Venice: July 1654

Pages 230-243

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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July 1654

July 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
283. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The more secret the designs of Cromuel are the more their fears and jealousies increase here. The English consul at Cadiz (fn. 1) told Medina Celi, General of the Ocean that within six days 30 ships of war should be in that port, without giving further particulars. They are reported to be going into the Mediterranean against the Grand Duke because of the affair at Leghorn. Yet Cardinas in London does not give up planning proposals, which he supports by the expenditure of some money, with the intention to devote larger sums to this on the arrival of the fleet. But as I have frequently written, the fleet will go where it happens to be opportune and where the advantage is greatest.
Madrid, the 1st July, 1654.
July 2.
Senato. Secreta, Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
284. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 2)
The High Court of Justice established here as reported, is now, by decree of the Protector and his Council, to judge those accused of complicity in the late plot with full power to pass the death sentence on any convicted of high treason. (fn. 3) It has 34 members, all leading men and entirely in the confidence of the government. 13 of its members form a quorum with power to take such action as may be best suited to the welfare and tranquillity of the state. This court was instituted chiefly for the purpose of inspiring greater awe and obedience. The numerous arrests have the same object. As four English Catholics are among those waiting trial on this charge of conspiracy it is probable that fresh animosity will be roused against all their countrymen professing the same creed.
Cromwell is much disturbed by this conspiracy and employs greater caution than ever for his personal safety. He will allow no one to approach him and to secure himself the better he has recourse to every artifice, using his own cunning and address, the force of arms and of money as well. Thus he is suspected of having suborned the last secretary employed by the Queen of England, who certainly arrived here lately and has, I know, had some very private interviews with him. (fn. 4)
As it is still supposed that France had a share in the plot redoubled efforts are made to discover the whole truth. It is also said to be the chief reason for the departure of M. de Baz. Having fallen under suspicion because of the statement of some one he is reported to have been told plainly at his last audience of the commissioners that they did not mean to treat with him any more and advised him to leave London promptly. So without loss of time he went down to Gravesend the next morning and only stayed there until he received his passports. This has caused closer watch to be kept on M. de Bordeaux and all other Frenchmen resident here. Everyone who attended mass at the embassy last Sunday was subject to close scrutiny, as any gathering at his house arouses suspicion. A few days ago the ambassador had audience of Cromwell when I understand on good authority that the language on both sides was violent and unrestrained. I have been assured by several persons that the Protector expressed his surprise to the minister that his king should still employ Cardinal Mazarini, whom he stigmatised as an artful promise breaker and a rogue. The ambassador, surprised at such a sally, retorted boldly that the ministers employed by his sovereign were as scrupulous and as true to their word as any Protector breathing. This sharp exchange rendered the conference very brief. This is only a rumour but it seems to be confirmed by a variety of circumstances, for after this dialogue M. de Baz took his departure and special attention has since been paid to all who frequent the French embassy, though without proceeding to any positive act of aggression. But as these evidences of illwill induce Cromwell to keep the fleet ready for action, so we understand that all necessary preparations have been made for the defence of the French coast. Yet nothing certain can be said about the destination of the naval forces here, which despite their excessive cost remain idle here, apparently for the purpose of keeping all the neighbouring powers m a state of alarm and uneasiness.
For the maintenance of the fleet and army the Protector has imposed a monthly tax of 120,000l. payable during the next half year, to which men submit without any outward resistance, for fear of punishment, and even grumble less than was their wont before the invention of these assessments. But in their hearts they grievously repent of what they did to bring about the present state of affairs, and thus very late in the day realise that it is advisable to reflect carefully before changing.
It is now said that the squadron for the Mediterranean will number 16 sail at most and that Captain Bodiley, who commanded in the action off Leghorn, will be commodore instead of General Blach. I understand this officer was interested in a considerable venture of currants, shipped some while ago on board an English frigate which was captured by the corsairs of Tunis on its way to London, so he will take command gladly, not only from a detestation of piracy but in the hope of recouping his own loss.
They are waiting for news from Scotland, as it is again reported that the insurgents and Highlanders, in their sudden forays from the mountains are invariably victorious over the government forces.
Sig. Pietro Zanardi, after a stay of some days in London, is about to depart for Flanders, intending to proceed thence to Holland. He proposes to return home at once being anxious to devote his life to the service of the state.
