Venice: August 1636, 1-15

Pages 34-42

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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August 1636, 1-15

Aug. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
36. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
I travelled to this place to meet the Earl of Arundel, who, after seeing the queen and the archduke came here on his way to Prague, where he proposes to stay until he sees what will happen about the Diet. After exchanging compliments I led him on to speak about the Palatinate. He told me that the ministers deputed by his Majesty proposed to refer the decision to the Diet at Ratisbon. He had offered no opposition although he was very anxious to return home. He saw that their chief aim here was to prevent the Palatine family from becoming too powerful in the empire, so that they might not do worse things than the father had done, with the support of England. If the wound cannot be healed otherwise they must apply iron and fire. He spoke highly of the emperor as a generous and gracious prince ; but he did not seem pleased with the ministers, especially the bishop. He went so far as to say to me that he marvelled greatly at seeing a person of that condition with scarcely any grip of the various interests of the powers or of what the affair of the Palatinate means. As a matter of fact the short comings of the emperor's council seem to be recognised by general opinion, since it contains no individual with sufficient spirit and resolution to withstand the views of the Count of Ognat, who carries his point every time with scarce any exertion. Although his Majesty is aware of this prejudicial state of affairs, yet he does not see how he can help himself. The earl told me that he thought of coming to this Court when the business was done, but he could scarce see a beginning and the matter was so tangled that he did not see how it could be unravelled in a short time.
Under his breath he complained of Teler, though without naming him, because he had negotiated in one fashion here and had written to London in another. This was the origin of the sending of an ambassador, which was perhaps premature as it was undoubtedly most hurtful to the dignity of his king, because Cæsar had scarce heard of the decision when they shut Radolti's mouth. I knew that the emperor and the ministers had told the ambassador of the alliance offered by Teler if the Lower Palatinate was restored. Arundel declared that Teler had no such instructions and deserved very severe punishment. The emperor wished to send for Teler to confront Arundel and say it to his face, but he steadily refused. In any case he has been much discredited and covered with confusion (volse l'imperatore che si facesse venir avanti de lui il Teler in presenza d'Arundel per dirglielo in faccia, ma egli nego sempre, restando in ogni modo assai discreditato e confuso.)
I have also heard from a most trustworthy source, that although Arundel demands everything, yet he will be content in the end to lay aside his threats and severity and agree to receive that portion that is offered to him, but upon two conditions. These are : that the Palatine family shall not be debarred from claiming more at another time and that Cæsar shall make an express declaration to this effect ; and secondly that England shall not be saddled with any obligation to make an alliance against France and still less against the Dutch ; since it is understood that the several claims of the English and their High Mightinesses to the lordship of the sea are on the way to an adjustment. On the other hand the Spaniards say that they are determined not to let go of the Palatinate, and Bavaria will offer vigorous opposition. So the affair is plunged in deeper difficulties than ever. The outcome will depend largely upon the success of the Austrians in the present campaign.
Fraistat, the 1st August, 1636.
Aug. 2.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
37. Representations have often been made of the hurt done to the customs by goods brought by ships from the West coming to lade oil in Apulia, which first come here. With regard to the measures to be taken in order to induce English and Flemish ships to come to this city and to encourage trade, be it resolved :
That for two years the oil brought to this city for the West, Flanders and England be free of all export duty and that it pay the same import duty as oil of the Levant, which is only two thirds that paid by oil of Apulia.
That oil not exported within the term of four months and eight days shall pay the entire import duty and shall only be exempted from the export duty.
That those who export the oil shall leave a pledge that it is to be taken to the countries aforesaid.
Ayes, 121. Noes, 1. Neutral, 9.
The last paragraph was added in the Pregadi, on the 5th September.
Ayes, 133. Noes, 2. Neutral, 6.
Aug. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
38. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Ambassador Leicester is awaiting an answer from Bottiglier, one of the commissioners appointed for him about remedying the irregularities which he declares are committed by all the French on the sea coast infringing the treaties with England. He says he fears that if they do not attend to this reprisals will be begun on both sides, and an open rupture between the two crowns will arise from private quarrels, a thing which they would deeply regret.
Paris, the 5th August, 1636.
Aug. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
39. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Little or nothing of importance has been done this week. The King hunts all day and therefore never stops more than two or three nights in the same place.
