Venice: May 1637, 16-31

Pages 210-218

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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May 1637, 16-31

May 16.
Consiglio di X. Parti Secrete. Venetian Archives.
222. That the return of the Captain of this Council of the 11th February last about the arrest of Andrea della Nave and of Francesco di Boni be sent to the Savii of the Collegio.
Ayes, 11. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
Enclosure. 223. On the 11th February, 1637.
The Captain reports that he went this night by order of the Chiefs of the Council of Ten and of the Inquisitors of State and broke into a little house in the Calle San Moise, with balconies on the Grand Canal, to arrest Antonio della Nave, who leaped into the water with a dagger in his hand. The officers were obliged to fire at him and wounded him in the arm after which he was seized. He also arrested in the same house one Francesco di Boni. They found two pistols on his bed. There were two youths in the house one of whom said he belonged to the household of the English ambassador. These they left in the house, being persons of base quality.
May 18.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
224. The Ambassador of Great Britain was summoned to the Collegio and the Senate's deliberation of the 16th was read to him. He raised his cap twice where he is spoken of with great honour, and spoke as follows :
The satisfaction of which you have informed me is so complete that more could not be desired. It agrees with what I asked, and this courtesy will still further confirm the affection of the republic, and will increase my desire to cherish the good relations with his Majesty, the advantages of which will redound to the common benefit. I will not touch a wound that is practically healed, but only say that I did not want to ask for any one guilty of treason. His Majesty would never protect such and if he had them in his hands he would immediately hand them over to your Serenity for punishment, because he desires the prosperity of the republic, and he expects the same from you in similar cases. As I must consider guilty of that crime all who are declared so by your Serenity, I must accept your decision. I must express my joy at the happy settlement of this affair, which I accept through the power that my king has given me, in the assurance that his Majesty will be throughly satisfied. I am greatly obliged by your Serenity's expressions of good will, and promise that you shall have no cause to complain of any slackness on my part in fostering the cordial relations between his Majesty and the republic.
The doge replied, We are glad that you are satisfied. The republic values his Majesty's friendship highly and would do anything to please him, thus cherishing the ancient friendship with that crown. The Senate also wished to show its esteem for your lordship.
The ambassador replied, Nothing could please me better than to see this affair settled. God knows how much the matter distressed me, and how far I was from wishing anything distasteful to your Serenity. I will try to prove to you that I have no greater ambition than to help to advance the cordial relations with his Majesty and to serve the republic with all my strength. The doge added some courtesies, and the ambassador took leave, showing his lightheartedness by his expression and all his actions.
He went to take a copy of the deliberation, as usual with him. When entering the box (chiesola) he said to me, the secretary, I could hear nothing to please me better than the office that has been read to me. When he went away he said, I hope that this will be the last disagreement that will occur during my stay here.
Girolamo Cavazza Secretary.
May 22.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Vonetian Archives.
225. To the Ambassador in England.
We sent you copies of the exposition of the Ambassador Fielding and of our reply about the men arrested. Two days later he sent a paper containing demands corresponding with those made of you by the ministers. While we refused to admit that a house disconnected with the ambassador's should enjoy the same privileges, yet in our desire to satisfy his Majesty it was decided to release Boni. We enclose copies of the papers and of the ambassador's expressions of consolation at what was read to him. You will give his Majesty an account of everything to show our respect for him in the strongest light. You will do the same with the ministers, especially the Earl of Arundel.
We enclose extracts from the despatches from Spain of the Ambassador Giustinian about the reciprocal treatment of ambassadors. You will evade encounters with Ognat until you see whether he really means to correspond in the matter of titles etc. We commend your prudent conduct in this matter and we have nothing to add to previous instructions. We enclose the usual sheet of advices.
Ayes, 124. Noes, 2. Neutral, 2.
May 22.
