Venice
June 1675

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1947

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411-426

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'Venice: June 1675', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 38: 1673-1675 (1947), pp. 411-426. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90386 Date accessed: 26 July 2014.


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June 1675

June 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
508. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
It was proposed to make a promotion which should not be subject to censure and in which there should appear no interests nor dependence and no subjects of Spain. Accordingly five Romans have been selected, outstanding from the posts and the offices which they hold, together with one Englishman, to make it appear that they have as an object the service of the Catholic Church. (fn. 1) Many have misgivings that the promotion of the Englishman is ill timed, indeed that it may produce evil effects against the Catholics in that country under present circumstances when parliament is in session which may conceive the suspicion that the royal House is cherishing intelligence with the Court of Rome and is corresponding with it.
With regard to the decision to make this promotion all Rome takes note that it has been done under stress of circumstances because we do not see the promotion of the persons whom Cardinal Altieri had most at heart. Even the English nominee was not the one he had thought of; on the contrary he has left out the person in whom he was most interested.
Rome, the 1st June, 1675.
[Italian.]
June 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
509. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary and Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The more the affair of privilege is discussed the greater is the irritation of the disputants and the worse the quarrel, as the peers resent the denial of their most ancient and incontestable right of supreme judicature, and the commoners are rendered ambitious by events which for some time past have favoured their exaltation. Both parties spare neither skill nor strength, whether for attack or defence. As the Lower House for many years has effected numerous works, some proclaim that this is the moment to sap and overthrow such authority as remains to the peers who used to have the exclusive control of all matters concerning the government and imposed their own views on the Commons, their dependants. It is possible that some of the members of the Lower House have this vast project in view but it is also true that the majority of them would be satisfied with merely gaining ground, though all know the task to be difficult and remote and foresee that the feebleness of their attempt will have served only to rouse the peers and prepare them for more strenuous opposition.
The two Houses pass the greater part of their time in these reflections and reiterated disputes. The Lords have proceeded no further about the oath and the Commons have not advanced any other public business. In accordance with the vote of last week the Lower House, two days ago, decided to count the members one by one and to punish the absentees. (fn. 2) So great is the dread that the country gentlemen will get tired of staying in London and leave none but dependants of the Court here who would have it in their power to concede everything to the king, that they have passed a fresh order to count the House again and condemn the absentees.
This manner of proceeding would have provoked the king to prorogue parliament, while some advise him to dissolve it; but the lord treasurer still hopes to get some good from it and persuades the king to take patience for a little while and then merely to adjourn it. (fn. 3) By such means he would gratify a number of members who, by virtue of their privilege remain unmolested by their creditors, and would be indebted to his Majesty for so great a favour. By this and by other means Emby does not give up hope of gaining a numerous party for his Majesty.
In this fashion the days are allowed to pass without any care about business. Already plans are being formed for the next session in the winter. Your Excellencies will think it strange that they should be thinking of what is to happen six months hence, seeing that they usually live from day to day and have been incapable in the present session of perfecting their numerous fine projects, although not distracted by the stratagems of either the Spaniards or the Dutch, who, if the hostilities with France continue, will probably make war on his Britannic Majesty in parliament to compel him to declare against France.
The Lower House has not done anything more about the new protest, urging the recall of the British troops from France, but Rovigni does not count upon their acquiescence and still less the Court, which would gladly get out of the session without any pledges.
On the other hand the confederate peers and the nonconformists, persist in their project for liberty of conscience. They are thinking how they shall attempt it, although they expect opposition from the bishops' party. But the duke of York does not wish them to promote any plan for his restoration to the Admiralty until they see the turn taken by the proposal for liberty of conscience. The country seems much more inclined to this than to increasing the authority of the bishops or the persecution which they advocate. The object of the Court being as reported, there needs only the opening to bring such a boon under discussion, backed by the fairest hopes, at a moment when least expected.
While matters are in this state of agitation the Spanish envoy Ronquillo has made his appearance, complimenting the Court with all modesty and seeming anxious not to insist on anything contrary to its wishes. But the truth is, as he practically admitted to me, Alberti, when I called, that he has arrived too late to start any negotiations with the parliament. It was not enough for it to be inclined to break with France. Such a business required not only time but an opportunity for forcing the king to give his assent by means of some compulsion, whereas he can now only appeal to his Majesty in person not to permit the loss of Flanders.
