Venice
January 1618, 21-31

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1909

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108-126

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'Venice: January 1618, 21-31', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 15: 1617-1619 (1909), pp. 108-126. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88670 Date accessed: 25 October 2014.


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January 1618

Jan. 21.
Senato,
Secreta. Dispacci,
Savoia,
Venetian
Archives.
181. RANTER ZEN. Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Since I sent my despatch yesterday, I have had a conversation with the agent of England, resident here. He spent five months with the Bernese, arranging an alliance between them and his Highness, in conjunction with Gabaleoni, and I have also seen the Cavalier Bergera, the only one of the four ambassadors of his Highness sent to Berne who is now here. The resident told me that after the articles of the league had been arranged the Bernese sent six ambassadors to the duke, who entertained them for a month while they remained at Court. His Highness swore to the treaty and at the departure of the ambassadors, he gave one a gold chain and presented 2,000 crowns to be divided among the six. His Highness then sent four ambassadors to Berne, who were received with great ceremony, and the treaty was then sworn to and sealed. Their expenses at Berne were all defrayed at the public cost and the ambassadors received valuable presents.
Turin, the 21st January, 1617 [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Enclosed
in the
preceding
despatch
182. Articles of the league arranged between the Duke of Savoy and the republic and Canton of Berne by Giovanni Battista Gabaleoni, acting for the duke, and Isaac Wake, ambassador of the king of Great Britain, acting for Berne.
[French.]
Jan. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
183. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The extraordinary ambassador of Sweden (fn. 1) has returned hither from England and is strongly urging their High Mightinesses to assist his king by sea and land, telling them that the king of Poland's son was advancing into Muscovy with the intention of invading Sweden thereafter. This has caused no little dissatisfaction here because they have discovered that the ambassador has returned from England with nothing but courteous words, without anything certain from that king, although he goes about declaring that he received very precise promises for the service of his prince. In addition to these demands, there is the necessity to arm against the pirates, who are constantly inflicting severe losses on this country, amounting to more than twenty-four ships, up to the present. The religious dissensions and an audience which the English ambassador had yesterday have further delayed any resolution about the ships for the service of your Serenity.
The Hague, the 21st January, 1618.
[Italian.]
Jan. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci.
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
184. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English ambassador, who was present yesterday at the Assembly of the States, as I have said, presented letters from his king and returned thanks for what had been done about the author of the book, and signified that his Majesty would like the provinces which have not published [the edict] to do so. The Arminians remarked that the ambassador particularly thanked the four provinces, Guelders, Zeeland, Friesland and Gröningen.
The Hague, the 21st January, 1618.
[Italian.]
Jan. 22.
Cons. de X.
Parti Comuni.
Venetian
Archives.
185. That leave be granted to Zuan Antonio Valier, son of Piero to admit to his house upon one occasion, the English ambassador, and to negotiate with his agents for letting that house.
Ayes13.
Noes2.
Neutral1.
[Italian.]
1618
Jan. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
186. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Owing to the lack of artillery, his Excellency is collecting metal to make a number of culverins. He is also sending to Malines to ask for some, while he is sending Carlo Alajambe, brother of his Flemish mistress, to ask for Dutch levies, though he has not left yet. Neither has that Henry Gardiner, the Englishman, of whom I wrote in my last despatch. His Excellency has settled summarily a suit of this individual for 7,000 ducats, in order that he may be the more bound to his service. It is thought that he will go to England chiefly for pewter and other things for this fleet. I have sent word about this to the Ambassador Contarini in London, and I will also send him any further particulars which I may hear.
If the ships, which are to be sent by Alexander Rose with fish, arrive here, they will be detained, even if they bring the strictest orders not to serve the Duke of Ossuna, especially the ship called the Royal Merchant, because it is so good. It is said that he will not be able to use the others because they are very small.
In the arsenal they are preparing fireworks (fuochi artificiati), with which they propose to inflict severe injury upon your Serenity's fleet, as they say that the Spanish fleet was destroyed in 1584 (sic) by the English Captain Drake (Drago) by the device of using fire ships.
Naples, the 23rd January, 1617 [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 24.
Senato,
Secreta. Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
187. PIERO GRITTI, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
An ambassador from Persia has arrived at a place two leagues away; so far as I can gather he has been sent by the king of that country to introduce fresh trade with the Indies. He is an Englishman and came to this court six years ago for the same purpose, but was unable to obtain any result from his negotiations. (fn. 2)
Madrid, the 24th January, 1618.
[Italian.]
Jan. 24.
Cl. VII.
Cod. MCXXII.
Bibl. di
S. Marco.
Venice.
188. ANGLIPOTRIDA.
Besides the testimony of many trustworthy authors experience teaches us that all the nations of the world are inclined towards triumphs and revels and willingly flock to public assemblies to witness representations, either induced by recent events or in celebration of such bygone facts as prove to their taste, a sort of pastime which often conduces to the quiet and preservation of principalities, so that wise sovereigns frequently give some becoming recreation to their subjects. Hence in London, as the capital of a most flourishing kingdom, theatrical representations without end prevail throughout the year in various parts of the city, and are invariably frequented by crowds of persons devoted to pleasure who, for the most part dress grandly and in colours, so that they all seem, were it possible, more than princes, or rather comedians.
