Venice: January 1637

Pages 118-135

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 24, 1636-1639. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1923.

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January 1637

1637. Jan. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
132. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Earl of Arundel arrived at the Hague on Tuesday and left yesterday for Brill. He refused public honours from the States, but compliments were exchanged. He left without speaking of any business. The Court resents this lack of confidence. In his conversation the earl gave the impression of being a means for preventing the trouble that the Austrians might receive from England rather than like one disgusted over his negotiations and full of bitterness, as the English tried to make him out. He remarked that the intentions of Cæsar are very good. They had offered him the Lower Palatinate. Cæsar apologised for not being able to give greater satisfaction to the Prince Palatine because the remainder of the country and the electoral vote belong to Bavaria. In spite of this he would not fail to keep a guiding hand on the affair so that the electors might decide something which would prove satisfactory to England and to the Palatine family. I am unable to say, added Arundel, if the king, my master, will be content. When asked if the king would make a declaration he said that his Majesty should announce his deep affection for his nephew, but that an appeal to arms was the last resource and in his opinion matters had not reached this extremity. Thus he spoke very differently when he left Vienna. It serves to confirm the suspicion that before Arundel left Ratisbon he had a long conference with Ognat and other ministers in which it is reported that they calmed him down tremendously. Yet the Princess Palatine asserts that Arundel is a most honourable man and says that he took charge of her interests with entire sincerity and in the best manner. But either she does not know how matters stand and they do not tell her everything, or she affects not to know.
Arundel told me that the matter might be referred to Cologne and it was possible he would be sent there. He expressed great confidence in the ability of the Ambassador Pesaro (fn. 1), but the French pretend that they will not concern themselves about it if England does not declare herself.
The Hague, the 1st January, 1636. [M.V.]
Jan. 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
133. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the pretexts were very plausible and proper by which they announced that there was constant need for a numerous fleet at sea, and the specious object of establishing absolute dominion there has of itself won general applause, yet the people here in no wise relax their complaints at seeing themselves, as they say contrary to the laws of the realm, forced to submit to extraordinary impositions. Indeed they seem more determined than ever to resist them, taking little account of the threats and severities which are held over them. With the support and example of many of the leading lords of the realm, who, since the letter of the Earl of Dambi, have openly refused payment, they insist on their rights in such a way as to give even the king occasion to think of some other expedient. But all are not agreed as to what this should be, as where severity can be shown, the result is not considerable, and where the opposition is strong the most important amount ought to be obtained, and if they do not begin with the great, but little is obtained from the others and less worth having. The pecuniary need of the crown is now great, but the emergency will be even greater in a few months, and with his Majesty still holding fast to his policy of doing without parliament, and to establish his authority by other ways, so that he may be able in the future to clear away all these irritating and difficult obstacles, they consider and deliberate, but they do not know how to set to work.
The people are too wide awake to allow themselves to be deluded by tricks. They discussed at length it is said if it would be expedient for the king to ask for a loan from his subjects on the pretext of a momentary need, without allowing the effect of the present imposts to die away, but they feared that the results of the ideas in question would prejudice the demand, under present circumstances, and so the proposal met with no approval. Meanwhile, both for the profit and to satisfy the malcontents, they propose rigorously to exact payment of the duties from all ships that pass through this sea in future, and have postponed discussing the reply to be given to the Dutch ambassador upon this. They have not made him any communication either about what he said to the Palatine about his stay here or his complaints because they did not inform him of the negotiations with France ; a circumstance which greatly increases the ill feeling of the Dutch against this crown.
All the rest of the affairs of this crown consist in the expectation of the news to be brought by the Earl of Arundel and of the alliance with France.
Westcourt, the 2nd January, 1636 [M.V.]
134. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Panzani left for Rome only the day before yesterday, although it is more than a month since he took leave of the queen and of all the ministers here with whom he had relations. He stated that his delay was caused by his waiting for a portrait of the queen to present to the pope in her name, but it appears that the sole reason why he stayed was to await the decision from Rome about the establishment of a Catholic bishop here, which has been in negotiation so long, and before departing to leave the affair in Coneo's hands quite straight forward in every respect. The pope's reply is to this effect, that in view of the king's persistent objection to such a bishop being sent, he thinks it advisable to let the matter drop for the moment, in order not to excite ill feeling by an open refusal, and because in these early stages of correspondence between the Holy See and this crown it may prove better in the interests of the faith, for the priests to recognise for their sole superior the minister of his Holiness, than to enter, with their usual disobedience, into fresh imbroglios with a bishop, openly hated and persecuted by the Protestants.
They claim at Rome, by this stroke, which in appearance seems respectful and humble towards the king, to bridle and control all the ecclesiastical missionaries of the realm, who form a very considerable party, and with them, the consciences and souls of all those who profess the Catholic faith, with the additional hope of being able, within a short time, to increase the practice of that faith to a certainty and without noise, with ever greater advantage to the service of God and the reputation of the Holy See.
