Venice
March 1674

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1947

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227-242

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'Venice: March 1674', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 38: 1673-1675 (1947), pp. 227-242. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90371 Date accessed: 16 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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March 1674

March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
299. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
England has never been in such extreme confusion as now. As this does not proceed from events of the moment, I will mention its origin, to render the fact more intelligible. After the king had dismissed Chancellor Clarendon and banished him the kingdom, the duke of Buckingham and Lord Arlington competed for the royal favour. His Majesty did not trouble to decide the question or to suppress the disorder, thinking that he would excite their zeal and that they would strive as rivals with good faith and industry to promote the advantage of the crown. Arlington spared no pains on behalf of the Spanish party, opposing the suggestions of France who, for two years, urged the rupture with Holland. Buckingham, on the other hand, who was then in the ascendant with the king, went ambassador to the Most Christian and returned with a very advantageous alliance, to his master's satisfaction. He supposed that he had established himself in the king's confidence and in the secret, to the exclusion of Arlington, who had always appeared to be of the opposite party.
Arlington, who is an accomplished minister, in conjunction with Shaftesbury, Clifford and Lauderdale, insinuated to the French Ambassador Colbert that one so careless and fickle as Buckingham would not serve the Most Christian so advantageously as himself (Arlington), who would show himself as thoroughly French as he had hitherto been Spanish. He also promised and later carried it into effect, that he would improve the terms of the alliance, and for this he has received considerable rewards.
Colbert accepted the proposal, relying on the steadiness of Arlington and settled with him the arrangements of the alliance and the war, to the exclusion of Buckingham. The latter seeing himself out of the circle, again assumed the Spaniards' cloak. Courting popularity he excited the country so violently against the French that parliament in a fury tore up the treaty and brought the government to its present state of extreme embarrassment. The two ministers contended in parliament, bandying accusations from one to the other. Buckingham is left with a broken head, having misused it, and an empty purse. Arlington, by superior management has contrived to win the members and will escape scot free although the whole nation considers him the more guilty of the two.
From this account the state will understand that the king deceives himself when he fancies that he can rule without favourites. In the mean time his service suffers from the intrigues of those who aspire to the position.
At the moment Arlington, worn out by so much labour and agitation, announces his intention of retiring and the ex-chancellor Shaftesbury, with a party of malcontents, aspires to the succession, devising disturbances and even rebellion, that he may render himself necessary for its suppression, whilst the treasurer seeks to monopolise the royal favour through the protection of the duke of York and his friends. The king remains undecided and in the mean time, while these negotiations are taking root, a party is being formed in favour of Holland. They do not spare money and so these personages will obtain from foreigners the funds they need for their support and they will improve their credit with the king in proportion to the means they may have for intruding themselves into the government.
This same Dutch party is already divided, some being for the Provinces others solely for the prince of Orange, whom they flatter with the hope that he may succeed to this crown, from which they propose to exclude the duke of York on the suspicion of being a Catholic. For this reason the marriage of Orange to the duke's daughter is not hastened, to avoid strengthening the prince's claims to the throne or his hopes of obtaining it, while scant confidence is placed in him here, he has still less in the king, believing him to be everlastingly inconstant.
Most persons suspect that the king will do all that is asked, for money. It is already said that his price is 600,000l. and that he will not spare even his brother. He proposes to pay him back in this way for helping to do so much mischief by his advice in favour of the French alliance and the declaration of indulgence, which brought about the disastrous war with Holland and stirred the suspicion of the people about their liberty and religion. As the duke had the chief share in the catastrophe the king cannot let him off doing penance for it.
Never has the world seen so high spirited a prince as the duke, who is all zeal for religion; and if he is as fortunate in his proceedings on its behalf as he is well disposed to suffer martyrdom for the cause, hopes may still be entertained of auspicious results.
