Venice
February 1666

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1933

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251-265

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'Venice: February 1666', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 251-265. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90174 Date accessed: 22 July 2014.


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February 1666

Feb. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
334. Marc Antonio Giustintan, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
They are constantly making discoveries of the combinations woven by Spanish subtlety out of the present differences between France and England. Marsin, the famous soldier who is at present in the service of Spain, has betaken himself by the order of that monarch to Ireland, where with the utmost goodwill they have promised him a levy of 6000 of the soldiers there for the service of Flanders.
Lord Hollis remains here seriously incommoded by the gout. He says that he must go to Brussels; it does not appear in what capacity, but undoubtedly upon some authoritative employment. He asked the king for a passport, but was told that he might go away without misgiving, as the French troops would not molest him. He sent me the enclosed paper, as a sign of confidence.
The agent of Portugal remains at Court about the marriage of Aumale to Braganza. (fn. 1) He has been told that they are waiting for some reply from England, according to which the matter must be managed. This also serves to increase the suspicion that the English are constantly engaged in strengthening themselves more and more with the assistance and support of the Spaniards, who have known so well how to turn the genius of the English to their advantage, either by fomenting their inclination or by smoothing the way for venting their wrath, and from what I understand they have made proposals and suggested projects advantageous to Spain. But so far there is nothing about restoring to them the possession of Jamaica and the control of Tanger.
Paris, the 2nd February, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Enclosure.335. Letter of the States of the United Provinces to the King of Great Britain upon the order to the ambassadors to leave the Court. (fn. 2)
The Hague, the 11th December, 1665.
[5 pp. Italian.]
Enclosure.336. Reply of his Majesty to the States General. (fn. 3) Dated the 16th December, 1665.
[5 pp. Italian.]
Feb. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
337. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English continue to show their malice against France. Off Dieppe they stopped two ships. One, which was Spanish, they released, but the other being French was detained. Nevertheless the king here, at the request of the King of England to allow five tuns of wine to pass free of duty, granted this for a hundred tuns. To the English who are in this country, and who, by the terms of the placart should incur the penalty of death by staying any longer, he grants security for yet another month. On the other hand, the English are causing circular letters to be distributed about the maritime provinces containing disturbing and seditious notions, with the intention of kindling trouble within the country, knowing its natural disposition to take fire.
Paris, the 2nd February, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
338. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The hopes of the Most Christian to avoid coming to war with the English are giving a start to intimations about breaking the peace with this crown. Fuente reports that in Paris they are talking openly about not resisting England, succouring the Dutch or engaging themselves in the empire, but of making the conquest of the county of Henau and of the Duchy of Brabant. The queen mother has advised them of the pretensions of the king, her son, upon those states, and of his disposition to make them good by force if he cannot get his way by craft.
Madrid, the 3rd February, 1666.
[Italian.]
Feb. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
339. To the Ambassador in France.
The enclosed copy contains the account of those concerned in the ship Salvator del Mondo et Anima del Purgatorio, which has been seized by English ships. The Senate believes that this has been done contrary to the wishes of his Majesty, with whom they enjoy the best possible relations. He is to make the facts known to the English ambassador or to others who will convey to the Court at London the hope that Venetian ships with cargoes of this mart shall not meet with such difficulties and delays, expressing the conviction that the king there will issue the necessary orders for the release of these ships and also that other ships shall not be similarly molested.
That the Savii of the Collegio inform the English consul in this city of the Signory's hope that this ship will be released and that the ships and merchants of the republic shall be free from molestation in the future.
Ayes, 100. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Feb. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
340. To the Ambassador at the Imperial Court.
Commend his office with the envoy of England and the courtesies shown which are very necessary for cultivating correspondence with that powerful nation, and at the same time to endeavour to make him aware of the sympathy which is felt for him in the matter of the treatment which he claims. He is to cherish confidential relations with this minister and for the rest to watch his affairs closely.
