Venice: November 1615

Pages 55-71

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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November 1615

Nov. 4. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Grisoni. Venetian Archives. 80. Christoforo Surian, Venetian secretary with the Swiss and Grisons, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses memorial from Sig. Vimes.
Zurich, the 4 November, 1615.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 81. Cornelius de Vimes, a Flemish gentleman of good birth and a Catholic, who took part in the war of Cleves and especially in the famous siege of Juliers, with Captain Gerard Herbert, an Englishman, who served in Germany, Bohemia and Austria and who went to Constantinople to learn the Turkish method of fighting, by the French and English ambassadors, asks for a recognition of his services to the republic under the Ambassador Barbarigo and the Secretary Surian, as he has received no more than 80 crowns.
Nov. 6. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 82. Giovanni Rizzardo, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I must not omit to advise your Excellencies of everything that happens day by day. Last Sunday I went to pay a formal call upon the Archbishop of Canterbury in the name of the Ambassador Foscarini, who sent me in his place because of the rainy weather, though he should have gone himself because he had announced his intention beforehand. I first offered the excuses of his Excellency for not coming after enquiring after his health, asked him to prepare something for the ambassador's departure and similar things. He answered me very courteously. I asked him if there was any news and among other things he spoke to me about the Secretary Muscorno. He told me that the king had already received the news of his detention from his ambassador. He had letters from Venice, he did not say from whom, which informed him not only of the detention but of the reasons for it. That it was for three causes, firstly because he had spoken evil of the Ambassador Foscarini in London and maligned his character; the second for having composed a libellous book upon the things said and done by the ambassador, and the third for having an understanding with the Spanish ambassador. Of the first he said that it was perfectly true that Muscorno had performed such offices with all the lords of the Council. He had heard many things said by them to the disadvantage of the ambassador, and had taken his part, telling them not to believe these things so readily and to suspend their judgment until they were better informed. He said he had defended the arguments and the honour of the ambassador like a friend, as he professes to be, to his very utmost. On the second point he said he was almost certain that the book had been composed by the secretary in conjunction with Biondi as was reported; that it was full of obscenity and absurd things. I begged him to favour the ambassador by allowing him to see the book; and he promised that he would get it for me. On the third point he said nothing further to me, but after some complimentary phrases I took leave. The ambassador subsequently called upon him without me. His Excellency told me that the archbishop had said practically the same to him, but with the addition that with respect to the Spanish ambassador he said that Muscorno had revealed public secrets to him. When he exclaimed in astonishment, Do I understand secret information of the republic; He repeated, Yes, secrets. The archbishop usually speaks Latin and speaks it well. I simply report these facts to your Excellencies; I have also communicated them to the Ambassador Barbarigo. At the instance of Sig. Foscarini, the Sig. Barbarigo in conjunction with him and in my presence continues to take information upon the charges laid against Muscorno, as I reported in my last.
By the last letters from Venice which arrived this week Sig. Foscarini has been warned that if he returns by the ordinary route of the ambassadors on their way home, he will certainly fall into an ambush, as his enemies are lying in wait for him, and therefore he had better make the journey by France and Savoy. These are the words and they have made him somewhat afraid and still more unsettled. He proposes now to take the latter way, so that he may arrive home sooner than he thought, if he does not wait for a reply to his letters asking for further information.
I must not omit to state that William the Scotchman, (fn. 1) who was in the service of His Excellency and was tried for proposing to murder Muscorno, is now here in the service of a certain Dr. Mayerne, who lives in this city. I send all this news in accordance with my duty, so as not to omit anything that may be of use.
London, the 6th November, 1615.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Nov. 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 83. Antonio Foscarini and Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In three days the king will be here, and we are assured that we shall have audience of him on the following day, and of the queen and prince soon after. The latest news that His Majesty has from France is that the Lord of Praslin (Prali), with 800 horse, has routed the prince of Tingry, who was returning to unite with Condé, capturing all his baggage, together with some amount of money, which they say amounts to 20,000 crowns. The prince of Conde has done everything in order to give battle to the Marshal of Boisdauphin (Boduffin), who on his side has retreated, and is only trying to keep him employed and to gain time until the king's return. The Marshal of Ancre has sent a certain body of troops towards Corbie. He has built a fort there, garrisoned by a good number of infantry, and some companies of his horse are scouring the country, It is understood that those of the religion are making themselves felt in various places, and accordingly His Most Christian Majesty is levying large numbers of men in Guienne. The Marquis of Bonnivet has been awaiting for several days the return of a gentleman of his sent to the Princes in France. He attributes the delay to the road being blocked. He has seen the king recently, but found him somewhat worried by domestic affairs and home politics. and so he thought it better to put off his own business to another time. As a matter of fact, these pre-occupations have diverted His Majesty from everything else, have delayed his return and consequently our audience.
