Venice
December 1661

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1932

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72-90

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'Venice: December 1661', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 33: 1661-1664 (1932), pp. 72-90. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90099 Date accessed: 21 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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December 1661

Dec. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
94. To the Resident in England.
The Senate is eager to know what Monk's fleet will do. He is to observe the operations of the Ambassador Batteville and report. The Proveditore Mocenigo has died on his way to Cattaro, but orders about the trade in currants will be sent to his successor, so the Resident will be able to assure the merchants of the state's concern to see that they have the utmost consideration. Being anxious under all circumstances to please his Majesty direction will be given at once to the magistracy of the Rason Vecchie to get ready a fisolera with all the necessary appurtenances.
That the magistracy of the Rason Vecchie be directed to order the building of a fisolera, furnished with cramoisy velvet, with bows, balls and all other furnishings, to be sent as a present to the king of England, and subsequently find shipping to take it to that destination.
Ayes, 135. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Dec. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
95. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Friday the Secretary of State Nicolas went unexpectedly to the house of the Spanish ambassador to inform him in his Majesty's name that he must not in the future ask audience as he could not be admitted, the king being displeased with him on several counts. He continued as friendly as ever towards his master, and if there should be anything for his service to be negotiated the ambassador must apply orally or in writing to one of the secretaries of state and he should have the necessary reply. In the interval his Majesty would advise the Catholic king of all, with a request to remove from this Court a man who has become distasteful. Astonished at the message he said he was ready to do as his Majesty wished, but he asked the reasons for this sudden and unexpected change in the king by whom he had been so well received in the past and of whom he had audience a few days previously. The secretary replied that the king had learned, as shown by information given to justice, that in the affair of the coaches at the Tower he had employed many English and other subjects of his Majesty by bribery, although the king had forbidden it. That the king was informed on good authority that he was intriguing against him, fomenting the enemy party and going outside his character of ambassador, with much more, indicating that he had a hand in the conspiracy recently discovered.
Batteville replied that he thought there was nothing more to be said about the coaches, since the king had approved of what he had done. If there was any prohibition for the subjects they should obey, it was not his affair to take note of it, especially as there was no proclamation or other public declaration. As for the other particulars, the information was false and he begged the king to admit him to an audience so that he might clear up the many things which were maliciously alleged against him. He asked the secretary to set down on paper what he had told him orally so that he might send it to his master and show him on what flimsy pretexts they forbad him the Court and the king's presence.
Although Nicolas promised the ambassador to speak with his Majesty by an audience, nothing has yet been done, indeed when on Monday the baron received despatches from the Court of Spain announcing the death of a prince and the birth of another and asked audience to inform the king as instructed, the Master of the Ceremonies informed him on Tuesday that he had been told on Friday to make any communication to the secretary of state because the king would not hear him. Batteville replied that he was not ambassador to the secretaries but to the king of England. If he could not be admitted to his Majesty he had nothing more to do here and so he asked for a passport to leave the country. So he is dismantling his house and preparing to depart, saying that he means to go with the utmost possible speed since unquestionably they do not want him any more in England, especially as since the 10th October, the date of the affair of the coaches, soldiers of the king's own guard had been set at his house and so continued at the ambassador's cost, and these had been taken away on Tuesday, and when he expressed a wish to General Monk that they should be left so long as he remained here, he was told that the king had expressly ordered the contrary.
The things above are what the secretary said to the ambassador. Outside many others are mentioned: that he spoke ill of the queen who is to come from Portugal; that he had intelligence with the governor of Dunkirk for the revolt of that fortress; that he is the origin of the talk about Tangier reported last week, which continues more strongly than ever; that he offered money and tried to corrupt the officers and men being sent to Africa and many similar things, which even if true should not be accounted as blameworthy since he is obliged to do all that he considers of service to his master, such being the duty of ministers (ch'essendo anco certe, non gli dovrebbero esser ascritte a colpe, obligate ogle d'intentare tutto cio che gli pare di servitio del Padrone, tale essendo il debito de' Ministri e di chi serve).
Parliament resumed its sessions the day before yesterday, at which the bishops assisted for the first time. The king was there but he merely recommended the provision of ready money and to have at heart the quiet of the kingdom. These first meetings have produced nothing of consequence so what is more interesting must be expected in the future.
The king has pardoned the captain of the Charles, at the request of some of the leading gentlemen at Court, and he has been restored to liberty and to his charge, it being recognised that he was not greatly to blame for the flight of the ambassador, but that it all arose from the cunning and evil disposition of the latter.
The duke of Ormond has been recently appointed to superintend the government of Ireland with the title of Lieutenant or Viceroy. (fn. 1) He is to go there as soon as possible leaving vacant his present office of High Steward, which remains void for the time.
The duke of York has been at Dunkirk and is momentarily expected back at Court. Nothing comes from the fleet or from elsewhere except the death at Cambrai of the Count of Fuendalsagna, destined by the Catholic to the government of the Spanish possessions in the Netherlands, in place of the marquis of Caracena.
London, the 2nd December, 1661.
[Italian.]
Dec. 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
96. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters of the 6th ult. report the rout of the Muscovite army on the 4th by the Polish army (fn. 2) ; the Muscovite army to be killed. Colonel Duglas among the prisoners.
