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have much pleasure in giving you proofs of my satisfaction upon every occasion. Referring you, therefore, for farther particulars, to what will be said to you from me by the Abbé d'Estrades, I shall not lengthen this letter more than to add, that I pray God to have you, Count Matthioli, in his holy keeping
ESTRADES TO POMPONNE.
Venice, January 29th, 1678. Sir, I have nothing to add to what I did myself the honour to write to the King, upon the present state of the affair, which I am treating of with the Duke of Mantua. It goes on so rapidly, that I am reduced to be sorry that I cannot find any difficulties, which, without rendering the eventual success of it doubtful, might prolong the negociations as long as the King seems to wish ; but I have the greatest difficulty to encourage the Duke of Mantua, under the fear he is in of the Spaniards, which, to say the truth, is pretty well founded : nor can he think himself in security, unless he sees himself supported by all the protection the King can give. Nevertheless, I will take care that this Prince does not escape us, even if the affair should not be as quickly concluded as he desires. I return you a thousand most humble thanks, Sir, for all the kindness you show me on this occasion ; and I can assure you, that I shall be much more anxious for the success of this affair, from my pleasure at having made known to the King by it the zeal I have for his service, and having rendered myself worthy of the favour you have done me, in procuring for me the situation I at present hold, than from any hope of thereby bettering my fortune.
* From the Archives of the Office for Foreign Affairs, at THE ABBÉ D'ESTRADES. *
ESTRADES TO LEWIS THE FOURTEENTH.
Conference with Matthioli-Discussion of the demands of
the Duke of Mantua.
Venice, January 29th, 1678. SIRE, At the time that I received the letter which your Majesty did me the honour to write to me on the 12th of this month, having learned that the Count Matthioli was arrived at Venice, I sent to him to say that I desired to have a conference with him, in consequence of which he came to my house with the usual precautions. I first delivered into his hands the letter with which your Majesty had charged me for him, which he received with all possible marks of respect and gratitude; and I told him, as your Majesty had commanded me, that you would not content yourself with testifying with your own hand the satisfaction you feel at the zeal he has shown for your interests, but that you also ordered me
also ordered me expressly to assure him, that you were anxious to give him other marks of it. I added to this, that he ought to think himself happy to have found an occasion of meriting the kindness and favours of
Majesty, which he could easily do through the means of the implicit confidence placed in him by the Duke of Mantua, to whom he would also have the satisfaction, at the same time, of rendering the greatest service in his power. He answered me in a manner that does not permit me to doubt his being as grateful as it is possible to be for your Majesty's goodness, and his having a very strong wish to serve you.
Afterwards I read to him the obliging expressions your Majesty makes use of to mark your affection for the Duke of Mantua, and those other parts of your Majesty's despatch, which I thought myself authorized to communicate, that he might know that you had learned with pleasure the proposals of that Prince, and that he might be aware of the considerable advantages, which would be derived from the strict alliance he (the Duke) would enter into with your Majesty by means of Casale, which you were willing to hold possession of on the same terms as formerly ; that is to say, paying the garrison you should keep up in the place, and preserving it for
the Duke of Mantua. We afterwards came to talk upon his differences with the Duke of Savoy, for the restitution claimed by him of the parts of the Montferrat, which have been ceded to the latter; and it was not till after some slight disputing, that I made the Count Matthioli agree, by means of the same reasons you did me the honour to detail to me, that you could not enter into this affair in any other way, than by employing yourself to accommodate it; but that the intercession of your Majesty was sufficiently powerful to obtain a satisfactory result for the Duke of Mantua.
The Count Matthioli at length contented himself upon this point, but he had more difficulty to give way upon the demand of the present of one hundred thousand pistoles. He was the more obstinate in not taking off any thing from this sum, because he said that it was to be made use of for the interests of your Majesty; and that the Duke of Mantua having taken possession of Guastalla, * without giving notice to the Spaniards, he had
* On the occasion of the death of Ferdinand III. Duke of Guastalla, which occurred January 11th, 1678. The Duke of Mantua had married his eldest daughter.