Venice
November 1675, 1-20

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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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468-484

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'Venice: November 1675, 1-20', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 38: 1673-1675 (1947), pp. 468-484. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90391 Date accessed: 17 September 2014.


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November 1675, 1–20

Nov. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
572. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have the ducali of the 28 September and 5 October and will carry out my instructions. I have already spoken with the ministers of the crown confirming the readiness of the most serene republic to co-operate for the boon of universal peace, telling them of the orders given to your ambassadors at the Courts. All of them expressed their thorough appreciation while the ambassador of Sweden told me in addition that he thought the Signory would find it a good thing to offer mediation to his king and Denmark as well, in the assurance that it would be most welcome, particularly by his master, who had previously enjoyed the beneficial effects of it.
As your Excellencies leave it to me I think it best not to perform any office with the king or the ministers here until your Serenity has chosen an ambassador for the congress, which will serve to confirm the accepted mediation, as here they argue that there may be some hitch because they do not hear of the nomination of your representative, an opinion which has grown stronger since the passage of the Germans was stopped. Although, with the information received from the state, I go about discrediting the notions and impressions of Ronquillo, yet he and others still say that the emperor is not yet satisfied and the government of Spain much less so. The reports in the gazettes are in conformity with this with additions about strained relations with his imperial Majesty on the frontiers, of both sides sending troops to reinforce the frontier fortresses and other inventions.
The ardour with which the king here was acting to arrange and carry out the despatch of plenipotentiaries of all the powers to the congress is observed these last days to be much diminished. This is due to his preoccupation with the parliament and with the aversion displayed by the majority of the members of both Houses to such offices and to the king's eagerness for peace. They say that these realms, owing to their security and to trade, can never wish for anything better than to see all their neighbours fighting each other; and if not they would like England to make war on France, which would be more advantageous if they should leave her entangled with other powers, the more so because her forces are becoming formidable both by land and by sea. There are two principal reasons why this people cherishes an implacable hatred against the French, otherwise a natural friend. One is that the king here is so devoted to the interests of France because of the understanding he is believed to have with her to abase the power of parliaments with her aid. The other is that he proposes afterwards to give liberty of conscience, to which he has always shown a leaning. By this means the Catholic religion would triumph and the people would be subjected by the overthrow of all the laws. Although the wisest are aware that such things are not only difficult but practically impossible to accomplish, yet the people are under this impression, which causes much apprehension while the suspicion is fostered by those ill affected to the Court.
In spite of all this the ambassador of Sweden, who urges the sending of plenipotentiaries to the congress more than the Dutchman or the minister of France, has told the king that he has orders from his master to go to Paris and proceed thence to the conference, and accordingly he begged his Majesty to ask for passports for him from the Spaniards and the Dutch. The king at once spoke to Vanbeuningen who promised to write and said that his masters would give them promptly. It is noted with astonishment that his Majesty has said nothing to Ronquillo and made no communication to him but has availed himself instead of the services of his ambassador at the Hague to ask for a passport from the governor of Flanders. There is now some doubt about what Villermosa will do, the more so because the ambassador of Sweden says that he will not be satisfied with a passport in the usual form, but wants one stating that it is issued by the authority of the king of Spain and for the purpose of attending the peace congress.
As your Excellencies may imagine, Ronquillo is greatly upset about this but he does not speak about it to the king or his ministers. He says that he is waiting for them to speak to him as is done with the other foreign ministers. He maintains that all these dealings and arrangements are conducted so badly that they will do no good for the peace, but they afford further confirmation of the impression of the bias of the king here and of his understanding with the crown of France which is the only one that desires peace, with her confederate Sweden. But they will not bring this about by force with the Austrians because England has not the power to compel them. He adds, however, that the emperor and his king will not be averse from one if reasonable terms are suggested for a durable peace. From Rovigni it is denied that France is soliciting it, though he says she has never been averse from it and that she will agree to every facility that is not contrary to the honour of the crown or to her undertakings, among which one of the principal is the protection of the Furstembergh and the other the congress of Nimega.
The king has been thanked by the envoy of the bishop of Strasburg for his offices with the emperor in favour of his master. (fn. 1) He is one of those wounded in the arrests made at Cologne and bears the mark of it in an eye. He has petitioned his Majesty to insist on the consignment to a third party, with which, he says they will be content. He has intimated as much to me suggesting that the prince would consider himself very fortunate if the party were the most serene republic.