Vienna, the 3rd December, 1661.
[Italian.]
Dec. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
97. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In my last I reported the re-opening of parliament. I now have to add what has been done there. First, in view of the king's great urgency for ready money, of the inevitable obligation to find immense sums to meet the monthly pay of the troops maintained in garrison at Dunkirk and other remote places and for the naval forces, which absorb an incredible amount of the exiguous revenues of the crown, not yet well established and inadequate for the expenditure they have to meet and many other things which this king has to perform beyond what was done by his predecessors, to keep a bridle on a people rendered fierce and insolent by past licence, to secure permanent tranquillity in this inconstant and chimerical island, it was proposed to make a grant to his Majesty. Immediately and unanimously they voted him 1,200,000l. sterling to meet the present serious emergencies, a considerable sum and the greatest that has ever been granted to any king of England on any occasion. They are now considering how to get so much money with the least burden upon the people, who being subject to many other considerable payments would rather see themselves discharged of the old payments than condemned to new ones.
In his speech his Majesty drew attention to the miserable condition of all those who in supporting the cause of his father and himself in the late rebellion were despoiled of all their property, many losing their lives, leaving their posterity in lamentable case while he could not afford them to slightest relief owing to the destitution in which he found himself after his return to England. Parliament considered the matter up to a certain point and voted the sum of 60,000l. sterling to be divided among these unfortunates and also to set up a committee to consider how to succour them promptly either by restoring them to the enjoyment of what was their own and remains in the hands of unlawful possessors, or in other ways. So the wisest of them are called by the committee to suggest the readiest means that can be taken for their relief without disturbance and with certainty of performance.
Parliament has also devoted its earnest attention to the means of repressing turbulent spirits, as recommended by the king in his speech, and of destroying the rebellions which seem to be breaking out in several parts of the country before they get a firmer hold. Upon this they remark that some who are in the Tower, justly condemned to execution as guilty of the blood of the late king, but reprieved so far, no one knows why, can only serve while they live as an encouragement and stimulus to their confederates, who are too numerous in this kingdom, to attempt fresh disturbances. These have all been summoned before parliament to hear from their mouths what they have to say why the sentence pronounced against them should remain without effect. Some of them tried to clear themselves by asserting their innocence and that they were wrongfully condemned; others confessed they were blinded by the devil and besought pardon; others again tried in other ways to escape death. But nothing availed to suggest such an indulgence in the minds of the judges, and it is believed that before long the sentence against them will be carried out, it being now confirmed by the authority of parliament.
Not being pleased with the removal of Lambert, Vene and the other sectaries from the Tower to adjacent islands they have petitioned his Majesty to have them brought back to England, and this being granted ships have been sent to fetch them. It is believed that when they arrive parliament will make them pay with their lives for their crimes, and this will be a good example for the numerous fanatics who survive in this country, especially as they are the leaders of the sects and of the false doctrines which dominate England.
A minister who preached last October in some corner of this metropolis and published libels full of sedition, ended his life on the gallows the day before yesterday, without any repentance, indeed with horrid blasphemies, so great was the power of the Tempter over him. (fn. 3) His quarters were hung in the usual places and his intestines burned, and it may be hoped that the example will check others who seek to fish in troubled waters. Some books have recently been burned by the hangman which were found in the house of a sectary, full of biting lies against the present political government and raging against the ecclesiastical. (fn. 4)
From all these things parliament is seen to have nothing but an intense desire to serve the king and to preserve him and protect him against any peril that may remain. He will be completely delivered if they reform the Privy Council, which is discussed and seems to be desired by parliament and by all sincere servants of his Majesty by purging it of the numerous Presbyterians who not only have seats in it but the greatest power and authority, although they behaved as irreconcileable enemies to the present king and his father, being accommodated by his Majesty when he returned to England with such elevated posts for pure convenience and good governance as it did not then suit him to offend them, but that he may gradually get rid of them for the absolute security of himself, his house and dominions.
The Spanish ambassador remains in London without being admitted to Court and is preparing to leave. Before doing this he seems to be awaiting the arrival of despatches from Madrid with orders to leave here from his master before the intimation from the king here, the news of which cannot yet have reached Madrid. People say openly and we hear from other quarters that these steps against Batteville have been taken to please the Most Christian over the affair of the coaches, although his procedure had been approved and commended, and they covered his being forbidden the Court under other pretexts, and that the Catholic has agreed to recall his minister and in his place will come Don Steffano di Gamara, at present ambassador with the States in Holland. We shall soon know for certain.
The English ambassador Germin has reached London from France. He is really servant of the queen mother and has only come to arrange many things for her return to England. She is expected to come as soon as she is released by the delivery of her daughter, wife of the Most Christian's brother.
I cannot yet report the execution of any of the instructions contained in the ducali of the 5th and 12th November, just received, but will do so when I have made certain. I have not yet been able to speak to the Secretary Nicolas about the interposition at Constantinople because he is suffering from the gout and has been several days in retirement, without seeing anyone. With him and anyone else I will act so that the project may be dropped, which will not be difficult, especially as I avoided committing myself.
London, the 9th December, 1661.
[Italian.]
