Venice: April 1653

Pages 50-63

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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April 1653

April 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
71. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch ambassador has been to see me. He told me he had orders to express regret for the attack made by a Dutch ship on an English one in a Venetian port. He also had instructions to inform me of the result of the last fight, which was as I reported, although the English, out of consideration for the disaffected populace, try to circuate accounts which are very remote from the truth. Fifty well armed ships are already ploughing the waves, and within a month a hundred will be fully equipped, to abate the pride of that fierce and inhuman race, imbrued with the blood of their own king and consequently deserving of general detestation, having already earned the condemnation of the Almighty. He hoped that your Serenity would hear with pleasure both of the late success and of the preparations for the future. He asked me subsequently if Pauluzzi was still staying in England.
The same ambassador has had audience of the king and queen and of the Cardinal, the last of which lasted an hour and a half. He saw their Majesties to inform them of the victory. As regards the Cardinal I understand that his Eminence is negotiating a league between France, Holland and Portugal. But he has a difficulty with the Dutch, since they derive great advantage from the peace with the Spaniards from commercial traffic, and it is not easy to persuade them to sacrifice this gain, especially in view of the internal troubles of France.
The king of England would like to take advantage of this rupture between the Dutch and English to benefit his own interests and to quicken them with new life after they have been practically buried ; but the lack of money and the utter poverty of his condition throw cold water on all his resolutions. The queen, his mother, however, stated this week that he was making preparations to leave France in order to try and revive his all but moribund hopes.
Meanwhile the Princes Palatine, Rupert and Maurice, cousins of the king of England, dispose of twelve good ships of war and are trying to raise the number to 26 to go and join the Dutch fleet. The Dutch have given them permission to fly the flag of the king of England, but they are not inclined to make any alliance or treaty with his Majesty, because he has no forces and the Dutch do not wish, by a union with him, which would bring them no additional strength for the war, to put difficulties in the way of peace.
Paris, the 1st April, 1653.
April 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
72. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
While every effort is being made to strengthen the fleet nothing is left untried to soothe the heat which has been generated between this country and Holland. This important matter has been recently discussed in parliament, but as the debates added to existing difficulties a decision was put off, until yesterday they appointed to-day for a decision. I will announce any result in a postscript. The most remarkable feature in the proceedings was an anonymous letter received by the Council of State, but written apparently in Holland, in favour of an adjustment and complimentary to the naval prowess of England. This makes it generally believed that the letter was concocted here in order to mask some design, kept secret by the majority of members, connected with the despatch of letters or envoys to Holland and to screen to the utmost the national honour. It is also thought that the letter may have been forwarded by the very individual who was sent over to Holland clandestinely at the beginning of the war, charged to send information and, under the veil of religion, to negotiate an adjustment. They now regret not having sought this more earnestly because the Dutch are now supposed to be less inclined that way than of yore. This is shown by their being again at sea since the last battle, re-inforced with a strong squadron, in sight of Dover castle, while other ships are said to have gone to make a junction with the Danish fleet, so that together they may re-double the attack and give battle at the earliest opportunity. They are convinced that the lack here both of hands and of naval stores will make it more and more difficult for the English to repair their losses. At any rate the junction of the Dutch and Danish forces cannot fail to impede an adjustment, seeing that the United Provinces must henceforth take the sense of their friends and allies about making peace. It is suspected here, indeed, that the Dutch ambassador in Paris is trying to bring in France as well and that the negotiations of M. de Bordeaux are a blind and do not aim at any permanent understanding with France. He is expecting the return of his messenger with the replies, and when they come we shall know something positive about the policy of both sides and the desired establishment of commercial intercourse.
Some 30 frigates in good trim have lately left the Thames to join the main body of the fleet, for the defence of Scotland as well as England, as it is suspected that the Dutch and Danes mean with their united forces to make raids and to plunder both here and there. So the garrisons of the most exposed and most important places keep extra watch for fear of plundering raids or the landing of a considerable force.
Owing to the great need for sailors for the fleet, after they have taken as many as could be obtained in their own houses, it has been decided to send press gangs for more to the coast districts of Scotland and it is understood that considerable numbers have been already assembled at Newcastle for speedy embarcation, as several ships are left idle on this river and elsewhere from lack of hands.