The Dutch have projected a commercial treaty during the war, with their enemies through the mediation of the king here, but as it is recognised that it would be purely for their benefit, his Majesty's ministers do not wish to promote it while neither the French nor the Swedes desire it except under numerous restrictions, which would not be for the advantage or reputation of the Dutch.
Owing to the good nature of the king and to the profit which the ministers derive therefrom numerous permits were granted to the vessels of both Holland and France, which called themselves English. As this is recognised on various counts to be increasingly prejudicial to England they have suspended the grant of new ones. They would like to withdraw the old ones, but a revocation is thought to be worse than the grant because it would have to be made by proclamation which would publish it abroad to all the world and cause murmurs and complaints.
Count Horn has returned to Sweden without having been able to obtained what he wanted here because of the opposition, the nature of which I have reported in previous letters.
London, the 1st November, 1675.
[Italian.]
Nov. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
573. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The affairs of parliament are not taking a favourable turn for satisfaction of the king or for the public quiet. The postponement of the vote of thanks to his Majesty for his speech and the adjournment of the sittings were due to the evil intentions of those who have wanted time for their practices and to give time for the arrival of those who were absent, to whom letters have been written to get them to come. The sittings were resumed at the beginning of this week when the House of Commons or Lower House, as they call it, appointed various bodies of a part of their members, which they call committees, to hear, propose and discuss questions of religion, privileges, trade, the court of justice and grievances. In each of these committees they have been examining divers things touching these matters, which will be brought to the House later. Among these the most important is that of the education of the children of the royal family in the Protestant religion.
In long debates on the matter of money they have made a distinction between the king's request for the payment of debts, which is called anticipation for his own particular use, and the sum required for the ships of war. Although it was believed that the party and number of those disposed to meet his Majesty's demands would largely exceed their opponents, yet the latter carried the day by a majority of seven votes, 165 for the king and 172 against; so they have decided not to give him any subsidy. (fn. 2) But as they have considered that they must not, on this account, neglect to provide what is necessary for the ships, from the consideration that the French and the Dutch may be more powerful at sea, they have put off until to-day to take this matter in hand separately in order to see in what manner they can make sure that the money which is supplied is not devoted to other purposes. There are some who maintain that the money previously destined for the ships has not been all spent upon them and that a larger sum than had been estimated has been raised from the assignments made for the purpose.
As the members of parliament entertain a suspicion that the royal ministers are using their wits to find means for exacting money, they are discussing various methods and safeguards to prevent any illegal exaction being made and to make sure that the portion of the customs revenue which has been set apart for the ships shall be well administered and devoted entirely for that purpose alone.
The Court has tried to remove the impression of the members of mismanagement, even going so far as to produce various accounts, but so far without success as the House of Commons has resolved that next week they will appoint a committee of the most expert to make a thorough examination of the state and condition of the country. This causes no little concern to the Court.
The House of Lords, called the Upper, seems better disposed to meet his Majesty's wishes. But this cannot decide the question of money without the Lower. As they have misgivings that in a dispute about privilege the king may consent to something to their prejudice, to please the Commons, as happened at the last meeting, the lords have been devoting their constant attention to this matter with the determination not to admit the pretensions of the members of the Lower House not to be judged in appeal by the peers. If this were conceded the members of the Commons would be too overbearing and intolerable. For this reason, at their first sitting, they accepted and introduced the petition of one who has asked for justice. (fn. 3) But the wisest are delaying to proceed to judgment in order not to renew the disputes with the Lower House and so prevent it from devoting its attention to the provision of money, at least for the ships.
A member of the Commons named Lord Candish cherished since the last session unquiet opinions and evil inclinations, for which, as I reported he was exiled from the Court. Continuing his former course he has produced letters from another gentleman containing opinions considered contrary to the privileges of the Commons. Whilst the latter was making his defence and the President had undertaken, by order of the House, to reconcile these two gentlemen, who had attacked each other's honour both in speech and in writing, a cartel was found posted up on the gate of the royal palace, of a very improper character, which Candish had affixed in his own name. Accordingly the House itself sent him a prisoner to the Tower, thus doing what the king would have decided upon immediately had he not been restrained by his regard for that House with whom it behoves him to walk warily, in order, if he can, to attain his ends. (fn. 4)
Having come from his charge to parliament, the earl of Winchelse, who was ambassador at Constantinople, has called at this house of your Serenity, saying that he desired to pay the tribute of his constant devotion to the most serene republic. He bore in mind the honour conferred upon him at the christening of one of his sons and declared that he was ready to make himself known here as a good servant of your Serenity upon every occasion. (fn. 5) Lord Howard, the earl Marshal, brother of the new cardinal, also makes frequent public declarations of his obligations to the republic and favours me in many ways as its minister.
