Venice: September 1636

Pages 57-74

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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September 1636

Sept. 2.
Cinque Savii alla Mercanzia. Risposte. Venetian Archives.
60. In response to the instruction of the Senate upon the new memorial presented by the English Ambassador, we are of opinion that in the matter of lading at all the ports, the original decision was based upon the laws ; but seeing that lading is clearly not practicable at two ports only, this question is a proper one for decision by the Senate ; at the same time the ships should not be released from the presence of the customers at the lading.
In the matter of exporting food for use on the ships free of the new duty, we think this may be allowed, especially as Hider is interested in the new duty. We consider reasonable the proposal that the captains of ships shall be required to give pledges against smuggling by their sailors.
On the question of the exemption of Londons, half Londons and tin from the new impost, we find that some four or five years ago a warehouse was newly established in the Morea with cases of English goods, a quantity of cloth has been brought by English ships, which afterwards lade currants, oil and other goods for the West. Other ships go first to Zante and Cephalonia to unlade Londons and then go on to the Morea with the rest, so that a very small quantity of these goods goes to the islands. It is difficult to estimate how far this injures the trade in Venetian cloth. We find also that Hider proposes to divert the trade and ships from Patras and the Morea, and to destroy, if possible, the houses newly established there. This would be a great advantage to the state, as the oil taken by the English from the Morea would of necessity come to the Venetian dominions, and pay duty, without reckoning other profits. But we do not feel competent to form a judgment on this question.
Dated at the office, the 2nd September, 1636.
Marin Contarini Savii
Iseppo Ciuran
Lunardo Foscolo
Girolamo Lando, knight
Sept. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
61. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Admiral of the fishing fleet reports that the English seized five boats and compelled them to pay a florin per lastro or the equivalent in fish. They then gave them passports to fish in the king's waters for a year, confirming the lordship claimed, to which they say the Dutch have tacitly consented. The report has caused an extraordinary sensation and greatly increased the bitter feeling as they perceive that the English seize every opportunity for pushing their claims. On the following day the States informed the Prince and asked his advice. Meanwhile there is a loud buzzing especially among the people of Holland, who are more interested in the fisheries than the rest, to the effect that they must on no account pass over this injury, without showing due resentment, that to put up with this innovation is equivalent to accepting the caprices of the English and the manifest loss of the liberty which these Provinces claim at sea as their absolute right. The Prince, however, will probably assuage their heat, and if they do not take some rash step at the outset, it is thought that they will appoint commissioners to enquire into the subject. This with no intention of giving way, but only in order to gain time, in the hope that the king may relax his claims, or that some change in circumstances may help them to uphold their rights.
The Princess Palatine is very distressed and labours to persuade them that the state is not attacked and that it concerns the fishermen only as individuals. She points out with a sigh that every slight disturbance tends in the first instance to prejudice the interests of her House. But she received a reply full of heat and passion, it being openly asserted that no circumstance was more likely to constrain these Provinces to accept a disadvantageous truce than the proceedings of England and a persistence in the course adopted.
The fleet sailed ten days ago, with orders to lower sails if it meets with a superior force and not to run any risks on this account. Some say that they ought not to refuse this slight honour to the English, on the ground of friendship ; but if the ill feeling continues to grow it will increase on this point as well and their High Mightinesses mean to uphold with punctuality that liberty at sea which reason and force may be able to concede to them.
The Hague, the 4th September, 1636.
Sept. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
62. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has been considerably stirred against some of his leading ministers, and has already shown his resentment. He has ordered the Secretary Windebank to remain in retirement in a country house of his until further order, and they say that Lord Cottington has received a similar command. The reason for this sharpness really depends upon essentials, as everyone freely acknowledges, because his Majesty commanded that the last money which arrived here from Spain to be transported to Flanders should be seized for outstanding debts of his, and he sealed the order for this with his own hand. (fn. 1) They say that Windebank and Cottington, being aware of this, forestalled the royal commissions by their own, and obliged the captain of the ship to present himself immediately at Dunkirk with the money, as he certainly did, without losing time. The strong feeling which had struck root in his Majesty's mind through other similar incidents could no longer remain hidden upon this occasion, as the offence was too sensible and public. Thus it is not thought that his severity will end here, as the king has let it be understood that he knows full well that besides these two there are others in his Council who receive a yearly pension from the Spaniards, and that he will also be able to find a way to make them repent bitterly.
It was this condition of mistrust which induced him to write in person to the ambassadors in Germany and France, and that is also the reason why he keeps the substance of his despatches so secret, as it seems that he no longer trusts anyone, even in the most minute things.
If these two ministers remain in disgrace, the French hope that their affairs will profit greatly, because not only the sympathies but the overt acts of those two were always devoted to helping the Spanish side. However they have such favours and so many connections (favori e dipendenze tali) that their fall will be no such easy thing, although their power will be diminished, as they certainly will not soon recover their former influence with the king. Accordingly everyone is awaiting the issue of this affair with great anxiety, as it is believed that the greatest deliberations will take their direction in accordance therewith.
