Venice: February 1637

Pages 135-154

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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February 1637

Feb. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
148. To the Ambassador in England.
No doubt the Court will have received the news that the emperor has given the Prince of Orange the title of Prince of the Empire. Because of this the Most Christian has directed Charnase to give him the title of Highness. We shall be glad to know what they say about this in England, and the views of the king and ministers thereon. (fn. 1) We are pleased at what you have found out about Panzani and Conio, and the very weighty matters in negotiatition. It is desirable that the results should redound to the best advantage of our faith.
Ayes, 135. Noes, 0. Neutral, 6.
Feb. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
149. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The secret transactions with the King of Denmark about the question of the superiority at sea which they claim here, seem on the verge of great and almost irreparable disaster, just when they hoped that they were in good train. It was proposed to him that if he could obtain from Caesar the Admiralty general of the Baltic, English ships should honour him as sovereign in that sea, and he should render the same respect to them in the Ocean. Now this has given way before his own interests and his hopes of obtaining greater advantages. They have learned here on good authority that he has asked the emperor for the sovereign Admiralty of the German Ocean as well as the Baltic with the idea of bearing the signs of superiority in both, and without binding himself to any agreement with England. As this directly affects the claims of the crown here, which intends to extend its jurisdiction much beyond the British sea, it has started the most weighty deliberations. They consider in particular that Denmark, no longer listening to a treaty which yet seemed to please her greatly, may claim, upon occasion, to cruise in even the closest of these waters without obstacle. The ministers here regret more than anything that this mischief arises from their own advice, as it was only the incitement from this quarter that awakened the king there to this step, while they thought he would be contented with authority in the Baltic and render submission to the English in the Ocean. Thus where they hoped they had removed the greatest obstacles to the dominion which they claim they have aroused greater difficulties than ever. If they wish to remove this imbroglio it would seem that they have no other expedient than to make representations to the emperor against consenting to what Denmark asks, but the present strained relations with the House of Austria over the Palatine make this an uncertain way, besides which, if they send to oppose what they have already advised, it will be useless for them to devise a request which is likely to bring about a reconciliation.
These circumstances show them that it is more necessary than ever to hasten the equipment of the fleet, and as the Palatine also urges it warmly, one really sees them making the necessary provisions, although they meet with difficulties and disorders in the collection of the imposts. These difficulties increase and incidents occur daily but mostly die away in an instant with no result but the rumbling of the thunder. I shall wait until matters mature in order not to send an account which might prove both wearisome and imperfect. I shall do the same about the interests of religion, as although the material is different, yet they are all going the same way and tend to the same end.
We do not hear that anything has yet been decided at the frequent meetings which are held secretly in many places of the realm about making some acceptable proposals to the king for the assembling of parliament. We certainly hear rumours that something will be settled very soon, lest his Majesty, who is already informed of these practices, cut them short by his authority.
The Secretary Ogier is supposed to have arrived from France, but has not yet appeared at Court. In the mean time the Dutch ambassador repeats his offers on the part of Holland about joining the alliance, and that in the spring they will have fifteen ships and 10,000 men ready, if the crowns are equally prepared and will conclude the alliance, putting into the field against the House of Austria the 75 sail and the 50,000 men who are said to be necessary. To make this clearer to your Excellencies, 20,000 men and 30 ships for each of the crowns and 10,000 men and 15 ships from the States are the respective contributions according to the project. The king and ministers have received this offer with great satisfaction, although it differs in no respect from the original one, and they made very courteous answers to the ambassador ; but if they mean to hold fast by their principle of not breaking with the House of Austria, they will have to break away from concluding it in the end, and they might perhaps have done so definitely already had not the Prince Palatine by his adroitness kept the affair going with both sides. A very long discussion has taken place this week about his affairs, but nothing certain is known about what they have decided, either because this is not settled or because they wish the decision to have the greater effect from being kept absolutely secret. When Oger has made his report and delivered his despatch it is believed that it will be made public.
I have now been only two hours in this city, and although the plague has increased somewhat, yet His Majesty has agreed to give free access to everyone at Court, and so I have decided to stay, if God grants me the preservation of my health.
The courier has been held up this week by contrary winds ; so for a whole month I have received no letters from the state.
London, the 6th February, 1636 [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 11.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
150. The Ambassador of Great Britain came into the Collegio and spoke to the following effect :
Last time I came with congratulations, but I come now because of a most serious offence, which has greatly disturbed me. This morning, near daybreak the sbirri have arrested two men, who were neither outlawed nor condemned in a house adjacent to the apartment where I sleep, the house being in my name, and I pay the rent. The sbirri did not pay the slightest attention to this, but even fired some shots, wounding one of the men. They also beat my gondolier. They could not pretend not to recognise him, as my livery is very well known. (fn. 2) The affront affects the security of my house, the dignity of my office and the honour of my king. I beg your Serenity to intervene, as right and justice require the release of the two arrested, and also to procure for me the punishment of the officials who have shown such temerity. I have always lived with a proper respect for the republic, and have never encouraged outlaws or such folk, and these were not even proclaimed. I have always tried to encourage the good relations between the republic and his Majesty. Your Serenity will therefore appreciate my feelings at being treated thus. His Majesty will have just cause to uphold my position and your Serenity to assure the immunity of my house, otherwise I shall be unable to serve where a minister is so badly treated. But I am sure that you will at once give orders for the release of the two prisoners.
