Venice
November 1667

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1935

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190-198

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'Venice: November 1667', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 35: 1666-1668 (1935), pp. 190-198. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90219 Date accessed: 27 November 2014.


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November 1667

Nov. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
239. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A regiment of the guard which it is proposed to compose entirely of soldiers of the English nation causes the name of that nation to be in good odour with this one, since it would seem that such confidence deserves some respect if not advantage. The parliament, from what people say, is not so unfriendly towards this crown. It would seem that the English are thinking more of repairing the injuries suffered in the past war than of meddling with arms by definite commitments. Two hundred men, Catholics of the guard of that nation who have arrived at this Court, have been enrolled in the royal companies, and this has afforded the English no little pleasure. Every one is conquering by courtesies in order to conquer the better by force when the time comes. They promise the soldiers 5 soldi a day and their bread while they are serving on a campaign instead of 2 soldi which in the past were promised but only paid to few.
Paris, the 1st November, 1667.
[Italian.]
Nov. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
240. Caterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
[Concerning the family quarrels in Portugal.]
It is understood that Bofort is going with the fleet to Lisbon, no doubt in order to support the duchess. From these commotions they derive a motive for improving the adjustment, since there is neither application nor force to do more. Accordingly with this end in view the secretary of the English ambassador is delaying his start. From what I have gathered the government desired that Sandovich should write to the British resident at Lisbon to find out the sentiments of the duke, and whether, after the withdrawal of the favourite, who is utterly French, (fn. 1) he may perchance prove more facile and less obstinate over the points claimed. Those who wish to see this affair settled finally look for the worst results from the excessive reserve, and that if they give time to Bofort to put in at Lisbon all their work will be thrown to the ground by the offices, the money and the protests which he will make to Braganza in the name of the Most Christian.
Of the royal army and of the Peruchian fleet there is no news. Two English ships fell in outside the Strait with the squadron of il Centurion. To the signals fired for acknowledgment they replied with many discharges of shotted guns. Accordingly it was necessary to attack them and they succeeded in capturing one of them with a rich cargo. The English are now claiming its restitution and the affair has been referred to the Council of War. (fn. 2)
Madrid, the 2nd November, 1667.
[Italian.]
Nov. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
241. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It is reported that the king of England has appointed the earl of St. Albans to be ambassador extraordinary. He is certain to be acceptable. The affairs of that country are very tranquil. The concessions made to the demands of parliament have kept all well affected.
The king there complains of the seizure by Spanish ships off Ostend of fifty men at arms of his guard who were going to the service of this crown, as well as of a barque with twenty-five horses and the equipage of M. Amolton, their commander. (fn. 3) He demands restitution and expresses his displeasure that they should dare to lay hands on a barque under the flag of the king of England. Probably the Spaniards will make no difficulty about giving him prompt satisfaction.
Paris, the 8th November, 1667.
[Italian.]
Nov. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
242. Caterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
At the instance of the English ambassador, who spoke with resentment, her Majesty has ordered the restitution of the ship taken by il Centurioni on condition that security is found and that they shall prove that it really belongs to the nation. In the mean time, at Tangier, the English hold in arrest a Spanish ship laden with iron implements for the forces. The duke of Medina Celi, at the first news of the Centurioni affair, sent to have the English consul arrested at Cadiz. He was then taken to Porto Santa Maria, where the duke had him kept twelve days in prison. (fn. 4) This measure of the governor is by no means approved and it may possibly oblige the Ambassador Sandovich to claim fresh satisfaction.
Madrid, the 9th November, 1667.
[Italian.]
Nov. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
243. Marc AAntonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Catholic ambassador in London has promised the restitution of the booty taken by the Ostenders, and this action should soothe the ruffled temper of the king there.
Paris, the 15th November, 1667.
[Italian.]
Nov. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
244. Caterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Several times this week the English ambassador has gathered with the ministers here to have their final decision upon the affairs of Portugal. The government has certainly been divided between doubts and fears, but in the end it did not see how to recall the promise already given to the ambassador or decide to limit the full powers given to him, which were signed by her Majesty and by many of the Council of State.
