46. To the Resident at Florence.
To perform a tactful office with Vangalen for the restitution
of the English frigate taken at Zante.
Ayes, 104. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
47. To the Ambassador in France.
You will direct Pauluzzi to express to Sir [Oliver] Fleming
or some other person the gratification of the republic at the
reply of the English parliament to our ducal missives of the 1st
June last and our desire for a good understanding between the
two republics and the increase of mutual regard. You will
direct him to indulge liberally in these general friendly sentiments
and always to respond to the courtesy of Fleming.
Ayes, 104. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
48. Agreement made with Captain Christopher Page for the
hire of his ship, the Anna Buonaventura, carrying sixty sailors
and 28 guns, for war service. Quod approbetur, on the 1st March,
in the Pregadi.
Ayes, 152. Noes, 2. Neutral, 5.
49. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
His Highness resents the behaviour of both commanders
and if they do not alter their ways it is certain that he will
before long, come to some notable resolution.
With regard to the frigate William Vangalen said that your
Serenity ought to thank the Dutch captains who captured it
in the port of Zante since it is the selfsame vessel that on a previous
occasion, when armed as a privateer, stopped a vessel in the
same port which was destined for Venice, and so you were indebted
to them for having punished it.
Similarly the English refuse the restitution of the frigate,
referring the question to the parliament which, they say, will
decide and punish them if they have done wrong. The Grand
Duke, disgusted at such behaviour, is taking measures for dismissing
both squadrons from the port so that he may not be
in constant danger of becoming more and more involved ; especially
as, relying upon the long-suffering of his Highness, they
daily permit themselves increasing liberties in whatever happens
to suit them without the slightest consideration. This very week,
in the thick of the negotiations reported, the English sent off
a ship and a brigantine under Vangalen's nose, laden with
munitions taken from the mart of Leghorn to Porto Ferraio
for the benefit of the eight ships of their nation which recently
withdrew thither from Porto Longone.
Florence, the 1st March, 1653.
50. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France (fn. 1)
Last Monday four of the persons concerned in the lawsuit
at Venice I wrote of came to my house with Sir [Oliver] Fleming.
He said the Council of State had written letters in their favour to
Venice and he handed me a copy together with a statement of
the affair, saying that a favourable reply would give extreme
satisfaction here. I promised to report the matter to the Senate
and asked him to say that it was the wish of Venice to give every
satisfaction to this state. After some compliments he added
that in spite of every effort no news had been obtained of your
Excellency's property. With regard to the ships at Venice
the government wished to cause as little inconvenience to the
republic as possible. I told him that compensation ought to
be given for the goods. Before he took leave he told me I might
make representations to the Council of State, as I intend to do,
to get a decision about your Excellency's property, and also
to cultivate a good understanding.
They say here that once the fleet is at sea they will fight a
great battle, and possibly the necessity for doing this gives rise
rise to the statement that it left the river for this sole purpose. The
Dutch on their side have promptly appeared in the Downs and
show that they also have no other aim than of going into action
and perhaps of making a vigorous landing if a favourably opportunity
The main body of the English fleet is calculated now at 60
well found ships, if those which left this river have joined the
others in the out ports. The Dutch will have done their utmost
to prevent this junction, but in any case it will be vastly inferior
to the enemy who have quite 100 sail. They pretend here that
quality will make up for quantity, and their courage and hope
of victory are high, although much anxiety is felt from the
knowledge that many of the sailors are disaffected and that
amongst the commanders of the ships there are some whose
determination to risk their lives and fight for the parliament is
dubious. So it may be confidently asserted that whilst hoping
for the best the government dreads the result of this naval
engagement, which must hasten an adjustment between these
two nations and will either consolidate matters here or add to
their confusion, the stakes being of much greater importance
to England than to Holland. The truth is that an honourable
termination of these disputes is much desired here, and the
mediation of any disinterested power, the more remote the
better, would prove acceptable. From what I hear I fancy
that the government thinks that the war with the Turk might
induce the most serene republic to act, and possibly the orders
sent to Florence about the ships in the Mediterranean tend
towards this secondary end.
Courteous and complimentary replies have been made at
third hand to the Swiss Protestant Cantons, as no envoy has
yet appeared from them to acknowledge the Commonwealth
or to establish the friendship to which they are disposed here.
A resident has lately arrived from Sweden and will shortly
announce the object of his mission. (fn. 2) It is not yet known whether
it relates to a good understanding or to complaints about the
seizure of Swedish ships ; but the disputes between the queen
and Denmark and the declaration of the latter in favour of the
Dutch may possibly induce her to favour the interests of England.
They propose to despatch to that country the ambassador already
appointed, (fn. 3) but the risk of crossing during the war causes delay.
The subjects of his Catholic Majesty both in Spain and in
Flanders keep pressing for a decision about the 200.000l. sterling
of plate seized by the parliament's squadron. But in spite
of much discussion in the Admiralty Court the affair is still
undecided. It is believed that a good part of the money will
be confiscated as belonging to the ministers of Amsterdam, but
that which belongs to Spanish subjects will be released, although
it is expected that for the moment the government will use
this money to defray the expenses of the war. The Catholic
ambassador presses strenuously for a decision, but with some
regard for the wishes of parliament, whose fleet, at his suggestion,
aided the capture of Gravelines and Dunkirk. In acknowledgement
of this the king has recently made him a present of 15,000
crowns, increasing his annual pension by 3000 crowns, giving
him a seat in the Council of State and a promise of the first
commandery that falls vacant in the Spanish dominions.
