Venice
July 1618, 1-15

Sponsor

Institute of Historical Research

Publication

Author

Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1909

Pages

251-266

Annotate

Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'Venice: July 1618, 1-15', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 15: 1617-1619 (1909), pp. 251-266. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88679 Date accessed: 22 October 2014.


Highlight

(Min 3 characters)

July 1618, 1-15

July 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Capitano Gen.
da Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
426. PIERO BARBARIGO, Venetian Captain General at Sea, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I note your Excellencies' instructions of the 31st May with regard to the ships expected from England and Holland. I am most ready to carry them out but I perceive that their execution will keep me employed a long time and unable to attend to other operations. I think it would be a good thing therefore if the commissioners attended to the charge of reviewing the soldiers and sailors, inspecting the ships and artillery and such matters, though I will superintend everything. However I submit everything to your Serenity.
The galley at Spalato, the 1st July, 1618.
[Italian.]
July 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
427. RANIER ZEN, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
With regard to the troops of Mansfeld and the frontiers, after I had told the duke what your Serenity commanded me, he decided, in the presence of the English agent, to wait four or five days until the arrival of a definite reply to what I wrote to your Serenity, on the 25th ult.
Turin, the 2nd July, 1618.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
428. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Every one agrees that some remedy must be found for the domestic differences of this state so that they may not prejudice its defence. They propose to summon a national synod to bring peace and quiet to the country. The date of meeting is fixed for the 1st November next and they are now preparing letters to send to France, England, the Princes of Germany and the Swiss. To the two princes they wrote to assure them that this conference will discuss the question of religion only to arrange some settlement for the peace and quiet of the country, and at the same time they ask their Majesties and the others to send three or four able men, skilled theologians to take part in the congress. The meeting place will be Dordrecht, the chief town of Holland belonging to the party of the Counter remonstrants, and the Arminians are very dissatisfied with this decision, as appears clearly by their behaviour.
The Hague, the 3rd July, 1618.
[Italian.]
July 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
429. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
From Bari in letters of the 30th ult. I hear that eight large galleons have been seen off those shores. They were thought to be the English ships, and they were protecting their shores with cavalry and infantry.
Naples, the 3rd July, 1618.
[Italian.]
July 5. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.430. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
His Majesty appointed me an audience for the day before yesterday at Greenwich, where I acquainted him with the election of your Serenity to the dukedom by a unanimous vote and amid general applause. I said that I was instructed to assure him that the affection and regard of your predecessors for him and his house would be found in you, and then after kissing your letter I presented it to him. His Majesty returned thanks for the news and the kind expressions. Afterwards he expressed his joy that Venice should have escaped the peril, on the first news of which he immediately sent a letter to congratulate your Excellencies, saying that it was assuredly an iniquitous and detestable plot to seek to seize the treasure and ammunition and to plunder so rich a city; that the Captain Tournon (fn. 1) had always been a rogue, that he was concerned in the betrayal of Geneva for the duke of Savoy, that here he comported himself very indifferently and last of all had perpetrated this final iniquity. He then asked for some details, requesting me to tell him who laid the plot. Having thoroughly understood the commands of your Serenity I replied that I had as yet received no account of the particulars, but that the public demonstrations of punishment inflicted on many and the trials of others yet in course, rendered it presumable that the Signory, whose measures in all matters were invariably dictated by extreme wisdom, must have been induced to act thus by very cogent reasons. His Majesty however returned to the charge with yet greater vehemence, and being unable to elicit anything from me he said laughing, I really do not imagine I am suspected. No Englishman perchance or any other of my subjects is concerned in this matter ? I answered in the negative and said that no one in the world would ever entertain any doubt of him, everybody being acquainted with the special goodness and greatness of mind with which his Majesty was endowed, so that such unworthy and iniquitous sentiments could never find a home in his breast. The king added, to rid me of this suspicion, I hope that when the facts have been better ascertained the Signory will acquaint me more in detail with what has taken place, that I likewise may share their aversion towards whoever may have meditated such dire and notable mischief against the state. I made answer that your Excellencies would always repose the greatest confidence in him and as he said nothing more, I took leave and departed.
Having come across the accompanying print, which is said to have come from France, thousands of copies of it having been reprinted and translated into English, I send it to your Serenity.
