Venice
December 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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57-70

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'Venice: December 1664', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 57-70. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90160 Date accessed: 02 September 2014.


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December 1664

1664.
Dec. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
95. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I knew that King Charles had written to his sister, the wife of Monsieur here, and directed the Chevalier Grammont, recently married to an English lady and come to London, (fn. 1) that they should speak to the Most Christian, offering his forces for the coming campaign for the destruction of the Barbary corsairs, especially those of Algiers and Tunis, and advising him to have greater efforts made against the post occupied, since everything was overthrown.
I did not send this news to your Serenity because it arrived after the repast, that is to say when the abandonment of Gigeri had taken place. (fn. 2) Now they have sent to London the Seigneur de Rovigny, (fn. 3) for the purpose of creating a resounding impression that the object of his journey is to concert the two great movements jointly against the infidels in the spring. But as from the attached sheets your Serenity will be pleased to observe that Mons. di Cominges has orders at the same moment to announce to King Charles that in the event of a rupture this crown is under an obligation to succour the Dutch in Europe, by virtue of the last alliance, it is suspected that the pretext for Rovigny's mission is the affair of Africa, and the intention … of which not another word has been said, after having negotiated here with Lord Fitzhardene, sent for the convalescence or sickness of the queen, as they wish to persuade themselves that such is the most proper expedient for disencumbering that sovereign from his union contracted with the States, as at the present moment they think of nothing else than of removing that obstacle, which is so immediate and necessary for the future designs against Flanders.
Paris, the 5th December, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.96. Extract of letters from the Hague of 27th November, 1664.
I think they no longer have any doubts in France about Ruyter being at the moment on the coast of Guinea, and that this action does not meet with entire approbation from those who judge equitably of it. The English have lost all their measures everywhere and will have leisure to economise all their petty capital and they will do nothing this winter. This … who has struck his blow and who has succoured … for the rest does not put himself out much, and will not cause to start …. This is a resolution taken since last Saturday, although … had not been the intention of the state from the time that they knew that … left Cadiz.
However Prince Rupert has not dared to make the voyage, because if his ships were detached from this fleet the vessels which were left would not be capable of preventing those of this state from passing up and down the English Channel and of hemming in the prince between the force of Ruyter and the ten ships which they would cause to sail from here.
The African Company of England has caused all the vessels which were to go to Guinea under the flag of this prince to be discharged, so that if Ruyter does what he has been ordered to do it will be necessary for the English to abandon this trade because the company will be ruined. But that which chiefly induces the Lords States not to cause their fleet to sail is that they do not wish to give occasion for a rupture without necessity. Nevertheless we shall see whether the winter will abate a little the heat of the English.
Mons. de Cominges has orders to tell the king of England that if he is the first to break the king, his master, will be obliged to assist this state in conformity with the last treaty, and if he does not defer to this they will carry out here the resolution which was taken last Friday to equip in the coming month of March seventy-two large ships extraordinarily, without counting those which the Admiralties maintain out of their ordinary and extraordinary revenue, and which serve to escort the merchant ships.
This great fleet will be divided in such a way that sixty will serve under the flag of the admiral and the remaining twelve will be employed for the safety of navigation on the coasts of Spain and Portugal and in the Mediterranean. For the maintenance of this force they will form an extraordinary capital of 3000 crowns a month for each ship, and it will amount to 1,592,000 crowns.
It was also resolved that the Admiralties should be urged to hasten the construction of the twenty-four ships, on which they are already at work, eight of sixty-eight guns each, eight of fifty-six pieces and eight of forty-six. If the 800,000 crowns set apart for this do not suffice, they will augment the capital with 400,000 crowns more. They also decided to put the regiment of marine in fighting trim, and to this end they were sending deputies to Gelderland which has not yet consented to it. These deputies left last Sunday and they will be back in three or four days.
The deputies of the West India Company have gone to the fleet to see to the departure of their four ships as soon as the wind is favourable, because they do not believe that the English will attack them, or that they will break for so small a thing, although they begin to be persuaded that war is inevitable.
They are anxious here about the fleet which is expected from Smyrna, because it is very rich and is almost without escort. If it does not arrive in five or six days they will be troubled indeed.
The Marquis of Castel Rodrigo has written a very civil letter to the Lords States on his arrival for the government of the Low Countries, and they have answered in very courteous terms.
[French.]
Enclosure.97. Letters from London of the 7th November, 1664.
