173. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to
the Doge and Senate.
As instructed I forwarded the orders to Paulucci together with
a copy of the contract for his guidance for a levy of 1000 men
He has this week sent me another offer of Irishmen and as the
aspirants are numerous the state will be able to pick and choose.
Encloses Paulucci's letters as usual.
Paris, the 4th November, 1653.
174. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
By pressing for a reply to my announcement I find that the
government requires time as they consider the affair of great
importance ; but I also learn that the answer will be quite
satisfactory and I should have received it already but for the
extraordinary press of business As a fact the Council of State has
been exclusively occupied with naval affairs the last few days,
which are justly considered paramount. The consultations are
attended by General Blach and General Monc who have come to
London on purpose to give advice, now that the enemy is at sea,
and what is more, off the English coast, in order to intercept a
fleet of colliers which is expected from Scotland. Perhaps they
mean to blockade this river and prevent the ships now at anchor
there from joining the small squadron now at sea. On the other
hand I hear on good authority that the English fleet means to go
out of the Thames in great force, the ships there having possibly
come in for the express purpose of assembling to convoy the
colliers and remedy the scarcity of fuel, of which there is much
complaint in London, and at the same time to prove that the
commonwealth navy is stronger than ever, rendering the enemy
more prone to peace and thus benefiting the negotiations here.
The two Dutch commissioners are expected back daily. (fn. 2)
From this and because the actual President of the Council at the
Hague is a native of Holland, a province that has practically
declared for peace, many entertain hopes of a speedy adjustment.
I find that a secret envoy has been despatched to Holland with
assurances of the best possible disposition here. I also understand
that they have descended from their original lofty
pretensions. If this is true and the Dutch are as pacifically
inclined, a good result may be anticipated. On the other hand if
the negotiations do not advance during the presidency of the
Hollander, an adjustment, if not hopeless, will certainly be much
impeded, each party continuing its hostilities with obstinacy, so
as to force the other to terms. While the English know that
domestic affairs in the United Provinces fluctuate on this account,
the Dutch also know that things are not perfectly quiet in England,
where the people clamour daily about taxes and the stoppage of
trade, which has caused great hardship among the people here
ever since the war began.
To enable the fleet to put to sea in full force a fresh order was
issued lately prohibiting all vessels from leaving the Thames.
The government thus obtains a supply of sailors, though these
complain that their faithful services at the risk of their lives have
not been acknowledged by punctual pay as promised. For the
redress of this grievance they appeared recently in considerable
numbers before the Council of State with complaints, demands
and almost protestations, obtaining assurances of redress and
satisfaction. To avoid great mischief which might arise from a
small cause some money was distributed among them. But the
scarcity of funds is such that redoubled efforts have been made to
get supplies. Cromwell has held private conferences with the
Lord Mayor and aldermen to devise means for getting a subsidy
from the city of 400,000l. sterling which the people here will be
reluctant to grant, as the universal murmur, only too freely
uttered, runs that never was taxation so high as at present, and
there is no doubt that only the dread of the military makes the
English now submit to burdens, the bare mention of which, in
bygone times would have driven them frantic.
The chief of the two Swedish ministers here, having recently
received letters from his queen to present to parliament and orders
to take leave has lately had audience for this and will depart for
Sweden forthwith his colleague remaining in London for the
performance of certain promises, the complete fulfilment of which
the other has been unable to obtain. It is said by some that the
government will seize this opportunity to send the ambassador
extraordinary in his company for safety's sake, though this is
contradicted by others who add that his departure may be delayed
some time for the reasons already reported ; anyhow the question
will be decided ere long.
Has received no letters since those of the 25th.
London, the 6th November, 1653.
Postcript :—I have just learned of the arrival of the two
commissioners from Holland. This will certainly help the peace
negotiations. The idea prevails that it is earnestly desired by
both sides. If this feeling is greater than before with each, as
appearances indicate, the conclusion may be near at hand, unless
impediments arise in the act of negotiating, as easily happens in
175. To the Ambassador in France.
We note Pauluzzi's audience of the councillors of parliament
and the punctual execution of his commissions and his adroit
endeavour to obtain the replies, while for the rest he confined
himself to general terms, avoiding any sort of committal. You
will instruct him to try and discover what commissions have been
given to the person sent to Constantinople, about backing up
our interests at the Porte.
Ayes, 137. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
176. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 3)
After their demand for pay the sailors of the fleet insisted on
receiving the prize money awarded them by act of parliament,
and having largely deserted their ships, now in the Thames,
appeared riotously in several parts of London, many being armed
with swords and pikes, a few even having firearms. One party of
these mutineers encountered by accident near the palace Gen.
