The present instalment of the Calendar is for the years 1669 and 1670. The material is of the usual character. There was a Venetian minister in London for the whole of the period, Pietro Mocenigo, until November 1670, and Girolamo Alberti for the last month of the year. Not only so but there was an English minister at Venice for the first time since the dismissal of Thomas Killigrew in June, 1652. (fn. 1) This reopens the files of the Esposizioni Principi, which have been dormant for eighteen years, so far as this series is concerned. Of the material here presented the Public Record Office possesses, among the papers of Mr. Rawdon Brown, transcripts in Italian of the Esposizioni and of Alberti's despatches in an English translation. (fn. 2) Of the original papers at the Frari the Vol. of Dispacci Inghilterra down to February 1669, is in a bad state, as the binding has come to pieces and the bottom lines of the pages are obliterated. Vol. 144 of the Dispacci Francia, is also in a bad state and the paper is so perished that much of it cannot be handled with safety. Use has been made of the official copy, which has been collated with the original whenever possible. The rest of the material calls for no special comment.
At the end of 1668 comparative equilibrium had been secured in Europe. The alliance of England and Holland had, at least for the moment, checked the ambitious schemes of Louis XIV, and his efforts through his ambassador Colbert de Croissy to break up this union had met with no apparent success. But the behaviour of the French continued to excite alarm. At Lille, where the commissioners of France and Spain met to settle outstanding questions of the peace, the demands of the French convinced the Spaniards that they were only trying to pick a quarrel. As a consequence, the Spanish governor Velasco withdrew his commissioners, in the conviction that the peace would be broken before long (No. 12). This feeling was strengthened by the French claim to settle the boundaries by themselves, followed by a proclamation of the forfeiture of the lands of those in the conquered territory, who would not live there and submit to the French king. On the top of this came the high handed treatment of the duke of Lorraine, who was peremptorily ordered to disarm. On the other hand France was keeping on foot forces much larger than there was any apparent need for, and feverish activity was shown over the fortification of Dunkirk and the enlargement of the port.
With all this the French were profuse in their protestations of a desire for peace. In February Louis wrote to the pope definitely promising not to break the peace within the year (No. 27). He gave similar assurances to Velasco, expressing his desire for friendly relations (No. 30). The Dutch, for their part, placed little faith in these assurances and set to work to increase their armaments both by sea and land (Nos. 6, 30). But for the maintenance of the status quo they relied chiefly upon making an anti-French coalition. A firm union between England and Holland might have sufficed to stay the French; but the Dutch found the English lukewarm and complained that they showed no forwardness to check the aggrandisement of France (No. 30). In England the chief fear was of being drawn into another war, although Arlington's remarks to Mocenigo showed that the danger from France was fully appreciated (No. 1).
For the moment the energy of both England and Holland was devoted to an effort to obtain the cooperation of Sweden for the defence of Flanders. Sweden had joined the alliance in the preceding year, but her contribution to mutual defence and even her continuance in the alliance remained doubtful. The Swedish chancellor, Magnus de la Gardie, was said to be in French pay (No. 8). The Swedish idea of the alliance was to hold the balance between France and Spain and to take the side of the one first attacked (No. 38). The Spaniards, on the other hand, wanted an explicit guarantee of so many troops for the defence of Flanders.
The question was complicated by an existing claim of the Swedes against Spain for troops engaged in the Bremen affair. (fn. 3) The Spaniards professed their readiness to settle this with the help of England and Holland; but if Sweden would give the required guarantee, they offered to pay the whole amount themselves (No. 16). Sweden was quite ready to undertake this obligation, but Mareschal, the Swedish minister at the Hague, insisted that the money must be paid down first (No. 60).
The difficulty with the Spaniards was their inability to pay down so large an amount, while they did not altogether trust the Swedes and wished to make sure that they would get value for their outlay.
Thus at the beginning of 1669 the affairs of the triple alliance had reached a deadlock. Spain in her weakness seemed to have almost as much to fear from her friends as from the French. It was shrewdly suspected that the Swedes merely wished to squeeze what profit they could out of the circumstances. The Dutch were ready to find the money demanded by Sweden if the Spaniards would hand over to them, as security, the strong places of Guelders, which would leave Spain almost destitute of fortresses in the province (No. 60). English policy was mainly opportunist, with the firm intention of avoiding commitments combined with some scepticism as to whether Sweden would really be prepared to pledge herself to guarantee Flanders (No. 30). To the complaints of Molina, the Spanish ambassador, the ministers retorted that the king had been moved to enter the alliance solely for the good of Christendom and apart from that he would not stir for the defence of Flanders (No. 62).
It is significant of the scant regard paid to Spain in a matter in which she was so deeply concerned, that in the frequent conferences held at the Hague at the beginning of the year between the imperial minister Lisola, Temple for England and the Pensionary de Witt for the United Provinces, the Spanish ambassador Gamarra took no share and was not even informed (No. 21). As an outcome of these conferences an arrangement was reached in May, chiefly through the efforts of the Dutch. According to this the Spaniards were to pay down at once one half of the debt due to Sweden and to promise to pay her a yearly pension thereafter, in return for which the allies should undertake to guarantee all the Spanish dominions in Flanders if France should be the first to break the peace of Aix la Chapelle (No. 73).
It soon became clear that Spain had little to expect from this settlement, as the amount and manner of the assistance to be given remained completely indefinite. When the emergency arose, so much time would inevitably be lost in settling details that any succour supplied would probably arrive too late (No. 80). Almost immediately the Spaniards began to reconsider the position. In Flanders the governor Velasco quarrelled with the Ambassador Gamarra over the publication of the terms, which he criticised (No. 73). In Spain itself the first instalment of the money was held up at Cadiz until more satisfactory assurances were forthcoming about the promised assistance (No. 85). Even after it had been shipped to Amsterdam Velasco continued to withold payment and expressed his dissatisfaction with the terms of the agreement.
In the mean time the Swedes were becoming very restive. Carlisle, who had gone there as ambassador, took a pessimistic view and wrote that Sweden would find it more difficult to take action under the guarantee than to make promises (No. 85). A month later he wrote that the Swedish government had reached the limit of its patience after waiting more than a year for the money from Spain. They were deeply incensed and much disposed to abandon the triple alliance altogether (No. 98).
At this crisis, when Mocenigo considered the aspect of affairs most sinister, the imperial minister Lisola intervened with his good offices in order to bring Spain and Sweden together. He suggested that Spain should pay the Swedes 200,000 crowns down and the remainder in three instalments of 60,000 crowns each under the guarantee of England and Holland. In return these last were to furnish 40 ships and 10,000 men each, and Sweden 10,000 men only for the defence of Spain whenever she was attacked by France (No. 129). No advance was made on these lines and after more than three months, Gamarra, who had been over to Brussels, brought back counter proposals from Velasco. These were that in the event of France breaking the peace the allies should have ready 11,000 foot and 5,000 horse, with an assignment of 60,000 pieces of eight a month, one half payable by the Spaniards and the other half by England and Holland equally, Spain undertaking to reimburse them at the end of the war (No. 145).
These proposals were by no means acceptable to Sweden who considered that she had already conceded enough upon the manner of making payment. Annoyed by so many changes and delays the Swedish ministers threatened to leave the Hague and even to renounce the alliance altogether, unless England and Holland would keep the Spaniards to their engagements (No. 145). Thus the end of the year 1669 was reached with nothing definitely settled and the continuance of the alliance in obvious peril. Once again Lisola journeyed to Brussels. He tried to impress upon Velasco the danger of these endless evasions and delays (No. 161). When he returned to the Hague he did not seem to have effected anything. But only a few weeks later it was suddenly announced that all obstacles had been removed. Realising that the patience of the Swedes was almost exhausted Velasco had thought it prudent to give up the struggle. By the agreement signed on 21 January 1670 the triple alliance at last took definite shape. In the event of France breaking the treaty of Aix la Chapelle England and Holland were to furnish forty ships and 11,000 men each. Sweden was to maintain a force of 11,000 foot and 5,000 horse for so long as the war lasted, receiving 60,000 pieces of eight a month. Half the amount of the old debt was to be paid at once to the Swedish ministers at the Hague (No. 170).
Four months passed before the arrival of the Swedish ratification in May. Charles had signed two months earlier. Mocenigo considered that he had won great prestige by this treaty, at the expense of both Holland and France. It promised to give the Spaniards a peace which they would not have been able to procure for themselves except by the sacrifice of territory, while stirring the rancour of the French against the Dutch. At the same time it strengthened his position in his own country by having secured these benefits for them. Mocenigo asserts that the government had been induced to take this course from having received information that Spain was secretly treating for a separate arrangement with France (No. 172).
In order to prevent any diversion of the strength of Sweden in other directions embassies were sent by both England and Holland to Muscovy in the hope of settling differences between the two powers (No. 6). The English envoy, Sir Peter Wyche, spent a considerable time in his efforts at mediation, but without conspicuous success. When he tried to impress the Czar with the influence and importance of his master, Alexis replied coldly that with respect to his relations with Sweden he would decide in accordance with the interests of his own government (No. 126).
Another important question affecting that part of Europe was the impending election of a king in Poland. France was much interested in this affair and strongly supported the candidature of the duke of Neuburg, while Spain favoured Lorraine. It was expected that the choice would have a considerable influence upon the policy of Sweden (No. 83). The eventual election of a native of the country in the person of Prince Wisnowieski was welcomed in England, because the choice of a foreigner would probably have upset the constitution of the alliance (No. 88).
Another power whose policy closely affected that of Sweden was Denmark. In some outspoken remarks recorded here the Danish ambassador Guldenlow strongly criticised the efforts of the Dutch to draw Sweden into the alliance. He declared that Sweden's only thought was to get money from the highest bidder. The king of Denmark had been invited to enter the alliance, but he could not join an association which included Sweden, as their interests were at variance (No. 91).