When the Catholic ambassador here was asked about what had taken place at Venice he said, Nothing of any importance, only some companies of Frenchmen mutinied because they had not received their pay, and so a number of them were chastised and punished.
London, the 5th July, 1618.
[Italian.]
July 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
431. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Catholic ambassador has received an express with orders from his king not to leave here until he witness the thorough completion of the punishment of Sir Walter Raleigh. So he had to return to his Majesty and complain of the excesses committed by him on the island of San Thome in the West Indies, without any regard for persons or holy places. He had audience the day before yesterday, whereupon the proclamation against Sir Walter Raleigh was repeated and he is understood to be now at Plymouth, but in a bad state of health. The secretary Naunton tells me that this same courier brings word that when he left intelligence transmitted in great haste had reached the Catholic court to the effect that the English vessels destined for your Serenity's service, had passed the Strait, and thus the Cabinet at Madrid is relieved from all fear of their attempting anything in conjunction with the Dutch, to the detriment of Spain on this side of the Strait.
The merchants have received advice that two English ships which had been detained by the Viceroy of Naples, have been allowed to proceed on their voyage; and it is also understood that the corsairs have taken Oran in Barbary, a very important Spanish possession in those parts, so should this be confirmed, which is not the case hitherto, it is thought the Spaniards will relinquish all other undertakings from the necessity of defending themselves and not incurring greater loss.
I have just received your Serenity's letters of the 14th ult. concerning the complaint made by his Majesty's ambassador against Count Piero, and I shall avail myself of the notice merely for my own information.
London, the 5th July, 1618.
[Italian.]
July 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
432. ALMORO NANI, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople to the DOGE and SENATE.
The company of English merchants, with the consent of his Majesty, has chosen a merchant resident in this city to act as agent. (fn. 2) He will look after their affairs instead of the ambassador now resident with the Grand Turk. That ambassador proposes to embark on a Flemish ship which will leave for Venice in a few days, laden with wool and other things. It is considered certain that his Majesty will not keep an ambassador at the Porte for a while. They say that the king of France will do the like owing to the insulting treatment of his ambassador by the Turks.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 7th July, 1618.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenzi.
Venetian
Archives.
433. GIOVANNI FRANCESCO TRIVISAN, Venetian Secretary in Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
News from Amsterdam relates that twelve Dutch ships full of troops for the service of the republic fell in with ten ships and two caravels of Spain on the 24th ult., which were waiting for them in the Strait of Gibraltar. A sharp action ensued, lasting six hours, with losses on both sides. The Spaniards, finding that they were making no headway but were rather losing ground, finally decided to let the Dutch ships go their way as they had suffered but little harm.
Florence, the 7th July, 1618.
[Italian.]
July 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
434. RANIER ZEN, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English agent has been to see me and spoke to the same effect as his Highness about the troops of Count Mansfeld for the princes of Germany. He added that if the republic would keep in being and pay 2,000 men, his Highness would do the like, and if they kept them on the other side, it would be good news for Italy owing to the diversion. I do not know if in this matter he is looking after the interests of Mansfeld, who is his very great friend or of the Palatine, England's son in law. He added that all the princes are arming, but have not yet declared war.
Turin, the 10th July, 1618.
[Italian: the part in italics deciphered.]
July 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
435. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I hope that by this time the twelve ships will have arrived in the Gulf. I have heard nothing except last week a letter from the Admiral Kerckoven of the 24th May, announcing his arrival at Falmouth on that day, and another of the 5th ult., with news that owing to contrary winds he had been obliged to stop there with the fleet. Some ships had suffered from the rough weather, but he hoped to set sail on the following day. He had made his dispositions in conformity with the news he had received that there were Spanish warships near Lisbon. As I have heard nothing for so long, I hope they have passed safely.
The Hague, the 10th July, 1618.
[Italian.]
July 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
436. CHRISTOFFORO SURIAN, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The States are waiting to carry out their decision about the synod. The letters to the powers are ready. It is thought that the one for England will be sent by the secretary of the Ambassador Carleton, who recently came with letters from the king for their Excellencies and the town of Terver. His Majesty asks their Excellencies, the marquis of Terver and the town that a book issued by one of the ministers may be burned which declares that the practice and government of the Dutch churches are far more in conformity with the scriptures than those of England, with their bishops and other ceremonies. His Majesty fears that this will produce a harmful effect in Scotland, where he tried to introduce the use of England. He now asks that the book may be suppressed and burned with all speed; the secretary will wait and return with the reply.