Dec. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
98. To the Resident in England.
News has been received from Smyrna that the English fleet is sailing towards the Strait of Gibraltar, pursuing the corsairs. The Senate is sure that he will keep an eye on this and on what ensues with respect to the incivilities between the ships of the Swedish ambassador and the English.
The Senate notes the preparations for the reception of the queen of England, the bride, and the expenses which foreign ministers will have to incur. It will be his duty to show regard in the proportion and manner which he judges to be proper for the occasion, and in due time consideration will be given to the expense, and he may be sure that marks of the public favour will not be lacking.
Ayes, 116. Noes, 16. Neutral, 16.
[Italian.]
Dec. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
99. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters from the imperial resident of the 13th ult. report calm at Constantinople; that the plague is abating; that thanks to the offices performed by the English ambassador at the Porte the Turks are disposed to receive the Portuguese ambassador.
Vienna, the 11th December, 1661.
[Italian.]
Dec. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
100. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Grand Chancellor at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
Journey of the English ambassador to Adrianople. I went at night to wish him a pleasant journey. He said that he was going in order to dissipate any sinister idea of the Turks about the ill-will of his king owing to the operations of the English ships at Algiers. Upon this he has a very definite letter from the commander of the ships which justifies what has happened. When the squadron arrived in the neighbourhood, representations were sent to the Basha to cause the articles of the agreement formerly made with parliament to be carried out. Among these one was most essential, concerning reciprocal liberty and security for navigation. Upon this action and when the demand was read in the Divan the Barbareschi were stirred to great bitterness, to such an extent that orders were issued to fire on the ships with their guns. This was done forthwith and some were killed. Being thus obliged to defend themselves they responded to this attack with energy, inflicting great damage on the fortress, houses and inhabitants. The last, finding themselves in a tight place, crossed the channel of the port in a number of long vessels, and accordingly the English directed their energies to preventing access, as they could not make so deep an impression when the others were further off. The ambassador has no doubt that the Grand Vizier will be entirely satisfied. He went on to say that with the opportunity of this journey he proposed to have the capitulations signed, and would try to get them improved in some points, but he did not enter into particulars.
When I asked him about the introduction of the Portuguese he said that he had not yet received letters from his king on this subject, but he was advised that at Marseilles there are many packets of letters of his Majesty for Constantinople. These can only arrive by some French saettia and his Excellency is awaiting them with impatience, feeling certain that among them will be something containing the decision about the affairs of England and Portugal.

Pera of Constantinople, the 14th December, 1661.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
101. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Parliament continues to sit, but is only engaged on the matters reported last week and discussing how to carry them into effect. It has also attended to the affairs of private individuals, but that is a purely internal question which can be neglected. Of the fleet which remains beyond the Strait definite news is lacking. By reports via Marseilles and other French ports it is constantly scoring advantages against the Barbary folk, which though of no great consequence, may tend to the weakening of those pirates, and it would be desirable for them to be brought to such a state that they would lack strength to recover. There is a rumour here agreeing with the report from Florence mentioned in the ducali of the 19th November, that the Algerines have bowed themselves to ask for peace, but so far they have no sure authority for this at Court. There is no doubt that they will listen to proposals and come to an agreement, provided the terms are reasonable and convenient, as it does not suit the Barbary folk or this country to have hostilities because of trade. So there is no doubt that if they can have peace here on terms that are not to be despised they will embrace it eagerly without the smallest care for any other interests, beyond their own advantage and gain.
It was not until Tuesday that the earl of Peterborough took leave and set out the next day for Portsmouth the place of embarcation. He will find there the foot and horse for the garrison, the former in English ships the latter in Dutch hired for the purpose because they are more convenient for such embarcations; and he will sail with the first favourable wind. They state here positively that General Montagu is already in Tangier, where he was well received by the inhabitants in spite of the reports of their objections. On the other hand these reports are repeated and that Montagu was not admitted. We must wait for time to bring the truth to light.
Some ships to fetch the queen are only waiting for a favourable wind. They are ready in every particular remarkably decorated with other ornaments befitting such a service. They will go in convoy with Peterborough so in a few months the king will have the bride so much desired by his subjects for whom prayers have been offered not only in some churches of this metropolis but in Ireland as well. With the hurried preparations for this solemn and conspicuous event and seeing the people vieing with each other, the king, to put a stop to superfluity and excessive vanity, which could only result in embarrassments, has issued a proclamation forbidding the gilding of coaches, on which immense sums were being poured out, and to help the artisans of the city and the manufactures of England he has forbidden all embroidery, lace, points and other things which came from France, Flanders, Venice and other foreign places, on which incredible sums were expended. (fn. 5)
From Portugal and Holland are come the ratification of the treaty between the States and the duke of Braganza. Time will show how it will be kept. All appearances indicate that it cannot last for long because they have promised the English many of the things granted to the Dutch and it is impossible to keep their word with both. They have agreed to give the English free navigation and trade in Brazil and the East Indies with the total exclusion of every other nation and to hand over certain places in the Indies which are occupied by the Dutch. To these latter they grant the same trade and promise the peaceful possession of what they hold in the Indies, which cannot be since the English will want them given up and the Dutch will not consent to let go what they have conquered. So there will either be a rupture between these two neighbours or the Portuguese will have to find some other way to content both. Apart from this we must wait to see what time will bring. Meanwhile it is probable that as they are sending to fetch the queen, they have assurance of the promises, otherwise they would never go so far.
