Venice
January 1666

Sponsor

Institute of Historical Research

Publication

Author

Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1933

Pages

239-251

Annotate

Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'Venice: January 1666', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 239-251. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90173 Date accessed: 20 August 2014.


Highlight

(Min 3 characters)

January 1666

Jan. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
319. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
They are beginning to experience at Court the sorry preludes of the rupture with England. Madame, the sister of that king, become the object of unfriendly glances and the butt of bitter words, was able for some time to put up with the unpleasantness, rebutting the strokes with modesty and affecting deafness. But when the queen here spoke of the ill will of the English to this crown, a quarrel began between the two ladies. When Monsieur came in he said that his advice would be to wage war directly against Spain, the real root of these troubles. The queen could not stand this and ordered him out, Monsieur obeying her promptly.
These differences, although all that England could desire, are not liked by the present government and efforts are being made by the king to reconcile Monsieur and to bring consolation to Madame, who has an absolute ascendancy over her husband's mind. He told her how her brother loved France and wished to avoid occasions of offence. He (the king) knew full well the source of the mischief; it was, said he, that canaille of the rabble (quella canaglia di populaccio) for so he called the Lower Chamber; but possibly they would have reason to repent. Madame thanked him, but through distress and melancholy has taken to her bed, rather from sickness of the spirit than from any physical ailment.
A despatch arrived from England two days ago. It is supposed to be from M. Tallone and it is thought that he may have gained some principle. The frequent conferences of the secretaries of Colbert with Lord Holles confirm these ideas, which are taking shape and the wisest men conclude that peace is to be secured for this crown by chains of gold. It is quite true that many fear that it will prove very costly and some believe the voracity of England to be insatiable and that she will know how to profit from the facility and forwardness of this crown. Some, who are well acquainted with the pride of England, are persuaded that they will recall from oblivion the ancient pretensions to pensions which have lapsed since the days of Queen Elizabeth. They have such confident hopes of an adjustment that they are now selecting persons with the title of deputies to go to Cales to conclude and digest the affair. The brother of Colbert (fn. 1) and the Duke of Crichi have been named.
Paris, the 5th January, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
320. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The French and Dutch have recaptured Lochen. It is reported that Prince Maurice has blockaded Barklo. From England the Bishop of Munster is receiving money, so that he has issued patents for the levy of 11,000 soldiers, and he stands armed and powerful. The insinuations of Castel Rodrigo and from this quarter have been counterbalanced by other effective representations since Munster always declares that he cannot consent to negotiations without the assent of England, and Holland similarly declares that she cannot come to an adjustment with Munster and the English unless France is comprised in the negotiations.
Vienna, the 10th January, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
321. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Parlement of Paris has passed two decrees; one giving his Majesty preference over all other creditors for taxes and the other declaring all offices at a much lower price than their worth. This has caused a great outcry. Over 30,000 families are affected. There has always been a fear whether such decrees would be well understood by the provinces, and a fear of opposition by the people; to oblige them by force being perilous, to let things run a pernicious example and the present conjuncture with the business of England, unfavourable. They are afraid of incitement from England and encouragement for malcontents to rise.
The negotiations with England continue in the same position. Money is a powerful means of fortifying men's minds, but it is not the sole one for concluding an adjustment with the diversity of people and opinions. The king and the leading men incline to an accommodation or are bought over. The temper of the Lower Chamber, carried away by passion and swayed by wrath, shows that it will be satisfied with nothing short of blood and death. Lord Germen, major domo of the Queen of England, who has already set out for that quarter jointly with Talone, will represent this.
Montagu, lieutenant of the Duke of York, with twenty ships, has proceeded in the direction of Tanger to the relief of that place. On his return he is to proceed to Cadiz to negotiate with the Spaniards the adjustment with Portugal. Here they anticipate an alliance; for it does not suit England that Spain also should not feel the strokes.
