Venice: March 1637, 1-15

Pages 155-164

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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March 1637, 1-15

March 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
168. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Sunday Ogger was sent back to France with the approval of the treaty and a power for the English ambassadors to conclude everything, supposing that the Most Christian does not object to the trifling alterations made here. A period is specified, and if the dispute with Austria is not settled when it expires England is to attack the empire openly. I have heard, indeed that this period is three months only, in which case war might be considered as declared from the moment of the treaty's signature. No one believes that it is possible to complete an affair of so much consequence in so short a time, hampered by so many difficulties and complicated by so many varied interests. The Palatine is certainly to put to sea with a certain number of ships and join the fleet of the league. They say he will be declared High Admiral of the combined squadron of France and Holland, as the name of England is not to appear until after the expiry of the three months. How the Dutch will be mixed up in this is not yet clear, as here they stick to the decisions taken against that nation in the matter of the fisheries, about which the king seems unwilling to relax any of his severity, indeed it seems that he was greatly stirred by some instances of the Most Christian not to molest them during the present treaty, showing that this matter is more firmly rooted in his heart than one would have believed under present circumstances. The Dutch, on the other hand, declare that if they do not receive satisfaction in this particular, which touches them so nearly, their forces will certainly not be employed in the service of the King of Great Britain or in favour of the Palatine, as they cannot contribute to others what they are compelled to use for themselves. Here they take very little account of this, believing that the Dutch will be obliged to have patience for the sake of their own interests.
If they do not change their plans Prince Rupert, the Palatine's younger brother, is to go to Germany ; they are to give him a regiment here, and they hope he will have another through the intercession of the Prince of Orange from the Dutch, so that he may make the first proof of his fortune with the Landgrave of Hesse. They have not yet made the assignment required for maintaining him and increasing his strength, as they imagine that if they undertake that the money shall be employed in his support in Germany, they can exact an old debt which the Palatine House claims against the French crown for a loan made by the grandfather of the present princes to the King Henry IV., when he was fighting for his crown during the civil wars but this hardly seems the time for obtaining such a thing with ease.
In consequence of the Palatine's protest the emperor's minister is taking leave. The king wished him a pleasant journey and in his presence directed one of the Secretaries of state to give him the passport he required. Thus the operations of this minister conclude exactly as they began. At any rate they do not like this sudden and dry way of taking leave at Court as they may have hoped that he would have brought fresh proposals for negotiation, which might have served them for reputation if not to gain some advantage.
The Ambassador Ognat has refused to receive a copy of the protest, saying it was not a matter that concerned his office. He put himself in a rage with the councillor of the Palatine who brought it, calling loudly to his people in the antichamber, and hurrying the councillor off almost with violence. This only serves to increase the dissatisfaction which he has always given in Court, and to excite by no means commendatory murmurs among the idlers here, who are accustomed to make their criticisms very freely, even beyond the bounds of moderation and respect.
They have decided to send a representative to the congress at Cologne. It is thought that the choice will fall on the Earl of Arundel if he recover from a slight illness from which he suffers at present. His Majesty cannot praise enough the prudence and sincerity with which the earl conducted his last embassy to Cæsar. Coneo has protested that he will not be admitted to confer with the legate, so that he will have to conduct his negotiations through the French plenipotentiaries, a point that supplies material for consideration. The object is supposed to be to thwart the negotiations for peace, as the English demands may now be supposed to be far beyond what Austria would concede.
After the decision of the judges, which I reported, which has passed so far without disturbance, the king's powers have been rendered much more considerable and will have to be more respected by everybody, and indeed, if internal troubles do not arise, the affairs of this realm will have totally changed their condition. In addition to the sentence of the lawyers, the Archbishop of Canterbury has had a careful collection made of all the Councils held in England, of which the manuscripts have been preserved till now, to cause them to be printed with an introduction by himself, in which he undertakes to demonstrate the antiquity of the church for the satisfaction of the people, and proves that all ecclesiastical matters may be defined by councils of bishops without parliament having any cognisance or interest therein, (fn. 1) so that in this direction also, which is one of the most important, parliament is deprived of authority and the king, as head of the Church, will never have occasion to summon it for that purpose, and so in both respects he will remain with immediate sovereign authority.
