Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 35, 1666-1668. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1935.
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The present instalment of the Calendar covers a period of two and a half years, from June, 1666, to the end of 1668. For the greater part of this time the republic had no representative in England, a state of affairs that was lamented by Cardinal Barberino (No. 233). When at length the war between the Northern powers had been brought to an end Candia was still holding out in its defence against the Turks, but the situation had become so desperate that the Signory decided to try and profit by the favourable opportunity. Accordingly the secretary Marchesini was sent first to the Hague and then to England to seek assistance. This, incidentally, re-opens for a brief period the series known as “Dispacci Haia,” which was broken off in 1643 with the departure of the secretary Zon from the Hague. By this time Clarendon, who had been instrumental in dismissing Giavarina, (fn. 1) had disappeared from the scene. This cleared the way for a regular resident ambassador, and Piero Mocenigo, who had been chosen for the post years before, was promptly sent off for London, where he arrived in August, 1668. The series of despatches from London, broken off by Giavarina's departure from London in January, 1663, is thus resumed after an interval of five and a half years.
The presence of trained diplomatists on the spot does not add so much to the interest of the material as might be expected. Although they at once set to work to forward numerous and voluminous despatches both Marchesini and Mocenigo were almost entirely pre-occupied with the main object of their mission, to obtain help against the Turk; and they devote comparatively little space to other affairs not connected with that absorbing topic.
The first volume of Mocenigo's despatches is in rather bad condition, as the papers have become detached from the binding and the lower edges have suffered considerably from damp so that two and sometimes three lines are all but obliterated. This is not so serious a loss as it might otherwise be, as the ambassador wrote a large bold hand and the missing words are not numerous. Before the arrival of Marchesini and Mocenigo in London English news is supplied by the ambassador Giustinian from Paris. He does not give any clue as to the sources of his information.
The negotiations of Fanshaw and Sandwich in Spain were followed with great interest at Venice, and the despatches from Madrid are full of material relating to them. Other series yield but scanty results. After the departure of Carlingford from Vienna at the end of 1666, there is little to be culled from the German files. The death in October, 1666, of the Grand Chancellor Ballarino cut off the flow of information which he supplied from the Porte, and his place was not really filled again until just before the conclusion of the war of Candia, which falls outside the present volume. The register of the replies of the board “Savii alla Mercanzia,” so useful for matters of trade, breaks off in February, 1663, and is not resumed until March, 1669. As there was no representative of England at Venice during the whole of this time, the series “Esposizioni Principi” yields nothing. But for the despatches of Mocenigo towards the end of the period the material for this volume would be unusually scanty notwithstanding the important events that were occurring in Europe at the time.
The addition of France to her enemies seemed to make very little difference to the English predominance at sea in the first months of 1666. The commerce which Colbert had been at such pains to build up was suffering severely through the constant losses of ships to the English frigates and privateers (No. 11). To satisfy the natural impetuosity of the nation, it was announced that they wished for battle but the orders issued to the fleet pointed to a determination to avoid any clash. To appease their Dutch allies they told them that the true policy was to wear down England by time, as she was very short of many things, and especially of money. She would not be likely to hold on for long and there was every chance of internal disturbances (No. 6).
The Dutch seemed disposed to accept this view and to trust chiefly to time as their best ally, while acting mainly on the defensive, especially as they were dispirited by their reverses. Count Konigsberg, the Swedish ambassador in Paris, spoke contemptuously of the Hollanders and of their inferiority to the English. The latter were warlike and high spirited, while the Dutch were commercial and low born, better fitted for fishing than for fighting (No. 2).
At the time when this volume opens the English fleet in the Channel had put into Plymouth for water and to fill up the crews among which the plague had been taking toll. There had been an indecisive engagement between three English and three French ships off Brittany (No. 6). The command of the English forces was now in the hands of Monk and Rupert, both fighting generals. They had made an inspection of the fleet and dismissed four captains whose ships were found to be defective.
Although the season was well advanced the Dutch were showing no eagerness to put to sea. Conscious of their inferiority, they were looking for assistance from the French fleet under Beaufort to redress the balance, but they did not seem disposed to move any distance down the Channel in order to facilitate his passage. Their backwardness in this respect excited some sarcastic comments from the French (No. 6). Stirred to activity by this criticism, the Dutch at length sallied out from their ports. They had a force of eighty-five ships, but even so the wind or something else kept them from venturing too far from their own shores (No. 10). Although Beaufort was still far away, a fateful decision was taken to divide the English fleet into two portions. Rupert was to sail down the Channel to meet the French, while Monk remained behind to confront the Dutch and prevent them from making a junction (No. 6). So passive a policy did not suit Monk, who, as soon as the fleet was ready, set sail for the opposite shore. He came upon the Dutch fleet between Flushing and Ostend, rather for exercise than with any idea of battle. The conditions were not favourable to the English, who were heavily outnumbered, but they were full of confidence and rushed pell mell into action without any sort of order, (fn. 2) singing songs of triumph as if the victory were already theirs. Ruyter had his fleet drawn up in a long line and in this order he waited to receive the onset. A favouring wind enabled him to close the action, and by a pre-arranged signal from the flagship he drew in the extremities of his line and encircled the English. These now found themselves in a desperate plight. Owing to the high seas running they were forced to close the lower port holes and thus put the heavier guns of the lower tier out of action, depriving themselves thereby of their most effective weapon.
The contest raged furiously for two days. Great masses of smoke which turned day into night made it difficult for the combatants to see which way the fight was going. But by the second day it became evident that the English were getting the worst of it. One Admiral, Ayscue, ran his ship aground and was captured; another, Sir William Berkeley, was slain and his ship lost. Monk himself was in great danger, his mainmast having gone by the board. The Comte de Guiche, who was serving as a volunteer on Ruyter's flagship, urged the Dutch admiral to board the enemy and capture her. Ruyter refused to venture, saying that he had been forbidden by the Lords States themselves to board the enemy flagship as they knew that the enemy, when reduced to extremity, would blow her up. As it was Monk, seeing that the fight had gone against him, was seeking with thirty of his battered ships to make good his flight.
Such was the situation on the third day, a Sunday, when Rupert, with thirty fresh ships, came upon the scene to the rescue of his colleague. Realising the critical nature of the situation, Rupert acted with a caution unusual with him, carefully avoiding any risk of being cut off and destroyed. He fought steadily for a day and a half, and on the fourth day, favoured by a mist and the growing darkness, he succeeded in getting both sections of the fleet safely into the Thames. The action being broken off, the Dutch returned in triumph to Holland with their prizes and 3,000 prisoners.
The English government claimed a victory, though the well-informed knew that they had narrowly escaped a great disaster. On the continent the claim was ridiculed and the tendency was rather to exaggerate the extent of the defeat. In Holland the success of their arms caused an extraordinary revulsion of feeling among the people. From a state of dejection and depression they were roused to one of wild enthusiasm and the whole nation flocked to the churches to give thanks. It was resolved to send the fleet out at once, to blockade the mouth of the Thames (Nos. 15, 16).
In France the success of their ally encouraged the government to consider schemes of invasion and conquest, but in the end they reverted to their policy of caution. They probably doubted whether the English had been so thoroughly scotched as had been represented. The prince of Monaco, who had served as a volunteer in the Dutch fleet, told the king of the disorder that had reigned among them during the battle. He averred that the crews were raw, the guns all of iron and the ships not so manageable as the English. The latter also had the advantage in artificial fires, red balls that were thrown on board and started an unquenchable fire. He felt sure that the English were going to win, and nothing but good fortune and the overconfidence of their foes saved the Dutch (No. 25).
This account may have restrained the French from taking more active measures, but they were able to take advantage of the occasion by purchasing the neutrality of Sweden for a subsidy of 400,000 livres, with more to follow (No. 37). This was to render a signal service to the alliance as the Swedes had been inclined to favour England. Denmark had already taken sides by excluding English ships from the Baltic and the promise to send a squadron to the Texel to join the Dutch forces (No. 26).
The sea-borne trade of the allies, which in the earlier months of the year had been paralysed by the activities of the English navy, sprang into life again. After several months of inactivity copious cargoes of wine, corn and oil were laded in French ports for Holland (No. 39). Ships with rich cargoes from Africa, the Levant and the West Indies arrived safely in the Dutch ports (No. 32); while the Dutch herring busses prepared to go for their usual fishing, giving the impression that they had little to fear from the English (No. 26).
The spirit of the English was by no means dismayed by the reverse. They swore that they would not lay down their arms until they had reduced the Dutch to extremity (No. 24). Vigorous measures were taken to get a powerful fleet together. To man it men were even snatched from their beds (No. 43). But they did not mean to put to sea until they had a force of a hundred sail (No. 37). In the meantime vigorous measures were taken to prevent landings; ships were removed from exposed places to berths higher up the river, while guns were mounted on the banks to prevent an enemy from advancing (No. 38). These measures are of interest in view of what happened a year later, but on this occasion the only recorded attempt at a landing made by the Dutch was easily repelled by the local horse. The Dutch complained bitterly of the French that by their failure to co-operate at the critical moment in delivering a blow while the enemy was still reeling from the shock of defeat they had given him time to recover himself, and had ruined their plan of a landing up the Thames (No. 49).
Within fifty days of the last battle the English fleet was ready for action and set out with 108 sail and a very large number of fire-ships. The Dutch, who were blockading the river mouth, gave way before the onset. Ruyter declared that he did so in order to give the enemy room, so that they might not complain of being compelled to fight among the sandbanks. Seeing the English advancing with the wind and tide in their favour he probably did not wish to be caught at a disadvantage. A sharp action ensued which lasted from nine in the morning until somewhat later on the following day. The Dutch admiral Evertsen was killed at the very beginning of the engagement, and his command behaved badly, withdrawing from the contest. In an unpromising situation Ruyter avoided engaging at close quarters as much as possible and eventually succeeded in getting his forces home with relatively slight losses (Nos. 52, 54). The Venetian ambassador describes their retirement as a flight and remarks that for those who flee without offering resistance the loss is always slight.
