Venice
October 1674

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1947

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296-304

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'Venice: October 1674', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 38: 1673-1675 (1947), pp. 296-304. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90378 Date accessed: 31 October 2014.


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October 1674

Oct. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
390. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The account of Condé's victory last week was not confirmed, but the Court still thinks that the allies will not improve their position by war. When Condé was marching on Oudenarde, beseiged by the allies, their generals, following the opinion of Orange, decided to fight him. At the moment of attack Susa, whose movements were slow, expressed disapproval of the ground chosen by Orange. This forced the army to make a sudden counter march. Condé did not notice the disorder because of a thick fog which descended on the 21st September in the morning. The allies formed their line of battle within sight of Condé, but the two armies were separated by narrow roads, through which neither would defile to avoid giving advantage to the enemy. In the evening the allies retreated towards Ghent into which they sent all their baggage, and placed themselves in safety under the guns of the fortress. The prince of Orange writes bitterly against Susa and the Dutch ambassadors here, out of all patience, call him a traitor, adding that they will suspect the emperor if he only punishes him lightly. The prince has already made complaint to his Majesty.
I saw a letter in the hands of the duke of York, written from Ghent, stating that the Capuchin, Condé's confessor, was found with Susa and there are witnesses ready to swear to having seen him with the general before the battle of Senef. Monterey on the other hand blames the Dutch more than the Imperialists and in this disorder they have made their last throw in this campaign. Vast sums have been thrown away and their hopes dimmed because they were too lightly founded on the junction of allied forces whose interests were so conflicting.
Here it is thought that these accidents may induce the Dutch to make separate treaties to which they seem inclined, and to find excuses and so the English ministers advise the Spaniards not to let themselves be forestalled. The Spanish envoy coming from Flanders is awaited with impatience whilst Ronchiglio is making up his mind to accept the title of envoy or his Court decides to give him that of ambassador, his claim to which delays Ins coming until the spring.
In his own interest the king of England is trying to keep the mediation together. His aim is to oblige France and to have the affairs of Holland in his hands. So he urges Ruvigni to deter the Most Christian from making separate treaties and promises him the best of terms.
The same point will be pressed by the Ambassador Spaar, who has obtained a yacht for his conveyance to Calais and is hastening his departure. It is a strange coincidence that whereas at first the successes of the allies were deprecated lest they should frustrate the steps taken to obtain an advantageous peace for France, it is now feared that the disorder of the allied armies may interfere with the mediation.
The Most Christian will be extremely pleased with the prorogation of parliament. The measure was anticipated by many, believed by some and especially dreaded by Ruvigni, lest the Commons should insist on the king declaring himself for Spain, the bulwark of England against French aggression. On the 23rd September old style, the king in Council decided to prorogue parliament from the 10th November to the 13th April next. So far as foreign politics are concerned the Dutch suppose that his Majesty was apprehensive of their intrigues. It is perfectly true that they do their utmost to embroil him with his subjects, as while the present discord prevails Holland neither dreads the enmity nor values the friendship of England and continues without risk to deprive her of both prestige and trade.
This prorogation produces other domestic results which agitate the whole country; the members resent being sent back to their homes when they flattered themselves that they were coming to cut a figure in London. They complain that the king assembles them only when he wants money. Being thus exasperated it seems likely that they will he more troublesome than ever next spring. The duke of York who induced the king to make this important decision, is of a different opinion. He maintains that it is advantageous to display the royal authority to the people. Time will cure many simpletons who allow themselves to be led by the agitators. The secret for reclaiming them was to encourage violent quarrels among themselves, the government using expedients and allowing them to fry in their own fat. The English had always been restless, especially in prosperity hut once placed under the yoke they bore it more patiently than any other nation. He came to the conclusion that by punishing the agitators the king had made many friends for himself, either from fear or from esteem and that by caressing and rewarding them he had lost the respect of the country, encouraged rogues and weakened the loyalty of honest men.

