Venice: January 1639

Pages 484-493

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 24, 1636-1639. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1923.

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January 1639

1639. Jan. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
554. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty has sent an express to direct the Marquis of Hamilton to stay on with the Scots, as after further discussion in the Council they recognised that his departure, by entirely putting a stop to all treaty, might possibly hasten those disturbances which the wisest ministers study to avoid and they are trying, by the mere noise of military preparations to bring back that people to its original loyalty and to re-establish the royal authority in the kingdom.
The sole reason for sending the Ambassador Roe to Denmark was to settle about some ancient claims which that crown has against this one, by virtue of the last league to assist the Palatine House. He reports that he has had his first interviews with that monarch, after which he is to return to Hamburg, and there treat in the interests of the Palatine's languishing fortune with the princes of the party. That prince is supposed to have arrived there by now, to support the negotiations and encourage assistance by his presence, which the mere suggestions of his uncle have not yet succeeded in obtaining.
Last week the Baron of Tornone arrived here from the Duchess of Savoy, in the capacity of a simple gentleman, to impart the death of the little duke. (fn. 1) On Sunday he saw their Majesties, who have put on mourning with the Court, to show their sympathy with that house. The gentleman has no other business and will return very soon to his mistress.
One Lopez, a Portuguese and an old servant of France, has recently arrived in the Downs, with bills and cash to the amount of 1,500,000 francs. He has proceeded to Holland, by order of the Most Christian, to buy warships, being escorted by royal ships, obtained for him by the French ambassador.
Quarrels between the ministers of the queen mother are disturbing her household. The President Cogneus wants the entire direction of his mistress and tries every way to bring about the fall of Fabroni, who has the highest place in her favour. Her stay here appears likely to be prolonged, causing some little distress, but on the other hand, being better advised than at first, her Majesty has laid aside her original haughtiness which offended everybody, and wins the most influential councillors by her graciousness. For the rest, they continue to pay her 3000l. a month promptly.
The pregnancy of the queen here having reached its term, they have sent to France for the usual wet nurse.
London, the 7th January, 1638. [M.V.]
555. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have given the king full particulars about the serious events at the Porte over the affair of the Barbary foists, pointing out that it concerns all Christendom, and how necessary it is to try every means for terminating this dispute. I again expressed your appreciation of his minister's offices.
The king thanked your Serenity for the communication. He would direct his ambassador at Constantinople to persist in his support of the common cause, and he would give him every assistance in this, not only because of the public service, but for that of your Serenity particularly. Your Excellencies should ask for anything definite that you want, so that he may take suitable measures. I expressed my appreciation of his Majesty's intentions and said I would apply to him in case of need.
It will be easy to buy or hire ships in the ports here. For ships of 400 butts, armed for war, with sixty men and 24 pieces of ordnance the merchants here are accustomed to pay 500l. sterling a month ; and for those of the same size and manning and guns, intended to transport goods, they are accustomed to give 350l. sterling and less, according to circumstances, and the ability of the one who makes the bargain. I am assured that purchase would be on more advantageous terms, and that is the usual practice of those who want ships for several months. But for this one would require the assistance of someone whose honesty and experience would protect the purchaser against the disadvantages so frequently experienced by those who, in this country, deal in matters they do not know.
London, the 7th January, 1638. [M.V.]
Jan. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
556. That the Secretary of the King of Great Britain be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
We have learned with the utmost satisfaction of his Majesty's decision that the Ambassador Fielding shall return soon to reside here. He will enjoy the most complete tokens of our regard for that crown. The patents for the Consul Pelegrini have been sent and will be put in operation.
Ayes, 147. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
Jan. 8.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
557. That by authority of this Council the magistrates concerned be directed to admit and have carried out the patent of the king of Great Britain appointing Andrea Pelegrini consul in Italy, observing the customary forms.
