Venice
April 1675

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1947

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382-397

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'Venice: April 1675', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 38: 1673-1675 (1947), pp. 382-397. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90384 Date accessed: 16 September 2014.


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April 1675

April 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
477. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident for England, to the Doge and Senate.
Owing to the molestation of travellers by the soldiers I decided to continue my journey by the Rhine and I then went on by the Meuse to this town where I am waiting for an opportunity to embark. There was little news on the road. A conference took place at Cleves between the elector of Brandenburg, the prince of Orange and others about the forces to be contributed to the common cause. The prince of Orange went back to the Hague to confer with the ambassador extraordinary of Denmark. (fn. 1) They are consulting with Ruyter about the fleet. It has been found that certain barques with plates of white iron have turned out very well and better than those with copper ones, so they have decided to use a great number of them in the coming campaign.
Trade suffers much inconvenience from the privateers of Dunkirk and merchant ships do not venture to sail from any Dutch port. Ships of war have been ordered to escort them. Upon a report that the governor of Liége was bribed by the French a tumult broke out there and the French in the city were massacred. The French have condemned to death an old journalist (gazettiano) named Viquefort, who served them as a spy and who acted as a double spy. When passing through the Provinces I was told by people of standing (persone di garbo) that the nobles and populace desire the prince of Orange for their sovereign and are trying to get him. To this a strong opposition is offered by all those interested in the East and West India Companies and all the other traders in addition to those who have a share in the government.
Rotterdam, the 4th April, 1675.
[Italian.]
April 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
478. Girolamo Alberti. Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although Rovigni always protests that he chooses to negotiate with the Court and calls it treacherous of the other ministers to cultivate confidential relations with parliament, he has not followed the Court to Newmarket but remains here to observe on the spot what is being arranged for the next session of parliament. He told me in confidence that some of his friends here had suggested to him that it would be in the interest of the Most Christian to encourage the disunion between the States of Holland and the prince of Orange, because if the prince should attach himself to the king here, the Provinces, through the Lowenstein party, would join the Most Christian, and the foundation of an alliance so dangerous for France would be destroyed. If this were not done it must be evident that the French ministers in their hearts, did not like the aggrandisement of their king, in neglecting a matter of such consequence. If the Most Christian did not try to win the Provinces they would perhaps undertake to gain the parliament in order to compel the king to declare himself against France, which would thus incur a double loss, converting one friend into two enemies.
Rovigni told his adviser that if the Most Christian were to foment distrust between the States and the prince it would be the true way to reunite them. Time alone could mature such a project and in the mean time France was giving ear to a certain project of Orange who aims at sovereignty and wants the Most Christian to restore Maastricht to him by the peace. That place with some others, to be added by the Spaniards as compensation for an old debt due from them to the House of Orange, might be erected into a principality. The Spaniards only admit a debt of two million florins and so far from ceding other places expect Maastricht to be ceded to them by virtue of an arrangement with Holland; but France, out of consideration for England, would support Orange.
Rovigni told me besides that there was no sign of peace as the queen of Spain had not definitely accepted England's mediation although Godolphin at Madrid pressed for an answer. For this reason and from the emperor's obstinacy about Furstembergh, to gratify the Spaniards, the English cabinet foresaw the dilatoriness of the negotiations and therefore delayed the preparations of the ambassadors for Nimega.
The fact is that the Spaniards, besides their hopes of supporting their political schemes by arms better than in the past, flatter themselves with the prospect of inducing parliament to compel the king to side with them openly; whereas at present by paying compliments to France from mere civility he does great injury to the common weal which depends on the preservation of Flanders. It is therefore evident that before entering upon negotiations the Spaniards mean to consult parliament and try whether this last counsel and faction can so depress the Most Christian as to give hopes of an advantageous peace.
Whilst endeavouring to win the nation over to their side the Spaniards deeply resent that the ministry should cunningly proclaim the wrongs which they claim to have received from the Ostenders. They claim in defence that the ships were justly condemned by the Ostend Admiralty and by the general Admiralty of the Low Countries, in which Monterey gave seats to two members of the Privy Council and to two counsellors of Brabant, so that sentence might be passed with more regularity, everything being done in accordance with the last treaty. If England wished to have fresh explanations for the future she would find the Catholic queen in the best possible disposition.
