Venice
January 1672

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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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140-159

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'Venice: January 1672', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 37: 1671-1672 (1939), pp. 140-159. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90318 Date accessed: 22 September 2014.


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January 1672

1672.
Jan. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
139. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
All appearances were in favour of a better disposition on the part of the States for affording just compensation to England for past omissions when a rumour of strong alliances formed by the United Provinces began to impair this hope, and subsequently on the arrival of a courier from France great news was heard. On the 21st December the Governor Monterey sent by express to Madrid the treaty of alliance arranged by him and the Spanish ambassador at the Hague, on the 17th (fn. 1) . But the courier having been stopped at Peronne, his despatches went to Paris, from whence Colbert has received orders to inform the king, giving him copies of the treaties showing that the Spaniards were joining delay his who were apprehensive lest the Most Christian should the Dutch, claims about the boundaries and promise peace to the Catholic crown.
This intelligence astonished the government here, which also received letters from Sir [Robert] Southwell at Brussels, who reproached Monterey with encouraging Holland to deny due satisfaction to England, after announcing his intention not to pledge himself further without instructions from Spain. Southwell adds that the governor offered to make Holland give all just satisfaction, and declared, on the word of a gentleman, that as yet there was nothing positive. But as the will of Holland is not at the disposal of Spain, while, on the other hand, the alliance is signed, they are dissatisfied here and are sending fresh instructions to Madrid, which will arrive in time owing to the delay caused by the seizure of the treaty. As this is now public, the queen of Spain will have greater scruples about ratifying it. On the other hand, the affairs at Cologne becoming more embroiled, 4000 Dutch troops were on their march thither, and Monterey was determined to reinforce them; so a collision being certain, the war will be kindled.
Your Excellencies will have heard of the steps taken by the Most Christian and the reply made to the instances of Grotius with the letter of the States. (fn. 2) The ministers here, perceiving the approach of hostilities, persevere in their policy, already reported, in the hope of success. I keep the Ambassador Michiel informed and your Serenity's ministers at all the other Courts.
I received this week the ducali of the 28th November and 5th December, with instructions about Dodington. A few evenings ago one of Lord Arlington's secretaries came to my house and delivered the enclosed letter from the said resident, urging me to forward it to your Serenity that the king might receive satisfaction accordingly. Having read it I reserved my reply for Arlington. As I found him in bed with a severe attack of the gout I was unable to discuss the matter at length; but I had the satisfaction to convince him that there may be quibbles; that the Senate desires nothing better than to maintain a good understanding, that justice was undoubtedly administered uprightly, that equitable reasons had prevented the election of the new consuls and that at his convenience I would give him a detailed account of the circumstances. But as he insisted that your Excellencies should see the identical memorial, I enclose it and await the Signory's commands.
London, the 1st January, 1671. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Enclosure.140. Venice, the 4th December, 1671.
In a law suit last week between Edward Wylde, an Englishman, and a Venetian, the former was non suited on the sole plea, which was strongly urged, that his affidavits were attested by men of the religion of the late Queen Elizabeth. Similarly an English captain named Masten, being summoned by three Dutch sailors to pay them their wages, although he proved by the oaths of two quartermasters and two sailors that the Dutchmen made an agreement with him in London to serve the whole voyage at a monthly wage and not to receive payment for the last eight months until they returned to the Thames, yet the judges would not credit them, saying that they would not accept the oaths of men of the religion of Queen Elizabeth, a decree that scandalously affects the king's religion and cuts at the root of all commerce.
The consul being unwell wished to appoint a vice consul and asked me to act with him. Together we recommended to the Collegio a very honest and capable man. The Collegio as usual referred the matter to the two deputies, and simultaneously a Venetian noble, addressing the consul, advised him to withdraw our memorial and to appoint a person, whom he named, a man utterly incapable. The consul not agreeing to this the noble intimated that he would thwart our business. We did indeed meet with many obstacles, two or three Dutchmen and two Italians, having by certain artifices been induced to recommend as our vice consul an Englishman named Browne, a very infamous character. He had embraced Mahommedanism, and having been since captured by the Venetians and pretending to be a Christian, they released him.
Mr. William Pendarvis, the factor of the English merchants at Zante, a man in very good repute, being here on behalf of the Levant Company to superintend certain lawsuits, having refused to lend the Proveditore of Zante 4000 pieces of eight or to purchase a large quantity of damaged currants, the Proveditore desired his chief of the sbirri to kill him. That same day Mr. Pendarvis was attacked; they wounded him in his right arm, his head and all over his body and he would doubtless have been killed had not the neighbours come to his rescue, whereupon the assailants took to flight. Pendarvis was carried to his house and is so dangerously wounded that he has lost the use of his right arm. The assailants tried to make their peace with him, but he refused and there is no doubt that they mean to make a more violent attack upon him. The chief of the sbirri has confessed before several credible witnesses that he acted by order of the Proveditore.
[French.]
Jan. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
141. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Several cabinet councils have been held and an express has been sent to the earl of Sonderland in Spain concerning the alliance with Holland, arranged by the ambassador Lira at the Hague. I have not yet been able thoroughly to ascertain all particulars, but am told that the king complains of Monterey as being too much inclined to war, and that he negotiated the alliance with Holland when aware of the promises made by the Most Christian to maintain a real peace with the Catholic. It was not in the interest of the queen of Spain to join the tottering Hollanders during the minority of her son, it being certain that at the least move he will draw on himself a declaration and attack from France. I fancy also that there are great and fresh projects about adjustment of boundaries and effective cessions on the part of the Most Christian, who would fain detach Spain from Holland; but of this I cannot yet be sure.
