Venice
September 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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187-206

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'Venice: September 1665', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 187-206. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90169 Date accessed: 28 August 2014.


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September 1665

Sept. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
245. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The envoy Van Bouninghen now insists that it is enough for the States for France to expend nothing but her voice by a declaration in their favour, according to the obligation of the alliance, renouncing altogether troops, ships and every other assistance which the articles of the contract require and comprise. There is not the slightest sign at present that the Most Christian is moving to take such a step, which, in my feeble judgment, depends on the issue between the two fleets facing each other in the North. Although Van Bouninghen protested in a sense that as his stay here had proved useless he would be leaving by the 15th of the month, since from the first day of his arrival in Paris until to-day, which is the last of the eighth month, he has obtained nothing from his negotiations, yet everything remains relatively in suspense, as one of the parties does not wish to take sides against the English and the other thinks that it will increase their audacity to absent itself from the friendship of this crown, because such a decision on Bouninghen's part, whenever it happened, would infer that the Provinces are definitely abandoned by the king.
The Count of Ghissia, (fn. 1) who is still staying at the Hague, writes, I do not know on what authority, that the Dutch have again been beaten by the English. It is certain that they are waiting with apprehension and with curiosity the news of another battle. The English ambassador has heard that the royal fleet, 120 ships strong, had advanced towards Bergh in Norway, to blockade the rich squadron of the Indies and the prizes taken at Guinea and Barbades, which are sheltering there, and audaciously to gather some advantage over the enemy. On the other side it is known that Ruiter, with a number of ships not smaller and not inferior in determination and courage, is proceeding in the same direction to assist his own side and to contest absolutely the liberty of the sea.
It is true that the plague in London is doing more harm than ever, but the diligence of King Charles in sending reinforcements to the fleet, in despatching his brother to keep the kingdom of Scotland quiet, is very steadfastly attending to everything. Unless Fortune takes part with the scourge mentioned it is not easy to see how the English are likely to give way.
In the mean time all the reprisals continue for them at sea, thus last week, among the six ships reported which fell into their hands there was a French one which came from Rouen with the coaches of the Ambassador Beziers and divers presents which the Prince of Condé was sending to the Queen Maria, (fn. 2) and which, we understand have not yet been restored.
There are four warships of the Most Christian ready at La Rochelle to proceed to Portugal and receive the ambassador of Braganza, despatclied to London, (fn. 3) to accompany again to Lisbon the Princess d'Umala. Last week they countermanded the order and it is said that this will lead to something, because in the ports of Brittany they are arming for war all the ships of the Eastern and Western merchants of this country. They also say that from time to time assurances are whispered into the ears of Van Bouninghen of a future but fundamental declaration.
It is believed that the Abbé di Bofort, gentleman of Languedoc, who was taken to the Bastille as I reported, will have much to suffer, as being acquainted with England he served as a double spy, if one may use the phrase. The Most Christian becoming aware that he reported things differently from what was written to him from London, by his arrest and by the examination of his papers, arrived at the knowledge of the fact, which the king cannot pass over as he is displeased at all that he learns both of mistrust in such cases among his own subjects and of the designs and encroachments of that crown.
Paris, the 1st September, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.246. From the Hague, the 27th August, 1665.
It would have been desirable for France to have prevented the war, and since she did not do so that at least she should declare herself before a second engagement was reached. For if things turn out well for this republic it would be in a position to dispense with the succour of France and come to terms with England. In the mean time since this is not done, the state of affairs is changing here, so that it may be doubted whether they will not very speedily take other measures, since it is certain that the good services of his Majesty are no longer able to resist the torrent of those who say that while France does not declare herself, it is of no use to wait any longer, but we should seek other friends, who will be found in quite considerable numbers if our affairs go well.
In the last three weeks we have always had excellent news. The Admiral Ruiter has arrived, the ships of the Indies and the greater part of those of the Mediterranean are in safety; and last Saturday we had definite news that fifteen English ships of war, three galeots and three fireships having entered the port of Berghes on the 11th inst., attacked the twelve Dutch merchantmen there, who received them so well, seconded by the governor of the fortress, to whom 200 sailors had been sent who were very expert in manipulating guns, that after a combat of three and a half hours the English ships were forced to cut their cables and to flee with a loss of 700 or 800 men and of three of their best ships, which were sunk. The others were so roughly handled that six of them could no longer remain at sea and had to be beached three leagues from there, while not one of the remaining ships is in a condition to fight again. (fn. 4)
Of the Dutch ships there is one which has been struck by more than 130 gun shots, so that with three feet of water in her hold the greater part of her cargo, which is sugar, has been ruined. In all there were twenty-five men killed and seventy wounded in the Dutch ships. It is not yet known how the King of Denmark will take this procedure of the English, and if he approves the action of the governor. The English are very ill pleased and Douveningh is mad about it. They thought they were certain to encounter the ships of the Indies and to find wherewith to pay their sailors; but at present they do not know what they can do. As it is suspected that led by desperation they may proceed to make a second attack, they have made some batteries at the foot of the castles, so that they can fire at the water line and they have closed the entry to the port with chains and spars bound together to divert the fireships. To render the governor favourable they have promised him a great present and already they have given him 25,000 crowns and some hundreds of gunpowder. But even if he wished to be disagreeable he could not, as there are so many Dutch sailors within the castles that they are the stronger there; but they will not have the trouble of defending themselves if the news that came the evening before yesterday is true.
The packet boat which left here last week and returned the same day has reported that when it left Harvich last Sunday it saw a part of the English fleet approaching the place in a very bad condition either by the storm or in some other way. It must be that they are lacking something else and in the present state of affairs in England, both from the plague and from the evil disposition of the people in Scotland and Ireland they will have a great deal of trouble to get themselves to sea again this year.