Ronquillo is confirmed in these sentiments by Bergheik, who has returned to Flanders content with the civilities received at this Court and satisfied in part with his negotiations, for he invariably said that civility and reason required Spain not to expect from the king here more than he could give, in conformity with his own interests.

London, the 7th June, 1675.
Postscript: Confused accounts have reached the Court of two accidents one off the Isle of Wight and the other at the mouth of the Thames, where some French ships of war refused to dip the flag and also insulted such English, frigates as they met. (fn. 4) This intelligence creates a great stir especially just now when one can neither learn nor discern the real truth.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
510. To the Resident in England.
We note with pleasure the good account brought to England by the Cavalier Higons who also asked that Alberti should be informed of his treatment. You also, when suitable occasions present themselves must speak highly of this minister expressing the affection and esteem with which we regarded him and our appreciation of the wise and prudent manner in which he conducted himself.
In the news from Rome we have noted with pleasure the prudent consideration shown by the pope towards the grand almoner in England, a personage so distinguished and outstanding of the Catholic faith in those realms. The true devotion of this most worthy House to our republic is well known and we respond to it with real affection. We shall therefore be glad if you show your prudence, upon suitable occasions, to utter some remarks that will make public these cordial sentiments of ours. In the mean time it will be worth while to observe what effect the news of this promotion will produce in that Court and we shall look to your diligence to supply us with information about this.
Ayes, 149. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
June 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
511. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Every one is saddened by the death of Lord Locard, ambassador of his Britannic Majesty at this Court. (fn. 5) There is no one who does not recognise that by the loss of such a man under present circumstances all parties have suffered loss because he was one of the most capable and worthy ministers of our age (era dei piu capaci et dei piu valorosi ministri del nostro secolo). It is enough to say that he was ambassador for Cromuel and he has also been ambassador for the present king, with the most complete satisfaction. The impatience he felt to cross over in order to carry out the most important commissions of his master to procure the suspension of arms and the efforts he made in various ways, without being able to realise his intent, after a recent illness, taxed his strength so greatly that when he fell a victim to a kind of suppressed spotted fever, this added to his chronic malady of asthma finally carried him off to the universal regret of every one.
It is considered that another individual may be sent with the utmost despatch and with this in view they are keeping Locard's equipage in readiness so that if such a one arrives he may be all ready instantly and have nothing to wait for except the facility of the passage. Notwithstanding this the urgency felt by the British king was made known to his Majesty by two expresses which he sent, but we do not hear that they have produced any good effect. There is no sign that this is likely to be granted in the form desired by the Spaniards.
It is hoped that the storm with which the Chambers of England threatened this side has already passed. The divisions which have arisen among them, either by means of deliberate efforts or through the antipathy which exists between the Upper and the Lower House, have so far marvellously seconded the desires of this side and it is believed that the Houses may even separate without obliging the king there to take any prejudicial measures.
Paris, the 12th June, 1675.
[Italian.]
June 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
512. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary and Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The result of the mine mentioned last week has not corresponded to the expectations aroused. The Lower House had prepared it in order to destroy the authority of the Lords. They made the explosion on Saturday at the strongest point by means of a declaration that the decision of suits on appeal did not pertain to the House of Lords, the practice being new and contrary to the institutions of the government. They went so far as to order the imprisonment in the Tower of one of their members and directed the sergeant to arrest four barristers because they had pleaded before the Lords in an appeal case. (fn. 6) This proceeding seemed so strange and the violence so open that the Lords, being roused, unanimously repelled force by force and desired their officer of the black rod to release the prisoners and to provide them with a pass from the Upper House to protect them from fresh arrest. The sergeant shortly afterwards made his escape, not having had the courage to oppose black rod single handed or to call for the assistance of the populace, which might have rushed tumultuously to support what the Lower House calls “the common cause.” The Commons being disappointed of the imprisonment of the barristers and of their own sergeant, which they voted to confirm the first step, asked the king for another sergeant and were encouraged by certain persons to order the arrest of black rod; but the more they advance in this direction the worse their retreat will be.
The Upper House continues to hear causes and has only given one day to the oath, in which some progress has been made. They propose a penalty of 500l. on any one refusing it, but all is uncertain.
The Commons passed a second vote urging the king to dismiss Lauderdale and wanted a petition for the recall of his subjects from France without giving any fresh reasons.
