Venice
April 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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93-108

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'Venice: April 1665', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 93-108. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90164 Date accessed: 23 July 2014.


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April 1665

April 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
148. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
La Fuente writes that an agreement has been signed between France and England. He writes as it were categorically as if the information were certain. It is announced that it is for the sake of maritime interests, but it is suspected by him to contain more secret articles. The defence of Portugal is contained therein as the most essential object, and the interests of the provinces and of Flanders, are also considered. If this should be true, the Dutch finding themselves so easily deceived could not fail to be apprehensive of tremendous blows. The news is weighed and appreciated. They think that it may happen if it has not done so already. Their interests are in agreement, the one in supporting his kinsman, the other in helping the enemy of the House of Austria. But to divert the mischief is not only arduous but practically impossible. They are trying to find adherents and support to oppose the vigorous combination and to counterpoise such machinations by having recourse to further assistance.
Madrid, the 1st April, 1665.
[Italian.]
April 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
149. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
An English ship, disguised under the flag of Portugal, has met, engaged and conquered another very rich one which was coming from Ostend. At the first blows they gained their prey, because it surrendered readily, being a merchant and not a warship, and manned with sailors and not with soldiers. The traders deeply resent the injury and the offence. They have made application to have representations made to the ambassador in the king's name, but here they were unwilling to commit themselves in a matter which it was necessary either to leave alone or to take a high hand with the strongest remonstrances. But the defence is easy, by throwing the blame upon some corsair.
The Duke of Medina is hoping to ransom his son, who was taken prisoner in the last battle. (fn. 1) The English ambassador has favoured the duke in the business, sending very urgent letters to obtain the favour. Nevertheless he regrets that his obligingness has not paved the way for his offices. Now we can unravel the mystery why the duke cultivated this minister with such extraordinary and unusual blandishments; it was not so much the service of the king which moved him as the stimulus to release his son.
Madrid, the 1st April, 1665.
[Italian.]
April 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
150. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassadors extraordinary should by now have left for England. I believe that the delay was caused by the wish not to expose themselves to another refusal of their mediation. But a fresh refusal by King Charles would indicate that he did not value the offices of France and that they wanted war and an adjustment without depending on or appealing to others. The course followed by England has always been observed, that they would not recall their own minister from the Hague or allow the Ambassador Van Goch to leave London. Added to this is the consideration that the parliament which should have been dissolved has been prorogued until July. This means that without it the king cannot continue the war nor even make peace. It is against all reason to imagine that the Most Christian has gone so far as to appoint so pompous an embassy without the previous consent of England to accept this mediation, after all this time when the royal ministers are about to embark, since it is known that a month ago King Charles with his own lips uttered the sentiment that the coming of the Duke of Vernuil would be agreeable to him, but useless.
Nevertheless it is also given out that they will have to conduct important negotiations for an alliance, to include Savoy and Portugal, with marriages, with plans and applications of the vastest scope. So that the two nations are both roused to the utmost extreme, with the king deeply committed, while with respect to the omens of the ship blown up in the Thames as well as of the injury to Prince Rupert, which have already happened, the Court over there laughs and the people mock, saying that these are the weapons which little children and women use against their enemies, while a man, who calls himself a man pays no attention to them. Thus one can only foresee great evils ahead. At the present moment King Charles has 118 effective ships at sea, besides those which are being equipped. The Dutch have over 160 ready; besides the craft which are being launched in their numerous ports. The enclosed sheets contain particulars.
Paris, the 3rd April, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.151. From the Hague, the 26th March, 1665.
Although they do their utmost those who consider themselves able to speak with some assurance of the good intentions of the Most Christian cannot convince the people here of them. Being without refinement they merely call for the execution of the treaty, considering the embassy useless, especially at a time when no one cares any longer about what can be done by way of mediation.
The embassy to England does not cause the smallest uneasiness to their lordships here because it is believed to be equally indifferent to France except in so far as it is the interest of that country that the adjustment shall not be made without it. If the ambassadors are merely going to make another offer of mediation, their pains will be extremely futile. There is no longer any means of preventing the fleets from taking the sea. There will be ninety ships of war at the rendezvous before Easter, and immediately after the others will proceed thither.
It was high time for Douning to be recalled, though it is true that he is not greatly in the way and it was impossible to do so while the king of England and his ministers believed that he alone was capable of serving them well.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.152. From London, the 26th March, 1665.
