Venice: December 1615, 16-31

Pages 81-95

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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December 1615, 16–31

Dec. 16. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Zante. Venetian Archives. 122. Almoro Barbaro, Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports about pirates at Tunis in Barbary. Encloses account brought by an English ship named Desire. Will inform Captain of the great galleys.
Zante, the 16th December, 1615.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 123. Memorandum.
Interrogation of Navil Barfis, notary and merchant of the English ship Desire. Interrogated by Tomaso Sparlin, interpreter, as he did not know Italian. Said he had come from England and reached Naples in twenty-four days, when they unloaded their cargo of sardines, fish, cloth and iron. They remained at Naples twenty-eight days and then proceeded to Tunis, where they stayed sixteen days, leaving three bales of cloth there. They then came on here in six days. Asked if he had other merchandise on board, he replied 40 bales between Carisee and London and one bale of Conigli and nothing more. The places visited were healthy. Asked what news he brought from those places he said: at Tunis there were twenty-six bertons, mostly large, and ten of them were preparing to go to the Gulf of Venice. Asked if there were other bertons in those parts, he said there were about a hundred and twenty between Algiers, Tunis, Bizerta and other places of Barbary. Asked if they had taken any merchant ships, he said during the time he was there they had taken six ships, partly French, partly English. Asked how many were in the ship and if they were in health, he replied: Praise God, we are all healthy and number thirty-five.
Dec. 18. Senato. Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 124. To the Ambassador in England.
We have to notify continued provocation and hostility in the matter of the Uscocchi, committed by the people of the archduke, especially in Istria. After the destruction we wrote about they burned other places at Rovigno under Pinquente and in the jurisdictions of Barbana and San Vincenti, with great barbarity and cruelty. They also attacked unsuccessfully a walled place called the Castelli and land of San Vincenti, where they were repulsed with some loss. In view of all this we are increasing our forces, both horse and foot, in Istria and in Friuli, because as a free power we cannot submit to such proceedings.
We have to inform you that by what the Imperial ministers state and bring to the knowledge of the pope and others, that they cast doubts upon the promise given to remove the Uscocchi from Segna and that coast, letting it be understood that the promise only referred to the adventurers and bandits but not to those who have goods and families at Segna, who live quietly, since to remove these, they say, would be to strip those places of inhabitants and to punish the innocent and it would cost a great deal; so they assert that they have never agreed to this. This exception, indeed, which has nothing to do with the matter, is a thing which we have never pretended or asked for, we have only spoken of the adventurers and robbers who commit excesses notorious to every one. The introduction of such a distinction is merely a cloak to cover the others and to maintain these people for the destruction of our commerce and subjects and to keep us in a state of constant disquiet. If they say that Imperial commissioners have gone several times to provide a remedy, we admit it, but it has only been to punish two or three wretches possibly guilty of other excesses. They have not punished the chiefs, but have even rewarded them and encouraged their evil doing. This shows the worth of their pretext.
We send all this for information to make use of as you see fit.
The like to the Imperial Court, France, Savoy, Spain, Naples, Milan, Florence.
Ayes 165.
Noes 1.
Neutrals 5.
