Venice: July 1653

Pages 91-105

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 1653

July 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
123. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch ambassador has asked audience of the Cardinal to give him particulars of the last sea fight off Dunkirk, in which the Dutch were certainly beaten. The ambassador does not try to dispute this, but only to diminish the victory of the English. A letter from Admiral Tromp giving a detailed account of what took place, says that he fought the enemy for two days, their force consisting of 96 large men of war, while he had 95. The action was obstinate and bloody ; several ships were sunk ; the English fleet was commanded by Admiral Dan, who was killed by a cannon shot, and fortune seemed to favour Holland until Admiral Blach came up with a reinforcement of 30 ships, which encouraged the English and depressed the Dutch, 16 of whose ships, terrified by this fresh succour left off fighting and went out of action. Owing to this six other ships were surrounded and captured. Thus the Dutch admit defeat but try to minimise it. But the English were undoubtedly victorious and the Dutch ships sunk and taken numbered 16. I report this because Paulucci's accounts show some variation and uncertainty, caused more by conflicting reports than by any lack of assiduity on his part, for he could not be more exact and punctual than he is.
Encloses letters of Paulucci.
Melun, the 1st July, 1653.
July 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
124. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
I saw Sir [Oliver] Fleming about my demand of the Council who promised I should hear soon, and should have done so already but for the arrival of the Dutch envoy. He had seen General Cromwell that very morning and spoken about Venice. He and the whole Council marvelled at the delay in accrediting an envoy to this state. I had seen that the roots of the late government were pulled up without any commotion. Those powers who doubt the solidity of the present government deceive themselves, for it rests on military force which will conduct it from good to better. The Dutch, at the beginning of this war shared the opinion of Venice and hoped that civil strife in England would help them, but the result proves their error and they are now the first to repent. I interrupted him to say there was no reason for his supposition and that his government should rest assured of the good will of Venice and should reciprocate. He asked why then did not the republic formally authorise me to act as minister. If the Senate continues so punctilious the loss of Candia, which God avert, will eventually recoil on all Christendom. Succour would seem desirable but the republic makes no demand. I told him the neglect to answer my demand about Dutch ships diminished hope, although the Senate realised the friendly spirit of the General and the Council and was greatly impressed with the might of England. He said the point I raised was of slight importance, but he hoped the Senate would be satisfied. In the event of peace with Holland, which seemed probable, it would be very easy for England to pass into the Mediterranean with 40 or 50 men of war. These with others easily procurable from the Dutch might rid the Levant of the barbarians and carry the fear of the Christian arms to Constantinople itself. I commended his ideas and he continued, England would encourage Venice to do what was in her own interest. If she would not make the demand for herself let it proceed from others. Owing to the value placed upon harmonious relations with the Signory more had been done for me personally than would have been conceded to any other foreign minister. I knew how France had been treated, and if M. de Bordeaux had not presented the most satisfactory credentials he would not have been permitted either to negotiate or to remain in the country. I made a suitable complimentary rejoinder. I consider it my duty to report this, whether it represents the sentiments of the commonwealth or merely those of Fleming.
London, the 4th July, 1653.
125. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to the same.
While the first news of the sea fight was uncertain, comments depending on the sympathies of the speaker, it is now known that the English had the advantage, their losses as originally reported not being confirmed, while those of the Dutch, including ships sunk and captured amount to 16 or 18 sail, the English only losing two ships and a general besides a few killed and wounded. The prizes are in the Thames, and they are men of war for I have seen a good part of them, as well as some English ones riddled with cannon shot. When looking about me I counted about 300 sail, great and small, men of war and merchantmen, now in this river. In case of need a great number of the latter could serve as a reinforcement for the fleet, and although the supply of hands is adequate, yet even were it otherwise, they could resort to impressment as on former occasions.
