Venice
August 1673

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1947

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81-99

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'Venice: August 1673', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 38: 1673-1675 (1947), pp. 81-99. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90361 Date accessed: 31 July 2014.


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August 1673

Aug. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
123. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It is some time since they mooted here a marriage between the duchess of Guise, daughter of the late duke of Orleans and sister of the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, with the duke of Yorch. I did not venture to report it to your Excellencies at the time and I hesitate to do so now, because I have not been able to make quite sure about the facts. It is quite true from the preparations that she is making of a stately train one is led to imagine that some change is expected since her state of widowhood has obliged her up to the present to adopt more retiring ways.
Paris, the 2nd August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
124. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Your letters of the 14th ult. have been received. This week the matter of the consulage has been taken in hand which has been about for such a long time. We have carefully examined the petitions of Hayles for the exaction of half a ducat per ton on the goods which arrive in this city by English ships. We have had under our eyes the papers presented to the magistracy of the Five Savii alla Mercanzia by the merchants who have correspondence in England. The more the question is looked into the more prejudicial does this innovation appear to commerce and to the flow of trade. It is known that the consul Giles Jones, the predecessor of Hayles, enjoyed only ten ducats from each English ship and this was afterwards raised by him to thirty. Hayles followed on with this advantage. His present pretension to derive greater benefits and far more that of altering the character of the exaction by basing it on the goods instead of on the ships, is considered too grievous. Such a practice is not seen in other nations. When it has been found proper by the public vigilance in this city to remove the import duty in order to supply facilities for trade it is recognised as utterly incompatible to allow subsequently these charges upon merchandise which have never been borne.
The papers which we have sent to you so far upon this question will have kept you informed of what is taking place. We are now enclosing with this the report made by the energy of the Five Savii together with other papers of Hayles, who persists, and of the merchants, who are opposed so that all may serve for your illumination and as a guide to your abilities. The steps which you have been taking in the matter have been cautious and well considered. As it is considered desirable not to act differently in the future, we support you in the decision to abstain from presenting a memorial in the name of the republic, but only to do so in the name of the merchants when they may think it the moment to cause their representations to reach Arlington, in such a form that your assistance shall appear solely for the merchants and for the business, to the end that no alteration shall be made in the practice of the 30 ducats and that the pretended innovation be not pressed. All your efforts about this will be received with satisfaction and appreciation.
That instructions be given to the Five Savii alla Mercanzia to continue their prudent representations to the consul Hayles to induce him to modify his instances and to cease from insisting upon an innovation prejudicial and injurious to trade.
Ayes, 130. Noes, 0. Neutral, 5.
[Italian.]
Aug. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
125. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As reported, the king returned to London on Friday. That morning, whilst at anchor in his yacht at Gunfleet, he had seen the whole squadron go down under sail to the buoy at the Nore and by evening Prince Rupert was at sea. This is the last definite news of his Highness. Within the last three hours a report has been circulating of a loud cannonading being heard, but it is not yet known whether a battle has taken place or where. If more definite news arrives I will give it in a postscript.
The firmness shown by the Dutch in the negotiations and the method with which they maintain themselves by their forces has at length convinced this Court of the difficulty of a landing in Zealand. In spite of this the prince is ordered to attempt it, rather to maintain the repute of these arms in the sight of the world than from any indication of advantage. The opinion prevails here that any fortress beyond sea can only compromise the country and entangle the king in perpetual disputes. The Dutch already offer to strike to the flag; they will parley about the fishing and promise much as an indemnity for the costs of the war. But finding such extraordinary anxiety on the part of the Spaniards and Dutch to make this treaty against France, they did not listen here to all that was said by Don Bernardo Salines, suspecting that he came solely to sow distrust. He departed yesterday without any conclusion. His negotiations did not receive the least assistance from the Ambassador Fresno, who has given fresh proofs of his distaste for this mission.
Two days ago a courier was despatched to Lord Peterborough, desiring him to cease all negotiations and to proceed with all speed to Italy to treat at Modena for the marriage of the duke of York with the princess born of the Mazarina. Arlington said to me that no prince need any longer scruple to ally himself with that family. (fn. 1)
London, the 4th August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
126. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The whole Court whispers that parliament will meet before next October, but as the king is not compelled by any urgent need to assemble it, the measure does not seem possible to any of the persons who are acquainted with the determination already formed by him not to take this step until after the conclusion of the peace.
Fresh difficulties are accumulating for the next session. Some of the factitious insist that after the grant to the king of a suitable sum for his maintenance, the management of the rest of the money shall be superintended by parliament. These gentlemen think to gain this point from the king by threats, but his Majesty does not seem disposed to lose one jot of his prerogatives, save for cash. In that case he will have the means of subsistence and the mischief will be long in coming to a head.
The county of Norfolk has already drawn up an address demanding several regulations for the maintenance of the Protestant religion; merely as a pretext for fomenting rebellion. Had this reached London the example would have been followed by the other counties, as a beginning of insurrection. But this bad example has been averted for the moment though it is not known what may happen in the course of time, all these things being preparations for a recourse to the sword.
