215. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
At the very moment when they were talking about the congress
the question of a conference with Fuendalsagna was suggested ; and,
to flatter the Dutch among other proposals made to them to prevent
them from concluding peace with the English, it was suggested
that France should make them arbiters in the peace between the
two crowns. Three different proposals each of which nullifies the
others, so that none of them may take effect, and put forward more to
prevent others making peace than to bring about peace for themselves.
The Cardinal is losing himself among these intricacies, which he
calls ministerial finesse, though they are probably mere waste of
time. They bring no advantage and are ultimately found out by
the Spaniards, who are past masters in getting to the bottom of all
his intrigues, which are thereupon made public, as happened with
all three of the proposals mentioned above, so that all they did was to
convince everyone of the Cardinal's bad faith.
Encloses Paulucci's letter.
Paris, the 3rd February, 1654.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
216. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to
the Doge and Senate.
This week a solemn interdict has been posted up throughout
the city, since the Cardinal Archbishop (and the nuncio did not
disagree), claimed that they could not put to death the English
man guilty of the assassination of the parliamentary ambassador,
because he had been taken away from the church again by a
friar, through deceit and fraud. But the reasons of princes,
who sacrifice their personal feelings to their own convenience,
have had the sentence carried out by the royal power, and the
matter is settled. (fn. 1)
Madrid, the 4th February, 1654.
217. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 2)
The Protector Cromwell continues to rule supreme and does
his utmost to captivate individuals and win universal popularity.
But the attainment of this proves as difficult as even his enemies
could desire. Owing to this assumption of the supreme power
their numbers are observed to increase and include all the Anabaptists.
The sect has certainly increased since his elevation
judging by the declaration made by many of them. The object
is perhaps to strengthen the party of his opponents, as although
they profess to be such they do not dare to come out into the
open for fear of the pains and penalties of high treason. These
will be inflicted on all who in public or private, directly or indirectly,
venture to speak against the present government or
conspire against the life and authority of his Highness himself,
or favour the royalists and speak well of the late king and his
family. Proclamations to this effect have recently been renewed
in very stringent terms and no mercy will be shown to those
who transgress the orders of the Protector and his Council.
To gain additional favour with the multitude at the beginning
of his reign Cromwell has been chiefly responsible for inducing his
Council to take up the question of the Catholics here and perhaps
render their miserable condition even more deplorable. A
decision has been postponed for a while and in the interval the
Catholics hope by approaching the Council and the Protector
himself to effect a compromise by their representations and by
favour. Yet the proclamations and laws of Queen Elizabeth
and King James against papists, ecclesiastics and their followers
have been reissued in all their severity.
Since the assignment of the 200,000l. yearly on his installation
the Protector has further received all the remaining unsold
property of the "delinquents" with an express stipulation
that on his death it shall pass to his successor. But owing to
the difficulty of raising money on such a life interest he will
probably have recourse to such other supply as may suit him best,
since everything here, both great and small, is absolutely at his
disposal, owing to his good fortune and address.
But the business which interests him most at the moment is
the anticipated renewal of the war with Holland. By the last
letters from the Hague the hopes of an adjustment seem to fade
with the arrival of the commissioners there. The messenger
sent after them writes that as he noticed very little sign of overtures
for peace, but on the contrary great preparations for war,
he thought it advisable as a British subject to resign the command
of a regiment of infantry in the Dutch service which he had long
held. Since this report the peace seems hopeless and the exertions
here to fit out an efficient naval force have immediately
been redoubled. All the merchantmen fit for service have been
taken up and Blach and the other sea generals have received
orders to use all possible despatch in officering the fleet and
getting it in a state to put to sea. It will certainly exceed that
of last year both in strength and numbers, supposing the peace
in negotiation, and so anxiously desired, fails to be realised.
