Venice
March 1626, 1-15

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1913

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336-355

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'Venice: March 1626, 1-15', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 19: 1625-1626 (1913), pp. 336-355. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89057 Date accessed: 25 July 2014.


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March 1626

March 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
481. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Prince of Orange has sent to France and England to recall all the officers on leave, though they had some months yet. He has ordered all the captains to fill up their companies within a month. This is because the Spaniards are making similar preparations for war.
News has come that one of the ships expected from the East has been taken by the Biscayans. This and the constant activity of the Dunkirkers made them hasten the equipment of ten ships of war, which have already sailed for that coast. It is asserted that one of those ships has been taken to England, but this is not confirmed, as owing to the strong contrary winds these last six weeks no news whatever has arrived from that direction.
The Hague, the 2nd March, 1626.
[Italian.]
March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
482. MARC ANTONIO MOROSINI, Venetian Ambassador designate to Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The allied powers all desire a declaration from here, forces and money. The Danish minister asks for money. The English back his interests heartily, as bound by their league and also to relieve themselves of a part of the 100,000 crowns a month promised. The Dutch want France to collect a force in Germany to relieve the pressure on their country. The Transsylvanian prince promises a powerful diversion in Germany if they will give him money. Here they do not want to spend. The Dutch say they have not the means. The English have bound themselves to pay 9,000l. sterling a month, but it is believed they are in no condition to keep their promise. They think of applying to your Serenity. The Prince of Piedmont recently decided to take the affair in hand, and wished to have a congress of the ambassadors concerned and the royal ministers and their Majesties. He invited the Duke of Buckingham to attend, but the duke excused himself because of the parliament. However, the prince has not relaxed his efforts. Although the English are not on good terms with the ministers here, yet as they dined together at the house of the Duke of Chevreuse, I hope for some arrangement, with the satisfaction they have received in the removal of Villeocler, their open enemy.
Scialanton, the 2nd March, 1626.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
483. SIMON CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have met the English ambassadors, and in speaking of the affairs of Germany and Italy they told me that all would certainly go well; so I thought proper to remark that your Serenity was much grieved to hear that some traces still remained of the quarrel between his Majesty and the King of Great Britain. It was most important to pull up every root so that no prejudice to the common cause might result, and I should be glad to help. This pleased them, and after they had conferred together in English Carleton said that the Earl of Holland and he appreciated the sentiments of your Serenity, but an outrage had occurred here which they could not tolerate. Parliament had ordered the arrest of all English goods here, at Rouen and elsewhere. Many of their merchants had come with large capital to the free fair of St. Jerome, and had all been spoiled of their substance while all their contracts remained unfulfilled to their infinite loss. I expressed my sorrow and begged them to get redress by prudence not by resentment, as the king's authority could easily overrule the order of Parliament. They said they would ask the king for redress. I said they had better refrain from writing about this to England, so as to send nothing but good news. They said I was right and they had thought the same, but four days had passed and their merchants had written to England, so they were obliged to advise his Majesty. So far they have not been able to have audience of Cardinal Richelieu. They told me he had sent to them to say that if they had anything of importance they should go to the Marquis of Schomberg. I think they took offence at this.
With the ambassadors I found the gentleman of Denmark, who had audience of the king and cardinal too. I warned him against the Duke of Saxony, who seemed to hold to the Spanish party. The Earl of Holland said that was only too true and added that everything depended upon the king here. He asked: Your Excellency knows what answer the Duke of Saxony once gave to an ambassador sent by the king here? I said: No. He said he did not know whether there had been a king in France for the last six or seven years, inferring that they did nothing.
Paris, the 3rd March, 1626.
[Italian.]
March 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
484. SIMON CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Prince of Piedmont on his arrival here asked the queen mother frankly whether the king desired peace or war with the Spaniards. She assured him that no negotiations for peace were on foot. I went subsequently to visit him. We conversed together for quite two hours. He said that the king wanted war in Germany and Italy. I said we expected some decision in a fortnight; we had had enough words and should press for some action. The prince remarked that we had to treat with the English ambassadors, the Dutch and the king about war together. They had asked the English ambassadors if they had powers to treat and they had answered in the affirmative. He remarked that they would try to obtain some advantage for our affair from that quarter also.
I commended his views and said your Serenity was most anxious that besides the tie of kin, a warm friendship should exist between this kingdom and England, which could effect so much in our present needs.
I observe that they incline strongly to the invasion of Germany, and as I know that the English ambassadors went with the prince and the Cardinal Richelieu in a coach to Marshal Schombergh, I fear all their efforts will be directed to Germany and they will cool about Italy.
Paris, the 3rd March, 1626.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
485. PIER ANTONIO MARIONI, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Don Christoforo di Cupella, an Englishman, retained by the count as a spy for some 20 ducats a month, forty years of age, of which he has passed twenty at Naples, where he has a wife and children, frequents the palace a great deal, where he has very private conversations with the officials, especially the President Salines. They say he has some suits there. He also has dealings with Greeks, especially one Girolamo Paronda, the chief of the spies in the Levant. He is also said to be in the pay of the Ambassador Bethune as his spy. I have never seen him and do not know him, but I have told the Ambassador Contarini at Rome about him, with other particulars which I sent to the Inquisitors of State on the 10th ult.
I can say no more except that the terrible and unexpected sentence against me has all but paralysed me.