In order to anticipate the announcement of the peace conveyed by Sir [Gabriel] Silvius, the Spanish ambassador sent his secretary to the Hague and eagerly awaits his return. His Excellency's aim is evidently that England shall mediate peace for France and that she shall further offer such terms as she sees fit to the Most Christian and the Dutch and their allies, proclaiming war against those who refuse them, letting it be understood that Sweden may possibly join in this decision. It is already known here that if Sweden chooses to play France such a trick it would suit her better to do it with repute at the head of her German league and not subordinate to this one of England who will always want to be arbiter. On the other hand the English ministers, knowing that they cannot commit themselves to another war, will not consent to make a protest and they would be even more reluctant to disoblige France further. It is not impossible indeed that France may resume her confidential relations with the Provinces to the detriment of England, against whom the antipathy of the Dutch will be constantly increasing from rivalry and interest.
London, the 2nd March, 1674.
[Italian.]
March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
300. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Parliament continues to sit and if it does nothing else for the nation it at least gives final judgment in a number of cases in appeal and daily proposes measures for the benefit of the country. Nothing has yet been said in the Lower House about money for the king, but there has been a debate about altering an ancient custom with respect to arrests. (fn. 1) In the execution of these without regard to all the rules and formalities of the common law, it is pretended that the nation suffers from abuses practised by the ministers.
The House of Lords had a long debate about removing the duke of York's daughters from the custody of their father and the duchess, as she is a Catholic and also about compelling the queen not to have any English priest in her chapel. Two criticisms were made (1) that the places would be occupied by Portuguese and native Englishmen be deprived of the advantage of the pensions; (2) that it was not possible to forbid foreign ministers to choose what chaplains they pleased without violating the law of nations. This would have stilled the clamour but for the revival of the report that the internuncio in Flanders (fn. 2) had written letters here excommunicating all those priests who advised the Catholic peers to take the oath of fealty, whereby the English pretend that they only impugn the pope's temporal authority.
Simultaneously the judges, considering the fitness of exempting foreigners from the laws against the Catholics and the danger of injuring trade by their absenting themselves, are drawing up a decree to prevent any perquisition against them.
Subsequently parliament debated at length the dispute between England and Ireland about the act forbidding the importation of Irish cattle into this country, which fully satisfied the demand. (fn. 3) There are two interests which clash, those who breed the animals and suffer no competition and the graziers who want abundance and free trade for their pastures. As the kingdom in general suffers from the monopoly of the breeders, from the graziers and from the butchers who sell the meat, the repeal of the act and permission to import meat from Ireland were strongly supported. It is feared that the Irish may become too attached to the cattle trade which they have begun with France and Spain, while, in addition they export several manufactures. With this stimulus to industry and encouraged by such trade with those two countries, they might entirely abandon their traffic with England.
Although this debate might seem to arise from zeal for the common weal it is only mean selfishness on the part of these individuals who haggle over profits from each other, whereas the general interest of the country would require them to think of filling the kingdom with inhabitants to cultivate the soil, consume its produce and eat all the cattle, English and Irish alike. Something to this effect was said, a suggestion being made for the importation of negro slaves for the cultivation of the land, as in America, but the question will only be decided after mature consideration.
In conversation with the duke of York I took occasion to say that the wind blew fair for the Mediterranean fleet and the merchants must not altogether despair of profit from their salt fish although the prohibition of currants from Zante and of glass from Venice would be a heavy blow to them. They would feel it the more and expect the less as they would not know how to invest their profits, whilst the lack of return freights must embarrass the whole shipping interest The duke replied that many measures were proposed but that few were carried into effect, the persons who had heard him speak against these innovations were convinced of their impropriety and that they would at length destroy the trade.
I spoke on the same subject with Sir [Thomas] Higgons who is always telling me that he is about to depart for Venice, but as he is a member of the Lower House on the king's side he not only fancies himself necessary but is intent on establishing claims for some further recompense. This is the real reason for his staying on here. The payment of his travelling expenses three months ago, notwithstanding the scarcity of money, is sufficient proof of the determination to send him to the republic.
In reply to the ducali of the 3rd February I make no allusion to the affair of the ship Concord as nothing was said to me on the subject by Arlington when I met him accidentally. It will doubtless cause trouble for I do not expect Hailes to carry water to an opening which gives him an opportunity for introducing fire.
London, the 2nd March, 1674.
[Italian.]