On the departure of the Duke of York towards Portsmouth his duchess made a vow not to go forth from the palace or to receive any one until the safe return of his royal Highness to London. Up to the present she has religiously observed this and has not even admitted the Countess of Clarendon to her presence. They say that she lives alone in a very dark room, spending her time in prayers for the safe return of her husband.
The Duke of York is at present with the fleet in the road of Portsmouth. The high winds and storms of this week have prevented him from uniting with the fleet of Prince Rupert, who remains stationed with his fleet, in admirable condition near to Spithead. But they say that neither of these fleets will move far away from England, until certain new ships are ready, which are being prepared to complete their numbers, and that it will then be the finest and most formidable fleet that England has ever sent to sea, and capable of accomplishing any sort of enterprise. It will then consist of 100 very powerful ships.
We hear from Holland that their Admiral Opdam is still very sick with the gout, and that the Lords States have proposed to recall the Admiral Ruiter to command that fleet. But some believe that this is a pretended indisposition to excuse him from carrying out the decision of the Admiralty to convoy their merchant ships through the Channel, as they now see they are too weak to effect this, in view of the powerful fleet of the English ready to impede their passage and possibly eager to fight them.
In a short time parliament should be meeting and then his Majesty will clearly set forth his intentions. These are not expected to be favourable to the Dutch, as he has frequently declared that he wishes to get right and satisfaction from them or to reduce them to a condition in which they will not be able in the future to gather up all the trade and to ruin that of his country.
Letters from Tanger report that the English lines and fortifications there have at length been completed, by means whereof they have made themselves masters of more than 10,000 perches of land, and they have already begun to plant this and to sow grain and roots, to improve the provisioning of the garrison there.
The Earl of Carlisle and Mr. Coventry, British ambassadors to the crowns of Denmark and Sweden are returning to these parts, having completed their negotiations, and obtained a promise from those monarchs, from what they say, not to provide the Dutch with corn, wood for building ships or cordage, in the event of a rupture with England.
We have heard from the isle of Wight that there has been a great storm at sea, in which divers ships, both English and those of other nations have been wrecked on that coast.
Our naval preparations are so advanced that we hope to have a fleet of sixty-two sail in eight or ten days, besides a quantity of merchant ships that they are fitting out.
The king has appointed a committee to attend to naval matters, and has ordained a levy of 25,000 soldiers and 5000 sailors to serve during the year. He has also issued orders for the building of ships and the preparation of a quantity of arms and munitions. We have suffered the loss of some merchant ships in Newfoundland.
Henry Chapman of the town of Bath has been condemned to a fine of 500l. sterling for having dared to say that he was the man who decapitated the late king, although it was not true. In Scotland a woman aged seventy-seven years whose husband has … has given birth to a boy.
Our naval force is disposed in three squadrons. The first of thirteen ships under the Duke of York, who has Lauson for Vice Admiral. The second of twelve under Prince Rupert, with Captain Mins as Vice Admiral, and the third, also of twelve ships, under the Earl of Sandwich, with George Ascue as Vice Admiral. The rest of the ships are proceeding without intermission to the rendezvous. A report is circulating that the Dutch have sunk a ship of ours full of sailors, coming from the North. The Duke of York is at Portsmouth, ready to set sail.
[French.]
Dec. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
98. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador is speaking to every one about his approaching departure, but there is no sign of his doing anything definite to carry it into effect. This report which on a sudden has been spread abroad gives cause for many opinions. It is believed that he aims at arousing jealousy, at expressing dissatisfaction, at feigning grievances so that here they may decide by various means to mollify him, so that these may redound to the advantage of himself and his king. He has complained many times of the lengthy formalities with which they proceed. He has asked for a decision with some impatience. But pleasures do not suffice to live on (ma non giova di trattenersi le delizie). It may be that by protesting that he will go he is making his final effort. An important minister has said that the more the English press to obtain trade the more firmly the king should stand fast in refusing it. If the ambassador says definitely that he will go it is certain that everything possible will be done so that he may leave content. At present the object of this crown is to avoid stirring up trouble and to preserve a clear sky in the mind of the great powers, with all diligence.
Madrid, the 10th December, 1664.
[Italian.]
Dec. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
99. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador being somewhat indisposed I thought it right to go and see him. I spoke to him about the alleged offence to Lord Fanshaw. Lord Holles assured me that beyond a doubt the king would write at once to Lord Fanshaw to cultivate the best relations with the Ambassador Zorzi, while he would not wait for any instructions to do so with me.
