226. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
I have already reported that French plans for a campaign in
Italy would be materially impeded by a peace between Holland
and England, unless there was some security as regards Cromwell's
intentions. I also reported the special mission of congratulation
and hope for friendly relations with Cromwell's reply, who only
signed himself unceremoniously "affectionate friend and servant."
Sacrificing formality to political expediency Mazarini
is preparing a second mission and means to give M. de Bordeaux
credentials as ambassador. That minister wrote that Cromwell
had stated that relations with France were impossible so long as
she harbours the king of England, as that betrays an ill will
which might be expected to vent itself with time and opportunity.
The Cardinal protests that the reception of the king was
a necessity owing to ties of blood, but as dynasties and governments
change by the will of God, he has no intention of resisting
the decrees of Providence. Steps are now being taken to induce
the king to go to his kinsman the Palatine, in Germany, but
tactfully, to avoid offending him while gratifying Cromwell.
The Cardinal omits nothing to captivate the Protector and avoid
his enmity, to leave himself unhampered for a more vigorous
attack on Spain. The Milanese is the true objective.
Encloses letters from England as usual.
Paris, the 3rd March, 1654.
227. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain,
to the Doge and Senate.
The peace reported between the republics of England and Holland
has absorbed all the interest of this week. The Spaniards
claim to have contributed notably to the result as distinguished
from the French, who tried to upset it when they could not be
included themselves. This new friendship between the greatest
powers of the North gives rise to a very marked preoccupation
because these two nations, united and armed, hang like a cloud
or tempest over the dominions of the Catholic king.
Madrid, the 4th March, 1654.
228. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
Despite the pains and penalties proclaimed against those
who conspire against the person and rule of Cromwell, ten persons
have recently been arrested simultaneously on a charge of bearing
ill will against the present government and his Highness in particular.
They are accused of abusing him and drinking to the
health of the King and to the downfall and confusion of the
Protectorate. (fn. 2) The accused are not of high rank, but they were
examined without loss of time. Although their offence is not
serious, yet as they are the first offenders against the present
government, it is believed that severe punishment will be inflicted
on them by way of example for others unless the Protector
chooses to show clemency by pardoning the first offences against
his own person. At the same time, although the offence is not
very momentous, his present position renders him so suspicious
that shadows appear substance to him, while the more autocratic
he becomes the greater will be the hatred of the people towards him.
As the party of the Anabaptists, his bitterest enemies, increases daily
and the most efficient organ of the government, the army, is controlled
by them good policy would apparently suggest persuasion rather
than menace, for it seems by no means impossible that in the course
of time they may plot or openly depose him, although he does his utmost
to win them. But the flat refusal of these military sectaries,
both in Scotland and Ireland to obey his decrees is a source of deep
anxiety for he is aware that they are no longer to be cozened by
mildness and dissimulation, while the Dutch war if it goes on must
always prevent his applying such a remedy as his astute prudence
and sagacity recognise as the most fitting. So meanwhile he continues
his usual protestations of humility and retirement, vowing
that he is only what they choose him to be and that he never will be
anything else, tricks of low cunning which possibly aim at even
greater elevation although the general augury rather favours a
precipitate fall ; but the more that is predicted and desired so much
the more vigilance will he show in defending himself against it.
The announcement of peace with Holland does not seem to
be confirmed and although the honour of English arms, which
means the government, does not seem to be consistent with so
much eagerness, self preservation prevails over every other
motive. The eyes of the whole country being closed to everything
but peace they will not reopen until it is signed. The Dutch
apparently share the feeling, but as all the Provinces are not
agreed there will always be a doubt until the result is achieved.
At this season that must soon appear especially as Sir [Oliver]
Fleming came to me this morning and announced the appointment
of three ministers of the States, (fn. 3) as reported by an express
from Holland, stating that they were to set out on Tuesday
in last week. If they make their appearance they will soon
settle the business, and if not the deputy of Holland here has
full powers to sign and seal. It is reported that the disagreement
among the United Provinces over the Prince of Orange threatens
civil strife, which the English will seek to foment if the war
goes on. Meanwhile, for the sake of impressing the enemy,
the fleet is said to have put to sea, and troops have certainly
been sent from here to man it, possibly for the sake of taking
the initiative and learning the real intentions of the Dutch, whose
sincerity is doubted in spite of the appointment of ambassadors
and extraordinary missions.
