Venice
December 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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125-139

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'Venice: December 1671', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 37: 1671-1672 (1939), pp. 125-139. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90317 Date accessed: 26 November 2014.


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December 1671

Dec. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
122. Carlo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The marquis del Fresno left for London on Thursday in last week to take up the ministry there and to allow the count of Molina to proceed to France. He has precise instructions to soothe the British monarch from the ruffling he had received from the possibly too fervent zeal of Molina in his outspoken suspicions of the sentiments of that crown, as being entirely partial to France and in complete understanding with her.
From what I am told, the selection of the earl of Sunderland as ambassador extraordinary to the king here, is also intended to assure the government of the upright intentions of that quarter and to chase away those shadows that the reports of Molina might have occasioned.
Godolphin will remain here as ambassador in ordinary. He is a man of great ability who has succeeded in maintaining himself, thanks to the royal favour, against the attacks of some members of parliament, from the knowledge that he has abjured the false dogmas of Calvinism and embraced the true ones of the Roman Catholic faith, although he does not profess it publicly. (fn. 1)
Madrid, the 2nd December, 1671.
[Italian.]
Dec. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
123. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The result of the negotiations does not second the intention of this government, which aims at seizing the opportunity for taking advantage of Holland and making sure of France. The prospect of ready money from the Most Christian for an armament is in peril from delays and a variety of cautionary measures. Here they are left with the mortification of having committed themselves so deeply before the world to a war of honour with Holland. On the other hand the Provinces, being aware of this, there is no sign that they will submit so readily to receive the law from England, perceiving that the king is unable to draw the sword until he has first fought a fierce battle with the country for fresh pecuniary supply.
I fancy, however, that the result will be in favour of the ministers, whom it will at least enable to keep the government in quiet. Thus Holland, having been threatened with war, will content herself with peace, without any long er pretending that England must join her in an attack on France. On the other hand the Most Christian will be bound to the king her e for the indifference which he will show in any case of rupture with the United Provinces, a point he could never gain and which, once granted, will serve to maintain a good understanding with that crown. Thus far have matter s been brought, as I learn from one deep in state secrets, who added that they are expecting to learn the decision of Sweden, on which new measures might depend.

The earl of Sonderland left for Spain on Wednesday, crossing from Dover to Calais, in order to proceed more quickly by land. He has no other instructions than those mentioned.
Don Francesco de Melo suspends his active preparations for the assumption of his embassy, awaiting fresh orders from Lisbon, as his exertions to overcome the difficulties have hitherto proved vain. (fn. 2)
Sir [Thomas] Modiford, late governor of Jamaica, has at last arrived from America. On reaching London he will be sent to the Tower. (fn. 3) It seems that the Spanish ambassador has no stringent instructions to insist on punishment for his past offences.
Good news has arrived from Algiers by letters from Admiral Spraghe dated the 30th September, announcing the confusion of the government there owing to the violent death of the general and king and the choice of their successors with other particulars. The Divan had already sent to parley with the English about peace and Spraghe had accordingly sent two commissioners into the town, which was in the hands of the soldiery, who had taken possession of the caisse or treasury. He adds that the English consul (fn. 4) was at liberty with all his effects and he hoped soon to report an advantageous peace.
London, the 4th December, 1671.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 9.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
124. The Resident of his Britannic Majesty came into the Collegio and presented the following memorial, which was read. He then said, I only wish to uphold the honour of my king and that those of the nation may receive proper assistance. The merchants who opposed the provision of the two vice consuls I have asked for are not of us, and they wish to back one who, although of the nation, is a renegade. If I let this pass I should consider it detrimental to my king. I appointed two persons to assist with charity the poor sailors, who otherwise would suffer much inconvenience. A person of the magistracy deputed to give ordinary information, gave me to understand that if I would change one of those I had nominated for vice consul, for another whom he would propose, he would cause me to get my way. I told him that as I had nominated two persons as fit, in the patent already submitted to your Serenity, I did not see how I could change them; but if I had been asked before I would have obliged him, if the person was suitable. To this he replied that he would raise so many obstacles that I should get nothing, and lo he has done it. The doge replied that the English nation was loved and esteemed, and so the magistrates saw to it that they were well treated, and they would always listen to appeals to punish those who acted contrary to the intentions of the state.
