Venice
September 1664

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1933

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38-44

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'Venice: September 1664', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 38-44. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90157 Date accessed: 26 October 2014.


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September 1664

Sept. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
58. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Enclosing advices from the Hague.
Paris, the 2nd September, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.59. Extract from letters from the Hague.
A week ago M. Douning presented a memorial on the two ships Bonne Esperance and Bonaventure. They referred these also to the commissioners. Three days ago he presented another to say that he was ready to exchange the lists of claims. The States decided that they should put those of the inhabitants of this state in order.
[French.]
Sept. 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
60. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I was in doubt about what I should do because of the declaration of the English ambassador that he would have no correspondence with the Venetian ambassador. On consideration I decided to deal with this minister in the same way as is customary with the others. He received the office in a friendly manner and with the forms of great esteem for the most serene republic. He expressed his regret that he had been deprived of a visit from my predecessor and this had prevented him from rendering me the honours he had wished to show. My gentleman, who was very well instructed by me, explained the reasons which had prevented the visit. The ambassador listened attentively and had nothing to answer. In the end he said: “My hands are tied; I have already written to England and must needs await the reply, but I hope that things will be adjusted.” This speech was the last of the colloquy. The next day his secretary came to this house with expressions of courtesy, to which I responded.
Madrid, the 3rd September, 1664.
[Italian.]
Sept. 8.
Inquisitori
di Stato,
Busta 418.
Venetian
Archives.
61. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Resident at Constantinople, to the Inquisitors of State.
Scarcely had my letter reached the English ambassador agreeing to oblige him by receiving Gobbato, than the latter arrived, being unable to wait, although indisposed. He came to submit himself and lament his late involuntary offences, due as he declares to the wicked and poisonous counsel of villains. He really conducted himself in a humble and most modest manner. He presented the letter of the English ambassador, of which I enclose a copy, and to which I will make a suitable answer. I promised Gobbato to ask for his pardon.
Adrianople, the 8th September, 1664.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosure.62. The Earl of Winchelsea, English Ambassador at the Porte, to the Resident Ballarino.
Asks his pardon for Gobbato as a person worthy of his clemency. Pera of Constantinople, the 12th August, 1664.
[Copy; Italian.]
Sept. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
63. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate. (fn. 1)
In conversation with the Dutch ambassador that minister said that it was permitted to be hopeful, because King Charles, unless he is set on, has no wish for himself and no object to involve himself in such a quarrel, seeing that wars at sea turn out more costly and uncertain, beyond comparison than any others, and that the people who at present are egging on that crown to commit itself are not at the same time supplying the means for supporting the enterprise, and that for the internal tranquillity of that country, the turbulent spirits are not so entirely sobered that an unfortunate issue to some battle might not rouse them up again with the worst consequences for the present government, since with the English their natural principle is so deeply rooted of considering very deeply before taking a decision, but never to change after the fiat has gone forth, so that nothing except death can turn them from their peculiarity…. The plague itself, which stops trade, helps in the defence of the Provinces, because countless soldiers and sailors, rather than stand idle, offer to serve in the fleet. From all of which it follows that the Dutch being strong at sea at the present date, from wealth, from choice and from necessity affairs must proceed in the direction of a good and durable adjustment.
When King Charles was urged to accept the mediation of the Most Christian, some one was seen to observe aside to him that that will be no occasion for war, although he will never accept the mediation. So it seems that all the signs concur in dismissing the likelihood of a rupture between the two nations.
It might be that next year King Charles, without coming out of his own ports, which is the unique privilege of his realm, which can never be invaded or insulted, at least for the period of all the winter navigation, might renew his pretensions against the Dutch and compel them to take one of two courses, which are equally tiresome and perilous, since it is certain that every time that the States make up their minds to a great expenditure and a prompt restitution, in part at least of the honours and authority due to …
Paris, the 9th September, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure64. Extract from letters from the Hague of the 24th August.
Douning has presented a memorial to the States, complaining (1) that the West India Company has taken several English ships on the Guinea coast; (2) that the Dutch general commanding there had issued a declaration forbidding trade to all the other nations; (3) that he has stirred the King of Fantin against the English in the fort of Cormantin; (4) of an outrage on an English captain named Cortunie. (fn. 2) Douning was asked to supply a copy of the memorial and the States said they would write to the directors of the company for information. To-day or to-morrow they will give their answer, and will tell him that they do not find the company has taken a single English ship since the treaty, and that the attack of King Fantin was not due to their general but to the ill behaviour of the English …
[French.]
Sept. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
65. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador persists in his resolution to await orders from his king upon the question of visits. The general opinion is that under this pretext he proposes to extricate himself from the obligation to France, in a very decorous manner, and that he will later recognise his duty. Personally I suspect that he means for some time to stand by what has already been done, in order to disabuse the world of the idea that he invented scarcely plausible pretexts for the purpose of avoiding greater inconveniences.
Madrid, the 10th September, 1664.
[Italian.]
Sept. 11.
Inquisitori
di Stato,
Busta 418.
Venetian
Archives.
66. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Resident at Constantinople, to the Inquisitors of State.
Tomaso Gobalo left recently for Constantinople, in the assurance of my oblivion of past occurrences. I entrusted him with letters and promised to reply to his. The English ambassador is exceedingly pleased and says that he is infinitely obliged, promising to write and thank me. If this happens I will send his letter on.
Adrianople, 11th September, 1664.
Postscript: The English ambassador, some months ago, asked me to take into my service, in the capacity of dragoman, the young interpreter Piron, who is disrespectful and suspect for reasons which I have already given. He is brother of Antonio Piron, the English dragoman, who showed himself publicly with the Turks in the attack on the embassy over the unhappy affair of the statues. I temporise but I will never consent to impart secrets of state to this young man in the present war, well knowing that everything would be revealed. [Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
67. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices from the Hague.
Paris, the 16th September, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.68. Extract from letters from the Hague.
They do not gain so much assurance from the fair words of the King of England as to lose a moment in putting themselves in a state to resist violence. Guinea will be the stone of offence. Besides the ten ships which the state is arming to send to that coast the West India Company is arming six more, so that this fleet will consist of sixteen vessels and they have proposed to increase the number, seeing that the naval force of England, which is in the Downs, is waiting for them at the passage, and further that it is a question of the conservation of that coast and consequently of that of all the Indies, so it is important for the reputation of the country's arms not to go under at the first engagement. This is what they will decide to-morrow, and also whether M. Opdam shall escort these vessels with all his fleet until they reach the sea of Spain. Nevertheless they are causing the soldiers to march who are to embark on these ships for Guinea …. We hear that the English have seized upon the island of Tobago, belonging to my lords of Zeeland. M. Downing has presented a project for regulating the manner in which the two nations may conduct their commerce in the Indies without quarrelling and without inconveniencing each other. They have put this project on one side (l'on a envoyé par ce projet) because they mean to change many things in it.
[French.]
Sept. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
69. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The affairs between England and Holland are heading towards an inevitable rupture immediately in Guinea, unless the Almighty intervenes. Prince Rupert with a fleet of eighteen ships is commanded to proceed to those parts. In that direction also some Dutch ships of the West India Company of Amsterdam are also going, which will of necessity take the shorter route, namely by the strait of Calais and Dover, but escorted by the fleet of the Admiral Opdam.
There are grave doubts that such a declaration may be taken in ill part by King Charles, that is to say that many armed ships, in contempt, in a manner of speaking, should claim to support the hostilities which are now proceeding between the two nations on those coasts by forcing the English to yield them a free passage in front of the royal fortresses, to merchants of this Amsterdam Company, whereas in summer time they even sailed round the kingdom of Ireland to avoid any disturbance. So it is feared that some encounter between the two fleets may take place in the Channel between England and France, which is a veritable sleeve, as the name implies.
For the rest war is certain owing to the hostilities which have occurred as I have said, between the two parties in Africa. Thus the reply given by King Charles himself to the Dutch ambassador in London, and printed, sets forth the just resentment of the crown against the States, when they set out to defend the ill behaviour of individuals of Amsterdam of the Company in question, who have audaciously supported with money and gone so far as to encourage with arms and with the assistance besides of two Flemish ships, the King of Fantino, a former ally of the English in Guinea, in an attempt to surprise the royal fort of Comartino. And although the commandant there had the courage to defend himself and to cause the King of Fantino to withdraw with considerable losses among the soldiers he had with him, such action nevertheless is utterly inconsistent with the friendly relations professedly existing between the two nations, and is characterised with a very biting, not to say shameful, word. So it concludes that nature teaches the way to procure justice which is denied in the compensation of the merchants.
Amid these commotions each of the parties is looking to see what France will do, since it is impossible for each of them to entice the Most Christian into his own side. So far the eagerness or fear is equal. Thus we see that Holland has accepted the royal mediation, while England has settled and smoothed down the pretension so openly made of denying the first visit to the princes of the blood, with many other indications, which may twist for both the neutrality, hitherto presupposed.
From what I hear the English ambassador has tabulated for the ministers here a great proposal, and at the actual moment the most plausible, to wit, that if the Most Christian will join with his king they will so arrange matters that all the trade of the Indies which is in the hands of the United Provinces shall be devolved upon the new oriental company set up by M. di Colbert, whereby the trade of Guinea and the possession of some other island shall remain free to the English, the two crowns joining together in a close alliance to drive out the States therefrom, for all which King Charles asks, in particular for a great sum of money.
