Venice: December 1637, 1-15

Pages 328-342

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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December 1637, 1-15

Dec. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
353. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Instead of the union between this crown and England progressing incidents are occurring and an embittered feeling similar to that which produced the last war. The Cardinal as I reported at the time, made a present to Leicester of a ship considered a lawful prize, taken off La Rochelle. The earl did not accept it, but wrote to his king who replied that he did not ask for a favour but justice ; not only for the bare ship, but all her cargo, worth 50,000 of their crowns here. They retorted here that it was not convenient for his Majesty to produce the money or his subjects either, since it had all gone into their purses. The ambassador insisted they should at least punish one who was the cause of the ship being taken ; but they would do nothing here. Irritated at this the King of England, at the instance of those interested, issued letters of reprisals, by which two French ships have recently been taken. On hearing of this the king's Council issued an edict closing all the ports and shores of this kingdom against English ships. The ambassadors went at once to remonstrate, but were told that they had no cause to but rather his Majesty who met with acts of hostility when making the greatest demonstrations of friendship. He also might have issued letters of reprisals but refrained, to avoid an open rupture. If the English king was bound to defend his subjects, so was theirs. The least that could be done was the seizure of merchantmen, which might lead to a compromise to make enquiry if either party had suffered injury and adjust their differences in a friendly manner. (fn. 1) Leicester asserts that he has represented their case here very strongly in order to soothe them in such a way that he says no one in England shall have reason to accuse him of having been won over by France. Owing to this incident and others the English complain bitterly declaring that owing to the ill treatment they receive they would rather be made prisoners by the Turks than by the French.
Paris, the 1st December, 1637.
Dec. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
354. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When I was talking recently on business with a certain John Gardenar, an Englishman, master of the ship Golden Fleece, which is about to leave here with a cargo for Genoa, Leghorn and Venice, I heard accidentally that he was to touch at the port of Ragusa also with his ship. By questioning this captain adroitly I found that he had in his ship 150 bales of kerseys on behalf of Samuel Vassel and Company, merchants of this mart, (fn. 2) directed to another Englishman, their agent, who has a house at Ragusa. Not content with this I pushed my enquiries further and found out that they send by every ship that lades for Venice a considerable quantity of these kerseys to that place. In view of the harm done to the trade of Venice by the growing commerce of that place, contrary to the ordinances of your Excellencies and to the rights of your dominion over the Gulf, I thought fit, as of myself, to approach this merchant Vassel, who was before this an intimate of mine, to stop him going on with this traffic. According to my custom I gradually led up to the subject, and induced him to admit himself that he was sending these 150 bales to Ragusa. I pointed out in a friendly way the risks he ran, since the goods do not pay the duties owed to your Excellencies. I expressed my belief that if his ship met with the fleet in the Gulf, it would get into trouble, as the places are prohibited, and he may not trade in those ports without paying the ordinary gabelles. I expressed astonishment at his preferring to trade with so much risk with a poor and small city like Ragusa, rather than in safety at Venice, a great place, rich in gold and trade, where the English receive more privileges, favours, and facilities than anyone else.
He listened attentively and believed that I had no other object than friendship. He remarked that he had carried on this trade for many years, and had never paid duties or suffered any mishap in the Gulf. The kerseys pay heavy duties at Venice and there are few opportunities for disposing of them. He had laded a few bales on the ship for Venice, by way of experiment and if it proved successful he would continue to send in greater quantity. His business at Ragusa had once been very profitable as he enjoyed their distribution in Hungary, whither he sent the larger part of his goods, but for some time past that republic had refused him the right to export, and he had to sell them to the people there, who sent them to the Turkish dominions at their own profit and this had greatly reduced his gains. His agent had repeatedly remonstrated with the government there, but in vain, and as a last remedy he had ordered him to go to Belgrade in order to obtain some commands from the Turkish commander there to the Ragusans on this subject, but they had got wind of this and forbad him to depart under pain of outlawry and confiscation. He expressed his displeasure at this and he was trying to find a way for removing all his business from that city.
