Venice
April 1624, 17-29

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1912

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272-288

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'Venice: April 1624, 17-29', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 18: 1623-1625 (1912), pp. 272-288. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88907 Date accessed: 28 July 2014.


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April 1624

April 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
341. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Owing to fresh and repeated orders the Ambassador Extraordinary of England cannot delay his departure any longer. He came first to pay a most friendly visit to your Serenity. He seems very melancholy and full of undisguised sadness. In this town he informed me of the opposition with which they tax him, declaring that his innocence was calumniated by Buckingham, but if he could speak to the king he would make him aware of various treasonable practices (si mostra melanconico assai et pieno di apperta mistitia, con che mi communicò le oppositione che se gli attribuiscono, essagerando che la sua innocenza era calumniata da Bochingam, ma che potendo parlare al Re le farebbe constare varii tradimento).
After a long discourse about the news from England, which I imagine your Excellencies know, he said they had appointed six ambassadors and that unfortunately every day that passed only showed more clearly that their actions were far too much under the influence of excitement and subject to numerous unforeseeable accidents. In this he certainly states what is essentially and undoubtedly true. More than once he professed his willingness to submit himself to the judgment of the Senate or the Parliament of Paris, admitting that although absolutely innocent, in London he feared the powerful influence of the favourite. The most serene republic had no such drawback, and her ambassadors served her better. I could not help the reflection that we also have our trials in other ways. In fine the ambassador frankly showed his distress, and has done so with everybody. I perceive, however, that he puts his trust in the parliament, saying that he will prove that he is wrongly accused of disobeying his orders to delay the espousals, as by arrangement made between the Catholic King and the Prince of Wales, he had powers to have these concluded ten days only after the arrival from Rome of the confirmation of the dispensation, wherefore in this he was not an ambassador who could immediately change his conduct at any order soever from his king, but a neutral, in the confidence of both parties. He could not honourably execute immediately the order for delay without previously protesting and declaring that his Majesty had simply compelled his obedience as a subject. Upon this he enlarged fully, charging Buckingham with endless falseness and duplicity. Either from the man's real worth or because I have not heard all, he seems to have much to say in his defence (et sia il valore dell'huomo o non udire il tutto, in apparenza giustifica molto la sua Causa).
I learned no more about the conclusion of the marriage except that they had not paid any attention to him either here or in London, here by putting aside their phlegm and tardiness, there by showing liveliness and solicitude, as regards the Palatine's interests, after the lapse of so much time they might easily have waited until they had such pledges in their hands as the Infanta and the two millions when they could take a high tone (poiche ben potease aspettare di esser con il Pegno in mano dell Infanta et de 2 millioni, et poi bravare). In that case the Spaniards would have had a more obvious pretext to remonstrate strongly with the emperor and the Duke of Bavaria, even going so far as to threaten them with force; whereas, in the actual state of affairs they very reasonably excuse themselves from making a declaration. As regards the reply about the Palatinate, I gathered that it consists merely in general promises and phrases. He asserted, all the same, that the marriage negotiations remain on foot and in his opinion they will ultimately be forced to complete them, as he will demonstrate when he goes to Court. He remarked that such matters drag on with ebbs and flows, and are more likely to vanish altogether than to go on to a successful issue, if any cause of mistrust happens to arise between the parties interested. It is understood, however, that the Count of Olivares sent him word that he did not doubt but that he would come off with glory and satisfaction, despite his enemies, if he used his influence with the King of Great Britain to prevent enmity arising. The ambassador himself told me that he had received munificent offers if he liked to stay in Spain, but he preferred to risk his life rather than let any doubt rest upon the sincerity of his actions. He boasts that he answered the king's offers of greatness and ease by saying that in his perplexity and anxiety such offers troubled him more than persecution as he feared he might have earned his Majesty's favour by some action unknown to himself that was a disservice to his master, whose interests alone he claimed to have considered. He leaves, however, with a present of 20,000 crowns' worth of silver plate and diamonds worth 2,000, which the king gave him with his own hand when he took leave. He took it as ordinary. He also received another valuable present. They say that the document of the marriage will be agreed upon this June.
Madrid, the 17th April, 1624.
[Italian.]
