Venice: November 1637

Pages 312-328

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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November 1637

Nov. 3.
Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
334. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Eight hundred Scots have arrived at Dieppe, levied by permission of the King of England in that kingdom and destined for the Duke of Veimar.
Paris, the 3rd November, 1637.
Nov. 5.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
335. The English Ambassador came into the Collegio and spoke as follows :
At my last audience I was well content, observing the aversion of everyone from anything that might disturb my peace or control of my household. The secretary brought me a reply to this effect, so I have every reason to call myself satisfied, without considering what was done by others. But the behaviour of the boats was really inexcusable. That is why I asked for punishment. I do not see how I could come to any other conclusion, as the Council of Ten have outlawed the man, showing the utmost severity, without any consideration for the fact that it was a pure accident. Although I have dismissed the man, yet he is punished for an offience committed while he was one of my servants. When the Secretary Vincenti came to me I told him clearly that it was a pure accident. I should have reason to punish him as an example and even dismiss him. In a case where I was so ready to give satisfaction and showed so much good will, there was no occasion for force or stimulus.
When I left England I had very full authority from his Majesty to punish and do justice to the members of my household who committed any fault. I might well have exercised it over this last event, but I did not choose to. I dismissed the man, with orders to go to England to report himself and submit to his Majesty's mercy. The king will have reason to complain of me for having contravened my powers in so important an instance, and I should never have done so if I had thought that, in a case of pure accident, such extreme measures would have been taken. The Council of Ten has taken more account of a boatman slain without any intention of hurting him than of the reputation of my house and my king, even though I protested to the Secretary Vincenti that the power to punish my servants belonged to me. The man who accidentally killed King Henry II of France was not punished with so much severity. I should be sorry if any bitterness was occasioned on this account. I should have thought, after my remarks that your Serenity would have washed your hands of the matter and referred it to the justice of his Majesty, who is interested in giving every satisfaction to the republic. You must not wonder if a different treatment is observed in the future towards your Serenity's embassy in London. My king does not change his methods or purposes, but he will be forced to change by the different behaviour of others. In short, I regret the precedent.
The doge replied, We are glad you are satisfied of the good intentions of the republic, which will always be the best possible. We have said before that the tumult was great on the occasion in question, and the firing of shots, which is forbidden, creates excitement. We attach importance to such matters, and justice acts in order to prevent worse disorders. No one can complain of the activity displayed, as there was no intention of injuring your house but rather to respect it and increase its reputation. The boats followed the Avogadore, who had to go to the spot to make enquiry. The Council of Ten aims at quiet living in the city. In short what occurred was in no way to prejudice you. If such a thing happened in England, in a question of right behaviour and quieting tumults and scandals, we should never interfere with justice. Justice is done in the place where the disorder occurs ; if it was done in England the remedy would come too late. We are sure that his Majesty would extend to us the same benevolence which he has always received from us.
The ambassador replied, My king seeks every opportunity of gratifying your Serenity, and he will take it the worse that so little regard is had for his reputation by comparison with a pure accident, which did not derive from any evil intent. King James always had officials of justice with the ambassadors for all eventualities. The houses of ambassadors enjoy every immunity. I had power to punish the man, but did not insist upon it, and for this I am to have the mortification of seeing him punished by others. It is true he has gone from my house, but he is punished for a thing done when he was with me. Let your Serenity think about it. I am satisfied upon one point, that there was no intention in those acts to offend my house, but I cannot be pleased about the other ; it concerns the interests of all ambassadors everywhere, including those of your Serenity.
The doge added, We can only say that justice has acted more severely because of the nature and consequences of the action than the deed itself, which deserves punishment, as your lordship has shown by dismissing the man. We have a regard for your discretion and prudence and feel sure that you will accept what has been done.
The ambassador replied, Enough, I feel it very bitterly, and I do not know how it will be received in England. They are good and the ambassadors are charged to punish the crimes of their houses. In any case I will not omit the confidences of my office. On the unlucky day of that incident I sent my secretary with some advices, which I believe were received. I now hear that the treaty between the Swedes and the King of Hungary is practically broken off, as the cause of Brandenburgh has intervened to take upon himself and his country the losses those arms inflict, so the Swedes did not want to take it up, especially as their enemies are the stronger, the army of Galasso having joined that of Saxony, the two armies numbering 18,000 men, and that of the Swedes exceeding 16,000. A man has reached Vienna from France confirming the agreement of the Swedes with that king, so things are going badly for that part of Germany. This is important news worthy of consideration, and I report it as a sign of confidence by royal command.
