Venice
January 1665

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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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71-78

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'Venice: January 1665', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 71-78. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90161 Date accessed: 24 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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January 1665

Jan. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
110. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Enclosing intelligence from the Hague and London.
Paris, 2nd January, 1664. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Enclosure.111. Intelligence from the Hague.
Here they hope well of the negotiations of Mons. van Bouninghem confiding in the word of the Most Christian, and because the interests of … tend more and more daily to ruin the English … which will never be so powerful that it can cause anxiety to France.
On Saturday the States of Holland separated, to meet again here on the 13th January. These have put in order all the affairs, failing only to settle the manner of levying the seven millions of francs destined for the war of the coming year. They are not yet entirely agreed about it, as the deputies of the towns will not agree without more particular orders from the magistrates; but in the mean time they have granted that the treasurers and receivers of these same towns shall provide money. The ordinary deputies, at the meeting of the States General, have orders to act in such a way that resolutions are taken in accordance with their intentions.
With respect to the regiment of the marine all the other Provinces have agreed, but Holland wishes that each Province shall make a fresh find for that and, until such time as they have agreed, will not permit the making of a recruitment of twenty-five men per company, for which the other Provinces are pressing strongly, because the garrisons are greatly enfeebled, both by the number of soldiers who serve at sea, as because of the companies which are made to go to Holland. That province demands twenty companies of horse and 100 of infantry; the other Provinces make difficulties about granting them; but as Holland pays for twenty-seven cornets of horse and 207 companies of infantry, it is thought that she may make use of them in the present need … it will be necessary to humour her. Last Friday … province gave the command of the troops that it pays, and … in the same province to Mons. Beververt, who may promise himself the general command in the event of a rupture by land.
They pretend here that England has broken by taking and keeping the Dutch ships; nevertheless they will not resolve upon hostilities until such time as France has declared herself, and similarly they will not make reprisals until in England they have sold and confiscated the ships and goods which they are detaining. But they have given orders to every frigate of the state to take all the English ships that they meet, which will be guarded until they see what the King of England will do.
There are eighteen great ships of war stationed near Zeeland, and fifteen frigates will be added to them which will scour the sea; but it is not known if they will be able to prevent the Zeelanders from arming, as the English have already taken many ships, including two which were going to Rouen, worth 160,000 crowns. They have already created a capital of 240,000 crowns and one sees nothing but frigates armed by private individuals, and there are fears of some disturbance if they are not permitted to put to sea. The fleet of Bordeaux has arrived safely without any mishap, by a miracle, having been eight or ten days in the English Channel.
The States of Zeeland were to have separated the day before yesterday. They have agreed to all that is necessary for the war with England. They have chosen an Admiral, a Vice Admiral and Rear Admiral, have distributed the thirty companies of their province in three regiments and appointed a number of colonels, lieutenant colonels and majors.
Mons. d'Huberts, (fn. 1) secretary of the States of the province of [Zeeland] will be deputies here to settle some differences which are outstanding between the two provinces as soon as the States of Holland are assembled again.
There is undoubtedly a disposition here to make a treaty of friendship with the republic of Venice, since Mons. Boreel has had instructions to assure Sig. Sagredo of it, but I do not know where this can be negotiated if the republic does not send any ambassador. Many years ago they nominated a gentleman of Gelders here as ambassador to Venice, but subsequently some change occurred.
Mons. d'Estrades is working hard to adjust the differences which this state has with the neighbouring princes of Germany, and with the Order of Malta, and serves the king nobly. The one who does the business of Brandenburg should arrive here after the festivities, to begin the conferences for the great debt. (fn. 2) The Marquis of Castel Rodrigo told the resident of this state that the King of England has sent to the emperor and to Brandenburg, inviting them to join with him in making the war. King Charles has caused the same proposal to be made to Sweden and Denmark, but fruitlessly and it is hoped that Lord Barclay and Fintzharden will not have better success in France; because the Most Christian has caused Mons. d'Estrades to say that he will punctually carry out the treaty. The same Marquis has likewise stated that he has definite information that an engineer … has offered to sink a ship at the mouth … to render useless the city of Amsterdam and ruin it in this way. If one is willing to believe them this state has not the best … the Spaniards and the House of Austria, which offers a perpetual alliance and a very advantageous one with the emperor with the concurrence of all these princes.