March 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
301. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Some mistrust that arose on this side had revealed the suspension of the transfer of the Swedish minister, Baron Sphar, to London and of the Sieur di Bariglion, the plenipotentiary of this crown. But now that they have been assured of the continuance of the generosity of the British king to contribute with all his strength to procure peace for the Most Christian and that Sweden agrees to unite its forces with such powerful means for the realisation of such a boon while it appears that Spain also inclines to such a mediation, it is believed that both of these ministers will soon be proceeding in that direction. The first has been busying himself at the Hague to induce them there to make the way easy for it to be arranged and they have sent sufficient instructions to the others at Cologne so that they may be well furnished for such an affair. It was further reported that the duke of Schio might also be sent in the same direction but he told me that though he was quite ready to proceed to Cologne before the peace between England and Holland was concluded, he did not at present see the necessity for his going to England. The situation was only favourable in appearance and he feared that it would not prove so easy to achieve the result, because he saw so many opposing interests which stood in the way.
Paris, the 7th March, 1674.
[Italian.]
March 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
302. Girolamo Zeno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The minister of Holland is beginning to make urgent representations to the Court to induce them to declare war together with the British king. But the one in the Council who has constantly advocated the rupture with France feels strongly that this is not the moment in which to take any step in conjunction with England.
The English ship Tiger, carrying 44 guns and 400 men encountered off the entrance to the port of Cadiz a Dutch privateer of 30 guns and 250 men. They fought for the space of three hours and the Dutchman was defeated. Only six persons escaped, the rest being wounded and slain (fn. 4) . When the fight was over three Dutch ships of war entered and they have got the English frigate in the midst of them. It is not known what they will decide to do, seeing that they are within range of the guns of the town.
Madrid, the 8th March, 1674.
[Italian.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
303. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Parliament is prorogued, all London in confusion and agitation will prevail throughout the kingdom. It is strange the reliance this people places in that body and the liberty it takes to uphold its proceedings.
The ratification of the peace having arrived from Holland on Sunday, his Majesty went to parliament on Tuesday in the royal robes. He said that he came to acquaint them with the ratification of the peace. As he knew that they all wished to return to their homes and as the winter was more suited to their sessions, he should make a short adjournment for the summer. Addressing himself especially to the peers he said that in the interval he would devote himself to the maintenance of the Protestant religion and to privileges and he expected them to consider the means suited to that end. For the rest he referred them to the lord keeper who prorogued parliament until the 10th November next.
The members on returning to their homes will say that having applied themselves to upholding the Protestant religion and liberty, they were dismissed by the Court which does not ask for advice but only money. They may get more credit than the king's servants who assert that his Majesty made peace to please parliament, that he has prejudiced his honour and broken his word and that the two Houses, not content with this, have compelled the king to dismiss them by their licentiousness.
The truth is that the House of Lords voted the removal of the duke of York's daughters from his charge because the duchess is a Catholic, after making audacious speeches against the duke's succession. The Commons voted the reduction of the forces and to forbid the raising of money without the consent of parliament. This tends to incapacitate the duke from raising a shilling, should he succeed to the crown at the death of his brother. The king has been convinced that Shaftesbury, the duke's most open enemy, having been deprived of the great seal at his suggestion, now more popular than ever, has joined the party of the malcontent lords with the intention of separating the duke from his Majesty, so as to overthrow them more easily and set up a new and republican government, after dividing the chief and most profitable offices among themselves. The king, aware of all this and having learned that yesterday they meant to accuse the duke of York of treason, forestalled such a scandalous action by proroguing them.
Some say that the duke, having convinced the king of the impossibility of quieting the two Houses and obtaining money from them, recommended him to dissolve parliament, but I know that the duke's opinions are more moderate. He believes that gentle correction may conciliate many and, at the worst, that the king can dissolve in November with less noise.
The Signory will see that the king lives from day to day and makes peace with the Dutch and a truce with parliament, to live in quiet. But this knot will again return to the teeth of the comb and never disentangle itself unless the king take courage to combat the licence of the parliament, though that will always be a perilous venture and work for others than his present Majesty, who is intent on enjoying life, has no heirs and always hesitates to raise a finger from fear of a relapse into the miseries and perplexities of his youth.
