Venice: November 1638

Pages 468-475

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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November 1638

Nov. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
528. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The ministers most employed give assurance that his Majesty has formed generous decisions, greater than the first, for the support of the Palatine forces, which suffer from lack of money. As the royal treasure is powerless to support at the same time both this and the entertainment of the queen mother, it must be postponed, as contrary to the hopes of those who do not wish to see her in this kingdom, she has been carried by the winds to Harwich, sixty miles away, in derision of the great preparations made at Dover. She landed there with her suite of six hundred persons, but none of any rank, enjoying the commodities supplied magnificently by the king, and took to her bed to recover from the discomforts of the sea, and had recourse to medicine. His Majesty, who proposes to meet her in great state, twenty five miles in the country, is waiting to hear of her moving. The queen, her daughter, on account of her pregnancy, will only go a few leagues. (fn. 1) She maintains with all her might, in order to diminish the universal murmuring at such expense, that her mother will only remain a few days at the expense of her husband, and that her appanages will promptly be supplied from France to pay for her stay and all her requirements.
Having lost the chance of the ordinary embassy in France Fildin is employing every means for a new term with your Excellencies. He has sent his secretary here with gifts for the king and other presents for the queen. (fn. 2) His mother, who occupies the principal post in her Majesty's chamber, warmly supports the instances of her son. Against these, in his Majesty's Council are what happened at Venice and the dissatisfaction with his operations in Savoy, so he only has the royal favour for him.
They decided in the Council to add some earthworks to strengthen Varvich castle, which is on the Scottish frontier. This rendered the people there very suspicious. The more there is done to satisfy them the more bold they grow in neglecting their duty as obedient subjects. Their lively remonstrances caused the king to change his mind, his sole preoccupation being to avoid disturbances, so he prefers to live less safely in this kingdom rather than supply materials for increasing trouble in that country.
It appears that the Duchess of Chevreuse intends to go to Brussels rather than go to the Most Christian. In the future she will provide for her household solely with the 1000 crowns a month with which the Catholic king provides her. The gentleman sent from here to the Duke of Lorraine took him an invitation to proceed thither also, in order to discuss the measures adopted at this Court to his advantage, while keeping alive those with the Spaniards, on the point which he is negotiating with the ministers of France. These intercepted the letters sent to Spain to the Count of Olivares, and to her deep chagrin they have come into the hands of Cardinal Richelieu, as she is conducting intrigues which do not square with the interests of that crown, not to speak of the suggestions for the marriage of the prince, which I reported. No further particulars have transpired so far.
A Frenchman of rank has arrived here lately, and it is reported that the Duke of La Valette has also taken flight and is now at Plymouth ; (fn. 3) but they know nothing about it at Court as yet.
Since the king's return to town everything was arranged for my entry and first audience, but the king has notified me through the Master of the Ceremonies of his desire that they shall be postponed until his mother in law arrives, so that the principal lords of the Court and the Master of the Ceremonies himself, who is with the said queen, being at leisure, the function may take place with due ceremony. (fn. 4)
London, the 5th November, 1638.
Nov. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
529. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
News has arrived of a defeat inflicted by the Imperialists upon the army of the Prince Palatine, (fn. 5) and of the capture of Prince Roberto his brother and of Lord Craven, compensated by the death of Pietro Gotz. They regret the event here, but hope that it will serve as a spur to the King of Great Britain to come out with a more resolute declaration in favour of the public cause.
Poissy, the 5th November, 1638.
Nov. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
530. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
They have no certain news of the Duke of La Vallette, some think he has gone to England, others to Italy. There is nothing certain either about the arrival of the queen mother in England. They say little or nothing about her at Court.
They feel sorry for the misfortunes of the Palatines, but have no idea of relieving them unless they first see an open and solid declaration in their favour from the King of Great Britain.
Paris, the 9th November, 1638.
Nov. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
531. To the Ambassador in London.
With regard to the gunpowder upon reflection and if it is not possible to obtain more favourable terms, we do not think it will be to our advantage to purchase any, under the circumstances. However you will not lose touch with the matter out of consideration for what may happen later.
Vote of 300 ducats for couriers and the carriage of letters.
Ayes, 130. Noes, 0. Neutral, 4.
