Venice: April 1639, 1-15

Pages 515-532

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


April 1639, 1-15

April 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
617. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The royal household, the secretaries of state and the greater part of the Court set out on Monday on the appointed journey to York. His Majesty will follow next week. Before he started I thought fit to convey to him fresh assurances of your esteem and to wish him every success. The king was very pleased, and, in return, expressed his affection and esteem for the Senate.
The Scots have made a very sagacious answer to the recent declarations against them. They protest the uprightness of their intentions, which are solely guided by the health of their souls and the preservation of the ancient privileges of the kingdom, with a firm and unchangeable determination to adhere to their devotion to his Majesty ; and they declare that this consideration has obliged them to close their ears to proposals of powerful assistance liberally made to them by great princes. On the other hand advices come of their devoting all their energies for offering a bold front to the royal forces. The Viceroy of Ireland has sent word by courier that these will be very powerful on that side, and he promises every success. The county of York also has sent fresh assurances that the people of those parts will be ready to assist in that most just enterprise. But though these reports cause satisfaction, everyone does not take them as absolutely sincere.
The census of all the French and other foreigners living at present in this city has been completed. As the number turns out considerably less than they thought, it has dissipated the first suspicious rumours. (fn. 1)
The agent of this crown will return to his residence in Switzerland in a fortnight. His Majesty has knighted him, as a testimony to his loyal service. (fn. 2) He will take instructions to arrange some agreement with the Duke of Weimar in the interests of the Palatine House. But as they cannot invigorate these with prompt assistance in money, and France may possibly oppose them, hopes of success are not brilliant.
A person has arrived here from the Hague, who is going to Brussels under the pretext of private affairs, to try and open fresh negotiations for a truce between the Spaniards and the Dutch.
Here they are awaiting with impatience the return of Mr. German, from France so that they may know definitely the final intentions of the Most Christian about his mother, who is resolved not to move from her quarters here unless they allow her to return to France.
The marriage of the Ambassador Fildin is upset ; the lady destined for him being given to another, regardless of the former promise, (fn. 3) so they think he will not pursue his journey to this Court, but will resume his way to Venice.
I have your Excellencies' letters of the 5th ult.
London, the 1st April, 1639.
April 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
618. Giovanni Grimani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
I now have full particulars of the agreement between Bavaria and the Palatine. When I took exception to the refusal of passports to the Palatine this was communicated to Bavaria, who at once sent commissioners here with full powers. They opened negotiations with the English Agent Teller for a new treaty at Brussels. The particulars were arranged because he said he had orders not to listen to any fresh negotiations otherwise. All was conducted very secretly and settled exactly as I reported. Don Annibal Gonzaga (fn. 4) was sent off at once to Madrid for the Catholic's approval, and Teller was sent to England with orders to make sure at Brussels that powers have reached the Infant from Spain for this, so that the king his master may send his own minister, on his arrival. The Count of Nassau (fn. 5) was appointed by agreement plenipotentiary of the emperor, and was to leave Frankfort. The emperor told me without reserve that the decree excluding the Palatine from Cologne ought not to prevent the meeting at Brussels.
Vienna, the 2nd April, 1639.
April 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
619. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Doctor Grasvinchel has asked me to petition your Serenity to return his book about Savoy, which was sent to you for revision two years ago. The States are now urging him to have it printed, because it contains some things about the government here ; but he would not do so without the consent of your Excellencies. (fn. 6) I undertook to present his petition if he would assure me that he would not print the book that treats of the Adriatic, or that he would only do so subject to the corrections which I had handed to him. He gave me his promise about this.
The Hague, the 2nd April, 1639.
April 3.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
620. Last Saturday evening I, Francesco Zonca went to the English ambassador to read to him, by order of the state what I was instructed. I went to the house where he lives and being admitted to his room I told him how your Excellencies had sent me to read him a paper. He replied very courteously, thanking the Senate for so much honour, and made me sit while I read it. After hearing it he thanked your Serenity for the continued confidence and he would try and thank you in person. He greatly regretted that the news from Constantinople was not what you wished. Such as it was he would send it to his king at the earliest opportunity, sure that he also would be sorry, from his affection for the republic. He added, I should like a copy of the paper, to inform his Majesty better, so that he can take better measures. I told him I only had orders to read it, and he asked me at least to read it again, so I obliged him, reading slowly so that he might take it in better. After this he said that was enough and he would not need a copy. He noted the names of the Caimecan and Olacco and asked after your Serenity's health. He made some complimentary remarks to me about my return from England, and I came away.
