Venice
August 1674

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1947

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280-287

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'Venice: August 1674', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 38: 1673-1675 (1947), pp. 280-287. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90376 Date accessed: 17 September 2014.


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August 1674

Aug. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
368. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 20th ult. With regard to the reports about the mediation of the pope and of our republic it will be well that our indifference be known over there although with the desire which we cherish in common for the boon of peace and quiet in harmony with the ancient institutions of the republic. We are sure that you will know how to show your usual ability about this in the encounters that may occur.
The Cavalier Higons is busy preparing the things necessary for coming in a short time to audience. He has sent to the Collegio to make known his desire to be acquainted with the forms with which he will be treated. Answer has been given him that he will sit above the Savii of Terra Ferma and will cover; and on the first morning refreshment will be sent to his house, this being the treatment which it is customary to give to other envoys extraordinary. He has sent by his secretary to express his satisfaction and to return thanks for the honour. We send this much for your information and we shall advise you subsequently of what takes place.
Ayes, 135. Noes, 4. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Aug. 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
369. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The hope of mediating the peace is vanishing. The ministers are exasperated against the prince of Orange who, not content with having offended his uncle during the war by disrespectful remarks, seems now utterly to forget the support he might derive from him and to prefer to rely on the United Provinces, proclaiming too great an anxiety to avoid giving umbrage to Spain. The Ambassador Temple, having gone to Brussels, sent a letter to Orange at Louvain requesting audience. The prince answered curtly that he was occupied with the army and could not attend to him. Temple writes that Orange did not wish to hear him, to avoid causing suspicion to the Spaniards or compromising the Dutch. They contend here that the prince might have been more civil to his uncle's ambassador without relaxing the policy of thwarting and delaying the treaties. He will need the king here the moment peace is made, and being himself unarmed he will have to resume his perilous struggle with the States as well as his mistrust of them.
The ministers have renewed their instructions to Temple, desiring him to continue his negotiations at the Hague. He did not see Monterey at Brussels but all advices agree that the allied forces amount to 70,000 men and they hope that their conquests will counterbalance the loss of Franche Comté and thus facilitate peace to which they are resolved not to listen save on advantageous terms.
Fresno turns a deaf ear to all projects and talks of nothing but his departure. He has asked and obtained a ship of war to convey him from Portsmouth to Spain, He has been much disturbed by a report of the king's intention to recall Sir [Thomas] Linch, governor of Jamaica, and to send in his stead Mudiford who is so odious to the Spaniards because of his attacks on their territories and the insults to which he subjected them while he was governor there, so that for their satisfaction he was brought home to give an account of his misdeeds in the Tower. Here, so far, no attention is paid to Fresno's remonstrances and they seem rather inclined to leave him in distress.
Locard, late ambassador in France, has returned home on private business and has also obtained permission to go to Scotland. As he has some influence with the chief personages there, now allied against Lauderdale, he may perhaps persuade them to forget the past and to quiet the disturbances of that country. The Scotch complain of the king's suppressing the conventicles or meetings of divers sects. As his Majesty conscientiously gives a preference to the clergy of the Protestant church they accuse him of thus forming a foundation on which to establish popery.
The king is so far from thinking of supporting the Catholics that he allows them to be attacked and persecuted daily by the justices, so, unless the severity is mitigated on the meeting of parliament they despair of saving their property from the grasp of the malignants. In the mean time the adherents of the duke of York hope for a calm, seeing the general desire in the country for quiet and that the party leaders promise to say nothing more about the succession.
In the interval the pregnancy of the duchess progresses favourably, her health being excellent. All here, including theologians, are astonished at the punctiliousness of the pope over the dispensation, for which urgent demands are made, especially as he is aware of the duke's religion and of the dangerous consequences of the denial of a suit so just and submissive. After receiving his present the envoy Salvago departed without visiting any foreign minister, in order to avoid trouble and expense.