All the Dutch prisoners, numbering 1200, have reached this city and to convince the populace of the importance of this victory they were marched through London to a place a short way off with an allowance of 6d. a head per diem. This has led to the prompt mission of M. de Bevering, one of the two deputies for the province of Holland. He reached London on Friday, in last week, the 26th ult., and was followed two days later by the other commissioners from the United Provinces. (fn. 2) They had no passport and merely showed a flag of truce, relying on the reciprocal missions already exchanged between the two countries. They came here incognito and presented credentials giving them full power to negotiate an adjustment. They were received with every courtesy and ere long we shall know what to expect from their negotiations. I am assured that they have already suggested a speedy suspension of hostilities, but here they refused to listen and insisted either on an honourable settlement or the continuation of the war, for which both sides are making energetic preparations, in order to facilitate the desired peace. If the English demands are high the matter will be difficult, and if they propose a defensive and offensive alliance it will be even more so, though it is considered certain that since their reverses at sea the Dutch will more easily give way on some knotty points than before, especially as we hear from the Hague that this sudden mission was induced by popular clamour and there was great disorder in Holland owing to the injuries caused by the continuation of the war, and also because of an intimation to the United Provinces from the emperor that he meant to recover some imperial fiefs occupied by them during the late war with Spain.
The establishment of the new Representative is confirmed for the 4th of next month, old style, and it is said that many of the nobility of England will be convened for this ceremony, when possibly General Cromwell will make some fresh announcement, time and place being required for the development of his projects. Report varies about these though the general belief corresponds with what I have reported. He becomes increasingly presumptuous and authoritative though it is possible that the policy attributed to him may be only a device of his enemies to render him universally unpopular. On the other hand he seeks all possible means to captivate the goodwill of both great and small. Possibly with a view to the better establishment of his supremacy, it is understood that he has recalled the Duke of Buckingham, the eldest son of the late prime favourite. Report says that he wants to arrange a match between the duke and one of his two marriageable daughters, so as to gain the good will of the aristocracy, though between him and them mutual distrust will be eternal, their affections being all centered in the late monarchy.
The General and his Council are said to have been gratified lately by news of the capture by the fleet of two large ships laden with sugar as well as of two other very rich Dutchmen coming from the Levant. The main body of the English fleet is off the Texel at the entrance of Holland and Zeeland, to blockade those provinces and chiefly with a view to intercept the great mercantile fleet now expected from the East Indies, though it is thought they will have been warned and the voyage suspended or its course altered.
A German gentlemen commissioned by the Prince of Condé arrived here lately from Ireland for the purpose of raising levies. (fn. 3) Others say he came from Spain. But this much is certain that having orders to confer with M. de la Barriere, the prince's agent here, and tell him everything, he went by mistake to the house of M. de Bordeaux and believing himself in the presence of the other, revealed without reserve all his secrets and orders from the prince. By this means M. de Bordeaux is said to have learned all the most intimate negotiations in progress between the prince and this commonwealth.
The delegates from Bordeaux are still negotiating here. They are not understood to have obtained anything so far, but their confidence and hopes are kindled by the consideration that if peace with Holland ensues and as Cromwell, to maintain himself, must wage war in some quarter or another, he may possibly attack France if she does not satisfy the claims of the English, who hide their game and are guided by interest alone.
The merchants concerned in the Spanish plate complain that at his last appearance before the Council of State the Catholic ambassador, by order of his king, practically consented to what has been done about the silver. Others say that Spain allows England to avail herself of this specie for the space of a year, on the expiration of which it is to be repaid. But the general belief is that this vast capital will not so easily quit England.
Acknowledges letters of the 28th ult.
London, the 4th July, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
126. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cardinal entertains some apprehension that the English may finally yield to the persuasions of the deputies of Bordeaux, who are now in London. With respect to the embarcation of 4000 men in England these last days, it is suspected, from the smallness of the number, that they cannot be intended to go to Holland, and they are sending to the minister in London to prevent a step which would be most prejudicial to France, both in itself and because of the consequences.
Encloses the letters from England.
Paris, the 8th July, 1653.
