Venice
June 1673

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1947

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52-69

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'Venice: June 1673', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 38: 1673-1675 (1947), pp. 52-69. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90359 Date accessed: 18 September 2014.


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June 1673

June 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
82. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king saw the fleet and went on board with the whole Court, but landed immediately and returned to London, the ministers following him. He left Prince Rupert in the act of setting sail, which followed, the fleet proceeding on its expedition. His Highness has not all the men of war with him, but they will soon be ready with other merchantmen, hired by the king, which are being fitted out in haste. The Comte d'Estrées is also expecting the rest of his squadron, so it is supposed that the prince will make a cruise alone, the grand attack being postponed until after the junction of all the forces of the two crowns.
In the mean time the duke of Buckingham, who has been chosen to command the military, went a few days ago to York to muster officers and soldiers. Those already levied are on their way down the river to be ready for the landing.
The plenipotentiaries for the peace have so far been wind bound in the Thames. The Spaniard believes that the negotiations begin to-day indeed he expressed surprise to me that the republic did not send ambassadors to take part in the business, obtaining the confidence of the crowns and interesting herself in their affairs.
The duke of York is unable to obtain command of the landing he desired. All his friends dissuade him from it, as they do not wish him to run the risk. He has a very strong party now forming of true friends, to support him against the agitators, by whom he is seriously threatened, not on account of his religion, which is suspected to be Catholic, but because they seek this pretext to embarrass the government, a fact of which the king is convinced. If he has the courage he will let himself be counselled to show his face next session.
The lord treasurer intends to resign his place rather thin stand the test of taking the communion. If, for the sake of his service, the king compels him to remain in office, he will be exempted from taking either the communion or the oath, which would be necessary according to the parliament's formula. If this proves true I feel sure that next October the Catholics will feel relieved or at least the king will make the attempt and be supported by the duke, who has the resolution to undertake great things for the absolute government of the realms.
I have the ducali of the
5th May and, feeling sure that the Senate feels compassion for the Catholics here, I continue to keep the chapel open, keeping priests in the house for its service, like the other ambassadors. I congratulate myself on having always had priests to officiate and by the complete service of the mass and all other ceremonies I have, at whatever cost, done honour to the republic's representation and by the constant prayers of the priests and devotees have besought the Almighty for the glory of the Senate and the individual prosperity of your Excellencies.
London, the 2nd June, 1673.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
83. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Knowing by experience how difficult it is to ask facilities for trade especially at this Court, without negotiating and reciprocating them, I foresee that it will be difficult to arrange for the reduction of the glass duties. Once these were met by concessions which would at once be demanded of your Excellencies, the obstacles would become for ever insuperable. I mentioned before that it would be useful to ask for exemption from the duty levied here on aliens, for which Venetian subjects have petitioned in the Collegio. As they would apparently have denied my request or granted it at the cost of other facilities, the Senate, at its own cost, would have opened the road for other nations to urge a like claim. I also suggested that it might be considered desirable here to exempt all foreigners in general from this duty. This is exactly what has happened, all aliens being allowed to import and export merchandise on payment of the same duty as the English. (fn. 1) I quote this instance of what happened about the aliens' duty to show that I did not go astray on this question. While I cannot venture to hope for success by means of public treaties I will try to accomplish it by hints and opportune representations to the parties interested, with great appearance of success and hope of reviving the Venetian glass trade. Your Serenity's approval must depend solely upon the success of this scheme.
I do not promise myself equal good fortune in thwarting all the measures taken by the Consul Hayles to augment the consulage. To Arlington now returned from the country, and to other likely persons I will make the suggestions conveyed in the ducali of the 12th May: but as the king and council have committed themselves I shall meet with the opposition which I have always foreseen. I suspect that the merchants of the Levant Company here will not have the courage to say as much as they wrote, but I will stir them up so that I may be able to give an immediate account of what can be effected by zeal and diligence.
London, the 2nd June, 1673.
[Italian.]
June 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
84. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday being the anniversary of the king's birth and restoration, was a holiday. News from the fleet was anxiously awaited as reports had come from several of the seaports that a cannonading had been heard for several hours. Everybody feels confident that the English fleet has been victorious. They base this flattering conclusion on the wind and the site of the battle. Some indeed assert that the Dutch have retreated to their own coasts, the prince giving chase in order to burn them in Flushing. The fact is that with the wind directly contrary, not a single vessel has as yet been able to reach this coast. Every one is anxious, but the king, with extraordinary equanimity, gives no opinion, although this first engagement is of vital importance for future events.
Forty vessels are practically ready to embark 15,000 men. On the 15th inst. new style, they will be under tents at the mouth of the river, where they are mustering all such craft as they think suitable for launching in the waters of Zeeland, the king paying a very fair price for them.
The fleet from the Gut, having arrived in these harbours, furnishes exactly the number of hands required. As it also brings many millions of silver and effects, the whole serves to accommodate the royal exchequer at this important crisis.