We hear by letters from Ireland that they are in the enjoyment of perfect tranquillity there, and that there is now no other intention than to act more vigorously against the Dutch, the rupture with whom is daily more approved by that nation, to such an extent that not only the nobles but the sailors and the common people offer themselves readily to serve his Majesty in this war. Three hundred volunteers from that country have already arrived at Duram and they are shortly expecting 300 more.
The city of London hearing that his Majesty had been deeply concerned at the news of the loss of that superb frigate the London, proposed in their Council a voluntary subscription of the citizens to build a new frigate. This was carried unanimously, nemine contradicente, and immediately the governor, aldermen and others who were present put down their names for considerable sums, to send a new London to sea.
King Charles having finished his affairs at Portsmouth sooner than he expected returned to London last Wednesday, highly pleased at having found his naval preparations in such a good position. On the following morning he was visited by the governor and some aldermen of the city who informed his Majesty of the resolution taken by the city to make good at their own expense the loss of the frigate London. They were graciously received by his Majesty who thanked them for their generous proposal.
Two edicts have recently been published in this city. The first prohibits all foreign commerce and traffic, at his Majesty's pleasure, severely commanding that for the future no ship belonging to his Majesty's subjects shall put to sea from any part or port of this kingdom, upon pain of the king's displeasure and confiscation of the ships, with their guns and cargoes besides. (fn. 2) The other strictly commands the observance throughout his Majesty's dominions, of a fast or day of humiliation to implore the divine blessing on the royal fleets engaged on the present expedition against the Dutch, to be observed on Wednesday the 15th April next. (fn. 3) For the better observance of this the king has ordered the bishops to compose a form of new prayers and other services for that day, to be printed and published.
We learn by a vessel recently arrived from New England laden with tobacco and timber that the commissioners recently sent thither by his Majesty have established everything in good order, the people submitting at present unanimously to their directions.
We have authentic news from Tanger that the garrison there continues in a prosperous state. Captain Lambert has recently come from there with his ship named the Happy Return, having gone recently to take certain provisions to that fortress. He says that he left Captain Allen near Gibraltar, waiting for a favourable wind to come out of the Mediterranean.
[Italian, from the French.]
April 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zante.
Venetian
Archives.
153. Piero Barbarigo, Venetian Proveditore at Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Nine Flemish ships from Smyrna arrived here recently escorted by two warships commanded by John Gidions. As three small English ships were here every one expected that they would be taken. Accordingly I sent Pieter Magier, consul of the nation, to represent to the commander that no hostilities should be committed against the English ships. After an hour he sent word that he would respect the port. Thus all the inhabitants here have been greatly relieved, as if that had happened which has been seen to happen on other occasions, it would have been the culminating disaster for the currants here.
The commander departed from this port three days ago in continuation of his voyage towards the Strait.
Zante, the 29th March, 1665, old style.
[Italian.]
April 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
154. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassadors extraordinary have left. It is supposed that mediation has been accepted by King Charles, but no one ventures to affirm it. War seems to have been declared ad terrorem, but in spite of this the ministers of England and Holland remain at their posts. It is said that the restoration of that throne, because of the rich presents then made, cost Holland over a million, and it is argued that this fact has prejudiced that country instead of increasing its merit with that crown. But no one can foretell the issue of this great difference. The last letters say that King Charles would not leave Portsmouth before he had seen the Duke of York embark.
The truth of the matter is that the Dutch are losing much without fighting, while the English, even if they came to an engagement which left the enemy victorious, have nothing to fear, owing to their situation, and they would suffer but little, because of the natural commodities existing in their own realms; and whereas it is admitted beforehand that any adjustment, even if immediate, will serve to prejudice the reputation and advantage of Holland, so England is able to draw incomparably greater advantage from any sort of delay, even without favourable incidents, than the Dutch can, who are enfeebled and wearied by the passage of time alone.
