Venice: September 1632

Pages 1-10

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 23, 1632-1636. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1921.

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September 1632

1632. Sept. 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
1. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
I congratulated the Assembly on the surrender of Maastricht Saturday in last week. They found a great quantity of artillery in the town and provisions in plenty for a long time. There was some shortage of powder. This alone induced them to surrender and the fear of being taken by assault. This would certainly have happened, and the attempt made by the English excited great fear. It was indeed repulsed, but was very dangerous. (fn. 1)
The Hague, the 2nd September, 1632.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
2. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
By way of Dunkirk alone news has come of a very fierce attack made by Popenain's troops, putting everything to the hazard, upon the trenches of the Prince of Orange, who bravely met and repulsed their onslaught, when 3000 Imperialists are said to have been slain. Soon afterwards from the same quarter there arrived the much desired news of the fall of Maastricht. The report has already spread throughout the whole Court, winning the applause of those interested in the right cause ; but some hesitate to credit it entirely as nothing certain to confirm it has yet been received from any other quarter. I hear that Nicolaldi and Telliur assert most steadfastly that whether the place has been lost or not, the Dutch army, in place of being the besieger, is certain to find itself besieged, hemmed in on all sides, so that the Prince of Orange will have to fight a battle at a disadvantage, in order to open a way whenever he wishes to withdraw his army. The French, who do not conceal their very great anxiety to keep the Spanish arms employed in Flanders in this fashion, and prevented from raising fresh trouble on the borders of Picardy, do not hesitate, as the Ambassador Fontane has intimated to some of the ministers here, to facilitate in every possible way the connivance shown by the Liegois for the passage of food and troops for the benefit of the Dutch forces. From what the English Agent at Brussels sent to the royal Council on this subject, they know that Altariva, who was sent earlier to the camp under Maastricht, before his return to the Most Christian Court, exerted himself with some success to get representations made to the Liegois which would prove most helpful for the interests of the Dutch army.
The reports of fresh disturbances among the Infanta's subjects are repeated. They write further, and the Ambassador Joachimi says he has the same news, that revolts and mutinies will take place in Flanders every day when the loss of Maastricht is confirmed. Joachimi remarked that Count Henry di Bergh might begin to show more vigour in consolidating and increasing his own party.
The Ambassador Weston writes to the Lord Treasurer that he arrived in Paris (fn. 2) shortly after the Most Christian set out for Languedoc, and he hopes to overtake him at Lyon. I am informed on good authority that these same letters contain advices and opinions showing great confidence that France does not mean to weaken the expedition and the part she has undertaken in Germany, notwithstanding the continuance of the trouble with Monsieur. They are waiting with interest here to learn that prince's decision, with respect to the negotiations of Guron (fn. 3) Fontane seems to think that an accomodation in this way may not prove difficult, but this does not at all coincide with the opinions of the ministers here, owing to the repeated advices they have received about the resolute application of the Spaniards to keep alive that division in France.
The company of Scottish soldiers who are to serve as cavalry in France under M. Gurdon (fn. 4) are now all ready to cross the sea to Calais. The decision of the king here to recall Anstruther from Vienna is confirmed. The Treasurer asserts that by the last despatch to Germany he sent the royal command for this, and many believe that he is recalled thence in order that they may employ him for the ordinary embassy in France. (fn. 5)
Two state despatches of the 29th July and the 5th ult. reached me together by the courier of this week.
London, the 3rd September, 1632.
Sept. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
3. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador extraordinary from England to Savoy has reached Paris. He is to pay his respects to his Majesty on the way. He is expected here the day after to-morrow. They have not yet decided how they will receive him. (fn. 6)
Lyon, the 4th September, 1632.
Sept. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Aleppo. Venetian Archives.
4. Pietro Gritti, Venetian Consul at Aleppo to the Doge and Senate.
The King of Persia perceiving the great harm done him by allowing the English and Dutch to trade at Ormus and Bandel, their ships only bringing him Londons, tin and spices to be disposed of in Persia and taking thence such a quantity of silk, has decided to make peace with the Portuguese. He has granted them Congo in the Persian Gulf and promised to dismiss the English and Dutch from Ormus and Bandel, not allowing them to trade at all there unless they bring ready money, which will be impossible. He has also made the English pay 150,000 ducats and the Dutch 60,000 for duties on silk bought by them and on goods brought contrary to the compact. This will cause the greater part of that silk to come to this mart.
Aleppo, the 6th September, 1632.
Sept. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
5. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The nuncio extraordinary complains openly that no house has been assigned to him and he has no treatment as is usual. This is the more remarkable as they have been lavish with the English ambassador extraordinary in both respects. The ordinary nuncio told me that they would accept no presents, because nuncios ought not to be treated in the manner shown with other princes ; now they would not ask for them. All do not go so far, but the generality is not satisfied at the English ambassador being apparently better treated than the pope's nuncio. I have paid my respects to the English ambassador. He arrived here by the post and his audience was secret. I will try and see both him and the nuncio before they leave.