In the king's court, in like manner, after Christmas day there begins a series of sumptuous banquets, well-acted comedies, and most graceful masques of knights and ladies. Of the masques, the most famous of all is performed on the morrow of the feast of the three Wise Men according to an ancient custom of the palace here. A large hall is fitted up like a theatre, with well secured boxes all round. The stage is at one end and his Majesty's chair in front under an ample canopy. Near him are stools for the foreign ambassadors. On the 16th of the current month of January, (fn. 3) his Excellency was invited to see a representation and masque, which had been prepared with extraordinary pains, the chief performer being the king's own son and heir, the prince of Wales, now seventeen years old, an agile youth, handsome and very graceful. At the fourth hour of the night we went privately to the Court, through the park. On reaching the royal apartments his Excellency was entertained awhile by one of the leading cavaliers until all was ready, whilst we, his attendants, all perfumed and escorted by the master of the ceremonies, entered the usual box of the Venetian embassy, where, unluckily we were so crowded and ill at ease that had it not been for our curiosity we must certainly have given in or expired. We moreover had the additional infliction of a Spaniard who came into our box by favour of the master of the ceremonies, asking but for two fingers breadth of room, although we ourselves had not space to run about in, and I swear to God that he placed himself more comfortably than any of us. I have no patience with these dons; it was observed that they were scattered about in all the principal places. The ambassador was near the king; others with gold chains round their necks sat among the Lords of the Council; others were in their own box taking care of the ambassadress and then this fellow must needs come into ours. Whilst waiting for the king we amused ourselves by admiring the decorations and beauty of the house with its two orders of columns, one above the other, their distance from the wall equalling the breadth of the passage, that of the second row being upheld by Doric pillars, while above these rise Ionic columns supporting the roof. The whole is of wood, including even the shafts, which are carved and gilt with much skill. From the roof of these hang festoons and angels in relief with two rows of lights. Then such a concourse as there was, for although they profess only to admit the favoured ones who are invited, yet every box was filled notably with most noble and richly arrayed ladies, in number some 600 and more according to the general estimate; the dresses being of such variety in cut and colour as to be indescribable; the most delicate plumes over their heads, springing from their foreheads or in their hands serving as fans; strings of jewels on their necks and bosoms and in their girdles and apparel in such quantity that they looked like so many queens, so that at the beginning, with but little light, such as that of the dawn or of the evening twilight, the splendour of their diamonds and other jewels was so brilliant that they looked like so many stars. During the two hours of waiting we had leisure to examine them again and again. Owing to my short-sightedness I could not form an accurate idea of distant objects, and referred myself in everything to my colleagues. They informed me that they espied some very sweet and handsome faces, and at every moment they kept exclaming Oh do look at this one ! Oh see her ! Whose wife is that one on the row and that pretty one near, whose daughter is she ? However, they came to the conclusion that amongst much grain there was also a mixture of husk and straw, that is to say shrivelled women and some very devoted to St. Charles, but that the beauties outnumbered them. The dress peculiar to these ladies is very handsome for those who like it, and profits some of them as a blind to nature's defects, for behind it hangs well-nigh from the neck down to the ground, with long, close sleeves and no waist. There are no folds so that any deformity, however monstrous, remains hidden. The farthingale also plays its part. The plump and buxom display their bosoms very liberally, and those who are lean go muffled up to the throat. All wear men's shoes or at least very low slippers. They consider the mask as indispensable for their face as bread at table, but they lay it aside willingly at these public entertainments.
At about the 6th hour of the night the king appeared with his court, having passed through the apartments where the ambassadors were in waiting, whence he graciously conducted them, that is to say, the Spaniard and the Venetian, it not being the Frenchman's turn, he and the Spaniard only attending the court ceremonies alternately by reason of their disputes about precedence.