The Dutch announced their intention of putting to sea again almost immediately, but this was much more easily said than done. They experienced great difficulty in manning their ships as the mariners, after two hard fights so close together, were by no means inclined to expose themselves to a third (No. 62). In addition to this there was serious dissension in the higher command arising out of the late action, Ruyter and Tromp accusing each other of being responsible for the disaster. The Pensionary de Witt intervened to effect a reconciliation, but soon afterwards, some incautious remarks let slip by Tromp came to the ears of the Lords States, in consequence of which he was dismissed from his command and sent to his estate as a virtual prisoner. He was told that the republic was not so destitute of efficient commanders as to be obliged to employ him (Nos. 59, 62). In spite of this rebuff Tromp remained a national hero and was received with acclaim whenever he showed himself (No. 66).
The result of the last action left the English in command of the sea. They immediately retaliated upon the Dutch, crossing over to blockade their coasts. The merchant ships which had been enjoying the recent respite crowded for refuge into the port of Vlie. A hundred and sixty merchantmen in all gathered there, protected by a few warships. Although the States warned them to seek a safer refuge, the sailors took soundings and persuaded themselves that they were perfectly safe, as there was not sufficient depth of water to allow the heavy English ships of war to enter. In this they underrated the enterprise of their enemy, guided, it is said, by Captain Heemskerk, a Dutchman who had deserted to their side, and a squadron of twenty ships of war, accompanied by ten fire-ships, entered the port, taking the Dutch completely by surprise. The Dutch thought more of saving their skins than of defending their ships, and for the most part fled in panic. Overcoming such slight resistance as was offered the English set their fireships to work in the crowded harbour. It soon became a blazing mass, so that in a few hours a hundred and thirty-eight merchantmen were consumed and property to the value of 17 millions destroyed (No. 62).
This terrible blow caused consternation in Holland and shook the government, which was already much troubled by internal dissensions. Nevertheless, they succeeded in getting their fleet to sea again in a wonderfully short time, in spite of all their difficulties. They put out ostensibly to meet the French under Beaufort, who was supposed to be on his way from Rochefort to join them. At the beginning of September both the hostile fleets were in the Straits of Dover, and off Calais Ruyter, with his full force, caught the English advance guard of twenty ships at a distance from the main body. He at once advanced to the attack, and though he met with a stout resistance, he had captured a ship of 54 guns and dismantled another when a strong wind separated the combatants. Later on the wind freshened and scattered the Dutch fleet along the French coast as far as Havre. In the course of this action Ruyter was seriously injured by back fire from the touch hole of a gun (No. 74). This helped to put a stop to further active operations, as though the admiral was incapacitated for some time he insisted in retaining the command. This partial engagement practically ended the naval campaign for the year, and, although the war went on for another eleven months, it was the last action between the fleets.
The course of the campaign and subsequent developments were powerfully influenced by a force which took no active part in it. This was the new French fleet under the Duke of Beaufort, originally assembled at Toulon. It was reckoned to consist of nearly seventy sail, of which thirty-two would be warships of the largest size (No. 1). The Dutch counted on this as a powerful reinforcement and were urgent that it should come to join them in the Northern waters. Beaufort actually received orders to this effect. But he knew the real weakness of his command, of which Sandwich spoke with contempt (No. 76), and had no desire to provoke an encounter with the English. He therefore proceeded on his way in the most leisurely fashion. Leaving the Mediterranean, he made a short stay at Cadiz, where civilities were exchanged, though his men became involved in a riot on shore and the Spaniards took every precaution against untoward accidents (No. 4). In Portuguese waters he made a prolonged stay under the pretext of protecting the passage of the Duchess of Aumale, who was going to Lisbon as the bride of the king. The Spaniards were expected to do their best to prevent this, but on the appearance of the French fleet a squadron of twenty-one galleons which they had out for the purpose immediately took its departure (No. 24), and the Duchess was able to sail to Lisbon in perfect safety at the end of June.
Though Beaufort was still so far away the possibility of his appearing on the scene had led to the division of the English fleet which rendered possible the Dutch victory in the four days' battle. That success seemed to leave the field clear for the allied forces to join hands. But Beaufort was nowhere near, and though the French had seemed inclined at first to seize the opportunity, the rapid recovery of the English caused them to resume their cautious policy. The hesitations of the government were reflected in the constantly changing instructions that were sent to Beaufort, from which the one thing that emerged definitely was their determination to avoid any risk to their fleet (Nos. 31, 49). This excessive caution was taken very ill by the Dutch, but the French tried to soothe their impatience by assuring them that Beaufort was serving the common cause as well in Portuguese waters as if he had been in the English Channel (No. 38). They explained this by representing that it served to weaken the forces of the Spaniards and prevented them from taking sides against the allies (No. 49). This served while the Dutch were successful, but after the reverse at the beginning of August their complaints of the French for leaving them in the lurch became more vocal than ever. They blamed their allies for the disaster and some began to say that as they had been left to wage the war alone they claimed the right to treat for peace by themselves (No. 52).
France, which profited equally by the victories and reverses of her allies, was by no means displeased at the Dutch defeat, which would serve to keep them humble and prevent them from becoming absolute masters of the sea. But the intense dissatisfaction shown by the Dutch somewhat ruffled French complacency, in the fear that they might be impelled to break away and make a separate peace. This was the more to be feared because the Orange party was raising its head and the Provinces seemed likely to be rent by internal dissensions. The danger was met by energetic measures on the part of de Witt, who was determined that the republic should remain faithful to the French alliance. There is not much in these papers to throw light on the circumstances of the arrest and execution of Buat. His real offence seems to have been in engaging in an intrigue for a separate peace with England to the exclusion of France (No. 65). In connection with this numerous persons of quality were arrested while others fled abroad. A force of cavalry was brought to the Hague for the protection of the government (No. 68). Yet amid the numerous factions that divided the Provinces, the partisans of France found it difficult to hold their own (No. 78).
In order to assist the government, and to prove the staunchness of the French alliance, orders were sent to Estrades at the Hague to assure the Dutch that Beaufort would be in Brittany in a week, with a promise that he would speedily come to join the Dutch fleet. As a further sop the Marquis of Bellefonds was sent to Holland to present a gold chain to Ruyter in the king's name. The opportunity was taken to arrange that the Dutch fleet should go to meet Beaufort (No. 65).
Lack of confidence between the allies prevented anything effective from being done. The French kept urging the Dutch to go down Channel to meet Beaufort, who, on his side, seemed in no hurry to move, but hung on at Belle Isle waiting for orders. Even when reinforced by the squadron under Duquesne, which had been escorting the duchess of Aumale, he still tarried. On the other side, Ruyter informed the French that his instructions did not permit him to go beyond Boulogne, in order that Holland should not be left exposed. It was strongly suspected that the Dutch would not be sorry to see the French fleet engaged with the English without their aid, seeing that their own had fought twice without any assistance from the French. Such feeling led to the dispatch of the vicomte de la Feuillade to join Ruyter's flagship, ostensibly to take command of the French volunteers, but really to keep an eye on the Dutch and to threaten them with the king's displeasure if he discovered any signs of duplicity (Nos. 74, 75).
After the partial engagement in September, which the Dutch once again had to fight single handed, their indignation against the French became so intense that it was judged expedient to send off orders to Beaufort to sail at once and make his way via Havre to Dieppe. The French government must have considered the situation very serious before taking such a step, as from the moment that the orders were issued they were filled with apprehensions. The news that the English were going to meet Beaufort coupled with Ruyter's refusal to go further west than Boulogne threw the Court into a fever. Couriers were sent to all the ports of Brittany and Normandy with orders for the fleet to return to Brest or at least not to advance any further. The frigates sent out failed to find Beaufort and the Court gave him up for lost as they were under no illusions as to the fighting capacity of his force. The news of his safe arrival at Havre and soon after at Dieppe was therefore received with intense relief (No, 77). The French themselves freely acknowledged that he owed his escape to the great fire of London, which immobilised the English fleet at the critical moment (No. 82).
The allied fleets never came any nearer to effecting a junction. Ruyter sent his congratulations to Beaufort on his achievement, but added that it was too late in the season to operate in the narrow seas; he had not recovered from his accident; large numbers of his officers and men were sick; his ships were out of repair and he had received orders to withdraw to his home ports (No. 78). This tepid welcome showed how thoroughly the Dutch were out of conceit with the French who had egged them on and given them so many promises, but had shown themselves so sluggish in performance that a co-operation undertaken in May had only been attempted in September. The fleet which by its threatened appearance had helped the Dutch to victory in June now served, by its questionable manœuvres, to destroy any future confidence between the allies. The French, seeing that the Dutch were unwilling to run any risks in their behalf, promptly ordered their ships back to Brest, a course that Ruyter is said to have advised (No. 83).
Thus it came about that the allies were unable to derive any immediate advantage from the confusion caused by the great fire of London. Any future cooperation of their fleets seemed unlikely. The news of Beaufort's arrival at Brest caused great relief at Paris (No. 88). He had not escaped quite scatheless. Eight Dutch ships attached to his fleet asked and obtained leave to return home, when he sailed westwards. On their way they were attacked by a strong English squadron, which captured two and sank a third. Three of Beaufort's own ships, unable to keep up with the rest of the fleet, were also attacked. After a stout resistance one of these was captured, the other two, badly damaged, got away to Havre (No. 83).
The war lingered on for another year, but, except for the flicker up at the very end, all life seemed to have gone out of it. England, faced by two powerful states, had suffered in addition the awful ravages of the plague and the great fire. Yet the spirit of the nation was in no wise dimmed by these trials. One of the first decisions of parliament after the fire was a refusal to listen to peace proposals brought by ministers sent to London from Holland (No. 87). At the execution of a Frenchman, accused of having caused the fire, the mob shouted that they wanted war with France to the last limit of their strength (No. 106).
