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of Ten, upon pain of death. And made it loss of estate and nobility, but to speak in the behalf of the Jesuits.”
Then was Duado their ambassador called home from Rome, and the Inquisition presently suspended by order of the state; and the flood-gates being thus set open, any man that had a pleasant or scoffing wit, might safely vent it against the Pope, either by free speaking, or by libels in print; and both became very pleasant to the people.
Matters thus heightened, the state advised with father Paul, a holy and learned friar, (the author of the History of the Council of Trent,) whose advice was, “Neither to provoke the Pope, nor lose their own right:” he declaring publicly in print, in the name of the state, “ That the Pope was trusted to keep two keys, one of prudence, and the other of power : and that, if they were not both used together, power
alone is not effectual in an excommunication.”
And thus these discontents and oppositions continued till a report was blown abroad that the Venetians were all turned Protestants; which was believed by many, for that it was observed that the English ambassador was so often in conference with the senate, and his chaplain, Mr. Bedel, more often with father Paul, whom the people did not take to be his friend: and also, for that the republic of Venice was known to give commission to Gregory Justiniano, then their ambassador in England, to make all these proceedings known to the King of England, and to crave a promise of his assistance, if need should require: and in the meantime they required the King's advice and judgment; which was the same that he gave to Pope Clement, at his first coming to the crown of England, (that Pope then moving him to an union with the Roman church); namely, “ To endeavour the calling of a
free council, for the settlement of peace in Christendom; and that he doubted not but that the French King, and divers other princes, would join to assist in so good a work; and, in the mean time, the sin of this breach, both with his and the Venetian dominions, must of necessity lie at the Pope's door."
In this contention (which lasted almost two years) the Pope grew still higher, and the Venetians more and more resolved and careless; still acquainting King James with their proceedings, which was done by the help of Sir Henry Wotton, Mr. Bedel, and Padre Paulo, whom the Venetians did then call to be one of their consulters of state, and with his pen to defend their cause; which was by him so performed, that the Pope saw plainly he had weakened his power by exceeding it, and offered the Venetians absolution
upon very easy terms; which the Venetians still slighting, did at last obtain by that which was scarce so much as a show of acknowledging it: for they made an order, that in that day in which they were absolved, there should be no public rejoicing, nor any bonfires that night, lest the common people might judge, that they desired an absolution, or were absolved from committing a fault.
These contests were the occasion of Padre Paulo's knowledge and interest with King James; for whose sake principally Padre Paulo compiled that eminent history of the remarkable council of Trent; which history was, as fast as it was written, sent in several sheets in letters by Sir Henry Wotton, Mr. Bedel, and others, unto King James, and the then Archbishop of Canterbury, into England, and there first made public, both in English and in the universal language.
For eight years after Sir Henry Wotton's going into Italy, he stood fair and highly valued in the King's opinion; but at last became much clouded by an accident, which I shall proceed to relate.
At his first going ambassador into Italy, as he passed through Germany, he stayed some days at Augusta, where having been in his former travels well known by many of the best note for learning and ingeniousness, (those that are esteemed the virtuosi of that nation,) with whom he passing an evening in merriments, was requested by Christopher Flecamore to write some sentence in his Albo; (a book of white paper, which for that purpose many of the German gentry usually carry about them :) and Sir Henry Wotton consenting to the motion, took an occasion, from some accidental discourse of the present company, to write a pleasant definition of an ambassador in these words :
“Legatus est vir bonus peregrè missus ad mentiendum reipub
Which Sir Henry Wotton could have been content should have been thus Englished: “An ambassador is an honest man, sent to lie abroad for the
good of his country.” But the word for lie (being the hinge upon which the conceit was to turn) was not so expressed in Latin as would admit (in the hands of an enemy especially) so fair a construction as Sir Henry thought in English. Yet as it was, it slept quietly among other sentences in this Albo, almost eight years, till by accident it fell into the hands of Jasper Scioppius, a Romanist, a man of a restless spirit, and a malicious pen; who, with books against King James, prints this as a principle of that religion professed by the King, and his ambassador, Sir Henry Wotton, then at Venice; and in Venice it was presently after written in several glass-windows, and spitefully declared to be Sir Henry Wotton’s.
This coming to the knowledge of King James, he apprehended it to be such an oversight, such a
weakness, or worse, in Sir Henry Wotton, as caused the King to express much wrath against him: and this caused Sir Henry Wotton to write two Apologies, one to Velserus (one of the chiefs of Augusta) in the universal language, which he caused to be printed, and given and scattered in the most remarkable places both of Germany and Italy, as an antidote against the venomous books of Scioppius; and another Apology to King James; which were both so ingenious, so clear, and so choicely eloquent, that his Majesty (who was a pure judge of it) could not forbear, at the receipt thereof, to declare publicly, “ That Sir Henry Wotton had commuted sufficiently for a greater öffence."
And now, as broken bones well set become stronger, so Sir Henry Wotton did not only recover, but was much more confirmed in his Majesty's estimation and favour than formerly he had been.
And as that man of great wit and useful fancy (his friend, Dr. Donne) gave in a will of his (a will of conceits) his reputation to his friends, and his industry to his foes, because from thence he received both; so those friends, that in this time of trial laboured to excuse this facetious freedom of Sir Henry Wotton's, were to him more dear, and by him more highly valued; and those acquaintance, that urged this as an advantage against him, caused him by this error to grow both more wise, and (which is the best fruit error can bring forth) for the future to become more industriously watchful over his tongue and pen.
I have told you a part of his employment in Italy; where, notwithstanding the death of his favourer, the Duke Leonardo Donato, who had an undissembled affection for him, and the malicious accusation of Scioppius, yet his interest (as though it had been an intailed love) was still found to live and increase in all the succeeding Dukes, during his employ
ment to that state, which was almost twenty years; all which time he studied the dispositions of those dukes, and the other consulters of state; well knowing that he who negociates a continued business, and neglects the study of dispositions, usually fails in his proposed ends. But in this Sir Henry Wotton did not fail; for by a fine sorting of fit presents, curious and not costly entertainments, always sweetened by various and pleasant discourse—with which, and his choice application of stories, and his elegant delivery of all these, even in their Italian language, he first got, and still preserved, such interest in the state of Venice, that it was observed (such was either his merit or his modesty) they never denied him any request.
But all this shows but his abilities, and his fitness for that employment: it will therefore be needful to tell the reader what use he made of the interest which these procured him: and that indeed was rather to oblige others than to enrich himself; he still endeavouring that the reputation of the English might be maintained, both in the German empire and in Italy; where many gentlemen, whom travel had invited into that nation, received from him cheerful entertainments, advice for their behaviour, and by his interest, shelter or deliverance from those accidental storms of adversity which usually attend upon travel.
And because these things may appear to the reader to be but generals, I shall acquaint him with two particular examples; one of his merciful disposition, and one of the nobleness of his mind; which shall follow.
There had been many English soldiers brought by commanders of their own country to serve the Venetians for pay against the Turk: and those English having, by irregularities, or improvidence, brought themselves into several galleys and prisons,