Venice
December 1668

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1935

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323-332

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'Venice: December 1668', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 35: 1666-1668 (1935), pp. 323-332. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90234 Date accessed: 31 July 2014.


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December 1668

Dec. 7.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
383. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The wind having allowed the passage of the packets, letters have arrived this week from all parts. I find the continued kindness of your Serenity in the ducali of the 3rd and 9th November. The instruction to ask for some body of Irish troops and the despatch of ships, besides the succour of powder, lead and materials, finds me already disposed. The memorial was designed to get some part of the assistance speedily, so as to ask for a good corps for the coming campaign. … Continuing in the course reported I shall avail myself of the advice of Arlinton, asking a great deal in order to obtain less, and I will tactfully contrive to stir this crown to render the most generous help. But from my letters your Excellencies will have learned that it is impossible to obtain any declaration from this king without concert with the Dutch, for the reasons given, so I doubt not the Senate will approve of my waiting until the reply comes from Temple and for confirmation of the forwardness of the States. The letters of the ambassador to the secretary of state contain something on the subject and I regret that it confirms what I expected, that with the parties so indifferent the absence of Sig. Marchesini is doing infinite harm, whose zeal and ability effected so much. I may add here that by intelligence from a merchant of Amsterdam [I learned] that on 17th November the provinces of Holland and Friesland had consented to the arrest of [the secretary of] (fn. 1) the most serene republic at the instance of Samuel Sattino for debts claimed since 1630 for the renewal of the demands made in 1646 in the time of the Secretary Condulmer.
Meeting the Secretary Arlinton later on I told him of the thanks I was to convey to the king for the favours received from the Ambassador Winchelsea at Constantinople to the late Marc Antonio Delfino, deceased, (fn. 2) Arlinton said my office would serve to incite him to work more for the service of the republic. The Ambassador Winchelsea had simply acted as a Christian should. The same object had persuaded them to furnish the Ambassador Harvis with commissions to treat for peace at the Porte. But when he reached Leghorn other principles had been disclosed by the Venetian Resident. If this circumstance caused any diminution of his Majesty's regard for the republic, he would be sorry … it was a good plan to adapt policy to circumstances; they did not object to the drawing back, but it was easy to evade the question without betraying mistrust.
Availing myself of this opening I assured Arlinton that it had never occurred to your Serenity to ask his Majesty here for anything except assistance for the minister at Constantinople and that … the mediation … a special letter, and to present the requests through me, as was fitting with a king so esteemed and in a matter of so much importance. With these and other considerations Arlinton was persuaded of the misunderstanding, but he could not promise me that the opinions expressed at Florence might not introduce some ill feeling. To eradicate this I asked for fresh commissions … to your Serenity's envoy, in the confidence that the same reason which suggested furnishing him with instructions for the peace, would prove an even greater inducement to charge him to apply for simple assistance. When I chance to meet Arlinton again I will press for the like commissions to Harvis, and as I have been able to remove the jealousy here about the withdrawal from the peace negotiations … also to do away with the misunderstanding caused at Leghorn by the remarks of a third party … I hope by mildness to manage everything satisfactorily … I have no fear of the fresh commissions for Harvis and I am confident of the utmost placability on this side.
London, the 7th December, 1668.
[Italian.]
Dec. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
384. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
If my conversations with the French ambassador and adroit insinuations to the Spaniard do not meet with the response that might be wished, yet they have not rejected expedients and do not persevere in their original opinions. At the visits exchanged with the Ambassador Colbert opportunity has been taken to commend … to open … (fn. 3) and Count Molina has remarked to the Secretary Alberti, who frequently goes to communicate the advices of Candia, that he desired the answers from Spain, but it was a slight matter which would not diminish the regard of his Catholic Majesty for the most serene republic. He would be glad of opportunities of gratifying me, and in affairs of state he begged me not to spare him as he considered that he was serving God and obeying his master in exerting himself for your Serenity over Candia. If I cannot induce Colbert to give way and be received by me at the door, so that I may do the same with Count Molina, I will try to get intermediaries to arrange some way that may satisfy Spain without offending France, with the special object of ending these differences as soon as possible, so that I may have the support of the ambassadors of the two greatest crowns in the matter of help for Candia.