At present, in order to make more certain of establishing a solid party Coneo is to pursue with all assiduity the question of permitting the Catholics to enjoy their goods freely, without being obliged to take the ordinary oath of fealty. By the taking of this they incur at present the censure of the Church, and by not consenting to it they incur the penalty of rebellion. But this affair, which is of the most serious and important character, involves such great difficulties that to overcome them requires no ordinary tact and adroitness, as otherwise, instead of gain, they might upset all the interests of religion and throw to the ground the most just and pious designs of the pope. Already many begin to speak angrily about it, saying that if they permit this licence to the Catholics it will amount to declaring absolute liberty of conscience in England and thereby open the way to those civil divisions and discords by which one has often seen states consumed in the flames of constant, inextinguishable and most hateful persecutions, to the scandal of the world and the danger of incurring even worse disasters through disunion. Those in particular who claim the name of Puritans speak in this way, and the bitterest enemies of the papal name and authority. They carefully observe Coneo's proceedings and artfully try to make his Majesty jealous of him from his close relations with the queen's confessor and with the Capuchins of her church, saying that they may form conventicles and plots against the repose of the people and the general quiet of the realm.
Some days ago, when their Majesties were passing near London to go and see some buildings of the queen at Greenwich, they were observed to leave their barque at the convent of the Capuchins, where they passed from the church to the cells and then to the refectory, not disdaining the poverty, the habits and scant ceremonies of the friars. (fn. 2) Those who were present say that they ate together what they found prepared for the supper of the Capuchins and the king seemed to have enjoyed it very much. An incident which at other times and with the quiet disposition of the past, would have passed unnoticed except as a chance diversion, has, amid present commotions, been taken in quite another sense, and supplies material for much discussion, although the case was really very simple and probably the king had no other object than to please the queen. Those also who for other ends call passionately for the convocation of parliament, increase their outcry because of this circumstance, declaring that the excessive desire to avoid hurting the interests of the Catholics is leading to greater and more serious hurt to the crown and the gravest disasters, but their voices are known to be too interested and do not produce all the effect which they pretend.
To such a disturbed condition has this most important matter been brought since my last report. The Signory can judge what grave consequences are involved, and I will carefully observe what happens, sending reports from time to time.
Westcourt, the 2nd January, 1636 [M.V.].
Jan. 3.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
135. The Ambassador of Great Britain came into the Collegio and spoke to the following effect :
My disposition to serve the republic makes me wish you every prosperity, and so I lose no time in bringing my best wishes for the new year. I have nothing to impart about the wars and the events in Italy, and I need not add anything to your own recommendations for peace, for which the republic may claim the honour of the idea. I need therefore do no more than praise your generous actions, which are always directed for the liberty of the province and for universal peace, thus coinciding with his Majesty's intentions.
All my master's own interests are directed towards the advantage of peace and I rejoice at seeing the good relations maintained between him and this republic, which leave nothing to be desired. I must always seize opportunities to thank your Serenity for favours received, and I would especially do so for the release of the Scottish gentleman, which was particularly grateful to me.
The doge replied, We thank your lordship for your good wishes. We also hope that the new year will be a most happy one for his Majesty and yourself, for whom we have such great affection. The republic will never cease to labour for the liberty and relief of this province. Meanwhile we rejoice at his Majesty's good fortune and at the relations he maintains with this republic, as we always cherish the most lively effection towards him. We readily seized the opportunity to please your lordship by the release of the Scottish gentleman, and you will always find us similarly disposed. The ambassador expressed some more compliments, took leave and departed.
Jan. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya, Venetian Archives.
136. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince of Orange had long conversations with the Earl of Arundel, but could extract nothing from him about his negotiations. The earl always turned the subject to pictures or the discomforts of his journey. The Prince urged him to use his influence with the king about the question of the fishermen. He said that neither King James nor Queen Elizabeth had raised such claims, and suggested the appointment of delegates on both sides. The prince made this suggestion in order to gain time and to show that he did not admit the English pretensions, and so be free to deal with the matter when circumstances permit. Arundel replied that he could not question the king's decisions and he did not think that his Majesty would alter his proceedings.
The States General performed a similar office, representing that it would be prudent for England to employ her fleets against the common enemy, as his Majesty will suffer if the Spaniards triumph. They received a similar answer, given somewhat sharply, the earl hinting that these Provinces will be best advised if they mind their own business and do not obstruct England.
The Hague, the 8th January, 1636. [M.V.]
