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who took him in his arms, and bade him welcome by the name of Octavio Baldi, saying, "he was the most honest, and therefore the best dissembler that ever he met with ;" and said, “ Seeing I know you neither want learning, travel, nor experience, and that I have had so real a testimony of your faithfulness and abilities to manage an ambassage, I have sent for you to declare my purpose; which is to make use of you in that kind hereafter.” And indeed the King did so most of those two and twenty years of his reign; but before he dismissed Octavio Baldi from his present attendance upon him, he restored him to his old name of Henry Wotton, by which he then knighted him.
Not long after this, the King having resolved, according to his motto, (Beati pacifici,) to have a friendship with his neighbour-kingdoms of France and Spain; and also, for divers weighty reasons, to enter into an alliance with the state of Venice, and to that end to send ambassadors to those several places, did propose the choice of these employments to Sir Henry Wotton; who, considering the smallness of his own estate, (which he never took care to augment,) and knowing the courts of great princes to be sumptuous, and necessarily expensive, inclined most to that of Venice, as being a place of more retirement, and best suiting with his genius, who did ever love to join with business, study, and a trial of natural experiments; for both which fruitful Italy, that darling of nature, and cherisher of all arts, is so justly famed in all parts of the Christian world.
Sir Henry, having, after some short time and consideration, resolved upon Venice, and a large allowance being appointed by the King for his voyage thither, and a settled maintenance during his stay there, he left England, nobly accompanied through France to Venice, by gentlemen of the
best families and breeding that this nation afforded; they were too many to name; but these two, for the following reasons, may not be omitted. Sir Albertus Morton, his nephew, who went his secretary; and William Bedel, a man of choice learning, and sanctified wisdom, who went his chaplain. And though his dear friend, Dr. Donne (then a private gentleman), was not one of the number that did personally accompany him in this voyage, yet the reading of this following letter, sent by him to Sir Henry Wotton, the morning before he left England, may testify he wanted not his friend's best wishes to attend him.
AFTER those reverend papers, whose soul is
A taper of his torch; a copy writ
After those learned papers, which your hand
After those loving papers, which friends send
Admit this honest paper, and allow
would say at Venice this says now, And has for nature what you have for task.
To swear much love : nor to be changed before
But 'tis an easier load (though both oppress)
'Tis therefore well your spirits now are plac'd
For me! (if there be such a thing as 1)
But though she part us, to hear my oft prayers
Sir Henry Wotton was received by the state of Venice with much honour and gladness, both for that he delivered his ambassage most elegantly in the Italian language, and came also in such a juncture of time, as his master's friendship seemed useful for that republic. The time of his coming thither was about the year 1604, Leonardo Donato being then Duke; a wise and resolved man, and to all purposes such (Sir Henry Wotton would often say it) as the state of Venice could not then have wanted; there having been formerly, in the time of Pope Clement the eighth, some contests about the privileges of churchmen, and the power of the civil magistrate; of which, for the information of common readers, I shall say a little, because it may give light to some passages that follow.
About the year 1603, the republic of Venice made several injunctions against lay-persons giving lands or goods to the church, without licence from the civil magistrate; and in that inhibition they
expressed their reasons to be, “ For that when any goods or lands once came into the hands of the ecclesiastics, it was not subject to alienation; by reason whereof (the lay-people being at their death charitable even to excess) the clergy grew every day more numerous, and pretended an exemption from all public service and taxes, and from all secular judgment, so that the burden grew thereby too heavy to be borne by the laity.”
Another occasion of difference was, that about this time complaints were justly made by the Venetians against two clergymen, the Abbot of Nervesa, and a Canon of Vicenza, for committing such sins as I think not fit to name: nor are these mentioned with an intent to fix a scandal upon any calling; for holiness is not tied to ecclesiastical orders, and Italy is observed to breed the most virtuous and most vicious men of any nation. These two having been long complained of at Rome in the name of the state of Venice, and no satisfaction being given to the Venetians, they seized the persons of this Abbot and Canon, and committed them to prison.
The justice or injustice of such, or the like power, then used by the Venetians, had formerly had some calm debates betwixt the former Pope, Clement the eighth, and that republic: I say, calm, for he did not excommunicate them; considering, as I conceive, that in the late Council of Trent it was at last, (after many politic disturbances and delays, and endeavours to preserve the Pope's present power,) in order to a general reformation of those many errors, which were in time crept into the church, declared by that council, “ That though discipline and especial excommunication be one of the chief sinews of church-government, and intended to keep men in obedience to it; for which end it was declared to be very profitable: yet it was also declared, and advised to be used with great sobriety and care,
because experience had informed them, that when it was pronounced unadvisedly or rashly, it became more contemned than feared.” And, though this was the advice of that council at the conclusion of it, which was not many years before this quarrel with the Venetians; yet this prudent, patient Pope Clement dying, Pope Paul the fifth, who succeeded him (though not immediately, yet in the same year), being a man of a much hotter temper, brought this difference with the Venetians to a much higher contention; objecting those late acts of that state to be a diminution of his just power, and limited a time of twenty-four days for their revocation; threatening, if he were not obeyed, to proceed to the excommunication of the republic, who still offered to show both reason and ancient custom to warrant their actions. But this Pope, contrary to his predecessor's moderation, required absolute obedience without disputes.
Thus it continued for about a year, the Pope still threatening excommunication, and the Venetians still answering him with fair speeches, and no compliance; till at last the Pope's zeal to the Apostolic see did make him to excommunicate the Duke, the whole senate, and all their dominions, and, that done, to shut up all their churches ; charging the whole clergy to forbear all sacred offices to the Venetians till their obedience should render them capable of absolution.
But this act of the Pope's did but the more confirm the Venetians in their resolution not to obey him: and to that end, upon the hearing of the Pope's interdict, they presently published, by sound of trumpet, a proclamation to this effect:
66 That whosoever hath received from Rome any copy of a papal interdict, published there, as well against the law of God, as against the honour of this nation, shall presently render it to the council