The greater part of these disturbances are encouraged by the ministers who, divided amongst themselves, impede the royal service.
His Majesty, to pacify Buckingham, has given him the post of Lord President of the North. He is not satisfied with this and Ormonde exclaims that it is too much for the king to purchase obedience of his subjects. This same Ormonde offers a considerable sum of money from parliament provided the king keeps united with it. This is tantamount to saying provided he submits to its caprices and sacrifices his authority.
It would be too much to pretend to foresee the end of these preliminaries. The king's lack of economy may and perpetually does reduce him to extreme necessity and thus often forces him to be ruled by necessity, according to accidents, rather than by the dictates of reason.
London, the 4th August, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
127. Giovanni Giacomo Corniani, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Owing to the decree of England the spirits of the merchants here are not relieved, as was expected last week, not only because commissions for new fabrics do not seem likely to be confirmed, but because, even if they were, it would not be enough to persuade them to risk their capital unless they were made general and precise. In addition to this they fear that, to avoid the rocks which this decree may provide, it may be necessary for them to proceed by ways which will be made more easy for draperies similar to those which are manufactured in France; both because they make them in open competition with these and even now wage a fierce war, and because, without other commissions, they are always being made there.
I hear, however, that in the course of the consultations which are being held upon these matters his Highness inclines to take action. I have indeed been told that this may be the establishment in the port of Leghorn of two convoys, one of them to serve for the navigation of the Indies and the other for that of the Levant within these waters, though it is feared that the profit of these may be contested both by the convoys of the West, which frequently enter the Mediterranean, and by those who give credit to this opinion that a beginning is being made in the mart of Venice, and may be carried into effect there (da quali si acredita l'opinione che si principino et che possino andarsi erigendo in cotesta piazza.)
Florence, the 5th August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
128. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The two fleets met last week, as reported, but did not fight because Ruiter, when discovered by the prince, formed his line of battle and before approaching within gun shot, retreated amongst the shoals of Zeeland where the prince could not reach him there not being sufficient water for the English ships which draw much more than the Dutch. They believe here that Ruiter having reconnoitred the English fleet without seeing the transports and troops destined for a landing, would not risk a battle from fear lest, in the mean while, the English should land in some other quarter. But the fact is that, on Prince Rupert's appearance off the Dutch coast, the entire population was seized with panic and sought shelter, and it seems that the landing force is at Yarmouth in quarters, because from thence they can sail to Holland with any wind.
In spite of this scant success, after so much preparation, England is proof against all the temptations of the Spaniards and Dutch, refusing to listen to them without France, in whose company, however, she offers to treat and accept any fair satisfaction. I have just learned that the king not only said as much to Salines, but when urged by him to reply to several of Orange's letters, his Majesty refused to receive the one that was brought to him by Salines himself, having taken offence because Orange insists on making him prefer the policy of not aggrandising France to that of benefiting England by extorting every possible advantage from Holland at this conjuncture.
The truth is that, in their own interest, the Swedes are not anxious for the maritime arbitrament of England, nor, for her own reasons, does France give it cordial support. Accordingly here, having made but little progress with their arms, and still less, apparently through negotiation, they are discussing peace. This very day the king said that he believed it to be near at hand, an express having arrived from Cologne, though what he brought is not known. I have only noticed messages and exceptional civilities exchanged between Arlington and Fresno, at whose request the king has released from prison the Consul Fonseca.
(fn. 2)
Even the Spaniards exclaim at the marriage of the duke of York to the Modenese, saying that the family is of small account in Italy and dependent on Rome. This renders the English nation increasingly suspicious of his royal Highness. But the truth is that they see that the marriage is of French contriving and I have found out that the Most Christian is contributing to the dowry and promises much to the duke of York.
The news of what tool place at Zante last June has caused a great stir at the Court. They resent the recapture of the Dutch ship by his Excellency Valier. The affair has been laid before the Council and complaints will be made to me.
(fn. 3) Importance is attached here to the loss of the vessel, estimated at 60,000l. and to the assumed affront offered to a war ship.
London, the 11th August, 1673.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
129. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
England continues to keep herself united to this crown. Now that she has thrown off the bonds which held her tied to the interests of Holland under a show of maintaining the peace of Europe by the triple alliance she is left free to dedicate herself entirely to the wishes of this power with the inducements in greater abundance of gold which it supplies to her. Until such time as these supplies cease or until the need becomes less her policy will not vary, the more so because there is no one who can offer more abundant or richer sacrifices to that deity to render her propitious.
That gold alone is the bait which holds that country captive may readily be conjectured from seeing that from so many wars that crown obtains no advantage and no conquest from so many victories. On the contrary it has suffered losses in subjects and ships and practically of glory, because with regard to the past engagements, which have always been published by all the nations as advantageous for themselves, it has since transpired that the allied fleets were certainly the losers in them. Such knowledge has never been learned from the accounts which have come out, but has rather been gathered from the statements of impartial persons some of whom were eye witnesses of the engagements themselves.