Three French merchantmen were coming from the Levant with a capital of 100,000 crowns. One of them, towards the English Channel, driven impetuously by the wind, fell into the power of the English. This serves to invite men to plunder and to irritate the French to take arms.
Paris, the 12th January, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
322. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has not moved as yet, though everything is ready. Many think that it is doubtful if he will go. There are various opinions about his commissions. What is most likely is that the move of the Portuguese minister, already decided, will take place. He should send word, so that the ambassador here, standing ready and knowing the time of the arrival of the other, should respond with the punctuality that is due. On receiving the assurance this minister will make haste to go. The exact place for the conference is not settled. It would be wise to leave the choice to the English ambassador.
His Excellency told a friend who told me that his journey has in view principally the interests of England, not those of this crown. With this opportunity he hoped to induce the ministers to give him sufficient licence that might enable him to move the minds of the Portuguese to some becoming remedy. Beyond this his powers do not go, though his willingness to divert those evils would carry him far. Later he intimated that the difficulties which accompany so serious a matter require no less authority than latitude to overcome them.
Here they proceed with method, at once slow and deliberate. In like manner they add complications to a business which is in itself arduous and ticklish. Their handling is suave; the difficulties and the rough places are smoothed over. Similar opinions of the ambassador are considered cautious and prudent. He does not disclose the truth, but does not deny it. Some contend that no positive communication shall be made to the Portuguese of the projects sent by him. Only in response to urgent representations have they consented that one of the most capable members of the government shall come with powers to hear him. To proceed in this manner is justified on the ground that his optimistic tone promises better than they think the facts justify. If the proposals reported are not liked, the affair was cut short at the very outset, not merely the progress of the negotiations. Of the pretensions, if one proposal is not acceptable, another succeeds it. I understand, however, that his entire confidence in the efficacy of his discourse consists in the hope of convincing them by the multiplicity of his reasons and intimidating them by the fear of his protests. Nevertheless, the difficulties are great. The Portuguese are full of pride, and it is really to second serious behaviour which is unduly supported. There is less examination on the score of decorum since the ambassador is moving without any pledge of goodwill, to go with hope and return with fruit. If the name of the prince accredits the negotiation the presence of the minister introduces the probable argument of a happy prelude and conclusion. Any direct negotiation with Braganza is absolutely rejected. This has been the first stumbling block hitherto, but possibly, with time, those who are averse from this will bow to it with a good grace. They would not disagree with the kingdom of Portugal in case the opposition party should not choose to rest satisfied with the mediation of England alone. It is feared that they may claim to speak directly with them, not acknowledging themselves as inferior to the Dutch. If they did not disdain to make a truce withthe latter, the world would think it strange that the example should not serve for the present occasion.
I cannot say what terms way be granted: reciprocal trading; the restitution of subjects to their revenues do not admit of doubt. The restoration of strong places, the nomination of the churches are important matters and as such are not decided or secure. They wish first to know that the Portuguese agree to the truce and for the rest, on this basis they can decide.
A quantity of papers have been placed in the hands of her Majesty. Some are from leading Portuguese and are particularly serious and weighty. Although their own service is in question, these argue against the adjustment. It is uncertain whether this is from zeal or natural abhorrence, and some have not failed to condemn the representations as excessive affectation to show themselves equally faithful in the war and averse from a composition. All serves to make difficulties if not to prevent any good. What is read at meetings or talked of in the market places causes a sinister impression, and opinions are not settled. The people does not approve of seeing a matter of such great importance entrusted to the hands of England. The diversity of religion provokes abhorrence in this people and the knowledge that they are recognising rebels encourages pernicious remarks to such an extent that the ambassador, observing the universal level of suspicion and the absence of any faith, is changing his original enthusiasm into tepidity.

