Venice: July 1638

Pages 429-439

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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July 1638

July 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
465. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Ro reports in letters of the 11th his arrival and very honourable reception at Hamburg. In passing he saw the King of Denmark at Glukstat and invited him to help the Palatine and the common cause. He hoped his offices would not prove vain ; he left the king unfavourably impressed to Cæsar, because of his design to take the archbishopric of Bremen from his son. The reinforcement from Sweden had landed in Pomerania, consisting of 10,000 men, with plentiful supplies and Banier was to take the field on the 10th of that month.
His Majesty's Agent from Danzig (fn. 1) has arrived here on some business with the mart here. He reports that the King in Poland had arranged with the Catholic to keep some armed ships in the Baltic, and he had sent Prince Casimir to Madrid about this, in reward for which that king had offered him the government of Portugal. The Danzigers had found this out and informed the King of Denmark, Sweden and the Dutch, so that they should all resist this innovation. Denmark had sent six large ships to prevent other warships from scouring those waters. Other advices report disagreement between the Polish king and the lords of that kingdom. He reports that there are some ministers of the emperor at Lubeck who are again trying for a conference with those of Sweden at Hamburg, to confer about a project of peace with the Swedes without including the Most Christian.
Bellievre also has asked the king for leave to export gunpowder to be sent to France. This was granted without difficulty, at the price arranged with the Spaniard, but as he considered it too high, he did not avail himself of it. It is believed here that the neighbouring powers will soon be compelled to make their provision of gunpowder in this kingdom, as they lack the materials to make it, which this country produces in abundance, while they do not require to use it as the others are obliged to do. They hope this will mean great profit for the king and his subjects.
The Ambassador Joachimi recently sent an express to his masters with news of the letters of reprisals granted against the ships and goods of their subjects, and his fruitless offices with the king. He complains bitterly to his intimates and says freely that with the preponderance of the Spanish party in the ministry here he can do nothing for those provinces.
The sentence in the king's favour in the matter of money for the fleet has been received with incredible bitterness and maledictions against the judges, as influenced more by authority than justice, with talk against the laws sufficient to cause a revolt among the people. But it has produced no advantage for the king, as those who refuse to pay persist in their resolution, though in the end they will have to change their plans, since the law has been interpreted against them.
Some approach to a rising occurred recently in Yorkshire against some ministers of the king. (fn. 2) Many years ago a large tract of country was submerged there, and several attempts to reclaim it failed. For some time past some Dutchmen assisted by various rich lords of England have undertaken to reclaim it. They agreed with his Majesty that if they succeeded one third should belong to his Majesty, a third to the contractors and the rest to the owners. A good part has now been recovered, but when the royal ministers went to take possession of his Majesty's portion and the workmen of theirs, the owners resisted, claiming it for themselves and that the king could not dispose of their goods. On hearing of this his Majesty sent an official with orders that they must obey, but when he appeared they beat him and told him they would do the same with any who came after. This following close upon the violence to those officials who distrained for ship money looks as if, following the example of the Scots, there was a disposition to revolution in England also, to force the king to observe the laws. Men speak of this freely and very scandalous voices are raised at many conventicles despite the recent punishment of some for the same thing.
The people of Ireland also are discontented and ill treated by the Viceroy there without regard for privileges or anything else. As their outcry makes no impression on his Majesty they complain bitterly. Thus the king has few friends in England, less in Ireland and none in Scotland, and if he does not change the nature of his rule one foresees some irremediable disaster.
The Count of Egmont has got me to send the enclosed to your Serenity, with the contract he says the Marquis of Aytona made with him. He first told me of his misadventures and his intention to lay his case before all the princes of Christendom, in order to obtain the repose he desires, and avoid the precipices he has no inclination to try, unless driven to desperation by the Spaniards. I wished to avoid troubling your Excellencies, but thought I could not refuse him this, and it does not commit you to anything. He is to see the king and after telling him of his misfortunes he will leave at once for Denmark, going on to Germany, Poland and finally to Italy.
London, the 2nd July, 1638.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 466. Letter of the Count of Egmont to the Doge.
Relates the ill treatment he has received at the hands of the Spaniards. Asks for the intercession of the republic through their ambassador at Madrid.
London, the 2nd July, 1638.
[Italian ; three pages.]