Acknowledges letters of the 23rd ult.
London, the 2nd March, 1653.
51. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Vendome entered the Garonne with his fleet,
consisting of only a few ships. While cruising about there he
came across seven Spanish ships which were transporting Irish
troops as reinforcements for their army in Guienne. Attacking
the squadron he captured three ships and pursued the remainder,
with some hope of taking them also.
Encloses letters of Paulucci.
Paris, the 4th March, 1653.
52. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 4)
On Friday last I again had audience of the three councillors
appointed me by the Council of State, to whom I presented the
memorial about the stolen property. I asked for compensation
and also that the English ships serving Venice might
remain. Fleming, who happened to be there, said that they
would communicate my statement to the Council and let me
have an answer on both points. I then took leave, and am
waiting for the reply. If things with Holland take a bad turn
it will probably be unfavourable about the ships, but good if
their success continues.
On Friday the 3rd inst. (fn. 5) the fleet was off the Isle of Wight in
sight of the enemy who, with 80 sail sought to keep it engaged, in
order that 200 of their merchantmen homeward bound might
reach the Dutch ports in safety. This being observed by Blach
and two other generals, they decided to advance so as to force
an engagement. Equal courage was shown on both sides and
although the Dutch had the weather gauge, the English sent
out four brave men of war to cannonade them, and by irritating
the enemy to render the contest inevitable. The Dutch showed
equal intrepidity and the four ships in advance were soon joined
by General Blach who came to their rescue with 30 frigates.
A very fierce and determined action was thus begun which lasted
according to the public prints, from 7 a.m. until nearly 3 in the
afternoon. During this time many lives were lost on both sides,
and some ships. General Blach himself was wounded in the
thigh, but not mortally.
Both fleets then drew off, more to prepare for a fresh struggle
than with the idea of desisting. On the following morning,
Saturday, the battle began again almost in the same place.
But the wind was now in favour of the English, who suffered
some loss, but captured the Dutch Vice-Admiral of 50 guns. The
firing did not cease until nightfall. Early on Sunday hostilities
were resumed with more fury than ever. As the wind continued
fair the Dutch seemed inclined to sheer off, so as to convoy
their merchantmen with unimpaired force. The English being
reinforced by 12 ships out of Dover harbour, redoubled their
broadsides, which were courageously returned but the English
had the advantage and captured, sank or burned 10 Dutch men
of war, taking a considerable number of merchantmen.
The losses so far admitted here are 6 frigates taken or sunk
and 8 brave naval commanders killed besides a number of
leading officers, soldiers and sailors, the killed on Blach's ship
alone exceeding 120. In short it is confirmed that the battle
was obstinate, bloody and deadly, though they boast here of
having gained considerable advantage. This will be undeniable
if their statements are confirmed only in part, though the victory
will have been dearly bought. As no letters have arrived so
far from any of the commanders concerning this important
event, full credit is withheld from news which seems too favourable.
Messengers have been despatched in various directions to ascertain
the truth. Meanwhile the news is greeted with great delight
by the government, although it is not quite agreeable to the
governed. In spite of the severe losses a signal victory is
announced, so the consequence is that until the arrival of fresh
advices the entire statement does not obtain universal credit.
However, the event has cheered the government which considers
that the last defeat is now retrieved and that matters
promise a speedy pacification, for if the Dutch have suffered
the loss stated, they will keep at a more respectful distance
than before, unless their fleet, which is said to have received a
reinforcement from General Vuart, seeks to regain its superiority.
In any case they intend here to keep the fleet well together
and all ready for anything that may occur in the hope that
when thus united it may win even greater advantages, seeing
that an English squadron of little more than 30 sail has been
able to withstand and defeat a vastly superior force.
The newspapers further state that a part of the English squadron
was still chasing the Dutch merchantmen off the coast of
France ; so both the booty and the victory may still be increased.
But even as things now stand talk of an accommodation is welcomed
and it is generally believed here that both parties wish
for peace as necessary, though it is not understood that any
foreign minister has yet handled the matter, in spite of all that
has been said about the proceedings of the French minister. It
now seems that he only aimed at re-establishing friendship
between England and France, as well as trade, which has been
interrupted so long between the two countries. The chief
difficulties on these points are apparently overcome already, and
things have gone so far that they are on the threshold of a definite
treaty, for M. de Bordeaux intimates that he may go over to
France and return with fuller powers and with credentials as
ambassador. But others are of opinion that once he has left
this country he is not likely to return.
The Catholic ambassador has of late had more frequent audience
of the Council of State than usual, which makes it likely that
he is negotiating something of importance and to the satisfaction
of the parliamentarians possibly concerning peace with the
Dutch, as the Council has appointed a secret committee for
him, with which he confers constantly, though as yet one can
only guess at the nature of his business.
The Swedish minister having in the first place presented his
credentials, recently made his public entry, receiving every
mark of honour and respect, in order to arouse the apprehensions
of Denmark and at the same time to propitiate his mistress
in favour of the important interests of this Commonwealth.