Madrid, the 13th January, 1605. [M.V.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
323. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Over the adjustment with Portugal and the alliance with England Ambrun is making a great stir. To make a treaty with rebels seems a weakness. As regards Portugal he does not forget to point out that it is not satisfactory to compose quarrels by the hand of a foreign king, practically an enemy, rather than by a brother-in-law. A better disposition flourishes in the Most Christian. If the one acts from interest, the other would be impelled to carry the matter through by the obligation of blood. The aims of the English betrayed themselves as being for their own service. France claims nothing except to benefit this crown; to gain glory and to let the Indies be. Medina and the Council have answered him tactfully. Under the circumstances it was better to hold their peace than to provoke useless discussions, as in such a business they know France of old as the instrument of fulmination, not of felicity.
Upon the alliance with England the ambassador expressed himself with heat rather than with moderation. It was a subversive step, likely to arouse jealousies, not to confirm correspondence. While the Most Christian displays all the evidences of his regard, here every representation ends in suspicion and apprehension. As there is no enemy a defensive alliance is rendered superfluous. For offence it can only be directed against France. When it is seen that England and its king declare themselves offended, the union will serve as an incitement. It is impossible to maintain that one crown will undertake the obligation to defend another unless there is a corresponding undertaking on the other side. They should therefore take into consideration the fatal consequences that will certainly arise from the treaty; it will interrupt the tranquillity of Christendom and provoke deplorable and always unhappy wars.
In the council of state they wish to get on with what suits them without regard for what pleases their rivals. They consider war to be inevitable and just; it is better to make it with allies than alone. It is considered certain that if France is not harassed she will do the harassing, coming to terms with the English and breaking with this crown. It is therefore necessary to secure their flank by an alliance with that power. To renounce treaties means to expose oneself to aggression.
Although this is the profound conviction of the ministers yet they deny that the negotiations are for an alliance; it is merely the renewal of an ancient correspondence between the two nations.
From Paris they write that the peril of commotions in the kingdom causes no less apprehension than the war with the English, which is imminent. Everything will be staked to avoid being beaten by the sword.
Madrid, the 13th January, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
324. To the Ambassador in France.
Whereas it suits our interests that with war threatening between the two crowns it should be known to both of them that the Senate feels very strongly on the matter since it is an ancient principle with it that between Christian princes the peace should be maintained, you will take every opportunity to make this known to his Majesty, to the ministers and to the English ambassador, when you have a chance, in the manner which you will know best to adopt, constantly bringing these ideas to notice and the ease with which expedients can be found before they plunge into greater perils and come in sight of the flames.
Ayes, 104. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Jan. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
325. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
By the queen's command the junta met in her presence. After representations had been made, her Majesty was persuaded not only to treat but to hasten the effecting of the treaty. The decision was communicated to the English ambassador as final, and when he heard it he resolved to set out on his journey at once without waiting to hear from Lisbon. He shows the greater forwardness for the enhancement of his merit.
Madrid, the 16th January, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
326. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The English envoy has not, up to the present, disclosed his character, and he is living here incognito, seeking some treatment beyond what is usual for an envoy. He will have the chamber of the ambassadors and the secret council; for the rest I fancy they will not alter the use.
Vienna, the 17th January, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
327. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
This imminent blow keeps the activities of the Court in suspense and is the sole object of general conversation. I chanced to pick up the information that the courier who arrived from England for the queen mother of that king, brought word of some satisfaction for his Majesty, but so far nothing has transpired. Last week it was stated that the people there having got wind of the offers of money made by the government here to the Chancellor Hyde, had gone in a turbulent crowd to his house to administer punishment for the venality which they suspected. If the money without being spent could introduce some rising into that kingdom and produce the results which are expected from its expenditure, it might be accounted an outstanding piece of good fortune for this government.
