297. On the 1st August in the Pregadi.
To Moresini, chosen as Proveditore General and Inquisitor of
From the attached paper presented in the Collegio by
Obson, the English consul, you will observe that he claims that
the company of London merchants has had a mpnopoly of the
currant trade since the year 1635. The matter is one of importance,
and before leaving to take up your charge you will find
out the particulars from Obson and you will also make enquiries
on your arrival there. The Senate is confident that you will use
every diligence in the matter, not ony in making enquiries, but
to enable them to come to a sound decision based upon the integrity
of our interests, for the consolation of the merchants and
the relief of the trade ; and you will make a full report.
Ayes, 117. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
298. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Much surprise is felt here that no Spanish force has appeared
to oppose the French fleet which will leave Toulon towards the
end of the month. It is suspected that Spain relies largely on
the English squadron for the Mediterranean, and that under the
pretence of reprisals and revenge they will attack the Toulon
fleet, composed mainly of privateers (composta per la maggior parte
di vascelli di cor so), and thus thwart the projects of this crown
in Italy, according to arrangements made in London.
Letters of England enclosed as usual.
Musson, the 4th August, 1654.
299. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
Last Friday being appointed me for audience I was obliged,
like all the other foreign ministers, to deliver a copy of the missive
to the Secretary of State. This done I went accompanied by
Sir [Oliver] Fleming, the 100 halbardiers who form His Highness's
body guard lining my passage as I entered, treating me on a par
with other foreign ministers, Cromwell, as usual, was in one of
the principal rooms of the former royal palace, attended by 40
gentlemen, but at some little distance from him, the Secretary
of State alone being close. On my appearance he uncovered
and remained so until I began to speak, raising his hat slightly
at each obeisance I made when I pronounced the name of my
sovereign. I said I was instructed to express the satisfaction
of the state at his elevation and at the happy peace with Holland,
which gave proof at once of the prowess of British arms and of the
ability and prudence that directed them. His Highness was the
source of this great power and virtue, from which all Christendom
anticipated beneficial resolves. The obstinate war waged with
the Turk for the last ten years invited some generous resolve from
him, to put a limit to Ottoman aggression. His present elevation
was surely due to the will of the Almighty, so that he might be
able to assist friendly powers. He could not fail to win this
glory since from the abundant naval resources of England he
could appoint a squadron to humble the enemies of the faith,
raising the esteem of England ever higher. I then presented the
public letter saying that it would express more clearly the
sentiments of the Senate. I hoped it would induce him to make
some generous resolve to help the Signory. I prayed God to
grant the Commonwealth the blessing of peace and increasing
prosperity and that his undertakings might prove more and more
glorious. I also referred to the desire of the Senate to give him
satisfaction in the affair of Captain Gallilee and all other matters.
I left a translation into English of my remarks, which Sir
[Oliver] Fleming interpreted to his Highness, in whose name he
thanked the Signory for the sentiments expressed with the assurance
that he would endeavour to give the republic proofs of his
esteem, and of his interest in the war, which showed her greatness
power and valour. He felt anxious to assist and would try and
show this more effectively, while he was desirous of reciprocating
the courtesy shown to him. He felt especial satisfaction at the
disposition of the Signory towards Captain Gallilee and would
reciprocate. Finally he made Fleming repeat his thanks for the
letter and charged me to forward a full account of all that had
been said to me. Having promised faithfully to perform this act
of duty I took leave. (fn. 2)
I have little other news to report. The chief attention of the
government is directed to the meeting of parliament. As this
is capable of effecting great changes it may be surmised that
Cromwell will anticipate them and render his own position more
powerful and despotic. After all the returns have been made a
scrutiny is to be carried out, to the exclusion probably of any
members of whom the Protector disapproves, on the plea, perhaps
of their being disaffected persons. In short it is very evident
that he means the new parliament to be employed on his own
service in preference to any other.
In order to supply the fleet with every requisite they have been
working in the dockyards even on the strictest holidays. To
render it strong in fighting men four soldiers have been drafted
from every company, thus forming a considerable force, which is
to embark forthwith, though at present all the ships are idle.
If civil strife increases in the States, as appearances indicate, they
can scarcely be sent far afield, as it is under that England is
linking herself more and more closely with the leading provinces
of Holland and Zeeland, which favour peace and are practically
open enemies of the Prince of Orange, and that, if necessary he
will assist them against the others, should they persist in favouring
that House, whose depression the Protector and his present
government will always seek.
