Venice: February 1639

Pages 493-501

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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February 1639

Feb. 1.
Senato Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
570. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have conferred with the English ambassador extraordinary about the Imperial decree excluding the Palatine from the peace congress. He remarked that his king had been much moved at the news and was determined to make every effort to have the decree abolished not at Brussels separately, but at Cologne and Lubeck, with all the others. He wanted me to get a promise that the Palatine might go there as the ally of France. I spoke to the Cardinal about it, to oblige him. I got from him that by virtue of old alliances he thought the Palatine might have the title of ally of the Most Christian, and the king always admitted it, but as there was no new alliance with him, stress could not be laid upon it without deceit and committing a mortal sin. Accordingly the Palatine thought he would fare better at a special congress at Brussels ; he might go there with a light heart. The Cardinal said the king would like to see this done. I urged that the common interests did not admit of such a division. He did not deny it, but I gathered that he was rather set upon treating about Lorraine apart from the Palatine, although he assured me he had not changed his views ; a point which renders the abolition of the decree doubly important and further indicates that it is safer to obtain some security for the Palatine separately, so that he may not be absolutely shut out from the congress either through their not supporting him here or by the emperor objecting to him as the ally of France.
Without arousing or fomenting jealousy I spoke about it to the English ambassador here, when I told him the Cardinal's answer. He is indeed greatly confused (adombrato), in fact he feels certain that the conference of Brussels was arranged in concert with the King of Great Britain, and that is the reason why they made the remonstrances through Bellievre of which your Excellencies know.
Paris, the 1st February, 1638. [M.V.]
Feb. 1.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Filza. Venetian Archives.
571. The Secretary of Great Britain came into the Collegio and said :
The Ambassador Fildin arrived in this city last Saturday. (fn. 1) Although he is not ready to appear and receive the usual welcome he thinks it his duty to inform your Serenity and to express his satisfaction at taking up this charge again. After the doge had expressed his gratification the secretary departed.
Feb. 3.
Senato Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
572. To the Ambassador in London.
With reference to the instances of the English merchants to undertake some enterprise in the states of the Archipelago you must keep a sharp look out upon their proceedings, without committing yourself in any way, merely advising us as to how much their merchandise would amount to and what is said about the matter, in order to afford us most essential information in the present state of affairs.
Ayes, 142. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
Feb. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
573. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
During these last days the ministers have been meeting constantly about the very serious affairs of Scotland, which become worse daily. They have not only decided to surround the castle of Berwick with new fortifications but his Majesty has resolved to go to York next month, with the purpose of assembling there the troops which he has ordered with great diligence from every quarter, in the hope of getting together a force of 40,000 combatants before long. The kingdom of Ireland, whither they have sent a great quantity of arms, offers 10,000 foot paid, and the state of York promises a like number. His Majesty asks the aldermen of this city for troops, and on each of the artists (artisti) of London, who are very numerous, he has laid the obligation of finding a soldier. (fn. 2)
The Scots on their side show themselves equally tenacious in their claims and vigilant in their preparations for resistance. They have divided the country into four parts, each being obliged to supply 50,000 foot, paid for three months, for the defence of the common liberty. They have also decided unanimously to set aside every year, until the end of the present differences. one fifth of their incomes to be spent on the requirements of the war.
They have provided themselves with a sufficiency of munitions and arms from Holland and Hamburg, and have fetched many guns from Sweden through Colonel Lesle. In sight of Carlisle, a frontier town, they have established a body of 6000 infantry and they have distributed even more numerous forces over against Ireland.
The queen mother has revised her manifesto, not only erasing everything offensive to France, but only recording things calculated to mollify her son. So the king has permitted publication, since when the queen has sent a copy to Flanders by a gentleman, express. I enclose a translation. (fn. 3)
The queen gave birth to a princess on Sunday, but after only one hour of the miseries of this world, God called her back to Heaven, to the deep grief of her mother, who is now quite well, after some painful experiences. (fn. 4)
The Most Christian has withdrawn his instructions to the French ambassador to return. The Abbot Dorad, has come to arrange the return of the Chevreuse to France, having brought the instructions which he will have received orally from his master, the particulars of which have not transpired.
