24. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
In order to show the king the sincerity of the desire of the
Princes of Savoy to make peace with their sister in law, Prince
Tomaso's gentleman has assured their Majesties that if the duchess
is of the same mind they will readily concede to her all that she
claims in the wardship of the little duke and the regency, on condition
that they have their share in the government, and sign all
state papers after her. Without committing himself his Majesty
commended the proposals and their desire for quiet. He most
earnestly desired it for that crown. The queen and her mother
have informed the duchess of these proposals ; but I gather that
the ministers here, for many excellent reasons, have no great
inclination to mix themselves up in these sordid affairs, and many
have reminded his Majesty that if he decides to take them up,
it will be necessary to invite your Excellencies to join in making
representation to the crowns, so that they may not spoil the
conclusion. After these overtures this person further begged his
Majesty to resume his efforts to recover for that house the protection
and confidence of your Serenity. The king frankly
replied that he could not do anything more without definite
incitement from Madame, from whom, as guardian of the duke,
such things must come and not from others.
A vessel of the fleet was sent to Dunkirk last week to fetch the
Marquis of Vellada, ambassador extraordinary of the Catholic,
who is expected at Court in a few days. (fn. 1) Besides the instructions
reported he is strictly charged to incite the king to take
action against Normandy, and to seize the present opportunity
to re-establish the ancient rights of his crown in that province.
In their own interests the Spaniards try to persuade his Majesty
that aided by the alliances and the diversions created by Caesar
and the Catholic against France, and united with Denmark,
even a great effort will prove easy. In order to win the support
of ministers through liberality Vellada's offices will be backed
by remittances for 150,000 crowns, provided by his master for
secret service, that being the most powerful means for surmounting
even the most serious difficulties in this country. The matter
is worthy of consideration.
The Ambassador Bellievre was presented with rich hangings
and has set off home with all speed. He has left a young secretary
here. (fn. 2) The ministers here are somewhat offended at his departure,
as they think it disrespectful of France to be without
a minister of rank here. They do not approve either of the king
pledging himself, if the Most Christian releases the Palatine
from prison, that he shall not leave France, considering this absolutely
contrary to the dignity of the crown, and that by this
demand the French wish to obtain from here a tacit acceptance
of the arrest of the prince, and thereby escape the fear of resentment.
Yet if there be some one to take up the matter tactfully
in the right way. it may not prove impossible to induce his
Majesty to give this satisfaction, supposing France persists in
wishing for it, which all do not believe.
They have increased the garrison of Jersey by 500 foot, as
they still suspect that the French intend to annex it.
The Treasurer has at last got the Scots to accept the securities
sent by the king for their deputies, and got them to make a fresh
choice of four. (fn. 3) They will be here soon to resume the old negotiations
for an agreement. Although hope in these is revived,
they do not slacken their military preparations. They press on
the levies with all their might and this week they sent 500 horse
and a lot of infantry to Berwick, since his Majesty is persuaded
that nothing will better assist an advantageous accommodation
than to make that people believe him to be powerfully armed.
With the death of Monsignor Coneo, to whom the pope promised
the Cardinalate at the queen's request, her Majesty is now asking
the same favour for a brother of the duke of Lennox, one of the
most conspicuous persons at the Court from his close connection
with the royal house. (fn. 4)
London, the 10th February, 1640.
25. The Secretary of England was brought to the Collegio
and the Doge informed him of the Senate's decision of the 8th
inst. He said :
Your Serenity has always shown favour and kindness to my
nation, for which I thank you heartily and promise to show as
much devotion as your own subjects. He then repeated his
instances for Henry Hider, asking that his affair might be referred
to some naval authority, as the doge might see fit.
The doge replied that in this matter also they would try to
give him every possible satisfaction, and without saying any more
the secretary made his bow and went out.
26. Gieronimo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the
Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Their High Mightinesses have sent an express to their ambassador
extraordinary in England directing him to ask for an immediate
reply to his proposals and, that obtained, to return at
once. This is to forestall the arrival of the Spanish ambassador
at the Court, from whose offices they expect the business introduced
by Harsem for making good, with complete satisfaction
to the king, the impression caused by the recent affair with the
fleet, will be notably worsened. If the ambassador cannot
obtain a reply he is to try and leave the Court, after performing
all proper offices with the king.
The Hague, the 13th February, 1640.
27. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to
the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Bellievre, returned from England, has
practically assured the Cardinal that the King of Great Britain
is in no condition to undertake anything against France this year.
His wrath at the detention of his nephew is much less than the
necessity of employing his forces against the Scots. The ministers
here, all the same, considering that it is always in his power to
pacify Scotland, still apprehend that some extraordinary and
unexpected blow may be struck by the embassy of the Marquis
di Vellada against the approaching campaign, which will confound
it entirely. None the less they remain firm in requiring
the satisfaction which I reported for the release of the Palatine,
and before taking other steps they are waiting for the views
of the King of Great Britain.
Paris, the 14th February, 1639. [M.V.]
28. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The deputies of Scotland arrived here two days ago, accompanied
by the Treasurer. The Court awaits anxiously the proposals
they will make to the king. His Majesty declares roundly that he
will not accept them unless they are couched in very humble
form and accompanied by offers to agree to bishops residing in
that kingdom, but that he will go forward with his plans, and
obtain by arms what they refuse to concede to reason, after such
long negotiations. This course is strongly encouraged by the
Lieutenant of Ireland, the new and influential minister, for his
own ends ; but the others, although less influential, show more
caution and urge his Majesty without ceasing to put an end to
the present civil discords at any cost, as if they persist the crown
must look for ruinous consequences. Thus amid the conflict
of different passions one cannot yet see how far these commissioners
will help towards the tranquillity of the kingdom.
After the Dutch ambassadors have waited so long for an answer
the king has at last sent them a sheet full of exaggerations and
serious complaints about the late affair in the Downs, and other
things done in the Channel to ships of this country, and strong
remonstrances at their having permitted the rebels in Scotland
to obtain food and even munitions of war from Holland. The
ambassadors have not yet replied to these fresh charges, but
they have withdrawn at this unexpected blow, and do not appear
at the palace. Perhaps they are waiting for fresh instructions
from their masters as to how they shall conduct their offices in
the future, in order to restore the former relations with this crown.
The king has even removed the old first secretary of State,
Cuch, who has always been a staunch supporter of the Dutch
as well as of France, and granted the post to the Secretary
Vilimbanch, who is known to be entirely Spanish in interest and
sympathy. (fn. 5) Similarly ministers partial to France and Holland
are not employed or summoned, as usual, to the ordinary secret
deliberations of the Cabinet, a thing which causes remark.
Don Antonio d'Ochendo is at Dunkirk, ready to sail with 26
large ships, selected to take the Flemish troops to Spain. He is
only waiting for a favourable wind. The Dutch Admiral Tromp
is diligently scouring the Channel with 48 admirably equipped
ships, determined to prevent this voyage of the Spaniards and
to engage them in a new battle.
The Duchess of Chevreuse is working hard so that the king
may receive the Catholic Ambassador Vellada with every demonstration
of honour and esteem. She is the openly avowed
author of the present operations of the Spaniards at this Court.
She asks that the royal barques shall be sent further than usual
for him, and that quarters be prepared for him at the palace.
As his Majesty is very friendly to Vellada, from having known
him in Spain, she hopes to obtain these advantages for him, and
if so, the ministers of other crowns will have cause to claim the
Prince Tomaso's gentleman remains here. He says he has
ample powers from the princes of Savoy not only to arrange an
agreement with Madame, but to conclude an alliance with this
crown as well. They have come to no decision about his proposals
yet, indeed they seem inclined to let the whole matter drop.
Several English ships on their way to Virginia encountered the
Barbary pirates and after a long fight, fell into their hands, to
the serious loss and dismay of the merchants of this mart. They
have appealed to the king to make strong representations to the
Porte, to put a stop to this serious pest. The Ambassador
Fildinch has been here to assure me that, in conformity with
fresh orders from his Majesty, he has decided to set out to his
Post next month, without further delay.
The courier of Antwerp has arrived to-day and I receive your
Excellencies' letters of the 20th ult. I am sorry that contrary
winds have prevented mine from crossing the sea.
London, the 17th February, 1640.
29. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to
the Doge and Senate.
Four days ago the English ambassador formally thanked me
in his king's name for my efforts for the release of the Palatine.