Lyon, the 9th September, 1632.
Sept. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
6. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Although England has some suspicion that the King of Sweden has arranged with the French to hand over to them the fortresses of the Palatinate, the States do not believe it, as the King himself, in the presence of many persons, promised that he would never dissociate his interests from those of the Palatine until he saw him restored to his state.
The Hague, the 9th September, 1632.
Sept. 10
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
7. To the Ambassador in England.
Last week we had your letters of the 6th August, and to-day we have those of the 13th. The advices about their jealousy of the French arms in Germany are essential and help us to understand their aims which is very essential in these days. We send you the news for similar occasions. You will express to the Lord Treasurer our appreciation of the courtesy shown by his son in calling upon you before starting on his four embassies, and say that if he comes to us he will be received with the honour due to him, as the representative of so great a king and as the son of one whom we esteem so highly.
Ayes, 70. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
Sept. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
8. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier sent by Gerbier, the English Resident at Brussels has brought his Majesty the articles of capitulation of Maastricht. He also brought news of great confusion among the people there and of the great concern of the Infanta herself at the loss of that place. They also add that all the efforts of the Spaniards are now directed to do everything in their power, with three armies posted at the passages of the Meuse, to prevent the return and the withdrawal of the Prince of Orange from that place. But the Dutch, fully aware of their intentions, and by the hurried equipment and arming of shallops at Dordrecht, and the ready despatch of 8000 burghers to their frontiers, gave signs of new movements and of fresh designs possibly for some further enterprise.
The Spaniards here denounce an attempt made by the French troops of the garrison of Peronne, who came out with designs on Cambrai. In this they failed utterly, but were partially, successful at Buchin, a place of importance near Valenciennes, where a much larger force of the Infanta's soldiers barely arrived in time to reduce the place to obedience ; while the French were able to withdraw without suffering any harm.
Meanwhile the apprehensions of France on those same borders of Picardy become constantly greater ; whither, as I reported the ministers here were advised, it seems that the queen mother wishes to send Valanze, if the Spaniards incline to assist them, in such a way that he may facilitate the plans of Monsieur, by a good diversion.
Two days ago the Ambassador Fontane went to a special audience of the king, who is still engaged in his country recreations. He expressed the appreciation of the Most Christian of the refusal given here to the proposals made by Valanze in the interests of Monsieur and the Queen Mother. Fontane took this opportunity to inform the Court of his Majesty's hurried journey to Languedoc. He enlarged upon the quality and numbers of the royal forces, who were capable of forming a formidable army, he said. But the Lords here, in their discussions among themselves, attach considerable importance to the advices they receive of a considerable increase in the forces of Momoransi and Monsieur.
News has reached the Agent of the Prince Palatine by express letters from Germany of the defeat of a relief force which the Court of Isembourg intended to throw into Treves. (fn. 7) The French minister confirmed this news to me soon after ; adding that the Marshal d'Etree, having beaten these imperial forces, had come very near capturing the town itself ; from another quarter they write that it has already fallen into the hands of the French.
Some of the Lords of the royal Council here speak very positively about the union of Saxony with Sweden, declaring that everything done by Volestain to give the opposite impression is very artificial. They are eagerly waiting to hear that the Chancellor Oxerstern has joined the king with the remainder of the body of the army which he is leading, to strengthen his Majesty against the attacks of the Imperialists. A report comes from the Treasurer's house that the ambassador, his son, intends to go to Venice last among his embassies to the other princes of Italy, as being more convenient for the return journey, which, he says, he intends to make through Switzerland.
The last letters of the Senate are of the 13th August.
London, the 10th September, 1632.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
9. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
They are not going on with the levies for Holland in this kingdom. The king was urgently pressed to grant them and did so in the amplest manner, but seeing them desist from carrying them into effect, he said this was a very clear sign that the Dutch do not mean to undertake any further enterprises this year. When this was reported to the Ambassador Joachimi, it led him to inform the ministers here, so as adroitly to have it conveyed to his Majesty's knowledge, that the recruiting of these levies was suspended for the present owing to some defect in the conditions made with the troops, but new orders would arrive before long to go forward with the business, if the time of year allowed. But the French minister, who has certainly sent the company of Scots to France, remarks somewhat suspiciously upon this suspension, as he does not approve of anything which would lead to the conclusion that the Dutch had put a full stop to any further movements of their forces in the present year, since the object of the French is to keep the Spaniards as busy as possible in the presence of the Dutch armies, in order to prevent any assistance they might supply to Valanse or other members of the party of the queen mother and Monsieur, in order to make trouble on the borders of Picardy.
