Venice
June 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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216-235

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'Venice: June 1672', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 37: 1671-1672 (1939), pp. 216-235. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90323 Date accessed: 21 October 2014.


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June 1672

June 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
218. Carlo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Two days ago the ambassador extraordinary of England departed. His hopes have been steadily rising that he will be stopped in France to reside with the king there in a similar capacity. He received from the queen the present of a diamond jewel assessed at 5000 pieces of eight but actually of considerably less value, being defrauded by the usual industry of the one who carries out the decree of the Council.
Madrid, the 1st June, 167.
[Italian.]
June 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
219. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
During my stay with the fleet I did not confine myself to mere compliments, but elicited a variety of very important particulars which, during a fortnight of constant movement I had not time to put into cipher, and I could not transmit them in any other form.
The convenience of the yacht placed at my disposal by the duke, enabled me to confer with several of my confidential friends on board the fleet. They all, with one accord told me that they had escaped destruction when the Dutch went into the Downs and anchored at a distance of four leagues from the duke, being concealed by a fog which rendered the fleets invisible to each other. His Highness had been warned, but was not sure of the approach of Ruiter. If the latter had got as far as one more tide he could not have failed to surprise the English fleet; which scarcely numbered fifty sail, with the evident chance of scattering it, and certainly of routing the French, had he fallen in with them alone. By a few moments Holland missed this stroke, which would have been fatal to the king, if not to the realm of England, which now considers its interests at variance with those of his Majesty, the country being distrustful of his intentions against the liberty of parliament.
The duke, although inferior in number, wanted to wait for the Dutch, and the king says he would certainly have beaten them, which I believe, provided the English had not been surprised at anchor. But the council of war dissuaded him from an attack, being better acquainted with the necessity for a junction with the French, to render their forces secure, after it had been effected, and to deprive Ruiter of the hope of profiting by their tardy movements. The English are aware that their delay nearly ruined them, as they were compelled to leave nine ships behind in the river which were not ready, and they have also lost the
Victory; eight others attacked by 25 Dutchmen had a narrow escape, as reported last week.
The English attach little importance to Ruiter's appearance off Dover nor are they disturbed by the Dutch ships entering the Thames, as they were probably certain that the duke was wind bound at Portsmouth. But there is great apprehension lest the world should suppose that the Dutch spared Dover and Deal out of malice, whereas the truth is
(although few believe it here in London), that their guns could inflict little or no damage on those towns without exposing themselves to loss, and Ruiter was ill advised to entangle himself in the Thames where the duke would have blockaded him, if he had the advantage of but one more tide.
The duke is informed from all quarters that the Dutch have a great number of fireships, and from Dover, by means of large telescopes, I saw upwards of
25, and could even pick out the men. Some one has written from Holland to the king telling him that some of these fireships are armed, one of them being disguised as a flagship, for the purpose of luring the duke to attack it. The impression in the fleet was that Holland, being unable to fit out a large number of costly men of war, had limited herself to fireships which make a show, may do great mischief and, if lost, cost the United Provinces hut little.
The idea would be plausible were it not that as everything is at stake, it is too improbable that the Dutch should allow themselves to be deceived by economy, and it is evident that they have done their utmost, sending to sea ninety men of war, besides the fireships and service vessels. They are not such fine large ships as the English, nor are they so well manned; but they have not so much to lose. Whereas the whole Dutch fleet has only one man of good family, Ghent, the English is commanded by the duke of York, who now, by every appearance, will succeed to the crown, and among his comrades are five knights of the Garter, ten peers, and upwards of
400 other gentlemen of the chief families of England. This nobility, which does not add strength to the fleet, may convert its victories into losses, if they are purchased with too much of their blood; but the mischief is irremediable and I will give your Serenity the secret.
The king no longer having confidence in the common people, is compelled to give the command of his ships to the nobility, and hence the necessity for placing them under a chief of high birth, for the destruction of perilous jealousies. Choice being made of the duke, a crowd of volunteers necessarily follows, led by example to take their chance with the muskets and guns, without being able to render the slightest service. The government is unable to rid itself of this inconvenience, as the monarchy would fall were it to rely on the people, who by nature and owing to circumstances are most bitterly hostile to it.
On the other hand, the Dutch republic risks nothing, as it is based on the good faith and zeal of the people, who share the command. This advantage the United Provinces will always retain over England, owing to the different nature of their governments. At the present moment it has compelled the king to make a supreme effort, the result of which is very uncertain. The Dutch congratulate themselves on the issue of the last war, when the duke of York did not follow up the victory and cut to the quick by the reports circulated, he now puts to sea again, to make amends for the faults of others, who on that occasion thwarted his action.
On the other hand Prince Rupert is now impatient to take command of the fleet. I have some reason to believe that he will be gratified and that the king, being reconciled with his brother and wishing to preserve him, has recently commanded him not to expose himself to an action, that he may recall him to London after his first cruise.
In the mean time the king, in spite of the scruples of his subjects, went on board the French flagship, the
St. Philip, it being said here in London that this was a great risk and too confiding, and though his Majesty was in Portsmouth, all the other 29 French ships were there also, in battle array. I know however that his Majesty did not approve of their design, of which he is the chief authority in England (della quale n'e lui primo maestro in Inghilterra), and he added that the Most Christian ought either to purchase good harbours or to sell those big ships.
