22. To the Resident at Florence.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 18th and 25th ult.
We have to inform you that an individual has arrived in this
city sent by the English general. In an entirely proper manner
he has asked permission to make use of the ships of his nation
which are not in our service. You will see by the enclosed copy
the reply which we decided to give him.
Ayes, 144. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
23. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
On the confirmation this week of the Dutch success against
Blach's fleet, which has obliged parliament to suspend sending
the twenty ships to reinforce their squadron in the Mediterranean,
General Vangalen has allowed a merchant in Leghorn to hire
out a powerful ship for six months. This shows the great advantage
which he has over the English in these waters.
Florence, the 1st February, 1652. [M.V.]
24. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
The mail has not yet come so I have not yet received your
instructions about the recovery of your property. I am told
that for all offices and emergencies I shall have access to the
commissioners appointed to the Council of State, like the other
foreign ministers, on applying to the secretary to the Council.
A paper is presented in the language of the applicant and submitted
with a translation into English, this involves the communication
to others of all questions, no matter how important.
But that is the way here and I must follow it ; indeed the constitution
of the present government differs in many respects
from that of all others and this also causes their business to be
transacted slowly and in disorder to the detriment of the state.
In the discussion of the questions laid before parliament excitement
frequently becomes intense, and decisions are delayed
because the questions are discussed in speeches and decided
by a majority of votes ; so irresolution and delay need cause no
surprise and that decisions are more often than not adjourned in
order to avoid occasion for dispute. Even the movements of
the fleet have been affected by this state of things, and its sailing
is still delayed.
The soldiers and sailors are not yet well reconciled. Of the
latter as many as can desert, and the whole navy displays a
mutinous spirit and a disinclination to obey Colonel Monch.
That officer although without much experience of naval command,
has superseded General Arcus, who has found colourable excuses
to escape the service, to the satisfaction of himself and the public
as well. (fn. 2) But the national honour and necessity require that
a great part if not the whole of the fleet shall put to sea, as intended,
to break the blockade to which it is now subjected by
the great numbers of the enemy's ships. This invention of the
government will receive a great stimulus from petitions about
to be presented by inn keepers and other tradesmen that means
may be devised for the provisioning of this city which is suffering
from scarcity because the chief approaches are guarded by the
enemy. So a bold decision must be taken soon both for the
relief of the population here and for the honour of the forces
The ablest members of the government have succeeded in
quieting the military by promising every possible satisfaction
upon their claims and by granting a great part if not the whole
of them. The chief point. viz., the dissolution and reform of
parliament, appears to have been conceded and it is thought
that this will be done, at last, although the chief object is to
quiet the military and postpone any decision. If the question
were settled now it could not fail to injure the most important
interests of the State ; so it will be delayed to the uttermost.
Meanwhile the military are kept in as good an humour as possible
and it is not beyond belief that a round sum of money has been
distributed among their most influential leaders. The truth is
that this fire, although damped down, may rekindle and blaze
out suddenly more fiercely than ever, unless some expedient be
devised for extinguishing it utterly.
M. de Bordeaux has frequent audience of the Council of State
and although curiosity is on the alert about his negotiations, it
has not yet been possible to learn their drift. I understand on
good authority that he is trying to make peace between the
two countries and to re-establish their commercial intercourse
as well as to recover the ships which were taken in the attempt
to relieve Dunkirk. On this side they assure him of a similar
desire and announce their readiness to give up the ships provided
France does the same by all the English ships in her
An envoy has lately arrived from Hamburg and will reside
here in ordinary to uphold the privileges claimed by the men
of Hamburg and Lubeck for their ships and to do his utmost
towards the recovery of their goods which were taken by the
parliament ships. (fn. 3)
It is just announced that the Dutch have landed in the Scilly
islands for plunder and perhaps with the intention of fortifying
themselves there, but I cannot vouch for the truth of this
Asks for a supply of money, as is in debt for almost the whole
of January and is living on credit ; at the start was obliged to
apply to his father for what was required for his clothes and
London, the 1st February, 1653.
Postscript :—Has just received the letter of the 26th with
news of what has happened at Venice about the English ships.
Will use this only in case of need or if so instructed.
25. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
I am forwarding Pauluzzi's letters containing the reply given
by parliament to your Serenity. I have seen a letter in the
hands of a correspondent of that same parliament expressing
peculiar appreciation of the courteous manner of Pauluzzi's
office, carried out in accordance with the state instructions,
and the desire of that commonwealth to draw closer the bonds
of confidential relations and a perfect understanding with your
This same correspondent is an intimate friend of my own
and he showed me the exposition of M. de Bordeaux to that
parliament, with their reply to his proposals. On the plea of
their great length I induced him to let me have both these papers
so that I might read them more at my ease. I made a copy of
which I enclose a translation into Italian. It is clear from this
that although that minister was sent ostensibly to obtain the
restitution of ships, their real intention was to try and institute
a friendly understanding between France and England, which
if it did not serve to win their good will might at least succeed
in preventing further mischief.
Paris, the 3rd February, 1653.
26. Statement of M. de Bordeaux to Parliament. (fn. 4)
The king of France, my master, has sent me to assure you of
his friendship. The union which should exist between neighbouring
states is not impaired by the form of government.
England may have substituted a republic for a monarchy, but
it remains in the same place, and the people of the two countries
are always neighbours, linked by commercial ties. The king
of France has sent me for the maintenance of so necessary a
union and to lodge his complaint for the capture of the ships
sent to relieve Dunkirk. He does not feel that he has given
any cause for the issue of letters of reprisal against France.
The application of these has been defined in peace treaties, and
is reserved for those who may have had justice denied them
allowing them to avenge themselves on the property of individuals ;
but it is unheard of for any nation to extend this
practice to the property of a sovereign, its confederate, or to
employ the forces of the state to put it in execution, otherwise
there would be no difference between letters of reprisal and a
declaration of war. Seeing that the loss of the French ships
redounded chiefly to the advantage of Spain, his Majesty is
willing to attribute the attack solely to secret intrigues of the
common enemy. The Spaniards are this since they try to separate
you from your old allies and to involve you in war with all your
neighbours, to further their own interests and make you incapable
of dispensing with their help. Their ambitions and
principles should render you suspicious of the excessive zeal
with which they sought your friendship.
The king of France is not led to make this demand for reparation
in the present manner by fear of increasing the number
of his enemies, but by the wish to preserve the good will of those
whom he has believed to be his friends. History shows that
France has nothing to fear but her own forces. Her non-interference
in your own civil commotions proves his Majesty's
loyalty to his allies, though he was urged to intervene. He
proved his acceptance of the change here by sending you demonstrations
of friendship after the battle of Rethel, and I confirm
these sentiments, now that he has extinguished the fire which
threatened the total ruin of the kingdom. He feels sure that
parliament will consider the treaties existing between the two
countries and the advantage of maintaining them, and in their
own interest will remove the cause of offence by restoring the
ships. This is what I have come to demand and to assure parliament
that his Majesty will not fail to right all Englishmen who
may have fair claims against his subjects. On receiving the
satisfaction which is his due, he will embrace every opportunity
for cultivating a perfect understanding between the two states.
[Italian, from the French.]
|27. Reply of Parliament to M. de Bordeaux, envoy of the
Most Christian King.
Parliament has received the letters from the king of France
dated at Paris the 2nd December, 1652, with the credentials of
M. de Bordeaux. They are gratified by his Majesty's expressions
of friendship and by his desire to maintain a close alliance between
the two nations. They intend to do the same since there
is nothing more glorious than to cherish peace and friendship
with all their neighbours. The interruption of the good understanding
with France cannot fail to be highly injurious to both
parties, as shown by the breaking off of trade, caused by the
piracies of the French in the Mediterranean and elsewhere,
his Majesty's own ships having captured and plundered the
merchants of England, who were forced to yield as to an enemy.
Parliament was obliged to seek redress for such losses, having
tried gentle means in vain. Thus they ordered their admiral
to reciprocate by reprisals on French ships and merchandise,
with the intention that if any opportunity arose the differences
might be arranged and a settlement effected. They are always
ready for this to the mutual advantage of both nations.
28. Polo Vendramin, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the
Doge and Senate.