The plenipotentiaries have at last crossed the sea and are continuing their journey to the place appointed for the congress. Every one believes that the business will prove of difficult digestion for the Dutch, especially as it is considered certain here that in Flanders the Spaniards told the envoys from the States that they could not openly commit themselves against the Most Christian.
Sir [John] Finch, late resident at Florence, leaves to-morrow for his embassy at Constantinople. He performs a good part of the journey by land, taking ship only at Leghorn, on board a man of war which he will find there at his disposal. (fn. 2)
Sir [Thomas] Huggons is also preparing for his residence at Venice, but I do not know whether he will venture out before the warm weather, as his preparations are still in arrear.
I have conferred with several merchants about the consulage, including some of the Levant Company. But being disheartened by the opposition encountered by them a few months ago, as reported, they do not dare to venture on any fresh remarks, anticipating difficulties and even greater obstinacy on the part of the ministry. I have therefore determined to hint adroitly how unfitting this new negotiation is, but have not yet been able to see Arlington at my leisure. I intend to explain the facts to him and I will afterwards speak to the others in the way I consider best for the service of your Excellencies.
I am profoundly grateful to your Serenity for the relief from this burdensome and very costly employment by the choice of a successor, announced in the ducali of the 18th May. The rare qualities of the Resident Sarotti will make amends for my own defects. But I can claim to have devoted the most intense application and to have sacrificed the best part of the substance of my family, which has supported me for ten years and more in the missions to Rome and England, rendering all most willingly.
London, the 9th June, 1673.
[Italian.]
June 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
85. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The duke of York has persisted so strongly in his earnest suit to command the landing that the king is at length disposed to consent. The only difficulty now remaining is that of conferring such a post on His Highness who refused to take the communion, the oath and the tests prescribed by the act of parliament. York requires to put to sea without any title and not to display his commission as general until out of the kingdom, when he is no longer liable to the scrutiny of the parliament. In that case the consquences will be such as I now venture to impart to your Serenity, the secret being at this moment the most profound of any in England.
The king, conscious of the disgraceful retreat made by him before the parliament, has allowed himself to be persuaded by York vigorously to retrieve his honour and courageously reestablish the royal authority. It is his intention to endeavour to seek peace by next October and never to assemble parliament otherwise. After concluding the peace his Majesty will announce the advantageous results of the war to the kingdom, demanding reimbursement for the costs and protesting that he cannot disband without first of all paying all the troops and his creditors. In the mean time the duke of York, being at the head of the army, is to use threats if the parliamentarians do not agree to the disbursement. This being settled his Majesty will then be at liberty either immediately to demand the repeal of the act against liberty of conscience, which he was compelled to sign, contrary to the prerogative, owing to the pressure of the late events, or he might for the moment prorogue parliament and of his own authority maintain the liberty of conscience, dispensing the Catholics, one by one, from the rigours of the act, or he might dissolve, to the detriment of the Commons, for it is they who contend with the king for his crown. Never was he in a fairer position for fixing it on his head, if the war proves successful and if he has the courage to keep his resolution, turning a deaf ear to those ministers who deceive him, amongst whom is Arlington, who is suspected if not convicted of certain domestic intrigues, (fn. 3) which it would be very tedious to recount to your Serenity.
To this effect Buckingham, who is of the contrary party, having linked himself with York, is going with his Highness into Holland, and instead of drawing the sword in Zeeland may be using his pen with the Most Christian so as to pledge him to assist this scheme, always without the knowledge of Arlington, who knows nothing of this secret.
In the mean time the lord treasurer has obtained the king's permission to resign his charge. (fn. 4) He says that he does not consider either his person or his property safe from the rage of the parliament or from the intrigues of Arlington, who is doing everything to arrive at the treasurership. In spite of all this, which represents the true state of affairs, it is impossible with this too ephemeral government to form any opinion about the future and I hope that your Excellencies will bear with me if I prove wrong in this very obscure matter.
London, the 9th June, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
June 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
86. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The reports which arrived yesterday from various sources give different accounts of the facts of the battle. (fn. 5) It is highly probable that it will be difficult to arrive at the truth, since it is the custom of nations to conceal their losses under the name of victory and to represent themselves as triumphant by issuing reports in their own favour although some of them have been the losers. The particulars that arrived yesterday are as follows: Only the squadron of the Count d'Etré, consisting of thirty ships, fought by itself alone against that of Tromp. Prince Roberto and Ruiter had not as yet engaged, and so definite accounts of this are expected. It is added that on the side of the French the number of the wounded was considerable and, according to an eyewitness, 400 of them were landed at a port near Dunkirk, without counting those who will be put ashore at that place itself when time serves.
Tournay, the 13th June, 1673.
[Italian.]
June 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
87. Tomaso Rudio, Venetian Secretary in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of Holland announces as certain the conclusion of peace with France. The minister of England, however, maintains with every one a manifest rupture attempted against King Charles, since they are no longer thinking of according some considerable and public satisfaction to France.
