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confer together; that he only deferred giving himself that satisfaction, in order that he might first get rid of those of his people whom he has the least confidence in, and particularly four men, whom his mother has sent with him here to observe all his actions, which they do with the greatest care; and that two days before he sets off to return to his own territories (where he is not afraid of any surprize, when he shall be once there himself), he will acquaint me with the time and place at which we may see one another. It is true, that the step he has taken, of at once seizing upon

the territories of the late Duke of Guastalla, has very much disquieted the Spaniards; and one sees that they are endeavouring, by all sorts of means, to ascertain whether the Duke of Mantua has taken any measures to gain the support of the King. His resident at Venice, who is devoted to the Duchess his mother, came two days ago to the Sieur de Pinchesne to ask, on the part of his master, whether I was about to despatch an extraordinary courier to Paris, because his highness would be glad to make use of him to convey there a packet of consequence: he answered him, that affairs were so little of a pressing nature here, that I always wrote by the usual conveyance, and that I had not at present any reason for sending a courier ; but that, if the Duke of Mantua wished it, I would send one on his account. I made this known to the Prince himself, who was surprized that his resident, in his name, and without his order, should have made a request of that nature; and as he was of opinion, as well as myself, that the intention of his resident was by this means to discover whether a packet, which, it was said, the Duke of Mantua had received from the Grand Duchess,* was of importance, he agreed to the expedient which I proposed to him, of sending publicly to make him the same offers as those which had been made to his resident, in order that he might be able to express before his ministers his disapprobation of their entering, without his knowledge, into communications with the French ambassador, being aware of the measures which it was necessary for him to keep. He charged Matthioli to tell me that he had had a letter from the Grand Duchess, to which he had sent an answer, for the purpose of begging her to support his claims to the King; having heard that the Duke of Modena* had complained to his Majesty of his having taken possession of the succession of the Duke of Guastalla, to which the Duke of Modena had pretensions. The Sieur de Pinchesne went to him from me, and the thing was executed ás it had been previously determined upon; but this adventure, as well as many other things which the Duke of Mantua discovers daily, convince him that the Spaniards are suspicious of him, on which account he is so uneasy, that he is more than ever anxious for your Majesty to secure him quickly against their enterprises.

* Margaret Louisa, daughter of Gaston, Duke of Orleans; married in 1661, to Cosmo III., Grand Duke of Tuscany, whom she quarrelled with, and finally left, and returned to France, where she established herself in the Abbey of Montmartre. She died at an advanced age in

The ABBÉ D'ESTRADES.

* Francis of Este, Duke of Modena, succeeded his father, Alphonso IV. in 1662. During his minority, his territories were wisely and ably governed by his mother, Laura Martinozzi, niece of Cardinal Mazarin. His only sister, Mary Beatrix, was the second wife of James II. of England. He died in 1694.

+ From the Archives of the Office for Foreign Affairs, at

K

No. 12.

ESTRADES TO POMPONNE.

Impatience of the Duke of Mantua to conclude the Nego

ciation.

Venice, February 19th, 1678.

SIR,

You will have seen by the last letters I did myself the honour to write to you, that I take care to keep up the negociation I have entered into with the Duke of Mantua, and to hold it always in that state that it may be terminated in whatever way the King shall judge most according to his interests. Thus, Sir, I have only to assure you, that I shall apply myself, as you command me in your last letter of the 2d of this month, to gain time, and to confirm the Duke of Mantua in the resolution he has taken of abandoning himself to the King's protection. He is as thoroughly persuaded as one could wish, that he cannot take a better course, although the Spaniards have lately been making him large offers of

offers of money and of employment, in order to oblige him to declare

himself openly in their favour, and to allow of the introduction of a garrison of Germans into Casale; but as he is always apprehensive, lest his want of affection for the House of Austria should be discovered, he can never think himself in security till he shall be supported by a treaty; and it is this which gives him so much impatience to conclude the one he intends making with the King.

THE ABBÉ D'ESTRADES.'

No. 13.

ESTRADES TO POMPONNE.

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Plans of the Spaniards.-Dispositions of the Venetian Government.

Venice, February 26th, 1678.

SIR, I have not had the honour of receiving any letters from you this week. Indeed, I expected

* From the Archives of the Office for Foreign Affairs, at Paris.

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