There is no news yet of the great fleet of these States except that on the 20th inst. it was still near the Doguerbanc at about thirty leagues from this coast, and if it has not been separated by the storm which raged on the night of Saturday and Sunday, it should by now be in Norway.
Eight days ago the secretary of Doueningh (fn. 5) was arrested by way of reprisal because he had said that in England the secretary of the ambassador would be treated in the same way as Udart will be treated here. On the following day Doueningh asked for a passport for a frigate and a ship which he pretended to be sending for to fetch his household and his furniture; but because they told him that they would not give him the passport before they knew the name of the frigate and the ship, he subsequently changed his mind and has sent his wife by land to Flanders under a passport which was granted to him here after three days.
The partisans of our enemies announce here and elsewhere that the emperor, the Kings of Spain and England and the Bishop of Munster have already made a partition of these United Provinces and of the Indies. It is not believed, however that they have got so far as this, though it is certain that they are all agreed against this State.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.247. From Tumbrige, the 21st August, 1665.
There are very few events from these parts and that little is very difficult to get to know because of the distance of the Court from London and the nobility, scattered in their native counties, so that it is all but impossible to converse with any one of quality. Those who are at present here at Tumbrige do not associate with that freedom that was usual; they do not dare to receive or have the usual intelligences from London. So we remain, as I have said, very barren of news and of any other conversation except of the calamity of London. This week 4030 have died there of all maladies and 2317, according to the bulletins, of the plague, but according to the reasonable opinion of intelligent persons at least 3700.
Their Majesties, from what we hear, are enjoying perfect health at Salesbery, and the Duke and Duchess of York are also enjoying the same at the city of York whither they have withdrawn for the safety of their persons during the present epidemic.
It is a long time since we had any news of our fleet, except of its permanence and that they are in perfect health on board; but we live in hope to receive the news of some success before long which may reward us for the long expectation. There is a report current that the Dutch fleet has at last put to sea, but as we see no confirmation of it in the letters of Holland it is not yet credited here.
The last letters from Scotland report that the commissioner of the convention of those States (il commissario della conventione di quei stati) has granted an imposition throughout that kingdom, to continue for five years, in order to assist his Majesty in the present war against the United Provinces. (fn. 6) That convention has also forbidden all intercourse and commerce with England during the present epidemic and has established a quarantine to be observed by all ships and passengers that pass from England to Scotland.
We have the confirmation of the return of Ruiter with his fleet to safety, with five English prizes, laden for the most part with sugar. This should cause great rejoicing in Holland and hasten the sending of their fleet to sea.
[Italian.]
Sept. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
248. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The request by France of Castel Rodrigo to allow troops to pass has exercised the Council of State this last week. It is supposed to be a trick to conceal their designs and that the Most Christian means to deceive the Dutch, having no intention to assist them, and to throw the blame of the failure on the Spaniards. To la Fuente they commit the duty of expressing himself quite openly if he is not afraid of their taking offence, but if he has any doubt about their feeling strongly on the matter he is to show address and prudence, and answer in such a way as neither to refuse nor consent.
Joined with this there is another consideration of greater importance. They hold it as the chief object of all their deliberations not to give offence to England and to preserve a perfect peace with that king. It is considered in the present state of affairs to be of no ordinary advantage to avoid inopportune declarations which are unnecessary and which would irritate that nation greatly. This would be the right game for France, which would gain by interrupting the excellent correspondence which is at present existing between these two powers, and replacing it by jealousy and suspicion. From England the Count of Molina writes this and from La Fuente they have the confirmation with the utmost distinctness, indeed he reports that the chief reason for the request preferred had its origin in the desire to confound the interests of Spain, not to bring benefit and relief to those of Holland.
This much is certain that if the Hollanders were seriously exposed to be overwhelmed by the flood, and were considered unequal to offer resistance, the blow would be felt here with regret, but not even in that case would they open a way for the foreign troops of an opposed nation. They are willing to afford a breathing space to their friends, but not with peril to themselves.
The Dutch ambassador here places scant faith in the demonstrations of that crown in their favour. He says that up to the present the relations with the Bishop of Munster had not reached an extreme pitch. He had some body of troops but not of such consideration as to put them in fear and peril, and the frontier was well defended. If the Most Christian seriously means to help he can employ his forces where the necessity pinches and put new strength into the work.
It is announced that money is being supplied to the United Provinces by the Most Christian. He alleges that in the negotiations for peace he finds no way open for arriving at more definite decisions. The report arouses curiosity and is not unpleasing. The ambassador here neither confesses to the money received nor shows any suspicion that they mean to adhere to other proposals. To appease the agitation he gives it out that he claims that the interests being equal they will be sustained by the United Provinces, since they perceive nothing but wrangling and duplicity. One hint he let fall, prompted perchance from his observation of the cordial welcome accorded to the Count of Molina in London, and the reports of an alliance between these two crowns, which is approaching settlement. The same ambassador remarked subsequently that, refusing to allow one's self to be deluded by appearances and following reason alone, he confessed that with respect to Flanders it was not in the interest of Spain or the States that their intentions or their interests should proceed apart.
Madrid, the 2nd September, 1665.
[Italian.]
Sept. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
249. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The governor of Tangier, having discovered that the Dutch, who are again staying in those waters, were waiting with a rich ship for the Moors to come out, has offered every inducement and convenience to the latter so that they may not come out of the port. They, however, recognising the danger and thinking the reminder prudent, decided to have the greater part of the most singular and precious of their goods put ashore. Everything is being sold at a very low price. It is said, however, that they think of sending the plate to Argel in a safe manner. Having learned about this and supposing their further stay to be useless the Dutch turned their sails towards Cadiz.