In consequence of no sentence being passed about the Spanish plate, a good part of which has been converted into coin here, the Catholic Ambassador has presented fresh letters from his King demanding justice for Spanish subjects. He says if there is further delay his King will consider righting them himself. This implies seizing all British property in the Spanish dominions, so possibly it may hasten the settlement of the business.
The Agent of the Count du Dognon who has been here negotiating for some time without having formally concluded any treaty, (fn. 2) is now preparing to leave, on the receipt of the news of his master's adjustment with the French crown. The news is not altogether agreeable to the rulers here, while it rather hurts than helps the cause of the Prince of Condé here where they have never paid any serious attention to it, having been taught by experience that no great undertaking can be firmly based on nothing but the projects and decisions of Frenchmen.
Since the arrival of your Excellency's letters of the 18th and 21st I have this day received those of the 28th announcing the reception of the parliament letter and instructing me how to act. I would observe, however that in waiving punctilio with me the parliamentarians here expected further demonstrations from the Senate. But I will do my best and follow my orders. I ask your Excellency to lay before the state the necessity under which I find myself of making a respectable appearance here, for the honour of the republic. My stay of a month or two has extended to a year and I have only had allowance for board and lodging without anything for the cost of dress and ceremonies. I trusted that the state would grant me the usual outfit, as I am now considered a public functionary, and consequently compelled to make a greater figure. I would not be importunate had not my private resources been drained by a double turn of service in France and also by family misfortunes.
London, the 5th April, 1653.
April 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
73. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
From the Dutch vessels now in the port of Leghorn I have received confirmation that there being at present some thirty ships assembled they are thinking of forming three squadrons out of them. One will be sent to the Strait, a second to the mouth of the Gulf of your Serenity and the third will stay in this neighbourhood, to preserve the superiority in the Mediterranean, and prevent the English from transporting their cloth to the Levant or taking thence the silk and goat's hair, without which the people of London are put to extreme inconvenience and there will be the constant possibility of an outbreak. In the Lazaretto of Leghorn property of this character to the value of some 1½ millions is practically sequestrated. It is of such importance for parliament to have these goods for the consolation of their guilds and to give them employment, that they have ordered the consul to send them overland, although the cost is 30 per cent. higher. This has not been done from fear that they may be detained in Flanders by the ministers of Spain because of the silver plate of that crown which England has seized and has not yet restored.
The squadrons mentioned above will not leave before they are quite clear about the great battle which has taken place between the forces of Tromp and Blach. There are discrepancies in the reports which have arrived up to the present as to which side really won the victory.
Florence, the 5th April, 1653.
April 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
74. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have seen the King of England and paid my respects in a convenable manner. The office pleased him and he remarked that the alliance between the republic and his royal ancestors assured him of the continuance of cordial feelings. Present circumstances call for him to set out for Holland, but the lack of means and especially of money, prevent this step from being taken.
Paris, the 8th April, 1653.
75. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The duke of Gloucester, youngest brother of the King of England, was received at the Hague by his sister, the young princess of Orange, with the most lively demonstrations of affection. Now that Pau, the leading minister of the States, is dead, it is hoped that the province which objected more strongly than any of the others to an alliance with his Majesty, may be induced to agree more readily to help him to recover his kingdom.
Encloses usual letter from England.
Paris, the 8th April, 1653.
April 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
76. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 3)
After sending off my last I was sent for to the palace where Sir [Oliver] Fleming gave me the reply about your property which I forwarded on Monday. He added that the Dutch had written a letter, signed only by the province of Holland, though that is the chief, which had been laid before the Council of State, who would report to parliament, to decide. I fancy parliament has already discussed the matter, and whether the letter is genuine or not the incident shows their desire here to encourage hopes for an adjustment. The last time the house sat it was debated whether they should send envoys or letters to Holland. I gather that they propose to send two missives, one addressed to the Province of Holland alone, in reply to its letter, which was probably devised by some one eager for peace, and the other to the Lords States. A decision is expected daily, though nothing has yet been actually done. But the mere fact of the debate proves the wish of the chief ministers for peace. Although the opponents have the strong arguments of honour and dignity, they will have to yield to the majority in parliament, which is undoubtedly in favour of a cessation of hostilities on the most favourable terms obtainable rather than on an obstinate continuation of the war, begun with too great violence to last and which the enemy renders daily more insupportable, exhibiting greater power and determination than was anticipated before the rupture, owing to the eloquence of those who advocated it.
