Venice
November 1675, 21-30

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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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484-491

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'Venice: November 1675, 21-30', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 38: 1673-1675 (1947), pp. 484-491. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90392 Date accessed: 24 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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November 1675, 21–30

Nov. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
584. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The winds which prevented the packets from crossing from Flanders to this island have changed and the letters from Italy for three weeks have arrived together. I have the ducali of the 19th ult. and rejoice at having carried out the commissions they contain. Ronquillo is appeased and convinced and the ministers of Sweden and Holland quite satisfied, although they would like to hear of the appointment of representatives of the most serene republic to the congress.
The envoy of the archbishop of Strasburg has left for Paris where he will take strong representations to his master from the king here to be so good as to beseech the Most Christian not to impede the meeting of the congress or postpone it out of consideration for his brother (fn. 1) on whose behalf the king here promises to continue his energetic offices. He has given similar orders to Lord Barclay who, although convalescent, decided to start on his embassy the day before yesterday in the hope that the sea passage, the change of air and the movement may restore his health. This nobleman is in favour of the peace and his first employment at the Most Christian Court will be to try and remove every obstacle or drag on the congress to the intent that it may begin at Nimega, in spite of the objections of the pope and the Spaniards. It is believed that these last will fall into line when they hear that the others have gone, and in particular the Dutch, of whose falling away they entertain the greatest misgivings. Although there may be no passports for the French from Spain Rovigni has told me that they will find a way to do without them.
Almost all the foreign ministers, including even the Austrian allies, complain strongly at there being no faculty in Flanders for issuing such passports. The king has spoken about it again to Ronquillo who excused himself by alleging that the question was not raised in time for them to have come from Spain and that neither his Majesty nor his ministers had told him that matters were advanced to the point of sending the ambassadors to the congress. He added that if they did not wish to make use of him, they could deal with the ministers at the Hague, where all the principals interested in the present war were assembled. With all this he assured the king that he has written to the queen, his mistress, and he hoped that every facility for the meeting of the congress would be found, provided that they changed the place. He suggested that it was no such great matter to give this satisfaction to the whole House of Austria, which has no other interest therein than its veneration for the Apostolic See. When the king replied that Nimega had been accepted by Spain as long as eight months ago, he rejoined that the pope had not then offered his mediation. He added that it would not be the first time in the present century that a place already agreed upon for peace negotiations had been changed. Nevertheless as he suspects that many will go to Nimega even without Spanish passports he is not only making preparations to cut a splendid figure there, but, as I know, he has told a friend that when he hears that the Dutch are on the road and any other minister of the allies, he will go himself and will negotiate and conclude the peace without waiting for the mediators of the pope or the republic.
I report all this but I am bound to add that it does not do to believe or attach importance to all that this man says, because he talks a great deal, presumes greatly and changes his utterances, ideas and principles from one day to another. Thus, within an hour, he will sometimes express an opinion on the same subject in one sense and a totally different one to others.
The ambassador of Sweden is recovering and is impatient to be able to proceed to Paris in order to go on to Nimega the moment he hears that any other plenipotentiary is on the road. But some are of opinion that this journey, for which he seems so anxious, is not so much for the peace negotiations as to solicit money and to try for an increase in the contribution for his king.
Both Houses of parliament have sat all these days, except festivals. The Court and its partisans have tried to induce them to build more ships or at least greater or better ones, so as to get them afterwards to augment the sum of 300,000l. destined for the work. But the members have resolved and voted that not a penny shall be assigned in excess of that amount. Also that during the present session they shall not discuss any further imposition or charge of any sort upon the people under any pretext whatsoever. That of the 300,000l. 18,000l. shall be raised monthly by a tax upon real property, to be paid by the owners in four instalments. As they are suspicious of illegal exactions, they have resumed their discussion about means to prevent this.
They have also voted for an examination of the state and condition of the whole country. This implies an intention to see what has been done about the administration of all the money that has been given to the king, there being no memory that any one of his predecessors has had so much in an equal period of time.
