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Venice: October 1639

Pages 576-589

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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October 1639

Oct. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
709. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch Ambassador has had frequent and very lengthy audiences of the king this week. He has tried hard to persuade him that the Spaniards, under the lying pretence of escorting troops and money to Flanders, were cloaking most pernicious designs upon some of the islands of this crown, in sending so powerful a fleet to these waters, and adroitly hinting that this is the moment to help his nephew, suggesting that he shall seize the whole Spanish fleet, fill it with English troops and then send the Palatine on board to attack the Catholic. In his reply the king did not seem to give credit to what the ambassador reported or to be inclined to follow his suggestion, indeed, in order to bridle the Dutch to some extent he has reports circulated that he will support the one to be first attacked in the channel here. He continues busy in strengthening the royal fleet, and twenty well armed ships are at this moment equipped to join it ; among them is a new and very large one, armed by marvellous ingenuity with 100 large pieces of ordnance. (fn. 1)
The forces of the Dutch Admiral, who is impatiently awaiting the moment for fighting the enemy's fleet, increase every day. Eight additional ships have reached him laden with fireworks, and at Calais there is a sufficient provision of powder and of other material (bastimenti).
The Spaniards, on their side, grow constantly weaker by the desertion and death of a great number of soldiers, while their anxious hopes of succour from Dunkirk fade away, as twenty four ships of the India Company have been sent from Amsterdam to the port of Grave and completely blockade it, preventing any kind of vessel from coming out. Everyone is curious to know what the king will do under the circumstances, but the Council of State has not yet made up its mind, although all appearances indicate that they incline to favour Ochendo. He is a cunning man and a past master in dealing with imminent peril, and he does not hesitate to make secretly the most liberal offers to the king and leading ministers, which is the true way to facilitate the successful conduct of all business at this Court (il quale scaltro non meno che perfetto maestro dei vicini pericoli, non lascia per avantaggiar la propria causa, di secretamente offerire al Re et a' piu principali ministri l'use di tutte le pretese liberalita, ch'e il vero mezzo che facilita in questa Corte la felice condotta di tutti i negotii).
The old standing quarrel between his Majesty and the Spanish minister has at last been ended by the offices of the Catholic with the English ambassador in Spain. On Monday, with some dismay to the French and Dutch ambassadors, he saw the king in state, and after justifying the sincerity of his proceedings, he strongly recommended to him the interests of his master.
Reports persist of the Palatine's journey to Germany, and they are devising means at the palace to get together the 36,000l. promised to him ; but the excessive scarcity of money retards this also, although only a small outlay, and consequently stays the prince, who apparently shows more skill over the pleasures of the chase than can be expected in military matters.
By a decree of parliament the Scots have granted to the prince all the revenues of the bishoprics of that kingdom, but on condition that he shall only enjoy them when he attains the age of twenty one ; and meanwhile they are to be applied as an indemnity for the expenses incurred over the late trouble. It has assigned to the exiled bishops 100l. a year with the obligation to remain in England and never return to Scotland. Although everyone characterises these decisions as very audacious, and they make the king angry, yet he conceals his sentiments with complete dissimulation, in order to avoid fresh trouble at all costs.
The Viceroy has arrived at Court from Ireland. (fn. 2) His Majesty received him with extraordinary demonstrations of affection and esteem and it is thought that he will be declared Lord Treasurer of England.
Stimulated by the ambition of building up a more glorious fortune the Earl of Arundel proposes to go to Madagascar, in the hope of winning an important conquest in that island by arms. Five large ships are being prepared for this, and many of the gentry have offered to accompany him on that most difficult voyage. Those who know the character of the people there best do not predict success.
I have this week your Excellencies' letters of the 16th ult. With respect to the Palatine's monstrous claims I may say that he repeated a third time by the Master of the Ceremonies, that since his father's death he had not granted the more worthy place that he does to France, to the Venetian ministers who visited him. With the help of information from Giustinian, at the Hague, I have shown how far from the truth this is, yet he repeated it again and said he would not change. Accordingly I shall never consent to see him in order not to prejudice the rights of the republic, which I upheld at the Catholic Court against those who had resisted it for over forty years so that at my departure the Austrian ministers left Venetian ambassadors nothing to desire.