The inclusion of Sweden also had repercussions in Germany. In the summer of 1669 Sir Thomas Higgons was sent to take the garter to the elector of Saxony. On his return he reported the aversion of that circle from the alliance, which it interpreted as an encouragement to Sweden to maintain too large a force of troops in Germany (No. 102). The princes of Brunswick Luneburg were also approached about joining, but Hasque, their minister in England, declared that they would not do so until the Dutch had paid them what they owed. He went on to refer bitterly to the egoistical policy of the Dutch, which disgusted everyone, so much so that Brandenburg was too offended to apply to be admitted (No. 88). There was also some idea of including the Swiss, but Captain Ulrich who came to the Hague from the Confederacy in the autumn of 1669 only busied himself about a levy for Dutch service and returned home with nothing more useful to show for his negotiations than a very civil letter from the States (Nos. 112, 137).
The most important outsider whose inclusion was in question was the emperor. The Spaniards desired it because they hoped that his example might induce other German princes to follow suit. Lisola was expected at the Hague at the beginning of 1669 with proposals upon the matter. Nothing happened until August, when the report that Lisola had received instructions to proceed to the Hague to arrange for the emperor's inclusion breathed fresh life into the negotiations about Sweden at a time when they seemed most hopeless (No. 105). Lisola continued his negotiations intermittently for some months. At last, in May, he announced definitely that the emperor had joined (No. 183). It is typical of the crooked diplomacy of the period that it was precisely at this moment that Leopold gave his word to Louis that he would not enter the alliance. (fn. 4) Lisola followed up his pronouncement by presenting a paper about the emperor's instructions, while he spread the report that other princes of the empire would follow the example of their head (No. 186). In England there was a distinct coolness on the subject as they believed Leopold to be fully occupied with matters nearer home (No. 187). They did not think that his adhesion would strengthen the alliance but rather the contrary, a subject upon which the Ambassador Falcombridge expressed himself forcibly at Turin (No. 197). Temple also thought that the emperor would only be a disturbing influence, especially if he chose to appear in person at the conferences (No. 335). The Dutch, on the other hand, pressed for the inclusion and seemed sanguine of achieving it. Van Beuningen went so far as to say that it was certain (No. 346). But Lisola had somewhat overreached himself and his declarations no longer inspired confidence, since from the very beginning of the alliance he had promised the inclusion of the emperor, when he had never had any commissions for it (No. 333).
Two days before the settlement of the Swedish difficulty an intimation was received from France that the king was ready to submit the dispute about boundaries to the arbitration of England and Sweden, but not of Holland (No. 170). In England the offer was welcomed as a way out of a possibly dangerous situation and as an additional means for preserving the peace. Letters were at once sent to both Spain and Sweden; to the former to give the necessary authority and instructions and to the latter to appoint commissioners to arbitrate (No. 179). Charles further obtained from a complacent France the concession that the proceedings should be held in London instead of at Lille, as had been intended.
Sweden accepted the suggestion without too much delay and appointed Baron Spaar to act as commissioner even before sending her ratification of the triple alliance. At Madrid the reception was much less cordial. The Spaniards suspected that it was a clever stroke of the French king, designed to separate the interests of the allies. Accordingly they fell back upon their usual dilatory tactics and were in no hurry to give their answer (No. 185). Godolphin, the English minister at Madrid, who had introduced the subject with some delicacy, after a similar office by the French ambassador, was not satisfied with this attitude and pressed for a definite reply. All he could get was that the queen put herself into the hands of England and Sweden but reserved the right to appoint two other arbitrators at a suitable opportunity (No. 189). In conformity with this Oñate brought over from Flanders a note in which the Spanish government claimed to have the same share as France in the appointment of arbitrators (No. 214). In elaboration of this Godolphin reported that they wished to nominate the emperor and the Dutch, although the former was bound by ties of kindred and the latter had been formally excluded by France (No. 207). No definite answer was received from Madrid until July when the queen regent persisted in her claim that the Dutch should be among the arbitrators (No. 259). This insistence seems to have been inspired, at least in part, by the fear that if the Dutch were not admitted they would no longer consent to be guarantors of the peace of Aix la Chapelle.
The French, on their side, insisted that the two questions were quite distinct. They declared that the Dutch had forced the Spaniards to put them forward. They adhered firmly to their determination not to admit them, saying that the Dutch were interested parties and that it was not seemly to permit a new republic to intervene in differences between two of the most conspicuous crowns (No. 263).
The English government was inclined to accept the French point of view, although they made some show of persuading Louis to modify his attitude. The dilatory tactics of the Spaniards caused irritation. They encouraged the suspicion that the Dutch were at the back of it (No. 210), and were considered an ill response to the exertions made to save the Spanish dominions from a fresh invasion. Godolphin told the Spaniards roundly that his king would not for a third time abuse the kindness of the king of France (No. 262).
The Dutch, who were really anxious for a settlement, made no open effort to press their claim. When it became clear that France would not give way van Beuningen professed that the States had no desire to intervene as they did not wish to be involved in differences between the crowns. He said he had told the king that the common interest would persuade his masters not to accept the arbitration (Nos. 259, 264).
In spite of this another three months passed before Spain consented to withdraw the nomination of Holland. But even in doing so she provided for further delays by demanding that the arbitration should include, besides the question of the boundaries, a claim for compensation for guns, bells and other material carried off by the French from Franche Comté (No. 333). Although the English had advised Spain to reserve these demands for another season, they were duly forwarded to Paris and a reply awaited. The French refused to consider the matter, contending that these were the spoils of war. They therefore insisted that the arbitration should be limited to the question of the boundaries. So the year closed with the question undecided. As the period assigned for the arbitration expired in January, the English ministers considered that Spain had only injured herself by raising difficulties. They claimed that England, for her part, had done enough for the common service and the general peace (No. 369).
The chief interest in the period centres in the relations between England and France. The course steered by the king, being out of harmony with the sentiments of parliament and of the majority of his people, is one of elaborate deception. Even in the light of facts unknown to most of his contemporaries it is difficult to follow his devious career. In an introduction limited to the subject matter of the text it is only possible to tell the story as it appeared to the Venetian ministers from the information they were able to collect.
The aggressive intentions of France which began to appear at the close of the Dutch war, had caused alarm in England as well as elsewhere. The triple alliance had served as a check but it was doubtful if it would be a lasting one. Appearances pointed to the resumption of aggressive tactics rather than to a France settling down to the quiet enjoyment of her gains. Two things in particular caused uneasiness in England: the evident intention of the French to create a powerful fleet, and the massing of armaments on the opposite shore. Reference is made to the former by Arlington early in 1669 (No. 1), and later by Falcombridge at Turin (No. 196). When Montagu went over as ambassador in May 1669 he had instructions to be in constant residence at St. Germain in order to observe at close quarters their proceedings and designs (No. 63). One of his first acts was to offer to buy back Dunkirk for the price at which it had been sold plus the sums spent in improving the port and fortifications (No. 58). It is difficult to see where the money would have come from, but the French refused, absolutely, even to consider the proposal (No. 75).
Points of difference between the two countries cropped up from time to time. In March 1669 Charles made representations to France about the treatment of the Huguenots, as being contrary to the Edict of Nantes. The French government sent a courteous reply but made no change in their proceedings (No. 40). On the other hand English ministers denied having had any dealings with Marsilly who had been to England to ask the protection of Charles for the Huguenots and was believed to have gone to Switzerland with commissions from the king (No. 82). Colbert's negotiations for a trade agreement made no progress and he could get no satisfaction about the question of the flag, upon which the English refused to make any concessions. In the spring of 1669 France was aggrieved by a proclamation forbidding the importation of foreign corn, which had reduced the price of the home product, France having a considerable surplus of which she wished to dispose (Nos. 62, 82).
In the important matter of the triple alliance English ministers assumed the attitude of impartial observers (No. 107). In the Council the duke of York had always opposed the alliance and St. Albans was said to have brought an offer from Louis to pay all the king's debts if he would abandon it (Nos. 71, 73). But Mocenigo gives his opinion that a union with France would be universally condemned as dangerous, causing internal trouble in the country and involving great risks with the allied governments (No. 73). Nevertheless feeling in the Council favoured an understanding with France, considering that the Dutch only wanted the alliance to serve their own selfish purposes. In the extreme shortage of money they were most unwilling to enter upon obligations involving possible risks and offering no corresponding advantages (No. 119).
But though this state of mind operated against a whole hearted acceptance of the responsibilities of the alliance, it did not make them the less anxious to maintain the peace. In September the ministers of England, Sweden and Holland joined in asking from the French ambassador Pomponne an explanation of certain steps taken by France which seemed likely to upset the peace of Aix la Chapelle. The Ambassador Colbert in London was greatly upset by this move and especially that Temple should have been a party to it (No. 110). Assured by the duke of York that Temple had no authority to commit himself thus far, Colbert proposed to take a high hand. He meant to demand an explanation from the king. If he denied the instructions he ought to punish the minister, and if he confirmed them Colbert would threaten to leave the Court (No. 112). Reflection brought wiser counsels, but though Colbert satisfied himself that Temple had joined in with the other ministers without instructions from the king, he could not obtain the smallest satisfaction (Nos. 113, 119). The king did indeed hold out some hope of rebuking Temple, but when Colbert went, somewhat prematurely, to thank him for this he found that the king had changed his mind. Charles told the ambassador very firmly that he had seen with his own eyes that Temple had good grounds for what he had done. Making the best of a bad matter Colbert had to content himself with a promise that Temple should be instructed to maintain in the future a complete reserve in such matters of joint action and the obligations of the alliance (No. 126).
That this undertaking did not mean very much was shown soon after by a vigorous office performed by Montagu at Paris. At a special secret audience he made a strong remonstrance to the king, in the name of the alliance, about the failure to observe the peace of Aix la Chapelle, both by the passage of armed forces through Spanish territory and by reprisals made upon the property of Spanish subjects (No. 135).
The king was perhaps encouraged to take this line by the many tokens of a desire on the part of France to conciliate the goodwill of England. This had been shown in various trifling incidents. At his state entry into Paris, at the opening of his embassy, Montagu was allowed precedence of the princes of the blood, by a rather transparent device (No. 57). When Falcombridge was at Turin special courtesy was shown to him by the French ambassador there, acting on express instructions from Lionne (No. 194). When Lords Cavendish and Rochester were set upon in the theatre of the Palais Royal by officers of the guards, Louis imputed all the blame to the latter and had them punished, from his desire not to alienate further the feelings of the English (No. 84). The French even dissimulated their resentment at some gibes published in London, reflecting on the courage of their navy (No. 69); all with the same end in view.