He spoke later of the peace concluded with the Algerines on the 5th November by the Sig. Allen (fn. 4) and promised to let me have the articles. He made a sort of apology for this, saying that the interest of the merchants is too great, for the Levant Company, and as the corsairs do incalculable mischief in the Mediterranean, it behoves King Charles to have compassion and sometimes to consider the relief and restoration of his own subjects. He said that Allen reported that the Barbareschi were triumphant at having chased the French out of Gigeri.
With regard to the differences with Holland he said that peace or war depended on what happened in Guinea. King Charles for his part has always had good intentions; but the good pledges of no matter who are never popular or tolerated in England (ma le buone vade di chi si sia non sono mai piacute ne tollerate in Inghilterra). On the other hand the Duke of York wishes to see service, as everybody knows, being less phlegmatic in general than his royal brother appears to be. He said that he desired peace, but the States must withdraw their past resolutions. His king certainly had no desire to enter upon that dance, but now that it is forced upon him it is proper that the others also should seek a way out.
Paris, the 12th December, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.100. Intelligence from London, the 4th December and from the Hague, the 4th December, 1664.
The Dutch fleet commanded by Vice Admiral Opdam is still stationed at Goeria, detained by winds persistently contrary, and many are of opinion that it will not be moving this winter, or at least not before they have made themselves strong enough by the construction of the new ships reported, and formidable enough to resist the power of England.
The English fleet is still divided, that is one part in the roadstead near Spithead and the other a short way from Portsmouth, waiting for the Dutch to sail before joining and opposing them. It is said that his royal Highness has already on several occasions made sure of twenty ships in Amsterdam, laden with merchandise, which were returning to their homes, and that he is taking prizes every day, as with the wind continuing favourable for the return of ships to Holland, the war vessels of that country cannot come out to defend the merchantmen which are arriving. But as this is only the talk of the merchants on the mart, confirmation is awaited by way of letters before the report can be accepted.
It is almost incredible how the presence of his royal Highness has worked for the final establishment of his fleet. The sailors and the old officers of the time of the Protector come forward voluntarily, skilled men experienced in navigation, taking on the duty under the command of the Lord High Admiral, the Duke of York, and protesting their future loyalty to the crown of England. Therefore, considering the size and strength of the fleet, the experience of its commanders and sailors, besides the just pretensions of his Britannic Majesty, it is reasonable to hope for a prosperous issue, more especially as parliament is ready, at this crisis, to contribute the sole requisite that is lacking, to wit, money. This will doubtless be the first business proposed and transacted in that assembly.
The French ambassador in an audience of his Majesty has again taken notice of the great preparations which are being made against Holland, and asked his Majesty's intentions, telling him that he knew such preparations would not be pleasing to his master. The king at once sent the Earl of Fitzharden to Paris to satisfy, so they say, the Most Christian of his intentions. The letters from Holland state that the conduct of the principal affairs have been referred to a privy committee, which is bound to a solemn oath of secrecy and that Holland has discovered from this secret committee the design on which the Admiral Ruiter is employed, which seems a style contrary to that government, that Ruiter should have received his instructions from that province alone.
The same letters also state that two ships recently sailed from the Texel in the direction of the East Indies, with the intention of making the voyage round Scotland, which is too patent a risk, were it not for the present state of affairs.
Parliament met this morning at Westminster, where after the usual harangue from King Charles they made choice of divers commissioners who were directed to prepare certain bills to be passed into law. As his Majesty insisted strongly in his speech upon the need of money for the maintenance of his fleet and the payment of the 800,000 crowns raised on loan from the city, they are awaiting the act which parliament will pass to grant them a gross imposition of eighteen months.
They write from the Hague that there will be no engagement this year between the two nations because the Dutch fleet will not come out. He who has time has … Winter will cool the ardour of the English and dispose matters for negotiation, of which the king will take charge.
It is already known that Mons. Barcley, Lord Fitzharden has been at Paris, to render evil offices, (fn. 5) but Mons. d'Estrades will remove any impression made on the Most Christian, and the Sieur di Bonninghen is staying elsewhere without character or quality, to inform the king of France better about everything. That monarch may crown himself with glory by making himself the guarantor of the peace of all Christendom, since it is certain that the kings of Sweden and Denmark will follow his sentiments and that the king of England himself will not proceed to attack a single keel of this state if his Majesty really means to interpose.