The doge answered, We are sorry that your lordship feels thus. We have always desired you to have every possible satisfaction. We have no information about the affair. It is incredible that the officers have been ordered to go to your house and we feel sure that this has not happened, and that there is no order against your servants. The ambassador replied, My gondolier has certainly been beaten and the two men taken who were in the house which is immediately opposite mine, of which I pay the rent.
The doge said, We have the highest esteem for your lordship, as your merits deserve. We will make enquiry and try to give you every possible satisfaction. The ambassador repeated, I ask for justice ; let the prisoners be released and the offenders punished, so that I may have reason to continue as usual and maintain the good relations existing, as I have always done. Without a word more he took leave and departed.
Feb. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
151. That the English Ambassador be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
Our perfect relations with his Majesty have always depended upon our affectionate esteem for him and on our regard for the friendship of that crown for our Republic. We have had the best tokens of this from his ministers, and from your lordship in particular. These sentiments will make you feel the more the incident of which you have spoken as it increases our regret for the displeasure you expressed. But we feel sure that reflection will ease your mind, when you consider the circumstances, the delinquent, the supreme magistrate who acted, who only intervenes in most serious cases, and who knew that the culprit was in that house which was separated from yours by a public way. The case is a very serious one, of high treason in the first degree, which is not usually covered by any immunity or privilege, and so we feel the more certain that you will be satisfied over this very delicate matter. The culprit was taken in the middle of the waters, and in the house in question, out of two men found there, although there was no sign of a livery, the officials let one go, because he said he was one of your servants. We are quite sure that you have never favoured bandits or people of that sort ; but others take advantage of your uprightness and by turning private houses to account they make them asylums for rogues and criminals, and into that very house a man guilty of abominable crimes escaped from one contiguous. We feel sure that your lordship will rest satisfied with this sincere representation of the Senate, knowing that from the love we bear you we shall always be glad to afford you every gratification possible, just as we are sure that you will continue to foster the excellent relations between his Majesty and our republic.
Ayes, 135. Noes, 1. Neutral, 6.
152. To the Ambassador in England.
With every sign of passion the English ambassador appeared yesterday in the Collegio and spoke very strongly, as you will see from the enclosed copy. As we have no information we replied as you will see. We hope that he will rest satisfied, as is only reasonable. If he is not we will keep you advised. Meanwhile the particulars will serve for your information.
Ayes, 135. Noes, 1. Neutral, 6.
Feb. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
153. Alvise Contarini and Piero Foscarini, Venetian Baili at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has recently introduced a very bad precedent. After long negotiations for the release from slavery of the Englishmen who fought on the two galleons against the fleet (fn. 3), he has agreed to pay to the Sultan for each Englishman, two slaves of those ordinarily sold on the market.
The Vigne of Pera, the 12th February, 1636 [M.V.]
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Feb. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
154. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Beveren writes that England will not declare herself. The Princess Palatine, seeing her hopes vanish, says that it is not necessary for the king to declare. It will be enough for him to help ; but if the treaties are made with France he will wage open war. It is thought unlikely that England will join with France and these Provinces, as if the Spaniards were expelled from Flanders, the French and Dutch would be stronger and there would, in consequence, be danger of trouble to England owing to disputes both old and recent. So it is to England's advantage for the Spaniards to remain in Flanders to afford a counterpoise to the French and these States. Ferens, the Palatine's Councillor, says that he heard that many of the English ministers told the king that if he would give his fleet to the Spaniards they would obtain complete satisfaction for his nephew. This confirms the fear that the Austrians will go any length to win over England against these Provinces, and it is said that on this condition they are offering the Princess of Florence (fn. 4) † to the Palatine as his wife.
The States of Holland are prorogued until March. They have given orders to assemble several ships of war, ostensibly against the Spanish preparations, but really in order to be prepared for eventualities in the dispute with England over the fishermen.
The Hague, the 12th February, 1636 [M.V.]
Feb. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
155. To the Ambassador in England.
Contrary to our expectation the Ambassador Fildin would not accept our explanations and he went so far as to say that he could not come to us again without his Majesty's good pleasure, to whom he would write. We forward a copy of his exposition. We have to add to what we wrote yesterday and which we send by express courier, that the crime set forth in the deliberation of our Council of Ten is one of high treason in the first degree, which admits of no sanctuary, not even in the house of God. The little house where they tried to arrest the man is not joined to the ambassador's, but separated by a wide public way leading to the Grand Canal, as you will see by the enclosed plan. This little house is rented by one Michiel di Cecca, a subject, who was arrested last year by the magistracy of the Biastemma for his bad character and because he kept a resort for gaming and cheating. The ambassador himself, who tried at first for his release, subsequently asked merely for a reduction of his punishment, and this was done, to a year's imprisonment. The same magistracy, last year, had three persons arrested at a house frequented by the people of the Spanish ambassador, as gamesters and card sharpers. These, in spite of the offices of that ambassador, where condemned to the galleys. A few years ago, at San Hieremia, in a house opposite that of another Spanish ambassador, where some of his people were, a man was arrested for a very serious crime and although shots were fired, which hit the door of the ambassador's own residence, yet he did not think it proper to take offence. Many other serious incidents have occurred, and the ambassadors, recognising that their own houses were not affected, as they have always been held in due respect, have conducted themselves according to the circumstances. Thus we have recently learned that the papal nuncio, with due regard for what is proper, had this very criminal expelled from his house, and ordered that he should not enter it again, and that is why he betook himself to this little house and when the officials heard of it they wished to lay hands on him. It would be a serious matter if the servants of ambassadors claimed privilege for separate houses in order to make them a resort for rogues and evil livers.