London, the 8th March, 1653.
53. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
With both commanders showing themselves obstinate the
Grand Duke was very strongly inclined to favour the Dutch.
He had an offer made to Vangalen to make the English depart
or that he would make them hand over another ship at the
earliest moment in exchange for the one in question. But the
commander replied that he must know the precise day. At
the same time he had recourse to threats and protested to Montemagni
that if the Grand Duke did not cause his frigate to be
returned to him he would fight the English right inside the very
harbour. In this connection he soon afterwards told a French
vessel and the galleys of Genoa that they should not enter the
harbour on that account.
In the face of such extravagant and audacious declarations
his Highness has held frequent and lengthy consultations in
which they have decided to write to the Hague about the sinister
proceedings of their responsible commander and to direct the
governor of Leghorn to put under arrest the Dutch consul and
some other captains and individuals of that nation. This has
been done and the governor is further instructed to keep on the
alert, not only to use force, if requisite, with the guns of the
fortress, but to erect a fort for the repression of such temerity.
In the mean time six powerful English ships have arrived at
Porto Ferraio and have joined with the other five ships of war
in that port. With this squadron they propose to come out to
within sight of Leghorn to disengage the other seven which
remain blockaded by the Dutch. At the moment the English
will be much stronger than their rivals, who with a number of
their ships scattered in different places are left with only thirteen.
Accordingly some momentous event is hourly expected. It has
been the question of most importance which has engaged the
attention of the Court here during the whole of the present week.
Florence, the 8th March, 1653.
54. To the Resident at Florence.
Owing to the determination of the English and Dutch commanders
not to make any concession for the composition of
their differences, and to the characteristic harshness shown in
the reply of General Vangalen, he is not to insist any more on
the subject of the frigate, but to let the matter drop altogether.
Ayes, 121. Noes, 0. Neutral, 9.
|55. To the ambassador in France.
With regard to visiting the Majesty of England we leave it
to your prudence to decide for or against, when a good opportunity
occurs, as we do not believe that an office of courtesy and civility
can do any harm to the interests of the state.
Ayes, 121. Noes, 0. Neutral, 9.
56. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Last week off Portland a fierce engagement took place between
the English and Dutch fleets. The victory is as doubtful
as the loss of men and ships on both sides is certain. The
Dutch claim that as the English were the first to retreat they
remained masters of the field and consequently the victors.
The English on their side boast of having gained the advantage
because they have taken a greater number of ships. The truth
is that the loss and damage were nearly equal. They fought
with equal courage and equal slaughter during three consecutive
days ; 45 ships were sunk ; the Dutch could not carry more
than two of their prizes to Holland, the English taking but three
or four into port.
Tromp set sail from Narsan with 76 men of war in order to
convoy 300 Dutch merchantmen across from France to Holland.
As, for the avoidance of rocks and quicksands, their course lay
off Portland, he sent his vanguard of six sail to reconnoitre the
English fleet, which was there, numbering 70 large vessels,
shaping its course towards the Dutch merchantmen, in the hope
of making a rich booty from ships which, though numerous,
were loaded and unable to offer any serious resistance. Tromp
anticipated this, and having the weather guage, made the
merchantmen set all sail while he dropped astern of them,
compelling Blach to attack the men of war instead of the merchantmen.
A most spirited action then began. The Dutch ship
Austria of 70 guns, defended itself with such obstinacy against
six English vessels, that its crew of 200 soldiers and sailors were
all killed with the exception of twelve, most of whom were
wounded, after which the English took her. (fn. 6) The Dutch also
captured a ship from the enemy. Night put an end to the battle,
which was renewed on the morrow, the 28th February, and
lasted until the evening of the 2nd of March. The Dutch reckon
their own loss at 18 sail and that of the English at 27, almost
all sunk by cannon shot. On the morning of the 3rd March
Tromp, who was off Calais, again put to sea and offered battle
to Blach, who was nearly opposite the port of Single ; but as
he did not accept, Tromp went on the track of the merchant
squadron, which has already reached Holland with the loss of
only five sail. Both hostile fleets are so damaged that for the
present they can only think of repairs.
I obtained this account from a letter written by the Fiscal
of the Dutch fleet which I saw in the hands of the Dutch ambassador.
The Fiscal is an official charged to observe those
who display courage or cowardice in battle, so that they may
be rewarded or punished. So at the beginning of a sea fight
the Fiscal goes on board a galliot, at a suitable distance and
observes the manœuvres of each ship. He thus ascertains
whether the captains do their duty and subsequently makes a
report to the States, who take action accordingly. The ambassador
told me that this custom acts as a great incentive to
the brave and a strong check upon cowardice.
The Duke of Gloucester, brother (sic) of the late king of England,
has landed at Dunkirk. He is exiled by the parliament there on
pain of death if he ventures to return. They paid him 12,000l.
down in a lump sum for once only, as a contribution to his
support. He contemplates withdrawing to Holland to live with
the young Princess of Orange, his sister.
Encloses Paulucci's letters.
Paris, the 11th March, 1653.
57. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 7)
The stoppage of the French mail at Dover last week is supposed
to have been by government order, lest the report of a signal
victory should be contradicted by contrary statements likely
to irritate the people and to upset state affairs. Owing to this
the letters from France were not delivered until this week.