Dec. 18. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 125. Giovanni Rizzardo, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
But for a slight catarrh of the ambassador we should have already set out on our journey. A report has got about here that His Excellency will be called to account on his return to Venice for his actions during the time of this embassy. There are various discussions and opinions upon this, and men argue according to what takes place. The ambassador has received from the queen a present of a diamond in a ring of the value of about 600 crowns and from the king gilt vessels of 1,000ozs. This seemed small to him, as he expected a great deal more. He says that they usually give at least the double here; but they say that it is the ordinary thing and if more has been given to the others, it has been by extraordinary favour of His Majesty. All the secretaries who have been here have received a present from the king at their departure, some of 300, some of 400 and some of 600 crowns, a compensation for expenses, which are very great here. I know that I have been as well received and as honourably treated by His Majesty as any of the others, if not more so, but I have not experienced the good fortune to be favoured with any present. I understand that when some curious person asked the reason they replied that the present received by Muscorno must suffice. But I have heard from this man and from others that if my ambassador had performed the usual offices, I should not have remained without. At this I said that if I had never asked the prince whom I serve for honour's sake alone, I should be still less inclined to ask of others. I did not think it good to ask if they were really presents or donations, apparently they had changed their name and nature and I was not here to ask for presents but to serve my chief. Some here say that this has been done on purpose to discredit Sig. Foscarini and to favour Muscorno in this state of affairs, showing that those who were not liked by the ambassador received presents and one who has served to his satisfaction has not had anything. Others assert, although I do not believe it, that it is the work of the ambassador himself to make me like himself. They declare that a pile of 100l., that is 400 crowns, was prepared. This came from the lips of Sir [Lewis] Lewknor (Lucnor), master of the ceremonies. He argued from the example of the ambassador of Flanders, who had the advantage in other things, but who would have been inferior in the matter of the present if what his Secretary received was not reckoned, as the ambassador received about 700 ounces, while the Secretary's pile amounted to about 300, the total coming to about the same. All this is for the information of your Excellencies. For my own part it is enough for me that I am charged with no fault. I am at last at the end of my faithful service in England, whence these will be my last letters. If what I have done has earned the favour of my masters, I shall have spent my time well and I shall enjoy the memory of my past perils and trials. My fortune has suffered because my affairs were left in confusion at my hasty departure from Venice. I am now returning in the depth of winter to incur further perils. I beg your Excellencies to favour me, not as a faithful servant for twenty-seven years, but with the generosity and magnificence which is customary in a great prince, who renders help when he knows it is needed. I ask your protection for my house and children, and I pray that God will bring me safely back to continue my service.
London, the 18th December, 1615.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 126. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
His Highness caught a severe chill, which has kept him in bed, but the day before yesterday he sent for me and spoke so weightily that I remained confounded at his vigorous personality.
He spoke of the French King's journey to Paris, and said that Lesdiguières would serve the King, but would not allow Condé to fall; he will not be deceived by the promises made to him. In all this there were two points for him, if he had to allow the Spaniards to pass, he could not refuse, as he was disarmed, but, on the other hand, with such forces on the confines of Dauphiné, he should be at the discretion of an army commanded by his enemies. If things go well with Condé, he may be half a king, if not a great king.
The marriage of the second daughter with England is being negotiated vigorously. I am afraid that it will take place, as they are now negotiating very much to the advantage of that king. They tell me that they will give the third daughter, who is only six years old.
In these disturbances of France the king of England has proved himself a prince who loves peace and quiet, slow to make up his mind and always fearful of some mischance, and he has lost a great opportuity both for himself and for me (il re d'Inghilterra si è dichiarato in questi travagli della Francia Principe che ama il negotio per la pace et per la quiete, tardo a risolversi et dubbioso sempre d'ogni mal avrenimento, et ha perso gran occasione et per lui et per me). He spoke about the troubles of the Venetians with the Austrians, and said he had thought about a diversion in their own country. It had been discussed by some of the United Princes and they had sent money secretly to the Count of Mansfield, their colonel; he could do a great deal with only a few men.
It would not be a bad thing to speak to the king of England, as he is the head and if he wishes to strike this is the time.
Turin, the 21 December, 1615.
Dec. 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 127. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the return of the Ambassador Foscarini from his audience of the king at Newmarket, he was seized with a violent cold on his chest, accompanied with great difficulty of breathing, but as the sickness ultimately took a favourable turn, he was enabled to leave this city last Tuesday on his way home, after having served your Serenity in these parts for so many years. At the final audience the king received him with great honour and very ample demonstrations of affection. Although it did not behove His Majesty to knight him, as he had already been dubbed in France, yet the king, besides choosing to see him again, gave him, as an additional favour, one of the lions of England to quarter on his escutcheon, accompanying this grant and everything else with the fullest testimony of the great esteem in which he holds the ambassador of the State, and the individual worth and merit of Foscarini.
