Venice
January 1667

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1935

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118-125

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'Venice: January 1667', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 35: 1666-1668 (1935), pp. 118-125. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90209 Date accessed: 02 October 2014.


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January 1667

1667.
Jan. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Ceffalonia.
Venetian
Archives.
127. Andrea Lippomanno, Venetian Proveditore of Cephalonia, to the Doge and Senate.
The island is experiencing a general shortage of money such as has never been known before, due to the small quantity of currants harvested and which have not yet been exported, because no ship has put in an appearance up to the present, and nothing has yet been heard of any commission in the hands of the merchants here. This is causing every one to go short, and even those citizens who are most comfortably off are bound to feel it, as your Serenity also will do, in the collection of the duties.
Cephalonia, the 2nd January, 1667, new style.
[Italian.]
Jan. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
128. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France to the Doge and Senate.
The Danish envoy at the Hague (fn. 1) has received from an unknown person a billet in which he is informed that Bellefont with La Roche Castelliere had gone to negotiate peace between that crown and England. The envoy caused it to be handed to the Assembly of the States. As they were unable to keep the contents secret, the knowledge of it spread among the people causing no ordinary commotion and excitement. The Ambassador Estrades labours to destroy belief in it, and describes it as a Spanish trick. The States are filled with distress about it. It will be easy to discover the truth of this because Bellefont is a person extremely well known by every one. The Spaniards are anxious to detach Holland from France by jealousies, to keep the fire well stoked by secret practices, between England and France, and secure Flanders for themselves by such means. They are experiencing a great shortage of money and it behoves them to have recourse to industry and arts.
Paris, the 4th January, 1666. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
129. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The negotiations about commerce conducted by the earl of Sanduich are making satisfactory progress. He proceeds with such meticulous caution that renders the ministers themselves not a little satisfied. The most essential point, about the Indies, is put on one side for the present. He has not insisted, as they suspected he would, and it was this of which they were most afraid. By acting thus the earl wishes this crown to be completely possessed of the excellent intentions of his king. In order to avoid doing him prejudice he is content to lose legitimate advantages under circumstances so favourable that better could not be desired for them. The government responds with corresponding forms of appreciation in the usual way, but it claims persistently that it will not be moved out of motives of courtesy where a foundation of actual right is lacking. What has been agreed upon up to the present consists of a reciprocal bargain; in Africa the English will be at liberty to make use of the ports on that coast possessed by the Spaniards. In return for this in Tanger and other places which pertain to England, this crown will be able to share the benefit, with equal correspondence. From what I hear nothing of greater substance will be declared by the treaty. Nevertheless the articles, set out at length, are numerous, but as they are not yet signed, it is a difficult matter to be sure of the information collected.
Letters from Lisbon report the despatch of two ministers to the Most Christian and the British king. (fn. 2) It is said to be about mediation. But the mystery consists in the attempt by the French by new alliances to seek for succour and to form a punctual obligation, in order to cut short all the transactions that are in progress with Spain. The one for England will take commissions to represent the cause of necessity and reputation for having rejected the proposals which have been made, and to ask that that monarch shall not interest himself for anything except to obtain advantageous terms for his brother-in-law. If the Spaniards do not incline to agree to these, he should cut matters short, put an end to his overtures, and by the vigour of his assistance supply the means of forcing them to agree to reason.
The reason for these missions affords this government matter for weighty consideration. They are concerned about the project at Paris, but perhaps that of London causes them greater distress. They will undoubtedly write to the Count of Molina, and here they will not neglect to make suitable representations to the earl of Sanduich, as a question of such just importance deserves.
Madrid, the 5th January, 1667.
[Italian.]
Jan. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
130. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The humour of the English is so variable and inconstant that it would be better to await the issue of these affairs than to form opinions. At one time they want peace, at another they are making preparations for war; they name the place for the negotiations and then withdraw and regret what they have done. Of many forms and all different, the government is a monster which is always changing its appearance. At present all is silence. It is more than two weeks since any news has come from that quarter. Couriers are forbidden to set out and they do not allow any one to write of what happens there. It is believed that the differences between the two Houses have boiled up more than ever. One wishes peace, the other the continuation of the war. The king is unwilling to decide anything of consequence before parliament is dissolved, and at that time the most mature deliberations are expected. They are studying how to set going fresh disturbances in Germany, and they would like to avail themselves of the Swedish arm, knowing full well that if the Dutch have their attention distracted by the peril of their neighbours or by their own jealousies, they will give them less trouble at sea.
