Venice
July 1664

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1933

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26-32

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'Venice: July 1664', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 26-32. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90155 Date accessed: 28 November 2014.


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July 1664

July 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
40. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The letters from England this week speak diversely upon the question of a rupture or an accommodation with the Dutch. In general since the arrival and the reports made by the Resident Douningh about the differences in question, it was announced that the king, to obtain the satisfaction that is due, cannot do less than move first with an intimation and then by force, and in this connection there is to note not so much the animosity and inclination of the people, as the orders which continue with all solicitude for preparing a number of ships of war and the royal proclamation recalling to the service of the crown all the ships, sailors and military men who are in foreign countries, although it was published under the pretext of the late accidents at Tanger. Thus with the appointment of the Palatine Prince Rupert, brother of the Elector, to be general of the English fleet, it would seem that everything points in the direction of war, repugnant as this is to the general interests of Christendom and most pernicious.
On the other hand, that is to say by private letters, we have heard that the assurance brought by Douningh to the king that the States are disposed to give satisfaction to the English merchants on the two principal points, namely in leaving their trade free on the coasts of Malabar and Guinea, and to appoint commissioners immediately by virtue of the last treaty to make a reasonable settlement with regard to the other claims for losses which have been made, since it is certain that the chief ones adduced about the two ships Good Hope and Henry Bonaventura are unjust. Further that they are ready in any case to refer the whole question to the equity of King Charles himself, who well knows the practice of the States in other matters in giving satisfaction to his Majesty, who cannot now give way to the various passions of the merchants interested.
The conclusion is that with strong reasons gaming ground and with increased offers on the part of Holland, with the king's inclination steadily growing weaker and for the convenience of his treasury, it is thought, as indeed has appeared for a week past, that the matter will calm down by negotiation and the differences likewise.
In any case the Dutch are prepared for all emergencies. They have given the command of their fleet to Admiral Opdam, and for this they have put at his disposal a powerful vessel of seventy-two bronze guns and a complement of 375 men. (fn. 1) This will be followed by eighteen others also armed for war, to go to meet the fleet which is expected from the East Indies with great wealth.
At the same time they have sent four companies of the guard to the fortress on the island of Bril, where fourteen other companies are in garrison which were sent there before, since they are reasonably anxious about that place, which was surprised by the English on another similar occasion. Similarly they do not linger over the equipment of another and more considerable fleet, which will be commanded by the Baron di Vassenhaer, to put them in a position to resist any attack. But with the arrival of the Dutch ambassador who left the Hague for London on the 17th it is thought that the desired adjustment will come about.
Lord Inchequin who is at present in command of the English troops in Portugal, is destined to succeed the late Earl of Tiviot as governor of Tanger. It is confirmed that the latter was surprised by the Moorish cavalry and slain with 300 men of the garrison.
Moret, the 1st July, 1664.
[Italian.]
July 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
41. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Grand Chancellor at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
I have informed the English ambassador of the Senate's decree for the release of the tin and steel that were detained. My letter was sent to his villa where, for most of the time, he is staying. I will certainly give him no occasion for offence, but try to cultivate his goodwill. The English merchants declare quite openly that from this time forth the despatch of steel by ship to Smyrna and to Constantinople will be much more copious and frequent than it has been hitherto.
Adrianople, the 7th July, 1664.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
42. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
What I have said before about the time necessary for my advertisements to reach the Senate applies more particularly to the account of the affairs of England, since it is well known that letters sent straight from thence to Venice arrive at least a week sooner by Antwerp than by Paris.
What I now have to say is that Signor di Goch having arrived in London in the capacity of ambassador extraordinary of the States, having had a private conference with King Charles, and from him, after Colonel Kilgrey who preceded him, a person highly esteemed by his Britannic Majesty, he had learned in addition of the good offices which had been performed by the Resident Douningh, it was hoped, beyond a doubt, that the difficulties between that crown and the republic of Holland would be steadily taking a better turn towards an adjustment. It is true that King Charles had equipped seventeen ships of war at Portsmouth, and raised 100,000l. sterling at six per cent, from the companies of merchants with the assent of the council of the city of London, which undertook to pledge itself for both the interest and the capital advanced. Also that the Dutch on their side were constantly strengthening themselves at sea, as in addition to the fleet sent to meet the ships of the East India Company which are expected, they have despatched six other armed ships to assist their herring fishery at the far end of England. Yet in spite of all these preparations and precautions, on one side and the other, continued without intermission, it is, as I have said, very confidently expected that peace will very speedily be concluded to the satisfaction of both parties.
