Venice: April 1637

Pages 175-193

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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April 1637

April 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
186. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England to the Doge and Senate.
The announcements made by the king about the Ambassador Fielding's affair have prevented me from taking any direct steps in the matter, but I have caused my intimates, at any special meetings of the Court, to advocate the Signory's cause, and all unprejudiced persons express themselves in very uncomplimentary terms about those who foment the mischief. But the ambassador's relations persist in their outcry and neglect no art or effort to keep the king imbued with the principles they have already impressed upon him. This week the Countess of Denbigh, the ambassador's mother, with the Marchioness of Hamilton, her daughter, have availed themselves of the queen's interposition to obtain the confirmation of the king's promise to them to recall the ambassador, however things may go. It has not been difficult to obtain this, because as in addition to any feeling which this incident may have left in his Majesty's mind present experience shows that he does not like the expense of an ambassador extraordinary with your Excellencies, or what he pays at present, which in all will exceed 50 of our ducats a day, as Fielding still enjoys the allowance of all ambassadors extraordinary. I had this confirmed to-day by a person of very great credit, in a position to know, who added that the Council were unanimously of opinion that there was no need to keep a minister of such rank ; so he concludes that if Fielding is removed we shall not hear of the nomination of another very soon, although there may be many pretenders for the post. As these opinions are true in essence and current at Court I have thought it my duty to report them, so that you may have solid ground for your decision upon this important matter.
The despatches for Fielding have not yet been drawn up and I understand they will not be sent this week. I am not sorry for this delay, because time cannot fail to mitigate their severity, and if coldness in everything was not natural to this nation I might think this present exhibition of it was an indication of an inclination towards the adjustment of the affair. The ministers try to get it to reach my ears that unless Fielding obtains a satisfactory reply he is to leave at once. Meanwhile they ask with curiosity if the law has taken extreme measures against della Nave. Some seem to think that if his case had been despatched before the ambassador's representations in the manner that his crimes deserve, the affair might have been adjusted more easily I cannot venture to comment upon this but will only remark that those who speak thus are persons of considerable estimation, and to make myself clearer, the Earl of Arundel is inclined to hold this opinion, indeed his wife said as much to me very clearly. Both of them, upon this occasion, contrary to my original opinion, have given me signs of great cordiality. A person of considerable estimation and well affected towards the republic has maintained before his Majesty that it is not advantageous to the general welfare and peace to raise difficulties about mere punctilio at the risk of losing the confidence of so friendly a state, which may be very helpful in the present fluctuations for the interests of the Palatine, both by interposition and action. The satisfaction demanded of the republic is such as cannot be granted without upsetting the regulations for its good government, and opening the gate to consequences which will be very prejudicial in the course of time. He now complains that his advice has not been adopted. I have all this under a pledge of keeping it secret, as it would damage him greatly if it became known, but I have thought it right to inform your Excellencies. I assured him of your deep gratitude and of the great esteem you have always had for him personally. I find that this has done wonders in confirming his previous friendliness, and hope that I shall continue to profit by it with considerable advantage to the service of the state.
London, the 2nd April, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 3.
Senato, Secreta. Doliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
187. To the Ambassador in England.
We enclose a copy of the exposition of the Spanish ambassador. You will try and ascertain whether the orders referred to have reached Ognat. On the 13th of February we sent by special courier an account of the remonstrance of the English ambassador because of the arrest of an individual opposite his house. We are surprised to find no reference to this in your letters of the 6th ult. just received, especially as the Spanish ambassador says that he has received news on the subject. Advices. Vote of 300 ducats for his couriers and the carriage of letters.
Ayes, 66. Noes, 2. Neutral, 4.
April 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
188. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
It having been settled that the Palatine shall have the fifteen ships, they have been discussing the best means of rendering his forces as powerful and vigorous as possible. Finding that they cannot do this adequately without the assistance of foreign powers, they have decided that he must go in person to Holland to ask for their help. Accordingly he has himself conferred with the Dutch ambassador to ask his advice. That minister suggested that it would be advisable for him to be accompanied by a special envoy from England, as an additional stimulus, since it could never be displeasing to his masters that the king of Great Britain should show confidence in their good will in any situation where they were in a position to advance his interests or give him satisfaction. Accordingly, recognising that the Dutch would like to have this compliment paid, it is considered advisable to send a special ambassador, who will prefer the requests jointly with the Palatine in his Majesty's name.
That this may be done more regularly and on more solid foundations they would desire that the ratification of the treaty should first arrive from France, whence, owing to the illness of the commissioners or the absence of the king, the Ambassador Leicester writes that he has not yet been able to come to an end, a thing which they take very ill here, and it makes them speak ill of the behaviour of the French, as if they aimed at keeping in suspense the best resolutions of this quarter, in order to derive profit for themselves for some secret truce or armistice with the Spaniards, about which they remain very suspicious here.