In answer to his confidences I thought it opportune to urge him to transfer it to Venice, where I assured him he would always meet with satisfaction. He said it was too far for sending the goods to Hungary, and very costly to introduce them there, and not much good. I reminded him that Spalato was very suitable. He said he had thought of that and had written to his agent for information, but the port was not adapted for large ships. I said the ships could anchor at Liesena, whence they could find a way to take the goods to Spalato, which was only thirty miles away, and it would be easy to dispose of them because it was frequented by so many Turks, who trade there in addition to the inhabitants of all Dalmatia, and the requirements of the fleet. He listened to that and told me he would speak to his partners. After telling them of his conversation with me, he came to me on the following day and announced that if your Serenity would grant him some special privilege he would promise to transfer his business from Ragusa to Spalato. I told him that he should receive the most just and courteous treatment ; his business would be much more profitable and safe. I invited him to put his proposals in writing and I would send them to your Serenity, in the assurance that if they were reasonable they would be embraced. He promised to do this and came back this morning on purpose to see me. He gave me the enclosed paper, but not signed, saying that it was only for my information and he would send a like one by the present ordinary to the merchant Obson, who represents him at Venice, with orders to go before your Excellencies with them. I read the contents and intimated that I did not think there would be any difficulty over the first articles, which seemed modest but the last would certainly meet with great opposition, and I asked him to remove it and if he wanted the matter settled with despatch he should ask for something that could be granted easily without the necessity for writing to and fro for fresh orders. I again pointed out the great advantages from changing from the one mart to the other, but that he was not going the best way to secure them. He adduced some considerations which I omit, as being unnecessary, and finally stated that he could not arrange the matter alone, but he would speak about it to the others and they would send more explicit instructions to Obson. He asked me to beg your Excellencies to keep the matter secret in the meantime, so that he might not suffer some injury from the Ragusans, if it came to their knowledge. I promised this courteously and he went away.
Having found out these particulars I have thought it my duty to send word about it immediately, so that if Obson appears your Excellencies may have full information. I will continue my inducements when I see them necessary, and will send word from time to time.
London, the 4th December, 1637.
Enclosure. 355. The Petitioner and his Partners, who alone export to Ragusa cloth and other goods of England, which has gone on for many years, offer to divert this trade to Spalato, whereby they will not only take away the present trade of the Ragusans with the Turks in these goods, but will greatly damage the trade of the Ragusans with Ancona, where they send at present hides, wool, wax and other goods which they obtain from the Turkish dominions through the trade in question. The petitioner therefore desires the following conditions :
That the petitioner or his deputy may be admitted as consuls of his nation at Liesina and Spalato. That in matters in dispute between his countrymen and those of any other nation, they may receive the most prompt and summary justice that can be permitted. That all the goods landed at Liesina and Spalato or sent thence into the Turkish dominions, as well as those taken away shall be free of all duties for export or import for twenty years next following, after which time he will pay all the duties that the other merchants pay in the said places.
Dec. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
356. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The publication here of the new orders for the raising of money for the fleet has excited in some respects the lamentations of the people, and the resolution of some of the magnates, to such an extent that a lord and another gentleman, (fn. 3) under the aegis of the laws, which permit subjects to call the king himself into judgment, even in matters concerning his sovereign rights, if they are not confirmed by parliament, have taken the liberty of appealing to the Courts of Justice against the sentence pronounced two years ago by all the judges of England, declaring that his Majesty can lawfully levy contributions from his subjects for naval emergencies, even without recourse to Parliament.
These are at present contending before a part of the same judges against the royal Attorney General upon the merits of this sentence, pronounced, as they say, without hearing one side, merely upon information laid by the king alone, in a matter never practised in the past and immediately contrary to the fundamental and sacred ordinances of the realm. Everyone wonders at the king's goodness in allowing the public discussion of an affair of such a nature, and it will settle the question of the others, who alone in all England make a similar declaration. They defend themselves modestly saying that as the sentence in question has been delivered against them, they intend to inform the king better, and if they are wrong they will pay without further objection, and if they show they are right, they hope his Majesty will revoke those orders.