An envoy come straight from Brandenburg (fn. 2) went straight to Newmarket to ask the king to intervene with Sweden to free Brandenburg territory from Swedish troops and that in case of refusal his Majesty would give the margrave forces to expel them. Both requests were refused, though very civilly.
London, the 5th April, 1675.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
479. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king is expected from Newmarket to-morrow and the members of parliament are arriving daily from the country and apply to their confidential friends and leaders for instructions. The entire party of the Presbyterians, the best part of the Independents and the most influential of the confederate peers intimate that to make terms with the Court, from which alone they can hope for relief, is a measure of necessity. That it is no longer probable that they can expect assistance from Scotland or hope to embroil the Court by rebellion there as the ringleaders, being divided among themselves, renounce the undertaking and have disgracefully submitted to Lauderdale's resolute and violent proceedings. It was no longer prudent to rely on Holland, who having achieved her purpose by forcing the king to make peace with the States and break the alliance with France, had abandoned the negotiations with the parliamentarians and at present the Provinces and the prince of Orange were in close confidence with the Court, to whom they would without hesitation reveal all the negotiations. As a final argument to show the danger of persevering in opposition to the Court and the duke of York they venture to say that it is time to know that turbulent spirits rejoice at religious disputes, that factions are destroyed by universal toleration which, as now proposed, will without violence propagate the good religion and dissipate the sects. It was in the interest of the country for the king and his subjects to be united, in order not to be crushed by neighbouring powers and the fleet and the maritime supremacy which is the bulwark of England would perish unless the Admiralty was restored to the duke of York and the nation made use of his zeal.
Whilst this band of persons seems united in favour of peace, although for different ends, and the Court thinks of nothing but to find plasters for the sores which the Dutch and Spaniards have stamped on the hearts of the people, rendering them hostile to the government, a fresh suspicion arises that Spain and the United Provinces are studying to reopen the wound. The danger is the greater as peccant humours abound and of all nations in the world this is the one most disposed to receive money and impressions from foreigners. It appears that the Spaniards, wishing to draw the king here to their side, have persuaded Holland to renew the negotiations with parliament; that Van Beuninghen has money to distribute and instructions to bribe the members to urge the king to declare himself for the defence of Flanders which is the common cause. Van Beuninghen has in fact hired a house near parliament in which to banquet the members, a dinner being the most efficacious means and after dinner the most opportune time for negotiating and captivating the general good opinion of these people.
The king by some sharp words uttered in public has shown dissatisfaction with this scheme which tended to destroy the quiet of the public mind achieved with so much labour. Although he vows that he has no such projects and means to conform to the interests of the Court, they wish here to convince themselves of the sincerity of his proceedings.
In the mean time one mischievous result is produced, that many being roused by the chink of money, of which they are most greedy, would like to hear Van Beuninghen's offers. I find indeed that a half measure has been proposed for making sure of the good faith of the Dutch to parliament and of their sincere resolve to break with the Court. It is this: they are to send a squadron off this coast, which is defenceless, or into the river to make some attempt, to injure the Court and to proclaim to the world the consequences of bad government. This seems a very strange idea; but those who have witnessed the blind rage of parliament against the Court and know that these members could bring themselves to forget the honour of their country to gain advantage over the Court, will not be surprised. If these principles receive no check, nothing can be expected but the ruin of a nation which would sell its liberty to foreigners rather than live within the limits of the laws of the country.
London, the 5th April, 1675.
[Italian.]
April 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
480. To the Secretary Alberti and the Resident Sarotti.
No letters have come from Alberti this week but the Senate has those of Sarotti from Cologne. The Ambassador Mocenigo writes from Rome that the duchess of Mantua has at last obtained a papal brief approving of the marriage of her daughter. This information is sent that they may take note of the offices contributed by that ambassador to achieve this end and make use of it upon occasion to demonstrate the goodwill of the republic's ministers, corresponding to the disposition that the Signory always shows to do everything possible for the satisfaction of the whole of that royal House.