In spite of this his position will not deteriorate if he continues constant to the duke. The latter has gained credit by this second testimony of his influence with the king and this confirms the loyalty of his friends who know that if they oblige him he will prove himself a steady and generous protector. His enemies, on the other hand, are confounded, as they find that when offended he is not easily reconciled.
By the prorogation all the votes, petitions and bills proposed during the last session become null, to the satisfaction not only of all the Catholics in general but especially of the English priests, who were to have been banished, as well as the Portuguese Franciscan friars in the queen's service, as they intended to allow only secular priests to act as her chaplains.
Your Serenity will also be spared any further trouble about the recall of the duke of Norfolk. It has been remarked as almost a fatality that parliament has never continued sitting for a month after debating the removal of the duke to England. I am also consoled as the adjournment puts an end to the affair of the currants and glass. There was great danger and there is need for the state to provide a speedy remedy to re-establish the trade.
No one has as yet spoken to me about the ship Concord. When called upon I will reply as instructed by the ducali of the 10th and 16th February last.
London, the 9th March, 1674.
[Italian.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
304. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The retreat of the parliament has completely restored the prestige and tranquillity of the ministers. Living in constant dread of attacks of all sorts, they did nothing and were under great control, whereas now their spirits revive. Arlington, who flatters himself that he is the most capable minister, as he is certainly the best informed, the steadiest and the most indefatigable, no longer talks of resigning the secretaryship of state. Buckingham finds himself too weak to dispute the royal favour with him; but if he can justify himself to the king by showing that his accusation of Arlington in the Lower House and his revelation of cabinet secrets and of the alliance with France were necessary for self defence, it is not impossible that he may reinstate himself; for when parliament is up there is no one who dare dismiss a cabinet minister and the king himself has not the heart for such a stroke.
So far as can be seen Arlington is of the party of the prince of Orange. The prince, who owes his restoration to the war, is not much inclined to peace until the internal affairs of the Provinces are quite settled. To this end Arlington dissuades the king from following the policy of Fresno who wants England to hasten peace by armed mediation. But for this she lacks both means and inclination and not a step has yet been taken, though Rovigni thinks that he can dispose of the English government. But Spanish bias is steadily taking such firm root there (fn. 5) that the French will find it difficult to recover their mastery, the king being no less timid than the ministers, because of the irreconcileable antipathy of the nation for France.
A report was circulated that the French pretended that the franchise of Cologne had been violated by the imprisonment of Furstemberg and that the treaty of mediation might be transferred to London, but no one has spoken to me about it at the Court.
The duke of York continues partial to France, having taken to heart the proceedings and delays of the Spaniards in the affair of his marriage with the archduchess of Innsbruck, the present empress. But he has a good understanding with Fresno, to whom he recommended the interests of the Catholics, so that through his influence with parliament they might be left in peace, in conformity with the maxims of piety which has always been peculiar to the House of Austria.
Fresno was much distressed because the Catholics themselves all upbraided him, accusing him of being the promoter of the troubles in parliament. He has tried to make amends for this by urging quiet as much as he could. But the Catholics say that Colbert brought it all upon them when he persuaded the king last year to withdraw the indulgence and that Fresno for his part did not fail to complete the ruin by hemming the king in between his own necessities and the perilous audacity of his subjects.
London, the 9th March, 1674.
[Italian.]
March 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
305. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 16th ult. The offer of mediation made by the British king will afford an opportunity for him to show his ability in investigating all that ensues upon this question also and in penetrating into the sentiments entertained by the Provinces in the changed state of affairs. The Senate will expect to receive all particulars and that he will devote the attention that is requisite for matters of such gravity and importance, being confident that he will show his customary punctuality.
Ayes, 121. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
March 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
306. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Concerning the pope's offer of mediation, and the doubts entertained about the attitude of Sweden.
