|71. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.|
The duke of Cambridge, of tender age and delicate, expired last week to the regret of the king and queen and of his father, the duke of York. (fn. 1) He would have inherited the crown, but was subject to a variety of diseases, beyond the endurance of the strongest constitution. The mourning, which the freedom of country life had somewhat relaxed, has now again become formal. All the foreign ministers went to Windsor to offer condolences, including myself.
During the whole of this week, while staying at the Court at Windsor, I had frequent opportunities of conferring with the foreign ministers, and among the rest with France. When I congratulated him on having succeeded in preserving the neutrality of England, in spite of the temptations of the allies, he replied that his king was very well pleased with this, as it was all that he desired. Further the English government had decided not to send back the Ambassador Temple to Holland, thus indicating clearly the rejection of closer ties with the United Provinces. Colbert holds this in great account and the Spaniards resent it exceedingly, for hearing on the other hand fresh reports of adjustments between France and Holland they believe themselves surrounded and are afraid of too good an understanding between the parties.
Colbert construes the detention of Temple here in his own fashion, but from several circumstances I infer that the true cause is to prevent Holland from following the course mentioned in my last, and to keep on good terms with France, as the United Provinces may again join with her. England follows the policy not to involve herself with the allies, break with France and then be abandoned by them.
The truth is that Grotius, having returned from France, declares himself satisfied with his negotiations. As Courtin as well as Rovigni have been appointed ambassadors from France to the United Provinces, while the king there has sent Scilleri and Pompona to Sweden, the government here is disturbed by such proceedings, but comes to the conclusion that Holland will risk more by distrusting this crown than from any loss she might have suffered by taking patience, without insisting on a declaration of war from England.
Notwithstanding all this the levies of 9000 English, Scotch and Irish, requested by the Most Christian, make no progress and the ministry will occupy itself about the arbitration with the same zeal as at first.
The Swedish resident tells me that in a few weeks he is expecting here his king's ambassador, Baron Spaar and that they will then set to work about the arbitration; but he does not know whether they will abide by the decision about the disputed boundaries or proceed to the division, in order to separate the territories, for the greater quiet of their possessors.
Spragh's engagement with the Algerines is confirmed from several sources and the king said publicly in the queen's presence chamber that since the war the corsairs had lost twenty two ships; that they had about ten left and that during the whole time they had not taken so much as a pinnace from the English.
Acknowledges ducali of the 30th May.
London, the 26th June, 1671.