Venice: December 1633

Pages 168-178

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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December 1633

Dec. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
222. To the Ambassador in England.
We have yours of the 28th October with news of the birth of a new prince. You will do all that you consider proper in our name expressing our friendship and our desire for his Majesty's prosperity. We send news from Constantinople and other parts.
Ayes, 91. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
Dec. 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
223. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After a very considerable delay the letters from Italy arrived towards the end of the present week, which have been expected here since the beginning of last month. With them the state despatches of the 28th of October have reached me. Among the advices which have struck the Court here as novel and strange is one that the Capuchin sent from Rome to Mantua has brought word that the idea of the marriage has practically fallen through, as quite recently they wrote here to a very different effect by way of Rome about this self same mission of the Capuchin.
With respect to the commands which reach me from the Senate about the ordinary embassy I am gratified at having attained a successful result with regard to their decision, since all the difficulties encountered have lost all their strength owing to the considerations which I have advanced.
The Lords here meet the exaggerations of the Spanish Resident here, which have really gone too far, about the advantage of the Imperialists in the operations of Volestain and Feria by the diversion announced as quite successful in the last letters which have reached the palace, although they are awaiting further confirmation, through the capture of Ratisbon. Gerbier, the English Agent writes that this news had reached Brussels also and had greatly damped their rejoicings shortly before, over the defeat and imprisonment of the Count della Torre and Dubald with the rest of their forces, which surrendered. (fn. 1)
Letters from Colonel Benicausen, who has correspondence with more than one of the Lords of the Council here, bring renewed assurances of the determination of those princes, who will run every hazard before they will return to the Austrian yoke.
The Princess, his Majesty's sister, has sent to represent here her generous designs to send her eldest son with some fresh force into the Palatinate, but at the same time she has not hesitated to point out her powerlessness to bear such a heavy weight of expense alone, and she presses for help from here. As usual they procrastinate about this. There is a great deal of reflection and consultation, but so far nothing is decided, notwithstanding that, at the instance of the Princess, the Lords here have devoted the more attention to the matter because the Dutch, out of regard for the public welfare in Germany and the satisfaction of this kingdom, have supported her offices with ample offers of their co-operation jointly with this crown, whenever they choose to come to some definite resolution here. In his last confidential interview with me Brasser intimated that his masters would hear of this the more gladly as it would serve to cement the good understanding, and would also prove very opportune to render difficult the passage of Feria's force into Flanders. To that end it is known, also from Brussels, that the Infanta is about to despatch a certain number of infantry and cavalry, which besides alarming the French in the direction of Luxemburg will proceed to join hands with Feria's force. This important consideration makes the Dutch minister more earnest in supporting the requests of the Princess Palatine. He also hinted something to me about the close attention his masters were paying to the movements of the Duke of Neuburg in Cologne who is at length about to declare himself leader of the Imperialist forces in that part, not without some idea of injuring the interests of the Dutch.
There are various opinions about the Duke of Arescot's journey to Spain. Many believe that as his journey will lead to the Brabant deputies making a longer stay at the Hague, the Spaniards may not be sorry to drag out the negotiations in this way, in order to gain time thereby, and not to deprive their subjects altogether of the hope of some accomodation. A gentleman has arrived from this same Duke of Arescot. He handed in letters and performed offices of thanks with many of the ministers here for the king's reception of the duke's nephews. He left in a few days and certainly did not transact any business by commission of the Infanta, although when he arrived in Court, it was believed that he brought some business from there. They talk of the Duke of Savoy being about to send an ambassador extraordinary also, and that by sending Baronis he wished to prepare the way for this mission, in order to have the Lord Treasurer more favourably disposed and prepared, by the present sent to his son. Meanwhile Baronis has gone away without any further business and he did not even see the king. The queen mother has sent here M. della Lue, her Master of Horse, merely with congratulations on the birth of the Duke of York. They say that the Sieur di Santa Croce will arrive in a few days for the same office, sent by Monsieur.
When I had written as far as this the latest from your Excellencies of the 4th of November reached me. With respect to the embassy I have done what I am recommended to do. For the rest, as regards the book of the Duke of Savoy I think I can assert that no copy has reached the Lords of the Court, since I know that the Tuscan Resident here has tried especially hard in his desire to see it. Thus after he had asked for it from many, so he told me, to whom he felt sure it must have come, he asked me for it. As I did not think it advisable to let him see it, I pretended not to have it, remarking that it was no use taking any notice of such beggarly, baseless and empty advantages, which cannot make kings out of those who are not kings already or give a kingdom to one who has never had one.