London, the 3rd June, 1672.
[Italian; deciphered.]
June 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
220. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Having related past events I will now turn to what is passing and confirm my conviction that the duke of York was really impatient to give battle. He made way by tides and the West South West wind; but that also served the Dutch, and they steered due north by Gunfleet Sands. News has come these last two evenings that the fleets were in sight of each other and that one squadron was approaching the Dutch, upwards of 200 discharges of cannon having been heard in the course of the night. But the despatch boat which brings this information knows no more, having lost sight of the fleets in a fog. Yesterday an English gentleman, returned from the duke, to whom he had been sent by the king, brings back letters express from his Highness to the effect that the French van, in order of battle, was nearly within gunshot of the Dutch. But in retiring Ruiter purposely placed himself over against some sandbanks, in the hope of making the English follow and run aground, so they were compelled to steer another course, as they were in Solebay, shipping fresh water, to the northward in the county of Suffolk. The Dutchman accordingly continued his retreat and it is practically impossible for a naval action to be fought except with the consent of both fleets or by some extraordinary accident. But if the Dutch flat bottomed vessels float in shoal water and have the best of it when fighting among their own sandbanks, the English, who will not allow themselves to be led into such surroundings, can beat up three points nearer the wind, as they draw more water, and will always get the wind of the Dutch in the open sea. This is one of their greatest advantages.
News is expected momentarily of the squadron of eight sail commanded by Captain Colman, (fn. 1) to give account of the 200 cannon shot fired by those ships which Prince Rupert sent in pursuit of the Dutch. Owing to this superiority of the English ships under canvas the prince, in the encounter at Sirnes, was able to batter the enemy as he pleased and further to weigh anchor in their teeth, Colman having betaken himself towards our fleet, without being pursued.
It is evident from this that the United Provinces will not give battle unless with advantage. It is possible that they wish to preserve their war fleet in order that it may convoy their Indian fleet, now on its way home, though others say that they mean to unload it in Spain. In the mean time three Indiamen of the English Company have reached these parts in safety with considerable capital, together with many other Dutch prizes. The English Captain Oland, the man who in the late war showed the Dutch the way to Chatham, where they burned the ships, has been made prisoner. He claims his release under favour of the king's declaration; but they say he is excluded, as he came here privily under an assumed name, and it is presumed on very good grounds that he was meditating some fresh treachery. (fn. 2)
The Dutch ambassador will leave at last, having ended the negotiation about the 32nd article of the peace of Breda, by virtue of which the king allows Dutch subjects to depart freely from this country, and the removal of Dutch property. He has also ordered the restitution of such ships as arrived here before the war, by the decree enclosed. With regard to the exchange of prisoners, for which Borel has asked, the king so far has merely asked for information on the subject.
Some months ago his Majesty gave orders that no English ship was to go out of port, cancelling all permits to that effect previously given by the duke. The fleet being now manned he has issued an order in Council taking off the prohibition, so that all ships may put to sea and the passports and permits of the duke are again valid.
Hayles, the English consul at Venice, having recently arrived here, came to see me on my return from the fleet and expressed appreciation of the Senate's regard for the English nation. Lord Arlington confirmed this, but said that there were many commercial matters to settle, and that the king would at once appoint Dodington's successor. He warned me not to talk about the causes of his removal as they are too prejudicial to the king's honour. He also asked me for a memorandum of what the republic had done in favour of the trade. I replied, without committing myself, that when he was at leisure I would give him full information on the subject. In the mean time I await the Signory's commands and should like to know if I am to present written memorials, as desired here, according to the custom of the secretary of state's office.
The duke of York, who never approved of Dodington's mission to Venice, told me so frankly when I was at the fleet, adding that in reality he had been sent for the purpose of keeping him away from London; so the duke rejoiced at his dismissal. I took this opportunity to make other confidential Communications to his Highness. I fancy that he will now be more favourably disposed towards the republic. Formerly the late duchess, who was all ambition and suggested the new style of address for your Serenity, had prejudiced this worthy prince. This all serves to show the zeal with which I serve, in the hope of the relief which has so of ten been promised me.
London, the 3rd June, 1672.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.221. Decree issued from Whitehall the 15th May, 1672, allowing Dutch subjects to depart the kingdom freely by virtue of the 32nd article of the treaty of Breda.
Printed by the assigns of John Bill and Christopher Barker, 1672. (fn. 3)
[English.]
June 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
222. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Not until late did the Dutch become aware of the time they had lost and the friends they had neglected. They deceived themselves with the notion that his Britannic Majesty was unable to wage war on them and would not choose to join France. Had this not been the case they would have sacrificed considerable sums for peace, and they repented their mistake in not purchasing confidential allies. This mistake is irremediable and in their distress the Dutch have recourse to feeble counsel. Carried away by passion their satirical effusions are redoubled and they excite rebellion against the king of England, as if they could never again expect peace, whereas by exasperating his Majesty they could not fail to draw upon themselves a more protracted and disastrous war.
