Venice
November 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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307-317

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'Venice: November 1672', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 37: 1671-1672 (1939), pp. 307-317. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90329 Date accessed: 01 October 2014.


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November 1672

Nov. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
317. Tomaso Rudio, Venetian Secretary in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Many grave emergencies are causing this government exceptional anxiety. The news that touches them most nearly is that sent from Portugal by the count of Humanes, the Catholic ambassador at that Court. He reports that neither himself nor popular opinion has been able to withstand any longer the vigorous assaults made by the French jointly with the English by dint of great rewards and equally by threats. They have induced the prince there to consent to the establishment of an offensive and defensive alliance also against this crown at any rupture that may ensue. I cannot find words to express the sensation that this news has caused among the ministers here, considering in the first place the proximity of the enemy and the inestimable cost of the war of Estremadura.
Madrid, the 2nd November, 1672.
[Italian.]
Nov. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
318. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Scarcely had the king returned to London at the end of last week than he held several councils, owing to repeated advices of the advanced movements of the imperialists, of the determination of the Most Christian to oppose them by force; and of a certain report that Monterey was to join his forces to those of Orange, all which would inevitably cause a general war. The blame for all this mischief falls on the prince of Orange, who has chosen to call so many to his assistance, on whom he must necessarily depend. He himself risks everything, while the others can abandon him at will. The English ministers have written to him again that by embarking on a universal struggle he will ruin himself and must not expect any support from this side.
To avoid making any false step at the outset, and as it is known that the Spaniards are the chief cause of this strife, as they are bent on making a safe peace for themselves, however dangerous it may prove to all neighbouring powers, Fresno has been told again that the British crown has at heart the interests of Spain, which have been kept well in view; that it does not answer to wage a general war, especially in view of the disastrous diversion made by the Turks in Poland and by the rebels in Hungary, and that there is yet time to arrange the peace. All these words are thrown to the winds, and indeed war seems to be unavoidable. Two ambassadors extraordinary have come from Sweden, (fn. 1) and as they had private audience last Sunday, it is believed that they will neither press for a public reception nor be urgent to act as mediators for the peace.
It is considered certain that the alliance between the emperor, Denmark Brandenburg, Zel, Wolfenbottel and Hesse has been stipulated against such as shall attack any of the allies beyond the Weser.
(fn. 2) As this clause concerns the Swedes alone they are beginning to say already that on this account also they mediate for the peace, being compelled to join the imperialists if France rejects it. From these premises it seems that the Swedes have sought pretexts for detaching themselves from France and that one of the means is the mediation for peace which they advocate solely in appearance. But from the proposals made to the Court of England we shall see plainly ere long what their intention is.
Colonel Guasconi has sent his despatches from Vienna about the duke of York's marriage by a special messenger, and his Highness has told me that everything is settled. Lord Piterbero has heen charged to depart on his embassy within six weeks. The whole Court rejoices at this result, which is supposed to be no longer liable to delay or alteration.
The royal patents having been drawn up appointing Lord Henry Howard of Norfolk and his successors Marshals of England, the king has created him earl of Norwich and on Sunday last gave him the baton with the usual ceremonies. The earl has been able to recover this honour for his family by his own merit, the mark of the royal esteem being the more signal, as his Majesty has chosen to override the laws and confer this dignity upon him, although a Catholic, as a suitable reward for the service which he renders the crown on every occasion.
London, the 4th November, 1672.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
319. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The increasing difficulties encountered by Hayles in his dealings about the new consulage have induced him to take advantage of the season, and he left London this week with the intention of proceeding straight to Venice. I have no doubt he has left persons here who will advocate his proposal for him, but it is likely to meet with great opposition from the whole mart. I will keep on the watch and follow the instructions I am hourly expecting from the Senate.
I mentioned that the present limited trade with England cannot yield much profit to the Venetians, the English being too anxious to keep it to themselves. The Senate will perceive the necessity for extending it, regardless of what may be said about the Venetians interfering with the business of the English, and the state will merely support measures to enlarge navigation and trade, so as to remove all umbrage and attend to essential and substantial advantage.
I await instructions about glass and mirrors as these are among the things which, if they do not increase English trade, at least do not hurt it. Another would be for importing Venetian silks, but this will meet with many objections from both sides.