This same Bouninghen has orders to inform the king of all the rights, forces and resolutions of these states and to summon the crown to the defence promised them by virtue of the last treaty if the English will not agree to what is just and proper, and if the king thinks it desirable he will further proceed to England.
This journey of Bouninghen will give offence to Mons. Borel, the ordinary ambassador, as he will have no part in these negotiations, because of many considerations, but chiefly for one, which must not be spoken, to wit, from the knowledge they have that his private interests may make him incline to England.
The repose of Christendom depends on this move, and to speak freely, now is an opportunity for the king to win this state for ever, since otherwise this state will be compelled to make its accommodation with England on any terms and that cannot happen without prejudicially affecting the existing friendship between France and Holland.
It was believed that that same crown was supplying the English with money but in the end we have been disabused about this and it is hoped that the king will declare for justice and for the interests of his good allies.
The English continue to strengthen their fleet which at present consists of forty-eight vessels, i.e. thirty under the Duke of York and eighteen under Prince Rupert who is sick to death, having been struck on the head by a block or a piece of the main yard and he has been trepanned. (fn. 6) The principal vessel of these carries eighty-six bronze pieces and 500 soldiers, besides the sailors. The smallest will have thirty-two pieces and 120 men, but in the fleet of Prince Rupert ten of the vessels are on hire.
The naval force of the Lords States is not at present increased since it has been decided not to let it go out, the government being content so to arrange matters that it will be ready in the spring. The deputies of the Admiralty have promised to assemble the eighty ships when they are supplied with the six and a half million florins for which they have asked. To this end they are causing work on the first twenty-four ships to proceed without intermission, and similarly at Amsterdam they are at work on the equipment of others so that all may be ready at the beginning of May.
We are practically safe with Sweden, thanks to the satisfaction which has been granted to them, so that England will not derive any advantage from that quarter. Coventres, the envoy of King Charles at Stocolm, is on the point of leaving without a conclusion, and seems to be well received. Similarly we are not on bad terms with Denmark, but everything depends on the decision which the parliament of London will take.
The Scots have declared that they do not want war with this state, because they live by the trade as do the Dutch also while the city of London alone draws to itself all the trade of the three kingdoms.
They have sent orders to the ships which are expected from Smyrna and other places of the Mediterranean to stop in Spain until such time as they see the English disarmed in conformity with what we have begun to do here.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.101. Articles of Peace between the King of England and the corsairs of Algiers.
Fifteen Articles with an additional one appended. Dated 30th October, 1664. (fn. 7)
[Italian.]
Dec. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
102. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Grand Chancellor at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
The extent to which venality prevails here is incredible. I am glad that I can manage with little as even with much the friendly ministers themselves are deceived. This is the case of the English ambassador, who is kept at a distance and is not minded (che tenuto lontano non si guarda) and yet he puts his hand deep into his pocket, at the cost of the merchants. He lives in the most magnificent style, thirty horses in his stables, six mules, three coaches, two litters, a most numerous household, a sumptuous table which is always ready.
Adrianople, the 12th December, 1664.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
103. Francesco Bianchi, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
An English ship of war mounting sixty guns (fn. 8) has brought word that it has been to Algiers for the renewal of the peace with those barbarians which it has established upon more advantageous conditions than have been obtained on other occasions.
Florence, the 13th December, 1664.
[Italian.]
Dec. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
104. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The envoy Bouninghem from the Hague should now be arrived. His chief object is to ask the Most Christian to declare himself in favour of the Lords States by the alliance, not so much however by that as from seeing the trade of his kingdom interrupted, if he agrees that the wines, chiefly, and other goods which are traded with passports from this crown shall be stopped if not taken and, under cover of the vain complaints of the English merchants, confiscated in London.
The treatment accorded by the king to Lord Fitzharding with his own hand so unusual in presenting him with a jewel worth 10,000 crowns, arouses suspicion, since such a present has never been given to a royal minister who merely came with compliments on the convalescence of the queen.
Amsterdam is suffering from the plague and still more from loss of trade, but the portion of the Netherlands subject to the Catholic benefits by the loss of the others. Antwerp is beginning to rise again, the more so as the English themselves pretend by way of Zeeland to force the pass of Lillo and remove other obstacles.
Paris, the 19th December, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.105. Extract from letters from London and the Hague of 11th December, 1664.
