Venice
March 1618, 1-13

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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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156-174

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'Venice: March 1618, 1-13', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 15: 1617-1619 (1909), pp. 156-174. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88673 Date accessed: 02 October 2014.


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March 1618

March 1st.
Senato,
Secreta,
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
251. To the ambassador in England.
The news of the engagement of the two ships reaches us in good time, as well as the negotiations for others and the levy of the 500 foot. The terms seem favourable and we are quite satisfied. There are some further matters and we are sending an express courier so that this may reach you in time. As we think that sailors are better than soldiers for fighting ships, we give you power to increase their number as much as you think necessary beyond the sixty arranged for each ship, so that they may be completely ready to fight. To this end you will provide excellent gunners, especially as we are very short of such men to serve on the tall ships, so that it would be most opportune to arrange for about 200 to come on the ships beyond those who are necessary for them. With regard to the large ships for war, we do not know precisely what the size of 250 tons may be. We are particularly anxious that the ships should leave soon, and we desire them to make the voyage together with the Dutch ships, but if they are ready first, we should prefer them to come alone, without waiting for the Dutch. There is no reason to fear the threats of the Spanish ambassador that they will be opposed, because the Dutch which came last year and the recent ones, never met with any resistance. We wish the ships to come straight to the fleet to serve under our Captain General at sea, without turning aside or thinking of anything else unless they are obliged. You will tell the captains this and that they cannot receive any money except from the general.
With regard to the arrest of various English ships at Cadiz and Barcelona, of which you write to us, to serve in the fleet of Naples, it agrees with other proceedings of Ossuna and with the designs of the Spaniards upon the Gulf. We direct you to repeat our thanks to his Majesty and tell him the further particulars, enclosed, about the operations of Ossuna and the intentions of the Spaniards, showing how necessary it is for the public weal to oppose such designs, and restrain them with his royal resolutions in a way that has not been possible hitherto by negotiation, and so bring his Majesty, so far as you can, to the fulfilment of his friendly promises.
We send you extracts from the letters of our Ambassadors Soranzo at Rome and Spinelli at Naples to give weight to your representations not only to the king but to the ministers also, and to obtain fresh orders for English ships not to call at the ports of Naples.
We have seen what you say about a possible proposal from his Majesty with regard to a union against the pirates. The States have made the same proposal and we send you a copy of what we wrote to Surian, so that you may be informed of our position and may speak in accordance. We have always suspected that this plan was suggested by the Spaniards, to relieve them from their embarrassments, and this seems more clear since the Spaniards are trying to obtain ships from the knights of Malta to send into the Gulf. The negotiations with the king and the States are for the same purpose, and you will impress this upon his Majesty.
We will cause the letters of exchange to be paid promptly, so that your negotiations may not be delayed and you may complete this very important matter, and meanwhile you will try to obtain the sum that you need from Holland, to secure the immediate departure of the ships, which ought not to suffer the slightest delay.
With regard to the captain of whom you write that he desires to come and serve us, we do not seem to have sufficient information about him, or of how he stands in the king's favour, whether his Majesty would be pleased at his going, of the fidelity of his service, of his claims, possessions and credit, so that we cannot say anything definite at the moment. Possibly he would not be readily obeyed by the captains of the ships and if the journey is undertaken in conjunction with the Dutch ships it might give rise to confusion. However when your replies upon these particulars reach us he might come by the quick route over land and our sea captains would be able to avail themselves of his services.
That authority be given to the Cabinet to send the money required for the hire of the aforesaid ship and troops, finding the means through Amsterdam or London.
Two letters of credit were sent, the courier being detained for the purpose, adding a copy of what was written to the Secretary Surian at the end of to-day's letter.
Ayes159.
Noes1.
Neutral3.
[Italian.]
March 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
252. To the ambassador in England.
After the mutual ratification of the peace in Germany, we made ready to send the commissioners. From the archducal camp they had already dismissed three of the companies paid by Spain and four ensigns of Colonel Stoder and they were going to dismiss the 500 cavalry of Dampier, but they came to no decision about dismissing the 600 horse of Marada and 3,000 foot of Saxony paid by Spain, as they said they were waiting to hear from Spain. Neither did they dismiss the 2,000 foot of Alsace.
The French ambassadors after leaving Turin have arrived at Milan, to give Don Pedro the assurance of the Catholic king about disarmament, about which he does not seem inclined to raise difficulties, but the outcome can only be judged from what happens.
The duke of Ossuna is not surrendering a jot of his notions and preparations for war; he detains all the ships which arrive to arm them, while he proclaims the dismissal of all in order to encourage other ships to enter the ports of the kingdom and then detain them. He goes on increasing his stores at Brindisi, collects sailors and artillery, and is laying down two galleys at the Arsenal. They say that other ships will come from Spain. He also says that he is making war by the king's order and boasts of new charges and titles received from his Majesty. He says that he will send thirty galleons and fifty galleys into the Gulf this year, and that he has orders to pursue his measures against the republic.
