123. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch ambassador has asked audience of the Cardinal to
give him particulars of the last sea fight off Dunkirk, in which the
Dutch were certainly beaten. The ambassador does not try to
dispute this, but only to diminish the victory of the English.
A letter from Admiral Tromp giving a detailed account of what
took place, says that he fought the enemy for two days, their
force consisting of 96 large men of war, while he had 95. The
action was obstinate and bloody ; several ships were sunk ; the
English fleet was commanded by Admiral Dan, who was killed
by a cannon shot, and fortune seemed to favour Holland until
Admiral Blach came up with a reinforcement of 30 ships, which
encouraged the English and depressed the Dutch, 16 of whose
ships, terrified by this fresh succour left off fighting and went out
of action. Owing to this six other ships were surrounded and
captured. Thus the Dutch admit defeat but try to minimise it.
But the English were undoubtedly victorious and the Dutch
ships sunk and taken numbered 16. I report this because
Paulucci's accounts show some variation and uncertainty, caused
more by conflicting reports than by any lack of assiduity on his
part, for he could not be more exact and punctual than he is.
Encloses letters of Paulucci.
Melun, the 1st July, 1653.
124. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
I saw Sir [Oliver] Fleming about my demand of the Council
who promised I should hear soon, and should have done so already
but for the arrival of the Dutch envoy. He had seen General
Cromwell that very morning and spoken about Venice. He and
the whole Council marvelled at the delay in accrediting an envoy
to this state. I had seen that the roots of the late government
were pulled up without any commotion. Those powers who
doubt the solidity of the present government deceive themselves,
for it rests on military force which will conduct it from good to
better. The Dutch, at the beginning of this war shared the opinion
of Venice and hoped that civil strife in England would help them,
but the result proves their error and they are now the first to
repent. I interrupted him to say there was no reason for his
supposition and that his government should rest assured of the
good will of Venice and should reciprocate. He asked why then
did not the republic formally authorise me to act as minister. If
the Senate continues so punctilious the loss of Candia, which God
avert, will eventually recoil on all Christendom. Succour would
seem desirable but the republic makes no demand. I told him
the neglect to answer my demand about Dutch ships diminished
hope, although the Senate realised the friendly spirit of the
General and the Council and was greatly impressed with the
might of England. He said the point I raised was of slight
importance, but he hoped the Senate would be satisfied. In the
event of peace with Holland, which seemed probable, it would be
very easy for England to pass into the Mediterranean with 40 or
50 men of war. These with others easily procurable from the
Dutch might rid the Levant of the barbarians and carry the fear
of the Christian arms to Constantinople itself. I commended his
ideas and he continued, England would encourage Venice to do
what was in her own interest. If she would not make the demand
for herself let it proceed from others. Owing to the value placed
upon harmonious relations with the Signory more had been done
for me personally than would have been conceded to any other
foreign minister. I knew how France had been treated, and if
M. de Bordeaux had not presented the most satisfactory credentials
he would not have been permitted either to negotiate or to remain
in the country. I made a suitable complimentary rejoinder. I
consider it my duty to report this, whether it represents the
sentiments of the commonwealth or merely those of Fleming.
London, the 4th July, 1653.
125. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
While the first news of the sea fight was uncertain, comments
depending on the sympathies of the speaker, it is now known that
the English had the advantage, their losses as originally reported
not being confirmed, while those of the Dutch, including ships
sunk and captured amount to 16 or 18 sail, the English only losing
two ships and a general besides a few killed and wounded. The
prizes are in the Thames, and they are men of war for I have seen
a good part of them, as well as some English ones riddled with
cannon shot. When looking about me I counted about 300 sail,
great and small, men of war and merchantmen, now in this river.
In case of need a great number of the latter could serve as a
reinforcement for the fleet, and although the supply of hands is
adequate, yet even were it otherwise, they could resort to impressment
as on former occasions.
All the Dutch prisoners, numbering 1200, have reached this
city and to convince the populace of the importance of this
victory they were marched through London to a place a short
way off with an allowance of 6d. a head per diem. This has led
to the prompt mission of M. de Bevering, one of the two deputies
for the province of Holland. He reached London on Friday, in
last week, the 26th ult., and was followed two days later by the
other commissioners from the United Provinces. (fn. 2) They had no
passport and merely showed a flag of truce, relying on the
reciprocal missions already exchanged between the two countries.