Ayes, 147. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
Jan. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
558. Giovanni Grimani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Resident here has informed some of the leading ministers, with the greatest secrecy, (as he enjoys the most confidential relations with them all, without exception, and is always supplying them with quite fresh and authentic news of the events of France) that the English ambassadors at Paris have written to his king that the Most Christian is aiming at universal monarchy, and that they ought to take heed before the mischief is irreparable. The Agent stated that the Cardinal had told them to expect the conquest of the Palatine's dominions soon, and these would be handed over to him if he would recognise the investiture of France ; and that when Brisach was taken the Most Christian would not agree to peace with the House of Austria even if they gave up all the empire and all that the Spaniards held beyond the Rhine. He says that the Ambassador Fildin wrote to the same effect from Turin. All this gives him a strong impression that the disturbances in Scotland are encouraged by the Cardinal. His king was so moved that he at once sent an express to the governor of Brisach urging him to hold out and never to surrender the place to the French. The Resident says the Cardinal has heard of this expedition and the Most Christian also and both are deeply indignant against England, so he feels sure of a speedy rupture between the two crowns.
The news gives no little satisfaction here, but great are the devices of princes! I do not know if the ambassadors write this plainly to the Resident, as we know of the instances made at Paris to get passports for the Palatine, and if he recovered his dominions I do not think there would be any great difficulty about his receiving them from France.
Vienna, the 8th January, 1638. [M.V.]
Jan. 8.
Venetian MSS. Public Record Office.
559. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador, who was previously resident at this Court for his king for four years, has freely expressed himself that whatever they may say and promise here it will all end in talk and nothing, if they do not make peace, as they have so much to do to defend themselves against so many enemies by sea and land that they are not capable of assisting others. I may add, in confirmation of this that they frequently embrace things with great eagerness and afterwards whittle them down to nothing.
Madrid, the 8th January, 1638. [M.V.]
Jan. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
560. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
With respect to the passports I have had a long interview with the Cardinal, and tried to get him to approve of the formula which I presented to the king for the allies in Germany. He replied that those for Hesse and Weimar could not be refused, and the body of them would be accepted when they took away the exclusion of the reconciled princes and abolished the decree about the Palatine. If his interests are not settled it is vain to think of any treaty of peace. The English ambassadors make a great outcry about this, and the king ought not, in effect, to send plenipotentiaries to Cologne or admit the Duke of Lorraine there if the Palatine also has not access.
I urged that it was waste of time to insist about those not yet reconciled. The decree against the Palatine had no connection with the passports and ought not to prevent them. They might employ offices to get it abolished with greater ease. The king of Great Britain, through his ambassador at Hamburg might find some satisfactory compromise with Cæsar's ministers, without this question rendering the affair more difficult. The Cardinal persisted that they could not send plenipotentiaries to Cologne unless all the Princess of Germany, whether reconciled or no, were free to appear and treat there. In the end, however, I got him to admit that the point was not so important as he insisted at first, and that it was a good thing to rouse the King of Great Britain in the interests of the Palatine, seeing the cause was especially his, and he ought at least to help in settling it. He added that everything would be useless if the Dutch did not have the passport from Spain.
Paris, the 11th January, 1638. [M.V.]
561. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassadors announce that their negotiations at Hamburg are progressing, but the Cardinal showed me that he attached very little importance to this. Viscount Schidmer has obtained permission to return home and he is waiting for the king to return from Fontainebleau in order to take leave.
Paris, the 11th January, 1638. [M.V.]
Jan. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
562. To the Ambassador in London.
In your letters of the 8th December we hear of instructions to the Ambassador Fildin to return here. If we do not hear definitely whether he is to be ordinary or extraordinary we shall treat him as ordinary. This is for information. There is nothing fresh from Constantinople. The Bailo is still detained but there are signs that the Turks may listen to some accommodation, although they cannot be trusted since everything depends on the caprice of the sovereign.
Ayes, 144. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
Jan. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
563. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have told the most influential ministers as well about the Turkish claims in the matter of the Barbary foists, to which your Excellencies cannot consent. I showed the need of trying every means to put an end to this dispute. They all assured me of his Majesty's readiness to afford every assistance and that he had directed his ambassador to make the strongest representations at the Porte ; and that if an open rupture ensues, with the consequent interruption or insecurity of the trade of the Christians in the Levant marts the king will allow the merchant company to attack the Sultan's dominions in the Archipelago with a well armed squadron. The merchants have petitioned the king more than once for the licence, and they told me that this would prove a most useful diversion, and make it very difficult for Turkish vessels to enter or leave their ports.