The occasions of the parliament compel me to incur fresh extraordinary expenses, in making acquaintances and friends at table. Amid the toasts I am led to sigh more and more for some generous allowance from the state on account merely of my great outlay for provisions. I urge this strongly on the clemency of your Serenity in whose service I am day and night devoting all my energies and consuming the substance of my house and my life with the best will in the world.
London, the 1st November, 1675.
[Italian.]
Nov. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
574. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The sitting lasted into the night and the debate in the Lower House continued until to-day. After many opinions had been given they finally decided to grant money for the arming of twenty ships, to wit: two first rates, eleven second rates and seven third rates. They adjourned until Tuesday next the discussion about the fund to be established for the money and to decide by whom and how it is to be controlled. As I learned this after I had already despatched the others I add these few lines in order to convey this important news to your Serenity by the present ordinary.
London, the 1st November, 1675.
[Italian.]
Nov. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
575. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The king of England seems to be showing less eagerness about his activities for the peace. No doubt the meeting of the Chambers there constitutes a great obstacle. As these have devoted themselves to the discussion of points of great importance it prevents them from paying so much attention to the affairs of others, especially when it is seen that the energy with which the members there are proceeding is prompted more by their annoyance at seeing their king united with the Most Christian than by any sort of desire to regulate matters in the form which is proposed to them. What they do want is to force the king by such steps to yield to their wishes, and then, after they have gained their point, of detaching him from France, to grant him what he desires. But the interests which pass between those two royal personages are so strong and so united that France has no fear of contrary resolutions and the king there shows his confidence of being able to extricate himself always from violence by other expedients which are held in readiness to supply fuel to the fire which is always showing its forwardness against the royal intentions.
Paris, the 6th November, 1675.
[Italian.]
Nov. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
576. To the Resident in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 18th ult. Commend the offices passed by him upon the death of the daughter of the duke of York. He is to repeat these in the name of the republic.
Ayes, 163. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Nov. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
577. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The letters from Italy have not arrived this week. It is believed that they are held up by the present had weather. A week ago I advised your Serenity Of the resolution of the Lower House to provide money for the building and arming of twenty ships of war of the kinds reported. I may now add that, owing to the ambition of all the members and of every Englishman to be stronger at sea than every other power, they have overcome the objections they entertained to giving the Court money of any sort under any pretext, well knowing that, with all their precautions and restrictions to which the employment of the money is subjected, it will not be devoted entirely to the ships, as intended by the public. There have been lengthy discussions these last days to remedy this. It was proposed that the money should be placed in the coffers of the city of London and not in those of the high treasurer. The partisans of the Court declared frankly that the king would never consent to this because it would constitute a direct affront to his honour and that of his ministers. When the vote was taken in the House, which here is made public, the resolution that the money should pass through the usual coffers of the high treasurer was only carried by nine votes. But there are misgivings that the parliamentarians will study means to safeguard, so far as is possible, the employment of the grant solely for the benefit of the armament in question.
Many other resolutions have been taken concerning the service of these realms, in matters of religion, trade, customs, and various administrations. They are also examining and discussing the privileges of the Houses, a point of the greatest importance which might easily lead to a civil war.
They have renewed the orders to prevent the export overseas of the wool of England and Ireland and to facilitate that of hides, of which there is abundance, owing to the great quantity of cattle which they breed and consume. Various orders have also been issued to control fishing in the rivers and others to keep up the supplies of comestibles and of coal.
The same House has made various proposals about the Protestant religion so that neither it nor any of the laws which concern it may be changed without an act of parliament, and for preventing the increase of the “Papists” as they call the Catholics. The important question of the education of the children of the royal House being raised, it was proposed that no priest, friar or Jesuit should have access to them, but no positive resolution has yet been taken.