The general interest in the relations between France and England was greatly stirred in the spring of 1670 by the news that the duchess of Orleans desired to pay a flying visit to her native land. The king proposed to make a progress into Flanders and as the Court would be so near the duchess pressed him to allow her to cross the Channel to see her brother. Louis was the more ready to grant this request because he had a great affection for his sister-in-law and he also hoped to profit by her influence with Charles to wean him from the triple alliance. Nevertheless the idea seems to have originated with her and to have owed its realisation to her persistence (Nos. 184, 191, 200).
The chief and practically the only obstacle was the opposition of her husband. He offered a steady resistance and tried by his prayers to the king and by threats to prevent his wife going. His opposition was so persistent that it seemed at one time as if the journey would have to be given up, or that if the duchess did go Monsieur would cross the Channel with her (No. 188). In the end he was overruled and gave way, rather sulkily. When Colbert announced the proposed visit in London he added that Madame would not have permission from her husband to stay more than three days (No. 193). Monsieur further betrayed his jealous suspicions by objecting to Madame taking her most valuable jewels, from fear lest she should leave them in England (No. 218).
The day after the king and Court reached Lille Madame set out on her journey for Dunkirk, the port chosen for her embarcation. To shorten the way she took the direct route through Ypres, thus crossing Spanish territory. By frequent relays of coaches and boats she was able to perform the journey in a single day. Her passage was a triumphal progress. At Ypres the governor had the guns fired in her honour. Everywhere the people received her with acclamations to which she responded with liberal largess (Nos. 211, 224).
Warned by special courier that his sister had started, Charles took boat to Gravesend and then travelled post to Dover. He arrived there on Sunday evening, May 25, new style, in time to greet his sister, who reached the port on Monday morning after a smooth passage of 24 hours.
The duke of York, the foreign ambassadors and a number of courtiers also proceeded to Dover, where the scanty accommodation was severely taxed by this influx. The difficulty had been foreseen and Charles had sent more than once to ask Louis to allow Madame to proceed to London where she could be more worthily received (No. 210). It does not seem certain whether this permission was refused or whether Madame herself was unwilling to face the fatigue of another journey in the limited time available. As they were remaining in East Kent urgent messages were sent to the queen to come and join them, with the duchess of York and the ladies of the Court (No. 214). From Dover they all proceeded to Canterbury, where every mark of affection was lavished on the duchess while she was constantly protesting that she must be leaving to rejoin Louis at Boulogne as had been arranged before she left (No. 221). She stayed on, however, to celebrate the birthday of Charles, on the 8th June, new style, and left finally on the 12th. She sent word to Louis, who was waiting impatiently to know the issue of her negotiations, that she would tell him orally what she had succeeded in arranging for the advantage of France (No. 225). Attended by the earls of St. Albans and Sandwich she crossed to Calais, in great content with the results of her visit. She had lavished presents about the Court and received gifts herself in even larger measure, especially from the queen. She took away jewellery to the value of 9,000l. as well as 6,000l. in cash from Charles, to be laid out on property in France (No. 228).
Her stay which had originally been limited to three days had extended to seventeen; but the extension had been secretly arranged with Louis before she left. Her husband, who had been neither informed nor consulted about this, was so much annoyed that he would not budge to go and meet her on her return, as he had always been accustomed to do (Nos. 225, 227).
The visit excited an extraordinary amount of attention in the world of politics. The Dutch and Spaniards in particular suspected designs against the triple alliance. The former instructed their most skilful diplomatist, van Beuningen, to proceed at once to London and to stay there for so long as Madame remained in England (No. 200). Lisola also was expected to go there with the same intent (No. 222). Even Venice directed their ambassador to pay special attention to the objects of the conference between Madame and her brother (No. 199). Before the visit had taken place Mocenigo expressed the opinion that the friends of the alliance were unnecessarily anxious. He did not believe that Madame's persuasions in this matter would have much influence on her brother. He was, at the moment, sufficiently provided with money by parliament and he was bound to adhere to the alliance both by interest & honour as well as for the quiet of his own country, which would resent a union with France (No. 190). While the visit was in progress he did not believe that it had any other object than a display of family affection (Nos. 210, 221). Moresini from France reports the hopes on that side of detaching Charles from the triple alliance by this means and says that Madame herself was persuaded that she could easily prevail on her brother to do as France wished. But he thought himself that it was a forlorn hope and those who were best informed believed success to be impossible. By means of the alliance Charles had acquired supreme credit in Europe and a leading place among the northern powers. It had strengthened him in his own realms and secured peace in Flanders and between the two great continental powers (Nos. 184, 191). At Turin Falcombridge told the Venetian ambassador Michieli that the king would be neither able nor willing to change his policy. He loved his sister dearly, but he ought to prize the affection of his people much more. By the alliance he had won their sincere attachment. The affection of their subjects was one of the most important points that all kings ought to observe, but particularly those of England (No. 197).
In the mean time Madame returned to France covered with glory. She was suffering from intestinal trouble for which baths were prescribed, but seemingly this caused no anxiety, when the Court was thrown into consternation by her sudden death. It seems to have been due to ulceration of the intestines, the immediate cause being perforation from taking a drink of iced water and chicory (No. 237). The strained relations between her husband and herself were common knowledge and how this ill feeling had been intensified by the recent journey. It can easily be understood that rumours that she had been poisoned spread in Paris and were repeated in London. In France it was realised how seriously any such suspicion would jeopardise the friendly relations that Madame herself had done so much to promote. It was of the first importance to establish that the tragedy was due to natural causes. The king issued instructions that an autopsy should be held forthwith in the presence of ten of the most celebrated physicians in Paris as well as of the English ambassador and of other English gentlemen then in the city.
The news was sent to Charles by special courier and reached him three days after the event. He sought consolation in solitude, but never expressed any sentiment but submission to the will of God (No. 240). He adopted the unusual course, for one who was not a sovereign or a sovereign's consort, of writing almost at once to inform the Signory of Venice of his loss (No. 276).
The Ambassador Montagu had seemed at first to accept the finding of the autopsy. Later on he changed his mind and the Ambassador Colbert reported that in a secret despatch he had given countenance to the suspicion of poison. At the same time the Dutch Ambassador van Beuningen was doing his best to make capital out of the situation. Colbert's report caused much perturbation in Paris and to remove the evil impression Louis wrote with his own hand an affectionate letter to Charles and sent over a person of great distinction, the Marshal Bellefonds, as a special envoy (No. 249). The marshal had a most cordial welcome and was able on his return to assure his master, to his infinite relief, that he had succeeded in convincing King Charles and all his Court of the baselessness of the suspicion of poison and that every trace of bitterness and mistrust on that account had been removed (No. 270). The incident seemed to have strengthened the ties between the two crowns rather than otherwise.
In response to this mission of Bellefonds Charles decided to send the duke of Buckingham to Paris and Louis at once laid himself out to make the duke's visit a memorable one. By the royal order special preparations were made for his reception and entertainment. Quarters were got ready for him at St. Germain; he was to be defrayed at the king's cost for the whole time of his stay; he was to receive every distinction and the king expressly charged the most distinguished members of his Court to entertain the duke at sumptuous banquets and by other demonstrations (No. 270).
Arrived in Paris Buckingham had the time of his life. The king deliberately set himself to entertain him, taking him about in his own coach, while he was always open to receive him. At Versailles the duke was admitted to the royal table in the gardens on a familiar and friendly footing (No. 278). The duke of Orleans and the three leading ministers each gave him a sumptuous banquet at their own houses (No. 304). In short, as Moresini relates, the distinctions, confidences and demonstrations showered upon the duke were entirely unexampled, even in the case of members of reigning Houses (No. 317). He attributes these outpourings to the impression, held in France, of the duke's twofold importance, both as a favourite of the king and from his influence in parliament.
So conspicuous a mission naturally excited a great deal of attention. The Dutch in particular were rendered extremely apprehensive, fearing an alliance between the two crowns (No. 313). As an antidote they set to work to stir up suspicion among the English people, of a royal conspiracy against their liberty, in the hope thereby of upsetting a policy that might have serious consequences for them (No. 317). The Ambassador Molina, for his part, was of opinion that Buckingham had been made so much of in the hope of rendering him suspect to the Spanish party, as he had always been opposed to the French in London (No. 329). Mocenigo, on the other hand, wrote that there was no one who thought the duke likely to be corrupted by persuasion or flattery, since it was well known that he had no commission to listen to affairs. His personal opinions were far from such ideas and if he had changed them he would not venture to admit it, seeing how little chance there was that he would come out of it with any advantage.
Moresini, who was on the spot, had more definite information to offer. He reports the gist of several conferences with the king and ministers in which affairs of state were discussed. In these the king urged Buckingham to recommend to his master closer relations with France, to the detriment of the Dutch. In reply Buckingham represented that, in return for such a change of policy, England would expect concessions from France in matters of trade. If his king received from France advantages equal to those which he enjoyed at the moment from the triple alliance he would, without hesitation, prefer confidential relations with France to those which he had with the United Provinces (No. 293). Somewhat later Moresini reported that he had information of a naval agreement between England, France and Portugal for an attack on Dutch shipping in all parts of the world. As the price of this, great reductions were to be made in the duties on goods exported from England to France. As his king was uncertain how this would be received in parliament, Buckingham asked that the agreement should not be published before his Majesty had had time to sound them on the subject (No. 324). The same ambassador had written a month earlier that a naval alliance between England and France to the prejudice of the Dutch on both sides of the line, seemed quite inevitable (No. 293).
While Buckingham was still in Paris Louis gave further cause for alarm by the forcible occupation of Lorraine. The Dutch ambassadors in England at once went to Court to represent the danger to the general peace from such acts of aggression (No. 314). They spoke pointedly of the French king's habit of attacking his neighbours and occupying their territory (No. 320). They wanted Charles, as head of the triple alliance, to take action on behalf of the dispossessed duke (No. 333). The duke himself wrote to the king and sent an envoy to England to ask for assistance. But none of these representations produced any effect upon Charles. The gentleman from Lorraine was told that he ought fust to see what the emperor and the empire would do, as they were much more nearly concerned. Let them give a lead and the other princes would then be able to follow (No. 341). Nothing more was to be got out of Charles. Molina was of opinion that some arrangement had been made with Buckingham at Paris (No. 329). A further indication of an understanding between the two kings was the extravagant reward of 600 doubles given to a courier who reached Paris from London in the following month (No. 347).