London, the 7th October, 1639.
[Italian.]
Oct. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
710. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The affairs of Brisac do not look clear yet. It is announced that they have been satisfactorily arranged, but the facts do not bear this out. They are much incensed at the offices of the King of Great Britain to interest the Palatine therein, and in order to bring them to naught they are making every effort to satisfy the leaders of the army, promising prompt succour, with some idea of investing Filisburgh.
Grenoble, the 7th October, 1639.
[Italian.]
Oct. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
711. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
These States are seriously displeased at the escape of thirteen Spanish ships to Dunkirk taking over troops, a considerable portion of whom are in a sorry state, but a part is still serviceable and of importance for active service. The incident happened under the direction of the English Admiral, who forbad the Dutch ships to blockade the coast and took upon himself the task of closing the opening through which the Spanish ships might put out to sea. But either his greed of the money offered him by the Spaniards overcame his good faith which was pledged to the Dutch, or the king's disposition prevailed in some manner, so that he not only left the passage without any guard, but even escorted the ships through the blockade and conducted them to a point remote from all danger.
This action has greatly incensed the government here and has all but induced them to decide upon precipitate action. For three days now they have debated in the Assembly whether they shall attack the fleet, in port, regardless of all considerations. Opinions varied widely and they took into consideration not only the superficial aspect of the case but the necessary consequences. Their vehement impetuosity was mitigated by discussion and argument, and finally the States agreed, with the exception of one Province, to direct the Admiral to be ruled in the future according to the opportunities which present themselves. They imagine that they can cover themselves by the ambiguity of this phrase if at any time the Admiral should take violent action and the king of England should threaten his resentment, by asserting that the incident took place without direct instructions from the government. This is a very illegitimate device to justify the impulses of their impatience and is still less likely to preserve the rights of the king of England. But before deciding upon this course they sent six delegates to ask the advice of the Prince of Orange. These returned yesterday evening, and the States have since sent to the Prince again, but nothing has transpired about their decision. The Admiral urges an immediate attack, but the king of England has forbidden hostilities to both parties, and threatened to turn his forces against the one who first provokes a contest. The Dutch ambassador writes that the king's Council is partial to the Spaniards, but the king himself maintains an independent state of mind and is more inclined to uphold his neutrality.
With the consent of the royal ministers a quantity of Spanish soldiers of the fleet were embarked on twelve English ships, together with some others, to be carried across to Dunkirk, under the protection of the royal flag. But the Dutch ambassador found this out and remonstrated with the king. His Majesty professed that he had never consented to any order for the transport of these Spaniards, nor had he been informed about it. He gave instructions that the troops should be landed and that in the future his ships should not be used in any act prejudicial to either of the parties. (fn. 3) This pronouncement has afforded singular consolation to the members of the government here, who were very doubtful about the intentions of the king of England.
His Majesty has sent an express to the Princess Palatine absolutely refusing to do what she suggested. He says he will not budge from his impartiality, but means to hold a middle course. Nevertheless he has intimated to the Dutch Admiral his intention to be rid of the Spanish fleet soon, and to devise a way for both fleets to put to sea and test their fortune. Here they think this is merely intended to soothe their impatience.
The Hague, the 7th October, 1639.
[Italian.]
Oct. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
712. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Everything points to a decision to attack the Spanish fleet. In order to five greater colour to this opinion they have even caused the preachers to declaim publicly about the partiality of the king of England for the Spaniards and his evident propensity to favour them. Further than this they have got the preachers to exhort the people to offer earnest prayers for the happy issue of the public deliberations. But I believe that this is done with the idea of inducing the king of England to rid himself of the Spanish fleet ; and their threats will very speedily evaporate if that king takes steps of his own accord to send the fleet away and so relieves these Provinces of such a serious preoccupation.
The Hague, the 9th October, 1639.
[Italian.]