A Committee, that is to say a body of some of the members, has been appointed to make inquiry concerning books recently printed which are scandalous and dangerous in the matter of religion and government. They have caused some of these to be consigned to the flames and librarians have orders to produce all those which they have of this character. A court or tribunal which they call of conscience has been set up for the borough of Westminster and others of this vast city. (fn. 6)
Beating up their animosity against France, which I have referred to before, they have taken up the proclamation which the king had issued at the instance of the late parliament which forbad any more subjects of these realms to go to the service of that crown. Since it is known that this has been little regarded they have discussed taking proceedings against those who disobey, under the usual forms of law and to declare that these and others who may go hereafter shall be declared contemners of his Majesty's authority and enemies of the country. They have asked the House of Lords to support this. When this was introduced there it was immediately received with applause and they proposed to proceed to vote it. But owing to the difference between the two Houses on the matter of authority, as in the opinion of the Lords the Commons are constantly encroaching more and more, they considered that, while on the merits of the case there was no opposition, they must proceed with due order. It did not pertain to the Lower House to make laws on military matters, but only to set forth considerations and make requests, which are called “petitions” to the king, and if these seemed to him to be good for the public welfare they were referred to the judgment of the House of Lords and by them afterwards to his Majesty for the decision. So they consider that the Commons by acting in this way, are encroaching on their preserves. But since there is more inclination in the House of Lords to respond to his Majesty's wishes, both in the matter of money supplies and with his other wishes, they are postponing the entry into an open quarrel with the Commons in order that they may not pass over the provision of money under the pretext of a wish to attend to such disputes. Accordingly, although the Upper House has done nothing these last days but cause the archives to be turned over, a search for privileges, papers and compiling books of history to examine the authority of the Houses, and in particular the usurpation practised by the Lower, they have not as yet passed any vote or act which might give occasion to the Commons suddenly to take the matter in hand on their own account. The more prudent lords are postponing any progress in the matter of appeal introduced at the beginning of parliament, as they take the view that to suspend the judgment and the transaction does not in the least prejudice the authority which they claim. Nevertheless, in the House of Lords itself there are some unquiet spirits, discontented and poor, who would like to fish in troubled waters and so they foment these controversies, which are strongly resented by the Court, to whose interests they are most prejudicial.
There are besides, in both Houses, some who would like to force the king to dissolve the parliament altogether. They would then have to go to the counties, towns and commons of England to elect new deputies in place of the present ones and it is hoped that all those who are known to be partisans of his Majesty and the Court would lose their seats.
There is another faction called the Presbyterian. This cherishes an habitual ill will against the bishops and would like to take away their authority and the fat revenues which they enjoy. They suggest that these might be handed over to the king, for whom they would suffice without putting any fresh charge on the people. A small allowance of money would suffice for the bishops, who are born exceedingly poor and practically beggars, and from students in the colleges are promoted to this dignity with revenues much exceeding their needs. It is calculated that these prelates with certain provosts and deans enjoy practically 500,000l. sterling per annum.
To continue the thread of the narrative there is little to add and I fear I shall weary your Excellencies. Candish has submitted to the Lower House and has been released from the Tower. His adversary has since been sent there. This gives rise to another dispute on the question of privilege. As this gentleman is not a member of the Lower House like Candish, so it has no jurisdiction over him, this action is strongly resented by the Upper House and by the Court, the more so because the Commons have made a decree that any one who hereafter shall promote disputes of any kind in the same cause for which the gentlemen in question have been imprisoned, shall be declared a disturber of the public peace, in contempt of the justice and authority of the House, and punished as such.
To-day the new lord mayor of London (fn. 7) enters upon his duties. This is a function which is celebrated with much pomp, and as there will be various festivities next week, both Houses have agreed to take a vacation until Thursday next.
This is all I am able to say, in summary fashion of these recent sittings which have usually lasted from the beginning of the morning until the evening. The king also has been holding secret counsel with his most intimate councillors, frequently, in order to guide his course in correspondence with the operations of parliament.
London, the 8th November, 1675.
[Italian.]
Nov. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
578. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Owing to the present occupations of all the Court and for the reasons intimated in my last his Majesty has not performed any further offices for the preliminaries of the peace beyond arranging for the passports for the plenipotentiaries. The minutes of those for the Dutch have come here to be drawn up in due form. The departure of the ambassador Barclai for France is postponed and the Swede is in no hurry either. The king has not said a word to any one of the foreign ministers here in the current week.
The attempt to change from Nimega to Cleves not having succeeded, they despair of any other place. They seem to be very pleased here about the declaration said to have been made by the French ministers at Rome and at Paris about the new nuncios. The news which has since come of the great successes won by the arms of Denmark and the allies over the Swedes (fn. 8) makes them suspect that they and the Austrians also will show an increasing disinclination for the peace.
