Venice
September 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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274-294

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'Venice: September 1672', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 37: 1671-1672 (1939), pp. 274-294. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90327 Date accessed: 01 September 2014.


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September 1672

Sept. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
282. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although no advices have been received from the duke of York since he sailed from Berlington, (fn. 1) the king and all the ministers have made ready to go and meet him the moment he enters the river. Ruiter having again sheltered himself among the Zeeland sandbanks, after the Dutch East Indiamen, having discharged their most precious wares, ventured to leave the Ems and reached the Texel in safety.
Thus the hopes of the English vanish for the most part, for they counted on gaining millions from that fleet, whereas the Zeeland privateers infest these coasts with impunity, so that the trade, which England expected to support by means of the war, is daily perishing.
The count de la Garde, eldest son of the chancellor of Sweden, having arrived in London, claimed to be taken to audience from his own dwelling in a royal coach by the master of the Ceremonies, a claim that was nol allowed until he declared himself envoy extraordinary. He proposed the mediation of Sweden to the king, who accepted it, and he will depart shortly to perform the same office with the Most Christian. But as the interference of an equal prince rarely takes effect against the interests and intention of the belligerents, little can be expected from it, as the new alliance with France has lately been ratified
, (fn. 2) which by establishing the good understanding between the crowns will render the negotiations for peace difficult.
Your Excellencies will have heard the news from Holland, but I enclose a narrative of what befell the brothers de Wit. They and their party being the irreconcilable enemies of the king here, the catastrophe is deplored solely because of the odious light on the prince of Orange. As the burgesses of Amsterdam are now insisting on their ancient privileges it seems that the people, having discarded all respect and blooded themselves, the prince must be more on his guard than ever against all such accidents as might render them suspicious.
It was never imagined that the confusion would go so far as to bring a republic to the brink of ruin, the government being left at the mercy of the people, who attempt anything, and it is hoped that the prince may be able to bridle them again and secure himself.
In spite of this nothing is said about granting milder conditions of peace to Holland who, counting on imperial succour, flatters herself that she wilt do better next year, all these schemes being laid to the charge of the baron dell' Isola, whom they call “the Dutch Intelligencer” here, as he is constantly running between Brussels and the Hague to establish the arrangements.
A courier from Spain arrived in Flanders for Monterey, who, being at Ostend, sent for the Dutch commissioners from Brussels. The cause is not yet known. It has been confided to me that however much fuss the Spaniards make they are correspondingly averse from war in their hearts, and they know well how to elude it, as in the past they have made a similar stir about ruptures with Frame without breaking the peace.
The Most Christian having decided to march troops against those of Brandenburg, the duke of Monmouth means to join them as a volunteer, under Turenne, who is said to have orders to give battle.
Notwithstanding all this Colonel Gascoigne writes that there is fresh hope of arranging the marriage of the archduchess of Innsbruck, but Arlington told me that Lobkowitz and the present crisis obstruct it, intense as is the desire here for so distinguished a princess.

London, the 2nd September, 1672.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosure.283. Relation of the tumult at the Hague on Saturday, 20 August, 1672, with the death of MM. Jean and Corneille de Wit.
[English.]
Enclosure.284. The Dutch Remonstrance concerning the proceedings and practices of John de Wit … and his Brother, with others of that faction, drawn up by a person of eminency there and printed at the Hague; translated out of Dutch, August 30, 1672. London. Printed by S. and B.G. 35 pages.
[English.]
Enclosure.285. A true Relation at large of the whole proceedings during the imprisonment of Cornelius de Wit. 4 pages. (fn. 3)
[English.]
Enclosure.286. The manner of the death of John de Wit and his brother Cornelius de Wit. (fn. 4) 2 pages.
[English.]
Sept. 2.
Senato,
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
287. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I at length got an opportunity of speaking to Lord Arlington about the currants. I spoke of the good treatment of the nation and said it would be confirmed by orders for the remedy of existing abuses, and that I had a letter in reply to the king's on this subject. Arlington said the king was aware of the Signory's wish for a good understanding and had given the letter at the suit of a private individual, and possibly, on its way, the items of complaint had multiplied. Yet he approved of the moderation shown by the resident who only sought to remedy abuses for the future and secure good treatment for the English. As the affair was settled I might leave the letter with him and he would always testify to your Serenity's regard for the English and their trade. I then added that many Englishmen had owned to me the good treatment received at Zante and Cephalonia from the Proveditori Pisani and Vendramin, and Consul Hayles said the same and that he felt sure all your Serenity's representatives would pay more attention than ever to repeated commissions.
I hope I have done right in leaving the letter with Arlington, as I thus avoid presenting it at a special audience and giving importance to a matter already forgotten by his Majesty, or rather which he never knew, for he merely signs the letters, leaving the entire management of all these affairs to the good faith and care of his minister.
Arlington rejoices at the inclination of your Excellencies for some treaty of commerce to confirm the ancient friendship and increase the profit of both marts. He told me he would apply his mind to it and I have no doubt but that he will do so. I do not yet know when Sir [Thomas] Huggons is leaving for Venice, as he has been in the country until yesterday, but I will look into the measures which may be taken in connection with this subject. Consul Hayles has also returned from the country and wants to speak with me again on the matter of the consuls.
London, the 2nd September, 1672.
[Italian.]
