Venice: June 1637

Pages 218-234

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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June 1637

June 5.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
232. To the Ambassador in England.
On the 22nd ult. we sent you an office about the release of Boni, of which you will have informed his Majesty. We gather from your despatch of the 15th ult. that he was displeased with the action taken by his ambassador in the affair of Easter day. If he still retains any resentment against the ambassador on this account you will endeavour to remove it, not insisting upon the circumstances. As the principal affair has been adjusted we should like everything to be settled with mutual satisfaction. We leave to your prudence the nature of the offices to be performed with the ambassador's mother, the Marquis of Hamilton and others. The Ambassador Fielding has repeated his request for the punishment of the officers who exceeded their instructions. We have referred the matter to the chiefs of the Council of Ten.
Ayes, 87. Noes, 4. Neutral, 16.
June 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
233. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Affairs here are in their usual state of fluctuation. Everything depends on the French alliance, which seems to be hindered by the non settlement of a stated period, on the expiry of which, if the Palatine is not satisfied, England is to declare open war on the House of Austria, and secondly by the disposal of hypothetical conquests in Flanders. The French want the term not to be later than the 1st September, and England wants more time, as well as security that anything won in Flanders shall be consigned to the Palatine as a pledge for the Palatinate. This last point might be arranged, but the other is difficult, because they hold fast to the principle here that they must avoid war as far as possible. They cherish hopes that if they have time to negotiate with the Austrians after the conclusion of the alliance by which they expect to cause them apprehension, they may compel them to act more sincerely about the adjustments which at present they probably only pretend to desire in order to gain time. Moreover they do not consider so few months enough to equip conveniently the thirty ships which England is obliged to contribute in addition to those of the Palatine, in case of a rupture. Thus far and no further has the treaty advanced.
Meanwhile they have delayed the departure of the Earl of Northumberland with the sole object of knowing the end of these negotiations first. He was ready and had indeed started to sail with the fleet. They say it will not sail so soon, as they wish to avoid an encounter with the Dutch fishermen, as with the strong commissions against them still in force, they do not desire anything to happen which might disturb the satisfactory position of the present transactions. Accordingly the Palatine will not put to sea either, with his few ships, as they are too weak for any considerable experiment, especially now that the Dunkirkers are making themselves so much stronger.
Under these circumstances the Ambassador Senneterre has persuaded him to get together what little money he can, both from the king and his friends, and to proceed without further delay to Germany, to avail himself of the offers of the Landgrave of Hesse, now that his forces are strong and his dominions free from the Croats, over whom he has recently won a great victory. The Prince approves the advice because he knows that his name is greatly acclaimed in Germany and would greatly advance his interests, but he has not the courage to act upon it, having submitted entirely to his uncle's direction, so much so that one may say that he wields nothing but the pen in support of his cause. New papers appear every day setting forth all the embassies and negotiations in which this crown has engaged with the House of Austria so vainly, all for the purpose of inducing it to take some generous resolution, its reputation being certainly greatly interested.
The king of Denmark has sent a gentleman here on a special ship. (fn. 1) He arrived at Court two days ago, and is to see his Majesty and present his master's letters to-day. The object of the mission is not known yet. People augur ill if it is about sea matters or the Palatine's affairs, both being equally perilous. Upon the first they know his pretensions are high, as he will not recognise the sovereignty of the English and even demands tribute of them for the Iceland fisheries upon the second it is thought that he advocates his interposition with the emperor more with the idea of upsetting the alliance with the Most Christian and of wasting more time, than to establish any proper accommodation. They also resent here the mission of Count Benck on a conspicuous embassy to the emperor, (fn. 2) in short they are much afraid of Denmark linking himself closely with the emperor, especially if the duties on ships entering the Elbe be sanctioned, and also because in reply to requests for help for the Palatine he answered curtly. In addition to this they know that he is dissatisfied with England because of the recent seizure of some of his ships.
I have received letters from the Ambassador Giustinian in Spain about the parity of treatment accorded to him there. I will see that this reaches the Count of Ognat to give him an opportunity of declaring himself. Nicolaldi has said nothing so far to my confidant. I will show every courtesy, and if the results do not correspond, the reason will be apparent.
The king has stayed away from the city all this week, engaged in the pleasures of the chase, and he only returned this morning to dine. In his absence I saw the ministers, some of whom asked me with curiosity how Fielding's affair stood at Venice, as he had not yet written anything about it. I said that as he stated that he had authority to adjust it and knew better than any one else the respect which had always been shown to his house, I thought he would have done this by now. He told me that the Earl of Arundel was of this opinion, and was extremely glad of it.