On the other side the Dutch ambassador, at frequent sittings is pressing for the fulfilment of the last agreement with the promised assistance of which I intimated the particulars in the last despatch. So the affair is taking a sinister turn just when it was hoped that all these forces would be directed to bridle the audacity of the Barbareschi in the Mediterranean.
Some point out that Cromwell before or without any declaration of war against the Dutch, caused extensive reprisals to be made against them at sea for the space of a few months, whereby the Admiralty was enriched, and with this to go upon he maintained his forces for a long time. But in the present state, without considering the question of right, they object to King Charles committing himself to the great risk of an unsuccessful engagement, as because of the plague … (fn. 3) The armaments cannot be kept up except at an excessive expenditure and the king, who is absolutely destitute of ready money, will be obliged to depend upon parliament, and with the multiplicity of votes and interests God knows if they will undertake to consider and decide upon the issue of affairs.
Paris, the 23rd September, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.70. Intelligence from London.
London, the 15/5 September. The king's journey to the New Forest has been postponed until the day after to-morrow. Prince Rupert should accompany his Majesty for the purpose of embarking at Portsmouth on a fleet of twenty ships, to go promptly to Guinea, where it is probable that the first blows between us and the Dutch will be struck.
They write from Ostend that the twenty Dutch ships which have appeared off these coasts, on being asked what they were doing there replied that they had come to see what the English had to say to them.
Order has been issued that ships belonging to subjects of the States of Holland may not enter our ports until they have observed quarantine.
Sir Arthur Basset has arrived happily at Tanger with the new recruits. These will be very badly needed if the report is true that Gayland is beginning to make fortifications near the town. Salee has made an accommodation with Gayland and they are preparing to send four ships to sea, to go buccaneering against everybody. At Aberdeen in Scotland where a murderer was imprisoned, it happened that information was received that the clan of the Gordons had begun to assemble to demand his release, whereupon the magistrate informed the Council in order to have its advice and protection. The river of Bristol at Hereford is at last rendered navigable through the efforts and at the cost of Colonel Sandis, who is greatly commended for this. (fn. 4)
Seven Quakers here have been condemned to banishment, and for this purpose they have been transferred to the ports nearest to this town of Hereford, so as to leave the country. [French.]
Sept. 30.
Senato,
Seereta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
71. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses intelligence from London.
Paris, the 30th September, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.72. Intelligence from London.
The sieur Gogh, the Dutch ambassador, has recently had audience of his Majesty, in which he tried to excuse the preparations which the Dutch have made for Guinea, as if they had no intention of breaking with England. But his Majesty having perceived that his sole object was to find out the interpretation which we put upon their conduct, told him that it was no longer a time to palliate things, that he knew the Dutch well, their resolutions and their behaviour; that he had not been sleeping while they were engaged on their preparations. He had had enough ships equipped to ruin their trade. They had only to send their fleet off to Guinea and they would find one ready to receive them, and perhaps another on the road to stop them. He added that at all the meetings of the Council which he had called together on this question he had always been the only one for the Dutch, but if after that they did not take steps to do justice to his subjects, it would no longer be the affair of his subjects. Although the Dutch had shown themselves the better hands at boasting, they might possibly find their match when it came to blows.
The French ambassador offers his mediation, alleging our close alliances with the Dutch, but his Majesty has pointed out to him that they had caused the breach by their violence and had themselves begun the war, and it was probable that they did not wish to make further trouble. His Majesty has postponed his journey until some final decision has been taken on this matter.
The Dutch have presented a schedule of the injuries which they pretend to have received from us. It is so absurd that they have ordered it to be printed so that everyone may see their extravagance.
An envoy for Denmark has left here (fn. 5) and one has arrived from Portugal named Don Francisco Texeira Rebello.
The Dutch ambassador had audience of the Duke of York likewise, who also evinced to him his great dissatisfaction with the conduct of the Dutch.
Our fleet will be very considerable. There are twenty-one frigates at Portsmouth, all of the second and third rank. At Chatham are the Sovereign and the Great James, of the first rates and eighteen of the third and fourth rates, besides the seventeen commanded by the earl of Sandwich and the twenty-five destined for Guinea, comprising both warships and merchantmen. This very day they have pressed the sailors who are on this side of the Sont, to embark them.
[French.]

Footnotes

1 The despatch and the enclosure are both very much damaged and imperfect.
2 Apparently Capt. Borthwick is meant. Resolution of the States General of 14th August, 1664. S.P. Holland, Vol. clxxi.
3 The text is all but obliterated. The sense seems to be that the effect of the plague is to drive Dutch seamen from merchantmen to their war ships.
4 The Intelligencer of September 8th reports that the River Wye has been made navigable by Colonel Sandys, enabling coal to be brought to Hereford from Bristol.
5 Sir Gilbert Talbot, who sailed in the Centurion. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1664–5, page 12.