Since the emperor's death the king here is evidently bent on carrying on the war, giving ever more manifest signs that he will not acknowledge the new King of the Romans ; thus he told the Dutch ambassador to intimate to his masters that it was high time for their troops to take the field, and alacrity would prove very helpful, and he would be very glad when he brought him word of it. This declaration deserves much consideration, as the king is not accustomed to speak with so much resolution where the affairs of others are concerned.
The matter of the fisheries makes very little progress, as they are determined to maintain their sovereignty over the sea ; the ministers try to smoothe matters by saying that their actions will not be so severe as their words, but this does not reassure the Dutch or remove their uneasiness, as they consider the question of the most serious importance, in short this matter will always lead to trouble and may possibly prevent sound operations in other directions.
The dispute with Denmark still remains on foot. That king will not accept the balance offered, being of opinion that the bother about the Palatine may enable him to do better. This annoys his Majesty here, but does not shake his resolve to maintain the maritine supremacy of Great Britain. This shows that there is no assurance that the royal fleet may not be used for something else, and that if the Palatine does not provide for his requirements in some other way, his fifteen ships may bring him more trouble than strength. This will certainly be the case if he does not receive that assistance from the French of which he makes sure.
The accident which prevented the audience of the Ambassador Ognati last week was only too true, as three persons of his household have died of the plague. This curse creeps into every part of the city, so that it has occasioned fresh alarm at Court. They say that as soon as the queen is able to travel their Majesties will go more than 150 miles away, but if there is any hope of improvement, they will not take this trouble.
The Persian merchant has taken leave of the king to-day, and he will embark tomorrow to return home. He goes away quite satisfied with the treatment he has received at Court, but very irritated by the extortions of the merchants and customs officials, as with all his efforts he could not escape paying the double duty exacted from all foreigners with the usual severity. I have done all I could for him, and I am sure that he departs under increased obligations to your Excellencies.
I expect to have audience next Monday to offer my congratulations on the birth of the princess, and if the letters for the Ambassador Fielding have not been forwarded, I will endeavour to soothe his Majesty.
London, the 3rd April, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
189. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The ministers here employ the greatest industry to prevent the union between England and France. For this purpose alone a courier was sent to that Court last Friday with instructions to the Catholic ambassador to assure the king there that his Majesty has written to Cæsar, and that he is as much concerned to give him satisfaction as he is to provide for the defence of his own dominions, and suggesting some other equivalent instead of the surrender of the Lower Palatinate. The minister here represents that such an exchange of satisfaction would not be difficult, unless promises are betrayed by deeds.
Madrid, the 4th April, 1637.
[Italian.] Copy.
April 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
190. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday I had audience of the king to congratulate him on the birth of the princess. After I had expressed regrets about Fielding's affair and observed in vain that the troubled state of the political horizon ought to make him form such resolves as were expected by the republic, the king reflected for a space on the subject ; he then replied : I have always valued the republic's friendship. I know, as you say, that these are times to make it even more close. The ample expressions of goodwill which you have made towards my nephew's interests oblige me to be grateful and I confess it. In this case I claim no more than is right. Let the republic do her part, as she knows that, saving my honour, I shall do everything to satisfy her. After I had replied the king turned the conversation to other topics, to which I shall allude in another despatch. I then went to the two secretaries, to Lord Holland and the Earl of Arundel, insisting that in such a matter justice must take its course. I pointed out to them in particular what an unfavourable impression it would make on the world if the confidence of two princes who had always been so friendly, were put to the hazard for matters of such slight consideration. It was the part of ministers to maintain and increase a good intelligence between well affected princes. I did what I could and hoped they would help me. I had to repeat my arguments several times to convince the Secretary Vindebanch. However I left them all excellently disposed, and the Earl of Arundel in particular, who promised to do his utmost to get the affair satisfactorily settled. In fact the two secretaries returned at two o'clock this afternoon and spoke to the following effect : His Majesty desired to maintain his friendly relations with the republic unchanged, and in order to adjust the differences, saving his honour, he would be content to relinquish all claim for the release of della Nave, owing to the nature of his crime and because he did not wish to interfere with the laws of the republic. But this being conceded, his Majesty expected the release of Boni who was arrested, they said, because he ate flesh in Lent, played on a Friday or some crime which they knew did not affect the majesty of the state. They insisted on his being handed over to Fielding as well as those officials who dared to put guards at his door on that occasion, as this would not contaminate the justice of Venice while it would satisfy the reputation of England.
In the course of my reply I said that Francesco de' Boni was an evil liver, a blasphemer and guilty of serious crimes. As for the officials, if they had done anything beyond their orders they would be severely punished. So then, took up the secretaries, your Excellency admits that the republic will afford his Majesty that satisfaction which has been granted to others on similar occasions, and that if the officials have set guards at the ambassador's doors, they shall be handed over to him to be punished.
I said that I was sure all the privileges enjoyed by ambassadors at Venice would be conceded to Lord Fielding without reservation, and it was certain that the sbirri would be punished if it was proved that they had committed a fault, as it was not customary to give ambassadors this trouble. All right, said they, then the affair is settled. If the king's ambassador receives the same satisfaction as has been granted to others, and if the officials receive the punishment which they deserve for their offence, his Majesty asks for nothing more.
