Venice
February 1618, 1-14

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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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126-144

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'Venice: February 1618, 1-14', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 15: 1617-1619 (1909), pp. 126-144. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88671 Date accessed: 21 August 2014.


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February 1618

Feb. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
206. To the ambassador in England.
The difficulty which you say you have experienced in getting ships, because the good ones are engaged elsewhere, shows the necessity of the office which we told you to perform with the king, in order to overcome them by his authority. To this end, we informed his Majesty's ambassador about it on the 27th December, assuring him you would tell the king. We direct you to do this at every crisis of the affair, so that he may feel that the republic wishes to receive this reinforcement from his hands. The news which we keep sending will afford you ample opportunities when you remonstrate about the behaviour of the Spaniards, and the hope of obtaining some benefit may have an effect upon his Majesty, who seems anxious to relieve our province, as appears by the representations to the Catholic and French ambassadors which you tell us of; the instruction to all shipowners not to serve Ossuna, and his approbation of the action of the States in seizing the English ship. We therefore think it impossible that the king, after hearing from you of the urgency of the need and the imminence of the peril, should not move to cause some of the ships destined for Spain or the Indies to change their route, so as not to delay our defence at sea, which involves the trade of his Majesty's subjects and the general service. In any case you will ask his Majesty to favour us with two at least of his own vessels, which we understand are well adapted for fighting and well supplied with artillery, sailors and all other things, and for which we should pay.
By these constant communications, necessitated by present emergencies, and appropriate expressions of esteem and honour you will attain another of our purposes, namely to see the king often and foster our friendship and confidence with him, and thus thwart the sinister disseminations of others and constantly draw his Majesty's attention towards the relief of this province and not to allow the predominance of the Spaniards, and insist upon what was the principal reason for your mission, an effective declaration. Upon this point you will urge that as the pretexts of the Spaniards are stripped bare and their designs disclosed, delay will only encourage their ideas, and keep matters in suspense, their operations and reprisals being more harmful to us than open war, and nothing would prove more effective to restrain them than powerful action by his Majesty, as his offices and persuasions have proved fruitless, and that we shall therefore expect to receive such a reply as our responsiveness and his friendship promise us.
You should perform similar offices with the ministers even if they have been in some part won over by others, because even if they will not cooperate in what they should recognise to be the common interest, they should at least abstain from opposition. You will also make use of any favourite of the king, because it is most important for our service, both for reputation and for solid advantages (essenza) to keep that crown favourable.
We hear from Naples that the viceroy is sending one Henry Gardiner, an Englishman, to England to procure pewter and other war materials, after having bound him to himself by immediately sending in his favour a letter for a large amount, and when he arrives with ships of Rose or others of that kingdom, they will be detained for use in war, while his present galleons are partly useless. You will oppose their designs, procuring strong measures from his Majesty.
With regard to the ships, if, in spite of all your efforts, you cannot obtain more than the two small ones which you mention, we think it better that you should let them alone, telling the Resident Surian of your decision; but if you can approach the number we mentioned you will hasten their departure with the 500 foot, so that they may serve next season, which is quickly approaching. We know that you will act with great zeal.
We send you what we propose to read to his Majesty's ambassador together with his reply, to keep you fully informed. You will point out, when you have an opportunity, how important it is for the Spaniards to keep an army at their disposition and in their pay in Germany, both for the succession to the Empire and the events which may arise from it, and that the United Princes and Bohemia should think of this.
You will inform the representatives of those princes of current events, with suitable comments, and use all other means of showing confidence.
As the English ambassador has informed us of his indisposition, that a secretary be sent to his house to read the deliberation of the 30th ult.
Ayes100.
Noes0.
Neutral1.
[Italian.]
Feb. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
207. To the Resident at the Hague.
We see that you are most diligent in obtaining the ships. With regard to any possible quarrels between them and the English ships, which you ask about, you may settle all doubts by saying that there is a Captain General of our fleet and governors will be distributed among the ships to prevent such a turn of affairs, and as some English ships have been in the fleet this year without the slightest disturbance, we are the more confident of keeping the peace. We expect some news about Studer.
Ayes147.
Noes4.
Neutral5.
[Italian.]
Feb. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
208. To the ambassador at Rome and the like to the other Courts, Constantinople and the Generals.
The Emperor has ratified the treaty which as been sent to Ferdinand at Gratz. We might hope for peace but the Spaniards have frightened the Archduke with the coming of Levestein, so that he is keeping his troops. This shows the designs of Spain, as does the naval activity of Ossuna, who is sending to Dunkirk for men and to England for munitions, and who is enlarging the port of Brindisi.
Ayes147.
Noes4.
Neutral5.
[Italian.]
Feb. 2.