Ayes, 122. Noes, 3. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Feb. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
341. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
With regard to the negotiations with the English I do not find that anything has been settled as yet. Every alliance of Caesar with England depends on the treaties with Spain and on the adjustment of Portugal, and although both these things are reported from Madrid, there is no confirmation of the Portuguese adherence to the truce, and the treaties are subject to change. The wish may possibly induce them to talk about it in anticipation. The counsels and the money of France are also capable of frustrating the fulfilment. The emperor, from his natural disposition and from that of his ministers will never plunge into troubles or into wars. What they would like is that the appearances and the fears of the French about this league should turn away their thoughts from Flanders. But Lord Taf is pressing and asks for a decision, and if they will not make up their minds he wishes to depart. The ministers speak publicly of this new friendship, but when it comes to signing obligations to give succour to Munster and to engage in the war, their deliberations are arrested and there is no decision.
All the princes of Germany are in movement. The French and the English are pressing them by their offices and ask for declarations. The war of England and France will be followed by that of Germany, and it is permitted to believe that the discords of the north will serve to balance their predominance and give quiet to the other parts.
Vienna, the 7th February, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
342. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
An agent of Denmark arrived recently at the Court with powers to treat for and conclude an adjustment. (fn. 4) It is believed that France wishes to oblige that king, with a sum of money paid beforehand, to keep at sea a considerable number of ships for the defence of the league, to dispute with the English the navigation of the Baltic and prevent them from landing in the ports of Denmark and Norway. This government offers in return to be a surety and pledge for whatever the Dutch may promise in their treaties with that king.
The parliament of Bordeaux has sent to the Court a letter from the King of England which they would not open themselves, but forward it sealed to his Majesty.
The sailors and all those skilled in sea affairs of the islands of Ré and Oleron and other coast places of Poitou, to the number of 5000, have abandoned their houses and foreseeing that they will be employed in the war against the English, they have taken to the country, announcing that they intend to spend their lives, no longer at sea, but in cultivating those lands. On this account it is feared that the armaments which are being prepared will suffer from a serious shortage of sailors, if not a total abandonment by people of this description.
Paris, the 9th February, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
343. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The sudden and unexpected declaration of war against the English keeps disclosing fresh stimulus to the vivacity of this nation. This is natural and indelible, though it is true that it was provoked by the manifold hostile insolences from that quarter and by the pressing reiteration of the Dutch. Now the heat is beginning to cool and the bitterness to be sweetened. The sheet of instructions directed that all Frenchmen and subjects of the crown should rush at and attack all the English, without reserve or measure. Almost at once they were to be pursued everywhere and chased out of this country. However, they became aware that this was going too far and declared orally that for a month the English should not be molested. But this did not suffice and was not enough to assure the English dwelling in the kingdom from being molested by the people here. Now by a new declaration, in print, they extend the term to three months, and ignoring some words of the edict they speak in a very placid and suave manner, as your Excellencies may see from the enclosed, which I send. (fn. 5)
Monsieur the king's brother is married to the sister of the King of England, a lady of high spirit, fit for every turn of affairs. He has a seat in the secret council and to him, before the others, they communicate the events and from him they receive advice. This serves not only to keep him detached and far from any turbulent humour, which might easily rise in this country, but also to conciliate a lady of a noble and masterful spirit, much inclined to authority and command. In the existing circumstances it is highly important to keep her satisfied and content. The ways of peace are studied and although the preparations for war are not slackened, they do not abandon measures for quiet. It is true that from England every root of negotiation has been removed, but it is planted in Holland and possibly in better soil. A certain Mons. San Germen has arrived at Paris, who was previously sent to England by Mons. di Tallone. He left later; nothing is known; the whole thing depends upon Colbert, brother of the finance minister, who previously went to Holland, as I wrote at the time. This person had a conference at the Hague with the French Ambassador d'Estrades, after which he left for Cleves to confer with the elector of Brandenburg, in order to reconcile him with the States and win him over again thoroughly for France since this may be a powerful instrument for reducing Munster, either through apprehension of his forces or by his interposition with negotiations for an adjustment with the Dutch, from which there would ensue as a consequence the accommodation with England and one between the crowns.
Paris, the 9th February, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
344. Order for the English to leave the kingdom within the space of three months; with a direction forbidding any one to molest them in the mean time.
Dated at St. Germain en Laye, the 1st February, 1666. (fn. 6)
[1¾ pp. Italian, from the French.]
