Venice
November 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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47-56

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'Venice: November 1664', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 47-56. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90159 Date accessed: 28 August 2014.


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November 1664

Nov. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
80. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses the usual sheet from London and the Hague.
Your Serenity will observe how the Dutch are vigorously determined to withstand the injuries inflicted on them in Africa and America; and, on the other hand, Prince Rupert detained in the Downs until he receives fresh reinforcements, as he is certain to encounter Vice-Admiral Ruiter, and King Charles does not wish to hazard himself at the first clash. From this it may be that in England in the future they will lend an ear to an adjustment, if some other prince will offer mediation as when the French Ambassador Cominges repeated his instance about this with fresh offices, his Excellency obtained no more than the first inconclusive answers.
Paris, the 7th November, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.81. Extract of the letters from London of the 20th and 27th October and from the Hague of the 30th October.
The Dutch ambassador has informed his Majesty that the States, his masters, have decided to send ten ships of war to Guinea, but with orders not to molest the English; whereupon his Majesty, being well informed of their intentions, made him a very stiff reply.
An express from the Resident Douning at the Hague brings word that the States have made great complaint to him that the English have taken their forts and committed many injuries on their people; and that they had good reason for suspecting the great forces which are leaving for Guinea, and that they would likewise be obliged to send out their principal fleet to maintain the right of their subjects and assure their ships. Douning adds that they had fifty ships which were only waiting for a favourable wind to sail.
Thereupon, last Tuesday, his Majesty, at eleven in the evening, caused Prince Rupert to depart, not wishing to lose a single tide, and with the Duke of York himself accompanied the prince to his ship, which sailed for the Downs. Meanwhile our largest ships are preparing for his Majesty, who is resolved to put to sea himself if the Dutch give him cause.
Sir John Lawson and Captain Berkeley have returned with the squadron which they commanded in the Mediterranean, where three weeks ago they passed before Ruiter and his Dutch fleet, which lowered the flag and saluted our's. But the quantity of victuals which Ruiter has taken in Spain and several other things make us conjecture that he has made sail for Guinea and indeed there are letters from Holland which say that he had despatched his Vice-Admiral Kepples thither with eight ships of war; yet several clear-sighted people have difficulty in believing this.
The commissioners of the royal company have started to go and see that the ships which it is sending to Guinea are well provided with everything to make the voyage with Prince Rupert. They report from Plymouth that they had heard from a Dutch ship that the English had rendered themselves masters of New Amsterdam in New England, and that they had permitted the inhabitants to retire with their effects. On the 22nd of this month Prince Rupert arrived in the Downs with seventeen ships. The rest of his fleet is busily preparing to join him.
Enclosure.82. From the Hague.
Those who believe that this state will rather abandon the whole country to the English do not know either the constitution … or the disposition of affairs. Those who have the principal direction of the state would be traitors to their country if they were insensible to the affronts which the English daily put upon us.
Last Friday Mons. Douning had a conference with Mons. de Wit on the delimitation of the boundary between New England and Belgium in America although he knew full well more than six days before that the English since the 17th August last had driven out the Dutch from the whole of New Belgium and from their town of Amsterdam, of which they had been in peaceful possession for fifty years. Mons. de Wit had received notice of it by a billet which he showed to Douning, who told him that it was not true, and that it could not be. Nevertheless a good part of these poor exiled folk have since arrived in this country.
The States of Holland should have separated last Saturday, but this news has prevented them from doing so, and forced them to decide upon another armament of eighteen vessels. This was confirmed by the States General, which directed the Admiralties at the same time to cause their deputies to be present in this town last Tuesday, and that the Council of State should make a provision of 600,000 crowns for this equipment. This resolution was taken with the unanimous consent of all the Provinces, who protest that they will resent the proceedings of the English. It is thought that the States of Holland will separate to-day, that is if they can come to an agreement about the two-hundredth penny for the levy of which the States will send deputies into the towns which still make difficulties about it.
