Venice: July 1636, 1-15

Pages 14-23

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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July 1636, 1-15

July 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
16. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Ambassadors, extraordinary and ordinary, have been to audience at Fontainebleau, where they are treating with Bottiglier. From what we hear they are discussing the original proposals, already introduced by Schidmor, about a general peace and the exchange of Lorraine for the Palatinate, and also about an English barque seized at Calais, adjudged here to be lawful booty. There seems no doubt that they expect more precise commissions after they have heard from England of the first negotiations of the Earl of Arundel at the Emperor's Court, and in the mean time they are acting for show and to make manifest their importance to the Austrians.
Paris, the 1st July, 1636.
July 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
17. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the unsatisfactory experiences reported the Polish ambassador left for Paris, having taken leave of their Majesties and received the usual presents. His proceedings about the marriage of the Palatine princess leave that matter more ambiguous than ever, and induce them to hasten the departure of Gordon here more than ever. They have already given him his despatches. They direct him to take up the matter again, if possible, in some other way, in an agreeable manner and without abandoning decorum, above all, making clear the justice of the resentment felt here in the matter of religion as a point that neither conscience nor reasons of State can allow to be discussed here. He will represent, however, in a proper manner, that while the king here will not allow his soul to be soiled under any circumstances in affairs of this character, so he will never prevent his niece from adopting what belief she thinks best, inferring that if, before or after the marriage, she lends an ear to any instruction in the Catholic faith, she will do so with all the connivance that can be desired on the part of England. By this means they hope to assuage the present ill feeling, and they pretend to penetrate to the bottom of the intentions of Poland to proceed safely in this, or to think without distraction of some other expedient which time and circumstances may mature for the service of the Palatine house.
The Secretary Windebank, in speaking to me of this affair on the very day that the ambassador took leave of the king told me that there were many difficulties which might upset the affair. Even if the question of religion was settled there remained the claims for dowry and other things, not so easy to arrange. When I asked him what he thought the outcome would be, he replied that he could not say, except that the greater the things the more difficult they are, which means in plain language that he does not think it feasible. All the rest of the Court speaks in the same way. Those who are reputed the wisest say that if the affairs of the Palatines are not previously arranged with Cæsar, it is vain to imagine that this business will take effect, as it is unlikely that the King of Poland, instead of a dowry, will consent to take on himself troubles and burdens which cannot fail to disarrange and upset greatly the interests of his own kingdom.
They hear by private letters this week of the arrival of the Earl of Arundel at Ratisbon, and that he has taken lodgings in the house of one Scherer, who was previously destined for the service of the Duke of Bavaria. In the fear that some dissatisfaction may arise out of this, which may serve to render the progress of his negotiations more difficult, they will send him orders to proceed with gentleness in any case. They say at Court that they ought to try and prevent the diet ; that the earl should have proceeded to Germany before with this object, because the emperor will try to make himself absolute thereby, and it may be said to be achieved when his son has been chosen King of the Romans ; and Bavaria will not consent to go away before a fresh declaration definitely establishes the electorate as the perpetual inheritance of his house. Both these points are very important to England, both because of the interests of the Palatines, and from the constant jealousy which the excessive power of the House of Austria will cause to the repose of this kingdom, but his commissions do not go so far as necessity requires, as it seems that they confine their energies here at present to keeping a sharp look out.
They learn from very recent letters from Hamburg that the Chancellor Oxestern is about to proceed to the King of Denmark to treat about peace negotiations with the emperor. The news has given great satisfaction as they cling to the hope that the affairs of the Palatine can be more easily adjusted in that way than in any other.
After having cruised along the coasts of France for many days, without meeting so much as a single fishing boat, and finding his hopes of making some notable reprisals vain, the general has withdrawn with the fleet towards Plymouth, there to await fresh orders from his Majesty before proceeding elsewhere.
I have worked hard in the interests of the Persian merchant. I have had lodgings to his taste found for him in the city ; I have obtained from the Lord Treasurer most ample patents for landing all his goods without paying duty, and wherever I can help I shall let him see the constant friendliness of your Excellencies. The case with the pocket pistols laded on the ship "Fior Dorato" has not yet arrived, but they think it must come before long ; when it does I shall not fail to do what you command.
Cersey, the 3rd July, 1636.
July 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
18. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The king of England has written to the Princess Palatine that he is only waiting to hear from Arundel to take decisive action. But she greatly fears that England will do nothing serious and that he is only trying to frighten by noise, to avoid disturbing peace at home, which is so advantageous, as with trade forbidden between France and Spain, it all goes to England, with incredible profit to the crown.
The Hague, the 3rd July, 1636.