Jan. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
137. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Palatine perceiving the unhappy state of his affairs and that his former petition has had no result has again petitioned that they will at least give him a few troops and a little money until his affairs are in a better state, saying that the Landgrave of Hesse and the Duke of Valimar have promised to receive him in their army, acknowledging the superiority due to his rank. But the king knows that to let him go with small forces only means incurring the necessity of spending without the hope of any profit, and moreover he does not think fit to make any answer until the Earl of Arundel arrives to report orally the more secret parts of his negotiations with Caesar and to give his opinion upon the situation. Arundel's last letters were from Cologne, where he says he will only stay two days, so they expect him momentarily. His Majesty shows great bitterness outwardly about the manner of this return. He declares his dissatisfaction with the House of Austria and assures his nephew that he will not let it pass without revenge. Although many think that he is not really so moved but only makes a display of this ire to please his nephew, it is certain that tired of the crafty proceedings of the Austrians and anxious to console the prince, he would really like to do so, but the ends of those who advise him may not be the same, and the fear of prejudicing by the meeting of parliament the rights of sovereignty of which he is gradually becoming possessed by use, do not allow him to take the step, because he himself well knows that the fundamental thing for successfully starting this work is to break openly with the House of Austria, and he is in no condition to do this without help from parliament. This is perhaps the only reason why the operations with France for an alliance are not concluded as the Most Christian steadily sets his face against it if England will not declare openly against his enemies. They say the Earl of Leicester wrote as much recently, practically declaring that without such a declaration it is useless for him to remain any longer at that Court.
The Dutch ambassador still continues his lamentations because they did not inform him of these negotiations. Besides his remarks to the Palatine to which he has never received a reply, he has also remonstrated seriously about it with the French ambassadors here, but they easily got out of it by saying that they never had the matter in their hands. He also encountered the usual difficulties in the affair of the recruits. When he wished to repeat his instances to the king they told him that his Majesty did not intend to grant them any more, as instead of filling up their regiments he was informed that they were ordinarily employed on the ships and in the Indies, contrary to his intentions and pleasure, and they would not listen to anything that the ambassador said to the contrary. On this hand also he goes about declaring that the relations between his masters and this crown will be much embittered, as in everything the English behave with a disregard of their feelings even where their own interests are most sensibly affected.
The Ambassador Ognate seems to let everything go on without minding. He lives a long way from the Court and in his usual retirement. (fn. 3) It is true that he has a way of conducting his affairs with secrecy, but they do not at all approve of the way he behaves. In conformity with the Senate's instructions of the 6th and 12th ult. I will give him no opening about visits as I have already done my part and I will wait for him to make the next move.
They have today received news of the election and coronation of the King of Hungary as King of the Romans. (fn. 4) Although everyone had foreseen it was certain, yet it has occasioned a great impression at Court owing to the serious consequences it involves. On this account also the disturbances in France over Monsieur and the Count of Soissons are thought very considerable and it is certain that they greatly displease his Majesty, who has declared that he passionately longs to see them entirely suppressed.
I can only submit humbly to the wishes of your Excellencies in the choice you have made of me for the embassy in France. I shall always be ready to carry out your commands. I only wish that my ability equalled my good will.
Westcourt, the 9th January, 1636 [M.V.]
Jan. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
138. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The deputies of Holland will meet on Monday. Among other things they will discuss the question of the liberty of the sea. The English Resident laments that they will not give way and contemplate a rupture and that they will not treat with him. He says that England cannot be better disposed for a breach with the Austrians and they might have issued a declaration already were it not for certain indications that it might be necessary to employ these forces in order to uphold the rights of the crown. The Ambassador Beveren is asking for his leave as he sees that his efforts are fruitless. The Princess Palatine is trying to smoothe the matter. She says that an alliance with France will soon be concluded and it will be the best day that the States have seen. But I do not think that she speaks with her usual courage and she is beginning to be afraid that the king's decisions may not correspond with her desires.
The Hague, the 15th January, 1636 [M.V.]
Jan. 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
139. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The difficulties over the exaction of the money for the fleet not only continue but become every day more troublesome. The more severe the royal officials show themselves against the disobedient the more determined the people show themselves not to submit their fortunes to the continuation of such charges. All the vigilance of the ministers is directed to this, and together with his Majesty they labour to find some expedient or compromise that will give satisfaction. But his Majesty's firmly rooted determination to gain independent authority over his people always constitutes an obstacle to all the expedients which circumstances suggest, as it seems that he cannot suffer the mention of parliament, much less its assembling.