After he had taken leave of the queen, on which occasion also he was treated with more than ordinary marks of favour and esteem, her Majesty presented him with a very fine diamond, which was taken to him by her secretary, to whom, and to many others, his lordship made very liberal acknowledgment. He leaves this court, and, above all, the king, with great repute, on account especially of the zeal with which he treated the public affairs and ever sought the preservation and increase of a perfect understanding between His Majesty and your Excellencies, concerning which matters, and precisely since the departure of my colleague, the king has expressed to me his extreme satisfaction, bestowing vast praise upon his lordship. He also received several pieces of gilt plate from His Majesty, for the usual present of infinitely greater value than what the ambassador from Flanders had, though very inferior to the gift which it had been customary to make to your ambassadors who preceded him, for in consequence of the excess to which the royal expenditure had arrived, persons have been appointed by consent of the king and according to a decree in council, for its modification, and a reform has been already effected in many branches, especially with regard to the presents of the ambassadors, which are reduced to one-half of what they were before, and, in conformity, it is said, with what was customary here before His Majesty came to the throne. The same method has been observed with the ambassadors from France, from Flanders and from your Serenity, who left since this new regulation, and all the others will be dealt with hereafter in like manner.
As your Excellencies have decided that I shall remain in this important charge after two years of laborious service I will spare no expense or diligence in fulfilling your commands, and I ask you to remember how my property has been diminished in the public service, and to grant me what is not only useful but necessary for the public service.
Sir [Dudley] Carleton, late ambassador to your Excellencies, reached London a few days ago; but as he did not choose to see anyone before he had paid his respects to the king, as he did at Newmarket, I could not visit him until after his return. I then assured him of the goodwill borne him by your Serenity, telling him of the order received and already executed by the Most Illustrious Foscarini, to acquaint His Majesty with the entire satisfaction which he had given in Venice. He answered in the most complimentary and friendly terms possible and showed himself so heartily devoted and obliged to your Excellencies that I know not how to do sufficient justice to his language. He told me that he had given a very circumstantial account to the king of Venetian affairs and especially of the esteem and love borne to His Majesty by your Excellencies, on which topic it behoved him to dwell much, not only because he assuredly had a great deal to say thereon, but also because the king listened to this topic with marks of such extreme satisfaction that it was necessary for him to expatiate the more upon the subject. To this I did not fail to make a suitable reply. On reporting his late embassy Sir Dudley received his first instructions for his future mission, the king having told him to be ready to go to Holland at the very beginning of the New Year.
It is possible that Sir [Henry] Wotton will allow the extreme rigour of this season to pass ere he sets out on his way to your Excellencies, but he told me that he must await news of the election of the new doge in order to have his credentials made out. (fn. 1)
I have received your Excellencies' letter of the 27th ult. about the Uscochi and other archducal subjects bordering upon Istria, and the audacious proclamation against the Proveditore. I will make such use of this as I think best for the public service; and I have considerable hopes of success in this court, as the king in particular is very unfriendly towards the Emperor and does not even refrain upon occasion to refer to him in the most injurious terms because on his election as Emperor he made fair promises to His Majesty, especially in the matter of Cleves, in favour of the Elector Palatine and the Elector of Brandenburg, and he has since acted in quite another fashion.
London, the 25 December, 1615.