According to these the number of men of war captured from
the Dutch falls far short of what was published. The chief
prizes are a few merchantmen taken into Dover laden with
fruit and wine. At the same time the hostile fleet has been
severely battered, a great number of men having been killed
and some men of war were sunk and taken.
The English fleet is in the same predicament, having lost four
or five frigates, their killed and wounded amounting to at least
1,500, who have been put ashore at the principal ports. (fn. 8) Parliament
has issued orders for their care and sustenance on the
spot, so as to make as little display of loss as possible in London
lest it scare the few seamen who might otherwise be inclined to
join the fleet. Hands are so much needed that last week 1,500
men were pressed on the Thames, with the intention of sending
them on board at once.
Since the battle a part of the fleet has been refitting in the
Isle of Wight, and part in the handiest ports of England. They
intend to unite again and put to sea in force. The Dutch will
do the like on the coast of France. According to the newspapers
they have received a considerable reinforcement. They
are intent on a new engagement, in order to weaken this fleet
still more and so secure for the future that supremacy at sea
which they now enjoy in great measure, after they have convoyed
the greater part of their merchantmen safely into port.
But it is not expected that the English fleet will show itself
until it can do so in force. To this end constant orders are issued
to hasten the construction of the new frigates, and to fit out all
the men of war now in harbour throughout England.
In order to fill up the veteran companies from which drafts
have been made for the fleet, the drum is now being beaten
through London for such recruits as care to enrol themselves
under the command of General Cromwell ; but in spite of every
effort the volunteers for these new levies present themselves in
In anticipation of fresh demands from the military and to
keep them quiet, an act has been drawn up for the dissolution
of the present parliament and the convocation of a new one,
from which all are excluded who showed hostility to the Commonwealth
during the late war. Such persons are pronounced
ineligible for seven years unless by some important service to
the state they prove themselves deserving and perfectly faithful
to the present government. The same act has been proposed
again and again, but everything is done to delay its being passed.
News has come this week of the seizure by parliament ships
of a Hamburg vessel named the Stella, sometime in the service
of the most serene republic and now on a voyage from Cadiz
to Flanders with a cargo of valuable merchandise and a very
large sum of money ; so it is hoped that the Amsterdam merchants
are deeply concerned in the venture. It is said that the
Stella showed fight, but although she is a Hamburger and her
freight Spanish, she will be detained, for such legal proofs as
will be demanded, as is customary, of the parties concerned
by the government here, whose decisions in such cases are tardy
I understand that the merchants interested in a ship that
was captured by a Dutchman while at Zante for lading currants
have presented a memorial on the subject to the Council of
State, asking for its intercession with the most serene republic.
The were promised every assistance, and with this and the action
already taken on their behalf by the Proveditore General I
understand that they have already expressed their gratitude
to the state. I have no exact particulars and shall await
instructions. I have those of your Excellency of the 28th ult.
and the 5th inst. about the demands made by Captain Jonas
Poole with reference to the English ships in Venetian ports.
Encloses account for February. Is already in debt and asks
London, the 15th March, 1653.
58. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Grand Duke sent resolute orders to the commander of
the fortress at Leghorn to restrain Vangalen by the guns of the
fortress and to retain the Dutch consul and his other compatriots
securely under arrest. This action combined with a storm at
sea has wrought a change in the Dutch general who has expressed
himself as anxious to place himself entirely in the hands of his
Highness. This has completely changed the aspect of affairs,
and with the English obstinately determined not to give up
the frigate in any way soever, an intimation was conveyed to
them that they must leave the port within a limited number of
days. With the benefit of this interval they were able to get
completely ready not only the eleven ships of war which they
had at Porto Ferraio, but the seven in the harbour of Leghorn.
The day before yesterday the eleven appeared in sight of the
port together with a fireship, to set free the seven. These
lost no time in casting loose from their moorings in the hope
that they might be able to get out unhurt under favour of the
night and determined to fight should it be necessary. But
yesterday morning at about the 13th hour the Dutch fleet,
reinforced to the number of 16 ships of war and seven merchantmen
set themselves in motion directing their course towards
the east as if they intended to go against the English who had
come from Porto Ferraio, who were tacking some 3 miles away
from the port. The 7 English ships, being now clear of the
harbour and free from every impediment, spread their sails and
stood out in the wake of the Dutch. The latter, when they
were slightly more than a mile away, tacked about for the most
part and sailed in the direction of the English who had come
out of the harbour, and when they perceived that they were at
the proper distance they were the first to fire their guns and to
commence the action. This lasted until after dinner yesterday,
but seriously to the disadvantage of the English, so far as one
can gather. After the action had lasted no more than half
an hour they captured the first ship that came out of harbour,
called the Buonaventura, which caught fire in an instant and
was completely blown to pieces, a terrible spectacle. It is
supposed that a broadside of the Dutch must have struck her
in the powder magazine. Another English ship the Samson
was also burned and so far as one can judge it seems that other
English ships have surrendered. Accordingly it is considered
that apart from some miracle the Dutch will have gained a very
The battle began between the lighthouse and Corsica, but
about two miles nearer the lighthouse. In the course of it the
opposing squadrons kept drawing nearer and nearer so that
when the courier left they were in sight of the port. Further
news is momentarily expected of what followed after and perhaps
it will arrive in time to send with these presents.
