Venice
October 1668, 1-15

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1935

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278-295

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'Venice: October 1668, 1-15', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 35: 1666-1668 (1935), pp. 278-295. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90231 Date accessed: 29 July 2014.


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October 1668, 1–15

Oct. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Haia.
Venetian
Archives.
351. Giovanni Francesco Marchesini, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
I thought it would be a good thing to see the Ambassador Temple, especially as he had sent to my house at a time when I had gone out and I took this as a text for thanking him for the honour he had done me. He said he had desired to see me in order to express his very great regard for the most serene republic and to inform me that he had written according to the manner agreed on with the Pensionary to his king strongly in favour of your Serenity, and he would do everything that could be expected of a minister for the good success of the affair. He repeated to me what had been said before that it is necessary first to make sure that France will not make fresh moves in the Low Countries but that she is directing all her thoughts of conquest and of glory against the Turk, wherein she will glean much more merit.
I told him in reply that his Most Christian Majesty was constantly giving evidence of his generosity. I had heard it said that he had announced that if the other princes did anything for the benefit of your Excellencies he promised to do more, having made this statement designedly to serve as an incitement to some good resolution. This seemed to make the ambassador think a little, as he asked me to repeat it again. I enlarged the more on what that king had done, telling him of the 100,000 crowns given, the great number of volunteers sent and that the count of Vivona (fn. 1) was on the point of setting out with two or three ships. He said again that he hoped that the most serene republic certainly received assistance from his king if Candia succeeded in holding out for this campaign, and he would bring all possible pressure to bear.
The Hague, the 4th October, 1668.
[Italian.]
Oct. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
352. To the Ambassador in England.
Enclose sheet of recent news from Candia, as it may stimulate a disposition to help. Hope of assistance is encouraged by the news sent by Marchesini that the Pensionary Witz has announced a grant of 2000 infantry if it is granted by some other than England, so that the republic may not be prejudiced by delay in making it in the advantage which may now be considered unquestionable on the side of that crown.
It is clear that the Grand Turk means to make supreme efforts for the third campaign and therefore the need is greater to succour the exhausted forces of the republic.
Commend his efforts to conciliate the favour of Arlinton and feel persuaded that the preservation of the trade cannot receive any harm from the resolutions asked for. There can be no doubt with the goodwill shown by the secretary towards the republic, that the ambassador will know how to turn it to good account and the Senate be able to see the fruits of it in this most essential point.
Glad to learn of the selection of a person to respond to the embassy sent. He is to continue to encourage this intention displaying warmth and eagerness for this countersign of esteem.
Ayes, 86. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Oct. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
353. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The excessive graciousness of the king in showing honour to the most serene republic in my person, could only be paralleled with that of the queen, whose occupation with her devotions on the day of St. Matthew, was not allowed to postpone my public audience after Monday, the date by the old style. Earl Craven who was appointed to fetch me and take me to the Court from the house, wished to some extent to thwart this friendly disposition, by claiming the civility (introduced by royal ministers some time since, of meeting earls on the staircase, but enlarged by those of Sweden by receiving in an apartment at the foot of the stairs, once because of the confined space and at another time for an unknown reason) should be adopted by me and that I should follow the example of the Swedes. (fn. 2) On hearing this I adopted the more suave course and not considering it advisable to differentiate myself from the ambassadors of France and Spain, I based my stand on the respect due to the king, as if I treated his excellency in a different way from that adopted with Earl Anglise, who had the same character, it would be an affront to his Majesty in the person of the earl. This argument being supported by the authority of the duke of Arundel, so prudent in his protests, ready with compromises, strong in his support, practically forced Earl Craven to accept the position. So he was at my house at the hour appointed with the queen, received by gentlemen at the door, by me half way up the stairs and given the title of Excellency in the room on the first floor. I rendered him every courtesy and he responded most fully, the difficulty having been due to the earl's peculiarity who sometimes sins by being too exact.
After some discussion his Excellency agreed to Signori Giustiniani and Tron entering the royal coach. We were also favoured that day by the duke of Arundel and a procession of more than forty coaches and six. We proceeded to the palace of Vitheal, where his Majesty usually resides. Dismounting at the gateway I was met by the Court Marshal, who led the way through two covered courts, where companies of the guards were drawn up, with their banners displayed. I proceeded to the council chamber to wait until their Majesties were ready on the throne and I could go to them. The time was spent in an exchange of messengers through these same courts and the new staircase which is being built, although the scarcity of money prevents the completion of this great work which was begun before the troubles. I went on to the door of the famous and splendid hall, adorned for that day with superb hangings. There I was received by Earl Behet, first gentleman of the bedchamber (fn. 3) in the absence of Earl Manchester, the Lord Chamberlain. The guards found it difficult to make a way through the curious throng.