Sept. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
288. Carlo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I enclose a memorial of the Ambassador Godolphin to which no reply has yet been given. I can only add that they are confident here that this is the result of the instances of France and as a sop to her. They also feel sure that the British king will proceed with great deliberation over declaring war on this crown from considerations about the trade and in order not to irritate the nation by the in jury and inconvenience it would receive by the prohibition of commerce.
When Sig. Godolphin came to see me this morning he said definitely that his permanence at this Court was now definitely settled and that he would be making his public entry at the end of the present month.
They write from Lisbon as an authenticated fact that their minister in London has been commissioned to enter into an alliance with that crown to the detriment of the Dutch in order to profit in the Indies from the hurricane which is now ravaging that nation; but the carrying of arms against Castile is expressly excluded.
Madrid, the 7th September, 1672.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.289. Memorial of Godolphin proposing that Spain shall join with England and France against the United Provinces with menaces if they venture to render assistance to the Dutch. (fn. 5)
Madrid, the 16th August, 1672.
Signed: William Godolphin.
[Italian.]
Sept. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
290. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Friday night the duke of York with the fleet arrived at Siernes and the king went down the river on Saturday morning accompanied by his ministers and the French ambassador, all remaining there until Wednesday, when the king returned without having decided about any shipment of troops or about putting to sea again. The fleet is in need not only of repairs but of men, some ships having lost as many as 250, (fn. 6) the survivors remaining overworked and unhealthy, while the French require hands, provisions and military stores. A general inspection has been ordered. In spite of the danger of the epidemic which is infectious, at least among the lower orders from hardship and neglect, the duke of York superintends the muster and hastens it, being anxious to obtain some victory over the enemy, as besides the troops mentioned there are twenty ships ready in the river. Much is said about a landing, but I cannot say definitely with what intelligences it may be attempted in Zeeland. Others say that they think of entering the Texel and many believe that without establishing themselves they merely aim at destroying dykes and flooding the enemy. But perhaps nothing has been decided yet, as projects easily vanish here.
The English flatter themselves that the United Provinces raised Orange out of mere regard for peace with this country, and say that for this demonstration peace should be conceded. But sound judgment considers his elevation the result of accident and of liberty usurped by the people, for it is notorious that the States, far from having any esteem for this government, bear it irreconcilable hatred, although the de Wits are dead and their party, which has sown distrust between the Dutch republic and the royal family here, may perish. Yet the prince does not dare to display the slightest leaning towards this side lest the people suspect him. Indeed when he began a prosecution against the murderers of the de Wits the popular leaders desired him to desist to avoid worse consequences and the mob tore down the arms of the deceased which had been placed over the church doors for the usual ceremonies.
Beverning, late ambassador in Spain, one of the nominees for the post of pensionary of Holland which the prince has conferred on Fagel, has made his escape from the Hague, being apprehensive lest a very confidential letter of his found on the person of de Wit, might rouse the suspicion of the people. He has not appeared when summoned to the magistracy, as rash popular fury grants no quarter to suspected persons.
They have certainly aimed here at the overthrow of the Dutch government, but as distance is sometimes miscalculated when shooting at a mark, they may now find that they have placed the prince of Orange in too great jeopardy, for his authority can neither subsist nor be Consolidated, unless he renders himself necessary to the people by war, the continuation of which, from a variety of circumstances, may be his ruin.
Some steps have been taken to prevent failures and I am assured that here they place great reliance on the moderation of the king of France and that he will not harass Orange's forces but by a slow war give him time to establish himself in the command, his Majesty contenting himself with establishing his glory by a peace and by retaining a suitable share of what has been acquired. The league and the succour from Germany upset the whole scheme, because with the war taking larger dimensions, the two allied crowns can no longer manage it as they please, and the negotiations for peace will be more difficult in proportion to the manifold requirements of the parties concerned.
The whole mechanism is the work of the Spaniards who, being unable to stand a war, seek comrades and include them in the peace. A friend has written to me from Brussels that Monterey does not dare advise a rupture with France from fear of being surprised at Lovain or Mechlin. The same person assures me that neither Buckingham nor Arlington required Monterey to remove the troops from the Dutch fortresses; but I do not find this confirmed here. Your Excellencies will perhaps learn the truth from Spain. What I gather in London is that the Most Christian easily allows himself to be persuaded not to wage war on so many powers at once, and as here it is of the first importance to keep peace with Spain, both for trade and to avoid offending the people of England, they will not irritate her Catholic Majesty, lest she wage a desperate war.
The count de la Garde has not yet left for France, as he is expecting fresh commissions or rather other Swedish ambassadors accredited to the Court, as Sweden, apparently, is not inclined to pledge herself to war.

London, the 9th September, 1672.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
291. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
At an interview with Lord Arlington after his return from the fleet I alluded to some of your Serenity's affairs and the new resident's encouragement of friendly relations. I said I trusted that he would not delay preparing the necessary instructions for a treaty of commerce. He replied that the king valued the republic's friendship and it was cemented by commerce between the subjects of the two states. As this had not been regulated for a long time it was necessary to settle many points, so that the merchants here may not have a pretext for constant complaints, possibly for slight if not unreasonable causes. On the other hand they might know what treatment to expect in Venetian dominions, and it was only right that your Serenity's subjects should enjoy reciprocity. He asked me to assure your Excellencies that the importunity of the merchants occasionally forced him to issue royal letters, but henceforth he was resolved to communicate all complaints to me before imparting them by royal letter to your Serenity, to avoid quibbles, so that the Senate might be rid of these indiscreet demands by a well regulated treaty of commerce.