Ayes, 132. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
April 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
481. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident for England, to the Doge and Senate.
While I was waiting here for an opportunity to embark, a royal yacht arrived to take the Dutch commissioners to London. (fn. 3) I have arranged with the captain to be taken over with them. This will enable me to travel with decorum and to avoid the danger from the Dunkirk and other corsairs who daily infest even friendly craft and rob the passengers. I am ready to sail at any moment when the wind allows. At present it is directly contrary and has been for some days. I propose accordingly to go to the Brille the moment it abates a little in order to await there an opportunity for putting to sea.
Rotterdam, the 11th April, 1675.
[Italian.]
April 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
482. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king on returning from Newmarket found letters from the envoy Porter. He writes from Ostend that at sea he fell in with Don Marco de Velasco, returning from England in an Ostend frigate armed with 24 guns. He fired a signal gun to warn them to dip to the king's flag, displayed on the yacht, a small vessel with 8 or 10 insignificant guns, only used to carry persons of quality across the Channel. (fn. 4) As the Spaniard made no sign the yacht, on nearing the coast of Flanders, fired a shotted gun which tore a lot of tackle, but the Spaniard made no sign whatever. Here the envoy Bergheik protests to the Court that Porter did not fall in with the frigate until he was under the guns of Ostend where the Spaniard never imagined he would have to recognise the supremacy of the English flag, and did not repel the insult received from the yacht as a mark of excessive civility to the king here.
This protestation does not satisfy them here and they are complaining to the governor of Flanders and the Court of Spain. But I fancy they will rest content with a very mild apology in order not to make matters worse. The Spaniards assert that they are not bound by any agreement to acknowledge English supremacy and by proclaiming their intention to persevere in the old custom of obedience to the strongest they stifle at its birth the jurisdiction claimed by England by virtue of the last treaty with Holland, arranged by the Spaniards themselves.
It is said that Villa Hermosa is continuing the harsh policy of Monterey against the English in favour of the Ostend corsairs The agent sent over reports that the governor upholds the sentence of the Admiralties and therefore he could not disappoint the corsairs of their prizes which they had taken at the cost of their lives and purses, and were justified in doing so by every course of law.
The Spaniards make a great outery about the entry of the French into the citadel of Liége. (fn. 5) They declare that for safety and honour England can no longer suffer the Most Christian to besiege the Low Countries as there is clearly danger of his occupying them before the king here can prevent it, unless he takes immediate action.
From Holland we hear that the prince of Orange has suddenly fallen ill of the smallpox. As his father and mother died young of the same disease he is the more afraid of it. There are also reports about a decision taken a few days before he fell sick, to change the greater part of his household for reasons unknown. As he has sent for the physician at Utrecht who is under a cloud for having hastened the death of his father, (fn. 6) from ignorance or on purpose, one hears a variety of opinions, but they are not worth the attention of your Excellencies.
The envoy from Brandenburg still urges his requests, but the king tells him that the quarrel is a private one and may be adjusted separately with Sweden provided the elector holds out his hand, without embroiling other powers.
During the present passion week the commissioners have not met to examine the property of the convicted Catholics. In spite of the great danger these do not fail, with some precautions, to frequent the chapels of the queen, the Portuguese ambassador and your Serenity. As the need of the religion steadily increases, the zeal of the Catholic powers will seem a duty and even if there were no other business the Senate might keep a minister in London for the sole purpose of succouring so many souls in their present distress.
London, the 12th April, 1675.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
483. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
They are feeling some apprehension about the steps which may be taken at the meeting of the parliament in England which is to take place on the 22nd of this month. From the activities which are being conducted by the minister of the States there they conceive even greater mischief. Locard nevertheless pretends that there is nothing to fear, but from what transpires the king there himself is not without apprehension before he knows how violent that body will be.
Paris, the 17th April, 1675.
[Italian.]
