Venice
May 1671

Sponsor

Institute of Historical Research

Publication

Author

Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1939

Pages

42-53

Annotate

Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'Venice: May 1671', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 37: 1671-1672 (1939), pp. 42-53. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90308 Date accessed: 22 November 2014.


Highlight

(Min 3 characters)

Contents

May 1671

May 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
49. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge & Senate.
In accordance with my instructions I availed myself of the intimacy I have with the Secretary Arlington to ask if he had any further information about the claims of the Resident Dodington. He replied frankly that the resident, having been warned by him, would not venture to claim more than had always been customary with his fellow ministers of crowned heads. He added with a smile: I cannot understand what difference it makes. If the hat is removed it seems immaterial to me whether it is lowered more or less. As the ceremonial cannot be altered in essence, there should be no punctiliousness about the details.
In speaking to him about divers matters of trade I could not discover that he knew anything of Dodington's project with regard to currants. He may not yet have pondered it, or does not dare, being deterred by the observations of his Excellency Mocenigo, who, with full information, immediately alluded to the salt fish trade. There are also many other difficulties, as yet unforeseen by Dodington, though they will have very great weight in London. I shall, however, listen to all proposals and, as instructed, inform the merchants of the Levant Company that your Serenity is always disposed to afford them satisfaction. Arlington did not speak to me about this and I did not say another word about the currants, especially with the imminent failure of the money grant with the prorogation of parliament, when all proposals for new duties will fall to the ground.
On the other hand Arlington made several inquiries about affairs in Dalmatia and the reports of a speedy rupture with the Turk. Availing myself of the information received I told him of what happened at Risano (fn. 1) showing that the rupture could not be so imminent. I merely added that the Senate had appointed commissioners to settle the boundaries and the republic would not fail to devise expedients for an adjustment.
I have seen the duke of York's secretary again about the titles, but as he said he had not yet obtained information I left him in peace, meaning to get what 1 can without importunity. The queen's secretary is sick, in the country. I will speak to him also about the reply to the letter of credence.
London, the 1st May, 1671.
[Italian.]
May 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
50. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king is unable to overcome the punctiliousness of the two Houses, which being roused by agitators in order to create disturbance, can be moved by no argument. In spite of this they have not the courage to proceed to extreme measures, which many persons deprecate. I venture to say that to prevent this his Majesty will decide to prorogue parliament and end the present dispute, postponing his demand for the subsidy of 400,000l. until another time.
I have reason to believe this from a few words dropped by Arlington. Referring to the goodness of the king in bearing with so long a session, he said that the two Houses abused his patience and it was necessary that he should prorogue and undeceive them about their assumed authority. It did not matter to the king whether he received the subsidy a year sooner or later, but if he gave the two Houses a lesson they would beware of punctilios for the future.
The imminence of the near approach of the Most Christian to Dunkirk is creating an extraordinary stir in the minds of the people. For the sake of appearances the drum is being beaten for a certain number of recruits who, together with the troops already on foot, will be distributed among the seaports.
M. Colbert has not yet crossed over to Dunkirk, but the Ambassador Montagu has arrived in London from Paris and remains at the Court; the real cause of his movements not being known, though it is said he has come to amuse himself until the Most Christian returns to Paris. In the mean time the king has appointed Lord Bellasis to compliment his Most Christian Majesty in Flanders, in his name, and he will be leaving in a few days.
All these movements alarm the Spanish ambassador, who is either really apprehensive of some secret understanding with France, or does not dare to unbosom himself to anybody. He repeats to me what he says publicly, that without an agreement England could not thus remain at ease. The truth is that he does not enjoy the full confidence of the Court, insisting too much on the interests of Spain, without considering those of England, which he himself has admitted to me. So he is uneasy, being uncertain about his king's service, and he speaks without reserve.
