Venice
May 1654

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1929

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206-217

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'Venice: May 1654', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 29: 1653-1654 (1929), pp. 206-217. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89768 Date accessed: 17 September 2014.


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May 1654

May 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
247. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
Last Sunday evening when expectation was at its height, the treaty of peace arrived from Holland with the signatures of the States General, who transmitted it with all pomp and ceremony, much to the satisfaction of the Protector and everybody. Subsequently there was a talk of its being proclaimed immediately, though now it seems this step is delayed for some days. I cannot explain why, the only fact which has transpired as yet is that after the Protector signed the document was sent back to Holland, some say for the elucidation of a clause which lacked the signature of one of the minor provinces. Others consider it due to a wish to proclaim the peace simultaneously here and on the other side. There is certainly some hitch, though it is expected to be removed at once. The affair is now considered settled. Besides gratifying the whole nation it will seat Cromwell more firmly in command and leave them free here to employ their forces abroad or at home, wherever most needed or most to their fancy. Everyone is watching to see what will happen.
Meanwhile it is generally reported here and I have heard it from a confidant, that a squadron of 20 war ships and more, ready for anywhere, is destined by Cromwell for the Mediterranean, chiefly with a view to aid Christendom and consequently it will be useful to Venice. I was assured of this yesterday and that his Highness had confided the command of the expedition to General Blach, who will gladly accept it, provided always that the peace with Holland is confirmed. The chief motive for this decision is said to be the capture of a valuable English ship by the Tunis or Algerine corsairs, (fn. 2) and because these barbarians hold great numbers of Christian slaves. The English probably mean after indemnifying themselves for all losses, to demand the release of the ship and free trade for the British flag. If refused they will promptly appeal to force in which case they might very likely wish for an understanding with the Venetian fleet. Of course I support these projects warmly, and I can only pray God that their deeds may match their words.
In this uncertain state of affairs I must observe that it is considered strange there should be so much delay and reserve about the delivery of a special message and letter from the state after my congratulations to the Protector on his accession, following the example of all the other foreign ministers. To certain hints I reply that the compliment is sure to be paid, but a letter from the doge in the full tide of the Protector's supremacy would have gratified him and could not fail to benefit the state. I have already given the form of address and only await instructions.
The Swedish envoy presented a letter of congratulation from the queen the other day. To assert his claim to be treated as Resident he covered himself whenever Cromwell did so, and I have been assured that the Master of the Ceremonies twice snatched his hat from his head, a thing remarked and condemned by all present.
Whitelocke is recalled, his mission having proved fruitless. The queen's decision to abdicate excites much comment here. They suspect some secret motives and opinion is divided. They are waiting with curiosity to see whether she means to go on her travels or has some great matrimonial project to the advantage of the House of Stuart.
The Duke of Guelders has had an agent here some time, who was recently acknowledged and had audience. He offered congratulations and added that the duke had been unjustly and violently robbed of his territories, and appealed to his Highness, whose glory would be increased by restoring an oppressed potentate. (fn. 3) Cromwell merely answered in general terms and will not give the matter another thought, as the arguments are not such as influence him. He has also received the compliments of an envoy from the Duke of Courland, and so with congratulations and audiences and other attributes of sovereignty his despotic rule becomes more and more confirmed.
The desire of France for an adjustment by appointing M. de Bordeaux ambassador, only seems to increase acts of aggression at sea. English men of war have recently had an engagement with some ships of Brittany, capturing several of them. The French undoubtedly had the worst of it, and from such incidents it would appear that the misunderstanding between the two countries is likely to increase rather than diminish.
Gen. Monch is supposed to have arrived in Scotland by this time, and through him and the fresh reinforcements they hope to master the insurgents, although these are encouraged both by the popular feeling and also by the recent advantages they have gained over the government forces.
London, the 1st May. 1654.
[Italian.]
May 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives.
248. Nicolo Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The pope, in speaking of England, said he knew that powerful English forces were being assembled to take revenge on France for the reprisals on their ships. They would then send a squadron to the Mediterranean to take revenge on the Grand Duke for the wrongs they claimed he had done to the English. I expressed surprise and said I thought that Cromuel had too many enemies at home to send his forces so far away. At the same time I referred to the danger arising from the naval weakness of Italy. The pope agreed saying, He who is master of the sea makes himself lord of the land as well. It has been so in the past and always will be ; but he did not go on with the conversation.