To prevent all motives for dissension and disturbance in this city they have issued a proclamation forbidding all persons who bore arms for the past usurped governments, all disbanded officers and every other sort of suspected person from living in it, under severe penalties, limiting them to a certain distance from London and prescribing punishment for those who venture to break these limits. (fn. 6)
In accordance with your Excellencies's letters of the 12th ult. touching the orders given to the earl of Winchelsea I find that besides repeated injunctions to see that ships of this nation do not serve the Turk against your Serenity, he was directed to induce the Grand Turk to admit a minister of Portugal at Constantinople. He tried for this, but without success, owing to the opposition of the minister of a great prince, who must be the imperial resident, (fn. 7) out of consideration for the interests of the Spaniards. So as the Portuguese have no money to spend on this affair, as they find it very difficult to get together the dowry promised to the king here, and as here they can, only employ words in their favour, while the Turks will grant nothing without money down, it is probable that the instructions will remain without effect. If I find out further particulars, I will inform the Senate.
London, the 16th December, 1661.
[Italian.]
Dec. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
102. To the Resident in England.
Acknowledge his letters No. 312. Note the king's decision not to receive the Spanish ambassador again to audience. Sure that he will watch attentively to see what ensues in this matter; he will also observe whether any other person is expected at that Court.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 5. Neutral, 8.
[Italian.]
Dec. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Genova.
Venetian
Archives.
103. Paris Tasca, Venetian Consul at Genoa, to the Doge and Senate.
Another ship which has come from Algiers brings a detailed catalogue of the booty taken in a few weeks by those corsairs. It enumerates 24 ships including fourteen English, three of them laden with oil, one with currants, one with wool, several with salt fish and one very rich one with 400 bales of cloth of London, which was going to Smyrna and Italy.
Genoa, the 24th December, 1661.
[Italian.]
Dec. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
104. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate,
The fortress of Tangier has already been handed over to the English, all the hopes on this side being thus destroyed by the contrary event, and they are afforded a fresh subject for apprehension and trouble, because, while others are busy with deeds they are content to delude themselves with talk. England will now proceed to the possession of the Tercere, having made such important acquisitions and convenient places of refuge, as a place for the passage of the Indies and for the dominion of the Ocean. Maritime states can only be preserved by fleets; treasures cannot be safely kept without guards. The wealth of New Spain, the commerce of the Indies, joined with the absence of naval forces of these kingdoms are invitations to England and Holland to couple the possession of states with the advantage of trade. The capture of Jamaica, the union with Portugal, the contempt for the monarchy do not comprise any other motives, and the rule of self interest violently overrules that of right. But when evils are recognised they are not always capable of being remedied and the evil disposition introduced by habit is most difficult to get rid of and this monarchy is enveloped by strong apprehensions of trouble from abroad, suffering internally as. it is from lack of vigour and its straitened means.
Madrid, the 28th December, 1661.
[Italian.]
Dec. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
105. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A week ago I took to my bed and was unable to hold a pen. To-day I am much better though not quite recovered, being still in bed. I ask pardon for the lapse and for the present paucity, as I could pick up nothing. Parliament is busily engaged on its bills, for as Wednesday is Christmas Day by their reckoning and they expect to suspend their session for some weeks, they wish to have his Majesty's assent to the things matured. The first will be the present of 1,200,000l. sterling, for the collection of which the two chambers have prescribed the means, which cannot be known till after the publication of the bill and will have no other form than that of taxes and extraordinary impositions. The troops, governor and munitions embarked for Tangier have not been able to leave port for lack of a favourable wind. It is the same with the ships destined for Lisbon, which are quite ready, and have on board all those who are to serve the queen on the voyage, so it is probable she will soon be in England.
The Ambassador Batteville is still here and inactive. It was said that to gratify the Most Christian and desiring the permanence of the peace and to remove anything that might disturb so great a boon the Catholic agreed to recall his minister, appointing Don Stefano di Gamara in his place. Batteville has never had the royal despatches for this as they were sent from the Catholic Court to the count of Fuendalsagna, by whose death they came to the hands of the marquis della Fuentes and so continue, with instructions not to send them on here before the marquis was admitted to the Most Christian Court of which there is not, so far, the slightest indication in France, so it remains undone. There has not yet been time for a reply from Madrid upon what was said to the ambassador at this Court, and with the change of the first minister by the death of Don Luis de Haro their decisions in Spain might easily be altered. Time will show and I will keep the Senate informed.
After the ratification of the treaty between the States and the duke of Braganza, it is known that a Portuguese ambassador has appeared at the Hague to clear up certain points and do all that is necessary to complete the agreement. The Dutch have noted the obscurities and it is said that they would not admit the minister to audience. (fn. 8) It is rumoured that for this reason a rupture will ensue between the two countries. The truth should appear before long.