The captains of the English ships, who were imprisoned, as
I wrote, have since been released, on condition that they should
cause the Dutch ship to be brought back to the port. This has
been done and by order of the governor it has been disarmed,
all its sails removed and a Spanish guard put on board.
Naples, the 4th February, 1653.
29. To the Resident at Florence.
Enclose a report of what happened at Zante between English
and Dutch ships. The republic's representatives did what
they could to prevent the ship being carried off. He will take
occasion to inform the English commanders in those parts of
this circumstance. He will also, with proper tact pass an office
of remonstrance with General Vangalen or some other person
upon the behaviour of their ships, and prefer a request for the
restitution of what has been taken away.
Ayes, 93. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
30. To the Ambassador in France.
By the last despatch received from the Proveditore of the
Three Islands we learn that an English frigate named the William
was at Zante lading merchandise. While she was thus engaged
two Dutch vessels made their appearance in those waters, and
be remaining several days cruising about (su i bordi) (fn. 5) in sight
of the island, clearly showed that their intention was to capture
the frigate in question. The Proveditore Molino, perceiving
what was in their mind endeavoured by his offices to prevent any
scandal. He obtained ample promises from the commanders of
the two ships that they would refrain absolutely from committing
any outrage upon enemy ships in the ports of the republic. But
the results corresponded ill with these emphatic promises, as
in defiance of their pledged word, of all right and propriety the
Dutch made themselves masters of the English frigate by force,
taking no heed of the guns fired from the fortress and from the
general's galley stationed in the port, and carried off their booty,
with excess of licentious audacity.
We desire you to send the particulars of this affair to Pauluzzi,
so that in conversation with Fleming or other confidants he may
make them see how honourably the republic acted. No more
could be done, as they even went so far as to fire the guns. You
should also see the ambassador of the States and inform him of
the breach of faith committed by their commandant, remonstrating
gently. You will urge him to obtain, orders from his
government to prevent such acts, as well as for the restitution
of the booty, to prevent worse consequences.
Ayes, 93. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
31. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 6)
Nothing has been said about the English ships serving Venice,
but as I expect to have audience this evening or to-morrow about
the seizure of your property, I will take any opportunity that
may occur to serve the state.
It is now confidently stated that instead of the whole fleet
60 well armed ships will put to sea at the earliest possible moment,
that force being considered sufficient to raise the blockade and
to engage no matter what hostile force. Even this measure may
be delayed until the spring, when the English by going out in
full force may expect to find the Dutch ships and crews deteriorated
by their long service through the winter and by the
consumption of a great part of their provisions. They think
that this hypothetical advantage may make up for their present
mastery at sea. Such is at least the inference drawn from the
prolonged stay of the English fleet in the Thames. Considering
the state of affairs the need for its putting to sea and that for
the honour of the navy it should have done so before this, the
explanation seems plausible. At any rate, the delay continues,
but both soldiers and sailors are punctually paid and kept in
good humour, while the two services are now practically reconciled.
As matters stand the government think that a great point
has been gained by quieting the military. Besides the promises
reported their outcry against the supporters of the present war
has drawn down reproof and threats upon the principal authors,
who were on the point of being expelled from their control of
the government. But this was only a show as to have carried
it into effect would have ruined the public service, since the
expulsion of the 8 or 10 who chiefly instigated the present rupture
would have meant the dismissal of the men on whose shoulders
the entire weight of the most important affairs of state actually
It becomes increasingly apparent that M. de Bordeaux's
operations may tend to negotiations for a reconciliation of the
two nations under cover of establishing a friendly understanding.
The assiduity of his offices and the credit he enjoys with the
rulers here strengthen this impression, although he denies it
absolutely, and his business is conducted with extraordinary
secrecy. Be that as it may, the honour of England and her
determination to have a fleet ready in the spring will make her
insist that the enemy must make the first overtures. Even if
an adjustment is arranged many think that it must be preceded
by a decisive sea fight. Some of the members of the government
say openly that the English fleet must first of all wipe out
the last defeat. So although the desire for peace may be mutual
the point of honour delays or suspends its fulfilment. I hear on
good authority that M. de Bordeaux has received credentials
appointing him ambassador. If this is true it goes to confirm
the above, and he would then be entitled to other forms of
audience and reception.
