Venice
March 1666

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1933

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265-279

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'Venice: March 1666', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 265-279. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90175 Date accessed: 29 August 2014.


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March 1666

March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
361. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Activity of the king in reviewing troops. War preparations. Nevertheless they experience no ordinary shortage of tin and lead, the greater part of which comes from England to this country. They are making arrangements with merchants of Stamboul and Germany. No money is spared in making provision for the requirements of this crown.
The military appointments have not yet been distributed. On the other hand England has recalled from service here a colonel of that nation, who has deserved well of the king here and is much beloved by his Majesty who is greatly upset by this, and it is believed that the Scottish company of the guard will have to be recalled by England or dismissed by his Majesty. (fn. 1) The orders issued in England for the search of French and Dutch ships and for fighting them afford good cause for fearing that some mischievous accident may occur in any port, whether in the Mediterranean or the Levant.
An affair in Brabant (fn. 2) is believed to be an attempt, instituted with great artifice by this crown, to embroil the Spaniards in war with the Dutch who, being unable to resist so many attacks would find it necessary to yield on many points to England, and that country, deprived of the succour expected by the preoccupation of Spain, might not make difficulties about coming to terms with France which certainly would not be displeased to adjust affairs, with an excuse for carrying the war into Flanders to the aid of the Dutch. There is no doubt that if they were able to exchange the war with England for a war against the Spaniards it would be considered fortunate for this country and an opening for great advantages and conquests. The Spaniards on their side will do their utmost to keep themselves far from a rupture and to keep the fire between these two kingdoms burning, which may consume their own forces and remove fear from the Spaniards.
Paris, the 2nd March, 1666.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.362. London, the 12–22 February, 1666.
The day before yesterday, Saturday the 10–20 February, two heralds at arms preceded by twelve trumpets and followed by the king's guards on horseback, with the kettle drums, and after them the lord mayor of the city with the forty-two aldermen or burgomasters, all mounted on horses decked with rich cloths embroidered with gold, proceeded with great pomp and followed by a huge crowd of people, to nine or ten places of the city of London, in each of which war was declared against the King of France and Holland, with the reading of the enclosed paper, which has been faithfully translated. After the reading the heralds and the king's guards drew their swords and nourished them in the air, while the lord mayor and the aldermen did the same with their hats, to correspond. The proclamation was applauded by the sound of the trumpets and kettle drums and by the great crowd who threw their caps into the air and shouted long live the king and this war. It is not believed that any war has ever been received by the people with so much applause and rejoicing, to such an extent that many had prepared bonfires in the streets. By the side of these they have to-day posted notices how Louis XIV, King of France, pretending to make war against Charles II, King of France, everyone must prepare for defence and to attack this same Frenchman. Orders have been re-issued both by land and by sea for what is necessary for a cruel war from which unhappy results will appear, unless the aspect of affairs changes.
News is received here every day of some capture from the enemy and chiefly from the French. According to what is stated, these have recently lost three great ships in the English Channel, which have been taken by the English to Plymouth.
The Spaniards have not yet declared for England, but it is not doubted that they will do so. As regards Sweden, there is still some suspicion, although it is considered certain that they will be for England.
As the city of London is desirous of seeing the Court here, that will be the reason why the queen is coming to reside here again, on Saturday next.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.363. Declaration of His Britannic Majesty against France. Dated the 12–22 February, 1666.
Note that the English king never says “the King of France,” but only “the French king,” styling himself King of France. (fn. 3)
[2 pp. Italian.]
March 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
364. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In addition to the preparations which are being made in this country for the coming campaign, negotiations and transactions with other princes are not disconnected, to win them over to their own side. With the Landgrave of Hesse they have instituted negotiations. They think it will not be difficult to get him and everything will be made clear in a few days. A great deluge threatens Munster. An excellent disposition is manifested by many towards him, but the practical results are nil or scanty. The declaration of France against England affords matter for reflection to any one about coming to an open rupture with this formidable party. The Spaniards, more than others, maintain a cautious attitude although they more than any others will be tempted from every side. As I have intimated before, they would like to drag this personage on to the stage as they believe that this new enemy might render the war more profitable, making it a single instead of a double one, that is from a naval into a land war only, in which this nation counts for much, and by the addition of fresh fuel they hope rather to choke the fire than to increase it.
