Venice
April 1667

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1935

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145-151

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'Venice: April 1667', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 35: 1666-1668 (1935), pp. 145-151. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90212 Date accessed: 28 November 2014.


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April 1667

April 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
166. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Secretary at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Five ships have arrived in the present week, three of them from London. They experienced such a storm in the Strait that the fourth one which was in their company suffered shipwreck, with a very rich cargo. Two of these might be suitable for the service of your Excellencies if they were not destined by their owners in England to lade oil and grain in Apulia, to be transported to London. I have tried to persuade the captains of these ships to embrace the employment, but as they have very definite instructions they are not free to enter into any agreement.
Leghorn, the 1st April, 1667.
[Italian.]
April 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Venetian
Archives.
167. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A French adventurer has had an encounter with an English ship of thirty guns, vanquished it and brought it to Dunkirk. The Dutch have informed the ambassador of the king here that their fleet will be completely ready to put to sea by the 10th of this month.
Denmark is showing the utmost activity in the equipment of his fleet. He has never given any credit to the projects of the English. The number of the ships of the allies will be great, but the valour and resolution of the English will be correspondingly so.
Paris, the 5th April, 1667.
[Italian.]
April. 5,
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
168. Caterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Four powerful English ships with the vice-admiral of the Blue recently convoyed sixty merchantmen to Cadiz. (fn. 1) At the mart there, upon a false rumour of a rupture between the two crowns, the French merchants placed their goods in security.
Madrid, the 5th April, 1667.
[Italian.]
April 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
169. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The noise of arms resounding everywhere has possibly induced the English to name the place for a conference more speedily than was expected. The choice is Breda, a town garrisoned by the Dutch but in the dominions of the House of Orange. The selection is mysterious and far seeing (avveduta). Breda is in Brabant, which at present is threatened by this crown. When the congress meets at that place the deputies of England will be able easily to work together with the partisans of that prince and to achieve the same advantages or at least only slightly inferior ones as if it had been at the Hague. That Brabant should be attacked by the forces of the king here while the mediators of peace were staying in the very middle of it, would be an action that no one would approve and it might offend the allies quite as much as enemies. It is a prudent stroke and it is hoped that the bridle will suffice to put a stop to movements.
The English announce that they are moved sincerely in favour of good and of peace, and by the prompt nomination of their deputies they claim not only to be giving pledges of their favourable disposition, but to be inciting the others to vie with them in engaging themselves in the negotiations, for the adjustment, which are being pressed with the greater solicitude because of the near approach of the season for active operations. Baron Hollis and a certain Henry Coventri have been selected by England for the congress.
On this side they concur in the selection of such a place because they have always protested that they will never obstruct but that they will co-operate for the satisfaction of the allies, and that they desire a composition and friendship with England. But as they consider that it may present some obstacle to their cherished designs, or rather that is what seems likely, they do not altogether like the choice. Nevertheless, here also they have proceeded to nominate their deputies and they are M. Cortin, who was sometime ambassador in England, and M. d'Estrades, at present ambassador in Holland.
Paris, the 12th April, 1667. [Italian.]
Enclosure.170. Letter of King Charles II to the States General of the United Provinces informing them of the choice of Breda for the congress.
Whitehall, the 18/28 March, 1667 (fn. 2)
[French.]
April 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
171. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
This crown is not sleeping because of the nomination of the place for the congress or because of the selection of the deputies for the same. They have had so much experience of the numerous variations and inconstancy of the English, that although these last are now protesting their sincerity and that the peace, so far as they are concerned is at hand, full credence is witheld and preparations for war are not relaxed.
In like manner and with the same vigour and diligence the Dutch are proceeding with their naval armament. Admiral Ruiter is on the point of embarking, and fifteen ships which he keeps in his company have arrived with forty more which are at the Texel. The English display confidence in the equipment of their fleet, and this gives weight to their goodwill towards peace.