On entering the house, the cornets and trumpets to the number of fifteen or twenty began to play very well a sort of recitative, and then after his Majesty had seated himself under the canopy alone, the queen not being present on account of a slight indisposition, he caused the ambassadors to sit below him on two stools, while the great officers of the crown and courts of law sat upon benches. The Lord Chamberlain then had the way cleared and in the middle of the theatre there appeared a fine and spacious area carpeted all over with green cloth. In an instant a large curtain dropped, painted to represent a tent of gold cloth with a broad fringe; the background was of canvas painted blue, powdered all over with golden stars. This became the front arch of the stage, forming a drop scene, and on its being removed there appeared first of all Mount Atlas, whose enormous head was alone visible up aloft under the very roof of the theatre; it rolled up its eyes and moved itself very cleverly. As a foil to the principal ballet and masque they had some mummeries performed in the first act; for instance, a very chubby Bacchus appeared on a car drawn by four gownsmen, who sang in an undertone before his Majesty. There was another stout individual on foot, dressed in red in short clothes, who made a speech, reeling about like a drunkard, tankard in hand, so that he resembled Bacchus's cupbearer. This first scene was very gay and burlesque. Next followed twelve extravagant masquers, one of whom was in a barrel, all but his extremities, his companions being similarly cased in huge wicker flasks, very well made. They danced awhile to the sound of the cornets and trumpets, performing various and most extravagant antics. These were followed by a gigantic man representing Hercules with his club, who strove with Antaeus and performed other feats. Then came twelve masked boys in the guise of frogs. They danced together, assuming sundry grotesque attitudes. After they had all fallen down, they were driven off by Hercules. Mount Atlas then opened, by means of two doors, which were made to turn, and from behind the hills of a distant landscape the day was seen to dawn, some gilt columns being placed along either side of the scene, so as to aid the perspective and make the distance seem greater. Mercury next appeared before the king and made a speech. After him came a guitar player in a gown, who sang some trills, accompanying himself with his instrument. He announced himself as some deity, and then a number of singers, dressed in long red gowns to represent high priests, came on the stage, wearing gilt mitres. In the midst of them was a goddess in a long white robe and they sang some jigs which we did not understand. It is true that, spoiled as we are by the graceful and harmonious music of Italy, the composition did not strike us as very fine. Finally twelve cavaliers, masked, made their appearance, dressed uniformly, six having the entire hose crimson with plaited doublets of white satin trimmed with gold and silver lace. The other six wore breeches down to the knee, with the half hose also crimson, and white shoes. These matched well their corsets which were cut in the shape of the ancient Roman corslets. On their heads they wore long hair and crowns and very tall white plumes. Their faces were covered with black masks. These twelve descended together from above the scene in the figure of a pyramid, of which the prince formed the apex. When they reached the ground the violins, to the number of twenty-five or thirty began to play their airs. After they had made an obeisance to his Majesty, they began to dance in very good time, preserving for a while the same pyramidical figure. and with a variety of steps. Afterwards they changed places with each other in various ways, but ever ending the jump together. When this was over, each took his lady, the prince pairing with the principal one among those who were ranged in a row ready to dance, and the others doing the like in succession, all making obeisance to his Majesty first and then to each other. They performed every sort of ballet and dance of every country whatsoever such as passamezzi, corants, canaries see Spaniards and a hundred other very fine gestures devised to tickle the fancy (fatte a pizzego). Last of all they danced the Spanish dance, one at a time, each with his lady, and being well nigh tired they began to lag, whereupon the king, who is naturally choleric, got impatient and shouted aloud Why don't they dance ? What did they make me come here for ? Devil take you all, dance. Upon this, the Marquis of Buckingham, his Majesty's favourite, immediately sprang forward, cutting a score of lofty and very minute capers, with so much grace and agility that he not only appeased the ire of his angry lord, but rendered himself the admiration and delight of everybody. The other masquers, thus encouraged, continued to exhibit their prowess one after another, with various ladies, also finishing with capers and lifting their godesses from the ground. We counted thirty-four capers as cut by one cavalier in succession, but none came up to the exquisite manner of the marquis. The prince, however, excelled them all in bowing, being very formal in making his obeisance both to the king and to the lady with whom he danced, nor was he once seen to do a step out of time when dancing, whereas one cannot perhaps say so much for the others. Owing to his youth he has not yet much breath, nevertheless he cut a few capers very gracefully.
The encounter of these twelve accomplished cavaliers being ended, and after they had valiantly overcome the sloth and debauch of Bacchus, the prince went in triumph to kiss his father's hands. The king embraced and kissed him tenderly and then honoured the marquis with marks of extraordinary affection, patting his face. The king now rose from his chair, took the ambassadors along with him, and after passing through a number of chambers and galleries he reached a hall where the usual collation was spread for the performers, a light being carried before him. After he had glanced all round the table he departed, and forthwith the parties concerned pounced upon the prey like so many harpies. The table was covered almost entirely with seasoned pasties and very few sugar confections. There were some large figures, but they were of painted pasteboard for ornament. The repast was served upon glass plates or dishes and at the first assault they upset the table and the crash of glass platters reminded me precisely of a severe hailstorm at Midsummer smashing the window glass. The story ended at half past two in the morning and half disgusted and weary we returned home.
Should your lordships writhe on reading or listening to this tediousness you may imagine the weariness I feel in relating it.
London, the 24th January, 1618.
[Italian.]