On the side of the allies mutual confidence had ceased to exist. The Dutch were very war weary, and the French feared that in their disgust they might be led to take some precipitate action. To prevent this they did their utmost to conciliate and reassure the Hollanders. Louis spoke to Van Beuningen of his unalterable good will to the Provinces and told him that he was resolved to continue the alliance and obtain for them an honourable peace. He made excuses for the Beaufort fiasco and promised that in the spring things should be better managed. Estrades was to speak to the same effect at the Hague (No. 88). As a sign of his determination to be strong at sea the king issued orders for the building of eight large ships of war at Toulon, and intendants were sent through the provinces of France to find out and report where the best timber for the building of ships might be found (No. 97). To provide crews for these ships it was decreed that the lads from the foundling hospitals, on reaching a certain age, should be sent to sea (No. 102). In pursuit of the same idea the king sent Bellefonds to Holland to purchase eight ships of war from the Dutch (No. 115), while Estrades had instructions to ask permission of the States to take away all the French sailors in Holland as well as every one skilled in naval matters. But these measures, so far from reassuring the Dutch, only aroused even more sinister suspicions. They feared that the French were scheming to deprive them of the sources of their strength in order later to dispute with them the dominion of the sea (No. 120).
For the rest French efforts to provide an efficient fleet do not seem to have met with much success. The seamen of the maritime provinces had no liking for the royal service and had to be compelled by force (No. 173). In any case, the Dutch found that, as before, they had to bear the whole burden of the naval war by themselves. Very little was either attempted or achieved. A squadron put to sea late in the year for the purpose of intercepting a large fleet of merchantmen bringing masts and other naval stores from Gothenburg (No. 103). They missed their prey and the sixty ships with their valuable cargoes reached the Thames in safety. A small squadron of Amsterdam ships that ventured to tackle the escort was annihilated. Almost at the same time a large convoy returning from Smyrna fell in with three Dutch privateers and captured them (No. 137).
The Dutch clearly had no mastery at sea and did not even feel secure there. They rejected an offer from Denmark to send a fleet of thirty ships to join with the Dutch and effect a landing in Scotland, if the States would supply a force of 4,000 to 5,000 men for the purpose. The Danes had done little or nothing to fulfil the terms of their alliance and the Dutch did not wish to irritate the English further (No. 123). A more potent reason was that the troops might be needed for their own defence and they dreaded another attack like that on the Vlie. In Holland and in France also special precautions were considered necessary to guard against English raids (No. 139).
While her fleets remained at sea England felt none of these anxieties and continued to prosecute her trade. Although the old established trade in currants with the Ionian Islands seems to have been entirely abandoned and Leghorn, the centre of English trade in the Mediterranean left almost derelict, commerce with the Levant and Smyrna was kept up by means of convoys. One of these started out early in 1667, and later in the year an English squadron appeared off Leghorn to trouble the trade of her enemies and had the satisfaction of chasing into Porto Longone some French galleys which were taking Cardinals Retz, Vendome and Grimaldi to the conclave at Rome for the election of a new pope (No. 183).
In the main theatre of the war the Dutch made an early start with their preparations for the new year in the hope that, by being strong at sea, they would reap advantage in the peace negotiations as well as in operations of war (No. 158). But they met with considerable difficulties in the equipment of their fleet, especially in manning it, as many of their seamen crossed the frontier into France to escape the service (No. 164). It was perfectly clear that France, despite all her assurances, would not render any assistance at sea (No. 184), and that the Dutch would be left, as before, to wage the naval war alone. The king of Denmark, from whom the Dutch looked for a reinforcement of sixteen ships, thought it necessary, when it came to the point, to keep them at home for the safety of his own ports (No. 204).
The Dutch fleet did not get to sea before the beginning of June (new style), but they were then able to cross right over to the mouth of the Thames without opposition. English preparations were believed to be backward (No. 165) and their policy purely defensive. Their forces were to be divided, fifty ships to guard the coasts of England and an even larger force to prevent landings in Ireland (No. 173). But even for defence the fleet was in no satisfactory condition (No. 175).
The despatch of the fleet on this expedition to the Thames had been carried by de Witt after a long debate in the assembly of the States. He argued that spirited action would show that the Dutch were not so depressed as they were supposed to be and success would bring them a more advantageous peace. Ruyter accordingly received instructions to do the enemy all the mischief in his power. Acting on information received from a Norwegian ship lately out from London, he proposed to attack a convoy of ships from Barbadoes, then lying with their escort off Tilbury. As the wind did not serve this plan was abandoned in favour of a better. In the absence of any opposition from the English side Ruyter sailed into the mouth of the Medway and captured, without much resistance, the fort of Sheerness with a quantity of naval stores. Forcing the boom across the river the Dutch then set their fire-ships at work. The skeleton crews in the English vessels fled in panic and some of the finest ships of the royal navy were abandoned to the flames. So slight was the resistance offered that the Dutch only lost fifty men in the operation (No. 206).
With this resounding success, gained on such easy terms, the Dutch ended the war in a blaze of triumph. An attack made on them in the Thames by Spragge in which they suffered some loss, induced them to draw further out and made them realise that the spirit of the foe was still unquenched (No. 218), but by that time peace had been signed. Until the date of its ratification Ruyter kept his station off the mouth of the Thames, with another squadron under Lieutenant-Admiral Ghent towards the North (No. 223).
The alliance between the French and the Dutch had proved an uneasy partnership. As a consequence of the operations in the summer of 1666 neither party trusted the other. When annoyance at the non-appearance of Beaufort was at its height Van Beuningen stressed the dissatisfaction of the Dutch by presenting a claim for 600,000 crowns as due to the Provinces by France under the treaty in lieu of troops which she had not supplied (No. 49). The claim was purely vexatious, as the Dutch had no wish to see more French troops within their borders. (fn. 3) A few weeks later the Dutch had a more reasonable ground of complaint in an order prohibiting the sale of their cloth in France. They began to consider measures of retaliation in case they could not get the order revoked (No. 66), a strange state of affairs between allies at war. From the beginning of the war, says Giustinian, France had shown on several occasions that she was only playing with the Dutch and using them for her own purposes (No. 192).
The desire for peace in Holland was deep and widespread. They looked for ruin if the war should continue and left no means untried to secure an adjustment (No. 120). Charles tried to profit from this disposition by an attempt to induce the Dutch to make a separate peace. He took advantage of an act of courtesy on the part of the Dutch in sending back the body of his old friend Sir William Berkeley, to write personally to the States General expressing his desire for the renewal of the ancient mutual friendship (No. 66). The Dutch refused to listen to these blandishments, but they showed a complete readiness to forward the meeting of a congress to arrange a general peace.
In France the war had never been popular. It served to stir up discontent in the country, where even the Huguenots raised their heads again (No. 66). It destroyed the trade of the maritime provinces to such an extent that representations were made from Brittany that they would be unable to go on paying their taxes if it continued (No. 110). It also divided the royal household where Madame, to whom Louis was much attached, made no secret of her partiality for England. When the king proposed the health of the Dutch and Ruyter she not only refused it, but showed her disapproval in a pronounced manner. She was in regular receipt of letters from her brother Charles and made it her business to circulate the English version of the four days' battle, denying that it was a Dutch victory (No. 24). France had, in fact, little to gain by a continuance of the war. The two naval powers had battered each other to a state of exhaustion and in the meantime her own trade had suffered. Peace was desired, whether a separate one secret between the two kings or one in common with the allies (No. 132).
But the chief reason why Louis wished to have his hands free was his contemplated attack on the Spanish possessions on his north-eastern frontiers. There was a danger that a French threat to Flanders might not only bring about peace between England and Holland but unite them in arms against him. To guard against this contingency he set going a complicated intrigue. At the very time when he sent Bellefonds to mollify the Dutch he was paying visits to the queen mother of England at her residence at Colombes. Shortly afterwards she sent off her familiar, Henry Jermyn, viscount St. Albans, to England (No. 65). His stay there was a prolonged one and he did not return to France until the beginning of 1667. His return was anxiously awaited, as it was hoped that he would at least bring some definite information about the intentions of England (No. 132).
In the meantime, at Brussels, the governor, Castel Rodrigo, and the imperial resident, Friquet, had been trying to alarm the Dutch by stories of secret negotiations tions for a peace between England and France, in which the names of the queen mother, Ruvigny and Bellefonds were mentioned (Nos. 125,128). These insinuations made so great an impression that Louis thought it necessary to write a special letter to the States General complaining of their paying any attention to such inventions, and assuring them of his loyalty to the alliance and his intention to procure a peace for the common benefit in accordance with its terms (No. 132). Shortly after this Louis asked and obtained from Charles an undertaking not to take sides against him. (fn. 4)
As the situation developed the Dutch were in some perplexity. Much as they desired peace they did not feel sure whether the existing state of affairs might not be better than a new war in Flanders (No. 138). At Vienna they were convinced that the continuation of the war was the best guarantee against a French attack on Flanders. They attached so much importance to the matter that they sent their most skilful diplomatist, the Baron Lisola, to London to do his best to thwart a peace between England and France or else to make sure that Austria should be included in it (Nos. 104, 138).
In spite of all these cross currents the tide flowed strongly in favour of peace, forwarded by the mediation of Sweden, who proposed to achieve it by means of a general congress. In the year 1666 the chief difficulty was made by England, as Charles persisted that the congress must be held in London and continued to do so even after the Great Fire. Towards the end of the year the king and the Lords yielded so far as to accept Liège as a suitable place, but the Commons still objected that the negotiations ought to take place in London for the honour of the country (No. 123). The Lower House seemed determined on the prosecution of the war. These differences gave an appearance of inconstancy to the government, so much so that Giustinian said it was a monster that was always changing its appearance (No. 130). Early in the new year Charles dismissed parliament, and soon after he intimated to the Dutch that he could not propose a more suitable place for the congress or one that would please him better than the Hague itself (No. 150). This suggestion was not very well received in France, but after some demur it was accepted there in response to strong representations from Van Beuningen. But it was the Dutch themselves who almost immediately after rejected the proposal. Whether Charles intended it to be so or not, it proved an apple of discord in the Provinces, where it was feared that the English might use the Orange party for their own advantage. For this reason Holland, Utrecht and Groningen refused to consider the Hague, though the other four provinces were indifferent about the place provided only that the negotiations were opened (No. 164). The matter being referred back to Paris, Dover was suggested in the hope that Charles would return the compliment by proposing Calais (No. 156). In this, however, he disappointed the French and, with very little delay, selected Breda.