The reports mentioned of encounters in the Channel caused a great stir, but the facts are not yet well ascertained nor is it known whether the six ships were really French or Dutchmen carrying the French flag, which would compel the Court to remonstrate and embroil itself; but as yet the Lower House cannot insist on this.
The king was convinced that the irregular proceedings of the House of Commons could not have happened spontaneously, as there was no immediate call upon it for money, at the cost of which the crown must tolerate its vagaries. He has discovered that some of the peers are flattering the leading members with great hopes of the success of their ambitious projects and encouraging the whole House to make the most outrageous attempts so that by making themselves intolerable the king may at length be forced to the much deprecated decision of dissolving parliament. The king has had the courage to resist this temptation and feeling sorry for the members who are ignorantly making themselves the tools of others, he said that this time the foxes were stirring the fire with the paws of the lambs, but that they partly deserved it for having moved too far from their fold.
The bishops are more afraid of this game than the others because they suspect with reason that the Presbyterians and nonconformists will occupy the seats in the new parliament to the exclusion of their partisans and those of the Court, who nowadays are all for episcopacy. They already see the greater part of the kingdom, who are dissenters, provoked against them and they are warned that the confederate peers have their eyes fixed on the point of liberty of conscience; but the disputes about privilege waste the time and prevent its being brought forward.
One of the bishops made a remark about the nomination of Lord Philip Howard, the queen's grand almoner, brother of the duke of Norfolk now at Padua and of the Lord Marshal. The good bishop wished to sound an alarm about intercourse with the pope, but without touching the person of the duke of York. But the fear evaporates as there is no ground for it. Your Serenity will have heard more from the Ambassador Mocenigo in Rome.
Nothing is wanting to render this Court a scene of utter confusion save the confirmation or public announcement of the jealousy of the United Provinces as fomented by the Lowenstein faction against the prince of Orange who, so far, has never cared to cultivate any confidential relations with England. He has always believed that those new friends of his could never fail him, although they were born to him in the midst of disturbances, their ranks being filed solely by reason of their necessities, the union being incompatible with the Dutch passion for self government.

London, the 14th June, 1675.
Postscript: The Lower House, pursuing its course, without reflection on the possibility of universal disapprobation, sent again to-day to arrest the barristers, who were pleading in the court of Chancery in Westminster Hall, where the king is always supposed to be present. An aggravating circumstance was the presence of the Speaker at the moment of arrest and that the House, not choosing to trust the prisoners a second time to the custody of the sergeant, sent them to the Tower. The two Houses thus seem to become steadily more irreconcileable and it is not known what course the Lords will take to obtain reparation for the offence, on the question of jurisdiction, which the House thought it had vindicated by producing very ancient statutes, on the insult inflicted on the barristers, in spite of their pass, not to speak of the franchise of the place in which the royal authority is also involved. By all appearances this day will be memorable and in the course of seven years that I, Alberti, have spent in London, I have never witnessed one single day since the late civil war and the king's restoration which can be considered so momentous as this.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
513. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received the ducali of the 18th ult. From my agents I learn that they have not yet received any money on account of my provisions or the spazzo. As it will not be decorous to defer my appearance at Court any longer and as the tradesmen here are very diffident about giving credit to foreigners, and particularly to ministers of princes, I have decided to pawn my plate, although this will deprive me of the use of it for the necessary banquets when I make my public entry. I have this day asked audience of the king through the master of the Ceremonies. I renew my petition for payment to be made of the sums due to me to enable me to redeem my plate and to escape interest at the rate of 20 per cent. per annum.