Jan. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
189. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I yesterday attended the King's Council, where I found the principal ministers and dignitaries of the kingdom, Secretary Lake having informed me that it was necessary I should do so, as they wished to consult with me about my request for ships. Before I went, your Serenity's letters of the 6th arrived most opportunely with instructions concerning current events, for being thus well informed I was enabled to make my demands on good grounds. I began with a detailed account of what had already taken place, and of what was still being done by the Spanish ministers since the stipulation of the peace in Spain, and I had it in my power to show very clearly, how little appearance there was of peace and that it was the intention of the Spaniards in the spring to continue their hostilities and follow up those projects, which they have never relinquished, of subduing those who prevent their becoming the monarchs of Italy; and I then observed how important it was that this crown should check the course of these injurious intrigues; that your Serenity on your part was employing every effort and consuming your substance to shield yourself and others from so great a peril, but that in short, alone and merely from the Venetian territories it was impossible to raise a force sufficient to withstand the immense preparations which Spain was hastening in every direction. Wherefore on so important an occasion, in which at the same time the interests of his Majesty were concerned, your Excellencies besought him earnestly now to realise the promises so often made by him in favour of the republic, and in the meantime asked leave to avail youselves of a certain number of the ships from this kingdom.
I was listened to attentively, and the Secretary, with the consent of all the others, answered me that the king bore the republic the same good will as ever, not only by reason of her great merit, but also because he deemed her preservation and greatness of no small advantage to his own interests, and that on such an occasion and on every other he would readily give the proofs which he acknowledged to be due, though it seemed very strange to him that matters should have reached the pitch represented by me, as his Majesty had received letters of a very fresh date from Spain mentioning the remonstrances made by his ambassador to the king, the duke of Lerma and some of the other ministers, who gave him such very positive answers concerning the peace of Italy that it seemed as if there could not be the least doubt about it; saying that they insist on it, that they have commanded it and that it will certainly be carried into effect. The Catholic ambassador here expressed himself in the same terms, and should the king be deceived in this matter he cannot do less than resent it in such wise as becomes his greatness.
With regard to the special demand made by me for ships, he said they had already discussed it, taking moreover into consideration the remarks previously made by me to the Secretary, to the effect that should the Spanish Ambassador make a similar demand it would be merely for the purpose of attack, whereas the republic sought only to defend herself, and therefore it was as fair to grant my request as it would be unreasonable to concede the like to Spain. The Secretary added that the Lords of the Council wished me to specify more distinctly the use to which it was intended to apply the vessels. They understood it was for defence, but wished to know whether in the gulf or beyond, as his Majesty, who has hitherto been on terms of peace and friendship with Spain, must act with caution so as not to give cause for complaint. I, being aware of the evil disposition of many of the Council, who for the most part are inclined to Spain and under obligations to her, suspected mightily that by this objection they meant to throw difficulties in my way, but taking courage, I said that your Excellencies required the vessels for war service in case of need and that it was not so easy to prescribe modes of defence for fleets as to anticipate, to attack, to meet and to make diversions were all means of defence, to be employed according to circumstances and as may be deemed best by the commander of the fleet, nor could one confine the vessels within any particular limits, as the republic had territories not merely in the Gulf but in many other places beyond, and in case of need, moreover, would send her forces into other seas to pursue the enemy or invade his possessions so as to remove all peril to a distance. When I ceased speaking, they consulted together and then admitted the justice of my contention, saying they perceived it was impossible to prescribe any precise mode and that therefore his Majesty conceded not only eight ships, but ten or even twelve, leaving it to the conscience of the republic in case of a suspension of hostilities or of truces not to be the first to attack the Spanish territories. To this I made answer that no doubt ought to be entertained of the good faith of the republic as that had been invariably proved by her actions, and then as I saw no occasion to say anything more, after returning thanks to his Majesty, I took leave, and just as on my entry I was met by all the Lords of the Council, so at my departure did they accompany me to the stairs. Subsequently the Secretary told me he was ordered by the king to acquaint the Spanish ambassador with this decision, adding to him moreover that unless matters were arranged soon his Majesty could not do otherwise than proceed to more positive measures to support and favour his friends, as he is bound, and by this declaration they consider that they have in part complied with the demonstration claimed by your Excellencies, and from my negotiations hitherto it seems one can scarcely hope for anything else, for although his Majesty may be well inclined, the scarcity of money here is extreme and all things are languishing for lack of it. Many persons are not paid, numbers complain and every day consultations are held to devise means for defraying the ordinary expenses, but the difficulties are so great that it is all in vain. (Con questo officio credono in parte haver sodisfatto a quella dechiaratione che pretendono V EE. VV. poiche il sperare d'haver aiuti, o far altra attione che costi, per le cose che ho pratticalo sin 'hora, difficilmente si può sperarlo benche vi possi esser anco pronta la dispositione et la volontà del Re, poiche il denaro e qui ristrettissimo, tutte le cose languiscono per esso, molti non sono pagati, infniti esclamano, e ogni giorno si pensa al modo di provederne per sodisfar alli ordenarii bisogni, ma sonno tali et cosi grandi le difficoltà che s'incontrano che non se ne sa trovar ripiego).
The Secretary promised me to communicate these last details concerning the preparations of the Spaniards to his Majesty, which I deemed sufficient, for as the king is in the country he does not like to be disturbed in his usual pleasures of the chase, and desires such matters to be negotiated with the ministers, who communicated them to him by means of couriers, whom they despatch daily.