April 7.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
621. The Ambassador of Great Britain came into the Collegio and said :
Your Serenity honoured me by communicating the affairs of Constantinople through your secretary. This has greatly obliged me as a sign of confidence I will inform my king earnestly. I am very sorry that there is fear of a rupture there. I confirm my king's offer of help, and whatever else he can do. By his command I must proceed to London on affairs that admit of no delay. I shall obey unless your Serenity orders the contrary. I have orders to make the journey in six weeks, going and returning. I shall leave my household here as a sign and pledge of my return, and I will give you the greatest proofs of my devotion. During my stay at Turin I found the duchess most well disposed towards the republic, and I reported this through Talma whom I left here. I think she is very inclined to the adjustment of past differences. I shall try and obtain orders from my king for this good work. As there are articles I would not trust them to memory and I have them here in writing.
The senior councillor, Antonio da Canal said the republic always welcomed his friendly testimony. The Signory would consider his proposals and send him word.
The ambassador added, I must also commend to your Serenity his Majesty's subjects living in this city and in the islands, commended to my protection. Simeas, who was sent as consul to Zante some months ago, has been sent away, because they say he was not presented to the Proveditore. His charge is necessary because dissensions often arise between merchants, and he should adjust them, saving the authority of your Serenity's representatives. I ask that he be permitted to return to that island either as consul or agent, whichever you prefer, to deal with the affairs of the merchants.
Councillor Canal said they would always be disposed to grant his Majesty's requests. They would have to enquire into this particular matter. With this the ambassador took leave and went out.
Carolus dei gratia Mag. Brit. etc. Rex fidei defensor etc. Ser. Principi ac Dom. Francisco Erizzo, Venetiarum Duci, amico nostro carissimo, salutem. Quando quidem vir nobilissimus nobisque perquam dilectus Vice Comes a Fildingh, nuperrime ad Serenitatem Vestram inclytamque Rempublicam reversus est ut pristino legati extraordinarii munere fungatur, nunc vero, ob quadam urgentia negotia confestim ad nos est venturus, Id Serenitati V. hisce significare nobis visum est, sed cum hic non sit diu moraturus, idem familiam suam apud vos relinquit, predictis negotiis peractis quamprimum rediturus, ut mutuam inter nos amicitiam, sartam, tectam, tueatur, Idcirco ut ei facultatem veniendi concedere eumque officiis vestris ubi opus fuerit juvare velitis etiam atque etiam rogamus.
Datum ex Palatio nostro Westmonasteriensi quarto die Februarii anno gratiae 1638.
Vestrae Serenitatis bonus amicus.
Carolus Rex.
Most Serene Prince :
The King of Great Britain being anxious for the universal peace of the princes of Italy is bound to apply himself earnestly to an accommodation between Venice and Savoy. I spoke about this on my arrival and at my departure for Turin, and now on my return his Majesty expressly commits it to me. Even if other ministers have intervened in this matter his Majesty cannot think that his interposition will be less esteemed, as being more friendly and less interested. His affection needs no spur and he is incited by honour to pursue what he began out of affection. I therefore took up the matter, and I see that the chief points are as follows :
(1) the Venetian ambassador was obliged to leave Savoy.
(2) the Duke of Savoy took the title of King of Cyprus.
(3) the book printed about that title contained expressions against the republic.
Her highness has told me that (1) the Venetian ambassadors in France urged the French to attack Pinerolo, as a sign of that king's displeasure. (2) that the republic wished to treat her Highness in an inferior manner to what the crowned heads do. (3) that the Venetian ambassadors would not give those of Savoy the title of Excellency, and in Paris they tried to prevent their obtaining advantages.
I suggest the following settlement : that both sides shall pass over the fact and reason for the absence of the Venetian ambassadors from Piedmont, because the princes who gave rise to this are no longer alive, and let ambassadors return from both, those of Savoy leaving first for Venice and when they have entered the state, those of Venice can start for Turin. With regard to the pretensions of Savoy, let the republic merely say the Duke of Savoy, or, without writing, treat through ambassadors or by commissions. On the third head I will speak to the duchess by agreement with the republic about the relations between the ambassadors of Venice and those of Savoy. Upon the second and third heads, essentially the most important, let the republic rest satisfied that it was merely the act of the author, carried away by his profession, and not by the duke's order, and the republic suffers no prejudice from this royal title, as it is used among other princes without interrupting relations. I promise to try and obtain a declaration from the duchess that neither she nor her husband intended those passages in the book which admit of sinister interpretation. If your Serenity shows the confidence that my king's affection deserves I hope to show by results the regard I have for your interests. It is difficult to apply remedies when the mischief is not known, and I will act with the greatest secrecy and delicacy as much as your own ministers could show, and I will do the same for the duchess. It is all by his Majesty's consent, so that his authority and favour may renew the relations between the two powers to the advantage of all Italy.
