Venice
March 1673

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1947

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18-33

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'Venice: March 1673', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 38: 1673-1675 (1947), pp. 18-33. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90356 Date accessed: 25 July 2014.


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March 1673

March 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
30. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The hopes of this king to humble the Dutch are growing stronger, always provided that the British king is well provided by the parliament and that the war against the States is declared by them to be necessary and fruitful. He hopes moreover that with that king well supplied with cash the alliance with him will be less costly and inconvenient.
Meanwhile Spragh continues his stay at this Court though with the definite intention to leave for London within two days. Yesterday at a meeting of the Council, attended by the ambassador and by this British envoy, they discussed various points concerning the fleet, to wit plans for fighting the enemy with the fleet at a point which they expect, or by a landing upon one of their islands. What was decided at these discussions remains a secret. They hope that the Dutch will not be coming out with their ships, indeed some assert that they are not devoting the least attention to the equipment of their vessels, upon which such momentous consequences depend. It is perfectly true that the knowledge that the Dutch are capable of equipping their naval forces in a few days and of rendering them fit to fight as may be required and as circumstances may direct, will always cause the hostile powers to hesitate about attacking them. But there are some who contend that the large numbers of sailors at present distributed among the numerous privateers will present a serious obstacle. to any enterprise of theirs.
Paris, the 1st March, 1673.
[Italian.]
March 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
31. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The agitators, confounded but not depressed by the success of the royal proceedings, have taken heart in their misfortunes and rebelling in the conventicles, determined to dispute the king's authority, saying that his Majesty had usurped it to suspend the laws of parliament. Having in part agreed to the project mentioned in my last to petition the king to pass into an act the declaration of liberty of conscience, they had the audacity to make a motion which was carried by more than half the votes in the House of Commons, that the king cannot infringe the laws but merely grant exemption from their penalties, and they subsequently resolved to petition his Majesty not to include the Catholics in the universal act of liberty of conscience, offering to let them have a special one for themselves.
This step in advance, which forthwith destroys the king's authority by cancelling the declaration, and offending his Majesty through the exclusion of the Catholics which the House is willing to grant to the other nonconformists, compelled the king to hold a cabinet council on Saturday evening. There some of the ministers urged his Majesty to give way in order to obtain ready money; but four of those most in repute, and who have already impressed him in favour of vigorous measures, said that very far from recommending his Majesty to adopt extreme measures and dissolve the present parliament at the risk of assembling another perhaps worse, they advised him to try all gentle means before resorting to threats or violence with the Lower House, but that on no account should he yield a single point of his authority or he would destroy it entirely.
The king complies with the advice of these councillors, protesting that he will maintain his declaration. On the other hand he does not neglect such hints as may quiet the agitators. He knows quite well that they are not scandalised by the liberty given to the Catholics, but that they are plotting against the crown. In the mean time the bishops, fearing that the Protestants might be outnumbered by the admission of a multitude of sectaries into England, and foreseeing that the Catholics alone, as most akin to their belief, may support their party, do not consent to the Papists being excluded from the act. Some of them say that the king's zeal being equally tender towards the consciences of all his subjects, he could not, by an odious distinction, except the Catholics. Nevertheless they look to the king alone for their advantage as he has had proof of their fidelity and knows them for quiet and obedient subjects. Such considerations of state may move his Majesty, not zeal for the religion, as some give out.
In the mean time the question of the money is stranded and as yet the king will not make sacrifices to obtain it. I am of opinion like many others, that he will in the end prove victorious and receive satisfaction in the matter of supply as his authority is acknowledged.
London, the 3rd March, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
32. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The malcontent parliamentarians seek pretexts to delay the appointments for the money grants but so far no one has known what to say about the present war upon which the king has now embarked, all the negotiations for peace with the Dutch having evaporated, as they are too attached to the allies and dependent upon their imaginings.
