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whichever of the two it shall fall, he will fill the situation worthily, above all in the article of expense, as they are both very rich and very ge

nerous.

Although I took the liberty, Sir, to request, in my last letter, your protection with M. Colbert,* for the payment of my appointment, and, above all, for the payment of those of the first six months of the year 1676, for which I have long had the orders, I have not yet been able to obtain them. I am, however, forced by my pressing necessities to renew my request, and to supplicate you most humbly to procure me this favour from M. Colbert. Sir, you will be kind enough to afford me this mark of your affection, which is the greatest I can possibly receive, in the embarrassment in which I at present find myself; and that you will be always persuaded that I am, with profound respect, and unalterable attachment,

I trust,

* John Baptist Colbert, one of the most eminent men of the many who adorned and illustrated the reign of Lewis XIV, He was an able and honest financier, a great statesman, and an enlightened patron of letters and arts. The blots in his character were, his persecution of Fouquet, and his enmity to the virtuous Arnaud de Pomponne, to the disgrace of whom he largely contributed. He was made Comptroller-general of the Finances, in 1664 ; Secretary of State for the Marine, in 1669; and died in 1683.

Sir, &c.

THE ABBÉ D'ESTRADES.*

No. 14.

POMPONNE TO ESTRADES.

Recommendations of Delay in the Negociation.

Cambray, March 1st, 1678. Sir, I have rendered an account to the King, during his journey, of your despatches of the 29th of January and 5th of February. I shall not now have time enough to send you a long answer to them. I shall therefore only tell you, that his Majesty saw in them the continuation of the negociation which you have entered into with the Count Matthioli ; that you had been discussing

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

crowns.

the points which he proposed to you, and those which his Majesty wishes neither to grant nor to refuse; that you had even descended to the detail of the sum which had been demanded, and that you had reduced it to one hundred thousand

On these subjects I have to inform you, Sir, that his Majesty approves entirely of your continuing a negociation, which may eventually be of very considerable importance ; but for this it is necessary that the opportunities should be favourable, and the more so, as the basis of whatever treaty is concluded, must necessarily be the King's sending a powerful army across the Alps. You, I am sure, are sufficiently aware, that thus far events do not seem to favour such a project ; it is, however, always advisable to continue to encourage the belief of it, and this is what his Majesty thinks it will be best for you to do; but he does not see the necessity for your entering into any engagement upon à point which must fail of success, and which would render useless any expense his Majesty may go to. Therefore, Sir, your best course to pursue is, to cultivate always the good intentions of the Count Matthioli, and through 'him those of his master ; not to put an end to the hope they have to see the arms of France in Italy ; but to defer the answer they expect from you, partly upon the ground of the journey and the campaign in which his Majesty is at present engaged, which prevents his writing to you, and partly upon other reasons ; but still to keep the negociation, as much as you are able, in such a state as his Majesty may be able to take advantage of, according to the conjecture of affairs.

POMPONNE.*

No. 15.

ESTRADES TO POMPONNE.

Information respecting the Dispositions of the Venetians.

Venice, March 12th, 1678. SIR, The hurry which I know always prevails on a march, left me but little hope of hearing from

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

you till you arrived at Metz, and I am therefore the more obliged to you for your kindness, in writing to me on the 15th of last month from Vitry. . I have nothing certain to send you to-day ; but next week I shall have the honour of sending to the King an account of the conference, which I am decidedly to have to-morrow evening with the Duke of Mantua. All the measures are taken for this purpose; and that Prince has sent me word that he will explain to me the reasons which oblige him to send the Count Matthioli, without delay, to your Majesty; he will not, however, set off for ten or twelve days, and I explained to him that it was necessary first that I should be made acquainted with the subject of his mission. I thought it necessary to obtain a knowledge of it, in order that his Majesty may be fully informed before the Count Matthioli waits upon him. I can only assure you at present, that things could not be better disposed for the formation of a powerful league in Italy, to drive the Spaniards entirely out of it, in case the King chooses to turn his arms to this side. This is what you shall be informed of more in detail, and more particularly, in my next

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