162. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to
the Doge and Senate.
The English soldiers who were guilty of the assassination of
their own ambassador have at length been handed back to the
church, after suffering a most hard imprisonment.
4000 Irish have landed at La Corunna. Their commanders,
Colonels Dillon and Oluenas, (fn. 1) set out for Madrid while quarters
are being prepared in the kingdom of Galicia, causing no small
disturbance on the Portuguese frontier.
Madrid, the 1st October, 1653.
163. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 2)
I have been told in confidence that the Council of State delays
to give me audience because nothing definite has been done about
mutual intercourse, so I make no further suit and let things take
their course. If they decide to give me audience and hand me the
letter already written they will send for me, discarding their
beggarly pretexts. This seems the best course as confusion keeps
striking deeper roots here. The members of the government become
increasingly jealous of each other and from a lack of sense and
experience in those at the helm all affairs remain at a standstill, and
all the foreign ministers dissatisfied, as none of their demands are
attended to, representations and complaints being alike unavailing.
The government turns a deaf ear to all that is accessory and devotes
its entire energies to the main affair, which is in fact of vital importance.
It is a question of clearing the air of certain pestilential
vapours, capable of producing a violent hurricane, even immediately.
These have already shown themselves in a seditious libel on Gen.
Cromwell recently placarded about the chief streets of this city. (fn. 3) The
author is evidently a person of high spirit who aims at openly
discrediting the General and rendering the present government
additionally odious to the people, who are restive now they have lost
the hopes of relief conceived on its first formation. As the universal
disposition of this people is serious and hypocritical (e nell' universale
disposizione di questa gente di spirito pesante e poco sincero),
this libel, containing as it does much truth, may be supposed to have
made a great impression already. In the first place it accuses
Cromwell of being the chief author of the death of King Charles ;
of having violated the laws and manifestly infringed the jus of the
commonwealth of England by dissolving the late parliament on his
own responsibility, a body formed according to the fundamental
statutes of the realm ; and of establishing another of his own whim,
to the contempt of all forms for the dissolution of the one or the convoking
of the other. The writer therefore invites all the chief nobles
of the kingdom to assemble at their usual place of meeting on the
16th October, old style, to discuss what is required for maintaining
the laws of the realm. He begs them not to fail and to put aside
all fears of the military, as this measure harmonises perfectly with
the desires of the army.
The sensation produced by these ideas in Cromwell and the entire
government is indescribable. On the very day the libel appeared the
Council of State was specially convened for the morrow, with
penalties for absentees. The matter was discussed and all possible
steps taken to discover the authors or abettors of this outrage. Cromwell
himself exerted his personal authority and promised money from
his own purse for any discovery or revelation. But as the libel
indicates the day of meeting, this hint will serve him to prevent it.
But it is a difficult business and the more it is probed the worse do
its nature and consequences appear.
Meanwhile besides the persons already sent to the Tower for abuse
of the present government and from fear of their plotting against it,
another Colonel of note has been added to their number, the very
same who was once commissioned to arrest the late king. (fn. 4) He may
be one of those who repent of the past, say they were deceived and vow
that, if necessary, they will wash out the taint with their blood. From
hearing such sentiments expressed, from the placards exposed in
public and from the discontent of the overburdened people, greater
disturbances are expected in this city, whose example will be followed
by the rest of the country. In spite of the assertions of those who
pretend that such a government as this can be firmly established,
those who watch the public mind and the manner of government are
of a contrary opinion. London is only kept in subjection by armed
force, a state of things that may last so long as the troops are obedient
and well paid, for they are powerful enough to check any popular
disturbance at present ; but one day it is possible that the tide of
discontent may prove too strong for them. Such is the state of affairs
here and of current opinion and without predicting the future or the
result of such strong measures as this powerful commonwealth may
take, with a reform of the government, it seems to me that the Signory
will be wise to postpone any decision about closer intercourse with
Represents that impossible for him to continue long in England
without some recognition from the State. Has no definite
London, the 3rd October, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
|164. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
The necessity for keeping the navy and army in a good temper
and well paid adds to the financial embarrassments of the
government. There are no funds and it is not considered safe to
impose fresh taxes, as those now in force are a heavier burden than
the English have ever been accustomed to. So to avoid insurrection,
before doubling the ordinary and extraordinary assessment, they
have decided to raise money from the so called "delinquents"
and Catholics. If these wish to retain the two thirds of their
property which are declared forfeit to parliament, they are bound
to compound for it within two months from this time. After
that they will either be forced to a pecuniary compromise or
their estates will be pitilessly sold for what they may fetch.
