Venice
December 1665

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1933

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230-238

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'Venice: December 1665', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 230-238. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90172 Date accessed: 21 September 2014.


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December 1665

Dec. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
306. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The relations between England and Holland occupy universal attention. The king means to have an army of 50,000 men ready in the spring. To the purchase of thirty ships in Holland for 100,000 francs is added the building of thirty more in the arsenal, the governors being charged to speed up their work. In addition to these warlike preparations every precaution is being taken for defence and measures taken to repair the maritime forts which guard the ports and are in relation to England. At the same time they are earnestly endeavouring and closely watching to divert so far as is possible the contingencies and perils of war.
Lord Germen was sent to England ostensibly to arrange about the appanages of the queen mother there but actually to smooth matters and also to sound the inclination of the leading members of parliament, and conciliate their good will in some way. His return is awaited with great eagerness, for upon it they will shape the definite form of their resolutions.
Paris, the 1st December, 1665.
[Italian.]
Dec. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
307. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
La Fuente this week in his despatch represents the resolution of the Most Christian to remove all the causes of hostility with England and smooth over all causes of offence, devoting himself to this principle with such constancy and intention that if matters turn out differently it will be by fatality and not by choice. It is being watched as an interest of major importance for this Court. Two excellent results would ensue, to increase the enemies of their rival and to add support for the young king in his minority.
Madrid, the 2nd December, 1665.
[Italian.]
Dec. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
308. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Every day the indications of a rupture with England become more clear and public and this outcome is believed to be practically inevitable. Letters from the ambassadors extraordinary of this Court with that king inform his Majesty that their dismissal was discussed in the Council there and to oblige them to return. The chancellor with nervous eloquence stirred the people to wrath against this crown, repeating the same odious opinions that he had expressed on previous occasions. He asserted that France showed two faces and proceeded by insidious methods. On the one hand she kept ministers at the Court who professed impartiality and conducted affairs as mediators; but on the other hand she assisted the Dutch, bore arms for them, and employed her forces, money and advice to beat and humiliate England. This was a decision insupportable to British greatness.
Others, however, being well impressed by the French ambassadors, strongly supported the opposite opinions. The arms of the Most Christian were auxiliary to Holland, not against England but against the attacks of Munster. His Majesty was obliged by the alliance to succour them. His arms were not being employed at sea but on land and they could not justly take exception to the fulfilment of the treaty which does not affect them directly.
So far the dismissal of the ambassadors has not occurred, but from this side they are charged to observe carefully how the offices of Lord Germen are received, and if they foresee that they will be without effect and useless they must anticipate the order to withdraw by a voluntary departure. Indeed a report is current here that they have already left the Court, and it is quite certain that some days since their servants had prepared quarters at St. Valeri for passing the quarantine. The ordinary ambassador Cominges remains on, with whose movements, step by step, Lord Holles will correspond, and this in order not to cut off entirely the way of negotiation, as here they only incline towards a rupture by the force of inevitable necessity.
They live in great apprehension that the animosity of England derives from incitements received over there from subjects of this government, who are ill pleased with the present state and who are watching closely the change in the situation for an opportunity to make an alteration in their condition, with which they live discontented. It is true that at the parlement of Bordeaux a letter was shown, whether true or false, written to it by the King of England, in which he calls to mind their ancient deserving (benemerenza) with that crown, with other very opportune touches to win their hearts, with an addition about the miserable state in which they find themselves with little hope of improvement since they do not apply themselves to embracing the opportunity which a kindly fate may easily offer them before long. He concludes by expressing a peculiar affection and esteem for that province. This letter was sent to his Majesty by the Bordelais with very strong assurances of their unalterable devotion to this crown.