In the mean time the Ambassador Montagu has arrived from Paris and will soon return to his post. It is not true that the confidential relations between these two crowns are broken. On the contrary a report is circulating to day that the duke of Buckingham will join the French camp, and the duke of Monmouth as well, the one being the minister who was accredited to France the last time, the other the king's son. This will serve rather to consolidate the good under standing, for it is said that they will be accompanied by some of the royal guards.
While all this is being done to humble Holland, the rival of England in trade if not in power, it is understood that the United Provinces, relying on their own preparations and on those of their friends do not yield in the least, believing in the stability of their affairs even through a long war.
The disposition to restore the prince of Orange to the offices held by his family is checked in the councils of several Provinces, which are disinclined to the step and it will apparently meet with opposition in the General Assembly, masked by various difficulties touching restricted authority, intolerable for the prince.
This much is reported by Douninghen who so far has done nothing with respect to his commissions and begins to suspect that he will meet with obstinate resistance. This suggests great news, at which I hinted a fortnight ago, and though only a suspicion of my own, I mention it to show my attention to passing events, when the time comes for verifying the fact. Should the burden of a war be unavoidable the king sees himself under the necessity of asking parliament for money. As fair means have hitherto rather increased the arrogance of that body, which tarnishes the royal authority, his Majesty thinks of treating it in another way, and asking for the money he wants, to claim it from the loyalty of his subjects and no longer beg it from their love or discretion. The means for effecting this are: to limit the period of the sessions; not to allow other matters than supply to be discussed, and to prorogue or dissolve if they are prolonged. But as the Lords and Commons are two distinct Houses of different characters, I observe that the king is not disposing of any vacant posts, the object being to give them all at once and oblige several persons who rule the Lords. It is intended subsequently to humble the Commons, either by lawful proceedings or by some coup d'état for I know that in the closets they are examining into its true ancient authority, and studying a variety of cases illustrating its suppression in times past. It is not known when this will take place, as there is no call to assemble parliament, and if the king misses his stroke and does not render his authority absolute, he will greatly endanger that which he now exercises. I dare not write more to the Senate, which will clearly foresee the consequences of such changes. In this connection there would be several remarks to make concerning the marriage of the duke of York to the archduchess of Innsbruck, but I shall verify them before reporting to your Excellencies.

London, the 8th January, 1671. [M.V.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
142. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has not yet returned. What he is engaged upon has not transpired nor are the motives for his departure known. Upon consideration of the way things are going it is indeed judged that England will remain arbiter of the differences and be in a position to make the balance incline in favour of whichever side it has most inclination for.
Paris, the 8th January, 1671. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
143. To the Ambassador in Spain.
Upon the arrival of the ambassadors who are expected from England and Holland you must devote your attention to find out what they propose as well as the decisions that are taken by the government, in order to advise us of everything.
Ayes, 147. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Jan. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
144. Ottaviano Valier, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
A person in the confidence of the British king and a subject of the Grand Duke has come to this Court (fn. 3) after having been at Innsbruck with proposals for a marriage between the only daughter of the Archduchess and the duke of York. Whether he brings anything positive has not transpired. So far as I can gather he has had frequent and lengthy audiences of the Grand Duke who in general is disposed to give the fullest expression to his esteem for the British king and his power. He is mindful of the distinguished favours that he received from his Majesty during his stay in those states. (fn. 4)
Florence, the 9th January, 1671. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
145. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish government is seen to be pressed strongly in the direction of neutrality by the instances of the British king. Accordingly some are tempted to conjecture that if the Spaniards refuse to yield to all this pressure England will be more easily prevailed upon to take the side of France. They are looking for the departure of Molina from that Court to come and reside as ambassador extraordinary with this crown. There is therefore uncertainty as to what turn these negotiations may take since the very arrival of this ambassador would amount in itself to assurances of neutrality and independence. Things have now arrived at such a pass that it will not be possible to keep them palliated and hidden much longer.
Paris, the 14th January, 1671. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
146. Carlo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
They have decided here not to give any reply to the French minister until they have heard the earl of Sunderland, who entered Madrid last Saturday.
With regard to the mission of the English ambassador I may say that according to all appearances that country will not dissociate itself from the interests of this crown. From slight and trifling circumstances one may conjecture the greater ones. They have rented a house for a year and have sent for his wife and Mons. de Godolphin has received commissions and powers which he can produce to act as ambassador. (fn. 5) In addition to this I may say that some of the ministers of state here have told me in confidence that they are certain of neutrality at the least and although some individuals of the parliament, for their own private interest and profit, have espoused the side of France, the generality repudiate and detest it as being contrary to the interests of the country and to the facilities for trade.
Madrid, the 14th January, 1672.
[Italian.]
