Venice: December 1653

Pages 151-163

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 29, 1653-1654. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1929.

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December 1653

Dec. 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
185. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Thirty Morlacs (fn. 1) have come to the camp. They were taken to England by Paganuzzi, but did not find the employment there which they desired, and they could not adjust their consciences to the form of licentiousness (libertinaggio) there. The Cardinal gave them a friendly welcome, had them supplied with what they required and sent them to the fortress of La Fere.
Encloses Pauluzzi's letter.
Scialon, the 2nd December, 1653.
Dec. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
186. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 2)
With some difficulty I contrived to see Sir [Oliver] Fleming, as he is so busy and partly because of the reasons reported. After remonstrating about the absence of any reply from the Council of State I spoke of the Senate's intention about the hiring of troops. Fleming assured me that I should receive a written answer in the course of the week amply demonstrating their goodwill and desire for intercourse. He very much regretted that the Signory had so long delayed availing itself of the offer of Irishmen, as if the orders I now had came when he first made the proposal the troops could have been obtained on advantageous terms, as they were ready and the disposal of them was delayed solely out of regard for Venice. They were eventually conceded part to the Spaniards and part to the Prince of Condé, but he assured me that efforts would be made to accommodate the state and he would speak to the Council and Gen. Cromwell. The government would make every exertion to gratify the Senate.
I asked him what expectation there was of peace with the Dutch, but he was very reserved and only said they had fair hopes and the negotiations were proceeding at a good pace with promise of better yet. I said the republic should be the first to receive the good news of the peace, as she hoped to benefit the first and get help against the Turk. He replied that once the alliance with England was established Venice would find it more profitable than of yore. With this we parted. As our conversation passed in a public place I had an opportunity afterwards of speaking with an English gentleman who is largely privy to the most important transactions of the government. I gathered from him that in spite of the recent reports of the failure of the negotiations, they progress steadily and though the time assigned by the United Provinces to their commissioners here has expired, they are still treating. He said that in a few days it was hoped that something more positive would transpire, one way or the other. From another confidential channel I learn that a number of articles have already been agreed upon between the English and Dutch commissioners. First there is to be mutual independence at sea, the Dutch being bound to keep 30 men-of-war in commission and the English 50 for the security and freedom of trade. 10 or 15 persons of either nation are to form a presidency in the respective councils of their countries. Mutual permission to inhabit or quit either country is to be conceded to English and Dutch subjects. The Dutch are to demand the right of fishing and give 50,000l. sterling a year for it, paying the arrears for the last 7 years. Navigation everywhere, especially in the East Indies is to be free for both flags.
This is what I have been able to gather, though I cannot vouch for it. On the other hand reports circulate that peace will not be so easy ; that the negotiators are only trying to gain time ; that hopes of an adjustment are faint because of the changes imminent here. I must not forget the rumour now rife that Gen. Cromwell has some intention of dissolving the present parliament before its term, and to establish some other form of government. The report is by no means incredible though it may only be a malicious invention of his enemies. He is certainly not satisfied with the policy of the present parliament, which has also disappointed the nation at large and as the close of the session is near at hand he is expected to dispense with such assemblies for the future and carry on the government in another way, more dependent on the authority and command of himself and his adherents.
The only naval intelligence this week is that Gen. Monch has put to sea with a squadron of 60 sail to harass the enemy and compel them to think seriously of coming to terms.
