Venice
December 1672

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1939

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317-331

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'Venice: December 1672', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 37: 1671-1672 (1939), pp. 317-331. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90330 Date accessed: 22 October 2014.


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December 1672

Dec. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
329. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Domestic affairs here are so bound up with conjectures about the future that I cannot help wearying your Excellencies with an account of them. The duke of Buckingham, having become the irreconcilable enemy of Arlington, has succeeded in bringing over to his side the duke of Lauderdale whom Arlington had offended about Scotch affairs. Both of them being of quick, ready and resolute temper, they have the advantage of Arlington, and last week, at the king's request, Bridgeman resigned the post of Lord Keeper, which the king gave to the earl of Shaftesbury with the title of Lord Chancellor. So there will be an end to the opposition of that good old man who was too much attached to the law of the land and perhaps too fond of the liberties of the people. Shaftesbury, supported by the other two, has caused himself to be deemed necessary for the government, although not the greatest friend of Arlington.
The latter does not lose heart, having obtained great hold on the king's affections; but perceiving that his zeal for peace, being misinterpreted, may burden him with universal hatred and with the jealousy of France, he is labouring to retract his insinuations before they are exaggerated by other persons, and before parliament calls him to account for his pacific policy; whilst the king and others will justify that of the war. With the same idea of avoiding censure he also renounces Guasconi's unauthorised projects and disapproves of the alliance with the emperor, under pretence of not pledging himself to an impending war with the Turks, but merely to avoid being compelled to persuade the Most Christian to make peace, or else detach England from his alliance, a step from which these factionaries are so averse that some of them impiously urge the king to abandon the negotiation, without waiting for fresh replies from Vienna.
This language was considered too violent, but while the departure of Piterbero is held up pending fresh decisions from the emperor, I have just discovered that the marquis of Blanquefort, captain of the duke of York's guards, who went to France on private business of his own, was also charged to assure the Most Christian that his royal Highness, notwithstanding any marriage with the archduchess, would continue to encourage the king, his brother, to support France; indeed the earl of Ossory, who went thither with condolences on the death of the duke of Anjou, will confirm these sentiments in the name of the king here.
Whether all these appearances serve to mask some other intention I cannot discover nor can I be sure that the Swedes will eventually side with France. One of the ambassadors said that a negotiation was on foot to marry Mademoiselle d'Elboeuf of the House of Lorraine (fn. 1) to the king of Sweden, the Most Christian making great promises. To me they merely said that they were going away in haste to offer mediation to Holland and that, in the mean time
, 9000 men in one corps had arrived in Pomerania. Yet they are extremely cautious in their speech.
Here they take no thought for the appointment of commissioners to negotiate the peace, which seems very remote, owing to the obstinacy of the Germans and Spaniards in supporting the United Provinces, news having been received that Monterey is marching his cavalry to support the prince of Orange in his projects, in case of need.

The Mediterranean fleet with goods valued at two millions sterling cannot yet put to sea. Sir [John] Finch late resident at Florence and now going as ambassador to Constantinople, is in readiness to embark on that of the Levant. Admiral Spragh has gone into harbour for the whole of the winter and tells me that the Yarmouth fishermen caught so many herrings that this year they even supplied the Dutch for ready money.
London, the 2nd December, 1672.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
330. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Council of Trade, having examined Consul Hayles' petition, summoned the merchants who signed it. The opponents also made their appearance, especially some members of the Levant Company. After they had shown how injurious the tax on merchandise would prove the Council declared that as all English consuls had a considerable revenue it was proper to assign 300l. per annum to Hayles, who had been appointed by royal patent, and the merchants must think of the easiest way to provide the fund. This morning the merchants themselves appeared before the Council offering excuses and pretexts to delay a reply. But one of the members of the Council said that if the merchants neglected to raise the money the Council would devise the means, so that instead of 600 ducats Hayles will have nearly 2000 and the captains, who complained about paying 30 ducats consulage, may now be liable for 90, unless they again think of transferring the consulage from the ships to the goods.
Seeing the matter conducted with so much heat I have not gone beyond my usual cautious insinuations, and will continue them to relieve the trade of this burden, though as it is the easiest way to draw money, there is danger of their burdening it precipitately without considering the trade or remembering all the facilities granted by your Serenity.