Madrid, the 14th June, 1673.
[Italian.]
June 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
88. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The news of the battle arrived by a ship of war. Prince Rupert wrote to Lord Arlington (fn. 6) what is confirmed by word of mouth by all the officers who return thence. This is that the prince held a council of war on board his own ship with none but flag officers on the 27th May, old style. On the morrow, at about 8 a.m. he sent out 35 light frigates, drawn from the three squadrons, commanded by the senior captains, with 13 fire ships and small boats, to sound the sand banks. At 12 o'clock, between the Rand and the Storry bank off the coast of Zeeland, they attacked the Dutch vanguard, commanded by Tromp and successively the two fleets went into action. It fell to the lot of Estrées bravely to resist Ruiter until the evening, when the night separated them. Not a single English ship ran aground on those shoals, which the Dutch navigate at their pleasure, from long experience and because their ships draw much less water than the English ones. The Dutch drew yet further in shore to repair their losses. So far, according to their own account, these amount to only three ships sunk and many disabled, but with great loss of sailors and soldiers. Three English captains were killed, namely Fowles, Warden and Finch; and Captain Hamilton died this morning, having lost his leg. Only two vessels (fn. 7) have appeared on this coast for repairs with 250 wounded men, leaving as many more on board the fleet, besides 400 killed.
Two captains of fire ships will be called to account for having lost the opportunity of burning Ruiter and Tromp, and this is the true account of the essential part of the action. The king laughs at all the sheer inventions circulated by the Dutch, even in print.
Yesterday another account arrived of a fresh battle (fn. 8) which, from the wind, is supposed to have been fought in the open sea and to have been much fiercer than the first. At this moment a report has reached the Court of great advantage gained by the death of Tromp. I will add in a postscript any positive intelligence that may come before the despatch of these present.
In the mean time nine men of war which convoyed the merchantmen from the Gut, went to join the fleet and are supposed to have arrived in time for this battle, serving as a reinforcement. Five others are ready, destined for the landing, and the troops muster daily at the appointed place. It is calculated that the king will send only 12,000 men on this expedition, in addition to the other 10,000 for the like purpose, on board the fleet.
London, the 16th June, 1673.
Postscript: Letters from the prince which have reached the Court relate being attacked by Ruiter, who had the weather gauge of him, he fought for hours with small loss on both sides. He does not say anything about Tromp but merely intimates that as he has exhausted his water and ammunition he is coming to get some. The king will not agree to this and desires him to remain at sea, where he will be supplied with everything.
The Danish resident here has given account of the league made by his king with Holland. (fn. 9) I do not know how the intelligence was received.
[Italian.]
Bibl. S. Marco.
Cl. VII.
Cod. mdclxxi.
88a. Letter of Prince Rupert to the Earl of Arlington, of the 5th June. (fn. 10)
[Printed pamphlet in English.]
Bibl. S. Marco.
Cl. VII.
Cod. mdclxxi.
88b. The glory of our English fleet, described in a letter sent to a friend in the city of London.
Printed by A.P. 1673.
[English. 2 pp.]
June 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
89. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the factions now rife at this Court cause a great division of interests, some of which are utterly opposed to the royal service, yet impatience to hear the true account of the last sea fight is general. Every one apparently hopes for victory, the duke of York above all. Notwithstanding his rivalry with Prince Rupert he wishes him success as it would facilitate the opening for his own attempt at a landing. If the action has been severe the fleet will be in need of repair. This requires time which will enable the duke to make preparation, though the artillery is already in order.
Orders have been issued for no more than one hundred horse to be ready at the landing place, as his Highness's guard. Many volunteers are following him as they feel very confident of establishing a good peace through the landing. They are devoting all their energies to this, in order to make the disposition for home affairs which I reported last week, for it is past understanding how much confusion is anticipated unless the agitators meet with some check.
The duke of York applies himself to this in earnest. Nothing more is said about his marriage, though many think it is settled with Nayburg. (fn. 11) In the mean time Peterborough has been recalled from Paris and Guasconi from Vienna.
The Spanish ambassador thought to move Arlington by representing to him the peril of a French invasion of Flanders, but he merely elicited generalities in reply. The fact is that here they mean to persevere in the alliance with France without at all seeking their interests in any other quarter.
London, the 16th June, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
June 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
90. Zuane Moresini, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
In the midst of these military considerations they do not lose sight of the approaching marriage of his Majesty with the Archduchess Claudia of Inspruch. All the difficulties which stood in the way of this consummation have been removed and the emperor has decided to issue a public announcement about it in August next. Accordingly the government is contemplating the despatch homewards of the envoy Guasconi, furnished with an imperial letter for the British king couched in general terms, intimating cautiously to that sovereign the unavoidable change in their arrangements owing to unforeseen accidents which have arisen.
Vienna, the 17th June, 1673.
[Italian.]