Last Monday at the new Exchange, a public place at present much frequented by ladies and gentlemen of condition during the tedious hours of the night an accident occurred of sufficient importance to warrant a detailed account. That evening the brother of the Portuguese ambassador (fn. 3) was accidentally jostled there by an English gentleman. For this or, some say, because of insulting language, the Portuguese in a great rage, drew his sword and mortally wounded the Englishman, who even in that state used his adversary roughly. The Don's attendants intervened at once and the affray was stopped for the moment. But it left so much irritation that on the following morning early the Portuguese returned to the spot, some 50 in number, armed with every sort of weapon, with the determination to avenge themselves on the first Englishman who might appear, and barred the way. Two English gentlemen, each with a lady at his side, then appeared on the scene and attempted to pass, utterly unconscious of all that had taken place and only desiring to purchase fashionable articles for their approaching marriage. Without more ado the Portuguese drew upon them. The English gentleman was killed by a pistol shot, his betrothed swooning away, thus experiencing the extremes of joy and grief. Another Englishman was also killed and several wounded, whereas the aggressors, being armed for defence and offence received no injury whatever. The affrighted tradesmen all took refuge in their shops and the Portuguese remained masters of the whole of Britain's Bourse, until the news reached the horse guards, always on duty near the palace. These restored order by capturing five of the Portuguese and putting the rest to flight. Unless the prisoners inform against the murderer all five of them, according to a fundamental law of the land, are liable to death, and above all the ambassador's brother himself, if it is proved that he committed the homicide. A number of other troops surrounded the ambassador's dwelling and demanded his brother who was handed over to them accordingly. The ambassador's earnest entreaties to General Cromwell for his brother's release availed nothing for yesterday he was removed to the Tower. It is firmly believed that the government will inflict the extreme penalty on him and his five accomplices as the crime was premeditated and treacherous. By infringing the prerogative of the state and the liberty of the subject it may be said to affect the whole nation at one and the same time. It was further aggravated by very foul suspicions by the discovery in the Portuguese coaches of a quantity of gunpowder and some grenades and other explosives. This incident is calculated to upset entirely the adjustment between the two countries, as no peace has yet been proclaimed.
London, the 5th December, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
187. To the Ambassador in France.
We enclose a letter for the parliament, in reply to the one sent. You will instruct Pauluzzi to present it in the customary form and to impress upon their lordships the desire of the republic to afford them every possible satisfaction, so as to adapt his office thoroughly to the sentiments of the Senate. We attach a copy of the letter.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
188. To the Parliament of the Republic of England.
The Senate aspires to nothing so much as to give public testimony to the esteem and correspondence which it professes for so great a parliament. Paulucci has sent us your letter of the 6th September with your request about the difference over caviare between the English merchants and David Ruttz. The difficulties were many but being balanced by our desire to afford you satisfaction the latter sentiment has easily prevailed. The necessary orders have been issued where required so that your desires, which we esteem so highly, may be carried into effect. This will be done with promptitude, and from this you may count on the certainty of our perfectly friendly disposition to cherish the most perfect understanding. Compliments.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
Dec. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
189. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
An English squadron falling in with three French ships attacked and seized them on the pretence that their cargoes were Dutch property. The Cardinal dissembles his resentment, though he is aware that his efforts to keep on good terms with the English government and avoid occasion for a fresh rupture are not of much avail. They have sent the information to M. Scianut, their ambassador at the Hague, that he may foster confidential relations with the Dutch. Their negotiations with the English are regretted here as if the Commonwealth becomes free in that direction they will be at liberty to vent their ill will against this kingdom, the asylum of King Charles and the only refuge for the feeble and languishing hopes of the royalists.
Meanwhile in Holland, besides the loss of 20 men-of-war in a storm, the incessant rains and contrary winds have so swollen the rivers that the dikes have broken and many villages been flooded. Also in consequence of the arrest of a Swedish subject at the Hague, the queen has had a number of Dutchmen imprisoned at Stockholm and refused audience to the Dutch ambassadors. (fn. 4)
The Spanish and Dutch ministers have established the Chambre Mipartie, i.e. an assembly of an equal number of Spaniards and Dutchmen, to settle all controversial points connected with the peace, (fn. 5) so it is evident that the efforts of France to embroil Spain and Holland are in vain.
Encloses letter from England.
Meaux, the 9th December, 1653.
