J. Selections from the Correspondence of Giacomo Querini
Giacomo Querini to the Inquisitors of State.
Most illustrious and most excellent Lords my most revered Masters.
With the idea of rendering my own private motives serviceable to the supreme commands of your Excellencies, in whom I with reason revere the condensed authority of the most serene Republic, I, with that helpmate whom God has given me, undertook some while ago this so long a journey, which has proved incredibly toilsome and unbearable by reason of the unexpected thaw, the swoln rivers and the frequent inundations which I encountered on the road. Here I am nevertheless safe arrived in Hanover, and equally well disposed to proceed farther, unless I receive a contrary command, owing to the hope entertained of very soon seeing the King of England back in his dominions here. I, however, have strong reasons for entertaining a contrary opinion, as a private and confidential servant of his Majesty's in London writes to me that although the King has every wish to cross the sea forthwith, yet will his movements be regulated by the course of events in Parliament, where although it may be supposed entirely devoted to his Majesty, there will nevertheless be much business of great importance, which cannot be settled so speedily, nor without the King's presence. So, possibly, not only the spring will pass, but a great part of the summer likewise before they see him in Hanover.
With obsequious respect I give this notice, not that it may merit the consideration of your Excellencies, but because it serves as a medium for my zeal to transmit a second, which I consider more important, and, perhaps, worthy of your supreme knowledge. By word of mouth from a person who has a great share in the regency here, I have been enabled by slow insinuation to elicit that the powers interested in the quiet of the North are endeavouring to form a plan for curbing the King of Sweden by force, rather than by reason, and severing him entirely from Germany. (fn. 1) For the execution of this project it seems that nothing more is wanting than the final decision of the Emperor, who still hesitates, because he cannot bring himself to believe in the King of Prussia, whom he considers (as he is) a young prince of capricious humour [“d' umor stravagante”], and liable to change. So the King of England to bind him yet more to his pledge has sent to Berlin, as envoy extraordinary, Monsr. d'Eltz, his Minister of State for this Regency in Hanover, where news of the result of so delicate a negotiation confided to the ability of the above-mentioned statesman is anxiously and speedily expected. (fn. 2)
It is not incumbent on me, but whenever I hear of anything relating even indirectly to the Republic's interests I shall, if your Excellencies permit me, be proud to notify it, and in the meanwhile humble myself profoundly.
Most humble, most devoted, most obedient Servant,
Giacomo Querini, Knight.
Hanover, 5th April 1715. (fn. 3)
From the Same to the Same.
In continuation of what I had the honour respectfully to write to your Excellencies about the despatch to Berlin of Monsr. Eltz on behalf of the King of England, I have now to announce his (Eltz's) return to Hanover, which took place last Friday. From what I could ascertain before seeing him, and since the information given to me with his own lips, I fully comprehend that his journey proved utterly useless, as the King of Prussia notwithstanding the alliance already stipulated by him with England, conceals his intentions, nor will he declare which side he means to take with regard to the intricate affairs of the north. The clearest notification of his projects was to propose a toast to Eltz at dinner, thus:—“To the success of a good peace, or a fortunate war;” to which end it is indubitable that by the end of the present month he will have 30,000 men encamped in the neighbourhood of Stettin, the artillery being actually on the march. This, however, is by no means conclusive, and should on the contrary yet more stimulate those whose interest it is to seek quiet, and to calm the excitement of the King of Sweden by main force.
Having obtained this information, I on Monday rode towards Wolfenbuttel to ascertain whether the Duke was disposed to grant the Republic a certain number of his troops, which at the utmost amount to four or five thousand men. On the road I heard that the Court was at Lauckemen, a pleasure residence, three leagues from Brunswick.
I, therefore, took myself thither on Tuesday morning, and the Duke received me very graciously; so, in the course of conversation, I made it turn to the present state of affairs, and to the impending Turkish war. Hereupon he evinced great regret at being unable to accommodate the Republic, and told me as frankly as possible, that the King of England and the Bishop of Munster urged him strongly, not only to retain his troops, but increase their amount to the utmost, pledging themselves to take them into their pay, if encouraged so to do by the extravagant and suspicious conduct of the King of Prussia.
It may, however, be hoped that Prussia is wise enough not to subject her territory to an invasion, which might be easily made by several sovereigns simultaneously, each in their own direction. Already, according to advices received yesterday by his minister plenipotentiary at this languid congress of Brunswick, the Czar [Peter the Great] has ordered the march of 24,000 men to the Prussian frontiers to assist the King, should he choose to act in conformity with the common interests against Sweden, or to attack him, should he declare himself her ally.
This same minister plenipotentiary also assures me that another corps of 29,000 men has in like manner been ordered to advance into the Ukraine to succour the Poles, whenever the Turks attack them.
The contrary winds have prevented me from receiving the letters which I was expecting from England from the King, and of which the Minister gave me hopes at the end of last week. I choose to believe that they are on the road, and that on my return to Zell, which will take place in a few days, I shall find them there.
In the meanwhile, it is evident that the return of the King of Sweden to his dominions (fn. 4) has given a fatal blow to the good intentions of more thaa one sovereign in Germany, well disposed to aid the Republic in her present need. God grant that this same cause, by compelling England to send a large squadron to the Baltic, may not render useless the negotiations of the Resident Vincenti, and mine also, both here and elsewhere.
Peace in the North is, therefore, desirable, for without it, it seems impossible to obtain any aid from the foreign, powers.
I am, with profound respect, the most humble, &c.,
Giacomo Querini, Knight.
Brunswick, 12th April 1715.
From the Same to the Same.
