Venice
June 1674

Sponsor

Institute of Historical Research

Publication

Author

Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1947

Pages

261-270

Annotate

Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'Venice: June 1674', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 38: 1673-1675 (1947), pp. 261-270. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90374 Date accessed: 24 October 2014.


Highlight

(Min 3 characters)

Contents

June 1674

June 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
347. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The three Dutch ambassadors, de Rheede, Van Beuninghen and Van Haren made their public entry last Monday and on Tuesday had their first audiences of the king and queen and royal Highnesses, being defrayed by the king's order at the usual residence of ambassadors extraordinary. They have not yet discussed any business and speak temperately about the flag incident, implying their confidence that the Dutch never dipped to the English in their own ports and that there was no such provision in the last peace. The Court here has not yet made any formal remonstrance. The general opinion here is that it is no time for disputes and that it is sufficient for England to retain the right claimed, as very well enforced by the ship of their plenipotentiaries which discharged three shotted guns at the one conveying the Dutch ambassadors. According to all appearance it will be an affair of long digestion and, as the king has not yet appointed commissioners to treat with the Dutch, their selection is awaited. Temple is similarly hastening his equipment for his mission to Holland.
Two days ago their Majesties and the duke and duchess of York went to Windsor and next Friday the ceremony of the knights of the Garter will be performed with the usual very costly pomp. The earl of Mulgrave, on whom the king recently bestowed the order, will be installed.
The foreign ministers will follow the Court in a few days, with the exception of Fresno, who is in the country taking the waters as a cure. Arlington told me that Fresno had passed an office with the king, full of civility and esteem, but on examination the Spanish expressions proved to be devoid of substance. He, Arlington, was sorry to believe the peace so remote and the expectation of Spain to regulate it according to the treaty of the Pyrenees would be a great obstacle to the negotiations. The Spaniards always lost and fed themselves with hopes of successes. Besancon had fallen and the Most Christian would not lose much time in conquering the rest, whilst the Prince of Condé was not asleep in the Low Countries and supported Bellefont in his attack on the important fortress of Navagne. In spite of this the Spaniards talked a lot about their armies. Finally he confirmed what I heard from Brussels, that there is some dispute between Orange and Monterey, the former insisting on having all the Dutch troops in the field, to which the latter objects.
At the last cabinet Council held by the king before he left London there was a long discussion about the Catholics. It had been proposed to offer a reward of 5l. to any one who handed a priest over to the law officers, in order to convince the country that the king is not inclined to protect the Catholics. The matter was discussed but not decided, so the Catholics are waiting with great anxiety the result of the Council, which will be held at Windsor.
In the mean time the king has ordered the name of the earl of Shaftesbury to be erased from the book containing the roll of the lords of the Council. His disgrace is thus confirmed and will be an example for others to serve their sovereigns more loyally. Lord Lauderdaile, on whom the Commons lavished such marks of the popular aversion, continues in his Majesty's confidence, fortifying himself with a band of friends and determined to weather the storm next session.
London, the 1st June, 1674.
[Italian.]
June 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
348. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
It is not the absence of the Court at Windsor but the urgency of domestic affairs which prevents the government from paying attention to what happens across the Channel. This is why they do not listen to the remonstrances of the Spaniards that it is the interest of England to preserve Flanders or to the protestations of the French that they would be content with an honourable peace. Both say that England is indifferent to their disputes provided that she enjoys quiet. The fact is that when they heard here of the misunderstandings between Orange and Monterey, because Orange wished to take the field with all his Dutchmen, so as to be the stronger, they asked themselves if it was more reasonable for France to anticipate division among the allies, whose interests and passions are so conflicting, than for the Spaniards and their colleagues to suppose that the Most Christian, from inability to take the field next year, will accept any terms of peace. So they take this pace about the peace believing that nothing will be said about it until the winter and that London will be the scene of the negotiations.
With regard to home affairs the government is earnest in its effort to prevent trouble in the next session of parliament. All England is convinced that the king will not allow himself to be separated from the duke of York and with both persevering in one opinion they afford no opening for division which might weaken them. This being settled the king proposes to show himself severe with the Catholics, to remove the jealousy which they occasion; but if he threatens without enforcing the penal statutes the people will complain that it is only show. But if he really persecutes the Catholics the agitators will not be satisfied and it is they and not the true zealots who make the most noise.
