Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 28, 1647-1652. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1927.
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The present instalment of this Calendar covers a period of 5 years, from July, 1647, to the end of 1652. For the last eight months only was there a representative of the Venetian republic in London. For the rest the Senate had to depend for English news on the advices punctually forwarded every week by the Ambassador Nani, from Paris. So long as Nani was responsible these advices keep up their character, though we have no further light on the sources from which they were drawn. But in May, 1648, Nani was succeeded by Michael Morosini, and deterioration at once begins to be apparent. They become increasingly irregular, the dating is often uncertain ; they are little better than bald summaries of news, growing more and more meagre, until at length, in April, 1650, they cease altogether, not to be resumed until November, 1651, by express instruction from the Senate. They then continue until 16th May, 1652, by which time Paulucci was established in London. This source of information was supplemented by copious extracts from the despatches of the veteran Tuscan resident, Salvetti, which were forwarded by Sarotti, the Venetian resident at Florence. They extend from December, 1651, to June, 1652. These extracts have not been included in this volume as they fall somewhat outside the scope of this series, and those who wish to consult the text can find it in full in the transcripts of Salvetti's letters preserved at the British Museum. (fn. 1) Two other London news letters were forwarded by Alvise Contarini, the Venetian plenipotentiary to the Congress of Munster, and he was also able to supply English news from time to time through his correspondents at the Hague and elsewhere. But in 1649 he returned home and the series "Munster" containing his letters, comes to an end.
To atone in some measure for the scantiness of direct news from England the letters from other Courts yield better results, as after the execution of Charles I both Charles II and parliament sent representatives to various parts. The Bailo at Constantinople continued to forward his despatches in spite of the war of Candia although he was under surveillance, until his dismissal in 1650. Thereafter news from Constantinople was sent to the Senate by the French Ambassador, Delahaye, their value being somewhat discounted by his hostility to Bendish. The presence at Venice of Thomas Killigrew as envoy of Charles II brings the series "Esposizioni Principi" once again into prominence. The presence of English ships in the Venetian fleet has made it necessary to consult the files of the "Proveditore General da Mar" and kindred series. With the outbreak of the Dutch war the despatches from Florence become of use for operations in the Mediterranean, and to a much lesser extent those from Naples also. Something may be culled from the series of Zante and Cephalonia, but they are, unfortunately, very meagre for this period.
Practically all the material dealt with here comes from the State Archives at the Frari, the only exception being a few letters from the Contarini correspondence at the Library of St. Mark. One letter (No. 618) could not be found on the files of the "Esposizioni Principi" to which it belongs, and its place has been supplied from Mr. Rawdon Brown's transcripts. Of the documents printed here the Public Record Office possesses transcripts of all the advices from London, both in Italian and in English, (fn. 2) of the "Esposizioni Principi" in Italian, (fn. 3) and of a large proportion of the despatches from Paris here extracted, as well as of some from Madrid from 1649 to 1651. (fn. 4) It has in addition the original letter book of the Ambassador Contarini at Rome down to March, 1648. (fn. 5) Of Paulucci's letters it has the full Italian text. The first volume, from the 2nd May to 23rd July, 1652, when Morosini was ambassador, is only a transcript ; but the next, from July, 1652, to December, 1653, when Sagredo had succeeded to the embassy at Paris, though classified as a transcript, appears to be the secretary's original letter book, and may have been acquired by Mr. Rawdon Brown from Count Sagredo's collection. (fn. 6) Among the Venetian MSS. at the Record Office is an original paper containing a speech, which Mr. Rawdon Brown believed to have been delivered in the Grand Council by Bertuccio Valier, advocating the recognition of the Commonwealth government by the Venetian republic. (fn. 7)
The parliamentary party, aided by the might of London, had waged successful war against the king, but just when their triumph seemed most complete they found themselves menaced by their own weapon. In June, 1647, London was in greater danger than it had ever been from the king. The army, with the king in its hands was marching on the defenceless city. In the momentary expectation of a sack, terror reigned in the metropolis, some members of parliament fled while others sent away their valuables (No. 2). Measures for defence were hurriedly taken and parliament proposed to raise a defence force, but desisted on representations from the city that this would mean civil war and that it would be better to pay the army what it demanded (No. 4). This counsel may have been prompted by an intimation received from Fairfax by the mayor and council that if they contemplated resistance they would have cause to regret it (No. 6). As the army drew near, many soldiers deserted and, entering the city, seemed disposed to favour parliament ; there being a number of disbanded officers available, the idea of resistance revived (No. 9). But in the end they thought better of it and, yielding to the army's demands, they induced them to turn away and march northwards. Taking advantage of the respite the Presbyterians, who had been put out by order of the army, stirred up the apprentices who, in two days' rioting, overawed the purged parliament and clamoured for the return of the king. The Speakers of both Houses fled to the army which instantly retraced its steps. Occupying Gravesend Fairfax cut off the food supplies and speedily reduced the citizens to surrender at discretion, and so the proud city which had dominated the whole island for so many years was forced to haul down its flag. On the 17th August 9000 foot and 7000 horse were paraded through London in triumph, but the most perfect discipline was maintained and no one suffered injury (No. 22). There was no doubt however about the completeness of the surrender. Fairfax was absolute master of the city and he intended that his hold should be secure. To this end he had all the fortifications demolished, ostensibly to save the cost of maintaining a large garrison (Nos. 34, 36). On the completion of this task he set to work to build 3 forts which would serve to bridle the citizens (No. 45).
Meanwhile the Presbyterians had been excluded from power and the Independents installed as the predominant party (No. 36). London, anxious to conciliate the goodwill of its master, invited Fairfax to a banquet, at which they intended to offer him a ewer and basin of solid gold filled with gold coins (No. 24), but the general declined the honour. He was more concerned to obtain pay for his men, and for this he was insistent in his demands (Nos. 40, 70). The only answer to the proffered hospitality was the arrest of the mayor and some of the aldermen, who were sent to the Tower for their share in the late riots. But the army leaders found that they were going too far. Their searching inquiry about the riots caused such alarm that some prominent citizens fled, others were preparing to follow and a general sense of insecurity prevailed. To reassure public sentiment an order was issued that no further proceedings should be taken about the riots, except in the case of members of parliament (No. 47).
