Venice
August 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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32-38

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'Venice: August 1664', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 32-38. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90156 Date accessed: 27 August 2014.


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August 1664

Aug. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
47. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It is announced that King Charles has not the slightest intention of attacking the States, but as they and all the neighbouring powers are arming it is impossible for him, in the interests of good government and for his own reputation not to do the same, since this is the only means for giving and obtaining a good peace. But on the coasts of Guinea the English ships have continued not only to plunder every sort of Dutch vessel, but they have protested that they mean to drive the Dutch out of all the acquisitions which they have made there, in consideration of the claims and titles which they say were granted by Portugal to the King of England a long time ago. This chimes in with the protests of Captain Humes, who proceeded to those parts a year ago in the name of King Charles, to intimate to the Dutch there that they must clear out. As this is the same captain who recently took Capo Verde and who has since occupied the fort of Tacquerari in Guinea, (fn. 1) it will be a difficult matter to find a way out, since at this present time he is out there cruising along those coasts with a fleet of eleven powerful ships.
Douningh is eagerly awaited at the Hague, as they hope that he will bring with him the settlement already concluded. Mons. d' Estrees has been thanked by the States for his offer of mediation and was told in reply that if King Charles will renounce his pretensions and the recent conquests made in Guinea, the interposition of his Majesty will be gladly accepted.
Moret, the 5th August, 1664.
[Italian.]
Aug. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
48. To the Ambassador in France.
The differences between England and Holland involve important consequences. The Senate is consequently pleased that he is giving them his attention and it will increase his merit to continue to do so.
From the enclosed copy he will note the refusal of the English ambassador to visit the republic's ambassador in Spain, because he was not visited by the Ambassador Cornaro. He is to take an opportunity to see that minister and explain to him that Cornaro was no longer a minister, and to express to him the particular esteem of the republic's ministers for that crown.
Ayes, 143. Noes, 0. Neutral, 6.
[Italian.]
Aug. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
49. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I will report at once the news we have this week from England and Holland, brought by the letters of the 31st July, because their interest is of so much importance under present circumstances. The envoy Douningh had arrived at the Hague, but he had not, up to that time, asked for an audience and still less for a conference with the States, although it is known that he has in his hands the final intentions and decisions of King Charles.
Mons. di Cominges, the ambassador in London, had offered the mediation of the Most Christian to that monarch in the current differences with the Dutch. King Charles told him in reply that he was infinitely grateful for the good offices of this crown. He remarked that as he had no war with the States, and did not even think that any occasion for a rupture would arise, he was merely arming in order to be a spectator with a small force upon the coasts of his kingdom, of everything that might happen, when the Dutch were going in for a general arming, without any occasion for it. So he assured the ambassador that his admiral would certainly have no orders to molest any one soever, but if it should chance that his ships should be attacked, he would not fail to make representations to the king of France and ask for his advice and most prudent counsels, which practically means that he will not allow any mediation. Similarly in Holland, the deputies of the province of Zeeland, which is entirely devoted to the house of Orange, excused themselves in answering a like offer made by Mons. dell' Estrades, by saying that they had no power or authority, but they would not fail to make known the goodwill of the Most Christian to their masters.
Up to this point it is impossible to say whether matters are progressing towards war or peace; but from the Guinea coasts they have news of fresh hostilities occurring between the two nations, and in London they publish some acts by which it appears that the king of England had disposed of all that district of Guinea, giving it to the Duke of York and to the late princess, his sister, a long time before the marriage with Portugal, so that they claim to be in lawful possession thereof. Thus in addition to the good number of ships which I have already reported were in those parts on behalf of England, they have sent thither a fleet of ten more, all of thirty guns each, although merchantmen, and escorted moreover by three very fine frigates of war, which have on board a quantity of officials, to establish a political government there. It should further be known that the English have sent an intimation, in a very peremptory form to the Dutch garrison in the castle of Mina on that coast, that they must quit and abandon that post, of which the lawful possession belongs to King Charles alone. (fn. 2) The Dutch on their side have sent an express to their ambassador in London to complain of the injuries received and of such exaggerated and unheard of pretensions. Although, as has been said, there are strong hopes of peace, yet it cannot be denied that occasions for a rupture remain since the English seek every way to involve themselves more deeply in the interests of Guinea.