Jan. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
147. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The mass of conflicting opinions so clouds the view of future even that I and many others should be lost were it not in my power, through confidential intimacy in good quarters, to dissipate all those shadows which darken the rays of this government's real intention. A current report of fresh armament and the positive offer of a number of gentlemen of rank who are preparing to serve under the duke of York at sea, with the belief already general that he is to be the sole commander in chief of the English and French fleets, imply that England and France are united against Holland. Colbert having informed the king of the adjustment between the city of Cologne and the elector, putting an end to the emperor's interference in the contest, increases the anticipations of success of England and France, it being rumoured that the elector of Cologne is on the point of demanding the restitution of Rheinberg from the United Provinces.
Such are the prevalent opinions and the duke of York has said that Holland alone injured the trade of England and her repute and was her sole rival at sea. It was therefore desirable to see her humbled. But the real intentions of the cabinet are as follows: Spain fancies herself in a position to reject the highly advantageous proposals of France for the sake of joining Holland. England considers it for her interest to side with the Most Christian, under pretence of balancing, but with a view not only to detach the queen mother of Spain from the league, but for the purpose constantly entertained by the king here, of encouraging the Most Christian to wage war against Holland, assisting him, but only so far as circumstances may suggest.
These ulterior intentions are in accordance with the opinions of Lord Arlington, and as Colbert urges the king to declare himself Montagu, on his return to Paris, will announce good intentions. Here in the mean time they are urging France to act in earnest, and not to accept such acts of submission as the Dutch may proffer.
The motives I suggested for Douninghen's mission are confirmed by the letters I have received from the Ambassador Contarini in Spain. As yet accounts from the Hague merely relate the ceremony of Douninghen's entry, nor is there any certainty about the prince of Orange, though in the event of war his partisans, who are paramount in several of the Provinces, will either carry their point or thwart all the measures proposed by the opposite party.
The king and council decided in the next place no longer to pay debts of any kind, so as to have the whole revenue at their disposal. (fn. 6) Four or five of the chief London bankers who have advanced considerable sums to the crown, being thus paralysed, by not paying their debts afford an excuse to others for doing the same. So the mart clamours, being embarrassed by this pilfering and trade will suffer severely.
This is the beginning of the great projects to which I alluded last week and the king by thus beginning in earnest makes it to the interest of his creditors to facilitate a grant from parliament. He encourages those who are zealous for his service not to lose their trade by abandoning him in the midst of debts and difficulties and he compels such as are scrupulous to adapt themselves to a mischance for which there is no remedy. Such is my opinion. If I am wrong I will, in time, acquaint your Serenity with something more authentic.

On the 12th and 19th December I received the ducali and Dodington's letter to Arlington, whom I visited during his convalescence. I found him still weak and he told me frankly that he would not justify the steps which advanced daily, and that he regretted being unable to make them known in London. I replied that on every occasion the republic would prove its favourable bias towards the English and good will for the minister, relying on his improving it daily by his prudent conduct.
Whilst making arrangements with a merchant to send a whole ship load of wheat to Zante I ask your Excellencies to let me know whether I am to promise him the draw back of 5 ducats per miara on the currants which he will lade for his return cargo, that being the basis on which he rests his chief expectation of profit.
London, the 15th January, 1671. [M.V.]
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
148. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Enclose copy of the reply given by the Senate on the matter of the vice consuls. He is to be guided by this. The mind of the English resident should be set at rest by this, indeed he has made very ample declarations to that effect in his office of thanks.
With regard to other matters he is charged to maintain positively the idea that the justice of all the magistrates of the republic is absolutely incorruptible, and to assure the English of their partiality for that nation.
With regard to events at Zante the Senate is writing strongly to the Proveditore General da Mar, as they are determined that all of that nation shall receive the best possible treatment.
Ayes, 114. Noes, 3. Neutral, 5.
[Italian.]
Jan. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
149. To the Proveditore General da Mar.
Enclose copy of a memorial from the English Resident. He is to see that the orders of the Senate are carried out and that the English receive the best possible treatment.
Ayes, 114. Noes, 3. Neutral, 5.
[Italian.]
Jan. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
150. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
An express from the Ambassador Duninghen announces that the Provinces have despatched fresh instructions to the Ambassador Grotius at Paris. But here they consider this a Dutch trick to make believe that they are negotiating with the Most Christian and that consequently, being on the eve of circumventing all the manoeuvres of England, they are not afraid of anything. On the other hand as Pomponne, on his return from Sweden, did not pass through Amsterdam, which was his direct route, the government here infers that by his king's order he avoided a meeting with the Pensionary de Wit, who had full powers from all the Provinces expressly to negotiate and conclude a reconciliation with France. Although to this suspicion must be added the Spanish alliance with Holland, which has upset the French tactics, based on the Catholic's neutrality. England is earnestly intent on keeping the Most Christian in hope that the counsels of the queen mother of Spain will be more prudent than the hostile policy of Monterey. They are making every possible demonstration to convince him of the ready concurrence of this government, lest he listen to the submissive proposals of Holland, and by degrees they are exerting themselves to make the French and Dutch attack each other.
The Provinces have already agreed to elect the prince of Orange for their general, though all his partisans do not advise him as yet to accept the charge, which is offered only for a time and under great restrictions. Neither is it yet known what has been negotiated by Douninghen since the general statement which he made at his first audience.