Rome, the 2nd May, 1654.
[Italian.]
May 5.
Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
249. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
800 English infantry of the 1500 given by Cromwell to the Prince of Condé have landed in Flanders, and the Prince hopes to take the field very soon and anticipate the enemy.
The English fleet of over 100 sail, when cruising in sight of the island of St. Malo came upon a squadron of 12 French merchantmen, laden with various merchandise, which were at once captured without being able to offer any defence. The people of St. Malo, injured by this loss and by similar reprisals, rose in arms with the intention of massacring all the English in the place ; but the governor aided by the garrison succeeded in quelling the tumult, observing that if they did as they wished the English would murder every Frenchman in Great Britain. (fn. 4) These proceedings of England after receiving the French ambassador prove that although she does not show open enmity to France she dislikes her exceedingly, and is secretly agreed with the Spaniards to harass this crown if not to attack it openly, and thus thwart its projects.
Your Excellencies will note Paulucci's hint about Cromwell's intention to send a strong squadron into the Mediterranean. God grant that the real object be what he pretends, to attack the Turk, though it does not seem to me to be the right way. Here they believe that one of its objects is to prevent the projects of the French fleet, the preparations for which though slow, still countenance the report that it will be commanded by the Duke of Guise, with the intention of making some sudden attack on the Spanish possessions in Italy.
Paris, the 5th May, 1654.
[Italian.]
May 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
250. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 5)
The mutual desire for an adjustment has prevailed over every other consideration and at length brought about peace between England and the United Provinces without any clause providing for an offensive and defensive alliance, as was once projected. Thus yesterday the 26th April by this style it was solemnly proclaimed at the principal thoroughfares of this city in the presence of the Lord Mayor and aldermen, who announced it as in the accompanying print, attended by a company of horse, two heralds and ten trumpeters. The event excited universal acclamation though not the faintest shout was raised for the Protector, for the higher he ascends and the more absolute his sway the greater the odium he draws down on himself and the larger the number of his enemies. Yet he considers his position strengthened by this treaty and it is reported he will now assume another title and passing over the title of king, though it is only unpopular with a small part of the community, style himself Emperor of Great Britain, though this may be deferred until the meeting of parliament, which will take place mainly for the purpose.
The important affair of the peace being now settled it remains to be seen what employment will be given to their forces here. Some say they may turn against Portugal by an understanding with Spain and with the United Provinces against France, as the incessant reprisals cause increasing exasperation. They still say that a third squadron will enter the Mediterranean, to clear it of pirates and overawe several powers, notably the Turks, but I suspect that this expedition, though the first to be spoken of may be realised last because of the strong opposition of the Levant Company to measures which, however desirable for the Venetian cause could not fail to interfere with their trade by irritating the Turks. The considerable forces originally destined against the Dutch will undoubtedly be employed somewhere, as the Protector's interests demand this and it is good policy. It is considered at variance with this to remove it any great distance from the main body of the fleet especially as men now say that the peace with the United Provinces cannot last and that circumstances may arise capable of producing a fresh rupture instantly, especially in the event of open war with France, when the Dutch would certainly dispute the right of search for French property, which England will try to assert over their ships, as she did recently with everyone else in the search for Dutch goods. Meanwhile the Dutch will take this opportunity to strengthen their merchant navy, sending out their merchant fleets to the Indies and elsewhere and awaiting returns. They will also turn to the herring fishery, now near at hand, and which is likely to prove very lucrative this season, as it has been abandoned for three years.
Such is the general talk here in London, where it is also asserted that the articles of this peace, however honourable for the United Provinces, shed scant glory on England. Should I obtain the actual terms I will forward them, but I suspect that the most important items will be kept very secret. Those concerning Denmark have been seen however. In substance they are the payment of an indemnity to the English for the seizure of their ships and merchandise, 10,000l. sterling at once ; the total amount to be estimated by arbitrators already named. Until their award the Dutch give security on behalf of Denmark for 140,000l. which has already been done, I understand.