Collegio,
Esposizioni
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
209. After I, Antonio Antelmi, the Secretary, had read to the English ambassador the deliberation of the Senate of the 30th, he said to me: It seems impossible that the King of Spain should not desire a settlement of these disturbances for his own sake. The greater the follies of Ossuna the more likely are they to fall of their own accord. In any case I am glad to hear that matters in Friuli are taking a favourable turn as if the republic be relieved on that side it will the better be able to attend to the other. The critical point in the present negotiations, which will lead either to peace or war is in my opinion the restitution of Vercelli to Savoy. The Most Christian is bound to this by many treaties, but much more because he seemed to believe Don Pedro more readily than his own minister, and to trust the Spaniards more than the treaty. I will represent everything to my king as requested, assuring him how much you value his offices. I believe that your Serenity will be glad to hear that the negotiations for a marriage between my prince and Spain, which were considered advanced, have been broken off, and the friendly relations have been turned into quite opposite sentiments. Two months ago, owing to information which I possessed, I was able to inform my king that the Catholic was handling this affair without any intention of carrying it through. When I said that their purpose was to keep everyone occupied by such practises and delay a decision, he entirely concurred in my opinion. (Credo che anche per proprio rispetto gustera S. Serenità di saperla etè che la trattatione de matrimonii tra il Principe mio Signore et Spagna che si teneva molto avanzato, non solo non camina a conclusione ma e ridotto a discioglimento, et le congiuntioni e corrispondenti di animo si convertiscono in effetti del tutto contrarii. Io ho questo merito col mio Re di haver da due mese in qua per le intelligenze che tenevo di suo ordine molto fondate scrittogli sempre che il Catholico maneggiava questo negocio senza alcun pensiero d'effettuarlo. A che dicendo io che il fine era di tenere con simili prattiche og'uno in uffitio et intepidir et ritardar le risolutioni necessarie, confirmo egli per appunto il concetto.)
[Italian.]
Feb. [5.]
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Prov. Gen.
delle Armi.
Venetian
Archives.
210. PIERO BARBARIGO, Venetian Proveditore General of the Forces in Terra Ferma and Istria, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Last week Count William of Nassau arrived in the Camp, who claimed the regiment of Count John, his brother. As Lieutenant Colonel Vere also claimed the same regiment, a dispute arose between them. Captain Milander took the Nassau side with his adherents and wrangling and challenges followed, nearly all of which seemed due to Milander. In order to avoid what might create serious trouble among the Dutch troops, I ordered Vere to proceed to Udine and not to leave there until further order, and I brought the Count of Nassau and Milander in my carriage to this fortress and directed them not to leave it without my orders. All these captains and their followers have shown a proper respect for my authority so that I hope no further trouble will occur, but I should advise your Serenity to postpone the appointment to this command until the excitement has quieted down. Meanwhile the companies are commanded by their lieutenants under the command of M. de Rocca Laura, who is always giving fresh proofs of his worth.
Palma, the February, 1617. [M.V.] (fn. 1)
[Italian.]
Feb. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zante.
Venetian
Archives.
211. PIERO MARTELAS and Thomaso Mocenigo, Syndics of Zante, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Owing to the terrible ravages of the plague and at the instance of Zuane Harniloph and Dimitri Rucani of this town it pleased the Senate to send hither upon the English ship John Humphrey (Giovanni Onofre), biscuit 50 miara, rice 30 miara and beans 300 stara, the whole being paid for out of the money of our department for grain. These provisions are carefully stored by us, and we return hearty thanks for the kind thought for us. But the biscuit proves to be very bad, and the beans no less so, consequently no one has come forward to buy the stuff. Our chief need is money, which has become very scarce. Perhaps your Serenity would use these provisions for the fleet; they are still safely stored:
Zante, the 5th February, 1618.
[Italian.]
Feb. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
212. SIMON CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Sig. Giovanni Battista Gabbaleoni has arrived here on his way to England. He has had audience of the king and told him of the necessities of his Highness.
I have discovered that the King of Spain has proposed two marriages to his Most Christian Majesty; that the latter should give one of his sisters to a son of the King of Bohemia, and another to the second son of his Catholic Majesty, with the idea of giving him the government of Flanders afterwards. It would prove very advantageous to the Spaniards.
Paris, the 6th February, 1618.
[Italian.]
Feb. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
213. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Carlo Alajambe has not yet left for Flanders, neither has Henry Gardiner set out for England. Their missions are at present in a state of suspense. His Excellency's plans change from one moment to another, as they depend solely upon his own caprice and not upon any consultation held by him. It is never certain what he will do, because in the course of the same hour he will say one thing to one person and the exact opposite to another. I hear that he has sent numerous letters to Spain, saying that from all parts of the world, England, Holland, many parts of Germany, France, the Swiss and even Constantinople, news arrives of preparations for war, and therefore the ministers of his Majesty cannot think of disarming. I hear that his Majesty inclines to make war on the republic, being assured by his ministers that it will be very easy to subdue your Serenity under the plausible pretext of expelling from Italy the heretics whom you have introduced, and to open the Gulf for the general good.
Naples, the 6th February, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian. ]
Feb. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
rchives.
214.. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The purchase of the English ship has not been completed, and the brigantine and the two galleys have not yet departed, although they say that they will send four or six to the Levant about the middle of next March.