It is also said that orders from Spain have reached the Viceroy of Sicily and Don Carlo Doria to keep their galleys in readiness to obey the orders of the duke of Ossuna.
Ayes169.
Noes0.
Neutral0.
[Italian.]
March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives
253. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I was unable to see the king before last Sunday because he delayed my audience until his return to London. I thanked him in the first place for the favour conceded to your Serenity with regard to the ships, saying that the obligation became so much the greater as the need for them increased and became more urgent, it being now clear by the many preparations made by the Spaniards both by land and sea, that they meditate mischief and are determined not to keep the promise given by their king that under divers frivolous pretexts they kept delaying the surrender of Vercelli to the duke of Savoy and of the galleys to the republic. The Spanish ministers in Italy evinced the worst intentions, preparing to inflict fresh disasters on thet country, which if not succoured by a more powerful arm, must be reduced to extreme straits, I said that his Majesty, perceiving by his singular prudence, the immensity of the peril, might better than any one, by employing his royal resolution, render himself not only infinitely meritorious in the eyes of that whole province, but glorious throughout the whole world, nor could there be a moment more fitting or an occasion more important than the present one, to realise his most gracious promises so often repeated, in case of need, and that the chief object of this my mission extraordinary, was to beseech him with the most respecful devotion, to this effect, with the conviction that whatsoever he might do for a power so attached to him would redound to the advantage of his crown, as Venice would always show herself most ready to reciprocate similar acts. I likewise observed how necessary it was for all those to whom the power of Spain must be an object of suspicion, to watch her ends and proceedings and to prevent the measures she is carrying out, to the prejudice of the liberty of Europe, as it is clear even now that although the hostilities against the king of Bohemia are suspended commissioners have been appointed to arrange our differences; yet the Spaniards have sent an army into the territories of that prince, paid with their own funds: the considerable sums remitted lately to Flanders and the levies of troops everywhere, being all facts which should bind every one to keep on the watch. Last of all I said that the terms attached to the licence for hiring ships were so restricted that I knew not what good could be derived from them, assigning reasons which I omit here to avoid wearying your Excellencies.
The king listened to me most graciously, and then said that although all the other ambassadors had demanded audience he chose to see me first, being aware of the nature of my communication, so that my fears might not impede the arrangements for the ships, nor your Serenity fail to receive assurance forthwith, of his affection, which cannot more earnestly desire and seek the welfare of Venice than it does, and he then went on as follows
On my accession to the crown of England, owing to the good opinion and great esteem entertained by me invariably for the republic and with the belief that such was for the benefit of Christendom, I laid it down as a maxim, and firmly resolved to consider the interests of Venice as my own, and to maintain not by contract or writing, but in right of good fellowship, a defensive league with her: whenever the occasion has offered itself, I have declared myself with all promptitude, in like manner as I do willingly in this instance, having even written into Spain for my ambassador to speak expressly to the king, I myself acting in conformity by their ambassador here, for he likewise asked me for ships. I told him that I was so linked with Venice that as she had demanded aid of me for her defence, I could not refuse it, and that I would do the like for the king of Spain were he molested by others, wherefore he must either prove to me that the republic was in the wrong, in which case I should withdraw, or else admit the justice of my resolves; and on this occasion I reminded the ambassador of what I told him two years ago, that I would never assist any who should molest or take up arms against his king, but that if he attacked others he must not consider our friendship broken if I succoured them and came forward in their defence (in questa occasione ho arricordato al detto ambre quello, che già dieci anni le dissi, che mai haverei fomenlato alcuno, quale apportasse disturbi o movesse le armi contra il suo Re ma volendo egli offender altri non doveva intendersi rotta l'amicitia se io li sovenivo et mi mostravo in sua diffesa); this much will serve you for a reply and prove what I have done hitherto, and should the need increase I will not fail to do my utmost. He then went on to say that the obnoxious paragraph had been inserted in the decree to baulk such as might be inclined to find fault with it, and to deprive the Spaniard of all pretext for complaint; but that as for the captains of the ships, they were not to be acquainted with similar details, and that he should command them to obey the republic entirely without any exception, she being at liberty to make use of them for her defence as might seem best to her.