July 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
467. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Some time ago I wrote how the English, having established a new consul at Cyprus, (fn. 3) claimed that by their capitulations they ought not to pay more than 3 per cent. duty on their goods, ad valorem, as was done in the past ; and as a matter of fact the ambassador has obtained an order at the cost of 4000 reals. But the Pasha would not obey the order, pointing out that the same concession would have to be made to the other nations, and the money would fall short of what was required to pay the troops. Accordingly the order was revoked. But the ambassador made an arz to the Sultan as he was about to set out, and by adducing the capitulations or by the threat of withdrawing the consul and by a bribe of 2000 reals to the Caimecan, he obtained an order, signed by the Sultan himself, for the carrying out of the capitulations. The Pasha could not refuse to obey this, but the other nations at once claimed the same privilege. I have agreed with the French ambassador to present an arz jointly to the Caimecan on the subject, but with little hope of success. I will do all that I possibly can, as this advantage gained by the English will leave them absolute masters of the trade of the whole kingdom.
The Vigne of Pera, the 3rd July, 1638.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
July 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
468. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
I will not relax my hold on the matter of the book about the sea. Grasvinchel has agreed that it shall not leave the press before he has drawn up a new chapter and written a short passage expressly upon the indubitable claims of your Serenity to dominion in the Adriatic, availing himself of the information in the papers I gave him. When he has done this he offers to submit it to the censure and good pleasure of your Serenity.
The Hague, the 3rd July, 1638.
July 6.
Senato Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
469. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. d'Avo writes of the arrival of the English ambassador at Hamburg, and that he announces his intention of finishing the affair, his king being prepared to make the greatest efforts. Here they believe the exact opposite and are just as mistrustful of that union as the others are anxious for it. Under these circumstances the arrival in England and the vigilance of the Ambassador Giustinian will be very opportune. He set out thither today. His brother Sig. Gerolamo goes with him.
Paris, the 6th July, 1638.
July 7.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
470. To the Secretary in England.
We have had a memorial from the English secretary here with complaint about the grievances alleged by the English at their treatment in the islands of Zante and Cephalonia. Upon this all proper steps have been taken to the end that they may enjoy every protection and relief with freedom of trade and for quiet during their sojourn. We send you the information so that you may know it is our firm intention that no wrong shall be done to them and that they may have every demonstration of esteem and friendliness which we have always been accustomed to show them, and also so that you may make this known in England, at such time and in such manner as you may consider opportune, so that everyone may be encouraged not only to maintain but to increase the trade in those islands, in the assurance that they will receive every facility and the utmost protection.
Ayes, 135. Noes, 0. Neutral, 10.
July 7.
Show Case, Museo Correr, Venice.
471. Letters patent for Angelo Correr, in recognition of his distinguished services as ambassador, granting him in addition to the honour of knighthood the right to quarter on his arms three lions or, as shown in the margin, for himself and the heirs male of his body, for ever. Dated at the palace Greenwich, 27 June, 1638, in the 14th year of the reign.
[Signed] Carolus R. (fn. 4)
July 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
472. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Fresh despatches from the Marquis of Hamilton have recently arrived at Court. They report his entry into Edinburgh and his exposition the same day before the so called notables. That all the streets he passed through were filled with the common people who crowded to see him. The women seized him some by the hand and some by the clothes, all acclaiming him if he brought assurances for the observance of religion and the liberty of the country. Reports current throughout that city make the Court believe that the affair will finally take a favourable turn.
But his first expositions by no means pleased the notables. He said that the king's graciousness had brought him without further consideration of their faults to offer pardon for the past and promise the maintenance of their privileges and liberties, which they had only attempted to alter for the greater service of the kingdom. His Majesty's clemency having gone so far, they ought, in sign of the obedience they owe, to annul their union, releasing everyone from his oath, as a scandalous thing, a bad example which ought to be suppressed. They told him that the document was made after mature deliberation, with regard for the service of God, the king and the people. To speak of abolishing it would mean handing over the kingdom to further sedition, as it would show that they meant to take revenge on the Scots when they had the opportunity. So they intended to preserve it for ever at all risks, as their common safety depended thereon. With regard to the pardon they claimed that it was not necessary as they were not at fault, since their actions were covered by the law, the breach of which they had frequently represented to his Majesty in humble remonstrance about the disorders that might arise therefrom.