I hear that his Excellency, perceiving that the negotiations of Alexander Rose, who was sent to England to obtain ships, will not succeed, has notified Zattera, a Genoese merchant, that he requires the repayment of the 10,000 ducats which he got him to remit to England for the purpose.
Naples, the 6th February, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
215. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The courier has not yet returned whom I sent a week ago to the Secretary Surian at the Hague to get me letters of exchange from Amsterdam for here, and thus save your Serenity expense and facilitate the finding of money to arm the ships and for the captains also, who will go on with their levies. I am anxious at this because I find great difficulty in obtaining money here, owing to the fear of the merchants that they will not receive a prompt settlement, as they say was the case at another time about some powder, and my emphatic promises that they will certainly be paid at once avail nothing. To-day they are to come back to me, and I shall try to persuade them, otherwise I do not know how I can proceed further with the commissions laid on me by your Serenity, and they are delayed by this impediment, to my great sorrow. I have not ventured to arrange with other ships besides those I wrote about, as with these, and the 500 foot, I should not be able to meet so many payments in time, and the reputation of your Excellencies would suffer. However, I am carrying on negotiations with several and time passes while nothing is settled, so that as soon as the money comes I can strike the bargains.
The repeated offices of the Catholic ambassador are performed not only with the ministers and gentlemen of the Court, but with the captains of ships also, to dissuade them from serving the republic, by promising a greater reward to some, and intimating to others that in the Strait there are forty Spanish ships, from which they will have great difficulty to escape. I lose no opportunity of commenting upon the vanity of these reports, when any one speaks to me, and the purpose for which they are spread. I have just learned that he has gone to the king, possibly to speak about this very affair. I will do my utmost to find out all particulars. In any case I think it will be for the service of your Excellencies that these ships should go with the Dutch ones, as in addition to being more safe, your Serenity's fleet would gain great prestige by the junction, and when things are ready I will arrange with the Secretary Surian. I believe he has already asked whether this fleet before joining that of your Serenity, in case it fell in with the Spanish ships or pirates, should fight them or avoid the occasion. When I know your Excellencies' wishes, I will inform the captains of the ships.
London, the 7th February, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
216. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
In one of my former letters I acquainted your Serenity with the resentment shown by the French ambassador here because he was not invited to the prince's masque, and of the complaint made by him at the time because the Spanish ambassador had been asked. His Secretary, whom he sent to give an account of this to the king, returned last Saturday, and brings back word that his Majesty is extremely offended, as well as the whole court, and therefore recalls his ambassador, who is on the point of taking leave. (fn. 2) This minister, who has never been liked here and always gave dissatisfaction, is now more complained of than ever, this resolve being attributed to his ill offices. So the king sent immediately to his agent in France to represent that there was no cause for complaint, the like having been done heretofore, and not with a view to disparage the prerogatives of the French crown, but for the sake of not deciding a case beyond the jurisdiction of England, by always inviting the same person, and by so much the less as in France they have never chosen to declare the precedence of England over Spain. Negotiations are on foot with the ambassador in order to effect some satisfactory compromise, and gain time so as to prevent him from executing his orders; but as he announces his departure so positively, I know not what they can obtain.
The king has taken very much amiss the embassy despatched by France in the person of M. de Modène to the duke of Savoy, to induce him to disarm entirely, without even excepting the troops which are not in his own territories, it appearing that as the French are not ready to succour Savoy the duke remains completely at the mercy of the Spaniards.
The corsairs continue adding to their numbers and are understood to have appeared with forty sail on the coast of Galicia, where they effected a landing and burned some places, and they have also captured four Dutch vessels. Here they are expecting the answer from Spain, and should the king then concede ports of refuge for the fleet which England is inclined to send against the pirates in conjunction with Holland, your Serenity will also be invited to join the coalition by this side.
The arrival from Spain of the secretary of the ambassador Digby (fn. 3) is imminent and from what I understand Digby himself will speedily follow, which causes the belief that great difficulties have arisen upon the marriage negotiations, for which alone he was sent to that court.
London, the 7th February, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
217. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
After I had written the foregoing some merchants came to me and at length consented to give me 8,000 ducats, upon promise of the sum being promptly repaid in Venice by your Serenity when due. With this sum I shall hasten to execute some of the commissions of your Excellencies. Meanwhile, I hope for news from the Hague enabling me subsequently to do the like by the rest.
The bills are made payable as follows:—
Ducats.
To Alessandro Giacomo and Pier Antonio Guadagni1,000
To Filippo and Pier Mannelli1,000
To Luca Van Uffell and John Van Mere6,000
To whom in date of to-day I have given the letters of credit on your Serenity for8,000
London, the 7th February, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 7.
CI vii.
Cod mcxxii.
Bibl. di
S. Marco
Venice.