The English ministers in fact consider that they possess the keys of peace and war. Lord Arlington told me formally that the Dutch had allowed themselves to be carried away to the last paroxysm of rage, giving way to malicious disrespect towards a great king and descending to satire, a manner of revenge unworthy even of private individuals, and endeavouring through the press to raise rebellion, weapons peculiar to civil war alone. One of the internal motives of the war was the unbearable effrontery of the Dutch, who fancy themselves established in possession of the revolted provinces and at liberty to abuse all sovereigns. Not satisfied with this and growing daily worse they have now represented his Britannic Majesty with a ring through his nose led by the king of France. They formerly depicted the king of England and the United Provinces dancing on a tight rope with the Most Christian king playing the fiddle below, and the legend, “The first who falls will pay the fiddler.” After this they composed a most scurrilous libel in the Flemish tongue, of which the English had no need, being already too turbulent. As I know from another source that the king, piqued at this, is having the libel answered, it shall be translated and forwarded next week. I foresee that falsehood with a few grains of truth, as published by the States, probing this government to the quick, will inflame this war and statecraft and passion will thwart the blessing of peace.
For good reason the king is causing the guards at the Court to be kept with better order, to remove the temptation of the more ardent spirits to make any attempt who might be stirred by the existing circumstances and encouraged by the enemies of the king. The States in particular are disposed to work his ruin though there is little appearance that they will succeed in this. By finding ways to oblige many and by punishing unquiet spirits his Majesty seems to have found the way to secure himself against all innovations.
If not actually dangerous the unguarded manner with which the Spanish ambassador at this Court speaks is very unpalatable and little by little he is losing their confidence. Now that the Spaniards are recovering from the agony of their surprise by the Most Christian they are beginning to take breath and Fresno says boldly that it lies in the power of Spain to break the peace with the British king and to ruin him. This is all the thanks the king is receiving now for the zeal he has shown to preserve the peace for that king in his minority.
Your Serenity will have heard from elsewhere how at Lisbon the treaty for an alliance with the king there is advancing. It appears that Melo the Portuguese ambassador here, writes warmly to induce him to join the allied crowns, so as to prevent Spain from making any stir in favour of Holland. I have just been told that the Most Christian has sent
500,000 livres to England for the cost of the present armament.
Notwithstanding all this the negotiation for the marriage of the archduchess to the duke of York continues, though here the affair will not be hastened until the close of the campaign, when they will see more clearly into the future. In the mean time they are surprised at the archduchess's portrait, now received. It is certainly defective. They had promised themselves more beauty and greater delicacy, according to the report of all those who have furthered the business.

London, the 3rd June, 1672.
[Italian; deciphered.]
June 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
223. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Approval of his office with the duke of York. He is to study to confirm the duke's goodwill. The Senate notes the king's pleasure at the success of the four ships constructed after his own designs. They would be glad if he could succeed in getting some of these designs and he would then send them to Venice.
Approval of what he said about the removal of Darinton and the sending of another in his place. He must try by his intimations, which he may find opportunities of making, that the despatch shall be made opportunely and that the person chosen shall be the very one that Arlington was contemplating, namely one calculated to promote the interests of the nation and at the same time to cultivate the best correspondence.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 12. Neutral, 18.
[Italian.]
June 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
224. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
It was generally supposed last week that the Dutch, of their own accord, would retire into harbour, contenting themselves with having made a sufficiently good appearance at sea. I congratulate myself on having merely said that they would avoid an engagement unless they had the advantage. I was convinced that Ruiter, who is singularly economical of the forces of the United Provinces, had wished to husband them, when the duke, having got to windward of him, sought to give battle. Upon this Ruiter, skilfully entrenching himself, even at sea, got behind the Galloper Sands, a shoal extending further out than any other, and which closes the mouth of the Thames. After this, as a thoroughly able tactician, hearing that the duke was off Southwold in Solebay, at anchor, taking in water, with many of his company on shore to breathe the land air or recruit themselves, Ruiter, taking advantage of an easterly wind, made an onset at seven o'clock on Tuesday morning upon the Blue squadron, which was stationed to the northward, attacking first of all the earl of Sandwich on board the Royal James, and then the Royal Prince, commanded by the duke of York at the head of the Red squadron, which being joined with the French White squadron, they fought bravely, although at the beginning the duke of York was in a calm.
Part of the Blue squadron having separated, the remaining twenty ships got the weather gauge of the Dutch, the wind having shifted to the northward. But the Royal James being laid aboard by a flagship, scarcely had Sandwich compelled the Dutchman to surrender at discretion than he was surrounded by others, including fireships. He sank two of these but, being unable to disengage himself from the third, which was too big, he had to yield and perish in the flames with his prize.
The loss of this Vice Admiral would be a very great one, but as yet only four ships have returned into the English harbours. They were much shattered in this long engagement, begun by Ruiter with too much advantage and lasting until 9 p.m. The Dutch had taken the Royal Catherine, and barbarously nailed down the whole crew under hatches, with the intention of burning them, but a large French rowing galley came up, cut the tow rope of the fireship's boat, in order first of all to make sure of the captain and prevent him from applying the match. Having easily taken him by boarding, they then entered the Royal Catherine and released the English, thus obtaining great credit for craft of this kind, which are very of ten able to save large ships from the peril of fireships.
Nothing more was known of the first day's battle, but last evening letters arrived from the duke of York, dated Wednesday, stating that he had got to windward of the Dutch with thirty ships and was only waiting for the rest of the fleet to drive the enemy on to the English coast. He adds that se ven fireships surrounded him all at once, without accomplishing their object. But his ship being struck under water, he shifted to Holmes though he left that likewise, as it got damaged in its rigging, and Holmes himself was killed by a cannon shot whilst talking to His Highness. The duke, as he wrote himself on Wednesday, was again on board the Prince, having left Spragh's ship. (fn. 4) It is believed that upwards of twelve of the Dutch ships have been sunk, and three second rates have already been brought into the English harbours as prizes.