That the following be added to the letter for the Ambassador in London :
We have thought it necessary to inform his Majesty's secretary here of the arrest of the Bailo. This office will serve by a cordial friendliness to stimulate his Majesty's sincere propensity to support this matter on his side, with vigour, by means of his ambassador at the Porte.
532. That the Secretary of England be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
As a concession to the pirates the arrest of our Bailo has been ordered at Constantinople. The Turkish ministers themselves recognise the outrage, but they have obeyed through fear. Everything goes to indicate vast designs on the part of the Turk against Christendom. All the powers and the king of Great Britain too are equally interested, as his ambassador at the Porte has shown by his action. We have directed our ambassador in London to thank his Majesty and we have desired to inform you as a further expression of our gratitude and of our confidence that his Majesty will not abandon so important a cause, which involves the safety of all Christendom.
Ayes, 14.
Nov. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Constantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
533. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I keep the new English ambassador informed of what is taking place in the affair, in which his offers and his words could not be better. But he can do little or nothing until he has entered upon his charge.
The Vigne of Pera, the 13th November, 1638.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Nov. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
534. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen mother entered this city on Wednesday (fn. 6) before a great crowd, being met by the king in the country. All the foreign ministers presented their respects on the following day. France said he did it of himself, as he had no orders from the Most Christian. He thus made himself safe with his king and satisfied their Majesties here, while opening a way for treating with her. From certain indications I feel sure that he has secret but cautious instructions for this. Her Majesty is visited every day with the utmost respect by the king and her daughter. The former frequently talks with her standing and uncovered, while the latter displays the most filial reverence, 5000l. sterling have been paid to her for her present needs, with an assignment of 3000l. a month for her daily familiar needs. The leaders of the merchants brought her a gilded basin with 1000l. sterling, as a gift.
On the other hand the queen by maintaining the most rigid hauteur does not afford equal satisfaction. When the royal Council paid its respects she received it seated and responded in a few words. She did the same with the ladies and other great lords of the realm, being always very sparing with her courtesies. This has caused further murmurs, and increases the desire to see her out of this country.
His Majesty chose to tell the Palatine's agent with his own lips his disposition to assist his master with a fresh sum of money to support his troops. That minister presses for the fulfilment of the promises, which is not easy with the extraordinary expenditure. It is as yet uncertain what the amount will be, but they think 20,000l. of their money, unless the confused reports here about the defeat of those forces give them cause to change their minds.
Having completed a year in Savoy Fildin has at last succeeded about returning to your Excellencies in his original capacity of ambassador extraordinary. His mother, who alone secured this for him, hopes that his commissions will be sent to her son within two weeks. I will inform your Serenity when this happens.
A French ship from New France which arrived here with a rich cargo, has been arrested by virtue of letters of reprisal granted to merchants concerned three years ago. The ambassador is much incensed, as he claims that it is contrary to the articles of peace between this crown and France. He has remonstrated strongly to the king, protesting that if it is not released soon they will seize all English ships now in French waters. (fn. 7)
Negotiations are still proceeding for the return of Chevreuse to France. They not only agree to give her every satisfaction, but an abbey for her daughter also if her mother will sign a confession of her faults, which she has steadfastly denied in the past, and so far she seems reluctant to embrace the proposal. However, she does not let the negotiations drop, while she ceaselessly encourages the correspondence between this House and the Spanish one. The queen here is preparing to send very rich gifts to her sister there, all for the purpose of the suggested marriage between her daughter and the prince there. The wisest see clearly that this will not go beyond negotiation, and that the Spaniards will press their advantages under the favour of such vain hopes.
Scottish affairs are agitated by fresh disturbances. A preacher who tried surreptitiously to introduce the Arminian faith there has been furiously hunted away by the people. The Marquis of Hamilton angrily pointed out that punishment belonged to the king and no other. They, on the other hand, contend for the complete freedom of the liturgy permitted to them, and they went so far as to tell the marquis that they will make any one who tries to do anything against this determination pay for it with his life. These proud remarks cause great apprehension to the most experienced ministers here, as they fear that even worse troubles will mature in the synod and parliament which have been granted.
