Venice
April 1674

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1947

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242-251

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'Venice: April 1674', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 38: 1673-1675 (1947), pp. 242-251. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90372 Date accessed: 20 October 2014.


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April 1674

April 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
316. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Confidential relations with England are making excellent progress and France already feels more than confident in the sincere intentions of that king to procure the benefit of the peace.
Paris, the 4th April, 1674.
[Italian.]
April 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
317. Girolamo Zeno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Their counsels here which have in their time won the reputation and the glory of a superior maturity and to the most completely considered weightiness seem at present to be allowing themselves to be transported from day to day to change and inconstancy. The coming of peace between England and Holland gave birth in their minds to the greatest confidence in prosperous and most happy results and they only contemplated the image of Concord as printed upon sheets of considerable advantages. In these weeks the scene has changed; their courage has cooled, the way is opened to hesitations and the inclination for peace is revived.
Madrid, the 4th April, 1674.
[Italian.]
April 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
318. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the Spanish ambassador keeps his bed from indisposition, he made serious complaints to the king through Lord Arlington of his causing so much prejudice to the peace through his indifference which only served to play France's game. Out of consideration for Fresno the English serving in the French guards are recalled, but not the other troops levied at the cost of the Most Christian. The government pretend that by acting thus they do not infringe either the peace with Holland or the treaties with Spain. They regret here that the Spaniards should not be convinced that it is impossible for England to declare herself further. They are collecting arguments to convince them that his Britannic Majesty can aid the reconciliation more by maintaining his confidential relations with France than by taking the part of Spain without forces. The Comptroller of the Household, Lord Menars, even said to me that England might not be a loser if France, Spain and Holland were to bleed each other and the office of peace making might prove more acceptable when the parties are exhausted. This seems to me the bent of England whose antipathies make her delight in the military reverses of France; but as Baron de Spaar has at last arrived here and will urge the mediation, most decisions will depend on that.
Every day the Dutch show more and more distrust of this crown. This is fomented by Monterey, who cannot persuade himself to be reconciled to this Court and suggests warlike projects and hopes of conquests. I have been assured by Rovigni that the United Provinces will not listen to peace. He also is dissatisfied with England for sacrificing her interests and greatness and allowing herself to be taught so many lessons by Spain. But here, to avoid false steps, they go at a slow pace.
The business now in close negotiation is a proposal of the Presbyterians, the Independents and other Nonconformists, who offer the king a sum of money to dissolve parliament. They form the wealthiest part of the community and rely on getting the seats, when they will persuade the nation to sanction such liberty of conscience as may be granted by the king. Their object is to intrude themselves by this means into the ecclesiastical benefices, to which the Protestants are violently opposed. This negotiation is not so secret but that practically all the members of parliament know of it. Some of them come back to the opinion that the king should no longer be straitened for money. But the Court trusts no one and everything tends towards indecision.
Although Huggons is in bed with sciatica, I had a conference with him about the Sta. Giustina. I explained how necessary it was for General Valier to recover the ship and goods and removed every suspicion of wrong done to the English flag. I hope that the commission given him long ago to make complaint may be cancelled. It was subsequently allowed to pass and I discovered it accidentally. If I succeed in quashing the matter I shall save your Serenity trouble in an affair of honour, which touches the English and affects them deeply.
I also spoke to Huggons about the proposed change in the consulage. But I find that they are indifferent about the form and indifferent also about giving satisfaction and compensation to Venetian subjects, provided the consul gets 300l. a year, equal to 1600 Venetian ducats, for his maintenance. The government here considers this salary very small and scarcely sufficient for the support of such a modest position as that of English consul at Venice.
London, the 6th April, 1674.
[Italian.]
April 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
319. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Acknowledge the receipt of his letters of the 9th and 16th ult. With regard to glass and currants we refer you to the instructions previously given. As they have no reason over there for complaint you must set about with due prudence to try and get orders given for the lading of currants, assuring them of the good treatment which has always been enjoined by us and practised in conformity towards the nation by our representatives.