So the affair stands solidly in the position reported. To give it an even stronger impetus it has been decided since yesterday that the ambassador himself shall travel towards Lisbon furnished with all the powers, in the most ample and valid form, and he will take a proxy for the queen in the person of the Marchese di Lice, who is a prisoner of the Portuguese, so that he may sign the instrument of peace. Don Giovanni and Medina held fast to their opinion to the very utmost. God grant that this great move which seems to offer such prospects of felicity may meet with a favourable disposition on the other side. At Lisbon the ambassador of France is exerting himself to the utmost to thwart the intent of the Spaniards and deprive the Ambassador Sandovic of his glory. It is certainly difficult to understand upon what foundation he ventures to commit himself so deeply in the business.
All the arrangements have this day been punctually disposed, the ambassador being provided by the queen with 10,000 crowns for the journey, with the certainty of liberal rewards if the desired intent is achieved.
The quarrels of the House of Braganza remain in the condition reported and no accident of consequence has ensued. It is possible that the English ambassador will take a hand in the matter and institute measures for reunion and a return of confidence.
Madrid, the 16th November, 1667.
[Italian.]
Nov. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
245. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
No ships have arrived from the Levant this week although by letters from Holland we hear that seven vessels of that nation are already on their way to these parts with rich merchandise. At any moment also they are expecting a numerous convoy which has already left London. Accordingly the merchants here rejoice greatly in the hope of seeing trade flourishing again. The Court also rejoices in the confidence of resuming the benefits it enjoyed before. Every one is consoled by the certainty of seeing a quantity of ships in this port, which at present is entirely devoid of any.
Leghorn, the 18th November, 1667.
[Italian.]
Nov. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
246. Alessandro Bernardo, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
They are waiting at this Court to hear what will be decided by the parliament in London upon the interests of Flanders so that they may be able to take their decisions. In the mean time every one remains in suspense, and the emperor also, without making a start with his diversions.
Vienna, the 20th November, 1667.
[Italian.]
Nov. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
247. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
By a rigorous inquiry, by order of parliament, which is assembled in London, they are trying to find out the original authors and the true motives which induced that government to decide on the sale of the place of Dunkirk. (fn. 5) The two Chambers cannot abide with patience the sight of the alienation from British dominion of a position of such great consequence, more particularly in relation to this side. It seemed to that kingdom that while they held Dunkirk they were not entirely despoiled of their ancient pretensions over this kingdom. The deposed chancellor, who is said to have given the first consent, is in great danger of being punished capitally. There are also other charges against him, of maladministration of the finances, through defects in which, it is announced, the losses ensued.
M. Coventri, who was ambassador at the congress of Breda, is under an accusation of having allowed himself to be won over by the opposite parties, and in consequence of having failed to obtain the advantages desired and which might have been obtained in the treaty of peace. The powerlessness of the English to face up to France and their discontent at seeing themselves compelled to bend to make peace with the Dutch, after the affront received from their fleets in the Thames, causes them to discharge their wrath and to let loose their bad temper against private individuals of those in their service, thinking, possibly, by a private punishment to restore the lustre of their nation, otherwise obscured.
The prohibition of the French to levy troops in that country contrary to the permission already granted by their king, (fn. 6) shows clearly enough that if they had the power to take worse measures they would not neglect them; but they have only too much to do in dealing with their own internal calamities, which are by no means few.
The levy of Catholics for that kingdom is allowed to continue since they are already exiled. The Sieur d'Amelot has gone thither for that purpose and it is likely that many are passing under the standard under the name of exile. It is possible to arrive at the same end under another pretext.
The Ostenders, being relieved of all apprehension, came out last week for privateering and in a very short space of time they carried off a plenteous booty from this nation, from which they have captured more than twenty merchant ships, part of them proceeding to England, and others to Holland.
Paris, the 22nd November, 1667.
[Italian.]
Nov. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
248. Catterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The gentleman of the earl of Sandovic (fn. 7) arrived on the 18th from London, having been sent back by his Britannic Majesty with the confirmation of the articles agreed on at Madrid. On the following day the ambassador went to inform them about it at the palace and joined himself with the three deputies in order to arrange for the publication of the articles aforesaid, chiefly upon the points touching trade. This has not been done as yet but it will be within the course of the coming week.