Your Excellencies will have heard from Paris what has been negotiated and concluded by Sir [Edward] Spragh, who is expected here any day, content with having carried his point, to wit that two thirds of the fleet shall be English and one third French, so that the main force may remain on this side with all that this involves in honour and security, as your Serenity will readily understand. Great dissatisfaction is felt because Prince Rupert is not even to command this fleet. The French opposed it because they are aware of his antipathy to their nation. But nothing is yet known for certain and I cannot state definitely that Spragh himself is to have the chief command.
In the mean time the fleet is being fitted out, although but little money circulates. The alliance ratified with France should bring some good supplies. This may become known soon, as the duke of Monmouth returned to-day from Paris, having been in the secret of the arrangement.
Don Bernardo de Salines, who went to Paris with commissions from the governor of Flanders, arrived in London two evenings ago and presented himself to the princes here with secret instructions. It is whispered that these relate solely to the private interests of Monterey, who repents of having gone so far in his declarations with the Dutch.
The Hollanders will have derived scant advantage from the spies whom they sent to London. (fn. 1) The king said that the chief of them would be hanged, though it has not been possible to ascertain with whom they proposed to deal for the purpose of troubling and stirring this country to revolt.
The queen has now left her bed and her chamber; but she does not enjoy good health and the physicians do not prognosticate length of days for her; so the agitation caused by the incidents I reported continue. But the duke of York is relaxing his efforts and allows Lord Peterborough to wait for Guasconi's replies before he sets out for Germany.
London, the 3rd March, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
33. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
The Senate acknowledge his letters of the 10th ult. and commend his diligence. They approve of the way in which he spoke to Dodinghton and of the heed which he pays to the accounts which that minister may give at the Court. They are sure that, without further incitement they will receive the fullest information from him. They confirm previous instructions about the consulage.
Ayes, 142. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
March 8.
Senato.
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian,
Archives.
34. Tomaso Rudio, Venetian Resident in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of France declares that his king will not depart in any way from the deliberation acted upon, since he has not further contravened the articles of the peace. He says that no human law permits subjects (considered to be such from the goods which they enjoy in the conquests of France) to take arms for any cause whatsoever against their own sovereign. The English ambassador speaks in the same way, pointing to the great armaments which are appearing by land and by sea in the coming spring. I am therefore of opinion that if the Spaniards will not give satisfaction for the ship at the instance of the French, the latter will not listen to the pretensions of the same, and their mutual quarrels will be inflamed. I have learned moreover, on good authority, of the very great confidence entertained by this crown, seeing that it is not the first to break, that it will see the observance of the guarantee of the British and Swedish kings against the first disturber of the peace. Further a great minister with scant prudence, let slip the words in expressing astonishment over the last proposals, that boasting costs little, since here they will never be the first to attack because of the consideration indicated above. Upon what grounds they base so ready a confidence in England I am unable to discover unless it be the feeble example of the past and present desires of the government here which believes that things must happen by divine influence alone, which will thus summarily dispose of human events for their own preservation, defence and honour.
Madrid, the 8th March, 1672. [M.V.] (sic).
[Italian.]
March 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
35. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The members of the Lower House, not content with having voted against the king's authority, declaring him incapable of changing the laws, have petitioned his Majesty to reply to their decree, asking him humbly not to contaminate the acts of parliament. For the rest they offer a free indulgence to all Christians including, with some exceptions, the Catholics. After holding repeated consultations the king adhered to his resolve not to proceed to extremities. He decided to send a message to the Commons giving them notice that he had conceded liberty of conscience because he believed it to be necessary for the welfare of the country and the quiet of his subjects, availing himself of the authority annexed to the crown; but if the Lower House had anything to propose he would willingly listen to it when laid before him with the due formalities, after being fashioned and digested by the Lords. The Commons did not choose to listen to these expressions and proceeded to make a fresh demand of the king, for the final reply, causing no little concern to all loyal subjects who foresee evil results from these extravagant beginnings.