Charles may well have had pleasant associations with the place, but his choice was once more believed to have been influenced by political considerations. Though garrisoned by the Dutch, the town was in the demesne of the House of Orange. It was also in Brabant, a province menaced at that very moment by French ambition. It was thought that Louis would hardly go so far as to attack while the congress was actually sitting there (No. 169).
In spite of these considerations no objections were raised. The French, though not altogether pleased, were the first to appoint their delegates. The Dutch also set to work at once with their preparations. The cumbersome nature of their constitution made them slow in appointing their deputies, but they lost no time in getting things in readiness at Breda while the States sent a force of twenty companies to make the place secure (No. 174).
The selection of the English delegates led to some discussion, as Holles was considered too hot tempered for a work of conciliation, and it was doubtful if he would work well in harness with Coventry, who was mild and suave (No. 173). Nevertheless, they were the ones who were eventually sent.
Of the three powers the Dutch were probably the most eager for peace. They had a shrewd suspicion of the underhand dealings that were going on between the two kings, whereby France aimed at securing at least the neutrality of England with respect to her claims to Flanders. If this intrigue were successful it behoved the Dutch to have their hands free in order to deal with so serious an emergency (No. 184). Charles had in fact practically promised neutrality in February, and on the 8th April a secret agreement was signed with France. (fn. 5) The existence of some understanding between the two crowns from a suspicion became a practical certainty. In June Giustinian writes that the French were expecting every demonstration of good correspondence from the side of England, and that it was incredible that the French fleet should join the Dutch to harm them (No. 198). At Madrid a report that Beaufort had entered the Channel convinced the Spaniards that there was an understanding with England or he would have never ventured to do so (No. 209). The behaviour of the French ambassadors at Breda gave further support to this conviction, as when the Dutch made some difficulty about conceding the claims made by England the French told them that if these differences were not surmounted France would come to terms with England (No. 197). The Dutch were sufficiently eager for peace on their own side, and they showed little respect for a demand made by Denmark for the withdrawal of a paper published in England about the Berghen affair (No. 184). Charles had only recently waived his objection to the inclusion of Denmark in the negotiations (No. 159).
The Dutch had planned their offensive operations in order to bring matters to a head when they threatened to drag out. Their startling success seemed likely to have the opposite effect, and threatened the immediate dissolution of the congress. The English delegates exclaimed against such action at a time when peace was under discussion. They actually withdrew, though it was under colour of avoiding the plague. But the hitch was of short duration. Strong representations by the Swedish ministers succeeded in bringing the congress together again. Speedy progress was made, and on the 10th July, new style, the articles were drawn out and the parties convened to give their approval. The English delegates declared that they had gone beyond their instructions on two points, a debt due by the king of Denmark to some English merchants, and the date for the cessation of hostilities. It was agreed that Coventry should go over to England to get the king's consent, for which a fortnight was allowed (No. 212). When the matter was laid before Charles he wished to hold things up until the meeting of parliament on the 5th August. He was doubtful about the way in which they would take it, and feared that they might ask how the money had been spent and other awkward questions. Coventry represented that there was really no alternative. He must accept the terms agreed upon or the congress would break up, which would mean the indefinite prolongation of the war (No. 215). That settled the matter, and Coventry went back to Breda with the ratification in his hands. All the necessary formalities were soon accomplished, and before the end of August the delegates were all departing to their various destinations.
Public rejoicings at the conclusion of peace were ordained by the government in both England and France. The Dutch States announced for their part that if any one attempted to stir up trouble to upset the peace they would conclude it alone with England (No. 221). This was probably aimed at France, where, in spite of outward shows, the peace was not really welcome because of its possible repercussion on the position in Flanders (No. 215). England and Holland, with their hands free, would be in a position to control the affairs of Europe and to moderate the excesses of every one else (No. 212).
As Charles had anticipated, parliament expressed disapproval of the peace, and Coventry was attacked there because he had not obtained all the advantages that he might have done. But this was chiefly due to ill humour because they were obliged to accept a peace which left France unchecked, and after such an affront as had been received from the Dutch (No. 247).
During the whole of this period negotiations had been proceeding at Madrid. This volume opens with the arrival in Spain of the earl of Sandwich, who had come to take over from Sir Richard Fanshaw, whose proceedings had not met with approval. Sandwich brought with him as secretary William Godolphin, an intimate of Arlington, a man of ability and well versed in affairs. He was to take an active part in the negotiations and was, indeed, likely to do the real work (No. 17).
The coming of Sandwich was a great blow to Fanshaw, who had done all he could to prevent it. He went out from Madrid to greet his successor, but few words were exchanged and there was a notable lack of cordiality. Sandwich at once began to speak of Fanshaw's departure and to see to it that he left soon (No. 4). The mortification of his position proved fatal to Fanshaw. His change of colour was remarked at the time of his meeting with Sandwich, and within a week or two he fell a victim to a fever. He is represented here as having been attracted by the doctrine of the Catholic Church. During a consultation of the physicians some priests contrived to get into the sick room, in the hope of effecting his conversion, but they were discovered and driven out indignantly by Lady Fanshaw and the chaplain (No. 22).
Sandwich came in great state accompanied by a train of seventy persons, of whom seventeen were of high rank (No. 4). At a later date it is stated that his embassy cost 25,000l. sterling (No. 386). The Spaniards received him with great ceremony, but they made difficulties about granting him public audience of the king. It is understandable that they were not eager to show him the puny and pitiful child who now sat on their throne. But Sandwich insisted on the ground of prestige and they gave way. The ambassador brought his entire train with him and they all crowded together into the royal apartment. This disturbed the king, who turned to his nurse and said: “This is too much; I do not want them.” She tried to appease him, but he persisted, and seeing that this had no effect he made as if to draw his sword, with a pretty childish gesture. Every one was moved by the determination and spirit that he showed (No. 27).
The object of Sandwich's mission was two-fold: to bring about an adjustment between Spain and Portugal, and to arrange a commercial treaty and, if possible, an alliance with Spain (No. 19). His chief weapon was the anxiety of the Spaniards about French intentions with respect to Flanders. Opinion in the Council of Spain was divided, but for the most part they believed that Flanders would be safe so long as the war continued in the North. They did not seem disposed to look any further but trusted to time to put things right. Their policy in the main was to keep on good terms all round, without committing themselves. With regard to Portugal they had no hope of reducing that country to subjection again or even of waging successful war against it; but their pride forbade them to accept the natural consequences. They obstinately refused to recognise Portugal as an independent state, or its king as anything but the duke of Braganza. The duke of Medina was in favour of peace but he no longer possessed the influence he had enjoyed in the preceding reign. His rivals indeed would have liked to exclude him altogether from the negotiations (No. 13); but in this they were unsuccessful as he was one of the three selected to treat with the English ambassador.
Sandwich was anxious to get to work at once and the Spaniards seemed ready to oblige him. Three days a week were set apart for the juntas; but at the very outset his position was prejudiced by the news of the Dutch victory at sea. The Spaniards at once began to play for time, postponing the meetings on the pretext of a feast day or some other excuse (Nos. 34, 45). In reply to Sandwich's instances for a prompt decision they merely expressed their appreciation of the friendly intentions of his master (No. 40).
At the end of July the French ambassador Embrun dropped a bombshell by proposing to Medina an alliance with France as an alternative, declaring that they had much more in common with the Spaniards than the English. The insincerity of the proposal was patent to the Spanish ministers, yet it caused them no little embarrassment (No. 44). This was largely because Embrun was clever enough to stir up popular feeling against the English (No. 124). Sandwich expressed surprise that so much attention was paid to the matter. He assured the government that the French had made a similar offer in London against Spain at the very time that they were making their proposal at Madrid. His king had spurned the suggestion and he thought that Embrun should have been treated in the same way (No. 60).
In the business of Portugal the chief difficulties with which Sandwich had to deal were the treaty arranged by his predecessor and the determination of the Spaniards not to give the royal title. Fanshaw had undertaken that if Portugal would not accept the terms arranged, English support would be withdrawn and pressure would be brought to bear to induce them to comply. The Spaniards considered this as the starting point of the business. They wished to know where Sandwich stood in the matter, as he seemed to come with restricted instead of extended powers. Sandwich brushed all this aside. He told them that Fanshaw had acted on his own motion without instructions. His king could not possibly adopt a dictatorial attitude to his brother-in-law. It would be improper even to offer advice. If Alfonso agreed to waive the royal title, that was his affair. To use persuasion or force in the matter was out of the question (No. 50).
Such plain speaking was not at all to the taste of the Spanish ministers, as it threatened to bring matters to a head. They must either concede the royal title or break off altogether. They did not wish to do either, but only to keep the negotiation alive until they could see more clearly the trend of events. It made little difference that the imperial minister Pötting advised them strongly to accept the English proposals as by rejecting them they might eventually find themselves isolated (No. 57). The Council deliberated how they could give the ambassador a suave but non-committal answer; but their opinions were so various and conflicting that the regent was puzzled (No. 60). After much agitation of mind and many consultations a reply was at length concocted. Although cloaked with many complimentary expressions about the friendliness of King Charles in desiring to effect a settlement with Portugal, and to join in an alliance, it amounted to nothing else than a repetition of the request for the fulfilment of the arrangement made by Fanshaw. Sandwich was naturally amazed at such an answer. He said that he had already expressed himself clearly on the point and he did not know what more he could add.
The deadlock seemed complete. The Spanish ministers congratulated themselves on having gained time without giving offence to either England or France. Embrun rubbed his hands with glee, for he believed the negotiations to be hopelessly entangled if not altogether destroyed. Sandwich seems to have concluded that the best course in an unpromising situation was to adapt himself to Spanish methods. He would keep his temper and pretend not to notice their procrastinations (No. 76). This did not prevent him from complaining of their endless subterfuges and inventions, and his complaints were duly carried to the ears of the ministers by Pötting. They merely insisted that the next move lay with the English ambassador. They wanted to know how matters stood with respect to the Fanshaw negotiation. If this was repudiated what confidence could they have in the fulfilment of any future arrangement (No. 89).