They are in momentary expectation of news of the action, which is supposed to have been even more severe than the first, although an officer who has come from the fleet and had witnessed seven other sea fights, says that he never saw so heavy a fire nor such determination afloat. As the Dutch have consumed their provisions they will prefer risking a fresh battle, to allowing themselves to be blockaded on the sand banks, even if the wish should favour their retreat thither.
Being anxious to give your Serenity true particulars before they are adulterated by others, and keeping constantly beside his Majesty, I heard all this from his own lips. He did not betray the slightest emotion, save with regard to the personal danger of his brother, and he speculated in detail about the duke's having a fair wind which would make it impossible for the Dutch to make any further use of their fireships. He gave me to understand that he expected a greater victory than that of the first day, though he does not say so, but patiently awaits the issue. On that will depend the resolves about intercepting the Dutch fleet on its homeward voyage from the Indies, as it is not known whether after the battle the English fleet will be ready to anchor off the Texel and await it there as the duke of York intended before this engagement; but thirty ships are ready to put to sea at the first order, to replace such as may have to remain in port for repairs.
London, the 10th June, 1672.
Postcript: I have just received your Serenity's orders of the 14th May which shall be punctually obeyed. I acknowledge the consideration shown me for expenses for mourning. Two days ago the anniversary of the king's birth and restoration were celebrated, when I illuminated my residence.
[Italian.]
June 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra
Venetian
Archives.
225. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Various ideas and opinions have been generated during the last two months owing to the king's action with regard to liberty of Serenity with the Gordian knot of these affairs, which are the chief cause of popular commotion. Many persons have said that the king, having undertaken the war without notifying parliament, and decided arbitrarily concerning religion, it was evident that he intended to destroy the authority of that Assembly. It is now generally believed that when asked for money it may refuse it, on the plea that it has been expended without their consent; indeed it is supposed that they will insist on the observance of all the statutes enacted by parliament.
It is not money that corrupts the English, but the affected zeal of several sectarian chiefs, always turbulent, who lead a crowd of ignorant people, and scandalously maintain that it is a weakness on the part of the nonconformists to thank the king for his grant of liberty of conscience, as they thereby approve the authority which he thus arrogates to himself, in violation of the oath taken by him to observe the laws.
Of these laws the malcontents take advantage and interpret them in their own fashion. But the king, aware of the danger, has determined to undeceive them. If his too gentle disposition does not weaken the determination with which he has taken up the question, he will dissipate the received opinion that the king is bound to parliament to observe the laws.
A number of Presbyterians, many Quakers and a variety of other sectaries have already requested the royal placet for their meeting houses and ministers. But one and all, suspecting the king of the intention to revive Popery, as they call the Roman Catholic religion, accuse the duke of York of having persuaded his Majesty to that effect. The Presbyterians, more especially, are preparing for a coalition with the bishops for self defence, against this most perilous innovation.
But the measure is not so imminent as the country apprehends, for although the king and duke are perfectly convinced that the Catholic religion is the only one which keeps subjects to their allegiance, time is needed to put the machine in motion, nor is it merely here that these princes will meet with difficulties, for they will encounter even greater ones through the voluntary abandonment of the Court of Rome.
Before coming to these particulars I will continue my narrative of events here, where the king, contrary to the opinion of many of his ministers, has chosen to grant liberty of conscience to the sectaries for the especial relief of the Catholics, not from scrupulousness or from shame for the odious statutes which are unworthy of a Christian monarch, nor yet from real zeal for his own conversion; but solely to quiet a great number of Papists and secure their services, they having been his most faithful servants in his past adversities. Being thus pledged in the face of the kingdom and of the world, he no longer has any retreat, and unless the tide of adversity in this present war overwhelms him, he is sure to overcome all opposition. The duke, who is more determined than the king, is also better inclined towards the under taking from the promptings of conscience. (fn. 5)
The reestablishment of the Roman Catholic religion in England is not impossible, but it will be necessary first of all for the king to render himself absolute, and that he then seize his opportunity. In the mean time however the body of Catholics here, after so much persecution, lacks vigour to resist the commotions over this liberty. God grant that it may not generale very peccant humours. They differ in the first point about the bishop, who is confessed by all to be necessary, though internally they are averse from the nomination, being sure to lose their present liberty through the discipline which would thus be enforced. But pious Catholics are disconsolate and complain of Rome for believing impassioned statements and going to sleep, when she ought rather to be on the watch, not to lose the opportunity.

London, the 10th June, 1672.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Cl. vii,
Cod. mdclxxi,
Bibli. S. Marco,
Venice.
226. A New Map of the Sea Coasts of England, France and Holland, wherein the English names, situation, points of the compass and distances of the several Ports etc. are plainly described… Designed and sold by R. Morden, at the Atlas, near the Royal Exchange and by W. Berry at the Globe, between York House and the New Exchange in the Strand, London.
[English.] F. Lamb, sculp.
June 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania,
Venetian
Archives.
