Venice
April 1672

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1939

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31-42

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'Venice: April 1672', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 37: 1671-1672 (1939), pp. 31-42. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90307 Date accessed: 27 November 2014.


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April 1672

April 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
34. Zuane Moresini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Preparations by the French for new conquests. It would seem that the most troublesome obstacle for them is that of the British king, who so far shows himself a verse from such vast commitments. They are not without hope that parliament may induce his Majesty to consent to them but I cannot say what grounds they have for counting on this.
Paris, the 1st April, 1671.
[Italian.]
April 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
35. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king's Council and the whole country continue intent on the proceedings of parliament, the two questions of supply and liberty of conscience being those most important to the sovereign and the people. The House of Commons, urged by his Majesty's good and faithful servants to complete the amount of money reported, has made great progress with the bills and in a day at most it is believed that the measure will be ready for the approval of the Lords and then for the royal assent.
Many difficulties besides the objection to excessive taxation stood in the way of the king's wishes, but the most insuperable is the strong feeling of the Commons against the Catholics; and yet the Lords only read the bill to day and appointed commissioners to examine it. General surprise was felt at the fact that only one Catholic protested in moderate terms against this severe measure.
The secret is that the Catholics know by experience how advantageous it is not to stem the popular current, to prevent repeated attacks, and so they do not resent the new proclamation (fn. 1) nor are they alarmed by the impending act, all hoping to be sheltered by the clause mentioned in my last. They expect the bill to die a natural death at the hands of the commissioners, so that their enemies will rage at not having found a single opening through which, by force and clamour, to bring about the destruction of the Papists.
Many of the Catholics flatter themselves that the king, knowing their faith to be the best, is inclined to re-established it in England; but considering the present state of affairs it is more likely that his Majesty, by supporting Catholicism, means to bar the road against the agitators who seek to disturb the government by dissensions, and by persecuting the Catholics, the only quiet ones
(unici quieti), or else, by holding out a protecting hand to them he may always have at his command a great body of obliged and faithful subjects. Your Excellencies will judge whether the king, finding his subjects bent on uniformity of religion, will support Catholics when circumstances permit.
It is certain that the royal authority gains ground daily. Lord Luques having allowed his speech, which I reported, to circulate in manuscript, it was brought before the House, and all the lords having found it seditious
, (fn. 2) the king himself saw it condemned, to be burned by the public executioner. As an additional proof of loyalty, the House appointed commissioners to proceed further, so that during the present session both Houses will have before their eyes a warning to act with moderation. Your Serenity will realise the impression thus made on men hitherto accustomed to extreme liberty and who are extremely jealous of their privileges.
I must add an insidious report, current in many closets, that the secretary of state and the lord Ormond have received large sums from France. I believe this to be false, both because the moment is inopportune for attempting any agreement with the Most Christian, and because the news comes from Paris, which is a suspicious quarter, neither has there been any reason, hitherto, to think Ill of these two personages.