April 8.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
622. To the Ambassador in London.
We enclose an exposition of the Ambassador Fildin. You will find out whether he intends to resume his charge with us and if so when he will come back. You will also let us know if he really has orders from his Majesty about the affairs of Savoy, if any overtures have been made to you and what they say in England about the steps taken here. You will observe all official forms in your relations with the Duke of La Valette, and avoid committing yourself, merely expressing the republic's regard for him.
Vote of 300 ducats to be paid to the agents of the Ambassador Giustinian in London for couriers and the carriage of letters.
Ayes, 154. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
April 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
623. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king left this city on Wednesday. He parted from the queen very affectionately. Before starting, to show the Scots his leaning to peace, he sent the Earl of Rosberi to that kingdom, to tell them of his moving and his readiness to grant them, with a general pardon, all that they desire for liberty of conscience. He also promised to proceed to Edinburgh to take part in the parliament and pass the concessions to be granted. Wise men fear that these proposals are not now likely to make any impression on the proud spirit of that people. They constantly grow more daring and have surprised the very strong castle of Edinburgh, driving out the royal garrison by force and installing their own troops. (fn. 7) Against the Marquis of Ontelet, who openly stands for the king at Lavardino, they have sent 10,000 foot and 2000 horse giving just cause for the suspicion that they mean to go yet further, in a complete alienation from their obedience to his Majesty.
Before the king left the city sent him a present of 4500l., a meagre help and equally inadequate to present requirements and the large fortunes of those who offered it. The king would not accept it, although 25,000l. offered him by the Protestant clergy when he was about to start, afforded him the utmost pleasure.
To support the movements of the royal army the admiral has orders to take the fleet to Newcastle, leaving a squadron of twelve ships off Dover, under the pretext of defending those waters. But the chief object is to cause the French some jealousy, to prevent them from attempts upon Dunkirk, of which suspicion increases daily, causing much anxiety.
Besides the first levies of Scots reported, the French ambassador has obtained leave from the king to enlist 2000 foot in this country also, for his master's service. The patents are distributed and he is successfully carrying them into effect. It seems that the Spaniards also may try to obtain the same advantage, after this example.
The queen here has frankly expressed to Bellievre her sentiments at the difficulties encountered by Mr. German at the French Court over the matter of the queen mother. She asked him if they would not allow her to return to France, to try so that help for her quiet stay in this country might be no longer delayed.
The Earl of Leicester has returned here from France. He has seen the king, and announces that he will go back to continue his service in a few weeks. They have not harkened to Roe's request to return home, thinking that his absence from the congress there would utterly destroy any hopes of the conclusion of the league, so long in negotiation there, in vain, affecting the interests of the Palatine House.
I beg your Serenity to provide me with some money for the carriage of letters.
London, the 8th April, 1639.
624. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Asks for the consideration of the Senate, as he will soon have completed the fifth year of his service to the state, begun with the government of Vicenza and Treviso. He had to stay many months beyond the appointed term at the Spanish embassy. Asks that this may be allowed to him in his service in England, where the humidity of the climate causes him all kinds of disorders, making it urgently necessary for him to recover his health in better air.
London, the 8th April, 1639.
April 8.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Roma. Venetian Archives.
625. The papal nuncio came into the Collegio and said, among other things.:
Besides what Cardinal Barberino told the ambassador he writes to me, what he had no time to tell him, that the nuncio in France had informed the king about the choice of nuncios extraordinary, and his Majesty expressed his desire for peace through the mediation of his Holiness. The pope thought that his Majesty might have drawn some good out of it and disposed the emperor to something else if he had been able to facilitate the beginning of negotiations at Cologne. But by the letters I have from Holland, Flanders and other places I fancy that things have a very ugly appearance. Count John Louis of Nassau, who was going to Cologne, now says he is going to Brussels about the Palatine's affairs. The English Resident at Vienna was the one who brought back good intentions for his king in favour of that prince. Some written treaty seems now to be on foot for an offensive and defensive alliance with the house of Austria, and for a marriage alliance between a daughter of England with the son of Bavaria, and of a sister of the Grand Duke with the Palatine and of the latter's sister with the brother of the Grand Duke. They also write from Flanders that the Dutch seem to have some negotiations on foot with the Cardinal Infant for an accommodation. On the other side we hear that they are sending money from France to Holland. Perhaps the idea is to act Turkish fashion, to take the money and do their worst. The nuncio writes to me that this makes them all on the alert. The French ambassador told me yesterday that Tullerie will go to Holland ; something must be on foot. I tell you all this because your Serenity may find some evidence on the matter through your admirable ministers. This is a great machination which requires your abilities to understand it, for the common service ; and I know how much you desire peace.