Nevertheless his Britannic Majesty gives assurances that he will not take a step contrary to the satisfaction of the Most Christian and promises that if he is unable to facilitate the peace entirely to the liking of his Majesty, he will not be led to take any decision that can inflict the slightest imaginable prejudice on this crown. It is believed that Sweden will be led by the example of that king without committing herself further. But although the king of England continues with the same generosity towards this side, the interests of that kingdom in the continuance of the differences with Holland in order to remain arbiter of all the trade of the two nations are so great as to make it always seem doubtful whether they will be able to achieve their end by that means. There is also this further consideration that if the king there is unable to succeed in giving peace to France by easy and satisfactory means, he will not be willing on the score of his own advantage to bring himself to take more difficult measures and displeasing to this side, contrary to the interests of that country, in order to attempt to obtain it by other means, when by the continuance of the war with Holland he sees a treasure lying open for the enrichment of his kingdom.
Paris, the 14th March, 1674.
[Italian.]
March 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
307. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
They take comfort here at the news of the dissolving of the chamber in England as, being sure of the friendly disposition of the king there, they need no longer live in dread of his being forced by that body to take steps contrary to the good intentions of his Majesty towards this crown and very prejudicial to the interests of the same. In their talk here they say it is quite possible that the Most Christian had a great part in obliging his Britannic Majesty to take this step.
Paris, the 14th March, 1674.
[Italian.]
March 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
308. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday the 28th February, old style, the peace with Holland was published to the sound of the trumpet with the usual formalities, news having come four days before that it had also been published at the Hague. Hostilities will cease in these seas as from the 8/18 March as far as Norway and from there to Tanger after the 7/17 April. In the evening they lighted bonfires through all London amid the acclamations of the people to the ceaseless ringing of the bells. The Ambassador Fresno, with distinction and generosity made public his own particular satisfaction. The members of parliament, now returning home, will announce the good news in their own fashion, representing themselves as having procured the blessing of peace. But the nation is unable to explain why it is so averse from the war with Holland, a mischievous neighbour, sole rival of the maritime supremacy of England and of her trade, or why so hostile to France whose vicinity at the moment is much less dangerous than that of the States General of the United Netherlands.
The truth is that the Dutch acted prudently in this war. They voluntarily abstained from availing themselves of many advantages, which they may reserve for another opportunity. For instance, when the duke of York went to Portsmouth to join the French fleet and was unable to beat up Channel against the wind, Ruiter might have battered Dover to the ground and have done the same to all the other towns and places on the coast (fn. 6) . The States knew very well that the French alliance. was accidental, framed by the king of England for his own ends. So instead of exasperating the country and rousing the national honour, they decided to wage a sort of defensive war which would maintain their repute, without generating more peccant humours.
This is known to the government which is now made aware of the strength and wisdom of the Dutch republic; but the ministry takes no steps to guard against the strength of a suspect power so near at hand, as the king thinks only of himself and the nation, by the judgment of God, seems doomed to the confusion of domestic discord.
The government is now intent solely on economy, so that the king's revenue may meet expenditure, if it does not suffice for payment of the debts.
Other persons would wish his Majesty to dismiss from the Privy Council all those who, by courting popularity have thwarted his service and that he should put well deserving subjects in their stead, a system which would place the distribution of offices on its true footing, vitiated as far back as the time of the Chancellor Clarendon, who induced the king to reward all those who had been rebels lest they should turn against him a second time, and persuaded him not to countenance those who had been faithful because, although they had the heart to serve, they had not the head to render themselves necessary.
Such is the state of affairs, and the king remains undecided. Even Lauderdale would despair of re-entering the Cabinet if he were not supported by the duke of York, who thinks that his Majesty's reputation would suffer if he were to dismiss so trusty a minister at the instigation of the headstrong parliament.
All the ministers are still undecided in their choice of party. Arlington alone shows himself in favour of Holland and Orange who, if they continue to spend money, will be able to do more than any other party in England.
The decision of the Dutch in favour of peace does not seem sincere, and much less that of Orange, who personally hopes much from war. Fresno declares that Spain is inclined to peace and people believe him. With regard to France they know not what to wish and indeed it is supposed that the Most Christian himself has not yet come to a decision. The Swedes are supposed to be still muttering so that they may continue to masticate with both jaws, but as the Swedish resident is still expecting Spaar, the precise state of the probabilities of peace and war will be known on his arrival.