The last consultation on this question was held yesterday evening and the debate waxed warmer than ever about breaking with the parliament. But the king is not yet persuaded to raise his arm. Although they say openly in the House that they are afraid of being all made Catholics and therefore watch the king's steps narrowly, it was decided at the consultation that they were openly plotting against the crown under the cloak of zeal; that they wished to force his Majesty to withdraw the declaration issued, to tie his hands and make him confess that the had meddled with the laws and religion without having the power or any foundation whereas if they had really been afraid of the Catholics they would not have offered to repeal the bloody laws against priests and the penalties upon the goods of the laity or to grant freedom of worship in their own houses. It was definitely suggested to the king that he should dissolve parliament, the only punishment preserved for his Majesty, in order to show his resentment against the members of the Lower House by depriving them of their seats and privileges. But the king is afraid that in the country some of his dependants may fail to be re-elected, the people suspecting them of too great attachment to the Court, so that his position would only be worsened. After all the present parliament is the one which replaced him on the throne and has given him more millions than any of his Majesty's predecessors have ever seen collected.
London, the 10th March, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
36. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although they talk bravely of war and that commissions are distributed in every direction, there is very little money in circulation. I do not venture to specify any of the means which have been discussed to which the king may have recourse in the last resort for obtaining money as I do not yet know whether his Majesty would put up with violent measures, still less whether he has a leaning that way. The rumour is not without some foundation, though I merely express my belief that the king will make a final attempt with the two Houses before he proceeds to the dissolution of parliament and to desperate shifts.
The truth is there is no lack of money for the levies and indeed a new regiment of cavalry is mentioned, but the Spaniards here, who irritate the Court by meddling officiously with English affairs, assert that the king is mustering troops to suppress by force the liberty of parliament.
Spragh is expected from France at any moment; but it is not yet stated who will command the fleet though all agree on this one fact alone that for the present year the duke of York will remain in London. A report circulated that he was to be made general in England, but it is not probable that the king would choose to dispose of such a post unless compelled or that he would invest his brother with such authority especially at this conjuncture.
In the mean time Lord Peterborough does not move although he says every day that he has his foot in the stirrup. Replies from Sir [Bernard] Guasconi are awaited before he commits himself to the embassy. The duke is extremely anxious for the conclusion of the affair but the king does not take the least interest in it and many of the ministers oppose it, every one watching to see the outcome of the queen's frequent relapses.
I have received the ducali of the 4th February.
London, the 10th March, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
37. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Regret the news of the queen's serious illness. He is to express the Senate's concern and their desire for her Majesty's recovery and long life. They note his attention to the question of the duty on glass and to trade and the prudent reserve he has shown, which he is to continue. The instructions upon this point which have been given in previous despatches will serve as a guide to direct him in the future. He is to confine himself to generalities always, and not to commit the state in any way.
Ayes, 118. Noes, 6. Neutral, 27.
[Italian.]
March 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
38. To the Ambassador in Germany.
The Senate takes note of what he says about the commissions and powers which have reached Guasconi concerning the marriage of the duke of York. They consider it useful to make him acquainted with what the Secretary Alberti writes from London about the condition of the queen there, with other particulars which he will see from the copy. It will all serve for his enlightenment.
Ayes, 118. Noes, 3. Neutral, 7.
[Italian.]
March 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
39. Zuane Moresini, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Death of the empress. (fn. 2) With this there falls to the ground the universal concourse (l'universale concorso) over the person of the Archduchess Claudia of Inspruch who, until quite recently has been considered the destined bride of the duke, brother to the British king. As is well known, the Empress Eleanor (fn. 3) contemplated the possibility of this happening with feelings of exceptional bitterness, owing to the lack of cordiality in the relations between her Majesty and the archduchess in question, because of various circumstances and happenings in years gone by. It was believed nevertheless that the empress, with the prudence which is proper to her, would have accommodated herself to necessity and accepted, with profound dissimulation, the general acclamations, seeking to adapt herself to circumstances and to unexpected accidents. Meanwhile all the negotiations whch have been tabled with the English envoy about this marriage have been dropped and at the same time the move of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order (fn. 4) towards Possonia has been postponed.