I may state here that unless Venetian firms establish themselves in London the trade and navigation will make little progress. Although, at the close of the war the king may impose the usual tax on aliens, this need not discourage your Serenity's subjects as after all the extra duty of 25 per cent., compared with the value of the merchandise on which the ordinary duty is 5 per cent., does not come to more than 6 per cent., which does not much diminish the profit, as the Venetians would get all the commissions for the avoidance of the usual long and heavy accounts made out by the English houses.
I mentioned as one means of encouraging trade that the republic should grant convoy to the merchantmen. I take the liberty to add that the king of England and Holland give convoy at their own cost, exacting about 3 per cent. from the merchantmen. If your Serenity claimed only 1 per cent. it would suffice for the cost of four men of war, two of which would convoy as far as Lisbon all merchantmen bound for the ports of Italy and Spain, and those homeward bound, on making Portugal, would no longer require convoy. Trade with Spain being opened in this way for Venetian ships, they might very easily undertake the voyage to England and even farther. Similar security for navigation, while lowering the high premiums for insurance, would gain credit for the Venetian flag and augment the navy, which might be supplied with lads from the foundling hospitals. If instructed I will try to find out precisely the method adopted by the English and Dutch with regard to the cost of their men of war, which are managed most economically and form the chief basis of navigation.
London, the 2nd December, 1672.
[Italian.]
Dec. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
331. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spaniards having established the policy of seeking peace through war, notwithstanding the king's minority, and having published the secret to encourage the allies to keep on foot the forces mustered by them with so much difficulty, they perceive here that the adjustment is the more impeded because Spain influences others according to her own passions, which will allow of no peace unless it is secure for herself, regardless of the public quiet and the welfare of her allies.
The king spoke to the Portuguese ambassador and to me practically in these terms a few evenings ago in the presence chamber hinting that the Spaniards, having appointed Bornenville commander in chief of the imperial army, and Marsin (fn. 2) as Orange's governor, would proceed to extremities, flattering the credulous Dutchmen with the recovery during the winter of what they had lost in the summer.
On the other hand I know that the king speaks with some hesitation about future events. Your Serenity will know what proposals the Most Christian is making at Ratisbon to quiet the princes of the empire by restoring the fortresses which belong to them, taken by him from the Dutch, and it is suspected here that the Spaniards embroil everything for the purpose of compelling the allied crowns to make peace. Monterey flatters himself on the success of this project to such an extent that, after having first given the Dutch
7000 men, he has now sent 5000 more under Marsin, he himself remaining practically destitute, in the firm belief that he will not be surprised by the French.
The Dutch also are exerting themselves, the East India Company having assigned a fund for the payment of the troops and they have decided to send another squadron to sea for the winter. But here, perplexed by the impending war which evidently threatens them for next year, and without funds, they cannot even keep Spragge cruising, and the evil intentions of the parliamentarians redouble the disturbance.
In spite of this and although Buckingham is now in disgrace with the king for an audacious attempt on his Majesty's private pleasures (fn. 3) they have allowed the envoy from Brandenburg, under pretext of a speedy agreement, to depart without any reply to his projects or counsels, which aimed at bringing this crown over to the interests of the
During the last few days Lord Montagu, who had been ambassador at Paris, went thither in haste, but I do not know whether for the purpose of negotiating or of creating suspicion, by means of a new marriage for the duke of York.

Eight companies of the royal guards are going to France to fill up the duke of Monmouth's regiment, (fn. 4) and 150 of the horse guards will be commanded by the marquis of Blanquefort as the Most Christian's body guard.
The king has conferred on Lord Clifford, treasurer of the household, the eminent post of treasurer of the kingdom (fn. 5) which, besides the honour, will yield him a safe 12,000l. a year, his Majesty having places of this sort in his gift and many others, though of inferior value, wherewith to provide for his faithful servants.