Dec. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
190. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 6)
The written reply was at length delivered to me last Saturday by Sir [Oliver] Fleming, in both English and Latin, according to their custom. He said he hoped it would prove satisfactory. He had also spoken to the Council of State and Gen. Cromwell about the Senate's intention to raise a force of Irish. They were most favourable and one of these days an Irishman of rank, dependent on the commonwealth, would come and try to arrange terms. He even told me that although Gen. Cromwell avoids the visits of public functionaries as much as he can, I should on this occasion, as the servant of the state, be admitted to kiss his hand. I promised him to forward the reply in the most expeditious manner, and hoped ere long to give him proof that it had been appreciated by the Signory. I should expect to see the person about the levy, seeing that the need was urgent. He asked me if I have positive orders about this and the necessary security for the observance of the contract. I replied that there was plenty of time for these details, and after receiving my report the Senate would issue their instructions. He said everything would be done here to give satisfaction. If any arrangement was made it would be necessary to obtain passports in good time from Holland and France. I told him the Senate would see to that. I also said I should greatly value an opportunity to pay my respects to Gen. Cromwell, to assure him of the regard and esteem of the most serene republic. As Fleming was leaving he asked me if any reply had come about the Admiralty Court affair. I told him there had not yet been time for an answer, which might be expected soon in confirmation of the hearty good will of the Senate. He asked me not to lose a moment in imparting it as the Council of State was expecting it somewhat anxiously. With this we parted.
For the news I may say that if the parliament sits out its appointed term, it will be a wonder as common report indicates a change, even more in favour of Gen. Cromwell. Some private persons and even preachers having suggested the nomination of a king, parliament has passed an act forbidding strictly the use of such language in the future. Anyone representing the present government as tyrannical, unjust and illegitimate is to be considered guilty of high treason and condemned to death without further form of trial. The 40 members to form the High Court of Justice I wrote of, were not nominated till last week. They have been invested with sovereign authority with power to call to account persons of every sort to conduct trials and even to inflict capital punishment. This measure causes great anxiety, but while it increases the dread inspired by the present government it by no means renders it more popular.
The time of year does not admit of much happening at sea. There seems to be a lull, and although the parliament squadron is out, nothing important has happened, beyond the capture of a few ships on either side. Among the English prizes is a Hamburg ship the Wheel of Fortune which was for a long while chartered by Venice. So the captain, on reaching London, came to me for help. He expressed his satisfaction with his treatment and said he would like to enter the service again with other of his nation, if possible, for which he says he bound himself at Venice, leaving his children there as guarantee. I promised to do what I could for him, and if encouraged by your Excellency will act more strenuously. Meanwhile the Hamburg Agent is pressing for its release and may succeed, possibly in time to take out troops to Candia if any contract can be arranged. But there will be no lack of ships anxious for the task, especially if payable by the Signory and if passes are obtained for a free passage, although some persons who have returned to London from the Levantine service complain of not having received their pay. I contradict these reports, vaunting the punctuality of the state and vowing that any blame must rest with the ship agents. I have thus succeeded in convincing many of the injustice of such charges.
The peace with Holland remains a constant topic, though little has transpired. It is understood that the easier points have been in a manner settled, though this is useless as the more knotty ones remain to be solved. The chief difficulty proceeds from the English demand for the abandonment of the Orange faction, of France and of Denmark. The commissioners, however, meet constantly. One day hopes are high, the next everything is desperate. Many imagine that the arrival of the French ambassador at the Hague may put a stop to all negotiation. Positive tidings of the result cannot be long delayed and in the mean time nothing is neglected here for the equipment of a considerable fleet.
The ship St. Anna, laded with 360,000 pieces of eight, which was recently captured, has been allowed to proceed on its voyage to Flanders, having been proved the personal property of the king of Spain, after many enquiries and repeated applications from the Catholic ambassador.
All London, one may say, is now agog about the result of the Portuguese affair. The examination has begun in order that the judges may pass sentence as soon as possible. Some think that it will be capital whilst others argue in favour of acquittal. The nature and circumstances of the case make the despatch of the business very doubtful.
