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Schiller Institute/ICLC Conference
"The Palmerston Zoo"

The Venetian Takeover of England:
A 200-Year Project

by Gerald Rose
Presidents Day, 1994

This report is adapted from presentations delivered to the Conference of the Schiller Institute/ICLC Conference in suburban Washington, DC., on President's Day weekend, 1994. See Solving the Paradox of Current World History" for the setting of the following articles. It was published as a special report by EIR, and is available in photocopy. Contact Schiller Institute at email or phone numbers listed below.

Links to the all the panel presentations are included below.

Solving the Paradox of Current World History - Nancy Spannaus, Panel Chair



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The Venetian Takeover of England:
A 200-Year Project

by Gerald Rose

It was one of the most well-known ``secrets'' of the British oligarchy, that the model for the British Empire was Venice. Benjamin Disraeli, the late-nineteenth-century prime minister of England, let the cat out of the bag in his novel Coningsby when he wrote, ``The great object of Whig leaders in England from the first movement under Hampden to the last most successful one in 1688, was to establish in England a high aristocratic republic on the model of the Venetian.... William the Third told ... Whig leaders, `I will not be a doge.'... They brought in a new family on their own terms. George I was a doge; George II was a doge.... George III tried not to be a doge.... He might try to get rid of the Whig Magnificoes, but he could not rid himself of the Venetian constitution.'' The well-known secret of all the Whig insiders was that the Venetian takeover of England was a 200-year project beginning with the break of Henry VIII with Rome and concluding in 1714, with the accession to the throne of George I.

What Disraeli was publicly referring to was that in 1688, for the first time, a non-hereditary king, William of Orange (William the Third), was invited to rule by a group of noble families. This was a decisive break with previous English history. For the first time, you had a king beholden to the English oligarchy, though William was not particularly happy about his power being circumscribed.

The English parliamentary system of government was modeled explicitly on the Venetian system of a Great Assembly and Senate that controls the doge. England officially in 1688 became an oligarchy.

This formality was merely the tip of the iceberg. The Venetian takeover of England had been nearly a 200-year project, proceeding in two phases. The first began in the 1530s under Henry VIII with the break from Rome engineered by Thomas Cromwell. The later, more radical, phase was the takeover of England by the Giovani (``the young ones'') of Paolo Sarpi, beginning 70 years later.

What was Venice?

The best way to understand the evil of Venice is to look at the great poets' portrayal of the unbelievable duplicity that Venice represented: portrayals by Marlowe in The Jew of Malta, and by Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice and especially in Othello, the Moor of Venice. The quintessential Venetian is Iago. Yet the most brilliant portrait of Venetian method was done by Friedrich Schiller in his The Ghostseer.

You can never understand Venice by studying what positions the Venetians took on an issue. The Venetians did not care what position they took. They always took all positions. Their method was one of looking for the weak point and corrupting the person. At this form of evil, they were the masters. Their diplomatic corps was the best in the world at the time, and the British diplomatic corps was trained by the Venetians.

The year is 1509. The League of Cambrai, representing the total combined power of western Europe, is called upon by the papacy to crush Venice. At the Battle of Agnadello, the Venetian forces are completely destroyed. France is poised to invade the very islands that comprise Venice to deliver the coup de grace. The papacy relents, fearing a war that will be fought on Italian soil by foreign troops. Several times before, such troops had seized parts of Italy. In a series of diplomatic moves, the alliance falls apart, and, miraculously, Venice is saved.

Venice, which worked with the Turks to create a republic of usury and slavery; Venice, the slave trader of Europe, so close to being destroyed, survived. Its survival would now wreak havoc on western civilization.

Modern history commences with Nicolaus of Cusa and the Council of Florence, and the Italian Renaissance that Cusa and his collaborators inspired. It was Cusa, with the help of Pius II, who created the basis for a war on the pagan idea of man as a beast, and to defend the concept of man as imago Dei and capax Dei. It was the power of these ideas which caused the greatest increase in human population in the history of man. This idea of the power of hypothesis and its relationship to transforming nature proved conclusively that man was fundamentally different from the beast, and as such could not be used as a slave. Venice reacted wildly against the ascendancy of this idea. With the papacy in the firm grip of Pius II and Cusa, Venice launched a war to destroy Christianity.