218. ANGLIPOTRIDA.
The religion of this kingdom is at least that of Jesus Christ, but disastriously modified, as is well known, after Henry VIII by unbridled lust for a woman named Anna Boleyn, had repudiated his lawful wife, he separated himself from the ancient Roman church from which he had before his apostacy, received the title of Defender of the Faith for a book against Luther. This title has been retained by his successors and is borne by his present Majesty. The entire population abominates the popedom most utterly, having for it the same detestation which is commonly entertained for the devil or antichrist himself, although with some few exceptions, so that one may say with Virgil apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto. (Tutti questi del Regno sono Capitalissimi nemici del Papato, et ne hanno tanto abborimento appunto come si vuol havere del Diavolo et dell' istesso Antichristo, che ha da venire, eccetto però alcuni pochi, onde si può dire con Virgilio, Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto.) This is accentuated at present because a schism has already introduced itself among this small number of Catholies, induced by a very stringent oath of fidelity which for his own safety the king caused to be administered to everybody, in execration of any papal authority soever in this kingdom. This oath has been accepted freely by part of the Catholics without scruple, from the fear of losing life and property. Others rejected it, and some of these last are now in prison, while others remain hidden, dissembling their creed and receiving very bad treatment from those in authority here, especially by being made to disburse money, though hitherto they have not been subjected to any other rigorous treatment.
The English deride our religion as detestable and superstitious, and never represent any theatrical piece, not even a satirical tragicomedy without larding it with the vices and iniquity of some Catholic churchman, which move them to laughter and much mockery, to their own satisfaction and to the regret of the good. (Prendono giuocco al'Inglesi della nostra religione come di cosa detestabile et superstitiosx ne mai rappresentano qualsivoglia attione publica sia pure Tragisatiricomedia che non inserischino dentro vitii et scellerggini di qualche religioso Catolico, facendone risati et molto scherzi, con lor gusto et ramarico de' buoni.) On one occasion my colleagues of the Embassy saw a comedy performed in which a Franciscan friar was introduced, cunning and replete with impiety of various shades, including avarice and lust. The whole was made to end in a tragedy, the friar being beheaded on the stage. Another time they represented the pomp of a Cardinal in his identical robes of state, very handsome and costly, and accompanied by his attendants, with an altar raised on the stage, where he pretended to perform service, ordering a procession. He then re-appeared familiarly with a concubine in public. He played the part of administering poison to his sister upon a point of honour, and moreover, of going into battle, having first gravely deposited his Cardinal's robes on the altar through the agency of his chaplains. Last of all, he had himself girded with a sword and put on his scarf with the best imaginable grace. All this they do in derision of ecclesiastical pomp which in this kingdom is scorned and hated mortally.
They nevertheless preserve and use the churches, as stated by me heretofore. The chief and largest one is dedicated to St. Paul; it is built in the form of a large cross on which is a very lofty tower, to whose summit we ascended one day with his Excellency, to see the situation and extent of the city of London. Heretofore, the Benedictine monks had a very fine church near the royal palace, in whose choir, unless I mistake, King Henry VII built a sumptuous and most highly decorated chapel, whose altar is yet preserved intact, surmounted by a very magnificent tomb containing the remains of St. Edward, second of that name among the kings of England. All round the principal choir are sundry tombs, chiefly the royal ones, with their marble and bronze statues, very well wrought and which the keepers there show with complacency. St. Paul's church is subject, as a cathedral, to the bishop of London and other ecclesiastics. They keep up the use of the surplice and the bishop wears the rochet, in which he attends the Council of State. The archbishop of Canterbury is primate of the whole kingdom, and enjoys vast esteem, being a man of great intelligence. He is President of the Council. Each of these prelates deems himself legitimately ordained through certain Catholic bishops who of yore came from Italy to re-consecrate the realm, and they consider themselves to be in the true church of God. continuing to consecrate in their turn, not by way of sacrament but in right of apostolic ministry. Their spiritual exercises consist in preaching perpetually to the people, who display great devotion. Occasionally, on solemn festivals, they administer the Supper to them. It surprises me that, denying as they do the sacrament of confession, yet in articulo mortis they listen to the sins of the sick and absolve them. The sacraments of the Eucharist and of Baptism they acknowledge as such, performing the second for the most part on Sunday afternoon, when one frequently sees six or seven infants being carried along the streets to the church at the same hour, one after the other, accompanied by a number of persons. It is moreover customary, on two occasions, to carry in the hand a sprig of rosemary, namely on accompanying the dead to their graves or the condemned to the gallows, and on returning home from a wedding.
