Venice
July 1666

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1935

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25-44

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'Venice: July 1666', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 35: 1666-1668 (1935), pp. 25-44. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90203 Date accessed: 02 October 2014.


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Contents

July 1666

July 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
23. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Resident of England, in combination with me, spoke strongly about the prejudice which has been done to the merchants, subjects of other princes, by the introduction of the Genoese with the Turks, and he express his amazement that the foreign ministers in residence at Constantinople and the minister of your Serenity in particular, had not taken steps to prevent the arrangement at the very outset. (fn. 1) However, he excused the ambassador of his king by saying that he had known nothing about it until after the business was settled. Though I knew what the Grand Chancellor had done in the matter, I kept this to myself, as was my duty and contented myself with saying that as the interest was general so any steps that were taken at the time should have been common to all the ministers, but that if the English ambassador had not found out anything about the negotiations until all was settled, it seemed most likely that his Excellency Ballarino was also in the dark, as he was kept there remote from all knowledge and confidence.
Florence, the 3rd July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
24. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch being encouraged by success and the English stimulated by rage, both sides shut their ears to negotiation, and nothing else is expected than a return to the sea, for the former to win fresh victories and for the latter to make good the losses they have suffered. It is said that the Dutch at present have forty-five ships away from their ports and that these will soon be joined by numerous others which are preparing.
The king of England writes to Madame, his sister, that fifty-four ships which have not yet put to sea, are about to proceed to attack the Dutch at any moment. They are not yet certain at Court whether Rupert has set out to encounter Boffort, but they are somewhat anxious about it. They are urging upon the envoy Boninghen the desirability of setting in motion the squadron already destined for the purpose, in order to effect their junction and begin to carry out their plans.
Letters have come from Lisbon reporting that Boffort was in the neighbourhood of the river there, and while the Dutch were cleaning their guns to fight the English, he was unloading wheat from his ships to expel famine from Portugal. On the appearance of this force in those waters twenty-one galleons of Spain immediately took their departure, so the voyage of Madame d'Umala will be made safe. The nuptials were celebrated on the 24th ult. by proxy in the person of the duke of Vendôme, her uncle, (fn. 2) and on the 28th she had sailed for Lisbon.
The 300 horse of the guards and other troops, which as I wrote were destined for those parts, have marched to La Rochelle. The danger of attacks having vanished it remains to be seen if any expeditions are being prepared. The reports circulated by the English, with questionable prudence but with unquestionable temerity, that they will not lay down their arms until they have reduced the Dutch to extremity, oblige those, who are their friends, to exert themselves the more in their defence.
The king recently entertained Monsieur, his brother, and Madame at a sumptuous banquet. He proposed to drink to the felicity of the Lords States and to the health of their Admiral Ruiter. Madame made no response, but with downcast eyes showed her disapproval. The king added that it behoved them to rejoice at the good fortune of their friends, the Dutch. Madame replied that she would always hear with pleasure of the felicity of France, but that she must always prefer England to Holland.
Madame receives letters from her brother every week in which biting remarks against the Dutch may be read, and in particular they deny the victory won by the latter over the English. By several letters scattered abroad and by false and made-up accounts they would like to misrepresent the issue. Madame takes care to avail herself of these and distributes them freely everywhere. The king complains about it. He has intimated that it would be better to retire to St. Cloud, than to fill the Court with lies.
These altercations serve to bring to light personal sympathies and to disclose character. Many partisans of the affairs of England are coming to the fore, and they are precisely those who are ill affected to the present government, and they are not few. If things should take another turn France would experience serious mischief internally. Before the battle took place letters from Languedoc were intercepted, directed to the king of England, offering him assistance with large sums of ready money, if he would make an attack on France. The guilty parties have not been found.
At Marseilles some disturbance has taken place among the populace, and to keep a bridle on the town of Lyon 6500 soldiers are now being marched in that direction under the command of Mons. di Besson. All evil ebullitions will easily be put down by the admirable ascendancy of the king here to whom also all foreign powers abase themselves.
Paris, the 6th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
25. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The prince of Monaco, who has returned from the fleet, went to Fontainebleau to inform the king of his experiences. Later on he came to this house and after compliments he told me that the chief reason for his going on board the Dutch fleet was in order to gain some experience which might one day render him capable of serving your Excellencies usefully.… He went on to speak of the Dutch victory, the follies of the English, the confusion of the Dutch, in that battle. He came to the conclusion that everything pointed to their being the losers, and that when the English entered into the fury of the battle he anticipated that Holland would have the worst of it, as he noticed that the men were very raw, the guns all of iron, the ships not so agile or manageable as those of the English, who also had the advantage in artificial fires. In two ships which were struck he had experienced the damage done. They threw some rose-coloured balls and these, remaining on board, expand and start an inextinguishable fire (che slanciano alcune balle rose, quali, restando nel legno, si dilatano et appiccano un inestinguibile fuoco). He could only attribute the defeat of the English to the scant esteem they had for the enemy, or to the good fortune of France, who supports the Dutch.