The king dissaproves of the Duke of Parma's adjustment with Spain and blames the Grand Duke for mediating, as he considers that for the liberty of Italy Parma should have received vigorous support. (fn. 2)
They still entertain distrust of Denmark, and they are waiting with impatience to hear from the envoy who went to tell him of the resolve in favour of the Palatine. From the reply which he gives they hope to get some sure ground from which they can learn his true intentions. Accordingly they await it with anxiety. They also feel hopeful from the assurances given to the Swedes, with the resolve to continue the war ; and are proposing to give them some considerable assistance in men and money.
The marriage of the Polish king with the emperor's second daughter, (fn. 3) which is supposed to be nearly concluded, also affords matter for serious reflection. Besides dashing their hopes of this alliance for the Palatine princess it affords them more serious dissatisfaction because it renders the relations between Cæsar and Poland more close amid present fluctuations. Thus one sees clearly from every sign that they are just now entirely disposed to a rupture with the House of Austria, although other and more powerful considerations have hitherto prevented the final step, and it is not certain even now what they will do. They announce publicly that the capitulations with France, being stipulated, were to begin to take effect on the 11th inst. The time is very short and will not leave the world long in suspense about the issue of all these important and troubled proceedings.
London, the 6th March, 1637.
March 12.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
169. That 1200 gold ducats be given to Giovanni Giustinian, selected as ambassador to England, for his provision for four months in advance, for which he is not called upon to render account.
Also the sum of 300 ducats at lire 6 grossi 4 the ducat for horses, trappings and chests, and 1000 gold ducats as a donation.
Also for all his expenses, except for couriers and the carriage of letters, 170 crowns of 7 lire each.
Also to the secretary for his equipment, 100 ducats, and to two couriers 20 ducats each.
For the salary and table expenses of the chaplain and interpreter, 186 ducats and 100 ducats respectively, and for the interpreter a further 100 ducats in addition.
For couriers and the carriage of letters, for which account is to be rendered, 300 ducats.
Ayes, 121. Noes 9. Neutral, 24.
March 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
170. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
They do not propose here to answer the instances of the English Resident recognising that there is no bottom in the resolutions of England and that the fleet for the Palatine will only scour the seas and make a disturbance, instead of undertaking any important enterprise, and then, for lack of supplies they will have to withdraw. The Dutch think that the king will make a special request, and the Prince Palatine also, but if the king does not give up his claims to the sovereignty of the sea he will not get anything here, as for anything they may do the Provinces require a promise from the king that they shall enjoy perfect liberty without molestation.
The Hague, the 12th March, 1637.
March 13.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
171. To the Ambassador in England.
We have received your despatches of the 6th and 13th ult. which bring us news of great importance. We will await the results of his Majesty's decision about the Palatine, and now matters have gone so far the results should correspond. Advices of affairs in Italy. The French are taking steps in the direction of a general peace, and they desire that our republic should be represented at Cologne.
Ayes, 181. Noes, 2. Neutral, 2.
March 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
172. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Since the despatch of Ogger with the settlement of the treaty with France the best energies of the ministers here are directed to the fitting out of the fleet. His Majesty has confirmed the Earl of Northumberland's patent as general and at the same time ordered the captains, some of whom have been changed, to hold themselves in readiness and near the Court, to take part in provisioning the ships and to receive orders about the time and manner of sailing which his Majesty shall see fit to give. Besides the ships destined to serve the Palatine a considerable number will be employed for maintaining the dominion of the sea, about which the king shows more and more determination, regardless of the lamentations of the Dutch, who yet speak high, especially about the recognition required for the fisheries. Although perhaps with much reason, many have pointed out that if they mean to keep the Dutch agitated about this matter it will render their ships as well as the king's useless for those designs which have been projected, yet this view meets with no consideration, owing to the necessity of the king acting vigorously to maintain his claims. This is of greater importance because he does not wish to give offence to his subjects, from whom he has stated that he desires the present contributions for this respect alone, and since the decision of the judges these are beginning to come in without opposition from fear of the penalty.
Some individual Dutch fishermen, against the wishes of the States, have come to take licences and pay dues according to the proclamation, so that they may practise their trade without danger. This has pleased the Court greatly, although it only has a relative significance, as the kernel of the dispute is against the Company of fishermen of the States, who are preparing to put to sea with a strong escort of men of war, determined not to yield a jot to the English pretensions. The real foundations of this matter have never been debated according to judicial forms during the whole course of the dispute, because the king will not listen to any arguments on the subject, although the Dutch claim they can advance very strong ones, while the use of hundreds of years allows them to fish freely. Thus his Majesty's refusal only serves to increase their ill feeling, after they had humbly asked him to hear them, even more than the result, although it does them so much harm. As these circumstances will undoubtedly inflame the feeling on both sides to the highest pitch, it will certainly disturb the success which is hoped from the employment of their forces here in favour of the Palatines, affording the Spaniards an opportunity of which they are always ready to take advantage.