It is a week since the States sent orders to the one commanding the ships destined for Guinea, to put to sea and to place himself under the flag of the admiral before Goree, because the wind was favourable, and in fact … off the coast, which is only a short half-league from here … about four in the afternoon, followed by about 130 merchantmen … favour of this escort are going to Spain and into the Mediterranean; but the wind having become contrary and having … the admiral has been unable to get out of the river and the … have entered, not being able to remain in the roadstead without danger … is sick of the gout and in great pain. (fn. 1)
The last letters from London say that Prince Rupert left the Downs on the 23rd of this month, but that he had been compelled to put into harbour. Montagu has only eleven ships under his flag, but they will increase the number to twenty, and there are orders for the equipment of twenty more ships, which the Duke of York will command in person.
The East India Company of London have pointed out to the King of England that the violence which those of the West India Company do to the inhabitants of these Provinces will be the cause of the complete ruin of the trade in the East Indies, because it is very easy for the Dutch to drive out the English from thence, and as a matter of fact the people of this country are only waiting for the permission to act, and the moment they get it they will drive out all the English from those parts.
In England it is believed that Ruiter has gone to the coast of Guinea, because he told Lauson, who has arrived in England, that he had orders to go to Sali with all his fleet. If it be true that he has gone to Guinea they will soon be avenged on the English, who will not remain masters for long.
Last week the deputies of the East India Company were in the assembly of the States of Holland to represent the reasons which ought to prevent them from accepting the arrangement, for which Mons. Douning presented a project; moreover it is certain that Holland and Zeeland will never consent to it, unless they make the arrangement general, as well for Europe as for the Indies. They say that it is a kind of treaty of marine, which ought to be negotiated at leisure.
[French.]
Nov. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
83. To the Ambassador in Spain.
In the affair of the visit of the English ambassador you conducted yourself wisely and in conformity with our wishes and with the importance of the business, so we may well hope that an affair which has been well conducted will prove happy in the issue and at your first audience we hope for what is required for good correspondence between friendly princes and by the present circumstances.
Ayes, 72. Noes, 2. Neutral, 13.
[Italian.]
Nov. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
84. To the Ambassador in France.
We note the remarks made by the English ambassador and his assurances that the ambassador of that crown at Madrid is to maintain the best possible relations with the Ambassador Zorzi, orders for this being delayed owing to the Court being far away. You will acknowledge becomingly his friendly disposition, cultivating it always, and you will also be on the watch to see what is actually being decided about the differences with the Dutch, in order to keep us informed, showing appreciation of the communications which have been made to you by the ambassador himself.
Ayes, 72. Noes, 2. Neutral, 13.
[Italian.]
Nov. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
85. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Grand Chancellor at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
The insolence of the Turks since the adjustment with Cæsar (fn. 2) has become altogether insupportable. The Bustangi Pasha of Constantinople, a great friend of the English ambassador, who cultivates him with frequent presents to obtain freedom for his hunting, having met his dragoman Mamucca in the country with a red silk handkerchief about his head, had him beaten with 80 strokes of the rod, and when he cried aloud that he was a follower of the house of England, they gave him twenty more. His Excellency sent to complain to that minister through Draperis, but he was fortunate enough to hold his tongue in time, for if he had proceeded with his speech he certainly would have suffered some kind of mortification.
Adrianople, the 8th November, 1664.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Nov. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
86. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Enclosing news from the Hague.
Paris, the 14th November, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.87. Intelligences from the Hague.
Prince Rupert is still at Portsmouth. Proposed levy of 100,000l. sterling in London. Reports of the intention [of the Dutch] to abandon the Guinea coast rather than have a war with England are only conjectures. The leaders of the States consider it a question of reputation. Last Friday orders were sent to the ambassador to demand of the king restitution of New Belgium and to require a categorical answer, informing him that the States have communicated this order to Mons. d'Estrades and to all the ministers of allied princes. They have also sent him a paper on his report that the king of England was very annoyed because of their orders to the commander of the Guinea fleet not to injure the subjects of allies, with the clause “si ce n'est qu' ils aient offensé ou qu' ils offencent les vaisseaux des habitants de ces Provinces.”