In the mean time they do not interrupt the collection of the money, which goes on without further disturbance.
The business of the ambassador of Morocco at this Court, besides some matters of trade, extends to proposals of a union between that king and England against the Spaniards. He offers to attack some place which they hold in Barbary, contiguous to his kingdom, (fn. 4) if the king here will declare himself with him, help him with a few ships and unite with his states, so as only to act in concert. He declares that this diversion will be of great benefit to the public cause, but that if they think it too far off and will supply him with ships to transport 40,000 combatants, who are all ready, he will take them over to Spain and penetrate into the heart of the kingdom. Here they seem pleased at such proposals, but they do not seem disposed to embrace them.
The Prince Palatine writes of the offices passed with him by the French ambassador recently arrived at the Hague. (fn. 5) He says the ambassador urged him, in the name of his king, to take up boldly the command of the army of Hesse. He assured him that the Most Christian would not fail with that assistance which he has hitherto afforded with so much advantage to the public cause, for the maintenance of that army. He seems to desire to be entirely directed in the matter by the indications which the king here will give, whose advice he asks with great insistence. But here they do not change the principles already stated.
The Ambassador Bellievre made his public entry yesterday, with the usual honours. The Master of the Ceremonies went with the royal barques to Greenwich to fetch him as far as the Tower of London. There the Earl of Notingen was awaiting him, who received him in his Majesty's name. In the royal coach followed by many others of the Court he was conducted with his numerous company to the usual dwelling destined for the ambassadors extraordinary where he is entertained at the king's expense until the day after tomorrow which is appointed for his first audience.
Joachimi, the Dutch ambassador, after an absence of fifteen months, has also returned to his residence. He has not yet seen the king on account of a catarrh, which has incommoded his Majesty for some days.
Tomorrow, from what I gather, the despatch for the Ambassador Fildin will start by express, which charges him to proceed to Turin to pay his respects. Meanwhile they speak ambiguously about his return to your Serenity. I will not lose sight of the matter and will send the necessary information. By the king's order they are also sending him remittances for 15,000 crowns, partly for debts due to him and the rest a present for his journey.
Last Wednesday, in the queen's chapel, they held a special service which she attended for the late Duke of Savoy.
Enclosed I am sending a letter of the king in reply to the one of your Serenity, presented by the Ambassador Corraro when he entered this embassy. It was only given me after his Excellency's departure.
London, the 4th December, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra, Venetian Archives.
357. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A very strong and pertinacious wind has prevented the two ships assigned by his Majesty to secure my sea passage from leaving the Downs for this port. This is the seventh day that I have waited and the ever increasing gales and the time of year leave me little hope that I shall get away soon. This delay is most annoying as besides the heavy expense, which is incidental to all seaports, the air here does not suit my constitution, already tried by the climate of the country. I have already had two turns of fever and although they have been slight and intermittent, it causes me some apprehension.
A report is current here that all English ships going to French ports will be detained. The causes given for this are divers and vague, but whether the report be true or false the sailors here seem to attach importance to it, for their own sakes, and will not agree to cross unless they are assured of very considerable gain. I have had to apply to the magistrates to obtain two barques to carry my horses and baggage, a thing which makes me believe that some hitch may have occurred. I will make enquiry and advise your Excellencies if there be anything worthy of your attention.
The Marquis San Pareilli is just now passing this way, sent by the Duchess of Savoy to inform their Majesties of her husband's death. (fn. 6) He leaves a report behind him that he has other and more serious business. If that be so the Secretary Zonca will give you all information thereupon. I am recommending these presents to him as the couriers cannot cross the sea from here.
La Rey, the 5th December, 1637.