Meanwhile the war continues with an earnest desire for peace here. If this is shared by the Dutch it will lead to an early reconciliation. But the best informed suspect that in the present state of affairs they will rather give ear to the very advantageous offers made them by the King of England. If the news is confirmed of a great victory won by them in the Mediterranean, they will undoubtedly show themselves more averse from peace than before, or at least demand higher terms. The English, however, are intent on putting to sea in great force, being driven thereto by the presence of the enemy with several squadrons in various quarters, in order to bring to an end the uninterrupted command of the sea which they have undeniably exercised since the last battle, when the parliament fleet was compelled to put into port to refit, and it will not go out until reinforced and in good repair ; but even thus the Dutch will always seek an engagement.
A numerous fleet of colliers from Scotland with the usual supply for London, where the price of that commodity has trebled, is now blockaded in Newcastle by a strong fleet of Dutch and Danish ships. Twenty English men of war destined to convoy them, delayed their voyage on hearing of the strength of the enemy. So the colliers have to trust to the batteries of Newcastle, which may be considered as virtually blockaded.
As an additional inducement to Sweden to form a close friendship with them here the queen's minister has received almost complete satisfaction over the release of the Swedish vessels seized. Instructions are being drawn up for the English ambassador appointed to Stockholm, who will leave with a numerous retinue and a guard appointed him by parliament for his safety and the dignity of the state.
Some levies of horse and foot have been conceded lately as re-inforcements for Scotland and Ireland. To supply the need of funds there and for the fleet parliament is devising some fresh tax, which the people will bear the more willingly as from the very outset the present war has been carried on at small cost to them.
M. de Bordeaux has received an answer from France about the renewal of commercial relations between the two countries, I fancy they intend to appoint commissioners to discuss the claims on both sides, and the minister has full powers from his King ; but it will always be a difficult matter, as the rulers here, as a preliminary, insist on an indemnity of a million sterling for prizes made by the French corsairs.
London, the 12th April, 1653.
77. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France.
When I saw Sir [Oliver] Fleming as mentioned I delivered the message appreciative of his goodwill to the Signory and their regard for him. He was much gratified and expressed his devotion to the republic. He was anxious for peace with Holland in order that they might be able to show their goodwill to Venice by deeds. I then spoke about the English ships pressed into the Turkish service, as in your letter of the 21st. In reply he said that during the civil wars the Commonwealth was by no means satisfied with the action of the English ambassador at the Porte, and he would have been replaced already had it not been for the press of business caused by the Dutch war. But his successor would leave shortly with the most positive orders never to concede anything to the Turks that could prove to the detriment of the most serene republic. If any cause for complaint should arise in the mean time the Signory had only to mention it and it would be put right, since they valued the friendship of Venice more than that of the Turks, who were not necessary to this country, which lost nearly as much as it gained by their trade. He asked me to inform his Serenity that if troops are wanted the Viceroy of Ireland has sent to him to offer any amount. The Spaniards had obtained considerable levies and wanted more, but that required caution, especially as the Spaniards and Irish are too intimate. But the government would gladly concede these troops to the republic for so Christian a service. I thanked him and promised to report the offer.
During my stay here of nearly a year it never occurred to me to pay complimentary visits to any of the foreign ministers, but having heard that the Spanish ambassador had been enquiring about me I determined to call upon him, when he expressed the most friendly sentiments to the republic. Two days later I did the same with M. de Bordeaux. On both occasions my language was that of pure compliment.
London, the 12th April, 1653.
April 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
78. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Captain Tromp is leaving for the Levant with six of the most powerful of the Dutch ships. The other ships are not moving as yet. Some difficulty has arisen with the sailors, amounting to obstruction. Accustomed to navigation for trade they are not at all pleased to hear that they must go back to the fighting. It seems to them that after the two sanguinary battles that have just taken place the two republics ought to rest satisfied and look about them for the means of making peace.
The Dutch are doubtful about accepting the offers of the King of England as they dread a long war. At bottom the Dutch are eager to terminate it as soon as ever they can. Among the merchants in the Levant a report is current that parliament is equally desirous of the same thing and is waiting for the mediation of some prince, with a hint that your Serenity would be the most acceptable.
The day before yesterday all the captains of the Dutch fleet met together upon a courier sent to the parliament minister Longland by the masters of the English ships waiting at Malamocco. These show a disposition to enter the service of your Serenity, but they are afraid that when they are in that fleet they may be attacked by the Dutch who are more numerous, and they are asking for some guarantee of their good will. But in reply to this demand the Dutch answered that as their General Vangalen is dead they cannot undertake to give any promise and that it will be necessary for your Serenity to obtain this at the Hague.
