Venice: October 1637, 1-10

Pages 276-285

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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October 1637, 1-10

Oct. 2.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
302. To the Ambassador in England.
The enclosed papers will show the circumstances of an accident in the Piazza caused by two of the ambassador's servants. (fn. 1) The arrest was made in order to save them from the fury of the mob as much as because of the act itself. So far no request for pardon has been made. This is for information to be used in the public service.
Ayes, 71. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
303. That a secretary of this Council be sent to read the following to the English Ambassador :
The incident that occurred in the piazza of San Marco on the last days of last month, through the wounds inflicted on a citizen by one of your lordship's household, although accidental, caused great disturbance and confusion in a place where great respect is usually observed and is due. Two persons were arrested by the officials, in the proper discharge of their duty and we are glad of it, as it proved fortunate for the delinquents, to temper the rage of the populace and prevent worse accidents. Tempering justice by our desire to show respect for his Majesty and esteem for his minister, we have decided to order their release, being sure of your displeasure at the event and of your intention that those of your household shall not commit offences in the future which deserve punishment, or that those who have received pardon shall again take refuge under your mantle.
That the two prisoners, servants of the English ambassador, be set at liberty.
Ayes, 40. Noes, 3. Neutral, 6.
That the present question be postponed :
Ayes : 51.
As that ballot only has two votes more, it is not announced as carried.
Oct. 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
304. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate. (fn. 2)
The opinion of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the matter of the Scottish disturbances has finally prevailed, against his own first intentions, the king having ordered that all the ceremonies introduced into the church there shall be continued, which means that the archbishop's precepts and reforms shall be obeyed entire. The decree has passed the Council and they have ordered its publication in Scotland. It only remains to await the issue, which will be interesting, as it seems impossible that the Scots will sit down under such a rigorous ordinance when they opposed the last with such loud clamour and such violent action. All speak about it here just as they feel, whether it be fear or respect, in no wise concealing their prejudices in a matter of such importance. The majority seem to think that if the Scots do not at once break out into serious revolt, it will be because they are planning something more deliberate, and that the longer the fire remains hidden the more vigorously it will burn. The matter certainly involves serious difficulties and if it ends well the king will have won a great point as the reins will remain free in his hands to guide the consciences of his subjects in the future as he pleases. If this happens the pope will find the way made more smooth for the establishment of the confidential relations with this crown which he seeks, and consequently the practice of the Roman faith will be much freer and safer for all, unless by snatching too violently at results they make matters worse instead of better. The pope's minister here, with his too fervent zeal, is continually rousing suspicions which render his actions as conspicious as they are jealous. His frequent consultations with the two foreign religious, one French and the other Scotch, both sent, they say by Cardinal Richelieu, have excited much remark. If they are about religious matters they are very conspicuous, and if not, even more so, as persons of that description cannot fail to be suspect here, where they are naturally hostile.
The queen mother has sent M. de Monsigot, her secretary here, they say to make arrangements for her coming to this kingdom. Last week he saw the queen, with whom he had very long interviews in order to make the idea acceptable ; but on going on to the Court afterwards and having audience of the king he spoke to him secretly upon quite a different matter. I made efforts to discover the substance of this and have found out on very sound authority that it was about an enterprise against France, to be arranged between that queen, the Cardinal Infant, the Duke of Orleans and the Count of Soissons, whose dispositions he asserted he was in full possession of. He asked his Majesty to assist in this with his naval forces, as a partner, or as chief if he wishes. The Spaniards would attack by land and the English by sea, and with the help of the Princes of the Blood in the interior they reckon on winning considerable successes. They propose that the King of Great Britain shall have Britanny, Calais, Havre de Grace and other places formerly possessed by this crown across the water. After the king had heard the statements of this person three times patiently, he told him that he must put his projects in writing, so that they may be properly considered, and to this after some hestitation, he consented. My informant told me that the king listened to this out of mere curiosity, considering it chimerical ; he did not believe that the queen mother any longer had an understanding with those princes, but it had been made up by this Monsigot and two individuals, Cogneus and Fabroni, turbulent and desperate men who influence her wishes. The ministers accordingly pay no attention whatever to this, but all agree that as soon as he has stated his chimaeras they will send him about his business without an answer ; and this is probably what will happen. However, I will see what takes place and send much information as seems opportune. (fn. 3)
This Monsigot has brought assurances that the Cardinal Infant has latterly shown every honour and respect to the queen mother, assuring her that he had nothing to do with what happened recently, but everyone forms his own opinion about this. (fn. 4)
A report has spread that the Duchess of Chevreuse has fled from France and taken refuge at this Court, to escape what she fears may befall her. She has not yet appeared, but if she comes she will be well treated. The queen in particular, from what she said to me, bears her a special affection, as she attended her when she came from France, and the king also, who got to know her at that time, esteems her very highly.