It is not known what the king will decide, but in the mean time, to show his resentment against the promoters of the disturbances in Scotland, he has removed from the Council there certain persons who had formed a party against Lauderdale and abandoned the king's service. (fn. 1) Lauderdale supported by the duke of York, has allied himself with the Lord Treasurer and they are putting themselves at the head of a numerous party, giving the king hopes of obtaining money and overcoming difficulties in the next session of parliament.
In reply to the ducali of the 28th April and the 12th May, 1 hope Higgons will not insist about the consulage. I will do my utmost to prevent this being stimulated from here for neither the king nor the Council takes such a deep interest in the matter as Hayles represents. I see that he is anxious to make the change and takes credit for suppressing the plan for vice consuls. He also asks favour for himself for the trade he is opening with Ireland, without caring if it is continued to his successors, to the prejudice of Venetian trade. The matter of the vice consuls fell through on its unfitness being demonstrated; the trade with Ireland did not need any encouragement for merchants bringing trade to Venice, especially when it was in their own interest, as the republic has always encouraged those who are the first to introduce a profitable branch of trade into her dominions.
With regard to Hayles' memorial on the oil trade I must mention that since the peace with Holland the king has withdrawn the exemptions of aliens and they now pay 25 per cent. more duty than British subjects. Moreover, after importing goods aliens are subject to great inconvenience in selling them as they are not free of the city of London, so that foreign merchants lose a great part of their profits.
London, the 8th June, 1674.
[Italian.]
June 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
349. Girolamo Zeno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Fresno is asking to be recalled from the embassy to England on the plea of indisposition. Opinion about this request is not uniform. Some incline to think that, having won the glory of having conducted with success the negotiations for the peace concluded between England and Holland, he proposes to come to a stop with this good name and not to expose himself, by permanence at that Court, to discount the credit he has acquired in the emergencies of difficult negotiations, especially as he has abundant reward from the royal generosity for his past employments. Others contend that he has been moved by the wishes of the councillors here, who being averse from the interposition of England think it good to leave that crown without a minister, proposing to substitute in that embassy Ronchiglio, the envoy in Poland, so that by the length of time he may be arriving at the actuality of the employment (accio habbi con lunghezza di tempo ad arrivare all'attualita dell'imipiego).
Madrid, the 13th June, 1674.
[Italian.]
June 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
350. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Court continues to enjoy the diversions of Windsor. The king, indeed, has decided to go and see a large ship now building at Portsmouth and then go on to Plymouth to inspect a fortress building at the mouth of the harbour there. (fn. 2) They say nothing of all that is passing across the Channel and no longer talk about mediation. Everything is apparently postponed until the winter and they await a better opportunity for disposing the belligerents towards peace. Arlington suggested to the Spaniards a plan for exchanging fortresses in Flanders for a better definition of the frontier, with a view of forming some plan for the treaties; but they will not listen to him and Spain persists in the hope of wearying the Most Christian with his conquests and then forcing him to give back everything, reverting to the peace of the Pyrenées. They say here that Spain is making a mistake and the English in general are ill pleased as, having a natural linking for the Spaniards, they are sorry to see them stumbling into trouble.
In home affairs Lauderdale, being uppermost in the king's favour, is about to be made a peer of England (fn. 3) and will sit in parliament by virtue of a special act of grace. It is not known whether this, by raising him in the eyes of his whole party, will confound his rivals or add to their numbers; but it is a clear sign that the king means to maintain his own authority and dignity, and nothing but good can result if he persists in this resolve.
Yesterday in the Council, which sat at Hampton Court, nothing was decided about any public business and for the present it seems that the intention of attacking the Catholics has been abandoned.
The ducali of the 19th May bring the decree about oil which I will use to show the readiness of the Senate to promote trade. I have no doubt that Higgons will speak on the subject with the intention of promoting and establishing some treaty. I think this would greatly benefit the state as there are many complaints due to the unfavourable statements circulated by the late Resident Dodington. Although unfounded they can only be confuted by a new tariff agreeable to both parties. The subjects of the state would benefit both at Venice and in London where it could not fail to be profitable to open some house of business.