When the army took possession of the king a very general impression prevailed that they intended to help him to assert his rights against the parliament and to restore him to his throne. He seemed to be in the full enjoyment of his liberty and as he approached London both the French and the Dutch ambassadors went to see and treat with him and the Prince Palatine visited his uncle for the first time since his arrival in England (No. 12). Leading royalists who had made their peace with parliament, went out to meet his Majesty and were restored to their places. The two Houses themselves sent him a present of three coaches with sumptuous liveries (No. 6). Many English refugees at the French Court started off to return to their native land, filled with hope from the news which had reached them (No. 31). The opinion that the king would be restored seems to have been shared by some of the rank and file of the army (No. 53), but their leaders held the king as a prisoner and only intended to use him as a pawn in their dealings with parliament (No. 9). Cromwell, who really pulled the strings, did not believe that the generals could act by themselves for long against the secret hostility of parliament, and he thought it useful to have the king to be played against that body (No. 59). Charles had no doubt about his true condition and, fearing for his liberty and life, he escaped away from Hampton Court to the Isle of Wight. He soon found that he had only flown from one cage into another. At first, indeed, he enjoyed considerable liberty, went out hunting and had many of his old servants to wait upon him (No. 70). The people of the island gave him the warmest welcome and made a voluntary collection among themselves to meet his needs (No. 64). But parliament took every precaution to prevent another escape. With the new year, on the king refusing to accept the terms offered to him, he was treated with much greater severity, being confined to two rooms and only allowed two attendants, and it was decided to have no further negotiations with him (No. 79). Natives of the isle of Wight who had constituted his guard, were removed and their places taken by picked troops (No. 105). What was even more ominous, they began to draw up an indictment against the king, even reviving the charge that he had poisoned his father (No. 94).
The army ruled all with a tight hand. The Londoners by no means approved of the harshness shown to the king, and wished to see him set at liberty, but they were overawed by military force and helpless (Nos. 97, 115). From the country came complaints of the extortions of the soldiers, who lived at discretion in their quarters, but the people were merely told to pay their taxes in order that the troops might be satisfied (No. 121). Yet it was found necessary to execute some officers and soldiers in London who had caused trouble (No. 70). Suspicion of a serious conspiracy at the end of 1647 led to the banishment from the city of all who had borne arms against the parliament (No. 72).
The following year was troubled by outbreaks at home and the threat of war with Scotland, while a general feeling of unrest prevailed. Harassed by these cares most members of parliament came to the conclusion that the state required a king who should govern in harmony with the Houses, though they could not make up their minds whether it should be Charles or his son Henry (No. 136). Public feeling against them was rising and when the city refused them a loan they decided to yield to circumstances and resume negotiations with the king (No. 150). These progressed so favourably that an agreement seemed to be in sight. This, however, did not suit the plans of the army. Demanding the immediate payment of the arrears due to them Fairfax once more advanced upon the city, which he occupied, arresting 34 members of parliament and filling the whole assembly with fear. The king meanwhile had been removed to Hurst castle (No. 222). A council of war, summoned by Cromwell, presented a series of demands to him ; but after shutting himself up for half a day, Charles declared that he had already conceded too much, and that even so he had failed to satisfy them, so he was resolved to die rather than to lay any further burden on his conscience (No. 229).
The king's plight was now recognised as desperate. From France, at the instigation of Queen Henrietta Maria, her brother sent over Varennes to try and stay the execution (No. 234). From Holland, in response to an appeal by the Prince of Wales, the States General despatched Pauw on a similar errand (Nos. 232, 233). But all was of no avail ; the blow fell, and Pauw was immediately recalled. On his return he gave a full account of his experiences, with some particulars not recorded elsewhere. The king was terribly unnerved by the last heartrending interview with his children, but on the scaffold he showed complete self command. He had greatly aged, his hair quite white and his beard long and grey. London was perfectly quiet on the day and business proceeded as usual (No. 246). If Killigrew may be credited the executioners sold portions of the king's hair and beard and drops of his blood to devoted subjects (No. 389, page 137).
At the time of his father's death the Prince of Wales was in Holland. He had gone there in the summer of 1648 on receiving the news of the revolt of a portion of the parliamentary fleet in the Downs. Eight ships went over and crossed to Holland. But as fourteen are reported soon after to have arrived at Brill, commanded by gentlemen of Kent and Essex, it is probable that they were joined by merchantmen or privateers influenced by some of the royalist gentry (Nos. 153, 156). That the revolt was not inspired by any general feeling in the navy in favour of the restoration of the monarchy became immediately apparent. The parliamentary sympathies of many of the officers and sailors were so marked that Charles and his brother hesitated to trust themselves to the ships, while the Palatine Princes Rupert and Maurice and some English officers refused to take the risk (Nos. 165, 166). For the moment parliament was paralysed by the blow, and so Charles, taking his courage in both hands, ventured to put out. He sailed first to the Thames, hoping that he might be able to rescue his father (No. 170). That proving impossible, he made an excursion to Yarmouth but returned soon after to the Thames. There he succeeded in capturing some merchantmen, but wrote an explanatory letter to the city, expressing confidence in their loyalty and offering to give up the ships for a loan of two millions (No. 177). But his men were not whole hearted in the business and when other attempts at making prizes had been beaten off, Charles gave up the enterprise and returned to Holland disconsolate (No. 178). He had some thought of going to join the Scottish army, then invading England, but the news of Preston nipped this project in the bud and added still further to the discouragement of the king and his followers (No. 185).