The king and queen were seated under a rich baldachino, surrounded by many lords of the Council and leading men of the country, and on the queen's side there was a good number of ladies. On my appearance and at my first reverence the king uncovered and their Majesties stood up. With two more reverences I mounted the royal dais and was graciously welcomed. After the king had made me cover I said that the republic had honoured me by appointing me as ambassador in ordinary to his Majesty and my principal task would be to increase the old standing friendship. The Senate desired the good will of these formidable kingdoms before that of any other prince and they felt confident that his Majesty's zeal would stimulate him to stem the torrent of barbarous infidels, who wanted to subjugate Christendom, by protests and by his superior authority, with more which I need not repeat.
I spoke in Italian, and as his Majesty understands the language very well, he did not employ an interpreter. He answered in French in a low tone of voice. He promised to respond to the friendliness of the republic as his ancestors had done. He would always see me gladly as the minister of a prince whose interests were similar. He would rejoice at the success of the republic in its long and glorious struggle, and for his part he would contribute what was possible. He always raised his hat when he named the republic and I showed a like respect in mentioning his royal person.
With the queen I followed the example of the other ambassadors, distinguishing the sex by remaining uncovered. I told her that I was expressly charged by the Senate to express their esteem for her, and I had special credentials, which I presented. The republic felt certain that its hopes for her strong support in the interests of religion would not be disappointed. The queen received the ducal letters into her own hands, and as she understands no language but her native one and English, with some difficulty, the interpreter was employed. She expressed appreciation of the office and the best disposition towards the republic. With a smile I replied that although her Majesty was a party it was received by me as a unique pledge.
Before the Secretary Alberti I presented to their Majesties Sig. Andrea Tron and Sig. Ascanio Giustiniani, the king being pleased to hear that they had come so far to admire the greatness of his realm. He paid particular attention to Sig. Giustiniani, well remembering the Ambassador, his father, who in a long ministry, knew how to reconcile the service and satisfaction of the king, his father, and that of the republic. (fn. 4) At this point-I must refer to the public spirit of these gentlemen who, disdaining the discomforts of the journey, have elected to appear at this Court to add splendour to the embassy. I wish that I could have them here longer, but their desire to gain experience of other countries will deprive me of this pleasure only too soon. Their capacity to learn will soon render them capable of the duties with which they will be entrusted by the state.
After making these presentations I took leave, their Majesties standing, the king uncovered, and always facing the throne I made three more reverences. At the door Earl Behet bowed and earl Craven did not leave me except at the coach. He would have come to the house if I had not wished to go straight to the duke and duchess of Hiorch. I thought it more honourable to enjoy the royal coach and the forty others of gentlemen invited by the earl than to be favoured by him as far as the house, to proceed later to audience of their Highnesses with my own coaches only.
The necessary arrangements having been made by the Master of the Ceremonies, the guards of the duke of Hiorch were turned out at the gate of the palace and in the apartments. I was met on the staircase by the master of the Horse. Several rooms within I found the duke, surrounded by gentlemen. I handed him the ducal letters with suitable remarks to show esteem and confidence in his influence and friendliness, reserving an appeal for his support. Taking leave I went on to the duchess, who, in the midst of a large number of ladies, was pleased at the compliment. In receiving the credentials she assured me, through the interpreter, that she would be glad of opportunities of serving the republic.
To her and to the duke I presented the Venetian noblemen and the Secretary Alberti. Of the last I take leave to say that he has deserved well of the state, as hardly had he escaped from the expense and toil of his service at Rome in the long and glorious embassy of Sig. Quirini, than he undertook this charge, which makes no lesser demands upon his health and fortune.
The Master of the Horse of the duchess of Hiorch, who met me at the door of the apartment, took me back to the staircase, and with the Master of the Ceremonies, who waited on me all day, I returned to my own dwelling. To avoid mixing compliments with business I may add that having obtained secret audience of the king on Tuesday, I sent at the same time to Prince Rupert and the duke of Molmuth, his Majesty's natural son, and while the prince could not then arrange a visit I know that I pleased his Majesty greatly by thus following the example of the ambassadors in visiting the duke with such promptitude, as he rejoices at every act of regard shown to his son, and I received the best entertainment.