April 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
484. Girolamo Zeno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
In my visit for Easter compliments to the English ambassador he indulged in a very prolix statement about the interposition of his king for the common tranquillity. He assured me that he had laboured for ten months to ascertain the truth of the assertions which had been confirmed to him orally by Pegnoranda and of which he had at last obtained the certainty. But I have succeeded by other channels in arriving at the real methods adopted by the Spaniards about the current interest. At the strong representations of the Dutch they consent to give the latter powers to promise for Spain to that king that he would certainly be accepted as mediator by this crown also. Upon this definite promise he imposed on the minister that he should treat for a suspension of arms; but in spite of all his importunity he has never been able to get the desired reply in writing. He intimated to me later that it behoved the representatives of the mediators to have good correspondence among themselves and especially between those who have the most perfect correspondence and who are not affected by interests between themselves, as is the case between the most serene republic and England, more especially in order to expose the deceit and duplicity with which this government will try to press its advantage.
In reply I made profuse declarations of the utmost confidence on this occasion and of the greatest esteem that will always be shown at all the Courts for the ministers of that sovereign. In order not to pass over the matter sent to me in the two extracts from the letters of the resident in London, I have to report that the opposition to Nimega as the place of the congress, offered by some of the councillors here and by the ambassador himself, may derive from the common desire of the Spaniards and English, whether for show or real, to transport the negotiations to that kingdom. At all events they are apprehensive here about the arming which they hear is proceeding in those ports and they live in suspicion that when parliament meets the king only permits it in the case when he is completely secure of achieving his own intents, which are not believed to be in accordance with the interests of this empire.
Madrid, the 17th April, 1675.
[Italian.]
April 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
485. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
All London was full of reports that the prince of Orange had discovered a plot against his life, when he dismissed over 30 of his attendants. When he sent for the physician who attended his father it was foretold that he would not live long. It was publicly stated that the United Provinces were jealous of the prince and alarmed for the republic's liberty. The last letters dispel all these fears; they confirm that the prince is on the road to recovery and is making arrangements to take the field. As a mark of esteem and affection the long and duke both sent gentlemen to congratulate him who left six days ago. (fn. 7) Advices came later from Holland that the treaty between the United Provinces and Denmark had been concluded and the money disbursed so that she may immediately declare herself against Sweden. A Dutch squadron will proceed to the Baltic and, to avoid an open declaration against Sweden, the States have ordered their commander to hoist the Brandenburg flag. The envoy of that elector magnifies the great check that will be given to Sweden and still urges England to take his master's part, but in vain. The Swedish resident thought that the memorial of the Ambassador Oxenstierna to the emperor, which he had published here, would have stirred the people to favour his country as being committed to war in the cause of religion. But so rooted and general is the belief that he receives bribes and acts solely in the interests of France, that all his tricks are useless, as jealousy of the latter country dominates every other sentiment in England.
The envoy Bergheik has announced to the king at a special audience that the queen of Spain, in complete confidence, accepts his mediation being convinced that he would be careful to seek a peace for her honour and security which were as important for England as for Spain. The envoy told me that he was sorry the king could not see the letters he was writing to Spain with the reasons why they should show his Majesty every civility. He suggested that they should send here one of the chief grandees of Spain making it the chief embassy, with ample means for forming confidential relations and with stringent instructions to support the Court and to give up the project for stirring up the people. Even if the king was inclined to detach himself from France he could not in prudence renounce the support of that crown until he had thoroughly quieted his own subjects and established his authority. The self same arts that were employed to stir the populace against the Court to compel it to be Spanish, served to make it French for it was quite clear that when attacked by his own subjects and having no trust in Spain, the king here was obliged to hold to France from policy if not from inclination.
If Bergheik acts as he speaks, the affairs of Spain at this Court will certainly mend, being based on the sympathies of the whole nation. When the obstacles and embarrassments which hamper the Court in its home policy are removed there is no doubt that the government will prefer its own honour and interest to anything else whenever there is an end to those accidents and doubts which alter the true current of the maxims of England.
Nothing more is said at present about the encounter of the yacht and the Ostend frigate. The Court is waiting to hear from Flanders and Spain. But Van Beuninghen told Bergheik that Spain deserves this encounter for having pledged Holland to acknowledge English supremacy at sea, without considering the future. After the jurisdiction of his Britannic Majesty had been declared to the whole world through Spain it would seem strange that she should be the first to contradict her own acts a few months later. Reproving Spain for having compelled Holland to take a step prejudicial to all parties he forced Bergheik to answer him that the Catholic would not take example from others.