Sir [Oliver] Fleming told me at the same time that if peace
is made with Holland the government will devise some undertaking
worthy of its strength. The private interests of a few
merchants in the Levant would not be allowed to prevent an
expedition glorious in itself and fraught with benefit to all
Christendom. I approved assuring him of the Signory's wishes
for the prosperity of England and their interest in the peace
with Holland. He rejoined that until that was made nothing
else could be thought of. He then asked if I had any further order
about the Irish levy, because, in case of need, the Protector had
appointed a man of rank and authority to make it. I told him
the change of government here had suspended every intention
on the part of the Senate, but I would inform him so soon as
I had any further instructions. He then took leave.
News from Scotland reports advantages gained by the government
forces over the rebels, many of whom were killed and 150
made prisoners. In order to reduce Ireland the Protector has
sent one of his sons (fn. 4) thither with a number of officers, to assure
the natives in those remote parts of the goodwill of his Highness.
He hears with regret, however, that there also the soldiers intend
to manage affairs according to the will of their own commanders.
The Spanish ambassador went yesterday to inform the Protector
of the news from Madrid of the execution of one of the murderers
of this republic's minister, some years ago. (fn. 5) This act of justice
pleased him greatly and it is expected to strengthen the friendly
relations between the two countries, which his Highness will
cultivate the more in proportion to the uncertainty of peace
with the Dutch.
The agent here of a Venetian merchant named Giovanni
Borghetti has been to me to complain of the seizure and maltreatment
by an English frigate of a small Venetian ship laded
by him at Zante with currants, etc. (fn. 6) After I have made sure
that the merchant ship and cargo are Venetian I shall try and
obtain justice although it is by no means easy here, especially
when it involves a question of reprisal at sea, the injustice of
which your Excellency can attest.
London, the 7th March, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
229. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
To please Cromwell they have intimated to King Charles,
that for the resumption of friendly relations with England, so
necessary for France and so sedulously thwarted by Spain, his
temporary absence from this city is desirable, so as not to prevent
the English from returning the embassy and entering upon
relations with France which would dissipate all fear of attack,
which the Spaniards urge incessantly, and which would so deeply
injure this country and correspondingly benefit her enemies. To
adapt himself to circumstances will be to his own advantage,
by allowing France to profit by Cromwell's friendly disposition,
so that if a crisis occurs in England they would be in a better
position here to advance his rights. If he must now have patience
the Almighty may one day reward him by opening a road for
the recovery of his kingdom, which will always be countenanced
by France whenever a favourable opportunity presents itself.
The king took these hints rather amiss, but knowing the
Cardinals character, who shuts his eyes to everything but interest,
he is adapting himself to circumstances and expresses his readiness
to meet the wishes of France. To this end the Cardinal has sent
back the same gentleman to confirm to Cromwell his friendly
disposition and his desire for the removal of distrust and the
renewal of confidence.
Encloses letters from England.
Paris, the 10th March, 1654.
230. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 7)
In spite of the importance of other matters attention here is
directed exclusively to the peace with the United Provinces.
Hopes of this are increased by the arrival in the Thames of the
commissioners who left here some while ago, who are thoroughly
acquainted with the business and have now returned with credentials
as ambassadors. They are expected in London immediately,
arrangements having already been made for receiving them with
every possible mark of esteem and cordiality. As the affair
has already been thoroughly digested a settlement is considered
certain if the Dutch act with the sincerity they profess. The
English are beginning to be convinced of this, and there can be
no doubt that the most influential Provinces and those concerned
in trade will seek the adjustment, although among the Seven
there are some which adhere staunchly to the Prince of Orange
and openly advocate the continuance of the war. But for this
the leading Provinces care little, nor does the government here,
because when once peace is established with the principal ones
necessity and force will soon reduce the inferior.