Some beginning of humours which began to get a start in the interior of the country are torn by their own irresolution, and without a leader of note they have no place where they can gather. If the English should make landings the Huguenots and the malcontents would place themselves at their side. If they should break with the Spaniards in Flanders only the malcontents would be received.
Eight hundred persons, including the banished and desperate, nobles and plebeians, have risen in Auvergne and have proceeded to Languedoc; but it is not clear to what they can aspire. English ships are not appearing in those parts.
They were talking of arming for war ten ships which were at La Rochelle, laden with goods destined for the trade of the Indies. It was pointed out that this would mean loss to individuals and discredit to the word of the crown; that they already had a sufficient number of ships arming and others already armed. So they gave up the idea and his Majesty set apart for them 200,000 lire so that they might be well provided for the requirements of the voyage and be more ready to put out to sea. By the 15th of this month there should be eight English ships at La Rochelle, obtained by Don Francesco di Melo, who is resident in London, for the transport of the Duchess of Omala, who is destined as the bride of Braganza.
Paris, the 2nd March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
365. Giacomo Querini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
At the consistory on Monday the pope did nothing but shut the mouth of the new cardinals. His Holiness then spoke at length with Cardinal Retz about the rupture between France and England. He expressed the fear that this impulse of arms may start to spread in Christendom, like a conflagration, and that some princes of lesser rank may have to take part in it against their will. He also remarked that the English frigates in the Mediterranean, even if they could not attack, might at least insult and impede commerce. Those vessels were full of perfidious heretics and after venting themselves against the French they would have no other aim than to injure the pontiff and the ecclesiastical state.
The Cardinal told me that in order to divert his mind from such thoughts he assured him that Buffort would speedily come out from Toulon with twenty-two well armed ships and eleven galleys and that if he met with the enemy he would fight them boldly. He went on to say to me: It is true, Signor ambassador, that the English cherish ill will against the pope, not so much on account of religion, as from the slight put upon the queen in steadily refusing her the dispensation for her marriage, although it has been prayed for several times, both by way of memorials and by gentlemen sent expressly to the Court of Rome. The king is also irritated by the refusal of the cardinal's hat to Obigni, who died a few months ago, so that if the opportunity came to them to deliver a telling blow, they would not hold their hand from a chance of taking revenge. He further admitted to me that in France they did not want the war with the English and that the king was short of friends and allies. Although Denmark is joining herself with Holland, he believed that as a counterpoise Sweden will draw towards England, it being the object of the Swedes to make themselves masters of the islands and of Denmark. The avarice of Colbert had made them lose all the confidences of the North and that even the Duke of Savoy became daily more mistrustful of France.
The ambassador of Spain likewise told me that the pope, at the last audience, had said a great deal to him about this war, but he had observed that no insinuation had been made to the ambassadors of princes to interpose their offices for a reasonable accommodation, nor had he even directed his nuncios at the Courts to attempt at least to prevent the rupture. He knew that if the Dutch had restored the places in Guinea peace with England would be concluded in four days; but France, having misgivings about an unexpected adjustment and fearful of being left alone in the war, had considered it forced upon her, if not the best expedient to take the initiative and to declare war impetuously upon the King of England.
Rome, the 6th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
366. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The envoy of England after having solicited the other princes for a declaration favourable to Munster, has made his stay at this Court, trying to persuade the emperor to join in an alliance with England. In response they put him off with various subterfuges. At present the difficulty consists in the powers, which are lacking. He contends that an alliance is more in the interest of the Austrians than of the English; it is enough that he has opened the gates and shown the intentions of his king. The indefinite form of the replies does not satisfy him, while the ministers here believe that he entertains no other object than to gain time and to render advantages to the negotiations with France. Thus nothing can be written with confidence. The spring season is approaching. The whole thing may easily end in smoke; the war with France, England and Holland at sea and Denmark may enter with France.