Naples, the 3rd March, 1626.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
486. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Your Serenity's commands of the 28th January reached me after those of the 5th February. I perceive your intentions in the present state of affairs. As the Secretary Conovel is ill and the lords much hindered while I am troubled not a little by my usual indisposition, I treated only with the Secretary Cuch, who has charge of all affairs at present, but especially of reprisals and maritime interests. I first told him of the efforts whereby the most serene republic has procured the peace of France, congratulating myself on their success and the benefit which the peace of that kingdom should bring to the common cause. He said he recognised the zeal and prudence of your Excellencies and the advantage of your offices. The Prince of Piedmont had contributed a great deal; without this the French were much inclined to war. He hinted that too much might have been sacrificed for peace as the conditions are hard for the Huguenots, though they had made bonfires at la Rochelle. They did not know whether the deputies had returned to la Rochelle with the ratification.
I said that in the present state of affairs the peace must be considered advantageous and necessary, but more was required to secure the results desired. I then spoke of the offence caused by the reprisals and the hope that his Majesty in his prudence will place the general advantage before private interests, as I felt sure that the arrest of English goods would not cause offence but would lead to a good judgment and a generous resolve to make restitution and thus release the capital of the people.
The secretary began to justify the reprisals, saying that the French merely serve to cover the goods of the Spaniards; Flanders is fed and supplied through Calais. Friends ought not to prejudice the king's service. The king desires justice and a good understanding with France. This was a private commercial affair. The king's ambassadors wrote that neither the Most Christian nor his Council had any part in this execution, but they had given the arrest at the instance of merchants, who were interested judges. The conduct to be observed by merchants was ordained here, with the desire to do justice. They wanted all the French goods restored, but they could not restore those which undoubtedly belonged to Spaniards. They needed time to make the distinction. The king had entered upon a very important war against the greatest prince in Christendom. He had taken upon himself heavier expenses than he could meet, and it was reasonable that he should supply himself from the goods of his enemies, hurting them while profiting himself.
I pretended to believe that the arrest in France was not by order of the most Christian, and so an accommodation would be easier. To take the goods of friends and prove afterwards that they belonged to enemies was a difficult course not likely to be well received. As ill feeling was aroused by various incidents it would be opportune to facilitate these restitutions, to deprive the French of pretexts and inducements supplied by England to come to terms with the Spaniards or to abandon the public cause.
The secretary told me that the king's ambassadors in France had at this moment as their principal charge to accommodate the differences about the reprisals, and the king will give all reasonable satisfaction. They will not allow this to bring about a rupture. He said the merits of the case were thus. A ship of Havre de Grace was released by the Admiralty judge because there was no opposition; but the Admiralty being advised that there were many Spanish goods, the ship was arrested and the judge ordered a close scrutiny.
I said I would not enter into particulars, but represented the sincerity of the republic in the public cause. The removal of these disagreements would take away the pretexts of those who spoil good plans and divert the good inclinations of France. They might suffer most loss here, as the goods of the English in France are ten times more important than the goods taken.
He seemed favourably impressed and said he would tell his Majesty; my offices would not be without fruit. In the conversation he said many things, among others that the disturbance of the reprisals would be for Calais and Hamburg. It was necessary to smash Spanish trade and force them through lack of provisions. When I remarked that they ought not to take the goods of friends for this he said they had given orders not to touch the vessels of the allies of the crown, but the proclamation, which I forwarded states the contrary.
From this subject I passed to the preparations of the Spaniards and their designs against his Majesty's forces, and the strength they have received by the return of the fleet. I pointed out the need of thwarting these plans and forestalling the danger, as all Christendom expects his Majesty will do something adequate to the common need.
He said they knew of the provisions of the Spaniards everywhere and they would do all they could.
The Ambassador of the States urges the same, as besides the provisions of Spain in Flanders, they are increasing their ships in all the ports, and the Irish regiments serving the Infanta are ordered to be in readiness. They foretell that if the sea is left free to the Spaniards for two months, they will overbear all resistance, and unless greater provision is made here there is danger of some notable affront to his Majesty's dominions. However, they have ordered provisions and munitions for a fleet; but the hurt to the one which sailed is found to be greater and greater, with the loss of more than half the crews, the ships being scattered and the best ones out of the way in Ireland, whence Cecil does not come, owing to contrary winds, to orders or by choice so as not to be present and under the Parliament (ma il danno di quella che sorti si conosce sempre maggiore con perdita di genti per più della mettà con li vasselli sparsi, con li migliori, retirati in Irlanda di dove Sicil non viene o per vento contrario o per ordine o per elettione di non esser presente et sotto il Parlamento).
I have communicated to the Secretary Scuch the considerations of your Serenity about Gabor and the proceedings of the Pasha of Buda and the negotiations of the Spaniards, which although apparently broken off at Constantinople are kept up by the imperial ministers. I made an impression upon him, leaving him persuaded to send orders to the Porte for the support of Gabor.
This minister has spoken to me of other particulars of France and Germany that the Most Christian at present declines to interest himself in those affairs, not keeping his promises to Denmark. He assured me that his Majesty will not fail, but he was sorry about the quarrels between princes who ought to sustain the common cause, indicating Brandenburg, and with respect to Denmark, Sweden. To these particulars I must add that the arrest of the goods in France is announced to the merchants interested by a special courier, and by another to the king, and it has caused a great stir. It has shewn that the duke's interests have upset things.