This was the answer I received from the king. I replied that your Serenity would be very glad to hear what he had done hitherto, and that on your behalf I offered most hearty thanks. Resuming the topic concerning the evil intentions of the Spaniards with regard to Italy, I said everything I could to convince him of the need of succouring the republic. His Majesty interrupted me with assurances of goodwill and expressed hopes that in conformity with the last news from Spain and owing to the removal from Milan of Don Pedro di Toledo, peace would be effected. He then referred me to the Secretary to arrange to my satisfaction the order for the captains, some of whom being at my house when he came to me, he told them in my presence to go and serve the republic readily, as such was the will of the king, and they remaining satisfied with this word, nothing remained to be done in this matter, and thank God for that after so many difficulties raised by the ministers, who were glad to foment them, I have been enabled to overcome them all successfully.
I trust that your Serenity will approve the reasons which deterred me from asking the king for his own ships, for again since the receipt of the last orders I chose to speak on the subject to certain persons, from whom I became aware that there was no hope of obtaining them. The ships usually afloat to guard the island are six in number; two between Dover and Calais, two others at Plymouth and the other two in Scotland. It would be difficult to induce his Majesty to remove these guard ships, four of which, moreover, are at such a distance that it would take a long while to get them here, and, what matters more, their captains and crews are creditors for very considerable arrears (molte e molte paghe). A few days ago they mutinied on this account and resolved to quit the ships. Unless they are paid they would scarcely agree to go and serve another, while it is equally difficult to give them money owing to the extreme scarcity of funds, for which many and many are constant and very troublesome applicants, but without the possibility of succeeding. The king has a number of other vessels in the river at Rochester (nel Canal di Roiston) but in such a state that it would require months to get them ready as they are without armament, in great need of repair and require the renewal of the greater part of their tackle. But it was not these considerations alone which convinced me that it would be well not to make the demand, but because I perceived that the denial would prove very injurious as it might vastly discredit a report generally current here and elsewhere to the effect that the king has declared himself in favour of the republic, giving her aid which he had denied to Spain (ma perche vedevo quando fossero negate ricever grande pregiudicio la voce che qui communemente corre ed altrove anco e passata che il Re sia dechiarito in favore della Republica, dandoli quelli agiuti che non ha voluto conceder a'Spagnuoli).
These reasons I lay before your Serenity with the greatest possible respect in explanation of the non-execution of the order given to me in this matter.
London, the 2nd March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
254 PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Certain English merchants have received information of the seizure of their ships at Naples by order of the Viceroy there, for the purpose of compelling them to serve in the fleet, and they are about to appear before the Council to make their complaint. This report has rendered it very difficult for me to engage any vessels, the owners saying that as they are concerned in those which have been seized, they cannot act against their own ships as they would then be in danger on both sides.
In conformity with the instructions forwarded to me by your Serenity on the 9th ult, I have spoken in strong terms to many of the members of the Council concerning the proceedings of Ossuna, expatiating on the undue violence offered by him to British subjects to the detriment of a friendly power allied with England, and observing how unfit and contrary it was to the goodwill of his Majesty, to see English vessels joined with those of Spain waging war on the republic. They seemed all to take these proceedings very much amiss as contrary to their agreements with the Catholic king, and said that were this system continued they must think of obtaining indemnity for their merchants, who are on no account allowed to sell their ships without an express permission from the king, in default of which, they incur very heavy penalties for making similar sales, and one Garset, now at Venice, has been outlawed by them for selling a ship to the duke of Ossuna, and should he return hither an order has been already issued by the Council to punish him severely.
Henry Gardiner, who left Naples with a commission to export tin from here for the royal fleet, has not yet made his appearance. I shall keep on the watch for his arrival, and will observe what he may do, mentioning the matter again to the Ministry and insisting upon his evil intentions being frustrated, but I understand that having gained his lawsuit at Naples and received 500 crowns from Ossuna, having no further business there, he will not care to go back.
I have engaged five most capital vessels, and by reason of the readiness of their captains to serve your Serenity and their abhorrence of the name Spaniard, I trust they will do the best possible service. Some Flemish ships were offered me at a much cheaper rate, and also of much heavier tonnage, but the English being held in infinitely greater account by reason of the strength of their build, the quality of their guns and their crews which yet more excel all other nations in battle, I did not choose to part with them (ma essendo molto più stimate le Inglesi per la fortezza loro, per la qualità dell' artelleria e per la marinarezza che nel combatter avanza d'avantaggio ogn'altra natione, non ho voluto partirmi da queste). Amongst these there is one of upwards of 600 butts, called the Hercules whose captain tells me that on this his last voyage from the Levant, having reached Naples, and understanding that there was risk of seizure, having landed his cargo he put to sea by night with a fair wind, and on the morrow was chased for a long while by six galleys which at length came up with him, but perceiving his preparations for action and that he was resolute they allowed him to continue his voyage without further molestation. He assured me that it was his intention to defend himself to the last gasp, and if reduced to extremities, rather than fall into their hands, he had matches lighted for firing the powder magazine, meaning to blow himself up, ship and all.
