Venice
February 1674, 16-28

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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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213-227

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'Venice: February 1674, 16-28', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 38: 1673-1675 (1947), pp. 213-227. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90370 Date accessed: 26 July 2014.


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February 1674, 16–28

Feb. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
285. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Two weeks ago we sent you a memorial of the Consul Hayles and a statement of the captain of the Concordia who on his arrival did not say anything about an encounter with the ship San Niccolo. Now we have to add that from the captain himself and the sailors it appears that at midnight the said ships met, when the captains spoke together. Some suspicion arose with the firing of two guns, from what the captain of the Concordia says, but without any harm being done. From what has been gathered from the examinations taken and from the captain of the ship San Niccolo having given the customary pledges before his departure, it appears clearly that it is a merchant ship as indeed are all the others which are found in this port and which arrive here. However, in our concern that the navigation of the Gulf shall be accompanied with all possible safety and desiring at the same time, upon every occasion, to show an especial good will towards the nation, additional directions are being given so that, with new pledges and suitable admonitions to owners as well as other measures, there may be assurance that no harm will be inflicted on any vessel in the Gulf itself and that no ship shall issue from the port armed for war.
Such resolute action on our part will suffice, with your ability, to destroy in those parts any evil impression which may possibly have been given by the consul's report. We are also letting him know that orders are being given for the prevention of every irregularity and he is being assured of our steadfast good will towards the English nation. For your enlightenment we are sending you a copy of the memorial sent yesterday to the Collegio by the ambassador of France here, to which, on the particular of ships of war answer will be given on the same lines as are set forth above.
That the consul of England be sent for to the doors of the Collegio and that he receive there from a secretary an assurance of the resolute intention of the signory that no harm shall be done to ships in the Gulf, to which end the necessary orders have been issued and also that he may be assured of the state's good will towards his nation.
Vote in the Collegio: Ayes 16. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Feb. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
286. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The whole of this week has been passed in discussing the peace which the country desires impatiently. The king himself, seeing the necessity for it, prudently tries to adapt himself to it and to save his own reputation so far as he possibly can. He allowed Rovigni to publish the paper of which I enclose a translation. The ambassador, to his mortification, saw it ignored and is now aware that there is no longer any means for renewing the alliance with the Most Christian.
The arrival of another courier from Holland caused the Spanish ambassador to have audience of his Majesty and the peace is proceeding rapidly. I will try to explain the manner of it as clearly as possible while the negotiations are on foot, though there is scarce time to discover the truth in the midst of the very contradictory reports in circulation.
The king perceiving parliament to be bent on peace and despairing of its concurrence in the Dutch war, decided to treat with Holland. As a mark of esteem he sent for the Spanish ambassador and told him that as he had the trouble of ripening the negotiation, he should leave it entirely in his hands for completion. The king commended his manner of proceeding and intimated that he might not have felt equal confidence in the Governor Monterey.
The chief difficulties encountered were (1) concerning the flag. On this Fresno declared that the Dutch had put themselves in the hands of Spain and that to avoid the onus of a declaration which might displease all the other powers interested, and to rid England of the scruple about its extent, which the Dutch limit to the British seas, the king of Spain will define a wide area within which the Dutch are to lower their flag.
(2) With regard to the India trade, they ask the king to wait until three months after the settlement. On the third point, about recalling the troops from France, it may possibly be arranged by a promise not to permit the enlistment of others, those at present in the French service being few and their ranks much thinned.
The motive assigned by the king here for the peace and his pretext for breaking the alliance with France are the marriage of the duke of York's eldest daughter to the prince of Orange, Fresno having full powers to conclude the negotiation.
Fresno does not approve of their decision here to send Sir William Temple as ambassador to the Hague. He wants to be minister and sole confidant himself. To this end he has postponed Temple's departure for Holland, although it had been settled for this morning. Here their object is to conclude and sign the treaties at the Hague; the only reason so far as I can discover, is to treat face to face with the Dutch without the intervention of others.
In the mean time parliament, not being in the secret, went yesterday to announce to the king its vote in favour of peace. Public opinion has now begun to divide; many do not approve of the Dutch offers and say that it will be a precipitate peace, a parliament peace.
London, the 16th February, 1673. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
287. Ruvigny's Memorial. (fn. 1)
Dated at London, 7 February, 1674.
[Italian from the French.]