With respect to the differences raised by the king of Denmark about navigation they do not seem to know what to think at Court. On the one hand they cannot find out for certain if he has received or even asked from the emperor the General Admiralship of the German and Baltic seas, as rumoured, and on the other hand they hear that he means to claim an annual tribute from the English engaged in whale fishing off Iceland, because of his jurisdiction over that island, claiming, in addition to the rights of his independent authority, that this was done without dispute up to the time of Queen Elizabeth. However this may be, the affair will certainly be a very difficult one, because if they consent to the payment the prejudice is certain, and if they do not, the dispute will be very difficult not only because the arguments they can advance are few and very feeble, but because they are almost entirely destroyed by past practice. Those which remain cannot be upheld under present circumstances, because when Queen Elizabeth disputed the matter it is found that one of her principal arguments was that the sea is free everywhere, and she would not be compelled without force to pay any tribute for fishing or navigating. (fn. 4) As this is in direct contradiction to the present claims of England, it would prevent them from pressing them and give the Dutch the victory, who would use the same argument to preserve the use of the fisheries. It is accordingly whispered that all these difficulties proceed from them, and it is considered certain, that for the advantage of their own interests they have encouraged Denmark to make these claims and they themselves give credit to the suspicion because they are almost alone in studiously circulating these reports. But whatever the source may be it is certain that it very much annoys the king, and letters have been forwarded to the envoy lately sent to Denmark instructing him, in case of need, to propose an amicable adjustment. They hope by such means to gain at least sufficient time to allow them to bring the disputes with the Dutch to a condition which promises better and more advantageous progress.
To Sweden in addition to the two expeditions reported they have decided to send a Scottish colonel, (fn. 5) who formerly fought under that flag, to confirm his Majesty's upright intentions to the Chancellor Oxistern and promising speedy and effective help. These repeated offers are caused by the increasing dread of a sudden agreement between Sweden and the emperor. The advantage their arms have won does not suffice to remove this fear of their propensity for peace, and the Court has deeply regretted to hear of what happened at Paris between the coaches of the English ambassadors and those of the Swedish (fn. 6), and the colonel is to remonstrate strongly with the chancellor about it.
A councillor of the Landgrave of Hesse who recently arrived at Court (fn. 7) has received fair hopes that Prince Rupert will shortly proceed to Germany and join the Landgrave with a considerable force. However one does not yet see any preparations corresponding to the reports. For this reason the Council finds a difficulty in satisfying itself about his return with the answer to his master. Everything else in the affair seems to be waiting to receive its impulse from the resolutions which will be taken in France upon what Ogier took back there. It is assumed that these will be adjusted to what was decided here, but until they receive the definite news all decisions here which depend upon them will remain in suspense.
The news of the emperor's death, (fn. 8) though not fully confirmed, affords material for the most weighty reflections, and we shall wait to see what turn affairs in Germany, in particular, will take when guided by a new hand.
Neither this week nor last has the courier brought any letters from Italy.
London, the 13th, March, 1637.
173. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Acknowledges receipt of the Signory's despatches of the 12th, 13th and 20th February, giving an account of Lord Fielding's complaints about the violation of the ambassadorial franchise in a house rented by him at San Moise. The express courier has not arrived. Possibly he has been intentionally detained. I will make the necessary representations both to the king and the ministers, and hope that I shall make the proper impression upon them. I will also endeavour to find out why the courier has been delayed. So far not a word has reached me or any talk about the matter at Court.
London, the 13th March, 1637.
