Venice
May 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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108-128

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'Venice: May 1665', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 108-128. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90165 Date accessed: 23 November 2014.


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May 1665

May 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
166. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I went the day before yesterday to thank the English ambassador about the San Giovanni Battista. With him were M. di Rovigny, deputy of the Huguenot churches and an English gentleman, recently come from England, so we talked more than usual about the present crisis. The ambassador said that the Duke of York was at sea and it would be seen if he knew how to venture his own person in combat, although it had been otherwise published, to wit, that parliament would not consent to hazard one of the most precious treasures of the crown, the king being without issue. He then turned to me to intimate that H.R.H. is certainly going straight towards Holland followed by ninety sail. The gentleman said they felt sure in London that the Dutch would not come out, unless they did so at the arrival of Ruiter, who is looked for like the Messiah. It is unknown what route he is taking; secret orders reached him from the Hague not to meet with the enemy. But as people believe that to avoid battle means the ruin of the States, there are some who say seditiously that the government has conducted itself badly in provoking the wrath of King Charles, since it was known that his Majesty was always kindly disposed towards the Provinces mindful of the services received; and now the executors, that is the Dutch deputies and commanders, bear themselves worse instead of committing themselves to the fortune of the most generous combats, and they allow themselves to be overborne by the enemy, who moves boldly with the intention of penetrating right into their ports. The gentleman said that they know in England that Holland without trade cannot hold out more than 18 months from mere necessity, while the English, on the contrary, without navigation are only deprived of certain commodities which may rather be called superfluous luxuries. He concluded by saying that the States have many Frenchmen, Germans, Flemings, English and Scots in their service, but the great fleet and the troops of King Charles consist and are composed solely of those islanders, subjects of the British crown, and with the exception of Prince Rupert, who is related to the royal House, the king has no foreigners in his service.
I expressed regret that things had come to this pass, and M. Rovigny himself added that the Ambassador van Gogh deplored the disaster of such a war. The ambassador, with his firmness of spirit, then said that he believed that few could now promise that peace was at hand, as the French mediation was not accepted since the Dutch paid no attention to the instances of King Charles before they armed. The king would not have claimed more then than he does now and what they would not concede spontaneously in listening to reason they will now have to subscribe when it is supported by force. He did not see how the negotiations of the two royal ministers could succeed. Rouvigny said that he was hopeful as M. dell' Estrade had also been ordered to London. Lord Holles seemed surprised at this as he had a promise from M. di Liona that there should be no further move.
Encloses the sheets containing particulars.
It is understood that the ship Santa Maria laden at Venice for Cadiz with rice and other things has been stopped by Captain Allen at the Strait of Gibraltar and sent with its cargo to London. I spoke to Lord Holles about it and he promised to write to London.
Paris, the 1st May, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.167. From London, the 24th April, 1665.
The duke of Vernuille and Mons. Courtin, ambassadors extraordinary of France arrived last Friday in London privately, in his Majesty's coaches. They are now awaiting the arrival of a part of their suite and that their liveries shall be in order to make the public entry. The duke went to Court on the following morning where he had a private conference of his Majesty, but we cannot learn if he then treated with him about the mediation committed to him by the Most Christian king, or about other matters common at a visit, because they were alone, although many are of opinion that his Excellency wished to feel the pulse of King Charles in the capacity of visitor to know how to deal with him more effectually afterwards in the capacity of ambassador. The duke also went to visit the queen mother, by whom he was received with particular demonstrations of affection and undoubtedly he will have her assistance to overcome the many difficulties which he will have to encounter in his negotiations.
The issue of these is awaited with curiosity, although few believe that they can have any results, owing to the great and practically irreparable injuries which the English have suffered, besides the many indignities and aspersions cast from time to time by the Dutch on the person of his Majesty, and the great expenses incurred over the naval preparations and those which still have to be made. All these things count towards winning reparation from a people so perfidious that the first thing to be demanded will be the handing over of cautionary towns into the hands of the English, to compel them to carry out the articles of the agreement, a thing which the Dutch will hardly agree to.
A second comet has recently been seen in these parts, more brilliant than the first. The tail appears to be seven span long and it is visible half an hour before the comet itself. The astrologers make many speculations about it, but so different and with so little agreement that they get scant credence. (fn. 1)
The last letters from the fleet report that it is daily increasing in numbers, and that it is at present in such good fettle that there is little left to desire for its honour and advantage. H.R.H. continues always at sea but as the winds have always been contrary, he is unable to make sail at a great distance from the port. It is said that he is still determined to proceed near to Texel as soon as ever the wind has become somewhat favourable. Meanwhile they are showing every activity in arming and equipping the ships which are in port, with provisions, sailors and soldiers, so that before long the English fleet will surpass the Dutch not only in the size and strength of their ships, but in numbers as well. With all this they write from Holland that they have not enough sailors for two-thirds of their ships, and after they have done their utmost to obtain them they will be compelled in the end to leave many of these ships in port because of this shortage.
This week the Count of Molina has arrived in London in the capacity of ambassador of his Catholic Majesty, (fn. 2) but as he has not yet had audience it is impossible to know with certainty the tenor of what he has come to negotiate, although it is generally believed that his Catholic Majesty proposes to come to an agreement with this king upon everything except the suspension of arms with Portugal. Hearing that that king threatens an embargo on Dutch ships in his ports if they do not restore some vessels taken from him in the same manner as those of France, to be joined to their fleet, it is believed, as before, that he may easily take sides with the English against the Dutch.
We hear from Tangier that the garrison there is in excellent state, no enemy having been seen for a long time.
[Italian, from the French.]