London, the 25th January, 1617 [M.V.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 25.
Senato.
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives
190. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Until I received a definite decision from the Council I did not think it proper to conclude a bargain with any ship, but now that I have obtained the permission, I immediately sent for the Captain of the ship Dragon, with whom I finally came to terms after no small difficulty. I will forward the conditions to your Serenity. I will go on to procure other ships and also to levy the troops so that your Serenity may have their services as soon as possible.
With respect to sending the ships together with those of Holland or separately, I will arrange with the Secretary Suriano what seems most expedient, and if any orders reach me from your Serenity in the mean time, I will guide myself by them.
I will look to it that they write from here to the Ambassador Carleton at the Hague to see that these ships and those which are difficult to manage together owing to their nature and pretensions, may pass harmoniously, and I will endeavour to do the same here so that your Serenity may be the better served.
The ship of which the Secretary Spinelli writes in his letter of the 26th December, that it had arrived at Naples laden with fish, certainly cannot be one of those sent by Alexander Rose, as it is only a very few days since they left, with the warnings and instructions of the king not to serve the Duke of Ossuna, as strong as I could obtain by repeated representations to his Majesty and the ministers, as your Excellencies will have fully learned from my preceding letters.
London, the 25th January, 1617 [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
191. That the following be sent to the ambassador in England in addition to the news of the week.
You will communicate all this information to his Majesty, showing how grave are the considerations for the common interests, and telling him how greatly we have been relieved by the report you sent of his royal decision at the last audience, for which we shall always remain most grateful. Nothing more is needed to bridle the Spaniards and check their evil designs than that his Majesty should have the glory of setting the example to the other princes, who are equally interested by their mistrust of the overwhelming power of the Catholic king; and as matters are now in a worse state than before, to delay the remedy will increase the difficulty and lengthen the troubles of ourselves and the other princes of this province, and render us less fit for our own needs and our friends. You will urge his Majesty not to delay his royal declarations, for the sake of his own and the general good, his reputation and the certainty that the Spaniards mean to subdue Italy; and you will beg him for the vessels we have written to you of, for which we are exceedingly anxious.
Ayes147.
Noes0.
Neutral2.
[Italian.]
Jan. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
192. To the ambassador at Rome and the like to the other Courts, Constantinople and the Generals.
Their majesties of Germany have chosen the barons Carlo d'Arac and Giacomo Delingh as their commissioners, in answer to our representations. On receiving the news we chose Girolamo Giustinian and Antonio Priuli. For the complete settlement of all troubles it is only necessary that Spain should meet the advances made, but there is no sign of this. Ossuna's plans seem to be endorsed at the Catholic Court; they show great activity in the arsenal at Naples and they are raising fresh troops in Spain, while they have sent great sums of money to Italy. They also contrive by their intrigues to maintain the disputes between Savoy and Mantua and to keep the other princes apart while introducing new discords into the treaty. We shall, nev-theless, maintain our straightforward line of conduct.
Levenstein's troops have arrived in good health.
Ayes147.
Noes0.
Neutral2.
[Italian.]
Jan. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
193. To the rectors of Padua.
We regret to hear in your letters of the 20th and 23rd inst. of the orders which the bishop says he has to warn the College of Doctors upon pain of censure to take no part in the creation of doctors in the manner which we have decreed. In the university of Padua the Counts Palatine conferred the doctorate without any profession upon Greeks, Jews and Ultramontanes. The same is done in Germany and France, and, we understand, in Spain and at Pisa. We have negotiated with the pope upon the matter and given every satisfaction and we are astonished at these orders. We direct you therefore to make representations to the bishop and ask him to abstain from acting until he hears from us, and we feel sure that he will act as a good subject, to which you will dispose him by tactful offices.
Ayes128.
Noes0.
Neutral1.
[Italian.]
Jan. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costant. Venetian
Archives.
194. ALMORO NANI, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
We hear from Persia that the English brought their negotiations with the king to a successful issue to fetch silk from that kingdom by their ships, as they are promised a port for their safety. On their side they offer to take in exchange money, cloth, quicksilver, tin, cinnabar, and all manner of arms. Accordingly the king has clinched the bargain and sent back the English ambassador with 150 packs of silk. The Spaniards tried to upset the negotiations but did not succeed.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 27th January, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 27.
Senato.
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
195. RANIER ZEN, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Yesterday evening the duke issued invitations to all the ambassadors. I met the French ambassador, who whispered in my ear, because the agent of England was present, that he heard from Venice that the king of England had granted ten armed ships to the Duke of Ossuna, and the Signory complained bitterly and took it very ill. I said that I had no news of it, but I remembered that some merchant had left Naples with the idea of sending a ship under the pretext of taking salted fish, but I did not know if he had actually done anything.
Turin, the 27th January, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
196. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I wrote to Pasini last Sunday about Studler, saying that if he was still inclined to go and serve your Serenity with the provisions already granted to him, to get him to set out at once. I am awaiting the reply.