Owing to this disturbance, it is believed, his Majesty would not be present at the Council this week, and it is thought that he will not attend the present one either, as he can conceal the reason which keeps him away under colour of the numerous diversions which the students of the Colleges here will give him.
The Secretary of Prince Tomaso has been here a week, sighing for an audience, which has been put off from day to day under various pretexts. He says that he brings secret orders from his master to treat with his Majesty. (fn. 2) These have not transpired, but they seem to attach such slight importance to him personally at the Court that he can have but scant hopes of a successful issue to his negotiations.
The Spanish victories in Picardy and the reverses of the French, now that all fear of their fleet is dispelled by the news of its entering Toulon, begin to cause regret to the ministers here, and unless the emperor comes to a more favourable decision about the Palatine, there is every likelihood that the French will achieve the end they aim at, as what previously might have depended on inclination alone has now become practically a necessity. The ambassadors lose no time and make the most of circumstances, always in conjunction with the Dutch ambassador extraordinary, whose vigilance in everything certainly has no peer. The adroitness of the Ambassador Joachimi, who has arrived in Holland this week, and his prudent advice will prove wonderfully opportune in the present circumstances.
No further news has arrived of the fleet. The Dutch are fishing at present in the middle of the sea, and so they no longer have occasion here to molest them while they need not fear molestation. But this does not cause any diminution in the bitterness over past events, and they continue to speak with the customary heat.
The merchant ships which were to go to sea in the king's service, have been allowed to go free at the instance of the interested parties. The other ten of his Majesty, which were being fitted out. are supplied with everything and only need captains to command them ; (fn. 3) as the nomination of these is delayed so long and the season is so far advanced, it is thought that they will not sail at all.
Sir [John] Finett came to see me the day before yesterday, and told me that now his Majesty will be somewhat nearer the city the Spanish ambassador thinks of performing his first public functions. The ambassador had again confirmed his desire to correspond with the Venetian minister, and charged Finett to assure me that I should receive from him every satisfaction that I could desire. He added that if you had sent an ambassador extraordinary to the emperor about the diet, as he understood you would, his father would treat him in the same way, as he also wished to restore the friendly relations which existed previously. I made a suitable response to this fresh office, and without committing myself told him that I would lose no opportunity of giving effect to our mutual goodwill.
His Majesty has again arrived here with the intention of staying some time, both because the air is good and the plague has not yet made itself felt, and to please the students of the Colleges, who entertain him with various kinds of virtuous recreations. He will pass from here to the place which will be considered best for health ; but he will not go anywhere without extreme inconvenience to the Court, as the country is ruined everywhere by an excessive drought, causing the greatest suffering to everything and making the miserable weakness of the country people general, while even the purses of the greatest find it insupportable. Everyone declares that there is no memory of such a misfortune in England, whose usually damp climate is so changed that the trees and the land are despoiled of their verdure as if it were a most severe winter.
Rossi, who was secretary of the Ambassador Michiel in Holland arrived here the day before yesterday. He told me that he had the cipher and I made him hand it over at once. I am keeping it myself as my secretary is in indifferent health and I know of no one else to whom I can trust it.
Oxford, the 5th September, 1636.
[Italian : the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 10.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
63. After consideration of the memorial presented by the English Ambassador and the remarks of the Five Savii alla Mercanzia, it is resolved :
That the duty on currants shall be put up to auction by the Five Savii alla Mercanzia, precisely in accordance with the offers made by the merchant Henry Hyde for the present contract, and under the conditions and obligations expressed in the usual articles of the farm.
That under the present contract, for the lading of currants, the islanders of Zante and Cephalonia and the English merchants may use other ports as well as those of Argostoli and Val d'Alessandria, which those merchants and islanders consider more convenient for lading, and better for their interests, but the customers or their agents and other public officials must be present.
That in conformity with the representations made, those who lade at Cephalonia shall have one day's expectation (faccino stalia d'un giorno) in the port of Argostoli, and those of Zante shall have a day at Zante, for the necessary enquiries. (fn. 4) That if smuggling is discovered the smugglers shall be punished. That the captains of ships shall give sureties in the chambers there for the sailors, for any misdeeds which they may commit.
That Londons and half Londons may be brought to the two islands, and those which are disposed of there shall pay the duty of the new custom, and those which leave them to be taken to the Morea, shall not pay the new custom, up to 150 pieces.
Ayes, 100. Noes, 4. Neutral, 46.
Sept. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
64. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Earl of Arundel has written to the Princess Palatine that he is waiting for his answer and is working for the best. But everyone laughs at this, perceiving the devices of the Austrians and Spaniards to increase ill feeling and to persuade England to unite with them. But so far nothing has been decided and they will wait to hear the advice of the Prince and the report of Joachimi. The Princess Palatine says that she is impatiently awaiting news from England which she expects to be excellent, but this is considered a device to stop any decision here. Yet she spoke to me very seriously on the subject and expressed great hopes.