They are by no means displeased here at the news received last week of the blow received by Count John of Nassau at the fort of Calou in Flanders (fn. 5) as under present circumstances a change in the Netherlands would not suit them here, as if those powers became too strong, they might cause trouble in these islands, which is the only thing they fear. They think the same thing will happen at St. Omer, at least they wish it, as everyone believes, what the Spanish minister states, that the Dutch, unaccustomed for a long time to such reverses, are demoralised and will not recover this year for a fresh enterprise, and that the French army in Hainault will not be able to resist all the forces of the Cardinal Infant. That minister has lighted bonfires before his house and expects to hear soon of the relief of St. Omer, the Cardinal writing that he does not fear the French arms. They are pleased here to know that reinforcements have entered Vercelli, as they are very friendly towards the duchess, but they fear the place will fall to Leganes as they do not hear of the raising of the siege.
I have letters from the Ambassador Giustinian from Paris of the 2nd inst. asking me to procure a royal ship to fetch him from Dieppe. Accordingly I went yesterday to Greenwich, where the Court is, and spoke to the Secretary Windebank, who courteously promised to speak to the king that same evening, when he expected him back from his hunting, and when he had the order he would send it at once to Vice-Admiral Pennington to be executed at once. I also approached the question of his being met by an earl. For this purpose I went to the quarters of the Earl of Pembroke, the High Steward, to whom this pertains, but as he was away with the king, I had to postpone it until tomorrow, when I will return to get the arrangements made, if possible for his Excellency's entry, so that this may be done before the king starts on his annual progress, which begins on Monday fortnight and will last for six weeks before he returns to a place suitable for giving his first audience.
The Earl of Egmont is waiting to see his Majesty, and after telling of his misfortunes and begging for his patronage with the Catholic and the Dutch he proposes to leave for Denmark, Vienna and Italy for the same purpose. He gave me the enclosed paper with his claims, to send to your Serenity.
London, the 9th July, 1638.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 473. Statement of the Rights of the Count of Egmont.
[French ; 4 pages.]
July 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
474. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The newly chosen ambassador in ordinary from England has arrived at the Court and is awaiting his Majesty's convenience to have his first audience.
Madrid, the 10th July, 1638.
[Italian.] Copy.
July 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
475. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In fulfilment of my orders about the reception of the Ambassador Giustinian I went first to the Lord Chamberlain. I told him of his Excellency's approaching arrival, having reached Dieppe, whither a royal ship had been sent to fetch him, and I came about the ceremonies for his reception, which I thought would take place before the king started on his progress. I told him that during my stay here I had observed slight differences at the entry of ambassadors, between those of crowns and of your Serenity, who were met by a baron or viscount instead of an earl. In view of the parity with the crowns enjoyed by the republic I thought proper to advise him of this. I felt sure it happened through inadvertence and the king would put it right when he knew.
He replied that the custom had been in use for so many years that the king would object to any change, as he was very averse from altering things long practised, and had charged his officials to see that no innovations were made. Possibly I did not know the high rank of the barons of England, who are peers of the realm and enter parliament, from which the earls of Scotland and Ireland are excluded. In the time of Queen Elizabeth none but barons were employed for this purpose. This had been altered by chance, not as a greater honour, since some earl asked to go and meet an ambassador he knew, and it has since become the custom. He swore they made no distinction in essentials between the ambassadors of your Serenity and those of crowned heads. He urged me to let this matter drop, as it would only offend the king and would not help your Excellencies.
I said my request was so just that I did not consider it an innovation. Your ambassadors had recently received equal honours at the Courts of the emperor, the Catholic and Poland and I did not think the king would refuse them, while it could not offend him. I knew the dignity of barons, but as the custom had been changed with others it could not be refused to you. If Venetian ambassadors merited the escort of an earl to audience, I thought they should for the reception also. I asked him to lay the matter before the king in my name, as I felt sure he would not be angry, if only to show the friendship he has always professed for the republic which fully reciprocates his regard.
He said he would seek an opportunity to speak about it to the king as if for himself, in order to sound him, and he would tell me about it. But I asked him to do it in my name, as I only asked what was just and in no wise prejudicial to his Majesty. He tried to dissuade me, saying that his Majesty might not feel disposed to change the custom and this would lead to a declaration which would interrupt good relations between him and the Signory. I told him I did not believe his Majesty would deny me what he grants to every other king. I made this request of my own motion, and if it was accorded I could inform the Signory, who would thank him suitably, but if the king refused I would keep the matter to myself, so no harm could be done. He approved greatly of this, and said he would put the matter before the king in that way, and let me know the answer.