At Brunswick extensive provisions are being made both for offence and defence. Maurice, with the consent of the United Provinces, has enlisted some troops for the defence of the town, and the duke of Luxemburg is exerting himself to the same purpose. The king of Denmark, on the other hand, is arming and doing what he can to help the duke, and is urging him strongly to make good his pretensions by force.
The affair of Mulheim has caused considerable dissatisfaction here, and it is considered certain that rumours of war will be heard from those parts at the earliest season.
In Scotland the Earl of Argyll is labouring and scoring successes, but not sufficiently, as the insurgents continue to offer a vigorous resistance, aided as they are by the nature of the country and those who foment them.
The talk about the assembling of Parliament grows constantly more frequent, as of a thing resolved upon and certain. We will speak of domestic affairs in our next, as, although they concern individuals, yet they seem to preoccupy the king greatly.
London, the 7 November, 1615.
Nov. 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 84. Antonio Foscarini and Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
George (fn. 2) Carr, a simple gentleman by birth and introduced to the king's service as a page, succeeded little by little in gaining the king's favour, so that he was successively created knight, baron Brandspeth, Viscount Rochester, a knight of the Garter, earl of Somerset, Grand Chamberlain of England, Grand Treasurer of Scotland, Keeper of the Privy Seal, and Warden of the Cinque Ports, and it seemed that His Majesty could not find anything, however great it might be, which he thought good enough for him. It is said that he was to have been made Marquis of Durham (Duren) and was expected daily to be proclaimed duke of the Orkneys.
Some months ago (fn. 3) it was stated that he had appropriated a considerable quantity of the Crown jewels; to secure himself on this question and upon every other charge he begged His Majesty for an absolute pardon even so far as the crime of high treason. He obtained the promise and signature. The order was sent to the Lord Chancellor to receive the great seal. He refused to affix it. Both were summoned to the king's presence and spoke on their knees. One adduced the reasons against such a pardon, which were very weighty, and said that in any case it would be necessary, if he affixed the seal, that His Majesty should grant him a special pardon for having done so, otherwise it was against the laws of the realm, and at the convocation of parliament he would lose his head. The other called the Lord Chancellor his enemy, and pressed his petition. While the rest of the Lords of the Council who were present were hanging on the king's lips, His Majesty said that he had loved Somerset, thinking him of good character, and he would continue to do so.. Then turning to the Chancellor and the others, he said that it was not in his power or in that of any of them to divert him from his purpose, but it rested with Somerset alone if he should not prove unworthy. He then commanded the Chancellor to affix the seal without making any reply, because he desired it, and commanded it by his royal authority, and so he passed to his own apartments. When this came to the queen's knowledge she immediately left her palace for the king's, and contrived to induce him to suspend the order to put the seal to the pardon, and it has never been affixed.
Somerset is also accused of other crimes and in particular of having poisoned a knight of high standing, his own friend, (fn. 4) who was in the Tower by the king's command, as we wrote. It is further suspected that he had a share in the death of the late prince by those who say that His Highness died of poison, and who are ill affected towards the living prince. The published matter concerns the death of this knight, and the one who gave him the poison was put to death the day before yesterday. (fn. 5) The Countess of Somerset is under arrest for the same crime. They speak also of the wife of the Lord Treasurer, and some even of the Lord Treasurer himself, but this is not certain. The outcome cannot be predicted, but from what we hear he will certainly lose all his possessions and will be confined in the Tower during the king's good pleasure. Thus the man who in the course of no more than eight years and at the age of twenty-six had won the highest dignities of these kingdoms, with a property of about three millions of gold, will have lost all in a moment, as well as the king's favour, to which he owed all these benefits.
London, the 7 November, 1615.
Nov. 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 85. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince crossed the Loire on the 28th ult. This has greatly increased his reputation, and they complain bitterly about the Marshal Boisdauphin for not having prevented it. The Princes are expected to march through Touraine into Poitou. The queen and ministers, although they discount the importance of this event, are naturally very anxious. Villeroi and the Marshal of Ancre are now jointly advocating peace. A rumour has recently got abroad that they will ask the Spaniards for help. When the English ambassador heard this, he began to speak out boldly. He told them and me also that he held instructions to acquaint their Majesties that if the Spaniards enter this kingdom the king, his master, would also send English, as it was not in his interest that that nation should approach his frontiers.