May 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
168. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
While disarming some of their ships at Cadiz the Dutch are furnishing others at every point. It is believed that their object is to make use of this squadron, which is perfectly equipped, as an escort for the convoy which is expected from Smyrna. In the mean time it seems to me that those that arrive in the ports of this province [Italy] will not have to leave before these ships come to meet them for the sake of their safety. By a rigorous edict the King of England announces that every ship manned by Dutch sailors will be regarded as an enemy and pursued by his fleet as such. At the trading marts men present themselves to the consuls of the nation to receive direction (per regola loro) and in order to forestall any accident, removing occasions for a clash. This gives rise to no ordinary confusion and trouble, and is the occasion of universal outcries and complaints.
Madrid, the 6th May, 1665.
[Italian.]
May 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
169. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador told me that mediation has been accepted, as shown by the enclosed copy, with the account of an engagement at sea. M. di Liona said the same to Van Bouninghen, but the next day he said he thought so but was not sure. M. dell' Estrade went to Dunkirk, conferred with M. di Courtin and then returned to the Hague, so his reported association with the king's ambassadors in England vanishes. The ambassadors proposed mediation, which is accepted; then that the fleets should not sail, to which King Charles replied that they were already at sea; thirdly an armistice; finally articles of peace, that is to say, the means of attaining what is right by an adjustment. Upon this the Ambassador Van Gogh said that the States will take care not to be the first to speak, knowing the respect due to England, which is a crown, so when they have heard the royal pretensions they will be ready with all promptitude and punctuality either to grant them or to resolve them.
Some politicians are saying that for several reasons it is for the advantage of France to encourage these differences, by setting about to procrastinate the negotiations, while she exerts herself seriously for suitable means of supporting Portugal. Others hold the opposite view, namely, that to back up English assurance which is naturally disposed to make such large claims, is not a praiseworthy sentiment, more especially with regard to the disputed pre-eminence at sea. Besides the business of Holland it is stated that the ambassadors have tabled some proposals about the flag, exactly as Cromwell previously obtained from the crown of France, that it should be lowered in the Ocean and the English Channel, to be answered correspondingly by the English in the Mediterranean. In the second place that they shall give up the search of French ships for Dutch goods, which is claimed. Thirdly some particular requests in a confidential form to dissuade Madame from continuing with those remarks (discorsi) which were the occasion of the cabals of the Comte de Ghiscia, (fn. 3) for which it is stated the Abbot of Montagu, her almoner, and also the Sieur di Rovigny have crossed over again to England. A remarkable point is that M. di Vernuil has gone away a day and a half from London to hunt. It is not clear how this can be reconciled with any pressing desire to mediate peace at a time when the hostile forces are face to face.
As regard mediation the United Provinces are released from their promise given to accept mediation if King Charles agreed to it. The situation is now changed. It is said that the French game to be arbiters of peace and war will not please any one.
Paris, the 8th May, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.170. Lord Holles to the Ambassador Sagredo.
Is informed that the king has accepted the mediation of the Most Christian. Account of an engagement between two ships of the English fleet and two Dutch ones. The fight lasted three or four hours. The Dutch would only yield when the English were on the point of boarding. A son of Admiral Cornelis Everson commanded one of the ships. The king at once gave him his liberty. It is doubtful if the Dutch would be equally generous. The ships carried thirty-two guns and eighty men, and twenty-two guns and sixty men respectively. One of the English captains was killed with seven men. (fn. 4)
Paris, the 2nd May.
[French.]
Enclosure.171. From the Hague, the 23rd April, 1665.
The fleet of this state will put to sea in four or five days if the wind is favourable. More than fifty vessels have already got as far as the Muscovy coast, as they call it, whence they can enter the sea in half an hour and the others are advancing moment by moment. They are still about 1200 men short, but in two days there will be plenty, as since the decision to give the sailors fifteen francs instead of twelve they are getting more than they want, so that they can pick out the best.
The flagship and the Lieutenant-Admiral Courtenar, who were in the Meuse have entered the Texel with two frigates and the other ships of the Squadron of Rotterdam have gone to unite with those of Zeeland at le Wilingue, where there are at present thirty-six sail. The Pensionary, prime minister of the province of Holland, has gone to Texel accompanied by six other deputies of the States General with authority to regulate everything and give the final orders to the Admirals and other officers, so that the secret may not be divulged, since the States General themselves do not know anything. All that it is possible to learn is that the Admiral will have orders to go and seek the English, wherever they are, and to fight them. Thus if what they write from London is true that the Duke of York is at Haruiz with seventy ships, that is level with the mouth of the Meuse, our fleet will not be four days at sea before the clash comes and possibly the engagement will be visible from our own dunes. And for this reason it must not be credited that they are ready here to consent to a suspension of arms which would cool down the ardour of our sailors, who ask nothing better than to fight, and the States would have trouble to continue their levies and the extraordinary contributions if the English are not attacked. It is necessary to heal this burning fever by the letting of blood, and perhaps more than once. Our Admiral Opdam is better of his gout and will rise to-day to set out to-morrow, or Saturday at latest.
After three days two English ships have appeared off these coasts where they have taken a small bark of Maeslant, which makes us think that the body of their fleet is not far away, and perhaps to-day we shall see them because the wind which has prevailed since yesterday may cause them to approach our coasts.
They have no news here of Ruyter, except what they write from England and London that a ship had arrived there which reports that after Ruyter had stayed about six weeks off the coasts of Guinea and after he had taken all the English vessels that he met, he took them to Sierra Leone, where he took out all the goods and subsequently released the men and the ships, and he has gone away from those waters without it being known what route he has taken. It is certain that very few do know what route he will take on his return because the orders which have been sent to him have been changed so often and so secretly that it will be impossible for the English to take their measures upon…
All our neighbours excuse themselves from allowing levies to be made in their territories, but this does not prevent the success of those which are being made, and accordingly they have decided to engage another 1000 men to reinforce by twenty-five soldiers the forty-two companies to which the four English and Scottish regiments are reduced. Upon the news received that the English are purposing to make a landing, they are bringing into this province another fourteen companies of infantry and one of cavalry, which are being sent to Texel.