London, the 5th October, 1674.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
391. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Approval of his action in the matter of the chaplain.
On Tuesday last the envoy extraordinary had his first audience. We enclose a copy of his exposition about the consul, to which it is thought fit to postpone an answer. We refer you to the instructions contained in our letter of the 4th August, 1673, especially with respect to the great injury that trade would receive from such an innovation for the furthering of which so many facilities have been granted by us, to the public loss. You are to try and get instructions sent to the envoy not to insist on the matter, but always speaking in the name of the merchants. While urging the obligation you are under, as our minister, to put forward and support their case you will have among the many other papers the one of the complaints presented by them and this will serve as a basis for the representations which you will make. We commend this matter to your diligence.
Ayes, 99. Noes, 4. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Oct. 11.
Collegio
Secreta.
Esposizioni
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
392. The envoy extraordinary of England came into the Collegio and handed to me, the secretary, a memorial, which was read and is below. In the absence of the doge Francesco Bernardo, the senior councillor replied, saying that they were always glad to see him for his own sake and because of the correspondence with his king. With regard to his representations concerning their common subjects, the matter would be duly considered and the Senate's decision communicated to him. At this he left, after making the usual reverences.
[Italian.]
The Memorial.
393. I have informed my king of your Serenity's friendly expressions about him and of my courteous welcome at the recent audience. I now come to recommend the interests of the consul of England who for the last two years has received nothing for all the services which he has rendered in the discharge of his office. My king was informed that the manner of raising 30 ducats assigned to the consul for his provision is very unequal, because under that order small ships will have to pay as much as large ones and half cargoes as much as full ones. He therefore ordered the lords of his Council to inquire into the matter and to give him their opinion. After calling before them divers merchants of the mart of London to obtain full information, they made report to his Majesty that it would be more convenient and more just to cause payment to be made on each ton of merchandise of half a ducat, which should serve as provision for the consul. Accordingly his Majesty has ordered this to be done for the future and has commanded me to request your Serenity to direct English ships to pay in accordance with his Majesty's decision.
[Italian.]
Oct. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
394. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king, accompanied by the duke of York and followed by the Court went on Wednesday to Newmarket to stay a month. The duchess of York stays in London because of her pregnancy and the queen now seems inclined to return from Hampton Court where she chose to pass the last few weeks in retirement. The ministers followed the Court and a special post has been set up for the conveyance of letters daily to and from Newmarket because of the present press of business.
The discord in the allied camp is more pronounced than ever. The generals are moved to bring criminal charges (trasportatasi li generali al criminale) and the last letters corroborate the extraordinary difficulty Monterey had to persuade Orange not to go to the Hague; but he persists in marching a part of his army to the siege of Grave. This circumstance does not much disturb the English as they trust it may hasten the peace. The Spaniards and Dutch are already listening to the projects of mediation and although Monterey, before deciding, will choose to consult the oracle at Madrid, he is at least beginning to open his ears and it is hoped he will send over the envoy with instructions about the preliminaries.
Ruvigni insists that first of all England and Sweden must rescue the prince of Furstemberg from the hands of the emperor as well as the money seized at Cologne. After that he say's they will appoint a place for stipulating the treaties. He seems more indifferent about this than he was before the retreat of the allies and their present embarrassments. Thus far the Most Christian may be very well agreed with this Court, but it is now more suspected than ever that he is listening to the Dutch apart in order to obtain better terms from Spain later on, the interests of which country England really has at heart. The ministers are hastening Spaar's departure for Paris that he may observe proceedings on the spot and he has already had his audience of leave.
All the provinces of Holland have repealed the prohibition against French wines and brandies. They explain that it injured their trade. The causes of dissatisfaction being thus gradually removed the government here suspects that a reconciliation is in progress, whereas they want France to be indebted for it to England, supposing, perhaps without reason, that a sort of gratitude might perpetuate the confidential relations between these two crowns for the prevention of any schemes which the Dutch might propound later by their subtle intrigues.
While opinions are thus wavering the prince of Orange proposes a reconciliation to the king, his uncle, and leaves nothing untried to effect it. Odik employs all possible address to convince the king of the prince's good faith and of the confidence placed by him in his Majesty. He intimates on the other hand that the prince has received many offers from the Most Christian. The king's tenderness for his nephew contributes much to soften the anger which he felt by reason of his inconsiderate behaviour during the war. But the ministers here say that the prince cannot dissociate himself from the interests of the Provinces without ruining his own, in which case his friendship would be a burden. For the moment the king could not think of rendering him absolute master of the United Provinces, though it would, be glorious to advance his nephew and for the advantage of England to destroy a government which shows itself too perilous a neighbour for this kingdom. The conclusion is that they will speak the prince fair and try by promises to keep him clear of any attachment to France and if possible independent of the States, so as to make use of him at some future opportunity.
In the mean time the object of the ministers is to pacify parliament and to impress upon the nation by degrees the necessity for avenging the intrigues of Holland and protecting English trade before the Dutch usurp that and the national honour together. When once the country is committed to war the Court has no doubt of thwarting the secret negotiations kept up by the Dutch with the English sectaries. Whereas at present the cabinet chafes at the statecraft of the United Provinces, who made such successful war on the Court, they now hope that the people, being impressed with other maxims, will vindicate the credit of both Court and nation. The present study is to amass money and save the royal revenues in order to fill the exchequer, cash being constantly raised from the contractors. On this account the decision to fit out men of war and send them at such great cost to the coast of Africa and even into the Mediterranean appeared, uncalled for. (fn. 1) But the duke of York told me that the expedition was merely to remind the Turks of the peace with England. In this connection I may add that all the naval officers here desire another war, because of the profits of the service and the chances of promotion for distinguished service.