The year ended on a slightly different note, though it may well be suspected that the whole performance was merely an elaborate piece of play acting. At a special audience Colbert informed Charles that his king intended to proceed to Dunkirk at the head of a considerable body of troops for the purpose of inspecting and completing the fortifications in the newly conquered territory (No. 371). On the following Saturday Charles sent for the Commons to come to Whitehall. When they were assembled he told them of the information he had received. He said he could not suppose that the peace of England would be disturbed, but in view of the approach of this army it was his duty to guarantee the safety and honour of his people. The speech was received with loud plaudits and that same morning the House voted 800,000l. for the equipment of fifty ships (No. 375). Charles followed up this step by a letter to Louis while at the same time Arlington wrote to Lionne. The communication thanked the king for sending word of his intention but went on to point out the serious consequences that might follow from such a move. There were so many questions still unsettled. The gathering of armed forces might easily lead to a clash. The one who attacked first would be universally condemned as being responsible for disturbing the peace of Christendom and opening the way to fresh calamities. This might all be prevented by postponing the journey to Flanders to some other occasion, and that was the course that the king was most earnestly urged to follow.
The question at once came before the French Council. The general sentiment there was in favour of complying with the king of England's wishes. The three leading ministers were always anxious to avoid troublesome complications and it was a well established principle of the French government always to conciliate England (No. 380). The Ambassador Colbert himself confessed to Alberti that the French king knew that he could not attempt any enterprise without the assent and assistance of England. As that country did not realise the advantage of a union with France his king contented himself with keeping it neutral. His negotiations would be directed solely to that end. The English king was bound in honour to the alliance and France no longer pretended to detach him from it (No. 375).
It is curious that the king's speech and the orders for the equipment of a fleet were generally accepted as conclusive evidence that Charles meant to stand by the triple alliance, as his honour and interest seemed to require. Mocenigo wrote complacently that the illfounded reports of secret transactions with France were completely dissipated thereby (No. 346). Some misgiving might have been caused by the king consenting, at Colbert's request, to have the report of his speech withdrawn from the press. Nevertheless Molina, though he did not expect to see any help given to Lorraine, expressed the conviction that the alliance had been strengthened and that it would endure for a long time (No. 341). Even van Beuningen returned to the Hague greatly comforted by the assurance of the king's perseverance in the alliance, which was the best result desired from his negotiations after the suspicion aroused in the States from the numerous journeyings to and fro between England and France of great personages (No. 375).
The Dutch had emerged from the late war with greatly enhanced prestige, but they came to learn the price of a success earned by leaning on France. In the two years under review may be seen their descent from high consideration to a state bordering upon panic. At the conclusion of the war they were the greatest commercial nation in the world. Their shipping covered the seas. Buckingham estimated that they controlled quite two thirds of the entire shipping of the world (No. 293). Even in 1670 Godolphin thought that France would not find it easy to do them any hurt, as they were strongly armed as well as covered by the defensive alliance with England and Sweden (No. 178). In their sense of security they professed indifference to the fortification of Dunkirk believing the port to be too shallow to accommodate ships of sufficient size or in sufficient numbers to interefere with the trade of Amsterdam or to give their well defended shores any cause for alarm (No. 48). As late as the spring of 1669 they seemed to think that an alliance with France was still open to them. Annoyed by the lukewarmness of England towards the triple alliance and her suspected leanings towards France, they threatened themselves to make an alliance with that country, which was urging them to do so (No. 53).
In spite of conformity of interest in Europe it was not easy to maintain a cordial understanding with the Dutch. In May 1669 Charles was much annoyed at the appearance of a medal commemorating the raid on the Medway, though he was told that it was an old one, struck in the time of the late war (No. 71). The advocates of an understanding with France had a strong argument in the exclusive commercial policy of the Dutch, who tried to seize everything for themselves. This was particularly the case in the East Indies from which the Dutch were trying to squeeze out the English altogether. In the peace of Breda the details of a final settlement about the trade there had been left for decision by commissioners. Pending a settlement it was arranged that English ships should be allowed to trade if they carried patents from the Admiralty. Such patents were not always easy to come by, especially if the ships called at European ports before proceeding East. But ships not so provided were excluded by force and even those which had them were not safe, as the Dutch were never at a loss to find pretexts for denying their validity (No. 117). Commercial interests hindered the States from reaching a definite settlement of the matter and Charles wrote them a very stiff letter complaining of the interminable delays over a question on which the Ambassador Temple had been so long engaged (No. 98). Feeling upon this subject was accentuated by the arrival of the news of a treaty made by the Dutch with the king of Macassar. By the terms of this the king bound himself not to trade with any but the Dutch; the English being especially excluded (No. 77). A year later when the ships from Batavia were returning with the rich results of their trading, they thought it prudent to take the long route round Scotland to avoid the danger of meeting the king's ships in the Channel. Van Beuningen took upon himself to explain that the peace was only a temporary arrangement and that the rich cargoes were the harvest of three years' trading (No. 254).
Another point of friction with the States was their treatment of the prince of Orange. That young man was now in his 20th year. During his minority the question of his status had remained in abeyance. The House of Nassau had a strong hold on the affections of the people, but the province of Holland and de Witt, the head of the government, were opposed to the reestablishment of its ancient preeminence. In the spring of 1670 the prince announced his intention of proceeding to England. Owing to his close connection with the royal House it was natural to associate this with a desire to use his English connection as a means for obtaining the renewal in his person of the ample powers enjoyed by his father (No. 202). In France the reluctance of Holland to grant such powers seemed to provide an excellent opportunity for driving a wedge between England and the United Provinces and so break up the triple alliance. Madame's visit might well be used to turn the occasion to profit (Nos. 206, 210). Some apprehension on this score no doubt had its influence on the States. Thus before van Beuningen came over at the time of Madame's visit, they had decided, after long discussion, that the prince should have a seat in the Council, in order to learn the business of government, and that he should be encouraged in military exercises so as to qualify him for the post of captain general when years and experience had fitted him for the post (No. 226).
Charles does not seem to have discussed the question of the prince with his sister; at least the matter was not brought before the Council (No. 221). He was sufficiently disposed to support his nephew without needing any incitement from her (No. 228). He was far from pleased about the conditions which the Dutch had imposed for admitting the prince to their Council of State or with the arrangement of making him lieutenant general when the office of captain general was to be an annual appointment (No. 231).
All this time the question of the prince's visit remained in abeyance and the death of Madame probably caused further delay. However, in September Charles sent over the earl of Ossory with a definite invitation. Quarters were prepared for the prince at Whitehall and his arrival was eagerly anticipated by the whole Court (No. 343). Some business concerning the settlement of his affairs detained him for a while and he was further held up by contrary winds, so that he did not arrive in England until the 8th November, new style. He had an affectionate welcome from both his uncles and the king honoured him by giving him precedence of Prince Rupert, as being nearer in the succession (No. 355).
By this time the Dutch had become thoroughly alarmed by the proceedings of the French and had begun to realise the necessity of conciliating England in every possible way. According to Temple they were in such a state of panic that they had lost control of their reason (No. 335). To gratify Charles they not only consented to the prince's visit to England but decided that all his expenses should be paid out of the public exchequer.
The declaration of esteem for the House of Nassau that accompanied these resolutions caused some surprise in England, as it was something new from that quarter, but it hardly produced the effect intended. In the opinion of Mocenigo any complaint made by Orange at Court of incivility on the part of the States would certainly obtain favourable declarations at the expense of the alliance (No. 341). While Orange was still in England the States gave further evidence of their goodwill by granting him a pension of 50,000 livres.
The prince's proceedings were narrowly watched by the foreign ministers at Court as well as by the ambassadors of his own country; but he spent his time mostly in diversions and in going about to see the sights. The only thing he attempted in the way of business was a rather forlorn attempt to obtain repayment of money advanced to Charles I by his father (No. 369). At the end of the year he announced his intention to depart, without having obtained any satisfaction on this point (No. 375).
The minister van Beuningen was leaving about the same time. He had come over originally to keep an eye on Madame's proceedings. He stayed on for Buckingham's return from France and then because of the prince. He pretended that he had come in a private capacity, but admitted that he had instructions to conclude a treaty for sea affairs. He had the reputation of being the most skilful of the Dutch diplomatists. Colbert called him “a precious relic of the Provinces.” His appointment indicated the importance attached to his mission, especially as it was actually in breach of the constitution. The appointment to England belonged of right to the province of Zeeland, whereas van Beuningen was a Hollander (No. 259). He had an anxious time on the whole but the decision of parliament to arm a fleet seems to have sent him home contented.
With practically no navy and an exhausted exchequer Spain was helpless by herself to defend her overseas possessions. The peace of Aix la Chapelle and the promise given by Louis to the pope seemed, for the time being, to offer some security to Flanders, if the loud protestations of the French of their determination to keep the peace could be depended on (No. 63). Yet the movement of troops and their high handed actions kept the governor Velasco in a constant state of alarm (No. 52). The Spaniards were convinced that the French were only waiting for a pretext to renew the war (No. 12). In the new year Louis proceeded to confiscate the estates of all those in the newly conquered territory who had not come to acknowledge their obedience to him (No. 24). The Spaniards complained that this was a breach of the treaty, but the decree was rigorously enforced. A few months later the French demanded the right to transport coal across Spanish territory to these parts and proceeded to carry this into effect by an armed escort, without asking permission from the governor. Colbert thought it necessary to inform Charles of this proceeding, but the king did not interest himself in the matter. Velasco himself does not seem to have raised any objection, indeed he rather went out of his way to show every possible courtesy to the French (No. 30). His only action by way of protest was to raise the export duty on coal. In retaliation for this the French stopped the courier coming from Spain and made him pay 1,000 doubles for passing through France (No. 107). By this means the usual passage of letters by that route was interrupted for over two months, until the dispute was settled in October. In the interval communication was kept up by sea from Ostend. A suggestion, made by the earl of Sandwich, that the packets should be sent to Bilbao by way of Plymouth was not thought to be practicable (Nos. 117, 129). In justification of their action the Spaniards explained that the duty had been imposed because the French had used this means to export goods from England. Nevertheless Velasco cast his commissioner of finance, Oñate, into prison in order to give the French the impression that the duty had been imposed against his wishes (No. 113).