The Muscovite ambassador has left, not well content because he could not do what he wished, and because they did not consign to him the present for the Grand Duke of Muscovy of munitions of war to the value of 30,000 florins. The task of making this present is confided to a Dutchman, Isaac Massa. It is not made public because I find that he has secret instructions to offer that prince still greater assistance if he will grant to the Dutch merchants the same privileges as the English enjoy and a free passage to Persia. Their High Mightinesses have not approved of this embassy or rather of the ambassador, as he said they were all brutes here.
The States, on hearing that the other Muscovite ambassador had left Engliand with the presents and honours accorded to him by the merchants there in their own interests, of which their ambassador sent no information, have written very strongly to him for not writing about a matter of such importance, and they and the merchants trading in Muscovy would feel very much annoyed if they are shut out of Muscovy by the English. However they have tried to content the ambassador with presents while their Excellencies, Count William and other notable persons accompanied him half way to Leyden, while at Amsterdam he is to be entertained at the public cost.
The Hague, the 10th July, 1618.
[Italian.]
July 10. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli, Venetian Archives.437. GASPARO SPINELLI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I will execute the commands contained in your Serenity's letter of the 30th ult. Hitherto I have not meddled with the affairs of the Dutchman Filiberto Vernati. I hear that he was paid money by order of a Flemish merchant at Venice, named Vuanufle, and that at the same time he received letters from one of the ambassadors in Venice, whether the French or English I do not know, telling him that his departure had caused dissatisfaction there. I am also told that his Excellency is using every effort to induce the man to say that he was sent by Venice to assassinate him, offering him his release from prison and large gifts. He replied that he would rather die than say what was not true. I will observe the course of events. I feel sure that the Viceroy seeing this individual is a man of spirit and of some authority among his own people, has made his plans about him, to let nothing slip which may favour his evil designs against your Serenity.
Naples, the 10th July, 1618.
[Italian.]
July 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Capitano Gen.
da Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
438. PIERO BARBARIGO, Venetian Captain General at Sea, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have come here with the great and the light galleys, and have been arranging some things which needed attention. I have distributed the recently arrived Dutch troops. I have called in the sailing ships from Calamota and they are all near me in this channel together with the seven galleons from England. I am ready to leave for wherever may be most necessary. I have here six galeasses, 26 galleons and 40 light galleys, all well armed.
I have directed the Commissioners Michiel and Loredan to make a careful inspection of the English ships, and I shall hope to hear your Serenity's intention regarding them.
I have ordered an immediate muster of the Dutch troops and of the soldiers who came on the English galleons. I will superintend all these affairs, wherever necessary.
The galley in the channel of Curzola, the 10th July, 1618,
[Italian.]
July 10.
Cl. VII.
Cod. MCXXII.
Bibl. di
S. Marco.
Venice.
439. ANGLIPOTRIDA.
With my fourth discourse I return to the city, being somewhat weary and sated with travelling through the forest. In this town one sees so many notable things that to narrate them perfectly would demand greater intellect and maturer judgment than I possess. I will, however, relate what I have observed according to my capacity with regard to the numerous shops and good artificers. There is one particular quarter full of apothecaries' shops on either side of the way, besides others scattered here and there about the city; another is entirely inhabited by booksellers, who, however, do not possess a single missal. Then there are the other streets of feather sellers, while certain mechanics make horn flowers and rosettes, as delicately wrought as if they were of the finest cambric. They paint them various colours. There is a suburb of gunsmiths; others only make bows and arrows. Some manufacture very handsome proof corslets, for the wear of the pikemen. There are several falconers' shops, whose proprietors do nothing at all but train birds of every sort for such as are fond of sport.