Beveren reports that in reply to his remonstrances about the fishermen he was told that they had paid willingly, without any force being used. The king expressed his desire for friendly relations with these Provinces. Beveren adds that the king could not speak with greater kindness, but that the mischief lies in the heart of the ministers who bear no good will to this state, because they are all in the pay of the Austrians. The letters have done nothing to soothe public feeling. Their High Mightinesses say that the king speaks in this way because he wants to avoid trouble not because he has any intention of adjusting the matter or of abandoning his pretentions in the smallest degree. They hope through Joachimi's negotiations to find some way of avoiding a collision.
The Hague, the 11th September, 1636.
Sept. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
65. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The moment Joachimi landed, without Beveren knowing all about it, he went straight to Court by order of his masters, and told the king how deeply the Dutch felt the attack on their fishing busses, without regard for his royal promise, making the fishermen contribute a great part of the fruits of their labours, as if it were a toll. They did not know why they should be subjected to this new and transcendent charge and had ordered him to ask his Majesty to agree to nominate someone with whom he could confer upon the merits of the affair, so that he might send them definite information, in order to decide the matter as speedily as possible and free the Dutch of this tax. He further besought his Majesty that since the question was a matter for negotiation, he would be pleased, during the time that arguments were being advanced on one side and the other, to order that no further steps should be taken in the rigorous measures already instituted, so that the business might be settled in a friendly way without noise or cause for further offence. The king at once understood that the aim of this office was present delay so that they might quietly enjoy the benefit of time for the second fishing, adroitly seized upon the point and made the delay turn to his own advantage. He said he did not think there was any need for discussion as the reasons for his authority were perfectly clear. But he would not refuse any satisfaction to the States, whom he had always considered good neighbours and friends and so he would consent to receive the present request in writing, so that it might be duly considered. Joachimi could only answer that when the paper was presented he hoped that he would have a reply at once. In this way the matter has been shelved and as the original orders are still in force, the fishermen will certainly be compelled to continue their contributions if the king's ships encounter them.
The ships have returned to the Downs, having left six ships only to cruise together where they may be required. It is said that these also will very shortly be compelled to betake themselves to these waters, as like the others they lack everything required for living. (fn. 5) The ambassador will urge the despatch of the affair with no less pressure because he has orders to return to Holland at once, to report orally what he had done.
The Secretary of Prince Tomaso was introduced to audience of the king last week. He asked permission to enlist some Scotch recruits. They practically refused this by an ambiguous answer to the effect that they wished it postponed, so he seems inclined to depart at once.
The Spanish ambassador still keeps hidden, careless about the displeasure of the Court, which increases daily. It is said that he has brought 300,000 francs with him, and that before explaining his business he wishes to pave his way with them. He certainly has some very special visits and frequent and most secret meetings are held in the house of Nicolaldi. That minister has been declared secretary of the Cardinal Infant, and when Ognate takes up his ministry the other will go forthwith to his new one.
Both the French ambassadors had a long audience of the king this day. It is supposed to relate to the alliance, especially as new and most specious offers have been made to Leicester in Paris of which I hope to find out particulars. The king is most anxious for news of Picardy and also of Italy. He enquires almost weekly of me about that province through the Secretary Coke.
The king went last week to Oxford with the intention of proceeding thence to Windsor or some other place nearer the city but on hearing that the plague is making considerable progress not only there but in all the villages and other places around, he decided to resume his turn at a considerable distance still. He arrived the day before yesterday here at Southampton.
Yesterday when out on his usual pleasures of the chase he came near losing his life. He was following a stag at full speed when he unexpectedly came upon a deep bog, which was disguised by being covered with fresh grass. He plunged so deeply into this that his horse was completely submerged, while only his head and the top of his shoulders remained above ground. He was in danger of being swallowed up also, if those at hand had not rescued him by their agility and at the risk of their lives. The horse remained dead on the spot, but the king, undismayed as if no accident had occurred, changed his clothes with the first person he met, at once mounted another horse and decided to continue the chase.
Some of the foreign ministers here have gone to-day to congratulate him on his escape from so great a danger, and I shall not fail to do the same.
Acknowledges Senate's letters of 31st July and 8th ult.
Southampton, the 12th September, 1636.
Sept. 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia, Venetian Archives.
66. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
With the commisions from England of which your Serenity will have heard, the Earl of Leicester has met the commissioners Bullion and the younger Botillier, to whom he has made proposals of a new co-operation in the interests of the Palatinate. They have replied asking for a declared union with his Majesty against the Spaniards, promising that they will do what he desires ; but as he has not authority to go so far he has sent a courier to that Court, representing that there are strong arguments for taking such a step ; and now he is waiting for the reply.
Paris, the 16th September, 1636.
67. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
An idea prevails just now that things may look up, and especially if they succeed in winning over and uniting England with themselves, then the Cardinal may be ready to try his fortune for another year, with the aim, if it be any way possible, to keep Lorraine for himself in a treaty of peace, as a monument of his services, a thing he now perceives he cannot realise.
Paris, the 16th September, 1636.