London, the 5th June, 1637.
June 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
234. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassadors are asking for a written reply upon their negotiations for an alliance with the crown. Leicester complains bitterly at the long delay, as his sovereign wishes to know whether France does or does not mean to attend to the matter. The king considers himself offended at this delay and at the refusal of what was so eagerly offered in times past by two of his ambassadors. The earl declares that it is only necessary to remove some formalities for the settlement of the matter. The king will never declare war unconditionally. He claims that princes shall be restored to their dominions on both sides, an occult reference to Duke Charles and Lorraine. England fears the aggrandisement of France as much as that of Spain. He fears that is the reason why they will not announce their acceptance of the treaty. He also wants cautionary fortresses given to the Palatine of those which France holds in Alsace or which they acquire. He says he hopes to leave the Court in a few weeks, although he has no orders on the subject, and that his king, seeing himself contemned and that they think of making a peace to the exclusion of the Palatine, will take sides with the Spaniards, to see if he can reinstate his nephew in his dominions in some way, seeing that every one is looking after his own interests and not the general good or the common cause. Such views and others which he expresses to the same effect show that they are becoming very embittered, although the people of the ambassadors announce and the Ambassador Seneter writes from London to his friends that the treaty is practically concluded and he expected the news of it by the next courier.
Paris, the 9th June, 1637.
June 10.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
235. The English Ambassador came into the Collegio and spoke to the following effect :
I think that your Serenity will be pleased to hear that his Majesty directs me to assure you of the pleasure with which he has heard of your good intentions, as represented by the Ambassador Corrar, for the public weal and universal peace, urging him to pursue the same object by sending ambassadors extraordinary to the emperor and the diet at Cologne, for the peace as well as the interests of the prince Palatine. His Majesty thanks the republic for its lively demonstrations of affection and he has charged me to assure you that he will always be ready to do everything to please the republic.
I may add here that his Majesty has the same objects of the public interests and peace, but it must be considered that he is hardly likely to feel disposed to take the necessary steps or to go so far without the certitude that the business of the Palatinate will proceed safely. It seems impossible on this account that a general peace can be made. However, his Majesty's aims are good and upright, and he has the utmost confidence in the republic and feels sure that it will do all that he could desire.
The doge answered, The republic loves and esteems his Majesty and will therefore seize every opportunity to show its perfect unity with him. We desire quiet and tranquillity with all our heart, and he will always find us ready to fall in with his wishes.
The ambassador replied, My king is sure of that, and with that object he desired me to perform this office. He added, I must remind you about the complete fulfilment of what was promised to me. I have received what I expected on the first head, and from the promise of such a great prince as your Serenity I must expect the fulfilment of what I asked. I need not blush at speaking first, but let me be appeased by the prompt satisfaction of the whole affair.
The doge replied, Your lordship may be sure that the Senate desires the termination of the affair, but the forms of justice must be observed. It is necessary to write and examine, but nothing is forgotten. It all requires time, but be certain that it will be done as soon as possible, so that you may have every satisfaction. The ambassador interposed some words to urge the more speedy despatch of the affair, bowed and departed.
June 12.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
236. That the following be read to the English ambassador this evening by a Secretary of this Collegio :
We are pleased to receive all your offices in his Majesty's name, which correspond so exactly with our desire for universal quiet. We recognise his Majesty's inclinations in that direction and look to see results in proportion. Peace is desirable and that it should be on sound foundations. We leave the methods to his Majesty's prudence ; but he may rest assured that he will always find us ready to give him satisfaction.
With respect to your lordship's instances against the ministers, whom you complain of as having exceeded the limits, we have to say that in our desire to please you two of them have been arrested by order of the Council of Ten and if they are found guilty they will receive the punishment they deserve.
Ayes, 108. Noes, 3. Neutral 7.
237. To the Ambassador in England.
Two days ago the English Ambassador was in the Collegio. His office was under two heads : (1) the incitement given to the king by the sending of ambassadors to the congress at Cologne, and (2) his understanding that the republic means to support the interests of the Palatine. Your letters of the 22nd ult. report your offices with his Majesty and the ministers, from which we see that you have not gone beyond your instructions. You will confine yourself to similar generalities in any further conversations on the subject with the king and the ministers. We enclose a copy of our reply to the ambassador which will serve you as a model. We also enclose a copy of the decision of the Council of Ten about the officials and of the representation to be made to the Ambassador Fielding this evening. You will use this as you see fit, confirming our desire to gratify his Majesty and his ambassador.