Both Dutch ministers visited this house the day before yesterday as a sign of esteem and honour towards the most serene republic, informing me of the success obtained in the fall of Maastricht. A few hours before they performed the same office with the Ambassador Fontane. I responded in order to confirm their friendliness. They told me that for the sake of their prestige the agents of Spain and Flanders announced at this Court that the Prince of Orange found himself besieged. They told me that events would soon prove the contrary, because their masters were devoting their attention to clinching the victory by another diversion. At this point they referred to the orders issued for enlisting fresh troops, and they did not conceal from me that as regards those of this kingdom it was a matter of much importance to take into consideration the unsuitableness of the approaching season.
A gentleman of Vane has arrived from Germany. He went at once with despatches and instructions to find his Majesty, who is still engaged in his country recreations. (fn. 8) From what has transpired so far he let some of the ministers here know that the ambassador in question had not been able to conclude anything with Sweden on behalf of the king here. The Agent of the Prince Palatine, who now believes that the slender thread which still remained to some extent, has now been completely cut, in this ill managed affair, makes no effort to repress his feelings. He complains that his master has to look for help to every quarter but this, and in the end he will have to look to the King of Sweden alone for any relief that he may one day receive. As a matter of fact they are trying to gain time here, and any delay that occurs to postpone the payment of their monthly subsidy, they consider so much to the good, as keeping further away from this crown such circumstances as may constrain it to summon parliament, which one may say is more hateful to the ministers and to the king also than any other thing.
M. di Sansciomon has got back to Calais from his journey to the Most Christian. He writes to Fontane that the king has charged him to assist in the government of that place owing to the apprehensions which exist with respect to Picardy, but he repeats that everything is so well disposed in that province that there is no occasion to fear any disturbance or attempt on the part of Monsieur's followers. He adds that his Majesty's affairs in Languedoc are in excellent train.
The latest from your Serenity are of the 19th ult.
London, the 17th Semptember, 1632.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
10. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Carleton, the English resident, and Bosuel arrived here last week, the former to take leave and the latter to be introduced to the service.
The Hague, the 16th September, 1632.
Sept. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
11. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The English residents Carleton and Bosuel have been to call upon me. They let it be understood that they consider the treaty of the Ambassador Ven with Sweden for the benefit of the Palatine as practically concluded and that the king will have no reason to complain either of the Ambassador or of England.
The Hague, the 23rd September, 1632.
Sept. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
12. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Weston, who may by this time have arrived in Italy, has sent a courier to the Lord Treasurer here with news of the cordial welcome given him at Lyon by the king, as in spite of his Majesty's preoccupation with the affairs of Languedoc he had honoured him with his first audience without any loss of time. The same letters give a clear account of the defeat and capture of Momoransi, and another and no less decisive rout of Elbeuf's troops. This serves to supply the Court here with something to compare with what Fontane went a few hours before on purpose to communicate to his Majesty. He told him with the utmost assurance that these two victories rendered the position of Monsieur's supporters absolutely impossible, and he supposed that by this time they will have submitted to the king's clemency. He speaks everywhere to the same effect, making use of these happy events to encourage hopes about affairs in Germany. He asserts that now France has settled her internal affairs, she will devote her attention to foreign affairs as well, with so much the more vigour because, as he puts it, the king will not feel himself driven by urgent necessity or by the interest he has in the maintenance of that party.
After returning from the palace the ambassador came to this house to inform me, after he had first sent his secretary, showing me every sign of confidence. I responded fully. In the course of the conversation he gave me some hint of what I could clearly see he was well aware, that they are not altogether sorry here for France to be occupied with internal matters, so long as it does not cause them to give up helping Germany altogether, because they like to see French action there in so far as it serves the Palatine's interests in any way. Apart from this Fontane is not far from the truth in his opinion that any success which may augment too much the footing and control which France desires and looks for in Germany does not accord with the principles of the government here or with the wishes of the king and his ministers.
Both Dutch ministers are celebrating the capture of Maastricht with festivities and bonfires. They say jestingly that they wish to keep up these rejoicings so that the end of these may serve as the beginning of others which will take place for the success which is expected from another new enterprise. This conceit pleases the king here the more because he knows that it has come to the ears of the ministers of Spain and Flanders and has mortified them. As a fact it is perfectly true that all the advices from every quarter, and from Antwerp and Brussels in particular, agree in representing the universal disorder and alarm in the Catholic provinces of Flanders. Limburg has already surrendered. The example is expected to be followed very speedily by other places. At Antwerp they are extending the fortifications. At Brussels they are assembling the estates, with proposals distasteful to the Infanta, as while professing zeal for the king's service and a readiness to support the burden of heavy contributions, they demand on the other hand that the money shall be employed for the troops alone and that they shall not be commanded by native Spaniards. Count Henry de Bergh is arming powerfully, and claims that he will make himself felt in the field. Other leading commanders are on the point of throwing themselves into his arms. At Amsterdam they are openly enlisting troops for his service. Some say that if he wished to take any from here, by twos and threes, he might easily do so by a process of connivance. A confidant has shown me letters bearing this out which arrived with the last despatch to this Court from Gerbier, the English Resident with the Infanta.