In the mean time they are awaiting the decision of Spain about the league. We hear that the Ambassador Fresno by virtue of fresh orders, is to go to Brussels, where in fact he now is, and remain there, awaiting, it is said, the arrival of the Rhinegrave and other Dutch deputies. The general opinion of the Flemings is that unless Spain joins the Provinces, they in despair will ally themselves with France and make a joint attack on Flanders, and that Spain, by deserting the Dutch, would cause their over-throw, when her own Provinces would be buried in the ruins.
Extreme curiosity is felt about the decision of Sweden, who seems determined to wait until the last moment in order to take the most suitable and advantageous measures. In the mean time it remains doubtful whether the duke of Neuburg has at length ceded the state of Juliers to France, but a great minister told me that he did not believe the current report that he was already on his way to take possession of it.
I reported last week that the king had suspended all payments, in order that the entire revenue should remain in the exchequer for the expenses of the war and the defence of the country. By declaring that this will be only for a year and that on the expiration of that term he will pay what is due together with 6 per cent. interest, his Majesty gives general satisfaction. As this measure does not suffice to prevent other disorders which it would be too tedious to detail, the Privy Council and his Majesty himself are intent on the relief of the merchants and of commercial grievances.
With regard to trade I have just been informed that the Resident Dodington having sent to Lord Arlington certain articles for insertion in a treaty with your Serenity, they have already been referred for examination to the directors of the Levant Company. (fn. 7) If I am able to discover their substance I will report it before Arlington speaks to me on the subject as I am certain that I shall hear it all from him if he thinks the project feasible and profitable for the parties.
In the confidential manner, habitual with him, Arlington told me he had remarked the infinite prudence of the Senate in its replies to Doddington's last offices and that I might assure your Serenity of the great care that would be taken here not to impair in the least the mutual good understanding. He undertook to acquaint me with whatever took place for the avoidance of misunderstandings. I told him that the sentiments of your Excellencies were all in favour of a good accord and of the advantage of the English nation.
Acknowledges the ducali of the 26th December.
London, the 22nd January, 1671. [M.V.]
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
151. Ottaviano Valier, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Florentine subject who travelled from London to Innsbruck, then to Germany and finally to this city, after several conferences with the Grand Duke, embarked last week at Leghorn on his return to those parts. I have not succeeded in finding out what his business was; possibly he would not risk committing it to paper.
Florence, the 23rd January, 1671. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 26.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
152. The Resident of his Britannic Majesty (fn. 8) came into the Collegio and presented the four memorials below, which were read. Sig. Bernardo, the senior councillor, answered in the absence of the doge that they regretted that an advocate had used improper expressions. It had become an abuse that such persons got away from the essential point with digressions calculated to arouse rancour between the parties and to divert tribunals from just judgments. The Council had recently provided against this by severe decrees, which would no doubt be obeyed. With regard to the other particulars, he might leave the memorials and they would be considered. The resident then said that the injured merchant was there at the door and they might hear from his own lips the particulars of the affair. Sig. Battista Nani, Savio for the week, said You can tell him to wait and he will be heard readily. With that, after the usual reverences, the resident left.
Gio. Battista Nicolosi, secretary.
The First Memorial.
It is distasteful to me to perform unpleasant offices here and so I have delayed until now to present information of divers acts of tyranny violence and oppression experienced by the subjects of my king trading in this state. His Majesty charged me to watch over affairs where his honour and the protection of the persons and property of his subjects were concerned. My reluctance has been overcome by an express command from his Majesty to take certain steps which are painful to me, and I hope to have your Serenity's pardon. I will show these wounds in the gentlest possible manner, and I know that your Serenity will take steps to heal them.
The advocates here, after their kind, permit themselves an insolent licence in the suits between my king's subjects and those of your Serenity, when English merchants are compelled for the verification of their causes to produce in the tribunals attestations under the hand of public notaries of his Majesty. But the advocates condemn these as being without credit, because of the religion of Elizabeth, and on this point the English merchants lose their causes. This happened on the 23rd November in the court of the Twenty Savii from the lips of the Advocate Manenti. The king cannot in justice allow the religion established in his realms to be thus slandered, and I am obliged to demand satisfaction. If evidence sworn on oath coming from England cannot be accepted as valid, the roots of all commerce and intercourse between the subjects of both parties are utterly destroyed. I therefore ask your Serenity to remedy this ruin for the future.
I could not help reporting to the king's Court my offices about the two vice consuls. The consul and I are convinced of the necessity of this affair, especially as he is summoned to go to England before long on public and private affairs. In my king's Court it is considered that in presenting our memorials to your Serenity we have done more than we need, and that we might appoint vice consuls of our own authority, without applying to your Serenity, as they are to serve his Majesty's subjects, whose interests are confided to our charge. But I think I did right in applying though I was astonished to meet with a refusal where I expected recognition of my good intentions. I ask for the confirmation of the vice consuls, as I am commanded to appoint them in any case.
Finally I ask that my king's subjects may be better treated in the future. If your Serenity considers the great advantages which the republic receives from English trade and the very great disadvantages which we suffer from our affairs in your dominions, you will think it reasonable to facilitate trade and console the merchants more than has been done. I venture to assert that the trade of our nation in these dominions is of more profit to the republic than that of France, Spain, Portugal and Holland taken together; but we alone are exposed to constant and unheard-of wrongs. It is true that I have noticed an excellent disposition in the more sound part of the republic, and you have not been wanting to aid us with good and necessary orders, but I am sorry to say that they are never observed.