Sept. 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
68. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Earl of Arundel came here three weeks ago to see the emperor. In spite of his insistence for a definite reply about the Palatinate, he has had no luck, as with their advantages in the present campaign, and because they attach more importance to pleasing Bavaria than to good relations with England, the ministers only try to keep up the ambassador's hopes with fair words, in order to delay any move of that sovereign against the House of Austria. I found his Excellency greatly disturbed and dissatisfied. He spoke unwillingly on the subject, but told me with much bitterness that they make a great mistake here if they build on their present success, as nothing is more inconstant than the fortune of war, and they may regret their refusal to listen to proposals for an accomodation. He told me of what had befallen one of his principal gentlemen and to his esquire on their way out to him, who were bound to a tree by assassins, robbed and murdered. (fn. 6) He has again spoken strongly to the bishop, threatening what England will do, especially if the Diet confirms Bavaria in possession of the electoral vote. He declared that this would never be tolerated. The bishop replied that they would not be disturbed by threats. They could not shut their eyes to the harm the Palatine had done in Germany. The Ambassador had offended the Duke of Bavaria by refusing to see him and calling him an enemy. This closed the way to negotiation.
The Count of Ognat has exchanged visits with Arundel and intimated that the matter can easily be settled. I learn that he postulated that the Catholic was ready to yield that part of the Palatinate which he holds if Bavaria will do the same and if England will give suitable satisfaction. But it is clear that these offices are performed in concert with Bavaria, in spite of the apparent breach between the duke and Spanish ministers. The Count says that with the arrival of his son in England the aspect of things will change, and England will be glad to continue to enjoy the advantage of trade with Spain, the interruption of which would hurt them seriously. As a matter of fact this frankness of the Spaniards as well as that of the Imperialists rather inclines one to believe that they have more probably good grounds for thinking that they have penetrated the essential intentions of the English ministers, most of whom they have captured by heavy pensions to serve the Catholic's will. It is also believed here by many that they supply detailed information about what is transacted in the most intimate cabinets at that Court.
Confronted by such difficulties, which he may not have foreseen when he started on his mission, the English ambassador circulates reports that he will depart from here suddenly, without taking leave, in order to make an oral report to his King. But this is considered a device to win him some satisfaction.
Ratisbon, the 16th September, 1636.
Sept. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
69. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to congratulate the king on his escape. With his face full of kindness he told me he was particularly gratified by what I said, as he was as sure of the affection of your Excellencies as that he always considered your interests with affectionate regard. I meant to take leave immediately after the compliments, as I was warned that he had other important occupations, but with his usual kindness he detained me, and asked me about events in Italy. From the account I gave him I observed that he would have liked the arms of the allies to be more advantageously situated but he said nothing except out of curiosity, and so I did not think it advisable to enter into particulars. These sentiments, which are not devoid of jealousy, together with the scant satisfaction it is thought he will get at present from the Austrians for the Palatine, give great encouragement to the judgments which have been formed about his propensity to unite with France, although other circumstances which I shall relate below provide material for believing the contrary.
In order to discover what the instructions to Leicester were I went this week to pump the two French ambassadors. Contrary to my expectation, I found them entirely in the dark. Sennecterre, however adroitly pressed, skilfully evaded speaking about them, but the ordinary Ambassador Poyne, who has always opened out to me with the greatest confidence upon all the principal affairs, told me, though he begged me not to speak about it, that by letters from his private friends he had some distant knowledge of this matter, but from the Court no advice of any kind had reached either him or M. de Sennecterre. The queen in speaking with Sennecterre gave him some hint about it, and although taken by surprise, he covered his ignorance by his address, in order not to give offence in showing by it how little they think of these projects in France since they leave their ambassadors without information. He added that they had written jointly about this, complaining of their neglecting to give them proper notice of such an important matter. To convince me of the truth he wished to show me the copy of the letter which they wrote about this to the Secretary Bottiglier. He also promised to show me the reply with the particulars which will be sent to them about the affair. With respect to the last audience of the king, he vowed that it related to a levy of Irishmen, which they had been very strictly ordered to request, and that his Majesty had given him good hopes that he would grant it. I thanked him suitably.
Although these advances are by no means disagreeable, nothing has been settled about them, nor, according to report, have they even been discussed, and to judge by appearances, the Privy Council, which meets but rarely, will not discuss them until the king's return to Hampton Court ; a proof of how little they wish to settle anything, since as the negotiations for a general peace are so nearly ready to begin, they would not waste such precious time if they really meant to do anything.
The Palatine does his best to urge this alliance, and two days ago he made very strong representations to the king how present circumstances made it imperative not to wait any longer for Cæsar's decisions about Arundel's negotiations, since it is clear that he is losing his pains over the business as so many others have done, because if the operations for a general peace proceed, as seems likely, he does not see how that peace can benefit his fortunes in the least with things remaining in their present state, unless the king makes a vigorous demonstration. He also referred to his desire to go away together with his brother, as now he has reached his majority and become a man he thinks that he is losing reputation by wasting time in idleness. The king tried to console him with words full of gentleness, expressing as usual a great desire to see his affairs satisfactorily concluded ; but the prince wants deeds, and is very ill satisfied with words, and is always lamenting his unhappy state, his utterances being almost desperate.