I have no doubt that Arlington has always seen the justice rendered to the English by the state, but I have often repeated to him that trade is always greedy of fresh advantages and profits and one often meets with men who are never satisfied with anything. He is now convinced that the English demands are not over discreet, indeed he repeated to me that he approved of Dodington's withdrawal of those about the currants, and he promised to notify me from time to time of all that happened, so as to provide against accidents, without troubling the king. I thanked him and asked him to persevere in this course.
I perceive that he wishes to establish the trade for the reasons given, but he has not now time to attend to the matter as he would wish. I also know that he has charged several merchants to ponder the matter, and as he will have the arrangement of the treaties I believe, as he is good, reasonable and discreet, that he will not depart from what is fitting.
I fancy that the resident at Venice has sent a long memorial (fn. 7) and that there is another from the consul at Zante; but they are both at the secretary's office. I believe that one important point will be the security required of the merchants at Zante for payment of the duty on currants as here they believe that they are held accountable for the smallest amount smuggled by any common sailor, yet they are unable to quote any example.
There will be no lack of means to arrange this and other disputes when once your Serenity is convinced that it is for the interest of your subjects to extend the trade in England and increase that of the English in Venetian territories. If both powers negotiate on this basis it will not be difficult to make a good agreement.
I spoke later to Hayles, who repeats what I reported about the consuls but having persuaded him that the one at Venice is superfluous I do not despair of convincing him that the one at Malamocco would be of little use. As this clause does not enter into the proposals about trade I will try to get him to explain the matter to Arlington, that it may be suppressed.
I mentioned some time ago the king's orders that henceforth his own mint alone was to issue copper coinage, no person being bound to take more than 18 in payment of the so called “farthings” four of which make a penny, the twelfth part of a shilling of which twenty make the pound sterling, equivalent to 5½ ducats Venetian currency. A Swede provides the copper ready wrought at cheap rate, by reason of the abundance of Swedish copper founders, and all they have to do here is to stamp it, the cost of that alone being deducted from the real value of the farthing. (fn. 8)
The new coins are stamped on one side with the king's effigy and the words “Carolus a Carolo”; on the other “Britannia.” The other two examples which I enclose were coined as far back as 1665 of better alloy, with this difference, that the one represents the king with short hair, the other with long, the latter being most like his Majesty. The reverse bears the words “Britannia Quattuor Maria Vindico” which they have decided to omit on the new farthings. (fn. 9)
London, the 9th September, 1672.
[Italian.]
Cl. vii.
Cod. mdclxxi.
Bibl. di
S. Marco,
Venice.
292. Proclamation for making current his Maiesty's farthings and halfpence of copper and forbidding any others to be used.
Dated at Whitehall, 16 August, 1672. (fn. 10)
Printed by the Assigns of John Bill and Christopher Barker.
[English.]
Sept. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
293. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to to Doge and Senate.
The king had determined to go to the fleet last Wednesday, hoping to hear beforehand about the state of the ships and the number of men; but the duke of York did not send it to him until yesterday. The ministry at once determined to raise fresh hands and last night the press gangs obtained great numbers. From this decision it appears that the fleet stands more in need of men than of repairs, although the sick are mostly cured by rest. I am told that they certainly intend to make some landing, Prince Rupert being ready to command it.
Count d'Estrees complains that the French have suffered so much from scarcity of fresh water, having boiled their meat in seawater, that they are in great part invalided. Although joined by a reinforcement of five men of war it is whispered that he has orders to withdraw under pretext of the advanced season. But Allen, late admiral in the Mediterranean now commissioner of the ships, told me that the present contrary winds will not last, but give way for the fleet to put to sea.
It is evident that the king, dissatisfied with the result of the war, is passionately bent on some glorious undertaking, more particularly because of the irritation occasioned by the appearance off these coasts of the Dutch fishermen, under good convoy. It was said in Council that if peace is made they will harass this kingdom more than ever, at the manifest risk of renewing the war after a few years, unless the present one reduces the Provinces to such a state of moderation as is requisite.
Such are the real ends of England, who never aimed at the destruction of the Dutch republic but merely sought to humble it. Now the government is in the utmost confusion, at the mercy of the people, convinced that the excessive ambition of their rulers has drawn down all this misfortune upon them, the English ministry merely wishes that the supreme authority should be vested in the prince of Orange, hoping in this way most perfectly to provide for the interests of England.
To attain this end the king remains more closely allied than ever with the Most Christian, both strengthening themselves against the league of Germany. A cabinet minister told me that the German forces were not supposed to be either sufficiently numerous or united, but the two crowns, to avoid a general conflagration, might make some concessions to them, with a view to the quiet of Europe. England regretted that after all her exertions to keep Spain at peace the queen mother should daily run risks of breaking it with France at the instigation of rebels and men of desperate character, as a mere measure of precaution, without the least necessity.
The truth is that Sweden is changing sides. The resident here told me that according to the last treaty with the Most Christian, Sweden was to declare for his Majesty and take the field, after a certain time, provided mediation for peace had not taken place before. Now the king of Sweden offered his mediation and if France rejected this, he would, of necessity, be compelled to join the princes of the empire. He announced this much to the Court. The count de la Garde took leave and is going to France, saying that other ambassadors will come to London. The resident added that so far nothing has been said about the place for the negotiations. I notice that they have not stipulated the terms on which the emperor, the Spaniards and the princes of the empire are to become adherents, and this, it seems, will be the greatest difficulty.