[Italian, from the French.]
Enclosure.172. From the Hague, the 30th April, 1665.
The French ambassadors in London wished the ambassador of the States to declare himself to see if he had anything to propose for the adjustment, but he answered them very properly that he had no orders and that the States would take good care not to make any overture before they knew whether the King of England had accepted the mediation of France or no; and that it was not enough for his Majesty to seem inclined that way, but he must declare himself positively.
It is known here that the ambassadors wished to prevent the sailing of the English fleet, but they were told that they were too late and that it was already at sea (although it is not) and if it has left Haruiz it has only gone to the Downs. They also gave it to be understood that some ships which had separated from their fleet had appeared off these coasts, but it is not so, and the report which the English circulate that they mean to make a landing is ridiculous and they would not dare to think of it even if our shores were not so well furnished with men as they are, as it is certain that in less than ten hours we could get together more than 12,000 men in any part of the country that might be attacked.
Not a day passes but letters are received from the deputies who are in the grand fleet. Those of the day before yesterday say that at the Texel off the Muscovy shore there are fifty-four ships, and towards Fliet, three or four leagues away there are thirty-three, without counting the frigates and fireships and the privateers. They were not more than 700 men short, but some were coming in hourly so they hoped that the full complement would be made up in a few days.
The squadron of Rotterdam is now united with that of Zeeland and together they make about thirty-six ships which are ready to make sail, and perhaps to-day we shall hear that they are at sea. We may say truthfully that among the 130 ships there are sixteen, the smallest of which mounts sixty guns, twenty-two carry more than fifty, and forty-three more than forty guns each, for despite the bravura shown by the English they will have at least half the fear and they will not have all the advantage which they give out.
Our sailors who were already very animated are even more so now since the receipt of a letter from the director of the Guinea coast for the West India Company of this country. He writes on the 4th October that the English Captain Holmes has committed unheard of cruelties against the Dutch, particularly at Adiad, where they have cut off their noses and ears and then their heads, cutting them with rusty knives; and it is observed that they did this long before Ruither had orders to go to the Guinea coast, so that the English cannot say that these States began the hostilities. (fn. 5)
They have news here of the Admiral Ruither, but since it comes by a very particular and secret route it is not yet published; but in a week it will easily be known. Meanwhile something may be learned by way of England. The Comte di Ghissa has been here since Monday.
[Italian.]
Enclosure173. From London, the 1st May, 1665.
Although the ambassadors of the Most Christian have not yet made their public entry, yet they have had many private audiences of King Charles, and it is believed to be with respect to the mediation between England and Holland, but as yet one sees no disposition in his Majesty to consent to an adjustment, as greater preparations for the war are made here daily. Besides this they say that these ambassadors have no instructions to make any considerable proposal to his Majesty with respect to reparation for the injuries done to him and his subjects by the Dutch, without which it seems practically impossible that their mediation can have effect. It is further stated that the mediation of this peace is not the sole cause of this embassy but that they have to treat at this Court about some particular matters affecting the interests and honour of France, and among others to obtain that the ships of the Most Christian king when meeting the English, shall be excused from lowering their flag. This will be difficult to manage as this crown has in every age claimed that sovereignty of the sea over every other prince.
On Monday last the king honoured the College of Physicians with his presence where, having heard a lecture on anatomy and put many curious questions upon it, he conferred the honour of knighthood on the lecturer. (fn. 6)
The Duke of York still remains on board the fleet, maintaining a very severe discipline and contriving everything to the greater advantage and honour of the country. The fleet increases daily both in the number of ships and of sailors with an abundance of provisions. H.R.H. recently sent three frigates in the direction of Holland to invite their fleet to come out. These after giving chase to many of their vessels in sight of their fleet and town, and after taking a small barque and sailing along the whole coast of Holland, burned some of the lighthouses and returned safely to the fleet.
On the 25th April the frigate La Sirena, commanded by Captain King, took a private Dutch warship with seven guns and fifty men, and on the same day the frigates Diamond and Yarmouth took two other Dutch vessels, called by them direction vessels, (fn. 7) one of thirty-one guns and eighty men and the other of twenty-two guns and sixty men. All three offered a stout resistance, especially the two of direction who fought until they were on the point of being boarded. The captain of the Diamond was killed with nine of his men and several wounded; the captain of the Yarmouth lost only three men and had seven wounded. One of the Dutch ships was commanded by the son of Cornelis Everson of Zeeland, and they lost more than fifty men besides the wounded in the engagement. The two ships are very good and may easily be rendered capable of serving in this fleet.
We hear by letters from Bristol of various vessels taken as prizes to that port, which claim to belong to Stocholm, to wit, the San Pietro of 140 tons, the Fenice of 200 tons, the Sole d'Oro of 200 tons and four other vessels of from 300 to 400 tons.
The High Court of Admiralty here has recently directed the commissioners at Portsmouth to offer for public sale according to their instructions, the following vessels, to wit: the Corona with its cargo, the Caval Nero, the Valaggio Munster, the San Francesco of Rotterdam, the Fortuna Rossa of Dort, the San Lorenzo, the San Pietro of Amsterdam together with their cargoes, guns, cordage and everything else belonging to them.
[Italian, from the French.]
