Venice
April 1666

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1933

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279-287

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'Venice: April 1666', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 279-287. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90176 Date accessed: 18 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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April 1666

April 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
386. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Negotiations for an adjustment between Holland and the Bishop of Munster are proceeding towards a conclusion. The King of England has stirred the princes of Germany against Holland, but has not been able to get anything. 500,000 crowns in all have been supplied to Munster by that king.
Lord Taf is to have his last audience of the emperor to-day; but I understand that he may remain on for some days, possibly in order to have news of the negotiations in Spain. He displays his dissatisfaction. He was treated at first with confidence and hopes of business; then he was denied the faculty of treating because he had not sufficient powers, and finally he was shut out altogether by the emperor saying that he did not want wars and commitments. The individual moreover has in no way corresponded to the greatness of the occasion. He is fond of nothing but eating and drinking and destitute of the knowledge and ability required for such transactions.
Vienna, the 4th April, 1666.
[Italian.]
April 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
387. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The whole fleet of the allies, when it is united will form a body of 214 ships, undoubtedly capable of confronting the most powerful forces of England. The Admiral Ruiter has already put to sea with a considerable fleet and it is believed that he has some secret design. Tromp likewise has advanced towards the Texel with the principal commanders of the fleet, and in the mean time the Lords States will not forget to dispose matters for the land forces in the event of the affairs of Munster not being ended by a prompt accommodation.
Paris, the 6th April, 1666.
[Italian.]
April 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
388. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The king, by his last letters to Ambrun offered mediation with Portugal to the Catholic king, and simultaneously offered the same to Portugal by the Bishop of Sant, uncle of the Duchess of Angouleme. (fn. 1) It is believed, however, that these offers have as their object the interruption of the business and to take it out of the hands of England rather than any hope or intention of achieving the end, or any desire for the adjustment. With the despatch of Montagu, who left London recently, an attempt will be made by England to renew the negotiations, and the offer of Ambrun and those of Sant or San Roman will serve as a counter to this.
Paris, the 6th April, 1666.
[Italian.]
April 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
389. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The projected intervention of the queen of England for the adjustment, which was suggested to the king, her son, has proved unacceptable, and indeed her mediation is absolutely excluded by that monarch. He has stated in a letter that her transactions arouse some mistrust in the English, because she is French by birth and too fond of living in this country; that the prosecution of the negotiations by her hands would be too hurtful to herself in the minds of her own subjects and that the chancellor of the kingdom principally objected to it. It would be his wish that as soon as she has taken the waters of Borbon which the physicians have recommended for the cure of some of her ills at the time of the spring season, she should come to England to enjoy her own appanages.
The Court not less than the queen heard with regret the rejection of the projects and the summons to England. The king here who is all gentleness and benevolence and who loves the queen as if she was his mother, retaliates and is resentful. I do not complain, he says, that the English have forced the war on me, because I hope that they will experience from it greater inconveniences and losses than France; but that the king, my brother, is seeking to do me harm, and does not remember how I had compassion on him when he was cast down by fortune. In London he has allowed jests to be made about my person and that the people may satisfy their audacity by audacious pleasantries. These last weeks some representations were made in London in which popular licence broke out in contempt and derision of all the powers of Europe, but with the greatest insolence towards the person of his Majesty here.
The queen shrugged her shoulders to express her sorrow at seeing quarrels and bitter feeling between princes so nearly related, but even more for her ill fortune in not being able to reconcile them. The king here, although he knew before about the follies of the populace there, has never complained so openly about it as when he had heard that negotiations were obstructed on this side. It is therefore believed that the coming campaign with the English is assured; the secretary of the Dutch ambassador remarked to me that there are no signs of an adjustment with England this year and that the clash of arms is inevitable.
They do not build much upon the proceedings of Messires Flemia and Coyet, appointed by Sweden to make the representations already reported to England, because they know how greatly to the advantage of the Swedes it is to keep these two crowns at loggerheads, and how many opportunities they will have of profiting thereby.
Paris, the 6th April, 1666.
[Italian.]