Ronquillo has sent his courier to the Court of Spain by sea, the one whom I reported he wished to send on another matter, but could not get the passport from France. By him he has informed the queen and Council of all that is passing here, pressing for his prompt despatch with the royal views, so that he may know what to do. He told me this himself. Two days after he was sent Don Bernardo di Salines arrived here from Madrid having also made the journey by sea. He brought Ronquillo the patents with his powers and other despatches. He is going on to Flanders with the post of sergeant general.
The day before yesterday this minister decided to celebrate the majority of his king by causing a solemn mass to be sung in the chapel of the embassy. He and all his household wore gala costumes and afterwards he gave a most lavish banquet to all the foreign ministers and their wives except those of France and Sweden. He decided not to invite any Englishman, to avoid giving offence with the numerous opposing factions that exist at present.
London, the 8th November, 1675.
[Italian.]
Nov. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
579. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The sessions of the parliament in London continue to be troubled and if they have not as yet gone so far as to take deliberations unpleasing to the king there and contrary to his intentions for France, they do not seem so well disposed as to make it likely that they will be willing to go their ways after giving complete satisfaction to these crowns. Some of the opposition members of the Lower House are agitating to proceed against those who have taken service with the colours here, contrary to the law and they have approached the Upper House to get their consent to declare them contumacious to authority and enemies of the state. It was argued a show of reason, by some who are of a more friendly disposition, that it was not their business to meddle with these matters; that so long as there was a king in England all decisions concerning war and peace belonged to him. So the question was put on one side unanswered and a debate thereupon postponed. Confidence is felt that it will not be so serious as they imagined.
Other complaints have been made by those who are all antipathy against the Most Christian concerning the prejudices they suffer in the commerce with France. They point out that treasure is drawn from that country in specie in exchange for merchandise only, and this does not counterbalance the advantage received by this country. They are endeavouring by all these means to stir up an outcry, but the people do not seem to be roused to such an extent as to cause serious apprehension, unless they should happen to be supported by a stronger party, which seems to be quiet and does not appear to wish to oppose the king's pleasure.
The letters of Saturday brought to the Court as a prelude to a happy issue for this side the decision taken, in favour of the king there, that the money voted for the building of twenty ships for his service was to go to the royal coffers under the administration of his ministers and not of those whom the Houses wished to give him, to make sure that it was not employed for other purposes. But we hear by yesterday's letters that the opponents of the Court are claiming to reverse the decision not only turning aside the endeavour to find the means but bringing forward charges against members for selling their votes and proposing to formulate an oath for the prevention of such practices. This causes misgivings that everything may be upset and that affairs may revert to their original difficulty.
They are also showing concern that for the assembling of the members a different method shall be followed in the future from what has been done in the past, when letters were written individually by the secretaries. They want it to be by proclamation to prevent that only those most agreeable to the Court shall be summoned to the exclusion of others who are not so well disposed (fn. 9) . It is asserted that all this is promoted by the nonconformists, who, being a strong party, are making use of these difficulties to compel the king to grant them liberty, in which case they will grant him everything. But if the king persists in refusing to take further measures for their advantage and the commotions still go on, there will be no lack of pretexts to keep them from mischief supposing they cannot secure the advantages.
Ruvigni sends assurances that the king there cannot be better disposed for the satisfaction of France, careless of his own particular interest in order to keep his promise to the king here; and that if the members there cannot be induced to do what is wanted the rival claims about judicature between the two Houses will be revived which will prevent obnoxious decisions by putting off to another meeting. They are, however, much concerned to get this agreed succour brought to a head. Although it has been opposed by the enemies of the Court, they are considering means to put matters right and to see whether the few, with their unquiet spirits, are able to confound the will of the majority who have already decided that it shall be given.
Amid all this commotion and an agitation of such consequence that king does not fail to show himself well disposed for forwarding the meeting of the congress. All that can be done in the way of persuasion and suggestion with the parties he will do with energy. The minister of Sweden there does not forget to point out to him that it is not to the interest of England that Denmark and the Dutch should make themselves so strong in the Baltic because they find nothing to keep the balance, but he has produced no other effect than to confirm him in the disposition he has shown.
They say that the full powers have reached Signor Ronquillo, brought by Sig. Bernardo di Salines, who is going to serve in Flanders. He brought strong pressure to bear upon the king for a change in the place of the congress, but that he would not agree to any.