Acknowledges letters of the 6th inst.
London, the 12th December, 1653.
Enclosure. 191. The Council have considered the proposition made to them by Sig. Paulucci on the 30th September last and for answer say that as the parliament of the commonwealth of England have by their letter to the Doge of Venice declared the singular goodwill they bear to that republic and their readiness to make a real and cordial demonstration thereof upon all good occasions, so this Council will not be wanting to manifest their high esteem of that state and their endeavours that parliament may maintain and increase an intimate and friendly correspondence therewith for the good of both. For the better establishing of a firm friendship the republic may be assured that parliament will receive with respects answerable to the dignity of that state such public ministers as they shall think fit to address hither, but will also be ready on all occasions to employ thither persons qualified on behalf of this commonwealth that a more sure foundation be laid of a reciprocal confidence. And that the ministers of this state shall be instructed to further and assist the interest of that republic as in their negotiations abroad they shall have opportunity and convenience.
Signed by order of the Council of State.
[Signed] E. Mountagu, President.
Whitehall, the 25th November, 1653. (fn. 7)
[Latin and English.]
Dec. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
192. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 8)
After receiving the papers enclosed with my last I obtained audience of the Council at once to thank them. I said the missives would give great satisfaction and serve for the establishment of a mutual friendship, the Senate relying on help from here against the Turk, for which they proposed making a levy of Irish. I presented a paper to one of the three commissioners, who said the Council should be informed and a suitable person appointed to arrange the matter. The state would be expected to find adequate security while here they would only grant the permit to some one capable of fulfilling his engagements satisfactorily. He then asked me to forward the enclosed memorials about an English ship, asking me to represent the matter warmly to the Senate. I promised compliance and the documents explain themselves. I then took leave. I may mention that Sir [Oliver] Fleming was present throughout the interview. His tact and ability serve to maintain him in place and credit, so I cultivate his intimacy.
With regard to other matters the anxiety felt by the public to learn the result of the frequent and protracted conferences with the Dutch commissioners has been in proportion to their duration. Yesterday hopes of an adjustment were said to be on the wane and to-day the negotiations are reported as quite at an end. So the war will be resumed with greater bloodshed and animosity than ever, to the enormous inconvenience and detriment of all Europe. It is reported that the three commissioners (the fourth, representing Zeeland, having died here after a few days' illness) (fn. 9) are preparing to depart. It is also said that the arrival in Holland of the Ambassador Scianou encouraged the Dutch to raise their tone and it may have led to the present total rupture. On this account the hatred for France increases daily, and if the war continues present appearances indicate that it will be waged on a larger scale, and the English will not lose any opportunity of carrying it on with all the ill will and energy possible.
Disagreeable news arrived from Scotland last week and is confirmed this, that the insurgents, including the Highlanders, are in considerable force and have surprised some parliament regiments quartered there, killing a number of the troops, making much booty and pursuing them almost to the gates of Edinburgh. So three regiments of horse have been marched in that direction. In conjunction with the other forces they may possibly check the insurgents, though these are said to receive more encouragement than ever from the Dutch and other partisans of the king, for whom they openly declare themselves in arms. On the other hand this renewal of hostilities with the United Provinces may possibly render the mischief more serious, for although many regret the failure of the negotiations an equal number welcome it, especially the multitude who resent the continuation of so outrageous and imperfect a rule. So everyone forsees a change which is almost universally desired. Meanwhile, however, the government contemplates imposing fresh taxes and the acts of the parliament are so extravagant that its dissolution may result before the appointed term. Gen. Cromwell, instructed by his adherents with all that passes there, plays his own game by rendering it universally odious.
Nothing more has been heard of the ambassador who left for Sweden except that he had arrived in Holland, where he was detained some days by the severity of the weather. The news of the present rupture will probably compel him to depart now at all risks. The bias of Sweden in favour of England seems to become more and more pronounced. It is encouraged by some offence taken by the Swedes at the behaviour of the Dutch merchants trading in their territories ; so the English are very anxious for the news of the arrival of their ambassador.