I am told that the Dutch ambassador follows the same style, but I cannot vouch for the truth of this. On the other hand I am well aware of the jealousy about the marriage of the duke of York. The sterility of the queen, which from the first made it probable that the duke would give an heir to the throne, made the king watch his brother's proceedings narrowly. When the duke subsequently married the daughter of the late chancellor, a person of birth inferior to such a station, the duke lost both party and popularity. Now that he is in a position to make a better marriage the king eyes the negotiations askance. He himself remains without an heir and some go so far as to suspect that he will seek every means to remedy this. I merely report that the marriage projects will always be thwarted and the duke's partisans discouraged from putting them forward, his Highness's infant son, who has always been ailing, being counted as already dead. Meanwhile, in this present week the Count of St. Geran (fn. 2) offered condolences on behalf of the Most Christian to their Majesties and the duke on the death of the duchess.
London, the 1st May, 1671.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
51. Ottaviano Valier, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
We have news of the English Vice Admiral Alen, who is off Tunis with his squadron. Having learned of the assembling of twenty ships of Barbary for their voyage to Constantinople, he sent out notices to all the ports that all English ships of war that were in them should proceed with all speed to join him. It is supposed that he means to fight the corsairs, either going or returning.
The resident of England has been to audience of the Grand Duke. I have succeeded in finding out that as he has been unable to obtain the fulfilment of his demands in the matter between his king and his Highness, (fn. 3) as yet he is delaying his departure. Everything had been arranged for this as he had sold his horses, his coaches and everything else required for his sojourn here.
Florence, the 2nd May, 1671.
[Italian.]
May 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
52. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king was unable to devise means for adjusting the disputes between the two Houses, caused by the punctiliousness of the Commons, who deny the right of the Lords to interfere in the money bill. In agreement with what Arlington told me, the king has prorogued parliament, and it will not reassemble until the 16th April, 1672. The king formed this resolve to avoid greater inconvenience and to undeceive the Houses, lest they should suppose that after a session extraordinary of six consecutive months they have it in their power to disparage the royal authority, which it is proposed to establish, although the principles are not yet defined; but I will communicate them from time to time.
The money bill not materialising, the king did not grant the general pardon, to the disappointment of the people, and even more of the persons concerned in the assault on Coventry, who expected to escape the vengeance of parliament thereby. Other mysteries were included in the parliament measure, but now no longer deserve notice. I may mention that as the bill was not passed, the extra duty on currants was not imposed.
Immediately after performing the office of condolence the Count of St. Geran crossed to France with the Ambassador Colbert to meet the Most Christian, whose arrival there has not failed to alarm the London populace, which congratulates itself on the distribution of a handful of troops along the coast for the safety of these shores.
In this connection a minister of state told me that it would not have been prudent for the king to arm the fifty ships without need, although he had been pledged to do it when the Dutch announced that they were doing the like, as princes should withdraw from their pledges with honour. It had not answered for Holland to bluster and threaten to arm, because the Most Christian had armed in earnest and continues to do so, and he has the power, if he chooses, to carry out any design.
I understand that the Dutch ambassador says that it does not become the States to ruin themselves by indecision. They prefer the risks and inconvenience of open war to the constant worry of apprehension. It was therefore necessary for the Provinces to know the real intention of England, for their own guidance, since it was not fitting for them to repose while others kept watch. The English government would not inconvenience itself, its policv being not to risk war, warned by past examples. Being further hampered by domestic troubles she was incapable of any great undertaking and therefore kept with the allies and did not break with France, whom she cajoled by professions of friendship.
On the other hand the French ambassador told me before his departure that the Most Christian was inclined towards the alliance, but that Holland, who had always supported it and boasted of her zeal for peace, was now all for war and indeed allied herself with the enemies of France.