They came here incognito and presented credentials giving them
full power to negotiate an adjustment. They were received with
every courtesy and ere long we shall know what to expect from
their negotiations. I am assured that they have already
suggested a speedy suspension of hostilities, but here they refused
to listen and insisted either on an honourable settlement or the
continuation of the war, for which both sides are making energetic
preparations, in order to facilitate the desired peace. If the
English demands are high the matter will be difficult, and if they
propose a defensive and offensive alliance it will be even more
so, though it is considered certain that since their reverses at sea
the Dutch will more easily give way on some knotty points than
before, especially as we hear from the Hague that this sudden
mission was induced by popular clamour and there was great
disorder in Holland owing to the injuries caused by the
continuation of the war, and also because of an intimation to the
United Provinces from the emperor that he meant to recover some
imperial fiefs occupied by them during the late war with Spain.
The establishment of the new Representative is confirmed for
the 4th of next month, old style, and it is said that many of the
nobility of England will be convened for this ceremony, when
possibly General Cromwell will make some fresh announcement,
time and place being required for the development of his projects.
Report varies about these though the general belief corresponds
with what I have reported. He becomes increasingly presumptuous
and authoritative though it is possible that the policy
attributed to him may be only a device of his enemies to render
him universally unpopular. On the other hand he seeks all possible
means to captivate the goodwill of both great and small.
Possibly with a view to the better establishment of his supremacy,
it is understood that he has recalled the Duke of Buckingham, the
eldest son of the late prime favourite. Report says that he wants
to arrange a match between the duke and one of his two marriageable
daughters, so as to gain the good will of the aristocracy,
though between him and them mutual distrust will be eternal,
their affections being all centered in the late monarchy.
The General and his Council are said to have been gratified
lately by news of the capture by the fleet of two large ships laden
with sugar as well as of two other very rich Dutchmen coming
from the Levant. The main body of the English fleet is off the
Texel at the entrance of Holland and Zeeland, to blockade those
provinces and chiefly with a view to intercept the great
mercantile fleet now expected from the East Indies, though it is
thought they will have been warned and the voyage suspended or
its course altered.
A German gentlemen commissioned by the Prince of Condé
arrived here lately from Ireland for the purpose of raising levies. (fn. 3)
Others say he came from Spain. But this much is certain that
having orders to confer with M. de la Barriere, the prince's
agent here, and tell him everything, he went by mistake to the
house of M. de Bordeaux and believing himself in the presence of
the other, revealed without reserve all his secrets and orders from
the prince. By this means M. de Bordeaux is said to have learned
all the most intimate negotiations in progress between the prince
and this commonwealth.
The delegates from Bordeaux are still negotiating here. They
are not understood to have obtained anything so far, but their
confidence and hopes are kindled by the consideration that if
peace with Holland ensues and as Cromwell, to maintain himself,
must wage war in some quarter or another, he may possibly attack
France if she does not satisfy the claims of the English, who hide
their game and are guided by interest alone.
The merchants concerned in the Spanish plate complain that
at his last appearance before the Council of State the Catholic
ambassador, by order of his king, practically consented to what
has been done about the silver. Others say that Spain allows
England to avail herself of this specie for the space of a year, on
the expiration of which it is to be repaid. But the general belief
is that this vast capital will not so easily quit England.
Acknowledges letters of the 28th ult.
London, the 4th July, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
126. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Cardinal entertains some apprehension that the English
may finally yield to the persuasions of the deputies of Bordeaux,
who are now in London. With respect to the embarcation of
4000 men in England these last days, it is suspected, from the
smallness of the number, that they cannot be intended to go to
Holland, and they are sending to the minister in London to
prevent a step which would be most prejudicial to France, both in
itself and because of the consequences.
Encloses the letters from England.
Paris, the 8th July, 1653.
127. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 4)
Seeing the delay in answering my demands, I spoke about it
to an influential member of the Council of State, who assured me
that the matter had been discussed and was waiting for the
decision of general and Council, so I could only gently press for a
reply. At the moment Holland is the engrossing topic, which
takes precedence of all others, and if that takes a good turn it
will probably affect all the rest. To this end the government here
responds to the ample good will shown by the Dutch commissioners,
and it is considered a good sign that the ship which
brought them has left the river furnished with a passport for its
free return, a proof that the stay of the commissioners will
probably be protracted. Having presented their credentials they
yesterday had audience of the Council of State, probably to
propose some project of adjustment, but I have not yet had time
to ascertain anything. It is likely that the approaching meeting
of the new Representative in four or six days time, makes them
procrastinate so that they may have a better foundation for their
proposals and obtain more authentic replies. But Fleming told
me recently that the behaviour of the Dutch warranted fair
hopes, and he could tell me freely that the peace depended on
England, though in return for this subserviency it seems that she
will raise her demands and may even insist on the throwing over
of the Prince of Orange, as a further blow to the royalists. It is
certain that their demands here will be haughty, sufficiently so,
perhaps to put a sudden stop to the negotiations and lead to the
departure of the commissioners. But as the general and his
adherents are strongly in favour of the adjustment, this may
possibly outweight every other consideration, since it is very
evident that if this chance is neglected England may wait a
long while before she has another such opportunity of making a
peace so much to her honour and advantage.
Since the battle the rival fleets have been reinforcing themselves.
The English remain off the Dutch harbours with a view
to augmenting the popular clamour in the United Provinces and
give them additional reasons for facilitating an adjustment.
They also aim at preventing the annual herring fishery, so important
and profitable for the Dutch, which they claim here as directly
dependent upon the lordship of this country. Nor will they ever
relinquish their supremacy on the Ocean, not even at the risk of
continuing the war. So for this year it may be positively asserted
that the herring fishery is lost, the Dutch being prevented from
attending to it, while the English have other things to attend to.
Since the last victory and the retreat of the Dutch fleet the
mastery of the sea seems to remain with England. To maintain
this state of things 20 more ships have been ordered to leave the
Thames to cruise off the coast and assert dominion over the
Ocean by seizing whatever they fall in with. The advantage from
this course has been considerable so far and they do not hesitate
to apply it even to the ships of the Hanse towns, under whose
flag the Dutch now trade, so that their traffic is more and more
News has come to-day of the capture of 8 ships bound from the
Baltic and Denmark for Flanders. Although they claim to belong
to Hamburg, Lubeck or other free towns, the English seized
them, professing their intention to release them if they prove to be
what they profess. But as their cargoes consist of hemp, tar,
pitch and other material for building ships, their release seems
unlikely and the scarcity of such supplies may probably induce
the government here to avail itself of a part if not the whole of
them. To counterbalance this piece of good fortune the Dutch
have captured 3 English ships bound from Cadiz to Malaga with
Spanish wines for London.
Gen. Cromwell and the Council of Officers, which is in fact his
Privy Council, have revised the list of members nominated for
the approaching new Representative from a suspicion that some
of them could not be fully depended upon, while others refused to
accept the summons. So the requisite numbers have been obtained
by fresh nominations.
On Friday in last week (fn. 5) the body of General Dan was brought
in state from Greenwich. Accompanied by Gen. Cromwell, the
grandees and officers of the army and by the whole Council of
State it was buried in Westminster Abbey, the burial place of all
the kings and queens of England. Guns were fired throughout
the ceremony and the streets were lined by all the cavalry and
infantry now quartered in this city.
I propose to pay my respects to the Dutch commissioners as
the other ministers have done so, and I have the honour to be
recognised publicly as minister of his Serenity.
London, the 11th July, 1653.
128. To the Ambassador in France.
Objections to the Irish levy offered by Fleming. Pauluzzi
should express thanks but at the same time point out the
difficulties, as the terms are not known. The Senate feels much
more inclined to treat with some one who would undertake to
transport the men to Candia at his own cost, as in that case it
will only be necessary to consider the cost per man landed.
Ayes, 103 Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
129. To the Ambassador in France.
Express satisfaction with Pauluzzi. Difficulties in the way of
the Irish levy are essential and more particulars are required.
But Pauluzzi must always express appreciation to the government
in the name of the state, esteem for the nation and regard for
Sir Oliver Fleming. By the use of such courtesies many advantages
may be obtained and Pauluzzi will know how to discern
these and secure them.
In response to Pauluzzi's request for assistance the Senate has
decided to give him a donation of 400 ducats of good value,
which is the amount usually given.
That 400 ducats be paid from the mint to the Camerlengo di
Comun, to be given to the agents of Lorenzo Pauluzzi, now in
England, as a donation.
Ayes, 122. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
In the Collegio :
Ayes, 16. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1. It requires 4/5ths.