Cromwell and General Monch, who asked them where they were
going and what they wanted. They answered boldly that they
asked for justice and right, in so insolent a tone that to intimidate
them General Monk drew his sword and belaboured a number of
them, wounding a few. This answered, for they withdrew,
though only to inform their comrades and join forces, as they did
on the morrow. As their numbers were known to be increasing
elsewhere and their acts approached open insurrection, the
Council of State at once sent a regiment of 1000 foot and some
troops of horse against them. To this force they were compelled
to submit, some of their ringleaders being taken, and yesterday
one of the most violent was executed, charged in addition with
having attempted the life of Cromwell with a firearm. Anyhow
the culprit has been hanged in public, escorted by a troop of horse,
without any disturbance among his messmates, indeed it seems
that this public example has brought them back to their duty. (fn. 4)
Before applying these violent remedies to so perilous a disorder,
a proclamation was made to the sound of the trumpet, on the
Exchange, at the hour when most frequented, stating that the
sailors, regardless of their duty and on unreasonable grounds,
fomented by enemies of the commonwealth had sought to create
a disturbance. To prevent this the mutineers now in the hands
of justice would receive exemplary punishment and those who
persisted in insurrection would all be put to death. At the same
time it was the firm intention of the government to keep its
promises, especially about prize money, and to show the utmost
compassion to the widows and orphans of sailors who died in the
service of the state. Thus by severity and lenience serious
mischief has been averted, an issue being effected for peccant
humours, although it is believed they have not all evaporated.
Such is the emergency which for the last few days has intensely
occupied the whole administration. It still causes preoccupation,
as although acts of disobedience may be met by force, the present
state of affairs does not allow them to go all lengths against the
sailors, on whom the entire fleet may be said to depend. What
is worse the sailors have accomplices on the ships among the
soldiers, one of whom has also been executed, so the affair is of
double significance. The disturbance is exceedingly regrettable
because it came at a time when the government wanted to send
out a considerable squadron, whose departure has consequently
been delayed and at the very moment of the arrival of the Dutch
commissioners. So every means has been taken to put things
right lest in the approaching negotiations the Dutch raise their
claims. Possibly they may now show more inclination for
peace here, as although the sailors have been quieted and brought
to their duty they cannot be entirely trusted. So past mischief
may contribute much to future good by accelerating the adjustment
between the two nations.
Since the two commissioners returned all four have had
audience of the committee previously appointed for them. But
they only repeated how earnestly the United Provinces desired
peace, which is fully reciprocated here. I hear in confidence that
the Dutch are resigned to what is fair and just so if the English
abate somewhat their first high pretensions, as there is some
likelihood that they may, an adjustment seems probable.
It is not possible as yet to form any definite opinion about the
result. At the same time, unless the prolonged stay of the
commissioners here is a stratagem, hopes may be entertained of
something decisive ere long.
A ship bound from San Sebastian to Dunkirk with 200,000
pieces of eight has been seized by two of the parliament frigates
and brought into the mouth of the Thames. (fn. 5) The captain came
up to London at once to complain to the Spanish ambassador who
demanded audience of the Council of State, for its release, also at
the earnest suit of the Prince of Condé's Agent, the money being
mostly destined for his Highness, according to report. He
obtained this readily and was told that if the specie really proved
to be Spanish property both ship and cargo would be released,
but meanwhile it all remains in the hands of the rulers here, who
will make a careful enquiry into the matter first of all and then
decide what best suits their interests under the circumstances,
after their fashion here.
The government has at last decided to despatch the Ambassador
Whitelocke at once, in consideration of the pledge given to Sweden
and to help the negotiations with the Dutch, certain serious
obstacles having been overcome. They send him off in great
state and with a considerable retinue. He has already taken
leave of parliament and the Council of State.
The six months for the Council of State having expired the
whole of this week has been spent in nominating the 15 new
members who remain in office for a year, 15 members retiring by
rotation every six months while the other 15 remain. With
changes more frequent than of yore the probability of radical reform
increases. The severity of the government causes universal discontent
and swells the ranks of the disaffected, though the ministry cares
little for this because they have a large armed force at their absolute
disposal with which they count upon putting down any disorder that
may arise and keeping the people cowed and loyal, and they make no
outcry, in spite of their burdens and discontent, for fear of worse.
A large force of troops is quartered in and about this city. Being
punctually paid they are a model of discipline and obedience.