The members of the French company, so called, in conjunction with other merchants, instead of having recourse to the king, have presented a memorial to the parliament, showing that their losses amount to four millions of francs, and this proceeds solely from injustice shown to the French over their goods, there being no complaint against France, but against the Government. In speaking to me the secretary attributed this to insidious practices of the French. Parliament deputed a committee to enquire into the matter. They have examined the Admiralty judge and Secretary Coke; the duke excused himself on the ground that the ship had been arrested on information from the keepers of the Tower and of Dover (fn. 1) (li compagni della compagnia nominata di Francia congionti con altri mercanti in vece di riccorrer al Re hanno presentato memoriale al Parlamento, rimostrando li loro danni ben importanti quattro millioni di franchi; et questo proceder solo dall'inguistitia che si usa a Francesi nelli loro beni, non dolendosi della Francia, ma del governo; il che mi fu attribuito dal segretario per insidia practicata da Francesi. II Parlamento deputò una commissione per ricever cognitione dell' affare; si sono esaminati il guidice dell' Amiragliato et il segretario Cuch escusandosi il Duca che il vassello sia stato arrestate per le informationi delli custodi della torre et di Doure).
It is not very certain what will happen, as the duke's conduct is not approved, and Parliament will try to obtain justice and indemnity for the people here. They base their case on the fact that the French have done wrong, as the capitulations between the two kings state specifically that the goods of these subjects shall not be detained in such cases. The duke will try for an accommodation through the Council or privately. The Secretary Cuch told me that the matter was private between merchants to cover the offence of the Most Christian and to take away the pretext for and resentment of the Parliament, with which the ambassadors cannot treat, and they must use circumspection with the duke, who is the king's inseparable spirit (che è l'anima inseparata del Re).
I will do all I can, but it is hard, as there is no one for the French with whom I can confer and act in concert.
London, the 6th March, 1626.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
487. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Much news has arrived from Germany by expresses from his Majesty's ambassador with the King of Denmark and from Mansfelt. The ambassador asks chiefly for money and Mansfelt for money and levies. But the offices that the Palatine will have represented consist in affirming the constancy of Denmark, the need of resisting his enemies who grow ever stronger, the idea of that monarch to increase his forces greatly, representing his levies and that the Duke of Mecklenburg and the Archbishop of Maetelaburgh are supplying him with 9,000 men; however, the Spanish forces are increasing, they are withdrawing 9,000 foot from Alsace, the Prince of Letch will take 6,000 from Bohemia to Hesse, Spinola is preparing to send troops from Juliers with the two regiments of Isenburgh and Fucari, the Duke of Weimar having sent all these particulars. They beg his Majesty to send his fleet to the Weser and Elbe to land near Bremen or Hamburg. This would produce a notable effect for Denmark and terrify the enemy. The King of Denmark has urged Gabor to move, promising him money, and has urged them at the Hague to let Mansfelt join him with 12,000 men, urging also the prompt payment of the money, the crux of the whole matter, pointing out that the disarming in Alsace suggests that the Spaniards have assurances from the French, and therefore they should urge the Most Christian to make the diversion of Alsace, thrice promised to the princes of Germany.
The ambassador's letters, which I have seen, report the capture by the imperialists and the league of some places of small consequence. The King of Denmark is preparing three armies, without counting Mansfelt, who is raising troops on the strength of promises of help from France and England. The Duke of Brunswick has withdrawn with his mother to the King of Denmark, leaving Halberstadt in command, who is punishing and getting rid of his brother's evil ministers. Mansfelt is causing great alarm to Lubeck, but the ambassador will prevent harm to their villages. Mansfelt is to go to Aldelburgh, belonging to the Elector of Brandenburg, a very convenient place for the common plans. The persons sent to the Electors of Saxony and Brandenburg have returned empty. The latter has good intentions but dare not declare against the emperor and refused to enter the league. The Count of Schwartzenburg accompanied the princess, Gabor's wife. It is suspected he went to induce that prince to keep on good terms with the emperor; this is because the count is a Catholic and managed the harmful negotiations with the Duke of Neuburg. But the ambassador says he is assured that Bethlen will send some one to the Hague by the 20th March for the establishment of their agreements. In May he will be ready with 30,000 men, and I learn from conversations with the Dutch ambassador and the Palatine's agent that when Buckingham was in Holland they promised Bethlen 30,000 crowns a month, and the difficulty was about the prince taking the field, as they wanted it at once, but he could not move before the pastures were ripe for his horses. I cannot assert this, but many things point that way; and it is easy to understand circumspection in communicating, in order to induce other princes to join in, as it is impossible for the king here to keep his promises and meet the expenses already undertaken.
Brandenburg's refusal of the league creates much feeling against him here, and they perceive that matters are being conducted for the sole advantage and under the direction of Denmark.
The Palatine's agent foretells that Sweden will do the same, because Denmark, for his own advantage, has thrown public interests into confusion; as that king refused to enter that league from the first. Brandenburg made the first overtures for it, but Denmark joined in to shut out Sweden, and here they have put their affairs in that king's hands without considering the interests of the others or the league, making the Protestant electors jealous, who should have set the rule, as well as the towns. He suspects that Brandenburg will object to Mansfelt's forces being in his country, and that king, having a thorough understanding with Mansfelt, aspires to take Lubeck, which would offend Sweden, but might not displease the emperor, as being a small loss and causing division.
The Margrave of Baden renews his request with insistence, begging his Majesty to consider the facility of his designs, the important advantage, the slight cost of 26,000 crowns a month, and that his margraviate as the true gateway into the Palatinate. He has sent a gentleman to France for contributions, who writes hopefully.