To-day the appointment of two more generals at sea has been announced, (fn. 10) so there will now be four, with Black and Monch. It is intended to fit out several squadrons and make arrangements for a great and most powerful fleet.
Marsin who commanded in Catalonia for the king of Spain, has arrived (fn. 11) here from that country together with the agent of the Prince of Condé. He has held close conference with the Catholic ambassador who returned his visit in state with extraordinary marks of honour. Report says that he will very shortly leave London for an interview with the Archduke and the Prince of Condé in Flanders.
Acknowledges letters and receipt of 1,000 livres Tournois for expenses. Encloses accounts for November.
London, the 19th December, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. Memorial.
193. That satisfaction be given to the parties concerned in the ship Concord of about 320 tons, hired by Venice in October, 1652, to take provisions and soldiers to Candia, which on 1st January last was forcibly taken possession of by a captain and 116 soldiers, put aboard her by the Venetians who pistolled the master and ten of the mariners and passengers and forced the rest to take the ship to Villafranca. The captain and soldiers thereby possessed themselves of the ship and goods, about 8,000 pieces of eight belonging to the master and mariners, besides what belonged to the passengers, and they also sold the ship at Villafranca. The Agent of Venice recovered the ship and brought her to Genoa, but when some merchants asked for her on behalf of those interested, he refused to deliver her without payment of a great sum and an undertaking to proceed to Candia at the owners' charge. It is also asked that the actors in this outrage may be brought to condign punishment.
Whitehall, the 2nd December, 1653.
Signed in the name and by order of the Council of State,
E. Mountagu, President.
[Latin and English.]
Dec. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
194. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Paulucci's perseverance has obtained the enclosed replies from the English government. But I must report what was said to me by a man here who without credentials, acts as a sort of agent for England and serves as go-between for Mazarini with Cromwell, (fn. 12) with whom the Cardinal does his utmost to maintain a good understanding. Speaking to me of the reply to Paulucci he said he imagined your Serenity's offers were mere compliments, and there was no intention for closer relations with England with resident ministers, as Paulucci made exactly the same proposal last year with the same courteous response, but nothing ever came of it. This is not far from the truth. The appointment of a minister is a question for the state, but there is no doubt that the English government is powerful. It shows no sign of its tottering or fall. The chief sovereigns of Europe and some of the North, like the Queen of Sweden, are anxious for a good understanding with it and have ambassadors in London. France keeps a minister there who possesses the essentials of an ambassador though he is not one, in spite of England's not reciprocating, for the man I spoke of is a mere merchant or trader, with no other character, and little culture (uomo di tenue elevatura). Last year M. de Bordeaux was sent over under the nose of the King of England, though he is the king's cousin, for political expediency counts for more with all monarchs than ties of blood.
[Paulucci's letters enclosed.]
Paris, the 23rd December, 1653.
Dec. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
195. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 13)
I have to announce the dissolution of the second parliament on Monday last. The majority of this body consisted of Anabaptists of whom there are a great many in London, where they predominate over the Presbyterians who may be called Lutherans. From the very first and always with the support of Harrison, Major-General of the cavalry, they did their utmost, though covertly, to benefit their own party by discrediting all others, and especially the Presbyterians. To this end they launched a number of acts betraying their real object. After disgusting the people in general and Gen. Cromwell in particular, this parliament, consisting mostly of mechanics and ignoramuses (idiote) in governance, was bent on abolishing what from their antiquity give lustre to England, viz. the universities and colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, where every sort of knowledge and literature may be said to be cultivated with success. It had also determined to abolish tithes and to dispense with the public preachers, in order to render their own sect more powerful. This was so far forward that they were on the eve of passing an act on both these matters. Some of Cromwell's adherents pretended to approve the measure, in the hope that it would be abandoned, but perceiving it to be inevitable they gave him warning, and with his customary prudence and address he arranged the sudden overthrow of the plot. So on Monday morning, when parliament met as usual, his partisans began to debate the subject, pointing out many difficulties and the confusion that would ensue. Finding themselves in a minority they said they could not sit any longer on that day and left the house, as a signal that the moment for decision had arrived. Whereupon a colonel of the army made his appearance, (fn. 14) guards being placed at the chief approaches, and saying there was an order for the parliament to dissolve, took away the gilt mace from the Speaker and carried it to Cromwell's residence, into whose hands the Speaker consigned the powers originally received from him. Not one of the members who remained behind in astonishment, had the courage to make the slightest remonstrance and they allowed the orders to be carried out, making off in various directions.