Acknowledges receipt of 1000 livres tournois for the expenses of two months. Thanks for generosity shown him in the overwhelming expenses of his post and begs for support in his petitions.
London, the 2nd July, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
285. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The king of England is preparing to leave France. He would willingly have gone to Scotland at the invitation of his chief partisans, but as Cromwell is master of the ports and his cruisers visit all arrivals and surround the coast, he is afraid of falling into the toils and sharing his father's fate. So he thinks of going to the king of Denmark or the Palatine, his kinsmen. It is compulsory, as the Cardinal offered to remove him from France in the hope of moderating the innate antipathy of the Protector to this crown. The king will receive a small sum for his travelling expenses. But the recent discovery of the London plot destroys all the merit of the efforts to captivate Cromwell.
M. de Baas, tutor of Mancini's nephew, has returned here after informing the Protector of the conspiracy, by the Cardinal's order. But in the course of the examinations it came out that he did this at a moment when, through the imprisonment of Vandi, a Frenchman, the discovery would have been made in another way. (fn. 5) As a reward of 200,000 French livres was to be paid to anyone who would kill the Protector, and as the king of England is known to have neither credit nor cash, Cromwell had cause for believing that the Cardinal had some share in the conspiracy, a suspicion confirmed by some facts elicited in the examinations. The Cardinal absolutely denies it and attributes everything to the king of England and the policy of the Protector, who invented the plot himself in order to have a pretext for marching with a guard, like royalty. It is an affair of pot and kettle, as the two men are trying to best each other, but it may generate bad blood and to avoid this it is believed the Cardinal means to write an autograph letter to Cromwell to clear himself.
Meanwhile I hear from Flanders on good authority that the Spaniards, through their minister in London, have arranged a secret treaty with the Protector, binding themselves to pay him 500,000 crowns a year and one quarter in advance. But as they are penniless in Flanders, since their quarrels with the Genoese who keep them in check everywhere, the treaty remains dormant, but on the appearance of the pieces of eight and the fulfilment by Spain of her part of the contract, it will awake to life and vigour.
Paulucci's letter enclosed.
Retel, the 7th July. 1654.
July 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
286. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ships have not yet arrived at Cadiz, but there has arrived, to the king's hands, the treaty or project of France with the Protector Cromwell, in which the most extravagant offers are disclosed with the sole object of upsetting the negotiations of the Ambassador Cardinas in London. Don Luigi told the foreign ministers that the delay of the fleet prevents a decision about the movements of the forces in Flanders and that Spain, under the terms of the agreement, will facilitate the enterprise of Calais on the land side, while that fortress will be simultaneously attacked from the sea by the powerful English fleet. Here they have agreed to 100,000 crowns a month, but Cromuel, who wishes to have a sure game, demands a million paid in advance, and this would always go to reduce the monthly payments which they might be contributing to him.
The new and second conspiracy against Cromuel's person has greatly stirred the government as they are afraid that these malignant humours may prove strong enough to suffocate the favourable disposition he entertains to break with France, since his own personal interests would always prevent him from committing himself to foreign and perilous adventures.
Madrid, the 8th July, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
287. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 6)
The High Court of Justice has opened its sittings for the trial of those charged with high treason. So far its time has been exclusively taken up with certain formalities, and with such judges men are convinced that some of the prisoners will forfeit their lives for their evil intentions against the government. The same cause has redoubled the persecution of the Catholics. Commissions have again been issued to the "Tryers" to enforce the statutes of Queen Elizabeth. Thus they recently arrested an English priest in bed. (fn. 7) Finding in his chamber all the requisites for the celebration of the mass, to which he intrepidly owned, they compelled him to get up and carried him off prisoner. He was tried forthwith and as promptly condemned to death. Yesterday being appointed for the execution of 12 other criminals, he was led with ignominy to his doom, and before an immense multitude of spectators proclaimed a Papist, a seducer of the people and a disturber of the peace. Then in a fashion worse than barbarous, when he was only half dead, the executioner cut out his heart and entrials, and threw them into a fire kindled for the purpose, the body being quartered, one for each of the quarters of the city. Such is the inhuman cruelty used towards the English Catholic religious. When discovered they can hope for no pardon and although when Cromwell was informed of this incident he seemed moved and averse from such cruelty, expressing himself, possibly from deceit and shrewdness, as opposed to violence in matters of religion and in favour of liberty of conscience for all, yet he was obliged to approve of the deed and sanction this sacrifice to the law of the land, according to which this poor Christian perished at the age of 70. To the last he displayed the greatest cheerfulness, determination and constancy, and at the point of death he boldly thanked the Almighty for permitting him to die for his faith, declaring that on no other account did he deserve his sentence, as he had never offended the state or its government. His extreme firmness and courage taken with his uniformly virtuous life have won him the tears and sympathy even of the Protestants and he certainly deserves to be enrolled among the martyrs of the Catholic faith, which gains ground daily, owing to the confusion of other creeds.
