Venice
June 1669

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1937

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62-71

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'Venice: June 1669', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 36: 1669-1670 (1937), pp. 62-71. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90262 Date accessed: 19 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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June 1669

June 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
75. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador at this Court has again opened negotiations in order to persuade the government to consent to some treaty for the sale of the fortress of Dunkirk. In reply he received a precise and outspoken refusal (precise e dichiarate le negative). Accordingly this minister is left without any further occasion for insinuation and negotiations in a matter of such consequence.
St. Germain, the 5th June, 1669.
[Italian.]
June 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
76. Catterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English are carrying out fortifications at Tanger on the land side for fear of some sudden attack by the barbarians there.
Madrid, the 5th June, 1669.
[Italian.]
June 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
77. Pietro Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
It was not the chink of 200,000 crowns, cash down, that captivated the ears of the Swedish ministers for the renewal of the alliance. Bit by bit the reason for this action is coming out, so unlikely did it seem and contrary to all expectation. That crown gave way about receiving one half of the credit from the Spaniards and the simple promise of a pension, when quite recently it was claiming full payment of the whole at once and well secured appointments for the future. The Dutch mediators overcame all difficulties. By pretending that their object was to induce Sweden to agree more readily to the ratification of this most important treaty, they deluded the Spaniards into omitting for the moment the most offensive part of the declaration of succour by the allies. Returning with this to the Swedes the Dutch were easily able to persuade them to approve of projects so reduced, committing them to so little and to receive the money which they might have lost by delay. Thus all the commotion about this alliance comes to this much: Spain for her part admits her indebtedness for the troops which were kept on foot in Brem by the Swedes, paying one half at present and promising the rest. Sweden rests content with what is done by England and Holland, the pledges claimed. Both, without other divagations declare in public form their intention to maintain the peace of Aix la Chapelle and to guarantee the crown that is attacked.
From a confidential source I know that the agreement
(capitolo) about the last treaty is upon such generalities. Thus, the Spaniards being pledged to the immediate payment of 200,000 crowns will be obliged to throw the rest after them and more besides to obtain the fruit thereof, which is the declaration of succour. The Swedes very willingly will accept half of the cash and will afterwards demand the rest with greater force. Holland, from the necessity of the Spaniards will be able, by having the money ready, to renew her attempts to get fortresses as pledges, and she will also have turned Sweden away from some imminent declaration in favour of the French.
England also has played her cards well. Having signed the articles five days ago she stands well with the Spaniards. She soothes the French by saying that it contains nothing against the Most Christian. Later on they allow the ministers to believe that there is not the smallest favour to Spain because the principal part is missing which determines the amount of assistance to be rendered by the allies as a guarantee in the event of an attack by France. This consideration is very well founded because agreements about the manner and quantity of the forces to be supplied by the allies proceed but slowly. Thus the Spaniards have quietly allowed themselves to be led to give money upon promises when one cannot yet see how they are to be fulfilled.

While these negotiations for the triple alliance have been proceeding fresh things have been happening to stir up ill feeling. The Dutch, in making peace with the king of Macassar in the East Indies (fn. 1) have introduced into it an undertaking not to admit any trade of the European nations, particularly the English, a declaration which may have given substance to the rumour of fresh projects for trade between this country and France. I will not trouble to write about this until there is more certainty as I fancy it is mere imagination and gossip, since it is so remote from and contrary to the good understanding that they pretend to have with the triple alliance.
At this point I will inform your Serenity of an extravagance of Prince Roberto in the Council of State. When discussing America he said that they ought not to wait any longer or to delay uniting themselves with France and to divide between them the part of America held by the Spaniards.
With words alone do they propose to give satisfaction to the Spanish ambassador for the reprisals carried out by the governor of Jamaica at Porto Vello, and this is still under discussion. Molina has been obliged to rest satisfied with this. In the early days of last week he took leave of the king and queen, the duke and duchess of Hiorch, Prince Roberto, the ministers and leading men at Court. Very obligingly he sent a gentleman to ask me to appoint a third place and the time to bid farewell. The house of the queen's grand almoner was selected, where we exchanged elaborate compliments. I went afterwards to pay my respects to the countess, his wife in the queen's apartments at Witthel palace. I feel sure that I have upheld the dignity of my office in the encounters of past ceremonial and I hope that both these individuals will have the best disposition at the Court for the interests of your Serenity. In the mean time, as they know here that they have sent M. de Godolfin to Madrid with the character of resident only, they do not expect any one except of like standing. In the mean time there is no one here at this Court to attend to the interests of that crown.