The two first vessels engaged by me are already fit for sea with their crews on board. The 500 infantry are likewise raised, and indeed their captains are daily urging me to pass the muster, as they can no longer maintain them at their own cost, but I delay the inspection for the interest of your Serenity until the other vessels, which I am hastening so that they may put to sea forthwith, may be in readiness. I am doing the like with regard to everything else required for their despatch.
London, the 2nd March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 2.
Cons.de' X.
Parti Secrete.
Venetian
Archives.
255PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the COUNCIL of TEN.
After the negotiations with his Majesty, which I have related in my public letters, he begged me with the utmost earnestness to tell him if his ambassador at Venice was suspected of not acting sincerely, and if from certain of his proceedings it was thought he might be in the pay of the Spaniards, as if so he would remove him under some pretext which would save his reputation. He knew that this could not be known as an absolute certainty, but from general indications it would not be difficult to prove his fault, and as the service of your Serenity was involved, I ought to speak freely, without reserve.
I replied that I knew nothing which I could tell his Majesty on the subject, as I had been away from Venice for some months and was ill informed about this. The king again pressed me to at least try to obtain information about it. He added, swearing by his soul, that he had wished to compare his manner of writing when he was at Venice before, and his present style, and he had not found the slightest difference, as he always seemed most friendly to the interests of the republic and strongly opposed to the Spaniards. I have thought it my duty to inform your Excellencies of all this, so that you may tell me what to say to his Majesty if he broaches the subject again. (fn. 1)
London, the 2nd March, 1816.
[Italian.]
March 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
256 RANIER ZEN, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE. I have seen the duke in order to communicate to him the instructions of your Serenity. We spoke about current affairs. I have not the slightest doubt that his Highness is trying to gain time. He does not wish to offend the Spaniards and hopes for the restitution of Vercelli. He has some hopes from France, but still more from Spain, as proposals of marriage have been made to him. Although he has no idea or inclination that way, as I believe, yet it may be to his advantage to encourage the idea for the sake of his affairs. In this connection I may state that he told the English agent here the other day, and me also one evening, that the Spaniards propose to give the second daughter to Prince Filiberto. He seemed to laugh at this and be unwilling to trust them any more. He told the agent in order that he might communicate the matter to England so that his Majesty might see how they negotiate since this is the very princess whom they are proposing to give to the prince of Wales (gli lo diceva accio lo scrivesse in Inghilterra et vedesse Sua Maestà come trattavano, poiche questa è quella appunto che praticano di dar anco al Principe di Vagli). The agent told me he had written this, and though he said that he perceived the duke did not trust the Spaniards and therefore had no inclination towards this marriage, yet it seemed to me that he had spoken out of curiosity in the interests of his king, to discover my opinion, as he asked me what I thought.
Turin, the 3rd March, 1618.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna,
Venetian
Archives.
257. PIERO GRITTI, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English ambassador tells me that he has heard from his king of their doubts about the carrying out of the treaty, and that orders have been sent to him by a special courier to assist the republic by his representations if their affairs were not settled. He has done so, speaking suitably to the confessor and to the Secretary Cerisa, telling them how much his Majesty has at heart the complete execution of the treaty. They assured him that their sincerity would appear by the results. I thanked him for what he had done in the interests of your Excellencies and showed him the reasons for doubting that peace would ensue. Afterwards, when I had given him an opportunity, he spoke of the marriage, saying that he met with great difficulties and wished to leave soon, and was expecting a reply from his king to what he had represented by his secretary, whom he had sent to England. This same idea has been published throughout the Court. The nuncio, in conversation with me, said that he thought it better that the negotiations should not be restricted. Although the ministers here had spoken to him about the affair, they had said nothing about the conditions upon which the marriage was to be made, although it was only right that they should send word to his Holiness and obtain his consent.
Madrid, the 4th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
258. SIMONE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The resident here of the king of England, who came to see me one day recently, told me he had heard that the Spanish ambassador at their Court had made many complaints to his Majesty because he had granted the republic some ships from that realm, saying it was an unfriendly act to his king. His Majesty replied that he had no such idea, as he did not think he had done any harm in granting these ships to your Serenity for the defence of the Gulf, not to attack any one.
I thanked the minister for what he had told me and begged him to assure his Majesty of the extreme indebtedness of the republic to him when confronted by the ill behaviour of the Spaniards towards the public peace, which his Majesty had so much at heart, as became a great and generous king. I lose no opportunity of increasing the evil reputation of the Spaniards, who on their side do their utmost to discredit the most serene republic and myself.
The people of the country of Juliers, so the ambassador of the States tell me, are complaining to his masters of the behaviour of the Spaniards. The States have complained to the Most Christian King asking him to carry out the treaty of Xanten, to which he is bound as well as the English king. His Majesty replied that he had not pressed the matter because he was engaged at the moment in making the Spaniards carry out a peace in Italy, but when that matter was settled he would willingly take up the other.