July 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
19. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
After his first audience of the emperor, the earl of Arundel was introduced almost immediately to the empress. He would not cover, although he remained more than half an hour in conversation with her, the time being spent in passing compliments. Their suave manners have not diverted his Excellency from the essential part of his business. At his second audience he expressed the determination of his sovereign to put the finishing touches to this affair, after so many delays, otherwise, he says frankly, England will take more vigorous steps. He says they should make no difficulty about giving his king complete satisfaction, as is proper, not only in equity but from written promises. He produced a letter consigned to Teller in which the emperor says : Principibus Palatinis restituemus partem nequaquam contemnendam, and two others from his Majesty to the late king James clearly promising to yield the electoral vote to the Palatine Princes immediately after Bavaria's death. The emperor said nothing about the last two letters. As regards the first he said it would be promptly fulfilled, but it was necessary to be clear about the terms. Arundel said this would be difficult as it is understood to mean all that the late Prince Palatine possessed, and he formulated the demand for all the Palatinate and the electoral vote. The emperor replied, though always with great suavity, that he could not give what did not belong to him, and if they want so much they should apply to the Elector of Bavaria. Nevertheless, to prove his sincerity he has appointed fresh commissioners, who are the bishop, Swalendorf and II Ghibardi. The Aulic Councillor Haubiz has been sent to Munich to learn Bavaria's decision and they have also written to the Count of Ognat to set out at once to take part in the discussions upon the subject, and he started forthwith. Bavaria replied two days later, defending his claims and declaring that he will not give up the electoral dignity, though he is ready to restore the Palatinate provided that suitable compensation is given to him.
It is supposed here that the despatch from England with such promptitude, to meet the wishes of Cæsar, of an ambassador who is one of the most distinguished personages of that Court, is intended to settle this point by mild measures, without an appeal to arms and without noise. I have also heard that as soon as they learned that an ambassador was coming, they sent instructions to Radolti to confine his negotiations as much as possible to generalities, and if he had to speak at all about the Palatinate he was to make his proposals in writing and not to commit them here in any way. But with the high tone taken by the ambassador they began to change their opinion, and it is thought that they will have to do something in earnest. But they do not know how to do this without offending Bavaria or without stripping themselves of the best part of their hereditary dominions, and to this the emperor will never consent. They hope to appease Arundel by every mark of attention, but this is in vain, as he declares that he will leave at once if he does not receive all the satisfaction that is claimed. They hope that Ognat will do some good, but that is not enough. They believe that the ambassador is building upon the present weakness of the Spaniards and of the House of Austria. A compromise has been suggested, but not taken up, to give the Lower Palatinate and to hold out the hope of more in time.
The earl of Arundel has conferred also with the bishop, and was told that he ought for the present to be satisfied with the removal of the imperial ban, and a declaration that the Palatines are Princes of the Empire, with an assignment of a suitable pension. He suggested a part of the Lower Palatinate. Arundel seems to have been greatly incensed at such ideas, saying that they must go further than this if they wanted quiet, as England was quite able to enforce her claims, and if they did not propose to do more, he would leave at once. The bishop, like the emperor, suggested applying to Bavaria.
The mere report of these difficulties will suffice to prevent the meeting of the electors at Ratisbon, as they will be unwilling to risk their own interests by nominating a king of the Romans until they see what turn these negotiations and the course of the war will take. Some think that France may act in concert with England in these negotiations, as they would not make such resolute declarations if there was not some previous understanding.
Ebersperch, the 5th July, 1636.
Enclosure. 20. Copy of Bavaria's reply.
Electoralem dignitatem quam Carolus Quartus Imperator a domo Bavaria ademit et in lineam Rhenensem, transtulit se jure belli recuperasse ; propterea nequaquam consentiri posse in petitionem Regis Britanniae. Quo ad Provincias ad Palatinum pertinentes se libenter eas restituere velle.
(1) si linea Rhenensis Palatina refuderit fructus perceptos a tempore Caroli IV.
(2) si domus Palatina refuderit damnum Bavariae per regem Suetiae illatum.
(3) si imperator refuderit domui Bavariae sumptus quosque Imperatori impendit.
July 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
21. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassadors have returned from Fontainebleau. The Earl of Leicester assures me that since the Austrians have declared that without the restoration of Lorraine they will never make peace, the King of England desires a declaration to that effect here, in order to advance it, but although the ordinary ambassador has frequently touched on the subject he has never succeeded in obtaining a formal reply. From this I gather, as others also bear witness, that they are returning to this point. The Cardinal, as usual, expressed to me how little he expected from their negotiations with the English, although he thinks well of the ambassador extraordinary. The Polish ambassador has arrived here from England, but as yet he remains incognito.
Paris, the 8th July, 1636.