Thus Cromwell's prudence has anticipated and averted imminent confusion, to his great honour and to the especial satisfaction of all London. Being now undeceived over these last two parliaments they will certainly not desire a third ; indeed the general wish appears to be for the government to proceed in other and speedier forms, the reverse of those used hitherto and better suited to the commonwealth. A very general belief prevails that there is now an end of parliaments and that everything will be directed by a single Council. This implies increasing dependence on the personal authority of Gen. Cromwell, who in consequence of this fresh incident is again hailed as Protector and Defender of English liberty. There is no doubt that very little opposition will be offered to his plans, which he cloaks with cunning address and moderation, so as to seize the opportunity for his own advantage. To this end he is understood to be more determined than ever on the peace with Holland, clearly perceiving that this step is indispensible for the firm foundation of his own supremacy, the vigorous suppression of disorder in Scotland, the maintenance of the government and to add to his own popularity, the burden and discomforts of the present war being no longer bearable, while the nation is equally weary of the arbitrary and confused forms of the government. Although from fear the people are as silent and long-suffering as possible, it is very evident that if the taxes and discontent go on their patience may one day be suddenly converted into fury.
Since this dissolution everybody is on the watch for the next form of government though its stability may be doubted. Meanwhile a change will be effected in the Council of State, concerning which nothing has yet been settled, as everything depends on what is settled by Cromwell and the officers of the army and what this may be cannot yet be affirmed.
The dismissal of the parliament seems to have revived the hopes of peace with Holland, as that body rather favoured the continuance of the war. It is reported that the Dutch commissioners have delayed their departure for another fortnight, though this cannot be verified, nor yet whether the change is due to some fresh proposals made here when matters were reported desperate and the commissioners were about to embark. They are to have audience of the Council of State to-day or to-morrow when some good news is expected about this adjustment. Cromwell at least is anxious to arrange it though the presence of the French ambassador at the Hague, the death of the fourth commissioner and the changes here, which might make the Dutch doubt the stability of any treaty made at this moment, inspire some misgivings. But I am assured that before the dissolution of the parliament Cromwell had smoothed many difficulties by his own letters and had greatly encouraged a disposition towards peace.
The Council of State has at last taken up again the affair of the wool of the Catholic king seized by a private individual. An order has been given for its reshipment on the ship from which it was taken, with permission to go where they please, as although the present state of affairs warrants the encouragement of animosity against the French, on the score of mutual reprisals, it is desirable to court Spain for sound reasons of State and because of what may ensue out of the negotiations with the Dutch.
The brother of the Portuguese ambassador, taking advantage of the visit of some ladies, who went to him by night, made his escape in their company in female attire. Some think that this was connived at, as Cromwell informed the ambassador that he would prove his good friend.
In reply to your Excellency's letter of the 20th, the style of address here is unaltered as the late parliament continued to receive missives directed, "Parlamento Reipublicæ Angliæ" but I cannot say anything definite since the recent change. It is now reported that they intend to imitate closely the constitution of Venice by forming a Grand Council with a chief bearing the title of Duke or Protector and Defender of England. Much is said about these novelties but the future will show the truth.
London, the 25th December, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
196. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to the same.