Florence, the 12th April, 1653.
April 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
79. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
When 500 Irish were proceeding to Bourg from San Sebastian, the masters of the barques, who were French, carried them to Bayonne, to the service of the Most Christian king.
Madrid, the 16th April, 1653.
April 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
80. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports an offer of service received from John Stephen Offelan, an Irish colonel, in raising a levy of 3000 Irish. Permission has already been obtained from the English parliament. The colonel came to Florence in the company of the nuncio Rospigliosi.
Florence, the 19th April, 1653.
April 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Zurigo. Venetian Archives.
81. Gironimo Giavarina, Venetian Secretary with the Swiss, to the Doge and Senate.
The Evangelical Cantons are deeply concerned over the differences and hostilities which are taking place between the republics of Holland and England. Perceiving that the letters they wrote some while ago to both parties urging peace and union have done little good they have decided to make a fresh effort to secure this result and at the same time to win for themselves, if possible, the honour of mediation. Accordingly they have sent to England in their common name, an individual of Sciafusa, of considerable experience, with instructions to present himself to parliament to persuade peace and to learn their will, (fn. 4) and then, in conformity therewith, he is to proceed to Holland ; in short he is to do his utmost to secure so great a boon.
Zurich, the 19th April, 1653.
April 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
82. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 5)
I am still awaiting the pleasure of the Council of State in the matter of your Excellency. The reply to the letter from the Province of Holland having been signed by parliament, has gone to its address together with another for the United Provinces, announcing that they are ready to stay the flow of blood by a firm friendship and peace and a mutual understanding between the two countries. It is generally believed that these letters have been sent, though some consider it all a hoax to encourage a belief in what is desired rather than what is really the case, in order to keep the people, who want peace, in a good humour, and to make the new taxes more palatable by proving that the government has done its utmost for an adjustment. This being rejected by the Dutch for the sake of disturbing the quiet of England, the continuation of the war and funds to maintain it become a matter of necessity. A third party think that there may be some special understanding between the single province of Holland and parliament, encouraged by the latter with a view to sow dissension between the states. This is only gueeswork, but if the letters have really been forwarded it will soon be known whether the war is to end soon or to be continued more fiercely than ever, as anticipated by deep politicians, who ponder well the interests of these two nations.
Nothing has been heard of the fleet of late except that a squadron, detached from the main body has sailed to secure the coasts of England and Scotland and to convoy a large fleet of merchantmen laden with supplies of various kinds for this city. It is said that this squadron will be followed very shortly by as strong a force as can be mustered, forming together the main fleet, which is announced as determined to engage any enemy soever. So the object of both fleets will be to give battle and it is expected that news of a sharp engagement will arrive before many days.
The lack of hands makes the government here press all the sailors out of the few ships that arrive here as although they have taken other ships to supply the need, it is men who are used to the sea that they want. But the consequence of this step is that for the future ships from Scotland, Ireland and elsewhere, will be even less inclined to enter the Thames.
Another Swedish minister has arrived in London this day. (fn. 6) He is expected to reside here until superseded by the ambassador who has been appointed. The queen's demands having been conceded by parliament, sundry Swedish ships are now at liberty ; so it is supposed that the first envoy will take leave. Possibly for the sake of hastening the departure of the ambassador from Stockholm, the one appointed by parliament is quite ready to set out on his mission with great pomp and a numerous retinue.
There is also a rumour of the arrival here of an envoy from the Swiss Protestant Cantons. If so it will be for the purpose of acknowledging this Commonwealth and setting up a good understanding. I shall be able to send more information next week. I have received your Excellency's letter of the 11th inst., and enclose my account of expenses for March.
London, the 19th April, 1653.
April 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
83. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Some overtures for negotiations between the Dutch and the English have caused alarm to the French who would like to see England kept busy still from the fear that once they are free from this war they may come to the assistance of the Spaniards and try to gain advantage against the French, as being the more suspect to them because they have afforded an asylum to the king. Accordingly they have sent instructions to their minister to remove this suspicion and apprehension, mitigating their ill will and if he cannot bring about confidential relations, which is a matter of great difficulty, at least to obtain neutrality and to banish mistrust.