London, the 9th December, 1672.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
332. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I rejoice to find by the ducali of the 12th November that I have met with the wishes of the state with regard to Hayles' business and by avoiding committments after encouraging the merchants to defend their own cause. I shall keep aloof more especially as certain persons of quality have taken up the matter and advocate it with extraordinary warmth. Since the reply from the Council of Trade the merchants have not met to find a fund for the salary, but I hinted to many of them that it would be in their interest to leave the consulage on the ships. I believe they will arrange for every vessel to pay the 30 ducats as before and as much in addition per ton as will make up the required sum. This will have little or no effect on the goods, for the additional freight charge which may be made will neither increase the cost nor divert the flow of goods from the port of Venice and the charge remaining on the ships cannot at all injure your Serenity's subjects; on the contrary, the freer their ships and navigation are the more they will be held in account.
At a conference I had with Lord Falconbridge he would not unbosom himself fully, but in the midst of many protestations of his obligations to your Serenity he mingled a few words of regret because he did not receive the last two favours asked, for the pardon of certain outlaws, pretending that, according to custom, which had become a law, the republic always granted such favours on the departure of ambassadors, and as they had been refused to him, his character was injured. He certainly disapproved of the ill conceived remonstrances of Dodington, but he had never renounced his claim to these favours.
I told him that a thing which happened so long ago had escaped my memory. The lack of a sufficient number of votes had delayed the discussion of the matter, but there must have been some misunderstanding, and so I let the matter drop and always will do so unless instructed otherwise.
I will avail myself of the information about Dodington's leave taking and departure when opportunity offers. I do not know when Sir [Thomas] Higgons will start, for he is not only waiting for the usual supply of money but in order that it may be larger he is trying to obtain some higher title than that of resident, and I do not think he can begin his journey before the spring.
London, the 9th December, 1672.
[Italian.]
Dec. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
333. Tomaso Rudio, Venetian Secretary in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
News comes from Africa that the Moorish king Gailan is marching with a powerful army towards Fez to attempt the deposition of the king there. For this purpose he has sent by a French barque to ask the governor of Cadiz for 100 barrels of powder, 500 muskets and some lances, offering peace to Spain to show his gratitude. We hear that he has also arranged a peace with the governor of Tanger because he had supplied him with another quantity of muskets, 40 tons of powder and a hundred lances. (fn. 6)
Madrid, the 14th December, 1672.
[Italian.]
Dec. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
334. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
With respect to the news from spain about an alliance between this crown England and Portugal against the Spaniards, there is nothing to bear it out here. It is believed that Portugal is too weak to make war on Spain. It is not considered any more likely that england would resolve to declare herself against the Spaniards to the prejudice of their own quiet, more particularly at the present time when that crown is seen to be closely allied with the Austrians by the marriage of the duke of Jorch and even more now we have recently heard that the Spaniards have ratified this same marriage.
I have just heard of the arrival at this Court of Lord Montagu as ambassador.
Paris, the 15th december, 1672.
[Italian.]
Dec. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
335. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A certain project having been put forward for the suspension of hostilities, it was not listened to at the Hague, being strongly opposed by the Spaniards, who flatter the Dutch that during the winter they will recover the losses of the summer. The English agents at the Hague have already written that Orange fancies he can negotiate the peace on terms of equality; but if Turenne surprises him, as we have just heard, his hopes will change. It is believed that he will have to retreat and I heard the king say that if he does so through Spanish territory, Turenne will not scruple to pursue him.
While awaiting the result of hostilities, always with the hope that war will not be waged with the empire, they are preoccupied here with the next meeting of parliament. The king is still doubtful whether he should risk it in February before he has settled the emergencies abroad by a peace, so as to attend exclusively to home affairs and resolutely control restless spirits. I am told that if the war continues his Majesty will prorogue the session. But with regard to money no one can imagine where the king will find it, for here there is no savings bank, indeed, to pay the fleet they have taken money at
12 per cent. interest from the East India Company, which is to be repaid by the duties on the first goods entered at the customs either for import or export.
Letters are expected any day from Vienna about the conclusion of the affair of Innsbruck. Piterbero told me he hoped it would be favourable, though he did not know by what means the imperial Court would be dissuaded from supporting the policy of Spain.
After the Dutch fleet put to sea the king forbad the English merchantmen to depart, for some days longer, in order to provide them with safer convoy. We hear, in the mean time, that Count d'Estrees has taken all the men of war into Brest harbour, and according to fresh orders from the Most Christian he was ready to put to sea with them.

