Venice: December 1638

Pages 476-483

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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December 1638

Dec. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
540. To the Ambassador in England.
We are without letters from you this week. Owing to the imminent danger of trouble with the Turks it is necessary to consider beforehand what may be required. We shall expect to hear from you what are the facilities and what would be the cost if we could obtain a certain number of ships for the transport of food to our islands, and if it would be to the advantage of the state to consider the purchase of some of them.
Ayes, 108. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.
Dec. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
541. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Your Excellencies' letters of the 23rd and 26th October arrived this week from France. In obedience to these I yesterday expressed to his Majesty the pleasure of the senate at the recent offices of his minister at the Porte. I told him that they show more and more resentment, though unjustified, at the capture of the Barbary foists. The Caimecan, by order of the Sultan had had your Serenity's Bailo confined in a house in Galata, and has shown a violence which is quite incompatible with justice and right and offends the law of nations. The Most Christian and all princes are bound to uphold this most just cause, not only from piety but because the outrage against ambassadors was contrary to the ordinary practice among princes. I laboured to show that not your Serenity but all princes were concerned and his Majesty in particular, owing to his zeal, piety, generosity, and the interests of his subjects, vexed as they are by frequent incursions, and constant plundering by this Barbary race ; and if their pride is not abased, commerce at sea will be destroyed, trade held up and all Christendom despoiled, especially this nation, in the great advantages which it enjoys from the safety of the sea and freedom of trade. These considerations oblige his Majesty to urge strenuously his minister at Constantinople to demonstrate plainly how great is the interest of the crown in this cause, and the necessity and determination to uphold it with all his might. Such offices would prove of great benefit to Christendom and increase his Majesty's deserts with the world, adding to his glory, while they would be most gratifying to your Excellencies, who are always ready to show the esteem you feel for this crown.
The king heard me very attentively, frequently nodding in agreement with what I said. He said he was deeply concerned. He would never fail that cause which he recognised as common to all Christendom. The offices of his ambassador were the result of general commissions. He would like to have in writing anything particular that your Excellencies desired in the matter, so that he could give the necessary instructions to his minister. I said I should not have expected less from so great a king. I would represent his admirable intentions to your Excellencies, who would be very pleased. He repeated that he would make the cause his own, and urged me repeatedly to ask for things of more consequence, saying that if he did not do more the fault would be mine, for not making representations for something more and more precisely. With this I took leave, expressing my thanks.
London, the 8th December, 1638.
Dec. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
542. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The affairs of Scotland cause ever greater apprehension. The ecclesiastical assembly having met, the people have not allowed it to be in the king's name, but in that of the notables of the kingdom, an affront to the royal authority and correspondingly distasteful to his Majesty, who is determined not to suffer such liberties any more and continues his preparations to subdue the audacity of his subjects. The Earl of Arundel is declared general of the forces. They have recalled Colonel Axelle from Holland and propose to give him a high post. (fn. 1) All the country people are being assembled and they have directed the gentry to take the field at the places appointed with the horses they have to find at the end of the present month. His Majesty has sent a considerable sum of money to the frontier with abundant provision of munitions of war and food. All these steps, by no means approved by the wisest, in present jealousies, keep exciting worse troubles for this crown.
The Catholics make great offers upon this occasion, while his Majesty, on the other hand, studies every means to win over the English people, indicating intention of parliaments and other advantages, and having recently abolished these last days twenty two monopolies, granted in past years, forming a burden on the people which caused proportionate grumbling.
The Chevreuse has redoubled her offices with the king and finally got him to change his mind about the Duke of La Vallette leaving the kingdom ; indeed, with permission to stay, the king made him enter his own coach, to the disgust of the French minister, who had already hastened to inform his master that the duke would not be received into this kingdom. The duke has been to this house and expressed his deep devotion to your Serenity.