Now parliament is dissolved we suppose that the Cavalier Auguns will be on the point of starting for this city. Under date of 24 February we charged you with the necessary tact to endeavour to have instructions given to him not to encourage on his arrival here the innovation promoted by Hayles, the consul here, about the collection of the consulage on merchandise. We now repeat this instruction as the persistence of this consul in constantly bringing this matter before us is ceaseless and tiresome.
Ayes, 157. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
April 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
320. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Locar is progressing with his negotiations. By his frequent sojourns at the Court where he stays two and three days on end he is in constant session with the ministers and with his Majesty, in discussing important matters and things subject to the circumstances of the present time. The other day, when I went to see him with the usual formalities, he told me that his sovereign was doing everything to promote concord between princes and to give peace to Europe. But there were so many tiresome incidents which kept on arising day after day. He mentioned the arrest of the prince of Fristembergh, (fn. 1) and some other violence practised at Cologne with the dissolution of the congress there. These caused him to fear that if some conclusion could not be found before men's feelings were roused to boiling point, so many difficulties might arise that it would not prove easy to overcome them. He went on to tell me that among these no small one would be the selection of a new place for the negotiations because the example of Cologne would leave everyone somewhat mistrustful. The resolutions taken were not approved by any one soever, since Furstembergh was recognised by all the ministers at Cologne as one of the plenipotentiaries selected for the peace negotiations and he could not be considered in the resolutions taken in the guise of an enemy as they are trying to represent him, in their efforts at justification. He pointed out that Munster and Cologne, although they had agreed to the mediation of his king and that they would continue in the submission they had shown to this crown, were in no condition to maintain it for long because if the passage into Westphalia of the French to the assistance of the former were interrupted, it was left exposed to the incursions of enemies, while the other, in its present condition, was compelled by necessity to take sides. Accordingly both of them, as a condition of existence would find it expedient to procure some adjustment very speedily.
In the succeeding conversation he went on to say that for the proper conduct of so weighty and considerable a business as the boon that is desired, it would be necessary to have a suspension of arms. He touched upon this point in such a way as to show me that his plans were turned in that direction. He averred that it was practically impossible to bring so great an affair to an end by means of negotiation unless arms were laid down and unless room was given for treating since the accidents of war might at any moment change things and place further difficulties in the way of that boon which has become so desirable and necessary for all.
Paris, the 11th April, 1674.
[Italian.]
April 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
321. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Baron Spaar has spared no pains to further the mediation for peace and show the zeal of his crown. Here they pretend to have clearly discovered that he aims at avoiding any pledge for war, under pretence of mediating the peace, although the likelihood of concluding one fades daily. The government here is not to be cajoled by the honour of having the negotiations transferred to London and told Spaar that they could not be begun unless preceded by an armistice and above all that they should not be resumed during the next season. They asked what promises and intentions he had expressed in Holland, He replied that the belligerents were too vigorous and strong to sheathe their swords voluntarily, but that Sweden united with England might compel them to do so.
The king gives no ear at all to this tone. On the contrary he has desired his ambassadors at Cologne to withdraw on the departure of the French. The imprisonment of William, prince of Furstemberg, and the seizure of the French monies being much resented here.
This will serve to exasperate the Spaniards even more, who accuse the king of partiality for France. But the government here replies that it is superfluous to keep envoys at a place where there is no congress, particularly as the Dutch claim to recover from France not only the places lost during the present war but to help Spain to get back those taken from her after the peace of the Pyrenees, because the Most Christian will not listen to any proposals for an exchange.
The Count of Monterey is more sensitive than the others, so they are waiting to hear such complaints as his envoy, the prince of Barbancon despatched at last, will mingle with his compliments on the peace. His arrival is preceded by a report that the count himself talks of a rupture with England. Fresno is much more moderate in his opinions and here they try to propitiate him so that he may moderate the violence of Monterey.
