Venice
December 1667

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1935

Pages

198-205

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'Venice: December 1667', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 35: 1666-1668 (1935), pp. 198-205. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90220 Date accessed: 23 October 2014.


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December 1667

Dec. 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
252. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Ten ships laden with merchandise and six other large vessels of England have put in at Leghorn this week. With the arrival of these ships business and traffic are beginning to flourish again at that port, after having been greatly diminished for some years past.
Florence, the 3rd December, 1667.
[Italian.]
Dec. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
253. Alessandro Bernardo, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
We have not yet heard from Spain what they have decided about the proposed mediation of the pope. In this state of affairs the Dutch seemed disposed to assist the Spaniards if things were made satisfactory for them again (si ritrovassero la loro sodisfattione) and they could feel themselves safe from the English. The latter were also trying to interest themselves in the defence of Flanders. France, on the other hand, was doing everything in its power to create obstacles and to get the Englishman to act as mediator of the peace.
The Count of Dona, minister of Sweden, is said to have a commission to set on foot some negotiation with the Lords States. In the present state of affairs in relation to Flanders it may be as well to act independently of the decisions of the Spaniards, and in particular to make an alliance for the common interest with England.
Vienna, the 4th December, 1667.
[Italian.]
Dec. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
254. Catterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Many Juntas and extraordinary councils have been held this week upon the matter of Portugal. The more they discuss the question the more opposition they arouse to make them lose the opportunity and the fruit of the mediation of the English ambassador. He is greatly annoyed and is coming to suspect that they are acting with duplicity and art. Upon the occasion of my returning his visit he told me that they force him here to make things public (proparlare). He will certainly go to Lisbon, but up to the present time he does not hold sufficiently ample powers to plunge into this business, although Braganza seems to be showing the best disposition to listen to his projects. From the Junta, which was held yesterday evening, the ambassador hoped to have the final decision. He desired a copy of the powers conferred by the queen on the Junta to deal with him on the subject and conclude, by virtue whereof the consulta were drawn up and the full powers set out and signed by her Majesty. If this is settled, a thing I have not so far been able to find out, he will set out at once. He has his coach all ready for the second time, but if further delays are introduced he suspects that the Marchese di Lice has set some negotiation on foot and is holding out hopes of bringing it to perfection without the intervention of a third party. This doubt alone piques the ambassador, dominated as he is by the incitements of glory and self interest.
In the mean time the quarrels at Lisbon seem to have been quenched, since the banishment of the favourite. The people have been flattered by the hope of peace, but the bride still continued separated from her husband. She is described as of unquiet spirit, imperious and disdainful, very strong for the party of France and equally capable of great evil and of great good. (fn. 1)
The convoy of Genoa is expected and in sight of Cadiz itself four English ships of war were stationed with the claim to be preferred in the salute by the guns of the fortress.
Madrid, the 7th December, 1667.
[Italian.]
Dec. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
255. Alessandro Bernardo, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The negotiations of the Spaniards with the Dutch, to give them in pledge the towns of Ostend, Bruges and Dam in order have from them troops and money have not reached any conclusion because it is contrary to the privileges of the Estates of Flanders, who proposed other conditions to the Dutch, to which they refused to listen, waiting first of all to hear what the British king meant to do It is stated that he has expressed himself to the Dutch ambassador as proposing to interest himself for the peace between the two crowns, first of all by negotiation and then, if it be necessary, by arms as well.
Vienna, the 11th December, 1667.
[Italian.]
Dec. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
256. Catterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador is continuing his consultations with the three deputies, but to the general amazement he has not made himself ready for the journey right up to to-day. So far as I can gather the difficulty certainly comes from the side of the ambassador and it arose on the day before that on which he was to leave Madrid.
At London other principles predominate since the peace of Breda and the expulsion of the Lord Chancellor. The Count of Molina, the Catholic ambassador, suggests reasons for doubting whether the negotiations can end happily by means of the English ambassador. There is also a proposal laid on the table for an offensive and defensive alliance, but the difficult point of granting the English freedom to trade in the Indies prevails over every other consideration. Here in the mean time, in the first days of this week, the renewal of the peace with England relative to that of the '35 has been proclaimed by four heralds, and the same is to be done in all the ports of the two seas.
Castel Rodrigo, who holds full powers to treat with the princes of the North, represents a union of England, Holland and Brandenburg with this side as an easy matter. Long consultations are being held on the subject, but the real point is that those powers are only moving for the purpose of extracting great advantages from the Spaniards and it is necessary, in the first place, to get together a large amount of money to cultivate their friendship. The measures taken turn out insufficient (riescono corte) and it is equally difficult to find expedients for raising any.
