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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The present instalment of the Calendar covers precisely the two years 1653 and 1654, a very crowded time including the Dutch war and the ensuing peace, expulsion from and return to the Mediterranean, the dissolution of the Long Parliament, "Barebones" parliament and its successor, the rise of Cromwell to supreme power and the first months of the Protectorate. The material is practically all drawn from the State Archives at Venice. For various reasons the field of research has been somewhat more restricted than of late. The Constantinople series yields nothing and owing to the absence of any minister at Venice after the dismissal of Killigrew in 1652 the important series "Esposizioni Principi" becomes equally sterile. From the foreign Courts the material is scanty as after the mishaps to Ascham and Donellus the republican government became chary of sending fully accredited ministers abroad and preferred to employ inferior agents, who worked inconspicuously. But the deficiencies under these heads are more than made good by the letters sent regularly from London by the Secretary Paulucci to his superior at Paris. As already stated, the Record Office possesses Paulucci's letter book with copies of his letters to the end of 1653 (fn. 1) and another volume contains the Italian text of the remainder of his letters, to the end of his term. (fn. 2) Three volumes contain an English translation of all his letters together with a number of extracts from the despatches of his principals at Paris. (fn. 3)
As Paulucci's letters contribute more than two thirds of the present volume, it is pertinent to consider his credentials. He had come to England in the spring of 1652 ostensibly to engage ships and levies for the war of Candia. He had no diplomatic character and was merely the secretary of the ambassador at Paris. Nevertheless he exchanged visits with the foreign ministers, while the ostensible cause of his sojourn rather faded into the background. He himself chafed at his anomalous position, and in June, 1653, he asked to be relieved of his service if considered unworthy to be a resident or secretary (No. 119). In October he returned to the charge, declaring that it was impossible for him to remain long in England without a definite character (No. 163). No notice being taken, he then asked for the ambassador's support to get him recalled (No. 233). As this produced no effect he wrote direct to the Senate complaining that he had the expenses of a duly accredited representative without the emoluments and asking for their leave to return home after an absence of ten years (No. 292).
Paulucci is a regular and even a voluminous correspondent. His assiduity is praised by his chief, Sagredo (No. 123); the Senate expressed its entire satisfaction with his diligence (No. 352) and even voted him a gratuity, though this does not seem to have obtained the requisite majority (No. 306). He was in England to give the Senate information on the power and stability of the republican government, to enable them to decide about further relations. Discontented and eager to return home as he was, it may be doubted how far he was single minded in his reports. He certainly did not view English affairs with an impartial eye. He was ready to believe what he heard from royalist sympathisers while rejecting what came from the other side. Thus he gulped down tales of royalist successes in Scotland while remaining sceptical of the very real achievements of the fleet against the Dutch. It may be assumed with some confidence that his sources of information were mainly royalist and consequently always prejudiced and not always well informed. Compared with this his tendency to confuse Penn and Deane and an occasional carelessness about dates are of minor consequence. It is doubtful if he was always quite candid in matters affecting himself personally. Attention has already been called to the discrepancy between his own account and the Levant Company's record of the same transaction. (fn. 4) When London was searched by the troops after the conspiracy of June, 1654, his house was not spared, (fn. 5) Paulucci makes no mention of this, though he reports the general search. That he was subjected to this indignity does not necessarily mean that he was an object of suspicion to the government, as Barriere also was a victim ; it was more likely to be a hint that he was not a regular minister and did not enjoy a diplomatist's privileges. These considerations serve as a caution that too much reliance must not be placed on Paulucci's unsupported testimony. At the same time it is highly improbable that he deliberately misrepresented the facts ; that would have been foolish and too dangerous. The record here of these two years is of events seen mainly through Paulucci's eyes, but with the reservations indicated above, it may probably be accepted as substantially accurate.
The winter of 1652-3 was a gloomy one for England. The victory at Dungeness had given the Dutch command of the sea, and they kept up the pressure by a steady blockade. London began to experience actual want. As a sympton the innkeepers and other tradesmen prepared a petition that means might be devised for provisioning the city (No. 24). Coal rose to famine prices. The government was in a precarious position. It rested upon the army and the army was dissatisfied, disliking the war and critical of the way in which it was being conducted. The royalists, though severely repressed, were still numerous and ready to take advantage of any weakness. The fleet was disaffected and at loggerheads with the army, the general spirit being mutinous and desertion constant (No. 24).
The first thing needful was to set the fleet in order so that it might sail at the earliest possible moment to try conclusions with the enemy. To this end Ayscue was removed and replaced by Monk, though the appointment of a soldier was greatly resented by the sailors. Several officers, charged with neglect of duty in the late battle, were sent for trial. To improve the conditions for the men naval commissioners were charged to see that the food, which had been bad, should be good and sufficient, and they had power to dismiss the incompetent (No. 4). A general increase of pay was decreed and arrears promptly paid. Provision was made for the sick and wounded and for the dependents of those who died (No. 7). As a gesture of patriotism Cromwell offered as a gift to the state the 6,000l. granted him by parliament, hoping to induce others to follow his lead, but his example produced very little effect (No. 4).
In the mean time the Dutch steadily maintained the blockade, which was only relaxed for exigencies of the weather (No. 7). When they were supposed to have left the Thames, they had merely been away to reorganise their numerous forces so that they might blockade all the principal ports, and they were soon back at their stations (Nos. 11, 15). The preparations of the English fleet tarried. It was hoped to get it to sea by Christmas, and then by mid-January (Nos. 4, 7), but great difficulty was experienced in finding hands and obtaining material. This last was accentuated by the Dutch seizure of twelve Lubeck ships in the Sound, laden with ship building materials. They declared that they would lay hands on all such goods or any other bound for England (No. 7).
The Rump Parliament was ill adapted for dealing with such a situation. Important decisions were delayed because questions had to be debated, often with much heat, and decisions were frequently postponed to avoid dispute (No. 24). Unrest had not disappeared from the fleet and much irritation and some desertion was caused by the severity shown by Blake, who had a mutineer put to death who threatened to fire his ship (No. 36). Disaffection among the men and doubts of the entire loyalty of the commanders still gave rise to anxiety (No. 50). Further gloom was caused by the capsizing of a new thirty-gun frigate, with all hands, when undergoing her trials (No. 44). But at last the fleet was ready and sailed out to encounter Tromp, who was returning with a rich convoy from France. The Dutch had the advantage of numbers, but the English felt confident that theirs was the stronger force.
The battle of Portland was begun by Blake sending out four frigates to provoke a fight. Blake supported these with 30 frigates against 80 of the enemy, and remained greatly inferior in numbers in spite of a reinforcement of 12 ships from Dover (No. 52). Both sides claimed a victory. The Dutch, in sanguine mood, reckoned that they had accounted for 27 English ships, while admitting a loss of 18 of their own (No. 56). Losses had been heavy and neither fleet was ready to take the sea at once. The Dutch shot was reported to have been particularly destructive, damaging the hulls almost irreparably, slaughtering the crews, shivering the sails, bringing down the masts and burning the rigging at the same time (No. 69). Tromp had saved the bulk of his convoy and the States, in gratitude, voted him a service of plate which had been made for the last English ambassadors to the Hague, and declined as a matter of principle (No. 69). It is not clear whether this was intended as a slight or was merely thrift.
The Dutch, having the greater reserves, were the first to get to sea again and Vice Admiral Evertsen had orders to renew the blockade of the Thames (No. 60). By April their fleets were at sea in great force, expecting to be joined by a Danish squadron, and showed themselves off Dover (No. 72). The reappearance of the English was delayed by the difficulty of getting material to repair the damaged ships and of finding men to man the fleet. The loss of life in the Portland action caused a reluctance to serve, and impressment was used with great harshness, and so thoroughly that 1,500 men were taken in the Thames in one week (Nos. 57, 69); many merchant ships were left idle for lack of hands (No. 72). Meanwhile the Dutch were abroad and great anxiety was felt for the colliers which were bringing the London supplies of coal. The price had risen threefold, giving rise to dangerous discontent (No. 86). A squadron sailed to protect these and other supplies for the capital and by the end of April the colliers had contrived to get through safely, leaving the grand fleet at liberty to go out and meet the enemy (Nos. 82, 90).
A great fleet, said to consist of over 100 sail was concentrated under Monk and Penn (No. 105). They went out determined to force an action, leaving undefended a considerable number of merchantmen, whom they invited to follow them boldly (No. 112). The numbers continued to swell and by mid-May had reached 120 with 30 more in the Thames, ready to join (No. 108). Undismayed by this formidable show of force, Tromp appeared in the Downs and actually bombarded Dover, damaging many of the houses and causing great consternation (No. 117).
In the Gabbard battle which followed soon after, Paulucci believed that the English had got the worst of it by pursuing the enemy too closely in shore, after gaining an advantage on the first day (No. 119). The true state of the case became manifest a few days later with the arrival in the Thames of prizes and prisoners. Some 1,500 of the latter were marched through London to a camp in the neighbourhood (No. 125). By this victory England had definitely established her superiority in the war. Paulucci cannot refrain from remarking on the naval power of the country and the number of ships to be seen in the Thames, of which he counted 300 (No. 125). Instead of a bickering, irresolute parliament Cromwell was now at the head of affairs, and under his direction it was certain that the full fruits of victory would be secured. Thanks to his wise provision the ships were kept supplied with a constant stream of men and stores, and so enabled to keep their stations, maintaining a strict blockade, keeping the enemy shut up in his ports and preventing his merchantmen from getting home (Nos. 120,136,140). Tables were turned on the Dutch by the seizure of Eastland ships taking naval stores for Flanders (No. 127), and the right of search was rigorously enforced to prevent the Dutch from making use of neutral flags. One noteworthy capture was that of two ships laden with guns and other arms purchased in Sweden for the Dutch (No. 133).