Some complaint has been made to the English ambassador by the king's order, though mildly. It is caused by the reception in their port from the Barbary corsairs of great and public booty which pertains to this crown. He made excuse in general terms for what had happened, letting it be understood that by the articles of peace they are obliged to keep their word, just as this crown is eager to take care of its own interests. To this reply no answer was given and the difficulty was surmounted if observation and bitter feeling were not.
Madrid, the 2nd September, 1665.
[Italian.]
Sept. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
250. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Some small offence has occurred to the Ambassador Holles through the encounter of his coach, I know not if it was accidental, with that of the Princess of Carignano, for which he has not as yet received the compensation which he claims. On Wednesday the ambassadress, his wife, was on a visit to Madame at the moment when her Royal Highness proposed to go to see the queen regnant at the Louvre. The ambassadress was honoured by accompanying her and both got into the royal coach. This was followed by the English one, in which were the young ladies and the English esquire. In turning the corner of the next street they met the coach of Carignan alone, but surrounded with over twelve footmen, most of them with staves in their hands. These allowed Madame to pass but pushed in between to cut off the coach of the ambassadress. The horses of the latter being beaten in the face and drawn by the bridle, by the lackeys of Carignan, it was eventually obliged to turn back, and I fancy that two or three of the English footmen also received some blows.
The English ambassador kept silence for one day, namely the whole of Thursday, waiting for some suitable compliment in the name of Carignan; but unable to contain himself any longer he forthwith proceeded in person, although at an unusual hour, to M. di Liona to make his complaint. Liona offered to speak about it to the king, deprecating the outrageous behaviour of the Carignan lackeys, the more so because Lord Holles aggravated the case, bringing forward some probable indications that the coach of the princess had been planted there on purpose to cut off the passage of the English one.
On Saturday Carignan sent to offer excuses to the ambassadress. She refused to receive the gentleman declaring that for one day she had been mistress of the offence, but that limit being passed it was no longer in her power to dispose things. Good manners required that the colours of a minister of King Charles should be recognised at so great a distance and always respected. It is not known therefore what other steps will be taken as these words were spoken by the esquire of the ambassadress to the gentleman in question, who did not see her, because it happened the same day and it behoved her to keep her bed, but also because Lord Holles supposes that the office might be equivocal, since there is the question of precedence and of the beating which happened. (fn. 7)
An infraction of the law of nations, according to the common report, constituted by an attempt made by the English on the 12th August against the Dutch ships within the fortress of Bergh in Norway, came off badly, as they write by a galeot sent immediately to the King of Denmark and thence to Holland, as they say that the English have been repulsed with the loss of three ships and 800 soldiers killed.
Much has been said but nothing certain so far. Nevertheless the most probable is that all the royal ships have been withdrawn to the ports of England, because of the necessity for overhauling them and renewing supplies. Also that the two missing ships of Ruiter have arrived safely in another port of Norway, and no doubt with the sea open he will have convoyed them and brought them with the others to Amsterdam.
In spite of all this the Spanish ambassador maintains that the English will neither make peace nor will the Dutch yield in the slightest degree. The Count of Ghissia writes from the Hague that to-day the people there are as much overcome by jubilation as before they were perplexed by fear, considering that the present fleet was not by a long way equal to the first, and all were cast down in spirit, no other hope or confidence being left than in fortune first and afterwards in the leadership of Ruiter alone.
I know this much on good authority that the last treaty of alliance between England, Sweden and the Bishop of Munster has been intercepted in the Low Countries and communicated to the Most Christian, with other articles pointing to the assent if not the participation of Spain as well. Accordingly it is stated and the ambassador himself assured me of it, that the mediators in London have peremptory instructions to propose to King Charles other conditions, considered reasonable for both parties and if these are refused to return immediately.
Nevertheless this Court finds the news very distasteful agreeing as it does with the preceding, that General Wranghel with a considerable body of troops is advancing towards Breme, to unite with the Bishop of Munster and that the movements of the German troops are always increasing in accordance with the arrangement, to present themselves on the frontier of Flanders. Accordingly they have sent from here considerable cash remittances to the Swiss; they have directed the royal troops to proceed to the borders of Germany and of Flanders also; they are hastening the assembling of several ships of war, and if, owing to the approach of winter they are not making any positive declaration it is certain that the machines must be let loose before long with the decisive replies of the British crown and each one will follow the course which suits him best in the great turmoil that will be stirred up in Christendom.
Six days the despatches of England have been in the packet boat, without communication being allowed even with the usual fumigation of the letters. The English ambassador has complained about it, suspecting that so unusual a step concealed some mystery; but the king immediately sent a courier to Cales with orders to relax this unprecedented severity. So the letters have come and state that over 5300 persons died of the plague in London in the preceding week. Some, who are not too tender hearted consider this will be to the advantage of the British crown, as they say it will have more authority over the remaining subjects of those three fortunate kingdoms which it holds (di tre posseduti e cosi felici regni).
Paris, the 8th September, 1665.
[Italian.]
Sept. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
251. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
We have the replies of England about the peace to the royal ambassadors, who report that they have acted as loving mediators for the mutual benefit and not in accordance with orders which they have recently received from Holland that they should ask for it on more particular conditions than have been practised up to the present. In thanking them, King Charles said that there were three preliminary conditions without which there could be no peace, first their establishment of the Prince of Orange; second, to pay the costs of the war, as they had attacked first, when he only wished to protect the ships of his merchants; and third to regulate commerce beyond the fine, to put an end to all disputes, even in the future. So we are momentarily expecting to hear of some great action in Norway, where fortune and courage alone will decide what is to be, since from the tenor of the above answer it is quite clear that there is no help for it without something fresh happening.