Oct. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
713. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier reached the king from Brisach on Sunday with letters from the commanders of the late Duke of Weimar's army, which have increased the Palatine's hopes of having the command of that force. He set out post for the coast yesterday, to cross hurriedly to France, and after arranging his affairs with the Most Christian, he will proceed towards the Weimar army. The Lord di Crever accompanied him. He was taken prisoner with Prince Rupert, but escaped first by paying his ransom to the Imperialists. He announces his intentions to devote the whole of his huge fortune to the service of the Palatine house only. He has given the most substantial proofs of his devotion by spending 500,000 crowns and more.
Sir [Oliver] Flam set out the same day for Basel, to take up his post as Resident with the Swiss. He takes instructions to urge them strongly to promote the interests of the Palatine house. The agent for that prince is negotiating with the merchants here the sale for other years of the pension he obtains from the Treasury here, the prince being intent on amassing a sum of money which will serve to set his very proper designs on a good footing.
The Council of State has discussed much about the course to be followed by the king in the very delicate matter of the two foreign fleets here. The Councillors differ in sympathies and opinions, and nothing has yet been decided. Perhaps they hope that something will occur to separate these powerful fleets without the crown interfering. The French and Dutch ambassadors urge strongly both orally and in writing that the Spaniards be ordered to depart from these shores, and that the Dutch be allowed to settle the quarrel with them by arms. But his Majesty evaded this by generalities, while he has caused grave offence to the Dutch by promptly granting to the Spaniards food and other conveniences. Meanwhile the written declarations of the Dutch ambassador that the Catholic forces had designs on this country find support from the death of an English soldier on one of the Spanish ships. Before his death he sent for a confessor of his countrymen, and told him the secret aims and commissions of Ochendo, which were to receive support from many of the leading lords of this kingdom, with whom the Catholic had a secret intelligence for this purpose ; and the fleet brought a quantity of arms to be distributed among Spanish partisans. He charged him straitly to bring all this to the knowledge of the king and ministers. He did so promptly, arousing feelings of mistrust in his Majesty's breast. Without delay he sent the Earls of Arundel, Holland and Pembroke to Ochendo, with orders to see his instructions. But Ochendo, would not show them, because of his master's dignity, and perhaps in order not to disclose some secret design against France, and he said they had all been burned in the fight. The Catholic minister labours his hardest, and not without success, to prove the vanity of these reports and the sincerity of his master's conduct. He shows that the fear of falling in with the French fleet made it necessary to secure the passage of the troops and money to Flanders with such a powerful fleet ; and these considerations have entirely removed his Majesty's suspicions.
Those interested in the fisheries of the North have presented a petition to the king to render them justice upon these ships for the serious damage they received from the Dunkirkers last year. (fn. 4) These circumstances increase the anxiety of the Spaniards, surrounded as they are by the Dutch fleet, now increased to ninety large and well equipped ships, besides ten others which cruise up and down the Channel, making the English ministers give up their original intention of aiding the flight of the Spaniards through the royal fleet, as all see that it would be difficult to succeed in this without serious hurt.
They have sent a courier to the Lord Treasurer of Scotland to try and get the parliament there to modify its decrees, and if that is not possible to try and dissolve it as soon as possible, as it looks as if the people there meant to keep it together for their own ends a long time and to make fresh changes to the prejudice of the royal authority.
London, the 14th October, 1639.
[Italian.]
Oct. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
714. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince returned here three days ago. They discussed the naval situation at once. The open demonstrations of the king of England in favour of the Spaniards have equally served as an incitement to their action. Their chief concern is that this offer of an asylum to the Spanish fleet shall not be made into a precedent. They also recognise the great advantages they would derive from routing this fleet. Accordingly the more keenly they feel the stimulus to take steps for the destruction of this fleet the more sensible they become of the obstacles placed in the way by the king of England. They are incensed that without any legitimate object of his own interests or any provocation from this quarter that king should interpose between them and their prey when it was ready to fall into their hands. The king intimated to the Dutch ambassador that he would make the Spaniards leave in a week ; but at the expiry of that time nothing had been done, the commander of the Spanish fleet having raised various difficulties.