They thus further exasperate the subject, whose goodwill has always
been considered a rich treasure for the exigencies of the sovereign,
but here it is a source of revenue which is most certainly on the decline.
The naval news, confirmed by the last letters from Holland, is
that the Dutch General De Vuart is out with 54 men of war and
that he was to be reinforced with 40 others under the command of
De Ruyter. The withdrawal of the English squadron has given
the Dutch merchant fleet destined for different parts of Europe
an opportunity of getting out of port with safety, and they may
seize this moment for convoying their Indiamen, which have
been for some time taking refuge in the harbours of Denmark.
Since the storm an English squadron has been appointed to
sail forthwith and cruise off the Texel. It will be followed, they
say, by the main body of the fleet, and if they fall in with the
enemy another battle may be expected.
The same letters from Holland hold out small hope of peace.
On the contrary the Dutch say that the commissioners who came
here exceeded their powers, and if it be true, as reported here,
that M. de Chanu has been appointed French ambassador at the
Hague, the English will undoubtedly consider this a hostile
demonstration on the part of the Dutch, and will consequently
increase their navy and likewise seek an accession of strength by
alliances with foreign powers, relying on the friendliness of Spain.
To induce Sweden to follow her example the appointment of
Mr. Whitelocke, a lawyer who has never been out of England, as
ambassador, is confirmed. But his departure, like that of his
colleague for Constantinople, has not yet been positively settled
owing to the usual intrigues characteristic of all the proceedings
of this government.
As the Vice-chancellor of Poland was to leave for France to-day
or to-morrow, I went to pay him my respects. He asked if I
had any reply to his message and wished me to inform you that
he meant to pay you his respects in Paris. I told him I had
received no answer at all. I may add that he has been treated
with extreme honour and most confidentially by General
Cromwell. All his goods have passed the customs without
examination and he was allowed to export 15 horses duty free.
The commonwealth has placed a man of war (fn. 5) at his disposal
to take him to any French port he pleases, marks of distinction
probably due to the letter of the Queen of Sweden in his favour.
Your Excellency will hear further particulars from himself.
Has received no communication this week, and consequently
London, the 3rd October, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
165. To the Ambassador in France.
Owing to the offers made by Fleming and General Owen no
arrangement can be made with General Preston about the Irish
levy, or with any others before some positive reply has been
received about the proposals from England. You will therefore
direct Pauluzzi to obtain a precise decision from Fleming at once,
telling him that the republic has other offers from France but that
the Senate is unwilling to decide until it has heard the intentions
of the government. If the negotiations in London do not offer
hopes of a successful issue you will arrange with Preston for a
levy of 1000 men on the terms enclosed. The offer of Ralph Isup
made to Pauluzzi and forwarded on the 6th ult. must be dropped
as his demands are excessive.
Ayes, 108. Noes, 1. Neutral, 6.
166. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 6)
I have little to report as I have not had audience yet. Throughout
the week the Council of State has held frequent secret sittings
largely on account of recent domestic events, as the government
hopes by vigilance and assiduity to check that civil strife which
is both feared and anticipated. Chiefly for this reason the number
of troops in London and the suburbs increases, patrols of horse
and foot perambulate the city by day and night, as an additional
curb on the populace, and the Council of State has issued an order,
confirmed by parliament, prohibiting all conventicles and meetings,
either in or out of London. Spies have been set to watch
any infringement of this edict ; but however cloudy the political
horizon may appear here, the strength and vigour of the government
are such that the people resign, themselves to silence and long-suffering.