Feb. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
288. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Arlington's enemies think to damn him in public opinion by a report of his having bribed several members of parliament at a cost of 20,000l. Accordingly it was moved in the Commons, with considerable support, that to prevent corruption and total ruin it would be necessary to administer an oath to all the members against their taking money for any cause soever or under any pretext. (fn. 2) The bill may possibly be carried as there are many impartial members who vote disinterestedly.
To this step must be added the outspokenness of Rovigni, who threatens to publish a list of devotees of the rix dollars of Holland. He protests indeed that unless the devotees of French crown pieces, such being the name for the pensioners of the French king, say something more in favour of the alliance with his master, he will proclaim their names as well. But all with one accord blame him for risking so great a secret which would for ever destroy the confidential relations of the French with this Court.
To return to the Commons. With these suspicions to trouble them, Buckingham's adherents thought they might attempt his relief by suggesting that as Arlington had been acquitted it became a necessary act of prudence to absolve his rival Buckingham, lest the former rule alone. But they met with violent opposition and the House finally decided to present a petition to the king for his banishment. They did the same thing yesterday with Lauderdale, but have not received any definite reply.
Opinions vary about the king's plans after the peace, but most persons infer that he will prorogue parliament without having given his assent to a single bill during the session. He cannot expect any money either, as the plausible cause for the demand was the war, and that over, the members would find it difficult to justify the grant to the country.
The House of Lords is discussing a bill against the Catholics, the object of which is to remove the eldest sons of Catholic peers from the custody of their fathers, and hand them over to the bishops to be instructed in the Protestant religion. They are not yet agreed and have ulterior objects in view and I will report the result next week.
In the mean time news has been received here from Holland of a decree of that Province, prompted by a proposal from the deputies of Harlem and West Friesland, that the office of Stadtholder shall be hereditary in the male heirs of the prince of Orange and that they shall also succeed to the offices of Captain and Lord High Admiral of the United Provinces. This gives great satisfaction here and will be quoted as one of the points gained in the present war.
London, the 16th February, 1673. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
289. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In order not to delay the news until next Friday's post I announce by this letter the conclusion of the peace with Holland, which is to be signed to-day on the terms mentioned in my last, with this in addition that England is to recall her troops from France. The Spanish ambassador has had the satisfaction of establishing the treaty at this Court all to himself, through the confidence reposed in him, and Temple will go later on to the Hague, at his leisure.
On Saturday the Lower House voted that the king should disband all the troops raised since 1663, and to-day they further voted it treason to propose or to raise money from the people without an act of parliament. They have also carried a resolution to have the duke of Norfolk sent from Padua to London, entailing serious consequences for the Howard family, which I will detail in my next.
London, the 18th February, 1673. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 19.
Collegio
Secreta.
Esposizioni
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
290. The consul of England having been summoned to the doors of the Collegio, by order of the Savii, I, the secretary, acted in accordance with the decision of the 13th inst. The consul replied that he bowed to the honour and to the communication made to him. The orders of the Senate were admirably adapted to prevent improper incidents. English ships would render prompt obedience. He would send word to England about this and of the friendly expressions of the state for his nation.
[Italian.]
Feb. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
291. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English minister does not experience great difficulty here in persuading them that sheer necessity, in order not to throw the interests of that kingdom into greater confusion and to avoid an exposure to more perilous encounters, had forced his king to adhere to negotiations for peace separately from France and to consent to those terms recognised by the Chambers there as honourable and of service to the country, so that his Majesty could not disapprove or dissent. Such are the reasons which he adduces and they are also borne out by the relations of Colbert who has recently returned home. Of the same tenor also are the reports arrived from Ruvigni, who in spite of all the means tried had not been able to achieve any success in inducing the parliament there to recognise its obligations (la convenienza) towards this Most Christian crown. All that his Majesty desired was that the British king, as a stronger proof of the loyalty which he has protested on so many occasions, should have adduced to the Chambers the alliance established with him, in order to resist the treaties. But the Englishman pleads that with parliament in such a state of excitement it was not possible to give any sign on the king's side which might create the impression that he wished to continue the war to the detriment of the country merely in order to give pleasure to France. Such an impression would have caused the Chambers to become mistrustful of the king and consequently it would have been of most essential prejudice to that crown and it would not have brought any advantage except from seeing the detriment to the British king more clearly exposed.