For two months this severe blockade was kept up until at length the pressure forced the Dutch to make a supreme effort. Uniting their fleets they came out and fought the battle of the Texel. According to Paulucci's account the English won a great initial advantage driving back the Texel fleet in disorder ; but the Zeeland fleet came to their rescue, almost all men of war, built on a new model, with heavy guns, who inflicted great damage and heavy losses (No. 146). Boreel in Paris claimed a victory, declaring that the Dutch broke the English line and passed through it more than once (No. 148). This definite reference to line formation is interesting. By this time the English fleet was mainly professional and the ships homogeneous, both essential conditions for such tactics, which would naturally appeal to a soldier like Monk, who was in command. Victory was acclaimed in London and a thanksgiving ordered. Prisoners were again marched through the city, but Paulucci thought that they might have been taken at another time (No. 149). He admitted that any success must be attributed to Cromwell's provident care (No. 141).
For the moment the Dutch effort had succeeded in relaxing the blockade as the English were obliged to withdraw for repairs. The ships had suffered severely and the enemy's fire had also caused heavy loss among the crews, owing to their being overmanned ; it was asserted that only three legs remained among sixty wounded (No. 152). But the respite was a very short one, for though the main fleet was withdrawn a squadron of 16 sail was kept off the coast of Holland, and 16 Dutch merchantmen who ventured out after the battle were taken (No. 149). Early in September the English had a fleet of 70 ships off the Dutch coast and had established a complete mastery at sea. The Dutch remained in port and left it undisputed (No. 155). An opportune storm and a serious mutiny which prevented the fleet from sailing at the appointed time, gave the Dutch a most welcome chance to bring home their merchant ships, which had been held up in the Sound (Nos. 174, 176). Some 250 thus escaped the English, including those from the Indies, with cargoes valued at over 8 millions (No. 178).
The battle of the Texel was the last general action of the war, though it dragged on for another eight months, during which efforts were being made to bring about peace. Both sides were obstinate and determined and continued all the while their preparations to carry on the conflict, if necessary, with even greater energy. The English dockyards were busy turning out new ships, the tendency being to make them ever larger and more powerful (No. 167). The Dutch also, profiting by experience, were building ships carrying 80 guns, of a range equalling the English, and in the new year they had 30 of these ready (No. 213). Although the main fleets did not meet again, casual encounters occurred with increasing frequency (No. 237). The English fleet was all ready for vigorous action, when peace came almost as suddenly as the war had begun two years before.
While the main issue was being decided in Northern waters a subsidiary conflict was fought in the Mediterranean. There the English had been caught with their squadrons divided. The defeat at Dungeness deprived them of the hope of reinforcement until the situation had been redeemed in home waters. Badiley, the English commander in chief, had his main force at Naples (No. 8) and his object was to unite with a squadron of 7 ships under Appleton, closely blockaded in Leghorn. Other English ships available were the powerful merchantmen engaged in the currant trade at the Ionian Islands. The key to the situation was at Leghorn, where the parliament's agent Longland was in charge. By him Capt. Jonas Poole was sent to Venice to enlist the services of merchant ships. The Venetians had both Dutch and English ships in their fleet, hired to serve in the war against the Turk. They had double ground for alarm, that these ships, which constituted the fighting strength of their fleet, might be withdrawn by the belligerents for their own service, and that they might fight each other. They made energetic representations to both belligerents and to neutrals in order to prevent such a disaster. Vangalen, in the plenitude of his resources, was ready to oblige them, but Longland refused to make any concession, saying that he had the strictest instructions from London to order all English ships in the Mediterranean to arm for war, and to that end he was forbidding them to engage in trade (No. 6). According to the Venetian account Poole only asked permission to take away the English ships which were at Malamocco for trade not for those in the fleet, and to this the Senate raised no objection (Nos. 18, 19).
So long as Vangalen could manage to keep the various English squadrons apart he might count on being master in the Mediterranean. He had ample resources and while the English were exerting themselves to get every ship they could lay hands on, he felt so confident that he allowed a merchant at Leghorn to hire out a powerful ship for six months (No. 23). Badiley could only count on sixteen ships and he had no more than 500 men to man these (No. 32).
The ships at Leghorn lay under the security of the neutrality of the port, but the Dutch claimed that this had been violated by the capture of the Phoenix. Vangalen demanded the restitution of this frigate, and threatened, if he did not obtain satisfaction, to attack the English where they lay. The Grand Duke did his best to hold the scales level between the parties, trying to keep on good terms with both ; and on different days he entertained the officers of both nations at a banquet (No. 17). But the situation was a difficult one. Althouth Leghorn was kept busy in supplying the wants of both belligerents, the ordinary trade of the port was seriously interrupted and a succession of incidents showed the constant danger of hostilities in defiance of its neutrality. Unable to get satisfaction for the Phoenix Vangalen caused 50 cases of tin to be seized which Longland had laded in the port for Smyrna. From the English flagship a shot was fired at the Dutch commander as he was rowing in the port with the Duke's favourite (No. 13). A ship and brigantine were sent from the port under Vangalen's nose with munitions for Badiley's squadron outside (No. 49). Both sides continued to take fresh liberties, but when Vangalen threatened that if the Phoenix were not restored he would attack the English in harbour and stopped French and Genoese vessels from entering the port, the Grand Duke had the Dutch consul put under arrest and wrote to the Hague to complain, at the same time taking steps to protect his neutrality (No. 53). After this breeze Vangalen showed himself more reasonable, but as the English steadily refused to give up the Phoenix, they received notice that they must leave the port within a fixed time limit (No. 58).
Badiley had fixed the rendezvous for his squadron at Naples ; but he did not remain because he did not feel secure there. His captains had fallen foul of the authorities for refusing to give up a Dutch prize, and had been committed to prison by the Viceroy's order, for their contumacy (No. 21). Badiley also feared that the Spaniards might make reprisals on his ships for the Spanish plate in the San Salvador, for which Cardenas could get no satisfaction in London (No. 32). Accordingly he decided to move to Porto Ferraio, which also had the advantage of bringing him nearer to Appleton.
Badiley was known to be a man of the highest courage, who would not avoid battle however great the hazard (No. 8), and his approach with the threatened junction of the English forces quickened Vangalen's anxieties, as his numerous squadrons were scattered on various duties and only four ships had been left at Leghorn to watch Appleton. In his efforts to get his ships together he had the misfortune to run his flagship aground where she became a total wreck (No. 37). The moment seemed favourable for Appleton to attempt his escape, but the opportunity was not taken and when he left the port a month later it was under pressure of the Duke's order.
There is a detailed account of the battle of Leghorn written apparently by an Italian eyewitness (No. 64). According to this Badiley appeared in sight of Leghorn on the morning of the 14th March, about 3 or 4 miles out. Vangalen left the port with 16 warships and four merchantmen to go and engage him. When he had got about two miles out Appleton started from the Molo in his wake, with shouts of joy at the chance of battle after so long an inactivity. But when he was about 1 miles out the strongest of the Dutch ships put about and Appleton had to bear the brunt of their attack alone. At first he seemed to be holding his own, but then two disasters occurred in succession, the Bonaventura blew up with a fearful explosion and the Samson, attacked by a fireship, could not get clear and shared the same fate. With the odds so much in their favour the Dutch quickly carried two other ships, while Appleton, in the Leopard, was caught between two Dutch ships and very hard bested.
All this while Badiley had kept his distance, firing only at long range at the ships engaging Appleton. He launched his fireship against the Dutch Admiral, who escaped injury through the skill of his gunners. The smallest of the Leghorn ships alone succeeded in joining him, whereupon seeing that all but the Leopard had succumbed he sailed away in the direction of Corsica, leaving Appleton to his fate. After holding out valiantly for five hours, when half his crew were killed and the rest wounded Appleton surrendered to the Dutch ViceAdmiral, himself uninjured but his face blackened with powder (No. 58).
Although in overwhelming superiority of numbers the Dutch had suffered severely in the action. They did not actually lose a ship during the battle, but one had to be beached directly afterwards, and the two which had engaged the Leopard were in a sinking condition. Worst of all their gallant commander had been seriously wounded at one of the first discharges. He had his leg amputated then and there, urging the surgeon to make haste so that he might lose no time in pursuing the fleeing enemy and declaring that for such another victory he would be content to lose the other leg as well. He died of his wound nine days later (No. 70).
The Dutch took some 200 prisoners, but only the officers were detained. The men were released and were eventually sent by Longland to man the ships from Malamocco, after Venice had had some idea of enlisting their services (No. 67). Vangalen did not press the pursuit of Badiley, who got away unmolested. He was supposed to have sailed towards Sicily to pick up the ships from the Adriatic (No. 85) ; but he had steered straight for England, abandoning the field to the enemy. In a gallant action in the Strait he captured several Dutch and French merchantmen, convoying safely home those of his own countrymen, with full cargoes (No. 108).