The king of England, whose languishing hopes would receive their death blow by a peace with Holland, has had various proposals made at the Hague to prevent the negotiations and to draw towards and unite with them in a lasting bond. He has requested that in conjunction with the king of Denmark they will give him 50 ships and 12,000 infantry, promising to make a successful landing in England, because of his adherents there. He has also offered to the Dutch the Orkney islands, where the herring fisheries are, and other advantages and privileges at sea.
Paris, the 22nd April, 1653.
April 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
84. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The hiring of fifteen parliamentary ships and a levy of 6000 Irish is very near being concluded with Signor Don Luigi. The chief difficulty consists in the delay of time, without reckoning employment for the war of Holland, an obstacle by no means easy to overcome by any sort of prince, no matter who, in need of the services of the naval forces of these two high spirited nations.
Madrid, the 23rd April, 1653.
April 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
85. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch squadron under Tromp sailed away, but three ships returned soon after, having only gone to recall the sailors. The majority of these still have the same objection to going out to fight again. The Vice Admiral Gian Villano still remains at Leghorn and is likely to stay as the sailors are constantly deserting. He is also expecting orders from the Hague and some definite information as well upon a report that the squadron of nine English ships under Bobler, which were sailing towards the west, have tacked about in the direction of Sicily, to set about forming another naval force there with various other ships of that nation, which have orders from Longland, minister of the parliament at Leghorn, to gather together from several quarters.
Florence, the 26th April, 1653.
April 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
86. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 7)
I am still awaiting my audience of the Council of State. The delay convinces me that they expected further demonstrations. Meanwhile I assure influential persons of the excellent disposition of Venice.
Since the letter was sent to Holland a reply has been expected any day in conformity with their desire for peace. But the delay has destroyed their hopes, and it is expected that the decision of the States will render the continuation of the war a matter of necessity, since it is evident to all that the advantageous alliance with Denmark will now make the Dutch averse from peace rather than anxious for it. With this impression the government is bent on showing the boldest possible face to the enemy. By force, and also if possible by secret negotiations with some of the Provinces, it will seek, in one way or another, to avoid more violent shocks.
The latest news from sea is that a powerful Dutch squadron is on the look out for a very large fleet of English colliers from Scotland, which are awaited here with great impatience owing to the immense consumption of coal in this city by persons of every class. The ships left all together, numbering over 150, but hearing on the way of the approach of the enemy they were compelled to put into an insecure Scottish port, with the fear of being attacked even there. (fn. 8) As the wind is now fair, the report already circulated that the Dutch have taken them all may be credited if they do not soon reach some of the ports near here. So great anxiety prevails, and the lack of this essential commodity may greatly exasperate the people here, who already murmur at the increased price of everything, especially of this fuel, the cost of which has risen three fold.
In order, if possible to provide for all emergencies parliament holds protracted sittings at which contradictory opinions are very frequently expressed, chiefy about the dissolution. Recently a great war of words was waged about it between General Cromwell and a leading member, who retorted that there was no more fitting moment to change the Lord General. This led to a warm altercation between the two, which was stopped by the majority ; so much bad blood exists between Cromwell and the parliamentary Major Harrison, who both covertly and openly seeks to deprive the former of his command of the army. He is unlikely to succeed in this considering the influence and address of Cromwell. In proof of this he offered lately to surrender his commission into the hands of any one who liked to take it whom parliament approved, and as no one dared to attempt so great an undertaking he may be considered more firmly established than ever, although much exasperated at bottom. Since this incident I hear he has ceased to attend the House as usual, and that he is continually devising plans of personal aggrandisement out of doors with his own adherents. His designs may also be for the good of the state, as if these heart burnings continue it can hardly fail to suffer from them greatly, making the enemy more averse from an agreement than ever, or at least their terms will be greatly raised. Such considerations will induce the most prudent and influential members of the ministry to try and avert the imminent peril by reconciling these political opponents and by acting unanimously for the quiet of the state, for the honour of the fighting forces and for the greatness of the Commonwealth, the more speedily because it is known that the enemy is in great force at sea and that the majority here are supposed to be obstinately bent on the continuation of the war.