July 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
127. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 4)
Seeing the delay in answering my demands, I spoke about it to an influential member of the Council of State, who assured me that the matter had been discussed and was waiting for the decision of general and Council, so I could only gently press for a reply. At the moment Holland is the engrossing topic, which takes precedence of all others, and if that takes a good turn it will probably affect all the rest. To this end the government here responds to the ample good will shown by the Dutch commissioners, and it is considered a good sign that the ship which brought them has left the river furnished with a passport for its free return, a proof that the stay of the commissioners will probably be protracted. Having presented their credentials they yesterday had audience of the Council of State, probably to propose some project of adjustment, but I have not yet had time to ascertain anything. It is likely that the approaching meeting of the new Representative in four or six days time, makes them procrastinate so that they may have a better foundation for their proposals and obtain more authentic replies. But Fleming told me recently that the behaviour of the Dutch warranted fair hopes, and he could tell me freely that the peace depended on England, though in return for this subserviency it seems that she will raise her demands and may even insist on the throwing over of the Prince of Orange, as a further blow to the royalists. It is certain that their demands here will be haughty, sufficiently so, perhaps to put a sudden stop to the negotiations and lead to the departure of the commissioners. But as the general and his adherents are strongly in favour of the adjustment, this may possibly outweight every other consideration, since it is very evident that if this chance is neglected England may wait a long while before she has another such opportunity of making a peace so much to her honour and advantage.
Since the battle the rival fleets have been reinforcing themselves. The English remain off the Dutch harbours with a view to augmenting the popular clamour in the United Provinces and give them additional reasons for facilitating an adjustment. They also aim at preventing the annual herring fishery, so important and profitable for the Dutch, which they claim here as directly dependent upon the lordship of this country. Nor will they ever relinquish their supremacy on the Ocean, not even at the risk of continuing the war. So for this year it may be positively asserted that the herring fishery is lost, the Dutch being prevented from attending to it, while the English have other things to attend to.
Since the last victory and the retreat of the Dutch fleet the mastery of the sea seems to remain with England. To maintain this state of things 20 more ships have been ordered to leave the Thames to cruise off the coast and assert dominion over the Ocean by seizing whatever they fall in with. The advantage from this course has been considerable so far and they do not hesitate to apply it even to the ships of the Hanse towns, under whose flag the Dutch now trade, so that their traffic is more and more impeded.
News has come to-day of the capture of 8 ships bound from the Baltic and Denmark for Flanders. Although they claim to belong to Hamburg, Lubeck or other free towns, the English seized them, professing their intention to release them if they prove to be what they profess. But as their cargoes consist of hemp, tar, pitch and other material for building ships, their release seems unlikely and the scarcity of such supplies may probably induce the government here to avail itself of a part if not the whole of them. To counterbalance this piece of good fortune the Dutch have captured 3 English ships bound from Cadiz to Malaga with Spanish wines for London.
Gen. Cromwell and the Council of Officers, which is in fact his Privy Council, have revised the list of members nominated for the approaching new Representative from a suspicion that some of them could not be fully depended upon, while others refused to accept the summons. So the requisite numbers have been obtained by fresh nominations.
On Friday in last week (fn. 5) the body of General Dan was brought in state from Greenwich. Accompanied by Gen. Cromwell, the grandees and officers of the army and by the whole Council of State it was buried in Westminster Abbey, the burial place of all the kings and queens of England. Guns were fired throughout the ceremony and the streets were lined by all the cavalry and infantry now quartered in this city.
I propose to pay my respects to the Dutch commissioners as the other ministers have done so, and I have the honour to be recognised publicly as minister of his Serenity.
London, the 11th July, 1653.
July 12.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
128. To the Ambassador in France.
Objections to the Irish levy offered by Fleming. Pauluzzi should express thanks but at the same time point out the difficulties, as the terms are not known. The Senate feels much more inclined to treat with some one who would undertake to transport the men to Candia at his own cost, as in that case it will only be necessary to consider the cost per man landed.