Vienna, the 7th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
367. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English have penetrated into the cabinet of the king here. His counsels are reported and the discussions and plans known. They knew that there was talk of expeditions against England, and although the difficulties and impossibility are well known to every one, yet they chose with prudent precautions to make themselves ready for defence and resistance. Ten thousand men picked from the most seasoned troops in the country were destined to garrison Dover, Gaci, Chester and other important points of the kingdom. Every day they are making levies of troops, and according to what is written from thence, they are toiling with incessant application at the building of new ships and the repair of old ones.
Letters from St. Malo in Brittany of the 3rd report that in the island of Gerse, near the islands of St. Michiel and St. Malo, subject to this country, ships are appearing daily and unload military implements and land troops, both foot and horse. This shows that the intention of the English is directed to some attack upon France and to an attempted landing. The Duke Mazarin, who is governor of Brittany, is showing the utmost vigilance to put the maritime places in a good state of defence, reinforcing the garrisons and strengthening the fortresses with divers works. At St. Malo, which is more exposed to danger, he has caused new redoubts to be erected, and he has sent munitions and troops to St. Michiel. The greatest anxiety and danger is that there may be intelligences within the kingdom and that several mines may explode at moments. The vice governor of Dunkirk has been sent prisoner to the citadel of Amiens, upon evidence of felony. (fn. 4)
Three frigates of war have been set apart to cruise along the coasts of the Boulognaise and to guard those shores. In the midst of this state of affairs a fresh cause for apprehension and alarm has occurred at the Court. [Concerning Monsieur and the government of Languedoc.]
Paris, the 9th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
368. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports from the English ambassador confirm the breaking off of the negotiations with the Portuguese. Further particulars are expected from him, and if he knows whether they are at liberty to conclude the agreement alone or if they are committed to France, on whom they depend. This is suspected, although some declaration preceded that the Most Christian is a friend not an ally. It is regretted that the ambassador attempted a remedy with the mischief not healed. Medina does not escape censure, for having drawn the others into the same net by his persuasions, from having trusted too much to the ambassador. He defends himself vigorously, saying that the ambassador had received intimations from Braganza as well as from the Portuguese ministers of a readiness to make an accommodation. The action was approved at Rome and in the foreign Courts. But the government does not seem to be convinced by these representations.
The ministers are holding consultations about the steps to be taken. Castel Rodrigo in Flanders, Ponce de Leon at Milan and the other viceroys protest against being abandoned. I do not know definitely what will be decided, but the war of France with England, almost a pledge of confidence and quiet, diverts their application from that quarter for the moment, with some apprehension.
Madrid, the 10th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
369. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador, having made long stages, arrived yesterday. There were no compliments except from his wife and child. He went at once to the queen and will see Medina directly. Another English minister should arrive this evening, who made the journey with him. They separated only a day before the ambassador entered. (fn. 5) They say that he was staying at Lisbon. Who he is or for what reason he is coming I have not discovered.
Madrid, the 10th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
370. Francesco Bianchi, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Resident and consul of England continue to make abundant provision of salt meat for the ships of war which are expected in these waters. They have made some attempt to get advantages for their nation over the Dutch, but it has proved in vain, as the Grand Duke wishes to keep up an independent friendship with both parties, and cause the port to be more frequented.
Florence, the 13th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
371. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The negotiations of the envoy of England are not only admitted to be suspended, but he is already persuaded that the Austrians do not wish to mix themselves up in the present emergencies of England and France. He would have liked to see some one sent to England on behalf of Caesar, the door being open, as he says, to the safety of the states of the House of Austria, to which this alliance matters more than to his own king. Here in various ways they evade or delay the business.
Vienna, the 14th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
372. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to visit the Ambassador Boreel. He entered upon an elaborate explanation to show me the great advantages which France derives from Holland since England does not interrupt the trade to Holland from Scotland, Norway and Ireland, and the goods and provisions which they import from France by way of the sea, profit France, so he said, to the amount of twenty-nine million of the lire here. Holland obtains from France for various goods which are exported nine millions, and the same from Norway, Muscovy and other parts indicated.
