Venice
April 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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187-204

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'Venice: April 1672', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 37: 1671-1672 (1939), pp. 187-204. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90321 Date accessed: 30 October 2014.


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April 1672

April 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
186. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Monday last I reported the successful encounter with the Dutch. It has since been ascertained by the examination of Dutch prisoners that the Dutch men of war were eight not six in number, and that the merchant fleet consisted of 60 sail, having been joined by some salt vessels which put off from Portugal. Several flutes have now arrived from the Texel. Some of these bring word that the flag ship had been so riddled with shot that it went to the bottom as soon as it reached port. They all confirm the report that the English ships and property which had been seized were sold in accordance with an order issued by the States before they heard of the encounter with Holmes. They may possibly seek to justify their action by alleging the seizure here of a small Dutch vessel, though this is confuted by the king's explicit declaration to Merman that by these means he only sought to compel the States to give him satisfaction, before having recourse to the final remedy, and enforcing it by open war, and for the rest the Dutch ships would merely be detained in safety as a security.
This act of violence of the Dutch would have caused the declaration of war even if it had not been already proclaimed. I now send the document. A general fast has also been ordered by the king for next Wednesday, to be observed by all, to implore the divine assistance.
The Senate will notice that the king avoids acquainting the public with Merman's negotiations, to stifle any talk about carte blanche, nor does he say a word about the late encounter. I suspect that although he declared that the Dutch refused the salute, Holmes is unable to bear this out and I believe he went into action by virtue of instructions to stop all Dutch ships.
Your Serenity will also ponder the last article of the declaration of war, guaranteeing the observance of the peace of Aix la Chapelle, a clause inserted for the benefit of the Spaniards. The duke of York told me that his Majesty considered the interests of the Catholic as identical with his own, and if they would not believe this the queen of Spain would experience the contrary. He added that she had been misinformed about the king's inability to make war and that the Spanish ambassador was astonished to see the authority assumed by the king both with regard to the war and to the religion of the country, having been impressed otherwise by certain persons, alluding to Ognate and Fonseca, the Spanish consul, who, I know, repent of what they wrote to Spain, urging the dangerous alliance with Holland, and giving false notions to Fresno, who will earn scant praise for his tardy announcement of the intrepidity of the English ministry, whereas he ought rather to have advised the queen to adapt herself to circumstances and seek counsel from time instead of applying so extreme a remedy as war. It is not yet known whether England will wage it with her by sea as she certainly will by land, as Monterey is steadily committing himself more deeply to the Dutch.
The liberty of conscience as granted by the king is not yet so well digested as to warrant a detailed account of the matter, but referring to what I have written about the government I now add that his Majesty proposes to rule absolutely, in earnest, giving satisfaction to loyal subjects and crushing such as are restless. By assembling parliament in October, before disarming, he will compel the country to pay the expenses of the war and to increase the money grants, disposing men's minds to obedience by all these authoritative means, and advancing the royal prerogative daily.

London, the 1st April, 1672.
Postscript: I have just heard that the Dutch ambassador Merman has asked for and received his audience of congé. Borel still remains here in London.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.187. Declaration of his Majesty against the States General of the United Provinces. (fn. 1)
[Printed pamphlet and Italian translation.]
April 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
188. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday last there arrived here from Holland narratives, printed pamphlets and endless accounts of the joy of the Dutch over the return of the fleet. The United Provinces endeavour by partisan accounts not only to hearten their own subjects but to mislead all quarters about the truth of the encounter; but they will fail to deceive your Excellencies. The report of the loss of the Dutch flagship in the Texel is not confirmed. With regard to the English fleet, the king and the duke of York having gone to Sernes to inspect it, I accompanied his Majesty and saw the ships come into port to repair the damages sustained in action. Although quite sufficient to prove the courage of the commanders, it can easily be put to rights, the sails and rigging having suffered the most. The flagship, the St. Michael of 90 guns, a second rate, received more cannon shots than the others, and but few men were killed. The survivors are consoled with the prizes, and as the king has assigned to them a tenth, there will henceforth be no confusion about booty.
The fitting out of sixty large ships is being hastened and a number of frigates are expected from various Channel ports, all of which will be ready, it is expected, in a fortnight, though it is not yet known when the duke of York means to embark.
The Ambassador Merman, having obtained a yacht for his passage to Holland, departed, after seeing Douninghen released from the Tower. (fn. 2) Borel remains here as the representative of the States, according to the fashion adopted by them last time.