The English ambassador called to tell me that he had written strongly to the Secretary Bennet about the two Venetian ships, and he could only tell me that I might rely on him, so far as he personally was concerned.
The two sheets enclosed have just arrived. The one from the Hague seems very important. The one from London is very old, while the English ambassador is scandalized that at Cales they not only refuse pratique to the sailors and passengers of the ordinary packet boat, but even to receive letters, in spite of the fact that the ordinary precaution of fumigating them is taken.
Paris, the 8th September, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.252. From the Hague, the 3rd September, 1665.
We have recently learned two very considerable things. One is the authentic news that the English fleet has returned to the port of Harvic, to the number of eighty sail, more fully supplied with sick men than with victuals, and it may easily be judged that in time of plague, which is raging fiercely in England, it will be impossible for them to get to sea again this year.
The fleet of the States, according to the letter of the deputies who are on board, was in Norway on the 25th ult., so that on the 28th they should be at Bergues, and there is every appearance that at present they are on the road to come in with the merchant ships which have been at sea a long while. The deputies themselves will not have the fleet brought back into the ports but will have a score of ships sent out to go and visit the coasts of England.
With the return of this fleet which will bring back at least 6000 soldiers, without the sailors, we shall be in a position to have no fear of the Bishop of Munster, although such good arrangements have already been taken for the defence of the frontier fortresses that they are safe from surprise, and the season is too advanced for it to be possible to undertake a siege of any consequence. Accordingly as the bishop is not able to take his winter quarters in this country, he will be compelled to find subsistence for his troops in his own country, which will be very difficult for him.
The envoy of Denmark (fn. 8) has been permitted to return, both because he has done something which cannot please the Danes and which renders him irreconcileable and because the King of Denmark is sending the Count of Ceestet and the Sieur de Rosevuin as ambassadors extraordinary to the King of England and to these States to promote some adjustment.
Doueningh has left here at last. On Monday he asked for a passport for himself, whereas previously he had only asked one for his household and furniture; but they sent back word that a passport would be given to him when the King of England had assured the ambassador of these States that he would let him go when he was recalled. Doueningh took such alarm at this that he sent the same evening in salutato hospite.
The King of England is sending a gentleman named Osburry to Brussels, to the Elector of Cologne and to some other princes of Germany. (fn. 9) The affairs of Poland seem to be going better. The two ships of the East Indies which were believed to be lost have finally arrived in Norway, but in another port than Bergues. Definite news of this arrived last Sunday. One of them brings a value of more than 400,000 crowns so that all the plunder after which the English aspired has escaped their hands.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.253. Letters of the 26th August, written from the fleet gone towards the North report that up to that date they were in good condition, without having seen or met the English. They were at fifty-eight degrees of longitude as far up as Yeader in Norway and the cape of Rotterbourg in Scotland, in the middle of the North Sea, whence, with a favourable wind it was possible to arrive at the port of Bergh in twenty-four hours. From the prizes taken and from the examination of prisoners they had learned that the English fleet had divided into two squadrons. One of these, of twenty ships, had been employed to make the attack on the port of Bergh, on the 12th August; and the other, more numerous had gone towards Hittlande, and arrived at Bresond on Tuesday the 18th August; and that the first squadron of twenty had also left the bay of Bergh on the 23rd. Also that the main body of the English fleet had returned towards the bay of Bergh upon the definite news that the Dutch fleet from the East Indies had entered there.
Besides these ships of the East Indies which arrived at Bergh some days ago there have also arrived in the ports of Norway the two others which, owing to the darkness of the night, became separated from the fleet of the Indies in the longitude of the Ferro Islands, sixty-two degrees north, of Scotland; so that the whole fleet of the Indies had arrived safely, namely twelve ships, without having met the English.
A great secret conspiracy has been discovered in favour of the Bishop of Munster, to surprise the towns of Arnhem and Douesbourgh in Gelderland and a great number of conspirators have been arrested.
In the port of Texel they are preparing a new fleet to be joined with the grand fleet after the latter has conducted to safety in the ports of Holland and Zeeland the merchant fleets fetched from the ports of Norway and other northern parts.
[Italian, from the French.]
Sept. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
254. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The supposition that an agreement has been made by the English with the Bishop of Munster, causes apprehension to the ministers here. The sending of money, the appointment of Prince Rupert to command the troops, and other correspondences, are signs that the knot which has now been fastened between them will be difficult to unfasten, or to prevent the flood of evil from overflowing into Germany, with all the consequent miseries, involving moreover the interests of the neighbouring districts and committing them to more arduous obligations.
Madrid, the 9th September, 1665,
[Italian.]
Sept. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
255. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador came on purpose to tell me that the Secretary Bennet had undertaken to write to London about the matter of the ship Santa Maria, and would notify the Admiralty so that Venetian ships might not be molested in the future. Speaking in confidence about the affair at Berghen he said that for his part he should never have advised it, although the loss was slight. The fleet had returned to the English coasts merely for necessaries and in order to engage Ruiter on his return with the convoy from the Indies. King Charles would never want to come to terms without another engagement. His intentions were shown by the reply given to the king's ambassadors, and although the latter had taken a somewhat higher tone since the horrible slaughter inflicted by the plague in the island, they did not find the king's spirit in the least enfeebled or perplexed. In reply I spoke of the futility of the naval war.