Dec. 5.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
358. The English Ambassador came into the Collegio and spoke as follows :
Before he was seated the doge said, We are very glad to see you recovered and looking fairly well. We all deeply regretted to hear of your illness, and we pray that God may preserve you and restore you to perfect health, as you are much beloved by the republic.
The Ambassador said, I thank your Serenity. I cannot say whether my sorrow was greater at being unable to come to your Serenity or my joy at the honour of a secretary being sent to enquire after my health. I have come to thank you for this, as I can never repay such honour. I only desire life and health in order to serve the republic. I do not know if the invitation sent to me was to inform me upon the matter of which I last spoke, so I am here merely to express my obligations, but I am ready to obey in any case, and if you tell me anything I will report it to England, in order to remove anything that may disturb our relations.
The doge replied, Our relations with his Majesty will never be disturbed, as they are based on ancient affection and esteem. The Senate has decided something upon the matter of which you spoke, which shall be read.
The Senate's deliberation of the 7th ult. was then read. The ambassador said I am glad to have heard the Senate's intention, I will report it in the best light. The same thing may happen to your Serenity's own ambassadors. I spoke for all, not for myself alone. I ask permission to take a copy.
The doge replied, Our ambassadors will do their utmost to avoid any cause of offence, as we are sure you do, but those who have a large household cannot always control them. We appreciate and sympathise with your feelings. We should wish to render you entirely satisfied. The office shall be read two or three times and you can have a copy if you wish. For the rest you may be sure of our affection and esteem.
The ambassador said that many times during his illness his duty had struggled with his weakness to come and pay his respects. He then bowed and departed. He went into the other hall and took a copy, and said to me, the secretary, In such a way and with such an office the affair will soon be finished. He regretted the event, but in a numerous household it was impossible to keep all under the master's firm control, and ambassadors are subject to such incidents.
Zon, Secretary.
Dec. 9.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
359. The English Ambassador came into the Collegio and spoke as follows :
I hoped in your last answer to find something that would at least satisfy my honour and my king's, but the more I consider it the less do I find that it meets my request, indeed it imputes blame to me, and says I introduce ideas that no one has ever employed. That would be contrary to my character and condition, so I cannot have been rightly understood or my remarks have been interpreted in a way I did not intend them. I do not wish to infringe the jurisdiction of the republic but to preserve some of my king's. It cuts me to the heart that while I am seeking to foster the good relations desirable between princes, my good will is not merely unrecognised, but things are imputed to me which I never had in my mind, as I know how delicate a matter the jurisdiction of princes is. I thought it right to protest against the outlawry of one who was sentenced for a crime committed when in my service. That has not been answered, and I ask your Serenity to consider my request and give me an answer. I think all princes respect the immunity of ambassadors. I believe that incidents have occurred in England and the same respect has been shown to your Serenity's ambassadors as to those of the greatest crowns. I know that my king will contend that I ought not to be worse treated than every one else, and he will use the precedent for acting in another way. I have known your Serenity's ambassadors in England, France and Holland, I have admired their conduct, but they have not escaped scatheless from the strokes of fortune. The master cannot prevent every disturbance, but a distinction ought to be made for those which are accidental. In choosing ambassadors his Majesty selects the best. I figure as such in England, and try to justify that confidence, but fortune, not good will prevents me from standing on an equality with the others, as I am treated as no other has been, by exacting justice and showing an excessive severity, which his Majesty will never approve. So I ask for some other reply which will satisfy him better and which will relieve my mind of this burden.
The doge answered, We do not think that his Majesty will object when he knows how we have proceeded in this affair. The Senate indeed had some apprehension on hearing that you claimed to punish those of your household who committed crimes in the city. That is why we said the idea was new, as it had never been advanced here. We have every regard for you, but as it is not in your power to keep your people under control, they must be subject to justice to prevent scandal. We know that in England very rigorous proceedings have been taken against the house of our ambassadors for less serious matters, and when they desired pardon they appealed to the king. We profess every respect for him, but we must uphold the liberty and decency of our country and justice. These Signors have heard your statement, and if you wish they will give an answer. We can only remark that if any disturbance arises among your servants in the house the disposition rests with you, but if the scandal occurs in the public street, we might say in the Piazza involving death, justice must do its part and not be left to others, to satisfy the people, for the general quiet and for our service.