Last week I reported the duke of York's ideas about Spanish affairs. I find them confirmed, as I have been told in confidence that the king, from his extreme zeal for the interests of the king of Spain in his minority, will not abandon him in the face of the world, although the queen mother makes a bad return for what he has done since his own restoration, for example by his share in the peace of Aix la Chapelle, his good advice and good offices for its maintenance, avoiding the perilous measures suggested by Holland and delaying the attempts of France. Having allied himself with the Most Christian to stay the indiscreet proceedings of Holland, he had wished to render Spain a party to these confidential relations, although he might well have allowed the queen to take her chance. But seeing her kindle inadvertently a general conflagration amongst the powers, which it would be difficult to extinguish when once all of them were embarrassed with their own wars, he chose to burden himself with the interests of Spain and of Christendom. He had again declared to the Most Christian his object not to disturb the peace of Christendom, warning him not to attack Spain if she merely succoured Holland, and to abstain from hostilities and offensive war.
I am told that these proposals did not please Colbert, but after mature consideration he thought it undesirable for the Most Christian to undertake two wars at once, as possibly the French mean to invent pretexts for an attack on the spur of the moment, when they find it convenient. Fresno seems satisfied with this, admitting that for the mere benefit of Spain England could not lose the present opportunity for obtaining satisfaction from Holland by means of French money and assisted by
150,000 of her soldiers. I am not acquainted with the Most Christian's reply, but this morning an express arrived from Paris and a few hours later the marquis of Blancfort, a Frenchman but captain of the duke of York's guards, who has been in France to obtain a regiment. (fn. 3) The decisions arrived at will very soon be known and thereon depend the most important events of Christendom.
London, the 4th April, 1672.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 4.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
189. The ambassador of his Catholic Majesty came into the Collegio and gave the following papers to show the proposals made to his queen by the ambassadors of France and England, and the replies given.
Paolo de Garzoni, secretary.
The earl of Sunderland and William Godolphin, English ambassadors, to the Count of Pignoranda.
At the end of the meeting yesterday your Excellency asked us to put in writing that we have asked that if the efforts of our king with the count of Monterey prove so fruitless that a new treaty is concluded on behalf of this crown with the States General, which you assure us had not come to the knowledge of this Court, her Majesty will not ratify the treaty until we have time to inform her Majesty of the things which our king has imposed upon us, and that her Majesty deputes you to deal with the affairs of our embassy.
Madrid, the 23rd January, 1672. Copy.
Letter written to the Count of Pignoranda by the English ambassadors. Our king endured for a long time the insolence of the States General upon different points of the last treaties with them, and this has been aggravated by their offensive attitude to him personally. He dissimulated all this merely to avoid upsetting the triple alliance. But he sees these insults constantly increasing, and despairing of obtaining due satisfaction he has decided to right himself by arms, and has induced the Most Christian king, who has also experienced their insolence, to assist him in this war against them. Before coming to this decision he considered himself obliged not to take action until he had so arranged for the security of the peace between Spain and France and of such advantages for the crown of Spain, as should prove his consideration for the interests of that monarchy. This is, that his Catholic Majesty shall joint with him and the Most Christian in the war, when all the conquests of the Spanish army on their own borders shall remain for ever the property of the Catholic king, and any places taken by the Most Christian will be exchanged against others less important for his Catholic Majesty. If her Majesty will not agree to this we are to ask her to maintain the same neutrality as was observed during the last war between our king and the States General. If she enters the alliance or remains neutral our king promises that she shall obtain from the Most Christian the most advantageous conditions possible for the observance of the peace between Spain and France during the king's minority, and the disputes about Linck, Condé, the dykes and Nieuport will be settled to the satisfaction of both parties, for all which my king will enter into a guarantee with the king of Sweden. A reply is asked as soon as possible.
Dated 26 January, 1672. Copy.
Don Diego della Torre to the Count of Pignoranda.