Although the State will have no lack of the most certain and accurate intelligence concerning what passes in the North, I, nevertheless, as a sequel to my two last letters, have the honor respectfully to acquaint your Excellencies from this corner, which is not so very remote from the scene of action, that we now at length begin fully to know which side will be taken by the King of Prussia, who has hitherto considered himself indispensable, and concealed his intentions, in order to benefit himself with Sweden by means of an agreement, according to the expectations held out to him by the two French ministers, who are perhaps still at his Court. This hope caused negotiations to be carried on at Berlin, and the chief point turned upon the restitution to Sweden of Pein-Munder-Schautz (sic), a fortress erected at some distance from Stettin, an important post, and of the greatest consequence to the Swede, as it opens the passage for him thence into Pomerania, and subsequently into Poland. The King of Sweden, therefore, impatient at waiting for the decision, asked the Prussian minister resident with him, what his King meant to do in the matter, and being told that he could never cede this point, the Swede in a fury rejoined, “Then I shall be obliged to do this justice myself with the sword which I wear at my side,” and immediately ordered the attack on the fortress, and succeeded in surprising and taking it, cutting 200 Brandenburghers to pieces, and making the rest prisoners, he on his part losing but 40 men. The news having flown to Berlin, the King was so enraged, that meditating reparation and revenge, he first of all expelled the Swedish minister his capital in four hours, granting him but 24 within which to vacate the Prussian territory, and is incessantly marching the rest of his troops towards Stettin, so that from one minute to another we shall hear of the recovery of the fortress, as the Swedes are incapable of keeping it any length of time, having no army in the field to make head against that of Prussia, which having been now joined by 8,000 Saxons, amounts to a good 40,000 men.
It seemed necessary that the sword should be drawn in that direction, as otherwise the Prussian, armed and irresolute, by causing suspicions to all the other powers, would have compelled them to act cautiously and keep troops to watch him; whereas now, being no longer apprehensive of his secret designs, Sweden by her violence having rendered him hostile, they will make a combined attack upon her in every direction, so that at length Charles XII. will be compelled to accept such peace as the allies shall be pleased to grant him.
To day Monsr. de Verpup, who comes from Ratzburg a place a few hours distance from Lubeck, where he is governor for the King of England, and now on his way straight to Hanover, confided to me another equally important event.
The Swedish squadron having taken some 2,000 regular and veteran troops to Stralsund with provisions and ammunition, received orders from the King of Sweden to give battle or its return towards Stockholm, to any vessels it fell in with whether of inferior or superior force, even should they chance to be some English or Dutch fleet.
In the course of the voyage, they gave chase to three or four Danish frigates, which endeavoured to escape by getting into shoal water, where the enemy could not follow them. The Swedes, however, blockaded them watching an opportunity, when the vice-admiral of Denmark, Monsieur Gaber (sic) a brave young man 35 years old, perceiving their position, determined to succour his countrymen and with 7 line-of-battle ships and three or four other frigates attacked the Swedes. The action lasted throughout the 22nd April (N.S ?), nor had victory declared for either side when they were separated by nightfall.
On the morning of the 23rd the Danes had gained their weather gauge, and cannonaded the enemy so briskly, that being to leeward they all surrendered in action, or shortly after, being compelled to sheer off towards some sand-banks where they ran aground.
Your Excellencies will perceive the loss of the Swedes by the enclosed sheet, and the battle is said for certain to have been fought in the neighbourhood of Holstein and Lubeck. (?)
It is also asserted that the Prince of Wirtemberg the general in Denmark, has intercepted some letters which show the whole game that was to have been played in the North during this next campaign.
The seizure of the fortress mentioned in my last, was to give the Swedes passage into Poland, where they would have joined the malcontents of the kingdom, and the followers of Stanislaus. The Turks on their part, would have contributed what they could. A detachment was to have marched thence to invade Lower Saxony or at least to raise money; and to prevent succour from the Emperor, the Turks were to alarm him by sending a considerable force to the frontiers of Hungary.
France, likewise, was to have assisted her friend the King of Sweden with a corps of 25,000 men now on the Rhine near Philipsburg, and which he would have sent to join the troops of the Landigrave of Cassel, another Swedish ally, for the purpose of embarrassing these Hanoverian States, and giving occupation to the King of Prussia; but now that the secret is disclosed, and his navy weakened, the Swede will be apprehensive lest the Muscovite fleet approach his very capital and bombard it; and must change his tactics. That the Czar has the wish to undertake this expedition is very intelligible from the present made to him by the King of Denmark, of some pilots well acquainted with the waters of Sweden.
It also chanced to the officials of Denmark to intercept a letter signed by the Princess Ulrica and the Prince her consort, to the King her brother, brother-in-law of the Prince, (fn. 5) in which, expatiating on the miseries of the kingdom, they prayed his Majesty to seek peace at any cost. This letter, after having been read and copied, was sent to the Swede; and it is understood that whilst reading it, his pet lap-dog fawned upon him, so he said to it, “Thee also then art fondling me for peace,” the words being interpreted to mean that he ridiculed the anxieties of his sister and the lamentable miseries of his subjects.
This combination of circumstances warrants strong hopes that as Sweden has provoked so many enemies stronger and more powerful than herself, she may ere long receive the law and submit. Should the prophecy not fail, I firmly believe that it will then be easy to prevail on the Emperor to make diversions in Hungary and to obtain other efficient succour of troops and ships for the Morea.
I in the meanwhile being somewhat indisposed by my long journey, shall remain here about ten days longer, to establish (as I hope) my health and capacitate myself for a fresh march, which I shall undertake immediately, towards Holland, and subsequently to London, as the letter which the King did me the grace to write to me in date (fn. 6) of the 9th of April encourages me to do so.
My object will be same as that which caused me to detach myself from the centre of my adored country, namely, to render me, if possible, capable of serving her, obeying the precious commands of your Excellencies, before whom in the meanwhile I bow myself with profound obsequiousness.
Your Excellencies most humble, &c.
Zell, 2nd May 1715. Giacomo Querini, Car.
Note of Swedish ships and frigates which the Danes attacked and conquered on the 23rd of April 1715:—
|The Princess||74 Guns, Crew, 500.|
|The Star of the North||74 Guns, Crew, 500.|
|The Dermanland||57 Guns, Crew, 315.|
|Gottenburg||56 Guns, Crew, 200.|
|Wideorn||40 Guns, Crew, 190.|
|Le Tocon (sic)||40 Guns, Crew, 130.|
There are two other ships besides these, names and number of guns unknown, but they were captured by the Danes in the aforesaid engagement.
From the Same to the Same.
I have nothing to boast of, but may at least congratulate myself on my good fortune in having anticipated the supreme command of your Excellencies, when, despite the reasons which might have dissuaded me, I undertook this journey to London without the escort of your most revered commands.
I was already on the road, when my zeal was stimulated by your honored despatch of the 30th April, the only one that reached me in Germany.
I, therefore, continued the march with such speed that in four days I got to the Hague, where I found the Princess Caroline still waiting for a Fair wind.
