Venice: August 1638

Pages 439-445

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 1638

Aug. 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Ceffalonia. Venetian Archives.
483. Giacomo Donado, Venetian Proveditore of Cephalonia, to the Doge and Senate.
I gathered that instructions had been issued to procure the relief of the English merchant Henry Ider. When I arrived here I found a process instituted against him by the Inquisitor Capello. I proceeded to despatch this case with all speed, in accordance with my instructions, and found Ider guilty of fraud against the customs. Accordingly I proceeded to pass sentence against him.
Cephalonia, the 23rd July, 1638, old style.
Aug. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
484. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Marquis of Hamilton, who returned to Court this week, brings proposals for a settlement entirely in accordance with report. These are that if the people there are assured of obtaining from his Majesty the abolition of the book upon new ecclesiastical rites, the confirmation of their old privileges, and the Convocation of a parliament, which reduces the royal authority within narrow limits, they will be ready, with all loyal humbleness to petition the king to this effect. They have carefully examined this proposal at the palace. The strongest opposition arises from the fear that the example of such advantages may give rise to similar harmful changes in this kingdom also. However, as they have no means at hand for abasing the pride of the rebels by the sword, it is thought that all the proposals will be accepted, affording a rest for the present. Meanwhile the king shows the utmost satisfaction at the operations of the marquis, who is declared lord of Celsi ; (fn. 1) he will return to Scotland in four days.
The Hamburg negotiations proceed in a sickly way. The Ambassador Roe reports that after his first conferences with the ministers, he had to meet categorical demands as to whether his master meant to break openly with the House of Austria. He replied generally that he would tell them all about this when the agreement was made with France. He asks for the most precise new instructions, and does not conceal his fears that the King of Denmark is conducting negotiations between the Imperialists and the Swedes, the Palatine and England both being excluded. Yet these things in no wise arouse the ministers here, slumbering in their ease and the advantages that the long quiet gives them.
They have granted that the Duke of Lorraine may levy a regiment. A colonel is here for the purpose, but makes little progress without remittances. (fn. 2)
The Dutch ambassador is labouring for the restitution of two ships, seized by virtue of letters of reprisals at the instance of some English merchants. So far he has made no progress, and he fears his offices will prove useless, as they are weakened by a recent incident in the Channel here, between a royal tartana and a Dutch ship of war. They met, and when the Dutch man did not lower its topsail, in sign of respect, the Englishman tried to compel him, by firing his guns, whereupon the Dutch captain responded vigorously, handling the tartana very roughly, some being slain. (fn. 3)
The Duchess of Chevreuse announces that the guarantees for her return to France are arranged, and she is momentarily expecting a courier with more exact confirmation ; for the rest she does not seem much inclined to change her quarters.
The weather still delays the arrival of my baggage, and compels me to postpone my public entry. The Secretary Zonca has again seen the ministers about an earl meeting me, but without success. They claim that his Majesty makes no difference between your Excellencies' ministers and those of other kings ; the barons of England, who have performed this function for twenty four years rank with the highest. Seeing that he could make no impression Zonca told them that as his Majesty would not consider his reasonable request, he would keep the matter to himself, and not communicate it to the Senate or to me. They replied courteously and thanked him and so I do not think it will leak out or be talked of at other Courts.
The unfailing prudence of your Excellencies can always find a way of evading such inconveniences, especially as they consider it unnecessary here to keep a resident ambassador with your Serenity. This is confirmed afresh by what Fildin said at Turin, so the choice of a new minister will not be easy or soon. With regard to the other matters the information supplied from France by Corraro will enable me to uphold the dignity of the state.
London, the 6th August, 1638.
Aug. 6.
Inquisitori di Stato. Venetian Archives.
485. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England to the Inquisitors of State.
The ambassador of Lucca, who is one of those who most frequents the Venetian embassy, has favoured me with a letter. Good manners require me to answer, but my duty forbids, without your permission, so I enclose the letter and my reply, to be sent to the Catholic Court, if you approve.
London, the 6th August. 1638.
Enclosure. 486. Jacopo Arnolfini, Ambassador of Lucca in Spain to Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England.
I imagine this will find you in London, where you will be as much appreciated as your loss is felt here. I am sure that the Ambassador Contarini tells you all that is going on, so I abstain from doing so etc.
Madrid, the 23rd June, 1638.
Aug. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
487. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
They have no news from Hamburg about the opening of the negotiations to be arranged with England in conjunction with the allies. They are afraid that the troubles in Scotland will serve as a pretext for breaking off all the operations.
Paris, the 10th August, 1638.
Aug. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
488. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king changed his mind about remaining in this neighbourhood, and after enjoying some diversions in the queen's house here last week, he went on Saturday to Oatlands, to begin his usual annual progress. The queen will follow him after a few days, and will not return here before next month, so that I shall not be able to see their Majesties before that space.