In reply to the proposals of the English ambassadors her Majesty appreciates the offers for the maintenance of the peace with France, but she cannot refrain from saying that the safest and easiest way not to disturb the peace is not to break it with the Dutch, since from their proximity, the Spanish dominions cannot help suffering from the evils of war, and all Europe will be involved, as once the fire is kindled it is impossible to prescribe limits. His Britannic Majesty was one who prudently foresaw this peril in the future, and to prevent it he arranged the triple alliance amid general approval, in which the Dutch and Sweden joined with him to guarantee the peace of Aix la Chapelle. Her Majesty cannot but hear with surprise that he means to make war on his own ally, joining the Most Christian for this, who was the motive for the formation of the triple alliance. She also understood that his Majesty knowing this well, should ever doubt that the friendship with the Dutch could ever be suspect to him, or that they ever thought of anything but the maintenance of this solemn treaty, attending only to the preservation of the peace and their own security. She will stand firmly by these aims without going beyond the terms prescribed in the peaces, availing herself of the powers allowed, but striving rather to pacify than to inflame, as she puts nothing before a contribution to the public peace, putting this before her own interests at the peace of Aix la Chapelle, at considerable loss. She will persist in this course believing it to be the chief obligation of her administration during the king's minority.
Believing that his Britannic Majesty is governed by the same considerations, being so just and a friend of peace, and especially being pledged to the triple alliance, she believes that he will lay aside the rancour he displays against the Dutch in the hope of adequate satisfaction, for which she offers her mediation, in the desire of composing these differences amicably without coming to war. She will undertake to give fresh information to the triple alliance as his Majesty asks, to avoid the injury of war which, once started, cannot be stopped and must touch every one, more or less. I send this so that you may perform this office with the ambassadors.
Dated the 8th February, 1672. Copy.
Paper given by the English ambassadors to the Count of Pignoranda. (fn. 4)
We appreciate the zeal of her Majesty for the general quiet, to which our king has contributed so much and sacrificed his interests and those of his subjects for so long, but we are surprised that after making complaint of insults and violation of the treaties by which the States General have provoked the king to make war, and proposed that this crown should at least declare itself neutral, your Excellency has only failed to express any indignation at this treatment of a close ally, but has not even given any direct answer about neutrality, thus giving cause for suspicion that the treaty concluded at the Hague, against which we protested and now repeat the protest, pledged this crown to afford assistance to the States General during our differences with them, and so uphold them in their pride and injustice which has caused so much trouble in Christendom. The consequences of this we cannot mention without horror, as we have orders to inform her Majesty that they will inevitably involve the two crowns in a war which must needs be fatal to both and most distressing to our king.
To avoid the great misfortune which the slightest misunderstanding between England and Spain would be, we ask her Majesty to reconsider this matter seriously, and if she will not join our king and France that she will at least remain neutral, which will be the clearest evidence of the pacific intentions which she professes, and confirm the renown which her administration has earned.
Madrid, the 14th February, 1672. Copy.
Don Diego della Torre to the Count of Pignoranda.
With respect to the paper given to you by the English ambassadors her Majesty wishes you to say to them how far she considers it from the true interests of England to mix in alien quarrels for the benefit of France, when the English can look for nothing from such a course but the loss of their trade, in which consists the chief felicity of that people. At the first shots fired by them all trade with these realms will be for bidden to England, and they may consider how much perturbation that will cause among the subjects of their king.
He is to express astonishment at the pretension of the ambassadors that she may not assist her allies, seeing how their king and France acted directly contrary to the peace of the Pyrenées in succouring Portugal, which did not lead to a rupture with either crown. If the contest was between the English and Dutch alone she might stand aside, but as the French have declared against the latter, this is not possible, even if she only helps by defending her ally against the French. This is permitted her by the treaties. Even if she does what is possible to prevent a war, it is more reasonable to favour the one who does not seek it and is only considering his own defence, than to encourage those who disturb the public peace. She is greatly surprised that at a time when treaties for a union of blood were being proposed, which she heard with so such pleasure, and did her best to forward, demands so different from expectation should be heard. She desires nothing more steadfastly than the continuation of friendship with their king and will persevere with it if she is not obliged to break it off by unjust pretensions, betraying herself, her authority and her allies to make war at a time when she is only thinking of preserving the peace. The king of England will doubtless recognise the true reason for this statement by which the queen desires to justify her action before the world, and he should be satisfied with the answer which in substance is the same as the first, and he should apply all his efforts to maintain the triple alliance and preserve the peace, as he who first provokes the rupture will be answerable for the consequences. To this end she renews her offer of mediation, desiring that the Dutch shall give him every reasonable satisfaction, and she has directed the Marquis del Fresne to offer this, and if special ministers are required for this, she will send them immediately her offer is accepted.
Madrid, the 23rd February, 1672. Copy.