London, the 16th September, 1672.
[Italian.]
Sept. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
294. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
It has always been difficult to understand commerce thoroughly and at the present time especially it has become a secret, for everyone applies himself to it devotedly, and the powers take an interest in the matter because of the immense advantage to be derived for their territories and subjects. Men of the most laborious and persevering minds have refined upon it to the utmost, so I fear that I shall not have elicited any information worthy of the notice of your Excellencies.
It is not merely her geographical position which aggrandizes the commerce of England, but her industry. By means of navigation the English penetrate everywhere and so far as they can they keep foreigners at a distance. On this basis they have enacted a multitude of regulations, and I should find it very difficult to acquaint the Senate with all of them. The most important is that, perceiving the disadvantage of free trade in distant countries, to which the merchants of this mart send goods without consulting one another, the markets being thereby flooded and their rivalry ruining them, they formed companies, to give repute to trade and prevent confusion, which is inevitable where the multitude has the management. The business being conducted in concert they are less liable to loss and disadvantage. As the difference of localities requires corresponding rule, the East India Company has a capital at the disposal of its directors, and the Guinea Company, which was reestablished last winter, is on the same footing. The Levant Company has no capital, but limits the trade in those parts to privileged persons. There are other companies, still more open, so that in those which are perilous by reason of distance, the business is conducted solely by experienced persons, whereas the others are open to the industry of all, that they may learn.
Holland availed herself of this example and indeed improved upon it by tireless application and careful husbandry which are the most essential capital for trade, as the mechanism of all these processes, violent and odious in commerce, are understood. As your Serenity's subjects will have no lack of other free channels to advance it, I will not dwell on further particulars.
Navigation is doubtless the true grandeur of commerce, yielding profit to the subject and prestige to the sovereign, but as they are jealous of it here your Serenity will see that it is desirable to extend it quietly, especially at the beginning. There will be a great outcry against allowing ships of Venetian build to carry other goods than such as are manufactured and produced in your Serenity's territories, there being a general law that foreign vessels may not bring merchandise of any other country than that of their build. The duty paid by foreigners is 25 per cent. more than that levied on Englishmen. While this has been taken off at the moment, by the king's order, to attract foreigners, it may well be put on again after the war. But there are two points which would create a great stir, perhaps without great profit. As I have from time to time alluded to other openings, possibly more advantageous for Venice, I trust the Signory will realise that any great concession would be met by a demand for extraordinary recompense, and you might prefer to purchase without fuss that which may be more beneficial to the commerce of the state.
In the mean time as the two Venetian ships Horologio di Mare and San Giuseppe are now near England with cargoes of puce, sulphur and oil, and in danger of being fined by the custom house, as both have oil from Apulia, I have spoken to Lord Arlington, who, although he suspected they might have some Dutch goods on board, (fn. 11) has practically obtained the order for their free entry, indeed, as each is under 300 tons they would be liable to 5 per cent. extra; but I hope the king will declare them free from this extraordinary tax as well. Next week I will give full particulars to show how readily Arlington concurs in whatever can benefit Venetian trade.
Acknowledges ducali of the 13th August.
London, the 16th September, 1672.
[Italian.]
Sept. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
295. Tomaso Rudio, Venetian Secretary in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has at last obtained a reply to his memorial. This consists in an expression of the astonishment that is felt that his Britannic Majesty should insist once again upon the abandonment of his own interests by this crown under circumstances so indecorous. They are desirous of maintaining the very best correspondence with his Majesty so far as that may be possible and that they will not depart from their definite position, already set forth, that they may assist the States, their friends. This is uniform with the tenor of the reply given to the French ambassador. Godolphin however is not too well pleased with this and there is fear of serious trouble as he remarked that this was too sharp and resolute a reply to be given to a king with whom they wished to maintain good correspondence. So much has been reported to me by a person in a position to know. There is only too much reason for believing that the reply was sharp because it is kept secret, whereas on the contrary the government makes a show to induce the people to believe that their replies to the instances made to them by these crowns were couched in friendly terms.
Constant prizes are being made for some days past by Dutch craft. A considerable capture was that of the convoy coming from Smyrna. This feil in with three English ships and one French which were proceeding to the Levant laden with merchandise. The Dutch captured these without much resistance and they have brought them into the Bay of Cadiz. (fn. 12) The English ambassador makes a wry face over this also and says that they ought at least to forbid the public sale of the goods, out of consideration of the respect due to his king. But here they do not listen to his private complaints. The booty is estimated to be worth over 300,000 pieces of eight and with numerous traders flocking to secure the advantage of a purchase, 190,000 in cash has already been offered, from the competition.
Madrid, the 22nd September, 1672.
[Italian.]
Sept. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
296. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king left suddenly on Monday last for the fleet, followed by all the ministers of the Council. Although Lord Arlington returned to day nothing has yet transpired about the result of several conferences held with the duke of York and the commanding officers.
The press gangs are still gathering seamen and the drum is being beaten for recruits. This practically puts an end to the idea that as the season advanced the large ships would be taken into harbour and their crews serve on board a quantity of small craft, so that they might easily cruise at sea throughout the winter.
Although this nation flatters itself that the Dutch, repenting of having offended it, are determined to show greater respect for the future, yet the whole Council is agreed that so far the United Provinces have not been sufficiently humbled and that either by some victory or through advantageous agreements, England must seek to bridle them lest she suffer in her repute and commerce from Dutch arrogance, caused by the resistance offered her.
