Venice
September 1668

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1935

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259-278

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'Venice: September 1668', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 35: 1666-1668 (1935), pp. 259-278. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90230 Date accessed: 21 October 2014.


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September 1668

Sept. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
337. To the Ambassador in England.
He is to assure the duke of Arundel of the republic's esteem and desire to correspond to the affection shown by that house. Commend his offices about forbidding ships to serve the Turks and mediation. He is to perform fresh offices with the king for help. The Turks are making fierce assaults upon Candia. A brave resistance is being offered but there is a great wastage of men and munitions and the need is urgent. He is to do his utmost to make the strongest impression on the king and to try and get some substantial succour in munitions. The Senate is eager to learn about the negotiations of Colbert.
For the rent of the house it is resolved to assign to the embassy at that place 800 ducats, of good value, a year, as is done in the case of the embassies of France and Germany.
On the 7th September in the Pregadi:
That in consideration of the great changes that have taken place since the interruption of the English embassy many years ago and of the great increase in expenses there, more particularly on account of the great fire, and because it is just that this should not fall upon private purses, and to enable the ambassador and his successors to bear the charges, 800 ducats a year of good value be assigned to the embassy in England for the rent of the house.
Ayes, 163. Noes, 3. Neutral, 10.
[Italian.]
Sept. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
338. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
An extraordinary courtesy is usually taken as a mere civility by him who receives it, and if omitted becomes an essential prejudice. This has induced the Master of the Ceremonies not to fall away from the distinguished treatment which they showed me from the beginning. On Friday evening he came at the appointed hour to fetch me from the house. Entering the quarters of the duke of York at the palace we came almost at once into the Guard Chamber, and passing to his apartments, the earl in attendance introduced me to audience I received the heartiest welcome from the duke, standing and uncovered. I began by speaking of the friendship of the republic for this crown, and of my mission to cultivate friendly relations. I should on all occasions have recourse to his protection and I hoped that the Senate would not be deceived in its confidence in his affection and his influence with the king.
The duke in reply spoke of the greatness of the republic and its great service to Christendom in the defence of Candia. He would always be glad to see its ministers and to give his assistance. He went on to speak of Candia and asked me for news. I repeated what I had told the king the evening before, gently hinting at the question of succour. In a general way I begged his Highness to be a mean with the king so that he might not be left, alone among so many princes, a spectator of the fall of that bulwark of Christendom, without affording the help which mattered so little to the greatness of this kingdom and which might prove of such advantage to the Christian world. I insisted on the opportunity of sending it still, as fire and sword would continue to rage for another four months for the army in the fortress of Candia.
The duke admitted that all the powers were under an obligation to the republic for maintaining the defence of Christendom, and finding him extremely well disposed I did not insist any further, in order not to make myself a nuisance at the first meeting.
The duke seemed extraordinarily friendly and here, with smiling lips and laughing eyes he went on to ask me if I was of the family of the Captain General, for whom he expressed the highest esteem, referring to the great glory he had in the eyes of the whole world. (fn. 1) I said, No, but that many of my house, like countless others, had shed their blood and lost their lives in the fleet and under Candia. I used this to show him that every inch of that soil cost the republic much of the most precious blood of its citizens and a heap of treasure, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Turks; it must not be abandoned at this point; it is a question of preserving the whole and enjoying the interest on so much capital so gloriously invested. With this I took leave, being accompanied by the earl to the staircase, while the Master of the Ceremonies attended me as far as my own dwelling.
Following on the ceremonial I sent word by my esquire of my arrival at the Court to the ambassadors of France, Spain and Holland, on the same day after dinner, and on the following day to the residents of Sweden, Hamburg and Florence. The ambassadors replied to the civility by a gentleman and will later visit me after the entry, in accordance with the custom of this Court.
In the mean time I am cultivating the principal ministers, and I shall go publicly to call on Prince Rupert, the duke of Buchincan and others of most credit, endeavouring to obtain some advantage for my country. If the delay of my public appearance rendered me utterly useless for your Excellencies, I would certainly apply myself to the essential service, regardless of appearances. But all the time that I snatched on the journey I am employing usefully in disposing matters and with some measure of negotiation as well. I bless a thousand times my haste on the journey, as if on the one hand I may seem idle at the Court, slowness on the way would have kept me to this hour and much more the passage of the sea, as the ship which is to bring my horses from Rotterdam has been waiting a month on this side for a favourable wind, so while harassed by necessity and by impatience to serve your Serenity, I take consolation from having done something at the outset.
London, the 7th September, 1668.
[Italian.]