Florence, the 15th March, 1652 (sic).
59. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier has just arrived from Leghorn with the conclusion
of the battle, in which the English lost six of the seven ships
which left the harbour. Two were burned, the first by its magazine
catching fire which caused it to blow up with all its crew,
only four men being saved. After a horrible smoke it sank
without leaving a trace behind. The second was run aboard
by a Dutch fire ship and burned down to the water line. In
the end the magazine caught fire and it sank after the crew had
previously thrown themselves into the sea. Three others
surrendered and are in the port in the hands of the Dutch. The
flagship, which was run aboard by two enemy ships, defended
itself valiantly for five hours on end, but it surrendered in the
end and running aground it sank. Commander Apilton was
taken prisoner, being wounded and burned in the face. The
ship Concordia alone escaped with the eleven vessels of the
squadron of Porto Ferraio. After witnessing the unhappy losses
described, due to the ships having advanced too quickly without
giving them time to come to their rescue, they cooled off in
the fight and directed their course towards Corsica. Eight
Dutch ships followed them, but were unable to come up with
them and it is understood that they are returning.
The chief damage done to the Dutch was suffered by their
flagship, which was injured by the English fireship, and by the
ship Madonna della Vigna which was on the point of foundering
and is still in danger. General Vangalen has lost a leg. The
dead on both sides amount to over 150, but the number of
wounded is very large and they keep arriving at Leghorn.
Florence, the 15th March, 1652 (sic).
60. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
In the Assemply of the Dutch States they resolved that
immediately the fleet arrived the Vice-Admiral (fn. 9) should be sent
with a squadron picked from the main body, to blockade the
Thames once more. The question of an alliance with the king
of England was also discussed in the same Assembly. But
apparently the Dutch are not disposed to take any interest in
this subject, although the Resident of that monarch at the Hague (fn. 10)
tries all his arts to bring about such a union.
Encloses usual letter from England.
Fontainebleau, the 18th March, 1653.
61. To the Ambassador in France.
You will inform Paulucci of the public satisfaction with his
operations and the assurance that he will not lose sight of the
question of the English ships serving in our fleet. We rejoice
greatly to learn of the favourable disposition there which permits
us to hope that they will not be taken away.
Ayes, 135. Noes, 3. Neutral, 5.
62. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 11)
Since the last sea fight, of which my account is mainly confirmed,
nothing more has happened. Both fleets are busy
repairing their severe losses, though the advantage is with the
English rather than the Dutch, and in providing for the wounded,
very numerous on both sides. Persons have been appointed
here expressly for their relief, to collect a voluntary subscription
from the wealthier inhabitants of London, applying even
to the foreign ministers and taking note of all who give and all
who refuse so charitable a call, which is of such vast concern
to the state.
While the English fleet is refitting it is reported that the Dutch
have effected their repairs and received reinforcements and
are again at sea determined on a fresh battle to recover themselves
and maintain their naval supremacy. This will serve
as an additional stimulus to the parliamentarians to send their
fleet out. To render it as strong as possible they mean to
reinforce it with 40 more ships now in the Thames and nearly
ready for sea ; so that when this junction is effected the main
body will number 100 sail. This is considered sufficient both
to thwart any attempt on the part of the enemy and to give
battle again if necessary. Thus the measures taken tend
towards a fresh engagement, if necessary, though they seem to
think here that this last battle has retrieved their former defeat
and that their arms are completely rehabilitated. These considerations
have led the Presbyterians, who are of the same
creed as the Dutch, to propose in parliament that the Commonwealth
shall show its piety and generosity by proposing peace
to Holland on the same terms as were observed before the war,
since it was a war between fellow Christians and the English
won the last battle. But the proposal did not meet with the
approval anticipated and was allowed to drop after a slight
discussion. It will not be resumed until a more favourable
opportunity, the present one not being considered such by the
majority in parliament. The recent death at the Hague of
Pauw, (fn. 12) the last ambassador from the States to England, who
was particularly in favour of an adjustment, is exceedingly
regretted here as the esteem and influence he enjoyed might have
contributed enormously to such a result.
The belief that the frequent audiences of the Spanish ambassador
related to some project for peace with Holland diminishes
instead of increasing. It appears that he aims at establishing
the same friendship between the Commonwealth and Spain
as existed between the late king and his Catholic Majesty. But
this will prove difficult unless they offer reciprocal advantages,
self interest being always the object of this government.
The French minister makes small progress in establishing
good relations with France, for while he insists on the surrender
of the ships taken on the way to Dunkirk, parliament pertinaciously
claims the restoration of those previously plundered by
France. Although the matter was to have been settled by a
special treaty, yet as these knotty points are urged at the very
beginning, it becomes subject to impediments and indecision.
These are increased by an incident which happened recently in
sight of Dover, when a French ship from Calais captured a
vessel with a valuable cargo belonging for the most part to
English merchants who, to avoid the Dutch cruisers, had caused
their goods to be sent overland from Italy to Dunkirk, and
shipped there for this city ; and when they fancied themselves
safest they incurred this mishap, which throws some doubt
upon the reality of France's professed wish for friendship with
Much apprehension is felt here about Denmark, whose king
is understood to have fitted out 30 fine men of war, without
its being known whether he means to employ them as a reinforcement
for the Dutch or merely on his own service ; but it is
suspected that they are to wage war on this state. This seems
the more likely because the parliament's minister at Copenhagen
has been dismissed, and is already at Hamburg, whither he was
escorted by guards to prevent his being insulted by the people,
as was threatened. If the aspect of affairs changes and the
horizon there clears he may possibly return, but appearances
and the fact of his having been threatened make this unlikely.