After the Ambassador Borel had made his visits for leave taking and was ready to set sail in a few days for Amsterdam, new letters arrived from the Hague which caused him to suspend all his measures and every thought of returning to his country perhaps for some months yet. Up to the present the reason has not transpired beyond the object of the States not to abandon this Court in the suspicion that some may introduce … who is returning to this Court about the differences over the alleged credits of the Swedes against Spain. At the time of the greatest need in Flanders Count Molina was treating with the Swedish ambassador for the victualling of 15,000 soldiers of his countrymen who were recalled from the confines of Brem, and the ambassadors of Holland interposed to forward the negotiation, gaining the consent … if they were paid by the Spaniards. Time passed in the despatch of couriers to Spain and of gentlemen to Brussels, and the peace treaties being pushed on and concluded with the Most Christian, Molina finally obtained an answer from Spain, disapproving. But Sweden is not satisfied, pretending that the Dutch, although they only acted as mediators, are pledges and denying the payment. … The States being anxious to prevent any trouble in this triple alliance, put aside for another time their claims against Spain for the late armament for the preservation of Flanders, and devoting themselves solely to pacifying Sweden, they have by means of their ambassador at Madrid obtained the payment of the important sum of money, for … 15,000 soldiers, and it seems they have received good intentions about it. But to make the continuation of Sweden in the alliance more certain they have obtained from this Court the despatch of the earl of Carlisse in the capacity of ambassador extraordinary to that crown, and now the Ambassador Borel is labouring in the Council of State so that he may have instructions to urge them to a perfect union. … When on a visit to Carlisse I found at his house the ambassador of Spain and the resident of Sweden. It would seem that the Spaniards are interesting themselves to divert any resolution of that crown, which by ruining the alliance would weaken the Dutch, but first of all Flanders would be exposed to fresh dangers, with the defenders at its rear less strong and possibly with their attention diverted.
London, the 7th December, 1668.
[Italian.]
Dec. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
385. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Acknowledges the ducali of the 17th ult.
This week I can tell your Serenity nothing, except that I am waiting for Temple to move. Letters from Holland reached the secretary of state late to-day. The confident himself is in the dark about the contents. As I received no word from the Secretary Arlinton I am afraid that there is nothing about the succours, rather than delude myself by thinking that Arlinton has been too busy to oblige me. I can only wait and watch in the certainty that there can be no declaration here without the assurance of one from Holland. I will obtain the duplicate of the despatch to Temple, foreseeing delay from the supposed loss of the first, but with the slowness over the conversations in Holland I am in the dark as to what is being done there, and it is only possible to advance slowly, and to put off application for help until the will of the States is known.
I have made some move about finding some one capable of commanding land forces in the service of your Serenity in the defence of Candia; but this nation is for the most part concerned about commands at sea. Only one has had experience under the king of France during the absence of the king here. His heart is willing, but he is not free, and the great charges he holds would never allow him to leave the country. I will keep on the look out and report any opening that occurs. I will also try in every way to prevent any change in the trade in currants, availing myself of the considerations and good arrangements made by your Excellencies to persuade the merchants not to leave the islands in favour of the Morea, and encourage them to go on, in the certainty of better treatment.
Your Serenity will have heard of the progress of Taffilet, who has had himself proclaimed emperor of Africa after the occupation of the kingdoms of Fez and Morocco and the subjection of the neighbouring princes. Here, touched to the quick by this change, they apply themselves solely to the preservation of Tanger, leaving to the Spaniards and Portuguese the care of defending their own coasts. The fortress has accordingly been furnished with abundance of munitions. In spite of this, recognising that nothing will serve better than negotiation to stay the power of this new prince they listen gladly here to his instances, sent by means of the governor of Tanger to this crown, for the sending of an ambassador to him. Taffilet desires this act of courtesy from an outstanding country, hoping by his promises to cultivate an excellent understanding, with interchange of trade in the place of Tanger. Here they do not seem averse from gratifying him, as security is joined with advantage.