In obedience to several ducali I have not only observed their decisions about sending ambassadors to foreign princes, but have contrived to suggest in conversation the propriety of sending an ambassador in response to the mission from the most serene republic, and the choice of an ordinary to continue the ancient correspondence with this crown. They say that some one may shortly be selected to reside with your Serenity, and I am informed by a confidant that they incline to send Viscount Facombrige, as extraordinary to Turin and Florence, and then to Venice to remain as ordinary. He is of a good house and of remarkable parts. He is the one who married Cromwell's daughter and who went as ambassador extraordinary for that usurper to the Most Christian at Calais. Nothing is as yet absolutely certain. When I can go out I will see the Secretary Nicolas and make sure.
London, the 30th December, 1661.
[Italian.]
Cod. 1490/11.
Museo Correr.
Venice.
106. Relation of Angelo Correr and Michele Morosini, Venetian Ambassador extraordinary to England, (fn. 9)
It being our duty to report the events of our recent embassy to the king of Great Britain, although we could not push our enquiries very far in the short time of our stay, we have not neglected to give the Senate full particulars and we also give the following brief account:
While the kingdom of England was agitated in past ages through the savagery of the inhabitants, it enjoyed 67 years of the most complete tranquillity under Queen Elizabeth and James Stuart, king of Scotland, who succeeded her. His son Charles, first of the name, who succeeded in 1625 when the differences with France had been settled after the fall of La Rochelle, continued to enjoy it in peace until 1637. But from a design to make himself absolute, as many believe, or by abandoning himself to idleness, leaving the reins of government to be guided by inexpert though white haired ministers, he gradually diffused so much bitter feeling among the people, who were unable to suffer the reduction of their customary liberty, more particularly some innovations in religion, and all the other actions of these same unpopular or misunderstood ministers, as to give rise, after a course of various accidents, to those terrible disasters which led to the unhappy and memorable loss of the kingdom and of his life in the way everyone knows only too well.
The present ruler, Charles II., born in 1630 and aged 19 at his father's death in 1649, had also to experience an adverse fortune and as a wanderer, though near at hand, to be the wretched spectator of his own ruin. After being acclaimed and crowned king in Scotland his experiences in arms there did not avail to restore him to the possession of those dominions which had been unjustly taken from him by the troubles which originated with these same Scots and by the deceitful way in which they abandoned the late king to the hands of the English. After the violent rule of parliament he had also to see the success of the tyrannical authority of a man who rose from the common ranks of his subjects, but who had the courage and the remarkable fortune to rule for long years and until his death over these vast dominions, without upsetting its trade or those communications with foreign nations, which render them rich and plentiful above all others, but also saw the crowns of France and Spain flattering and respecting him and eagerly seeking how they might form an alliance with him. This was actually done by the French, and in conjunction with them he succeeded in extending his power across the sea becoming master of many places, notably of the fort of Mardich and of the important place of Dunkirk, which the English still keep.
But at Cromwell's death, as the government had not yet taken any firm hold, and his son soon showed that he had not the capacity to sustain it, while parliament, composed of divers persons, who could not all have similar aims, was drawing up divers laws, amid the confusion of many projects in debate, a general cry arose, unexpectedly supported by General Monch, calling for the king, showing clearly that the Almighty, in the end with his strong arm, does not let justice go or permit the oppression of the innocent. Thus when the world least expected it and when he himself perhaps looked for it least, the tempest suddenly calmed down the breezes changed to blessings of peace and quiet and Charles II. was as it were miraculously established on the throne rather than called to the possession of the crown, with shouts of rejoicing and, one may say, with universal satisfaction.
No sooner were the reports of the king's recall circulated in England than loud curses and abuse broke out against the name of the late protector. Not only was his name abused by men of all sorts, but the savagery of the people raged against his very ashes, his remains being dragged from the tomb at Westminster, where they lay honourably among those of the kings, and scattered with shameful ignominy about the city. His effigy, deposited in the same place with the royal ones, was decapitated and torn to pieces, and marks and characters expressive of the deepest ignominy put in its place. His head, after being exposed publicly to all, was set up on a spike on the top of the palace of Westminster together with the heads of those who as judges or inhuman parricides had passed sentence against King Charles I. for which they were afterwards condemned to death by parliament.
Proceedings were subsequently taken, as your Serenity was advised, against many other conspirators and accomplices in the late calamities, and you know that the king, inclining to pity rather than severity, subsequently granted the general and particular pardon. Possibly few deserved this and it did not meet with the approval of those who with unshaken loyalty followed the king's party in all fortunes, who consider that in the distribution of offices and honours they have not been rewarded according to their deserts, these having been shared equally, one may say, with those who came out openly against the crown. In this the king trusted to the advice of the chancellor, and being guided by it, considers the policy a good one. as it will be, if it succeeds. We must wait for time to decide securely, as benefits only serve to placate in appearance the infected minds of his enemies, while he cools the zeal and devotion of his friends.
Some hint on the subject has been given to his Majesty by his intimates, but while it seems to him that he cannot change his course without observation, and possibly danger, yet it is clear that doubt and distrust are fostered in his mind and cause him disquiet though outwardly he dissimulates his feelings and behaves with noticeable carelessness of manner. He not only shows confidence in all but indulges in the utmost familiarity with every one. He leaves the house at all hours, sometimes with many and at others with a very small following of gentlemen. He enjoys hunting, fishing and trips on the charming little craft on the Thames. In the evening he plays familiarly with some of the most intimate, often keeping them at table and even condescends to go to those of private individuals, when he has cause to visit the ladies of the Court and some of them with whom he is especially intimate, in short he seems practically unable to shake off the habits formed under necessity during so many years of private life and which please him better than the actuality and pomp of royalty. Yet on great and noteworthy occasions he does not forget to uphold the royal majesty, although it is combined with a pleasing suavity whereby he has won the respect and affection of the common people in particular, so that blessings on his name are heard everywhere and one sees the respect for him personally.