The Swedish envoy has presented credentials to the Protector
from his new master. (fn. 3) Cromwell received him graciously and
expressed the strongest wish to maintain a friendly intercourse
and firm peace with that crown. There is a rumour that Whitelocke,
who returned lately from that Court may possibly be sent
to France about the negotiations now in progress.
I will do my utmost to obey the instructions about levies.
The other day I treated with a respectable person who offered
to deliver 2 or 3000 Irish at the water's side but would not
provide transports. I refused this saying the Signory would
only assume the responsibility of paying the sum agreed per head
on their being landed at Zante or in Candia. I shall propose the
same terms to others and do my utmost to succeed, but the state
may accept my assurance that at the moment the numbers of
his Scottish and Irish prisoners are not so large as they wish to
infer. I will also bear in mind the instructions about chartering
ships and report the result promptly.
London, the 7th August, 1654.
300. To the Ambassador in Spain.
The transactions which are proceeding with the government
of England are of an importance which you have fully grapsed.
Accordingly you will not relax your close observation so that
you may supply us with all particulars.
Ayes, 125. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
301. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The States General have recalled the Ambassadors Beverninghen
and Giongstal from London to give an account of the secret
treaties they have made with Cromwell without the participation
of the confederacy as a whole. The Province of Holland, on the
other hand, has sent a contrary order, instructing the ambassadors
to remain in London and promising them support against the
other Provinces. So these are more exasperated than ever
against Holland whom they accuse of endeavouring to dominate
over them and to infringe the fundamental laws and institutions
of the republic.
Encloses usual letters of England.
La Fere, the 11th August, 1654.
302. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 4)
The list of the members returned to serve in parliament having
been laid before the Protector, he gave orders for some of them
to be struck off, and this was done, others being appointed in
their stead. Their numbers having been thus winnowed and
purified it seems that everything is conforming more and more to
his Highness's will, so that when the house meets he may feel
certain of succeeding in his projects, which clearly tend to grandeur
and absolute rule.
For the last few days, for the better attainment of his ends he
has been courting the chief personages in the city, who dine with
him familiarly, being treated with every mark of esteem and
goodwill, undoubtedly for the sake of securing their support.
This may contribute not a little to the establishment of his
present fortune, whose smiles he knows so well how to turn to
account, as the past shows, and further proof of this talent may
be expected before long.
The Dutch ambassadors having recently received expresses,
went to audience of Cromwell forthwith and have had more than
one private conference with him about their despatches, which
apparently concern the disputes between the Provinces over the
young prince of Orange and his party. Some of the Provinces
arraign their ambassadors because in the secret articles of the
peace they granted one excluding the Prince of Orange. For the
enforcement of this the present government here will always act
in concert with the wealthy province of Holland, the most
important and strongest of the Union. It is accordingly supposed
that, in spite of the peace England may encourage civil strife at
the Hague for the destruction, if possible, of the house of Orange,
upon which important news is daily expected.
The Mediterranean squadron is now ready for sea and will, it is
said, sail one day next week, for certain. According to report
it is to clear the sea of pirates and obtain an indemnity from
Tunis. Something may also be said to the Grand Duke about
what happened in his territory detrimental to the British flag,
though if there are any orders for an attack on his dominions
they will keep them very secret. It is supposed that the mere
act of blockading Leghorn will suffice to obtain reparation, if they
wish, but it is possible that nothing will be attempted there and
that this squadron is only intended, as they state, to render trade
and navigation safe, and thus benefit Christendom. I do my
utmost to obtain orders for the commander to favour the interests
of the most serene republic, but their procedure here obstructs
the despatch of business owing to the extreme difficulty of conferring
with the members of the Council of state or with any
other public official, everything being conducted clandestinely and
with extreme jealousy and reserve.
They say the rest of the fleet will be divided into two large
squadrons one to guard the coast continually against all eventualities,
the other being destined for the West Indies. But to
judge by appearances this seems to be a feint and probably both
squadrons will be employed against France, as they are said to
have shipped some cavalry. It is also reported that the French
Huguenots have asked help of England, and I have been told
in confidence that they recently made a direct application to
Cromwell himself. The result of the siege of Arras will probably
disclose their intentions here, however tardily the government
may conduct its most important affairs.
By the news from Scotland Gen. Monch has gained a battle (fn. 5)
against the insurgents commanded by Gen. Middleton who are
said to be broken and dispersed with loss in killed and prisoners ;
but as he is said to have retreated subsequently to Stirling, and
also asks for reinforcements, since the victory, its authenticity is
doubted and the statement attributed to a desire to encourage
the troops to march in that direction, as the sterility of the
country, the mountain warfare and constant defeats make that
service unpopular. But if the insurgents do not receive help
from abroad, they will certainly be reduced to obedience. At the
same time the departure of the King of England from Paris and of
the Queen of Sweden from Stockholm, create a suspicion of some
mutual understanding, for which however they seem to care very
little here though it is an engrossing topic of conversation.