The Second Memorial.
My king has received petitions from merchants and others who claim that your Serenity owes them considerable sums for services rendered in the late wars, and has directed me to obtain satisfaction. I think I show my moderation in pressing at present for the payment of one only, to wit for the ship Vivian. I shall esteem it a particular favour if orders are issued for payment from the chamber of Zante.
I am also enjoined to ask payment of a debt to Captain Gallileo of the ship Belief. I let this be for the present, but I hope to obtain satisfaction in due course. I am sorry to come before you with such demands, and ask you to pity me and believe that I am most anxious to deserve your good opinion. A further request, as my knowledge of Italian is imperfect. I ask that the answers sent to me may not be couched in generalities, ambiguous and oracular, from which my feeble wit is unable to extract anything of substance, and I beg you to favour me with categoric and specific answers.
The Third Memorial.
My king has charged me to represent the very sad condition of his subjects trading in this dominion, as they have no security for life or goods. At present I will only speak of one case, that of William Pendarvis. In December 1667, he was attacked without any provocation, in the city of Zante by one Constantine Scagno, head of the sbirri of the Proveditore, who had ordered five other persons to kill him. The first blow was aimed at his head. He saved it with his arm, which has been rendered useless. They inflicted other wounds, but providentially he did not die. He brought an action against Scagno, who besought his pardon, confessing several times that he had no quarrel with the merchant, but he had acted at the instigation of another. The merchant, although very good natured, would not abandon the suit, though asked to do so by persons of higher rank. I am moved to present this memorial because the merchant, these last days, has seen Scagno here dressed quite differently from his use, and he fears with good reason that he means to finish what he began, especially during the approaching carnival. The merchant is detained here by his affairs and Scagno is supported by other persons. I ask that this Scagno may be taken into custody as soon as possible and strictly examined as to who set him on, so that both the principal and the accessory may be punished. This Scagno must be well known, as he was head of the sbirri at Zante, and he is now to be seen daily in the piazza here.
I drew up this memorial six weeks ago but delayed presenting it until I had positive orders from the king. I believe the Senate received a copy last week and hear that orders have already been sent to the Proveditore General of the Three Islands to try the matter. But I must observe that it would have been better to commit Scagno to prison at once, to prevent his escaping, as in fact he has done. In any case the proofs shall not be wanting. As the merchant is here I ask you to examine him, and he will tell you the reasons why he thinks the assassination was attempted. I will only add that my king is waiting very anxiously to receive a proof of the sincere regard of your Serenity for him and for justice itself.
The Fourth Memorial.
Asks for two boxes in the theatres of S. Giovanni e Paolo and San Salvadore. Does not care for music, esteem poetry or understand the stage, but merely desires it for the honour of his office, as his predecessor and all the other residents at present at the Court enjoy the favour. (fn. 9)
I, Gio. Paolo Lavezari went yesterday evening to the house of the English resident to read him the Senate's office. His servants told me that he was resting and I could not have audience. I said I would return this morning. I went and he apologised, telling me that he was accustomed to go to bed at one. I read him the office and he had a copy taken by his secretary. He asked me who was the Magistrato grave. I said I did not know. He said he had presented another memorial to which he saw no answer but he would return to the Collegio. After that I took my leave.
Dated the 30th January, 1671. [M.V.]
By order of the Savii that a copy of what the Secretary Alberti writes about an incident at Zante be sent to the Avogadori di Comun with the note enclosed as well as the memorial presented this day by the resident of England on the same subject, with the statement of the merchant named therein, so that they may draw up the process and report the result to the Collegio, for their decision, causing this Scagno to be arrested, if they find him in any way guilty.
Gio. Battista Nicolosi, secretary.
The merchant mentioned in the memorial of the English resident came this day before the Savii. He said I received two wounds at Zante in 1667. The attack came from a public minister. My suspicion of this is founded on 3 particulars (1) the minister claimed that I should pay 60 reals for a ship I was lading and I refused because the Proveditore General Andrea Valier ordered that nothing should be paid. (2) I had arranged to buy currants according to orders from the London company and the minister took it ill because he wanted them for himself. (3) The minister wanted a ship, which brought biscuit and which was at my disposition to lade currants, to send after a Turkish ship which was cruising in those parts. I refused first because my king was at peace with the Turks and second because it was a merchant ship and I was responsible to my principals. The minister sent me word that it would be my ruin. Three days later I received the wounds from the chief of the sbirri and the other five, about midday and some thirty paces from my house. The chief is named Scagno and three days ago I saw him in this city.
Gio. Battista Nicolosi, secretary.
[Italian.]
Jan. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
153. Carlo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The earl of Sunderland, ambassador extraordinary of his Britannic Majesty to the king here, a short time after his arrival agitated for his reception in the country by the introducer of ambassadors. This was agreed and carried out with the customary formalities. He went afterwards to the quarters prepared for him in the house destined for such functions, where the ambassador of France also was entertained. At the same time Mons. Godolphin, who has been staying at this Court over three years as envoy of his Britannic Majesty, disclosed himself in the character of ambassador. Each of them sent a gentleman to this house of your Serenity to inform me, the one of his arrival and the other of his new character. I replied with suitable promptitude to both offices and went by previous appointment to see the extraordinary while he was still enjoying the royal hospitality. I assured his Excellency of the regard of the most serene republic for the British crown which had been from of old and always cultivated without the smallest shadow to disturb it. In short I sought to impress him, as the first minister of that crown to this Court since I came, with the perfect correspondence between the two powers and from his reply I think that I succeeded in doing so.