We gather that the displeasure shown by this Ambassador Fildem was due to his being misinformed ; but though he is disabused, he may represent things to his own advantage. We therefore direct you to see his Majesty on purpose, wherever he may be, and to ask for an audience immediately, in order to forestall this ambassador, assuring the king of our regard and expressing our hope that upon reflection the ambassador will return to enjoy the esteem we have always shown him. You will perform the same office with the ministers, disabusing them of any impressions which he may have conveyed to them out of excessive zeal for his reputation.
Ayes, 110. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
Feb. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
156. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
At length, after many lengthy consultations, the force of reason no less than the king's resolute determination prevailed, and it was decided the day before yesterday with the common consent of the Council that the Prince Palatine shall put to sea with strong forces in the shortest time that the equipment which is destined for him can be suitably made ready. He himself also under his own flag, is to arm twenty two large ships at least, and to go with them in person to carry out those enterprises against his enemies that time and circumstances will show to be most opportune. A part of the ships will be contributed by the king and the rest hired from the merchants to which effect all vessels arriving in the Thames continue to be seized. A portion of the money, they say, will be provided from his Majesty's treasury, and the rest from voluntary contributions which many of the leading lords of the realm have freely offered to the Palatine, including Lord Craven, who promised to put down 30,000l. sterling. This example affords a stimulus to many others to do the like in proportion to their means. Similarly the king has given his subjects liberty not only to contribute arms and money for his nephew, but to accompany him in person. The expedition is to be ready in April. It is generally supposed to be directed against the Spanish homeward bound fleet from the Indies, as a descent upon Flanders would be too hazardous. The chief motives for this resolve are to prove the falsity of the belief of the Spaniards ; the spur of his own reputation ; the affection he owes to his nephew ; vigour to take up the conduct of his cause ; and on the other hand, to maintain amid these contingencies, his liberty of managing his own declarations in regard to current circumstances, causing, one may say, the purse of his subjects alone to bear the burden of all the present difficulties, without exposing himself to the danger of calling parliament.
But as the events of war, in which fortune generally plays so large a part, are subject to a thousand variations and unforeseen accidents, so this game, in spite of its fine appearance, may go on in such a way that it will not terminate as they imagine, without the bulwark of the king's free declaration against the House of Austria, and they may be compelled to encounter those rocks which they avoid so carefully, aggravated by disadvantages which they may not have foreseen, supposing the French, satisfied with the present moves, will not give the final touches to the plans which are formed here for the alliance without a more penetrating and cautious survey. Ogier has only arrived from France this morning, and they hope he has come with instructions about this for its better progress. Indeed it is announced that he brought the ratification signed.
While they would like to work things so that the employment of the fleet should serve the interests of the Palatine as well, they desire and contemplate the "effectuation of this alliance with so much the more ardour. Without it there would seem to be no pretext that would not be a feigned one, for undertaking to harass the ports of Flanders and the plundering of the Dunkirk ships. But if, notwithstanding all these results and this favourable disposition the French absolutely insist in extracting from this first enthusiasm an open declaration against the House of Austria, contending with it over those interests which so closely concern the special needs of the crown, there is no sign of any opening that would afford hope of a ratification although there are many who hold a different opinion.
Gentlemen have been despatched this week to Sweden and Denmark with news of this resolve. They both take letters from the king containing in almost identical terms the communication of the above matters. They also take letters from the Palatine in which he informs those princes that he is about to take the field and asks that they will be with him in the enterprise and give him their assistance. (fn. 5)
They have little or no hope from Denmark, in spite of the kinship, seeing the difficulties that have recently arisen with him about maritime interests, but the step may at least serve to ascertain his real intentions towards this country. They do not claim any profit from Sweden either, only to maintain confidential relations and keep up their courage to press more fearlessly their present advantage against the Imperial arms, as repeated advices arrive that they are in close negotiation for a complete adjustment with Cæesar.
There is also a rumour of the opening of negotiations, which have made great progress, for a marriage between the Queen of Sweden and the Prince Palatine, but I find nothing substantial to bear this out, either in the talk here or in what your Excellencies advise me, as the report seems merely based on some private letters from Germany. The repeated expeditions to that kingdom might encourage the belief if it were not well known from the interest which the Swedes have to keep in a position to have peace, if they cannot get what they want in the war with the emperor, even if it were not true that they are at present negotiating they cannot undertake the direction of a new quarrel of such importance, especially when they cannot feel certain that the assistance promised from this quarter will be as sure and durable as the need will certainly be great and continuous.
Yesterday morning also the Dutch ambassador conferred with the Secretary Coke about the triple alliance, but could get no positive reply, as the secretary referred to whatever may be settled with France. This is resented, as the Dutch consider themselves offended, and practically that they will not on any account be included. This serves to excite great jealousy here, and upon a false rumour set about by the Spaniards that the Dutch have opened negotiations with the Cardinal Infant, to forward their interests in the matter of the fisheries, upon which the ministers here made strong objections, they say that very sharp words passed between some of them and this ambassador, and that both sides passed the bounds of moderaton.
Following the example of the Most Christian they say that the ministers here will grant the title of Highness to the Prince of Orange, in the hope of keeping him as friendly as possible under present circumstances.
The queen came to this city yesterday, brought more by superstition (augurio) than by any other urgent requirement, as she is near her delivery and she imagines that it will not turn out well in any house but St. James's. The plague continues to make itself felt and grows worse rather than better. If it does not disappear before the end of this month, of which there is little sign, since more than a hundred persons still die of it every week, all the physicians agree in making the most lugubrious forecasts for next summer. The rest of the kingdom continues to enjoy excellent health, although communication with the city remains free to every one.