As regards other events the Protector is intent on enforcing submission and obedience and rendering his subjects entirely dependent on himself in all matters of consequence. Among these he ranks the disposal of the revenue first. He has recently by special order entirely abolished the old system of tax collecting, and set up a new one with a single receiver general, to be called "Receiver of the Commonwealth," or of his Highness, (fn. 8) and all public monies are to be paid into his hands for subsequent distribution at the order of Cromwell and the Council of State. So it is evident he considers a supply of money the best support a man can have to uphold his position and repute, and the most efficient resource against the extremes of adversity. So he has determined to take the revenue as much as possible to himself and have it more at his disposal than heretofore.
He is still anxious to assemble the new parliament as soon as possible, but omits nothing calculated to secure his own supremacy and present grandeur providing beforehand against what might prejudice him. So he has already announced that parliament will enjoy the usual privileges but with this proviso that it cannot alter the existing constitution as vested in himself and his Council, a proof that even in the shell he is seeking to curb the authority of the future House of Commons whose decisions cannot be foretold. Every one thinks that they may incline to exalt him still higher while others anticipate that they may suddenly hurl him headlong ; but it is certain that his sagacity and acuteness will contribute immensely to his retention of power just as they have served him hitherto to detect conspiracy and frustrate any devices made against him.
Reports vary about the fleet and no one knows for certain whether it is still at anchor or sailing with sealed orders. But as the negotiations with France are more uncertain than ever it certainly will not go very far away.
The father of Captain Gallilee, now a slave to the Turks, having heard from the English consul at Venice of the instructions issued by the Signory for the settlement of the case and of the excellent disposition of the Senate, immediately announced it to Cromwell and then came to thank me. He said that his son, once at liberty, would wish to end his days under the banner of the republic. I told him he might anticipate a favourable result so he went away quite cheered and contented.
They are impatient to hear how the return of M. de Baz is taken in France, who was dismissed as reported.
London, the 9th July, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
288. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The king of England has gone at last, with 100 horse, on his way to Spa, to see his sister, the Princess of Orange, who is taking the waters, and he will there decide on his future residence. His departure was hastened to please Cromwell and by this sacrifice to appease the wrath roused by the discovery of the London plot.
Before the king left he received 8000 doubloons, and then took leave of the Queen Mother, who accompanied him with her tears. He rode off with the sympathy of all France, as they know full well that the ties of blood are sacrificed to policy and that this compels a king, related to this crown, to wander as an outcast for the sake of flattering Cromwell, whom the French admire for his good fortune more than they love him for the despotic violence with which he keeps his seat. They wrote at once to the ambassador in London to make the most of this demonstration by announcing it to the Protector as a mark of the esteem of the king of France.
The United Provinces have at last obtained a sight of the article arranged in London with Cromwell by the commissioners of the Province of Holland only. It is a declaration never to elect the Prince of Orange to be governor or admiral of their province, or, so far as they are able, to allow him to be appointed Captain General of the United Provinces. The towns of Leyden and Haarlem, as members of that Province, have protested against this. The other six Provinces, the two Princesses of Orange, the Elector of Brandenburg, Count William of Nassau, the governor of Friesland and all the other dependants of that family have insisted on a convocation of the States General. The Province of Holland makes objection to this to gain time, hoping that delay may mitigate the ardour of the Orange faction.
Encloses the usual letter of England.
Retel, the 14th July, 1654.