April 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
342. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The prince and Buckingham have not succeeded in playing the sentinel closely enough to prevent Father Maestro from finding an opportunity of seeing the king alone. While they were both here in the city for the business of parliament he went to his Majesty at Theobalds on Saturday and stayed with him about three hours. He left a number of papers, the rest of the business still remains impenetrable. The most likely conjecture is that it concerned the restitution of the Palatinate, since the marriage is out of the question as it cannot be managed without the prince, who has publicly declined it and hates the idea. Father Maestro, according to his own account, excused some and accused others, selecting Bristol for the former and Buckingham for the latter. It is also announced that he spoke in favour of the Catholics here, obtaining from the king a sworn promise to continue the same connivance towards them. Thus the Spaniards affect to continue their protection and thus lay claim to their indebtedness and dependence by their offices, and if they do not succeed, as is most likely, and as they may perhaps desire, they obtain through the persecution of the Catholics that these experience a greater need for Spanish favour, which affords the Spaniards a greater advantage to announce the war as one of religion and to urge desperate men on to any hazards. Certainly these negotiations throw light upon the question of the lost papers, as without them he could not have treated with the king, and the story was made up in order to render him less suspect to the prince and Buckingham.
Since this colloquy the king has shown signs of greater indecision and of change. The letter for Spain intimating the end of the negotiations has never been sent, although they say it may go at any moment. They have said nothing further to the Dutch ambassadors, but have altered the late decision to appoint commissioners to treat with them. Although this might not be bad in itself, as that would be a longer way and exposed to the insincerity of some of the commissioners, yet the reason for this change, coinciding especially as it does with this affair of Father Maestro, must necessarily be bad or at least suspect, and that is how the ambassadors themselves regard it; they seem less and less sanguine and now have begun to protest that they must leave. It is certainly a great matter that during the six weeks they have remained here they have always been put off with fair words, which ought to lead to good results one day or another, yet never a step has been taken in their business. Accordingly one may easily understand or at least suspect that the king only makes use of them to bring the Spaniards to his designs, through uneasiness, and thus obtain his intent obliquely if not directly, as when no progress is made in the good, mischief necessarily ensues, and that seems his sole object. In this way the good intentions of others are utterly frustrated, and the old and practically infallible rule applies that nothing good is ever achieved unless the movement has such force as to render all resistance impotent.
Anstruther and Wake are being urged to start, and while this is being done with the best intentions towards others, he though doing nothing himself, orders them to ask the princes to whom they are accredited to say what they will do if he makes war on the Spaniards. No one fails to see the absurdity of this question and for my part I believe it will render this mission not only absolutely futile but even harmful, especially as it will serve to reassure the Spaniards that nothing effective will be done. The king may be acting for the purpose of deceiving the parliament, by instilling hopes that he is sending to arrange some decisive action.
The Earl of Carlisle also will not leave for his embassy in France so soon as was thought. It now appears that they are awaiting the return of the ordinary ambassador, Herbert, but there is some other mystery beneath this. Some say that he will not leave without 20,000l. to make a splendid embassy, as is customary with him with a royal purse. The French ambassador here seems to hope well of the public affairs, though he continues his notion of obtaining advantages for the Catholics by the marriage of Madame, following the example of the Spaniards, which means doing the work of the Spaniards and not helping the marriage. For my part I should consider the success of the negotiations hopeless in his hands if I did not know that they keep the chief control at the French Court.
While the Spanish ambassadors announce here that the affair of the Valtelline is settled, though they keep silence about the manner, the French ambassador here tells me that although the Ambassador Sillery in Rome has arranged something on the subject, yet it was contrary to the wishes of the Most Christian, he disowned it all. I do not know what to answer when anyone speaks to me about it.
Parliament still sits and the prince attends with all diligence. The lower house drew up a remonstrance to present to the king about the restrictions of the Catholics under several heads; this as usual was taken to the upper house with the prince's consent, and it is thought they will reduce it to two only, one the execution of the old laws against them, the other that nothing to their prejudice should be conceded out of consideration for any marriage with a Catholic princess, a condition aimed at the French marriage, and perhaps some would like a new law to be made before the negotiations are begun, so that by its vigour the mouth of the French may be shut against claiming what was granted to the Spaniards at a time when it did not exist. The Catholics here have discussed among themselves, presenting the prince with a petition on their behalf, offering themselves as good and devoted subjects although of a different religion; but two things prevented this taking place, one the consideration what reply they should give if asked what they would do supposing the pope sent a fleet against this realm, that is, if they would oppose such an attempt, a question posed formerly and which the Catholics found a difficulty in meeting; the other that when some of them submitted this petition to Buckingham he wanted them to add a declaration and practically a renunciation of all dependence upon Spain, which seemed very hard to the Catholics, so if a refusal to deny a thing amounts to a confession of that thing, then refusal to agree to Buckingham's proposal amounts to a confession of that dependence.
