Venice
May 1624, 1-10

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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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288-305

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'Venice: May 1624, 1-10', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 18: 1623-1625 (1912), pp. 288-305. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88908 Date accessed: 22 August 2014.


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Contents

May 1624

May 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
360. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Encloses paper showing reasons for Mansfeld's departure for England. They are not altogether pleased here at this step. He has left all his train at Boulogne. Some of the ministers here complain of his precipitancy.
Bacq a Choysi, the 1st May, 1624.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
361. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They always speak with good hope of the affair of England, but everything is put off until the arrival of the ambassador extraordinary, who is expected between the 10th and 12th of this month. Lord Rich is staying at Compiègne, with pleasure to himself and in confidential relations with the others. The ordinary ambassador has left for Paris; they say he will go first to England, presumably rather for private than public interests.
Bacq a Choysi, the 1st May, 1624.
[Italian.]
May 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
362. To the Ambassador in England.
We were very glad to hear from your letter of the 26th January that you proposed to take advantage of the present parliament to raise the question of the raisin trade in our islands of Zante and Cephalonia, which are reduced to great penury by reason of the English merchants who at present have the trade to themselves and accordingly control it and turn it to their interests, to the grave prejudice of our subjects. We have reviewed what your predecessors have done under our instructions, especially Gieronimo Lando, who had great hope of some favourable decision, as the king, recognising the reasonableness of our request first expressed his intentions to the Cavalier Foscarini and afterwards confirmed it to Lando, who drew up a memorial by his command and presented it to the secretary Naunton, who assured him of the best results. But as the dissolution of parliament followed two days later, from whose zeal some hope might be entertained, and Naunton's dismissal took place at the same time, it could not be settled as desired. It was placed in the hands of another secretary who followed his own interests, and was reduced to the condition which you will see from the reply to the memorial made to his Majesty by the Council, clearly showing the intention of the English to keep all that trade to themselves, possibly against their king's wishes.
As it is necessary that you should have full information we send you copies of Lando's letters, his memorial and the reply, with replies and information supplied from time to time by the Five Sages at the Mercantia. You will especially note that the Levant Company offers strong opposition to any arrangement. The reasons are obvious, they wish to retain the power to force prices upon our subjects and so tyrannise over the people of that kingdom. A recognition of the disorders of the persons called Regrators (Grossatori) has led them on previous occasions to agree with us in wishing to regulate the business, and make the trade free and not subject to the desires of a few, but no results have ever appeared. As this business now weighs upon us heavily for important reasons, we direct you to seize upon a favourable opportunity to treat with some of the best disposed of these Regrators who has no interests with the members of the Levant Company, and if there is any hope of success try and have it brought before parliament. You will also seek audience of his Majesty and use this argument of the letters and the memorial of Lando if necessary and the other papers, to answer the opposition. Your prudence will guide what you say to his Majesty, who has previously admitted the reasonableness of our demand that the trade of our subjects may be restored to its former state, and that intercourse with his subjects may be free, and we feel sure that he will give orders in conformity with his royal promise without listening to those who advance untrue reasons. We wish, as in the grant made by the king and council on the 25th March, 1621, that our subjects may take raisins and other natural goods of the country to that kingdom in Venetian ships with Venetian crews, but as this might be difficult we desire it even if the crews are not entirely of our subjects and also in English ships. This cannot reasonably be denied since the English navigate with their merchandise upon ours. This is our idea for the moment to facilitate the opening of the affair. If this parliament does not for some unforeseen accident, come to any decision about this affair, it will be very advantageous for his Majesty to expedite the case by his own express orders, without it being necessary for you to deal with the Council, because of the interests mentioned by Lando. But this very delicate point requires your greatest tact and experience. You will inform us of what results you obtain and if you do not succeed owing to just impediments you will leave all the papers to your successor to be used when time allows.
With regard to the request for pictures in the public rooms in the name of the Duke of Buckingham, you took a proper course to prevent further demands, and we commend you and your application, comfirmed by your last letters, in investigating the current events at that Court are equally praiseworthy.
The news you send us in your letters of the 3rd, 5th and 12th ult. is very serious, and your behaviour most prudent. We are entirely satisfied with what you have done.
Ayes, 116.Noes, 1.Neutral, 10.
[Italian.]
May 2.
Senato,
Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
363. To the Proveditore of Cephalonia.
We learn that our subjects have greatly increased the plantation of raisins, making it difficult to get rid of them, as they greatly exceed the ordinary demand, so that the price is much reduced, we therefore direct you to make proclamation that no one shall make fresh plantations, even with leave from our representatives, without a concession from ourselves upon petition presented to the doge, to be carried by a majority of four-fifths first in the Collegio and then in the Senate, otherwise the concession shall be null, and the lands planted shall be confiscated and sold to the highest bidder after the vines are uprooted. Any public representative who makes an unauthorised grant will be dismissed and banished from our state for five years.