The war with Holland being thus ended the Protector will now apply all his energies to put down civil strife in Scotland, where the numbers of the insurgents increase, their courage being raised by successes which cause great anxiety to the government. A suspicion prevails that the flame is fed with fuel from abroad as well as from home. The proceedings of Sweden, who is ill pleased with England, increase the belief in foreign interference. Among the measures adopted by Cromwell to remedy this evil is a promise of pardon to all the Scottish rebels and their adherents. In addition the two kingdoms and their arms are to be united. But so far these measures seem to have done little good and even when coupled with others to be taken later for the benefit of the Scots they will prove less effective than a decisive battle, which by at once destroying the royalists or rendering them paramount would settle a question which depends solely upon victory or defeat in war.
All the foreign ministers are expected to congratulate Cromwell on the peace with Holland. Although I know that the ambassadors of Spain and France will be in no hurry to perform this office, except as a matter of form, since it is relished by neither Spain nor France, I propose to do so promptly, as it must do good and the peace is advantageous for the Signory while it may lessen the resentment caused by the lack of any letter to the Protector and other omissions. I shall also congratulate the Dutch ministers.
Acknowledges letters with expressions of the State's satisfaction with his labours, and the provision of 1000 francs.
London, the 8th May, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 251. Proclamation of the Peace with the United Provinces. Given at Whitehall, the 26th April, 1654. (fn. 6)
[English ; printed.]
May 9.
Senato, Secreta, Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
252. To the Ambassador at the Most Christian Court.
To confirm the public satisfaction with Pauluzzi. He has already received clear instructions about the Irish levy. With regard to the ship Guardian Angel, the ambassador will refer to the instructions sent on the 11th ult.
Ayes, 110. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
May 16.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
253. To the Ambassador at the Most Christian Court.
Acknowledge receipt of Pauluzzi's letters. Observe that the peace with the Dutch is on the point of being confirmed. In that case the Senate is sure that he will not forget to intimate, as he has done before, the glory which may be won by those forces, in the act of disbanding, if they should be diverted to go and fight for the Faith, so menaced by the barbarians. The ambassador will perform the same office with the Dutch ambassador at Paris.
Ayes, 129. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
May 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
254. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 7)
Since the publication of the peace they have spent most of the time here in celebrating it. Although it did not win the Protector the applause he expected, he has shown his personal satisfaction at the result which concerns him more than any one since it favours his present position and future projects. So he gave the Dutch ambassadors a most sumptuous banquet, assuring them of his desire to promote friendship and good relations between the two countries. The ambassadors replied in similar strain and so the whole of Monday last was passed in rejoicing and great outward satisfaction. But subsequent events show that, as usual, fair and foul fortune go hand in hand for on the morrow news arrived of a great defeat inflicted by the royalists on the whole government army. The insurgents made a number of prisoners and left many of their opponents dead on the field, among them Gen. Monch, according to report though that is uncertain. (fn. 8) What aggravates the mischief and agitates Cromwell is the intelligence that some of the officers and men sent as reinforcements have joined the enemy, who gain strength daily. To remedy this serious evil strong and immediate measures are required, but their adoption is another source of anxiety, as the Protector is aware that among his veterans, although well paid, there are many who cannot be entirely trusted, and that to send them to Scotland might serve to strengthen the other side instead of the reverse. So he finds himself in a dilemma, fearing that the remedy may increase the disease. Here in London the general feeling favours the Scottish insurgents, in the hope that they will put some limit to Cromwell's authority and change the present state of affairs. That is what the majority here look for and desire, for the rancour against the Protector personally increases steadily in spite of the peace with Holland. This is evident from the libels which are posted all about and also from such epithets as "Promise breaker," "Usurper" and Tyrant." He is also aware that his own rise was as sudden as the fall of the late king, so he is determined to prevent the Protectorate from sharing the fate of the monarchy, by ruling as he does, though it seems impossible for things to go on as they are, when every one expects and desires a change which must come at last, even if delayed.
Nothing certain is yet heard about the destination of the fleet, though it is still reported that a squadron will go into the Mediterranean. Although the disbanding of some merchantmen has reduced its numbers, yet it counts 70 sail, which at times show themselves off Rochelle and at others are hereabouts causing alarm to their neighbours. If affairs in Scotland take a turn for the worse, it will be even more unlikely to go far away from these shores, so that it may be ready for any emergency and that it may serve to prevent any intelligence and quench any hopes that the Scots may have abroad, where there seems increasing reason for suspicion of Sweden, a country that under favourable conditions the fleet might reach any day they pleased, speaking generally.