London, the 2nd December, 1633.
Dec. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
224. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
I have informed some members of the government of the office passed by the Ambassador Gussoni with the King of England about good relations with these Provinces. Their High Mightinesses expressed their appreciation of the action of the republic. They declare that in general and in essentials they are well united with their neighbours and allies, and will try to keep it up. Although there are some private disputes with England these ought not to affect the sentiments of princes. I hope however that events will not occur to upset the good relations between friendly powers, especially in present circumstances. I will not cease to apply my good offices.
The Hague, the 5th December, 1633.
Dec. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
225. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Asks leave to return home speedily, as he has already completed two years of service at this Court, while his house suffers more and more from his absence.
London, the 7th December, 1633.
Dec. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
226. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Agent Curtius has arrived here from Germany these last days, sent by the Duke of Symeren, administrator of the Palatinate. He brings some incitements and instructions on behalf of the Chancellor Oxestern. His arrival at Court appears to have greatly assisted the instances of the Princess, his Majesty's sister, to such an extent, that after first giving him a private audience the king got him to meet the royal Council more than once to hear the particulars, more especially concerning the interests of the Palatinate. He represented the state of affairs in Germany, pointing out the advantageous position of the imperialists, the successes of Volestain and Feria having to some extent changed the course of events. He brought forward many considerations as to the most urgent necessity of speedily placing some force in the Lower Palatinate, declaring that the fortresses there are stripped of their garrisons, and the country all but destitute of troops, remaining entirely at the discretion of any one who cares to take possession. It is expected that the Spanish forces under Feria will do so whenever they are released from Alsace. He intimated that 6000 foot and 1000 horse in the opinion of the Administrator and Oxestern might suffice for the defence, with the addition of some others which it would not be difficult to raise from the people there For this purpose he brings proposals which will involve not less than 20,000l. sterling in cash from here. For the ordinary payment of the troops he suggests that they might be supported on little more than 6000l. sterling a month.
The Dutch minister keeps his eye on these negotiations, to help with his offices and the support of his masters. But in his last confidential interview with me he seemed to have little hope of any satisfactory decision from this quarter. The matter remains in the balance and so far one neither hears nor learns anything definite. Yet it is an ascertained fact that the Treasurer here is trying in the mean time with all his might to get together a good sum of money, and is further endeavouring to obtain from the farmers of the royal customs the revenues for three years in advance. From this many are willing to conclude that there is an inclination to supply some assistance, especially as it is stated on good authority that the opinion of the Administrator has made some impression on the king and ministers, in representing the absolute impossibility of holding what has been recovered unless England supplies assistance.
Two couriers bring the same news of the death of the Infanta of Brussels which happened on Thursday in last week. (fn. 2) There is much talk at Court about the disorders which may ensue from this event, among the Spanish commanders and the people. It is thought that this will hasten the departure of the Cardinal Infant from Milan, now that the passage of Feria's force is assured.
Among those who are left in charge of the government they write that the Duke of Arescot is included, and accordingly they have immediately sent with all speed to stop him from continuing his journey to Spain and to get him to return at once to Flanders. The Dutch are already on the alert for what may ensue, and it appears that they regret not having their army in the field at the moment. The Deputy Brasser seems to believe that the total breaking off of the negotiations for truces, already begun, will happen so much the sooner.
Baronis, who left recently, brought here remittances of money for the Abbot Scaglia, and made use of them, although to a small amount. Scaglia's correspondents here say that more than anything else he is contemplating in what way he can make his peace with the duke, his master.
A courier has reached Botard, the French, secretary, who announced that he was on the point of leaving, with commissions for a special office of congratulation to their Majesties on the birth of the Duke of York, and with instructions in addition to stay on until further orders from the king.
Last Sunday the ceremony of christening the Duke of York took place. They gave him the name of James. The Marchioness of Hamilton took part in the function as the representative of the Princess Palatine ; the Lord Treasurer as the substitute for the Prince Palatine and the Earl of Arundel on behalf of the Prince of Orange. They invited not only the nobles of the Court, but those around London as well. Six of them carried the canopy for the little duke, to whom, that same day, the mayor and magistrates of this city presented a gold cup of the value of some 3000 crowns. Subsequently the people raised their voices and acclamations to the health of the little prince and the king.