May 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
174. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Grand Chancellor at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
The dragoman Draperis left here recently for Constantinople, but the English ambassador sent a janissary to Bergas to fetch him back. As this was done after permission had been given by the Porte for M. Vantelet to come to the embassy here it is supposed that the chief object of England was to stop him. The secretary returned here on the 29th ult. (fn. 8) I at once sent to greet him and the next day they brought me the enclosed letter. Two days later the secretary came to see me and without being asked told me that the reason for this move was the obstruction and oppression from which some of the merchants of his nation suffered at Aleppo. I affected to believe him, but it confirmed my opinion that there is a matter of high importance and of much greater weight. I went later to call at their house, which is not far off, and there I noticed a certificated chest and two others, one with cloth and the other with twenty purses containing 10,000 reals, as I learned from one of the household. Three days after this the secretary and dragoman went to audience of the Caimecam, to whom they gave a present of twelve vestments, four of gold and a like number of tabinet and satin (rasi). They asked in the first place that all should leave the apartment, and this was done. The conference lasted over half an hour. The subject of discussion is not known, but the secretary told me that the minister was very courteous. Two days afterwards orders were consigned to them, with a chiaus, to accompany them to Sofia.
Now every one is talking about the true causes of this move. Some think it a renewal of the attempt to have a minister of Portugal received. I have found out that the Caimecam bribed by England has written to the Vizier that it did not become the dignity of the Porte to admit an ambassador who had previously been maltreated and vilified. With this letter there went one from the English ambassador enlarging on the shortcomings of Vantelet, representing the poison cherished in his heart against this empire for the affronts received, the impropriety of treating with such a character, a person of such condition, and so forth, endeavouring to get the decision to admit the Frenchman revoked, but all in vain.
It will be no small matter if we see this beginning of bitterness between two great ambassadors. With regard to the English ambassador, as his secretary told me, he has been for a certain time in very indifferent health, and is reduced to such a pitch of exhaustion that he can hardly move. For the most part he remains in the house, having altogether given up his ordinary diversion of the chase. The physicians fear dropsy, of which a brother and two sisters of his have recently died.

Adrianople, the 8th May, 1665.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosure.175. The Earl of Winchelsea, to Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Grand Chancellor.
Recommending his secretary and expressing friendly sentiments. Pera of Constantinople, the 17th April, 1665.
[Italian.]
May 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
176. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The ministers here are perplexed and not a little perturbed over the intelligences and arrangements which are proceeding between England and Sweden with a rumour that Denmark also may possibly be comprised. Although these things primarily concern the interests of Holland, they none the less attract the major attention and consideration here. These great powers are considered the arbiters of commerce and the sea; it is difficult even for one who is powerful to resist them. Not only their threats but their dictation is to be feared. They will claim to exercise a general authority over all. To divert every harm from these realms, with the security of the Indies, they are trying to encourage correspondence with England, to keep the minister here well disposed and to render that crown at least indifferent towards the service of Spain, it being impossible to get it on their side. The doubt and great perplexity which torment the most observant ministers arise from the reflection that with these powerful adjuncts the forces of England will enormously surpass those of Holland, upset the equilibrium and all hope of a corresponding resistance and defence. Their satisfaction at seeing things balanced was in proportion to their sorrow at the unequal state of affairs that is coming into being. The gaining of important advantages over the Provinces and bringing them to the ground with very heavy blows will compel them to throw themselves into the arms of the Most Christian, ready to sign any sort of treaty at his bidding. This very sharp thorn pierces their spirits because so far the States, by definite declarations, have no leaning that way, and here they do everything to prevent them from consenting. But it is already clear that without support they will be very hard hit and if they look for support to France this crown loses a most satisfactory foundation.
La Fuente writes that at Paris these great unions are by no means liked, as the French are jealous of everything that is likely to counterbalance their authority, and this makes his Majesty the more determined to increase his power at sea, with stronger squadrons and in consequence to cause his counsels to be respected. If it were a question of England and Holland alone he might possibly have remained a spectator and not a party, but now the northern crowns are taking an interest he will begin to think of changing his course and his plans.
Madrid, the 13th May, 1665.
[Italian.]
May 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
177. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador with the ambassadress called on me last week. I told him of the great preparations made by the Turks and of their attempt to get foreign ships to transport their troops. I begged him to write and do what best suited the case. He promised to write with his own hand to the ambassador at Constantinople as well as to Mr. Benett at the Court. He spoke afterwards of the differences with Holland. It seems that the Duke of York means boldly to enter one of the Dutch ports, if he can. The English also propose to engage Ruiter on his return from Guinea. It is clear that the cannon alone will decide the issue, especially as the Dutch suspect that the Most Christian means to get advantage for himself in the peace. Further particulars will be found in the enclosed sheets.
At a banquet in London given by Benett to the French ministers, Benett gave the toast of the French king, bareheaded, and the others responded with a similar sign of respect for King Charles, but the Ambassador Cominges did not do so; accordingly when an English earl responded for him he kept his hat on and left his glass full. This incident has recalled the offence taken by the English king at a memorial presented by Cominges about ships that had been stopped. It is said that Courtin would like to stay on in that employment and is not sorry at the incident, which may lead to the recall of the minister. The truth is that the Ambassador Cominges is a most worthy and understanding gentleman, but he has not made a corresponding impression at that Court, and this negligence alone may suffice to upset everything that he has gained there.
Paris, the 15th May, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.178. From the Hague, the 7th May, 1665.
Here they say that the king has offered his mediation and that this state has not asked for it, but only for the execution of the treaty and that his Majesty excuses himself, not knowing which of the two has been the aggressor. He should be clear about it after the six months that M. Van Bouninghen has been in France. I think that those who love the weal of Christendom desire to see some adjustment, but the question is to get the English to think so and to bring them to reason. Here they have been persuaded for a long time that if the king wished it to be done, it would be impossible to refuse. But they do not agree here that the loss of a battle may be more pernicious for this state than the consequences of a suspension of arms would be. But one thing may be said that those who are of opinion that the delay of our fleet in putting to sea derives from a reluctance to risk anything and that we prefer to wait and see what France will do with her negotiations, do not speak as those who have a knowledge of affairs or of the interests of this state. If the wind were favourable for twenty-four hours they would see that they are mistaken in their false policy.