Contarini and the evil of Aristotle

The figure of Gasparo Contarini is the key one for Venice in its war. Contarini was trained at Padua University, the son of one of the oldest families in Venice. It was said of him that he was so versed in Aristotle, that if all of Aristotle's work were lost, he could reproduce it in its entirety. He learned his Aristotle from his mentor at Padua, Pietro Pomponazzi. Every Venetian oligarchical family sent their children to Padua University to become trained Aristotelians. To understand Venice, you must understand that Aristotle is pure evil, and has been so since the time he wrote his diatribe against the method of Plato, approximately 2,300 years ago.

Since Aristotle is almost unreadable, you must ask the question, what is it about Aristotle that has made his writings so influential in western civilization? Aristotle is a thoroughgoing defense of oligarchical society.

In his Politics, Aristotle is most explicit. His theory of the purpose of politics is to maintain inequality. The state must carry on this natural idea and maintain it. The very basis for Aristotle's politics is the maintenance of the ``master-slave'' relationship, because it is, as he asserts, ``natural'': ``That one should command and another obey is both necesary and expedient. Indeed some things are so divided right from birth, some to rule, some to be ruled.... It is clear then that by nature some are free, others are slaves, and that for these it is both just and expedient that they should serve as slaves.'' One could accuse me of taking quotes out of context, but this would be false. It is true that even Plato makes a case for slavery, but, unlike Aristotle, Plato bases his state on the idea of Justice. Just compare Aristotle's Politics with Plato's Republic, where Plato from the very beginning launches a diatribe against arbitrary power. In the Thrasymachus section of the dialogue, he proves that the very basis for the Republic is a universal, that only universal ideas are fundamentally causal. That idea for the Republic, as he shows, must be based on the good.

Since Aristotle is functioning within a philosophical environment created by Plato, he cannot throw out the concept of universals altogether. What he does instead, is to assign them to the realm of vita contemplativa, since they are not known by the senses, and we can only have faith in their existence. Contrast that to Plato, in which the ideas of the Good and Justice are causal, not contemplative and unknowable. These innate ideas, which in another dialogue Plato proves by showing a slave to possess them, are the very basis for the Republic. I contend that the reason Aristotle was so widely influential in Venice, is that Venice was a slave society based on a principle of oligarchism. Renaissance Christianity is the antithesis of this bestial conception. For Venice and Contarini, the Christian idea of man and the rejection of slavery and usury called their very existence into question, and they reacted with cold, hard evil, in defense of their way of life.

This is Gasparo Contarini.

Contarini's Aristotelianism was highlighted by his early writings, in which he asserted, ``and in truth, I understood that even if I did all the penance I could and more, it would not suffice in the least to merit happiness or even render satisfaction for past sins.... Truly I have arrived at the firm conclusion ... that nobody can become justified through his own works or cleansed from the desires in his own heart.'' In another letter, he calls man a ``worm.'' Radical Protestantism and Contarini's Catholicism are the Aristotelian split between vita contemplativa (faith) and vita activa (works). Aristotelianism is the hatred of both God and man.

It is remarkable that there was no real difference between him and Luther, yet Contarini and several other Venetian noblemen later dominated the reform commission which nominally prosecuted the war on the Reformation.

Contarini's views were the essence of the Spirituali movement, which was to dominate a section of the most powerful Venetian oligarchy. Let us now look briefly at Contarini's career, to understand how critical he is to Venice.

Contarini was Venice's ambassador to the papacy. At another time he was the ambassador to the court of Charles V. He profiled both Charles V and the papacy. He was next appointed to the Council of Ten and later the Council of Three, the supreme ruling body of Venice. This council was justice in Venice; it ruled on all cases and could order assassinations. This was how Venice kept control of its oligarchical families. From the Council of Three, Contarini was appointed a cardinal. As a cardinal, he was first asked to create the reform commission for the Council of Trent. He and four other Spirituali dominated the commission. He was next appointed to negotiate with the Lutherans at Regensburg, at the behest of the Hapsburg Emperor Charles in 1541. At Regensburg, he gave away the Venetian game. Contarini, in what was to be called Article Five, reiterated his Lutheran beliefs. It is a bit of an embarrassment that Calvin praised Article Five at Regensburg: ``You will marvel when you read Article Five ... that our adversaries have conceded so much.... Nothing is to be found in it that does not stand in our own writings.'' Then, in typical Venetian fashion, Contarini created an Aristotelian (Fideist) faction inside the church, which insisted that the only thing that separates Protestants from Catholics be reduced fundamentally to the question of the Magisterium.

It can now be stated what happened to the Renaissance: Venice manipulated both the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, leading to a series of wars which drowned the Renaissance legacy of Cusa and Pius II in a sea of blood that culminated in the Thirty Years' War.