The king's two secretaries and four gentlemen, two for each of the houses of parliament, are appointed to draw up a manifesto stating the reasons for the breaking off of the negotiations, and if the Spaniards gave them opportunity they ought to bring them to light. With the king so perplexed they have decided nothing about levying the subsidies. However, Buckingham has sent 10,000l. to make ready victuals for thirteen royal ships these last months, and it is considered certain that they will sail soon with thirty merchantmen, to guard the realm. Some good arrangements have also been made for building magazines in the provinces for keeping the necessary provisions and powder, which has been so scarce of late that they had not a supply for two days, while all the guns are practically unmounted owing to the rottenness of the wood.
The treasurer has justified himself upon some charges, but the more important ones stand. If he escapes from the labyrinth he is a brave Theseus, and it will be due to the power of his innocence or to the slight power of the prince and Buckingham, who are practically his declared enemies. For my part, I think he will certainly fall and expect that Naunton, a former secretary, will take his place.
A friar of St. Bonaventura has arrived here with the object of inducing the powers to make a crusade against the Turk. He has been to France and other places and offers the pope 40,000 Franciscan friars for this expedition.
We learn here that the Duke of Bavaria has removed all the artillery from Heidelberg and is treating the people of his part of the Palatinate better than in the past.
London, the 19th April, 1624.
Postscript: Grislii will certainly leave to-night with the letter for Spain they have debated for so many days.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
343. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Two days ago Mons. de Dominis, Archbishop of Spalato, was removed from his house to a prison in the Castle, all his papers being taken from him at the same time.
Rome, the 20th April, 1624.
[Italian.]
April 20.
Misc.
Cod. No. 63.
Venetian
Archives.
344. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They have sent from Brussels a paper in Spanish with the proposals made by the English parliament to the king and his replies. In them he says he has received fresh and very advantageous terms from the Spaniards about the Palatine. Some foreign ministers here, who are not anxious for that business to take a turn favourable to the Palatine, are uneasy about this and have tried to discover the nature of these terms from the ministers here, but they affect not to know.
Vienna, the 20th April, 1624.
[Italian; copy.]
April 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
345. VALERIO ANTELMI, Venetian Secretary at Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The archduke has received letters from Vienna with Gabor's proposals. The Palatine there has arranged a truce for the whole of the present month. They are expecting Tilly at Vienna to manage the army of the league. They are now more anxious than ever about England and France moving and encouraging the Protestant princes to recover the Palatinate. Nevertheless the Duke of Saxony urges the emperor and Bavaria to disarm the league, arguing that there are no other forces in the empire and so they can only be required for innovations.
The English gentlemen here have news that the parliament in London has decided not only to break off all negotiations for the marriage but to make war on Spain. They will afterwards arrange how to find the money and the plan of campaign. The archduchess seemed much upset at this news, fearing the loss that her brother the emperor will suffer. They also attach great importance here to the Most Christian King's journey to Picardy, feeling sure that he has gone in order to facilitate the negotiations for a marriage and understanding with England, to alarm the Spaniards and encourage the States and the Princes of the Union.
Florence, the 20th April, 1624.
[Italian.]
April 21.
Collegio,
Notatorio.
Venetian
Archives.
346. Changes in the Garrisons, in accordance with the Decision of the Senate of the 29th March last.
Captain Christopher Paiton, who was at Bergamo, to go to Crema.
[Italian.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
347. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
His Majesty returned from his tour on the 10th inst. in the best of health. All the ambassadors went to kiss his hands and at Court they indulged in universal rejoicings, with bonfires and illuminations. The journey has proved fruitless. The Count of Olivares enjoys his customary intimacy, though he keeps in retirement.
The marriage with England seems more likely to fall through than ever, as Father Diego della Puente, from whom they hoped much, promises little, sending word of events in London which point to a very strong feeling against it. The Marquis of Inoiosa is also returning and writes that he does not feel safe. The English ambassador, however, does not declare the negotiations broken off, though he admits that they do not allow him to visit the Infanta any more, and he was informed that if letters arrived from the Prince she would not receive them. I hear that they even refused permission to Digby to kiss the hand of her Highness before he left.
The same ambassador told me that the reply about the Palatinate was merely general, as they simply promised that the Catholic would labour for its restitution and would not rest until the King of Great Britain received satisfaction, nothing more.
As regards the dowry of two millions, the ambassador said that if it was not paid down in cash his king did not want it, even if they arranged the marriage, but in this the Spaniards offer complete satisfaction.
Madrid, the 24th. April, 1624.
[Italian.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia
Venetian
Archives.
348. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Rota has written a letter upon the good intentions of the Count of Mansfeld and how impossible it is for him to return to Holland, unless his Majesty pays his debts, which he has incurred there for the league, or to go to England unless the king's protection makes him safe with that sovereign.