Paris, the 4th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
259. RANIER ZEN, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English agent has told the duke and me also that he hears on good authority that the affairs of the States may become involved, since Spinola has given a large sum of money to the Prince of Neuburg either to enforce his claims to the duchy of Cleves or to break with Brandenburg, as only the States will move in his defence, as their own interests demand, and if they do, he will pretend that they have broken the truce. This gives greater colour to the idea that they have endeavoured to persuade France not to pay any longer the 3,000 foot and 400 horse maintained by that crown.
Turin, the 4th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
260. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The sailors here are well aware of everything that concerns their interests. They have heard about the negotiations of the ambassador Contarini in England and how he was asked for security for payment in London. They have asked for a security from the States for any time beyond the six months agreed upon. I told them there was no reason why they should doubt the promises of the republic, the sailors now serving having received every farthing of their pay.
The Hague, the 6th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
261. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
When I had sent off my letters of the 27th ult. I went to see the French ambassador. In the course of the conversation he asked me what the ambassador in England was doing with respect to procuring ships, and if he was granted facilities. I replied that I had heard nothing except that he received every favour from his Majesty. He said that a letter from the Most Christian ambassador at that Court did not represent things quite so brightly, for he said that the ambassador Contarini was in no little trouble because he did not receive the assistance that the exigencies of the times demanded, and still less a declaration in favour of the republic and the duke of Savoy. He referred to Spanish corruption as bridling every good effort and said that one could not expect anything worth much from that quarter (tocca la corruttione Spagnola esser il freno ad ogni buon effetto et che malamente si puo l'huomo prometter cosa che vaglia da questa parte).
He went on to make a great deal of the omission to invite the ambassador of his Most Christian Majesty to the masque of the Prince of Wales, calling it an imprudent course to take, as they ought not to show partiality in distributing their favours; but allow his Majesty to stand equal with Spain. I clearly gathered from what he said that the French are very much offended with the English.
They still speak of arming twelve ships against the pirates, but I have heard nothing more about their acting with your Serenity in the matter.
The Hague, the 4th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
262 GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The affair of England and Holland disturbs his Excellency a great deal, and the fact that they refuse to him what they have so readily granted to your Serenity in the matter of ships. However, by virtue of sending Alagambe to Flanders and Henry Gardiner to England, and by letters to the English king, he hopes to make a strong impression against your Serenity. He further proposes to send a present of horses to that king, as he hopes to win his cause there in the same way as he has seen such things done at the Spanish Court and elsewhere. I am told of this present of horses on very good authority, but hitherto I have not been able to make absolutely sure, as I generally do before writing to your Serenity.
Naples, the 6th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
263. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English ship Royal Merchant was coming here. It moored six miles from this port and unloaded the merchandise which was to come here. On hearing of this, the duke of Ossuna sent a courier to Messina, asking that the vessel should be detained, but the master, suspecting this order, set sail and departed eastwards to continue his business.
Naples, the 6th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
264. GIOVANNI FRANCESCO TREVISAN, Venetian Secretary in Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
In order to thwart the plans of the duke of Ossuna, to detain all ships of war which go to Naples which are well adapted to serve in his fleet, I thought it best to proceed to Leghorn from whence I returned yesterday evening. There are more than forty ships in that port, ten of which, partly Flemish and partly English, of 2000 salme are very fine and excellently adapted for that service. They must not be allowed to go to Naples upon any consideration, for if they do they will certainly be detained. Accordingly I approached the French consul, a great friend of mine and correspondingly devoted to the interests of the republic. All the masters of the ships were immediately warned and seemed very glad of the notification. They promised not to allow themselves to be taken under any pretext whatsoever. The consul promised me to write to every part of this coast to the same effect.
Several months ago three ships of merchants interested in Leghorn were driven by stress of weather to San Vipe, a French port in Provence, with merchandise bought in Barbary. They were detained and made to give up all their goods and ?merchandise, which were afterwards confiscated as having been taken from Christians by Turks, by decree of the parliament of Aix. The Grand Duke is using every effort to induce his Most Christian Majesty to make restitution, and has sent some one on purpose, showing that Leghorn is a free port, and that ships driven in by stress of weather ought not to be subject to the French laws in this matter. Nevertheless, they have not yet been able to obtain anything, and there is little hope because the ships have been sold and the goods distributed.