The leaders of the merchants have confirmed this to me, and their wish to try the effects with twenty five or thirty good ships, if they can obtain the letters of marque from the king. Once they had got these they would in the course of a few months cautiously withdraw from the Turkish dominions the capital of the English nation there.
The merchantmen San Bonaventura and Margarita Costanza sailed from here last week, both excellent vessels of 400 tons. The first is to go straight to Venice, the second to Leghorn and Ragusa, carefully avoiding Venetian waters. I send word so that your Excellencies may be able to take the necessary steps, in your need for ships to transport munitions.
The Prince Palatine has recently made strong representations to his Majesty of his needs, imploring fresh liberality for his relief. The reply consisted of a general declaration of goodwill, and that he should experience the effects at the next campaign.
Meanwhile all the ministers express the utmost satisfaction at the fall of Breisach, (fn. 2) in the assurance that the worse the Austrians fare the better it will be for the Palatine. That prince informs the king that he has conferred with the King of Denmark and obtained the most absolute promise that he will devote his utmost energies so that the interests of the Palatine House shall be comprised at the conclusion of a general treaty of peace.
The news that Prince Rupert is to remain in the custody of the Imperialists and not of the Duke of Bavaria, as they feared, has reassured his Majesty, who adroitly tried to secure this advantage from Cæsar.
Under the pretext of recruits for the Irish regiments at present fighting among the forces of the Most Christian, his Majesty has granted permission to the ambassador here for fresh levies of that nation, and with this example he has allowed the English colonels who serve the Catholic in Flanders, to fill up their companies. This affords an additional proof that his Majesty will not depart from the most perfect neutrality. (fn. 3)
The continued declarations in favour of the Scots of the mother of the Marquis of Hamilton, who has considerable influence in that country, arouses misgivings, in those who know best, about the loyalty of the Marquis himself, as being heir to that crown in default of the present line. No news has come from him this week and the Court is waiting for some with the utmost impatience.
Your Excellencies' letters of the 11th and 18th ult. have reached me this week.
London, the 15th January, 1638. [M.V.]
Jan. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
564. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty has informed me through the Earl of Arundel and the Secretary Chuch of the strong remonstrance made by the Most Christian to the Earl of Leicester and by the Ambassador Believre to his Majesty upon the reports that while England is doing nothing for the Palatine at Hamburg, she is treating separately with the Spaniards at Brussels on behalf of that House. (fn. 4) The Secretary said this was utterly divergent from the truth, and entirely due to false reports spread by the Spanish minister here. On this account his Majesty had rightly refused him audience, and had intimated to his master a desire for his recall, because of his behaviour, They had made this right with the Most Christian, and desired that I would inform the Venetian minister at Paris of the baselessness of these reports, and to obtain information from him with regard to the grant of passports for the Protestant princes of Germany, as his Majesty would like to learn the particulars from me. He felt sure, moreover, that the Venetian ministers would not fail to work for the Palatine, whose cause the crowns of France and Sweden had now declared must be included in the general treaty of peace. By a general reply I avoided committing myself, speaking of your esteem for his Majesty and your desire for the prosperity of all the Palatine House.
Meanwhile, since Believre's office, they have sent a courier to Spain, with letters to the king and instructions to the Ambassador Hopton to repeat with vigour, not only the complaints against the Spanish minister here, but to point out in addition that as the Austrians have not so far agreed to any arrangements for the Palatine House, his Majesty is forced to consider more energetic means for relieving the fortunes of his nephew. But it is well known that these protests will not be backed by action, since this crown is rooted to its old principle of avoiding committments of any kind.
With the arrival of the Marquis of Hamilton at Court two days ago, the suspicions of him, I reported, have died away. The account he brings amounts to this, that if his Majesty is disposed to approve the things so far decided by the ecclesiastical assembly, and those which will be arranged in the parliament, the seeds of discontent will be buried ; but if not he declares that every effort at an accommodation will prove fruitless. It is thought that his Majesty will find it prudent to accept by the laws of necessity, and upon these terms, although equally derogatory to his dignity and royal authority.