I was anxious to know if there was any one who would mediate between France and England, something having been said about a certain envoy of Denmark named Sester; and so I asked the ambassador about it. He hesitated a moment and then said, begging me to keep it secret, that this was the queen of England. He seemed to me to entertain good hopes and to rejoice with me in advance about an issue so much to be desired, of which he expressed a doubt.
Paris, the 16th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
373. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English have directed Smilt, who has already passed the Strait, to proceed in the direction of the Levant to escort four very rich merchant ships which are expected from Smyrna, (fn. 6) while ten are not to leave except under such protection. The Ambassador Boreel told me that he greatly feared there would be an engagement with the ships of the States who also are to proceed in that direction.
Paris, the 16th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
374. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Ambrun has not been to visit the English ambassador; but his relations with the Dutch ambassador are not interrupted. It is understood that England complains that his civilities have met with an ill response.
Some ships of Holland in the port of Alicante having gone out, a squadron of England appeared. Having asked permission to enter from the governor they were told that in view of the suspicion of the plague it could not be accorded. Offended by the refusal the commander retorted that he found that the Dutch were favoured while the English received discourteous treatment. They seemed disposed to take station in front of the port itself, waiting for the enemy ships, to fight them. The governor sent to warn them that in that place every one ought to enjoy security and that he would not permit acts of aggression. Although at this intimation the English broke out into angry words, in the end they decided that the best course for them to pursue was to go away. The English ambassador has made a remonstrance about the incident.
A new and numerous squadron of England has been cruising in the waters of Cadiz for many days. (fn. 7) Every ship is searched and to seize it the fact that the captain is French or Dutch suffices, even if the ship and cargo belong to others. This severity has greatly stirred the traders not only of that mart but of every other one. They make representations to the governor that if he does not provide a remedy against this annoyance he is inflicting great prejudice on the royal interests. Being unwilling to entangle himself in trouble the governor thus informed, is holding his hand until he receives express orders.
Madrid, the 17th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
375. To the Ambassador in France.
Enclose a memorial of the merchants Benzoni concerning a declaration of the English that the Venetian ship Salvator del Mundo et Anima del Purgatorio is good prize with all its cargo. He is to cause representations to be made to his Britannic Majesty for the cancelling of the sentence and the release of the ship. If the English ambassador has gone he can approach the queen of England.
That the English consul (fn. 8) be summoned to the Collegio and that strong representations be made to him concerning this miscarriage and the desirability of a complete withdrawal with compensation.
Ayes, 126. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
March 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
376. To the King of England.
Request for the release of the aforesaid ship and its cargo, without any charge; the Senate relying upon his justice and generosity, that having refused ships to the Turks for attacking Christendom he will not wish injury to be inflicted by these upon the subjects of a friendly prince. Compliments.
Ayes, 126. Noes, 11. Neutral, 12.
[Italian.]
March 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
377. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The envoy of England has received orders from his master and letters from the Bishop of Munster to represent to Caesar the critical condition of the latter's interests and the necessity of succour, protesting that if this is not supplied promptly he will make an adjustment with Holland. He says that he has 20,000 men who at the very moment of disbanding will go over to serve under the French flag, since he has no means or authority to divert them from that service. It is very plain how far this adjustment will expose Flanders subsequently to peril, if the authority of the French is overwhelming, and on the other hand how, by sustaining his interests the Austrians will secure their own.
He goes on to say that as the King of England had assisted Munster with hopes that this promising beginning would be favoured by others coming to join in, so he could not see a well deserving ally of his in danger. He brought forward many considerations to extract some favourable declaration from Caesar's reserve. But their answers have been the usual ones, the desire of the emperor for peace in Germany and that Munster shall come to terms. He cannot meddle in the interests of Flanders, as they depend upon the resolutions of Spain, which has made no communication about this treaty of alliance; and they cannot speak of succours until they know about the transactions, resolutions, plans and ultimate aims.
In this way England is left with scant satisfaction. He says that he will be leaving in a few days after the useless negotiations which he has instituted with the princes of Germany and at this Court.
