185. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Thirty Morlacs (fn. 1) have come to the camp. They were taken
to England by Paganuzzi, but did not find the employment there
which they desired, and they could not adjust their consciences
to the form of licentiousness (libertinaggio) there. The Cardinal
gave them a friendly welcome, had them supplied with what
they required and sent them to the fortress of La Fere.
Encloses Pauluzzi's letter.
Scialon, the 2nd December, 1653.
186. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 2)
With some difficulty I contrived to see Sir [Oliver] Fleming,
as he is so busy and partly because of the reasons reported.
After remonstrating about the absence of any reply from the
Council of State I spoke of the Senate's intention about the
hiring of troops. Fleming assured me that I should receive a
written answer in the course of the week amply demonstrating
their goodwill and desire for intercourse. He very much regretted
that the Signory had so long delayed availing itself of the
offer of Irishmen, as if the orders I now had came when he first
made the proposal the troops could have been obtained on
advantageous terms, as they were ready and the disposal of them
was delayed solely out of regard for Venice. They were eventually
conceded part to the Spaniards and part to the Prince of Condé,
but he assured me that efforts would be made to accommodate the
state and he would speak to the Council and Gen. Cromwell.
The government would make every exertion to gratify the
I asked him what expectation there was of peace with the
Dutch, but he was very reserved and only said they had fair
hopes and the negotiations were proceeding at a good pace with
promise of better yet. I said the republic should be the first to
receive the good news of the peace, as she hoped to benefit the
first and get help against the Turk. He replied that once the
alliance with England was established Venice would find it more
profitable than of yore. With this we parted. As our conversation
passed in a public place I had an opportunity afterwards of
speaking with an English gentleman who is largely privy to the
most important transactions of the government. I gathered
from him that in spite of the recent reports of the failure of the
negotiations, they progress steadily and though the time assigned
by the United Provinces to their commissioners here has expired,
they are still treating. He said that in a few days it was hoped
that something more positive would transpire, one way or the
other. From another confidential channel I learn that a number
of articles have already been agreed upon between the English
and Dutch commissioners. First there is to be mutual independence
at sea, the Dutch being bound to keep 30 men-of-war in
commission and the English 50 for the security and freedom of
trade. 10 or 15 persons of either nation are to form a presidency
in the respective councils of their countries. Mutual permission
to inhabit or quit either country is to be conceded to English
and Dutch subjects. The Dutch are to demand the right of
fishing and give 50,000l. sterling a year for it, paying the arrears
for the last 7 years. Navigation everywhere, especially in the
East Indies is to be free for both flags.
This is what I have been able to gather, though I cannot vouch
for it. On the other hand reports circulate that peace will not
be so easy ; that the negotiators are only trying to gain time ;
that hopes of an adjustment are faint because of the changes
imminent here. I must not forget the rumour now rife that
Gen. Cromwell has some intention of dissolving the present parliament
before its term, and to establish some other form of government.
The report is by no means incredible though it may only be a malicious
invention of his enemies. He is certainly not satisfied with
the policy of the present parliament, which has also disappointed
the nation at large and as the close of the session is near at hand he
is expected to dispense with such assemblies for the future and
carry on the government in another way, more dependent on the
authority and command of himself and his adherents.
The only naval intelligence this week is that Gen. Monch has
put to sea with a squadron of 60 sail to harass the enemy and
compel them to think seriously of coming to terms.
Last Monday at the new Exchange, a public place at present
much frequented by ladies and gentlemen of condition during
the tedious hours of the night an accident occurred of sufficient
importance to warrant a detailed account. That evening the
brother of the Portuguese ambassador (fn. 3) was accidentally jostled
there by an English gentleman. For this or, some say, because
of insulting language, the Portuguese in a great rage, drew his
sword and mortally wounded the Englishman, who even in that
state used his adversary roughly. The Don's attendants intervened
at once and the affray was stopped for the moment. But
it left so much irritation that on the following morning early the
Portuguese returned to the spot, some 50 in number, armed
with every sort of weapon, with the determination to avenge
themselves on the first Englishman who might appear, and barred
the way. Two English gentlemen, each with a lady at his side,
then appeared on the scene and attempted to pass, utterly unconscious
of all that had taken place and only desiring to purchase
fashionable articles for their approaching marriage. Without
more ado the Portuguese drew upon them. The English gentleman
was killed by a pistol shot, his betrothed swooning away,
thus experiencing the extremes of joy and grief. Another
Englishman was also killed and several wounded, whereas the
aggressors, being armed for defence and offence received no
injury whatever. The affrighted tradesmen all took refuge in
their shops and the Portuguese remained masters of the whole
of Britain's Bourse, until the news reached the horse guards,
always on duty near the palace. These restored order by capturing
five of the Portuguese and putting the rest to flight.
