Venice
December 1669

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1937

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136-145

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'Venice: December 1669', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 36: 1669-1670 (1937), pp. 136-145. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90268 Date accessed: 22 October 2014.


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December 1669

Dec. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
148. Zuane Moresini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge & Senate.
All the proceedings and every decree which is taking shape in the assembly of the parliament of England and the quarrels which are cropping up between the two Houses are most closely examined by the government here. They learn with bitter feelings that there may be some inclination at the British Court to grant 2,400 combatants to the States of Holland from the old corps of cavalry & infantry, picking out five men from each of the companies which are in the pay of that monarch to form this body of troops for the benefit of these same States.
Paris, the 4th December, 1669.
[Italian.]
Dec. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
149. Catterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge & Senate.
The Count Molina has paid me a visit. In the course of our conversation he spoke about the state of affairs in England which is troubled by the diversity of so many sects and by the predominance of the parliamentarians. He fears that upheavals may take place in the parliament which is now assembled and that King Charles will find himself hard put to it to extricate himself from entanglements. He speaks highly of the goodness of that king, but on the other hand he blames his lack of attention to affairs of state (sua poca applicatione al governo). He told me that the English are being undone in their trade by the Dutch and the French. They want to overcome this difficulty by trading in the Indies. There will never be a satisfactory compact with that nation or a real friendship unless a decision is taken, either to have it friendly or to send a powerful force to sea to fight them as pirates.
It is reported from Tanger that Tafilet has sent to Tanger for two surgeons; also that as soon as the king has recovered his health Lord Arondel will be going on to Fez to establish the treaty of peace and the alliance against the Algerians.
Madrid, the 4th December, 1669.
[Italian.]
Dec. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
150. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge & Senate.
The royal patience is being reduced to giving proof of great forbearance, seeing itself in some sense abused by the Houses of parliament, who are both looking after their respective powers while it puts up with the abandonment of affairs more important for its own service as well as for the crown. In spite of this, his Majesty's prudence, fully possessed of the nature of his subjects, adapts itself to obtaining with time that which it cannot get without a disturbance. Giving the Houses liberty to satisfy themselves about the judgment of private causes and the dispute about jurisdiction it will put off obliging them to discuss the question of finance and that of the union between the two countries until with spirits refreshed and when some favourable opening has perchance been found, they may be in a better mood for an agreement among themselves without those perilous measures which were under consideration and which would oblige his Majesty to lay aside his impartiality and to take sides, as I wrote last week.
In this gentle manner his Majesty is directing his own operations in order to reach his end, leaving everything to the circumstances of the moment. With paternal zeal he approves, praises & stimulates the activity of parliament, which listens and is trying new ways for increasing trade with the foreign nations. Among various projects the one most discussed is one for reducing the interest on money, whereby, in order that it may not be allowed to remain idle, the rich will be obliged to hazard it on the sea and in commerce. (fn. 1)
Advices continue to reach the Hague of the confused negotiations of the alliance. They are received here with the sentiments which I have reported on previous occasions. It seems that those ministers do not reconcile themselves to the offensive alliance, and that the Swedes, in particular, protest that they will come out if the Spaniards do not embrace their definite proposals. In the mean time the Dutch, apprehending the movements of France, now that she has her hands free for the coming campaign, are preparing a great armament. In addition to the report of eighty great ships they write that a levy of 6000 Swiss is nearly arranged; intimate negotiations are taking place with the princes of Lunemburg and many patents are being distributed for fresh levies, several English gentlemen & officers having come over in the certainty of finding a great profusion of money.
While they were awaiting the arrival here of Sig. Giovanni di Toledo who had left Madrid to come here in the capacity of resident, news arrived to day from Brussels that he has been killed in his own coach at night time by a succession of pistol shots when, having received the despatches of the constable governor he was to leave that city for these parts on the following day. (fn. 2) The news will upset the Court not a little, as they were expecting a minister of that crown to confer upon current questions.