Lord Barclay, who was awaited with impatience at the Court, still tarries. They say that at the rising of parliament he fell fainting to the ground and that for several hours all the remedies applied failed to revive him, so that there was fear for his life. But this would not delay the negotiations which are sustained with great merit by the Sieur de Ruvigni who is steadily adding to his reputation. In London they were waiting to hear from Denmark and the elector of Brandenburg about the proffered mediation. They felt confident that it would be accepted.
Paris, the 13th November, 1675.
[Italian.]
Nov. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zante.
Venetian
Archives.
580. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Three English frigates of war named Henrietta, Diamond and Swallow have arrived in the port, commanded by Sir John Narbrough, the king's admiral in the Mediterranean, sent against the Tripolitans. He reports that he has eight ships at present under his direction, three of which have already passed this way for the Levant, in pursuit of those barbarians. The other two have gone to careen at Leghorn. He will proceed shortly to Malta, where he has magazines and a great pink (pinco) which serves for careening the whole fleet. That will serve as his rendezvous, where, in addition to the eight ships mentioned, six other ships of war will be added and two fireships which, according to his statement, he is momentarily expecting from England (fn. 10) It is supposed that he is devising some attempt upon the shipping in the port of Tripoli. During the past months he has twice made a long stay off the mouths of this place when he succeeded in capturing a ship with 120 Moors and burned another ship laden with wheat and three galeots. But he did not succeed in preventing the corsairs from coming out, as on two occasions five ships of war eluded him and went to the Levant. He took a turn towards the Sapienze and Cape Spada after these and is still carrying out his instructions. He has set at liberty here some Greek slaves who swam out while he was off the mouths and sought safety on his ships.
With the royal money he ransomed at Algiers 182 English slaves and ratified the peace with that place as well as with those of Tunis. With the Tripolitans also he entered upon some sort of composition. With respect to the difficulty that the 80,000 reals levied upon the goods of merchants of other nations upon English ships were not in being because the money had already been distributed to the soldiers, it seems that they were ready to agree to his claim that so many Christian slaves should be released, but upon a pact that the Tripolitans should undertake never again to search any English trading ships. This was not accepted as they claim still to search for the goods of merchants of other nations. So he has with him the consul who was at Tripoli, whom he took away because of the continuation of the war (fn. 11) .
In those waters, at his coming, he recovered a French tartana which was coming from Canea, laden with oil, on its way to Marseilles, abandoned by its sailors under the impression that they were enemies. After his arrival in the port, the moment he was requested by the French consul, he made restitution. With equal courtesy I have not failed to make every demonstration of courtesy to the arms of his king.
Zante, the 13th November, 1675.
[Italian.]
Nov. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
581. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The letters of Italy which should have come last week only arrived in this, when the usual ones have not put in an appearance owing to the continuance of the very bad weather. I have been two ordinaries without your Serenity's ducali.
The Lower House resumed its sessions three days ago, and the Upper yesterday. They lasted from the first thing in the morning until night, without the members of the Commons going to take food. For more than an hour in the evening they debated whether they should have lights brought. Upon a vote being taken they decided against, because sometimes they become very excited and ill feeling is roused. There is also business to transact of such a nature that it is desirable to finish it by day, to give play to passions and to enjoy the benefit of a night to treat about it and to dispose the most amenable to the common service and to that of some private individual.
The most important and contentious points are three. One about the quality and cost of the ships to be built. The second to exclude the Catholics from both Houses and the third about an oath which the Lower House wishes to be taken by all its members to make sure that they do not receive money, rewards or benefits of any sort from the king or his ministers, or from those of foreign princes either which may induce them to do things for their benefit to the prejudice of the liberty and service of the state. They have not yet decided about the last, but with regard to the building and arming of the ships they have decided that they ought not to spend more than 300,000l. With regard to the exclusion of the Catholics from the Houses they must await the decision of the Lords, and it is not believed that they will ever do it for their own.
There have also been various proposals about trade with France, the manufacture of the wool of Ireland, the prevention of illegal imprisonment, the relief of the poor imprisoned for debt, to make the River Dorveto navigable (fn. 12) and something else for the benefit and relief of the people.
All these have been put on the table and will be discussed and debated in other sittings. Some ill feeling was aroused in the Upper House by a person, no friend to the Court, who brought forward fresh complaints against some of the ministers who were attacked in past meetings of the parliament. Every day the number of the malcontents shows itself to be growing and they go about trying to prevent the satisfaction of the Court by indirect ways. These same persons have succeeded in causing the House of Lords to resolve to deal seriously with the case reported touching a member of the Commons (fn. 13) . So they will come to the most important and perilous dispute about privileges which those who are friends of the public quiet and desirous of pleasing the king have tried so hard to put off and prevent.
