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that he should have reason to be content with it. He appeared to be much satisfied with our conversation; and, on my side, I have no less rea
1 son to be so; since he has confirmed to me all that the Count Matthioli told me from him. I have given so exact an account of these things to your Majesty in the letters I have had the honour to write to yourself and to M. de Pomponne, that it is useless for me to enlarge more upon this subject. When we were upon the point of separating, the Duke of Mantua represented to me the risk he is in of being overwhelmed by the Spaniards, whose bad intentions he cannot doubt of, after their late earnest persuasions to him, to admit the Germans into Casale, to withdraw his garrison from Guastalla, and to declare himself openly and without delay in their favour. He added, that I must be aware, that under the resolution he had taken of serving your Majesty, both with his person and his territories,' he would do nothing prejudicial to your interests; but that, if the Spaniards did not give him more money than what they were accustomed to furnish him with, for the support of the garrison of Casale, as they had declared to him was their intention, he should not be able to support the expense of it himself, or to preserve that fortress; that the danger was so pressing, that no time was to be lost in placing him in a state of safety, and that affairs went on so slowly by means of despatches, that he found himself obliged to send the Count Matthioli to your Majesty, to expose to you the state to which he finds himself reduced, and to implore you to deliver him from it as quickly as may be possible.
I have not dared, Sire, to oppose myself to this journey, because I perceived that the Duke of Mantua had taken some offence, or at least that he had some uneasiness, at the length of this negociation, which I have protracted upon different pretexts as much as I was able, without endangering it, as your Majesty had ordered me; and because besides I have thought that you would be the more assured of the firmness of the Duke of Mantua, when the Count Matthioli, in whom he has a blind confidence, and who governs him absolutely, should be with you. He will make known to your Majesty, better than can be done by letters, the facilities you would find in conquering the Milanese, the intelligences that may be established there, and the detail of the whole negociation he has had with the Republic of Venice in the name of the Duke of Mantua, who demanded the advice of the Senate upon the affair of Guastalla, and its assistance, in case it was attempted to disturb him by force in the possession of that Duchy. The Senate has sent word to Matthioli, by a sage of terra firma, who was deputed for this purpose, that the Duke of Mantua ought to retain possession of Guastalla ; that the Republic would render him all the good offices she could, and that even if her intercession should be of no avail, she would still assist him secretly with advice and money, and not abandon him. This senator gave him to understand, that if your Majesty was to send an army into Italy, and that the Duke of Mantua should be in your interests, the Republic would not be disinclined to enter into the same party; and the Procurator Nani, *
* John Baptist Felix Gaspar Nani was descended from an illustrious family at Venice, and was born on the 30th of August, 1616. He distinguished himself early in diplomacy, and was for twenty-five years ambassador from the Republic to France. He was subsequently chosen Procurator of St. Mark, the next dignity in the Republic to that of Doge. He is best known to posterity by his “ Istoria della Republica Veneta,”—which is a valuable The ABBÉ D'ESTRADES.*
with whom he has also had two conversations, explained himself upon this subject still more clearly.
As the Count Matthioli is not to receive his instructions till the day after to-morrow, he will not, certainly, set off from hence till towards the end of the week. I shall have the honour of acquainting your Majesty with what they contain of most importance, as well as with the time by which the Count Matthioli can be with you.
with every kind of respect and submission,
and useful work, though it has been sometimes reprobated as being partial, and written in a vicious and incorrect Italian. He died on the 25th of November, 1678.
* From the Archives of the Office for Foreign Affairs, at Paris.
ESTRADES TO POMPONNE.
Reasons for consenting to the Mission of Matthioli to Paris.
Venice, March 26th, 1678. SIR, My last letters will have shown you that I had forestalled, in some measure, the orders which I received in the one of the 4th of this month, which you did me the honour to write me.
I had judged that, in the present conjuncture, it would not be easy for the King to send a powerful army into Italy, so speedily as was wished. It appeared to me, nevertheless, that his Majesty considered the negociation which I had commenced with the Duke of Mantua, through the means of the Count Matthioli, as an affair which might eventually be of use to him, and which he would wish to be in a situation to profit by. Therefore, Sir, I have used all my endeavours to encourage the opinion already entertained, that the arms of France will appear in the Milanese, and to confirm the Duke of Mantua in his good dispositions towards his