In conversation with one who has some acquaintance with the affairs of the world it was said that civil wars alone can upset that great monarchy, while foreign wars can stir it to incalculable greatness. To take the unhappy case of the late King Charles, he might have preserved himself from internal corruption by the political purge of taking up arms and consuming the evil humours outside the kingdom. This influenced the will of the late Protector and moved him against Spain. On suspicion alone he took from these very Dutch 1500 vessels, he forced the Barbareschi to come to reason and to humble themselves, and he claimed to act as arbiter in the war between the two crowns, at the time when the troops of the island gave beyond the Ocean the most brilliant victory which has distinguished M. de Turena. This means to say that the late King Charles conceiving his strength in his imagination, claimed the dominion of the sea, and Cromwell in essence sustained both requisites. Thus the conclusion is, in the general opinion, that true mediation by the Most Christian might have balanced matters between the two nations more easily at an earlier stage than it is likely to do when fortune has greatly changed the state of affairs, even with the use of vigorous measures.
I must add as an epilogue a matter of grievance on this side against the States. The royal Oriental Company of France, some months ago bought five vessels in Amsterdam, namely three for trading and two of fifty guns each. The English having given an intimation or protest to many Hanse towns that they must not communicate with the Dutch during the present motives the Dutch riposted similarly and decreed that no vessel, native or foreign, should leave their ports without order and supervision of the States. At the instance then of the Ambassador d'Estrade, which he reiterated, to have these five ships, the States General at first shuffled and afterwards refused absolutely to oblige, declaring that seeing that war was inevitable there was no reason in the world why they should deprive themselves of their own. When the ambassador retorted that the king certainly would not pass this over, they offered to reimburse his Majesty for the cost, deducting what was due to them for the companies sent to help the king's side during the civil war. When the news reached the king he waxed wroth and he took and quoted the act of fraudulent reprisals, because the ministers here said that it was necessary first to make a long reckoning and to take into consideration what France had done for the States for fifty years and more. His Majesty protested that it was his duty to protect the trade of his own subjects and he would do so, and that therefore they must release the ships, otherwise he would right himself in his own kingdom, where at the moment a number of Dutch ships are taking refuge, who do not dare to put to sea for fear of the English. On hearing this the States changed their minds and released the three ships for trade, repeating their offer of compensation, and retaining the two for war. (fn. 4) The Most Christian took offence at this and declared that he would dismiss the Ambassador Boreel or Van Bouninghen and perhaps both, if they did not do what they ought, and without arguing. Everyone expects that the Dutch will give way and apologise.
Paris, the 10th April, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.155. From London, the 2nd April, 1665.
His Majesty's declaration of war against the Dutch having been published as reported, in London, it was this week proclaimed with great ceremony at York, Bristol and other principal cities of this country, and at each place the people manifested their joy at this rupture, hoping that when the Dutch, whom they esteem as very powerful in trade, have been humiliated a little, they will be able to trade freely in every part of the world.
The 500 soldiers selected last week, raised from the regiments of this city, marched at the beginning joyfully out of London in the direction of the sea. But we have since heard that they had quarrelled with their captain, that some of them had handled him roughly and consequently had mutinied. When his Majesty had word of this he immediately sent Colonel Russel with orders to call a council of war and to punish the rebels severely to put fear into the others and as an example. (fn. 5)
Sir [Charles] Cotterel who was recently sent to Brussels upon some business of the greatest importance, which one has not yet been able to discover, returned to Court yesterday and to-morrow he is to render account of his embassy to the king. (fn. 6) Some say that he had instructions to obtain the consignment of Ostend into his Majesty's hands, with a considerable caution for its punctual restitution, that port being considered very convenient both for blockading the Dutch by sea, and for transporting troops to attack them by land in case of need.
The city of London has this week chosen a commissioner to collect the contributions from them for the building of a new frigate in place of the recently burned London. They have already set to work on it, and it is believed that it will be completed with all speed. His Majesty has given it an additional name, desiring that it be called the Loyal London.
There is talk on the mart here that the English have recently lost a quantity of goods taken from them by the Dutch in Hamburg ships; but to set off against this Captain Allen has arrived this week with his Majesty's ships in excellent condition. (fn. 7) He has also convoyed many very rich merchant ships of this country safely, besides the booty taken before Cadiz and elsewhere from the Dutch. So we are now waiting for the Duke of York to issue immediately his orders for the general rendezvous of this fleet, as for some time they have said that they were only waiting for Allen's arrival.
The Great Admiralty Court here is very active in the condemnation of ships and goods previously taken from the Dutch, and this week they have condemned nine new ones together with their cargoes.