On the other hand we have heard something to arouse the dissatisfaction of the Dutch, namely the confirmation of the capture of Cape Verde (fn. 2) and of the violence which the English ships have done to the merchants of Holland on the coast of Guinea, so that without mixing oldstanding grievances with the present incidents, the States have sent an extraordinary courier to their ambassador in London, so that he may make a remonstrance about it, but also to compound everything so that there may be security for greater quiet in the future.
Your Serenity should know that the English proceed in exactly the same manner in the Indies against the Spaniards, since despite the protests and commands of King Charles directed to all his ships of Jamaica, they have taken three Spanish ships which were coming from the island of Cuba, that is to say, two were sunk and the third carried as a prize to Jamaica.
Two companies of the old infantry and 300 men of the king's own guards were destined for Tanger, and the Duke of York himself had asked for the governorship of the place, with an offer that Colonel Fitzgerard and Colonel Norvod might act alternatively as his lieutenants, as a charge not only compatible with the office of Lord High Admiral which his Highness holds but as an action worthy of the high spirit of the English, to avenge the death of the Earl of Tiviot, so treacherously brought about by Prince Gayland, and with this despatch they will join a certain amount of money to console that distressed garrison.
Letters of the Hague of the 28th relate that the corsairs of Algiers were awaiting with impatience the other fleet of Holland commanded by Vice-Admiral de Ruyter, which has already reached Cadiz, in the persuasion that they will arrange with him a fresh treaty of peace, to which end they have put aside all the slaves of that nation. If the corsairs promise on somewhat better security not to search the merchant ships, the States are disposed to make an accommodation. Under the present circumstances it is exceedingly undesirable that this should happen.
Moret, the 8th July, 1664.
[Italian.]
July 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
43. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The affair of England with Holland is taking a different turn this week from what appearances have hitherto suggested, and the Ambassador Borel who is still indisposed at Paris, has sent his secretary to impart to the Court what is happening, with the object principally of justifying the decisions which the States will be bound to take in any event. In conformity with this the secretary came to see me the day before yesterday and left me the enclosed papers which set forth the whole of their side of the case. In addition to this, the secretary, who is a very capable and discreet person, showed me, as a matter of confidence, a letter of the 24th June written by the States themselves to King Charles upon the matter of the taking of Capoverde and of the injuries inflicted by the English on the coasts of Guinea to the merchant ships and others of the companies of Holland. In this letter they declare, first that all their armaments are intended for nothing except to preserve their own safety and the liberty of their states, rights and subjects. It is not directed in the smallest way against England, either directly or indirectly, or to prejudice the observance of the three last treaties of peace with those realms, arranged in the years 1654, 1659 and 1662. The States further declare that it has never been their intention to obstruct or injure navigation in any way or of any sort, or to interfere with the well merited advantage of the crown. They repeat the necessity for them to secure the important Eastern fleet which their company is expecting at this moment, to protect the continuation of trade with their ships without prejudice to the English and the maintenance of the poor herring fishermen in unarmed boats scattered in several places.
In all this narrative and justification I notice that they refrain from giving the smallest possible offence to the king; but at the end of the letter they express themselves with great firmness. It concludes that if King Charles does not afford the States satisfaction, reparation and restitution for the last affair of Capoverde and the injuries at Guinea, with an adequate reply and a definite decision adequate to the case, the acts aforesaid will be interpreted as acts of hostility, and in such case they will consider themselves compelled to behave in a like manner at sea, to procure just redress for their claims, which has been denied them.
I thanked the secretary for this communication and confidence. I told him that this is certainly not the moment to proceed to a rupture, because we see that the common enemy, counting solely on the divisions among the Christians, aspires to absolute monarchy. To this the secretary replied that the ambassador has heard of the affair of the Turk with the strongest feelings, but at the present moment the States possess over a hundred ships of war and they know that their modesty shown in the time of Cromwell, increases the pretensions of the present time. Accordingly to show that they are not short of money either, in two days only the state exchequer has found, at interest at three per cent., a million of francs from the principal merchants of Amsterdam, although every one sees that they have not the smallest imaginable need for this money, but it is merely done to show the ease of the operation and the forwardness of the people.