Many, however, are still doubtful about a favourable issue
and bearing in mind the present state of England, the advance of
spring, the naval preparations and past experience, they believe the
ratification of peace to be less easy than imagined and suspect the
Dutch merely seeking to gain time and cajole the Protector. Here
on the other hand they are bent on its attainment in the hope that
the government may then easily quell disorder at home and employ
its forces for other great undertakings, Whether these are
in assertion of claims already advanced or to attack another
kingdom of equal strength, it is certain that they must abide
the peace with the United Provinces, for unless that be achieved
the endurance of the people here will scarcely last much longer.
It is reported that the Dutch ambassadors are accompanied
by an envoy from the king of Denmark to superintend the conclusion
of the treaty and if necessary look after the interests of
that crown, (fn. 8) or reason of the alliance with the United Provinces
and also because England has now consented to include Denmark
in the peace, in spite of her refusal hitherto on account of the
Danish acts of hostility at the beginning of the war.
Meanwhile the English fleet continues to prepare for sea. To
secure reinforcements very few ships are allowed to leave the
Thames, while the press gangs have recently seized 200 sailors,
a clear proof that in the midst of negotiations for peace hostile
preparations increase rather than diminish. There are rumours
that the main body is bound to the Strait of Gibraltar to attack
any fleet it might fall in with on the way to face the enemy's
forces. If recent reports about some French ships destined to
join the Dutch are verified the whole fleet will probably go out
to give battle, or at least a squadron strong enough to engage
any fleet that it might meet.
No news of importance has been received lately from Scotland
or Ireland but the uncertainty of affairs there gives great cause
for anxiety, insubordination being more rife than ever, the
malcontents increasing in number daily and indulging in open
The persons arrested on a charge of disaffection to the government
and for abuse of the Protector have been sent to the Tower,
which they will not leave very easily, as possibly his Highness
will limit their punishment to imprisonment.
A gentleman appeared lately from Flanders, sent express by
the Archduke to congratulate Cromwell on his appointment to
the Protectorate. (fn. 9) He was received with the strongest marks
of honour and satisfaction. The Catholic ambassador also is
expecting letters of a similar tenor by the next Spanish mail,
for presentation from the king himself.
The agent of the Prince of Condé left here lately for Flanders
on business of his master, but announced his intention to return
soon. I have just heard that the late envoy of Cardinal Mazarini
is again here. (fn. 10) It is supposed that, in conjunction with M. de
Bordeaux, he is to make some arrangement for the cessation of
reprisals, establishing a friendly intercourse and beginning a
system of reciprocity of a kindlier nature than has prevailed
London, the 15th March, 1654.
231. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Archduke and Fuensaldagna have been to pay a visit to
the Prince of Condé assuring him of the king of Spain's regard
for his interests. Condé declared that so long as France remained
under the yoke of an Italian the realms of Spain will not contain
a more faithful Spaniard than himself. An envoy of his had
returned from London on the preceding day, and he told the
archduke that the Protector promised assistance and secret
support, without display.
Encloses letters from England.
Paris, the 17th March 1654.
232. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 11)
To impress the people and to show the earnest desire for
peace the Dutch ambassadors were received here last Friday (fn. 12)
in the greatest possible state. Cromwell sent his own coach
and 8 footmen to meet them and many other grandees did the
same, so they came with a string of nearly 100 coaches to the
dwelling prepared for them, where they were sumptuously
defrayed with every mark of honour for 4 days. They then
moved to a private house which they have hired for their residence.
On Monday last they had audience simply to present their
credentials and two days later they held a conference for the
despatch of business. It has not yet been possible to learn
anything definite although it is generally said they have come
over with the ratification. Almost everyone speaks as if the
matter were beyond all doubt, yet some say that in the absence
of the fourth commissioner for the important province of Zeeland,
the other three cannot sign the peace alone. (fn. 13) So this creates
some doubts. Yet he is said to be on the way, which if true will
stay all progress until his arrival.
The most infallible indication of peace, according to public
opinion, are first the earnest desire of the Protector and his
Council ; second, the recent advances of France, which are
attributed to her having failed to induce the United Provinces
to continue the war ; for at the very moment of the arrival of
the Dutch ambassadors M. de Baz also reappeared with the title
of commissioner, (fn. 14) while, so far as I can understand, M. de Bordeaux
is appointed ambassador and plenipotentiary to arrange
disputes between the two nations.