Yesterday his Majesty caused a proclamation to be published forbidding anyone to carry or sell any goods or manufactures of the States of the United Provinces in his dominions, under pain of confiscation of such goods, with a concession to the informer of one half the value of the goods as an encouragement. (fn. 8)
[Italian, from the French.]
Enclosure.156. From the Hague, the 2nd April, 1665.
They cannot believe here that the King of England is more inclined to peace than parliament, since in the absence of parliament he has begun hostilities when it was in his power to make or not to make war. There is an inevitable fatality which sets these two nations by the ears and which will not allow them to separate without a combat.
The dissatisfaction of the King of England with Doueningh is not for having pushed him on to war, because the English wished it, but because he made them believe that the States would not enter into it, and at present his Majesty sees the contrary. Here they believe that if in France they were persuaded that this war is prejudicial to them, it would not be long before they came out with a declaration in conformity with the fifth article of the treaty. The declarations of the Ambassador Estrades in Holland and of Mons. Courtin in Denmark are very good, but the States derive no advantage from them, because they alone are arming without any of their allies taking steps to succour them, as if there was no treaty. This country is filled with a people that is very matter of fact (assai grossolana), which takes no account of declarations but wants to see results, and it is impossible to persuade them that the fifth article of the treaty is carried out by an embassy which is being sent to England.
The States of Holland in having the entrance to their ports fortified are not working solely against the English, but carry their thoughts much further….
Yesterday they held a meeting of the deputies of the Admiralties and of the principal officials to decide upon the rendezvous and upon the employment of the naval forces; and the ordinary deputies of the States in maritime affairs have decided both questions in consequence of the powers given to them, so that the matter may be kept secret. The greater part of the ships are ready and all those of Amsterdam are at the Texel, having passed on Sunday in the full moon, favoured by a north west wind. Not more than five of the smallest are left, which are still before the town. There will be more ships than was believed because besides the seventy-two of the great fleet, the twenty of the Admiralty of Amsterdam and the twenty of the East India Company, they are still arming secretly a great number, so that the English will have no advantage. Among others in the fleet there will be twelve ships which will make no difficulty about engaging on equal terms (di combattere testa a testa) the greatest vessels of the English fleet.
Every day the privateers are bringing in prizes taken from the English. Since last week six have arrived in Zeeland, two at Horne and three at Amsterdam, and the first are worth more than 200,000 crowns.
Since the King of England has declared that he will confiscate all ships on which are found goods belonging to the Dutch, they will do the same here with all that belongs to the English wherever they may be met. They are beginning to call out, but they will not be sensible of their hurt until after the return of Admiral Ruither.
Some days since the States suspended the herring fishery for this year. This will inconvenience the whole of Europe, but as this war seems indifferent to them, or they are indifferent, it is a good thing to let them know that such indifference ought not to be.
[Italian, from the French.]
April 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
157. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Count Lesle will not be leaving [for his embassy to the Porte] for four weeks. The Earl of Arundel has come from England, led by his curiosity to proceed to Constantinople and accompany so conspicuous an embassy. He professes singular obligations to your Excellencies, as well as the most devoted esteem and respect.
Vienna, the 12th April, 1665.
[Italian.]
April 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
158. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has resumed his audiences after many weeks absence on the plea of indisposition, as a pretence. He told me that the Turks greatly resented the interference of the Most Christian in Hungary. He did not think that his ambassador would be received there. (fn. 9)
With regard to the Dutch he said that mediation had not yet been accepted. Here they feel sure that King Charles will comply with the repeated offers of France, but they think that the Provinces will regret their treatment of a prince from whom they have received so many benefits. Finally he asserted that the Crown of Sweden has certainly declared for England and the Crown of Denmark, if it does not do the same, will at least remain neutral.
I observed that the guards at the palace rendered him the same honours as if he had been by himself, and as nothing is done here without mystery I believe that this has relation to the treatment which they wish to be accorded to their extraordinary ambassadors in London. The ambassador, who is a wise man, has noticed everything.
Paris, the 15th April, 1665.
[Italian.]
April 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
159. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The French ambassadors should embark at Calais on Wednesday. It is expected that French mediation will be accepted, but it is great news to learn that Sweden has declared for England while Denmark remains neutral, but favourable to England, as their subjects in Holland have been directed to return home. Some draw the conclusion from this that the States will immediately seek an accommodation. Others, however, with more probability contend that they will make a great effort to send forth their fleets and commit their fortune to combat when at present by negotiation this would end with too much prejudice to their interests. Apparently the Provinces would like Mons. dell' Estrade to intervene, in order to counteract the partiality of the others for England.