Here the same report was current that Sweden and Denmark had declared for England, but this has not been verified. These rumours with the refusal of the neighbouring princes to permit levies have a cause which might easily be removed, if it was desired; but this state receives no inconvenience therefrom, as it does not abandon the making of levies and will continue to do so as much as is wanted; but up to the present the States have not distributed a sou for this.
With regard to the complete confidence and union between France and this state it will be easy to establish it provided the proper means are taken, and that a desire for it is shown by France.
Last Sunday seven English ships approached these shores. That same day at ten or twelve leagues from the Meuse the main body of the English fleet was sighted, which about two o'clock in the afternoon took its course towards the north east and at night fires were seen near Texel. But as the wind freshened and blew towards the land, being north west, the English drew away from these coasts. The letters from London say that there are about 5000 soldiers and 4000 pioneers on board the fleet and that they have designs upon the town of Hemdem. It would be a fine position if they could surprise it, but they would find it hard to keep, and they would utterly ruin their fleet.
The fleet of this state is still at Texel and will not put out for ten or twelve days, not only because the wind is contrary, but for some other reasons. This much is certain, however, that within fifteen days all the fleets will be at sea if the wind permits and some engagement will ensue, because nothing good is expected from England, indeed we do not hear that the accommodation is in negotiation there, and accordingly no minister will be sent. This state does not ask for peace. England is making war on it. It rests with the mediator to learn from the English why they are doing so and what they claim from this state. Here no proposal will be made, except that restitution shall be made by each party; that matters shall be put back to the state in which they were before, and that France shall judge upon the differences which exist between the two nations. This is as much as can be done here. If the English are not content with this, it behoves them to have in hand wherewith to constrain themselves (bisogna ch' habbiano in mano con che constringersi) which will not be very easy. And although there is no apprehension that the English are about to make a landing in this province, they do not neglect to bring forward twenty-two more companies towards the coast and to make provision for everything.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.179. From London, the 7th May, 1665.
It does not appear that the mediation of the Most Christian ambassadors has so far slackened the resolution of his Britannic Majesty to prosecute the war against Holland with all possible vigour. We hear that the Duke of York has recently advanced in the direction of Holland with 114 great and powerful ships and that another English squadron has given chase to a Dutch squadron which is believed to be the fleet of Ruyter. If this prove true it will undoubtedly oblige the main body of the Dutch fleet to come out of port to hasten to his defence, and consequently to try conclusions with the English.
In order to encourage his commanders and sailors to hazard their lives freely in his service his Majesty went last Monday to visit the widow of the captain of the frigate Diamond, killed in the last engagement. After consoling her with kind and gracious words he gave her 400 gold crowns and assigned to her a pension of 200 crowns a year for her maintenance.
We hear that the captain of the frigate Sirena [Mermaid], after taking the barque recently reported, fell in with a vessel of Middelbourg called il Leone. The captain of the latter at the beginning fired seven discharges against the Sirena, which responded with ten. The Middelbourg ship losing its captain and many sailors immediately surrendered and has been taken to Belford to be repaired. They say that the command of it has already been given by the king to a certain Jonge, an ordinary seaman, (fn. 9) in reward for his valour.
Letters from Amsterdam of the 2nd inst. report that there they were expecting their fleet to put to sea at once, but with what design was not known, it being the common opinion in that city that it is not to their interest to press the English upon their own coast. The same letters also state that that province is constantly busy over the building of twenty-four new ships, in fulfilment of the first resolution, but that they make very slow progress in the business, and that even when these ships are finished they will have no less difficulty in finding sailors to man them. They have recently brought two prizes into this port, one of Scotland, laden with salt, baize and serge; the other of Lubeck on the way to England from Sweden laden, so they say, with contraband goods.
A report is circulating that the ships in the Vliter have united with those in the Texel and that the Admiralties have finally come to a decision about all the instructions necessary for the conduct of the war. But they are always short of the instruments to carry them out. It is said that Eversen is on board the fleet and the Admiral Opdam also and that they are very careful that no officer shall absent himself or desert from his command.
They write from Portsmouth that on the 3rd inst. the frigates Fox, Paradox and John and Catherine sailed from that port to unite with the fleet. The last of these recently brought into that port a prize which pretended to be of Hamburg and 400 sailors. There have also arrived eleven barques of Saint Malo with naval stores. The frigate True Love also brought three ships to that port, out of suspicion, two of which pretended to belong to Dunkirk and the third to Hamburg, but there are strong indications that they belong to Holland or are laden with Dutch goods, there being many passengers of that nation on board. (fn. 10)
It is believed for certain at Court that the Dutch fleet has left port and they are waiting momentarily expecting to receive confirmation and that the two fleets have engaged.
The English fleet of Smyrna, of twenty ships and very rich, had arrived safely at the Isle of Wight. A council set up for maritime affairs has not only released some French and Swedish ships, detained with others of Holland by English privateers but has made provision for the future, to wit, by having punished some captains and sailors, subjects of King Charles for having taken the liberty to capture foreign ships, a thing which, on examination they were unable to excuse, voluntarily pleading guilty to the crime.
[Italian, from the French.]
May 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
180. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The king's ambassadors extraordinary should have made their entry into London on the 18th. It is firmly believed that there is a secret treaty between King Charles and the States because of the delay over mediation to which both parties have agreed. The States have absolutely refused the proposed armistice. The Ambassador Van Gogh says that if King Charles means to restore everything a general peace will follow; and if perchance the English might pretend to have claims upon what has been detained in the Indies, the Dutch will be content, that peace shall be established immediately in Europe and that hostilities shall be continued beyond the line. But these are vain imaginings since it is quite apparent that to break the navigation on this side, which is so necessary for the sustenance of the United Provinces, the English have made use of hostilities in Guinea and in the East and West Indies as well.