We are glad to hear that the inhabitants, perceiving the damage they suffered from this cause, have in some cases begun to uproot the vines of their own accord.
Our attention is also drawn to another matter that foreign merchants and others give earnests beforehand for the purchase of raisins and afterwards pay for them at the price announced (alla voce), which should be published at a suitable time, as it is very difficult to prohibit absolutely this earnest, we merely desire that those who do not wish to receive it shall not be compelled to do so, and there must be no fraud or violence on the part of the purchasers. Our opinion about the announcement (voce) is that it be not given by our representatives, but that the quality of the goods themselves shall make the price.
We have issued countless prohibitions that no one shall have houses on the shore to avoid smuggling, We also learn that the confinement at the present time of the entire trade in raisins to a few English houses only in the islands of Zante and Cephalonia, causes grave prejudice both public and private. We direct you to deal with these two important questions, causing the orders of the Senate to be carried out in the former. As regards the latter we must not absolutely forbid earnests or postichi or retail buying, so as not to deprive the poor islanders of this convenience, but we do not wish foreigners or others to have absolute liberty to buy retail or give great earnests in advance, but that this liberty be restricted in the best manner your prudence may suggest.
As a counterpoise to the burdens laid upon our subjects, who formerly traded in England, we decided that besides the imposition of the new duty foreigners should be compelled to pay 2 ducats on every piece of kersey brought from the west to the said islands beyond the ordinary import and export duties, for every cloth 7 ducats, for every miero of tin 20 ducats, for every miero of lead the same and for every miero of wool the same. We do not know for certain if this is carried out, though we hear that instead of the 2 ducats for kerseys and the 7 for cloth, they pay only two per cent. for both. We are sure there is some fraud here and await information from you. We desire your opinion whether cloth from our own parts can take the place of this western cloth, as some is sold at quite a low price and may be of better quality. Upon your report we will do what behoves the public interest, as we consider it both necessary and advantageous to prevent foreigners from enjoying so many advantages in the raisin trade.
The like to the Proveditore of Zante.
Ayes, 116.Noes, 1.Neutral, 16.
[Italian.]
May 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
364. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
On Saturday, the day after my preceding despatch, the Duke of Buckingham went into the lower house of parliament and in the king's name set forth the following matters; that they had begun to put the royal ships in trim; they had decided to help the Dutch; they had decided to send reinforcements of troops to Ireland, as the viceroy had written that when the people there heard of the rupture of the negotiation with Spain, they all displayed melancholy and looked threatening (the very words he used); that the embassies for Denmark, Germany and your Serenity would soon start, the manifesto was drawn up giving the reasons for the rupture of the negotiations, although for various reasons his Majesty did not see fit to publish it, they had appointed commissioners to treat with the Dutch ambassadors, nominated a council of war and sent a letter to the King of Spain, which Buckingham then quoted, in much the same terms as I advised on the 19th ult. He said he spoke from memory and as he was doubtful how far he could trust it, he asked the prince to supply some of the particulars forgotten. At this the prince said he thought he had given a faithful summary of the original. Buckingham concluded the relation of the king's proceedings as if it were everything that could be expected of him, by asking the parliament to hasten on the promised subsidy.
When they afterwards came to debate the matter some members grew so heated that they could not refrain from saying that they might as well return home, seeing that they laboured in vain, since the king's intention was only too apparent, to obtain the money and then do nothing; the series of things mentioned by Buckingham showed that all was appearance and for the future, nothing actual and for the present. The letters for Spain had indeed been quoted but not shown, and even the terms reported showeth little or no vigour, and suspending the manifesto was simply in order to avoid a public declaration to give them scope for interpreting and acting as they pleased, and that the king continued all the time to lend a willing ear to the Spanish ministers. In short they received this relation very ill. Buckingham was aware of this, the prince both knew and foresaw it and had already approached the king to obtain some remedy, but it only confirms my opinion that the king, so far has done nothing except against his will and he desires nothing better than some means of retreat.
Thus the parliament is most determined not to consent to the payment of a penny unless they have the absolute certainty of a rupture. If they stand fast as one may hope, necessity may lead in the direction desired, the difficulty merely consisting in the reconciliation of the two points so that the delay in providing the money may not prejudice the progress of the preparations, and that a prompt provision may not give scope to the king's deceit. It is thought, however, that some decision of this matter will be taken to-day or to-morrow, and the king has notified parliament that when he comes here they must bring him their requests and they shall receive every satisfaction.