I did not join her retinue, because in the course of that night she departed, and I did the like on Saturday, the 1st of the month [N.S.], as soon as I knew that the passage boat “Prince George” was about to set sail. Immediately on arriving at Rotterdam, I went on board and proceeded to the Brill, remaining there at anchor three whole days. At length on Tuesday morning the captain set sail with a slant of wind in our favour, which lulled an hour afterwards, and gave way to the N.W. or “Garbin,” which blowing a gale, and in gusts, raised a heavy sea during 40 consecutive hours, and took us upwards of 40 French leagues out of our course, with manifest risk of shipwreck, and of my making a useless sacrifice of my life for my country. At length the Almighty, who commands both sea and winds, granted a calm, guided us into harbour, and, a week ago to-day, I landed in this capital, where the Court Commissary took me to the lodging appointed me by the King three weeks before my arrival, near St. James's Palace. My small amount of baggage was all at the Custom House to be examined; and whilst waiting for it I had to remain at home, where his excellency the Ambassador Trono, putting me to the blush and confusion, came to see me, and thus gained some repute for me with those unacquainted with a person so very insignificant as I am, through the honour of his visit.
Saturday was a day of gala, being the anniversary of the King's birth, and I was impatient to go to Court, but had to wait for my trunks, and for a whole suit from the tailor. I was ready to go abroad at 6 p.m., and went immediately to the feet of his Majesty, who had asked for me several times; the entire crowd of competitors on such a day did not prevent me from having an audience of half an hour, tête à tête, in his private apartments; and I can say with truth, that he treated me, not as if he were the King of Great Britain, but as that same Elector of Brunswick, who during so long a period has graciously distinguished me as publicly known. He continues to show me the same kindness, of which he gave additional proof by immediately desiring the chamberlains on duty to let me pass as a private attendant [“intimo familiare”, without need of asking permission, a favour conceded neither to the ambassadors nor to the nobility [“ai Milordi”], but only to a few Germans and to the lords in waiting. Such a grace, envied by many, and which I receive solely through the Sovereign's goodness, will enable me to approach him frequently. At this first visit, after paying such compliments as due on his accession to the throne, and on the celebration of his birthday, I lost no time in expatiating on the esteem and respect borne him by the Republic, expressions which he received graciously and reciprocated them. Having then made the conversation turn on a ship now building in one of these dock-yards (seen by me on my way), to be named “King George,” and which will carry 120 guns, I explained sufficiently the earnest desires of the State, and her regret at having been unable to obtain any naval succour from England for defence against the common enemy of Christendom. I explained to his Majesty that he would confer a signal favour on the Republic should he deign to give an official passport to Colombo: and throughout he listened to me graciously and attentively. The conversation was brought to a close by the necessity for the King to appear in public, and I remained fully convinced that I had made an impression on the mind of his Majesty.
I then went to pay my respects to the Prince of Wales and to the Princess his consort, both of whom received me with great kindness, the Princess indeed choosing to see me on the morrow in her own apartments quite alone, and she spoke to me at great length about the disagreements between father and son, remarking that this sort of misunderstanding was very detrimental to the royal family.
On that same evening, after the ball, I had the honour to accompany the King to the apartment of Mademoiselle (sic) de Schulenberg, a lady who enjoys more of the royal favour than any other at the Court, the King knowing her to he truly attached to his royal service, and so in the evening he very often sups with her. When necessary I shall not fail to make her back my demands on behalf of the Republic, as she is an old acquaintance of mine, and has always shown herself my sincere and affectionate friend.
During supper nothing was heard but expressions of esteem from the King for the State, and for her ancient friendship towards his family, though nothing particular was said, and I took good care not to broach anything, as there was another lady at table and the comptroller of the household [Marescial della Corte, Hugh Boscawen ?], in whose presence I thought it well to be reserved.
Your Excellencies will know from another quarter [the Ambassador Trono ?] what took place in certain quarters of the city of London on Sunday evening and on the following Monday. There was a mob of as many as 2,000 persons that shouted “Long live King James the Third,” “Long live the Duke of Ormond,” and “No Hanover” [niente Hanover.] The soldiers of the guard having been accoutred parsimoniously by their Colonel, the Duke of Marlborough, whose avarice is not to be told, burnt 150 of their shirts in the park because they were too coarse. The mob was dispersed by a few rounds of musketry, and 500 cavalry charged the soldiers and put them to flight. A much more perilous riot occurred at Oxford, and the Court is about to take strong measures to prevent the increase of similar disturbances. I do but allude to them, being very sure that the State will have received full details and most mature remarks thereon; it is certain that of late, as elicited by me from the lips of the chief ministers, affairs are no longer so prosperous for the King as they were at first. Even in Parliament there was a sharp debate on Monday about the amount of troops to be kept on foot, including foreigners; the Duke of Marlborough replied that there was not one single foreign soldier in the service, the rejoinder he got, was that there was no occasion to go to the Indies to enlist them, as there were Turks even at the Court, alluding to his Majesty's two favourite Turkish servants, Mahomet and Mustapha.
On Monday I had the satisfaction to receive a letter from your Excellencies, dated the 17th May, enclosing the copy of one written on the 21st of March, the original of which had never reached me, the loss of it delayed my departure for England, as my belief was that the tribunal wished me to remain at Hanover rather than elsewhere, owing to the report of the King's expected visit to his German dominions, which will, doubtless, take place on the prorogation of Parliament, unless accidents arise to make him change his mind. This intention was not communicated to me by the King himself, but by a friend who is in his confidence. On Tuesday evening I had the advantage of supping with the King at Mademoiselle de Schulenberg's in company with another lady. I remarked that the royal countenance was somewhat sad and melancholy; his Majesty eat little and I saw that he was really unwell, so I did not think fit to speak of business, and deferred it till the morrow, when, to the surprise of all beholders, I followed the Hanoverian ministers into the King's presence. I told his Majesty how much the Republic and some of her merchants would be benefited by the grant of an English passport to the Secretary Colombo, and he answered me kindly that I was to speak about it to Stanhope the Secretary of State for the Levant and for Spain, and that so far as his Majesty was concerned he should have no difficulty in conceding it to me. I will canvass this minister and acquaint your Excellencies with the result as soon as possible. I then alluded to the earnest desire of the State to obtain through his Majesty a few English vessels for the Republic's service, to which effect he said he would render me every good office, and indicated the Prince Curachino [Karaskin an old acquaintance of mine,] now ambassador in England to his Majesty from his ally the Czar [Peter the Great], telling me to ascertain from him the means he employed to obtain ships for his sovereign. I saw this minister at the Court, but the time and place not allowing me to discuss this matter, we agreed to have a conference at his house. The distinction with which I am received by the King and the royal family has caused some of the English nobility and all the foreign ministers, seen by me at the Court (with the greater part of whom I was already acquainted) to visit me; and finally last evening, for the third time, I supped with the King at Madame di Kilmanseck's, the Duchess of Shrewsbury (Adelhida Paliotti), and Lady Albermarle (Isabella Gravemoor), being of the party.