For his guard, the king keeps 2,000 foot and 800 horse; not an excessive number, but noteworthy by comparison with the way in which past kings used to live, who had no troops of any kind except a few bowmen (arcieri) for show. By act of parliament he disposes freely of this force, with power to change the officers and soldiers at his pleasure, so that they may be called entirely dependent upon him. A paid militia is set up in all the counties of the realm and things are so disposed that, in case of need, they must be under arms and subject to the command of leaders of authority, believed to be loyal. These corps of militia, both horse and foot are so numerous that they suffice to form a very powerful army. Thus it may be said that the king and the kingdom are always armed, and without any expense, the policy of the parliamentarians having settled the form with general approval.
The garrison of Dunkirk consists of 6,000 foot and 600 horse, all English except a few Walloons. In the fort of Mardich there will be about 3,000 Irish, a number far in excess of the need, which gives the Spaniards good cause for suspicion and forces them to keep the neighbouring places exceptionally well guarded.
The control of all these troops is committed to the governor of Dunkirk. He is a man of ability and long military experience; so that neither he nor others, from what has been said to us, can be persuaded that so large a force is not destined for some greater enterprises. The marriage with Portugal, when it is made, will possibly clear up what at present is obscure. We received every possible honour at that place, as your Serenity was informed at the time.
The revenues of the crown and the furnishings of the household, distributed among a number of rebels, are steadily being recovered; but the royal palaces of which the late kings had a number in various pleasant places are almost all in ruin, with the exception of those of London and Hampton Court, the last in particular, which was preserved by Cromwell for his residence.
The revenues of his Majesty have been fixed at 12,000,000 livres tournois a year, equivalent to about 6 million of our ducats, upon condition that this shall suffice for all the demands of the state as well as of the household. The payment of his guards was not excepted and this with the garrisons of Dunkirk and Mardich and the maintenance of the fleet amount to such a considerable sum that his Majesty felt the burden excessive, the more so because the assignments do not really come to so much as they were valued at, so that he made strong representations to parliament for relief. It was decided to grant this, but having tried in vain to do so by the increase of certain impositions, chiefly on beer, which the people did not like, it was decided that the nobility and the wealthy should voluntarily make a donation to the king, for that turn, until some better way should be found, which should not exceed 400l. sterling for the titled or 200l. for the others. Everyone seemed to agree readily to this and so his Majesty received a notable relief thereby.
Since the meeting of parliament your Serenity has received full information of the steps taken and there can be no doubt that the present members leave his Majesty nothing to desire in the way of his convenience and satisfaction, all being dependent on him, as has been shown in many ways. But some who hold different not to say subversive opinions, being well aware of this, would like them changed, and have spread abroad various ideas indicating their weakness. This having reached the king's ears, he showed some annoyance, and he almost went so far as to declare openly that for the moment he did not desire any change. Nor can any be reasonably expected so soon, as there remain many great questions to be settled which need time to ripen.
The most important is that of religion for it was that which gave the greatest stimulus to the late troubles, as the people will not put up with violence, especially in matters of conscience. Various sessions were held, but the proposal to publish absolute liberty of conscience was not carried, the Lord Chancellor opposing it among others. But the severity against the Catholics is greatly relaxed, [and (fn. 10) where formerly they were miserably subjected to penalties involving their goods and their lives, now these are removed, amid universal satisfaction, with the hope that in the future they may be able to enjoy greater advantages, and already many who make public profession of it are tolerated by connivance. These are very numerous and of all grades of society. In Arundel House, in London itself, the religious exercises are performed publicly.
At this point we will say briefly what would require a longer description. In this same house which is most respectful to the name of your Serenity we have received the very greatest favours and honours. The king without any reserve not only has especially confidential relations with it, but Mons. d'Obigni, uncle of the present duke, who is Master of the Horse, holds what is practically a privileged position beside his Majesty (facendo quasi appresso alla Maesta sua figura di privato). From this it may be concluded that he cherishes no small inclination towards Catholicism, and this is suggested even more strongly by the many indications he gave of it in Flanders, where from time to time he was not averse from the conversation of religious, and that of the Capuchins in particular; indeed it is said that he promised there that a son of his, born of a Catholic mother, should be instructed in that faith, and he is allowing this to continue at present, in London, having him brought up in the house of Catholic people. (fn. 11)
It might perchance prove too tiresome if we should enter here into a description of the sects in England, derived from those of Calvin and Luther, which are numerous and swarm, all disagreeing with each other, but perhaps your Serenity will permit us to make a brief mention of them. The first and chief is that of the Protestants, which recognises the king as head of the Church and accepts bishops, who are at present fully restored and in the exercise of their charges, as well as the subordinate dignitaries, together with the use of the priestly vestments and berettas.