Senato. Secreta, Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
226. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On behalf of the state I urged the king to send a representative to the congress at Cologne. He replied with the utmost courtesy, expressing his appreciation of your recognition of his upright intentions, which were always directed towards the common tranquillity, and he wished he could secure it speedily alone. He had not yet decided to send any ambassador to Cologne, believing that many circumstances, caused by the infinity of divergent interests might disturb or prolong the meeting. Yet he did not think he should have done harm to himself if he had forestalled others in sending a minister there, if other considerations had not prevented him. He was now doubtful what to do, as he had not been asked, and had no interests of his own to prompt him, while minor interests were full of very difficult and thorny questions, so he thought he lacked a real pretext for sending. Seeing that he was very inclined to send I encouraged his disposition, remarking that the interests of his nephews afforded a legitimate reason for not allowing this great matter to go on without the presence of a minister of his. He admitted that the interests of his nephews were a great inducement, but the protestations already made to some extent cut the ground from under his feet. He would think about it, and if duly urged by his friends he would, in good time, make manifest such decisions as they might expect and desire. Thus and from the repeated utterances of the ministers I infer that the king is really eager to interest himself in the peace negotiations, but as the protest of the Palatine against the election of the King of the Romans was done under his auspices, this does not leave him free to treat with the plenipotentiaries of Cæsar, and he lacks a legitimate pretext for himself while the interested parties do not ask for his interposition, so he would like an open invitation from your Excellencies. When the question is raised I confine myself to generalities, expressing the desire of the most serene republic to please his Majesty.
They have at last conceded a levy of 4000 to the Swedes, to be drawn from the English, Scots and Irish, but all at the cost of the Swedes. They are much gratified by this beginning and hope for further aid.
The Ambassador Ognate, seeing results so contrary to his designs happening in the midst of his negotiations goes about declaring roundly that while they keep taking resolutions favourable to the enemies of the House of Austria, his instructions are no longer good and he withdraws from all negotiation. He further protests that his king will show resentment, and if things go on in this way he will be compelled to leave. He has contrived to get these remarks conveyed to the king, possibly in the hope of alarming him. But the effect has been just the opposite, as his Majesty is much incensed and says that if the ambassador wishes to leave he will not find anyone to beg him to stay. Thus the aspect of affairs changes here with every accident, only their irresolution remains constant so that nothing substantial is done in the end.
The king's ships have not sailed yet. The Commander Northumberland remains at Court, and the Palatine, instead of going with his fleet, or proceeding to Holland as was decided, to forward his own interests, intends to accompany the king on his progress a function which will occupy him the whole of this summer. It is not known what will be done with the ships destined for him, as they are almost completely equipped. He has published a manifesto about his rights and the wrongs done him by the emperor, full of very important particulars, I am told, but as they are only issued in German and English, I cannot report their substance. I have not sent a copy because they are having it printed in Holland in Latin, and your Excellencies will get it much earlier from thence.
The French alliance is still in vigorous agitation, but does not seem to make much progress. Yet a gentleman arrived last week from the Earl of Leicester (fn. 1) with rather satisfactory news, which so pleased the king that he sent him back yesterday to the ambassador with letters entirely in his own hand, which have not been communicated to any of the ministers.
These last maintain that the affair has made great progress and assert that the articles which concern the two crowns are already agreed and that upon the arrival of this gentleman in France they should be ratified. Those articles which regard the interests of the allies are also established, but they cannot be carried into effect before they have been verified at Hamburg with the intervention and assent of the parties. When the ratification arrives from France the king will despatch a special ambassador to that city for this purpose. With regard to what these intricate negotiations will at length produce I think it the wisest counsel to wait to see what happens when time has allowed them to mature.
The Resident Nicolaldi has made no reply to my confidant about the orders from Spain for the Ambassador Ognat to visit me. If these good relations are not established your Excellencies may rest assured that the fault will not lie with your minister.
I have received this week the state despatches of the 1st inst.
London, the 22nd May, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 23.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
227. To the Ambassador in England.
We enclose extracts from the despatches from Spain containing fresh assurances of the Count Duke about the question of titles etc. We expect from you a full account of what happens in the matter.
Ayes, 118. Noes, 1. Neutral, 2.
May 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
228. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The enclosed sheets belong to Sig. Grasvinchel. In them he demonstrates and confirms the absolute dominion of your Excellencies over the Adriatic. He asks your Serenity to be so good as to have these revised and corrected and then sent back to him, because they belong to the reply which he is to make to the English book "Mare Clausum." (fn. 2)
The Hague, the 28th May, 1637.