Ayes, 103 Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
129. To the Ambassador in France.
Express satisfaction with Pauluzzi. Difficulties in the way of the Irish levy are essential and more particulars are required. But Pauluzzi must always express appreciation to the government in the name of the state, esteem for the nation and regard for Sir Oliver Fleming. By the use of such courtesies many advantages may be obtained and Pauluzzi will know how to discern these and secure them.
In response to Pauluzzi's request for assistance the Senate has decided to give him a donation of 400 ducats of good value, which is the amount usually given.
That 400 ducats be paid from the mint to the Camerlengo di Comun, to be given to the agents of Lorenzo Pauluzzi, now in England, as a donation.
Ayes, 122. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
In the Collegio :
Ayes, 16. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1. It requires 4/5ths.
On the question of the donation to Pauluzzi, in the Senate.
Ayes, 100. Noes, 15. Neutral, 11.
Second vote :
Ayes, 100. Noes, 17. Neutral, 14. Pending. It requires 4/5ths.
The letter was sent without the last paragraph.
130. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The news of the signal victory gained by the English fleet over Tromp is confirmed and it has stunned the Flemish merchants of the mart of Leghorn, leaving every one else filled with curiosity to see what will follow after.
Florence, the 12th July, 1653.
July 15.
Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
131. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports the capture of Burgh on the Garonne, with a garrison of 1000 men, half Spanish and half Irish. (fn. 6)
The Dutch ambassador is urging the alliance with France and commissioners have been appointed to hear his proposals and discuss the matter in detail. But I gather that his Eminence is not eager about it, apprehending more mischief from open enmity with England than profit from union with Holland. Unless the English give active assistance to Bordeaux he will procrastinate, continuing to treat, but without concluding anything with the Dutch, his purpose being answered by keeping the negotiation on foot, so as to give hopes to Holland and cause apprehension to England.
Meanwhile there is civil strife in Holland, owing to popular tumults fomented by the House of Orange, who imply that the naval supremacy now enjoyed by England is due to the mismanagement of the Dutch government and the diminished influence of that family. When the drum was beating for recruits at Enkhuysen the people demanded that the levy should be proclaimed in the name of the Prince of Orange, and when the drummer refused they maltreated him and broke his drum, proceeding afterwards to sack and demolish the burgomaster's house. The city of Amsterdam was obliged to send 300 soldiers to quell the riot ; but the Orange faction closed the gates and forced the troops to retire.
A few days ago the Cardinal sent for a merchant who plays the part here of commissioner or secret agent of England, (fn. 7) to complain that the English had granted ten frigates to the Spaniards as a reinforcement for their fleet, thus declaring itself openly against France. The Agent replied that the Spaniards had purchased them with her own money, and the French could do the same.
No letters from England have reached me this week.
St. Lys, the 15th July, 1653.
July 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
132. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The first encounter between the English and Dutch was greeted here with every indication of extreme satisfaction ; but the second is received with the silence of great respect as being something that might involve consequences prejudicial and disadvantageous to the crown.
Madrid, the 16th July, 1652.
July 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
133. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 8)
The last time I met Sir [Oliver] Fleming he assured me that the Council of State had given orders for a paper to be handed to me about the Dutch ships. He said the commonwealth was bent on a firm friendship with Venice as distance and diversity of interests were a guarantee against all jealousy and mistrust, which was not the case with other neighbouring sovereigns whose fine offers and assurances were not entirely credited. But Venice was not too far off to be helped. Some while ago when intercourse between England and Italy was being discussed with Gen. Cromwell, it was decided, if credentials were sent to me, to appoint a Resident at Venice, to whom the ministers accredited to the other Italian powers would be subordinate. They would even treat with the pope, since policy clearly admits of this, without reference to religion, nor in case of necessity, would any scruples be entertained here on that score, on the contrary they would negotiate without reserve and with complete sincerity.