London, the 16th March, 1674.
[Italian.]
March 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Senato,
Secreta.
309. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letter No. 252 together with the other letters. Your attention is conspicuous from what you have discovered apropos of the trade with France and with Spain. With regard to that which is carried on with our subjects, the arguments whereby you sought to destroy the sinister impressions left by the late resident Dodinghton were very apposite. You will always be able to bear witness that the duties on currants have never been changed, although those on salt fish have already been reduced.
With regard to the matter of glass, since our regard is chiefly towards the abundance of trade, we shall be on the watch to see what may be achieved by your ability and what facilities will be afforded over there so that, after due consideration, we may take our deliberations and then give you such directions as may be considered appropriate in the business.
You will assure the Lord Marshal of the public regard and of the pleasant memories which are preserved by us of him personally and of his well deserving House.
Ayes, 135. Noes, 3. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
March 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
310. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Dog and Senate.
The nuncio (fn. 7) has not yet heard anything about mediation. I do not see how it can be easy to obtain assent to it from this side because with the mediation of England making progress daily it is not credible that France will be willing to detach herself from the one in order to embrace the other. The minister Locard here labours untiringly to set forward an affair of such great importance. Although he has not yet made himself known at the Court with the usual formalities of entry and first audience, yet he makes an impression by the frequency of the sittings which he has with the Sieur di Pompona and private audiences of his Majesty as a person of great worth (molto degno) and he is considered to be a minister with the ability and character to set on foot a negotiation of such consequence.
Paris, the 21st march, 1674.
[Italian.]
March 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
311. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
These transactions are being continued in England and in Sweden and it is considered that they will not be taken away from them in order to avail themselves of other mediation. The Most Christian has received new and repeated assurances from his Britannic Majesty that no step will be taken except what is friendly and corresponding to so many favours received from this side. He has also received expressions of regret from that king that it has behoved him to adhere to the satisfaction of the others, to the prejudice of the promises made to France. Such ideas give a confidence greater than was entertained in the past.
Paris, the 21st March, 1674.
[Italian.]
March 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
312. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
It is a long while since the government of England has been in such confusion as at present. It is evident they are undecided which side to take with foreign powers. The king finds it difficult to parry the attacks of his subjects, so jealous of their liberties and religion and strange are the negotiations of the ministers for the furtherance and establishment of their own interests. They are intent on obtaining for themselves the management of affairs and the king's confidence; but to maintain themselves they must lean towards the interest of some foreign power. They listen to the French, the Spaniards, the Dutch and Orange but are unable as yet to feel sure which of these parties will predominate in England.
Fresno complains of the partiality for France which he still finds at this Court. They tell him it is but gratitude due to the French crown and when the matter comes to be discussed in detail they add that now-a-days the custom of an armed mediator is so well established that it has destroyed the fashion of former times when sovereigns undertook to negotiate treaties of peace either because of confidential relations with the parties concerned or from influence with them. England having neither strength nor inclination to undertake the mediation (which in fact is absolute arbitrament as war is to be proclaimed against whichever party refuses the arbitrament) must content herself with insinuating peace to France and her allied enemies and delay negotiating it until they shall first of all have unanimously agreed to its acceptance. Until all are agreed upon this the king of England could not hope to do any good by persuasion. If Spain wished for peace the Dutch were by no means enamoured of it and the king would not in any case make any attempt by force against France. So according to all appearance England will play the part of mediatrix when the parties concerned shall have spontaneously concurred in a wish for peace.
Fresno, who would fain make the most of this winter, being apprehensive of what may happen next summer, has no other hope than in the declarations of Sweden, as if she deserts France he believes that the Most Christian will accept any terms of peace.
Spaar has not yet formed any decision after the vague reply he received in Holland to his last proposals. The Swedish resident in London is surprised to see that crown delay throwing off the mask under pretence of mediating peace.
The articles of the peace with Holland have already been printed in London and people are now beginning to think that those concerning trade will not produce any effect. The whole nation calls it a disadvantageous and provisional peace; but tardy is the counsel and vain the repentance.