80,000l. have reached the Thames on board a Dutch ship,
forming a large part of the Danish indemnity guaranteed by the
United Provinces, and obtained by them chiefly with a view to
consolidating the peace with this country.
London, the 15th August, 1654.
303. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
In conformity with instructions received through the Ambassador
Sagredo I have been trying to find if any sea captain is
willing to enter the service of the republic. In spite of the
report current here that the payment made does not correspond
with what is promised, I have succeeded in treating with
Captains Thomas Transfild and William Reider, who have both
been in your Serenity's service, and by express order of the late
parliament, under a denunciation for rebellion because of the
requirements of the Dutch war (e per espresso ordine del gia
parlamento sotto le comminationi di ribellione per il bisogno
della guerra con l'Ollanda). Although the fleet here is still at
strength, rather than enter the service of their own government,
these captains have offered to return at once to serve the most
serene republic, in spite of their protesting that they have lost
a considerable sum in your Serenity's service, out of zeal for the
faith and for the honour of assisting Venice, always provided
that they obtain permission here and that their terms are
conceded. These are that these captains with their ship the
Northumberland of London, 400 tuns burthen, of 34 guns, with
60 mariners, including the captain, will serve 12 months certain
and 6 months' grace, for 2400 ducats each per month. Transfeld
formerly received 2900 when he served before, though he had
a few more men. They also ask for four months' pay in advance
to begin from the day they leave here and to end when the ship
has prattick at Venice. After the four months their agent at
Venice is to receive half of the pay monthly. The state is to
furnish all munitions of war on the security of a merchant in
London, guarantees being given on both sides. Some four
or six other vessels of the same description are willing to serve
on these terms. They agree to the ships being inspected before
they start. They tell me in all sincerity how greatly your
Serenity will profit by having strong English ships of this
character, because a single one can engage a whole enemy
squadron as facts have shown. The service which English ships
can render is not to be compared with that of the Dutch, who
build their ships more for trade than for war. Owing to the
quality of their timbers cannon balls rend their sides, which is
not the case with the English, as the late war showed.
I told them nothing except to assure them that they would
receive every satisfaction and that I would inform your Serenity
about it, as I do by way of Flanders, as being the quickest.
I may add that they told me, supposing a levy of Irish is arranged,
these ships will be ready to transport them, but that your
Serenity must supply the necessary food.
London, the 16th August, 1654.
304. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Provinces of Friesland, Groningen and Overyssel have
elected the Prince of Orange for their Captain General. Efforts
to obtain a similar declaration from Guelderland, Zeeland and
Utrecht meet with difficulties not easy to overcome. Holland
has presented a long paper to the States General giving the
reasons why they arranged some secret articles with Cromwell.
As they pay incomparably greater contributions than the other
Provinces and the burden of the war rested mainly on their
shoulders, they claim that the other Provinces should bow to
them, and that it is due to their good offices that Cromwell
withdrew his claim to a free passage up to Antwerp for English
merchantmen, which would have done great harm to the United
La Fere, the 18th August, 1654.
|305. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
I have reported the efforts of the Cardinal to establish confidence
with Cromwell and to remove the difficulties about
sending an ambassador here. Paulucci now writes to me that
Whitelocke is mentioned for the post of ambassador here. I
therefore beg for instructions to guide my intercourse with him,
especially as it is reported that he will be here very soon.
Encloses letters from England.
La Fere, the 18th August, 1654.
306. To the Ambassador in France.
Pauluzzi has applied to be relieved. His request is reasonable,
but under present circumstances it is impossible to grant it.
You will assure him of the perfect satisfaction of the Senate
with his services. As he received no gratuity when he left for
England to act as secretary, which title he supports still in the
change after the completion of his service with the Ambassador
Moresini, and also in recognition of his services, that 400 ducats
of good value be granted him as a gratuity for one turn only.
That 400 ducats be handed by the curator of the deposit of
money to the depository in the Mint, to be handed to the Camerlengo
di Comun, to be paid by him to the agents of Lorenzo
Ayes, 118. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
On the paragraph concerning the 400 ducats :
Ayes, 135. Noes, 27. Neutral, 17.
Second vote :
Ayes, 127. Noes, 33. Neutral, 19. Pending.
307. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 6)
After the presentation of the ducal missive and my representations
on behalf of the State, Cromwell and his councillors
discussed the matter and expressed themselves sympathetically,
though with comments on the reserve of the Signory in making
their demands. Knowing that it would be passed on to the
Protector I have since told the Secretary of State of the Senate's
sentiments about the marks of esteem and confidence in contemplation,
which would be more promptly realised according to
the chances of reciprocity. I fancy this was the real object of a
recent visit from Sir [Oliver] Fleming. He began in the usual
way about the advantages that Venice would receive so soon
as good relations were established, though it was undeniable
that the republic had been more intimate with the dainty,
disorderly and effeminate Court of England than with the
national forces of the country, which had never been so strong,
either by land or sea as at present. The Signory had neglected
its own interests here. In spite of this the Protector and
government were very anxious to do their utmost to help her,
but she must take the initiative. A favourable opening now
presented itself, as a squadron was going to the Mediterranean
to obtain indemnity from the pirates under Turkish protection.
The commander is to take a high tone and employ force if his
demands are refused. He hoped that when I reported this at
Venice I should receive instructions to make suitable proposals.
Although I was not a formally accredited minister, they would
receive them from me as if from a minister of high rank. The
Levant Company, he told me, formed to greatest obstacle, as
it always opposes any measures hostile to the Turks, on account
of its important trade in their dominions, but he thought that
the interests of a few individuals would give way to those of the
community and to the freedom of that trade itself, and that
England could not be better disposed towards helping the
republic, and I might see the Secretary of State or even have
audience of the Protector himself, if I wanted confirmation.
In reply I repeated what I had said before that they might
rest assured of the Signory's desire for a mutual good understanding,
which would be further confirmed by the certainty of
reciprocity. The Senate realised the great power of England and
the vigour, prudence and ability of her ruler, from whom they
expected some assistance. Even a small detachment from their
immense army and navy would be a great help. It would
be easy and at the same time vastly appreciated.
Fleming did not enter into any particulars but from what he
said I gathered that the Protector had spoken strongly in favour
of helping the republic. He said I must not omit to report the
conversation, and if anything reached me in the mean time I
should communicate it as they would always be glad to give me
audience. I promised to do so and asked him to induce the
Protector to help so just a cause. He replied that he had always
done so and would continue, but the republic must not throw
away its opportunities. I satisfied him by my reply and he took
leave. I have not seen him since though it is reported here that
some ships full of Irish may be destined for the service of the
state, indeed the government is extremely anxious to rid itself
of a number of Irish and other suspicious characters, and to clear
that country of all the Catholics. But even if this is not confirmed
a levy of Irish will be granted whenever desired, and if
the Signory likes to pay half the sum for raising the men in
advance, and the balance when they land, some ships might
be conceded for their passage, or at least procured on moderate
terms. Many persons of rank have offered me their services
and possibly one might be found to deliver 2 or 3000 in Candia
for something less than 8l. a head, or at Zante at an even lower
rate. I might get them at the coast for less than 4l. If I hear
anything positive I will report it at once.
The Protector is still busy in sifting the parliament, rejecting
such members as he suspects, either because they showed a
disinclination to the Commonwealth during the civil war, or
else declaring them under age, as 21 years and 200l. a year were
announced beforehand as the minimum of age and fortune
required for any member of the house. Thus does his Highness
anticipate and remedy every political inconvenience, though
some of the leaders are already discussing the first measures to be
proposed by them for the welfare of the state. So the nearer
the meeting of parliament becomes the greater is the curosity
felt about its measures.
Although the negotiations with France do not slaken they have
as yet produced no result. For this reason and equally from the
wish to learn the fate of Arras, the departure of the fleet on some
very important mission, which is supposed to be settled although
not divulged, is still delayed. Meanwhile the reprisals on the
French flag continue, and they will not cease until the establishment
of a good friendship with that crown, which is generally
doubted here. These naval preparations and the number of
soldiers and sailors embarked clearly indicate a landing somewhere,
though it is not easy to credit the report current here
that the descent will be made in the Indies. At any rate, after
such an age of uncertainty a few hours will throw light on the
question. During the interval the English by negotiating with
the French increase the jealousy of the Spaniards obtaining
advantages from both crowns, and they will finally decide
according to their own interests.
Cromwell proposes to send a minister to Sweden to cultivate
a good understanding with that crown. This mission will
probably be effected as suddenly and quietly as the one to the
Swiss Protestant Cantons, to whom a person in the confidence
of the Protector was despatched some time ago and ordered
to remain with them. (fn. 7) I have, at least, been told so, but in
spite of all my diligence it is incredibly difficult to discover the
secrets of this government, which at present depends solely on
the authority of his Highness and three or four members of the
Council of State, his confidants, and very able men.