On the question of the donation to Pauluzzi, in the Senate.
Ayes, 100. Noes, 15. Neutral, 11.
Second vote :
Ayes, 100. Noes, 17. Neutral, 14. Pending. It requires
The letter was sent without the last paragraph.
|130. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The news of the signal victory gained by the English fleet over
Tromp is confirmed and it has stunned the Flemish merchants of
the mart of Leghorn, leaving every one else filled with curiosity
to see what will follow after.
Florence, the 12th July, 1653.
131. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Reports the capture of Burgh on the Garonne, with a garrison
of 1000 men, half Spanish and half Irish. (fn. 6)
The Dutch ambassador is urging the alliance with France and
commissioners have been appointed to hear his proposals and
discuss the matter in detail. But I gather that his Eminence is
not eager about it, apprehending more mischief from open enmity
with England than profit from union with Holland. Unless the
English give active assistance to Bordeaux he will procrastinate,
continuing to treat, but without concluding anything with the
Dutch, his purpose being answered by keeping the negotiation
on foot, so as to give hopes to Holland and cause apprehension to
Meanwhile there is civil strife in Holland, owing to popular
tumults fomented by the House of Orange, who imply that the
naval supremacy now enjoyed by England is due to the mismanagement
of the Dutch government and the diminished
influence of that family. When the drum was beating for recruits
at Enkhuysen the people demanded that the levy should be proclaimed
in the name of the Prince of Orange, and when the
drummer refused they maltreated him and broke his drum,
proceeding afterwards to sack and demolish the burgomaster's
house. The city of Amsterdam was obliged to send 300 soldiers
to quell the riot ; but the Orange faction closed the gates and
forced the troops to retire.
A few days ago the Cardinal sent for a merchant who plays the
part here of commissioner or secret agent of England, (fn. 7) to complain
that the English had granted ten frigates to the Spaniards as a
reinforcement for their fleet, thus declaring itself openly against
France. The Agent replied that the Spaniards had purchased
them with her own money, and the French could do the same.
No letters from England have reached me this week.
St. Lys, the 15th July, 1653.
132. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to
the Doge and Senate.
The first encounter between the English and Dutch was greeted
here with every indication of extreme satisfaction ; but the second
is received with the silence of great respect as being something
that might involve consequences prejudicial and disadvantageous
to the crown.
Madrid, the 16th July, 1652.
133. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 8)
The last time I met Sir [Oliver] Fleming he assured me that the
Council of State had given orders for a paper to be handed to me
about the Dutch ships. He said the commonwealth was bent on
a firm friendship with Venice as distance and diversity of interests
were a guarantee against all jealousy and mistrust, which was not
the case with other neighbouring sovereigns whose fine offers and
assurances were not entirely credited. But Venice was not too
far off to be helped. Some while ago when intercourse between
England and Italy was being discussed with Gen. Cromwell, it
was decided, if credentials were sent to me, to appoint a Resident
at Venice, to whom the ministers accredited to the other Italian
powers would be subordinate. They would even treat with the
pope, since policy clearly admits of this, without reference to
religion, nor in case of necessity, would any scruples be entertained
here on that score, on the contrary they would negotiate
without reserve and with complete sincerity.
He told me that the Dutch commissioners at their first audiences
had expressed themselves in terms of the greatest respect and
humility towards this commonwealth, declaring that they wished
for a good friendship and an honourable and lasting peace. The
Council of State used the same language, but so far the business
had not gone beyond generalities. He remarked on the folly of
the Dutch in breaking capriciously with England as they were
the aggressors according, said he, to our account and their own
as well. They have paid the penalty and the Almighty has
shown His mercy and justice by permitting all our merchant
fleets to come safe into port while in all the great naval actions
fought so far the States have been worsted, with an admitted
loss of more than 500 sail of all kinds up to the present. They
never approved of the change of government here, because their
greatness and prosperity were in great measure built upon the
mismanagement of the late kings of England. They used to
boast that through favourites and by paying considerable pensions
at the Court here they possessed a golden key which opened all
the doors and innermost cabinets of the royal palace. Now the
scene is changed and they are surprised that this commonwealth,
knowing its strength and the advantages they owe to England
from the herring fisheries and other important matters, should
take decided action and insist firmly on the maintenance and
acknowledgment of her supremacy on the Ocean, like that lawfully
claimed by Venice in the Adriatic, whose example might
serve as a precedent. This essential point was the chief cause of
the present war. By admitting the supremacy of England in
these seas they may, if they please, obtain a good settlement, to
which they will not be averse here, provided it be effected in due
form. He would tell me in strict confidence that even if they
could knock out Holland with one arm, political expediency must
prompt them to raise her with the other, for the honour and
glory of republics in general. Such were the particulars he gave
me. He shows a constant devotion to the state and I shall
cultivate his friendship because of that.