The Swedish resident daily expresses himself more and more clearly, protesting that both by the old treaties and the new ones his crown is bound to join the empire if it is molested by the Most Christian, in consequence of his rejecting the conditions of peace. An influential minister said to me that the Swedes were not ashamed to break the promise given so recently to the Most Christian and that of late years they had been lured by sums of ready money which produced more effect than the long dated pensions of France, whose payment could not be enforced. This is not the only emergency which inclines the allies to peace, for it may not suit the Most Christian to risk his glory and conquests in a struggle against such a host of enemies. It is also said that the prince of Orange would willingly come to an agreement now that it is in his power to do so with honour, having so many supporters before the fray begins, and lest his remaining hopes be hazarded by their defeat, especially foreseeing that when once the imperialists draw the sword he will lose his arbitrament and have to depend, both in peace and war, on the convenience of the Spaniards and others.
Although this seems the sole pivot on which to establish the peace, the Spaniards clamour loudly. Fresno, their ambassador, said to me that war alone could give a peace, to which it would be necessary to bind the Most Christian by force, as if he made one after his own mind he would certainly seek to break it at the end of two years, in order at length to get possession of the rest of Flanders. I gather from him also that the Spaniards claim to play a great part in the negotiations, and although Dunkirk is spoken of as the site of the conference, nothing is settled about it.
The numerous difficulties which thwart the marriage between the archduchess of Innsbruck and the duke of York have extraordinarily disheartened them here. It is certain that when the English do not meet with facilities at first they rarely try by patience and diligence to carry things through. In this, also, they very often fail from refusing to adapt themselves to the will and interest of others. In spite of this the quality of the archduchess makes them put up with the delay until it can be seen what turn the war takes, nor will the Ambassador Piterboro depart until Gascoigne at Vienna has smoothed the chief difficulties.
London, the 23rd September, 1672.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
297. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The consul Hayles has at last matured his project for the consuls. He showed it this morning to Lord Arlington and will present it to the Council where he has the support of Lord Faulconbridge.
It was an ancient custom of the English consul at Venice to exact 15 ducats per ship, which has of late been raised to 30 ducats, without the king's assent, but through the easiness of certain captains who, when at Venice, voluntarily signed the act, and the others had to follow the example.
Hayles now declares that the tax is not according to tonnage and wants to be authorised to levy an ad valorem duty of one penny per pound sterling on the goods. To persuade the king and Council he quotes the example of the English consuls in Spain, Portugal and Leghorn and of the French and Spanish consuls at Venice, who beyond all compare derive much more than he does from the consulage. But his strongest argument is that, as the cargoes are nowadays mostly commissioned by foreigners, the new system would relieve the English ship owners, the burden falling on foreigners. By this argument, all powerful as it is in England, he has not only persuaded several London merchants to sign his memorial, but has even succeeded with those of Yarmouth, who have practically all the salt fish trade in their hands, cajoling them, I suspect, with the assurance that the tax will not be rigorously exacted from them but from aliens. (fn. 13) I have no doubt that he will easily obtain his intent if able to prove that the device is intended to relieve British subjects. As I have intimated before their plans are most crafty and persevering, to saddle the foreigner with the Englishman's burdens.
The consul came this morning to tell me his decision, having just returned from Lord Arlington. I said with a smile that I imagined he had contrived not to yield less than the 30 ducats. He replied that he would get little or nothing more from the ships leaving London, but he counted on the other English ships which loaded at Lisbon, especially those freighted with sugar. I merely said that the trade would feel a certain burden at the very time when the king and the republic were seeking to relieve it, and as it was evident that the Spanish consul would continue to levy his consulage on the merchandise, the double charge was bound to prove incompatible. He replied that the matter could be arranged with the Spaniard. I made no answer, but as I fancy that Arlington sent him on purpose to announce the change to me I will try to see his lordship forthwith, and drop such hints as seem likely to promote trade, without committing the state.
In speaking with Hayles about the viceconsuls I found that his action does not proceed entirely from his vaunted zeal for the relief of the English captains and sailors, though I cannot say precisely what advantage he expects to get. He agreed with me that the remedy is superfluous and might in time produce very evil consequences. He admits that your Serenity has established many regulations for the ships but maintains that, without a viceconsul, they will always be overcharged, and he insists on the sailors not being allowed to summon their captains in the courts for their arrears.
I told him that the English captains and sailors were not so foolish as to allow themselves to be cheated when the republic's regulations were so precise, and if necessary these could be renewed to ensure even better treatment. If the sailors were so disposed they would always get into debt and then apply to the courts for their arrears, so the new charge would be superfluous and ineffectual while the viceconsul, being unable to live on his pay, might try to persuade the captains and sailors to lodge in his own house, some owners of bumboats would obtain from him the exclusive privilege for dealing with the ships, with other abuses which were certain to occur when licence to sell was made a monopoly. As this would affect his own countrymen most, it was certain to come out and he would get scant satisfaction from it.
The consul thanked me for my advice and promised to tell Lord Arlington that he was convinced that the remedy by means of viceconsuls was unsuitable. I cannot feel sure of this as he is anxious to get his point; but he shows great moderation and always speaks very respectfully of the good treatment of the English by your Serenity.