The resident then presented another memorial, below, which was read. He went on. Some currants were offered to two of our merchants, whom we will call Mark and Matthew. The price was arranged but when they were delivered they were found to be bad. The merchants said they could not take them as they arranged the price on the supposition that they were good. Yet they were obliged to pay 120 pieces of eight to be rid of that rotten stuff. The same thing happened to two other merchants, whom I will ca 11 Luke and John, who had to pay 150 pieces of eight. In spite of this and not long after, a ship was laded and these four merchants had to divide these currants among themselves and pay for them as good. I therefore ask your Serenity to renew the order contained in the memorial. I have observed in a decree of your Serenity a most noble idea that the soul of decisions is their execution. I do not know how this is practised. The doge said they were certain of the zeal and vigilance of their representatives. The memorial should be considered.
The resident asked leave to read another memorial, which he did, as below. The doge replied that they certainly had no reason to be dissatisfied with his bearing, indeed they recognised him as most prudent. He would always be welcome and readily heard. He was sincerely esteemed not less for his office than for his personal qualities. Asking forbearance if he had offended in any way through inexperience in the language, the resident left, making the usual reverences.
Giovanni Battista Nicolosi, secretary.
The Memorial. (fn. 5)
About a month ago I recommended two vice consuls for confirmation, men of integrity and sufficient for the post; but I receive a reply quite different from what I expected. From the account given by the two Savii this is due to representations made by some publicans, ship captains and foreign merchants, certainly not by those of our nation at present in this city, who are the consul, John Hobson, John Ravenscroft and Edward Wyld. But there are many who trade for England, and of every nation, who have nothing to do with this affair. I should like to have the substance of the representations of the captains who are English, to make a report on their arrival in England, because at the instance of several captains and merchants, subjects of my king, and with the assent of the consul, I appointed the vice consuls for the benefit of our nation and of no other.
This is nothing fresh because a few years ago one Andrea della Brocca exercised this function in great measure in the time of Consul Hobson, obtaining the despatch of all the English ships from the five Savii. But because there are many abuses at Malamocco for lack of help from an experienced and faithful man, we thought fit to appoint the two. But without hearing our motives and reasons I receive a refusal, and it seems very strange to me that such representations should be received with scant regard for my memorial. It is well known that the consul was confined to his house by sickness last month, so that he could not attend to the matter, and I could not come as this is the first day I have left the house after a very serious illness. If there was any difficulty about water etc. it seems to me the consul or some other should have been sent for to settle any points. I only ask this for the ships of our nation, and for those not in contumacy, that being the affair of the Sanita, or that here at Venice or at Malamocco the publicans may not sell to whom they please, but that they may not come to our ships to lure the poor sailors and induce them to run into debt, and then begin suits against their captains, in the Forestiero, where such reclamations are heard every day, and even came to this Collegio a few months ago owing to disorders between the captains and sailors, and apparently something similar has happened this last week. They are certainly unruly and ignorant folk, who do not know what is good for them, whom any one can delude with fair words. They wanted me to appoint an illiterate inn keeper and what is worse a renegade for their vice-consul at Venice, in contempt of their consul, set up by royal patent over the merchants and the nation in general, to exercise authority in case of differences, not to run after captains and sailors, unless to defend their cause, when just. I have thought fit to represent this to your Serenity before making complaint to my king about the scant regard paid to his ministers by the magistrates of this state, who are put aside at the slightest instance of four publicans and of foreign merchants with no love for the crown of England.
Second Memorial. (fn. 6)
The irregularities caused by the magistrates of your Serenity taking part in the buying and selling of goods in the three islands are well known. In a MS. entitled Capitulare Consiliarii Venetiarum Cap. 85 I have read: Non possumus concedere alicui Rectori, Bailo et consuli quibus per suas commissiones vetitum est exercere mercationes, tenere filios vel fratres nec alios in domo sua qui faciunt mercationes nec quod ipsi facere possint ullo modo sub pena librarum mille pro qualibet nostrum quae contrafaceret. I venture to ask that a like prohibition may be sent to the Proveditori and to all other magistrates in those islands. The reasons cannot be unknown to your Serenity.