If your Serenity, by repealing the existing regulations, should allow the exportation of silk cloth of every kind, the experiment would be made with a view to facilitate its sale, for it is certain that the rich stuffs would not find a market, so the chief objection falls to the ground. On the other hand it is true that for a new trade of doubtful profit, it might not answer to risk the prosperous course of that of the Levant, although the reputation of Venetian silk in those parts might be preserved by special seals and marks. An example is afforded by the Florentine manufactures which, having deteriorated in quality, have lost both credit and sale, and at the moment Florentine looms have little work. As it does not behove me to analyse the commercial interests of Venice I merely add that there will be no lack of opposition here to the license for importing Venetian manufactures and reducing the duty on them to a fair scale.
If this stroke takes effect Venice would not only find a market for her produce, but her navigation would increase, for while the English have to make long voyages to Zante for currants, the Venetians, coming straight, would have several opportunities for taking profitable freights, an advantage of which they would insensibly make themselves the masters.
London, the 4th November, 1672.
[Italian.]
Nov. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
320. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 14th ult. Approval of what he has done about the Consul Hayles. It will be prudent not to take any further steps and to let the merchants act who are already stirred up to remove anything hurtful to themselves. He is to keep on the watch for anything that may be done by the consul or others in his name, to prevent innovations which could not be accepted to the prejudice of trade. The Senate is sending the paragraph from his letter about cargoes from Venice to the Five Savii alla Mercanzia.
Enclose copy of an office by the resident of England, with the reply given to him and also a letter for the king.
That a copy of the paragraph from the Secretary Alberti's letter about cargoes for England be sent to the Five Savii alla Mercanzia with instructions to report thereupon.
Ayes, 113. Noes, 4. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
Nov. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
321. That the Resident of his Britannic Majesty be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him:
Our regard for his Majesty was always a motive for receiving you well, in the representation which you have sustained with our esteem. You are asked, at your return to Court, to present our letters to his Majesty and to give a full account of the perfect good will you have found towards him and his house, which we so much esteem, both for our ancient confidence and in consideration of the royal disposition for facilitating commerce between our subjects; and on our side you may be sure that we shall endeavour to facilitate the same, thereby to render the greatest testimony of our regard for his Majesty. We wish you a prosperous journey with every honour and contentment. (fn. 3)
Ayes, 113. Noes, 4. Neutral, 3.
That as is usual on such occasions, a gold chain of 300 ducats, good value, be given to the Resident Dodinghton, who is about to depart.
In the Collegio:
Ayes, 21. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0. It requires 4/5ths.
[Italian.]
Nov. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
322. To the King of Great Britain. (fn. 4)
The Resident Dodington has lately presented his letters of leave to return home. They have been received with the respect due to one for whom they have particular regard. The resident has always been favourably received, and as the Signory has always shown the most friendly disposition they hope that he will give his Majesty an account of it, as they have asked him to do, being ready to do as much for any other minister of the crown and, in the matter of trade between their subjects, to show the best disposition for promoting it, in the hope of reciprocity from his side.
Ayes, 113. Noes, 4. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
Nov. 5.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
323. The Resident of England came into the Collegio and presented a letter from his king and then gave the following memorial. After it was read the doge said: We have always been pleased to see you, and with particular regard as the representative of a king so much loved and respected by us. Noticing that you are recalled to the Court we are sure that on your arrival you will bear witness to our respect for that crown and that by your favourable reports you will contrive to cultivate the most perfect friendship and correspondence. In the mean time we wish you a prosperous journey. The resident adding nothing more, he left after the usual reverences.
[Italian.]
Charles II, D.G. king of Great Britain etc. to Domenico Contarini, doge of Venice and the Venetian republic.
Notification of the recall of John Dodington, with assurances of friendship and the confidence that this will be reciprocated to himself and his subjects and for the increase of trade between the two powers.
Dated at the palace of Westminster the 29th April, 1672.
Signed: Carolus R. Countersigned: Arlington.
[Latin.]
Some time ago I told your Serenity of my king's intention to recall me, and now I come to ask leave to obey his Majesty's orders, and to grant me a favour as a sign of recognition of the service I have rendered for two years. Before leaving I have to assure your Serenity of his Majesty's desire to maintain the friendship with this republic, not only from the wish to serve it but for the maintenance of trade, so necessary for the conservation of states.
With regard to my operations here, I hope that my good will has been recognised and my insufficiency allowed for. Some offices are doubtless disagreeable. Ministers are sometimes called upon to remove the ruins of those who are charged with raising a noble edifice. That certain disorders have occurred in trade should not appear strange when it is considered how many years have passed without the vigilance of a representative of my king and when the most serene republic has had its attention engaged by the serious agitations of war. I hope that in the future affairs will proceed in better order, for the common benefit.