Feb. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
345. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
From Lisbon the Duke of Braganza had gone out to a certain resort to take his ease … but the true motive was for receiving and sending intelligence, and by this absence from the city he aimed at keeping the people quiet and to put a stop to the talk which matter of this kind produces when the people are weary of never ending troubles. The Marquis of Castel Milior in Benevente has decided to stop at Pastore, five leagues away. He writes to the ambassador of England that this is not in order to inconvenience him but for the benefit of the negotiations. The ambassador, invited to proceed to Salvaterra, about one league distant, promptly gave his consent. He writes that he will continue on his journey, his object being, not his own convenience, but to direct matters happily towards the common tranquillity. Medina has written expressing the king's regard for him and his appreciation of his efforts. He has also written to the ambassador personally suggesting to him that for the satisfactory accomplishment of what he has undertaken, the Court will be glad of his permanence, and does not want any one else. In this way they try to conciliate his good will, as the suspicion always remains that instead of a mediator he may become an enemy. One of the most mistrustful of the ministers has remarked that if it was a ticklish matter to entrust the business to his hands, it is now becoming malignant, from the offence experienced, and the worst mischief is to be feared. But as he is more greedy of gold than punctilious, it is hoped, by ample supplies of it to keep him constant in his faith.
Thirty English ships have put in an appearance off the shores of Cadiz (fn. 7) ; the majority of them afterwards turned towards Tanger. If an encounter has ensued with the squadron of Holland there is no definite news of it, though there are reports of a battle. The truth is not clear.
Madrid, the 10th February, 1666.
[Italian.]
Feb. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
346. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Amid reservations and difficulties the envoy of England continues his negotiations with the ministers, the Austrians being always tardy and mistrustful about deciding, suspecting that while they are negotiating here, in France they may be concluding an alliance and peace with the English, as was done in the time of Cromwell, when the advantageous proposals of Cardinal Mazarin took away from the Spaniards the business that was proposed and one might say concluded. There is also the opinion that England has not sent this mission into Germany to sign an alliance, but to make profit by increasing suspicion. It is an argument in favour of this view that the person sent is not taken from the confidential counsellors of the king, but is a Catholic, without employment or office.
Some rumours are current that the adjustment has already taken place in France, and they mention the conditions. They consider that Flanders is saved for the moment at the instance of England and Holland alike. If this be so then Italy remains in manifest peril. Great things depend upon these negotiations. The House of Austria ought to establish the alliance at any cost and effort; but the minority of the King of Spain and the confusion of the government there do not promise much, and the genius of the emperor and his ministers is not equal to forestalling designs by prudent negotiations and decisions, and from this nothing but disadvantage and prejudice can arise.
The recruiting for the regiments of Caesar progresses slowly; but this is evidence that they are not afraid of trouble and that they are not falling in with the proposals of England.
All the princes of Germany are being upset (ricevono alteratione) by the divers negotiations and proposals of England and France. The free towns promise levies to both sides.
Vienna, the 14th February, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zante.
Venetian
Archives.
347. Piero Barbarigo, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
I find that as there has been much planting of vines and of currants in this island since the order issued by the Proveditore General of the Islands, Marin Marcello in 1659, it would be proper to oblige each of the offenders to pay 50 ducats into the treasury of your Serenity for every portion of land newly planted, in order to give general satisfaction to the islanders here, who have preferred various petitions to me about it, so that they may not be subject to the confiscation threatened by the decree. The money which might be collected in this way could be used for the benefit of the fortress of Corfu, which cannot be very promptly assisted without the export of the remainder of the currants. The acquiescence of the state in this matter will increase the revenues of your Excellencies, will tranquillise the people here, who with extraordinary humility implore me for this favour, and will in part relieve my mind, troubled as I am by my inability, in the few months which remain to me in this office, to deal with most serious and troublesome public occurrences.
Zante, the 14th February, 1666, new style.
[Italian.]
Feb. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
348. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Account of the negotiations proceeding between France and Denmark. Looking askance at the progress of these transactions Castel Rodrigo has strong inducements to make peace rather than war. He has caused an intimation to be made to the Dutch resident at Brussels (fn. 8) that the Bishop of Munster has committed all his interests into his (Castel Rodrigo's) hands. He was also in a position to influence the wishes of England, and if the States chose to send some one on purpose with ample powers, he promised to reduce the difficulties to an adjustment in a few weeks. The Dutch have not listened to this offer, being more mistrustful than ever of the procedure of the Spaniards.