As a counterpoise to Denmark arrangements are being made
for the departure of the ambassador appointed to Sweden,
so that a good understanding with that crown may atone for
the rupture with its neighbours.
They have decided to send the late King's third son, the Duke
of Gloucester, out of the country, to prevent any possible inconvenience
that his presence here might cause the Commonwealth.
It is understood that they have already landed him
in Flanders with only 1,000l. provision and permission to go
where he pleases. (fn. 13)
I have your Excellency's letters of the 7th with particulars
about the English ship at Zante, and shall use them to make
much of the favour shown by the most serene republic to the
Acknowledges receipt of 1,000 livres Tournois for his expenses
for February and March.
London, the 22nd March, 1653.
63. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
I enclose a printed account of the late battle. Being unable
to catch up with the nine English ships which took to flight and
tacked towards Corsica, General Vangalen returned in triumph
to Leghorn. He immediately caused letters to be written by
his fellow countrymen to all parts that by the signal victory
they have won the States General of the United Provinces have
made themselves masters in the Mediterranean, and consequently
they control the trade, with security of traffic for all ships of
other nations which have ever been molested by their squadrons
up to the present.
The general himself is at present in great peril of his life owing
to complications which have arisen from the excessive pain by
the loss of his leg, although the Grand Duke has sent the most
precious medicaments to his relief. Of the prisoners whom he
took he has retained only the commanders of the captured ships,
and has set free all the English sailors, to the number of some
200. These are at present wandering about Leghorn, refusing
to enrol themselves any more under the unfortunate flag of
England. But for this the parliament's minister Longland would
have sent them to Malamocco as a reinforcement for the English
ships which are getting ready there. From what I learn it is
intended, after they leave the port, that they shall proceed to the
Gulf to contrive to get some men from the dominions of your
Serenity before going on to the Levant, and to that end, I am
informed, they have already sent some capable individuals to
conduct the negotiations, with money.
The English general with the nine ships has been sighted in
the neighbourhood of Elba. From this it may be argued that
he contemplates proceeding towards Naples and Messina to
pick up two ships of his nation from those ports and then pass
on to the waters of Zante to wait for the ships already mentioned
which are getting ready in the port of Malamocco, to form another
powerful squadron of 18 to 20 ships.
Florence, the 22nd March, 1653.
64. True Relation of the Battle which took place at a distance
of two miles from the lighthouse of Leghorn between the fleet
of the Republic of England and that of the States General of
the United Provinces of the Low Countries, extracted from
letters from Leghorn by well informed persons.
At the break of day on the 14th of this month of March, nine
ships of war including a fireship were in sight of the port of
Leghorn, 3 or 4 miles out, having been brought from Elba by
Richard Badiley, admiral in the Mediterranean of the republic
of England. They were tacking, it is supposed for lack of wind,
when at 13 o'clock, the Dutch ships under John Vangalen commanding
for the States in the Mediterranean, consisting of 16
armed for war and 4 merchantmen, started from the port of
Leghorn in the direction of these English, with every indication
that they meant to join battle with them. When the former
had gone out and were about 2 miles to sea the other six English
ships of war, which had been taking refuge within the Molo
for several months, and which had made themselves ready
these last days, impatient to go to the succour of those coming
from Elba and to catch the enemy between two fires, got in
motion bravely with shouts of joy, to go in pursuit. But when
they were about a mile and a half from the Molo, the greater
and stronger part of the Dutch ships turned about to meet them.
The encounter took place exactly between the lighthouse and
La Gorgona, and when they arrived within range the guns began
to play the first to fire being the Dutch ship Concordia, commanded
by the Vice-Admiral Granvillano. Great was the thunder
of the guns, and the English, though inferior in numbers, showed
themselves so smart that for a little while it seemed doubtful
on which side the victory would lie, when, on a sudden, with a
fearful explosion, one of their most powerful ships named the
Buonaventura, blew up, fire having accidentally reached the
powder magazine, and human beings mingled with the smoke
and flames were tossed into the air and cast into the sea. The
concussion was so great, all the guns having caught at the same
time, that there was not a house in Leghorn that did not shake.
It may be imagined that this accident made a considerable
impression on the English, though they continued to fight with
great courage. Soon after their flagship, commanded by the
Vice-Admiral Henry Appleton, was caught between the Dutch
ships Sun and Julius Cœsar, who proceeded boldly to lay themselves
aboard it, and at the same time the ship Samson was
attacked by a Dutch fireship and became a prey to the flames,
so that things began to go very badly for the English. Admiral
Badiley was to leeward with his eight ships, either because he
was unable to draw near or because he did not think fit to expose
his squadron to manifest destruction, seeing that of the English
ships which had left Leghorn two were burned and one was
hard beset, made no attempt to advance and engage in the
thick of the fight, but only made three or four tacks keeping to
windward of the Dutch, bearing more particularly against those
who had Appleton's flagship in their clutches, with a great discharge
of ordnance. At the same time he sent the fireship
against the Dutch flagship, and would have succeeded in setting
it on fire if the Admiral Vangalen had not managed to change
his tack in time, and if his gunners who sank the fireship with
their shots, had aimed less accurately. The English who
came out from the Molo receiving too little support from
their comrades from Elba found their state going from bad to
worse. Two more of their ships were quickly carried and a
third lost its mainmast so that of the entire squadron only the
S. Maria escaped, having succeeded in slipping through and
joining Admiral Badiley ; but it is the smallest of all.