At the sitting of the Council on Sunday two important topics were discussed to wit, the Dutch fisheries and the last despatches from Germany. In spite of the specious promises to the contrary made to Beveren they decided to send 12 of the best ships with all speed and secrecy to the North in quest of the fishing busses, and to execute certain orders, the nature of which cannot be discovered. It is supposed that the intention is to frighten them to make terms and to use force if required. This is the policy attributed to some of the ministers, so one may well doubt if their deeds will ultimately prove as serious as their threats. A strong argument for taking this view may be adduced from observing what scant attention they pay to the offices of the Dutch ministers, and that while soothing them with smooth words they take the most vigorous and severe steps against the interests which they represent. In discussing the matter with one of the ministers Beveren said that the Dutch were not accustomed to bear the yoke of servitude, but were friendly and free everywhere, and least of all would they tolerate vassalage at sea, and if provoked they might take unexpected measures, which would certainly be dangerous. These were the greatest inducements to make his masters come to terms with the Spaniards, not because they wished it, but of necessity, if England will not change her present principles, as the forces of the States cannot resist the attack of so many and such powerful enemies. They seem to pay little attention to these remonstrances here, and apparently they think only of present profit, without any regard for future consequences.
The account given in Lord Arundel's despatches of the special honours received from the emperor and of the good intentions he expresses, give satisfaction, but on the other hand the slow movements of the Spanish ambassador and the declaration of the papal nuncio that he wishes to have a voice in the negotiations are deemed artifices on purpose to keep up ambiguity and irresolution for ever, and this increases the dissatisfaction. In order to get rid of uncertainty they decided to send back the same courier to Arundel, as they did at once, with orders to press with all his might for a decision and to add fresh protests that all delay would be considered as an absolute refusal. Although they feel these checks, yet the successes of the Spanish arms in France and their continuance by no means displease them, the curiosity shown by many to hear such news affording an evident sign that they look very partially on the Spanish side here, which is supported by the one who can do most in the position of the greatest advantage. They have given up without difficulty the ready money brought with him by the young Count of Ognate, which was seized for some old debts, upon no other satisfaction than a few words from Nicolaldi. This has greatly afflicted the French, showing them very clearly that they continue to support the passage to Flanders not so much for the profit which they make out of it, as because of their partiality for the interests of Spain.
The Master of the Ceremonies called upon me two days ago. As if from himself he approached the subject of my visiting this new Spanish ambassador. He said he thought I should obtain every satisfaction I desired in dealing with him. I saw quite well that the motive was not the real one, but suggested by the one who has an interest in this affair. Observing the rules of decorum and courtesy I told him that for my part I was ready to embrace every opportunity of corresponding with him, and thus seal by the communication between ministers the good relations existing between our princes, if I was sure that he would treat me with the proper forms. He then began more openly to ask me particulars of my claims. In order to remove all pretexts for dispute and make myself clearly understood I told him that I claimed nothing more than was reasonably my due, and what was granted without dispute by the ambassadors of France, leaving out the inferior ones, and everywhere and always, namely the title of "Excellency," precedence in their houses, reception in the proper place, and accompaniment to the coach. If the Spanish ambassador would agree to these conditions I should not be slow to show him the effects of my good will in everything. The Master of the Ceremonies expressed his belief that the Spanish ambassador would do by me as the French had done, and he would undertake to assure me about it for his part when he had another opportunity of seeing me.
Acknowledges State despatches of 27th June.
Oxford, the 6th August, 1636.
Aug. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
40. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Court seems deeply displeased and not a little ashamed at the news brought last week of the return to Holland of eighty barques laden with a most abundant quantity of fish, as if the Dutch made mock of the severe and threatening protests made to them and had triumphed to the shame of England more over the glory than over the booty they brought home. Everyone, therefore seems to be waiting with the utmost impatience to hear what the squadron recently sent to the North may have been able to do against the rest of them and if it were not for the question of reputation they would like to send the remainder of the fleet also. Many, however, believe that all these demonstrations are only a show designed to please the Spaniards, that they have studiously covered their connivance with coldness and delay and are thoroughly satisfied that the fishermen have performed their operations without hindrance, and indeed if one examines the matter closely and trusts the evidence of actions, one may clearly see that nothing has been done against them but what they wished, and there has decidedly been no lack either of time or opportunity for doing what they threatened. But I will let the truth take care of itself and refer myself to what happens in the future.
Orders have been sent to the English resident at Hamburg to let Oxestern know that if Arundel's mission fails they will not wait any longer to take such vigorous resolutions as are required. He is also to persuade Oxestern to make terms with the emperor, promising Sweden every assistance from England, on the understanding that Oxestern shall befriend the Palatine in return. Thus they wish this to be the principal object of such conference, although for other ends they keep it secret, as it is certain that the peace of Germany only is what they build their surest hopes upon at present for reinstating the Palatine, as they consider the operations for a general peace insecure.