The case of the Treasurer is still agitating, some hopes of a satisfactory ending appeared, and the king wrote a sort of letter in his favour. But two ministers under him being summoned to give evidence, struck him in the quick and so his fall seems absolutely certain. Fear keeps constantly increasing among the Catholics here; parliament keeps passing new and rigorous laws. The king expresses his intention of accepting them. An inquisition against many of them has already begun in the country. A book has appeared with the names of all these priests and religious. The bishop sent from Rome (fn. 1) died recently. A petition has been drawn up in the name of some of these Catholics, but not yet presented, asking the King of France not to be outdone by the King of Spain in procuring advantages for them.
Father Maestro had audience two days ago of the king alone; his business has not been disclosed. The king as usual heard him gladly, but apparently they fear no evil results therefrom. Buckingham excused the king for this, as being obliged to hear every one; but the action has undoubtedly caused uneasiness.
The Ambassador Carlisle delays his departure for France, there may be various reasons, but the effect is not good. For the marriage negotiations it is merely a general introduction, but one from which they derive high hopes from what the Ambassador Chisinton writes. The Ambassador Wake has taken leave of his Majesty. He says he will start at the beginning of next week. In parliament he attacked the Spaniards vigorously and earned no small hatred from them thereby. Certainly he goes to his charge an honourable man and God grant he may remain so. He will stop some days at Turin to treat with the duke there. He also has orders to negotiate with the Swiss, but he has not made up his mind whether to go there before Venice. I have already notified his instructions, and they turn principally in inducing a warlike movement from Venice while they will do the same from here.
The Dutch ambassadors have so far had two meetings with the royal commissioners, who are Buckingham, Hamilton, the Lord Chamberlain, Weston and Conovel, a place being kept open for the prince. From the quality of the commissioners, who are the best men of the realm, one may augur a successful issue to the affair. The prince attended the first meeting and it is clear that he would not want to have any share in negotiations that might turn out badly. That meeting was devoted to verifying the credentials on both sides. Since the Dutch are trying hard to demonstrate that the chief mutual advantages depends upon an offensive and defensive alliance, that will also confer sufficient security to the powers if the king will really break with the Spaniards, and certainly that is the right course. I have heard nothing but generalities about the second meeting, which took place to-day that matters are in good train with the hope of a speedy and satisfactory conclusion.
Another Dutch ship has been taken by the ships of Dunkirk, although it was further up the Thames than the one previously captured. The widowed duchess has given a sumptuous funeral to the late Duke of Richmond spending 10,000l. sterling according to some.
London, the 3rd May, 1624.
Postscript.—The Earl of Bristol has arrived in the kingdom, but has not yet reached this city.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
365. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
God has sent Mansfelt here, his repulse from France was lucky. His coming, as I foretold, has brought honour to himself and greater advantages to others than could have been expected. Buckingham visited him at his own quarters, showed him every courtesy and expressed excellent sentiments. Last Sunday he went to Theobalds to the king who welcomed him gladly, although some doubt whether he was really glad to see an instrument of opposition to his ideas. At his return the prince took him in his own carriage, and then lodged him in his own palace in the very apartments prepared for the Infanta, with forty dishes a meal. The Spaniards are incensed at such conspicuous honours. Many are amazed. All right minded persons rejoice. Some think the king consented for the purpose of obtaining more from the Spaniards by making them uneasy, others that they want Mansfelt under observation. The people say he has come to be naturalised and to invest his money in England. After seeing the king and prince he presented his proposals in writing as they desired. He asks for 10,000 foot, 3,000 horse and six guns, as by the enclosed paper. He estimated the cost at 50,000l. sterling, a sum considered high, and he reduced it to 40,000l. adding that once begun less might suffice. The king raised most difficulty about deciding first, as he wished to act in conjunction with the others. He seemed mistrustful of France but not of the other allies. He suspected that France favoured Bavaria's possession of the Palatinate, and adduced the reason or rather the pretext of not being left alone with the war on his shoulders, and said he would decide if the other interested parties would do the same. Mansfeld promised that the league should do its share and spoke with assurance, but the king wished to treat upon these negotiations.
Mansfeld sent in the enclosed paper marked No. 2, which he sent to the French ambassador, to show me the points of the negotiations, to which that ambassador might adjust his offices. I have always upheld to Mansfeld that to negotiate a league now is an important matter, fraught with difficulties and almost unattainable. He ought to tell the king that he should be the first to act because of his interests, his strength, and the need of proving his good faith; that France will not interest herself about the Palatinate, as it proved difficult to get her to do her duty about the Valtelline, in which she was deeply interested. The true bond of union consisted in operations carried out together, in which everyone did his share, but even granted that the others did nothing, the king here with his strength and his interests ought not to abandon the hope of recovering the state of his own children and his personal reputation. I have always spoken thus, and I know it has not failed to produce an impression upon Mansfeld.