Two ships of Guinea had arrived at Amsterdam with some silver and goods but so far they have no news of the rich fleet of the Indies which Vice-Admiral Tromp went out to meet.
The imperial envoy, the Count of Cicondorf, has at length taken leave with the following answer: The States regret that they are unable at the moment to give any assistance, as they are devoting all their energies to the diversion against the Barbareschi; but if the war with the Turk should continue, they undertake to arrange with the neighbouring princes and in particular with the King of England, the means for sending a vigorous succour next year. And so the count has departed, saying that to attend to this matter and to anything that may occur he will leave the envoy Friquet in charge. (fn. 3)
Moret, the 12th August, 1664.
[Italian.]
Aug. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
50. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The affairs between England and Holland are still hanging in the balance, as usual. With the ships which left London, under the pretext of the royal fishing towards the North, to wit, for herrings and whales, they have joined a number of English frigates of war, all equipped in every particular (leste di tutto punto), so one does not know what to expect if they should fall in with the Eastern fleet of twelve very rich ships, which the Dutch company at Amsterdam is expecting, although King Charles has always declared that his fleets have never had any orders or intentions to use hostilities.
Sig. Douningh at the Hague has had his audience and his first sittings with the States, from which they received great content, seeing him inclined to remove all fears of a rupture. But it seems to me that to some extent they are shutting their eyes to the negotiations touching the accessories, which may lead to an easy adjustment. Thus we see that they mean for the moment to procrastinate, since Douningh says that the king is inclined to peace, but for a certainty, with the oppressed merchants crying for protection, the States must needs decide to give them some satisfaction, since it is impossible, on every account, to abandon them.
The Dutch for their part spare no effort to place themselves in a strong position. They have ordered Admiral Opdam to go out to meet this same fleet from the Indies with all speed, as it is a long while since it passed the Cape of Good Hope. Of Tromp, who left earlier for the same purpose, nothing more has been heard. It has become apparent, as I have written before, that their affairs are undergoing a change from that happy outlook which they have enjoyed for so many years. Even in the Indies the United Provinces are not without some trouble with the petty princes, but chiefly with the King of China himself, in addition to the present affliction of the plague which I hear has reduced trade to great straits, especially at Amsterdam, with over 800 deaths a week, so that many of the leading gentry of substance, fearing the infection, have gone away, either out of the Provinces or into the country.
Paris, the 19th August, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.51. Extract from letters from the Hague, of 14th August, 1664.
The last letters from London state that Lauson is returning to these waters. It is certain that he has repassed the Strait, either with this design or else with the intention of proceeding to the coast of Guinea. If he does either, we shall have war, and so we shall if the English do not restore Cabo Verde and the other places which they have taken on the coasts of Africa. The States have informed M. Douning that they cannot rest satisfied with the general terms of his answer, as they expected a promise of restitution from his Majesty. They ask him for a categorical declaration upon this point at the first conference they have with him and they also ask him to name a day for the exchange of lists of the claims made on both sides.
The King of England has not yet answered the memorial which the ambassador of the States presented to him, and the chancellor told him it was because the affairs of which he speaks are too important to allow of their being examined in the full council, and that they have put them in the hands of two ministers who will make their report thereon as soon as the king has come back from Hampton Court. They complain that we have not consented to hand back the island of Pouleron, the restitution of which was promised by the last treaty, but Douning said nothing about it and we have definite information here that it was offered to them after some disputation, and that the English had not enough men to take possession and to hold it.
The English have taken a richly laden ship of Dieppe on the coasts of Guinea.
[French.]
Aug. 23.
Inquisitori
di Stato,
Busta 418.
Venetian
Archives.
52. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Grand Chancellor at the Porte, to the Inquisitors of State.
I have endeavoured to fall in with the Senate's orders of the 19th April to cultivate good relations with the English ambassador, while not failing to notice efforts to foment ill will. But these have profited little as his Excellency has been very effectively warned by the unfortunate issue of the late intrigues of Draperis for the final destruction of this house. I have considered that the best means towards confidence was to intimate to him that if a request was made to me to admit Tomaso Gobato to favour, it would be granted and I would appeal to the magistracy for his pardon and seek to obtain every advantage for him. To this the ambassador replied with a friendly letter, which I enclose with my answer. If Gobato comes I will not go back on my promise, and he has every reason for expecting to regain the state's favour. Since his return here I have not observed any fault in him, up to the present.