Bordeaux, the 7 November, 1615.
Nov. 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 86. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
No reply has as yet been given to the advances of the English ambassador, offering in his king's name to intervene in the present troubles, although he is pressing his services energetically upon them. They find some difficulty in making up their minds, as they fear that the refusal of these offers may give offence and augment the troubles. On the other hand, if they allow him to intervene, they know that he would be too eager to advance the interests of those of the religion in indulging their pretensions and obtaining the satisfaction of their demands. In addition to this they are most unwilling that that king, by such negotiations, should lay the Huguenots under an obligation to him and draw to himself so large a part of the kingdom.
The Nuncio has said nothing further, so it is clear that his offer was only intended to show the good disposition of the pope for peace. A composition becomes constantly more difficult, as the Princes will now insist upon the granting of all their demands, which it is impossible for the king to do.
Bordeaux, the 7th November, 1615.
Nov. 10. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 87. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Our express messenger has reached here with the news that the exchange of the princesses took place yesterday.
Bordeaux, the 10 November, 1615.
Nov. 10. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 88. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday evening after dark His Highness sent to the resident of England telling him to go to bed early because he wished to speak with him the first thing this morning. I cannot wait longer to gather further particulars because the courier must be sent off earlier than usual to arrive at Milan in time, owing to the bad roads.
Turin, the 10 November, 1615.
Nov. 13. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 89. Antonio Foscarini and Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king arrived here on Tuesday evening and immediately fixed the following day for our audience, as we wrote that he would do. Accordingly Lord Hay came to the house of me, Barbarigo, with ten coaches, among which were two of His Majesty, and twenty of the principal cavaliers of the Court and we proceeded together with this company and with many additional coaches of ambassadors and others. When we reached the king's palace we found everything in readiness and all the halls and apartments full of people. We entered the place where His Majesty sat, under a canopy, accompanied by the prince and a great number of lords. He welcomed us very graciously, and I, Foscarini, began to tell him that as I had been on duty for a period of five years, your Excellencies had graciously allowed me to return after a period of eleven years of continual service; that in my place you had sent the Most Illustrious Barbarigo, who with his noble qualities will afford His Majesty the best services. I enlarged in his praises, seeing that the king listened to me graciously. I, Barbarigo, after expressing the satisfaction of your Serenity at the good health and prosperity of His Majesty and all the royal house, spoke the continuation of the most friendly disposition of your Serenity, and all that I was instructed to say, more particularly my desire to serve him in this charge. His Majesty heard all with much graciousness and an extraordinary demonstration of affection. He expressed how much he valued the friendship of your Excellencies and said how much he desired to have opportunities of showing his own. The reception was more favourable than is ordinary and His Majesty received me as minister and said that all who returned from our parts bore testimony to the good treatment which they received there, and he knew how kind I, Barbarigo, had been to some of them. He had received a full account about it from the Earl of Arundel, who was present there.
I, Foscarini, told the prince in a low voice that the Most Illustrious Barbarigo had a commission from your Excellencies to visit His Highness, and I, Barbarigo, confirmed this. The prince seemed pleased and replied smiling that he would be very pleased to receive the favour of your Excellencies at my visit. Meanwhile the king turned to me, Foscarini, and said that he knew I was very pleased to leave such a successor in my place and laying his hand on my arm he said he should like to see me, using other most gracious expressions. Thus after making a profound reverence to His Majesty and the prince we took leave and departed, followed by the same company as far as the house from which they fetched us. There I, Barbarigo, pressed them all to stay to dinner with me, as I did not wish to omit anything which might serve the reputation of your Excellencies and the satisfaction of the Court here.
We shall use every effort to see the queen and the prince, and I, Foscarini, will take leave of His Majesty, as we have already preferred our requests for this and they should be immediately granted. I, Barbarigo, owing to the sufferings which I underwent on my journey and the fatigues of the past two years am suffering from severe disorder and parching up of the blood (intemperie et adustione di sangue) which causes me constant anxiety. I have been compelled to undergo a tedious and noxious treatment to add to my troubles. However your Excellencies may rest assured that while I have life and breath I shall leave nothing undone which may advance the service of your Serenity.
London, the 13 November, 1615.
Nov. 13. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 90. Antonio Foscarini and Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
We have received the letters of your Serenity of the 17th ult. in which you direct us to assure the king of the satisfaction which you have received from the Ambassador Carleton. As I, Foscarini, am to be the first to see His Majesty, when I take leave, as I hope to do in one or two days, I will execute your commands, and I, Barbarigo, on the arrival of the Ambassador Carleton, will not fail to make the representations to him which you desire, informing him of the satisfaction of your Serenity, while I will sing his praises to His Majesty.