An Admiralty express has recently brought to the General and
the Council the grateful tidings of the capture by only 6 English
frigates of 18 ships, great and small, part from the Sound and
part from the Strait, bound for Holland. Among these, two laden
with cannon and other arms purchased in Sweden for the Dutch
are especially valued. The whole is a very rich prize of vast
importance because of the materials for ship building. The ships
fell an easy prey, being unacquainted with the position of the
English fleet. (fn. 9) The event encourages all the British officers, adds
lustre to the naval prowess of the commonwealth and facilitates
its negotiations, gaining additional applause for Gen. Cromwell,
at whose suggestion the body of the fleet was sent to the coast of
Holland with orders to remain there as long as possible. But if
the Dutch get a fair wind, as their fleet is considerable and is
constantly receiving reinforcements, they may put to sea and
compel the English to retire and fight another battle. They
are looking for this here although it is thought that during the
stay of the commissioners here further hostilities will be
suspended. Meanwhile much regret is felt at the indisposition of
General Blach, though his speedy convalescence is expected.
London, the 18th July, 1653.
|134. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
The numbers of members having been finally settled, their
aptitude well pondered and a selection made, to the entire satisfaction
of Gen. Cromwell they all, save 5 or 6, who were absent
from indisposition or other legitimate causes, made their appearance
on Monday last, the 15th inst., before the Council. (fn. 10) There
Gen. Cromwell recapitulated to them in full the just causes of the
dissolution of the late parliament, and in language expressive of
affection and esteem he told them that he placed in their hands
the government and power of the three nations. For this he
handed them a parchment written, sealed and signed with his
own hand, upon which they all swore allegiance to the commonwealth,
vowing that in return for the honour of serving the country
they would exert all their energies, even to the sacrifice of their
lives, and always bear in mind the service and personal satisfaction
of his Excellency. No other business was done that day,
and they were left at liberty to fix their place of meeting, either
at the place, where they were, or in the old hall of Westminster,
where the late parliament sat. They chose the latter and
proceeded thither on the morrow, which was Tuesday. Their
first meeting did not produce any results beyond exhortations and
comments upon the service of the kingdom and the relief of the
people. For this they implored the assistance of the Almighty,
with long prayers and sermons, recited by the members themselves.
Yesterday they met for the third time for the despatch
of business. As previously they had a guard of two full companies
of horse and foot during their sitting. They then chose the
speaker for this new Representative, selecting a man of ability
and integrity to be the mouthpiece of the whole body. (fn. 11) This
officer is to be changed monthly, a decision due to the abuses
attributed to the prolonged duration of the last one. The
general belief is that the late Speaker, as well as other members
of that parliament, will be called to account for past maladministration.
This Representative has been exhorted to despatch all matters
promptly in accordance with reason and justice. These, backed
by military force are proclaimed as the basis of the present
government, the establishment of which affords universal satisfaction.
The people anticipate an equitable reply to their
petitions, which hitherto they have scarcely been allowed to
present still less to obtain what they asked. It is to sit until the
4th November, 1654 ; it will then be considered dissolved and be
succeeded by a new one. From this it appears that Gen. Cromwell
intends to preserve an aristocratic form of government and that the
reports of his enemies that he meant to place the crown on his own
head were unfounded. This course certainly adds to his popularity,
while at the same time the army, all the important affairs
of the kingdom and the supreme authority will remain at his
absolute disposal. In short it may be asserted that apart from
one of those changes to which all sublunary things are subject,
he will do and be whatever he pleases. The whole body of
parliament invited him to the chief seat and expressed a wish for
the inclusion of Major Generals Lambert, Harrison and Desborough,
and Col. Tomlinson, who are all his confidential adherents, whom
he did not nominate out of humility, although he was anxious
they should have seats. It thus becomes manifest that the
opposition offered by Harrison during the session of the late
parliament was preconcerted as a blind to enable them in concert
to demolish the past misrule on a sudden.