Dec. 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra Venetian Archives. 128. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Monday a courier reached the ambassador of Savoy with orders from His Highness to report to His Majesty the coming of Don Pedro of Toledo to Italy, with signs of quite other intentions than disarming and carrying out the treaty with His Highness by means of His Majesty and the other princes whose ambassadors took part in the late negotiations. He has toyed with the disarming and only allows useless men to leave, to weed out his companies. That 4,000 fresh Spaniards are expected in Italy, and notwithstanding that the relation of Claudio Marini was made most fully that the duke had completely fulfilled his obligations under the treaty, and had even dismissed the French with public proclamations, paying their travelling expenses so that their departure might be the more certain, yet Don Pedro is now trying to send back the Savoyards again to the other side of the mountains. That the intention of the Spaniards appears to be to fulfil nothing which they have promised unless they are forced to do so, but to remain masters of the entire state of His Highness by disarming every defence while they remain armed; that within six weeks the term of six months expired that they were not to ask for a passage through his state, after which they intended to do so. It is thought they will prefer similar demands, backed by force, to pass not only into France, Flanders, or wherever they wish and wherever it may suit their interests, but to devastate, pillage and do what they please with his country. His Highness will do his utmost to prevent this eventuality, but with his forces alone or with his much vexed state he cannot confront the power of the king of Spain, and he must depend for his safety upon the authority of those princes who promised the execution of the treaty with Spain, and from His Majesty in particular.
The same day the ambassador went with these instructions to the Secretary Winwood, who was in London, intending to proceed immediately to His Majesty. But the Secretary advised him not to go before Monday next to Theobalds, which will be more convenient for the king and better for the affair, as for a proper deliberation upon the matter His Majesty would have to consult the secretary. Meanwhile his waiting thus would not delay the affair, the secretary would have all the necessary documents prepared and submit them to him, so that no time might be lost in satisfying the wishes of the king and the desire of His Highness.
Some days ago His Majesty received letters from his ambassador in Spain which gave him grounds for fearing such an eventuality in Italy, especially as there was no inclination at the court there to restore to the duke of Savoy the places occupied. The courier who has come from Piedmont reports that he found the whole of France in an extraordinary state of confusion, and had fallen in with the Marquis of Bonnivet, who was taken to Paris under a strong guard. It was expected that owing to the letters of the French ambassador here and by his other declarations he would be pardoned by the king, nevertheless there is a fear that his acts may bring him to harm, as in the citadel of Calais, where he was detained, though with a considerable amount of freedom, he had plotted to assassinate the Governor and restore the place to the devotion of the princes, and he had bribed various people with this intention and had introduced as many as twenty of his dependents, so that the place might be taken.
I know from a person who had it from the Prince of Condé's own lips, that he thought the Governor of Calais was well inclined to his party; I do not know what gave rise to this belief or to these events. M. de Montbarot is here to stay and negotiate in matters between His Majesty and the Princes. Accordingly upon the reason of his coming the French ambassador began to treat secretly for the departure of Bonnivet, suggesting to him that the Princes, for whom he had done so much, would take the negotiations at the court out of his hands, owing to his lack of ability; this had been the fate of M. de Boisloré, who is also their minister although of lower rank. All this is true, but I would not venture to affirm to your Excellencies whether the Marquis of Bonnivet had or had not the intention of separating himself from the Princes.
Some definite issue in the affairs of France is daily expected here, as they know that active proceedings are on foot for an agreement and that forces are being increased on both sides. The ambassador of this king has instructions to negotiate an agreement providing for some satisfaction to the Princes, and he is doing this. The French ambassador continues to assert that his master means to be obeyed, and if the Princes will submit themselves to his Most Christian Majesty, he will treat them with graciousness and clemency, but he will not allow it to be said that the king is going out of his way to meet them, and if they do not submit, he will punish them severely. On the other hand it is understood that the Princes are constant in their determination to prevent the king from returning to Paris and they have very strong forces.
London, the 25 December, 1615.
Dec. 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 129. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After Count Henry of Nassau had occupied the county of Ravensberg in the name of the Marquis of Brandenburg, he greatly improved the defences of four places which are in that country in addition to two towns. In addition to the cavalry the States sent there a large reinforcement of infantry. Notwithstanding the communications which took place between him and the duke of Brunswick, by an understanding with the Dutch ambassadors he returned from the county of Ravensberg by way of the county of Minden (Mendem). As the country is somewhat narrow and barren, so that his cavalry suffered greatly for lack of forage, he pressed on into the territory of the duke of Brunswick, who, seeing that he could not do otherwise, invited him to stay in his country, and assured him of his esteem and affection for the States as being so earnestly engaged for the general quiet. It is hoped that this treatment of the duke will lead him more quickly to ask to be included in the agreement which is being negotiated. If this happens, and it is considered certain, the duke of Brunswick himself encourages the belief that he also wishes to be allied with the States, as do also the duke of Luneburg and the Hanse towns.