The same day after dinner I visited Prince Rupert. Although I did not present letters I assured him of the republic's esteem and the confidence that he would not be unlike himself for the interests of the republic and those of Christendom. The prince was very courteous, receiving me at the staircase and accompanying me as far as the royal garden, while making copious expression of his regard for the republic. So I left with the hope of receiving the warmest assistance when required.
I have also returned the visits of the ambassadors of France and Holland. There is still Spain who for the second time asked me for a day. Yesterday I was busy with the visits of the Ambassadors Colbert and Borel, already appointed, and the lack of time prevented me from receiving his favours. To-morrow I shall begin to visit the ministers of the Court, and shall attach myself to those who can help me, amid so many delays, to obtain some advantage for my country. I hope that my efforts will produce some result.
London, the 5th October, 1668.
[Italian.]
Oct. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
354. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
My impatience to obey your Serenity's commands led me to ask for a secret audience at the same time as I had the public one. This having been obtained for me by the Master of the Ceremonies, I went on Tuesday morning to Court, by the garden gate, dressed in the English fashion, as here the usual robe is only worn at the first public function. Arrived at the apartment near his Majesty I waited some moments, and the doors being thrown open, the gentlemen serving the king came out at my appearance. The place being left free his Majesty standing, uncovered, near the window overlooking the river very graciously gave me the opportunity to say whatever I wished. I told him that as the Senate's regard for him could not be doubted I would merely speak of their confidence of receiving from him the help that was always expected of his zeal for Christendom; that Candia, the sole bulwark of Christendom, was being hard pressed by the might of the Turks. This was recognised by all the princes, not one of whom had failed to hasten with prompt succour. I spoke warmly of the intentions expressed by the Dutch, the more considerable because the urgent needs of Candia rendered help more necessary than ever. The Dutch were so forward that, overcoming all difficulties, they permitted the lading of munitions for Candia in their ports on their own ships, and some which were going straight to that place had been escorted by their fleet. When asked to ship 2400 men of the princes of Luneburgo they permitted it readily, notwithstanding that the men came from their own garrisons, without caring if the barbarians noticed and took offence, for they are only proud when they are not fought, and they understand no argument but force. Not content with this they cherished great hopes with the insinuation of 2000 men paid, and that the friendliness of his Majesty would take shape in some succour of troops as well as of gunpowder and munitions, thus realising his promises. These great kingdoms provided abundant means and the moment could not be more opportune as the transport from here to Holland of a considerable succour in gunpowder and munitions, without any charge or observation, would complete the cargoes of the ships; and these with the troops of Bransuich and those of the States, forming a considerable body under the flag of the state, no one would distinguish of what members it was composed, and it alone would be capable of going straight to the relief of Candia. No prince was more interested in the glory of this crown than the republic which counted on double assistance from it, owing to the impulse it would give to the Dutch, and this crown which had given peace to the Most Christian would add to its glory by arresting the attack of Turkish barbarity.
The king replied that no one cared for the interests of the republic more than himself, but I knew the misfortunes of the country and the considerations of the Levant trade. The Dutch were watching this and would take advantage of any declaration he made. The republic deserved everything and if every one would take a share he would do his part even to driving the Turks out of Christendom. If the Dutch would join he on his side would not fail to contribute his proper share. They had an ambassador here and one could speak to him, practically intimating that without prompting he would promote a conversation with that ambassador.
Here turning to the affairs of Candia he assured me that he was eager for news. It had pleased him exceedingly when the captain of an English ship, grown old by ten years' service in the fleet, reassured him about the fortress of Candia, saying that it was untakeable. I answered that the fortress of le Mara was not sufficient to render the place secure. By the conflict with fire and sword Italy was now stripped of troops and munitions, besides so much else received from the emperor, the king of France and other princes well known to his Majesty. A considerable succour in munitions would be a small matter for this great country, such as, in a moment of such necessity would suffice to guard the inheritance of so friendly a prince.
I said that his Majesty's promise to do his share and to speak to the Ambassador Borel had touched my heart. It would render him the most distinguished benefactor of Christendom, as not only would he deliver the kingdom of Candia, the defence of the Mediterranean and a bulwark of Christendom, but would confine those barbarians within their own limits which are all too great, and cause them to respect princes who are the friends of this most distinguished crown. I urged him to carry out his glorious intention, speaking to the Ambassador Borel and writing to Temple ambassador at the Hague, confirming the obligations to him of your Excellencies who would never forget this great favour.