They are very sorry here to learn the death of Captain Culena, but expect to hear that your Serenity will have pardoned Captain Steven, as they hear that the French have exercised an evil influence over him. I think it right also to notify your Serenity that they hope you will not allow the Englishman Lieutenant Colonel John Vere to leave your service, as his Excellency considers him a good, brave and prudent officer, and is very fond of him, as he was his page. When I spoke to him about military matters, he mentioned Vere in such a way that I gathered he would be glad for him to receive the appointment. Some other persons of the English nation have also spoken to me about it.
While fresh preparations for war in Italy are constantly reported, various English gentlemen are staying on here, waiting to hear what will be the upshot of the promise given to the earl of Oxford, about raising a levy of English troops. I am sure that there are two or three gentlemen of that nation here who ought to be engaged, as they have the reputation of being good and experienced soldiers in this country, and if I knew what to say to any Englishman who might speak to me on the matter, I could perform a useful office.
The Hague, the 28th January, 1618.
[Italian.]
Jan. 28.
Inquisitori di
Stato.
Busta 445.
Venetian
Archives
197. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the INQUISITORS of STATE.
Since my last of the 23rd ult. I have not written because I could find nothing else except that the packet from Venice to Amsterdam by way of Cologne for the English ambassador is directed to his house. I hope to obtain further particulars.
The Hague, the 28th January, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
198. That the ambassador of his Most Christian Majesty be summoned to the council and the following read to him;
Upon receiving the news of the nomination of Commissioners by their Majesties of Germany, we nominated ours. Negotiations for the ratification are proceeding. The Austrians wished to exclude France, but our ambassador Giustiniano overcame the difficulty. The delay of the last few days has been wel spent, as if France had been excluded it would have prejudiced the stability of the peace.
We have informed your Excellency of these events as a sign of confidence and of our sincerity.
But while these negotiations are proceeding in Germany Don Pedro and Ossuna continue their operations both by sea and land against the public peace and the treaty already arranged, while they intrigue to foster dissension and to lull to sleep by words and promises, observed as appears, and thus they gain time while they are gathering reinforcements, just as if no treaty had ever been arranged or adopted by neighbouring princes. Their pretexts have now lost every shred of plausibility, so that his Majesty should not delay any longer those measures which current affairs, the public weal and his own dignity require.
The like, mutatis mutandis to the nuncio and the English ambassador.
That the following be added to England:
His Majesty by his clear and resolute representations to the Spaniards and by his very liberal promises to our ambassador has given us an earnest of his intentions so that we have directed our ambassador to thank him, and we also wish your Excellency to do so, in order to maintain our friendly understanding and express our gratitude to his Majesty.
Ayes142.
Noes0.
Neutral3.
[Italian.]
Jan. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Prov. Gen.
delle Armi.
Venetian
Archives.
199. PIERO BARBARIGO, Venetian Proveditore General of the Forces in Terra Ferma and Istria, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Your Serenity's letters of yesterday inform me of your wise decision to pardon Captain Stephen Coop. I have not sent him back to camp because Captain Rossetti, lieutenant of the late M. de Golleme's company, is incensed against him, as are the friends of the deceased. M. de Roccalaura assures me that his return would cause disorder among the troops. I think your Serenity would do wisely to employ Captain Coop in the fleet.
The camp, at Farra, the 29th January, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venotian
Archives.
200. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ships which were reported to have received permission to go and lade grain in Apulia, still remain in this port. His Excellency is trying to buy the largest of them, which is English and very fine, for 20,000 ducats, to arm it and send it to Brindisi with provisions. This does not agree with the rumour about the return hither of the galleons there, though I believe it is a device to make them believe in England that fine ships fetch good prices here and induce them to send others.
Naples, the 30th January, 1617. (M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venotian
Archives.
201. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Captain Ascanio Steffanucci of Todi has been in the service of the Spanish crown. He went with the galley to serve the Count of Lemos on his return to Spain, and when he returned here the Duke of Ossuna gave him the command of the brigantines, although it belonged to the English Captain Robert. (fn. 4) I understand that disputes followed with this Captain Robert who is now at Trieste, who intrigues with his Excellency against him However, I believe Ascanio to be a man of honour and courage.
Naples, the 30th January, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
202. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England to the DOGE and SENATE.