The ambassador replied, God forbid that I ever intended to offend your Serenity's jurisdiction. I never claimed this but only to uphold the rights of state with all my power. I have merely spoken of the excessive severity and punishment shown to one of my household for what is generally recognised as a pure accident, and I asked for moderation and a remedy, with another reply, to guide me in my report, so that the circumstances may not be aggravated, by circumstances of offence to my person and the greatness of my king, as they went to such extremes without information and without knowledge of the cause. I can do no more than draw attention to this with deep regret.
The doge said, These Signors have understood ; be appeased and rest assured of our esteem. Everything was done in order. The process was drawn up, examinations taken, the body identified and all the usual legal forms observed. The firing and death of the man were proved. The accused offered no defence or excuse. He was judged according to the laws. Justice has not to find out whether the case is a pure accident, unless it is informed. If it be so the accused should come to make his defence, saying that he took the pistols to be unloaded, he did not know they were loaded and so forth, which might have modified the sentence at the time. After this he can ask for grace, the demands of justice being satisfied, and princes are not so precise over pardon as in justice. We repeat our affection for you, but your good qualities cannot control accidents or excesses.
The ambassador said, May death or any accident overtake me rather than I should claim anything contrary to the jurisdiction and greatness of the republic. I only desire a categorical answer and satisfaction about the punishment of a man who belonged to my household, and that you have at heart the reputation of me and my king. I will await a fresh reply about that, and so with a bow he departed.
Dec. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
360. To the Secretary in England.
The Ambassador Fielding, having recovered from his indisposition, asked for a reply to his office about the pistol. That being read to him, he appeared satisfied ; but he came again yesterday with the enclosed office. We replied as you will see. This will enable you to represent the sincere conduct of the republic, and to show our friendly respect for his Majesty.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
361. That the Ambassador of the King of Great Britain be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
Justice has not been able to change its path for reasons made known to your lordship. Good government requires the observance of the laws. For the rest your lordship has seen enough from past experience to know that although we are restrained within the limits of justice yet we have always been ready to extend favours to you as a measure of our esteem for you personally and of our regard for his Majesty.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
Dec. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
362. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A letter reached the Court unexpectedly these last days from the Elector of Brandenburg, with a book in German directed to the king. The letter contains a humble supplication from his Highness for the king to interpose his offices with the crown of Sweden, so that he may allow him the possession of Pomerania by right of succession after the death of the last duke, as his lawful due. (fn. 7) As an inducement for his Majesty to oblige him the more readily, he recites the things he has done, out of regard for England, in favour of the Palatine house, and asks for sympathy, if, under stress of urgent necessity he has changed those principles and adapted himself to the nature of the times, so that he also might not perish with that house. In the book, among many papers, there is one of the kingdom of Sweden to the following effect, that the late king, moved by zeal for the public welfare had proposed while avenging his own injuries on the House of Austria, to relieve his allies, the princes of Germany, from the bondage in which they were held. For this purpose he had crossed the sea, and successfully driven the enemy from Pomerania. Soon after he made an alliance with the elector in question, who swore to the observance of the articles. He had followed the king's flag while fortune favoured it, but with a change of fortune he also changed his good resolutions, and turned his forces against those who had previously given him liberty, perjuring himself and affording a memorable example of ingratitude, and by this felony he had become incapable of the right of succession which it was admitted belonged to him. In spite of two well founded titles which would justify that kingdom in incorporating those states they declared that as further evidence that they were not ambitious for dominion but merely for the public weal, he had carried his arms into Germany, so that with a general peace he would promptly restore what pertains to him, provided he is indemnified, as is just, for the expenses incurred in the conquest and maintenance.