Sheet delivered by the Marquis de Villars, ambassador extraordinary of France, to the Marquis della Fuente.
Notification, that by virtue of a treaty with the elector of Cologne troops have been sent by his king to that place, to prevent the Dutch from introducing a larger number of troops into that city, and that a gentleman had been sent to the Count of Monterei to inform him of this; and further that if any one helps the Dutch to introduce troops after this declaration, the king will take the side of the elector.
Dated the 20th January, 1672.
Paper handed by the Marquis Villars to the Marquis della Fuente on the same date.
Concerning the proposal for an alliance against the Dutch or neutrality and the king's claims to Lintz, Condé and the dykes, to be referred to the ambassadors of England and Sweden.
Letter from Don Diego della Torre to the Marquis della Fuente.
To inform Villars that the queen's chief desire is the maintenance of peace. She supposes that the king is animated by similar sentiments. She therefore offers her mediation for the settlement of his differences with the Dutch, promising that every reasonable satisfaction will be given to him.
Dated at Madrid, the 8th February, 1672.
[Italian.]
April 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
190. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It would be essential to know what arrangements have been settled between England and France and what division of the spoil they will claim respectively in the event of their making considerable conquests and if their initial moves meet with success. This secret cannot be penetrated and I feel sure that many are going upon guesswork while many utter the reflections of their politics. All that can be said at the present moment is that there is no single person apart from those interested and ministers of state who is in a position to give any account of it or who has the power to be a partaker in this secret.
Paris, the 5th April, 1672.
[Italian.]
April 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
191. Carlo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I have information that the British ambassadors in the delayed reply from London to the sentiments expressed by the government here consider with the first advices that they are commanded to leave. In the mean time, it having seemed to them that the reply given to them cast reflections upon the prudence and direction of the king, their master and almost amounted to an imputation that he was not seeking the interest and greater advantage of his subjects, they have considered that it is incumbent upon them to reply that they are mistaken here in their conception of the situation. They announce on the contrary that his Majesty's resolutions are justified and approved by the unanimous consent of the people. There is no sign here of their making any alteration in their answer and everything points to their determination to stand by the alliance with Holland.
Madrid, the 6th April, 1672.
[Italian.]
April 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
192. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
War against Holland was proclaimed yesterday at all the usual places in London, to the sound of the trumpet, the heralds and other officials attending. There were crowds of people who being aware of the causes, through the declaration reported, approved of the step, blessing his Majesty with one accord and willingly sacrificing all commercial considerations for the sake of the honour and glory of the country. The help of the Almighty having already been implored at a general fast, the manning of the fleet proceeds rapidly. Sailors are being pressed according to law; they are compelled to serve at sea without it being necessary to have recourse to the tedious process of recruitment, and at no cost. (fn. 5)
The duke of York's heavy baggage is already on board the Prince, of which he will take the command and, according to a report in circulation to day, put to sea with the fleet on the 27th of this month. (fn. 6)
The Ambassador Merman has again set sail after having been driven back into port by a contrary wind. It now seems that Borel also means to retire from London, but he has not yet asked audience of leave.
His Majesty's men of war, during the last few days, have captured four Dutch vessels, one of which had a valuable cargo of various goods from Portugal. The others were freighted with wine, of little value; but as the persons concerned in the Indian trade are afraid of accidents, they write from Amsterdam that merchandise is decreasing in value and that the condition of firms there is growing worse daily.
Since the arrival of the express from Paris, the French ambassador has had several conferences with the ministers, and last evening he sent him back. His instructions are a secret, though I believe they relate to important military movements.
I reported the glorious object of England at this crisis to obtain peace for Spain, lest that of all Christendom should be broken. If she succeeds, with so much combustible material about, great will be her merit since it is evident that the beauty of the Low countries entices the Most Christian. It is also too apparent that the hope of recovering what has been lost encourages Monterey to proceed resolutely. All these motives and passions may hurry both parties towards a rupture. Your Excellencies will have heard of the seizure at Namur, by Monterey's order of the provisions destined for the French. This led to complaints from the Most Christian to the Ambassador Molina who has written to Spain, and it is hoped here that he will receive some fresh instructions. After so many efforts the English ministers sigh for peace between the crowns, in order to provide for the present emergency more easily.
The Ambassador Coventry writes from Sweden that he is at last satisfied by having persuaded the ministry there. It is believed here that they consent to be neutral, advices to this effect having been sent similarly to the Court of France.