The proclamation against the religious, which I reported, was
aimed at the increasing power of the Presbyterians in parliament.
For the same purpose a resolution has been passed in the form
of a letter delivered by the Master of the Ceremonies to all the
foreign ministers, asking them not to allow any English, Scottish
or Irish Catholic to enter their houses for the purpose of attending
divine service, as to do so would be a violation of the laws of
England and a universal scandal. At first this step was resented,
especially by the Catholic ambassador, whose house during the
15 years of his stay here has been more frequented than any
other. He expressed his intention to remonstrate, but after
considering the matter and that parliament would exact obedience
by force, he decided to submit like his colleagues ; so he only
opens his chapel to foreigners, excluding all the English Catholics
who had been in the habit of hearing mass there.
An envoy from parliament with the title of secretary (fn. 7) has
gone over from Hamburg to Denmark to find out the real intentions
of the king and to try for the release of the ships. The
last advices report his arrival and a gracious reception, but
little hope of recovering the ships. On returning from audience
his coachman was insulted and even beaten by the rabble, so
he lodged a complaint and goes abroad less often than at first,
although the king showed the greatest alacrity about punishing
the insolence and promised every satisfaction to the secretary
and the best possible treatment during his stay.
Acknowledges letters of the 1st inst. and a remittance of 500
livres Tournois, with which the debt of January will be paid.
London, the 8th February, 1653.
32. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Two days ago I spoke to the Grand Duke about making
representations to prevent the English withdrawing their ships
from the republic's fleet. He pointed out the humiliation to
which the English are exposed owing to the present inferiority of
their forces in these waters to those of the Dutch, and the doubtfulness
and practical hopelessness that they will now receive
the expected reinforcement from London. That General Bobler
is also apprehensive that owing to the scant satisfaction that is
given to the Spanish ambassador by parliament over the money
pertaining to that crown, which is detained, the Viceroy of
Naples may resolve to seek an indemnity out of the cargoes of
the rich ships which have been staying such a long time at Porto
Longone. So he has had them withdrawn from there and sent
them to Porto Ferraio. He has also discontinued the despatch
by land to London, which he used to practise, of the silk and
goats' hair, because it would have to pass through the territory
of Spain and he is afraid that the royal ministers may make
reprisals upon it.
This English general is reduced to 16 ships only, divided
between Leghorn and Porto Ferraio, and the numbers of his sailors
are so reduced that he has no more than 500 left, in all. With
the goods landed at the Lazaretto and those which still remain
on board the ships, it is reckoned that the value of the property
amounts to two millions. It is almost all silk and goats' hair.
These are so necessary for the maintenance of the arts in London
that the government there, fearing that if the people were deprived
of them there would be so much indignation as might
lead to some disturbance, have sent instructions for arrangements
to be made to send them overland, no matter what the cost.
Vangalen on the other hand has 26 smart and powerful ships,
full of sailors and soldiers. Of the former he is expecting any
day the arrival from Holland of 400 more, and he sends daily
to enlist the latter at Toulon. For the expenses, which amount
to 70,000 pieces of eight a month, he has orders from the States
to cause payment to be made punctually in cash by their consul
The Grand Duke is anxiously awaiting the return of the courier
he sent to London. He confided to me that he thinks he will
be obliged in the end to make some declaration in favour of
the Dutch, since the English have never chosen even to carry
out the sentence of the Viceroy of Naples and restore the frigate
they carried off. They are a people who at present are in need
of everything, yet so proud that they despise every body as
their acts clearly prove.
Meanwhile the mart of Leghorn rejoices in the gold which is
poured into it daily by both nations, who provide themselves
there with all they require.
Three rich ships from Amsterdam and one from Smyrna have
recently arrived there, all of them Dutch. As against this the
French privateers, sailing from Toulon, have captured two English
ships, with salt fish.
Florence, the 8th February, 1652. [M.V.]
33. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
We hear from Holland that the States have agreed to declare
the little prince of Orange their general on condition that he
shall not begin to discharge the duties of the post before he is
16 years of age. At the same time constant and secret conferences
are observed to take place between the Spanish ambassador and
the States General. Most intelligent people believe that the
ambassador does this designedly in order to render the English
apprehensive and prevent them from accepting the proposals
made to them by the French and Portuguese. Absolute confirmation
has reached Holland of the objection of the queen of
Sweden to any alliance with the Dutch.