The States have offered the Most Christian four or five transports instead of the two warships. This reply is absolutely unsatisfactory and in the end they will have to give up the ships, with little merit.
Encloses the sheets with particulars.
Paris, the 15th April, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.160. From London, the 9th April, 1665.
All the vessels and frigates of war have this week left Dover, Deal, Portsmouth and other ports of the realm in the direction of Harroich for the general rendezvous of the fleet, which is expected to take place within eight or ten days. The Duke of York has already left for those parts, and they say that his Majesty wishes to see the rendezvous himself and to encourage them with his royal presence to bear themselves valiantly in his service against the Dutch. It is said that this gathering will consist of at least 130 ships of war, besides those which carry the provisions, with others which are not ready to sail and those which are preparing, so that if the number, size and power of these ships is considered, one may truthfully assert that England has never sent to sea a more formidable fleet, which is considered by persons of high intelligence to be capable of confronting any maritime power whatsoever.
We have heard this week that five Dutch ships after chasing a small English frigate at length forced it to fight or surrender. The captain of the frigate, seeing himself reduced to this extremity, made up his mind that he would die rather than surrender, and indeed he fought with so much courage and good fortune that at the first discharge of his guns he sunk one of the ships and a short time after he rendered another incapable of fighting. From this the other three lost heart, hoisted sail and left the frigate at liberty. According to some the captain lost a leg but others say that he was only wounded and that in the combat he lost thirty men besides the wounded.
Letters from Bristol report that 350 more soldiers have arrived there from Ireland to serve in the fleet and that together with eighty others raised in the neighbourhood of that town they have begun their march towards London. Six good ships have arrived at that port from Virginia, with others from the Mediterranean, who say that in all their voyage they have not seen a single Dutch warship.
The frigates of his Majesty having found out the Dutch trick of putting Frenchmen, Hamburghers and other foreigners in their ships, and that they lade their merchandise on ships belonging to nations friendly to this one, have this week brought to Dover many such vessels, on the grounds of this suspicion, so that the Admiralty may examine to see if they are really Dutch ships or belong to subjects of princes friendly to his Majesty.
The letters from the Hague contain that the States of Holland and West Friesland are adjourned with the intention of re-assembling after the Easter festivities. The deputies of the Admiralty also wished to separate, but it was judged convenient for the service of the state that they should continue their deliberations. The principal officials are waiting to receive their instructions and are frequently admitted to the Council about the conduct and control of the war; but it does not yet appear that they have come to any resolution about the principal point, to wit, the rendezvous, which creates the impression that they do not wish to come to a battle. The same letters further state that they are displaying all the activity that the scarcity of money may permit in their preparations for the war and that they hope to bring at least 100 ships of war to the rendezvous; but that will require some time because they are short of sailors, who are daily deserting from the service of the States to enter the ships of private individuals as they find it suits them better to rob at sea in such vessels than to serve the government, although they have increased their pay as an inducement.
From the city of Oxford a hundred volunteers have been sent to London for the service of the fleet, and the governors of other towns have done the same. This shows the general disposition of this country to take up the quarrel, everyone exerting himself according to his capacity to make his contribution, either with his purse or with his person.
[Italian, from the French.]
Enclosure.161. From the Hague, the 9th April, 1665.
There is no doubt here of the truth of the news sent by MM. Borel and van Bouninghen that on the 30th March by an arrêt of the Council the king has directed that all vessels belonging to subjects of the States which are found in the ports and coasts of France shall be seized and sequestrated because here they have refused to let go the two ships which the East India Company of France had caused to be bought at Amsterdam. The execution of this arrêt has been suspended for fifteen days, but since they are not disposed here to let the two ships go, both because of their being necessary to the States at the present conjuncture, and because of the consequences that the King of Spain and other kings, with whom they are on the same terms might adduce, it seems probable that the arrêt will take effect. Here however they are making every effort to divert this blow by offering another sort of ship, of equal size and as suitable for the trade as the others, and by allowing to leave these ports all the other things necessary to the Company for its establishment, although they are not bound to by virtue of the treaty. They cannot make up their minds here to let the two ships go, because the King of Spain would also want to have, among others, one which can carry eighty pieces of ordnance, which he has had built at Amsterdam, more than a year ago, and in effect the secretary of the Spanish ambassador is beginning to say that if they favour France in this matter they will have to concede the same favour to Spain, else all the ships at Cadiz will be arrested. Owing to this imbroglio not a word is being said at present about the journey of the Ambassador Estrades to England upon the serious illness of the Sieur de Cominges, it being certain that the Duke of Vernoille and his colleague would be very new on their arrival in London, where indeed they do not build greatly upon their negotiations.