Vienna, the 11th March, 1673.
[Italian.]
March 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
40. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king and his councillors showed their weakness in their reply to the Lower House. After his Majesty's protest that he would insist, as made in his first speech, they did not expect that he would submit to have his privileges touched or that he would allow the liberty of conscience already granted by him, to be examined or altered, after offering, as reported, to listen to whatever the two Houses had to urge against it. Encouraged by this the members of the House of Commons proceeded to declare to the king that the power of suspending the penal statutes which his Majesty had arrogated to himself does not pertain to the crown nor was it ever exercised by his predecessors. So the king, having assembled the Upper House, determined to acquaint the peers with what had taken place with the Commons before he pledged himself to further replies.
The peers were gratified by this mark of confidence and having examined the king's reply to the Commons, pronounced it good and gracious. But as the proceedings and decisions of this parliament are never stable or uniform but liable to strange, unexpected and perpetual changes, the House of Lords on the morrow passed a bill sent up to them by the Commons for the exclusion of all Catholics from civil and military employments. (fn. 5) This measure if not a direct attack on the king, as it does not at all affect his authority, or affect the declaration, yet shows the animosity against the Catholics who are thus persecuted at the moment when the king sought to relieve them. It was said that Catholics might be allowed in the armed forces, as many of them were persons of experience, but it was pointed out in reply that it was there precisely that they would be dangerous and that not even privates should be admitted, much less officers and that all should be compelled to take the oath and the communion. At this Buckingham, a person of little religion but of great wit, remarked with a smile that all the sailors, when taken by the press gangs, would declare themselves Catholics to obtain their release and that a preaching minister with a basket of sacramental bread ought to follow the drummer to offer it to the recruits.
Nevertheless this affair does not end with a joke for they have made a bill to banish all the priests, to dismiss from the queen's service those employed by her in her chapel and to deprive the Catholic laity of two thirds of their estates. This causes a panic not only among them but also among all good Protestants, who anticipate some tragical conclusion. The truth is that even if they renewed all the general laws against the Catholics the latter hope that the king in his goodness will not allow them to be carried out. But the point is that if parliament continues in its career of licence, running with the reins on its neck, very strange freaks (molti strani scherzi) may be seen both against the king's authority and to the destruction of his most confidential ministers.
His Majesty's friends have no courage to resist the current. Some say that they will not have the courage if they lose more time and the best informed add that the king has lost heart and that the duke of York can no longer make him stick to the decision to strike a blow. I can only relate what is passing and I will not venture to predict the future as here they are neither consistent nor constant in their resolves, the government being exposed to the caprices of parliament. That body being dependent on the people alone for its guidance flies at everything and makes universal claims (quale non ritenendo che del popolare nelle sue direttioni, tutto tenta e tutto pretende).
The king would like to dissolve them but in the first place he would then get no money, while the members, to revenge themselves, would declare throughout the kingdom that his Majesty had dismissed them because they would not consent to be all made Catholics by force. Such a report might create some disturbance and another mischievous result is inevitable for the new parliament would insist with more violence than ever on limiting the king's authority and the liberty of the Catholics. These last must needs suffer, as the agitators have no other pretext with which to disturb the royal repose.
London, the 17th March, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
41. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A grave consultation has been held this week concerning the affairs of the war which suffer owing to the dissentions in parliament. Although four of the largest ships, completely equipped, have dropped down from Chatham to Sirnes (fn. 6) and everything is being prepared to carry into effect the arrangement made in Paris by Spragh who is momentarily expected in London, there is as yet no fund of money. The French ambassador is admitted into their confidence with great reserve. He told me himself that they were not yet inclined to tell the Most Christian king anything.
On the other hand the Spanish ambassador pretends to know too much. He does not hesitate, by freedom of speech, to render himself intimate with the malcontents. As he accredited the false report of the capture of Munster (fn. 7) the king said publicly that he and Monterey invented it in order to supply fuel for the House of Commons which is disposed to make a flame with anything and particularly with the reverses of the allied forces.