Unless the prisoners inform against the murderer all five of them,
according to a fundamental law of the land, are liable to death,
and above all the ambassador's brother himself, if it is proved
that he committed the homicide. A number of other troops
surrounded the ambassador's dwelling and demanded his brother
who was handed over to them accordingly. The ambassador's
earnest entreaties to General Cromwell for his brother's release
availed nothing for yesterday he was removed to the Tower. It
is firmly believed that the government will inflict the extreme
penalty on him and his five accomplices as the crime was premeditated
and treacherous. By infringing the prerogative of the
state and the liberty of the subject it may be said to affect the
whole nation at one and the same time. It was further aggravated
by very foul suspicions by the discovery in the Portuguese
coaches of a quantity of gunpowder and some grenades and
other explosives. This incident is calculated to upset entirely
the adjustment between the two countries, as no peace has yet
London, the 5th December, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
187. To the Ambassador in France.
We enclose a letter for the parliament, in reply to the one sent.
You will instruct Pauluzzi to present it in the customary form
and to impress upon their lordships the desire of the republic
to afford them every possible satisfaction, so as to adapt his
office thoroughly to the sentiments of the Senate. We attach
a copy of the letter.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
|188. To the Parliament of the Republic of England.
The Senate aspires to nothing so much as to give public testimony
to the esteem and correspondence which it professes for
so great a parliament. Paulucci has sent us your letter of the
6th September with your request about the difference over
caviare between the English merchants and David Ruttz. The
difficulties were many but being balanced by our desire to afford
you satisfaction the latter sentiment has easily prevailed. The
necessary orders have been issued where required so that your
desires, which we esteem so highly, may be carried into effect.
This will be done with promptitude, and from this you may
count on the certainty of our perfectly friendly disposition to
cherish the most perfect understanding. Compliments.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
189. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
An English squadron falling in with three French ships attacked
and seized them on the pretence that their cargoes were Dutch
property. The Cardinal dissembles his resentment, though he
is aware that his efforts to keep on good terms with the English
government and avoid occasion for a fresh rupture are not of
much avail. They have sent the information to M. Scianut,
their ambassador at the Hague, that he may foster confidential
relations with the Dutch. Their negotiations with the English
are regretted here as if the Commonwealth becomes free in that
direction they will be at liberty to vent their ill will against this
kingdom, the asylum of King Charles and the only refuge for
the feeble and languishing hopes of the royalists.
Meanwhile in Holland, besides the loss of 20 men-of-war in a
storm, the incessant rains and contrary winds have so swollen
the rivers that the dikes have broken and many villages been
flooded. Also in consequence of the arrest of a Swedish subject
at the Hague, the queen has had a number of Dutchmen imprisoned
at Stockholm and refused audience to the Dutch ambassadors. (fn. 4)
The Spanish and Dutch ministers have established the Chambre
Mipartie, i.e. an assembly of an equal number of Spaniards and
Dutchmen, to settle all controversial points connected with the
peace, (fn. 5) so it is evident that the efforts of France to embroil
Spain and Holland are in vain.
Encloses letter from England.
Meaux, the 9th December, 1653.
190. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 6)
The written reply was at length delivered to me last Saturday
by Sir [Oliver] Fleming, in both English and Latin, according to
their custom. He said he hoped it would prove satisfactory.
He had also spoken to the Council of State and Gen. Cromwell
about the Senate's intention to raise a force of Irish. They
were most favourable and one of these days an Irishman of rank,
dependent on the commonwealth, would come and try to arrange
terms. He even told me that although Gen. Cromwell avoids the
visits of public functionaries as much as he can, I should on this
occasion, as the servant of the state, be admitted to kiss his
hand. I promised him to forward the reply in the most expeditious
manner, and hoped ere long to give him proof that it had
been appreciated by the Signory. I should expect to see the
person about the levy, seeing that the need was urgent. He
asked me if I have positive orders about this and the necessary
security for the observance of the contract. I replied that
there was plenty of time for these details, and after receiving
my report the Senate would issue their instructions. He said
everything would be done here to give satisfaction. If any
arrangement was made it would be necessary to obtain passports
in good time from Holland and France. I told him the Senate
would see to that. I also said I should greatly value an opportunity
to pay my respects to Gen. Cromwell, to assure him of the
regard and esteem of the most serene republic. As Fleming
was leaving he asked me if any reply had come about the Admiralty
Court affair. I told him there had not yet been time for an
answer, which might be expected soon in confirmation of the
hearty good will of the Senate. He asked me not to lose a
moment in imparting it as the Council of State was expecting it
somewhat anxiously. With this we parted.