They do not attach much importance to the legate's going to the conference, (fn. 1) as they consider that the difficulties will be all but insuperable. Arundel speaks very soberly of his negotiations with Cæsar, so far, or else is indulging in a very elaborate deception (ovvero con falacia molto artificiosa). The ministers here, in their conversation on the subject, carry their reserve to the most extreme limit. This is the most conclusive indication that they are very far from satisfied as benefits and advantages which are received or expected are generally made public with abundant particulars even before the time.
An extraordinary courier has reached the new Spanish ambassador, sent so they say, by his father on private affairs. If it is for anything else there is no possibility of finding out, as he still maintains his incognito and it is not known when he intends to appear in public.
Nothing more has been said about his visit to me. Meanwhile I have received with very great satisfaction your Excellencies' instructions on the subject. I will let the French ambassadors know in confidence that these overtures receive their impulse from Spain and not from the republic.
Sig. Giorgio Coneo, sent by the pope to establish an ordinary residence at this Court, arrived these last days (fn. 2) and on Sunday Panzani went with him to kiss the hands of both their Majesties. They received him with the greatest courtesy and it was particularly observed that the king seemed extraordinarily pleased at his arrival. This has much perturbed the lords and leading ministers, who fear this novel and free revival of confidential relations with the Holy See will in the end give rise to divisions and bitter hatred which will serve to turn utterly upside down the quiet of the people and the repose of the realm.
This individual will find great schemes, aiming at the most profound alterations in the government, sketched out by Panzani. If he has the wit and good fortune to carry these through to the end for which they have been begun, he may hope to leave an immortal name here. Although I have tried hard, I have not yet been able to obtain all the information about these transactions that I could wish, as they have been conducted with the most secret circumspection ; but I hope soon to get to the bottom of them and I shall then be able to supply your Excellencies with authentic information.
The Mayor of London has decided the case of the Persian merchant after the forms of justice which I expected, and condemned him to pay one per cent, for the carriage of his money. This sentence, far from all reason since by the laws he ought either to pay all or nothing, was not even expected by the interested merchants themselves, and has rendered them so insolent and overbearing that it is impossible to describe adequately their lawless behaviour. As a specimen of the rest it suffices for your Excellencies to know that the moment the sentence was pronounced, of their own authority, without the intervention of the master, they opened the chests, inspected and weighed the reals, paying themselves and only then, after they had satisfied themselves did they permit the money to reach the hands of the Persian. Although greatly perturbed by these improper proceedings, he had voluntarily given up his claims and petition against the effects of the English merchant Gotoard, both because his loss only amounts to a small sum, and also because he hopes to find an easy way of satisfying himself in Persia. With regard to Richard Gotoard, who not only behaved so improperly to me but also showed scant respect for the Court, the mayor had an order from his Majesty to have him arrested, so that he might be punished severely and made to repent his temerity. But he, either foreseeing his misfortunes or warned by some one who ought not, as I believe, has unexpectedly left the kingdom and they say he has gone to Venice where his brother Michael is. I give your Excellencies these particulars so that if he arrives you may take such steps as you think proper.
His Majesty had thought of staying in this place some time, to enjoy the quiet, the air and the pleasant situation, which certainly may be called one of the best in the kingdom, indeed he had commanded a stay for ten days when unfortunately the plague was discovered yesterday evening in the house of a merchant where some gentlemen and pages of the Prince Palatine were lodging, when he immediately changed his plans and set out this morning at the break of day, I will follow him as I have already done for 2½ months, but I ask the state to consider the burden thus thrown upon me. I need double the number of horses and there is the greatest scarcity everywhere this year.
Salisbury, the 13th August. 1636.
41. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
These last months his Majesty issued an ample patent in favour of Sir William Mansfelt, who has the monopoly for making all sorts of glass in this realm, confirming the old privilege granted many years ago by the late King James, whereby the importation of foreign glass and crystals is absolutely forbidden from any place soever, upon pain of loss of the goods and other more severe penalties. A clause at the end, however, declares that the crystals and other important kinds of Murano work may be imported by this knight only, and no one else, for the use of the Court and the houses of the nobility, either for his own private profit or at his pleasure. (fn. 3)
A few days ago I accidentally had notice of this affair, and perceived that they were trying to keep me in the dark about it, because when I sent to the printer in London for a copy of the patent, he pretended not to have one and caused me great difficulty in obtaining one. Having noted the tenor of this patent and thinking it injurious to Venice because of the small quantity of Murano work that could be disposed of in this kingdom in the future upon such restricted conditions, I seized an opportunity of seeing the Secretary Windebank. I pointed out how much this patent where it concerns the trade of Murano would prejudice the interests of the subjects of the republic as well as those of his Majesty, because countless experiments had shown that the crystal material in particular did not succeed anywhere else than in Murano. To permit its free importation, as before, does not, on the one hand, hurt Mansfelt, who can only manufacture coarse glass, while on the other his Majesty may profit greatly by the duties. I told him that since in the general prohibition of foreign glass they found it necessary to make a special reservation for that which comes from Venice, I thought, for the reason given above, that the patent itself might well be altered in that particular, granting to all the privilege which is there conceded to Mansfelt alone. With that restriction, such work might in a short time become scarce in England, so much so that it would fetch excessive prices and the Court itself might run short and those houses which are accustomed to use it freely. Secretary replied that Mansfelt's monopoly could not be modified, as he pays the king a handsome annual bonus for it. Moreover, being a wealthy man, he alone would import as much Murano glass as many others could do together, and as he enjoyed considerable gain from the disposal of such merchandise, it was not likely that he would neglect the privilege. I replied that he probably made more profit from his own glass works, and certainly with less trouble and risk, so it was reasonable to expect that he would import as little foreign stuff as he could, both to compel everyone to use his own, and to sell the few that he has from Venice at more than he would a quantity, owing to their rarity, than if they remained common as they are now. I asked him to represent all this to the king, as he promised to do and let me know the result.
Instead of this he sent me this same Mansfelt who, while expressing the greatest devotion to the republic and her interests, assured me that not only in his own interests, which were great, but in order not to interrupt a trade which had prospered for so long, he would not fail to act so that your Excellencies should be perfectly satisfied with him. He promised and swore to me that he alone would import more Murano work in a year than had come in three before he obtained the privilege. He added that if his actions did not bear out his words he would willingly abandon all defence and not only allow his patent to be altered as your Excellencies wished but have it annulled altogether.
I made him believe that I had instructions to ask his Majesty directly in the name of the state for this alteration, and after long hesitation I pretended to yield so far to his steadfast and specious promises as to agree to put off the application until the Signory repeated the order. Thereupon Mansfelt said he would repeat his assurances on the word of a gentleman of honour, and he declared at the same time that by interrupting the trade of Antwerp and France through the powers which he holds, that of Murano, remaining alone, must of necessity be greatly benefited.
I thought it well to act thus, while awaiting instructions, and I thought I should thus compel Mansfelt to put the matter on a proper footing. I did not think it advisable to speak about it to the king, because I had no instructions about the wishes of the state, and in order not to receive a repulse, which would put a stop to a more favourable management of the affair, which you may decide upon. Meanwhile I would only venture to remind you that this is a question in which his Majesty will derive great profit from the continuation of the privilege unaltered, and so any one who tries to get it modified must use great tact, as it is difficult to make him agree to anything which may be of the slightest prejudice to him, even in appearance only.
Salisbury, the 13th August, 1636.
Aug. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Zante. Venetian Archives.
42. Stefano Capello, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
The plague has carried off Simon Vetcombe (fn. 4) among other Englishmen at Patras. This has deprived me of the opportunity of taking proceedings against him as I had resolved to do the next time that he came here, about the oil sold by pirates to il Valapano and by him to this Englishman, according to my information.
Zante, the 4th August, 1636, old style.


  • 1. Marco Ginetti, Cardinal deacon of S. Maria Nova, sent by the pope to the conference at Cologne.
  • 2. Conn embarked at Dieppe on Saturday 26 July, landed at Rye on the 27th, posted to London on the 28th, and went on to Windsor because of the plague. Conn to Barberini from Tansworth, the 29th July, 1636, P.R.O. Rome Transcripts, Ser. II., 124.
  • 3. This refers to the proclamation of the 1/2 4/4 October, 1635, prohibiting the importation of foreign glass. Cal. S. P. Dom., 1635, page 429 ; Steele : Proclamations, Vol. I., page 204, No. 1707.
  • 4. Simon Whetcombe, a member of the Levant Co. See the preceding Vol. of this Calendar, page 48. His death is referred to in a minute of the Company's Court Book of 29 July, 1637. S. P. For. Archives, Vol. 149.