I have the Senate's letter of the 16th ult.
London, the 13th February, 1636 [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 13. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives. 157. Yesterday's deliberation of the Senate being read to the English Ambassador, he spoke to the following effect :
I wish with all my heart that I could show the content which your Serenity desires, but I cannot, as in what has been read to me I see nothing in the way of satisfaction, only words, when I am bound, for the sake of my king, to ask for deeds, and I see that it will be necessary for me to abandon everything else. The satisfaction of so great a king consists in deeds not in paper, especially as he and his predecessors have always shown so much affection for the republic, deserving of a better response than mere ceremonial. I consider that this affects my king's reputation, because no regard was shown for my house. For myself I might accept the position, but as a minister I cannot but resent the affront, and although I deserve nothing in myself, his Majesty's affection ought to be recognised. The incident occurred where members of my household live, and that is my house, and I have the right to believe that my people ought not to be ill treated. My house ought to be respected and I should enjoy the prerogatives of ambassadors. I am afflicted at such an affront. I find myself deprived at the same time of the opportunity of responding to those marks of honour proposed for the funeral of my dear wife. I can do nothing with pleasure, because it is a question of the violation of my house, affecting me and the honour due to my king. I have nothing to add except that I shall be unable to appear again before your Serenity until I receive fresh orders from my king, to whom I am bound to give a faithful account of the matter. The ambassador then made a movement to rise from his seat.
The doge stopped him and said, The affection of the republic towards his Majesty is very great and we are sure of his for us, as we have had abundant testimony of it. Your lordship knows how much we love and esteem you. You resent the arrest being made in your house. Yet the house is not yours, is separated from yours and has no indication of being an official residence. There was never the slightest intention of affecting your privileges, but rather to preserve them. You should not therefore take offence, and we tell you that the case in question is so grave that we are sure that his Majesty himself will not approve of your sentiments when he knows the facts. If his Majesty had the culprit in his own hands he would hand him over to us, owing to the importance of the crime. The matter is very delicate and wounds the whole republic and the heart of our liberty. Seeing that the well being of the republic is concerned we do not think that he can do anything but approve what has happened, especially as it does not prejudice your lordship's immunity, as it happened in a place separated from your house. We know your prudence and kindness, and ask you to recognise the delicacy of the matter and the requirements of our interests.
The ambassador replied, Such matters are undoubtedly delicate, and ambassadors should accept satisfaction, but in a suitable manner. I do not see that I can move in any way without receiving orders from my king, especially as I do not see that I am receiving any satisfaction. I consider the house mine ; my people lodge there and I keep it for those whom I cannot accommodate in my house, as there are many English gentlemen who come to visit me, and I use that house and others near it to accommodate them. I can but inform his Majesty and await his orders, because no regard was shown for me. I had no advice of what was intended, and they proceeded to inflict this notable affront. Here the ambassador began to get up, and the doge said that was very far from the intention of every one. With this the ambassador bowed and departed. He withdrew to take a copy of the office. Before beginning to write he said, I have never felt anything so much, because it happened in my own house, and I have received the affront. I told him that the doge had expressed all that was proper, but I asked him to reflect and he would see that there was nothing to show that the house was not a private one, and justice had acted in a most serious case as if it were one. The ambassador made no reply and continued to write. When he left as I was accompanying him as usual to the door of the Pregadi, he said, They could have given me some notice, as if I had been notified of the gravity of the case I should have dismissed from my house those whom I had protected. I thought it proper to tell him that the supreme magistrate, who gave the order, merely directs its execution. The ambassador was silent, I bowed to him and he went out.
Christoforo Surian, Secretary.
Feb. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
158. To the ambassador in France.
A man guilty of high treason in the highest degree, which aims at destroying justice and the public dignity, was recently arrested by order of the supreme magistrate. He was staying in a small house in the calle larga of San Moise, a public way leading to the Grand Canal. One side is on the water and the other on this public way, opposite the Giustiniani palace, where the English ambassador dwells. The arrest took place on the night of the 12th inst. and on the following morning the ambassador appeared in the Collegio and spoke passionately in accordance with the copy of his office enclosed. The Senate endeavoured to mollify him, but he was not satisfied. To admit such claims would be a serious matter, prejudicial to the public liberty. We send this for information, but you will not speak of it unless provoked.
The like to Germany, Spain, Zurich, the Hague.
Ayes, 130. Noes, 2. Neutral, 0.
Feb. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci Haya. Venetian Archives.
159. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Princess Palatine says she has letters from her brother announcing that he has decided to give a good number of ships to the prince, her son, to use at his pleasure, with permission to his subjects to enter the prince's service. She communicated this to the Prince of Orange, saying she felt sure that the States would support the king and holding out hopes of a settlement of the affair of the fishermen. The Prince thanked her saying he was very glad to hear that England had at last decided to do something for the Palatine and he hoped that the States would afford the best proofs of their satisfaction, if they had some assurance that they would not be troubled by England over the question of the sovereignty of the sea. The Prince informed the States of everything.