Meanwhile parliament had recovered from the shock and a powerful fleet under Warwick had put to sea, making it extremely unlikely that Charles would be able to repeat his exploits in the Thames. Warwick brought his ships right over and cast anchor in the very port where Charles's fleet lay, at Goeree. He then sent a polite letter to the States, expressing friendliness and asking leave to victual his ships (No. 193). Parliament simultaneously presented a demand that the prince's ships should be surrendered as rebels, or that Warwick should be allowed to attack them where they lay (No. 200). The Dutch refused to concede either of these demands and took immediate steps to prevent a conflict in their home waters. This was the more necessary because, on the news of Warwick's arrival, the prince, the Palatines and a number of English gentlemen had hastened down to the ships (No. 197). Rupert, who took over the command on the prince falling sick, gave up all idea of a naval fight, and withdrawing his ships further up the river proceeded to erect defences on shore, an action naturally resented by the Dutch (No. 215). But the adventure was drawing to its close. Charles had no money to pay his men and his fleet was destitute of all necessaries (No. 202). Without any enthusiasm for his cause the ships surrendered one by one to Warwick and returned to the allegiance of parliament (Nos. 218, 220), so that by the end of the year the prince's fleet had practically ceased to exist.
Soon after returning from his expedition to the Thames both Charles and his brother fell ill of the small pox. The prince took some time to recover (Nos. 208, 218), and as soon as he was strong enough he had some idea of going to Jersey. But while the duke of York went to France he stayed on at the Hague and there received the news of his father's death. He at once assumed royal state, taking his meals apart and no longer with his sister, on whose bounty he was chiefly living (No. 237). He was proclaimed in some parts of England, but this only led to disturbance, without helping his cause (No. 258). He cherished some hope of receiving assistance from the Dutch. Urging them to renew the ancient alliance with his House he asked them to give him ships to take him to Ireland and money to pay his debts (No. 253). But the States had no intention of committing themselves so far. Common interests in religion and trade made friendly relations with England desirable whatever the government there might be (No. 255). There was also the danger that the disputes of England might find an echo in their own country, where each side found its sympathisers. Accordingly polemical papers in favour of either king or parliament were equally forbidden (No. 242). While they offered their condolences and congratulations to the new king, they could not make up their minds what they should call him (Nos. 237, 238). Accordingly they kept putting off the consideration of Charles's demands until he came to realise that nothing was to be expected from that quarter (No. 281). The king's difficulties were aggravated by the slenderness of his resources. He had been obliged to reduce his household and live with the greatest simplicity, and when the duke of York left for France, his baggage had been seized for debt (Nos. 224, 225). Accordingly Charles determined to shift his quarters and in June he set out for France. At Antwerp he was lodged in the royal palace and received from the king of Spain a doubtless welcome present of 25,000 crowns (No. 305). The Archduke Leopold William, regent of the Netherlands, journeyed to Valenciennes on purpose to see him as he passed through (No. 306).
At Paris Charles found his mother and brother and a presumably friendly Court. From thence he sent out a series of missions, to represent his condition to foreign Courts and to elicit sympathy and help. Cottington and Hyde went to Spain (No. 354). John Taylor or another to the emperor (No. 329). Thomas Killigrew to Savoy, Florence and Venice (No. 337) and Henry Hyde to the Porte. None of these missions produced any substantial result. There was indeed some talk of liberal supplies from the queen of Sweden and even of a marriage alliance with that lady (No. 339), but nothing materialised.
Charles failed to find the comfort he looked for in France. The French as a nation were distasteful to him and his relations with his mother were not happy. Before long he left for Jersey, taking his brother with him on purpose to annoy her (No. 337). This adventure proving fruitless Charles left the island, become by this time more submissive to his mother and ready to be guided entirely by her advice (No. 387). It was decided in a family council that Scotland offered the most favourable field for his activities and after negotiations with the deputies sent to him Charles sailed for that country on the 2nd June, old style, landing there safely after successfully evading two powerful squadrons sent to intercept him (No. 413).
From the time that the army had seized the reins of government, excluding or overaweing the Presbyterians in parliament, relations between England and Scotland had been very strained. The Scots complained that the covenant had been broken and the danger of war seemed so imminent that parliament thought it necessary to take precautions on the borders (Nos. 24, 27, 74, 79). The prospect of Scottish intervention induced many English royalists to cross the border (No. 115), and in the spring of 1648 three whole regiments went over to the Scots (No. 117). In spite of these discouraging symptoms parliament hoped to be able to escape the storm by satisfying the demands of the Scots and paying them a handsome sum of money (No. 92). They could also count on the assistance of the Scottish ministers, who were strongly anti royalist and did their utmost to prevent war, calling for unity and peace and influencing whole towns against supporting the king's cause (Nos. 113, 150). The Edinburgh parliament was anti English in the main, but even there opinion was divided. In London parliament did not feel very apprehensive, as before they declared war the Scots would have to make up their internal differences (No. 121). Yet, in spite of all, the Scottish invasion materialised, though it was utterly crushed at Preston and Warrington. After the battles many Scottish lords came to London in order that they might return home by sea, as they were afraid of falling into the hands of Cromwell's troops (No. 191).
After suffering this great disaster the Scots showed a strong desire for an accommodation with parliament (No. 202). But upon the execution of Charles I the Scots promptly recognised the prince as their legitimate king, although they insisted that he should accept the covenant, a condition that caused Charles to hesitate about accepting their invitation, lest he should be betrayed as his father had been (No. 243), Arrived in Scotland Charles met with an enthusiastic reception from the people, although thirty members of the parliament voted against him. A census of all the males between 16 and 60 was ordained, for the purpose of forming an effective army against England. They announced that the war would begin in three months' time, a form of declaration that was ridiculed in England (Nos. 413, 414). The declaration was in fact anticipated by England and the victory of Dunbar won before the time limit had expired. After this fresh disaster Charles's situation became very uncomfortable, and he contemplated escape to the Orkney islands. This was discovered, and he was so closely guarded as to be practically a prisoner, some of his followers being executed (No. 443). Things were going very ill with him at this time. The death of his brother in law, the Prince of Orange, deprived him of the rich resources of the House of Nassau (No. 434). A royalist rising in England, which had been carefully prepared, was brought to naught by the capture at sea of two of his agents, and the discovery through them of all who were concerned in the plot (No. 475). His misfortunes culminated in the final disaster at Worcester. In London the most serene confidence was felt, amply justified by the result (No. 443). There are two separate accounts here of Charles's adventures after the battle (Nos. 530, 534), his own and one given by the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Many went out to meet him when he got back to Paris. He bore the marks of his experiences, his dress being a caricature and his appearance that of a lower servant (No. 530).