Full particulars will be found in the enclosed sheets.
Paris, the 22nd May, 1665.
[Italian.]
181. From the Hague, the 22nd May, 1665.
The English fleet is here in our waters, where it appeared for the first time on the 3rd inst. and went away the same day until the 7th. It then returned and has not moved since that day, now approaching and now going away according to the wind and the tide, and stretching out from Texel as far as two leagues from here. Their fleet is composed of 105 sail in all, among which are forty good vessels well mounted, but all the rest are small and there are more than thirty which do not carry more than twelve guns. They make a very brave show and believe that our fleet does not dare to come out, as in fact it cannot since the English will have the advantage of the wind, and we shall wait for a wind from the east or south east to facilitate the junction of the squadrons which are in Zeeland.
The ships which are at Texel are ready to make sail, and last Sunday they sent word to the captains to weigh anchor at the first signal that should be given. But for the Admiralty of Friesland, which has been very negligent, although there was no lack of money or of men, the fleet would have been at sea more than a fortnight ago. Here they have private intelligence that speaks of a rumour current in London of the coming of fifty or sixty merchant ships of France and Spain in order to have a pretext for sending out their fleet, which did not dare to stay any longer in their ports for fear of some mutiny for lack of money. It is certain that there is not any secret negotiation between England and these States, although there is a leaning that way on the part of the former. But here it is considered a safer policy (piu accertato) for France and for this country, that the Most Christian king should make the peace and that he will do so, if he wishes.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.182. From London, the 14th May, 1665.
By letters of the 7th inst. we hear that the frigate Matthias has arrived at Portsmouth having brought a convoy of twenty-one very rich merchantmen from the Mediterranean and other parts. This convoy came from Malaga in six weeks in the face of a stronger force of Dutch and without being troubled by them. It also touched at Tangier, where the governor, Lord Bellassis, had not then arrived, but it left the fortress in excellent condition without any sign of enemies; the forces of Gayland being withdrawn or diverted for some other design.
The ambassadors of the Most Christian continue their mediation with great energy, and it is now said that some slight glimmer of an adjustment is beginning to appear, and that the Earl of Fitzharden has been sent with great secrecy to the Hague about current affairs. But everything is conducted with so much precaution in this Council that it is impossible to get knowledge of anything, and the constant preparations which are going on for the war make us despair of good results from this mediation and especially the disinclination which is observed in the States of Holland to give full satisfaction to his Britannic Majesty and in his Majesty to accept it.
Lord Hyde, uncle of the chancellor and chief justice of the kingdom, (fn. 11) died suddenly this week while he was writing. His death is much deplored as he was a very just man and so severe in his office that he had become the terror of thieves and criminals.
The king, having filled up his fleet with sailors and soldiers, has issued a proclamation this week to notify that his Majesty is now ready to grant letters of reprisal to any person whatsoever who wishes to put any private ship of war against the United Provinces, and he also releases by this proclamation the embargo placed by his Majesty on the 1st March last upon all English merchant ships until he made known his royal will to the contrary. (fn. 12)
Letters from Dover of the 8th May relate that last Monday certain Dutch vessels coming from Bordeaux passed near the coasts of France and two small frigates of that town took three of them and brought them into the port of Dover to be condemned.
No clash has occurred as yet between the two fleets, as the Dutch do not dare to come out of port. The latest news we have is that H.R.H. sent a squadron to reconnoitre, which returned with the report that the Dutch seeing the English immediately hoisted a flag, apparently for a council of war, but the squadron did not hear anything more of them.
A rumour was circulating in the city that the English ships had taken part of the Dutch Smyrna fleet. This affair, although a trifle incredible when all the circumstances are considered, was that five English frigates encountered three Dutch warships which were convoying three rich ships of Smyrna off the coast of Portugal. They engaged them sinking two of the Smyrna ships and forcing the other to run aground. The warships, seeing that they could not hold out any longer in the fight, set fire to their magazines and so perished voluntarily rather than surrender.
[Italian, from the French.]
May 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
183. To the King of Great Britain.
Acknowledge his letters of 7th March, received recently, touching the evil proceedings of Thomas Stanton and Haulye Bishopp, who have injured his Majesty's subjects so greatly. (fn. 13) Will endeavour in every way possible to get them into the hands of the law when it is known that they have taken refuge in the republic's dominions. The interest in question is common to princes, since security of capital and goods is what causes trade to flow and affords subsistence and gain to the people. Assure him of their desire to gratify him in every contingency and to prove their regard. Compliments.
Ayes, 99. Noes, 3. Neutral, 5.
[Italian.]
May 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
184. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
On the appearance off Cadiz of an English frigate two Dutch ships left the port to attack it, carrying forty and twenty-eight guns respectively. The more powerful one was impetuously run on to sandbanks. It suffered little damage but could only remain a spectator of the fight. The frigate being much superior in strength drove the other to take refuge under the guns of the fortress, after having fought with determination. The English lost seventy men and the ship was roughly handled. Both were in the port for repairs in sight of each other, which only intensified the fury and ill feeling between the nations. The frigate sent a challenge to the Dutch which was at once accepted. While they were preparing for the fight a great crowd collected on the shore to watch, but to the universal amazement, the English, who were the first to come out, instead of waiting for the enemy, spread their sails and pursued their way. This wise but cowardly behaviour increased the ardour of the Dutch with derision of the enemy. Feeling has become embittered to such a point that the consuls have challenged each other to a duel. The Duke of Medina Celi, general of the coast, decided to arrest both. (fn. 14) Some days of detention will serve as a reminder and correction if it is not a great punishment.