We hear by letters from Portsmouth that the wind had been favourable for the Dutch to set sail for the space of forty-eight hours, but instead of hearing that Opdam's fleet has started from Goeree to pass through the Channel, they have received word that by express order of the States they have withdrawn to divers ports with … that a great part of their sailors have been … and dismissed, but in what manner and for what time is not yet known. But it is said that many astrologers in those parts have foretold very great and stormy winds and tempests to come in the … and in the face of these prognostications they decided, after mature deliberation, on the return of their fleet to port. This decision has already been carried into effect, except that the Hollanders have reserved, so they say, only eight or ten ships to defend their coasts and a part of the other eighteen vessels which are being equipped. But it is said that this forethought does not greatly please the people, owing to the heavy expenses which they have incurred, and in the end the merchants find themselves abandoned to all the hazards of a winter voyage, besides other perils which threaten them, and the difficulty they will have to avoid meeting the English fleet. Vice Admiral Opdam arrived at the Hague on the 5th inst. with a small following of his fleet, which is at present dismantled; but it is said to be kept constantly on half pay so as to be ready for every future occasion.
There is no certain news as yet of Admiral Ruiter, but it is always concluded that he has gone to Guinea, though with what commissions is not known.
By letters from Algiers we learn that Captain Allen, after carrying out many undertakings and securing many advantages in those waters, has finally made and concluded a peace with Algiers, the particulars of which we are waiting to hear by the first letters.
Last Saturday, after slight opposition, parliament voted, nemine contradicente, a contribution of ten million crowns to his Majesty for the maintenance of the war against the Dutch, and this great imposition is to be raised in the space of three years from the people, in the manner which will be determined by the same. This method was proposed on the Monday following, and being opposed, they did not arrive at an agreement at the time and the matter was postponed to another time. (fn. 9)
Some Dutch ships laden with various goods entered the port of Dover last Tuesday. The crews say that before their departure from Holland the news there was that an accommodation for peace had been concluded between England and the States. But if it be true, as stated, that they seize all Dutch ships in the ports of his Majesty, these will pay dear for their credulity.
The Duke of York continues always on board … week at sea to unite with the other English fleets … all three may be united, so that now we shall be waiting impatiently to hear of some enterprise worthy of such a commander. Prince Rupert remains as usual (sta al solito).
On the 5th the States received letters from their ambassador in London reporting that although the King of England had released some Dutch ships which had been sequestrated, with all the other foreign ships, yet that same day, the 29th November, he had caused them to be sequestrated again, the same thing being done at Plymouth and the isle of Wight. He wrote that from reprisals at sea, other craft, likewise Dutch, had been taken to those ports. The Secretary Morrice had told the ambassador that his king made these arrests because the States would not do him right and that his Majesty would keep these vessels until satisfaction was given to him upon the grievances represented at the Hague by his minister Douninghen. Also that the king and the grandees of the realm, who had shown a strong leaning to an accommodation, no longer preserve this disposition but have come to believe that an open war is desirable. The ambassador adds that the English are sending three squadrons to sea with orders to take all the Dutch vessels which they meet.
Upon receipt of these letters it was resolved at the Hague that the Sieur van Bouninghen should take copies of them to be communicated to the French ambassador and to the ministers of all the allied kings, to make them acquainted that there is a manifest rupture, so that they may dispose themselves towards this state by virtue of the treaties they have with them. Further, instructions have been sent to the Admiralties to issue orders prohibiting merchants from sending out their ships. In particular they have instructed the Admiralty of Zeeland to send two galleys … meet … which are coming from France and Spain, because they had trouble to pass, a courier is being sent to Brest by land, to make known … galeot for the same purpose and office. It was also resolved to … companies of infantry and twelve of cavalry, to be posted in garrison … and of Zeeland, where the English might make some …. The States likewise resolved to fetch four cornets of horse to the Hague for the safety of the deputies resident there. The Admiralties were further directed to send immediately thirty ships of war to Flushing, which is an intermediate stage between Zeeland and Flanders, and to increase the number of them to fifty, but this will be difficult, because before these vessels have laded the provisions, which they cannot do in less than ten or twelve days, a frost will come or the wind will be contrary. But it is believed that all these preparations will be ready by the end of February or the beginning of March, so as to be at sea for the whole summer.