The news from France this week is by no means unsatisfactory, as it brings assurances that the king there is very strong in the field and there is every indication that he will soon recover what was lost. The Baron du Bech, who was governor of la Capella, and the Sieur de Socurt, who commanded at Corbie, have taken refuge at this Court. They are both in London and would like to come to the Court to present themselves to the king, for the purpose of justifying their actions to him and to make him see that it was not the crime of failure but the fear of being punished when innocent which compelled them to take this desperate step. (fn. 7) So far his Majesty has not given ear to their instances, and it is not thought very likely that he will listen to them because he agrees with the general opinion that they seriously failed to do their duty and so it is not thought that he will give this affront to France.
As was agreed, Joachimi has made his demands in writing about having commissioners appointed him upon the present differences at sea. The written reply states that the king observes with deep regret that the States are so audacious as to call him to a conference to discuss a matter which legitimately belongs to the right of the crown. He laments that they, who have always been so well treated by England and by his house in particular, should be the first to call in question what so many princes quietly accord to him. He says that if they do not agree to fish and contribute, they shall contribute and not fish, and here he inserts threats and severe protestations, in short the paper is full of serious and far reaching points. As these admit of no opening to the ambassador to reply, he has taken leave and is waiting for an opportunity to cross, to take back this unlucky issue to his negotiations. Meanwhile he has received word that the fishermen have almost all withdrawn, although they were making their second fishing no longer off the coasts but in the middle of the sea. They are full of the bitterness which the loss of that advantage almost always means to that nation. For this emergency his Majesty has ordered that the whole fleet shall be provided immediately with everything, as he seems absolutely determined to uphold his pretensions in the most rigorous manner. This occasion shows clearly enough to what disorders these bitter feelings may give rise, and one fears that we shall quickly see the results, as the Dutch seem quite determined not to submit to the burden.
Acknowledges the Senate's letters of the 22nd ult.
Southampton, the 18th September, 1636.
70. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I should ere now have sent your Excellencies a clearer account of the proceedings of the papal ministers here, if their secrecy and circumspection had not deprived me of the means of doing so. I have already reported Panzani's labours for bringing about an adjustment between the regular and secular religious here, and his plans for establishing over them the authority of a bishop, on whom the entire direction of ecclesiastical affairs should impartially depend. He has tried all he knew in order that the Bishop of Chalcedon. (fn. 8) who formerly exercised such functions here with scant success, should be freely reinstated with the assent of the state. As this plan failed, he turned to another, asking permission for an ad libitum, without naming anybody. His operations have proceeded through the means of the queen's confessor, in this way he has been allowed to meet her quite often and has succeeded so far as to dispose her to undertake the direction of the affair.
Accordingly, with her customary tact, she has broached the matter to the king opportunely upon several occasions, pointing out to him how advantageous it would be if the licence which the religious sometimes take from not having a superior over them, could be decently restrained without scandal by the authority of a bishop. She was told that to permit a chief to the Roman, ecclesiastics would mean granting the use of that religion freely, which amounted to nothing more or less than encouraging civil discords the one thing that disturbs the peace of states. However, as the queen added prayers to her arguments, it appears that the king at length intimated that if the pope will consent to remove the severe censure fulminated against the Catholics who take the oath to him, he also will shut his eyes to the stay here of a bishop who has authority over them, provided he does not exceed the limits of modesty and exercises merely his legitimate functions. But this suggestion does not please the pope, who would like the Catholics to be altogether released from the oath of fealty. Although he recognises the difficulty of the affair and that it involves equally grave consequences, yet he perseveres in trying to attain his end by gentle means. To this end he has sent Cuneo here, whom, as a secular and a subject of this crown, he considers the most suitable and least suspect for the conduct of such a weighty matter. Yet Panzani has orders from Cardinal Barberino not to leave and they talk of another competent person being sent here shortly, so that they may render better service in conjunction and that the multiplicity may tend to establish by degrees that jurisdiction which they hope to achieve by use, since it is impossible in any other way.
But the projects of the Court of Rome do not stop here, and they are directing their present attention to higher aims. His Holiness entertains the idea of rendering his name glorious to posterity by a work at once great, charitable and pious in fine to bring the king himself over to the Roman faith. The foundations of this machinery have been laid very wide, and signs of progress become constantly more apparent (i fondamenti di questa machina sono stati gettati ben lontani, et sempre piu pare i segni dell' avanzamento si vadino apparenti.)