Fresh letters from the Ambassador Roe at Hamburg have revived his Majesty's hopes of perfecting the negotiations in progress there. He reports three leading points as settled and seems confident of carrying the rest. His Majesty has imparted the entire contents to the French minister here with every satisfaction. He has sent Roe a fresh precept, that with the negotiations progressing towards the congress of Lubeck, he must go there also following the example of the other ministers, keeping an eye for all that may serve the interests of his nephews, and without further committals, to uphold, at least in appearance, the dignity of the original declarations.
Aided by the influential patronage of the Duchess of Chevreuse the Agent of the Duke of Lorraine has at length obtained the use of a royal ship to take him to Spain ; (fn. 4) and so, without money and with nothing but fair words, he is well pleased to get out of this kingdom. They persist here in their reprisals against Dutch ships. The ship Jupiter, Captain, James Sal, laded at Venice, arrived in Plymouth Sound on its way to Amsterdam. An English ship attacked it, and after a bloody fight, the Dutch captain, as a council of necessity, tried to blow up the upper deck, together with the English on it, as they had carried it by boarding but the plan was badly executed and the ship was entirely burned, with the loss of most of the sailors and of a very rich cargo, amounting they say, to 100,000l. sterling. (fn. 5) The accident is the more deplorable because I am told that it jeopardises the interests of the Venetian mart.
At the report of such a disaster the Dutch ambassador made the most lively complaints to the king, who is certainly not gratified at the facility with which the Council has granted letters of reprisals at the instance of the English merchants. His Majesty expressed his sentiments to the Councillors, some of whom by no means favour the Dutch, but rather incline to the Spaniards, and so favour a decision which cannot serve the interests of this crown, or those principles to which the king is at present attached, of a good understanding with all, and to create the impression, especially for the matters now in negotiation, of a thorough understanding with the United Provinces. However, the results of the Dutch minister's remonstrances will indicate his Majesty's true intentions.
Such are the slight events here. I have your Excellencies' letters of the 22nd July. I will intimate to those who trade at Zante and Cephalonia the decision to give them the best treatment there. Zonca has done the same in the past. He only received yesterday, by way of France, your letters of the 7th ult. on this subject.
London, the 13th August, 1638.
Aug. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
489. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The young Count of Ognat, who was ambassador in ordinary in England, has arrived from Corunna. He is staying incognito at his house.
Madrid, the 14th August. 1638.
[Italian.] Copy.
Aug. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Ceffalonia. Venetian Archives.
490. Gasparo Beffa Negrini to Giacomo Donado, Proveditore of Cephalonia.
Information that Henry Hied has been made a slave by a certain Parganotto and taken to La Catena by Saban Bey, known as Valapano.
Clomucci, the 4th August, 1638 [old style.]
Aug. 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
491. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
They are waiting with the utmost impatience at Court to hear what happened at Edinburgh last Sunday, the day appointed by the people there for the meeting of their Council to hear the proposals of the Marquis of Hamilton sent back there by his Majesty with all speed. The turn of affairs for good or ill will depend on the decision taken there. The trouble is that the example of greater licence is likely to encourage the people there to take measures for their own advantage. This causes the wisest men to believe that the marquis received powers to offer all possible means to content the Scots, even though not altogether in consonance with the royal dignity. We shall soon know for certain.
The account sent by the Dutch captain about the ship, which I reported, does not entirely correspond with that sent by the English one. The former has come here to demand justice for his serious losses. The Dutch ambassador bases his remonstrances on the evidence of these facts, pointing out the partiality shown by ministers in granting letters of reprisals, and that the English captain did not accept the readiness of the Dutch one to show obedience, but turned his guns on the ship and burned it, with other circumstances showing that ill temper governed his actions rather than the procedure usual in such cases. The king replied very readily that if such be the case he deserves punishment, and after the necessary enquiry he will give those interested all the opportunities that lawfully belong to them. Yet the ambassador does not go so far as to hope for indemnification, and will consider himself fortunate, if the incident and his remonstrances serve to prevent the same happening again, as he fears that other ships following may suffer the like mishap. But if they come to any decisions to the profit of Dutch merchants, I will look after the interests of your Serenity's subjects, while cautiously refraining from committing myself too far until fresh instructions arrive from your Excellencies.
The Resident of Savoy, who saw his Majesty in the country last week, announces that he had it from his Majesty's own lips that after the first audience, he will appoint a new ambassador to your Serenity. An intimate of this minister asserts that these last offices of his were about fresh overtures for an adjustment between your Excellencies and the House of Savoy. I will obtain fresh confirmation with all circumspection, and will try to evade questions on the subject by brief answers in general terms. I do not yet know when I shall be permitted to see the king. He is far away and I have been two days in bed with an illness which gives me a great deal of pain.