Similarly some reports are circulating that the English are manœuvring to detach Sweden from the ancient alliances with this crown, drawing her to themselves with very specious projects, seizing upon the opportunity of their dissatisfaction over the payments of the pensions; or at the least to move them against the Dutch, recalling to them the open assistance of the latter to the Danes against the late King Charles. His Majesty has sent M. d' Andely to that Court to upset and thwart all these intrigues. (fn. 1)
A royal order has come out for all the seaports that no ship shall put out into the English Channel, but shall either remain in the port or take some other route. This is either from a misgiving that they may fall into the hands of the English, or else in order that ill feeling may not be further inflamed by fresh incidents.
Paris, the 4th December, 1665.
[Italian.]
Dec. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
309. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Grand Chancellor at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
The first Vizier, at the suggestion of Panagiotti, (fn. 2) a bitter enemy of the English ambassador and nation, has closed the mart of Alessandria to English ships, where they paid only one per cent., with an undertaking to pay two more when the goods had arrived at Aleppo; but turning aside from that route, they went to Smyrna, and as they bore the certificate of the Emino of Alessandria that they had paid the duty, they thus freed themselves from any other charge to the advantage of their own capital, so that without any question instead of paying three per cent. they paid only one. The English ambassador, to prevent this recent decree, made offices and protested that his merchants would prefer to abandon the trade rather than consent to such a prejudice. But they did not give him any hearing and up to the present his Excellency has not obtained the smallest satisfaction … The English will be very fortunate if by a present of thousands of reals they overcome this difficulty. For many days past the ambassador has been trying to obtain audience of the Vizier, who keeps putting it off under various pretexts. He recognises that it all comes from the malice of Panagiotti, but he keeps silence and dissimulates, as do all the others, because the times are not good, save for him alone.
The English ambassador has sent to pay his respects to M. di Vantelet, who responded, the French minister affecting to know nothing of the attempts made at Belgrade to prevent his coming to this embassy.

Pera of Constantinople, the 6th December, 1665.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Ceffalonia.
Venetian
Archives.
310. Andrea Lippomano, Venetian Proveditore of Cephalonia, to the Doge and Senate.
I experience great difficulty in, finding money to supply the wants of the troops, owing to the disadvantage of the restricted resources which I have found here, due to the absence of English ships upon whose appearance depended the value of the public capital and the general relief of the island.
Ceffalonia, the 28th November, 1665, old style.
[Italian.]
Dec. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
311. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The convoy of Genoa has cast anchor at Cadiz. It is staying for the service of individuals who are interested, not for other business. Once the goods are on board it has orders to depart with all speed. The hostilities between England and Holland bring extraordinary profit to this nation.
Madrid, the 9th December, 1665.
[Italian.]
Dec. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
312. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The signs of discord between England and this crown take on a more troubled aspect with every day, yet the hopes of continued friendly relations are not entirely removed. Thus when from the outside things seem most unpromising and near the extremity of arms, it is then that the internal complexion of both governments, abounding in evil humours within, and in a word subject to momentary explosions, give reason for believing that they do not mean to follow the way of painful and dreaded calamity. But it is impossible to foretell the future. The ambassadors Verneuil and Custrin have taken leave of the king and principal ministers. The departure of these two, in whose ability and prudence the English confided greatly for the reconciliation with Holland or at least an uninterrupted understanding with this crown, has aroused passions and sympathies and stirred up anger among the lovers of peace and those wishful of disturbance. The Lower House in which the authority of the chancellor prevails, has felt pleased about and lives in hope of finding its consequence increased because it knows that it is more necessary in situations of greater importance. The chancellor consoles himself with the belief that he will see the command of the forces again entrusted to his son-in-law York, in a war that exceeds the greatest that England has ever undertaken.
On the other hand the king feels deeply this departure. He foresees confusion and misfortune, and fears the consequences of arms. The Upper House follows the king's views, loves quiet and openly detests the rupture and if in the past it has kept in the background, never disclosing its own opinions, it is now opening out and makes itself heard more freely. The differences of opinion lead undisguisedly to bitter feeling and quarrels and might produce the seeds of internal disturbances in that kingdom, which is a clime subject to frequent revolts. There is a report, confirmation of which is eagerly awaited, that the king has sent after the ambassadors urging them to resume their negotiations for an adjustment with Holland and a good understanding with France.