227. Giovanni Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Cavalier Guasconi, the British envoy has performed the first functions of his office with the customary formalities. He has paid his respects to their Majesties and has intimated to the ministers the opening of negotiations for a marriage between the duke of Jorch and the archduchess of Inspruch, the daughter. The Court seems favourably inclined to this, following the incitements received from the queen regent of Spain, subject however to the delay of the whole of the present campaign in order to operate upon more certain foundations after the outcome is known. The envoy, by means of his secretary, has informed the minister of your Excellencies of his arrival at this Court, while expressing his most perfect devotion to the most serene republic. I have responded with promptitude.
Vienna, the 11th June, 1672.
[Italian.]
June 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
228. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The duke of Mommuth only reached the army yesterday with his regiment of 4000 foot composed of English and Irish. The king granted him the privilege of having the precedence on the march and at every military function over all the old regiments of the kingdom, after that of his guards, preceding that of Picardy, between which and the guards there has formerly been a persistent rivalry.
The camp of Emmerich, the 14th June, 1672.
[Italian.]
June 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
229. Carlo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The government is watching with great jealousy the attention given by the Most Christian to strengthening his party at the Court of Rome. They observe that he has had three red hats at a single promotion. (fn. 6) Nevertheless it is known that the queen of England is pressing her claims for a place in the first promotion that takes place for the crowns, for her deserts in the advantages which she causes the Catholics to enjoy in that kingdom and for the recent declaration in their favour.
The marriage of the archduchess of Isbruch with the duke of Jorch seems to have got stranded amid the blare of the brass and of the military instruments. I have been told that after the favourable inclination shown by the Council at Vienna and by the archduchess mother to this match the matter was discussed again between the count of Pegnoranda and the Ambassador Godolphin concerning the necessary safeguards for religion. The minister's answer to this was that it was not the first time that a Catholic princess had gone to that country and upon these terms the project came to a standstill. It is the purpose of the government here to take advantage of the present posture of affairs in order to reduce England to moderate her sentiments in the tempestuous crisis of the moment owing to the scarcity of marriageable princesses suitable for so conspicuous an alliance. There is in addition as a counter dowry the hope of seeing the firstborn on the throne of England and by the gentle influences of matrimony to cut short the progress of armaments and of martial enterprises. I hear on good authority that one of the leading ministers expressed himself to this effect.
Madrid, the 15th June, 1672.
[Italian.]
June 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
230. Giovanni Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Colonel Guasconi has been to visit me. Up to the present his negotiations have been proceeding with the utmost deliberation. The government here seems determined not to commit itself to anything positive until after the conclusion of the present campaign by which time they will be in a better position to form a safe judgment upon the general situation.
Vienna, the 18th June, 1672.
[Italian.]
June 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
231. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The news of the sea fight was confused and contradictory, until the king sent his treasurer, Lord Clifford to compliment the duke of York and give him fresh secret instructions. News arrived that the fleet was coming into the river and his Majesty, supposing that it was already at the North Foreland, proceeded to Sirnes on Tuesday night, followed by the French and Portuguese ambassadors and later by the other foreign ministers who congratulated his Royal Highness on returning safe and sound from the encounter with the Dutch.
From the statement of the naval officers it appears that the Dutch having arrived with a fair wind, almost E.N.E. in sight of the fleet, the Blue squadron placed itself in line, forming the vanguard, and steered N.N.E. to get to windward of the enemy, being followed by the Red Squadron. But the French with the White squadron parted company and shaped their course South East by South, and for the whole of that day they engaged the Zeeland squadron commanded by Bankaert.
Your Serenity has already heard how Sandwich died. He was surrounded by an overwhelming force and his ship boarded at the prow, so that he could not manoeuvre it. He was burned to death. His body was found two days ago with the face and stomach scorched, clearly showing his contempt for life, which he risked too much, to make amends for his misfortune in being suspected in the last war of questionable if not of unstraightforward conduct. The volunteers with him, being determined not to abandon him, shared his fate.
The English lost no other ships, having recovered from the enemy the Catherine and the Henry. The battle ended with various proofs of courage and most prudent conduct on the part of the duke of York, who got a contusion on the breast from a splinter. He has obtained a signal victory, when, being surprised by the Dutch and to leeward of them, he might have been content with not getting the worst of it. I enclose a list of the killed and wounded among the persons of quality, to which must be added 2500 others.
The Dutch have lost the Vice Admiral Van Ghent and nine ships; two taken, three sunk in action, one on the coast of Yarmouth and the other off Harwich, the crews of both seeking safety on shore, and two are supposed to be under water off Margate. Others will have failed to get into port in time. If the Dutch, whose maxim it is to carry away the sails, have maltreated the upper parts of the ships Charles, St. Michael, and the first rates Victory, Henry, Catherine, Rainbow; second rates Resolution, Rupert; third rate York; fourth rates Dover, Greenwich; fifth rate Success, all of which are being repaired, yet as the English have heavier guns and always aim at the hull, it is probable that the enemy will have been maltreated, as more than ten of the Dutch fireships were burned to no purpose.
The duke of York hoped to renew the fight on the morrow, but to his mortification the Dutch retired to Flushing Sands and his Highness came to the North Foreland. The repair of the ships is proceeding with alacrity and fresh ones are being fitted out to put to sea forthwith. Although Ruiter showed himself again off the Kentish promontory in front of the Thames, it is said that, not daring to enter the Dutch harbours, to avoid showing the people how roughly he has been handled, he remains at sea, having repaired his damages as best he could.