With regard to the chapel I will take care to avoid disorders, but it is impossible to bear the cost of this good work with the limited means supplied. It is also impossible to resist the representations made by a hundred subjects of your Serenity and other Italians as well as those of English gentlemen and ladies, among the chief ones of the realm, to keep a public chapel capacious enough for a number. So I have taken a house at a rent of 500 ducats a year. This may seem a great deal but it is 200 less than Sig. Alberti paid, and I have made accommodation for 200 persons. But unless I receive help from the state it will be impossible for me to maintain the priests and other expenses. I can bear witness with all respect and complete sincerity that there is nothing that the minister of a Catholic prince can do at this Court that is more likely to win him affection and esteem than the maintenance of the public chapel. The Spanish envoy Ronchiglio has immediately acquired great credit and affection by having opened one forthwith, deputing ten ordinary priests to function there. All this notwithstanding the consideration in the other direction that the minister of his Catholic Majesty ought to have more than any one else at this conjuncture, of the sitting of parliament, to which it behoves him to give every satisfaction in order to have it well disposed to the interests of his king. But this respect is overruled by the consideration that although there are some among the bishops and other parliamentarians who bear ill will to the Catholics for their own particular ends, there is no bad feeling among the generality of the nobility nor of the people. This can be seen very clearly because in spite of all the well known severe and manifold proclamations and orders, both old and recently issued against them, one sees no result from them and no execution and the heretics themselves not only sympathise with them but bless those who help and protect them, since in a city which contains so many kinds of sects and beliefs every one is applauded who favours his co-religionists. So far as my personal feelings are concerned I would prefer the quiet of a private chapel, so that if I do not receive assistance from the state I shall gladly withdraw from so much trouble and expense.
London, the 14th June, 1675.
[Italian.]
June 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
514. To the Resident in England.
With regard to the suggestion that the republic should grant the use of a port of little Cephalonia to English ships upon the occasion of the war declared on the Tripolitans, the Senate approves of the prudent reply given by Alberti. We must not omit to tell you that on every occasion you must make it known, in a suitable and prudent manner, that from the important consideration of the late prolonged and most troublesome war with the Turks it would certainly not be possible for us to consent to such a concession. Accordingly it must be your duty, with all suavity and address to prevent any such request being made to us. For the rest you will assure them that the ships of the nation will always receive every facility and good treatment as is only due to the perfect correspondence which exists. We shall expect punctual reports from you of what takes place.
Ayes, 106. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
June 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
515. Ascanio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The equipage of the Sieur di Locard is being kept undisposed of. They are waiting for the decision of London about the despatch of someone else. From all that is said it will not be an easy matter to find one of so much ability or with ways so well fitted for this country who will be able to fill the post to the satisfaction and service of all the parties. But it is believed that they cannot put it off for long in order not to lose such openings as may present themselves of some good.
It is feared here that the steps taken some days ago at sea by English craft against those of this crown, by seizing a frigate and chasing two merchant ships right into the ports of France may cause trouble in the good correspondence existing with the king there and that the eagerness shown by parliament in desiring a rupture with France may persuade the British king to take some step disadvantageous to this side. But the despatch of an express courier by whom that king has demonstrated his desire for information and given assurances of the best disposition to hold himself aloof always from committing himself to anything contrary to the interests of France give them greater hope that the tumult will not resolve itself into anything displeasing to the Most Christian, and that some expedient will be found for the satisfaction of the parties. Nevertheless, from the reports which reach here, that parliament does not cease to strive and every day it is making advantageous offers in order to force the king to a decision. But the very great pledges of most secret conditions with France and advantageous for himself restrain him from any sort of inclination to give way to them. All the same they will not be without apprehension here until they see those Chambers dissolved.
Paris, the 19th June, 1675.
[Italian.]
June 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
516. Girolamo Alberti, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As the Resident Sarotti has begun to exercise his charge I find myself relieved of a burden too heavy for my ability more especially at the present crisis when none but the sharpest intelligence can give a good account of proceedings here which matter so much for the quiet of the kingdom and concern its neighbours as well.
In my last letter I wrote of the importance of the day, because if the king had resolutely seized the opportunity the remedy might have produced the utmost good, whereas by neglecting it he runs great risk and exposes himself to a series of accidents. The apparent junction of his Majesty with the House of Commons is considered of evil omen for England. The Lower House, far from acknowledging its light to come from the Upper, is bent on humbling, if not destroying it, although it was instituted by the founder of this monarchy to mediate between the sovereign and his subjects, moderating the royal power and consolidating the obedience of the people. The prorogation of parliament suspends the proceedings, but as it neither consigns to oblivion the old complications nor provides for the new ones, public feeling does not improve. There is a passion for opposing the king to the people face to face without the barrier of the peers, so that he must resist by force or yield to the violence of a disorderly republic. The king should avail himself of the interest common to all proprietors, to retain peaceable possession of their property, which always suffers from disorder, and the bias of the Lords, who have been too deeply offended not to feel the necessity of taking his side. The present gloomy prospect might thus be changed during the recess without attracting the attention of the public and the new session open under a much more auspicious constellation, since it is for the advantage of all parties to preserve quiet although many individuals are by nature prone to seek honour and fortune through civil strife.