A certain Dominican priest, an Irishman by race, suffered the extreme penalty two days ago, being torn in pieces by horses (tormentato a straccino di cavalli). He went away to Spain, and there, so they say, remained as confessor to the Viceroy of Seville. Returning again to this kingdom he was immediately recognised, arrested, accused and convicted of having said in Spain that he did not mean to return to England any more unless it was to assassinate the king. (fn. 3)
As the recently chosen ambassador Carri is to take his wife with him, he has arranged to delay his departure until the spring. Through the Earl of Arundel and other protectors of the Agent Rowlandson they had already obtained the continuation of a part of the yearly assignment and provision made for him beforehand by the king. I have ascertained that the question of expense, which they represented as unnecessary, was one of the objections to their coming to a proper decision about that ordinary embassy.
The last despatches to reach me from the Senate are of the 11th of November.
London, the 9th December, 1633.
Dec. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
227. Pietro Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The other day the king was looking for a diamond of great value which he had lost. Hearing that it had come into the hands of an English merchant, he sent Bastangi to take it. When the merchant came the Sultan found that the diamond bought by him was not the one he sought, but another, also of the Seraglio, which the merchant said he had not in his hands but that it was in the house of the English ambassador for safety. As he had made an advantageous purchase for 5500 reals for what was worth 12000 his Excellency wished to have the refusal ; the Chiecaia of Bastangi Pasha sent to the ambassador for the ring : Bastangi remained all the time at the kiosk, because the weather was bad and the hour late. The Chiecaia returned with the ring which was forthwith handed to Bastangi. He asked the merchant from whom he had it, and he replied, from a certain Chiaus. He sent for the Chiaus on the following day and asked how the diamond had come into his hands. He said he had it from the Sultana di Caffis and had given her 5500 reals. They sent to the Sultana who, to avoid trouble, denied all knowledge of the ring or the money so the Chiaus was beheaded and the merchant bastinadoed. Of the money taken from the Chiaus 2000 reals was given to the ambassador with an intimation that he should have the remaining 3500, but he is doubtful whether he will get it.
The Vigne of Pera, the 11th December, 1633.
Dec. 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
228. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The two Agents Curtius and Nedersolt are acting in concert with respect of the affairs of the Palatinate at this Court. Each of them is increasingly insistent upon a subject of which they are much afraid here, of fresh invasions by the Spanish forces. But while they are aware here of the nature of the danger and the need for succour, they wish for some greater and more specific assurance with respect to how the Dutch will carry out their offers of co-operation for the purpose. Accordingly they have thought fit to send to the Princess Palatine to get her to try and ascertain more clearly some particulars about the good intentions of the Dutch. She writes that she has done this, assisted by similar offices by Camerarius, the Swedish ambassador at that Court. She says they are both anxiously waiting for the answer. But this serves to postpone the resolutions which they say the king wishes to take on the matter. The ministry are also curious to hear what the Ambassador Joachimi may bring on the same subject. After ten months' absence they expect his arrival any day. A report has got about that he is coming with more exact commissions from his masters to co-operate expeditiously in the matter to secure the best results. The Deputy Brasser also repeats that the Dutch are as ready as possible for the closest understanding with England, especially for anything that may help the Palatinate and at the same time serve as an obstacle to the passage of the Spanish forces into Flanders.
This is the way the matter is proceeding, a manner which, as the Palatine agents are well aware, unfortunately involves inopportune loss of time. But those who have definite information about the shortness of money of the crown here, have little hope of a favourable issue, since they still remain opposed to provide it by the means which is more and more detested, of summoning parliament. Accordingly one of the most clear headed persons at the Court is inclined to believe that even if it were finally to meet it would either do nothing or the delay in providing effective succour would necessarily be so great that any adequate advantage would hardly be obtained.
Persons have come from the Landgrave of Hesse with patents to raise levies in this kingdom, but it is not known or believed that they have remittances for a sou as yet. It is further stated that the Chancellor Oxestern in particular, among the numerous levies which he proposes to raise in various quarters, thinks of having a regiment of 3000 Scots. They will make no difficulty about permitting that here provided he only wants men, not money.
From Brussels, where an extraordinary number of troops was introduced after the Infanta's death, it does not appear from the advices which have recently reached the lords here that any rising or commotion has occurred either in that city or in the states. Apparently all is going on quietly under the six leaders who take part in the government. (fn. 4) The Abbot Scaglia writes from that Court to one of his correspondents in this kingdom that they are already beginning their preparations for the reception of the Cardinal Infant, who is to proceed to Flanders at the earliest opportunity. But here they do not see how a safe passage can be opened with so much ease and speed.
The same letters state that the queen mother, the princess of Lorraine, Monsieur and all the others in bad odour with France have felt this death as a heavy blow, as they feel, the queen mother in particular, that they have lost a considerable support in their difficult position.