Sept. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
339. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The only letter of the packet which escaped the hands of the thieves who robbed the courier of Augsburg, came straight to London via Antwerp and was the one from your Serenity which I received last week. With the instructions about the proposed mediation of the ambassador who has left for Constantinople is the ducale of the 18th ult. charging me to discountenance going too far in the matter. Your Excellencies will have mine of the 17th and 31st August last on this point, in which I encouraged Harvis to assist the interests of the republic in general, without committing myself about the peace negotiations, and I spoke to Arlinton about the acceptable assistance of the ambassador, in a manner conformable to your Serenity's wishes. But as the absence of an answer does not show that one does not assent and as reserve in replying does not exclude positive proposals, I will follow out the state's commissions, being determined to dispose altogether of this impression, and I will seek occasions to clear up the ambiguity created by Sig. Marchesini. If this does not suffice I will make use of the strong considerations of your Excellencies to prevent any fresh tie and pretext, keeping steadily in view that sole union which this crown might undertake at the Porte in conjunction with France and Holland, to force the Turk to evacuate the kingdom.
In conformity with my instructions and to avoid all notice I will not speak of the mission of the minister to the Porte unless provoked, and if there seems to be any bad impression that may obscure the zeal of your Excellencies in your determination to continue to fight on and not to give up your just claims to the kingdom of Candia, I will show that the despatch is in accordance with the custom to keep a minister at the Porte always, even in a time of war, from which point the prudence and determination of the Senate will not allow itself to be diverted, not trusting to the lures of peace and increasing abnormally the provisions for war.
I am making use of the news about Candia to show the importance and the peril of the siege and I have caused the accounts to reach the Court in order to hasten any succour as much as possible, pressing the requests for gunpowder and lead. To this end I am resolved to petition the king openly for a good amount, observing the insistence of your Excellencies to get Sig. Marchesini to obtain a gift or payment from the Lords States. I shall take this opportunity of the extremity of Candia to tell them that the opportunity of the passage of ships with the troops of Bransuich to Candia must not be lost, so that they may arrive together in time for the need, and in every other conjuncture it would be a great charge to hire ships expressly for that route. I am cut to the heart at having lacked the fervour required to thaw the frigidity of this country and obtain speedily the succour for the needs of Candia. But anything that is obtained would be the result of divine inspiration since it is only too true that all respect for religion is subordinated and they are moved solely by interests of state, and this is not strong enough to persuade those who are nearest and most closely united by interest to act, so that the glory of having resisted the Turkish monarchy for so long and acting as a bulwark to Christendom will belong to the republic alone.
I have sent the ducali of the Senate to the Secretary Marchesini at the Hague, and I hope they will reach him in time to carry out the instructions therein. With him I will watch for all openings that may serve your Serenity. By advice and encouragement I have persuaded a rich merchant here to carry out his idea of sending a ship to Candia laden with salted meat, as the confluence from every quarter of a quantity of comestibles will be one of the most valuable assets which they can have in that place which is so closely besieged by the barbarous Turks.
London, the 7th September, 1668.
[Italian.]
Sept. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
340. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As I reported, the ambassadors of Spain and Holland are closely watching every step and even gesture of the French ambassador. It has been found that he has with him a great quantity of money, and although there is no certainty about the amount published, of 800,000 crowns, it must needs be considerable because the exchange of this mart for sending out money has fallen, and it will fall still further from the operation of the quantity of cash which has been brought in. This large capital is usually employed for the corruption of loyalty and to buy individuals, and it seemed that in large part it was to be distributed in continuing pensions to divers suitable persons whom the king of France tries to keep well disposed here to the interests of the Most Christian crown. But a fresh audience of the Ambassador Colbert has given an impulse to the strongest perquisitions since it is known that he has made two proposals to the king. The first is of great importance. That the trade of the two kingdoms shall be common and reciprocal, to the exclusion of every other nation, so that what is produced in France shall be transported by Englishmen only and that only Frenchmen shall have the exportation of goods from this country. This proposal seems to be designed for the advantage of the English, not without profit for France in the privilege of the goods, which would be unique for them to the prejudice of the interchange of the capital of the other nations. But this proposal covers deeper designs and principles. The Dutch know full well that it is not the inducement of fresh trade, or a passion to favour England which prompts the Most Christian to make this innovation, but as they are practically the only ones who export wines from France and other goods to Holland, which they subsequently distribute throughout the North at a very considerable profit, they perceive that France would gladly see them shut out, preferring to cut the roots of the trade which has made them so great rather than to supply material for their power with the fruits of their own country. This, on the principle of self-preservation will always be contrary to the exalted ideas of the Most Christian king.
A matter of such high consequence calls for deep consideration, before the answer is given. Meantime every one wonders at the object which France steadily keeps before her. to rid herself of the opposition of the Dutch in these covert ways and by negotiations of several kinds and varied appearance, but all tending to the same result.