Prince Rupert will command the fleet and the duke of York will remain in London being suspected of too great partiality and attachment to the Catholics. The consequences are so much the worse for him for as he is the next heir to the crown the people will be the more suspicious of his resolves.
The queen has again had a return of her ailments, but recovered easily. In the mean time Colonel Guasconi's news from Vienna is awaited with impatience.
The ducali of the 2nd February acquaint me with the result of the negotiations set on foot here by the consul, reported by me months ago. His claim rests on the basis of the primage. I did not know that the matter had been settled (fn. 8) ; indeed my friend was surprised at this. We had both discovered that George Ravenscroft, brother of the Ravenscroft at Venice, who is Hayles' partner, carried the point by private and secret means, which he deliberately concealed from us here, from fear of being thwarted. I have nothing to add to the particulars I have given and I hold myself in readiness to obey any commissions given me by the Senate.
London, the 17th March, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
42. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
The Senate commend your assurance to Lord Arlington that the decree about salt fish in favour of the nation will be strictly observed and you did well to suggest that in response some reduction might be made in the duty there on glass and mirrors, for the benefit of trade, while keeping clear from committing the state in any way. Upon this matter we need do no more than refer to what has been written in previous letters.
Some ships with salt fish have arrived here these last days and the consul of the English nation is urging the admission of the order he has displayed on the subject of the consulage. But as we are waiting for the verification from your side we are withholding any decision until the answer comes. In the mean time you will be able to enlighten yourself by the enclosed papers from the said consul, using them with your customary dexterity.
Ayes, 166. Noes, 1. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
March 20. Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
43. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
While I was writing my despatch last Friday the king was in council with the duke of York, Prince Rupert, the duke of Buckingham, Lauderdale the lord treasurer, the chancellor and Arlington, the secretary of state, debating for six hours on end about the steps to be taken in connection with the parliament. York, Buckingham and the treasurer boldly recommended the king to dissolve before it could offend the royal dignity further. The chancellor cautiously advocated moderation and phlegm, saying that there would always be time to apply the extreme remedy after milder ones had failed. But Prince Rupert, Lauderdale and Arlington set forth the absolute need of ready money for the war, to recover the national prestige. They said that a voluntary and speedy concession by his Majesty to the wishes of parliament before he was further coerced would not prejudice his honour and that he might well break the pledge he had given to maintain the declaration of liberty of conscience when paid at the good price of millions of pounds sterling. To this the king added that the Lower House was preparing a bill far more stringent than the others, laying claim to pass an act of parliament in direct opposition to the royal authority, (fn. 9) though the leaders of the opposition promised to let it drop if the declaration of liberty of conscience were withdrawn and the Catholics restricted within the bounds prescribed to them. His Majesty therefore concluded that it was better for him to yield at once without any evil consequences rather than risk a rupture, with the certainty of getting no money and not having any for the current needs.
Accordingly the peers received notice to attend in their robes and the Commons were told to hold themselves in readiness and on Saturday morning the king entered the Upper House with the royal insignia. He announced that having received the petitions of the two Houses he agreed not only to enforce what they demanded against the Catholics, but utterly to annul the liberty of conscience as if it had never been granted, not choosing to maintain that he had the power to make this concession solely of his own motion. He added that he believed the Catholics recruited for the levies which are to serve in France would not raise any scruples about their engagements.
The two Houses, satisfied with this reply, went in a body in the afternoon to thank his Majesty for it and in the evening bonfires were lighted all over the city for the reconciliation between the king and the parliament. But those of most intelligence do not believe it to be quite settled, because it has been discovered that the king aims at raising money and dissolving parliament and then intends to replace the Catholics in their former state. It is whispered that parliament intends to provide for the execution of the laws and to take them out of the hands of the king; which would cause a fresh collision. But the proclamation to be published against the Catholics may possibly remove this fresh scruple. The king relies greatly upon the promises of the leaders of the House of Commons and hopes to obtain money as well for the war as for the payment of debt.