Velasco's position was an unhappy one. To raise the money needed for defence he tried to squeeze it out of the people by imposing heavy duties. But the citizens revolted against this measure and he was obliged to abandon the attempt. He was very unpopular with the people, who blamed him as the cause of all their calamities, and he was anxious to resign his charge (No. 80). This was not permitted and he was not relieved until late in 1670. As a means of settling the question of Flanders there had been some talk of a marriage between Duke Charles of Lorraine and an archduchess of the Innsbruck branch, upon whom the government of the province might be conferred, as it had been upon the Archdukes Albert and Isabella in the days of Philip II (No. 110).
The Spanish dominions in America were similarly left to look after themselves. Owing to the refusal of the Spaniards to admit the right of the English to Jamaica or to suffer them to trade in those parts, a state of war existed between the Spanish and the English colonists. Sir Thomas Modyford, governor of Jamaica, in retaliation for acts of hostility, began a policy of active aggression against the Spaniards. He organised a series of attacks on the mainland and in a descent upon Port Bello succeeded in carrying off booty amounting to 800,000 crowns. On one of these expeditions the frigate Oxford caught fire and blew up with five of the commanders of the expedition, who were on board at a council of war. But the disaster does not seem to have stopped the enterprise (Nos. 48, 113). Another exploit of Modyford was the capture by surprise of four Spanish galleons.
The Ambassador Molina complained bitterly of these hostilities asserting that they were contrary to the terms of the peace, and he demanded that Modyford should be punished. He was unable to obtain the slightest redress. The Porto Bello booty was declared good prize and the duke of York contended that the Spaniards forced them to declare war beyond the line because of their constant acts of hostility against English ships, even those which sought refuge from storms (No. 29). He opposed any idea of punishing Modyford, contending that in order to remove the obstacles placed by Spain to the advancement of trade, there was no other way but to avail themselves of such weapons (No. 73). As some sop to the Spaniards it was intimated at times that Modyford acted on his own initiative, without instructions, and that the government could not control the corsairs. But it was recognised in Spain that England hoped by these proceedings to force them to make a new treaty containing greater concessions in the matter of trade (No. 59). Upon this point Spain remained obdurate. Molina declared that Spain would never open the ports of the Indies to any nation, because that would be to open the mines (No. 24). The Spaniards were convinced that if they made any concessions to the English the Dutch would at once claim similar advantages.
There was thus every appearance of a deadlock or the elimination of Spanish rule. At a meeting of the Council Prince Rupert declared that they ought not any longer to delay joining with France, and that they should divide Spanish America between them (No. 77). In the course of the same summer the Spanish government thought it necessary to send out seven ships of the royal navy to bring in the treasure fleet from Teneriffe, because a number of English piratical craft were scouring those seas (No. 90). It is curious in this connection that in the February following the treasure fleet was escorted from Teneriffe to Tangier by eight ships of the English navy, a service for which the Spaniards paid 12,000 pieces of eight for the benefit of individuals (No. 171).
As the year went on matters improved. There was even some talk of replacing Modyford by the earl of Carlisle, which the Spaniards hoped might mean a change of policy and an abstension from reprisals (No. 235). This did not materialise, but at the same time Godolphin was at work in Madrid upon a plan by which the Spaniards would have peace in those parts in return for concessions about trade (No. 262). Molina in London was also trying for an arrangement whereby the English right to Jamaica would be recognised and their ships would be admitted to Spanish ports for their requirements. He did not say anything about concessions for trade, but it was felt that trade might well be quietly introduced in this way (No. 284). The arrangement was approved in England and instructions in accordance were sent to Godolphin. The comment of the Dutch minister van Beuningen was that the best plan for the Spaniards would be to open their ports to trade, charging substantial duties on the goods, which would bring revenue to the crown. Under the existing system only the smallest part of the treasure fleet was for the king and there was only a trifle for the merchants (No. 296).
In the two years under review sensible alterations took place in the relations between king and parliament. For the greater part of the year 1669 the Houses were not in session as the king had prorogued parliament at the end of 1668 until the following October. The chief reason for this long delay was the king's reluctance to ask for fresh supplies. The Commons had already granted an extraordinary subvention of 11 millions, which was exhausted (No. 23). Money would be required to implement obligations under the triple alliance, but the king was more apprehensive of trying the patience of his people by fresh taxes than jealous of the progress of France (No. 3). The queen told Mocenigo frankly that the king was obliged to show great reserve in dealing with parliament as he had to ask money from those who were resolved to refuse it (No. 61).
As the time for the reassembling of parliament drew near the coming event caused various repercussions and many rumours gained currency. The summoning of a parliament to meet at Edinburgh at the same time caused much searching of heart among the English members, who suspected a design to set the Houses of the two kingdoms against each other. Ministers feared that they might be called to account for bad advice given and for money ill spent (No. 85). Arlington was supposed to be seeking appointment as ambassador to Spain in order to be out of the way (No. 132). Some believed that the king designed to have his son, Monmouth, declared legitimate in order to prevent the eventual succession to the throne of a descendant of the discredited ex-chancellor Clarendon (No. 92).
More important and actual was a move of the Presbyterians to join with the other sects to carry a measure for liberty of conscience. This caused great alarm to the bishops of the established Church, who are described as most unpopular. They feared, if such a measure was carried and the king found them useless, that they would be stripped of their revenues, which would be used for war and to pay off the king's debts. They therefore made strong representations to Charles, pointing out to him that to grant liberty of conscience would open the gate to the sectaries, who were practically all opposed to the royal authority, and so the ruin of the bishops would involve that of the crown (No. 96).
When parliament actually met the king's speech set three things before them for their consideration. These, in the order of their importance, were: the payment of his debts, incurred for the honour of the kingdom; the maintenance of the peace of Aix la Chapelle; and union with Scotland (No. 137). The last item was considered by Mocenigo to be hopeless and only introduced for the sake of connecting the business of the two countries for the advantage of the crown (No. 181).
The question of the alliance was important, as the foreign policy of the country might depend on the attitude which parliament took towards it. Ministers were averse from committing the crown to a course which might involve heavy expenditure and there seemed no likelihood of persuading a body so averse from expenditure that they were pledged, for the honour of the crown, to grant supplies merely for the sake of keeping the peace between France and Spain (No. 119). Mocenigo believed that the subject had only been introduced in order to force parliament to make a grant and once that had been obtained there would be plenty of ways to evade the obligation (No. 137).
But when it came to business the two Houses, instead of dealing with the questions proposed by the king, fell to quarrelling over their respective judicial rights. Two books had been published just before they met, one advocating the case for the Lords, the other that of the Commons. Both were suppressed by the king's order, but the mischief had already been done (No. 132). A month was wasted over this quarrel to the exclusion of all other business. They did, however, institute an examination of the royal accounts and succeeded in bringing to light many abuses. As a consequence the treasurer of the navy, Carteret, was charged with misapplying very large sums, and other persons were implicated as well (No. 142). An old accusation against Lord Brouncker, of cowardice at the battle of Lowestoft, was revived and he was sent to the Tower, nominally for a breach of privilege (No. 145). In addition to this a charge of high treason was preferred against the earl of Orrery.
A more useful line of activity was the discussion of ways for improving foreign trade, but the time on this was mostly spent in a barren debate about reducing the rate of interest on loans (No. 150). The king bore this waste of time with patience, only intervening to save Orrery. He hoped, by abiding his time, to attain his end in the long run. When at long last parliament got down to considering the financial needs of the crown they could not make up their minds to grant more than 400,000 crowns. As the king's debts amounted to a million and a half, it was evident that this sum would be ridiculously inadequate (No. 153). In order to raise this amount they considered various ways and means, among others a duty on spirits and a readjustment of the duty on wine, which in future was to be paid by the consumer instead of by the merchants (No. 154).
All these projects were brought to an abrupt conclusion by the king's decision to prorogue parliament. So the members dispersed to their homes for the holidays after a session almost completely barren of results. This comparative fiasco seems to have determined the king to take steps to prevent the same thing recurring in the future. To this end he consulted with his intimates and with the members of the Council. On the supposition that the absence of good men from the meetings of the long parliament had been the cause of all the trouble, a proclamation was issued calling upon all the members of both Houses to take their seats, under the penalties established by the laws. This measure was expected to secure a majority for the king's party (No. 165).
Quite apart from this precaution prospects were considered favourable for the king. It was obvious that the prestige of the crown, due to its place in the triple alliance, could only be maintained if there was sufficient force to fulfil its obligations under that instrument. Money was also needed to equip a fleet against the Algerines. Some of the members felt ashamed of the inadequate sum offered in the last session.
There were indeed others who thought that the country ought not to be burdened any further, after all it had suffered from the war, the plague and the great fire, and when it had already contributed more than ten millions. They further contended that the pacific assurances of France relieved them for the moment of any need for rearming (No. 174).
The king's speech at the opening of the new session stressed the need for a prompt supply of money, urged them to put aside their quarrels and again recommended the union with Scotland. It also contained a significant innovation. It announced that the king had himself looked into the accounts and he could assure parliament that no part of the monies granted for the war had been devoted to other uses. He thus took under his wing the ministers who had been called to account in the preceding session (No. 177). To prevent any further waste of time, as in the previous session, the king directed parliament to discuss immediately, before anything else, the subjects which he had himself proposed.
The Houses submitted quietly to this direction and to the cutting short of their inquiry into the finances. After regulating the duties on wines they proceeded obediently to expunge from their records the charges against Carteret.