He returned the visit within two days. I also went to visit Mons. Godolphin, endeavouring to confine my office strictly to the occasion; to which he made a most courteous reply. Both visits were private because they are not receiving before March next, as the earl is waiting for his equipment while the ordinary is expecting a quantity of furnishings to be presented to their Majesties with due public ceremony. They have nevertheless fulfilled the formalities privately immediately after the entry of the extraordinary, proceeding together to the royal audience and each one handing in the credentials proper to his character. The Ambassador Godolphin has been informed that he will no longer enjoy either the king's coach or the assignment for the house which were accorded to him before, by virtue of the new decree which I reported at the time. This is now definitely established having been put in practice with the French minister and with these two of England.
With respect to your Serenity's commands in the ducali of the 19th ult. about the part which may be taken by this government about the open attack made by the Most Christian against Holland, I can only ask the Senate to consider how greatly the complicated policies of the foremost powers of Europe exceed my own inexperience and lack of capacity, where greater skill might possibly be able to speak with more assurance. I may say that if the statements of the French minister about the intentions and aims of England, so contrary to the accounts which the government had from that Court, were heard with amazement, a much greater sensation has been caused by those set forth by these same ministers, not so much for their contrary as for their dissimilar tenor.
The earl of Sunderland, on going to visit the count of Pegnoranda, who has been appointed by the regent to confer with him and set forth his charges and commissions, made him acquainted in a few short sentences with the reasons which had led his master to a fresh war with Holland. He alleged the failure to observe agreements, the insults against the honour of the English nation which were allowed to circulate in public prints. His country was therefore obliged to take this up and to answer the insults of the pen with the sword. He believed that his Catholic Majesty was willing to maintain a good understanding with the British crown and respond to the sincere friendship which he professed to have been vouched by recent and very active proofs.
The ordinary spoke in a more temperate fashion. He spoke of the indifference which England proposes to observe in the action taken by France against the United Provinces. That country had sustained very serious commitments against Holland assisted by France, though, as is well known, only nominally, and by Denmark. But it had been called upon to bear grave domestic misfortunes and now his Majesty had no other thought than the preservation of the peace, saving only the consideration of his reputation and honour.
Although the explanations do not agree it seems at all events that the intention of England may be considered quite settled and determined, to exact from Holland the execution of the compacts entered upon or else to use force to that end making the storm which now threatens that government a pretext for not going to that extreme at present, as being inopportune. It seems most probable that the States will agree to just and honourable conditions in order to minimise the assault and above all to relieve themselves of attack by sea, which might cause them so much distress.
With all the discrepancies asserted by the ministers of the government and of the Most Christian about the intentions and aims of the British king it seems possible to reconcile them since this declaration, which constitutes an open and independent attack upon Holland, is made in conjunction with France in making their interests common with hers with a reciprocal treaty and a common obligation. All the same the assertions of the count of Molina remain valid when he reported to the regency that the English were not united or allied with France for the hurt of Holland.
Such are the speculations of those who try to clear up a situation so confused. Even the most skilled might wear out their minds over it and leave it to the sincere judgment of time. Amid contingencies of such urgency and of so great consequence the deliberations of the ministers here are in a state of perplexity. If Holland is attacked by a double invasion its situation will obviously be most desperate, and it would seem that there is more danger of being drawn into the whirlpool with them and being exposed to a common destruction than any likelihood of saving them and lessening their fall.
The marquis of Villars (fn. 10) on the other hand announces publicly that if the government does not choose to declare itself neutral in the irrevocable attack of his master against Holland and unite itself with the same, he will confine himself solely to the defensive in France and will carry the full weight of his arms against the Catholic states in that province. That he is at perfect liberty to choose either war or peace. He has also told a leading minister of the government that he does not ask for an answer to the proposal of neutrality which he has already made if they do not wish to adhere to the alliance since he supposes that they are attending to that through the minister of England. It is stated publicly that a treaty of alliance and of mutual defence has been signed between the governor Monterei and the United Provinces.
Madrid, the 27th January, 1672.
[Italian.]
Jan. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
154. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Enclose copy of a memorial from the English resident and of the reply given to him. He will note the improper and ill adjusted form of the memorial. He is to take an opportunity to see the Secretary Arlington and to give him a hint, as coming from the secretary, about the mischievous disposition and evil inclination of this minister which induce him to carry out the king's commissions in such a curt fashion (con si tronchi modi), in order that he may not find a ready credence or make sinister reports. He can take occasion to speak of the desire of the republic for perfect correspondence with that crown and of its care that subjects of that nation shall receive the best possible treatment. He can also refer to the misrepresentations of the resident about the vice consul, of the readiness of the Signory to listen to his instances, of their having sent strong orders to the Proveditore General da Mar at the first news of the incidents at Zante; all to show the goodwill of the republic and the lack of right feeling on the part of the resident. (fn. 11)
Ayes, 117. Noes, 1. Neutral, 11.
[Italian.]