In the absence of the doge, the senior councillor Antonio da Canal thanked the nuncio for the communication and said the Signory would inform him later of what might turn up.
April 9.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
626. That the Ambassador of the King of Great Britain be sommoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
In the midst of our trouble about our differences with the Porte we appreciate most highly the action of the king of Great Britain in a matter which concerns all Christendom, with his orders to his own ambassador at Constantinople and his offer to our ambassador of all that we could desire. We are confident that your lordship will assure his Majesty of this when you go back to London, as you propose, as well as of our cordial affection for that crown and our desire that he may enjoy every prosperity. We regard the interests of his subjects as being on a par with those of our own, and we will make enquiries about the case of Simeas and decide what action is proper to take. We have already declared our good will towards the duchess of Savoy, but the steps taken by the house of Savoy to our disadvantage have afforded an unfortunate response to our advances. Thus your lordship will see that unless there is a change there is no opening for a renewal of friendly relations, although we appreciate his Majesty's efforts in offering his interposition.
Ayes, 128. Noes, 0. Neutral, 5.
April 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
627. Giovanni Grimani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
With regard to the agreement with Bavaria England witholds her consent until a portion of the Palatine's dominions has been restored and some agreement made about the succession to the electoral vote. Yet the whole affair is thoroughly masticated and there is also a project for a marriage between a daughter of the king and Bavaria's only son, and an alliance with the House of Austria. But the news from Paris and London makes one apprehensive and it may be that Teller has been recalled in order to remove French suspicions, though I firmly believe that he left here to set on foot a new treaty at Brussels. The negotiations certainly took place here and Teller himself informed me that he has finally settled all the essential points with Bavaria and the Austrians and that nothing but the ratification of Spain was required. Thus if England is speaking here in one way, by deeds and at London and Paris in quite another, by words, I do not know what I can say on the subject, except that a few weeks should clear away these fogs from the sky. I will say this much, however, Teller has spoken here very unreservedly and in conversation with all his friends he has expressed views and opinions far removed and utterly divergent from those which issue from the mouths of all the other English ministers and from the king himself as well.
Vienna, the 9th April, 1639.
April 11.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
628. The Senate's deliberation of the 9th inst. having been read to the Ambassador of Great Britain, he spoke as follows :
I shall leave content since I go with such appreciation of his Majesty's good will to the republic. I will perform the office your Serenity lays upon me and bring you decisions appropriate to the circumstances and your desires.
I am glad that you welcome my king's interposition for an adjustment with Savoy, but if I had some definite resolution about what the republic wants I could speak with better grounds and direct my offices to this reconciliation. There are many apparent reasons for this, which I need not mention. I will only say that the circumstances call for a voluntary oblivion of minor matters for the sake of greater ones for the welfare of Italy. Piedmont has become the scene of tragic events. The idea of a balance of power agrees with your Serenity's ideas and those of my king. It does not suit to permit the progress of those forces which have prospered too much and threaten worse disturbances. The duchess cannot resist alone, without help from your Serenity, and has good reason to fear ruin, but by joint action the machinations of those who try to reduce her will come to naught. I need not enlarge upon the common interest of Italy to help her. I profess to have as Venetian a heart as your Serenity ; only the dress is different. If the book is the chief difficulty, any offensive remarks will certainly be removed. I will do my utmost to remove difficulties in anything else that may be suggested by your Serenity upon this or other points, but so long as you do not descend to details and I have no definite light upon the intentions of the state I do not know what more I can do. I have another letter from my king to present to your Serenity before I go. If you wish to add anything to what you have had read to me, I will obey your commands punctually and secretly like one of your own ministers, but it is necessary to particularise. You must also consider the condition of the widowed duchess, menaced as she is, full of affection for the republic and my king, harassed by her kinsmen and worthy of compassion on every head.
In the absence of the doge Sig. Antonio da Canal said there was nothing to add to what the Senate had had read. His Majesty's offers about the Turks were worthy of his generosity and prudence and appreciated by the republic. They heard what he said about Savoy and if there was anything else they would let him know. They valued his Majesty's interposition highly.
With respect to Simeas the ambassador asked that if he was not admitted as consul he might be as agent and simple factor. The case was so clear that no information was needed. It was a question of increasing trade through him. He would have thought the opportunity one not to be lost. He had memorials with the complaints of other merchants ; he asked the doge to take them and decide. Canal replied that they would examine the memorials and see what could be done for Simeas, always with the desire to please his lordship. With this the ambassador bowed and went into the other room to take a copy of the office.