The Earl of Northumberland has returned to Court, having left the fleet under the command of the Vice Admiral, (fn. 5) and although the disarming is not yet settled it is certain that he will not go back to sea this year. His Majesty complains that now the Dutch have got their way about the fisheries they seem reluctant to send their deputies to Hamburg, raising objections which only serve to show how little inclination they have to interest themselves in what they previously proposed themselves so eagerly.
The quarrels which are reported from Italy to have broken out again between the Duke of Savoy and the Duke of Crichi are considered here an artifice. One of the ministers most in credit here assured me that in their opinion here it was a trick to cloak their idleness, which is in reality due to a definite armistice arranged secretly in that province for some days, which, in the course of time will be extended so as to become general, and end finally in a truce for a long period. Since they received a hint here that this might be settled in Rome they have become much more attentive and jealous.
The Polish ambassador has asked and obtained a passport from the king for his journey. He will sail to Holland on a Danish ship with the first wind and proceed thence by Dutch ships to Danzig. They have not been able to discover here whether he was charged with any business by the Dutch. The Spanish ambassador means to call on him and has tried hard to persuade me to do the same. I made an ambiguous reply, leaving me free to do what I think best when I hear how the Court takes his visit, after he has made it ; as it is already whispered to me that the king will be offended. In that case I think it better to take no notice of the ambassador's coming, as he is first in one place and then in another and practically in hiding, than perform an action at which his Majesty might take direct umbrage.
I have received this week the state despatches of the 29th August and the 4th September.
Richmond, the 2nd October, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
305. That the proposed offices with the English ambassador about the wounding affair in the Piazza be postponed until the next meeting of this Council.
Ayes, 36.
Oct. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
306. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duchess of Chevreuse has fled from France disguised as a man. She reached the kingdom of Aragon in a single post and sent letters thence to the king, queen and Count Duke, who forthwith sent some one to fetch her to the Court.
The ministers here seem to wish that the States of Holland would undertake to contribute their fighting strength to the forces of France and England in the cause of the Palatine, as they believe that this would draw the emperor from the neutrality which he observes towards those Provinces. On the other hand I hear that the English are treating with the Most Christian for the restitution of Lorraine in exchange for the Palatinate.
Madrid, the 3rd October, 1637.
[Italian.] Copy.
Oct. 4.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
307. I, Antonio Antelmi went to read to the English ambassador the deliberation of the Senate. He said to me in reply, I am always bound to be expressing my gratitude. Undoubtedly I much regret that the officials of justice have laid hands on those of my household, but I regret still more that my servants should give occasion for it, as I wish to live within the limits of propriety and reserve. I know that every respect ought to be shown to the sacred spot near the palace where all the nobility congregates, but men cannot avoid accidents, especially the lower orders, who do not enjoy the advantage of foresight. This favour increases my desire that my people shall occasion no further trouble. The ambassador admitted the risk run by his footmen and repeated his thanks. I went away and when I reached the Palace I sent the two servants to his Excellency's house in a gondola, accompanied by an esquire of his Serenity. (fn. 6)
Oct. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia, Venetian Archives.
308. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassadors have had another interview with M. di Bullion and it seems they have decided that the congress shall be held at Hamburg, whither England will send a person of distinction.
Paris, the 6th October, 1637.
Oct. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
309. To the Ambassador in England.
We have received your despatches of the 18th ult. The delays over the congress for peace render its results doubtful. Hence the union between France and England is the more necessary. It is accordingly desirable to consider deeds rather than words in the reply given by the Senate to the ambassador when you use it to renew offices with the king to conciliate his confidence. The English ambassador subsequently presented a memorial about the accident in the Piazza and we readily granted the release of his servants and had the enclosed office read to him.