We must not forget to add that this Fielding, to confirm the advantage he has possibly gained, sent one of his gentlemen after dinner on Wednesday with a paper which he said contained his exposition, under the pretence that he might not be well heard, seeing that he had been let blood that very morning. As the full body of the Savii of the Collegio were not assembled, and it is not customary to accept papers from foreign ministers except in the Collegio itself, he was told that if he liked he could come on Friday morning, when he would be introduced ; but the gentleman did not appear again. We tell you this for information, and so that you may be able to answer if anything is said on the subject. We enclose the usual sheet of advices.
Ayes, 108. Noes, 3. Neutral, 7.
June 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
238. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Danish mission was not of the nature expected. That king merely requires an assurance that any military succour sent from here for the Palatine shall not land in his dominions or in the country of Bremen. The king has gladly agreed to this. Such was the ostensible object of this mission which really aims at discovering what the fleet means to do and what is said in England about the reported intention of the king of Denmark to attack the Hamburgers because they refuse to do homage to his son, now that he intends to put him in possession of the alternative jurisdiction in the Duchy of Holstein. But the causes of offence which that king brings against them so far as the impositions at the Elbe are concerned, create the impression that he sought this pretext for making war on them, in the assurance that by arms he can compel every one and the Hamburgers in particular, to agree to any imposition he pleases to exact on that river in the future. England has no intention of interfering in this matter, the less so because they believe that Hamburg stands alone without hope of aid from the other Hanse towns or the Dutch either ; in whose distresses Hamburg has always remained neutral.
For these reasons and because the emperor threatens Hamburg, if she allows the enemies of the House of Austria to assemble there, the congress in that place seems to be considered undesirable. In discussing what other place might be most suitable it appears that the king intimated that he would accept Paris, possibly wishing the Earl of Leicester to settle the whole affair. But the Dutch do not approve of this or the Swedes either, as Oxistern proposes to attend the conference in person. All these hindrances are attributed to the Spaniards, who seek to prevent the conference in order to gain time in the present season. If nothing is done in it, they think that the peace negotiations which must arise in the midst of it must cause a change in present troubles, and as the King of Great Britain is not openly interested therein, and consequently has not taken action on the peace negotiations, the case of the Palatines must remain a victory for them without a contest, or will be settled in the way that they dispose.
Here they either do not perceive the artifice or they labour with more subtlety, as they do not seem to mind about delay. This makes the Dutch very bitter, as it confirms their old opinion, that they have determined here not to abandon the enjoyment of the present repose and unique tranquillity for any reason, or rather, to speak more candidly, they rather lack resolution than the desire and opportunity to act. The interests of the Palatine, on the score of reputation and his own incitements stand nearest their hearts, but they are waiting, so they say, to see what the French intend, and as that nation seem always more involved with new and changing circumstances, it follows that the fleet remains idle in port, while they listen to the proposals of the Spaniards and the Palatine brothers themselves, allured by the pleasures of the Court, allow time to slip away insensibly, at the price of the inevitable ruin of their cause.
As the fleet does not put to sea naval affairs also sleep. They observe with indifference the preparations of the Dutch for the protection of the fisheries, and the report that thirty ships are coming from Spain under the command of Captain Collart to reinforce the Dunkirkers, causes them no apprehension. They certainly attach great importance to the reports of a plan to establish a new port at Gravelines, seeing that if it is realised these realms will suffer most notable hurt. After many consultations about this and rejecting violent proposals, they decided to make strong remonstrances in Spain and Flanders, alleging that it is contrary to ancient agreements between the House of Burgundy and this kingdom, in which they contend it was agreed that the number of ports generally should not be increased with out a general agreement. If this argument is admitted it will be a great advantage to the Dutch, as they can show in the articles of the treaty concluded in 1495 between Henry VII and Philip, Archduke of Austria, that a reciprocal right to fish is clearly set forth. (fn. 3)
The Swedish levies proceed slowly, for lack of money but also apparently because Oxistern still hopes to make peace with the empire, and does not want to waste money on them to no purpose. This point deserves jealous observation, the more so as the tenor of several letters from Germany only serves to render suspicion of this more lively. The Spanish ambassador in imitation of the Swedes, makes a demand for fresh levies, besides the ordinary recruits, but does not obtain either. All his other demands are being treated in the same way, as the king and ministers seem to intend to deal with him in precisely the same manner as they dealt with the Earl of Arundel in Germany.
