Venice
August 1671

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1939

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92-102

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'Venice: August 1671', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 37: 1671-1672 (1939), pp. 92-102. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90313 Date accessed: 17 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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August 1671

Aug. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
87. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Approval of what he said in reply to the intimation about the charge levied on currants laded at Zante. The Senate feels confident that the wishes of the state have been duly carried out by the public representatives. In any case he will keep on the watch for any representations that may be made at the Court on this subject by the merchants so that nothing may be left undone to secure the most punctual obedience to the orders that have been issued.
Ayes, 123. Noes, 3. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
Aug. 7.
Senato.
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
88. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Scarcely had the king left Plymouth harbour in fair weather than a gale sprang up which after a while became so fierce that he put in to Portsmouth, coming on to London by land. The duke of York, persisting in his first determination, put to sea again with the yachts and is still expected here. The king arrived on Sunday and was followed shortly after by the queen, who came from Hampton Court. They were enthusiastically received and nothing positive has yet been said about their return to the country, though the season may invite them thither for a few days.
All the foreign ministers have congratulated their Majesties, the Spaniard making extraordinary haste, and being accompanied by all his suite, in mourning for the duke of Anjou. He now says that he will not depart until he receives fresh instructions from Madrid.
Although he has received repeated letters from his Court he makes no further complaints about what took place at Panama, to the surprise of the ministers, as they are informed by Godolphin, the agent at Madrid, that the affair is being discussed with some heat in the Council there. But perhaps Molina, having merely received orders to remonstrate in general terms against the rupture of the peace and to obtain assurance that England means to maintain it, is obliged to await fresh instructions for the prevention, once for all and in the best possible manner, of yet worse outrages.
Molina said nothing to me about this but when I alluded to the arbitration he said he had been told in confidence that the English government would not hasten it much more than Sweden. An opinion has been formed that the queen, his mistress, unwilling to prejudice the king, her son, in any way and relying on the power of Spain, with hopes from the allies, will never think of ceding anything, being always suspicious of fresh claims on the part of France. As there must eventually be recourse to arms she thought it better not to yield anything more. The ministers would not say so much to his face, Molina being determined to reply that they must remember how readily the queen renounced the counter claims for Franche Comté and that Spain had not yet been able to obtain a declaration from England for the establishment of a real peace, still less promise herself effective aid from the entire alliance. Although the arbitration seems to be moving slowly, I do not confirm this, being of opinion that besides the scant hope of success there are other difficulties which all together delay the negotiation. Nevertheless England will not abandon it if the parties choose to concur.
Montagu, who has not yet departed, will be charged among other things to ascertain from the Most Christian his real intention about the boundaries, and also whether he will extend the term for the arbitration.
Your Excellencies will have heard of the disputes between the city of Cologne and the Elector. The English ministry awaits the issue, seeing Holland pledged in favour of the burghers, a policy which may prove of consequence to the United Provinces, for the more they are occupied or harassed the greater will be their dependence on England.
Acknowledges the ducali of 4th July. Has given notice to the correspondents of Consul Hayles and will await them for the examinations.
London, the 7th August, 1671.
[Italian.]
Aug. 11.
Collegio
Secreta.
Esposizioni
Prinicipi.
Venetian
Archives.
89. The resident of England came into the Collegio and presented the memorial below, which was read. He said, it does not matter in whose name money has been paid, if, as it appears, it has not been received. The doge replied that inquiry must be made and they would let him know their decision. The resident said: I am only sorry that I may have seemed to the Senate to have acted for gain, and to have represented something that was not. The doge assured him that they had never doubted his integrity. He then asked that, as he was in a very confined and dilapidated house, (fn. 1) in which it would be impossible for him to live when his family came, he might have leave to obtain another in some other part. The doge said they would consider the matter with the aim of obliging him. He then said that the privilege enjoyed by foreign ministers about bread had been taken from him five or six times by the officials, upon suspicion that there were goods there, which he also thought was likely. He felt sure that no distinction would be made between the kings of England and France over this exemption. The doge said he might be sure that the treatment given to others would be given to him also, and proper steps would be taken. The resident said, There is another point which is not done in England. I am told it is a sign of contempt here for the sbirri to pass before the house of foreign ministers. They have several times passed before my house and did so this morning, but if your Serenity assures me that these assertions are vain, I shall be perfectly satisfied. The doge replied that he would always be respected as the minister of so great and respected a king. The things mentioned were not noticed there. After some formal words and the usual reverences, the resident left.