Paris, the 10th February, 1605. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
349. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have just been to Lord Holles to thank him for the offices of the ambassador at Constantinople. He showed the most friendly disposition and spoke of the sincere affection of his king and of all England for the most serene republic. I asked him about the news of England, a despatch having arrived that very day. He informed me of the diminution of the plague and that his Majesty had gone to London. He then told me that the news of the declaration of war by this country had caused a great commotion there. He called it an unexpected resolution; a piece of French impetuosity. From what I gathered it seems that this move of France has struck that kingdom very hard and they are not without apprehension. Nevertheless he affected to fear little from the French and he did not see what harm they could do to England. They make a song, said he, about having fifty ships at sea; in the mean time our fleet is scouring the Mediterranean. He went on to speak of Holland. He professed a knowledge of the privations from which those Provinces are suffering. He abominated the treaty which has been arranged by Brandenburg with the States, (fn. 9) of which he had just heard. He called him a faithless prince, because a few weeks before he had signed another defensive treaty with him. He offered to show it to me.
Paris, the 16th February, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
350. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The news of the declaration of war having reached London has served to irritate still further the feeling of that country against this one and to give effect to very kindly and mild sentiments towards French subjects. An intimation was forthwith published that England would welcome all Frenchmen who might have arrived from this country; that they would be allowed to remain in all the towns of Great Britain as good subjects of that crown, while all men were forbidden to molest them, under severe penalties. But with regard to the English who are now in France, many of whom fled from thence to avoid the plague, the king there has ordained that they must immediately return to London, threatening those who disobey with loss of life and goods. Many lords of the highest rank, who are now in Paris, will have to make ready for their departure with all speed.
In Scotland three very leading gentlemen have been arrested, who were making arrangements in several parts of that kingdom for concerting a general rising. It has not yet been ascertained whether they were led on to this by the encouragement of foreign powers or of their own personal motion. All the same that kingdom has its infirmities and it is not known whether the war will prove a medicine to purge away its evil humours, or a poison to bring low its constitution.
Last week the Dutch Vice Admiral Brankert sailed with twenty-four ships towards the coast of Flanders, to proceed by the long route round Norway to the Mediterranean, to effect a junction with Boffort in the spring. The sea route without the convenience of the English ports is impossible to use in the winter season.
The Dutch have made booty of twelve English ships, but they are only those which serve for the transport of coal, which have scant defensive power.
Paris, the 16th February, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
351. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Suspicion has been aroused by a courier sent to the English ambassador by his wife. The lightest air upsets confidence and tranquillity. A suspicion enters that possibly in the transactions for an agreement with France for peace they may proceed to an alliance and that the negotiation with Portugal, instead of settling matters, may end in upsetting them. They are daily expecting a courier from the ambassador. Curiosity is aroused by matter of the utmost consequence. From the first conferences they will be able to find out whether the intentions are good or bad. It is reported among the populace that at Lisbon they have decided to accept a peace, but they refuse a truce. The recognition of the king will serve as an opening for negotiation; for the rest they will close their ears to proposals. They are moved by the desire for peace, but the most bitter necessity will not induce them to give way on the point of decorum.
I have found out that the most ample powers have been granted to the ambassador by letters. To attract their good will by a profusion of gifts to bind them with golden chains, any price is esteemed cheap provided they may be delivered from the war. Abundant remittances have been transmitted to him, means having been found that on every occasion the cash may be ready to his hand. As a matter of fact some one has said that unless the avarice of the Portuguese blinds their prudence the business, although perfectly conducted will turn out imperfectly. To the ambassadress, out of gallantry, they have sent a present of 12,000 pieces of eight, saying that it is to buy chocolate in the absence of her husband. (fn. 10) All is directed in order to correct the bile stirred up by the late offences. This lady is of high intelligence (di spirito qualificato) and quite capable of meeting deceit with deceit and of feigning to forget in appearance while cherishing resentment in her heart.
I learn on good authority that the Spanish ambassador in London has opened negotiations for peace between the king there and the Dutch. The ministers are rejoiced. The good will at least, if not the issue will certainly be considered a merit and esteemed. Although they do not build much upon it they have written to the ambassador, commending him and directing him to continue the transaction. The king does not disapprove and it is supposed that the Dutch will not refuse to listen to the treaty. But there is one difficulty to be considered. Now that they are in union with France and so greatly dependent upon that crown, every step must be subordinated and they will move in harmony with her both in peace and war.