With regard to the deliberations of that power your Excellencies will be able to forecast them from the information of the one who serves you in those parts. I can say this much, that in the common view that government is not held in high repute, either because of what has happened in the last parliament or from seeing the king there irresolute in his decisions because he does not take any advantage from the troops assembled some time since. It was thought that the fact that the duke of Hyorch had removed himself from the bosom of the Anglican Church might give a push to considerable changes or else that with these forces they proposed to collect some advantageous position against the Provinces, their declared enemies. But neither of these conjectures has been realised. On this side they do not contemplate any conceivable step for her advantage.
The duke of Momut discharged with ability the duties imposed upon him as lieutenant general in the late siege. (fn. 4) The regiment of guards of his Britannic Majesty still remains here and not a word is said about dismissing them; whether it be the secret designs which are contemplated in favour of his sovereignty are a reason for keeping secret the good intentions which are possibly cherished here or else perchance because it is firmly believed here to be harmful for that power to get a footing on this continent again, having once been cut off from it. Be that as it may there is not the slightest indication that would lead one to conclude that the union of these two allied powers was tottering or that the king here is disposed to secure for them considerable advantages by his power.
Some persons have got it into their heads that the king may decide to send to England all his regiments of guards in exchange for the favour which has been done him by the British monarch, but it is not easy to see upon what grounds this opinion is based unless at some time greater pretexts should be disclosed by the caution of the king, or else, with the excuse of some rising in Ireland, which is often apt to break out on the score of religion, the Most Christian might have an opening for causing his troops to cross over there. There has also been comment because all the troops assembled on the ships have been embarked without anything further being said about their objectives. Others add that the Dutch have always shown themselves vigilant to resist any attempt of their enemies, whether by naval engagements or in landings to attack fortresses.
Nancy, the 12th August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives
130. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I have seen a letter from an important personage who reports the laying on the table of secret negotiations for peace. The same letter also states that if it were possible to succeed in detaching England from France, in such case the Dutch would prosecute the war, and that with this in view Don Bernardo di Salinas had been sent by the governor Monterey to London to make advantageous offers to the king there if he will make a separate treaty of peace.
Rome, the 12th August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
131. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France,to the Doge and Senate.
The congress at Cologne. If the minister of Holland was absent it will now be short of the mediator of Sweden because it is rumoured that he may be arriving at this Court at any moment. (fn. 5) Moreover considering that the peace cannot be established except with the intervention of the Austrian and English plenipotentiaries, although France as a power so friendly to them both might put forward their case, yet the fact that no one has yet arrived from either makes it more certain than ever that everything will be dragged out in order that no agreement may be reached. The Baron dell'Isola, who took his departure from the Hague a month ago and who is known to have been staying in Brussels for some weeks, has not yet arrived at Cologne. The tardiness of the English ambassadors is obvious. It is not known whether this proceeds from a desire of that power to protract the agreements until circumstances are more favourable, either by the victory of the fleet at sea or to profit by the opportunity of a landing in Zealand. Others are of opinion that the internal situation in that kingdom obliges the king to prolong the war with Holland as much as possible in order to have a pretext for remaining armed and that the embarcation of troops assembled under the sole command of Sciomberg, who was sent to him from this side for the ostensible purpose of a landing in Zealand, was only a show to cloak by such evidences the plans and objects which he is meditating.
While the British king is not at present applying himself to arrive at a settlement, it is believed that the Catholic power desires it even less. This power is always hoping to profit by the emergence of fresh accidents and from spinning things out it expects to secure the advantages which it cannot hope to gain by its own forces. From what is being said it is doing its utmost to prevent an adjustment with Holland.
With regard to Denmark the Spaniards perceive that although she might be ready to take steps, these could not be of such a kind as to enable them to win the game. But when it came to thinking about England they recognised full well that if it were possible to turn her aside from the close union which she has with this side, that would be the unique means for collecting a double advantage at one stroke. For this they have sent one Salines, as your Excellencies will have heard from the spot, so that by promises and insinuations he may excite suspicion of the true loyalty of this power, and find a way to turn the British king away from his engagements with this side. His principal argument was that France would have established the peace without making this crown a party to it, but the mine has been fired without shattering the ties which hold these two powers united. The Ambassador Colbert writes from that Court that the British king has communicated to him all the negotiations of that minister and has promised him constant loyalty for the maintenance of good friendship. (fn. 6) Thus, up to the present, the Spaniards are contriving every possible delay in order to keep up the hopes of Holland for recovering what has been lost.