June 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
91. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
From the side of the sea fresh accounts arrive of a renewed engagement between the fleets. A courier who passed through this city last night and who had come form Dunkirk, brought the news to the king, but with few particulars. He affected not to have any information on the subject, but in spite of what he says it is considered certain that the fight has taken place with damage to the allied nations, but that the Dutch have suffered the loss of some ships. He adds that the fleets have withdrawn on both sides and that there will be no fresh engagement this year.
Tournai, the 20th June, 1673.
[Italian.]
June 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Proveditore
General
da Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
92. Andrea Valier, Proveditore General da Mar, to the Doge and Senate.
Two days ago the ship Santa Giustina arrived in this port, chartered by Sig. Giusto Veseich, having left Scanderoon for this city, and after it had laded some bales of silk here, it sailed yesterday for Venice. On the very day of its arrival six English ships were sighted off Chieri. As they had not been identified and as it was universally reported that they were of Barbary, I put out with all the fleet in order to make sure. On finding that they were friends I returned to port that evening and they arrived in succession on the day after, according as the wind permitted. Five of these were merchantmen, come from Smyrna, and one was a warship, acting as convoy. This last remained at sea even on the next day. When it saw the Santa Giustina put out from here, it took up the chase and when it had arrived at a short distance from here because the wind was contrary, it made it surrender at about three hours of the night, putting some of its crew on board and arresting the captain.
As soon as I received this news, which I heard with deep regret, in respect of the circumstances and of the nation, I considered it incumbent upon me both for the honour of the state and my own, not to allow a Venetian ship to be taken, one might say under my very flag. Accordingly, although our four ships had left the day before for Suda, I immediately had the barques arrested with the five merchant ships and directed the two galeasses to proceed towards la Fontana, causing all the galleys to get ready. In order that your Serenity might have the greater right on your side I sent for the merchant John Giffer, as that sorry fellow the consul, Clement Arbis, was not here, which was a good thing, and told him to go on board the English war ship, which with excessive audacity had entered the mouth of the port and cast anchor, without saluting, bringing the prize with it. I directed him to tell the commander from me that this action was contrary to the cordial regard professed by the republic towards the king of England, which has always been fostered by every demonstration of honour and friendship. The ship of a friendly prince ought not to be molested, one might say in its own ports and in the face of a royal fleet which had welcomed its convoy with all friendliness. He must therefore release this ship, otherwise I should be compelled to uphold the just rights of the republic in every way. I had chosen to give him this intimation beforehand in the assurance that he would, in his prudence recognise that even in England this action of his would be disapproved in that he had offended a friendly prince without any cause whatsoever.
When Giffer reached him and he had heard my intentions as well as the arrest of the captains of his convoy, he sent me word by the merchant that he believed it a good prize because it had not hoisted any flag and had not acknowledged his warning shots.
In my answer I said that the ship was known to every one to be chartered by a Venetian citizen, and the truth of this could not be questioned. The merchant said he would like to go back, after which he came to me again and said that the commandant desired that I should give him a certificate that the ship was Venetian, when he would forthwith let it go and release the captain. I thought fit to agree to this since this assertion justified my case to the full and confirmed all my resolutions.
But while the certificate was being drawn up and we believed the matter to be settled the commandant threw over the agreement, saying that Flemish flags had been found in the ship and quite definitely he could not give it up. In view of this most discourteous turn about and considering that our forces quite definitely could not suffer the loss of a ship of ours in our own ports, which was a double affront to the public Majesty, since in addition to the unlawful capture under the very eyes of the great flag of the republic, although it took place at night, he had been so audacious as to bring this very ship into a Venetian port where the general was stationed with all the fleet, I considered that it was absolutely necessary to recover it at all costs.
Accordingly I immediately went on board the galley and sending forward the galeasses, which promptly ranged themselves behind the poop of the commandant and practically surrounding the ship taken, I steered towards this with all the other galleys, having directed two of these, Ser Imperial Contarini and Ser Andrea Tron, who were nearest, to cut its cable.
A barque reached my galley sent from the English ship of war on which was a French knight of Malta, who told me he was a passenger. He explained that he had been sent by the English commandant to find out what I proposed to do. I replied that I wanted the ship unlawfully taken as he himself had recognised in the agreement made only a few hours before, in the assurance that the king of England would reprobate an action so scandalous and contrary to the ancient friendship existing between my republic and that crown. To this he replied at once that I might take it when I pleased as he did not intend to offer any opposition, and so parted.
After the cable had been cut by the galleys I caused the ship to be towed to the end of the port in the midst of the fleet. There were twenty four English on board and only four of the sailors of the ship. As it was nearly two of the night I waited until the morning and then I sent Col. Annand to ask for the captain and the men whom he was detaining, saying that this office was performed out of the friendly regard professed by the most serene republic for the royal person and ensigns; but that I should not have released his captains unless mine had been set free with all the men. This took place without confusion, the commander having realised that his design to inflict so conspicuous an affront on a royal port and fleet had failed.