With regard to the law, it is so severe and so systematically ordained that nowhere in the world can it be more so. The whole proceeds from the rigour and exact diligence of keeping watch by night, when divers officials patrol the streets, and because every one is bound to place a light over his door or in the shop windows, to burn the greater part of the night, the watch patrolling up and down the whole time, armed with javelins, bills and halberds, covered with rust, so that they precisely resemble those ancient weapons with which the executioners guarded the holy sepulchre. Hence comes it that one can really go about by night unarmed and purse in hand. The slighest theft is punished with death: even a youth of fifteen for his first crime or theft is hanged, unless he chances to know how to read and write, in which case, in consideration of his acquirements, they spare his life and brand one of his hands with a hot iron. If found stealing a second time he is hanged inexorably A few months ago a lad was seen on his way to the gallows merely for having stolen a bag of currants. They have a gaol delivery every month and pass sentence in an extravagant manner according to the law enacted of yore, and which is applicable to every crime. The Court, which consists of certain judges, summonses twelve men of various prefessions, styled jury who examine the prisoner's case, and after discussing among themselves the reality of the fact, they agree together and on returning into court utter one of these two words, Guilty, or Not Guilty, according to which sentence is passed without mercy. As there is no mitigation such as banishment or the galleys, this invariably involves life or death. They take them five and twenty at a time, every month, besides sudden and extraordinary executions in the course of the week, on a large cart like a high scaffold. They go along quite jollily, holding their sprigs of rosemary and singing songs, accompanied by their friends and a multitude of people. On reaching the gallows one of the party acts as spokesman, saying fifty words or so. Then the music, which they had learned at their leisure in the prisons, being repeated, the executioner hastens the business, and beginning at one end, fastens each man's halter to the gibbet. They are so closely packed that they touch each other, with their hands tied in front of them, wrist to wrist, as as to leave them the option of taking off their hats and saluting the bystanders. One careless fellow availed himself of this facility to shade his face from the sun. Finally, the executioner, having come down from the scaffold, has the whip applied to the cart horses, and thus the culprits remain dangling in the air precisely like a bunch of fat thrushes. They are hard to die of themselves and unless their own relations or friends pulled their feet or pelted them with brickbats in the breast as they do, it would fare badly with them. The proceeding is really barbarous and strikes those who witness it with horror. Here one never hears the noise of broils and consequently no murders are committed, from fear of the law. Rather from despair or difficulties than on any other account, the people occasionally hang and drown themselves.
With regard to the embassies or alliance of this king with other powers, it is not my province to dwell thereon. I will merely say a word or two about the present Muscovite ambassador, who in point of fact made his appearance at this Court rather on account of the commercial interests of his nation with the London merchants than for any other purpose, although his mission is understood to be to the king. He made his appearance with great pomp, having seventy attendants in excellent array. He lives according to the Greek rite and appears very devout. He remains always in the house and his expenses are paid by the company of the merchants aforesaid. He paid his first visit to his Majesty in extreme state, carrying with him a number of valuable presents from his country, some being for distribution between the queen and prince as your lordships will have already heard, I imagine, through the news letters, namely skins of martens, of ermines and of black foxes and other animals in great quantity; some pieces of silk and gold stuffs; two caskets covered with crimson velvet, containing a live marten and some other another animal, with which we are not well acquainted; a number of very handsome Turkish bows, all jewelled; scimitars with precious scabbards; four knife cases all powdered with turquoises and other fine jewels; twelve gerfalcons and hawks, their hoods embroidered with pearls, and some richly wrought coverings over their wings. The sixty attendants went in procession with some of these things in their hands, dressed in long clothes according to the Muscovite fashion, with their choice fur caps on their heads. Some of them wore gorgets of great price round their throats. They were accompanied not only by the usual officials of his Majesty and by the delegates from the Muscovite Company, but also by an innumerable multitude of the populace, curious to see those fine things and the strange and uncouth faces of their bearers. The ambassador is in truth an immense and very handsome colossus; extremely tall. I will say no more, for I did not go to court to see the ceremony. I only remember that a few days afterwards his Majesty invited him to dinner together with his secretary. During the repast the king first drank the ambassador's health in a large and very deep silver gilt beaker. As soon as the toast was drunk the ambassador rose from table, and the bulky monster threw himself on the ground and touched the floor with his head. Then he rose on his feet and returned the pledge most respectfully. The king had him told that he made him a present of the beaker, a gift which it is customary to bestow on this nation. The same was done with the secretary, who acknowledged the compliment with even greater humility.
London, the 7th February, 1618.
[Italian.]
Feb. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
219. SIMON CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to DOGE and SENATE.
I hear that His Most Christian Majesty may possibly remove his ambassador from England owing to some dissatisfaction because he was not honoured there upon some public occasion, and because when the marriage takes place between the Prince of Wales and the daughter of the Catholic king, it is thought at the English court that they will give precedence to the Catholic ambassador and take it from the ambassador of his Most Christian Majesty. So far as I can judge there is a considerable feeling of irritation between these two courts at present, much more than usual.
Paris, the 8th February, 1618.
[Italian.]
Feb. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
220. To the Proveditore General of the Forces.
With regard to the Dutch troops, we incline to make a colonel-ship only, giving the appointment to M. de Rocca Laura, and appointing Mr. Vere colonel of the whole regiment. We will await your opinion about the amount of their salaries and their claims, before we decide about them.
Ayes146.
Noes0.
Neutral0.
[Italian.]