I made similar representations to the Earl of Arundel and the Secretaries of State. I noticed they were impressed when I said your ambassadors had equal treatment at the courts of the emperor and the Catholic but they told me that the king greatly disliked innovations. They made the same remarks about the rank of barons, but promised to lay the matter before the Council. I may remark that there are two other points of difference, one that to other ambassadors they send the coaches of the king and queen, and to yours those of the king only, and the other that the royal present at departure is lower by 800 ounces of silver gilt in the case of Venice. But once the first step is gained it will be easy to settle the others.
London, the 16th July, 1638.
476. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Sunday the king informed his Council about the affairs of Scotland for the first time, and even then summarily. He said he intended, with a good object to assimilate divine worship in that kingdom to the style observed here. For this purpose he had its points drawn up and sent there with orders for their observation ; but the people there had resisted, without caring to listen to the merits of the matter. The lords of the Council, whose opinion was not asked, thought this was merely a communication and made no answer, being uncertain about the king's feeling, although he is very distressed at heart, as he shows outwardly, in spite of every effort to conceal it. Since these troubles he has indulged sparingly in his principal diversion of hunting, and he has in like measure given up the games of mall, rackets and others. His very face clearly betrays the passions within. He has changed his plans for the progress, shortening the journey, which will only be 25 miles from here, and the time it is to end, to the 21st of August at Oatlands, according to present arrangements. This will please many lords who expected the honour of a royal visit to their houses, where they entertain him at great expense, that being the custom for all those whose residences are near the route of the progress.
Meanwhile various opinions are expressed about Scotland, where Hamilton's operations have brought no improvement. Some speak of orders to prepare artillery, arms and other implements of war, pointing to an inclination on his Majesty's part to use force to compel submission, but he lacks the chief nerve, namely the affection of his people and consequently money, and so he cannot use it without manifest danger of losing his other dominions as well, which are unprovided with troops, fortresses or anything else which might secure a state. On the other hand the Scots have everything in order. They are united without any disagreements among themselves. They protest that they will not move unless provoked for the defence of religion and liberty, points they have always set before everything else. They have 40,000 enrolled, skilled in the use of arms, who can all unite in a few hours, for whatever may be decided for the service, and numerous other military equipments correspond to their resolution and to the needs which may arise, so it is feared that if the king makes any demonstration of a desire to arm, the Scots will invade England to avoid being forestalled in their own country.
The Prince Palatine recently sent an English Colonel here to levy a regiment. (fn. 6) He saw the king, who made much of him and promised to grant the levy. He reports that the prince has about 5000 soldiers, and will soon enter the enemy's country with good plans and hopes of success.
The Count of Egmont is treating closely with the Spanish minister here for the adjustment of his affairs, which they intimate they will settle to his satisfaction. Accordingly he has postponed his departure. He is waiting to hear from Flanders before he sees the king, and is staying incognito in this city.
The ship Rainbow is about to start, armed with 32 pieces of ordnance, and laden with various goods for Genoa, Leghorn and Venice. When passing through the Gulf she will touch at Ragusa to discharge some 1000 pieces of kerseys sent by Pietro Richaut by commission of some of the inhabitants there. Last Friday the ship I obtained from the king sailed for Dieppe to fetch the Ambassador Giustinian. He has sent one of his gentlemen here from that port to put his house in order, and I am expecting him any day.
London, the 16th July, 1638.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 17.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
477. Vote of 300 ducats for Giovanni Giustinian, Ambassador in England, for couriers and the carriage of letters.
Ayes, 88. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
July 22.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
478. To the Ambassador Giustinian in England.
We expect that you will have arrived in England by now. You will find the country agitated by the reluctance of the people to pay taxes, and the Scots stirred up on the subject of religion. There are also the designs of the Palatine, some communications with Savoy and the differences with the Dutch, so there is no lack of material for your attention. The English secretary has been to say that his king has agreed that the company of Zante shall appoint a new consul in that island, and he has requested the confirmation of the consul's patent, after information has been taken. In the meantime you will assure the English nation that they are loved and esteemed in that island and will receive good treatment there, as we wish to encourage trade. We enclose the usual sheet of advices.
Ayes, 82. Noes, 1. Neutral, 2.
July 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya, Venetian Archives.
479. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Dr. Grasvinchel petitions most humbly for the return of his book about the claims of Savoy, which he sent to your Serenity a long time ago for revision, because he wishes to have it printed. He asked me to present this petition to your Serenity.
The Hague, the 23rd July, 1638.
July 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
480. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The ordinary English ambassador had his first audience last week. It was very brief and purely complimentary. The ministers here have intimated to him, not without considerable artifice, in order to prevent a union between his king and France, that they have discovered secret negotiation between the Most Christian and the Duke of Bavaria.
Madrid, the 24th July, 1638.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.] Copy.
July 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
481. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Schidmer when asking if I had any news of the Ambassador Fildin at Venice gave me a full account of the influence he has used to go back there. He also told me in confidence that he had decided to send his wife back to England at the earliest opportunity, because of the treatment she had received here since the Duchess of Chevreuse arrived at that Court. He asked me if Giustinian's wife would visit the queen if she was not allowed to sit, the French ambassadress having absented herself for that reason. I thanked him for the communication and said that Giustinian had tact enough to find a way out. For my part I thought that the queen should not allow ladies to sit before her, but if they did ministers' wives ought not to stand at the same time. He replied that no other lady had the privilege at the English Court but Madame de Chevreuse, and she only availed herself of it once. It was not customary for the king's own daughter to have a seat or stool in her mother's presence. He repeated this several times in a way that showed me he was not speaking of his own motion.
With respect to what Zonca says about the coaches I may remark that I have observed the contrary. The queen's coach accompanied me both at my entrance and at my audience. It is true that there is usually some difference in the present, but I did not think it advisable to speak of it, knowing that to try and put one's hand into the king's purse is a very delicate matter. I was not likely to succeed either, as I was informed that what they gave to the ambassadors of the republic is not so rigidly paid by the laws that they cannot alter it, and I thought it did not become me to stir in a matter affecting my personal advantage and depending solely on the liberality of the prince, and I might be considered base minded and venal. I have sent a copy of these lines to his Excellency Giustinian.
Paris, the 27th July, 1638.
July 29.
Cinque Savii alla Mercanzia. Risposte. Venetian Archives.
482. With regard to the consul chosen by the company of English merchants to live in the islands of Zante and Cephalonia, although this is something new, yet we do not think it right or desirable to refuse patents to this consul, which the king's secretary has asked for. We imagine that the company has taken this step in order to be able to obtain protection for their trade more easily from the state representatives, as private individuals have suffered from the persecution of the inhabitants. This has injured the state, as they have gone away to the Morea and Turkish territory with the cargoes of their ships. This has caused an increase in the price of silk and oil in particular, which used to go to those islands and was brought thence to this city, with consequent loss to the duties and to trade. If no action is taken that nation will provide Turkey with London cloth, to the prejudice of Venetian cloth and of other things exported from this city. It will also divert oil and destroy the currant trade in the islands in part if not altogether, by increasing plantations at Patras and other places. Thus it is desirable to satisfy the merchants and to relieve their grievances.
Dated at the office the 29th July, 1638.
Marco Loredan Savii.
Andrea Pisani
Andrea Dolfin
Marco Venier
Girolamo Lando


  • 1. Francis Gordon.
  • 2. This may possibly refer to the riots at Wickham, Coveney and Littleport in Cambridgeshire on or about the 4th June o.s. Cal, S,P. Dom., 1637-8, pages 493, 494, 503.
  • 3. The position at Cyprus was originally a vice consulship under the consul at Aleppo. In 1636 Richard Glover seems to have established himself there as consul, without proper authorisation. On the 25th January 1637/8 the Levant Co. wrote to Wandesford, their consul at Aleppo, informing him that Glover would be recognised, "in spite of his intrusion upon that consulship, without order." On the same day they wrote to Glover approving of his proceedings and confirming him as consul "so long as you shall well demean yourself." Levant Co, Letter Book. S.P. For, Archives, Vol. III.
  • 4. The text is printed in Rymer : Fœdera, Vol. XX. pages 240, 241. The parchment is elaborately engrossed and illuminated.
  • 5. It should be Count William of Nassau, whose force was almost destroyed by the Spaniards at Fort Calloo near Antwerp on the 22nd June. Le Clerc : Hist. des Provinces Unies, Vol. ii., pages 178-180.
  • 6. Lieut. Col. Huncks, to raise 500 men. Newburgh to Middlesex, the 5th July. Hist. MSS. Comm., 4th Report, page 293.