May 29.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
229. To the Ambassador in England.
The last letters received from you are of the 1st inst. You will continue to observe the movements of the Ambassador Ognat, and we have nothing to add to previous instructions in this matter. The consequences which may ensue from the decisions of the English Court are considerable. The king is waiting to see what may be the outcome of the negotiations with France in order to decide how to act towards the Swedes, who are trying to move England by representing their needs. All this demands your most diligent application.
Ayes, 85. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
May 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
230. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The usual uncertainty still prevails. As the season is so advanced without any apparent preparations for the war, one may believe that they will not make any great efforts this year either by sea or land, especially as they delay the sailing of the royal ships, although they are all ready. The Spaniards take hold of the opportunity for their own advantage. They make a great fuss about the levies granted to the Swedes, but actually it affects them but little as they know that with money short they cannot do much, and that before these men are in a condition to be employed in Germany, they will suffer infinite disasters, in the usual way. Yet Ognate does not cease his lamentations and he persists in the protestations I have reported. His duplicity is ascertained by letters from the Imperial Court to the effect that Castagneda (fn. 3) has declared that he cannot treat of the surrender of that part of the Lower Palatinate held by the Catholic, and that Bavaria will not listen to any cession of his. Ognate also talks of alternate possession of the electoral dignity between the Palatine and Bavaria, but they do not seem to pay attention here, possibly because they do not believe him.
Teller writes that the emperor is inclined to send an ambassador here to finish off the affairs in question, if they will give up treating with the French, and if they are sure that the ambassador will be properly received. They do not dislike the proposal, but object to the conditions, as they do not wish to break off the negotiations with the French or agree to recognising the legitimacy of the present emperor, so as not to prejudice the claims they wish to make, without security for a free accommodation. But it is certain that all these things depend more on necessity than on the inclination of the ministers here, whose hearts are strongly impressed with the desire for peace, and probably they only pretend to desire war in order to make it more certain. If they press the French alliance, it is not because they wish to plunge with them into fighting, as the terms do not provide for mutual action if they cannot obtain satisfaction for the Palatine, it resting with them to withdraw ; but because they are assured that if the Most Christian will not make peace without England's consent, they know that the Palatine's interests are in a most advantageous position ; but they are glad that the assembly at Cologne should be delayed until something is settled about this.
This week also another gentleman has arrived from Paris with letters from the Earl of Leicester, which serve to fill them with greater hopes for the ratification of the treaties. He asserts that in a few days everything should be decided and he himself might bring the news to his Majesty since with that affair settled there remains nothing further for him to negotiate in France.
The king, who seemed very happy, spoke in conformity with this yesterday to the Dutch ambassador, who came to complain that the negotiations with France had not been communicated to his masters. The king assured him that no stipulation would be carried into effect without his being apprised, indeed there were many things to be settled at Hamburg with the assistance of their deputies. He has decided to send an ambassador there in due time, but they have not yet formally nominated anyone. Many think that Sir [Thomas] Roe may get the appointment, a man of tried prudence, and known sincerity.
The king is about to leave this city altogether with the Court, as the plague is still very considerable, but the marriage to be celebrated between the Duke of Lennox and a daughter of the late Duke of Buckingham, postponed because of the illness of the bridegroom, will make them stay somewhat longer.
I have received the despatches of the 8th May with the reply to Fielding. When an opportunity occurs I will speak to his Majesty and the ministers of your devotion to this crown and I will do everything to foster good relations, as I am instructed. I hope that the matter is now to be finally adjusted, and I take the opportunity to thank your Excellencies for the confidence reposed in me.
Fielding does not seem inclined to return here in spite of the pressure of his relations. I am assured on good authority that he has got his confidants to ask that he may not be removed só soon from his present position, and if the king objects, to obtain extraordinary commissions for him to the Duke of Savoy. This agrees with what he confided to the Count della Rocca from the very first. The generality, however, feel sure that he will be recalled. Those who pretend to succeed him, and they are many, have already begun their intrigues. Chief among them are Lord Harbert, who has been ordinary ambassador in France, (fn. 4) and Lord Canoe, son of the late secretary of state (fn. 5). The first, with whom I am intimate, has confided his idea to me ; he enjoys good credit with his Majesty, and if they decide to send any one he may easily be the one chosen.