The Palatine's agent is agitating so that Margrave, by means of the two crowns, may serve for the promised diversion in Alsace. The King of Poland has written a letter of congratulation to his Majesty on his accession to the throne, asking him to keep the promises of the late king with respect to Robert Stuart, a Scotish gentleman, who bound himself, with the late king's permission to take him two regiments of 6,000 foot. Baron Spens, another Scot, but a colonel and servant of the King of Sweden, has represented to his Majesty the jealousy that such proceedings and the sending of an agent to Poland may excite in that king, urging him to communicate the whole and promise that troops shall not leave this kingdom or anything to his prejudice, declaring that the agent sent to that kingdom is for the interests of merchants and private matters without regard for public. The king agreed and had letters to this effect drawn up for the King of Sweden.
London, the 6th March, 1626.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
488. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Parliament continues to discuss matters of small importance. On Sunday the 1st inst. they had a sermon and took the communion. They have spent their time so far upon ecclesiastical and religious matters, sifting the special differences between the houses and many interests for the Commons. About the king's special request for the exclusion of the Sheriff Cuch, they have come to no decision, as they do not want to prejudice the privileges of Parliament, or to offend his Majesty. (fn. 2)
The duke proposes many subjects to keep the Parliament busy and divert the complaints about bad government, maintaining his cause with many arts, suggestions of modesty, by his dependants and by satisfying those who complain in various ways. Parliament also moves slowly, and it is seen that they are bolder in speech than strong in acting contrary to the king's pleasure. The knot will be untied when the time comes to ask for money. But seeing the steadfastness of the king's love for the duke in his contest with the members, it is thought that they will not venture to hurt him. However, they are collecting evidence. This through artifices collapses of itself (le quali con gli artificii cadono da se stessi) and they have to hear and receive memorials upon the grievances, though these also are delayed and hindered.
However, the members of Parliament have spoken upon two leading questions, one that the king shall not continue to collect the taxes (gabelle), which are the backbone of his revenues and are collected with the assent of Parliament, and that body would agree to provide in other ways for all the expenses, with proper arrangements for the spending. The other to remonstrate about the damage done by the Dunkirkers, and the obligation of the king or others in his name to keep the sea free and safe for his subjects, since his Majesty collects the customs, that is the import and export duties, with this understanding.
The duke recognising the importance of these questions and that the grievances may turn into charges against himself, has convoked the council with the mayor and aldermen of this city, so that at the expense of this community, which is mistress of all the advantages that the river affords from Chenston to Gravesend, to maintain ten armed ships to be kept between London and the mouth of the Thames, and that the coasts from the west to the north, that is from Newcastle to Plymouth, shall furnish 12 ships. With this fleet he hopes to secure the defence and keep the sea clear, while at the same time taking prizes and making reprisals, which shall belong to those who acquire the booty. The cost will be inconsiderable divided among the numerous coast towns and insignificant to the wealth of this city, but so far the mayor and aldermen have not consented from fear of establishing a precedent for heavier expenditure.
For the other expenses they hope to provide by other expedients, and if their hopes of making money by reprisals on the French prove vain, the duke has a plan to send fifteen ships to the sea of Scotland, hoping to find ships of Scotland laden for Spain, who have abandoned the usual route through the Strait and gone round Scotland and Ireland.
To furnish the cost of the fleet which is being prepared they are giving up all payments for the king's ordinary expenses; causing inconvenience to the creditors, who remonstrate.
They have sent an express courier to the States, to make an arrangement about the jewels for 200,000l., pointing out that his Majesty, by the payment of that money, has ordered his expenditure and so that the magistrates may receive the jewels and undertake to pay back the money at the time appointed, such being the desire of those who lend the money, to which his Majesty has agreed. The duke, who is always bolstering up his own interests, persuades his Majesty to insist upon his authority and that money will not fail for the expenses (il duca fortificando sempre il sui interesse con persuasion a S. Maestà di sostener la propria authorità et che non manchera oro per le spese).
With the ships from the East Indies the ambassador of the King of Persia (fn. 3) has arrived with a good suite. The king sent the Earl of Warwick to Kingston to meet him, and he is entertained and defrayed by the merchants of the East India Company. He has brought 80 bales of silk and they say he comes to return thanks for the action at Ormus and to open negotiations for bringing all the silk to this city and Holland, whither another ambassador has gone with similar proposals and a larger quantity of silk. The event will show the success of his negotiations, which have been interrupted by a startling incident.
An Englishman has been here a long while, (fn. 4) passing himself off as Ambassador of the King of Persia. The new comer, so soon as he heard of him, denounced him as an impostor and threatened to kill him if he had a chance. The Englishman, hearing this, cunningly induced his Majesty to allow him to accompany the Earl of Warwick when he went with the king's coaches to fetch the Persian to audience. At the house he expressed a desire to act with him in the service of the King of Persia, showing his patents and commissions. After reading them the Persian tore them all up as false with a forged seal, and gave the Englishman such a violent blow in the face that he knocked him down. The gentlemen who were to honour the audience interposed, and his Majesty was subsequently informed, with resentful expressions. The king withdrew the order for seeing the ambassador, and so the matter rests. The English charge the Persian with exceeding the bounds, but he boldly exclaims that he can do anything for the honour of his king and to his subjects for such the Englishman, the pretended ambassador, declared himself to be.
The French ambassador continues at Greenwich awaiting news from the Most Christian. The ports are still closed on his account and they have renewed the orders since the arrest of English goods in France. The king has ordered all the knights of the Bath to wear the scarlet ribbon with the device of the order, three crowns and the motto Tria conjuncta in uno, alluding to the three kingdoms of this monarchy.
