Venice
January 1673

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1947

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1-9

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'Venice: January 1673', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 38: 1673-1675 (1947), pp. 1-9. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90354 Date accessed: 21 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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January 1673

Jan. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
1. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spaniards expected nothing less than the capture of Charleroi and here they gave it up for lost, believing that open war between the crowns must follow. But the news of Orange's retreat (fn. 1) being in part confirmed, they rejoice to find that the French forces did not give battle, indeed they hope that the Most Christian, stifling all resentment, will accept any sort of satisfaction from Spain. The Ambassador Colbert expressed himself to this effect and Arlington gave him a very broad hint that, the war in Spanish Flanders being utterly against the interests of England and the agreement made with France, the king of England could not fail to be disturbed by any attack made on that country by the Most Christian without absolute necessity. So this time also they count on averting a conflict between the crowns.
The Dutch, in consternation at so many crosses and disasters, show generally a strong leaning towards the adjustment. They complain that they have been committed to the Spaniards without good grounds, merely for Spanish interests, and if the United Provinces were less closely linked with the imperialists the general opinion might possible prevail in that confused government.
Four mails have arrived from Flanders simultaneously. All announce the confusion of Monterey at the failure, which he attributes to the conduct of Marsin. Here they already prognosticate that the count will be sacrificed to the public quiet, unless the queen prefers to go to war in earnest.
Here they do not know how to advance the negotiations for adjustment or how to conclude them, owing to the multiplicity of interests and passions which sway all parties. In the belief that the heat of war can alone digest them they are preparing hostilities for next summer. Provisions have been ordered for
36,000 men, so Spragge told me. He also confirmed the duke of York's wish to go on the fleet again.
Spragge expects to be sent to France in a few days, to establish a base for the fleet during the next campaign, a suspicion having arisen here that the Most Christian is inclined to fit out sixty of his ships instead of fifty, so that his subjects may have practice and learn, at the cost of the money, though this would be received by the English from his hands.
In the interval fresh levies are being raised here and other troops will come from Scotland, all owing to the pressing imminence of the next session of parliament. The king wishes to be forearmed, to prevent disturbances which might be encouraged by over confidence on his part and his great good nature.

The question, so long under discussion, about the English ships burned in the Elbe at Hamburg by Dutch ships during the last war, is now settled by the payment of 32,000l. to the merchants here for all the damage suffered by them at that time. (fn. 2)
London, the 6th January, 1672. [M.V.]
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 6.
Inquisitori
di Stato
Busta 442.
Venetian
Archives.
2. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
I have twice reported the infringement of the regulations touching unpolished mirrors exported from Venice. This abuse continues as commissions for them are given daily, though I do not know who will take the place of Dodington, who provided for their safe exportation. I have also discovered that many mirrors are sent to Leghorn in cases containing window glass. These are forwarded to Holland and polished there, and are then sent on here, to the detriment of the manufacturers of mirrors at Venice.
The moment I have orders from the state I will take steps to put the matter in a fair way for adjustment. There can be no opposition except from the duke of Buckingham and from a favourite of his, who lives by the profits of the mirror trade.
There are many other furnaces which produce drinking glasses, but they have no protectors and only Italian foremen. These are very good workmen, but they cannot obtain the material or get the clearness and strength of Venetian crystal.
London, the 6th January, 1672. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
3. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 18th ult. With regard to what Dodington has written to Lord Arlington about the meagre present received by him at his departure, if the question is raised he is to make it known that the manner of Dodington's treatment does not differ in any respect from what it has been customary to practice with royal ministers of his sphere. He is also to speak of the regard which is always felt for the one who has the honour to represent his Majesty and the particular observance of the republic towards that crown.
Ayes, 135. Noes, 6. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Jan. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
4. Tomaso Rudio, Venetian Secretary in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Great apprehension has been occasioned to this government by the return by the posts of the chief courier of the French ambassador for the General d'Etre, who has been sighted with two squadrons of 24 ships of war, partly English, hovering off the coasts of Cadiz. The fact that he was subsequently despatched by the Ambassador Villars with all speed, to take boats and go to the said general, makes them fear that this portends a common resolution to intercept the fleet of galleons which is expected from the Indies. The capture or loss of this, in the opinion of all the ministers, would involve the utter ruin of this monarchy. The cargo is an exceedingly rich one, worth more than 20 millions of pieces of eight, the greater part of it for the French and English.
Madrid, the 11th January, 1672. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
5. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
From the repeated intimations of the Spanish ambassador here this Court is increasingly convinced that the queen, disapproving the attempt of Monterey, will endeavour to give satisfaction to the Most Christian and avert a recourse to arms; but owing to the importance of the matter, the result is most anxiously awaited.
In the mean time the Most Christian, though Colbert has assured the king here that he will persevere firmly in his resolve to act in concert. A few evenings ago his Majesty said he was perfectly sure that the king of France would take no steps without first of all measuring them with him, implying that even if he had other intentions it would not suit him to hazard the alliance with this crown.
The envoy of the elector of Mainz
(fn. 3) is expected hourly from France and it is evident that they will listen to any proposals which offer a probability of adjustment.
The Dutch, confounded by their disasters, clamour more than ever against the Spaniards and give credit to the report that they would now prefer voluntary submission to France to all the advantages of their costly alliances, which are so far advanced. But the truth is that Orange, being unfortunate in his attempts, is losing ground with the States in proportion with the revival of the de Wit faction, which seeks to establish itself by means of the present disturbances. The correspondents of the English ministers in Holland report that the Dutch are not preparing any fleet for the next campaign, to avoid so greatly weakening their land forces, which are so much more necessary, and of obvious advantage. In consequence of this, proposals have been sent to France for suitable arrangements, the cost of the combined fleet being considered superfluous, and the forces, when divided into several squadrons, will do more service.
Regard for economy is not merely a measure of prevention but of necessity by reason of the difficulty of obtaining money from parliament. The members already declare publicly that the whole country disapproves of the king's move about religion and that as the people bear the burden of the war they cannot adapt themselves to it. But your Excellencies may rest assured that the king will master everything, if he perseveres in his determination to carry matters with a high hand, without giving way in the least to the gentleness of his nature, which is too easy to believe and in forgetting the resistance offered by some of his contumacious subjects.
The French Ambassador complains that the duke of York, at the request of private individuals, grants too many passports to Dutch ships, so that privateers, being compelled to give up nearly all their prizes, are compelled to retire, without drawing any profit from their venture.