The king would like to punish the leaders of the factions but has not the courage to show resentment from fear of exciting peccant humours. To calm mens minds he has indeed given fresh orders to the judges, now on circuit, to enforce the laws against the Catholics and to convict and condemn them.
Almost daily hats, gloves and other French manufactures are burned here in public as contraband. The nation rejoices at this and yet the industry of the French alone can rouse that of the English and moderate the greed of the tradesmen who choose to continue to supply bad articles at an exorbitant price, heavily taxing the public and ruining those who are well off, since there is no proportion between the diminished revenues of this small band and the immense cost of feeding and maintaining in plenty a countless host of artisans.
The duke of Monmouth has entered on possession of the post of Master of the Horse, purchased by him from the duke of Buckingham and Lord Arlington is treating closely with Lord St. Albans to buy that of Lord Chamberlain of the Household. If the bargain is concluded the secretaryship of state will pass away from the most diligent minister in all England. He told me four days ago that Sir [Thomas] Huggons would soon be starting for Venice. This was confirmed by Huggons himself. I fancy that by his original instructions he was to speak about the incident of the Jersey frigate at Zante and about the consulage at Venice. I shall try to find out the grounds and, if possible, prevent any pledges.
London, the 23rd March, 1674.
[Italian.]
March 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
313. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Now that the Spaniards realise that they are not in a position to avoid the mischief that threatens them except by a union of wills, and that they perceive that the forces of this crown are really in existence and not imaginary, as they fancied, they display more eagerness than they have done in the past for the negotiations to go forward. They wish that they had not been so tardy in wishing for them as there is some doubt lest the time is too limited for bringing about that boon which is awaited and sighed for by everyone with equal fervour. They no longer insist on wishing to persuade England to undertake the mediation after their fashion, indeed they seem to wish it upon such terms as may mutually assist towards these most important urgencies, but they do not forget to bring forward all those difficulties which might prevent this great boon. Thus it would seem that the Most Christian is made safe and from the attitude which the British king continues to adopt towards this side he has even greater cause for believing that Spain wishes to do everything in its power to avoid the shock of these arms which it sees that it cannot sustain even with the forces of its allies.
Locard never ceases, by his sittings two or three times a week with the Signor di Pompona, to confirm, at every encounter, the sincere preoccupation of his sovereign by his intervention, to smoothe away for France those difficulties which might obstruct the realisation of the benefit of the peace, with satisfaction for the Most Christian. He goes so far as to say that what is not achieved through the mediation of England will not be obtained by other means. Such continued insistence brought into prominence by the fervent and vigorous remarks of the minister, accompanied moreover by repeated letters from the king there, remove all suspicions and dissipate those shadows which left some doubt in the past about the dependance upon their disposition. He finds no difficulty in persuading them that the generosity of his Britannic Majesty rises superior to considerations of interest and ambition, preferring rather to satisfy the pressing requirements of France, to the prejudice of his own kingdom, than contravene those generous sentiments which are coupled with gratitude towards this side, by taking contrary resolutions.
No reply has yet been given to the nuncio which indicates any greater disposition here to accept that mediation than in the past. It is possible that it may ensue in order to satisfy appearances, since it is not usual for Christian princes to refuse the services of the common pastor; but so far as can be seen the interest taken by England and the satisfaction shown by the crowns that the differences are to be settled by his Britannic Majesty with some share to Sweden, make it likely, up to the present, that the essence of the negotiations is to remain in the hands of these two and that the others may be coupled with them in some demonstration for show.
Paris, the 28th March, 1674.
[Italian.]
March 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
314. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It has been suggested here that the duke of Maumuth may come to serve with these forces with the recruits of the English regiments and the Ambassador Locard here has given credit to these reports by saying that he believed it was so.
Paris, the 28th March, 1674,
[Italian.]