Madrid, the 27th May, 1665.
[Italian.]
May 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
185. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Concerning the northern differences we have no news beyond the usual sheets, except the capture of eight ships which left France with wine and were taken by the English fleet stationed before Texel. Various opinions are expressed. Last week it is understood that Lord Barclay, a favourite of the King of England, went on a light frigate to conduct secret negotiations in Holland, from which there were hopes of an approaching composition. It has since been learned that he only went to the Downs for amusement with some gentlemen of the French ambassadors, to show the reserve. The point is that the English parliament is very stirred up and the king without it cannot settle anything, owing to the need of extraordinary subsidies for the war, with its support, so even to the repeated instances of the French ambassadors to stop the search of French ships no reply has yet been given, not to speak of compensation. King Charles excuses himself on the ground of his limited authority in such matters relating to navigation, that being the most jealous question that can ever be proposed and decided by that nation, which is so vigorous at sea.
Paris the 29th May, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.186. From London, the 21st May, 1665.
The ambassadors of the Most Christian made their superb and public entry into London last Saturday, when they were accompanied by over sixty coaches and six, in addition to the royal ones and those of the ambassadors themselves. One of these had eight horses and was the richest and handsomest ever seen in this country. They were as usual defrayed by his Majesty for three days, of whom they had public audience on Tuesday last. At this, after the customary compliments they set forth the substance of their commissions and received a most gracious reply from King Charles, although in very general terms.
By letters from Ireland of the 8th May we understand that the frigate Nightingale brought into the port of Galloway two private ships of war belonging to Flushing, which it took that day or the day before in company with another English frigate. They carried thirty-six pieces of ordnance and had more than 120 men on board. They have admitted that two more of their companions are off those coasts of whom the English frigates hope to give a good account very soon.
By other letters we hear that the frigate Dartmouth, leaving port about midday on the 2nd ult. with a fresh wind, sighted a craft with which it came up in the space of two hours and found it to be a private ship of war of Flushing, which only carried ten guns, and after an hour's engagement took it. The captain of the Dartmouth lost five men in the fight and the Flushing ship fifteen, besides ten seriously wounded. (fn. 15)
The letters from Holland relate that the English fleet was continuing off their coasts and consisted of about 100 vessels. They were putting to sea on the 11th inst. if the wind were favourable, but they were not setting sail at the moment because the twenty ships in the Vliter were still short of sailors and other necessary provisions; moreover the ships of Zeeland and those in the Maes, numbering thirty had not yet joined with them so that it was judged advisable not to move until all their fleet was ready, and then to give battle. It is believed that that state is planning chiefly for the safety of these three fleets, namely that of Smyrna and of the Mediterranean, which is at present at Cadiz; that of Ruiter, whose plan has been kept secret, and that of the West Indies, the return of which is momentarily expected, but some barques have been sent to warn them of their danger.
The queen mother not enjoying such health as is desirable in this country, proposes to proceed to France shortly, it is believed with the intention of returning to England in six or eight months.
The last letters of the fleet of the 15th inst. state that the Duke of York having sufficiently exercised his generosity and patience in waiting so long for the Dutch at their ports and not seeing any sign of their coming out, was thinking of withdrawing and disposing the fleet to make sail towards the north for another design, when H.R.H. received intelligence that the Dutch were on the point of coming out of the Texel. This changed his plans and he caused the fleet to return again in the direction of Holland in the hope of trying conclusions with the Dutch, on the supposition that they might really have some idea of uniting with their fleet in Zeeland. But this intelligence proved false, much to the disadvantage of the English fleet, the weather being then favourable. But soon after it became so wet and stormy that it was impossible for the fleet to arrive at the design first proposed and so it was given up for the time being. On Wednesday after dinner H.R.H. directed a squadron of seven ships to proceed towards the Vliter to stop Dutch merchant ships, if any should attempt to enter, but a fog suddenly descended, so thick that it prevented four of the ships from joining and only three went. The number of merchantmen making sail for that port was about thirty without any convoy to defend them, being separated from two warships and eight merchantmen who were steering in the direction of Zeeland. On Thursday morning the three English frigates discovered these ten vessels and took them without resistance, except the two warships, which slipped out of their hands by taking flight. They were all laden with wine and brandy, except one of the West Indies which is estimated to be of the greatest value, some say of 600,000 crowns. We are now waiting to hear that the other eight ships of the squadron have fallen in with and taken their companions as we heard that they were giving chase to some of them.
The report mentioned in my last that this fleet had taken some ships of Smyrna on the coast of Portugal is now contradicted, it having been a pure invention which gained some credence in the absence of letters from the fleet.
[Italian, from the French.]
Enclosure.187. From the Hague, the 21st May, 1665.
Here we know since last week the subject of the despatch of a courier made by the ambassadors extraordinary of the Most Christian in London and this by way of England itself, whence everything that is said and done in those parts is written. For a long while they have been complaining of Mons. Van Gogh but there is no disposition here to send another in his place. Nothing has been said about holding the assembly at Dunkirk and one cannot know what would be the sentiments of their lordships here if such a proposal were made.
They are not thinking about mediation here but of an inevitable clash of arms, the result of which will always be advantageous to this State as it will make the English see that it will never be attacked with impunity. For a long while they have believed here that if France seriously desires peace between the two nations it will be made, but while they are unwilling to disoblige England they are disobliging this State. This State will not rest satisfied with the reply given to it by the king, but will insist always upon the carrying out of the treaty, and as the people here are not refined and very simple they believe that one ought always to keep what has been promised, au pied de la lettre.
With regard to the Duke of York's design against Ruyter, this is built upon a very weak foundation because the English do not know what route Ruyter is to follow, and as for preventing the junction of the Meuse and Zeeland fleets, it is not in their power to do so, nor would they dare to attempt it. We shall very soon know their intentions on this side.