London, the 3rd August, 1674.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
370. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
This is my third visit to the Court at Windsor, I think it right to go from time to time to try all possible means to find favour for your Serenity's minister. The king amuses himself hunting and the ministers converse together without coming to any conclusion whatever.
The last advices from Flanders announce the march of the allied armies towards the prince of Condé. The Dutch, having been two days without bread, decided in a council of war to give battle on the third, a design Condé scorned, having entrenched himself near Fontaine L'Evesque at the River Pietton, knowing that the position could not be forced. Here they criticise Monterey and accuse him of making mistakes. They say that after so many plans and consultations he has had to yield to the will of Orange and Susa who serves in his army as a volunteer. Under the command of two foreigners, without the slightest dependence on him that army harasses the territory and devours the provisions of the Catholic king. Hunger would divide their forces and crush their lofty aspirations and Monterey is in danger of having to give account for his excessive ardour. The whole blame for the delay of the treaties is laid on him; but as they know that the Spaniards mean to try what can be gained by a battle before listening to negotiations they let time slip by and nothing is done; so the Court remains inactive and without news. I have the ducali of the 14th July.
Windsor, the 10th August, 1674.
[Italian.]
Aug. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
371. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The situation has not changed here since my last. Efforts are still made for the mediation, but with scant success, the allies being determined to try the chance of a battle first. A report circulated that the armies had divided for lack of provisions and a misunderstanding arose between the parties so that an opening for the treaties was supposed to be at hand. But the Imperialists, Spaniards and Dutch still remain firmly bent on what the ministers here call the vain obstinacy of attacking Condé. Fresh advices are expected every post but they have been anticipated by several private letters to the effect that the allies have neither bread, courage nor leadership for any remarkable feat.
The Ambassador Fresno departed well satisfied with the treatment received, especially with a present worth from two to three thousand pounds, equal to 12 to 15,000 ducats, whereas the other ambassadors receive only 5000. But in other respects he will never bear goodwill towards this government as he was well treated solely for the sake of appearances or necessity. He will not value it either, as through his partisans he succeeded in leading the majority as he wished. Most of the ministers rejoice at his being out of London from fear of his exciting more trouble at the next meeting of parliament. The Catholics trust him least of all as they know that he has not spared them and that his antipathy to the duke of York, after breaking off the marriage with the present empress, might cause him to thwart the duke's claims to the succession. Fresno was the first to start this question not only for the sake of preventing a French marriage, but to support the party of Lord Cormbery, uncle to York's daughters, who hoped to raise them to the throne in preference to such male offspring as might be born to the duke.
It is now hoped that all these disputes will fall to the ground as the majority of the party leaders have been gained by promises and rewards, and promise a perfect calm.
Locard who has lately returned from Scotland gives hopes of quiet there. But if it is true that the king has 1,500,000l. sterling in his coffers and that he is adding to this sum by fresh contracts, that will be the basis of everything, as once the members of parliament no longer believe themselves necessary to the king, they will not have the courage to attack him, as this nation, though naturally prone to turbulent innovations, lacks method for the undertaking when met by bold resistance.
London, the 17th August, 1674.
[Italian: deciphered.]
Aug. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
372. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the position of the negotiations for mediation.
Such is the state in which the affairs of the Court stand in which one sees no sign of any opening for peace, and although they continue in their impatient desire for it they do not want any other mediation but that of the two crowns. Although they are unacceptable to the others they do not cease here to insist upon the point, from seeing that the objections are considerable. It may be that, to render the others less mistrustful and to bring about the acceptance, they may render the way easier here by giving way about their claims, since the Most Christian is most anxious for the mediation to rest in the hands of these two powers. They will allow this campaign to run its course in order to see if the general result of its progress will make it easier to persist in their plans. If they cannot do so and see that things are taking a different turn, they will take other steps and may possibly consent to mediators such as are desired by the others, so as to facilitate terms which might yet bring credit to the mediators who proposed them.