Jan. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
155. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Council has been considering whether, as Holland is disposed more than ever to make concessions to France, and as Spain is undecided about an alliance with the United Provinces, it would be to the interest of England to exchange her compact with France to be neutral for an open offensive and defensive alliance with the Most Christian, so that he, being sure of greater progress, may prefer it to the Dutch proposals and no longer be prevented from inflicting that chastisement which is so earnestly desired for the restless Provinces, who have thwarted the peace in northern Europe and who alone dispute the greatness of the English realm.
In the mean time Colbert's son, the marquis of Segnelay, has arrived from France, who together with his uncle, the ambassador, so prevailed on the king and Council that it is already agreed that the duke of York shall put to sea with sixty men of war, assisted by Vice Admiral the earl of Sandwich and a number of other gentlemen volunteers, who are all getting ready for next March. A regiment of infantry is also to be sent to France under the command of the duke of Monmouth, and they talk about a cavalry regiment as well. I cannot vouch for more as the decision was only made last evening and I have not had time to acquaint myself thoroughly with the details. This additional burden will weigh heavily on Holland and perhaps deter Spain from joining with the United Provinces at this crisis since it is not probable that she would choose to expose Flanders to inevitable war immediately, for the prevention of the perilous hostilities to which the Spanish Netherlands would be exposed if the United Provinces were destroyed for lack of a bulwark, the formation of which is impossible.
This evening the ministry is sending off duplicates of instructions to this effect, to Sunderland at Madrid, insinuating that when once Spain joins the Dutch, instead of waging war on France they will make their bargain and an alliance as well, more advantageously with her, whereas at present they alone will have to bear the brunt of French aggression, for which, in the course of time, a remedy would be devised to prevent the destruction of their republic.
The fear on this side is that Spain, by joining Holland, will not only compel the king to ally himself with France in earnest, but also that the Most Christian, anticipating war with Spain and that he may also have to send money to England, whereas he only intended to attack the United Provinces, may now suddenly accept all their terms and by changing sides throw everything into confusion. So the English government will do its utmost to keep him in hopes of certain victory over Holland.

A few days ago the Ambassador Borel had a long audience of the king, with whom he left a diffuse memorial containing representations to the effect that as the States had drawn upon themselves the hatred of France by joining the alliance and supporting it, England ought to uphold them as she had been the chief cause of it. He employed other arguments to show that the king's honour and interest were concerned to pledge himself to their defence and maintenance. He has not as yet received any reply, neither have the Provinces answered a long memorial presented to them by Deueninghen. It seems that to justify themselves they have recourse to verbal quibbles, which are not yet quite intelligible nor will they ever reach an understanding in that way.
In Holland they also talk of sending an ambassador here, but it is known for certain that the Provinces are in confusion about the election of the prince of Orange; Holland and Zeeland having proposed him solely for the present occasion, whereas all the others insist on his being elected for life and that he be also appointed Admiral at sea. But as de Wit has declared openly that he will oppose this to the last, the arrangement will not prove so easy and in the mean time England wishes Orange to accept the post temporarily, as he might demand it for life later on.
The deputies who were to go from Holland to meet the Spanish ambassador del Fresno at Brussels, had not yet departed, (fn. 12) although Fresno has given orders for his reception in London; but Southwell, who has come back from Flanders, reports that the Governor Monterey is personally inclined to take part with the Dutch and has pledged himself accordingly to the subjects of his Catholic Majesty and to the neighbouring princes.
News has been received from Spain of the peace concluded by Admiral Spraght with the Algerines, and when the true details are known they shall be forwarded. I may add that the duke of York has told me that Captain Ginings who commanded the Princess frigate, has been sentenced to one year's imprisonment by a court martial, for disobedience, being dismissed the service and deprived of his sword for ever. (fn. 13) It now remains for the duke, as Vice Admiral, to punish him further for his other misdemeanours committed within the Strait. He alluded to the wrong done to the Venetian ship, but having no instructions from your Serenity I confined myself to generalities. I believe that the French ambassador will not insist on his punishment either. although Ginings compelled a French frigate to enter a port in Sicily and leave a cargo of grain there, at his own price and with a mere promise of payment.
I have also obeyed the orders concerning grain, repeated in the ducali of the 2nd January, for without committing myself to anything I continue to encourage the merchants to make shipments. With regard to the drawback on the currant duty, the state will take its own measures. I have not promised them anything or held out the smallest hope of the exemption.
London, the 29th January, 1671. [M.V.]
Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
156. That the following be sent this evening to be read to the Resident of England by a notary of the ducal chancery: (fn. 14)
Order had been sent before your application to us, to the Proveditore General at sea to form a vigorous process on the alleged offences against the merchant Pendarvis at Zante, but understanding that he is now here and that you wish the process to go on here also we have directed the Avogadori di Comun to prosecute the same and bring it to perfection so that the guilty may be punished, thus confirming our desire that your nation should receive all manner of good usage.
We understand that the consul may have occasion to be absent from the city for some time, so for the convenience of traders you may name whom you think fit to supply his place, and he shall be received.
We heard with great displeasure of the licentious expressions used by the advocate in the cause against the Englishman, and have referred the matter to the magistrate to whom it pertains to consider what steps to take to punish the offender and to prevent similar absurdities in the future, though it is not proper to influence the judges who administer justice to all, impartially.