Third Memorial. (fn. 7)
The reason for this is an accusation made against me by your Serenity's minister at my king's Court. There are five heads (1) that I arrogantly claim the privilege of bread, after all other ministers have abandoned it. (2) I am a protector of banished men, who appear in the piazza in my livery. (3) I engage in smuggling to the serious hurt of the duties. (4) I present demands for old debts already paid. (5) I live in a disorderly way.
I have gathered this much from the letters of his Majesty's chief secretary and other friends at that Court. I cannot imagine that your Serenity has instructed your resident to pass this office against me, but that he has been instigated by some private person to whom I must be personally unknown. I ask your Serenity to give a quarter of an hour of your precious time to my reply. (1) For the first four months of my residence I never used this privilege of bread. I never did so for more than three months and then only as it was used by all the other foreign ministers, although in that time the bread was taken from the barque five times with violence and insult. For the last five months I have not used it, although all the royal ministers do so and one who is not royal; so I am the only one who has given it up, while all the others enjoy it.
(2) I have never had but one banished man, my gondolier, recommended to me by his Majesty's late ambassador here. His fault was very slight and all the time he has served me I have found him modest and quiet. I have asked for his pardon and hope to obtain it. I have never had anything to do with any other banished man and shall not in the future.
(3) I pledge my honour that I have never done any smuggling, in this or any other state, and if, as I can hardly imagine, my barques are met by your Serenity's officials under suspicious circumstances, I give them full leave to proceed against them in any way the magistrates see fit.
(4) I have only asked for the payment of one debt, viz. for the ship Vivian. I have shown that your Serenity is indebted to the captain although at first sight your officials imagined that the account had been paid; for this cause I ask that the account may be reviewed and satisfied.
(5) On this head only one thing can cause disquiet, that is to see trade and my fellow subjects ill treated. To tell the truth I have a long catalogue of violence and insult against them, which I have put aside in order not to abuse your kindness. For the rest, in my house there are no disturbances, and without I have never had a brawl or question with any one. I therefore ask your Serenity to right me in these matters and to have a careful inquiry made on these points. I ask to be treated as a gentleman, a public minister, and what is more, a priest. I call myself a priest because here is the altar, one that I try to keep clean and on which I make daily sacrifice. Finally, if your Serenity has any objection against me personally, so that my presence is disagreeable, my respect is so great that I promise to remove the unpleasant object at the slightest intimation, however disagreeable and ruinous it may prove to me.
[Italian.]
125. Statement by John Chapplen that he is ignorant of the contents of a paper presented to the two Savii; he believes that the appointment of the viceconsuls is for the nation's good, and believes that the other captains, now departed, were deluded therein, not knowing Italian.
Dated at Venice, the 8th December.
Signed: John Chaplene.
[English.]
Dec. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
126. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Events continue to flow in the same channel. Holland being well aware of the coldness that has sprung up between England and France, is no longer urgent as at first for an adjustment. On the contrary, having determined to accredit Beverninghen, who was at Madrid, as ambassador extraordinary to this crown, the Provinces now put off their decision from one assembly to another. The English ministers, knowing this, encourage the king to send Douninghen to Holland, with resolute instructions to enforce the articles of the peace of Breda, so that the Provinces, being thus pressed, may not fail to grant speedy satisfaction before England resumes her alliance with France and definitely prepares for hostilities in the next campaign.
I was able to gather this much from Douninghen himself, who paid me a visit two days ago. Unless he departed, this morning, he is still in London, only waiting for a fair wind for his voyage. Several persons have assured me, besides, that England will choose to have peace with Holland without being bound to any fresh unions against France, as she does not wish to depend upon the promises of the Most Christian or to risk asking parliament for money. But if she cannot in honour abstain from war she will wage it until her rival, Holland, is destroyed, and let the superfluous humours of France be vented in that direction.