London, the 13th January, 1672. [M.V.]
[Italian, deciphered.]
Jan. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
6. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Lord Arlington did not forget to speak to me a few days ago, Lord Falcombridge also being present. He said the merchants had urged him to write to your Serenity in the king's name for the observance of an act passed in favour of the English touching salt fish. As agreed between us, he spoke to me in the first place, without committing the crown, feeling sure that if your Excellencies found the demand just, you would grant it without solicitation. I replied that he was right in thinking that the Senate always looked with favour on the English, as Lord Falcombridge could testify, who protested that he had found the Collegio ready to listen to all his demands, which were mostly conceded. But afterwards he could not restrain from referring again with me to the pardons he had asked, and which he is still very anxious to obtain.
Arlington, continuing his discourse, said that he expected Dodington back from Venice shortly and added, smiling, that he complained of the scantiness of his present. Being forewarned I merely replied that he might rest assured that he had always been well treated and that the custom of former times had been observed. When Dodington comes, I have no doubt he will speak to me about this and many other things, all of which I will report, keeping on the watch for such information as he may give the Court about the state of Venetian trade, so as to report it with more detail.
London, the 13th January, 1672. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
7. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 23rd ult. The Senate notes what he writes about the 300l. for Consul Hayles to be provided by the merchants outside the Company who have permission to lade currants. It might perhaps prove the simplest way as well as the way to draw out the business at length. He is only to enter upon the subject when the question is raised and he must always bear in mind that burdens are not to be placed upon goods.
With regard to commerce, the Senate considers it more seemly that it should all happen without observation and without being made public. In the matter of the salt fish he is to show that there is no change in the decree already issued. He should take the opportunity to encourage the despatch of abundant supplies of salt fish which would serve at once as a convenience for the Venetian state and redound to the advantage of the merchants over there.
That a copy of what the Secretary Alberti writes about unpolished sheets of glass be sent to the Inquisitors sopra Datii with instructions to see that suitable orders are issued, to prevent prejudice and to stop the abuse.
Ayes, 125. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Jan. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
8. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
While awaiting the decision of the queen of Spain about Charleroi, always with the hope that some expedient may be found to prevent a rupture between the crowns, the English Court is closely watching the Dutch, in order to regulate its policy. The United Provinces clamour about the meagre results derived from the formation of so many alliances and complain of the inactivity of the Germans during the winter; whereas the French, although less inured to cold, are in constant movement. They reproach Monterey for having caused the failure of the attack on Charleroi by not sending the supplies promised.
Your Excellencies will have heard of the successes of the duke of Luxemburg at Bodegrave, Swamerdan, Newerburg and other places, which have terrified the Dutch, who are quaking even at the Hague. Every one reports that the government, affected by so many disasters, is no longer averse from negotiations, a suspension of hostilities or peace; but, as a matter of fact Baron Spaar has achieved nothing with the prince of Orange.
In the mean time Sir [Edward] Spragge is only waiting for the king's final instructions to go to Paris, where, by reason of his great experience and knowledge of that Court, he will prove a most able minister to arrange what is required for the fleet.
The greater part of the English fishing vessels still remain weather-bound in harbour, to the detriment of trade. This is the greatest loss which the mart has experienced since the war.
The king has rewarded the merits of the marquis of Blanquefort, brother of the duke of Duras and captain of the duke of York's guards, by making him a baron of England with the title of Holdenby, a place given to him by his Highness for his services for the space of ten years, (fn. 4) especially on board the fleet, in all the actions of the late wars.
London, the 20th January, 1672. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
9. Giovanni Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
For the negotiations between the duke of Jorch and the Archduchess Claudia the English envoy here has newly sent an extraordinary courier to his king an order to receive with his return the final and precise resolutions of that Court. Here every point in the conditions has been accorded and the English minister is hoping to see the affair brought to a final and successful conclusion within a few weeks unless the small pox, by which the Catholic king has been attacked, obliges them to some delay or fresh deliberation. I have been assured, however, by a confidential informant, that until the delivery of the empress, whose pregnancy is following a satisfactory course, no definite decision will be taken upon this point. None the less it will continue to be subject to manifold variations.
Vienna, the 21st January, 1672. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
10. Tomaso Rudio, Venetian Secretary in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
It appears that the chief object of the courier from England was not with reference to the duke of York's marriage although he brought some instances for facilitating the business. The reason was that the French minister in London had informed his Britannic Majesty of the succour and the last attempt of the Spaniards in contravention of the articles of the peace. (fn. 5) As the principal guarantor of the peace of Aix la Chapelle he had directed Lord Godolphin to represent to her Majesty here the obligation he is under in such case to give the due satisfaction to the Most Christian. He protests that if satisfaction is not given, he will employ his own forces for the purpose, as he would have done against France if she had been the first to give the provocation.
The government has recognised the propriety of this office and has given the English minister a similar reply to that which was given to the complaints of France. They told him that her Majesty, with the Low Countries so far away, was unable to penetrate the unforeseen intentions of the prince of Orange. This also was borne out by their inability to give any precise orders to the count of Molina for this matter although he was instructed to conform himself, without any excess, to the articles of the peace and to be most careful not to afford the slightest cause of offence to his Most Christian Majesty.