He told me that the Dutch commissioners at their first audiences had expressed themselves in terms of the greatest respect and humility towards this commonwealth, declaring that they wished for a good friendship and an honourable and lasting peace. The Council of State used the same language, but so far the business had not gone beyond generalities. He remarked on the folly of the Dutch in breaking capriciously with England as they were the aggressors according, said he, to our account and their own as well. They have paid the penalty and the Almighty has shown His mercy and justice by permitting all our merchant fleets to come safe into port while in all the great naval actions fought so far the States have been worsted, with an admitted loss of more than 500 sail of all kinds up to the present. They never approved of the change of government here, because their greatness and prosperity were in great measure built upon the mismanagement of the late kings of England. They used to boast that through favourites and by paying considerable pensions at the Court here they possessed a golden key which opened all the doors and innermost cabinets of the royal palace. Now the scene is changed and they are surprised that this commonwealth, knowing its strength and the advantages they owe to England from the herring fisheries and other important matters, should take decided action and insist firmly on the maintenance and acknowledgment of her supremacy on the Ocean, like that lawfully claimed by Venice in the Adriatic, whose example might serve as a precedent. This essential point was the chief cause of the present war. By admitting the supremacy of England in these seas they may, if they please, obtain a good settlement, to which they will not be averse here, provided it be effected in due form. He would tell me in strict confidence that even if they could knock out Holland with one arm, political expediency must prompt them to raise her with the other, for the honour and glory of republics in general. Such were the particulars he gave me. He shows a constant devotion to the state and I shall cultivate his friendship because of that.
An Admiralty express has recently brought to the General and the Council the grateful tidings of the capture by only 6 English frigates of 18 ships, great and small, part from the Sound and part from the Strait, bound for Holland. Among these, two laden with cannon and other arms purchased in Sweden for the Dutch are especially valued. The whole is a very rich prize of vast importance because of the materials for ship building. The ships fell an easy prey, being unacquainted with the position of the English fleet. (fn. 9) The event encourages all the British officers, adds lustre to the naval prowess of the commonwealth and facilitates its negotiations, gaining additional applause for Gen. Cromwell, at whose suggestion the body of the fleet was sent to the coast of Holland with orders to remain there as long as possible. But if the Dutch get a fair wind, as their fleet is considerable and is constantly receiving reinforcements, they may put to sea and compel the English to retire and fight another battle. They are looking for this here although it is thought that during the stay of the commissioners here further hostilities will be suspended. Meanwhile much regret is felt at the indisposition of General Blach, though his speedy convalescence is expected.
London, the 18th July, 1653.
134. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to the same.
The numbers of members having been finally settled, their aptitude well pondered and a selection made, to the entire satisfaction of Gen. Cromwell they all, save 5 or 6, who were absent from indisposition or other legitimate causes, made their appearance on Monday last, the 15th inst., before the Council. (fn. 10) There Gen. Cromwell recapitulated to them in full the just causes of the dissolution of the late parliament, and in language expressive of affection and esteem he told them that he placed in their hands the government and power of the three nations. For this he handed them a parchment written, sealed and signed with his own hand, upon which they all swore allegiance to the commonwealth, vowing that in return for the honour of serving the country they would exert all their energies, even to the sacrifice of their lives, and always bear in mind the service and personal satisfaction of his Excellency. No other business was done that day, and they were left at liberty to fix their place of meeting, either at the place, where they were, or in the old hall of Westminster, where the late parliament sat. They chose the latter and proceeded thither on the morrow, which was Tuesday. Their first meeting did not produce any results beyond exhortations and comments upon the service of the kingdom and the relief of the people. For this they implored the assistance of the Almighty, with long prayers and sermons, recited by the members themselves. Yesterday they met for the third time for the despatch of business. As previously they had a guard of two full companies of horse and foot during their sitting. They then chose the speaker for this new Representative, selecting a man of ability and integrity to be the mouthpiece of the whole body. (fn. 11) This officer is to be changed monthly, a decision due to the abuses attributed to the prolonged duration of the last one. The general belief is that the late Speaker, as well as other members of that parliament, will be called to account for past maladministration.