March 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
174. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to the king at St. James's at one in the afternoon and was immediately introduced by the Marquis of Hamilton. I told the king I was instructed to narrate what had taken place in a small house near that of the ambassador, when nothing improper had been done against a servant who had taken refuge there. When I mentioned the arrest of the culprit I noticed that his Majesty turned extraordinarily pale, and when I told him that the delinquent was guilty of high treason in the first degree, had been expelled from the nuncio's house as such and was then living in a vainglorious and impudent manner in the house in question, which was separated from the ambassador's by a public way, he asked me what exactly were his crimes. When I replied that I did not know as such delicate matters were judged by a supreme and secret magistracy and were never communicated to any one, he remarked good, good. I said that the Signory trusted that Lord Fielding would have taken into consideration the source from which the order for arrest proceeded, especially as he had previously received proof of the Signory's wish to oblige him. The king said he had not yet received any notice of the matter from the ambassador, but possibly his secretary know something about it. Meanwhile he could only say that if the house belonged to the ambassador the matter ought to be taken in one way, if not, in another ; he felt sure your Excellencies would not have done wrong. I told him that the houses occupied by the persons of the ambassadors were perhaps more respected at Venice than elsewhere, but it was never admitted that the servants could carry the privileges which ought to be special to their masters to other houses. The house where they tried to arrest the culprit, though the arrest happened on the water, was separated from Lord Fielding's by a wide public way, and was rented by one Michiel di Cecca, a subject of the republic. For these reasons and because it had no mark to distinguish it from other houses to show it was the dwelling of a public minister, according to the custom at Venice, it could not be so recognised. I referred to similar cases with the Spanish ambassadors in matters of less consequence, of which they took no notice or made no such demands. I mentioned an almost similar case here which happened to one of my predecessors over the arrest of a priest, who was seized in the street, but bore obvious indications that he was a servant of his house. I said that I myself when I heard that an Italian gentleman of my household was suspect to justice, offered to hand him over without being asked, and at once expelled him from the house (fn. 9).
I said that the little house of San Moisé with some others near it, had become a resort for outlaws and men accused of the most serious crimes. I sketched a plan to let his Majesty see how the matter happened.
As he did not seem convinced by my various arguments I asked him to imagine an ambassador accredited to him taking houses separated from his own, to be the resort of rogues and even of conspirators against the state. If this were allowed ambassadors might rent several houses in various parts of the city and in this way enlarge their franchise in all directions and subvert the rules of good governance. When I touched this chord I perceived that I had aroused the most lively part of his feelings. I enlarged upon other similar considerations. His majesty made no reply, but shrugged his shoulders. I at once added that men guilty of high treason ought not to have protection as they are equally abhorrent to all princes. The following are the precise words of his Majesty's answer :
If the culprit offended the public Majesty so deeply as you tell me, he certainly ought not to be safe anywhere, not even in the house or the very room of my ambassador. I must reprove him for not having acted well, and when I am fully informed I will give the republic every satisfaction. I replied that the state did not profess dissatisfaction with the ambassador, who was most highly esteemed. They regretted the offence he had taken because of this accident. After I had gone and was speaking with an intimate to instruct him how to represent the affair, a gentleman came to ask me on behalf of his Majesty for the plan of the house, telling me that he wished to show it to the Secretary Cuch, and he would let me have it back. I willingly agreed. I then went to Cuch, who said that he had not received any account of the matter, and that he believed my statement.
I passed the same offices with the Earl of Arundel. Although he professes the most sincere devotion towards the republic, he seemed more difficult than I should have believed, in accepting the arguments I retailed. He said they ought to have warned the ambassador before proceeding to violence. The houses of princes enjoyed the privileges of their masters and could not be violated without seriously offending them. After I had argued with all the subtlety I know he finally admitted that those guilty of high treason have no asylum anywhere, and so I left him much better disposed than I found him. I have not spoken to the Archbishop of Canterbury yet, first because I have not had time, as he lives outside the city, and also because he possesses no other language than English, so that we have to use an interpreter. This takes up a great deal of time, and as he is very busy he does not seem to care to negotiate with foreigners. However, if I have an opportunity I will give him also the necessary information.
The ambassador has had the advantage of forming the first impressions but I hope to overcome the difficulty, if his representations have not been too violent. So long as I maintain that the crime was of the nature stated I do not think that the king's ministers or any one capable of reasoning can help admitting that your Excellencies acted rightly.
The courier has not yet arrived, and I think that another sent by Fildin on the same errand is also behindhand, so it is probable that some accident on the road has detained them.
London, the 14th March, 1637.
March 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
175. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain to the Doge and Senate.
Further letters from England have reached his Majesty and the minister here, who had a long conference with the Count Duke on Thursday. Hope is renewed that a means for mutual satisfaction will be found by way of negotiation rather than by arms. According to my information from a minister of influence the principal difficulty consists in this that if the Catholic yields the Lower Palatinate he claims as a recompense that the crown of England shall give him other advantages in its declarations. In this way possibly they will studiously protract the negotiations and the Spaniards will have achieved their intent. They build their advantage on the shortness of money and other political necessities of that kingdom. To Dunkirk, now that the fleet there has been strengthened, strict orders have been sent charging them to take advantage not only of the present negotiations with England but to molest the Dutch as much as possible in those waters.