For the news I may say that if the parliament sits out its
appointed term, it will be a wonder as common report indicates
a change, even more in favour of Gen. Cromwell. Some private
persons and even preachers having suggested the nomination
of a king, parliament has passed an act forbidding strictly the
use of such language in the future. Anyone representing the
present government as tyrannical, unjust and illegitimate is to
be considered guilty of high treason and condemned to death
without further form of trial. The 40 members to form the
High Court of Justice I wrote of, were not nominated till last
week. They have been invested with sovereign authority with
power to call to account persons of every sort to conduct trials
and even to inflict capital punishment. This measure causes
great anxiety, but while it increases the dread inspired by the
present government it by no means renders it more popular.
The time of year does not admit of much happening at sea.
There seems to be a lull, and although the parliament squadron
is out, nothing important has happened, beyond the capture of
a few ships on either side. Among the English prizes is a Hamburg
ship the Wheel of Fortune which was for a long while chartered
by Venice. So the captain, on reaching London, came to me
for help. He expressed his satisfaction with his treatment and
said he would like to enter the service again with other of his
nation, if possible, for which he says he bound himself at Venice,
leaving his children there as guarantee. I promised to do what
I could for him, and if encouraged by your Excellency will act
more strenuously. Meanwhile the Hamburg Agent is pressing
for its release and may succeed, possibly in time to take out
troops to Candia if any contract can be arranged. But there will
be no lack of ships anxious for the task, especially if payable
by the Signory and if passes are obtained for a free passage,
although some persons who have returned to London from the
Levantine service complain of not having received their pay. I
contradict these reports, vaunting the punctuality of the state
and vowing that any blame must rest with the ship agents. I
have thus succeeded in convincing many of the injustice of such
The peace with Holland remains a constant topic, though
little has transpired. It is understood that the easier points
have been in a manner settled, though this is useless as the
more knotty ones remain to be solved. The chief difficulty
proceeds from the English demand for the abandonment of the
Orange faction, of France and of Denmark. The commissioners,
however, meet constantly. One day hopes are high, the next
everything is desperate. Many imagine that the arrival of the
French ambassador at the Hague may put a stop to all negotiation.
Positive tidings of the result cannot be long delayed and in the
mean time nothing is neglected here for the equipment of a
The ship St. Anna, laded with 360,000 pieces of eight, which
was recently captured, has been allowed to proceed on its voyage
to Flanders, having been proved the personal property of the
king of Spain, after many enquiries and repeated applications
from the Catholic ambassador.
All London, one may say, is now agog about the result of the
Portuguese affair. The examination has begun in order that the
judges may pass sentence as soon as possible. Some think that
it will be capital whilst others argue in favour of acquittal. The
nature and circumstances of the case make the despatch of the
business very doubtful.
Acknowledges letters of the 6th inst.
London, the 12th December, 1653.
191. The Council have considered the proposition made to
them by Sig. Paulucci on the 30th September last and for answer
say that as the parliament of the commonwealth of England have
by their letter to the Doge of Venice declared the singular goodwill
they bear to that republic and their readiness to make a
real and cordial demonstration thereof upon all good occasions,
so this Council will not be wanting to manifest their high esteem
of that state and their endeavours that parliament may maintain
and increase an intimate and friendly correspondence therewith
for the good of both. For the better establishing of a firm friendship
the republic may be assured that parliament will receive
with respects answerable to the dignity of that state such public
ministers as they shall think fit to address hither, but will also
be ready on all occasions to employ thither persons qualified on
behalf of this commonwealth that a more sure foundation be
laid of a reciprocal confidence. And that the ministers of this
state shall be instructed to further and assist the interest of
that republic as in their negotiations abroad they shall have
opportunity and convenience.
Signed by order of the Council of State.
[Signed] E. Mountagu, President.
Whitehall, the 25th November, 1653. (fn. 7)
[Latin and English.]
192. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 8)
After receiving the papers enclosed with my last I obtained
audience of the Council at once to thank them. I said the
missives would give great satisfaction and serve for the establishment
of a mutual friendship, the Senate relying on help from here
against the Turk, for which they proposed making a levy of Irish.