An ambassador has been sent to the Hague by the city of Cologne to offer excuses and justification for the destruction of the Mulheim. His Majesty in speaking of this to the ambassador of Brandenburg charged him to advise the States in his name to detain the merchandise of the people of Cologne which they may have, in order to indemnify themselves for the damage received in their property from those of Mulheim.
The Archduke Maximilian has arrived in Flanders from Innsbruck. He was met at Louvain by the Archduke Albert, his brother, and at Brussels by the Infanta, with great preparations. He is to proceed to Antwerp and afterwards to Ghent, Bruges, and some other parts of Flanders. He does not conceal that the cause of this visit is to negotiate upon the succession to the patrimonial estates of the house of Austria, but it is considered certain that it is also more especially upon the election of a King of the Romans, as requiring more discussion. The eyes of all are turned upon this journey, not only of all Germany but all the Powers, as it is known that the Spaniards cherish the design of giving the empire to one of the sons of the Catholic king. After the completion of his negotiations with the Archduke Albert, the Archduke Maximilian is immediately to go to the Emperor. This journey greatly increases the suspicions of the States, who see the Spaniards daily arranging new projects without thinking of executing the treaty of Xanten. They do not like this state of affairs and would rather have open war than a peace so treacherous and uncertain for them. The king is equally suspicious of the greatness of Spain and loves peace. I know on good authority that His Majesty is persuaded to act with greater resolution with regard to the Spaniards and not allow them ever to postpone the execution of what has been promised. In this connection he mentioned his present scarcity of money. He has a vast quantity of debts and has hitherto encountered many difficulties in receiving any assistance from the kingdom. This difficulty arises chiefly from the manner in which the money is lavishly spent by His Majesty upon unnecessary things and in enriching persons who do not deserve such gifts and his favourites. The Council, on this account, has issued orders for the convoking of Parliament in which they state the intentions of His Majesty to satisfy the wishes of the Lower House. (fn. 2) This is, doubtless, in order that he may obtain all that he wants by the payment of his debts and other commodity of money. If he wishes to use it for things useful to the kingdom and honourable to the crown, he will never be in want of it (che quando voglia impiegarlo in cose utili al Regno et di riputatione alla corona, non sia per haverne mancamento mai).
London, the 25 December, 1615.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 26. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 130. To the Ambassador in England.
The hostilities with the archduke continue in Istria, Dalmatia and Friuli, of which we wrote recently; they even increase, it being understood that they propose to cross the Lisonzo and commit fresh depredations in Friuli such as they have committed in Istria, where they have robbed and burned and destroyed the churches. Wherefore our representatives are collecting their forces and increasing them daily, occupying some places in the archiducal territory on the banks of the River Lisonzo, to wit: Medea, Sagra, Cervignan, Meriana, Cormons, Porpetto and other open places, but without employing any violence or inflicting injury on the inhabitants. They have acted with great discretion, very different from the behaviour of the people of the archduke, who have inflicted great damage upon all Istria. We are providing all necessary remedies.
We send this for information to make use of when occasion serves, and to proclaim the truth.
The like to Rome, Spain, Florence, Milan, Naples, Mantua, France and Savoy.
Ayes 157.
Noes 2.
Neutrals 10.
Dec. 26. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 131. Giovanni Rizzardo, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
I did not intend to trouble your Excellencies with any more letters, but I thought you would not be displeased to have some particulars, and so I decided to send these. We left London on the 22nd inst. The journey will be through France and Savoy and thence by the Po towards Chioza, if our plans are not changed. Sig. Foscarini left without taking with him a copy of the depositions on his defence made up to the present by Sig. Barbarigo against Muscorno. Sig. Barbarigo will certainly send word to your Excellencies, but as I cannot tell what will happen I have thought proper to inform you.