It really looks as if the attention of the government was directed
exclusively to the great questions of peace with Holland
and an adjustment with France since, as things now stand, all
commerce is at an end, while the continuance of reprisals on both
sides only prolongs the misunderstanding. MM. de Bordeaux
and de Baz have full powers to negotiate whatever they consider
best fitted for the security of trade. That of France suffers
more than the English from the continuation of hostilities, and
although here they do not put much faith in these demonstrations
of goodwill they will dissemble and continue to treat until the peace
with the Dutch is made and will then decide as may best suit their own
interests. I become more and more convinced of their evil designs
against the peace of France, if peace is made with Holland and
the French ministers do not succeed in arranging something definite
(alcuna cosa di reale). The event may possibly confirm my surmise.
For the rest the Protector continues to make a display of
humility and piety. As he is known to be altogether in favour
of peace his popularity increases, though he is more despotic
than ever. The forms he adopts resemble more and more those
of the late kings. He signs every proclamation in the royal
fashion. Men do not hesitate to say that he will eventually
be acclaimed as king and when parliament meets in September
next, as arranged when the change took place, he may, if he pleases,
assume the crown and sceptre ; though many think that to avoid
additional odium he may dispense with the name of royalty
and content himself with the power, though as a matter of fact
many of his projects are deferred until peace is settled with the
United Provinces, which cannot now be long delayed.
A draft of 15 men from each company was made lately to
obtain a considerable reinforcement either for the fleet or for
Scotland. It is more probable they are destined for the latter
than for the former since the last advices report the arrival
there of Col. Hamilton, who some while ago escaped from the
Tower, with a numerous body of men. As he has many adherents
in the country and is a very experienced officer he will add to the
confusion there, which is serious and calls for the most stringent
I have the instructions about the levy, but these have been
so long delayed that the person who came to me thought the
project abandoned and is now raising men for the Spanish
service in Flanders. I will try to arrange with another, but I
feel sure whoever undertakes the affair in earnest will expect
some ready money or at least security in London, and I can
give neither. In the contract I sent it is understood that the
donative will be paid down. At any rate I will follow my instructions,
and if I can find anyone who will do the work at 8l.
a man I will do as I am instructed. But I must add that as the
troops will have to be shipped in Ireland it would be to the
interest of the state to have some one on the spot to inspect
them, and I do not know what to do without references as in
matters of this sort deeds are more in request than words. But
I will do my best and hope to send more next week.
Asks for his expenses for February by the first ordinary and
that the charges incurred by him for dispatches sent to Venice
by way of Flanders in September may be included in his accounts.
London, the 22nd March, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
|233. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England
to the same.
Asks for support in obtaining release from his post. After
serving the Ambassadors Correr and Moresini successively,
for 8 years, was hoping to be relieved when the order came
to proceed to England. Went at once to London with two
attendants and experienced the aversion shown by parliament,
which he reported. Left Paris with what he stood
up in and the little he then had is now reduced to nothing. Has
been obliged to incur very heavy expenses owing to the war and
the constant disturbances, to make an appearance as a minister,
otherwise he would not have been received, and in forming a
household, as all the others do, even the ministers of inferior
powers, with a special care to avoid incidents and injury, to which
Catholics are exposed. Has borne it all out of his own purse,
even in keeping a priest in disguise to celebrate mass in a small
room of the house, secretly. Has never included these expenses
in his accounts. When this arrives will have completed two
years in this troubled service with the government all uncertain,
without having received any relief from the state. Puts himself
in the hands of the state but begs that he may be allowed to
return home. Asks that the state will grant him this one favour,
which is not denied even to serious delinquents after a long exile.
Asks also for his salary while in England.
London, the 22nd March, 1654.
234. John Obson, in his petition of the 24th September,
which has only just reached us, states that he was chosen as
consul for England on the 4th Nov., 1646, by the Trinity House.