This war depopulated most of Europe. It set up the basis for an onslaught against Christianity, much like the cultural pessimism that dominated Europe after World War I.

This Venetian evil was now to descend on England.

Designs on England

What was Venice's strategic objective?

It is now the 1520s.

According to the Venetians' profile of the Spanish Hapsburgs, the major vulnerability of the Hapsburgs was the strategic shipping lanes across the English Channel. Spain needed the Netherlands for massive tax revenue that these holdings brought, in order to maintain the Spanish army. The problem was that the Spanish were also very much aware of the strategic need to have good relations with England, and the Hapsburg monarchy married Catherine to Henry VIII to ensure such an alliance. For Venice to succeed, Henry had to be broken from Spain.

How was this accomplished, and through whom?

The Venetian faction in England got the upper hand when Henry VIII fell for the sexual bait that faction put before him: Anne Boleyn. Anne was the granddaughter of the leader of the Venetian faction in England, Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, of the powerful Howard family. The Howards continued to be agents of Venetian influence for a very long time, and may still be so today, even though they were also occasionally Venice's victims. Other great families such as the Russells, Herberts, and Cavendishes also became consistent carriers of the Venetian virus.

Henry's insistence upon divorce from Catherine of Aragon and remarriage to Anne entailed the fall of his chief minister Cardinal Wolsey. Wolsey knew very well what evil Venice represented and, at least on one occasion, told the Venetian ambassador so to his face. In Wolsey's place emerged a technocrat of the Venetian faction, Thomas Cromwell, who had learned the Venetian system while working in Venice as an accountant to a well-known leading Spirituali, Reginald Pole. Cromwell effectively ran the English government in the 1530s, until his own fall and execution in 1540.

Cromwell had cultivated those humanists who were favorable to the break with Rome, and a ``little Padua'' came to be developed around one of these figures at Cambridge University, by the name of Thomas Smith. Smith returned from Padua to become the head of Cambridge in 1544. He is best known for a book on English government which asserts that kings were too powerful. Other leading figures of this ``little Padua'' were Roger Ascham, John Cheke, and William Cecil. This was a tight-knit group, tutors to the Protestant children of Henry VIII, Edward and Elizabeth.

At this point, we must add the infamous Francesco Zorzi. Zorzi was the Venetian sex counsellor for Henry VIII. It was Zorzi who rendered Venice's official pronouncement that, according to his reading of the ancient Hebrew text, the pope did not have the right to grant dispensation for Henry to marry Catherine. Therefore, according to Venice, Henry never truly married Catherine. For Henry, this sealed the alliance with Venice against Spain, and unleashed his own ambitions.

How explicit they are on the question of Venice is identified by Thomas Starkey, a Spirituali who traveled through Venice with Reginald Pole. Pole is a Plantagenet, possibly one of the claimants to the English throne. He later became the chief adviser to Mary Tudor, who reigned in England after Henry VIII. Previously, Pole was almost elected pope. Starkey became one of Thomas Cromwell's chief spies. In a fictional dialogue between ``Thomas Lupset and Reginald Pole,'' Starkey states, ``For this cause the most wise men considering the nature of princes, and the nature of man as it is indeed, affirm a mixed state to be of all others the best most convenient, to conserve the whole out of tyranny.... For, as in Venice, is no great ambitious desire to be there Duke, because he is restrained to order and politic, so with us, also, should be our king, if his power were tempered after the manner before described.''

This tightly knit group of Venetian Aristotelians organized Henry's break with Rome. It was this break which opened England wide for Venetian operations.

The role of Paolo Sarpi

The second phase of the Venetian operations was much more devastating. It was launched by the notorious Paolo Sarpi. It was in this phase that England's mind and soul were taken, and England was set up to become the bastion of the New Age. To understand this, you must understand the mind of Paolo Sarpi, and who in Venice deployed him.

This phase was highlighted by what was understood in Venetian history as the 1583 fight between the Giovani (young houses) and the Vecchi (old houses). In this phase, a very radical faction took over. The Giovani realized that time had run out for the Islands of Venice. They were increasingly less viable as a military force. For the Giovani, the only defense Venice had was a desperate attempt to destroy both the papacy and the Hapsburgs, by securing Germany for the Protestants with the help of France.

The Vecchi wanted to control the papacy and stay within a neutralized Catholic Church. The Giovani organized the Protestant rebellion and wanted to see the destruction of even the name of Christianity.