Matters being thus settled all business, both domestic and
foreign, will be conducted on a very firm basis and now the Dutch
negotiations and those of other powers may be expected to
proceed smoothly, from a conviction of their value. But little
is wanting to complete the peace with Portugal. The ambassador
extraordinary, by conceding what was required, has given
satisfaction to the commonwealth at large as well as to the
individuals here who claimed compensation from his sovereign.
The other day Fleming said to me that Portugal would at length
pay dear for the help given to Prince Rupert ; the peace was a
matter of indifference to England, but as every satisfaction had
been given, the treaty was nearly settled, only a few trifling
differences remaining which would easily be arranged at the next
audience of the ambassador. Fleming also told me that just as
the dissolution of the late parliament had caused no change in
foreign or domestic affairs, so the present one would continue
to use precisely the same forms in writing and receiving letters
as its predecessor. He asked me very earnestly if I had received
any reply about the Irish levy. When I answered, No, he
expatiated as usual on his devotion to the state and the expediency
of hiring these troops because of their cheapness and also for the
sake of the Christian religion.
London, the 18th July, 1653.
Encloses account of expenses for June.
135. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The younger Tromp has arrived at Leghorn with nine ships,
comprising seven of his own, with two prizes. (fn. 12) The first is
the Henry Buonaventura, which was cruising off Messina on the
look out for Dutch ships and was expecting the San Pietro, a
very rich ship, on its way from Venice to Spain ; and the second
is this same San Pietro.
Florence, the 19th July, 1653.
136. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 13)
Although much is said about the immense and mutual desire
for peace, public opinion here seems doubtful about its attainment,
owing to their claims, which are supposed to be high, much
encouraged by might and right and even more by the late advantages
obtained at sea and because the Dutch seem practically
compelled to accept hard terms unless they choose to carry on the
war with redoubled energy in the hope of fairer fortune than has
attended them hitherto. On the other hand the United
Provinces have to beware of the sparks of civil strife at home,
stirred by the Orange faction. Some wish that family to be
openly acknowledged while others favour its total expulsion,
causing a twofold anxiety lest hostilities abroad be followed by
civil war, which is probably covertly fanned by England or by
some other neighbouring power. Here they are certainly bent
on forcing the Dutch to make great concessions, indeed there will
be no peace otherwise. So far as one can gather, besides an
indemnity from Holland, as the aggressor, and absolute supremacy
at sea, on which all the fisheries depend, England aims at drawing
the United Provinces into an offensive and defensive alliance and
on making them renounce the Prince of Orange because he is
connected with the sovereigns of Europe and consequently an
object of suspicion to this commonwealth. An even more
important demand is that if articles of peace are arranged England
shall receive, as a guarantee for their observance, cautionary
towns such as Flushing and Brill, as in the time of Queen Elizabeth,
who received them as security for a loan of 800,000l., and
they were afterwards redeemed from King James for a trifling
sum. This precedent and the advantage which the English
would obtain from free trade in the Meuse and Schelde render
such a grant difficult and, it would certainly be disapproved and
opposed by the neighbouring powers, nor does it seem likely that
the Dutch will ever accept such hard terms. So if these ideas
gain ground peace must be considered improbable. The United
Provinces also will make high demands. The first will doubtless
be the repeal of the Navigation Act, as it destroys the freedom of
their trade and consequently injures them severely. But the real
truth about the rival claims is not yet known though if the
negotiations lead to a formal treaty, which is hardly likely, some
of these points will certainly not be passed over and being forseen
by the ablest politicians here, they are discussed accordingly, and
I report them as the news of the day.
The English fleet still continues off the Dutch coast and the
Texel, keeping the enemy for the most part in port and cruising
in several large squadrons with a view to harass the Netherlands
to the utmost, and induce a popular clamour for peace. A good
number of ships have come into the Downs for supplies, especially
of water, which was greatly needed in the fleet. We also hear
that the Dutch mean to put to sea in considerable force, in which
case a great battle is inevitable. Here they are constantly
sending out stores and ammunition and reinforcements of ships,
and although the Thames is full of ships, 18 other men of war
are being built in the dockyards on its banks, some of which will
carry 100 guns and more. So one may say with good reason that
if England continues thus to devote her attention to naval affairs
she will have an overwhelming force (sara prepotente a qualunque
The vice-chancellor of Poland arrived here a few days ago. (fn. 14)
He fled to avoid the wrath of the king, who was determined to
seize him at any cost. He announced the intention of doing
great things for Christendom, especially to make a diversion for
the war between Venice and the Turks. He spent some time at
the Swedish court and brings lavish testimonials from the queen.