The bishop of Munster, because of claims for money due from the English, has stopped 150,000 crowns lying in the banks of Antwerp to the credit of Englishmen. The English complain bitterly of this action of Munster, who in their opinion has failed to observe the treaty which he had arranged with them, and they consider they have grounds for offence. Accordingly they are offering to renounce that money to the Swedes provided they will turn their arms against Munster and punish the bishop for his breach of faith.
Paris, the 11th January, 1666. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
131. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I have spoken to the Ambassador Sanduich about the Turks making use of Christian ships. He promised to write to his king about it and also to the English minister at Constantinople, as orders from London could only reach him after a long delay. With regard to the adjustment with Portugal he confided to me an essential point, to wit, that if the Spaniards do not make up their minds to embrace the union with them and establish the alliance, the British king, instead of a confederate will become an enemy. He will not only make peace with France, but will enter into the closest agreements to the hurt of Flanders and the Indies and to batter this monarchy from all directions. He regretted that his negotiations encounter difficulties without substance. They believe the exaggerations of the Archbishop of Ambrun, and do not put their trust in his sincere motives. I spoke of the need for peace in Christendom. He at once replied: To preserve the peace the world should be kept in equilibrium, with interests and forces balanced. England joined with the emperor and Spain would counterpoise the excessive power of the Most Christian, and would moderate to proper proportions his vast ambitions. It is undoubted that the best way to prevent invasion is for Spain to bind herself closely with good friends, and to surround herself with the assistance of the greater crowns. Without these supports she will be left utterly exposed to her enemies, and will be patently feeble and abandoned.
Madrid, the 12th January, 1667.
[Italian.]
Jan. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
132. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The reports spread abroad in Holland that negotiations for peace with England are being conducted here without the knowledge of the allies have touched his Majesty so much on the quick that he has chosen, by a special letter written to the Lords States and presented to them in person by the Ambassador Estrades to wipe this sinister impression from their minds and to cause increasing suspicion of the procedure of Castel Rodrigo. His Majesty complains at their giving credit with so much facility to the inventions of persons of doubtful veracity, already known to the world as masters of cleverness and trickery, with consequent ill usage of his own name and the singlemindedness which he had professed and observed in all the transactions. He promised not to depart from the alliance, to carry out what has been arranged, to exert himself at the peace for the common benefit, and also to procure it, but always in the terms of their reciprocal union. (fn. 3)
The States have been completely satisfied by these expressions and it is thought that they will have the letter printed and published in order to eradicate thereby the bad impressions made on the minds of the people there. The attempts made with England have proved useless or being badly applied to such a transaction it has been considered necessary to soothe the minds of that government by such a way. Nevertheless peace with England is desired here, whether secret or particular between the two kings, or in common with the allies. The defeats which have taken place between the two nations have weighed heavily upon trade; little more advantage can be expected on this side, and it may be that they are now aspiring to other profits from the other side.
Lord Germen is eagerly awaited from England; they hope that he will bring some precise resolution or at least more definite information about affairs there, of which we are left still with only vague notions. From his relations and powers they will draw their conclusions. There is some fear that the Austrians will do their utmost to correspond with the diversion of England to the wound in Portugal which is kept open for the Spaniards from this quarter. By this alone can they render themselves secure and cover the dominions of the Catholic and of Germany. Molina, the Catholic's ambassador and L'Isola, the envoy, will be actively at work in London. Castel Rodrigo also is labouring without ceasing at defence and considers that war is practically inevitable. He lays in supplies and makes his preparations, but possibly, if the aspect of affairs in the North changes, easier and more facile openings may be embraced.
Paris, the 18th January, 1666. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
133. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A violent storm carried twenty Flemish ships into Flushing with cargoes which were partly destined for England and partly for Spain. The States have seized the ships and confiscated the goods. Many of the sailors were found to be Dutchmen, who had entered that service contrary to the prohibition of the Provinces. The Spanish ambassador has presented a memorial on the subject to the States, but it will probably be in vain.
The East India Company is offering 408,000 crowns to be free from the armament. With this money the Province of Holland might equip sixteen ships of seventy guns each.
Paris, the 18th January, 1666. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
134. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador is resuming his negotiations about Portugal. He urges the ministers to form their resolutions frankly and not to take fright because Braganza draws back from a truce and from a compromise about the royal title. Let this crown declare to his king the ultimate point of its inclination towards an agreement, and no longer show mistrust. He intimates that to induce the Portuguese to agree to a truce they should propose one of sixty years instead of thirty, which from so long a period would serve to be considered as a peace. The ministers remain irresolute and perplexed. The Inquisitor General is more strongly opposed than any one else. They are fearful of delusions and fallacies, to draw them on by such vanities, and that they are not proceeding on a proper and sincere basis.