I have informed the chief merchants of the Levant Company through the Secretary Zonca of the decision of your Excellencies to their advantage. They have expressed their most devoted appreciation and the hope of results commensurate with their desire to advance the trade of those islands, to the mutual advantage.
London, the 20th August, 1638.
Aug. 20.
Collegio. Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
492. The Ambassador of his Catholic Majesty came into the Collegio and said :
I have come late and have spoken long. The accursed gout troubles me much. Yet, by my king's order, I must represent the interests of some merchants, by reason of one William Agustini, an Englishman, trading habitually at Seville and he went on to speak in the sense of the subjoined memorial, which he afterwards presented. The doge said they would do what they could, and so the ambassador rose, bowed and departed.
The Memorial.
William Agostini, an Englishman trading at Seville fled unexpectedly from that city, fraudulently carrying off a lot of money belonging to divers persons, a day or two after receiving it. Among these debts was a sum of over 20,000 ducats for Guglielmo di Lovaina, archer of my king's guard. He went straight to England, but as his creditors pursued him thither, he fled to this city, where he has been staying until he heard that various executions were against him, when he proceeded to Zante, where he is now. Various papers etc. have come from the archer sufficient for his arrest, and my king has instructed me to take this matter into my care and to get your Serenity to obtain the republic's assent to execution. I therefore come to ask you for the arrest of this William Augustini and that he be compelled to pay the debt in question.
Aug. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
493. To the Ambassador in England.
Enclose account of the capture of sixteen pirate galleys by the Proveditore of the Fleet. (fn. 6) He is to perform an office on the subject with his Majesty, as a sign of confidence. Zonca should return home without further delay as some one else has already been destined to succeed him.
Ayes, 162. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
Aug. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
494. Francesco Zonca, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Giustinian has had to take to his bed with a serious illness, due to the trials of a very long journey, and the change of air, food and climate, when he was on the point of arranging for his public entry, for which everything was ready. He has lain there for ten days suffering from fever and other ills, which leave the physicians doubtful about the issue. His wife, two little children and five of his attendants are also ill. His Excellency has been worse today and unable to send his usual despatch, so I have thought it my duty to write this. I have been helping him all this time and so have been unable, with the Court so far away, to collect any information. If he is not well enough to work next week, I will get his instructions to take his place, in spite of the kind permission of your Serenity to return so soon as he arrived. He has detained me here until the arrival of the secretary who is to come, and whom I am awaiting with great impatience, in the fear that it may not be very soon, when in my weak state I shall have to travel in the winter, and take that long and expensive journey in the midst of armies and of the plague, which is raging in the countries through which I shall have to pass.
London, the 27th August, 1638.
Aug. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
495. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch ambassador announces that all the ships of the English, Flemings and other nations have been seized in his country to be employed in war against these parts.
The Vigne of Pera, the 28th August, 1638.
[Italian ; deciphered.]


  • 1. Chelsea Place and the manor of Chelsea were granted to Hamilton to be held in socage on 23 June o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1637-8, page 526.
  • 2. Among the state papers is a proposal for a levy of 8000 men for the duke, dated the 27th June, in which the Abbé de Moleur, was the leading spirit ; but no mention is made of any colonel employed in the business. S.P. For. France, Vol. 105.
  • 3. Letters of marque had been granted to George Henley and Augsutine Phillips (see No. 460 at page 427 above, and note) and also to Nicholas Polhill for the capture of his ship the Willing Mind of Weymouth, by the St. Peter of Rotterdam, Capt. T. Kint, on the 4th January 1631. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1637, page 317 ; Id. 1637-8, pages 84, 454, 455. From a memorial of Joachimi of the 19/29 August it appears that a ship called le Liefde and another called le Jyn were captured by the grantees. S.P. For. Holland Vol. 154. A reference in a letter of Northumberland of the 29th July o.s. indicates that the tartana mentioned was the frigate Nicodemus, Capt. Woolward. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1637-8, page 578.
  • 4. "The abbot that came hither from the duke of Lorraine is here and I perceive by him he is likely to continue, for the duke was wholly destitute of a minister here." Hopton on the 8/18 September. S.P. For. Spain. Possibly the Abbé de Moleur who was concerned about the levy. See note at page 440 No. 484 above.
  • 5. Coke probably refers to this disaster when he says that "Polhill... without profit to himself, has destroyed a rich ship." Cal. S.P. Dom., 1637-8, page 584.
  • 6. The Proveditore Marino Capello, on the 6th August, entered the port of Valona and carried off 16 galleys of Algiers and Tunis, which had taken refuge there after a piratical raid into the Adriatic. Nani: Hist. della Republica Veneta, pages 326-329.