Nancy, the 14th August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
132. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
News has come that the English troops embarked on their fleet, as I reported in my last, under the sole command of Sciomberg, a captain of this nation, being sent with the object of arriving in Zealand under the protection of Prince Roberto. But the prince, perceived that it was impossible to cross the Channel without engaging in a resolute combat and fighting the naval and land forces, the Dutch fleet keeping a vigilant watch to guard their shores and storms at sea also impeding their progress, came ultimately to the decision to withdraw. I must say further that the ships laboured heavily in the storm and many of them were compelled to part company with their leader. Nevertheless Sciomberg persisted in his intention to proceed with his landing. Accordingly, to recall those which had separated from the prince, he had the white flag hoisted; but when the prince came up and noticed a flag different from that of the nation, he directed that guns should be fired to make Sciomberg recognise his error. As this was done against Sciomberg's ship, he thought it proper, to tone down the harshness of this order, to send a captain to his ship to make some ostensible apology. But Sciomberg gave orders that he should be detained and imprisoned. (fn. 7)
This action has not led to any further recrimination between the commanders because they have both gone back to England and they are waiting to know what decision the king will give upon the point. With respect to the military decisions of that crown it is clear that he cannot hope to gain victories over Zealand until such time as his sea forces gain a victory over the Dutch, in order to enjoy a free passage and to carry out the landing at his ease. But as, in the common belief, this postulate is very far from being realised, it is not to be expected that decisions for establishing themselves firmly in Zealand can be reached in favour of England.
It has not passed without remark that the king there has declared Sciomberg, a Frenchman, (fn. 8) the sole commander of his troops. Although he is of a corresponding religion it cannot be denied that he is of a different race. It looks as if the king means to avail himself of French leaders in this way, in order to carry out his designs (per formare i suoi tentatiri); that from their success in drawing the sword he hopes for a favourable opportunity for realising the plans which he is projecting, or, in fine, to remove English captains entirely from the command of his forces so long as they are not utterly dependant upon his will.
Nancy, the 14th August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
133. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
News has come of an action between the two fleets which falls in with the arrival of the letters of this week. These say that the Dutch steadily avoided an encounter because of the large numbers of sick that cumbered their fleet. If they meant to continue in this style the forces of the two kings proposed to proceed towards the North to go and meet the Dutch fleet coming from the East Indies with precious capital, to try and capture it. The letters relate that royal orders had reached the English troops landed in the port of Yarmout to hold themselves in readiness so that within an hour of receiving the order they should be prepared to get in motion with all promptitude. They also report some difference between the count of Sciombergh, general of the land forces and Prince Roberto because of the royal standard raised by the former, the Prince, who commands the whole fleet, pretending that his authority was insulted by this. Not satisfied by an office which the count had performed by one of his gentlemen, the prince chose to have the very captain of the frigate put in irons.
The king has ordered Madame de Deffans to go to Tuscany. Some declare that this is to make the Grand Duke acquainted with the motives which have persuaded his Majesty to contribute to the satisfaction of the duke of Yorch in obtaining for him the princess of Modena. That lady is well informed, of high spirit and has great influence with her mistress and it is hoped that she may remove any unpleasant feeling which might have been occasioned by so remarkable a change about, because they say that the first occasion for the talk that was set agoing had its origin in the royal statement that if she dealt with him he showed some intention of seeing that a marriage was brought about between her and this same royal duke.
Paris, the 16th August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
134. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Prince Rupert, having stood out some little way to the northward, expected to fall in with the Dutch East India fleet; but four vessels have got Holland. The forces of the United Provinces are assembled off their coasts, Prince Rupert remaining several days at the mouth of the Texel. Ruiter does not quit his station and with the campaign drawing to its close, people despair of any decisive action. The States have forbidden Ruiter to risk a battle, which he cannot be compelled to give by any means.
Schomberg complains of Prince Rupert for flattering himself that single handed he could destroy the fleet and for leaving him behind at Yarmouth, idle, when he certainly might have attempted a landing somewhere. The king does not choose to give his opinion on these points and the people do not dare to do so, as they do not venture to find fault with the prince's want of skill or with his plans and for such considerations the prestige of the country is sacrificed.
This ill success will make it difficult for the king to obtain satisfaction in the next session of parliament. So they are now intent solely on adjusting everything by a sudden peace. No tidings about this have been received from Cologne, in spite of the report circulated last week. But the king disseminated and authorised the news, to quiet the grumblers.
Arlington shows himself more and more French every day, advocating all the interests of that crown. If justification of this conduct should be asked by parliament, strange commotions will be witnessed. His partisans are already linking themselves together to withstand the shock of persecution. He has not only allied himself with the favourite, Cleveland by marrying his only daughter to a son she bore the king, but having formed a close intimacy with the new favourite, Mademoiselle Karuel, he helped her to get the title of duchess of Portsmouth. On the other hand the treasurer, who is of the opposite party, had scarcely recovered from his dangerous illness ere he obtained the honour of being created Viscount Latimer. On the same occasion the king generously acknowledged the merit of Sir Robert Paston by making him viscount Yarmouth. He is not only allied by blood with the noblest families of England but his own is most ancient, dating from William the Conqueror. From his personal qualities and trusty followers his Majesty promises himself no ordinary service during the approaching session of parliament. (fn. 9)
Many persons suspect that on that occasion something will be said about giving the king a new queen so that the offspring of the duke of York by the new duchess may not succeed to the crown. This will be the most arduous point to which the king has not hitherto inclined. On the contrary, so far as his inmost thoughts can be discovered, he urges the duke's marriage and exerts himself sincerely to effect it, the match being utterly and entirely French.