More comfortable news arrives from Algiers of the fortune and successes of Vice Admiral Alen against those corsairs. It seems that they are beginning to lean towards an adjustment and to humble themselves to give this crown the satisfaction due.
As in duty bound I enclose the letter of the king here for his ambassador at Constantinople, delivered to me by the Secretary Arlington with the copy attached. (fn. 3) Your Serenity will see how the secretary, besides the compliment, has concerned himself about dealings for securing the stability of the peace, and Arlington told me that his Majesty would do everything for the advantage of your Excellencies. I had confirmation of this from the king himself in the queen's chamber, where I seized the opportunity to thank him for the letter, so that I might not have to ask for a special audience.
London, the 6th December, 1669.
[Italian.]
Dec. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Savoia.
Venetian
Archives.
151. Francesco Michieli, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge & Senate.
I gather from various informations that there is some commercial arrangement between the port of Villafranca and the merchants of London. I understand that the king there has decided to send a person to reside there with the customary title of consul for the benefit of those merchants who choose to go there with their goods. (fn. 4)
Turin, the 12th December, 1669.
[Italian.]
Dec. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
152. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge & Senate.
The gracious words in the ducali of the 16th ult. are neither new nor unusual for although I have had little success in serving usefully for the major occasions and less skill in obeying the state's commands I always meet with kindness and consideration from the Senate. I have no need to spur on the Ambassador Faulcombridge as he is himself anxious to start, and while he is waiting for his instructions from the Secretary Arlington he has already sent on his baggage, partly by ships straight to Venice and partly to Leghorn. He is getting ready the rest so that he may be in a position to make a start at the earliest opportunity. He is to go first to Turin & Florence before he arrives with your Serenity.
The Ambassador Faulcombridge will be charged to speak and to act in the circumstances that may arise in conformity with the instructions sent last week to the Ambassador Harvis at Constantinople. I hope that this will meet with the approval of the Senate as it does not commit the state in the smallest possible manner. So I allow Faulcombridge to continue in his opinion, taking care not to deprive him of the hope of conducting some business that may fall into his hands, which is the sole reason that induces him to undertake the case of this embassy as otherwise an appointment that gave him no opportunity of exercising his talents would be distasteful to him.
In spite of all this, in mercantile circles they are observing more & more closely the trade which the subjects of your Serenity are renewing with the marts of the Levant and it might easily enter into the king's calculations that the ambassador should be charged to pay special attention to all the measures taken by the most serene republic. The fact that the city of Venice in other days had monopolised a large part of the commerce of Turkey, apart from the outstanding advantage of its position, which has suffered little from the change in circumstances, causes the mart here to be very apprehensive about the resumption of this trade at the present time, especially by way of Spalatro and overland to Constantinople. There has been a proposal to set up a trading company and from all sides one hears the fears of these merchants that they will find their trade seriously prejudiced as they foresee that the route through Spalatro will have an advantage over their own by Constantinople and Smyrna and that the company will profit in the more distant navigation of Alessandria & Aleppo. All manner of instructions have been given by the merchants to their correspondents at Venice to give them detailed information about these beginnings of trade and they will pay particular attention to the character of the goods which are being sent at the commencement by way of Spalatro, as it seems that attention is being paid to the kind of cloth manufactured above everything else. I will keep your Serenity advised of what takes place as it is a matter of the greatest importance which may, in a short time restore the greatness and trade of the republic.
The envoy of Savoy also, after the complimentary offices has entered upon commercial matters and is speaking to the ministers to entice this crown to trade at the ports of the duke, his master. But so far he has not made any definite proposal. He speaks of leaving, but is not making any preparations to do so. It would seem that he wishes first to know the contents of the letter from the king here to the duke which will be sent on the passage of the Ambassador Faulcombridge, and the treatment accorded to his Highness.
London, the 13th December, 1669.
[Italian.]
Dec. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
153. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge & Senate.