Madrid, the 14th March, 1637.
[Italian.] Copy.


  • 1. This probably explains an entry in Laud's diary of 10th June, 1637. "My book of Records in the Tower which concerned the clergy and which I caused to be collected and written in vellam was brought to me finished ; tis ab anno 20 Edw. I. ad annum 14 Edw. IV." Rushworth : Hist. Collections Vol. II., page 379. Apparently it was never published as intended.
  • 2. Through the mediation of the Grand Duke of Tuscany a treaty was arranged between Giovanni Domenico Pandolfini, the Grand Duke's envoy, and the Spanish General Francisco Melo at the beginning of the year, whereby Parma was detached from the French alliance and obtained favourable terms from the Spaniards. Jagemann : Gesch. des Grossherzogthums Toskana, Vol. ii., page 151. Nani : Hist. Veneta pages 312, 313, Le Vassor : Hist. de Louis XIII., Vol. xv., pages 166-8.
  • 3. Cecilia Renee ; the marriage took place on the 9th August 1637.
  • 4. The question was first raised in 1576 and in the following year John Rogers and Antony Jenkinson were sent to treat. Nothing was decided and the matter was referred back to the sovereigns. It was not reopened until 1582 when Peregrine Bertie lord Willoughby of Eresby went to take the garter to Frederick II. In the following year John Herbert was sent over and an agreement was made in June, whereby the king of Denmark granted for his life and that of the queen to the Muscovy Company free trade in the Northern seas, upon payment of 100 rose nobles yearly. The English case does not seem to be preserved, but a letter of the Swedish Chancellor Kaas of 26 Feb., 1582, refers to the claim that "all seas are passable to all nations." Foreign Cal. 1582, pages 130, 534 ; Id. 1583, pages 158, 172 ; Id. 1583-4, pages 191, 192.
  • 5. Sir George Fleetwood. See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1636-7, page 559.
  • 6. "I must not omit to acquaint your honour with an unexpected contestation with the Swedish ambassador concerning a point of precedence. Upon Tuesday last the Holland ambassador being to make his entry into Paris my Lord of Leicester and myself sent our secretary with our coaches (according to custom) to welcome him into this kingdom and to accompany him into this city. At the setting out for St. Denis, my lord of Leicester's coach having taken place next to the Holland ambassador's ... mine took place next to my lord of Leicester's. The Swedish ambassador's coach, hastening on, came up to my lord of Leicester's coach and justled into it to have precedence ; but after a short stand our lacqueys beat them off and we went on in the rank we had first taken. Being gone a little way out of St. Denis the Swedish coach came up to us and disputed the rank the second time, whereupon Marshal de la Force and the Count of Bruslon, conducteur of ambassadors, made a stand and sending for the Swede's secretary, after they had spoken with him they sent for my lord of Leicester's secretary and mine. Marshal de la Force asked my lord of Leicester's secretary what he pretended ; who answering that he would go next to the ambassador's coach who was to be conducted, the Marshal and conducteur of ambassadors both said that they could not deny the crown of England that right ; but then, said they, you must let the Swedish ambassador's coach go next to yours. Whereunto to my secretary replied that he would go next to my lord of Leicester's and if the Swede would come after him, he might ; but between the two ambassadors coaches, from one and the same crown, he should never be permitted. And hereupon my lord of Leicester's secretary and mine jointly declaring they would either both go away together or both together keep their rank, in that resolution returned to their coaches. After some little motion forwards, the Swedish ambassador's coach driving up was arrested even with my coach, and there a dispute occasioned another stay. The Marshal now finding this contestation would not be decided but with the sword and end in blood, used his authority together with entreaties to my secretary to go away directly home, declaring absolutely withal that as the precedence did undoubtedly belong to the crown of England, so the right of it would be sufficiently conserved if only one coach stayed in the field ... Hereupon my coach came home ... After which the Swedish ambassador's coach came not into rank at all, but jostleing with my lord of Leicester's coach, his lordship's secretary and that of the Swedes went again to the Marshal. The right of the crown of England was then again pronounced ; but the Swedish secretary would not yield to go after the earl of Leicester's coach, but went away before all the coaches, this king's and all, and so home." Scudamore to Coke, February 10/20, 1636/7. S.P. For. France, Vol. 103.
  • 7. His name was Jean Louis Sengel.
  • 8. Ferdinand II. died on the 15th February.
  • 9. No doubt referring to the case of Antonio della Valle. See the preceding Volume of this Calendar, page xxxvii.