Venice
February 1670

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1937

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156-161

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'Venice: February 1670', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 36: 1669-1670 (1937), pp. 156-161. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90270 Date accessed: 31 August 2014.


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February 1670

1670.
Feb. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
170. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The delays asked for by the Spaniards about the alliance having come to be considered as insuperable obstacles to the establishment of the treaty, they have both (fn. 1) been destroyed on a sudden, according to the account in letters from the Hague of the agreement between the ministers there, permitted at last by the constable governor. Seeing that the patience of the Swedes was practically exhausted he thought it prudent not to struggle any longer. There has not yet been time to test the truth of the matter or elucidate the circumstances, but I promise myself that I shall be able to advise your Serenity in the next letters, with the further evidence that I am expecting from Flanders.
In the mean time I will forward the common reports about the agreements. They are as follows: that the crown of England, in the event of the rupture of the peace of Aix la Chapelle, will supply forty ships and 10,000 men. Holland and the United Provinces bind themselves to give a corresponding succour to the Spaniards. Sweden is to keep on foot 11,000 foot and 5000 horse while the war lasts and for so many months as this lasts the Catholic king will pay them at the rate of 60,000 pieces, besides half the money of the old debt which will be paid at present at the Hague by the Spaniards to the Swedish ministers.
So far as England is concerned the pledge will serve to oblige the houses of parliament more than ever to make liberal grants, in the persuasion that the glory of the country depends solely upon the most generous resolutions of his Majesty, who at present is reduced to the precise necessity of upholding the peace of Aix la Chapelle of which he was so authoritative and fortunate a mediator.
The French ambassador told me, before the news of the alliance arrived, that the Most Christian was as ready as ever to afford every facility to a composition of the differences about the boundaries and he would submit to the arbitrament of the crowns of England and Sweden, to the exclusion of Holland, although she was an ally and mediator of the peace. A few days will bring the truth to light, since the union of the forces of the alliance will probably encourage the way of negotiation for an adjustment, and when the facts are made public and Ognate has arrived here from Flanders, the sentiments of the constable will be better known.
The Ambassador Faulcombridge has safely crossed the sea and by this time he will be near Paris, ready to proceed on his journey by the stages reported. With regard to his commissions, they are couched in generalities, and he will only enter upon commercial projects if your Excellencies give him an opening as he has no orders to lay any on the table. If the Senate approaches him about maritime negotiations, he will lend a willing ear and will have authority to treat, but everything will have to be discussed here before any conclusion is reached.
The only definite instruction that his Excellency has is about the matter of the currants, which is considered here to have greatly deteriorated; but even in this he will not start anything fresh, and he will rest content with the ordinary recommendations. Thus I can assure your Serenity that the first object of the mission is to correspond to the embassies sent to this crown and that there are no more recondite objects, as they do not see here how the most serene republic can get any advantage for its subjects from a union with England, and they hope from the justice of your Excellencies to receive the best possible treatment at the islands of Zante and Cephalonia.
London, the 7th February, 1669. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
171. Caterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The fleet in seventy seven days of pleasant sailing has crossed the line without the smallest sign of any corsairs. A fleet of eight ships of the king of England which was met off the island of Teneriffe, convoyed it as far as Tanger for an outlay of 12,000 pieces of eight, for the benefit of individuals.
Madrid, the 12th February, 1670.
[Italian.]
Feb. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
172. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last week I reported the conclusion of the alliance, which reached me shortly before despatch. I can now confirm what I wrote. The only addition in fresh letters from the Hague is that the important questions have been settled and it only remains for the ministers to agree upon articles of no consequence. Through a communication from the Ambassador Borel here, added to a confidence received from the resident of Sweden and the goodness of the Secretary Arlington in speaking to me on the subject, I can supply your Excellencies with the important particular of the pledge given by England and Holland to Sweden for the 60,000 pieces of eight which Spain is to pay her for every month of war. As yet the Swedish ministers have merely seen the 200,000 reichsthalers deposited by the Spaniards in the bank of Amsterdam, which will hand them over on the arrival of the ratification from Stokolm, and the Catholic will bind himself to pay the like amount, which remains outstanding and which has been in dispute for so long, in two equal instalments, thus finally settling the debt in favour of Sweden. They both told me joyfully that the transaction thus arranged brought great prestige to England, satisfaction to Sweden and advantage to Holland while Spain, following a middle course had found a greater security, through the combination of forces of such consequence, merely by the immediate payment of the 200,000 reichsthalers, with every appearance that it will not be necessary to incur the obligation to pay the 60,000 pieces a month to Sweden, in the hope that the Most Christian will now let them enjoy the tranquillity of peace.
In this connection Arlington told me that on the 19th of January the Most Christian had decided to submit his pretensions to the frontiers above Condé, the fort of Linch and the dependencies of Nieuport to the crowns of England and Sweden, congratulating himself that they can contribute to the most just and speedy composition at this Court, where they are conducting the adjustment.
The ambassador of France has been to this house and with his usual confidence gave me a full account. He allowed me to take a copy of the decree, which I attach, although it will have reached your Excellencies much sooner from Paris. He remarked to me that they might well compound their differences in this new year if the Spaniards wholeheartedly seconded the good intentions of his king. The Catholic could not entrust himself to greater friends than those who were allied to him in good language. He only intimated to me that the king had excluded Holland and that he was certain of the consent of Spain. He would wait to see the proceedings of Ognate who has seen the king incognito and who has also called on some ministers. He is preparing for his public appearance with the deliberation of the country.
Your Excellencies may imagine how pleased the king is and how delighted the ministers at the conclusion of the alliance, and that the arrangements and agreements, which it is hoped may be easy, are to be conducted at this Court, believing that the kingdom will acclaim the prudence of the royal guidance which with such great applause has intervened successfully in the most important affairs of the princes of Europe, bringing exceptional glory to the country. But I must not leave, your Serenity unenlightened about the mystery of such a resolution especially as you will have gathered from my despatches that the king was cultivating a good opinion of himself among the allies for no other reason than to induce parliament to make large grants of money, while at heart he wished that suppositions and delays should intervene. Your Excellencies must know then that the king and most of his ministers were of this way of thinking until they came to believe, as I wrote in Nos. 120 and 121, in negotiations between Spain and France and suspected a speedy adjustment between those crowns, especially owing to the advices of Godolphin from Madrid. He wrote that the queen was avoiding any replies to him, about the alliance on the pretext that she had given full powers to the constable for this, whereas he, on the contrary, always protested here that he had his ears open and his mouth closed and declared himself powerless to conclude anything. On these grounds it was decided in the Council to turn aside from that way of agreement and to bring back the business to the allied powers, as if they should procure peace they would get the credit if they did not win the regard of all for bringing tranquillity.
France has come to this pass in the affair, and that is precisely where England wished to bring her, because she hopes in one year to give quiet to Spain, divert war, burden Holland with French hate, be considered at home as mediator and confidant, win the applause and approval of the world in England for the offers of Parliament and in the end to give the Spaniards that peace which they could not procure for themselves except by the cession of territory to the prejudice of their neighbours and the dishonour of the alliance which had made so much stir to uphold them.