Before his departure Sig. Foscarini went to see the other ambassadors, who all returned his calls. He left Spain to the last because he has never been to see the Ambassador Barbarigo, and because the ambassador of Flanders never came to take leave of his colleague of Venice, as he did of the others before he left. At the very last Sig. Foscarini decided to send his chaplain to the Spanish ambassador to say that he had not been able to see him owing to his indisposition, and as the shortness of the time might not admit of a return visit, he wished to know what he should do. The reply was very courteous, that there would be no difficulty, he would not have failed to come, and he wondered there had been any doubt about it, and so on. Accordingly Sig. Foscarini went and passed the due office. Afterwards, whether Spain had taken offence or in order to gain an advantage he gave it to be understood that he would have returned the visit, but he did not mean to treat as between equals, although out of compliment to Sig. Foscarini he had spoken in the third person without a title. The ambassador replied that he proposed to treat as he always had done, if he had been called Excellency he would have replied with Excellency, if Most Illustrious, with Most Illustrious. The Spanish ambassador ultimately stated clearly that he never meant to treat him as an equal, it was not in accordance with the king's instructions, which he could not contravene; and so the visit was not returned. All this may seem of slight importance, but I thought it right to represent it to your Excellencies in execution of my orders, as it concerns the dignity of the republic. It shows that Spain is pushing, but I have also observed that France rarely says Excellency, though he claims it for himself. If we lose this by degrees it will be difficult to recover it. My zeal alone leads me to make these remarks.
From Dover, the 26th December, 1615.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 132. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Their Majesties are at Aubeterre (Obetere), where they spent Christmas. They are to leave for Poitou tomorrow. The duke of Nevers and the English ambassador have arrived in court, and although almost universal report got about that peace would shortly be obtained, there are no certain grounds. It is only known that the Prince replied that he was most anxious for it and expressed his submission to their Majesties, to whom he has sent the Baron Thianges to express the same. It is thought that they have consented to listen to his proposals.
Angoulême (Angolen), the 27th December, 1615.
Dec. 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives. 133. Pietro Vico, Venetian Secretary in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I have again seen the Secretary Arostigli about the pirates [from Naples]. He told me that they were advised that the Duke of Savoy would never disarm. He was a hotheaded prince and had no other aim but to make trouble, and he has endeavoured to set France and Spain, England and Venice by the ears. His schemes to kindle a conflagration extend to Constantinople, but they hope his evil designs will have no effect. No one can trust him, as when he was negotiating an alliance with one prince, he was scheming to betray him.
Madrid, the 27 December, 1615.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 28. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 134. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
On the evening of the feast of St. Stephen (fn. 3) the duke sent for me and told me that Marini had arrived from Milan and reported his dealings with Don Pedro for the carrying out of the treaty. He wished him to make his statement in the presence of the agent of Great Britain, myself and the other ministers, so that the duke might obtain assurance that the treaty should not be annulled by superior force. He fixed the meeting for yesterday and Marini was received in the presence of the duke, the agent of England, myself, Verua and Crotti. His Highness said that he had sent for us to hear how they proposed to deceive him from the mouth of Sig. Marini himself. Marini replied that as Toledo would not listen to him he had thought it better to leave, and return to his house for further orders. He had to work for peace and the maintenance of the treaty. He thought some new event was preventing the Governor from laying down his arms. The duke replied that the arming of the governor must necessarily be directed either against himself or against the republic. He has not dismissed a man except the Swiss, who can soon return. They have waited until I have completely disarmed and now they will not observe the articles.
Marini replied that he had done his duty, with a little patience all would be well.
The duke asked the agent for his opinion. He seemed astonished at the tearing up of the treaty and promised to inform the king his master, who certainly would not fail in his word.