Paris, the 22nd August, 1674.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
373. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Court has been busy all this week in sifting the news of the encounter between the two armies. Monterey sent accounts of a victory over Condé which was soon afterwards contradicted by several letters from France and by impartial accounts from Flanders, showing that Condé defeated the rear guard and took 4000 prisoners with the baggage of the Spaniards and Orange, in which he found 200,000 crowns. (fn. 1)
The Dutch ambassadors partly apologise for the conduct of the allies and deny the loss of the battle, pretending that the ground was kept. They complain of this Court for calling it a French victory, which they attribute to partiality. The opinion here is that the encounter will disconcert the allies as it is foreseen that the generals by shifting the blame from one to the other will no longer be trusted. The reduction of the Spanish forces will also trouble Monterey, preventing him from running further risks for fear of weakening his garrisons. On the other hand he would put everything in jeopardy by retreat, leaving the forces of the emperor and the Dutch in the field.
On these grounds the ministers here have repeated their suggestions for peace although Lira at the Hague told Temple the other day that the place for negotiating peace would be the gates of Paris.
The States of Holland have not yet accepted the proferred mediation of the king here and everything points to delay. The Ambassador Spaar complains of this saying that the allies choose to wait and take counsel from necessity. They seem to show scant regard for his king's care for their welfare without thinking of the cost of such a host of embassies.
I came here to learn what decision had been come to in consequence of these events but it boils down to merely waiting for the decision of the allies.
Windsor, the 24th August, 1674.
[Italian.]
Aug. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
374. To the Secretary Alberti in England.
We enclose a copy of the report of the Five Savii alla Mercanzia upon the matter of crystal glass and the rough glass sheets. The matter has been taken in hand. The irregularity over the exportation of these sheets and the prejudice resulting therefrom are considerable. Those who infringe the regulations issued thereupon will be duly punished. We commend your vigilance over this and shall wait to hear what are the expedients to be suggested, whereby it is hoped to re-establish the reputation of Venetian crystal glass in England.
The Proveditore General da Mar Valier writes of the shortage this year of cargoes of currants upon English ships and he reports that there are at present only two houses of that nation at Zante. The matter is worthy of application because of the attention that should be given to the important point of the flow of trade. You must do all you can over there, by skilfully seizing such opportunities as occur, though without committing the state, to encourage a more abundant flow, drawing attention to the good and affectionate treatment that is accorded to the nation as well as the other reasons which we have suggested to you in other letters, which will serve to enhance your merit.
That a copy of the report of the Five Savii alla Mercanzia be sent to the magistracy of the Revisers and Regulators of the Customs so that they may take note of any disobedience to the order about the exportation of rough glass sheets, and to see to the punctual observance of the same in the future, punishing transgressors and sending a report of what they are doing to our Collegio.
Ayes, 109. Noes, 2. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Aug. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
375. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Sieur di Locard is expected back here from London very shortly. His wife, so they say, has already started in this direction. At that Court they were expecting Don Pedro Ronchiglio, who was in Poland, as ambassador of the Catholic, and they are not thinking there of dissociating themselves from that mediation for the peace and are ready, whenever circumstances are favourable, to open the negotiations. They are anxious to see the British king persist in his efforts to prevail upon the other allies to agree to his mediation. Sweden does not neglect to interpose her insinuations to facilitate this assent and to have herself taken into account as well as England. At the same time she maintains that she is far from having committed herself to declare in favour of France against the other allies. Nevertheless nothing is certain as yet, as although it was believed that they might incline Spain to give her consent with the new insinuations that have been offered, and the emperor also with her, it seems that they are disposed to wait until the end of the campaign.
Paris, the 29th August, 1674.
[Italian.]
Aug. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
376. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Swedish ambassador has told me several times that he has no hope of making any progress in the mediation. He repeated this a few days ago, although he had urged the king to appoint him commissioners, He added that the matter could not be treated in earnest until the allies think less highly of their armies. They still talked about the mediation of the pope and Venice, but the Dutch and other parties concerned had no confidence in Rome. To obviate difficulties he desired commissioners and the king appointed Prince Rupert, the dukes of Monmouth and Lauderdale, the lord keeper, the lord treasurer and the two secretaries of state, Arlington and Coventry. (fn. 2) They had already held one conference and at the next they were to discuss how the Most Christian could be brought to grant a passport to the minister of Lorraine and how England could effect the release of Furstemberg, and of the money seized at Cologne, which are the chief obstacles adduced by the powers against listening to negotiation.