Mons. di Grimonville has instructions to urge the emperor to mediate about Munster, the Dutch being ready for an adjustment. This is believed to be a trick; but the diet of Ratisbon has made similar representations. The Dutch party is strong through the adhesion of Brandenburg, Denmark and Lonenburg, which has all been managed by French ministers, while Munster has no apparent declaration from any and the supplies of money from England cannot be kept up.
Vienna, the 21st March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
378. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
An individual has been sent to England who was formerly secretary of M. di Bordeos, who lived there as ambassador. (fn. 9) His going was cloaked under the pretext of informing the king there by a special messenger of the death of the queen mother, with all the particulars of her last illness, the King of England having complained that this act of courtesy had only been performed by letters, without considering the close relationship she had with this crown. But the true inner motive is to keep a watch upon current events, to advise the state of affairs there and to be ready for transactions.
The queen of England was to bring under the eyes of the king, her son, a project, ostensibly her own, but certainly with the assent of the Dutch, namely that without refining upon the multiplicity of the outstanding differences between Holland and England, if examined one by one it might be that one was an obstacle to another. They ought, in the mass to arrange either that each side should keep what it had, both the places in Guinea and the ships and other capital which had been taken, or else each side should punctually restore everything exactly as it was before the war. This proposal was made at the very outset when armaments were proceeding and apparently it was not rejected, but subsequently I do not know from what source it originated. My lords of the government here, flatter themselves in their complacency over their forces, that the declaration of this crown may reduce England from apprehension of them to embrace the project and obtain peace for herself. But a consideration of the pride and arrogance of that nation makes one inclined to believe that it may even serve to increase their obstinacy and prove an obstacle to the affair.
His Majesty has been somewhat perturbed by a letter shown him by the queen of England, his aunt, written to her by the king, her son, in which that monarch commiserates the state of his brother, the King of France, who was badly served by his people and worse informed of the affairs of England. That they believed in France that there were differences among the English, while he assured her on his word that they were all of one mind and united in the matter of the war. They published in France that there was a disinclination to contribute money, whereas one and another were coming forward voluntarily to offer it. They reported that the fleet would not consist of more than 150 ships, but up to that date they had over 200 of them inscribed in the book of the Admiralty. But what most impressed the king here was that he found disclosed in that letter consultations made by his Majesty with three only of the ministers. He was surprised and disturbed by this and spoke about it to those concerned, who looked one at another in amazement, held their tongues and said nothing. A letter of Madame, written to a lady confidante and intercepted might bring to light some hidden design. There is some confusion at Court, not without the idle fancies of ladies (v'e qualche imbroglio in Corte, ne senza chimere di dame).
Paris, the 23rd March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
379. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English are proving vain the hopes of those who persuaded themselves that, being intent on warlike preparations, they would abandon their application to commerce, and that enfeebled for lack of this sustenance they would become extenuated and of short resisting power under the burden of the war. They have put to sea thirty-six powerful ships destined to convoy a number of merchant ships which are steering towards Hamburg. They sighted a squadron off Holland, but it avoided them and gave no sign of hostility. It is already known that in the Mediterranean some ships were convoyed for Genoa, and twenty-five frigates, as I wrote in my last, are to proceed to Smyrna in the Levant. The abundance of ships which the English possess permits them at the same time to trade and to fight. The Dutch and France suffer from greater deprivations, losing the profits of trade and being forced to consume themselves with expenses, without hope of gains.
Paris, the 23rd March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
380. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
It has been agreed to give audience to the English ambassador and the other English minister. One refused to go to it without the other. When it takes place it will be purely ceremonious not for affairs. Of the concerns and interests of Portugal not a word may be uttered. Upon this subject her Majesty does not allow any one to speak except her own ministers. She will not listen to the project of England so that she may not be obliged to give an answer to his negotiations; as she is not disposed to give them praise, to disapprove of them seems an excessive mortification.
It is further stated that letters of Caracena had been shown by the Portuguese ministers, proposing peace and recognition of the king. This step having been taken by so great a person it was useless for them to hope here that they would be permitted to draw back in the present state of affairs. Instead of keeping it hidden, it was for him to suggest a means of defence against opposition and to settle the matter. Medina pretended that this information was news to him and roundly denied that any one had moved in the matter by the royal order. In the Council of State when Medina reported what the ambassador had said about the papers produced by the Portuguese, and charged Caracena with the notable prejudice, sharp words ensued between them … Everyone is amazed at the way this knot has been tangled. Of the negotiations which have run on to this pitch they can find neither the author nor the origin. To sum it all up, the ambassador is aggrieved and the government far from content.