The doge replied welcoming the confidence. Some of the things he reported they did not know and they would always gladly receive his advices. The ambassador said he would always be glad to do anything that would give pleasure to his Serenity and then bowed and departed.
Nov. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
336. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Persuaded by the Prince of Orange and advised by his mother the Prince Palatine writes to the king that he has decided to take up the command of the dead landgrave's army. He asks for help in men, money and advice, declaring that he will not depart from his Majesty's commands one jot in this his first important experience. The king and ministers are pleased at the decision, because they wish that force to be maintained in strength, and because the prince has done this without previously consulting his Majesty, they think they are freed from the obligation to supply considerable help, hoping that the Most Christian and the Dutch will do so abundantly, as it is to their interest that those troops should not be lost, and should be commanded by a man of high lineage, with a following and adherents.
They have replied that his Majesty will always rejoice to hear that his spirit corresponds to his high birth, may he prove a good warrior, and according to that the king's affection will increase towards him, without specifying anything in particular. It is believed, however that some other safe assignment will be added to the pension of 1000l. sterling a month which he enjoys, his Majesty having intimated so much to some one, but they have not yet come to any definite decision.
Meanwhile we hear that the army, of its own accord, has sworn fealty to the son of the dead landgrave, although only nine years of age, (fn. 1) and to Milander, who is confirmed as lieutenant general, with absolute command. But many already pretend to merit that position and try to obtain it by saying that the Palatine should have some one in it who is his particular servant, dependent on his house, or on this crown at least. The king, however, thinks that no other arrangement should be made at present, because he esteems Milander and knows that no change can be made without risking the disbanding of the troops, and everyone considers he is right.
Full powers have been sent to the Agent at Hamburg to accept and promise the ratification of the alliances agreed upon in France, if the other allies concur, leaving other powers free to enter, as originally arranged. But they see clearly that few are likely to do so, except the Swedes and the Dutch, as even Denmark is uncertain. If the Swedes ask the Agent for definite help he is to assure them of his Majesty's good will but not to commit himself further. It is true that the Court here acclaims the Swedish successes against Galasso and his Majesty has rejoiced especially to hear of French reinforcements of 6,000 men for Duke Bernard and of the capture of Danvilliers by the Marshal Chatillon. (fn. 2)
The Court is ready to go into deep mourning for the Duke of Savoy, but has not done so because the Agent has not imparted the news, declaring that it has not reached him. It is, however, further confirmed by letters from France and Flanders stating that Prince Tomaso, although only convalescent, rode off at once to see the Cardinal Infant at Antwerp, with whom he had a long conference. He was about to start for Milan, but was obliged to wait for money from Spain. Gerbier writes to this effect this week.
Scottish affairs are still in the greatest confusion. The people have repeatedly declared orally and in writing that they will not obey the king's ordinances in the matter of the ceremonies and liturgies recently introduced. They offer to dispute the points in controversy, and submit to the decision of a disinterested judgment. If this is refused they protest that they would go to mass at once rather than obey and conform to the present rites of England. The Archbishop is much piqued, considering his doctrine and authority attacked. He says he will risk everything rather than yield a jot. On the other hand everyone cries out against him, accusing him of an unquiet spirit and caprices prejudicial to the state. He does not mind this and has obtained that resolute orders shall be sent to the Scots to obey without question. This has been done and they are waiting with interest to see what effect they will produce. In the opinion of the wisest this must be perilous, because they say that conscience in matters pertaining to divine worship admits of no master but God himself. The Spaniards rejoice at these disputes, hoping that there will be much trouble and disturbance, and the Ambassador Ognate supplies all the incitement he can. This arouses unspeakable resentment in the king, who is more annoyed at his intentions than the results, from which he sees that little mischief can arise.
The King of Morocco has sent an ambassador here, (fn. 3) since the sending of the slaves, to return thanks for the help in recovering Salle and to establish solid relations with this state. He brings four very fine horses as a present to his Majesty, and half a dozen exquisite falcons, a gift that pleases him more than anything could, birds and horses for hunting being for him ministers for his chief pleasures. They say preparations are being made to receive this envoy with great honour, the merchants in particular being most eager to surround him with stateliness and render him every kind of courtesy.
The Polish ambassador still sighs for his reception, which is promised him every day but never granted. The Earl of Arundel works hard in the hope of obtaining consolation for him at last, but although they make resolutions easily at this Court, they all move slowly.