Acknowledges the ducali of the 7th ult.
London, the 7th June, 1669.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
78. To the Ambassador in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 18th and of the queen's reply to the pope's brief, which will be presented by the Ambassador Grimani at Rome. He is to express the republic's esteem in suitable offices, but in view of the great obstacles, which the Senate can well imagine, it is not considered desirable to make any further efforts or to repeat their requests.
With regard to the provision of salt meat for Candia he is to encourage the merchant to send there again and the greatest possible quantity because this year in particular the aggregation of troops there being greater than usual, a larger quantity of provisions will be required than usual.
Ayes, 128. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
June 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
79. To the Ambassador Grimani at Rome.
Our Ambassador Mocenigo has forwarded the enclosed letter from London, from the queen there, for his Holiness. (fn. 2) When a suitable opportunity occurs you will not fail to present it with such offices as you may consider appropriate.
Ayes, 118. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
June 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
80. Pietro Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last week I submitted to your Serenity in clear terms what was happening with the triple alliance and I am constantly finding fresh confirmation of the ulterior aims of Holland, of the standoffishness of Sweden, of the evasions of England and of the meekness with which the Spaniards are gradually putting themselves in an increasingly disadvantageous position. They are waiting for the ratifications from Sweden and in the mean time both of the allies are boasting of the position and of the facility with which they got together some sort of force in an instant. The Spaniards flatter themselves over this—but when the time of need arrives moments, hours, days and months will be lost in settling the way to hasten to the part attacked. The chief thing to be arranged then will be to pay at least as much as Sweden should contribute.
Thus the ministers remain idle at the Hague. There is nothing more about the breaking of the peace on the part of the Most Christian except the promise given in writing to the pope. All the other transactions bear the most sinister appearance.
The commissioners at Lille are settling nothing and the king of France is demanding insistently the suppression of the new gabelles. The bishop of Liege is also making the same demand, undoubtedly being encouraged to do so from a higher quarter. He threatens to proceed to reprisals against the property of subjects of the Catholic if they ruin the trade of his own with fresh burdens. The work of the fortifications in the towns of the French Netherlands is being accelerated to their utmost capacity. Every day fresh troops are enrolled, munitions are collected and affrays occur between the soldiers of the garrisons.
With affairs in this state the constable governor of his own accord would renounce the honour, for his own tranquillity. He has written about it to Spain and a favourable reply is awaited with equal impatience by him and by the people of Flanders. They impute to this minister the blame for the present calamities. With scant respect the burghers of Brussels, who were taking part in a solemn procession, with arms in their hands, fired their pistols at the windows of the Hotel de Ville. From that building some gentlemen of the governor, who was himself taking part in the function, let fall some plates with comestibles on their heads and further complications were stayed for the moment.
They now interpret as abandonment the order of the queen for the transport from Flanders to Spain of 700 infantry of the Walloon regiments, saying that down there they are devoting all their attention to the heart without a thought for the rest.
The Swedes do not trouble themselves in the least over such disturbances. In the endeavour to cover the object of their manœuvres, which are directed to obtaining money from Spain at the moment and to put themselves in a position to obtain the rest while remaining at liberty to listen to France, they say that they are entering the alliance solely because of the king's minority and their desire for quiet.
Here also they are looking solely for their own advantage. Since the departure of the Spanish ambassador
the negotiations for a commercial union with France are progressing with great strides. One learns from the lips of ministers that the impulse for this comes from the article reported in the peace between the Dutch and the king of Macassar in the East, to exclude this nation from trade there. It is certain that the Ambassador Colbert is beginning to hold some good cards. He told me that he hoped for a successful issue, treating on the point that both nations should interchangeably enjoy privileges in each other's country, and in this way they would tacitly exclude foreigners by more vigorous charges.
In the universal opinion the pregnancy of the queen is progressing although there are two parties which discredit it. The first is that of the duke of Hiorch, who would like to see the crown on the heads of his own children; the other consists of those unquiet spirits who imagine they will improve their fortunes in the disturbances that would follow on a break in the succession.
