Venice: January 1638

Pages 350-364

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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January 1638

1638. Jan. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
375. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The seditions of Scotland, although they observe great secrecy here, are advancing to more dangerous manifestations. The entire people there refuse to obey the ecclesiastical ceremonies introduced. They have roughly handled one of the bishops, who wished to go on with them in spite of their protest. They compelled another to celebrate the offices according to the usual rites, and a third, terrified by the example of those assembled, confined himself to his house of his own accord, to observe in the mean time the trend affairs will take. (fn. 1) They desire the revocation of a proclamation published by the King which declares guilty of high treason those who disobey the contents of a book written by the Archbishop of Canterbury touching these ceremonies, ivhich was also burned in many places, in public contempt of the author and his doctrines. We hear reports of unnamed persons who threaten to choose a new king, in fact the whole kingdom is in confusion. Owing to this the king and the said archbishop are much troubled, the latter the primum mobile of the whole of this machine. By his advice they have decided to send thither with all speed the Earl of Rosburgh, one of the most trusted lords of that nation, to try and induce them to accept the king's wishes. If he cannot do this in other ways he carries most secret orders, only to be used as an extreme remedy, to offer them an interval of four years during which they shall practise their own rites, to dispose them to obedience. This is considered the best means for saving the royal dignity and assuaging those disturbances, which, with the existing strained relations between the king and his subjects in this kingdom also, for the same religious causes against the Puritans, and because they are deprived of parliaments and laden with many burdens, which they claim are an excess of the royal power, might give rise to incidents involving the worst consequences.
The Secretary of Poland has departed, after performing many offices fruitlessly with the merchants here to induce them to contribute of their own accord to the charges which his king has imposed at the port of Danzig. He showed how that kingdom, which serves as a bulwark against the incursions of the Turks, deserves well of all Christendom, which without it would experience the greatest miseries from the incursions and rapine of the infidels, the need of keeping that frontier well defended, which cannot be done without a great deal of money, and that the said city ought not to object to contribute a small part, seeing that it is protected from the dangers which otherwise would overwhelm it.
This secretary also intimates that a marriage is in course of negotiation between the youthful Queen of Sweden and Prince Casimir, brother of his king. But his assertions obtain no credit here where they know that this is in direct contravention to the orders established by the estates of that realm, which exclude for ever from that marriage the royal house of Poland and this was recently confirmed with more severe edicts in a diet held at Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, with a declaration that whoever proposes any such thing incurs the crime of high treason in the first degree.
They write from Denmark that the king there, at the petition of the Danzigers, is arming some ships to send to the Baltic, under the pretext that in the peace between Poland and Sweden it was agreed that trade in that sea should remain free as it was before the war, and now the Pole is breaking that agreement, he is bound to protect the right. But the truth is, according to the common talk, that the Danish king is jealous at seeing Poland putting forces on the sea, and wants to put a stop to it, as in time it might trouble him, and he is hastening to do this before the Polish ambassador reaches that Court from Holland, whither, however, he takes the same instructions which he has expressed to these lords.
I find that the merchants here are taking better and better the decision of your Excellencies about advantages for the ships here which trade to Candia. From my dealings with them, always as from myself and by way of conversation, I find, if I am not deceived, that four at least of them will make trial next summer of what profit they may obtain, and if they succeed only moderately, it will increase from year to year.
The merchant Vassell is awaiting with impatience the decision of your Serenity upon his affair. He believes this will be taken in time for the news to find the Golden Fleece at Leghorn and to divert it from its voyage to Ragusa. I encourage this hope and in the mean time he is preparing a greater quantity of kerseys for Spallatro and Venice upon another ship, which will be ready to lade next month, from what he tells me.