The government is advised that France is offering a new treaty to Denmark. The ministers represent to the Danish ambassador here the danger from both the gift and the giver. He replies, assuring them of their good will, but it is clear that superior force will decide the matter.
Madrid, the 17th February, 1666.
[Italian.]
Feb. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
352. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
An action has taken place a few leagues from Cadiz. Some vessels of the French having fallen in with others of England, they dealt with each other as determined enemies. For a long while the cannon played; they came to close quarters and passing from the sword to the flames some of them were consumed by fire. The burning is certain, but which of the parties suffered the loss has not yet become known. (fn. 11) Every day we hear that one nation is hunting another, and reprisals are going on everywhere. When the feelings of private individuals are aroused it will be difficult for those of princes to remain composed.
A report is current that a squadron of English ships is cruising beyond the Strait. The intention is said to be to fight the French forces everywhere, audaciously entering their very ports there to consume them by fire or to sink them by gun fire.
Madrid, the 17th February, 1666.
[Italian.]
Feb. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
353. To the Ambassador at Rome.
We have nothing further to say except the news of the declaration of hostilities between France and England. In this matter you will not fail in your habitual vigilance and close attention to advise us of what is said at Rome and of their dispositions there.
Ayes, 113. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Feb. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
354. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
I had quite different news to send last week about the negotiations of Lord Taf. Now the news from Paris has taken away all hope of an agreement. For this reason the conferences between the ministers and the Englishman have been renewed, and Caesar has decided upon the step of sending to the princes of the empire a person of distinction to make known the present intentions of the Austrians, directed to the conservation of the existing state of affairs and to remove disturbing factors; the method proper to this Court, to put things off, to make no definite conclusion, and to shape their course according to circumstances.
Vienna, the 21st February, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
355. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The French have made the greatest efforts to secure this friendship in order to deprive the English of the convenience of the places of shelter of those coasts, which would be very troublesome if the English were able to make use of them. (fn. 12) The Turks of Algiers claim to be free and released from the treaty previously stipulated with the English because of the breach of faith with them through the escape of a prize which took refuge in the port of Tanger. The ship Malgarita, worth 900,000 crowns with its plate and other capital, was taken some months ago by the Algerines from the body of the Spanish fleet which was coming from the Indies. Eight Dutch ships pursued the Barbareschi, who were sailing with this prize, to take this rich booty from them. The corsairs, seeing themselves chased and that in the long run they would lose their prey, decided to take refuge at Tanger, and put themselves in shelter under the protection of their friends the English. But where they expected to avoid loss they incurred it, and instead of finding security in that port, one may say that they met with shipwreck. The English sacked the ship and took the value of 300,000 crowns from the Barbareschi, who declare themselves seriously offended, pronounce it a breach of faith and the rupture of friendship and lend a ready ear to the invitations of France.
Thus flanked by these friendships this crown will be able with greater ease to use its power for the support of the allies of Holland and to subdue the high spirit of England, whose party at the moment is very poor seeing that she is assisted by Munster alone.
The Spaniards have made no declaration, indeed they protest strongly that they have no agreement with that crown. One of the reasons, besides the two reported, which caused the king here to make the practically unexpected declaration of war against England, was, as I have chanced to learn on good authority, that the French, suspecting that the Spaniards might draw together with England against Holland, to which France could not take exception as being an infraction of the peace of the Pyrenees, they proposed, by a prompt declaration against England to prevent this union. In the mean time Castel Rodrigo adopts an attitude of singular caution with regard to this treaty which keeps him far from open friendship with England. He announces that he has always sought the preservation of the peace with this crown and to enjoy the consequences of it at this present time.