For myself personally I can say that throughout my ministry I have tried so to arrange everything in my house and staff as to give satisfaction to the state, and I hope to have testimony to this, if I am not finally denied a simple answer. This serves to explain my excessive eagerness in asking for the release of Bertan, but it was also founded upon the common report of your Serenity's great generosity, to whom I make my excuses, in the mean time wishing you every good fortune and prosperity.
[Italian.]
Nov. 8.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
324. The Resident of the king of Great Britain was summoned to the Collegio and the Senate's deliberation of the 5th inst. was read him. He said I ask your Serenity to excuse me if I have overstepped in my speeches and in representing what has happened as I assure you it has never been for lack of good will but rather from inexperience. In the absence of the doge Sig. Niccolo Morosini, the senior councillor, replied wishing him a prosperous journey and every felicity.
After the usual reverences the resident went into the other room to take a copy of the office. When this was done he said to me, the secretary, that he would report to his Majesty your Serenity's good intentions for facilitating trade, and he would make known the good will of the republic on every occasion. He also said that he hoped he would be excused if he had offended in any way. After that I gave him the letter for his Majesty, and on receiving it he left.
[Italian.]
Nov. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
325. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king's agents in Holland and Flanders have sent express some important information which disturbs the ministers, if it does not surprise them. They have learned that the prince of Orange has ceded to the Spaniards the fortress of Mastricht with its guns, exactly as the Dutch found it when they occupied the place. These agents also assert that other fortresses will be surrendered to the Catholic; though as the ordinary posts have not arrived there are no means of investigating the matter, but it is foreseen that the declaration which will consequently be made by the queen mother of Spain will produce a general war.
The marquis del Fresno repeats plainly what he said last summer, that it is impossible for England at one and the same time, to remain united with France and to please Spain. He confided to me that the queen preferred to make war in company and to seek a durable peace rather than, from timidity and on a mere show of adjustment, to disband forces which had been got together with so much difficulty and then remain between two armies, facing the Most Christian. Fresno thinks that the allied forces exceed those of France and that that king will come to an agreement rather than risk the struggle. So far as I can discover Spain expects, by threatening England with war, to detach her from France, as this country would certainly be much injured thereby and the king would find it difficult to reconcile his subjects to so disadvantageous a contest.
In the midst of this turmoil there have come to light the disagreements of the two chief ministers, Buckingham and Arlington, the latter having opposed England's undertaking not to come to terms without the participation of France. But for this the king here might now secure his own interests by a separate treaty; but as he thinks he ought not to withdraw, I venture to say that the alliance with France will certainly continue.
In the mean time the treaty of peace also proceeds slowly, and the Swedish ambassadors here talk of departing next week, after having disposed the king to listen to the negotiations, leaving the affair to be digested by the plenipotentiaries on the spot, as they evidently do not think of doing anything at this Court. If Sweden declares for the league of the empire, they suspect here that the sides will be unequal and that the Most Christian king will have to come to terms, as the princes of the empire are drawing closer and closer together.
By this last post they have heard of the ratification, sent from Vienna, to the baron dell' Isola, of the alliance between the emperor and the Dutch for the maintenance of the treaty of Cleves and of the peace of Westphalia, (fn. 5) unexpected events, which keep this Court in great suspense. An envoy has arrived from the elector of Brandenburg and has had his audiences
, (fn. 6) but he does business with Lord Arlington and so far his proposals are not known.
London, the 11th November, 1672.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Nov. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
326. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I was present at a conference at which Lord Arlington unbosomed himself to several persons of quality to exculpate himself for any ill consequences to the country. He said that the person, meaning Buckingham, who advised the war against Holland under pretence of humbling her, was now manifestly advocating the interests of France alone, since it was clear, now England had succeeded in mortifying the United Provinces, that nothing remained but to make peace and restore quiet to the country without compromising it further for the benefit of the Most Christian. He would recommend the king to continue the alliance only so long as peace could be maintained with Spain. He considered this more important than anything else, because of the general quiet of England, which depends on it. The king was too much embarrassed about religious matters, quietly suppressing his own opinions therein from fear of attempting any novelty which might compromise him with parliament. Arlington said he was sorry he did not see how his Majesty could withdraw safely into harbour.