Here enclosed I transmit to your Serenity the agreement made with two English ships, one called The Dragon and the other The Centurion, very fine vessels and built for war service. They carry twenty-two iron guns, private vessels here never having them of any other metal, besides four stern chasers (spazza coperte) and in two or three days I hope to secure four more. They have each sixty good sailors including twelve master gunners, and the captains are men of experience who have several times given battle to buccaneers. They wanted me to engage a greater number of sailors as they deem soldiers an impediment and of small use in action, whereas the former, who are not upset by the sea and are used to the motion of the ship, are more alert and take truer aim with their muskets; but as I considered the number sufficient, and to avoid putting your Excellencies to additional expense, I would not increase it, and I shall act in like manner for the future. Two causes frustrated my endeavours to make better terms than those conceded to the Flemish vessels in the service of the state, although I have worked hard. The one was the banishment from the Spanish possessions both in Italy and Spain, to which the captains and crews must necessarily subject themselves, for the avoidance of such mischance as befell those who supplied the duke of Savoy with gunpowder, for on returning to Sicily they were all imprisoned and sent to the galleys and their ships seized; the other that being aware of the price paid by your Serenity for the Flemish bottoms, as these English consider their vessels superior and of greater value, they cannot possibly be brought to accept lower terms, but on the contrary receive in addition the pay of twenty extra hands. With regard to the rest of the conditions, they are well nigh identical, only I was compelled to engage them for seven months certain and as much longer as it may please your Excellencies to keep them, provided the term do not exceed eighteen months, nor was it possible to induce them to make the voyage otherwise and although I am doing my utmost that they may be in readiness immediately, it is impossible to effect this under four weeks, as they must be provided with victuals, stores, and everything else for six months. Besides the usual necessary war ammunition it will behove me to add as much again, in powder, ball, and fireworks (fuochi artificiati) so that on arriving out they may be fully supplied with every requisite.
I have concluded the engagement for a levy of 2,500 infantry on the best terms I could, as your Excellencies will perceive by the enclosed copies, with Sir Henry Peyton, an English gentleman, one of the good soldiers of Flanders, where he yet has a company in the service of the States, and from the exact enquiries made by me to ascertain what his experience was, I found that he enjoyed an excellent character and that he is extremely capable of doing your Serenity good service. He has, however, no knowledge of naval affairs, but when once he has landed I am assured that his valour will render him extremely worthy of the favour of the state. He will have two captains under him, each commanding 150 infantry, he himself leading 200. All the officers have served in Flanders and he promises me to raise the most excellent companies and to have them ready for embarcation in four weeks, when I will distribute them on board the different ships.
This city of London not being a mart of exchange I should have great difficulty in procuring the sum required for these commissions, and even if procurable, as the rate of exchange on Venice is very low, your Serenity would lose considerably. So I determined to send post haste this morning to the Secretary Suriano at the Hague, to get bills from Amsterdam on London for 20,000 ducats, by which means your Excellencies will lose much less; but should his answer be delayed, I will then at any rate see to do the best I can to raise a certain sum here, as unless some payments be commenced these people will scarcely be induced to provide themselves with what is necessary and be ready for departure.
There is here an English gentleman, a certain Captain Mainwaring, of yore a most famous buccaneer, who has repeatedly cruised in the Levant and in the Indies and taken a number of vessels, having had as many as six or eight of his own; and for nautical skill, for fighting his ship, for the way of boarding and resisting the enemy he is said not to have his superior in all England. He only obtained his pardon from the king two years ago (fn. 5) and is now anxious to be employed by your Serenity and to serve the state on this occasion by taking these vessels out in a body to the fleet and subsequently doing whatever may be commanded him by the public representatives. Not having any orders from your Serenity to engage men of this character, I did not dare to give him this appointment, although I think he might prove very useful, and do good service in the fleet from his great practice and experience in naval warfare.
London, the last day of January, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
203. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
As I reported, his Majesty has acquainted the Spanish ambassador with the permission conceded to me to send ships of war from hence; and that unless the treaty of peace so often promised him be carried into effect he would proceed to more express and positive declaration in favour of the republic. The ambassador resented this announcement and complained bitterly, saying that he likewise should make the same demand for vessels and would present himself before the Council immediately. Whereupon the Secretary answered him that he had not the same reasons for obtaining them as the republic, who was only arming in self-defence, and that he must first of all speak with the king, as the Council would not discuss his demand unless referrred to it by his Majesty. The ambassador added that his king also needed to guarantee himself against corsairs who harassed his trade, especially towards Naples and Sicily. Hitherto he has not made any demand of the king, and I will keep a very sharp look out so as to thwart him wherever necessary. But he talks about ships and negotiates with their captains, though I fancy that this is rather for the sake of spoiling my bargains than from wanting any for himself just now.
A report circulates here among the merchants that several English and Flemish ships have been seized at Barcelona and Cadiz, contrary to the wishes of their owners and that the Spaniards mean to arm them.
London, the last day of January, 1617.
[Italian.]
Enclosed in
the preceding
despatch.
204. Articles of agreement between Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, and Mr. William Cease, owner of the English ship the Dragon.
1. The owner promises that, on board the ship, of about 240 tons burthen there shall be 22 pieces of artillery, and sixty sailors experienced in fighting and navigation, including twelve good gunners.
2. The captain promises that he will obey and exact obedience from those under him, not only the representative appointed by the general, but any deputy appointed by him. The ship will serve for war purposes, to carry troops and ammunition and anything else desired and against anyone excepting the king of Great Britain.