Feb. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
221. To the ambassador in France and the like to the other Courts, Constantinople and the generals.
In spite of the alteration of the powers given by Ferdinand and the adjustment of the date which his ministers tried to change, the ratification of his Majesty arrived at the Imperial Court, and Cardinal Klesel (Gliselio) and the Ambassador Giustinian agreed together upon the matter. The Cardinal and the Vice-Chancellor assured our ambassador that the king of Bohemia was not aware of the descent made upon Friuli, and the Spanish minister had arranged it without his knowledge.
The Spaniards, by their customary arts, are endeavouring to keep up the disturbances. They make a pretext of the arrival of the troops of Levestein. They sent the Baron Lembel to the General of our forces to discover our intentions, but when he was told of the true reasons for the coming of the Dutch troops, the dismissal of the men at arms, and of the general straightforward conduct of the republic, he left with every appearance of satisfaction. However, the Spaniards continue their usual tricks, which render a satisfactory conclusion doubtful. Ossuna is busy making artillery for the great galleys, and he clearly has no intention of restoring our galleys. He was in treaty to buy English ships which were in that port, rather than allow them to depart. His ideas are evidently fomented by Spain, and our resolution to oppose him was our only course.
Don Pedro insists strongly upon the disarmament of Savoy even beyond the terms of the treaty, and under cover of the few lands in the Milanese which the duke holds he tries to justify his operations with the other princes of Italy, as if he did not hold such an important post as Vercelli. This shows his intentions, and justifies other powers in looking to their own safety, as there is no sure means of stopping the troubles of this province, except that those who are interested in opposing Spain should make clear their determination.
Ayes109.
Noes8.
Neutral47.
On the 10th was added the paragraph upon news of Spain, contained in the letters of Rome of the 10th.
That the following be added to England:
We send you a copy of the letter from Naples about the English ships. You will see the aim of the Viceroy is to make use of all the ships which come to his ports. We direct you to press the king and ministers to issue strong orders such as the occasion demands, and in communicating the news to his Majesty you will support your offices with the most weighty considerations which occur to you.
Ayes107.
Noes8.
Neutral47.
[Italian.]
Feb. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
223. To the Resident Surian at the Hague.
With regard to the union against pirates, proposed by the States to ourselves and the kings of France and England, we send our reply, with instructions upon what you are to do, after we hear by way of England of similar negotiations between the two crowns and the States, and the Spaniards also, but we suspect the last of deceit, and a desire to lull the suspicions of the other powers in this matter, to cover their preparations against the Gulf. We therefore warn you to be on your guard.
Ayes109.
Noes8.
Neutral47.
[Italian.]
Feb. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
224. To the ambassador at Rome.
The Ambassador Gritti advises us that the ministers there misinterpret the last encounter of the fleets, saying the reason for the sending of the royal ships to the gulf still existed, and thereby confess what they have hitherto denied. They also said they would await news before deciding about the restitution of the galleys. In such ways they seek to change the treaty. The proceedings of both Ossuna and Don Pedro are supported by the ministers of the Council.
Ayes151.
Noes0.
Neutral2.
[Italian.]
Feb. 10.
Senato,
Secreta. Dispacci,
Costant.
Venetian
Archives.
225. ALMORO NANI, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
On the last day of last month an English ship arrived in this port, bringing Father Iseppo the vicar patriarchal of this city, recommended by letters of your Serenity, and Tedaldo Cacertini, a Venetian merchant, whom they had taken on board at Scios.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 10th February, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 10.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
226. The English ambassador came into the Cabinet and spoke as follows:
I am glad to see your Excellencies in good health, as I have not been here since the fire (fn. 4) . I will first say something about it, because it has been discussed in various ways. The fire broke out in a ground floor room, separated from my belongings and full of combustible materials. This burned like a furnace. The floor of the room above fell in. We had to break in the doors, as the keys fell through with the floor, but all our efforts could not avert the disaster. However, I have this consolation, that it was not my fault, and it did no harm to my neighbours, while it only touched three rooms.
I have come this morning to bring word of a certain peace, which should be the more grateful because many were doubtful about it. I hear from the Secretary later that his Majesty was very dissatisfied with the posture of affairs and sent a courier with express instructions to Bibil, (fn. 5) his extraordinary ambassador in Spain, to urge the peace of Italy upon the king there. A reply arrived three days before our Epiphany, that the Duke of Lerma solemnly assured that ambassador that the treaty of Asti should be carried out admitting some remissness in the ministers; and that instructions in accordance should be sent to the ministers. His Majesty has directed me to make this communication to your Serenity. This will be carried out because if the Spaniards wished to deceive on this matter, they would deceive your Serenity alone and not other princes, and deceit after such a promise would make the republic's cause common. The king concludes that there will be peace at sea also, as the Spaniards cannot face the strength of your Serenity at sea, even with all the auxiliaries of the Princes of Italy, without adding their fleet from beyond the Strait, and we know that that is not possible.