The extraordinary who was taking the commissions to the Ambassador Fildin to proceed to Piedmont, has been robbed in France between Dieppe and Rouen of his valise with his despatches and everything else he had with him. He has thus been compelled to stop at Dieppe, and sent the news here, which arrived only this morning. The shortness of the time leads me to believe that they will send him the duplicates only by the next ordinary. The indications which I have go to confirm my opinion that he will take leave altogether of your Serenity, never to return, the Lords of the Council here being glad of this occasion to relieve your Excellencies of the annoyances which his embassy has so frequently caused you. They do not think as yet of substituting anyone in his place, although Lord Canoe, son of the Secretary of State, of that name, is asking to be sent. (fn. 2)
Count Parella is about to take leave of their Majesties and return to Piedmont. His operations have in no wise disturbed the Spanish Ambassador here because as they have not appointed commissioners for him, as is usual in important cases, he concludes that he asked for nothing serious. Since the first offices, which were public, he has spoken several times familiarly with the king in the queen's chamber. It is easier to guess what he said to his Majesty than to know it, since no one else was present, but as he has not negotiated with others, it is supposed that it was nothing important. But I keep on the alert, as your Serenity directs me in your letters of the 4th ult., and I am sure that nothing of consequence will be done without my hearing of it through my correspondents. I have punctually carried out the commands contained in the preceding despatches of your Serenity.
London, the 1st January, 1637. M.V.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 2.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
376. The Ambassador of Great Britain came into the Collegio and spoke as follows :
According to the custom I come to wish you all greatness and prosperity in the new year and in many to come. More than custom impels me, and I do it in the name of his Majesty who desires increase of all good things to you and that no accident may ever enfeeble you. I have always tried to increase these friendly relations, without caring about claims on the head of jurisdiction or justice, as they are light things to interrupt an old standing relationship which should be upheld with every care. I use this to conform to the sincere maxims and upright aims of the republic, as shown by your declarations of esteem for my king and your honours to me, and the numerous incidents in the past have in no wise changed my opinion.
The doge thanked him for his good wishes, as a testimony of his king's good will, to whom they wished all prosperity, They also desired every satisfaction for him, as a minister so much loved and esteemed by all the republic. They felt sure that nothing would interrupt the excellent relations they had enjoyed for so many centuries with the kings of Great Britain. The ambassador answered, Your Serenity may be sure that my king's good will could not be greater, and I thank you on my own behalf. If I am unworthy of anything else I can always serve for good offices to cement the friendship between the two princes.
The doge said that he was loved and esteemed for that in particular and they would always try to please and honour him. The Ambassador said he was for nothing else, and making signs of submission he bowed and departed.
Jan. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
377. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
In addition to the intimations reported the secretary of the English ambassador brings his master one for the Duchess of Chevreuse to grant her the use of a royal ship to take her to that Court. (fn. 3)
Madrid, the 4th January, 1638.
[Italian.] Copy.
Jan. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
378. To the Secretary in England.
We enclose a copy of the Ambassador Fielding's office in the Collegio. From the manner of his speech we conclude that he will not insist any more on his claims, and he may have had some hint from England. He has said nothing about his going to Turin, and we shall wait to learn what he may have to say on the subject.
Ayes, 70. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
Jan. 8
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra, Venetian, Archives.
379. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
They have recently concluded the case of those who disputed the royal authority about levying imposts for the maintenance of the Fleet. At the beginning of next term, which will be towards the middle of next February, each of the judges, according to the custom of the country, will give his opinion upon oath, from which the sentence will derive, and that, on the matter in dispute, will serve as an irrevocable confirmation of the law. It is not easy to describe the state of mind of all classes of persons, as in spite of the matter being sub judice, the strength of their arguments and the feebleness with which they say the king's advocate met them, they see themselves compelled by violence, all the same, to pay their taxes even before the sentence is known. Previous custom leaves it absolutely doubtful in whose favour sentence will be pronounced, taking into consideration the question of justice for the people and of authority for the king ; and if sentence goes against the people, as seems likely, it is feared that the judges may fare badly from their fury. It is clear from the offices of the Attorney General, that there are no arguments for the king than those already intimated in my letter No. 4 (Dubbioso in tutto resta ogni uso in riguardo della giustitia por la parte dei popoli, e dell' Auttorita per quella del Re, a favore di chi sara pronontiata, e quando sia contro i sudditi, come si puo credere, temesi che dalla furia di essi arrivi qualche mal hora a' giudici sudetti. Chiaro appare anco dagli uffitii dell' Avocato Regio non esservi altra ragione pel Re che la gia accennata in mie riverentissime lettere di No. 4).