Finally after delivering many assaults Mansfelt obtained from the king the enclosed paper numbered 3, and Buckingham declared that the king will sign it to-morrow. He considers himself fully guaranteed by the payment of money on the 1st inst. He had to give another paper declaring the first void if the league did not contribute as much to the king. I should have preferred to do without this, but the count assured me that he could not otherwise persuade the king. He proposes to levy 40,000 English here to interest the kingdom and make them contribute the money more readily, and he will begin his operations from Burgundy.
I spoke to the French ambassador in Mansfelt's favour as soon as he arrived, especially begging him to assure every one that Mansfelt had not been repulsed from France, and to serve his interests in other matters. He promised to do both. The count called upon the ambassador, who repeated his promise, while Mansfelt declared that he would never arrange anything without considering the consent and advantages of that Crown. He has also exchanged friendly visits with the Dutch ambassadors. I give him what help I can, but I believe those ambassadors are not altogether pleased at his coming as it may have affected their interests. I have let Mansfelt go his own way though I have told him my opinions, and especially that he should treat in the name of the league in general without saying anything about your Serenity. If this is not quite what you desire, I hope you will excuse me as I have no instructions. If news of this business comes by way of France that will be due to Mansfelt's messenger to the ambassador there leaving without finding me at home.
As the prince showered such honours upon Mansfelt, I thought fit to give him a banquet at the embassy, with some twenty persons who accompany him and some of the gentlemen here. I know that the prince and the whole Court highly approved of this, and I could hardly have neglected it without drawing attention. God knows I neglect nothing to render good service, but the expenses I incurred over the prince's return and those which I must now bear, as there are frequent occasions for spending now parliament is assembled, and the price of everything has risen excessively, prove almost intolerable for my fortune.
London, the 3rd May, 1624.
Postscript.—When I was closing the above they brought me word that the king has consented to the demands of parliament against the Catholics, I will give further particulars in my next.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed
in the
preceding
despatch.
366. United forces are the real forces; apart they are only feeble. If the German princes had kept together they could easily have prevented all this bloodshed, but their separation strengthened their enemies, and by avoiding war they opened the way to it, through ignorance of the nature of their adversary. It is not enough for the Netherlands and Bethlen Gabor to be at grips with the House of Austria, but Great Britain, France, Venice, Savoy and the Swiss, who are interested in the same danger, must also help promptly, to avoid what Tacitus says, dum singuli pugnant universi vincuntur. This is not the time after so many years of war to give peace to Christendom. What better means exists of bringing enemies to reason and obtaining reasonable terms from them, than uniting forces? As the other interested parties are willing let Great Britain gird herself, as being as much interested as all the rest together. Can she fear the foe with such powerful support, when the United Provinces confronted them single handed? The danger being common every one must help. General Mansfeld has dedicated his services to the King and Queen of Bohemia for many years. He remains constant as ever, and offers, if the King of Great Britain will give him 10,000 foot and 3,000 horse paid, with six guns, to induce other interested parties to furnish the like, and thus form an army sufficient to go to Germany and confront the Spanish force, recover the Palatinate, restore Germanic liberty and the affairs of the Valtelline, not by going to those parts but through a diversion, all in the name of the King of Bohemia. It is important to act without delay before the House of Austria establishes itself in Germany. If despatch is used the general will be ready to begin this year, and in the following year the results will appear. We shall hold enough of the enemy's country to recompense our losses.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosure.367. Having arrived here, I think it proper to inform your Excellency and tell you what I am doing. In addition to encouraging their good resolutions I have proposed to the king that in addition to the fleet and the help for the Dutch, he shall form a land force and join the others interested parties. I also told him that if he would supply 10,000 foot and 3,000 men with six guns under my command, I hope the league would do the like. His reply showed me that we could easily induce him to do this if the league will promise. I think this would be a great advantage, as once that king is engaged he will be obliged to go on. I made these overtures because Colonel Larotigliera told me that his Most Christian Majesty desired to employ me as general of the Swiss, and I thought the above idea more useful. I therefore beg you to speak to the king and to secure not only that the reply shall not contradict my proposals, but that if I return to France with the above decision, I may obtain the troops from the allies. It is extremely important to keep everything most secret, and in order that we may do something this year, I beg you to exercise your customary prudence. The force could act under the name of the King of Bohemia, or for the liberty of Germany, for the recovery of the Palatinate and the Valtelline.
The two points about negotiating a union and interesting France in the affairs of the Palatinate were such that I could not approve them, and the count told me he would give them up.
Endorsed:—This was to go to the French ambassador and was given to me as a note of the business.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosure.368. JAMES, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain.
Letters patent notifying the appointment of Ernest, Count of Mansfeld, to command 10,000 foot and 3,000 horse with six guns, money being assigned for the purpose as arranged with him, payment beginning from the 1st May next to continue until some agreement or treaty of peace is made with the enemy, giving him full powers over the troops in the assurance that he will aim solely at the advantage of the public liberty; upon this condition the king will uphold him in all that he does and will make no peace or treaty which does not include him.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 4.