No letters have arrived this week because of the very high
contrary winds these last days.
London, the 13th November, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
177. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The chancellor of Poland is here after a few months' stay in
England. He is planning to induce the Turks to attack Poland
and is full of crude schemes inspired only by passion.
The English squadron cruising off the Dutch coast was
compelled by a storm to return to port for repairs. Dutch
merchantmen profit by the opportunity to put to sea, much to the
relief of their trade, but as the richly freighted merchantmen
have not yet put in an appearance, the merchants are full of
Encloses Paulucci's letter.
Epernay, the 18th November, 1653.
178. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 6)
Your Excellency's letters of the 1st and 8th inst. reached me at
the same time, the stormy weather having stopped all communication
with France for some days. I note the orders about the levy
and to refuse the proposal of Captain Jessupp. I will see Sir[Oliver]
Fleming and inform you of the result. I may remark that the
government desires nothing better than to thin the population
of Scotland and Ireland, and above all to rid itself of the Irish
Catholics, many of whom have received recruiting permits. If
the demand for passage money is fair I think there would be no
lack of men or transports, as I know many who are anxious to
make contracts. But it will be difficult to get anyone here to
undertake the affair without a little money, as Fleming told me
at his original offer. I will try and see what can be done and have
already made an application. I expect to see Fleming about this
and to receive the reply for which I have been waiting so long.
With this government importunity is of little use, its decisions are
always tardy and regulated entirely by their own interest. The
English look at things in their own way not that of others, even
when their own interest requires another system, and if they
make peace with Holland they will expect to be courted by
nearly all the powers of Europe.
The Dutch negotiations seem to be progressing favourably.
If they continue so the chief difficulties may be first smoothed
by the exchange of letters, if they do not find it too difficult
to avoid the harshness and obstacles inseparable from so
momentous a business which are foreseen here as exceptionally
hard to surmount. It is known that the commissioners have
returned with sufficient powers for a settlement and the
determination to be guided by what is just and proper. As
people are impressed with this belief England will get the blame
if the treaty does not take effect. Possibly to encourage this
belief the commissioners make known their powers and the
goodwill of their masters. But the negotiations are conducted
with extraordinary secrecy, and since the mutiny of the sailors
the tendency to peace is clearly much stronger.
By the last advices from Holland the arrival in the Texel is
confirmed of 250 merchantmen, including the East India ships,
which stayed a long time in Danish ports to escape the English
fleet. They all got in safe under convoy of General de Vuart. (fn. 7)
much to the comfort of the United Provinces, which are now
somewhat relieved from the great inconvenience of the present
war. The Indiamen are understood to be worth more than 8
millions of gold, this fleet being richer in diamonds, other jewels
and especially ambergris than any other that has reached Holland
for many a year. This was known here and the government
intended to send out a considerable fleet to give it battle, but was
prevented by the mutiny of the sailors.
It is conjectured that the ambassador to Sweden will be charged
to go on later to the Muscovite, to try and effect a reconciliation
with that sovereign, who showed ill will to the English merchants
trading in his dominions when he heard of the death of King
Charles, and expelled the chief of them ; but his secret object
was to curry favour with the Dutch. The ambassador has set
out with a retinue of 80 persons in gallant trim, as they mean
him to make a sumptuous appearance.
Nothing has been done yet about the money taken on the
Flemish ship. The Spanish ambassador has received the same
answer as when the plate was taken previously. It is thought
the decision will be long delayed. With regard to these prizes
I may cite the case of some wool taken long ago and finally
released by order of the Admiralty Court on proof of its being
the property of the king of Spain. When the goods were about
to leave this country a London merchant named Ricaut attached
it boldly declaring that the king of Spain owed him a sum exceeding
its value. Thus to the surprise of everybody one sees goods
judged by a court of law to be the property of a crowned head
seized by a private individual. Although the action seems rash,
Ricaut is under no apprehension, having taken advice, and
because his claims are legitimate. If he gets his way this will
probably serve as a precedent for other creditors of Spain or
any other power. So the affair excites attention from its character
and unless the government decides to take it up again as an
important matter of state, as the ambassador contends, civil
or common law may decide in favour of the merchant. (fn. 8) The
state of things here is such that practically every private person
claims a potential voice and liberty to act as he pleases, however
unbecoming or unreasonable it may be.
Encloses accounts for October.
London, the 20th November, 1653.
179. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
News has come from Holland of the safe arrival of the India
fleet numbering 420 sail, richly freighted, to the great relief of
the Dutch merchants, who were in fear and trembling because
the English had their eye on it. Muskets and pikes have also
been sent from the Hague to arm the Highlanders in Scotland,
to aid their insurrection against the parliament.