They are constantly sending fresh supplies and troops to
Scotland. Already 20 regiments both horse and foot may be
reckoned upon to offer vigorous opposition to the forces of the
insurgents. These inflict great hardships on the country, burning
and plundering in all directions. To prevent the spread of the
disorder as far as possible, the Protector and his Council have
issued a special order forbidding any to assist or have a secret
understanding with these rebels upon pain of high treason.
The rebels on their side threaten those who oppose them to the
prejudice of the king in that country, with fire and sword. The
bold and determined attitude shown there gives them increasing
cause for anxiety and application here. With this trouble at
home and the war with Holland abroad, which deeply affects
the people here and their comforts, it is generally believed that
before long there must be further incidents and changes. One hears
nothing in this place but predictions to this effect and hopes that
they may be realised now that they see that the constitution of the
government and the management of everything else are quite different
from what was promised and expected from the steps taken.
The brother of the Portuguese ambassador was recently removed
from the Tower to the prison for criminals with the expectation
of being brought to trial immediately. But to give him time he
has now been taken back to the Tower and the proceedings are
deferred until next assizes. (fn. 3) Although this subjects him to very
great hardship and inconvenience it may prove extremely useful
by mitigating the general indignation of which he is the object
because of the incident reported.
After all the other foreign ministers had offered their congratulations
to the Protector, he has now received them from the
Genoese minister, who has been here some time. (fn. 4) There was
some difficulty about receiving him because his father was an
Englishman and so he was himself considered one. But with the
change of government there has been a change of principles and
so he obtained his intent. I have nothing more to add except
a request for money. The new year, the exorbitant rate of
exchange and the increased price of everything since the hopes
of peace with Holland declined, render this more necessary than
London, the 8th February, 1653 [M.V.].
Postscript : The secret negotiations of this government coupled
with the Protector's earnest desire for peace have led to the
arrival here last evening of Van Beverin, the chief and ablest
of the Dutch commissioners. This will put the public in good
humour by reviving the hopes of peace, which must undoubtedly
follow if the Dutch really wish it.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
218. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Province of Holland has given its assent to the peace with
England, but Friesland still opposes it, but hopes are entertained
of compelling them to agree also. At the same time all necessary
arrangements are being made for the equipment of the fleet, to
enable it to cope with that of England, which is powerful and
numerous and ready to put to sea.
Encloses the letter of England.
Paris, the 10th February, 1654.
219. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain,
to the Doge and Senate.
Here they are in perpetual movement, keeping a most vigilant
watch upon the proceedings of Cromwell. The government
here blow up the flames of war and would like to see the
continuation of the situation there so that they might see that
the sparks should be carried into France either to rekindle the
rebels against the crown or to burn up those who stand in the
way of the realisation of their ambition.
Madrid, the 11th February, 1654.
220. To the Ambassador at the Most Christian Court.
With regard to the Irish levy you will tell Pauluzzi that if
he can arrange it at 8l. a head on the terms forwarded, we give
him power to arrange a levy of a thousand men, on condition
that they shall be at the place d'armes in Candia by June next.
Pauluzzi must take a note of the numbers embarked on each
Ayes, 107. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
221. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 5)
The arrival of the Dutch commissioner who represents the
Province of Holland, (fn. 6) although at first a cause of rejoicing to
both Protector and people has since caused disappointment,
as until he is joined by his colleagues he can do nothing about
the treaty of peace. It seems he represents the United Provinces
as inclined to a suspension of hostilities until next May, rather
than to any immediate and permanent adjustment, which could
not be effected without a general meeting of the States, to be
held during the interval. Cromwell, who is more anxious for
a speedy settlement than anyone, resents the delay and could not
refrain from saying that the Dutch make a bad return to the
friendly and advantageous offers of England by displaying such
tardiness and irresolution in a matter which ought to take precedence
of everything. Thus instead of putting the finishing
touches to the peace it now seems that the return of this commissioner
is only a device to gain time, and create a false impression
about the real intentions of the States, though not of
the important province of Holland which has always leaned to
peace and a good understanding with England, as the return of
their commissioner shows. A few days will suffice to show the
matter in a clearer light. In the mean time the proceedings of
the Dutch warrant a suspicion that the friendly feelings they
announce are unreal. So without abating their naval preparations
here they will wait a few days longer in the hope of a definite
decision one way or the other. If war proves inevitable the
English will then, by means of their own resources and through
alliances with foreign powers, which may be had for the asking,
do everything possible to make the Dutch regret the loss of this
I have been told in confidence that the high demands
originally made here were reduced. Cromwell was so anxious
for peace that he even waived the first claims about the
sovereignty of the seas, contenting himself with the observance
of what has been customary hitherto and conceding free fishing.