The other proposal of Colbert is also of the greatest consequence, the Most Christian offering to buy the fortress of Tanger for cash down. But the power of gold will meet with strong opposition from the interests and the honour of this country. The place, as the Senate is aware, is very costly to this government because of the large garrison maintained there besides the nuisance of perpetual disputes with the subjects of the Pasha of Algiers and the Moors of Africa. In spite of all this the hopes built upon that place are of such importance that from considerations of utility and reputation, it is not believed that the king will consent to accept any amount of money for a profit that would increase with trade and which would confer much greater dignity on the crown. Already at that place they have begun the construction of a mole, at which they are at work incessantly, at an immense cost, to bring it to completion, and when it is finished to render that port capable of receiving a large squadron of ships. They claim here that they will enforce their new demands at the Strait of Gibraltar, obliging all ships which go and come that way to contribute, in accordance with the practice of the king of Denmark at the passage of the Sound to the Baltic Sea. If this were made good to them by Spain and by the interests of all the princes of Europe, England would reap not only the advantage of the duties, but being rendered arbiter of the trade of the Mediterranean she would combine her reputation with the advantage and little by little would bring into her own hands the control of all the most profitable navigation. At this point I must report that a convoy will soon be ready for Constantinople and 50,000 pieces of cloth will add to the effect of the appearance of the Ambassador Harvis in the Levant.
The new duties added by the king of Denmark at the passage of the Sound have caused some heart searching to the king here. The Lords States have offered mediation, but Denmark steadily adheres to the decision taken, avoids discussion and will not allow his authority over that passage to be called in question. He protests that he has no difference with his Britannic Majesty, so the matter remains in its original state, and the issue is uncertain.
Although extraordinary the Dutch ambassador will stay on here at least two months, until the appearance of his successor. The Spaniard also will not leave as he had decided, and will wait to watch the proceedings and negotiations which have been tabulated at this Court.
London, the 7th September, 1668.
[Italian.]
Sept. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
341. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The urgent need of the most serene republic, which no Christian can view without apprehension and no citizen without thinking some remedy, keeps my mind in perpetual disquiet, in the realisation of my duty to be useful to my country. With this stimulus I make use of all the advices that reach me at the Court, representing the dangers and drawing attention to the strenuous resistance, so that if Candia is relieved in time it will always be a glorious bulwark for Christendom. That there is still time for his Britannic Majesty to take a large share in this conspicuous defence as by vigorous assistance the Turks would be confounded in their pride and impotence, and the place would then be relieved and the completion of the work would be recognised as due to his Majesty's aid which would arrive in time to gather the fruit of all the sweat and blood expended. The emperor putting aside every other consideration of his tender frontier, gave the republic 3000 men. The king of France, not content with what he had done, held out fresh hopes. By order of the queen of Spain the viceroy of Naples had immediately sent the squadrons of that kingdom and of Sicily to the Levant. The princes of Bransvich had assigned to the republic 2400 men, part at their own expense and part on very advantageous terms. With these princes added to others there was no one who did not contribute to this deserving work, as those who were near the fire could conclude from the heat the nature of Turkish arms and barbarities, and those farther off knew that once those ports left the hands of the Christians there would no longer be a refuge for their ships, but they would become the asylum of infuriated pirates. Such ideas circulated among the most influential ministers serve to influence them as it requires positive assaults and not mild insinuations to produce any effect.
Everything was arranged for all this with the appointment for my public entry, but suddenly, on Wednesday, the king left London for the delights of Toncurt, and all the arrangements had to be put off, which I had made with the Master of the Ceremonies. After all my trouble in getting ready I shall particularly grudge the loss of these ten days which it is said the king will spend in the country. When the Court reappears I shall not lose a moment beyond what is necessary, as in despair at the slowness of the workmen here I have gladly submitted to an extraordinary expenditure to make good deficiencies. But being persuaded of the need to cultivate the Secretary Arlinton, as being always at the king's side, and who in the matter of assistance predicted not favourably but only too truly to Sig. Marchesini, I have taken especial pains to do this, and I will also make use of his wife, whom I will visit, according to the custom of the country, not omitting some gallantries, which from their rarity will be the more esteemed.
This minister is well disposed and if he did not love his own interests too well he would certainly show himself more friendly to the republic advising and working for substantial succour. But his fear that the Levant trade may take some bad turn will always move him to prevent public declarations, as he has a large interest in that trade, having a close understanding of interest with the Ambassador Harvis, who recently left for Constantinople.
He told me afterwards that as an act of esteem for the republic the king proposed to send some one to respond to the embassy from your Serenity, to show his appreciation of the present expedition. I made a merely formal reply, saying that the ministers of this crown would always be welcome at Venice, as the Senate was only anxious to increase the ancient friendly relations. I will not go further than this without definite instructions, as for the rest there is a distinguished person who would be glad to have this opportunity of showing his devotion to your Serenity if the question of religion did not stand in the way. (fn. 2)
Arlinton has never given me the answer to the ducali of your Serenity as he told Sig. Marchesini he would before the secretary left London. The only obstacle which has caused the delay is that of interest against the motives of Christian zeal and the royal generosity, which counsels them against pledging this crown to open declarations, and the latter do not permit them to descend to the hard point of a refusal. God grant that their actions do not demonstrate what they will not speak, and that I may gather the fruits, for it looks as if this absence of the Court is only to lose time for my offices to get a decision before the departure of the ships with the Dutch troops, but what zeal suggests is not always seconded by good fortune.