So far the equipment of the fleet has been confined to operations in the ports and on board the ships. No levies of men have been begun, although rumours of hostilities come increasingly from all parts. Advices from Holland indeed state that that province is raising a loan of four millions of florins at 2 or 3 per cent. which I mention to show the difference from what the king here pays; which is now 8 per cent. and was 10 or 12.
With regard to the general peace no possible news can move this Court or make it quicken its pace. The Ambassador Montagu at Paris continues to promise that the Most Christian will act sincerely about the territories of the Catholic. On other matters even he does not know what to assert positively, as I learned from a confidant, who is employed in the office of the secretary of state.
I have received the ducali of the 7th March asking about privileges and facilities which might be asked for Venetian subjects in exchange for the many conceded to the English. Although it is difficult to find one here and though there is not a single Venetian merchant on the mart, while any proposal would encounter many difficulties, I will make inquiry about the secrets of the trade and undertake all that your Serenity commands.
London, the 3rd April, 1671.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
36. In the Pregadi on the 4th April.
That a copy of what the Secretary Alberti has written on the 15th ult be sent to the magistracy of the Five Savii alla Mercanzia, about a request of the merchants of the Levant Company, together with the memorial presented by them in order that they may be able to bring information upon the same to the public notice.
Ayes, 123, Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
April 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
37. Ottaviano Valier, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
On Wednesday two English frigates of war put into port. (fn. 3) They had come from London by way of Cadiz and Genoa with consignments of cash. One of them is bringing a present from the duke of York to the Grand Duke.
Florence, the 4th April, 1071.
[Italian.]
April 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
38. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
By his own prudence and with the support of his friends the king has so advanced the money bill in the House of Commons that but little is wanting for its settlement. In the mean time two booksellers thought they could publish with impunity certain seditious prints against the government, the authors being unknown and their expressions causing scandal among the people; but as the booksellers have been severely fined and pilloried (fn. 4) the king may feel that he has stopped the mouths of those who even covertly attempt to play the part of agitators, so that at the moment there is no one left in parliament who dares to speak disrespectfully of his Majesty.
The government having thus clinched the nail, the king left London two days ago to amuse himself in the country. Meantime the commissioners appointed for the Catholic bill, either of set purpose or by a fortunate coincidence, determined that the penal statutes against the Papists should be read in the House of Lords to morrow. A week being thus gained the Court party does not despair of raising fresh difficulties, so as to lose more time. The money bill being then in better trim the king will be at liberty to prorogue parliament and frustrate the attack on the Catholics. But this is uncertain and I have increasing reason to believe that the opinion I expressed last week is sound.
I may add here that the inclination of the duchess of York towards the Catholic faith has enormously increased the hatred against the Papists, as the Protestants are always apprehensive of some day losing their reformed religion. But the duchess, who suffers from a complication of maladies, is in a very bad way, and notice of this has been sent to his Majesty; in the event of her death however the murmuring will subside.
To return to parliament. There has been a long debate in the Lower House about the importation of foreign brandy. It was decided to prohibit it, as prejudicial to that distilled in England, where at a great saving they even got it from beer. At the beginning of this move, which injures his country's trade, the French ambassador did not interfere; but two days ago he told me that on the Most Christian's arrival at Dunkirk he should cross the Channel and by dropping a word or two and by remonstrating against the futility of the king's superfluous consideration for this crown, he gave me to understand that he should give a full account of his meagre negotiations in London, expressions at variance with the suspicions reported in my last.
In spite of all this and the motives supplied daily from all parts, the arming makes no progress. Holland is suspicious of Furstembergh's negotiations with Munster and Monterey about surprises in Flanders, but the latter makes use of these reports to obtain fresh subsidies from the Provinces, two great ones of 1,200,000 florins being assigned for the fortifications of Ghent and Brussels. The passage of the French troops has already been granted, the roads being cleared by the Spaniards. The French prisoners at Brussels have been released by proclamation; the reason is as yet unknown. (fn. 5)
London, the 10th April, 1671.
Postscript: I have just been told of the death of the duchess of York, (fn. 6) to the distress of the duke, her husband. The foreign ministers are preparing to offer their condolences, and will go into mourning together with the whole Court.
[Italian.]
April 15.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
39. The Resident of England came into the Collegio and gave to me, the secretary the memorial and letter below, which were read. The doge said, What you ask, being a liquid debt, is only just and reasonable and their lordships will take the matter in hand and do what is proper, as they were anxious to show their respect for the king, and what was just would certainly be done. The resident said he was confident of that, and after the usual reverences he departed.
Corniani, secretary.
On the same day.
By order of the Savii the Avogadori di Comun shall answer, being well informed, according to the laws.
The Memorial. (fn. 7)
Your Serenity knows of the affair here between the English consul and Rocco Fustinoni, for a debt of 9000 ducats. My king wrote to your Serenity about this affair on 20 November, 1663, asking for a mercantile compromise, which seems to have been refused. For the seven years following the consul has tried, at great expense, to recover the money, but has always been thwarted by the cunning of his adversary, who by various devices has contrived to prevent the matter being judged on its merits, although knowing full well that he owes the money. Towards the end of last year the ambassador extraordinary asked that this suit might be settled as soon as possible and I believe that your Serenity expressed a desire to give him satisfaction. My king has now repeated his letters, asking for the appointment of judges to determine the matter. Such a request should never be refused, even by the adversary himself, if he desires what is right and just. The mercy and justice of this republic are known to all Europe, and in particular towards foreign traders. I need not weary your Serenity with further recommendations. It is true that the remedy is extraordinary but the evil is great, et interest magistratus intueri bonos, et anima divertere malos. For my own part I am most ready to exchange, in his Majesty's name, the favour which your Serenity will grant to terminate this cause.