On Saturday the 29th June, (fn. 3) old style, the king entered on his fortieth year in all felicity and perfect health. The same day he received the compliments of the foreign ministers and of all the Court. As it was also the anniversary of his restoration everyone celebrated it in the evening with bonfires. The prince of Tuscany also celebrated Monday evening entertaining in a sumptuous manner his Majesty the king, the duke of Hiorch and a number of gentlemen of the Court. On Tuesday morning, with the use of Lord Arlington's coach, he left London and will proceed straight to Holland. It seems impossible that he will go to France, as intended, because of his encounter with the Ambassador Colbert here. That minister has not only received the king's approval for what was done by his wife, but he showed me his instructions about taking the prince's hand even in a third place.
I am pleased to report to your Serenity that the intimations I gave about corresponding to the embassy were not met with merely formal replies but with an earnest wish to take the matter up. The question being raised in the Privy Council the king and the ministers were unanimously of the opinion that they should correspond punctually to the merits of the most serene republic. When they came to discuss ways and means the whole was left in the balance for lack of money. I believe this to be due to the efforts of the friends and supporters of Sir John Finch, the resident at Florence, who is being put forward in person. At a trifling increase of expenditure he would be ready to support the character of ambassador at Venice without the burden of excessive donations, such as every one demands. His appointment to Venice meets with approval. As the king is also agreeable from the love he bears for his brother, his first jurisconsult, (fn. 4) the others have willingly seconded the ascendency of this house, which entertains great hopes of achieving one day the office of lord chancellor. At present he enjoys high rank and great credit in the Lower House of parliament.
London, the 14th June, 1669.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
81. Antonio Grimani, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The pope was pleased with the letter of the queen of England; but I do not hear of any hope of results from that quarter.
Rome, the 15th June, 1669.
[Italian.]
June 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
82. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
There is no wind which is wafting from Cadiz to Holland the ship on which the Spaniards gave it to be understood that they had been able to get together and to lade six tons of gold. Nevertheless the Swedes have found one to cause the replies of the king their master to fly across. They announce with design that the ratification of the last agreements has already arrived and that such a failure on the part of the Spaniards would compel them to be cautious about committing themselves further without the certitude of the effective payment of the rest of the money due and of the assignment of the pensions.
The affair of the alliance is thus stranded in such contingencies. The constable governor, studying to avoid the dangers of these, is taking his measures and is considering a way to reduce the last gabelles to an endurable tax, thinking that he will thus pacify the Most Christian, the Liegois and his own subjects. God grant that this expedient, really under compulsion, be not too late and that it may serve to avert greater evils, even if it does not avail to extract the correspondence that is hoped in the abolition of the sequestration of property within the limits of the new conquests of the king of France.
In the mean time England is pursuing her negotiations with France for trade. They care nothing about incurring the censure and observation of the jealous allies. They claim that a commercial agreement does not include the one for political interests and that the latter will always proceed perfectly in step with those of the allies. The Dutch, however, who provided the impulse for this business and who hear besides that Portugal is incensed against them over the article in the peace with Macassar in the Indies, already reported, are watching the progress of the negotiations very closely, clearly foreseeing that with these two nations united they would be shut out from a great deal of trade, a falling off in which would involve the decline of their greatness. They learn with great satisfaction of the reluctance here to admit into this country the wheat of which France is now anxious to rid herself with the advantage of exemption from the duties, expressly permitted by the king until October next.
The Dutch do not fail to make the most of the encounter at Malaga between the English frigate Milford and some French ships, who fired on it because it refused to lower its flag. (fn. 5) But here they allow every complication to drop. In Paris they will not allow a word to be said in favour of the prisoner Marsilli; the ministers here denying that they had any dealings with him about the affairs with which he is charged in France, (fn. 6) of which your Excellencies will have full information from the spot.
To avoid further encounters Lord Arondel will be accompanied by Vice Admiral Alen. He is going with two royal ships (fn. 7) and flying colours and will proceed very soon to Tanger and thence as ambassador to Morocco to treat with King Taffilet. Alen will have twenty frigates and will endeavour by art and by force to extort justice and right from those infidel Algerians for the robberies committed since the peace.