The brother of Colbert has set out these last days towards Dunkirk. In the weeks that are passed they said that this was to happen in order to arrange an adjustment with England. Now this idea is given up and they say it is for the purchase or hire of Dutch ships; but perhaps it is for both purposes, and he will let himself be guided by the circumstances that present themselves and according to the turn that affairs may take.
The Ambassador Van Goch, who was in England, has arrived at the Hague, where he described his negotiations to the States. He presented a letter of that king, expressing strongly the desire he has always had for peace between two nations of the same faith. After some reference to the things which have happened in the past, he represents to them that the succour and assistance which they seek from foreign princes will turn out to cost them more, if they desire an adjustment, than the reasonable conditions which he will always be ready to grant them, excluding all other mediation. But the States will not so readily grow tired of France, although all are not agreed about this.
France had expressed the intention of coming to the declarations against England on the return of the ambassadors, but within a few days it will become evident whether this was meant to restrain them from rash action or her sincere intention.
Prince Maurice has proceeded to the Hague to justify his proceedings which are by no means approved by the Provinces. If there was any one to supply his place in the generalship they would gladly dismiss him.
Paris, the 19th January, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
328. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has gone by Frexenal. When leaving the city he chose to pass by the most frequented streets. He thought to win applause, but I understand that by the greater part he was received with execration and abuse, although in a subdued tone, instead of acclamations. Heresy and the marriage alliance with Braganza provoke odium. In a very long audience of the queen he protested his sincerity and zeal. He promised to serve her as if he were her natural subject. He magnified his own merit by representing the affair as difficult. There can be no doubt that if he is successful in rendering this important service he will receive copious recognition and rich rewards.
I hear that he is going divided between hopes and fears. He has strong arguments to persuade, but there is no lack of powerful reasons to influence the Portuguese against being persuaded. It is also said that what is left without a beginning cannot have an end, moreover the end is not reached of all that is begun. He called on all the foreign ministers, friends and enemies, without distinction. Some condemned this as affectation and unnecessary.
Before he left a minister reminded him that under a decent pretext he should try to get some one of the nation to come with him, giving no light cause for searchings of heart. I hear that he adduced efficacy in negotiation, the necessity of taking counsel, the abandonment of expedients. Moreover vigilance of the correspondence was desirable. In short, if it was a good thing to bestow their confidence in an English ambassador it was better not to repose too much faith in one. The difficulty was referred to the Council of State which decided that the best remedy for the malady was to see to the physician who offers the cure. To show suspicion would give offence with the affront and they must now use blandishments and not make changes. As a matter of fact no one commends the policy of entrusting to this minister a matter of such importance. After putting aside the offer of mediation to have manifested the extreme appreciation of the royal wishes is considered a mistake, not a measured resolution. Some assert that he is going, not to treat, but to sign the treaty.
Nevertheless, after a tiresome burden an offer of relief has great power. If they sigh for it at Madrid I believe that they will gladly welcome it at Lisbon. The kingdom is made safe by arms. The title of king may perhaps be assured by expedients. It will be an amusing experience to see how Braganza wriggles or twists between the representations of England and the exhortations of France.
Here Ambrun is not appeased. He objects to two things, the adjustment with Portugal and that the government does not make use of him in the negotiations. I hear that after the king's death he wrote to Paris that the ministers here did not perceive either sincerity or ability in the English ambassador, reasons why the truce should not fall into his hands or if they did so fall, they would not make much progress from being badly managed. Upon one of these commitments he has already been proved to have been wrong; upon the other it is too soon to state definitely whether he will be found in error.