Late in the day the government is coming to realise that by a sudden and hasty peace, made practically by force, it has lost its prestige with the neighbouring powers. Not only does Spain bully England but even Holland treats her in the same way. Only three days ago the king said feelingly that those who hoped to find honour and faith in Holland deceived themselves. He added that to deprive Captain Harman of the glory of his action off Cadiz they chose as usual to falsify it grossly in their news sheets (fn. 2) .
In spite of this letters have been received from Holland with a promise of the 200,000 patacoons for the first instalment. With regard to the marriage of Orange the duke of York has let slip that the Spaniards who were the first mediators, have lost sight of the matter, being intent on other affairs, the moment being unsuitable because of the increasing jealousies between England and Holland.
I think I have good grounds to suspect that this government intends to stand at the window watching the parties fight out this next campaign in the hope of being still in time in the autumn to perform the good office of mediation, which fighting will have facilitated.
In the mean time the king went yesterday to Newmarket to amuse himself there for a fortnight hunting. The nation, on the other hand, flatters itself with the monopoly of trade which the French, Spaniards and Dutch will let fall out of their mouths whilst quarrelling with each other.
I have the ducali of the 10th and 17th March. I say nothing more about the glass trade for the moment because the late disturbances have discouraged one who would have dealt largely in the commodity in partnership with the farmer of the duty, and I find great difficulty in resuming the negotiation.
London, the 13th April, 1674.
[Italian.]
April 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
322. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As the whole Court is at Newmarket, whither my usual zeal takes me that I may watch the business that will be blended with the amusements there, I leave London to-day for that place and am sending this letter by the ordinary of Flanders.
The Swedish ambassador is perplexed by the bad turn which the mediation takes. Because of the credit that would result to this crown he complains of their taking no heed to establish it in London. Barbanson also, who has arrived from Brussels, complains of the English Court for its partiality to France. With regard to the peace he says that on the part of Spain he could consent to nothing save on the basis of the peace of the Pyrenees.
Here they listen to everything with great indifference. I cannot discover that they side with France or with Spain and they do not exert themselves to have the mediation in London. The king, for his part, shuns the business and the ministers do not entice him to it, as none of the parties troubles to pay money to gain them. So they adhere to the maxim that the honour of mediating in London matters little to England provided her trade prospers in the mean time. Besides this the English rely so much on themselves that they neglect friendships and supporters. Despite all this the perseverance of Spaar might rouse the application of this Court and the proceedings of Monterey compel them to think about the matter; of their resolves I will give the most exact account that I can.
London, the 17th April, 1674.
[Italian.]
April 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
323. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
By reason of the capricious circumstances the ambassador of England entered Constantinople privately, attended only by the merchants of his nation. I immediately sent to his house to pay my respects by the Secretary Nicolosi. He was treated by the ambassador in a reserved manner and with scant courtesy. Up to the present, and it is now fourteen days, he has not passed any sort of correspondence with me or the usual civilities. Accordingly I am keeping on the watch and before arranging visits with him I will make myself better informed as to his intentions and I will not allow the honour and repute of your Excellencies to suffer prejudice in any respect.
The Vigne di Pera, the 17th April, 1674.
[Italian.]
April 18.
Senato
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
324. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Both England and Sweden are at work but not in such a manner that either of them up to the present is willing to commit himself to procure the peace, so unless the parties find an opening between themselves to bring it about, present appearances make it obvious that there is scant alacrity in these mediators to exert themselves to achieve this boon. They see clearly that it is in their interest to remain spectators of the troubles of others without any inclination to embarrass themselves by strong measures to the prejudice of the advantages which they receive. Locard, who is a skilful and wide awake minister, brings well into relief the intention of his sovereign towards the satisfaction of this side and shows himself ever forward to overcome the difficulties which crop up in the negotiations. He wanted to have a suspension of arms, but it was not possible to obtain it. So in this case it will be necessary to wait for the heat of arms to facilitate the reunion of minds and that it may reconcile better the terms of peace.