It is very evident that so long as harmony prevails
among the members of the Council of State and that body commands
with the strong arm of the military which supports it, the threatening
storm will scarcely burst, unless other incidents arise on the sudden
to change the present state of affairs.
With scant indication of peace with Holland and as, under
favour of the late storm the Dutch have put to sea with 50 men
of war, conferring the post of the late General Tromp on a very
experienced naval officer, who will take command of the fleet
with another squadron, (fn. 7) the government here is more intent than
ever on strengthening the navy. On the other hand, owing to the
time of year and also by order of Gen. Monch who has come over
to give his advice, a good part of the English ships, most in need
of repair, have withdrawn into the Thames. The main body of
the fleet remains near Yarmouth, and only 30 of the best frigates
continue to cruise along the Dutch coast, where they are to be
joined by others, to make prizes and dispute the enemy's return.
Here they are very confident that however costly the continuation
of the war may prove to England, the Dutch find it equally so, and
if a monthly outlay of 120,000l. sterling is incurred here for the
maintenance of the navy alone, the burden will fall even more
heavily on the United Provinces because they have lost in
addition the profits of this year's herring fishery.
Meanwhile in order to improve matters and to cultivate the
goodwill of Sweden the ambassador extraordinary already
appointed has just received his instructions in great haste. I learn
through a confidential channel that he is charged, if the war
with Holland continues, to effect a close alliance with that Crown,
though the difficulty of a passage by sea may possibly delay his
departure longer than is desired.
The envoy from the Swiss Protestant Cantons, after a lengthy
stay here, to offer the mediation of his masters with Holland, is
now about to depart, without having effected anything, and has
been pressing for some time for a mere audience of leave.
Tranquillity seems to be restored in Scotland and Ireland and the
government hope that the winter season may stop all further
insurrection for this year. In the mean time they will leave
nothing untried to reduce the inhabitants of both countries to
due submission and obedience.
Acknowledges letter of the 27th ult. and 4th inst. and receipt
of 1000 livres Tournois.
London, the 10th October, 1653.
Postcript :—As I was about to seal the above I received an
intimation that I am to see the deputies of the Council of State
at 4 o'clock to-morrow afternoon.
[Italian : the part in italics deciphered.]
167. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 8)
Last Friday at the appointed hour (fn. 9) I went to Whitehall and
after some delay Sir [Oliver] Fleming came to say that the
councillors appointed to hear me would be there directly. They
came and followed me into another room, the Master of the
Ceremonies not being present, as on former occasions, which
proves the truth of what I reported about him. A chair was
placed for me opposite where the councillors sat, and all being
covered, I set forth my commissions, precisely as instructed.
I spoke of the desire of the Senate to establish and increase good
relations between the two republics, for which they would appoint
a Resident or even an ambassador, as the Council might prefer,
if assured of reciprocity. I asked for a reply in writing, and took
the opportunity to request that the ambassador now starting for
Constantinople might be charged to favour the interests of Venice,
and so aid the cause of Christendom against the common enemy.
I expressed the hope of a speedy reply to transmit to the Senate.
I then, as usual, gave them a paper in Italian and English, with
the substance of my remarks. This was read and discussed in
my presence and the senior councillor told me they would acquaint
the Council of State with it. I took leave without further reply
and they accompanied me to the door. Nothing remains for
me now but to wait for the answer. If it is delayed, as usual
here, I shall not fail to make enquiries, as both repetition and
patience are needed to settle anything with this government. Indeed,
the most experienced diplomatists are obliged as it were to go to
school when treating with the ministers now in office here, who are
both inexpert and unused to affairs, in short, utterly raw.
At sea things seem quiet. The Dutch fleet is towards Denmark
and Norway in order to convoy some of their merchantmen back
to Holland. The English with 50 good ships are between this
country and Holland, cruising up and down according to the
intelligence they receive and watching for the return of the enemy.
As both parties remain out it is possible the year may close with
another naval engagement. This is anticipated if they chance to
Several Hamburg and Lubeck ships which fell in with the
parliament squadron, have been brought into English ports,
freighted with ammunition, military stores and material for ship
building. The new ships which I reported on the stocks make
rapid progress every week and three of them, mounting 70 to 80
guns are nearly completed.