Amid this variety of opinions a prolonged council was held two days ago before his Majesty and the principal ministers. The object towards which the opinions of all were directed was not to break with England, if it were possible. The methods were discussed with differences of opinion. The plan selected as the best was to increase the number of troops in Holland and to send 5000 more men there and so oblige England to apply herself to the support of her ally, make Holland the field of battle and divert the disturbance from France; with an after thought that a strong force in Holland would not be amiss for his Majesty's claims on Flanders.
M. di Custin (fn. 3) is to succeed the Count d'Estrades as ambassador in Holland, with instructions to represent to the Lords States all that France has done for their advantage, the difficulties encountered, the minds of the English being wholly turned to offence, to encourage the Dutch and stir them to fresh efforts. He is not likely to meet with much difficulty since the Dutch have intimated to Friquet, the imperial envoy, sent to arrange some adjustment, that before bringing forward any project they claimed that the forces of Munster and his allies must be withdrawn from the province of Friesland, etc. and they also claimed compensation for the damage done and an indemnity for the cost of the war. With this they shut Friquet's mouth.
Paris, the 15th December, 1665.
[Italian.]
Dec. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
313. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Grand Chancellor at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has been to audience of the Grand Vizier and has finally adjusted the matter of Alessandria, through the removal by the Turks of the Emino of that mart (fn. 4) ; by this means obliging the English ships to pay the whole three per cent. at Aleppo. The nation has put up with this, not being able to do otherwise, and everything is taken in good part.
Pera of Constantinople, the 16th December, 1665.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
314. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Every other affair gives place to the contingencies of this crown with England. The apprehensions of France from that quarter are certainly increasing constantly and the aspect of affairs is steadily becoming more unpromising. Lord Holles has been recalled by his king. The French ambassadors are expected to continue their journey, the letter to stay them not having been written or sent. This government is all intent upon taking steps to meet the imminent calamities. It foresees the concerted action of many princes to its hurt, internal discontent in the country, weakness in its allies. The Dutch, although they speak bravely are nevertheless visibly depressed, and feel the hurt in their own territories. Nature has favoured Munster, a fierce storm having inundated a large tract of country. They are not without suspicion that even with the Turks of Africa some overtures have been made with England so that they may inflict the greatest mischief upon this country by their arms, to recoup themselves and in revenge for what France did two years ago. (fn. 5) M. di Tallone has been sent with all speed to Cales with money to distribute among the chief places of Flanders, under colour of staying the spread of the plague. It is considered certain that he is to go on to England to extinguish with that money the fire which might bring war with it. The Lord Chancellor Ydem is considered the source of all the ill will. It is upon him that the most powerful batteries of gold should be chiefly directed. This method was practised by Cardinal Mazarin, but has been given up since his death.
After this they will make new projects for the purchase of Tanger, with such lavish offers of cash that they will serve at the same time to buy Tanger and the tranquillity of France. It is stated that they may offer up to four millions. They live in some hope of success, and that they may bring off the coup. They consider that England is afflicted by the plague, is prejudiced in the negotiation and also by differences of opinion at home. This crown is not free from jealousy about the friendship of Portugal with England, namely that Braganza might come to an agreement with Spain and assist England in some way to the prejudice of this crown. Accordingly by the dispatch of the Abbé Rueges, a confidant of M. di Colbert, (fn. 6) they will employ the most energetic offices to secure the neutrality of Braganza, and that he shall do no prejudice to this country and continue his attacks against Spain.
If the troubles and tempests which threaten England and France and which at present rage between England and Holland should suddenly cease with an accommodation, as some feel persuaded they will, and if by the power of gold France is able to enjoy quiet, Flanders will undoubtedly be the victim to be immolated to French wrath.
Paris, the 22nd December, 1665.
[Italian.]