April 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
629. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After taking Edinburgh castle, as reported, the Scots have continued their successful progress, and forced the Marquis of Ontele to seek safety in flight. They have taken Aberdeen without a struggle as well as other important places, notably Dalghiz and Donbarten, the first of consequence as the depository of the crown and royal insignia, as well as of a quantity of munitions and arms, which were sent there last month for distribution among those who have so far supported the royalist side. As the latter faces Ireland, it increases the difficulty of entering Scotland from that quarter. These circumstances cause the greater apprehension since the audacity of the enemy increases daily, and it looks as if they meant to attempt the very important place of Berwick as well. The king has sent the Earl of Essex thither with all speed, with 3000 men, and the Marquis of Hamilton is sent back here to hasten the march of the troops, which arrive daily from the neighbouring provinces, to increase the army with new levies. They are thus busy recruiting in this city, amid universal murmurs, everyone, without distinction, being obliged to remain under the royal colours. Many ships are all ready round the coast to embark troops and take them by water to Yorkshire, to join the main body. His Majesty adheres to his original plan to put 40,000 men into the field. This will obviously be exceedingly difficult in the great scarcity of money and the shortage of food stuffs.
Amid all these advantageous circumstances the Scots publish that if the king is disposed to grant them the maintenance of their old privileges, and come to Scotland unarmed with only his household, he will be received with the greatest respect, and find proofs of loyalty and perfect obedience among his subjects. If these proposals are sincere it is thought that his Majesty will be compelled by necessity to accept them in the end.
Before leaving here the king, as a testimony of his affection for his wife has decreed under his own seal, that in the event of his death the queen shall have 40,000l. a year as super dower, more than was customary with other widowed queens. He also directed the Royal Council that during his absence they should wait upon her Majesty every week and inform her of all that takes place in the government of the country.
The continued preparations of the French in Normandy in particular have aroused fresh misgivings in the ministers here that France may take advantage of the troubles here to attack the neighbouring islands of Jersey and Guernsey, and they have accordingly sent troops to guard them against any sudden emergency.
The Earl of Leicester has postponed his return to France under the pretext of going to the king for fresh and more precise instructions. The French ambassador here adroitly urges his departure, so that that Court may not remain without an English ambassador, causing remark.
The Catholic is trying through his minister here to get his troops transported from Spain to Flanders on English merchantmen, for the purpose of exempting them from the danger of hostile fleets, which scour the waters of Dunkirk. The French and Dutch ambassadors oppose this strongly, and represent to ministers that their masters will be justified by necessity in fighting those ships, even though they carry the colours of this crown.
Colonel Douglas has come again to express his readiness to return to Venice when required. His original leave being expired, he asks leave to remain here a little longer.
Your Excellencies' letters of the 17th ult. have just reached me.
London, the 15th April, 1639.
April 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
630. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
They talk of the Archbishop of Bordeaux's fleet having some designs on Gravelines. He might indeed land 8000 infantry but that would not suffice to attack Gravelines or Dunkirk without Dutch help, which there is nothing to indicate so far. Those who fix their eyes on Gravelines and Dunkirk seem to consider that facilities for this are greater than in the past, as the King of Great Britain, being busy with Scotland, will not be able to prevent them so easily.
Paris, the 12th April, 1639.
April 13.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
631. That the Ambassador of the King of Great Britain be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
We repeat our obligations to his Majesty in respect to the offers made by your lordship, whose action in the matter we greatly appreciate. Past events prevent us from doing more than we have done to express our friendly sentiments to the Duchess of Savoy, although we are extremely obliged to his Majesty for his offers, which we appreciate highly.
Ayes, 128. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
April 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
632. Giovanni Grimani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Secretary Walderode, an Aulic Councillor, has just been to tell me that after the emperor had arranged the treaty of Brussels about the Palatine's affairs, solely to please the king of Great Britain, news reached him of the efforts of the English ambassadors at Paris to obtain permission for the Palatine family to go to Cologne. Until the emperor had a more definite knowledge of that king's intentions he must postpone any decision on the subject. I believe this step is partly due to the desire of the Austrians to unravel the knot of the varied proceedings of England in these transactions, but it is also due to the successes in Piedmont. (fn. 8)
Vienna, the 13th April, 1639.
April 15.