In all the memorials presented by Dodington he never explained himself clearly about the captains' grievances, which alone might revive the project for viceconsuls, so I venture to represent the case for the consideration of your Excellencies. There is a law that no English ship, according to its size, may carry more than a limited number of foreign seamen, to encourage navigation. But this produces bad effects as the captains hire the sailors here on the condition of keeping back five months' pay until the return to London, lest at Venice or elsewhere they take other service and leave the ships stranded for lack of English hands, without which they can neither navigate nor return to England. Hence when the seamen run into debt to the bumboats at Malamocco they have no money to pay and sue for their wages in the courts, and even then they often abandon the ships. Hayles claims that the viceconsuls will be able to keep the bumboats at a distance and the seamen out of debt; but your Serenity can find plenty of other remedies, more speedy and safe, for stopping this abuse and securing the performance of the seamen's contracts with the captains.
I received this week the ducali of the 20 and 27th August last. As aliens are exempted from the import duty hitherto levied, those interested in the cargoes of the Horologio di Mare and San Giuseppe receive this benefit, indeed, by the king's command I obtained an order for the customs officers to let them enter, although they have oil from Apulia. I owe all this to Lord Arlington, who facilitated the business. It is not only the Venetians who are burdened with alien duty but all other nations as well, and where the Englishman pays 75l. duty the alien has to find 100l. Now that they are equal it is desirable to retain the privilege even after the war, as once it is repealed it will always be difficult to get it restored in favour of a single nation.
London, the 23rd September, 1672.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.298. Memorandum concerning the appointment of a viceconsul at Malamocco. The consul, modifying the resident's project for two viceconsuls, one for Venice and the other for Malamocco, urges the appointment of the latter and offers the following modifications and remarks:
(1) He admits the appointment is a novelty, but does not consider it objectionable on that account, if it benefits the English and does not harm the republic. There is example in the appointment by the consul at Zante of viceconsuls at Cephalonia and Corfu, who are received as such by the republic's ministers. The Grand Duke does the like at Leghorn, though there is a consul on the spot.
(2) A viceconsul or similar person is needed to avoid two abuses (a) that provisions and other services be not paid for above the tariff; (b) to prevent the seamen receiving superfluities on credit and then sueing their captains in the courts.
(3) The republic would not disapprove of giving assistance for the observance of its own orders and preventing the abuse of innocent foreigners by a person vested with authority.
(4) The abuse of the bumboats had other roots productive of worse consequences owing to the custom, which had become a law with the English, of keeping back five months' pay. They do not discharge their crews, as by law these have to be entirely English. The Dutch, on the other hand, when they arrive in port, only pay the men for a single day and when they put to sea they, like the rest, man them with every sort of nation. This leads to an abuse which concerns the English only, as the English seamen are induced to get into debt and are then persuaded to sue their captains, who are very often left without hands. It cannot be claimed that the republic should deny redress to any through the courts, but the Senate might remove the cause of the mischief by removing the temptation for the men to run into debt.
(5) A public proclamation that payment cannot be claimed from sailors on account of their wages is impracticable as suits would continue just the same. A viceconsul on the spot might deter the seamen from dealing with the bumboats. To prevent interference with the laws of the republic the Senate's decree might be worded as follows:
The English nation, wishing to have a viceconsul at Malamocco for the assistance of their captains and seamen, the republic agrees, so that he may attend to their wants and to the observance of the laws and regulations of the republic. While the ships are in quarantine the usual officers of the Sanità shall supply the ships with water and provisions without the viceconsul having communication with them, and no other innovation shall be made likely to prejudice the sanitary regulations. On coming out of quarantine, the captains, as of yore, to be at liberty to lodge where they please and the seamen to purchase what they want, no boat being prevented from going on board and selling the usual necessaries, but that care be taken that the captains enjoy the advantages conceded to them by the republic for what is required for the ships, of which certain persons deprive them.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.299. The Venetian Resident's objections and the consul's answers.
(1) Objection: the quality of the person.
The person nominated of experience, trust and good behaviour, and for want of an Englishman, none living at Malamocco, one of their own subjects, but speaks good English and well to pass in the world.
(2) Objection: it is a novelty not practised in times past.
The last consul save one had for his agent Andrea della Broccha, who drew out all ships' despatches and the like for the consul. Two years ago Sir Clement Harbie, consul at Zante, substituted for his viceconsul at Cephalonia Gio. Battista Minigaglia, and another at Corfu, where both execute their particular charge.
(3) Objection: Being granted for the English, the French, Spaniards and Dutch will claim the same.
It is a piece of justice not to be denied any nation that asks it, there being viceconsuls all the world over. It is needful as ships cannot come any higher than Malamocco, five miles from Venice. The French and Spaniards have few ships that trade to Venice and it cannot be imagined they will ever move for a viceconsul. Though the Dutch have many ships, they pay off all their men as soon as they enter port.
(4) Objection: Many bad effects may arise, as quarrels with the prince's officers, the viceconsul going in his boat with the king's arms may use too much authority and commit contraband without control.
No authority is ever given to a viceconsul more than he hath from his consul, which will never lead to any such misdemeanours. Nor is he to go in any boat with arms and the like, as the consul himself useth not any such authority. But his employment will be to see that the seamen are not wronged by the victuallers, that indebt them by extortion and then set them against their commanders and puts them in a way by the palace at law to contend with their captains, whom the law of Venice condemns to pay in full, so they leave the ship and commander at a loss. Besides this they are abused in many respects by the ballast boats and other that exact on them, being none that knows the custom of the place to assist and defend their interests, the consul being at Venice.