The king has declared the duke of Lennox High Steward, an extraordinary charge and the greatest in the kingdom, a sort of superior Major Domo, which has not been conferred on any one for forty-seven years. They say that the Earl of Somerset will be put in the Tower to-day and deprived of all his charges and of the privy seal. The countess, his wife, confesses to having had recourse to witchcraft in order to obtain the love of the deceased prince, and the bronze statue made for this purpose has been found. They also argue that Viscount Bindon, Lord Dunbar and the Earl of Essex (Hesses) were poisoned, the two first dying. That Essex survived owing to his youthful strength, but lost his hair and his nails and became an invalid. The rumour and suspicion about the late prince also continue, as we reported. Sir [Thomas] Howard (Ouard), second son of the Lord Treasurer, was also thrown into prison the day before yesterday, and so was the brother of the Earl of Dorset (Orset) (fn. 6) and many others of lesser quality; thus the whole court is in a state of commotion. The king, who was to have left on Monday, is understood to desire to delay his going for four or five days, and meanwhile the prosecution of Somerset at any rate will take place. The Lieutenant of the Tower will lose his charge and they fear his head also, as he was closely questioned yesterday.
One of the most important of the Lords of the Council told us that the most important documents of the king have come into the hands of Spain, who has bribed more than one of the ministers with a great sum of money. They are taking proceedings to discover everything; one has already been convicted and others are indicated. He told us much of the ill offers performed by the ministers and pistoles of Spain, and speaking with emotion he said that strong steps must be taken, hinting that the king was inclined to this.
On the third day the secretary of the Most Christian ambassador returned here from France. The ambassador sent immediately to the king for an audience, which he had yesterday. We will endeavour to find out about it and report to your Excellencies. What is known is that on the 28th the Prince of Condé was to pass the Loire on a bridge of boats, but the Marshal Boisdauphin drew near with his army, and destroyed part of the bridge with his artillery. As they were within range of each other they exchanged several shots.
The king has letters from his ambassador in Spain in which he says that the Catholic king is unwilling to send the Infanta to France before he sees the disturbances there settled. This news has proved welcome and has provided matter for discussion for the Lords of the Government and leaves the king and everyone else very anxious to hear it confirmed.
Count Henry has taken the field with 2,000 horse, 4,000 foot and six pieces of artillery; there are various rumours as to his objective. The ambassador of Holland has arrived back here from the States. We will try to obtain from him full particulars of what he is bringing.
London, the 13 November, 1615.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 13. Inquisitori di State. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 91. Giovanni Rizzardo, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
The Ambassador Foscarini still continues to accumulate evidence upon the charges laid against Muscorno, getting the Ambassador Barbarigo to take information and depositions. He is also preparing his defence against the charges which he hears are made against him by Muscorno. It is probable that he will bring an authentic copy of everything to Venice with him, but your Excellencies should know that these documents have passed through the hands of the Secretary Lionello, and are now in the possession of the Ambassador Barbarigo, who is fully informed upon the details of the matter, and is continually accumulating fresh material.
Sig. Foscarini has at length decided to leave here as soon as possible, when he has had his audiences and arranged his private affairs and other matters. He will return by France, although on account of the dangers announced he gives out publicly that he intends to travel by way of Germany. He is no longer thinking of stopping so long, as he has heard by the last ordinary that he cannot now hope for any fresh honours, which he proposed to wait for, but that he may rather expect favours of another kind.
London, the 13th November, 1615.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Nov. 15. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 92. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen is expected next week. Nothing is known about any progress in the negotiations for peace, and they are almost entirely abandoned. A few days ago they replied to the English ambassador, thanking his king for his care for the welfare of this realm and for his courteous offices. For the rest they said that subjects ought to ask for peace from the king and not he from them, and if the princes wished for it they must come to Court and ask for it, humiliating themselves before His Majesty, in whom they would meet with nothing but grace and clemency. The ambassador replied that he had made no representations on behalf of the princes, but had simply offered the intervention of his king to settle the difficulties, and if that offer had proved acceptable he would have done his utmost to achieve success. Accordingly as the ambassador makes no further proposals, and they remain fixed in their determination that the princes must come to Court, matters remain in suspense and there is no progress.
In order to conciliate many of those who desire peace and to establish it more firmly against those who do not want it, they have again taken up the question of the marriage of the second princess here with the prince of England, speaking about it to the ambassador, who sent word to his king. This is in order to allay the suspicions which the Huguenots may conceive from the alliance with Spain and to compel them to move more circumspectly in declaring themselves against the king's service, of which they are much afraid, as the Huguenots are negotiating with the princes.