Parliament was displeased at Badiley's abandonment of the Mediterranean, and the whole episode was made the subject of an enquiry, as the result of which he was exonerated and Appleton was censured. To those on the spot the scanty assistance he afforded to his lieutenant was a matter for astonishment, seeing that he had the wind (No. 64). Considering the stout resistance offered by Appleton for so long and the damage he inflicted singlehanded it would certainly seem that he might have attempted more than he actually did. (fn. 6)
On returning after the battle Vangalen reported his victory to the States General and informed them that they were masters of the Mediterranean. The Dutch at once set to work to prove the truth of this claim and to destroy English trade in the middle sea. They proposed to form three squadrons, one for the Strait, the second for the Adriatic and the third to cruise about Leghorn. Definite action was delayed pending the receipt of news from home, as vague rumours were already circulating about the battle of Portland (No. 73). Moreover the Dutch sailors had had enough of fighting, thinking that they had done their share ; the prospect of more to come led to constant desertions (Nos. 78, 85). If the English were at sea again it was necessary to provide strong convoys for their home going ships. The merchantmen for Amsterdam were therefore assembled at Leghorn and it was expected that all the Dutch warships would go with them much to the relief of the Grand Duke, as they had been virtually blockading the port (No. 106). The news of the Gabbard battle had a stunning effect on the Dutch merchants at Leghorn (No. 130) and Cornelis Tromp, who came in soon after with two prizes, was recalled home with all the other Dutch ships in those waters (Nos. 135, 138). They did not entirely abandon the Mediterranean, as Captain Roothaes remained with at least eight war ships, and in January he brought some English prizes into Leghorn, though mostly small craft of little consequence (No. 199). In the Strait also the Dutch were active and towards the end of 1653 captured twenty English ships sailing for the Levant (No. 180).
Although worsted and abandoned the English still contrived to show the flag in the Mediterranean. It was remarked, even in their greatest difficulties, how proudly they held themselves and seemed to despise everybody (No. 32). Though he might have profited by the occasion, Longland as well as the Dutch commander refused to countenance the use of a neutral flag to cover enemy goods, each of them declaring that he was stationed in the Mediterranean in order to destroy the trade of his rival (No. 98). English ships even contrived to make prizes, if not to keep them (No. 122). In the summer of 1653 the English ships from Malamocco succeeded in making their way safely through their enemies and even attempted to make captures, though the Dutch lay in wait for them in the Strait. They reached the Downs in July, under their Commodore Trenchfield, bringing a number of prizes which they had picked up en route.
These Levant ships were strongly built and well armed and they would have made a valuable reinforcement for Badiley. As the Senate had agreed to let them go in January it is not clear why they had not joined him in time for the battle of Leghorn, for which there should have been ample time. It is possible that Trenchfield got into trouble for his dilatoriness, and this may help to explain an obscure passage in Paulucci's letter of the 16th August, 1654. At that time Trenchfield was negotiating to enter the service of Venice, although he protested that he had lost money in it, because he preferred doing so to serving his own country (No. 303).
The war was not popular in England, and even in parliament the majority was opposed to it, so that they never met without accusations and reproaches being heaped on the reputed authors of the rupture, who were quite few in number (No. 44). Peace was not to be thought of while the country lay under the shadow of defeat, though even at this time, the question of mediation being raised, the republic of Venice was suggested as a suitable mediator (No. 50). The Senate, though cautious as usual, did not seem indisposed to undertake the task (No. 68). But the time was not ripe and nothing more was heard of the suggestion. The sentiments of foreign states varied according to the point of view. The Protestant powers were concerned at what they regarded as a fratricidal strife and prepared to move in the matter. An offer of mediation was thus made by Sweden to the Dutch, who replied that England had started the war and so the queen should address herself to that quarter (No. 87). No greater success attended the efforts of the Swiss Protestant Cantons, as they were not considered of sufficient calibre for such a task (No. 114). The continuation of the war, on the other hand, was clearly to the advantage of France and of King Charles, so while Mazarin encouraged the Dutch with the hope of an alliance, the exiled king offered them the Orkney Islands and special advantages for their fishing and commerce, if they would take up his cause (No. 83).
England's fortunes being re-established by the battle of Portland, the Presbyterians in parliament thought the moment favourable for suggesting that advances should be made to the Dutch for a peace on the basis of the status quo ante. This suggestion did not at first meet with a favourable reception (No. 62). But it was soon revived as there was a general desire for peace in the country and an animated debate took place on the question of opening negotiations with the Province of Holland. While this debate was in progress a letter arrived from the Province itself, to which an answer was promptly sent, not only to Holland but to all the Provinces, that they were ready to put a stop to bloodshed by a firm peace and mutual understanding (No. 82). These exchanges were supposed to have been initiated by an individual sent over to Holland clandestinely at the beginning of the war (No. 72). (fn. 7) The genuineness of the transaction was doubted by some, but it was admitted by Boreel, who said that it had been the Act of Holland alone and had led to nothing (No. 87). In the latter respect Boreel was mistaken, for a friendly reply had been sent, and though the parliament to which it was addressed had ceased to function the messenger who brought it considered it of such importance that he delivered it to Cromwell and the Council (No. 105).
The removal of the Rump and the advent of Cromwell at the head of affairs greatly increased the chances of peace. Cromwell personally was most anxious to end the war because he knew that peace would be the best means for promoting his own ends (No. 117). Immediately after the dissolution he is said to have sent an express to the States General informing them of what he had done, assuring them that he and the whole army were more anxious than ever to put a stop to bloodshed and suggesting peace and friendship (No. 97).
These advances were certain to receive a favourable hearing. The Dutch dreaded the idea of a long war and were eager to bring it to an end (No. 78). The effects of the war on their country, both politically and economically, had been disastrous. Boreel's son, in a moment of candour, told Sagredo that a few months of war with England had cost them more than the hostilities waged with the Spaniards during a century (No. 151). To these losses must be added the anxiety caused by a popular movement in favour of the House of Orange, who declared that the English successes were due to the mismanagement of the government, and at Enkhuizen disturbances had taken place between the rival factions (No. 131). The state was short of funds, as it was dangerous to lay taxes on a populace in a state of disturbance and insurrection (No. 156). The Portuguese were driving them out of Brazil (No. 273) and they had a reminder how far their position in Europe was being compromised in an intimation from the emperor that he meant to recover some imperial fiefs occupied by them during the war with Spain (No. 125). There was therefore a strong party in the Netherlands in favour of peace, and popular clamour led to the appointment of a mission to England to negotiate an agreement. The commissioners crossed over and were well received. They seemed so humble that Fleming declared boastfully that peace depended on England (No. 127). He said that the chief cause of the war was England's claim to supremacy in the Ocean, which she meant to vindicate, but added in confidence that even if they could knock out the Dutch with one arm expediency must prompt them to raise them up with the other (No. 133).
Such a spirit indicated that the terms offered would be hard. A committee was appointed to treat with the commissioners, which included Cromwell, Harrison and Lambert (No. 140). They put forward demands for a war indemnity, the acknowledgment of English supremacy at sea, the exclusion of the House of Orange, with cautionary towns as a guarantee. These with other claims would have involved the virtual absorption of the Netherlands by England (Nos. 136, 141). While the negotiations were in progress the battle of the Texel happened, to depress the spirits of the Dutch envoys and convince them of the need to accept hard conditions ; but they were not reduced so far as to consent to sacrifice their independence. The English did not press their demand for an indemnity and cautionary towns (No. 146), but they insisted on a close alliance on conditions which the Dutch feared might mean virtual absorption. At this stage the question had to be referred back to the Provinces for decision while both sides made active preparations for continuing the struggle with energy (No. 155).
Hopes of peace centered on the possibility of arriving at a separate understanding with the Province of Holland, which had made the first advances, and the fact that the new president of the States General, John de Witt, was a native of that Province was all to the good (No. 168). A secret agent was sent thither with assurances of the best possible disposition (No. 174). The Dutch commissioners returned from their principals with sufficient powers for a settlement and all seemed fair for a satisfactory conclusion (No. 178).
The chief difficulties in the way came from the English demand for the exclusion of the House of Orange, and the abandonment of France and Denmark (No. 190). The Dutch were stiffened in their resistance by their success in getting their rich fleets safely home and by the mission of Chanut to the Hague affording them the hope of French support (No. 192). On the other hand prospects of peace were improved by the dissolution of Barebone's parliament which had rather favoured the continuation of the war (Nos. 195, 200), as Cromwell was known to be strongly in favour of a settlement. But in the middle of January an impasse was reached on the question of the salute, causing a general gloom in the country. The commissioners took what looked like a final departure, but Cromwell, vexed at the turn of affairs, sent a confidential agent after them with a letter and fresh overtures (No. 211). If the Dutch refused the advantageous terms thus offered there was a grim determination to make them rue their folly (No. 214). England could now count upon having the assistance of other powers, which might be had for the asking (No. 221).