The Duke of la Vallette landed in Cornwall and has provided himself with quarters in this city. I made my public entry on Monday, being met by Viscount Dangarvan, one of the first noblemen of the realm and the son of an earl, his Majesty sending the royal barges and coaches, with a numerous company of the gentlemen of the Court. His Majesty has appointed my audience for Sunday, and selected the Earl of Huntingdon to accompany me. By an adroit suggestion, without committing myself, I have secured that the queen's coach shall be sent to me also for the ceremony ; a great distinction, as it it has not been at the audience of my predecessors. I will see that the rest is carried out with proper decorum. I must add that I have observed that they make no difference between the ambassadors extraordinary of your Serenity and those of other crowns. If in the future it proves impracticable to get past errors amended by sending an earl for the entry, the Senate can easily avoid the disadvantage by giving the next envoy the title of ambassador extraordinary, as the Most Christian and Catholic crowns often do at this Court, and the king here does the same ; and once they have practised sending earls to the Venetian ministers they may easily go on doing the same with the ordinary ambassadors also.
London, the 19th November, 1638.
Nov. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
535. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I saw the king on Sunday, being taken by the Earl of Huntingdon, accompanied by the royal coaches and other ministers. I expressed your satisfaction at his good health and the prosperity of his house, your esteem for him and desire for the continuance of uninterrupted relations. I said I hoped I should give him satisfaction. With a radiant face the king said he desired the most cordial relations, which my predecessors had always cultivated. He expressed himself very graciously about me. He graciously received my brother Geronimo, who accompanied me on this long journey.
I presented your Excellencies' letters to the queen and performed the offices commanded to which she responded with expressions of regard for the Senate. The royal children are in the country. I will pay my respects when they return ; while today I shall perform suitable offices with the queen mother.
The king's sister and Prince Palatine have confirmed by an express the disaster to their arms. This fresh proof of how fortune has abandoned that unhappy house in its legitimate plans has filled his Majesty with grief. He is thinking of how to recover the second brother, Rupert, a prisoner of the enemy, and of introducing negotiations at Brussels, which can be continued at the imperial Court. The Princess Palatine presses with greater urgency for fresh help, and asks the king to maintain a force of 4000 foot for her son. The king does not consent to this but promises the selfsame succour to the cause as the Most Christian will supply. The French ambassador, however, has pointed out that his master's interest is very different from that of this crown, with its ties of kin and its promises of the most vigorous succour. He intimated adroitly that if hope of this is entirely excluded, France will be more ready to enter the temple of peace, leaving out the interests of the Palatine house. These remarks have made no impression so far, his Majesty clinging the more steadfastly to his original declarations the more the growing uncertainty of affairs in Scotland calls for the utmost reserve. He is assembling a certain number of men in Yorkshire and elsewhere, to provide for emergencies, in order to reduce those audacious subjects by force in the end, if he cannot do so by negotiation.
La Vallette has petitioned the king for an asylum and protection through the Duchess of Chevreuse. The king heard him willingly, but after the matter had been more thoroughly examined in the Council, he changed his mind, and intimated to the duke by a courier, that he did not know the reasons which had led the duke, the governor of a province and a general, to leave France, and the laws of a good friend and neighbour did not permit him to receive him. If they adhere to this the duke will have to go elsewhere.
The Chevreuse finds herself sorely tried. Richelieu and her husband urge her to return to France. Not only does her own feeling persuade her against this, but the queen regnant of France has let her know with the utmost secrecy that the Cardinal's proposals or promises are all specious, and a trick to draw her into his net, as a further cause of annoyance to the queen herself. A gentleman is expected here and when he comes these negotiations will be cut short or she will decide upon the journey. The letters written to the Duke of Lorraine and intercepted told him of the proposals made here in the name of the Catholic, that if this crown obliged France to restore Lorraine, he would immediately have the entire Palatinate handed over, offers which have proved difficult to carry into effect when previously proposed.
London, the 26th November, 1638.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
536. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Only two letters of your Serenity of the 16th ult. reach me from France this week. I have expressed to his Majesty, as instructed, at a special audience, the pleasure of the Senate at the way the English minister at Constantinople has upheld the common cause in the matter of the Barbary corsairs, in which I said all Christian princes were equally interested, and his Majesty in particular, who showed such praiseworthy zeal for the suppression of this pest of all the nations.