Madrid, the 20th January, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
329. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Lord Taaf, who arrived at this Court two weeks ago has had his audience of Caesar. He sent to inform me of his arrival and said that he had orders from his king to cultivate friendly relations with the minister of the republic. In conversation he referred to his pretensions, which he could not abandon. I explained to him that since he was only recognised as an envoy the uses of the Court could not be altered. I afterwards sent my secretary to pay my respects. I will try to bring him to reason.
He claimed special demonstrations from the Court, but they were not granted, and so he is behaving in a very reserved manner with the ministers. He intimated to the nuncio that he desired to see him; but as the minister of a prince separated from the Church, he has not been admitted.
With regard to his negotiations, besides a justification of the war with Holland and the direction of the Bishop of Munster, I find greater practises to draw closer the correspondence with the Austrians. He recognises the difficulty of present declarations from the emperor and presses for a reply. If this is hopeful, he will prolong his stay here, to conclude, if it is otherwise he means to leave soon. He thinks that the Spaniards will establish peace with Portugal and asserts that they were already inclined to the truce. The envoys of France in Portugal have disturbed the transaction. They are not very satisfied with the English ambassador resident in Spain, and for this reason there will be a change for another person with greater and more efficacious instructions upon this point. When this has been managed successfully England will know how to remove the difficulties which are due to the action of the French.
Here, from Caesar's own mouth words of confidence have issued upon this adjustment, and for the support of these counsels in Spain the queen will always afford the greatest credit and esteem. In the mean time the eagerness of the English to draw closer to the Austrians in the present state of affairs has become manifest, and to have the closest correspondence and alliances.
Vienna, the 24th January, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
330. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The desire of France, being known by the English, who are too inflamed and ardent to restrain themselves in the calm of tranquillity, only serves as a stimulus to the insolence and hardiness of that nation. In London at the houses of some of the leading men of the government, believed to be disposed to some negotiations for a composition with France, notices were posted up with the legend: Here peace is sold for five millions. In other places in the city pictures of figures were exposed after the manner of an auction, where one read, How much, How much for peace. They have not refrained either from representing the principal members of this government on the public stage in a suppliant attitude, imploring peace.
To these indications of blind popular passion may be added acts of hostility towards this crown, becoming ever more fierce and hostile. Even up to the port of Dunkirk some English frigates advanced to make the capture of various great merchantmen who were taking refuge under the shelter of that fortress, nor could the constant firing of the guns there repress the fierce temerity of the English or save them from falling a prey. In the direction of Brittany also they have seized another French ship, laden with rich goods. When the captain declared that he was not taking succour to Holland, but a Frenchman who was sailing for French merchants they told him that that was the very reason why they meant to have him as a prisoner with the prize.
These multiplied actions of disdain and sensible affronts to subjects of the crown will arouse the generous spirit of France and invite them to make known to the world that the treaties of adjustment are not and were not the effects of weakness, but the course of prudence and placidity of spirit, all intent on removing occasions for greater disturbances in Christendom. The king was obliged to tell the queen of England, his aunt, that he loved quiet and bore affection for the King of England, his brother, and would have done anything to preserve it, but when he saw the English pursuing the forms of hostility against his subjects, it had made him conscious of possessing in himself the vigour to attack and in his state strength to repel the ardour of those who sought to inflict injuries on his subjects.
The truth is, however, that here they would not wish for war with the English on any account, knowing that there is nothing to gain and that it is fertile in perils. But this does not depend on the will of one alone and requires the assent of the adversary. That the money, from which they promised themselves every advantage, does not serve, and has no value with the people of England, indeed has increased the harm and served as an instrument, is a blow as sensible as it is unexpected. The means of which they made use to accumulate a great quantity of it, in order to use it to keep enemies away from the country has produced great numbers of them at home. Marshal di Turenna took occasion to say in the consultation that if things go forward with the English it will be necessary to console the people of this country in some way, who are much embittered by the taxes and by the decrees proposed and verified against their wishes in the Parlement of Paris.