Early in February, 1654, Beverningh, the deputy for Holland, returned to England alone (No. 217). His own Province had given its assent to the peace which Friesland continued to oppose, though there were hopes that it would be compelled to come into line (No. 218). Professing to be unable to act alone Beverningh suggested a truce to last until May, to give the other provinces time to make up their minds. This suggestion was not at all well received as the English began to suspect that the Dutch were only trying to gain time. Three Provinces witheld their assent and in the mean time deputies arrived from the island of Ameland asking for neutrality and a good understanding, betraying the disunion that prevailed (No. 224). At last, after waiting for five weeks Beverningh was joined by his colleagues and hopes of peace rose high (No. 230). The negotiations dragged on amid general impatience until the end of the month. At that stage Cromwell presented to the commissioners a paper signed by himself alone. They objected to this, not considering it valid, and insisted on having it signed by the Council of State. Provoked by this Cromwell told them roundly that if they contested his title they had no business to appear as ambassadors, and if they wished to have the peace ratified they must wait another four months for the meeting of parliament. For that period he would claim 100,000l. a month for the upkeep of the fleet and 300,000l. in addition for keeping him waiting for the reply of the States. If they did not intend to admit the validity of the papers signed by him, they might return home, as the English fleet was ready to obtain satisfaction. He gave them six days for a reply (No. 237). This outburst seems to have cleared the air as the peace was signed soon after. Cromwell no doubt smoothed the path by agreeing that the States would sign first, the Council next and himself last (No. 242). Strenuous efforts were made at Paris to prevent the peace being signed without including France ; but the Dutch suspected that this was only a device of the French to upset the negotiations. The difference led to some coolness between the two powers, an offer by the Dutch of their good offices with England being contemptuously declined (No. 238).
The peace, from first to last, was mainly the work of the Province of Holland, whose deputies had made it possible by agreeing to a secret article excluding the House of Orange from a share in the government. As the secret leaked out there was a storm in the Netherlands, where the Orange party counted many adherents. After a week's debate the States decided to recall the ambassadors and to order the return of all the documents and secret articles arranged with Cromwell. The representatives of Holland protested and sent word to their ambassadors not to obey, but to consign the secret act to Cromwell immediately (No. 281). The other Provinces deeply resented this action fearing that Holland meant to assert a dominion over them (No. 294). The public gratitude to the House of Nassau caused a popular demonstration in their favour, women and children marching in serried ranks through the streets and compelling all whom they met to join in (No. 310). France, for her own purposes, was said to be encouraging this opposition to Holland (No. 340). That Province stoutly defended her action, claiming that the other provinces ought to follow her lead, as she paid incomparably greater contributions than the rest of them and the burden of the war rested mainly on her shoulders (No. 304).
In upholding the act of exclusion Holland stood absolutely alone, and this necessarily threw her into the arms of England. Fearing the consequences of her isolation she appealed to England for support, and began to prepare against attack by fortifying and provisioning her towns (No. 317). England naturally encouraged this attitude and the Holland deputies were courted and had frequent consultations with Cromwell (No. 302). A squadron of the fleet was kept in readiness to go to her assistance if necessary (No. 309). The understanding between Holland and England was carefully fostered by Beverningh, and before he left it was understood that he had asked Cromwell for a force for its defence (No. 354). It was obviously impossible for the six Provinces to fight England without Holland, still less against her, and in the end the Provinces supporting Orange cooled in their ardour. It is said that a threatening letter from Cromwell contributed to this change of tone, coupled with a warning from Holland (No. 350), and so the peace was at length established on a firm basis after being for some months in jeopardy.
The military revolution which cost Charles his life had established the army as the supreme power in the land. What remained of the long parliament still exercised a nominal rule, but it had lost credit and there was a growing impatience at its continued existence. The army, in particular, was becoming ominously discontented both with the ineffectiveness of parliament and because Presbyterian influence was supposed to be increasing in it. A bill for the expulsion of Jesuits and all religious is stated, rather quaintly, to have been aimed at the Presbyterians (No. 31), and was passed shortly after the dispersal of one of their meetings in London and the arrest of two preachers (No. 11). But the war contributed more than anything else to the final discrediting of this famous assembly. They had entered upon it sure of swift and complete victory, but overconfidence had led to defeat, and the conduct of the operations disclosed the defects in the governing body.
The strong feeling against the reputed authors of the war might have led to an earlier change of government, but for the danger of dismissing in a crisis those on whose shoulders the most important affairs of state rested (No. 31). Attempts were made to mollify the army by parliament promising to vote its own dissolution, though the date was constantly being postponed (No. 57). The army, far from being appeased, continued to agitate, writing to the chief officers in Scotland and Ireland for their support. They called in particular for a reform of the laws, the abolition of legal abuses and a new civil and criminal code, demands strenuously resisted by the lawyers (No. 44).
Cromwell was quietly supporting the military party, thus arousing the suspicions of the parliamentarians, who thought of curtailing his authority (No. 15). A member even suggested that the time had come for removing the general, but an offer of Cromwell to resign his office to any one approved by parliament only served to show how indispensable he was and strengthened his position. Nevertheless he was greatly exasperated by the attitude taken, ceased to attend the House and began to devise with his friends what should be done (No. 86). On one occasion after leaving the House he had been locked out, upon which he remarked that on some other day it would be closed against the whole parliament (No. 91). That day arrived speedily and on 30 April he effected the dissolution.
The famous body which had wrought such momentous changes disappeared amid general indifference (No. 91). The dilatory and violent proceedings of the late government had disgusted the people. Its reputation had steadily waned ; its hands were not believed to be clean. There was some talk of calling the Speaker and some other leading members to account for considerable sums of money and many valuable estates that had been mysteriously disposed of (No. 91). Lenthall had notoriously enriched himself enormously through the perquisites of his office and by always looking after his own interests (No. 97). The idea was ultimately abandoned, but the offenders were called upon to contribute to a forced loan, of which Lenthall's share was to be 50,000l. (No. 149).
The people looked hopefully to the new government for better things ; the navy in particular hoped for more efficient support in the prosecution of the war (No. 108). Cromwell was looked upon as a deliverer, receiving uninterrupted acclamations and hearing his name blessed in letters from the most remote parts of the kingdom (No. 112). He maintained his credit with the people by a show of piety and devotion, visiting the churches with a big Bible under his arm and declaring that the Almighty, who had hitherto specially favoured all his undertakings, giving him victory in battle and subduing three kingdoms, inspired him to effect this change (No. 109). It had taken place in complete calm without the slightest disturbance, but to secure order while the new government was forming considerable bodies of troops were brought to London. All funds belonging to the Commonwealth were seized, said to amount to two millions sterling. Four persons were appointed for the despatch of immediate business, everything being done under Cromwell's direction (No. 91).
Cromwell seems to have overthrown the long parliament without having made any plans for what was to take its place. He had some difficulty in making up his mind and sent to Ireland for Fleetwood and Coke to consult with them (No. 108). He seems to have considered a constitution on the Polish model (No. 121), or even a restoration of the Stuarts (No. 114). Many believed that a monarchical form of government was necessary for the welfare of England and some preachers declared that he himself was worthy of the crown (No. 114). His ideas certainly leaned to autocracy. A petition from the city for a new parliament was sharply snubbed and many of those who signed it were turned out of their offices (No. 114). When the council of officers could come to no decision about the new Council of State, Cromwell took the matter into his own hands and appointed one by proclamation on his sole responsibility, consisting of ten members, who were all his creatures (No. 105). Though becoming increasingly dictatorial he sought by all possible means to captivate the goodwill of all, both great and small. To consolidate his position and conciliate the old aristocracy, he recalled the duke of Buckingham, with the idea of giving him one of his daughters (No. 125). His son Henry had just married a daughter of Sir Francis Russel, who had great influence in the army (No. 112).
In these early days Cromwell gained in popularity daily, his person and rule increasing in favour simultaneously (No. 105). To gratify the popular demand he held out hopes of a parliament, to which his Council of State would resign its powers. This body assembled in July, but it was nominated and entirely subservient. It was called a parliament to give it prestige and prevent murmuring among the people (No. 139). At its own request Lambert, Harrison, Desborough and Tomlinson were given seats, which was in accordance with Cromwell's desire though he had not ventured to nominate them himself, out of humility (No. 134).
With this parliament Cromwell's brief popularity seems to have faded away. It proved unsatisfactory from the first, as was almost inevitable from its character. Men of rank and position would not serve in it under the conditions imposed and its members were generally ignorant and inexperienced (No. 139). The hopes of better government died away and a growing dissatisfaction took their place. London missed the Court and the gentry who had spent freely, while those who had taken their place were inclined to be careful with their money (No. 142). Libels against the government began to appear and there was some rioting. The demonstrations in favour of Lilburne showed the government somewhat startlingly how unpopular it had become (No. 152). Men began to regret the old days, and the numbers of the royalists steadily increased (No. 152).
With so much discontent abroad it was not considered safe to impose further taxation, so the screw was pulled tighter and larger sums extorted from the royalists and Catholics (No. 164). To deal with cases of treason a new High Court of Justice was set up, with very absolute powers, a step which caused great anxiety and by no means calculated to render the government more popular (No. 190). Everything depended on the army and London was only kept in subjection by armed force (No. 163). Large numbers of troops were kept in and about the capital. Their discipline was admirable and though the city was crowded with troops there was never the slightest cause for complaint (No. 140). But their presence involved hardship. Their very numbers caused a constant rise in prices (No. 152), and in the suburbs every shopkeeper was obliged to lodge one or two men, according to his means (No. 142).
