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This city stands very convenient for commerce. It has several navigable rivers that run up into the body of Italy, by which they might supply, a great many countries with fish and other commodities; not to mention their opportunities for the Levant, and each side of the Adriatic. But, notwithstanding these conveniences, their trade is far from being in a flourishing condition, for many reasons. The duties are great that are laid on merchandizes. Their nobles think it below their quality to engage in traffic. The merchants, who are grown rich, and able to manage great dealings, buy their nobility, and generally give over trade. Their manufactures of cloth, glass, and silk, formerly the best in Europe, are now excelled by those of other countries. They are tenacious of old laws and customs to their great prejudice, whereas a trading nation must be still for new changes and expedients, as different junctures and emergencies arise. The state is at present very sensible of this decay in their trade, and, as a noble Venetian, who is still a merchant, told me, they will speedily find out some method to redress it; possibly by making a free port, for they look with an evil eye upon Leghorn, which draws to it most of the vessels bound for Italy. They have hitherto been so negligent in this particular, that many think the great duke's gold has had no small influence in their councils.

Venice has several particulars which are not to be found in other cities, and is therefore very entertaining to a traveller. It looks, at a distance, like a great town half floated by a deluge. There are canals every where crossing it, so that one may go to most houses either by land or water. This is a very great convenience to the inhabitants; for a gondola with two oars, at Venice, is as magnificent as a coach and șix horses, with a large equipage, in another country; besides that it makes all carriages extremely cheap. The streets åre generally paved with brick or free-stone, and always kept very neat, for there is no carriage, not so much as a chair, that passes through them. There is an innumerable multitude of very handsome bridges, all of a single arch, and without any fence on either side, which would be a great inconvenience to a city less sober than Venice. One would indeed wonder that drinking is so little in vogue among the Venetians, who are in a moist air and a moderate climate, and have no such diversions as bowling, hunting, walking, riding, and the like exercises to employ them without doors. But as the nobles are not to converse too much with strangers, they are in no danger of learning it; and they are generally too distrustful of one another for the freedoms that are used in such kind of conversations. There are many noble palaces in Venice. Their furniture is not commonly very rich, if we except the pictures, which are here in greater plenty than in any other place in Europe, from the hands of the best masters of the Lombard school; as Titian, Paul Veronese, and Tintoret. The last of these is in greater esteem at Venice than in other parts of Italy. The rooms are generally hung with gilt leather, which they cover on extraordinary occasions with tapestry, and hangings of greater value. The flooring is a kind of red plaister, made of brick ground to powder, and afterwards worked into mortar. It is rubbed with oil, and makes a smooth, shining, and beautiful surface. These particularities are chiefly owing to the moisture of the air, which would have an ill effect on other kinds of furniture, as it shows itself too visibly in many of their finest pictures. Though the Venetians are extremely jealous of any great fame or merit in a living member of their commonwealth, they never fail of giving a man his due praises, when they are in no danger of suffering from his ambition. For this reason, though there are a great many monuments erected to such as have been benefactors to the republic, they are generally put up after their deaths. Among the many eulogiums that are given to the Doge Pisauro, who had been ambassador in England, his