The Spanish Ambassador having come to the city to celebrate the Christmas festivities, I thought I should do as the state wishes by going to see him to pay my respects, to keep up the mutual correspondence. The office pleased him and he intimated that his actions would show his wish to continue the best relations with the ministers of the republic. He asked me what news I had. I told him there were reports of some advantage gained by Gallasso over the Swedes. He at once took from his bosom a paper which he said was a copy of a letter from Gallasso to the emperor, from Volgast on the 24th of November, stating that he has beaten the Swedes three times, and that the remains of their army had fled towards Stralsund, where they had refused to receive them. Stettin was now the only considerable town that the Swedes held, and he hoped to end the war soon. He assured me this was true beyond a doubt. Although I knew that this letter was invented at Brussels and that he had seen letters of the 30th of November from the English Agent at Hamburg which say nothing about it, I professed to rejoice at the good fortune of the House of Austria. He said every just prince ought to rejoice at it, because the much desired peace will not be far off now.
He spoke afterwards of the alliance between this crown and France. He told me laughingly that the Ambassador Fildin had told the Grand Duke about it by letter in the king's name. He professed to care nothing for the consequences even if it took place, declaring that his king had the means to stir up such serious trouble in Great Britain that he could very soon compel the king here to recall his ships and the 6000 infantry that he might send across the sea at the expense of the French. He was more apprehensive about Piedmont, and seemed to believe that all the principal places will be in the hands of the French. He asked what news I had. I told him that Count Parella had informed the king that the French had no garrison in Piedmont except at Pinerollo ; the troops of the duchess are of all nations, care being taken that no contingent shall exceed that of the others, and as they are all paid by her and have taken the oath of fealty to her son, they are dependent upon her alone. He thanked me for the information and my visit, and so I left him.
The severe cold and the despatches of the queen to the Duchess of Savoy not being ready, have delayed the leave taking of Count Parella. In the mean time he is not conducting any negotiations, but merely amusing himself at banquets and dances with the lords and ladies of the Court, so that he does not find his stay tiresome.
The day after Christmas their Majesties put off their mourning for the Duke of Savoy. They are now preparing dances and other recreations for the entertainment of the Court and of the Ambassador of Morocco. He has finished his business, which does not go beyond the matters indicated, but he will not leave before milder weather begins. He does not pursue his king's offers of an alliance with this crown, as when first raised they did not seem to take them up here, and he thought it better not to go on. It is supposed that he is waiting to hear from his king in reply to the despatches sent on that subject.
Yesterday they at length published the proclamation which has been discussed since the conversion of the Countess of Neuport. It contains the punishment decreed by the laws, namely loss of life and goods for whoever solicits anyone to adhere to the Roman superstition, so they phrase it, for whoever is found administrating sacraments in the Popish fashion and for those subjects of the king who listen to and say the mass. (fn. 4)
Your Serenity's despatch of the 11th ult. has only reached me this morning with the offices of the Ambassador Fildin and the reply to him. As instructed, I will try to find out how he has put matters here, and I will defend the action of your Excellencies as may be necessary, sending full particulars in my next despatch.
London, the 8th January, 1637. [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
380. Anzolo Correr and Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The procurator of the King of England having arrived, (fn. 5) the English ambassadors are to meet the Commissioners Buglion and Savigni to try and arrange some settlement about the seizure of English ships, which still goes on. England claims that the Most Christian shall ratify the treaty before they go to the congress at Hamburg. The Earl of Leicester suspects that the French are secretly encouraging the Swedes and Dutch not to accept, in order to compel his king to make greater declarations but he protests that they make a mistake if they think he will take any steps without this. The Swedish ambassador asserts that his crown will never agree to the treaty as received from France, but they will make such proposals to England as she cannot refuse if she really intends to do anything serious. For the rest they agree to send to the Hague or Hamburg, which ever pleases her better.
Paris, the 12th January, 1637. [M.V.]