He said he had seen letters in Madame's hands from her brother, claiming the victory, and that the Swedish ambassadors, Flamin and Cojet, celebrated it with bonfires, which created a bad impression, as showing partiality to England. The Spanish ambassador, who called here, also blamed this action as imprudent in ambassadors, or the king of England as overbearing if he had compelled them to do it. He could not conceal his satisfaction at seeing these powers so deeply committed to the use of arms.
Paris, the 6th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
26. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The good fortune of France in Europe is matched by victories in America. In the island of San Cristofolo, where matters seemed most desperate for the French, the issue has proved completely felicitous. News has come from several quarters that after the French had fought desperately, making a great slaughter of the English they were ultimately left as complete masters of that island, the few English who remained alive being obliged to pass to other islands and to seek safety in other parts. But they entertain some apprehension that the English, who are very numerous and strong in the neighbourhood and in New England, may get together a great mass of troops and again attempt the conquest of the island. It is doubtful if the troops sent will arrive in time, but to provide against all eventualities the French have pulled down and burned all the sugar mills and apparatus.
The Lords States have made a strong remonstrance to the Ambassador Gamarra because the people of Ostend, while the battle between the two fleets was in progress, sent refreshments and supplies of powder to the English. He excused himself, saying that he had no information about it, and if it were so he attributed the act to correspondence and private friendship. Before the Assembly separated they decided to build six great ships of 72 guns. Proposals were considered for raising the money. The merchant ships of those parts are getting ready to put to sea, and the herring busses are preparing for their fishing, which gives the impression that they have little fear of England.
Denmark has sent three ships of war towards the Sound and three others to the extremity of Jutland, to form an obstacle for all English ships which might go to those parts, so that the English are completely shut out from the trade of the Baltic Sea. The Vice-Admiral of Denmark has also sailed with six large ships from the Texel. (fn. 3) It is thought that he is steering towards the north of Scotland for the safety of the ships expected from the East Indies.
Paris, the 6th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
27. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has had his public audience. The ministers raised difficulties, but he would not give way, being well aware that this conspicuous function is useful for his dignity. The foreign ministers were not invited, whereby many difficulties were avoided. The cavalcade was very numerous, and the whole proceeded according to the customary forms. When the ambassador entered the king's presence all his people were introduced, out of curiosity to see, filling the apartment. His Majesty seeing so great a multitude, turned to his governess and said: this is too much, in my apartment, I do not want them. The governess tried to appease him, but while he insisted that they should be made to go out, the order was not carried out. At this the king seemed angry and wished to draw his sword, with a very charming gesture (con gentilissimo moto). Every one was moved by his determination and spirit. On seeing this some gave way and others drew farther back. The king heard the ambassador with remarkable graciousness. The ambassador is now visiting the councillors of state, as it has been intimated to him that he will have to perform the complimentary duties before getting to business. The object of all this is to gain time. The ambassador is beginning to be aware of the device; he has spoken clearly to one of the grandees here that he is absolutely determined to make a start with the conferences.
Madrid, the 7th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
28. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday the English resident heard from Leghorn that the English convoy coming from Smyrna had arrived safely in that port. It is composed of thirteen ships with merchandise and one of war, laden with important sums, which they have decided to land at Leghorn and to send by land to various places to avoid an encounter with the French and Dutch at sea. This unlading will bring great advantage to the Grand Duke's customs and to many individuals of the mart, where business has been very scant for some time past.
The earl of Arundel, brother of the duke of Norfolk, is now in this city come from Rome, lodged in the house of the English resident here. (fn. 4) He has been to pay his respects to the Grand Duke who every day sends him a present of abundant refreshments. The nuncio has been to call upon him at the house of Colonel Guasconi, but not at that of the English Resident with whom he has no dealings.
The earl has been this morning to express his obligations to the most serene republic, to which I made a suitable response. He then went on to tell me of the ways in which he had tried to serve the Grand Chancellor at Constantinople, where he happened to be with Count Lesle, the imperial ambassador, the efforts he had made to inquire into every affair, to represent it to his Excellency Ballarino, and the great care it had been necessary to exercise in order to keep hidden from the ambassador himself his confidential relations with the minister of your Serenity.