Such was the end of our interview. The principal point about del Nave has certainly been won, but I think there will be difficulties about the remainder, as they will claim that the ambassador must be believed in what he asserts about the guard set at his door, and as regards Boni's release they consider they have better examples on their side than I have adduced to the contrary. However, if they confine themselves to genuine instances and do not claim more than has been done for others, as the secretaries declare, it will not be difficult to find a way to satisfy them.
London, the 7th April, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
191. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The ministers here do not agree to the proposals made by the English. The Cardinal told me that things must be properly adjusted as he does not consider the force promised by the king of England to the Prince Palatine adequate to what is required. He considers that king high minded but fears that those about him divert him from what he ought to do. The Earl of Leicester works hard and wants to persuade them that this is enough for the present. He contends that to claim that England shall declare war if she is not satisfied about the restitution of the Palatinate is not just because she has no personal grievance against the Austrians. They certainly wrong her in not attending to their promises but this does not oblige her to resentment sufficient to make her take such a great step so readily. They do not properly understand here what is to their own advantage ; because if his king entered the alliance and made war about the question of the Palatinate alone, he would have to abandon the league when he received satisfaction from the Spaniards, whereas if they accept what is now offered and his Majesty binds himself to declare war if the Austrians, within a certain time do not restore not only the Palatinate but all the other princes of Germany, that is something more secure and more advantageous for their interests here.
He complains that the French treat the ships of his king, which they take on their way to Flanders with foodstuffs, worse than they do the Dunkirkers and Spaniards, although the Cardinal has recently had some released at his instance. He professes to fear that when they perceive this coldness in England his Majesty there may be persuaded not to allow the Palatine to arm at sea in order not to give greater offence to the Spaniards with a matter of slight consequence. With respect to the congress at Hamburg he maintains that the treaty must be concluded here before it meets.
Paris, the 7th April, 1637.
April 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
192. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England to the Doge and Senate.
After my conversation with the Secretaries of State yesterday, I thought I was justified in considering the matter in good train, but whether it be my ill fortune, their obstinacy, the power of Fielding's relations or that their passionate appeals have more influence than reason, I can see that they have little idea here of consenting to a just composition. The Secretaries came here this morning by express order of the king to intimate that his Majesty would not rest content with general satisfaction in a matter where his honour was especially affected, and claimed that his ambassador should receive special demonstrations of respect. These should at least consist of Boni's release and the assurance that the one who set guards at the ambassador's door should be punished. I expressed astonishment at hearing such different views from the same lips after such a short interval. I told them that confiding in what I had heard from two public ministers, and especially as regards the English ministers enjoying privileges in no wise inferior to those observed with other crowns, I had already informed your Excellencies of what was arranged yesterday, and I did not see how this could be withdrawn without damaging my reputation, as you certainly cannot do more for the English ambassador than you have for the Spanish.
They answered me that such was the absolute determination of the king, which they could not resist. That the despatches for the ambassador were already drawn up and there was nothing more to do except to despatch them this evening.
I afterwards went to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Earl of Arundel to complain. They both shrugged their shoulders and said that the secretaries had imagined there would be no occasion to retract, but his Majesty would not rest content. Arundel, to whom I spoke more confidentially, advised me not to speak to the king again, as I should do more harm than good. He told me further that he himself had heard the letters which were written to the ambassador this week, to which his Majesty made them add that if he could not obtain the satisfaction indicated he must come away, without writing direct to England again ; but he thought the ambassador would devise a means to avoid the blame which must attach itself to such a rupture.
I am sending this despatch by Basfort, who is taking those of the Ambassador, as I have not had time to do otherwise.
London, the 8th April, 1637.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
April 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
193. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Fears multiply that the treaties between England and France will vanish without result. The English and the Palatine family say that the French are only manœuvring for time and will not conclude unless Sweden and these Provinces join. If it is so this Court will not consider England in the wrong, as if Sweden and the Dutch are to enter there is no time to lose. The Princess Palatine told me explicitly that the French are drawing back and are not playing fair. Yet there are signs that the fault is with England, who tries to throw the blame on France, as Beveren says they have greatly cooled and have reduced the number of ships to fifteen while gentlemen have been forbidden to take service. It is believed that the parties wish to approach each other, but not to unite, and that their object is to gain time. If the Swedes and these States are to join, the Austrians need have no fears for this season.
The Hague ; the 9th April, 1637.
April 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
194. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In spite of the plague Ognate has had audience of the king, with whom he remained alone for fully two hours. It is supposed that he made offers about surrendering the Lower Palatinate, which is almost entirely in the hands of the Spaniards. For the rest he made general but impracticable offers of equivalents for the dominions, and more specifically that after the death of the present duke of Bavaria the electoral vote should be exercised alternately by the Palatine House and by Bavaria's heirs. If the conditions are such there seems no likelihood of their being embraced, because they do not differ greatly from those proposed in Germany to the earl of Arundel, which he was far from accepting. It is possible that there is something more solid and practicable, because since this audience the secretaries of state have been twice at the ambassador's house and had most lengthy conferences with him. They make a grievance at Court that while Ognate is the only minister of the House of Austria here, he has neglected to inform the king of the death of the emperor, and for this reason his Majesty has not chosen that sombre clothing shall be worn, as is usual upon such occasions.