At the end of September Madrid was surprised by the arrival there of Sir Robert Southwell, the British minister at Lisbon. He made only a short stay and was on his way back again at the end of a week. He brought what was virtually an ultimatum from the Portuguese government. If the Spaniards would not give them a final answer they had decided to ally themselves with France. Sandwich did not altogether relish this incursion into his domain, as he feared that Southwell might be coming to take a share in the work, which he wished to keep entirely in his own hands; so Southwell was carefully kept from contact with other ministers during his stay (No. 85).
Sandwich must have realised from this communication that the deadlock was now as complete at Lisbon as it was at Madrid. He probably also welcomed the opportunity of paying the Spaniards back in their own coin. He not only omitted to impart the Portuguese communication to the Spanish ministers, but he maintained a complete silence on the subject of Southwell's visit. The Spaniards were consumed with curiosity, and as Sandwich made no sign they sent the Secretary Fernandez to his house, ostensibly on some other business, but with instructions to lead up to the question of Portugal. They got little by this manœuvre, and the secretary went away as wise as he came. Undeterred by this failure they sent the secretary back again. This time he was to express the queen's desire that the negotiations should proceed and her surprise that they had been suspended for so many weeks. To this Sandwich replied haughtily that he knew his duty and did not need to be reminded of it. He resented this impatience over a slight delay when they had been keeping him waiting for months (No. 89).
Sandwich was extremely anxious that his mission should prove successful, and as there seemed no hope of any progress in the Portuguese affair, at least for the time being, he paid a series of visits to the ministers to suggest that the questions of Portugal and the alliance need not be dealt with simultaneously. They might treat of the alliance separately, and if that were satisfactorily arranged it might well facilitate the other affair (No. 100).
The business of Portugal was not allowed to sleep, and juntas were held on the subject in November. Finding the Ministry steadfast in their refusal to give the royal title, Sandwich handed in a strongly worded paper. He denied absolutely that his king was bound by what Fanshaw had arranged. He complained that the confidence shown by the late king Philip had not been continued by the existing government. The Council was much perturbed by this outburst and was for sending a sharp reply. Medina represented the need for patience as they could not afford to offend the English king. He went himself to the ambassador to smooth things over; he then learned that the paper to which they took exception had come straight from London and that the ambassador had merely translated it into Spanish. Some compromise was sought, and Sandwich agreed to send to Lisbon to learn how far they were prepared to yield (No. 111). As he must have anticipated, the reply when it came proved absolutely uncompromising. It insisted upon a definite peace or else war. The king must be recognised as such or else as an enemy.
This seemed final. The Spaniards told Sandwich that it was for his king to fulfil his promise and bring Portugal to reason by withdrawing his assistance. One of the ministers told him flatly that if Spain had to buy peace at such a heavy price she could do so without the help of mediators. They could extricate themselves from their difficulties without being under any obligation to others for prejudicial treaties (No. 121).
It was decided to send instructions to the Ambassador Molina in London to set forth the whole course of events to the king there. He was to represent the readiness of Spain for any reasonable accommodation and the refusal of Braganza to consider any. They counted in Spain on the king using his influence effectively, as he could hardly in honour leave such a question unsettled. Sandwich heard of this move without apparent emotion, but he remarked privately that it would only cause irritation and they would soon find out how utterly useless it was (No. 124). The nuncio for his part observed that no good could come from the mediation of a heretic.
Immediately after these events it was decided to listen to the rival proposals of the French ambassador for an alliance, to which Medina, supported by Sandwich and Pötting, was prepared to offer vigorous opposition (Nos. 124, 126). Upon this came the disturbing news that ambassadors were being sent from Portugal to both France and England. From the latter they were asking for more active assistance on the ground that Spain had rejected the king's efforts at mediation on her behalf (No. 129). The secret negotiations proceeding between France and England find an echo in the threats which Sandwich now begins to utter that his king would come to an agreement with France to the detriment of Spain if the latter persisted in rejecting the good offices of England (Nos. 131, 146).
With the new year negotiations about Portugal were again resumed on the basis of a truce for 60 years. The attitude of the Spaniards was suspicious and non-committal, but to show goodwill they agreed to a truce for 45 years. Sandwich on his side undertook that his king would bring the utmost pressure to bear upon Alfonso to accept it. He qualified this statement by explaining that British help would only be withdrawn in the event of the Portuguese invading Spanish territory. Owing to the ambiguous nature of this obligation disputes arose about the wording of the article, but Sandwich made it perfectly clear that his king would not bind himself to abandon his brother-in-law in the event of his refusing to accept the truce (No. 146).
In the meantime the negotiations for a commercial treaty appeared to be making satisfactory progress, although the important question of the Indies had been left out for the time being. In order to prevent the constant difficulties over the Portuguese business from interfering with success in this part of his work, Sandwich suggested that this matter might be settled separately. When this point came before the Council of State they decided that the two questions could not be dealt with apart. They hoped to utilise the English desire for advantages in trade to induce her to bring the pressure upon Portugal which they wished to see exercised. A commercial agreement by itself would be too one sided, with all the advantage for the English. Accordingly, they informed Sandwich that it was the queen's pleasure that the two questions should be settled together or else dropped. To this they stood firm, in spite of the ambassador's protests, as they believed that there was no other way of obtaining a pledge to abandon the Portuguese. Pötting's efforts to smooth matters proved futile, and Embrun looked on, well content at the illfeeling that was being bred by these endless and futile negotiations (No. 151).
The threatening situation in the Netherlands seems to have rendered the Spanish government more compliant as the juntas with Sandwich were resumed in the spring of 1667. Very great secrecy was observed, and Sandwich was full of complaints about the delays and the caution of the ministers. Circumstances now brought about a sudden conclusion. In the first week in May came the news of the formal claim of Louis to Brabant, and before another week had passed the terms of a treaty were arranged at Madrid. The English were accorded the same trading privileges as were enjoyed by the Dutch; Jamaica was left in their hands, but with a provision for its redemption for a payment of 500,000 crowns. The English were excluded altogether from trade in the Indies, and were only permitted to use Spanish ports there as harbours of refuge for a limited time. The Portuguese question was left vague. Alfonso was to be given six months in which to accept the truce. If he refused it was proposed that England should abandon him, but there was no positive engagement to do so (No. 193). The articles were sent to England for confirmation, but the ship carrying the messenger who took them was intercepted by a French squadron, and he thought it advisable to throw his despatches into the sea. He reached London by way of Ostend, and went to inform the king; but when Charles heard what had happened he decided to wait for the arrival of the duplicates, which were being sent from Cadiz (No. 213). All this involved a delay of some months.
The terms of the treaty had rather evaded the Portuguese difficulty. There were still many in the Spanish Council in favour of discarding the mediation of England and dealing directly with the Portuguese (No. 194), while Embrun cherished the comfortable conviction that his king would have forestalled the Spaniards and made an agreement with England which would prevent her from joining with Spain to the prejudice of France (No. 196). On the pretext that he lacked the necessary powers the Portuguese business was taken out of the hands of Sandwich in July and entrusted to Caracena (Nos. 209, 211). The news of the Dutch raid into the Medway served to discredit the English ambassador still further. It seemed to bear out all that Embrun had urged of the powerlessness of England to help her friends. It was decided to abandon the mediation of England altogether and to seek that of the Pope (No. 219). Sandwich found himself without employment and proposed to pass the time by seeing the sights of Madrid, visiting the towns in the neighbourhood and watching bull rights (Nos. 224, 226).
The peace of Breda following close on the French invasion of the Netherlands provided a remarkable stimulant for Spanish sluggishness, and wrought an instant change in their policy. The idea of papal mediation was thrown over, the difficulty about granting the royal title to Braganza vanished, and Sandwich was asked to resume his negotiations and told that the government had decided to refer the Portuguese settlement to his king (Nos. 226, 229). The nuncio was told, rather belatedly, that as the matter had been initiated by Sandwich it could not now be taken out of his hands. Visconti made no trouble about this, declaring that all they wanted at Rome was a satisfactory accommodation.
It was now the turn of Sandwich to show caution and reserve. Mindful of what had befallen his predecessor, he asked for a definite security that the Spaniards would do as they said (No. 234). He demanded that it should be put in writing that Spain agreed to make peace with the king of Portugal. This seemed a hard condition, because if Sandwich could not guarantee a favourable response from Portugal they might be humiliating themselves to no purpose. But Spain was in no position to haggle, and after a brief hesitation Sandwich received the most ample assurances signed by the queen and all her ministers, with the exception of the confessor and the count of Castrillo (No. 238). Even then the government hesitated before finally committing themselves, but in the end they felt that they had gone too far to draw back.
It had been intended that the secretary Godolphin should go to Lisbon to conduct the negotiations, but, on consideration, Sandwich undertook to make the journey himself, supplied with all the necessary powers for a conclusion (No. 244). But by now a palace revolution in Portugal had thrown everything into uncertainty. Early in September the all-powerful minister Castelmelhor had fallen, and on the 13th November the king himself was deposed, the government being taken over by his brother Pedro. It was uncertain what reactions would follow these events; how they would affect the influence of France in Portugal and what would be the attitude of King Charles to the overthrow of his brother-in-law; there was even a suspicion that he might be contemplating his eventual succession to the throne of Portugal in the right of his wife (No. 267).
The uncertainties of the situation made Sandwich hesitate about starting, as he could not feel confident about a favourable reception in Portugal or whether his going would be approved by his own king. He was therefore disposed to raise difficulties that would at least give him an excuse for postponing his start. The Spaniards were by now eager for him to go, and his undertaking to do so was widely advertised in order to make it difficult for him to draw back. The queen granted him 10,000 crowns for the journey and issued orders for his entertainment all along the way. He was to have started on the 19th November, but on the eve of that day a messenger arrived from London with the long delayed confirmation of the treaty. This afforded the ambassador a reasonable excuse for postponing his start, but there seemed no call for his unexpected demand for a written authority from the queen herself. This roused the suspicions of the Council, who represented that he had already received the most ample powers. As they did not comply with his request, Sandwich, on the 28th November, dismissed the coach which he had all ready for the journey (No. 250). The changing circumstances of the time seem to have left him in a state of indecision, and he probably welcomed the excuse. He told the Venetian ambassador Belegno that he did not know whether he was going to London or to Lisbon. It was a most arduous and difficult business, in which he had to encounter the opposition of a most powerful king and many other obstacles. He could not feel certain of the issue, yet he meant to keep his word, and he asked Belegno to defend him against slander in his absence (No. 251).