The Earl of Warwick, whose courage has always been ready for the greatest enterprises, has with his followers, practically as chief, although not openly, taken up the cudgels, so they say, in defence of law and reason. He made no bones of telling the king frankly that his tenants or farmers (tenenti o coloni) were all old and accustomed to the mild rule of Queen Elizabeth and King James, and could not bring themselves to consent to such notable prejudices. They would consider their fault too grave if they died under the stigma of having, at the end of their lives, signed, away the liberties of the realm and of their free will deprived their posterity of those benefits which had been left to them uncontaminated as a sacred treasure by their ancestors. For his own part he was as ready as any one to sacrifice his blood as well as his goods for his Majesty, but he did not know how he could use force against his people or reprove their resolution against what he would not call unjust for fear of exciting too dangerous scandals. He therefore begged, his Majesty to have a gracious regard for the content of his subjects which is none other, after all than his own service, since all are most desirous of sacrificing to the will of their master their substance, their blood and their children, if they saw it was done by the proper channels, If his Majesty proposed on the score of reputation to make war against the House of Austria ; if he decided on an alliance with France for the recovery of the Palatinate ; if he meant to maintain the dominion of the sea by force, he, Warwick, ventured to promise for all and to stake his head that parliament would readily consent to supply him with all that he might desire to ask of it. In short he went on as long as the king had patience to listen to him, there being no point which he did not touch on and no consideration which he did not advance in order to induce the king to summon parliament.
But his wise strokes, with all their subtlety and sagacity could not succeed in making any impression where they met with such a tenacious resistance. It was no small thing, after such a long importunity, that the king, unlike his usual character, took the liberty of this discourse as well as he did, as his countenance remained smiling and composed at the end as well as at the beginning, although he said nothing to the earl in response except that he expected from the example of promptness shown by him that he should be obeyed by the others also. Thus with one thing and another we see this grave matter approaching greater dangers, with little hope of any remedy that may not prove very unpleasant and bitter.
It now seems that many of the leading men of the realm are determined to make a final effort to bring the forms of government back to their former state. They hold secret meetings for the purpose of achieving this result. It is said that they have decided to draw up a paper which many will sign, to be handed to his Majesty in the name of all, with an open request for the convocation of parliament, upon terms which will concede to him many of the chief things which he wants and in addition adding one fourth to all the subsidies which may be paid in the future by order of such parliament. Many other particulars have also been discussed in this proposal, but as they are necessarily secret, I shall not venture, without more authentic information, to inflict a digression upon your Excellencies which may prove at once superfluous and wearisome, although they are of such considerable consequence.
I am on safe ground in saying that the very important question of religion may be the one to break the thread of any adjustment, because the Archbishop of Canterbury, with the king's assent, has introduced many novelties into the church ; such as a reform in the vestments of ministers, the setting up of images, on the pretext of adorning the churches, the use of lights on the altars upon solemn occasions, which come very near to the forms of the Roman church so also is what I should have mentioned before, the introduction in many places of auricular confession, under the pretext of taking counsel of the minister upon some scruple or difficulty of conscience. The parliamentarians aim not only at destroying these at the outset but to cut away their roots by the deposition of the archbishop. As it is not probable that they will induce the king to consent to this, who is too fond of those rites and too friendly to the archbishop, it is thought that these difficulties will remain even if the others are settled, and that the king, foreseeing opposition, will prefer to let things go on as they are, rather than summon parliament and make them worse.
The Spaniards have had a hand in all these things, with the intention of embarrassing England in civil dissensions for the benefit of their own interests. They forward their calculated designs with cunning and secrecy in every direction, at confessions, at meetings and even at the public preachings, making use of the Jesuits on one side to confirm the party of the Catholics, while on the other they get their partisans to suborn persons of every condition not to pay the contributions but to press vigorously for the convocation of parliament. Most of the king's ministers, who see the disorders very clearly, either do not think them worthy of consideration, or behave as if they were not, since they rather try to prevent his Majesty being informed about them. Yet such seeds may germinate in the worst humours, and good Englishmen and those who are reputed wise and disinterested augur badly, foreseeing a great upset in the affairs of Europe if things go as the Spaniards are trying to push them.
Amid these circumstances I can hardly give your Excellencies an idea of the commotion occasioned recently over the arrest of a Jesuit, who was educating several of the sons of the principal lords of the realm in his own house, who were being instructed by him, with their fathers' permission, in the Roman faith. I will only say that this pretty incitement has made such a change in the general sentiment, that it has sufficed to discover the passions of many which had been concealed for their own reasons. These now come out boldly in the Jesuit's defence, though the Protestants offer a most pertinacious opposition demanding that an example shall be made of him sufficient to restrain the zeal of others in the future. He remains a prisoner but with the almost certain hope of a speedy release. The Austrian ministers here have taken up his cause warmly and the king does not seem at all offended. I have thought proper to report this matter because of the consequences that may ensue, and accordingly I relate in another place the matters which I consider of more importance.
Westcourt, the 16th January, 1636. [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
140. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Earl of Arundel has reached the Court at last (fn. 5) and the king welcomed him with the greatest show of affection and honour. He gave an account of his transactions in a very long speech to his Majesty alone, who interrupted him with various interrogations and who was observed to wish to be made fully acquainted with everything. Although one cannot possibly know all the particulars of this interview, yet they may easily be gathered from what the earl has stated that they were merely protests against the ill satisfaction which he received from the emperor, and a demonstration that it is not possible to adjust the affairs of the Palatine with him in the manner which his rights and the king's reputation require. The Court is already full of rumours about this ; one hears great matters discussed, every one gladly availing himself of the opportunity to ventilate his own passion but every one suspends his judgment as to what they will decide, because they know that achievement in this connection has no correspondence with the great expectations which are formed.
