310. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The dispute about the exclusion of the Prince of Orange from
the command of the forces still rages in the United Provinces.
Some zealous patriots are trying to arrange matters and prevent
a schism, but it has not yet been possible to devise a way, as it
is extremely difficult to retract the article arranged with Cromwell
and equally so to uproot the popular gratitude to the House of
Orange. The women and children march in serried ranks cheering
for that House and compel all they meet to join with them.
Holland, although alone in her opinion, maintains it pertinaciously,
relying not merely on her own strength, but also on her friendship
with Cromwell, who has declared that he will support her against
the efforts and attempts of all the rest.
Compiègne, the 1st September, 1654.
311. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to
the Doge and Senate.
With regard to the relations with England, the Spaniards are
encouraging loose talk (calzanti discorsi) about a marriage
between Don John of Austria and a daughter of the Protector
Cromuel. Although the conduct of such an affair will always
be difficult to carry out and involve serious considerations, yet
the business will be kept alive by Spain, even if there is no
intention to clinch it, at least for cherishing confidential relations
over a project for mutual satisfaction and by this means to
increase the uneasiness and jealousy of France.
The ministers here are further apprehensive that, at the
assembling of parliament, Cromwell may be inclined to put
forward some enterprise to please the people, to whom he will
always be able to hold out the inducement of trade and navigation,
not in the Levant, but in the Indies of Castile, for the passage
to which the English have capacious ports and islands that are
The sentence carried out in London on the brother of the
Portuguese ambassador has comforted the government here
in a political sense, because of the bitter feeling that may arise
between the two nations, although the Ambassador Cardines
exerted himself on his behalf.
Madrid, the 2nd September, 1654.
312. To the Ambassador in France.
Commendation of Pauluzzi's office in presenting the public
letter to Cromwell. You will inform him of the state's satisfaction
encouraging him to continue in what he has begun so
well and particularly in looking for opportunities to cultivate
in the Protector the most friendly disposition towards our
affairs, stimulating him by suggesting the motives of piety and
glory in a cause so privileged and so just and one in which he
will have so many ways to afford a dazzling display of his own
Ayes, 121. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
313. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
I have had another visit this week from Fleming, who told me
that the Mediterranean squadron had sailed and General Blach
took letters addressed to the princes of Italy. But in the first
place he is to demand satisfaction from the pirates of Tunis and,
if necessary, of the Porte itself. So in spite of the remonstrances
of the Levant Company the Protector has given orders for the
honour of the flag, not forgetting the interests of the most serene
republic. He said that Cromwell and his Council have often
referred to the importance of Candia and the injury to Christendom
if it should fall under the Ottoman yoke. The Senate
should act frankly and I should find no difficulty about conferring
with the Secretary of State, who was the soul of the government
and of the Protector. In spite of his ceaseless occupations he
would willingly appoint an hour for an interview, at which
Fleming would be present. I accepted the offer and said I felt
sure the private interests of the Levant Company would not deter
the Protector from his generous ideas in the interests of Christendom.
Fleming replied that his Highness was of the best possible
disposition but he is really thwarted by the merchants concerned
in the Levant trade who would never give offence to the Turks,
but if necessary the Protector will prove that he thinks more of
essentials than of any minor considerations. I promised to make a
suitable report and to assure the Secretary of the Senate's desire
for the best possible understanding with this country. He
promised that any proposals through me would receive immediate
attention since the importance of the matter forbad delay.
I report this so that your Excellency may judge whether his
language was induced by any real intention to help the most
serene republic or only to further the ends of the Mediterranean
squadron by the circulation of such reports. I could get nothing
more out of Fleming, but tried to create a favourable impression.
I shall now contrive to see the Secretary of State and do my utmost
to realise the wishes of the Signory.
A good number of troops have been marched to Portsmouth
to sail in the Mediterranean squadron. The length of their
voyage to the Strait of Gibraltar will depend largely on the
weather. Some think that while the English really mean to
obtain satisfaction from Tunis they also have an idea of establishing
themselves in the Mediterranean, and so they propose, if
possible, to seize some good harbour in order to confirm their
sovereignty of the sea, or at least to render its trade dependent
on them. So perhaps this squadron may act less in accordance
with the common report of London than with the secret instructions
given to General Blach.