I also expressed my surprise, as I did not see any reason why these forces should be kept on foot. I insisted rather strongly because I thought it to the advantage of your Serenity that Milan should disarm.
After further discussion the duke allowed Marini to depart. Afterwards they agreed that the whole matter had been arranged with Don Pedro, and these forces are maintained for use in France or Austria as events may decide.
Turin, the 28 December, 1615.
Dec. 28. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 135. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Before I had despatched my letters the duke sent for me to be present at a stag hunt. He told me that he had news from France in letters of the 16th inst. The rival forces have united, Boisdauphin with Guise and Rohan with Condé. The king is virtually besieged in Bordeaux. The duke of Nevers has withdrawn. The English ambassador, being under suspicion, has given up all negotiations. In short everything is upon the hazard.
Turin, the 28th December, 1615.
Dec. 31. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 136. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received the letters of your Serenity of the 3rd and 4th inst., in execution whereof I have given orders so that when the king arrives in London, where he is expected, I may obtain an audience to present the letters of your Serenity to His Majesty and inform him of your elevation to the dogeship. I am sure that he will be very pleased, as the chief persons of the court have been who have received the information, and even before the news arrived many predicted your election owing to your past services in so many important charges, especially as Captain General of the Sea. Personally I am greatly delighted, and I pray God that you may enjoy a long life in the interests of the public weal.
I will make use of the other letters of the 4th relating the barbarous proceedings of the people of the archduke in Istria and Monfalcone and of your provision of troops to defend your subjects, in order to show the origin of all this. Hitherto I have not heard that any news of these events has reached here, and the only advice which comes here from the Austrian side tends rather to magnify than to justify the act.
The king was expected here in London on Tuesday on his way back from Newmarket, but as he has suffered some pain in one of his feet, he has not yet stirred, but it is reported that he is sure to arrive on Saturday in order to celebrate Christmas here, as is his custom.
The Ambassador of Savoy has not yet been to see the king, but after his first proposal to go to Theobalds on Monday last, the Secretary Winwood gave him to understand that he might have audience here in London yesterday, and the whole matter has since been postponed owing to the king's stay. Meanwhile, however, in conformity with his promise to the Ambassador of Savoy the Secretary has not only prepared various letters, which he has shown him but has sent to them to the king so that they may be signed and despatched immediately. He has further acquainted the king with the complaints of the duke, upon which he has already received instructions from His Majesty to speak with the ambassadors of France and Spain here, and he has done so. The French ambassador replied immediately that what had been agreed upon must be carried out, that the Most Christian King will certainly not permit any alteration to be made in what has been negotiated by his ministers, and subsequently ratified by himself. The Spanish ambassador spoke of the disposition of his Catholic Majesty towards general peace and the satisfaction of the king here, of the tranquillity and security in which the duke of Savoy may live that he will not receive any harm; but he went on to say that it would be of no prejudice to His Highness, and should cause him no disquiet if his Catholic Majesty wished to send these troops through, which are in Italy, for other service of his elsewhere. This is interpreted here as meaning either France or Flanders, and it cannot be well received. The ambassador of Savoy therefore points out with greater effect what a great disadvantage the duke would be at if, in addition to his obligations and promise to dismiss the troops, which he needs for protection, he must, at the same time, admit into his state an army which he mistrusts so thoroughly as he does that of Spain, if it is to pass through his country to the other side of the mountains.
A courier has arrived here from Flanders for the Spanish ambassador. I will use all diligence to discover what I can. The archduke Maximilian remains at Brussels, with a touch of gout; there is no further news of him.
London, the last day of December, 1615.