Bordeaux, the 15 November, 1615.
Nov. 17. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Sivoia. Venetian Archives. 93. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday a gentleman arrived here from Germany with letters for His Highness from Brandenburg Wirtemberg, the prince of Anhalt, the count of Mansfeld and the margrave of Anspach, who seem much put out because of the peace concluded with the Grand Turk. I have not yet learned the particulars of his negotiations with His Highness.
Turin, the 17 November, 1615.
Nov. 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 94. Gregorio Barrarigo and Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Monday, I, Foscarini, took leave of the king, who received me most graciously. I acquainted him with the satisfaction received by your Excellencies from the Ambassador Carleton and with all that you anticipated from Sir Henry Wotton. His Majesty evinced pleasure thereat, and after some conversation I told him that I had already passed five years in this service, seeking to maintain the excellent relations existing between this crown and the Signory. On my return I should not fail to bear witness to His Majesty's love for the republic and to the favours received by me during the whole of the period. That I kissed his hands for his gracious treatment of me, and that I took my leave.
The king replied that he had taken pleasure in what he styled my good services, and was aware of my having used my good offices not only with him but with your Excellencies, that this was the right way to act and characteristic of a good minister. He next desired me, in the warmest terms, to assure your lordships of his affection. He concluded by saying that as it behoved me to return, he prayed God to prosper my departure, and he wished me the greatest possible felicity. After a few other words I bowed and took leave. His Majesty enquired when I was going, and I replied that I merely awaited the convenience of the queen and prince in order to present my successor to them, and to take leave of them. He then said, in that case I must speak to the Secretary for the letters and for what was requisite, whereupon I departed.
After our audience of the king we endeavoured to obtain the like of the queen, expecting it daily, Her Majesty being at the end of a long course of medical treatment undertaken by her for her ailments. Owing however to the bad state of one of her legs she has hitherto been unable to receive us. Yesterday, in consequence of our suit, her chamberlain went again to Her Majesty at Greenwich, and as he will return to-morrow, we trust that audience may be appointed us on an early day, and immediately afterwards we shall present ourselves to the prince.
In the meantime I, Foscarini, to gain time, have taken leave of the duke of Lennox, and I continue to bid farewell to several others of the nobility, as I am anxious to return home after an absence of so many years.
The ambassador from the archduke, who had been desirous to take leave long before us, has at length had audience of the king and is in like manner endeavouring to obtain his immediate dismissal from the queen and prince, being the more anxious to get away as the malady of the archduke becomes more alarming, though in the event of his death no important change in Flanders is anticipated, as the infanta is to remain mistress in those territories. In lieu of this ambassador, the archdukes will be represented by an agent, who has been residing here upwards of a year, as I have already related, and the subsequent sojourn of the ambassador was induced solely by the negotiations about Cleves, nor for the future will any ambassador from Flanders reside at this court.
London, the 20 November, 1615.
Nov. 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 95. Gregorio Barbarigo and Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The very day on which we wrote our last, Lord Wotton went to the earl of Somerset, and in the king's name demanded of him both the seals and the lord chamberlain's staff. The earl answered that the seals were there and he consigned them to him and that as for the staff, which he pointed out to him in a corner of the room, he might take it. Lord Wotton rejoined that the order he had received from the king did not purport that he was to take the staff, but that the earl was to give it, as he did. Shortly afterwards the earl of Somerset was removed for examination before four judges, and subsequently to the Tower, where he yet remains. According to report the king has promised his jewels, plate, furniture and money to the queen and his landed property to the prince. A maid (una damigella) of the countess of Somerset is said to have been the accomplice of all the crimes committed by her mistress, and to have confessed in private to knowing something about the poisoning of the prince. But before the judges she said not a word about this, and denied many heinous offences. Nevertheless she is condemned to death for those proven against her. (fn. 7) The countess is on the eve of her delivery, and the enquiry proceeds. The king took his departure on the day before yesterday, apparently much pained at these events, and by the discord prevalent at the court. (fn. 8)
Besides the audience which the French ambassador had last week, he was with His Majesty again the day before yesterday, and that same evening the king received a courier from his ambassador at the French court. What we have elicited hitherto is that he spoke about the proposals and suit urged by the English ambassador in France, and concerning the reply made to him by their Most Christian Majesties, that it is meant to carry the marriages into effect and that there is small inclination to grant any of the concessions demanded on behalf of the malcontent princes. The king evinced much resentment at this reply, speaking very warmly, while on the other hand the French ambassador gave him to understand that when he disposed of the hand of the Princess Elizabeth, France did not interfere, nor would she in the marriage of the prince or in those of any other children who might be born to His Majesty. The courier was the bearer of full details of all that the ambassador has negotiated and of a compendium of what was said to him in reply both by their Majesties and by the ministers conformably with the announcements made here by the French ambassador.