Pisa, the 8th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
265. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary
in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Spanish ambassador here presses warmer suit than ever and is employing all possible means for the prevention of the despatch of the vessels destined to serve your Serenity; and at his last audience he made a formal complaint to the king, requesting him not to permit their departure, laying before him the many untoward consequences which might proceed hence, and finally he showed him a letter from his king saying that he wished to refer all his disputes with the republic for arbitration to his Majesty, to prove to him the great confidence and esteem in which he holds his person. I told the Marquis of Buckingham, who made this announcement to me, that nothing could be more agreeable to your Serenity than to perceive and learn the gracious interposition of his Majesty, though I must indeed tell him that these fresh proposals proved the crafty objects of the Spaniards, who aim at eternizing that which ought to have been settled long ago for the sake of gaining time for the furtherance of their own evil designs; that the real thing to do was to settle every thing speedily and faithfully to perform what had been promised, surrendering the galleys and enjoining the ministers in Italy to abstain from any hostile proceedings.
It is now reported that Spain is ready to conclude the marriage between the Infanta and Prince Charles and that together with the Commissioners they were sending the duke of Pastrana. On the other hand the ambassador says that by this time the peace is certainly established in Italy, warning simultaneously such captains as shall serve your Serenity to beware of ever showing themselves or their vessels in Spanish ports or they will pay the penalty, whilst with the same breath he says that there are forty Spanish ships in the Strait waiting to give them battle. These reports have made it very difficult for me to bring these people to reason and moderation in their terms, though thank God, after much trouble I have engaged six ships, three of 600 butts each and the rest of 500, and built for war and very well adapted for that service. Part of them are now under sail and I trust that in a few days the others will also be ready. The largest of them carry 26 pieces of artillery, including moreover 6 half culverins, and they will be provisioned for a year with everything but beer, of which they can only ship a supply for six months as it would not keep longer. Besides their own ammunition I shall consign 20 barrels of powder to each of them and ball in proportion, so that on reaching the fleet they may not stand in need of anything, and the flags are already ordered so that they may come under your Serenity's colours.
His Majesty was annoyed by the account which some of the Lords of Council gave him concerning the seizure by the Viceroy at Naples of an English ship, and says he shall complain to the ambassador resident here, and that unless a stop be put to similar proceedings he will be compelled to resort to stronger measures.
The French Ambassador has taken leave of the king, his Majesty having expressed a wish to see him again before his departure. Meanwhile he goes paying his farewell visits to the rest of the court with the intention, as he himself told me, of quitting England in a fortnight. The reason for this step warrants a belief no ambassador from the court of France will return here for many a day.
The king after giving audience to all the foreign ambassadors resident here, has quitted London for his usual field sports. I send your Serenity my duplicates of the 2nd.
London, the 9th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian.
Archives.
266. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have this moment engaged the Royal Exchange, a very fine ship of 700 butts, which will be ready at the same time as the others, with a complement of 80 men and 28 guns. It will serve, I hope, to the satisfaction of your Excellencies.
London, the 9th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 9.
Inquisitori.
di Stato.
Busta 157.
Venetian
Archives.
267. The INQUISITORS of STATE, to CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands.
You will persist in your efforts to discover particulars about the letters sent to the English ambassador from Venice. We know the difficulties of the task, but you must not despair.
[Italian.]
March 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
268. To the ambassador in France.
If asked you will reply that we are ready to give up Segna, showing our readiness for peace. But the Spaniards continue their machinations. The duke of Ossuna, after announcing that he had supreme authority from the Catholic king both by land and sea and orders to do what he pleased against the republic, continues to boast of what he will do against us. He is levying troops and asking for money from the ministers to increase his fleet. He has sent a special person to England to negotiate for ships, and is also detaining the Flemish ships which have arrived in the kingdom. The governor of Milan is giving fresh proofs of his reluctance for peace, and is dismissing none of his troops. He has written to Spain against making restitution, in order not to increase the prestige of the French in Italy. He thus throws every difficulty in the way of restitution. He persuades Mantua not to pardon the rebels, to claim compensation for damages and to refuse the places from Savoy if they do not pass through the hands of his Excellency. He is continually changing his ground.
All this is for information.
The like to the other Courts and to the Generals.
Ayes136.
Noes0.
Neutral1.
[Italian.]
March 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
269. To the ambassador in England.
With regard to the ships, we see by your letters of the 13th that there remain two difficulties to solve, the money for payment, and the securities claimed by the owners. The first is met by the letters of credit which we have sent, and those from Surian. Upon the second point we think that the owners ought not to insist, because our word has always been inviolable, but but as you have not been able to persuade them, we send three letters from merchants here for their agents there, insuring them up to the sum of 50,000 ducats, which we believe will suffice, and if you need more we will send another letter by Amsterdam for 15,000 ducats, but you will not use this except in case of urgency, and you will charge the Resident Surian and the merchants in that mart to observe complete secrecy in the matter, so that the captains of the ships which are being levied then may not raise similar pretensions. To secure our merchants we have taken the decision of which we send you a copy. One thing, however, you must not omit; that during the said security the owners of the ships must not worry the insurers if pay be withheld owing to their failure, but you will declare that the republic may seize their securities in case of such failure. You will insert these provisions in the contracts, so that we may be relieved from any annoyance caused by the fault of the owners.