Jan. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
381. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Owing to my efforts in the matter of the Ambassador Fildin and the sentence against the man who fired the pistol, I have succeeded in seeing the very letter written by him on the subject to the Secretary Cuch. He writes with much more moderation than he speaks. He gives a brief account of his instances, moved more by equity than justice, to procure some mitigation for one who acted, he maintains, in innocence. They proceeded against him according to the law, and he is entirely satisfied with the last reply given him, which he sends without any alteration. All this was read to me under my very eyes. I made up my mind not to make any further special representations to the ministers here, but I will go very frequently to the queen's apartments where all gather, and there speak casually now with one and now with another, in the manner prescribed to me, by making openings for myself. I have done this and had long conversations with the Marquis of Hamilton, the Earl and Countess of Denbigh, the brother in law, father and mother respectively of the ambassador, and with the Secretaries of State, enough to impress them with the ideas supplied by your Excellencies. They told me his Majesty had seen the replies of your Serenity. He considered them prudent, just and friendly to him and his representative. He was satisfied with the result, considered himself indebted to the republic and he would always make response. The connections of the ambassador commiserate the misfortune of the culprit, but they approve of the carrying out of the law. They seem to take comfort that the period of the ambassador's office is passing with general satisfaction. They admit uncommon obligations to your Excellencies for so many favours to him, and for the visits during his illness in particular. As a sign of gratitude they offer to do everything to serve you. I have expressed to them the affectionate esteem of the republic for his Majesty, the esteem for the ambassador personally and the satisfaction of your Excellencies that your good intentions are appreciated.
The Queen's despatches for the Duchess of Savoy being made ready, Count Parella has taken leave of the Court and set out post for Piedmont. Besides various presents for his mistress he takes their deep sympathy for her misfortunes and some special gifts for her. A few days before he left he distributed among the lords here some gold medals, with the image of the late duke on the one side, with the legend "Vittorius Amadeus, Dei gratia Dux Sabaudiae," and on the other the arms of Savoy and of Cyprus, with the large bonnet closed above and the legend "Princeps Pedemontanus, Rex Cipri 1635." He was asked in confidence if they still claim these titles, and replied, Yes, especially in public acts. When asked if any prince had recognised it, he said some had begun to and they hoped that others would follow the example. Count Scisa is confirmed in the capacity of agent for the duchess at this Court. He says that a certain baron has arrived at Brussels, sent by his mistress to Prince Tomaso, without it being known what business he brings. (fn. 6)
The Agents at Hamburg, write on the 18th ult. that the negotiations between the Swedes and the emperor were practically broken off when Count Curzio arrived at Lubeck, sent by the emperor to observe the actions of Gallasso, and he partially started them again. The treaty of Vismar had reached the last stage towards adjustment, being already signed in the hands of the Ambassador Salvio, who has strict orders not to present it before the French pay the terms which have expired, counting from the date of the agreement and not of the signing. This is the only difficulty left to adjust.
The King of Denmark hearkened to the petitions of the Danzigers against the measures taken by the Pole, and granted the deputies of that town five of his ships, with power to use them where they think best. These set out with all speed in that direction and captured without any resistance the two Polish ships guarding that port, bringing them into the city, which is now free from those charges which greatly incommoded its trade. Such is the news received by the merchants here from their correspondents at Danzig.
At the instance of Madame de Chevreuse they have sent a king's ship to Spain to bring her here, (fn. 7) whence she desires to proceed to Flanders to the queen mother.
The person sent to Paris about the ship Pearl (fn. 8) writes that he has little hope of settling it with mutual satisfaction, so the merchants here are much afraid of some worse incident to trouble their trade with that kingdom.
The Dutch ambassador publishes the surprise by the troops of the Company of the Brasils of a fort called Minoa in Guinea, (fn. 9) a position of great importance, owing to the inconvenience it causes the Spaniards in those parts.
Curzio, Agent of the Prince Palatine, has returned to his master in Holland. He leaves here another Englishman, a servant of the Palatine house, to conduct its unhappy affairs. (fn. 10)
London, the 15th January, 1637. [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
382. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Admiral of England has arrived at San Sebastian to convey the Duchess of Chevreuse to that Court. The gentleman sent by that monarch to attend her on the journey, happened to be dressed in the French fashion. On his way to Madrid he had a taste of the unruliness of the people of this country and is seriously injured. (fn. 11)
The French minister stays on here under the pretext of negotiating with the Duchess of Chevreuse, and the notion that he may have matters of yet greater moment to introduce has vanished.