The Hispanophiles are working with all their might to soften the king's ire against the Spanish minister here. He is charged with having written to Count Curtius at Hamburg, that as he is negotiating the settlement of the Palatinate affair here, with good hope, they should let the transactions there drop. Although they have shown him his own letters, he has constantly denied this, making his Majesty very irate. The king has not only suspended his audiences, but has intimated to Spain, Brussels and Vienna that it is of no use to treat with a person without faith, who falsely propagates what is not true, and he has assured the French ambassador that he is not conducting any transactions with the Spaniards on the subject, telling him all about the affair. However the strongest partisans of the Catholic feel confident of appeasing this tempest, as the king is very impressionable (facile il re a tutte le impressioni.)
They are eagerly awaiting from France the reports of the Ambassador Leicester, as to the results of his offices with the Most Christian for the queen mother, as the continuance of that expense becomes more and more burdensome.
Colonel Douglas, a servant of your Excellencies, has arrived at this Court. He has called and asked me to express his readiness to proceed to Venice whenever required.
As I am closing this the Secretary Cuch sends me the enclosed letter, by his Majesty's order for his minister at the Porte. (fn. 2) They assure me that he has orders to render every assistance in the matter of the Barbary foists. They thought it best to send the letter this way so that it may arrive at Constantinople in the quickest time, as his Majesty's despatches are frequently delayed on the way and lost.
London, the 10th December, 1638.
Dec. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
543. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince Palatine has urgently represented his recent misfortunes to the king and ministers imploring their help. They made the usual reply, that if the King of Great Britain will supply him with certain means for keeping the field armed, he shall receive help and encouragement from this quarter also, otherwise they will not move a step for him. They have directed Bellievre to say this freely in England, and to show how necessary a union between the crowns is on this account also. The negotiations about this remain in some sense alive at Hamburg. M. d'Avo writes that the English solicit him coldly. Reflection upon the disturbances in Scotland appears to give them reason to fear that the offended Spaniards may avail themselves of the opportunity to encourage the rebels, with manifest danger of snatching the control of the kingdom away from the English crown. This thought rouses the ambassadors here to second the idea of peace more than they used.
Paris, the 14th December, 1638.
Dec. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra, Venetian Archives.
544. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last week his Majesty sent credentials and instructions to the Ambassador Fildin for a new service with your Excellencies, leaving it to him to decide the moment of his return. The instructions differ in no wise from his earlier ones, except an addition about the present affairs at the Porte, on which I hear the king frequently converses with the pope's agent here, in particular, who has won his Majesty's confidence in no slight measure.
The feeling against the Spanish minister still persists. The offices I mentioned have produced no effect as the king would not listen. The Ambassador Joachimi is very uneasy as he fears that secret negotiations for peace between France and the House of Austria are far advanced, with the exclusion of the Duke of Lorraine on the one side and of his masters and the Palatine on the other. He considered the approaching fall of Brissach a sufficient motive to accelerate the conclusion. Those not blinded by prejudice or interest recognise the great difficulties.
The Marquis of Hamilton has sent his brother to the Court from Scotland. (fn. 3) He reports the steadfastness of the people not to have the bishops, and the preachers continually exhort them not to change their opinion. All the bishops are summoned to the synod, which 8000 armed foot are assembled to protect, to defend themselves against certain very serious charges. Some of them, to escape present danger, have resigned their bishoprics and sided with the Scots and adopted their faith. They have sent this cavalier back to his brother, with fresh commissions, and directions to take every care to avoid clashing with the charge with which a furious multitude frequently falls upon those who impugn their plans. Meanwhile his Majesty has made the Earl of Essex commander of the cavalry, to the entire satisfaction of the Puritans, who think from this that the king is not averse from their party, the strongest in the kingdom. President Cogneus, first councillor of the queen mother, has frequent conferences with the ministers here, which leaves a suspicion of secret intrigues to the profit of the Spaniards.
Your Excellencies' letters of the 6th and 13th ult. reach me this week. As regards gunpowder the king has suspended fresh licences for its export, even for the Catholic, as the fear that their stock will be needed for the Scottish troubles, the only thing which falls under the troubled attention of this Court. In other respects there is an absence of news, and one's pen rusts.