The military training especially of this warlike nation is of the most regular and careful description. Near our house is a certain spot appointed for the purpose, they flock for the musket and artillery exercise, making such a crash and noise that sometimes they make me drop my mouthful when I am seated at table. They handle the pike wonderfully and perform various evolutions, marching very boldly to the attack of a platform made like a fortress, to accustom themselves to an assault. In like manner they have very frequent general musters all over the city. Well nigh thoughout the year they have archery meetings in the fields near London, doing the like throughout the kingdom, a pastime in which their sovereigns themselves indulged of yore. Some take aim at earthen mounds raised like a butt; others shoot at oaken marks, carved and painted, and surmounted by gilt pommels, precisely like so many human heads. These for the most part are placed in the ditches of the fields, at equal distances. Others with the bent bow strive to make their arrows' flight surpass that of their comrades. They frequently wrestle before a concourse of two or three thousand curious spectators. They propel the ball to a great distance dexterously and well, both with their feet and arms. The lads throw the ball in the streets, aiming at a mark, according to certain rules, females also taking part with them, as they also like to have a little capering on feast days. Other lads more spirited, contend with wooden swords and daggers, exchanging rough blows, and when they have had enough, youths and grown-up men assemble and form a ring in sight of our windows, placing on the ground two bucklers and sham daggers and two thick staves instead of swords. Then the champions rush in from either side, throwing off their hats, and seizing the weapons they give each other awful blows, nor do they separate until one or the other is quite weary and yet better supplied with bruises. Were it not forbidden to play with unbated swords, they would push each other's eyes out grievously.
Then there is a certain theatre, a place belonging to the king, where he keeps a quantity of bears and other wild beasts, such as lynxes and tigers. In another part of it there are a number of bulls. In separate kennels they have got over a hundred trained mastiffs. Every week they bait both bull and bear with dogs belonging to private individuals such as butchers and others curious in these matters, as those of the kennel are only used on rare occasions in the presence of his Majesty or other grandees We went one day by invitation to see this sight and the result of our observations after various assaults was that both the bull and the bear overpower the courage of the dog, who although he occasionally makes some good hits, yet in the end is frequently killed on the spot, either from being tossed by the one or hugged, torn and bitten by the other. This week a wager of hundreds of crowns was laid between one of the counties and these Londoners, their dogs being pitted in this very theatre. It was said that both sides displayed remarkable powers, but the Londoners won the day, under favour it is believed, of those rufflers who attend the theatre and who showed partiality either by setting on or taking off the dogs, which are detached from the bear, by inserting between the teeth of that one of the two combatants who happens to be the griper, certain iron spattles with a wooden handle, whilst they take them off the bull, keeping at a greater distance, with certain flat iron hooks, which they apply to the thighs or even to the neck of the dog, whose tail is simultaneously dexterously seized by another of these rufflers. The bull can hardly get at anybody, as he wears a collar round his neck with only fifteen feet of rope which is fastened to a stake deeply planted in the middle of the theatre. Other rufflers are at hand with long poles to put under the dog so as to break his fall after he has been tossed by the bull; the tips of these are covered with thick leather to prevent them from disembowelling the dogs. The most spirited stroke is considered to be that of the dog who seizes the bull's lip, clinging to it and pinning the animal for some time. The second best hit is to seize the eyebrows; the third but far inferior, consists in seizing the bull's ear.
One also sees various other hunts, namely, a duck put into the water with a dog after her, but for the most part she escapes, her pursuer becoming tired and exhausted. Then there is another most extravagant hunt or rather fishery, effected by a large bird called a cormorant, the site of whose exploits belongs to the king. His Majesty constantly has a pair of them hooded at this Court. This very day he was to fish with them in the Thames from a boat. They have a very wide craw, and being well trained, dive in the ponds or streams, and after remaining some while under water, come to the surface with the prey in their mouth, or even in their craw, as they are unable to swallow because their throat is bound with a lacet.
They also hunt rabbits with certain French beagles, and we actually saw this the day before yesterday in the park of the most fortunate Marquis of Buckingham. When they want to take a good many and quickly for domestic purposes or on any other account, they employ a trained ferret thus: they blind the animal partially with a red hot iron and put a bell round his neck. After surrounding the warren with double nets, they let him loose in it, whereupon he instantly drives out a quantity of them, who rush terrified into the toils, in such numbers as to fill sacks, and these are much better eating than the tame ones.