(5) Objection: If new nominated, a viceconsul or deputy, just and careful, henceforward may come in corrupt men and so the effect quite contrary.
This implies no good law should be instituted because we see too often rules abused by bad ministers. But such particulars are no maxims for this case. The Resident agrees an order may be made by the Senate that no man is to trust any Englishman. But that will not hinder these disorders, for the seamen will still, by the common law, make their commanders pay them all their wages. Besides the other disorders are not in the least regulated hereby, so that it is absolutely necessary some one be substituted with authority to obstruct these enormities in the bud ere any debts be so contracted or exactions made on the commanders; which by an honest and careful man may be prevented who must have authority likewise to hinder any of those bad people that delude the seamen, not but that any may be free to sell them what is necessary, fitting and just, as also others there to exact of the commanders above what is their due, which too often they do to captains that have not the language etc. which well to effect there must be a viceconsul or deputy empowered by some magistrate to act with authority, always understanding this party is not to meddle with any English ship belonging to the Sanità in quarantine. But of those few or none, since no other ships but Venetians in that port can trade for or from the Levant, and this particular the English resident plainly expressed in his memorial to the Senate.
[English.]
Sept. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
300. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king did not return to London last Saturday, having remained at the fleet, not only for the purpose of inducing the duke of York to quit it and to renounce expeditions against the enemy at this advanced season, but to arrange to send to sea several squadrons of light vessels, suited to rough weather, that they may cruise for the safety of trade and as convoy for a number of merchantmen bound to all quarters. I have already hinted that the grand designs of the English, not always being well matured, easily vanish.
The duke of York returned to London last evening and was immediately complimented by the foreign ministers, including myself. I fancy that all the plans for surprising Holland are at an end, his Highness being so ambitious of glory that he never would have left the execution of any great undertaking to others.
The English flatter themselves that the king renounces the attempts, to avoid injuring the interests of Orange, by exasperating Holland; but my belief is that having evidently gained little from the enemy and being warned by the advance of the bad season, the king resolves no longer to hazard his forces too much in the face of the world; nor is he without hopes that the light squadrons may damage the enemy and also avail themselves of opportunities, all being supplied with every necessary, even for a landing.
A gentleman arrived here from the prince of Orange (fn. 14) to urge the king to a reconciliation with the Provinces, but without having produced any effect. He departed last evening for Holland, the king being determined not to detach himself from France, and by an advantageous peace to secure for the country quiet, prestige and trade. The king also advised Orange to beware of trusting a certain residue of the de Wit faction, from which his Highness does not know how to detach himself. His authority totters more than ever because of what is immoderately usurped by the people, whose encroachments are endless. It is evident that when war ceases and they no longer need the prince, his authority will again become odious to the people. On the other hand it is feared, should the war last, that it may become universal in the next campaign, especially through the French auxiliary forces.
I cannot yet discover that there are any other negotiations than those which may be set on foot by the Swedish ambassadors, whereon the Dutch rely, and on assistance from the empire, which has drawn off the French forces in that direction. But as the Dutch republic, which took birth from military prowess, has now degenerated and by unsound policy abandoned itself too much to trade, which augments but does not secure the greatness of a state, the United Provinces find themselves at present without any men of experience to govern them; and whereas the Dutch expected with their money to give the law, they perceive that the other powers and especially England, although impoverished, make amends by diligence and character and contrive to cut a notable figure.
Although the king here may not improve his condition either by the war or the peace, so as to render it more apparently satisfactory, the war has already obtained for him the advantage of humbling Holland and caused him to be prayed and practically paid by France to obtain this end for which he might have sacrificed many of his millions fruitlessly, and what matters more, he insensibly bridles parliament, which was to have met on
30th October, and on the sudden his Majesty prorogued it until the 4th February, to the surprise of all the members, (fn. 15) who expected within a few days to cut a great figure. This decree, which points to resolution on the king's part, throws into confusion the plans of many who were waiting to oppose the motions concerning money and religion, in order to make trouble.
London, the 30th September, 1672.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
301. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have been doing my utmost to avert the innovation about the consulage. Having met Secretary Bridgeman, in whose hands the affair rests I remarked to him that Hayles had tried hard to relieve the ships, but the tax on goods might prove more burdensome to the trade at the very moment when the king and your Excellencies were intent on increasing it. A difficulty would arise with the Spanish consul at Venice, who also had a claim on the cargo. For the better division of the consulage the calculation should be made at so much per ton, so as to yield about 30 ducats per ship.
Bridgeman was convinced by my arguments and reported them to Lord Arlington who told me later that my plan pleased him better than the consul's and it did not injure the trade. He thanked me and I replied that I would try to further the interests of both nations.
My work has already produced a good effect for today, when the consul went to present the memorial to the Council, Bridgeman told him that it must first be better examined. The affair being thus stopped Hayles hastened to me to set it going again. He said it was true that he sought to relieve the English ships and as the French and Spanish consuls were in the habit of levying the consulage on goods he hoped your Serenity would raise no objection to the English consul. I replied that there was no question about the Senate's approval. It seemed to me shorter to calculate the tonnage, though to lay a fresh burden on the trade in order to relieve navigation was another point.