It is supposed that the Spaniards intend to send their troops by driblets to Dunkirk on English ships and to let their own vessels stay where they are until some storm drives the Dutch away. This consideration serves as a more urgent stimulus than any to make an attack. They have practically thrown all circumspection to the winds and see perfectly clearly that their fleet lying there idle is an indication rather of imbecility than of magnanimous resolution. That their self control and modest behaviour may be interpreted merely as a confession of their own imbecility in the face of the provocation offered by the king of England. That monarch, from the behaviour and irresolution of these States, may be induced to magnify his own greatness and seek to increase his own consideration at the expense of the honour of this country. In order to prevent such results, after mature deliberation they sent a despatch two days ago to the Admiral and another to the ambassador in England, apparently of a much more determined character than heretofore.
The armed ships of the Provinces are estimated to number ninety sail ; the English, between the two fleets, forty ; and the Spaniards as before. It cannot be long before we hear of some violent action from this quarter, unless the king of England interposes for some compromise or suggestion that would prove satisfactory, since matters here have reached such a pitch that something is certain to happen soon as the result of animosity or impatience.
The Hague, the 14th October, 1639.
[Italian.]
Oct. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
715. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I communicated to the English ambassador what the Count Duke had told me, that whenever his king wishes they will give a passport for the Prince Palatine. He seemed highly delighted and after thanking me for my good offices he assured me he had written about it to the King of Great Britain. He declared that it was perfectly true that his king desired it greatly.
Madrid, the 15th October, 1639.
[Italian.]
Oct. 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
716. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Admiral has sent word that recently when he assembled his captains, the English Admiral, suspecting that his signals were intended for battle intimated that he would help the Spaniards if the Dutch attacked, and moved his fleet so as to put the Dutch fleet between him and the Spaniards. There do not seem to be sufficient grounds for deciding whether the object of this move of the English was to leave the field open for an engagement, or if it was intended to place them in an advantageous position. The Admiral has asked for definite instructions. After prolonged deliberation, every one being bound by oath to absolute secrecy, I understand that they have directed the Admiral to attack.
The Hague, the 16th October, 1639.
[Italian.]
Oct. 20.
Senato. Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
717. To the Ambassador in London.
To find out all that is essential about the mission of Sir [Oliver] Fleming to the Swiss. We note the desire to Lord Fildin to obtain office in the king's household. If he succeeds it will leave the post here vacant. You must take an opportunity of intimating to some minister, with whom you have confidential relations, and as if coming from yourself, the need for reciprocity in the matter of ambassadors and for everything that can lead to the inference of community of interests between the two parties.
Ayes, 75. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Oct. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
718. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The night after the Palatine left the king sent a courier to persuade him to do his utmost to avoid seeing the Most Christian on his passage through France. The ministers here entertain fresh suspicions that that monarch may not concur in the plan to give the Palatine the command of Weimar's force, and may try to delay his journey, using the interval to thwart this desirable advantage by careful and influential offices. The Prince sailed safely to Calais, passing through the Downs, where the Spanish, as well as the English and Dutch fleets saluted him with all their guns. (fn. 5) He took remittances for 10,000l., half on merchants of Lyons and half for Geneva ones. He intends to make his first stop at the latter town and then go straight to Brisach. To the 36,000l. promised his Majesty announces that he will add 24,000l. more, as a gift, when the prince has actually obtained the command to which he aspires, and says he will show even greater liberality if fortune favours the prince's spirited designs.