I have written from time to time that the Venetian glass trade was decaying in England and suggested means to save it. I have also mentioned the need to regulate the salt fish trade so as to recover gradually the navigation for Venetian bottoms. I have also been able to accomplish several matters without compromising the republic, among which the most complicated was the removal of the Resident Doddington and the appointment of Sir [Thomas] Higgons. I also succeeded in stifling the difficult affair of the consulage, although it had been allowed to proceed to the last extremity.
It does not become me to say how much the release of the chaplain redounds to the credit of the republic's piety or what lustre the chapel service sheds, for which the poor Catholics bless its name. Without asking for any reward I content myself with the reflection that I boldly upheld the honour and privileges of the state, in the midst of the greatest distress. The struggle would have been the same for a single mass but in this country moderation and reserve do not always succeed in overcoming the greatest difficulties, nor do they win the greatest respect.
I am much embarrassed in having to state my mortification at being unable to hasten back to your Serenity. My wife is expecting the birth of a second child in the autumn and our joint fortunes are hampered by lawsuits. Honour and conscience bind me to liquidate several matters of business with which I need not trouble the Senate, though many of its members know of the excessive cost and extravagance of English living, with my decorous establishment and costly journeys when following the Court and visiting the fleet, for which I have never received any mark of the public munificence, as my modesty prevented me from making any application. I therefore expect to be detained for some time in London, though it will only be a retreat, enabling me to return later to serve with redoubled zeal. I have spent the last 12 years in this service and expended the best part of the substance of my family and my own private property. (fn. 7)
I enclose a statement for the consideration of the Senate and ask to be honoured with a fresh mandate permitting me to attend to my affairs here for some time, so that if my children inherit only the wasted remains of this most burdensome service they may find the treasure of an authentic document confirming the gracious approval of the state. I implore this public blessing for the comfort of my poor father and uncle who would feel unable to render their souls peacefully to God if they were to believe that I had not rendered every possible service to the state.
London, the 21st June, 1675.
[Italian.]
June 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
517. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king has been occupied with various meetings of his councillors and in parliament in order to find suitable expedients for composing the grave and perilous differences which have arisen between the Chambers and to divert the mischief which seemed to be at hand if they got worse. Accordingly he put off my first public audience until two days ago. To this I was conducted by the master of the Ceremonies, Sir Cotterel, who came to fetch me from this house of your Serenity with the first coach and six of the Great Chamberlain, Lord Arlington. (fn. 8) At the entry to the Court the guards lined up and they did the same in the upper apartments. By a long turn through many rooms I was conducted first to the apartment of the Great Chamberlain. From this, after a brief stay, in which the king was informed, I proceeded to that of his Majesty. A little outside the royal chamber I was met and complimented by the first gentleman of the household. I found the king attended by his brother, the duke of Hyorch, and by some lords and gentlemen. He received me standing and uncovered and so listened to what I said. I give your Serenity a short abstract. I told him that the affection, esteem and regard professed for him were hereditary sentiments with your Excellencies, rooted in your hearts, towards this crown and his royal House. You had sent me to reside near him to render a continued testimony and ever greater confirmation of your never interrupted respects. I was charged to assure him of this and also of the desire to maintain the ancient, reciprocal and perfect intelligence. You felt confident of enjoying this as was merited by your regard for the interests of these most flourishing realms and by the wishes of all the citizens of my country for the continuance and ever increasing greatness of his Majesty. It was my precise duty to cultivate this correspondence with all my might and I would even try to increase it so that it might redound to the glory of his Majesty and of my prince and for the benefit of their subjects who would reap considerable advantages from trade in particular. I asked him to make allowance for my shortcomings as I felt sure he would when he knew my good heart and I hoped to show myself as devoted a subject of his Majesty as I am of my own prince and as good an Englishman as I am a Venetian. I wound up by saying that I esteemed it one of the most fortunate days of my life in which I enjoyed the honour of presenting myself to so great a king and I would try to deserve the favour of access on future occasions. I then presented my credentials with other complimentary remarks.