There is talk, as a most inviolable secret, that the king has decided not to reassemble parliament save in case of extreme inevitable necessity. All possible efforts will be made to provide against this so that the crown may not again be placed at the mercy of a desperate crew.
In the mean time the French ambassador says that he greatly aided the reconciliation, hoping thus to curry favour with the people here. He declares that he encouraged the king, in the name of his Most Christian Majesty, to satisfy the parliament. But the populace here, prone to take amiss whatever comes from France, vows that the Most Christian's object is solely to keep his Britannic Majesty linked with himself (fn. 10) and does not err in wishing that he may obtain funds for the war and that for the rest France is indifferent whether he worsts the parliament or not.
London, the 20th March, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 24.
Senato.
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
44. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
From what I wrote of the king's disputes with parliament your Excellencies will have understood to what extent his Majesty, seized with panic fear, has rendered himself dependent upon the will of the Commons and how much he relies on the promises of their leaders. The king and the privy councillors who share his opinion say that it answered to follow the two Houses in their attack on the Catholics for the sake of obtaining the money grant. They believe that the only pitfall whereby to entrap the Lords and Commons is to flatter them in respect of their authority and they conclude that it is sound policy for the king to join the most numerous religious party in England, without further scruple.
The duke of York and his followers dissent from this policy, saying that the most numerous are the most worthless; and seeing that the money grant has not advanced a single stage and that some daring threats have been uttered about compelling the king to punish those who counselled him to grant the indulgence, they declare themselves against the parliament. The result is not yet known.
The truth is that the people having expressed their disapproval of many of York's declarations in favour of the Catholics, the duke is apprehensive of some excess (trapasso) and complains, though only with his most intimate friends, of the king's ruining himself by such weakness. The king, on the other hand, blames his brother's lack of policy and maintains that it is a righteous act to avert, through the persecution of the Catholics, the yet greater disaster of a bloody war. God grant that his Majesty may prove a true prophet and that all the mischief may end here. Many persons suspect that the parliamentarians before granting money will insist upon further concessions as well; but as the proclamation against the Catholics, issued this afternoon, is very severe (fn. 11) , it may possible remove the pretexts for fresh demands. I will send a translation by the next post.
London, the 24th March, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
45. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Sir [Edward] Spragh having returned from Paris, presented himself to the king who approved of his negotiation which concedes every consideration and advantage to the English navy. There is no longer any opposition to the appointment of Prince Rupert to the command and the subordinate officers are being named daily; but the ships cannot be ready so soon, as the present parliamentary crisis has hindered those affairs.
A report is circulating since the news from Paris of the adjustment between the Elector of Brandenburg (fn. 12) and the Most Christian to the effect that the Dutch are sending Van Beuninghen to Madrid to protest to the queen there that they will make peace unless she declares war against France. This gives rise to the belief here that some fresh treaty may spring up; but nothing definite is known as yet and the preparations for war continue.
Lord Peterborough has at last departed for Vienna but he is to await Guasconi's replies in Paris, to further other negotiations at that Court in any event.
Mr. Doddington, late resident at Venice accompanies Peterborough as secretary, having obtained the post through the good offices of his brother in law, Temple, with the hope that a fresh employment may get back for him both merit and reputation. (fn. 13) He has said nothing more to me either about trade or his ministry, but, as instructed by the ducali of the 23rd and 25th February I will do my utmost to discover what relations he may have brought. It is not the custom here for ministers to leave any on their return from foreign Courts.
I have been unable to meet Lord Arlington to speak to him about the consulage but will intimate what your Serenity enjoins. Having a number of projects about trade to lay before your Excellencies I can only await instructions, adding all the information that I may be able to collect.
London, the 24th March, 1673.
[Italian.]
