Venice: September 1637

Pages 260-275

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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September 1637

Sept. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
283. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The letter found in the coat of the queen's groom was from the Marquis of Mirabel, acknowledging the receipt of hers, thanking her in the name of the Cardinal Infant for the information, urging her above all to prevent the conclusion of the treaty with England and to think of ways of upsetting it. The queen, being thus convicted, had to sign a paper containing four heads, they say, that she sent word to Flanders of the weakness of some of the frontier fortresses of Picardy ; the defects of the Government ; the means of upsetting this union with England, about which she is greatly concerned, and to keep a look out in Spain on the Minime friar. (fn. 1) The queen signed that before witnesses and undertook not to write any more out of the realm unless the Marquise of Senesse had seen the letter first. The enemies of the government say these are all inventions and that they made the queen say what they wanted. She has instructed her groom to tell all he knows. The king seems to lay great blame on the Duchess of Chevreuse, who supplied the queen with her information in England for preventing the alliance with this crown, a person of position tells me that the queen has written a letter to the king of England begging him to give up all thought of any such step.
The Earl of Leicester says that if they wish to make a truce or peace here, his king will do nothing to prevent them doing what they please ; but if the Prince Palatine is abandoned there is no sign that the king of England will restore his nephew to his dominions single handed. They would like the Most Christian to ratify the treaty, seeing the difficulties raised by the Dutch and Swedes about it, representing that with these two crowns agreed about everything it is not to their credit for others to have the power to delay the consequences.
Paris, the 1st September, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
284. To the Ambassador Correr in England.
Enclose his commissions for France together with his credentials to the king there.
Ayes, 138. Noes, 0. Neutral, 32.
Sept. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
285. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince Palatine's agent, fresh from the Court, called upon me the day before yesterday. He says that all the negotiations of England with France are worth nothing and that the prince will end by finding himself without either territory or rank ; the Dutch are slow to join the league, and the Swedes, overwhelmed by reverses, have retreated upon Stettin. He then suggested, more openly than on previous occasions, that your Excellencies should negotiate for the Palatine with the emperor. The king would approve and the only doubt was whether your Excellencies would agree. But I evaded the point, while expressing the republic's wishes for the welfare of the Palatine House, and so the field still remains virgin for any answer your Excellencies may think fit to give. In short it is no longer open to doubt that both the Palatine and the English themselves have utterly abandoned hope of doing anything by force, although they pretend the contrary for the sake of appearances. This may be due to a conviction of their weakness, to the small inclination of those who ought to help them, to a realisation of the difficulties after making trial, or to other and more recondite causes, in short it is certain that they are looking for means to take up the negotiations with honour, looking for a disinterested prince as mediator. They wish the republic to accept the office, as it is also to have a hand in the general peace. The Earl of Arundel gave me a distant hint of this, saying that as they saw everyone was trying to settle his own affairs separately, it would not be bad for the Palatine to do the same, but the chief difficulty was to find a suitable opening, unless some prince friendly to his house took it up for the common benefit. I think it my duty to tell all I hear.
With this opportunity I ascertained that Teller is still at the imperial Court, by the king's command who certainly is very pleased to learn that he is being well treated by the emperor, although they try to make people believe that he is only there in a private capacity for his own pleasure. This has always made the French jealous, and if they make any private treaty with the Austrians they will probably seize upon this as their excuse. There are whispers that the Earl of Northumberland has already left the Downs with all his fleet, with orders to approach the Dutch fishermen, to compel them by fear to ask for licenses and to pay the recognition claimed. If this prove true, as there is some indication, it means that they have taken advantage of their weakness, it being known that the Dutch have recently been very roughly handled by the Dunkirkers ; but as this is not the way to induce the Dutch to take up the proposals made to them by the Palatine, one must either believe that it will not be carried out, or else that they have really changed their principles, and that they only think of negotiating in the manner mentioned.
News comes from Flanders that the Spaniards, rendered suspicious by the proceedings of the queen mother, that she was carrying on secret intrigues with France, have caused her house to be thoroughly searched by the Burgomaster of Brussels as well as all her papers and those of all the French, using such insults and threats as to cause her the greatest agitation. The queen here is sensible of the affront and deeply sympathises with her mother, possibly imagining things to be much worse than they really were. She has consequently fallen sick of a fever, with sluggishness of the stomach and other circumstances, which make it much worse. The curious speculate whether this event will lead to the queen mother leaving Flanders, and to the revival of the negotiations for her coming here. It will not be difficult if the king does not object, as the queen mother is at present in a great state of alarm and most anxious to come ; but the king has always seemed to object strongly and he will stop it, unless he yields to his wife's prayers, not because he is afraid of offending the Most Christian by receiving her, as that sovereign might even wish to see her end her wanderings here, but because he is afraid of burdening himself with so much expense, and because he fears that she may bring trouble with her which will upset his present repose.
