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Duke of Mantua has given up the entire conduct of this affair, goes still farther, and is confident, that even in this case means could be easily found to place a Governor in the citadel of Mantua, and a Major in the town, who should be as much attached to the service of the King, as those who at present occupy these two posts are to the House of Austria.
We must, besides, Sir, consider that the Duke of Guastalla, being the nearest relation of the Duke of Mantua, as well as his heir, there would be danger that, if the Duchess his daughter, who is very ill, and has no children, should die, some misfortune might happen to the Duke of Mantua, which would assure his territories to the Spanish nobleman, who has married the second daughter of the Duke of Guastalla, and whose marriage the Spaniards, doubtless with this view, made up at Vienna, by means of Don Vincent, who returned from thence some time back. You know much better than I do, Sir, of what consequence it would be to the King, not only to take away the Mantuan and the Montferrat from the House of Austria, who will never lose an opportunity of making use of them when they have once obtained them, but besides to have in his own hands these two states, by means of which his Majesty can easily bridle the Princes of Italy. Therefore, I do not take the liberty of entering farther upon this matter, or of mingling my reflections with those you may choose to make upon it.
I am, &c.
THE ABBÉ D'ESTRADES.*
ESTRADES TO POMPONNE.
Intrigues of the Spaniards to form a league in Italy against
Venice, January 1st, 1678. Sır, I have so little news to send you from hence to-day, that I shall very soon have told you
all I know, and may hope not to fatigue you with the length of this letter.
I know that a Senator, who is one of the Pre
* From the Archives of the Office for Foreign Affairs, at
gadi, has said, that the Emperor and the Spaniards are ardently soliciting the Nuncios and the Ambassadors from Venice, residing at Madrid and Vienna, to persuade their masters to unite with them against France, and to represent to them that they have a common interest to preserve Italy, and to keep out of it the armies of the King, with which it is menaced. I do not believe that the Pope * will be much disposed to do them this pleasure ; and, Sir, I could almost venture to assure you, that, if the republic should renounce the advantages of that neutrality, which she has thus far so exactly observed, it will not be for the purpose of partaking in the disgraces of the House of Austria ; and indeed it is in this sense that the before-mentioned Senator talked upon the subject.
THE ABBÉ D'ESTRADES.+
* Benedict Odescalchi, son of a Milanese banker, elected Pope, September 21st, 1676, and took the name of Innocent XI. He was a good Pope, a virtuous man, and a decided enemy to Nepotism, against which he published a bull. He died August 12th, 1689, and his memory was venerated as that of a saint by his subjects.
+ From the Archives of the Office for Foreign Affairs, at
POMPONNE TO ESTRADES.
Saint Germain, January 5th, 1678. SIR, Not having yet had time to render an account to the King of your despatch of the 18th of last month, I caunot inform you of the sentiments of his Majesty as to what you acquaint him with respecting the dispositions of the Duke of Mantua, I will, however, do so by the next post.
Saint Germain, January 12th, 1678. SIR, You will see by the letter of the King which goes herewith, how much his Majesty approves of the negociation, which you have entered into with the Duke of Mantua, for an affair undoubtedly very important at all times, but especially so at this conjuncture : you could not also have conducted yourself in it with greater prudence, or greater secrecy than you have done.
* From the Archives of the Office for Foreign Affairs, at POMPONNE.*
I am very happy to see that you have taken advantage of this occasion, to testify your zeal for the service of his Majesty; and I hope that the success of the affair may assist you in procuring the sooner from his Majesty, the favour that you have asked of him.
We have not, at present, any news to send you from these parts; the King's heavy baggage set off Monday morning, for St. Quentin, as I sent you word; but his Majesty has not, as yet, made any preparation to follow it.
I am, &c.
* From the Archives of the Office for Foreign Affairs, at Paris.