The peace recently concluded by Sir Thomas Allen with the corsairs of Algiers will need ratification in a conspicuous form. That officer drew up a powerful squadron opposite their port. With a goodly number of sailors and the use of brulots he proposed and threatened to send these fire ships into the port before the wind and burn their craft. Thus they were constrained by force rather than persuaded by reason to arrange some articles of peace. It is known for certain that they have released slaves, subjects of his Majesty, but the articles are various and their content is not definitely known. (fn. 4) I will inform your Excellencies about them later.
They learn here, not without attention, that the Swiss have grown cold about the proposal to include them in the triple alliance, which is already far advanced, and the decision of the Most Christian to furnish his minister in Switzerland (fn. 5) with 200,000 crowns is considered somewhat mysterious, as they suspect that the Cantons propose to rest satisfied with the appearance of the execution of what was arranged by them with [the States] (fn. 6) in Holland; a reason for keeping an eye on the maintenance of the triple alliance.
The Sig. di Brosse has arrived back in Holland from Constantinople where he was resident for the States. In crossing the frontiers of Germany he was unable to save more than a few papers from the hands of the thieves. As he will speak with knowledge about the affairs of the Porte I will report what he says touching the interests of your Serenity.
London, the 14th December, 1668.
[Italian.]
Dec. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
386. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After allowing some space of time to the Secretary Arlinton, after what I had said about mediation for peace at the Porte, to remove any bad impression caused by the misunderstanding at Leghorn, I saw him about another matter and resumed the discussion with all the arguments prescribed by the Senate to remove any suspicion of any lack of confidence in his Majesty by your Excellencies or any other question affecting his honour. Being convinced of the esteem of the republic for this crown Arlinton promised to inform the king of the misunderstanding over this matter and to procure fresh commissions for Harvis to assist the interests of your Serenity, since it was certain that your Excellencies had no idea of asking for mediation, and he was far from believing what had been written from Leghorn. Thus two days later he brought me the enclosed note, the copy of a passage from the letter written to the Ambassador Harvis, urging him to serve the republic. They are writing in a similar strain, it seems, to Sir Finche at Florence and the earl of Arondel will make strong representations to Harvis, favouring the interpreter and go-between for Sig. Marchesini. So it only remains for me to put the final touches to this affair, thanking the king for the fresh instructions to Harvis, which I will do at the earliest opportunity, congratulating myself that through address a fire that might have caused great confusion has been smothered, or which might have taken away all hope of succour for your Serenity. To this end I had a long talk with Arlinton, remarking on the delay of an answer from the Ambassador Temple … (fn. 7) being due to the first going astray and to the frequent loss of the packet boats. He gave me his word that I should not have occasion to speak again, seeing how intent they are about the will of Holland.
The announcement throughout the world of the interest taken by the pope in the events of Candia and the manner in which he concerns himself about it both with succour and by offices with Christendom has moved the queen with a desire to be favoured with a brief from His Holiness. I do not know which has the greater influence, a pious desire not to be shut out on this occasion, in which the pope makes a universal appeal, or the desire to employ herself usefully in stimulating the king. In spite of this the grand almoner, brother of the duke of Norfolk (fn. 8) and the earl of Arondel brought me word of her most ardent desire, and although I would not promise that she will obtain her desire or that your Serenity would obtain any results, yet I might consider it as a favour to be procured for the queen and not for … as such the Senate would have no objection that its minister at Rome, in the offices which he solicits from the pope with the princes, should also speak of a brief for the queen here, with whom the present pope exchanged letters on his assumption of the pontificate. In accordance with this, the ambassador in Rome being enlightened … to oblige the queen regnant here and by the most prudent instructions will allow Sig. Grimani to act for this purpose.