The Hamburgers also are being constrained by the king here to restore the ancient privileges of the company of the English nation. Their sole reason for not refusing to do this is the fear of being compelled to render strict account for the English ships burned by the Dutch in front of their town in the last war. They wished first to obtain a pledge from his Majesty not to speak about it any more; but he is determined not to do this. Since the settlement of the differences with Denmark the king there is sending his own natural son, the sieur di Guldelem as ambassador to this crown. His baggage is already beginning to make its appearance in London. The embassy while making a stately show will be brief, as it is extraordinary.
By such well measured steps the affairs of this government proceed. The affairs of these realms would also be happily established if the queen, by an unfortunate accident had not miscarried after she had so happily conceived. (fn. 8) As this is the fourth time that she has been exposed to the perils of this situation to the detriment of her delicate constitution there is more reason for desiring than in hoping for offspring from her Majesty. Her present sterility is received with the sentiments that I recorded a week ago.
They have not yet told me anything definite at Court about the appointment of an ambassador. Your Excellencies know that matters have gone far with Sir John Finch. Believing that I am doing well when I avoid doing harm, I most carefully avoid taking any step that might stir up the ministers here to announce the nomination to me before I know whether your Excellencies approve of the appointment. It seems a wise policy not to urge the actual appointment of Finch as yet, as if it is approved by your Excellencies I shall always be in time to promote it and if it is not there will be less harm in diverting it than in having to refuse it. (fn. 9) But in either case I foresee the certainty of strong opposition to a fresh choice, as this individual alone enjoys the prerogative of relieving the king of the expense of an express expedition, which was and will always be the sole and principal obstacle to correspondence with your Serenity. I am therefore anxious that my reserve shall save me from committing myself. If the appointment is brought to me I shall receive it with indifference, but I shall not take any steps to prevent it without instructions from your Excellencies, so as not to offend this house and to avoid involving myself in difficulties about the appointment of some one else.
I must not leave your Excellencies in the dark about the passionate devotion which the earl of Arundel entertains for the most serene republic. He laments that after having accepted the embassy to Tafilet in Africa with the principal object of opening the way to the embassy to your Serenity, all the expense and all the peril do not suffice to recommend him for an honour he so greatly desires. The Catholic faith is always objected against him. For practising this neither he nor others are admitted to public charges, particularly those with Roman Catholic princes, by parliament, which is meeting soon and would take proceedings against ministers who had promoted such a thing.
London, the 21st June, 1669.
[Italian.]
June 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
83. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The apprehension of urgent necessity has up to the present influenced the policy of the Spaniards to follow every step taken by Sweden so that she might not detach herself from the alliance. But now they are beginning to see where they are being led and are trying to draw back, imagining that the allurement of Spanish gold may induce Sweden to follow them when they retreat. They still talk of embarking the money at Cadiz, but it is announced that before paying it out they want to know what forces their allies will contribute. The principal point upon which the Dutch will be taking control and for which the new project was embraced here in the interest of Sweden will require a great deal of time for discussion, and so the Spaniards will have a good excuse for holding back the payment of the money in the mean time.
So much was confirmed to me by the French ambassador. In his desire to penetrate still further, he not only believes that the Spaniards are aiming at keeping the money in their hands as long as possible and to procure the declaration which was quietly allowed to be postponed, but maintains that the monarchy is waiting for the election of the king of Poland which it hopes will fall on Lorraine. From his propensities they hope for great advantages over Sweden. But things might turn out otherwise, for if Neuburg were elected, who is so attached to France, it might well serve to divert Sweden from any sort of pledge to the alliance in favour of Spain.
From this Colbert went on to speak to me about the divisions of Spain. Demonstrating the zeal of his master for the quiet of that country he said that he was disposed to assist the authority of the queen there against the demands of Don John. He concluded that such dissensions would not permit of the money going to Flanders and that the treaties of alliance would become more and more confused and without the slightest effect.