Upon the most essential point of all the ambassador tells them that he has found out that in addition to the offer of money and of men France has promised to attack from three quarters, with a powerful diversion … This information based upon authentic grounds has stirred the most lively feeling in their hearts. They console themselves, however, with the reflection that the pledge of the Most Christian was given before he found himself committed against England.
Madrid, the 24th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
381. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English frigates which were cruising about off Cadiz have put out to sea, steering towards the Strait. That town rejoices at their departure, it being now free for any craft to approach. Some say that it is following the other squadron which has already entered the Mediterranean. United they will form a powerful force; divided they are not strong enough to confront Bucfort, who forms a considerable and powerful body with a large number of Dutch ships. Here they expect encounters … as a more intimate guarantee for progressing in the war … the mere declaration of war in words is not a sufficient guarantee, it irritates somewhat but does not exasperate.
Madrid, the 24th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
382. Francesco Bianchi, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
We are still waiting for news of the sailing of the French fleet from Toulon. Some say that the Duke of Boffort will not move before he hears of the arrival of a fresh squadron of Dutch ships in the Mediterranean. Others say that he has orders to weigh anchor without delay and to go and fight the English towards the Strait, closing up with their ships at the first encounter, because boarding is considered more advantageous for the French and to fight with cold steel rather than with the guns. It is possible that this move may be further stimulated by the news that twenty English frigates have passed away from the Strait, it is believed in order to enter these waters. What is certain is that the duke has sent to several places to make provision of powder and lead and in Leghorn also there is some one who is charged with this in his name. He has also sent an express to Algiers to treat with those barbarians and conclude an agreement in conformity with the one arranged with the others of Tunis and Biserta, so as to have no other enemies to divert his attention.
Florence, the 27th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
383. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Mons. di Gremonville has received the emperor's reply about Munster, but no decision has been taken and they are only trying to gain time. They are waiting to hear from Spain about the confirmation of the truce with Portugal and for further information about the treaty with the English king.
Amid these delays Lord Taf will be leaving next week, with nothing concluded but highly favoured personally. He told me that his sojourn at this Court was useless. The door was open for important transactions. He was of opinion that England can come to terms with France and that a settlement can be arrived at for the mutual interests. This would not have happened if the resolutions in this quarter and in Spain had been more prompt. In this connection he has also intimated to the emperor that Munster not being succoured with sufficient forces it behoved him to come to terms with the Dutch, and that his king advised it since he does not desire the ruin of one of his allies, and so he had made a good disposition of things to his advantage. But here the government takes nothing into consideration except that it behoves them to keep a look out to see the effects of time, not to involve Caesar in commitments, to keep him away from disturbances, not to provoke material for disputes or to court losses.
No pressure is coming from Madrid, indeed they are without confidential communications in this matter although Castel Rodrigo asks for troops. Something was said to Gremonville about the powerful land armaments of France; but he pointed out that having declared war on England, France was bound to keep an eye on many parts and signs of evil humours in the country made it necessary to have troops to keep them in order. These reasons have served to confirm still more the hopes of the ministers that even if the gale should come it will blow itself out without causing troubles.
Vienna, the 28th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
384. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Andelo has contrived so well with Sweden that he has not only made sure of the indifference and neutrality of that country between the two crowns but has brought away in addition an excellent disposition accompanied by active measures to employ their offices with England, to induce her to come to a composition and to overcome the difficulties which obstruct a sound friendship, rather by way of negotiation than by arms. They have also nominated and despatched to England the Senator Flemingh and the Councillor of State Coyet, with a first charge to declare that Sweden is determined not to take sides against France in respect of the ancient alliances and obligations with this crown, and in the second place to make strong representations to England not to bind themselves with the Austrians, who are the secret and implacable enemies of that crown. It would be taken in ill part by the Protestant party and in the long run England would suffer most by it. It is not known what effect such representations will have on the hardness of the English; but it is certain that their great hopes which they cherished of having strong support from that quarter will have a great fall.