Turenna returned himself these last days from the review at Compiegne of the troops of the new levy assembled there. He brings word that he has inspected 12,000 men, all good troops very well disposed and ready for service. A certain number of cavalry had also arrived in those parts. They are actively gathering fresh troops with all their might.
Intelligence reached his Majesty that twenty English ships commanded by Sir [Jeremy] Smith have passed the Strait for the purpose of proceeding towards Toulon, where the royal fleet is, not well defended by the fortress or very safe in the port, to attempt to burn them with fireships. This has obliged his Majesty to despatch the Sieur di Vivona thither yesterday (fn. 2) with all speed to take steps to prevent any mischance. Vivona has represented to the king the necessity of leaving the naval command to the Sieur di Boffort, who is experienced and capable at sea; so it is believed that the order for him to come to Court has been revoked and that he is appointed once more to command the fleet which will be destined for the Ocean.
The queen of England has been obliged by the government there to proceed again to that country, upon the threat of being deprived of her appanages if she does not consent to do so.
Lord Holles is still at Paris; his malady of the gout, which keeps him in bed forbids him to travel. He has refused a present of the value of 8000 crowns which the king had presented to him, as is the custom of the royal generosity at the termination of an embassy. He excused himself by saying that as friendly feelings were not being preserved between the two countries he ought not to receive the tokens of them.
Paris, the 26th January, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
331. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 27th inst. this crown declared war on the English. They sent the heralds to that country and here in Paris the announcement was made in several places to the sound of trumpets. The numerous transactions, the large offers of money, all the efforts put forth have availed nothing to resist the decrees of fate or the will of Heaven, which either wishes to deceive men in their fatal predictions or to give birth to expedients for diverting greater evils.
As a sequence to the vigorous offices, protests and remonstrances of the Dutch deputy Van Boninghen, first with the ministers and afterwards with his Majesty at St. Germain at a private visit, to induce France to fulfil her obligations by declaring herself against England, to which was added an audacious attempt of the English who after taking the ships under the fortress of Dunkirk, landed in Normandy, it is not known in what numbers, to surprise the place of Honfleur, between Rouen and Havre de Grace, an appanage of Mademoiselle d' Orleans, Duchess of Montpensier, which did not succeed but served to inflame opinion and spur them to more vigorous resolutions, the aforesaid declaration ensued. One thing is to be noted above everything else that whereas France has always assured the English that the auxiliaries with which they were assisting Holland were, by virtue of the treaty for the defence of those Provinces alone and that seeing her harassed by the Bishop of Munster she was obliged to succour and support her, they now sing another song that a treaty having been stipulated for the benefit of this crown with the Dutch, good and true friends of the kingdom, they find themselves compelled by an article therein to declare war on the English, the declared enemies of the latter.
The Court has arrived at this great resolution recognising the difficulty of avoiding war to be insuperable, and possibly thinking by this action to destroy the notion of cowardice which this government has gained in the world by so many transactions and offers of money. The high spirit of all the nobles and of the generality of the nation could never adapt itself or consent that this country, accustomed to make itself considered by the glorious actions of its arms and to keep its enemies at a distance by courage and military valour, should abase itself to buy safety and tranquillity with gold. The ministers who persuaded themselves that having money in their purses they had peace in their hands and that every power would be impotent to resist the strength of their cash, are brought to see that nothing avails to bend the determination of a resolute will, fixed in its own decisions, and that what was employed to win and to conciliate has only served to irritate and to estrange. But the King of England and the chief men of the country have been carried along by the current of the Lower Chamber and the populace, who at present have the greater influence and an implacable hatred against this crown.
The excessive greed of some of the ministers here, all intent on spoiling not so much their fellow subjects as foreigners of that which is and which brings advantage and profit to the royal exchequer is blamed as the true cause of the ill will of the English people, of their implacable anger and I may add, of their desperate resolves. For the last few years they have introduced into France the manufacture of cloth woven after the English fashion, of stockings, of ribbons and of very many other arts which in that country were the support of numerous families, with the prohibition and very severe penalties against any who should introduce things made in those parts into this country. To this is added the new company of the marine, set on foot a year or so ago, which also acts to the very great prejudice of the trade of England, so that those wretched people reduced to the extreme of necessity prefer to die by the sword rather than of hunger.