He went on to speak of the embassies, not yet resolved upon, between his Britannic Majesty and your Serenity. He said that from his talk with the Resident here he had gathered that the king, since his assumption of the crown, had been favoured by the French and Spaniards with ambassadors extraordinary first and with ambassadors in ordinary afterwards, and he was expecting from the most serene republic a treatment in no wise different, before sending his own ambassador. I said that the republic had shown its respect by the despatch of ambassadors extraordinary and by the appointment of an ambassador in ordinary. He interrupted saying: I know quite well the origin of the delay in the appointment of an ambassador of the king to the republic. The salary is meagre and it is not easy to find any one who aspires to the post. I propose, on my return to the Court, to offer myself to his Majesty. Two things alone can stand in the way of my plan, one that I am a Catholic and the other that I am considered more Venetian than English; but in any case I will make the request. It may be that the Lord Chancellor, who does not love me, will advise his Majesty to expatriate me to keep me far away from the Court, where he grudges to see me. I told him how much your Excellencies would rejoice to see him in that capacity.
This individual intends in a few days to proceed to Parma, Modena and Mantua, and thence to Venice, and subsequently to Milan, out of pure curiosity returning thence to his native land towards the winter season, to make the attempt he intimated. If he succeeds in achieving his object he will bring his children with him to Venice and make a long stay.
Florence, the 10th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
29. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
England and Holland both claim the victory in the last engagement. Enclosed is what the Ambassador Estrades writes to the Chevalier Gremouille.
Vienna, the 11th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.30. The Ambassador Estrades to the Chevalier Gremouille.
Although the English have been beaten in a manner that ought to render them wise, as is apparent here from the signs of their engagement, by the capture of fourteen of their ships and of 3000 prisoners, they nevertheless have the audacity to publish that it is they who have gained the victory; and this is what shows the ridiculous presumption of that nation, for while the Lords States contentedly leave them in their error they are labouring with all possible diligence at their fleets to have them ready to sail in fifteen days and to show the English for the second time that they flattered themselves when they thought that they were invincible. This fleet will be much more numerous than it was at the time of the last action, because they are joining to it a quantity of ships which had remained in port; while that of England will be much inferior in everything, because in addition to the twenty-two ships which they have lost they will also find themselves 5000 men short.
The Hague, the 24th June, 1666.
[Italian from the French.]
July 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
31. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Expectation of further successes. The Dutch have sent word that seventy warships sailed for the Thames last week. The French rejoice the more because it costs them neither money nor blood. The decision to shut up the English in their own ports pleases them greatly, because the sea is left free for the French Armada when it comes forth, and the conquests, which they are contriving here may be undertaken without any obstacle. The talk is that the islands of Gerse and Grance may easily be the first to experience the shock of the French arms. They prove more than ordinarily troublesome to the people of that province, and it may be said that they have their foot on its neck. Nevertheless there are some who feel confident that they aspire to greater things and that the risings in Ireland and the malcontents of England itself may constitute an invitation to their forces here. But we must first wait to hear how the Dutch forces will be received by England, and for Boffort to put in an appearance, whose instructions are changed daily.
Paris, the 13th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
32. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The arrest of a resident has taken place at Toulouse, because he was found to be a pensionary of England. There is no lack of malcontents, but they lack power and openings to make themselves recognised as such.
The Dutch complain loudly of the ill behaviour of the Spaniards, for when their resident at Brussels celebrated the victory with bonfires, the people put them out and threw stones at the windows, attacking the embassy, so that the resident had to abandon it and withdraw to Holland. (fn. 5) Castel Rodrigo has sent to apologise and to persuade him to return. Many merchant ships which did not venture to put to sea while the hostile fleets were seeking to engage each other, have come out of the ports since the battle took place and have arrived in Holland: two from Guinea with the value of 22,000 marks in gold and of 32,000 in ivory as well as other precious merchandise; another from Smyrna with great riches; two from the West Indies, and others from France. They all followed the long route round Scotland and Norway, whence the king of Denmark caused them to be convoyed.
Paris, the 13th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
33. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
They have given a start to the Junta with the English ambassador. On Friday the first meeting was held in an apartment of the palace, as they could not think of a better place. Some would have preferred a place less public. The ambassador recognised that the preliminaries were chiefly compliments.
With regard to the designs of the Most Christian, the ambassador said that he finds himself with vigorous forces both for defence and for attack. There is no lack of resolution in his councils or of means for his enterprises. That as a matter of good governance he was standing ready to form alliances and to establish agreements and to give support to any one who has interests in common. It is not difficult to understand here the conflagrations which are near and how the Most Christian is studying to extend his violence and his vast designs by sea and by land. If to-day he aims his blows at Great Britain, he is at the same time applying himself to Flanders and is threatening his principal rivals. He means to confound all by his negotiations. He means to dominate every one by his authority and pride, and to bind them to his power… He offered the interposition of his king to remedy so great an impropriety. He was ready to go on journeys and for whatever the matter might call for in itself. He besought the ministers, with their ripe prudence to examine the circumstances, the interests, the dangers. From the continuation of the war there will grow fear instead of hope. With similar considerations he looked forward to a definite resolution and a broad and smooth way to negotiations of such high importance. His discourse was listened to with attention and was left in writing, for greater clarity. They only replied to him in generalities, the ministers having authority to listen and to write out reports.