London, the 18th August, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
135. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I wrote last week of the stir caused at this Court by what happened at Zante, and in truth, without information and instructions I do not know how to defend the proceeding. Arlington met me at Court and said that your Serenity's general, not content with declaring himself in favour of the Dutch, had used force to take from the English captain a fair prize taken in the open sea, using violence in the republic's harbours where the English promised themselves nothing but civility. Instead of this a public affront had been offered to the royal flag. The restitution of the prize was the least that the republic could order for the satisfaction of the king, who expected to see the general reprimanded. Making a collection of old stories he spoke at length about the treatment received by English merchants, of the English consul at Venice and the gunner condemned to death two years ago. (fn. 10) I answered in general terms, saying that I had no notice of the fact. But when the king himself broached the topic to me, saying he believed the Senate would not suffer such an outrage, I besought him not to give credit to the first accounts. I was expecting a statement which would possibly give a more lucid report of the facts. Nothing was more natural than misunderstandings in such encounters.
I subsequently discussed the matter more at length with the duke of York and succeeded in removing the impression he had taken that violence and insult had been offered to the English flag. I suggested that in all probability both ship and cargo were Venetian property, and the general could not allow them to be seized in his own presence. With regard to the manner of effecting the recovery, accounts might differ. With regard to the other complaints I said I felt sure he would attach no importance to them as he was too well informed not to know that disorder and confusion might have arisen to the dissatisfaction of both parties, as trade between the two countries has not been regulated for the last forty years. The duke promised to believe nothing without hearing me first. He desired the secretary to give me a copy of the letter written to him, which I enclose. He said he knew that a treaty of commerce would serve greatly to facilitate trade. I also add a translation of the letter, written to me by Arlington, by the king's order after the question had been discussed in Council. Your Excellencies cannot conceive how much importance is attached to the affair at this Court, both on account of the value of the prize and because of the flag. I hope to receive instructions speedily, as I found none in the ducali of the 7th July. I hope by mildness to calm the irritation, as I am sure that the affair is not such as they represent it.
London, the 18th August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.136. The Earl of Arlington to Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary. (fn. 11)
Captain Walsh, commander of the Jersey frigate, having humbly represented to his Majesty that, coming from Smyrna with five merchant ships under his convoy and turning up to the bay of Zant on the 9th June last, there came off four Venetian men of war, one whereof had a flag in the main top, and that another, which he took to be of their consorts, came close upon a wind and ran to windward of him, within command of his guns, without spreading his colours or showing what he was. However the Captain omitted at that time firing at him till he got him out of command of the flag, and the captain's boat then coming off and informing him that they were told on shore he was a Dutchman, the captain tacked after him and beginning his chase about 4 o'clock in the evening, about 8 brought him within shot, he all the while making what sail he possibly could to get away, which gave the captain just cause to suspect him, the other knowing and seeing by the captain's colours what he was. The captain fired several shots that he would bear to him, but seeing the other neither would do it nor show his colours, he fetched upon him, the other taking several turns to keep the weather gauge of him; and the captain, about 12 at night, coming up fair by him, manned his boat and set to hail him at a convenient distance. The other replied he came from Scanderoon, bound for Venice. Then the captain commanded him to strike for the king of England; the other answering that he would not till he came on board with his ship. The captain came close under his lee and fired into him five or six guns, whereupon he struck and come under his stern. Then the captain commanded his boat about. The other sends him his steersman; but when he had sent to fetch the commander, he found him (by name Cornelis van Lymen) and all his officers to be Dutch, the ship called the St. Justinian, of Dutch build, 160 lasts, 18 guns and 36 men. And finding likewise Dutch colours on board and papers, which he took with him, whereby he judged the vessel belonged to Hollanders, he put men on board her and about 10 the next morning came into Zant road, the ships he convoyed being then at anchor. But so it was that about 11 of the clock he received a message from the general of the Venetian armada, Sig. Andrea Valier, then in that port with 18 galleys and two galeasses, that he should deliver him up the said ship, for that she belonged to Venetians. The captain answered that she proving a Hollander with all Dutch officers and Dutch colours on board etc. and being informed from shore that she was certainly so, he could not part with her but secure her for the use of the king, his master. The general returned answer that he had secured all the masters of the merchant ships on shore. Whereupon the captain desired a conference with him, but he would not grant it, threatening moreover to come to him with his whole power and with violence to possess himself of the captain's prize, as he did that night about 8 of the clock, coming in person with his 18 galleys and two galeasses and running his prize on board with two galleys, cut her cable in two and took her by force. Which his Majesty resenting at a very high degree as an hostility he little expected from the subjects of that republic with whom he hath, on his part ever kept so inviolable a friendship, His Majesty hath commanded me thus to give you the detail of the whole matter that you may accordingly represent it to the Senate for their speedy order to secure the said vessel and her lading for his Majesty's use, and for the punishment of the said general for so notorious a violence and affront to his Majesty's flag.