The emperor is about to send to the Low Countries 9000 Germans and is expecting 5000 Spaniards, so that with the levies of the country they will have a corps of 22,000 men. They are also causing the fortifications of their places to be restored, particularly on the side of France.
The secretary of the ambassador in England arrived here yesterday and brings word that the English are intending to declare war openly in a few days.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.112. Intelligence from London, … 1664.
[Parliament] having granted the king a sum of two and a half millions sterling, to be employed in the war against Holland, has ordained that this shall be levied with all punctuality, in proportion to the goods which each one owns in the various counties.
… ships of Holland laden with drugs, spices and merchandise of great value have recently been brought into Dover by the ships of war which are always cruising about in the English Channel.
… has directed that all the prisoners shall be released in the present rupture, and that in the future the Dutch who are found in the prizes at sea are to be landed on the coasts of their own country or on those of France, so that they may be able to return home. The orders for reprisals, which continue in England and in Scotland, with much injury to merchant ships, have been transmitted to Ireland also. Captain Holms is expected in London soon.
… about the rising of the shop boys, called apprentices, has somewhat disturbed the quiet enjoyed at Edinburgh, (fn. 3) but a remedy has been found for it all through the prudence of the government.
The Quakers, Independents and other fanatics have given cause this week by divers conventicles to fear they were contemplating some insurrection but this also has been prevented by sending to prison the leaders and the principals of the assembly, who will have to answer in their persons for having so scandalously broken the laws and the last parliamentary enactment.
They write from Holland that the discontent of the merchants and others interested in commerce is growing day by day, since many would not be afraid to come out, but they are obliged to obey the decrees of the provinces, as they know for political reasons that it is not advisable to expose them to a certain loss … the men keep in their warehouses, as happened with … ships which furtively left the Texel, and forthwith fell into [the hands] of the English at Portsmouth. So until the season is sufficiently advanced to allow them to make the circuit of Scotland it is certain that no craft will leave Holland, whatever they may say.
[Italian; from the French.]
Jan. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
113. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Some English frigates of war which lay in wait for the Dutch convoy, at the Levant strait, which came very numerous in ships and rich in merchandise, engaged it with resolution and vigour. (fn. 4) They say that many ships have been captured, but the precise details are not yet forthcoming. The same frigates also stopped another ship flying the Dutch flag, but finding out that its cargo of grain was ordered by his Majesty for the use of these realms, they let it go without any harm. To prevent any mischief that might befall the ships by which this crown receives service through divers transports, they had representations made to the English ambassador. His answer was urbane in manner rather than frank, without definitely refusing or committing himself to anything.
Madrid, the 7th January, 1665.
[Italian.]
Jan. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
114. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
News has just arrived from London that Admiral Ruiter has not only recovered all the places taken by Captain Holmes, but that he has taken ten English ships in those waters. This has roused great excitement against Holland in parliament and among the people. We learn that orders have been sent express with great secrecy from King Charles to the ambassador at Madrid to direct the English commander Allen to cease pursuing his negotiations with the Barbary corsairs in order to go against Ruiter with all the fleet.
Paris, the 9th January, 1664. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Enclosure.115. Intelligence from the Hague.
The English, seeing that the greater part of the ships of these provinces are resolved to take the northern route and to make the circuit of England, are causing a fort to be built in the island of Hitland, which is one of the Orcades, (fn. 5) to try and prevent this voyage and also to upset the herring fishery, which the Most Christian ought to guarantee by virtue of the treaty.
The English are doing their utmost to arm the emperor, the elector of Brandenburg and the Duke of Neoburgh against these States, and to this end they offer very advantageous conditions. But until such time as the princes of Germany may hope to accommodate their small differences and until the emperor believes that this state is thinking of treating with the empire, he will do nothing with England, and of this he gave fresh assurances a few days ago.