It is also the custom in this kingdom to make the footmen run races of fifteen or twenty miles, and this very year a famous contest took place between the men of two of the leading nobles. It had something truly grand and magnificent about it for they wagered an annual rental of 800 crowns. The master of the winner was pleased to present him with a life rent of 80 crowns. His Majesty takes pleasure in being present at such sports, especially when any of the Court favourites are concerned, and he chooses the winning footman to enter his service, as was the case lately.
They likewise bet who can make the parish bells be heard at the greatest distance. In almost every belfry they ring seven or eight large bells in tune, just like a piece of music. It is said that some of them do it to warm themselves in the winter by pulling, since for summoning the people to sermons or to their other devotions, they touch them sparingly; abhorring at this present that they should be rung for divine service as in the olden time (hora abhorendo che suonino per gli divini officii. come già facevano). They continue this pompous noise whole days and nights, without considering for what holy purpose they were sounded of yore; and perhaps at the day of judgment the angels will not have to sound their trumpets in this kingdom, but rather these bells, so that the English may at length hear them without jesting and submit to the divine justice, willy nilly.
Concerning stag and deer hunting, I ought to be very accurate in drawing up a vigorous and sprightly narrative, for it is a worthy theme, fitted for great men, and more especially because the king here, now stricken in years, delights in it above all the sportsmen in the world. In various parts of this island they carefully preserve more than half a million of animals, possibly without including those of the forest and therefore it is no wonder that they are here acquainted with the quintessence of these sports. The first and speediest way is to await the stag on his course, armed with an arquebus or arbalest, from a bower formed in a shady tree, like a small chamber, to which one ascends by a stair. The second is to set the dogs after him, having first given the animal a slight flesh wound in the least dangerous part of the body with a shot from a cross bow, so as to draw blood, so that the prey may be taken more speedily and with greater ease. The third and very noble manner is when his Majesty chooses to hunt without taking any advantage, to which effect he gives orders over night for one of the largest and fattest and strongest stags to be selected. On the following morning the hounds rouse him from his lair, pursuing him from natural instinct and never losing the scent, even should he hide himself in a thousand woods or among as many other deer. The king accompanied by a number of cavaliers riding the quickest horses, follows the game over the country and often for the space of eight whole days, until it is quite exhausted and dead, and to effect this without killing the horses, relays are posted in various places. Being thus freshly mounted, the sportsmen are enabled to continue the hunt with greater spirit. On his Majesty coming up with the dead game, he dismounts, cuts its throat and opens it, sating the dogs with its blood, as the reward of their exertions. With his own imbrued hands, moreover, he is wont to regale some of his nobility by touching their faces. This blood it is unlawful to remove or wash off, until it fall of its own accord, and the favoured individual thus bedaubed is considered to be dubbed a keen sportsman and chief of the hunt and to have a certificate of his sovereign's cordial good-will.
The same style is observed in hunting the deer, though from what I understand this sport is less fatiguing.
I meant to stop here, in order to conclude my discourse, but it occurs to me that I have yet to tell of the enjoyable conflicts fought by crested cocks. In this kingdom they keep up a certain pugnacious breed of cocks with a jealousy equal to that observed at Padua over the beautiful birds of Spolverara. They have a place like an anatomical theatre and in the middle of the circle, whose level is sunk and covered with matting, they place the two fighting cocks, who set to immediately. After a long and courageous battle one of them is killed, the other remaining with small life in him. They very frequently peck out each other's eyes and at every first attack exchange very deep thrusts in the ribs with their spurs, and should one of them in action break a spur, if he has shown courage in other respects they immediately make another for him of silver.
The spectators bet heavily, encouraging by support and exclamation the success of one or the other of the combatants.
London, the 10th July, 1618.
[Italian.]