Paris, the 11th February, 1653.
34. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
My predecessor Moresini, before the advances to parliament
were set on foot, visited the queen of England, aunt to the king.
I have avoided doing the same because with the king and queen in
the same residence, I should thereby have acted in contravention
of what is being done in England and of the confidential relations
which your Excellencies are cultivating with the parliament there.
Paris, the 11th February, 1653.
35. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Germany,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish ambassador in Holland devotes all his efforts to
turn the Dutch away from negotiations with the French. He
promises them every favour from the Catholic and assures them
that the peace will be carried out. The States suspect that
at bottom the Spaniards side with the English and favour them,
as the Spanish ambassador in Sweden (fn. 8) procured the alliance of
Sweden with England and perhaps gave the impulse to the Swedes
to undertake the invasion of Denmark, which is announced
with 20,000 men, all on a sudden, in order to oblige the Dutch
to assist Denmark in conjunction with them.
An ambassador of the king of England (fn. 9) has put in an
appearance at Ratisbon and was introduced with the coaches of
the Elector Palatine of Heidelberg. He keeps himself incognito
and is waiting for a pronouncement from the emperor as to the
capacity in which his Majesty will receive him, whether as
ambassador or deputy, being ready to conform to his Majesty's
good pleasure in the matter.
Prague, the 12th February, 1653.
36. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 10)
To test the goodwill of the rulers here I asked for audience,
and on Friday evening in last week I went to the palace, where
three councillors appointed for the purpose met me. We all
stood uncovered, and after some complimentary remarks I said
I felt sure they would make an exception in favour of the English
ships serving Venice, and then referred to the memorial I presented
about your Excellency's property. Sir [Oliver] Fleming
translated my remarks and then told me on behalf of the councillors
that they would inform the Council of what I said and
I should hear the result.
The form adopted was complimentary though not what is
conceded to foreign ministers. Meanwhile I must await their
pleasure, though as regards the ships I understand there is no
intention of prejudicing the public service. If anything has
been attempted by those at Venice it may be chiefly attributed to
a desire to go beyond the orders of the rulers here for the Mediterranean,
and possibly this course may also have been adopted
to force the most serene republic to give greater satisfaction in
the matter of recognition. I trust now they will reciprocate
better, of which there are increasing signs, especially as nothing
whatever has been said to me so far about what happened
recently at Venice about the ships on either side, and I have
not said a word.
They promise to make amends about your Excellency's property
and have ordered a strict enquiry as to what has become
of it. If it is not recovered they hold out hopes of full compensation.
There is nothing for it but patience. The vital interests
now at stake make them glad to protract less important business.
I hope for good results as they are evidently anxious for a real
correspondence, and they are impatiently waiting to see what
the state will do in response to the parliament's letter.
The commissioners who left to hasten the sailing of a powerful
squadron are not yet returned. This leads to the surmise that
matters are not so forward as they should be, although orders
have been frequent and positive, or else that the spirit of the
captains and sailors, especially, is not what the government
looked for. This is a source of great anxiety, as at this moment
the country relies chiefly on her seamen, on whose fidelity she
cannot depend, as the occasion requires. A great outcry has
been raised because a mutineer, who refused to serve and threatened
to fire his ship was put to death in an arbitrary manner
by General Blach. This has so irritated the sailors that some
of them are said to have gone over by night to the enemy, with
whom both the Scots and Irish maintain a close correspondence.
Efforts are being made to induce a better spirit by means of
punctual pay and other allurements, but meanwhile the sailing
of the squadron is delayed, although the enemy is at a distance
and it might be done without impediment. If the news is
confirmed of a reinforcement of 50 sail for the Dutch fleet, which
though numerous is exhausted from having been out so long,
it is possible that the English will again postpone their sailing,
in order to go out with a stronger force than had been originally
intended. A very short time will show. At any rate neither
side will listen to overtures for peace until after an engagement.