I presented a paper to one of the three commissioners, who said
the Council should be informed and a suitable person appointed
to arrange the matter. The state would be expected to find
adequate security while here they would only grant the permit
to some one capable of fulfilling his engagements satisfactorily.
He then asked me to forward the enclosed memorials about an
English ship, asking me to represent the matter warmly to the
Senate. I promised compliance and the documents explain
themselves. I then took leave. I may mention that Sir [Oliver]
Fleming was present throughout the interview. His tact and
ability serve to maintain him in place and credit, so I cultivate
With regard to other matters the anxiety felt by the public
to learn the result of the frequent and protracted conferences
with the Dutch commissioners has been in proportion to their
duration. Yesterday hopes of an adjustment were said to be
on the wane and to-day the negotiations are reported as quite
at an end. So the war will be resumed with greater bloodshed
and animosity than ever, to the enormous inconvenience and
detriment of all Europe. It is reported that the three commissioners
(the fourth, representing Zeeland, having died here after
a few days' illness) (fn. 9) are preparing to depart. It is also said
that the arrival in Holland of the Ambassador Scianou encouraged
the Dutch to raise their tone and it may have led to the present
total rupture. On this account the hatred for France increases
daily, and if the war continues present appearances indicate
that it will be waged on a larger scale, and the English will
not lose any opportunity of carrying it on with all the ill will and
Disagreeable news arrived from Scotland last week and is
confirmed this, that the insurgents, including the Highlanders,
are in considerable force and have surprised some parliament
regiments quartered there, killing a number of the troops, making
much booty and pursuing them almost to the gates of Edinburgh.
So three regiments of horse have been marched in that direction.
In conjunction with the other forces they may possibly check
the insurgents, though these are said to receive more encouragement
than ever from the Dutch and other partisans of the king,
for whom they openly declare themselves in arms. On the other
hand this renewal of hostilities with the United Provinces may
possibly render the mischief more serious, for although many
regret the failure of the negotiations an equal number welcome
it, especially the multitude who resent the continuation of so
outrageous and imperfect a rule. So everyone forsees a change
which is almost universally desired. Meanwhile, however, the
government contemplates imposing fresh taxes and the acts of the
parliament are so extravagant that its dissolution may result before
the appointed term. Gen. Cromwell, instructed by his adherents
with all that passes there, plays his own game by rendering it
Nothing more has been heard of the ambassador who left for
Sweden except that he had arrived in Holland, where he was
detained some days by the severity of the weather. The news
of the present rupture will probably compel him to depart now
at all risks. The bias of Sweden in favour of England seems to
become more and more pronounced. It is encouraged by some
offence taken by the Swedes at the behaviour of the Dutch
merchants trading in their territories ; so the English are very
anxious for the news of the arrival of their ambassador.
To-day the appointment of two more generals at sea has been
announced, (fn. 10) so there will now be four, with Black and Monch.
It is intended to fit out several squadrons and make arrangements
for a great and most powerful fleet.
Marsin who commanded in Catalonia for the king of Spain,
has arrived (fn. 11) here from that country together with the agent of
the Prince of Condé. He has held close conference with the
Catholic ambassador who returned his visit in state with extraordinary
marks of honour. Report says that he will very shortly
leave London for an interview with the Archduke and the Prince
of Condé in Flanders.
Acknowledges letters and receipt of 1,000 livres Tournois for
expenses. Encloses accounts for November.
London, the 19th December, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
193. That satisfaction be given to the parties concerned in the
ship Concord of about 320 tons, hired by Venice in October, 1652,
to take provisions and soldiers to Candia, which on 1st January
last was forcibly taken possession of by a captain and 116 soldiers,
put aboard her by the Venetians who pistolled the master and
ten of the mariners and passengers and forced the rest to take
the ship to Villafranca. The captain and soldiers thereby
possessed themselves of the ship and goods, about 8,000 pieces of
eight belonging to the master and mariners, besides what belonged
to the passengers, and they also sold the ship at Villafranca.
The Agent of Venice recovered the ship and brought her to
Genoa, but when some merchants asked for her on behalf of
those interested, he refused to deliver her without payment of
a great sum and an undertaking to proceed to Candia at the
owners' charge. It is also asked that the actors in this outrage
may be brought to condign punishment.
Whitehall, the 2nd December, 1653.
Signed in the name and by order of the Council of State,
E. Mountagu, President.
[Latin and English.]
194. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Paulucci's perseverance has obtained the enclosed replies from
the English government. But I must report what was said
to me by a man here who without credentials, acts as a sort of
agent for England and serves as go-between for Mazarini with
Cromwell, (fn. 12) with whom the Cardinal does his utmost to maintain
a good understanding. Speaking to me of the reply to Paulucci
he said he imagined your Serenity's offers were mere compliments,
and there was no intention for closer relations with England
with resident ministers, as Paulucci made exactly the same
proposal last year with the same courteous response, but nothing
ever came of it. This is not far from the truth. The appointment
of a minister is a question for the state, but there is no doubt
that the English government is powerful. It shows no sign of
its tottering or fall. The chief sovereigns of Europe and some
of the North, like the Queen of Sweden, are anxious for a good
understanding with it and have ambassadors in London. France
keeps a minister there who possesses the essentials of an
ambassador though he is not one, in spite of England's not
reciprocating, for the man I spoke of is a mere merchant or
trader, with no other character, and little culture (uomo di
tenue elevatura). Last year M. de Bordeaux was sent over under
the nose of the King of England, though he is the king's cousin,
for political expediency counts for more with all monarchs
than ties of blood.
[Paulucci's letters enclosed.]
Paris, the 23rd December, 1653.
195. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 13)
I have to announce the dissolution of the second parliament
on Monday last. The majority of this body consisted of Anabaptists
of whom there are a great many in London, where they
predominate over the Presbyterians who may be called Lutherans.
From the very first and always with the support of Harrison,
Major-General of the cavalry, they did their utmost, though
covertly, to benefit their own party by discrediting all others, and
especially the Presbyterians. To this end they launched a number
of acts betraying their real object. After disgusting the people in
general and Gen. Cromwell in particular, this parliament, consisting
mostly of mechanics and ignoramuses (idiote) in governance,
was bent on abolishing what from their antiquity give lustre to
England, viz. the universities and colleges of Oxford and Cambridge,
where every sort of knowledge and literature may be
said to be cultivated with success. It had also determined to
abolish tithes and to dispense with the public preachers, in order
to render their own sect more powerful. This was so far forward
that they were on the eve of passing an act on both these matters.
Some of Cromwell's adherents pretended to approve the measure,
in the hope that it would be abandoned, but perceiving it to be
inevitable they gave him warning, and with his customary
prudence and address he arranged the sudden overthrow of the
plot. So on Monday morning, when parliament met as usual,
his partisans began to debate the subject, pointing out many
difficulties and the confusion that would ensue. Finding themselves
in a minority they said they could not sit any longer on
that day and left the house, as a signal that the moment for
decision had arrived. Whereupon a colonel of the army made
his appearance, (fn. 14) guards being placed at the chief approaches,
and saying there was an order for the parliament to dissolve,
took away the gilt mace from the Speaker and carried it to
Cromwell's residence, into whose hands the Speaker consigned
the powers originally received from him. Not one of the members
who remained behind in astonishment, had the courage to make the
slightest remonstrance and they allowed the orders to be carried
out, making off in various directions.
Thus Cromwell's prudence has anticipated and averted imminent
confusion, to his great honour and to the especial satisfaction
of all London. Being now undeceived over these last
two parliaments they will certainly not desire a third ; indeed
the general wish appears to be for the government to proceed in
other and speedier forms, the reverse of those used hitherto
and better suited to the commonwealth. A very general belief
prevails that there is now an end of parliaments and that everything
will be directed by a single Council. This implies increasing
dependence on the personal authority of Gen. Cromwell, who
in consequence of this fresh incident is again hailed as Protector
and Defender of English liberty. There is no doubt that very
little opposition will be offered to his plans, which he cloaks
with cunning address and moderation, so as to seize the opportunity
for his own advantage. To this end he is understood
to be more determined than ever on the peace with Holland,
clearly perceiving that this step is indispensible for the firm
foundation of his own supremacy, the vigorous suppression of
disorder in Scotland, the maintenance of the government and
to add to his own popularity, the burden and discomforts of
the present war being no longer bearable, while the nation is
equally weary of the arbitrary and confused forms of the government.
Although from fear the people are as silent and long-suffering as
possible, it is very evident that if the taxes and discontent go on
their patience may one day be suddenly converted into fury.
Since this dissolution everybody is on the watch for the next
form of government though its stability may be doubted. Meanwhile
a change will be effected in the Council of State, concerning
which nothing has yet been settled, as everything depends on
what is settled by Cromwell and the officers of the army and
what this may be cannot yet be affirmed.