The aspect of affairs does not change on this account, nor is it affected by reports which the Spaniards circulate that having made an agreement with the emperor and Holland and other powers, they would no longer run after England.
Meantime the Ambassador Molina received an order yesterday to leave London for his embassy in France. Some say that the Court of Spain does not approve of his negotiations, others that his punctiliousness and his disputes with the Resident Ognate have caused dissatisfaction, and that the marquis del Fresno has been appointed in his stead.
London, the 8th May, 1671.
[Italian.]
May 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
53. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Scarcely was parliament prorogued when the vicinity of the king of France at Dunkirk made a great stir in London, the populace in particular being alarmed. The king sent Lord Bellasise to compliment his Majesty, from whom the Marquis de Ragni (fn. 4) arrived at the close of last week, and has had audience of the king, queen and duke of York.
Simultaneously a great number of Frenchmen arrived in London; but what gratifies the English most is, to their great profit, that the French army has been compelled to provide itself with large supplies of meat and provisions at Dover. All the nobility and gentry here, who were in Paris some time ago, vie with each other in showing the utmost civility to the nobility of France, among the rest the duke of Buckingham, rendering him more than ever suspicious to the Spanish party. Yesterday morning the king, accompanied by many personages of the Court, left London to inspect Chatham, the fortifications of which have been extended since the last attack in the Dutch war. After a pleasure excursion of only two days he has decided to return to the Court, and will then pass a great part of the summer between Windsor and Newmarket.
The Secretary of State is also in the country, and whereas Montagu's return from Paris was attributed to important negotiations, it seems that he has come on his own private affairs. M. Colbert is expected back for certain, accompanied by his wife, although it was thought that he would desert London and the embassy.
In spite of these appearances of quiet Borel does not relinquish his negotiations and by encouraging the belief that the United Provinces are forming great projects with the queen of Spain, he would fain make this side declare itself. There was never a less opportune moment than the present, as there is no necessity for arming, and I am assured that the prevailing policy, which is considered advantageous and prudent, will not be altered.
The Spanish ambassador is getting through his visits at the Court and says that he will soon ask for audience of leave. Ognate is preparing to take charge until the appearance of the Marquis del Fresno. Molina continues his efforts, which correspond with those of Borel, and both of them say that the king does quite right not to stir, as he proclaimed his intention of fitting out only fifty ships, the cost of which he was to obtain from parliament, and he has saved himself the expense, while they, overwhelmed with suspicion, are compelled to yield. Such is their usual talk, and I am told that the Spaniard expatiates on the credulity of the nation which, in its simplicity, contributed to the disbursement. But the people would have had much greater reason to complain if the king had expended the money on a useless armament.
An envoy, supposed to have come on a merely complimentary mission, has arrived in London from Saxony. (fn. 5) The count of Albon in the name of the duke of Orleans and Don Bernardo de Salines, on behalf of Monterey, the governor of Flanders, have come with condolences on the death of the duchess of York. They were received by their Majesties and his Highness with the usual ceremonies.
Acknowledges receipt of the ducali of the 11th April.
London, the 15th May, 1671.
[Italian.]
May 15.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
54. Some one came from the resident of England and asked to speak with a secretary. He said that the resident had directed him to represent that the sbirri, by order of the magistrate alle Biave, had been to insult the barque of the bread baskets, with the arms of his Britannic Majesty, having received orders to enter the barque, open the baskets and look inside. He was amazed that a servant of such vile condition should be permitted so much. When asked if he knew whose arms they were he said that was what he was looking for; and it was well known that the resident had been some months without taking the bulletin for this bread. He would not be subjected to ill usage from such canaille, or he would be obliged to report it. The Savii directed me, the secretary, to tell him that I would report the matter to their Excellencies. With that he departed.
Corniani, secretary.
[Italian.]
May 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
55. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 24th ult. Enclose copy of an office of the resident of England. Upon this question the Senate has to say that the foreign ministers resident at Venice are allowed to bring into the city free of duty a certain quantity of bread, which is regulated so as to allow ample provision for the requirements of their households. The barque of this resident has been caught selling bread retail in the city to the manifest detriment of the duties. The Senate is certain that this is contrary to his Majesty's intention. Such action has provided an incentive to the officials of the Magistracy of Corn to exercise their function. The secretary will accordingly be able to give assurances that the resident is treated in precisely the same manner as are the other foreign ministers.
Ayes, 141. Noes, 2. Neutral, 6.
[Italian.]
May 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
56. Ottaviano Valier, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Resident took leave of their Highnesses after a sojourn here of six years. He was graciously received and the Grand Duke made him a present of diamonds of the utmost beauty, while handing him letters full of appreciation and regard for his sovereign. The Resident also informed their Highnesses of the death of the duchess of York, for which the Court has gone into mourning.
Florence, the 16th May, 1671.
[Italian.]
May 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
57. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king, on returning from his visit to Chatham, now become a very strong fortress, found the French envoy, the marquis of Ragni, ready to take leave. Before he left on Monday for Dunkirk, with his colleagues, the king made him a handsome present of his portrait, set in large diamonds.
From Dunkirk and all those parts it is confirmed that the Most Christian, from consideration of the inconvenience suffered by the army, has decided to return to Paris. In the mean time Monterey, the governor of Flanders, is preparing to follow his footsteps on the borders, though up to the present he has never quitted Bruges, where he has mustered a good body of horse and foot. By this vigilance he finds favour with the people who will, possibly, be the more ready to pay fresh taxes.
The English government, which busies itself solely with the alliance and does not take part in the disputes at Cologne, confirms the appearance of quiet. The Spanish and Dutch ambassadors continue their negotiations, but so far there is no sign of their getting a hearing, and some of the allies themselves may take umbrage at their conduct.
The Swedish resident told me that by this promenade alone the Most Christian purposed to lull the powers. He does not disapprove of the exertions made by Spain and Holland to induce the allies to act vigorously, and says that his king will certainly abide by his promises. He added however that he was at a loss to understand how the queen of Spain could decide to root the war in her own territories and place herself between the hostilities of France and the expectation of them from Holland. But in the end they believed that the United Provinces would have to bear the whole brunt. Your Excellencies will learn the accuracy of this opinion which anticipates the failure of the Dutch negotiations at Madrid, from that place; meanwhile the question certainly interests the government here.
The following incident is perhaps worthy of notice. Five most audacious thieves, having obtained access to the Tower by various devices and won the confidence of the keeper of the royal crown and sceptre, two of them succeeded in binding him and leaving him half dead with wounds, carried off the treasure itself right through the guards and the numerous gates of the Tower, until, being discovered by pure accident, they were arrested. The populace immediately accused the French of this treacherous act, and even baser suspicions circulated. I need only say that among the gang they discovered one of the arch rebels of Ireland, who was concerned in the attack on the duke of Ormond, mentioned by me on 19 December last. I congratulate myself on not having forwarded the various rumours on the subject, which was said to be replete with important consequences, since it now seems that the sole object was to obtain a considerable sum of money. (fn. 6)
During the last two evenings some disturbances have been caused by the apprentices, who on both occasions dispersed on the appearance of the royal guards, as they had neither leaders nor motives to justify their wilfulness, which can never be repressed.
On the other hand some changes are caused at Court by the sudden death of the Lord Chamberlain, the earl of Manchester, who at the restoration recovered the king's favour, after having played a great part during the civil war. His office has been conferred on the earl of St. Albans, (fn. 7) and other promotions are expected, Lord Arlington having excellent prospects.