Colbert spoke to me with some feeling about events in Portugal. He lamented that there was so much malignity in men that they wished by writings and in every way to make out that the king there is of sound mind and that Don Pedro is violent. The latter, to give his brother freedom to hunt, had thought fit to have him removed to the Terzere islands where his paroxisms would not be likely to cause the disturbances which might arise were he free in Portugal. Speaking more confidentially he said that Don Pedro only waxed wroth at this ill will in order to have a good understanding with the Most Christian. He wound up by saying that the ministers here are all bought (guadagnati) by Spain and that France might well negotiate but was not certain to conclude.
To remove all reason for differences with this crown Colbert denies the encounter of the French ships with the frigate Milford, He says that so far from their having fired, when they were without a flag, by express order of the Most Christian, they were to respect that of England.
The earl of St. Albans has taken refuge in silence. With great sauvity he is negotiating for the safe continuance of the assignments of 60,000l. sterling a year to the queen mother in France. On the other hand the duke of Hiorch is plunged in profound melancholy. These last few days he has seen the sufferings of his only son, the duke of Cambridge, aggravated by too violent a cautery applied by the physicians to divert a certain fluxion from the head. This child is the sole sprig who is at present ready to succeed to the crown of these kingdoms. As the queen is barren and the duchess of Hiorch the mother of three other children, it is to be hoped that some signs of improvement will afford the consolation of a complete recovery.
Signor Rockwod, envoy of the prince Palatine, has arrived here from Holland. As it is not yet known what may have been the issue of his negotiations for an accommodation with the duke of Lorraine, his proposals are awaited with interest.
The French Ambassador Pompona writes from the Hague that the prince of Tuscany having arrived there, he had not offered him any civilities or sent a gentleman, in view of what had happened here with the Ambassador Colbert; but his Highness having received a despatch from the Grand Duke, he had been to visit him in his own house. He made copious explanations about the visit to the ambassadress of Spain, which should have followed that to Madame Colbert. Pompona makes the most of the prince's remarks, saying that he offered excuses for the mistake and asked Pompona to intercede for him with the Most Christian. The Ambassador Colbert publishes this all over the Court, but it is not known whether the instructions to offer excuses for the precedence given to Spain were given by the Grand Duke before or after he had received the news of what happened at Colbert's house and of the resentment which his Excellency showed about it.
London, the 28th June, 1669.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 Made between the Dutch East India Co. and the Sultan of Macassar on 9th March, 1668. The text is printed in Dumont: Corps Diplomatique, Vol. vi, part i, p. 76.
2 At page 54, above.
3 A mistake for May.
4 Sir Heneage Finch, the solicitor-general, afterwards lord chancellor and earl of Nottingham. He was the elder and John the younger son of Sir Heneage Finch, speaker of the House of Commons in 1626.
5 The Milford, Capt. John Hubbard, left Malaga Road on 11/21 April and two days later encountered a new French man-of-war of 75 or 80 guns. It ran alongside for news, but was only answered by abuse and a demand to strike the topsail. When this was refused the Frenchman opened fire and gave chase for 1½ hours. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1668–9, p. 292. Colbert in writing of this, on the 6th and 24th June, calls the English ship the Pearl of 24 guns. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
6 The Sieur Roux de Marsilly. He had been in England, where he asked the king's protection for the Huguenots. From there he went to Switzerland with some commissions from Charles. On the 14th May he was kidnapped on the frontier of Bresse by some French guards, by order of Turenne, and carried to Paris where he was cast into the Bastille. All there said that he was in the employ of the king of Great Britain. Prince of Arenberg to M. Quinones on 9th May; Du Moulin to Arlington on 19/29 May. S.P. France, Vol. cxxvi. He was put to death in the following month on the charge of conspiring against the French king's life.
7 The Hampshire was appointed to take Lord Howard and with the ketch chosen to go with it was at Spithead on 22 June o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1668–9, p. 377.
8 According to Colbert “La reyne se blessa hier au matin, ou plutost, sy I'on en croit bien des gens et mesme le Roy, elle s'aperceut qu'elle n'estoit pas grosse.” Colbert to Lionne, the 17th June. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
9 The Venetian objections to Finch as ambassador to the republic are given in a letter of Doddington to Williamson of the 2nd August, 1670. He writes: “he was their own stipendiary at Padua; they knew him anatomy lecturer at Pisa and now know him resident at Florence … if the king will send an ambassador hither he ought to be a person of some figure, to make the respect complete.” S.P. Venice, Vol. xlvii, f. 131.


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