The deputies of Zeeland call for the strengthening of the garrisons of Veere and Flushing. They are working ceaselessly at the building of 18 ships, which they decided to order twelve days ago. The States of Holland agreed last Saturday to make a levy, in the event of a rupture with England, to be continued so long as the war shall last, thus ensuring sufficient funds to maintain fifty warships beyond the ordinary.
The last letters from London say that the king is sending 80 ships to sea and in the spring he will increase the number to 120. There are over 160 in this country and one may say with truth that the least of them is larger than the finest of all those which were employed in the time of the Protector. It is not known if Ruiter has gone to the Guinea coast. Some are ready to bet large sums on it, in the confidence that the ministers of this state are clever enough to upset all the plans of the English and force them to accept the mediation of the king.
[French.]
Nov. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
88. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The enclosed sheet shows the determination of both the English and the Dutch not to yield; but the delay of Admiral Opdam in sailing for the Channel points to a desire on the part of the States to do everything before coming to a rupture on this side of the line.
Paris, the 21st November, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.89. Extract of intelligences from London and the Hague.
It is true that Ruiter is in Guinea. Prince Rupert is in the Downs and with the Earl of Sandwich will not fail to take revenge on those who trouble the free trade of England in every part. If necessary the Duke of York is ready to set out. The States try to hurt us by indirect means as for instance the Moors. Admiral Opdam has not yet sailed.
Resolutions here are not always so public that they can serve as a guide to those of the English. Douning has often boasted that there was no secret in the state that he could not find out; but he did not write about the decision to send Ruiter to the Guinea coast, which was taken by over seventy persons nearly two months ago. The States of Holland have broken the constitution of the republic which does not permit any province to give orders to the forces of the state; but they have no doubt that the action will be approved in France, for otherwise they would be forced to be the first to break the peace, whereas now it is England that will have to do so. They will wish to avenge what Ruiter will do and by this means France will be obliged to guarantee this state in accordance with the treaty. That is why the Court of England is enraged, because in spite of all their fine spinning they have been duped.
They are greatly incensed against the admiral because he is still at Goree; but this gives them leisure to complete eighteen ships. The admiral has 34 ships at present with the flag, and others are ready, so that he will be able to cross and recross the Channel without the English being able to stop him.
Douning says that he will leave next week; but they do not care and will order their ambassador to return at the same time ….
War with England will unite all the Provinces in spite of the efforts of the king of England to make them think it the work of certain individuals. They have all consented to a levy of 6000 men for the fleets, to be distributed in 60 companies.
The king of England now admits that he gave orders to take Cape Corso and New Belgium. They will soon have to admit Ruiter, when he has driven the English from all the Guinea coast, because they are giving the English their change in a way that fills them with rage.
The emperor's envoy begins to threaten the States with the arms of the Bishop of Munster and on the other hand wants them to make an alliance with the House of Austria. But they neither fear the one nor desire the other sufficiently to induce them to do anything that is likely to give umbrage to France.
It is not known how Sweden and Denmark will act in this crisis. They are under a bond to help this state but are expected to try to evade the obligation. At least the king of Denmark intimated to the Dutch resident that he was persuaded that the States were the aggressors, because they provoked the attack of the Moors on the fort of Comartin, of which, he says the English have positive proof. But that is false, for in such case they would produce it.
[French.]
Nov. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
90. To the Ambassador at the Most Christian Court.
The Senate notes what the English ambassador said about the complaint of the ambassador of that crown at Madrid. He is to assure that minister of the republic's regret that Lord Franco has taken in ill part what the Ambassador Cornaro did when he took leave. He is also to bear abundant witness to the instructions which the republic's ambassadors have in every place to render to that crown every sign of respect. So it is expected that when the king has been well informed of the truth of the incident, suitable orders will be issued, and the Senate counts upon the ambassador procuring this by his prudence.