Last week when I went to kiss the queen's hands I also visited Lady Denbigh. She thanked me for the treatment received by her son, and said that if embassies were perpetual she would fain render that of Venice hereditary in her family but that as Fielding's three years had nearly expired she wished to procure for him a mission to France, and the queen, considering him suitable for that post might speak about it to the king. I therefore infer that Fielding will be recalled and be replaced by a person of equal rank.
Your Serenity's letters of the 30th ult. just received report the representations of Lord Fielding about the treaty with France. The general terms in which he expressed himself agree precisely with the talk of the ministers here, from whom it certainly is never possible to extract any formula in writing or even to hear them speak a sound word on the subject. They always evade telling the true state of affairs by using ambiguous phrases.
Richmond, the 4th September, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 8.
Senato Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
286. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
To the offices of the Ambassador Leicester, who wants the king to sign the treaty before the Swedes and Dutch have assented, they reply here that there is no indication that they can do so without their allies. They have become very suspicious that England does not mean to do anything and is procrastinating deliberately. Leicester, on the other hand, labours to persuade them that his king will make suitable declarations in due time. He represents that it would not be decent for his king to espouse the quarrels of others while France might want to keep Lorraine and the other places of Alsace for herself ; that before beginning overt war it is necessary to adjust the pretensions of the parties at Hamburg or the Hague, and then they will see that the King of England will break with the Spaniards, not with thirty ships but with sixty and more and will also supply his nephew with troops to form an army in Germany and go and recover his own.
The Queen Mother has written to inform the king of her ill treatment at Brussels and to ask his permission to go to England, as the king there will not receive her without their assent here. It appears they have intimated to her that if she goes to that kingdom, they will pay her the allowance she used to have a long time ago, when in France.
Paris, the 8th September, 1637.
Sept. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
287. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Three days ago the Ambassador Ognate came here to ask my advice. He said he came from Coruna on board a royal ship, whose captain had also taken charge of ten cases of reals belonging to a Genoese merchant named Giovanni Nicolo de Franchi. As Franchi had not paid duty the Catholic desired Ognate to seize them. He did so, giving security to the English commander. Franchi came to England and brought an action against the captain, which he won, and in virtue of the security which the captain apparently made over to him, he seized Ognate's property, money and his merchants and the merchandise shipped by him for his king in Spain.
Ognate declared that this was a violation of the privileges of ambassadors, as they pretended to adjudicate here upon something that happened in a port of Spain, in which no Spanish subject was concerned. I expressed my regret and the opinion that when the king had heard what he had to say he would be sure to give him satisfaction. When he pressed for advice I told him that he could do far more than I. He spoke very strongly and even told me that he had advised them in Spain to take away all the privileges of the English ambassador. He said he would wait for orders from his king.
The arguments brought against him here are that as the money was on a ship of the King of Great Britain it ought to be as safe as if it was in his own chamber, and the captain could not allow it to be sequestrated by any one soever. As the money had not remained in Spain, but had actually been unladed in England as belonging to a foreigner, and consigned to a servant of his Majesty, he was obliged to have it restored, as he could not judge a question of contraband which took place outside his kingdom, or allow others to lay hands by justice or by authority upon what was actually in England. Such is the actual state of the affair. The money is here and the ambassador has received it. If, as he says, he has left something else as an equivalent for it in Spain, that does not concern them here, so they think he will have to accept the inevitable, as the king is determined that the Genoese shall not suffer, and the captain has protection in too high a quarter to be subject to the pain of making payment.
After this Ognate began of his own accord to speak of the truces, which, he says, are in negotiation between the House of Austria and the Most Christian and his allies. He said he knew that the disposition of the French to conclude them went far beyond the common benefit and in particular that of the princes who were shut out from the possession of their territories, who would have to languish in wretchedness so long as the truces lasted. He mentioned particularly the Dukes of Lorraine and Mantua. On these grounds he did not think that the matter could be carried through. He enlarged upon this, saying that it was not to the interest of the House of Austria, while she was victorious, to make a peace unless it was universal. He heard from Germany that there was no sign of the congress of Cologne meeting soon owing to the difficulties raised by France. He asked me if the Venetian ambassadors had set out yet for the Imperial Court. I told him I thought they had even arrived in Germany. By this and much more the ambassador has taken pains to show me that he desires to encourage confidential relations, and I have responded, but within modest proportions.