The English merchantmen have been guilty of an abuse by hoisting the royal flag or practically the same in colour, so the king has issued a strict proclamation that henceforth they are to carry the white flag with the red cross of St. George and the red ensign with the red cross on a field argent at the upper part near the staff. (fn. 2) All this diligence and an infinite number of other regulations are being adopted for the navy in the conviction that the ancient maritime code of England established long ago and modified from time to time by the most experienced seamen, is now the best in the world.
I have the ducali of the 12th September with the reply to the king's letter introducing the English envoy, which I will deliver at Newmarket. A few days ago there arrived in London Sig. Girolamo Veniero, son of the Procurator Nicolo. His noble bearing at this Court shows his lineage and wins especial regard here both for himself and for the whole Venetian nation.
London, the 12th October, 1674.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
395. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Sphar is expected here on Saturday next, so the Ambassador Locard told me. He gave me to understand that the allies may in the end agree to the mediation of those two powers and that on the arrival of the Swedish minister they will be having to conduct some negotiations to see if they can dispose the Most Christian to facilitate something on his side also that may show a favourable disposition to the universal boon of peace and to make it easier for those who sincerely desire it to procure the assent of the others which they have not been able to get hitherto. The nuncio here thinks it unlikely that they can induce Spain to consent to such mediation, as she is too deeply impressed by the bias of those two crowns in favour of this one and from the fact that they see, at this moment, that English regiments continue in the armies of France.
Paris, the 17th October, 1674.
Oct. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
396. Girolamo Zeno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I have been to pay my respects to the Ambassador Fresno and congratulated him on the peace between England and Holland. He made a modest disclaimer and showed me that chance had had a large share in it, but that the difficult task that he had to perform was to be able to captivate the good will of the parliament while at the same time preserving the favour of the king. The boon obtained was on uncertain foundations. The English submitted with impatience to leave the sovereignty at sea in the power of the Dutch and at the approaching meeting of the Chambers there will be a great outcry upon this point.
Madrid, the 17th October, 1674.
[Italian.]
Oct. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
397. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Here at Newmarket scarce a word of business was heard when news arrived of Turenne's encounter with the allies. (fn. 3) It is believed here that the French had the best of it, because of the guns captured and because they kept their ground and lost fewer men. The advices from Flanders pretend the contrary, giving several inconclusive particulars and leaving the account confused.
Odik did not get here until last evening and is the only ambassador at Newmarket. The other foreign ministers are remaining in London as they expect the king to return next week. Odik says that Orange went under Grave and was followed by Prince Maurice with twenty regiments of horse, but that the rest of the army thought only of winter quarters into which the Spaniards had already gone although Monterey believed that the enemy, who had mustered in force at Charleroi and Maastricht, meant to attempt to relieve Grave or make some other attack.
In conjunction with the other Dutch ambassadors Odik has obtained a proclamation from the king, in conformity with the treaty of Breda and the last peace, forbidding his subjects to take letters of marque from any prince that is at difference or war with the United Netherlands or to sell their prizes etc., or do anything to impede the continuance of peace. (fn. 4)
No progress has been made with the negotiations for general peace; but the Dutch and the partisans of Spain are already sneering satirically and saying that it will be necessary to make a peace in the French fashion, seeing that time, opportunity and money have been lost in the Spanish fashion.
In Flanders they have heard from Madrid of the recall of Monterey and of the appointment of the marquis of Balbaces as governor of Flanders in his stead. This news pleases the English government, as no good understanding could be expected from the innate prejudice of the count.
When I delivered the ducale to the king he said he had always been sure of the republic's regard and he esteemed her friendship. Higgons was charged to cultivate it and he had already reported the distinguished reception given him. He asked me to assure the Senate that he would reciprocate upon all occasions.
Nothing more has been said about the chaplain, to avoid giving a bad turn to the affair. By proceeding according to law the effect of his release is obtained, his colleagues are guaranteed and similar attacks are prevented for the future. On the other hand the slightest favour from the king would compromise his Majesty and cause perpetual trouble to the Catholic ministers who wish to assist the poor Catholics through their ambassadorial privilege, without which no Catholic chapel would be open to them.
I have the ducali of the 22nd September and will do as directed in this matter from which I hope to extricate myself without committing the state. The duke of York has already promised his assistance.
London, the 19th October, 1674.
[Italian.]
Oct. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
398. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The city of London deeply resents the protracted sojourn of the king and Court in the country. As all the nobility are there the London artificers are in distress and the abundant employment they found, leaving full scope for their licence, is now exchanged for scanty profits, they are cast down and their insolence ends. But it seems that the king has remained so long at Newmarket solely for his own pleasure and not from any other motive. He will return to-morrow and the queen may come back from Hampton Court next week.
News of Spaar's arrival at Paris is impatiently awaited in order to start the formalities of peace negotiations. To this end the Dutch under pressure from the English and Swedish ambassadors, reply in general terms that they are ready but can decide nothing about the place without their allies. It is evident that they affect entire dependence on their friends; but as they have lately permitted practically every French product except silk and a few others to enter the Provinces, it is suspected that they aim at getting access to the king of France for themselves in particular, through their own mediation.
The prince of Orange is more jealous of this than any one from fear of being anticipated by a sudden peace before he can procure for himself the support of some crown without which he doubts his power to withstand the intrigues of the party opposed to him in the Dutch republic. He urges England to accept his offers of friendship and dependence. But the duke of York is not his greatest friend. He suspects the prince, and with good reason, of pursuing the project of marriage with his eldest daughter to the exclusion of such offspring as the duke might have by the present duchess, who is condemned by the whole kingdom, as tainted with popery. But no one can judge of the future under this government which is liable to so many changes. In all probability the Court, seeing the prince about to throw himself into the arms of France, may give him a helping hand to extricate him, making him fair promises in the conviction that nothing could be more prejudicial, than this. Yet it may be clearly foreseen that if the prince of Orange and the United Provinces are divided into two parties, the one will rely on the Most Christian and England must take the other, for the balance of power. I have heard many other reflections on this matter which I need not repeat; but the conclusion is that nothing has been settled and the decision may perhaps be known on the king's return to London.
Practically all the Dutch have returned from Flanders to their own country. A few regiments of infantry alone remain scattered in the garrisons, in which the Spaniards have also placed themselves. But the Germans were marching slowly through Brabant towards the Meuse, Susa with them, doing his worst, raising an outcry among the people near Louvain. It seems that before he leaves the territory he is awaiting the reply to an express sent by him to Vienna. In the mean time the Commissary Capelliers at Brussels (fn. 5) is hastening to pay off arrears to the army. At this juncture Count Alberto Caprara has also arrived there on behalf of the Elector Palatine to ask for money; but Monterey, who is about to leave, shuts both ears and purse and thinks only of embarking for Spain. Here it is assumed that the Spanish Court is removing him for the purpose of re-establishing the intercourse with England. But as yet there are no outward signs of confidence such as might be expected from Spain and the recall may therefore be attributed solely to Fresno's enmity to him.