He could not then obtain recognition because he had to go to
Zante about currants. When he came back he found that
others had entered this office, selected by the Residents, but as
all of them have given it up, owing to various circumstances,
and all impediments are now removed, he asks for authority
to exercise the office. We have to report that it is customary
for the English to have consuls here, but in the present well
known disturbed state of England it rests with your Serenity
to decide what steps it is expedient to take.
Dated, on the 30th March, 1654.
|Zuan Battista Sanudo
235. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 15)
In proportion to the anxiety felt by the majority here for
peace with Holland is the vexation at its delay which makes
some doubtful and others sanguine that they may hear of its
conclusion any day. Although the ambassadors have held
many long private conferences about it and they know the
Protector's sincerity, it seems, on examination, that the proposals
require revision. So the season advances and time is
gained. The ambassadors' credentials are signed by the Provinces
separately and not by the States General, and as ratification will
have to be confirmed in Holland, there is some doubt lest the
peace be repudiated. It is suspected, moreover, that party strife
may induce some of the Provinces to withold their consent from
the pacification, which affects a variety of important interests,
and may affect things everywhere, not only in these parts but
all over Europe. Under these circumstances they rejoice here
in the favourable disposition of France for an understanding,
although her ministers seem to be marking time and waiting to
see what happens about this adjustment. M. de Bordeaux has
the rank of ambassador, but so far he has only presented his
credentials. They watch for what he will do as the result of
fresh instructions as ambassador and their professed friendliness,
which is suspected of being assumed for this new form of war.
Cromwell becomes more despotic every day and to solidify
his position lacks nothing but peace, which is the sole object of
his incessant application. Meanwhile, to add lustre to his
authority he is about to take possession of the former royal
palace, which he has had done up for his own convenience, many
necessary works, now completed, being carried out there. So
he will henceforth exercise regal sway under the royal roof, leaving
out the royal title until he takes a fancy to it. Meanwhile his
monarchical habits will increase, and living in royal palaces he
will assume regal manners towards the foreign ministers. Most
of the Londoners observe this fashion with great astonishment,
but they dare not murmur and submit to a system of taxation
the more grievous as it becomes permanent and was previously
unknown. At the same time if peace is made with Holland the
people will be less impatient of their burden ; though if that
fails great disorder is expected here.
The news of the great naval preparations of the enemy and
that the main body of their fleet will soon put to sea has stimulated
the government here to render their own as strong as possible.
One of the admirals has been sent down recently to enforce the
orders for despatch and to seize all the ships in the river fit for
service. The last draft of soldiers from each company is destined
for embarcation and more seamen will be procured. Every
nerve is being strained to equip over 100 sail, as the United
Provinces are understood to have more. So one may say that
in the act of concluding peace these two nations are on the eve,
if necessary, of renewing the war with more vigour than ever,
though these preparations may only be intended to gain
advantage in the negotiations. Yet if the fleets put to sea an
engagement might utterly annihilate all hopes of this peace,
which must be considered more and more doubtful if it is not
Meanwhile as hostilities continue and the English persevere
in their system of capturing whatever they meet, the seizure is
announced to-day of a number of ships, Dutch, French and
Hamburgers. On the other hand some Dutch and French
war ships have taken 8 colliers bound from Scotland, and many
others were dispersed. More serious is the loss of two ships laden
with military stores on the way to Scotland, where the arrival
of Colonel Middleton with a quantity of arms and ammunition
places the government in a more awkward predicament than ever.
The envoy sent by the Archduke to congratulate the Protector
had his audience of leave to-day and will depart for Flanders
to-morrow or next day.
The Tuscan Resident, has also received a letter from the Grand
Duke congratulating his Highness on his accession. (fn. 16) Thus Cromwell
establishes himself more and more in supreme command,
his exalted position being acknowledged by both letters and
special envoys from crowned heads.
I am trying to comply with my instructions about the levy
and to-morrow interview two persons dependent on the government
about it. If I can make a safe and speedy arrangement
I will do so.
Encloses account for February.
London, the 31st March, 1654.
|236. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses the letters of Signor Pauluzzi, which contain particulars
about the levy, on which he can only refer to the sentiments of
the Senate. With regard to Pauluzzi's supplies, he has not
forgotten to send him help each month. The other matters are
for the state to consider.
Paris, the 31st March, 1654.