July 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
289. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 9)
The members returned for the new parliament are not quite to the Protector's satisfaction. He wanted a majority of his own creatures, whereas a great part of those already chosen prove to be Presbyterians, the enemies of the dominant military party on which the government depends. Many of the electors selected representatives more concerned about the general welfare of the country than with projects of individual ambition. This circumstance may perhaps cause some delay in the meeting of parliament, however much the nation desires it, to check Cromwell's despotism. He, on the other hand proposes to make himself even more absolute by this assembly, conflicting aims which arouse both curiosity and great impatience about the result, because of the change they may produce in the present rule, the unpopularity of which increases daily both in this city and throughout the country, the people murmuring at their protracted sufferings and at the continuation of the assessment for the fleet; so it will not be long before there is some great change.
The English merchants with credits against the Catholic king (fn. 10) have importuned for letters of marque enabling them to make reprisals at sea on all Spanish property. So far Cromwell has procrastinated, but now, before proceeding to extremes he has written a very strong and angry letter to the Catholic ambassador here demanding immediate satisfaction and intimating that if it is not given the government proposes to give the injured parties permission to right themselves by force, as they have asked. The ambassador was much disturbed by the tone of this note. He invariably asserts the wish of his king for harmonious relations with this country as the present state of affairs requires both Spaniards and French to prevent the English from taking any hostile measures and to make it impossible for such to be taken openly and deliberately without prolonged delay. At the same time many persons here are of opinion that the apparent misunderstanding with Spain is a mere feint, and that an ever closer understanding with that power coupled with more definitely hostile acts may be intended to extract from France the indemnity demanded of her.
Nothing has yet been heard of the departure of the Mediterranean squadron, which is understood to be still taking on stores in great quantities. But it is expected to sail soon with a letter from Cromwell to the King of Tunis demanding the surrender of all English ships and property. If this is denied the squadron will then convoy the merchant fleet into the Levant and endeavour to obtain redress by force, by capturing all pirates under the flag of Tunis or any other.
The forms of the High Court of Justice being at length established, the governor of the Tower has presented it with the prisoners accused of high treason. The trials are now in progress, the evidence showing that the object of the conspirators was to kill the Protector when he and his Council returned from Hampton Court, and to get possession of the Tower and the principal posts in London, where they intended to proclaim the king.
Possibly the brother of the Portuguese ambassador, who has been in prison since his arrest, will be made over to this tribunal, and he may expect to be sentenced forthwith.
Whitelocke the ambassador is back from Sweden. He has established a good alliance and a commercial treaty with that crown and he and many of the gentlemen with him received valuable presents from the queen.
The natural son of the Prince of Oldenburg (fn. 11) has left here with presents from Cromwell who has charged him to assure his father of the extreme goodwill of England.
It is understood that some English frigates are being sent towards Dunkirk to convoy the Duke of Lorraine into Spain and some English merchantmen are said to be on their way direct from this port to Antwerp. If this is true it will prove the project of the English to injure Dutch trade and especially that of Amsterdam by obtaining free entry for their craft into those rivers, a measure so prejudicial to the United Provinces that it might lead -to a renewal of the war. Moreover, in spite of the special mission and the considerable offers made to the Archduke for this very cause the Spaniards do not seem at all inclined to hinder this navigation, and it is unquestionable that they will salways show more inclination to favour the English than the Dutch.
Acknowledges letter of the 11th inst.
London, the 17th July, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Frahcia. Venetian Archives.
290. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In accordance with the instructions of the 20th June I have sent to Paulucci the letter of congratulation to Cromwell. I have hinted to him that according to the state of affairs there he might represent the consequences of the war now being waged with the Turk, and the glory the Protector would gain if he hastened to assist with a few of those ships which are so plentiful in England. I also told him to continue to negotiate for levies and to inform your Serenity of the result expeditiously by way of Flanders.
I understand that if the English squadron for the Mediterranean falls in with the French one now fitting out at Toulon, on which the Duke of Guise is to embark, it will give battle, under pretence of reprisals, according to secret arrangements made in London with the Spaniards, who count greatly on this encounter.
Guise is quite ready and is only waiting for money, to raise which he has sold or mortgaged all his estates. He told a confidant that he is resolved to conquer or die, as if he had to return to France he would have to end his days in penury.
Encloses the usual letter of England.
Retel, the 21st July, 1654.