The Algerines have importuned the king here to ransom the English captives in accordance with the last treaty, threatening to break it unless the money, amounting to about 25,000l. is remitted to them at once. The demand does not seem unjust though it is a very rude way of protesting to a king of England. In spite of this they were told that the money should be sent and Secretary Williamson went to get it from the merchants on the Exchange, who refused to contribute. The king, for his part, says that he objects to pay it out of his own purse, lest merchants, captains and sailors be encouraged thus to neglect their own safety and defence, in the hope of being ransomed at the cost of others.
London, the 26th October, 1674.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
399. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Commendation of his operations. With regard to currants, there is no doubt but that ships at Zante and Cephalonia receive the best treatment. Orders have been issued to this effect and they are punctually carried out by the republic's representatives. He is nevertheless to give fresh and constant assurances and he is to add that the envoy at Venice, whenever he proposes anything concerning trade, will find the Signory ready to listen and to grant every facility. Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 5th inst.
That a copy of the last letters of the Secretary Alberti about mirror glass be sent to the magistracy of the Five Savii alla Mercanzia for their consideration and to make a report thereon.
Ayes, 73. Noes, 3. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Sir John Narborough, in the Henrietta, had a commission to treat with Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, and sailed from Portsmouth on 5 November, o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1073–5, pp. 379, 395, 399. When he reached Algiers he had in company the Cambridge, Marie Rose, Bristol and Roebuck, which seem to have joined him after he passed the Strait. His instructions were to conclude a peace or to declare a war. Playfair: The Scourge of Christendom, pp. 115–6.
2 Proclamation of 18 September for regulating the colours to be worn on merchant ships. Steele: Tudor and Stuart Proclamations, Vol, i, page 435, No, 3599.
3 At Enzheim near Strasburg on 4 October, when the English contingent suffered severe losses. Churchill: Marlborough, Vol. i, pp. 111–3.
4 Proclamation of 28 September, enjoining observance of the peace between His Majesty and the States General. Steele; Tudor and Stuart Proclamations, Vol. I, p. 436, No. 3603.
5 Zdenko Capliers.