While everything is being prepared for an even sharper struggle, owing to the rancour and irritation caused by the proceedings of the Dutch, a courier was received by the Ambassador Borel, who presented himself to the king and asked permission to negotiate peace, proposing the mission of three commissioners (fn. 7) and in general terms offering every satisfaction to his Majesty. The king heard him no further and merely said that as he had allied himself with the king of France the States must send and treat with him, as nothing could be arranged without his consent. Accordingly when three deputies arrived yesterday from Holland the king did not see them, although requested by Borel, with tears in his eyes, not to allow the French to come to the Hague, and he gave orders for their retirement to Hampton Court, not choosing rudely to send them back to Holland, although they came rashly and without passports from England.
At the same moment the king also decided to send envoys to the camp of the Most Christian and made choice of Lord Olifax and Sir [Gabriel] Sylvius, who will leave tomorrow, to hear what proposals may be made there by the Dutch, as he does not intend to expose himself to reproach from the country for having either rejected or neglected the blessing of peace when offered on honourable terms.
Your Excellencies will have heard already of the confusion of the Dutch who, having lost territory and fortresses without defending them, lay the blame on the treachery of governors and officials, to deprive the Most Christian of the glory of his conquests; as if their troops, who are all raw recruits, the greater part foreigners, with inexperienced commanders, could withstand the soldiery of France, which is drilled, although they are not all veterans, and prevent such destruction. Here the ablest politicians say that even if Holland had foreseen the blow, she could not have parried it, as republics, jealous of their security at home, do not allow their subjects to exercise the military profession, although the maintenance of a foreign army is burdensome, the investiture of its supreme command in a fellow citizen perilous while no reliance can be placed in a foreign leader.
The disastrous results of the defence of the fortresses illustrates all these disorders on the part of the Dutch republic, which has hitherto been considered the best regulated and ranked among the chief commonwealths. But as in prosperity the government of the United Provinces was ill-regulated, so in these divisions the king anticipated corresponding weakness, being well aware that the more democratic a government is, the more it is liable to become arrogant in prosperity, and even more to be depressed by reverses. He has therefore published the enclosed declaration, nor does he consider the justice of a sovereign to be impugned by him in the attempt to withdraw the subjects of others from their allegiance, than which there is nothing in the world more scandalous, as the States have plotted against his realm, his crown and his royal person.
The shares of the East India Company, which last year were up to 560 and 570 are now selling at 265; the credit of the bank is on the decline, the public having discovered a deficit; the exchange on Holland is 16 per cent. in favour of London and it appears to me that a number of rich Dutch families propose to come here, while some have gone to Hamburg, and all are in tent on preserving their private property.
In the mean time the king, to increase the number of his creatures who deserve well of him, has given the Garter to the marquis of Worcester, president of the Council in Wales, to the earl of St. Albans, his chamberlain and to the earl of Bedford. As the late earl of Sandwich was a knight of the order the king chose to give to Lord Arlington the identical insignia which were found on the earl's body after it had been several days in the sea, and on Sunday will create him a knight of the Garter, as an additional mark of his esteem for this individual, on whom, only a month ago he conferred the title of earl, for the distinguished services which he renders to his Majesty and the Crown.
Sir [Edward] Spragh, late admiral in the Mediterranean and Vice Admiral of the Red under the duke of York, has been promoted to the rank of Admiral of the Blue in place of Sandwich and in preference to other competitors.
London, the 24th June, 1672.
[Italian.]
Cl. vii,
Cod. mdlxxi,
Bibl. S. Marco,
Venice.
232. A true Relation of the Engagement of his Majesty's fleet … with the Dutch fleet, May 28, 1672, in a letter from Henry Savile Esq. … to the earl of Arlington.
From on board the Prince near the Middle Ground, June 6, 1672.
In the Savoy, printed by Thomas Newcomb. (fn. 8)
[English.]
Cl. vii,
Cod. mdlxxi,
Bibl. S. Marco,
Venice.
233. His Majesty's declaration for the encouraging the subjects of the United Provinces … to transport themselves with their estates and to settle in … England.
At Whitehall, the 12th June, 1672. (fn. 9)
[English.]
Enclosed
with
despatch.
234. List of persons of quality killed and wounded in the sea fight on 28 May. (fn. 10)
The earl of Sandwich.
Captain Digby of the Henry.
Sir Fretcheville, captain of the Cambridge.
Sir John Cox, captain of the Prince.
[Thomas] Pearce, captain of the St. George.
Waterworth, captain of the Anne.
Hannam, captain of the Triumph. [Ezekiel] Yennes, commander of the Alice, fireship.
Mons. de la Rabinière, Vice Admiral of France.
Eliot, captain of the York.
Ludman, captain of the Monk.
MM. de Ardans, and de Magnon, French captains.
Volunteers.
Lords Maidstone and Montagu.
Richard Nicholls and Roger Vaughan, gentlemen of his Royal Highness's bedchamber.
Mr. Trevanian, his gentleman usher.
Sir Philip Cartwright.
Sir Charles Harbord.
Captains Bromley and Bennet.
Mr. Cotterel, son of the Master of the Ceremonies.
Captains Burgh and Barry.
Mr. Napier, brother of a Scotchman of that name.
Mr. Bowles.
The Chevaliers de Ceran and de Bezi.
List of wounded.