July 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
291. Lorenzo Paulucci. Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 12)
The Protector having ordered the election of the six members by whom, of ancient right this city is represented in parliament, the voters have returned the staunchest adherents of the government, so they will doubtless do the bidding of his Highness whose exertions to obtain a submissive House are vigorous and incessant. At the moment this interests him more that anything else, for it is evident that his despotic ride or his sudden fall depend on this assembly of over 250 persons, though the steps he is taking encourage his confidence that he will succeed in getting his authority confirmed and even be raised higher. He has already decreed that the session is only to last six months, so that if any humours are generated to his prejudice he will easily be able to check them.
After a general impression that 9 months' imprisonment would be the utmost punishment of the brother of the Portuguese ambassador, he received sentence of death. Astounded at this catastrophe both he and his brother, the ambassador, immediately appealed to the leading foreign ministers here and moved by the severity of the sentence and the rank of the individual, but above all by Christian pity, wrote notes to the Protector urging him to pardon this noble. His Highness replied in general terms, not pledging himself to anything, though it was generally reported that he meant to show mercy. Yet on the morrow, (fn. 13) to the amazement of every one, the sentence was carried out and he was beheaded in public, his fate exciting universal compassion. An English servant was hanged as an accomplice acquainted with the law of the land and two other Portuguese have had their punishment commuted to imprisonment, as subject to their master's orders. He displayed exemplary firmness in his last moments with every mark of devotion and resignation to the will of God, without the least tremor, and to the confusion of the heretics, holding the rosary in one hand and a crucifix in the other, his intrepidity drawing tears from many and the compassion of all. Had Cromwell pleased he might have granted him a pardon or at least a reprieve until the meeting of parliament. Instead the Portuguese and the other ambassadors were deceived in their expectations and he let the law take its course, possibly thinking that the unpopularity of commuting sentence on a murderer might injure him, and so he agreed to the execution from self interest. On the eve of it the ambassador, without waiting to hear from Portugal signed and fully ratified the treaty of peace, in the belief that he might thus promote his brother's safety. So here they may be said to have used craft all through and the lure of fair words to attain their end. On the very day of the execution the ambassador withdrew to Gravesend. whence he is expected to leave for France, to avoid having his distress increased by insult. Some think that this incident may create a rupture with Portugal and that the execution may have been done with a view to hostilities. It has also been remarked that since the peace the Dutch and English seem inclined to act in concert both against the Portuguese and elsewhere, especially to the detriment of the House of Orange, so closely linked with the Stuarts.
The High Court of Justice has also had two of the chief conspirators put to death, (fn. 14) and is still trying their accomplices, some of whom are also expected to suffer, as these bloody measures intimidate the population and render it obedient, thus confirming Cromwell's authority. Although fear of him increases visibly, his popularity decreases in proportion ; but for this he cares little though he has quartered as many troops as possible in London, believing that they alone suffice to procure for him universal consideration, fear and obedience.
The negotiations of M. de Bordeaux seem to gain strength and the proposals of France for a good understanding are expected to avert the hostile intentions originally entertained. To this end they expect to hear of the departure of the King of England from the French Court. The ambassador has held long conferences this week with the commissioners of the Council of State and although the Protector is inclined to be on good terms with Spain and all neighbouring powers, it is nevertheless probable that he will decide according to the offers, more or less advantageous, made him by either crown, as it is impossible to be on perfect terms with one without offending the other, so he will have to declare himself ere long.
The fleet, which was reported to have sailed, is still off this coast. The country submits to its cost in the hope of obtaining advantage in the negotiations now on foot with France, Spain and other countries. I have heard that a considerable squadron will be stationed here permanently, so as to be available for all contingencies and at the same time maintain the sovereignty of the sea.
The only important news from Scotland is that the government forces continue their pursuit of the insurgents in the Highlands, where the royalists are doing their utmost to obtain reinforcements and so to make a stand against Gen. Monch, though the task is arduous, as he now has a considerable army at his command and every requisite for subduing them.
With your despatch of the 18th I have received the ducal missive to present to the Protector as well as instructions for the audience, which I shall follow punctually. I will also forward anything that reaches me about the levies using the quickest route through Flanders, as I have done in former occasions of urgency. I hope I may not have to bear the cost of these, as it is impossible to meet this additional charge.