There were three other points touching Denmark, France and the
Prince of Orange. It seemed that the Dutch had arranged these
matters also. They wanted to include Denmark in the treaty
against whom the English were incensed because of the seizure
and loss inflicted by that king. The United Provinces did not
seem disposed to insist about France, since the English had
many separate transactions with that country. As regards the
Prince of Orange, of whom England will always be jealous
because of his connection with the Stuarts, it was understood
that the United Provinces agreed to exact an oath from all
persons in their army and navy never to contravene the articles
of the peace between Holland and England. So with favourable
tendencies on both sides and special clauses hopes have been
entertained hitherto of a result, which at present seems dubious.
Meanwhile the Protector neglects nothing that may contribute
to the maintenance and increase of his authority. To this end
and also to exclude all his enemies from office under government,
especially Catholics, all candidates are at once referred by him
for examination by his chaplain, before whom they first of all
take the oath of Protestantism, and they are received or rejected
according to their manner of professing it.
The envoy sent by Cardinal Mazarini to congratulate Cromwell
has taken his departure after having had three audiences. At
one of these, in reply to some specious proposal I understand that
the Protector replied that while France was volunteering great
offers here and professing an inclination towards a good understanding
with England, he was aware of what she was doing
in Holland and of the proposals made with a view to fostering
the Dutch war, and consequently it was impossible for him to
credit the fine language with which the Cardinal favoured him.
Since this envoy left I have been told that some of the leading
members of the Council of State respectfully observed to the
Protector that as he merely came on behalf of Cardinal Mazarini,
the servant of the king and an ecclesiastic with whom England
had nothing in common, his admission was not quite decorous
for the Commonwealth. He ought rather to have presented
himself in the name of his king and not of Mazarini, to whose
caution they attributed this half measure. They added that
the mission of the envoy and the prolonged stay here of M. de
Bordeaux obviously had other objects in view than those envoys
alleged. So this circumstance may be said to have increased
the distrust of France and will cause his Highness to be more
reserved for the future in receiving anyone who happens to come.
It is evident that in the present instance his recent elevation
induced him to act without any consideration beyond the momentary
enjoyment of the honours and homage always attendant
The envoy of the Swiss Protestant Cantons has left for Holland
after complimenting the Protector and holding several conferences
with him. He told me he should remain some while
and then return home with the replies obtained from this government.
London, the 14th February, 1654 [M.V.].
222. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The gentleman sent by Mazarini to Cromwell has returned
and says he was well received. He brings a complimentary
reply to the Cardinal's letter. His Eminence has remarked that
England will not injure France as the Spaniards say and work
for, and that as Zeeland and Holland have agreed to the peace
and are using their influence to force the other Provinces to
follow suit, Cromwell's policy will reduce itself to fanning the
war between the two crowns, so that in the mean while he
may consolidate his new rule, giving the Spaniards some small
help covertly, since England considers the successes of France
dangerous because of her close relationship with the family of
the decapitated king James (sic).
Encloses letters of England.
Paris, the 17th February, 1654.
223. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 7)
The most remarkable event I have to record is the first state
visit paid by Cromwell since his elevation in which he displayed
all the signs of supreme authority which have been foreshadowed
by the whole course of his proceedings. Having been invited
a long while ago by the Lord Mayor, on behalf of the city, to
accept a token of its devotion and fidelity, he appointed yesterday,
the first day of Lent, as suiting him. (fn. 8) He left his residence in
a costly coach accompanied by Gen. Lambert of the army and
Admiral Monk of the navy. The march was proceeded and closed
by a great number of gentlemen and his privy councillors in a
long string of coaches and six, which drove thus through the
faubourg to the city gates, whither the heralds, in rich attire
had gone before to announce his approach by sound of trumpet,
the citizens responding and the Lord Mayor coming forth on
horseback with 20 aldermen in their state gowns, with gold
chains and jewels. The mayor dismounted and approached the
Protector's coach taking the sword of state and handed it to
him making a brief speech of submission and respect. His
Highness handed back the sword and leaving his coach mounted
one of three superb led horses. The Lord Mayor was also mounted,
riding before him with the sword in his hand and bare headed,
as a public mark of deference. But although the entire population
of London came forth to view the pageant, not the faintest
sound of applause was heard, nor were any blessings invoked on
the head of his Highness, very different from what happened when
the kings similarly appeared in public. With this state Cromwell
betook himself to a sumptuous banquet, being saluted by all
the Tower guns in the middle of it. At its conclusion he received
a present, some say of 20,000l. sterling while others report it as
a service of gilt plate. At 7 in the evening he returned to his
dwelling in the same pomp, with the addition of 300 lighted
torches and all the outward signs of respect and honour, but with
very scanty marks of goodwill from the people in general, who,
on the contrary, greeted him with a rancour which increases daily
because he has arrogated to himself despotic authority and the
actual sovereignty of these realms under the mask of humility and
the public service. He lacks nothing of royalty but the name, as
his power is certainly greater than that of the late kings. Obedience
and submission were never so manifest in the English as at present,
the fear of coercion under which they labour increasing with the
remembrance of the tragical events of the civil wars. Their spirits
are so crushed that although they consider themselves oppressed,
dissatisfied and deluded, they dare not rebel and only murmur
under their breath, though all live in hope of the fulfilment one day
of the prophecies foretelling a change of rule ere long.
This may be corroborated by certain events savouring of prodigy.
Just before the late king's death the tide in the Thames protracted its
ebb and flow for two hours longer than usual and this has been
observed again. Also a part of St. Paul's famous cathedral here
has fallen, (fn. 9) killing several persons, and finally, with all respect
for the truth, many credible witnesses declare that they have seen
the ghost of the beheaded King Charles in the former royal palace,
who afterwards vanished. Whether this is true or not the conviction
certainly gains ground that it is impossible for this kingdom to
remain long quiet without the sceptre of its legitimate king. It
may be averred that the majority of the people sigh for him, though
threats and fears induce silence and resignation and prevent them
from speaking out freely or complaining of the present yoke.
As the civic ceremony occupied everybody during the last
few days, scant attention has been paid to the important affair
of the peace. Although the deputy of the Province of Holland
is still here alone, yet as his colleagues do not make their appearance
the hopes of a good result dwindle and the belief gains
ground that the Dutch only want to gain time in order to make
themselves stronger for the fight, as they are doing here. Yet
if they really desire a truce or suspension of hostilities, the Protector
will always be disposed to grant it, convinced as he is
that the continuation of the war, even if successful must prove
extremely detrimental to himself and the whole country.
The Scottish insurgents are understood to increase in numbers
daily. Many of the inhabitants refuse to acknowledge the
Protector and the last letters from Ireland similarly state that
the people there, and especially the troops who are mostly Anabaptists,
openly refuse their allegiance. Most unpalatable news
for the government which is consequently more anxious than
ever for an adjustment with the United Provinces, to enable
them to deal with insubordination with the requisite vigour.
Acknowledges letters of the 7th inst. Encloses accounts for
London, the 21st February, 1653 [M.V.].