In the ducal missives of the 8th ult. I note the Senate's reply to the English ambassador's communication about the alliance with France, with instructions to speak to his Majesty in conformity. I did this at my last audience of his Majesty and I will do the same with the ministers. I hope to be able to start on my journey at the end of next week.
London, the 6th November, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
337. That the English Ambassador be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
While we are well content with the satisfaction which your lordship has expressed, since there was not the smallest intention by the necessary demonstrations of justice in this last incident to prejudice your honour and person, yet we could not hear without astonishment the remark made in your last exposition, that it would be necessary to admit in this city for cases that arose other judges and tribunals than those of the independent justice of our republic. The practice everywhere and with all princes shows how novel this idea is, which has never been suggested or practised by others. Upon this occasion the Council of Ten, acting as a sovereign tribunal of justice, fulfilled its duties in an entirely right and proper manner, and we are sure that his Majesty will recognise this, for the zeal which the republic has always shown for the welfare and honour of his crown. We have complete confidence moreover that our ambassadors and ministers everywhere will avoid all occasions of creating disturbances, and it would never enter their heads to attempt anything which might wound the jealous and delicate jurisdiction of princes in any way.
Ayes, 103. Noes, 2. Neutral, 10.
Nov. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
338. To the Ambassador in England.
The office decided upon for the Ambassador Fielding has not yet been read to him because he has fallen seriously ill, though he is now somewhat better. (fn. 4) We note, at your leave taking, his Majesty's concern about current affairs, and his charging you to write about them. We cannot pass this in silence and the Secretary Zonca will therefore take an early opportunity to express our gratitude and appreciation for the confidence shown and assure him that we shall always be ready to cooperate for a universal peace and for the peace of Italy in particular.
Ayes, 114. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.
Nov. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
339. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Resident of Savoy has at last received word of the death of his master. He has imparted the information to the king and queen, presenting letters from the widowed duchess imploring their help. The king expressed his apprehension of the very serious nature of the event. He assured the resident of his readiness to procure every satisfaction for his sister in law and every good for her children. He ordered the deepest mourning at Court, which was immediately assumed by everyone.
All sorts of opinions are expressed on the subject, the manner and circumstances of the affair suggesting the most sinister conjectures. However it may have happened there is no doubt that the king is extremely sorry about it, and he utterly reprobates the reports which the Spaniards are trying to pass current, to the prejudice of the duke's posterity. He declared that as the cause was one which the sword alone could decide ; so every upright prince ought to draw the sword in its defence, and the king of France should consider his generous championship of the cause as being among the most sacred and glorious of his actions. (fn. 5) (Certo e che comunque seguito che sia, il Re lo compatisce in extremo, che disapprova totalmente gli divulgationi che van accreditando i Spanuoli in pregiudicio della posterita, dechiaritosi esser causa che come non admette altra giudicatura che quella della spada cosi ogni Principe giusto esser obligato adoperarla in sua difesa ed il Re di Francia dovera annoverar l'opere sue di maggior pieta e di maggior gloria la cura generosa che se ne prende). These words, uttered with fervour, though they may not be followed by deeds, nevertheless express his Majesty's sentiments, as he has always been affectionately disposed towards that house.
He has instructed a gentleman of his chamber, who may leave at any moment, to convey his condolences to the duchess, and the queen has sent another, but they have no commissions besides the compliment, unless it is kept extraordinarily secret.
The king has decided to provide the Prince Palatine with money by degrees in accordance with circumstances, not by a monthly assignment, as was said. This is in order to avoid any formal obligation which might involve him directly or indirectly in the war of Germany, and to be able to withdraw entirely from all expense whenever they wish. Many of the leading lords here offer large contributions in support of the Palatine, but if they accomplish as much as was done about the ships, he will not benefit greatly.
The Agent at Hamburg writes that the Swedish delegates are on their way to the congress, but nothing has been heard of the Danes or Dutch. This annoys the king and serves to intensify greatly the ill feeling against the Dutch in particular. Since they were the first to suggest the taking up of these negotiations it seems extraordinary that they should now lag among the last when matters are in good train to secure the final settlement. If they do not abandon their present indifference we already hear serious threats against their fisheries for the coming year. The ministers here repent of the recent connivance which the Dutch appear to have valued so little and without gratitude. Meanwhile Bosuel is to supply fresh stimulus, to speak high and resolutely and even to make protests, if necessary.