His Majesty received my office with a courteous gesture and answered in French. He said he had always esteemed the republic of Venice very highly and cherished a peculiar affection for it. The good correspondence with the crown of England was old-standing. He had constantly preserved it with great pleasure and had seized upon every opportunity of demonstrating his good will. He knew that it was advantageous for these realms and for the subjects of both. He was glad of my coming and was sure that I should forward the excellent intentions of the republic and his own. He ended by honouring my poor merits with some most gracious words.
I told him that I would report to your Serenity his gracious remarks and could assure him that they would be most highly appreciated although they would not be novel. With regard to myself I hoped that my confidence in his royal protection and living at this Court under his auspices would give me greater courage and render me more adequate to discharge the duties of my ministry. I added something more in praise of Sig. Alberti to which the king agreed by his expression and a nod.
I went out with the usual reverences, being conducted to the door by the lord who met me and was attended back to the house by the master of the Ceremonies with the same coach. I had proposed to go and present myself to the queen that same day, and I tried again yesterday, but as she was suffering from a slight indisposition she put off the audience until late this evening. I hope to-morrow to pay my respects to the duke of Hyorch and the duchess, his consort and, if there is time, I will also wait upon the princesses, his daughters, and after these the Prince Palatine, the Palatine of Neoburgh and the duke of Monmouth.
I have informed officially the envoys and residents of foreign powers of my arrival. I will do the same with the ambassadors, who are Sweden, Portugal and Holland at the earliest opportunity. I shall take care to perform punctually all my obligations devoting all my pains to win their confidence. I shall also visit some of the leading ministers of his Majesty and other great lords who cut a figure.
I venture to ask for the payment of my spazzo and also of some good sum of money on account of my heavy outlay in equipping myself, for which my salary and the resources of my poor house are inadequate. There is no previous example of any other servant of your Excellencies who has not received several rewards in so long a period of employment.
London, the 21st June, 1675.
[Italian.]
June 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
518. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Immediately the news reached the Upper House of the arrest of the seven lawyers ordered by the Lower and their being sent to the Tower, some of the lords proposed to send at once after the sergeant who was taking them, to take them out of his hands, as also to direct the lieutenant of the Tower not to receive them, to imprison the sergeant and to proceed against the Speaker of the Lower House, who sanctioned the arrest. But there was no time to carry out the first or the second item and the others were postponed. It was resolved to send straight and request the prisoners of the lieutenant, who openly refused to give them up. Accordingly the House voted to petition the king to remove him for not having obeyed, as it claimed he was bound to do. The king replied that he would make his own wishes known the next day. Both Houses being then summoned to the hall of Whitehall he reminded them that at the beginning of the session he had warned them of serious designs on the part of new firebrands. It now appeared clearly that these had fomented the dissensions between the Houses in order to force him to dissolve them speedily. By the loving kindness with which he had desired and laboured that they should proceed in unity he counselled them to assuage their embittered feelings and to meet together in a free conference and to arrange among themselves a settlement of their differences. He would devote himself to the same end. Turning to the members of the Upper House he told them that he found no reason for removing the lieutenant. After this he dismissed both the Houses.
The Lower House withdrew well pleased. Taking greater courage and arguing that their pretensions were greatly strengthened by the favourable replies of the king, they proceeded to pass a vote approving and confirming their procedure in the matter in dispute. On the other hand the Upper House which had by its commissioners notified the Lower that it would never permit its own jus of the judicature to be called in question, as would be the case if it accepted the free conference, found itself more deeply committed than ever to the maintenance of its prerogatives and was touched to the quick by the king for having in a manner forced this prejudicial conference upon them, in which they will be obliged to discuss and treat about a right which they claim as most ancient and indubitable. They take even greater exception to his Majesty's refusal to remove the lieutenant of the Tower, as by so doing he seems to espouse the pretensions of the Lower House. So, although it is the custom to thank the king for his speeches they would not, at the moment, decide to do this. Indeed on the following day they voted not to proceed with any business and in particular about money before they had received satisfaction upon this question of the privilege of the judicature.
When the knowledge of this reached the Lower House they decided to thank the lieutenant of the Tower for not having released the prisoners and further had it announced that whoever should assist the House of Lords or submit to its orders would be an enemy of the Commons of England. Such an audacious expression was scarcely used even in the late rebellion and it horrified those who heard it owing to the most dangerous consequences that might result therefrom.