All through the month of December the difference between Sandwich and the Council continued. The ambassador was greatly annoyed and began to suspect the Spaniards of a lack of good faith. The situation remained very obscure and the foreign ministers confessed that they were completely mystified. The Spaniards were eager for peace and covertly they were employing every means to obtain it. They had a negotiator on the spot in the person of the marquis of Liche, son of the minister Luis de Haro, a prisoner of war since 1663 (No. 265). Sandwich, on his side, in spite of all the uncertainties, was anxious to have the credit of the settlement and feared that this might be reached independently of him through the operations of Liche, who was a persona grata with Don Pedro (No. 254). In this time of difficulty he was deprived of his right hand man, Godolphin, who had received an urgent summons to proceed to London (No. 260). Finally, at the very end of the year, Sandwich announced that he would not be going to Lisbon after all. He gave out that he could not treat with Don Pedro, the king's brother, who had now assumed the government, without fresh instructions from England. A few days after this announcement Sandwich was on his way to Portugal. On the 7th January full powers were handed to him by a secretary of state and he was further supplied with 4,000 roubles, a coach, a litter and horses for the journey. He had received no powers from England to treat with Don Pedro and he obviously felt misgivings as to how his action would be taken at home. (fn. 6) He told a colleague that he was going to promote a great boon for the Spanish crown, but to lose with his own king (No. 267).
So far as Portugal was concerned Sandwich need have had no fears. His journey through that country was a triumphal progress and at Lisbon he was received with acclaim as the harbinger of peace. The universal desire of the nation for peace had carried everything before it. The pro-French party found themselves unable to stem the current and Don Pedro himself owed much of his popularity to the hopes which he gave them of a speedy peace (Nos. 260, 275).
There is no record here of Sandwich's negotiations at Lisbon. That they would be crowned with success was a foregone conclusion, but he did not get back to Madrid until April. His progress was once more a triumph, amid the acclamations of the people, universal blessings and applause. On reaching Madrid he received the thanks of the queen for his successful mediation and presented a letter from his king urging her to make peace with France. His mission being accomplished he had leave to return home. He went away with a very good conceit of himself. He took credit for having brought three important negotiations to a successful conclusion: the ratification of the peace and the commercial treaty with England; the settlement with Portugal, and the peace between France and Spain, of which he felt confident (Nos. 286, 288). How his actions would be received in England was another question. On his way home he had orders to go to Tangier. This was ostensibly about the building of an arsenal there, but it was believed that on his arrival he would be put under arrest, as the king was ill pleased with his negotiations at Lisbon and he had many enemies in England (No. 329). This expectation proved baseless, but the story does not belong to these pages.
In the tangle of European politics of this period the outstanding feature is the constant good fortune of the French king. His clever diplomatists triumphed everywhere. The old enemy, Spain, was reduced to impotence under an exceptionally feeble minority. His chief potential rivals were exhausting each other in a war equally disastrous for both, from which France alone profited. With scarce an effort on his part, Louis was rapidly advancing to be the supreme arbiter of the destinies of Europe (No. 88). In the spring of 1667 the propitious moment seemed to have arrived for Louis to stretch out his hand to seize the provinces of the Spanish Netherlands.
The attack had long been foreseen. From the beginning of the year the governor, Castelrigo Rodrigo, had been preparing a defence and laying in supplies (No. 132). In February he reported to Madrid that an attack was inevitable so soon as peace was made with England (No. 149). But this conviction only inspired the House of Austria to make futile efforts to prolong the war, that being the chief object of their star diplomatist, Lisola, when he went to London (No. 138).
The Dutch were equally alarmed by the French aggression, as they had no wish to see so powerful a neighbour established on their borders. The republic was in a difficult and delicate position while the war with England lasted. The Swedes were believed to be ready to act at the least sign from France, while Munster was massing his forces with the intention of profiting by any opportunity that might occur (No. 192). Van Beuningen intimated to Giustinian that the good offices of the Pope and Venice might be usefully employed to secure the maintenance of the status quo (No. 160). The States drew some comfort from the assurance given by the Swedish deputies at Breda that Sweden would have nothing to do with French designs for the conquest of the Low Countries (No. 197).
The rapid successes achieved by Louis in Flanders awakened English sensitiveness about the opposite shore. In spite of Charles's promise not to take sides against Louis, the Spanish ambassador Molina obtained leave to raise 6,000 men to serve Spain in Flanders. Some crossed early in June, and it was said openly in England that if France attempted to make conquests in those parts, they would go to its defence (No. 203). While the Dutch were still lying off the mouth of the Thames eight ships passed out for Ostend, with English troops on board. They were stopped by the Dutch, but were eventually allowed to pass (No. 212). When the French remonstrated de Witt replied that they had no right to stop them as the Dutch were not at war with Spain.
This grant of assistance to Spain caused some concern in France, and some even suspected that England had lured them on in order to involve them in a great war (No. 201). The English ambassadors at Breda indeed announced that their king would preserve neutrality between the two crowns. France attached so much importance to this that Ruvigny was sent over immediately after the conclusion of peace to make liberal offers to the king and Clarendon if they would cease to support the Spaniards (No. 223). He does not seem to have effected much. Some levies were obtained for France, and Madame wrote asking her brother's permission to raise a regiment for her service (No. 236). But parliament intervened to stop any further levies for foreign powers. From the account given here this was aimed specifically at the French after the king had given his consent (No. 247). All that the French got in this way was the return to France of Colonel Douglas with his regiment of Scottish guards, who had been brought back to England on the French declaration of war, and about 200 Catholics, disbanded from the king's own guards (Nos. 227, 239, 247).
The attitude which the English government would adopt remained for long uncertain. The exhaustion following the war and so many calamities, as well as the deplorable condition of the finances seemed to dictate a policy of neutrality. But the force of circumstances proved too strong. The weakness disclosed of the Spanish monarchy seemed to portend a partition of their dominions, of which France threatened to take an excessive share. The three powers, England, France and Holland were watching each other, all mutually suspicious, but almost any combination was possible. Boreel, the Dutch ambassador in England, declared that partition of the Spanish dominions would be easy, but it would cause the most deep-seated injury to every one (No. 363). The first aim of Dutch policy was to put a stop to the progress of the French, and they thought of asking the English to join them in this (No. 232). They waited to see what parliament would decide, as they would not take any decisive steps until they were sure at least of the neutrality of England (No. 249). It was not until the end of the year that England's intentions were disclosed. Charles then informed the Dutch ambassador that he proposed to interest himself in the peace between the two crowns of France and Spain, first of all by negotiation and then, if necessary, by arms (No. 255). He followed up this announcement by prompt action. Passing over the heads of the Dutch ambassadors in London, who were creatures of de Witt and likely to be too pro-French, he put the negotiations into the hands of Sir William Temple, who was sent from Brussels to the Hague. Temple saw de Witt and began with the proposal of a decisive and offensive alliance against all comers, proceeding more specifically to an offensive alliance against France. When de Witt demurred that the States could not possibly commit themselves so far, Temple tried to alarm him by telling him that England might be forced to listen to French proposals for the partition of the Netherlands, in which England's share was to be Zeeland (No. 271). De Witt did not seem to be much impressed at the time by this revelation, but it seems to have stimulated a prompt decision, as a treaty between England and Holland to bring about peace between France and Spain was signed immediately afterwards. This treaty, known afterwards as the triple alliance, was intended to put a stop to French aggression. In the main it was successful, although it left the French in possession of what they had taken, and was followed almost immediately by a fresh act of aggression against Franche Comte. The peace which the alliance was made to bring about was signed at Aix la Chapelle on the 22nd April.
The unfortunate Spaniards were not expected to get this protection for nothing. The Dutch demanded Ostend, Bruges and Damme as pledges for the troops and money which they might supply (No. 255); the English wanted a subsidy of 400,000 crowns a year for an alliance (No. 314).
The conclusion of this alliance, which Sweden was to join, caused considerable perturbation in France, though they did their best to appear unconcerned (No. 285). They realised their powerlessness against such a formidable combination at sea. Urgent orders were sent to Beaufort to return at once to port and to avoid exposing his fleet to conflicts (No. 298). When Sir John Trevor went to Paris about the mediation of peace between the crowns, the king referred with bitterness to the ingratitude of Charles, who had made alliances to prevent him having that which justly belonged to him (No. 281). Thereafter it became the chief aim of French policy to break up this alliance.
Although the alliance had come about through the initiative of Charles, the United Provinces were the power chiefly interested in it. Holland had emerged from the war as a first class power. By industry and enterprise their wealth was constantly on the increase (No. 345). Their ships were to be seen in every sea, and they owned 6,000 vessels as opposed to the 4,000 possessed by England (No. 373). Their interest as traders was now the maintenance of peace, that each one should remain in quiet possession of his own and that attempts at aggrandisement should be checked (No. 363). They were ready to make considerable sacrifices to achieve this end and claimed that procuring the peace of Aix la Chapelle had cost them more than three millions.