The Spanish and Dutch fleets remain as before. On Sunday many large barques reached the former from Dunkirk, with 800 sailors, of whom they were in the utmost need, as the majority of those they brought from Spain were lost in the battle and destroyed by sickness. News comes today that sixteen well armed vessels have reached them, sent by the Cardinal Infant. Fresh ships and troops have also reached the Dutch Admiral, and he now has under his command 120 sail, all admirably supplied with picked troops and every other equipment. He seems determined to attack Ochendo even on the coast of this kingdom, and has not concealed his design from the Vice Admiral Pennington, possibly in order to sound his commissions. Pennington sent word to the king asking for precise instructions as to what he shall do under such circumstances, but so far they have sent him no answer as the ministers do not know what course to pursue, with the Dutch forces so strong. The most experienced characterise the Admiral's remarks as a device to compel the king to ask for the removal of the Spanish fleet from his ports. It shows no inclination to do so with the haste desired by the Dutch. Meanwhile they have sent Captain Gamba di Pallo with ten ships to meet and fight 4 galleons which they understand have left Spain to join the fleet here. (fn. 6)
It is astonishing that the Dunkirkers have inflicted new and very serious injury on English fishermen this last week. (fn. 7) Those concerned made strong remonstrance to the king, and he informed the Catholic minister that he must find some way of satisfaction without delay, otherwise he will take vigorous measures to prevent such occurrences and to obtain full compensation for the claimants. The agent sent an express to inform the Cardinal Infant and to prevent any detrimental measures with their fleet in such a critical position. In a long audience he tried to soothe his Majesty, assuring him positively that his master would give prompt satisfaction, and so he stayed the serious danger which threatened him.
As the Treasurer did not succeed in getting the Parliament of Scotland to alter its original enactments, he dissolved it, with universal consent, by his Majesty's order. With its reassembling postponed to another time they have given up paying any attention to those affairs here, and they will wait for other opportunities for making good the damage which the authority of the crown has suffered from the license of the people there.
London, the 21st October, 1639.
[Italian.]
Oct. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
719. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The decision to attack the Spanish fleet is established. The reasons for this perilous step, so provocative to the king of England after the declaration he has made, are, in the first place, the excitement of the people, in the hope of certain victory, which has carried away the government. On the other side arguments were advanced as to the disadvantage of offending the king of England. These were chiefly two, if the fight went against the States, they would suffer (1) the loss of the sovereignty of the sea and (2) the destruction of their herring fleet. But all agreed upon the decision to fight, as if the enemy fleet is routed they count on being able to soothe the indignation of the king of England by some act of submission ; for if that monarch would only open his eyes to his own advantage and safety, he is interested in the preservation of this country. Accordingly the States here cherish the opinion that the king of England will never be totally alienated and hostile, since the destruction of this state would manifestly involve the ruin of the kingdom of England. Although they do not hope to have him ever so purely benevolent as to yield on the question of his usurpation of the rights he claims over the sea, yet such considerations have not sufficed to shake the universal inclination and determination to attack the fleet in his port.
The Hague, the 21st October, 1639.
[Italian.]
Oct. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
720. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty returned on Saturday to this city from Windsor, where he spent all last week, taking part in the usual Garter ceremonies. I went on Tuesday to fulfil my instructions with him. I told him that your Excellencies had tried to induce the emperor to admit the Prince Palatine to the congress at Cologne for the general peace. I pointed out the very great difficulties in the way, but after much pressure Cæsar had issued an imperial decree that to gratify your Serenity the Palatine might have access to that congress. I remarked that your gratification was the more because you felt sure this would please his Majesty. The king expressed his warm thanks and obligations to your Excellencies. He then asked me very eagerly if this had been managed by your Excellencies or by the Most Christian, whose ministers have tried to make him believe that France induced the emperor to consent through the interposition of the papal ministers. He said he especially wanted to know if the Palatine would be allowed to treat at Cologne by his own minister or representative, or only by writing. I assured him that the very pressing offices of your Serenity's ministers at the Imperial Court had obtained this declaration from the emperor. I thought that the Palatine would be able to set forth his claims at the congress in the same way as the other princes concerned. In this way I made the most of your Serenity's services and obliged the king to remark that he certainly believed that you had obtained this advantage for his nephew, and he took it as a tribute of friendship.
He went on to apologise for the abominable behaviour of the Palatine to me. He said the prince had no wish to cast any slur on your Excellencies, for whom he had every respect, but he did not wish to change the style observed with other Venetian ambassadors at the Hague. He repeated this more than once. I replied suavely that the Palatine's memory could not be very good as I knew your ministers had never tolerated treatment differing from that of other crowns, according to the custom at all the greatest Courts, respected by his Majesty himself. This induced the king to say cautiously that my contention was perfectly true, and to half hint that if a fresh occasion arose the difficulty would be removed.