July 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
22. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
They are very intent here on news from the sea, fearing that some storm may descend upon the fishermen. Beveren reports the king's determination to have the mastery, as well as England's increasing leaning towards Spain. Nevertheless the fleet has not yet sailed from these Provinces, and cannot do so without money.
It is stated that the king of Denmark, stirred by the example of England, is equipping twelve well armed war ships, with the sole object of making himself recognised as master at sea.
I have spoken at length with Sig. Gravinghel about the pretentions of England and the book entitled "Mare Clausum," and the reply which he is to make to it. The essence of our conversation was this. The King of England claims to be recognised as master in the waters of England, Scotland and Ireland and in what they call the "narrow seas." Gravinghel replies that the dominion claimed by England is either natural or acquired. It is not natural because there is no argument for England that does not apply equally for France, or these Provinces. It is not acquired, because that is a question of fact, and the fact is not apparent. He said later that the sea, as sea, is not subject to private dominion, although it is as a gulf. He quoted the lordship of your Excellencies over the Adriatic, and argued that as the King of England has no gulf he cannot have lordship over the sea. He will reply in general terms and come to particulars afterwards. He will argue just as strongly to uphold before the world the just dominion of your Excellencies in the Gulf as for the rights of his own country, because he professes as much devotion to the most serene republic as to this one.
The Hague, the 10th July, 1636.
July 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
23. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince Palatine has never recovered his serenity of mind since the offence he took about the negotiations of the Earl of Arundel in Germany. He has become more suspicious than ever and no longer believes anything whatever that the ministers here tell him. Thus he tries secretly to find out what is really happening about his affairs by every means which he considers disinterested. With this object he sent secretly to me that Curtius, one of his secretaries, who was here before in the capacity of his agent. He prefaced his remarks with a long discourse about the great value which his master put upon the friendship and advice of the most serene republic He went on to disclose in large measure the reasons why he mistrusts the operations of the Court here, the unfriendly bias which he presupposes in the Earl of Arundel towards the interests of his house, and the interested leaning of the greatest men of the government towards the house of Austria, alleging these as the chief reasons. He therefore begged me, if I knew anything of what had been negotiated at the imperial Court so far upon these affairs, or if I had any special knowledge of the views of the emperor, that I would be good enough to communicate it to him, under the veil of utter secrecy.
In order not to commit myself I told him that my letters contained nothing but what was known to everybody. Upon this he rejoined that his master well knew that no one was more regularly informed than I of the affairs of the world, as it was an ancient custom of the republic to send their ambassadors a record of the most important events, and all the ministers did the same among themselves. He therefore begged me again, if I had anything of substance, to oblige the prince by communicating it, with the assurance that the confidence would be kept inviolably secret amongst ourselves. I expressed regret at having nothing for the moment to impart, but promised that if I heard anything hereafter I would do so willingly. I said this in order not to lose his confidence, but I shall do nothing, in order not to displease the Court by my action, as I am quite sure they would take such a correspondence in ill part, at least that is my humble opinion. Curtius left me well satisfied, giving me a paper or manifest with the Palatine's signature, enclosed herewith, imparting the attainment of his Highness's majority, to take up the direction of his dominions.
The contents show how little substance there is in their efforts on behalf of the Palatine House and what scanty results can be expected. It shows that this Court will do nothing more than the interests of these realms demand. Such steps as they do take are rather to show their willingness to act abroad, and the only motive is the need to do something to quiet the criticisms which are uttered, wherever an opening is found, to the detriment of their reputation, with every licence and without reserve. But in substance they lull themselves in the belief that in a treaty for a general peace or for a particular one in the empire, there must of necessity be a final adjustment, without any trouble about all these points which the toils and expenditure of a long time might not suffice to make entirely secure in the end. This supposition while lulling to sleep all generous and appropriate resolutions causes the interests of Christendom at large, as well as those of the Palatine family to retire into the background, possibly with the most serious consequences
Cersey, the 11th July, 1636.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 24. Letter of the Elector Palatine to Francisco Erizzo, Doge of Venice.
Desire to maintain the ancient friendship between his Electorate and the most serene republic, especially as he has now attained his majority and the electoral dignity of Palatine of the Rhine with everything pertaining thereto ought to be transferred to him. Considers this statement of his undoubted rights would not be displeasing to the doge, and that it would be his care that he should obtain peaceful possession, with which the peace and tranquillity of Germany and of the whole of Christendom are bound up etc.
Dated at London, the 8th May, 1636.
Signed : Carolus Ludovicus Dei gratia Comes Palatinus Rheni, Sacri Rom. Imperii Archidapifer et Elector, Dux Bavariae.