Meanwhile the extravagant behaviour of the nominated parliament made it very unlikely that it would last out its appointed term. Paulucci intimates that Cromwell, intent on autocratic power, was biding his time and designedly allowing the parliament to render itself universally odious (No. 192). The majority consisted of Fifth Monarchy men, whom he calls Anabaptists, whose one object was to forward their own extreme views. They were discussing a bill to abolish tithes, public preachers and the great universities when they were summarily ejected by the military. The mace was carried to Cromwell's residence. The members seemed paralysed with astonishment, no one had the courage to make the slightest remonstrance, and they all dispersed quietly in various directions.
In London the event was received with particular satisfaction (No. 195). This second failure discredited parliamentary government and a general belief prevailed that the country would be ruled henceforth by a Council, which meant enhanced authority for Cromwell ; the people generally remaining quiescent. On 26 December Cromwell was proclaimed Protector with much ceremony. The announcement was received amid general apathy. Men shrugged their shoulders and all admired the address and ability with which the general had made himself absolute master of the country. Some said that they had got no more than their deserts, to submit to this baseborn fellow, after putting to death their legitimate king (No. 198). The French Ambassador Bordeaux was full of admiration, declaring Cromwell to be one of the greatest men of the century (No. 201).
The change was immediately followed by a resumption of old monarchical forms. The Protector took up his abode in the royal palace and revived the old ritual in the reception of ambassadors and on other ceremonial occasions, and he signed proclamations in the royal fashion (No. 232). A new seal was cut for him and a new coinage designed, bearing his effigy or arms (No. 316). Paulucci was convinced that he was preparing the way to proclaim himself king when the favourable opportunity should arise, and this was expected to come with the advent of a new parliament. To accustom the people to the idea little boys were made to parade London daily in gay attire, on horseback, the chief wearing a crown and the others following him as their sovereign (No. 309).
But although Cromwell adopted a modest demeanour and endeavoured to conciliate public opinion, his accession to power was deeply resented. The people considered that they had been duped, and the form of government was attributed to Cromwell's cunning (No. 211). He became very unpopular in London and the abuse lavished on him was almost universal, both there and in the country (Nos. 259, 271). It was hoped that the Scottish insurgents might prove successful and help to bring about a change (No. 254). A feeling of impatience grew strong against the iron rod which the people had inconsiderately placed in his hands (No. 271). His enemies were always on the increase, as shown by the constant libels and the epithets showered upon him, such as "Promise Breaker," "Usurper," "Tyrant" (No. 254). The Anabaptists were his sworn opponents and their numbers increased after his elevation. As they were numerous in the army, his main support, the situation was particularly dangerous (No. 228). Some of the chief officers refused to take the oath of allegiance (No. 207). Even the peace with Holland did not bring the applause which he expected (No. 254). There was a feeling of unrest abroad and anticipated change. Men talked of strange omens, phenomenal tides had occurred in the Thames, such as had been observed just before the late king's death. A portion of St. Paul's cathedral fell, killing several persons, and it was averred that the ghost of King Charles had been seen at Whitehall (No. 223).
All this had its effect. It was observed that since his elevation Cromwell looked utterly careworn (No. 214). Almost everyone remarked his pensive brow (No. 259). Extraordinary precautions were observed in admitting access to him, and no one was allowed to come near (Nos. 202, 284). His body guard was most assiduous and watchful, and he always carried fire arms about him (No. 346). The country was only held down by the sternest repression and the utmost vigilance of the government, and though the majority of the people sighed for the king's return they were reduced by fear to silence and resignation (No. 223).
In the early summer of 1654 a serious plot was discovered to overthrow the government. The king himself was said to be in London. This led to a thorough search of the houses and many arrests were made. Among other places some soldiers entered the Temple to arrest a gentleman. He called for help, claiming that the place was a sanctuary. The law students rallied to his cry and beat off the soldiers, who were roughly handled (No. 274). No further notice seems to have been taken of the affair which may have been due to the lawlessness of the soldiers, who had been hurried to London in considerable numbers (No. 278).
Amid these disorders Cromwell hoped, if not to be made king, at least to legalise his position by a new parliament. Wishing to anticipate the date originally fixed for this he issued orders in June that the elections should take place with all possible despatch (No. 278). The elections were to be free, but the provision excluding malignants, Catholics and all who had borne arms against parliament, gave Cromwell the opportunity to eliminate any members who might be distasteful to him (No. 271). Parliament was to enjoy the usual privileges, but might not alter the existing constitution (No. 287), and its duration was limited to six months (No. 291). Members must be 21 years of age and have at least 200l. a year (No. 307).
The elections did not prove entirely satisfactory, many of the new members were Presbyterians, opposed to the dominant military party, some had belonged to the late parliament and not a few were hostile to the Protector (Nos. 289, 296). London, in spite of its alleged hostility, returned six staunch supporters of the government (No. 291). Cromwell courted the magnates of the city, who dined with him familiarly (No. 302), but this did not involve any subservience to them, as was shown soon after by a decree allowing any one who had served two years in army or navy to exercise any trade or profession in London or elsewhere. Though agreeable to the apprentices this would not please the city companies, and Cromwell sent for the Lord Mayor and Aldermen to tell them that his orders were for the general good and must be obeyed, obtaining a promise of submission (No. 322). The returns from Scotland and Ireland showed a majority of soldiers, thus strengthening the military party (No. 309). The returns being completed the lists were submitted to Cromwell, who struck out some names, others being substituted in their stead (Nos. 302, 307).
In spite of this winnowing parliament showed some spirit of independence, resenting particularly Cromwell's initial act of sending for them as contrary to all parliamentary usage. This attitude made it impracticable for Cromwell to have himself proclaimed king or emperor, as had been expected (No. 319). He brought the constitutional issue to a head at once by requiring the members to sign a test. Such high handed action caused resentment and it was thought that the country might be roused to assert its rights and privileges. But the dread of another civil war was sufficient to induce them to submit to even harsher tyranny (No. 321). Cromwell's narrow escape in a coach accident brought home the importance of his life, as civil strife and immense commotion would inevitably result from his death (No. 327). His supporters in the House took the opportunity to sing his praises, representing the prosperity of England and her prestige in the world, all due to the Protector's merits and ability (No. 334).
These paeans did not prevent the House from overhauling the system of government. Cromwell himself standing aside, it voted for an elective in preference to an hereditary Protectorate. This is represented as particularly unpalatable to Richard, (fn. 8) who already shared his father's dignity and showed signs of a thirst for domination and command (No. 337). Although parliament had agreed that Cromwell should have sole command of the army, limited to the forces already embodied, they seemed disposed to reopen the question, encouraged by support from the army itself. Differences arose also over the provision of money for the fleet. Cromwell insisted that as the entire care of the army and navy were vested in him he must provide and distribute such sums as were necessary for their maintenance. Many members resisted this, contending that everything connected with supply depended on parliament alone.
Animated discussions continued on the form of government, without much progress being made, when it became known that Cromwell contemplated dissolving the parliament before its term. This brought about a wonderful change. An act was passed making Cromwell Protector for life with control of the naval and military forces, assisted by a Council. This resolution restored harmony, but to win popularity by reducing taxation, parliament decided that the monthly tax for the war should be halved and appropriated exclusively for the army and navy (No. 349). This drew a mild remonstrance from Cromwell who pointed out that it was necessary to maintain a large body of troops for internal peace and considerable naval forces to secure the command of the sea, and this could not be done without adequate taxes. If he had not the means to satisfy the men he would be obliged to give them leave to help themselves. These representations failed to move the members (No. 357), but under the threat of a dissolution the form of government had been more firmly established and the respective spheres of Protector and parliament had been settled with mutual satisfaction (No. 354).
The meeting of parliament seems to have provoked discontent in the army to become vocal. A number of the leaders appeared before Cromwell to complain of the government, asserting that promises had been broken and that all the bloodshed had been in vain. He expressed surprise at such language from those who were bound to support the government in which they had so large a part. He had ventured everything himself. If they were dissatisfied he was always ready to shed his blood for the good of the country (No. 334). They went away abashed but not convinced for very soon after a number of officers presented a paper with several signatures, protesting that after all the miseries of the civil war things were worse than before. Some declared their readiness to shed their blood for freedom if parliamentary liberty was not respected. Cromwell replied briefly and seriously, trying to soothe rather than to irritate the petitioners (No. 339). Still unappeased the chief officers of the army met and decided to present another paper, containing six or eight articles, against interference with religion, changes in the laws prejudicial to the nation's rights, and so forth. The prime movers were the Anabaptists whose numbers were constantly increasing and who threatened to cause even worse disorders than those started by the Puritans. Owing to their strength in the army it was necessary to deal with them tactfully (No. 354).