The glass trade also might revive though it now suffers from the extreme beauty of the English drinking glasses. They are very white and thick, in imitation of rock crystal, but very far from real perfection though they strike the eye and surpass those of Venice. In spite of this they are soft, fragile and extremely dear and so I do not doubt that Venetian produce might yet resume first place. It is above all necessary to prevent Venetian workmen from withdrawing to these countries as they bring their art with them. As the necessary materials are found here the English, in course of time, will perfect themselves in it. I am told that one Vicenzo, surname unknown, has come to London and intends to work there in the furnace of the Englishman Ravenscroft, (fn. 4) the one who resided at Venice for many years where he traded and brought home a considerable capital. He has maintained here in London for several months one Pietro Rossetti a native of Murano, a master manufacturer of mirrors, intending to open a furnace in partnership with him. But fearing the issue he has given this up and Rossetti is now going to France in quest of employment there. I have urged him to petition for a new safe conduct, in lieu of an old one expired and to exculpate himself from the crime for which he is banished and of which he claims to be innocent. But allured by the promises made by the state to those who were recalled from France he wants a free pardon and money so as to return to Venice somewhat at ease. Knowing the bad effect of such a precedent on others I would not promise this. I told him it was merely a question of the glass maker's art. By the daily revelation of its mysteries it was evident that in a few years no nation would take glass from Venice and that the foreigner, having learnt the art of making it, would soon not only refuse to give exorbitant pay to Venetian workmen but would refuse to employ them even on the lowest terms, so that they would be reduced to beggary. Even this representation of the interest of the community failed to make any impression on one who thinks solely of his own advantage and who abuses the toleration and generosity whereby the republic sought to bring some of the workmen back to the right path.
There is another prevalent abuse of great importance, of which I have supplied particulars from time to time, to wit the importation of quantities of unpolished looking glass plates. George Ravenscroft has received twenty cases by the ship Success which left Venice last August and others may be loading there at this moment, accustomed as the people are to smuggle with impunity.
London, the 15th June, 1674.
[Italian.]
351. Bartolomeo Morelli to Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary, at Covent Garden. (fn. 5)
Informing him that the ship Success was laden at Venice with forty cases of square pieces in August last.
From his house, the 5th June, 1674.
[Italian.]
June 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
352. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning the Sieur di Locart has set out on his way to England. The reason for his departure has not yet transpired or how long he may be staying away. His own people announce that he has been called away unexpectedly by the interests of his house. Others contend that it is for the purpose of negotiation. He came to see me before he left and I returned his visit, but we did not succeed in meeting.
Paris, the 20th June, 1674.
[Italian.]
June 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
353. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
It would seem that the ministers of Spain, Sweden and Holland are combining their efforts to draw this crown to commit itself in some way against the designs of France. Baron Spaar intimates that it is clear that England would be the loser by making an unstable peace and open the way to fresh conquests by the Most Christian so much the more perilous to the extent that he might make himself a great and victorious neighbour. But it would be in the interest of his Britannic Majesty to sustain as common the interests of the Spaniards and Dutch. As he is always protesting the impartiality of the crown of Sweden this talk of his leaves one in doubt since it is not really known with how much zeal or for what interest Sweden is interesting herself in the quiet of others or is using it not to disturb her own now that the time has come to obey France. The Dutch add, to show the danger in which Flanders stands, that the republic is no longer able to support the war and that if Spain proposes to continue it alone she ought to think it over. They also let fall the remark that even if Flanders perishes the States might come to terms with the Most Christian for their liberty or, at the worst for trade, from which alone in the end the Dutch derive their nourishment and are content, leaving the British king to dispute afterwards with the Most Christian about the flag.
When the ministers here turn to the Spaniards and persuade them to a peace, they reply that they are amazed that England does not thank them for the plight in which they are, for the common cause. That they might with advantage treat with the Most Christian for the exchange of Flanders or with ease arrive at a provisional agreement but in either case the peril of the dangerous vicinity of the Most Christian would fall upon the shoulders of his Britannie Majesty. They had laboured with their friends for a stable peace to offer resistance to the monarchy pretended and aspired to by France and, to show their moderation, they would rest satisfied in obtaining one upon the footing of the peace of Aix la Chapelle, provided there was a good and secure guarantee for Spain. This clause destroys all hope of a happy issue for it is difficult to unite princes for the complete satisfaction of Spain for the guarantee of the peace and impossible to promise their constancy therein without which the Catholic suggests that he will not be able to treat. The Spaniards wind up by saying casually that they are certain that England, in her prudence (indicating not only the king but the parliament, from which they look for disturbances in their favour in the coming sessions) will not suffer any longer the perilous progress of the arms of the Most Christian, and that she will unite with them in her offices and declarations before the Dutch, out of despair, and the emperor through his divisions, detach themselves from their side and force the king in his minority to adopt any expedient.