On Monday next all the officers of the duke of Monmouth's regiment depart for France. He himself intends to follow them at Easter, that he may be present at the departure of the Most Christian king.
London, the 8th April, 1672.
[Italian.]
April 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
193. Giovanni Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Council here is examining from every point of view the proposed marriage between the duke of York and the archduchess of Inspruch. I find that the Catholic ambassador is eager to gather advantages for the monarchy from this business and that he is pressing it strongly upon this government. Cavalier Guasconi, the British envoy, will arrive here in a few days after having presented the intimations prescribed to him, at Insbruch, for the same end. The archduchess mother is submitting with blind obedience every decision to the will of Caesar and the outcome of the whole business will be what proves most in accordance with the convenience of this Court.
Vienna, the 9th April, 1672.
[Italian.]
April 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zante.
Venetian
Archives.
194. Ottavian Pisani, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Distress in the island because of the small number of ships that come to fetch currants. Some ships have arrived recently, so that of a stock of about four millions in the island it is calculated that about 1,300,000 are left. In past years they have sold at 30 to 40 reals or more. The price this year is reduced to 25 reals, involving a notable loss to those interested and to the whole island, because of the scarcity of wheat. Other ships are coming for currants and it is hoped that the rest of the stock may be disposed of.
Zante, the 12th April, 1672.
[Italian.]
April 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
195. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Most Christian's declaration of war against Holland has been received express by Colbert, and the king is as yet perfectly satisfied with the well regulated progress of the arrangements made reciprocally on behalf of the two countries. Colbert also gives good news about the fitting out of the French fleet. This is confirmed by the Cavalier Digby, (fn. 7) who having been sent hither adds that the men of war will number 40 not 30, all well manned.
Four days ago the duke of York went a second time by the river to Chatham to inspect the fleet, which is being fitted out. He will not return before next week, nothing more positive being known about the date when he will put to sea.
The king has informed the Dutch ambassador that now war is declared he is quite at liberty to return to Holland; but Borel does not stir, although the master of the ceremonies made the announcement to him six days ago.
A confused account has arrived of the capture by the English of two other Dutch vessels, one very richly laden, on its homeward voyage from the Indies. While awaiting confirmation of this news it is known for certain that a number of privateers have put to sea from the ports of Zeeland, and will infest the Channel until the fleet goes out. To secure himself against them the duke of Monmouth has obtained convoy from three men of war, (fn. 8) who will see him and his attendants safe to Calais, from whence he proposes to ride post to Dieppe to inspect his regiment and thence to Paris to be there in time for the royal march. He has not completed his regiment to its full number of 2,400 men, having still to raise 300, whereas the king easily obtained recruits for two supernumerary infantry regiments, because the men will have the advantage of remaining in England.
The Spanish ambassador is preparing in haste for his public entry, and at great cost. It is not yet quite settled whether the ceremony will take place next Wednesday, but the fact that he has proceeded thus far makes me believe that the half measure I mentioned is adopted, to wit that unless Monterey wages open war, France will not attack Flanders for the mere succour given by him to Holland. It remains to make suitable arrangements for the passage of the numerous French forces through Spanish territory, which might be accompanied by great risk of dispute.
In obedience to the ducali of the 22nd and 27th February I will urge the English consul on his return to say how much partiality is shown by the republic to his countrymen, and also to inform the government of the orders given for the price of currants. I will also cultivate the excellent disposition shown by the duke of York for the better treatment of Venetian subjects at sea.
London, the 15th April, 1672.
[Italian.]
April 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
196. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Captain Galileo has experienced the effects of the public goodwill, as a sum of money has been put to his credit and measures have been taken to ensure that he shall receive complete satisfaction. This is for information in case the matter is discussed. Approval of his going into mourning for the daughter of France.
Ayes, 134. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
April 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
197. Carlo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Some small stir has been caused by the sight of the arms of the British crown which the English ambassador has displayed four months and more after his arrival over his door. They make conjectures without fully understanding what may be the reasons which restrain their king from granting them leave to go or their permanence here. The reports that issue from the embassy show the uncertainty that reigns.