Your Serenity's letters of the 14th November, charge me to pay the utmost attention to German politics, to which England has an especial eye as they make a great figure in the present councils of Europe. I will not fail to report what reaches me from those parts, and should say that what I wrote about the union of Brandenburg with the Dutch was imparted by the baron dell'Isola to a confidant of mine in Flanders. This same person now writes that the deputies of the princes of the circle of Westphalia are insisting on the adjustment of the city with the elector. But jealousy has sprung up between the mediators, who thwart each other's measures from fear of being anticipated in the gracious work of reconciliation; and it is said that the Dutch will restore Rheinberg, though dismantled, to the elector and withdraw their troops from Cologne. If this proves to be true, the princes of Westphalia will undoubtedly be allied with the United Provinces. I have sent word of all this to the Ambassador Michiel.
Sir [Robert] Southuel, the king's envoy in Flanders, also writes that his negotiations have begun favourably, as he has persuaded the count of Monterey to write to Spain and wait for their decision about pledging himself to the Dutch. In the mean time the grand affair of an offensive and defensive alliance between Spain and the Provinces, which would have been most perilous for the next campaign, is suspended.
I believe your Serenity will at last learn where Count Monterey has found the philosopher's stone, which enables him to provide sufficient money for the maintenance of a body of 20,000 men and to augment fortifications, for he has received permission from Spain to sell all military and ecclesiastical appointments great and small, to the highest bidder. Already murmurs are heard that Spain will bitterly repent of having deprived her subjects of their only hopes of reward. The mischief in incurable, destructive for the Spanish constitution and a method of raising money which, when once relished, will never be abandoned, either by sovereigns in their need or by governors, even in time of peace. The people have gone so f ar as to say that Monterey learned this policy from the “dataria” of Rome, (fn. 8) endeavouring to multiply one vacancy into many, raising from the lowest grade to the highest all who merit the places from the possession of ready money.
London, the 11th December, 1671.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
127. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Contrary to the expectation of the Court and when Don Francesco de Melo himself almost despaired of making his entry as Portuguese ambassador, the queen so insisted with the king that she obtained her intent. The ceremony took place on Tuesday, without the coaches of the foreign ministers attending. Even to day they did not make an appearance, to avoid the disputes about precedence, when the ambassador had his first audience.
The Court is also anxiously expecting the result of the negotiation for the marriage of the duke of York to the archduchess of Innsbruck. Although not quite near a conclusion and it seems premature, they have allowed the duke's portrait to be sent for the satisfaction of the bride. The ambassador Sonderland will make the first proposals at Madrid, and by this marriage they seek to establish the union with the House of Austria.
Letters of later date than the first have been received in London from Admiral Spraghe, but they do not announce any conclusion of peace with the Algerines, as he has quitted the port on account of the contrary winds.
The ducali of the 4th November did not arrive until this week, having been detained by bad weather. If Arlington speaks to me about Dodington's demands, I will act as instructed. I have learned, though not with absolute certainty, that the captain of the ship which fell in with the Venetian at Civita Vecchia, is named Ginins (fn. 9) He is expected back at any moment, when I will send all particulars. The ship is a frigate of the royal navy and with regard to the salute the English declare that they do not claim it, but only gun for gun, to which Rome will not reply. As they maintain here that such is the custom, all foreign ports will answer English ships in equal fashion.
I have since made efforts on the exchange to induce merchants to send cargoes of wheat; but they will not run the risk, from fear always that they will be anticipated and the prices will fall. Two ships have already sailed from Amsterdam, and if they do not find a good market at Leghorn they will go farther on. I will not fail to encourage them. If your Excellencies think fit to name a definite quantity I would look out for merchants who, on their own account and at a fixed price, might send where desired, or I would effect both purchase and shipment according to instructions.
London, the 11th December, 1671.
[Italian.]
Dec. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
128. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
With regard to the instances of the widow and son of old Galileo, if they have agents at Venice he can tell them to send their papers and all information to these, sufficient to prove the authenticity of the debt, when steps will be taken to afford them such relief as may be considered in accordance with what is convenient and just.
Ayes, 115. Noes, 4. Neutral, 7.
[Italian.]