The Princess subsequently announced that she believed that Prince Rupert would have an army to proceed to Germany. In this way England would remain neutral, and it seems that the Princess intimates that the Palatine will have full liberty to wage war in the Spanish seas, but not off Flanders, because England does not want to lose the trade there, which is so profitable at present. The Court here, however, does not believe that England will do anything of account, as there are no letters to confirm the statements of the Princess. Many say that it will all end in nothing, or the decision will be violently against the advice of ministers and contrary to the sentiments of the king himself. They also think that the Austrians will find some way of upsetting the whole before the fleet is sent to sea.
The Hague, the 19th February, 1636 [M.V.]
Feb. 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
160. Anzolo Correr. Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Palgrave sent one of his gentlemen to tell me of the decision taken by the king and asking me to inform your Excellencies. He mentioned that he was preparing a protest against the peace of Prague and the election of the King of the Romans. Such are the resolves announced. We are waiting to see the results begin. So far the only sure signs are the readiness of the leading nobles to contribute large sums of money, and a strong desire on the part of the idle youth to follow the Palatine's fortunes. The protest is to appear in a few days as they think it better to delay threats until those who make them have arms in their hands. They hope that the readiness shown by the people will continue, because all, intent on making the king need a parliament, will try to commit him by this means to a war from which he cannot withdraw. But his Majesty's plans are known to be different, as he will on no account declare himself the enemy of the House of Austria, but insists that everything that he contributes against it shall be covered under the name of his nephew.
Meanwhile the Spaniards cry aloud, saying that they will not obtain by force what they have not been able to get by negotiation, and the Ambassador Ognat has clearly protested to more than one of the ministers here that if the king thinks of making war himself on the House of Austria under the Palatine's shadow, he will make a mistake in the end, because they will prefer, if they are to have him as an enemy, that he shall be an open one. But these alarms are probably intended to frighten more than to hurt, as one knows that in the midst of all the embarrassments which are preparing for them, the Spaniards will rest content with not utterly losing the commerce with this kingdom. This however, will be a difficult point as they say that the Palatine will be able to search even English ships, and if he finds the goods of Spaniards can convert them to his own use. Yet if this takes place the hurt to the king will be very sensible, as the profit which he derives from the customs amounts to a considerable sum.
With regard to the particular enterprises which they propose to carry out with these forces, there has been a great deal of discussion, but nothing definite has yet been decided. It is possible that everything will receive its impulse from the arrangements which will be concerted with France once the question of the alliance with that crown is settled. The articles have already been signed entire by the French and by the ambassadors of his Majesty also, but with reservation of two points which are still doubtful. It is believed, and the Secretary Coke assures me of it, that all will be settled in a few days, the French having abandoned the pretensions they sustained with such ardour about an open declaration of this crown against the House of Austria, about which they seemed to show most reluctance here. However the Earl of Arundel assured me this morning that the king personally was very disposed to the rupture. He did not cease to advise it with all his might, believing on his conscience that it served the dignity and advantage of this crown more to undertake an open war, where there was such good reason, than to take simultaneously to arms and dissimulation, leaving the Spaniards always in hope of arranging an accommodation with advantage and encouraging them at the same time to make difficulties in the conduct of the negotiations for a general peace. When I remarked that from what I heard the king and Council all agreed in working vigorously for the Palatine, but not in committing themselves to an open war, he instantly averred positively that the king's disposition was as he had told me, and I might be sure of seeing the results greater than were expected and than the French could believe. He really has become a partisan in this cause, pretending that his reputation is concerned, and one can really believe that his representations and persuasions will ultimately produce considerable results.
Two points remain in dispute at Paris by the English ambassadors. These are supposed to be one about granting the free practice of the Catholic religion in some place in the Palatinate, the other that if the French have the opportunity to arrange a good peace, and if the Palatine shall have received satisfaction in the recovery of his dominions, they shall not stick out here if the restitution of the electoral dignity is not arranged during Bavaria's life. But these points and the decision about the whole business should be cleared up in a few days, as Ogier is staying here to be sent back for the conclusion in France. The majority of the ministers here, perhaps accommodating themselves more to the requirements of present emergencies than from their own natural inclination, now show themselves entirely French in sympathy maintaining by their speech at every meeting that it is not good for the safety and repose of the state to allow the might and influence of the House of Austria to be always on the increase, but that it is the interest of all Christian princes to try and maintain it in a just equilibrium. Some of them have expressed themselves to me very clearly on the subject, and among others the Secretary Cuch. He told me with great fervour that the king regretted exceedingly that the affairs of the Duke of Parma were reduced to such a sorry plight. (fn. 6) It was the interest of Italian powers in particular to assist him without delay ; the succour of the French was too far off and the needs of the duke were too pressing and immediate. He betrayed some jealousy, although he did not wish to let me see it clearly, because your Excellencies have appointed an ambassador in ordinary to the emperor. As this feeling is not confined to him alone I have thought it advisable to make the Court clearly understand the reason, and I have done so in a way that will, I hope, disabuse their minds and leave them content.
I find that they think very little about the marriage between the Prince Palatine and the young Queen of Sweden and expect it less. Yet I have been told in great confidence that the gentleman recently sent to Sweden (fn. 7) is to make some overtures about it and sound the Swedish ministers. This gentleman, who was sent to announce the recent resolves in favour of the Palatine, was also to propose a league with Sweden, and if he found them favourably disposed to ask for the appointment of commissioners for this purpose to confer with the ambassadors who would be sent with a talk of monthly subsidies to be paid to Sweden, and certain regiments for Prince Rupert at the suggestion of Oxenstern, who observes that if they give ear to peace negotiations with Cæsar, England should not object because during all this time they have never cared to afford any effective assistance to the forces of that crown, however depressed their condition might be. If this treaty succeeds they will apply to the Prince of Orange to obtain troops from the States, with a promise that here they will not fail to support the Swedes with force enough to trouble the empire considerably from that quarter.