In this way Locar labours to render his king free from reproach and free from the condemnation that such a step might bring upon him. He shows the greatest eagerness to facilitate the boon for this crown also and has already offered the mediation of his sovereign. It is suggested that he has already obtained some beginning of consent from having had the passports granted to him for the deputies of the duke of Lorraine.
Nevertheless they have misgivings here that the Dutch, puffed up by seeing England detached from this side and themselves become masters at sea, may not continue in the disposition for peace which they had. That the interests of the Prince of Orange and his object to keep himself in a position of such authority may make it difficult and that the Spaniards also who have established the alliance with so much labour and who receive from it an advantage so considerable may encourage them to make them put aside any such decision. These considerations, which are only too notorious, oblige them to attend to the most vigorous preparations and already they are in such a state of forwardness that they seem confident of attacks against Flanders and Franche Comté, desiring by such means to oblige Spain to wish for peace and to secure one thereby with greater advantages than can be expected under present circumstances.
Paris, the 21st February, 1674.
[Italian.]
Feb. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
292. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Monday I sent word of the peace by way of Lyon. The persons nominated by the king for the purpose are the lord treasurer, the lord keeper, the lord privy seal, the duke of Ormonde, the earl of Arlington and Coventry, second secretary of state. The articles have not yet been published, but they correspond with what I have reported. The Dutch having left Spain to decide she, to please England, has proclaimed distinctly an ample boundary within which the Dutch are to dip to the English flag, the general term “British seas” being dispensed with. On the other hand out of regard for Spain, England has consented to await the settlement of the India trade at the hands of commissioners, who will be sent here within three months from this date. A special clause is inserted that if the two nations do not agree either in the execution of the treaty or in establishing the trade, Spain as mediatrix shall settle such disputes as may arise.
The day before yesterday the king in his royal robes went to parliament and announced that in accordance with their wish and advice he had arranged a speedy peace with the Dutch. It was an honourable one and he hoped it would last. He did not enter into any further particulars.
The nation in general is satisfied with the peace, which they desired though the means by which it has been attained do not meet with universal approval. While the conduct of the king on this occasion is commended as most sage because with exemplary moderation he gave way and consented to sacrifice everything to necessity and to the quiet of the country, the ministers are condemned by some for engaging in a war distasteful to the nation, and others again blame parliament for its obstinate aversion from a war of such vital interest for this country.
From these premises the Signory will infer that the wound is closed but not healed. It is evident that not a particle of trust is placed in Holland; and the physician Fresno does not apologise for having used violent remedies, declaring that he thought only of the present interests of his own sovereign. He was apprehensive that Temple's mission to the Hague might delay the conclusion of the peace, so he postponed it and he also succeeded in persuading the ministry here to sign it before the arrival of the Swedish envoy Spaar, in spite of the remonstrance of the Swedish resident.
Three days ago Sir Gabriel Silvius left with the treaty of peace to obtain its ratification at the Hague (fn. 3) Fresno has also arranged a second treaty between Spain and England though its contents have not transpired as yet.
The marriage of the duke of York's daughter to Orange will be negotiated more at leisure, and while the government here would have liked to have had a greater share in the prince's restoration to the dignities held by his ancestors it is to be feared that, dazzled by the marks of esteem now lavished on him by the Provinces, he may place himself at their mercy and neglect his relations with the crown of England.
On the other hand the English government, after abandoning the king of France, is now anxious to resume confidential intercourse. Everything is being arranged for the king of England to negotiate peace between the Dutch and their associates and the Most Christian. I fancy that Fresno greatly favours this as he is now acting without consulting Monterey or communicating with him.
Rovigni is stricken with amazement and neither acts nor speaks. Two days ago a special messenger came to him from France. The English packet boat was stopped by Dutch corsairs who stripped the messenger and his fellow countrymen on board naked, despite the frost, the letters alone escaping by good fortune. This is all that has passed so far between the English and Dutch since the peace.
On the arrival of Spaar something more definite will perhaps be known about the mediation in favour of France also. I will duly make report as suggested in the ducali of the 27th January. I will only add that I heard a great minister remark: Where can the king of France employ so many soldiers as he now has on foot, unless he provides occupation for them before signing the peace with Holland.