Such action incensed the Lords extremely but taking counsel of prudence they decided to proceed in the ordinary way of law in order to make the irregularity and passion of the Commons the more reprehensible. They therefore voted that by a writ or warrant which is called “Habeas Corpus” the lieutenant should be obliged to bring his prisoners to the bar of the House. If he did not obey this they would proceed to take other measures in conformity with the rules of this constitution, after which, according to the laws of England, they would have to raise the militia of the county and go to the Tower to seize the lieutenant and the prisoners by force.
When the king considered all this and that both Houses were proceeding to commit themselves to more and more irregularities and that the Lower in particular was reverting to the forms and practices of the late scandalous times which were so perilous, and persuaded that the Lords, to avoid the loss of their privileges, would achieve with justice and reason what he had not thought fit to procure for their satisfaction and that these differences would be constantly inflaming their feelings against himself also, whereby the hope of obtaining money from parliament would vanish away, he decided to summon them before him again. So on Wednesday last he did so and told them that he prorogued them until the 13th October next. This for the moment has stayed the course of divers evil humours which might in a little while have upset the whole body of this government.
The other secret influences which may have led the king to prorogue parliament and in not upholding the House of Lords, which has always been his bulwark, have not come to my knowledge and I am unable to form a judgment from the various comments that are made about his possible designs, all of them subject to uncertain events. Rouvigny, the envoy extraordinary of France, rejoices more than anyone else over this step as he had reason to fear the insistence of parliament for the recall of all the troops of these three kingdoms who are serving his sovereign.
The time of year invites the king here to enjoy the country and he has arranged to go there next Thursday with all the Court. He will proceed first to Portsmouth to see a new great ship at sea which was recently built (fn. 9) and will then go on to Windsor or elsewhere.
London, the 21st June, 1675.
[Italian.]
June 26.
Senato
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
519. Ascanio Giustian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The separation of the Chambers in London secures them completely against the measures which were apprehended from their meeting and leaves their minds at peace. In future sessions, if the war continues, they need not fear a diversion from the parliamentarians who will be engaged in settling the differences among themselves without wishing to apply themselves to foreign affairs, to the prejudice of a third party and against the wishes of the king there. The medicines applied in time have done the work which was required of them and there will be no lack of supplies if it is necessary to repeat the dose again if there was any fear of any trouble forthcoming, contrary to the royal intention. Ruvigni has won great applause for such a fortunate issue; but where there is gold which serves as the means and channel for a prince who has ready means of employing it in a suitable and advantageous manner, there is no great difficulty in unravelling knots which are not so tight that they cannot be undone. It is asserted that no expense has been spared upon this object and they rejoice that it has served so well to advance the interests of France at such an important conjuncture.
The differences which have arisen over the encounter with the two ships will easily be settled as the king here is forward to gratify his Britannic Majesty in everything that may be to his satisfaction while he is well disposed to adopt all expedients which can preserve the good and sincere correspondence which passes between them.
Paris, the 26th June, 1675.
[Italian.]
June 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
520. Paolo Sarotti, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A week ago, at night, I had audience of the queen and on various days following of the duke and duchess of Hyorch, of the princesses, their daughters, then of the Palatine Prince Roberto and of the duke of Monmouth, being fetched from my house on each occasion by Sir Cotterel, the master of the Ceremonies, and received at the palace in each apartment with the formalities customary with residents of the crowns for the first time, which are much more stately here than those practised at the other Courts. At all of them I enlarged copiously upon the regard of the most serene republic for every member of the royal House to which they responded with expressions of their appreciation. The duchess of Hyorch expressly charged me to write to your Serenity that she would never forget that she was a daughter of the republic, that she valued highly your ducale and would always be glad to see me. The duke also, her husband, spoke in the most friendly manner and at the first audience itself, in the presence of many gentlemen, he was pleased to constrain me, with a most humble gesture, to speak English with him.
In these days I have also called upon the prince of Neoburgh, and the ambassadors of Sweden, Portugal and Holland. The first to come to see me were the envoy extraordinary of France and those of Denmark and Brandenburg as well as the resident of Cologne. I believe that the others will do the same unless Ronquillo, who has the character of envoy extraordinary of Spain, claims to have arrived after me, reckoning the day of arrival and not that of the royal audience which I had.