The triple alliance was adapted to the realisation of this policy. They hoped to strengthen it by fresh adhesions, and negotiations to this end were conducted with the princes of Brunswick and the Swiss (Nos. 342, 345, 366). These efforts were not particularly successful, owing at least in part to French diplomacy. Even the adhesion of Sweden, without which the alliance was a misnomer, was not secured without difficulty. They were the first to be asked to join with England and Holland to save Flanders. To this they readily agreed, as they did not wish for the aggrandisement of France, though Giustinian believed that they had only joined in the hope of war (No. 277). Their ratification of the treaty did not arrive until August, a delay due in large measure to the death of their minister, Dohna, in London (No. 327). Almost directly afterwards they began to make trouble. Towards the end of the year they presented a claim for money due for the feeding of 15,000 men called off from the siege of Bremen (No. 384). This had been promised by the Ambassador Molina, a promise repudiated by his government, but the Swedes claimed that it had been guaranteed by the Dutch. As there was some danger that Sweden might break away from the alliance if this claim was not satisfied, Charles was prevailed upon to send Carlisle on a special mission to Stockholm to prevent such a catastrophe. Rather than allow this England and Holland would be ready to find the money themselves, though they might use this as a pretext for recouping themselves from the Spanish possessions in America (No. 387).
The mission of Colbert de Croissy to England in August, 1668, excited universal attention, as it was believed to represent a supreme effort on the part of the king of France, who was annoyed to find his ambitions checked by the power of the Dutch (No. 324). Even at the close of an exhausting war Giustinian was of opinion that England and Holland together, with their hands free, would be able to control the affairs of Europe and to check the excesses of everyone else (No. 212). Louis, whose policy in his earlier years was marked by extreme caution, if not timidity, considered it necessary to break up this alliance before he could proceed with his ambitious plans. Colbert therefore came over with instructions to do his utmost to detach England from the United Provinces (No. 333). His advent was naturally looked on askance by the Spanish and Dutch ministers in London. Before his arrival Boreel warned the ministers to be on their guard, but found no one to listen to him (No. 349). But the Dutch felt confident that England would not listen to any proposals for upsetting their trade, and Meerman, who returned to the Hague just before Colbert's arrival, assured the States that he left things in the most complete security and that no change was to be feared (No. 325). None the less the States thought it wise to extend Boreel's stay in England on Colbert's account, a fact which he blandly informed the Frenchman (No. 349). In addition to this they decided, towards the end of the year, to send over Van Beuningen, as their most skilful diplomatist, in order to thwart any efforts that might be made to upset the peace (No. 375).
The only measure taken in England that was aimed specially at Colbert was an order that those who wished to have speech with the king must obtain audience through the Master of the Ceremonies. This was to prevent importunity, as ministers frequenting the royal apartments had been accustomed to seize the opportunity to prefer their requests (No. 319). Though aimed at Colbert, it had no effect, for almost his first act was to obtain a private audience of the king by special favour.
Colbert came to England liberally supplied with money, said to amount to 800,000 crowns, and presumed to be intended to bribe ministers to serve French interests. He lost no time in getting to work. He had two main proposals to make. The first was for a mutual and exclusive trade between England and France, so that French produce should be carried only by the English, and only Frenchmen should be allowed to export goods from England. This was manifestly aimed at the Dutch, especially their trade in French wines, of which they were almost the sole exporters. The other proposal was for the purchase of Tangier for cash down (No. 340). Neither of these proposals met with acceptance. The first was referred to deputies specially appointed. But it was considered too one-sided, as the English export trade largely exceeded that of France. The leading merchants were strongly opposed and it was held that the king could not bind the hands of his subjects so much to their prejudice (Nos. 349, 363, 365). With regard to Tangier, though it was very costly to maintain, yet great hopes were entertained of its future, and it was believed that holding this post would make it possible for England to control the trade of the Mediterranean (No. 340).
Finding that he was making no headway, Colbert proposed the recall of Clarendon in the hope that in him would be found a minister more friendly to French aims; but this met with even stronger opposition than the other proposals (No. 342), and did the ex-chancellor more harm than good. In his eagerness to dissolve the alliance Colbert even went so far as to offer the cession of some place in Flanders as the price of abandoning the Dutch, Dunkirk being named (No. 349). Finding that all his efforts were in vain, Colbert changed his tactics to a direct attack on the Dutch. He declared that the English had allowed themselves to be taken in when they made their alliance with the Provinces and forgot to think about the aggrandisement of such a mighty sea power. He recalled the reverses that the English had suffered, and in particular the raid on the Medway (No. 373). This tack seemed no more successful than the other, and towards the end of the year, seeing how little progress he was making, Colbert confined himself to watching the operations of others (No. 387). He counted chiefly on the king, to whom he paid court in many ways, in order to wean him from the Dutch. Charles kept alluring him with hopes but, for the time being, at least, the king was restrained from yielding to French blandishments by the strong feeling of the nation and parliament (No. 375). Sandwich, just back from Spain, probably expressed the popular sentiment when he said that he was sorry that France had not been obliged to restore what she had taken. She was powerful at sea and had abundance of money. England must be watchful and protect herself against the ill will with which she was regarded by the king there. He hoped devoutly that there were not bribed men at Court (No. 378).
The Dutch war led to a great outbreak of French activity in the West Indies. This was chiefly due to what happened at St. Kitts, an island divided between the English and the French. According to the account given here, the French colonists got wind that the English had received orders from home to make a surprise attack and exterminate them. Being inferior in numbers they resolved on desperate measures. They put their women and children on board ship with all their valuables and sent them off to France, while the able-bodied men set out to raid and burn the enemy country. The unfortunate refugees remained long enough off the island to see flames and columns of smoke and to hear the sound of firing, but when they reached La Rochelle some weeks later, in a very sorry plight, this was all they could tell, as they did not know the result of the venture (No. 11). On receiving the news, and while the issue was still uncertain, the French government decided to send out 800 veteran troops to reinforce their arms in the West Indies (No. 14). It so happened that the French attack at St. Kitts had proved entirely successful. They had completely driven out the English, but being apprehensive of attack from the English in other islands, or in North America, they burned all the sugar mills and apparatus (No. 26). An attack was indeed made to try and recover the island, but was repulsed with loss (No. 66). An expedition sent from Barbadoes under Lord Willoughby for the same purpose was scattered by a hurricane and never heard of again.
The report of further successes in those parts encouraged the French government to send out additional reinforcements later in the year, escorted by two frigates. Early in 1667 the king decided to send out twenty companies of veteran troops. The government was attracted by the idea of expansion in America, being persuaded that they would find there mountains pregnant with treasure (No. 145).
The English were slow to set about repairing the situation, but in March, 1667, Lord Willoughby, brother of the late governor, sailed from Barbadoes with three frigates, escorting a convoy of merchantmen and carrying troops (No. 154). Ill fortune continued to dog the English efforts and a second attack on St. Kitts was repulsed with the loss of half the landing force (No. 223). Compensation came later in a great victory won by Sir John Harman in June off Martinique over a strong French fleet (No. 237).
The capture of the island of Providence from the Spaniards was the work of buccaneers. Happening at a time when England and Spain were treating for an alliance, it became the subject of remonstrance both in London and at Madrid (Nos. 100, 120).
In West Africa the English suffered a repulse in an attempt to retake the fort of Cormantin, but they had some compensation in the capture of a Dutch ship of 44 guns which was escorting a squadron of provision ships to those parts (No. 223).
Under the terms of the treaty of Breda England was required to restore Surinam, taken after the peace was signed, to the Dutch, and France was to give up the half of St. Kitts which she had taken. Neither party showed any alacrity in the fulfilment of these obligations. The States made peremptory demands for instant restitution, and fitted out a squadron to recover the colony by force if necessary (No. 258). The conclusion of the triple alliance made the English government kindly disposed to the Dutch, and immediate restitution was ordered early in 1668, without any resort to hostilities. The Dutch considered Surinam with its dependencies to be more valuable than the colony in North America which they gave up by the peace (Nos. 280, 311).
More than a year passed after the conclusion of the peace and the French took no steps towards the surrender of St. Kitts, indeed a squadron under d'Estrees was sent out from France to force the English to give up their claims. As the English had a more powerful squadron of their own in those waters, this caused them little apprehension (No. 363). When Colbert arrived in London in August, 1668, he took up this question and said that his master would have no objection to purchase the island if they could agree about the price. This suggestion was summarily dismissed and Colbert was told that France was expected to fulfil her treaty obligations (No. 366). As France was anxious at this time to conciliate England in every possible way, frigates were sent out with orders that there must be no further delay about the restitution. In England some doubted even yet whether this was more than an empty show. (Nos. 375, 381).
Domestic affairs are rather more prominent in this volume than in its immediate predecessor. In spite of all the misfortunes of the time the king seemed to be better established on his throne. A revolt in Scotland was easily suppressed. It was feared that the disasters of the war might threaten his security at home, but nothing serious happened. Only after the great fire every one was saying that since the advent of the House of Stuart England had never enjoyed any felicity but only experienced a succession of misfortunes (No. 77). The possibility of a revolt was no doubt ever present, and before the close of the war Louis contrived to let Charles know that he might always count on French support if he showed vigour and courage in dealing with those who opposed what he knew to be for the advantage of his country (No. 145). In spite of war and other calamities life at Court was free and unconstrained; there was an absence of strict ceremonial, and the king himself was easy of access in his private apartments.
When Charles made his brother Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in addition to his office of Lord High Admiral, Mocenigo comments on this conferment of unique powers on one so near the throne as showing the confidence of the one and the high character of the other (No. 342). Having relinquished the active command of the fleet, James rather drops out of the picture in these years, and this partial eclipse is accentuated by the fall of his father-in-law, Clarendon. York's two elder sons died within a few weeks of each other in 1667, but a third was born in October in that year. The child was given the name of Edgar, in memory of the Saxon king, and James hoped that this event would increase his own popularity and help his father-in-law (No. 235).
The king's natural son, the duke of Monmouth, was beginning to come to the fore. Early in 1668 he went over to Paris. He was well received and there was some talk of finding him employment there (No. 277). The Venetian Ambassador Mocenigo made a point of paying him an early visit, as he knew that the king was pleased by any attentions paid to his son (No. 353).
The queen took her part in such formal functions as the reception of ambassadors, but for the most part she remains in the background. An attempt by Madame Colbert to involve her in a dispute about precedence proved a complete fiasco (Nos. 363, 373). As a devout Catholic she was no doubt delighted at the election of Cardinal Rospigliosi to the papal chair, as she had previously been in correspondence with him. The papacy had hitherto declined to recognise the House of Braganza in Portugal. The queen took advantage of the new state of affairs to enlist the services of the Venetian ambassador to obtain for her a brief from the new pontiff (No. 386).