That 300 ducats be paid to the agents of the Ambassador Correr for couriers and the carriage of letters.
Ayes, 82. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
310. That the Ambassador of the King of Great Britain be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
In the present disturbed state of Christendom his Majesty's efforts to relieve it are worthy of all praise. The republic has heard with satisfaction of the league concluded with the Most Christian and hopes that subsequent events will be propitious. We warmly thank his Majesty for your lordship's offices and we are sure that the king will operate for the welfare of this province, in which this republic is so deeply interested and for whose prosperity and liberty she incurs such heavy expenditure. We are directing our ambassador in England to perform similar offices.
Ayes, 82. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
Oct. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
311. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Saturday the Secretary Monsigot presented to his Majesty in writing the substance of his charge, begging him for a speedy reply. His Majesty received it with a smiling face, read it with great care and told him he would consider it in due course. He then kept it to himself without communicating with any of the ministers, and let the whole week pass without speaking about it, to the distress of the secretary and leaving the Court in interested suspense about his Majesty's intentions. Some conclude that this secrecy clearly shows that he thinks something of it ; others that his silence proceeds from carelessness about it, which may well be nearer the truth, as keeping silence is not the way to conclude but to break off negotiations. It is impossible to find out what the paper really contains before the king speaks to others, though it is supposed to deal with the proposals against France already reported.
Meanwhile Monsigot is looking out for a residence in the city, and as fresh servants of the queen mother arrive every day in Court, they are very jealously observed, as it is feared that they are the precursors of her own sudden arrival. They are exceedingly apprehensive about this although Gerbier always declares that it will not happen without permission, owing to the troublesome consequences and the expense, as they do not count on the Most Christian's promise to contribute her revenues, once she has arrived safe in port and will not cause him further anxiety, as they feel sure that he will gladly leave to others the trouble of supporting her ; and this will always be the insuperable obstacle to the adjustment of the matter. There is some indication that the Duchess of Chevreuse may have crossed to England. In their eagerness for certain news their Majesties have sent a gentleman to Portsmouth on purpose to find out, a further sign that she will be greatly honoured if she comes here.
The Prince Palatine reports that he is with his mother, having left the camp under Breda on purpose to visit her. He says little about his interests and here they seem to care about them less. The hesitation of the Most Christian to sign the alliance and the difficulties raised by the Dutch about sending deputies to ratify, pass without remark, the complaints raised by the ministers here against the Dutch in this matter being merely to save their face. That and the wish to show constancy in their resolution for a conclusion are the reasons why they have sent further orders to the agents in Holland and Hamburg, so that an English minister may be ready to assist if the conference is held in either place.
The Court has heard with great satisfaction the confirmation of the news that some of his Majesty's ships in concert with the King of Morocco have captured the port and fortress of Salla with other positions held by the pirates on the Ocean as a magazine for their booty. The commander writes that they have set at liberty more than 800 slaves. (fn. 7) He has made a compact with the King of Morocco for liberty of trade for the English in all those ports, without any charge, in the future ; a matter from which, now the Strait will be much safer, they hope for considerable reputation and advantage here. The rest of the royal fleet is staying in the Downs and will enter the river one day soon.
The king came to Hampton Court on Friday in last week, where he ended his progress. On the following day he went some miles below Greenwich, with the queen and all the Court, and stayed there three days to take part in the solemn function of launching and naming a very fine galleon, which has been building for some time by the most renowned craftsmen of the realm. They say it is the largest and finest construction ever seen in England. It will be of 1,800 tons burthen at least, will carry 86 large pieces of ordnance and when complete will cost the king more than 150000l. sterling. (fn. 8)
The severity of the plague in London and the surrounding villages has almost entirely ceased, and they hope that the cold will clear away the remainder. Confiding in this the Court will transfer itself to the city for all the rest of the winter at the beginning of next month. Meanwhile I have begun to arrange with the Master of the Ceremonies for the audience for my leave taking, for which I am pressing, and I hope it will take place the day after tomorrow.
The ducal missives of the 11th September reached me this week.