Having performed his task the gentleman of the Duchess of Savoy has gone to the coast. He received rich presents, from their Majesties as well as a jewel worth 2000 crowns from the queen mother which excited remark. The king also granted him a royal ship to take him across the sea, a favour usually reserved for ambassadors, and a further tribute of their regard here for that house.
After a bloody fight off Dover the Dunkirkers, with letters of reprisals, have carried off to their port an English ship back from the East Indies, with a very rich cargo. The Spaniards accuse the captain of having done much mischief to the subjects of the Catholic beyond the line. Everyone here is scandalised at such a thing, and they have written sharply to Brussels for restitution. That is unlikely and so the bitter feeling will grow. (fn. 5)
Colonel Douglas has been to tell me of the offers of employment made to him by the French ambassador here and by the agent of the Duke of Weimar. He avers he will not accept anything before he knows the pleasure of your Excellencies. He asked me to express his wish to know if you intended to avail yourselves of his services, so that he may know what to do. He added that if the Senate should require levies of this nation he would gladly undertake it, and would also find a merchant who would undertake the transport on favourable terms.
London, the 21st January, 1638. [M.V.]
Jan. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
565. To the Ambassador in London.
The talk of a French diversion in Scotland is very important. You will keep a close watch on this and advise us of any progress made. The English ambassador to Venice has reached Milan and is travelling incognito through Parma and Modena. (fn. 6) He left the duchess in Turin not completely recovered.
Ayes, 146. Noes, 3. Neutral, 14.
Jan. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
566. To the Ambassador in London.
Commendation of his offices about the Turks. To express the gratitude of the republic to the king at a special audience. The Turks now seem more inclined to negotiate. Approve of the steps he has taken about the hiring of ships, but the cost seems very high and more advantageous offers come from other quarters. Accordingly all he has to do is to keep the shipmasters in treaty without committing himself.
The like to the Hague, mutatis mutandis.
Ayes, 142. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
Jan. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
567. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have this week received your Excellencies' letters of the 23rd and 31st ult. and, as instructed, I have expressed to his Majesty your appreciation of his action for the common cause, I gave him the latest advices from Constantinople, referred to the pleasure given by the offices of his minister at the Porte, and adroitly intimated the advisability of the strongest injunction upon the new ambassador to support the claims of Christendom, indicating the great interest which this crown has in this affair, with all Christian princes. I went on to tell him of the gratification with which you were preparing to see the Ambassador Fildin. The king thanked your Serenity for the confidence. He would repeat the orders to the new ambassador at Constantinople about supporting the Senate. I enclose a copy of the new instructions in fulfilment of this. I have succeeded in having the ambassador directed to declare to the Porte that this crown, in conjunction with all the Christian powers, is determined to defend this most just and common cause. Beyond this and the permission to the merchant company here, in case of a rupture of intercourse, to scour the waters of the Archipelago with a squadron of armed ships, Christendom can expect but little from England, with the existing troubles of this kingdom, although the ministers declare that if it comes to an open rupture, the king will show his generous spirit by his notable deeds.
London, the 28th January, 1638. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 568. From a letter of Sir John Coke, Secretary of State, to Sir [Sackville] Crow, his Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople. (fn. 7)
To perform the best offices for the ministers of Christian princes and those who profess Christianity. With respect to the Venetians, in particular now menaced with a war if they do not give satisfaction to the Turk, he will contribute his best offices with the Caimecam to facilitate an accommodation, representing the great prejudice done if they continue to discourage trade and encourage the pirates of Algiers. Against these the king has made several complaints, without effect, indeed the pirates have the Sultan's support. They continue their depredations and will ultimately force a union of all the Christian powers for the defence of trade ; whereas if this interruption ceases, the Turks will derive great profit. This is a repetition of former instructions. With respect to the Bailo he will speak to the Caimecam and point out how the arrest of a public minister destroys all the confidence required between princes, such as the law of Nature and of Nations has established and preserved between all men of what ever religion or condition.
Whitehall, the 18th January, 1638.
Jan. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
569. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Since the arrival of the Marquis of Hamilton the Scots have sent a gentleman here with letters to the king, full of the most humble expressions and declarations of their unchangeable loyalty. (fn. 8) They beg him to approve of all that the synod has done, representing strongly that their action has been solely directed for the service of God, of the crown and the preservation of their ancient privileges.