Dec. 31. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 137. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
They are still awaiting eagerly the news from France, which can only arrive with great difficulty owing to the blocking of the passes on every hand. However, if anything noteworthy, such as is expected, takes place, they will certainly obtain the news immediately. The dependents of the prince say that he has 35,000 men and 9,000 horse, they have a broad country and everything they need, that since they have taken firm stand in their proceedings their forces have continually increased, as well as their reputation. The prince of Condé, the dukes of Mayenne, Longueville, Bouillon, Rohan and Sully and all the other chiefs of the French nobility, are closely united, and they will do whatever is possible to avert the harm that war would cause to France, and rather than engage in action they will endeavour to arrange a peace. If they succeed in this they will demand that those to whom the disorders of France are due shall be delivered into their hands, so that they may be properly judged for the maladministration of France and that the death of the late king may be avenged. That the queen has excluded the chancellor from the council to satisfy them, but these are appearances, and the rule which must be introduced is to be real and not fictitious. That these lords heed nothing and will not march further forwards, but if the king wishes to return to Paris he must cut his way thither with the sword, or their just demands must first be satisfied. That at present the difficulty of news is felt not only here but at Paris also, whence the last letters received contain very few particulars. This is because the army of the princes keeps letters from coming through. Nevertheless the French ambassador and those of his party continue to make their usual assertions, that the king of France means to be obeyed, that if the princes do not speedily submit to his obedience he will fight them, and the king here is greatly deceived by the stories which are told about the forces of the princes, as they have no more than 10,000 persons with them. Some of the French ministers are dissatisfied with the prince of Brandenburg, because he licensed a few companies of horse which have gone to the service of the princes. To this the prince says that before licensing them he notified the ministers of the king by his own ministers that if they wished they might negotiate with his captains to engage them for His Majesty, but he could not maintain those troops which he did not need during the long negotiations upon his affairs, and it was small wonder that the dismissed soldiers should look after their own interests. I hear that the negotiations for an agreement between the princes and his Most Christian Majesty have been broken off and that the queen absolutely refused to agree to the demands put forward; but the princes stood firmly by these. Such is the latest news received by the king from France.
I have heard nothing from Germany in these few days except that the duke of Brunswick not only notified the ambassadors of the States that he had decided to enter the association of the United Princes of Germany but has also reported it at the Hague by means of Count Ernest of Nassau, who married a sister of his, and I hear on good authority that the States guarantee the public peace as well as the safety of the town of Brunswick and will see that the accommodation provides in a fitting manner for the honour and satisfaction of the duke himself.
With regard to the affairs of this kingdom, it was expected that after the delivery of the countess of Somerset her trial would be pushed on. However, she has given birth to a daughter, and the matter has slackened down considerably. Some attribute this to fatigue over such an odious affair, but it is more commonly thought that the interval is in order to sort the materials and obtain more pertinent evidence.
I have been authoritatively informed that the Spanish ambassador, on coming here, was provided with 90,000l. sterling, that is to say 360,000 crowns, that 30,000 were sent to him this year and since then he has spent 20,000, equal to 200,000 crowns. It is known, in particular, that the Catholic king had copies of all the papers of the ambassador Cornwallis who preceded Digby (Digni), who is now serving His Majesty with the Catholic king, but it is not yet known whether they came to him through Cornwallis or others.
Some days ago orders were given to the captains of the royal ships to stand to their vessels and the most exact diligence is being employed so that no one may leave the kingdom without a passport.
London, the last day of December, 1615.
Dec. 31. Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives. 138. That the power given by this Council to the Cabinet on 12 October, 1610, to make Venetian for two years those foreign vessels which fulfil certain conditions, and which was prorogued for two years from 10 August, 1613, be prorogued for two years following upon the same conditions.
Ayes 139.
Noes 5.
Neutrals 8.


  • 1. Giovanni Bembo had been elected to succeed Marc Antonio Memmo as doge on Dec. 2nd.
  • 2. On Nov. 27 o.s. the Council asked the king to appoint a day on which they might meet to discuss the question of summoning a Parliament. Cal. State Papers, Domestic, 1611–8, p. 333. See also proposal concerning the book of rates, which was expected to ease those who make the clamour in parliament.' Ibid. p. 346.
  • 3. Dec. 26.