Lord Clifford, having been appointed treasurer, is succeeded as treasurer of the household by Lord Newport, who leaves the comptrollership to Lord Meynars, all these persons being generously rewarded by the king for their merits and distinguished qualities, which render them conspicuous at the Court.
London, the 16th December, 1672.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
336. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Hayles' agent is exerting himself to the utmost with the merchants to establish the consulage, but they disagree in their calculation about the average tonnage of the goods which reach Venice yearly, Hayles' friends estimating it at 8000 and the others at 5000, so it is not yet settled how much should be paid per ton to yield the 300l. Another project is on foot. By ancient custom the captains exact primage and they are examining whether by doubling the amount all the ships together could provide the 300l., assuming that a practice already inveterate will be subject to less inconvenience.
If this is settled the consulage will fall upon the goods. I do not go beyond the usual hints, to avoid committing myself, but with full instructions from your Serenity I might possibly, by speaking plainly, divert any novelty.
The Danish resident here has had a strange experience. Having requested and not immediately obtained the release of certain Danish ships captured by the corsairs of Scotland, he imprudently ventured to draw up a memorial to the effect that the commissioners appointed by his Majesty went shares with the corsairs themselves, so the commissioners, being all persons of the highest rank, were enabled to compel the king to complain of this in public, and indeed the ambassador, the duke of Richmond, is instructed to speak of this sharply to the king of Denmark. (fn. 7)
I understand that Dodington has writen to Lord Arlington that your Serenity's present was meagre, nay less than on former occasions, (fn. 8) but if Arlington speaks to me about it I shall tell him frankly that your Excellencies have always treated Dodington well and that he was not, or did not choose to be well informed about the custom, as I know for certain that the Senate is desirous of cultivating the best possible relations with this crown.
London, the 16th December, 1672.
[Italian.]
Dec. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
337. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Importance of the question of the consulage. Approval of his past action in the matter. The objections against this same imposition are manifest as well as the placing of additional burdens on merchandise when in Venice all payments have been reduced and every facility has been accorded to commerce. The Senate wishes him to put these considerations before any one whom he may consider worth while for the purpose, in order to frustrate a thing that is so prejudicial and to keep all innovations at arm's length.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 3. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Dec. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
338. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Either the correspondents of this crown in Holland deceive themselves or it is true that the United Provinces are at this present embarrassed from having relied too much on time, money and the allies. Several Dutch personages are of opinion that it would have been better to purchase peace of the allied crowns rather than seek it expensively through the aid of so many, and with the risk of arms. The people clamour at the amount of exorbitant taxes, established for the next war, and blame the inaction of the prince of Orange, who has now laid siege to Charleroi, leaving great anxiety about the issue. If Orange wins his stroke they despair here of arranging the treaties, in spite of the disposition of some of the Dutch states, as the majority will not consent to lay down their arms when there is an appearance of improving the condition of the Provinces, especially when constantly encouraged by the Spaniards. Arlington, speaking to me in confidence, commended the conduct of Monterey, who merely pledged himself to give succour to the Dutch and always adhered to the queen mother's commissions. He did not believe that Monterey would allow himself to be so carried away by passion as to do anything further against France. The truth is that on the 13th of this month at the Hague the ratification of the alliance between the emperor and the Dutch was exchanged, the engagements being settled, and here they are merely waiting for information about the views of the Most Christian, to take their own measures, for it is not known whether the Swedish ministers, who have arrived at the Hague, have yet made any proposals.
Although your Excellencies will have heard of the negotiations of the prince of Portugal, I write what I have elicited from Arlington's cabinet, namely that the regent refuses to act against Spain unless France and England do the same. I cannot say positively that Count Schomberg, who lately went to France, after having resided in Portugal so long, has the secret of these negotiations, though it is perfectly true that Montagu, late ambassador in France, has returned thither to instruct his young successor the earl of Sonderland and to ascertain distinctly the ends of the Most Christian, so as to take measures in good season for the next campaign.
Vice Admiral Spragh confided to me a few evenings ago that he expected to leave for France in a week or so, and he will be instructed to arrange at that Court the plan of the fleet for next summer.