I have the state missives of the 22nd May about the satisfaction given to his Majesty's ambassador. I will acquaint the king and ministers with it on his return to London, which was to take place early next week.
London, the 12th June, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 13.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
239. I, Christofolo Surian, secretary, went by order of your Excellencies to the English Ambassador to read to him yesterday's deliberation of the Senate I was introduced to his Excellency. Before the reading he said, I wish to apologise for sending that gentleman with the paper, which only contained what I had said and was afraid I had not. Owing to an indisposition I was so feeble and depressed that I was afraid I had not made myself understood, and I wished to relieve you of the trouble of putting down my words. I also thought that the paper would be accepted.
I repeated what had been said to the gentleman, that a sufficient number of the Savii were not present, and that it was not usual to receive such papers except in the full Collegio. That was the reason.
He replied, I followed another example, as in the early days after my arrival I sent a paper. The secretary Rolanson took it, and it was accepted. It is true that I had expressed myself in French. However, I apologise. He then signed to me to read. I read the office, which seemed to please him. He asked permission to take a note of it, and did so with his own hand. He rose and said, I beg your lordship to give my thanks for the favour they have done me. He then said, Two were arrested. I replied, Yes, your Excellency. He remarked, They will suffer, for their fault. I said, Your Excellency may be certain of that, if they are found guilty. When leaving the room he said I am quite sure of the good will of their Excellencies and that they will desire me to receive satisfaction. He accompanied me towards the staircase, and insisted, although I tried to stop him from taking the trouble. Before we reached the staircase he said. The relations of the imprisoned ministers have been to beg me to have compassion on them. They are poor folk. To this I said, They are poor and miserable. He answered, That is true. He said no more and I departed. (fn. 4)
June 16.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
240. That the paper in which the English Ambassador asks for the release of two officers detained in consequence of his demands, be referred to the Chiefs of the Council of Ten.
Ayes, 103. Noes, 0. Neutral, 4.
June 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
241. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to audience of the king on Tuesday and told him what I was instructed to say about the prisoners. I used the arguments I thought most suitable to justify the action of the state, but enlarged upon the promptness you had shown in seizing the opportunity to confirm your intention to gratify his Majesty. The king told me that he had a similar account from his ambassador. He approved of the decision, begged me to tell your Excellencies so, and thank you, especially for releasing Boni, since Nave was adjudged guilty of high treason, although, he added smiling, his penalty had been mitigated with great indulgence. He repeated that he was entirely satisfied and was much beholden to you. I told him that you always sought opportunities of gratifying him. The ambassador's protection has not prejudiced Nave, and possibly the Council of Ten had given the mildest sentence in order to please him. At this the king smiled again and taking me by the hand said, I am and wish to be content, pray write as much to the republic. When I had promised to do so he began of his own accord to speak of the Valtelline, asking me what recent yews I had. I told him what I knew and he remarked with heat, Those positions will not remain the hands of the Grisons but of the Spaniards and if the fortifications are dismantled, with the French far away, they will have time to make others before they can return. Decidedly in the common interests the departure of Rohan has been the worst fault, and the republic has more reason to regret it than any one else. (fn. 5)
I dexterously turned the conversation to the construction of the new port at Gravelines, to learn his views. He seemed much moved, saying that it was a universal interest to prevent the realisation but he feared that time will give the Spaniards every advantage.
On taking leave of his Majesty I saw the secretaries, who were both at Court, and afterwards the Earl of Arundel, at his house. Although they had heard before, they seemed very pleased at the confidence, especially Lord Arundel.
Fielding's mother, whom I saw on the following day, expressed her extreme satisfaction, which had caused her more delight than anything that had happened in her life. She declared that she had always borne the most sincere affection for the republic. She said that Contarini, now Bailo at Constantinople (fn. 6) could bear witness how she had taken the side of your Excellencies even against the late Duke of Buckingham, her own brother. She now says openly that even if her son stays a long time at Venice it will not be distasteful to her, although she is very anxious to see him married, and considers it necessary. I tried to return the courtesy of this lady and left her well content. And so the matter is settled to the entire satisfaction of the whole Court as well as of the parties interested, and all bitterness is removed.