Letters have been seen here from the Count della Garda, chancellor of Sweden, who shows a great leaning towards this state, and who assures them that provided they make some concessions to the king of Sweden in respect of his grievances, which are just but of slight importance, they may rest assured here that the treaty of Elbing will be carried out effectually and with complete loyalty.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.116. Major Holmes has arrived safely in the Downs with four ships, (fn. 6) laden with rich cargoes from Guinea. It is said that the Duke of York will be returning to sea soon. The king and Council have decided that a special commission shall be despatched to him whereby powers will be given him to dispose of mercantile ships belonging to private individuals, in the eventuality of their being required to serve in the war, as for instance to use them for transporting victuals and necessary provisions for the naval forces.
The French ambassador has again presented a memorial to the king offering mediation, to which the king replied, justifying our rights and pointing out the wrong of our enemies.
An envoy from Muscovy has arrived in this city, but he did not receive the welcome which he expected, because of some rebuff which the Earl of Carlisle, ambassador of this crown, received in Muscovy.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.117. Intelligence from London, the 29th December, 1644.
The last letters from Tanger state that the governor has sent two men to Orsalla with a reply to Prince Gayland's letter, in which he stated that he would never have peace with our people until such time as the forts built after the last treaty of peace had been demolished. There is fear as to the fate of the messengers, as there is no news of them. Meanwhile Captain Poole, commanding the Advice has captured a ship of Tetuan. We have lost by storm some merchantmen coming from Gascony and Spain with wine.
It has been stated that ten or twelve Dutch privateers are in the direction of the Sound, whereupon orders have been issued here to send a squadron to the north.
King Charles was present at a naval council at which it was decided to grant general letters of reprisal against the Dutch, and that the ships already taken should be comprised in these. The Admiralty therefore will have to pass judgment about these prizes in conformity with what is believed to be right.
A comet has been seen in Ireland, about which there is a great deal of discussion as also about another meteor in the form of a star which has appeared above Whitehall from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m. It has also been seen at Dorchester, with a tail about two … long. (fn. 7)
[Italian.]
Jan. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
118. Francesco Bianchi, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
With more certain knowledge orders have reached the English ships at Leghorn to make reprisals on the Dutch in every quarter. Because of this the Armenian nation has sent orders to its correspondents at Smyrna by an express barque, not to lade goods on ships of either nation.
Florence, the 10th January, 1664. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
119. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassadors of England and Holland, (fn. 8) encountering in the king's ante-chamber, greeted each other as allies rather than as enemies. England tells everyone that there has been no declaration of war, and that the dispute is more a private than a public one, his king only asking for compensation. But Holland makes a great fuss, expresses his detestation of ambition and violence and says that the aims of England are not to obtain reparation, but usurpation and that the object of these arms tends to the occupation of territory and not for the recovery of some trifling capital and possessions.
Madrid, the 14th January, 1665.
[Italian.]
Jan. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
120. Francesco Bianchi, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Grand Duke at the moment is called upon in his own interest to attend closely to the affairs of Leghorn. It is foreseen that business of that mart will be interrupted during the contest between the English and the Dutch. To prevent injury from the reprisals to be made by the English, the Dutch have directed their consul, for the sake of safety, not to allow vessels to leave the port until further order. So without the craft of these two nations, which bring the trade, and also because others refuse to have their goods laded on their ships, if some compensation is not provided, Leghorn will be left with little or no trade. Genoa, which never loses an opportunity of making things worse, is hastening the equipment of a convoy of ships, which in place of those of Holland and England serve for the transport of goods where requisite and for themselves.
The Grand Duke is thinking of the same thing. The most difficult question will be to find ships, because there are few Livornese ones, and to procure them from foreigners is considered too costly.
One may see here a list of the ships of war which the Dutch and English have in commission at present. Those of England number seventy-two, mounting 3024 guns, with 12,685 soldiers and sailors. The Dutch have ninety-two, with 2528 guns and 13,113 men. From the clash of such forces everyone foresees the slaughter and the evils that may ensue, but at present the talk is all about the particulars of the princess here. (fn. 9)
Florence, the 17th January, 1664. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
121. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters from Cadiz give particulars of the encounter between the English frigates and the Dutch convoy. The battle began on the 29th December off the port and lasted several hours. The ships King Solomon and Santa Maria gained Tanger, the latter transported with another small vessel, the former, which had already surrendered, sank. The Commander Blach, (fn. 10) struck by a cannon ball with twelve others, soldiers and sailors on the Dutch side, lost his life. The English Vice Commander and eighty-five of his men also perished. Thirteen ships of the convoy, although engaged, entered the port, and thirteen others which got away to sea escaped the danger. The merchants here, in consequence, feel the liveliest anxiety, fearing greater inconvenience and prejudice.