Does not dare on account of the reasons given, to be troublesome
about his requirements, but on that very account begs
that he may be relieved of his charge.
London, the 22nd August, 1654.
308. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
One Christopher d'Ubrin an Irishman (fn. 8) has arrived at Court,
who served as Camp master in the armies of Spain. He showed
me a letter from the Ambassador Querini by which it seems he
offered at Madrid to supply the state with a levy of 4000 Irish.
He says he has come here to go on at once to England, if his
proposals are accepted, or else to get an answer which will leave
him free to offer his services elsewhere.
Letters from England enclosed.
La Fere, the 25th August, 1654.
309. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 9)
The parliamentary returns for Scotland and Ireland, which
elect 30 members each, have been announced this week. The
majority are soldiers, thus strengthening the party of the army,
which will finally become the fount of all deliberations and laws
and will support the person of the Protector. It becomes
ever more manifest that when parliament meets he will
immediately be proclaimed hereditary sovereign of these
realms. Everything tends in that direction. He and his Council
continue their scrutiny of the new members, so as to secure an
overwhelming majority. But in spite of the death penalty
inflicted on some for the late conspiracy to terrorise the disaffected
a citizen of London has recently been imprisoned for using threats
against Cromwell's life, vowing that he would finally achieve
his death. He has been sent to the Tower and will stand his
trial at the next Michaelmas assizes.
Reports about the main body of the fleet vary as usual though
its large complement of troops convinces everybody that it
cannot remain long idle at so great a cost. The expedition is
supposed to be awaiting the result of the siege of Arras. They
expect momentarily to hear of something decisive and that will
probably be the signal for carrying out their concerted plans,
believed to consist of a sudden invasion of France. But possibly
nothing will be done before parliament has declared the Protector
King or Emperor.
The Mediterranean squadron is all ready and has received
repeated orders to sail. The report of its being bound for Tunis
is confirmed. If they do not receive satisfaction it may possibly
approach Constantinople, with advantage to the Signory. I am
doing all I can to encourage the idea. It is also stated that with
this opportunity they propose to send a new minister to the Porte.
The negotiations of M. de Bordeaux for an adjustment with
France continue vigorous as ever but the fair hopes of one day
invariably vanish on the morrow, so no opinion can be formed
until their close. This does not yet seem near at hand and it is
rendered yet more difficult and contradictory by the reprisals
made at sea on all French vessels. This very day news has come
of the capture of a rich French ship, homeward bound from
Guinea. (fn. 10)
The disputes among the United Provinces keep their attention
here and are fomented to the detriment of the House of Orange.
They therefore court the Dutch ambassadors and the Province
of Holland as much as they can, and one of the three squadrons
of the fleet will always be ready to give assistance if needed,
remaining at the disposal of his Highness for the purpose.
Since the death of his brother the Portuguese ambassador has
been residing incognito 20 miles from London. The Protector
lately appointed a frigate to take him home, but it seems he is
detained by his creditors who insist on receiving 10,000l. sterling
or security to that amount before they will allow him to quit the
country. Meanwhile he must await instructions from Portugal. (fn. 11)
The English merchants are clamouring for payment of the
debts due to them from Spain and the government demands
acknowledgment of its services in the recovery of Dunkirk.
For the discussion of these matters and any others requiring
negotiation it is said that the king of Spain has appointed an
ambassador extraordinary to the Protector, either the governor
of Dunkirk or Count Pigoranda ; but no word has come yet of
the departure of either.
Since the last engagement in Scotland, which proves not to
have been so successful for Gen. Monch as first stated, we learn
that the Highlanders, after a meeting held by order of Gen.
Middleton, came suddenly into the Lowlands, burning several
places and spreading terror over a great part of the country,
so the government forces were compelled to march against them,
to prevent their advance.
As already reported the general belief in the meeting of
parliament for the express purpose of proclaiming the Protector
king or emperor of these realms increases hourly. Possibly with
a view to accustom the population of London to some such
solemnity troops of little boys have been made to parade the
city daily, in gay attire, on horseback. The chief performer
wears a crown in the midst of his comrades, who follow him as
their chief or sovereign. This pageant is supposed to indicate the
approaching grandeur of his Highness, whose further elevation
cannot be long delayed. I have nothing more to add about the
hire of ships or levies, as I have already done my part in the
Encloses accounts for July.
London, the 29th August, 1654.