I admit my lords that I have taken into consideration this nation, which claims everything at sea; on the trade it carries on in these islands and on the good fortune which seems to smile upon it through the union with France. But I have also considered that princes let themselves be guided by reason and that the blunders of ministers are punished because they do not accord with the intentions of the masters. I did not think it could be questioned that the general of your Serenity is not bound to uphold the safety of subjects and in particular the honour of the country, as that is what secures the maintenance of states in the face of the world. It would be to no purpose for your Excellencies to incur very heavy expense for the maintenance of a fleet if this were to suffer the ships of subjects to be captured under its eyes, and if a single craft were allowed so audaciously to take its prize into one of Venice's own ports, the seat of her sovereign flag.
I confess that the sojourn which this commandant is to make here for some time yet troubles me considerably, because he entered without saluting either the flag or the fortress. He told Annand that he has no orders to salute any one soever. This cannot be, because it is the custom of all the nations in all the seas. But a consideration of the things mentioned above affords me consolation, as I perceive that in this way also the Senate will consolidate its rights more firmly and show its esteem for the royal arms. For it will be necessary for the Resident Alberti to lay stress upon all these points of contempt which happened after the capture, whereas I had welcomed the merchant ships, his convoy, with every mark of honour and courtesy.
I am sorry that these unpleasant and difficult incidents, surrounded by pitfalls on every hand, have happened to me, but I take comfort that this country, notwithstanding the interest of the currants, has approved highly of what has happened; and it cannot be to the bad that foreign nations also should see the just resolution of the state's forces, for it has been made perfectly clear that the commandant of the English frigate Jearsy, whose name is Luke Veelic, (fn. 12) came into this port to join with the other five, which, although merchantmen, are also capable of action, having observed the departure of our ships, to intensify the affront against our flag, in the confidence that the galleys would not venture to attack them.
This is the pure truth of the matter which I report to your Serenity in the hope that I have earned the approval of the Senate in what I have done, for whose honour I am always ready to hazard my life, which is all that I am able to offer to my adored country.
Zante, the 21st June, 1673.
[Italian.]
June 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Proveditore
da Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
93. Andrea Valier, Proveditore General da Mar, to the Doge and Senate.
I have learned from the captain of the Santa Giustina that while he was lading in the port of Alexandretta four English merchant ships were there and one of war, the consorts of those which are here. With these he always had the most friendly relations, as the craft of a friendly power. The English vice consul (fn. 13) also had made the cargo of this same Santa Giustina at the instance of those interested in the same. This particular only serves to throw into greater relief the insolence of this captain of this frigate, which I have reported. I have thought fit to bring these particulars to the notice of your Excellencies in order that the injustice of the pretext may be exposed by the minister in England, since the character of the ship was recognised by the English themselves and it was even laded as a Venetian ship.
Zante, the 21st June, 1673.
[Italian.]
June 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zante.
Venetian
Archives.
94. Alvise Barbaro, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Saturday, the 17th inst. the ship Santa Giustina moored off these shores, chartered by some Flemish merchants domiciled in this town. She was commanded by a Flemish captain, but with a cargo destined for Venice and flying the flag of your Serenity. At a considerable distance behind it six other ships were sighted. As these were supposed to be of Barbary it moved his Excellency the Proveditore to go out with the fleet to encounter them. But from their sailing openly in this direction they were very soon recognised to be English. With them was a ship of war as escort. They came from Smyrna and were to stop here to await the arrival from Scanderoon of another convoy of ships of their nation, so that they might proceed together for the rest of their voyage.
The fleet returned to port that same evening. On the morrow two other of these ships entered, the rest of them keeping on board a short distance away. On the Monday following your Serenity's ships departed for the tour of the fortresses and were saluted by the English when they passed. At the same time the ship Santa Giustina also sailed, but with a different fate. That same night she was pursued by the English warship which came up and fired upon her, forcing her to surrender.
When the news of this arrived yesterday, his Excellency decided to go out with the galeasses to recover it. But it was noticed that it was brought back to port by the English of their own accord, where the remaining three ships of the convoy had entered previously. His Excellency demanded the restitution of the ship and it seemed that the Englishman, reflecting upon the rights of the case, made no objection, only asking for a guarantee. But later on he changed his mind and came to the conclusion that he could not give it unless his Excellency decided to take it by force. Accordingly yesterday evening, as night was falling, his Excellency, having first caused the arrest of four captains of the English ships, who had gone on shore, decided to move with the whole fleet. Not the slightest opposition was offered and the ship was towed behind the galleys, which returned immediately to their station. The galeasses remained outside until an agreement was reached to-day about the persons, since the Englishman also had detained the captain of the ship, when mutual restitution was made.
Zante, the 21st June, 1673.
[Italian.]