On Shrove Tuesday the queen and her maidens represented a pastoral, followed by a masque, with rich scenery and dresses, and remarkable acting on her part. The king and court enjoyed it, those present being picked and selected, but it did not give complete satisfaction, because the English objected to the first part (attione) being declaimed by the queen. (fn. 5)
My despatches have all been stopped at Dover and there is no means of getting them across except by an extraordinary courier and with his Majesty's permission or by satisfying the duke, but this would be difficult in his present disposition. I beg your Serenity to excuse the delay, the multiplicity of letters and the upset of affairs.
London, the 6th March, 1626.
Postscript.—I am assured that the ports are open.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
489. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Begs for consideration. Sick in body and uneasy in mind after seven years' absence, with heavy costs, especially here with funerals, marriages and the plague, in addition to the liveries for the coronation and those prepared for the public entry of their Majesties into the city. When Parliament is over the king may go away from the city afar off to Scotland, and stay away for many months; begs earnestly for permission to take leave before the Court goes, as he could not fulfil his duties satisfactorily if he went.
London, the 6th March, 1626.
[Italian.]
March 7.
Senato,
Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
490. That 300 ducats be given to the representatives of Giovanni Pesaro, ambassador in England, to be expended upon couriers and the carriage of letters, for which he shall render account.
Ayes, 107.Noes, 0.Neutral, 6.
[Italian.]
March 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
491. MODERANTE SCARAMELLI, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
There was a rumour that the duke is to command the French force joined to his own, but Marini denies this. The duke's mind is full of the enterprise against Genoa. He persists in his requests for naval help from England. He says he will do something immediately the season allows.
Turin, the 7th March, 1626.
[Italian.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
492. SIMON CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
When I spoke to the chancellor about the advisability of putting an end to the quarrels between the crown and England, he said: Truly, sir, that king is ill advised, and he made a gesture indicating that he knew only too much of those affairs.
Paris, the 9th March, 1626.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
493. SIMON CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The prince remarked to me with regret that there were fresh troubles between the crown and England about the arrests, the capital and goods. His Highness was working hard. His Majesty wished that a man should first arrive sent by his ambassador in London, when he would declare himself. That ambassador has been recalled, greatly to the delight of the English ambassadors, who entered just as I finished my audience of the prince. We exchanged suitable compliments. I continue my offices with the minister to encourage a better feeling between the two kings, informing the Ambassador Pesaro of all that befalls.
Paris, the 9th March, 1626.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Signori
Stati.
Venetian
Archives.
494. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They continue their provisions here for the fleet against the Dunkirkers; it will be commanded by Admiral Nassau, lately returned from the English fleet.
The Persian ambassador has not yet arrived. He is waiting for certain lucky days, by which he regulates all his operations. I foresee that he comes to treat about the silk trade, which may injure our market. There is no Venetian merchant here or any one else who can give me unprejudiced information as to what can be done to prevent this.
The Hague, the 9th March, 1626.
[Italian.]
March 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
495. To the Ambassador in England.
Since we wrote to you on the 13th ult. your letters have reached us up to that date, with advices and particulars. We approve of your views about peace and whenever you see that your offices will have influence in forwarding a mutual union we shall be glad for you to act.
With respect to the French ambassador's claim about the coronation ceremony, you acted discreetly. The claim is novel and unwarrantable; we cannot believe that he will persist. We are writing to France so that the king may order his ambassador to desist from such claims, which can do no good. We believe that the king will interpose and the office will arrive in time; but if not and you have not been able to gain your point and have your proper position, you will rather give up attending the ceremony.
You will be glad to hear that your relief from your charge is near at hand, as we are about to issue our instructions to the Ambassador Zorzi, who will replace your successor; he will start next month. This should comfort you, but much more the satisfaction which the Senate has always received from your operations.
Ayes, 124.Noes, 3.Neutral, 4.
[Italian.]
March 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
496. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I informed his Majesty in confidence of your Serenity's instructions about the communications of the Catholic ambassador. The king seemed to appreciate fully the friendship and confidence of the republic. He made me repeat the particulars, and seemed angry with the Spaniards, his cheeks growing pale. He said: I assure you that the Spaniards cannot honourably publish such a thing. The letters which passed between me and the Infanta were sent back to me unopened and sealed.
I remarked that his Majesty might appraise the objects of such declarations. Your Serenity had no object in this but to give his Majesty the information as a sign of esteem and sincerity. The king straightly commanded me to thank the republic. From this subject I turned to speak of the preparations of the Spaniards and the necessity, in the public interests, that the relations between his Majesty and the most Christian should remain intimate and confidential, touching on the establishment of the peace of France. He remarked. You yourself see what I am doing and what I have done for the peace of France. I adjusted my remarks to his praise and said he could acquire even greater glory by seeing an end put to all private differences. With a gesture of disdain the king said these were small matters and he hoped to be on good terms with the king, his brother.