So far the king has not decided upon his reply, and as there is no one to press for it, he is not expected to devote much attention to the matter, especially as his Highness does not enjoy his Majesty's good will on account of the harm done to the Palatine by his declarations in the peace of Prague and in the diet of Ratisbon for perpetual exclusion from the electoral dignity.
They are going forward with the controversy raised by the two subjects upon the question of the royal power to levy money for the maintenance of the fleet. The nature of the cause draws a large crowd of the people, who observe the arguments advanced by the lawyers and freely form their own judgments. The points for the two subjects are various and steadily supported upon the basis of the laws. Those of the king are based upon a decree of the parliament declaring that he may levy contributions from the people in case of urgent necessity of war, when it is not in the interests of the kingdom to declare the cause, and not otherwise. There are still many replies to make and the result is awaited with impatience.
The Earl of Arfort had the task of conducting the French Ambassador Bellievre to his public audience last Sunday. The Ambassador at first made some objection because the Earl was not of the order of the Garter, but on being informed that one of that Order is only sent to those ambassadors who have the title of cavalier, he was satisfied. Besides the usual honours they lined the streets through which he was to pass with citizen soldiers an innovation which future ambassadors will claim for themselves. I went, as the servant of your Excellencies, to kiss his hands and pay my respects in order to conciliate his confidence, so as to use it for the public service.
The merchant Vassell sent to Obson at Venice by the preceding despatch, the articles for presentation to your Serenity about trading at Spalatro, as arranged between us. I afterwards found occasion to see him, and he confessed to me under his breath that he had directed his agent to alter the third article if he cannot get it as it stands. So far as I can gather from what he says, he has conceived such great hopes of profit from my remarks, that I hope he will fulfil his promise for any slight privilege that he may obtain from your Serenity, and for this Obson has full powers. I have also made careful enquiry to find out if any other merchants here are trading with that mart, and I find that Peter Richaut, who trades on this mart, frequently sends a great quantity of kerseys to Ragusa, not for himself but on commission from many of the inhabitants here and some Anconese as well, who send them on from Ragusa to Ancona. I have not thought it advisable to make any overtures to him, because my representations would be beside the point, since he has no interest beyond his gain from his commissions ; but I thought it my duty to report the matter.
The Ambassador Corraro was detained fourteen days at the seaport of Lary by contrary winds, from crossing to France. The trials of the journey, the inconvenience of the place, the very bad air there in the present season, and his annoyance at the irreparable loss of time have thrown him into a slight fever, though with his over great zeal for the public service, he writes that this will not delay him a moment in continuing his journey, which he will do at the first sign of a favourable wind. He sent me the enclosed for your Serenity, and yesterday I heard from him, in letters of the 9th inst. that the bad weather and the fever still continue.
London, the 11th December, 1637.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
363. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After I had written the preceding letter your Excellencies' despatches of the 7th, 13th and 20th ult. reached me together. I found there the exposition of the Ambassador Fildin, and what you decided to tell him. After carefully studying the reasons of the state and the instructions sent, I went hastily to the Court. There I found that he had not altered the substance of the office performed with your Serenity, but leaving out some examples contained in it he represented succinctly to the Secretary Cuch the remonstrance made because they did not leave to him the punishment of the man condemned for firing the pistol since he had intimated that he had powers for this from the king. With this information I thought it best to see this secretary. He received me cordially and after I had set forth the case of our state, he said, I hope you will not have occasion to make much complaint about this. I will keep a hand on it and see that it is properly arranged. I said I did not wish to make any complaint, but only to inform his Majesty and the ministers of the very good reasons for refusing the unreasonable demands of the ambassador. It is not necessary for you to speak to the king about this, he said, I will tell him and he will rest content. He asked me mildly, by way of excusing the ambassador, if your Serenity would refuse to allow him to punish