Dec. 14.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
129. The secretary of the English resident came to the doors of the Collegio and asked to speak with a secretary. I went by order of the Savii and he said that the resident was extremely agitated from fear lest some expression in his memorials might have displeased your Serenity, and so while asserting his deep respect he asks that any defect may be attributed to his imperfect knowledge of Italian, which prevented him from perfectly realising the precise signification of the words. I told him, by order of the Savii, that I would report the office, but at the moment the Collegio was occupied with a lengthy matter. He said there was no hurry provided the resident's commissions reached the ear of your Serenity, and took leave.
Gio. Battista Nicolosi, secretary.
[Italian.]
Dec. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
130. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The earl of Suderland who is passing through to Madrid with the title of ambassador extraordinary for reasons which are well known, has been here in this city for some days. It is said that he will be leaving to morrow. In the mean time he has afforded himself the honour of seeing incognito the royal personages and of admiring the magnificence of the Court. With him is the Sig. Godolphin who has come here to compliment Monsieur on his marriage. (fn. 10)
Paris, the 16th December, 1671.
[Italian.]
Dec. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
131. Carlo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
On the probability of war and the great armaments of the Most Christian. Naval armaments make no less of a show. To the powerful forces of France there are joined the formidable ones of England so far as all appearances indicate. To conciliate the interests of that nation to conspire in favour of the glories of France, which would seem to be repugnant to its very essence and constitution, it is said that ample spoils have been accorded to it in the East Indies, which give, as is well known, the largest profits to that nation. There is every possible reason for feeling sure that England would not be induced to procure and conspire for the advantage of France without much greater profit and interest for herself.
Madrid, the 16th December, 1671.
[Italian.]
Dec. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
132. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Enclose the copy of a request made by the resident of England, with the reply given to him, in order that he may speak in conformity therewith and cause them to appreciate the propensity of the Signory towards the advantage of that nation and the satisfaction which is afforded by the resident personally. The Senate feels confident that his conduct will display more and more prudence in the discharge of the office which he fills.
Ayes, 102. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Dec. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
133. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I find confirmation everywhere of what I have written about the Present state of England. So far it is not known whether the king will take the field against Holland in the spring, and the best informed ministers do not venture on an opinion. Everything now depends on the negotiations of Douninghen, who left last Monday for the Hague with definite instructions for the observance of the peace of Breda, the king declaring that the United Provinces have tampered with its articles all through. Borel, the ambassador here, maintains that these are all imaginary breaches of faith and that the Provinces have kept their agreements with all punctuality. He also says that 150 ships are being fitted out for the next campaign, 30 of from 60 to 100 guns, as many more from 40 to 60, forty of from 25 to 40 and the rest fire ships and launches. He adds that another 20,000 men will be raised forthwith besides the 80,000 already embodied, and that the States mean to ask the king for levies in England, Scotland and Ireland, though the demand has not yet been made.
If the advices received from my correspondent in Flanders are true, the affairs of Holland do not improve. The elector of Cologne, repenting of receiving Rheinberg dismantled from the Dutch, and of being a party to their protests, means to remain neutral, for fear of drawing upon himself the wrath of France. He also says that the adjustment with the city of Cologne is frustrated by the efforts of Furstembergh, the French envoy; and that the Governor Monterey is mustering troops to reinforce the burghers of Cologne, if England will lend him her name. Matters are at present in this state of confusion, though not irremediable or without the possibility of fresh changes.
The Spanish ambassador tells me that the princes of the circle of Westphalia have chosen Brandenburg as their general, and unless he deceives himself, they will all be in favour of the quiet of the empire and opposed to any innovation that may be attempted by France.
Molina has also been informed by a special courier, of the departure from Madrid of the marquis del Fresno, to be ambassador at this Court. The queen repeats her orders to Molina to go in like capacity to France, comforting him to some extent by a valuable gratuity, though he hoped to be relieved entirely from that employment. He has not informed the government here and will not depart before the arrival of his successor. In the mean time he says that the way to preserve peace in America would be to send the merchantmen unarmed, and so render them incapable of hostilities, a half measure to which England does not give ear.