Mr. Tufton.
The Count de Canaples.
The Chevalier de Chateau Morant.
Mons. Escorbiac.
Messrs. Wren, Hamilton, Howard, Skelton, Hall and May.
Many lieutenants and subalterns killed. Upwards of 800 common men killed and some 800 wounded, besides those who perished with the Royal James.
[Italian.]
June 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghiltera.
Venetian
Archives.
235. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
At the moment when the king left London I also proceeded to the fleet to my respects to the duke of York, intending to write by last Friday's ordinary. But I was unable to congratulate his Highness until the evening of Saturday, when he arrived at the North Foreland, when he acknowledged the republic's compliments with his usual graciousness. During my stay I elicited several important facts which are whispered, though few persons at Court know them distinctly. The duke exculpated himself easily for being surprised by Ruiter, saying that the majority of the votes in council persuaded him to approach the shore that he might supply the fleet with water in three days, when he would have taken eight to ship it from a distance. But at the court martial the king made a grave speech, saying that the English had received from God the gift of force and that it had greater power over their minds than reason; the advantage of not fearing the enemy being converted into the abuse of despising him, causing a thousand accidents, whereas if Englishmen regulated their minds in proportion to the abundance of their courage they would surpass all the nations of the world both in conduct and valour.
The duke of York is somewhat annoyed by this accident, and so he will not retire to London and give the command to Prince Rupert, to whom the French might object, as it was agreed that the fleet was to be under the command of the king's brother. (fn. 11)
There are serious complaints against the French because, having fallen in with the enemy on Sunday before the battle, they did not make an attack, pretending that they had not seen the admiral's signal. That during the action they sheered off from the body of the fleet, sailing on another tack and always fighting at a distance. It is certain that their ships are not damaged. Further that on Wednesday, the day after the battle, when the duke had got the weather gauge of the enemy and given the French the vanguard, they lost three hours without ever approaching, and a fog coming on, his Highness lost the opportunity of routing the enemy completely.
The French do not deny these facts, but the Count d'Estrees lays the blame on the chef d'escadre, Mons. du Cane
, (fn. 12) against whom he has written to France, to the mortification of the Ambassador Colbert who, after having been so much complimented about the French at the first, is now obliged to retract everything. But the king has not shown him any resentment at all with regard to what took place.
This rule of friendship will last so long as the king finds it to his interest to abide thereby, though the populace say that the French have not served England better than they did Holland, the last time they succoured her. But Lord Arlington told me that the king laboured incessantly for the advantage of the realm, without its being known, and that the people would become aware of this, though the Dutch do not fail to rouse them against the government by perpetual lampoons. Although I enclose the one I mentioned I dare not send the reply, for fear of wearying your Serenity, as it fills two volumes.

London, the 24th June, 1672.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Cl. vii,
Cod. mdclxxi,
Bibl. S. Marco,
Venice.
236. Considerations sur l'estat present des Provinces Unies ou examen du manifeste du Roy d'Aneleterre par un particulier fort zelè pour le bien de sa patrie.
[Pamphlet of 11 pp. French from the Flemish.]
June 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
237. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
The Senate has been very gratified to hear that the duke of York has been so gracious towards him, in providing him with a yacht to see the fleet. They feel sure that he will miss no opportunity of cultivating the goodwill of the duke towards the affairs of the republic.
They are pleased to hear of the favourable reports given by the Consul Hailes. The resident at Venice has not yet taken leave; he is waiting to hear of his successor.
Permission to respond to the request of Arlington for information about the orders issued for the advantage and convenience of the nation, but it must appear to come from himself.
Ayes, 108. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
June 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
238. Giovanni Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Colonel Guasconi, in an express audience of his Majesty, has asked for the appointment of a commissioner in order that he may make his proposals for a marriage between the duke of Jorch and the archduchess of Insbruch. The reply consisted merely of generalities about a favourable disposition and so far the emperor has not consented to any precise decision. The desire and commission of the Catholic ambassador resident here does not seem to be supported in every quarter. In his desire to carry off definite advantages for the monarchy by an alliance of such consequence, Guasconi has declared to some persons of the Court, in very outspoken fashion, that if he does not succeed more promptly in his negotiations for the archduchess the king, his master, will make application for the widowed duchess of Guise, (fn. 13) obtaining from the Most Christian a declaration in her favour as a daughter of France. This talk rather tends to hinder than to forward the negotiations which those of most experience believe will be suspended until the conclusion of the present campaign, to permit of a decision on more positive grounds.
Vienna, the 25th June, 1672.
[Italian.]
June 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
239. Carlo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The ministers here are greatly indignant at the attack of English vessels on Dutch ones in sight of Cadiz, where they do not desist from harassing them under the very guns of the fortress. They call it pure insolence. (fn. 14) They have accordingly sharply reprimanded the governor for not having sent the four frigates of Dunkirk which they assert are fully equipped in every respect, to check this insolence at the outset.
Madrid, the 25th June, 1672.
[Italian.]
June 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
240. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It is known that the Dutch have sent deputies to the king of England. But he makes demonstration to this Court of sincere alliance and the close bonds which keep him in union with the wishes of this kingdom. Immediately he heard of the resolution he sent a gen tleman (fn. 15) express to tell the king that he would not receive or listen to the deputies without his consent and only by mutual agreement. This instance only brings out more clearly the sincere intentions of his Britannic Majesty in respect of the arrangements entered into with this country. This gives rise to strong hopes that with both of them proceeding meticulously in step and equally respected and esteemed by the States they will, with their power, exact the most complete satisfaction and draw up arrangements for their mutual advantage and of the most satisfactory character.