Even with the most difficult materials prudence succeeds in finding expedients and uses its colours with such good effect as to give a different appearance to things and so frequently to produce extraordinary results, contrary to all expectation. Such is an act recently passed by the Presbyterians of the parliament of Scotland, enacting that the royal authority is supreme in spiritual matters. All the glory & merit is due to the first commissioner Lauderdaile, sent there by his Majesty, who by perfect direction will guide the minds of the majority of those sectaries. He has led them to recognise and confirm an authority from which they will have to receive direction & order in the abuse which their sect introduces into the Protestant religion. Up to the present time Lauderdaile has not taken any further steps. He may be waiting for fresh orders from the king here. Apart from some small affairs for that country the parliament has done nothing more than I have written.
Here in England, to avoid reducing his Majesty to the necessity mentioned last week, to which he might be led in time, parliament has claimed to be devoting its attention to the king's affairs and three days ago they resolved that from the evidence upon the circumstances of the royal exchequer, they ought to grant him 400,000l. sterling. This news, which shows a disposition to gratify the king, has afforded him no little pleasure. On the other hand he is not pleased about the limited amount seeing that the debt exceeds a million and a half of sterling. But in spite of this, when they are arranging about the provision of this money and are considering ways & means there will be no lack if incitements to increase it and provided there is an indication of obtaining a more suitable amount of money they will throw all considerations to the winds and to please the Houses they will give them a long period for their sessions, captivating them by the pleasure of such a show of power.
Various complaints have been brought to parliament against leading personages; but the only one accepted is that against Lord Oreri, an Irishman, who has been arrested, the charge being one of high treason. This individual is of the school of Cromwell, but he asserts his innocence so vigorously that there is good ground to hope for his escape as the king in his mercy does not forget to extend a hand and to avert scandals.
Amid all these commotions there is danger of further disturbances arising and the eye wanders to certain individuals who do not enjoy the best reputation in the general opinion. As regards the differences between the two Houses they are in the same bad state as they were at first, because the Lower House has put itself on a par with the Upper by sending back the bill which the latter had returned to it. Now the Lords are trying to show the grounds for their refusal, by denying the authority of the other to draw up bills or projects, and contending that they only have the right to receive petitions or demands, so that as they have exceeded their powers they ought not to complain about the refusal of the Upper House to accept the innovation. (fn. 5) In short the question is still pending and they will be in travail about it for several days.
In the matter of the alliance the Spanish ambassador at the Hague is hard at work and the despatch of couriers to Brussels is frequent but as it is not yet known whether the constable governor has budged from his pretensions, beyond what was agreed by the ministers of the alliance, the first letters are awaited with more definite information.
London, the 13th December, 1669.
[Italian.]
Dec. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
154. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge & Senate.
Through the king's prudence the affairs of parliament are not proceeding badly. Thus last week the Houses were induced to vote a grant of 400,000l. sterling. Being committed to show a readiness to please the king they have considered it sound policy to give a fresh proof of this to settle the basis of this grant and at the same time to avoid irritating his Majesty at seeing them in session for so long, plunged deeply in self satisfaction and the contemplation of their own authority. In addition to the last duty placed upon wine they have ordered its continuation and further the obligation to pay it is not only incumbent upon the merchants who trade in the commodity, but upon those who drink it. These last, being exempt in the past, abused their privilege by allowing the merchants to make use of their names, and in this way almost the whole of the wine entered covertly for private consumption, and very little paid the duty. The royal revenue will be augmented in this way. In addition to this another duty is laid upon spirits and in a short time the sum granted will be gathered in. But as parliament is asking the king to sit for weeks and months longer, it may possibly get from him that the duties shall continue for several years and so the amount of the revenue will be gradually brought up to be equal to what is needed.
Lord Oreri, who was accused as reported, received assistance from the royal arm, emerging happily from the peril and imprisonment. The treasurer Carteret is busily engaged in defending himself as best he can for the administration of the finances. It would seem that zeal for the public good or considerations of private envy provoke a more exact inquiry about these.