The king listened attentively and said he was most well disposed and regarded the interests of the republic with sympathy. I told him it was a question of saving from the hands of the infidels ports which were capable of receiving most powerful fleets, which would become nests of pirates, and would control navigation. When the king asked about their size I told him that the most considerable were Suda, Spinalonga or Carabuse, which were guarded by the republic as keys. As the king merely repeated his readiness without specifying any sort of succour I thought it well to add that your Excellencies would think it due to my shortcomings and not to lack of zeal in his Majesty, if with so many examples and so just a cause, they did not see some result of his generosity. At this the king smiled, but did not specify anything further, though he gave me a most kind reception. He received me with the graciousness of a great gentleman, but in negotiation he observed the reserve of a prince.
This encouraged me to ask to see the Secretary Arlinton. When I asked for this on the occasion of a visit at the palace, his Excellency was occupied in the Council, and the appointment is only for to-morrow. I shall urge a better explanation of the king's wishes about joining with the Lords States, and seek at least some definite promise, to make use of it in Holland. Unless the good intentions of his Majesty are diverted by the tenacious policy of the ministers here, as I greatly fear, we need not despair of some generous resolution.
In the mean time I will not cease to point out to Arlinton that the serious case of Candia admits of no delay, and that the better course of union with the Dutch should not spoil the good one of the defence of the place, always insisting upon a prompt succour of munitions and materials, in accordance with your Serenity's definite instructions.
London, the 5th October, 1668.
[Italian.]
Oct. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci.
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
355. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
No sooner had I done with the audiences and palace visits than I decided to return the courtesies of the French and Dutch ambassadors. I will first relate what was said by Colbert and Borel. What passed with the latter on the question of succour is related to what is written in the preceding letter. Little time and few words were devoted to compliments and the ambassador at once asked me what I had done about succours and I told him what had happened at the audience. I spoke highly of his Majesty's disposition to assist so important a cause, and that he was not far from a union with the States for operating jointly in the interest of a friendly prince. I would not tell him positively of the intention expressed to me by his Majesty because I was not sure that the ministers and the Council would leave him in the same state of mind about joining with the Dutch. So I merely insinuated it, to give some body to my words and in the hope of some advantage if there was any sign of their being realised.
The ambassador answered in the most general way about the goodwill of the States to the most serene republic, and not allowing himself to be kept to the point of the succours, changed the subject which I was unable to get back to, not even by a show of confidence. I told him that a minister here had assured me that the Levant trade had cooled their good will owing to the reserve shown by the Lords States. When I suggested that in a matter of such urgency there ought rather to be a competition as to who should declare first, Borel proceeded to tell me that it would be a good thing for England and Holland jointly at the Porte to uphold the rights of the republic, protesting to the Turks that it was the fixed determination of the Christian powers that the kingdom of Candia should not remain in their hands, to prevent the ports there from becoming perpetual resorts of corsairs and of the common enemies. If they would not listen to peace the republic should be assisted with powerful help, in order to obtain by force what was in dispute, and to enforce peace by arms. He added that the ministers of the emperor and the king of France might also join, to add weight to the protest.
I commended the idea as glorious for Holland, which had so conspicuously vindicated its authority in past transactions, so that the States were recognised as the arbiters of war and peace. I urged him to write to get commissions from the States to speak about it definitely to his Majesty and the ministers. Borel readily promised to ask for permission while I undertook to advise the Secretary Marchesini to present a memorial in conformity at the Hague. With equal punctuality I undertook to acquaint Marchesini with everything, and as he already holds adequate commissions from your Serenity, I have not troubled to stimulate his zeal, as I know that he will do what is best for the public service. But I commend the idea of such a union as the sole means of giving peace to the republic and delivering Christendom from ruin. I pointed out that the imminent perils called for prompt remedies, and that a small but prompt aid was worth more than great hopes which were late. It was not prudent to leave the substance and clutch at the shadow although the former was smaller. The republic ought to be able to promise itself so much from such great and powerful princes, from reasons of state and of friendship.
I am inclined to think that this project of a union of powers to insist upon peace, which has always come from Dutch ministers, as your Excellencies know, will not be discountenanced by the States, and from this side, while never losing sight of prompt succours, I will try to get the orders given to Harvis to negotiate the peace alone, changed for commissions to make a joint protest with the others, although the emperor will always be reluctant to commit himself because of his frontiers, and the king of France, disgusted with the Porte, has recalled Haye. I will avail myself of this opening for the complete withdrawal of the steps taken for the mediation of peace, in the hands of Harvis. Without disclosing, except in case of necessity, the disapproval of your Excellencies, it will be useful for me to know the nature of the office entrusted to the Resident Vincenti at Florence with the Ambassador Harvis, so that I may conform to the ideas of the state.