Nothing more is said about peace, though the two Dutch
commissioners still remain here and lately effected an exchange of
200 Dutch prisoners for an equal number of English, confined in
Although the Highlanders and insurgents in Scotland have been
driven back they make occasional forays, doing as much mischief
as possible. In spite of the efforts of the military to keep them
in the mountains a firm belief prevails that the Scots will scarcely
adapt themselves to the present government unless compelled
by main force to tender that allegiance which is considered indispensable
here, though the press of business does not allow the
compulsion required to attain it.
I have just heard that the minister for Constantinople, availing
himself of a large ship bound for the Levant, has left with letters
from parliament for the Grand Turk and the Chief Vizier. (fn. 10)
He is to cause the dismissal of the minister now at the Porte,
accredited by the late king. So far as I can gather these letters
announce the loving disposition of the government and its wish
to cultivate friendship and intercourse with Turkey, adding that
as soon as possible they mean to send another person of rank
with credentials to act as ambassador. I shall keep on the watch
for anything that may be done.
Encloses accounts for September.
London, the 17th October, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
168. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 11)
The delay in getting a reply from the Council of State I share
with the ministers of Spain and Sweden as well as M. de Bordeaux.
The last may have to wait longest because from the first his proposals
were considered insincere, an opinion which has gained ground
owing to the dilatory nature of his negotiations, and consequently
the ill-will towards France seems to augment. The envoy of the
Swiss Protestants has only just obtained his audience to take
leave, and he was unable to get any reply to the letter he delivered
in spite of his long stay here. With the government so bent on
procrastination ministers have no resource but patience.
The negotiations with the Dutch are at a standstill. There
was talk the other day of sending an express to the Hague with
some fresh proposal, but after the matter had been discussed in
council, it was abandoned. It is also reported that the two
commissioners are coming back to London with fuller powers and
that the English will give up their stiff claims to a special alliance.
But all is indefinite, the only certain fact I can report is that if an
adjustment is made they will strain every nerve here to compass
a secret understanding with the Province of Holland, the one
which made a separate application for peace, and thus the English
will try, if possible, to foment the dissensions between the
Provinces, especially as the actual president of the Council of the
States is a native of Holland. (fn. 12) As he will remain in office for a
month, according to custom, something important may be
expected in that period.
Some of the parliament cruisers have fallen in with three large
and richly freighted Dutchmen bound from St. Malo in Brittany
for Spain, with linen of every description. They are valued at
over 300,000l. sterling and it is expected that both ships and
cargoes will be condemned. This is likely to make more trouble
as the policy here is first to seize everything possible and discuss
its release afterwards ; and even when this is admitted to be just
it is not always effected, while promises are tardily fulfilled, the
delay always favouring the captors.
200,000l. has been demanded of the city of London in aid of
the government, but the Common Council shows no inclination
to take up the proposal alleging with good reason the extraordinary
assessments already imposed and the stagnation of
trade. So the Council of State has deemed it expedient not to
resort to violent measures for the moment, and will wait for some
more pressing emergency. If the war with Holland goes on this
cannot long be delayed and may compel the adoption of force,
the only guide of all the acts of this commonwealth, whether at
home or abroad.
Just when the ambassador to Sweden was expected to be
starting he has been stopped by some members of the government
who insist first on the examination of all the decrees passed by
him as a civil judge, as he was one of the leading members of the
late parliament entrusted with two others with the entire civil
judicature of England, (fn. 13) against which many complaints are raised.
Before he goes some of the administration wish certain awards to
be explained, either for the relief of petitioners or perhaps with a
view to appoint some one in his stead. This proves disagreement
in the Council of State where I know that dissension increases daily
both from interested personal motives and from conflicting political
opinions, as well as on the score of religion, which becomes more and
more confused, and taken with other evil tendencies may one day or
other easily produce considerable changes here.
In consequence of the seditious libels on Cromwell I reported,
several printers of this city have been imprisoned in separate cells
for the better and more easy discovery of the truth.