We went on to speak of Gabor and Constantinople, as I found my representations to the Secretary Cuch had proved fruitful. His Majesty said he had, given precise orders to his ambassador at the Porte to upset the plans of the Spaniards, so that Gabor may have support, especially as the Pasha of Buda is moving in his interests. The prince offered to take the field on the 1st of May with 50,000 men. He added with a smile, that despite all this he had approached the emperor for the passage of his bride. I pointed out the advantage of this diversion to his Majesty and Denmark. I congratulated his Majesty on having escaped uninjured from a dangerous fall from his horse. This ended the audience. I may add that I saw the duke before receiving the last instructions. He spoke of Gabor being of the same favourable disposition; the interest of your Serenity in his moving, the need for a good round sum for once only to obtain the results and to cut down the expenses incurred gradually without profit. He asked your Serenity rather for 30,000 crowns a month desired by Gabor than the share previously asked by the Secretary Conway. I replied alleging what we had done for the common service and the impossibility of doing more. He accepted the excuse, but here they require some financial help at all costs.
I spoke to him of the reprisals, the quarrels with the French and the necessity for a good understanding between the two crowns in order to resist the Spaniards. The duke, with much moderation, expressed his sorrow at the differences with the ambassador and the reprisals, as if he did not approve of the arrest of the French. He said it was necessary to make good compensation to cut the thread of such ambitions.
I advanced the arguments of justice and the present crisis and your Serenity's desire for good relations between the two crowns. He appreciated my good will, saying your Excellency keeps your affection for us. We are daily expecting news from France, and it seems, when that comes we may think of interposition and appeasing the quarrel. He betrayed some feeling about the inconstancy of the French, who are now arranging for a force to go to Germany, there being some difficulty about the commander. They fear, however, that this show will prevent the French from contributing to the King of Denmark. The Secretary Cuch expressed the same doubt much more openly, telling me that a proposal had been made in France for the two kings to maintain a force, sharing the expense, but they wanted to know the real intentions of the French, whether they meant to maintain peace at home and continue the war of Italy, and remove the suspicion aroused by their missions to Spain. The French declared that these were merely complimentary and they were ready to believe it, but they wanted to see the results. They promised to remonstrate with the pope and had sent to Rome to complain of the levies made for the Spaniards. They think here that the pope went so far partly in his own interests and partly because the French would not declare whole heartedly against the Spaniards. To be quite certain about these affairs they have sent to France on purpose. He further told me that if they were certain that the most Christian would attack the common enemies of Christendom his Majesty would not mind joining in the expense. They have also sent Wake's secretary to France very unexpectedly, to proceed to Turin, I am told, with information upon the state of affairs and pressure to continue the war, but as there was a special despatch for the Prince of Piedmont and Abbot Scaglia I have not yet been able to ascertain the truth.
The French ambassador who returned here because of some accident in his household, informed me of the way his king had recalled him, chiefly to assist the English ambassadors in their negotiations upon the affairs of Germany. He told me that the Most Christian could not enter the league made at the Hague, but he might make another with the king here, it being proper that France should not receive but concede the place in the negotiations. He thought that they would also subvention Denmark. The Prince of Piedmont was manœuvring for a general league. All this will serve to compare with what your Serenity hears on better authority from that Court.
In the confusion of these letters I must not forget to add that Cuch confirmed Gabor's favourable disposition and by the 20th March he will send to the Hague for the arrangements. His Majesty also thinks of sending some one since he has no minister resident at that Court. He received favourably my instances for the prompt assembling of a fleet and all seem to recognise the need for hastening this on, but they do not deny the shortness of money, or the internal disturbances owing to divisions among the nobles and with the Parliament. Cuch told me that nothing remained to be done but to collect the soldiers and sailors, for the rest they really are hastening on the provisions and munitions.
London, the 13th March, 1626.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
497. ZUANE PESARO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Unfortunate incidents are constantly occurring to offend the French ambassador. As he could not succeed in getting his despatches through, he tried by indirect ways to send his secretary with nothing but letters of credit for his Majesty. The secretary was arrested in the company of the agent of the Catholics of this realm, a most unpopular person and criminal in the king's eyes. (fn. 6) They opened his letters, which contained nothing, and afterwards, owing to the representations made by the ambassador, they released the secretary, and the agent also, at the instance of the queen, although his Majesty vowed that if the agent ever fell into his hands again he would put him to death.
In addition to this incident another important scandal has occurred. In the neighbourhood of the house where the ambassador usually dwells the pursuivants (persecutori) of the Catholics have taken many priests and Catholics who were going to mass, so the ambassador came to this city, probably to remove the pretext that he was responsible for the house, although he kept part of his household there, pretending that it was far away and not secluded enough. Yet the persecution went so far that a Catholic was taken in the courtyard of the ambassador's house. A disturbance arose leading to blows and fighting between the pursuivants, the neighbours surrounding the house and the French lackeys. The ambassador himself intervened with the English and stopped the riot. When all was over the Earl Marshal Arundel hastened to the scene.
The French ambassador remonstrated to the king, who disapproved of the deed. The duke expressed his intention to see the ambassador satisfied. He claims that the king shall send a messenger to apologise, but as things are not done here so promptly, especially with so many accumulated causes of offence, the ambassador lost patience and withdrew to Greenwich, so this may grow worse (onde questo punto resta di più a sgrossare); but it is announced that the English ambassadors are confined or observed at Paris, and that Montagu has been stopped with the despatches on his way back to Calais.
Wise men do not credit these cvil rumours prematurely, and I am pleased that this embassy is highly respected, because the Catholics come here freely, but not one is seditious and there is no suspicion of my actions.