The Memorial.
The last time I was here I asked for the payment of a debt due to one Tidiman. After three or four days I received a reply from the Senate that the debt had been fully paid. Feeling sure that the merchants would not present an unfounded claim to the king, I took great pains to clear up the matter and found that Tidiman had given a proxy to one Findel, for whom a certain Pagani acted, to receive 2000 crowns of the 4322. I assure your Serenity that he has not yet received the money. We are seeking more information and I hope soon to inform your Serenity. He had charged one Stabile to receive the rest of the money from the chamber of Zante, but the payment has not yet been made. I therefore ask your Serenity to order the payment of these 2322 crowns, until complete information is obtained about the sum first mentioned.
[Italian.]
Filza.90. Extracts attached from the Journal of the Chamber of Zante for the years 1658 and 1659.
We the Revisers and Regulators alla Scrittura, being instructed to report on the request made by the English resident for the payment of an alleged debt owing to William Tidiman, caused inquiry to be made, and from the enclosed extracts from the books of Zante it will be seen that the debt of Tidiman has been paid.
Alvise Gritti
Giovanni Quirini Regulatori alla Scrittura.
[Italian.]
Aug. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
91. Carlo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The last ordinary from London has brought commissions for Godolphin, the British envoy, to go at once to a special audience the queen and to express to her the deep regret with which his Majesty has learned of the accident that has happened in the Indies in the surprise of Panama. This has happened contrary to his royal intentions since it is his resolute and steadfast desire to cherish the most perfect intelligence with the Catholic crown. This intimation is due to the aspect of affairs at the present time and it is prompted by old standing arrangements, and his Majesty is above measure in tent upon cultivating and confirming it upon every occasion. He will cause the leader and author of this outrage to feel the effect of his most just indignation, by inflicting an exemplary punishment befitting the gravity of the crime.
This office was performed by the vivacious spirit of the minister with all the propriety belonging to his position and he made a similar declaration to the leading ministers.
As may be supposed such statements have proved most consolatory. At the same time it is recognised that words alone cannot cure the infirmity. Accordingly discussions and disputes are taking place in the Council with great heat and vehemence whether, in view of the reports from several quarters of the voluntary abandonment by the English of the position occupied, they ought to proceed with the expedition of Montesarchio. Opinion is divided on the subject, but the expedition is generally desired.
Madrid, the 12th August, 1671.
[Italian.]
Aug. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
92. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The duke of York had a stormy voyage, but amused himself the whole time and passed a few hours fishing, arriving at length with his yachts in the Thames and then coming on by land, in excellent health, to London, where he received congratulatory compliments.
The son of M. Colbert, the marquis of Segnelai, (fn. 2) has also arrived here from Holland, on board one of these yachts, sent for the purpose by the duke of York. He has been received most graciously by the whole royal family. The king and duke, Prince Rupert and others treated him to a hunt in Windsor whither he went on Tuesday afternoon, and killed several stags on Wednesday.
They talk of nothing at Court save fresh diversions in the country. The king proposes to visit Norfolk and other northern counties and then be at Newmarket in October for the horse races. But all is at present undecided, depending on a variety of official business.
Attention is now chiefly drawn to the affairs of Holland. The last news is that the Ambassador Grotius has petitioned the United Provinces for leave to return home, and they think of appointing in his stead Ronph, who was sometime secretary to the embassy in Paris. (fn. 3) This rupture of negotiations which were merely started to render England jealous by a reconciliation with France which is now abandoned, shows that the Provinces having met with difficulties at Paris and braved England, will not again risk the loss of their friends. Being better advised they will adhere to their confidential relations with this country, which is all that is desired for the maintenance of the present quiet, and to avoid hazarding the peace by fresh negotiations either prejudicial or perilous for his Britannic Majesty.
The Provinces, having assembled, are discussing the prohibition of all French wines. Some consider this a threat for the purpose of softening the Most Christian, while others believe that it will be carried into effect, though there does not seem to be any immediate need for Holland to issue such a declaration, without any profit.