July 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci
Capitano Gen.
da Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
440. PIERO BARBARIGO, Venetian Captain General at Sea, to the DOGE and SENATE.
As I wrote yesterday, I ordered the commissioners Loredano and Michiel to inspect the English ships. This morning I went to see them myself, one by one. To tell the truth I found them inferior to what was promised in London, and their ordinance of the smallest and of iron. I believe that my visit will have proved useful as I have conversed with the owners or captains of the ships, the sailors, the officers and even the soldiers. The colonel of the troops has made the most extravagant demands in a paper, of which I send a copy. With regard to the passage there about the care of the sick, of whom there are many, I told him I would afford him every satisfaction, in spite of the difficulties presented by the situation, but for the rest, I told him through an interpreter what I thought fitting in reply to such impertinent demands. I will do my utmost to obtain the greatest possible advantage from these ships and men. I have sent word about them to the ambassador in London for his necessary information, telling him that I have not hitherto heard anything of the men of noble birth in the fleet though if any come forward with the idea of being employed in commanding ships I will keep them in mind, but if there are none it will be necessary for your Serenity to send captains from Venice.
In this connection I must mention that the crews and men of some of these foreign ships complain that their notes of payment have not come for them. I have no orders upon this subject and await your Serenity's instructions, and I shall need a supply of money.
The Commissioner Michiele has made the inspection of the English ships, in conformity with my orders, and has given me the enclosed sheet with full particulars.
The galley in the channel of Curzola, the 11th July, 1618.
[Italian.]
Enclosed
in the
preceding
despatch.
441. Note of the quality of the seven ships from London with the number, weight and quality of their ordinance, the quantity of their munitions; the troops, sailors, gunners in each of them, and the number of the sick, made by Agostino Michiel, Commissioner of the fleet.
[Italian.]
Enclosed
in the
preceding
despatch.
442. Presented to the Captain General at Sea by Colonel Peyton.
After a tiresome voyage, through lack of air space, and the loss of many men on the way and through the sickness of more than half our numbers, the troops are at present incapable of any service. I ask your Excellency to grant that the sick may be well cared for, and that the others may be well treated so that they do not fall sick. I also ask for time to clean the ships.
As most of the men are novices without experience of war, I ask for some facilities to drill them before they are sent against the enemy.
After they have been somewhat restored I ask your Excellency to take us to some place where we may serve as garrison for a while and adapt ourselves for service or elsewhere as your Excellency may command.
As the time of our advance payments has expired as well as the time arranged with the owners of the ships, our pay is now falling due.
That your Excellency will grant our men, from your opinion of their quality, such pay as other foreigners enjoy who are not so far from their country.
For myself and my officers we are entirely at your Excellency's disposition.
I have offered this, not for my own personal advantage, but out of desire to obtain provision for so many worthy gentlemen, and I offer myself to undergo any risks in the service of the most serene republic.
[Italian.]
July 11.
Comissario
in Armada,
Miscellanea,
Cod. 392.
Venetian
Archives
443. AGOSTINO MICHIEL, Venetian Commissioner with the fleet, to the DOGE and SENATE.
By order of the Captain General I have been this morning to see the seven English ships which recently joined the fleet and which are now in this port, to make a muster of the soldiers on board and carry out the general instructions given to me. I have therefore gone into the smallest details respecting their nature and condition. I need not trouble your Excellencies with all these particulars. I will only say that the ships do not seem to be of the consequence that was expected, only one being about 550 tons, though the master declares it to be 600 tons. The others are of 450 tons, with iron pieces, in sufficient numbers but small and therefore of little use; from their condition and make they seem tolerably old. The troops, 510 in number, seem to be adequate and the sailors likewise. Among them there are 110 sick, who will be landed for the benefit of their health. Among the common sailors, marines and others there may be about a hundred in the same condition. They will also be left here to be looked after, although the country is rather short of provisions.
Curzola, the 11th July, 1618.
[Italian.]
July 12.
Collegio,
Lettere.
Venetian
Archives.
444. To the ambassador at the Imperial Court.
The commissioners have continued the negotiations for peace in a satisfactory manner, and we are withdrawing our troops from Ferdinand's country; the peaceful settlement has been facilitated by the manner in which the German crown has responded to the intentions of the republic. The restitution of Vercelli should remove all suspicions of the Spaniards, who have so harassed this province, but Don Pedro is massing his forces on our frontiers and the Ambassador della Cueva has spread lying reports about us. In Naples also a fleet is being collected to return to the Gulf, and Ossuna has written to urge the Catholic king that it is not in his interest to desist from hostilities and attacks upon the Gulf, while Don Pedro and the Marquis of Bedmar also incite his Majesty to make war on us. However, these proceedings only serve to justify our cause the more.