No nation is made more of at Rome just now than the English, where in the past the subjects of this crown went about incognito and at great danger. Here, again, the priests have never had so much liberty, and whereas in the past the Catholics could only hear mass at the embassies, with great risk of being arrested when they came out, now the chapels of the queen and of the ambassadors are not only frequented with freedom, but anyone who wishes a celebration in his own house can avoid the danger of the penalty with very slight circumspection. This is all due to the connivance of the ruler, and indicates if not a leaning to the rites of the Roman Church at least an absence of aversion. Coneo has brought many presents of reliquaries adorned with jewels of great price to offer to the queen in the name of his Holiness and Cardinal Barberino. He has already presented some, including a cross of diamonds arranged in the shape of bees, of very considerable value. (fn. 9) This one in particular she showed to the king, telling him who had presented it to her. He looked at it carefully and when giving it back to her said "Is it possible, my heart, that the pope has given you this?" She said he had, and the king went on "I am very glad of it, because I shall change the opinion I have hitherto held that the priests of Rome are always ready to take, but never give anything away (egli la osservo diligentemente et nel restituirgliela le disse Possibile mio cuore che il Papa ve l'habbia donata? Affermo ella che si, et egli riprese, ne son molto contento perche mutero quel concetto che ho tenuto sin hora che i Preti di Roma sempre volontieri piglino ma mai donino cosa alcuna).
Those present noticed that his Majesty uttered this jest with a very straight face, without a smile. This is considered very remarkable, because they give the words "I shall change my opinion" a much more extensive and profound meaning. But in the opinion of the wisest these things are rather desirable than within reach, and even if the good disposition they talk about exists, only a long succession of years can bring the truth to light.
This is the main substance which I have been able to extract in this ticklish matter, I give it to your Excellencies in the same terms as it reached me, in discharge of my duty, and so that you may be able to give it such mature consideration as you consider advisable.
Southampton, the 18th September, 1636.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
71. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Twenty four Spanish ships have arrived at Dunkirk with 4000 men and a million florins. The French say they were escorted by five English ships. The Princess Palatine denies this and says that such reports are only designed to stir up ill feeling between England and the States. She induced the Count of Colemberg to assure the States in the Assembly that the announcement was false. She laments the behaviour of the French and says that England has not united with them because she could not trust them.
The English say that a single royal ship made the whole Spanish fleet lower its sails. The Spaniards did not at first seem inclined to do this, but when the English ship fired they at once complied. (fn. 10) The English boast of this and say that reason and not fear prevailed. The Dutch fleet also lowered its sails on meeting an English squadron.
Joachimi will himself bring back the replies about the fishermen. The Prince urges the utmost prudence, in view of the exhaustion of the Provinces and the risks of war. A member of the government remarked to me that if the English carry off this ransom from the fishermen without noise, as they have begun, and treat them with gentleness, it may be that the States will shut their eyes and pass over the wrong until such time as their present difficulties are over, when they may be in a position to make England recognise the liberty which these Provinces claim at sea, and the power they possess.
The Earl of Arundel has written this week to the Princess Palatine that the ambassador of Poland is negotiating a marriage between his master and Cæsar's daughter. Some think that this is to move the Palatine family by jealousy. But the Princess Palatine says that it is to unite that king with the Austrians, not to render them more yielding here, or to try and achieve the impossible with a rush. She declares that the king may rest assured and she knows full well with the utmost certainty that he was disposed to some other match, that all other interests, no matter how important, would not suffice to alter her steadfast determination to adhere to the reformed faith.
The Hague, the 18th September, 1636.
Sept. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
72. To the Ambassador in England.
Approval of his action with Finet, the Master of the Ceremonies, to which there is nothing to add. Enclose advices of Italy. Rossi, secretary of the ambassador at the Hague has announced his intention of going to England, taking the cipher with him. To take all steps necessary for the recovery of this and to send it back forthwith to the Hague. To employ the Secretary Zonca for this.
Ayes, 107. Noes, 2. Neutral, 3.
Sept. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
73. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Before the young Bottiglier left for Monsieur's army he went to assure the Earl of Leicester that they would issue satisfactory orders for the observance of the capitulations with England about trade on the coasts of France. Since then the courier sent by the earl to Court has arrived and the earl has seen Buglion to whom he has made proposals for an alliance by order of his king, which have been sent by Buglion to the Cardinal. These things are kept most secret, but from what one can gather England is unwilling to declare herself against the Austrians, but the ambassador asserts that if the French will behave straightforwardly (caminar di buon piede), we shall soon see something good established, not only advantageous for the Palatine house, but for all the Princes of Germany, as his king desires the establishment of all.
Paris, the 23rd September, 1636.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
74. That by an ordinary of the ducal chancery the following be read to the Ambassador of the King of Great Britain in his house :
In response to your new office on behalf of the English merchants, and to confirm the benevolent disposition of the republic in the interests of trade we regret that it is impossible to appoint a special judge for the case of Laurence Hyder owing to the numerous and varied heads of his demands. We can only repeat that Hyder should carry his case before the proper magistrates, and if there is any difficulty he shall have the protection of the state and prompt despatch.
Ayes, 90. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
Not given in time.