London, the 23rd February, 1673. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
293. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
At the beginning of these sessions of parliament the general cry was that if the king had only broken the alliance with France he would have gained the heart of the whole nation. Beyond this he has now made peace with Holland yet all seems insufficient to tranquillise men's minds or to expel the suspicions and grievances by which the English pretend they are oppressed. On the supposition that the troops raised by the king were for the purpose of forcibly suppressing the liberty of the subject the Lower House petitioned the king to dismiss the whole force raised since 1663. On the morning when he announced the peace to parliament the king said that he had not only decided, before he received the petition, to reduce the army to the complement of 1663 but to reduce it still further and to send back to Ireland the force which was marching this way for the reinforcement of the fleet. He thus stated that he did this of his own accord and not at the solicitation of the Commons, who seek to gain credit with the people by proposing what may please them. They subsequently voted a petition for the disbanding of the Scottish troops as well.
That same Wednesday morning, after announcing the peace, the king asked money to build ships as a precautionary measure, needed for the defence of the kingdom (fn. 4) ; but so far no attention has been paid to this by the Lower House. They set out there to make it treason to attempt to raise money without parliament, thus closing certain channels through which the king obtained funds in cases of urgency, and, as is the custom at present, in many particular cases.
The king has made no reply to the petitions of the Commons against Lauderdale and Buckingham; but he sent an intimation to the latter that he must sell his office of Master of the Horse. On the other hand the House of Lords has acquitted him in the Shrewsbury affair.
It is evident that his Majesty, perceiving the animosity of the people against those who advocated the war and the alliance with France, all of them members of the so called Cabal ministry, means to let the people vent their wrath on these individuals and on all the pretended abuses in order to refute the false report of his allowing parliament to sit for the sole purpose of getting money.
Besides the oath which the Lower House is preparing to prevent members from taking bribes and selling their votes, another oath is being drawn up to be given to the Catholics, so that they may be convicted within six months, whereas, under the existing laws, they are able to protract judgment for years.
The Upper House also had a design upon the Papists, discussing the legality of the queen's employment of English priests. It is hastening the bill for consigning to the bishops the eldest sons of Catholic peers. The object of this innovation does not end here and they went on to unmask as, taking it for granted that the crown would be in danger if it passed to a Catholic prince, they proposed to prevent this by act of parliament. (fn. 5) Lord Shaftesbury and Lord Olifax (a creature of the duke of York and formerly his devoted adherent) were the most violent speakers in favour of the measure. Lord Carlisle and others expressed themselves with moderation. On the other side the bishop of York supported by the bishop of Winchester, who were both cheered by the rest of the bishops, contended that by divine law, obedience and submission were due not only to a popish king, but to a tyrant and even to a pagan. The lord keeper quoted the example of Queen Elizabeth who, although declared ineligible by parliament, succeeded to the crown without opposition. He went on to prove eloquently that parliament was absolutely powerless to prevent the succession. The privy seal, the earl of Anglesea, strongly supported by others, followed the bishops, who had called the attempt diabolical. He added that it was damnable and he believed that it would kindle a flame, not to be extinguished even in the third and fourth generation. The proposal ought therefore not only to be rejected forthwith but those who had advocated so abominably treasonable a resolution should be condemned.
The duke of York, who was present and is the butt of their designs, although not mentioned by name, thought fit to move an amendment that they should simply allow the matter to drop, without committing the House to proceed further, his moderation contenting itself with a victory which would have been more signal if he had consented to the punishment of the authors of so monstrous an innovation. Others think it would have been more dangerous to court revenge and promote suspicion of too great authority; but the majority declare that it has always been dangerous, nay fatal, to spare offenders and expect improvement, when they neither repent of their faults nor feel shame for them.
London, the 23rd February, 1673. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
294. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The enemies of France, not satisfied with breaking the alliance and establishing one with Spain and confidential relations with her agents at this Court, to the eternal exclusion of close friendship with the Most Christian, have also, by an officious inquiry into the state of trade, agitated the whole nation and they are attempting great changes. The House of Peers has appointed several commissioners to report upon the state of trade with France and to discuss how to continue or suppress it before England incurs further loss. They pretend here that the importation of French wines amounts yearly to 700,000l. besides silk stuffs to the value of over 300,000l., with many other minor articles of great value and detrimental to English manufacturers. In the mean time the Custom House has burned a quantity of hats and gloves captured from smugglers.
On the other hand they complain that France has most heavily taxed English woollens, annihilating their export and sale, while she receives nothing but ready money in exchange for her own commodities.