On the other side Buckingham maintains that Spain, as usual with her, exaggerates greatly and that she will be extremely cautious about committing herself and very far from seeking war. By the peace of the Pyrenees she is at liberty to assist the Dutch without any danger that, at this moment, the Most Christian will look carefully into the terms of that treaty. He therefore advises his master to stand firmly with France, in order, by a good peace, to consolidate the progress made and not lose it by feeble indecision.
The king's future policy is therefore doubtful, while the Spaniards are trying to keep the auxiliary forces united, lest when scattered, the whole burden fall upon Spain, though there is no confirmation of the reported cession of several fortresses by the Dutch to the Spaniards.

The Swedish ambassadors, having escaped an expensive public entry, under pretence of having left their retinue behind, had state audience with the usual formalities and as ambassadors extraordinary are lodged in the royal palace. They say openly that they will leave in a fortnight.
The suspicion of this Court as to the ulterior intentions of Sweden gathers strength daily, possibly owing to the advices from Vienna, in conformity with what your Serenity sends me.
The Mediterranean fleet of merchantmen and that of the Levant, freighted with 60,000 pieces of cloth, are still at anchor, awaiting convoy, which the king readily promised them, (fn. 7) for the purpose, they suspect, of getting through the customs the ready money for duties on the goods, which are more plentiful than of late years, owing to the anticipated deficiency of Dutch merchandise. Indeed, his Majesty, being in want of ready money, got it without difficulty at the rate of 12 per cent. from the East India Company, which was able to raise the sum by selling beforehand goods to the amount of 700,000l., with a double discount for ready money. (fn. 8) The Company's compliance with the king's wishes is worthy of remark.
London, the 18th November, 1672.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
327. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
My surmise was correct that Hayles left some one here to urge the matter of the consulage. By dint of importunity he presented a memorial to the Council, who sent it to the Council of Trade, (fn. 9) and he trusts that the matter will be settled entirely to his satisfaction. As your Serenity disapproves of the new tax on goods and of the increase of consulage, I shall persevere with my hints, especially to a friend of mine who is a member of the Council of Trade, and will do my utmost to save your Serenity from this burden, as I am sure that if the scheme were once approved here they would not give it up without great difficulty.
I will try to convince the new resident, Higgons, of the abuses which would ensue if this matter of the viceconsuls were revived, lest it be suggested to him by others, and that he may not propose it again.
I have not seen Arlington since I received the ducali of the 22nd October, to assure him of the public gratitude for his intervention about the ships Horologio di Mare and San Giuseppe. I shall use the opportunity to encourage him to persevere in his friendly disposition on other occasions.
With regard to Venetian silk, even if any expedient is devised for keeping up its reputation in the Levant and only light silks are sent to England, it would be very advantageous for the duties and for the subjects of your Serenity to export from Venice such raw silk as is required for the English manufactures. As these consist of ribbons, stockings etc. they do not interfere with the sale of Venetian manufactures, while, on the other hand, Venetian subjects would make their profit, which is now dispersed among others, who send the raw silk by land from Bologna and elsewhere. Fine silk is made, for the most part, in Venetian territory from whence it is exported to be wrought, so that if means be devised for retaining and perfecting it at Venice for exportation to London direct or by regulating the duties, facilitate its return to Venice in a manufactured state, the republic's navigation and commerce would very considerably increase.
London, the 18th November, 1672.
[Italian.]
Nov. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
328. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The difference of opinion between the two chief ministers here not only causes frequent councils to be held, but two parties have been formed which both persist and possibly sacrifice the common good to their own individual passions. They are agreed upon the first point, that the advantages obtained by the war must be confirmed by a glorious peace, both to avoid further risk and in order not to be distracted from what is most urgently needed at home.
They differ greatly with regard to the way of arriving at this end. Arlington is convinced that they should accept the offers of Holland, to gain her and to check the progress of France, whose money and assistance are no longer needed to depress Holland, which is sufficiently humbled. Buckingham, on the other hand, says that the king will be unable to account to the world, to the Most Christian or himself for his breach of promise about the alliance to which he so solemnly swore. He also maintains that by joining the Spanish party he will have to beg satisfaction of the United Provinces, with the uncertainty of its being granted when the hour of need is past; whereas by remaining with France he is sure to obtain what he asks without further efforts and speedily, it being evident that the imperialists, divided and feeble as they are, cannot long support Holland.