A ship that was stopped was immediately released when it was found to be Venetian. In the future no Dutch ship will leave these ports until the appearance of the squadrons of Admirals Ruiter and Tromp, which will serve to offer resistance to the enemy and as an escort for their countrymen.
Madrid, the 21st January, 1665.
[Italian.]
Jan. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
122. To the Ambassador in Spain.
We are sure that you will devote the same attention to the departure of the English ambassador, with the purpose of finding out as far as possible what he expected to gain and what were the true motives which led him so to act.
Ayes, 130. Noes, 0. Neutral, 5.
[Italian.]
Jan. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
123. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The ministers here think that a war between England and Holland will be profitable for this crown. For one thing, the English will find it difficult in the future to help the Portuguese, and it will divert the attention of England from the Indies, about which they will not remain so persistent and diligent. They will also be more careful about offending the crown. The Spaniards further hope that the present occasion will force the Dutch to a closer union with them, since they expect that France will abandon them. The actions of the Dutch ambassador are closely watched. By virtue of the last agreements he has already asked for a declaration and help. It is thought that any reply given to him must be difficult, since it must offend France and provoke the hostility of King Charles. If they denounce the treaty, they do wrong, and the anger of that nation will be roused. It is as if they had to pass a most difficult rock with two contrary winds. Here it is believed that the utmost prudence and the sagacious devices of Mons. de Vigne will not suffice to avoid it. A very important minister has remarked that this business has become so arduous that in so furious a storm the crown will not be preserved whole without throwing a great deal overboard and hazarding its greater service.
Ambrun has said that the Dutch are putting his king in a troublesome dilemma. He is allied with one of the parties and friendly with the other. He professes perfect correspondence with England and it is not in accordance with his own interest to put this in peril for the sake of foreigners. The ministers will not lack the skill to avoid commitments, to keep one of the powers well disposed and not to lose the other. Here they expect that owing to the winter season France will undertake the office of mediator. So far it seems that the Council of State is determined to maintain a rigid neutrality; but they would be exceedingly sorry for Holland to succumb, as they hope for a union with them if the French attack them in Flanders.
Madrid, the 28th January, 1665.
[Italian.]
Jan. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
124. To the Ambassador at the Most Christian Court.
The offices with the English ambassador for the release of the ship San Giovanni Battista have proved successful, and you will take steps to see that no harm shall come to our subjects. We are also waiting to hear what reply the ambassador will receive to his letter written to his colleague in Spain about what happened with out Ambassador Cornaro.
Ayes, 128. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Pieter de Huybert, pensionary of Zeeland.
2 Matthias Romswinckel, who joined his colleagues Werner Wilhelm Blaspeil and Johan Copes.
3 Some particulars of this riot are given in two letters of Robert Mein to Henry Muddiman of Nov. 26th and 29th. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, pp. 91, 93.
4 No doubt the action fought by Captain Allen with the Smyrna fleet, in Cadiz bay on the 29th December.
5 Apparently Shetland is meant. There is a warrant of 18th February for the delivery of various munitions of war there. Col. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, page 208.
6 He had reached Plymouth on the 6th December. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, page 104.
7 The comet of 1664, first seen in Spain on 17th November, and visible until the second half of March. Rugge notes on 17th December that it had been seen in Devon, Cambridge and finally in London. Galle: Verzeichness der Elementen der Cometenbahnen, page 163; Pingré: Cometographie, Vol. ii., pp. 10–20; Brit. Mus. Add MSS. 10117, f. 125.
8 Hendrik Reede van Renswoude. His instructions dated 9th June, 1664. Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. v., page 305.
9 The wayward behaviour of Margaret daughter of Gaston of Orleans, who in 1661, when less than sixteen years of age, had been married to Prince Cosimo, the Grand Duke's heir. Later in the year she was sent to Poggio a Cajano to solitary confinement. Napier: Florentine History, Vol. v., pp. 491–2.
10 It should be Brakel. Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. v., page 353.