Madrid, the 25th January, 1672. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan 26.
Cinque Savii
alla
Mercanzia
Risposte
Reg. 157.
Venetian
Archives.
11. We note the efforts of the Secretary Alberti in England to increase the trade of the piazza. Speedy assistance is recognised to be necessary and we have made careful inquiries from the chief men of the piazza and from others who are well informed and experienced about that country and about the constitution of the of the piazza itself. But our efforts have proved all but fruitless and our hopes delusive. We observe among other particulars contained in the despatch that the English are now claiming that from henceforth the consulage shall be collected, not as heretofore from the ships, but upon the goods. This change would tend to burden those goods which arrive here on English ships which would be for the most part on behalf of the same, since Venetians, lading on their own vessels, are not bound to pay consulage here; accordingly this does not seem to us to be a reason for so much haste. In any case the principle of not opening a way for changes which might cause some disturbance or prejudice to trade we consider to be a very prudent and cautious policy.
It is equally desirable that the Venetians should, if possible, enjoy privileges in the payments with the others, in conformity with the nationals of England, an advantage of about 25 per cent. and also by reducing the price for hiring ships at Venice trading could be rendered more easy. We can assure your Serenity that in the matter of hire no nation offers more advantages than the Venetian, and we attribute the suggestion on this point to the secretary's lack of practical knowledge.
We are inclined to place in the same category the project for arming ships for convoy, in view of the difficulties that this would occasion with the present stringency at a piazza which is so greatly deranged and distressed.
With regard to glassware and mirrors, as many furnaces are already opened in those parts and with the heavy duties both there and here, and there being no opening for sales, we should consider it equally fruitless and superfluous to spend time over it. But with regard to a lowering of the duties, we think it desirable that they should set the example. To cause the flow that way of unpolished glass would serve at present, with the destruction of a numerous and great industry, to turn upside down the decrees of the Senate which are most severe in such matters. Moreover it would not be difficult for the duke of Buchingen, through the great interest which he enjoys, to obtain decrees prejudicial to such a business.
With regard to the sending to England of cloth of silk, this might meet with some opposition. We would say that such transactions as should be conducted by private hands, if they are recognised by the interested parties as likely to be successful and lucrative, would not be abandoned at this period. The same might be said about causing silk to be worked up in this state which is now exported to be worked up in foreign countries, because the silk thus worked up would be sent to England afterwards; while to forbid the exportation would only result in most serious prejudice to the state. Nor will the merchants be inclined to give up the convenience of the conveyance, week by week by the land route at a charge of only 4 per cent. in order to wait for accommodation by sea, which comes rarely and then is not dissociated from various troublesome accidents and subject to the burden of the insurance and even, in the absence of these, the fear of aggression and hostilities. In any case there is always the risk of storms, fires, fraud by captains and other sinister incidents.
With regard to establishing houses of our merchants in England, the secretary, though full of good will, is entirely ignorant of the necessary formalities. We cannot indeed see what advantages might be expected therefrom if we merely examine the quality of the merchandise which might be expected from thence, apart from salt fish, lead and cloth which are prohibited by the laws. We would therefore repeat that if individuals considered that such action would be profitable they would not wait for encouragement from the state and so we do not think that the majesty of the prince should condescend to issue commands to subjects on such a matter, because decisions of that sort should depend upon their own judgment and knowledge.
Given at the office of the Five Savii on the 26th January.
Almoro Grimani,
Vettor Contarini,
Bernardo Memmo,
Antonio Quirini,
Francesco Moresini, Savii.
[Italian.]
Jan. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
12. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The disasters which increasingly confound the Dutch (who are no less prone to promise themselves advantages from aid given by their neighbours and from the strength of the allied forces than faint of heart and feeble in adversity) produce nothing but changes, the government giving itself up to extreme jealousy and the people to despair; indeed, the prince of Orange having been unfortunate, is sorry to perceive that by degrees the Arminian faction which may again destroy his authority, is reviving.
The Swedish ambassadors write that they have had public audience and have set on foot an offer of mediation; but just as Spaar gives some hope of being able, as the first point, to establish the suspension of hostilities, so the Dutch insinuate at this Court that they are ready to make peace, adding a few protests to the effect that if not listened to immediately they will adhere to France.
This manner of negotiating, which might render a third party jealous, is not admitted, and although here they incline towards quiet, the means of obtaining it are not yet visible, and opinions differ greatly as to whether the war will continue next year or no. The truth is that Spragh is ready to start at any moment for Paris, and as he would go for the sole purpose of arranging what is necessary for the war, it is a clear sign that they do not anticipate peace.
Meanwhile a correspondent of mine writes from Brussels that the Spaniards and Dutch, exasperated by the failure at Charleroi, are very suspicious of each other, the governor having written to Spain that the Dutch would certainly submit to France and that, consequently, the loss of Spanish Flanders was imminent.
Here the ambassador Fresno talks less and more moderately than at first, concerning the proceedings of the English government, and seeks a reconciliation; but Arlington told me that he deceived himself, expecting to frighten them with phrases, and that if Spain wished it England would wage war on her with determination. He told me this, but I do not believe that the English government would rush headlong into hostilities against Spain, to avoid giving offence to the country at the very moment when parliament meets. The members make a great noise, but as a number of troops have been mustered in this neighbourhood and the king has obtained many votes in the two Houses, he relies on obtaining pecuniary supply speedily and thwarting any projects devised by the parliamentarians to trouble the present calm.