Meanwhile numerous reports are circulating about the readiness of the king to be included in the alliance and these serve as a stimulus to these peoples, in their ambition for glory, to grant the means of winning it the more readily with the guarantee of the peace of Aix la Chapelle. Yet no news comes either from the Hague or from Brussels of any decision of the ministers there upon this question. It is only known for certain that the province of Holland is arming, and possibly it will soon be followed by the others. It would seem that they mean, before long, to have more of their militia on foot than are required for their own defence.
The ambassador of Denmark has taken leave of the king, queen, the duke & duchess of Hiorch and also paid his farewell visits to the foreign ministers. With the conclusion of a treaty of mutual commerce he has sent his secretary to Copenhagen to obtain the signature of the king there and for the restoration of the correspondence that was interrupted by the late wars. His Excellency at his departure leaves amid universal approval for his generosity and his charming manners. He takes with him as the customary token of the king's greatness, a portrait of his Majesty framed in diamonds of the value of 1000l. sterling for which he has distributed gratuities of exceptional worth.
London, the 20th December, 1669.
[Italian.]
Dec. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
155. To the Ambassador in England.
He is to take a suitable opportunity to thank the king for the orders sent to the English ambassador at the Porte. Commendation of his piety in the matter of the departure of the Capuchins who served the queen's chapel. He should continue the same course with so much caution & moderation as shall serve to prevent disagreement and to preserve this consolation for the Catholics.
Ayes, 93. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Dec. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
156. To the Ambassador in Savoy.
You are to observe what happens about the trade of Villafranca with England sending us word of the introduction of a consul, as is contemplated and of anything else so that we may be fully informed. This is the more necessary because the Ambassador Mocenigo writes to us that Falcombrighe, who is destined to come and reside here, and who was about to start, is to go first to your Court in the capacity of ambassador extraordinary, and the reason for this may be these same commercial interests.
Ayes, 93. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Dec. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
157. To the Ambassador Molin at the Porte.
You will also exert yourself to extend our charity in favour of the Englishman Galileo, who was made a slave while he was captain of a ship and who is on the galleys, to obtain his release.
Ayes, 91. Noes, 5. Neutral, 4.
[Italian.]
Dec. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
158. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge & Senate.
The Ambassador Faulcombridge has no need of incitement in making his preparations or of assurances about the courtesy of his reception, as he is sufficiently disposed & persuaded. It is already more than a week since he went to audience of the king and kissed hands to take leave. From that day until the one on which he returns from Venice to kiss the king's hands again, the usual appanage of 10l. sterling a day will be payable to him, so he will have an additional stimulus to his desire to set out very speedily on his embassy with your Serenity.
In the mean time they are waiting for replies from Paris to the questions addressed to the Ambassador Montagu about the treatment & titles used by the Most Christian with the duke of Savoy so as to be guided thereby in the decisions which Count Maffei, the envoy here is soliciting. It is not known, moreover, whether the king here is disposed to follow the example from the pledge to alter the ceremonial with all the electors of the empire and the count does not feel sure that the duke of Hiorch is too well disposed.
In accordance with the advices from Vice Admiral Alen written from before Algiers, which arrived this week, he will be leaving there for Majorca for the refitting of the fleet, as he has determined to spend the whole of the winter in chasing the Algerians seeing that the winds did not allow him to besiege them in the port. From other quarters have come dubious news of a sudden sally of six Algerian ships, of their giving chase to sundry Dutch merchantmen with the capture of three and of one English one also laden with goods; but it is hoped that this may not be confirmed. This was the case with the unfounded reports of the wounding & death of Taffilet, several letters having arrived from Tanger without any mention of the circumstance.
There is under sail a ship which is returning to North America by the king's order. (fn. 6) Over six months ago it left there another ship, which had been in company, having made such progress on a new voyage of discovery that they had found a number of islands. Seeing that the inhabitants proved to be savages they feel sure of being able to start a good trade in skins, including those of beavers, if the sea does not open a way to sail to the East Indies, which was the sole object of the expedition, although the fact that they found no tides affords them good reason for fearing that those waters are merely the outflow of rivers from the neighbouring land.
London, the 27th December, 1669.
[Italian.]