There was no talk about business, but the King told me that he should attend Parliament to-day, to pass a Bill, that the Secret Committee had announced to the House of Lords that it was ready to make the report enjoined it concerning the late Ministry, and that the House had appointed the 20th of the month, N.S., to hear the reading. The persons impeached are Bolingbroke, Oxford, Strafford, and the Duke of Ormond, and some others besides. The decision of this matter, whatever turn it may take, will always be of very great consequence, even according to the opinion of the King, who to-morrow or Monday will go to Hampton Court, where he has a country palace, and at a short distance thence will see some horse races. He also told me incidentally that if the Emperor does not take part in the hostilities [impegni] against the Turks, he supposes there is some hidden reason besides the lack of means. Your Excellencies will be pleased to accept the homage of my most implicit obedience, as expressed in this sheet, however confused, and be thoroughly convinced that for the sake of rendering any especial service soever to my most adored country, I, following the example of my forefathers, will never hesitate to place at her service my poor remaining substance, and sacrifice both blood and life.
Your Excellencies most humble, etc.
Giacomo Querini, Cavr.
London, 3/14 June 1715.
From the Same to the Same.
The bodily exercise taken by the King during the last few days by attending the review of the Foot Guards, and the amusement derived by him from the horse races at a distance of some four leagues from London, in like manner as it pleased everybody, so did it also give me an opportunity of following his Majesty, and of finding myself on Tuesday with the Duke of Shrewsbury awaiting his return at the royal palace of Hampton Court, where I had the great good fortune to walk in the gardens a long while, with his Majesty and the Duchess of Shrewsbury (Adelhida Paliotti), and afterwards, for about an hour, with the King all alone. I availed myself of this opportunity to tell the King that Secretary Stanhope raised difficulties about drawing up the passport requested for Colombo, and said that, expecting from his Majesty much greater favours for my country, I had commenced by making small demands, in order to encourage myself by degrees to prefer more important suits. The King smiled, and answered me that I was not to doubt but that he would keep his royal word. Thereupon I thanked him, and made a second proposal, namely, that he should accommodate the Republic with some of his brave Hanoverian troops. I said that by granting me this, he would renew in his own royal person the obligations conferred on the State by his father, the late Elector, of glorious memory. To this point his Majesty answered me that he would gladly convince the Republic of his esteem and true friendship, by these means likewise, but that even were the war on the North to cease, he still had reasons to retain all his own forces, and [also] such as he could obtain from his friends, so very far was he from being able to deprive himself of them. I was then silent, and again thanked his Majesty for the excellent disposition of his heart. The conversation then fell, I know not how, upon the Wirtemburg troops, and he told me that Prince ought to grant them all to the Republic, as the King did not see how he could employ them elsewhere, his Majesty disbelieving the last news received in London, namely, that besides pecuniary supply, France meant to succour the Swede with a military force. Our walk was terminated by the King's going to table; lie supped in public with the above-mentioned Duchess and a number of officers of the Crown. I was the only foreigner who had the honour to sit at the royal board. The King seemed to treat me with partiality and confidence; he addressed himself to me very often, and asked me for some of the viands which were placed before me. He discussed a variety of topics, and alluded to his journey to Venice, saying he shall be able to find his way from St. Stae, where he lodged, to Rialto and St, Mark's. He then went to bed, and on Wednesday morning I attended his levee, and as he was invited to dine at Lord Glocestre [sic, Lord Rochester's?], in a house two miles from Hampton Court, towards London, I preceded him thither; and on that same evening at the Court I saw Secretary Stanhope, to whom I announced the King's will about granting the passport [for Colombo]. He pledged himself to send one to the Britannic Minister at the Porte by the first opportunity for dispatching letters thither, and that he would place a second in my hands, which I shall have the honour to forward to your Excellencies, as I do not suppose it will be any longer in time to find Colombo at Smyrna.
Yesterday morning at 10 o'clock, Prince Curaxino (sic) [Karaskin?] came to my house, apologizing for having failed to hold the conference promised me at his own residence. This Minister answered my inquiries with as much frankness as I could possibly desire, owing to the, good friendship maintained by me with him at several German courts.
Concerning the purchase of ships made by him for his master the Czar [Peter the Great], from 1712 down well nigh to the present time, he told me that he had purchased 13 in all, viz., one of 74 guns, four of 64, the rest of 54, and one, the smallest, of 48; they were all lately-built vessels, of from six to seven years old, only one numbering eight years. Part of them half fitted out, and the rest rather less. He obtained them through merchants, and promised to give me the names of some of them, or of those best informed. He said that this would be for me as for him, the most direct method, and the easiest and most advantageous. He promised me some notes of the prices paid by him, and in conclusion said that a ship of 80 guns, completely found, had been offered him, which the Czar declined to purchase. I know not what scruples induced him to request me to keep his communications a close and confidential secret, but as I was obliged to give him my word of honour to this effect, I venture to beseech your Excellencies to make me appear punctual and discreet.
This Prince Caraxino (sic) [Karaskin?] took leave yesterday of the King, to whom I shall give account of the interview, as he suggested it to me, and will assuredly be glad of the result. If necessary, I shall ask him to grant me his royal favour, quite in a private way, for the sake of obtaining every possible advantage, though of this there is small need, as with merchants the strongest recommendations proceed from good bills of exchange. On foundations of this sort, should hope not to deceive myself in promising your Excellencies some such purchases as you desire.
I shall be on the watch for your most revered orders, and in the meanwhile will not fail to keep on foot such negotiations as may best enlighten and render me more capable of serving you.
I am, with profound veneration, etc.
Giacomo Querini, Cavr.
London, 10/21 June 1715.
From the Same to the Same.