The duke of Monmouth cannot tear himself away from the Court, although the eight companies are on the march, nor does he conceal from his friends his aversion from the French service, he himself having spoken freely to me on the subject.
Every one was expecting the royal declaration whereby the payments, suspended last January until the 31st inst. would again be delayed, (fn. 9) so the new decree which fixes the term for the 1st of next May surprises no one. But the mart is dissatisfied, although receiving interest at the rate of 6 per cent., and thus, at the next meeting of parliament, there will be a number of interested persons who will urge the money grant for the king, to enable his Majesty to satisfy private individuals.
The replies from Vienna about the negotiation of Innsbruck are awaited impatiently, but the duke of York is more distressed about it than any one, though he does not suspect the king of any secondary intention, notwithstanding the queen's relapse, and trusts his Majesty entirely, believing that the Spaniards are thwarting the business in order to connect it with their own advantages.

London, the 23rd December, 1672.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
339. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The merchants take more and more time to decide about the fund for the consulage, fearing that when once settled the mischief may prove irreparable. So the members of the Levant Company are thinking of giving the consul a fixed salary of 300l. a year, to be derived from some 1600l. which they put into their purse by the licence conceded by them to merchants who are not members of the Company, to trade in currants.
This project, which seems very easy, was suggested by my friend, who has a seat in the Council of Trade, and if adopted will also be most advantageous for the port of Venice, as it will not affect either trade or navigation.
In the course of a long conversation with Arlington he said nothing to me on this subject or of Dodington's opinion about the present. I did not broach either subject but merely said that your Serenity always listened gladly to any projects for facilitating trade and that Dodington could bear witness to this as well as to the excellent understanding which your Excellencies sought to cultivate with this crown and I felt sure his Majesty would reciprocate such sincere intentions. Arlington made the usual reply. As he asked whether there had been any treaty of commerce between the two countries in 1638 I suggest it might be well for the Senate to consider if it is desirable to make a commotion about an ample treaty, thus drawing general attention, or whether it would not be equally advantageous for your Serenity's subjects if fitting regulations were made and decrees favouring their trade, without exposing the treaty to publicity, with a thousand comments and difficulties.
I gather that Dodington has sent fresh projects and notices for remedying various abuses in the trade, and as they are already in the hands of a confidant I can give a detailed account of them to the Senate and of the decisions formed thereon.
Some merchants appealed to me to get your Serenity to enforce the act about salt fish, passed at the instance of Lord Falconbridge, granting them various privileges of which they suspect themselves deprived by the Salters' Company in Venice; but I assured them of the republic's partiality and they say no more to me and I hope that they will not approach Arlington.
Meanwhile, to the detriment of the Venetian mirrormakers and contrary to the wish of the Signory unpolished sheets of glass continue to arrive in London from Venice.
London, the 23rd December, 1672.
[Italian.]
Dec. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
340. Giovanni Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to tne Doge and Senate.
Fresh despatches which have reached the envoy Guasconi from London defer to some extent the hopes conceived of the marriage between the duke of Jorch and the Archduchess Claudia. Among the secret articles a clause was inserted involving a mutual obligation of assistance between the emperor and the British king whenever they might be obliged to unsheathe the sword. It appears that England does not consent to ratify it because of more hidden ends. That government discovers that the second intention of the Court here is by this bond to break up the union established between that kingdom and France, and for that reason it refuses its consent. Precise instructions have been sent to the minister to moderate the expressions and reduce them to simple reciprocity. This fresh development encounters great inflexibility and resistance on the part of the ministers and right up to the present moment the emperor does not seem at all disposed to change the original ideas and scope of the treaty. The envoy reposes his most certain hopes on the authority and offices of the widowed empress. (fn. 10) It seems that the Catholic ambassador here is perfectly content about the duration of the triple alliance and he is not at present giving any encouragement to the obstacles which have arisen between this Court and the British one.
Vienna, the 24th December, 1672.
[Italian.]