I have the ducali of the 24th April concerning the English gunner and await Arlington's return from the country, so as to lose no opportunity of ingratiating myself with him. I will then confer with him about Dodington's importunity over the suit with Fustignoni and later on deliver the ducal letter to his Majesty. I have also spoken to the Dutch ambassador here about the affair of Sautini, whose conduct is blamed by him, and he seemed to doubt it until further proof were adduced, saying he wished it was in his power to provide a remedy. Hitherto your Serenity had referred the matter to Paris, in the hope of some adjustment being effected there. If I receive confirmation of this I shall not insist further with Borel, unless 1 find it necessary to do so.
London, the 22nd May, 1671.
[Italian.]
May 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
58. Ottaviano Valier, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The resident of England left last Monday. Besides the gift of the diamonds he was furnished with various oils and essences of local manufacture for the incidents of his journey. In addition to this he received other precious medicaments consigned to him by the reigning Grand Duchess to be presented to his own queen, besides a quantity of quintessences and many other galanteries.
He has set out in the direction of Leghorn with the coaches of the Court. These were preceded by another with the corpse of a son of the Treasurer Clifford of England, who died in this city some weeks ago, the body being embalmed and enclosed in a leaden coffin, with the utmost exactitude. With the corpse there went a number of trumpeters and behind it followed the coach of the resident, escorted by many others full of English merchants who are established at Leghorn, who had come to meet him. The procession journeyed to the port where the corpse was conveyed to a warship which was ready to take the resident. It was embarked amid the discharge of 300 and more pieces of ordnance fired by the English ships in the harbour. (fn. 8)
Florence, the 23rd of May, 1671.
[Italian.]
May 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci.
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
59. Zuane Moresini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The fortifications of Dunkirk are now nearly completed. Before he left the place the king offered a sumptuous military feast to the duke of Monmouth who had come over to this Court to pay his personal respects to his Majesty here. For this purpose a number of tents were set out upon the two bastions last completed. A part of these the king directed to be occupied by the royal household, the princes and those of the highest rank at the Court, of both sexes. There the leading officials offered to their Majesties a banquet comprising everything that is famous and the most choice and costly delicacies. While this was going on the air resounded with the warlike sounds of trumpets, drums and other military instruments, numbering some 1,200 in all. With these were mingled the continual roar caused by the firing of all the guns, the whole constituting an entertainment at once martial and delightful. The king has treated this young prince with every other demonstration of honour, which has not escaped the notice of the States of Holland.
Paris, the 27th May, 1671.
[Italian.]
May 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
60. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On his return from Dunkirk the French ambassador went immediately to the king, who received him with that graciousness which he has earned by his good qualities and above all by the good faith with which he has hitherto negotiated at this Court. The English government congratulates itself on the conduct of the king of France and his forces, quiet not having been interrupted nor any surprise attempted at a time when the Most Christian was pledged to the allies, to England and to the world to maintain the peace.
The Spanish and Dutch ambassadors are confounded by these demonstrations, as they insisted daily on a very different course and said openly that England was being deceived by France, careless of breaking faith with the allies.
At a conference held three days ago the Ambassador Borel said that it was necessary to apply the last remedy; the present state of affairs was not quiet; neither Spain nor the United Provinces should allow themselves to be reduced to extremity, being weakened by apprehensions and preventive armaments. If England should declare herself once for all the Most Christian would not venture to harass his neighbours; but that if she were to withdraw they must seek some other remedy. This speech being repeated it is inferred, on comparing it with the advices from Spain, that the United Provinces are endeavouring to secure themselves, either by removing the cause of the rupture between Spain and France or by strengthening their own party. In the mean time, having got so far as to consider the alliance a useless benefit, its eventual dissolution is not impossible, a strange effect produced by internal jealousies which all the various efforts of the Most Christian had hitherto failed to accomplish.