Two ships of Tuscany which reached Leghorn report that when they were sailing with the twelve Dutch ships which are coming to serve us, they met, on the 24th ult, in the strait of Gibraltar with ten Spanish ships and two caravels, arranged in a row to stop their passage. A fight took place, which lasted six hours, the Spaniards suffering severely so that they were glad to allow the Dutch to continue their journey.
You will inform his Majesty of all these particulars in our name, so that he may recognise the sincerity of our action, and how different is the conduct of Spain.
The like to
England.Constantinople.
The States.Naples.
Savoy.Milan.
Florence.The Swiss.
Mantua.The Grisons.
Rome.Scaramelli.
France.Spain.
Ayes100.
Noes0.
Neutral4.
[Italian.]
July 12.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
445. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Since my audience of his Majesty, as detailed in my last despatch, I have heard from several quarters that being very desirous to know the details of the treacherous attempts discovered at Venice, he is rather surprised that your Excellencies should not have acquainted him with them, and that I, despite his enquiries, should have displayed so much reserve. I did not fail to tell the person who made this announcement to me that it was not from any lack of confidence that your Serenity omitted to narrate the event to his Majesty, but merely from the belief that for the moment, having averted the peril, it was better to make no further declaration for fear of thwarting arrangements of an advantageous nature.
A proclamation has been issued in Spain enjoining the seizure of all English vessels there, as indemnity, so they say, for the damage done by Sir Walter Raleigh on the island of San. Thome. This news has caused a great outcry among the merchants, and coupled with the ill will already borne by the population towards the Spaniards, induces loud complaints against them. The Catholic ambassador has had another audience of the king on this subject, and from what I understand not a little to the displeasure of his Majesty, to whom he spoke in a very resentful and harsh tone.
Since a long while negotiations have been on foot for a junction of the English and Dutch Companies trading in the East Indies, and at this present the difficulties have been so smoothed, that they hope in a few days to arrange everything. It is supposed that this union must prove extremely vexatious to the Spaniards, as it will very considerably add to the impediments of their trade in those parts.
For the reasons assigned by me in a former letter, the countess of Shrewsbury, being a lady of great wealth, has been fined 80,000 crowns and remains a prisoner until further orders from his Majesty. (fn. 3)
London, the 12th July, 1618.
[Italian.]
July 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
446. To the ambassador at Turin.
We understand from your letters that his Highness is dismissing his troops. We do not say anything about the proposal to take advantage of the disturbances in Bohemia and retain troops for that purpose, because even his Highness talks of this in a way that shows he is aware this is no time to meddle with such things. You will skilfully avoid the topic both with him and with the agent of England, if they speak about it again, and you will pretend that you did not think proper to write about it and that the reply comes from you.
Ayes128.
Noes0.
Neutral1.
[Italian.]
July 14.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni
Principi,
Venetian
Archives.
447. The ambassador of England came into the Cabinet and said:
I think of going away for some days. Before leaving I wish to pay my respects and perform two or three offices. He read a letter about an Englishman imprisoned at Naples on a charge of plotting with the republic to assassinate the Viceroy for 10,000 pistoles. A Frenchman had accused him. After reading the letter he said smiling: Your Serenity perceives the falsehood and diabolical invention. I know that the republic will despise it as it deserves. I have been asked to write to Naples in favour of this man, but I have hitherto abstained, as I was afraid of making matters worse and that they might think that he came from my house. I now hear that they do not think this at Naples, and I shall therefore write something. I leave it to the wisdom of your Serenity to decide whether you will write also.
Among the wretches hanged was one Renon (fn. 4) , head of the band. He met me one day in Marzaria at a book shop and whispered that he had important matters to communicate touching my king and asked when he could come to see me. I am accustomed to give ear when anyone speaks to me of things which concern his Majesty, accordingly I told him to come when he pleased. He called the next morning and began with a long story of his life, how he was the confidential servant of the Viceroy of Naples and had entered into the plans of one Jacques Pierre who had subsequently become entirely devoted to the Viceroy (che haveva preso la pratica di un tal Giacpier qual poi era tutto tutto del sudetto Vicerè); that he had decided to go to France and thence to England to communicate certain very important matters. He begged me to give him an introduction to some one in England.