The English ministers replied to this with moderation and reserve, from fear of being accused of partiality to France at the next session of parliament; and they merely advised the king to write to Godolfin in Spain to renew his offices in favour of the mediation.
The secretary of the Ambassador Fresno, who has remained in London, told me he believed that Godolfin would merely offer suggestions, as the Court was accustomed, in the case of positive offices, to impart them to the ambassador so that he might support them and that so far no communication had been made to him. He added later that he feared that the disputes which had arisen between Orange and Monterey might divide them in the end. The cause is that the Spaniards have promised 24,000 to 30,000 men in the field, whereas they do not number more than 12,000 or 15,000 at the most. And all cry out against Monterey because he has in the mean time taken Franche Comté, besieged the Swiss, who are friends and confused the intelligence and possibly the loyalty of the allies.
The Dutch ambassadors have not yet spoken about the treaty of commerce and here they have not asked them any questions about it nor have they thought about choosing commissioners. The reason possibly is that both sides are awaiting the issue of the present contingencies which will decide on which side Spain will be, as mistress to take whatever course may best suit her own convenience. None the less the Ambassador Temple is hastening his departure. It is thought that this may be intended to correspond with the deliberation with which the Dutch have nominated and sent their ambassadors to London. These beginnings taken together with the unsubstantiality of the negotiations promise a peace of no long duration between the nations.
Domestic affairs fluctuate as usual; no one can judge of the future because the king reserves his decisions until the last moment, living from hand to mouth and because his firmest resolves are always the most futile.
To guard himself against the attacks of the House of Commons the duke of Lauderdale has obtained a peerage from his Majesty, so that, in case of need he will be tried by the lords and not by the members of parliament. All goes well so far, but it remains to be seen whether the king, from lack of money, will prefer to yield to parliament and sacrifice his ministers for millions to resisting the temptation of supply and securing the crown on his head, but having to beg his bread, for the treasury is exhausted and he is not sufficiently economical to live on the ten million of ducats which he levies yearly, independently of parliament.
In the cabinet Council held at Hampton Court it was proposed, in lieu of the proclamation, to write circular letters to the justices all over the kingdom, offering a reward of 5l. for every priest brought prisoner to London and as the king has declared that he will shed no blood, the penalty will be transportation beyond the seas. Even this severity will produce no effect, for a variety of reasons which it would be tedious to relate. The fact is that since the Catholics are already incapacitated from holding employments or offices of trust about the king there is not sufficient zeal in any Protestant to persecute them for their faith. They will not suffer for any other reason than that they are made the battle ground in the disputes between the king and parliament and the butt of both sides.
Next week the king will pay his visit to Portsmouth and Plymouth (fn. 6) and the queen and duchess will come to London for the devotional ceremonies of Corpus Christi day.
London, the 22nd June, 1674.
[Italian.]
June 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
354. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Swedish ambassador Tot continues to urge peace. The king does not disagree with the idea indeed he shows himself anxious for some fresh negotiation to be introduced; but the interest of England and the scant inclination shown by the people there make it doubtful whether the disposition shown by the British king for the good of this union can be so easily followed up to a successful issue. Indeed it is a question whether that king may not be compelled to think more of the affairs of his own kingdom than of extending his application to those of others. All the same they do not give up trying and it seems that Holland, which in the past seemed opposed, is now pressing more than any one else for the tabling of fresh negotiations upon the treaty of peace.
Locard had no other reason for tearing himself away from this side and proceeding to England than the interests of his house, owing to the death of his father. (fn. 7)
Paris, the 27th June, 1674.
[Italian.]
June 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
355. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although all the Spaniards this side the Pyrenees hold their various opinions, they are now becoming unanimous on one point, to wit that they were wrong when they calculated on keeping the empire in the alliance at the expense of Holland and continuing the war with France in order to wind up with a new peace of the Pyrenées. They now realise that Holland, observing her basic policy, holds friends in small account, does not cherish troops and is weary of sacrificing millions to one and another and that she thinks of nothing but peace for the sake of recruiting herself through trade, which they are afraid of losing before the reconciliation with France can be effected.
Fresno says he always thought it for the interest of Spain to make terms with France under the shadow of her clamorous alliance with half the universe and he blames Monterey for relying too much on the united Provinces and still supposing that he can resist the Most Christian in Flanders and obtain good terms of peace through hostilities. The truth is that the Dutch are urging England to make peace between France and Spain and they will be a party to it. England and Sweden should therefore mediate and declare themselves against the party that refuses terms.
When this question was discussed in the cabinet some of the ministers suspected that the States wanted England gradually to drop the mask in favour of Spain so that they themselves might side with France in case of need. But the majority decided that it was unnecessary to make any declaration as yet as the interests of the country did not suffer from the bulwark which Spain forms between her and France and it would be imprudent to begin a fresh struggle when only just emerged, with great difficulty, from the last at the risk of being recklessly abandoned; as the Spaniards always choose to arbitrate and follow the dictates of ambition and self interest, regardless of their allies.
It is not known what the Spanish ambassador says to this. Yesterday his secretary went to him at the baths to tell him that the queen at last allows him to return to Madrid. The general belief is that the Catholic recalls him to show his resentment because England will not take his part, and this will certainly be the opinion of parliament which espouses the interests of Spain. The Court in general would wish him to depart, from fear of his intrigues in the House of Commons, but we must hear what he says himself and then talk of the future.
The friends of the prince of Orange are similarly averse from Fresno staying in London, lest he join the anti-Orange faction. It is certain that the king resents the prince's acrimonious expressions against the English government during the war and they now complain at seeing him, after the peace, still struggling against his hereditary enemies in the Dutch republic whom he did not know how to destroy and Mould not listen to those who advised him to get rid of them.
The projects for his marriage with a daughter of the duke of York sleep, and if the certainty of the pregnancy of the duchess of York continues the prospects of Orange and the duke will be very different from what they were.
The proclamation for the apprehension of Jesuits, priests and others has at last been signed, (fn. 8) and by the advice of the duke of York. None of the persons proclaimed absent or conceal themselves being sure that no one will molest them for the sake of 5l. badly paid or from hatred or zeal and it is unimaginable that any one would publicly incur the odium of such persecution. But this produces a bad effect because the agitators will always say that the laws are not enforced though the king justifies himself with all reasonable people by authorising the arrest of priests. The meeting of parliament will settle the matter.
London, the 29th June, 1674.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 On 19 May the king issued a commission for a new Council. This body was appointed by the king's authority, without seeking the advice and approbation of the Estates. Register of the Acts of the Privy Council of Scotland. 3rd Series, Vol. IV, pp. vi, 186–9.
2 The large ship was probably the Royal James of 100 guns. Navy Records Society Catalogue of Pepysian MSS., Vol. I, page 266. The visit to Plymouth did not, apparently, take place. The citadel there was completed in 1670 and was visited by the king in July of that year. Jewitt: History of Plymouth, page 229. There seems to have been additional work there, as on 2 October of this year Salvetti reported that the new fort there for the defence of the port, had been finished. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 V, fol. 295.
3 He was created baron Petersham and earl of Guildford on 25 June, o.s. G.E.C. Complete Peerage, n.s., Vol. VII, page 489.
4 On 19 March, o.s., George Ravenscroft was granted a patent for his invention of a sort of crystalline glass, resembling rock crystal. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1673–5, pp. 194. 206.
5 This letter is not filed with the despatches but is bound up with Alberti's letter book in the Library of St. Mark. Cl. VII, Cod. mdclxxi.
6 The king went to Portsmouth on Monday the 25th to see a sailing match between two new frigates, upon the result of which bets were made between the courtiers. He returned to London by sea on the 29th. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 V, ff. 263d, 267. Ruvigny to Pomponne. 21 June. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
7 Sir James Loekhart of Lee, lord justice clerk since 1671, who died in May.
8 Proclamation of 10 June for the discovery and apprehension of Jesuits, seminary priests and others. Steele: Tudor and Stuart Proclamations, Vol. I, page 435. No. 3597. Printed in London Gazette, No. 895.


<--Previous:
Venice:
May 1674