During the worst days of the Dutch war the government held its head high and showed no disposition to yield before foreign powers. Immediately after the defeat off Dungeness both France and Portugal were making advances and receiving but scant encouragement, indeed demands were presented to each, to France for the depredations of her privateers and to Portugal for the shelter given to Rupert (No. 4). The Spanish Ambassador Cardenas fared no better and was obliged to submit to the case of the Spanish plate in the San Salvador going to the Admiralty Court for decision (No. 7). The efforts of the Dutch to secure allies had proved unsuccessful. A defensive alliance with some of the Baltic states seems to have come to nothing (No. 45). The only power at all inclined to come to their assistance was Denmark. The king had seized English ships in the Sound and showed no disposition to release them. He made his fleet ready for war and called out a levy of 10,000 men (No. 10). Boreel claimed that a definite alliance had been concluded (No. 38), and Danish forces were expected to co-operate with the Dutch. When Bradshaw went to Copenhagen about the ships, he was well received, but his coachman was set upon and beaten by the rabble (No. 31). He was dismissed without effecting anything and had to be escorted back to Hamburg by the royal guards to protect him from insult (No. 62). Actually Denmark did nothing for the Dutch. The turn in the war caused him to reconsider the position and after the Texel battle he wrote a private letter to Fleming expressing his regard for the English government and his desire to prove it (No. 142). He began to contemplate a separate agreement (No. 156) and remained cautiously on the defensive (No. 158). He also began to treat English ships very leniently, with a view to mitigate the wrath of Cromwell and to facilitate an adjustment for himself (No. 172). He eventually owed his inclusion in the peace to the loyalty of the Dutch, which he had done little to deserve.
The obvious means of checking any danger from that quarter was an approach to Sweden, and with a view to intimidate Denmark Viscount Lisle was appointed to go there (No. 11). His mission was delayed by the difficulty of crossing the sea during the war, and he was eventually excused on the ground of ill health. It was the less necessary for him to go because two envoys from Sweden arrived in quick succession. They came to ask for the restitution of ships seized, but also to promote a good understanding between the two countries (No. 69). They were received in a friendly manner and promised every satisfaction.
As a means of bringing pressure on the Dutch to conclude peace Sweden promised to be a most useful ally, as besides causing anxiety to Denmark she could close the Sound to the Dutch and ruin their trade in the Baltic (No. 152). As England established her advantage in the war the bias of Sweden towards her became more and more pronounced (No. 192). To encourage the friendly disposition of the queen Whitelocke was selected to go in place of Lisle. His departure was delayed by certain intrigues and by a threatened enquiry into his conduct as commissioner of the great seal (No. 168) ; he was also threatened with the fate of Ascham and Dorislaus (No. 172). He was finally sent off in great haste charged, if the Dutch war continued, to effect a close alliance with that crown (Nos. 166, 176). A report said that he had been killed on his way to Stockholm (No. 202), but was only a false rumour spread by the enemies of the government (No. 211). This should have put Paulucci on his guard, but he readily accepted stories that Whitelocke had been unfavourably received by the queen, who questioned the legitimacy of Cromwell's authority (No. 239), and of his recall after a fruitless mission (No. 247). In recording, soon after, Whitelocke's return with a successful treaty, he ascribes the change to fresh instructions from the Protector (No. 271). After the queen's abdication a new mission was contemplated to cultivate the friendly relations with that crown.
The friendly intercourse with Sweden led to the coming of a remarkable visitor. This was Radiciowski, ViceChancellor of Poland, who brought strong letters of recommendation from Queen Christina. He had quarrelled with his king and came full of schemes of revenge on his native land. He wanted to take passage on an English ship for Constantinople and engage the good offices of Bendish to recommend him to the Turks, whom he hoped to induce to attack Poland. Because of the queen's support he was received with honour and had several conferences with Cromwell. He also saw deputies of the Council of State who promised him letters for Bendish. Having decided to proceed to France, he was granted every facility and a warship to take him across the Channel. He tried to arouse the interest of Venice by promising to create a diversion favourable for her in the war of Candia, but the Signory instructed Paulucci to have nothing to do with his schemes (Nos. 136, 139, 145, 164.)
While England fought Holland the prolonged struggle between France and Spain still proceeded. Both countries watched the course of events closely, ready to turn them to their own advantage and to the detriment of their rival. The need of communications with Flanders made Spain anxious to keep on good terms with England whatever the government might be. She was grateful for the assistance received at Gravelines and Dunkirk and Cardenas was well rewarded for his share in the transaction (No. 50). Although disappointed over the affair of the plate he seems to have arrived at some secret understanding on the subject. His own merchants complained that he had betrayed their interests by agreeing to let the English have the use of the plate for one year, after a considerable portion had been coined into money (Nos. 125, 160). Something similar seems to have happened over a quantity of wool, released by the Admiralty Court as the property of the king of Spain, and subsequently attached by the Ricauts in satisfaction of money which they claimed the king owed them (No. 178), when the Council of State intervened to release the wool for the king's use (No. 195). The goodwill of the government seems to have gone even further, for according to a report from Paris they granted ten frigates to reinforce the Spanish fleet. When Mazarin remonstrated the English agent replied that the Spaniards had paid for them and France might do the same (No. 131).
As England began to assert her superiority at sea Cardenas became more assiduous in his offices and assurances of the friendly regard of his king (Nos. 62, 160). The victory of the Gabbard created a great impression at Madrid, where the outbreak of the war had originally caused great satisfaction. Even before the news of the battle the king had caused the goods of English traders to be released (No. 111). As a further sign of goodwill the one murderer of Ascham who happened to be a Protestant was put to death, for which Madrid was placed under an interdict, because he had been enticed away from sanctuary (No. 216).
After the dissolution of the Long Parliament Cardenas was at once ready to ratify an alliance with England for four years (No. 112), and he was the first of the ambassadors to congratulate Cromwell on the assumption of the Protectorate (No. 202). Advantage was taken of this friendly disposition to ask permission to trade freely in the Schelde, with the object of diverting trade from Amsterdam (No. 112), an idea that seems to have been at the back of the demand for cautionary towns (No. 136). This caused so much alarm to the Dutch that they sent a special envoy to the Archduke Leopold to offer 100,000 crowns a year if he would exclude the English from the coasts of Flanders ; but though the envoy was well received, circumstances did not permit the Spaniards to do anything calculated to irritate the English (No. 274). The Province of Holland, in defending their proceedings in making the peace, claimed that it was due to their good offices that Cromwell had abandoned the idea of trading at Antwerp (No. 304).
Relations with France were on a very different footing, indeed they fell little short of actual war. The depredations of French privateers over a course of many years had created a feeling of exasperation in England, and the internal troubles of France afforded an excellent opportunity of hitting back. Mazarin rejoiced that the Dutch war kept England busy, but he was nervous of what she might do. The appearance of an English squadron off Calais in April, 1653, caused a panic inspired by the fear that the English and Spaniards were contemplating a combined attack on the town (No. 88). Bordeaux had been sent over with assurances of friendly feeling and to make some attempt at a settlement. He tried to convince the government that it was a mistake to help the Spaniards, who were only trying to further their own ambitious ends (No. 26). In a difficult and complicated situation Mazarin was simultaneously trying to conciliate the English and holding out hopes of an alliance to the Dutch. The bait was not particularly attractive to the latter, as it involved war with Spain, which since the peace had become a valuable customer, while the divisions of France made her an ally of doubtful value (No. 71). To stir the Dutch against Spain Mazarin represented her as the author of the war with England, devised in order to weaken them, and told them that their plight was a just retribution for having deserted France at the peace of Munster (No. 158). He did not really desire the alliance, especially as the war was going against Holland, because he expected more mischief from open enmity with England than profit from union with the Dutch (No. 131). He merely wished to have this card in reserve. The mission of Chanut to the Hague seemed to indicate more serious intentions (No. 161), but it was chiefly intended to prevent the Dutch from making peace. To attain that end and to flatter the Dutch the Cardinal even suggested that they should act as arbitrators between France and Spain. He lost himself in these intrigues, which he called ministerial finesse, and which only succeeded in inspiring general mistrust (No. 215).
In England enough was known of these proceedings to cast doubts on the sincerity of Bordeaux's advances, while they aroused no great apprehension because France already had her hands full (No. 160). They could retaliate effectively by giving encouragement to Cond and to the revolted town of Bordeaux. Delegates from that town arrived in May, 1653, ostensibly to buy ships, and at once got into communication with Cond's agent Barriere (No. 108). The idea that they might get English help caused Mazarin more uneasiness than his negotiations at the Hague had to England (Nos. 112, 126). Actually the delegates received little encouragement as, though useful as a pawn in the game, conditions did not favour intervention (No. 114). Some ships were sent with succour, purchased by the delegates with help from Cardenas, but Bordeaux capitulated about the time that they sailed (No. 139). Barriere showed great activity, passing to and fro between England and Flanders, but the prince was not taken very seriously, although he told the Archduke Leopold that Cromwell had promised him secret support (No. 231). By an amusing error all his plans were betrayed to Bordeaux by a German colonel who came from Flanders to confer with Barriere, and went to the ambassador instead, by mistake (No. 125).
Great Britain served as a useful recruiting ground to both France and Spain to supply the troops needed for their wars. It was a settled policy of the government to thin the population of Scotland and Ireland by granting levies to foreign powers, and in particular to get rid of the Irish Catholics (Nos. 149, 178). Owing to Spain's more friendly relations with the English government and to the old standing connection with that country Spain secured the bulk of the Irish levies, and the king of Spain was said to have raised more than 10,000 men in Ireland (No. 44). Levies were granted impartially to Spain and Portugal, but it is doubtful if the latter country obtained many. A force of 4,000 Irish landed at Coruna in the autumn of 1653 to be quartered in Galicia caused a considerable flutter on the Portuguese frontier (No. 162). Large numbers of Irish were also shipped to Flanders to serve under Cond, who is said to have arranged for a levy of 4,000 to be sent in the spring of 1654 (Nos. 213, 237). Colonel Cusack who had gone on this service in the preceding year, was arrested by order of the duke of Lorraine, who called himself protector of Ireland, on a charge of cowardice for the surrender of Innisboffin (No. 95).