His Majesty decided to hear the opinion of the great Council of Scotland and of England also, in separate meetings, upon such apparently specious proposals. Although there have been frequent meetings this week, yet they have decided nothing as yet. The councillors disagree among themselves. Some propose the utmost severity against the Scots. Others, who are wiser, recommend milder measures. The king inclines more to this, but he does not neglect active military preparation. He is having the country people mustered every day, and he recently sent a captain with some soldiers and arms to the frontier. (fn. 9)
The queen mother has tried hard to make it appear that the manifesto issued on her departure from Flanders, was without her consent. She has laboured at a new one, but when she asked permission to publish it, the ministers found it full of slanders against the French government, and refused, as the king wishes to avoid anything likely to inflame the son more against his mother. (fn. 10) Everyone is sorry for her, but they want to see her out of this country, in order to escape the very heavy expense.
A gentleman has reached the Duchess of Chevreuse from France with orders to arrange her return to that country. (fn. 11) She has no wish to go, because she does not want to admit her faults, and intimates that the guarantees offered do not suffice. She has accordingly sent some one else to her husband, to try to prolong her absence in the effort to obtain better conditions.
The Ambassador Believre has orders to return to France, and then come back here. The real reasons for this journey have not transpired. It increases the suspicion of the ministers that France contemplates encouraging the sedition of the Scots, and that Cardinal Richelieu wants a very detailed account of affairs here from the ambassador. It is publicly stated, from the palace, that the chief object of the gentleman who came to the Chevreuse was to spy about these Scottish affairs.
London, the 28th January, 1638. [M.V.]


  • 1. Francis Hyacinth, duke of Savoy, who died on the 4th October, 1638.
  • 2. The fortress capitulated to Bernard of Saxe Weimar on the 17th December, after a siege lasting over 10 weeks.
  • 3. Bellievre made arrangements with Messrs. Erskine Gray and du Wall to raise levies in Scotland and Ireland respectively, to be sent across by the 15th April. On the 21st he reports that a week ago the king had given him permission to levy 1800 Irish. Bellievre to de Noyers the 6th, 13th and 21st. January. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts. On the 22nd March Sir William Tresham had a permit to transport 1000 men into Flanders to fill up the English regiments there. S.P. For. Flanders. Salvetti writes on the 21st Jan. that the captains serving the Spaniards in Flanders have obtained leave to make a levy of 1000 men to recruit two regiments, by virtue of the terms of peace between the two crowns. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962H.
  • 4. See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1639, pages 179, 189.
  • 5. The Providence of London belonging to a company of the same name, was attacked on the 4th January o.s. two leagues from Dungeness by Capt. Springelfelt of Dunkirk. Three men were killed and five wounded in the fight, and the ship was carried off to Dunkirk with its cargo valued at 400,000 florins. Gerbier's memorial of the 5th February. S.P. For. Flanders. Coke's instructions are dated the 9th January o.s. Ibid.
  • 6. Fielding left Turin on the 13th January and reached Milan on the 16th. Fielding to Coke from Milan, the 19th January. S.P. For. Venice.
  • 7. The draft letter to this effect among the state papers is dated the 6th December 1638 o.s. S.P. For. Turkey.
  • 8. Mr. Winram. Burnet : Memoirs of the Dukes of Hamilton, page 145. Salvetti, writing on the same date, mentions two, and says they arrived on Monday [the 24th]. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962H.
  • 9. Sir Francis Willoughby was sent to Carlisle with 500 men out of Ireland Strafford Letters, Vol. II., page 255. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1639, page 12.
  • 10. A manifesto issued in the name of the queen mother was published at the Hague on the 19th November, under the title "Manifeste de la reine mére contenant le sujet de son depart de Flandres," printed by J. Burchoorn. Henrard : Marie de Medicis dans les Pays Bas, page 617.
  • 11. The abbé du Dorat, who brought letters from the duke of Chevreuse. He was accompanied by Boispillé. Salvetti, on 28 Jan. and 4 Feb. Brit. Mus. Add, MSS, 27962H. Batiffol ; La Duchesse de Chevreuse, pages 181, 182.