The new French ambassador, after the most manifest peril of death in a furious gale for four days at sea, is expected at Court in two or three days ; but they do not expect that he will bring the articles of the alliance signed, as the English ambassadors in France make no mention of the subject.
They have given a final refusal to the Polish ambassador, and so he has taken a ship and will proceed by it to Holland. He considers he has many occasions for offence, besides not being received.
The Countess of Newport has suddenly declared herself a Catholic and taken part at mass publicly with the queen several times. The king and her husband are bitterly displeased. The pope's agent is accused of having persuaded her. The sharpest things are said against him. Those who suffer at seeing him here seize the opportunity to criticise all his other proceedings and try to get him removed from the Court. By this stroke he has certainly lost much of his Majesty's favour, and if the king were not unwilling to offend the queen, he might possibly take some resentful measure against him. The ministers here say, however, that if he continues to make similar achievements his stay in England will not last long. If it is to be brought to obedience to the Roman pontiff let them dispute with bishops and convince the divines, not try to profit by the simplicity of women, over whose weak minds the last impressions are always the strongest.
The Senate's last letters of the 15th October mention the release of the English ship at Fielding's request. I made this known at Court, especially to the ambassador's relations, whom I also told about his servants who were arrested. As he had not written about either the news was most acceptable, especially to the Countess of Denbigh, who said she could not speak highly enough of your generosity towards her son.
I am ready to start on my journey and expect to do so before the next despatch, as I only want some passports for France. Yesterday his Majesty gave me the usual weight of silver gilt, such as your Serenity's ministers have always received. I hope your Excellencies will allow me to keep it. I shall consider it a favour to advance my poor fortunes, to help me uphold your service with decorum.
London, the 13th November, 1637.
Nov. 14.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
340. To the Duke and Captains in Crete.
Order to publish the decision of the Senate enclosed for the encouragement of the trade with Western ships and charge to see that foreign ships do not suffer extortion from the officials of the Sanita, and that the magistrates do not meddle any more with the estimates and goods of these same ships, so that trade may be free and flourishing.
That a copy of the above letter and deliberation be sent to the Proveditore General in Crete to see that this decision is carried into effect.
Ayes, 128. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
341. To the Ambassador in England.
We enclose a copy of the decision taken for the purpose of renewing the trade of England and Flemish ships with Crete. It is hoped that the remission of the duties will prove a great inducement. You will try to persuade merchants to make the voyage, and to import and export goods with these new advantages. We shall wait to hear what you do and shall note the results.
The like to the Ambassador at the Hague.
Ayes, 128. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
Nov. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
342. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
With regard to the dispute with the Palatine family, although they see here that the steps taken by that prince are not likely to cause them much anxiety, on account of their feebleness, and although they do not think that England will pledge herself deeply in a manner which is likely to give excessive advantages to France, yet they also recognise that the adjustment of these difficulties would be the real way to discourage the enemies of the House of Austria and might possibly lead to a durable adjustment. Accordingly in pursuit of this aim they give credence to Teller and continue to treat with him. But that individual, having been deluded so many times in the past negotiations, no longer listens to their cajoleries. This may be in order not to arouse the jealousy of the king, his master, from whom he has received no letters for several months, or because he knows well enough that there is no reason to expect favourable results.
Vienna, the 14th November, 1637.
Nov. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
343. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Marquis of Mirabel has been charged to receive the Duchess of Chevreuse to whom they have assigned the Duke of Alva's house.
Madrid, the 14th November, 1637.
[Italian.] Copy.
Nov. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
344. To the Ambassador in England.
After causing the office about the incident of the man who fired a pistol to be read to the Ambassador Fielding, and after his reply to the secretary in which he seemed satisfied, he has been to the Collegio to make the enclosed exposition. As his pretensions seemed extravagant to us, we do not know if he is moved by his fiery nature, his youth or his lack of experience, or whether he is fomented by others, who hope to fish in troubled waters.
