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the Duke of Mantua has communicated to you. You must be aware, that it would answer no good purpose to undeceive him ; because this would be to break off a negociation, which may otherwise have considerable results. Therefore one of the advantages of the journey of the Count Matthioli is, that it gains time ; besides, perhaps it may be possible to remove difficulties, and take measures with him in person, which might be difficult to be arranged at a distance. Therefore, Sir, you will see that, as the King cannot grant the principal conditions which have been required, because they all turn upon an action in Italy, we cannot flatter ourselves with concluding any thing with this prince, at present. This is what makes me think, that if it is so particularly necessary for your inter
sɔ ests, as you say, to return to France, there is nothing that need prevent your executing your wish. His Majesty appears to me so much satisfied with your services, that, though he has doubtless the intention of making use of them in a sphere which will give them a wider scope than Venice does, he will willingly grant you leave of absence. I have even already made him acquainted with your wish; and it appears to me, that you are at liberty to do
what you choose; either to stay at Venice, or to
come to Paris.
ESTRADES TO POMPONNE.
Conversation with Matthioli.
Venice, April 9th, 1678.
The Count Matthioli arrived here six days ago; I had a conversation with him the same evening, and the day after he set off for Bologna, where he was to meet the Duke of Mantua, who will send him from thence to Paris, after having given him his last orders. He assured me that he was charged to confirm to his Majesty all that I have had the honour of acquainting him with, and that
+From the Archives of the Office for Foreign Affairs, at
his master had only recommended him not to consent to the putting a French garrison into Casale,
a as long as he could fight it off. But, Sir, he told me at the same time, that he saw too well that this condition was the actual foundation of the proposed treaty, to wish to raise a negociation respecting it; and that he had made the Duke of Mantua understand that it was necessary to act with good faith towards the King, and not to balance about giving him this security and satisfaction, if he wished to attach himself to the interests of his Majesty, as he had determined to do. I perceived notwithstanding, though he did not speak openly of it, that the example of Messina* had made him reflect upon the consequences of the engagement his master was about to make with the King,
* In 1674 the people of Messina in Sicily, unable any longer to bear the harshness of the Spanish Government, revolted. The French assisted them with a body of troops under the command of the Chevalier de Valbelle. In 1676 the Marshal de Vivonne was sent there with a powerful fleet, and gained a complete victory over those of Spain and Holland. But in the beginning of 1678, the French, alarmed at the prospect of a union of England with their enemies, abandoned Sicily to its fate. It is to this latter event that Estrades alludes.
which obliged me to represent to him how much this fear was ill-founded, and what a difference there was between a solemn treaty of two Sovereign Princes, as the one we were now concerting would be, and the assistance which his Majesty had only given to the Messinese from pure generosity.
The Count Matthioli professed to be of my opinion, and to have great joy at seeing affairs as well-disposed as he could possibly have wished.
THE ABBÉ D'ESTRADES.
POMPONNE TO ESTRADES.
St. Germain, April 13th, 1678.
+ From the Archives of the Office for Foreign Affairs, at
have carried on the negociation with the Duke of Mantua, without either breaking it off or advancing it too much. It is even advantageous, as a very natural means of gaining time, that that Prince should have taken the part of sending the Count Matthioli to the King. We may treat with him according to the propositions he is charged with; but it would be a pity if the foundation of them was to be the condition of sending a powerful army into Italy this year, because I can tell you in confidence, that the King has not yet taken any measures for the
+ From the Archives of the Office for Foreign Affairs, at Paris.