London, the 28th October, 1639.
[Italian.]
721. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch Admiral Tromp, grown impatient of waiting any longer for the Spanish fleet to move, and having received precise knowledge of the spirited intentions of his masters, attacked them on Friday, the 21st favoured by a good wind, inside the Downs off Dover. The enemy hoisted their sails and put out to sea, and after a bloody fight lasting ten hours eleven were captured by the Dutch, six foundered and three were completely burned. Among these was the galleon of Don Lopes d'Osa. Everyone bears witness that it was ill fortune more than lack of valour, and that he fell in the fight after having proved both his personal courage and his loyalty as a captain.
Twenty eight Hamburg and Ragusan ships, which were with the Catholic fleet together with that of Don Andrea di Castro, lost heart, and without mingling in the fight, ran themselves ashore, preferring to risk a shameful loss there rather than perish by the hands of the enemy after an honourable defence. However the greater part of these, after the battle, were got off, and favoured by a thick fog Ochendo retreated to Dunkirk with nine other large ships where he is now blockaded by the enemy's forces. The losses of the Dutch are not considerable ; it is announced that they have only lost two ships.
The Castellan of the Downs, as a protest against the offence done to the ports of this kingdom, fired his guns frequently, but without effect, to try and disturb the progress of the fight. Pennington did the same, though he was weakened by the absence of many merchantmen which had sailed into the Thames the day before, having grown tired of waiting.
On hearing this disastrous news the Catholic minister went to the king and complained of Pennington for not having acted with the sincerity and resolution required, in accordance with his instructions to defend the party first attacked, and by liberal promises and hints he urged his Majesty to remonstrate with the Dutch for the scant respect they have shown him. The king expressed his sorrow at the unhappy event. He said he would communicate everything to the Council, and after he had obtained more precise information he would do what best befitted the interests and dignity of his crown.
The Dutch ambassador, to prevent mischief, also asked audience for the following day. He begged his Majesty not to listen to the prejudiced accounts of the enemies of his masters, and to suspend judgment until letters arrived from them to justify their action. The king replied with generalities, his face clouded with wrath. That minister, anxious to prevent his Majesty from proceeding to carry his resentment into action, remarked that he would write to his masters that no inducement would persuade the king to make any change in their old standing relations. At this the king betrayed ever greater agitation and said sharply that he did not give him leave to do so and if he desired a categorical reply to his offices he must put down in writing what he thought best and then he should have a suitable answer also in writing. With this the ambassador took leave and at once betook himself to France, who tried his hardest yesterday to assuage his Majesty's anger, but with scant success so far, as there are plenty who are ready to encourage hasty resolutions, for their own interests and passions. But it is unlikely that the king will take precipitate action lightly, as in the past he has always shown himself especially anxious to keep the peace, and besides, the Dutch also have their supporters in the king's Council.
The ambassador has sent a full account to Holland by courier, suggesting that it will be advisable for the States, in order to satisfy this crown, to send speedily an ambassador extraordinary to justify their action, and thus afford the king an opportunity of saving his reputation by such a public testimony. Meanwhile they have sent for Pennington to go to Court to defend himself against the charge of not having loyally carried out his instructions. This week they sent a courier to the Palatine with fresh remittances of money. The prince advises his Majesty from Paris of the progress of his journey.
London, the 28th October, 1639.
[Italian.]