Coventry has not yet left for Sweden, nor has Montagu returned to France. Colbert told me yesterday that he did not know the reason for certain, but he thought the delay was due to his private affairs.
The prolonged stay of the Ambassador Molina here is also devoid of any further mystery, news having been received of the adjustment of the disputes between Locovitz and Gremonville at Vienna. (fn. 4) From Spain the speedy despatch of troops and ships for America is confirmed, a precautionary measure which seems superfluous, as the corsairs have already abandoned Panama, and Godolphin has been asked to assure the queen of Spain of the intention of England to maintain a real peace. Molina however declares that the English ministers have no cause to complain and they should not feel any misgivings, as the expedition is merely to suppress piracy and to sweep the sea. There were no ulterior motives; the queen of Spain being determined to remove the cause for fresh ruptures.
In accordance with instructions I informed Arlington about the custom of the republic in the matter of the bread duty, and that the privilege of foreign ministers had been modified because of abuses. I told him that Dodington alone continued to smuggle and explained the means whereby he got his bread. I said he not only harboured outlaws in his house, but dressed them in his livery, giving them protection, making a parade in the teeth of the law, and I insisted on the need for applying a remedy.
Arlington listened patiently and then said that he had always found great abuses in the privileges granted to foreign ministers, and he maintained that princes were at liberty to modify them, and no one had any right to complain, provided the reform was made without any exception. Some years ago the king did the like about the wine duty, the ambassadors acquiescing. He certainly did not approve of Dodington's persistence in smuggling or of the other bad habits and would compel him to give a good account of his conduct. He asked me to give a list of the charges against him. As I was not authorised to commit myself to any complaint in writing and did not wish to trust to Arlington's memory, I said I would confer with the Secretary Williamson, that he might note the heads. (fn. 5)
Arlington then went on to say that Dodington informed him of many harsh and irregular proceedings to the detriment of England and her merchants. I replied that as far as possible your Serenity had granted all demands. With regard to the ship Vivian, on which so much stress was laid, the debt had been paid as far back as 1654. Arlington said he did not remember having granted letters in the king's name about any ship so called without which urgent representations would never be made. He assured me that he would not allow the resident to abuse the patience of your Excellencies, nor for the moment would he pledge himself further.
I have not yet been able to see Secretary Williamson, but before next post day I will acquaint him with everything, and I am sure that a sharp letter will be written to Venice, so I await instructions to enable me to answer the resident's excuses. I hope the Senate will approve of my not having committed myself further, as I am sure that Arlington would choose to wait for Dodington's apologies. As I foresee that he will engraft complaints about trade and other matters on these, I shall not take any further steps without precise instructions from your Excellencies.
London, the 14th August, 1671.
[Italian.]
Aug. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
93. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the weather is unsettled and grown worse the king has been out stag hunting twice this week. As the exchequer is closed the cabinet ministers are at liberty to go to their country seats, not without inconvenience to many, owing to the delay of business, and greatly to the regret of creditors, who will impatiently await the next session of parliament.
Government affairs are not neglected on this account, as Arlington superintends them to the great relief of his Majesty who shifts the chief burden of them on to this tried and prudent individual.
No active negotiations are now in progress, but contingencies require close attention, to prevent changes which might disturb the quiet and prestige now enjoyed by England. The Dutch ambassador unbosomed himself to me freely on this subject. After seeking to justify the rooted jealousy of the United Provinces and their urgent motives for arming by land and sea, he said that here they had not stirred, steadily ignoring the need for doing so, and they relied too much on the fair words of the Most Christian, whose vicinity was too burdensome, the king being armed and ambitious of conquests and glory. The States ought not to bear the brunt alone. They had already been in arms for three years and it was sought gradually to subject them to this inconvenience next year, there being no sign that any negotiation could give real quiet. But they would, in the first place, urge England to declare herself, and he trusted this government would not any longer continue to disoblige its friends by this indifference, as it was an utter mistake to suppose that they could remain on the rack.
From these remarks and conjectures I gather that Holland is reduced again to parley with England, and the Secretary Romph has passed through Brussels on his way to Paris. In spite of this I do not know what success Borel can promise himself from his importunity, as here they always deny the necessity for arming, having the Most Christian's promise of peace. Still less would they approve of hostilities, as the decision about the boundaries removes the most immediate cause for a rupture.