One of the difficulties encountered by them in this scheme is that it subjects the king to an annual loss of 300,000l. which he derives from the wine duties. It is foreseen that he will not recover this from the unimportant duty on beer and ale or on Spanish wines, which will be drunk instead. They have no hesitation whatever about Spanish wines, not only on account of the prodigious quantity of baize and other English woollens which that country takes in exchange, but also because of all the silver plate which they get, which they do not consider as merchandise. In this general survey of English trade they included that with Venice, regarding it in the unfavourable light represented by the late Resident Dodinton, who believed that English trade was much wronged by the republic; that at Zante currants were sold dearer than ever, extra duties being imposed to the detriment of this nation, and that Venetian glass utterly ruins the English manufactories of that article which are so rapidly improving. (fn. 6) Without acting formally on behalf of the republic I have thought fit to suggest to a peer, a friend of mine, that the state of Venice consumes 25,000 barrels of herrings yearly besides a quantity of other salt fish, while it imports woollen manufactures, tin and lead, and the merchants there are paid in ready money, from which a very small sum is deducted for glass. At Zante they invested a certain amount in currants but they always had a surplus in hand, independent of the benefit England derived from shipping by the return freights she got thereby, and the greatness of the country was founded more by trade with distant countries than by manufactures. It was more important to England to maintain sailors, ships and the custom House than to fatten four furnace masters who merely wanted a monopoly and to fill their own purse. But money that passes through the hands of merchants wins credit for the mart of London and stimulates trade which yields profit and brings in the foreigner's money, while artificers consume it and impoverish the kingdom. In London a dozen of Venetian drinking glasses cost six shillings, two of which remain at Venice, converted into herrings; the other four go to England, one for freight, one for duty and two for the shopkeepers' profit. This money is better distributed among the people than that of the furnaces which, in the long run will produce indigestion. The shopkeepers who sell drinking glasses and earthenware pots have brought up this matter at the suggestion of some of the furnace masters; but I hope they will be opposed by the public, for even if the English wish to perfect this manufacture at home they will find it expensive to injure trade and navigation for the sake of enriching four private persons in London, who are trying to blockade the kingdom and to dictate the quality and price of mirrors and drinking glasses.
It is also right that the state should learn of the vote of the Lower House for the removal to England of the duke of Norfolk, now under charge as a lunatic at Padua. This is merely a renewal of the attempt made in the time of the late rebellion (fn. 7) , when one of the leaders sought to get the duke to England for the purpose of marrying him to his own taste and inheriting the Howard property. So at the present time this is merely a blow aimed at the earl marshal, the duke's brother, who is head of the family and master of its estates. Being a Catholic and having suffered much for his religion, he is now exposed to this insult.
The Upper House has not yet replied to the bill presented by the Commons, and it is hoped that the peers will not interfere in the matter; but even if they approve it and the king gives his assent, no one believes that the duke will ever come to London, as they are aware of the opposition offered by the Signory on the last occasion and of the difficulty of bringing a madman of such rank in safety to England. The earl marshal told me that he had always considered the republic as his second sovereign next to the king. As he has always made this known and received several testimonies of the Signory's graciousness, he hopes in case of need for the grant of any suit that he may have occasion to make to your Excellencies.
London, the 23rd February, 1673. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
295. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
We enclose a copy of the reply given to the Consul Hayles about the affairs of the Gulf. From the enclosed copy of the paper presented by the consul you will perceive the insistence with which, after an interval, he renews his proposal about the consulage. We attach the reply given by the magistracy of the Five Savii alla Mercanzia. The devices by which this consul endeavours to possess himself of this innovation are very apparent. We have never been willing to give our assent to this because of the injury that would be inflicted upon trade. Your efforts must therefore be devoted, as before, based upon sound arguments, that this change be not insisted upon but that they shall agree to let things go on as before. Since we notice that the consul, in his paper, states that this affair has been committed to the Cavalier Ugons, it would be a very good thing that he should be informed about the injury that would inevitably be inflicted upon trade and that orders should be given to him not to encourage this change upon his arrival here. In this we are sure that you will act with all the tact and dexterity that are requisite.
Be it resolved that the Five Savii alla Mercanzia be recommended to summon before them the consul of England and after assuring him of the public regard for him personally and for his nation to endeavour by arguments which they are well able to bring forward in abundance, to dissuade him from his efforts to make this change, while, on the other hand supplying him with every facility to enable him to obtain from the ships those dues which have been customary and ordinary. We feel sure that in the end the consul in his prudence, will readily fall in with this, as is only right and reasonable.