The Spanish Ambassador Fuentes spoke to me of this rupture in very circumspect and indifferent terms, I might say rather with the eyes than the tongue, though he betrayed an inward satisfaction. He merely said to me smiling that he did not see how they could reconcile the words of the announcement, which I have indicated above, with what has been so frequently said to the English and with the assurances that this crown was obliged to defend Holland against Minister, but not for offence, and that England, could not complain about this; whereas at present they publish an article of the treaty directed against England.
From the Swiss (fn. 3) there is no declaration for the moment, but it is held that that country which is always venal, will direct its friendship to where the weight of gold is heavier. Denmark, so far as we hear, has freely disclosed herself on the side of Holland, offering assistance and conveniences for conveying ships to France, and we hear that she will concede every advantage to be desired.
England gives out that she will have in the spring more than 300 great ships with which she will form several squadrons to molest this country from several quarters, against which they are preparing to discharge the effects of their deepest anger.
Of troops in being here there are not many. The levies are being added to them, but to put all the naval fortresses in a good state of defence, and to keep several bodies of troops in several places they will have to distribute fresh patents. They have spoken of a levy from Elvetia of 30,000 soldiers, by virtue of the arrangement with that nation.
But what causes the government the greatest apprehension is the certainty of the discontent, and the lack of goodwill among the people towards their rulers from the constant burdens, from the imposts which are rigorously levied, from the last edicts, verified one may say, by force, and all directed to strip the nobles, ecclesiastics and people of their goods and commodities. I cannot express to your Excellencies with how much rejoicing the announcement of the war was heard in this city, not from any hatred against England, but from ill will towards the present government. It seems to every one an escape from slavery. They promise themselves advantages, comforts and felicity. They talk of forming parties, of changes of ministers and allow their tongues to run freely where their desires lead them. Decidedly in the present conjuncture with England it was not good prudence to torment the people so sensibly, but the burning desire for peace made them believe as certain what has always been most doubtful and the detestable idolatry of gold has proved their hopes of quiet to be deceitful and false.
I enclose a printed copy of the declaration of war against England, modified in the part which was proclaimed orally about the article of alliance with Holland directed against England, having discovered the error.
Paris, the 29th January, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Enclosure.332. Declaration of war against England.
Dated at St. Germain en Laye, the 26th January, 1666. (fn. 4) [3 pages. Italian; translated from the French.]
Jan. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
333. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Great and important news has arrived this week from England and from Flanders about the adjustment of Portugal with Spain. The emperor has remarked to the gentlemen of his bedchamber that he now has a piece of news which allows him to sleep soundly. Lord Taf has declared categorically that a truce for thirty years has been arranged with the Portuguese, and this involves as a consequence the alliance of England, Portugal and Spain. The Court is vocal with singular content. But Auspergh, Gonzaga and other ministers have told me that the negotiations are indeed far advanced; there are great hopes, but the conclusion is not known with certainty.
Prince Locovez (fn. 5) and the Count of Lambergh have been deputed to treat with the English envoy. The ministers offered to negotiate in his house, but it has since been found more convenient to meet in the palace. The present efforts are to obtain succours from Caesar for Minister and subsequently progress in all the negotiations will depend on those of England and of Spain.
This great scene of the affairs of the world may change in a moment, and if England should declare war against France, the French would seem to be surrounded by afflictions and perils, as well as destitute of many friendships. To the war without, domestic upheavals may easily succeed, France always being fertile in evil humours.
Vienna, the 31st January, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Charles Colbert, Marquis de Croissy, maître des requetes.
2 Smith's squadron reached Cadiz bay on 23rd Jan., new style. His squadron consisted of twelve frigates, but with the merchantmen he escorted he had with him twenty-eight sail. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1665–6, page 107. Westcomb to Arlington, 24th Jan., 1666. S.P. Spain, vol. 1. Victor de Rochechouart, comte de Vivonne, was general of the galleys.
3 So in the text; no doubt for Swedes.
4 Printed in Dumont. Corps Diplomatique, Vol. vi., pt. iii., page 82.
5 Eusebius Wenzel, Prince of Lobkowitz. Pribram. Franz Paul Freiherr von Lisola, page 278.