London, the 14th February, 1669. [M.V.]
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure.173. Reply of the King of France to the memorial presented by the English Ambassador on the 26th ult. accepting the arbitration of the kings of Great Britain and Sweden.
Dated at St. Germain en Laye, the 19th January, 1670.
Signed: de Lionne.
[French.]
Feb. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
174. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In three days the period of the adjournment of parliament will expire and with the royal favour they will resume on Monday the examination of all the matters which were left unsettled at the last adjournment. The quarrels between the houses will be the same already reported to your Serenity. With a resumption from the beginning of the projects for grants of money for the king's needs, the well intentioned are considering all the ways for wiping out the memory of the last tenuous offer of 400,000l. sterling and to raise it to a figure befitting the king's dignity.
There are various reasons which militate in the open in favour of the king. First of all is the alliance which, without force in the king, is rendered null and discredits the crown in the face of the world. This supported by the prestige acquired as arbiter of the boundaries in Flanders will call for a prompt supply of money to give authority and support to the operations of his Majesty. After this come the necessity of arming against the Algerines; the need to repair the blows suffered in the late wars, the amortization of the king's debts, and the convenience of not reducing his Majesty to have recourse to this same parliament for all extraordinary occasions.
In spite of all this, many troublous spirits disclose themselves, entrenching themselves by an affected zeal to avoid burdening the country any more after what it has suffered in a few years from the disorders of civil and foreign wars, the plague and the fire, and when it has contributed more than ten millions. These persons claim that the security of the peace promised by the Most Christian relieves the necessity for the moment and that the king's award about the boundaries should, under the composition, entirely do away with the serious commitments of the war.
While these matters are under discussion the king has appointed M. di Werden as his envoy extraordinary to Sweden. He has also received with gladness the first commissioner Lauderdaile, returned from Scotland, who brings an account of the proceedings of the parliament there, hearing his impassioned speeches about the union of the two countries, for the relief of that distressed people, which saw its king far away, the Court deserted, the country short of money, deprived of its trade and reduced to be governed rather as a province than ruled by its natural king. This same commissioner told me that it is of infinite importance to the Scots to unite both the kingdoms under a single politic government and a single parliament, leaving civil matters to the customs of the country. His Majesty bears the title of “King of Great Britain” and this name would comprise both countries, whereas to day, with the titles divided, it looked as if Scotland had to obey the king and be subject to the kingdom of England.
The sessions of the parliament there are prorogued until the month of June. In the mean time the English one does not look to be any more likely to make any concession to their own prejudice and it would certainly be a serious one to admit poor companions to the abundance of trade here. There would also follow another important consequence, of bringing the same parliamentary order in Scotland as in England.
As all the dominions subject to this king have their own particular troubles, the severity of Lord Roberts has done much to aggravate those in Ireland. He has exercised the office of the king's lieutenant there with full authority in such a way that the people are very ill satisfied and the king has thought it wise to recall him and to put in his place Baron Barkel, who has the moderation and experience required. (fn. 2) The latter has not yet gone over nor has Roberts laid down his charge, but his hands are tied by the royal authority for the prevention of disturbances which might trouble the government more seriously under present circumstances.
To prevent any mischief that the increased forces of the Algerines might inflict on the common trade the king is renewing the supplies of Vice Admiral Alen; and not content with this he is insisting that the ambassador of Holland shall write to urge the States to arm a good number of ships to act jointly with his own for the destruction of those infidels. Borel has written and it seems that the States are actually determined to send a large squadron to sea to assist the merchantmen of their country off the Strait. This decision may have been helped by the present tranquillity and the apparent disappearance of the need for powerful armaments by sea and land for more pressing emergencies nearer home.
London, the 21st February, 1669. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
175. Zuane Moresini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Viscount Falcombrige having arrived here, I called on him at once. He responded cordially to my compliments and offices. He expects to act as ambassador extraordinary with the duke of Savoy and contemplates a stay of some weeks at Turin. He is to proceed thence to the Court of the Grand Duke in the same capacity, and he has to spend some days at Lyon to attend to divers matters before he crosses the Alps. He could not hope to reach your Serenity before the middle of next summer. When he spoke of the need for a league and union of the princes of our province for its own security, in imitation of the triple alliance of the North, I replied in general terms and avoided discussing the matter at length.
His Excellency had the honour of a special audience of the king, to whom he paid his personal respects, as he had no commissions to offer him compliments in the name of his Britannic Majesty. He has arranged for his departure towards our province for the first days of the coming week.
Paris, the 26th February, 1669. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
176. Caterin Belegno, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Marquis Dogroppoli is destined for England in the capacity of envoy extraordinary. He is a person of great erudition, but up to the present he has had no confidential employment. (fn. 3) Madrid, the 27th February, 1670.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Grammatically this refers to “delays,” and means presumably those over both the alliance and the treaty.
2 John, baron Berkeley of Stratton. By an order of 18 Jan. Lord Robartes was notified of his appointment as lord lieutenant, directed to hand over the sword to him on his arrival, and to return forthwith to England. Cal. S.P. Ireland, 1669–70, page 66.
3 “Don Gaspar Ibanez de Segovia, marquis de Agropoli, is to go envoy extraordinary to England. … I have learnt that he is of quality and by his wife … will be marquis de Mondejar and grandee of Spain. He was never yet abroad … but hath the reputation of a hard student. Is much favoured by the president of Castile and by the secretary of the universal despatch, and through their means named by the queen to this employment.” Sir W. Godolphin to Arlington, Feb. 9/19, 16 69/70. S.P. Spain, Vol. lvi. Godolphin objected to his employment on the ground of his near relationship to Don Alonso de Cardenas, Spanish ambassador in England in the time of Charles I and throughout the period of the Commonwealth. Same to the Same, Feb. 26. Ibid.