Meanwhile Colonel Goring, (fn. 8) in the king's name, is to honour that prince with the title of Highness, and is also to express regret that the Most Christian has not also accorded him this honour. The Secretary Coke told me the same, remarking that the Duke of Savoy had started every prince in unsheathing new pretensions to titles, and he still persisted in importuning this Court for that of royal Highness. I asked if the duke had made any new attempts, by whom and when. He said the resident had spoken about it a few days ago when he heard of the new title for the Prince of Orange, but he had not chosen to speak about it to the king because he had expressed his sentiments very clearly before and it would be waste of time to worry him again. I commended his ideas and remarked briefly, without entering into any particulars that the duke had no grounds whatever for his pretensions to which he agreed, assuring me that this Court would not initiate any innovation in the matter.
The king with the whole Court has at last decided to come to this city, where they are preparing to celebrate the carnival merrily. To add another cause of rejoicing to that, he urges on the conclusion of the marriage between the Duke of Lennox and the daughter of the late Duke of Buckingham, but the duke does not seem to desire it greatly, as it seems that his affections rather lead him towards the widowed Countess of Carlisle. (fn. 9)
I am waiting for the Ambassador Ognat to make some sign, but so far there is no indication of it.
London, the 20th February, 1636 [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
161. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The pope's minister here, after having passed his sixth month at this Court without visiting me, came full of humility and friendliness to offer his excuses, assuring me that the only thing which prevented him from doing his duty was the distance between our dwellings, but now he was living near me he wished to show me the good will and friendship which he had always enjoyed with your Serenity's ministers, corresponding with the perfect friendship of his Holiness for the most serene republic. I made a suitable response especially commending his efforts for the advance of the Roman faith in this kingdom.
He then began of his own accord to speak of the affairs of Italy, bewailing the state of the Duke of Parma and going on to refer to the differences between your Excellencies and his Holiness. He said that Cardinal Barberino regretted that the pope had given offence to the republic over the eulogy, (fn. 10) but thought that this did not matter so much since the pictures represented the story. He asked me if I had anything further to communicate on the subject. I spoke strongly, adding that your Excellencies desired above all things to maintain good relations with the pope. I had no information about any negotiations for an accommodation, though it would be easy, as the mere restitution of the words effaced would effect it. He merely shrugged his shoulders and said that he was in no position to pronounce an opinion. We then let the matter drop.
With other information which I possessed I began to speak about his transactions, commending some particulars which were not very well known to me in order to find out better about them, making him believe that I had the most precise information. This expedient served its turn, because I found out that they are treating closely about opening trade freely to English ships in the ports of the States of the Church, promising absolutely that the sailors and merchants who go there for this shall not be molested on the score of religion. I consider this worthy of your Excellencies' consideration, because of the possible consequences. However, nothing is established yet, because I gather that they wish here that at the very outset it shall be declared at Rome that if any English merchant, for the better conduct of his business, wishes to set up house in any city or other place subject to the pope's jurisdiction, he may do so freely and live in accordance with the rites of his faith. They consider this point rather too scandalous at Rome and it is not likely that they will concede it readily. However here, if they cannot obtain this they will rest content with the opening for trade only, under the forms indicated, in the hope of considerable profit in the course of time.
With respect to the oath of allegiance, about which there has been so much discussion on one side and the other, in spite of the opposition reported, I find that this minister has already obtained a verbal declaration from his Majesty stating that in the oath of fealty which he claims from his Catholic subjects he does not intend to derogate in any manner from the pontifical authority. They are not satisfied with this at Rome but press for the cancelling the words in the oath which clearly attack the papal authority. This will render a settlement impossible, because the decree originated with parliament and the king cannot alter or modify it without the consent of that body.
Meanwhile they do not fail with dexterity and every possible art to insinuate into the minds of the leading men of the church here the belief and observance of the Catholic institutions. M. di Peron, grand almoner of the queen devotes himself to this with an ardour which almost goes beyond the bounds of his natural courage. Since he obtained the bishopric of Angouleme he has laid aside circumspection and his past fears and seems to have openly undertaken not only the protection of the Catholics, but the increase of the Roman Catholic faith in every direction. He no longer has any scruple about frequenting openly the houses of the Protestants, and when there he takes the opportunity to dispute with them and with the women in particular, and to try and make converts. He assembles bishops, curates and all sorts of ecclesiastical persons in his own house secretly, and there, in company with Father Philip, the queen's confessor, they hold almost incessant disputes and conferences. By means of argument and persuasion no less than by offers of great rewards they try to win souls for the Catholic party, and I know that to one of the bishops here, besides other honours and benefices, he has offered the dignity of the Cardinalate expressly on behalf of the pope, if he will make open profession of his belief in the Roman Church.