The Swedish resident continues to give assurances of the departure of the Ambassador Spaar from Stockholm. He has indeed hired a house for him here, so with negotiations started there will be better grounds for anticipating the success of the arbitration, though as yet it is believed that Spain will only accept it if advantageous for herself or if she is compelled to purchase a prolongation of the peace by some sacrifice. Meanwhile the governor of Flanders is repairing and adding to the fortifications of the fortresses and military positions, and he also has 24,000 good troops and is amassing funds to raise 6000 more, the more easily by convincing the people there of the necessity for defence, though others believe him to be meditating hostilities. Be this as it may, the Low Countries will not be left in the same consternation as during the last campaigns.
The individual whose secret mission to Spain I reported some months ago, has returned, and having charge of silks and also of some jewels, he was robbed near Peronne, (fn. 6) so that his Excellency is still without the instructions which he has been so long expecting, preparatory to his departure for France.
I received the ducali of the 18th and 25th together. I believe that the complaints of the merchants at Zante are those which Lord Arlington said had been made to him by Darington. I have not seen Arlington since but will do everything possible to remove unfavourable impressions, and apply some remedy for abuses even worse than those which have occurred hitherto at Venice. I have conferred since with Williamson and after considering the proceedings of the resident, composed the enclosed memorial.
London, the 21st August, 1671.
[Italian.]
94. Compendium of what passed in Venice.
The privilege of foreign ministers to import into Venice, duty free, as much bread as might suffice for their establishments, was converted into a licence to sell bread passing through the city and at length degenerated into a flagrant abuse. The boats stopped at regular places where the arms of sovereigns and other powers served as shop signs, indecorously. Owing to this abuse the corn office adopted a half measure, but their orders being disregarded, it became necessary to enforce them, and orders were given merely to seize bread in the boats of the delinquents, the mildest penalty that could be inflicted, but it sufficed to persuade all the foreign ministers to abandon the shops, if not utterly to renounce the sale of the bread. Only the boat of the English resident persists in keeping its original shop. In addition to this there is the scandalous behaviour of the outlaw Francesco Martinello, who manages it. He resists the sbirri with arms in his hands and when they pass dares them to approach him. If this were not enough, the resident's steward went with a gang in front of the guard house and then to the corn office where they used threatening language to one of the messengers of the corn office, saying that all the punishment would fall upon him, as they could not get hold of the officials who searched the boat.
All these facts and many other circumstances prove that the English resident alone opposes the regulation made by the republic, that he avails himself of force and makes an ill use of the forbearance shown to him, not only keeping outlaws in his house, but clothing them in his own livery, so that they may perambulate the city freely.
[Italian.]
Aug. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
95. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
The Senate promises to take into consideration the costs incurred by him over mourning for the duke of Cambridge, the cost of the chapel and the loss which he suffers by the withdrawal of the exemption of his wine from duty.
Ayes, 144. Noes, 2. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Aug. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
96. Carlo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Three ships laden with troops and military stores have left for the Indies. After this it is believed that the vigorous armament for those parts will fade away in the assurance of the evacuation of Panama, since Montesarchio refuses to go there any more unless he obtains the presidency of Guatemala.
Madrid, the 26th August, 1671.
[Italian.]
Aug. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
97. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
An English royal yacht (fn. 7) when passing through the midst of a Dutch squadron, insisted on their lowering the flag, but merely obtained the salute. The government here is upset, being always jealous of its own jurisdiction and apprehensive lest a trifling example may subject the British flag to yet greater disparagement. Borel was no less disturbed by the first complaints, but by procrastinating and saying that they were ambiguous he held out hopes of a speedy remedy. As they do not impugn the supremacy which the British crown claims in these seas, it is generally expected that the punctilio will fall to the ground and the good understanding be resumed.
On this occasion also Borel does not cease to press the interests of the States, hinting at the necessity of relieving them of their perpetual strain. The ministers here, I fancy, have insisted on, maintaining the peace by all means and of warding off the risks of war as they are particularly dangerous to the king from lack of money through his domestic affairs. Being unable to obtain glory under existing circumstances he will not seek honour by following the United Provinces in their precipitate career, which is considered capricious, being unnecessary, while there is no evidence of its advantage for the common weal. Should Spain be aware of this, it will certainly not encourage her to take the field, though in the mean time the Governor Monterey stirs up the Flemings more than ever, in order to raise money more easily.