On Wednesday the charges against some of the four persons impeached, [Ormond, Oxford, Bolingbroke, Strafford] were to have been taken up to the House of Lords; but for good reasons this was delayed until that day week. Both parties employ all possible devices. The Whigs seek to annihilate the Tories utterly, and to place them under the yoke: they want to impeach even the Duke of Shrewsbury, and to accuse him of high treason, because as one of the chiefs of the late ministry, without an express order from; the Queen, and consequently against the Statutes of the Realm, he held secret conferences with Mons. Mesnager, manipulating the preliminaries of peace, together with the Earl of Oxford, and because having returned from the embassy to France, and being appointed viceroy in Ireland, he allowed troops to be raised there for the Pretender. All the good favour of the King, cultivated for him by the address of his wife, who belongs to certain parties of pleasure given by his Majesty, will perhaps not prove a sufficient shield for his defence. His enemies have the upper hand; and to try and appease them, the King caused it to be secretly hinted to the Duke through Mons. de Bothmar, that he should resign the Lord Chamberlainship, as, perhaps, on his retirement, the King's recommendations would have the effect of exempting him from the impeachment. In the meanwhile the animosity of the two parties, and the well nigh hostile manner in which they treat each other, make a line game for France and Spain. Those two crowns, regardless of their pledge to accept the mediation of his Britannic Majesty for the adjustment with the people of Majorca, availing themselves of these troubles in England have now fitted out the expedition (as known) to subjugate that island and punish the rebels. With this the King must put up, and dissemble his vexation until the current disturbances are quieted.
The majority of the populace in this kingdom are Tories, not from attachment to the Pretender, but at the instigation of the preachers, who hate the new King, for no other reason than because they find themselves excluded from office (dalle cariche), and consequently unable to further their personal interest, which is the key stone of English religion and of English policy.
London, 12 July 1715.
In a former letter I alluded to the danger in which the Duke of Shrewsbury found himself, and to the advice given him at the suggestion of his Majesty, I have now to add, that last Monday evening, after everybody had quitted the antechamber, he entered the King's cabinet, and saying a few words resigned to him the Lord Chamberlain's staff.
On the following morning, the Duke's kinsman, Lord Cardigan, immediately resigned spontaneously into the King's hands, the post of Master of the Buck Hounds, a very profitable charge, and which he obtained as a very great favour at the commencement of this reign.
This mode of proceeding renders the Court somewhat suspicious, lest these personages purpose joining the Tories; though with regard to the Duke, I have reason not to believe it: he has withdrawn to a suburban residence [Isleworth], out of sight of his enemies, and hopes thus to escape the threatening storm.
The Duchess, his wife, protected by the King, will, according to my belief, retain her place about the Princess of Wales. I became aware of the business [“mannegio”] precisely on Tuesday evening, shortly before we went to supper, when the King suddenly disappeared, and went into the apartment of Madame de Kilmanseck, where the Duchess of Shrewsbury was waiting to speak to him. The Duke of Marlborough and Stanhope, Secretary of State, exert themselves in favour of Shrewsbury, and do everything to avoid losing him in the same way as they have lost so many other Tories who might have been retained.
At this present, when it is well nigh too late, they become aware that the old dominant party of the Tories was mixed: part were in favour of the Pretender, part for the House of Hanover.
Had his Majesty made this distinction on his accession to the Crown; he would have excluded the former, not the latter; but by favouring the Whigs alone, he lost all the others at once, and they, therefore, having withdrawn to their country seats, joined the Jacobites; and with the pretext of “the High Church,” as they style the Church of England, they caused the populace to rise in several places, and perpetrate the many outrages of which full details may be read in the Gazettes.
This morning the Lord Chancellor (William Cowper), at audience of the King, gave it to be understood, that unless the Earl of Oxford made his escape, he will perhaps be under arrest within 24 hours.
Inquiry is being made concerning the author of a certain libel which advocates the enormous and sacrilegious crime, of taking the King's life in order to place the crown on the head of the Pretender; and the author is suspected to be the Bishop of Rochester [Atterbury], whose counsels encourage the Duke of Ormond.
I have this moment returned from the Court, where I was present when the King gave the Lord Chamberlain's staff to the Duke of Bolton, to the surprise of many persons, as divers other profitable crown appointments are in this nobleman's family. (fn. 7)
July 19, 1715. (fn. 8)
Giacomo Querini to the Procurator Venier.
I am at a loss to tell your Excellency how kindly his Majesty received me. I write the account to the Tribunal with reserve, lest it be supposed that I flatter myself, but assuredly the King made me the same cordial demonstrations of good-will and affection as was his wont when mere Duke of Hanover and Elector of Brunswick: his sentiments with regard to me are not changed in the least; but I think his countenance is altered. Instead of being well preserved he has become rather aged, which I believe must be attributed to the burden of Crown business, and to those disappointments which a sovereign of England never fails to experience at the hands of one party or the other. He is also, perhaps, disturbed by family disagreements.
I subsequently had a second private audience, and on both occasions I spoke about the passport for Colombo, and the purchase of ships. He answered me favourably throughout, and I am certain, that at least underhand, he will give me every possible assistance for the attainment of my object. For the passport he referred me to Stanhope, Secretary for the affairs of the Levant; and with regard to the ships, he told me to obtain information from the Muscovite ambassador, Prince Karaskin (Carakin), as he would tell me in what way he had obtained vessels for the Czar. It requires time to discuss matters seriously with the foreign Ministers in London, but they have all visited me, with the exception of the Frenchman, solely because they remark the favour shown me by the King and the royal family.
Last evening, moreover, together with Madame de Kilmanseck, and the Duchess of Shrewsbury [Adelhida Paliotti], and Lady Albermarle [Isabella Gravemoor], I accompanied the King to the opera, and supped with him for the third time in Madame de Kilmanseck's apartments.
The King has done me the favour to desire the chamberlains on duty to allow me access to the private apartments like an intimate attendant, a distinction conceded but to a few Germans, and to the lords in waiting.
I have visited the Prince and Princess of Wales, who greeted me with marks of extraordinary kindness. The Princess conversed with me a long while in her own apartments, repeating what she confided to me at Hanover about the misunderstanding between the Prince, her husband, and the King, his father; and she remarked that it might cause very great detriment to the royal family.