his servants for faults committed in his own house. I told him this was not our case. Free states allowed no tribunals for justice except their own, and no ambassadors had ever made such a demand anywhere else. I thought, however, though it was only my opinion, that out of the state's regard for his Majesty they would permit slight correction for faults committed by his servants in his own house, but in serious criminal cases it would never do to think of such a thing. I reminded him that the Ambassador Corraro had shown more prudence, when some of his servants were pursued by the populace two years ago up to the very embassy. When one of his servants had killed an Englishman in self defence, his Excellency did not pretend to punish him, but when applying for pardon for the others, he always excluded this culprit. On hearing this Cuch admitted that the demand was unjust. The ambassador had misinterpreted the powers given him by the king. He was a young man with little experience of his profession, and he would soon be leaving. At this, with the idea of finding out if he has orders to return to Venice I said he would always be welcome to your Serenity, and he had had various occasions to perceive the state's desire to satisfy him, even by changing the laws, and he would always find the same after his return from Turin, but so many incidents, one after the other, with aggravated circumstances and such unjustifiable demands could not fail to make fresh trouble. Cuch said he was very sorry ; the king knew the desire of the republic to satisfy him, he would write to the ambassador, and he did not yet know, that is precisely what he said, if he would return to reside at Venice. Finding matters thus, and having a little time to write these few lines before the departure of the ordinary, I have thought fit to do so, and if no further occasion arises, I shall abstain from troubling his Majesty expressly. I shall keep my ears open, and if I think it necessary I will go to him, and I will also find an opportunity to express to him the gratitude and esteem of your Serenity for the confidence and the readiness shown by him in his zeal for the interests of Italy, especially your own.
I will also carry out the instructions in the ducal missives of the 20th about renewing overtures for English ships to trade in Crete, and I will speak as of myself with various merchants here with whom I am intimate, about sending ships there, with the benefit offered them by the Senate's decision of the 14th of November, and I will send your Serenity some information in my next despatch.
London, the 11th December, 1637.
364. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The wind keeps becoming more violent and contrary, preventing vessels of every king from leaving this port for France. Already three of the ordinary messengers from London, who take the merchants' packets to Rouen and Paris, are stranded here sighing for an opportunity to cross. I am now quite ill. This is my thirteenth day here, and I am deeply distressed in mind also, as I am in the dark about everything, quite useless to your Serenity, my only hope of release in that inconstant fortune which absolutely controls such matters.
The report is confirmed that all English ships continue to be seized in the ports of France, in indemnification, they say, for a French ship recently plundered by the English. As the matter is under negotiation it is to be hoped that an adjustment will soon follow, allowing free passage to the English ships, without which France loses the convenience of trade, as with this war she is obliged to make use of ships of this nation entirely.
A large squadron of Dunkirkers was sighted yesterday not far off these coasts chasing three Dutch ships, but as the sea was rough it is believed they will have had to separate and give up the chase. At the same time a large Hamburg ship laden with 800 casks of wine from Spain and many cases of sugar, being overtaken by the same storm, has been wrecked at the mouth of the port here, the greater part of the sailors perishing miserably, besides the loss of the goods.
The moment the wind becomes favourable, although my health requires other wise, I will seize the opportunity to cross, as the loss of time is most irritating and injurious even if it was not accompanied by heavy expense and countless other disagreeable things.
La Rey, the 11th December, 1637.
Dec. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
365. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duchess of Chevreuse entered last Sunday. The whole Court met and escorted her. The Count Duke visited her in the country. His Majesty has shown her the highest honours here. He and the queen accompanied her with every ceremony, on the following day. She has received the 6,000 crowns sent to her and the assignment of 1000 a month. She announces that she will leave very soon. The queen will not feel at all sorry. She has fallen ill since this lady, who is a beauty, came to the palace.
Madrid, the 12th December, 1637.
[Italian.] Copy.