Dec. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
159. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge & Senate.
It will perhaps seem strange to your Serenity to hear that his Majesty has suspended the sitting of parliament and prorogued it until the 14th of February next, after I had suggested last week that he would be giving the Houses weeks & months to sit so that they might supply him with abundance of money with an open hand. The king is not changing his course. Your Excellencies know that the Christmas festivities are approaching when it is practically a matter of course to give the members of parliament liberty to go to their homes for a few days; so his Majesty decided upon the formality of a prorogation rather than on an adjournment from day to day so that this might cause all the proposals discussed by the Houses to fall through and leave the way clear for fresh projects. On the other hand adjournment from day to day would leave all business in esse and projects once voted by the Houses and taken to the king for his approval could not be changed in their essentials. The king has resolved upon this course because by his own advice the offer of 400,000l. was rejected, and as the funds of the duties upon wine & spirits are not yet accepted, all these projects of the Houses remain void and as if they had never been propounded, by virtue of the prorogation. The king can gratify parliament with new long terms of sessions after the 14th of February.
But since the triple alliance has a large part in persuading this nation to pay up, as it is a question of solidifying the glory won in the peace of Aix la Chapelle, the whole country has its eyes fixed on the proceedings of the ministers at the Hague. And yet no conclusion of any sort arrives from there or from Brussels nor is one indeed possible amid the variety of proposals, of which it is correspondingly difficult to discover the entire truth as they are frequently changed. I am constantly obtaining confirmation of the truth of what your serenity has from Spain, and what I wrote from here six months ago that difficulties over the Spanish payments will always be the security for effective succour with which they will choose to safeguard themselves. To this at the present moment may be added the Spanish hope or assurance of arranging some exchange of fortresses & territory with France, in which case the payments to Sweden would be thrown away. In the council of state they receive many advices which call for the close attention of the government owing to the importance of the changes (novita).
The constable of Castile, realising the importance of having a minister at this Court to look after the interests of the crown, for which Sig. di Toledo was designated, who was killed at Brussels, has selected Sig. Marco Ognate, who is expected shortly and they will be getting more certain information about the wishes of Spain. The intention of the States of Holland is by now determined, namely to proceed with their arming and levies with equal diligence & solicitude. Appearances do not point to its being for their own defence, but if they have received a false alarm they will suffer from the burden of the troops, which will make war within their state.
London, the 27th December, 1669.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 A suggestion to reduce the rate of interest from 6 to 4 per cent. was put forward by the Committee on the decay of trade on 24th Nov., but was rejected on 3rd December, o.s. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. xii, pp. 273–4, 280.
2 Don Juan de Toledo d'Avila, arrived in Brussels on 20 November, and was to have started for England on the 29th, but on the night of Wednesday the 27th he was murdered by six or seven persons who attacked his coach when he was returning home from supper with the Comte de Grimberg. R. Bulstrode from Brussels on the 22nd & 29th November. S.P. Flanders, Vol. xxxviii.
3 At page 135, above.
4 Writing on 10th Sept. Finch speaks of a letter he has received from George Legat, the consul at Genoa. He says that Legat and his partner, Samuel Pargiter, want to set up a house at Villafranca and Pargiter wants to be consul there. Finch says he has a promise from the duke of Savoy to allow him the salary as consul. S.P. Tuscany, Vol. x.
5 A bill concerning certain proceedings in parliament, sent up by the Commons, was rejected by the Lords on 10 November. On the same day a committee was appointed to prepare a bill concerning privileges and judicature in parliament. This bill passed its third reading in the Lords on 22 November, o.s., and a message was thereupon sent to the Commons. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. xii, pp. 265, 268, 271–2.
6 The Nonsuch ketch, Capt. Zachariah Guilliam, which arrived back early in October. The other ship was probably the Eaglet ketch, Capt. William Stannard. The enterprise was supported by Prince Rupert who employed two explorers, Pierre Radisson & Groseillers. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1668–9, pp. 8, 139, 525. Cambridge Hist. of the British Empire, Vol. i, p. 508.