London, the 18th June, 1637.
June 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Vonetian Archives.
242. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The States here are hopeful that the fishermen will not be troubled this year, as they think that England will try to keep up the appearance of a conclusion with France and that these Provinces will join, which they certainly would not agree to do if the fishermen were obliged to pay. They sailed last week with several men of war and frigates, to cast their nets on St. James's day as usual. The Princess Palatine says that they will not receive any molestation whatever.
The Hague, the 18th June, 1637.
June 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
243. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I spoke yesterday to the gentleman, my confidant, about the continued reserve of the Count of Ognat in avoiding me, in spite of the orders from Spain and every incitement. It is now ten days since Ognat, either being or feigning to be sick, retired to his house and would not grant a moment to my friend to visit him, although he used to have free access. This renders me very suspicious of his intentions. I think that what has happened shows that my caution was justified, and I am determined to wait for the ambassador to make the first move. Once I am certain that I shall be received properly I will do all in my power to confirm friendly relations.
London, the 19th June, 1637.
244. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Some gentlemen have arrived from Holland with letters to the king from the Princess Palatine, who requests that her son may not take command of the fifteen ships as his presence would do more good in Germany ; but she wishes them to be employed in his service. The Ambassador Senneterre proposes simultaneously that they shall be placed at the disposal of France for the common cause.
With regard to the Palatine, if he inclines to go to Germany, it is thought that they will urge it here, as they are eager to see him leave England for several reasons, but chiefly because, abandoned to pleasure and ease, he seems to give no more than a passing thought to the things which most concern him. Owing to this they have asked the agent of the Landgrave of Hesse who was about to depart, having lost all hope, to remain a few days longer, with the intention, it is supposed, of resuming negotiations with him, to see the lowest price at which it is possible to arrange with him for the Palatine's taking the field with the command of his army, which the Landgrave has frequently offered to him.
They will encounter many difficulties, however, in providing him with enough money, as the assignment of 12,000l. sterling a year made him by the king for when he goes, will not suffice to maintain him and the troops as well. Everything depends on the agreement with France, the settlement of which is not yet manifest.
Great anxiety is felt about preventing the formation of a new port at Gravelines, as the argument about the conventions with the Dukes of Burgundy which they advance does not suffice to prevent Spain from carrying out so great a design, though it is well suited to give them time to complete it successfully, as here they shrink from decided measures and place their reliance on the appearance in the German Ocean of Count Harcourt with thirty-five French ships, and in the Dutch ; they strongly urge both of them to show themselves there.
The Earl of Northumberland went yesterday to the fleet, but it is not thought that he will sail without fresh express orders from his Majesty.
The Danish envoy is not yet despatched. They say they are detaining him for a good object, but as a fact they wish Northumberland to be at sea with the fleet and beginning the operations with which he is entrusted before the envoy can get back to Denmark.
Nothing more is said about the Hamburg diet as the difficulties are constantly increasing. The Swedish colonels have received some remittances from Holland, but are slow in completing their levies. This arouses suspicion, which is increased by letters from Germany announcing the progress of an agreement between Sweden and the emperor. This subject is distasteful above all others, as once this fire has died out in the empire, it is believed that the hopes of righting the affairs of the Palatine will also be extinguished in great measure, as a consequence. The ministers here assert that Teller is acting in a private capacity, as the king has withdrawn his credentials, and if he is conducting any negotiations about the Palatine's affairs, he is doing so of his own caprice, without orders and without sanction from this quarter. But the Spaniards go about declaring the contrary and indeed add that he has new letters of credence for the emperor, which amounts to an open admission by his Majesty here that that monarch has attained to the empire in a legitimate manner.
The last letters that I have received from your Serenity are of the 29th ult.
London, the 19th June, 1637.
June 20.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
245. To the Ambassador in England.
Both your letters of the 28th ult. contain matter of importance, especially about the establishment of trade at Ancona. (fn. 7) You will find out what objects and interests are moving the parties and prevent it if possible. You will contrive to get to the ears of those whom you think proper, how much the republic would regret it if her representatives, who hold the most stringent instructions, were compelled to carry them into execution against those ships that might trespass and cross the Gulf, of our ancient and undoubted jurisdiction, contrary to the public intention, in the very sight of Venice, the republic being unable to leave that passage free. You will in this way try to make the merchants realise how unsubstantial the matter is, and rather induce them to bring their ships here, to increase trade, with greater advantage and less danger to them and where we can offer them every facility. All your application and skill will be needed for this.