July 11. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra Venetian Archives. 25. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Gordon having left for Poland with the instructions advised, all the talk at Court about the marriage of the Palatine princess has quieted down, and they are waiting to hear from him how far Zavaschi has disturbed matters. In the mean time attention is directed to the effect of the treaties of peace in Germany and the result of the diet of Ratisbon. They expect good for the Palatine from the former and the reverse from the latter. Orders have been sent to the Earl of Arundel to oppose with all his might the confirmation for ever of the electoral vote to the house of Bavaria, which the diet was expected to ratify, protesting that if it takes place, England must of necessity take offence and strike.
The earl's letters this week bring the king very unsatisfactory news. They relate that the King of Hungary has refused to see him, under the pretext that he ought not to do so before he has seen his father. He asked for this of the emperor at Linz, but it has been postponed until his Majesty arrives at Ratisbon. From this title piece one may read both disagreeably and clearly that their principles are always the same, to try and drag things out at length ; but all these fluctuations do not suffice to rouse them to thoughts of war. They still think about negotiating, without knowing which way is the safest to take. Only this is certain, that they will not make any decision until Arundel's negotiations have made some advance.
Everything is quiet at sea, nothing having been done since the capture of the Dutch war ship.
The Ambassador Beveren, after remonstrating with the king, has proved by witnesses on oath that the captain of the Dunkirk tartana was a notorious rover (fn. 1) and that the Dutch had seized him solely at the instance of his Majesty's subjects, because, out of respect for the place where they met him, without being prevoked, they had decided not to touch him. As the truth has thus been ascertained, Beveren trusts that the ship will be given up.
On the arrival at Court of the news that the Dutch fishermen have put to sea with a numerous escort of well armed ships, determined to fish indifferently everywhere and to defend themselves against whoever tries to molest them, the king and ministers were greatly moved, and by their order the more speedy sailing of the other ships, which were being slowly fitted out to join the rest of the fleet, has been immediately commanded. But the Dutch seem in no wise intimidated by this, saying that they hope nothing unusual will be done against them, as they have respected the royal flag more than any other nation. On the other hand they announce that thirty more sail will be added very speedily to reinforce their fleet. They show themselves resolute and prepared for whatever may happen to them. From this it is clear there is very dangerous material about, and when to this are added the sinister ideas which the partisans of Spain go about spreading odiously, it seems inevitable that occasions for the worst events must arise.
Letters from Frankfort of the 27th ult. report the preparations of the Landgrave of Hesse to introduce succour into Hanau and that Duke Bernard is marching to join him. This raises great hopes, and they are on the alert here so as not to lose any opportunity of securing advantage.
The Earl of Leicester reports from Paris that at his request commissioners have been appointed to hear him, namely Messieurs de Bouillon and Savigny ; but he does not know what to discuss with them, as his instructions remain the same as when he left London, since the English cabinet is apparently awaiting the result of the Earl of Arundel's negotiations.
Rolandson came to see me yesterday, having recovered from his illness. He expressed his devotion to the most serene republic. He hopes to return as soon as he has attended to his affairs here, to end his days there as a private citizen. He said he had spoken to some of the ministers here about the affairs of the English merchants at Venice and found that they knew nothing about Hider's business. He told them about it and of the kindness shown to Obson. He had pointed out to them the extravagant nature of Hider's demands, and as they do not attach much importance to that merchant personally your Excellencies will see that the demands put forward on his behalf at Venice receive no impulse from this quarter.
Cersey, the 11th July, 1636.
July 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
26. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
My desire to confer with the earl of Arundel and Baron Rabata, Captain of Gradisca, has brought me here. There arrived at about the same time the Count of Ognat, the Resident of Poland and Griffoni, knight of Malta. So far the field is free for conferences, without affording observations and comments. But I had no opportunity of speaking to these ministers as I wished, since Rabata, left the same day for Gratz and Arundel for Vienna, where he will pay his respects to the queen and the archduke.
Linz, the 12th July, 1636.
July 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
27. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The fleet has left for the Strait of Gibraltar. They hear that it caused great anxiety when it approached the coasts of Galicia. They assert here that if it meets the fleet going from Spain to Dunkirk, it will fight it in spite of the presence of an English ship with money. The Ambassador Leicester remonstrates, declaring that if this occurs it may lead to some mischief. The English barque detained by the governor of Calais is still under arrest. They consider it a lawful prize here because they have information that it was taking food and munitions to the Spaniards, but since the last offices of the Ambassadors the Cardinal has promised that it shall be released and restored in a few days.
Paris, the 15th July, 1636.


  • 1. John Pero, captain of the frigate taken at Helston, had already been arrested as a pirate. See Cal. S. P. Dom., 1636-7, page 23.