All these inducements, united to a favourable disposition in men's minds would certainly produce a great effect, if the certainty of losing their present goods for the mere hope of obtaining greater ones did not make them hesitate. Yet Coneo hopes that these methods wil in the end bring matters near to the state that is desired, and he therefore tries to keep up the interest of M. di Peron and Father Philip as much as he can, giving them almost certain hope that in consideration of the great merit which they are acquiring with the Holy See by means of such labours and perils, his Holiness will reward them with the honour of the Cardinalate. This inspires them greatly, especially the grand almoner, who considers that he ought to arrive there easily, owing to the memory of the late Cardinal di Peron, his uncle, who was considered well deserving by the Church, and his own operations in this kingdom. Perchance this is the chief impulse which makes them both so diligent, because they certainly do not do so without some danger of upsetting their present fortune. They even use every means that seems appropriate to win over the prince's tutor. (fn. 11) As the prince is of tender age and not capable of properly understanding any argument, they cannot presume to make great progress with him, but as the enterprise is of the utmost importance, it is necessary to spread the foundations widely, if one wishes to erect a fabric of the solidity desired. The same procedure is adopted with the young children of the late Duke of Buckingham. His Majesty had them taken away from their mother and brought up with the little prince, because the duchess being a Catholic, his Majesty declared that he did not wish her to have the control.
Such are the present manœuvres of the Court of Rome with this nation, in the hope that time will bring about great changes. They build above all on the king's connivance, which they do not expect to diminish, because of his deep affection for the queen ; and on the other hand they believe in the success of their designs owing to what they understand of the friendly disposition towards the Catholic faith of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who now governs everything. But although they may possibly rely confidently on the royal connivance, yet they ought not to be so sure of the archbishop, because his aim is to destroy the party of the Puritans and not to increase the number of Catholics, so it is clear that if he succeeds in humbling the one, he will subsequently be the most bitter enemy of the other, in his own interest. We must hope, however, that the favour of God, which has caused the present favourable state of affairs to arise, will also bring them to a position which our speculations are unequal to penetrate.
London, the 20th February, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
162. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After I had sealed the foregoing a cavalier who is very intimate with me brought me the protest of the Prince Palatine. It has been printed to-day, and as I wish it to reach your Serenity as soon as possible I enclose it herewith. I hope later to have one signed by the Palatine himself, and I reserve for another time the comment on the matter.
This same gentleman showed me a letter written to him by the Ambassador Fildin telling him of the appointment of Sig. Grimani as ordinary ambassador to Cæsar, and stating that the imperial ministers are to give him the same treatment as they give to the ambassadors of crowned heads. This person, in his desire to serve the republic, showed this letter to the Count Ognat, and suggested to him that he should embrace this opportunity of opening relations with me. Ognat replied that he could not persuade himself that the Count della Rocca would treat the ministers of your Serenity with this new title and prerogatives. No information had reached him on the subject and he could do nothing without precise orders from his own Court.
London, the 20th February, 1637.
Enclosure. 163. Protest of Charles Lewis, Elector Palatine of the Rhine, etc. against Cæsar's translation of his Electorate, the irregular election of the King of the Romans, and against the usurpation and spoliation of the Duke of Bavaria.
Dated at Hampton Court the 27th January, 1637 (fn. 12).
[Latin ; printed.]
Feb. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
164. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Beveren confirms the announcement of the Princess Palatine. The English Resident says that his king has sent to urge Sweden and Denmark to co-operate, and he feels sure that these Provinces will also assist. He has not yet received an answer. He has published a protest made by Teller against the peace of Prague and the election of the king of the Romans. It is not thought that the war can last as long as will be necessary, since the king has no money and he will not recognise parliament. They do not think that the Palatine will get it from the people, as if they contribute it will only be for once and not until the end of the war. The fears of the Austrians will then vanish and the Palatine will be obliged to return without effecting anything.
The Hague, the 26th February, 1636. [M.V.]
Feb. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
165. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Monday I happened to be in the queen's chamber, where I sometimes go to attend on her, as the French ambassadors are accustomed to do. There I met the Prince Palatine, whom I thanked for the communications made to me. I did not give him the title of elector, but simply Highness, as the French ambassadors do. The Palatine does not resent this and seemed very pleased at the meeting, expressing the hope that he had the good wishes of the Signory. I assured him of this and that at the congress at Cologne you would do all in your power to forward the interests of his House with the same good will as was shown to his father on former occasions. We then entered upon a more familiar conversation. He asked me many particulars about Italy ; and how many troops your Excellencies maintain on the mainland. I told him as much as I thought proper and he promised to communicate to me matters concerning his interests.
Meanwhile I have received information that they are making provision of ships while private persons are contributing equipment and munitions to arm them speedily, but they have not decided upon what to do. It is not thought that the Palatine will sail with it, because the articles of the alliance with France have been changed in great measure, and he will be bound to join their naval force with some twenty galleons, and they say the king will provide him with that number for the purpose. Yet Ogger has not been despatched with the stipulation of the treaty, although all the ministers here declare that everything is adjusted, and that the French will have greater satisfaction than they have received. But the greater point does not contain great substance. So far as I can find out the chief one is that with the Most Christian undertaking to maintain the war with the House of Austria until the recovery of the Palatinate and until the assurance that the electoral vote will fall to the Palatine, at least after the death of the present Duke of Bavaria, England on her part must contribute to the Palatine the number of ships aforesaid and undertake that if, within a certain time, the affairs are not settled, either by way of arms or by that of negotiation, to the mutual satisfaction of the parties, she also will break with the House of Austria and wage open war. But nothing is said about guarding the coasts of France, the article already openly rejected by the Most Christian.
Such a very close alliance is not universally credited ; but reason in every case must prevail over opinion, which on most occasions is prejudiced and partial, while the length of the story will weary the pens that write it, as well as try the patience of those who hear its variations. I know that they are still very suspicious at Court that a league with the House of Austria may not have been arranged in France at this time, and that they wish to cast the whole burden of these proceedings on them here. This is perhaps the sole reason why they have not despatched Ogger yet, as they wish to have the fullest information before committing themselves to the treaties.