In the mean time his interest gives colour to the postponement of the ambassador's journey to Lisbon, and as one day succeeds another this gives rise to suspicions of fresh disturbances caused either by the last despatches from London or by advices from the English minister at Lisbon. Although it is difficult in a short time to get at the true reasons, it may be permitted to consider the arguments used at the Court in its curiosity. Some maintain that the resident has written regularly that Braganza will not listen to treaties of peace without France, and that every effort under such circumstances will be futile and indecorous for whoever wishes to undertake it. Others say that Baron del Isola by this despatch has given a very sombre description of England. That it is divided into several parties, to wit that of the exiled Lord Chancellor, secretly favoured by the duke of York; the parliament, the Catholics and seditious and pestilential sectaries. From all this he deduces the perilous infirmity of the government there and how little confidence should be placed in its mediation, or in its alliance either. He lays stress on the suspicion that Rovigni by persuasion and by the gold of France is proceeding to win over the hearts of the parliamentarians. As, according to circumstances, the authority of King Charles derives more or less vigour from these men it is inevitable that he will yield to the good or evil disposition that parliament itself may have towards this crown.
Isola further adds that very hard proposals have been made to him, to have free trade in the Indies and the two ports of Nieuport and Ostend. This would mean, on the one hand, to open a gateway of the sea to the English, which has hitherto been jealously guarded, and on the other to close it in Flanders to the Spanish provinces. They offer in exchange to have a hundred ships of war cruising in the Ocean and to send 10,000 soldiers for the defence of the Low Countries.
The first consideration seems to be the most likely, that at Lisbon they do not wish to treat, as those of riper judgment have always feared. This opinion receives considerable support from the cancellation of the voyage of Boffort to that place, a clear indication that in France they consider the word of Braganza a loyal pledge that he will not treat separately.
In spite of the inkling of some powerful difficulty Sandovic announces every day that he is starting and he incurs the heavy expense of the carriage appointed for the journey. He wishes to have it believed that the arrival of the gentleman from London has caused this necessary delay. In the mean time he has not made any sort of representation to the ambassadors, possibly in order to avoid giving a reason for the strong motives which have induced him to travel to Portugal. If this does not take place he will have to think of some way of satisfying the curious for so sudden a withdrawal after having committed himself so publicly and with so much commotion.
Madrid, the 23rd November, 1667.
[Italian.]
Nov. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
249. Alessandro Bernardo, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch are waiting to see what will be the outcome in the parliament of England, so that they may be able to take their measures in the declarations which, it is said, will not follow unless the English maintain at least neutrality.
Vienna, the 27th November, 1667.
[Italian.]
Nov. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
250. Catterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The very great circumstance with which the negotiation of Portugal proceeds will provide cause for astonishment. I have already written on good grounds that the secretary of England was to go to Lisbon with the most ample powers to negotiate the peace. Then there occurred the discords in the House of Braganza, and they thought it better here, to improve the conditions, to have the secretary stayed until the arrival of replies from the British resident. In the mean time it occurred to the Ambassador Sandovic to go in person to treat with Braganza, with no other object than to give reputation to the transaction, and to bring more facility to the conclusion. The queen whole heartedly accepted and welcomed the offer, assigned 4000 doubles to him for the journey, issued orders for his quarters right down to the frontier and left nothing undone which could serve to make public the decision of the ambassador, while he, for his part, did not fail to confirm it in the most assured and public manner. On the day before that appointed for his departure the gentleman arrived from London with the articles of the peace renewed at Madrid and this circumstance seemed adequate and to justify the delay of some days. However, it has since come out that this was not the principal reason and that the ambassador, after the arrival of this gentleman, started to make the claim that he must have in writing all the immediate authority of the queen and not only that which the Junta gives him as the deputy of the queen, although the consulta drawn up for the full powers was signed and approved by her Majesty.
This demand being examined in the Council was found to be subtle and tainted with bad faith. They tried to shake the ambassador by the strongest representations that they have no intention here of deceiving him, and that the powers given could not be more express or more clear. But he persists in his demand and two days ago he dismissed the carriage after having kept it a week at his expense.