No other Junta has met since, as they are allowing time to work, and other actions are also mingled with the occupations of the ministers, which may cause delay without actively bringing it about (che causino senza effetuar il ritardo). This general statement discloses sufficiently the bottom of the transactions begun, which are concerned, as has always been stated, with the two most serious points of an alliance and an adjustment with Portugal. Accordingly, in the judgment of every one, in the ensuing conferences the ambassador will unfold the particular conditions of both projects.
Madrid, the 14th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
34. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
News has come of a fierce battle between the English and Dutch fleets. Both sides claim the victory and it has been celebrated by both the English and Dutch ambassadors. Ambrun immediately went to congratulate the latter and illuminated his house in the evening. Here I notice that the ministers are rather displeased about the battle than the contrary. They fear that the parties being exhausted, they will not want to enter into the war, but neither do they desire to see an adjustment ensue between these two powers. They consider that the Most Christian will remain superior to all, with vigorous forces and win the triumph without himself engaging. The government is trying to keep to its neutrality. The occurrence is very prejudicial to the present treaty. If that was already not very agreeable to any one, it is even less so in the present state of these mutations, which leave England herself with less pomp and greater weakness.
The ambassador, however, exerts himself to maintain the prestige of his countrymen and to represent the injuries received as very slight. He promises that they will return to sea at the earliest opportunity with the ships admirably equipped. Here they feel doubtful that even if there be no lack of ships and men, they will be short of money, the sole foundation for the measures required to put things right. Some are afraid that a request may be made for some, but for the moment, since there is no willingness to agree to this, it will be easy for them to apologise and excuse themselves.
Madrid, the 14th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
35. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
A ship from Leghorn reports that the duke of Boffort with the French fleet is still to be found at La Rochelle. That nineteen corn ships of the Spaniards were sailing towards the coasts of Portugal and that these have taken two English ships laden with grain, which intended to proceed to Lisbon.
Nevertheless five English ships have arrived at Leghorn laden with oil which come from Gallipoli. They propose to join themselves with others of their nation, which are there in good numbers, and to set sail for England.
The English Resident here, unwilling to admit that his fleet was worsted in the last battle, has circulated letters from London claiming a great advantage over the Dutch and has celebrated the victory by bonfires, for three nights running. But his reports get scant credit and some only affect to believe them to please him.
The earl of Arundel has this day taken leave of the Court here and to-morrow he is setting out on the journey reported. He proposes to get to Venice in about fifteen days.
Florence, the 17th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
36. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The chevalier Gremonville has received letters from his king which he shows to everybody. They insist on the victory of the Dutch and that the bonfires and rejoicings in London were made to divert a rising of the people by appearances and reports to the contrary. The king had directed Beufort to proceed to the waters of Holland and to unite with the Dutch and with forty ships of Denmark. In that way they should shut up the English fleet in the Thames and bring home to that nation the power of France and of her allies. On the other hand the minister of Sweden asserts that Denmark is under obligation not to bring any assistance to Holland and that Sweden has declared that she will make war on the Danes if they do so. Thus amid all these disputes a great and difficult war is preparing, with the union of many princes, to persuade England and France against their own interests and from expenditure upon maritime forces to find the means of quiet and peace.
Vienna, the 18th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
37. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
My lords here have known well how to profit by the victory won by the Dutch and to gather the best fruit. The whole of last week they were treating with Chinismarch. The Swedes, who previously were imbued with hopes that England might prevail in the war, attaching themselves internally to that side, kept these allies in some anxiety lest they should come out with some prejudicial declaration. The mediation they offered was always under the suspicion that difficulties would be introduced into the negotiations and made the honest pretext for a rupture. Now matters are changed by the ill success of the English arms, and their ill-founded opinions have allowed themselves at last to be overborne by the innate propensity of their genius, always devoted to venality and profit and accordingly France has not chosen to lose so fine an opening to win for the others and to buy for herself so warlike a nation, capable of throwing a great weight on the side to which it leans. Thus after various meetings with Chinismarch and an outlay of 400,000 livres of their money, France has obtained the neutrality of Sweden for herself and all her allies. Other payments will follow the first, and it is believed will continue for several months, and possibly so long as the present differences with England continue.