His Majesty spoke to me about the emperor's death at my audience last Monday and said it should give an impulse to fresh disturbances in Germany. The accession of the new one was certainly not legitimate. The most essential fundamentals were lacking in the election that took place at Ratisbon. The king did not say so much definitely but he meant me to understand that he did not mean to recognise him as emperor. Thus, in referring to the Congress at Cologne he remarked that it was a time to think of something else and it was impossible to give shape to the peace without a proper disposition of the materials. This affords the strongest grounds for concluding that their thoughts here do not run in the direction of an accommodation, and if the proposals of the Spaniards are not such as to give them complete satisfaction in the matter of the restitution of his dominions and of the electoral vote to the Palatine, it is quite clear that they will not be embraced.
The Palatine undoubtedly contemplates sending an ambassador extraordinary to Holland, to help the treaties they think of concluding with those powers ; but they still hold back the appointment, as they wish first to see what resolutions France will take about the last proposals which Oger took to them many weeks ago. As they profess that these are the same as the French themselves desired on previous occasions, with conditions indeed greatly altered to their advantage, the ministers here are exceedingly perplexed at this long delay of the ratification. The Secretary Cuch told me personally, very roundly, that the dilatoriness of the French procedure in this affair had deeply offended his Majesty, and it was not the way to encourage a warm friendship with England, such as they profess to desire. The moment was most favourable in every respect, but if it was lost, it would not be so easy to find it again a second time. To soothe him I pointed out the importance to France of union with this crown and that it was unlikely they would miss the opportunity. The delay was probably due to the absence of the king and the illness of Buglion, not to lack of goodwill ; but it was desirable not to lose time.
I have heard others speak in exactly the same way, and I have noticed the display of strong feeling everywhere at this affair remaining unsettled for so long a time. In addition to the prejudice which the delay itself causes, it is believed that their reputation suffers thereby, because the Spaniards do not scruple to speak about it in a way that they do not like. They go about saying that there was too much shouting about it and the results do not correspond with the noise. That the French are seeking their own advantage, and apart from that they do not care about England. Such remarks are wounding, but in the long run they will not help their authors, the more so because they tend to bring pique to the support of judgment.
The French on their side contend, although not openly, that it is not reasonable they should be committed to the war without being at liberty to end it except with the consent of England which for her part offers nothing but piracy, as they call it in so many words, by a few ships under the shadow of a prince who has nothing to contribute except his name. In questions of more importance the English reserve to themselves the right to announce their hostility to the House of Austria in the event of a failure to arrange amicably the outstanding differences between them. If in such case they are compelled by necessity to take action, this may serve as being sufficiently meritorious to weigh with all that the French have been obliged to do. However, the replies given to his Majesty's ambassador at Paris are not in this vein nor do his letters report such sharp criticisms. But the Ambassador Seneterre here, when he writes privately, cannot fail to take exception to what is said and expresses himself even more freely, and so in the conduct of the negotiations for a treaty of friendship, distrust and rancour are aroused which may well hinder the sincere development which is desirable.
A brother of the Landgrave of Hesse (fn. 1) left here recently. The king gave him a diamond worth 1200 crowns, but for the rest he was ill pleased, as he could get no decided reply. He left an agent here. He again offered his services to the Prince Palatine on any conditions he pleased. The Prince told him that the fleet would be under his absolute command and he might be his lieutenant general. He does not ask for troops or for money to raise any new ones, but only for the means to support his present forces. He says they are in a poor and devastated country and cannot hope to subsist any longer. However he only asks for 100,000l. sterling, of which he will be content with 20,000l. paid down, and for this he promises to do things worth much more than the money. As the Landgrave is going on his private affairs to Wesel, he asks the Palatine to confer with him at the Hague. His offers are recognised here as liberal and are greatly appreciated, but they do not vouchsafe any answer which really settles anything, excusing everything on the ground of the delay in the ratification of the treaty with France. Accordingly, in the meantime, the agent here has received orders from the Landgrave himself to go and meet him in Holland and when he leaves all this business may be utterly dissolved. The Dutch ambassador has strongly urged the king and the Palatine not to miss the opportunity of this Conference, but he has been unable to get any satisfactory reply. Apparently the Landgrave will go from Wesel to Hamburg to take part in the assembly there, to which Oxestern talks of sending a minister.