The secretary told me in addition that as the States cannot trust the word of the Barbareschi for the purpose of coming to a new composition with them, they would be glad for the present difficulties with England to cease, fomented as they are by pressure from Denmark, for the reasons which I gave to your Serenity last week, because, as he says, so many armaments cannot be turned at the moment to anything else than the total destruction of the corsairs in the Mediterranean.
Moret, the 8th July, 1664.
[Italian.]
July 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
44. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I learn that the ambassador of the States in London had a special audience of King Charles in which his Majesty declared it was his royal inclination and will to be well satisfied with the arguments adduced; but with regard to the complaints of his own subjects against the companies of the two Indies, they had resolved in the Council not to do anything to encourage them by way of a rupture, though he could not refuse them assistance and protection until they received compensation. He regretted to see that while not a single warship was being armed in his dominions for this cause, he had just reason for astonishment if not for alarm in seeing that the Dutch were arming themselves with so many fleets and with such urgent orders to hasten their equipment. It was easy to see that this was not the right way to listen to his Majesty's requests and offices for the relief of his oppressed merchants, or a willingness to correspond to what justice required.
The ambassador on his side has not failed to soothe all discussions, and this has been his chief object and aim. As he has since been to audience of the Duke of York and has also seen the Lord Chancellor, who have always shown signs of an inclination to peace, it is hoped that in the end this will ensue, with the future quiet and concord of the nations. For this reason it is thought that the Dutch may directly have to submit to some outlay of money, principally in order that the important benefit of the fishery may not be contested in the future.
In any case, however, King Charles had ordered the Earl of Sandwich, admiral at sea, to proceed to the Downs to take command of the fleet, which was all ready there, consisting of twenty-two warships. In the same way, the Dutch in addition to the four fleets which they have at sea, namely two in the Mediterranean under Vice-Admirals Mepel and Ruiter; one under Admiral Tromp to meet the rich ships of the East India Company and the fourth sent to defend their herring fishermen, were hastening the despatch of a fifth fleet commanded by the Grand Admiral Opdam or the Baron of Vasseneur, to proceed wherever it may be most needed.
Moret, the 15th July, 1664.
[Italian.]
July 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
45. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters from London of the 8th inst. report the king's desire to settle amicably with the Dutch, although his Majesty has gone to Portsmouth to review the fleet; that Sandwich, who was sent to the Downs, has since been recalled; that Prince Rupert is preparing to go and command a fleet of thirty frigates and the Duke of York is said to be ready to command another of twenty. But the Ambassador Van Goes is working hard for a settlement, and though he forgot his credentials, King Charles generously waived this formality. The Resident Douningh is ready to return to Holland with the best disposition, and it is believed that we shall soon hear of the desired adjustment.
The relief for Tanger left Portsmouth that same week with a favourable wind and as the Moors are pressing that fortress hard, right up to the trenches, it is expected that they will proceed to get together more reinforcements to meet the dangers that are threatened by Prince Gayland because as he has broken his promised word several times, after the manner of the barbarians, they can trust to nothing except to put down force and fraud by resolution and steadfastness.
News has come that the corsairs of Algiers are devoting their attention to closing or straitening the mouth of their port, to make it quite certain that they can harass and repel anyone who should attempt to enter. Thus, the English finding that it will be more difficult to use force against them, in addition to the five ships left before the mouth there have ordered seven other vessels which shall always be cruising up and down outside, and if their quarrels with the Dutch should cease, they will intensify their attacks in the Mediterranean against the Barbareschi.
Moret, the 22nd July, 1664.
[Italian.]
July 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
46. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters from England confirm the hope of a very near peace with the Dutch, though both sides are pressing on with their armaments. This causes some misgiving because of the possibility of accidents, since an engagement has been reported between the two nations in the Mediterranean, with advantage to the Dutch, and if this is confirmed such an affair might upset the happy course of the negotiations which had previously promised the settlement of then differences by agreement.
The Dutch ambassador has taken a house in London, an indication that things are taking a favourable turn. As a set off against this King Charles has chosen two ambassadors for Sweden and Denmark respectively, (fn. 3) and the pretensions of those crowns against the Dutch have already been noted, principally over the affairs of Guinea. The Ambassador Estrades at the Hague has offered his mediation with the king of England on behalf of the Most Christian, and it is expected that the offer will be accepted. By the last letters from Amsterdam the plague has greatly increased.
Moret, the 29th July, 1664.
Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Opdam's flagship was named the Concord. Sec his letter of 1st September, 1664. S.P. Holland, Vol. clxxii.
2 Taken by Robert Holmes on 1st February. Le Clerc: Hist. des Provinces Unics, Vol. iii. page 65.
3 Henry Coventry to Sweden and Sir Gilbert Talbot to Denmark. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1063–4, page 657.


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