Madrid, the 14th December, 1667.
[Italian.]
Dec. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
257. Alessandro Bernardo, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
It is hoped that the English and Dutch are about to propose mediation simultaneously to the crowns and they may be able to constrain them by force to do what they will not agree to do by reason, just as they did in the last war of the North, between the Danes and the Swedes. (fn. 2) According to what they say the king of England has declared his neutrality to each of the two crowns and has forbidden further progress with their levies in Great Britain.
Vienna, the 18th December, 1667.
[Italian.]
Dec. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
258. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It is very certain that the peace with England rests upon feeble foundations. The pride of that nation does not forget the injury suffered only a few months ago. It displeases them to see that the House of Orange is suffering wrong. The capture of a certain fort of great importance, occupied by the English in the West Indies after the conclusion of the peace, causes no little offence. (fn. 3) The Lords States demand its instant restitution. This might prove a fresh occasion for trouble. Five good ships of war are arming in Holland to be sent in that direction to attempt the recovery by force. All this serves to make the Dutch walk cautiously in the decisions they take in connection with present occurrences.
Paris, the 20th December, 1667.
[Italian.]
Dec. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
259. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
[On the question of the Spanish Portuguese relations.]
San Romano is to represent to Braganza the danger of breaking away from France. Nevertheless the relation existing between the affairs of England and Braganza encourages the hope that the negotiation will not be stopped. The Portuguese asked for a guarantee to secure the peace, from his Britannic Majesty. The absorption of that government in internal affairs does not permit those at a distance to feel complete confidence. For the same reason the English are of no use to contribute solid offices for the advantage of the aforesaid. The differences between the two Houses still continue and disputes over the affair of Lord Clarendon, the late chancellor. Each of them claims the power of acting as a court of Justice over him. The House of Commons demanded that they should proceed to the arrest of his person. The House of Lords opposed this. The duke of Buchican pointed out forcibly the impropriety and the offence against the fundamental laws of the realm if they laid hands on a subject who enjoyed the rank of a peer before he was proved to be guilty. They allowed him to get to his house; but he, well knowing how great is the animosity of the common people against him and how perilous it would be to submit to the judicature of persons entirely governed by their passions, saved himself by flight from the danger of losing his life. He has crossed over to this country and is said to be at Cales. The governor there has informed the Court of his arrival, which causes no little consideration. A council was summoned and the courier was sent back, but with what sentiments has not transpired. This might possibly become a cause of offence. They have to steer between dangerous rocks, either of giving offence to the British king by making the fugitive leave this country, or of getting into the bad books of the parliament by affording him a safe asylum. They would like to avoid doing either.
Paris, the 20th December, 1667.
[Italian.]
Dec. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
260. Catterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The report of the disturbances at Lisbon has quieted down in great measure. The English minister, foreseeing the difficulty of authentic news penetrating to Castile, has sent a person of trust, one of his countrymen, in a frigate to Cadiz, with all the particulars. (fn. 4) He has since arrived here at Court. His report consists in this: that the people are tumultuously calling for peace and the expulsion of the French, as disturbers of the common tranquillity; that the duke, with a strong force of guards was living withdrawn in the palace, fearing some popular insult; that Don Pedro was taking part in the affairs of the kingdom and was transacting business in the name of his brother, and that the duchess had withdrawn to a monastery and desired the dissolution of her marriage, which had not been consummated owing to the impotence of the duke, and that he himself agreed to this. In the middle of the present month the Estates are to meet at Lisbon to deal with current affairs, to give shape to the government and to find some means of satisfying the people. These imbued with the idea that peace is desired here, are furious because it is not accepted and that without any other purpose than to give pleasure to France they continue to weigh them down with most grievous and insupportable burdens.
The English resident reports that Don Pedro will do everything possible to take the crown from his brother. That at the present moment he enjoys credit and authority, winning the people by the attractive hope of a peace close at hand.
In the mean time the English ambassador here makes no further sign of moving although he says, and the ministers confirm it, that he will certainly go, but as he has orders from his king to treat with the duke, and with the change that has taken place, it is probable that he will not venture on the journey until he receives fresh instructions from England.
The secretary of the embassy, having received an urgent summons to London, has gone to Bilbao, to take ship there; so the ambassador has lost a great deal, as the secretary has been the director of the embassy and the actual instrument that has rendered his negotiations resplendent.
Madrid, the 21st December, 1667.
[Italian.]
Dec. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
261. To the king of England.