Whitehall, the 4th August, 1673.
(Signed): Arlington.
[English.]
Enclosure.137. Captain L. Walsh of the Jersey.
An account of the incident as above.
From on board the Jersey, 17 June, 1673, in Zant Road.
[English and Italian translation.]
Aug. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
138. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Concerning the affairs of England there are no comments as everyone is waiting to see what decision the king will take about the incident between Sciomberg and Prince Roberto. In this connection there are some here who declare that this king has declared in favour of the former, (fn. 12) but this is not considered sufficiently authentic to permit me to report it to your Serenity as the king is only too cautious in expressing himself about his own affairs, still more so about those of others.
Nancy, the 19th August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
139. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
With regard to the duke of Hiorch and his marriage affairs, it is said here that the treaty has been settled with a princess of Modena of the age of only thirteen years. (fn. 13)
Nancy, the 19th August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci, Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
140. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Catholic ambassador here predicts a prolonged and universal war although in the opinion of the wisest there is not enough combustible material to keep it going. He adds besides that the incident between Prince Roberto and Conismary (sic) may prove the seed of discord between England and France. He represents this as being a step taken by Conesmary contrary to the regulations established by the Admiralty before he started, and one of excessive audacity as it shows not only the superiority which France pretends to introduce over England but a bold design on the part of the captain to make himself the determined director of both men and ships. But those who look at this distant event with a telescope which makes it of its natural size, see clearly that the British king will regard it as an equivocation and that he will not be willing, for a case of that kind to spoil the arrangements of the alliance which he preserves with this kingdom, the more so because this incident was not the principal reason which prevented the English from embarking but the fortune of the sea which upset the arrangements by separating the squadrons and the ships. There are those who would like any accident to dissolve the ties which bind that country to this one, but there are none strong enough by a long way to upset the present arrangements and so far as one can see they will strike their blow in the current year.
Nancy, the 21st August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
141. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
With regard to the marriage of the duke of Hyorch with a princess of Mantua, daughter of the Mancini, no assurance has been given here, indeed within three or four days they will be sending in that direction for such a business, the marquis of Angio (fn. 14) so that the matter may be concluded with the assistance of a royal minister. The journey of this envoy will be hastened and they propose to make it by the posts.
Nancy, the 21st August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Milano.
Venetian
Archives.
142. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
The pretentions of England with the Genoese (fn. 15) would not be considered were it not for the union which might be made with the king of France. They are much afraid that these have not been concerted merely for a verbal satisfaction and that it is intended to keep the requests alive in order to act together when the attentions of the Spaniards are turned towards Italy, for the need that that queen might have of assistance and in such guise keep occupied and distracted those who might be sent to other ports.
Milan, the 23rd August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
143. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
We received your letters of the 4th instant. This morning the consul of England came into our Collegio with some ship captains of the nation. They presented the enclosed petition. As the Captain Henry Coder of the ship Africana, had already consented to the judgment of the office del Forastier it is not now possible to prevent the prosecution of the customary judicial acts. Nevertheless with the consideration and desire, which is always present to render that nation satisfied and content the despatch of this same affair has been pressed forward. We are sending the decision of the Senate of the 4th July, 1646, quoted in the petition aforesaid, of which you will see a copy here, to the magistracy of the Five Savii alla Mercanzia to the end that when similar cases occur in the future, they may see that it is punctually observed.
In full possession of the facts you will be able, if ever the matter is brought up in conversation, to assure them always of forwardness and goodwill for the advantage of the nation and its satisfaction.
That a copy of the Senate's decree of the 4th July, 1646 on the subject of pacts between captains and sailors of ships from the West, be sent to the magistracy of the Five Savii alla Mercanzia so that they may ensure its punctual observance in the cases which may occur.
Ayes, 123. Noes, 3. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
Aug. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
144. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to to Doge and Senate.
Gun fire is heard from all the coasts of the realm and there is no longer doubt about an engagement between the two fleets. No particulars have yet been received as a head wind has prevented the arrival of the advice boats. But this morning most agreeable intelligence was received in a letter from the prince, dated last Sunday in which he writes that on Saturday night a very rich Dutch East Indiaman passed through the English fleet and on Sunday morning was discovered and captured in the midst of the French squadron. (fn. 16) This vessel the prince sends to the king and adds that now the Dutch have at last quitted the shoals, he will press them to give battle. It is argued that they will come out in order to occupy the English fleet and prevent it from giving chase to the East Indiamen.
The captain reports that he left the two fleets very near together on Sunday morning. On the afternoon of that day and throughout Monday incessant gunfire was heard. But this morning the king said he did not believe that there had been a general action, as no further advices have been received and that the Dutch had not stood firm but returned to the shoals.