Oct. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
722. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince has received a despatch from the Admiral with the account of his victory over the Spaniards. He says he advised the English of the intended attack on the evening before. He took advantage of a real opportunity, as some affirm, or of a manufactured one, as is more probable, to give some colour of legitimacy to his attack on the port. This was that a Dutch soldier happening to be killed they had the body carried in sight of the English asserting that he had been struck by a musket ball of the Spaniards, who used to exercise themselves daily in the port, according to military practice, and they had thus broken the neutrality. It is not confirmed but some who took part in the action state that a large part of the English ships at the mouth of the port sailed away, some to escort the Palatine and some for other objects. Thus only eleven were left, against which the Dutch admiral told off thirty of his before he entered the port. When the English saw this, having it is supposed orders from the king not to mix in the fight, they let the Dutch pass, only firing a few shots, but so high as to show that it was an act of interposition rather than one of offence. The Admiral thus reassured, on any doubts he had about the behaviour of the English, advanced into the port, intending, so their High Mightinesses affirm, to compel the Spaniards to leave the roadstead. The Spaniards endeavoured to burn their ships. Some tried to escape while others were run ashore.
Since the action no despatch has arrived from the ambassador in England. This has caused some astonishment and anxiety to the government, as they are afraid that the affair will be badly taken there. They have decided to send an ambassador extraordinary to England to complain of their harbouring an entire fleet of supplies, and also of the transport to Dunkirk of 6000 Spanish infantry on Spanish and English ships. But he will have secret instructions to justify the action to the king and to try and assuage his indignation. Some think that the king of England may be led by this to a closer understanding with the Spaniards, or that he may take his revenge on the fisheries or by reprisals in his own ports. The Spaniards would spend their money freely to encourage any such disposition. On this account lively altercations take place at the debates of the government here, more particularly with those who are guided rather by the popular desires that by the prudence of the wiser heads, and who allow themselves to be carried away by their hatred of the Spaniard, without being restrained by the respect due to the king of England. The behaviour of such persons will afford abundant material in the future for endless consideration and discussion.
The Hague, the 28th October, 1639.
[Italian.]
Oct. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
723. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The merchants here have news, confirmed to me by the Cardinal of Lyons, that while the Prince Palatine was proceeding incognito from England to Brisac, possibly with the intention of being received, in accordance with the negotiations of the King of Great Britain, to the command of the army of the late Duke of Weimar, he was stopped at Molins. They say that the Ambassador Bellièvre, having found out about the journey, gave the information to M de Buglione, his father in law, by whom the arrest was ordered. It will be a matter of great consequence, owing to the trouble it may cause with the English, as they and this nation are always so heated against each other that the slightest incitement is enough to produce the greatest disorder.
Lyons, the 30th October, 1639.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

  • 1. The Sovereign of the Seas, launched in October, 1637. See Oppenheim : Administration of the Royal Navy, pages 260-2. The earl of Newburgh writing to Middlesex on the 27th Sept. o.s. says that Pennington had with him 15 merchantmen and 5 royal ships, but the admiral was about to join him with 6 ships of the royal navy and ten merchantmen. Hist. MSS. Comm., 4th Report, page 294.
  • 2. On Sunday the 2nd October, Salvetti on the 7th, Brit, Mus, Add, MSS. 27962H.
  • 3. On the 2½ Oct. Northumberland transmitted an order to Pennington that so long as the Spanish fleet remained in the Downs none of his subjects should presume to admit on board or give passage to any Spanish soldiers or sailors belonging to that fleet, for Dunkirk, Spain or any other place. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1639-40, page 4. As the king's intention was known at the Hague five days earlier, there seems to have been no hurry in forwarding the order to the essential quarter.
  • 4. Petitions of the earl of Warwick and his associates, and of the earl of Pembroke for the Fishing Association of the 29th September o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1639, pages 532, 533. See also Petition of the earl of Pembroke for the Association of Fishing, undated. Id. 1639-40, page 239.
  • 5. He crossed in the Bonaventure, which sailed from Dover on the 4th Oct. o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1639-40, page 13.
  • 6. Commander Kats was detached on the 9th Oct. with twelve ships to cruise towards the Capes and to watch Dunkirk. Commelyn : Hist. de Frederic Henri de Nassau pt. 2, page 54.
  • 7. It looks as if the ambassador was misled by the petitions of the 29th Sept. o.s. (See No. 713 at page 581 above), which do not refer to any recent injuries. Gerbier presented a remonstrance on the 14th October n.s. (S.P. For. Flanders), but this also refers to injuries of an older date, and there is no further remonstrance on any fresh subject among the state papers.