Richmond, the 10th September, 1637.
Sept. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya Venetian Archives.
288. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Resident has seen the commissioners appointed to meet him and read them the articles agreed upon with France. It seems that the States refuse to speak about it as being something ridiculous and not worth consideration. It has certainly confirmed their idea that there is no real agreement, and that the only object is to gain time. They particularly notice that the French have said nothing to them about this alliance. No deliberation has been held and some think a reply unnecessary ; but they will wait for the States of Holland. Everyone says that under existing circumstances and in their present exhaustion these Provinces ought not to start fresh troubles as they have not the strength to direct them.
The Hague, the 10th September, 1637.
Sept. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
289. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When the news of the queen mother's misadventures at Brussels reached the king, and of the whisper that she might ask permission to come here, he forthwith sent a courier to his Resident Gerbier to put a stop to any such idea at once, offering, if she wishes, one or two ships of war to take her to Spain or Italy, to be promptly supplied, as although he knows he will offend his wife, he is determined not to admit her, and not even to let her cross to this realm.
This decision is concealed from the queen as yet, and will not be disclosed to her in all its rigour, so as not to trouble her, seeing that her great affection for her mother transports her to violent passion which prejudices her health. Her fever of last week has left her extremely weak. They will let her know gently, by degrees, and that will be the end of the matter, so far as these parts are concerned.
Il Rey, secretary of state of the King of Poland (fn. 2) arrived here recently with special commissions as ambassador extraordinary at this Court. He has remained so far in a village without making himself known, as he may not have thought it advisable to do this before the king's wishes about his reception were known. This course was not ill advised, because his Majesty freely told a gentleman whom he sent to Court to notify his arrival and to obtain some orders for his reception, that he had better return by the way he came, as he would not receive or see him on any account. The ambassador does not seem dashed by the refusal, but hopes to find means for being introduced. He has already outlined some business with the Earl of Arundel and another of the leading ministers, for this effect. His Majesty's action was induced by the knowledge that this person came to inform him of the marriage between the Polish king and the emperor's sister, and out of shame, one may say, at the negotiations conducted with him for his niece, he cannot with dignity receive to his face such news as the king's letters contain. The Polish ambassador who last treated of this affair offended him by making unreasonable proposals more in the form of protests than negotiation. So it is better to let things go on as they are than to give new cause for trouble to those who are already irritated by past events.
There are various opinions about the consequences of this affair. The Spaniards enjoy the business beyond measure, as it seems just their game that quarrels with this crown should accumulate, since it may all be set down to their advantage. They do everything to increase the quarrels with Denmark and the Dutch, especially in disputes about maritime questions. I have gathered something to bear this out from Ognate's own lips, who recently told me that he had worked hard to get the fleet sent against the Dutch fishermen, and had obtained as good as a definite promise ; but if they did so it would be to keep him quiet. Three ships which were sent recently against the fishermen, perhaps to satisfy him, have not attempted to do anything, and it is not thought that they will, since present circumstances do not allow it, but induce them rather to caress the United Provinces, both to avoid forcing them to come to terms with the Spaniards, and to get them to favour the interests of the Palatine.
They keep working slowly at these negotiations, relying more on their hopes than making sure of advancing them successfully. The Agent Bosuel writes from the Hague that he can obtain no categorical reply upon the Palatine's proposals, which he has repeated. The States object on the question of the fisheries saying clearly that they will not enter upon any business with this crown before this question of the fishermen is settled to their mutual satisfaction. If they persist in this, it will ultimately upset everything.
With regard to the French alliance which I announced by his Majesty's command, the more I investigate, the more objections I find. The French now say that it is no good stipulating the treaties if the King of Great Britain is determined not to declare war against the House of Austria, and they practically intimate in spite of the promises they have from England to the contrary, they are sure, if they can peacefully settle the Palatine's interests with the Austrians, they will abandon every other thought. Their mistrust offends the king extremely. He says his words are simple and sincere ; the French have no reason to doubt him and if they pretend to, their sole object is to gain time to carry on their own secret agreements with the Austrians. Amid this mutual recrimination the matter remains unsettled. The Palatine suffers and the House of Austria and the Duke of Bavaria enjoy the results. But some hope that matters will all be put straight with the arrival here of M. de Bellievre, who is expected from France within a month, as they think he will bring the articles signed.