June 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
95. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Without waiting at sea for the king's orders, Prince Rupert took advantage of the wind and came up the river as far as the buoy at the Nore. So his Majesty with the whole Court went down to visit the fleet. This shows scarcely any signs of the second action which lasted only three hours in the open sea. The Dutch retreated after having begun the fight with the wind in their favour. If they had pursued the English vigorously they might have hoped for victory, as the prince was incapable of defending himself. All the English commanders agree in their account of these circumstances, although the rivalry between them does not always encourage them to tell the truth. I can merely assure your Serenity that not a single English or French ship was rendered unserviceable. They are only in want of powder and ball and beer. Of the last 60,000 barrels have been sent off to them, all which I saw shipped with extraordinary despatch.
The king hastens the sailing lest the Dutch boast of being masters at sea. Although it is clear that Ruyter, a most sagacious commander, refuses to give battle without advantage, or means to defend himself under favour of his shoals, Prince Rupert is urged to pursue him, the belief here being that the designs of England cannot succeed without the removal of the obstacles caused by the Dutch fleet.
The king did not return to London until this afternoon. I accompanied him in order to discover the truth about the real state of the fleet which is concealed by contradictory accounts. From the observations which I made last year at the time of the first battle fought by Lord Ossory and of the second, by the duke of York I am able to conjecture that these last two engagements were not half so severe or the English ships have not received half as much damage as they did in the last campaign.
The Spanish ambassador here does not allow that England is at liberty to leave Flanders in danger. In his impatience over this he is now remonstrating against his Majesty's declaration that the Spaniards have infringed the fourth article of the treaty of Aix la Chapelle by the attempt on Charleroi, whereas he, Fresno, says that the queen gave no such orders, as she protested to the Ambassador Godolphin at Madrid and that therefore his Britannic Majesty could not escape the guarantee promised by him to the Catholic king in the event of his being the first attacked by the Most Christian. Fresno maintains that England shows too much partiality for France by deciding that Monterey has violated the peace and that the French king may make reprisals on Spain without infringing it, whereas Sweden, who is in the same position as England, but unbiassed, does not venture to make so precipitous a declaration. Arlington replies that Sweden would have come to the same decision but for the present crisis in her affairs, playing the part of mediator, and that Spain could not complain of England pronouncing her opinion judicially, when by passing the matter over in silence she might give offence to a crown with which she is allied. With regard to Flanders his Britannic Majesty had always guarded it jealously, but the Spaniards did not choose to win over England in time, and that now the shirt was of greater consequence than the doublet, so that the Spaniards must look after themselves unaided.
From what Fresno hinted to me they are impatient to learn the decision of the emperor, with whom the queen mother of Spain will never be reconciled unless he unmasks himself in this campaign. In that case the Dutch flatter themselves that they will be able to resist the two crowns, feeling confident that they have gained the neutrality if not the friendship of Sweden.
Your Serenity will have heard from the spot what the crown has promised to France. As for Denmark, she excused herself here saying that she had been compelled to gratify the States for the sake of obtaining the concessions claimed long since in respect of old disputes which were still undecided.
In the midst of all these fluctuations, between a war, more than arduous and an impending peace, the Ambassador Colbert talks of returning to France. It is rumoured that M. di Gommont (fn. 14) is to succeed him, though every one believes that Colbert will not depart until after all these matters have been settled.
In the short interval since my return from the fleet I have been unable to dwell upon other details which I reserve for next week, to prove my constant attention. I trust that my efforts and heavy expenditure will be taken into consideration by the Senate which is wont to acknowledge the very heavy cost of travelling, in view of the frequent journeys made by me in the service of the republic.
London, the 23rd June, 1673.
[Italian.]
96. Declaration of the king of England upon the enterprise of Charleroi. (fn. 15)
[French.]
June 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
97. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 2nd inst. Approval of his proceedings. The news of the order exempting the merchants of all nations from the duty on foreigners who are domiciled, as if they were English has given us great satisfaction and we are sending a copy of the portion of your letter on this subject to the magistracy of the Five Savii alla Mercanzia for the information and guidance of the merchants of the mart.
With regard to what you write on the 5th about the priests who perform the divine offices in your house we have nothing further to say, noting the careful attention which you devote to this work of piety and the prudent watch which you keep, at the same time, upon the proceedings of the other ministers. Your actions must always be attended by these necessary precautions, and all will redound to your merit.
Letters from the Secretary Rudio in Spain report an unpleasant incident causing offence between the Most Christian ambassador and the representative of his Catholic Majesty at your Court. The Senate will be glad to hear the exact particulars from the place itself. (fn. 16) We commend this to your diligence and we shall also expect to hear what has happened since.
That a copy of what the Secretary Alberti wrote about the exemption from the duty on foreigners granted to ships be sent to the magistracy of the Five Savii alla Mercanzia for their information and that they may examine what advantages may be derived from this concession.
Ayes, 98. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
June 24.
Senato
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
98. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Nothing more is being said with respect to the war, but the talk is always taking the direction of peace. They consider extraordinary the deliberation of Subderland, who does not stir from Paris to take his way towards Cologne. However the advices end with the news that the other two ambassadors have left the port of London and their subsequent arrival at Cales is assumed.