Although many contend that the marriage between the duke of Jorch and the archduchess of Ispruch has been arranged because of the favourable replies that have come from Germany to the representations which his Majesty caused to be made there, yet in such a short space of time one may fear that there remain some small details for its perfection. If one can credit the asseverations of the Father Rector of London, who has conducted the business, there is no doubt about it, indeed he says that he will be leaving next week for London, glorious and fortunate. This is borne out to some extent by the letters of the marquis del Fresno, the Spanish ambassador in London, about the excellent disposition of the king there in permitting liberty of conscience to the Catholics.
Madrid, the 20th April, 1672.
[Italian.]
April 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
198. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The duke of York did not return from his inspection of the ships until late last night, having remained so many days to hasten the fitting out of the fleet. This being almost ready they are speeding the muster here in London of some few sailors who are still needed. The king facilitated the levy by first of all allowing the merchants and privateers to ship one third of foreign sailors, and then permitting them to have their entire crews of any nation soever, contrary to many acts forbidding English vessels to be manned by any but English sailors.
It is reported that the duke of York will put to sea next week, the king and queen with the whole Court having arranged to accompany his Highness on board ship and at the same time to see the fleet, though it is not known where it will join that of France.
The Dutch ambassador cannot make up his mind to leave London. He says he is waiting for instructions from the States; but besides confirmation of the captures already reported he hears daily of fresh prizes brought into the ports of England.
The Spanish ambassador extraordinary will make his public entry tomorrow, but I am unable to say on what line of policy he has determined, in regard to the present crisis. The Court resents his going so far as to say that what England does for Spain does not proceed from zeal but from interested motives, lest the loss of Spanish trade render the country discontented; while the ministers complain of the ingratitude of Spain who, having need of peace, does not acknowledge the zeal with which England seeks it for her, and on the contrary kindles a conflagration between the crowns that it may spread all over Christendom.
Arlington told me he had informed Fresno that were he to see the last treaty made by the king of England with France, he would believe it the work of a native of Spain, declaring that he would forfeit his reputation with him and the world if he failed, in the course of time, to admit this truth. Nevertheless he did not know whether the Spaniards would grant passage through their territory to the French allies, although they allowed the French to pass when they went to succour Holland against Munster and England, who were then allies. Spain was reduced to succour her own rebels and the Dutch in danger from assisting their sovereign, though they were excusable for making this bad return for favour received from England and France, as they were afraid that those two crowns designed to deprive them of that liberty which they fancy has been given them for the benefit of those conjunctures.
He further confided to me his belief that Monterey had never been in the secret, though it was known to Lira at the Hague. It is understood indeed that Monterey is being sent viceroy to Sicily, Ligni as governor to Milan and Ossuna called to the Council at Madrid; Prince Charles of Lorraine being appointed governor of Flanders.
There is a rumour of an offensive alliance between the Spaniards and Dutch about which Arlington said nothing, and he spoke with uncertainty about the changes, but your Serenity will see how frankly he expressed himself to me about the other particulars.

The governor of Flanders has sent eleven companies of horse to Mastricht under the camp marshal Garaffa, (fn. 9) and two infantry regiments, one of Scots, in the service of the United Provinces, went to Mons and Valenciennes, entering the service of the king of Spain, in exchange, Monterey having at length obtained the 300,000 florins which were denied him by the nation of Brussels.
The treaty ratified with Denmark (fn. 10) by England and which makes Holland jealous, is now in the press, but it is not yet known for certain whether Sweden will declare against the United Provinces.
The French ambassador having announced the death of the old duchess of Orleans, (fn. 11) the king, the ministers and the whole Court have again gone into the deepest mourning.
In obedience to instructions I told Lord Arlington of the orders about the currants and having now received the ducali of the 19th and 26th March I will tell him of the arrangements made for the credits of the ships Vivian and Relief.
London, the 22nd April, 1672.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
199. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Those who are in sympathy with the Dutch, although there are few who venture to disclose their hidden opinions, are hoping that the chief benefit for those States must be looked for from an unexpected breaking up of the alliance between this country and England; but so far there are no grounds for thinking that such an event is at hand. When the Ambassador Montagu took leave of the king these last days his Majesty expressed his most earnest desire to continue in sincere correspondence with that crown. Similarly, on the other side, the ambassador, by command of his king, has left orders for Godolphin to follow the Court until the earl of Sunderland arrives.
The duke of Mommut has hastened from Dieppe to Paris by the posts. The day before yesterday he presented himself to the king here and was received with particular marks of kindness by the queen as well as the king. He left almost instantly to go and join his soldiers whom, to the number of 3 or 4000 he has brought from that kingdom.