I spoke to the ministers here on the subject, and they sent Mansfeld leave to pass through this realm to Berne, if he did not find it better to go to England, because he said he could proceed from that town equally easily to the Grisons or to the Palatinate.
The Palatine has sent a gentleman to his Majesty to represent his interests. I do not think Bavaria is very pleased; his agent here asked that a resident might be sent to that Court, and that they should give the duke the title of Highness. They excused themselves, and a minister here told me in confidence that they had promised England not to make any change or send an agent to that prince.
We hear that Tilly demanded from the Earl of Salsberi, Hamburg, a very strong place, the key to close the passage into the Palatinate against the Duke of Deuxponts. The ministers here believe that the earl will resist.
Bacq a Choysi, the 24th April, 1624.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
349. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The news from England continues good and they are expecting in a few days the Earl of Carlisle in the character of ambassador extraordinary, to act as a colleague to Lord Rich. They say that the ordinary ambassador will return at once, and many other matters which I will leave on one side till I have better information.
Bacq a Choysi, the 24th April, 1624.
[Italian.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
350. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Nuncio Spada has made representations against the Dutch and the Count of Mansfeld. The Garde des Seaux said that no one objected when the Spaniards negotiated with England, made a truce with the Dutch or joined with Lutherans to subject Germany.
Bacq a Choysi, the 24th April, 1624.
[Italian.]
April 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
351. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Parliament is all intent in debating and settling the case of the Lord Treasurer; his misdemeanours are varied, but the chief are receiving bribes in the administration of his office and imposing charges of his own authority. He deserves ill as he certainly had Spanish sympathies. The action of enquiring and proceeding against him is good, but the time is perhaps unfortunate and the delay certainly harmful. The objects of the enquiry differ with different people. Some act for the punishment of guilt; some to abase a Spanish partisan; some from desire of change; some to profit by the confiscation of his goods to use them for public purposes; and all are moved by his universal unpopularity, as being a man of low birth and raised by the king's favour to the dignities of treasurer and an earldom, he has behaved very haughtily in the latter and proved very stingy in making payments in the former. The prince and Buckingham are his chief enemies, the latter of long standing through some offence, and more recently from refusing him some money he required and opposing him although he was the duke's creation and a near relation, and because quite recently he brought forward the youth Brent, as I reported, with the idea of winning the king's favour and ousting Buckingham. Although he was not a bad minister to the king, and is thought to have presumed somewhat upon his support, his Majesty cares nothing about it and abandons him to the pleasure and justice of parliament, so little can any one rely upon his favour (tanto ogn'uno puoco si può fidare della gratia di lui). The Spaniards do their best to support him, not only as their friend but as Buckingham's enemy, against whom they direct all their arts and study every means of ruining him. The treasurer is doing what he can to inculpate the duke with himself and if possible to involve him in his own ruin, and he says openly that he does not mean to fall alone and if he cannot take his enemies with him he will have his friends. Thus the energies and abilities of the parliament are involved in what one may call a private affair while the more important public resolutions are delayed and suspended. God grant that he be not a bone thrown to this generous dog to keep him occupied and divert him from his proper and necessary business.
The subsidy bill is not yet passed, not only because of the present preoccupations, but because parliament is determined not to stir a step in the matter unless the king is steadfastly and immutably resolved upon a rupture. This seems their immutable determination, so either something effective will be done or the king will not obtain any money, which he most certainly sorely needs, or else after obtaining it he must find some subterfuge for defrauding the public intentions, as he certainly will if he gets the chance (quello che egli fara certo se mai potrà). Men are so stirred now and many of the people seem so moved that it would seem impossible for the good things begun to remain incomplete. Some of them even go so far as to threaten violent and impetuous measures, which are certainly not without example, though personally I believe the time for them has passed (et di questi alcuni anco arrivano sino alle minaccie di quelle impetuose et violenti risolutioni, delle quali certo non mancano gl'essempi, ma per me credo ne siano passati i tempi). In short, we seem to have arrived at a point where one of two things must happen, either the king's peccant humour will prevail to the final overthrow of the kingdom, or something for the public service will be accomplished in spite of him.
In conformity with their habitual changefulness they have altered their previous decision and have finally appointed commissioners to treat with the Dutch ambassadors. There are five and all good. A war for the Palatine is barred for this year and so they will treat about the help to be given to the States. There will be some difficulty about the manner and I expect the king will grant it as a loan with some security. But even in this they proceed with their customary slowness, and the first meetings have been postponed four or five days for various intervening engagements. They have nominated ten persons to form a council of war, comprising five ordinary members of the council and five of the military profession, all considered worthy men of good intention. I am, however, assured that for all June there will be some fifty ships, including both royal and merchantmen, but hitherto they have decided nothing except to use them for defence alone.