Madrid, the 16th January, 1638.
[Italian.] Copy.
Jan. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
383. Anzolo Correr and Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassadors extraordinary have not yet met the commissioners for adjusting the matter about the seizure of ships because the Secretary Savigne has not come to this city. M. di Buglion has indeed intimated to them that it is not necessary to say any more about what has passed, but to see what damage has been suffered by each of the parties and then give compensation in a friendly way for everything. With respect to the alliance with England the ministers here say that it no longer rests with them ; let them get their allies to accept the treaty and his Majesty will ratify it forthwith.
I, Corraro only made my public entry to the city yesterday. The royal coaches met me followed by those of the Cardinals, the nuncio, the ambassador of Sweden etc. but not by those of the English ambassadors, who did not send owing to the precedence which they claim over the nuncio.
Paris, the 19th January, 1637. [M.V.]
Jan. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
384. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The pope's minister heard of the proclamation against the Catholics with excessive dissatisfaction, because of the phrases derogatory to the Roman Church ; because of the prejudice which he avers the propagation of the faith of Christ will receive here, and because, with more confidence than was perhaps justified in the king's connivance towards its professors, he has pledged himself too deeply to Rome, by assertions that through his efforts this kingdom is marching with great strides towards obedience to the Holy See. As this may readily have found credence there, these decisions render his promises illusory, as well as the hopes, frequently held out to him, of the Cardinal's dignity as a reward for such great deserts.
It is clear that if he really believed what he wrote, he greatly deceived himself. Because those who best know the more recondite aims of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who controls the king's will absolutely, at least in ecclesiastical matters, know full well that he has only tolerated the liberty which the Catholics enjoy with the view of first reducing the Calvinists, or Puritans as they are called here, to a ready obedience to the king in matters of consequence also, so that once that party is under control, and it is very powerful, he can safely destroy the Catholic one as well by the arm of the laws. Various reasons combined to make them decide upon this edict, namely the excessive liberty with which the divine worship was exercised in all Catholic houses, the outcry caused by numerous conversions, people being reconciled to the Church daily, preaching in English in the chapels of the foreign ministers, christenings, marriages and finally and the most important, the outspoken declaration of the rebels in Scotland that the archbishop, induced by ambition for ecclesiastical dignities in the Roman Church, was trying to subvert this kingdom to that faith.
All these reclamations added to the conversion of the Countess of Nieuport catechised by this same papal minister, induced the archbishop to beseech his Majesty several times to dismiss him from the Court and kingdom. But he could not succeed in this, the minister having the support of the queen, who worked hard although in vain against the proclamation, which the archbishop succeeded in obtaining in the end.
The king and the Lords of the Council are much astonished by the proceedings of the French over the alliance, which has been so much vaunted at Court, because while they have long since protested to the English ambassadors at Paris that full powers to conclude it are in the hands of MM. d'Avo and d'Estampes, ambassadors in Germany and Holland respectively, to be produced wherever the conference might be held, these Ministers have hitherto denied having received them to the English agents, and d'Avo has only confessed to having them these last days. Now the Ambassador Salvio denies having those for Sweden, but he expects them shortly and so soon as they have arrived they will get the matter settled. The Secretary Cuch spoke to me about this in confidence with much feeling. He said the king did not know and his ministers did not understand the mystery of these delays caused by the French. Those allied against the House of Austria in every quarter cannot imagine why this crown does not desire to unite with them, in order thereby to close the sea against the enemy and compel him to seek a general adjustment in earnest. He enlarged upon the advantages which their naval forces here can confer, and notably that Flanders would be in manifest danger, and this power is not to be despised. The truth is, however, that the Ambassador Salvio, on his arrival at Hamburg, asked the English Agents what the king here offered in support of the Swedes, and they answered so curtly, in conformity with their orders, that he was not satisfied.