The battle of Worcester was generally recognised as having established the new government in England firmly in the saddle. The news of the king's execution had caused a thrill of horror. The authors of the deed cared little for this and they proposed to send out ambassadors to all the princes of Europe to justify their proceedings, and at the same time to express their indifference as to whether these ministers were received or not (No. 246). The salient characteristics of the new government were suspicion of its neighbours and extreme self sufficiency (No. 587). They believed that England was strong enough to stand alone and a match for all her foes (Nos. 587, 667). As the secretary George Fisher proudly boasted in Spain, England combined what no other nation possessed, military and naval strength united with commercial prosperity, making her necessary to all the world (No. 506). The navy had always been the first care of parliament, as the best guarantee against foreign interference. It was kept in commission winter as well as summer (Nos. 47, 210). Its strength was constantly increased (No. 97), so that by the spring of 1649 there were as many as sixty armed ships at sea (No. 281). By 1651 they had a fleet of eighty men of war, the finest vessels afloat for armament, construction or crews, and they could increase the number with ease (No. 498). The army consisted of 50,000 veteran soldiers, all native born Englishmen, the only army of that character possessed at the time by any state in the world (No. 638). The new regime being largely directed by men engaged in trade made it certain that commerce would be one of the chief concerns of the state, and under their fostering care it increased enormously (No. 498).
Regarded with dread and aversion by other nations, the English republicans believed that they were showing the way for others to follow. After Dunbar Cromwell wrote that the victory made them safe at home and for the future they must think of helping other nations to throw off the yoke, and to consolidate their own government by establishing republican neighbours (No. 457). A few months later he told Cond's agent that he would lead a large army into France to end the war there, if the prince would undertake to bring France to the same condition as England was (No. 528). When Blake was at Cadiz in 1650 he greatly offended the Spanish government by declaring that all nations would be following England's example in annihilating tyranny and becoming republics ; France was already doing so and the Spaniards being slower, he gave them ten years for their revolution (No. 457). A sense of power and of the hostile feeling prevalent in foreign countries probably accounts for a certain truculence in the behaviour of English naval officers abroad. In 1651 Capt. Edward Hall expressed great annoyance because his squadron had been saluted at Leghorn with mortars only (No. 480). In the following year Appleton at Zante complained that he had not been saluted on his arrival, and demanded pratique with threats (No. 594). In the previous year Blake had accepted an invitation to enter the port of Cadiz, but intimated at the same time that he did not intend to dip his flag or to salute the fortress (No. 442).
In spite of the independence shown thus and in other ways parliament was almost over anxious to obtain recognition from foreign powers, though they meant to have it on their own terms. In the summer of 1649 the ambassadors of Spain and Holland, the only ones who had remained after the king's execution, were told that unless they presented letters of credence addressed to parliament, they would no longer be recognised as public ministers. At the same time the French secretary was asked to say in what capacity he was staying in London (No. 352). A year later Joachimi received an intimation that he would have to leave unless he presented letters recognising the republic (No. 432). This attempt to force the pace failed for the moment, but time was at work for the new order. The first country formally to accord recognition was Spain. The Ambassador Cardenas had continued his residence in England all through the civil war and even after the king's execution. The importance to Spain of friendly relations with England has been explained in the preceding volume, (fn. 8) but in a country where loyalty to the throne amounted almost to a religion it seemed that detestation of the regicides would override all other considerations. In the hope of enlisting Spanish sympathies for his cause Charles sent Cottington and Hyde to Madrid with a special charge to promote. peace between the crowns of France and Spain, whose quarrel was the chief obstacle to any intervention on his behalf (No. 368). But the Spaniards suspected that this was a trick of Mazarin. The government had other ends in view. Charles's ministers were received politely, but they made little progress with their negotiations. Before long they learned that an envoy was on his way from London and that he would be received at Court in spite of all their efforts. Ascham was murdered almost as soon as he reached Madrid but they gained nothing from a crime for which at first they were considered responsible. Though fully exonerated of all complicity they nevertheless did their best to shield the murderers from justice. The only substantial consequence of the deed was to prevent parliament from sending another minister to succeed Ascham. So Spain was obliged to swallow her pride and to make all the advances herself. The operations of Blake in the Tagus showed her how much she profited by friendly relations with the English government. The news of Dunbar convinced her that the new government was firmly established (No. 431). So in spite of the universal horror of the regicide parliament the divines easily found arguments to persuade the king that any sort of assistance was lawful against his own rebels and that he need not hesitate to abandon his nephew the king of England, because he was a heretic (No. 440). Accordingly the Catholic king made up his mind to recognition ; the ambassadors of Charles were dismissed, Rupert was to be excluded from Spanish ports and treated as a pirate, and the duke of York to be expelled from Flanders (No. 442).