Dec. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
341. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A distinct account of the investment of Charleroi having arrived, Arlington spoke to me in a different tone front that used on a former occasion, as reported. Accusing Monterey of being rash and ill advised, he said he was ruining himself and committing Spain too deeply. An important council having been held on this news, they wrote irately to Monterey and charged Godolphin, by an express to use high language in Spain. Two days ago the duke of York said to me that the Spaniards might as safely surprise Dover as they had invested Charleroi in violation of the peace of the Pyrenees, which indeed permitted the crowns to succour allies, but not to besiege the other's fortresses or grant free passage, and the kings of England and Sweden, by the triple alliance and guarantee, were deeply aggrieved in this matter and bound to apply a remedy. I infer that this is the purport of the despatches sent to Spain; but after Fresno had audience the king said in my presence that he knew nothing of the novelty and he did not see that the queen had given such commissions to Monterey. Subsequently the king said to others, more confidentially, that the Spaniards pretended to be averse from war when they sought it most, and if their fleet joined the Dutch he should turn his mind to a profitable diversion in America.
Last evening the duke of York said practically the same to me, adding that d'Estrees would soon be off the coast of Portugal where he would be joined by Martel, and that 10,000 men alone would suffice to refit the English fleet for sea, the greater part of the second rates being completely found. But I notice that the royal family and the whole Court have an unconquerable aversion from the Spanish consul here, Fonseca, who by exaggerating on the mart the injurious consequences of a war with the Catholic, seeks to rouse turbulent spirits to rebel against the royal decisions.
Although things have gone so far it is hoped or at least desired that they may not proceed to an open rupture in haste, but I fancy that they are convinced here that the Most Christian, to secure his conquests, will prefer a settlement to recourse to arms, though as the Dutch and their allies do not seem similarly disposed, the hopes of quiet are small.
In the mean time, although there are many persons at the Hague who incline to peace, suspecting that the Spaniards intend to make war at the cost of others and retain the profit for themselves, yet the Swedish mediators were ill received. Spaar, indeed, went to Orange's camp, hoping for a better reception there, but the States can settle nothing without their friends, to whom they are pledged both by good faith and money.

I may mention here a fine device for supplying the emperor with 45,000 rix dollars a month, which in its present need the Dutch republic could only give by written bonds. So they arranged with the emperor that he should deduct 2 per cent. in order to have the whole five months' pay in ready money, the fund being supplied by a number of individuals at Amsterdam, not only for the 2 per cent. but for the privilege of exemption from payment of any tax, ordinary or extraordinary, during the whole time that they remain creditors, so that the interest will amount to much more than 8 or 10 per cent., with the certainty of recovering the capital in the end, as the lenders are for the most part members of the government.
The duke of Monmouth has departed in haste for his regiment, with recruits, that he may find himself at its head for the present emergencies, there being now talk of fresh levies in England.
The Spaniards have stopped the letters from Flanders, but it is rumoured from France that Orange has been routed and obliged to retire from Charleroi, and that the French forces are attacking some Spanish fortress, which, if true, will be already known to your Excellencies.
London, the 30th December, 1672.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
342. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
No decision has yet been taken about the consulage (fn. 11) and although Hayles' agent tells me he has written to him to know whether he is to continue his efforts in the midst of so many difficulties I am convinced he will desist from his suit, especially as there is every appearance that the consulage will be increased.
I cannot give any further information this week and as Dodington's statement has not yet been presented to the Council of Trade I cannot ascertain what his suggestions may be, but suppose that they relate to the currants at Zante.
A number of merchants at Venice have written to their correspondents here about the continuance of the privilege touching salt fish. Some of these agents, without conferring with me or their colleagues, went to Lord Arlington to ask him to urge me to represent their petitions to the Senate, so he will certainly speak about it when we meet, and I shall answer as arranged.
While awaiting instructions I have been indefatigable over the schemes I suggested. I have thoroughly gone into the matter of mirrors and drinking glasses, and give your Excellencies the result. According to ancient regulations looking glasses pay duty according to size, though the scale is very ill proportioned. As prices have fallen to one fourth while the duties remain the same, some 20 per cent. is paid instead of only 5 per cent. To put this right it would be necessary not only to make better arrangements about measurements, but to reduce the duty so that it does not exceed 5 per cent. or a trifle more, which is paid by practically all merchandise in London.