At the conclusion of the Dutch war Prince Rupert is said to have had in hand a squadron of thirteen ships which he was ready to sell or to hire (No. 272). The Ambassador Mocenigo suggested to him that he might crown his exploits by leading a fleet to humble the pride of the Turks. The prince did not seem altogether averse from the idea, but his days of adventure were practically at an end. He was very popular and stood high in the king's favour, who made him constable of Windsor Castle (No. 368). He was content henceforth to settle down in England and enjoy his considerable revenues. He had quarrelled with his brother, the Elector Palatine, and did not take the least interest in the dispute between that prince and Lorraine (No. 372).
The chancellor Clarendon remained in power during the war in spite of his general unpopularity. There is mention of a quarrel between him and Monk serious enough to involve both houses of parliament and to threaten serious disorder in the country. The king himself intervened to bring about a reconciliation, apparently a work of some difficulty (Nos. 120, 123). There is a vague reference to quarrels among the leading men in April, 1667, perhaps an echo of this affair (No. 175).
The Dutch attack in the Medway caused a general popular outcry against the chancellor. When parliament met he was unable to stand up against the attack made on him and laid down his charge without a struggle. It was thought in France that he had sacrificed himself to save the king (No. 232). He was generally suspected of being in the pay of France, and the inquiry into his share in the sale of Dunkirk made him fear for his life (No. 247). At the end of the year he fled to France, where he might look for a friendly reception. But it placed king Louis in a dilemma. He was particularly anxious at this time to be on good terms with England, and he was not sure how a too cordial reception would be taken either by Charles or the parliament (No. 259). In the end the king received Clarendon in secret at Versailles, when the exile is said to have revealed all the most intimate secrets of his country (No. 264). Louis did not find it expedient to do anything for him beyond the half-hearted attempt by Colbert to secure his recall. Owing to the opposition encountered this was promptly dropped, and Colbert declared that recall was impossible owing to the resistance of parliament, which frustrated all the efforts of Clarendon's friends, of whom the chief were Ormonde, Anglesea and Holles (No. 373). Anglesea is said to have suffered something like persecution from the king on this account when it came to an inquiry into his administration as treasurer of the navy (No. 382). Clarendon was in fact made the scapegoat for past ills. In conversation with Mocenigo, Arlington referred to the disorder caused by his policy and said that if it had continued it would have ruined the country (No. 344).
After Clarendon's departure the chief place in the royal counsels was taken by Arlington, who was always at the king's side. His only competitor was the duke of Buckingham, who impressed Marchesini as a man of exceptional ability. In an interview recorded by the latter Buckingham seemed inclined to be critical of his rival (Nos. 313, 373).
In his dealings with parliament the king's practice was to summon it from time to time and then dismiss it after a short session. Meeting after the Great Fire, they voted 18 millions for the coming campaign, though it was uncertain how the money could be raised after the havoc wrought in the capital (No. 109). Great severity was shown in the collection of this money (No. 154). If the sum realised did not nearly meet the need this was hardly the fault of parliament. The king realised this, as he felt that he could not appeal to them to meet the heavy debt left by the war because of the great sums that they had already voted (No. 386).
The king found the warlike spirit of the Commons an obstacle to peace and he would have been glad to dismiss them in order to pave the way to a settlement, but for his need of their help to get supplies (No. 145). When peace had actually been made the king felt doubtful how parliament would receive it. The date of meeting was therefore frequently postponed while efforts were made to win over the leading men (No. 218). These efforts did not save the king from some rebuffs. At the conclusion of the war he wished to keep a considerable force together; but parliament refused its consent and so the majority of the troops were disbanded, the king only keeping his usual guards (No. 221). In order to please parliament he ordered the administration of the oath of supremacy to the troops, involving the dismissal of 400 of his Catholic guards, who crossed over to Flanders to serve the Spaniards (No. 236). The king's pronounced leaning to France was held in check by the strong bias of parliament against that nation (No. 375). The Commons were in fact becoming more critical of the king. He met this spirit of opposition by constant prorogations. He did not venture to dissolve parliament altogether from fear that the country might choose members even less disposed to fall in with the royal wishes (No. 381).
The Great Fire of London is described in a despatch from Paris (No. 77), where for a time it was the engrossing subject of conversation. King Louis refused to permit any rejoicings over this calamity to the enemy. He went almost at once to Queen Henrietta to offer his condolences and contemplated sending a special envoy to England for the same purpose. The fire caused great misery as thousands were rendered homeless and had to take to the fields. The king took an active part in relief work. Canvas from the naval stores was requisitioned for tents; rations of biscuit were served out and orders were issued to the provinces to send a stream of food supplies for the sufferers (No. 82). Later on measures were taken for boarding out the homeless with persons of their own rank, the gentry receiving gentry and merchants and artisans those of their own class (No. 87). While the fire was in progress many took their valuables for safety to the royal palace at Whitehall. Subsequently disputes arose about their ownership. The king and the duke of York refused to meddle in the matter. Abroad the ambassadors tried to make light of the disaster. Sandwich declared that military and naval stores had not been touched; valuables had been rescued; the damage had been confined to the popular quarters of the city, which would be rebuilt in a more splendid style (No. 94). At Florence Finch said that only two sevenths of the city had been burned and that none of the city's merchandise had perished (No. 99). Lionne, on the other hand, asserted that the damage was greater than reported. A quarter of a million people had been rendered homeless, the merchants had lost everything and the nobles were impoverished (No. 84). The total loss was estimated at 100 millions sterling. Parliament at once set to work to consider plans for rebuilding. A model was to be prepared; the houses were to be of stone and the streets 36 paces wide. The building of churches was to be left to the piety of the people (No. 87).
An unexpected consequence of the fire was the attraction of large numbers to London, possibly for the rebuilding. This, with the destruction of so many of the older houses, led to a difficulty in finding residences, and an exorbitant rise in rents. Mocenigo was called upon to pay 400l. a year for his residence, while Colbert had to pay 700l. for his house in Leicester Square (Nos. 323, 327). Mocenigo complains in addition of the steady rise in prices and the fall in the value of money. The cost of living for ambassadors was further increased by the curtailment of their privilege of importing wine duty free to what was strictly for their own personal use (No. 377). Besides this Mocenigo was called upon to pay postage for the packets which he sent to Venice as well as for those which he received; and the rate of postage was very high, being 32 pence an ounce (Nos. 330, 378).
The jealousy occasioned by the commercial policy of Colbert is illustrated by the arrest of a Frenchman named Noiset on a charge of trying to entice away English artisans skilled in making silk hose. The French ambassador found that he could only obtain the release of this man by invoking the king's aid (No. 363, 373). On the other hand a memorial was presented to the king against certain French silversmiths who carried on their trade in private houses. They claimed the royal protection on the ground that as Charles bore the title of king of France they were his subjects (No. 378).
The severity against Roman Catholics is generally supposed to have been greatly relaxed under Charles. This does not seem to have been the impression on the continent. At the time of the great fire a story is told of two friars of St. Bernard captured on a French ship when on their way as missionaries to the Indies. After being paraded through the city amid abuse and insult, they were executed, and the fire broke out on the very day that their quarters were exposed, a manifest sign of the divine wrath (No. 77). Similarly Cardinal Barberino, when lamenting that there was no Venetian minister in London, said that he had entrusted a book for Charles to one of the missionaries sent from Rome, but he had been unable to deliver it as the mere fact of his being a Catholic cost him his life (No. 233). While Sandwich was negotiating at Madrid the Count of Peñaranda was sent to him to remonstrate about the severe treatment of the Catholics in England, representing that some relaxation would be welcomed as a testimony to the better correspondence for which they were treating. About the same time a sum of money was sent to Molina in England for the relief of the oppressed Catholics there (No. 135).
London seems to have remained quiet during this period. After the fire Charles thought it advisable to increase the number of his guards in case of disturbance (No. 87), but the precaution does not seem to have been necessary. In November, 1668, there were two riots in which the Dutch and Spanish ambassadors were concerned, showing the existence of an excitable and disorderly element that might have become dangerous (No. 381).
There remain a few scattered items that call for a brief mention. Tangier seems to have played but a very small part in the war. After it was over the successes of Taffilet in Morocco caused some anxiety and compelled the strengthening of the garrison (No. 349). Having subdued most of the country, Taffilet desired that an ambassador should be sent to him as an act of courtesy. It was decided to gratify this request, not from fear, but in the hope of promoting trade. Henry Howard was the person selected to go (Nos. 385, 387). Another project in connection with the port was to keep a squadron of galleys there, as it was not safe for ships. The Genoese were ready to supply the necessary craft (No. 363). Two inventions were submitted to Mocenigo for destroying the Turkish fleet, one of which sounds like a form of torpedo (Nos. 369, 370). There is a reference to the enormous consumption of gunpowder at the siege of Candia (No. 349). During the Dutch war English Jesuits of the college of Liège are said to have plotted to murder de Witt (No. 171). Scarcity of money was preventing the completion of a new staircase that had long been building at Whitehall palace (No. 353). Mocenigo notes that the English did not throw away their glasses after drinking a toast which they specially desired to honour. He considers this to be due to glass being more scarce in England than at Venice (No. 348). Finch, at Florence, had some difficulty because the papal nuncio took exception to the holding of Protestant services at the consul's residence at Leghorn (Nos. 72, 136). In September, 1668, Mocenigo mentions the arrival in London of the “famous” Cigala (No. 342). I have not succeeded in finding any other reference to this. He was, presumably, a descendant of a famous Grand Vizier of the Turks, a Genoese by descent, who ultimately suffered defeat at the hands of the Persians in 1604 and died soon after. (fn. 7)
The four days' battle of June, 1666, has been indexed under “North Foreland.” This is following Ranke; (fn. 8) but the name belongs more properly to the action of the following August.
In conclusion I wish to express my appreciation of the courteous assistance that is always afforded to me at the Frari, Venice.
A. B. HINDS.
London, December, 1934.