Meanwhile the fleet of these States will be able to make sail towards the 15th of the present month, all the great vessels of Amsterdam having passed the sandbanks with the high tide of the full moon, favoured by the wind. At present they are taking on board their guns, provisions and munitions of war so that very soon they will put out to sea to proceed to the rendezvous, which has been settled eight days ago. Those who say that the two nations ought to be prevented from coming to blows should at the same time indicate how this is to be done, as the English make such extravagant demands, asking for places of surety in this country; that the States shall disarm; that the ships shall go without guns; that they shall take passports from the King of England to pass into the Channel; that they shall pay the expenses of their equipment; that they shall relinquish New Holland in America and what the English still possess in Guinea. As for the last article they would willingly concede it, but rather than consent to any one of the other points they would resolve here on a war of ten or even of fifty years, and in order to show that they are capable of doing so they will measure forces and the courage of one side and the other at the first encounter.
The envoy Douning is waiting for a ship of war to proceed to England, but since it is necessary for him to have a passport before this vessel can approach our shores, he will not be able to leave before the end of the current month. The moment he asks for his passport the ambassador of the States in London will have orders to return here.
The report which was current that Ruither had arrived at Cadiz with forty ships taken in the seas of Guinea and in the Barbade is not confirmed and they cannot have certain news of Ruither until about the 20th or 25th inst.
The deputy extraordinary who is being sent from here to Copenhagen, (fn. 10) will start to-morrow, but they do not build greatly upon his negotiations as well because there are ministers at that Court very partial to the English as from the intelligence received that a treaty has been concluded between England and Denmark, whose king has caused a declaration to be published commanding all his subjects who are in the service of any foreign prince or state to leave it upon pain of their lives, and at the same time that king is sending a ship here to transport some caulkers and other workmen whom he wishes to employ for the building of sixteen ships of war; but they have sent him word that these men will not be granted, absolutely.
[Italian.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
162. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador recently called on me again, when I thanked him for the release of the ship San Giovanni Battista.He said he was glad to learn that the soldiers had done no harm to the ship. He told me that the English fleets had sailed, but he did not know their plans. The French ambassadors had arrived and had been received with extraordinary honours. Their mediation would no doubt be accepted. With the people arming on both sides for some great enterprise news is impatiently awaited. This has moved van Bouninghen to go to M. di Liona to suggest to him whether it is to the interest of France to await an issue corresponding to the vast designs of that crown, as the States have no hope that they have the smallest imaginable intention of observing the contract of alliance, since the ministers here have protected themselves by saying that, judging by the public prints, the Dutch appear to be the aggressors, and so this action destroys every inconvenient obligation. In the end van Bouninghen delicately inquired whether it was consonant with the dignity of this monarchy, that while the royal ambassadors were attending over there, instead of accepting the mediation so frequently offered and always refused, they should so superfluously have taken the step they have. I do not know what answer was given but it is unlikely that the Most Christian will give up the negotiations in London. An armistice may be suggested, but it will not be carried into effect until after various tragic events. Further particulars are contained in the enclosed sheets.
Meanwhile every soldier wishes that the flame of this war, blown up by many winds, shall not be extinguished except by the shedding of much blood, unless the Dutch, by proceeding with more policy, do not immediately make up their minds to obviate greater dangers by negotiation and by the offering of a competent mediated adjustment, because from the deliberation with which this crown has proceeded they do not conceive any better hope for their future advantage and quiet.
Paris, the 24th April, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.163. From London, the 16th April, 1665.