The banishment of the culprit by the Council of Ten was just and reasonable, because the firing of the pistol, the death of the man, the popular commotion and their apprehension of disturbances which are always arising from the ambassador's house, and the likelihood of some tumult, call for prudent handling and prompt measures. His statement that he expects to punish his own, that he has authority to do so in this city by order of his king, and the like, is not good hearing for a free and independent prince and it cannot be made good. In England our representatives have always behaved with every regard, but in any case the republic would never claim anything but the satisfaction due to the immunity of the embassy and the honour of the ambassador. That is the practice everywhere, and such pretensions have never been advanced by any one soever. There have been many instances of exemplary justice against the servants of ministers. Nowhere is the privilege of ambassadors more fully respected than here, so that everyone ought to be satisfied, especially where, as in this last case, repeated declarations have been made that there is not the slightest idea of offending his house in what has been done, in addition to what has recently been done for his satisfaction. From all this you will have abundant material for showing the king and ministers, if provoked, that the state has acted rightly. When these things are rightly understood we do not doubt but that they will discountenance these last pretensions of the ambassador, just as they will approve of the punishment of crimes of the worst character, especially as the ambassador himself recognised the gravity of the case. As a further sign of respect for the ambassador the culprit was not named in the proclamation as his servant, as you will have observed, although the ambassador contradicts himself and tries to make matters worse by making out that the man was punished, although dismissed, for something done by him while he was his servant.
If you are still in England we shall be glad that the matter is in your hands, but if you have gone, the Secretary Zonca will represent our proper conduct in this matter, in order to prevent any mischief from the members of the ambassador's family.
Ayes, 103. Noes, 2. Neutral, 10.
Nov. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
345. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After I had informed the Court of the favours granted to the Ambassador Fielding in the release of his servants and in the matter of the English sailor who infringed the sanitary regulations, he has himself reported the second, without mentioning the first, expatiating on the honours lavished upon him by your Excellencies. Moved by these representations the king sent the Secretary Vindebanch to me yesterday on purpose to say that he had heard from the ambassador at Venice that the republic had released an English captain who had been condemned to five years' imprisonment, and to express his thanks for the favour.
I made a suitable reply and explained the importance attached to sanitary matters at Venice. I also alluded to the release of the servants, who had mortally wounded without cause a poor man in the very Piazza of San Marco, a place venerated and respected by all. But the secretary said that his Majesty had not yet received any information about this from Lord Fielding, and so he was not directed to speak about it. I also took the opportunity to assure him of your Serenity's desire to cherish the best relations with his Majesty. We then talked of other things.
The Secretary spoke to me of Italy, France and Germany. Of the first he said they were waiting here to see the effect of the death of the Dukes of Savoy and Mantua. Of the second that the king and his good servants rejoiced to hear of the successes there, and of the last that they feared the Swedes would finally succumb to their misfortunes. The king would regret this, though it was difficult to prevent. In order to induce him to speak more freely I remarked, as if from myself, that the armies serving in Germany were foreigners and subsisted for the most part by the favour of Fortune rather than on any solid basis of strength, and therefore called for the assistance of powerful and friendly princes and of those in particular who can supply it without inconvenience. He took this up promptly, saying that the king, my master, may be counted among these. He certainly will not fail to do his share. He is liberal now, without any obligation to be so, in granting to the Swedes abundant levies of troops from his realms, and he will be so in other matters when the occasion is more mature and appropriate. If the French were as eager over this as the English are ready to go and meet them, the world would not have occasion to stand waiting or the rest of us to remain in suspense. By these and similar touches he wished to convey to me that they are anxious and eager here for the establishment of the alliance, and that its effectuation is only delayed through the fault of the allies. These opinions are common to all the ministers, but the particular emergencies of the kingdom make one doubt whether their real sentiments correspond with their words.
London, the 18th November, 1637.
Nov. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
346. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The excessive honours accorded to the Moroccan Ambassador, to the general amazement, both at his entry and audience, have induced me to observe carefully their aims, and I think it my duty to send an exact report. Besides a numerous escort of aldermen and merchants, on horseback, he was accompanied at both functions by an earl, at the king's express command, (fn. 6) with all the circumstances of coaches and other things used with the extraordinary ambassadors of kings and with the ordinary ambassadors of France and Spain, and not usual with others except those of your Serenity.
I have observed a custom practised for many years to the prejudice of your ordinary ambassadors, who are accompanied at their entrance by a baron and to their audience by an earl only, thus making a difference between them and those of France and Spain, who are always accompanied by a earl to both. I think this ought not to be allowed to continue. As you have enjoyed for centuries at all other Courts a position equal to that of the other kings, I certainly think that so great a difference in a conspicuous ceremony is much noticed, a baron being two ranks below an earl, with the viscount in between. That an ambassador extraordinary of Morocco should have privileges above the ordinary of your Serenity cannot fail to be prejudicial to your prerogatives, and gives a hold to those who wish to be equal with you. The Dutch at their entry have a welcome equal to that of the Signory, and now at Beveren's leave-taking they have gained the right to mount the steps of the dais, so they will clearly have occasion in everything else to claim equality with your Serenity's ministers, when hitherto they have been content to be treated with a difference at this Court in the title and other things. The present occasion, which has excited general talk and induced the curious to make more minute calculations about the degrees of honour shown to foreign ministers at such ceremonies, seems to call for your Excellencies to assert your rights, as it is not possible that they can pretend to treat your ambassadors with less respect than those of a barbarous prince, with whom they have not and can never have any great interest. I am sure it would be easy because it is right, because his Majesty seems disposed that way of his own accord, for when I first came he had me received by Lord Grandison, a viscount when the others were always received by a baron.