The second, which is the most numerous and which seems to receive fresh additions every day is called that of the Presbyterians. These do not allow bishops or any other ceremony, but follow the counsels of their leaders, called Elders. With these, in their assemblies they decide everything. As enemies of the monarchy and the majority of them being either very rich or well to do, they are the ones from whom the late troubles originated and received support, so it behoves the king to keep a close watch upon them.
The third is that of the Anabaptists, who do not permit the baptism of children until they are instructed in the faith. The fourth are called Independents. All of these, women as well as men, claim the right to preach, refuse obedience to no matter whom, believing that men cannot be saved by conscience, neither can those who do not live after their fashion. Included with these sectaries there are: the Anabaptists, Independents, Brownists, Levellers, Seekers and Quakers, people all governed by their own fantasies, who claim to have the spirit of God. Thus they take dreams for revelations and inner presumptions for sapient examinations of the truth. In short, as stated above, they all derive from Lutheranism and Calvinism, being founded on the false universal basis that the Holy Scriptures are the sole rule of the faith, that the Church may err and in fact has erred in interpreting them, and so with everyone giving to the Word of God such interpretation as he pleases or as suits him, can profess and invent a new sect every day, according to his own caprice. From all this inextricable confusions have evolved which, please God, may turn to the advantage of our holy faith which remaining always the same, uncorrupted and uncontaminated, should one day, one may hope, triumph over the errors and instability of the others.
In Ireland, past severity against the Catholics having been relaxed, things seem to be proceeding very quietly.
His Majesty showing himself satisfied with the resolutions taken from time to time in the parliament of Scotland has not only accepted practically all of them, but has also hearkened to their petitions, having removed from that kingdom the garrisons which the English kept there, without mentioning the matter in his Council. This action, which seems a sound principle of government, does not apparently meet with universal approbation.
His Majesty was extremely gratified with the office we performed in congratulating him on his marriage with the Infanta of Portugal, which we found settled on our arrival in London, and the ambassador of Portugal had already gone with the adjustment of the articles†]. These being extremely advantageous for his Majesty, there were many, possibly to upset the affair, who went about saying that they could not possibly be fulfilled. Batteville, who offered every sort of opposition, was the chief instrument of the machine and the author of the negotiations with Parma, which he supported vigorously at the time of the earl of Bristol's mission to Italy. When these efforts proved fruitless he announced with design that he had orders to return to Spain. The Court could do no other than, applaud the king's choice, with the flattery that always accompanies good fortune, but privately it was freely stated that the matter had been arranged by the chancellor for his personal interests, having drawn most handsome profits from the Portuguese. The event will soon show what good or ill will flow therefrom.
Twice a week his Majesty holds the Council of State, composed of many leading persons. Divers matters are discussed there but the greater part derive their substance from the opinion of the Lord Chancellor, and the same person sees that they are carried out. This minister, as has been said, possesses all the king's esteem and respect and at present seems the sole director of affairs. The better to consolidate his authority he has married a daughter to the duke of York, who bears him great respect. This prince applies himself but little to the affairs of the country, and attends to nothing but his pleasures; but he is a young man of good spirit loving and beloved by the king, his brother, and he discharges the office of Lord High Admiral. He treated us with great courtesy and offered to go in person to the war against the Turk, if the opportunity should arise; a compliment which does not commit him in any way.
General Monch also confines himself to his private affairs, and has little desire for authority in public matters, only exercising it in his office of general of the military forces of the kingdom. We shall say nothing of other ministers, to avoid prolixity and because we do not think it necessary. We will only say that having expressed to the chancellor and Monch your Serenity's esteem for them personally, and done our utmost to persuade them to arrange matters for the advantage of Christendom in the present situation in the Levant we could draw nothing from either of them but expressions of goodwill expressed with the utmost curtness.
From this, from circumstances, from interests and from our very strong representations to the king of the needs of Christendom and of his own chances of glory, in two audiences, when he said that he was willing but unable at the present time to interest himself in the public cause, as he was not fully established in his kingdom, we regretfully draw the conclusion that your Excellencies can look for little advantage. They are thinking indeed, on the score of economy, of reducing the number of ships as they did with the troops. These will number well over a hundred which are armed or which can be at any moment. But possibly events in the Mediterranean and the insolence of the Turkish corsairs may delay the decision because it is necessary for the king to reduce their pride, otherwise the English nation will soon be left without any trade. For this reason General Montagu was sent to Algiers, but instead of the compositions which were expected from his negotiations there has come an open rupture, from which God grant that some benefit may arise to Christendom, not only the English but the French and Spaniards equally being called upon to take strong steps in a matter of such importance. Those interested in the Levant Company, who have always tried to prevent anything likely to disturb confidence with the Turks from fear of upsetting their affairs, are the most active at the present time to see them brought down.
In representing to his Majesty the interests of our merchants here, plundered by pirates of much valuable property on English ships and demanding reparation from the captains for their perfidy, as instructed, we obtained the friendly declarations which we reported, and we will not cease from our efforts to represent the gravity of the offence and the necessity for a suitable remedy.