Last Sunday they performed a masque at Court, consisting of the king himself and fourteen other lords, at which divers ladies countermasked took part, forming a graceful diversion. I was present, invited by the Countess of Arundel who, mindful of the great favours she received at Venice, studies every way to show her gratitude to your Serenity's ministers. At the banquet in her house I found myself next to Vindebanch, the Secretary of State from whom I learned that Fildin will not return to Venice ; that Morton who is at Turin for the king, being left there on his passage, as one of known ability, might stay with your Serenity in the capacity of Agent ; that the king may do without an ambassador there for some time, and that affairs and a good understanding may be left with an agent. I carefully noted what he said, but made no reply, as I do not know the intentions of the state, and to leave the matter in its virgin state to the Ambassador Giustinian. But I know that two lords (fn. 12) and a simple gentleman are making efforts to be sent in Fildin's place. I will keep on the watch and send word of any decisions they may take.
The capture of the two Polish ships by the Danish ones is confirmed by way of Danzig, with this difference from what I advised, that the capture was made under the flag of Danzig, but the booty was sent to the King of Denmark, who styles himself protector of the Baltic, under his own flag. They are waiting impatiently to hear how the Pole has taken it. They write here that he is ill and this will afford the Danzigers better opportunities of making provision.
London, the 22nd January, 1637. [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
385. Anzolo Correr and Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In response to your Serenity's letters of the 24th ult. we have to say that so far the King of Morocco has not had any negotiations opened here, such as you advise us his ambassador has proposed in England.
Paris, the 26th January, 1637. [M.V.]
386. Anzolo Correr and Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Marquis Parelli has passed this way on his return from England, whither he went by order of the duchess herself. He saw the king and the queen once only, and on taking leave of them set out straight for Turin.
The English ambassadors have met their commissioners in conference about the seizure of the ships, and it seems they are arranging a compromise that will settle the matter to the satisfaction of both parties.
The two youngest brothers of the Prince Palatine arrived in this city two days ago. (fn. 13) The said ambassadors met them. They are lodged in the house of the Earl of Leicester and have not yet seen the king. They will stay here a long time as they have come to learn knightly exercises.
Paris, the 26th January, 1637. [M.V.]
Jan. 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
387. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
While continuing my suggestions to the merchants here to open trade with Candia, which I hope will progress successfully, I had a talk with one of them who trades in the Levant. He said he had ready a considerable quantity of cloth to send to the Morea, as he does every year. He would gladly send them to Zante, where the Turks would go to buy them, but it did not pay him as he had to pay the new impost of 7 ducats per cloth in addition to the 4 per cent, of the ordinary duty. Occasionally, when he was living at Zante, he bargained with the customers to pay half only of the new impost, and unladed in that island, but when he could not obtain such conditions he had it taken to Scanderoon or Clarenza, where he can dispose of it at greater advantage than at Zante when paying the new impost entire. To that province they send from here yearly 700 to 800 pieces of cloth worth 60 to 80 ducats the piece, and this does not prevent the sale of that of better quality manufactured at Venice. If your Excellencies saw fit to reduce the new impost by one half, as you have done with the muscats of Candia, everyone would go to Zante and what you lost on the impost you would more than recover in the duties and in the export of those things which without that advantage go straight to the Morea.
I remarked casually that I heard with astonishment that to save 3½ ducats per cloth, for that is precisely the difference, they would risk their property in the hands of the Turks, when at Zante they could dispose of it on reasonable terms with complete security. The loss suffered by the merchants at Constantinople about five years ago was still fresh in the memory, (fn. 14) and such things frequently happened among people of that character, without counting the duties, which they pay there as well, and the presents which they have to make to the Turkish commanders. I therefore considered that they should of their own accord take advantage of the facilities they find in the islands and other dominions of your Serenity, and make their markets there, without exposing their goods to the inordinate rapacity of those infidels, and the distance of the ports of Scanderoon or Clarenza from Zante ought to count for something.
He replied that as the cloth was cheap 3½ ducats a piece amounted to a large sum on a quantity. They pay 2½ ducats a cloth to the king here for export, and with the cost of hiring and other charges, the expenses mount up, and after these are deducted the profit is very slight. Throughout the Morea this cloth pays no duty but 3 per cent. The distance of your Serenity's ports from those in question is not worth considering, and if one considered the dangers one would never trade anywhere. I need not weary your Excellencies with the rest of the discussion, giving only the essentials. In the end he asked me to present his instances to the Senate, so that if they took the matter into consideration the merchants might be informed in time to adjust their interests to serve their own advantage.