March 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
315. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The peace may suspend acts of hostility, but does not dispel the animosity prevalent between the English and Dutch, increased by the jealousy of the latter, to the detriment of friendly intercourse. The United Provinces complain that the king is still French at heart. They are told in return that they have strange pretensions. After having broken the alliance with the Most Christian his Majesty is not necessarily bound to renounce the ties of friendship by which he is joined to him. He protests that he cannot recall the English troops in French service, still less enrol them under the Orange colours. It does not become the crown to charge itself with the mediation unless with the previous consent of the parties.
The government also complains that the Dutch do not hasten the appointment and despatch of their ambassadors to London, as a public demonstration of their desire to be reconciled with England and to gain her friendship. But M. de Read (fn. 8) , who has come here on behalf of Orange, gives assurance that the States are occupying themselves with the appointment and that their endeavours to give proof of esteem for the king will increase in proportion to the confidence reposed in them by him.
The Spanish ambassador exerts himself by similar insinuation to prevent bad blood between them. He also wants England to depart from her neutrality, though she is determined to persist in it. Fresno also hopes to see the peace before the end of the winter and before the feats of the next campaign alter the present state of affairs. He is no less afraid of a change for the worse than Monterey is sanguine about wresting places from France.
One of the ministers told me that Sweden is to strike up the psalm and that he hoped she would at length be the colleague of England in this mediation, but that Spaar was to wait in Holland for fresh instructions from Sweden. The Court is duly expecting the envoy from Count Monterey with whom no intercourse is maintained here. In the mean time the king, as relaxation from his late anxieties, thinks of going shortly to Newmarket and will afterwards pass the summer at Windsor.
When lately with Lord Arlington I tried to get at the bottom of what Higgons had hinted to me that the king was not yet satisfied about the affair of the Jersey frigate. He told me that he had consigned all the papers on Venetian affairs to Higgons to make himself familiar with them, but he believed there would be no reason for more to be said. Higgons should look upon it and confer with me in detail about unsettled matters, to regulate his instructions before he went. This agrees with what I reported and makes me believe that Arlington really does not mean to revive complaints and that it is all the work of Higgons himself who listens to the onesided complaints of private persons and merchants and out of good nature is inclined to make a fuss of everything. I will see him and if I find anything in his instructions about consulage I will try to cancel it, as directed in the ducali of the 24th February, received with those of the 3rd March. If no one speaks to me about the encounter with the Dutch privateer, I will let it drop. Arlington never said a word to me about it on the two occasions when we met.
London, the 30th March, 1674.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Liberty of the Subject Bill for the speedy relief of prisoners detained for criminal matters. Its main clauses were the same as those enacted in 1679 in the Habeas Corpus Act. It was introduced in the Commons by Lord St. John, on 20 Jan., and came up to the Lords on 23 Feb., but its further progress was prevented by the prorogation on the following day.—Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, page 296. Hist. MSS. Comm. 9th Report App. ii, page 46.
2 Ottavio Falconieri.
3 The complete prohibition of the importation of cattle from Ireland was decreed by an Act of 1666. The bill before the House proposed to authorise importation for seven years. Arguments for and against are given in two papers, printed in Cal. S.P Dom., 1673–5, pp. 166–170. See also Clark: The Later Stuarts, page 288.
4 In February all the Dutch warships sailed from Cadiz leaving only the Schaherleas, 36 guns, Capt. Pasqual de Witt. On the 22nd Capt. Thos. Harman arrived there in the Tiger. Owing to a taunt that the Dutch had left for fear of the English the Dutch captain challenged the English to fight. The two frigates went out and engaged about a league outside the port, when the Dutchman was defeated and captured. Both captains were mortally wounded. London Gazette1673/4, Nos. 866, 870. Relations Veritables, Brussels, of 4 April, 1674.
5 Writing of Fresno and the peace Salvetti says “11 marchese s'e acquistato una grandissima riputatione et Tapplauso generate di questo popolo, oguno imputando questa cosi felice successo alia finezza et prudenza di questo ministro.” Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962V, fol. 229d.
6 In May 1672. But see the preceding vol. of this Calendar, pages 212–3, 217.
7 Fabrizio Spada.
8 Frederick, baron van Reede tot Renswoude, heer van de Lier. He had been in England on secret missions in the years 1672 and 1673, Niew Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, Vol. III, 1033–4.