Some English Jesuits of the College of Liege have been accused of having designs upon the life of the Pensionary Wit, the chief director of the Provinces and a fierce enemy of the English. These fathers were to have carried it into effect last year when this Wit was about to embark on the fleet at Flushing. They have information in Holland from this quarter that others of the same order are cherishing the same idea. Accordingly orders have been issued at all the frontiers to examine carefully the persons entering the country and to make sure of the object of their journey. It is possible that these are calumnies set going by the heretics, who are always ready to discredit that order.
Paris, the 12th April, 1667.
[Italian.]
April 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
172. Caterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
All attention here remains fixed upon the war in the North and upon the compliment of the third place, which has passed from Dover to London, it being quite certain that it will cross the sea again to go to Paris. If during these intervals the fleets scour the Ocean for the destruction of the trade of the world and to reduce the hopes of peace until the arrival of next winter, it will prove a fortunate constellation for this crown. Ambrun also is trying to encourage their desires and at the same time by inducements to upset the union with England, declaring that the accommodation will be combated by a thousand difficulties and that the restitution of the island of Poleron will be the stumbling block and the chief obstacle to negotiation.
Madrid, the 13th April, 1667.
[Italian.]
April 19.
Senato,
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
173. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
From what I can gather the instructions for M. Courtin, who is to go to the congress of Breda, have been drawn up. With him, who is to be joined with the Ambassador d'Estrades, there is to go M. di Rovigni. The reason for this is that as secrecy upon the most arduous points which may crop up is confided to the two ministers aforesaid he may be able to betake himself with all speed, now to the Court and now to the Hague, and report everything by word of mouth without putting it on paper and exposing it to the danger of publication. From what they say the two ministers are forbidden to listen to any projects for a truce or suspension of arms. From what has been digested here at several conferences some weeks ago between the Sieur di Liona, van Boninghen, Lord Germen and the minister of Denmark (fn. 3) they give the ambassadors clear information (distinta notitia), but before everything they desire a prompt decision and the conclusion of the transaction. It is not known whether the other allies are inclined to agree to such promptitude. Yet the Dutch, who are always slow to act by nature and possibly even more so by art, have sent the passports for the English ambassadors and equipped some frigates to secure their voyage.
It would seem that the matter of the appointment of the English deputies is under discussion. For one thing they think that Baron Hollis is too hot tempered (fiero) for such an affair, and inclined to make difficulties and as one who brought matters to the rupture he is considered an instrument ill adapted for the accommodation. On the other hand Mr. Coventri being very mild and suave, the difference in temperament may produce a variety in opinion between them, rendering necessary frequent reference to that Court for precise instructions, not without delays and longuers. But above all the mediation of the emperor, accepted by the English, foreshadows fresh complications. The other princes have not yet been sounded about it, and it is thought that when the offer is made here it will not be accepted. The English might take exception to this and everything be brought back to its original state. It would seem that they are disposed to this, because to avoid fresh clashes between the fleets fifty galleons are destined to guard the coasts of England, and an even greater number will be sent to cruise about the coasts of Ireland, to prevent any landings that the allies might contemplate. These dispositions being known here compel the government to put the fleet into admirable order. The sailors who inhabit the maritime provinces, being reluctant to go on board the ships, are being compelled by force and many troops are proceeding to La Rochelle to reinforce it. Nevertheless this attention to the navy does not extinguish the reports of war on land. These may possibly be circulated on purpose in order to make it believed that war with the Spaniards is a settled thing, whether the peace with England takes place or no.
Paris, the 19th April, 1667.
[Italian.]
April 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
174. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Since the blow inflicted on the Portuguese by Albuquerque (fn. 4) they have sent here to protest that if they do not receive prompt assistance they will be compelled to make the best terms that they can with the Spaniards. It is believed that the decisions taken here will depend on what is done at the congress of Breda. Meanwhile M. Courtin has received instructions to go post to Breda, where everything will be provided for him by M. d'Estrades. The government reposes great confidence in the ability of this man.