[Italian.]
Attached.40. Carolus Secundus D.G. Mag. Brit. etc. Rex etc. Ser. Principi Dominico Contareno Venetiarum Duci, Ser. Repub. Venetae.
Asking for the delegation of judges to decide the suit of George Hayles, the English consul, against Rocco Fustinoni in the shortest possible time, for which the Resident Dodington has been instructed to ask.
Dated at the palace of Whitehall, the 8th March, 1670/1. Signed: Carolus R. Countersigned: Arlington.
[Latin.]
Attached.41. On the 5th January, 1661.
Acknowledgment by Rocco Fustinoni that he owes to George Hayles 11224 ducats due for sugar received from him at several times, being the deficiency after what he has paid up to the present, as adjusted by the interposition of Ser Agostino Coreggio; and he promises to pay the said sum within the coming year beginning in February, by monthly payments, without the smallest delay, or to pay interest at the rate of 9 per cent. per annum if he does not so pay, and he may be compelled to pay the whole of the remainder of the debt at once. He binds himself and his goods, present and future for the said payment.
With regard to the request of the king of England for the delegation of judges to settle the suit between George Hayles and Rocco Fustinoni, seeing that the king only desires the appointment for the speedy settlement of the affair, this is not derogatory to justice, and we leave the question to the state's good pleasure.
Given at the office of the Avogadori di Comun, the 17th April, 1671.
Antonio Cornaro
Antonio Foscolo
Nicolo Bembo Avogadori di Comun.
[Italian.]
April 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
42. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As instructed I decided to inform the secretary of state at once about the unsubstantial statements sent by the English resident at Venice. Arlington readily abandoned his other affairs and listened to my recital of what the republic has done to cultivate a good understanding with this crown. He was glad to know that your Serenity was always disposed to favour the English. With regard to ceremonial he made me repeat twice your Serenity's method. Being satisfied that no change had been made in the usual forms he expressed his satisfaction, adding that Darington ought to be ashamed of trying such an innovation, and he would inform the king of the Senate's excellent intentions. Finally, as a mark of confidence, he said that he was not quite convinced of Darington's good faith, and if anything further happened he would apply to me, hinting something about Darington's adherents, so I infer that he persists.
Also in obedience to instructions I did not insist further upon the repeal of the currant duty, and I shall persist in my reserve.
Owing to the death of the duchess of York last Friday I thought it my duty no longer to delay representations about the titles contained in her letters. Having spoken to the secretary on the subject, I tried to convince him of the style adopted by the royal family of England through the copies sent to me. He asked me for these, to compare with the ancient registers. When he said that he did not know if the duke would acquaint foreign powers with his wife's death, I said that if he should the notice given by me would be useful. I assured him that the dukes of Orleans had never changed their style of address when writing to your Serenity. The secretary replied that since the restoration he believed that the duke his master, had always put his own titles in the forefront, in which case he could not alter. I left him to consider the matter, and in the mean time I have prevented the precedent of fresh letters, which, when once signed, would have been more difficult to withdraw.
Condolences having been delayed until yesterday to allow time for the deepest mourning, I went with the other foreign ministers to perform the usual offices with the duke, who received me most graciously. We did the like with the king and queen. I followed the example of my colleagues in putting on mourning, and trust to your Excellencies for relief for this fresh expense.
London, the 17th April, 1671.
[Italian.]
April 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
43. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The duchess of York was not buried when negotiations were begun for a fresh marriage. The Spaniards, without loss of time, put forward the archduchess of Inspruch, judiciously preferring her to the emperor's sister, who now seems reserved for the king, as if the queen were at the point of death. (fn. 8) This proposal does not come from the Spanish ambassador but from the late Resident Ognate, who made use of commissions which he already held, without the knowledge of the ambassador, with whom he is not on good terms. Should he succeed he hopes to get great credit with the Court of Spain. Ognate did not make the offer to the duke, but to one who deals with a familiar of his. The reply was to the effect that, in view of the imminent death of the duke of Cambridge, his son, he must marry, in accordance with the king's wishes, who would leave him heir to the throne, the queen offering no promise of posterity. The duke knew his own interest, his leanings were to Spain though he allowed them to appear French. The king would certainly be pleased to unite himself by ties of blood and personal advantage to the House of Austria.
Such are the duke's sentiments from the lips of his confidant, and so far the Spanish ambassador is completely in the dark about the whole affair, being excluded by Ognate and the two negotiators, who would like to have the credit entirely for themselves. To morrow they will speak about it to the secretary of state that he may lay the scheme before the king for his approval. In the mean time it seems that the duke would like first to see the archduchess's portrait. I learned all this direct from the very person who is negotiating the matter, who enjoys the highest credit at Court, whose family has always professed extreme devotion to your Serenity. He was good enough to confide the secret to me with the greatest promptitude, in the certainty that it would be kept.
But the Spaniards are not alone in the field. The Ambassador Colbert is offering the niece of the Cardinal de Retz, who has the disadvantage of being French. It will certainly be difficult to settle the succession of these realms on a Frenchwoman, a nation for which they entertain an insuperable antipathy here. I have thought it my duty to transmit these particulars.
Another important matter is under consideration by the Papists, in accordance with what I wrote about the best plan being to place reliance on the kings learning to the faith, but it will not be in a sufficiently advanced state to report upon before next. week.