London, the 29th May, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
231. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The ministers here are still engaged on the question of opening free trade between these realms and the States of the Church, though in a very reserved way. Although it originated with them they wish to appear to have been asked. The papal minister, who perceives the interest, told them that the port of Civitavecchia was free ; the English might go there without danger and there was no need to bargain about their access, and in this way he compelled them to explain themselves more clearly. It seems then that they have decided to state that they desire the same in the port of Ancona, and further that the merchants may be allowed to establish their houses on shore and receive English sailors and passengers freely, without inquisition about religion. On this side the only consideration is gain, which may not be so considerable as they imagine ; but on the pope's side several considerations make it noteworthy. He also wants gain and flourishing trade, but aims much more at making the English people friendly, and at solidifying by benefits the structure of which he has already laid the foundations so carefully. But to admit English houses freely in the States of the Church is too great a step, and not approved by the Catholics here themselves, because instead of augmenting the Roman religion in England it might sow the seed of heresy in that state. It will therefore be a long business ; but meanwhile the English have gained this much that their ships will be welcome at the port of Ancona. I have found out this much, although they have shown more circumspection with me than with any one else, possibly from the suspicion that your Excellencies will not like it, a consideration which moves me the more to send this account.
The rest of the affairs touching religion make good progress every day. The Catholics are no longer hated or persecuted with the old severity. The public services in the queen's chapel are most freely frequented by very great numbers, while those of the ambassadors are crowded, although the priests constantly celebrate mass in private houses without scruple. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who has assumed absolute command in ecclesiastical affairs, so that they commonly call him the pope of England, is pronounced by the generality to be the protector of the Catholic party, because he not only does nothing against them, but because he seems to make a very close approach to the rites of the Roman Church. But the well informed know that his aims are very different, and that he lets things run with their present freedom not from inclination but from a forced connivance, because he aims at destroying the party of the Puritans, which has grown so much as to cause apprehension to the government. In order to abase them he can only adhere to those forms which are most objectionable to them. Accordingly he has ordered the erection of stone altars in all the churches, which he wishes to have adorned with candles and candlesticks, although not lighted ; for this he has set up a great cross in the king's chapel, and adorned the walls with images ; but what is more important, he causes auricular confession to be advocated from all pulpits as most useful and necessary, so that many have already begun to practise it. The king himself, having heard a bishop preach about it, stated publicly that he considered it most useful, and subsequently, when a minister revealed a great crime confessed to him by a penitent, he had him punished severely, absolving the delinquent from the penalty.
Whether the above proceedings are due to connivance, artifice or friendly disposition, the papal ministers, with the priests and other partisans go about gathering the fruits which they produce, with the utmost dexterity, consolidating them as so much to the good, in the hope that increased by use and strengthened by God's help, they may be rendered permanent and unchangeable for centuries to come, even if the principles of the government change. It is certainly a wonderful thing to see in England a dependant of the Holy See not only living at liberty, but frequenting the Court at all hours with so much confidence, and having such familiar access to the king's ear, as if he was one of his most intimate servants, without any distinction of place or time. As a consequence of this even the most rigid and scrupulous Protestants esteem and honour him, visiting him frequently, even in his own house.
M. di Perone has gone to France to receive possession of the Bishopric of Angouleme, but he says he will return soon. His watchfulness and artifices are the more effectual because less known, and they hope that they will form the most secure foundation for these admirable transactions. During his absence the queen's confessor remains practically as chief to direct affairs, and continues without fuss to make the most excellent progress.
London, the 29th May, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. Mr. Croft. Leicester's despatch of the 8th May, N.S. S.P. For. France, Vol. 103 ; Cal. S.P. Dom., 1637, page 82.
  • 2. "An advocate of the Court of Holland, Graswinckle, has finished a book against Mr. Selden's 'Mare Clausum,' but it is not yet allowed to be printed. Boswell to Fielding the 16 April 1637. Hist. MSS. Comm. ; Denbigh MSS. part V., page 48.
  • 3. Sancho de Monroy y Zuniga, marquis of Castañeda, Spanish Ambassador at Vienna.
  • 4. Edward, baron Herbert of Cherbury, ambassador in France 1619-21, 1623-4.
  • 5. Edward second Viscount Conway, son of Edward Viscount Conway, secretary of state 1623-30.