Richmond, the 9th October, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
312. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish ambassador has at last paid a ceremonious call on the Polish with his coaches, on an appointed day when he happened to be in London, so that the ceremony might be the more conspicuous. The king arrived that same day at Hampton Court, and when he heard of it he seemed to resent it deeply expressing forcibly his displeasure at the act and the manner of it, and complaining that others should publicly honour to his face those whom he had publicly ignored in their capacity. The ambassador excused himself saying that the Pole could not divest himself of his character as ambassador and as such he was obliged in the interests of his master to render him every sort of honour. This did not satisfy his Majesty, who pretends that the ambassador embraced the opportunity of offending him on purpose, as it is neither obligatory nor customary to visit ambassadors before they are received and honoured by the state as such.
The Secretary Coke expressed his Majesty's sentiments strongly to me and assured me that I had greatly obliged him by abstaining from this superfluous function. I told him that I always measured my actions by his Majesty's satisfaction, and on this occasion I had acted to please him. He assured me that the king would take my sincerity in excellent part, as that was all that was necessary to satisfy him ; but if I wished he would speak to his Majesty so that he might know what was required of ministers of the republic upon this occasion. I left it to him to do what he thought best, being resolved not to give offence and wishing them to know it. This morning he came by his Majesty's particular command to express his high appreciation of my respect for his wishes, and saying that he would express his thanks the first time he had occasion to see me. Accordingly I am pledged to let the compliments with this ambassador drop. There is nothing to oblige me to them, as he has no fixed abode and the time of his stay here is uncertain, depending on the wind. So I think I have done right in respecting his Majesty's wishes, expressed by one of his leading ministers ; if not, I beg you to forgive me, as well as all my other failings.
Richmond, the 9th October, 1637.
Oct. 9.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
313. The English Ambassador was summoned to the Collegio and the decision of the Council of Eight of this date was read to him, he said :
I will report to his Majesty what your Serenity has set forth. The king will especially welcome your prudent opinions. Without a doubt he will work for the service of Christendom in all occasions and for the greater advantage of this republic.
In fulfilment of my duty I decided to send to the Princess of Mantua to perform offices in his Majesty's name upon the duke's death. (fn. 9) In the midst of her tears she seemed to find her chief consolation in confidential relations, and she greatly desired your Serenity's paternal protection. My king would rejoice to see the republic act thus for the advantage of Italy and the profit of her own dominions. I may add that Count Martinengo showed the utmost courtesy to my secretary. This increases my obligations. I greatly regretted the incident about my servants in the Piazza of S. Marco. I know the respect due to the place and I rejoice to show it to all the nobility. The officers, in doing their duty, obviated the greatest dangers, taking them in order to punish them, and your Serenity has shown your kindness in their release, for which I thank you.
The doge said they were always glad to show their esteem for his lordship. The incident was really perilous ; they were sure he regretted it, and would prevent a recurrence. They had performed offices with the princess of Mantua becoming their friendship with that house, as well as with the new duke. Count Martinengo had acted as the republic would have wished. The Senate's reply covered everything else.
The ambassador replied, The case of Mantua demands your Serenity's consideration, and the protection of that prince and the preservation of the duchy, in the interests of Italy and of this republic in particular. The doge said their friendship for the house of Mantua was patent and they would continue the most sincere demonstrations. The ambassador commended this, bowed and departed. After he had finished writing the reply he said that he had been greatly favoured therein. His secretary had brought word from Mantua of the death of the bishop. It happened at a bad time because he was a good servant of the house and would have been useful for the duke's education. There was not time to know it any other way, as his secretary had come post. He had not told his Serenity, but he believed the news to be true, (fn. 10) and he asked me to report it to the Savii.
Valerio Antelmi, Secretary.
Oct. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
314. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I paid my respects to the Cardinal at Sciaron the day before yesterday. I tactfully enquired if the treaty with England was progressing. It pleases the English, he replied, to see all the Christian powers fighting and they would like to commit them to supporting the Palatines while they themselves do nothing. We are always thinking of making the negotiations reasonable, and not in words. The Spaniards and English have their finesses, but if we do not think a thing is right we let our allies know. We have shown them several times by our ambassadors that if they wish to do anything they must enter the dance and take a hand. They will not hear of this. We all agreed, the Swedes and Dutch also, to send to Hamburg, and now it seems they propose the Hague. It is true that it is forbidden to do anything against the empire at the former city, but so far no one has been expelled. Denmark, the Landgrave of Hesse and possibly Luneburg would go there, at Denmark's invitation ; and when the citizens saw that something great was being done for Germany, they would be delighted. We wish we were mistaken about the English doing anything good. The Earl of Leicester, who is here, has the most excellent intentions, but there are so many at that Court who take pleasure in nothing but making delay and creating obstacles, so that we cannot say what we may promise ourselves. He said a great deal also about Germany and Italy.