London, the 25th July, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
292. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Makes humble petition for relief. Was sent to England when about to return home, after four years' service in France, and four others before that in the same Court. Was sent in such haste that had no time but to obey and arrived destitute of everything. There was, at the time the urgent question of a number of English ships at Constantinople which the Turks wanted to use, and also of English ships serving the republic, which were to be recalled at the outbreak of the Dutch war. Settled both these affairs satisfactorily. Came without letters or any status, sustained only by the state's approval. Fortunately was not dismissed, as was threatened at the time, but was received as minister of the republic. This involved an outlay in order to make a proper appearance, in addition to the running expenses and the cost of the embassy. This necessary to maintain the character of a minister and to get recognition for the members of his household, to avoid the dangers which, as Catholics, they would incur. Has received no gratuity for his equipment such as everyone has, yet as he has completed his duties as secretary to the Ambassadors Moresini and Sagredo,. his present position carries with it the usual gratuity, which is given even for a few months' service. Begs for the state's compassion and for justice. Begs for leave to return home after an absence of over ten years, and see his father, who is very old and frequently seriously ill. The scanty provision for himself and his father from the Camerlenghi di Comun, his salary in France and from the secret caisse of the chancery have remained undrawn for so long that nearly 3000 ducats are due to him, so that he is prevented from getting relief even in this way.
London, the 25th July, 1654.
July 28.
Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
293. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have written to Paulucci, as instructed, to steadily cultivate confidential relations with the Protector and government. Also that with the disbanding of the naval forces, if he finds any of the companies there ready to enter your Serenity's service, he should open negotiations and send particulars, assuring them of punctual payment and pointing out that by helping in the war they may obtain commercial advantages in the Venetian territories. I sent him all the other particulars contained in the state letters of the 27th June.
Musson, the 28th July, 1654.
294. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The behaviour of the Province of Holland in granting Cromwell certain secret articles not communicated to the States General has made the other Provinces apprehensive that Holland may use her predominance to try and domineer over them. Besides protesting against any thing established without their participation, they have presented a paper in public assembly against that Province, expressing their resentment, if this abuse is not remedied and the usual course pursued. Holland communicated these particulars to Cromwell, who wrote to the states of Zealand and Friesland warning them that unless they agree with Holland serious mischief will arise which may be difficult to remedy, with other covert threats, calculated to force them to give their consent to a measure which excludes the House of Nassau from the command of the forces. No answer has been received to these letters but this close alliance between Cromwell and Holland only increases the suspicion and jealousy of the other Provinces.
Encloses letters of England.
Musson, the 28th July, 1654.
July 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
295. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The circumstances of Cromwell where things look more like an uprising than a conspiracy, have obliged them to write to Cardines that the business is held up, although General Marsino sent a letter 20 hours after in which he reports that he was very near signing the agreement in favour of Spain.
In the midst of all this dubious information they have had a discussion in the Council, that whereas the Spaniards have never enjoyed confidential relations with the Northern nations, and the English, from their national habits are always devoting their attention to the gains of the sea, the Spaniards are inclined to suspect that they may have some hankering after the island of San Domingo, a position which embarrasses the navigation of the Westerners. They have decided to send thither the galleons of the continent, empty of goods and of business, but charged with orders and with commissions for everything that may crop up in those distant parts.
Madrid, the 29th July, 1654.
July 31.
Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
296. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 15)
Almost all the returns for the new parliament have been made and the Protector is now intent on assembling it early in September, as appointed. Meanwhile he takes steps to render the first acts, of this body subservient to his own ends, which will then be more clearly manifested and will either receive additional force from parliamentary law or encounter serious opposition. Opinions vary at present as to the result, for many of the new members are Presbyterians. Many were of the late parliament and not a few hostile to Cromwell. This state of things excites great curiosity, but as the majority will be favourable to the Protector, so by means of his influential position, by persuasion, through his partisans and bribery he does not despair of gaining the minority and he is confident that by such means everything will go as he wishes. Even if he is disappointed in this, disposing as he does of the army, he will circumvent his opponents by main force. But some maintain that even the opposition is a pretence and that the election of a few dissidents has been connived at to prevent its being said that the House consists exclusively of Cromwell's creatures. At any rate, he and his Council of State are at this moment chiefly occupied with the approaching session. Thus craftily does he mask his projects which seem more and more directed towards despotic rule, though it is impossible as yet to foresee what change may be effected by the meeting of parliament. All sorts of opinions are current here as to whether it is likely to prove hostile or favourable to the intentions of the Protector.