Dec. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
315. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Grand Chancellor at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
With the English ambassador, who is equally dissatisfied with the Turks over the losses suffered by his merchants, particularly at Aleppo, the French minister is on the very best of terms, quite forgetful of the attempt to prevent his coming. Now all this is dissimulated and a son having recently been born to the English ambassador, the Frenchman sent his own wife to call on the English ambassadress, regardless of the fact that it was for the latter to be the first to perform such an office. Everyone wonders at such proceedings, so full of amiability, without being able to come to a knowledge of the true cause.
Pera of Constantinople, the 26th December, 1665.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
316. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The links of correspondence between England and France have been completely broken by the withdrawal of their ministers. The three French ambassadors have arrived at St. Valery, which was assigned to them for their quarantine. Lord Holles took leave of the king last Saturday. He spoke English and with much gravity, his behaviour being remarked as very proud. He dilated upon the ill feeling which was begun by the seizure of divers merchant ships, carried out by the French fleet, without their having offered any compensation here. He complained of the connivance shown on this side which he called an infallible argument of their lack of good feeling towards the British crown. He went on to complain of the succour afforded to Holland. He then spoke of the sinister incidents which had occurred at this Court for which no satisfaction had been given, but contemptuous treatment had rather been encouraged and they studied to lower English prestige. He ended by saying that he had instructions from his king to take leave of that Court which had placed itself side by side with his enemies, and in view of the many attempts at hostilities from this side the British crown found itself obliged to take the just and convenient steps. He took consolation from the fact that England had not been the first to take steps to interrupt the ancient and friendly correspondence and the world would approve the action taken by his king.
He ended very mildly and left a copy of his speech in a memorial in French. When this had been read the king replied briefly: that the unfortunate encounters at sea were not by his wish; he had attempted, as was well known, the reconciliation of the Dutch with England; that he favoured friendship with that crown. Finally he expressed himself as satisfied with the ambassador's service. After Lord Holles had gone the king said: This man struck me as very indiscreet (Quest' uomo m'e riuscito molto indiscreto.) It is not known if this was because of the office or of the way in which he carried himself, which is universally condemned as too harsh and austere.
In the evening after the ambassador's leave taking the king held a Council at which the Prince of Condé and the Marshals Turena, Gramont and Plessis Pralin were present, besides the usual members. The king spoke of the relations with England and asked their opinion. All agreed on increasing the numbers of horse and foot, pushing on with the naval armaments and putting themselves in a good posture for attack and defence … Accordingly orders have been issued for more troops and to stimulate work upon the ships at Tolone and in the other arsenals of the kingdom. They are writing to Denmark for the purchase of eight or ten ships, no matter at what price. By this means they will have a force of 60,000 combatants and a fleet of over fifty large ships.
Paris, the 29th December, 1665.
[Italian.]
Dec. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
317. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
With the departure of the French ambassadors the Dutch have immediately recalled their minister from England. He left a letter for the king expressing their deep regret at the present rupture, their desire, no less keen, to resume the ancient friendship, and their readiness always to give ear to reasonable negotiations. Holland is now tired of the burden of the war, being harassed and destroyed on the side of the sea and at the same time on land by Munster and his allies. Among themselves the Dutch are ill agreed and far from content with the behaviour of the French. They know that there are transactions or rather negotiations to purchase quiet for the French with England without speaking of them. They are afraid that the French will use Dutch difficulties to advance their own interests.
The Grand Master of Malta (fn. 7) has lodged a bitter complaint against M. di Bofort. It is considered certain that Bofort will be deprived of his post for the purpose not only of appeasing the Grand Master, but also, in some measure to assuage the anger of the English, since it is known that he was the first cause of offence through stopping their ships from the very first days of the trouble with Holland. He will, however, be provided with some other distinguished employment. It is believed that he may be appointed governor of Guienne, where, if the English should make a landing, they will find his valour nothing inferior on land to what he has already shown it to be at sea.
Paris, the 29th December, 1665.
[Italian.]