In my visit to the French ambassador I repeated the state's appreciation of the action of the Most Christian and the example he set to all princes of Christendom. I showed confidence by telling him of my secret audience of his Majesty, though only about the succours. I asked for his support as his king would be pleased for the words of his ministers to have effect. I placed great confidence in the influence of his offices. Colbert thanked me and promised to act when he had an opening. He spoke at length of the urgent case of Candia and the Most Christian's knowledge of it, who had shown his regard for the republic in several ways. Such ideas obliged me to assure Colbert of the state's appreciation, and taking leave of him I departed.
[Acknowledges the state letters of the 13th September.]
To ensure the observance of the order for quarantine imposed upon ships coming from Rouen and the countries newly conquered by France, a ship of war has been sent to the mouth of the river, and their watchfulness will be increased in proportion to the need.
I will renew my efforts to find out the reason for the claim of the ministers of the post here in the matter of payment for the carriage of letters, as I now find that these ministers are protected by great persons who are interested in the posts and who want to make some profit for themselves out of it. I will keep your Excellencies informed of everything.
London, the 5th October, 1668.
[Italian.]
Oct. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
356. To the Ambassador in England.
Approval of his operations. Glad that he is cultivating Arlinton, especially as it might be feared that the motives intimated in an earlier despatch might render him recalcitrant. To continue to cultivate his good will so that he may confirm the king's friendly notions. Will await his next despatch to reawaken the birth of some profitable hope, since it is incredible that his Majesty should not concur in the manifestation of his zeal for a war which has become so celebrated and famous. He is to do his utmost to show the urgency of the position at Candia.
Ayes, 87. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Oct. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci.
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
357. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The report of the unexpected departure of the Court from the king's decision to go into the country, hastened by the mild weather now prevailing, and which promises him a long and more agreeable stay, (fn. 5) has taken me by surprise and induced me to change the insinuations I had arranged into open requests. I went to the Secretary Arlinton, determined to prevent the shortness of the time for negotiations from prejudicing the good disposition shown by his Majesty. Before speaking about Candia I tried to win him by speaking of his influence with his Majesty and his zeal for Christendom, which had given me such confidence that I had ventured to write to your Serenity that through his means the most powerful assistance might be expected. I begged him not to disappoint this hope in so good a cause which had induced all the princes to hasten with prompt assistance. The king here, by his succour, might assist that of the Dutch and even if the importance of the cause did not move his generosity, he ought not in any case to allow his own reserve to delay the good disposition of the Dutch, giving everything for the welfare of Christendom. Personally I had no doubt that the disposition to unite with the Dutch would be announced, with particulars of the quality and quantity of the succour, and put on one side those generalities which left nothing done, hesitating between irresolution and good will. No one but his Excellency, by his action and advice, could put the finishing touches to so glorious a decision of his Majesty which by upholding Candia would crown these realms with universal applause and bring blessings on his name, restoring to Christendom a kingdom almost completely overrun by the Turks.
Arlinton answered me whole heartedly, promising the best disposition on his side and that I should see that I had made no mistake when an opportunity came for him to prove it by his action. He spoke to me in the best way of the king's wishes. Reverting to the point of my confidence in his advice he said that the campaigning season was advanced and there was no longer time to act. For the coming one if I should consider more carefully considered resolutions I should make more progress by slow degrees, than by hurried instances, the former introducing more efficacy in the demand while the latter, not allowing for half measures, put difficulties in the way of achievement.
I told Arlinton that for my own part I should have slackened in my instances, but if Candia was not succoured it was in no condition to hold out and wait for the next campaign. The Turks gave no quarter to soldiers. In the depth of winter the infidels had exposed themselves in an unexampled manner to the most bitter weather, under shelters dug in the ground, rather than withdraw from the positions occupied, or give up an inch of the ground which had cost them so much blood; and once Candia was lost the Turks would contest the reconquest against all the princes of Christendom together.
Seeing my determination to ask for prompt succours, Arlinton offered his assistance. If I would draw up a memorial, omitting no example or argument, for him to take to the king, it would serve to solicit some declaration. Leaving him thus persuaded of the need to hasten immediately to the peril of Candia and to seize the present opportunity, he promised to support my instances with energy.