Another affair of consequence was dealt with two days ago by the Dutch Ambassador Borel. He asked to have commissioners appointed for the discussion of fresh powers received by him from Holland. The king consented and Borel spoke strongly about the necessity of resisting the attempts of the Most Christian. He insisted on a positive reply but got nothing except generalities expressing the king's goodwill to the alliance. He went on to say that the terms of the agreement ought no longer to be delayed, offering to write and treat with the States until an ambassador should be sent from here to the Hague. Not even to this did the commissioners make any reply, whereupon Borel went a step further, saying that the States were intolerably overborne by the Most Christian and would be obliged to look to themselves for relief. England must not take it amiss if their ships joined with those of France. The king cannot brook this speech, taking offence at the distrust which the States show towards him and being angry from the suspicion that they may have some understanding in Paris, or wish to have it believed that such is in progress. Borel has not yet received any answer, but the warships put to sea today and the equipment of the fleet is supposed to be near; when completed your Excellencies shall be informed.
London, the 17th April, 1671.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
44. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 27th ult. Enclose a copy of an exposition of the Resident Dodington with that of a letter from his Majesty and of the reply thereto. The ordinary ways of justice are open to the Consul Hayles and the state will afford him every facility to prosecute his cause. The secretary is to put forward these considerations when the subject is raised.
Ayes, 137. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
45. That the following be read to the Resident of England this evening by an extraordinary of the Chancery:
The Senate understands that the affair of the Consul Hayles is about to be despatched. It is necessary, however, to proceed by the ordinary channels. The Senate assures him that every possible facility will be afforded.
Ayes, 137. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
46. To the King of Great Britain.
Acknowledges his letters of 8 March in favour of Consul Hayles, handed in by the Resident Dodington, received with a pleasure that matches their desire to give him every satisfaction, to which end they have afforded the favoured English nation every possible facility for trade. In the present affair, as the Senate has told the resident, they wish to see the Consul relieved of the suit.
Ayes, 132. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
47. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The matter of the money bill had been arranged by the Lower House and it was being said that the session would end this week when certain ill disposed peers, inclined to agitate but not venturing to oppose the government openly, attempted two days ago to do so underhand by moving an important amendment to the new bill for the 400,000l. This merely concerned points of form, touching the new duties on spirits, coal and wheat. But when they proposed a duty of their own upon sugar they encroached upon the privileges of the Commons who maintain that they and not the Lords have the right to make such proposals for raising money. Both Houses stand upon their rights and the king uses his good offices in vain to induce the Lords to give way. The flames of jealousy and emulation are kindled between the Lords and Commons, and even greater confusion might be looked for were it not that the royal authority is so firmly established as to warrant a well grounded belief that even this disturbance, at present the universal topic in London, will also be absorbed.
The king had counted so surely on this last amount that to show his gratitude for it and the first, he was proposing to issue a general pardon for all offences, such as is usual when the crown has received large contributions. The people will not find out and but few others will understand the secret of this generous demonstration which is merely intended to save two great nobles at Court for the murder of a guard, (fn. 9) but chiefly to nullify the force of an act of parliament against those concerned in the Coventry affair, as the king is anxious for them not to be exiled, to the diminution of his authority, seeing that it is well known that the order came from him, or one may say that the deed is not disapproved by him.
Besides these two matters, which in England are of extreme importance, a third negotiation, equally momentous, is in progress. The Catholics, perceiving that they cannot rely on toleration or trust to the king's protection, and persuaded I believe by the arguments given in mine of the
3rd, have thought of securing themselves by their own exertions. As it was being arranged to bring in a bill against the sectaries, the Catholics have tacitly agreed with the sectary leaders for mutual assistance. Besides the neutrals it seems that they are sure of a number of votes against fresh penal statutes. This negotiation is a very great secret, as the Catholics dare not form a faction. Meanwhile time is gained and they hope to avoid trouble without greater danger, although the commissioners urge the matter daily with vehemence.
The marriage of the duke of York also remains in the state mentioned, but I believe that a renewal of the domestic jealousies of the royal family will alter the first appearance of things.
The Spanish ambassador assured- me that he is more suspicious than ever of an understanding between England and France as he cannot believe this king to be so devoid of judgment as to rest quietly in London when the Most Christian is at Dunkirk with a fleet in the Channel, unless there is some promise or understanding with France. I do not know whether Molina says what he wishes to be suspected, but it is true that there are no preparations. The only ships being fitted out are the usual ones for the ordinary cruise and at the seaports they have merely quartered here and there the number of troops required for his Majesty's service at all times.