Returning to the contents of Arlinton's note, from which I strayed to follow the thread of his discourse, it is certain that the delay is not from absence of gratitude, but to the lack of subjects. At the present time embassies have become insupportable by any private purse, and with the difficulty of obtaining the royal emoluments, there is no one who will submit to the burden. There is the recent example of the earl of Sandovich, lately returned from Spain … over 25,000l. sterling. This is the sole reason for the delay in sending ministers to France and Spain and yet both crowns have their ambassadors here. But the king is weighed down through the late war with the Dutch, which obliged him to raise money at ten per cent. and he cannot venture to appeal to parliament for any as in three years he obtained succour for five millions … all for the kingdom of England alone.
For the embassy to Taffilet in Africa your Serenity will learn that they propose to send the earl of Arondel, brother of the duke of Neufolc, in whose case they have agreed to pass over the important consideration that he is a papist, because he is the only person, rich in the gifts of fortune and ability who was willing to undertake the task, and because of the regard which has hitherto been taken … minister of this crown with a Roman Catholic prince, with the exercise of the Protestant religion, will not be considered with Taffilet, who is an infidel.
London, the 21st December, 1668.
[Italian.]
Dec. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
387. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The decision to send a minister from this Court to Tanger as a compliment to Taffilet is not a counsel of fear, which might censured as not altogether sane or decorous, because in addition to the purpose of saving Tanger itself there is the policy of establishing trade. Deciding to take advantage of the ability and experience of the earl of Arondel, his Majesty rejoiced to find him quite ready for the task, knowing how well matters of such importance would be handled by him, and how his open-handedness would cause the honour of his crown to shine before those barbarians. The time of his departure is still uncertain, as it is feared that the few months left of the present winter will hardly serve to bring him to the place of action, and that he may be overtaken by the heats of that tropical clime. In spite of this they are preparing his instructions, to induce those barbarians to an interchange of trade with Tanger which has been declared a free mart for goods of every sort.
When the earl has finished his negotiations with Taffilet there is some idea of his going on to Algiers, for the better establishment of the treaty of peace signed by Sir Thomas Allen. I enclose the terms of the treaty, and in due time will report their decision, the sole object being to oblige that people to observe the rules laid down for them by the authority of this crown.
Seeing the strong opposition to his proposals the French ambassador confines himself to watching those of others. From the visits exchanged between the Spanish and Dutch ambassadors, in the conferences with the ministers of the States and in the conferences … he told me that … in order to make the triple alliance strong by the union of the princes. I had an opportunity of discussing this question with Arlinton and found some indication of this, but I do not believe that they are sending a minister. While Arlinton told me that this crown had no correspondence in the empire except for the peace of Christendom, he added that the emperor … stirred about Flanders as if he had been interested with France. This notwithstanding Colbert is closely watching the steps taken for the re-establishment of the triple alliance, which seemed to be in a decline, and informs himself about the commissions which are being prepared for the Ambassador Carlisse. These will certainly be the most pressing to the end that Sweden shall come back to the continuation of the triple alliance and … find in the king's Majesty the most ready concurrence. But the Spanish ambassador does not like one important proposal, which has certainty been discussed in the Council of State, possibly at the instigation of the Ambassador Borel, but not yet, I think, decided. This is that England and Holland in their desire to do the utmost to maintain the triple alliance and recognising the justice of the claim of Sweden on the Spaniards for the pay of the troops … while they will agree to satisfy that crown with their own money, if the Spaniards persist in contending that the treaties are invalid. But this is not the end of the matter, as once the debt has been paid by England and Holland jointly these powers will throw themselves upon the possessions of the Spaniards in America, and will take what is required to recoup them for the outlay, pretending that this should not have the slightest effect on their friendly relations. … will remove the occasion for disturbances, for warlike movements and for war itself. The truth is that the Spanish ambassador frequently visits the minister and has had audience of the king, but in the end nothing will be said that will dissuade the parties to the alliance from favouring each other, and nothing will induce them to offend Sweden or cause it to break away, and there could be no consideration … should proceed to sacrifice this amount of cash if not to the necessity of keeping these powers always united for the preservation of Flanders and the prevention of worse evils.