The civil strife in Holland will possibly afford employment for
part of the naval forces now ready for sea, as Cromwell hears
with regret that of all the seven Provinces Holland alone opposes
the House of Orange, and it is understood that the Count of
Nassau has placed cavalry garrisons in several small towns there,
and that the negotiations of the ambassadors here have been
vigorously condemned. They are certainly much embarrassed
and hesitate to return under the accusation of having prejudiced
the interests of their masters by private arrangements made with
the Protector to the detriment of the House of Orange. The
English are bent on this and seem inclined to send some of their
ships in that direction, a step calculated to frustrate the late
amicable arrangements, though so far everything is uncertain.
The news of the raising of the siege of Arras and the defeat of
the Spaniards aroused no enthusiasm here. (fn. 2) When it came M.
de Bordeaux went to audience of the Protector and conferred
a long while with him, all the bystanders having to withdraw.
He has had another audience since though nothing is yet settled
about the adjustment. This victory may help it, as the indemnity
claimed by the English merchants constitutes the sole obstacle.
During the last few days, besides embarking troops they have
also disbursed money for their pay. To this end the customary
assessment has been levied in advance, thus rendering the army
more subservient to the Protector's wishes. But the idea gains
ground that the definite measures will be deferred until after his
declaration as king or emperor, on the meeting of parliament
which every one here expects to be earlier.
I have your Excellency's letter of the 30th ult. about treating
with captains of fire ships and sailors, to which I will attend at
If I do not receive the usual supplies I shall be unable to
continue my service here, since the best of good will cannot
achieve the impossible.
London, the 5th September, 1654.
314. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to
the Doge and Senate.
An English ship which has arrived at Cadiz reports that a
squadron of Cromwell is going to clear the Mediterranean of
pirates, and the English consul (fn. 3) there is buying a great quantity
of provisions. Anxiety is felt here over the relations of the
northern powers with Portugal, as Sweden is giving Braganza
the royal title and England is making a commercial treaty.
Madrid, the 9th September, 1654.
315. To the Ambassador in France.
You will write to Pauluzzi to seize a favourable opportunity
to see Fleming again, or some other minister whom he considers
suitable, to inform him again that the Signory is still of the same
mind in wishing to cherish a perfect understanding, and to
announce openly that when we are certain that England will
respond we shall proceed without further delay to the appointment
of an ambassador, as a more distinguished testimony to
the public esteem for that renowned government. You will
also direct Pauluzzi to endeavour, with the customary favour,
to secure that positive orders are given to the squadron which
they are sending to the Mediterranean, to co-operate for our
advantage, a thing which it will be possible for that squadron to
do in several ways.
Ayes, 123. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
316. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
I have seen the Secretary of State who promptly gave me
audience. I said I expected he would be able to tell me something
about the answer to the ducal missive, and what his Highness
might be expected to do for the most serene republic. I felt
sure that England of to-day had it in her power to give the boon
of quiet to Christendom, chastising the Turks and earning the
gratitude of the most serene republic, to the great renown of
his Highness. I asked him to use his influence in so good a cause
and to tell me what hopes there were. The Secretary seemed
gratified and said he would do what was requisite about a reply.
But before entering upon further details he must communicate
the whole to the Protector, and then he would either send me
word or appoint another interview. In order that my office
might have due weight and reach his Highness I left a written
note of it, but I must admit that the forms of government here
and the changes which constantly overhang it render such efforts
of scant use and frequently preclude all hope.
Parliament will meet on Sunday next, the period appointed
having arrived. The event is anxiously awaited by everybody,
and above all and with reason by Cromwell, though he seems
to have so arranged everything that he has nothing left to fear.
The general belief is that, exercising absolute sway as he already
does, he will merely change his title, though some of his chief
confidants have already remonstrated with him on the subject,
urging him to consider well before taking action. But the star
of his ascendant urges him to attempt anything, renders every
thing easy and promises additional glory and renown even from
opposition. Meanwhile orders have already been issued for
every commission and warrant to be stamped with his own seal,
which has been recently cut for the purpose. A new coinage is
also to be issued, bearing his effigy or arms. Everything will
tend to his exaltation, unless the wheel of Fortune take a sudden
turn as sometimes happens to those who rely too much on it.
Yet Cromwell's external demeanour is always very humble and
modest, nor does he display any vainglory over the submission
and obedience constantly shown to him by persons of all ranks.
General Blach having left for the command of the Mediterranean
squadron another of 50 sail is now being fitted out under the
command of General Penn, though its destination is a secret.
