February 1653


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'Venice: February 1653', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 29: 1653-1654 (1929), pp. 15-31. URL: Date accessed: 23 October 2014.


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February 1653

Feb. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
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.
Feb. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
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.]
Feb. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
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 of England.
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 possession.
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 rumour.
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 equipment.
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.
Feb. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
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 Serenity.
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.
Enclosure. 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.
Feb. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli. Venetian Archives.
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.
Feb. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
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.
Feb. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
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 rests.
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.
Feb. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
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 Valdestraten.
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.]
Feb. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
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.
Feb. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
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.
Feb. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
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 endurance.
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.
Feb. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
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 from London.
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.]
Feb. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
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.
Feb. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli. Venetian Archives.
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.
Feb. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Zante. Venetian Archives.
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.
Feb. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
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.
Feb. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Doliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
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.
Feb. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
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.]
Feb. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
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 and abroad.
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.
Feb. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
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.


1 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 11th February.
2 Monk was appointed with Blake and Deane on 26th November. Gardiner has conjectured that Ayscue resigned from want of sympathy with the government and was not employed again. First Dutch War, Vol. ii., page 265. But Salvetti, writing on the 2nd May says definitely that Ayscue was deposed by parliamentary authority, and that he was re-instated by Cromwell at the later date. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962.O.
3 Hans Petersen. Thurloe : State Papers I, page 308. He had his first audience on the 2-12 February. Cal. S.P. Dom, 1652-3, page 137.
4 The statement was made on Tuesday 21/31 December, 1652. The reply was read to him in the Council of State on the 9th January. Bordeaux to Servien on that date. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts, where the full French text of the statement may be found.
5 Su i bordi : as pettare, bordeggiando per non allontanarsi, e cio senza dar fondo. Guglielmotti : Vocabolario Marino e Militare sub voce bordo.
6 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 18th.
7 Richard Bradshaw.
8 Pimentel.
9 Henry Wilmot, earl of Rochester. His letters of credence are dated at Paris 21st Dec., 1652. Lundorp : Acta Publica, Vol. vi., page 890.
10 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 25th.
11 The action off Cape Spartivento.
12 The Jaersvelt of 44 guns and 150 men. First Dutch War, Vol. iv., page 310. See Longland's letter of the 14th Feb. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1652-3, page 164.
13 The Phœnix.
14 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 4th March.
15 The letter from the Swiss Protestant Cantons was read in parliament on the 8th February o.s. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. vii., page 256.