At my last audience I told your Serenity what I heard of Rose, who has the house at Naples, about the coming of ships from England. The king sent for him twice; there were no proofs and he denied the matter. However, his Majesty charged him on his obedience not to serve the Duke of Ossuna, and he gave the same charge to all the masters of ships, so that your Serenity may rest assured that this minister will receive no assistance from our side, and you have a fresh testimony of my king's friendship.
I am instructed to express his Majesty's extreme satisfaction with the prudence, discretion and ability of the Ambassador Contarini. No one more acceptable could have been sent. I have further to return thanks for the condolences offered me by the Secretary Antelmi upon my misfortune and for the confidential information which he gave.
I have now to speak of Sir [John] Vere. He was quite gratuitously insulted by Captain Milanter in a way he was bound to resent. They were rightly separated by the General. The cause of the quarrel arose from the sneers of the captain because Vere has not been able to obtain the title of Colonel from your Serenity, so often asked for, and upon which he has such just claims. But I ask it simply as a favour. I also ask leave to introduce Captain Stich. He is outside, and I should like to introduce him.
I have forgotten one thing. In a book entitled Supplement to the History of the Uscochi, I found a famous digression upon the just and ancient dominion of your Serenity over the Gulf. I sent a copy to his Majesty and am having a translation made into English for distribution. We are in the same boat ourselves, as we have some pretensions in the seas for herring fisheries, and we may well make use of some of the arguments, which are universal.
The doge made a courteous reply. Captain Stich was introduced, and offered from two to three thousand foot, without an advance. The ambassador spoke in laudatory terms of the Senator, of the States and of his house, and thus departed.
[Italian.]
Feb. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci, Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
227. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Various ships have arrived in the port here. A fine berton called the Sanson has come from Holland with timber. A small ship has come from England with fish, sent by Alexander Rose, together with a large new ship, on its second voyage, well armed with 36 pieces of artillery and manned by seventy sailors, called the Royal Merchant, but the latter would not approach the port, remaining near Bisserta, and sent a boat to try and arrange a place for disembarking. His Excellency sent word that he would not allow any facilities for this unless the ship entered the port, and it ought to come gladly, as he gave his word that it should be well treated, he would show it no discourtesy. He sent three boats, one after the other, to say the same thing, but the master gave the same answer, that he would not trust the word of the Duke of Ossuna. Accordingly his Excellency went to the Mole and hurriedly fitted out eight or ten galleys to go and take this ship by force. But when they heard this they put out to sea, being determined not to allow themselves to be taken, and not having the least fear of the galleys. His Excellency was told that he ran great risk of losing his galleys if he attempted to use force; however, they did not stop out and only three issued forth to anchor in the port of la Zerba del Dolissi. It is believed that this English ship will not be seen here any more, but will unlade the merchandise sent by Rose and others for this city at some place along the coast, possibly Civita Vecchia, and will then continue its voyage to Zante and thence to Constantinople. I thought at first that this show of violence was an artifice made by collusion with the shipmaster and that he would finally come here to be employed in the fleet, but now I believe that he will not come here, and thus the Viceroy, who hoped by craft to obtain four or six good ships from those parts from Rose, will not get a single one. This is due to the remarkable ability of the Ambassador Contarini in London, to the no small service of your Serenity as it reduces the number of good ships in this fleet. Meanwhile his Excellency has selected six of the best ships in this port, to arm them, while he permits the others to continue their voyage.
Naples, the 13th February, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
228. RANIER ZEN, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I went in the morning to see his Highness. During the audience two letters were brought to him which made him change countenance. He told Crotti to read them to me; one referred to the movements of the Spaniards, and the other said that Don Pedro had received orders for war. The duke then sent for the agent of England to ask him to get the Bernese to look after the troops of Mansfelt. The agent promised to do all in his power, and offered to go himself, because he had taken part in the negotiations with Berne, being sent by his king to arrange a league with the duke. He related another idea of the Count of Mansfelt, whom he sees nearly every day, namely, that the troops may be dismissed, but at a small cost they can almost all be kept on the frontiers. His Highness seemed to think the idea a good one, but did not make up his mind to adopt it.
His Highness made some reference to the advantages of a league, and the agent of England said that the other powers had made one, and might move, referring to his king, and if it was made he might possibly be able to speak with more authority. After that he took leave.
Turin, the 13th February, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian; the part in Italics deciphered.]
Feb. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci, Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
229. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Owing to the slight trade between Venice and London, your Serenity will have heard that the Ambassador Contarini has written to me in the hope of obtaining better conditions by way of Amsterdam, and yet the price in that mart upon London is much lower than it has been for some weeks, and it troubles me much to see the loss to which your Serenity will be subjected; I will do what I can, but when merchants are concerned the greed of gain is the ruling consideration.
The Hague, the 13th February, 1618.
[Italian.]
Feb. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
230. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Henry Gardiner has not yet left for England.