With regard to the soldiers who are in France or who may go there in the future, the Lower House has not rested content with what was decided about asking the concurrence of the Lords, and yesterday they asked for this again. To this they add that all those who have gone to serve since the peace with the Dutch ought to be recalled as well; but the Lords have not given an answer. It is believed that they mean to see the question of the judicature decided first and that the Commons agree to it. There is reason to believe that the malcontents are collecting and proposing many kinds of objectionable matters in order to force the king to dissolve them. He is not disposed to do this because he suspects that they will be replaced by members even less disposed to please him than the present ones and that practically all his friends will lose their seats.
Owing to these difficulties his Majesty is not a little preoccupied. The foreign ministers do not know whether he has done anything more about the meeting of the peace congress, although passports have arrived from the Hague from the States General with the names in blank for the king to fill in for the plenipotentiaries who ask for them. Rovigni says that his master also is ready to send them when Furstembergh has been handed over and when Nimega is accepted for the congress. But the king here would like to get the Most Christian to send his plenipotentiaries with the stipulation that the first negotiation shall be the question of that prisoner.
The Protestants here have learned with delight that when the pope applied to the emperor to get the place changed the latter advised his Holiness to address himself to France, to whom he offered his mediation before any one else.
They write from the Hague that Count Caprara, the Catholic envoy (fn. 14) has been making remarks about the scant satisfaction of his master with the procedure of the king here. They com- plain that up to the present he has treated for the peace without learning the views or the interests of the emperor, as if he claimed to conclude it without him. It is further stated that this Caprara proposed to come to England if they send some one to Vienna from here. But I have obtained no confirmation of such talk, although I have tried to get it.
The ambassador destined for France from here, though he was about to start, has taken to his bed again, with a serious illness. The ambassador of Sweden also, who was preparing to go, is suffering from various indispositions.
Ronquillo, who was feeling injured, as reported, because of the reserve adopted towards him, told me that the king had at length spoken to him last week on the subject of the passports for which this ambassador of Sweden had asked. A reply had come from Flanders that Villahermosa has not the authority to give it in the form claimed. The king told him that he proposed very soon to send his ambassadors to Nimega. To this Ronquillo replied that the others might go, but not the Spaniards unless satisfaction about the place of meeting was given to the Holy See for which the Catholic crown has such veneration. Nevertheless Spain had no objection to the negotiations for peace and its conclusion as soon as possible, nor the emperor either, but the negotiations ought to proceed with their knowledge and goodwill. He told me all this and that he had written to Spain whence his last letters from the queen informed him that she had given orders that the instructions and patents given to plenipotentiaries at other times should be found and prepared for the present.
He afterwards spoke to me very courteously and with signs of confidence about the incident in the Gulf, expressing his strong feeling about it and some suspicion he entertained of a secret understanding between the most serene republic and France. With the information received I made him acquainted with the most just reasons which your Serenity had and of the improper behaviour of the ambassador there and succeeded in satisfying him. For my satisfaction he said he would tell me what they had written to him from Spain, that notwithstanding what had taken place they wished for good correspondence with the republic.
Later on I told him that the suspicion of a secret treaty with the Most Christian was pure moonshine. Ronquillo retorted: I am amazed that you deny so confidently what you know to be the case; and if you do not know it consult the Pregadi of the 10th of August. I burst out laughing and replied that assuredly I neither knew it nor believed it. Ronquillo took my hand and asked me if I would agree to his writing my answer to Spain, because there were many in the Council of State there who knew me and who would attach importance to it, so it would produce a good effect. I said I had not the smallest objection and hoped that I was not mistaken in my belief. He seemed quite satisfied with this.
I gathered that he is doubtful of the steadfastness of the Dutch and that upon the pretext of the great floods experienced and the desire of the people for peace, from their unwillingness to continue to bear such intolerable charges, they are getting ready to make it without the allies.
London, the 15th November, 1675.
[Italian.]
Nov. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
582. To the Resident in England.
Commend the reply given by him to Ronchillo. He must continue on every other occasion to destroy the sinister impression, using the arguments already sent. In every discussion upon the subject he must assert the complete impartiality of the republic. It will also be good, upon every consideration to cultivate the confidence of ministers, especially of Ronchillo and Vambonighen. He must not lose any favourable opportunity of insisting upon the propensity of the republic to peace.