Meanwhile they keep their eyes fixed on Swedish affairs, as they certainly desire to see them as strong as possible. They rejoiced to hear of their strong recovery after the retirement to Stettin, and that a part of their forces is about to invade Silesia, while the other is strong enough to confront the imperialists. Although the latter declare themselves 40,000 combatants strong it is hoped they will soon have to divide their troops in many corps, for lack of provisions.
His Majesty's fleet under the Earl of Northumberland proceeded northwards last week, with the purpose of scouring the coasts to the very ends of England. When it returns they think it will enter the river and that the ships will be dismantled for this year.
The disturbances in Scotland about religion have calmed down in great measure, as they do not think it expedient to proceed severely against the prime movers. They say however, that the archbishop does not mean to pardon them, but that he is waiting for an opportunity to punish them without a fuss, hoping that with the leaders extinguished or crushed (estinti o mortificati) the others will have to yield to his ordinances, a difficult and possibly dangerous business where men are so bitterly inflamed against these new institutions of his.
M. di Perone, Bishop of Angouleme has returned from France, whither he went for his consecration. The Catholics are much rejoiced at his coming, and especially the pope's agent, who through him is accustomed to overcome many difficulties for the service of the church which he could not do alone. People speak in various ways about the death of Prince Tomaso, announced last week. The Spaniards attribute it to accident, the French to design. Here they do not seem sorry, as they never thought much of that prince.
I have received this week the state despatches of the 7th August.
Richmond, the 11th September, 1637.
Sept. 11.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
290. The English Ambassador came into the Collegio and spoke to the following effect :
Through the intercepting of the letters of last week I have suffered great inconvenience. Owing to the absence of news I have not been able to come to your Serenity with anything. The news of this week is not satisfactory to the common interests. The Duke of Vaimar is practically besieged by Gio. de Vert in an island this side the Rhine. While Vert was trying to stop his passage he captured a number of the duke's men. The duke can hardly maintain his position. He offered battle twice to Vert, with his customary courage, but Vert thought it better to wait for the Duke of Lorraine and General Mersi, who are expected at Brissac.
I hear that the Prince of Orange keeps pushing forward his trenches under Breda, and he is already near the outskirts. The Spaniards realise the impossibility of relieving the place or of hurting the prince. The Cardinal Infant has decided to abandon it and turn his attention elsewhere. I hear that he has taken Venlo and is going on to Rurmonda. (fn. 3) The Duke of Candales continues to progress. Since Landresi he has taken another place near it, (fn. 4) but perceived that he could not hold it unless he had Valentiana, and so he proposed to besiege it. In Italy the Spaniards show as much weakness as the allied princes, so there is the appearance of an armistice, although none has been arranged. I may add that I hear from Rome that the pope is very angry with the Spaniards because they seemed pleased at his death, although it is not near. As a sign of his wrath he decided to form an army to be used according to circumstances. When the Spanish ambassador at Rome heard this he sent immediately to tell the Viceroy of Naples, so that he might make the necessary provisions. I thought it my duty to tell you this. I regret deeply that the province of Italy cannot enjoy the peace for which it yearns, and my king, who loves this republic greatly, will be most sorry for this. He regrets the disturbances of Italy and would rather see fighting elsewhere. He will not fail to show his good will to the republic.
The doge said, We are very glad of your advices. We have heard some from other quarters, but you have told us some particulars of moment. We rejoice greatly at his Majesty's friendship for us and we shall respond with our affectionate esteem. We thank you for your kind expressions and we commend his Majesty's zeal for the public welfare and the common quiet.
The ambassador replied, I am much gratified that your Serenity appreciates what I have said. I shall always try to show myself a good servant of this republic. With this he bowed, took leave and went out.
Sept. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
291. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
With respect to the movements of England Cæsar has been informed that the ardour of the young Count of Ognat has upset all transactions, and Teller declares that this is so. All the same he goes about fostering confidential relations with the ministers here. It is not yet known whether this is by order of the king his master, or if he is merely following his own private inclination. This much is certain that he has been observed, with great astonishment, to be negotiating at length with Count Slich, and in the midst of all the existing ill feeling he is well received and treated amicably.
Vienna, the 12th September, 1637.