The dismissal of the parliament seems to have revived the
hopes of peace with Holland, as that body rather favoured the
continuance of the war. It is reported that the Dutch commissioners
have delayed their departure for another fortnight,
though this cannot be verified, nor yet whether the change is
due to some fresh proposals made here when matters were reported
desperate and the commissioners were about to embark.
They are to have audience of the Council of State to-day or
to-morrow when some good news is expected about this adjustment.
Cromwell at least is anxious to arrange it though
the presence of the French ambassador at the Hague, the death
of the fourth commissioner and the changes here, which might
make the Dutch doubt the stability of any treaty made at this
moment, inspire some misgivings. But I am assured that
before the dissolution of the parliament Cromwell had smoothed
many difficulties by his own letters and had greatly encouraged
a disposition towards peace.
The Council of State has at last taken up again the affair of
the wool of the Catholic king seized by a private individual.
An order has been given for its reshipment on the ship from which
it was taken, with permission to go where they please, as although
the present state of affairs warrants the encouragement of
animosity against the French, on the score of mutual reprisals, it
is desirable to court Spain for sound reasons of State and because
of what may ensue out of the negotiations with the Dutch.
The brother of the Portuguese ambassador, taking advantage
of the visit of some ladies, who went to him by night, made his
escape in their company in female attire. Some think that
this was connived at, as Cromwell informed the ambassador
that he would prove his good friend.
In reply to your Excellency's letter of the 20th, the style of
address here is unaltered as the late parliament continued to
receive missives directed, "Parlamento Reipublicæ Angliæ"
but I cannot say anything definite since the recent change. It
is now reported that they intend to imitate closely the constitution
of Venice by forming a Grand Council with a chief bearing
the title of Duke or Protector and Defender of England. Much
is said about these novelties but the future will show the truth.
London, the 25th December, 1653.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
196. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the same.
On Friday evening I received a visit from Cromwell's secretary.
He told me he had come to acquaint himself thoroughly with
the intentions of the state about the Irish levy, and if I had the
powers a start could be made at once ; otherwise it would be
superfluous to apply to the Council of State when the Signory
might disavow the business. I thanked him and assured him
of the Senate's regard for the General. Discarding other offers
of military assistance they accepted the proposals of this government
in proof of reciprocity and esteem, charging me to treat
with any one inclined to furnish troops on the advantageous
terms promised me. As regards my powers I must first report
to my prince, but unless there were hopes of fair terms it was
useless even to negotiate, though if the commonwealth should
exercise its power in this instance in so just a cause I had no doubt
the Senate would embrace the offer and transmit instructions
Upon this the secretary reflected a while and then said that
the interval between writing and receiving an answer must be
passed in idleness. Had it not been for the present political
embarrassments England would have done something for the
Christian religion before this. I said that was precisely the
conviction of the Senate. He then asked for a copy of my instructions,
which I promised him, whereupon he said he would return
and see what could be done. On the morrow he sent for the
copy which I gave at once. On the following Monday parliament
was dissolved and as that event engrosses the entire attention
of Gen. Cromwell and all his ministers the secretary has not
reappeared nor have I been able to discover what they think
of the matter here.
The secretary is friendly to the most serene republic and
thoroughly acquainted with the affairs of the Levant, having
lived there for some time. During the war with the Turks he
was in Candia itself. Subsequently he travelled through Italy
and returned home, entering the service of Gen. Cromwell, by
whom he is loved and esteemed. (fn. 15) So I cultivate his friendship
and shall continue to do so, to facilitate such instructions as I
London, the 25th December, 1653.
197. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
A Frenchman has exhibited to the Dutch a ship of remarkable
construction which by dint of machinery and without sails is
said to have made long voyages and to have destroyed a whole
fleet in a single day by the mere process of ramming, without
guns. He has published an illustration of this in the public
press. He built a model of this ship and this was launched at
Rotterdam in the presence of a great crowd ; but owing to the
great weight of its iron machinery it went straight to the
bottom. Yet the inventor sticks to his idea and is in no wise
discouraged by this mishap, claiming that when the weight is
reduced his ship will work as he intends it to. The Dutch allow
him to toil away as he pleases, since if he does not prove to
possess the ability that is expected, he does it all at his own cost,
and he has indeed spent large sums out of his own pocket up to
the present time.
Encloses usual letters from England.
Paris, the 30th December, 1653.