FRENCH ARMADA WITHDRAW FROM SICILY
1 side oblong folio, address and papered seal on conjugate leaf, also countersigned there by Pedro COLOMA, Philip IV's Secretary of State, the armorial seal of the Spanish Dominions has a small paper defect with loss of last two letters of REX and a few letters lightly impressed, but is otherwise in fine clear condition,
During the Thirty Years' War, Philip IV had subordinated the interests of his people to his unshakable belief that he must support his Habsburg cousin Austria in attempting to abolish Protestantism in the German Empire. In 1635, Richelieu saw his opportunity and declared war on Spain. Although by the time of this letter the German questions had been settled by the Treaty of Westphalia (24th October 1648), war with France continued till 1659 and the Treaty of the Pyrenees. In 1647 in NAPLES, since 1504 part of the Spanish dominions, revolution broke out and a Republic was set up. Henry of Guise, then in Rome, accepted the position of head of state, but in April 1648 the republic collapsed. The French however still hoped to capture the city. They sent a large fleet in June 1648, and a bigger one in August, but in vain, and Mattei here reports their final withdrawal. Gaspare MATTEI was the eldest son of Mario, Lord of Paganica. The Mattei families were among the most powerful in Rome at this time. Paganica was a fief held by this branch in the Abruzzi, in the northernmost part of the Kingdom of Naples, so owing allegiance also to Philip IV. Gaspare had been Papal Nuncio to Austria from 1639 to 1643, and his younger brother Mario, 1598-1660, a warrior in both the Imperial and Papal services. The present letter shows the reliance placed on him by Philip IV to support his interest with the Curia. TRANSLATION. Philip IV by the Grace of God King of the Spanish Dominions, of the Two Sicilies, of Jerusalem etc. Very Reverend Father in Christ Cardinal Mattei, my most dear and most beloved friend. Any demonstration of your affectionate interest in my affairs will always be very pleasing, because the more I continue to experience your inclination to serve me the more I acknowledge the benefit to me of the esteem that I have for your person. I therefore have taken much pleasure in reading what you say on the occasion of the French Armada having withdrawn from the Coasts of Italy, and I will bear it in mind, hoping, that whenever opportunity offers, you will give it attention equal both to the goodwill I have for you and to my desire to please you in everything that may concern your welfare. And, Very Reverend Father in Christ Cardinal Mattei, my most dear and most beloved friend, may Our Lord keep you in His continual care. From Madrid, the 18th November 1648. [Signed] yo El Rey ['I, the King'] [Seal legend] Philip IV by the Grace of God King of the Spains and the Two Sicilies [Countersigned] Pedro Coloma.
Stock ref: 13555