Sept. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
292. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the Duke of Chevreuse obtained from the Cardinal that his wife should not be molested, yet she has suddenly left a place near Tours, dressed as a man, with only two servants, (fn. 5) and proceeded towards La Rochelle, it is supposed to embark for England. This has led them again to wish to investigate her transactions with the queen, as they fear that the duchess is more bent than ever on upsetting the alliance between England and this crown ; in other respects her flight is of little moment.
The Swedish ambassador says that although that crown might send plenipotentiaries to Cologne at the instance of mediators, yet they abstain for three reasons, one of which is that the English have invited them to send deputies to Hamburg or the Hague to arrange matters for the peace and have them all ready before going to that congress.
Paris, the 15th September, 1637.
Sept. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
293. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Resident presses for a reply to his proposals, but the States remain undecided. The French secretary suggests sending Cracou (fn. 6) to Hamburg. They feel sure that England is both unwilling and unable to make war, because they cannot trust France. They know the state of England's purse and the differences which she has with France and these Provinces.
The Hague, the 17th September, 1637.
Sept. 18.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
294. To the King of Great Britain.
Notification of the appointment of Giovanni Giustinian as ambassador, to succeed Anzolo Correr, who is appointed to the embassy in France, with request to give him credence.
Ayes, 92. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
295. To the Queen of Great Britain.
The like.
Ayes, 92. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
296. To the Secretary Zonca in England.
Notification of the coming of Giovanni Giustinian as ambassador, with instructions to hand over to him all public papers and the cipher, and to give him all needful information. He is then to follow the Ambassador Correr to France.
Ayes, 92. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
Sept. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
297. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
So soon as the king heard of the queen's illness he came to her without loss of time. Finding her at Oatlands in excellent health, although greatly distressed on her mother's account, he left her to go on with his hunting, after staying two days. During that time I went to Court to offer congratulations on the queen's recovery, and to return thanks for the confidential communication of the French alliance. Among other things the king said that he placed the republic first among the powers with whom he was on friendly relations and therefore thought it right to communicate his most important interests among which he considered those of his nephew the chief. He trusted his negotiations with France would produce the desired result, and the application of the Venetian republic and of the King of Great Britain would suffice in the end to do away with the storms which at present agitate Christendom and bring it peace. But violent evils required violent remedies, and there will be nothing astonishing if she passes through them to become whole.
I made a suitable reply commending his Majesty's prudence and watchfulness. The republic would do all in its power to secure repose for Christendom. At this his Majesty poured out abundant protestations of his friendship for your Excellencies and your sincere desire for the public peace. In my response I endeavoured by suavity to induce him to say something particular about the alliance with France, and in this way I have obtained confirmation of what I have written before that the alliance will be called auxiliary at first, and become offensive and defensive later, when the intimations have been made to the emperor. For the first the king here will only contribute the fifteen ships, and for the other his entire fleet. As these agree precisely with what I discovered, I feel sure that the others must be equally true about granting levies and about France not making terms with Austria without their approval here ; but only time can show if they take effect.
When I was about to take leave the king approached and asked in a very low voice what I heard about negotiations for truces or armistices which the papal nuncios had gone to Paris and Vienna to propose. He understood that the French not only listened to them but had practically pledged themselves to conclude them if the King of Hungary, so they still call the emperor here, had not upset it all by wishing to exclude the Protestant princes of the empire. This method of procedure seemed to him very rude, and very unlike his own candour. However he kept his eyes wide enough open to prevent him suffering for his sincerity. I told him I had heard some talk on the subject, but I did not believe that the Most Christian, who had always shown so much devotion to the public interests and the Palatine's, would show any lack of sincerity in this important particular. I then changed the subject, as having discovered his real sentiments I thought it better not to go on.
The king said he had heard something about my going away soon ; he was sorry for it, but he supposed it was not immediate. I told him it depended on the state instructions, otherwise I should wish to remain a long while to serve him. After similar courtesies and honours, which made me blush, I thanked him and took my leave.
From the substance and manner of the king's talk I gathered that he thinks little and hopes less of the alliance with France ; that the fear of being deceived, which is deeply impressed on his heart, daily renders him more tepid in pressing it forward, and he rather turns the other way in seeking openings for reviving negotiations with the Austrians. I guess from other quarters that if he could find a way which saved his face, to enter upon a conference with them he would trouble but little if the negotiations for an armistice went forward, but not those for a general peace, as they consider the quiet of their neighbours, especially of the Spaniards and Dutch in the Netherlands, is harmful to the interests of these realms, just as their own secure repose consists in the troubles of these neighbours and is of inestimable value to them.
