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No. 23.

ESTRADES TO POMPONNE.

Means of protracting the Negociation.-Views of Matthioli.

Venice, April 30th, 1678. Sir, I consider myself very happy, that the King has so much approved of the manner in which I have conducted myself, in the affair of the Duke of Mantua, as you have informed me in the letter which

you

did me the honour to write to me on the 13th of this month, and that his Majesty has had the goodness to regard more the zeal I have for his service than my capacity. I shall have nothing more in future to tell you on this subject, but the Count Matthioli will give you ample information, when he arrives at Court, of the sentiments of his master ; of the state of his affairs ; and of what may be expected from them. The disposition in which I have seen him, makes me hope that it will not be impossible to protract this negociation, without running the risk of breaking it off, until the season for action is past, and that, when he shall see the necessity that there is of waiting till the King can take measures for sending an army into Italy, he will willingly employ the influence he possesses over the mind of the Duke of Mantua, to take from him all kind of suspicion, and to prevent his being impatient at this delay ; perhaps even he might be able to persuade his master, if he should really endeavour it, to put himself under the declared protection of the King, as he has thus far been under that of the House of Austria ; and to content himself with his Majesty's paying the garrison he intends to place in Casale. Finally, Sir, this affair will be in such good hands, since it is yourself that will manage it, that even what appears the most difficult in it may very well succeed. I will only add, that I know that the Count Matthioli has a great desire, and need of making his fortune, and that there are few things to which his master would not consent for a considerable sum of money, and from the hope of a great employment; of which, in fact, the title alone need be given to him; as was the case with the Duke of Modena in the service of France, and with the late Duke of Mantua in that of the Emperor, whose Vicar-general he was in Italy, with the command of an army there.

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The Count Matthioli has been here for the last four days with his master. He came to me yesterday, to tell me that the Spaniards had been, for the last two months, making such great advances to the Duke of Mantua, that they would, perhaps, have obliged him to consent to all they desired, which was the removing his garrison from Guastalla, introducing the Germans into Casale, and de

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

claring himself openly against France, if he had separated himself for a single moment from him ; the Duchess-mother, and all the council of this Prince, being devoted to the House of Austria. That it was necessary he should wait for the return of the Marquis Galerati from Milan, and that he should remain, besides, three weeks or a month with the Duke of Mantua, who was to go, during that time, to Casale, where he had persuaded him to wait for his return from France. That, therefore, he could not set off till towards the end of June, but that he would not delay beyond that time. I answered him, that he had been in the right to remain with his master, at a time when his presence was so necessary to him ; that he ought not to set off on his journey to Paris, till he was well assured that his absence would cause no change, either in the sentiments or the affairs of that Prince, but that I could assure him the King would see him with pleasure, and that he would receive every kind of satisfaction from

his journey

THE ABBÉ D'ESTRADES.

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

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The Count Matthioli, who does not lose sight of the Duke of Mantua, for the reasons that I have already informed you of, is come here to make a stay of three or four days with that Prince; he has assured me that he is still in the resolution of setting off, the end of this month, to go to Paris ; and that he will first accompany his master to Casale, where he has lately discovered the intrigues of the Spaniards, for the purpose of

, obtaining possession of that place. I have taken occasion, Sir, to represent to him, that, even if the report, which has been spread of a general peace, should be true, the Duke of Mantua would have still more need of the King's protection; that the House of Austria will not be in a condition to do injury to any Prince, as long as she shall have to contend with the power of his Majesty ; but that if she had no longer this obstacle, it would be easy

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