With regard to the Dutch negotiations in Spain, when I visited the Ambassador Colbert on his return from Dover, he told me he had come with his wife as the Most Christian had compelled him to continue his residence in London until the close of the year for the purpose of deciding the question about the boundaries, as for the present the Catholic, at the request of Holland, abandoned his counter claims on the Franche Comté. His king had made marvellous progress with the fortifications of Dunkirk and rendered the fortresses of the newly conquered territory secure. They were now in the most perfect order and he did not think the king would exchange them and thus appease his neighbours. With regard to the security, the Dutch were changing their opinions, endeavouring to convert the alliance into hostilities, after having so long declared themselves indifferent to it. He added that the new negotiations at Madrid required long digestion and would be always of doubtful success.
The duke of Guise arrived here three days ago from Dunkirk and was graciously received by the king and royal family. The dukes of Monmouth and Buckingham, who went there for their amusement, have also returned.
Lord Arlington having got back from the country, I lost no time in letting him know the intention to gratify, so far as possible, the request of Consul Hayles about the lawsuit with Fustignoni. As he was not well acquainted with the matter, it was agreed that 1 should present the ducal letter to the king, and he would not press the grant of this favour. As the secretaries of the queen and the duke of York (fn. 9) intended to come to him about the letters destined for your Serenity, I mentioned in confidence what I had done in the matter, saying that I had given a copy of a letter to the queen's secretary, to show him the form. I had also acquainted the duke of York's secretary with the irregularity of the style used by him, as shown by copies of ancient letters. Arlington said it would be better, to show a modern letter from the queen of France rather than my stale copy. He thanked me for the confidence shown and said he would gladly interest himself in the matter as it concerned the good understanding with the republic. He wanted further information and told me to give him copies of letters from the present duke of Orleans. The duke of York's secretary made a like request. As the letter is in French and they mean to adopt the same idiom and style, I await instructions from your Serenity.
London, the 29th May, 1671.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 On the Gulf of Cattaro, Montenegro. During the war of Candia the Turks abandoned the place as indefensible. The Venetians occupied the place but did not fortify it. The inhabitants were lawless men who did not desire to live under any government. By the terms of the peace that ended the war, Venice was to keep her conquests in Bosnia. When the boundaries were being adjusted one Philippovitch prevailed on the Pasha of Bosnia to connive at their seizing of Risano. When Philippovitch attempted to effect this coup with a force of 3000 Turks, he was beaten off by the inhabitants with the assistance of the Venetian General Barbaro. The Pasha was furious M'ith Barbaro and the Venetians and declared that the peace had been broken. Dodington to Arlington on 31 March, o.s. S.P. Venice, Vol. xlix, f. 138.
2 Bernard de la Guiche, comte de St. Géran. He arrived on 28 April. Colbert to Lionne, April 30, 1671. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
3 The king's demands with the Grand Duke's answer were forwarded by Finch on 16 May and are in S.P. Tuscany, Vol. xiii.
4 Charles Nicolas do Crequy, marquis of Ragny, second son of the duc de Lesdiguèires. He arrived on 1/11 May. London Gazette, May 1–4, 1671.
5 Frederick Adolf de Haugwitz, councillor and chamberlain to the Elector of Saxony. He had audience of the king on April 29, o.s. London Gazette, Ap. 27–May 1, 1671.
6 The attempt of Col. Thomas Blood to steal the crown on 9/19 May. Blood himself was taken, with Thomas Perrot. A third, Thomas Hunt, who took part in the outrage on Ormond, was captured later. The keeper of the Jewel House was Talbot Edwards. London Gazette, May 8–11, 1671. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1671, page 225.
7 Manchester died about midnight on 5/15 May at Whitehall of a colic. The office of Lord Chamberlain of the Household was conferred upon St. Albans on the 14th, o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1671, page 220. London Gazette, May 4–8; May 8–11, 1671.
8 Thomas Clifford, eldest son of the treasurer, died at Florence on Easter Sunday, 29 March, N.S. The body was conveyed to England in the Centurion, Capt. Bowen. Finch did not go with it, but took a felucca to Genoa on the 1st June, and travelled home by Turin and France. S.P. Tuscany, Vols. xii, March 21, and xiii, May 15. London Gazette, June 15–19, 1671.
9 The queen's secretary was Sir Richard Bellings; the secretary of the duke of York was Matthew Wren.