The Chevalier de Treslon has not yet left Denmark, but he has received orders to return to Sweden in the capacity of ambassador extraordinary.
If this war continues for two years more the two new companies of France will be absolutely ruined. It would seem that in France they do not feel confidence in all the good advice which might be given to them from here although their High Mightinesses are well intentioned, and one day they will be sorry for it when it will be too late, because they amuse us with many false things and with delusive hopes.
It is known here that M. Courtin has said that the fleet of the States would not come out of their ports, but those who have given this information have deceived themselves or have wished to deceive. They say here that this pronouncement is somewhat too hasty for the ambassador of a mediating king. Meanwhile M. d'Estrades writes the exact contrary, and the truth.
If the Duke of York is amusing himself by lying in wait for Ruiter, he will get little good by it, because he will not meet him, nor is it in his power to prevent the junction of our fleets, because the squadrons of the Meuse and Zeeland have arrived at Schonevelt near Goere whence they can proceed to the Texel at their pleasure. But he need not be too distressed about it because the grand fleet which at present numbers more than eighty ships of war, will go out the moment the wind has become at all favourable, whether south east, east or north east, and will attack the English even if the two squadrons in question have not joined. This is the most absolute truth, of which the consequence will be seen as soon as it pleases God to change the wind. On Monday morning they began to weigh anchor and they will have gone out unless the wind has changed in the same instant.
The English fleet has not passed before Texel since the 16th because the prevailing wind is blowing in shore. On Wednesday last a thick fog led to all the vessels which left La Rochelle a month ago finding themselves in the midst of their fleet. They numbered some forty-one in all, including two ships of war acting as escort. Of this number one went to Greenland to the whale fishing, eight entered the Baltic Sea, twenty-four entered the Texel and the Ems, the two warships escaped to Zeeland and the English took six.
[Italian, from the French.]
May 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
188. To the Ambassador with the Most Christian king.
Commend his offices with the English ambassador to prevent the ships of his countrymen from serving the Turks. He is to continue to cultivate the goodwill of that minister and to solicit a resolution for the release of the ship Santa Maria, upon which a favourable declaration from his Majesty was promised.
Ayes, 128. Noes, 2. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
May 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
189. Francesco Bianchi, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Here in Florence they are bespeaking a house for a resident of England. (fn. 16) The king is sending him because by staying at this Court he may protect the nation, promote trade and be ready with his offices for every other occasion which may crop up, for the royal ships in the present hostilities with the Dutch. He will arrive it is believed within ten days and I will perform the usual courtesies with him. It is supposed that a Dutch minister also may come to watch and see that no measures prejudicial to the Provinces are attempted at Leghorn.
Florence, the 30th May, 1665.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Mentioned by Pepys on 6th April. It was seen at Aix on the 27th March. Its orbit was calculated by Halley on observations taken by the German astronomer Hevel. Pingré: Cometographie, Vol. ii., page 20. Galle: Verzeichniss der Elementen der Cometenbahnen, page 163.
2 On the 8–18th. Rugge's Diary, Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 10117, f. 136.
3 Armand de Gramont, comte de Guiche.
4 The capture made on 15th April, o.s., by the frigates Diamond and Yarmouth. Capt. John Golding of the Diamond was killed. The Intelligencer. April 17th, Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, page 310.
5 The letter of John Valckenburg, director general of the West India Company in Guinea, was published at the Hague. The charges are indignantly denied in the Newes of May 25th.
6 George Ent, of Dutch parentage. Munk: Roll Register of the College of Physicians, Vol. i., page 224. Monday would be 17–27th April; but he seems to have been knighted on the 15th. Rugge's Diary, Brit Mus. Add. MSS. 10117, f. 136d. Shaw: Knights of England, Vol. ii., page 240.
7 Direction vessels are defined as “ships to spy abroad.” Rugge's Diary, Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 10117, f. 136.
8 Paul Rycaut. See his letter of 24th April. Hist. MSS. Coram… Finch Papers, Vol. i., page 370.
9 Probably Capt. Michael Young, who appears in command of the Young Lion, later in the year. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, page 461. The Young Lion of Middelburg, formerly of Ostend, was taken on the 4th inst. by Capt. King of the Mermaid. The Intelligencer of 22nd April.
10 These particulars are in the Newes of April 27th.
11 Robert Hyde, second son of Sir Laurence Hyde, chief justice of the King's Bench. He was Clarendon's first cousin. He died on the bench on the 1st May. Dict. Nat. Biog.
12 Proclamation of 26th April, o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, page 333. Steele: Tudor and Stuart Proclamations, Vol. i., page 412, No. 3416.
13 Thomas Stanton and Hawly Bishop, two factors of the Levant Company, at Aleppo, who decamped with over 50,000 dollars belonging to the Turks. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, pp. 253, 314, 315. Hist. MSS. Comm. Finch Papers, Vol. i., page 344.
14 The English frigate was the Crown, Capt Charles Wager. It had come to Cadiz from Tangier. The fight took place on the 6th May. Wager claimed to have waited outside the port for the Dutchmen. By the following day they had collected ten ships against him. The Intelligencer, June 5th. Vernatti from Puerto Santa Maria on 2–12 May. S.P. Spain, Vol. xlviii. The English consul general, Martin Westcomb, and the Dutch consul Abraham Vanderhutten, were arrested by Don Diego de Ybarro, the governor, on 11th May, because of orders received by Medina Celi, the former nominally for allowing the Crown to sail without licence. Westcomb to Fanshaw on 12th May. S.P. Spain, Vol. xlviii.
15 See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, page 351.
16 Sir John Finch. His instructions are dated 12th April. He reached Florence on 10th June. Finch to Arlington, 3–13 June. S.P. Tuscany, Vol. v.


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