This Representative has been exhorted to despatch all matters promptly in accordance with reason and justice. These, backed by military force are proclaimed as the basis of the present government, the establishment of which affords universal satisfaction. The people anticipate an equitable reply to their petitions, which hitherto they have scarcely been allowed to present still less to obtain what they asked. It is to sit until the 4th November, 1654 ; it will then be considered dissolved and be succeeded by a new one. From this it appears that Gen. Cromwell intends to preserve an aristocratic form of government and that the reports of his enemies that he meant to place the crown on his own head were unfounded. This course certainly adds to his popularity, while at the same time the army, all the important affairs of the kingdom and the supreme authority will remain at his absolute disposal. In short it may be asserted that apart from one of those changes to which all sublunary things are subject, he will do and be whatever he pleases. The whole body of parliament invited him to the chief seat and expressed a wish for the inclusion of Major Generals Lambert, Harrison and Desborough, and Col. Tomlinson, who are all his confidential adherents, whom he did not nominate out of humility, although he was anxious they should have seats. It thus becomes manifest that the opposition offered by Harrison during the session of the late parliament was preconcerted as a blind to enable them in concert to demolish the past misrule on a sudden.
Matters being thus settled all business, both domestic and foreign, will be conducted on a very firm basis and now the Dutch negotiations and those of other powers may be expected to proceed smoothly, from a conviction of their value. But little is wanting to complete the peace with Portugal. The ambassador extraordinary, by conceding what was required, has given satisfaction to the commonwealth at large as well as to the individuals here who claimed compensation from his sovereign. The other day Fleming said to me that Portugal would at length pay dear for the help given to Prince Rupert ; the peace was a matter of indifference to England, but as every satisfaction had been given, the treaty was nearly settled, only a few trifling differences remaining which would easily be arranged at the next audience of the ambassador. Fleming also told me that just as the dissolution of the late parliament had caused no change in foreign or domestic affairs, so the present one would continue to use precisely the same forms in writing and receiving letters as its predecessor. He asked me very earnestly if I had received any reply about the Irish levy. When I answered, No, he expatiated as usual on his devotion to the state and the expediency of hiring these troops because of their cheapness and also for the sake of the Christian religion.
London, the 18th July, 1653.
Encloses account of expenses for June.
July 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
135. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The younger Tromp has arrived at Leghorn with nine ships, comprising seven of his own, with two prizes. (fn. 12) The first is the Henry Buonaventura, which was cruising off Messina on the look out for Dutch ships and was expecting the San Pietro, a very rich ship, on its way from Venice to Spain ; and the second is this same San Pietro.
Florence, the 19th July, 1653.
July 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
136. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 13)
Although much is said about the immense and mutual desire for peace, public opinion here seems doubtful about its attainment, owing to their claims, which are supposed to be high, much encouraged by might and right and even more by the late advantages obtained at sea and because the Dutch seem practically compelled to accept hard terms unless they choose to carry on the war with redoubled energy in the hope of fairer fortune than has attended them hitherto. On the other hand the United Provinces have to beware of the sparks of civil strife at home, stirred by the Orange faction. Some wish that family to be openly acknowledged while others favour its total expulsion, causing a twofold anxiety lest hostilities abroad be followed by civil war, which is probably covertly fanned by England or by some other neighbouring power. Here they are certainly bent on forcing the Dutch to make great concessions, indeed there will be no peace otherwise. So far as one can gather, besides an indemnity from Holland, as the aggressor, and absolute supremacy at sea, on which all the fisheries depend, England aims at drawing the United Provinces into an offensive and defensive alliance and on making them renounce the Prince of Orange because he is connected with the sovereigns of Europe and consequently an object of suspicion to this commonwealth. An even more important demand is that if articles of peace are arranged England shall receive, as a guarantee for their observance, cautionary towns such as Flushing and Brill, as in the time of Queen Elizabeth, who received them as security for a loan of 800,000l., and they were afterwards redeemed from King James for a trifling sum. This precedent and the advantage which the English would obtain from free trade in the Meuse and Schelde render such a grant difficult and, it would certainly be disapproved and opposed by the neighbouring powers, nor does it seem likely that the Dutch will ever accept such hard terms. So if these ideas gain ground peace must be considered improbable. The United Provinces also will make high demands. The first will doubtless be the repeal of the Navigation Act, as it destroys the freedom of their trade and consequently injures them severely. But the real truth about the rival claims is not yet known though if the negotiations lead to a formal treaty, which is hardly likely, some of these points will certainly not be passed over and being forseen by the ablest politicians here, they are discussed accordingly, and I report them as the news of the day.