We enclose a copy of the memorial presented in the Collegio by the English ambassador. The Council of Ten released the two officers two days ago.
Letters from Spain repeat the assurances of reciprocal treatment. The Ambassador Zustignan reports that every sign of honour has been accorded to him as well as the title of "Excellency." Count Ognat certainly has orders to treat you in the same way if you go to see him. We leave it to you to decide whether you will pass the compliment. We enclose the usual sheet of advices.
Ayes, 106. Noes, 1. Neutral. 10.
June 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
246. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the Spanish ambassador is really in bad health the gentleman, who is my confidant, has found an opportunity of conferring with him. The ambassador enquired whether he had seen me lately and if I had told him about the settlement of the differences with Lord Fielding, which seemed to him to have been arranged with but little honour to the king or to Fielding himself. The gentleman said that he had no information. The ambassador then began to say that he had always found me well disposed, and spoke highly of me. But while I stood upon punctilio he was always ready to treat with me on an equality, in conformity with what was done at Madrid and promised elsewhere. He had already expressed his intentions to the Master of the Ceremonies. He was personally much indebted to the courtesy of the Venetians, shown to him when he passed through Venice. He promised my friend that he would give me the title of "Excellency" as well as every sign of respect. Such is the present state of the affair and I think that it justified me in making a second venture. Accordingly I availed myself of the pretext of his indisposition to send to visit him again apologising for not going in person, because I was suffering from a catarrh, like himself, which actually confines me to the house. When the secretary went the ambassador was in bed with a severe cold in the head. He expressed his gratification at the visit, giving me the title of "Excellency." Such is the conclusion of the matter and good has come out of evil. I can now go and see him unreservedly and will do so.
London, the 25th June, 1637.
June 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
247. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Secretary of the Earl of Leicester has arrived at the Court with news of the ratification of the treaties with the Most Christian ; (fn. 8) so the ministers here announce with one accord. The universal rejoicings testify to the same as well as the decision that they have since taken for the fleet to sail and for the Princes Palatine to take passage by it to Holland, without further delay.
I have tried all this week to discover the object of this move ; but after comparing the statements of the ministers of the Court with what the French and Dutch ambassadors say, I remain in the dark. The former assert that everything is settled ; the others that the ratification of the allies is required. But if the articles are approved the treaty is not signed, and at the end of next month a conference is to be held at Paris, to which the Palatine is to urge the Dutch to send delegates. They also want the Swedes to be represented, and an express was sent off yesterday to the agent at Hamburg, to urge Oxistern to see to this.
The allied powers will be represented at that city. It is possible that they may not approve of what has been approved in France for the establishment of the auxiliary league, within the limit of time allowed for making their own intimations to the emperor, because they will not want to lose, for so slight an advantage, the benefit of the moment for negotiating a universal peace, on which question they strongly suspect the government here ot scheming to disturb the effects. So this matter which has been so much discussed between the two crowns can only be finally settled when the allias finally ratify the articles, at least that is my conjecture.
With all this ambiguity and the armed ships for the Palatine remaining idle, I venture to conclude, though it differs from what is circulated from the Court, that nothing has yet been arranged beyond the projects which are to be laid before the congress assembled at Paris, to be carried out with their consent and approval. If this be so, as I do not doubt, it is easy to see that matters will drag on and that little will be done this year, as the season is well advanced, and the points to decide are possibly more difficult than they imagine.
The old treaties embraced two points. The English wished it to be merely auxiliary, the French offensive and defensive. This has not yet been settled and will be discussed at Paris. At present the king here is only bound to grant levies of 6000 men, to be paid by France, and to give fourteen men of war for the Palatine to harass Spanish trade. In return for this France is to pledge herself not to make peace without the consent of England. The second and more recent proposals arrange for England to declare open war against the Austrians, contributing her entire fleet.
Meanwhile Leicester's secretary has been sent back to Paris, whither he undoubtedly takes back the approval of what he brought here. In the future they will devote their attention exclusively to urging on the union of the allies. The Dutch want the Palatine to be accompanied by a gentleman of rank as ambassador extraordinary, to make the communications to them and the requests mentioned previously, and the Ambassador Beveren has said as much to him, intimating that without such support his offices will lack efficacy. But with time short and but scant inclination there is no sign that they intend to make any alteration.