So soon as the Spanish ambassador heard of the earl's arrival he hastily asked for an audience that same day so as to prevent his Majesty receiving a bad impression from the earl's account to the prejudice of the Austrian party. He imagined that he would be received the first, but the king was through the device, and so it failed, as he wished, before receiving him, to have the fullest information from the other. The ambassador could not altogether dissimulate his chagrin at seeing the earl admitted to audience before himself, and expressed himself very emphatically to the one who accompanied him to his Majesty, but he made no reference on the subject to the king, either directly or indirectly. (fn. 6)
His office began by informing the king of the happy issue of the election and coronation of the King of Hungary as King of the Romans. He said that the greatness and prosperity of the House of Austria would always be dedicated to the satisfaction of this crown. Then, turning to the Earl of Arundel, he protested that he had not brought back satisfaction from Caesar because he did not wish to. If he had chosen to treat upon the offers that had been made to him the affair would have been settled by now, but this time he had allowed his natural impetuosity to overcome his reason. The emperor was sorry for him, knowing the affection he professes for the Palatine House, but he did not wish the good intentions of ministers to prejudice the conclusion of negotiations and effect the good relations between two such friendly princes. In fine he inveighed against Arundel's proceedings and correspondingly maintained the good intentions of the emperor and his king to peace and the just conclusion of this affair. He steadfastly affirmed that if his Majesty had not given up his intention of settling it in a friendly way, those princes would certainly show no lack of resolution and justice to render him perfectly satisfied.
The king seemed to approve of the zealous expression of his office. He said the Earl of Arundel was a nobleman of recognised prudence. These were not the first transactions that had passed through his hands, and if the emperor and the King of Spain wished to give him satisfaction in the interests of the Palatine, they should now prove it by deeds and not words. So they disputed, with various fluctuations, not about the merits but about the circumstances of the affair. Thus the audience terminated without any resolution but with a very marked increase in his Majesty's dissatisfaction. What results this will produce remains to be seen, since all criteria for forming a sound judgment have dissappeared even for the most speculative.
The Marquis of Poygne, the French ambassador in ordinary here, was overtaken suddenly last week while he was writing, by a profound lethargy, and in eight days he passed away without ever recovering consciousness. (fn. 7) The Court regrets the loss exceedingly and the queen is deeply grieved, because of his open nature and also for the important services which he rendered to the faith. M. de Senneterre seems to feel it deeply, because he hoped to have permission to return to France soon, and because he forsees that now he remains alone, he will not enjoy so many advantages in his charge, although he is most vigilant and prudent, as the ministers here have not that opinion of him that he deserves and that is requisite.
When I went to audience of his Majesty last Tuesday, to wish him a happy new year, as usual, thought fit, although not so instructed, to tell him of the choice of Sig. Giustinian to succeed me. I told his Majesty of his merits and how in this selection you wished to give him a lively token of your regard. He told me he had heard of this from his ambassador. He thanked the republic and assured her of his sincere affection. He asked me if Giustinian would arrive soon. I said I did not know, but as he has to wait for his successor in Spain I did not think that he could move for some months yet. The king remarked smiling, Let him come when he will, he will be welcome and receive the same satisfaction as you have received, as I never have any contest with the republic of Venice but one of courtesy. I took the opportunity to say how much your Excellencies appreciate the kindness shown to your representatives and your desire to respond. I also deprecated some courteous remarks that he made about me personally. As he received me in the house at Richmond, where his children are now staying, who were all present in the room at the time, I said I rejoiced to find his Majesty in the midst of his greatest felicity and wished him every increase thereof. He showed his appreciation of this, more especially by gently reproving the prince for having received me too stolidly (con troppo sussiego) when I kissed his hand ; and so I took leave.
I received the day before yesterday the state despatches of the 19th ult. The Ambassador Ognat declared recently that he did not think any offices necessary in response to those I made by my Secretary.
Westcourt, the 16th January, 1636 [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
141. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I saw the Cardinal yesterday. After other matters he spoke of the election of the King of the Romans, which he said had been done contrary to the laws of the empire. We shall see, he remarked, what ensues, as we know well what force can do. I asked him what he thought England would do. He told me the commissioners were hopeful because they are getting nearer. They have drawn up some articles in favour of Germany and the Palatine house which are to be taken to that Court tomorrow or the day after, but we do not know, said he, what they will do, as they are very variable and involved in Spanish interests. I asked tactfully if he thought the English would declare themselves. He replied, they are certainly aware that without this nothing good can be done. They express their intention of war ensuing if they do not receive satisfaction in two or three months upon the demands they are making of the Austrians. We consider the king is very high minded, but his ministers create difficulties.