London, the 19th April, 1675.
Postscript: The Resident Sarotti has just sent me the enclosed for your Serenity. I am only now apprised of his arrival in London.
[Italian.]
April 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
486. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The moment seems suitable to inform your Excellencies of the present measures touching parliament which meets next Tuesday. Lauderdale and the treasurer persist in the plan to form a party of cavaliers, the name given to the king's followers in the civil wars. They called the bishops and Protestants in order to mask their designs with religion. The latter drew up the severe proclamation against the nonconformists. Finding the whole country opposed to such severity, these lords persuaded the bishops to offer fusion to the Presbyterians. Having gained Lords Carlisle, Faulconbridge and Mordent, they tried to win the others, forming a body of the very same peers who opposed all designs of the Court last session.
It is not two days since the Presbyterians declared definitely that they would not trust the bishops or listen to any project and simultaneously the most influential section of the peers again joined the opposite party. So Lauderdale and Embi, having lost hope of strengthening the bishops by union with the Presbyterians and of joining the cavaliers with the confederates, have no other recourse than to alarm the whole nation by reporting to parliament that the papists, Presbyterians, Independents and other sectaries have joined together, with danger to religion and the government.
This is their last public measure, but in private they try to shift from one to the other the blame of promoting such severe resolutions. So it is argued that they have lost courage and hope, and I find that Lauderdale repents and would not mind detaching himself from the treasurer, who, as I know, is also seeking safety in any way. Both have represented their dangerous position to the king and he may easily have promised them either to prorogue or dissolve the parliament, rather than consent to desert them.
On the other hand the Presbyterians, stung by this last proclamation and dreading worse if the Protestants have control, and the Independents fearing isolation, are making their last effort to obtain from parliament liberty of conscience as granted a few years ago which they then refused in the fear that the king would assume the right to dispense with the laws. They have thus acknowledged the duke of York as their protector. Whereas they have hitherto blamed him for being a papist, they now confess that they are saved solely through his conscience, as if he had been a Protestant and shared the opinions of the cavaliers and bishops, there would have been no one to oppose the persecutions, it being quite clear that Lauderdale and Embi meant to provide the cavaliers with all the offices, secure the churches to the bishops, take the reins of government into their own hands and to ruin and massacre every one else.
Seeing themselves in such imminent danger, they propose to reinstate the duke at the Admiralty and to suppress all talk about the succession to the crown. They ask him to persevere with his policy of moderation and to support publicly the principle of liberty of conscience. He would thus show his consistency, as he had advocated it from the first day of his return to the country and supported it since at the cost of his posts and authority and of the respect due to his person. He would show how averse he is from violence and how much his constancy, judgment, conscience and courage are to be trusted.
The greater part of the confederate peers concur in this opinion either because they think that Lauderdale and Embi mean to have everything or possibly because they love change. They say, however, that they never meant to go such lengths when they proposed the penal statutes against the nonconformists in parliament, and aimed at converting them by threats, though at the same time they did not mean to abrogate the laws for their sake. They agree to liberty of conscience and are violent against Lauderdale and Embi, possibly hoping to take their place.
Shaftesbury, who was deprived of the chancellorship for his intrigues against the duke, has humbled himself to him. Lords Holles and Bedford and the rest of the confederates have all assured the duke of their desire to serve him. They maintain that after quieting domestic affairs the Court can relinquish French intimacy, of which the nation is jealous, and the country can thus resume the foreign policy which is really for its interest. Having shown the Court how dangerous it is to aim at arbitrary government, the confederates already boast of having obtained the object of their union, the good of the country.
The fact is that whoever makes the first impression in parliament gains all the members who come up from the country, full of jealousy of popery. So if the king says in his speech that he has ordered the enforcement of the laws to suppress the nonconformists, it has apparently been arranged for the duke of York to oppose the usual vote of thanks and to propose a petition to the king to order the duke to resume the charge of admiral. If this is passed in the Lords, whose votes are already counted, it will suffice to annul all the laws for the duke's exclusion.