That Saturday after dinner I set down on paper the reasons which seemed most cogent to show the pressing nature of the case. I sent the memorial to Arlinton and so that he might not delay to present it I informed him that on Monday I should go to audience of the king, and felt confident that I should have a favourable answer. This I have acted upon, as I asked and obtained audience for the purpose of taking leave of his Majesty who was going away from London. I told him that it was not I but Candia that importuned him, which at the end of its resources was appealing to this most powerful crown to save it from the barbarity of the infidels. The other Christian princes had sent galleys, troops, munitions and money, and the States were only waiting for the example of his Majesty. To avoid troubling him by frequent audiences I had taken the liberty to present a memorial to the Secretary Arlinton in which I might have inserted more arguments if I had not considered these sufficient to persuade his Majesty to put into form his own favourable disposition. I then tried to show the justice of the cause, the need for haste, the opportunity offered by a way to escape observation and mischances to the Levant trade, the trifling character of the succour asked for, of which the country always has abundance, and especially now, with the saving caused by the peace.
To my long speech, once interrupted by his Majesty's impatience to hear the news of Candia, he replied that I might rest assured of his good will. I knew the misfortunes of the country, but he would duly consider the memorial. He let me go with such kind words that I might have been comforted if the plight of Candia did not call for more speedy action.
I tried to see Arlinton again after dinner, but he was busy with preparations for going into the country. I pressed him so hard through the Secretary Alberti that he came himself to this house at a late hour of the night. He told me that the memorial had been referred by his Majesty to the Lord Keeper, and to the Secretary Trevers, both appointed to consider the matter. I might confer with them and persuade them to make a good report. On the return of the two deputies from the country I will go and see them at once, trying to get a favourable reply, though to my extreme regret I see the affair buried between the indecision of the ministers and the delays constantly caused by fresh opposition.
On the other hand, when I returned the visit of Earl Anglise, who attended me at my public entry, I stirred him so much about the succours that to-day, before starting for the country he came to tell me, in response to the confidence I had shown in telling him of the result of my audience of the king and my visit to Arlinton, that the memorial had not yet been taken to the Council of State by the Consulta, and gave me his word to support it if it should come. He said that the king might make his decision upon the opinion of the Consulta. He told me confidentially that the chief opposition was about the Levant, and for fear of interrupting good relations with the Turks it was advisable to try for succour that would attract least attention. As I suggested gunpowder, lead and materials he promised to try and serve the republic in everything. He went so far as to tell me that a person of note maintained that they should beware lest those barbarians, incensed at succour given to the republic, should let loose their resentment against the person of the English ambassador. But I believe that they are much more anxious about reprisals against the capital of this same Earl Harvis, and the community of interest among the leading ministers here causes them to be very careful of the reputation of the ambassador of this crown. But because all this delay amounts to a refusal, the opportunity of the embarcation of the troops in Holland being lost and time flying while Candia is in peril, makes me regret my uselessness. Nevertheless, although I have no great hope, I mean to keep on with my requests with all the ministers here, even to importunity. If the news is true that is spread by several news sheets, and which is credited here by the most cautious of the ministers, that the Turks have been repulsed after repeated assaults and heavy losses, and have withdrawn from the siege, I should rejoice with your Serenity and with Christendom, as your Excellencies would win immortal glory from a memorable defence, conspicuous in the eyes of the world, and the safety of Christendom would be the result. I should like to believe what I hear and it is repugnant to discredit what one most desires, so long as the report does not cool the tepid zeal which in spite of the particular interests of the Levant still lives in the spirit of the king for the relief of your Excellencies.
London, the 12th October, 1668.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.358. The Memorial.
Representing the critical state of Candia and the help received from the emperor and others, with request for assistance.
[Italian: 7 pages.]
Oct. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
359. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When I thought I had done well in the renewal of this embassy by having established equality with the royal ambassadors, without the slightest diminution of pre-eminence, my peace of mind is disturbed somewhat by an affair with the Spanish ambassador about an ambiguity over ceremonial. The minister of your Excellencies has always been made a battle ground in every Court in the strife between the ambassadors of France and Spain, and it has fallen to me, who desired more than anything to cultivate friendly relations and to avoid unpleasantness, to meet with one, the less likely to be foreseen because it is over one of the most trivial and usual formalities. The knowledge of the ceremonial approved at all the Courts and the opinion expressed by the Master of the Ceremonies about the claim of Earl Craven, that meeting on the staircase was a novel procedure on such occasions, made me resolve not to depart from the approved ceremonial on the first visits with the French and Dutch ambassadors. Both responded by meeting me on the stairs when I returned their visits and everything happened without anything of note.