April 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
390. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English envoy has put nothing in writing but he has expressed himself in various conversations with Medina. He proposes negotiation, but he is unwilling to commit himself if instead of examining his suggestions it is felt that they will meet with open rejection. Without something to go upon he is not inclined to expose his business to ruin and himself to discredit.
Of the ambassador they speak with utter contempt. The ministers do not hesitate to say that he has behaved infamously. The more the matter is ventilated the more heated they become. A person of consideration in the government professed to explain the truth to me. The ambassador had bound himself that his king should bring pressure on the Portuguese to agree to conditions which were not exorbitant. They argue therefore that if among the things agreed upon between the ambassador and Medina it was provided that Braganza should not be recognised as king, this was judged convenient, because if it had been exorbitant the ambassador should not have agreed to it, but should have objected. In this consists the essence of all the altercation and ambiguity.
It has been proposed to send some one to London with the character of an envoy to report what has happened and to insist that the king shall fulfil the promise made by his ambassador. The proposal is not approved by everyone and remains undecided. To make less fuss they are inclined to let the Count of Molina fill the place. Some strong despatches have already gone, but more vehement ones are being drawn up.
Madrid, the 7th April, 1666.
[Italian.]
April 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
391. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Grand Chancellor at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
The Count Lesle, who recently left here, having a close intimacy with the English ambassador, communicated to the latter his just suspicions of the behaviour of Panagiotti. As he is the implacable enemy of that excellency the talk and suspicion is so much the more confirmed as it is stimulated by deep seated malice which has suggested the notion of the absolute necessity of keeping an eye upon the hand of that individual. And because it seemed that two essential points remained fixed in the heart of the imperial ambassador, one to find out and observe all the proceedings of the dragoman, the other to use every possible effort to prevent the peace of your Excellencies, it was decided that as soon as Lesle had arrived at Vienna one of his nephews should make the journey here under some other pretext and reside in the house of England, in order to write from time to time to the imperial Court, what he should chance to find out, since they make little or no account of the Resident Casa Nova, who is without experience and of limited intelligence, but is extremely detested by Lesle. However, everything depends upon the disposition of Caesar.
Pera of Constantinople, the 9th April, 1666.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
392. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Lord Taf having asked permission to take leave of the emperor, his Majesty sent him word by the Count of Lambergh, his chief chamberlain, asking him to be content to stay on for fifteen or twenty days since the advices from Spain seemed to afford a motive for resuming the negotiations. They are still considering the despatch to England of the Count of Chinisech, more for the fostering of correspondence than to conclude treaties. In the meantime letters have arrived from Madrid bringing word of the breaking off of the transactions for an adjustment with Portugal. This news has greatly upset the royal ministers at Madrid. By Medina the blame is attributed to the English ambassador and to his false presumptions. The news distresses Caesar greatly and the Court is utterly disconsolate.
Vienna, the 11th April, 1666.
[Italian.]
April 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
393. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
These last days the ambassador of Germany (fn. 2) was present at a special junta. As his presence is not usual at such meetings, it occasioned exceptional remark. It is said that two matters were ventilated at this meeting: one to suggest to Caesar the way in which he should conduct himself towards the proposals of the English envoy, and the other to arrange about numerous levies for Flanders. Upon the first the votes all agreed that he should welcome the confidence but that he should be cautious about committing himself, and confine himself to avoiding embarrassments for the moment; accidents and time will suggest in the future more resolute directions.
Madrid, the 14th April, 1666.
[Italian.]
April 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
394. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
They have decided to make some sort of concession to the Earl of Sanduich by abbreviating the quarantine, which they demanded he should make in full after his landing. The weather has been favourable to him from the beginning, from the time that he left England, and he assured them by certified papers of the perfect health enjoyed in the ship, which is a ship of war and not a merchantman, and not under a shadow of suspicion. (fn. 3) They will be more strict with his goods. There is more danger from the people he has brought with him. Seventy persons compose his first household besides those who have arrived at the Court and whom he intends to include to make a stately appearance.