Ayes, 121. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Feb. 24.
Collegio
Secreta.
Esposizioni
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
296. Memorial presented by the consul of England.
It is now a year since I, George Hailes, received any consulage owing to the exemption claimed by the subjects of this state. It was not in my power to consent to it without first obtaining leave from the king, my master, as the matter is established in so authentic and ample a form by the two consuls of state and trade and by the papers presented.
Now that this small difference has been committed to the envoy extraordinary I meddle no more with it, because of the length of time, which gives rise to many difficulties in the way of a decision and in order not to pile obligation upon obligation. This is because next month ten or twelve English merchantmen are expected to arrive in this port with a quantity of merchandise and salt fish. Owing to the present wars the greater part of them is coming in company with the convoy which is granted to them once a year. For this reason I humbly beg your Serenity to let me know as soon as possible what has been decided both with respect to the English, which is always the major part, and with respect to every other nation, not nationals of your Serenity, whose interests amount to a trifling sum of money in the year; in fact the entire consulage comes to much less than the fixed amount of 300l. sterling.
I will report everything to the earl of Arlington, principal secretary of state, when I write to him for the necessary orders.
[Italian.]
Feb. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
297. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the Most Christian is fully persuaded of the motives which the British king has had for yielding to the pressure of the Chambers there about arranging a separate peace with Holland apart from this crown, yet he is not altogether pleased about the statements which have been published by some partisans of that Court. These are that since France had not fulfilled what she promised in the treaty of alliance to attempt conquests over seas to be handed over to England or done what was seemly in the late naval engagements but had rather impeded the English forces, in order to emerge with reputation and credit, the king there had good cause to detach himself from this side and to obtain greater advantages for himself by the separation as France had got herself alone by that association. These recriminations derive from the contrary genius of that nation and they have been rendered still more clamorous by those who would like to see this side abandoned by all. Yet they do not seem to change the good intentions of the king there, who persists in his disposition to mediate in order to obtain the boon for France also. But all the same there is not a feeling of complete confidence to make them believe that the mediation will suffice and be strong enough to bring it about. Thus the negotiations which are proceeding at that Court for the marriage of the princess, eldest daughter of the duke of Hiorch and the prince of Orange will increase their misgivings and make them think that the hopes of such a boon are more remote. For if this marriage be concluded, instead of seeing the disposition which hitherto has seemed to be rather partial, they fear that there will be a change of plan and that they will be strongly opposed to the interests of this crown, knowing full well how much it is to the advantage of that prince for the Provinces to continue at war in order to render himself more secure in the possession of the distinctions obtained from them.
From the appearance of things it seems likely that such are their intentions and misgivings about this make them apprehend that the king here will have to make up his mind to submit to a more difficult pass than was anticipated in order to have peace and that it will behove him to try every means, however distasteful, in order not to be left alone exposed to so many hostile forces.
Paris, the 28th February, 1674.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Feb. …
Cinque Savii
alla
Mercanzia
Risposte
157.
Venetian
Archives.
298. Most Serene Prince:
We, the Savii alla Mercanzia have taken in hand the paper recently presented to your Serenity by the Consul Hayles, since we are charged to give our opinion upon this fresh attempt of that individual. In the mean time we have to inform your Excellencies that a few days before he presented himself at our magistracy with urgent representations that he might be permitted to exact his consulage from the goods and effects of the English and others, except Venetians, for the moment. We discovered this to be a trick devised for the purpose of forwarding his designs and of beginning in an astute manner to draw his profit from the assignment contained in the tariff, which has not yet been approved. Accordingly we told him that we were not then in a position to decide upon such a proposal and should not be until the matter has been finally settled in the Senate. From this he took occasion to present his petition to your Excellencies.
This consul has already obtained a royal decree to collect as consulage upon all the effects which may be brought here in English ships at the rate of 3 lire per ton or burthen, as set forth in the tariff, at the end of which he agrees to moderate his claim for 5 per cent upon sugar, brazil wood and certain other goods, having them rated in proportion to the tonnage, as in the attached copy.
With respect to this tariff, our predecessors, in the execution of public instructions, endeavoured to find out and collect the opinions of merchants who have correspondence in those parts and to persuade the consul to give up such innovations which are harmful to the trade of this mart and obnoxious to all the merchants here. The replies of the magistracy were drawn up in this sense, drawing attention to the dislike felt by the merchants and to the difficulties which the business might encounter in that way. They also enclosed some papers of the merchants expressing disapproval of the change.