The House of Commons, cherishing their notorious ill feeling towards France, is trying to get the Lords to concur in the decree concerning the soldiers in the service of the Most Christian, as they want powers to take them all away. But the Lords who, as I have intimated, dislike the autocratic way with which the Commons take their decisions, have asked for a conference to take the appropriate decisions.
Many good things have been proposed and others ordained for the service of the country and the people, namely about the rebuilding of the town of Northampton, recently burned and the establishment of a court of justice (fn. 2) . There are also various proposals about trade. To this end many foreigners have been naturalised and have taken the usual oath for religion and of fealty. In order to avoid a quarrel with the Lords about the gentleman I wrote of, not a member of the Commons, who was sent to the Tower, they have induced him to humble himself and ask the favour of release, which was promptly granted (fn. 3) .
A danger of the most menacing kind with the worst consequences has arisen from a dispute between a chaplain of the duchess of Hyorch, a Jesuit and another religious, an apostate turned Calvinist who was in the service of Rovigni. The latter, a few days ago, was converted by the Jesuit, who cleverly induced him to confess and to set forth his error in writing. He has since repented and asked for the paper back, which the Jesuit refused or delayed under various excuses. The man decided to appeal to the king, but mistrusting his Majesty's justice he presented himself to parliament with a memorial, which they call a petition, against the Jesuit (fn. 4) . It is full of lies, the chief one being that he had been forced to make the paper, in the company of other armed men, which represented also that he had preached against the Catholic faith. For two or three days the duke of Hyorch and Rovigni have been conferring in order to appease these chaplains, the one obstinate in refusing to give up the paper, the other in soliciting the protection of parliament. Since this is a country in which it is not possible to use the least force, even against the lowest servant the king, after considering various expedients, has decided not to wait for the parliament to take the matter in hand and has declared the Jesuit guilty of violence, offering a reward of 480l. for him to be sought out and taken, alive or dead. But before this he placed himself in safety through the piety of others. This has cut short the opportunity for much discussion and many judgments which the Protestants would have taken up about the religion of the duke of Hyorch, and the severities which would have been resumed against the Catholics and these blessed priests have been diverted. These last, in the opinion of the wisest, by their irregular behaviour and their scandalous manner of living, do more harm than good in these realms to our most holy religion.
This accident has caused the Lower House to consider the appointment of a committee or junta, of the members to examine what priests, friars or Jesuits have been convicted as priests, and as such absolved and released and under whose protection they have been exempted from the penalties prescribed by the laws. God grant that they do not apply themselves to other perquisitions and deliberations.
London, the 22nd November, 1675.
[Italian.]
Nov. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
585. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France to the Doge and Senate.
Lord Barclai is expected at this Court at any moment to make every possible representation to the king here for the peace; but they are desirous of having the instructions in concert so that the negotiations may go forward at the congress. Some anxiety is felt about his health because, when convalescent from a severe illness, he insisted upon starting on his journey at a season which is none too good for healthy persons but most dangerous for those who are of advanced age, as he is, and in indifferent health (fn. 5) .
Paris, the 27th November, 1675.
[Italian.]
Nov. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
586. Girolamo Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I promised myself to get some information as the duke of Albucherche had a long conference, lasting two hours, with the ambassador of England upon points touching the forwarding of the peace. But the ambassador, when he called, although I prompted him, abstained from communicating to me anything specific by maintaining that at the conference they touched upon some universal considerations. However from another quarter I learn that the Court of London, stirred by some complaints on the part of the allies, has thought fit to propose to France that she should agree to hand over to Spain Burgundy, Maastricht, the province of Limburg and give up helping the Messinese, on condition that Spain should consign to her the fortresses of Er and St. Omer. I imagine that transactions of this character are so advanced that Mansera announced publicly in the anticamera of the palace that he hoped to terminate his function in the space of three months, and there is no one who does not concur in the same sentiment.
Madrid, the 28th November, 1675.
[Italian.]