Paris, the 18th April, 1674.
[Italian.]
April 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
325. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The recruits from England are no longer coming, as it was said they would. It is said that they may take away those of that nation who are at Vesel, but of this there is no definite confirmation as yet. (fn. 3)
Paris, the 18th April, 1674.
[Italian.]
April 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
326. Girolamo Zeno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Here they are desirous of peace. It is suggested that the pope and the most serene republic should act as mediators. With regard to the position of the British minister Godolfin, he is a man of ordinary birth who acted as secretary to the ambassador and who has arrived at his present position by his remarkable talents and by the skill with which he has conducted the most difficult transactions. He favours the side of this crown and hopes to profit thereby. In the negotiation of the peace which came about between England and Holland the energy of his insinuations co-operated greatly. At the present time he has known how to induce his own king, disposed as he is to operate with France for his own preservation, to proceed further to greater adventures and to interest himself with his own authority for the attainment of the much desired general settlement. With this object Godolfin, after treating with the ministers here, presented himself subsequently to the queen and offered the mediation of his master. Such are the negotiations which are going on in this affair.
Madrid, the 18th April, 1674.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
327. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spaniards do not fail to pay close attention to the decisions taken here. They look upon the present relaxation as an argument to their prejudice rather than to their advantage because they suspect that close dealings are being held with the Dutch to detach them from the alliance. The interest which England takes in this side makes them the more inclined to believe that there is a special intention of that king to procure for himself by that means and facilitate his intent with Orange, although here also they would not neglect to suggest it, if they do not consent to the peace. Such arguments might possibly cause him to abstain from such a step, since he is too deeply concerned to establish himself in the position in which at present he finds himself. This suspicion may possibly provide a greater stimulus to the parties to abate their pretensions and bring themselves to the concord which is so highly desirable, the burden of the war having become too grievous to each of the parties. But there is no hope as yet that the possibility of keeping war at a distance will be so easy. The suspension of the negotiations and the entry of the armies into the field give rise to the fear that fresh circumstances will occur which will render more difficult a reunion of spirits. A suspension of arms is desirable and although England has given up insisting any more upon it when it did not result from her first advocacy, the negotiations have recently been resumed to try and do everything possible to induce the parties to agree to it. The Swedes join in this conspiracy with all their might because they do not want to commit themselves with arms. Although money is transmitted from here in abundance to make them resolve upon a rupture, they hold back on the pretext of mediation, while they evade such a declaration as well. The urgency shown by these two powers may possibly give a greater impression to the parties to take sides. If England continues in the generosity shown towards this side it may not be altogether remote. But it is greatly to be feared, owing to the numerous interests concerned, that these quarrels will continue.
They have great confidence here in the English minister Locar, who certainly is a man of great ability who enjoys great credit. But I do not know how he can reconcile the negotiations for peace which he has in hand, although with the character of a minister, with his position in these forces as the commander of a regiment. It is perfectly true that there is no lack of means to compensate him and that it will not be difficult for him to obtain them from the king here, who is very generous and especially to those who depend on that crown.
Paris, the 25th April, 1674.
[Italian.]
April 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
328. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
England retains the sentiments about mediation that I reported, although Fresno told me yesterday that the king took great pains to set it on foot; but it was a work of long digestion, more than was supposed, as they must await the consent of the emperor, Lorraine and all the other allies, and this was confirmed by Barbanson. Subsequently Fresno unbosomed himself to me. He said it was not in the interest of Spain to suspend hostilities when, by continuing the war in the summer she would reduce the Most Christian to extremities with the certainty of dictating peace in the winter. There were four royal armies in the field, those of the emperor, Flanders, Holland and Lorraine. It would be weakness to negotiate when by force of arms the conquered provinces might be recovered. For his own part he approved of the determination of Monterey who had refused neutrality for Franche Comté, solely to draw off the press of forces that would have fallen upon Flanders. But this was in accordance with the general interests of the Catholic king. He said he hoped Lorraine would reach Franche Comté in time to oppose the Most Christian.