Reckoning drinking glasses at 18 shillings the dozen, they pay here precisely the same amount of duty as their prime cost at Venice, and are sold at a very small profit. I note that at present only 20 cases come to London in a year, instead of 300 as heretofore. But if we succeed in reviving this trade it would flourish more than ever, as they would cost less than those made in France and Holland, and they are much handsomer; the consumption amounting to 1000 cases per annum. But I will do nothing without instructions.
London, the 30th December, 1672.
[Italian.]
Dec. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
343. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 9th inst. Approval of his office with Lord Falcombridge. He is to try and disabuse him of the notion that he has got hold of, that it is an ancient custom to grant the release of banished men at the departure of any ambassador, since as a matter of fact there are several laws which prohibit favours of this description. In any case such matters are subject to much strictness in the voting which it is difficult to get over.
Ayes, 118. Noes, 2. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Dec. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
344. Giovanni Giacomo Corniani, Venetian Secretary at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses news from Leghorn.
Florence, the 31st December, 1672.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.345. The English ship Arma of Bristol comes from there and has touched at Tanger, Malaga and Alicante. It reports that some Dutch privateering ships had withdrawn to Cadiz in respect of the English convoy that was to pass. The ship English frigate comes from Smyrna for England with the whole of its cargo. It reports that the day before yesterday it was chased the whole day by a corsair, they do not know of what nationality it was. The English ship St. Joseph comes from Caglieri in company with a Ragusan ship laden with sulphur.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Maria Eleanora, second daughter of Charles III of Lorraine, duke of Elboeuf. She was not quite 15 years of age at this date; Charles XI of Sweden was seventeen.
2 Alexandre Hyppolite Baltazar, prince de Bournonville, and Jean Gaspar Ferdinand, comte de Marsin or Marchin.
3 He is said to have found Nell Gwyn in the king's private apartments when he went there to discuss state affairs. In attempting some gallantries with her he received a sound box on the ears. Colbert to the king on 23 Jan., 1673, apud Forneron: Louise de Keroualle, pp. 82–3.
4 Eight companies of the Royal English regiment (Monmouth's) were named to be reformed in October. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1672–3, p. 9.
5 The treasurer's staff was given to Clifford on 28 Nov., o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1672–3, p. 629; London Gazette, 28 Nov. to 2 Dec, 1672.
6 The London Gazette, of 2–6 Jan., 1672–3, reports a very kind letter from Gayland to Lord Middleton, the governor. A treaty renewing that of 1666 was ratified by the Council on 4 June, 1673. Routh: Tangier, p. 97.
7 The envoy Marcus Gïoe presented a memorial dated 8 Sept. in which, after giving a list of ships seized, he says “il est impossible d'obtenir aucune justice de l'Admirauté d'Ecosse, puisque, selon la déposition des advocats, les juges et les vice admiraux sont interessez avec les armateurs” and he goes on to name the Lord Chancellor, Lord Lion, Sir William Brome, Sir Robert Barclay and others. In a letter to the duke of Richmond at Copenhagen, of 13 December, the Secretary Coventry says that the king is so offended at this insolence that he would not have any answer given, and the duke is instructed to signify to the Court that his Majesty could not without great resentment see his chief judge and other officers called chicaneurs and cheats without alleging any one particular act of bribery or injustice. S.P. Denmark, Vol. xix.
8 Dodington's words are: “I have this week received … from this state … a present of a gold chain and a medal which weigh 15 oz. and by my compass may be worth 45l. sterling. I could wish the resident of the state there might be corresponded with in the same kind if it might be salvo regis honore. I will hope however they have herein observed the style of the republic, and so long it matters not much.” Dodington to Arlington, 18 Nov., 1672. S.P. Venice, Vol. lii, f. 102.
9 By ordor in Council on 11 Dec. o.s. London Gazette, 9–12 Dec, 1672.
10 Eleanor, third wife of the Emperor Ferdinand III.
11 The decision was taken very soon after. By order in Council of 23 December, o.s., it was resolved that the consul at Venice, for the future, should have his consulage on goods, instead of on ships, the ships masters to demand 20d. a ton from the consignees in the same way as they were accustomed to demand the primage payable to the master. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1672–3, p. 303.


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