It is understood that Condé has crossed the Loire with his whole army and that the marshal de Boisdauphin has followed him with the troops under his command, but there is no news of any engagement or of anything of greater importance.
The duke of Longueville yet remains with the prince and commands the rear guard, the van being under the duke of Mayenne, while the prince is with the main body. They are said to be marching upon Poitou, a country inhabited for the most part by the Huguenots. It remains to be seen what effect their arrival will produce.
From London, the 20 November, 1615.
Nov. 20. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 96. Giovanni Rizzardo, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
The Sig. Foscarini claims now to have deposited sufficient proofs with Sig. Barbarigo upon the charges brought against Muscorno. He has now decided to depart as soon as he has taken leave of the queen and the prince, and to take the direct route through France and Savoy without stopping. I recognise my duty to fulfil the orders given me by your Excellencies; certain things are happening which concern the dignity and honour of the republic and my zeal for the service compels me to give an account of them. I submit this in the hope that your Excellencies will recognise my goodwill.
I have recently heard that the Ambassador Foscarini obtained a letter from the king to his ambassador upon the dispute about precedence with the ambassador of the archduke. A copy has reached my hands quite recently, and I enclose it to show its tenor. His Excellency, by his letters, demanded to come after the kings. I have no need to express my opinion, but I leave the matter to those who have knowledge. I know when I was in another place and there was a question of a new title of king assumed by a prince, the republic claimed not to have a place after the kings, but to keep one among the kings. It is sufficient for me to state what has taken place. The king's letter was given about two years ago. It is in the ambassador's possession, and he did not send it before because he hoped to obtain others containing a complete and definite statement upon the affair with the reply from Spain. (fn. 9) He asked the king to grant this favour at his last audience. His Majesty did not refuse, but replied that the archduke would be dead in a little while, and no further occasion would arise. The Secretary, when the ambassador made a like request to him, replied that he would first speak to His Majesty. He afterwards sent word by Sir [Henry] Wotton that the reply had not come from Spain and they could say no more at the moment, but possibly Wotton would bring the decision with him to the republic. After I had spoken about this with Sig. Foscarini in the public interest, I communicated everything to Sig. Barbarigo, and now do so to your Excellencies.
I must further add that the ambassador of Flanders is also about to depart. He had his leave-taking audience of his Majesty a day before the Ambassador Foscarini. Both asked for audience, but it is said that Flanders asked first. Whatever may be thought of that it is worthy of note that the ambassador of Flanders was invited and dined with His Majesty at the same table on the day of the audience, in London, and that on the following day the Venetian ambassador was simply received and took leave.
Some days ago, moreover, the Spanish ambassador sent his chaplain here to see Sig. Foscarini to arrange with him, so he said, about the relations which should exist between the Spanish ambassador and Sig. Barbarigo. The former lets it be understood that he will not treat the latter as an equal. It is true that he has not yet been to call upon him, either before the audience of the king, as all the other ambassadors did, or afterwards, but he only sent his interpreter on a complimentary visit. We shall see whether he will come after the audience of the queen, as it is possible that he may have omitted this office for personal reasons, in order not to be after France in returning visits. Your Excellencies shall be advised of what takes place before our departure.
London, the 20th November, 1615.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Nov. 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 97. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
There is no further talk of peace and no one is working for it. Neither the English ambassador nor the nuncio has said anything further. Meanwhile the princes are augmenting their forces. There are loud complaints at Court against the Marshal Boisdauphin, who moves slowly and who so far has done nothing of any account.
Bordeaux, the 21st November, 1615.
Nov. 22. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives. 98. Pietro Vico, Venetian Secretary in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
From France it is understood that the Huguenots may finally join the party of the prince of Condé; they have raised troops. The English ambassador told me that they complain of his king, saying that His Majesty foments these dissensions, and a very little would induce him to interpose his authority for an agreement. They fear that if these disturbances continue the duke of Savoy will join the princes and may soon arm again under such a pretext, which would give rise to fresh trouble.
Madrid, the 22 November, 1615.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Nov. 22. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 99. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The gentleman whom I mentioned in my last having arrived here in the name of the Protestant Princes of Germany presented his credentials to His Highness. He has set himself to negotiate upon the league, already proposed by the king of England. (fn. 10)
The duke of Saxony has not gone yet, but is detained by the duke until the issue of the French negotiations is known.