Here the Court is postulating that the progress made by France in Franche Comté might calm the Spaniards and revive the hopes of the treaties which they thwart for the purpose of delaying them until a general congress can be held.
Such is the posture of affairs in London since the return of the king from Newmarket, he having come for the ceremonies of Holy Week.
The prince of Barbanson has had his audiences, including one of leave two days ago. I have been unable to discover what complaints he mingled with his congratulations on the peace, as Fresno keeps the secret very closely, but I am assured that the replies were mild and that they all expressed zeal for the general peace and the impartiality of England. They sought in this way to confute the charge of favouring France.
The English Court does not despair of being charged with the mediation although undertaken leisurely. According to all appearance it will be protracted unless the case be altered by some fresh military event. Fresno laughs at the report of a third party in Germany in favour of France. He told me that the king of England is exerting himself in vain for the release of Prince Furstemberg, as if resenting the pains taken by this crown for France, even with respect to her friends. But they told him here plainly that they merely intended to speak of the liberty of the place of the congress.
Higgons has started for Venice at last. He has obtained the title of envoy extraordinary, not without increase of emolument. (fn. 4) Before he left he confirmed to me his intention to maintain and increase the good understanding between the two countries. He said the merchants assured him that the trade with the Signory's subjects was considerable and advantageous though Dodington has tried to discredit it. He was instructed to enter upon a treaty of commerce to remedy abuses that had crept in since the last one. I really believe that when and where matters are represented to him in their true light he will not allow himself to be biassed by passion or interest.
London, the 27th April. 1674.
[Italian.]
April 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
329. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
The Senate acknowledges the receipt of his letter No. 263 and commends what he said to the Cavalier Hugons. With regard to the consulage we send a paper recently presented by the Consul Hailes. When opportunity offers you should avail yourself of the sentiments already expressed with the tact that has been practised hitherto.
We have to inform you that in these last days divers ships of that nation have arrived in the port here with various merchandise and some have also arrived at Zante for lading currants. The very best treatment is accorded to all of them and whenever an opportunity occurs you will always be able to make this known in a suitable manner as is requisite in the interests of good correspondence and of trade.
Ayes, 106. Noes, 1. Neutral, 7.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 On Wednesday, 14 February, N.S., William, prince of Furstemberg, brother of the bishop of Strasburg, was seized in his coach at Cologne when on his way to visit the elector, by Count Pietro Bagnasco, an officer of the imperial regiment of the Marquis of Grana, his uncle, and carried off to Bonn and thence to Vienna. He was accused of stirring up trouble among the princes of the empire and with designs against Germany in the interest of France. On receiving the news the ambassadors at Cologne of France, England and Sweden conferred together and threatened to transfer the conference elsewhere. The break-up of the Cologne conference followed soon after.—Relations Veritables, Brussels of 21 February and 10 March, 1674.
2 See note at page 231 above.
3 There were eight companies of English guards at Wesel under the command of Captain Bevill Skelton. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1673–5, page 20. On 27 March, n.s., Sir Gabriel Sylvius wrote to inform Williamson that Skelton was going to Wesel to withdraw some of the companies and bring them back to England by way of Holland. S.P. Holland, Vol. CXCVI. Early in April Charles sent for Ruvigny and told him that about a month back he had sent Skelton to Wesel to bring back home three companies; but he had just received information that Skelton had been bribed by Holland and had undertaken to debauch from the French service all the English at Wesel and cause them to enter Dutch service. He had sent orders for Skelton's arrest but those were almost immediately withdrawn. Ruvigny to Pomponne on 9 and 12 April. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
4 On 27 Nov., 1673 there was a privy seal for payment to Higgons of 5l. a day as ordinary and of 500l. for his equipage as envoy extraordinary to the republic of Venice. Subsequent warrants show that pay was continued at the same rate. Calendar of Treasury Books, 1672–5, pp. 428, 656, 863.


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