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Bedmar, Alphonso Bella Cueva

BEDMAR, ALPHONSO BELLA CUEVA, Marquis of (1572-1655), Spanish diplomatist, became ambassador to the republic of Venice in 1667. This was a very important position owing to the amount of information concerning European affairs which passed through the hands of the representative of Spain. When Bedmar took up this appointment, Venice had just concluded an alliance with France, Switzerland and the Netherlands, to counterbalance the power of Spain, and the ambassador was instructed to destroy this league. Assisted by the duke of Ossuna, viceroy of Naples, he formed a plan to bring the city into the power of Spain, and the scheme was to be carried out on Ascension Day 1618. The plot was, however, discovered; and Bedmar, protected by his position from arrest, left Venice and went to Flanders as president of the council. In 1622 he was made a cardinal, and soon afterwards became bishop of Oviedo, a position which he retained until his death, which occurred at Oviedo on the 2nd of August 1655. The authorship of an anonymous work, Squitinio della libertà Veneta, published at Mirandola in 1612, has been attributed to him.

Some controversy has arisen over the Spanish plot of 1618, and some historians have suggested that it only existed in the minds of the Venetian senators, and was a ruse for forcing Bedmar to leave Venice. From what is known, however, of the policy of Spain at this time, it is by no means unlikely that such a scheme was planned.

See C.V. de Saint-Réal, OEuvres, tome iv. (Paris, 1745); P.J. Grosley, Discussion historique et critique sur la conjuration de Venise (Paris, 1756); P.A.N.B. Daru, Histoire de la république de Venise (Paris, 1853); A. Baschet, Histoire de la chancellerie secrète à Venise (Paris, 1870).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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