The Dutch are also to concur in this for their portion. It was stated that the ancient alliance of that crown had similarly been renewed, but I have no certainty of this as yet, although the French have availed themselves of it by keeping the Swedes in hope of it to facilitate the treaty of neutrality. The Swedes do not cease to ask for the renewal of this treaty, but possibly France, having induced Sweden to take the first step of neutrality might avail herself of the renewal of the treaty to bring Sweden to declare herself openly against England. They are actively treating with Chinismarch and in a few days all will be made clear. In the meantime the conquest is of no small consequence for the benefit of the allies and in particular for Denmark, who lived in great jealousy of Sweden, and for the Dutch who saw themselves obliged to assist Denmark and to remain weakened by the withdrawal of a certain number of their troops.
France is steadily making herself known, more and more, as the supreme directoress of the North, and before long as absolute arbiter in the affairs of Europe. Nevertheless news of the Dutch fleet is awaited with impatience. A report was current last week, from definite news that reached Cales, that the fleets were engaged, but as no confirmation has arrived belief is withheld.
The English had seventy great ships in readiness, but they did not propose to put to sea unless the fleet was brought up to the number of a hundred. The Dutch showed themselves at the mouth of the Thames for some days, but being troubled by contrary winds, they drew away from those shores in order not to expose themselves to danger.
Paris, the 20th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
38. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The appearance of the Dutch fleet at the mouth of the Thames caused no small perturbation in the minds of the people there. They were apprehensive of landings and feared that they meant to consume some of their vessels with fireships. The king sent orders to all the governors of the coast towns to hold themselves in readiness for defence (fn. 6) ; he had some ships withdrawn, which were ill provided and exposed, to the upper reaches of the river; on both banks of the river they established guns to prevent the enemy from advancing. Patents were distributed for four regiments of horse and all commanders of the troops were charged to stand on the alert to receive and carry out the orders of his Majesty. They were getting things in order for the fleet to come out. The scarcity of sailors caused some anxiety and few were found who showed any readiness to go on board, so they were considering the use of force to oblige them to serve.
On the other hand reinforcements are constantly reaching the Dutch, and the only thing they complain of is the tardiness of Boffort. Ruiter has written to a friend of his here that if they tarry many more days the opportunity will be lost of carrying out the grand design, which by some has not yet been discovered. The French, however, excuse themselves by adding that Boffort has served the common cause very well up to this moment and that he is combating the English with as much advantage by remaining in Portuguese waters as if he was in the English Channel. By this they mean the succour of which they deprive the Spaniards. Nevertheless the king has sent to Cales two regiments of infantry of about 2000 men under the command of the Chevalier of Lorraine, so that they may be at the disposition of the Dutch Armada and act under Ruiter's orders. In this way it is thought that Boffort's tardiness may do less harm.
The Dutch have sent two frigates to the point of Jutland to search all neutral ships and to take away any merchandise which may be of England and of Sweden. They are equipping thirty-two merchantmen to set out for Muscovy. The Admiral of Amsterdam agrees to this, calculating that they cannot come to any harm on the way, but the Lords States, considering the great capital which they carry, have not yet decided to give their consent.
The allied princes of the defensive alliance have asked the Lords States for some succour in cash. (fn. 7) They sent them a rather cold answer. Various conferences among them have been heard of, which the Dutch do not like. They would like to see the Dutch committed to some trouble on land because that is to the advantage of the neighbouring princes, but the United Provinces at present are devoting all their energies to the sea affair.
Paris, the 20th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
39. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
This kingdom derives extraordinary advantages from the Dutch victory. For several months of late maritime trade had been entirely abandoned. No ship ventured to leave port and every one complained, seeing their capital wasting in idleness. The province of Gascony in particular, with its wealth of wine and corn, was poor in the midst of plenty. Because they were not able to dispose of their produce as usual they were languishing and lamenting their hard case, being burdened with many impositions and prevented from making use of their own revenues. The crown equally suffered no little damage in the duties and the customary tolls which it derived from the export of merchandise. These last days they have been lading most copious cargoes in those ports of wine, corn and oil, all destined for the provinces of Holland. It is computed that several millions will enter this kingdom, reckoning the duties of the king and the sales of individuals. The respite which is thus gained is undoubtedly of great consequence, as the Dutch also are causing a great quantity of merchandise of which France has been deprived for a long while, to pass to the ports here by way of the sea.