If I could have been sure of your approval I would have introduced the subject before leaving, but I could not help expressing my opinion to you so that between my departure and the arrival of Giustinian you may give such orders to Zonca as you see fit.
Tomorrow, please God, I shall begin my journey, leaving the Secretary Zonca to despatch these presents.
London, the 19th November, 1637.
Nov. 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
347. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When I was sealing my last letter with the intention of starting my journey today, your letters of the 22nd reached me with the account of the shot fired at San Moise by a servant of the Ambassador Fielding, an event apparently aggravated by many circumstances, which it seems from the ambassador's exposition may afford material for fresh trouble. I have therefore thought it my duty to stop to carry out my instructions, and find out his Majesty's sentiments and the feeling at Court. I immediately took steps to find out how the ambassador represents the event, and I see that he makes it appear purely accidental. He complains greatly of his house being surrounded on the land side by more than fifty sbirri, and on the water side by more than one barque armed with muskets and falconets, an unheard of thing, contrary to the law of nations and the privileges inseparable from the house of a public minister. He says he has remonstrated to your Serenity and expects an answer from the Senate which will repair the affront. He says the one who fired the pistol was a lackey, and when taking it with another to be repaired and playing with it, without knowing it was loaded, it went off and unhappily wounded a person whom he did not know. He says he at once deprived the man of his livery, had him severely beaten and dismissed him from the house. The letter is still in the hands of the Marquis of Hamilton and the Secretary Coke to whom he directed them, and will not be communicated to the king before tomorrow, the day on which he returns from the chase. The marquis speaks as is his wont, in favour of his brother in law, saying that they are making too much fuss about an accident, and insists strongly on the lack of respect to the ambassador's house. I shall announce the true facts in such a way that they shall reach his Majesty, and then I will send full particulars.
If the decision stands that the ambassador goes to Turin to offer condolences to the widowed duchess, it is whispered that he may be commanded to come home without returning to Venice, as these numerous misadventures to him at Venice cause great bitterness in general at Court, and there are rivals who talk about them much to his disadvantage.
A most severe decree was issued last Sunday by the royal Council against all Englishmen who profess the Roman religion, threatening with the severest penalties all those who are accused of continuing to practise it, and those especially who are found frequenting the chapels of the ambassadors or even that of the queen herself. (fn. 7) This severity is entirely due to the conversion of the Countess of Newport, whose relations, being members of the Council, have promoted it. But the decree has not yet been published, and as it has been printed more than four days, many believe that they will not let it be published until it has been modified, at least to some extent. The pope's agent is exceedingly afflicted about it, knowing that his excess of zeal has been in great measure the cause of this proceeding.
The Polish ambassador left for the Hague as I wrote, deeply offended and displeased beyond words. I imagine he has some business in those Provinces and letters and commissions for the Princess Palatine also. But people think that she will not give him a better reception than he met with in England, and possibly the king has intimated to her that such is his desire.
The Ambassador Bellievre has arrived in the city but remains incognito as yet, as he lacks a part of his baggage which went astray on a small boat during his sea passage. He refuses visits both public and private so I do not think, I shall have an opportunity of seeing him, though I will try to. My approaching departure dispenses me from ordinary formalities and I shall try to introduce myself for a private and confidential office.
London, the 20th November, 1637.
Nov. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
348. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Before the Prince of Condé left the English ambassadors here received orders to give the title of Highness to him and to the Count and Countess of Soissons ; but before doing so they asked his Majesty's consent. He told them he should take it as a sign of their king's friendliness to his house and begged them to do so, especially with the Prince.
The Ambassador Leicester says that with the two crowns agreed the King of England may grow tired of treating any longer with the Swedes and Dutch, who blame each other for the delay in accepting the alliance. But this may be an artifice, as they will do nothing here except jointly with their allies and they assert that they will continue the war without England. Yet Leicester maintains that they will never have a good peace except in the way that his king proposes.