They no longer think of Prince Rupert going to Germany with troops, but of sending him with a large force to try and conquer the island of Madagascar otherwise called the island of San Lorenzo. The Council has worked hard over the matter this week. The Earl of Arundel has maintained the propriety of the enterprise more vigorously than any one else, because many, dreaming of improving their fortunes, promise that it will be easy. They have already arranged that Prince Rupert shall have the sovereign rule of the country, with the royal title, while individuals aspire to the greatest advantages and very fat profits. People who know and consider the matter without prejudice believe that these light fancies will die away in mere speculation before they begin to put them into effect, because they do not think that a very large force supplied with provisions for so long a voyage, can easily sail, and even if it does, as they have to conquer a people of the utmost ferocity and barbarity, they think the attempt will either fail, or if it succeeds partially it will be impossible to lay the foundations for a quiet rule. But this is the matter to which the Court devotes most of its attention at present, and one is curious to see what decision they will take ; for the rest everything moves with the slowness of their habitual circumspection. One sees nothing actually done beyond the arming of the king's ordinary fleet. This, with the fifteen sail destined for the Palatine's service, one may expect to be ready to sail at the beginning of next month.
I have received this week two despatches from the Senate.
London, the 10th April, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 11.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
195. To the Ambassador in England.
The ordinary from Augsburg only brought the letters from the Hague on Thursday, but this morning we have received your despatches of the 13th, 14th and 18th ult. We approve of your offices with the Secretary Coke and the other ministers, and especially of the impression made upon the king who seems to admit the validity of our arguments. We feel sure that the misrepresentations of Fielding and his partisans will make no impression. If necessary you will continue to insist with emphasis with the king, the ministers, and everyone that the small house was rented to a workman at the Mint, a subject of ours, who had nothing whatever to do with the ambassador's house. We may add, as further evidence of the nature of the crime with which the culprit is charged, that two of our nobility, who were implicated in the affair, have been banished for ever and degraded from their nobility, with other most severe penalties, which are only customary in cases of the highest importance and in matters of state. We enclose a copy of the sentence.
Ayes, 128. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
April 15.
Consiglio di X. Parti, Secrete. Venetian Archives.
196. In the Council of Ten.
That the attached papers about the English ambassador be communicated by a secretary of this Council to the Savii of the Collegio, to be used by them as they may see fit.
Ayes, 14. Noes, 0. Neutral, 9.
Enclosure. 197. (1) ... (fn. 2) last Thursday a man went to his house to offer himself as a boatman. He said that he was at the traghetto of San Giobbe. The ambassador liked his looks and engaged him, telling him to come the next morning. When the man came the ambassador sent him to San Moise to fetch some goods. But the ambassador sent some of his people after the boatman who seized him and brought him to the house, although he tried to escape with the barque ... (fn. 2) The ambassador refused to have anything to do with the man, although he had sent for him. (fn. 3)
(2) The Captain General reports that last Sunday, the 12th inst., he had arrested one Andrea Mendnor da Pani, in the habit of a flagellant, who had gashed the face of Laura Montagnana Posamanna with a razor as she came out of the church of San Moise, and who then took refuge in the house of the English ambassador, from which he was afterwards conveyed to another place in the ambassador's gondola.
April 17.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
198. To the Ambassador in England.
On Saturday the 11th inst. we informed you by way of France of the receipt of your despatches of the 13th, 14th and 18th ult. chiefly about the English ambassador here. On the Sunday following this a most scandalous incident occurred which has incensed the whole city to the highest pitch. On that solemn Easter day, as a certain lady of virtuous habits was coming out of the church of San Moise, her parish, an individual clothed in sackcloth, which covered his face, who was waiting on purpose for her, approached her under the pretence of asking alms, and seizing her throat with one hand, disfigured her face badly with a razor with the other. He then took to flight and took refuge in the house of the English ambassador. Many of those about and the relations of the unhappy victim pursued the villain, but when they reached the ambassador's house and saw him enter, they stopped out of respect. The ambassador made the culprit enter his gondola, and with four oars he had him rowed hurriedly away through the Grand Canal, so that it is impossible to know whither he has gone. He has thus rescued from well merited punishment a rascal who ventured to commit such a crime on this holy day against a poor woman who had just performed her duty as a Christian at church.
In addition to this the ambassador has shown violence to a servant, upon a vain pretext, having him removed from a barque, where he should have been safe, and dealing with him as you will see from the enclosed copy, which we send for your information, so that you may inform the king and ministers and especially the Secretary Coke of this behaviour, which cannot fail to arouse our deepest displeasure while it is also a scandal to the whole community. You will express to them how strongly we feel about it.
We had your letters of the 20th ult. yesterday and enclose advices.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
April 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
199. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish ambassador is trying to find if any opening remains for resuming the negotiations about the affairs of the Prince Palatine which have been entirely broken off with the House of Austria since the return of the Earl of Arundel. To this end also he had spent a long time this week in audience of his Majesty. He asked his Majesty that for this purpose he would be pleased to depute commissioners for the purpose, with whom he might conveniently treat upon the points he had to propose. He told him that these were everything that could be desired for the mutual satisfaction of the interested parties, and accordingly he felt sure that matters may easily be arranged provided he has not to deal with the Earl of Holland or the Secretary Coke, whom he would exclude as professed enemies of the House of Austria.