They are devoting themselves with more than ordinary diligence to set in order the militia of the kingdom. In many places it has increased and in London it has doubled. The whole parliament and kingdom seem embittered against the Catholics and determined upon the carrying out of the laws. A remonstrance with the two conditions I previously reported has been drawn up with the consent of both houses, to present to the king. The prince approved it and spoke very strongly on the subject, as much to the disgust of the Catholics as to the satisfaction of the whole parliament, and he has already let it be known, as I am aware, that he would abandon all thought of a marriage with France if they claimed what was granted to the Spaniards. The French ambassador has heard this with great dissatisfaction and has spoken to both the prince and Buckingham on the subject, while he complained strongly to me. I thought fit to excuse the prince somewhat from the necessity of conciliating the parliament, an idea the ambassador applauded.
The Earl of Carlisle says that he will leave next week for his embassy in France; he takes absolute authority to arrange and complete the affair. The French ambassador told me, however, that he had not chosen his time well, with their proposals against the Catholics. A knight named Murton is selected for the ordinary embassy in place of Herbert to whom they have written in a way suggesting that the request for leave must come from him.
Two days ago the Count of Mansfelt arrived here from Boulogne, after a letter from the constable of France formally forbidding him access to that Court. He sent a person from Boulogne to sound the king about his coming here, and the Secretary Conoval sent word that for various reasons his coming would not be opportune as matters were not yet ripe, and because they had refused Brunswick, though so closely related to this crown. Upon receiving this reply Mansfelt asked if he might not at least come privately with a few followers, with which request his agent approached Sir [Isaac] Wake, who advised him to have patience and stop at Boulogne, and in a few days he would cross over and talk with him; but Mansfelt arrived while this answer was on the way. He at once sent to me Captain Rotta to pay his respects and tell me of his arrival. As I knew the whole series of events I felt some hesitation and much astonishment at his decision, recognising that necessity must have driven him and grieving that such a man should be so tossed about, driven fram Holland, absolutely refused by France and taking refuge in England against the sovereign's wishes. I reflected upon your Serenity's interest in him, as engaged for your service, which tempted me to have him at the embassy, but I proceeded cautiously as I had no orders and also to avoid exciting the suspicion of the English and the Spaniards that I had something to do with his coming. I pointed all this out to Rotta and got him to tell Mansfelt, adding that I could serve him better the less I was suspected of any responsibility for his decision. In this way I have escaped suspicion without entirely abandoning Mansfelt. I have addressed myself to Wake as one who professes an old friendship with Mansfelt and there is no doubt that his coming has displeased everyone, especially the king, in his case because of his usual dislike of good counsels and the others because they do not think things sufficiently ripe. The report of France's refusal has also prejudiced him, although he says they advised him to come here to learn the king's wishes, and have sent a proposal after him to make him general among the Swiss. I saw him to-day and suggested that he might also tell of the help obtained for the Swiss from that king, enlarging somewhat upon the truth. Well, possibly the effect of his coming will not be bad as it will either spur on their resolutions or at least disclose their real intentions. It will be like feeling the king's pulse, as if he puts aside this opportunity it will be most evident that he does not wish to act, and that others can hope for nothing more.
He has not yet seen the king, who as usual is away from this city, but he went last night to kiss the prince's hands, introduced by Wake. His Highness received him graciously and listened to what he said about himself and his work, asking him to put it in writing. I shall be able to tell more in my next. I think he intends to proceed to Burgundy, as being midway between the Palatinate and the Valtelline, so as to render double service.
Everyone recognises that he is not likely to be employed again in the Palatinate owing to his rivalry with Brunswick. The Spaniards do not openly display much suspicion about his coming and even said they were glad because they say Mansfelt takes ill fortune wherever he goes. The French ambassador only knew of his arrival to-day. I do not know what he will do, but one can hope little good. The Dutch ambassadors will do nothing, mutual ill-will existing between them and Mansfelt. Wake asked me pressingly for the articles of the last league; I do not know why, but as I did not have them I could not gratify him.
Duke Vaimar of Saxony when passing from Holland to Hamburg to treat with the Elector of Saxony, was driven to Calais by contrary winds and being so near took the opportunity to cross to England. He remained two days in London, always incognito, and saw and was seen by no gentlemen except the agent of Bohemia. The Ambassador Inoiosa here, I know for certain, feels sure of having the governorship of Milan, building on a promise made to him by the favourite, Olivares.