3. The general may, if he think fit, increase the number of cannon or exchange the iron guns for brass ones.
4. All the powder, ball, cordage, etc. consigned to him on going into action and not consumed must be consigned by the captain to the public representatives. The ammunition belonging to the ship consumed in action shall be either paid for or made good.
5. If any of the sixty are killed in action, their pay shall be continued for one month, after which deduction shall be made as aforesaid, unless the vacancies are filled up.
6. The monthly stipend of the captain shall be 1,420 ducats of current money, to be disbursed three months in advance, and at the end of three months for two months in advance, and so every two months, beginning from the day of their departure, the owner for this stipend having to defray all the expenses of the vessel and to board and pay the crew without making any other charge.
7. The vessel will receive as many soldiers and any officers as it shall be thought fit to embark and the state cabin shall be given to the officer appointed to command the ship.
8. For the sum paid in advance, the guns, ammunition and other effects taken on board by the officers, security shall be given, and the ambassador will do the like to guarantee the stipend.
9. Whatever is required for the use of the vessel shall be allowed duty free.
10. One half of all booty and prizes made upon the enemy by the galleon shall belong to the ship and crew, the other half to the persons appointed by his Serenity.
11. After the day that this agreement is signed, the captain shall leave within four weeks, and if the ambassador choose to detain it for a few days, the pay will begin at the commencement of the three weeks; should he choose, an inspection shall be made to see whether the tackle guns, crew and gear are forthcoming.
12. The ship shall serve for seven months certain from the day of its departure, and as much longer as the republic may decide, the entire period not to exceed eighteen months. Six weeks notice must be given before dismissing it.
13. The republic will provide for the board of the soldiers and officers embarked on board this ship, and make arrangements for their peaceable demeanour and good understanding with the sailors.
14. To avoid loss of time in any ports, it is to be proved before sailing that the vessel has no kind of merchandise on board. (fn. 6)
Enclosed in
the preceding
despatch.
205. Articles of agreement between Sir Henry Peyton and Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in England.
1. He is to have the title of Major (capo-truppa) and will command all the troops brought by him, both by sea and land.
2. He and his officers and soldiers will obey the representatives of the republic and the generals and colonels as commanded by his Serenity.
3. He will serve on sea and land in garrison, and in the field, with his companies united or divided at the option of his Serenity, and will fight against any potentate save the king of Great Britain.
4. The first muster shall be made at the time of embarkation, when the term of payment will begin, and on reaching the territories of the republic or the Venetian fleet the companies will be inspected every month, and if any of the soldiers are missing at the first muster and there is no proof of their having died on the journey, their captains will be held debtors in default of any certificate of their death on the voyage.
5. His own company will contain 200 good soldiers, including the lieutenant, ancient, three sergeants, two drummers, a fifer, a surgeon, a provost and twenty gentlemen, who with the rest are to be armed one half with muskets and the other with pikes. He will receive for stipend 1,350 ducats of 6 Venetian livres 4 soldi per month of 30 days.
The companies of the two other captains will consist of 150 soldiers each, including a lieutenant, ancient, two serjeants, two drummers, a surgeon and ten gentlemen, who with the rest will be armed one half with muskets and the other with pikes. They will receive 980 Venetian ducats of 6 livres 4 soldi for stipend per month of 30 days.
6. For the purchase of arms for the soldiers he shall receive 800 ducats, and each of the captains 500 ducats, which shall be deducted from the pay of the third and fourth months.
7. The ambassador will give Sir Henry and each of the captains 20s. for the conveyance on ship-board of each private.
8. He shall be ready for embarkation with his troop within one month of the signing of this agreement.
9. As he refers himself for his personal treatment to the good pleasure of his Serenity, the ambassador will write warmly in his favour.
10. Sir Henry and his captains shall give security for all sums paid to them in advance.
11. Sir Henry will order the captains and soldiers to live quietly on ship-board in good harmony with the captains and crews of the vessels.
12. That for the passage to Corfu, the republic will give two months pay in advance in lieu of all other claims soever.
13. That the soldiers shall be retained in the service of the state at least seven months after their arrival in the Venetian territories; and as much longer as his Serenity may think fit. On their dismissal they shall receive a month and a half's pay for the cost of the homeward passage.
14. On the expiration of the two months, the service of which has been paid in advance, the stipend will be disbursed at the beginning of the month.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 John Skittius.
2 On 6 Feb., 1617 o.s., Cottington writes,`It is now resolved that Sir Robert Shirley shall be received, lodged and entertained as an extraordinary ambassador. State Papers, Foreign, Spain.
3 i.e. the Prince's Masque for Twelth Night the 'Vision of Delight' by Ben Jonson.
4 Robert Elliot.
5 He received his pardon in June 1616. Cal. S.P. Dom 1611–1618 p. 425.
6 The ambassador's register, preserved in the library of St. Mark at Venice, differs from the letters in the files at the Archives. The register contains the articles agreed upon between the ambassadors and Masters Peter Ricaut and Ambrose Jennings, owners of the Centurion, John Bourne, captain, with some slight modifications in the articles,