If the proposal does not in itself displease the king, the manner of it angered him. He told the ambassador that he knew the Earl and Secretary were his good servants, and he could not surfer others to accuse them of partisanship of which they were not guilty. As regards appointing commissioners he arranged nothing, indeed he afterwards remarked candidly to others that he did not believe the ambassador had instructions for this, but was acting entirely on his own responsibility with the object of preventing other and more opportune resolutions.
That is the general opinion of the Court and it is therefore supposed that this step will only have irritated the king the more, and confirmed the unfavourable opinion which he had already formed of the ambassador. He has taken it very ill that Ognate has never called on any of his ministers of state, declaring that he would not do so unless they first visited him, a course not only contrary to the common practice, but contrary to the invariable behaviour of all his predecessors here.
On the other hand, although these new motions ought to create suspicion, the affairs with France do not proceed satisfactorily. The Earl of Leicester writes that the Cardinal now haggles about two points not previously in dispute, so the conclusion seems to go constantly further off. It seems he wishes England to declare herself more openly against the House of Austria, and not to molest the Dutch fisheries so long as the alliance lasts, remarking that it cannot soundly exist for long without a good understanding between England and those Provinces. He also recommends the inclusion of Sweden. Accordingly he proposes that the matter shall be arranged, not now, but at the congress which the Chancellor Oxestern is trying to bring about at Hamburg for this purpose, and at the same time a strong party be formed consisting of France, England, Sweden and Holland which would be able to sustain the most vigorous offensive enterprises against the House of Austria. But although they might eventually co-operate for such an end, their views here are not at present of this character, and they would prefer, first of all to see the alliance with France definitely concluded, and then treat with the others, one by one. It is also possible that, with all these delays, they are afraid that the Most Christian may secretly be arranging terms with the House of Austria.
With respect to a more open declaration here against the House of Austria, it is known to be impolitic, as the English have very large investments (grossisimi capitali) in Spain, which they are constantly increasing, and they will not readily risk them. The king personally, moreover, has not yet got his courage so high as to plunge right away into so great and costly a war. The question of the fisheries also seems in great disorder. They find it very strange that the Most Christian wishes to interfere, when they have declared so positively that they cannot suffer it, but that they will grant by connivance more possibly than may be asked by a definite arrangement. If the French do not abandon this pretension it is intimated that all negotiations with them must be abandoned altogether, so that this long business becomes more and more disturbed every day to the increasing detriment of the interests of the Dutch, since the rush of these sudden humours has upset all that was being slowly won, step by step, through patience and tact. For the same reason they are holding in suspense their reply to the landgrave.
With Sweden friendly offices are constantly being exchanged and they are far from niggardly with their promises to Oxestern. But he, desiring rather liberality in deeds, is not content with words and threatens those strokes which are most dreaded here.
With matters in this condition they have suddenly taken a resolution which will only serve to make things worse, as the king has signed a patent for a gentleman of the Cherch family, giving him full powers for twenty years to exercise the sole use of the fisheries between the island of Newfoundland and Virginia, places held by the English in the West Indies. As Canada which the French hold under the name of New France, lies between these, off whose coasts they have been accustomed for a very long period to fish for bacalao, or cod, as they call it, with very great advantage, it seems unlikely that they will bear this patiently. Anyhow, Cherch is preparing a considerable number of ships and hopes to gain by force what may be opposed by reason. The Ambassador Seneterre has made strong remonstrances to the ministers, but without any result. He also protests that if Colonel Ferens goes to France for the old debt which the Palatine House claims from the king there, according to his instructions, he will be wasting his pains. Accordingly the Colonel's departure is postponed, and they think that the whole subject will be dropped entirely. Thus dissatisfaction is accumulating on both sides, especially as there is always material for the ill will to which these two nations are naturally disposed.
They are also awaiting Denmark's reply to their offices, and the dissatisfaction which he professes with Cæsar for abolishing the duties on the Elbe at the petition of the Hamburgers, affords them hope that he will concur with the better heart and force for the relief of the Palatine, the more so because with respect to his maritime pretensions already referred to, he has not yet made any move to excite uneasiness.
They still discuss the Madagascar enterprise, but they seem to realise its impracticability more every hour. The Earl of Arundel works exceedingly hard at it and intimates that if the king gives up the idea for Prince Rupert, he himself may take it up with his friends ; but if it is unsuitable for the one people think it will prove less feasible for the other.
I have been this week to kiss the queen's hands, and congratulated her, in the name of your Excellencies, on her happy delivery. The new princess was christened the day before yesterday (fn. 4) and they gave her the name of Anna. The function was private and the prince and the elder of the princesses took part, in the name, so they said, of their deceased grandparents, a form newly devised by the king, as there is no memory of its ever having been done before.
London, the 17th April, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 24.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
200. To the Ambassador in England.
We have received your letters of the 23rd, 25th and 27th March. We are amazed at his Majesty's sentiments on the subject, but approve highly of what you said to the two secretaries of state as well as to the king. We understand from your despatch of the 27th that an express was to be sent to the Ambassador Fielding to enable him to set forth his Majesty's view and decisions. We are now approaching the end of the month and the ambassador has not yet appeared in the Collegio. Possibly the courier has met with an accident. We will await events. The Senate's reasons have already been set forth, and there is now the fresh case of the man who assaulted a woman coming out of church. The little house had no public character whatever. With regard to the contention that the ambassador used it as a passage to the garden of the Ca Dandolo, you can state that as the house pertains to one of our nobles the ambassador's entry would not be permitted. We enclose a copy of a letter written to the king on the subject, and we will leave the rest to your prudence, according to the aspect which the affair may have taken.