The clamour of the soldiers and the shouts of the populace, both in London and Oxford, wishing long life to King James III. will be known to your Excellency through the newspapers; it is thus evident that since some time the King is no longer so popular as he was at first. He is thinking about the remedies; purposes going to Hanover on the prorogation of Parliament; and means to augment his troops instead of depriving himself of them. They may, perhaps, be needed should the Tories hold up their heads as they are expected to do, unless the Committee of 21 appointed to give information against the late ministry convicts some of the accused of high treason, which seems very doubtful, and otherwise the royal party will lose ground. Marlborough is universally disliked, and the King has done too much for him.
So far as I myself am concerned I can but speak well of the ambassador (Nicolo Trono), I do not pledge myself for his official conduct. The prevalent opinion is that he has abandoned himself to the guidance of the Spanish ambassador, the Marquis of Monteleone.
Some time ago people pretended that the King paid his addresses to the ambassadress, but it was an ephemeral attachment, and owing to the sagacity of Madame Kilmanseck, and of the Shrewsbury [Adelhida Paliotti, Duchess of Shrewsbury], in order to oust the Schulenburg, rather than to any passion on the part of his Majesty. The ambassadress moreover is a novice [“povera figlia,” silly girl ?], and the Princess of Wales told me she knew not how to sustain her rank, and that these other ladies always take precedence of her.
I return most humble thanks to your Excellency for your very gracious instructions, and for the news you give me of Dona Maria Celeste, of the departure as already effected from Vienna of her Excellency Zane, and of the Turkish war, with regard to which last, the King told me that should the Emperor not make an attack in Hungary, it is from lack of money and provisions, and not from disinclination to fulfil his engagements.
London, 3/14 June 1715.
From the Same to the Same.
My pictures do not meet with the success which I anticipated for them in this country. The Italians have indiscreetly cheated a number of persons by selling at an exorbitant price one thing for another, creating such universal suspicion that the English no longer trust any one soever. The plan which I am attempting is to dispose of them by a lottery, which has already commenced, but hitherto the result is unfavourable owing to the present disturbances. From the King I have not yet received the slightest douceur (dolcezza) beyond the billet for my lodging, nor have I the courage to drop the slightest hint on the subject being too well aware of the expenses incurred by his Majesty. The 700,000l. do not suffice for the expenses of his household. At the close of the year he had a, debt of 20,000l. The English absorb everything with unheard of avidity, and from his private Hanoverian purse the King has to defray the expenses of all his German ministers and other dependants in England, so that by ascending the throne, instead of gaining wealth, he is but burdened with heavier costs. Your Excellency, however, suggests that I should make a statement to him, and should some notable change take place in the aspect of affairs I will endeavour to profit by the hint, for which I return the most humble thanks.
On Tuesday the ambassador [Trono] went to audience, having previously told me that he had a ducal missive to present, that he was to ask the King for ships and troops, and must have a long audience. Scarcely had he entered the royal presence ere he returned with a very red face, not having remained with his Majesty sufficient time to recite a “Pater noster.” I should be curious to know what the substance of his despatch will be with regard to this incident. He will certainly dress it up, for although no longer assisted by the Spanish ambassador, the Marquis of Monteleone, nor by the envoy from Parma, Count Gazola, he has nevertheless no lack of aid from the Abbate Conti, a very able individual, through whose medium he, Trono, has become rather familiar with Sir …, a gentleman in waiting on the Prince of Wales.
To tell the truth, although the King has never said anything to me on the subject, I know through a good channel that his Majesty does not approve of Trono's intimacy with the Spanish minister Monteleone, a personage so much suspected at this Court.
The King must lately have taken possession of Bremen, and the alliance pledges him to declare war on the Swede. A manifesto is being drawn up, and General Veling is preparing the reply for the other side. From this it may be inferred that his Majesty cannot give the Republic troops. The Ambassador Trono has not yet confided to me the demand made by him at the audience, but I hope he limited himself to a request for ships. I shall endeavour to ascertain this, either through him or others, and will urge my suit as may seem fitting, though, from a certain notice received from your Excellency some while ago, there is reason to fear that the Republic does not choose to have any other ships in her fleet than those built in her own arsenal. Notwithstanding this, until I receive the reply to No. 16. I shall canvass the ministers and endeavour to render Lord Orford (fn. 9) well disposed, though to him the King cannot speak, as his Majesty knows not how to do it in English, nor does Orford understand a word either of German or French, but Secretary Townsend will act as interpreter. (fn. 10)
London, 7/18 October 1715.
|Lista de Quadri dell' Eredita' del defo Duca di Mantoa. (fn. 11) |
|No. 1. Una Mada di pietà di Paolo Veronese||Ghinee 150|
|No. 2. Un S. Francesco di Paolo Veronese||Ghinee 50|
|No. 3. Una Nunziata del sudo||Ghinee 50|
|No. 4. Un Salvator del sudo||Ghinee 50|
|No. 5. Una Maddalena del sudo||Ghinee 50|
|No. 6. Una S. Elena del sudo||Ghinee 50|
|No. 7. Un Christo alla Colonna del Palma||Ghinee 16|
|No. 8. I tre Re del Bassan Vecchio||Ghinee 30|
|No. 9. La Vergine, S. Franco, e Sa Chiara di Franco Bassan||Ghinee 16|
|No. 10. S. Girolamo in rame di Paolo Fiamingo||Ghinee 6|
|No. 11. Un Endemion di Squerzin da cento||Ghinee 34|
|No. 12. Una Flora di Squerzin da cento||Ghinee 34|
|No. 13. La Nascita di Giesù con Pastori di Franco Bassan||Ghinee 66|
|No. 14. Un Christo all' orto del sudo||Ghinee 50|
|No. 15. Animali del Castiglione||Ghinee 10|
|No. 16. Una Vergine in Tavola del Zambellin||Ghinee 20|
|No. 17. Animali del Castiglione||Ghinee 10|
|No. 18. Un Quadretto in Tavola la Vergine e Puttini di Bonifazio||Ghinee 8|
|No. 19. Animali Quadrupedi del Castiglione||Ghinee 12|
|No. 20. Un' Annunciata di Tentoretto||Ghinee 14|
|No. 21. Paese con diverse figure Adorazion de' Magi di Giulio Rano||Ghinee 94|
|No. 22. Paese fiamingo di Giazzo con figure picole di||Ghinee 54|
|No. 23. Architettura con figure in picolo del Ghisolfi||Ghinee 44|
|No. 24. Una Vergine, Sa. Giustina, Sa. Catterina di Polidoro||Ghinee 18|
|No. 25. Una Vergine in Tavola … del sudo||Ghinee 10|
|No. 26. Un Christo morto con due ritratti di Leandro Bassan||Ghinee 30|
|No. 27. Quadrupede del Castiglione||Ghinee 12|
|No. 28. Paese con Cavallini e figure di Gio. Miel||Ghinee 8|
|No. 29. Prospettiva con figure in picolo del Vivarini di Roma||Ghinee 30|
|No. 30. Marina di Monsr Montagne||Ghinee 25|
|No. 31. Sposalizio di S. Catterina di Carletto Cagliari||Ghinee 42|
|No. 32. La Vita umana della Scola di Bonifacio||Ghinee 50|
|No. 33. Frutti e volatili di Giacomo di Castello||Ghinee 16|
|No. 34. Maddalena del Cavr Liberi||Ghinee 30|
|No. 35. S. Girolamo del Cavr Liberi||Ghinee 30|
|No. 36. Marina di Monsr Montagne||Ghinee 25|
|No. 37. Pesci di Giacomo da Castello||Ghinee 6|
|No. 38. Frutti e volatili del sudo||Ghinee 16|
|No. 39 Prospettiva con figure in piccolo del Viviani di Roma||Ghinee 30|
|No. 40. Uno Sbozzo di piu figure in Rame del Tentoretto||Ghinee 14|
From the Same to the Same.