Adrianople, the 23rd August, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.53. The Earl of Winchelsea to the Most Illustrious Signor Ballarino.
Acknowledges his letter in answer to his own in favour of Sig. Gobato. Rejoices to learn that Gobato is restored to favour through Ballarino's intercession.
Pera of Constantinople, 17/27 August, 1664.
[Italian; copy.]
Enclosure.54. Ballarino to Winchelsea.
Expresses his pleasure that Gobato will come under the protection of his Excellency.
Adrianople, the 18th August, 1664.
[Italian.]
Aug. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Ceffalonia.
Venetian
Archives.
55. Cristofolo Cabriel, Venetian Proveditore of Cephalonia, to the Doge and Senate.
Acknowledges the ducali of the 7th June, with the complaint of England about improper charges for the lading of currants. Such practices have never been countenanced by him, it having been his fixed purpose to treat the merchants well, having done everything possible to render them perfectly content. The merchants indeed have come over to take the currants of the past harvest which are in the island, leaving those of Zante behind them, though they have their dwellings there, and now many have come before taking the currant harvest, to make a purchase, and always express their increasing satisfaction to the Proveditore.
Cephalonia, the 16th August, 1664, old style.
[Italian.]
Aug. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
56. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has at last received orders to visit the princes of the blood, but merely as a friendly return; so Lord Holles has asked the introducer for an appointment, but says that it must not be taken as a precedent for future ambassadors. He presented to the Most Christian the two envoys from the King and Queen of England, with congratulations on the birth of the Duke of Valois. (fn. 4)
Paris, the 29th August, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.57. Extracted from the letters from London and the Hague of 21st August, 1664.
When Admiral Tromp has brought in the convoy from the West Indies, his fleet will consist of nearly fifty sail, but it is unlikely to act unless the English refuse to make good the injuries which they have done on the coasts of Guinea or to restore the places which they have taken. In such case they might easily resort to strong measures. There is nothing but the authority of the Most Christian king which can prevent them from coming to extremities. It is reported that the Ambassador Cominges has received fresh orders to require that the King of England shall definitely accept or refuse mediation. Douning has been so imprudent as to say to some members of the States that if they had given to the English the money which they have employed for equipping the fleet, they would have arrived at an agreement a long while ago. They told him that they had no assurance that this agreement would last for long, and that they were not in the humour to pay tribute to the King of England. They are not in the mood either to flatter Douning, whose conduct is so eccentric that he is incapable of doing his master's service here.
On the 14th of this month Douning presented a memorial in which he says that the Dutch general at the castle of Mina has caused a notice to be issued which forbids the English, Swedes and Danes to trade on the coast of Guinea, and that he had promised 10,000 ounces of gold to the King of Fantin to surprise the English in their fort of Cormantin, and that in consequence that king had attacked on the 5th February with 500 men and on the following day with 3000. That he was ready to enter upon a conference whereby these disorders may be prevented in the future. Thereupon it was resolved that same day that M. Douning should be asked to produce a copy of these alleged prohibitions, that they should write to the West India Company for information about what he says in his memorial, and that he be asked to name a day to enter on the conference. This resolution was sent to him on Monday and they are waiting for his answer. Vice-Admiral Lauson had gone to Cadiz towards the end of the month, and had his ships cleaned there. He had orders not to divide up his fleet at all and this makes men believe in some design, and indeed here they have always thought that the English mean to make themselves masters of the coast of Guinea. That is why they are deliberating seriously here as to the means to be used to prevent it, and for retaking what has been lost.
[French.]

Footnotes

1 Tacorery also called Witsen; it lies west of Elmina on the Gold Coast, and was taken in April. Japiske: De Veruikkelingen tusschen de Republiek en Engeland, 1660–5, page 348.
2 The fort of St. George at Mina was attacked on 23rd July.
3 The Count of Zintzendorf took leave on Wednesday, 6th August. Downing to Bennet on 29th July, o.s. S.P. Holland, Vol. clxxi. The answer of the States is printed by Aitzema; Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. v. page 317.
4 Philip Charles, Duke of Valois, son of Philip Duke of Orleans and Charles's sister Henrietta, born on 16th July. The envoys were James Hamilton from the king and Mons. Tartareau from the queen mother. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1663–4, page 657. Holles to Arlington on 16th July and 16th August. S.P. France, Vol. cxix. The Intelligencer, August 15th, 1664.