The king listens to his ministers and although the thought of the perilous consequences of a protracted war discourages him because of his lack of funds of his own, he stoutly persists so far in the alliance, though others give me to understand that he wishes to be guided by circumstances and only to declare himself on compulsion.
In the mean time they are preoccupied with two things which may give the turn to affairs, to wit, the declarations of Spain and of Sweden, the one threatening a general war and much hurt to England, while the other may influence the peace by siding with France. It is firmly believed here that this would so discourage the imperialists as to make them abandon Holland as a sacrifice to the righteous intentions of the Most Christian. The truth is that the two Swedish ambassadors, having taken leave with the intention of going to the Hague, received handsome presents, indeed his Majesty had them to sup at the house of the Lord Treasurer, which he honoured by his presence, though I cannot yet assert that they have announced their intention of taking part for his Majesty.
With regard to Spain I cannot discover that there is any fresh intimacy and I fancy there never will be any of such a nature as to unite the two countries in a war against France, though others say that there is a very stringent clause in the marriage contract of the archduchess with the duke of York.
The report made by the Ambassador Morosini agrees with the general opinion of this Court. I have only found that Colonel Guasconi, a Spanish partisan, has put forward certain projects, but without orders from this government which disapproves of them. On this account the contract is not yet considered quite settled nor will Lord Piterbero depart on his embassy for a month. Lord Arlington, who is a great friend of Guasconi, keeps the secret too closely, lest its revelation should injure him; so I must leave your Serenity to judge what the future policy of this government may be in this matter.

As a sequel to the information in the ducali of the 29th October I add that the attempt of Vice Admiral Martel, although disapproved, has not caused any external remark at this Court and the ministers allow the matter to drop. (fn. 10)
This being St. Catherine's day it has been gallantly celebrated, including a ball at Court. For this occasion they have laid aside the mourning assumed last Sunday for the duke of Anjou, (fn. 11) which will be resumed tomorrow, even by the foreign ministers.
London, the 25th November, 1672.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 The Baron Spaar and the Sieur E. Ehrensten. London Gazette, 4–7 Nov., 1672.
2 This report is probably caused by the alliance concluded on 10 October by the emperor with the electors of Mayence, Treves, Saxony and Brandenburg, and the bishop of Munster for the maintenance of the peace of Westphalia and protecting the tranquillity of the empire. See Dumont: Corps Diplomatique, Vol. vii, pt. i, pp. 210–12.
3 There is a copy of the office to this point in S.P. Venice, Vol. lii, f. 96, enclosed with Dodington's despatch of 1/11Nov.
4 The original letter is preserved at the Public Record Office, Royal Letters, Vol. lxvi.
5 The ratification was on 17 October. See Dumont: Corps Diplomatique, Vol. VII, pt. i, p. 210.
6 He signs himself Laurens George de Crockow. His letters of credence, signed by the Elector Frederick William, are dated at Friedland on 17/27 September. His mission was to offer mediation for peace. S.P. Germany, States, Vol. LIX.
7 The convoy was commanded by Capt. John Narborough in the Fairfax, with the Jersey, Phœnix, Dartmouth, Tiger and Argier in company. He left the Downs on 29 Nov. with about 90 sail, increased at Spithead to about 250. Being held up by contrary winds, he did not get away from Plymouth until 16 January. The dates are old style. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1672–3, pp. 233, 248, 255, 303, 452.
8 The arrangements made with the East India Co. on 1 and 4 Oct. are set forth in the Calendar of Treasury Books, Vol. iii, pp. 1105, 1323. See also Sainsbury: Court Minutes of the East India Company, 1672–3, pp. 172–3.
9 Hayles's petition is in S.P. Venice, Vol. lii, f. 91, signed by himself and by J. Robinson and cleven others. It was read in the Council on 30 October, o.s., and referred by them to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Ibid., f. 92, whose report thereupon was delivered on 20 December. Ibid., f. 112.
10 Martel commanded a squadron of five ships to operate against the corsairs of Tunis. He entered the port of Leghorn on 22 October and, expressing a desire to serve the English, he announced his intention to burn the Dutch ships then at the Mole there. Steps were at once taken by the authorities to prevent this violation of the right of asylum, and on the 22nd at night Martel sailed away without having attempted anything. Skynner to Williamson on 14 and 24 October, 1672. S.P. Tuscany, Vol. xv; Relations Veritables, Brussels, 19 Nov., 1672.
11 Louis François, the youngest child of Louis XIV, born on 14 June, who died on 4 November, n.S., of the same year.