The same anxiety to serve obliges me to be very watchful to seize all the chances which come to me of discountenancing the negotiations for peace, in order gently to remove the impression which has been encouraged contrary to the sentiments of your Serenity. I hope that address and suavity may serve to induce a withdrawal through opportune suggestions, as if this proud nation, jealous of its own dignity, feared that it was being deceived, it would seize upon that pretext to change its reserve into an open refusal of succour. When the matter was first mentioned to me, although I knew the policy of the Senate, I could not foresee what resolution your Serenity would take upon the employment of your minister at this Court and I could not go so far as to declare the ambiguity. But for the future I will take care that this question shall not be grouped with that of the succour, to light a spark which would fire the powder.
London, the 14th September, 1668.
[Italian.]
Sept. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
342. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Money has not sufficed to remove the obstacles which have always stood in the way of the proposal of the Most Christian for the purchase of Tanger; no more have the arguments for exclusive trade between France and England met with approval, although strenuously urged by the Ambassador Colbert. Stirred by this opposition the ambassador has made another important proposal, as after so many refusals he thought that a fresh project might smoothe the way for those previously made, thinking that by applying the antidote the erring member might accommodate itself to please him. But while the medicine possesses excellent ingredients to produce its effect, there will be difficulty about getting it taken, since it will be foreseen that being exceedingly strong it would cause a fundamental disturbance.
The remedy in question is the recall of the Lord Chancellor. He is now at Mompelier in Languedoc and has succeeded in persuading the Most Christian that his return to London will be advantageous, and to get the Ambassador Colbert to speak about it to the king here with equal insistence. Such a suggestion will meet with very strong opposition, possibly greater than to the first ones, because to the interests of the country and to the hostility of the nobility and of the leading men of parliament are added the opposition of the Spaniards and Dutch, who would be very sorry to see the chancellor in England and in power, knowing that he is no friend but a most bitter enemy of their interests. France, on the other hand, which always kept him as a dependant and which now has him more obliged than ever, could with reason promise herself a more perfect intelligence, and would find her negotiations greatly facilitated. But from these promises the issue of such a proposal can easily be deduced.
The duke of Hiorch has been declared General of the Cinque Ports, which are the keys of the British power, from the time of his brother's recovery of the sceptre, but possession has been postponed. He has now received it this week by the royal assent in a conspicuous manner. The records of the past contain no instance of the king's brothers being raised to a post of such consideration. As Lord High Admiral and Warden of the Cinque Ports he may be called the arbiter of the crown, but the king's good nature and the high character of his Highness allow of such acts of the utmost confidence, without reservation.
Meanwhile from Holland there come the negotiations of the minister of the Swiss Cantons, (fn. 3) who are trying to enter the triple alliance of the crowns of England and Sweden and of the Lords States. The conclusion is expected, for the renewal of the policy which the Senate will remember well, and which has always been the same, although it is applied by different parties for their own preservation according to their interests. The Senate will also have heard from the proper quarter the news of the alliance of the emperor and the House of Austria with the king and kingdom of Sweden, being in confirmation of what was arranged in the peace of Munster, which call for the prudent considerations deserved by transactions of so essential a character between powers bordering upon our province.
The sea does not suffice as a boundary to shut off the plague existing at Rouen and the newly conquered country, as the report that some infection has crossed to this country has caused alarm among the people. It is stated that the death of some servants of the Ambassador Colbert has no other origin than the arrival at his house of persons coming from the suspected parts. In spite of this nothing fresh has happened and it may be hoped that fear has stimulated imagination. God grant that this may be so and that there may be no renewal of the terrible scourge for this unfortunate country.
In London there has appeared the famous Cigala who according to the light of the faith proceeded from Turkey to Germany, and received appointments from the emperor. He talks of high hopes of great pensions which he has brought from Rome, and showing the chain given him by the queen mother of France he never ceases or tires of acclaiming the courtesies which he receives from the king, and with the memory of these he will be pleased to enjoy some act of generosity of the crown.
London, the 14th September, 1668.
[Italian.]
Sept. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
343. To the Ambassador in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his despatches of the 24th ult. Approval of his operations. He is to try and satisfy in private the formal business (ufficiosita) with the king and the Court framing his conduct on the style adopted by Colbert. No doubt he will obtain the necessary declaration from the king for help. Although he has no credentials for Prince Rupert the Senate feels sure that he will show the prince every respect, such as is due to his position and his following. The Senate is glad to know that the Ambassador Harvis has gone with an excellent disposition about the ships. The Senate notes the claims made by the ministers of the posts. As the tariff is excessive it will be necessary to reduce the number of packets.
In the Council of Ten on the 13th September:
Ayes, 16. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Sept. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
344. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Impatience caused by the flight of time and increased by the opposition that retards every step is the strongest passion that afflicts men and allows no quarter or quietness of mind. Such is my case in having to wait for the king's return, while burning not to waste a moment. While Candia is suffering from the delay every day seems a year, and I am impatiently longing for the public function. If his Majesty's resolution is acted upon he will be back in Court to-morrow, and as I have made the necessary arrangements I will fulfil the formalities with the Master of the Ceremonies and shall take care that haste does not prejudice the dignity of the minister or that the desire for greater splendour does not retard the service of your Serenity. If my public audience is not delayed more than one day I hope to give your Excellencies an account of it by the next ordinary, as well as of the entry, so as not to delay the secret audience for a moment, and then carry out the commissions of the Senate.