Ayes, 139. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Nov. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
91. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It is reported here that Dutch ships from the Garonne with wine have been stopped off Portsmouth by the royal fleet. The Duke of York has gone to the Downs and it is believed that Admiral Opdam will not venture to come out. If this is so it would be the worse for the Dutch, that is to say if the English should decide to wage the war from that side, remaining always at their ease in their own ports. It is reported from Paris that the Most Christian is encouraging King Charles to persist by every means, and that there is good ground for this opinion from seeing Mons. de Liona in communication at the English ambassador's own house. I cannot believe it because this crown is repeatedly offering its mediation, and by the last alliance with the States it is bound to assist them in the event of war in Europe.
Paris, the 24th November, 1664.
[Italian.]
Nov. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
92. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier reached the English ambassador the day before yesterday, and afterwards he went to see Medina. The business is being transacted with particular secrecy and one has not succeeded so far in finding out the exact truth. Some think that it concerns the interests of Flanders and some of Portugal, considering that it would be the intention of the ministers here to formulate agreements that if the Low Countries should be attacked by France, England should co-operate for a vigorous defence with her naval forces. They try to convince one of the force of this by the argument that it does not suit that crown to allow the Most Christian to extend his already great power, more especially over ports and positions which afford so easy a passage into that country, at once so easy and ready.
The ambassador expressed his perfect understanding of this. He promised every facility on his part for the negotiation. But between his teeth he as good as hinted that to avoid trouble it is necessary to hold out a reward, and when they ask another to share the risks they should put in the scale some greater advantage, because nature teaches man to avoid danger when he has not the inducement of gain to lure him on. This hint, although a delicate one, renders the ministers wary and makes them think that he may have two objects in view, one that some port of consideration in Flanders be conceded to them and second that they consent to free trade in the Indies. While there is a disposition with some not to proceed so unyieldingly about the latter, everyone is opposed to the former. It has been said, recalling the affair of Dunkirk, that it would be an inducement to the English to trade their interests with France. Some one else subsequently added that if they embrace the treaty here it may be that the Most Christian will open his ears, and so with those two dividing the booty between them, this crown would remain prejudiced and deluded, as in the time of Cromwell. Everything therefore will be done to remove this pretension, if it is made, and they will try to purchase the benefit with other advantages, or at least to take precautions to divert mischief supposing they are unable to derive any profit.
A junta of experienced ministers has been appointed to consider how they may satisfy the English in the matter of trade. One of them said frankly that it was necessary to agree decorously to what they could not persist in refusing; Spain being without ships to restrain foreign navies. This right had to be preserved more by authority than by justice. Now that the force is lacking, the just title will also fail, and possession will always remain uncertain and hazardous. To this extent they ought not to provoke the powers which are to be feared at sea, yielding to them some portion of the dish, that it may serve to moderate their demands. To leave them hungering will only excite their desire and appetite the more. Amid these differences of opinion the question remains undecided, and a decision will not be an easy matter.
The French ambassador is disturbed about these transactions and complains of the secrecy observed. He is the more apprehensive because the ambassador himself has been in continuous conferences with Medina these last days. To prevent their frequent meetings from being observed, the ambassador went, ostensibly for a walk, to the Retiro, a palace of the king at the far end of the city, where the duke subsequently turned up. Several hours have been spent there each time. It is certain that the motive, though announced as being for recreation and pleasure, has more recondite causes of important affairs.
Madrid, the 26th November, 1664.
[Italian.]
Nov. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
93. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses the sheet of London and the Hague.
The mission of Fitzhardin, one of the king's principal favourites, with Godolphin is notable. Fitzhardin completed his business in three days. His appearance was certainly a surprise for the Ambassador Holles. Things generally point to a rupture, which is dangerous for both countries, and to the advantage of France alone.
Paris, the 28th November, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.94. Extract from letters from London of the 17th and from the Hague of the 20th November, 1664.