Tournay, the 24th June, 1673.
[Italian.]
June 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
99. Tomaso Rudio, Venetian Secretary in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A chance incident which occurred to the ambassador of England has seriously threatened to upset his attitude towards this Court were it not that necessity, which is the sole means in these times by which the convenances are measured for one who deserves it, cut the thread of his ardent and ceaseless altercations, with great satisfaction to him personally. It happened that he met the king and queen in the country when they were coming from the Retiro. I do not know whether it was through the inadvertence of his coachmen, owing to the cloud of dust which rises in the summer, or whether it was impossible to stop the mules, but he passed the royal coach at the run, without stopping, as is the custom. When this was noticed by the guard, whom they call here the guard Barazos, who is the first coachman of his Majesty who goes independently on horseback, he drew his sword, because of this lapse and repeatedly struck the postillion of the ambassador who was then standing in readiness. Affronted by this indignity Lord Godolfi, on the following day, insisted on due reparation from the ministers. After consulting together, pretending that the queen should know nothing about it, they agreed unanimously to send the coachman to the house of the ambassador by order of the high steward, to make excuses and to ask pardon. With this the ambassador was greatly honoured and satisfied, whereas he had declared that otherwise he meant to leave the Court.
Madrid, the 28th June, 1673.
[Italian.]
June 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
100. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The English here are all grumbling loudly at the scant success in the actions fought by Prince Rupert. His friends accuse the duke of York of encouraging various remarks, out of rivalry and among the rest of inciting Spragh, whom the prince dislikes, to blame his tactics. The inherent vanity of this nation, holding the Dutch in no account, anticipates easy victory and unfairly accuses the commanders when the result is not in accordance with the national vanity. It is generally supposed that the discussion of this matter delays the sailing of the fleet, as the necessary supplies are already on board. But I have discovered, though with great difficulty, that they are really awaiting the result of the siege of Maastricht, (fn. 17) being aware of the difficulty of making a landing without the aid of the Most Christian and such a cavalry force as is necessary for its support. But they have in readiness here only 100 horse for the duke's body guard with perhaps an equal number of volunteers. The infantry amounts to 12,000 men, but all raw recruits. Accordingly the king is anxiously awaiting the result of the siege and although some surmise that hostilities are suspended, in order not to break any impending treaty of peace it is unlikely that England would let slip opportunities of gaining advantages on that account when she herself suffered damage from the Dutch at the moment of the signature of the treaty of Breda.
I was present yesterday at a long and sharp colloquy between Arlington and Fresno. The former complained of the latter because neither the Spanish nor imperial plenipotentiaries were at Cologne, where they intended to cut a great figure. Time was being lost and England, always concerned about the safe keeping of Flanders, would persuade the Most Christian to surrender some of the fortresses conquered by him there, specifying Lille, provided that the places which he took from Holland were left to him. Fresno retorted that it was not in the interest of Spain to make a peace of two days' duration. At this point I note, with respect to the advantages of the Catholic only, that the English arrogate to themselves the liberty to divide the spoils of Holland and to arbitrate thereupon while the Spaniards have no scruple about doing the same, without asking those states to the sentence. Your Excellencies will make comments on this paragraph. I will not add what these two ministers said about the king's declaration upon Charleroi as I should only repeat what I wrote last week.
Before this interview Fresno told me that he had discovered a negotiation set on foot by the English in Holland and that the count of Sannazar had written to him from Flanders that Risburgo (fn. 18) went to the Most Christian, not merely for compliments, but to demand compensation for the damage which he had caused on his passage through Flanders and to protest that in any event Monterey had orders to procure it for himself in his Majesty's territories. Fresno would not tell me that he had received this intelligence from the governor, so he does not yet announce it as a fact, but last evening, after Fresno's departure, Arlington imparted to me that he was afraid of a rupture, that the Spaniards would have conducted themselves perfectly (si sarebbero divinamente governati) by retaining their influence over Holland and the liberty of giving succour, but that they attacked Charleroi. Then, while confessing the project for peace in Holland, he denies having had any hand in it. He pretends it is a mere sketch of what is to be discussed at Cologne together with the French, who are squandering money on the ministers here lest their party succumb. Meanwhile affairs fluctuate in an extravagant uncertainty.
London, the 30th June, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
June 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
101. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the confused state of religion causes perpetual inconstancy and the government is incessantly agitated by a strong residue of the late rebellion yet I come to the conclusion that it is the nature of this people to cherish nothing but change and confusion, which now reign here more than ever. Being unable from one day to another to form any conjecture about future events I am often compelled to report indistinctly what is passing and I ask for forbearance when I fail to discover the secret or make erroneous statements.