To the deputy of Munster who proceeded to England to represent the difficulties of the bishop, his master, and to ask for succour or permission to come to terms, (fn. 10) the English have replied that his friendship was of slight value for their interests; they would know how to beat the Dutch as well separated from him as with his alliance; that they had not asked for his friendship, and as he had been prompted by his own interest to join himself to England for his advantage, he might equally well consult his own interests by detaching himself.
The English cloak their impotence over the difficulty of assisting him under a show of disdain and contempt for his diversion. Accordingly he finds himself surrounded by many enemies, menaced by all the princes of the empire, abandoned by England, in the midst of troubles and manifest peril. Brandenburg never ceases to terrorise him and to cause all his hopes to recede. These last weeks he has caused a report to circulate that he will turn his arms immediately against whoever will be so bold as to support the bishop, even if it were the emperor himself. The bishop will certainly have to bow his head in the face of such powerful forces.
Paris, the 30th March, 1666.
[Italian.]
March 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
385. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador and envoy on hearing of the queen's decision to receive them in audience, decided to go separately, the ambassador first. He began with compliments, but he could not refrain from drawing attention to the punctuality of the service rendered, though only in general terms. On leaving he gave her Majesty a packet containing many papers, which was found to contain an account of his negotiations, and a justification of his actions. It has not yet been read in the Council of State. It is also understood that he wrote a sharp note to Medina. He asks him for a prompt reply containing a declaration upon many points of this same business which has passed between them. By Medina they have already been affirmed; the ambassador at present denies them. The most essential is that he never pledged himself to threaten the Portuguese with the enmity of his king if they should not assent to the capitulations already established. Medina has made no reply and has not the least intention of making one. The ambassador is correspondingly depressed and resentful. It is said that he means to publish a justification, saying that the government here laid a burden upon his back which he never undertook to bear. The harmony between the ambassador and Medina is now converted into aversion. The duke, however, who is the quintessence of phlegm will continue to dissimulate and by evasion chooses that his satisfaction shall not be disputed (et schermando vuole le sue sodisfattioni non contese).
The audience of the envoy was merely for the presentation of his credentials. He asserted that he had negotiations of his own for this crown and asked for a minister with whom to confer. The Council of State is ready to hear him but not to appoint a minister, remembering what happened with the ambassador. They asked him to draw up a paper for presentation to her Majesty. After a dispute on the subject it was finally decided to hear the envoy, but to have everything in writing.
Madrid, the last of March, 1666.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Colonel Lord George Douglas commander of the king's Scottish guards. Louis was very angry about the recall of Douglas and his regiment and many difficulties were raised to stop them leaving. Holles to Williamson, Feb. 17th–27th; Holles to Lionne, March 22nd. S.P. France, Vol. cxxii.
2 Representations were made by the Council of Brabant to the States General about an alleged plot of the Papists with the forces of Munster. Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. v., page 776.
3 Cal. S.P. Dom. 1665–6, page 237, where it is dated Feb. 9th. The note about the title is added to Salvetti's despatch of this time, in French. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962R, f. 330.
4 Rugge, in March, records a great uproar in Dunkirk among the soldiers. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 10117, f. 157d.
5 According to Lady Fanshaw the ambassador got back to Madrid on the 8th. His companion was Sir Robert Southwell. Memoirs of Lady Fanshaw, page 187.
6 The Royal Catherine, Sampson, Hannibal and Bachelor. They were directed to remain at Messina until convoy or further directions were sent. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1665–6, page 303.
7 Not a new squadron but Sir Jeremy Smith's. He was back at Cadiz on 21st February (London Gazette, March 8th–12th) and Consul Westcombe reported him as cruising off the port on 14th March. S.P. Spain, Vol. 1.
8 Giles Jones.
9 Presumably M. Bastide. The queen mother died on 20th January.
10 The minister who came to England from Munster in the preceding year was Henry Alexander von Wrede. Zeitschrift fur Vaterlandische Geschichte, Munster, Vol. xxv., page 42.