The Ambassador Ognate keeps up his clamour, and goes about everywhere saying that his master does not want masked enemies, but will know how to make a breach, and, if necessary, can easily maintain war with England. They have told him, if he has orders to speak in this fashion, to produce them in writing, and they will reply, but if not, he will do better to wait for instructions before he speaks so strongly. These words may have dashed him, as he has already stated with sufficient clearness that he does not mean to take up his pen about this. The Emperor's minister also gives utterance to resentful protests, but they pay as little attention to them as to the others, and instead of slackening the effects of their recent deliberation they rather give them ardour, as the king is piqued at such outspokenness to his face.
While the royal ministers are busy over the collection of the tax for arming the ships and the people, fortified by the authority of the grandees, refuse to pay, his Majesty has got the judges, who are all in this city at present for the sessions, to examine and decide if he has the power, without infringing the fundamental laws of the realm, to lay impositions and taxes on his subjects for use where the advantage and reputation of the crown are concerned. They all met the day before yesterday in the public palace of Westminster, and after the cause had been carefully ventilated (sottilmente ventillata) pronounced in a public document, signed by each of them, that the king, for the defence of the realm and other grave emergencies, for the welfare of the same, has unfettered power to lay taxes on his people at his pleasure, without it being necessary for him to render account to parliament of the necessity which at any time may compel him to such a decision, as he and his conscience must be the sole judges, and he is not bound to render account of his plans or of interests of state to any of his subjects.
This document was immediately published, registered in the royal Chancery and sent to all the officials in the provinces, to have the same done in their districts, those concerned having orders to put it into execution. Your Excellencies can easily understand the great consequences involved in this decision, as at one stroke it roots out for ever the meeting of parliament, and renders the king absolute and sovereign. The length at which this has been treated renders it the more sensible and heavy to those who could never have foreseen the blow, and has created such consternation and disorder that one cannot judge what the outcome will be. If the people submit to this present prejudice, they are submitting to an eternal yoke and burying their past liberties, which will remain a memory only. Thus everyone awaits with curiosity to see the issue, as it is known that in times past it would have aroused irreconcilable revolt, But just now, through the enjoyment of a long peace, this nation has almost lost the memory of war, and is more inclined to comfort and the softness of ease than to the discomforts of arms, and so it is probable that this decree will only meet with verbal opposition, and when they are tired of that, they will be forced to admit and approve it. Thus finally the goal will be reached for which the king has been labouring so long, and the predictions verified of those who always imputed his hanging back in the past in matters which seemed to call for vigorous resolution, to schemes for something greater (et con cio riddotti a fine quei disegni che nell' animo del Re si sono andati tanto tempo travagliando e verificati i vaticinii di quelli che hanno sempre imputata la retiratezza passata del medesimo in cio pareva lo pressasse a vigorose risolutioni, a machinationi di cose maggiori.)
It now remains to be seen, as they announce here, that the results correspond to their forces, as the very serious emergencies of the present times compel them to begin to make use of them.
I have received a copy of the Palatine's protest signed with his own hand which I enclose. One of his Highnesses's councillors, who gave it to me yesterday, told me that he had not sent a letter with it to your Serenity for lack of time. But I know that it was sent because he was aggrieved that he had not received a reply to his first letter, which I forwarded to your Serenity. I should be glad to have your Excellencies' views upon this subject. I have just received the Senate's despatches of the 31st January and the 6th inst.
London, the 27th February, 1636 [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 166. Signed Copy of the Palatine's protest.
Feb. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
167. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has performed the most vigorous offices to obtain the reopening of trade between the city of London and these realms, which has been forbidden because of the plague, but has not met with any success. He makes known his resentment as something beyond usual. In the present suspicion of that crown the ministers here have given up the practice of sending money to Flanders by that route, and it is now all sent to Italy.
Madrid, the last day of February, 1637.
[Italian.] Copy.


  • 1. Foppi van Aitzema, the Dutch ambassador at the imperial Court had been negotiating with the emperor to have the imperial fief of Meurs or Mors made a principality in the person of the Prince of Orange. The French king decided to forestall any action on the part of the emperor by giving the Prince the title of "Highness," and this was formally announced by the French Ambassador Charnace at the Assembly of the States General on the 3rd January 1637. Blok : Relazioni Veneziane, page 268 ; Aitzema : Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. ii., page 417.
  • 2. Fielding sent an account of this affair to England by the courier Basford with his despatch of the 13th February, received on the 4th March, O.S. S.P. For. Venice.
  • 3. See the preceding volume of this Calendar, pages li., 121, 124, 129.
  • 4. Anna daughter of Cosimo II. and sister of the reigning duke Ferdinand II. Her mother Maria Magdalena was a sister of the Emperor Ferdinand II.
  • 5. John Berkeley was sent to Sweden and Henry de Vic to Denmark. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1636-7, page 381.
  • 6. His dominions were overrun by the Spaniards and he himself closely shut up in Piacenza.
  • 7. John Berkeley.
  • 8. George son of Lord Goring. See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1636-7, page 421.
  • 9. Lennox eventually married Mary Villiers on the 3/33 August following. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1637, page 355.
  • 10. See the preceding Vol. of this Calendar, page 528 and note.
  • 11. Brian Duppa, dean of Christ Church, Oxford, who became the prince's tutor in April 1634. Strafford Letters, Vol. I., page 413.
  • 12. See Le Vassor Hist. de Louis XIII., Vol. XV., page 111, et seqq.