When the secretary of state by order of the Council sent us the note in favour of Captain Gilisco, (fn. 12) there were included some very strong representations from those merchants about the charges which they have to bear in the currant trade, in addition to the state duties, stating very clearly that whereas it is at present greatly diminished so without some prompt and vigorous remedy it will soon be destroyed. They further add that because of the intolerable delays and prejudices due to the unwarrantable grasping of the ministers, over their goods sent to this city, few of their ships will be seen here again, more particularly because after many past experiences their traders are not safe from the annoyance of inquisitions, as many have experienced in these recent times. We feel bound to report this, as they expressed themselves very strongly, and we must add that to our infinite regret we have heard similar complaints in Flanders, Holland and Germany, alike. As trade is the soul of states and especially of those who from the first have built their greatness thereupon, we think the prudence of the state is called upon to supply a remedy to maintain it in vigour.
At Constantinople his Majesty at present has the earl of Wechelsea as ambassador, a nobleman of high birth and great ability and above all of the most friendly disposition towards the interests of Christendom and of your Serenity in particular. We are glad to hear continued proofs of the correspondence he maintains with the house of your Serenity and that he has recently given very clear evidence of it. We told the king with what satisfaction the Senate had heard of the generous resistance which enabled him to escape the violence of the Turks in the granting of ships. He seemed very pleased about it and promised to commend him and confirm him in the same sentiments for future occasions.
To our communication of the selection of Signor Mocenigo to be ambassador in ordinary with him, his Majesty repeated his satisfaction and did not seem disinclined to correspond in due time, and we believe that this will be done as they are sending to the crowns, from all of whom, in spite of the lack of reciprocity, there are ordinary ambassadors.
With the ambassadors of Holland, who are here in England to settle the differences which still exist over the fisheries and other affairs of the sea, we exchanged visits twice with every sign of confidence calculated to assure them of the regard of your Serenity for their masters and your readiness to prove it by deeds. They spoke to the same effect and not only from them but from others we gathered that the States are very desirous of restoring the former effective correspondence, and all that is needed is to arrange the manner, which in our opinion would be very easy. Our instructions did not allow us to go beyond mere courtesies in this matter though we went as far as we could. If there had been time to receive instructions we should have hoped to arrive at some advantageous arrangement, as if asked the States might easily supply a certain number of troops or at least of ships to help the public cause.
The substance of our affairs being in the matters mentioned above we need enlarge no further thereupon or on the honours shown to us, except to say that none were denied us either by the Court or the foreign ministers, indeed we had an advantage in the constant presence of the royal coaches, which had previously been refused to all, a matter that attracted the attention of the whole Court. We are very glad that the disputes between France and Spain at the entry of the ambassador of Sweden, which caused so much stir with danger of worse trouble, were carefully avoided at our functions.
We have profited greatly by the ability and diligence of the Resident Giavarina, increasing his deserts as he does by his daily service. Lustre was added to our embassy by the presence of the brothers Marc Antonio and Alessandro Zeni. Alvise Contarini, son of Pietro. Gio Battista Sanudo and Count Francesco Martinengo. who with many other private gentlemen attend by a son of me. Correr, rendered the functions of the embassy very brilliant. We feel sure that your Serenity will appreciate the readiness with which we undertook the perils of the great journey and that we have not spared our persons or our substance.
In accordance with the present custom of restricted presents we received of the royal bounty a portrait of the king framed in diamonds which we lay at the feet of your Serenity, and if it is granted to us we shall keep it in memory of the beneficence of the state and of our service. By order of the chancery we have enjoyed, with complete satisfaction the services of Lorenzo Pauluzzi as secretary and of Antonio Maria Vincenti as coadjutor, who have increased their deserts by discharging their duties regardless of cost or inconvenience and worthy of the rewards which the Senate never denies to those who serve it faithfully, especially as Pauluzzi has been denied, perhaps because of the shortage referred to, that mark of honour which has always been received by secretaries from the crown on similar occasions.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 On the 4–14 November.
2 At Zeromsk.
3 John James, charged on 19th Nov., o.s., for preaching traitorously and for a declaration made at a conventicle at Whitechapel on 19th October. He was sentenced on 22nd Nov. and executed at Tyburn on the 27th. Kingdom's Intelligencer Nov. 18–25. Mercurius Politicus Nov. 21–8. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1661–2, page 617. According to Rugge he was a weaver and said to be a Fifth Monarchy man. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 10116, f. 281.
4 Books seized from Robert Wilson, a Quaker bookseller, burnt as seditious at St. Martins le Grand on 25th Nov., o.s., and in Palace Yard, Westminster, on 26th Nov., o.s. Kingdom's Intelligencer Nov. 25–Dec. 2.
5 Proclamation of 20th November, o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1661–2, page 153.
6 Proclamation of 28 Nov., o.s. Steele; Tudor and Stuart Proclamations Vol. I, page 402, No. 3339.
7 Simon Reninger.
8 Diogo Lopes Ulhoa arrived first, and was followed at the end of December by Henrique de Sousa de Tavares, conde de Miranda. Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh Vol. iv., page 787.
9 The text is printed by Barozzi and Berchet: Relazioni, Inghilterra, pp. 421–32.
10 This section, down to the square bracket with the dagger below, is missing from the printed text.
11 James Crofts, afterwards duke of Monmouth, was at first under a Catholic tutor, Stephen Gough, an English oratorian.
12 Thomas Galillee. See page 32 above.