A considerable proportion of the Irish thus engaged by Spain were sent to aid the revolt in Guienne. The move was not particularly well inspired. Some of the transports conveying the troops were attacked by the duke of Vendome's fleet and three were captured (No. 51). 500 Irish who were being shipped from San Sebastian to Bourg, were carried into Bayonne by the shipmasters, who were French (No. 79). The men thus taken seem to have entertained no objection to serve France instead, and their defection apparently unsettled their comrades. A few weeks later it was reported that some of their colonels in Spanish pay were negotiating to change sides. At the French Court they considered sending the duke of York to draw off the Irish from the enemy and draft them into the regiments in the French service. The idea was put aside for the moment, as likely to offend England, but the duke proposed to see what he could do by letter (No. 113). Whatever was done the effects soon became apparent. Lormont was obliged to capitulate soon after because 600 Irish there went over to the French. To make sure of the fidelity of the remainder the prince of Cond took hostages and sent them to Bordeaux (No. 116). These precautions proved unavailing for worse was to follow. At Bourg, given to Cond as a cautionary town, 4,000 Irish of the garrison marched over to the other side, with flags flying and drums beating. They had planned besides to enter Barcelona, get hold of the person of Don John of Austria and deliver the place to the French, but they spoiled the plot by being in too much of a hurry (No. 144). The French seem to have hesitated over the employment of these men who came to them under such ambiguous circumstances. There was some idea of employing them for Mazarin's designs against the Spanish dominions in Italy (No. 143), but it seems to have been abandoned as Christopher O'Brien, probably a brother of Lord Inchiquin, was not long after offering a levy of 4,000 Irish to the Ambassador Quirini at Madrid, and in August he turned up in Paris to repeat the offer to Sagredo. If not accepted he was prepared to take employment elsewhere. Great indignation was felt in Spain at the conduct of the Irish and for the time at least their market value was greatly depreciated (Nos. 261, 308).
With the victory of the Texel the English had established a definite superiority over the Dutch and the war was virtually decided, though peace did not follow till some months later. Cromwell's obvious desire to put an end to the struggle and make a close alliance with his former adversary was well calculated to alarm the continental powers. He who is master of the sea, said Pope Innocent, makes himself lord of the land as well. It has been so in the past and always will be (No. 248). All the navies of the world would be powerless against the united fleets of England and Holland. Paulucci sounds the note of alarm as early as August, 1653. (fn. 9) The union of the Dutch navy with the English, he says, would place the most gigantic undertakings in England's power. France and Spain, even if they made peace, could never muster a fleet of 300 men of war, such as England and the States together could put on the sea at any time (No. 140). Once peace is made with the Dutch, he writes later, England will care little about the friendship of other powers, and through that alliance she anticipates that she will be able to lay down the law to them, and intends to act as may suit her best against all monarchies (No. 155).
As England would be the predominant partner in such a combination it was everyone's interest to court this formidable new power, which de Haro himself recognised as having risen to be the equal of France and Spain (No. 273). Proudly conscious of their strength the English claimed that other powers must seek their friendship, even if they themselves sent no fully accredited representatives abroad (No. 349). The situation was accepted and foreign powers vied with each other in seeking good relations with the Commonwealth and in sending embassies (No. 194). When Cromwell became Protector congratulations poured in upon him from every quarter, both by letter and by special envoys (No. 236). Some relaxation of this aloofness was then contemplated as according to Fleming, feeling that the foundations of a well regulated state had been solidly laid, they would turn their attention to the despatch of embassies (No. 329). But for the time being nothing was done. Lawrence had gone to Constantinople a year before, with letters for the Sultan and Grand Vizier (No. 167). A few months later John Pell was sent suddenly and quietly to Switzerland (No. 307). He seems to have gone about the same time as the Swiss envoy Stocker returned home. That minister was received with great honour for his work on the peace (No. 225), and possibly Pell went in connection with that event. These with the embassies of Bradshaw and Whitelocke were the only ones sent abroad in the two years.
Both France and Spain dreaded the prospect of an Anglo Dutch peace, though this did not induce them to compound their own quarrel. A union between the two greatest powers of the North hung like a cloud over the dominions of the Catholic king ; but the Spaniards made the best of the matter and claimed to have contributed to the result (No. 227). On the news of its conclusion they sent 50,000 crowns to Cardenas in London and made provision to send 250,000 more (No. 258). Later in the year de Haro was counting on the collapse of Cromwell's power and that the great savage beast would be devouring itself (No. 338).
The continued tension with France seemed to point to an inevitable rupture with that country so soon as England had her hands free. Although Bordeaux was in England to negotiate upon the depredations on English shipping in the past, those depredations continued, especially in the Mediterranean (No. 181), where the Chevalier Paul was particularly busy (No. 184). Boreel complained to the king that the pirates made no distinction in favour of the friends of France and had powerful protectors even in the king's Council (No. 277).
The English retaliated, and with their growing strength at sea, could do so very effectively, so that everything they met under the French flag was seized (No. 224). The situation caused Mazarin great anxiety. In anticipation of an attack he was making fresh efforts to accumulate money, and a royal progress to Rouen was contemplated, to put the province in a state of defence (No. 200). He hoped that Cromwell might be too busy consolidating his possession to have time to do more than lend indirect assistance to the Spaniards (No. 208). At the same time he meant to do everything possible to avoid an open rupture. To this end he sent over M. de Baas with letters and presents (No. 206). This mission was resented by the Council of State as derogatory to the government (No. 221), though Mazarin professed to be satisfied with the result (No. 222).
In reality Cromwell had no confidence in the Cardinal's sincerity. He had already been informed by Fuendalsagna of advances made in that direction (No. 200), and he told Baas roundly that he knew of what was being done at the Hague (No. 221). Matters were not improved when, on a later visit, Baas became involved in a royalist plot. Many Frenchmen were arrested and Mazarin himself was deeply suspected. Cromwell expressed surprise to Bordeaux that his king should still employ the Cardinal, who was an artful promise breaker and a rogue. Bordeaux replied with heat that the ministers employed by his sovereign were as scrupulous and true to their word as any Protector breathing (No. 284).
In this dangerous state of tension the knowledge that the English fleet was now at liberty kept the French in constant apprehension. The coast town garrisons were strengthened (No. 241), and the appearance of a squadron off the coast of Normandy raised the whole province in arms. Under such conditions incidents were certain to occur. There had been a report of a landing in Brittany early in 1654 (No. 211). In April an English squadron captured a fleet of St. Malo merchantmen. The people of the town rose in indignation, intending to massacre all the English in the place ; but the governor succeeded in quelling the excitement by telling the townsmen that if they did as they wished the English would kill every Frenchman in Great Britain (No. 249). In May some English landed at Cancale, as they said, to get water. The country people took alarm, flew to arms and drove them off, capturing two ships. At the French Court they said the ships were pirates and did not belong to the English fleet, but Bordeaux made complaint to Cromwell, who expressed regret but said that if it had happened as stated it was done without the knowledge of himself or the Council (Nos. 260, 263, 267). In October came news that the English had landed in Canada, expelled the French and taken considerable booty, intending to take possession and annex it to the English colonies (No. 334). This was a serious blow to the Parisians, who did a thriving trade there, but Mazarin cared little, as the king was not directly affected (No. 345). Servien denounced the excessive patience of France as pusillanimity (No. 350), but Mazarin persisted through it all in seeking Cromwell's friendship, chiefly because he wished to concentrate all his energies against Spain. He had planned an attack on the Spanish dominions in Italy, the Milanese being his true objective (No. 226). Uncertainty as to Cromwell's intentions paralysed all his plans. The need to be on guard against England compelled him to keep regiments intended for Italy near the Channel coasts (No. 246).
The Dutch peace left Cromwell with an extraordinary prestige in Europe. In the fleet, as developed during the war, he had a weapon the like of which had never been seen before. A homogeneous professional navy, tested in many hard fought actions and led by experienced commanders was a new phenomenon and at the moment it had no rival. At the conclusion of the war some merchantmen were promptly paid off (No. 254). They had probably only been used as auxiliaries, as their value in battle had been discounted since the first actions. There was no thought of disbanding, indeed the dockyards were particularly busy (No. 299). All Europe held its breath to see what Cromwell would do with this mighty weapon. For the moment it did not seem wise to send it far from home, because Cromwell's seat did not seem too secure, and because many thought that the Dutch peace could not last (No. 250), and Holland might need support against the rest of the Provinces. It was also of use diplomatically as a strong incentive to France and Spain to bid against each other for Cromwell's friendship.
It could not be kept idle indefinitely and possible employment for it was a question eagerly discussed from the first. Attention was naturally directed to the Mediterranean from which the English flag had been driven by Vangalen's victory. The Levant Company had suffered so severely through Dutch predominance and French piracy in those waters that it did not feel able to support an ambassador at Constantinople any longer. (fn. 10) The peace offered hopes of better things and in June the Company petitioned Cromwell to take measures to make the sea safe and to protect their trade. He promised to do so and that a squadron should be sent to the Levant (No. 274).