At length by private sales, and not by lottery, I have disposed of some of my pictures at a reasonable price. I may say that I have the most inferior still on hand, and shall find it difficult to get rid of them.
London, 30 December 1715./10 January 1716.
From the Same to the Same.
In former letters I announced the sale of half of my pictures; I am bargaining about the rest, but as yet without success. At the worst, the least mischief will be to send them back to Venice. Could I have imagined the trouble and expense which they have caused me, I would never have removed them from their niches; at present I can only apply a half remedy, but have no reason to be dissatisfied with the price of those already sold.
London, 13/14 January 1716.
From the Same to the Same.
Concerning my pictures, I mentioned having disposed of half of them at a reasonable price; those remaining being inferior, I find it difficult to effect their sale.
London, 9/10 March 1716.
From the Same to the Same.
I daily repent me of the false step which I took in bringing my pictures to London. The custom-house charges were enormous, and by no means can I dispose of the pictures here.
The lottery proceeds so slowly as to leave me no hope of filling it up; it is not to be dreamt of, and the more I think about it the more it distresses me. I on my part likewise had imagined that these vast dominions, and the opulence of so many noblemen [signori], would have facilitated the undertaking; but I find the English closer in their expenditure than I could have supposed. At any rate I must get rid of this embarrassment. As yet the King has given me no other marks of his generosity beyond those already mentioned, and should he do anything more, I cannot expect it until I am on the eve of departure. In the meanwhile, I promise your Excellency to he sincere on this chapter, as it is my duty to be in all other matters.
London, 18/29 November 1715.
From the Same to the Same.
Should I not receive some commission from the Tribunal, it will be a proof that my stay here is no less useless to my country than burdensome to myself. I cannot even hope to dispose of my pictures, for which I must inevitably pay 65 per cent. import duty, so it behoves me to send them back either to Germany or elsewhere, without any appearance of deriving profit thence.
London, 17/28 June 1715.
From the Same to the Same.
I have already commenced writing in my own hand to the Tribunal, and if they can bear with the character, they must also tolerate the style, which, after all, being a mere arrangement of words, I should care but little to excel therein, provided my deeds could correspond to my own hearty zeal, and to the expectations of others.
The conspiracies now hatching are of the most malignant nature possible, and his Majesty resents them so much, that, utterly disgusted with everything, I believe England would not have him for her Sovereign were the affair to recommence. His melancholy augments daily, and those who know his humour dare not speak to him. Schulenberg herself, who is the most privileged person, keeps aloof. I avail myself of such moments as seem to me the least sombre, and therefore thought fit on Whit-Tuesday to wait for his Majesty at Hampton Court, on his return from the races.
I request your Excellency to ascertain from the Inquisitor Gabrielli how long I am to remain here. The cost of living in this country with some little decorum is too exorbitant, for although my lodging is gratis, all the rest, namely, coach, sedan-chair, and four servants, are all at my charge; nor from certain quarters do I choose to receive gratuities.
On Wednesday morning I attended the King's levee, and his diversions in the garden and park (at Hampton Court), where some hunters which the Master of the Horse wished to have purchased were ridden on trial. At 12 o'clock the King went by invitation to dine with Lord Rochester, two miles from Hampton Court, on his way to London, whither he returned that same evening.
London, 10/21 June 1715.
From the Same to the Same.
We know nothing concerning the affairs of the North. The English and Dutch fleet have joined forces in the Baltic. One of the chief ministers told me that the attack on the Swede (Charles XII.) no longer depended on the King of Prussia, but would not unbosom himself further. By this part post I am writing also to the Tribunal, and send them an authentic letter, sealed, for the Britannic ambassador at Constantinople, in favour of Colombo, adding a copy in French, &c.
I have found means to obtain some 50-gun ships, and larger, if requisite. For their construction some six months will be required. I have caused the King to be persuaded to grant a good amount of lead, and perhaps all that is required, at the lowest price, and shall speak to him myself on the subject.
His Majesty flatters himself in vain with the hopes of going into Germany this year, for Parliament will adjourn in September and re-assemble in the winter. He has suggested to me, as Commander-in-Chief of the Republic's forces, a very able and sage General, a Scotchman, Monsr Murray, now in the pay of the Dutch. His Majesty assured me that he, Murray, has few equals, and that it would be impossible to make a better choice. About this I write more fully to the Tribunal, but omit the name of the King, who does not choose to be mentioned, as it is uncertain whether this General would listen to the offer even were the Republic to make it; but should he be thus inclined (and this I shall soon know), the King promises me his good offices with the States, that they may cede him, at least as a loan for some years, as they are enjoying a most prosperous peace.
As for the rest I will write nothing more about the favour which the King shows me by invitations to his suppers, it is now a matter of course, and I can say without vanity that if they do not see me at the Court, they seek me in every direction.