Madrid, the 19th January, 1667.
[Italian.]
Jan. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
135. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Out of zeal for religion this government decided that a remonstrance shall be made to the English ambassador about the severe edicts promulgated against the Catholics. The Count of Pignoranda was charged to perform this office expressing himself with prudence. He did this, pointing out how ill such action agrees with their professed desire for union with this crown, while at the same time they are publicly showing so cruel an aversion against the Catholics, whom this crown has always favoured and protected. He asks them, therefore, to consider the propriety of suspending so great a severity, as this would not only be greatly appreciated by his Majesty but taken as a sincere testimony of the better correspondence which they propose to practise. The ambassador merely replied with generalities. He set forth the reasons for the decrees, and after constant evasions and words without substance he closed the conversation, so that little good resulted. In addition to this they have resolved not to abandon the Catholics in that country, above all to look after the religious who are advanced in years and impoverished. A sum of money is being forwarded to the Count of Molina for this holy and exemplary work. It has been announced that the amount is considerable, but I do not find that it comes to more than 10,000 crowns as yet. It may be that they will continue the subvention according to the need and the feeling of compassion for those unhappy people.
At Cadiz they are expecting a convoy of English ships. Many of them will be laden with very rich cargoes, escorted by a powerful squadron and armed. (fn. 4) Orders have been transmitted from here to prevent any untoward incidents in the royal ports with the ships of Holland.
Madrid, the 19th January, 1667.
[Italian.]
Jan. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
136. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The English preacher whom I wrote about having departed from Leghorn some time since, and the strained relations with the resident of the British king having apparently been relieved, it looks as if fresh occasions for considerable offence are arising through that turbulent spirit. It is stated freely that another person of that religion is expected at Leghorn from London, much more learned than the first, and if he is not tolerated by the Grand Duke in these states, all the English merchants mean to leave his dominion and betake themselves elsewhere. (fn. 5) I have not a complete knowledge of this intrigue because I am away from the Court, but as many agree in the statements I venture to report it to your Serenity, the more so since the nuncio, since the arrival of his letters from Rome, has been to secret audience of Prince Leopold, introduced by the narrow staircase to the apartments of his Highness, without the usual ceremonial. It is conjectured that this affair took him there.
Florence, the 22nd January, 1666. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
137. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. di Grander, the English gentleman who came about the exchange of prisoners, who are here to the number of 800, left two days ago, with satisfaction, a good augury for an accommodation. Sixty ships from Gotemberg, with materials for the English fleet, have entered the Thames bringing timber, hemp, pitch, etc. Twenty-four merchant ships of that nation, which at various times have left Smyrna, escorted by fourteen frigates of war, before casting anchor in the ports there, happened to fall in with three Dutch adventurers, who became their prizes after a slight resistance. Five ships of the Admiralty of Amsterdam, with too great resolution or rather temerity, having come upon eleven English ones, chose to make head against them, but being overwhelmed by force and by numbers they suffered defeat. One was captured, another blew up, and the others were sent to the bottom. It is not known if the English were the same squadron as the one mentioned which escorted the ships newly arrived from the Levant. (fn. 6)
The Swedish ambassadors by their last have advised and urged the Lords States to write again to the British king, a letter in civil terms, exhorting him to express himself precisely about the neutral place. The Dutch have agreed to this. Before it is sent it will be communicated to the ambassadors of France and Denmark.
Paris, the 25th January, 1666. [M.V.]
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Peter Charisius.
2 Francesco Ferreira de Rebello was sent to France, and Ruy Telles de Menezes to England. Prestage: Diplomatic Relations of Portugal, pp. 95, 169.
3 See the letter of the king to Estrades on 24th Dec., 1666. Lettres, Memoirs et Negotiations de M. le Comte d'Estrades, Vol. iv, pp. 635–6.
4 Rear-Admiral John Kempthorne in the Defiance was preparing a squadron to sail for the Strait at the end of 1666, but he did not sail until late in February. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1666–7, pp. 367, 522.
5 On the departure of Mr. Denham, the office of chaplain was filled by a Mr. Wilson of Cyprus. Finch to Arlington 6th Nov., 1666, N.S. P.R.O. S.P. Tuscany, Vol. vii. He was leaving in the new year and a Mr. Beeby was expected to take his place. A new nuncio, Mons. Trotti, had arrived in Florence, and he took an early opportunity of complaining to the Grand Duke about the heretical preaching at Leghorn. Finch, who had taken up his residence at the seaport town for the time being, maintained his right to keep a chaplain at the legation, and this was conceded by the Grand Duke in spite of further remonstrance from the nuncio. Finch to Arlington, 14th and 21st Feb. and 7th March, N.S. Ibid., Vol. viii.
6 Capt. Robert Robinson in the Warspite brought in the Gothenburg ships. This ship, in company with the Jersey, Diamond, St. Patrick, Nightingale, and Oxford, was engaged by five Dutch ships coming out from the Texel on 25th Dec., 1666, o.s. Three were captured, including the Admiral Cleane Harde, John Bondt commander, of 38 guns. London Gazette, Dec. 27–31, 1666. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1666–7, pp. 374, 438. Pepys: Diary, Vol. vi, p. 117.