The Sieur di Santa Croce has not yet appeared, sent by Monsieur to insist that his marriage is a valid one. The French secretary Botard has hitherto spoken very much to the opposite effect at this Court. In confidential discourse he has gone so far as to intimate that he is very well aware that his representations to the ministers here have been well received more in appearance than in essence, as well because of the break up of that party, as because of what has been done for the well deserved humiliation of Lorraine and the necessary security of the Most Christian. He told his same confidant that he had supplied proper information about all this to France.
The last from your Serenity are of the 18th ult. which have only just arrived, with the delay usual in the winter.
London, the 16th December, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
229. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
News came from Liege that the Spaniards in Luxemburg were preparing to march into Germany. Owing to a report at Brussels that the cavalry of the Prince of Orange was taking the field, orders were given to the English and Irish troops to move towards Tilmon and Diest, and provision was made for collecting the rest of the army in two days. But the report proved false and the English and Irish, were countermanded.
The Hague, the 19th December, 1633.
Dec. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
230. To the Ambassador in England.
Your letters of the 18th ult. tell of your offices with the queen and ministers about sending an ambassador here, and that you found nothing to bear out what Biondi reported the Earl of Arundel had said about not continuing our ambassador. You will continue your offices for this and also for the maintenance of a good understanding between the king and the States.
Ayes, 105. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
Dec. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
231. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Joachimi has arrived from Holland to take up his charge as ordinary ambassador after a long absence. He went to see the king and ministers, but merely for compliments. I also paid my respects. In an interview with him at this house I gathered that he brings instructions to obtain some decision here about the affairs of Germany. We shall hear the particulars of what he proposes. The ministers here seem to be expecting them, and meanwhile they are involved in their usual delays and irresolution and so procrastinate without a sign of settling anything.
With the increasing reports of ever greater successes for the princes of the party, especially in the heart of Bavaria, their hopes at this Court correspondingly rise about a firmer union between those princes. Indeed some of the Lords of the royal Council have advices reporting new and reciprocal declarations from Saxony and Brandenburg that they are determined never to separate from their friends and confidants, rejecting all proposals for a settlement which do not comprise the universal advantage.
From the mark of Brandenburg, which has been all but totally devastated by Volestain, news has reached here that the troops of General Bannier, in good numbers, have succeeded in standing up against the Imperialists, recovering the places occupied by them shortly before. While this is considered important for that quarter, so on the other side the attention of the ministry here is really more directed to what new designs the Duke of Feria may be about to attempt, although they hope and believe that Marshal Horn will be able to meet him successfully.
The jealousy shown by the Spaniards of Monsieur affords material for discussion at this Court. He, on the contrary, laments that he has become an object of suspicion to them and has expressed his willingness to the Marquis of Aytona to give any security. It seems, however, that the queen here, after the last audience she gave to the Sieur di la Lue, gentleman of the queen mother, remarked that she believed an accomodation and his return to France were at hand. But this expression of her belief does not tally well with what the two English secretaries write to this Court in their last despatch from Paris.
A gentleman of Monsieur returned from Spain is passing through this kingdom, but without any business at this Court. He is going straight to Brussels. Anstruther's last letters are from Hamburg, where he is still staying. He goes frequently to Gluckstadt for the negotiations with the King of Denmark. They are at present negotiating a sort of renewal of the ancient alliances between those two crowns, whereby they hope to put an end to or dimish the occasions for the mutual differences which occur.
With the shortness of money, which increases daily, and the disinclination to obtain it by the more and more detested means of parliament, they have begun to invent devices and subtleties, never practised in the past. They have so arranged the whole business of the manufacture and sale of soap which is consumed in this kingdom, into a monopoly, without any apparent imposition or tax, since by fundamental laws taxes and impositions depend on the arbitrament of parliament alone, that the price of that commodity has been doubled, and they reckon that this enhanced cost will mean a considerable sum for the royal benefit. Accordingly they are contemplating very much greater increases, and it seems that they propose to do the same with corn, beer and all other kinds of merchandise, following the example of this new device. However it does not pass without exciting resentment and remonstrance among the people.
The day after tomorrow the king and Court will begin to wear mourning for the Infanta of Brussels. From the same quarter orders have reached the Spanish Resident here to impart the decision taken by those states to continue to the queen mother and Monsieur the same assistance which they enjoyed in the time of the late Archduchess.
My last despatches from the state are of the 24th ult.