I have here with me Sig. Gio. Battista Bernardo, son of the Most Illustrious Bernardo. He came to see this Court after visiting most of the Courts of Europe. Before he devoted himself to study, but now to travel, and in due time he will render worthy service to your Serenity. I must also mention the worthy qualities of Sig. Francesco Grimani, son of Sig. Pietro, who has left for home after being with me all this time, with modesty, prudence and splendour. He certainly shows how useful it is sometimes to abandon the sweets of home. I hear from Antwerp that my ordinary packet of this week has been lost.
London, the 26th April, 1624.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
352. PIERO CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The imprisonment of the Archbishop of Spalato was by order of the Inquisition. They say that the Master of the Sacred Palace went to urge him to write against some opinion which he printed in England, and it seems that he had great influence with the heretics there. The archbishop replied that the same arguments appealed strongly to himself, he knew how to captivate his intellect, but all the same he would try to say something. From this they gathered that he remained in his former errors, while they also found some doubtful papers. It is said that he will never leave the Castle again, unless some greater punishment befalls him.
Rome, the 27th April, 1624.
[Italian.]
April 27.
Misc.
Cod. No. 63.
Venetian
Archives.
353. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
A courier from Flanders has reached the Spanish ambassador this week. It is not known what he came for, except the dissolution of the English parliament. This does not suit the Spanish plans because we hear from Mayence of the absolute breaking off of the match, while England is determined to reinstate the Palatine by force.
Vienna, the 27th April, 1624.
[Italian; copy.]
April 27.
Misc.
Cod. No. 63.
Venetian
Archives.
354. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The pope, sustained by the assurance that England will not make any trouble in the empire for the restitution of the Palatine based upon his knowledge of the king's character, is constantly urging them here not to enter upon any negotiations in the matter, or lend an ear to any proposals, particularly from Saxony, assuring them, moreover, that the Most Christian has expressly charged Mansfeld not to go to France. He says he hopes that his offices with the Most Christian will prove very beneficial to Christendom.
Vienna, the 27th April, 1624.
Exp. pap.
[Italian; copy.]
April 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
355. VALERIO ANTELMI, Venetian Secretary at Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Sir Edward Sackfilde, now Earl of Dorset, has left here, being summoned by a special courier from the king upon his brother's death. He inherits a great position and wealth and is a man of great valour in arms who further possesses great powers of eloquence. He will take a leading place in the parliament as he is stuffed (gonfio) with detestation and hatred of the Spaniards, and once he has reached England he is determined to do everything to hurt them.
He has always displayed the greatest devotion towards your Serenity, and told me that he had once wished to command a body of his countrymen if you needed such services. I expressed my readiness to serve him.
Florence, the 27th April, 1624.
[Italian.]
April 27.
Cinque Savii
alla
Mercanzia,
Risposte.
Venetian
Archives.
356. Upon the question of the raisins, submitted to us, after examination of the letter of Lando of the 16th April, 1620, when ambassador in England, and the other papers on the subject, we report that we clearly find that before the last Turkish war Venetian merchants traded and voyaged to the West, hiring native ships for the islands of Crete, Zante and Cephalonia, where they laded raisins and wine for those parts, bringing back to this city kerseys, cloth, wool, tin and other things, to the public benefit from the import and export duties, the increase in the number of sailors and the private gains of the merchants and shipowners. Venetian ships were subsequently diverted from this trade by the heavy duties imposed in England under Queen Elizabeth and the introduction, then new, of English bertons and ships to take the said goods to the Eastern islands, taking home the wine and raisins. This proved easier for the queen, as she then had a large number of armed ships, and took care that they should have the advantage over others, granting them special privileges while undoing the trade of your Serenity's subjects, imposing a duty of twenty per cent. upon raisins in order to compel Venetian merchants and ships to abandon the trade. In this she succeeded only too well.
Seeing the destruction of what used to be the most flourishing part of our foreign trade, the Senate decided on the 26th January, 1580, that on raisins taken from the islands by any foreigners beyond the Strait duty should be paid of 10 ducats the miaro beyond the ordinary duties, that being the new impost, Venetian subjects being exempt if they used ships permitted by the laws. It was also decided that every piece of kersey brought to those islands from the West should pay two ducats beyond the ordinary import and export duty, each cloth 7 ducats, each miaro of tin 20 ducats, each miero of lead 30 ducats, and each miero of wool the same.
The same considerations led the Senate to decide that Eastern goods from Roumania and other Turkish lands reaching the said islands should be brought straight to Venice and distributed thence, paying the usual duties. This merely confirmed a previous practice, and the English had the less reason to complain and of not being able to trade in the Levant upon their own or other ships, because they receive the same treatment as the republic's own subjects, who have the same obligation, and because all foreigners are forbidden equally.