Paris, the 20th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
40. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has had a second sitting with the ministers here. He had pressed for it with energy, to give no room for delays and to discover their intentions. But his intention was not realised because it consisted solely of expressions, in his Majesty's name, of appreciation of the admirable disposition of the British king towards the interests of this crown. With regard to the questions of an alliance and of the adjustment with Braganza, suitable decisions would be taken after the matter had been maturely considered. The ambassador replied that he besought them to make him acquainted with the royal sentiments with the utmost brevity. A matter of such importance did not admit of postponement and delay. He added that the composition with Braganza, if delayed, would be exposed to greater embarrassments. If Lisbon does not perceive speedily indications in this quarter of right ideas, they will devote themselves to arranging with others their alliances and plans. It was answered on behalf of the ministers that they agreed most readily to terminate the war, provided honour and reputation allowed it to be done. The ambassador understood that this hint is aimed at shutting out the retention of the royal title by Braganza, the sole difficulty of this great treaty. He therefore added that his mediation had no power nor virtue to achieve the impossible. He could not promise to persuade a victorious and powerful prince to take such a course. It would prejudice his honour and eclipse the glory of his operations and his name. He could assure them that on this point his king did not wish to show partiality for his brother-in-law. He would not advise him to hold out or to yield, although he ought to have at heart his sovereignty and greatness with all. In any case he was not suggesting to him sentiments of quiet and tranquillity. In short, with the desire of a mediator and that a reconciliation and peace may follow, his duty is confined to removing and not to interposing impediments and difficulties. The declaration was listened to but it did not win applause. The meeting of that day did not go into anything further.
The object of the ambassador was to remove from this government a very great difficulty. This is that England will never permit Braganza to embrace the adjustment and peace without the recognition as king. He therefore points out that it is of small importance if the Portuguese, having preserved the kingdom, acquire for the moment the royal prerogative; so far as England is concerned they leave them free to choose their own course. Here every one laughs at such a most truthful expression, as it is considered undoubted that the English are supporting the pretensions by arms rather than urging them. For this reason it is believed that Braganza amid so many trials, having caused his constancy and vigour to shine forth in the affair by means of a king so intimate and closely allied, will not show weakness. Some thought that the ambassador would devote his efforts to induce Portugal to abate somewhat of the rigour of her claims, but nothing is said that redounds to the discredit of their enemy. However, in their own interest they are easily given to cherish unsubstantial hopes, and there are some who believe that in time the proposals will be ameliorated.
Upon the matter in hand I may tell your Excellencies what I have gathered from the ambassador's own lips. Two days ago he returned my visit at this house. He said that at last his affairs were under weigh. He recognised that they were opposed and resisted by two great obstacles. One is the natural tardiness of the government, the other their irresolution in embracing moderate commitments. He had spoken about the alliance between his king, the emperor and this crown. He offers mediation with Portugal, the very corner stone for any move towards prosperous transactions. He finds that vainglory dominates their minds rather than reason. They proceed upon the principles of their ancient and enormous power, not upon ideas suitable to the calamity of the times and the tottering fortune of the monarchy. His king considers himself equally the friend of this crown and of Portugal. Putting aside the obligations of blood and the affection of a relative, he puts on that of a mediator. However, he recognised that it was an insuperable point for the Portuguese to abandon so conspicuous a title at a prosperous moment and with resounding successes. If they agree to it of their own accord, he was there to make things easy, not to oppose, although his king's reputation was involved through having as wife the daughter and sister of one who is to be treated as a crowned head and not as an individual and private prince.
I answered that I hoped, from the prudence and ability of so great a minister to see this high matter conducted to an end glorious for England and satisfactory for Spain, that great transactions are always surrounded by great difficulties, but in the present case these will redound to the praise of his Excellency, who by his knowledge and ability is able to overcome and resolve them.
The reply pleased the ambassador, but he answered: I am very doubtful and so far I do not know what to promise myself. Similar points were not touched upon any further. I did not wish to appear more curious, as he shows great reserve with every one.
Madrid, the 21st July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
41. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Five English ships have arrived at Leghorn. They come from Smyrna with kerseys (cariso), of a total value of one and a half millions. They carry various goods, but for the most part silk and wool. They propose to discharge everything at that port in order not to expose themselves to the danger of meeting the French and Dutch fleets of the Ocean.
Florence, the 24th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
42. Giovanni Cornaro, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The departure of the baron dell'Isola for England was decided in Spain, and the consent of Caesar was taken for this, who gave it very readily. (fn. 8) The commissions for his negotiations have been given at that Court, and here nothing has been decided for the present.
The envoy of England publishes that an alliance has been made between the Austrians and his king, but the report is for advantage and not of actual happenings. Circumstances might bring it about in time, and if the declarations of France force it, and Sweden also is not excluded from such discussions; but it is all artifice in order to gather money and advantages from France.
Vienna, the 25th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
43. Marc Antonio GiuStinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Last week the wind compelled the Dutch to leave the mouth of the Thames. Nevertheless they always keep their eye fixed on England and are constantly on the look-out to do the enemy all the hurt that they can. They captured three ships called “scouts.” When the wind dropped they returned to the mouth of the Thames, the number of ships of war being increased to ninety and thirty brulots; reinforced also with many sailors and soldiers, who are reaching them at every moment from the Provinces.