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
224. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 10)
Last week before leaving the city banquet the Protector
knighted the Lord Mayor, (fn. 11) giving him the sword he was wearing.
On his way home his Highness not only missed the popular
applause which he expected but received proof of a very different
sentiment. A large stone was suddenly flung at him from a
window, though fortunately it fell a short distance from his
coach without hurting anyone. Efforts were made instantly
to discover the author of this daring act, but owing to the confusion
caused by the crowd and the darkness of the night it
was impossible to find out any particulars. Yet the incident
serves to give Cromwell an idea of the spirit of the malcontents
and to induce him to be more cautious for the future in placing
himself at the mercy of the populace, which, if intimidated into
submission certainly bears him no love. If peace is not arranged
his unpopularity will undoubtedly increase. So every effort is
being made to compass the adjustment, though it is suspected
that the Dutch may not be in earnest. To cajole the populace
reports are circulated that a settlement has already been ratified
but the best informed deny the fact.
The day before yesterday an express arrived from the States
which gave rise to a report that the peace was ratified. But
from what I gather the commissioner here is merely empowered
by four of the Provinces to announce their ratification of the
articles proposed by England and to negotiate accordingly.
To this end he betook himself forthwith to audience of the
Protector. It is observed that the consent of three of the
Provinces is still to be obtained and is necessary for completion.
The letters represent that this will readily be granted. In that
case the peace will be made. But the behaviour of the Dutch and
the present state of domestic affairs here makes many doubtful
about what others assert with so much confidence. Time will
soon show how much sincerity lies in these friendly professions.
The naval preparations make it look unlikely and attract more
attention than the enemy's professions of good will. No steps
are neglected to make themselves strong at sea, especially in men
to serve in the fleet.
Two delegates made their appearance here lately from Ameland,
a small island in the Dutch dominions, with letters for the Protector
expressing a wish for neutrality and a good understanding
with England, so that the few vessels of those islanders may not
be subject to reprisals, but allowed free passage, safe traffic and
the right to fish, which were conceded to them during the late
war with Spain. His Highness received the delegates graciously,
assuring them of his friendly disposition, but promising nothing,
as he wishes to make everything depend on peace with the whole
body of the States.
Some ships of the fleet have lately brought several prizes into
the Thames, including five Frenchmen, laded with wine, corn,
etc. The antipathy to France is shown by the seizure of everything
under her flag, a practice which must soon induce that
crown to take measures which your Excellency will know more
of than I can.
For the more efficient suppression of disturbance in Scotland
fresh troops are to be sent against the insurgents there, who
become more and more daring and openly proclaim the king.
The preachers from their pulpits also fan the flame to their utmost,
despite the threats of the government. Quite recently here in
London two leading preachers (fn. 12) were arrested and sent prisoners
to Windsor castle for expressing themselves in favour of the
royal cause and speaking to the disparagement of the present
In Ireland also the confusion caused by the change of government
is increasing. The proclamations of the Protector meet
with contempt and insult everywhere, except in Dublin, the
residence of his son in law Flitud, the commander in chief. So
even if the foreign war ceases there will be no lack of trouble
and anxiety from civil strife, which gains strength and deeper root
daily from the increasing numbers of the malcontents.
I have your Excellency's letters of the 12th inst. with remittances
for the 1,000 livres Tournois. I will closely follow your instructions
about keeping my attention riveted on passing events,
postponing the execution of all commissions until further orders
and paying such compliments as are necessary, in imitation of
the other foreign ministers, as I have done up to the present.
London, the last day of February, 1653 [M.V.].
|225. Antonio Di Negri, Venetian Resident with the Swiss,
to the Doge and Senate.
The letters of the minister of this government from England
bring word that some Provinces have already ratified the peace
and there is good reason to hope that the others will do the same ;
so he has already taken leave in a blaze of honour and with the
gratitude of both parties for his scrupulous and successful efforts
in this exceedingly important affair.
Zurich, the 28th February, 1654.