London, the 27th January, 1672. [M.V.]
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 The siege of Charleroi was undertaken by the prince with the help of Spanish troops. He retired from the place on 22 Dec.
2 During the second Dutch war, two Dutch men-of-war at Gluckstat attacked a fleet of English merchantmen in the Elbe near Hamburg, destroyed three and captured three others. See Vol. XXXV of this Calendar, page 68. Damages were claimed for a violation of a free imperial stream. The claim was settled by a treaty signed on 15 January, by which the city of Hamburg agreed to pay 35,000l. in discharge of all claims. The Hamburg deputies in London who signed were Vincent Garmers and Franz Matfelt. S.P. Foreign, Treaties, No. 285.
3 The baron de Schönborn, seigneur de Reichelsberg, the elector's nephew. His letters of credence are dated at Mainz. 7 December, 1672. S.P. Germany. States, Vol. LIX.
4 On 6 January, o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1672–3, page 400. He was given the honour of Holdenby, co. Northants with the title of Baron Duras of Holdenby. Louis de Durfort was the sixth son of Guy Aldonce de Durfort, marquis de Duras. G.E.C. Complete Peerage, Vol. V, page 365: Père Anselme: Hist. Gen. de la Maison Royale de France, Vol. V, page 737.
5 An allusion to the attack on Charleroi. Colbert was urging Charles to make war upon Spain in order to prevent her from helping the Dutch. Colbert to the king, 2 Jan., 1673. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.


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