Paris, the 23rd February, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
356. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The strong arm of this crown, strengthened by the declared assistance of friendly princes, is not only bringing itself into a position of a good defence against the English arms, but to cause them most serious hurt in their own states. It is true that England, surrounded by an impenetrable hedge of cliffs and precipices, can defend itself with all freedom against the efforts of its enemies. None the less, these past days, a plan was considered in the king's cabinet to make them feel the point of their arms in the very bowels. They studied and examined the map and the lay out of the island, the ports, the gulfs, the shores and the sandbanks. But no decision was reached, possibly because they were dismayed by the difficulties of the enterprise. But it was stated repeatedly that whereas by foresight and by sounding the alarm and threatening war, they had bound the hands of the Spaniards and prevented the alliance, so by showing themselves armed off the coasts of England they would be able to keep English forces away from attacking this country. The discontents of Scotland and of the people of Ireland, in no wise inferior to a certain want of harmony which exists in England between the nobles and the populace, would certainly receive encouragement from the proximity of the French and Dutch forces.
For the rest the armament of the States will not be so numerous in ships as it was last year. It will not exceed eighty; but they announce that these will be reinforced with troops and strengthened with all appliances. But possibly this report is only to cover up their impotence, and they may ascribe to design what is due to weakness.
In North Holland naval equipment is proceeding with some deliberation due to the languid doling out of payments by the company of the Indies. That body had promised 400,000 crowns for the purpose to the Provinces, but so far they have not paid down more than 70,000. It may be that the Lords States have difficulties beyond belief. Nevertheless, in the province of Holland they are not neglectful but are working diligently to bring the fleet to a good condition by the spring.
Tromp has obtained the appointment of Lieutenant Admiral of Amsterdam; the second of the naval posts and the most useful (seconda carica e la piu utile del mare).
Last week the Dutch discovered a plan of the English to effect a landing with twenty ships towards Villerstat, (fn. 13) a position of the utmost consequence which would constitute a bridle on the Provinces if occupied. Accordingly they forthwith sent the colonel of the guards to make provision for everything and to add to the safety and defence of that place by a strong reinforcement of troops.
Paris, the 23rd February, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
357. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The orders of his Majesty, sent to the Sieur de Boffort are that he shall make every effort to encounter the English squadron of Smit, which is in the Mediterranean to escort eighteen merchant ships, engage them at all hazards and to close immediately in order to carry them by boarding, as the French think that they will have a greater advantage with the white arm than with the guns.
When four great English ships appeared in sight of Marseilles the town did not fire a single shot against them. It is concluded from this that the Marseillais are ill pleased with the government on account of a new citadel which has recently been built in their midst and upon which a thousand workmen are employed in order that it may be completed with speed.
The Duke of York has been sighted with twenty-five frigates in the direction of Dunkirk, so that fortress has been reinforced with 300 more infantry.
The Marshal de Grammont has obtained the levy of a new regiment of 1000 men in the Liegois, with permission to hand over the command of it to his son. (fn. 14)
They were about to issue a manifesto upon the claims of the English to Guienne. The printer has been arrested and the copies given to the flames. They are making diligent search for the author.
Paris, the 23rd February, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
358. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
On the French declaration of war against the English this government was divided between fears and hopes. The beginning is good, but they fear that the development may prove unhappy. As a general rule a contest is not confined solely to those who begin it. Flames spread and it is feared that this crown will not enjoy peace for long.
A courier was sent to the ambassador about the negotiations with Braganza; but he has not been sent back and the ambassador is blamed for remissness. Some believe that there is a close understanding between him and Medina, which continues to be kept secret and dark. It is considered practically certain that the ambassador has arranged to proceed to Lisbon; by their adroit proceedings they have contrived insensibly to draw him on. From Salvaterra they call him to the Court. The departure of Braganza from Castel Miglior was merely for show not for any real business, both having returned to the city after two days. From such noticeable variations it is concluded that there is profound mistrust. They suspect that the aim of the Portuguese is to drag matters out, being near to the campaigning season, when they will tear aside the veil and protest that they must either conclude the peace or continue the war.
They have sent to inform the ambassador of the declaration of war between the crowns, with the consideration that a brother-in-law of the King of England ought to detach himself from the counsels of his relative and enemy and instead of giving heed to them he should abhor and detest the same. It is a conjuncture which does not permit succour from the French, who are committed to so troublesome a task, and their promises will not be followed by results…. In the Council of State they cherished some faint hopes of a way out; now they are very confident. They suppose that England, owing to the plans and the profit which they count on obtaining from this crown, will leave nothing undone to oblige it. In addition to this, the ambassador undertook that if he met with difficulties over an absolute truce for thirty years, he would not show aversion for the project of peace. But a suspension of arms requires time and prolonged negotiations, while for the coming campaign it would be proper to suggest the staying of bloodshed and of hostilities, and this stay would be a good beginning and a pledge for a better ending. It is considered that if the fury of arms does not cease, every arrangement that prudence may suggest and that fortune may favour is likely to be upset. In short, no matter in what way, the government is averse from continuing in perils and expenditure.