Ayes, 167. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Nov. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
583. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Pompona and some other ministers are waiting to see what turn things will take in England. Matters are not making any progress at that Court because of the uproar of the Chambers there, which was continuing. Although this is not of such a character as to cause apprehension here of any steps contrary to the interests of this crown it has, at all events, kept the king there busy and in some reserve until a decision has been taken. The ministers here do not think that it is likely to be contrary to the good intentions of that king towards this side. Pompona spoke to me in this sense expressing the opinion that there was no reason to apprehend anything harmful.
Paris, the 20th November, 1675.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 In his letters of 9 October the bishop recommended two envoys, MM. Ducker and Breget. S.P. France, Vol. CXL. The latter was the one wounded. Relations Veritables, Brussels, 21 Feb., 1674.
2 On 19 October, o.s., the House agreed to the recommendation of the Committee of Supply not to grant any supply for taking off the anticipations upon the king's revenue, which had been recommended to them in the king's speech. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, page 359. The figures of the voting agree with those given in Corbett's Parliamentary History, Vol. IV, 757.
3 On 19 October, o.s., Thomas Sherley presented a petition for a clay to be appointed for hearing a suit between him and Sir John Fagg, a member of the Commons. On the 20th it was moved that Sherley's petition should be read, and on Nov. 4 it was resolved that a day should be appointed for hearing the cause. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. XIII, pp. 8, 9, 12.
4 Lord Cavendish was charged with saying of Col. John Howard, who had been killed in the French service, that “it was but a just end for such as went against any vote of parliament.” This was taken up by Thomas Howard, the colonel's brother. In pursuance of this quarrel Lord Cavendish posted up a paper at Whitehall gate and in Westminster Hall that Thomas Howard was a coward. For this he was committed to the Tower on 20 October, as a breach of privilege. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, page 301. Corbett: Parliamentary History, Vol. IV, 745, 758, 761.
5 At Winchelsea's request Giovanni Battista Ballarino, the Venetian minister at the Porte, acted as godfather to his newly-born son, who was christened Charles Mark on Saturday, 1st October, 1661, n.s. Hist. MSS. Comm., Finch MSS., Vol. I, page 156. Venetian Calendar, Vol. XXXIII, page 50.
6 On 8 November the Lords resolved that a book entitled “Letters from a person of quality to his friend in the country” should be burned. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. XIII, page 13. On 25 October a bill for electing a court of conscience for Westminster and the liberties thereof was accepted in the Commons. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, page 363.
7 Sir Joseph Sheldon.
8 An allusion to the successes of the Danish and Brandenburg forces in Pomerania. On 15 October the elector of Brandenburg captured the fort of Gutzkow on the River Peene and on the same day Lieut.-Colonel Grubkou took the passes at Stolpe and Jaram. On the 17th the king of Denmark attacked Demgarten, which the Swedes abandoned. These successes laid all Pomerania open to the allies. London Gazette, Oct. 21–5, 1675,
9 On 27 October the Commons debated a proposed test for purging the members of the House from the taint of bribery. On the same day it was resolved that his Majesty be moved that members of the House may be summoned to give attendance by proclamation only. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, page 365. Cobett: Parliamentary History, Vol. VI, 775. The wording of the proposed test is given in Cal. S.P. Dom., 1675–6, pp. 365–6.
10 According to a letter of Pepys of 3rd September, Narborough had with him, at that date, the Henrietta, Dragon, Newcastle, Success and Roebuck, and the Swallow, Dartmouth, Diamond, Assistance, Portsmouth and Harwich were on their way to join him. Navy Records Society, Catalogue of Pepysian MSS, Vol. III, page 110. The two fireships were the Holmes and Ann and Christopher. Of these the Newcastle, Roebuck and Success were sent home, arriving in England in December and January. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1675–6, pp. 439, 516, 532. A pink is a flat-bottomed boat, but in this case it would seem to be a sort of floating dock.
11 Arthur Bradly by name.
12 A bill for making the River Derwent navigable in co. Derby was read a second time in the Commons on 8 November. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, page 369. See Cal. S.P. Dom., 1675–6, page 389.
13 The suit of Thomas Sherley against Sir John Fagg. On 4 November the Lords resolved that the 20th should be the day appointed for hearing the cause. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. XIII, page 12.
14 Count Alberto Caprara, envoy of the Spanish Netherlands at the Hague.