His promises have been arranged according to the attached
copy. The ambassador said that his king could not oppose this,
but as regards what was asked of him personally, he neither
could nor would do it, for his reputation's sake, and he would
neither speak nor treat about the interests of the Palatine before
he was at liberty. The ambassador added as from himself that
the liberty might be understood if he was out of the Bois de
Vincennes and could stay at the Court, even on the condition
of not leaving it. As mildly as possible I told His Eminence the
substance of this reply, which he did not much like. He remarked
to me very haughtily that the English expect to gain something
by their stiffness. They are greatly deceived. Reputation is
the soul of the good government of states and they will never
In spite of these sharp words I have learned from another
quarter that some way may be found to show the world that the
Palatine is not unjustly detained, and that they will freely
render him his liberty now that the affairs of Scotland seem more
smiling ; as their apprehensions of some understanding between
England and the Spaniards becomes ever greater. In the
present state of affairs great harm might result from this, as if
the King of Spain received the assurance of a certain number of
ships, the English could nullify all the advantage which they hope
to enjoy from the recent victory of the Dutch over General
Oquendo in the Downs and consequently compel the fleet of the
Archbishop of Bordeaux to remain in these waters, abandoning
all the plans which they propose to carry out with it in the
Mediterranean. There is also the fear that the King of Great
Britain himself or the Spaniards assisted by him may land in
Normandy or Britanny, where, finding the people disaffected,
they might easily kindle a fire which could not be extinguished
without the abandonment or at least the upsetting of the interests
of Italy and all the other projects for this year.
Paris, the 21st February, 1639. [M.V.]
30. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
This week has passed without incident at the Court, where the
pleasures of the Carnival usurp the place of all affairs. Since
the severe declaration in writing to the Dutch ambassadors
about recent events, the king has informed them that he does not
intend this as a final reply to their proposals but hopes that after
they have considered the matter they will take the course which
they think best suits the interests of this crown as well as of
those Provinces, for which his Majesty has a singular affection
and esteem. These expressions have not only assuaged the
fears of those ministers, but have revived Arsem's hopes of
inducing the king to approve openly of the justification offered
by his masters. He works incessantly to obtain this before the
Catholic Ambassador Vellada arrives here, whose occupation at
Dunkirk over the despatch of Ochendo has delayed him up to
the present. They await him at the palace with great impatience,
hoping through him to complete the desired marriage of the
princess here to Spain, which has been in negotiation so long.
Favoured by a fair wind the Catholic fleet sailed last Friday,
and pursues its voyage towards Spain without opposition. The
Dutch ships, after remaining several days off Gravelines, have
been driven to the Isle of Wight by the stormy weather. They
may think of attempting something against the enemy there,
but as a squadron of English ships has proceeded thither designedly,
it is not thought that the Dutch will venture to attack them
in English waters and in sight of English forces, in order to avoid
The deputies of Scotland remain at Court, without seeing the
king. They are treating privately with the ministers, to see if
they can arrange the principal articles of the agreement before
they appear before his Majesty. He persists in the demand
that they must come as suppliants, and not as commissioners,
and that they must promptly restore the bishops. They, on
their side, stand fast to the point that they have no powers to
do so. Their protest that the Scots will not be disposed to disarm
very soon, for their own safety's sake, makes an adjustment
seem more and more difficult, and the wisest men predict that
they will return home without arranging anything, so that this
crown will not be able to avoid the mischief of a troublesome
civil war. For this reason they continue to press forward their
military preparations. Many English captains have arrived
from Holland and others are expected soon, to assist in commanding
the royal troops.
Many ships have arrived here from Cadiz this week, bringing
a large quantity of silver, which will be transported to Flanders.
The merchants there have received orders from Spain recently
to pay the Cardinal Infant 5,400,000 crowns, in nine monthly
instalments. If their provisions correspond to their commissions
their disbursements will exceed those of past years by one third.
This very reasonably causes the Dutch ambassadors some apprehension,
while the reports of secret negotiations for an accommodation
between the crowns causes equal misgiving, since in
their own interest they would like to see the calamities of war
prolonged for those princes.
London, the 24th February, 1640.
31. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to
the Doge and Senate.
It appears that the king of Great Britain has felt some offence
and suspicion at the departure of Bellievre, and it is said he
intends to recall the Earl of Leicester, on the pretext of giving
him some conspicuous post in his forces. They would not like
that at all here on account of the consequences, and they announce
that they are soon going to despatch the Count of Moruer as
ambassador. But from another quarter I am assured that his
nomination to that post is not yet settled.
Paris, the 28th February, 1639. [M.V.]