I told him that it was the first time I had seen him. If he wished to make the journey to receive a reward for his information I could spare him the trouble, as I had power to reward him if he had anything to say that merited it which would be for the service of his Majesty. He replied that he must go in person both to France and England and could only give me a general outline. He began to speak of some great designs of the Spaniards upon the coast of Africa, and they were also trying to corrupt a certain Englishman, whom I know, from the service of his Majesty. I know him, he is a person of quality and valourous. He said that the Spaniards were very sweet innamoratissimi) upon this place in Africa, as it would be most easy to surprise and capture, and equally easy to keep. I told him that I had prepared letters before he had spoken to me and would give him two or three. He left me with this understanding. He returned the same morning, and in some confusion and with a trembling voice he said: I wish to show your Excellency a description of that famous place. He showed me a plan, which he took away when he left, and he never came again because he was arrested soon after and put to death. I chanced to meet a familiar of his, who knows how to paint, and contrived to worm out of him that he had a description of a place given to him by this man. I persuaded him to give it to me and here it is. He left the plan, which might be of a place belonging to the most serene republic.
The doge replied, Your Excellency could do no less than display your friendship upon this occasion. We thank you for this communication, which increases our regard for your person. With regard to the Englishman imprisoned at Naples, we think that any action by us might injure him, but we will think the matter over.
The ambassador replied, I will write this evening, though I have little hope of success myself. I have to recommend the case of a lad here, who is half Flemish and half English. The doge promised to see that he was satisfied. The ambassador then took leave and departed.
[Italian.]
July 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
448. RANIER ZEN, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
His Highness asked me about the affair of the league. I excused myself saying I had received no news by this post. He complained bitterly, saying the matter did not admit of delay. Count Mansfeld was waiting to hear. If the republic did not desire a union it would be better to say so. He then began a long speech saying that our safety depended upon union, which would make the Spaniards and French respect us. When it was published he would call in the other Italian powers and the States and England expected nothing else. He continued in the same strain. I replied quietly, confining myself to generalities and saying that I was awaiting the orders of your Serenity.
Turin, the 15th July, 1618.
[Italian: the part in italics deciphered.]
July 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zante.
Venetian
Archives.
449. The SYNDICS of ZANTE to the DOGE and SENATE.
We wrote to your Serenity about the representations made by Zuane Gaurilopulo and Dimitri Rucani that this town was suffering from hunger owing to the plague, when you sent us biscuits, beans and rice upon the English ship John Humphrey. In order that these goods might not suffer from being unladed hastily in the plague time, we had them gathered together and stored, though without any hope of selling them. We have only been able to sell of biscuits, lire 955, of rice, lire 484 and six barrels of beans. As the city had little need of the biscuits and beans, only the rice was measured in the presence of Dimitri Rucani. He found the sacks below standard weight and a thousand short while others were detained by the master of the ship for hire. We therefore beg your Serenity, as we have done previously, to write directing the Proveditore to have these goods consigned either to the credit of the fiscal chamber, or to the admiral for the use of the fleet. We cannot have the charge of the goods because we have other important affairs to attend to, and the town does not need them. If something is not done they will all perish. We hope for a speedy reply.
Zante, the 15th July, 1618.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 A. M. de Tournon is referred to in 1614 as having taught Prince Charles to toss the pike. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1611–1618. p. 222.
2 On Feb. 19th old style the merchants of the Levant Company wrote to Pindar informing him that they had chosen Edward Kirkham to act as their agent. State Papers, Foreign. Levant Company, Letter Book.
3 See No. 421 at page 243 above. She was fined 20,000l. with imprisonment for life. She pleaded a vow as her excuse for not replying, but declared her disbelief of any child. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1611–1618 p. 548.
4 Nicholas Regnault. Ranke casts doubt upon the credibility of his statement and goes on to say that he could count upon Wotton's silence, and the ambassador made no sign till long after; only after the discovery of the conspiracy did he perceive how remarkable and significant it was. Zur Venezianischen Geschichte. Die Verschworung gegen Venedig, page 200. From a statement of Gregorio di Monte to the Inquisitors of State it appears on the contrary that Wotton communicated the matter to the Collegio without loss of time, before Regnault's execution, See No. 361 at page 215 above.