You will see the state of current affairs from the enclosed advices. In communicating these to the king and his ministers you will point out the steps taken by us in the interests of peace, and how the Spaniards are acting in the contrary sense. They are asking the Grand Duke, the Pope and Malta for galleys and by this means they hope to secure their eastern coast, as by a union of the fleets of the States, France and his Majesty against the pirates they hope to secure their western and thus release their forces against us. His Majesty should keep an eye upon this matter, which involves such serious consequences, and now the season is so advanced he should no longer delay to take some decisive resolution to relieve this province and assist the general good, to the perpetual glory of his name. The specious pretexts about keeping ships in the seas of Spain to be used against the Turk you will show to be well known, and the States have recognised the force of our representations upon the question of the pirates. They will follow his Majesty's example as well as all the other powers who have reason to fear the predominance of the Catholic king.
Ayes140.
Noes2.
Neutral5.
[Italian.]
March 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
270. As our Ambassador Contarini desired that the masters and parceners of the ships hired for the service of your Serenity should receive an assurance for the payment of their wages, and divers merchants of this mart having written to their agents in London to grant their owners and parceners the cautions which the ambassador should concede, so that it is just to guarantee those merchants against any loss: resolved that they shall be relieved by your Serenity of any damage or loss upon this account, and the treasurer of the Cabinet shall be instructed to see that the owners and parceners receive the wages and satisfaction arranged. That copies of this deliberation be sent to the ambassador in England and to the merchants.
Ayes140.
Noes2.
Neutral5.
[Italian.]
March 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
271. GIROLAMO SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the DOGE and SENATE.
In my audience yesterday, I fully carried out the orders of your Serenity, showing that though the republic and Ferdinand were well disposed towards peace, the Spaniards refused to dismiss their troops. It was impossible for Christendom to be at peace while these attempts were being made in the Gulf and while the duke of Ossuna publicly talked about capturing Venice. They are playing the Turk's game. If it came to a fight the victory would prove a costly one and both conqueror and conquered would lie at the mercy of the Ottomans, who with very weak forces might make great progress in this province owing to the disunion and folly of Christendom. The pope sighed and agreed with what I had said. He promised to do his best. He had spoken recently to the Cardinal Borgia. The Spaniards objected to the preparations made by the republic in Holland and in England, saying that if the republic increased her fleet they must enlarge theirs. He wished that both sides would cease from these extensive preparations and instead of ordering fresh vessels dismiss the extraordinary ones. I answered: Your Holiness knows the necessity for the republic to arm as the Spaniards both by word and act clearly show that they mean to try conclusions with her. Their unjust action forces the republic to arm, and the Signory are procuring ships from Holland and England for their defence. Their objection to this is frivolous as they themselves have done their utmost to obtain ships of war both from England and Holland. If they honestly wish the republic to disarm they should evacuate the Gulf, disarm their galleons and cease from all these preparations. Our provisions are just and necessary, but what they are doing is unjust and unnecessary.
Rome, the 10th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Constantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
272. ALMORO NANI, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
On the 19th ult. Bracchi arrived with Barnaba Brutti, dragoman at Scios. They found that the saetia which recently left Venice, Julian a Frenchman master, had gone to Port Dolfin at Scios. Before its arrival it had been sighted by several vessels near Tenedos, and the said master was wishing to unload a part of his cargo and not to go any further. Bracchi and Brutti went to the Rei of the town and induced him to go with them towards Tenedos to find this saetia and try and get its master into their hands by force or stratagem, promising the Rei 2,000 sequins if they took the saetia to Tenedos. They set out on the 23rd ult. and found the saetia in the port near le Vigne five miles from Tenedos. Unfortunately an English berton was near it, and as the Rei feared that it was a pirate he did not dare to fulfil his promise. Upon the arrival of the galley Captain Julian had laded a part of the merchandise, and on the following night he disappeared, taking with him a cargo thought to be worth 18,000 ducats.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 11th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
273. RANIER ZEN, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I fear that Marini performs the worst offices with his Highness against your Serenity; in fact little good can be expected from the French and their ministers. I cannot discover the reason unless it be Spanish gold, as I have heard this very day, on good authority that they have bought the very pages of this Court, so that all clamour for the duke to yield to the Spaniards and to throw themselves into the king's arms, like a subject. Modène before leaving for Milan said to the English agent, who himself reported to me, that the naval disputes between the republic and the Spaniards had nothing to do with the duke of Savoy.
Turin, the 11th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
274. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
As the king is suffering from a slight attack of gout in one of his knees, I have been unable to consign to him your Serenity's letter of the 16th or to execute the commissions entrusted to me, but Secretary Naunton having come to negotiate with me, I made my communication to him to be reported to his Majesty, returning thanks for the favour of allowing your Excellencies to avail yourselves of the troops and vessels of this kingdom.