The enclosed sheets give the news of Holland. There is nothing from London. Although the city is deserted the number of dead there last week exceeded 6500.
Nothing has been decided about the affair of Madame de Carignano's coach. The ambassador says that he is bound to obey the orders of King Charles.
Paris, the 15th September, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.256. The Dutch war fleet with about fifty merchant ships to which they had afforded escort to pass the north of Scotland towards the West, arrived on the 29th August before the port of Norway three leagues from Bergh. It was in admirable condition for acting, but they did not find any English fleet along that coast, as it had withdrawn towards the ports of England.
The fleet of twelve ships of the Indies and the fleets of Smyrna, Guinea and America as well as many other ships come from the West, from Europe and the Mediterranean, very richly laden, to the number of seventy and more made themselves ready to leave the ports of Berg and Dronthem to join together under the flag and be convoyed towards the United Provinces at the first opportunity.
The plenipotentiaries of the States General in their letters of the 29th August propose and ask authority that, having by God's help brought these mercantile fleets to the ports of Holland and Zeeland, the new fleet of thirty ships of war made ready in the Texel should come out immediately and effect a junction with the main body, and that their intention was not to enter port with the grand fleet but to go and look for the English fleet where it now is and challenge it.
For this everything is being prepared and many vessels are being laded with all that the fleet returning from Norway may require, such as men, guns, gunpowder, munitions and other things for war and victual.
The Bishop of Munster continues to arm steadily and every day they discover fresh correspondences and secret intelligences which he has caused to be maintained in the United Provinces.
Letters from London of the 10th September state that the number of dead last week amounted to 7486. The English fleet in Soolbay was short of men and the plague was getting worse every day. The fleet will be composed of a hundred ships at most, large and small.
[Italian, translated from the French.]
Enclosure.257. From the Hague, the 10th September, 1665.
The question as to whether there would be a second attack by the English fleet on the port of Berg has vanished and at present we have authentic news by letters of the 30th August written by the deputies of this state and by Ruiter himself before the port of Berg, where all the fleet had arrived in excellent condition, all ready to fetch away the merchant ships, to the number of over seventy and escort them to Texel.
The English fleet is in the port of Solebay where they are putting the sick ashore and taking in provisions with the intention of returning to sea as soon as possible to fight ours in our waters. Here they are very busily at work upon the equipment of twenty-eight more ships, to be united with the grand fleet when it approaches.
The English are no longer so proud as they were and we know here on what terms peace can be made. But it is not believed that France wishes it to be made except by her mediation; because if she does not have a hand in it, the Spaniards and the English will have the same interest to prevent the king from prosecuting his pretensions upon the Low Countries and these States, who believe that France has failed them over the treaty of guarantee, will not interfere in their dispute.
At the Court of France they do not like it because here they will not believe that she means to break with England. This does not remove the mistrust of their lordships here who are at present instructing their envoy to beg his Majesty for a categorical answer and accompany it with an actual rupture, or to declare that he does not mean to do anything else, because here they cannot remain any longer in uncertainty. It is not known why the Duke of Bofort is afraid that he will be made to lower his flag, because the English have not sufficient force in those parts to venture to attempt it.
So far from the Bishop of Munster having given secret assurances that he has no designs against these States it is established that the object of his arming is against us. Horrible treasons have newly been discovered plotted by priests and papists, who cannot be considered Christians because to turn the whole State upside down and to cause the massacre of thousands of persons are diabolical ideas; accordingly they will be punished so severely that it will serve as an example to posterity.
It has not been merely a question of prudence for these States to make good provision for their frontiers; it would have been folly not to have done so. It is not known yet what troops the king means to send, but it is well known that we shall not ask for them unless his Majesty at the same time declares against England. It is known that Spain, the House of Austria and Germany have a great share in the affair of Munster and the bishop has been so imprudent as to make it known that he is not the chief of this great enterprise, and that the idea is not so much against this state as against France, of which he has spoken in very insolent terms.
[Italian.]
Sept. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
258. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A numerous convoy consisting of merchantmen and ships of war has put out from Cadiz for Holland determined to fight the English upon every occasion that may present itself. So great is the animosity between these two nations that with great valour and desperation they embrace the most perilous courses rather than allow themselves to be plundered and vanquished. The ambassador here has devoted all his arts to detain them here until the situation is less perilous and uncertain, but the traders, in the confidence that the enemy is far off and that the fleet of the Provinces has come out hope that their escort is sufficient to ensure their safety.
Madrid, the 16th September, 1665.
[Italian.]
Sept. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
259. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have had occasion to see the envoy of the Bishop of Munster, (fn. 10) who arrived here last week. From my conversation with him I have gathered that if the bishop is allied with England, as is believed to be beyond question by everyone, he is counting much on sustaining himself with the support of their authority, whereas in times past he was introduced into the league itself tamquam coactus; but now he means to take his part as a necessary and leading member.
According to the news received yesterday all the Norwegian ships entered Texel together with the Dutch ships, without ever seeing the royal fleet, and they have set themselves with all determination to go and fight it. It is also confirmed that the plague is working great devastation in the country and in London alone last week 7094 died of it. This might cause the English to change their plans since for the present campaign the time has passed for an engagement at sea and for carrying forward hostilities until the next it is not clear how the excessive expense to the royal treasury can be borne, the more so because with everything in the country thrown into confusion by the epidemic it will be the less easy to collect the taxes when with common consent they are demanded. Thus even before this safe withdrawal of the Dutch it was said by the Abbe d'Obigny and clearly, that peace would follow shortly between the English and Dutch without the intervention of French mediation or of any other. It is also stated that Courtin has written to his Majesty that he fears the king will agree to some arrangement advantageous to Holland, in view of the plague, which is spreading greatly in London and throughout the country, as well as in consideration of the dissensions and other evils which trouble the naval force, the maintenance of which costs so much that they do not know how it can be borne.
