According to Phrase Finder, the origin of the famous proverb “no news is good news”:
The earliest version of this familiar saying was attributed to the English King James I, who wrote in 1616, 'No newis is bettir than evill newis.'
but they add that:
Virtually the modern saying appeared some years later in James Howell's 'Familiar Letters' (c. 1645) with the line, 'I am of the Italians mind that said, no news, good news'." From "Wise Words and Wives'.
According to BookBrowse.com, the Italian expression which James Howell referred to was “nulla nuova, buona nuova”:
The first recorded use of this exact expression in English is by James Howell in 1640, who wrote, "I am of the Italians' mind that said, 'Nulla nuova, buona nuova'.
I could not find other evidence on James Howell in that respect, but I found a 1645 quotation of the exact saying from:
... and yet I cannot but find a fault of omission in most of thy latter " dispatches, there being nothing in' them concerning thy health. For though I confesse , that in this no news is good news, yet I am not so satisfied without a more perfect assurance ; I hope thou wilt ...
Ngram appears to suggest a consistent increase in usage of the proverb only from the early 19th century.
Is there actual evidence that James Howell really contributed to the usage of the proverb in England drawing on the Italian version, (probably Florentine at that time)?
Or was it just a direct English translation from Latin (quite still in vogue in England at that time) to which probably referred King James I?