Edersolt is racked with curiosity over the advices which arrive from Germany, so late and also so conflicting and uncertain. The common report current here gives the advantage to Sweden in the actions which are understood to have taken place, and which they consider here as the prelude to a general sanguinary conflict between the two armies, which they believe must either have occurred by now or it must be very near at hand.
The courier of the present week, has just arrived with the state despatches of the 26th August. I humbly thank your Excellencies for the rank conferred upon me.
London, the 24th September, 1632.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 25.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
13. The Resident of England came into the Collegio and spoke substantially as follows :
I have no doubt that your Serenity is advised of the extraordinary embassy which my king is sending to you, but I have thought it my duty to tell you, and to add that I hear the ambassador is at Chambéry and is hastening his journey in order to arrive as soon as possible and avoid the rigours of the winter. The ambassador belongs to a great house, is versed in affairs of state, beloved by his Majesty and a blood relation of his. (fn. 9) Knowing full well how your Serenity is accustomed to welcome his Majesty's ambassadors, I bring you this news, and I will let you know the progress of his journey from time to time, and when he will arrive.
The doge replied, We heard of the ambassador's departure and that he was to come here. We thank you for the information. He will be very welcome as the representative of a prince for whom we have such esteem and regard. It was asked if he would travel by the Po or by land, and when he would arrive. The resident said he did not know, but when the ambassador reached Turin, he would have all particulars and would come and report them.
The doge remarked that they would wait for the information before giving the necessary orders for the honours to be rendered to the ambassador. The resident agreed and departed.
Sept. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
14. Pietro Vico and Antonio Antelmi, Venetian Secretaries in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
We hear for certain that Anstruther has orders from his king to take leave and return home, although he denied it. (fn. 10) It is supposed that that king has been brought to take this step from realising that the English cannot receive satisfaction from the Austrians about the Palatine. Perhaps the scant satisfaction he has received in London from Valanze's negotiations in the name of the Catholic has hastened the decision, or possibly the idea of removing Ven from the Swede, owing to the unsatisfactory way in which he has handled the negotiations with that King, may have persuaded the King of Great Britain to recall this embassy also. With his departure your Serenity's ministers will lose one of their most trustworthy confidants, and they will therefore need to show the greater application.
Vienna, the 25th Septemebr, 1632.
[Italian ; copy.]
Sept. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
15. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Ven has again sent his secretary to England. (fn. 11) When everything seemed concluded the ambassador begins to make new proposals and to raise fresh difficulties, so that he is staying there at great expense and with little result, while the Palatine is far away.
The Hague, the 30th September, 1632.


  • 1. See No. 853 at page 616 in the preceding Vol. of this Calendar.
  • 2. Weston reached Paris on Monday 13/23 Aug. His dispatch of 12/66 contains none of the advices and opinions here stated. State Papers. Foreign. France. Vol. 92.
  • 3. Sent to treat with the Duke of Lorraine. Siri, Memorie Recondite, Vol. vii,
  • 4. George, Lord Gordon, eldest son of the Marquis of Huntly. See preceding vol. of this Calendar, page 608.
  • 5. Anstruther's letters acknowledging receipt of his instructions are of the 15/25 Sept. S.P. Foreign. Germany, States. Vol. 8.
  • 6. Weston arrived in Lyon on Monday 6 Sept. a day later than Louis. Despatch of 1/11 Sept. S. P. For. France Vol. 92.
  • 7. The action took place on 18 August, relief troops under the Count of Isenburg, commander of the Imperial forces in Luxemburg being defeated by the French forces investing Treves, commanded by the Marshal d'Estrées. Mercure Français, Vol. 18, page 499.
  • 8. William Curtius, who reached the Treasurer at Roehampton on 2/12 Sept. See his letter to Vane of 6/16 Sept. S.P. For. Germany, States. Vol. 39.
  • 9. Not a blood relation but a kinsman though his recent marriage to Frances Stuart, sister of the Duke of Lennox.
  • 10. Anstruther acknowledged receipt of his letters of recall on the date of this dispatch of Antelmi. He seems to have left Vienna on the 9th October. His letter of safe conduct from the emperor is dated the 5th of that month. S.P. Foreign. Germany States. Vol. 8.
  • 11. William Curtius. See above, page 6.