If this point is carried they do not care what matter is next discussed, as even if the ministers are impeached and the king dissolves parliament before liberty of conscience is carried, the nonconformists would not give themselves up for lost provided the duke, in his position of authority, had the power to protect them and prevent the enforcement of the penal statutes.
The duke of York, though offended with Lauderdale and Embi, will not oppose the dissolution of parliament because he does not wish to take revenge through the Lower House, to the detriment of the royal authority and because he would like a new parliament from which they anticipate more deference for the Court than from the present one, which knows too much and is full of factions. The king alone has not the courage to resent its conduct by a dissolution, feeling that gratitude for his restoration and for the money voted obliges him to forbear, (fn. 8) though the whole country exclaims that it is too much that these men alone should be allowed to barter, give and sell the nation at the price of offices and rewards and that their fellow subjects should have been excluded for so long from parliament.
These are the leading topics for debate this session and though there is no appearance that the question of the queen will also be discussed I may inform your Serenity that her Majesty is already disposed to receive with indifference the announcement of her separation from the king and to retreat to Portugal, where she would be free from the torment of seeing herself neglected and from the dread of poison, the principal causes which at the moment affect her health and spirits.
London, the 19th April, 1675.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
487. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
By the divine mercy I have arrived here safely at the very moment when the ordinary courier was setting out for Flanders, by whom the letters for Italy are sent. I humbly report the fact to your Serenity considering it my duty to do so. I am not able to add more as time is so short, so much so that I have not been able to see Sig. Alberti before the departure of the courier.
London, the 19th April, 1675.
[Italian.]
April 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
488. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary and Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Tuesday the 13th, old style, the peers being assembled, in the Upper House, the king entered in the royal robes. The members of the Lower House being admitted, the king made a speech and was followed by the lord keeper. Translations are enclosed. The originals were not published before to-day as the Court thought fit to correct certain expressions which might have exasperated both Houses, if not the nation. Your Serenity will see that the lord keeper, while urging the Houses to approve the laws against Papists, hints at moderation. The Commons objected to this as a contradiction. They said lie spoke in favour of the laws, to gain credit with the nation, and that he exerted himself to say little in favour of the Catholics although the Court urged him.
On the king's departure the Commons withdrew, leaving the peers debating whether they should thank the king for his speech. Thanks were voted but the Lower House opposed, saying they could thank his Majesty for promising them liberty and religion, without committing themselves to approval of the severity of the laws. This discussion was carried on with such violence that there was no opportunity to propose any of the measures 1 reported about reinstating the duke of York.
The next day the Lower House, resuming the old quarrel with Lauderdale, passed a vote to ask the king to remove him. But Lauderdale's friends urged that they ought to give their reasons, to prove the justice of the request. So they have appointed commissioners to set them down. Lauderdale hopes that this will benefit him, because the charges are made with a certain regularity and he counts on disappointing his persecutors who gained strength through the right which the House assumed to require the king to dismiss any minister without causes.
To-day they were to attack the treasurer, but his friends proposed other matters and so the blow is averted for the moment, but not the hatred of his enemies, who do not forget their revenge.
Two important matters were proposed in the Lower House, the first to petition the king not to prorogue parliament, by virtue of a precedent in the time of Richard II whereby parliament obtained the right to sit until certain matters of importance to the country were decided. But when the late king conceded a similar privilege, parliament proceeded to wage the civil war. The question thus seems a delicate one and the basis insubstantial so the debate is adjourned until next week.
The other important point was mooted to-day by a member who prefaced his speech by declaring it necessary to crush popery. (fn. 9) He proposed however that distinction should be made between those who had served the king, those who were born Catholics, those who had declared themselves such recently and wards. Various comments of extreme importance were made whereupon the Lower House went into committee about the forms and issued a declaration that they would draw up a new oath for the peers and members of parliament, incapacitating Catholics from sitting.