Collegio Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
633. The Senate's deliberation of the 13th inst. having been read to the Ambassador of Great Britain, he said :
My request for audience yesterday was about this same business of Savoy, and I was glad to be sent for because I thought I should obtain further light, upon which I could proceed with the adjustment of difficulties. In this new office I must first thank you for the appreciation of my king's interposition. He is moved by pure affection and the desire to see the old confidence restored between the republic and Savoy. From Prince Vittorio Amedeo I have frequently heard declarations of the best feelings towards you. These sentiments certainly remain and the past accidents occurred more through the mistakes of ministers or the fault of ill intentioned persons than from the princes. I wish your Serenity's friendship for the duchess could be transmitted to the House of Savoy, and that there was no occasion to separate these two points, but unite them. The present state of Piedmont requires this, the part of Italy upon which it is necessary to keep the eyes fixed to keep away changes. However, if your Serenity does not feel inclined to go any further in the matter at present, be so good at least to advise your ambassador in London of the offices I have performed and the replies given, so that he may inform his Majesty in the same way as I do, and on my return to Turin, if there is an opening, do something good, if I know the intentions of the state. I shall also speak of the republic's appreciation of his offers about the Turks, and I can assure him that your Serenity will show this. I must add that as I am leaving for London I must first present other letters from my king.
After the letters had been read, the ambassador said, I will do precisely what the letters contain. I ask your Serenity to give me a reply to present to the king's own hand, and I will wait for it. Sig. Talber will fill my place ; I ask you to receive him favourably, it will be a testimony to your satisfaction with what he had done hitherto. I am sorry the doge is absent, as I should have liked to take leave of him. I must recommend to your Serenity the interests of merchants, whose consolation and relief will lead to better relations with yours. Sig. Pelegrini Count of Pelgia, his Majesty's consul general in Italy will need the protection of the state. I ask you to give this and also to allow Simeas to return to Zante. This also will benefit trade. I leave another memorial for this.
In the absence of the doge Councillor Canal replied that the republic would do all it could for the merchants ; they were anxious to gratify Simeas. They wished the ambassador a good journey. They would gladly receive Sig. Talber. If there was anything more, the Signory would let him know. After some words of ceremony the ambassador asked that Sig. Talber might be introduced, and he presented himself in the Collegio. The ambassador took leave and went into the other room to make a copy of the office.
Filza. 634. Memorial of Henry Hider to the Ambassador of Great Britain.
I thank God at hearing you are going to Venice, as in my sufferings through the powerful persecution of my ill wishers and of the English nation I have no hope of justice except through your intercession, so powerful are the forces that seek to destroy me.
I came to the islands of Zante and Cephalonia some years ago to carry on my affairs. I have always set the public interests before my own, to render myself worthy of his Serenity's favour. The public representatives know how readily I have helped them with my money at various emergencies due to delay of the public revenues. Others have not done so, not even subjects. I also increased trade in those parts, with incredible advantage to the state and provided the islands with corn and other things in time of famine, all proving my devotion to the republic.
As we suffered various considerable extortions from the customers of the new impost, I decided, when in Venice in 1636 to take up that duty, with an advantage to the state of 40,000 ducats, at a time when subjects refused it. I nominated Marc Antonio Boldu as conductor, being an islander, and because I had known his father in law Pietro dall' Aquila, fiscal advocate of the chamber of Zante. As the duty on the first harvest showed a great advance Aquila conspired with his son in law to get a hand in this, under the guise of friendship to me, but he worked more by craft, threats and violence against me and the English, unmindful of benefits received from me, and compelled me to renounce all my rights to him, giving me his relations and dependants as caratadori, passing over those who had already signed. He also compelled me to take refuge in Turkish territory to trade, abandoning my most important interests, so as not to risk my life. I pass over the maltreatment of many of our nation, especially the consul William Bordet because he appealed to justice. Not content with this Aquila had me entered unjustly as debtor for a large sum of money to the chambers of Zante and Cephalonia. This was easy from his position as fiscal advocate. To win favour with the rulers and under a most false charge of smuggling he has had me banished from the Venetian state by the Proveditore of Cephalonia, on the complaint of Boldu and his own testimony and that of his close relations. He has done this in order to keep me away from the state so that he may have greater facilities for smuggling and of administering the said duty to suit himself. This is shown by his compelling many merchants to pay him various sums, which were deposited in the public chambers, in default of the duty in my charge. This unjust process and the sentence of banishment were rightly quashed by the Council of Forty, civil vecchio thus recognising my innocence.
Some of these things were represented to his Serenity by the English resident, and in consequence, on the 2nd October, 1638 the Senate ordered the Proveditori here to revise the accounts about the debt I was charged with and hear what I had to say. They also ordered the Proveditore of Zante to draw up a process against Aquila, Boldu and their followers. Accordingly I passed from the Morea to Zante, where I acted as consul and general merchant for the nation, an office conferred upon me to my great advantage and reputation. With the help of the Proveditore and the ministers my accounts were inspected and I remained creditor for 1261 ryals 19 aspri, besides my just claims against the customers, as I believe the Proveditore has reported.