Dec. 12.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
366. The Senate's deliberation of yesterday being read to the English Ambassador, he said :
I am glad of the reply, because when it is reported in England it will be seen if the satisfaction is considered sufficient. I thought that the servants of an ambassador's household should be immune and punished for offences by the justice of princes whom they represent, as is observed everywhere. I am sorry that I was wrong. I would rather have seen this decision practised on others. I have no stronger desire than to please and do nothing to diminish good relations. That is the interest of all ambassadors who are now prejudiced by my cause. That increases my feeling, because for the rest the honour shown me in the reply is excessive. I know that I do not deserve it. I preserve in my heart your Serenity's kindness towards me.
The doge replied, Everyone who knows the government of the republic will understand that you may be satisfied with what is done. We are sure that his Majesty, when informed sincerely of the facts, as you are sure to do, will be perfectly satisfied of our good will. You are dear to us for your goodness and quality. You have no fault to be passed over. Justice takes upon itself the things that happen. A city where the prince is and the seat of liberty, must show the people proper justice.
The ambassador answered, Your Serenity does me too much honour. I will endeavour to report the matter to his Majesty with moderation, but I cannot hide that something has been taken from the prerogatives of my house, and from the right of punishing my own man. I know that it was not done for offence or injury or lack of respect to his Majesty. I will report as mildly as possible, as I wish to avoid all occasions of offence, and I will make good any bad occurrences with my blood.
The doge said he had every reason to perform a good office, as he was beloved and esteemed. He bowed and went out. In taking a copy of the office he stopped several times and remarked to me, the secretary, that he was much honoured and obliged. His insistence arose from the publicity of the matter. Had it not been so public, with the boats and armed men about his house and so forth, he would have suffered it all and rather have come and asked pardon for the man, although it is not usual for ambassadors to ask pardon where they claim that justice has gone too far. He would have wished to have gone to the Collegio at once, without waiting for the embassy of the Secretary Vincenti, although he spoke quite mildly, and in fine he did not wish it to be said that the excellent relations between the King of England and this republic had been adversely affected through him.
Zon, Secretary.
Dec. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
367. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
They hope that every thing will be arranged with England, touching their differences, as a gentlemen is expected with despatches to their ambassadors here for this purpose.
Paris, the 15th December, 1637.


  • 1. Although the particulars given here do not exactly tally, it is clear from Leicester's despatch of the 10/20 November (S.P. For. France, Vol. 104) and from a letter of Sir John Pennington to Windebank of the 26 November o.s. (Cal. S.P. Dom. 1637, page 568), that the vessel referred to is the Pearl, Luke Whetston master, taken by a French squadron under du Chalart in the roads of Safi, Morocco, on the 27th May 1635. See Vol. XXIII, of this Calendar, page 434 and note. After long negotiations without obtaining redress, letters of marque were given to Whetston's son to make reprisals. The French at once took retaliatory measures. "I hear that on Wednesday last [Nov. 11] M. de la Barre, M. de Chavigny's commis, sent away commissions to Rouen, St. Malo, Nantes and Bordeaux, either to arrest or seize all merchandise belonging to His Majesty's subjects. This is done in relation to the letters of marque granted by His Majesty unto Whetston." Scudamore to Coke the 3/13 November, S.P. For. France.
  • 2. Samuel Vassall. See Cal. S.P. Dom., 1637-8, page 104.
  • 3. Lord Saye and John Hampden.
  • 4. Ma'amura or Mehedia in Morocco. See "A General observation of ye Barbary Trade" in S.P. For. Barbary States, Morocco, Vol. 13.
  • 5. Jean d'Estampes de Valencay. He had his first audience on the 11th November. Aitzema : Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. II, page 491. His predecessor Charnacé had been killed at the siege of Breda on the 1st September.
  • 6. The Marquis de Parella ; he started from Turin on the 20th October n.s. to perform this mission in France and England. Morton to Coke, the 20th October, 1637. S.P. For. Savoy.
  • 7. The ducal line of Pomerania became extinct by the death of Burgislaus XIV on the 7th March, 1637. The succession was secured to Brandenburg by the treaty of Grimnitz, concluded in 1529.