The Lords States in the mean time have sent to Breda a member of their order to prepare quarters for the foreign ministers, and to direct the march of some twenty companies thither, to render the place secure. (fn. 5) Yet the deputies of the States have not as yet been selected. They have not yet decided upon their numbers or of what rank they should be. They would like to have one for each of the provinces of Holland, Zeeland and Friesland, as being maritime and interested in commerce and in the war with England; but it is suspected that the others will wish to take part also with their deputies. It would seem that there also they are not inclined to hear a word about a truce, knowing full well that the difficulties about negotiating this would be no less than for a peace. The same burdens would still continue while the Provinces would not concur with the same readiness to make the payments. They have, however, discussed there the commissions for the deputies, before choice of them has been made, with the charge indicated above. After this they are directed to stand fast to the terms of the alternative for either the retention or the restitution on both sides of all that has been taken or will be taken from the beginning of the war until the conclusion and signature of the treaty.
Paris, the 19th April, 1667.
[Italian.]
April 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
175. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch believe that the admission as well as the exclusion of the imperial mediation will serve equally well to drag out the treaty for peace, because the exclusion of the imperial minister, if the English, who have agreed to it, insist upon his admission, must involve loss of time, and his entry might introduce complications into the negotiations, if it does not establish a universal peace.
The deputies of the States have not yet been chosen, but among themselves the Provinces have been devoting all their powers to reducing their number, which will not exceed three or four at most. Gelderland and Utrecht permit themselves to be represented by the others.
They have debated in the Assembly whether the deputies of the powers should be entertained at Breda by the Lord States for the first days. It being pointed out that they do not bring credentials for the Provinces, they decided in the negative. They had before their eyes the precedent of 1609 when the Marquis Spinola and other Spanish ambassadors arrived at the Hague to negotiate the truce, and more recently that of 1653 when the Dutch ambassadors went to London where they received no treatment from England. In order to remove difficulties of precedence which might arise they have devised to establish a large table in the middle of a hall which will be entered by four open doors at its angles, and surrounded by a railing supplied with a corresponding number of doors, so that there may be no distinction of place.
We have not yet heard of the departure of the deputies from London, but learn that the affairs of that Court are in some disorder, that the quarrels among the grandees are growing worse and that they are apprehensive of secret intelligences with foreigners. The fleet destined for defence is in no satisfactory condition.
Paris, the 26th April, 1667.
[Italian.]
April 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
176. Caterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of England has resumed the juntas, but it is impossible to find out whether he has new business. Every appearance points to the contrary, and reasons of state would require that he should be detained without concluding anything up to the moment when attacks and hostilities are resumed in the Ocean, when they would only need to be spectators here of the issue of the campaign.
I have found out that the spirit of Ambrun is troubled by some suspicion that money is passing from Flanders to England. He flatters himself, however, that without some return, either of handing over Tangier or of giving back Jamaica, they would not be finding the money here. But he did not mention to me what I should consider more likely, that the outlay would not be badly employed in purchasing a diversion capable of holding off danger for this year. Whatever the truth may be the notion would be cloaked with great artifice, and as a matter of fact it does not emanate from any quarter whatsoever, at the present moment. So far as the negotiation is concerned one hears nothing but exaggerations and complaints on the part of Sciandovich, and the ambassador of Germany adds that it would be a great matter if there were money to assist Flanders, not to speak of throwing it away uselessly and without profit.
Madrid, the 27th April, 1667.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Westcomb, the consul at Cadiz, reported that Rear-Admiral Kempthorne with all his frigates had sailed from that port for London on the 30th March. Westcomb to Arlington, 30th April, 1667. P.R.O. S.P. Spain, Vol. lii.
2 Printed in Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. vi, p. 23.
3 Presumably the resident, Gioe.
4 An allusion to the operations of the squadron of Flanders under Mateo Maes and the Ocean fleet under Don Diego de Ibarra off the Portuguese coasts from June to September, 1666, cutting off provision ships, destroying fisheries, bombarding towns, and storming a fort on the Berlingas islands. Duro: Armada Española, Vol. v, pp. 90–91. Albuquerque himself, though lieutenant general of the fleet, had no part in this.
5 According to the London Gazette (April 11–15) two members of the States, Severner and Rodenburgh, were sent “to take order with the governor for all things necessary for that assembly.”


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