Venice
August 1650

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1927

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152-154

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'Venice: August 1650', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 28: 1647-1652 (1927), pp. 152-154. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89695 Date accessed: 21 October 2014.


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August 1650

Aug. 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
417. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The fleet of the English parliament, numbering 36 sail, which was off the coast of Portugal to give battle to Prince Rupert, was forced by a great storm to enter the Lisbon channel. They made a strong appeal to the king for leave to go farther up, as the roadstead where they lay did not seem quite safe. They promised to behave with complete discretion and not put to sea without his Majesty's permission. The king granted their request and they were not only allowed to go farther up, but received presents of refreshments as well, as a mark of esteem and good will. When the storm abated the whole squadron weighed anchor by night, without giving the slightest warning and most unfairly began to stop all vessels bound for Lisbon, including 3 Frenchmen, two Dutchmen and an Englishman. This conduct exasperated the king and alarmed his Council, as they feared lest a ship expected from the Indies with a cargo worth two millions, might share the fate of the others. However, by chance or the skill of its commander, this vessel had the good fortune to get under the guns of the castle, although it was chased and fired on by the English squadron. Being thus disappointed, the English commander sent to the king demanding the surrender of three ships in Prince Rupert's fleet, on the plea that they belonged to the parliament of England and had been taken when on a voyage with merchandise and separated from the rest. The king returned a positive refusal, saying that Prince Rupert was not his subject and he could not compel him to make the surrender, especially as he had promised him protection. On receiving this answer, the English sent to declare war in the name of the parliament of England, and at the same time wrote home for reinforcements of ships and men, as they intended to go in quest of the great fleet from the Indies and attack it. This intimation was unexpected at Lisbon, but it did not intimidate the Council, which met at once and boldly resolved to furnish Prince Rupert with funds for the outfit of 15 ships. They hope that by a junction with the Indian fleet, which may number 26 large vessels, they may be able to surround the English squadron and defeat it, To this end they have despatched a number of barques, not only to convey the tidings to the Indies, but to order the seizure of all English property in those parts, which is of no small amount. They have also arrested all British subjects in Portugal, although the parliament's resident (fn. 1) avoided this mischance by disguising himself, and he is supposed to have got on board the squadron.
While matters were in this state there happened to be a large French man of war in the Tagus, about to come out. It was sent to fetch the Bishop of Coimbra, ambassador designate to this Court, (fn. 2) and the commander, to avoid mistakes, sent word to the English that the vessel was not Portuguese, but belonged to the king of France and was to serve for the passage of an ambassador. The English replied that it was all one to them, and they did not know his master. If he put to sea they would treat him as he deserved, arresting the ambassador, and that the subjects of France and Portugal would be treated by them with the greatest severity.
In addition to this news it is reported that the English have captured three more French ships in sight of St. Malo. Coupling this with a letter written by the king of Spain to parliament, acknowledging its authority, they are inclined to believe here that his Majesty has formed a secret alliance with England, or that, in the hope of doing so, he has induced the parliament to attack Portugal. The facts are undoubtedly as reported by me, but your Serenity will probably have received full particulars from the Ambassador Basadonna.
Chambord, the 2nd August, 1650.
[Italian.]
Aug. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
418. Pietro Basadonna, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Prince Rupert is still blockaded in the Tagus, indeed the parliament squadron is understood to have received such reinforcements that the Portuguese, in alarm, have recalled all their troops from the frontiers, leaving the borders of Castile without any defence whatever, although this piece of good fortune is not seized upon for lack of hands to take it.
Madrid, the 10th August, 1640.
[Italian.]
Aug. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
419. The Sieur De La Haye, French Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge.
I am sure that the First Vizier Mansul has asked for twenty ships from the English parliamentary ambassador here and that he has promised them. As opportunity serves I will not fail to pass on to his Excellency Sig. Riva all the information that I consider is likely to be useful to him in the present eventualities.
Constantinople, the 13th August, 1650.
[Italian, from the French ; deciphered.]
Aug. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
420. Pietro Basadonna, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The courier has returned from London with news that parliament has taken little notice of the death of its minister, either because it is accustomed to such misfortunes or from a determination to maintain a good understanding with this crown. Indeed, since they learned about the murder they have received Cardenas as ambassador, whereas previously he only figured as minister, and they have appointed other envoys to come to Spain. (fn. 3)
Here the Apostolic vicar has decreed that the sanctuary of the church is valid for the English prisoners, and as their plea is universally acknowledged it is supposed that they will shortly be restored to the church and that the attorney general will not appeal to any other tribunal, particularly as no necessity exists for giving satisfaction to the parliament which is already tranquil and convinced.
Madrid, the 25th August, 1650.
[Italian.]
Aug. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
421. Pietro Basadonna, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The last advices from Cadiz report an engagement between the two English fleets in the Tagus. They state that Prince Rupert made some fire ships, and his squadron being strengthened with other smaller craft, he took advantage of the tide to attack the parliament fleet, which he worsted completely, destroying 28 ships, certainly the most powerful now afloat. Other letters say that the greater part escaped, while a third account represents losses on both sides. The Council of State here is very anxious to receive the true account, as it hoped that a part, if not the whole of the parliament squadron would have gone to succour the Bordelais, and I know that they had already sent some one to concert arrangements with the general, while making him a present of jewels of considerable value.
Madrid, the 30th August, 1650.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Charles Vane, appointed by the Council of State to be agent to Portugal, on the 29th January preceding. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1649-50, page 496.
2 Sebastian Cesar de Menezes.
3 This seems premature ; it was on 25 February, 1651, that parliament resolved to send one or more ambassadors to Spain Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. VI, page 541.