Naples, the 13th February, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
231. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Perceiving that the return of the courier sent by me to the Secretary Surian is still delayed, possibly from the same difficulty in raising money as I have experienced here. I have determined to send this letter to-day by an express to Antwerp, so that by the Italian mail which carries my other letters of the 7th, your Serenity may also receive this one, and forthwith remedy obstacles most difficult for me to overcome, but easily remediable by your Excellencies, who have only to send letters of credit. The sums required for the despatch of the 500 infantry, the loan for their arms, two months pay in advance, three months pay also in advance for the eight vessels, together with the necessary supply of powder and ball (as on their own account they simply take enough for the voyage) come to about 38,000 ducats besides the 8,000 for which I have already drawn. I also have another difficulty, not less important, namely, that while I am endeavouring to find security from the captains of the ships for their performance of their engagements, for the money paid in advance and for the munitions consigned to them, they, on the other hand, require from me a promise guaranteeing their pay and the observance of these very same agreements, and they insist on having it under the signature of merchants of this city so that in case of need they may know to whom to apply. Despite my endeavours to make them waive this point, I found it impossible to succeed, indeed the more difficulty I made the greater became their fear of not receiving prompt payment, added to which the affair is much prejudiced by letters in the hands of the merchants from the owners of the vessels already in the service of your Serenity, complaining of non-payment and other ill-treatment, so to facilitate the contracts I have been obliged to condescend to this, as otherwise it would have been vain to hope for a single vessel. Having applied to several merchants I cannot find one to incur this obligation, all alleging the risk, trouble and embarrassment which they may encounter, without any profit. Although I promised to relieve them from all burden and responsibility, they will not consent, so your Serenity must likewise remove this obstacle.
The firms of Vandeput, Guadagni, Caponi and Pelicorni might write to their correspondents here, desiring them to promise for me, they being better convinced that your Excellencies will fully abide by the agreements. This is all I can suggest to your Serenity, who will decide as your prudence dictates, and transmit your commands to me. The sooner I receive them the more advantageous it will prove for your service, by reason of their speedy execution.
On the 8th, together with the letters of this courier Pasqualino (dated from Antwerp the 28th ult.) who was sent by your Serenity to the Secretary Suriano at the Hague, I received those of your Excellencies dated the 18th ult. with special instructions with regard to the terms for the hire of these vessels, which I endeavoured to carry out in the two agreements already effected by me. The price would have been lower but for the reasons assigned in my last, In sending them away I will execute my instructions. Touching the insurance of these vessels against the accident, of warfare, I did not choose to subject your Serenity to any responsibility, and the peril and loss should any occur, must be borne by the owners. In the act of closing these presents with letters from the Secretary Surian, I receive your Serenity's duplicate of the 28th ult. and also those of the 5th charging me to number my despatches in a new manner. I shall begin to do so to-day.
London, the 13th February, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 14.
Senato.
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra
Venetian
Archives.
232. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Herewith your Serenity will receive the duplicates of the 7th and 13th forwarded yesterday to Antwerp, in order that they might there meet the Italian courier, though I now greatly doubt their getting there in time, as since the last three days it has been blowing so strong a gale of wind, which yet lasts, that it is impossible to cross the Channel.
I continue to treat with several shipowners in order to induce them to accept reasonable terms, but they are so obdurate, so very exacting and so suspicious that I have intolerable trouble in bringing them to reason, and this fact and there being but few ships now in the Thames fit for the service of your Serenity, adds to the difficulty.
The levy of the 500 infantry will be ready for embarkation in a few days, all the officers being already assembled and the arms and accoutrements purchased. I am only awaiting the return from court of the Secretary Lake, to ask him for the king's patent, without which it is not allowable to make any muster of soldiers.
The secretary of the ambassador Digby has arrived from Spain and proceeded forthwith to the king, to whom all the lords of the Council have in like manner betaken themselves, though as yet it is not known what intelligence he brings; he left word however that at the moment of his departure from Madrid the court there considered that the peace in Italy had been completely ratified, nothing soever being heard to the contrary.
The French ambassador has not yet taken leave of his Majesty, but says he shall do so immediately on recovering from a slight indisposition. In the mean while the court here is awaiting th result of the explanations forwarded to the French court.
An ambassador has made an appearance from the Prince Palatine, and went immediately to the king. It is not yet known what the reason for his visit may be.
London, the 14 February, 1617. [M.V.]
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 The date is obliterated, but in the files this letter lies between others of Jan. 29th and Feb. 5, and it appears to belong to the latter date.
2 The letter of recall is dated Jan. 28th 1618, State Papers, Foreign, France, Vol. 68. In his letter to the Secretary of Jan. 19/29, William Becher says that when the secretary related the circumstances it was received with much heat and complaint by the king and all the court. Ibid.
3 Simon Digby, John Digby himself started on March 25th, old style.
4 Wotton describes the fire in a letter to Lake dated 31 Dec. 1617 o.s. (State Papers Foreign, Venice). It broke out on the ground floor below the kitchen, and before it could be got under destroyed all the roof and timber work in the best part of the house. The letter is printed in Mr. Pearsall Smith's Life and Letters of Sir Henry Wotton, ii. pp. 125–127.
5 Digby.