Prince Rupert being now in perfect health, set out last Saturday to go to the fleet, which is understood to be divided into three squadrons. The first is commanded by H.R.H. the Duke of York, the second by Prince Rupert and the third by the Earl of Sandwich. The Vice-Admirals and other subordinate officers are likewise persons of quality and valour, and some especially skilled and experienced in naval affairs. Among others Vice-Admirals Penn and Lauson must not be forgotten. The latter is so confident in the strength of the fleet that it is said they desire nothing from God but that He shall be neutral, to obtain victory over the Dutch. It is said that the Duke of York has left Haruiech with fifty ships in the direction of the Texel to invite the Dutch to come out, and that he is followed at a short distance by the rest of the fleet. But generally it is believed that the Dutch will not be in a condition to put to sea for three weeks more; and some are of opinion that they will do their utmost to avoid an encounter with the mass of the English fleet, and that they hoped by delays to weaken the English strength, well knowing the heavy expense incurred daily by his Majesty in maintaining so powerful a fleet. But it may be that they will not find this policy pay, since it is said that H.R.H. proposes to blockade them in their ports until they die of hunger or to make some enterprise on land to ruin them.
The non appearance as yet in this country of the Duke of Vernuille and Mons. Courtin, while his Majesty's coaches have been waiting seven days at Dover for their arrival to conduct them to London, causes a great deal of comment in this city, especially as we have recently understood that the Most Christian has put an embargo upon all ships belonging to the United Provinces, which happen to be in his ports. Owing to this some think that the King of France may have stopped his ambassadors near Calais until he obtained some satisfaction from the States General for the detention by them of two ships belonging to some of his subjects. But this is pure speculation and we must suspend our judgment until we have heard from Paris the true reason for the delay of the ambassadors.
Last Wednesday was observed with great devotion as a day of fasting and humiliation to implore the blessing of God upon his Majesty's fleet and arms.
In addition to the rich ships recently convoyed safely into these ports by Allen, thirty others have appeared this week from Virginia, with very considerable cargoes. Out of these his Majesty can at his pleasure supply the fleet with strong and experienced sailors, so that one may now assert that this fleet lacks nothing to render it the most formidable in the world.
From Dover and other ports soldiers, munitions and every sort of provisions are being embarked daily for its maintenance, and its numbers are constantly being augmented by frigates and warships made from vessels which were formerly merchantmen. All these preparations have been practically completed without greatly incommoding the people, who at present enjoy an abundance of every provision necessary for human life, except coal, which in view of the late severe weather was and will always be a very great calamity for the poor, although cheerfully borne because of the great inclination of the people here to the rupture and war against the Dutch.
[Italian, from the French.]
Enclosure.164. From the Hague, the 16th April, 1665.
We have here only one news item of importance, to wit, that the courier, who was sent from here on Saturday, promises to be at Paris on the night of Tuesday-Wednesday. On that same day the States of Holland held an extraordinary session to decide about the restitution of the two ships San Giovanni Battista and Elisabetta Maria which the king has demanded with so much insistence and for which he had decided to make reprisals. They decided, as did the States General, to let the two ships go although they do not think they are obliged to by the treaty. (fn. 11) If those who have knowledge of the French Court had been credited, this would have been done some time ago which they are doing now, so that those who long for a whole hearted correspondence between France and these states in conformity with the ancient maxims practised in the past, have been amazed to see the arrêt of the 30th March printed and distributed everywhere, as if it had been their deliberate intention to drive this people to desperation and force them to take a course by which they have always had honour. It would seem indeed that they were playing to lose everything, and to cause resolutions to be taken from which it would be impossible to draw back.
We shall now see what the king will do and what the embassy of England will bring forth. Douning says freely that it will do nothing, and that the king his master will not defer a whit to the offices of France. In the mean time it is not known on what the English base their proud confidence (fierezza), since it is impossible, unless they have some secret assurance from the side of France, that they are likely to have the slightest advantage over this state. All the seafaring people of Amsterdam, North Holland and Friesland have orders to embark for the whole of to-morrow, because it is reckoned that in the same time the ships at the Texel, to the number of about eighty will be ready to make sail. That of the Meuse will go out on Monday, so that if the wind from the east and north east continues four or five days longer the whole fleet of this state will be at sea. The instructions for the Admiral are ready but very secret, so that all that can be said with certainty is that he has orders to go and seek the English wherever they may be and to fight them. The Admiral personally is sick of the gout, but he hopes to be better in a few days.