Sir [Thomas] Modiford, having arrived in London, has been sent to the Tower, his son being released. He will begin to defend himself against the charges brought against him during his governorship of Jamaica. Molina says that the queen of Spain cares nothing about the man's life, but the restitution of the money taken by him from the Spaniards would be the most exemplary and severe of punishments.
The adventures of the Portuguese ambassador Melo are not yet at an end. He had been visited by Colbert a few months ago, when he expected to make his public entry, whereas Molina only visited him immediately after his public audience had taken place. He elected to go to the house of the French ambassador, who is in bed with the gout, before returning the visit of Molina, who, however, is making no fuss, and so far nothing more has been heard about the matter.
London, the 18th December, 1671.
[Italian.]
Dec. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
134. That the following be sent by a notary of the ducal chancery, this evening, to be read to the Resident of England. (fn. 11)
As it is the constant desire of the Senate that your nation should on all occasions receive the testimony of the public regard so our magistrates have express directions to see that they do not receive the least prejudice, and accordingly they will provide due remedies for any grievances and you may encourage the consul and all others to have free recourse to them on all occasions. Our magistrates in the Levant have particular instructions to treat your countrymen with all imaginable favour and we are confident in their ready compliance. In our last letters from Zante we hear that the ship commanded by Richard Beech received extraordinary testimony of courtesy, and we shall see to the renewal of such orders as are necessary. Lastly touching your own person, you are much esteemed by us for the character you bear and for your particular conditions, in testimony of which we shall always readily embrace the occasions of pleasing you, as we are assured you will continue to prosecute those prudent endeavours which may confirm us in the content which the conduct of your charge has already begotten in us.
Ayes, 102. Noes, 1. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Dec. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
135. To the Proveditore General da Mar.
Enclose the copy of a memorial from the resident of England. The Senate hears of these disorders with great regret. They are sure that he will take care to see that the laws are observed when he arrives at the islands. He is to put a stop to extortions from the merchants and to punish severely those who are found guilty. He must realise how prejudicial such things are to the public interests and reputation. The Senate trusts to his vigilance in order that merchants may be encouraged to increase their trade more readily.
Ayes, 102. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Dec. 24.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
136. The Resident of England came into the Collegio and presented the memorial below, which was read. The doge thanked him and assured him of their regard, while they wished every felicity for the king and his House. The resident said he would prove his devotion if ever they required his services. After the usual reverences, he departed.
The Memorial.
From the Senate's reply to my memorials I am more than ever confirmed in my opinion of your Serenity's justice and kindness towards the trade and the subjects of my king. For the Senate's kind references to me personally I shall feel eternally obliged to do my utmost to preserve their good opinion. I ask you to honour me with your commands, so that I may be able to prove the truth of what I profess. In any case the republic will always have sincere testimony of my moderation in every affair and of my desire to cherish the friendly relations between the king and your Serenity. At this season friends are accustomed to exchange loving greetings and so I wish to express the particular regard of my king for this republic, which is the wonder of the world for the uprightness of its government and the exact justice of its deliberations, and I pray God to grant it every felicity.
[Italian.]
Dec. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
137. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
While waiting for news of Douninghen's arrival in Holland and of his negotiations with the Provinces for making good the peace of Breda, I saw a great minister of this Court in such close conference with the French ambassador that I almost thought I should have to retract my reports and announce that England, won by the offers of France, would pledge herself to wage war on Holland. Not relying on appearances I ascertained the precise words of Lord Arlington in a confidential conversation held by him with a great personage, who told me about it, that until now mere words had been exchanged with France who, no less warily, sought to cajole England while the latter cautiously tried to avoid any pledge, pretending to be well disposed in order to leave France to fight Holland single handed. To this end they had not yet taken money from France, in order to be always at liberty. By luring on France while encouraging the States to resist the Most Christian with the hope of a speedy adjustment of the disputes about the peace of Breda, those two powers are gradually brought to a rupture. I really believe that there are no secondary intentions, supposing the chief object to be the preservation of England from war at any cost; though fresh accidents may change this policy. In the mean time a great design is being contrived which I will reveal next week.