Paris, the 24th November, 1637.
Nov. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
349. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When the king returned from hunting, the Marquis of Hamilton and the Secretary Coke together told him what Fielding had written about the accident of the pistol, representing it very moderately. His Majesty considered the case an extraordinary one, seemed to regret it deeply and much more when he heard that the poor man had lost his life. Fielding gave a full account of this, and made some complaint because the reply to his offices was so long delayed, but said he hoped that he would soon have a favourable one.
These hopes have soothed the Marquis, who was the only one to make a fuss, and have satisfied the king as well as all the ministers, so that although some of them, and the Secretary Windebank in particular, intimated that your Excellencies should take some steps against the officials who approached the embassy, he is satisfied with the reply decided on, and there is no doubt the affair will end with complete satisfaction here. The sentence against the culprit is admitted by all to be most just, and even the Marquis of Hamilton, although at first he blustered more than any one else, wishes the matter settled quietly, as he knows that the constant discussion of these troublesome matters does no good to his brother in law.
I have confirmation of this from many quarters, and he himself, in letting me have a passport for my journey, with which his office is concerned, sent to tell me that all Fielding's relations, and he more than any, were deeply indebted to the republic, as nothing could equal the kindness they had shown to the ambassador. He asked me to beg you to command your ministers who might reside here in the future, to apply to him in any emergency in the assurance that they would always find him ready to do everything in his power to serve them. I made a courteous reply, assuring him that you should be told and would appreciate the offer.
Fielding's commissions for the Duchess of Savoy have been drawn up and consigned to the said marquis, who will transmit them one of these days by express. (fn. 8) They will give him letters for your Serenity about the reason for his going and general thanks for the constant favours received during his embassy. I am assured that the letters will contain nothing about his return, because opinions still differ on the subject. I believe that he will return, because although the majority advise his recall, and many who want to succeed him for their own interests are trying to bring it about, yet his relations, who at present enjoy every sign of the royal favour, wish otherwise and will easily succeed in having him kept on, until he himself asks differently, as it is his interest not to give it up before he is certain of some other employment to satisfy him.
With matters in this satisfactory condition I consider myself at liberty to proceed to France, in the assurance that if anything else turns up the Secretary Zonca will admirably uphold the dignity and interest of the state, as he has before in so many occasions of more difficulty.
Although the absence of his baggage compels the Ambassador Bellievre to keep incognito, I have succeeded in having a confidential meeting with him when the usual compliments were exchanged. He is a minister of remarkable abilities, as your Excellencies know. The whole Court greets his arrival with acclamation, and if occasion serves him he may achieve very considerable advantages for the public cause. He repeatedly professed his obligations to your Excellencies, and promises to cultivate the best relations with your ministers. He asked me to assure you of this and that you may count on him as your devoted servant. I tried to respond suitably to this, and I am glad that the slight prolongation of my stay here has served to open such good relations with this new minister.
The ducal missives of the 30th ult. have reached me this week.
London, the 26th November, 1637.
Nov. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
350. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After nine years continual labour as secretary with your Serenity's ambassadors in Holland and here, with a heavy drain on my poor substance and a loss of health, which makes me need rest more than further movement, I bow myself to the commands of your Serenity, with more courage than aptitude, to act for the second time as your minister here until the arrival of the Ambassador Giustinian. I hope that my devoted service will meet with your approval. I will follow in the footsteps of the ambassadors and the instructions they have left me.
After punctually fulfilling the offices of courtesy, by the exchange of visits with the king and ministers here,the ambassador set off yesterday for the coast, on his way to France, leaving the Court highly edified by his high qualities. These in addition to the liberality of his gifts, freely distributed where requisite, a thing which renders the representatives of your Serenity conspicuous above all other foreign ministers, have deservedly won him universal goodwill.
A certain English merchant (fn. 9) living in this city, in whom the king has great confidence, is nominated in conjunction with the commissions of the Ambassador of Morocco. He is at present negotiating with the Signor Cuch, with whom he had a long conference yesterday. It is supposed that it is about mercantile trade, but I will find out more about it, and inform your Excellencies from time to time.
New royal orders have appeared for the exaction of money to be used for the preparation and maintenance of the naval force, which they say will sail next year in greater numbers than ever. The total will amount to some 600,000 crowns. Although the people are becoming accustomed to bear it, yet one hears some outcry, the more so as it is freely stated that the fleet in question serves no purpose except to compel the Dutch fishermen to recognise their sovereignty over the sea, and as they have announced that they will not admit it, it may in time cause inconveniences to this kingdom.