Following up his advantage the king sent for the members early in the next week to attend him at the palace. After commending their zeal about supply, he went on to say how greatly he deplored the quarrels between the two Houses and expressed the wish that they should expunge all records of these differences from their journals. After listening to this homily both Houses returned to Westminster, whence, after a short interval, the Commons returned to Whitehall to inform the king that they had done as he wished. He rewarded them by a warm expression of his appreciation. The Lords, after some debate, judged it expedient to follow suit and so the ground was cleared of this troublesome obstruction. A number of loyal subjects showed their relief by lighting bonfires (No. 179).
The question of the union presented more insuperable difficulties, but even here parliament expressed appreciation of the king's efforts to bring his subjects more and more into accord, and promised to nominate commissioners to meet those appointed by Scotland (No. 186).
The religious question was the one most likely to excite passion. The Church party, strong in the Commons, was eager for the suppression of the conventicles, while others wished strong measures to be taken against the Catholics. But when a member suggested that the Catholics, equally with the sectaries, should be treated with severity he was answered that the Catholics, as a body, were loyal and peaceful, and so a bill introduced against them was dropped. On the question of the conventicles feeling rose high. The king here acted as a moderating influence and caused a diversion by having a Presbyterian minister arrested. Mocenigo records the fact but fails to explain why this should give a good turn to the affair (No. 187). (fn. 5)
Another expedient adopted by the king was to attend the debates in person. He came to the House of Lords without state and pretended to figure there as a private person. But he knew how to assert his royal dignity and his presence at once had a marked effect. No one dared to abuse the liberty of speaking upon the subjects under discussion, or ventured, except in terms of the utmost submission, to answer the views expressed by his Majesty (No. 187). Under this moderating influence additional severities against the sectaries were not pressed, especially as their enforcement might easily drive out of the country some of its most wealthy inhabitants (No 193).
By careful and judicious handling the king had, in a short space, gained complete ascendancy over the parliament and, as Mocenigo records, carried off everything there according to his pleasure. In this way business proceeded rapidly and smoothly. On the 21 April the king appeared in parliament in state to give his assent to over 20 bills and the Houses were then prorogued until October. They had sat for little more than nine weeks.
When parliament reassembled in the autumn, the king still maintained his ascendancy. Mocenigo remarks on the extraordinary contrast with what had gone before. Instead of the turmoil that constantly prevailed until quelled in the last session by the king's prudence, the Houses were solely intent on quiet, the welfare of the people and their wealth and commerce (No. 369). The king continued to frequent the sittings with unusual assiduity.
Before the reassembling the Ambassador Moresini in France expressed the opinion that the resolutions and actions of the French government would depend upon what happened at the forthcoming meeting of the English parliament (No. 342). The French were therefore watching its proceedings very closely. Earlier in the year reference to foreign policy had been carefully avoided. On this occasion the king's speech at the opening of the session dwelt upon the necessity of upholding the peace of Aix la Chapelle. If the Dutch were attacked England must go to their assistance, if only on the score of self interest. In view of this obligation and of the arming going on across the water the king announced that he had ordered the equipment of fifty ships for the coming summer (No. 346). Almost immediately afterwards this appeal was reinforced by a special message about the French king's advance to Dunkirk at the head of a large force. This at once produced the result desired in the shape of a prompt vote of supplies.
Apart from the necessary financial provisions the only other business introduced at the end of the year was a bill in the Lords for the naturalisation of aliens. They hoped by this means to attract some of the wealthiest among the Dutch who might prefer to invest their capital in land instead of risking it in trade as they were compelled to do by the narrow limits of their own country (No. 369). There were difficulties in the way, among them the imposition of the oath, upon which the majority of the peers insisted (No. 371).
By his successful handling of parliament the king had sensibly increased his power and influence. At the beginning of the period Mocenigo comments on the desire of the people to keep him dependent and their jealousy of his forces, to which they contributed with caution, lest they should be providing him with arms to their own hurt (No. 23). At the end he thought that Charles, by prudent handling, would make himself the master and fill his exchequer. He would then establish himself at home on a solid basis and make his power felt abroad (No. 364). For the time being his only overt act in this direction was to increase the numbers of the royal guards by over 2,000 men in the summer of 1670 (No. 235).
The king suffered two serious bereavements in these years, his mother, who never woke again after taking a sleeping draught, in September 1669, and his favourite and last remaining sister. He felt these blows acutely. He piously celebrated his father's memory by wearing mourning with the whole Court at each anniversary of his death (No. 16).
There is little or nothing in these pages about the king personally. Molina speaks highly of his good nature but blames his lack of attention to affairs of state (No. 149). There was a report in Florence that he intended to divorce his barren wife and that Madame was to provide him with another mate in the person of the daughter of his cousin, Prince Edward of the Palatinate; but this idea was promptly discredited (No. 218). The king's interest in the question of remarriage after divorce, which came before the House of Lords in the Roos case, in which he and his brother took opposite sides, was supposed to be stimulated by some idea of the same kind (No. 187).
In May 1669 it was whispered about the Court that the queen was enceinte, and Charles actually received congratulations from the ambassadors on the subject (No. 73). Two parties were inclined to discredit the report. These were the partisans of the duke of York and those who hoped to profit by disturbances over a doubtful succession (No. 80). In June however it was announced that the queen had miscarried as the result of an accident. As this was the fourth time that such hopes had been dashed there seemed to be no likelihood that she would ever provide Charles with an heir to his body (No. 82). There is no indication given here that the king thought of repudiating her. On the contrary, on the death of his mother he made her a present of Somerset House and gave her an additional revenue of 25,000l. a year (No. 138). The republic of Venice thought it worth while to enlist her influence with the king to obtain help for Candia. This did not have any results for the besieged fortress, but it was the occasion of the pope writing a letter to the queen. This was particularly gratifying to her, as up to that time the Court of Rome had not recognised the House of Braganza or her marriage (No. 105). The correspondence thus opened was continued. In the summer following the pope sent her another letter, not connected with Venice or Candia. In 1670 the pope's successor, Clement X, sent her some relics and objects of devotion (No. 333).
The duke of York, as heir presumptive, took his part in public affairs. In the Council he appears as a strong partisan of a close understanding with France. In parliament he is mentioned as having intervened, without much success, to moderate the quarrel between the two Houses (No. 143). Relations between the two brothers were not entirely candid. While they were away at Newmarket in the spring of 1669 the duke's closet was broken open. Although the valuables it contained were left untouched, the duke's papers were missing. Circumstances pointed to this being the work of the king and that it was due to suspicion of secret dealings between James and his father-in-law, Clarendon (No. 45). The ex-chancellor's party was now completely discredited and his friends and partisans seemed to have abandoned all hope for the future (No. 30). The position of York himself, as heir presumptive, was affected by this because of the strong objection to the children of Clarendon's daughter coming eventually to the throne (No. 92). This prospect was somewhat discounted by the sickliness of Anne's children. The only surviving boy, Edgar, duke of Cambridge, was considered too delicate for the English climate and was sent to the care of his grandmother in France (No. 6). In the summer he was seriously ill, apparently through the clumsiness of his doctors, but on this occasion he managed to pull through, though his father was in great anxiety on his account. A girl, born in January 1669, did not live the year out. The second daughter, Anne, afterwards queen, was, like her brother, sent to France for her health. She stayed first with her grandmother and later with Madame. On the death of the latter she was fetched back to England laden with jewels and other presents from King Louis (No. 271).
In spite of the increasing authority of the king the country was by no means settled. Count Molina was of opinion that it suffered from the multiplicity of sects and the freedom of the parliaments. He thought that the king would find it hard to extricate himself from the toils (No. 149). The sectaries were certainly considered a danger and though the king favoured indulgence, strong measures were taken against conventicles. The rough handling of the Lord Mayor of London may have been no more than youthful high spirits, though Mocenigo thought that it might have led to serious consequences (No. 35). But when the king and Court were at Dover to meet Madame the duke of York thought it necessary to return to London in case there should be disturbances at the Whitsun holidays (No. 221). About the same time the old Cromwellian soldiers were banished from London for six months, but many were restored to favour and allowed safeconducts by the king, who only wished to expel the most unruly (No. 235).
Trade in these times was becoming increasingly the concern of statesmen. Molina was of opinion that in the world competition England was being worsted by the Dutch and the French (No. 149). This was a partial view of the case. In one direction at least English trade was flourishing. The war of Candia had provided golden opportunities in the Levant. This trade had increased so greatly that by 1670 the export of cloth alone reached a total of 50,000 pieces, of which 30,000 were sent to Smyrna and Constantinople and 20,000 to Alessandria and Aleppo (No. 168). In the autumn of that year the consignment was a particularly heavy one (No. 326). Harvey, the ambassador at the Porte, estimated the value of the goods sent at 5 millions in cloth and other merchandise (No. 370). This trade was in the hands of the Levant Company of which Mocenigo gives interesting particulars in his letter of 24 January 1670 (No. 168). The one drawback to this prosperity was the circulation in the Turkish dominions of false money called “luigini.” This abuse, for which the French and Dutch were chiefly responsible, threatened to ruin the trade and was made the subject of frequent complaint to the Turkish authorities. Some action had been taken but the government was not strong enough or interested enough to enforce its decrees (Nos. 67, 363, 370).
The Dutch also competed for the Levant trade but they did not do half as much as the English. Their ascendancy was in the East Indies where they were seeking to establish a monopoly.
In the West Indies and America English traders had to cope with the restrictive policy of the Spanish government. This trade was considered particularly valuable because of the great quantity of wool and as being a good market for English shoes and hats, which were unsurpassed (No. 29).
One of the objects of Colbert's mission to England was to arrange a commercial treaty. Although his chief purpose was to detach England from the triple alliance, he never lost sight of the other which would also serve the same end. But on the commercial side he really had very little to offer. The gist of his proposals was that English & French traders should have equal advantage in the country of each other to the exclusion of all besides. Among other things it was suggested that England should take from France all the corn and and wine that she required (No. 68). But under existing arrangements French merchants in England paid the tax on foreigners, as well as the ordinary duties, whereas in France Englishmen were free of the first tax. Even if such a tax were imposed it would hardly affect them because London was the mart to which goods flowed and the French merchants frequented it. On the other hand the English only had a very exiguous market for their goods in France and they had few merchants there (No. 113).