His Majesty has received agreeable news from Holland that the United Provinces are on the point of giving the title of general to his nephew the prince of Orange, together with the other offices held by his ancestors. All these concessions Van Beuninghen wished to pass current at this Court last year, in exchange for pledges to be given against France. And now Holland expects this to arrange all the present disputes, unless fresh difficulties arise.
The Provinces, while thus courting England, have simultaneously written a civil letter to the king of France; but as the equipment of fleets and the levies of troops continue, neighbouring powers are compelled to keep on the watch as usual. There is too much combustible matter at hand to feel safe from a conflagration.
The duke of York told me that only fifty ships would be fitted out for the next campaign, implying that during the last two years the king had avoided unnecessary armaments, whereas his neighbours had been wasting their substance.
Holland has no lack of money, having already amassed a great supply; but trade will suffer from this withdrawal of capital, though the fund will be needed if it be true that the elector of Cologne has declared for France and that none of the mediators is able to adjust the disputes with the city. All this is proclaimed by the Ambassador Colbert.
The princess Catherine, youngest daughter of the duke of York, has at length departed this life. She was ten years of age and for the recovery of her health resided a long while in France. (fn. 12) The foreign ministers have offered their condolences for the occasion, and I have done the like.
London, the 25th December, 1671.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
1671
Senato,
Secreta.
Relazioni,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
138. From the Relazione of Zuane Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France.
The offices and the constant application of the Most Christian have succeeded in wiping out some past feeling of bitterness from the heart of the British king. The two royal personages respond to each other with the best and most perfect confidence. The king there has been persuaded that the Most Christian's forces and counsels are always in readiness to establish his authority more firmly and to subdue that of the Chambers and the parliaments. By invitations to hostilities against Holland hopes are roused of assured and increasing profits in the trade of the Indies and everywhere else.
The journey as far as Dover of the duchess of Orleans confirmed the king, her brother, in his original opinion of the sincerity of the intentions of France. It is confidently believed that these two kings are proceeding in concert in their policy and in their designs, and that the appearance of the estrangement of England towards the affairs of France, is only an expedient of caution and necessity, so as not to lead the people to risings and the Chambers to vigorous and mischievous resolutions.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 “Sir William Godolphin's abjuration of his religion makes a great noise in this place.” Henry Smith to Arlington from Paris on 15 July. S.P. France, Vol. cxxxi.
2 According to Colbert Melo was to make his public entry on the 8th and have his audience the day after “la difficulté qui l'avait retardé ayant été terminé a son entière satisfaction et même sans aucun écrit ni condition; ceux qui s'y etaient opposés ayant, pour effacer le mérite qui en est du a Milord Arlington, tourné son écrit en ridicule et disposé le roi a faire la chose de bonne grace et sans protestation.” Colbert to the King on 7 Dec. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
3 He was committed to the Tower on 17 Nov., o.s. Cal. S.P. America and W. Indies, 1669–74, pp. 272–3.
4 John Ward. The despatch is printed in the London Gazette of Nov. 16–20.
5 There is a copy of the Memorial with a translation in S.P. Venice, Vol. 1, f. 173.
6 There is a copy of the Memorial with a translation in S.P. Venice, Vol. 1, f. 183. The renegade was named Brown. Ibid. f. 163.
7 There is a copy of this Memorial with a translation in S.P. Venice, Vol. 1, f. 177.
8 An allusion to the practice at the papal court of selling offices to raise revenue. The datary was the principal minister of the papal chancery.
9 Sir William Jennings. His ship was the Princess.
10 Philip, duke of Orleans, the king's brother, married Charlotte Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Elector Palatine, Charles Louis, on 21 Nov. Sunderland's companion was presumably Sidney Godolphin.
11 There is a copy of this reply in S.P. Venice, Vol. 1, f 221.
12 She died on Wednesday, 6/16 December. She was only ten months old, having been born in February. London Gazette, December 7–11, 1671. Alberti has apparently confused her with the Lady Anne, who was sent to France for her health, and who returned to England in July, 1670, after the death of the duchess of Orleans. See the preceding volume of this Calendar, p. 244.