On Friday evening I received a visit from Cromwell's secretary. He told me he had come to acquaint himself thoroughly with the intentions of the state about the Irish levy, and if I had the powers a start could be made at once ; otherwise it would be superfluous to apply to the Council of State when the Signory might disavow the business. I thanked him and assured him of the Senate's regard for the General. Discarding other offers of military assistance they accepted the proposals of this government in proof of reciprocity and esteem, charging me to treat with any one inclined to furnish troops on the advantageous terms promised me. As regards my powers I must first report to my prince, but unless there were hopes of fair terms it was useless even to negotiate, though if the commonwealth should exercise its power in this instance in so just a cause I had no doubt the Senate would embrace the offer and transmit instructions in conformity.
Upon this the secretary reflected a while and then said that the interval between writing and receiving an answer must be passed in idleness. Had it not been for the present political embarrassments England would have done something for the Christian religion before this. I said that was precisely the conviction of the Senate. He then asked for a copy of my instructions, which I promised him, whereupon he said he would return and see what could be done. On the morrow he sent for the copy which I gave at once. On the following Monday parliament was dissolved and as that event engrosses the entire attention of Gen. Cromwell and all his ministers the secretary has not reappeared nor have I been able to discover what they think of the matter here.
The secretary is friendly to the most serene republic and thoroughly acquainted with the affairs of the Levant, having lived there for some time. During the war with the Turks he was in Candia itself. Subsequently he travelled through Italy and returned home, entering the service of Gen. Cromwell, by whom he is loved and esteemed. (fn. 15) So I cultivate his friendship and shall continue to do so, to facilitate such instructions as I may receive.
London, the 25th December, 1653.
Dec. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
197. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A Frenchman has exhibited to the Dutch a ship of remarkable construction which by dint of machinery and without sails is said to have made long voyages and to have destroyed a whole fleet in a single day by the mere process of ramming, without guns. He has published an illustration of this in the public press. He built a model of this ship and this was launched at Rotterdam in the presence of a great crowd ; but owing to the great weight of its iron machinery it went straight to the bottom. Yet the inventor sticks to his idea and is in no wise discouraged by this mishap, claiming that when the weight is reduced his ship will work as he intends it to. The Dutch allow him to toil away as he pleases, since if he does not prove to possess the ability that is expected, he does it all at his own cost, and he has indeed spent large sums out of his own pocket up to the present time.
Encloses usual letters from England.
Paris, the 30th December, 1653.


  • 1. From Morlacchia in Croatia.
  • 2. Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 16th December.
  • 3. Dom Pantaleon de Sa. The affrays took place on Monday and Tuesday, 1 and 2 Dec., new style. Col. Gerard was only slightly wounded on the first day. On the second day Col. Mayo was mortally wounded and Mr. Greenway of Lincoln's Inn killed outright. Whitelock : Memorials, page 550.
  • 4. Groot Johan imprisoned for a civil cause. Aitzema : Saken van Staet en Oorlogh III p. 867.
  • 5. See Aitzema op cit III pp. 869-72.
  • 6. Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 23rd December.
  • 7. An Italian translation given by Berchet : Cromwell e la Republica di Venezia, page 47 ; and by Barozzi e Berchet : Relazioni, Inghilterra, page 354.
  • 8. Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 30th December.
  • 9. Paulus Vandeperre died on the 4-14 December.
  • 10. By resolution of the House on 3rd Dec., o.s., Major Gen. Desborough and Vice-Admiral Penn were joined in a commission with Blake and Monk to be generals at sea. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. vii., page 361.
  • 11. On the 13th.
  • 12. Probably Hugh Morrell. See note at page 98 above.
  • 13. This and the following letter forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 6th January, 1654.
  • 14. Col. William Goffe.
  • 15. It seems probable that the Secretary here mentioned was Andrew Marvel, who had spent four years abroad and attached himself to Cromwell on his return. He did not obtain an official appointment until 1657 and here he is only called Cromwell's secretary.