No answer has yet been given to the Dutch ambassador and Molina tries to create a belief that he did not speak so strongly as was reported by the commissioners to the king. But he could not deny to me that the Provinces complained as loudly at the Catholic Court.
London, the 24th April, 1671.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 24.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
48. The Resident of England came into the Collegio and gave the following memorial, which was read. Sig. Alessandro Morosini, the senior councillor, in the absence of the doge, said that they had noted what was said in the memorial and the matter would be considered. With that the resident left after the usual reverences.
The Memorial. (fn. 10)
The suit between the English consul and Rocco Fustinoni is reduced to the last extreme, as since I was here another sentence on a point of order has been given in the Quarantia Civil Nova against the consul, by virtue of which he is required to produce certain papers, and this being impossible, he must lose the cause, without it ever having been judged on its merits. By the record of the 17th inst. it appears that the adversary with his usual subtlety has urged the Quarantia to forestall the clemency of this august Collegio, while this last point of order was precipitately despatched. The consul, out of pure modesty, has always dealt with every magistracy, although certain to lose, for the reasons given, and rose from bed, where he was lying seriously ill, in order to appear in person on this point of order, when it would have been more to his advantage for it to be settled in his absence. Desiring nothing but to get to the merits of the case I come again to ask for the delegation of judges to deal with the matter, or a mercantile compromise, and then the truth will appear as well as the delays and tricks practised by the adversary to prolong it. The consul is ready to put himself in the hands of justice and submit to any severity if he does not prove before disinterested merchants, subjects of this state, what has been set forth in this and other memorials. It is quite clear that Fustinoni seeks darkness rat her than light, while he is trying to perpetuate the suit without ever settling it. I ask your Serenity to stop this scandal and to show that your justice, so renowned throughout the world, is not defrauded by the cunning of an individual.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Of 23 March, o.s., for banishing priests and Jesuits and ordering the enforcement of all laws against the popish recusants. Steele: Tudor and Stuart Proclamations, Vol. i, page 428, no. 3545.
2 Lord Lucas of Shenfield. On the 29th March, o.s., the earl of Winchelsea drew attention to a libel put abroad, derogatory to the honour of H.M. and his government. It was declared to be a false and seditious libel and condemned to be burned by the common hangman. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. xii, page 464. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1671, page 157.
3 On 6 April Dethick reports from Leghorn that on the 1st (Wednesday) Sir William Jennings had arrived in the Princess frigate and Capt. Langston in the Newcastle frigate, from Genoa. S.P. Tuscany, Vol. xii.
4 For dispersing seditious libels, purporting to be Lord Lucas's speech of 22 Feb., a bookseller named Palmer was set in the pillory at the Exchange on 25 March and at Westminster on 27 March. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1671, page 157. Possibly Alberti thought that two different people were thus punished. Lord Lucas died in the following July; said to be of chagrin that his speech had been condemned and burned by the hangman. Salvetti Antelminelli on 29 July. Brit. Mus.Add. MSS. 27962 T, f. 201d.
5 See note at page 28 above. Nothing had been proved against the accused. London Gazette, Mch. 30–Ap. 3.
6 At St. James's palace on Friday 31 March, o.s. London Gazette, Mch. 30–Ap. 3, 1671.
7 There are copies of this Memorial in S.P. Venice, Vol. xlix, ff. 174 et seqq.
8 Presumably the emperor's youngest sister, Maria Anna Joseph, born in 1654. The archduchess of Innsbruck is Claudia Felicitas, daughter of the Archduke Ferdinand Charles of the Tyrol, born in 1653.
9 On 28 Feb., o.s., the dukes of Monmouth, Richmond and Albemarle with the earl of Rochester, Viscount Dunbar, and about ten other nobles when going through the city to a masquerade were stopped by the guards. Drawing their swords. they put the guards to flight, but one named Peter Virnill, was seized, and in spite of his plea for mercy, they ran him through the body. The affair caused a great stir. A pardon was issued for Albemarle on March 23, and for Monmouth, Dunbar and others on April 11; Salvetti Antelminelli on March 13. Brit Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 T, f. 149. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1671, pp. 142, 183.
10 There is a copy of this Memorial in S.P. Venice, Vol. xlix, f. 202.


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