Misc.
Cod. No. 63.
Venetian
Archives.
369. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The courier to the Catholic ambassador from Flanders last week brought letters from the Infanta saying that England will certainly declare war and France will join her, because your Excellencies have put it into their heads that the King of Spain means to seize the Empire. Three armies will be formed, one in the Empire, the second in Holland and the third in Italy or Burgundy. The ambassador imparted everything to Caesar, and they began to discuss the matter at the embassy. Before they had come to any decision another courier arrived with news that the English parliament had declared all negotiations about the marriage and the Palatine broken off and desired war on the emperor. The king consented unwillingly, but the prince and Buckingham force him on, though his Majesty declared that he did not want war with the Spaniards in order not to prejudice the restitution of the fortress of Frankendal. He has announced that he does not take up arms for religion, in order not to deprive himself of the help of France, Venice and Savoy.
They have already made up their minds here that France is allied with England and that they are determined to make war on the Spainards and the emperor, crediting your Serenity with being at the bottom of everything. They propose that the Spanish ambassador and the Infanta shall write to all the princes of the empire assuring them that the King of Spain has not the slightest intentions against the empire, in order to remove the unfavourable impression that the opinions of the Most Christian might create in them. They also think of making representations to Rome, to induce them to get your Serenity, France and Savoy to desist from becoming involved with heretics.
Vienna, the 4th May, 1624.
[Italian; copy.]
May 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
370. MARC ANTONIO MORESINI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have tried to discover the negotiations of the ambassader of Cologne about the truce. He received his instructions from the Infanta through the Chancellor Becchius. She expresses her desire for a truce and promises to induce the King of Spain to give every reasonable satisfaction. She directs this Baron di Grusbeck to sound the Prince of Orange and the leading men of the state. My informant tells me that the Spaniards are strongly inclined to the truce. I have spoken to some of the leading men of the state, friends of mine, pointing out the deceitful nature of these proposals. If they listened to them they would render France, England and your Serenity suspicious, at a time when all three are ready to help these States. They replied that help from England was more uncertain than ever, and France had not yet made up her mind, and even if help came from those parts this year it would not support their armies, owing to their very great needs. The merchants would sometimes advance them money on the sum given by Venice, but not one of them would advance a farthing on the strength of the promises of France and England, and in the meantime they must pay their soldiers, while their expenses constantly increased.
Yesterday two deputies from the States came to this embassy and assured me that they would not listen to any proposals for a truce.
The Hague, the 6th May, 1624.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
371. MARC ANTONIO MORESINI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Capuchin friar who came here on his way back from England has written to a councillor of the Palatine. The letter is dated from Brussels on the 19th April. He says that the nuncio is much astonished that they would not listen to his proposals, they do not pretend to make the boy change his religion, and his father can choose which Catholic prince of Germany shall educate him if he does not trust Bavaria. In fine the friar wants to reopen the matter and tries hard to induce the councillor to prevail upon his master, pointing out that war affords little chance, that the resolutions of the King of England are uncertain and fallacious, the King of France is occupied elsewhere and the princes of Germany, awed by the prosperity of the Austrians will not dare to raise their heads. Bavaria, on the other hand, is master in his own house, has no son and is feared and hated by the Spaniards.
The queen showed me the letter, which contains many other particulars. In response to her repeated request for my opinion, I said that if they made restitution and seemed ready to give satisfaction, the matter might be worth consideration in the present unhappy state of affairs, but while they spoke of taking away the boy as the first article and held out nothing in return but promises and hopes it was unreasonable to take such a step. My opinion coincided with her inclination, and she is determined not to part from her son or give him up to any one soever.
The Hague, the 6th May, 1624.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
372. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Nicolas has come with letters from Mansfeld and Rota to the ministers here, who have marvelled at the reception accorded to the count by the king and the Prince of Wales and have discussed his proposals. I find they would like him to remain in England or obtain protection there. I have insisted upon the advantage of a public acknowledgment of the count by the king. They are discussing whether they shall see him or no, about replying to his proposals and assisting him with money. They would rather not have to do with him, but see him engaged in the household of the King of England, in the hope of obtaining money from that quarter. I praise their liberality and suggest it would be best not to cool England by lukewarm declarations.
The gentleman of the Palatine called upon me, and showed me letters in his master's name. Besides these he has to communicate the declarations of the King of Great Britain and the negotiations of the Capuchin friar for Bavaria.
Bacq a Choysi, the 9th May, 1624.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in
the preceding
despatch.
373. Copy of letter of the Count of Mansfeld to the Ambassador Pesaro.
Has made the journey to fortify their resolutions in England. Hopes his Majesty will do something from which the League may profit. Asks Pesaro to prepare the way with the Most Christian and obtain a hearing for him. Note of his demands in England.