An order of the king has been sent, addressed to the Duke of York, Grand Admiral of England, to cause the ports to be closed so that no vessel may leave them except those that are freighted for the fishery.
Our latest news from Portsmouth is that the Earl of Sandwich has hoisted the union flag and that Prince Rupert has done the same. A ship come from Bordeaux reports that there were … Dutch to lade wine. A Dutch ship of about 24 guns having passed towards Hurst Castle in the presence of one of our ships called the Lily, without having [shown his] colours, there was some tussle between them, which obliged him … said that he was of Amsterdam and that there were in Holland 30 ships of war to make them know it, whereupon the English called upon him to pay for the shots fired, and on his refusal they detained his long boat, until order comes from the king. (fn. 3) The king has decided to have Whitehall rebuilt in the style of the banqueting hall.
They have determined what the sailors shall receive for the prizes which are made, and they have issued orders for the relief of the wounded and to assist their widows and children, and to make medals for those who deserve them.
A ship of Yarmouth belonging to the town has perished in a storm, and another Dutch one also, which was of 200 tons. All the crew of the former were saved and not one of the other.
The king has caused a regiment of 1200 men to be raised under the command of Sir William Killegreu, to reinforce the naval armament, (fn. 4) for which they are pressing sailors on all sides, the mayor of Dover having carried off even those of the packet boat, which is the one that takes the letters.
The Dutch ambassador had audience of his Majesty a short while ago. The French minister was also conducted to the king, the latter taking note of our great armaments and offering the mediation of the king, his master, to settle our differences.
From the Hague.
The grand fleet is still in Goeree, 52 sail strong, comprising the ten of … Campen, which was previously destined for Guinea; and they are expecting [six more] from Amsterdam, so that it will consist of 58 sail. It is certain that it will proceed by the English Channel to escort the merchant ships and the four vessels of the West India Company, which will continue their voyage under the escort of two ships of war; and … of the naval force will return to the ports, because Ruiter who is on the coast of Guinea is capable of clearing it and of [recovering] all that the English have taken. Admiral Opdam is sick and although he is suffering extremely from the gout he will not suffer himself to be taken elsewhere and has asked the States General to send him deputies, who with the advice of pilots may get him out to sea as soon as the wind is favourable.
Last Monday it was decided to leave to the Admiralties the care of having new ships built and that conference should be held with the ordinary deputies of the marine and with those of the Council of State and of the Admiralties about the funds for the equipment and maintenance of these 24 ships and to decide what number each Admiralty shall have built. Gelderland has not yet consented to this, but they are sending deputies to them the day after to-morrow to oblige the States of that province, which are convoked for the 25th of this month, to conform.
Douning had a conference the day before yesterday, which he had asked for earnestly. But there is nothing to be done with him and they have represented to him that it is useless to speak of the ships Welcome and Good Hope and of the other small differences between the two nations while the English make difficulties about restoring Cabo Corso and New Belgium and about accounting for what Captain Holmes has done on the coast of Guinea. They have told him frankly that they cannot accept the arrangement on the basis of his project seeing that the preservation of the East India Company is involved.
The English have only 18 ships at sea under the flag of Prince Rupert, and 13 under that of the Earl of Sandwich, who will not dare to attack those of this state. Our admiral, though sick, will not hold back from an engagement, because there are two captains in his ship who will fire the powder magazine rather than surrender.
The merchants offer to maintain a fleet in the Mediterranean at their own cost, but the state will not allow it. The House of Austria keeps working for an alliance with this state, and is employing the Bishop of Munster for the purpose, but it will not succeed.
[French.]

Footnotes

1 Portions of this part of the newsletter are obliterated. Wt. 13302.
2 On the 10th August. Dumont: Corps Diplomatique, Vol. vi., pt. 3, pp. 23–5.
3 See Cal. S.P. Dom., 1664–5, page 47.
4 Called the Admiral's regiment. Killigrew's commission as colonel is dated 5th November. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1664–5, page 54.