With regard to his Majesty's suggestion that we should ask him to send an ambassador to Cologne, you will, when you see him, express our gratification at this mark of confidence, commend his generous efforts for universal peace and assure him that if he sends a minister to Cologne our ambassador will co-operate with him in every possible way in the interests of the general welfare, feeling sure that the assistance and authority of so great a king cannot fail to promote general quiet and tranquillity, and so forth, to show his Majesty our desire to respond in the fullest manner to his confidence. Your offices should be in these general terms while expressing our most friendly esteem.
Ayes, 37. Noes, 15. Neutral, 99.
Second vote :
Ayes, 37. Noes, 6. Neutral, 115. Pending.
The letter to the King of Great Britain was countermanded, and meanwhile the letter to the ambassador was sent, omitting the passage referring to that letter.
Ayes, 114. Noes, 0. Neutral, 6.
April 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghiiterra. Venetian Archives.
201. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
They have declined to appoint commissioners for the Spanish ambassador, who has refused to show his powers, although he says he has them. He asserts that he is punctually informed about the treaties with France, he supplies the particulars and works his hardest to destroy the effects. The circumstances of the present time show the ministers here that the alliance with France is necessary above everything else. Although they are vexed at the bottom of their hearts because it has not yet been ratified they are constantly devising the most ready methods for establishing it, rather than let it drop, and they think it expedient even to give way on those points which up to the present time they have tried to evade. Meanwhile the Earl of Lester reports that he has again met the commissioners appointed for him, and has left the matter in a better state than it was, so he hopes soon to be able to report the ratification, and when this is signed he will send the news by an extraordinary.
Yet they never give a thought to sending an ambassador to Hamburg, although France and Holland urge it. The ministers here prefer to treat with each of the powers separately. Accordingly the news recently brought from Sweden by Colonel Flitwud, who was the first sent from here to that Court, has pleased them greatly. He reports that the news he brought about his Majesty's generous resolutions in regard to the Palatine were received with applause ; he brings the very warm thanks of that kingdom for his Majesty's offers and assurances that if he. carries them into effect they will think no more of a private agreement with Caesar, but will continue the war with ardour so that the peoples of Christendom may be established once for all in repose through a general composition after so many past calamities. He has presented to the king capitulations which the Swedes ask to have in writing, to be stipulated by the parties within a period of three months beginning from the 6th February last according to the English style. These contain that a levy of six regiments of infantry, partly English and partly Scots, shall be granted to them at their own expense, a certain sum of money being paid down to them, either as a free gift or as a loan, to be repaid at their convenience, and some monthly pension for the maintenance of the troops, offering for the security of the king the maintenance of some places in Westphalia, near the River Weser. On their side they undertake to continue the war with the emperor until the Palatine is fully restored to his dominions either by force or treaty, and is fully satisfied about the electoral vote.
They are to deliberate next Sunday in the Council upon these proposals which are considered both substantial and advantageous for them here, and will at once decide what they will do, as the three months' term has almost entirely expired. But whereas the granting of the levies and the payment of a certain sum of money are recognised as inevitable, so the consenting to receive the deposit of the fortresses is not considered a safe course, as it involves expense and a thousand other embarrassments, to which they would gladly avoid putting their hands.
They have given no answer as yet to the Landgrave of Hesse because they are doubtful about his sincerity, because they feel perfectly sure that he has not the troops on foot which he professes, but that he wants to entangle this crown insensibly in the war by large oblations in order to discharge himself of the burden which he now has on his shoulders. As a matter of fact it is believed that he is not strong enough to maintain himself even in his own states. Accordingly unless he gives more convincing proofs of his forces they will abandon the negotiations with him altogether.
An unknown author has replied to Selden, who in his book "Mare Clausum" upholds the claims of this crown over the sea. The copies only appeared yesterday, and the sale was suppressed to-day by the king's order. (fn. 5) However, I have succeeded in obtaining a copy, which I send herewith, in obedience to previous instructions.
I have received this week the state despatches of the 27th ult. I hope that orders will reach the Ambassador Ognat and that he will act in accordance with them. I have had abundant evidence of his reluctance to re-establish relations on an equal footing.
If this is not so full of particulars as it should be I beg your Excellencies to excuse me, as a severe fever compelled me to take to my bed some days ago, and it gives me no respite to write more. If it does not entirely take away my strength, I shall not forget to continue mv labours.
London, the 24th April, 1637.