By the unexpected change of various posts at Court many of the old servants of the crown find themselves dismissed from the king's service. He has chosen on this occasion to express markedly his satisfaction with the operations of the Marquis of Hamilton in Scotland, having given his brother one of the best posts.
London, the 5th February, 1638. [M.V.]
Feb. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
574. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Near Cadiz an English ship has been burned, which was taking to Dunkirk thirty cases of ryals belonging to the Assentistas here. The damage is serious as all the money is considered to be lost. (fn. 5)
Madrid, the 5th February, 1638. [M.V.]
[Italian.] Copy.
Feb. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
575. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador in ordinary, having taken leave, of their Majesties, will go soon. They write from England that Bellievre is coming here, but I find nothing to bear this out, or what has aroused the suspicions of the King of Great Britain that they are arranging to supply help to the Scots.
They are waiting to hear from the gentleman sent to the Duchess of Chevreuse what her intentions may be. They would be glad if she returned here, in order to diminish the clique of French malcontents in that country, which is becoming far too numerous.
Paris, the 8th February, 1638. [M.V.]
Feb. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
576. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
They are actively pushing on their plans to re-establish the royal authority in Scotland by arms. All the gentry have orders to follow the king to York next month, with three horses each. They propose to recall from Holland through the minister here, all the English troops serving there. His Majesty has appointed the Earl of Essex, previously made general of the cavalry, lieutenant general of the army. The Earl of Holland will command the cavalry, and Colonel Axele, an officer of credit and experience, will act as general master of the field. (fn. 6) The king has sent to the Viceroy of Ireland to hasten to put the places over against Scotland in a position of defence to prevent the Scots from crossing to attack that kingdom. The commanders consider some fresh fortification necessary for Carlisle, but as the enemy is close and overwhelming, they do not dare to attempt anything there, for fear of causing trouble at a time when they are unable to offer a stout resistance.
Besides these decisions arranged in the meetings of past days, the ministers have jointly urged upon the king, with free and weighty arguments, that amid all these difficulties he ought not to delay any longer to summon a parliament in England, to defend the necessity for the steps taken, to his subjects, and to obtain from them the necessary contributions, by a more gracious act of authority. But his Majesty resents such proposals. He expressed sharply his displeasure at such advice, and showed that by pledging the royal revenues for two years, he would obtain enough money to support the army for six months, without laying fresh charges on the people, and if it was required for a longer time, he would then take such counsel as time would supply (Sua Maesta nondimeno aliena da tali propositioni, ha con seriose voci dichiarato poco agradimento a questo consiglio, et dimostrato che impegnando per doi anni le rendite reali, senza aggravare nuovamente i popoli, raccogliera denaro sufficiente per mantener sei mesi l'armate, et che dilongandosi d'avantaggio i bisogni, prendera poi quei consigli che dal tempo gli saranno somministrati.)
To the repeated representations of the French ambassador that the Most Christian will gladly supply his mother with every commodity at Florence, the queen responds that her love for her son does not permit her to go so far from him, while at her age she has not the courage to undertake the journey. So if France remains obdurate England will enjoy for a long while the advantage of this costly hospitality.
The Spanish minister continues retired, and is unable to see the king. They are waiting with curiosity to hear how the Catholic received his defence.
The physicians fear that the queen may fall into a decline, as she has been reduced to a very weak condition by her confinement. They recommend, as the only remedy, that she shall go to France for the better air. At the palace they say freely that if her state of health continues such, the king may easily agree to his wife crossing the sea for some months.
London, the 11th February, 1638. [M.V.]
577. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I saw the king on Tuesday about condolences on the loss of the princess. He received them very graciously, and then expressed the wish to know if your differences with the Porte were taking a turn for the better, as he had heard. I thought fit to tell him that though the last letters from Constantinople gave hopes of some opening for negotiation, yet your Excellencies felt doubtful about the objects of the Turks, whether they were sincere or merely cloaking other designs. I pointed out how necessary it was for the Senate to keep on the alert, and how necessary that Christian princes should support the public cause. The king answered that the inclination of the Turks towards an adjustment doubtless depended on their present difficulties with the Persians. All the same, he would be ready, if required, to join with the other princes of Christendom in defence of the common interest. I expressed appreciation and assured him that this would greatly encourage the Senate.
London, the 11th February, 1638. [M.V.]
Feb. 12.
Venetian MSS. Public Record Office.
578. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Count Duke has written to the Marquis of Leganes, among other things, that he is sure of England. They are treating for a closer union which he hopes will be brought about by means of Cottington, seeing that parliament is on their side here. Even if this is not effected they will, at all events, bring the daughter of the king here to be educated.
Madrid, the 12th February, 1638. [M.V.]
Feb. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
579. To the Ambassador in London.
Commendation of his office with the king about the trouble with the Turks. He is to thank the king at a special audience for his offers and for the letter written to the ambassador. Progress of the siege of Babylon. Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 28th January.
Ayes, 95. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.
Feb. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
580. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty has made the strongest representations to the French minister here to induce the Most Christian to send the troops commanded by Weimar into the first campaign against the states of the Duke of Bavaria, and he has directed the Earl of Leicester to urge the matter strongly. But this does not happen to agree with the interests and present inclination of France, and the ambassador cut things short by answering, that if this crown encourages the enterprise with vigorous assistance his master will not fail to support England for the benefit of the Palatine House. The king has bound himself upon that question, by fresh declarations, not to lend an ear to any sort of negotiation with the Spaniards so long as those at Hamburg continue.
A courier from Spain brings instructions to the minister here to offer the Catholic forces to his Majesty to reduce the Scots, and to invite him to the defence of the public cause if the differences between your Excellencies and the Turks go further. In spite of his efforts to obtain audience through Madame de Chevreuse and the Secretaries, it was all in vain.
On the other hand the ministers have been filled with the greatest misgivings by the sudden departure from Flanders for Spain of the banished Earl of Tyrone, who was previously involved in intrigues for rebellion in Ireland. They suspect that the Spaniards are planning to make fresh trouble for this crown in Ireland, amid the present disturbances in Scotland. (fn. 7)
They are busy preparing for the journey to York, and a public proclamation strictly enjoins all natives of that state to withdraw to their houses, to serve armed in these emergencies. (fn. 8)
The Dutch and French ambassadors are preparing to follow the Court. I shall not stir, unless expressly commanded by your Excellencies. I hope you will not consider the presence of your minister necessary in that troubled country.
At the report of these movements the Scots, by fresh letters to the king, express their desire to enter upon some conference for an agreement, and ask for a safe conduct for a gentleman whom they have decided to send here for this purpose : but the councillors are divided upon whether they should grant this promptly and hear him, and so far they have not made up their minds. Those who are able to deceive themselves into believing what they desire begin to feel hopeful of a composition.
The French ambassador here refers slightingly to the queen mother's manifesto. He says its only object is to justify her with the Spaniards and to obtain from the Cardinal Infant permission for the passage of the embroidery which she left at Maastricht. He says it will not help her to draw nearer her son.
The secretary of the Ambassador Fildin set out post last week for Venice. His mother, through her influence at the palace, has got an alteration made in the credentials already despatched to him, naming him positively ambassador extraordinary. (fn. 9)
London, the 18th February, 1638. [M.V.]