This Court has done nothing more, waiting for the result of the war in the Low Countries. Stormy weather has prevented the arrival of a single letter from beyond sea, where it is supposed that so many troops do not remain idle.
The Dutch deputies here, having no commission, have conferred once with the English commissioners. They would not have gone further had not the ambassadors interfered and promised the king that whatever the deputies settled would be approved by the States. He added, should any scruple remain, that they would obtain ample credentials for the deputies themselves within a fortnight. Here they do not anticipate any result as they know quite well that the Dutch will not renounce voluntarily the advantages they enjoy for the India trade, the English say unfairly.
The Ambassador Odik (fn. 3) also arrived and came to Windsor without ceremony as he is a member of the Dutch embassy and pretends that his colleagues have sufficiently fulfilled its functions. He does not take any great pains to defend the conduct of the allies. When they told him that the campaign was dying out and that 70,000 men, got together by a miracle, had on this occasion merely served to waste the territory of the Catholic, he replied that in the mean time the United Netherlands took breath and a good peace would form a dyke against worse difficulties.
The king has now decided to send as governor to Jamaica, in lieu of Sir [Thomas] Linch, Lord Wahan, the same who raised a regiment for the Dutch war which served in France and who gives promise of courage and experience to benefit and consolidate the royal interests in that colony. It is not yet known whom his Majesty will send as governor to Tangiers in place of Lord Middelton. The English still hope that place by its trade and by the harbour, now nearly completed, with the addition of the galleys, may prove very advantageous to this mart.
While the king is thinking of returning to London in ten days he is exercising the troops in the attack and defence of a fort, built on purpose. The dukes of York and Monmouth are taking part in all the miiltary movements.
One of my chaplains extraordinary, Alexander Burnett, a Scot, has been arrested and imprisoned on the testimony of two witnesses, from motives of personal malice. When I first applied to the ministers I found them all averse from interfering in the matter from fear of burning their fingers. The Portuguese ambassador spoke to me about it in great trouble as he foresees that he will be unable to defend his own chaplains against these severe laws and because of the great dread of the ministers at being concerned in any sort of civility to priests, lest they be called in question in parliament. For this reason I thought fit to speak myself to the king, who at once desired Arlington to write to the lord keeper for the release. But I foresee that he will find shifts to excuse himself so that the risk may be incurred by others and so the affair will become increasingly dangerous the longer it is drawn out. On receiving the reply from the lord keeper I shall resort to my last remedy. I have already secured that Burnett shall not be tried according to law, as this is one of the four yearly terms for criminal cases and he would have been condemned to death. My plan is to get him transported beyond sea. There will be difficulties because the agitators declaim against the king's right to modify laws, so it is possible that no minister will dare to sign the order from fear of being accused in parliament of having encouraged the king to do so. Nevertheless I am hopeful, from the king's grant of the relief and the favour shown in suspending the course of law. It will be great indeed if it leaves this priest free in the face of the mob which already looks to see him hanged and in spite of the next session of parliament, which is looking out for fresh grounds for complaint. The French minister, although a Calvinist, has spoken in vain in favour of the priest, who belonged to the chapel of the Ambassador Colbert and the Portuguese ambassador would like, at my expense, to devise some means for saving his chaplains. But having done thus much I think it wise to avoid committing myself further as it is impossible to pretend that the king should issue commands and apply remedies for my benefit when he is unable to devise any for his own most important needs.
Windsor, the last of August, 1674.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 The battle, of Senef, near Mons, fought on 11 August, n.s.
2 By warrant dated 16 August. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1673–5, page 336.
3 William Adrian of Nassau, heer van Odijk.