Upon various occasions our republic has had recourse to extraordinary measures in order to obtain succour in its own cause, which is common to all Christendom. The present emergency which beyond comparison exceeds any other in the past by the obstinate persistence of the Turks under the fortress of Candia, when it has been so much weakened by the loss of such numbers of officers and by so great a wastage of the men, constrains us much more to extraordinary efforts to get together an accumulation of troops and forces and to let the world see our steadfastness under these very great trials of our resistance and courage. As these efforts have been directed to every quarter we are led to reflect upon the great interest which your Majesty has in this matter, both from the position which you hold in Christendom as also because of our deep regard, and we feel sure that you will wish to show yourself forward in the performance of generous actions. Accordingly we have decided to send to you our most faithful Giovanni Francesco Marchesini, secretary. In addition to what he has to say about the favours, of which we feel confident, we are also adding instructions to him to obtain levies and the hire of ships, and we hope that he will receive from your Majesty every possible facility, as an evidence of your great piety in a matter of such urgent importance, and as a return for the great regard which we have for your Majesty. To this end we are supplying the said Marchesini with these present letters, asking your Majesty to be pleased to give him credence as it were to ourselves and so give us the most certain testimony of your friendly disposition towards us. We wish you length of years and the greatest contentment.
Ayes, 117. Noes, 1. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Dec. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
262. To the Ambassador in France.
Owing to the severe calls of the present war it has been decided to make a levy of 2000 or 3000 troops in Holland and England. For this purpose you are to send the secretary Marchesini to those parts where he is most likely to obtain facilities for such a levy. We enclose letters of credence for this purpose to the king of Great Britain and the States. You will supply the secretary with money for his journey and for his sojourn, entering this in your accounts, and it will be made good to you. You will give him the necessary instructions, to have the troops sent to Zante to be transported at once to Candia. The terms of engagement are left to your prudence. If Marchesini has to go to England you will try to get letters in his favour from the queen mother and the king's sister. You will also write to the earl of Rondel, who has always been well disposed towards the republic, asking for his support in a matter of such consequence for Christendom. If any minister comes from that Court to France you will do your utmost to induce him to write in favour of this business, and to do so to the king also. You will direct Marchesini not only to speak himself but to make use of the offices of such a minister as well.
Ayes, 117. Noes, 1. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
1667.
Dec. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
263. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
To the earl of Clarendon, the former chancellor of England, who has taken refuge in this country, they have decided to grant not only the permission to live here but to treat him with every form of honour and courtesy. The king has written him a letter couched in courteous phrases and has not made the least change on account of his altered fortune, calling him “Mon cousin” which is usually confined to personages of the highest rank. His Majesty has sent forward some companies of horse in the direction of Cales, where the earl is staying, to serve him as an escort for his journey which he proposes to make to Rouan.
His Majesty may be acting on various considerations in this affair: to encourage by such an example every other partisan of France to stand fast by her always, without giving way to fear of persecution and trouble. The chancellor has always shown himself in sentiment and interest excessively attached to this crown and consequently he deserves to be covered and defended. The fact of his relationship to Madame of Orleans, as the brother-in-law of her brother, may easily secure for him every advantage. If the British king does not uphold him, it may be, nevertheless, that he will be glad to know that he is in safety. What may have prevailed more than all else with the king here is that a man of position and so well connected could hardly fall without producing upheavals and being near at hand he might serve to keep alive dissension, a result desired above all else under present circumstances. Already we hear that the parliamentarians of both Houses have made choice of those most learned in the ancient memorials of the realm to find out what authority was given by the king to the two parliaments, as far back as the time of King Henry the Second and King Henry the Third (sic), a clear sign that they are devoting themselves to enlarging their powers and reducing those of the king and if possible render him subject to them. Mistrust is increasing on both sides and disturbances are foreseen.
Before leaving the country Clarendon left a letter in the hands of his son to be presented to the cabinet of ministers. In this he complains of the procedure adopted against him and with some sharp phrase touched the king, though this was considered an artifice. The letter was read in both Houses and orders were given immediately that it should be committed to the flames by the hands of the hangman. (fn. 5) This was followed by another resolution to make diligent inquiry to find out if there were other accomplices in the crimes attributed to him, all being combustible material for stirring up trouble.
Paris, the 27th December, 1667.
Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Marie Francoise Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Amadeus, duke of Nemours and Aumale, married in 1666 to Alfonso VI of Portugal, from whom she was divorced. She married his brother Pedro in the following year.
2 Ended by the peace signed at Copenhagen on 6th June, 1660.
3 Surinam. See Cambridge Hist. of the British Empire, Vol. i, p. 243.
4 Southwell wrote to Sandwich on the 4th Dec. that he was sending John Sampson to him on the Reserve frigate to Cadiz, directing him to return to Lisbon by the same. Carte: Revolutions of Portugal, p. 339.
5 “Humble petition and address of Edward, earl of Clarendon,” read in the House of Lords on the 3rd Dec. and in the Commons on the following day. In the latter House it was resolved to desire the Lords to have the letter burned by the common hangman. The text of the letter is printed in the Journals. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. ix, pp. 30–32.