Paris, the 27th April, 1672.
[Italian.]
April 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
200. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Since his return from the fleet the duke of York was not idle in London but constantly occupied with its equipment and about its speedy departure, being impatient to give fresh proofs of his own courage, and to illustrate that of the nation by some signal action in this war, so that the superiority of the English over the Dutch fleet may be indubitable.
The embarcation is to take place in state on Monday next and upwards of 500 volunteers are enrolled in the royal books, the king having now introduced this custom both for the sake of allowing board, as fair to the military commanders, and to save from exorbitant ransom such as may chance to be made prisoners by the Dutch and who will thus obtain their release at the cost of a few months' pay.
The duke of York would gladly remain at sea during the whole campaign, but the general wish of the country is that he should not run so great a risk and it is believed that Prince Rupert will succeed him in the command of the fleet. In the mean time the king and queen are preparing to inspect the fleet one day next week. It will not be ready to put to sea for twelve days. News is awaited of the French fleet, and it is intended to send a squadron to meet it, so that it may join the English in the Channel without hindrance.
Last evening the duke of York decided on the sudden to go to the fleet and departed this morning; so he will be on the spot for whatever may occur. It is suspected that some Dutch ships which were ready to set sail may have taken advantage of the fair wind and put to sea. The Ambassador Borel is to have his audience of leave today and will therefore not see the duke, unless he pay his respects on passing on board ship. He is vexed to hear that a despatch boat sent from Holland to the Indian fleet has been captured while attempting to make the circuitous passage round Scotland.
On Saturday last the Spanish ambassador made his public entry in the usual form, without the attendance of the foreign ministers' coaches. After being defrayed in the royal house he had his first audience last Tuesday afternoon in the great hall. He made a formal speech to the effect that the queen mother had sent him to maintain and cultivate a good understanding at the present crisis, commending the king, in his minority, to his Majesty's protection, with other remarks of pure compliment.
The news I sent last week is not confirmed. Monterey continues to direct the affair of Flanders, and although they do not believe here in the reported offensive alliance between Spain and Holland, Fresno declared that the queen, out of gratitude and from interest, must support the Seven Provinces, as during the late wars they had profited the Catholic king more than if they had been united to his crown and subject to it.
Yesterday mons. Geu, the envoy extraordinary from Denmark, (fn. 12) had his first audience of the king, queen and duke of York. He has begun to visit the foreign ministers and ere long it is expected that the treaty between these crowns will be concluded.
The declaration of Sweden has at length arrived in clear terms. That crown will be neutral provided the emperor and the princes of Germany are so likewise; but if they succour Holland the Swede undertakes to lead his forces wherever the Most Christian may desire. The news has been received here with such satisfaction as may be imagined by the Senate, which knows the importance of such a diversion, which may facilitate the progress of the allied arms against Holland.
London, the 29th April, 1672.
[Italian.]
April 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
201. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
From my reports the Senate will have understood the real motives of the present crisis, but I must set forth distinctly the causes which induce the king to make war. At the restoration his Majesty neglected the government of the country, entrusting it to the chancellor, who, following his own policy, exhausted the exchequer, discontented the nobility and the faithful servants of the crown, placed the king in difficulties, without confidential advisers, and at the mercy of parliament, which had become dangerous owing to the licence of the Lower House. For such mischief an extreme remedy was alone applicable, as in addition to domestic embarrassments England found herself held in little account by neighbouring powers, and despised by Holland, which was hostile to the English and the crown. So taking advantage of the opportunity the alliance with France was arranged, whereby they seek to attain the various ends to which I alluded last January.
The king astonished his subjects by arming without having recourse to parliament, compelling them to put up with the seizure of the bankers' money, by the closing of the exchequer. He then issued an arbitrary decree in the matter of religion, reserving for the last grand stroke, at the close of the campaign, a demand for supply from parliament, to pay the fleet before dismissing it.
The king has placed himself in this position by means of the alliance, and there is no danger of his drawing back, even if the events of the war should be unfavourable, as the remainder of the forces and the benefits which he daily bestows to win confidants, will suffice for his support against civil strife. In case of a reverse there is no other retreat, but if God blesses the royal arms his Majesty, under favour or from dread of them, proposes to reduce the authority or rather licence of parliament, and to give quiet and peace to his loyal subjects, a difficult undertaking, but at the same time a glorious one.