In spite of these drawbacks the negotiations proceeded, owing, it may be inferred, to political motives. Things went so well that in October 1669 the French considered the treaty as good as settled. By granting to English traders the liberty to dispose of all their goods in France they hoped that they had definitely separated them from the Dutch (No. 313). But at this point the English began to raise difficulties and complications, the five articles propounded by Colbert being expanded to eighty. Under these circumstances the negotiations languished. With the stimulus of Madame's visit they revived in the following year, but a month after her death they seemed more stranded than ever (No. 284).
Negotiations with Denmark followed a more prosperous course. In July 1669 the count of Guldenlow, a natural son of the king of Denmark, came over to arrange a treaty whereby Danish traders in England should receive the same advantages as were granted to the English in Denmark when the company was established there (No. 105). There was also the question of the dues at the Sound to be adjusted. Guldenlow found that progress was likely to be slow and was disappointed that commissioners were not allowed to him to facilitate the business. Things moved, if slowly. By November he had succeeded in obtaining a renewal of the privileges of Danish traders and a treaty was concluded in December. He was anxious that the earl of Essex should be despatched without delay to clinch the matter on that side (No. 113). Essex did not sail until April following. When passing the Sound his ship was fired on because he refused to strike his flag to the fortress (No. 226). In spite of this unpromising beginning the mission was successful and the treaty was signed in August (No. 271). Returning home Essex was commended for the excellent way in which he had brought about the agreement (No. 314). Soon after this the English envoy to Sweden was fired on when passing the Sound, both going and coming, because he would not strike his flag (No. 346). This incident seemed likely to cause some derangement, especially as the envoy sent to demand an explanation was lost at sea on his way out. In spite of this the Danish resident in London believed that the question would be amicably settled and the treaty duly ratified (No. 375).
At Hamburg the earl of Carlisle succeeded in inducing the town to promise to maintain the privileges granted to the English Company in 1658. But a definite settlement was held up owing to claims made by Charles for compensation for English ships burned in the Elbe during the late war (No. 53). The Hamburgers refused to fulfil their promise unless the king would consent to waive this claim (No. 82). This the king refused to do and letters of reprisal were granted against the townsmen. The dispute was still unsettled in the autumn of 1670 (No. 307).
Another opening for trade in the Mediterranean was offered by the duke of Savoy, who wished to develop his ports of Nice and Villefranche. He made a demarche by sending Charles a present of the wines of his country. He hoped that these might find a market in England in exchange for English goods, for the importation of which he was ready to grant special privileges (No. 48). The duke repeated his present somewhat later and sent a consignment of the wines into the Thames for the merchants to sample (No. 85). Morosini did not believe that the English would easily be induced to give up the wines of France and the Canaries, which were esteemed so highly and paid for extravagantly (No. 48). Nevertheless the duke's advances were received in a friendly spirit and Finet, the resident at Florence, had instructions to cultivate the best understanding with his subjects (No. 53). The matter was not allowed to rest here. When Count Maffei came over to offer the duke's condolences on the death of the queen mother, he stayed on to deal with commercial matters. He held out inducements for trading at the duke's ports and suggested the appointment of consuls at London and Villefranche (Nos. 152, 162). The London merchants took the matter up and when Falcombridge went to Italy in the following spring the Savoyard government readily supplied him with particulars to refute the falsehoods put about by the Genoese in London (No. 192). When at Turin Falcombridge discussed the matter with the duke and promised that a consul should be sent for the purpose of furthering trade there (No. 201).
Both Venice and Genoa were disturbed by this development. The latter thought it advisable to despatch a consul at once to London, to look after their trade (No. 162). On the other hand Michiel, the Venetian ambassador in Savoy, did not believe that the port of Villefranche could be revived so easily. The state of the port itself, the poverty of the surrounding country, the total absence of mercantile houses and the neighbouring competition of Marseilles would all stand in the way (No. 160).
Among the exports from England to Italy at this time salt fish, presumably for Lent, took an important place. As duties at Leghorn were light, the fish were usually sent there although, for distribution, they had to be sent across the Appenines to Bologna by mules. In his despatch of 29 March 1669 Mocenigo suggested that this trade might easily be diverted to Venice, as if the duties were reduced, distribution from that city would be much easier and less costly. In that particular year he said that 24,000 barrels had gone to Leghorn and only 4,000 to Venice. The reason for the difference was the heavy duties imposed at the latter city both on entering and on leaving (No. 42). The Senate was quite ready to reduce the duties in order to encourage this trade, but there still remained a difficulty to overcome. The whole of the trade was in the hands of the guild of the stockfishmongers, and through having this monopoly they were able to buy the fish at their own price. The question was not settled at the time and it became the subject of a memorial presented later on in the Collegio by Falcombridge (Nos. 95, 267).
The most important trade with the Venetian dominions was that in currants at the Ionian Islands. Owing to the peculiar circumstances the Venetian government was able to impose heavy duties on this trade. But in addition to this burden the Venetian governors inflicted others, through taking a hand in the business themselves. Among other things they exacted charges which were not authorised by the state. With the conclusion of the prolonged war of Candia the Signory was anxious to encourage trade as much as possible and to attract the English to come out. They therefore instructed Mocenigo to assure the merchants that strict orders would be issued to put a stop to the abuses complained of (No. 130). The promise gave great satisfaction in England, but the repetition of the orders and a memorial by Falcombridge later on, on the same subject, indicate that difficulty was experienced in getting the orders enforced.
The war of Candia had given an enormous fillip to English trade in the Levant. When peace came in September 1669 the English merchants feared a renewal of Venetian competition in the Turkish market. In days of yore Venice, with the advantage of her situation, had monopolised a large part of the Turkish trade and they feared that this trade might be renewed by way of Spalato (No. 152). This fear may have given rise to the report that Venice was trying to induce the Turk to ban English cloth. The truth of this report was indignantly denied by Mocenigo and it was ridiculed by the Ambassador Harvey (No. 326).
The English on their side thought of introducing their cloth into Bosnia by way of Ragusa and Durazzo. They were deterred by misgivings about the effect of the claim of Venice to supremacy in the Gulf, misgivings which Mocenigo did his best to foster (No. 320).
With the advent of peace the Venetians were in hope of recovering their lost trade in cloth of the highest quality. To this end they forbad the importation of any foreign cloth and sought to attract foreign workmen to come and take up their abode at Venice. Mocenigo was instructed to offer reasonable inducements to any skilled artisan who was willing to come (No. 167).
The great and growing importance of the Mediterranean trade rendered the depredations of the Algerian pirates more and more disturbing. A fleet sent out in 1668 under Allen had extorted a treaty from these corsairs at the point of the cannon; but the ink was scarcely dry on this treaty before it was broken (No. 29). The removal of 14,000l. from an East Indiaman off Cadiz caused an outcry in London and not long before they had taken a number of Spaniards off another ship which was stopped and searched. At this moment Allen arrived back in home waters, having missed instructions to proceed to Algiers. Arrangements were at once started to send him back with a reinforced fleet, to insist on the observance of the treaty (No. 53). For this squadron the king ordered the preparation of 20 frigates. The preparations took time and the cost exceeded 50,000l. For a depleted exchequer this was a serious drain, but the Council did not waver in its determination, being greatly stirred against the Algerians and determined to make war on them if they did not make reparation (No. 88).
Allen sailed in August. Arrived off Algiers he presented his demands. As the Algerians refused to comply with them he began hostile action by blockading the port and intercepting their shipping. As the season advanced he retired to Majorca to refit his ships. He intended to spend the winter in chasing the corsairs, as the winds did not allow him to besiege them in port (No. 158).
Profiting by the withdrawal of the English the corsairs came out from their lairs. Off Cape Gata they fell upon a convoy of Newfoundland fishing ships, capturing six of them. Captain Hubbard, commander of the Milford frigate, was killed in the fight. Not long afterwards Rear Admiral Kempthorne was attacked by another squadron of pirates and only succeeded with difficulty in getting his convoy into safety (No. 165). Even when Allen had returned to Algiers the pirates contrived to intercept five merchantmen returning from Zante without convoy and captured three (No. 202). The audacity of these rovers seemed to be constantly on the increase. They hovered thick about the Strait of Gibraltar and were even said to have chased English craft right into the mouth of the Channel (No. 190). As late as July an Algerian squadron attacked two English frigates escorting three merchantmen off Cape Gata. Darkness separated the combatants after a severe action in which both commanders of the English warships were killed (No. 266). Allen, with impaired health and disheartened by his ill fortune and lack of success, petitioned for leave to come home (No. 284). The government had no intention of giving way. Reinforcements were made ready and supplies sent out and Allen was instructed to adopt a vigorous offensive and to seek out and fight the pirates wherever possible (Nos. 183, 190). Charles also was strongly pressing the Dutch to cooperate in active measures against these pests. The States agreed to do so but seemed very slow in getting to work. However, in April their Admiral van Ghent sailed for the Strait with 12 ships with instructions to act in concert with Allen (No. 193). These measures at length bore fruit. In September, by combined operations with the Dutch, six Algerians were brought to action off Cape Spartel by five English frigates and the whole squadron destroyed (No. 325). The English did all the fighting but they gave van Ghent due credit for his share in the success. The news caused great rejoicing in London where interest in the fleet had grown languid owing to the slender results achieved (No. 333).
When Allen sailed for Algiers in the summer of 1669 he took with him to Tangier Lord Henry Howard, called here the earl of Arundel. The situation of that possession was precarious. Although the fortifications had been strengthened and extended it was in serious danger as it was threatened with attack by the forces of the Moors, estimated at 100,000 (No. 85). The enemy had actually succeeded in getting inside the outer circle of forts and had only been expelled with difficulty. A new governor had been appointed and was to go out with a quantity of munitions (No. 106). The country was in a turmoil and the Moors fighting among themselves, but Muley Reshed, king of Taffilet, called here simply Taffilet, seemed to be establishing an ascendancy over the whole.
The existence of a single powerful ruler offered opportunities for negotiation and Taffilet had himself asked for an ambassador to be sent. (fn. 6) The Dutch had already sent a squadron under von Zaen to make a commercial agreement with him (No. 35). It was hoped that Howard also would be able to make a treaty with this potentate. Arlington expressed great confidence in this mission and that by a solid peace with Taffilet Tangier would become the most important mart in Africa (No. 70).