It has seemed good to the Court to begin at once with extraordinary treatment and courtesies, sending from here to Corugna the carriage, coaches and litters of the royal stables for his convenience on the road. The same thing was done with the present one, and the practice having been introduced for one, the precedent is followed with the other. The ostensible motive for his coming is to offer condolences on the death of King Philip IV; but this may be a show or a veil for more hidden ends and important negotiations. It certainly does not pass without notable observation that England is holding great intercourse with the House of Austria, at the Court of the emperor and at this one, duplicating missions with distinguished ministers.
Madrid, the 14th April, 1666.
[Italian.]
April 17.
Collegio
Secreta.
Lettere
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
395. Carolus D.G. Rex etc.
Retulit apud nos vir probus etc. Jacobus Ravenscroft, Londinii mercator quam inique apud vos agatur, cum quodam suo filio et mandatorio Georgio Ravenscroft, qui cum patris res agent bonam pecuniae summam Banco vestro publico credidisset eandem jam repetent. Haudquaquam Vos latere credimus quantum nostri utriusque communisque quod inter subditos nostros utrinque intercedit commercii intersit ne non integrum ubique et illaesum negotiantibus jus praestetur. Id dum nostra ex parte sancte et sine pretii jubeamus administrari, sperare utique volumus, vos pariter eidem aequitati non defuturos neque passuros, Nobis saltem id rogantibus ut vel nexa sine ratione mora litiumque tedio vel confectis supra quod docet in re ipsa difficultatibus, pecuniis suis diutius privetur Noster subditus, quin pro methodo qua causam hanc terminandam decrevistis a magistratibus seu commissariis quibus id a Vobis demandatum est tota res summarie et cum ea quae inter amicorum subditos decet aequanimitate et justitia quantocitius examinetur et prout causae mensa sunt honesto viro subdito nostro plene satisfiat. In quo missis benevolentiae et mutua amicitiae vinculis, quae tamen aeterna inter nos esse cupimus, propriam Vestram justitiam invocare volumus Vobis Vestrisque omnibus ubi occasio obtulerit parem animi promptitudinem repensuri.
Datum in palacio nostro Westmonasterii septimo die Aprilis, 1606.
[Signed] Carolus R.
April 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
396. Francesco Bianchi, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Resident of England, upon the arrival of General Smitz, who is to come to these waters with a squadron of the fleet, proposes to take up his residence at Leghorn. An English merchant vessel leaving this port was attacked at a distance of half a mile out by a great Dutch ship. The combat between them lasted for more than an hour in view of the populace; but the English consul realising that the ship could not hold out any longer, sent to have it towed under the defence of the fortress which was obliged by several cannon shots to drive off the hostile ship which was following in pursuit of the merchantman. (fn. 4)
The fleet has not yet come out from Toulon, and one cannot discover what considerations are detaining it, because it is days since it was said to be ready to spread its sails.
Florence, the 17th April, 1666.
[Italian.]
April 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
397. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Fresh letters which reached Lord Taf last week from the King of England have forced him to leave suddenly after taking his congé from the emperor, with expressions of courtesy and a rich present. He came here in response to the mission of the Count of Chinisech and to obtain help for the Bishop of Munster as well as to promote treaties of alliance with the House of Austria; but after a promising beginning his mission has ended unsatisfactorily.
From Madrid they have not communicated the essential part of the treaty with England. This great affair which was to bring about concord and union between the two houses has not been directed with equal correspondence. The urgency of England has only served to make manifest that the hopes of assistance given to Munster were willow the wisps to deceive, not to be converted into action. In the meantime the bishop has come to terms. From Paris they have sent the guarantee which the bishop himself requested from the Most Christian king. He renounces the alliance with the King of England and binds himself in close union with France. The Dutch waive their claims for compensation for the damage inflicted.
Vienna, the 18th April, 1666.
[Italian.]
April 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
398. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Unexpected arrival at the Court of Mons. de Gletri, who was supposed to be a prisoner at Constantinople. (fn. 5)
On his way hither he stayed two hours at Toulon with Admiral Boffort who soon after put out to sea. It is not known in what direction but it may be concluded that Gletri disclosed some favourable opening to be culled from the English and that he persuaded Boffort, coming on with all speed to the Court in order to increase his merit with the king. It was already learned that twenty-five English frigates were in the Mediterranean which made prizes of three French vessels with cargoes of rich merchandise, putting on shore some of the sailors and directing them to come to Court here and bring the news.