Richmond, the 18th September, 1637.
298. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The affair of the Polish ambassador has been the chief subject of negotiation at Court these last days. After the king's refusal, (fn. 7) he tried to get an introduction through all the ministers, one may say. To the Earl of Arundel he wrote letters, presented pictures and tried every other way in the hope that he would take up his interests, but all in vain, his Majesty being absolutely determined not to see him, and Arundel and the ministers have not ventured to speak ; so he will have to put up with this mortification and go away with nothing done. Meanwhile he has published the chief reason why he came, namely to inform his Majesty of the accidents which legitimately upset the marriage with the Palatine princess, to express the constant friendship of that crown, especially towards the Palatine House and a desire to assist it always. These announcements have only excited his Majesty's wrath and given him an opportunity to make known his grievance, by publicly showing the letters of the King of Poland, in which he repeatedly asks for his consent to marry his niece, with assurances that besides his own resolute intention he had the universal approbation of the states of the realm. To aggravate this, after he had consented, and when he was expecting the results to follow, they sent instead an ambassador to protest that the princess must become a Catholic before starting for Poland and go publicly to mass, a way of negotiating that he had never heard of between great kings. It was thoroughly impressed on his memory so that he might respond with equal measure when the time came. These are the exact views expressed by his Majesty since when he has hated to hear a word said on the subject, and so it has ended. The court, the nobles and persons of every kind generally approve of the king's decision. This is a new and striking proof of the deep affection of the people here for their master's sister and her progeny. New and serious accusations have even been raised against the Agent Gordon in Poland, who has had a hand in these affairs. Many tax him with being bribed by Cæsar, and having gone over to his side, working against the interests of the Palatines in this marriage and thwarting his Majesty's orders. He will have to come in person to clear himself of these charges, and letters recalling him to England have already been sent.
The disputes with Ognate are not yet settled. His money is still sequestrated. He makes vigorous complaints to all the ministers, but he has never cared to speak to the king, possibly in order not to lose, through an unqualified refusal, his right to prosecute his cause. But his position is unfortunate anyway, as they have no idea of restoring what was taken from him but rather intend to compel him to pay the remainder.
The Resident Nicolaldi is also very offended. In the end he openly refused his present and left the Court. The rank he claimed has caused the trouble and it may have been the reason why he never thought fit to come and see me.
Northumberland has finished his coasting and is now in the Downs awaiting further commands from the king and apparently impatient at being kept idle. It is thought that he will receive orders to bring the ships into the river, as it is beginning to be cold, the winds are high and worse than usual this year, and it seems necessary to disarm them. After all the Dutch will have enjoyed their fishing in peace. The pressure of the Spaniards did not suffice to make them resolve to do anything against them, as they thought more of the interests of the Palatine, under present circumstances, than of anything else. The ministers have intimated, however, that the Dutch must not take the present connivance as a precedent, as courtesy does not make laws, and it must not prejudice their just rights in any way.
With the news that arrived last week of his Holiness's recovery there comes a report of the promotion of new cardinals. Among these should be George Coneo, a Scot, who acts as the pope's agent here. The Court is full of this rumour and it quickly reached the king's ears. Many observed with interest that he seemed pleased. It is thought that the pope has caused this report to reach here with design, in order to see how the king would take the nomination of a subject as Cardinal, considering it important for religion to create him, but not enough if it means offending the king, and consequently his subjects. Now it is certain that his Majesty will not be offended, every one concludes that the pope will renew the honour in this nation, in order to sweeten past bitterness by public affection, and also, if there is a person of authority at Rome experienced in the humours of this country, he may serve as a base for upholding the relations which have been begun, for which purpose Coneo is considered most suitable. Such are the bases upon which the Catholics here found their chief hopes of liberty. On the other hand the Protestants are extremely bitter about it, and already they fear that the new regulations made by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the church are means whereby it is intended to lead them insensibly to Catholicism.
I have received the state's despatches of the 14th ult. directing me to answer the Palatine's agent in general terms. It will be observed that I have already acted as instructed.
I have to thank your Excellencies for permission to conclude my service in England. Accordingly so soon as the king returns to this neighbourhood, which should be in two or three weeks at most, I will seek an opportunity for taking leave and for presenting Zonca, with whom I will leave all that is necessary for serving the state, and the money, as commanded.
Richmond, the 18th September, 1637.