Parliament has continued its enquiry about the reprisals. The persons concerned lay the blame to some extent upon the duke, the more so as it is shown that the king's inclinations leaned rather to preserving the friendship of the allied princes than to have the benefit of the goods. As the House is much concerned about the loss of the English through the arrest in France, they also recognise that the original fault was on this side and in no wise condemn France. Accordingly the king, becoming uneasy at the tendency shown by parliament, asked the House not to take up anything which might injure his honour in this affair, approving what he disapproves. It is thought that in this way he wishes to cut short the parliament's deliberations, but I have reason to think that they have sent to the king's ambassadors at the Most Christian court to settle this affair though they claim not to restore goods admittedly Spanish. But even when the agreement is made very great difficulties will remain, as a third of the goods are scattered.
In addition to this, parliament has dealt with many matters but settled little. They aspire to attack the duke indirectly, but as yet no one has dared to make trial (far experienza) against his power, which is so great that the king said he wished the duke's preservation at the risk of losing his own crown, while the duke let slip that to save himself he will hazard the king and the crown. These ideas agree together, but cause grave dissatisfaction (concetti che si conformano ma che molto dispiacono).
Sheriff Cuch will not serve as a member; that is announced for this occasion to please his Majesty, but without prejudice to the privileges of the realm. The parliament has complained of the High Commission, the Court that on the abolition of the pope's authority was appointed by the king in the exercise of his supreme spiritual and temporal power. From this comes the persecution of the Catholics and other inquisitions about this pretended religion, the sentences being considered most outrageous (violentissimi). The Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Commission, has power to impose the ex-officio oath compelling everyone to answer any questions and because a member of parliament would not take this oath, the archbishop excommunicated him (fn. 7) ; accordingly the House proposes to suppress this inquisition, worse, they say, than that of Rome and Spain.
The members of parliament do not approve entirely of the present persecution of the Catholics, not because they do not desire it, but because they consider it an artifice of the duke, saying that while they chastise the Catholics here they allow the destruction of the Huguenots.
They deride the peace of France but lean strongly to a good understanding with the French crown. From suspicion that many nobles who conform to the religion here are Catholics at heart and have bulls and papal dispensations, they wanted to purge the Upper House, and some of the magistracies, naming the persons suspected.
The Upper House, openly opposing the duke's interests, has passed a resolution that lords may not take up more than two proxies for the absent, it being the custom to give one's opinion through a friend. The duke took part in parliament representing fourteen votes in himself, so he has been obliged to give up this advantage as the majority decided against it. This resolution against the duke in the Upper House, where they usually have more respect for the Court, has greatly encouraged the Lower House. They have begun to arrange the method of their enquiry, namely, first to enquire into the evils, then into their causes and thirdly to suggest remedies. If this can be done without offending the duke one may hope that parliament will achieve what is necessary and what the king desires; but many say the opposite.
They have already begun with the Council of War, entering into particulars about the expenses incurred and if the money was employed for the purpose to which it was devoted. Secretary Cuch has proposed a tax of a shilling upon every measure of coal, to realise about 16,000l. a year, to serve to keep the sea clear of the Dunkirkers. This proposal does not please the parliament, as the custom is assigned for this purpose and brings in ten times as much. These are the internal affairs.
As regards foreign ones the gentleman of the King of Denmark is not over pleased because of the difficult way of treating, and because he does not find them prompt and they have no money for his requirements. His Majesty's major plans seem to depend upon replies from France, which do not come. He points out that without a diversion his king cannot hold out, as the Austrians want to smash Denmark and Lower Saxony rather than to treat with them. They think of despatching him with provision for a month and possibly with some money for Mansfelt, though this is unsatisfactorily provided from the money to be received upon the jewels in Holland. The king answers the Palatine's offices with expressions of good-will, but says he cannot send the fleet to the Weser and the Elbe because of other obligations. The king said he hoped the Most Christian would make a force for the diversion in Alsace, and without this promise peace would not be made in France, but the Palatine's agent naturally suspects the Germans and is very doubtful about what will happen.
They suspect strongly here that the Most Christian may have quite other leanings than peace in France, and they fear for the Huguenots themselves, because bonfires were made in la Rochelle at the general news of the peace, but not when they knew the terms, about which Soubise complains bitterly. However, he has left Plymouth and is staying in the country. (fn. 8) We are not sure of the ratification, through the offices made with the deputies of la Rochelle. It is feared that the inhabitants may rise, which would create great confusion and the danger of being abandoned by their own party and the king here, who no longer complains of his ambassadors upon the hopes of agreements on public affairs and upon the accounts given him of what the Prince of Piedmont has done, in whom they have great confidence here. But the duke has told me that he values all offices directed towards the maintenance of peace in that realm. I do not believe, however, that these deputies will have done any harm, because I understand that their letters for la Rochelle came into the hands of the English ambassadors who would not suffer what they had arranged to be spoiled.
Cecil has at last reached the Downs. He sent word to the Admiralty to have orders to leave the ships, and yesterday he arrived in this city. Apparently parliament is not angry with him but rather with the one who chose him for such a great expedition. His arrival will allow them to put the fleet in order with all the ships in the kingdom.
The officers come from Holland are scattered about the country drilling troops, arousing the resentment of the local captains who consider themselves superior in rank and intelligence.
The French ambassador is expecting a brief from His Holiness commending his operations, as he has helped the Catholics not a little. He glories in what he has done. In reply to his requests he expects discharge from the Most Christian for what has happened or power to claim reparation from his Majesty here.
I have managed so well about the ship Faith that seven bales remain to be unladed by the bill of lading shown me by the captain. Two of these belong to a certain Panese and were laded at Cartagena; Cuch claims that they are Spanish, although the agents declare he is a native of Venice living there. The other five are not demanded.