The ducali of the last of August have arrived this week in advance, not of my good will but of the execution of the pressing request for succour for which, at another secret audience I have wished to make good the delay I had a long conference with the Secretary Arlinton about it. While showing a favourable disposition to all assistance that did not attract attention, he tried to convince me that the best way was not to importune or to see the king another time before the public function, but to reserve myself for repeated assaults afterwards, with every facility, at any moment, according to my judgment and the need. I had to allow myself to be convinced by the argument, vigorously advanced by the minister to whom I should have to owe my introduction to the king. Affecting to entrust myself to his authority and advice I introduced the question of succour, speaking in particular of gunpowder, munitions and money, which could be supplied easily, as required, without observation.
In reply Arlinton told me that he would be perfectly frank with me. He was as anxious as any one for the prosperity of the most serene republic. He could assure me that the king was as well disposed as possible. But for a contribution of money, the exchequer was in great disorder owing to the bad policy of the one who had had the ordering of it, indicating the lord chancellor. Here he paused a little and then went on to say that if it had gone on it would have ruined the country, a reference to the war with the Dutch and to his partiality for France. He then resumed: The king is certainly in no condition to contribute money. For gunpowder and lead, he said, Will your Excellency permit me to advise. Do not confine yourself to assistance in such material only, but if you increase your demands for a great deal I do not doubt but it will facilitate the getting of a little and I am not without hope that the king will follow the example of all the princes and give one to the Dutch, who seem to be waiting for it.
In the most cordial manner that I could think of I thanked Arlinton for his good will, his frankness and his prudent advice, saying that I valued his assistance greatly. The importance of Candia required more than a little, which did not seem in accord with the royal generosity. But a great deal, announced as a little would be compensated by celerity.
If my urgent representations have effect God grant that they do not waste any more time, and that for the purpose of avoiding fresh demands they do not lose the favourable opportunity of the passage of the ships from Holland to Candia. Thus while saving the cost of additional hire they might without observation increase the succour to an amount which would be of no consequence to the greatness of these realms but which would afford great relief to Candia.
The duke of Hiorch shows a great interest in this matter and through the duke of Arundel has left it to me to satisfy his zealous curiosity, obliging me to send him a very detailed account of the arrival of the letters from Italy. Availing myself of this opening I will contrive to get together the most pressing and insert all particulars to create an impression of great urgency, cultivating a merited compassion, in order to obtain results likely to relieve the wants of poor Candia.
To the duke of Arundel and his brothers I have expressed the warmest appreciation of their never ceasing efforts in the interests of the most serene republic, as without their assistance with the minister I should only be able to serve your Excellencies indifferently.
I will speak highly to the Ambassador Colbert of the generous action of the Most Christian, for his generous assistance, so that all the Courts may know that the ambassadors of the republic speak with one tongue in recognising this. In order to gain his confidence I shall always try to interest him in my offices, so that he may speak in conformity with his king's actions and his instances may support the justice of the cause.
From my earlier letters your Excellencies will have learned of the return of the Secretary Marchesini to the Hague, and now the commissions of your Serenity will have reached him he will be waiting for the Governor Volpe, in order to provide shipping and provisions for the troops of Bransvich. As matters advance there I will make use of the intelligence I received in order to stir up some generous resolution on this side.
Thanks them for the relief promised him for the rent of his house.
London, the 21st September, 1668.
[Italian.]
Sept. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
345. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king is away from London and the Court is only thinking of pleasure. With the king enjoying the delights of the country the ministers here lose no chance of relieving themselves of the trouble of their occupations. All internal affairs being at a standstill, curiosity declines about reviving fresh measures. But the flow of letters is not interrupted. Those from Martinique in America report that the constant rains have so damaged the tobacco crop in the neighbouring islands that they will find it hard to provide cargo for the ships, which in great numbers are waiting for the harvest. As that herb has the property of exciting an itch in men, the severity of the price will make up for what is lost, as it is impossible for them to do without this heavy but pleasing treatment of the nostrils.
News has come from the neighbouring island of San Christoforo, and they are anxious for more as they are curious to know the issue of the attempt of fifteen English ships which have requested from the French the restitution of their portion, feeling doubtful whether force has been able to achieve what the French have refused without reason.
The bad weather which caused the Ambassador Harvis to sail a second time from the port of the Downs and to put out from Plymouth, at last allowed him to pursue his voyage happily. It is two weeks and more since they heard anything to the contrary and letters are expected very soon from Tanger with news of the compositions which he will have arranged there.