The English fleet still continues off the Dutch coast and the Texel, keeping the enemy for the most part in port and cruising in several large squadrons with a view to harass the Netherlands to the utmost, and induce a popular clamour for peace. A good number of ships have come into the Downs for supplies, especially of water, which was greatly needed in the fleet. We also hear that the Dutch mean to put to sea in considerable force, in which case a great battle is inevitable. Here they are constantly sending out stores and ammunition and reinforcements of ships, and although the Thames is full of ships, 18 other men of war are being built in the dockyards on its banks, some of which will carry 100 guns and more. So one may say with good reason that if England continues thus to devote her attention to naval affairs she will have an overwhelming force (sara prepotente a qualunque altra forza).
The vice-chancellor of Poland arrived here a few days ago. (fn. 14) He fled to avoid the wrath of the king, who was determined to seize him at any cost. He announced the intention of doing great things for Christendom, especially to make a diversion for the war between Venice and the Turks. He spent some time at the Swedish court and brings lavish testimonials from the queen. In his own country he is feared and esteemed while he inspires the Cossacks with fear. On arriving here he betook himself to Gen. Cromwell, with whom he has had frequent conferences, with the honours due to high rank. He wants to arrange something advantageous with the government and proposes to take passage on an English ship to Constantinople as soon as possible. He wants to confer with the Venetian and English ministers there in order to compel the Turks to make peace with Venice and to attack the Poles and Cossacks, if allied, or the Poles alone. If unable to do this he will urge the Porte to defend Transylvania and Wallachia, in short relieve the Venetian arms in one way or another. He relies much on his connexions and on his means of gaining the Porte by argument and valuable presents, with which he is richly provided through Sweden and his own personal property. On arriving here he asked if there was any Venetian Agent accredited to the commonwealth, and gave me the above particulars. He professed the deepest devotion to the state which he said Count Cavazza would confirm. He would claim no reward until he had performed some good service. His ambition was to end his days at Venice in quiet and security, with his family.
I replied suitably and shall watch his proceedings here. He suggested that the Bailo should be instructed to be on good terms with him.
Acknowledges receipt of 1000 livres Tournois.
London, the 26th July, 1653.
137. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to the same.
The day before yesterday Sir [Oliver] Fleming came on purpose to meet me and after the usual greetings said I might set the Senate's mind at rest about the Dutch ships and the Council was awaiting the fulfilment of my assurances about the law suit as they knew the precedents and English subjects should not be subjects to the false statements of their adversaries, contrary to the good understanding between Venice and England.
I professed ignorance of what he meant and he went on to explain that the point was one of great importance to the commonwealth. Private letters had come which contradicted my assurances and which he felt constrained to keep secret out of respect for the Signory. They relate that in consequence of some slight success in the Mediterranean the Dutch have received positive assurance of the partiality of the Signory, with other improper notions about the government here, which is thus wounded to the quick, although favoured by Providence in its greatest difficulties. The letters were probably due to private spleen and so he had suppressed them, but I could see them when I liked and could judge if they would not be likely to cause animosity between the two republics. The hint would suffice for the Senate, so that the freedom of speech exercised by lawyers may not extend to disrespect for England.