The report that it has cavalry on board is confirmed and during
these last days a careful choice has been made of officers to
command the troops to be embarked on this expedition. Some
still think it is meant for the West Indies while others believe it
means hostilities against France, if the negotiations for an
agreement fail. Others again point to the United Provinces,
should the present disturbances there continue, as it becomes
daily more manifest that, with the support of England Holland
alone will be able to carry through the arrangements made
against the Prince of Orange and his party, notwithstanding
the support of all the other Provinces.
When the news of the French victory at Arras reached here
the creditors of the Prince of Condé's agent seized him for a debt
of 16,000 francs, incurred for his maintenance here. Being
unable to pay it he applied to the Catholic ambassador, alleging
his own credits with the Prince and the money due to Condé
from Spain. Thereupon the ambassador voluntarily became
surety for the debt and the agent was set at liberty.
I implore your Excellency to send me supplies for lack of
which I do not know what to do or how to provide for the most
necessary requirements. The need would not be so pressing if
funds did not take so long in coming and if the changes here did
not render everybody mistrustful, even of their own relations
and countrymen, and much more of foreigners.
London, the 13th September, 1654.
317. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The clause about the House of Orange conceded by the Dutch
ambassadors in London is still causing violent altercation in
the United Provinces. Holland has suspended the usual grant
for the Stadthouder's guard and is fortifying and provisioning
her towns. Yet in spite of these disputes the States General
have all agreed to the contribution of 140,000l. sterling which
the Province of Holland bound itself to pay to the English by
virtue of the peace arranged with Cromwell.
Encloses letters of England.
Paris, the 15th September, 1654.
318. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
In expectation of the squadron of English ships in the
Mediterranean the Grand Duke, who keeps growing more and
more uneasy, has this week sent 36 gunners and 200 Germans
from those at Leghorn, to Porto Ferraio on a galley to reinforce
the garrison there.
Florence, the 19th September, 1654.
319. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 4)
The 300 members returned to parliament assembled in the old
hall of Westminster on Sunday last, as arranged. Because of
the day no other business was transacted beyond registering the
names. The rest of the morning and the afternoon were spent
in praying and preaching, according to their ritual to invoke
the aid of the Almighty at the beginning of an assembly convened
for so important an object as that of maintaining the electoral
privileges of the country, the quiet of the state and the welfare
of the people.
On the Monday the members sat again in the same place, and
in a chamber adjoining a royal throne was prepared for the
Protector. (fn. 5) To this he betook himself that same morning,
going in a very gorgeous coach accompanied by 100 gentlemen,
bareheaded and by his guard of horse and foot, the captains being
all on foot and also uncovered. In his Highness's own coach
there were only, besides himself, Maj. Gen. Lambert and the
President of the Council of State, (fn. 6) both bareheaded. With this
pompous retinue he went to the chamber prepared for his reception,
from whence he sent a message desiring the attendance of
the Commons. They obeyed at once, though some of the
leading members marvelled internally at this new fashion.
On their arrival and after they had seated themselves, Cromwell
uncovered and resuming his hat immediately said that he
rejoiced at seeing them assembled to assume the care of the
interests of the three nations and especially those of the entire
Protestant religion. He prayed that the Lord would assist them,
so that everything might redound to the glory of God and the
welfare of the people. He went on to inform them of the reasons
for the dissolution of the first parliament, of the necessity for
convening the late representative and of the cause which led him
to dismiss that body also. He then alluded to the treaties with
foreign powers, to the peace made with Sweden, Denmark,
Holland and the Swiss and to the negotiations for a good understanding
with France. He exhorted them to take the whole in
good part and approve it for the welfare and quiet of the commonwealth
of England, exerting themselves for its maintenance and
for the propagation of the true evangelical religion. After
speaking a long while his Highness concluded by telling them that
he had no intention soever of assuming any power over the
parliament, his aim being to serve it, for the benefit of all business
and the advantage of the commonwealth. Accordingly he
desired them to return to their place of meeting and exercise
their right to elect a speaker with whom he might always be
united in the bonds of love to decide upon the questions for
which they had been summoned and were now assembled.
The Protector then left them in the same state with which he
had entered and the members returned to Westminster hall.
After discussing Cromwell's speech there they adjourned until
the following Tuesday, when they elected their Speaker, choosing
the same person who long served the first parliament in that
capacity. (fn. 7) The other officials of the House were also confirmed,
in virtue of their patents.
These preliminaries being despatched some members proceded
to expound the authority and jurisdiction of the parliament.