The last letters to reach the Court from Holland report that the Prince Palatine is not inclined to proceed to the command of the army of Hesse until the spring, making as his excuse the lack of food and forage, which does not admit campaigning in those parts. But it would seem that the Prince has better fortune than courage, and they do not venture to urge him on here for reasons already given.
I send herewith the despatches left me by the ambassador for your Serenity.
London, the 27th November, 1637.
Nov. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
351. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Vice Admiral of the Sea is taking his station at present off England, with the frank determination to engage the fleet, and throwing in all his forces lavishly, to commit himself to the arbitrament of Fortune no matter what the consequences may be. He is undoubtedly a most valiant warrior and among the most seasoned in war of their school. (fn. 10) It seems that an ardent desire burns ever more brightly in the bosom of the people here to hear he has been successful.
The Hague, the 28th November, 1637.
Nov. 28.
Collegio, Lettere, Principi. Venetian Archives.
352. Carolus Dei Gratia Magnae Britanniæ etc. Rex Serenissimo Principi Domino Francisco Erizzo Venetiarum Duci etc. Salutem. Serenissime Princeps :
Nobilem vestrum legatum Angelum Corrarum a nobis discedentem grato nostræ benevolentiae testimonio merito persequimur, ut virum ob virtutem suam et prudentiam nostro aeque ac vestro favore dignissimum. Sicut enim negocia commissa fideliter exsequens vestrum honorem bonumque summæ sibi curæ esse. Ita etiam aequum erga Nos affectum et cultum commonstrare semper voluit. Ceterum Vestram Serenitatem diutissime valere Remque publicam usque prosperrime florere vovemus. Dat. ex nostro palatio Westmonasterii XIIX. Nov. anno Christi MDXXXVII., regnique nostri XIII.
Vestrae Serenitatis bonus consanguineus.
[Signed] ; Carolus R.


  • 1. William VI born on the 29th May, 1629.
  • 2. On Tuesday the 27th October.
  • 3. Gaudar ben Abdala. Salvetti writing on the 30th October says he reached London 'yesterday.' Brit. Mus. Add MSS. 27962H.
  • 4. On this very day Fielding wrote that he was suffering from a double tertian fever. 'I hope now at the height.' the illness having begun 'this day sennight.' On the 20th he was able to report himself free from fever though very weak. S.P, For. Venice.
  • 5. Salvetti's despatch of the 27th November throws some light on this passage. He writes : La passata in quella parte [Piedmont] del Sig. Cardinale [Maurice of Savoy] da qui grande occasione di discorso e in un stesso tempo di ravivire altri concetti di poco gusto a questa Corte, toccante la illegitimita dei figliuoli, et e difesa dalla Regina e tutta questa Corte con molto senso. Brit. Mus. Add MSS. 27962H. The duke had died so suddenly and unexpectedly that some colour was given to the reports that he had been poisoned by the French Marshal Crequi (Nani : Historia Veneta pages 318, 319) ; but it would appear from these passages that in order to secure the succession of the late duke's Hispanophile brother, the Cardinal Maurice, doubts were being cast upon the honour of the Duchess Christina, whose cause was championed by her brother, Louis XIII.
  • 6. The ambassador's audience took place on Sunday, the 15th, when he was introduced by the earl of Shrewsbury. Salvetti, despatch of the 20th November. Brit. Mus. Add MSS. 27962H.
  • 7. The order in Council summarised in the Cal. S.P. Dom. 1637 page 491. It is there dated tentatively the 22nd October but it would appear from this dispatch that the order was issued on Sunday the 5/15 November.
  • 8. They are dated the 15th November, o.s. S.P. For. Venice.
  • 9. Probably Robert Blake, agent for English merchants in Morocco, who had farmed the customs of the king of Morocco and was soon after this date acting as that king's agent in England. He went out in 1638 as the English agent of Morocco. S.P. For. Barbary States, Morocco, Vol. 13. "A General Observation of ye Barbary Trade." Cal. S.P. Dam. 1636-7, page 440 ; 1637-8, page 204.
  • 10. After the resignation of Philip van Dorp the Dutch, on 27th October appointed Martin Tromp Lieutenant Admiral in his place, and Witte Cornelis de Witte Vice Admiral. Aitzema : Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. II, page 491. The former is almost certainly the one referred to in the text. He was reported by Pennington as being in the Downs on 30th January following. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1637-8, page 202.