Seeing that all was lost Admiral Badiley began to draw off,
steering in the direction of Corsica to make his escape, leaving
the flagship of Appleton beset by the two Dutchmen. It offered
a valiant resistance, although at the same time others fired into
it, and the English Vice-Admiral offered so stubborn a defence
that the Dutch were not able to make him surrender before
19 o'clock, when the Vice-Admiral Granvillano joined in against
him, to whom alone he consented to strike. The Vice-Admiral
was thus taken prisoner, without the lightest wound but his
face so burned that he looked a fright, according to the report
of an eyewitness. His ship had more than half of its crew of
150 killed and all the rest were wounded. The two vessels
which came on board it also suffered very greatly and they and
the Vice-Admiral's ship are in danger of sinking. For this
cause the Dutch merchants here have sent some tartane with
furious haste to unload them.
Much curiosity is felt as to why Admiral Badiley, who had
the wind, did not give more energetic support to Appleton's
squadron ; but possibly he thought it wiser not to run the risk
and to save his nine ships, with which he was obliged to take
his departure, after having seen two of the most powerful ships of
the Vice-Admiral's squadron go up in flames at the beginning of
the fight. We also hear it said that the English left the Molo
too quickly in the wake of the Dutch, and they should have
waited until the Dutch were nearer the other English squadron,
who might then have attacked them from the rear if they had
turned against those from the Molo. But Appleton had not
patience to do this, burning as he was to engage the enemy
at the earliest possible moment. Admiral Vangalen at the first
discharges was wounded in the leg below the knee ; undismayed
he at once had it sawn off and courageously insisted on following
the enemy with only eight ships, the best and strongest, having
left the rest behind. Although it is reported that he turned
back, it was not observed from this place and the Dutch residents
here deny it. The fleet of the States suffered no loss except in
killed and wounded, only the ship named Madonna delle Vigne
being found in a sinking condition was steered towards the
shore and run aground near Marzocco. If a south wind does
not occur in the mean time they think it may be saved. The
Dutch therefore have three English ships in their hands, and two
were burned, all belonging to those which were at the Molo here ;
a fireship of Admiral Badiley's squadron was also sunk. The
number of the slain cannot be ascertained precisely but it is
estimated to exceed 400.
Florence, at the press of His Highness, 1653, by licence.
[Italian ; printed pamphlet, 3 pages.]
65. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
A confident of the king of England has asked the Nuncio
Bagni why I have not yet been to see him. The nuncio, who is
a friend of mine, asked what answer he should give to this. I
replied that owing to the distractions of the civil war here I had
not even seen the duke of Orleans. The king of England would
have no reason to complain even if your Serenity recognised
the parliament, seeing that all the chief powers of Europe had
already done so, including France herself. I ask that instructions
may be sent me if I am to pass some complimentary office
with the king of England. The new government in England
seems to be solidly established, yet sudden accidents are apt
Fontainebleau, the 25th March, 1653.
66. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to
the Doge and Senate.
A colonel sent here by General Cromwell brings the confirmation
of the ratification of peace between England and Braganza,
by the terms of which permission to levy troops and to hire ships
in every part of England is granted to Spaniards and Portuguese
alike in just parity.
Madrid, the 26th March, 1653.
67. To the Resident at Florence.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 26th with his report
on the English and Dutch commanders and about the great
number of Longland's sailors who have been set at liberty by
General Vangalen, who are at present without employment
and averse from taking any on ships of their own nation. The
Senate considers that it will greatly serve the interests of the
state if the Resident, through his correspondents at Leghorn,
brings it to the knowledge of these sailors that if they proceed
to Venice they will find employment ready for them which will
be both satisfactory to them and advantageous.
Ayes, 125. Noes, 2. Neutral, 7.
|68. To the Ambassador in France.
Commendation of his office with the Dutch ambassador about
the capture of the ship William at Zante. The names of the
captors are Daniel Varvenor and Jan Vorst. To ask him for
precise orders for the prevention of similar acts in the future.
To inform Pauluzzi of the receipt of the parliament's letter
about the dispute over the casks of caviare. He will assure
Fleming that the republic will give the most friendly consideration
to the affair.
Regret at the slaughter in the late battle owing to the desire
of the republic that with the return of peace it may be easier
to provide the ships that it requires.
As regards the question of interposition, if in his conversations
with the Dutch ambassador at the Court an occasion arises for
him to let drop a hint, he is at liberty to say that the republic
would contribute its most sincere and energetic efforts to bring
about an adjustment, but it must come as if from himself and
without committing the state. The Senate feels sure that he
will be guided with the requisite skill and that he will not give
the impression that he is acting under instructions but moved
by his private zeal for the common benefit. He will instruct
Pauluzzi to proceed in the same cautious manner if it should
happen that anything is said to him on the subject.