The same day, i.e. immediately after the arrival of the letters from England, Douningh presented a memorial in which he gives the last proofs of his cunning. In this he demands the release of a Swedish ship which is taking yards to England. He calls this a great act of violence, seeing that the king, his master, is releasing all the Dutch ships, although he knew that they had been sequestrated again in England. He had the audacity to send this fine memorial to all the ministers of foreign princes. (fn. 10) Here they feel contempt for him, while he is angered at seeing himself on the point of giving up this employment. He deserves to be excused as he is trying to render himself agreeable in a Court where he will be obliged to live with much less comfort.
The Sieur van Bonninghen left the Hague on Friday evening and with a favourable wind he should have landed at Dunkirk on Sunday. He will be able to reach Paris at the same time as these letters arrive. If he succeeds in his negotiations this state will either not enter upon war, or will emerge from one with advantage. If the king of France declares himself, the English will put water in their wine. Otherwise we shall be compelled to accommodate the English and then other measures will be taken.
The States are putting themselves in a good position. The Admiralty of Amsterdam has ordered the purchase of guns in Sweden, and they will have no lack of material, being in a position to continue the war at sea for four years without having to raise any loan at more than four per cent.
The States of Holland have decided to dismiss the English and Scottish troops in their service and to administer a new oath to the officers and men who have no interest in England; and it is certain that after this we shall see no more of that nation in this service.
Letters from England relate that Captain Holme reports that he has taken to Lisbon four captured Dutch ships. He had not taken any others, but he was advised that a number of ships were coming. Not feeling himself safe he had thought proper to withdraw thither.
[Italian; from the French.]
Dec. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
106. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Enclosing intelligence from the Hague.
Paris, the 26th December, 1664.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.107. Copy of letters from the Hague, dated 18th December, 1664.
It will be three weeks since a leading English minister remarked to a person of quality that the English are compelled to make war on the Dutch as there was no other way to ruin their trade. Before long we shall see if they are right in their reckoning.
In pursuance of the last treaty of adjustment made for all claims between the parties, it will not be found that the Dutch have taken or attacked any vessel of England, except one only, which was delivered from the hands of the Turks in fair fight, and which they chose later to restore to the owners, although there was no obligation to do so. On the other hand the English have taken many Dutch vessels on the coast of Guinea. In addition to this they have possessed themselves of divers places in which there was a garrison of the States, both in these quarters and in America, and not content with such executions they have stopped and taken at sea all other craft of Holland which they encountered, and we hear from London that not only are the goods confiscated but the Dutch sailors are cast into prison. Accordingly they have sent to the ambassador in London by express courier to demand restitution or to obtain a declaration, indeed he himself intimates that the said act is received as an open rupture. The Sieur van Bouninghem has orders to represent the whole to the Most Christian king and to ask for those succours that are due by virtue of the last treaty, with the more reason because the English have been the first to bring the war to Europe. They count absolutely on obtaining this knowing that his Majesty is to the utmost extreme jealous of his own word, and because there may never be reason to fear that King Charles will unite with Spain to thwart his designs or to oppose his intentions, particularly after the death of the Catholic.
Meantime the States are putting themselves in a position to make head against the English. Yesterday half a league from here, some vessels were seen going to the rendezvous off the coast of Zeeland, to the number of twenty-six, and they will stay there for the time being, until the whole fleet is ready to go out.
They are diligently at work upon the construction of the twenty-eight new ships reported, and above all they wish to create a capital for the maintenance of this naval force for many years, without being obliged to seek money at interest for the purpose. Holland alone has got together eleven millions for the next campaign, so with what the other provinces will give and with the ordinary revenues of the Admiralties, they claim that they will be able to keep over 160 great ships in commission, and this provision should be supplemented by the succour undertaken by France and by other promises by the crown of Sweden.
Every day they have offers from worthy men who would like to arm against the English, who might be harassed, especially in the Mediterranean and in the West Indies. The merchants interested are resolved to send their fleets to those parts, by making a circuit and going round the island of England. With regard to the East Indies there is no reason to fear that a single English ship will appear there a year after the rupture, as they will have first of all to fight with all the Dutch that they will find there.
Five thousand additional sailors, at the ordinary rate of pay, are being levied for this service with all speed, so that with those that they have already, and with the sixty companies of 115 men who are to serve at sea, they reckon to have, in plain truth and without exaggeration, more than 24,000 sailors alone. To-day they are expecting two companies of horse. To-morrow four more will join them and they are distributing about thirty companies of infantry along the sea coast.
The ships which are taking provisions to Guinea have made sail, with orders and the intention to go round England. Those which are expected from Smyrna have been instructed to make halt and to collect in a certain port, which for the present they have not chosen to name.