The statement made by the Dutch captain about the Indies is confused. He talks about a post occupied by the English into whose hands he suspects that four ships in his company in those parts have fallen. (fn. 17) It is true that what I wrote last week about the arrival of four East Indiamen in Holland was incorrect. On the other hand it is true that five Indiamen have arrived here, as well as the fleets from the Straits and Barbadoes together with two ships of the New Guinea Company. (fn. 18) All this rejoices the nation and the king derives great profits from the customs.
On receiving the ducali of the 28th July I proposed to obey at once but I have never been able to find Arlington disengaged to speak to him about the Zante affair and to undeceive him about the information given by the English captain, by proving the insult offered to the ship Sta. Giustina. During the present excitement it is difficult for Arlington to give audiences. This inclines him the more to ask for written memorials, which constitute one of the greatest difficulties at this Court. The English believe that when a minister avoids committing himself in writing he departs further from his sovereign's instructions. However, if it is not enough to tell him the true circumstances I will mention the matter quietly to the king in private conversation. I will also tell the duke of York and make every effort to follow out my instructions.
A courier has arrived from Genoa I believe with full satisfaction in the matter of insurances. I will find out next week.
London, the 25th August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
145. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the instructions given by the Dutch to their plenipotentiaries are secret, it is known here that they are but slightly inclined towards peace. It is stated unreservedly that Spain has at last declared for Holland and will wage war on France. Fresno denies that Monterey gave any such promise to the Dutch, but as their minister at Brussels protested strongly that they will make terms with France if Spain does not declare herself, it is possible that Monterey may have expressed himself more freely than heretofore. The English government, thus wavering between peace and war is in a state of great confusion and home affairs demand a speedy peace.
If the prize taken proves valuable and the prince succeeds in capturing its consorts, according to the hopes held out by him, the king will have plenty of money for his own need without calling parliament. It is whispered by many that the king will make every effort to avoid the meeting. But while unlike others, I never thought he would call it before October, I think now that he will convoke it when he needs it, to ask for money or, if not, to exact a reckoning for past offences.
In the mean time the king assists his brother by allowing him to insert in the marriage contract all possible facilities for the Catholics of the duchess's household. But scruples have arisen about the princess of Modena; it is said that she is too young and of too delicate a constitution to yield such offspring as is looked for here.
In France they propose the princess's aunt, aged 26 years, the sister of Duke Alfonso, (fn. 19) and a commission has been sent from hence to the Ambassador Peterborough to see and report. Some suspect Peterborough of having been bribed on behalf of other women in France and that is why he broke off the treaty with Neuburg. I hear the last spoken of with some favour, his Majesty in particular being inclined that way. An express was sent yesterday to Peterborough to hasten the business as the duke is anxious for a decision.
London, the 25th August, 1673.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 25.
Senato,
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
146. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After sending off my despatch I went to the Court to be present at the arrival of all the news and to get it pure, before adulteration by private interest or passion. Lord Wan has just arrived from the fleet, at eleven at night, with letters from the prince. The king says that the battle began on Sunday afternoon and lasted through Monday. (fn. 20) The only vessel left dismasted and without sails was the Prince. Spragh, admiral of the Blue, who commanded it, was drowned in passing from one ship to another, a cannon shot having struck the skiff that carried him. Also Captain Reeves a favourite of the prince was struck in the face by a cannon shot. (fn. 21) This is all the loss which he records in the English fleet and he says he does not know how many vessels the Dutch lost. This is all that the king knows up to this moment. I am sending this letter express by a messenger on horseback, to overtake the courier. On Monday we shall perhaps know the rest, Prince Rupert having gone after the Dutch.
London, the 25th August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
147. Francesco Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
With respect to the hostile fleets it is reported that on the 22nd a considerable engagement took place towards the Texel. Further particulars consist in the statement that the French losses amount to five ships which have perished by fire and that the Dutch have in addition captured from the English four considerable ships with an important number of prisoners.
Strasburg, the 28th August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 30.
Senato.
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Milano.
Venetian
Archives.
148. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
It is already two weeks since we learned from the gazettes that the earl of Peterbero was to arrive in Italy for negotiations of a marriage between the duke of Yorch and the princess of Modena. When he arrives I will try to find out all I can so that I may communicate it to your Serenity.
Milan, the 30th August, 1673.
[Italian.]
Aug. 30.
Senato,
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
149. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
News of the naval engagement. The reports received or rather appearances make men conceive that events at sea are not proving so prosperous for this crown as the encounters on land which have always proved fortunate. They consider here as much more regrettable the differences which have occurred between the commanders, arising out of the circumstances of this engagement, which might lead to mischief and even to some disadvantage which they have experienced in this conjuncture; although they see such a union between these two crowns that they believe the disposition to be unalterable, no matter what may happen hereafter.