Madrid, the 24th February, 1666.
[Italian.]
Feb. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
359. Francesco Bianchi, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
A ship from Marseilles which arrived at Leghorn reports that the grand fleet consists of forty powerful ships, fully equipped, without counting those of Holland which have arrived and which are expected. We hear reports of the appearance of English ships of war in these seas which may be able to offer resistance to this armament of Provence, but we do not see any realisation of them. Nine merchantmen are now in the port of Leghorn itself, empty of cargo. They do not venture to make sail and take in any cargo elsewhere for fear of falling into the hands of their enemies.
Florence, the 27th February, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Venetian
Archives.
360. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The transactions of the English envoy at this Court remain indeterminate and subject to the arbitrament of what the Spaniards may have concluded at Madrid. There exists among the ministers a tacit form of indolence, as if the division of the counsels of Spain can prevent the House of Austria from carrying out those plans which are best suited for it. Meanwhile the projects of Lord Taf and the deliberations about succour for Munster are confined to the idea and to discussion, as here they cling to the desire that England may be committed to definite action by the formal declaration of the Austrians. The discussions also make no progress for lack of powers, and more complete knowledge is postponed until the arrival of couriers. The emperor and the ministers are intent on avoiding clashes, to enjoy the benefit of the troubles of others and to steer their course according to the times.
Vienna, the 28th February, 1665. [M.V.]
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Ray Telles de Menezes. Prestage: Diplomatic Relations of Portugal, page 87.
2 Printed by Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. v., page 396.
3 Ibid., page 397.
4 Hannibal Schested. Holles reported his arrival in a dispatch of 24th January, old style. S.P. France, Vol. cxxii. He was to have come to England, but changed his plans owing to the war. Holles to Williamson, Jan. 10/20. Ibid.
5 Holles remonstrated with Lionne about the original edict, in letters of the 28th and 29th January. S.P. France, Vol. cxxii.
6 The text in Rugge's Diary. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 10117, f. 154.
7 The squadron of Sir Jeremy Smith with his convoy which entered Cadiz bay on 23rd January. See note at page 248 above. According to the London Gazette (Feb. 19th–22nd), ten English men-of-war under Smith, with seventeen merchantmen and victuallers, passed through Cadiz bay on 6th Feb., for Tangier.
8 Thomas Saasburg. Brieven van Johan de Witt, Vol. iii., page 275. Hist. Genootschap, Utrecht.
9 On the 6–16th February. The articles are printed in Dumont: Corps Diplomatique, Vol. vi., pt. iii., page 92.
10 This present is not recorded by Lady Fanshaw in her memoirs, though she mentions the gift of a rich jewel from the queen in the preceding year. Memoirs of Ann, lady Fanshaw, page 171. On 14th January the Duke of Oñate announced a present to the ambassador of 100,000 pieces of eight and of 50,000 to his wife. Hist. MSS. Comm. Heathcote MSS., page 222.
11 From Puerto San Maria on 31st January, a battle was reported to have taken place on the preceding day, off San Lucar, in which eight ships were engaged. The French said it was fought between ships of St. Malo and English or Turks. London Gazette, Feb. 26th–March 1st.
12 Alluding to negotiations between France and Algiers. A treaty was concluded on 17th May. Dumont: Corps Diplomatique, Vol. vi., pt. iii., page 111. According to a letter of Richard Parker from Algiers on 30th September, 1665, the Margareta, a ship of thirty guns, was chased into Tangier by a Dutch squadron, and soon after the Duke of Beaufort destroyed the pirate squadron which had taken her from the Spaniards. He adds “the many kindnesses these people have lately received at Tanger and particularly in defending their prize against the Dutch hath very much obliged them.” S.P. Barbary States, Vol. i.
13 Willemstad, at the mouth of the Meuse, province S. Holland.
14 Armand de Gramont, Comte de Guiche.