On the two penultimate evenings the ambassadress Trono [born Chiara Grimani] was likewise present always in the last place below the other ladies. I observed with regret that her manners were unsuited to her station and to the habitation in which she found herself, and I said to myself either that the Venetian ambassadors at the Court of England must come without their wives, or that these last must be women who comprehend their position, and who will not easily cede that ground to which they are entitled and which they are bound to maintain. I am very sure that your Excellency will keep this paragraph secret as usual. The ambassador [Trono] never appears at Court, save to pay his respects to the King on Sunday mornings, and after making his bow departs immediately. He shuns every opportunity of conversing with the ministers; but I see him intent upon collecting news; for every post day he goes abroad and returns home very late, I do not know whether with his despatch written or to write, but I do know that he has sometimes despatched an “estafette” to overtake the courier who had already departed.
For the moment there is certainly nothing to excite much curiosity, although the House of Commons has impeached Bolingbroke and Oxford but the bill has not yet been carried up to the Lords.
On Monday his Majesty reviewed the Foot Guards, and an immense crowd greeted him with incredible acclamations, the like of which are said never to have been heard, the people kissing both his hands and feet. Not only from this, but also from many other proofs, the King himself infers that the people of London are very good hearted, but that the preachers, (fn. 12) who are corrupt and disturbers of the public quiet, are no less opposed to him. It is asserted that their sermons caused the late rising in Yorkshire, on which occasion the Pretender was proclaimed, his health being drunk, and all persons of the contrary party forcibly expelled, so that the Lord Lieutenant demanded troops which will be sent to him.
As I flatter myself that his Serenity [Doge Giovanni Cornaro] will see my public letters, I will not trouble him with private advices, but beseech your Excellency when paying him your respects to present likewise my most humble service.
I do not send the tribunal any news, but transmit a number of articles concerning which, as their Excellencies are not authorized to decide, they must communicate them to the Senate. Should the party of the Ambassador Trono thwart the resolves, as I anticipate, my stay here will be useless and most burdensome to me, and private interests will prevent my serving the country; so unless the King cross over to Germany where my hands would be more free, and where I should not injure any one. I must endeavour ….
Having heard that the Dutch are about to disband a whole corps of veterans, I commenced negotiations to see whether they (the Dutch) would cede them to the Republic; for the present, I write nothing about this to the Tribunal, but hope to do so by the next post.
I dined yesterday with M. de Bothmar; I found him the same affectionate friend that he was of yore, and the good servant of your Excellency, to whom he recommended himself heartily, and drank to your precious health. After binding me to the strictest secrecy that the King may know nothing about it, this minister besought me to propose for the Republic's service the General his brother; I know him well, he has the same manners as the minister; he served with distinction throughout the war in Flanders, and the Duke of Marlborough will at any time give him the highest testimonials. He is, in fact, only major-general, but would have had the grade of lieutenant-general a long while ago, but for the death of the Duke of Zell, which subverted all military promotion, when those territories passed to the present King of England. Concerning this paragraph, I request your Excellency to answer me something that I can show, to convince him that I really wrote.
London, 17/28 June 1715.
From the Same to the Same.
The King takes pleasure in the advices which I communicate to him, not receiving many from that quarter [the Ambassador Trono] which would be the most fitting. I find that the resident Vincenti has gratuitously written a letter in my favour to the Senate; this I attribute to your Excellency, as likewise the copy of the document, for which I return most humble thanks. I do not know what report the ambassador will have made, but it probably contained more of justice than of favour. Since my arrival here he bestirs himself, and I fancy he stands in awe of me; this I regret, for several reasons. Had the King been but able to go to Germany, I might then have had it in my power to serve my country without causing jealousy, and without any danger, lest the party consisting of his Excellency's friends and relations, should take amiss what little I might have done. At any rate, I do not meddle with his commissions, and provided I can effect anything advantageous for the Republic, I shall do so without scruple, because I consider this to be the duty of a citizen. On Sunday night his Excellency [Trono] departed on a long journey, and was to return last evening or this morning.
I subsequently became acquainted with an idea of the ambassador's [Trono], who purposes manufacturing grenades of his own invention, with which to burn the sails of the enemy's ship. If practicable, it would be a fine device. He also thinks of raising levies of Irishmen. I might with greater ease have obtained embodied regiments, and had hinted to the ministers that it would be a political hit to cede them to the Republic, as they might be Jacobites; but afterwards I was compelled by persons of prudence to change my opinion, as all the troops of England receive high pay, and the passage would cost a mint of money. In addition to the impeachment of Bolingbroke and Oxford, the House of Commons, on Tuesday evening, (fn. 13) by a majority of 47, also impeached the Duke of Ormond; and some of the Whigs themselves refused to vote. In the meanwhile the motion is carried, and on Wednesday the Earl of Strafford was accused of having infringed the laws, but not to the extent of the other three.
To say the truth I regret these proceedings, and the King had in fact adopted more clement maxims; and it was his intention to mix and blend the two parties; but before he set foot in London, a German counsellor persuaded him to attach himself to the Whigs, who, blinded against the Tories, seek to revenge themselves on the late ministry, in the fashion witnessed from day to day, and there is great danger of bloodshed at the commencement of this reign. The result of the Committee of Secrecy has been published, and I believe that I shall be able to enclose a compendium of it for your Excellency in this letter.
In all my daily conversations with the King, whether walking in the garden or at supper, he always talks to me of crossing the channel in the autumn. His ministers are of a contrary opinion. We shall see who will win.
London, 21 June/2 July 1715.
From the Same to the Same.
The impeachment of the late ministry was put into the King's head by the present ministry with apparent zeal for his service, but I believe for the purpose, in reality, of taking revenge on the opposite party and putting it down. By degrees the thing made such progress that, although it was wished to spare the Duke of Ormond, they were unable to do so by reason of his haughtiness, as he never would humble himself to the King, and at least protest against the acclamations of the populace, so he has been obliged to give way and withdraw to France, showing that he was ill-intentioned. His Majesty was really not of a humour to injure any one, but the counsel of impassioned ministers prevailed with him. The Duke of Marlboro' and his son-in-law Sunderland, Lord Townshend, Stanhope, and Walpole, aided by the Germans, Bothmar and Bernsdorf, have managed the great trial, and likewise direct all the other principal affairs of the kingdom, and I find that this monarch, who in Germany did everything of himself without even asking the advice of his ministers, acts here quite in a contrary fashion, and does nothing without consultation.
Shrewsbury will be out of danger if he continues to resign himself to his fate as at present. He has good friends at Court and the King himself favours him.
London, 5/6 August 1715.