Concerning the credits of the ship Vivian we have now under consideration the matters relating to the late war, which are in a confused irregularity, howbeit we will in due time satisfy all of them as is reasonable.
Ayes, 117. Noes, 1. Neutral, 10.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 An act of alliance between Charles II, King of Spain, and the United Provinces for mutual succour. Printed in Dumont: Corps Diplomatique, Vol. vii, pt. i, pp. 155–6.
2 The letter of the States General to the king of France of 10 December, 1671, is printed in Le Clerc: Hist. des Provinces Unies., Vol. III, p. 259. It was not presented by Grotius until the 4th January and the king gave his answer on the 6th. Ibid., p. 260. Although these things had not happened when he wrote, Alberti expected that the news would reach Venice before his letter.
3 Bernardino Guasconi, a native of Florence, naturalised in England in 1661 as Sir Bernard Gascoigne.
4 Cosimo visited England in the spring of 1669, when he was merely prince of Tuscany, and was treated with great distinction. His stay lasted for three months. See the preceding volume of this Calendar, pp. 39, 53, 66.
5 In the draft credentials Sunderland and Godolphin were appointed to act jointly as ambassadors. S.P. Spain, Vol. lix. See also the copy of the ambassadors' first speech to the queen dated Jan. 6/16, 1672. Ibid.
6 The order in Council suspending payments from the exchequer was issued on Tuesday, 2nd January, o.s., and published in the London Gazette of Jan. 4–8.
7 In a letter from the Company to Dodington of 8 Dec. 1671 they say: “By our last of 5 Oct. we told you that we had received from Lord Arlington a copy of your proposals relating to a treaty of commerce with the republic of Venice, which being nearly considered was returned back to his lp. with some observations thereupon.” Levant Co., Letter Book, S.P. For. Archives, Vol. cxiii, f. 295.
8 Dodington gives an account of this office in his despatch to Arlington of 29 January. S.P. Venice, Vol. li, f. 23. He writes: “I hope, in all these memorials your lordship will observe a constant and even demeanour on my part so as I may maintain H.M.'s honor and justice and yet not exasperate or offend these lords. To do these two things well requireth much care. … It hath been my aim to study to hit the middle-way; the extreme one I can fall into at any time when there is reason to warrant it.”
9 The full text of these memorials, in English, is preserved at the Public Record Office, S.P. Venice, Vol. li, ff. 33, 37, 27, 39, following the order in which they appear here. With regard to the third memorial, Dodington was somewhat uneasy in his mind. In his despatch of 15 January he wrote: “I have told you how hard I was put to it to force Proveditore Bernardo to refund the 250 chekeens to poor Mr. Pendarvis, i.e. I was constrained to tell a lie for him and say I had particular orders from H.M. to complain by name. Now H.M.'s letter gives me direction to complain of the many injustices towards Mr. Pendarvis but specifies none; so I conceive I have done nothing but what is just. Howbeit Sig. Pietro Mocenigo threatens he will have out of the office a copy of H.M.'s letter of 8 March to the republic as well as to me, to see if I have exceeded my commission; but I hope the resident of the republic hath not so much interest as to have copies of such things on every occasion”: Ibid., fol. 11.
10 Pierre, marquis de Villars, French ambassador extraordinary, sent about the Gremonville incident and to complain about Monterey. He arrived at Madrid on 23 November. Morel-Fatio: Recueil des Instructions, etc., Espagne. Vol. i, p. 267,
11 In his despatch of 1 January, n.s., Dodington wrote: A man of the best degree among the Venetian citizens here was with me this week from one of the Senate to expostulate with me touching the many complaints sent into England against the magistrates and officers of the republic … which is more than what ever was practised and no such noise made of it as of late … and that the complaints I made here were the products of my own dissatisfactions and not pursuant to any particular directions from the Court … so as he gave it to me, by way of advice, to sit still and let things take their course, adding I should find more quiet and respect here by so doing. I replied briskly to him, It was true I did represent to the Court many, not all the grievances of our nation, and how I did not conceive H.M. placed me here to betray his honour and the interests of his subjects.… In the mean time I find I stand on slippery ground unless your lp.'s powerful hand support me. S.P. Venice, Vol. 1, f. 229.
12 They were the Rheingrave, Cornelis de Witt and the sieur de Vryberghen, who left the Hague on the 20th January. Relations Veritables, Brussels, 27th January, 1672. Bulstrode, the agent at Brussels, who notes their arrival, substitutes Beuering (sic) for Vryberghen. Bulstrode and Williamson, 27th January, 1672. S.P. Flanders, Vol. xl.
13 Sir William Jennings, sentenced by a Court Martial held on 23 Dec, o.s., on board the Monmouth near Deptford, Sir George Ayscue presiding. He was dismissed the service and sentenced to imprisonment for a year and a day in the Marshalsea. His offence was taking his wife with him on his last voyage in the Mediterranean, from Cadiz and back to England, contrary to express orders from the duke of York. The case of the French ship was not dealt with by the Court, who considered it beyond their powers. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1671–2, pp. 41–2. According to Salvetti Antelminelli it was “dopo molte ingiustizie, piraterie e malfatti provati per piu testimonii contro di lui.” Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 T, f. 257.
14 There are copies of this paper in S.P. Venice, Vol. li, ff. 58–62, both in English and Italian.