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Though these measures were taken with the greatest secrecy, it was impossible but that the report of the assembling of the French forces so near the territories of the Duke of Savoy,* should reach the ears of the Spaniards, and excite their suspicions; as well as those of the Venetians, and of the other Italian states. Accordingly, we find

, that remonstrances were several times made by the ambassadors of the Emperort and King of Spain at Venice, to the Duke of Mantua, upon the rumour of his intention of delivering the capital of the

* Victor Amadeus II., at this time a minor, and under the Regency of his mother, Mary Jane Baptista de Nemours. In 1713, he became King of Sicily, which kingdom he was compelled to exchange for that of Sardinia, in 1720; abdicated the throne in favour of his son, in 1730; and died in 1732. This prince possessed in an eminent degree, the attributes of his race- -valour and skill in military matters, and faithlessness in his treaties and engagements with his brother sovereigns.

+ Leopold I. succeeded Ferdinand III. in 1657, died in 1705.

Charles II. the last King of Spain of the House of Austria.--Died in 1700.

Montferrat to Lewis. Ferdinand Charles denied that this was the case; * but was not believed.

As, therefore, the ferment and discontent in the north of Italy increased, the agents of the French Government were naturally anxious that the treaty should be ratified and executed as soon as possible; for which purpose, the Duke of Mantua had promised to meet the Baron d’Asfeld at Casale, during the month of February, 1679. In proportion, however, as the French became more impatient for the conclusion of the affair, the Count Matthioli found fresh excuses for delaying it. At one moment his own ill health detained him at Padua, and prevented his coming to Venice to confer with Messrs. de Pinchesne and d’Asfeld; at another, the Duke of Mantua could not raise a sufficient sum of money to enable him to transport his court to Casale ; at another, it was necessary to have time to persuade Don Vincent Gonzagaf to accompany the Duke to Casale, as it was not considered safe to leave him at Mantua ; and again, the Duke of Mantua was obliged to stay at Venice, having promised to hold a carrousel there.*

* Appendix, Nos. 68, 69, 89.

+ See ante, note, page 18.

In spite of all these difficulties, it was, however, finally arranged, that the Baron d’Asfeld and Matthioli should meet, on the 9th of March, at Incréa, a village ten miles from Casale, in order to make the exchange of the ratifications; that the Duke of Mantua himself, should go to Casale on the 15th of the same month; and should put the troops of Lewis into possession of the place on the 18th ; on which day, being the ninth after the ratification, it was decided they could without fail be there. +

The various excuses made by Matthioli, for the non-execution of his agreement, all more or less frivolous, appear first to have given to the French Government a suspicion of his fidelity. Whether the reception of Matthioli at the French court had not been such as he expected, though it would

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appear to have been most gracious; or whether, which is more probable, the sum of money there given to him did not content him ;-or whether, which is also probable, the Spaniards having got some knowledge of the transaction, had offered him a still larger bribe, it is impossible for us, at this distance of time, exactly to decide; but it appears evident, that, from the time of his return from Paris, his conduct with regard to the negociation became entirely changed; and he was as anxious to procrastinate, as he had formerly been to advance it. It was, therefore, natural for the French diplomatists to conclude, supported as this opinion also was by various circumstantial evidence, that he had been bought by the other side-a circumstance of no extraordinary occurrence in the career of a needy Italian adventurer.

His weak and timid master followed implicitly his counsels; but appears to have been himself in the intention of acting fairly and faithfully by the French Government. The first intimation that is given in the correspondence of the suspicions, with regard to the conduct of Matthioli, occurs in a letter from Pomponne* to Matthioli himself, dated February 21st, 1679, in which he says that Lewis “ is unwilling to doubt that the promise which has been so solemnly made f him will not be kept;" an expression which certainly seems to imply, that some doubt did exist in the mind of Lewis and of his ministers upon the subject.

The next is an elaborate and skilful letter of Estrades to Matthioli, written on the 24th of March, 1679, I from Turin, where he was then awaiting the execution of the treaty, in which he mingles promises and threats to encourage him to perform his stipulations; and shows sufficiently his suspicions to the object of them, to frighten him; at the same time leaving open the hope of forgiveness in case of future good conduct.

By the subsequent letters of Pomponne to

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