Paris, the 22nd September, 1665.
[Italian.]
Sept. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
260. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Enclosing the usual sheets which show the important affairs of the North.
Paris, the 22nd September, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.261. From the Hague, the 17th September, 1665.
Here they have no doubt whatever that all good Frenchmen will be greatly rejoiced to hear of the withdrawal of the English fleet to their own parts without having been able to carry out their designs on Berg, because at all times France has had no greater enemies than the English, and all the merchants and traders of Europe are interested that so rich a treasure should not fall into the hands of pirates. But as for all this good fortune there is no obligation save to God alone so these States will perhaps make it known one day that they are under no obligation to any of their allies.
It is quite certain that peace can be made on very reasonable conditions, but up to the present we have not wished to make it without France and the moment she makes it known that she wishes it to be made without her the matter will be settled at once.
The Bishop of Munster has quite other designs than those upon Harnen and Doesborgh; but whatever forces he may have they will never be able to divert the naval forces of this state, which have nothing in common with those of the land, and it will not prevent the sending to sea of from 120 to 140 ships of war and the setting in motion of more than 30,000 men against the bishop. It is known that Spain wishes the emperor to declare for the preservation of the Low Countries before consenting to the consummation of the marriage with the Infanta (fn. 11) ; but it is not believed that he can dispose of the troops of the bishop who declared a few days since that he is specially pledged to England. The emperor has given orders to his minister here to protest that he has done everything to prevent the bishop from arming; that he has refused troops also and that he wishes to live on good terms with these States; and Don Steffano di Gamarra, the ambassador, has said and protested as much so that one begins to believe that it is England alone who is making the trouble.
The minister who is in France is always holding out hopes that France will declare herself, but this is absolutely disbelieved here.
The ambassador d'Estrades has announced that the Duke of Bofort has arrived with his fleet at Bellylle and that he is taking all the English he can come across, but the letters from Cadiz say that he is still in the Mediterranean, so that it is quite clear there is nothing to be hoped before the winter.
For a long time Sweden has been dissatisfied. They did not like the affair of Erfort and will not abandon the elector Palatine. The 10,000 men whom that Crown is sending into Germany will not act according to the intention of France.
The party which is being formed in Germany is great, and the Bishop of Munster is not the chief of it nor the prime mover. Friquet, the resident of the emperor, has orders to declare to these States that his imperial Majesty has done everything possible to prevent the bishop from arming, having refused him troops, and to say that his intention is to maintain a good understanding with these States.
After the great fleet as well as the mercantile fleets of the Indies and Smyrna had experienced a storm, they have finally arrived safely in our ports without the fear of any encounter, which has rejoiced everyone.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.262. Letters from the Hague of the 17th inst. report that they are always discovering fresh conspiracies and treasons contrived by the Bishop of Munster, and this in spite of the declarations which that prelate makes everywhere to his friends that his arming is not against his said neighbours.
The Count of Oldembourg has made provision for the safety of the town and the Count of Belmenhorst (fn. 12) and the Prince of East Friesland for their frontiers and the fortresses of their lands. The town of Embden is putting its fortifications in good order. The United Provinces beyond the River Isel have similarly made provision for their frontier fortresses and have placed the people of the country under arms. In addition to all this the States General have an army ready to march and have treated with the princes of the House of Lunebourg and Brunswick for a succour of 8000 German infantry and 4000 reyters of whom the eldest Duke of Lunebourg will be general with the Count of Waldeck as his lieutenant general. Besides this new German succour the States are also levying 3000 foot and 1000 horse so that they will be able to set marching under their general, Prince Maurice of Nassau, an army of 20,000 foot and 6000 horse, their frontiers being well furnished and fortified with sufficient garrisons.
Letters of the 15th written by Lieutenant General Tromp from before the port of Texel assure us that the fleet of the state on the 8th September having made sail before the port of Berg in Norway, was beginning to approach our coasts of Holland, giving escort to the merchant fleets. Of these ships eleven had already entered the port of Flie without having seen any English notwithstanding that at a great distance and out of sight they left Norway after the departure of the said fleet. On Tuesday and Wednesday that fleet met with very stormy weather which continued until Saturday the 10th and which scattered them hither and thither until the 12th when the weather and the wind became fine and favourable. In the same letters Tromp writes that at the very latest we may expect the arrival of all the war and mercantile fleets by the 17th in the ports of Flies and Texel.
A letter of the advocate general of the East India Company written from Amsterdam on the 17th September, very late, in a postscript gives the following particulars: According to news which reaches me at this moment the fleet has arrived opposite our coasts, God be thanked. The two ships of the Indies which were in the port of Dronthem in Norway have likewise united with the fleet before Berg on the 7th September, one day before its departure.
From Haroits in England, the 10th September.
Our fleet of sixty royal ships and three fireships having put to sea from Solesbay on the 8th encountered a great storm and wind from the North North West with heavy rain. This threw our fleet into great disorder and damaged it considerably, so that it was compelled to reach the port of Solesbay, where it now is in great confusion.
[Italian, from the French.]