Fresh levies of both horse and foot have been raised to supply the vacancies caused by the drafts from the old regiments for Scotland, as Cromwell feels the necessity of having a considerable force always ready in the neighbourhood of London to back his assumption of a higher title. This must be delayed some while if he means to wait for the meeting of parliament, though men still say that if it is summoned at all it will be for this purpose alone.
The enclosed resolution of the Council of State was delivered to me recently by order of his Highness, touching the slavery of an English Captain. The officer who brought it expressed the Protector's wish for its immediate transmission, which I promised. He said the Protector would anxiously await the Senate's decree for the relief of an infirm parent, who would fain hear of the release of his son from Turkish slavery, ere death overtake him.
The Agent of the Duke of Guelders has visited all the foreign ministers including myself, when we exchanged compliments.
London, the 16th May, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 255. Friday, the 14th April, 1654. (fn. 9)
At the Council at Whitehall.
To recommend to the Agent of Venice the case of Thomas Gallilee, master of the ship Relief for obtaining his release and satisfaction of what is due to him, as his father Thomas Gallilee, merchant of London, has petitioned, showing that the ship was lost when in the employ of Venice and the captain taken by the Turks after a gallant defence. He is now a slave with them and cannot be released without a great sum of money which the petitioner cannot procure without satisfaction from Venice of what is due for that ship's service, alleged to be 4177l. 9s. 6d. sterling, besides 1600l. the value of the ship and 1500l. sterling in dollars and provisions aboard.
W. Jessop, clerk of the Council.
[English.]
May 16.
Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
256. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Court is pleased at the news of the signing of peace between England and Holland. At the same time the news that the Protector Cromuel is having his powerful fleet provisioned with victuals for six months affords them material for reflection, and there is no lack of comment and suspicion between the partisans of the French and Spanish factions, into which this Court is divided.
Florence, the 16th May, 1654.
[Italian.]
May 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
257. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The capture of the 12 ships off St. Malo rendered the Court apprehensive of worse mischief, but the French ministers in London give hopes that there will be no landings or attacks on fortresses by the English, but only acts of piracy and plunder on ships, on account, Cromwell says, of 20 millions due from France for goods and ships, taken during the civil wars. So the Cardinal, who does not much mind the ill will of England when it only affects private fortunes, has somewhat relaxed the energy which induced him to send troops to defend the coast fortresses, and all his efforts are directed against the Spaniards.
The army for Piedmont is on the road. It is likely to be less than 10,000 men, including the troops of Savoy, but liable to be increased in proportion as all doubts concerning England are removed.
Encloses Paulucci's letter.
Paris, the 17th May, 1654.
[Italian.]
May 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
258. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports come in from every quarter of the conclusion of peace between the republics of Holland and England. The decision taken by the government here has occasioned considerable remark, in sending 50,000 crowns to the Ambassador Cardenas in London and in making arrangements with great diligence for the provision of 250,000 more for the same purpose.
Madrid, the 20th May, 1654.
[Italian.]
May 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
259. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 10)
Gen. Monch's letters from Scotland, although they disprove the report of his death, confirm the strength of the royalists and their recent victory. As he demands immediate reinforcements and money the Protector and his Council have been busy in providing him with both. Some of the most willing troops are again marched in that direction including certain picked companies of infantry, the staunchest to the present government. Yet the measure excites apprehension lest they change sides on arriving there. The anxiety of Cromwell on this score is intense, as he perceives that the insurgent Scots cannot be gained or even weakened by lenience. The general promises to exert himself body and soul for their subjection, but however determined he may be his task is considered difficult and perilous as he has to cope with a strong party encouraged by success and well acquainted with the country, which is friendly to it. Meanwhile news is awaited with fear and trembling, for I may assure your Excellency that if Cromwell is harried by events in Scotland, in England things become daily more serious for him. He is unpopular with the Londoners, the abuse lavished on him personally is all but universal, and by many of the military as wellas others his assumption of absolute power is so resented that in the general opinion some very important change must befall him ere long. Almost every one remarks his pensive brow and even the members of his own family disapprove of his present elevation, which can only last so long as he is supported by the military, though by calling the new parliament he pretends to be confirmed by the whole kingdom. To this end all the members will be his own creatures ; and if any of the counties persist with others who are not entirely in his confidence the meeting will be deferred. Yet in spite of the exercise of his usual sagacity and foresight in this a change is considered inevitable here.