The company of the East Indies is asking of the States, for itself alone, permission to go to China and Japan, fearing that other companies or private Dutchmen may forestall them, a thing that could not happen without serious prejudice to their trade already introduced, but this matter will not be decided in a hurry.
News has arrived here from London that Ruiter has chased the English from the Barbades islands and has proceeded thence to clear the coast of Guinea. If this is confirmed the English will have to come to terms at all costs.
The Marquis Castel Rodrigo is raising 2000 horse, 1000 dragoons and 6000 infantry. A report is circulating that the emperor thinks of sending 15,000 soldiers into the Low Countries, to take possession immediately the marriage with the Infanta has taken place (fn. 11) ; but all this will prove vain if France and these States continue their good understanding together.
[Italian.]
Dec. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
108. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador encourages negotiations for a peace with Portugal but he does not seem content with a simple suspension of arms and he puts difficulties in the way of the Portuguese entering upon one at the present time. Among other things he says that the fire ought either to be put out altogether or else set blazing more fiercely. Merely to smother it is not to the advantage of Portugal, which is now strong and from the favourable aspect of circumstances, to which they look forward, a lucky horoscope may be anticipated. He emphasizes this by saying that if the negotiations are broken off now, the thread will be cut for ever. He states also that if at some time the war was waged with less prospect of success it might now be continued from motives of greater expectations. This is an allusion to the approaching death of the king and to the confusion that such a misfortune will produce in the government here.
He thus touches the weakness of this crown with a rude hand, presses his advantage and speaks audaciously and in a haughty manner more worthy of correction than of acceptance; but here they put up with it because one does not offend him whom one fears.
Madrid, the last of December, 1664.
[Italian.]
Dec. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
109. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador who up to the present dressed his household according to the French fashion, on Christmas day issued liveries of the Spanish cut. The Court has condemned the action as one of superfluous affectation, saying that what is needed is a change of mentality first, and of raiment after.
Madrid, the last of December, 1664.
Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Philibert, Comte de Grammont, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Hamilton, fourth son of James Hamilton, first Earl of Abercorn. Paul: Scots Peerage, Vol. i. pp. 52, 55.
2 Jijelli, north-west of Constantine, in Algeria. Occupied by the French earlier in the year, but on 29th October they were beaten out of their works and the town by the Moors with severe losses. Holles to Bennet November 9–19th, 1664. S.P. France. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1664–5, pp. 53, 71.
3 Ruvigny reached Dover, on 5th Nov., n.s. See his letter of Nov. 6th. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
4 Captain Thomas Allen, who succeeded Lawson in the Mediterranean and who had recently (Oct. 30th) concluded a peace with the Algerians. Playfair: Scourge of Christendom, page 88.
5 Charles Berkeley, Viscount Fitzharding. He saw the king on Nov. 21st. Holles to Bennet, Nov. 22nd, 1664. S.P. France, Vol. cxix. His instructions, dated November, are in the same volume.
6 Downing, writing on 11th November, reports a rumour that Rupert had been dangerously wounded by the fall of a block, or some such thing on his head. S.P. Holland, Vol. clxxiii. Comenges, writing on 6th Nov., says, “Le Prince Robert est tout a fait hors de danger du coup qu'il s'estoit donné a la teste, visitant ses vaisseaux.” P.R.O. Paris Transcripts. He was apparently operated on by Antoine de Choqueaux on 4th November, o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1664–5, page 56.
7 Printed in Dumont: Corps Diplomatique, Vol. vi. pt. 3, pp. 31–4. The articles are the same as those concluded by Lawson on 23rd April, 1632, with the additional article referred to.
8 Captain Allen's ship, the Plymouth.
9 The vote of 2,500,000l. was taken on Friday, 25th November, o.s. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. viii., page 568. The method of raising the money was referred to a committee of the whole house, to be discussed on Monday the 5th December, o.s. Ibid. page 569.
10 Downing's memorial is dated 4th Nov., o.s., and there is another on the same date presented by the Swedish minister, Harald Appelboom. The ship was the St. Jacob, Dirck Smyth, master, laded at Gottenburg with masts, iron, boards, etc., for the port of London; forced by stress of weather into the Texel, S.P. Holland, Vol. clxxiii.
11 The marriage of the emperor Leopold to Margareta Theresa, second daughter of King Philip IV of Spain, did not take place until two years later.