Good news comes from Holland of the constantly increasing prosperity of that nation, which being more daring and painstaking than any other reaps the advantage in navigation and a constantly increasing profit from trade. Two ships had reached the port of Tessel from Gronlandia with twenty-five whales, besides others which a few days before had had a most prosperous fishing, one alone having made thirteen catches in a short time and in a small area of the sea. These mariners, prompted by their own courage to seek out greater adventures, advanced to the 78th parallel where they found so great a quantity of whales that they could hardly move, and their consorts are momentarily expected, which they left in the same place, with the hope of equal good fortune. Thus this nation, gathering the fruits of the earth from countries which are more fertile, and taking those of the sea also, in the most remote parts, towards the Pole, collecting what is best of the produce of man in the new world, takes to some what it receives from others, and by industry, attention and courage makes good the defect of nature which has confined them to a few palms of barren land, and create for themselves from others a very considerable capital, and as reputation increases with strength it will always be considered as a great power even by the most powerful kings of the present age. To this end the Lords States will readily grant to the Swiss Cantons the inclusion in the triple alliance, being able to promise themselves the fullest concurrence from this side, and at this moment your Excellencies will have heard of the departure of the minister of the Cantons from the Hague, who is expected to return soon to establish the treaty.
With this barely settled the States are thinking of proposing another as it seems that they are trying to persuade the dukes of Luneburgh to enter this same triple alliance. Their example may have great weight with the other princes of Germany, and by pushing several roots in this way it will always be difficult to uproot it, and it is possible that this may act as a check to stay the vast ambition of any other prince who might be contemplating their humiliation. The French ambassador here does not enter upon these matters, but reading in the book of prudence the impossibility of advancing, he tries to avoid rebuffs and will make it his aim to maintain friendly relations between the Most Christian and British crowns if he cannot introduce mistrust between this crown and the Lords States.
London, the 21st September, 1668.
[Italian.]
Sept. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
346. To the Ambassador in England.
Commendations. He is also to watch closely the negotiations of the French ambassador. As the first offices with the king have only led to expressions of goodwill, he should not relax his efforts but insist and keep up the pressure, adding to the information given that about the assistance supplied, which the republic is receiving daily. Information about the straits to which Candia is reduced will also serve to incline the king to take a more favourable view.
Ayes, 144. Noes, 1. Neutral, 5.
[Italian.]
Sept. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
347. To the Ambassador in England.
Approval of what he has done, especially in his audience of the duke of York. The Senate feels confident that the goodwill expressed by his Highness will lead to fruit corresponding to the occasion. To continue his watchfulness about the plans for the port of Tanger.
Ayes, 107. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Sept. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
348. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I am at last become public at this Court and can appear with less shame before your Serenity, who will have laid the blame for the delay on necessary circumstances and the deliberate character of this country, and will leniently consider the promptitude with which I have overcome difficulties. May God render my service fruitful. In the mean time I will relate what happened at the function of my public entry. As this is likely to form a precedent for the ambassadors who succeeded me I left nothing untried which could show the greatness and magnificence of your Serenity.
When the king returned from his hunting and the delights of the country he was back in Court on Saturday and the Master of the Ceremonies being previously advised, appointed yesterday, a Thursday, for the public entry, his Majesty having destined for me Earl Anglise, one of the leading earls of the country, a member of the Council of State and in high authority as treasurer of the Sea. (fn. 4) I gloried at being the first of the ambassadors in ordinary to establish introduction by an earl, as all my predecessors have had a baron as introducer, by injurious distinction from those of the crowned heads.
I learned of the appointment from the duke of Arundel, who busied himself about the preparation of the barques and offered me his own. Two hours before midday we went down together with the current to Gresuis. To avoid staying at the inn, somewhat indecorously, as all the others have done, the house of the duke of Hiorch was open to me, a new and distinguished favour which will not constitute a precedent, obtained for me by the duke of Arundel. (fn. 5) Half an hour after my arrival the Master of the Ceremonies appeared with the king's compliments and at the same moment Earl Anglise also came up. I met him with obliging courtesy on the staircase and conducted him to the last apartment. Standing there surrounded by a number of gentlemen he repeated the office in the king's name and said that to show his esteem for the republic his Majesty had chosen him to come to me at that place and in every way to treat me as the minister of so great a republic conspicuous among the crowns, well deserving of Christendom, a sincere friend and much esteemed by this crown. He congratulated me on my safe arrival and assured me of his favour on all occasions. I made a suitable reply, referring to the special favour done me by his Majesty, my chief task being to cultivate the best relations and to uphold the service and glory of both princes. After this he introduced six gentlemen of his Majesty's chamber, who were with him, upon which we proceeded to the river. I entered the royal barge, followed by the earl, and, in addition to the Master of the Ceremonies, already there, there were the duke of Arundel, Signor Ascanio Giustiniani, brother of the Proveditore, and Signor Andrea Tron son of Nicolo, of whose deserts I will write later, as well as the Secretary Alberti. We then put off from land, the other barques following, lead by the earl with the suite and household of eighty persons. In this great state we ascended the river as far as the Tower of London. On descending from the barques the coaches were ready, the royal one, three of mine and forty of private gentlemen. The procession began to move off, the household partly on horse and part on foot. I entered his Majesty's coach followed immediately by my own and by the others, in good order and perfect quiet. But whereas I should have been alone on the back seat of the coach, and the earl alone on the coachman's side, he chose to permit others to enter, besides the Master of the Ceremonies, as usual, and the duke of Arundel being content in the simple capacity of a Venetian to occupy the door side, Signori Giustiniani and Tron occupied the only two remaining places, and they will be the only ones in Venice who have had such a privilege on such an occasion, and no other nation will be able to boast of it, as I think that entry into the royal coach will continue to be forbidden to any one in the future.
