might cause he has written asking the English ambassador to inform the ministers here about it. He has done so, but the Court remains suspicious all the same.
Paris, the 25th July, 1617.
July 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati, Venetian Archives. 841. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Pasini has received the 200 ducats which I sent for Sir [Thomas] Stodder. He tells me that he was also molested by the agent of England, but he expects to be free in four or five days. His letter is dated on the 20th.
The Hague, the 25th July, 1617.
July 28. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 842. To the Ambassador at the Imperial Court.
The Ambassador Gritti writes that the duke of Lerma has resumed the negotiations for peace and there remains but little difficulty upon the affair of the Uscocchi. But as the Spaniards refused to agree to a general disarmament, nothing could be arranged. The French ambassador came into our Cabinet with the enclosed articles, urging us to accept them as the point of the Uscocchi was settled and with regard to Savoy the treaty of Asti should be executed, as the Catholic king promised to disarm if the nuncio and the French ambassador assured him that Savoy had effectively disarmed. We have represented everything to the duke of Savoy, in concert with whom we carry on all negotiations. We replied to France that as regards the Uscocchi we would accept the mediation of His Most Christian Majesty, but there were the damages inflicted by the Spaniards at sea during negotiations, without any provocation on our part, and we should require guarantees and disarmament both by land and sea. The French ambassador replied that the disbanding of the fleet was contained in the articles, and the Spanish ambassador offered restitution of the goods taken as not being acquired in legitimate war. In reply we re-asserted our desire if it were assured and general. He asked what promises and guarantees we desired from the Most Christian King. We said that as we would promise His Majesty to observe what was agreed upon, so we desired his word that Ferdinand and the Catholic king should observe what was agreed, and this would include the guarantee for the restitution of the galleys. Such is the present state of the negotiations. We can say no more until we hear from the duke of Savoy.
The like to Florence, Mantua, Naples.
To England and the Hague, adding you will keep this to yourself and say nothing to anyone.
To Rome without the articles, which were sent before.
To Prague in addition a copy of the negotiations contained in the Spanish letters.
Ayes 167.
Noes 0.
Neutral 4.
July 28. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 843. To the Secretary in England.
The Spanish fleet appeared on the 18th in sight of Liesena. Our fleet put to sea and each manœuvred to get to windward of the other, but night fell and in the morning the Spaniards had disappeared. Our fleet returned to Liesena, and learned that they were returning thither with a wind favourable to them but not to us. They did not approach, but turned towards Dalmatia, where they took the merchant ships before our fleet could learn their whereabouts. On the 22nd we heard that they were returning to Brindisi, while our fleet was at sea between Spalato and Sebenico.
In Friuli on the night of the 22nd the enemy attacked four redoubts guarded by Dutch troops and captured two after a long struggle. They were repulsed from our fort upon Rubia with great loss.
The like to:
Turin. France. Milan.
Rome. Spain. Naples.
Prague. the Hague. Florence.
Ayes 158.
Noes 1.
Neutral 2.
July 29. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 844. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The affairs of the English merchant, upon which a gentleman of the king came here to seek redress, has never been settled, after various postponements, so that the gentleman has left recently without taking back any reply to His Majesty's letter. With him went the English merchant, who suffered so severely in his property and health that the doctors say that he will not live long. Before leaving this merchant came to call upon me. After the compliments he said that as he was going away he had come to get some decision about the promise which I had made at the beginning of the troublesome affair of the Archenda. I replied that every promise was a debt but that information was necessary and I did not see how it could he obtained so soon, as I heard that Cariati of Zante was dead, who bought a part of the Archenda, and the English merchant who bought the other part is also dead, and I was sorry he had not spoken to me about it before. He replied showing that my obligation was for the whole of the Archenda and not for a part. I would not admit this, because I said that if the name of a subject of Zante had not been mixed up in this, I should have had no reason to fear any ill.
He then told me that he had spent some ducats upon the hire of the Archenda and for the custom, and these ought to be included in my obligation. I said that I had only proposed to guarantee the portion which had been bought by Cariati, and therefore it was important that I should be informed of his share, and I added that as the affair was not near a settlement at the time of his departure he should leave instructions with the English ambassador, with whom, I assured him, there would be no difference. With that he departed. On the following day he sent me the bills of lading and the expenses upon the hire, amounting to a total of 146 thalers, and a note of the weight of the Archenda, namely 565 tons (cantara), but not stating the price, I think because he did not know it, as in previous discussions he did not seem to know much about it. The merchant departed leaving the affair unfinished, and I thought that he had left instructions with his ambassador, but when I recently went to see the latter he never referred to it and neither did I, so that I hope the affair may end in silence, in which I shall recognise the grace of God to me.
Upon this occasion I had various discussions with the ambassador. Among other things he told me that the secretary of state had written telling him that His Majesty's ambassador was leaving for Spain about the marriage which had been under negotiation for a long time, but he thought that it would have no results, being negotiated by a person who was much inclined to that party, and who had formerly been ambassador at that Court. He added that he was a member of His Majesty's Council and no one in that position had ever previously been sent as ambassador. Upon this same subject the ambassador of Flanders told me recently that the king of England, before leaving for Scotland, had sent for the ambassador of the States and said to him. You have some suspicion that a marriage may take place between the Crown of Spain and ours; but rest assured, for I know that it will prove very prejudicial both to your States and to my kingdom, and it will not take place, but it is impossible to be so discourteous as to refuse to listen to the proposals of a great prince. He told me also that he was advised that when his masters sent an agent to the king of Spain to make complaints, it not being their custom to send an ambassador there, they not only told him not to come to the Court, but to leave the kingdom immediately, for so His Majesty's service required (so che roi havete qualch' sospetto che possa seguir matrimonio tra la Corona di Spagna et questa tuttavia potete assicurarsi che conoscendo io che da ciò ne riuscirebbe pregiudo notabilisso non meno alli rostri Stati che al mio regno che non sia pro seguire, non si può però trattandosi di un Prencipe Grande per non mostrar sprezzo ricusar d'ascoltare, mi disse appresso che col l'ultimo dispaccio havera havuto aviso che havendo li suoi signori mandato un Comisso al Re di Spagna per far diversi condoglienze, non accostumando loro di mandarle Ambrr, le han fatto saper che non solo non venghi alla corte ma che imte se ne esca dal Regno perche cosi couriene al servitio di S. M.)
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 29th July, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 31. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives. 845. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Prainer is still here, and no decision has as yet been taken about his going to the camp. As regards the regiment for which he is asking, the Cardinal has told him that the Emperor will fill up that of Stodder to 3,000 under his charge, but this is not credited.
Prague, the last day of July, 1617. Copy.


  • 1. The names of the persons attending this parliament are given in a note to page 155 of the Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, vol. xi.
  • 2. Edward de Vere, earl of Oxford, is said to have threatened to ruin his wife by way of avenging himself on his father-in-law (Burghley) for not using his influence to save the duke of Norfolk. Dic. Nat. Biog.
  • 3. The decipher is preserved in Senato, Secreta, Comunicazioni dal Cons. de X.