The palace of St. James, London, the 20/30 April, 1624.
[Italian.]
Enclosed
in the
preceding
despatch.
374. Letter of Bernardino Rota to the Ambassador Pesaro.
The count reached London in a barque with the Count of Wittenstein and myself only. Some gentlemen came for him including Wake and took him to his Highness. The prince gave him audience and two days later he went to see the king, two hours from London where he had a secret audience. The count has been well received and royally entertained. Yesterday we went to see the funeral of the Duke of Lennox. Every one looked at the count, and the coachman struck twice at the doors of the Spanish ambassador.
London, the 1st May, 1624.
[Italian.]
May 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
375. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I went to congratulate the Cardinal of Richelieu on his Majesty's judgment and the great hopes the world has conceived of him. (fn. 2) He said the king had forced the burden upon him. In a conversation that covered everything I gathered the following particulars. France will act vigorously and see the affair of the Grisons through. He spoke favourably of the Duke of Bavaria but did not lean to Mansfeld and he valued the union with England. He commended Bethune. So much he told me himself, but a very close friend of his informed me that he was inclined to war, though he would not offend the Spaniards in non-essential matters, but he would secure himself by powerful assistance to the States, make the marriage with England, if possible, and encourage the Swiss to support their interests by negotiation rather than by war.
The manner in which Richelieu rose to power.
Bacq a Choysi, the 9th May, 1624.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
376. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Owing to the troubles at Constantinople with his Majesty's ambassador there over the gabelles, the French merchants and especially those of Marseilles protest that they will fly the English flag, and in the meantime they have forbidden any of their ships to touch at any fortified places of the Turks, for fear of losing their goods, owing to the Sultan's commands. The trade of Marseilles is confined to Alexandretta, and it is thought the mart of Venice may profit by this confusion.
Bacq a Choysi, the 9th May, 1624.
[Italian.]
May 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
377. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Late on Friday evening the king arrived in this city. The deputies of the parliament went to him and begged him to confirm a general decree for the execution of the laws against the Catholics, and that he would grant nothing prejudicial to them out of consideration for any marriage for the prince. The king made them the reply, which I enclose with the demand, and he promised even more than they asked. Some ambiguity, however, is noticeable when he speaks about breaking off the negotiations because the nature of his declaration has not appeared. For the rest, the more stress he lays on religion the more some doubt his sincerity and think that as usual he merely aims at feeding them with copious words and hopes. This suspicion is increased by the recent example of the late proclamation against the religious in Ireland which has not been executed any better than the rest, although it was his own work. Nevertheless, the Catholics here are very dubious and troubled, and they breathe as though they had the rope round their necks, although indeed the laws are only against their goods. Almost all the Catholic gentry have already left the city and withdrawn to the country. The Spaniards are trying to make the most of it either to foment the dissatisfaction of the Catholics or to render the king odious and in particular to stir up the pope against him. They raise the cry of persecution, although so far there has been nothing but words, and I know that the Spanish ambassadors have represented the matter in this light to the Cardinal della Queva in Flanders, and he sent on word express to Rome with such additions as he is well qualified to manufacture.
Possibly because of this declaration the ambassadors went to audience of the king on Saturday, and going on to complain as of an open rupture with Spain and the breaking of the promises given, they proceeded encouraged possibly by the weak and dubious replies of the king, to tell him perhaps in a derisory manner, that they knew well how necessary it was for him to follow the wishes of others, because Buckingham and the parliament had conspired to take the crown from his head, to conduct the government themselves and to leave him hunting in a park (et di qua continuando a dolersi come d'un aperta rottura con la Spagna et di mancamento alla parola data, passarono tant oltre (havutane forse opportunità per le risposte molle et dubbie del Re) che gli dessero (forse in modo irrisorio) conosca ben la necessità ch'egli teneva di lasciarsi condurre a voglia d'altri poiche il Buckingham et il Parlamento havevano congiurato di levargli la corona di capo, di amministrar essi assoluto il governo et di lasciar lui in un Barco alla caccia).
In fact they practically made an accusation of treason against Buckingham and the parliament, a body which necessarily includes the prince; and they clearly indicated him if they did not mention his name. As the king was alone with the ambassadors he told the prince and Buckingham what they had said on the following day. The truth of this is beyond question. The only doubt is whether the ambassadors received any previous encouragement from the king, as one may easily imagine, especially as he listens so readily to various ministers of theirs. If this is not the case they took this course because they knew the king to be tenacious of his own authority and easily frightened, and it would serve their purpose to sow jealousy and discord between father and son, and I have always considered they had this in view, as I have written. However it is unknown how the king took this office. Some say he was much moved, burst into tears and remains uncertain whether the ambassadors told him as an intimation and a warning, or whether they would undertake to prove the accusation. Others say they went further saying that they knew of meetings between the prince and members of parliament at night and some have assured me that they offered to maintain the truth of what they said in the presence of the prince and Buckingham (volendo alcuni che molto commosso prorompesse in lagrime et resta pur incerto se gl'ambri. porgessero la cosa per via d'insinuatione et quasi d'avertimento, o pure se s'obligassero di provare l'accusa. Altri dicono che l'espressero più oltre, dicendo saper le conventicole tenute dal Prencipe nell'hore della notte con quei del Parlamento, et alcuno anco mi sostenta che s'esshibissero mantener la verità de' lor detti alla presenza del Prencipe et del Buckingham).