The king said his ambassador had instructions to maintain a good understanding with the ministers of Christian princes, and support all their interests, notably those of your Excellencies, for whom he has the greatest affection. In addition to the general instructions he will add special ones to support the good cause to the ambassador newly sent to the Porte. He seemed desirous of knowing the precise state of the matter at present, as although this crown certainly has treaties of peace with the Turk, and ought not to break, yet they can rule their plans according to circumstances. As I did not know for certain, I got out of it by speaking of the deeds of arms of your Serenity, so spirited and profitable for all Christendom.
I went on to tell him of the outrageous behaviour of his consul at Zante, which had obliged your Excellencies to expel him from the island. I omitted nothing that was calculated to impress him with the necessity for this step. He approved of the action and said he had no knowledge of the matter as yet. He condemned the minister for failing in his duty by neglecting to apply to your Excellencies for his own despatches and to your representative. The Secretaries confirmed his remarks.
The king also repeated his satisfaction with the Secretary Zonca, who has his foot in the stirrup to return home, according to the leave granted to him. I repeat my request that some one to take his place may be sent as speedily as possible, if this has not yet been done.
London, the 26th November, 1638.
Nov. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
537. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The reinforcements of English troops who were to have joined the Palatine on reaching the Weser found no captains to whom to report themselves or from whom to receive instructions. They were ready to take service anywhere, but found no one willing to have them. This incident only serves to intensify the deplorable condition of the relics of that force.
The Hague, the 27th November, 1638.
Nov. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
538. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Since the news of the arrival of the Duke of La Valletta in England nothing further has come. They think he will proceed to Holland, where his wife proposes to join him. They are not very pleased here at the courteous welcome received by the queen mother in England. They profess to have an absolute assurance that in spite of the sympathies she expresses in agreement with the Spaniards, she left Flanders on purpose to make trouble against this kingdom everywhere.
St. Germain, the 30th November, 1638.
Nov. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Ceffalonia. Venetian Archives.
539. Giacomo Donado, Venetian Proveditore in Cephalonia, to the Doge and Senate.
The trade in currants is the principal foundation by which the revenues of your Serenity are maintained. Where the purchase of these is advantageous to the merchants it is correspondingly prejudicial to the people, and obviously harmful to the public interests. Last year the currants were disposed of at only 20 reals the thousand, a decline of 5 to 6 reals from the preceding year. What is a much more serious matter, a million and a half of the old crop remained unsold, since the merchants have not yet taken them away, according to custom, and it is doubtful whether they will not have to be thrown away, to the great loss of the revenue. This year the price will be much lower. According to current report the currants will not fetch more than 15 to 16 reals the thousand, and there is a fear that the price may drop still lower, since a large quantity will still remain unsold, according to the estimate made by the English merchants. The cause of all this is the multiplicity of plantations of currants in the island, which increase every year in numbers, rendering it more and more difficult to dispose of the crop.
Simons has not yet appeared here. I will keep an eye on his proceedings. The disadvantage of having only one purchaser is clearly shown by the drop in prices.
Cephalonia, the 20th November, 1638, old style.


  • 1. The queen mother landed on the 18/28th October. The king did not start to meet her until Monday the 8th Nov. n.s., spending the night at Chelmsford. The following day he met the queen at Sir Henry Mildmay's house at Moulsham, where she had spent the night. The king took her that night to Gidea Hall from which place he conducted her to London on Wednesday the 10th, to the quarters prepared for her at St. James's palace. It was there she first met her daughter, who had not stirred from London. John Reeve to Fielding the 1st Nov. Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Report, page 284. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1638-9, page 65.
  • 2. John Reeve. Fielding to Coke the 4/14 October. S.P. For. Savoy.
  • 3. See No. 524 at page 466 above, and note. Bellievre writing on the 4th Nov. says : "Tout le monde scait ici que M. le Duc de la Valette est arrivé dans un vaisseau ecossais à un port de Cornouaille nommé Lezard." P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
  • 4. Salvetti writing on the 29th October comments on the surprise and resentment felt at Court because Giustinian had not made his public entry, though he had been in London four months. Salvetti attributes the delay in large measure to the illness of the ambassador's wife and to his failure to find a suitable house. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962H.
  • 5. At Gohfeld on the 17th October.
  • 6. i.e. Wednesday the 10th November n.s. See note at page 468, No. 528 above.
  • 7. Writing on the 23rd Dec., Bellievre reports the release by the king's order of a ship of the Company of New France recently seized at Falmouth. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.