London, the 17th December, 1638.
545. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I think it opportune to add to what I have already consigned to the courier, what I have just heard on good authority, that the king has made the most urgent representations to the French minister here and written to France as well, so that the Most Christian may arrange the release of Prince Rupert against that of the Pole Casimir. I cannot yet say what hopes the ambassador held out ; I will try and find out and report next week. Fildin's capacity with your Excellencies will be merely that of ambassador, as they studiously avoid the terms ordinary or extraordinary. This will serve for such decisions as your Serenity may esteem necessary.
London, the 17th December, 1638.
Dec. 20.
Collegio. Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi, Venetian Archives.
546. The Secretary of Great Britain came into the Collegio and spoke as follows :
I fear that some further delay in the Ambassador Fildin's arrival in this city may postpone his offices with your Serenity to express my king's satisfaction at the success against the Barbary fleet through the valour of that of the republic. Although this is tempered by the excitement of the Turks and their show of ill will it is certain that this just cause will have the blessing of God, assisted by so many princes of Christendom who are interested, among whom my king will certainly not be the last to prove his good will to the republic and desire its greater prosperity. I therefore come to confirm this.
The doge said they had never doubted his Majesty's good will, to which the republic cordially responded. They were ready in case of need to follow this up, to the glory of God and the consolation of all Christendom. After his Serenity had enquired after the Ambassador Fildin, the secretary took leave.
Dec. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
547. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Buglione told me in confidence that he had some indication that the English ambassadors are trying to get the Prince of Poland exchanged for the Palatine's brother. I will try and find out about it, with due circumspection.
Paris, the 21st December, 1638.
548. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassadors urge, though in vain, that the queen mother shall have the assignments upon her revenues. His Majesty sees that she is well housed and is content for the King of Great Britain to have the entire charge of this hospitality, although he did not invite his guest.
Paris, the 21st December, 1638.
Dec. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
549. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty, guided by his own interests, is trying his hardest for the return of the queen mother to France. Two days ago the French ambassador had a long conference with him in her presence, when she promised faithfully to lay aside all her passion, and that, if allowed to return, she would be entirely submissive to the Most Christian and to Cardinal Richelieu as well. But so far these efforts have proved fruitless. The French ambassador steadily affirms the readiness of his master to supply his mother with all that her rank demands in the states of Florence. With respect to the exchange of Prince Rupert for Prince Casimir, he has evaded it by showing that it is not his duty to submit such offices in France, while hinting that the imperialists are unlikely to consent to it.
The Ambassador Roe's letters from Hamburg confirm the continued reluctance of the Swedes to make a league with this crown, if it does not bind itself by definite payments to support a corps d'armee, and to make an open breach with the House of Austria. The king, on the other hand, persists in his original idea of not going beyond what is arranged with France, which increases the belief that those transactions will end in nothing. Those who favour the Spanish side announce the despatch of a Catholic ambassador extraordinary to this Court, with instructions to offer assistance to reduce the Scots ; the marriage between their prince and the princess here, and measures to satisfy his Majesty with respect to his nephews Palatine. The Most Christian ambassador actively opposes these specious proposals, pointing out that they are suggestions rather than a readiness to act.
The Princess Palatine has written very passionate letters from Holland, sent express, complaining of the rigorous imprisonment of her son by the imperialists, and reiterating her prayers for help for her most just cause. But the hopes of an accord with the Scots have fallen through. The Marquis of Hamilton has been recalled thence, having been audaciously cited by the people there with other royal councillors, to defend himself before the parliament of Scotland for having attempted to infringe their privileges. So everything is moving to the ripening of most serious perils to this state, and the plans for rendering efficient help to others are barred. The Spanish minister here has denied the passage in what he wrote to Count Curtius at Hamburg. He declares that he had the rest from the king's own lips. The one who interpreted his Majesty's remarks asserts the same, yet since the king denies any idea of the kind, the minister is left in the utmost torment and anxiety. It is a lesson for those who have to deal with his Majesty in the future to employ the pen rather than the tongue, in order to escape such heartbreaking incidents. (Afferma il rimanente dalla lingua del Re udito, e se bene tali le asseveranze di chi interpreto le voci di Sua Maesta, discordando nondimeno Ella da tali concetti, fra li crucii delle angustie maggiori lascia questo ministro, et amaestrando a quelli che in avvenire dovevano trallar con la Maesta Sua per fuggir tali durissimi incontri di adoperar piu la penna che la lingua.)