The city has appointed its new Lord Mayor, a man of fair fame,
extremely wealthy and well affected to the government. (fn. 14)
Parliament has confirmed the nomination and according to
custom he will in a few days take the oath of allegiance and be
installed in office.
General Blach has appeared lately in parliament to take the
seat assigned to him at its convocation. The Speaker returned
him profuse thanks, extolling his merits for the transcendent
service rendered by him as General of the Fleet.
Acknowledges letters of the 18th inst.
London, the 23rd October, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
|169. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
The distinguished officers named in the attached sheet have
presented themselves to me on the strength of the accompanying
letter of Fribart, the Lieut.-Gen. of Ireland in consequence of
reports that Venice might wish to raise levies here to use against
Ottoman perfidy. They asked if I had any instructions and if
they could offer themselves in so Christian a cause. I told them
my duty was to listen to whatever might help the state, upon
which they expressed their wish to enter the service of the most
serene republic, as they had some military experience both out of
England and in it during the late civil wars, and wished to turn
this to account in the service of the Signory and to avail themselves
of the permission to levy Irishmen in favour of Venice in
preference to any other power. I said the Senate would appreciate
their goodwill and promised to forward their proposals
They said they felt sure the terms would be accepted as they were
so advantageous, and their personal sacrifice would be received as
a mark of respect. Two days later they brought me the enclosed
papers relying on the hope of a speedy reply. They expressed
their devotion to the republic and their zeal for the Christian
religion, seeing that as Catholics their sympathies were cordially
enlisted under the banner of St. Mark.
London, the 23rd October, 1653
170. Propositions offered to the Resident of Venice, this
10th October, 1653, by Colonels Charles Goring, Sir Herbert
Lunsford and Charles Finch.
1. Undertake to raise, ship and transport 5000 Irish to any
convenient place in Venetian territory.
2. Expect 11l. sterling for every man so raised etc.
3. Half the money to be paid in advance, upon sureties.
4. The republic to give surety for the rest.
5. All hazards, losses and casualties at sea to be upon the
account of the republic.
6. The republic to appoint a commissioner in Ireland to see the
numbers shipped and that they are serviceable men.
7. Good quarters shall be provided for the men at the rendezvous.
8. A company shall muster at 40 and a regiment at 400.
9. Each officer and man shall receive two months' advance
10. At the first muster the common soldiers and uncommissioned
officers shall be clothed and armed at the charge of the
11. Desire the whole levy to be put into 3 or 4 regiments,
of which they shall have the command and disposal, with blank
commissions for officers.
12. If their numbers decrease in service, so as to lose the form
of regiments, they shall be recruited at the same rate either with
Irish or other strangers, not under the dominion of the republic.
13. The regiments shall stand for 6 years at least.
14. If the republic has peace before, they shall keep the
colonel's company in pay and give pensions to the field officers.
15. Officers and men to have two months' pay on disbanding.
During the service officers and men shall have the same pay
and entertainment and be in the same condition as other strangers
are in the service.
Ambitious to serve on these terms.
Signed : Charles Goring etc.
|171. Copy of letter of the Lord Deputy Fleetwood to Sir
Promise that he and Colonel Cooke shall have 5000 Irish
instead of the 3000 they petitioned for, in confidence that they
will keep their engagement not to do anything prejudicial to the
state ; only let him make his terms with any in amity with the
From Syon House, the 24th August, 1652.
172. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 15)
Last Tuesday Sir [Oliver] Fleming brought me the enclosed
letter to the Senate which he had since last week. He had waited
in the hope of bringing me some reply to my last communication
but it was prevented by the numerous and important affairs
occupying the attention of the government. He assured me that
for more than a month the Council of State had transacted no
business with the foreign ministers here. Everyone complained
and expected answers, but he did not know what to do. I said
I felt sure the ministry here would reciprocate the friendly
sentiments of the Signory, if tardily. He then said that he had
been charged to ask that the letter might be delivered immediately.