The ambassador of Holland said much to me about the news which has reached here that the queen of Spain has at last accepted the mediation of the most serene republic for the peace. He added that the States General value it highly and will be very pleased. In this connection the envoy of France told me that the Spanish ministers have delayed their decision so long because they did not want peace. At that Court they flattered themselves upon hopes of uncertain issues that they would get advantages from the war and imagined that all the princes would have their interests as much at heart as if they were their own. On the other hand his king was disposed to an honourable adjustment but the noise made by the allies against him would not make him abate a jot of his just pretensions.
While this minister rejoices over the prorogation of parliament the Dutch ambassador is correspondingly grieved. He hoped not only to see the troops recalled but that parliament would constrain the king to take other steps which would prove very profitable to the interests of the States General. I know further that the latter were negotiating with the parliamentarians to induce them to force the king here not only to detach himself altogether from the king of France, but to join with the other allies against him if he would not make up his mind to grant the peace, considering it too dangerous to have such a powerful neighbour.
Certain members of the Lower House continue to entertain such ideas and lose no time in disseminating these and similar designs. As I intimated last week the Court did not propose to trouble further to inquire into the circumstances of the encounter between English and French ships in the Channel in order to avoid complications and disputes. But those who are ill disposed to France murmured at this silence and dissimulation and so it has behoved them to take up the matter again. Three days ago news came that a French ship which refused to lower its flag to an English war vessel, was boarded by the latter, taken and brought into Dover. Some meetings of the ministers have been held about this in the king's presence as well as about the arming of fresh ships and his Majesty's departure from London, with the Court, has been deferred.
London, the 28th June, 1675.
[Italian.]
June 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni,
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
521. To the Resident in England.
English ambassador at the Porte has notified the first Vizier of the rupture between that crown and the Tripolitan corsairs. This is merely to serve you for enlightenment and so that you may be on the watch to pick up anything fresh that may crop up in this connection.
Ayes, 113. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 At the promotion on 27 May the Cardinals appointed were Galeazzo Marescotti, Mario Albrici, Fabrizio Spada, Bernardo Rocci, Alessandro Crescentio and Philip Howard. Relations Veritables, Brussels, No. 25.
2 The House was called over on 26 May. o.s. Several members made default. The excuses of some were accepted, others were disallowed; there were several for whom no excuses were offered. Upon this it was ordered that the names of defaulters should be called over on the Tuesday following (1 June, o.s.), and that the Speaker should send letters to all constituencies whose members were defaulters to the end that notice should be taken of the failure of their duties for the places for which they served. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, page 345.
3 “Ce prince est resolu de l'adjourner (i.e. parliament), a quoi il est poussé par le grand tesorier, qui est d'humeur a sacrifier à la passion de cette assemblée les interêts de son maitre … par l'esperance qu'on lui donne que c'est le seul moyen d'en obtenir de l'argent.” Ruvigny to the king, 6 June. 1675, P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
4 The Cambridge, a 60-gun frigate, Capt. Arthur Herbert, encountered six French ships off Dungeness on 25 May, o.s. When she approached the French to require the salute, they returned her fire, refusing to strike, and doing considerable damage. As the Cambridge was no match for them, and had plate on board to the value of a million sterling she made sail for home. The king was very angry with Herbert for risking his valuable cargo, and deprived him of his command. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1675–6, pp. 133, 135. Salvetti, on 7 June. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27902 V, fol. 376. Relations Veritables, Brussels, for 19 June.
5 Although he had been a sick man for some time, his death occurred unexpectedly at Clermont on 7 June. W. Perwich to Williamson on 8 June. S.P. France, Vol. CXL.
6 In the case of Mr. Dalmahoy. It was directed that Sir John Fagg should he sent to the Tower and Sergeant Pemberton, Sir John Churchill, Sergeant Peck and Charles Porter were put under arrest, on 1 June, o.s. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX, page 350.
7 According to Salvetti Alberti was in serious difficulties, owing to his debts, on losing his public character and diplomatic privileges. He writes that, after the public audience of the new resident “il vecchio si e tenuto nascosto in casa, non ardendo uscirsene di paura d'esser fatto prigoniere per debito; ma si dice che habbia speranza di procurar le protezione del re per difendersi degli suoi creditori.” Brit Mus. Add MSS. 27962 V, fol. 401d.
8 Arlington was Lord Chamberlain. The Lord Great Charmberlain was Robert Bertie, earl of Lindsey.
9 The Royal James, built at Portsmouth by Anthony Deane, launched on Tuesday, 29 June. o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1675–6, pp. 191, 194, 195.


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