Sept. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
75. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Joachimi took leave of his Majesty last Monday. Before he left for the coast I saw him twice. I noticed that he was all in a fluster and deeply agitated. He told me that it wrung his heart, after he had the good fortune to maintain for the twelve years that he had been ambassador, good relations between this crown and his masters, he should have to serve as the instrument of a quarrel with it in the end, by taking back such pernicious and unpleasant things. He assured me repeatedly that if the English continued their present proceedings they would not only incite but would force the States to make some pernicious agreement with the Spaniards, because their too harassed fortunes certainly could not long resist so many and such serious blows. He said that French pressure alone had induced the Prince of Orange to take the field this year, and the disorder of internal affairs did not allow of such heavy expenditure, without any provocation from the enemy. Their excessive penury would force them to take some decisive steps unless their friends came to their aid. He knew that the Ambassador Lir was to ask your Excellencies for assistance before he left for France. He had not heard the result. He begged me to represent the difficulties they are in and the trouble which is being prepared for them in this quarter. To cut matters short I told him that your Excellencies had no need of incitement to show your friendly disposition towards the States, and you had shown this by deeds. Circumstances were now different and heavy expenditure nearer home did not allow you to do what you would desire to do if conditions were more favourable. I observed from the eager manner in which he spoke that the office was premeditated, and was the more sure of it when he told me that he had been present in the Assembly when the subject was last discussed.
Their proceedings at this Court are always much the same, as they continue to deliberate much and decide upon little. With regard to the matter of the offensive and defensive alliance again proposed to the Ambassador Leicester in France, they have decided after various discussions, to answer that his Majesty will always be ready to embrace it if the conditions, which are general, are restricted to what concerns the restoration of the liberty of Germany only. By this form they aim at reaching the desired end that the Palatine and the Duke of Lorraine shall achieve the restoration of their states. But I imagine that France will not embrace this condition, because they well know that the aims of England do not coincide with their interests in this particular. Thus we have clear confirmation of what I have always guessed, that their plans here are always confined to the peace of Germany only, because they do not think, a general one will be altogether to their advantage ; but before very long circumstances will make this point more certain.
There is a whisper at Court that the Earl of Arundel will be returning soon, without anything being arranged ; but they let nothing be known definitely, so I cannot be absolutely certain.
The fleet has completely replenished its provisions, and has sailed from the Downs divided into two squadrons. The commander, with sixteen ships, will steer towards the Dutch fishermen, who are understood to have assembled and to have begun their second fishing. The rest, under the Vice Admiral have gone off towards Ireland, where they hear that some Turkish pirates have landed and not only done much harm to the country, but they fell in with and attacked one of the king's ships, which would have been lost had not two Dutch ones come to its rescue.
The Secretary Windebank has been permitted to return to Court, the king's indignation against him being assuaged but not extinguished. The Secretary Coke has instructions to draw up the process about the violent transport of the money of the Spaniards to Flanders, as his Majesty seems determined to know exactly how the affair happened.
The courier is prevented from crossing this week by strong contrary winds.
Westcourt, the 24th September, 1636.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 25.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
76. I, Thadeo Vico, went by your Serenity's command to the house of the English ambassador. I found his Excellency coming down the stairs to go for a little recreation. When he saw me, I made a reverence and told him that I had come to communicate a public office, which I asked to him hear, either then or when he returned, whichever might be more convenient. He said he did not wish to give me more trouble, and while speaking he mounted the stairs. I followed and he brought me to his ordinary room of audience. There I took the sheet given me by the secretary Suriano and read it all to him distinctly. He listened with a most gratified expression and then said, Your lordship will allow me to take a copy. I said he was the master. He sat down, making me sit also and cover, and he copied the office in his own hand. That done he rose and said, You will thank his Serenity and their Excellencies warmly ; they are constantly heaping favours upon me, both for merchants and in other matters. I will perform my duty in person at the earliest opportunity. He added, The Collegio did not meet to-day, but the Grand Council? I said, Yes. Then he said, the Collegio will meet tomorrow and Saturday to which I said Yes also. I will come, he said, to pay my duty to his Serenity. I then took leave, and he accompanied me to the staircase door in the portico. On the way he told me that he and all his gentlemen and household had been ill four or five days from having eaten white mushrooms. They were afraid they were poisoned, and he in particular had been so ill that he thought he was going to die. I expressed my regret at this accident, and said I was doubly glad that God had preserved him because of his great merits. He also said he was glad he had recovered, because he could serve his Serenity with his customary zeal, and so I departed.
Sept. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
77. To the Ambassador in England.
We enclose a copy of the office read to the English ambassador and of his reply, which will enable you to discuss the matter and to explain the reasons for the action taken.
Ayes, 90. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
Not given in time.
Sept. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Capitano delle Galeasse. Venetian Archives.
78. Piero Mocenigo, Captain of the Great Galleys, to the Doge and Senate.
On my return from Zante I fell in with an English ship, at which I fired the usual shot of assurance, without ball. He replied with a similar shot but without vailing his topsail as he should have done as a sign of respect for this flag. To uphold the dignity of the flag I fired another gun, also without ball, and to this he responded in the same manner as before. This satisfied me altogether about the position. Knowing the excessive audacity of the people of that nation I made ready all my artillery and then, to intimidate him I directed the chief gunner to fire a culverin with ball, but with express instructions not to hurt him. He did this and fired a shot which fell just under the prow. When they saw this they not only lowered their topsail but sent a boat with a Venetian merchant on board, who told me that the ship was named the Seven Stars, from Venice for Zante, with forty guns. He said that the captain had met ships flying the Venetian flag, but none had fired a shot. I told him that the action I had taken was necessary, but if proper respect was shown I would not be more severe than others.