In the course of this week 1200 soldiers were drafted from the veteran regiments quartered in this city and the neighbourhood, and marched in all haste to the principal seaports as a reinforcement for the fleet, if required. Some were sent towards Scotland where the rebels in the Highlands are said to be increasing in numbers, having an understanding with the enemy who are supposed to have supplied them with arms and ammunition. This coupled with the war makes the political horizon dark and shows the need of assistance. 40,000l. have recently been sent to Ireland where the rebels are holding out also to encourage the troops, and the commanders there have been ordered to act with all possible energy and decision. Money has also been sent to Scotland. Every effort is made to avoid laying the smallest possible burden on the people, the majority of whom are dissatisfied with the present form of government, though fear and the obedience enforced by the army prevent them from speaking or complaining.
To fill up the vacancies in the veteran regiments and provide fresh levies they continue to beat the drum, but as few volunteers present themselves, they have recourse to force, to enlist all able bodied men who may be found in London and the suburbs, without ties or employment.
The new Swedish Resident, having presented his credentials to the Speaker, had his first audience yesterday of a committee of the House, which was merely complimentary. It is probable we shall learn something about his negotiations later on. The Swiss envoy, whose arrival I announced, is still here, but we do not know whether he has yet presented his credentials.
London, the 27th April, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
87. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I note what your Serenity says about the hints given to Pauluzzi with respect to the intervention of some disinterested power. I have written to Pauluzzi as instructed. In a like manner I have broached the subject with the Dutch ambassador, but on the first occasion I only touched on the question orally and very lightly, because they have not shown the same desire for it as the English, and I thought it advisable to proceed with due caution and reserve, in order to feel my footing and to discover their sentiments. I asked him if there was any truth in the suggestion of peace which, according to report, had been broached in a letter sent from Holland to England. He replied that the proposal had been put forward by the Province of Holland alone, but the English had replied at large to all the States General ; but it all amounted to nothing but words as not the smallest step had been taken towards actual negotiations. I asked him if any prince had offered his interposition for an adjustment of so much importance. He said the queen of Sweden had offered her mediation to the States a while ago, and they had replied that since the English had started this war she should address herself for the remedy to the authors of the malady. Since this answer all talk and all effort in such a direction on the part of Sweden had practically fallen through. He told me that he thought that the mediation of the most serene republic would be particularly appreciated. But this ambassador is as keenly in favour of war as his masters are inclined for peace, hit as they are much more severely by the cessation of trade, which is the foundation of their wealth, than by the continuation of the struggle and the actual fighting.
Paris, the 29th April, 1653.
88. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Upon the appearance of the English fleet before the port of Calais, and the intelligence of the massing of the Spaniards in that direction, they suspected an attack was intended. Accordingly orders were issued and succour was despatched to reinforce that important fortress. So great was the alarm that 15 soldiers from each company of the king's guard were pledged to be introduced with all speed into the place. But after the English fleet had cruised about in sight of the place for a few days, they made it clear that their object was to cut off a squadron of Dutch ships which were expected from Portugal, and as for the massing of the Spaniards, since their numbers did not exceed 4000 men it was clear that such a force was not adequate for the enterprise, and so the other succours which they had begun to prepare, were countermanded.
Encloses the usual letters from England.
Paris, the 29th April, 1653.
April 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
89. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambasador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A certain Paules, sent to England by those here interested in the three Hamburg ships, has brought back word that parliament desires precise information of the process in order to discover to whom the goods really belong, although everyone recognises that this is a pretext for the sole object of gaining time.
The duke of Medina Celi, general of Andalusia, has sent to the English parliamentary ships which took away the 80 bales of cloth off Cadiz these last weeks, requesting them to give it back as being the property of his king's subjects. The answer he got from them was that they had orders from their masters to take but not to give back, and if he wanted anything more he should proceed to London where justice would be done.
Madrid, the 30th April, 1653.


  • 1. Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 15th.
  • 2. M. St. Thomas, who had come over in June, 1652, See the preceding Vol. of this Calendar, page 246.
  • 3. This and the following letter forwarded in Sagredo's despatch of the 22nd.
  • 4. John James Stockar, who presented letters from the Cantons of the 16th February in parliament on the 15th April, o.s. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. vii., page 279.
  • 5. Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 29th.
  • 6. Israel Lagerfeldt, lord of Wygbyholm ; his letters of credence were dated at Stockholm on tho 20th January. Thurloe : State Papers, Vol. i., page 216. They were reported in parliament on the 7-17 April. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. vii., page 276.
  • 7. Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 6th May.
  • 8. The colliers, numbering 300, sailed from Tynemouth but put into Scarborough on the 6-16 April on hearing that De With's fleet was off Flamboroughhead. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1652-3, page 264. Aitzema : Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. iii., page 809.