I thought of telling the Governor of the Levant Company (fn. 15) about this. He is an intimate of mine and professes great devotion to your Excellencies, having resided a long while in your dominions, but on reflection I thought it best to send this account first, as there will always be time to do the other after, if you direct it.
Obson writes to the merchant Vassell that he has been before the magistracy of the Five Savii alla Mercanzia, as advised at Venice, about the Spallato business. They directed him to go straight to your Serenity, and he thought that by the time this arrives it may be completed.
London, the 29th January, 1637. [M.V.]
388. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Earl of Rosburgh, sent to appease the disturbances in Scotland, writes that he has conferred with the people there and after long and perilous difficulties he finds them obstinately determined not to accept the proposals which he took. They refuse the interim of four years, and roundly declare that they want a general revocation of all innovations in the matter of religion. He believes that the Treasurer there, who has the authority of Viceroy, and other grandees of the kingdom, secretly foment the people, although outwardly they seem to make every effort, following his example, to induce them to obey the royal ordinances. He thinks that by summoning these to Court it would make it easier to reduce the others to their duty. After deliberating upon this the king, by the advice of the Archbishop of Canterbury, astounded to hear that extreme measures even when applied with all the royal dignity are of no avail, has decided to send for the Treasurer and two of the most suspect to London, with the idea of doing the same with the others, bit by bit, if the example of these does not suffice. Meanwhile it is announced at Court that matters are composed, and they do not like to hear anything else stated.
M. di Vosbergh, who recently left Paris, embarked on a Zeeland frigate, to hasten back to his masters. He encountered a furious tempest, was nearly lost on the coast of Flanders, and was followed so closely by Dunkirkers that if the furious wind had not driven him to this kingdom he would have fallen into their hands. He went to kiss his Majesty's hands the day before yesterday, and in a long interview communicated his negotiations in France urging the king strongly to support the Swedes. He leaves to-day for Holland.
The Ambassador Fildin writes on the 1st inst. that the adjustment between the pope and your Serenity is being negotiated with great secrecy through the Cardinal Patriarch and the nuncio. He says a league is in negotiation between the Catholic and the Grand Duke to drive the French out of Italy, leaving room for the other princes who wish to enter. They asked me about this eagerly at Court, and as I said that I had not heard about it, they suspend their belief, as Fildin is accustomed to write things that do not correspond with the truth. (fn. 16)
The ambassador's relations are impatient for his departure from Venice, as they are afraid of some more incidents, to upset your goodwill to him. He would like to stay in Piedmont until Schidemore is recalled from Paris, and he could have the succession, but they have so poor an opinion of him, from the proofs of his disposition given at Venice, which have displeased the king and Court, that it is not thought he will obtain his intent, in spite of the strong support he has. While he remains in Italy I am assured that no other ambassador will be sent to your Serenity, and that Morton will reside there until fresh orders from the king. But in spite of what Vindebank said to me, reported in my last, I find that Lord Herbert is making every effort to obtain the succession from the king. He was formerly ambassador in France, where he challenged the Duke of Luines to a duel. (fn. 17) He is an eccentric man full of vanity, and with little credit at Court, in spite of great learning and birth. From what I hear, if they choose any one they will select somebody of more tried straightforwardness (probita) to make up for the mistakes of the present one.
Your Excellencies despatch of the 19th ult. reached me only yesterday, with Fildin's expositions and the orders to note what they decide about his successor. I have nothing more to add about this, but will keep my eyes open, so that your Serenity may not be left in the dark on the subject.
An express has arrived from Madrid with letters from Madame de Chevreuse for their Majesties, in which she enlarges on the entertainment she has received from the Catholic. This consists in a present of 6000 of their ducats, a yearly pension of 2000 doubles, and a furnished house to live in. The news gives great satisfaction here and they hope that these means will suffice to prevent her from coming to this kingdom. The ship sent for her is still at Corunna, waiting for orders.
Gerbier's letters from Brussels state that they are getting ready the fleet which recently reached Dunkirk to send it back to Spain. The Cardinal Infant proposes to embark three Irish regiments on it; (fn. 18) and with Prince Tomaso setting out for Italy, Piccolomini will succeed to his charge.