They assert that the king has directed the Earl of Northumberland not to molest the Dutch fisheries ; but this does not suffice to reassure them, as they are too much alarmed by what happened last year, and although present circumstances have altered the nature of the affair they say that when the English have struck them they will easily find excuses, so they want a written declaration, which the king here considers too detrimental to his prerogative.
The Ambassador Ognate is still unable to obtain permission to raise fresh levies, in spite of the repeated instances that he has made on the subject. Not only have they withheld this concession but they have not even granted the ordinary recruits. In his disgust at this he has been stimulated to speak unreservedly and to confirm his protestations that if the royal ships sail to the hurt of the king of Spain, whether they be commanded by the Palatine or by any one else, he is to denounce open war on them forthwith.
The Swedes are making up their regiments, although slowly, for lack of money, and several companies are now ready to start.
I have received the state despatches of the 5th inst. with instructions to remove any bad impression the king may have against Lord Fielding. But so far as I can see, since my last offices, everything is proceeding with the utmost satisfaction, and past affairs are entirely forgotten. Moreover the ambassador is so firmly established in favour that it would require much more violent shocks to destroy him.
London, the 26th June, 1637.
June 26.
Collegio. Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
248. The English Ambassador came into the Collegio and spoke to the following effect :
Since the answer you gave me, expressing your desire for universal peace, letters have reached me from his Majesty expressing the same views. I have come to inform your Serenity of this, as it cannot fail to assist the public good. His Majesty is so eager for this object that he will put his own interests on one side for its attainment, and those of the Elector Palatine also, although he ought not since it appears that those responsible for the most unrighteous aggression upon him have neither the will nor the inclination to make restitution. The king has waited with the greatest patience, although he has never seen any results, and he and his allies have been differently treated from his expectations.
In this I have no doubt but that all interests will join in common with your Serenity, just as I feel sure that it will arouse the most sincere feelings in your Serenity about what his Majesty desires, if this matter of the peace does not turn out as expected ; so that your Serenity, as a wise and prudent prince may reflect upon what will best suit the common service. His Majesty wishes to enjoy the advantages of a mutual understanding with this republic, especially in view of what is being done these current months in this province. He will always be ready to support the republic, even on the most important occasions against those princes who have different objects from peace. I shall enjoy the task, if I think that the advices which reach me from various places will satisfy your Serenity's desire. I would send to one of the secretaries or come myself, if I was not afraid of wearying you by coming too often. If you wish me to serve you in this way I will devote all my energies to it, from zeal to serve you.
The doge answered, We fully appreciate his Majesty's aims for the public welfare and general tranquillity. We shall always be glad to stand side by side with his Majesty, as our chief desire is to increase this relation especially with an ambassador, who becomes more and more devoted to our interests and worthy of the affection and esteem which we have for him. You will always be welcome and we shall esteem any advices as an additional kindness.
The ambassador made some complimentary remarks and said he would have brought the advices he had if he had not feared to be troublesome. The doge replied cordially, commending the ambassador's goodness and sincerity.
The ambassador then said, I have another matter. You recently gave orders about ships trading at Zante and Cephalonia, for the relief of English merchants. I hear that your officials are not carrying these out properly. It will be necessary to repeat the commands.
The doge replied, The republic desired his Majesty's subjects to be well treated and favoured everywhere, and the necessary orders shall be issued if we find that they need them.
The ambassador stated that it was the customers or their ministers in those islands who did not carry out the commands of the Senate, and asked for vigorous orders on the subject.
He went on, I must also ask you to protect our merchant Obson, whose affair was referred to the Five Savii for Trade, and is now before the Avogador Pesaro.
The doge asked that Obson should present a memorial, when the seniors should be assembled and something suitable ordained. Obson deserved favour, as he had dealt honourably with the Rectors and rendered good public service.
In conclusion the ambassador said, I must thank your Serenity for the favour recently received about the two prisoners, who have been released. I know that I ought not to mention a matter which has caused some dissatisfaction but I see by the results that your Serenity has desired to consider his Majesty's honour and prove the sincere friendship of the republic for him and I wish to express the pleasure that this satisfaction gives me personally.
The doge said that everything had been done in order to please the ambassador, and they would willingly do more to show their affection and esteem for him. The ambassador again expressed his thanks, bowed and departed.