Another call in the same direction came from Venice, sorely pressed in her struggle with the Turk for Crete. The idea of intervening for the Cross against the Crescent seems to have appealed to Cromwell, and Fleming held out hopes to Paulucci of some assistance (No. 228). The holy cause was advocated by preachers and by the public press (No. 267). There was further an account to settle with the Grand Duke of Tuscany for driving the English out of Leghorn to be destroyed by Vangalen (No. 239), the memory of which had been revived by Dutch action in taking an English merchantman in Leghorn harbour in the last days of the war (No. 243).
One of the earliest suggestions was that Blake should take a squadron to chastise the Algerine pirates (No. 247). A squadron assembled in the Downs in June, but its destination was kept secret and its use was a matter for anxious conjecture. A consultation of admirals took place in London at that time (No. 278), and soon after a tax was imposed for the maintenance of the navy for the next six months (No. 284), but the talk then was of a smaller fleet of sixteen sail, commanded by Badiley instead of Blake (No. 284).
The fleet did not actually get away until August, after repeated orders to sail (Nos. 309, 313). This fact and the preceding preparations caused an extraordinary stir. The Grand Duke was supposed to be the party most threatened, and he at once began to take measures for defence, recalling his galleys from Sicily, fortifying Leghorn and disarming the English and French there, sending gunners and German mercenaries to Porto Ferraio and calling out his land forces (Nos. 269, 280, 318, 326). Consolation was derived from the fact that the English at Leghorn were not withdrawing their capital but rather increasing it (No. 356). At Rome the approach of Blake's fleet caused great commotion. Two Cardinals separately represented to the pope the danger to which they were exposed and the utter helplessness of Italy in face of it. The pope admitted the case and said they would have to commend themselves to God (No. 268). To force a somewhat secular pope to place his final trust in Providence was surely one of the most singular triumphs of the Puritan revolution in England. The republic of Venice was deeply interested, hoping to derive some assistance for the war of Candia, but not without anxiety at the possible behaviour of so powerful an auxiliary. The Senate seemed most deeply concerned at a suggestion thrown out by Paulucci that the English had an idea of seizing a suitable harbour in order to establish themselves in the Mediterranean and confirm their sovereignty of the sea (Nos. 313, 331). A report to the same effect had also reached the Grand Duke (No. 326).
The effect of this expedition on the French plans against Naples has been dealt with at length by Sir Julian Corbett. (fn. 11) A few additional particulars may be noted. Guise had staked his credit and fortune on the enterprise ; he said he was resolved to conquer or to die (No. 290). Blake was supposed to have definite orders to attack the Toulon fleet if he met it. The Spaniards certainly hoped for this and had offered Cromwell a million crowns a year to break with France (No. 261). They were unable to cope with the French themselves and relied on England. It was noted with surprise in France that no Spanish force had appeared to oppose the Toulon fleet (No. 298). Actually Blake seems only to have intended to wipe out old scores and deal with the Chevaliers Paul and La Ferriere, because of their depredations on English shipping ; but as the Toulon fleet consisted mainly of their ships, the distinction was not of much practical importance (No. 355).
Owing to these anticipated services Blake was sure of a cordial welcome at Spanish ports. But the Spaniards were not without anxiety. They did not wish Blake to fall in with the Peru fleet (No. 270). They would be glad of an assurance that he meant to be neutral (No. 351), and the Viceroy of Naples was obviously anxious to see the back of him (No. 359). There had been an extraordinary feeling of alarm at Madrid at the news of his sailing (No. 323). They were especially concerned for the safety of San Domingo, the possession of which would close the passage to the Indies. Warnings were sent thither in July and early in October a ship left Cadiz secretly with instructions to the governor and inhabitants to offer the most strenuous defence against an attack (Nos. 295, 323). They were also alarmed by the activity of Bordeaux, whose negotiations were brisker than ever (No. 296), and who was urging the English to attack the Indies, where the Spaniards being assailed in so many quarters by France, could only offer a feeble defence (No. 328). A commercial treaty between England and Portugal also gave them cause for concern (No. 314).
Sought after by both France and Spain, Cromwell was not likely to be modest in his demands. English stock was high because of the rival bidding (No. 273). Claims were therefore pressed for services rendered at Dunkirk, and for the immediate payment to merchants of money advanced for levies (No. 309). For these last claims letters of marque had been issued after some hesitation (No. 323). For the ratification of the treaty Cromwell demanded free navigation to the Indies and the payment of the debt for the levies (No. 325). De Haro professed to believe that Cromwell was not likely to contemplate an attack on the Indies, and would more probably devote his attention to supporting Holland against the rest of the Provinces. But the danger was considered sufficient to warrant the sending of the Marquis of Lede to England on a special mission (No. 296). The Spaniards even encouraged talk of a marriage between Don John of Austria and one of Cromwell's daughters (No. 311).
The steps by which Venice came to recognise the Protectorate have been dealt with fully elsewhere. (fn. 12) Other matters of minor importance call for a brief reference. Charles hoped that the war would serve his interests ; and Rupert and Maurice proposed to unite their squadron with the Dutch fleet. They had permission to fly the king's flag, but the Dutch were not inclined to make any treaty with Charles, as they did not wish to put any difficulties in the way of peace (No. 71). The Princes had been expected to join Vangalen in the Mediterranean (No. 6), but nothing came of all these projects. The reckless offers of Charles to the Dutch have been mentioned. (fn. 13) He hoped that Pauw's death would make them more friendly to him (No. 75), but was again disappointed. In September, 1653, the Scottish insurgents sent delegates to the Hague, asking for help. The Dutch offered to convey the king to Scotland and give him help, but Charles was not attracted, suspecting that the Dutch might sell him as the Scots had sold his father (No. 158). Among other appeals for help Charles had sent Wilmot to Ratisbon. The envoy enlarged upon the internal dissensions of England, the numerous adherents of his master and his inclination to become a Catholic, as well as of his devotion to the emperor's interests, but he failed to make any impression (No. 41).
In February, 1653, parliament had the duke of Gloucester transported to Dunkirk. He was paid 12,000l. down and had permission to go where he pleased, but must not return to England upon pain of death (Nos. 56, 62). He joined his mother at Paris in May (No. 110). She wished to have him brought up a Catholic, but Charles sent the duke of Ormonde to prevent this, representing that it would prejudice the chances of a restoration (No. 345).
In his efforts to propitiate Cromwell Mazarin decided that Charles must leave France. Hints were gently conveyed that he should go to his cousin the Palatine in Germany (No. 226). As this produced no effect the king was told more pointedly that his temporary absence was desirable for the resumption of friendly relations with England, which were so necessary to France. It would be to his own ultimate advantage, as if a crisis occurred in England they would be in a better position to advance his rights. Charles took these hints rather amiss, but bowed to necessity (No. 229). He left in July for Spa, with an escort of 100 horse, after receiving a present of 100 doubloons. Bordeaux was instructed to inform the Protector at once and make the most of it as a mark of the esteem of the king of France. French popular sympathies were entirely with the exile (No. 288).
Some light is thrown on important questions of finance. The difficulty of raising money for the war was greatly enhanced because the promises made by the government were not fulfilled. The question of giving better security to creditors was taken up by the long parliament towards the end of its career and was one of the first things to which Cromwell attended after its dissolution (Nos. 36, 112). He appointed a committee to enquire into the matter and proposed to pay by allotments of land in Ireland (No. 121). Paulucci states that the war was carried on at small cost to the people (No. 76), and every effort was made to avoid laying the smallest possible burden upon them (No. 86). The amount levied by taxation was relatively trifling, but such burdens had never been imposed in the past and they were much resented (Nos. 140, 142). One of Cromwell's principal reforms as Protector was the abolition of the old system of tax collecting and the appointment of a single receiver general to whom all public moneys were to be paid (No. 287).
Among miscellaneous items mention may be made of a proposal to ransom the English slaves in Barbary in order to man the fleet (No. 184) ; the invention by a Frenchman of a mechanical device for ramming ships, which he demonstrated, unsuccessfully, at Rotterdam before a large crowd (No. 197) ; a statement that Catholicism was gaining ground in London and that two days were set apart in parliament to discuss the matter (No. 334) ; that Henry Cromwell was secretly devoted to the memory of the late king and to the royal family (No. 337) ; that the French had a natural inclination to piracy (No. 350) ; the vote of a gold chain to Thomas Middleton for the gallant service of himself and his ship in the Venetian fleet (No. 5). The probability that Andrew Marvel appears in these pages as Cromwell's secretary is discussed in a footnote. (fn. 14) If this is correct some interesting particulars will be added to the poet's biography. Another fleeting appearance is that of Sir Kenelm Digby, if he may be identified with the queen's secretary, mentioned by Paulucci on 2 July, 1654 (No. 284).
In the preceding volume of this Calendar, (fn. 15) in connection with Ascham's murder at Madrid, mention is made of a medal found on the body with the legend "XII obstricti, Newark, MDCXLVI." This was represented as proving that he was one of the chief conspirators against the king's life. Since the volume was published I have seen a specimen of a shilling coined by the royalists during the siege of Newark in 1646. I have very little doubt that the "medal" found on Ascham was a piece of this coinage, that "obstricti" was a conjectural enlargement of "obs" and that the alleged conspirators were merely halfpence.