When the Spanish ambassador asked for an appointment, Saturday morning was fixed and he appeared at the house. My gentlemen were at the door and he had scarcely entered when he asked them if I was indisposed, and advancing to the foot of the stairs demanded roundly that I should meet him there. When I heard this I was forced to be very reserved. I sent the Secretary Alberti assuring him that I would meet him where I had met the French ambassador. I would rather show increased than diminished respect for the minister of his Catholic Majesty, but I could not descend the stairs because I could not treat him differently from the French ambassador. After hesitating awhile the Count of Molina decided to leave me with regret at not being able to pay his respects, and he left without seeing me.
It seems that this claim is based oil a particular practice of this Court which is new and perhaps invented by these Spanish ambassadors, who having no stairs in their houses may have extended the greeting, to be met by the other ambassadors on the ground floor. Colbert, the French minister, stands out against this, because if the innovation was accepted and the dukes, earls and leading ministers of this country continued to receive on the stairs in the old way, the ambassadors would lose their parity, as would certainly be the case if the Spanish ministers were met by the French at the door and by a duke on the stairs. Molina did not consider this, fastening on what was done with him by Colbert himself. To this Colbert replies that the extraordinary courtesy of a secret visit from Count Molina, and the belief that it was the practice of dukes, earls and ministers at this Court, obliged him to show special civility at the first meeting and he by no means wished to continue the abuse, when he found that dukes continued to visit and receive in the rooms. He concluded that an abuse prejudicial to the position of royal ambassadors should not be continued, and it should be forgotten as being an offence rather than a favour, and as he was content to break the first lances, and be met on the stairs, as was the Dutch ambassador who enjoys parity, the Spanish ambassador cannot escape following the example, as he has no right to claim a more distinguished treatment than they.
Not content with this the French ambassador, by these arguments has bound me hand and foot, making a protest here by his gentlemen that any concession to the Spanish ambassador would be a positive offence to his ministry. He was fully satisfied with my reception, which conformed with the ceremonial of all the Courts and here also, where the duke of Buchincan and the Secretary Arlinton had received him on the stairs, so that any change would offend his character, and that I as well as the Spanish ambassador should have to compensate him for this.
This declaration of the French ambassador prevents any compromise, and he will on no account agree to the reception claimed by Spain, on the ground also that it would seem as if Spain had precedence over France. But Spain remains deaf to considerations of the common service of the ambassadors. He acts with prudence, however, and is not taking any further steps but lets the compliment wait, while expecting replies from Spain. In the mean time he will not join issue on those points of punctilio which the French ambassador wishes to raise, in order to renew differences and, if needful, odious declarations.
I shall wait to hear the intentions of your Serenity, hoping that my reluctance to gratify the Spanish ambassador will be approved, in order to avoid the quarrels which one tries so hard to prevent now. I have no doubt that I have fulfilled my instructions in cultivating friendly relations with both ambassadors, acting rather as a mediator than as a party, leaving them to their disputes, if I had not the good fortune to reconcile them.
With a few words I was able to assure the French ambassador of my deep respect for his king, and as he has so far declared that he has received from me the treatment he desires, so in the future I shall not do him offence in my dealings with the Spanish ambassador.
With the count of Molina, after making sure of a courteous reception, I have made a civil advance, sending the Secretary Alberti to tell him that the succour contributed by the Viceroy of Naples to the needs of Candia were so opportune that I sent to congratulate him on this holy resolution which would add to the glory of his Catholic Majesty. The office proved acceptable and met with a very hearty response, both of us having avoided any reference to the past incident.
This civility prepared the way for a second office on the following day when he received the Secretary Alberti, who told him my extreme regret that a misunderstanding about ceremonial deprived me of the opportunity of waiting upon him. I had not been able to oblige him, because I could not go further than I had with the French ambassador, and I felt sure he would not take it ill that I had not taken a step which would have caused disturbance and a dispute about precedence. The ambassador replied that for me personally and as minister of your Excellencies he had every regard. He had wished to meet me incognito in the first days of my arrival in London, but the misunderstandings of servants had deprived him of that pleasure. For the public visit he would let the matter rest until some compromise had been found, in the hope that the French ambassador would make this easy. As Count of Molina he would always be at my service and offered to devote himself to the interests of the republic, esteeming that so he would be serving his queen. In spite of the difficulty about visits there would be the same correspondence, as we should have opportunities of seeing each other at Court in the evening, where we should meet as private gentlemen without observation. The secretary did not lose the opportunity to assure him of my sincerity and goodwill.