The honour of England requires this and although peace is
what the English at heart most desire, this point of honour
coupled with the reliance placed in what they represent as an
overwhelming force, makes them dissemble and display extraordinary
Their efforts to raise money are incessant. They are trying
to raise considerable sums on the property of the late king,
long intended for sale, and on that of the queen and princes
and of those accused as delinquents. To overcome the difficulties
in the way they are trying to induce the richest capitalists
and the wealthiest of the city companies to furnish a public
loan ; but as both have learned by experience that the promises
made them by the government are not fulfilled, they are
reluctant to accept the invitation. Accordingly parliament lately
considered it expedient to propose measures if not for the
immediate repayment at least for the security of the money lent
to the Commonwealth during the past wars.
To implore the Divine aid in the present emergencies ashore
and afloat parliament spent all last Monday in listening to double
and treble sermons and in offering up prayers and humbling
themselves. They intend to set apart one day soon for the
exact observance of similar exercises all over England.
Encloses account of expenses for January, which is met by a
good part of the last supply of money. Acknowledges letters
of the 7th with instructions about the ships.
London, the 15th February, 1653.
37. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch and English in these waters are inspired by such
constant enmity that they no longer consider anything but the
gratification of their revenges. General Vangalen, although
made much of by the Grand Duke, in revenge for the frigate taken
by the English, has caused 50 cases of tin to be carried away by
main force in the port of Leghorn from a French vessel, destined
for Smyrna. The tin had been laded by Charles Longland,
minister of the parliament and the Dutch general declared
that he captured this as the property of enemies and he did not
consider that by this action he was lacking in respect for the port
of the Grand Duke since the English had been the first to violate
it. The Grand Duke is vexed but he has not yet decided what
to do. He is inclined to dissemble until the return of the courier
The captain of the Sant' Andrea, which arrived on Tuesday
from Barletta reports that the 5 English ships had sailed out
of the port of Naples from fear of receiving some affront from
the Viceroy. While sailing in the direction of Zante they captured
a Dutch ship which was proceeding from Apulia with
grain for your Excellencies. After passing the light-house of
Messina, they fell in with 5 Dutch ships, two warships and three
merchantmen, who were bringing with them the English frigate
recently carried off from the port of Zante. A battle ensued
between them which lasted a long time. (fn. 11) In the end the English
drew off and the Dutch entered Messina.
Perceiving by this news that the intention of the English was
to unite their ships from Naples with those of Elba and the others
in the port of Venice, General Vangalen resolved to do his utmost
to prevent this junction. He determined to sail that same
night with only one other ship in his company, with the intention
of swelling his numbers on the voyage, almost the whole
of his great squadron being abroad in a number of places. But
a few hours later both his own ship and its consort ran aground
on the sands of Val de Vetri, and although the Dutch consul
at Leghorn promptly dispatched twenty tartane to his assistance,
we understand that the flagship is a wreck (fn. 12) and they will be
lucky if they save its companion. It looks as if the English
mean to take advantage of this accident. They are all in movement
and consultations and they at once sent out a fire ship
they have here for the purpose of making some attempt, especially
as no more than four Dutch ships of war are left in
the port of Leghorn.
Florence, the 15th February, 1652. [M.V.]
38. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch ambassador paid me a visit this week. After
other matters he went on to tell me that an alliance against
England has been arranged between the king of Denmark and
Holland. Although the replies from Sweden did not at present
seem favourable to such a union, yet they had not given up
hope of it, and by pressing the negotiations with that queen
without remission they hoped to persuade her in the end that
it would be to her own advantage to join. The state had forbidden,
under severe penalties, any Dutch merchant to invest
his capital in goods of any kind whose place of origin was England.
To obtain supplies of tin they had sent to Poland, so that they
might not be dependent on the English parliament for anything.
Those who disobeyed would have their ships and cargoes confiscated.
His masters were more determined than ever to prosecute
the war for the vindication of their just rights.
Paris, the 18th February, 1653.
39. Polo Vendramin, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the
Doge and Senate.