The departure of Baron Spaar from Stockholm is confirmed, and it seems that the mission of Coventry to that crown is suspended for the present possibly in order to supply him with better instructions, in conformity with what Spaar may say about the arbitration and continuance in the alliance.
The Ambassador Montagu shipped his baggage on board a yacht, (fn. 8) which sailed two days ago for Dover. To morrow he will start for France, unless some private business detains him a few days longer.
The earl of Roskomon, one of the new colonels who is raising soldiers in Ireland for the Most Christian, has sent a great quantity of cloth to France; but neither he nor Middleton has as yet got any considerable number of men. It seems the people there are not so much inclined to a service whose pay is scanty and which, since the numerous desertions from the fortresses of the conquered territory, is said to be hard. Moreover three doubloons per head for conveyance yields no profit and the colonels have always before their eyes the horrible spectacle, as they call it, of unexpected reforms.
Molina complains more than ever of the robbery of his courier, returning from Spain (fn. 9) and says that the soldiers, not satisfied with seizing the letters and stolen jewels, were at the pains of concealing them, and he cannot get justice done. Meanwhile his departure for France is delayed.
After many months of negotiation a project has arrived from Copenhagen about the salute. Any British man of war having to pass the Sound is first to send notice, when permission will be given for it to pass with colours flying. The Dane claims to hoist a white flag as customary in stormy weather, as a signal authorising all ships to pass with set sails without further submission. This proposal seems strange here and they maintain that their jurisdiction is real and has been undisputed for many centuries, so much time may still be needed for the removal of all these half measures.
Concerning the vague reports of fresh successes gained by Spragge over the Algerines, received here by way of Leghorn, your Excellencies will have already received more authentic accounts.
Acknowledges ducali of the 1st August.
London, the 28th August, 1671.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 According to Gascoigne Dodington lived very nobly at Venice, in a very good house on the Grand Canal. S.P. Venice. Vol. xlix, f. 53.
2 Jean Baptiste Colbert, marquis of Seignelay, eldest son of Jean Baptiste Colbert, contrôleur general des finances.
3 Christian Constantine Rumpf, who acted as chargé d'affaires at Paris on the death of Boreel in 1668.
4 See note at p. 92, above.
5 Writing on July 17, n.s., Dodington told Arlington that the only outlaw harboured by him was Francesco Martinello, his gondolier, who had been left with him by the Ambassador Falcombridge. He had employed this man to sell a small proportion of the bread which public ministers were allowed to bring into Venice duty free. lt was not very honourable or profitable, and brought in less than 12l. a year. He forbore to claim the privilege for 12 months, but other ministers said it did them injury, so he sent for a licence, which was granted on 9 Feb. He enjoyed it in quiet until 10 June. On 7 Aug. he wrote that the privilege was restored to him, the gondolier given up and the bando against him taken off. On 4 Sept., after Alberti's complaint, he declared that he had used the privilege with all respect and decency. He was ready to abandon it, though this would make him unpopular with the other ministers. On Oct. 2 he refers to Arlington's letters as “full of chiding.” He goes on to say: “These ill reports made on me are infallibly conveyed to the Resident by some particular person and not by the Collegio or the Senate who, I suppose, have a good conceit of me, else they would never have so readily … granted me the person and freedom of my poor gondolier. … I perceive Sig. Alberti … wants something of moment wherewith to entertain your lordship, else he would never come with such trivial matters and these untruths.” S.P. Venice, Vol. 1., ff. 31, 48, 86, 107.
6 He was Molina's major domo, on his way to Flanders with despatches from Madrid. W. Perwich on 15 Aug. S.P. France, Vol. cxxxi. He was set upon by three persons, leaving him very much wounded upon the place. London Gazette, Aug. 14–17.
7 The Merlin, Capt. Thomas Crow.
8 He embarked at Dover for Calais on 21 Aug., o.s., in the Henrietta yacht and again on the 23rd. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1671, pp. 441, 444.
9 See note to page 99, above.