Not a single private conference is held by the parliamentarians without their arranging combustible materials for a grand explosion. There is talk of banishing the duke of York, who is suspected if not convicted of being a Catholic, and of compelling the king to divorce the queen, so as to attempt the succession by means of a second marriage. Already they are collecting legal precedents and arguments in support of the project. There will not be any lack of these for persons so audacious who rely on the known weakness and good nature of the king. They propose to promise him a considerable sum of money but to exact extraordinary concessions before giving it to him.
The king apologises to his friends for having yielded to parliament in the last session owing to his need for money and for domestic quiet during a foreign war, and he promises constancy for the future. He treats the duke of York with the greatest confidence, consenting to support him, believing in his counsel and persevering in the policy detailed in my letter No. 185. But those who are most shrewd, whom I also believe to be the most malicious, whisper that the king has no heart for great things; that his feeling for the duke of York is neither deep nor really sincere and that he will desert him and allow him to fall into confusion with his followers
(che il re non ha cuore per cose grandi. Che non tiene le migliore viscere ne le piu sincere per il duca e che abbandonato lo lasciera cadere nelle confusioni con i suoi seguaci).
As a matter of fact the duke, having refused to take the oath and the communion, resigned on Sunday last into his Majesty's hands the charge of lord high admiral and all the other offices held by him. His example has been followed by Lord Howard, the earl marshal of England and by Lord Clifford, the treasurer, without counting a considerable number of other personages.
At first sight it seems that this blind compliance on the part of the duke and all the others with the will of parliament is a bad beginning whereby to announce future bravadoes against the Lower House. But in this country it is too scandalous for the king and too perilous for the others to infringe a statute of the realm. Thus by way of evasion it is settled that the duke, having resigned the admiral's baton, is to take the sword of commander in chief. As he is not to tender the oath until after the expiration of three months, there may possibly be time for unmasking. But I cannot speak positively upon these conjectures.
In the mean time the poor Catholics serve as the board for this perilous game, as they will perhaps be hemmed in without further means of escape, parties being formed and stratagems devised; all of which I will report in due time.

Lord Arlington was unable to take in the arguments I advanced against the new consulage, his entire attention being engrossed by other matters. He asked me for a memorial, but as I did not think fit to commit myself to that extent, I thought it best to conclude by telling him to let me know what Hayles had written to him, promising to give him the reasons for the opposition which the consul met with at Venice. I thus gained enough time to receive instructions from your Excellencies about giving him the paper, according to the custom of this country, if he insists. It will also increase the embarrassments of Hayles, and in dread of this he may possibly withdraw from the business.
London, the 30th June, 1673.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 A bill for taking off the alien duties on “commodities of the growth and manufacture of this nation” was passed in the Lords on 27 March, o.s. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. XII, page 574.
2 The Centurion, Capt. Charles Wylde. She left Spithead on 1 June, N.S., convoying several merchantmen for the Strait, and reached Genoa, where Finch had already arrived, on 12 August following. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1673, page 328. Godolphin to Arlington, on 27 July. S.P. Spain, Vol. XII. Finch to Arlington, on 13 August. S.P. Genoa, Vol. II.
3 This seems to refer to the case of Peter Talbot who alleged that he had authority from Arlington to oversee the actions of all the Romish clergy of Ireland. From the examinations taken at Dublin it would seem that the allegation was unfounded. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1673, pp. 244–51.
4 Clifford actually resigned on Wednesday 18 June, o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1673, pp. 377–8.
5 The first battle of Schoneveldt was fought on 28 May, old style.
6 Rupert's letter of 29 May is printed in Cal. S.P. Dom., 1673, page 309.
7 They would be the Resolution and Cambridge. Ibid, page 308.
8 The second battle of Schoneweldt, fought on 4 June, old style.
9 Martin Falksen Gioe. A treaty of alliance between Christian V of Denmark and the States General was signed at Copenhagen on 10/20 May. Dumont: Corps Diplomatique, Vol. VII, pt. i, page 223.
10 Reprinted from the London Gazette, No. 788. There is an abstract in Cal. S.P. Dom., 1673, page 338. These two pamphlets are bound up with Alberti's letter book, in the Library of St. Mark.
11 This does not agree with Colbert's report that after seeing a portrait of the lady the duke no longer desired to marry her. Colbert to the king, on 17 July. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
12 Luke Walsh.
13 George Broughton, chosen at the Levant Company's court held on 1 October, 1672. Levant Co. Court Book. S.P. For. Archives, Vol. CLIII, fol. 184.
14 Probably meant for Gramont, but he did not come.
15 There is a copy of the pamphlet in the Public Record Office. State Papers Foreign. Printed papers, Box iii, No, 15 (temporary arrangement).
16 The particulars are given by Alberti in his first dispatch of 21 July below.
17 Besieged by the French. It capitulated on the 1st July.
18 Probably Count Alessandro Sannazzaro who in the following year was Mantuan envoy in Spain. The marquis of Risbourg was general of the Spanish forces in Flanders. Brussels: Relations Veritables, 1673, No. 32.


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