Nov. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
587. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received this week the ducali of the 2nd and 9th ult. I continue to share with the foreign ministers the views imparted to me. I can confirm the desire of the majority, which is frequently expressed to me, to hear of the nomination of the mediator of the most serene republic. They are not satisfied with the conduct of this government. The Spaniards and others of the allies hold it for suspect, not so much for the bias, which becomes increasingly apparent, of the leading ministers and of the king himself in favour of France, as for the reasonable doubts they entertain about a change in the offices and negotiations from one day to another, in harmony with the interests of the Court here in the proceedings of the parliament. Being in need of money they consider it behoves them either to satisfy it by detaching themselves from France or to strengthen the union with that crown to receive assistance from it.
There has been some suggestion of a separate peace between France herself and Sweden with Holland, but the latter has always been found unwilling, and more so since the union with Denmark and other allies and since their successes, which they hope will continue, if there is confirmation of the very considerable losses which the Swedish naval force is said to have suffered in a great storm.
There is also a sign of some understanding between the Most Christian and the British kings so that the latter may take in hand to arrange the congress without the satisfaction about Furstembergh that is claimed; but at his Majesty wrote to the emperor some days ago upon this point, from what the king himself told Ronquillo, who told me, it is believed that he will wait for the answer.
The Chevalier de Vendome arrived here a week ago (fn. 6) . From all that one can see it is concluded that he has come solely to amuse himself.
The Houses, which disagreed about the order or the manner of procedure in the vote concerning the recall of the soldiers serving France, are becoming more and more of one mind about the merits of the case as it does not please them to give encouragement and vigour to that power by means of these forces. They are arranging to present it jointly to the king to obtain his consent. Rovigni has made his friends work hard to prevent this decision, but in vain. His only hope is to cause the presentation to the king to be delayed as much as possible, to enjoy such benefit as time may afford.
The question of trade has been discussed at length. The experts have shown the Houses that what comes from France to London exceeds by four million crowns what comes from there to this country. Owing to this, money is leaving the kingdom and they do not export their own goods. For this reason they wish the king to prohibit French goods and manufactures, or to increase the import duties.
Comment has also been made on the steady increase in the number of Frenchmen in this city, who arrive poor and, in a short time, are seen to establish opulent houses here or to go away with great wealth.
All these things increase the natural antipathy of persons of all ranks against the French. The more politically minded dwell upon the quantity of gold which the king has given and which he lavishes daily upon his most favoured lady, who is a Frenchwoman. They cherish the suspicion that by her means the ministers of the Most Christian can insinuate and persuade the king here to do all that they wish.
As the parliamentarians retain these impressions they still remain averse from obliging his Majesty and they seem to be becoming much worse in this respect. In order to make the Court believe that it would not be necessary to supply money for the ships if what remains of what was assigned for them from the customs was spent upon them, they have decided that to the vote for levying the 300,000l. of contributions upon real property shall be joined the first made some years ago about the customs revenues. They renew not only the orders that it must all be devoted to the ships and to no other uses but that penalties shall be imposed upon the officials of the Treasury and those of the office of Armament if they dispose of this money otherwise (fn. 7) . Further that a statement of every expense and outlay shall be sent to the House of Commons in parliament. By this decree, if it is approved by the king in the usual way, his Majesty will be deprived of the means of disposing, as he has hitherto done at will, of practically 400,000l. sterling a year, which was assigned to him by parliament under the title of arming of ships and which he has used according to his wishes.
The Lower House is also examining the state of the country and is inquiring into the administration of the money. They have also presented to his Majesty a memorial asking punishment for the fault of not having arrested the fugitive chaplain of the duchess of Hyorch (fn. 8) . They have decided to consider methods to prevent the increase of Papists and have renewed their application to the Lords to decide that they may not sit in either of the Houses.
Pursuing the question introduced on appeal against a member of the Commons the Lords have declared it a breach of privilege and that the accused or person summoned should not make any defence or reply. The wisest heads are trying to mitigate the ardour with which the more unquiet spirits try to rouse the animosity of the Houses against each other. As some have suggested a suspicion that the Court, no longer hoping for the satisfaction claimed, is now fomenting the discords, in order that the king may have motives for dissolving parliament, they have, since yesterday been proposing negotiations to bring about an agreement between the Houses upon this matter of the judicature.
The king is present publicly every day in the Upper House for several hours, but he is considered incognito, as if he were not there. Those of the lords who are opposed to the Court, do not, on this account, have the least hesitation in speaking against it with the utmost freedom.