Further, the plan that evolved was to move part of the money from the massive funds in the vaults of the Church of St. Mark to the Dutch Calvinist republic, Holland, and to England.

For this phase, the takover of England was left to Paolo Sarpi.

Paolo Sarpi was nominally a Servite monk who was exceptionally talented. Yet he was much more. He was the leading organizer of the Giovani. Out of the Giovani salons and secret society, Venice planned the destruction of Christianity in what was later to be called Freemasonry.

In a book about Sarpi, a modern historian by the name of Wooton proves that Sarpi was the creator of empiricism and taught Francis Bacon his so-called scientific method. The thesis of this book, which the author proves conclusively, is that Sarpi, while nominally a Catholic monk, revealed himself in his philosophical work to be a radical atheist. Sarpi was to argue that the idea of the need for a providential religion, as the basis for the majority of men acting morally, was unnecessary. He insisted that belief in God was irrational, since it is not necessary to explain the existence of the physical universe by an act of creation. This is the empiricism of Bacon. It was later revealed by sources that Sarpi was a homosexual and a blasphemer, who believed that the Bible was just some fantastic stories. He especially attacked the idea that Moses was given the Ten Commandments by God. Since one could be burned for these beliefs, he never published his philosophical writings. Some of you may be aware of the phrase, ``The pope is the Anti-Christ.'' It was Paolo Sarpi that created that myth.

He is the real founder of modernism and the Enlightenment. With these ideas, he created a pagan cult later called Freemasonry, which dominates England to this day. Out of this salon came Giordano Bruno, Galileo (a complicated case), the Rosicrucian cult, and the Thirty Years' War.

How was this phase accomplished?

The story begins with an interdict by the pope against Venice in 1606. This dispute was nominally about two jurisdictional matters respecting the right of Rome to try two accused prelates, and the right to collect monies in Venice. Venice retained Paolo Sarpi as its defender. In this fight, Sarpi wrote pamphlet after pamphlet, defending the rights of the state against those of the papacy. Henry Wooten, the ambassador from England to Venice, sent all of Sarpi's writings back to England immediately, to be translated. In the course of this fight, Sarpi became the most famous man in Europe. The papacy ended the interdict without achieving its ends and breaking Venice. Sarpi had won. In the ensuing days after the interdict was lifted, an assassin tried to kill Sarpi, but he survived. The attempt was laid at the papacy's doorstep, and now Sarpi was a hero in England and throughout Europe. He had faced down the papacy and survived.

Sarpi immediately launched a thoroughgoing attack on the very existence of the church, in two works called History of Benefices, and the most famous work of his career, The History of the Council of Trent. The latter book was dedicated to James I of England, and was first published in England. It is ironic that the nominally Catholic Sarpi organized the radical Protestant opposition throughout Europe. After all, this is Venice.

Sarpi was introduced by a circle around Wooten to Francis Bacon, who corresponded with him. Bacon picked up Sarpi's writing on method from Sarpi's Arte del Ben Pensare, where he insists that the only way an individual can know anything is through the senses. With this, modern empiricism is launched, which later becomes the radical nominalism of David Hume.

The Giovani very consciously had to build up their own faction among the English nobility. England had to be totally controlled. The drawback that the Giovani had to correct, was the fact that England was not really reliable, because the kings tended to act independently of Venetian strategic considerations. The way the Giovani functioned was by the creation of a Protestant-controlled merchant class. This was most explicit with the creation of the Venice Company by the Earl of Leicester, the funder of the Puritan movement in England. It was he who was granted by Venice certain trading routes. In 1581, another trading company was created with Venetian agreement, called the Turkey Company. These two companies later merged and became the Levant Company, which later became the infamous British East India Company. The first governor of the East India Company was Thomas Smythe, who studied law in Padua. Through this process of creating a rich merchant class, predominantly Puritan, Venice also created a battering ram against the king. These radical Protestant cults took over England during the so-called Commonwealth period.

While it takes some 80 more years to complete the Venetian takeover of England (which will be detailed by Graham Lowry in another presentation), the empire of the mind became ensconced in England. Sarpi and Venice create the Rosicrucian cult of syncretic religion that becomes Freemasonry. Once that process of takeover is complete, England becomes the bastion of paganism: usury and slavery. In short, real Aristotelians. This hatred of imago Dei is the basis of England's promotion of the New Age. This was Sarpi's program and intention, and it completed the essential destruction of the English soul. Venice and Venetian methods had transplanted themselves in England.