Sept. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
299. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Various couriers were sent to the ports of Britanny to prevent the Duchess of Chevreuse from leaving the realm, but she travelled fast and before they came up she took a small boat and proceeded to the island of Zerze, belonging to the king of England, to whom it is felt certain she will go, in order to do her best to upset the union between the two crowns. She decided to flee because she guessed that the King's Council had decided to shut her up in a castle of Guienne because of her intrigues against his Majesty's interests.
Paris, the 22nd September, 1637.
Sept. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
300. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When the Polish Ambassador found that all his attempts to be received at Court were vain, he changed his mildness into rigour and his instances into threats. He protested through his secretary that the King of Poland would show himself very sensible of this affront, and would have cause to obtain redress. There were 40,000 Scots scattered about Poland, and it would not be a bad thing to expel them. He did not think it would be unjust, since they thought it expedient here that the correspondence between the two crowns should be interrupted, treating the ambassador of a friendly king worse than is customary with those of enemies. But these ideas make no impression on the ministers here, who treat them with contempt. They say if the Scots are expelled from Poland they will take refuge in Sweden, and perhaps the Poles may not come off best. That it has become quite clear that the King of Poland never intended to marry the Palatine princess, but only to obtain from this crown by artful negotiation assistance in men and ships against Sweden. This stroke failed, but it has shown how far his falseness was from the sincerity with which they always dealt with him here. Thus they exchange biting accusations, increasing the bitter feeling, so that there seems little chance that the matter can be accommodated, or that these two princes can soon be reconciled again.
Religious affairs in Scotland are still troubled, the people being more incensed than ever against the new institutions. The king, fearing some fresh disorder from this, seems to incline to milder ways to pacify them. But the Archbishop of Canterbury, on whose advice alone his Majesty decides in these matters, pertinaciously upholds his regulations and will not listen to anything different ; so that with the Scots urging the settlement of the matter, if the archbishop has his way, a general rising may be feared, with the danger of its spreading to this kingdom, where the people, no less than the Scots seem greedy for an opportunity to extricate themselves from the yoke to which they are being subjected insensibly, little by little. A report has got abroad that the pope's resident has had a hand in this, and that he has encouraged the efforts of the archbishop, hoping either that the people will yield to his ordinances, which approach nearly those of the Roman Church, or by opposing them they will bring about a civil war between the Protestants, with considerable advantage to the Catholic party, to whom the archbishop would have to approach more and more nearly in order to suppress the other. Such are the suspicions that the Puritans have about him, not without reason. The king, on the other hand, is no less suspicious of what he may be plotting with the Catholics and the Jesuits, and although he hides his fears from the queen, and the Court does the same, to please her, I know on very good authority that they observe the actions of this minister very carefully, and more since a certain foreign friar has reached him with letters the source of which they do not know, although many believe that they come from Cardinal Richelieu or the Ambassador Ognate, the majority believing that he also has a part in the concert, and indeed the manner in which he behaves and speaks gives great colour to this, as I have observed in his talk with me that he has frequently shown not a little passion in this.
Ognate himself assured me the day before yesterday, and he goes about stating the same thing publicly, that he has the most authentic information from his Court that they will not listen in Spain to the negotiations for an armistice proposed there by the nuncio, because they consider it too disadvantageous for themselves under existing circumstances. The ministers here have noted these opinions and it has given them food for much thought.
The alliance with France is now only mentioned under the breath, so the likelihood of its being established is very far off. The recent instances of the earl of Leicester for the signing of the articles were more to satisfy the world than for anything more solid.
Fielding's last letters have filled his Majesty and the ministers with the greatest suspicions. He states that there is an intrigue on foot to take the congress for a general peace to Rome. (fn. 8) The more stress is laid upon this because it is borne out over the truce negotiations that the Spanish nuncio asked that ministers should be sent to Rome with suitable powers from which they argue that the pope intended to get all present affairs under his roof. This is the more important because a universal peace is generally detested on account of the consequences, and if it were established at Rome they believe that it could not fail to be full of things prejudicial both to the Palatine and to England.
A person of standing asked me if I had any inkling of what your Excellencies thought about it. I replied that I was quite in the dark, but I did not think that a conference could be arranged at Rome because so many Protestant princes were concerned. I saw that this opinion pleased him.