London, the 23rd December, 1633.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
232. To the Ambassador in England.
We have this week your letters of the 25th ult. with news of the appointment of a person of distinction and ability as ambassador to us. We are well pleased with this result of your offices, as it will tend to strengthen our good understanding with that crown. You will assure him that he will be very welcome.
Ayes, 89. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
Dec. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
233. Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The French secretary, who is still in charge, in the absence of any other minister, has recently made some overtures, whereby, provided always that they are willing to co-operate effectually here, they can unite for the current affairs of Germany and arrange for a better concert between France and England. They seemed to listen to him very readily here, the more so because in his proposals he remarked that any plan sketched out by him could be settled afterwards by the ambassador when he comes. Their first questions were whether he had any special instructions upon this. When he asserted that he had they asked him to put them in writing, so that they might make a suitable reply. He did not refuse, and took time to do it, in order, as I gathered from what he said to me, to receive some more particular orders from France. The two English secretaries write thence that the new mission of Fichiers to Germany with ample offers to encourage the princes there, is further intended to obtain from them advantages which concern the interests of France itself more, and for this in particular he is to go to the diet at Frankfort. They add that by the measure of his negotiations they have renewed orders to Sciarnasse that he must continue to press his negotiations in Holland.
Meanwhile at Court here they are watching for events of greater importance in Bavaria, and they would also like to have more authentic advices about what may happen to the fortress of Passau, the frontier and pass to that of Linz in Austria. The ministry here are agreed in the opinion that matters on one side and the other in Germany are now fairly well balanced and the advantage has all but dissappeared, of which the Imperialists made so much everywhere a little while ago, in favour of their forces. With the troops under the Duke of Feria so greatly weakened their apprehensions about designs on the Palatinate have much diminished. Although we hear from Brussels of some fresh preparations of the Spaniards to march into Germany with some idea that they may enter that country from Luxemburg, yet the Lords here seem to attach scant importance to this, upon the consideration that the movement of those troops is more to unite them under Feria than to employ them for any sort of enterprise.
No ambassador extraordinary from Savoy has appeared as the partisans of that duke seem to have led them to expect. Here they have not sent or even taken the trouble to inform him of the birth of the Duke of York, and his persistence in his notion about the royal title certainly meets with no encouragement or support from this quarter.
I have already reported that they intended to give your Serenity some notice of the choice and despatch of an ordinary ambassador to Venice. It has come to my ears that a few days after, by the first despatch of last week they sent orders to the Agent Rolandson. Meanwhile the ambassador is getting ready, and he is losing no time in perfecting himself in the practise of the Italian tongue.
A somewhat dangerous incident has occurred at the house of the Spanish Resident. Some official of the Admiralty wished to arrest a certain Dunkirker who had escaped from prison, and had taken refuge in the Resident's stable. Nicolaldi himself, with his sword drawn, followed by his servants, who also had their swords, dragged this official into the house and put him in irons But from fear of a rising disturbance among the people the official was subsequently released. The matter is not thoroughly cleared up as yet, they seem offended at the palace and by the king's order they are making a diligent enquiry. (fn. 5)
The latest dispatches from the Senate are of the 1st inst. Upon the arrival of these presents the time will have expired for the choice of some one to succeed to this charge. While I have no doubt that this will be done with all despatch I venture to add my humble petition for this.
London, the 30th December, 1633.


  • 1. Ratisbon capitulated on the 14th November. Count Thurn and Duwall had surrendered with 6000 Swedes to Wallenstein at Steinau in Silesia on the 10th October.
  • 2. Isabella Clara Eugenia, daughter of Philip II. of Spain and ruler of the Spanish Netherlands since 1598. Thursday should be Tuesday as she died on 29th November.
  • 3. See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1633-4 page 220, 260. Salvetti writing on this date (9 Dec.) says "Mercoledi passato (i.e. 7 Dec.) fu squarciato un frate Domenicano, Irlandese essendo due giorni avanti convinto et condennato del Tribunale della Banca Regia per crimen di Maestà, consistento di havere mentre si trovasse in Spagna aleuni anni sono, sostenuto potersi deponer e ammazzare il Re." Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 G.
  • 4. The Marquis of Aytona, the Duke of Aerschot, the Archbishop of Malines, the Count of la Fere, the Count de Fuentes, and Don Carlos Coloma. Gerbier's despatch of 2 Dec. S.P. For. Flanders.
  • 5. Nicolaldi's residence was in Clerkenwell. The Dunkirker was a Captain Duperoy This affair took place on 22 Dec. Cat. S.P. Dom. 1633, pages 329, 331.