Paris, the 13th October, 1637.
Oct. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
315. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has made known his master's dissatisfaction with the young Count of Ognat, saying that his offices are not calculated to bring matters to a happy conclusion. He stated afterwards that he hoped the negotiations would be brought to this Court with expectation of success. Here they persist in their determination to send to England another individual, and it is thought that this will be Don Christofforo di Benavides, who was formerly ambassador, to your Serenity.
Madrid, the 10th October, 1637.
[Italian.] Copy.


  • 1. Fielding sent the following account of the affair in his despatch of the 2nd October : "Upon Tuesday last [29 Sept.] two of my footmen, one a subject of this state, were carried by the Captain Grande and the sbirri to prison for drawing their swords in the defence of another servant of mine and hurting a Venetian in the head, who was ready to kill a Piedmontese in the company of my other servant which was the ground of the quarrel ... the hurt man is in the way of recovery which takes from me the fear of their looking back upon the precedent in England in the imprisonment of one of their ambassador's servants [Venetian Calendar Vol. XXIII, page 437]... howsoever I cannot expect but a fair coming off." S.P. For. Venice.
  • 2. Among the Domestic State Papers (Vol. CCCLXIX. Chas. I. No. 41 ; Cal. S.P. Dom. 1637 page 468) are two sheets, one in Italian, which appears to be a digest of the first two paragraphs of this despatch, the other a translation of the same into English. The wording of the opening sentence is identical. There is nothing whatever to show the provenance of these papers.
  • 3. This notice seems somewhat belated. On the 19th July o.s. Coke wrote to Gerbier in Flanders : "For Monsigot His Majesty hath commanded me to let you know that he found by his first discourse he came hither to embroil business ; but His Majesty quickly put him into better temper, assuring him if she [i.e. the Queen Mother] will remit herself and her business entirely to His Majesty he will undertake to mediate for some accommodation for her. This Monsigot hath promised to persuade her to, and so he was put clean out of his fence. His Majesty finds him an ingenuous man and much pities his condition." S.P. For. Flanders.
  • 4. See No. 285 at page 261 above. Owing to the fears of a French invasion feeling ran very high in Flanders and the Queen Mother's French followers became the objects of much suspicion. Owing to this the local authorities sent to her quarters in order to make a register of the names of her followers, and while this was being done the house was thoroughly searched. The Queen Mother complained to the Cardinal Infant of the insolence shown to her. See Gerbier's despatch of the 5/15 August. S.P. For. Flanders.
  • 5. According to Northumberland's journal (S.P.Dom.Chas. I., Vol.CCCXLIII. No. 72) he landed at Yarmouth on the 9th October o.s. and travelled thence to Court. Sir John Pennington was left in charge of the Narrow Seas, as Admiral on the 18/28 September. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1637, page 425.
  • 6. In his despatch of the 9th October Fielding reports that his servants were returned to him "last Sunday," i.e. the 4th October. S.P. For. Venice.
  • 7. Rainsborough's despatch is dated the 8th August o.s. Sallee was not captured by the fleet, which had been blockading it, but on the 28th July terms of peace were arranged between the town, the king of Morocco and the English commander. Rainsborough encloses a list with the names of 271 slaves released on this occasion, S.P. For. Barbary States, Morocco, Vol. 13. The news was brought by the Vice-Admiral Capt. George Carteret, who reported to the Admiralty from his ship the "Antelope" in St. Helen's Road on the 21 September, o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1637, page 430.
  • 8. "The Sovereign of the Seas" built by Phineas Pett at Woolwich of 1522 tons burthen, and 100 guns. Her cost without her ordnance was £40,833. The date of her launch had been fixed long beforehand as the 25th September, o.s. Oppenheim. Administration of the Royal Navy, pages 255, 260. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1637, page 212.
  • 9. Charles I, duke of Mantua died on 21 September. The princess is presumably his daughter in law, Maria widow of Charles II, duke of Mantua.
  • 10. The news was not true as Vincenzo Soardi bishop of Mantua survived to 1645.