The Swedish levies continue with rapidity and will be much more numerous than were granted there being no one to see that the captains do not levy more than their patents mention. This connivance greatly displeases the Spaniards, but not so much as the transport does the French, which they continue without interruption, of money from Spain to Flanders upon English ships. Only last week a royal galleon escorted a considerable sum to Dunkirk.
The news of the death of Prince Tomaso, reported as certain by his Majesty's resident at Brussels, proves a mistake, it is only true that his very serious illness is dangerous, from which the resident says he has not entirely recovered. The resident continues to report the intention of the queen mother to come to this Court, in spite of his offices to prevent her. Here they remain determined not to have her, but if she comes suddenly, as is believed, they cannot refuse to receive her ; though it will certainly cause the king unspeakable annoyance, and for that reason she may not be much respected. Her servants, who are here in great numbers already, announce her coming as certain, and declare that it has already been arranged about in France.
I have received this week the state despatches of the 20th ult. with instructions about taking leave. The function cannot take place for another three weeks as the Court is away.
Richmond, the 25th September, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in Italics deciphered.]
Sept. 25.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
301. The English Ambassador came into the Collegio and said :
I have previously told you of the alliance between my king and the Most Christian. Its object was to succour the oppressed princes of Germany and the Palatine in particular. The two kings have now arranged by a new treaty to invite the King of Denmark, the crown of Sweden, the Dutch, and the Protestant princes of Germany to meet at a convenient place to arrange what is required for the common service and the public tranquillity, to decide upon arrangements according to circumstances and to make an offensive and defensive league. The two kings will communicate what is decided to the King of Hungary, and if it is not received, what is decided at the congress will be carried out by the allies. His Majesty orders me to communicate what is happening to your Serenity, at a time when things are much disturbed in these parts by the events of the Valtelline, and those of Sabioneta Mirandola and Mantua, by the Duke's death. (fn. 9) My king will be glad to hear the prudent opinions of your Serenity and to do anything which may redound to the service of Italy and of the republic in particular. He orders me to say this. (fn. 10)
The doge expressed his thanks. The republic would cooperate with all zeal sure of his Majesty's affection for the welfare of this province. The Signory would deliberate upon his exposition and let him know. The ambassador expressed his thanks and said he would report everything to his king. He added I must also thank your Serenity for despatching the case of the merchant, which shows your kind desire to favour me. The doge said, Your lordship is greatly loved for your merits, and we are glad to please you. The ambassador promised only to make just requests and he would always remember the favours shown to him. He then took leave and went out.


  • 1. Father Basili. See No. 271 at page 249 above and note. The groom was Pierre de la Porte, who was arrested on the 12th August. The queen's confession was made five days later. Bazin : Hist. de France sous Louis XIII., Vol. IV, pages 13, 14 ; Le Vassor : Hist, du Regne de Louis XIII., Vol. XV., 272-282.
  • 2. Andreas Rey de Naglowi.
  • 3. Venloo was taken on the 26th August and Ruremonde on the 30th. Le Clerc : Hist. des Provinces Unies, Vol. II, page 168.
  • 4. Maubeuge. Bazin : Hist. de France sous Louis XIII., Vol. III, page 240.
  • 5. She fled from the chateau of Couzieres near Montbazon, on Saturday the 5th September, and escaped into Spain. See Batiffol. La Duchesse de Chevreuse, pp. 138-170.
  • 6. Carel Carelszoon Cracouw, the Dutch ambassador in Denmark.
  • 7. The refusal does not seem to have been absolute. Among the state papers is a memorandum dated the 8th October, in the following terms : "S'il plait a M. l'ambassadeur de signifier par escrit sous sa main a M. le Chambellain de Sa Majesté qu'il demande audience pour les affaires publiques de la Chretienté et le bien commun des deux couronnes, quittant le point de ses instructions touchant l'invitation aux noces, alors Sa Majesté lui octroyera audience." S.P. For. Poland, Vol. 10.
  • 8. "The treaty of Cologne not going forward the Spaniards are endeavouring to bring it to Rome, hoping thereby to exclude the satisfaction which will be found due to the Protestant Princes of Germany which the Cardinal Cornaro hath received advertisement of from Rome." Fielding to Coke, the 4th Sept. 1637, n.s. S.P. For. Venice.
  • 9. Charles I, duke of Mantua, who died on 21 September.
  • 10. The state papers contain the draft of a letter from Coke, dated the 15th August n.s. in which he announces the conclusion of an agreement with France and tells Fielding what he is to communicate to Venice on the subject, inviting them to join in if they show any inclination to do so. S.P. For, Venice.