Ayes, 125. Noes, 2. Neutral, 9.
69. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 14)
Persons lately returned from the fleet represent it as being
in great need of supplies and repairs because the Dutch shot
was of such a nature as to damage the hulls almost irreparably,
slaughtering the crews, shivering the sails, bringing down the
masts and burning the rigging at the same time. So the English
fleet will not be refitted so soon as was expected. The reinforcement
which they intended to send out of this river is hindered by
a lack of hands, the loss of life in the last action rendering the
service unpopular. As sailors cannot be procured by fair means
the government presses them with great harshness.
From news received here although the Dutch were worsted
by the loss of warships and merchantmen, they claim the victory,
General Tromp having himself reported to this effect and being
presented with a valuable service of plate, which had been made
expressly for the last ambassadors sent from here to the Hague,
who were not allowed to accept the gift on account of an act
newly passed whereby all English envoys were forbidden to
accept presents from foreign powers, the object being to exempt
the government from returning such compliments. It is supposed
that the States have given this reward to draw the attention of
the government here and to make known everywhere that they
had the better and not the worst of the last battle, because
although no longer masters of the sea, they have mauled the
English fleet and compelled it to withdraw. In proof of this
they continue to show themselves in force and boldly off this
coast, which will compel the government here again to send out
the largest possible number of their ships, from necessity and
for reputation, as well as to make prizes, rather than to give
battle ; for this last vaunted victory has made them desire
peace still more. Even in parliament means are being devised
for bringing it about with all possible credit. The question is
being resumed though previously discarded, and at the last
sittings some members suggested a mission extraordinary to
Holland, excusing it on the score of piety and national generosity.
Others suggested that letters should be sent express to ascertain
the disposition of the Dutch. Others again urge the
prosecution of the war with the greatest energy. One thing is
certain, the government is considering what will be best for the
profit and honour of the State. In view of the burden of the
war and what still remains to be borne the majority of the ministry
incline more and more to peace. It is not yet known whether
the enemy, who is very well informed and diligent in his preparations,
shares this inclination. But nothing has yet been
settled in parliament as the conviction that any step taken in
the matter will be a sign of weakness, makes the question a
difficult one, and any decision is delayed as in the case of the
dissolution of the present parliament and the convocation of
a new one.
The declaration of the king of Denmark, with manifest injury
to England, also gives cause for great anxiety, as that they are
afraid that the union of the considerable forces of that monarch
with those of the enemy, may result in increasing prejudice and
loss to them heré.
The Catholic ambassador is busy with his negotiations, which
really are for a renewal of the alliance with this state, and even
to strengthen it in some points essential in the present state of
affairs. But however much they wish this here, to hurt the Dutch,
the best informed consider it in the interest of Spain to abstain
from such a declaration and by keeping on good terms with
both parties, put herself into a position to obtain victory elsewhere
with more ease.
M. de Bordeaux has at last got his reply about the ships seized
and the re-establishment of trade. The first is still undecided,
but the commercial relations between the two countries are
resumed for three months. If the disputes about reprisals
are not settled in that time, matters will revert to their previous
state. By this device they hope here to prevent delay and
settle something in earnest, as they are apprehensive of some
covert designs on the part of this minister, who has sent the
news to France and is waiting for instructions.
Since his first audience the Swedish Resident has been pressing
for the restitution of sundry ships with their cargoes, belonging
to subjects of that crown, which have been taken by parliamentary
cruisers. By this means he is trying to facilitate a
good understanding between the two countries and at the same
time to prevent any decision prejudicial to them here. They
hold out hopes of release, but in these matters promise and performance
rarely correspond, detention is prolonged to the limit,
the division of the spoil being the chief consideration.
The commanders in Scotland and Ireland keep demanding
reinforcements of troops and supplies of money to repress the
daring of the rebels, who are gaining ground because of the
continuation of the war with Holland, being aided by the Dutch
themselves as well as by a crowd of other malcontents. But
although efforts are made to remedy these important disorders
the burden of the naval war renders every other difficult to be
borne, however light it may be.
London, the 29th March, 1653.
70. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Exhausted by the pain from the loss of his leg the Dutch
General Vangalen has also, in the end, lost his life. (fn. 15) His death
is regretted beyond the ordinary by those who were acquainted
with his character and by his fellow-countrymen in particular.
They assert that when his leg was actually being cut off after
he had been struck by the cannon ball, he told the surgeon to
make haste so that he might lose no time in following after the
nine fugitive English ships, and declared that for another such
victory he would be content to lose his other leg as well.
The commander of the English fireship which was sunk in
the battle, was landed at the islands of Eres but the nine fugitive
ships were supposed to have gone to the Levant. He has arrived
at Leghorn and declares that they are pursuing their voyage
towards London. If so the Dutch will be now left alone to
scour the Mediterranean and the five English ships ready equipped
at Malamocco to go and reinforce the squadron which has gone
will now be able to enter the service of your Serenity freely at
The English sailors who were taken prisoner and set free by
Vangalen are now passing through this city in troops on their
way to go and obtain fresh employment on the five ships of
their nation previously mentioned.
Florence, the 29th March, 1653.