Such is the present state of the affair. As I always have an eye for the satisfaction of France I shall try to get an arrangement made as soon as possible, hoping that the prudence of the count of Molina will not open the way to disputes, and if he can withdraw with honour from the position he has taken up, he should soon be ready to abandon punctilio. He has the example of the Ambassador Batteville, who tried to uphold the advantage of the crown by the way of a rupture, and did it infinite harm, while he personally lost the credit of having served well in an important matter by serving too well in punctilio. (fn. 6)
London, the 12th October, 1668.
[Italian.]
Oct. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
360. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The facility which the custom of this country gives ambassadors of seeing each other frequently without ceremony, attending the Court in the evening in the capacity of private gentlemen, gave me the opportunity, before the king's departure, of cultivating the best relations with their Excellencies. After a long discussion about Candia and strong suggestions to induce the French ambassador to support my instances with his Majesty, Colbert indulged in general remarks about his readiness to serve the most serene republic, and immediately began to talk about the peace between the crowns. For his part he thought it firmly established, and he hoped that the clear terms would render it durable, and that all the difficulties, being dealt with in a reasonable spirit would not disturb the quiet necessary between Christian princes.
Agreeing with this I said that the union was the more opportune because all who benefited by dissensions secured advantages from the dissensions of Christians. Accordingly all in rallying to the common cause would defend in Candia the states most exposed to the barbarity of the infidels, and the Catholic faith.
The ambassador remarked that the Most Christian was doing his share; the diversions of the kingdom of Poland would prove a very useful distraction for the might of the Ottomans, who were completely preoccupied with the kingdom of Candia and devoting all their energy to the capture of that place. All the princes should watch closely the election of the new king, as if a prince of slight consequence was chosen it would only serve for the aggrandisement of him personally and would not be of any use to Christendom. The Muscovite certainly was capable of any generous resolution, and he had both the spirit and the forces ready, so that he might render great services to Christendom. I do not know if these remarks derived from Colbert's ingenuity or from a change in the policy of the Most Christian. He concluded with a smile that Neoburgo was a worthy prince. (fn. 7) Interest often prevails over character and princes have no greater impulse for their decisions than their own advantage; but your Excellencies will be advised from the proper quarter.
To obtain enlightenment as to what might be expected from the princes in the matter of procuring peace with the Turks by their protests I asked the Dutch ambassador Borel if he had written about it to the States. He assured me that he had, in the best manner, and that he would acquaint me with the result. But unwilling to allow myself to be diverted by these remote hopes, I insisted on the most prompt succour and persuaded the ambassador not only to accept as a pledge what the king said to him in the matter of succour, but to raise the question at every opportunity. Since this office Borel has only seen his Majesty once and I do not know if he has yet had an opportunity of acting, though he seemed well disposed. Meanwhile I study every means to achieve my end, my sole aim now being to obtain some verbal declaration from the king here, since that is the only thing that can put to the test the boasted good will of the Dutch.
The absence of the king will delay all business. It is foreseen that he will not return to London within a month. The ambassador of Spain having cooled off about it and France being reluctant to go with his Majesty, I with the other ministers shall be excused from this obligation, as the king has little wish to be followed by ministers amid his diversions, and if the French and Spanish ambassadors enjoy their liberty and escape the new charge of entertaining their Majesties in their own house at dinner and supper with superb tables, I shall be able to go to the country to find his Majesty if some appearance of good results persuades me to press my requests.
London, the 12th October, 1668.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Victor de Rochechouart, comte de Vivonne.
2 Mocenigo has written “Svezia” and “Svezzesi.”
3 John Grenville, earl of Bath.
4 Giovanni Giustinian, who was ambassador in England from August 1638 to December 1642.
5 The king and queen, the duke and duchess of York, Prince Rupert and many gentlemen of the Court left London on Tuesday the 9th October for Audley End, intending to remain away a month, so that Whitehall might be cleaned and put in repair for the winter. Salvetti on Oct. 5 and 12. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 S., ff. 299,300d.
6 In the dispute with Estrades in October 1661. See Vol. xxxiii of this Calendar, pp. xxv–xxvii.
7 An allusion to the situation created by the abdication on 12th June, 1668, of John Casimir II, king of Poland. Among the candidates for the crown were the Tsar Alexis, Philip William the Count Palatine of Neuburg, whose first wife, Anna, was a daughter of Sigismund III of Poland, and the Prince of Condé.