The Secretary Conway has asked me for prompt justice in the matter of the enclosed memorial.
London, the 13th March, 1626.
Postscript.—Your Serenity's commands of the 7th ult. about keeping up the necessary correspondence with the Courts shall be punctually obeyed.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in
the preceding
despatch.
498. To the Ambassador of the Venetian Republic.
An English merchant, named Nathaniel Tesson, factor of the Company of English merchants at Zante, has died there leaving property worth 24,000 dollars in money and currants, leaving all by will to his relations and to works of charity, chiefly, to his brother John Tesson, legal advocate, 1,000l. sterling; and 1,000l. sterling to his eldest son John Tesson, appointing Henry Garrway, Richard Bishopp and Thomas Tesson as his executors. The two first have left the charge to the third. John Tesson, the advocate, has recently died leaving a widow enceinte and six children. She is deprived of her husband's legacy because the goods are retained by John Plumpton and Samuel Whitehead, agent in that island, to whom the testator left the charge of sending them to England. They have taken possession of them without informing the executor, who is in England, how matters stand since the testator's death, presuming that the justice of this realm does not extend so far. Your Excellency is besought to have compassion on this widow and to recommend her case to the justice of the republic and the Governor of Zante so that the goods and books of the testator may be sent to England and handed to the executor for carrying out the will. This will be a work of charity.
[Italian.]
March 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
499. SIMONE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Queen of England has sent a man to the king, her brother, telling him of a quarrel with her husband about going or not going to parliament. It seems that Blainville, the French ambassador in England, foments the ill feeling between the two crowns. The Most Christian has again ordered him to return here immediately. Owing to the fresh quarrels I thought fit at my audience of the king to express quietly the great desire of your Serenity for the establishment of friendship and the union of interests between them. The king said, They refuse to pay any attention to me in England, they are behaving badly (non vogliono in Inghilterra far conto di me; si portono male). I remarked that his great prudence and a little tact would overcome everything. The queen mother, to whom I also spoke, is much upset. She also said: They are treating us badly. I made that marriage in order to get some satisfaction from it, but it brings me nothing but sorrow (ci trattano male; feci quel mariagio per haverne contento, altro non me ne viene che tribolatione).
Paris, the 13th March, 1626.
[Italian.]
March 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
500. To the Ambassador in France.
The French Ambassador in England, despite the declaration of the king there against the Master of the Ceremonies because of the incident at the late king's funeral, is attempting to gain an advantage over our ambassador at the coronation ceremony and also at the public entry. Such claims are related to those made by the French ambassador at the Catholic Court, and as the Most Christian reproved these you will try to get them to do the same in England.
Ayes, 125.Noes, 0.Neutral, 5.
[Italian.]
March 14.
Senato,
Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
501. Whereas it is necessary to remedy the disorder due to the lack of our ships, whereby our subjects are compelled to lade their goods upon foreign ships manned by foreign crews, and the Levant, where Venetians alone used to trade, is frequented by foreign ships, taking away our trade and diminishing our sailors, and as it is not permissible to make adequate provision by subsidising our merchants living in this city only, to buy foreign ships of 600 butts and over, making them Venetian: that the Cinque Savii alla Mercantia shall announce publicly that those of our subjects who live in this city and pay the usual charges and wish for the next three years to buy foreign ships with the intention of manning them with Venetians, shall have an advance from the public funds of 4 ducats per butt upon finding due security, to be repaid by yearly instalments in ten years. The vessels shall be inspected before purchase by officials of the republic. Once bought they shall enjoy all the privileges of ships built in this city, and they shall be manned by subjects of the republic and by Greeks who have been Turkish subjects.
The carrying out of this decree shall be left to the aforesaid Cinque Savii.
Ayes, 72.Noes, 68.
That the question be deferred.
Ayes, 75.Noes, 2.Neutral, 13.
[Italian.]
March 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Svizzeri.
Venetian
Archives.
502. MODERANTE SCARAMELLI, Venetian Secretary in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English ambassador has clearly stated to me that his king will send a fleet to the duke to the Gulf of Spezia against Genoa. He sticks to his opinion that if the French will not move they must act for themselves. The Ambassador Marini, on the other hand, asserts that he has been assured that no such enterprise will be undertaken without France.
Turin, the 15th March, 1626.
[Italian; deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 The ship in question was the St. Peter of Havre: the admiralty judge, Sir Henry Marten: the governor of the Tower, Sir Allen Apsley and the lieutenant of Dover, Sir John Hippisley.
2 Charles tried to keep Sir Edward Coke out of Parliament by pricking him as sheriff for Buckinghamshire. However, Coke was elected knight of the shire for Norfolk and burgess for Coventry. Birch: Court and Times of Charles I, vol. i, page 72.
3 Nukud Aly Beg, who arrived in the Star. Cal. S.P. Col., 1625–9, pages 161, 170.
4 Sir Robert Shirley.
5 See Chamberlain's letter to Carleton of the 7th March. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1625–6, page 273.
6 M. Marande and a person calling himself Richard Foster were arrested at Faversham towards the end of February. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1625–6, page 254.
7 Sir Robert Howard, member for Bishop's Castle, co. Salop.
8 At the house of Mr. John Poulet at Hinton in Somerset, which he only left for a short interval. Soubise was committed to Hinton in October, 1626, and Poulet, writing on the 7th Sept., 1627, says he had been living at his house for more than a year. Birch: Court and Times of Charles I, vol. i., page 54. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1625–6, page 423.