April 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
202. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Teller, desiring to win for himself a reputation for astuteness, goes about suggesting to the emperor and ministers the necessity of finding some middle way for the satisfaction of the Palatine. He labours to make the Court understand that he is no longer a minister of his king but is staying in a private capacity. It is known, however, that this is the exact contrary of the truth, because frequent letters and orders reach him from that Court. The last of these impelled him to ask for audience of the emperor, to whom he spoke of his own motion urging him very strongly not to abandon these negotiations which may possible be rendered more easy than in the past and nearer a conclusion. He was told that so much had already been said that it was useless to add more. He was referred to the Count of Traumestorf for further particulars. Apparently there is some proposal on the carpet for the Palatine and Bavaria to enjoy the electoral vote alternately. There are powerful obstacles in the way of restoring the Lower Palatinate.
Teller has told several persons that at the audience he did not give the emperor his imperial title. He says that he remains in a private capacity as otherwise he would have to present a protest in his Majesty's name.
Vienna, the 25th April, 1637.
April 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
203. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Friday I went to see the Cardinal at Sciaron. After speaking of other matters and in order to find out his sentiments about the treaty with England, I told him, what was actually true, that I had noticed the Ambassador Leicester was very troubled about not being able to conclude his treaty. The Cardinal remarked, They want things to suit themselves ; to avoid pledging themselves and do nothing while we do a great deal. You yourself shall judge of this and see who is right. I modestly disclaimed this honour. It so happened, said he, that at the very moment your Excellency came in I was looking at the treaty with England. Look here, we say it is not right to want us to pledge ourselves not to make peace until the Palatine is reinstated without our knowing what they mean to do. They certainly say that they will declare war within a certain time if they do not receive satisfaction and we are with them, that they may see in the diet of Hamburg what they may expect from the emperor, and if they can get the restitution of the Palatinate without coming to blows. We are quite content with this ; but if they do not get it, a discussion will be held there and suggestions brought forward with the Swedes and the Dutch about what can be done, not only for that prince but for the others as well. The English have been played with so often that they will see through the trick. They now want to pledge us without saying what they mean to do. I remarked that Leicester had told me that they will declare war. But, rejoined the Cardinal, they do not say how. They must state whether by sea or by land. See if we put ourselves in the right. If they will not do any more we say We have an alliance with the Swedes and Dutch whereby we cannot have fresh confederates about minor matters without first obtaining their consent, so before going further it is necessary to hear their views ; but if they are willing to wage war in real earnest, we shall conclude with them and come to an agreement, because we shall know their intentions and shall have no further doubts. But better still, see how little we are contented with, if they declare war we shall be satisfied if they provide thirty men of war, suitably equipped, and 6000 foot and 2000 or 1500 horse to send to Germany ; in that case the deed is done. His Eminence said nothing about the Grisons.
The Earl of Leicester knows nearly all these particulars, but he complains that they give him no definite answer ; this offends the king of England besides the numerous variations which he declare they have started here, having changed their proposals two or three times, so that he says nothing seems settled. The only reason they give is that circumstances have altered and so they have to change their decisions. In short, so far as one can gather from his statements, the affair is moving in the direction of a dissolution rather than towards a conclusion, with some acerbity on both sides.
Paris, the 28th April, 1637.
April 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
204. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Beveren writes that the king there wants these Provinces to help his nephew, under a promise not to mention the sovereignty of the sea for some time. The Princess Palatine told the Prince of Orange that her son would come here about this and then go back to England. The Prince remarked that the Palatine should not leave that Court before the treaties are concluded and intimated that he might find difficulties about returning. The States do not consider that the English will find it so easy to get support for the Palatine here under the promise indicated. The French protest that they have offered England to adjust the question of sovereignty, to open the way for an alliance with these Provinces, but the English would not listen and the fleet was only intended to uphold their dominion. Thus the ill feeling between England and France seems only to increase, each party intimating that the fault is with the other.
The Hague, the 30th April, 1637.


  • 1. Frederick, younger brother of William V., landgrave of Hesse Cassel. See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1637, page 5. His brothers Christian and Ernest had been in England in the preceding October. See No. 90 at page 85 above and note.
  • 2. Torn.
  • 3. This case is described more fully by Fielding himself in his despatch of the 8th June, N.S. He had engaged a gondolier, who proved very slack in attending to his duties and finally went off to enter the service of Signor Querini, who took him without enquiring whether the ambassador had dismissed the man. Some days later, seeing the man rowing past his house, Fielding sent two of his footmen to give him a beating "to teach his master better manners and to learn the respect due to persons of my quality." S.P. For. Venice.
  • 4. According to Salvetti this function was fixed for the 10th, the day of his despatch. Brit. Mus. Add MSS. 27962H.
  • 5. On the 23rd April n.s. Boswell wrote from the Hague Your honour will receive herewith a bolt suddenly shot against Mr. Selden's Mare Clausum, and the deduction of his Majesty's right in the seas, by one John Isaac Pontanus, Professor of History at Harderwick in Guelderland, Historiographer and Pensionary to the King of Denmark at the instance of whose minister it is thought generally here that he undertook this work, which he partly conjectured because he dedicates the same unto that Chancellor's son. S.P. For. Holland.