The negotiations with M. de Bordeaux are brisker than ever though they are understood to be of little use as the French insist on all the articles being reduced to a single treaty, while the English mean France to begin by the settlement of a transaction between the late French ambassador at Constantinople and the Levant Company, whereby the English merchants were to receive a considerable sum which it now seems the French will not pay until a treaty is arranged. (fn. 16) This policy may cause great difficulty and above all prevent the fleet from leaving this neighbourhood. This is confirmed by the fact that no destination has yet been given it, though general impatience is felt about the service on which they may be sent during the brief remainder of the good season. Be this as it may, it seems that these negotiations with France have so alarmed Spain that a universal rumour prevails here of an embassy extraordinary from his Catholic Majesty in the person of the governor of Dunkirk a man of rank and remarkable ability, (fn. 17) who being near at hand might come over directly and arrange some treaty of alliance or concede the English some safe port in Flanders and thereby produce an open rupture between them and the French.
The news current here of a considerable victory gained by the French over the Spaniards under Arras has not pleased Cromwell indeed the opposite feeling has been remarked in his Highness. This serves as an indication that the friendly disposition so requisite for a good understanding being established between England and France is not entirely present in the mind of the Protector. He considers all that has been done and offered by Mons. de Bordeaux to be mere trickery on the part of Cardinal Mazarini, whom they trust but little here, in fact they distrust him completely, notwithstanding the advantageous proposals for a mutual accord and the dismissal of the king of England.
It is reported from Scotland that the insurgents having come down from the Highlands on the sudden, attacked one of the government posts, killing several men and routing the rest, whereupon Gen. Monch came up with fresh troops, though to no purpose, as the enemy had retreated to the most inaccessible part of the Highlands. So the Protector contemplates sending more troops into Scotland and hopes by means of several entrenched camps to prevent these sudden descents and daring surprises. He will probably succeed unless the royalists receive help from abroad.
Tomorrow I hope to present his Highness with the letter from the state with the remarks as instructed. Today I am expecting some one to treat about levies, as those with whom I broke off negotiations for the reasons given are not now in London.
London, the 31st July, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. James Wilson.
  • 2. Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 7th July.
  • 3. The new High Court of Justice was approved by the Protector on 13-23 June. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1654, p. 209.
  • 4. Salvetti at this date also refers to the return of the queen's secretary, and that Cromwell had received and made much of him, causing remark. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 O. f. 272. The Dutch ambassadors on the same day, reported that the plot had been discovered by one Long, who had been secretary to King Charles. Thurloe : State Papers ii., p. 395. It would seem more likely that the reference is to Sir Kenelm Digby, the queen's chancellor since 1644, who returned to England in this year and whose favour with Cromwell had been reported to Mazarin. Mazarin to Bordeaux, 29th April, 1654. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
  • 5. Dr. Theodore Naudin imprisoned on 23 May o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1654, p. 289. Thurloe : State Papers ii., p. 412. Baas to Mazarin, 25 June. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
  • 6. Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 14th July.
  • 7. John Southworth.
  • 8. Whitelocke notes that on 21 June o.s. an ordinance was passed for bringing the public revenue into one treasury. Memorials, p. 574. Thomas Falconbridge, the Receiver General, had been in office at least from the beginning of 1653. See Cal. S.P. Dam., 1652-3, p. 167.
  • 9. Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 21st July.
  • 10. The sons of Peter Richaut. Thurloe : State Papers ii., p. 461.
  • 11. Anthony, son of Anthony Gunther, duke of Oldenburg, it was legitimated in this year.
  • 12. Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 28th July.
  • 13. On Monday the 20th July N.s.
  • 14. Col. John Gerard and Peter Vowel.
  • 15. Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 4th August.
  • 16. Philippe de Harlay, comte de Cesy, French ambassador at the Porte, 1620-33. In 1634 his successor Marcheville got the Christian merchants at Constantinople to pay his debts to the Turks to enable him to return home. Green, one of those concerned, bequeathed one half of his claim to the state. Le Vassor : Hist, du Regne de Louis xiii., Vol. xiii., pp. 53-5. Thurloe : State Papers ii., pp. 176, 447. Bordeaux to Brienne, 23 July, 1654. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
  • 17. Guillaume Bette, marquis of Lede.