Be that as it may, their own supporters consider their action imprudent and bound to react against the Spaniards themselves, as even if the king believed them the others will now feel compelled to strengthen their party which has already become so powerful. However, all opinions must remain uncertain, not only because of the condition of human affairs, but because of the peculiar instability of the English.
The Ambassador Inoiosa did not attend the usual ceremony of the Order of the Garter on St. George's day, which took place at Windsor on Wednesday last, although as a new ambassador he should have gone to it in the ordinary way. Buckingham did not go until the very day, but remained behind according to some because he said that he was unworthy to appear before the king until he was exonerated from the charge laid against him by the ambassadors, and he even offered to go to the Tower, but the king and prince kept sending for him so that he had to obey. The Duke of Lennox, brother of the late Duke of Richmond was invested that day. The Spanish ambassadors sent to Windsor to ask for audience of his Majesty but they have not yet obtained it. The reason seems to be the arrival of a courier from Spain bringing licence for Inoiosa and perhaps for Colonna also. I have heard something about them wishing to deny the offer passed at the last audience. Inoiosa will leave within a fortnight, from what they say, and they will send in his place the other Mendoza who accompanied the prince hither from Spain. Thus these interwoven embassies never cease, which are so poisonous to the common well-being. I fancy that the reasons for appointing this Mendoza are that as Gondomar's nephew he is thoroughly acquainted with affairs here, or because of his services to the prince, or to keep an enemy of Inoiosa, with whom he had a quarrel, a condition which the Spaniards may consider advantageous for them in the present circumstances. I know, however, that Mendoza leaves very ill content, chiefly because of the long delays in giving him audience.
The Ambassador Digby has arrived but has not yet shown himself. Everyone considers him lost or ruined. Yet his ability is highly rated and his coming cannot fail to cause suspicion. He certainly had great courage, but over confidence appears to be a characteristic of the English. Thus the Lord Treasurer, although on the eve of a very severe sentence, which has been postponed until this day week, does not show any alarm but up to the moment seems confident in his innocence. When the prince counselled him to avoid the king's presence, he answered boldly that if the prince said so by the king's command he would obey, otherwise he would continue as before.
The parliament, highly delighted with the king's reply about the Catholics, has gone back to the bill for the subsidies. This will be arranged in such a way as to leave the control of the money in the hands of eight members, duly nominated, although many refuse from fear of being compelled to obey the king against the orders of the parliament. The money may only be employed for four purposes, which they call the four legs upon which they must move, to wit, the fortification of the kingdom, the arming of the ships, garrisoning Ireland and helping the Dutch. The manner of employing it is left to the Council of War. The money will need a year for collection. Owing to this drawback they cannot do much immediately even if they wish, and must regulate their movements by the way the money comes in, while they have not yet entirely rid themselves of the suspicions that will delay the payment on the one hand and the disbursement on the other, for without money the king cannot act, and if he does not act they cannot place any confidence in him. The clergy have decided separately to grant four subsidies for the present needs to be levied in three years, each subsidy to yield about 30,000l.
The French ambassador at times says that there is no appearance of the marriage as France must obtain as much for the Catholics as Spain and then again the necessity for the king and prince to satisfy the country. He complains of Carlisle's delay. He declares that France is excellently disposed and that there is no need for any delay. So I do not know what to believe about him, but perhaps it is safest to take the unfavourable view. The ambassador is suspect to many as being too much of a Jesuit, so they call him, although some of the leading nobles support him, notably Hamilton and Carlisle. Some of the articles for the marriage have been drawn up or rather sketched. Carlisle leaves on Saturday, they say. He takes instructions to Kensington or Riz, and after he has presented them the Ambassador Herbert will return.
The Dutch ambassadors have been without any conferenza this week, owing to the commissioners being engaged in the ceremony at Windsor. The latter have given up the point of asking for some fortress in pledge for the repayment of the succour, although some think it would not have been bad for the Dutch to grant it, in order to bind and pledge England the more to defend them. Nevertheless, the ambassadors insist as much as possible upon an offensive and defensive alliance, though so far there seems no inclination that way. As regards the manner of the succour, they have not got beyond generalities.