March 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
46. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The resolutions of England are considered here as very prejudicial in respect of the obligation under which that king is placed by the present war. They feel doubtful whether the obstinacy of the Chambers may not be experienced by him also in the granting of money and there is some fear that the insolence of the Protestants may make itself felt in barbarous fashion against the Catholics. From what is said crucifixes and sacred images have been burned by some Presbyterians in bonfires. We see Lord Sunderland removed from this Court by an unexpected resolution, who was serving as ambassador in the name of the king of Great Britain. Various opinions have been formed about his sudden request of the king to grant him his congé. This when not many days ago he caused his wife to join him and announced himself as ready to follow the king to the army in the approaching campaign. But every one concludes that his private affairs call him away from his post and that gaming and the expense compel him to return to his native land with all speed.
Paris, the 29th March, 1673.
[Italian.]
March 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
47. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Here they are not at all sorry to see the breaking off of the marriage of the duke of Jorch with the Archduchess Claudia. Yesterday an individual was sent off with great urgency and secrecy towards the duke of Neoburgh. It is believed that this is to urge him not to let slip the opportunity for proposing his daughter (fn. 14) in marriage for the said duke.
Paris, the 29th March, 1673.
[Italian.]
March 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
48. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Scarcely had the king issued the proclamation against the Catholics ere the Lower House, alleging the well grounded suspicions which the people might entertain of being compelled to reconvert themselves to the Roman religion, sent up a bill to the Lords to be passed into an act of parliament. It proposed not only the renewal of all the old laws with various additions, but also that the oath should be administered to the households of the queen and the duke of York, binding the king by various clauses to enforce the act. This severity did not meet with the approval of the Upper House which modified a certain clause affecting the queen and the duke as well as some Catholic personages mentioned by name (fn. 15) . But if the king allows his hands to be tied by an act of parliament he will no longer have the means of benefiting his good servants the Catholics either by rewarding them with places or exempting them from penalties.
In the mean time Lord Howard, who was made earl marshal, (fn. 16) thinks of resigning the staff rather than appear at the communion at Easter and the lord treasurer told me in confidence that he intended to retire into the country, being convicted of too much Catholicism. Everybody whispers that the duke of York has not yet determined to take the communion at Easter having avoided it the last three times.
These personages having taken the leap can no longer in honour retract. Many others congratulate themselves on having shown less zeal and not given any inkling of their intentions. But all blame the king for having, after pondering and arranging the matter during practically two years with such good method, deserted himself from fear, throwing himself into the hands of his enemies from lack of strength of mind, thus verifying what I have always hinted that policy not zeal led the king to favour the Catholic religion.
The truth is that the question of money was to have been settled to-day. It has lain dormant for a week and is now postponed until Tuesday. The very same leading deputies who promised the king to suppress the act against the Catholics now cajole him saying that all his subjects honour his Majesty but they bear a grudge against those others who are too zealous and indiscreet. But the outcome is that the king's service and his prestige are perishing; the government is falling to pieces and the monarchy to ruin through the intrusion of a quantity of Presbyterians and Independents and many of the nobility, idle and disillusioned in the Lower House who curse the government and sigh for a republic, unmindful of the past tyranny, and always fickle by their nature, are now in quest of innovation and confusion.
London, the last of March, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosure.49. Proclamation of 13 March, ordering priests and Jesuits to leave the kingdom (fn. 17) .
[English.]
March 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
50. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Holland derives infinite benefit from the present difficulties of the parliament. Preoccupied by the importance of religion or by scruples about it, it does not yet promote the money grant for which the king is waiting for the equipment of the fleet; the final discussion having been postponed until Monday when the king anticipates a favourable result. After this, on Thursday, that in Passion week by the old style, it is generally said that he will adjourn parliament.
Although no sailors are mustered as yet and but few vessels will have dropped down to Scirnes, nevertheless the fleet is in a very forward state and it is hoped here that in spite of the numerous delays, the Dutch will not be the first to put to sea. Here there is no talk of peace and it is believed that the king, when supplied with money and relieved from his present embarrassments, will be able to negotiate it with greater repute, freed from the suspicion of being compelled by his own necessities.