The camp towards Utrecht, the 30th June, 1672.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Capt. William Coleman, in the Gloucester, commander at the Buoy of the Nore. He had with him the Tiger, Dartmouth, Adventure and Constant Warwick, with 3 fireships. He was engaged by the Dutch on 14 May, o.s., and pursued by them to Sheerness. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1671–2, pp. 481, 611, 559.
2 Captain Philip Holland. He was at Amsterdam at the outbreak of the war and professed a desire to return home to serve his country. A letter to him of 1 April from Capt. Chas. Bertie held out hopes of pardon, which he endeavoured to earn by sending particulars of the Dutch fleet. On 20 April, John Gelson, a secret agent of Williamson, was sent to Flanders to meet him and bring him to England. On 28 April a warrant was issued for the arrest of Holland on suspicion of being a spy for the Dutch. On 4 June Gelson returned from Flanders bringing Holland with him. The dates are all old style. Later on Holland petitioned for leave to serve in the navy, his life having recently been bestowed on him by the king. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1671–2, pp. 390, 609; ibid., 1672, pp. 390, 683; ibid., 1672–3, p. 343.
3 The full text of this Order in Council is in the London Gazette of May 16–20, 1672.
4 The duke first transferred to the St. Michael, the flagship of the Red squadron, commanded by Sir Robert Holmes. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1671–2, page 404; ibid., 1672, pp. 91–3, 95. The report of Holmes's death was erroneous. Spragge's ship was the London, to which the duke went after leaving the St. Michael. Ibid., page 93.
5 The relative attitudes of the king and his brother on the question are thus given by Colbert: “Ce qui nous fera le plus de peine c'est le zèle inflexible et precipité de M. le duc d'York, qui s'est mis en tête que les marques eclatantes qu'il en a donné engageront le roi a declarer plus tôt les siens; en quoi il se trompe fort, car le roi, qui n'attend que quelque bon evenement dans la guerre … pour faire connaître a ses sujets qu'il embrasse la religion Catholique, s'eloigne d'autant plus de faire cette declaration qu'il s'aperçoit du dessein qu'a le duc de l'y obliger plus tot même que le bien de ses affaires ne lui doit permettre.” Colbert to the king, the 21 April. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
6 This seems to refer to the conclave of 24 August, 1671, when Pierre de Bonzi, archbishop of Toulouse, Gustavus Adolphus, prince of Baden Durlach and Caesar d' Estrées, bishop of Laon were nominated. But the last named did not receive the red hat at that time, largely owing to the opposition of the Marquis of Astorgas, the Spanish ambassador at Rome, who was pushing the claims of Father Nithard. The pope subsequently promoted both. There are several references to this matter in the London Gazette, notably in the numbers for Sept. 21–5 and Oct. 30–Nov. 2, 1671, and June 17–20, 1672.
7 They were Corneille Terestein, sieur de Halwin; Everard de Weede, sieur de Dykveldt, and Paul van Gemmenish (Ghemmenich). Le Clerc: Hist. des Prov. Unies., Vol. III, p. 285. They landed at Margate on the evening of Tuesday, June 11/21. The Domestic Calendar only mentions the first two. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1672, pp. 206, 258, etc.
8 There is a copy of this pamphlet in the Public Record Office, S.P. Foreign, Printed Papers, Box iii, No. 4 (provisional reference).
9 See S.P. Holland, Vol. clxxxix, f. 35; in Dutch, 6 articles. There is a copy of this declaration in the Public Record Office, S.P. Foreign, Printed Papers, Box iii, No. 5 (provisional reference).
10 This list seems to have been taken from the London Gazette of June 6–10, which however gives M. de Mesnou instead of Magnon.
11 Colbert reports an intrigue to get the king to appoint Rupert to command the fleet instead of the duke of York. James represented to his brother the dishonour he would suffer by any such step, and the king agreed “que le Prince Rupert n'a pas d'assez bonnes intentions ni assez de douceur et d'hoimêteè pour maintenir la bonne union dans la flotte entre les deux nations.” Colbert to the king, the 16 June. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
12 I.e. Abraham Duquesne, the celebrated French naval officer.
13 Isabel, third daughter of Gaston, duke of Orleans, younger son of Henri IV of France. She was born in 1646 and in 1667 married Louis Joseph de Lorraine, duke of Guise, who died on 30 July, 1671.
14 Referring to the activities of the frigates Nonesuch, Capt. Legatt, and the Roebuck, Capt. Liddell, against Dutch shipping in the Strait of Gibraltar. The Spanish general, Marquis de Lugana, sent for Matthew Wescomb, the English consul at Cadiz, to express his resentment at the lack of respect shown by English frigates to the ports and castles of his king, and desiring him to get the commanders of English men of war to observe the obligations which all nations owe to the king's harbours and forts. Wescomb to Godolphin, 4 June, 1672. S.P. Spain, Vol. lx. See also Cal. S.P. Dom., 1672, pp. 273.
15 George Savile, Viscount Halifax. His instruction are dated 14 June and he left early on the 15th, o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1672, pp. 226, 684.