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despatch; because I shall be able to speak to you upon the subject with certainty, after I have learned from the Count Matthioli, the success of a negociation which he has entered into lately with the Republic, in the name of the Duke of Mantua, to which I am privy. We agreed that the pretext he should make use of, was the desire of that Prince to regulate himself by the counsels of the Senate, after having communicated to them his legitimate rights to Guastalla, and the wellgrounded fears he entertains from the sentiments displayed by the House of Austria towards him in this affair. M. Matthioli has already had two conferences with a sage of the terra firma, named Lando, a deputy of the College, and he is to have three more with him this week; which will discover to us the real dispositions of the Senate towards his Majesty. It is easy to see by the manner in which this senator has already spoken, that if a French army was to arrive in Italy, the Republic would prefer profiting by the misfortunes and weakness of the House of Austria, by joining her arms to those of the King, to remaining in a neutrality, which would appear to her dangerous, while the army of so powerful a prince was carry
ing on war at her gates. These political views of the Venetians justify what I have already had the honour of remarking to you, that we must expect nothing from them, except what fear or interest may oblige them to.
THE ABBÉ D'ESTRADES.*
ESTRADES TO POMPONNE.
Fears of the Duke of Mantua.
Venice, March 19th, 1678. SIR, I have not had the honour of receiving any letter from you this week. You will see by the account I send to the King, what passed at the conference I had with the Duke of Mantua. I will only add to it, Sir, that, if his Majesty deems it to his advantage, that this Prince should be united with him, according to the conditions which
* From the Archives of the Office for Foreign Affairs, at
have been proposed, it appears to me that it will be necessary, before the Count Matthioli sets off for Paris, to put this affair in a situation in which it is no longer liable to be broken off; because I have seen the Duke of Mantua so alarmed at the menaces of the Spaniards, and at the protection they afford openly to the Count de Prades,* who pretends that the Duchy of Guastalla belongs to him, that I have been unable to tranquillize his fears, except by giving him the hope that the return of the Count Matthioli will deliver him from all his embarrassments; and if he was to see him return without bringing the King's consent for the conclusion of the affair, and without a certain assurance of speedy assistance, I do not know whether the fear of being stripped of his territories would not make him change his resolution.
• This is one of those mistakes into which the French are so liable to fall from their slovenly way of writing the names of foreigners. The Count de Prades means Emmanuel Count d'Eparédés, Viceroy of Valentia, a Spanish nobleman, whose daughter married Vespasian Gonzaga, only brother of Ferdinand III., Duke of Guastalla. The sole offspring of this marriage was Maria Louisa, who, as has before been mentioned, (see note, page 9,) married Thomas de la Cerda, Marquis of Laguna.
I have thought, Sir, that I ought to inform you faithfully of the situation in which I find the mind of the Duke of Mantua, in order that you may regulate yourself accordingly,
The Senate has discovered that the Popet has let drop, of his own accord, the affair of the adjustment between the Republic and Spain, on the occasion of what has passed at Trieste, because his Holiness wishes to be the only Mediator of the Catholic Princes at the Assembly of Nimeguen,
and that the Ambassador of Venice should not divide this honour with his Nuncio.
I am, &c.
THE ABBÉ D'ESTRADES.
+ Innocent the Eleventh (Odescalchi ;) see note, page 109. At this time, the conferences for the peace of Nimeguen had commenced. That peace was concluded and signed on the 10th of August of this same year.
# From the Archives of the Office for Foreign Affairs, at Paris.
ESTRADES TO LEWIS THE FOURTEENTH.
Account of his Interview with the Duke of Mantua.—The
latter insists upon sending Matthioli to Paris.
Venice, March 19th, 1678. SIRE, A week ago I communicated to M. de Pomponne that I was to have a conference the next day with the Duke of Mantua. We met, as had been concerted, at midnight, in a small open place,
a which is at an equal distance from his house and mine. I was an entire hour with him; and not only did I tell him all that your Majesty had desired me to apprize him of, and which he had already learned from the Count Matthioli, but besides, I re-assured him, as much as I was able, upon the subject of the constant, and indeed wellgrounded, alarms he is in with regard to the Spaniards. I did not explain myself to him with regard to the present your Majesty intends making to him in money, as soon as the treaty shall be concluded ; but contented myself with promising