Sept. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
263. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Grand Chancellor at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
Vessels of every kind are being detained here at present. Those interested do not cease from the most strenuous offices, accompanied by presents, to obtain their release and freedom to go…. The Captain Pasha sent for the ambassador of England and the ministers of France and Holland. He told them of the firm determination of the king to require twenty armed ships from each of them for the coming campaign. They excused themselves from promising saying they could not consent without express orders, but they would write and report the answers. The English ambassador declares that he added that the present war with the Dutch might deprive them of the convenience of helping the Grand Turk on this occasion, but the Grand Vizier answered him that a much larger number of merchant ships at the marts might be armed for war service. It is for this reason chiefly, so his Excellency says, that he will send his secretary to London with the intention to accompany him on the overland route with the imperial ambassador. (fn. 13) The truth is that this gentleman foreseeing some trouble with Mons. di Vantelet, who is expected, wishes to avoid unpleasant clashes and is sending his secretary to the king as to the manner in which he is to conduct himself and to procure his congé, but in the character of ambassador extraordinary to the Italian powers, namely the most serene republic, the Grand Duke and Genoa. He lets it be understood among his confidants that he would like to live at Padua for some years and at the time of his departure from here he makes request of your Excellencies for two galleys to take him with his wife and household. He has said nothing to me as yet, because he has not quite made up his mind, as it will all have to depend upon the orders from his king.
Pera of Constantinople, the 24th September, 1665.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
264. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
With regard to the affairs of the North I refer your Serenity to what I have heard, relying always on the truth. The king told the Spanish ambassador, as authentic news from his minister at the Hague, that the States had secured all their fleets while the English, on the other hand, had been scattered by the storm and suffered much harm, the sea being left free. The Marquis di Louvoy showed the ambassador the very letters, dated the 18th. M. di Liona speaking in conformity to a person who communicated it to me, gave his opinion that the Dutch will now be the more difficult and reluctant to make the peace. The Ambassador Borel sent me a note with the same information. The envoy Van Bouninghen whom I met when walking in the Luxembourg garden, confirmed the same assuring me that he had the particulars from a secretary of the India Company of Amsterdam, who, besides his private interests, was well informed about all news and occurrences. Now the English ambassador sends me the enclosed note from which it is seen that things have happened differently, because two ships of the Indies, namely the Vice-Admiral and Rear-Admiral, four war ships and four merchantmen from the Strait have fallen into the hands of the English who have, in addition, taken 1300 ljrisoners and sunk or burned four other vessels of consideration, fourteen in all. (fn. 14) Van Bouninghen himself admitted that the Vice-Admiral carried four millions in specie, besides the jewels and merchandise of the greatest value, it is calculated that the loss to the Dutch is at least 14 millions, without counting the soldiers killed and the prisoners mentioned. In addition to this it is added that the royal fleet, although dispersed by the storm, was not failing to follow the traces of the enemy. All this is confirmed by the usual sheet from Amsterdam attached, as the letter of the ambassador came by courier, as well as by the ordinary with another sent by the Duke of York to Madame his sister. We also know this that on the 25th when sealing the despatch of Holland frequent gun fire was heard, so it is supposed or feared that the English have posted themselves before Texel to contest the entry and return of the Dutch fleet.
On the preceding day I happened to meet Van Bouninghen who told me with the greatest consolation that the lords States undoubtedly wished for peace, but one with honour and safety. For this reason Ruiter had orders to keep the sea and to wait for the English where they might be willing to accept combat and to join battle; that the States General certainly would not consent to treat for an adjustment except through the interposition of the Most Christian King so that this crown might be a guarantor or pledge for the contract.
Paris, the 29th September, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.265. In letters of the 24th from the Hague.
Although it is published in divers parts that there are cabals in these Provinces you may rest assured that the Provinces are entirely united and that this good understanding cannot be altered; because the enemies whom these States have by sea and land make them concerned for their preservation and there is no reason to doubt but that those concerned in the conspiracy of the Bishop of Munster will be punished in an exemplary manner. If this has not happened so far it is because they wished first to know all who had a share in it. After some days the chevalier, who is under arrest and who tried to strangle himself in prison, has since spoken frankly, which he had not done under torture. (fn. 15) It is certain that many Catholics, not true Catholics but Papists, have had a hand, in all the Provinces. It is also beyond doubt that France is interested indirectly in the ruin or preservation of these States, but from the manner in which she acts, one must believe that she is not convinced of it or imagines that these States cannot be in any danger; but possibly she is deceived on both these points.
The reasons given why the character of mediator prevents a declaration do not seem good because France was a pledge before she became a mediator and the king was asked to succour this State if not to interpose for peace, which would have been done without mediation if France had declared herself in time, as she was indisputably bound to do.
Here they do not wait upon what the Court and parliament of England will do at Oxford. It is not they who will make the peace. That depends absolutely upon King Charles and I believe that his intention is to make it without the mediation of France.
It is very doubtful whether the Duke of Verneuill will have the glory of having put the last touches to so great a work. Very soon they will be sending a person from here to treat for the exchange of prisoners, and he is certain to speak of other and greater business, in the certainty, so we hear, that he will be listened to very favourably and they will conclude peace with these States. It is not true that couriers have been sent to the Ambassador d'Estrades and here no offer is made. On the contrary France advises to make peace and they have had it intimated that if this State wishes France to concern herself with its interests it is necessary for the States to concern themselves with the interests of France that is, of the Low Countries. I wish they could make up their minds to this here, but there is no sign of it unless it should come about that these States found themselves reduced to extremity and then they would be useless to France.
The English have taken two ships of the Indies and three of war which had become separated from the fleet by the storm, and some merchant ships. Greater evils were feared because the Vice-Admiral Van Nes was in sight of their fleet with fifteen ships of war and many merchantmen, but later he came up with our fleet. However the English have not taken any others, of which there is authentic information.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.266. Lord Holles to the Ambassador Sagredo.