Here the pertinacity of the ambassador causes great offence and they are beginning to consider either that more restricted orders have come from London or he has received word from Lisbon that he will undertake the business with little chance of success. It is difficult to find out what the real truth of the matter may be, as it is hidden in his bosom, but in the mean time they are thinking of a fresh expedient for having the peace negotiated directly. There is talk of Pegnoranda going to the frontier and the facility which has been shown upon other occasions in granting good terms to rebels, encourages the hope that the most capable individual has of conducting this business. A leading minister declared to me, without opening out any further, that they have the adjustment in their grasp. It is true that the Marchese di Lice, who is a prisoner with the Portuguese, is keeping some negotiation alive and asks for powers which he can use when an opportunity occurs and he finds them well disposed there. But on the other hand it is known that Braganza has recently ratified the treaty of alliance made with the Most Christian, that he has received 100,000 crowns on account of 300,000 and that some bodies of French troops have arrived at Lisbon.
Madrid, the 30th November, 1667.
[Italian.]
Nov. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
251. Catterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Sandovich has just been here late this evening to say that he could not tell whether he was going to London or to Lisbon, but that the decision that will be taken to-night at the Junta will make it clear in which direction he is to steer his voyage. He said that he would be going to an arduous and difficult business, opposed by a most powerful king and by many other obstacles. Nevertheless he did not wish to look too closely at the struggle with which he was faced, in order to show them here that he knows how to keep his word. At the same time he did not know what he could promise about the issue. It is quite true that a happy issue will win him a great deal of glory, but on the other hand the Spaniards will say that the ambassador is a soldier and that he is not good for negotiations of so much weight. Accordingly he begged me, as his friend, to be so good as to defend him against slander, because he was only acting for a good end, for the service of this crown and for the benefit of the whole world.
I commended his zeal and wished him good fortune. After leaving me he went on to the Junta, and to-morrow we shall know something more definite although it would seem that we may take it as certain that every difficulty has been removed and that the ambassador will go straight to Lisbon.
Madrid, the 30th November, 1667.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Don Luis de Sousa Vasconcellos, conde de Castelmelhor. He withdrew to a monastery near Lisbon and later sought an asylum at the court of Savoy. Vertot: Hist. des Revolutions de Portugal, p. 178.
2 The English ships Prudence Mary and Virgin, bound from Scanderoon to London were attacked when 4 days out from Cadiz by a Spanish man-of-war commanded by Ipolito Centurione, a Genoese. The former got away, but the Virgin was brought into Cadiz. She was released a fortnight later. Cowis to Williamson on 23rd Oct. and 5th Nov. Minute of Privy Council of 22nd Nov. P.R.O. S.P. Spain, Vol. liii.
3 Two ships were taken, one with 56 men and horses and the other with 64. They were of the troop of Sir James Hamilton, bound for Dieppe. In reply to Temple's remonstrances Castel Rodrigo ordered the restoration of the horses (4 or 6) that were Hamilton's personal property, and offered to let the men have a free passage back to England. J. W. from Bruges on 16th and 20th Oct. and Temple to Arlington, 8 Nov., 1667. P.R.O. S.P. Flanders, Vol. xxxvi. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1667, p. 526.
4 In a letter to Arlington of 29th Feb., 1668, the consul, Martin Westcomb, declares that he had been “clapped into the common gaol at St. Mary Port by the Duke of Medina Celi to be revenged of Col. Norwood, deputy governor of Tangier, for not consenting to free several fishing French tartanas, that had the duke's pass, taken by the Tangier men-of-war.” He complained that the ambassador had done little or nothing for him. P.R.O. S.P. Spain, Vol. liii.
5 It was resolved on Oct. 17, o.s., that a committee be appointed to inquire into the reasons for the sale of Dunkirk, and whether any money was paid into the hands of any private person: Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. ix, p. 4.
6 “The House being informed that there are some soldiers now in a readiness to be transferred into foreign parts: Ordered that an address be made to His Majesty by Sir William Coventry to restrain their exportation, the matter being now under consideration of the House for strengthening the nation against foreign invasion.” Oct. 24, Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. ix, p. 7. The regiment of Douglas was being taken over about this time.
7 Henry Sheres. His passport for Spain was made out on the 14th Oct., o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1667, p. 526.