Others boldly asserted that the new forms militated against its
power and prestige, as it was not recorded that parliament had
ever deferred to the late kings, who, on the contrary, always
went to its place of meeting. These remarks made an impression
on the majority and were much applauded, and it is supposed
that they have already rendered the arrogance of his Highness
extremely unpopular. A third party discussed the constitution
of the present government and the privileges and ancient institutions
of the kingdom, debating whether they should allow the
disposal of the laws and every decision to depend on the will of
a single individual and whether parliament ought not to govern
itself and act according to ancient custom. This demand was
also applauded, so it already appears that at the very beginning
of the session seeds of rancour and dissatisfaction are being sown
between parliament and the Protector. It is said that if the
House is debarred its full rights and made to depend on a single
individual, the majority of the members intend to refuse to meet
again, without waiting for a dissolution, and thus vindicate the
offended dignity and authority of the parliament. Meanwhile,
however, the House continues to meet ; but if it perseveres in
resenting dependence on Cromwell and he insists on carrying
out his original plan, matters will not proceed so quietly and
prosperously as he expected, though he will use moderation and
diplomacy at the outset, because if confusion arises thus early
it will be difficult to re-establish order without some serious
Owing to these unforeseen events the general expectation
I reported has vanished and the Protector himself, warned by
his friends and foreseeing the evil consequences of the step,
has possibly renounced the idea of being proclaimed king or
emperor, and moderating his ambition he will continue to exercise
supreme authority under his former title, if no other catastrophe
occurs either by the action of parliament or by its dissolution,
though the life of this empire rests with the army, and therefore
Cromwell shows sound policy by always endeavouring to have it
on his side.
General Penn's squadron has been ordered to assemble off
Portsmouth, wind and weather permitting, and will sail from
thence. It is still stated that these 50 ships will carry a double
complement of hands, as required in the West Indies, though as
it is known that arrangements have been made for receiving
cavalry on board a reasonable impression prevails that this
squadron may be meant for Holland, as here they show an
increasing disposition to support that Province.
The conferences between the French minister and the commissioners
are more frequent than ever, so the adjustment is
supposed to be nearly concluded, a result by no means improbable
if France finds sufficient funds for the indemnity claimed by the
English merchants. Without this the talk of peace will prove
easier than its conclusion.
Nothing of importance is heard from Scotland, beyond forays
and burning on both sides to intimidate the population. Both
take prisoners and despite the Protector's desire for the subjection
of that country the armed insurgents there remain steadfast.
Deep is the aversion entertained both by the Scots and by the
majority in England from the existing government, which is solely
intent on increasing the army and above all on strengthening the
navy, nor does it deceive itself in thinking that such measures may
procure for it obedience at home and prestige and alliances abroad,
and I can frankly tell your Excellency that they think of little else.
Acknowledges letters of the 12th. Is still without the means
of subsistence. No supplies for over two months. In urgent
need of assistance, without which cannot hold out longer.
London, the 20th September, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
320. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to
the Doge and Senate.
The embarcation of horse and foot in England keeps them in
a state of apprehension here until they see where this cloud will
Encloses letter from England.
Meaux, the 22nd September, 1654.
321. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 8)
I have written of the changes anticipated on the meeting of
parliament and have now to state that subsequent events show
that Cromwell is bent on retaining his despotic authority in
spite of all obstacles. To effect this he has narrowly scanned the
intentions of the parliament. His chief adherents also keep
close watch upon the House, Being thus made aware that its
first acts openly sought to demolish his supremacy he has considered
it advisable to apply a remedy at the outset and shut
the door against greater inconvenience. At its last sittings the
House insisted that the legislative power, the form of government
and the control of the revenue and the army should depend
absolutely on the many and not on one alone and that the Protector
should present commissions for another general dependent
on parliament. Cromwell determined to offer a vigorous resistance
to this procedure. He went on Monday with a numerous
retinue to the chamber prepared for him, having previously
issued orders for a considerable force of troops to attend. He
then despatched an officer to Westminster hall to see how many
members were there and desire them to come to him, closing
the doors and bringing the keys to his Highness, so that any
members arriving subsequently might be prevented from entering
and be notified to proceed straight to him. This commission
being executed and over 300 members appearing before him,
his Highness made a brief but authoritative speech. He told
them of the obligation they were all under to contribute their
utmost in support of the present government and not to think
of making changes calculated to disturb the present quiet of the
commonwealth and of the people. This quiet was confided to
him and he was ready to shed the last drop of his blood for its
defence and increase. It was not a question of how he held his
present position or how he exercised his actual sway, since it was
well known that his powers had been conferred upon him step
by step by parliament itself and confirmed by the army, which,
under every circumstance would now maintain his authority.