General Pen came up from the fleet and has had many private conferences with the Protector about its destination, which is a greater secret than ever. All the ships now scattered in various ports have been ordered to assemble in the Downs, so it is supposed they will sail under sealed orders, to be opened and executed in some specific place, though the general belief amid much impatience is that the voyage will not extend to any great distance from these shores.
The Protector and his Council become more and more satisfied with the peace, which had become so necessary from the bad state of domestic affairs. It is now known that the Dutch were no less in need of it than the English, because of the hostilities with which they were threatened by Portugal and also from the dissensions between the lesser Provinces and Holland, which is opposed to the House of Orange and, possibly in concert with Cromwell, does everything to oppress it utterly. This may possibly render the Dutch more liable to civil strife than of yore and prove an additional reason for the individual province of Holland to abide by the treaty with England.
Since the peace was arranged the Danish envoy has shown his credentials and had audience to congratulate the Protector upon it. He was received with every mark of honour and esteem.
The negotiations with France do not yet allow me to form any positive opinion about, the result. France seems more anxious for a good understanding than England, but as the mutual reprisals at sea continue, hopes of an adjustment seem faint. On the other hand the French proposals show the best possible disposition and they may possibly induce England to employ her fleet elsewhere than against the French crown, since it must certainly receive some direction within a few days.
Acknowledges letters of the 10th which came with the state's decision for him to remain at his post.
London, the 23rd May, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
260. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The deprivation of the House of Nassau of any share in the government, by a secret article accepted by the Dutch delegates in London, is opposed in many provinces by the Orange partisans, by popular feeling and the recollection of the noble deeds of that House. Popular clamour makes the government apprehensive of some insurrection. The Orange cause is upheld by the province of Zealand unanimously, by the troops and by the populace, and with this support it is hoped that the article will be annulled.
Two English ships having landed 50 sailors flanked by 100 musketeers on the island of St. Michael, off Normandy, for the purpose, according to their own account, of watering, but for plunder according to the French, were repulsed by the natives, who assembled at the sound of the tocsin, killing some and capturing the rest, with their ships. (fn. 11) The Court declares that the ships did not form part of Cromwell's fleet, but belonged to corsairs, out for theft and booty. It will soon be known how Cromwell takes the news, but many consider it certain that unless affairs in Scotland interfere with his plans, he may seize upon this pretext to break openly with France, as since the peace with Holland he has a considerable weight of idle troops on hand which might foment insurrection and civil war at home if not occupied abroad.
Encloses Paulucci's letter.
Paris, the 26th May, 1654.
[Italian.]
May 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
261. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received an offer of 4000 of his countrymen from Don Christopher d'Ubrin, an Irishman. I thanked him but went no further, being aware of the discredit that has fallen upon these Irish goods (conoscendo quanto discredito sia caduto sopra tale mercantia Irlandese).
Reports of the conclusion of peace between the republics of England and Holland grow in volume, to such an extent that with earnest application they are digging deep into these profound mines of state for illumination on some project introduced by the Ambassador Cardenas in London to the Protector Cromuel offering him a million crowns a year if he will break with France, allowing the Spaniards to attack Portugal through the diversion caused thereby. They undertake afterwards to assist and join with the English in the conquest of Brazil. The truth is that their chief hopes, the whole of their attention and that of all the Court are directed towards the forces of England. Not a day passes but they publish what they would like to be, and they employ every means to involve Cromuel in a rupture with the crown of France.
Madrid, the 27th May, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Capitano delle Navi. Venetian Archives.
262. Iseppo Delfin, Captain of the Ships, to the Doge and Senate.
Account of the fight at the Castelli on the 14th April. The Aquila d'Oro distinguished itself in the action. Being attacked by several enemy ships it caught fire and was burned. A short distance away towards Anatolia the Orsola Bonaventura was attacked by two enemy ships. Though a small ship and imperfect she won the more glory under her governor Molino and an English captain, engaging the enemy vigorously and setting him on fire, when, rather than surrender, he was burned.
The flagship, the 17th May, 1654.