The commonwealth anticipated a speedy compliance seeing that
in 1645 England obtained a similar favour on the mere demand
of parliament, and they expected equal or greater courtesy now
when the power and absolute authority of parliament enabled it
to reciprocate any friendly action.
I promised to send the missive at once and could assure them
of the desire of the republic to give them every satisfaction.
When he took leave I asked him in confidence what hope there
was of peace with Holland. He replied thus : I fancy it will come.
The other two commissioners are expected back with fresh
instructions and you may have some good news to report before
long. I thanked him and said the Senate would rejoice at anything
that might redound to the prosperity of the commonwealth,
and so we parted.
Fleming deliverd the missive in the same manner as on former
occasions, but the consideration he enjoyed with the present
government is on the wane as well as the voice he had in all the
most important matters. He is very intelligent, expert in affairs
and enjoys the confidence of all the foreign ministers, but this has
aroused so much jealousy and mistrust that he is at present in
dudgeon rather than satisfied with those in control, who may
indeed be said for the most part to lack the qualifications required
for the direction of such a vast machine as this commonwealth. So it
is no wonder that the administration moves slowly and irregularly
and so little to the public satisfaction as to induce a wish for change.
This is already foretold and might come at latest on the expiration of
this parliament and the summoning of its successor. That is to
meet in a few months and may be expected to bring great changes,
as the general disappointment with the parliament now sitting may
make the people clamorous with the next one, unless the fear of the
military perpetuates submission.
Since the publication of the libels on Cromwell reported, other
seditious pamphlets have appeared attacking the government,
reminding the people of the extraordinary taxation to which they are
subjected, and asserting that the object of their rulers is to despoil
them of the best of their property and eventually destroy their ancient
privileges. These prints were suppressed as speedily as possible
and great efforts are being made to discover the authors.
Besides the obstacles to the departure of the Ambassador
Extraordinary for Sweden, private letters from that country and
Holland in general circulation say that he is threatened with the
same fate that befell the parliament's ministers in Holland and
Spain, who were murdered. This perplexes the government, as even
if they decided to give him a good escort that would be no guarantee
against murder. This consideration induces caution and it will
always render this government very cautious in sending envoys to
foreign Courts, and they might not bind themselves to return embassies
in order to avoid such disasters as might befall them in conspicuous
capitals. I shall probably not be wrong in saying that they may not
respond so readily as might be wished to the most serene republic, a
conclusion I have formed in great measure from their delay in
answering my last announcement.
Besides the rich prizes I reported nothing has arrived from the
fleet this week, except such ships as enter the Thames daily to
repair the damage of war or weather. Some 35 or 40 of the best
ships remain on the Dutch coast, some to watch the return of the
enemy and others to make prizes.
The king of Denmark, though pledged to the Dutch, seems to
be dealing very leniently with such English ships as approach
those waters, with a view to mitigate the wrath of the commonwealth
and facilitate an adjustment for himself also in case the
United Provinces make their peace.
Last Sunday, a day observed here with devotion and the utmost
reserve, a riot took place in St. Paul's cathedral to the consternation
of all present. Among the various sects, of which more
than fifty may now be counted in England, that of the Anabaptists
which at present numbers many proselytes, had a place assigned
it there for preaching purposes, by reason of the size of the
building. On Sundays the Lord Mayor and aldermen also attend
service in the choir of the church, and on the day in question a
considerable mob of apprentices appeared there on a sudden to
oust the Anabaptists, whose preacher they began to insult.
His followers took his part, but though the military were called in
and quelled the tumult, some were killed and others maimed.
Guards have been posted to prevent the recurrence of such scenes.
This broil took place on the 16th October, old style, the very day
designated in the libel on Gen. Cromwell. (fn. 16) The coincidence has
caused added anxiety to the Council of State and the city
authorities, so on the same night numerous patrols of horse and
foot were in motion, and from this circumstance sensible men
infer that the confusion of creeds and the general dissatisfaction
with the government caused by the extraordinary taxation and
stagnation of trade, due to the present war, may produce even more
startling events, as I have already hinted.
Acknowledges letters of the 25th inst.
London, the 30th October, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]