If this idea goes further it will be a bad sign for the whole of that faction that seeks to oppose all change and advocates moderation. It will be of even worse augury and a severe blow for the Catholic peers who retained this privilege as their birthright. On the other hand the party opposed to persecution has gained another point. In the House of Lords the earl of Lindsey brought in a bill for certain oaths which would have embarrassed all the nonconformists and renewed civil strife, reviving the factions of the late rebellion. (fn. 10) But it was thrown out owing to a most eloquent speech by the earl of Bristol, an open Catholic, and it is not thought that the matter will be brought forward again.
Every one marvels at the patience of the king who sees parliament wasting time over business detrimental to the public service. But the first ebullitions are tolerated as the remains of the heat with which the Houses separated at the last prorogation, and as the time now remaining for the despatch of business is brief it seems there is some inclination to conciliate matters and factions.
What touches parliament to the quick is the sort of protest from the king that he will dissolve unless it acts with moderation. The blow would affect each member because of the loss of privileges and the public could not take their side if they provoked the king's just resentment. So although they find it difficult to keep within bounds there is good reason to believe that they will not become outrageous.
The duke of York acts with great prudence and caution and only seems anxious for the service of the monarchy, awaiting opportunities for the realisation of the good intentions previously reported.
London, the 26th April, 1675.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.489. The king's speech to parliament, 13 April, 1675. (fn. 11) [Italian.]
April 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
490. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary and Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When it was thought that Don Pedro Ronquillo would delay his appearance from his desire to be ambassador and to mediate at Nimega, he writes to Bergheik here that in a fortnight at latest he will be leaving to assume his ministry here. The news is confirmed by the duke of Villa Hermosa. Bergheik informed the Court and has begun to take leave. Discussing the qualities of Ronquillo he said that England should appreciate the esteem in which Spain holds this Court by their sending the one who was best informed about the affairs of Flanders and on whom the Catholic most relied for its interests.
As Ronquillo has given up the idea of Nimega, although he is very ambitious, it is inferred that the Spaniards do not much favour the negotiations there, the more so as Bergheik exaggerates the number of troops which the allies will have in the field, making them double the French. He also pretends to know that the French have decided to keep on the defensive in the hope of conquering by time and by getting through the campaign without loss. He says that Spain can stand more than one campaign and hopes that England will at length bestir herself to obtain a safe peace on the basis of that of the Pyrenées.
Bergheik also states, and the Danish envoy does not deny it, that articles have been signed in Holland by which the Spaniards and Dutch agree to pay in equal shares to the king of Denmark all the arrears due to him on account of the monthly pension of 12,000 crowns, and promising him 500,000 crowns yearly during his war against Sweden.
It is also rumoured that Holland has declared against Sweden, though no one affirms it and Van Beuninghen is silent on the subject. When a friend of mine asked him why Spain urged England to get Denmark's mediation accepted when driving her to attack Sweden, he replied that they had decided at Madrid to gratify Denmark in this matter in order to keep her from any engagement with France, from whom she received a pension. But now Spain advocated mediation merely for the sake of appearances and her sole aim was to commit Denmark to the war.
The Court having held several councils about all these advices, the ambassadors appointed for Nimega are no longer hurried to complete their train. Although many fervent Englishmen say that the Court has at last prudently decided to secure quiet for itself and to monopolise trade for the country while neighbours are at war, others maliciously complain that efforts for peace are neglected because it cannot be made advantageously for France. I know for certain through an influential minister that if an opening is afforded, England will not fail to exert herself for peace, even while war is raging. I fancy, however, that they are more particular here about ceremonial forms than conscientiously scrupulous about dealings with the papal nuncio. They have dropped some hints against the pope's mediation and I understand that the Spanish minister said that if England meant to be sole mediator she must procure good terms for the Catholic king.
In order that the Resident Sarotti may not lose time, of which he is in great need to hasten the very dilatory tradesmen here for the completion of his outfit, I continue to send such advices as I can collect, being encouraged by the ducali of the 30th March expressing satisfaction over the consulage affair and the difficult business of the chaplain. If he be a martyr the less in Paradise he will pray God here on earth for the exaltation of your Excellencies.
London, the 26th April, 1675.
[Italian.]