[Italian.]
May 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
263. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 12)
In spite of my immediate application for an audience, which seemed the more necessary because of the report that a squadron was going to the Mediterranean, I have not yet been able to offer my congratulations on the peace. I attribute the Protector's reserve to a desire to show his sense of the Signory's disinclination to acknowledge him. So I have ceased to press the matter, though I shall always be ready to obey any call, and I hope the Senate will send orders calculated to remove the impression and to encourage a good understanding.
It is still believed that a squadron will enter the Strait, though the real object of the expedition is still a secret. But the ships are being fitted out with all speed and every convenience for a protracted voyage under a burning sun. The completion of other men of war is also being hastened and the other day three large 60 gun frigates were launched. The Dutch are not understood to be disarming yet and in spite of the peace it is suspected that circumstances may arise on the sudden to break it, the more easily because of the dissensions in the United Provinces over the House of Orange. Holland, the most powerful of the Provinces, is bent on the destruction of that family, an object which they will always be ready to support here, indeed it is said that among the secret articles of the treaty there is one for that purpose. I had heard before that the Protector offered the two ambassadors of the Province of Holland the support of 10,000 troops, and so, if these dissensions take deeper root the fleet can scarcely be sent to any great distance.
The belief here in a speedy change of government grows. It is very evident that the disaffection of great and small and the increasing strength of the opposition render the continuation of the Protectorate more and more difficult, not to say impossible. The Protector recently went to Hampton Court for two days, escorted by his body guard, for relaxation from the cares which overwhelm him. On this occasion, as previously, it was observed that the marks of hatred and aversion lavished on him keep pace with his own assumption and despotism.
News has come from Zerze, the place of imprisonment of Colonel Lilburne a man of singular ability and opposed to the present government, that in consequence of the discovery of some manuscripts by him prejudicial to the Protectorate, he has been put to death in prison, without further form of trial. An antidote is thus applied to the bane which his pernicious ideas might have produced upon the people, while at the same time Cromwell is relieved from any further fear or mistrust of a suspicious person, the open enemy of his supremacy and of the tranquillity of the Commonwealth.
We hear to-day that 16 or 20 English men of war made a landing in Lower Brittany at a port called Cancalo, with the hope of considerable booty, but found the natives so well on their guard that besides losing 20 men killed or captured, they also left behind them two large ships, which were stranded at the ebb tide. Such is the report here ; if confirmed it bears out what I said of the ill will to France here and the hollowness of the negotiations for an adjustment which merely serve to delay an issue inevitably bad.
Acknowledges letters of the 23rd inst., enclosing reply to appeal for recall.
London, the 29th May, 1654.
Postscript ;—No news of any sort has been received this week from either Ireland or Scotland.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 5th May.
2 Probably identical with the ship laden with currants captured by the pirates of Tunis, mentioned in his letter of 2nd July at page 231 below.
3 Ludovic de Grand lord of Brachey had been two years in England in charge of the interests of the Count of Egmont. In August, 1653, the Count appointed him agent with letters of credence in which he styled himself Count of Guelders, a title assumed by the King of Spain ; de Grand had his audience on the 19th April o.s. Journals of the House of Commons vii., p. 313 ; Salvetti on 1st May, 1654, Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 O. Whitelocke : Memorials, p. 588.
4 This appears to be a distorted account of an attack made about 13th April o.s. by three frigates under Capt. Joseph Cubitt on a fleet of 48 merchantmen from St. Malo. On the news of this reaching St. Malo, all English ships and goods there were seized. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1654, pp. 93, 177,476. Whitelocke : Memorials, p. 588. Several Proceedings of State Affairs, No. 238.
5 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 12th May.
6 Printed in Thurloe : State Papers, Vol. ii., p. 289.
7 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 19th May.
8 Baas in writing to Mazarin on the 18th also refers to this report of a great fight in Scotland, and every one believed that the English had been beaten, though the report of Monk's death was false. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
9 See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1652-3, p. 379. Id. 1654, pp. 94-5.
10 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 26th May.
11 Brienne on the 23rd and Mazarin on the 24th May inform Bordeaux of the news of this raid on Cancale of 18 ships. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts. Salvetti on 12th June says there is no confirmation whatever of the report. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 O, f. 265.
12 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 2nd June.


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