On the 14th October, 1581, and the 15th March, 1582, the queen wrote recommending that some of her merchants should not be charged with the new impost on goods which they brought from England, expressing a desire for the removal of the duties on both sides and a return to free trade. Your Serenity made a courteous reply on the 14th August following, promising to abolish the new impost if the queen would remove the increased duties upon Venetian subjects. Various letters were exchanged on the subject, dated 24 Dec., 1582, 13 Sept., 1583, 1 Dec., and 20 April, 1584, and 20 March, 1585, and for some time your Excellencies abstained from farming out the new impost, expecting the mutual removal of the duties. However, the queen, owing to the large revenues from the duties, would do no more than grant a special privilege to one Acerbo Vellutelo, of Lucca, for raisins and oil, by which she claimed to have more than fulfilled her promise, while she complained that the Venetians had not done their part, as some English ships had been compelled to pay. Seeing there was no hope from the queen, your Excellencies decided upon the full exaction of the new impost. The change arose originally from the queen's action, and indeed of late years your Serenity has exempted English ships from the Ancorazo charge, so that they only pay one fourth as much as they used, and we do not think that your Excellencies could have met the queen's action in a better manner, and that is why we have rehearsed the whole affair from the beginning.
The grant made by the king and his council on the 25th March, 1621, that Venetian subjects might take raisins and other native goods to that kingdom in Venetian ships, might be of some use if we had ships for this service, but in our present dearth of sailors and ships this satisfaction is a mere show, though the heavy duties would still keep us away. It would, however, be a great gain if Venetian subjects might take raisins and other goods to England on English ships, but we think this unlikely as the English have now captured the whole trade, especially of raisins, and will hardly agree to share it with others. We should like to report upon the duties imposed in England upon Venetian subjects, but we can only obtain information from interested Englishmen since no Venetian trades in those parts. Probably Lando, who has been ambassador there, can give more precise information or the present ambassador, Valaresso.
The report of the Most Illustrious Basadonna shows only too clearly that all the trade in raisins is confined to a few English houses established in the islands of Zante and Cephalonia, since the Flemish merchants, their rivals, had to abandon the trade because of the war. This is very harmful because, as only the English buy, the natives must sell their raisins at any low price they wish. We think the remedy consists in forbidding foreign merchants to buy in small quantities or give earnests beforehand in those islands for such purchases, entirely forbidding such earnests as most harmful.
Another difficulty is the great increase in the plantations made recently, as the supply of raisins greatly exceeds the demand, leading to sales at very low rates, owing to the islanders' need for money, for they have no other means of livelihood. In view, moreover, of the decreased output of wheat we think that your Excellencies' orders against the planting of vines should be rigorously executed, and all those made contrary to such orders should be destroyed; indeed we hear that some of the natives, aware of the harm done this way, have already begun to uproot their plantations. A decrease in the output of raisins would mean an increase in that of wheat and other corn, and a smaller quantity of raisins would raise the price, especially if the postricchi are forbidden with buying in small quantities. The same means would tend to maintain the state revenues which depend chiefly upon this fruit. For the rest we may refer to the report made by our predecessors on the subject.
PASQUAL CIGOGNA,SAVII
FRANCESCO MORESINI,
LORENZO CONTARINI,.
ZUANNE CAPELLO,
POL ANTONIO VALARESSO,
[Italian.]
April 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
357. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Two couriers have arrived from the Marquis of Inoiosa, who report that the hopes of re-establishing the marriage negotiations grow less and less, while the demonstrations for a breach increase and parliament urges on the king by various offers. The friar also, to whom they trusted to get the negotiations resumed or at least prevent a rupture by his address, writes that the king there heaps slights upon him and frequently remonstrates with him strongly; nevertheless he would not absolutely refuse to hear him in his defence if he had to do with the king alone and if he were not led astray by his affection for Buckingham and a consideration of others. He had not totally lost his original good intentions because he had frequently asked him what he had come to treat about, but the friar told him that the papers with his instructions had been taken away from him on his journey and he was only to read them in London, so he had been obliged to send for fresh ones. They approve of this reply because they can send him instructions adapted to present requirements.
The council meets twice a day. The Marquis of Aitona remarked to the ambassador of Savoy, his close friend, that they should tell the King of England that the Catholic regrets the breaking off of the negotiations made in the presence of the prince with so much mutual satisfaction, though the fault is none of his. In spite of this they will cherish the same friendly and sincere feelings as before and will labour for the satisfaction of his Majesty in the restitution of the Palatinate, but if these advances are not received, they will be ready to act with all the forces of the Crown together.