It is not yet known where the vessels of the Meuse have gone, but it is believed that they will unite with those of Zeeland, until those of the Texel can go out; and it is said that twenty-five English ships are at sea and have gone towards the north with the intention of encountering Ruyter, but it is not believed that they will venture to separate their fleet.
The States have hired forty galiots, which is a sort of ship called “noeckers,” which serve for the cod fishing, at 500 francs the month, to carry munitions to the fleet and troops too, whereby they will cause 4000 men to advance to the sea coast, to reinforce the fleet in a fight or other incident.
Mons. d'Amerongen, the envoy to Denmark, left on Saturday and Mons. Isbrants, who has orders to go to Sweden, will leave in four or five days. They write from Stocolm that they have concluded a treaty of commerce with England, but that nothing has been done contrary to the treaties which that crown has with these states or which can prevent them from standing by the terms of a good alliance or from doing what they ought.
There are some who believe that Denmark has concluded a treaty with England, but if it has done so it may fare badly, as may all the princes, our neighbours, who think they will profit by the present disorders, which will not endure so long as they imagine. Their lordships here have asked the Duke of Neubeurg to permit some levies in his states, but he excused himself, saying that the peace with the Turk was not yet very secure, so he could not grant them, in accordance with the decisions taken in the empire.
Here they permit all French and Spanish ships which are in the ports of this country, to leave only with their own cargo, since it is not reasonable that they should make their commerce with the merchandise of this country, at a time when the inhabitants do not do so, although for some days they have permitted those of the Vatte, a country between the islands on the coast of Friesland and of Germany as far as the Elbe, where they can secure navigation by means of three or four small frigates, because the great ships cannot approach.
There are three inhabitants of Dunkirk who have taken commissions in England, of which they have authentic copies here. The rendezvous of the fleet is at Texel, whither those of the Meuse and of Zeeland have gone.
[Italian, from the French.]
April 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
165. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The idea of France, as believed by the ministers here, is to establish peace with the Barbareschi, when this crown will be put to the necessity when sending the empress, to convoy her with ships by every way, and so divert the same from any enterprises that may be contemplated against Portugal. Further that the fleet of the Most Christian, entering the Ocean shall render itself arbiter of victory and of conquests between England and Holland; to bear heavily (caricare) upon the Dutch themselves, if they seem to be going under; to give encouragement to Portugal with a dexterous hand, some ships changing their flag at Lisbon and other ports to reap further advantages, which the understandings with England and the conjuncture should bring unexpectedly to light.
Madrid, the 29th April, 1665.
[Italian; deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 Don Añello de Guzman, Medina's second son, taken prisoner by the Portuguese at the battle of Estremos, 29th May, 1663.
2 Proclamation of the 1st March. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, page 232. Steele: Tudor and Stuart Proclamations, Vol. i., page 411, No. 3409.
3 Proclamation of the 6th March. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, page 242. Steele: Ibid., No. 3410.
4 The demand of d'Estrades, made on 25th March, was for two ships the St. Jean Baptiste and Alette Marie and a flute, bought by the French West India Co. He renewed this demand on 3rd April as the result of a decree of the French Conseil d'Etat of 30th March. Negotiations du Comte d'Estrades, Vol. iii., pp. 110, 115, 119, 131.
5 Col. John Russel of the Guards, brother of the Earl of Bedford. On 30th March, o.s., warrants were issued for his arrest and for the arrest of his nephew, William Russel, the earl's son. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, page 281. There is a petition for their release with acknowledgment of the justice of the king's displeasure. Ibid.
6 He was sent ostensibly to congratulate Castelrodrigo, the new governor of the Spanish Netherlands. He reached Brussels on 3rd March. Among other things he carried letters for the elector of Mainz. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, page 230; The Newes of March 7th; Cotterel to Bennet, March 3/13, S.P. Flanders, Vol. xxxiii.
7 On the 30th March, new style. The Newes, March 23rd.
8 Proclamation of the 15th March, o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, page 253.
9 Louis sent 6000 men to Hungary under the Comte de Coligny, to help the emperor against the Turks. Voltaire: Siecle de Louis XIV, cap vii. The ambassador designate was Denis de la Haye, sieur de Ventelet.
10 Heer Godort Adriaenszoon, baron de Reede, heer van Amerongen. His instructions are dated 7th April, 1665. Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. v., page 557.
11 The States decided to let the ships go on the 11th April. Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. v., page 590.


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