On Monday last parliament was prorogued until the
30th October; nor is the above the only grand project entertained by the king. Being convinced that the Dutch republic, at its present pace, would monopolise all trade and crush neighbouring powers, he lends a hand to humble it, meaning subsequently to adopt measures according to circumstances. Although he is agreed with the Most Christian about the partition of conquests made by sea or land (the particulars remaining a secret), it is probable that he does not aim at the utter annihilation of the United Provinces. A variety of accidents may occur to cause the adoption of measures on the spur of the moment; but it is worthy of remark that the king by prudently forming his resolve in time will succeed in gaining his subjects, humbling his enemies and rendering himself respected by his neighbours.
He would also be glad to remain on confidential terms with Spain, and preserve for the infant king peace and his territories. But while the difficulty of passage will compel the Most Christian to employ force, so I am of opinion that there will certainly be no hostilities between England and Spain.
The marriage of the archduchess of Innsbruck is being hastened, but as the Spaniards do not second it as warmly as desired, I find that the king and duke of York propose to send a present of horses and other things to the duke of Neuburg, whose daughter is young and endowed with fine qualities. (fn. 13) But this is mere jealousy, so I mention it on no other foundation. Moreover as the queen's indisposition does not grow worse, opinions and the negotiations remain in suspense.
Lord Arlington having detected certain misdemeanours of the Resident Dodington, at variance with his allegiance to the king and the dignity of his post, has told a friend of mine, a person of high rank, that the king intended to recall him. I do not know whether the delay in the choice of his successor will give him time to save himself again by dint of canvassing, but I venture to give the notice, even before the change takes place, relying on secrecy, because of the obvious consequences.

London, the 29th April, 1672.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 29.
Senato,
Sanità.
Venetian
Archives.
202. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Proveditori of the Health Office (sanita) in Venice.
I have at last heard from the Hague and Amsterdam concerning the information required by your Excellencies. I am able to assert that at the present moment the territory subject to the United Provinces is free from contagious disease. But I must warn your Excellencies that as the Dutch are accustomed to plague, which does not spread so readily in a cold climate, their magistrates do not look into the matter very narrowly, and it is possible that deaths may occur from contagious disease, while the people are paying no attention, and the government knows nothing about it. I may add that the war, not the plague, ruins the trade, which would otherwise be constant between England and Holland.
London, the 29th April, 1672.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Published on 17 March, o.s. There is a copy in the Public Record Office. S.P. Dom. Car. II, 304, No. 22.
2 On the 9/10 March. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1671–2, page 218.
3 Louis de Duras, marquis de Blanquefort, who afterwards became earl of Feversham.
4 The text of this paper in Spanish is in S.P. Spain, Vol. lix, as is that of the following paper, with an English translation, but dated 25 February.
5 Colbert reports the extreme difficulty of getting crews for the fleet. It was the custom of the country to take sailors by force, but “jamais il n'y a eu si peu qui se soient engagés volontairement.” Colbert to the king on 21 April. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
6 That is, of course, 27th March, old style.
7 George Digby, earl of Bristol, who was sent to the French fleet at Brest. See Cal. S.P. Dom., 1671–2, page 340.
8 Monmouth sailed on the 7/17 April for Dieppe in the Monmouth yacht, the Guernsey frigate acting as convoy. A week later the Richmond convoyed the ships with his horses. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1671–2, pp. 291, 324.
9 He is called in the Gazettes Don Mario Cajaf, presumably for Caraffa. See Relations Veritables, Brussels, 30 March, 1672.
10 The treaty between Charles II and Christian V of Denmark signed at Copenhagen on 11 July, 1670. See Dumont: Corps Diplomatique, Vol. vii, pt. i, pp. 132–7.
11 Margaret of Lorraine, second wife of Gaston, duke of Orleans, the king's uncle, who died 3 April, 1672.
12 Marcus Falksen Gjöe. Bittner: Repertorium der Diplomatischen Vertreter. Vol. i, p. 111.
13 On 29 April, o.s., the Secretary Trevor informed the treasury commissioners that the king wished 200l. to be paid to the duke of Buckingham for the purchase of six horses as a present to the duke of Neuburg. The lady in question was Eleanora Magdalen, eldest daughter of Philip William, duke of Neuburg, who was born 6 January, 1655. In 1676 she married the Emperor Leopold. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1671–2, p. 395. Hübner: Genealogische Tabellen No. 140.


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