Paris, 20th January, 1636 [M.V.].
Jan. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya, Venetian Archives.
142. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Princess Palatine has received word that the Count of Bucquoi at Brussels being selected as ambassador to inform the king of the election of the king of the Romans, his Majesty intimated that he would not be received, as he did not recognise the election. The Princess hopes that this step is the first on the journey which she wishes to see taken. She is expecting every moment the final decision of England, as she heard of Arundel's arrival two days ago.
The Ambassador Beveren writes that the ministers there say that if the fishermen do not go to England to take out licences, they will be treated with hostility as disobedient and disturbers of the peace. The news has stirred the ill humours which are always just beneath the surface. The States of Holland are toiling and debating but they do not come to any decision.
The Hague, the 22nd January, 1636 [M.V.]
Jan. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
143. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When the Earl of Arundel and the Spanish ambassador had gone out from the audiences reported, the king immediately sent for the Prince Palatine, to whom he gave an exact account of what he had heard. He was heard to say with a loud and angry voice that he was exceedingly displeased at the behaviour of the Austrians, and was determined to assert his rights and more constant than ever in his desire to relieve the afflictions of his nephew's house by brilliant operations. To follow this up he had the Earl of Arundel introduced on the following day in the Palatine's presence, and directed him to prepare to make a report to the Privy Council of the particulars of his transactions at the Imperial Court. He appointed yesterday, although it did not take place because of some other special occupations of his Majesty. Everybody is on the watch for the result of this statement, which is expected to be unusually decided, especially as preparations are being made which would otherwise be inopportune at this season. During this last week all ships adapted for war that enter this river have been seized for the king's service, giving rise to reports of other greater preparations, although one sees nothing to bear this out.
The Palatine, flattered by these demonstrations, has dropped his demand for troops and money and is intent on fostering the good intentions of his uncle and in canvassing the councillors most in credit. He urges the increase of the fleet above all, most strongly, the foundations for which are said to be laid already, although this is vacillating ; but they have to think of some way to find the money, which is the most difficult and troublesome point in the present disturbed state of the realm.
In consequence of this determination the ministers are now anxious for the alliance with France. They hope strongly for its conclusion, but it does not seem so certain as they would like. If the Secretary Oger, who is momentarily expected from France on the subject, does not bring good news, they contemplate more vigorous steps, in order to give the Most Christian all the satisfaction they can. He asks above all for this crown to make an open breach with the House of Austria. As they are more pressed here by their own emergencies than by regard for the satisfaction of others, this might happen in the end, by England binding herelf to guard the French ports on the Ocean with a general promise to join the French and Dutch fleets, if the latter become parties to the alliance, against Spain, not merely at sea but also in a descent upon Flanders. But for the realisation of so great a plan they are short of soldiers and the sailors who at present man the royal ships will not nearly suffice alone. Then again, the ordinary contributions will not suffice for raising an adequate force of men and maintaining them. The Council has been reminded, possibly by the French themselves, that instead of forty ships, for which they have imposed taxes, they need only arm thirty five, and the balance of the money can be employed for the support of the troops. This seems reasonable and it will not cost anything so if the first point is settled it may easily be adopted.
The troubles with Monsieur and the Count of Soissons continually assume a more ugly aspect, according to the reports received, and it is feared that these diversions may injure the kingdom, while the Spaniards are vigorously pressing on everywhere. They feel glad, however, that the marriage of Monsieur with the Lorraine princess may be established in its original validity through these difficulties, as whatever changes fortune may bring a constant and particular affection towards the House of Lorraine is firmly rooted in the hearts of the king and his ministers here.
Amid all these uncertainties, although other interests require a different solution, yet I gather that they are extremely eager that the negotiations for a general peace may be on the way to a successful issue. Because if through these disputes among the Princes of the Blood in France the Austrians should reach a position by which they could control the issue of future events, or if the secret intrigues for an armistice, a truce or possibly even a peace between the crowns of France and Spain should result in anything definite, the pretentions of the Palatine would be killed for a long time, since England alone certainly is in no condition to support him. For this cause they are very sorry that the Dutch have postponed the grant of passports to the Spanish plenipotentiaries who are to go to Cologne, and have prorogued their decision about the appointment of delegates to be sent to the same congress. I know on good authority that some reference to this subject was made to the Ambassador Beveren. He replied most explicitly that all these delays were due to the offices of Charnase, possibly with a double object, first to delay the time of the meeting of the congress until they can be sure in France of the way in which the Cardinal of Lyons will be received there, and secondly to hinder the States from sending their own delegates so as to leave the charge of the interests of the Provinces in the hands of the ministers of the Most Christian. But on this point Beveren spoke very resolutely declaring that his masters mean to take charge of their own affairs and if they are not admitted to the peace negotiations as members of the body of the assembly, they will not take part in it, but will consider treating of their affairs separately. It is possible that this is the sole prop of the secret obstinacy of the Spaniards in the present troubled state of affairs, because if the affairs of Flanders could be adjusted in some way advantageous to them it is believed that they would not be sorry for the war to go on, especially as they see the present weakness of their enemies and how little they have been able to do to hurt the House of Austria, even at the height of their power and with their strongest forces.