The prince informed parliament to-day of the office made recently by the Spanish ambassadors to the king. He dwelt upon their malice and remarked that they could not have acted under their master's instructions. He asked their advice as to how he should proceed.
London, the 10th May, 1624.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed
in the
preceding
despatch.
378. (fn. 3) Petition of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament that, the treaties being dissolved, his Majesty will give orders for the strict observance of the laws against Jesuits, seminary priests and generally against all Papal recusants, a day being appointed for the Jesuits and priests to leave the realm, and also that his Majesty shall promise not to abolish or relax those laws by reason of a marriage or the request of a foreign power.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.379. (fn. 4) Speech of his Majesty to the Commissioners of both houses of parliament at Whitehall, the 23rd April, 1624.
Is constant to his faith. Alarmed at the spread of Papacy; will adopt any means to stop it they may suggest. No king was ever so slandered, yet he never persecuted. Would grant more than they asked. Is ready to proclaim that the Jesuits must leave. Will order the judges to enforce the laws against the Catholics. Will remedy the disorders at the embassies, although these are privileged places. Will see to the matter of the education of the children of Catholics. Upon the last request, no king could make his subjects dependent upon a foreign sovereign. Will not allow such conditions to be imposed in any treaty.
[Italian.]
May 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
380. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Mansfelt left four days ago. The going of the king and prince to the Garter celebrations hastened his departure as he could not remain alone in the palace without incivility. He pressed on his affairs, every moment being precious, and he wished to start operations this year. He took away the paper signed by the king, though with two changes from what I reported, one expressly naming the Palatinate, the other that he wished the King of France to direct the affair. Such changes are usual with the king, who keeps all papers a long while and limits and enfeebles the arrangements, as much as possible. But to tell the truth many things have damaged Mansfelt in a brief space besides the king's nature, and his difficulties would have only increased had he stayed longer. The Dutch in their anxiety to get every advantage for themselves would have upset things, and the Palatine would not help him, possibly because of Brunswick. The Spaniards certainly employed every art to thwart him, and the French ambassador did him more harm than good. When he visited Mansfelt he assured him of his king's favour and promised to forward his interests. He promised the same to Carlisle, who reported this to his Majesty, though he abstained from returning his visit, a step which attracted great attention at court. The ambassador told me that an order had been sent to him post not to visit him, but he did not tell me the reason, but said he could not imagine why, and seemed amazed that they ordered him to perform the one office and then forbad the other. Thus does France behave and certainly it greatly injured Mansfelt's affairs, both from the first repulse and then from neglecting this visit.
Considering these obstacles one may say that Mansfelt obtained a great deal. He takes letters to Lord Rich or Kensington in which the king orders him, the moment France declares for his side, to begin to pay the money necessary for the promised levy, for which they had already prepared the letters of exchange, an act he greatly appreciated. God grant this may have the success required.
Mansfelt leaves with presents of jewels and horses from the king, prince and Buckingham to the value of many hundreds of pounds sterling. The king praised him as a man of high worth; the prince desired his portrait and every one perceives that to lodge him in a royal palace was an exceptional honour for any one but a great prince. Some say that Mansfelt was advised to leave quickly because he had received so much at the outset that he could get no more and a long stay would only weaken the warmth of his first reception.
I do not feel able to estimate the probable value of the results obtained, for whereas the welcome accorded far exceeded all expectations, the results do not correspond and as regards the essence of the affair, God grant that it be not referred from Herod to Pilate. Thus Buckingham told the French ambassador candidly that everything was referred to France. I have spoken to no one but Mansfelt himself and can only report what I heard from him and if he adopted any artifice or departed from the truth I should have nothing to go upon. I know that he informed the Duke of Saxony by letters of all his affairs. I must not forget to say he told me that as he was leaving the king asked him if anyone would contribute as much as himself if France refused, indicating your Serenity I fancy. Before leaving he took money all exchanged, which he obtained from Burlamachi, though with difficulty, with which he made several presents to people at court who had helped him. When Sir [Isaac] Wake spoke to me about an alliance between this crown and your Serenity with other partners, I told him that the way was open by virtue of the article which leaves the way open to the King of England.
Among others in Mansfeld's company was Colonel Obentraut, a man highly esteemed by the soldiers and eager for your Serenity's favour, which remains doubtful as he cannot obtain his appointed provisions. He asked me to intercede for him and I could not refuse this reasonable request.
London, the 10th May, 1624.
Postscript.—Buckingham strongly urges the king to take some decisive action against the Spanish ambassadors. Some hope for this, but I do not expect anything. I hear further that the duke has induced the king to refuse Bristol admittance to his presence, a point that would be of great consequence if true.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 William Bishop, called the Bishop of Calcedon.
2 Richelieu was admitted a member of the Council of State on the 29th April.
3 State Papers, Domestic, vol. clxiii, nos. 32, 33.
4 Ibid, no. 34.