June 27.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
249. That the English Ambassador be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
We are always glad of anything calculated to increase cordial relations between his Majesty and the republic and we welcome his Majesty's most courteous representations as we are always glad to welcome your lordship. The republic will rejoice at universal peace and will always labour for it. We appreciate your offer to supply advices and shall be glad to reciprocate. We have again written to Zante and Cephalonia in favour of the English merchants and we are anxious that they should be well treated in the interests of trade, both there and here, as his Majesty also desires. We will inform Obson of our intentions so that he may hope that his affair will soon be settled and that he will be able to enjoy the fruit of your lordship's interposition. We are much gratified by your expression of complete satisfaction and we hope that you will always find us ready to oblige you.
Ayes, 101. Noes, 0. Neutral, 8.
250. To the Ambassador in England.
On the 23rd inst. in the Collegio the Spanish ambassador informed us of orders issued by the Catholic for the treatment of the ambassadors of the republic on an equal footing. We direct you to make request to visit the Count of Villa Mediana without delay, in such way as you think best, if you are first assured of equal treatment, and we shall wait to hear if the result corresponds with the assurances given.
We enclose a copy of the exposition of the English ambassador and of the reply given him. You will speak in conformity if the subject is raised. We enclose the usual sheet of advices and acknowledge receipt of your despatch of the 5th inst.
Ayes, 101. Noes, 0. Neutral, 8.
June 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
251. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of England has sent a courier extraordinary bringing word that he has accepted the articles taken to him by the Earl of Leicester's secretary. In substance they contain that two treaties shall be made, an auxiliary one for the moment by which the King of Great Britain will send out the Prince Palatine with twenty five armed ships, with patents from the Most Christian, to attack the coasts of Flanders and take action against the Spaniards, with the obligation as well of defending the coasts of France and giving them permission to levy 6000 men with his own money in the kingdom. On to the other side the Most Christian will be bound not to make peace or truce without including the interests of the Palatine house, both with respect to the electoral dignity and his possessions too. Before the treaty is signed it will be communicated by his Majesty's ministers to the Swedes and Dutch for their approval. The other is that in the assembly of Hamburg all the claims of the princes concerned in these wars shall be regulated. A person sent by England will show these arrangements to the emperor and the Duke of Bavaria. If they are accepted, the claim being that all the princes shall enjoy their own as they did before these troubles, everything will be settled amicably and the negotiations will be completed at Cologne. If they are refused by the Austrians and the Duke of Bavaria, the king of England will sign an offensive and defensive alliance until he obtains complete satisfaction. He will agree, however, before beginning open war, with respect to the Palatine that as regards the electoral dignity it shall be exercised by the Duke of Bavaria during his life ; but he means the rest of the possessions to be restored without any exception. All the friendly princes will be invited to take up a similar alliance.
Paris, the 30th June, 1637.


  • 1. Henry Belaw "concerning the gentleman this king sent for England, your honour will excuse me if I did not write by him, both because I was then upon my visit of the Duke of Holstein and for the great secrecy wherewith this king's business are carried." De Vic to Coke the 30th May, 1637. S.P. For. Denmark.
  • 2. Count Pentz, governor of Gluckstadt. He was sent to get a continuance of the tolls at Gluckstadt, and set out from Copenhagen on the 21st April. De Vic to Coke, the 3rd and 28th April o.s. S.P. For. Denmark.
  • 3. The Intercursus Magnus, signed 24 February 1496. This would be 1495 Venetian style.
  • 4. Fielding reported the satisfaction he had received in his despatch of the 9/19 June. He had caused the officers who had been arrested for his sake, to be released and they and their wives had been to thank him. S.P. For. Venice.
  • 5. The reference is to the evacuation of the Valtelline by the French, by a compact with the Grisons. Rohan left the country on the 5th May. Le Vassor : Hist. de Louis XIII. Vol. XV. pages 170-196 ; Siri : Memorie Recondite, Vol. VIII., pages 498, 499.
  • 6. Alvise Contarini ambassador in England from 1626 to 1629.
  • 7. On 6/16 June Fielding wrote "The report of the endeavours of one Peterson, a Fleming, to invite the English trade to Ancona put them into a great jealousy lest that design should receive beginning and furtherance from England ; which if they find any ground for (as contrary to their laws and preventions in their dominion over these seas) they will make great complaints to His Majesty and endeavour to prevent it. S.P. For. Venice.
  • 8. James Battyer ; his coming was announced by Scudamore on the 16th and by Leicester on the 19 June, n.s. S.P. For. France Vol. 103. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1637, page 219.