The governor of Cales (fn. 9) sent to Ruiter to offer 2000 foot. Ruiter thanked him but said that what he needed was Boffort and not soldiers, but the next day he sent to Cales, begging very urgently for help, which was promptly given.
Madame has received letters from the king, her brother, about a battle, very near at hand, which his fleet is about to engage with the Dutch, and that perhaps, when she was actually reading the letter, his forces might be in action. He said that the English would come out 120 ships strong, every one of which has double the number of sailors and soldiers. This is a mighty force and that power has not spared the most cruel and violent measures, going so far as to take the men from their beds in order to send them aboard the fleet. The issue is eagerly awaited and his Majesty has given orders to the governors of Boulogne and Dunkirk to supply Ruiter promptly with whatever he may ask.
Mons. de Bellefont, chief steward of the household, has been sent with all speed to Boffort with secret and impenetrable orders. (fn. 10) He is a person of great distinction and this serves to give greater occasion for talk.
Paris, the 27th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
44. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The French ambassador has set on foot a curious negotiation with Medina. Carefully attentive to the negotiations of the earl Sandvich, he is trying to spoil them by making the earl suspicious and rendering the ministers here ambiguous and perplexed. Thus, in the name of his king he is proposing an alliance with this crown, to be extended for offence and defence, declaring in particular that it is against the English. He supports the proposal with vivacity and energy and with strong arguments. The union should be made between princes who are both in accord by blood and religion, reciprocal motives for uniting the qualities of the interested parties and the regard of friends. The Most Christian was proceeding with a straight-forward and sincere intention in his aims, calling to mind that the works themselves seem insufficient. He was ready to uphold the king, his brother-in-law, not to do him hurt. In the course of practically a year of minority he showed by the clearest demonstrations his readiness to cultivate friendship and to confirm his zeal. At the present time, to add a conspicuous bond for closer confidence, making known the alliance would be of exceptional importance, and worthy of being valued, esteemed and received. If these two crowns join hands they will be formidable not only to rivals but to the world; their dignity will be enhanced and they will lay down the law to other princes in the matter of prestige and respect.
On hearing so unexpected a proposal I understand that Medina was amazed and stupified. However, perceiving the artifice, he answered also with artifice that the matter deserved consideration and maturing. He rejoiced at such an efficacious intention on the part of the Most Christian in favour of this crown. His statement would be communicated to the queen and they would take suitable decisions upon it.
Ambrun added that he had no fear of the proposal being rejected, as if this crown was to enter into alliances it was more profitable to form a union with France than with England. With a like introduction he began to condemn the negotiations of the earl of Sandvich. He roundly declared them to be full of peril, replete with danger and most serious embarrassments. They made his king mistrustful, since it was clear that he cannot consider as a friend one who seeks support from such fierce and obstinate enemies. He pointed out the weaknesses of that crown, the numerous powers opposed to it, and if the Dutch alone beat its fleet, how much more it will be exposed when the squadrons of the allies have joined together. Accordingly it was not a safe decision to base their foundations and hopes upon so tottering a fabric, because they will be equally subject to the same ruination.
Medina does not admit that they are considering fresh or such intimate relations with England, only the ratification of the ancient treaties and the continuation of friendship and peace. This is a matter which does no harm to any one and no one can have reason to complain about it. They are not devising anything against the Most Christian, nor indeed are they thinking of concerted arrangements. Ambrun reaffirmed that he entertained no suspicions and the question was not pursued.
When Medina reported the affair to the Council of State every one laughed at the vanity of the invention. They immediately declared that it was prompted by deceit and not by sincerity; to destroy the negotiations with the other crown or at least confound the various projects. They could not be sure that if they neglected the opportunity for an agreement with England, France would wish to conclude. It was of no use to lose the one and not get the other. It seemed impossible that the contrary elements of two nations so different should compose together with opposing qualities and intentions. Accordingly on such grounds they decided not to cool off about the negotiations with the earl of Sandvich, and with respect to Ambrun's proposals, to carry things on with generalities, avoiding anything definite or committal.
I hear on the best authority that the ministers are agitated and distressed over this proposal. They recognise that France is playing a very clever game, displaying to the world, with extraordinary finesse, how far it is from their intention to trouble this crown, that they offer to become its ally. The English take as their chief argument to persuade them to commit themselves their fears for Flanders and the injuries of an inevitable war. Ambrun counters directly, reassures their minds, confirms good will, invites and summons them to concurrence with the most friendly demonstrations. The fame of such a negotiation, at present most secret, if divulged by the French, will serve to applaud their proceedings and to condemn the suspicions on this side. Although the negotiation is not proceeding with candour, the generality will at any rate be sufficiently pleased and convinced by such specious demonstrations.
