Venice
January 1668

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1935

Pages

206-211

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'Venice: January 1668', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 35: 1666-1668 (1935), pp. 206-211. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90221 Date accessed: 01 August 2014.


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January 1668

1668.
Jan. 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
264. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch ambassadors [in England] had a conference with the commissioners appointed to treat with them. They communicated the course of action to which the Dutch were inclined, to force the Spaniards to make peace. It seemed to them that a good union with the Most Christian would be the sole means of reaching that end. The English did not approve of this expedient and said that they would never give their assent to it. It seemed to them, indeed, more reasonable that France should restore to the Spaniards what he had occupied. England had a treaty with Spain which forbad them to consider any other course. The Dutch did not press the matter further, but little consideration need be paid to the English since it is seen that for the moment they are unable to play any considerable role (non possono giuocare alcun personaggio).
The parliamentarians have decided upon a sentence of perpetual exile on the chancellor. The king here, when he was at Versailles, admitted him secretly to the presence. Long conversations took place between them. The chancellor revealed the most intimate affairs of the kingdom and unfolded every secret. In the visit that Lord Germen paid to the Sieur di Liona it is believed that his Britannic Majesty imparted his desire to have the chancellor sent away from this country. This will be conceded and it is believed that he proposes to go on to Liege. So the chancellor who has done so much for the benefit of France, is unable, in his misfortunes to find safety there; but it may be that in his very exile he will not be less useful than he was when in power since it is incredible that the disturbances which have arisen on his account can go on without breaking out into manifest dissensions.
Paris, the 3rd January, 1667. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
265. Caterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Sciandovich is at last making it known that he is not going to Lisbon after all, because of the disturbances which have broken out there, since with the duke deposed from his command he cannot treat with the brother unless orders reach him from England. The opinion held here is that the ambassador never had any intention of making the journey but it was merely in order to put the utmost pressure on the Spaniards and to find out how far they were prepared to go. All the ministers say with one accord that all the difficulties have come from his side, and that the greater the advantages and securities he received the more troublesome he made himself without ever having had the smallest imaginable power to treat on behalf of Portugal.
It is said that the secretary of the ambassador will return from London with more ample powers, but the wisest heads conclude that under this negotiation there are enclosed most secret and mysterious ends. Personally I admit with all simplicity to the Senate that I am not the only one among the foreign ministers who has lost all track. We are all in the same plight. I apply to the others and they apply to me to discover the real facts; but even the ambassador of Germany is quite in the dark. What can be said on a solid foundation is that under hand every means is being employed to establish the peace with the Portuguese. The matter is referred to the Marchese di Lice, (fn. 1) who holds out hopes of arranging it. He is a man of some ability and besides his close connection with the House of Braganza he is very intimate with Don Pietro, who is at present in command. A leading minister went so far as to say that peace will be proclaimed before forty days have passed, and the Inquisitor General himself, when sounded by me on the subject, responded with smiles and half sentences (moti tronchi) as if he had wished to tell me that the conclusion is not far off. For the rest he speaks without any restraint about the behaviour and the advice of the ambassador of England.
Madrid, the 4th January, 1668.
[Italian.]
Jan. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
266. To the Resident at Florence.
With regard to the lead which has arrived from London we charge you to clinch the bargain for a hundred migliare, obtaining the best terms that you can and sending word of what you have done, when the money will be promptly remitted to you. You are also instructed to provide in that town sailors for two ships as soon as possible.
Ayes, 133. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Jan. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
267. Caterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The final and sudden decision of the Ambassador Sciandovich to proceed to Lisbon has at last been carried into effect. He has found it impossible to extricate himself from the position in which he became involved after so much resistance and so many protests. To a foreign minister resident at this Court he expressed himself to the effect that he was going to promote a great boon for this crown, but to lose with his own king. This notion may be interpreted in connection with the change in the government, since it is quite certain that he has not received powers from England to treat with Don Pedro, because the replies and the resolutions of the House of Braganza have not yet arrived from that quarter.
After many weeks ample powers were handed to him on Saturday, the day before his departure, by the secretary of the Northern section, together with 4000 doubles for the journey, a coach, a litter of the Court, and a certain number of horses. The strongest representations have been made in order to induce him to take this step, so as not to lose the opportunity of the meeting of the Court, appointed for the 10th of the present month.
From the side of Portugal the ambassador has nothing for certain, merely a proposal that was made to him last year which might have given rise to negotiation provided that they treated for peace as between king and king and that they would agree to give up all that which belonged to the ancient kings of Lusitania. This disposition is unlikely to be changed, as Don Pedro and the people want peace. On the other hand the exertions of France to prevent it are well known; so men feel doubtful in their minds as to whether the ambassador will be able to emerge victorious from such a hard contest.
There are very great difficulties in the way of a dispensation for the second marriage of Don Pedro and Don Pedro is without much hope of offspring. As there is no other heir to that House than the queen of England one is tempted to believe that his Britannic Majesty is aiming from afar at the augmentation of his own greatness. Speculation is rife and there are some who represent that the English are operating with secret ends to deceive this crown and to throw it into some extremity of peril.
Madrid, the 11th January, 1668.
[Italian.]
Jan. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
268. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the commission given him to raise 3000 troops, English and Dutch. The count of San Maldich has offered his assistance to make a levy of 1500 men in each of these countries if their governments will permit it. I have raised the question with the earl of St. Albans, who is going to England, to invite some person of rank to favour the cause of the most serene republic. He seemed ready to oblige and promised to send me word.
Paris, the 17th January, 1667. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
269. Caterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Since his departure the ambassador of England has sent a gentleman of his to pay his respects to me. He will be a short distance from Lisbon and the thread of his negotiations will attract the greater attention since he undoubtedly undertook the journey with his hands empty so far as the Portuguese are concerned.
Madrid, the 18th January, 1668.
[Italian.]
Jan. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
270. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
I have arranged for the purchase of the lead. The merchants insist on charging 25 piastres per migliare, because they have bought up the lead and now, observing that no more is arriving from London they are hoping to make a considerable profit. I have arranged to purchase a hundred migliare in the name of a merchant of Leghorn, but the contract has not been completed.
Pisa, the 21st January, 1667. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
271. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It is hoped that de Witt will take resolutions advantageous to France. Every one lives in eager anticipation of his decision because upon that may depend changes of no ordinary character in Europe.
In the mean time Count Donna, the ambassador of Sweden, has asked for his despatch. The deputies appointed to negotiate with him have made very strong representations to him to use his utmost efforts for the union of Sweden with England for the preservation of the Low Countries. There would not seem to be any great difficulty about this because neither of the two crowns mentioned is friendly to the aggrandisement of France or to that of Holland.
Sir [William] Temple, the British envoy to the Provinces made a proposal to de Witz of an offensive and defensive alliance against all comers. In this way he had in mind to interrupt the close confederacy which the Provinces are proposing to arrange with this crown. The same envoy went on to offer an offensive alliance against France, which has become formidable to both of them and aspires to destroy their dominion and commerce at sea. Mons. Witz represented to the envoy that the Lords States had considerations of such importance that would prevent them absolutely from declaring upon either of the foregoing points. Temple replied that England would be obliged to listen to the proposals of France which was offering to restore Dunkirk to her, to hand over to her Nieuport and Ostend and after some lapse of time to divide the United Provinces with England, leaving Zeeland to his Britannic Majesty. By these declarations Sir William believed that he would make an impression on the mind of de Witz, but he did not move him at all and he seemed to incline to the last proposal of a confederation for the preservation of the Low Countries.
Baron Isola, the emperor's envoy, and Count Molina, ambassador of the Catholic in London, being apprehensive of unions and alliances in favour of the contrary party, and not seeing very clearly into the manœuvres or the intentions of the northern powers, have made some overtures for an adjustment to the Dutch ambassadors in London. They have also written to Castel Rodrigo to oblige him to take some definite action and not allow worse disasters to overtake the Catholic. They would like the Dutch ambassadors to give them assurance that Spain should not be compelled to accept worse conditions than the alternatives proposed. They insisted further on knowing whether the Lords States would take the affirmative for Spain in the event of a denunciation by France. The ambassadors were unable to give them a definite answer because they do not know how far the deliberations of the Assembly may be going, whether the Council of Spain may not oppose or whether the haughtiness of Castel Rodrigo may not disown the other ministers.
The Austrians do not seem averse from listening to an accommodation in order to stir up greater mischief. It may also be that by causing the negotiations to progress they aspire to interrupt more prompt deliberations and to keep the princes with the questions unresolved. In the mean time, on this side, negotiation does not interrupt action, indeed their movements are a long way ahead of time.
Paris, the 24th January, 1667. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
272. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The earl of St. Albans, who is going to London next week, called on me at this house. He assured me of his king's good will to the most serene republic. He promised to do his best for the levy, but warned me of the difficulties in the way, owing to the reduction of the population by reason of the plague and the war which afflicted that country only a few months ago. In a subdued tone he spoke of their trade in the Levant and that he did not know how the Turks would take it. It seemed to me, however, that this was not the obstacle which he had in mind, but that he introduced the point in order to bring your Excellencies to something more profitable for the royal House of England. Thus he went further and said that if the republic should happen to want to hire ships, it would be easy to fill these with men and cause them to proceed to the Levant, while giving out that the Venetians had purchased them in England. In this way the traders would be protected from suffering harm while the republic would get what it wanted. He stopped at this point and from what I understand Prince Rupert has a squadron of thirteen ships which he would like to turn to advantage either by selling or by hiring. I told the earl that I had no commissions about ships but that to raise the question in London could not fail to do good.
Paris, the 24th January, 1667. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
273. To the Resident at Florence.
Giving him power to settle for the purchase of the lead at 25 piastres the miliare. The Senate will expect to be advised of the completion of this transaction as well as about the English company and the offer made to him. Nothing remains but to confirm the satisfaction of the state with his operations.
Ayes, 111. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Jan. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
274. Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The affair of the levy has been introduced with the marquis of Somerdich. The earl of St. Albans remarked to me that no nation was more fitted to trouble the Turks than the English, who were strong at sea, determined and forward for any enterprise. After this he said to me, At present our nation and the crown itself are cleaned out of money, and when that is wanting little or nothing can be done.
The arrival of Sir William Temple at the Hague and his proposals to Witz do not pass here without remark. There are some who believe that Milord Temple, on his return, will take on the character of ambassador extraordinary.
Paris, the 31st January, 1667. [M.V.]
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Gaspar de Haro, marquis of Liche, who had been taken prisoner at the battle of Evora, in June, 1663.