I expressed astonishment and said it was news to me. What was obviously written with interested motives did not involve the Senate, which always desires to give the utmost satisfaction to the government here. I hinted that the writers ought to be punished. He seemed satisfied and then alluded to the appointment of an ambassador from Venice, and to the Irish levies and the desire of the commonwealth to help the republic. On the establishment of an alliance between the two republics Venice would have such proof of their good will as had never been anticipated, as the friendship with the late kings of England was more apparent than real, as it may be now if the Senate chooses, (fn. 15) especially in Italy, where the affairs of Venice cannot prosper unless a force be introduced capable of balancing the one now paramount there, nor can the province enjoy peace. It is well known here what monarchs seek the depression of the republic and that aristocratic governments, on which universal freedom will always depend, ought to be protected, especially one so ancient in prudence, power and command as that of Venice. If they obtained the blessing of peace with Holland he hoped they would occasion more anxiety than at present to the Turk and others who were plotting against the liberty of Europe, which England will always have at heart as the object of her policy.
I commended these sentiments, endeavouring to confirm his friendly feeling, and with this we parted.
I have paid my respects to the Dutch commissioners telling them how much the most serene republic regretted the present war and would rejoice more than any other power at its termination, being left alone to fight the Turks. I hoped the States would do their part towards a good peace and join against the common enemy. They replied suitably and are to return the visit to-morrow.
London, the 26th July, 1653.
July 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
138. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch have captured two rich and powerful English ships in Indian waters. (fn. 16) The younger Tromp has not sold his two prizes and he seems inclined to take them to Amsterdam, whither he has been recalled with all the other Dutch ships in these waters.
Florence, the 26th July, 1653.


  • 1. This and the following letter forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 8th July.
  • 2. Friday was the 17-27 and the day of Beverning's arrival. Cal.S.P.Dom. 1652-3, page 435. His colleagues Nieuport, Vandeperre and Jongstall arrived on the 20-30 June, Whitelock ; Memorials (Lond. 1682), page 533.
  • 3. Bordeaux reported the arrival on 22 June of a German colonel from Spain to levy 4000 Irish. Bordeaux to Brienne, 23 June, P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
  • 4. Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 22nd July.
  • 5. July 4.
  • 6. On the 5th July. Devienne : Hist. de Bordeaux, Vol. i. p. 469.
  • 7. Possibly Hugh Morrell who is mentioned on 5th Nov. 1650 by Sir Richard Browne as being in Paris to demand satisfaction for the depredations of the French. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 12186. He was corresponding with Cromwell and the Council at the end of this year. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1653-4, pp. 301-2.
  • 8. This and the following letter forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 22nd July.
  • 9. Whitelocke mentions the capture by the fleet of 5 ships with naval stores, 2 from Stockholm with 200 guns, 3 with corn, 2 from Denmark and 2 from the Straits. Memorials p. 534. The prizes, including 350 guns are also recorded vaguely in the log of the Vanguard on 29th June. G. Penn : Memorials of Sir W. Penn, I. pp. 333-4. At the same time Trenchfield came into the Downs with the 6 ships of the Levant Co. squadron from the Mediterranean and a number of prizes. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1653-4, pp. 10-2. Paulucci has possibly confused the two.
  • 10. Monday was the 4-14th July, the day of the meeting of the nominees and of Cromwell's speech.
  • 11. Francis Rous, provost of Eton.
  • 12. Tromp put in at Leghorn on the 16th. He captured the Harry Bonadventura and its prize at Trapani. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1653-4, page 35.
  • 13. This and the following letter forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 29th.
  • 14. Hieronimo Radziciowski. He brought letters of recommendation from the Queen of Sweden dated 18th May. Hist. MSS. Comm. Portland MSS. Vol. iii., page 674.
  • 15. This portion of the text printed by Barozzi e Berchet : Relazioni, Inghilterra, p. 353.
  • 16. The Roebuck and Lanneret taken off Jasques on 15th February. Bruce : Annals of the East Indian Co. I. p. 482. Foster : English Factories in India, 1651-4, p. 164.