Dec. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives
318. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The government here has given the English ambassador its consent to the truce proposed. On his part the ambassador promises that the authority of his king shall be used with Braganza, employing strong arguments and if these do not succeed, to make vigorous protests and even threats, not only to cease to help him, but to afford every assistance against him. Here the necessity for present relief overcoming remote convenience makes them embrace the proposal. A point refused to every nation, even friendly ones, is now granted to one who has always been mistrusted. I have no doubt that they accepted with aversion, but they recognise with prudence that if they do not yield in this they lose in all. England alone opening the way to free the crown from miseries, it will be closed in like manner if it does not find correspondence for such satisfaction; the principal motive for giving way to her request.
What the ministers here value above all is that direct negotiations with Portugal involved infinite difficulties while now England has come into the field openly and declares that she will oblige Braganza to accept the truce, undertaking to see that it is punctually observed. So there will be no difficulty about titles or recognition. Theambassador has also offered to go to the Portuguese frontier and claims to have sufficient powers to act. He promises the best results from his journey. The government revolves various considerations upon the project. In the end it was resolved not to spurn his good will and to accept. The substance of the idea is to approve but not to urge
(gradir ma non eccitare).
The ambassador has decided on the journey, being exceedingly enthusiastic for the transaction from the point of self interest and of glory. He announces that he is getting ready and that in a few days he should be starting on this journey. In the mean time he has sent word to Lisbon to arrange a place of meeting and to send a minister to it from thence. The wisest and most mature minds here consider that only by a miracle will Portugal agree to a truce. It is true that they feel respect for the authority of England, but not to the point of humiliation; they are ready to listen to persuasion, not to obey commands. At present they do not expect from that country either great advantages or serious prejudice. It is at war with the Dutch; quarrels with the Most Christian are growing heated, it is bound to send succour to Munster, is not entirely secure itself, money is scarce, with no superfluity of troops for its requirements. Such considerations will make Lisbon less respectful of advice from London.
More account is to be made of the promises of the Most Christian. They are more anxious therefore about the suggestions of France than they are confident in the persuasions of England. Medina directs all the negotiations. His enemies, profiting by offences in order to prevent him winning glory, will hinder the service of the crown. I have been assured that when they began seriously to open their ears they wished to substitute another to continue the conversations with England; but the ambassador, acting in concert with Medina, refused to pursue with others what he had begun with the duke. Quite deliberately he took his powers which are valid with this minister but useless for new persons.
I learn that the lord chancellor in London has been won for this crown by ample promises. Whereas he was at first hostile to the government, he may become eager for it through opulent presents. He is trying that the stone once moved may be worked with perfection, aiming at substantial profit from the satisfaction of Spain.
The business of the alliance is proceeding on an excellent footing. I find no evidence that it is already established, as some say. That it may be concluded does not appear to me difficult. The ministers seeing the eager desire of the English for the alliance make the world believe that for a union with this crown it is necessary either to make a settlement with their rebels for them or to detach themselves from a union with them.

Madrid, the 30th December, 1665.
[Italian; deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 Armand d' Andilly, seigneur de Pompone. His instructions are dated 19th and 27th December, 1665. Recueil des Instructions donnes aux Ambassadeurs, Suede, ed. A. Geffroy, pp. 72–97.
2 Dragoman of the imperial embassy.
3 Honoré Courtin. But he was not appointed until April 1667. Recueil des Instruction aux Ambassadeurs, Hollande, ed. André and Bourgeois, Vol. i., page 200.
4 Abrim Aga. Hist. MSS. Comm. Finch Papers, Vol. i., page 402.
5 Apparently an allusion to the occupation of Jijgelli in the preceding year.
6 At the end of 1665 Melchior de Harod de Senevas, baron de St. Romain, who held the abbey of Preaux in commendam was commissioned to go to Portugal. He took with him the Abbé Amable de Bourzeys. Recueil des Instructions donnees aux Ambassadeurs, Portugal, ed. Vicomte Caix de Saint Amour, pp. 88, 89.
7 The Cardinal Frederick of Hesse Darmstat, grand prior of the order in Germany.