London, the 21st December, 1668.
[Italian.]
Dec. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
388. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to. the Doge and Senate.
In obedience to your Serenity's instructions I postponed seeking audience of the king, in order to combine news of Candia with thanks for what was written to the Ambassador Harvis and for the favours rendered by the Ambassador Winchelsea to the late Ser Marc Antonio Delfino. Owing to contrary winds the ducali of the 7th December only reached me this morning, so that in my next I shall relate what happened at the audience, which is given me for to-morrow evening. After thanking his Majesty I shall speak of my anxiety to know the reply of the Ambassador Temple on the matter of the succour. I shall also urge the king to set an example rather than to follow one. The harm done by this delay is evident, with the approaching campaign drawing ever nearer; but what is worse I despair of better success in the future being without any light as to what is being done in Holland. I have frequently represented the necessity of some minister to solicit the Pensionary Vit and the Ambassador Temple, to get the one to speak and the other to listen and reply, when I have no doubt something will be done. With the formidable power of their navigation the ambition of that government has greatly increased. The operations of the Lords States are frequently directed to increasing their esteem and credit in the world, and God grant that they may consider the interests of the most serene republic in this light. But the truth is that the lack of a minister in Holland deprives us of the opportunity for succour as well as of the facilities for preventing mischief. Thus recently the Spanish Ambassador Gamara was able to get the withdrawal of a sequestration of three royal ships of Spain, allowed by the magistrate of Flushing at the instance of a merchant, a creditor of the crown.
I am glad to have fulfilled the state's wishes in keeping up friendly relations with the Portuguese envoy.
Proposals like those of the French ambassador for reciprocal trade between the subjects of the two countries have suffered a like ill fortune when made to Denmark, with the same object to diminish through trade the credit … more resisted the aggrandisement of that crown. For the use of their fisheries the Danes take a great quantity of salt every year, and they are abundantly supplied by the Dutch who get it from Spain. When the French offered to bring some of their own in their own ships and to set up a company of merchants of their countrymen in Denmark the deputies of the board of Trade answered … salt suitable for the preservation of the fish, and consider the establishment of the company absolutely prejudicial to their trade, for several reasons. So the Dutch will continue to enjoy the advantage of supplying the salt, and with this aid to their authority will establish their control of navigation yet more firmly.
To remove the differences caused by the claim of the king of Denmark that the tolls at the Sound shall be paid, not according to the quantity of the goods on the ships, but in proportion to their bulk and quality, in accordance with the ancient arrangements, it has been finally decided that Sig. Adelaer, Admiral of Denmark, shall go to Holland … should be permitted to negotiate in the Sound, whereby the toll will remain on the quality of the mark (la qualita del segno), not upon the quantity of the goods.
Expresses the hope of receiving the relief that has been allowed to all ambassadors, on which he counts owing to the very kind intentions expressed.
London, the 28th December, 1668.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 The last two lines of each page of this despatch are illegible.
2 A Venetian noble who had been imprisoned in the Seven Towers. Hist. MSS. Com. Finch MSS., Vol. i, p. 300.
3 The last two lines of each page of this despatch are illegible.
4 Allen appeared in the bay of Algiers on the 29th September. The Dey was at first disposed to resist, but yielded before a show of force. A treaty was concluded on the basis of the former peace with four additional articles. Playfair: Scourge of Christendom, pp. 90–8. London Gazette, Nov. 30–Dec. 3, 1668.
5 The Sieur de Rouillé.
6 Obliterated.
7 The last two lines of each page of these three despatches are illegible.
8 Philip Howard, third son of Henry Frederick, earl of Arundel.


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