With regard to the outcome of these sittings, it is impossible to form any other judgment than that his Majesty will soon be compelled either to prorogue parliament once more, to escape giving his approval, or else to pass by his signature those bills which have been made up to the present, which otherwise would remain invalid. But he will have to think a great deal about this because it would give occasion to very lively complaints about his rejection of things considered essential for the service of the country.
To avoid wearying your Excellencies I will not dilate upon other proposals for regulating the election of members of the Commons, the manufacture of cloth, the preservation of the liberty of the subject, the relief of poor persons imprisoned, such as beggars and other particular interests of the country and the town, because it would take too long and would probably prove tiresome.
I again thank your Excellencies for the promise to let me enjoy at an early opportunity the payment of some portion of the money due to me for provisions, after waiting a year and a half.
London, the 29th November, 1675.
[Italian.]
Nov. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
588. That the envoy extraordinary of England be asked to come to the Collegio and that the following be read to him:
Information has reached us touching your request about the pledges which are given by merchants when ships arrive to lade currants at Zante and Cephalonia. We understand that this practice was instituted from of old and that it has always been punctually observed. That it was previously for a much greater sum, subsequently reduced to 2000 reals, out of consideration for the merchants and again, a few years ago to 1000 reals only. The object has always been to prevent frauds and smuggling. However our Proveditore General da Mar has issued appropriate orders upon this matter so that everything may proceed quietly and satisfactorily. No complaints are heard from merchants in those parts and it is not found that they have suffered molestation at any time for such a cause. With your prudence you will therefore recognise that there is no occasion for any regulation. For everything which concerns the service and advantage of the English nation the said Proveditore General keeps on the alert and you may rest assured that the nation itself will always be regarded by us with peculiar affection and that it is our desire to afford you every satisfaction and to show the esteem which we entertain for you personally (fn. 9) .
Ayes, 112. Noes, 3. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Nov. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
589. To the Resident in England.
We enclose a copy of the reply given to the English envoy. It will serve for your enlightenment and for your guidance in case of need. And you will always give assurances of our cordial disposition towards the English nation.
Ayes, 112. Noes, 3. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 The prince of Furstenberg.
2 On 9 November.o.s.,a bill was read the second time for rebuilding Northampton and erecting a judicature for the determination of differences which may arise touching the same. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, page 370.
3 Thomas Howard, who was committed to the Tower on 26 October, o.s. See page 472 above.
4 Information of an assault on M. de Luzancy by one St. Germain, a Jesuit, was given in the Commons on 8 November, o.s. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, page 369.See Cal. S.P. Dom., 1675–6, pp. 389–93. Luzancy was the name assumed by Hippolite Chastelet. According to Salvetti parliament was informed that St. Germain and another priest belonging to the duchess of York attacked Luzancy in his chamber, for abjuring his religion, threatening to kill him if he did not sign a second recantation. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 V, fol. 442. St. Germain and a companion were reported to have got away to France from Falmouth soon after. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1675–6, page 428.
5 John, lord Berkeley of Stratton, was born on 1 February, 1606/7.
6 Philip of Vendome, Knight of Malta; younger son of Louis, duke of Vendome and grandson of Caesar, duke of Vendome who was a natural son of Henri IV of France.
7 On 11 November, o.s., after three other motions had been defeated it was resolved that the bill for appropriating the customs to the use of the navy should be annexed to the bill to be brought in for the raising of a supply for the providing, equipping and furnishing of the twenty ships. Ayes 151, Noes 124. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, pp. 373–4.
8 On 13 November, o.s., it was resolved to present an address to his Majesty representing to him the default in not apprehending M. St. Germain. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, page 375.
9 “The Senate some days this week have spent in giving an answer to our envoy's memorial, presented about three months since and taking advantage by not explaining the matter found most essential, feigned ignorance of what they know full well and so have given him a flat denial to the only memorial he troubled them with since among them.” Hailes to Williamson, 6 December, 1675. S.P. Venice, Vol. LIII, fol. 120. The memorial was presented on 17 August and is printed at page 445 above.