Thus Spain led the way in recognising parliament, justifying her action with the excuse that as Charles I had been the first to recognise the duke of Braganza as king of Portugal she had every right to retaliate (No. 402). But she was uneasy in her mind, and wished others, as for example Venice, to follow the unholy example (No. 491). It came as a shock to the Spanish government, after this sacrifice, that parliament showed no sense of their condescension but continued on its own course and seeking its own ends. While Blake was in the Tagus they tried hard to induce him to send help to the French rebels at Bordeaux, but Blake refused to loose his hold on his immediate prey (Nos. 421, 423). Nevertheless his operations against Portugal served the purposes of Spain well enough. The alarm these aroused induced the Portuguese to bring away all their troops on the Spanish frontier, leaving it unguarded (No. 418). The Spaniards gleefully looked forward to seeing England deal effectively with Portugal while they would be left free to employ their forces elsewhere (No. 429). But when Portugal submitted to superior force, parliament showed itself quite willing to treat, for they had no intention of prolonging hostilities with Portugal merely for the benefit of Spain, and a Portuguese minister was received in London in spite of all that Cardenas could do to prevent it. Thus the Spaniards were notably deceived in their hope that by recognising parliament they had bought it and could dictate its foreign policy in their own interest (No. 511). With the outbreak of the Dutch war the Spanish government gave up all hope of using the English republic for their own purposes and sent permission to Cardenas to return home. But at this very moment parliament rendered them a most signal service. Their forces were besieging Dunkirk on the land side, and Blake with his fleet prevented any supplies from reaching it by sea, so that the town was forced to capitulate. The Spaniards readily acknowledged their indebtedness (No. 667) and in token of it the Archduke Leopold William offered Blake a gold chain and 50,000 crowns in cash, the English admiral refusing the money but accepting the chain (No. 673). The act was not so much a sign of goodwill to Spain as a piece of sound policy. In the hands of the French or the Dutch Dunkirk might easily be a menace to England, but in the hands of the Spaniards it was merely a pledge for their good behaviour. That there was no special desire to gratify Spain was shown soon after in the treatment of a Spanish ship, carrying bullion, seized because of the suspicion that she was chartered by the Dutch (No. 692). The English government refused to give up either the ship or its cargo unless it could be shown that this suspicion was unfounded, and all the blustering of Cardenas and his intimations of war failed to move them in the least. Cardenas, in the mean time, received instructions to stay on in order to foment the quarrel with the Dutch, from which the Spaniards expected nothing but advantage (No. 695). There was no offer to England from Spain of any help in the war with their old enemies.
The policy consistently pursued by France during the civil war was to keep on good terms with England, so that she might continue her career of conquest in Flanders without interference. Thus, although the French ministers in London were withdrawn in the autumn of 1647 (No. 49) the French government assured the English that it would not interfere in their private troubles (No. 85). They went even further, in allowing parliamentary ships the privilege of trading freely at their ports while refusing the like to those commissioned in the king's name, since the latter could not be anything but privateers (No. 116). In the same spirit they discouraged the idea of the duke of York coming to Paris, as his mother wished, to avoid arousing the suspicion of parliament (No. 135). All this in spite of the discovery that Marshal Gassion, a leader among the Huguenots, had been corresponding secretly with parliament (No. 39), and of the possibility of English intrigues with the Huguenots, such as came to light later (No. 521). But this complacency was swept away by the wave of indignation that was caused by the news of the execution of Charles. Only the existence of other preoccupations, that could not be neglected, prevented an immediate declaration of war (No. 287). Instead of taking this step France began a predatory war at sea upon all English ships without distinction, while the importation of English manufactured articles was prohibited. These measures soon stirred parliament to retaliation, French wine being forbidden in England, while reprisals were formally announced against French shipping in September (Nos. 330, 334). The situation developed rapidly ; French gentlemen took advantage of the king's permission to fit out ships for privateering (No. 379). The English, on their side, sent out squadrons not only to convoy and protect their own merchantmen, but to fight the French and take all the prizes they could (No. 383). In this way squadrons under Hall, Penn, Appleton and Badiley followed each other into the Mediterranean and hunted down all the French craft they came across, with scant regard, at times, for the sanctity of neutral ports. The French who had started this sort of war, discovered as parliament developed its resources, that they were getting the worst of it. Scarce a week passed without the news of serious losses (No. 512), although the merchants who suffered, for some reason, never came forward as a body to make complaint (No. 508).
In England, while great indignation was excited by the French depredations, there was no inclination to seek better relations. Fisher at Madrid probably expressed correctly the feelings of his countrymen when he spoke contemptuously of the French and said that England set no store by their friendship (No. 506). Early in 1651 Gentillot, sent over to see how the land lay, and to open negotiations if possible, was ignominiously expelled, after suffering arrest as a spy (No. 473). In spite of this rebuff the internal situation in France and the danger of England making common cause with the Huguenots, induced many in the French Council to advocate the recognition of the Commonwealth (No. 521), and after Worcester this took shape in the appointment of Bellievre to go to England (No. 527). Against this Charles, on reaching Paris, tried hard to stir the French to move against England, assuring them that if they did not the English would undoubtedly come to wage war in France, as this was the common subject of talk among the people as well as the military (No. 530). Substance was given to these fears by the appearance of a strong English squadron off the coasts of Normandy, causing the people there to stand to their arms to repel any attempt at a landing (No. 532). All this time Cond was trying hard to obtain English support. But little attention was paid to him as the English government was not disposed to build much on the domestic troubles of France. They merely announced that in due time they would present their demands, and then if necessary they would proceed to enforce them (No. 601). It may have been a dread of this that induced France to offer Dunkirk in satisfaction of the reparation claimed. Although the offer itself was remarkable, the bargain was hardly a good one, seeing that the chance of the French holding the place against the Spaniards was a poor one. After considering the matter parliament replied that the French title to the town was not good enough to justify them in offering it to others ; its true sovereign was the Catholic king, their good friend, and they did not intend to put this affront upon him (No. 609). (fn. 9)
The outbreak of the Dutch war caused no relaxation in this inflexible attitude to France. Whatever they could seize of the French at sea would be taken without scruple, to make good the losses sustained from the French corsairs for so many years. The government was quite prepared to engage in open war with France as well unless she preferred friendly relations on English terms (No. 662). The culminating act occurred off Dunkirk while the Dutch war was raging. While the Spaniards blockaded the town on the land side, Blake with his fleet prevented any supplies getting in from the sea. As the town was nearing the end of its resources the French got together a squadron to try and force the blockade ; but this was engaged by Blake in overwhelming strength and utterly defeated. The French can hardly have been unprepared for the possibility of such drastic action, (fn. 10) although it is conceivable that they may have counted on the reluctance of the English government to commit an act of war in the existing circumstances. Faced suddenly with the hard facts their first impulse was to seek alliance with the Dutch, and to persuade them to take the field against their old enemies the Spaniards. But the States did not consider the offer of alliance with a country so distracted as France, sufficient inducement to undertake a land war in addition to the desperate struggle in which they were engaged at sea (No. 670). A wiser course was found by Mazarin, who decided to send over M. de Bordeaux, ostensibly about ships, but really to try and institute better relations between the two countries, and to prevent further help to the Spaniards (No. 704). Charles and his mother, who saw all their hopes vanishing with this mission, did their utmost to prevent it, but in vain (No. 710). In England, under the stress of war, the government was more in favour of a good understanding than of an open rupture (No. 687). Nevertheless Bordeaux met with very little encouragement when he arrived in England, and as he brought no credentials addressed to parliament, there was a disposition to suspect the genuineness of his intentions (Nos. 713, 716).