As the procession left the Tower the gun was fired and a quantity of mortars, as is usual at such functions, while the governor kept the royal standard flying at the Tower for the whole of the day.
Although I informed the ambassadors of France, Spain and Holland by my gentleman of the date of this function, in observance of the usual ceremonial, they did not send their coaches, in order not to disobey the royal decree published after the well known affair. (fn. 6) But the Levant Company, composed of the richest merchants here, chose to add to the lustre of the procession by appearing in person at the Tower with their own coaches, and accompanied me to the residence, showing their desire to honour your Excellencies and to display their regard for the republic as well as their confidence that they will be assisted and protected in the incidents of their trade.
With this accompaniment the city was crossed for three miles in the parts which show least the traces of the disastrous fire. Arrived at my dwelling I asked the earl to acquaint the king formally with my arrival and to say adieu to Viscount Mon, (fn. 7) who came in his Majesty's name to congratulate me on my safe arrival in London. The duke and duchess of Hiorch also sent two gentlemen to perform the same office. The duke, not wishing to repeat what he had done with the French ambassador, directed that his coach should not come to the procession.
That same evening, in accordance with the custom of the country, I gave free access, up to the capacity of four large tables, to all who came to the banquet, in which I spared nothing to make it conspicuous. Earl Anglise and Viscount Mon favoured me, with six gentlemen of the king's bedchamber and many other lords and gentlemen, including many who have the degree of doctor in our university of Padua.
The duke of Arundel chose on this occasion to surpass all limits in showing his devotion to the republic, divesting himself of his rank as duke he came as a Venetian to accompany me to Gresuis, and to show the world that he was of the company of the earl and that he appeared as a Venetian, he insisted, in spite of my objection, on walking in front of the procession with his eldest son, brought from the university of Norfolch (fn. 8) for this occasion, and with his brothers. Yesterday evening they all came together to this house, in order to show their devotion to your Serenity, which afforded me an opportunity of thanking them as instructed and assuring them of your Excellencies' regard for their House.
I must not forget to mention that when, according to the custom of the country I proposed the health of his Majesty and the prosperity of these realms, all rose to their feet and every one drank with the same respect. When Earl Anglise proposed the prosperity and glory of the most serene republic all were ready to respond with the same respect, standing and uncovered. But no one followed my example of throwing away even the most ordinary glasses, although in celebrating toasts more grandly I have smashed the largest beakers, crystal glass being too highly valued in this country, which is manufactured with such art and perfection at Venice and which is brought here with so much difficulty and danger because of its fragility.
This first ceremony having been performed there remains the second, of the public audience. In this the excessive expense of gratuities will be renewed, increased by the corruption of the times. They are extraordinary in number and amount at every cortège, and cannot be avoided, but I hope at least to have sustained the dignity of the state, even if I have heavily burdened my private fortune.
London, the 28th September, 1668.
[Italian.]
Sept. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
349. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In continuation of the story of the ceremonials I have to inform your Excellencies of the visits paid me to-day by the ambassadors of France and Holland with remarkable courtesy. As these were purely complimentary I will include the intelligence I have of the negotiations of the ministers of the Most Christian and what further concerns the service of your Serenity.
I had barely returned from Gresuis yesterday, after dinner, when the gentleman of the Ambassador Colbert came with compliments from his Excellency, and arranged a visit for to-day. At the hour appointed he came with a display of coaches and his suite. He was received at my house in the style of a royal minister. He spoke of the regard of his king for the republic, his concern for its interests and his desire for the most friendly relations. I expressed the gratitude of the republic, its regard for that crown and the confidence I felt that I should be assisted here by the authority and ability of his Excellency. Courtesies were very ample on both sides and the time passed pleasantly in conversation, both of us being anxious to meet again. The return visit, which will be next week, will afford me an easy opportunity of entering upon business and fulfilling the commissions of your Excellencies.
I know from other quarters than from the lips of the French ambassador that his negotiations are not taking a favourable turn. The union for trade meets with scant approval, as it would be disadvantageous to the English, since many more goods are exported from this country than from France. He has found reluctance to sell Tanger, owing to the hopes conceived of that place, although at present it is a charge and the movements of King Taffilet and Marocco oblige them to reinforce the garrisons. The resistance to the recall of the chancellor to the country becomes stronger and stronger, further objections being discovered.