The news of the death of the empress having arrived by express from Colonel Guasconi (fn. 18) the hopes of obtaining the archduchess of Innsbruck for the duke of York are utterly renounced. Although it seems that Guasconi has some project on foot about the sister of the empress I am told by others that instructions have been already forwarded to the Ambassador Peterborough to negotiate in France. In the mean time a Court mourning is in preparation. It is expected to be very deep, for the whole year and to begin in Easter week.
An envoy from Muscovy who arrived here lately continues his sojourn at the king's cost. His business is to announce that the Grand Duke is waging war on the Turk and to invite the Christian powers to join him (fn. 19) . The English merchants here would fain regain the privileges at the port of Archangel of which they were deprived by order of the Grand Duke after the beheading of King Charles I. These have never been given back although the merchants are restored to favour by the reigning king. But the Muscovite minister pretends that he has no further commission, though he is ready to listen, for the sake of remaining on his travels at the cost of this country.
London, the 31st March, 1673.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Arton and Zas. See note at page 11 above.
2 Margarita Teresa, daughter of Philip IV of Spain. According to Gascoigne she died early in the morning, on the 12th. Gascoigne to Arlington, 12 March, 1672–3. S.P. Germany, Empire, Vol. XIII. If so this dispatch is wrongly dated.
3 Third wife of the late emperor Ferdinand III, daughter of Charles II, duke of Mantua.
4 Caspar von Ampringen.
5 This bill (the Test Act) was passed in the Lords on 20 March, o.s. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. XII, page 561.
6 The London, Katherine, Henry and Henrietta. Cal. S.P.Dom., 1673, page 73.
7 Williamson in his Journal records on 27 Feb., o.s., that the Spanish ambassador received word from Flanders by express of the success of the Brandenburgers against the bishop of Minister, and on 3 March the contradiction. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1672–3, page 631; Ibid, 1673, page 10.
8 The decision of the Council on 23 December, 1672, that for the future the consul at Venice should have his consulage on goods, instead of on ships. See note on page 329 in the preceding volume of this Calendar.
9 Apparently an allusion to the beginnings of the Test Act. On 28 Feb., o.s., it was proposed to bring in a bill to incapacitate all those who refused the oaths of allegiance and supremacy and taking the communion according to the rites of the Church of England from holding any employment under the crown. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, page 260.
10 Writing on 1 April Colbert reports that the duke of York told him “que ce n'était point le sujet de religion qui faisait agir le peuple; que c'était toujours ce mémo ésprit de cabelle ennemi et enragé contre l'alliance de Votre Majeste, par l'appui de laquelle on juge bien que le roi d'Angleterre rétablira son autorité … si le parlement ne se prevaut de l'occasion presente pour forcer le gouvernement de so separer de la France ou contraindre le roi de faire la paix avec les Hollondais.” P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
11 For all priests and Jesuits to leave the kingdom and for the enforcement of the laws against recusants. It is dated 13 March, o.s.
12 Brandenburg made advances to Turenne in February, and the preliminaries of a treaty between him and France were signed at St. Germain on 10 April. The definitive treaty (of Vossem) was not signed until 6 June. Klopp: Fall des Hauses Stuart, Vol. I, pp. 334–5; Dumont: Corps Diplomatique, Vol. VII, part i, page 234.
13 There is a letter of 13, March, o.s., of Dodington to Williamson from Dover, where he had gone to take ship with Peterborough. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1673, page 42.
14 Eleanora Magdalen, eldest daughter of Philip William, duke of Neuburg.
15 It was not a new bill, but the Test Bill, which the Lords amended.
16 Henry Howard, second son of Henry Frederick Howard, earl of Arundel and Norfolk, created earl of Norwich and earl marshal in the preceding year.
17 Cal. S.P. Dom., 1673, page 43. Steele: Tudor and Stuart Proclamations, Vol. I, page 433, No. 3579.
18 In his dispatch of 12 March, the day of her death. S.P. Germany, Empire,Vol. XIII.
19 Andrei Vinius. He was sent also to France and Spain with the same object. Bain: The First Romanovs, page 180.