The attitude of the Dutch towards the new republic had been cautious and non committal. There was a general basis of sympathy between the two republics both on the score of religion and of politics. The naval power of the two states combined would overawe the world. The idea that they might come together and send their fleets into the Mediterranean caused serious disquiet at the Vatican (No. 531). But it was not until 1651 that the Dutch decided to recognise the Commonwealth, and a mission was at once sent from England to the Hague (No. 465). This naturally set going a great deal of talk about an alliance, arousing considerable agitation in some quarters, notably at Paris (No. 478). But the States hung back from concluding a definite alliance as they did not believe that the republic was firmly enthroned (No. 481). The English mission thus failed to achieve anything of consequence, and when the ambassadors returned home after their prolonged negotiations relations between the two countries were somewhat strained (No. 508). The passing of the Navigation Act soon after impelled the States to send a special embassy to London. Strenuous negotiations followed their arrival, and in spite of difficulties these seemed likely to lead to a satisfactory conclusion because it was realised by the English government that a rupture with the Dutch would do them great injury (No. 593), whereas by a good understanding with that country the security of their position would be much enhanced (No. 601). Thus though insisting on the maintenance of the new act, of which the Dutch demanded the withdrawal, they were prepared to make considerable concessions in details (Nos. 601, 605). It is probable that the collision between Blake and Tromp would not in itself have precipitated the conflict. Such incidents, though on a smaller scale, had occurred before, without untoward results (No. 94). In England the army, the city of London and the principal towns were all against a war (Nos. 652, 696), and though parliament seemed more bellicose, even there many of the members had invested capital in Holland and were very unwilling to put it to hazard (Nos. 631, 633). The leading preachers used their great influence on the same side (No. 677) and prayers were offered and a fast observed to avert so great a calamity (No. 613).
The Dutch seemed equally anxious to avoid a rupture. They sent over the trusted and experienced minister Pauw to smoothe things over. He began by disavowing at once the action taken by Tromp (No. 621), which had already been condemned by the ambassadors in England (No. 610). It seemed likely that the trouble would blow over ; but while the negotiations were proceeding orders had been issued for the seizure of all shipping. The seas were swarming with Dutch vessels and in a few days some forty prizes were taken. These losses caused intense excitement in Holland and Zeeland and effectually destroyed all the work of the peacemakers (Nos. 621, 635, 662).
The Dutch entered upon the war with reluctance. They were not at one among themselves and the differences between the Orange faction and their opponents constituted a serious source of weakness (No. 671). The peril involved in such a contest caused something like a panic among the wealthy, many of whom withdraw to Germany, Lorraine and even to the Spanish dominions (No. 685). But being committed the government resolved to act with determination and to seize every possible advantage in waging the war (No. 641). Among other things they proposed to make use of Charles and Rupert, though instead of employing them with the fleet, as expected, they suggested that the king should go to attack the parliament in Ireland (No. 679). They also looked about for allies, a mission being sent to the Hanse Towns to urge them to join in against England (No. 698).
In England, though the war was not desired, there was a firm determination to wage it vigorously, while a supreme confidence prevailed that victory would be swift and easy (Nos. 624, 631, 633). Their ships were less numerous, but much more formidable engines of war than those of the Dutch so that one of them was expected to be a match for five or six of the enemy, while Blake's experience inspired complete confidence (No. 624). They also cherished the conviction that the Dutch depended too completely upon England to be able to hold out for long. There were from 5 to 6000 English sailors serving in Dutch ships (No. 610), and England lay across all the Dutch sea routes. The significance of this appeared by the rapidity with which the tale of prizes mounted up, rising from about fifty in July to nearly 200 in September (Nos. 631, 667). According to Paulucci the plan of the English was to devote their energies chiefly to the capture of merchantmen, keeping the fleets safe under the guns of the fortresses and only coming out when there was a good chance of booty. The Dutch, on the other hand, had orders to seek battle on every possible occasion (Nos. 677, 682, 687).