Turin, the 22 November, 1615.
Nov. 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 100. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen entered this city the day before yesterday; the mass will be celebrated on Wednesday and they will spend the evening together.
Bordeaux, the 23 November, 1615.
Nov. 27. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 101. To the Ambassador in England.
The Uscocchi are continually becoming more turbulent. After the barbarous affair of the galley Veniera, we harried their nests and lurking places, but we hoped that the princes would provide some remedy by the restitution of the galley and its artillery, as a sign that they did not approve of such proceedings. This has not happened. In reply to our representations promises have been given in writing to remove the Uscocchi, burn their ships and banish them, but these have not been fulfilled in the smallest particular. The commissioners sent have departed without coming to any decision, taking back presents from the Uscocchi. This has increased their boldness. This appeared at Novi, whither the Uscocchi took a part of the artillery and munitions of the galley Veniera, in order to invade our states. One Benvenuto Pettazzo, head of the citizens of Trieste and owner of the district of San Servolo and other towns, admitted the Uscocchi to his places with other villains and has encouraged depredations upon our subjects in Istria. This has been justly resented by our officials and subjects. This man thereupon issued an insulting manifesto against our Proveditore Leze and on the 12th inst. actually passed capital sentence upon him. Our Proveditore could not refrain from reprisals and burned some houses of this Pettazzo in the neighbourhood. Pettazzo at once fomented further plundering, at our places of Popecchio and Caresana, in a manner to show that this arose purely from private spite. After this the Proveditore, hearing that Pettazzo had constructed some saltpits near Muggia in a place undoubtedly under our jurisdiction, went and destroyed them on the 24th inst. On his return he was attacked by superior numbers and defeated after a stout resistance, losing about 120 killed. He took refuge at Capo d'Istria to prepare the defence of the province. We hope that God will favour the just cause and bring to naught their evil designs.
We send this for information, so that you may know what reply to make to the rumours spread abroad, which are contrary to the truth and misrepresent our good intentions.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, France, Savoy, Spain, Milan, Florence, Naples.
Ayes 159.
Noes 1.
Neutral 1.
Nov. 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 102. Gregorio Barbarigo and Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen has somewhat recovered and has fixed to-morrow for the audience. With that and the audience of the prince two days later we shall have completed our duties, and I, Foscarini, shall set out at once.
Whilst Count Henry of Nassau, with 2,500 horse and 1,800 muskeers, picked men from all the companies, had set out in advance in the direction of Brunswick, Count Frederick of Solmes, general of the Hanse towns, has betaken himself thither to relieve that town. Accordingly the duke, perceiving that his difficulties were likely to be considerably increased, entered into negotiations with the besieged, withdrew and raised the siege. However, he continues to negotiate, in order to arrive at some final settlement which will reduce everything to order in those parts. The doubt lest the king of Denmark, who was greatly interested, as we have already reported, on account of the duke, his nephew, should not be contented with harassing Brunswick only, but should cherish designs against the other coast towns, with whom the Dutch had recently come to a fresh understanding in order to confirm their league with that town, had no little influence in inducing the States to send the succour which they did and to ask for a settlement. In addition to sending Count Henry, the States had commissioned Count John Ernest to follow him with 1,000 Frisian infantry, the better to make sure of the passage. This proved unnecessary, but Count Henry, now that the Brunswick business is nearly settled, has drawn towards Cologne and stopped in the neighbourhood; we even hear that he has received orders to winter in those territories to bring home to the city of Cologne and the Archbishop, by this means, the displeasure which they have caused the States by the destruction of Mulheim.
The other affairs concerning the country of Cleves and the execution of the treaty of Xanten are now broken off more than ever, as the Dutch, after the deliberation of the Provinces, have adhered to their original resolve not to consent to the requests to remove the name of the two kings from the composition with the archduke, as by what they say they do not want to change anything or to withdraw, as the Spaniards desire, from the relation which they ought to have to the treaty of Santen. Their ambassador, M. Caron, has returned with this reply to His Majesty. The ambassador of Flanders says that the king wrote to the archduke expressing his satisfaction with His Highness and that he has right on his side. The Dutch ambassador, however, bears witness that His Majesty entirely agrees with what his masters have done, but that at the same time he is unwilling that occasions for dispute should remain, and would be glad to see some better hopes for peace in those parts.
London, the 27 November, 1615.