All these transactions are designed for the purpose of detaching this crown from the Dutch. Such is the eagerness of France to dissolve the alliance established, surpassing even their own interests in Flanders, that I am informed on good authority that the ambassador has offered the ministers here, by opportune means, the cession of some place in the Low Countries, Dunkirk being named, to facilitate the achievement of their intent at this price, caring little about aggrandising a distant rival so that they may demolish the obstacle of neighbouring ramparts.
In spite of this the Dutch ambassador foreseeing the stroke, warned the ministers here before the arrival in London of the Ambassador Colbert, but found no one to listen to him or to propose the project. Thus at Court there is thought to be a mystery about the compliments exchanged between these ambassadors, because when the Frenchman remarked to the Dutchman that he was sorry to hear he was leaving soon, the latter replied that when the States heard of the appearance of his Excellency in England, they had directed him to stay on, as it were indicating the distrust conceived by the States and their anxiety to have a minister here to prevent any mischief.
Another mysterious compliment has been passed by the Dutch ambassador with me. He sent his gentleman yesterday and came this morning in person. He spoke strongly of the desire of the States to increase friendly relations with the republic, enlarged upon the glorious defence of Candia, of the interest of the States in the success of your Excellencies, and spoke of alliances and other indications of the closest friendship.
I replied in the manner I considered most likely to keep him in this good opinion, but when I spoke of Candia and the urgent need of succour from a power so friendly, he cut me short on formal grounds, reserving the discussion of the matter for the first opportunity; so that by the next ordinary I feel sure that I shall be able to report something of what may be obtained from this crown and from the States.
I am still waiting for an appointment for my public audience, and expect it on Monday, when I will press strongly for the succour.
I have the ducali of the 7th September and am glad to have fulfilled the wishes of the state in asking for gunpowder and munitions. When on the way to the Tower of London Earl Anglise showed me where the powder was kept. Assuming that it was quite full I said that in Candia it would very soon be emptied, so great was the consumption. We dwelt on the subject and I gave him an account of that inhuman and devilish siege. As he will have mentioned this in his report I like to think that the king will not let it drop and that the earl will support it in the Council, where he has no slight influence. There is also Earl Fildinch, who was once ambassador with your Serenity, of whom Anglise was a colleague, who called on me yesterday evening, and I will use his regard to facilitate my intention.
I have not written so far without shame at my uselessness, and in sealing these presents I feel unworthy of the singular favour which I receive about the house. The favour of princes does not allow of the expression of gratitude but it stimulates effective service. With this relief I can resign myself more easily to the extraordinary burden of this isolated embassy, and shall be in a position to render the service more splendid.
London, the 28th September, 1668.
[Italian.]
Sept. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
350. Catterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A gentleman of the king of Great Britain, a Florentine by birth, (fn. 9) is present here in a private capacity, but he has pulled out of his pocket letters and credentials that enable him to negotiate without character. The Conde di Pegnoranda was appointed for this and at the first audience the gentleman had of him he started a proposal for an offensive and defensive alliance, with immoderate pretensions for money. Upon this Pegnoranda became so very wroth, as he is hasty and full of bile, that he rose from his seat and began to walk about the room. But the Florentine remained seated all the time with his hat on his head. After he had paced to and fro six or eight times Pegnoranda returned to his seat and to discuss the subject, being dashed by the courage of the Florentine. Perhaps he thought that he would rise or fall upon his knees while the Conde was standing.
A squadron of English ships has touched at Cadiz, the ambassador of King Charles who is going to Constantinople having embarked there.
Madrid, the 29th September, 1668.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Lazzaro Mocenigo, who won a victory over the Algerines in 1657 and who was killed in July of that year in an attempt to force the Dardanelles.
2 No doubt Henry Howard, second son of the earl of Arundel. See p. 30, above.
Francis Louis de Bonstetten. Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. vi, p. 430.
4 Arthur Annesley, first earl of Anglesey, treasurer of the navy.
5 He was entertained by John Evelyn, at the latter's house, staying with him until the earl of Anglesey and Sir Charles Cotterell arrived. Diary, ed. Bray, p. 337.
6 The affray between the followers of the French ambassador Estrades and those of the Spanish ambassador Batteville at the entry of the Swedish ambassador Brahe in October 1661. See Vol. xxxiii of this Calendar, pp. 54–5.
7 Charles lord Mohun. London Gazette, Sept. 17–21, 1668.
8 Henry, the eldest son of Henry Howard, was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, and took the degree of M.A. on the 5th June, 1668. Foster: Alumni Oxonienses, Early Series, Vol. ii, p. 753.
9 Bernardino Guasconi, known in England as Sir Bernard Gascoigne. In a letter to Arlington of the 4th September he says that he arrived at Madrid “fifteen days ago.” P.R.O. S.P. Spain, Vol. liii. Salvetti writing on 13th April says: “Il Sig. Cav. Bernardo Guasconi deve andar tra pochi giorni per ordine del Re in Portogallo et Spagna circa qualche affare molto particolare, tanto segreto che non si puo penetrare; et per fare la spesa di detto viaggio si dice che questo depositario l'habbia gia pagato 4000 scudi.” Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 S., fol. 234.