Madrid, the 28th July, 1666.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
45. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
At the repeated instances of the English ambassador this government has agreed to assign to him Monday, Wednesday and Friday for meetings with the ministers as he is by no means pleased with the tardiness they have begun with. On his side he hopes, with the frequent meetings, to get a speedy despatch. It was noticed that he wished to be with them on Sunday, foreseeing that it would not be possible to get them together on Monday, the feast of St. Anne, a great function as being the name saint of the queen. But it is said that he is laying special stress upon the adjustment with Portugal, devoting his chief energies and his most pressing instances to this. As her Majesty has recently held fresh consultations upon the matter the result will be no less important than curious.
Madrid, the 28th July, 1666.
[Italian.]
July 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
46. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Grand Chancellor, at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
The petulance of the Turks is beyond all bearing. Hardly had the French ambassador arrived in Constantinople than he was on the point of being put under arrest for the capture of a Maltese ship in which the Seraglio was interested. He was obliged to undertake to pay for the damage and is now well looked on. Nevertheless he has not been able to resist the demand made by the Caimecam for the ships of his nation and orders have been issued that all other ships shall keep themselves in readiness for the service of the Grand Signor.
The French ambassador subsequently sent a demand for the renewal of the capitulations. There are two principal points, one the grant of the two per cent. paid on all French goods; the other dominion over those foreign Christian ships which happen to arrive in the ports of the Grand Signor lacking the assistance of their own minister.
This news greatly stirred the English ambassador, it being sent to him express by Draperis, who is staying at Adrianople. He opposed it by his arz, sent to the Caimecam there and to the Grand Vizier, claiming that every captain of a ship shall be at liberty to have recourse to any one of the foreign ministers at his own good pleasure. His Excellency has been enjoying the tranquillity of his villa for the last three months, but immediately this report reached him he proceeded incognito to the house of the treasurer Eges, where he made the despatch to the effect stated. A reply is awaited with a decree of the Grand Vizier. Personally I am not sorry for this quarrel, because if England obtains a favourable sentence, as is hoped, the most serene republic will also be included, in time of peace, with liberty to take under its wing those who ask for its protection. But I avoid making any declaration in order to preserve the good graces of the French ambassador, who will spare no expense to carry his two points.
Draperis has obtained from the Caimecam of Adrianople that his master need not put himself to the inconvenience of betaking himself to that city. The same thing has been done with the secretary of Holland.
Pera of Constantinople, the 29th July, 1666.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
47. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
In the town of Leghorn various quarrels have taken place between the nationals of England and Holland, as each side wishes to prohibit the other from making demonstrations of rejoicing over the issue of the first battle. They have come to blows with each other and there have been some fatal injuries. The fiscal of the town has written to the Court to know if he shall proceed to draw up a process. The resident of England here is trying to see that the Dutch alone shall be punished, foolishly maintaining that it was no concern of theirs and that no signs of rejoicing ought to be permitted to them on that occasion. However, he does not venture to speak about it to the Grand Duke, but only makes known his wishes to the ministers by private offices.
Florence, the 31st July, 1666.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 The opening of diplomatic relations between Genoa and the Porte, instituted by the mission of the Marquis Durazzo in September, 1665. See Hist. MSS. Comm. Finch Papers, Vol. i, pp. 394, 423, 442.
2 Louis, duke of Vendôme. His sister Elizabeth married Charles Amadeus, duke of Nemours and Aumale.
3 Coert Adelaer. Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. v, pp. 820.
4 Mr. Henry Howard, second son of Henry Frederick, third earl of Arundel. He arrived on 5th July, and left on the 18th, having stayed with Sir John Finch, the resident. The Grand Duke says Finch “treated him as the duke of Norfolk in all respects.” Finch to Arlington, July 10/20th, 1666. S.P. Tuscany, Vol. vii.
5 Thomas Saasburg. He erected a great pile before his house to make a bonfire on 30th June, o.s. The “boys” began to pull this to pieces and when the residents servants resisted, a riot ensued, so that Castel Rodrigo had to send his guards to restore order. The resident left Brussels the next day. London Gazette, June 25–8, 1666.
6 Orders were issued on 27th June, o.s., to the lords lieutenant of the counties to have the militia in readiness to repel any attempts at invasion. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1665–6, p, 466.
7 George William and Ernest Augustus, dukes of Brunswick and Luneburg, by virtue of the alliance made at the Hague on 9 Sept., 1665. Dumont, Corps Diplomatique, Vol. v, pt. iii, pp. 46–52.
8 He was ordered to leave Spain and go to England as soon as possible. He promised to start in ten days. Pribram: Freiherr von Lisola, pp. 291–2.
9 Louis de Bethune, comte de Charost.
10 Bernardin Gigault, Marquis de Bellefonds. Pere Anselme: Hist. Genealogique de la Maison Royale de France, Vol. vii, p. 594,