They attach great importance to the decisions that may be taken in England and feel certain they have an understanding with France, because of the negotiations taking place, of Mansfeld's visit, of the help given to the Dutch and the Most Christian's journey to Picardy and afterwards to Calais to confer, so they say, with the Prince of Wales and his deputies. They also consider the change about the pope's arbitration upon the Valtelline is intended to please England, so that in the event of war the Spaniards may be engaged in several places.
The nuncio has frequently seen the French ambassador to make complaints, but the ambassador pleads lack of information and walks warily from fear of offending the new ministers.
They are considering various preparations here. They have stopped at Cadiz a large number of ships intended for the recovery of Ormus. They are also hastening on the preparation of galleys. But they are very short of money.
Madrid, the 29th April, 1624.
[Italian.]
April 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
358. MARC' ANTONIO MORESINI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Hopes of succour from England grow fainter here every day, and they fear that in the end the threats and promises which come from that quarter will have no effect, like clouds without rain. The need here is urgent and admits of no delay, as we already hear that the Spaniards have given orders for the making of the bridge over the Weser and are preparing to take the field at the earliest opportunity with three large armies under skilful leaders, so if the States delay their preparations for defence until help arrives from England or until the king there has made up his mind, this country will certainly become a prey to the enemy.
The English propose two things to the States, but the proposal does not come from the royal command or decision, and is merely words, and as such the Dutch ambassadors extraordinary in London represent it, first, that they arm seventy sail for the defence of their shores and to attack the Spaniards in their vitals, following in the steps of Queen Elizabeth, and taking up the war where that queen left it at her death. They want the States to provide twenty of these seventy, and that all shall sail in the name and under the flag of the Queen of Bohemia here. The Prince of Orange told me that he had spoken on the subject in the Assembly, and although some said that they were certainly the queen's servants, yet it concerned her father to arm for recovering her rights; but if the proposal was made with the intention of carrying it into effect they would not fail to arm their twenty ships.
The second proposal from London, reported by the ambassadors, is for the renewal of the old league, and that England shall help the States as Queen Elizabeth did, by supporting 5,000 foot and 500 horse here, but they must deliver cautionary fortresses into the king's hands, as they did with the late queen. This second proposal is unlikely to succeed both because the English king will scarcely undertake so much and because the Dutch will not willingly give up their more important places and submit to a dependence upon England. I have spoken to the English ambassador on the subject and be himself admitted that the thing was impossible, as his sovereign would not want to engage in a war which would never end. He would supply some help in money very willingly, but he could never declare himself a party and interested in the liberty of this country and that in this State the war can only end with the total destruction of these Provinces. Therefore he did not think that his king would ever see fit to take the fortresses as a pledge, as that would constitute an open declaration of unending war against the Spaniards, while without such a safeguard he ought not to help with soldiers or declare himself so deeply interested, because they well know the constitution of this popular government, which is equivalent to saying seditious and inconstant, full of needs and penury. He concluded his remarks with the saying that it is a rash and foolish game to stake what is certain and important for what is uncertain and insignificant (ch'e gioco di fortuna audace, e stolto por per il poco e incerto, il certo e'l'molto).
The Hague, the 29th April, 1624.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
359. LORENZO PARUTA, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
To-day the secretary of Wake, English ambassador elect to your Serenity, has been to tell me that he had been specially summoned this morning by his Highness and directed to write forthwith to his master saying that the duke understood that the Count of Mansfeld was soon going to that Court, and he would take it as a favour if they would make no arrangement with the count for thirty or forty days, at least until they saw how the affair of the Grisons was going, while raising his hopes of obtaining a command as arranged by the allies. His Highness added that Colonel Poblitz had come here on the count's behalf to learn the duke's intentions about the command, and that was the reason he made this request of the Ambassador Wake.
The secretary went on to tell me that the ambassador had letters of the 20th from France, sent with all diligence, to recall a leading cavalier, (fn. 1) owing to his brother's death, which reported that the king had declared war on the Spaniards and Austrians, absolutely breaking off the marriage negotiations, and they were making preparations by land and sea on this account, the parliament having arranged to raise 600,000l. sterling for the purpose, a burden the people of the three kingdoms would bear willingly. Buckingham had gone to the coast to hasten on the fleet, all his Majesty's ships being overhauled. In co-operation with the Dutch ambassadors they had announced an offensive and defensive league against the Spaniards, with an opening for other powers to join them if they wished. In short, everything at that Court is conspiring towards the laudable object of replacing the king's son-in-law in his hereditary dominions. The secretary told me that his king, urged on by Wake, would neglect no means of assisting the public service, his Majesty having even given the Ambassador Valaresso to understand that he would like to co-operate with the league and your Serenity, to invigorate the progress in the Grisons.
Turin, the 29th April, 1624.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Edward Sackville, who became Earl of Dorset by the death of his brother.