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epitaph says, In Anglia Jacobi Regis obitum mirá calliditate celatum mirå sagacitate rimatus priscam benevolentiam firmavit. The particular palaces, churches, and pictures of Venice are enumerated in several little books that may be bought on the place, and have been faithfully transcribed by many voyage-writers. When I was at Venice, they were putting out very curious stamps of the several édifices which are most famous for their beauty or magnificence. The arsenal of Venice is an island of about three miles round. It contains all the stores and provisions for war, that are not actually employed. There are docks for their galleys and men of war, most of them full, as well as workhouses for all land and naval preparations. That part of it where the arms are laid, makes a great show, and was, indeed, very extraordinary about a hundred years ago, but at present a great part of its furniture is grown useless. There seem to be almost as many suits of armour as there are guns. The swords are old-fashioned and unwieldy in a very great number, and the fire-arms fitted with locks of little convenience in comparison of those that are now in use. The Venetians pretend they could set out, in case of great necessity, thirty men of war, a hundred galleys, and ten galeasses, though I cannot conceive how they could man a fleet of half the number. It was certainly a mighty error in this state to affect so many conquests on the terra firma, which has only served to raise the jealousy of the Christian princes, and, about three hundred years ago, had like to have ended in the utter extirpation of the commonwealth: whereas, had they applied themselves with the same politics and industry to the increase of their strength by sea, they might perhaps have had all the islands of the Archipelago in their hands, and, by consequence, the greatest fleet, and the most seamen of any other state in Europe. Besides, that this would have given no jealousy to the princes their neighbours, who would have enjoyed their own dominions in peace, and have been very well contented to have seen so strong a bulwark against all the forces and invasions of the Ottoman empire.

This republic has been much more powerful than it is at present, as it is still likelier to sink than increase in its dominions. It is not impossible but the Spaniard may, some time or other, demand of them Creme, Brescia, and Bergame, which have been torn from the 'Milanese; and in case a war should arise upon it, and the Venetians lose a single battle, they might be beaten off the continent in a single summer, for their fortifications are very inconsiderable. On the other side, the Venetians are in continual apprehensions from the Turk, who will certainly endeavour at the recovery of the Morea, as soon as the Ottoman empire has recruited a little of its ancient strength. They are very sensible that they had better have pushed their conquests on the other side of the Adriatic into Albania, for then their territories would have lain together, and have been nearer the fountain-head to have received succours on occasion, but the Venetians are under articles with the emperor, to resign into his hands whatever they conquer of the Turkish dominions, that has been formerly dismembered from the empire. And having already very much dissatisfied him in the Frioul and Dalmatia, they dare not think of exasperating him farther. The pope disputes with them their pretensions to the Polesin, as the Duke of Savoy lays an equal claim to the kingdom of Cyprus. It is surprising to consider with what heats these two powers have contested their title to a kingdom that is in the hands of the Turk.

Among all these difficulties the republic will still maintain itself, if policy can prevail upon force; for it is certain the Venetian senate is one of the wisest councils in the world, though, at the same time, if we believe the reports of several that have been well versed in their constitution, a great part of their politics is founded on maxims which others do not think consistent with their honour to put in practice. The preservation of the republic is that to which all other considerations submit. To encourage idleness and luxury in the nobility, to cherish ignorance and licentiousness in the clergy, to keep alive a continual faction in the common people, to connive at the viciousness and debauchery of convents, to breed dissentions among the nobles of the terra firma, to treat a brave man with scorn and infamy; in short, to stick at nothing for the public interest, are represented as the refined parts of the Venetian wisdom.

Among all the instances of their politics, there is none more admirable than the great secrecy that reigns in their public councils. The senate is generally as numerous as our house of commons, if we only reckon the sitting members, and yet carries its resolutions so privately, that they are seldom known till they discover themselves in the execution. It is not many years since they had before them a great debate concerning the punishment of one of their admirals, which lasted a month together, and concluded in his condemnation; yet was there none of his friends, nor of those who had engaged warmly in his defence, that gave him the least intimation of what was passing against him, till he was actually seized, and in the hands of justice.

The noble Venetians think themselves equal at least to the electors of the empire, and but one degree below kings; for which reason they seldom travel into foreign countries, where they must undergo the mortification of being treated like private gentlemen: yet it is observed of them that they discharge themselves with a great deal of dexterity in such embassies and treaties as are laid on them by the republic; for their whole lives are employed in intrigues of state, and they naturally give themselves airs of kings and princes, of which the ministers of other nations are only the representatives. Monsieur Amelot reckons in his time, two thousand five hundred nobles that had voices in the great council, but; at present, I am told, there are

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