The weak spot in the English defences was the dependence of the country on supplies from abroad of essential naval stores. From the first threat of war the dockyards had been set busily at work, more especially for the completion of a number of frigates designed on a new model that had proved successful (No. 652), but progress was early delayed by the shortage of naval stores (No. 657). As most of the material required came from the Baltic, the attitude of Denmark became a matter of supreme importance, especially as intimate relations were known to exist between Holland and Denmark. The arrival in London of ambassadors from Denmark at the time of the affair between Tromp and Blake was considered a reassuring sign (No. 608). But when things seemed to be going smoothly the ambassadors were recalled and news arrived that English ships, carrying naval stores, had been seized at Elsinore, upon which the government promptly ordered all the Danish ships in the Thames to be detained (No. 683). But they did not wish to add Denmark to their enemies if it were possible to avoid it. Accordingly Richard Bradshaw, the agent at Hamburg, received orders to proceed to Copenhagen to remonstrate and to find out the reason for the king's action (No. 688). Further news that the ships had been forced to unload indicated that the king had definitely decided to throw in his lot with the Dutch (No. 700), and it was even reported that he would furnish them with 20 ships of war and 2000 men (No. 707). The king's position was a difficult one, as in the important matter of the passage of the Sound he was quite as apprehensive of the Dutch as of the English. The French also used their influence to prevent him from committing himself, because they wished to use him to further their policy in Germany (No. 712). He also had to consider the attitude of Sweden, which was watching the struggle attentively and would probably take the opposite side to that favoured by Denmark (Nos. 637, 688).
It is not necessary here to give the history of the first months of the war. The first regular action was fought by Ayscue with a subordinate squadron ; but after this the fleets were concentrated on both sides, the English numbering 120 and the Dutch over 200 (No. 662). But the Dutch were also able to keep strong forces to watch the Sound and the Strait of Gibraltar as well as to detach ships to the East Indies to prey upon the English shipping there (No. 682). The battle of the Kentish Knock led to an enquiry, in consequence of which two captains were executed in sight of the fleet and ten were sent prisoners to London. It is suggested that their neglect of duty was due to royalist sympathies (No. 683). Even Blake himself does not seem to have escaped suspicion (No. 682), and it was observed that he had been excluded from the Council of State after the new elections to that body (No. 706). The approach of winter made the Dutch increasingly anxious about their shipping, as they must either run the gauntlet of the Channel or risk the stormy seas round the north of Scotland. It was expected that they would try to seize some island in the north to serve as a base, since all the English ports were too well defended though the ports of France were at their service (No. 671). But Tromp came through the Channel and, catching Blake at a disadvantage, won the victory of Dungeness. While the action was in progress a landing was made in Kent and some cattle were carried off, but the people of the countryside rallied and drove off the raiders, taking a large number of prisoners (No. 713). Blake was blamed for this reverse because he had underrated the enemy and weakened his fleet by scattering his ships in all directions (No. 716). The situation was serious and it was feared that the Dutch might attempt a landing in the isle of Wight. The government set about with great energy to repair the disaster. Sailors were taken out of the merchantmen in the river to man the fleet. To increase the popularity of the service the pay of seamen was raised one third and they were promised a share of the prize money (No. 716). The reverse put an end to all thought of peace negotiations, which would have been welcomed shortly before. The heavy cost of the war was already causing much anxiety, as the army required 80,000l. a month and the navy cost nearly 800l. a day (No. 700).
In the Mediterranean the war surprised the English squadrons widely scattered on convoy duty. One of the chief of these, consisting of five ships under Appleton, was caught at Leghorn by a fleet of 14 ships under Cats. The Grand Duke took them under his protection there, but the merchantmen were obliged to unlade their rich cargoes, and their crews were later paid off to avoid the heavy expense, as it was hopeless to put to sea in the face of the superior Dutch strength (No. 651). The shipping resources of the Dutch made it easy for them to be constantly adding to the numbers of their fleet, so that when Badiley came up and attempted to unite with Appleton, he suffered defeat at Montecristo and was himself shut up in Porto Longone. Appleton fretted at his enforced inaction and that he could not go out to fight (No. 655) ; yet he held his head high and told the Grand Duke that he should feel proud to be the first prince to offer shelter and protection to English ships (No. 658). Badiley also longed for a fight and his captains were ready to follow him, but the merchants at Leghorn would not consent to risk their ships (No. 676). The only hope seemed to be in the arrival of a squadron from England. Ayscue had been selected early in August to take a fleet to the Mediterranean to protect trade (No. 638), as soon as the situation in home waters should justify the detaching of such a force. The project was kept steadily in view and 18 ships were picked out for this service in November (No. 692). The defeat at Dungeness necessarily put an end to the idea for the time being.
Meanwhile the English in the Mediterranean had to make the best of the situation as it stood. The workshops at Leghorn were kept busy for both parties, but the Dutch had the advantage in every way. All the abundant resources of his country in the Mediterranean were at the disposal of the new commander van Galen, who could count on a fleet of 40 ships before the end of the year (No. 686). The Dutch also found it easy to enlist men of other nations, especially the French, and van Galen actually sent to Toulon for soldiers. The English, on the other hand, were generally detested and could get no one, and were in danger of losing the crews they had from inability to pay them (No. 676). One success they did achieve in recovering the captured Phoenix, of which full particulars will be found here (Nos. 703, 709). Thanks also to the action of the Spanish governor of Porto Longone, two ships succeeded in getting away from that place to join others at Naples (No. 718); but for all this van Galen remained master in the Mediterranean.
The civil war in England and the war of Candia added many complications to the life of foreigners in the Levant at this period. In 1647 Sir Thomas Bendish came out to act as ambassador at the Porte in place of Crow, who had quarrelled with the merchants and been repudiated by them. Bendish was evidently not considered an enemy of the king, as Digby spoke well of him and thought he would do better than Crow (No. 20). The latter however refused to recognise the newcomer, and with the support of the French ambassador Delahaye tried hard to maintain his own position ; he also obtained some financial backing from the Venetians (No. 56). An unseemly tussle between the rival claimants took place before the Vizier (No. 43). Bendish tried to induce Crow to leave peaceably, promising him a large sum to pay his debts (id.). As Crow refused to leave Bendish secured Turkish assistance and had him kidnapped, with every kind of indignity, in which his wife was not spared (No. 56). He was carried off to Smyrna, put on board ship and sent to England.