The English ships which left this port fell in with some Dutch
ones in the waters of Spartivento. A fierce engagement ensued
and after a cruel and prolonged battle necessity called for a
truce, and both sides were constrained to take refuge together
at Messina in order to make their repairs. The Dutch vessels
were seven in number and shortly before they had captured an
English ship which was sailing from Smyrna, laden with a
quantity of merchandise. The quarrel between these two nations
imposes inconveniences on trade here and on this city. It suffers
from time to time in the matter of feast and fast days as happened
recently with the capture of an English ship which was on its
way to these waters with a cargo of Lenten comestibles.
Naples, the 18th February, 1653.
40. Andrea Corner, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the
Doge and Senate.
Divers French and English ships have arrived at the port and
more recently an English war ship, the Bonaventura, has come.
The French are afraid that they may be molested by the English
ship. To prevent any sort of prejudice to this mart I sent for
the consul and leading merchants of the English nation. I
pointed out to them that the owners of the goods laded in the
ships San Iseppo and Stessa are Venetians, though the ships
are worked by French sailors, but this is because Venetian subjects
are not allowed to proceed to the dominions of the Turk
on account of the war. I induced them to promise that they
would not molest the ships.
Zante, the 8th February, 1652, old style.
41. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Germany,
to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of the king of England has not so far disclosed
his credentials, but he is engaged in making the acquaintance
of the ministers. He talks about the internal divisions
of England, of the numerous adherents of the king, his master,
of his inclination to become a Catholic, but above all of his
intention to stand always united with the emperor and to act
in conformity with his interests. These assertions fail to make
any impression and we hear nothing of any move touching the
relief of that king.
Prague, the 19th February, 1653.
42. To the Ambassador in France.
We note in Paulucci's letters the enquiry of one of the councillors
as to whether the English minister at Constantinople had
supplied English ships to the Turks, and if so that they would
have resolute orders sent to put a stop to this. You will direct
Paulucci to express to Fleming our appreciation of this office
and add that they may promise themselves a cordial response from
this side. With regard to the facts, it is true that in past years
some English ships have served the Turks, but there is no indication
whatever that this will take place in the present year.
At the same time it cannot fail to be extremely helpful that
an order should be issued to that minister that from henceforth
he shall not permit this mischief to take place. To root it out
altogether will not only tend to the benefit of Christendom but
will redound no less to the honour and reputation of the English
name and earn them well merited praise.
Ayes, 96. Noes, 0. Neutral, 5.
43. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti. Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
I have performed my office with Charles Longland, the English
parliamentary minister, about the English frigate which was
carried off from Zante by two Dutch ships. Upon the report
brought by the courier from London, which did not prove
entirely satisfactory, his Highness decided to despatch the Secretary
Montemagno to Leghorn to make a satisfactory settlement
with Vangalen about the frigate surprised by the English in
Leghorn. (fn. 13) But I fancy it will be no easy matter to arrive at
an adjustment, because the orders of their High Mightinesses
are that they will not receive money or any other compensation,
while the English general lets it be understood that he is not
prepared to consider any such proposal.
Florence, the 22nd February, 1652. [M.V.]
44. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 14)
Since my last I have not heard from the Council of State,
but I am assured that the ships will not be recalled, and they
would like to give more help. The owners would suffer as they
might easily lose the arrears due to them for hire. I will also
do my utmost to overcome the difficulties in the matter of your
lordship's property. I may say that the Muscovy Company
here, to a large extent the same as those interested in the Levant
Company, backed by strong interest, have urged the Council of
State to interfere in their favour in a lawsuit in which they are
engaged at Venice against certain Dutch merchants, the case
having been first brought before the Admiralty Court here.
The Council has given them a stringent letter requiring the
suspension of the proceedings in the Advocate's Court at Venice
as also of the embargo on 100 casks of caviare, served on the
firm of Paolo dal Serra and Co., and that the case be referred to
the Admiralty Court here. The letter was sent to Venice by
Flanders, as the most expeditious route, as they know that
my despatches go by way of France, which is more circuitous.
I am told that a copy will be delivered to me this evening or
to-morrow. I find the government is very anxious about the
affair and if they are speedily gratified it may do much to encourage
their friendly feeling.