Your Excellencies' last of the 31st ult. have also reached me, with orders to see that an earl is sent to receive the Ambassador Giustinian. If I have the good fortune which I have good reason to expect, from my relations with the leading ministers, I shall not have much trouble in obtaining this. I will approach the Marquis of Hamilton, who has so frequently offered to serve your Excellencies out of gratitude for the honours shown to his brother in law at Venice. I will also speak to the Lord Chamberlain, whose office it concerns, and will make suitable suggestions to the Earl of Arundel and both secretaries of state. My position gives me easy access to all of them, and without committing your Serenity in any way I will make it appear that my zeal for your interests induces me to do this.
London, the 29th January, 1637. [M.V.]
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. Walter Whitford, bishop of Brechin was chased out of his church at Brechin in November. Spalding : Hist. of the Troubles in Scotland and England, vol. i., page 50. It is not clear who are the other prelates referred to.
  • 2. On the 17th November, o.s., Windebank wrote to Fielding "for your lordship's coming away absolutely from Venice it is now clearly resolved by His Majesty." Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Report page 283. This was two days after the date of the instructions sent to Fielding for his mission to Savoy. S.P. For. Venice. The other aspirant was Edward second Viscount Conway. See No. 230 at page 216 above.
  • 3. The Bonaventure, Capt. Henry Stradling was detached for this service Cal. S.P. Dom. 1637-8, page 28.
  • 4. Proclamation restraining the withdrawing His Majesty's subjects from the Church of England and giving scandal in resorting to masses. It is dated the 20th December, 1637, old style. Steele : Royal Proclamations Vol. I. No. 1757, page 212. The conversion of the Countess of Newport took place in the preceding November, See No. 347 at page 324 above.
  • 5. Mr. Wannerton. Leicester to Coke, 5/15 January. S.P. For. France.
  • 6. The Seigneur de Pesieux. See Siri : Memorie Recondite, Vol. viii., page 494.
  • 7. The Bonaventure.
  • 8. Wannerton.
  • 9. Fort St. George del Mina was taken by an expedition under Jean Coin which started from Pernambuco at the end of June 1637. Le Clerc : Hist. des Provinces Unies, Vol. ii, page 173.
  • 10. Presumably Sir Abraham Williams.
  • 11. "Mr. Scandret, who was sent with His Majesty's ship for the Duchess of Chevreuse, having recrossed the mountains a little short of Guarda Reina, a Spaniard drew upon him without any cause given him, as he says, and wounded him ; but by fortune the thrust lighting upon a bone proved not dangerous. Upon the advice hereof the Duchess of Chevreuse presently sent a surgeon and letter to him, and the Conde Duque gave present order to the President of Castile to send out ministers to those parts to use all diligence for the discovery and apprehension of the person." Aston to Coke, the 17th January 1638. S.P. For. Spain. Scandaret was one of the queen's gentlemen. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1637-8, page 28. It happened between Espinar and Villacastin and was due to Scandaret being dressed French fashion. Mem, Hist. Espanol, Vol. XIV., page 303.
  • 12. Edward Conway, second Viscount Conway and Lord Herbert of Cherbury.
  • 13. Prince Maurice and Prince Edward arrived in Paris on Friday the 1/2 2/2 January. Leicester to Coke on the 1/2 9/9 January. S.P. For. France, Vol. 105. The Palatine's youngest brothers were Philip and Gustavus, of whom the former seems to have gone to Paris soon after the elder ones. M. A. Green : Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, page 343.
  • 14. It happened at the beginning of 1634. See the preceding volume of this Calendar, page 212 and note.
  • 15. Henry Garraway.
  • 16. There is no such despatch of this date among the state papers, but Salvetti writing on the same date refers to the curious news sent by Fielding of an alliance between the Grand Duke and Spain to drive the French out of Italy and of a similar alliance between the pope and Venice. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962H.
  • 17. From May, 1619 to July 1621 and from January 1623 to July 1624. He had offered his sword to Venice in 1619. Vol. XV. of this Calendar, page 524.
  • 18. Writing on the 6th Feb. o.s. Pennington reports 31 warships in Dunkirk all ready to sail, part of them to take two regiments of old Irish soldiers to serve in Brazil. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1637-8, page 234.