Letters from the Ambassador Giustinian report the regret expressed at Madrid for the behaviour of the Count of Ognat to me, and that repeated orders have been sent to him to treat me on an absolute equality. If he makes advances I shall respond, but not otherwise. I think that the Resident Ballarino should seize the opportunity of the appointment of an ambassador from Venice to Caesar to try and get instructions sent to the Councillor Radolti to call on me.
Vescurt, the 23rd January, 1636. [M.V.]
Jan. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
144. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Oger, the English Resident, has left for England with some articles of alliance containing promises of vigorous assistance for Germany and for the reinstatement of the Prince Palatine. The English ministers themselves admit that this is the very utmost that France can offer.
Paris, the 27th January, 1636 [M.V.]
Jan. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
145. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Those of the Spanish party and some of the imperial ministers persist that no open breach is to be feared with England and that no alliance is threatened with France. They say that they need not even fear any hurt worth considering owing to the bad relations between that king and the French and his difficulty in raising money for a war owing to his objection to parliaments. Radolti writes in the same sense that his Majesty does not like the idea of breaking with the House of Austria.
The emperor has heard that the Earl of Arundel told the Princess Palatine that all the difficulties came from the Duke of Bavaria alone, and that both the emperor and the king of the Romans had shown a readiness to give satisfaction. When Bavaria heard this he sent for Teller, who is still negotiating here without signs of any remarkable results. The duke told him that he had shown his desire to settle the dispute but that Arundel's harshness had stood in the way. Teller said nothing, except that he had no orders to treat with the duke. On the following day Bavaria returned to Munich with his wife, none too well pleased.
Ratisbon, the 27th January, 1636 [M.V.]
Jan. 28.
Cinque Savii alla Mercanzia. Risposte. Venetian Archives.
146. With regard to the proposal of Englishmen living at Ragusa to establish a trading house at Spalato and Belgrado for the sale of kerseys, we are of opinion that, although the policy of the state has always been in favour of reducing the trade of Ragusa, yet it is not advisable to drive them to despair. With regard to the English plan we consider that the more trade is diverted from foreign ports and especially from Ragusa, the better it is for this city. In this particular case the proposal is not made out of zeal for your Excellencies, but to escape the heavy burdens imposed by the Ragusans on their trade. From what we observe the Ragusans are hoping by this means to make the English abandon that city because of the heavy debts which the citizens owe to the merchants without having the means of discharging them. The policy of your Serenity has been to increase the trade of Spalato, but under strict regulations that all the goods which go there must first be brought to this city. If the English were allowed to establish a house there it would be in contravention of this policy and very prejudicial to Venetian cloth, owing to the competition with the kerseys, which do not reach this city in sufficient quantity to damage the traffic in Venetian cloth. If a house were allowed the introduction of abuses would be easy ; but what is of more consequence, the English ships might seize the opportunity to open up trade from there with Leghorn and other marts. We therefore do not consider that the proposal should be embraced.
Dated at the office, the 28th January, 1636 [M.V.]
Lorenzo Contarini Savii
Antonio Ciuran
Ferigo Corner
Michiel Priuli
Bernardo Bembo
Jan. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
147. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Radolti, the Imperial minister, has also informed his Majesty of the election of the King of the Romans, declaring that it was generally approved, owing to the good consequences that might ensue, and he hoped that his Majesty approved also, because the good fortune of the House of Austria was an asset for him. The King replied that if the King of Hungary would signalise his present fortune by showing just and right intentions towards the public weal and the liberty of Germany in particular, restoring those princes who are oppressed to their legitimate authority, he would be as glad as the rest, but if that prince thought differently, he could only regret it, because of the justice of the cause which he had made his own. He then entered upon the merits of his nephew's claims, showing with every sign of anger, how little pleased he was with Caesar's recent behaviour, and how he felt compelled to abandon his previous mildness and proceed to use force, and make sure of those remedies which the world had every reason to expect. Alarmed or confused by these words, Radolti either would not answer, or had none ready. He tried as well as he could to justify the intentions of the emperor and his son towards the interests of this crown, and so concluded his office, without entering into further particulars.