In his own country he is feared and esteemed while he inspires
the Cossacks with fear. On arriving here he betook himself to
Gen. Cromwell, with whom he has had frequent conferences, with
the honours due to high rank. He wants to arrange something
advantageous with the government and proposes to take passage
on an English ship to Constantinople as soon as possible. He
wants to confer with the Venetian and English ministers there
in order to compel the Turks to make peace with Venice and to
attack the Poles and Cossacks, if allied, or the Poles alone. If
unable to do this he will urge the Porte to defend Transylvania
and Wallachia, in short relieve the Venetian arms in one way or
another. He relies much on his connexions and on his means of
gaining the Porte by argument and valuable presents, with which
he is richly provided through Sweden and his own personal
property. On arriving here he asked if there was any Venetian
Agent accredited to the commonwealth, and gave me the above
particulars. He professed the deepest devotion to the state
which he said Count Cavazza would confirm. He would claim
no reward until he had performed some good service. His
ambition was to end his days at Venice in quiet and security,
with his family.
I replied suitably and shall watch his proceedings here. He
suggested that the Bailo should be instructed to be on good
terms with him.
Acknowledges receipt of 1000 livres Tournois.
London, the 26th July, 1653.
137. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
The day before yesterday Sir [Oliver] Fleming came on purpose
to meet me and after the usual greetings said I might set the
Senate's mind at rest about the Dutch ships and the Council was
awaiting the fulfilment of my assurances about the law suit as
they knew the precedents and English subjects should not be
subjects to the false statements of their adversaries, contrary to
the good understanding between Venice and England.
I professed ignorance of what he meant and he went on to
explain that the point was one of great importance to the commonwealth.
Private letters had come which contradicted my
assurances and which he felt constrained to keep secret out of
respect for the Signory. They relate that in consequence of
some slight success in the Mediterranean the Dutch have received
positive assurance of the partiality of the Signory, with other
improper notions about the government here, which is thus
wounded to the quick, although favoured by Providence in its
greatest difficulties. The letters were probably due to private
spleen and so he had suppressed them, but I could see them when
I liked and could judge if they would not be likely to cause
animosity between the two republics. The hint would suffice
for the Senate, so that the freedom of speech exercised by lawyers
may not extend to disrespect for England.
I expressed astonishment and said it was news to me. What
was obviously written with interested motives did not involve the
Senate, which always desires to give the utmost satisfaction to
the government here. I hinted that the writers ought to be
punished. He seemed satisfied and then alluded to the appointment
of an ambassador from Venice, and to the Irish levies and
the desire of the commonwealth to help the republic. On the
establishment of an alliance between the two republics Venice
would have such proof of their good will as had never been
anticipated, as the friendship with the late kings of England was
more apparent than real, as it may be now if the Senate chooses, (fn. 15)
especially in Italy, where the affairs of Venice cannot prosper
unless a force be introduced capable of balancing the one now
paramount there, nor can the province enjoy peace. It is well
known here what monarchs seek the depression of the republic
and that aristocratic governments, on which universal freedom
will always depend, ought to be protected, especially one so
ancient in prudence, power and command as that of Venice. If
they obtained the blessing of peace with Holland he hoped they
would occasion more anxiety than at present to the Turk and
others who were plotting against the liberty of Europe, which
England will always have at heart as the object of her policy.
I commended these sentiments, endeavouring to confirm his
friendly feeling, and with this we parted.
I have paid my respects to the Dutch commissioners telling
them how much the most serene republic regretted the present
war and would rejoice more than any other power at its termination,
being left alone to fight the Turks. I hoped the States
would do their part towards a good peace and join against the
common enemy. They replied suitably and are to return the
London, the 26th July, 1653.
138. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch have captured two rich and powerful English ships
in Indian waters. (fn. 16) The younger Tromp has not sold his two
prizes and he seems inclined to take them to Amsterdam, whither
he has been recalled with all the other Dutch ships in these
Florence, the 26th July, 1653.