I left the consul much discouraged though he protests that he is very far from seeking anything that might displease your Serenity. But I believe the matter is still on foot and so I have decided to tell Lord Arlington that, acting without instructions, I had suggested the measure of tonnage as the best remedy for the abuse alleged by Hayles about the tax of 30 ducats on every ship, his Majesty legalising it by patent and so comforting the consul who, lawfully, could only claim 15 ducats. If they persist in levying the consulage on goods and ask me the opinion of the state I shall say that I am ignorant of it. I also hope that my amendment about the tonnage will be approved. I suggested it not only to gain time but also as the only way, I believe, to remedy the present abuse.
I need not point out that the tax on the ship is of a different character from what he would levy on the cargo. The former concerns the English exclusively, the latter the merchants who may be Venetians or any other nation. The tax on ships affects London alone, but Venice must suffer from that on merchandise as the more it is taxed the smaller will be the supply. The tax on ships is therefore a matter of indifference to your Serenity.
The manner of dividing the consulage is easy. At present 25 English ships come to Venice of from 150 to 350 tons and upwards. The smallest pay a Venetian lira per ton, the largest about 10 Venetian soldi. Henceforth all would contribute about 15 soldi, and the consul would get some additional profit.
I may add that if the king should set forth in the patent that the consulage is to amount to 40 or 50 ducats per ship and the captain, to recoup himself for this, may raise his freight charge in proportion, this would not matter at all to the trade, as being a tax on English ships only, those under your Serenity's flag bound to Venice would obtain more custom from the merchants, though it is true that, during the peace with the Turkish corsairs, English ships will always be preferred to others. Hayles lays great stress on this, believing that the merchants will willingly give him one third per cent. for insurances on English ships at the rate of 3 or 4 per cent., insurances on goods under other flags costing more than double that amount.
I fancy that Hayles aims not only at increasing the consulage on English ships, but at levying it also on sugar brought from Portugal in English bottoms. I suspect that in seeking to draw to his house as much business as possible from England, he will entice the merchants to give it a preference over any other by absolving his customers from payment of the 3 per cent. consulage, thus obtaining the greater profit of brokerage, and in the course of time he will have the best English business.
I will avail myself of the notice in the ducali of the 3rd September on what was done by the Proveditore General da Mar. As Lord Arlington never said anything to me about the release of Berton I fancy the Resident Dodington never wrote to him on the subject.
London, the 30th September, 1672.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 The fleet sailed from Bridlington Bay on Friday 16/26 August and stood southward. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1672, pp. 498, 508.
2 The renewal of the alliance of 22 Sept. 1661, with a new defensive alliance, dated at Stockholm on 14 April. See Dumont: Corps Diplomatique, Vol. VII, pt. i, p. 166.
3 There is a copy of this pamphlet in the library of the Public Record Office. Pamphlets: Holland, Vol. VIII.
4 The last three of these printed pamphlets are bound up in the secretary's letter book in the library of St. Mark, Venice. Classe VII, Cod. MDCLXXI, and are not in the filza at the Frari.
5 There is a copy of this paper, in Spanish, directed to the Conde de Peñaranda, in S.P. Spain, Vol. lx, together with an English translation.
6 There are two letters of John Evelyn describing the number of sick and wounded from the fleet and their wretched condition. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1672, pp. 525–6, 557–8
7 Dodington's memorial, headed “a scheme of trade with Venice,” is in S.P. Venice, Vol. lii, fol. 128, noted as received 30 July, 1673.
8 The Swede who provided the copper was Abraham Cronstrom. See note at page 265 above.
9 See Grueber: Handbook of the Coinage of Great Britain and Ireland, p. 133; Oman: Coinage of England, p. 335. Both give illustrations of the coins of 1672 but not of those of 1665.
10 Steele: Tudor and Stuart Proclamations, Vol. i, page 432, no. 3573. The text is printed in the London Gazette, August, 15–9, 1672.
11 There is a letter in the Public Record Office of 1 Sept., 1672, from one Lorenzo Madasco asking for the free entry of these two ships. He anticipates some difficulty because both carry oil of Apulia, though it was all taken at Venice. The entire cargoes were Venetian, with nothing of the Dutch. The owner, Foscari, would give any security required. S.P. Tuscany, Vol. xiv. Puce would seem to be the name given to powdered cochineal.
12 Five Dutch men of war supposed to be the Smyrna convoy, about 27 August captured two English ships bound from London for Italy, the Swallow, Capt. John Baddiston; the Experiment, Capt. Wm. Gotridge, of 20 and 18 guns, and carried them to Cartagena; worth over 50,000l. sterling. In their company a French ship from Rochelle was also taken. The Dutch had previously taken another English ship, with oil from Gallipoli. Godolphin to Arlington 4/14 Sept., 1672. S.P. Spain, Vol. lx.
13 There is a certificate signed by ten merchants of Yarmouth on 9 Sept., 1672, declaring that they find the consul's petition for altering the consulage at Venice to be reasonable. S.P. Venice, Vol. lii, fol. 59.
14 The heer van Rhede. He landed at Yarmouth from Brill on 8 September. He proceeded by land to London where he arrived on the 12th, and he sailed from Harwich on the 24th, all old style. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1672, pp. 594, 599, 651, 685.
15 In a letter of 15 Sept. Colbert tells the king that he had not dared to press the question of proroguing parliament, from the fear which he had long entertained of bringing down fresh demands upon him. Arlington had told him that if his master received no subsidy it would be necessary to reassemble parliament. 230,000l. was required in October to pay the fleet. Payment could not be delayed for fear of rebellion and all manner of confusion in the country. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.