Since the declaration of war it is estimated that sixty merchantmen of this nation and Dutch ships have fallen into the hands of the English, a very serious loss to the people of these two nations who raise loud cries to heaven at the injuries which they suffer. It is not easy to see any remedy at hand, indeed they fear even greater perils. Fresh arguments disclose themselves daily that the Swedes, ostensibly neutral, secretly rejoice at the turmoil and in the end are also about to take their share in the impending calamities.
Paris, the 20th April, 1666.
[Italian.]
April 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
399. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
There is talk of an encounter between twelve French ships and a squadron of the English in the Mediterranean and that after a combat lasting three hours with equal losses in men but none of ships, on both sides, the French have withdrawn to the ports of Provence. There is great curiosity and anticipation of more authentic news.
Paris, the 20th April, 1666.
[Italian.]
April 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
400. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Council of State has intimated to the English envoy that he should produce his commissions. Seeing that he observes a profound silence they have thought it good to give him an incitement to speak. It seemed strange that after arriving at the Court several weeks ago and having assumed his character he should say nothing about the reason for his coming. He answered that his mission was connected with the adjustment with Portugal. He was ready to submit his proposals if the ministers were not averse from hearing them. Being uncertain up to the present about their intentions he had abstained from declaring himself, as it was not his intention to provoke them to commit themselves against their will or to expose himself to a repulse, which would be very mortifying. As he wished that his journey should not prove fruitless, leaving him to return empty handed, he would be pleased to open out and introduce the business. Not to listen to the proposals was unnecessarily severe; subsequently to receive or reject them was a question of prudence.
The government agreed with the force of these ideas, and after application and consideration it was thought necessary to relax their severity and to hear his instances, having due regard for the reputation of the British sovereign, esteem for his ministers and respect for his interposition.
To this extent therefore they relaxed, but upon the point of permitting him to speak to the queen upon the matter they would not give way. Putting the matter with all gentleness they let him know that an audience with her Majesty was superfluous. She did not know English and he could not speak Spanish, and it was not the style to employ an interpreter. If he met the Duke of Medina, that minister would retail to the Council every particular with impartiality. There was no abhorrence about composing these differences but they did not like the manner and order of the composition.
The envoy was pleased with this declaration, taking it as a good beginning of somewhat better progress. He conferred with Medina on the following day when he presented the same points as the ambassador had set forth before, to treat as king to king and the peace instead of a truce. It seemed very strange to the Council to hear the resounding note of the highest pretensions. Nevertheless, while practising all moderation they delay giving their answer. One of the most experienced of the ministers remarked that England in supporting the vainglorious notions of his brother-in-law is not a mediator but a party. If they have to come to extremities it would be better to do without the interposition of any one and to deal directly with Portugal for an agreement which would be at once a more immediate method and correspondingly generous.
Madrid, the 21st April, 1666.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Louis de Bassompierre, bishop of Saintes. Marie Francoise de Valois, Duchess of Angouleme.
2 Eusebius, Count Pötting.
3 Sandwich sailed from Spithead in the Resolution on the 2nd–12th March, and arrived at Corunna on the 12th–22nd March. W. Godolphin on 3rd March, Sandwich to Arlington on 20th March. S.P. Spain, Vol. 1.
4 The English ship was the Delight of Plymouth, ninety tons and four guns, going to Gallipoli for oil. The Dutchman was the White Lamb, 600 tons and twenty-six guns, taking corn from Sicily to Spain. The action took place on 5th April. Chillingworth to Arlington on 5th April; Finch to Arlington on 5th and 12th April. S.P. Tuscany, Vol. vi.
5 Guy de Chaumout, seigneur de Guitry. According to a despatch from Pera of 3rd–13th January, he had been “sent by the King of France to oversee the French ambassador's reception” at the Porte. S.P. Turkey, Vol. xviii. His arrival at Paris is recorded in the London Gazette of April 16th–19th.


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