Rid of his rival Bendish set to work to obtain the renewal of his capitulations, with special trading privileges (No. 75). No sooner had he managed this than the Turks demanded the use of his ships for transport or war service, threatening to take them by force. To resist such violence Bendish went on board his ships and made a demonstration in the middle of the harbour, intended to draw the attention of the Sultan, whereby he succeeded in alarming the Vizier and getting the demand withdrawn (No. 107). Thereafter Bendish seems to have got along better with the Turkish officials, though he is said to have won their goodwill by promising the use of English ships (No. 261). In consequence of some arrangement 13 English ships sailed from Smyrna for Crete in the summer of 1649, carrying troops and stores. But after they had landed the men and munitions they claimed to have fulfilled their contract and refused to take part in an action which ensued between the Turkish and Venetian fleets. Furious at what they called a betrayal the Turks demanded the repayment of the hire money (Nos. 317, 318, 319). Bendish however stood to his guns and apparently emerged successfully from a difficult if not dangerous situation, even obtaining permission for his ships to lade (No. 343). Although the contrary is stated he seems to have been obliged to pay for his privileges as the Levant Company in London complained that the Turks had imposed a fine of 200,000 thalers because their ships refused to fight (No. 355). Bendish also had trouble with some of his own merchants, who protested against the agreement he had made ; but he dealt drastically with these and sent one in irons to Smyrna (Nos. 268, 343). The merchants with royalist sympathies seem to have left Constantinople and gone to the islands of the Archipelago (No. 436). Charles did not overlook these faithful followers and among the ambassadors sent out in 1650 Henry Hyde was selected to go to the Porte (No. 403). He found it impossible to do anything and not long after his arrival Bendish contrived to have him seized and shipped with three companions to London (Nos. 422, 424, 433), where they were all imprisoned on arriving, Hyde being beheaded soon after. Thus in spite of many difficulties Bendish contrived to hold his own. His recall was intended early in 1652, but the government and the Levant Company quarrelled over the right to appoint his successor (No. 621). Salway, who was chosen later in the year, could not set out because of the Dutch war. Bendish had a determined enemy in the French ambassador Delahaye (No. 448), who did his best to make the Venetian Signory believe that the English ambassador had committed himself to help the Turks against them. But he was no enemy to Venice, as he spoke boldly to the Vizier against the arrest of the Bailo and afforded an asylum to the Venetian secretaries when their chief was seized (No. 275). He was even approached about mediating a peace between Venice and the Porte, a task he was perfectly willing to undertake (No. 628).
Such slight services as were rendered by English ships to the Turks were far outweighed by what was done for the Venetians. The number of English ships in the Venetian fleet was not large, apparently only seven (No. 686), but their quality was shown on more than one occasion, notably by the James at Fochies (Nos. 277, 298, 299, 321), the Elizabeth Maria off Lemnos (No. 375) and the Relief in the Straits (No. 629). A Venetian commander candidly admitted that the English and Dutch ships in the fleet constituted their strength (No. 182). To retain their services was thus of the highest importance and this consideration led the Signory to show a special deference to the English. To the fear that they might be withdrawn was added the horrifying possibility of English ships actively cooperating with the Turks against them. The reports sent by Delahaye served to deepen these misgivings and no doubt contributed powerfully to the decision to send Paulucci to England. Very soon after, with the news of Worcester, the envoy of Charles was unceremoniously dismissed from Venice, a step avowedly taken in order to please parliament (No. 615).
Paulucci came over merely in the character of secretary of the Venetian Ambassador at Paris, ostensibly to obtain ships and levies for the war of Candia. His immediate chief Morosini obviously disapproved of the mission and thought the objects would have been achieved equally well by a courier without the expense. (fn. 11) He vented his ill humour by soundly rating the secretary for indiscretion at the very outset of his career (No. 597). Paulucci's next chief Sagredo hinted, not obscurely, that the delay in his reception might be due to his own determination not to get his recognition too soon (No. 665). But in spite of this the Signory continued to give him their unabated confidence. The English government, though professing to be affronted by the manner of his coming without proper credentials, did not turn him out, as they had others, in like case, probably feeling confident that the full recognition which they desired would not be long delayed. Paulucci's letters began in May, 1652, and with them is resumed the full stream which was interrupted by Agostini's death at the beginning of 1645. (fn. 12) The secretary is a full and lively commentator, and it is to be hoped, also a trustworthy one. It must in candour be admitted that on two occasions when he had dealings with the Levant Company his account of the transaction differs diametrically from what is entered in the Company's records (Nos. 671, 682). It is possible to imagine more than one explanation for such discrepancies but hardly one that would leave his reputation undamaged as a recorder of events.
Of matters not included under the above heads attention is here drawn to the special mission from the Irish clergy to the queen and the bid for help from Venice in return for levies (Nos. 109, 120) ; to the quarrel between the nuncio Rinuccini and the Spanish agent (No. 290) ; to the suggestion in 1649 to declare Ireland a free state (No. 302). Service in Ireland was always unpopular and this is explained by the statement that nearly all the troops who had gone there had died from bad treatment or the nature of the country (No. 605). The numerous prisoners taken in the civil war battles were frequently granted as levies to foreign powers, but Fleming speaks of Scots being offered as merchandise (No. 613). The murder of the two parliamentary envoys at Madrid and the Hague is well known and fully recorded. Basadonna here speaks of a similar fate having befallen another, sent to Denmark (Nos. 498, 506), but I have not succeeded in finding anything to confirm the statement. At the sale of the king's art treasures Cardenas is said to have bought tapestries, apparently made from the Raphael cartoons, at the price of plain cloth (No. 470). A learned Englishman, name not given, is recorded as spreading heretical doctrine at Zante in 1651 (No. 476).
I am indebted to Messrs. C. Johnston and C. T. Flower of the Public Record Office for editing the Latin text of No. 401, which had obviously been very carelessly transcribed. I am greatly obliged to Dr. G. F. Hill of the British Museum for his help in trying to identify a medal said to have been found on Ascham's body, and I would again express my appreciation of the courtesy of the officials at the Frari and the Marciana at Venice.