Your Excellencies' letters of the 3rd inst. have just reached me. I will send next week the information you desire about hiring or buying ships.
London, the 24th December, 1638.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 27.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
550. The Secretary of Great Britain came into the Collegio and said :
The government of Zante has pronounced sentence of banishment against Mr. Thomas Limona, English merchant, for certain charges brought against him, of which he desires to clear himself. I ask your Serenity to give him the benefit of being heard again, with which I doubt not he will prove his innocence. The doge said they would always take pleasure in gratifying his Majesty's ministers, and they would take information about this.
The secretary said he was waiting for a reply to his Majesty's letter patent for the consul general of the English nation, presented by him ; he then took leave and went out.
Dec. 28.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
551. The Secretary of Great Britain came into the Collegio and said :
Lord Fildin has orders from his Majesty to return to continue his embassy here. He has instructed me to come and inform your Serenity and assure you of his desire to show his devotion and act as a good minister, fostering cordial relations. The doge said they highly appreciated the sentiments of the ambassador, whom they esteemed and loved as he deserved. They would see him back with satisfaction, and they would always respond where they could. The secretary then presented the following memorial, after which he took leave and went out, saying to me, the secretary that the ambassador would be here in about forty days.
The Memorial.
Viscount Filding, ambassador of Great Britain petitions your Serenity to release from the galleys Giuseppe Giannoncello of Castro in the Bergamese who was condemned for being accidentally present when some shots were fired at Pea. He deserved consideration because he was condemned by the Rectors of Bergamo with many irregularities, owing to which the Avogador Foscarini thought it just to interfere with the sentence. If your Serenity does not think fit to pardon him entirely, I ask at least that his case may be sent as soon as possible to the Council of Forty, Civil Vecchio, as it is a long time since the sentence was entered.
Dec. 30.
Cinque Savii alla Mercanzia. Risposte. Venetian Archives.
552. We have seen the patents granted by the King of Great Britain in 1635 to Andrea Pelegnini giving powers to act in Italy as Consul for his nation. Such universal patents are not generally used in this state, but the usual course is a special, individual patent, with the name of consul, to this city or some other in the dominion, when your Serenity generally admits him. We do not know where Pelegnini proposes to exercise his general patents or where he will establish his abode. We suspect that he will go at will to the place which best suits his ends and private interests. We refer such a delicate matter to the pleasure of the state.
Given on the 30th December, 1638.
Francesco Zen Savii.
Antonio Ciuran
Zuanne Barbarigo
Alvise Valaresso
Dec. 31.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
553. To the Ambassador in London.
Commendation of his office with the king about the present troubles of the republic with the Turks. To thank his Majesty at a special audience for what we may expect from him and for the letter sent to his ambassador at the Porte, giving us assurance that minister will not be unlike his predecessor, who showed himself a true friend of the republic. To induce the government in this way to send fresh incitement to the ambassador so that he may do what is necessary in defence of the cause. To express also to his Majesty the satisfaction felt at the return of the Ambassador Fielding, which has been announced by his Majesty's secretary.
Ayes, 102. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.


  • 1. Sir Jacob Astley. On the 3rd Dec. o.s. he and his son Bernard were granted the office of Captain of Plymouth castle and St. Nicholas Island Cal S.P. Dom., 1638-9, page 143.
  • 2. There is no such letter attached.
  • 3. Apparently Sir James Hamilton is meant (See Cal. S.P. Dom., 1638-9, page 152) and not the Marquis's only brother William.