Feb. 21.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
581. The Secretary of Great Britain came into the Collegio and said :
The ambassador is much distressed because he has not been able, owing to his affairs and indisposition, to perform his duties and set forth the matters for which he has commissions. He is even obliged to go away for eight days, and will then return by way of Chioza, feeling sure that as ambassador extraordinary he will receive the usual demonstrations accorded to those who come in that capacity and to others sent by his Majesty. (fn. 10)
The doge said they would always welcome his Majesty's ministers, as from a great friend of the republic, and they greatly loved and esteemed the ambassador. He would receive every suitable demonstration. They had no information about his coming as ambassador extraordinary, and did not know the tenor of his credentials. When the Signory had heard they would consult together.
The secretary said, I have his Majesty's letter, which he handed in, though it was not an original, as the secretary stated, but merely a copy.
The Letter.
Carolus Dei gratia Mag. Brit. etc. Rex Fidei Defensor etc. Serenissimo Principi ac Dom. Francisco Erizzo, Venetiarum Duci, amico nostro carissimo, salutem : Quandoquidem nobilissimum nobisque perquam dilectum Vicecomitem a Fielding V. Serenitatis prius notum, et ob quædam negotia nostra alibi hucusque occupatum, Hunc iterum Legatum extraordinarium ad Serenitatem V. redeundum duximus, Illi idcirco ut pristina vestigia in conservanda omnibus in rebus amicitia nostra sequatur, mandavimus quod illum sedulo facturum speramus si quidem optime novit nihil nobis gratius fore, quam se vobis omnibus studiis et ufficiis quæ præstari ab illo equum erit gratum reddere. Vos igitur rogamus, ut illi eis in rebus quas secundum temporum occasiones nostro nomine aget, fidem adhibere pristinaque vestra benevolentia eum afficere velitis.
Datae die 18 Januarii, 1638.
Feb. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
582. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
This week they have reviewed several companies of horse of the neighbourhood, always in the king's presence. His eagerness to arm meets with a practical check in the shortness of money and the ill will of the people, who become ever bolder in their cries for the meeting of a parliament in this kingdom also. Many of the gentry ordered to serve his Majesty with soldiers excuse themselves as being unable, and others freely protest that the royal authority does not extend to this, but an act of parliament is necessary. Colonel Axele, who was charged to fortify Berwick castle, has sent word by courier that if they do not send more troops there he does not consider it expedient to begin the work, as he fears that the Scots may not only disturb its progress, but overrun the country as well, under the pretext of that work.
His Majesty's agent (fn. 11) has arrived here post from the Swiss. He brings word of negotiations to encourage the Duke of Weimar to attack Bavaria's dominions, and of some overtures for a marriage between the young Palatine princess and that prince. He says that after the proposals have been examined he will return to his residence, and will confer again with Weimar. From here they will send him no help beyond fair words, it being impossible to do anything for the time being.
Their Majesties have sent Mr. German to the Most Christian, in the capacity of a gentleman, with instructions to take him assurances on behalf of his mother that she will live in complete subjection to his Majesty, and asking for permission to withdraw to that country, or at least to supply her with the means to remain in England without being a burden on this crown. She is expecting her baggage from Maastricht soon, as she has obtained the passport from the Cardinal Infant.
The levy of 3000 Scots granted to France is progressing successfully. Suspicion that they are fomenting trouble in that kingdom increases in the hearts of the ministers, a sentiment augmented by the great quantity of munitions assembled by the Most Christian at Calais.
The Dunkirk fleet for Spain having sailed with a favourable wind, has been gloriously defeated by the Dutch. Some ships which took refuge in the ports of this kingdom have been seized by his Majesty's order, as compensation for the English ship carried off to Dunkirk lately. (fn. 12)
The Genoese have issued the most pressing orders for the purchase of ships of war here, and they request his Majesty to grant leave for this.
They expect the Ambassador Fildin at Court in a few days to celebrate his marriage with a very rich lady, arranged this week. (fn. 13) It is not thought that he will return to Venice again, but that he will have some employment in the palace. This is all the news I can send from this tiresome Court. I have received your Excellencies' letters of the 22nd and 28th ult.
London, the 25th February, 1638. [M.V.]