Paris, the 30th August, 1673.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Her mother, married to Alfonso IV of Este, duke of Modena, was Laura Martinozzi daughter of Girolamo Martinozzi, a Roman, by Margareta Mazarin,and a cousin of the famous Cardinal Giulio Mazarin. The princess, born 5 Oct., 1658, was not quite fifteen at this date.
2 The warrant for his discharge from the Gatehouse is dated 30 July, o.s, Cal. S. P. Dom. 1673, page 471.
3 It was resolved in Council on 30 July, o.s., that a letter should be prepared to the republic of Venice, for the king's signature, complaining of these injuries and affronts, with expectation that speedy justice would be done to those that set on the English boat and that the Dutch prize (the Santa Giustina) or its value would be restored. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1673, page 470.
4 Of Maastricht.
5 Otto William, count of Konigsmarck. “Count Coningsmarke is expected here this night or to-morrow.” Lockhart to Arlington on 4/14 August, 1673. S. P. France, Vol. CXXXVIII.
6 “Le roi d'Angleterre me dit qu'il s'étonnait que Dom Bernard de Salinas fut encore ici et qu'il voyait bien que son retardement n'était qu'un artifice pour continuer a abuser les Hollondais; mais qu'il lui allait faire ordonnance expressement de se retirer.” Arlington declared that it was obvious Salinas had only come to detach England from her allies. Colbert to the king on 3 August, 1673. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
7 He has not got the story quite correctly. On 18 July, o.s., the Greyhound, Capt. John Clements, came sailing through the fleet with a flag at the maintop, to show that Schomberg was on board. On seeing this Rupert sent a lieutenant to order the flag to be struck, and afterwards fired a shot, so that this was done. Capt. Clements went on board the Royal Sovereign later on and told the Prince it was one of Lord Mulgrave's colours; thereupon Rupert had him put in irons for his impudence, though he was released soon after. Schomberg strongly resented this insult, but Rupert explained later that he had no intention of mortifying him. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1673, pages 442, 454, 476. In reporting the incident Colbert says that the king and the duke of York did not approve of Rupert's action “mais comme tout cette cour est fachée de voir le commandement des troupes entre les mains d'un étranger, il n'y a presque personne qui ne loue l'action du Prince.” Colbert to the king on 3 August. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
8 He was a German, born in Cleves of an English mother, Anne daughter of Edward Sutton, lord Dudley; but he had been in the French service since 1652.
9 This rather fulsome reference to Sir Robert Paston is probably due to Alberti having allied himself with the family. He seems to have married Paston's daughter Margaret about this time, though it is not till a year later that she is mentioned as having forfeited certain lands by marrying an alien. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1673–5, page 330. He was, however, married by 29 September, 1073 as Salvetti thus writes of him on that date: “Sig. Alberti, essendo richiamato si e in questa settimana licenziato della Corte in ordine alla sua partenza, benche alcuni dicono che li parenti della sua consorte habbino prevalsi con esso Sig. residente di rimanere in questo regno o almeno di lasciare la moglie indietro durante il tempo che vadi a Venezia per accomodare gli suoi affari in ordine al suo stabilimento in questo regno.” Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 V., fol. 165d.
10 In the preceding volume of this Calendar, pages. 30, 31.
11 This and the following paper are not with the file of despatches at the Frari, but are in Alberti's letter book which is preserved in the library of St. Mark, Venice, Classe VII, Cod. MLXXII
12 See note at page 89 above.
13 Born in October, 1658, she was nearly fifteen.
14 Philip de Courcillon, marquis de Dangeau.
15 On his way out to Constantinople, Sir John Finch stayed at Genoa, and on the 2nd August, N.S., he presented a memorial containing various demands. These were (1) payment of insurances due by Genoese merchants to English subjects, amounting to over 60,000 gold crowns; (2) the abolition of a charge of 2 per cent. for convoy money; (3) the question of salutes; his king would not be content with a hair less than they observe with France; (4) restoration of the ship Swallow, a prize taken by the Dutch and bought by some Genoese; (5)the removal of several grievances of the factors there. He ended with the threat “So powerful a monarch does not use to repeat his desires.” S. P. Genoa, Vol. II.
16 The Papenburgh of Enkhuizen, of 500 tons burthen and sixteen guns, taken on the 10th August, o.s. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1673, pages 485, 488.
17 This refers to the recapture of the island of St. Helena by the English on the 5th May and of three of their East Indiamen, the Oliphant, Europa and Wappen van Kamveer on the 27th. Aitzema and Bos: Historien onses Tyds, page 660. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1673, pages 506–7.
18 On 29 July the David arrived at Kinsale with 40 merchantmen, four East India ships, one from Guinea and the rest from Barbadoes. Cal. S.P. Dom, 1673, page 484.
19 Leonora was the only surviving sister of duke Alfonso, born in 1643.
20 The battle of the Texel, fought on 11 August, o.s.
21 Sir William Reeves, a former page of Rupert. Schomberg thought that his influence over the prince was excessive and mischievous. He died of his wound on 17/27 August. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1673, pages 455, 498.