He meant invariably to act in unison with it for the welfare of the
commonwealth of England and for the liberty of the people.
He said he had no intention of resisting the authority of parliament,
in proof of which he meant it to be free, all members being at
liberty to speak and propose, and when necessary for the common
weal, to remonstrate. During the session of parliament the
power of legislating and of reducing or imposing taxes was vested
in the House which had also the right of disposing of the revenue,
to supply the want and secure the tranquillity of the state. But
the army had been entrusted to him alone, the control of the
troops belonged to him and he could never renounce it without
openly injuring his reputation and disparaging the merit of those
important services the direction of which had hitherto rested
entirely in himself. On this point Cromwell spoke with more
feeling and energy than on the others and then having finished
his speech for the maintenance of his despotic authority he
produced a paper for signature by the members in the following
I do hereby freely promise and engage myself to be true and
faithful to the Lord Protector of the (fn. 9) Commonwealth of England,
Scotland and Ireland ; and shall not (according to the tenor of
this indenture whereby I am returned to serve in parliament)
propose or give my consent to alter the government as it is
settled in a single person and a parliament.
Some of the members, even in the Protector's presence, made
bold comments on this document but none the less it was signed
by his Highness's partisans, 180 in number. As the others
showed some hesitation they were allowed two days to consider
the matter and then dismissed. It is reported that the Protector
has sent some of the most violent to the Tower as a warning to
other malcontents, who must also sign the test if they wish to
sit with the more complacent section of the parliament. Thus by
his authority Cromwell will either render all the members completely
subservient to him or dissolve the parliament leaving
himself with absolute power. Yet one hears suppressed murmurs
against these violent proceedings which affect electoral rights and
the liberty of parliament so that it is thought that the counties
themselves may be inclined to assert their rights and privileges
and protect their members, who are some of their leading men and
able. But with the troops at his disposal the Protector cares
little for this even if the counties showed resentment and contemplated
vigorous resistance, though many are of opinion that
matters will not remain thus and that England may witness
another civil war. But I imagine that the dread of such a
calamity would make them submit to an even harsher tyranny
than Cromwell's, as he knows by experience that they deserve
to be governed by severity rather than by affection, the death
of King Charles affording him the best possible example.
In consequence of these conditions patrols of horse and foot have
been constantly parading about London during the last few days,
to prevent any disturbance, but the people meet the policy of
the Protector with torpor rather than with open abuse, as even
freedom of speech incurs a penalty. So your Excellency may
infer that aided by the good Fortune which has caused his recognition
by the great powers Cromwell will remain paramount
and possibly even add to his titles if he cares to. Meanwhile
people are curious to see what the members of parliament will
do about meeting or dissolving, and whether they will sign the
submission or not.
While these events were exercising the Protector's mind his
Highness was much cheered by news from Scotland that the
greater part of the insurgents there have laid down their arms by
virtue of a composition with Gen. Monch. Gen. Middleton has
disappeared and the Scots, having lost all hope of the assistance
promised them from abroad on behalf of the king of England,
were compelled to accept terms, the constant reinforcements of
the government reducing them to the utmost possible straits.
In consequence of this pacification the Protector has allowed
various commanders to take over some Scottish regiments for
the service of foreign sovereigns, the friends of England, and
several have made their appearance here with offers to the
ministers of both France and Spain, each of whom will avail
themselves of this good opportunity and seek to deprive his
rival of a similar accession of strength.
A leading Scot also came to me with a licence from the Protector
offering troops for the most serene republic, whose service he
professed to prefer to that of all other powers. He expressed
a wish to settle speedily, but as I had no authority I merely
expressed my thanks. From what I gathered I suspect the
terms would be high owing to the quality of the troops, who are
ready and by this time inured to war. If I obtain further light
on the subject I will forward more precise details to Venice by
the shorter route of Flanders, if Your Excellency permits.
Encloses accounts for August, and begs for consideration
having gone four months without supplies. Cannot continue
without assistance as though demands for rent and food are
promptly met, no credit is given, in the general upset of things,
even for a few days.
London, the 28th September, 1654.