Feb. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
583. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I showed the old English ambassador the letter of his king forwarded by your Serenity. He was very pleased, as not having received any reply about the interposition of his offices in the matter of the pirates he was afraid that his king did not approve, seeing that he had acted without instructions. He will show the letter to the new ambassador, who also has instructions to do what may be required, in case of need.
Galata, the 26th February, 1638. [M.V.]
[Italian ; deciphered.]


  • 1. i.e. the 29th January n.s. His household arrived on the 25th. Talbot to Coke, the 28th Jan. 1639. S.P. For. Venice.
  • 2. The meaning is obscure but it seems to point to the freemen of the city of London. On the 18th Feb. a warrant was issued for a levy of 3000 men from the trained bands for service against the Scots. Index to the Remembrancia of the City of London, page 538.
  • 3. The enclosure is wanting. The full title of the manifesto is "Declaration de la reyne mére du roy tres chrestien, contenant les raisons de sa sortie des Pays Bas, et le desaveu d'un manifeste qui court soubs son nom sur le mesme subject. A Londres MDCXXXIX." Henrard : Marie de Medicis dans les Pays Bas. Monsigot took the copy to the Cardinal Infant, Salvetti, the 4th Feb. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962H.
  • 4. The child born on Sunday 30th January, lived long enough to be christened Katharine "this child is said to have gone nearer to the queen than ever any yet did, but she is indifferently well." Smith to Pennington, 24 Jan. o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1638-9, page 362.
  • 5. The Charity of London, a ship of 300 tons, freighted by Flemings and having in her about 30 chests of the Assentistas' money, going over the bar of St. Lucar was blown up by her powder and sunk presently with all her lading. Hopton to Coke, the 1 Feb. 1639 n.s. S.P. For. Spain. Assentista is Spanish for contractor.
  • 6. The appointment of Sir Jacob Astley as sergeant major general of the field was notified on the 11/21 January. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1638-9, page 307.
  • 7. The misgivings proved unfounded. Writing on the 29th May Hopton reported "My opinion is that their intentions are very fair to His Majesty ... and that they will serve him very honourably ... and not give way to any disorder in Ireland, which hath been endeavoured ; and truly I am of opinion that may be one cause that they keep here Tirone, who in reason ought to have been with his regiment ; and here they entertain him with a golden key, without exercise and with a place of Major domo." S.P. For. Spain.
  • 8. Proclamation of the 29th January o.s. directing all noblemen etc. to repair to their houses and lands in the northern parts by the 1st March, there to abide for the service and safeguard of their country. Cal.S.P. Dom. 1638-9, page 376. This step was taken by virtue of an order in Council of the 22nd Jan. o.s. Id. page 346.
  • 9. The Secretary Reeve had been sent to England at the end of September (No. 528, at page 468 above). The credentials, printed immediately below, are dated the 18th January, o.s. There seems to be no draft of them among the state papers.
  • 10. Since my arrival here I cannot find a house fit for me, so as I am forced still to continue incognito. The other impediment ... is removed by the Secretary Coke's sending me copies of His Majesty's letters. Fielding to Windebank the 11th February. S.P. For. Venice, Vol. 42.
  • 11. Oliver Fleming.
  • 12. The action took place off Gravelines on the 18th February in attempting to break through the Dutch blockading squadron commanded by Tromp. Two Dunkirkers were taken and the Vice Admiral sunk, while over 1500 troops were reported to be slain. Le Clerc : Hist. des Provinces Unies Vol. ii, page 191 ; Mercure Francais Vol. xxiii, page 179 ; Cal. S.P. Dom. 1638-9, page 479. The English ship referred to was the Providence. See No. 564 at page 490 above.
  • 13. Penelope widow of Paul Viscount Bayning of Bentley Hall, Essex, who died 11 June 1638, the daughter and sole heir of Sir Robert Naunton. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1637-8, page 556 ; Hist. MSS. Commission, 3 Report, page 76. Id. Denbigh MSS. pt. v., page 66.