I am unwilling to omit to inform your Excellency of news which has reached me to-day to show you that all that they say at Paris about our affairs of England is not the fact. They said that all the ships of Holland had entered their ports in safety and that our fleet was scattered, and they did not know what had become of it. Also they issued brochures in Holland and published skits offering rewards for any one who would bring news of the English fleet. But this list of ships which we have taken shows that they have had news of it. I believe that they will have more to learn about it for we are always at their heels there is hope of catching some more. One of our ships, the Hector, which helped to take one of the ships of the Indies, has gone to the bottom. The secretary of the Duke of York writes to me that they think it was its own guns which caused its loss, as it was a little ship and so old that they proposed to make a fireship of it after this voyage. Unfortunately its captain has perished, whom they say to have been a brave man and who acquitted himself well of his duty in this combat. (fn. 16) Twenty-five of his men have been killed. There has not been a general engagement between the fleets because they were separated by the storm; but these ships met.
[French; copy.]
Enclosure.267. List of Dutch ships which have been taken or burned the 3–13 and 4–14 September, 1665, with the English ships which took them.
The Assurance took Le West Friselandt, carrying 220 men and fifty guns, and which had Pierre Cloesen as commander.
The Antelope took Les Sept Chesnes, with a crew of 250 men and fifty-four guns.
The Adventure took a frigate carrying fifty guns.
The Mary took another frigate carrying forty guns.
Two ships of the Indies, to wit:
The Adventure and Hector took Le Foenix, which is their Vice-Admiral.
The Plymouth and Milford took Le Anthony, which is their Rear-Admiral.
Seven merchant ships, to wit:
The Adventure took a ship come from Lisbon.
The Guinea took another ship from the Strait.
The Mars took another from Malaga.
The Dover took Le Guillaume et Marie, which carried 150 barrels of powder and other munitions for Ruiter; and La Fontaine de Schedam, which was going to Malaga.
The Colchester took a merchantman.
The Pembroke took another merchantman which was going to Bordeaux.
One ship burned, to wit:
The Ruby, one large merchantship come from the Mediterranean, which was burned in the combat.
In all fourteen ships and 1300 prisoners.
[French.]
Sept. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zante.
Venetian
Archives.
268. Piero Barbarigo, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
I have exerted myself tirelessly over the farming out of the duties here, and in spite of poor harvests I have succeeded in placing out the majority of them at higher amounts than in the past year, although they are slight. But the import and export duty has had to suffer a loss because of the war between the English and Flemings, and because of the few currants and their low price. The delivery of this duty I put off as long as possible, but finally, on the 27th inst. I had to deliver it.
Zante, the 29th September, 1665.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Armand de Gramont, comte de Guiche.
2 Pierre de Bonsy, bishop of Béziers, sent from Venice as ambassador to Poland. Recueil des Instructions, Pologne, Vol. i., page 53, ed. Farges. The queen is Maria Gonzaga, queen of Poland.
3 Francesco de Mello, Marquis de Sande. He did not proceed to England because of the plague. Prestage: Diplomatic Relations of Portugal, page 153.
4 There is an account of this action sent by Claus van Alefelt, governor of Bergen, to the King of Denmark, dated 3rd August. S.P. Denmark, Vol. xvii.
5 Mr. Greenham, arrested on 20th August, N.S. The Newes of 15th August.
6 Act of the convention of the estates of the kingdom of Scotland for a free and voluntary offer of taxation; on 4th August, O.S. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, page 502.
7 Holles gives an account of this affair in two despatches of the 19th and 23rd August, o.s. Lady Holles was in bed owing to a fall in which she had seriously injured her wrist. S.P. France, Vol. cxxi.
8 Called Göe by d'Estrades. Negotiations, Vol. iii., page 316. Sehested came at the end of the year, but Paul Klingenbergh took the place of Rosewinge. Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. v., page 507.
9 It was Theobald Taafe, lord Carlingford, who went to Brussels and Cologne. See his letters from those cities on 22nd Sept., 4th and 8th October, etc. S.P. Germany, States, Vol. lvi. See also Temple to Arlington on 1st Sept. S.P. Flanders, Vol. xxxiii.
10 The Commandeur Matthias Korff von Schmising. Alpen: Leben und Thaten Christoph Bernhard von Galen, page 130. Droysen: Urkunden zur Geschichte F. W. von Brandenburg, Vol. ii., page 371.
11 The marriage of Margareta Theresa, daughter of Philip IV to the Emperor Leopold, which took place in the year following.
12 Anthony Gunther was Count of both Oldenburg and Delmenhorst. Christian the last Count of Delmenhorst died in 1647.
13 Rycaut was to go about tho middle of October in company with Count Lesley, who experted to go to England as ambassador. He did not actually start until November. Hist. MSS. Comm. Finch Papers, Vol. i., pp. 393, 398, 400.
14 There were two captures, on the 3rd Sept., o.s., of two East Indiamen, four warships and twelve Straits vessels, and on the 9th of four more warships, two West India ships and twelve fly boats. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5 pp. 550, 562. The Newes of 21st September.
15 Jean Muller, a Fleming, Chevalier de la Garde of the States of Holland. He was concerned with one Henri dans la Cave. Muller committed suicide, Henri was executed. Description des Guerres entre le Roi d'Angleterre etc. 1664–7, pub. Amsterdam 1668, page 95.
16 Captain Cuttle. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–75, pp. 550, 555; Pepys: Diary, Vol. v., page 72. The Hector was a prize taken in 1653, a fifth rate of 200 tons, carrying 30 guns. Oppenheim: Administration of the Royal Navy, pp. 332–3.