From the galeasse at Corfu, the 28th September, 1636.


  • 1. The money referred to is the 2 million francs brought over from Spain by the Victory, Capt. Stewart, with the Count of Oñate (No. 28 at page 24 above). Correr had already stated that this sum was seized for old debts (No.35 at page 33 above), but was subsequently released to Oñate (No. 39 at page 37 above). According to Sir Thomas Roe, order was issued on Sunday 20 July, N.S. for the money to be landed at the Tower, but on the Tuesday following, while the king was at Bagshot hunting, Windebank and Capt. Stewart conspired to get the ship away to Dunkirk to unlade there. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1636-7, page 70. On Thursday the 24th Capt. Stewart showed Northumberland a letter requiring him to suffer Stewart to transport the money and persons to Dunkirk, and so the earl sent the Victory across. Ibid. page 62. By August 11 the whole affair appeared to have blown over. Ibid. page 83. The house to which Windebank was confined was at Haines hill in the parish of Hurst, co. Buckingham. Roe did not know whether he had gone there in fear or for the season. Ibid. page 99.
  • 2. Un nommé Silvio domestique du Prince Thomas est venu icy demander des vaisseaux pour passer la Princesse de Carignan d'Espagne à Dunkerque. Senneterre to Bouthillier the 4th Sept. 1636. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts. Capt. Carteret of the Happy Entrance refers to this visitor as sent by the Queen Mother and Cardinal Infant for the purpose stated, and says that his ship is the only one available. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1636-7, page 81.
  • 3. Their names are given in a memorandum of the 18 July, as the Dreadnought, Rainbow, Antelope, Vanguard, St. Dennis, St.George, Swiftsure, Constant Reformation, and the Third and Eighth Lions Whelps. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1636-7, page 55.
  • 4. The meaning of this phrase is given in a memorandum of Fielding on these concessions preserved in the State Papers, Venice, at the end of Vol. 38. The text of the decision, in Italian, is preserved in the same volume.
  • 5. The fleet returned to the Downs on the 22 Aug.—1 Sept. and remained there until the 16-26 September. Northumberland's Journal S.P. Dom. Vol. CCCXLIII., No. 72. The ships to continue at sea were the St. Andrew, Unicorn, Bonaventure, Garland, Swallow and Tenth Whelp, with the Swan frigate. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1636-7, page 146.
  • 6. I cannot but acquaint your honour with a disastrous accident that hath befallen me. On Friday last was sevennight, the 19/29 August, I sent Mr. Lampleigh, a gentleman of mine, with Mr. Smith Trompetter, his Majesty's servant, for his better security unto Noremberge to take order that certain goods I had left there might be conveyed with other merchandise of that town sent to the mart to Frankfort who on the last taking post horse at Norembergh to return hither, after they were come some two Dutch miles from Norembergh and had shifted horses at the next stage, passing through a wood they were (as it seemeth) set upon and both of them with their guide slain, as we verily believe ; for all three post horses are found, but of the men we can hear no news. Arundel to Coke from Ratisbon, the 30 August—9 Sept. S.P. Foreign, Germany, Empire.
  • 7. Réné du Bee II, marquis de Vardes, governor of la Capelle capitulated to the invading Spaniards at the beginning of July. Maximilian de Bellefouriére, Seigneur d' Ittre et de Soyecourt, governor of Corbie and Lieutenant General of the Province, surrendered Corbie on the 15th August. Both officers were accused of treason and cowardice and condemned in their absence, to be quartered. Le Vassor : Hist, de Louis XIII., Vol. XIV., pages 357, 373, 374. Bazin : Hist. de France sous Louis XIII., Vol. III., pages 216, 218. Pere Anselme : Hist. Gen. de la Maison Royale de France Vol. II., page 87, Vol. VIII., page 737.
  • 8. Richard Smith.
  • 9. "L'altro giorno presentai alla Maesta sua la corona di Calambuco dell' Eccellenza Vestra, con un altra di Agata e uno di corno di bufalo curiosa, lavorata colle sue medaglie di cammei." Conn to Cardinal Barberino the 18th August 1636. P.R.O. Rome Transcripts. Series II., Vol. 17. Bees were the device of the Barberini family.
  • 10. "22 Aug. Passing by the South Foreland before noon we anchored at the Downs where we understood of the arrival of the Spanish fleet at Dunkirk, consisting of 26 sail ; who in the sight of Calais did their duties to H.M. ship the Happy Entrance, commanded by Capt. Carteret, though they used many evasions to shift it." Northumberland's Journal. S.P. Dom., Vol. CCCXLIII., No. 72.