The object of this secretary's visit was to request me on behalf of his Majesty, as I had appointed Sir [Henry] Peyton to the command of the troops destined for the service of your Serenity, to give him the title of colonel, not so much because he considers him worthy of it on account of his individual qualities and deserts, as for the honour of this country because he was aware that the Dutch troops would be commanded by a colonel who would perhaps consequently claim precedence of Peyton, on which account his Majesty would consider it a great favour if I gave him equal rank. I replied that I desired nothing more than to serve and give satisfaction to his Majesty and that on his account I would substitute the title of Colonel for that of major (capotruppa), being sure that your Excellencies from your great wish to oblige him, would approve of my doing so not only in this but in affairs of much greater moment. For the additional satisfaction of this Cavalier and honour of his commission I chose to bind him to raise 1,000 infantry, 500 now and the rest when it may please your Serenity to order them. I have passed the muster of his men, among whom I found a number of gentlemen, and the rest all fine troops, and I trust that in the present need they will do good service, as they all evince readiness and a great wish to make this voyage. The captains have already made their contracts with the masters of the ships for the soldiers' diet, nor can they obtain it for less than 6½ livres ahead per week and three months pay in advance to lay in the necessary stock; so it will behove me to give the infantry three months pay to enable them to settle with the ship owners. I trust by the next mail to acquaint your Serenity with the departure of these vessels or at least to announce them as on the eve of sailing, for they are well advanced and are now shipping their provisions, which being destined to last for a long while and for Englishmen who are not satisfied with short commons, are in great quantity.
Although the facilities of this mart for obtaining money are very limited, I have, with no small difficulty at length found a merchant to supply me, on receiving my promise that your Serenity will honour the drafts which will be forwarded by this post in favour of the Signor Guadagni, to the amount of 8,000 ducats. With regard to the securities required I have also devised a certain expedient, until such time as your Serenity shall afford me the means of redeeming the promises made by me to sundry individuals.
To-day the merchants received letters by way of Middelburg, announcing that the ship Royal Merchant, taken to Naples with a cargo of salt fish by that Alexander Rose, on reaching Procida, and being made acquainted with the orders of the Viceroy for its seizure, and pondering the threats made him by the Council when he left here, determined to make his escape without unloading. In this he succeeded and got to Leghorn. I am very glad of this, because it was a vessel extremely suitable for war service and in great repute here. The merchants concerned in the English ship lately detained at Naples, make daily complaints to the Council, demanding redress and letters patent authorising them to make reprisals, though their grant will prove impossible rather than difficult by reason of the delicacy observed at present in matters affecting Spain (ma li riguardi con quali si camina al presente nelli negocii che toccono Spagnuoli dimostrano impossible non che difficile l'ottenerle).
I enclose the note of the price stipulated for the ships, because the rest of the terms are all essentially the same as those contained in the writing sent by me heretofore.
ShipDragon of 500 butts with 60 men,per month ducats,1,420
"Centurion of 500 butts with 60 men" "1,420
"Amaden of 500 butts with 60 men" "1,420
"Abigail of 600 butts with 70 men" "1,600
"Hercules of 600 butts with 70 men" "1,600
"Matthew of 600 butts with 70 men" "1,600
"Royal Exchange of 700 butts with 80 men" "1,800
I enclose my duplicates of the 9th inst.
London, the 14th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
275. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
It is confirmed that his Excellency is sending ten horses to present to the king of England. By this means he hopes to obtain ships and other things from those parts. He resents very deeply the action taken by those ships which refused to come to this port owing to orders received in England. It has become apparent now that everybody is avoiding these coasts, to the notable detriment of the customs and the town.
Naples, the 13th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
March 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
276. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Pasini and Studer himself tell me that the latter is to leave on Saturday next for certain. He was somewhat discontented with the words inserted in the patent saying if his service satisfied your Serenity; he feared that he would be dismissed directly peace was made, and he wrote so to me. Accordingly Pasini went to see him, exhorted him to go and gave him the enclosed note to be delivered by him to your Serenity. He did this in order not to lose the money already paid to him.
The Hague, the 13th March, 1618.
[Italian.]
Enclosed
in the
preceding
despatch.
277. DOCUMENT made by PASINI for STUDER.
I Giovanni Battista Pasini state that the words 'if his service satisfied your Serenity' mean that if Sir Thomas Studer serves as a faithful and loyal soldier he will remain in the service of your Serenity both in peace and in war without any alteration.
At the village of Oppen, the 7th March, 1618.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 This decipher is preserved in the Series Senato, Secreta, Communicazioni dal Consiglio de' Dieci.