When Howard arrived at Tangier he decided to act with caution and sent to ask for hostages for his own safety before proceeding up country. Taffilet was, at the time, pursuing his career of conquest, with varying fortune. But at the end of the year his position was seriously shaken by the rebellion of two nephews. The emissaries sent by Howard to Fez were detained though afterwards released. Howard sent home for instructions as to whether he should venture to go himself. While awaiting the reply he crossed the Strait and amused himself by going about in southern Spain to see the sights (No. 181).
In the interval Taffilet had put down the rebellion and made himself master of the country. But when Howard got back to Tangier he received a warning from Warren, who had been sent to Fez, that Taffilet was only scheming to get Howard into his hands in order that he might be able to demand the cession of Tangier as the price of his release (No. 259).
Such news shattered all hope of a commercial treaty and Howard decided to return home. Taffilet, now supreme, refused to have any correspondence with either the English or the Dutch, as he did not wish to deal with infidels (No. 296). Howard's mission had not only failed but the situation had sensibly worsened. Suspicion of the Moors was replaced by definite hostility against a united people. Fresh attacks on the town were obviously in preparation (No. 271). When the peril seemed imminent pressure was unexpectedly relieved by the utter defeat of Taffilet in the south. His following was destroyed and he barely escaped from the field with his life (No. 314).
In spite of the high hopes entertained about Tangier it had so far proved rather a liability than an asset. As in the case of Dunkirk, it was rumoured that the king of France had offered to buy it (No. 296), but this had no better foundation than the heavy expenditure upon the fortifications and the mole and dissappointment at the failure of Howard's mission. The value and possibilities of the position were fully realised. As an experiment Charles was having galleys built at Genoa and Leghorn to be used there for defence against the corsairs. If this proved a success it was proposed to keep a squadron of six of them at the place (No. 147).
The Ambassador Mocenigo, whose despatches form more than half of the present volume, does not rank high among the Venetian ministers. He had come to England with reluctance and his one desire was to get away again as soon as possible. He had soon come to realise that it was vain to hope for any help from England for Candia. The Signory had continued to be sanguine of getting something; but even their optimism could not survive the shock of Charles's prompt and emphatic intervention to prevent Louis from sending Douglas and his Scottish guards to the relief of the fortress (Nos. 27, 38). When this blow had had time to take effect Mocenigo wrote to ask that he might be allowed to relinquish a residence at once so futile and so distasteful (No. 74). The soughtfor relief was not granted him until nearly eighteen months later. The Senate wished to know first whether a minister was to be expected from England (No. 99). The unfortunate ambassador continued to complain from time to time of the excessive cost of living and of extraordinary expenses for mourning and the like. He says little about his sheltering of the papal emissaries Airoldi and Agretti, as it was never the policy of Venetian ministers in England to be forward in such matters.
Mocenigo's method of expressing himself is apt to be cumbrous. One is tempted to conclude that his obscurities may often be due to lack of clarity in his own mind. In the tangled business of the triple alliance he was very much at sea; and he rather fatuously plumes himself upon never having been deceived like those who believed in secret transactions with France (No. 346).
Although Venice had a minister in London at the beginning of the reign, had sent an embassy extraordinary to congratulate Charles on his restoration and later sent Mocenigo as ambassador in ordinary, Charles had never reciprocated by sending a minister to Venice. This was felt as a slight by the republic. There was no lack of candidates for the post. It had been as good as promised years before to Viscount Falcombridge. (fn. 7) Lord Henry Howard and Sir William Temple both coveted the appointment (Nos. 82, 335), while the claims of John Finch, the resident at Florence, had influential support.
There were two main difficulties in the way: the war of Candia (No. 196) and the cost, as Charles did not like to continue superfluous expenses, and there was no real business to be done at Venice (No. 113). But in the middle of 1669 the war was obviously nearing its end while the cost might be lessened by the ambassador himself bearing a large part of it. An appointment was therefore to be expected and was indeed promised, and it seemed certain that the choice would fall upon Finch (Nos. 80, 82, 106). At this stage Falcombridge intervened, representing to the king that the post had been offered to him and the injury to his reputation if he was passed over, and by the good offices of the duke of York he carried the day (No. 106).
Once appointed Falcombridge was urged to start without delay. As the king had not been able to assist Venice in the war he felt bound to do all in his power to help with the peace (No. 128). The cost of the expedition would be largely borne by the fortune of the ambassador's wife. As a daughter of Cromwell her position at Court was no easy one and she was eager to escape to such a position of importance.
In the event Falcombridge did not start until after the turn of the year. He went without his wife, as the winter season was considered unsuitable for her to travel. Although she wished to join him later this was prevented by the king, who would not give his consent (No. 264). Falcombridge went as ambassador extraordinary not only to Venice, but to Italy in general and to Savoy, Genoa and Florence in particular. At the last named place he arrived at the time of the death of the Grand Duke and his reception could only be informal. He came very near to death himself. At Leghorn he tried a Turkish bath at the establishment of an Armenian there. By imprudently exposing himself afterwards he caught a severe chill, as his constitution was far from robust (No. 222). Perhaps as a consequence of this illness he travelled slowly and did not reach Venice until nearly a month later, arriving on the 7th July.
Falcombridge took with him as secretary one John Dodington, son of Sir Francis Dodington of Dodington in Somerset. Sir Francis had been an active loyalist and after the king's defeat he had gone into exile in France and his estates were confiscated under the commonwealth. John remained in England, recovered Laxton Manor, part of the family estate, made his peace with the government and became secretary to Thurloe. (fn. 8) This seems to have been forgiven in view of his father's services, for it was the king himself who recommended Dodington to Falcombridge as his secretary. In forwarding the recommendation to the ambassador Arlington wrote, “he is very capable of serving you, being a very good linguist and besides a very ingenious gentleman of fine parts.” (fn. 9) On the way out to Turin Dodington was provoked by the sneers of one Rion at the English to make a heated reply in which he was reported to have called the French government tyrannical. This came to the ears of the French king and was made the subject of a formal complaint by Colbert in London (Nos. 207, 210). The complaint was passed on to Falcombridge, who at once dismissed Dodington, though he seems to have retained his services informally. In the meantime a nephew of the lord keeper Bridgeman was appointed in England to take his place (No. 214).
Dodington's brother-in-law, Sir Richard Temple, had great influence in parliament. He and his cousin, Sir William Temple, saw Madame at Dover and prevailed upon her to intercede for the delinquent. (fn. 10) In consequence of this the French themselves asked Charles to pardon him. The king was in no hurry to do this, but Falcombridge reinstated him and sent him to the Collegio in his name (No. 274). There was no one to take his place, as Bridgeman had fallen ill soon after his appointment.
As ambassador extraordinary Falcombridge made no long stay at Venice. But though his wife tried to hasten his return he was in no hurry to go, especially as no successor had been appointed (No. 264). The name of Henry Saville had been suggested. He had gone at this time on a mission of condolence to the new Grand Duke at Florence (No. 271). The influence of Dodington's friends, with the help of the duke of York nipped this in the bud, and Saville returned home (No. 296).
In the meantime Dodington had given fresh offence, this time to the Signory at Venice. In presenting memorials for the ambassador, preferring various requests, he had shown an excess of zeal. He said that the answers given were not satisfactory, intimated over plainly that the ambassador was being put off by a transparent device and characterised the subject of one memorial as a land pirate. He declared that his king's naval forces in the Mediterranean were a protection to all Italy, including Venice, and he expected some satisfaction in return for this service (Nos. 318, 319). Such plain speaking scandalised the Senate. They did not make formal complaint to the king, but Mocenigo spoke about it to Arlington, assuming that Dodington had acted without the knowledge of his chief. Arlington expressed surprise and said that evidently the Turin incident had not cured Dodington. He declared that the king would not tolerate any more such lapses (No. 343). Nevertheless it had already been practically settled that, on Falcombridge's departure, Dodington should remain on as resident. The king however entertained some doubts of the loyalty of Thurloe's ex-secretary, and the credentials, though signed, were held back (No. 329). Dodington was very eager to obtain the position and the Temples were active on his behalf. Just before Mocenigo left London both Sir Richard and Sir William Temple called upon him. They expressed regret about the complaints made. They declared that Dodington had acted under instructions from Falcombridge. They promised that for the future he would give the Signory no cause to speak otherwise than well of him. They asked Mocenigo to be his protector with the Signory (No. 355). By this time Dodington had already presented his credentials in the Collegio, with the usual exchange of compliments and expressions of goodwill (No. 352). For the rest of the year Dodington discharged his duties competently, without further incident.
A number of distinguished visitors came to England in these two years. In addition to Madame and the prince of Orange there came Prince George of Denmark, afterwards consort of Queen Anne, the prince of Tuscany, who succeeded to the dukedom in the following year, Prince Pietro of Parma and the duke of Saxe Lauenburg. An envoy came from the Elector Palatine to offer an appanage to Prince Rupert on condition of his restoring jewels taken from their mother. The brothers were not on good terms and the suggestion met with no response (No. 91). One of Rupert's many interests was the exploration of the North West passage. Mention is made of a ship sent back again upon this quest. Even if it did not prove successful there was good hope of starting a good trade in skins, including those of beavers (No. 158). A notable figure passed away in the person of George Monk. The king gave him a funeral of exceptional splendour. His place in the Council was given to the young duke of Monmouth (Nos. 166, 207).
In the preceding volume there was a rather puzzling reference to the arrival in London of “the famous Cigala.” Since the volume was published I have come across the following reference to this individual in a Brussels news letter. It runs:
Hamburg, 17 September, 1669.
Le pretendu Prince Cigala, mais plutost un franc imposteur, est arrivé depuis peu en cette ville; mais comme on a ete adverti de diverses friponneries qu'il a commis, tant en Brabant qu'en Hollande, il y a peu d'apparence qu'on se laisse ici duper de ce personnage. (fn. 11)
In conclusion I wish once again to express my appreciation of the courtesy of the officials at the Frari.
A. B. HINDS.