The king was very irate at seeing the Austrian ministers so guarded about obtaining even an apparent verbal satisfaction for him, so he immediately hastened to assemble his most secret council to hear, as already arranged, Arundel's account of his negotiations in Germany. Accordingly last Monday the earl made his statement. It was full of lengthy single incidents, but the conclusion was substantially as follows : that having done his utmost, by availing himself of every opportunity, to carry out the commissions entrusted to him, he was firmly convinced that as at present disposed the House of Austria had no desire to settle the affairs of the Palatine, but aimed by devices and delays to multiply negotiations and enable them to make sure of terminating them to their own advantage alone, as their offers of restitution and the hopes they have held out have no substance beyond a show of honesty by which they try to satisfy the world and divert those evils which they fear may descend upon them from this quarter in the course of time.
In consequence of this report those who were already inclined to resentment received a vigorous impulse. The king proposed and all readily agreed that they must abandon the vanity of their past hopes and withdraw all negotiations in order to devise the speedy execution of some enterprise at sea of which the Palatine should be the leader, making use of his name alone, while calling the royal forces auxiliaries so as not to enter at one stroke upon an open rupture without greater support, as they consider that is neither opportune nor feasible in the present state of affairs.
Meanwhile the Palatine is to make a public protest that he considers the present election of the King of the Romans, just as that which was done to his prejudice at the peace of Prague, as invalid, because done illegitimately, and they say these decisions will be imparted to the friendly powers. A courier has already been sent to Sweden, who, in addition to the above advices, takes the permission, signed by the king, for the recruits and new levies, for which the Chancellor Oxistern asked some months ago.
The king has also declared that he means to do all this without waiting for the settlement of the treaty with France, although if that be arranged he will gladly abide by what may have been promised for him, although they do not know what to think, seeing that the Secretary Oger does not appear who is expected from France at least with some particulars about the progress of these treaties, if not with the conclusion.
On Monday in next week they will discuss in more detail the most suitable way of carrying the matters in question into effect. Meanwhile they have sent the news to the Princess Palatine in Holland, who will speak about it to the Prince of Orange, to learn his opinion, as well as to consult with him, perhaps, about the opportunity for some enterprise of his own.
Thus, at last, unless some hidden accident should deprive them of their vigour on yet another occasion, this much debated matter has been brought to a decision, and as their claims are just and they make a fine show at the beginning, some think that better progress may be made. I cannot presume to judge what the consequences will be, but I cannot think they will lead to much, as their preparations do not seem to me to correspond with all the noise of these steps ; the contributions for the armament of the ships not being collected and nothing fundamental being settled for their maintenance. However they continue to seize all the merchantmen that arrive in the river and adhere to their ideas of levying enough men to arm them, things which in themselves go to prove by results how much their valour weighs.
The Dutch ambassador is unable to obtain permission to recruit, although he has given proof of the falsity of the assertion that such levies are employed in the Indies. He hopes that present circumstances may induce the king to grant this permission, especially as, in order not to lose the opportunity, he is preparing to make new offers from his masters in the interests of the Palatine, reviving the proposals which he made when he first came.
The queen has celebrated publicly in her church of Somerset House with a splendour befitting her greatness, the offices for the late Ambassador Poygne, at which the Ambassador Senneterre and all the French nation attended. They say that M. de Bellievre will come to reside in Poygne's place, the one who went as extraordinary to the Princes of Italy.
The plague keeps diminishing rapidly. The kingdom is entirely free and only a few cases still remain in the city of London. In any case the king proposes to proceed thither with the Court at the end of next month. I have arranged to be there, God willing, about the middle of next week, although the other ambassadors have not yet gone there.
This is the third week with no letters from the Senate.
Chilborn, the 30th January, 1636 [M.V.]


  • 1. Giovanni Pesaro, sent to represent Venice at the congress at Cologne.
  • 2. The Capuchins were established in the precincts of Somerset House in the tennis court of which a chapel had been erected. This chapel had been solemnly dedicated on the 16th December preceding the royal visit. Court and Times of Charles I., Vol. ii., pages 176, 301 ; Salvetti, news letter of 21 Dec., 1636. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962G.
  • 3. He had taken Nottingham House, Chelsea (i.e. the manor house) on leaving Caron House in South Lambeth. Court and Times of Charles I. Vol. ii. page 252.
  • 4. On the 22nd December.
  • 5. "The earl of Arundel came home yesterday [i.e. 6 Jan. N.S.] from the Hague." Anthony Lowe to Middlesex, Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Report, page 292.
  • 6. The double audience appears to have taken place at Hampton Court on Thursday the 8th January N.S. Court and Times of Charles I. Vol. ii, page 261 ; Roe to the earl of Exeter Cal, S.P, Dom. 1636-7, page 336.
  • 7. According to a letter of Windebank, written on the 18th January, Pougny died "last Friday," i.e. the 16th, Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Report, page 281, and this is borne out by Salvetti, news letter of 20th January, Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962, and by a letter of Sir Thomas Puckering, Court and Times of Charles I., Vol : ii., page 264. Roe, however, in his letter of 2/12 January refers to the Marquis as already dead. Cal, S,P, Dom, 1636-7, page 336.