The commissioners are back from the fleet and report that
30 well armed frigates, fully manned with soldiery left the
Thames to join the other men of war in the outports, when the
entire squadron will fall little short of 50 sail and will give battle
immediately. They intend to fit out the other ships now in
the river as a reinforcement, in case of need though the difficulty
of finding hands and the lack of materials will cause this
to take longer than is requisite.
The wind has been foul of late for getting out of the Thames,
so some anxiety prevails on this account. It has been increased
by the news of an accident to a new 30 gun frigate, which put
to sea with the rest of the squadron, and having set all sail in a
stiff breeze, to show her powers, she suddenly capsized and
foundered in a moment with a crew of 200 souls ; an ominous
misfortune, calculated to chill even more the low spirits of the
sailors. To increase the numbers of these both blandishment
and force are used indiscriminately, all the men on the river
being pressed into the service.
It is asserted that the Dutch have lately captured two valuable
English ships bound for London, laded with grain, silk and other
valuable commodities, and 12 colliers from Scotland have shared
a like fate. These disasters hastened the departure of the
squadron whose movement might otherwise have been delayed
longer. Although its object is now said to be to encounter
the enemy, who is at this moment intent on convoying a fleet
of its homeward bound merchantmen off La Rochelle, yet the
best informed people think that the English are unlikely to risk
a battle unless advantage and necessity constrain them to do so,
as in case of loss, replacement will be difficult, and so the more
prudent course is to keep on the defensive and endeavour to
cut up the Dutch trade, thus wounding the enemy in his vitals.
The Dutch, on the other hand, will seek every opportunity of
giving battle, hoping to win the game by a decisive victory,
and so end the war, which is the first that has been waged between
these two powerful nations. If England incurs serious
loss her plight will be serious, however much she may boast of
her strength and determination to continue the contest. The
truth is that the entire government is most decidedly in favour
of an adjustment, and parliament never meets without accusations
and reproaches being heaped on the authors of this war.
These were only quite a few and if victory does not allay the
present irritation violent shocks are inevitable both at home
The Swiss Protestants, moved by zeal for their religion, have
written to parliament offering their mediation for an adjustment
with the Dutch. (fn. 15) Such intervention will always be
acceptable from any quarter, though the national dignity demands
reserve and gravity in the reply, which has not yet been sent.
I gather that it will express their obligation, but the greatness
of this Commonwealth requires the mediation of a much greater
power and one better acquainted with the past and present
interests of both nations.
The military, though apparently quiet, remain discontented
at heart and renew their clamour for the reform of the laws
and for a new parliament. To invigorate their demands they
have written to the commanders and chief officers in both Scotland
and Ireland, for their support. So they are not likely
to keep silence for long and it is generally expected that it will
be necessary in the end to comply with their demands, though
not until compelled by necessity. To begin by conceding one
essential item attention is now turned to reform of the laws,
to the abolition of legal abuses and to the introduction of a
new code of civil and criminal judicature, so that the people
may be more content and better treated, obtaining speedy
and just awards without being subjected to the present extraordinary
delays. To this the judges and all the members of
the legal profession are strongly opposed, and under the plea
of dreading greater disorders than now exist they seek to perpetuate
the tedious burden borne by the people, for their own
selfish advantage. But the party of the military officers, with
right on their side and a policy for the relief of the nation at
large, is popular and expected to retain the upper hand.
Parliament has rewarded certain deserving persons with
patents to levy Scottish and Irish troops, and consequently
several applications have been made to me lately to know whether
the most serene republic has any need for such troops, and
if I had any orders on the subject. I thanked the inquirers
and told them that when I first came I had some commission
to that effect, but the delays here might have caused the Signory
to change their minds, as I had heard nothing more on the
subject, and I could make no promise. They then said that
although the king of Spain had raised more than 10,000 men in
Ireland, and may possibly want more, while Portugal also
needed troops, a preference would nevertheless be given to the
most serene republic, because of the justice of her cause. I
thanked them in general terms.
London, the 23rd February, 1653.
45. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
A defensive alliance is in negotiation between Holland, Norway,
the dukes of Obzac and Brunswick, the duchy of Bremen, which
pertains to the queen of Sweden, the Count of Oldenburg and
the Hanse Towns. The object is to stand up against the power
of England (far fronte alla potenza d'Inghilterra).
Paris, the 25th February, 1653.