Encloses letters from England.
Epernay, the 25th November, 1653.
180. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch are filling these coasts with alarm. In the Strait
of Gibraltar they have captured twenty English ships which
were proceeding to the Levant laden with divers kinds of goods.
They have also taken two vessels of Algiers, while three others
ran themselves aground on the shores of Barbary.
Madrid, the 26th November, 1653.
181. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 9)
Receiving no reply from the Council of State I sent the enclosed
letter to one of the members who received me in audience, who
replied promising that the matter would be settled satisfactorily
in a few days.
There is no fresh news except that the negotiations of the
Dutch commissioners have advanced little beyond mutual
assurances of the best possible disposition. As the affair proceeds
it encounters serious obstacles on which it may easily suffer
shipwreck. It is reported that since the mission of M. Scianou
to the Hague the tone of the commissioners has changed, and
indeed little progress has been made since the first fair demonstrations.
It was said the other day that the negotiations had
been broken off, so the chances seem rather in favour of a continuation
of the war.
With things in this state, to help their own side, lest the Dutch
should become too puffed up by the safe arrival of their merchant
fleet, their unimpeded traffic and practical mastery of the sea, it was
determined to send out General Monch with 60 of the best men-of-war,
to try and intercept a wine fleet which the enemy was expecting.
Some money was distributed among the sailors and
soldiers, by way of encouragement, and he embarked immediately.
But it is now reported from Holland that the wine fleet when at
the mouth of the Texel with its convoy encountered a furious storm
in which 16 of the newly built men-of-war were disabled and some
others totally lost, in addition to which the sea destroyed a dike,
damaging the country greatly, many lives being lost. (fn. 10) Hopes are
entertained that these catastrophes may help the commonwealth.
The English indeed represent the mischief as greater, but it will
be prudent to await the next advices from the United Provinces.
The systematic seizure by the parliament cruisers of whatever
they encounter gives rise to increasing complaints from all
quarters. The injury done to French trade is very great indeed,
for besides former prizes they have now taken two other French
ships, one with a valuable cargo of linen. Although it showed
a pass from the late parliament, this was ignored. Thus the
animosity between the two countries increases daily. To bear
this out we hear of the seizure by French ships in the Mediterranean
of a large English merchantman bound to London with
The government seems determined to renew its severity
against the Catholics and bring them to the verge of ruin. They
are now required to redeem their estates, and if they are unable
or unwilling to do so, two thirds of their property now in the
hands of the commonwealth will be sold without reserve as a
fund for the support of the present war.
The ambassador extraordinary for Sweden departed as mentioned
but returned to London two days later to see his first
born son, his wife having been delivered almost immediately
after he started. He is now on the road again, comforted by
this event and also by the increase of his monthly allowance
to 50l. a day, besides a present of 6,000l. sterling for his outfit.
The Swedish Resident has also left England, leaving a commissioner
of his queen here to attend to affairs. The Swiss
Agent, who was to have left has received fresh instructions and
remains in hope of effecting something with this commonwealth
in the matter of mutual intercourse.
Acknowledges letters of the 22nd inst.
London, the 28th November, 1653.
182. Letter of Paulucci to a Member of the Council of State.
Has waited two months for an answer to the expressions of
friendship made to the Council by order of his Prince. Asks
when he may expect it or if the Council considers it necessary
to wait longer before responding to the friendly advances of
Signed, Lauren. Paulus, Secretary of Venice.
London, the 25th November, 1653.
[French ; copy.]
183. To the Ambassador in France.
The demands of the captains who offer levies, reported by
Pauluzzi, are so excessive that they are impracticable. Pauluzzi
must inform them that no discussion of such terms is possible.
Ayes, 140. Noes, 1. Neutral, 7.
184. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
There is an increasing scarcity of ships at Leghorn. Besides
the war between the English and the Dutch there are the depredations
of corsairs. News has come recently that the Chevalier
Polo has captured some English ships bound for London from
Zante and Cephalonia with oil and currants, and two Flemish
ones with grain for Florence.
Mr. Charles Longland, minister of the English parliament at
Leghorn, has orders to send an express expedition to Tripoli
in Barbary and to despatch goods there for ransoming all the
English who are slaves in the place, because the parliamentary
fleet is very short of sailors. From this shortage and the efforts
to remedy it one may gather how difficult it will be for that nation
to have ships in the Mediterranean just now.
Florence, the 29th November, 1653.