When fresh representations upon the contents of another paper presented by Hayles before the Savii obliged the magistracy to make repeated applications to learn what answer was to be given to him orally and when equal diligence was shown to meet with the wishes of the Signory and after gathering what was possible from several conferences with the consul about the paper, fresh information was established. The substance of all this was that they were never able to overcome the difficulty of getting Hayles to abandon the claim to charge the subjects of this state. To this information were joined two papers of the merchants Duivestein and Alvise Morelli.
As the consul was tireless in appearing before the Savii our magistracy was directed by the Senate to try and get him to moderate his pretensions. Accordingly efforts were made to enlighten him by various arguments and examples, especially about his claim to extend the charge to Venetians also. In the end he seemed to be convinced upon this point and offered to write to England, saying that he did not intend to take any step without the previous concurrence of the king, his master. Now, after the lapse of months, instead of bringing the answers he has come with an unexpected attempt to collect his dues in accordance with the tariff from English goods and those of other nations, except the Venetians. If this were allowed it would amount to a recognition of the tariff, which has not as yet received approval. Some of the leading traders are already committed to submit punctually to the payments which will be established so that Hailes can have no doubt about his being suitably compensated. But from what he has said about the imminent arrival of Signor Igons, the resident destined for these parts, we think that the consul may well allow this short interval to pass and postpone the settlement of the matter till then.
Our opinion, inspired solely by our desire to do what is best for the public service is to endeavour, if it can possibly be done, to induce the consul to continue to follow the path marked out by his predecessors and to avoid innovation. We consider that it is to the public advantage to insist upon this steadily and to repeat this intention of the state to the resident in England so that by dexterously renewing his representations about the imminent inconvenience and injury to trade, he may do everything possible to prevent the claim from being pressed. In the mean time we refer the decision to the more intense and mature consideration of your Excellencies.
From the magistracy, the … February, 1673, [M.V.]
Balbi
Corner
Mocenigo
Barbaro Savii.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 There is no copy of this in S.P. France, but the text (in Dutch) is printed in Aitzema and Bos: Historien Onses Tyds, pp. 16–7.
2 On 31 January, o.s., a member named Masters reported that a fellow member had told him that he hoped to make the session worth 5,000l. to him. On the motion of Sir William Coventry, the matter was referred to a special committee. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, page 301. Cobbett: Parliamentary History, Vol. IV, 664. The proposed form of purgation to be used by members to clear themselves from having received any sort of bribe is printed in Cal. S.P. Dom., 1673–5, page 142.
3 According to Salvetti he left on the 23rd, n.s.., taking congratulations to the prince of Orange on the decree appointing him hereditary Stadtholder. Captain General and Admiral of the United Provinces. Brit Mus. Add MSS. 27962V, fol. 224.
4 On Thursday 22nd, according to Salvetti, he informed parliament of the serious shortage of capital ships, and begged their assistance to build some, explaining that it was for the honour and safety of the nation. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962V, fol. 227d. The Speaker had caused a shock by stating that peace was necessary because they were in no condition to make war. Even if they had ready all the money they would require they would have neither the munitions nor the ships that were required for keeping the sea. Ruvigny to the King on 8 February. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
5 The House of Lords had a strange motion made among them to-day that none should be capable to succeed to the crown that were of the popish religion. It was moved by the earl of Carlisle, seconded by Viscount Halifax, and urged by the earl of Shaftesbury; but finding it distasteful to the House he changed about again and brought in another matter. Earl of Kincardine to Lauderdale on 10 February, 167¾. Camden Society: Lauderdale Papers, Vol. III, page 32.
6 On 19 March of this year a patent was granted to George Ravenscroft for an invention for the manufacture of crystalline glass resembling rock crystal. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1673–5, pp. 194, 206. Some 2½ years later John Evelyn records a visit to the duke of Buckingham's glass works at Lambeth, “where they made huge vases of metal as clear, ponderous and thick as crystal; also looking glasses, far larger and better than any that come from Venice.”—Diary, 19 September, 1676. The peer mentioned in the next sentence is probably Robert Paston, viscount Yarmouth, the farmer of the glass duties and Alberti's father-in-law.
7 See Vol. XXXII of this Calendar, page 73.