Nov. 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 103. Gregorio Barbarigo and Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassadors in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The marquis of Bonnivet, contrary to all expectation and very suddenly, has left this Court without taking leave of His Majesty or taking any other steps. There are various rumours about his departure, some saying that he has been withdrawn by the queen's party, others the opposite; but there is no certain information, and this is by no means flattering to the reputation of the princes here.
The individual sent by the king to the assembly at Grenoble (fn. 11) returned here yesterday. He interviewed the king's secretary but has not yet been to see His Majesty. He brings no word of any resolution taken by that assembly, after meeting at Nimes, to assist the princess, but that they are acting very hesitatingly as some of them are not at all inclined to risk such great matters in discussion there, especially as there are some who think that the prince of Condé, except owing to the necessity of his present interests, has no inclination towards their party, and they are greatly afraid that after they have declared themselves the princes may find some more advantageous course of action and they will be exposed to danger and abandoned. We will endeavour to discover further particulars, especially after everything has been made known to His Majesty. The same person, having been in Savoy, says that he left the duke very anxious and doubting as he feared that if the affairs of the princes in France were arranged, the settlement there might lead to fresh troubles for himself. He said that no marriage alliance had ever taken place between princes of such greatness but it had brought forth the most serious troubles and caused the ruin of somebody. Meanwhile they feel sure here that if some settlement is made in the affairs of France the Spaniards are certain to want to take advantage of it in order to advance their affairs.
Four thousand recruits have arrived at Dunkirk upon eight ships of war. (fn. 12)
The Council of War meets much more frequently than usual at Brussels, and all appearances give rise to the suspicion that they are preparing some momentous decision.
The Marquis Spinola is going to Dusseldorf; the States, as we have written before, will not fail to make every provision. The king here never ceases his efforts to secure the preservation of the general peace and to stave off all occasions of trouble both from himself and his friends.
London, the 27 November, 1615.
Nov. 29. Collegio, Secreta. Lettere Re. Venetian Archives. 104. Anna, dei gratia Magnæ Britanniæ, Franciæ et Hiberniæ, Regina, Serenissimo Principi, Dei gratia Venetiarum Duci, Salutem et utramque fæElicitatem.
Reddit nobis Serenitatis Vestræ Literas Vir Nobilis Gregorius Barbarigo, Serenitatis Vestræ Legatus nunc hic residens. Ex iis gratum nobis fuit intelligere amicam Serenitatis Vestræ propensionem erga nos. Quam amice vicissim erga S. V. affectæ permaneamur, Quantum nos Serenissimæ Reip. debere sentiamur quod benevola affectur sui judicia non ad nos tantum pervenire sed etiam ad Charissimum fratrem meum, Serenissimum Daniæ Regem transmitti voluerit, exponere S. V. poterit Nobilis vir Eques meritissimus Antonius Fuscarini, Cui Legationem renuntiaturo Libentissime Literes hasce dedimus, unaque hoc veritabile testimonium perhibere voluimus, Eum quamdiu hic fuit, in omnibus Legationis suis partibus obeundis tanta fide tanta prudentia tanta moderatione se gessisse, ut in ea provincia administranda nemo melius de Sereniss. Reip. meréri potuerit, Certe nostro judicio tam egregiam operam navaverit ut non Laudibus tantum ornandus sed prémié afficiendus videatur. Sed Haec hactenus, Deus Opt. Max. S. V. vestram tueatur et incolumem.
Daté tertio kal. Decembr., 1615.
Serenitati Vestræ addictissima,
Anna R. [autograph.]


  • 1. William Lumsden.
  • 2. Robert.
  • 3. In July.
  • 4. Sir Thomas Overbury.
  • 5. Richard Weston.
  • 6. Edward Sackville, imprisoned for conduct relative to the trial of Richard Weston. Cal. State Papers. Domestic. 1611–8. p. 344.
  • 7. Mrs. Anne Turner. Her trial is given in Howell's State Trials, ii, No. 104.
  • 8. The king left London towards Royston on 7/17 November. Nichols, Progresses of James I., iii., p. 120.
  • 9. This is probably the letter No. 539, page 276, of the preceding volume.
  • 10. Here is come hither one Mons. de la Voye with letters to the Duke of Savoy from the Marquis Anspach and the Count Ernest Mansfelt, wherein they advertise that according to his instance they have moved the Prince of Anhalt and divers other Princes of the Union, for the incorporating him into that body. Wake to Winwood, 17 Nov. 1615, o.s., State Papers, Foreign, Savoy.
  • 11. Giovanni Francesco Biondi.
  • 12. Part of the fleet of twenty-seven Spanish ships, reported to have left Lisbon in September. Cal. State Papers, Domestic, 1611–8, p. 324.