When I was about to proceed to Cephalonia to do the like in the chamber there, Aquila, knowing my intention, conspired with the Chancellor Capretta, his close friend, owing to their mutual affairs, and without waiting for me to come, had the alleged debt confirmed against me, without giving me any chance of stating my case. They sent the accounts to Venice in my absence in order to blacken my reputation.
I now beg your Excellency to intercede with his Serenity for me upon the following particulars :
(1) that the process against Aquila, Boldu etc. may be made according to the forms of the Senate, because Aquila's influence is so great here that no one would dare to bear witness against him if the witnesses are examined in the usual public way, as he would have them killed, as has happened to many. In this way we poor foreigners shall get some relief.
(2) That some naval commander who is sailing soon may have power to review my accounts and the charges made against me in the chamber of Cephalonia so that I may state my case, and if I fail I will pay readily the sum which I legitimately owe.
(3) That the particulars laid before the Five Savii for Trade by Don Biasio Vondani against Aquila and Boldu about the new impost on currants, farmed by me, receive their finishing touches, especially as this concerns the public interests.
I hope through your Excellency's protection to move the doge to relieve the English nation, which is so badly used by these persecutors, so that after so many afflictions I may enjoy a quiet life and taste the fruits of justice, and attend to my affairs with more spirit.
635. Memorial of Henry Hider to the Ambassador of Great Britain.
Some days ago I sent your Excellency a memorial upon the persecutions suffered from Aquila, his son Zuane, his son in law Boldu and their followers, without referring to the insupportable injuries to which our countrymen have had to submit, owing to their arrogant influence in those islands.
I now add that on the 7th July and the 2nd October last the Senate directed the Proveditore of Zante to form a process upon the complaints of our nation and of myself in particular, against those persons, first sending them all to Corfu, and have them detained there until the process was drawn up, so that justice might pursue its course and take knowledge of their misdeeds, and that during their absence from Zante and Cephalonia the witnesses might tell the truth without fear. Accordingly the Proveditore sent to tell those men not to leave Cephalonia, where they then were, until further order from him, yet they went about as before, in contempt of justice. No Englishman has cared to take upon himself to lay any complaint, for fear of his life, and because the process was not committed with the forms of secrecy ; so they thought it better to suffer wrong.
I came from the Morea to Zante, as the state desired, to arrange the accounts of the chambers of Zante and Cephalonia, because of the alleged debt. But at Cephalonia they would not wait for me, as I have stated. I also came to lay my complaint before the Proveditore of Zante, giving him a note of various witnesses. Some of these have not told the entire truth, from fear of their lives, and some will not be examined for the same cause, as Aquila's relations threaten them.
The Proveditore of Zante wished to proceed in a new form, in accordance with the Senate's orders, and sent to the Proveditore of Cephalonia so that he might have those persons sent to Corfu, within three days. Nothing was done, however, as the orders were not intimated, and the public will was contemned. This is due to the close friendship between Aquila and Capretta, chancellor of Cephalonia for those affairs which pass between them, well known to all, so that Aquila may be called the absolute arbiter in those islands. Thus Aquila and Boldu remain at Cephalonia, administering the duty of the new impost which was tyranically taken out of my hands, to suit themselves, committing various serious faults to the detriment of the state and of myself. I now ask your Excellency to represent these particulars to the doge so that severe orders may be sent to the Proveditori of Zante and Cephalonia to send those men to Corfu, and at the same time direct the Proveditore of Zante to perfect the process with the rite and secrecy, so that the many misdeeds of those men may be brought to light, and the process sent to his Serenity to judge the cause. I am sure that justice will give the punishment deserved, for the relief of myself and our poor nation, who deserve so much from his Serenity. Once we are free from these toils we can attend to increasing the trade of these islands, as I have always tried to do. If this is not done, the people here will never feel the force of justice and will proceed from one crime to another, when they get off scot free.