April 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
491. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Returns thanks for the concession made to him about his escort. Has learned from his agents that they have not received the money promised to him on account of the heavy credits for providing himself when he received the appointment, nor the duty of the papers which was voted or the spazzo which is paid to every one before he leaves. He is in distress because with so many expenses, the forwarding of his baggage and the long journey he is unable to provide what is necessary for making his public appearance at Court without considerable support from the state. He has, as is well known, caused more than a thousand ounces of plate which is less needed and divers valuable furnishings which would not be of use here to be sold at Venice and has also raised money at interest in order to pay debts contracted in his residence at Milan and to make his journey. He trusts that the Senate will not fail to assist him. He will prepare to have everything ready for presenting himself to the king and paying visits when he receives remittances from his agents.
At present there are only the Portuguese ambassador and the minister of the most serene republic at whose houses, besides the queen's chapel, the poor Catholics, who number many thousands, both foreign and native, can perform their religious duties. Owing to their large numbers they need places of great capacity and that numerous masses shall be celebrated in them. It would be very costly to hire a suitable house with accommodation for a large chapel with a sacristy and the payment of several priests for confessions, masses and so forth. His zeal will not suffice to meet all this and he finds that everything in England down to the wages of the servants, costs double as much as in Italy and great is the splendour with which all the foreign ministers are treated. He does not believe that his resources will enable him to do more than uphold the privilege of his office and satisfy his conscience by keeping a private chaplain with a priest, although he will blush at the distress of these good Christians who have been accustomed to enjoy an ever open chapel in the house of the republic, as a result of the generosity of Signor Alberti.
London, the 26th April, 1675.
[Italian.]
April 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
492. To the Secretary Alberti and the Resident Sarotti.
Suppose that Alberti has already left. Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 5th as well as those of Sarotti from Rotterdam of the 2nd. Are glad to hear of the fortunate chance of a ship which can have for his passage to England, whence they will expect to hear of his safe arrival.
Ayes. 140. Noes, 1. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Paul Klingenberg.
2 The baron a Schwerin. His credentials are dated at Schweinfurt on 6/16 February. S.P. Germany. States, Vol. LXXV.
3 Probably the Cleveland, Captain Fasby. Navy Records Society, Catalogue of Pepysian MSS., Vol. III. page 16.
4 Porter crossed in the Portsmouth yacht. Lynch, on 7 April. S.P. Flanders, Vol. XLV.
5 On the night of 27/28 March the Baron de Vierset, commander at Liége, treacherously admitted to the fortress a French force commanded by the Comte d'Estrades, governor of Maastricht. Relations Veritables, Brussels, No. 13.
6 William II was attended in his last illness by Dr. van der Straten. Drs. de Reeck and de Hayes were called in for consultation. Aitzema: Saken ran Start en Oorlog, Vol. III, page 456.
7 Bevil Skelton from the king and [? Edmund] Ashton from the duke.
8 In reply to Ruvigny's representations against the assembling of parliament Charles told him “que c'était le meilleur parlement quieut jamais été convoqué. Qu'il y avait quelques membres qui s'étaient égarés, mais que la plus grande partie était encore dans le bon chemin. Qu'il était important pour son service de savoir ce qu'il en devait esperer pour l'avenir. Que si ce parlement faisait bien il en recevrait de grands avantages et s'il faisait mal il le casserait, parce qu'il verrait bien qu'il n'en pourrait plus rien attendre du bien. Que le mal consistait en quatre choses: s'il parlait d'avoir un terme fixe et asseuré pour demeurer assemblé; s'il parlait de traités d'alliance, de paix ou de guerre; s'il parlait contre la personne le M. de due d'Yore, et enfin contre ses ministres.” Ruvigny to the king, 18 Feb., 1675. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
9 On 16 April, o.s., the house resolved into a committee of the whole house to consider effectual ways for suppressing the growth of popery. Sir Thomas Meeres was chairman of the committee. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, page 317.
10 The question arose on a debute over a proposed bill to prevent dangers that might arrive from persons disaffected to the government. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. XII. page 664.
11 Printed in Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. XII. page 653. A printed copy of the speech is hound up with Alberti's letter book in the Library of St. Mark, Venice, Classe VII, Cod. 1672.


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