636. Laurence Ider, an English gentleman and merchant at Venice has previously set forth to your Excellency the calumnies made against him by the late Ridolfo Simes, the loss he has suffered by his presentation for nineteen months, the proved falseness of the witnesses examined against him, and the unjust penalty which the Avogador Pisani made him pay for the acts of Vicenzo Constantini, notary of the Avogadoria, very well known by the inquisitors of that time, because they promised him restitution, as the most excellent Pisani knows, who is even now in the same office, and also begged you to set it all forth in the Collegio, so that he might be reinstated and return home after nineteen years. He is tired of litigating for nine years and his father constantly writes to him to come home. He again asks your lordship to remind his Serenity of his notable ruin, because he cannot persuade himself that with your favour and his own just reasons he will not recover what he has unduly paid. In addition to this, amid all these persecutions he has been unable to recover many of his debts. He therefore again begs your Excellency to perform a final office, so that his claims, debts and causes may be delegated to four or five members of the Senate, or to those tribunals which his Serenity may consider best adapted, for his speedy despatch without appeal, so that they may decide summarily, and he may once more have his own again, which he brought here for the benefit of this city.
637. Thomas Simeas, chosen general factor by the English merchants at Zante, having heard that his Serenity intends to take information about his affair wishes to show your Excellency what prejudice a long delay may do him, as he was only employed to put straight the disorders which the English factors made in the trade at Zante.
He never did anything here contrary to cordial relations between his Majesty and the republic about the liberty of trade.
His Majesty had given satisfaction to the Ambassador who went to England in all he could desire for the republic about his employment.
Before his arrival at Zante there was no gentleman who had currants in his power, but they were all bought by monopolists, Greeks or Jews, and this was the cause of his trouble as it will be the ruin of the people there.
The peasants rejoiced greatly at his coming to Zante, because he paid them cash for their currants, while the Jews only paid a quarter or a third in cash and the rest in goods, in order to impoverish the poor people more. Only 2¾ millions of currants were produced at Zante in that year, and of this before his arrival the Jews had intercepted 2 millions and the Greeks the rest.
Before his departure he bought in the two islands 5 millions of currants but as his appointment was suddenly revoked and he has been constantly absent, the purchase remains incompleted, to the notable loss of his Majesty's subjects.
He begs your Excellency to intervene for his return to Zante, so that he may attend better to the affairs of his principals, as he has no intention to prejudice the subjects of the republic, or at least to allow him to return to put a stop to the loss hitherto incurred, and what more may happen through his absence from those parts.
638. I, Francesco Marcello, Proveditore of Zante, formerly gave orders that Pietro Aquila should not leave Cephalonia or permit his son Giovanni or Marc Antonio Boldu, his son in law to do so. We now, in obedience to repeated commissions from the Senate of the 2nd October last order the same Aquila, his son and Boldu to leave the island of Cephalonia within three days and go to Corfu, which they shall not leave until further order from us, upon the most severe penalties to their persons and goods.
The Chancellor Pretorio by order.
Zante, the 1st March, 1639.
639. From the enclosed your lordship will gather the public intent. I had told Aquila and the others not to leave here until further order. Since then the orders have come that they are to go to Corfu. I send this order, asking you to see that it is carried out, sending word as soon as it is done, so that what is proper may be decided, in order to uphold the respect due to justice.
Francesco Marcello, Proveditore.
Zante, the 1st March, 1639.


  • 1. The state papers contain returns of foreigners made by the Justices of the Peace in Surrey, Middlesex and Westminster by virtue of orders of the Council of the 4th and 10th March o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1638-9, pages 562, 563, 579.
  • 2. Fleming's name is not recorded in either Metcalfe's Book of Knights or Shaw's Knights of England, but in his instructions, dated 4 April 1639, he is styled Sir Oliver Fleming, knight, (S.P. For. Switzerland), so it is probable he was dubbed just before that date.
  • 3. See No. 582 at page 501 above, and note. Lady Bayning was married to Philip lord Herbert son of the earl of Pembroke and Montgomery on Thursday 28 March—7 April. The wedding was apparently carried out in haste and surreptitiously (Cal. S.P. Dom. 1638-9, page 622) although Salvetti, writing on the 15th, says that the Lord Chamberlain delayed his journey north on account of it. The lady's dowry was estimated at 160,000 crowns, Brit. Mus, Add. MSS. 27962H.
  • 4. Of the Sabbioneda branch, Prince of the Empire and chief steward of the Empress Eleanora.
  • 5. Count John Louis of Nassau Hadamar.
  • 6. Graswinckel's "Dissertatio de jure praecedentiae inter Serenissimam Venetam Rempublicam et serenissimum Sabaudiae ducem" was printed by the Elzevirs at Louvain in 1644.
  • 7. Taken on the 23rd March o.s. by Alexander Leslie.
  • 8. Maurice, Cardinal of Savoy and Prince Tomaso, under the patronage of the emperor claimed the regency of their nephew, the duke of Savoy as against his mother, who was controlled by French influence, and in a few weeks overran all Piedmont with Spanish forces, investing the duchess herself in Turin.