322. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
During the last few days Cromwell and his Council and
supporters in parliament have been trying to induce the restive
members to sign the test, which was drawn up for the sole purpose
of securing his supremacy. So the House adjourned for three
or four days to discuss ways and means, but chiefly to induce
the opponents to accept the Protector's plan. Some of the
opposition have been won over by his confidants and signed the
document, though others have voluntarily left London rather
than accept. But this is no great loss to the Protector since it
has already been decreed that 60 members form a house, and,
notwithstanding the opposition there are some 190 present, so
their decisions have ample force, the numbers are ample and
serve to give vigorous support to the dominant authority of his
Maj. Gen. Harrison who has always shown himself jealous of
Cromwell's rising fortunes and is the recognised head of the
Anabaptists, having stated that he held a list signed by over
20,000 persons hostile to the Protector, has been deprived of his
seat (fn. 2) and banished to the country for a long time by order of his
Highness and the Council of State. Thus some of the opponents
of the present government hold aloof while other influential and
respected men are ousted from their seats and banished. The
House consequently consists merely of the creatures of his
Highness and has already passed an act approving the present
rule as vested in one person and a succession of parliaments.
Everything so far has gone with complete satisfaction to Cromwell
who, with his universal vigilance has marched a number of troops
into London where he is also beating for recruits under the
pretence of requiring soldiers for the fleet. To obtain men more
readily he and his Council have issued a proclamation that all
British subjects serving in the navy or army are to be at liberty,
after one or two years' service, to exercise any trade or profession
in London or anywhere else in the kingdom. By this means
the government has won the heart of all the young apprentices
many of whom, rather than serve the term of 7 or 8 years in some
trade, as usual here, will gladly enlist as soldiers, so as subsequently
to be free of any company they please, without paying
fees. This step affords another proof of the extreme astuteness
of Cromwell, who by one stroke captivates the army and adds
to its numbers with ease, while checking any hopes any might
have of raising troops in the city or forming a party there. On
hearing that the Companies resented this measure as prejudicial
to them Cromwell sent for the Lord Mayor and Aldermen and
told them in mild language that he was determined to carry
out his orders assuring them that these would always be devised
for the general good and the benefit of every individual, obtaining
from them a promise of compliance and obedience. Thus does
the Protector exercise his official power and military command,
and so long as these two elements are united his sway will become
more and more despotic and undisputed. But if any dispute
arises between the chief magistrate and the military the Protectorate
will certainly be attacked. This is considered the only
thing that can suddenly affect his present good fortune.
Owing to these fresh events the main body of the fleet, which
is well manned and found with every requisite, does not move
to any distance, but remains within call to back the Protector's
schemes and render all the neighbouring powers uneasy, in spite
of the repeated assertion that it is to act far afield.
Since the affair of Arras and the agitations here the treaty
with France seems to progress favourably in one respect though
in another a great difficulty has arisen, for whereas the claims
for indemnity seemed to be settled two other important matters
remain undecided and may possibly prevent a settlement. In
the first place England demands the total exclusion of the Stuarts
from France, and second, protection for the Huguenots practically
re-establishing them by the grant of every liberty and security,
giving them certain places of repair. Both points are difficult
of adjustment and if insisted on there is scant hope of a successful
end to the negotiations. It thus becomes evident that the
Protector espouses the cause of the Huguenots, relying on their
support in the event of an open rupture with France. Yet
peace is not despaired of here and a decision must be taken
Although some of the chief insurgents in Scotland have laid
down their arms and made terms with the present government
it appears that some of their comrades still hold out, having
mostly retreated to the Highlands where it will be difficult to
reduce them by main force. Gen. Monch has orders to avail
himself of any opportunity for cutting them to pieces, but as
they merely come down on the sudden to make as much
booty as possible and then retreat at once into the most
inaccesible parts of the Highlands he will not easily encounter
Bad news has come this week from Ireland that the Anabaptists
there have held armed meetings in great numbers and
resist the orders of the commander in chief. Further details are
awaited, and if the disturbance continues the Protector will
have to quell it by force. With matters in this state it behoves
him to have troops all ready for action in any part of these
realms and so his chief endeavour will be to keep the soldiery
London, the 4th October, 1654.
323. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to
the Doge and Senate.
Letters of marque and reprisal are beginning to appear, which
the English are granting against Spanish ships because the
Irish shareholders have not been paid what is due to them for
the levies made in the service of this crown. In addition the
Ambassador Cardines writes that 24 ships have left the English
Channel, strengthened with troops and a certain number of
cavalry, and in spite of all the efforts he has made to find out
their instructions he has not succeeded in doing so. They are
in an extraordinary state of alarm here as to what may happen
as the news has been far too long delayed in the event of their
having steered their course towards the Strait where, it is
commonly stated, they will be able to turn off to the island of
San Domingo. The possession of that would close the passage
for navigation to the Indies, without hope of ever being able
to recover it again. This would be something very different
from the defeat at Arras in Flanders. However, two days ago,
they despatched from Cadiz, with the utmost secrecy, a ship
with advices for that island exhorting the governor and the
inhabitants to offer the most strenuous defence. But should
the attack take place they certainly would not be able to sustain
the full shock of those forces, from which they have derived the
saying : War with all the world, but peace with England.
Madrid, the 7th October, 1654.
324. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 3)
Several members of parliament who had expressed disapproval
of the present government are beginning to show themselves
in London and are disposed to sign the test and join the main
body of parliament. It is understood that some have already
taken this step. But others continue to absent themselves,
obstinately refusing to violate the parliamentary franchise, the
electoral privileges and the liberty of the people. They loudly
assert that an appeal to arms was made and so much blood shed
in order to maintain this. Such arguments make a great
impression, but though much approved, the wish of the majority
to have them enforced is not gratified because everybody
acknowledges and fears the supremacy acquired by the Protector,
knowing that he means to preserve it, both through his supporters
in parliament and above all through the military.
In spite of the signatures given in favour of Cromwell parliament
apparently continues to occupy itself with the machinery of
government. It consents to invest the Protector with the sole
command of the army, but only of such forces as are now embodied,
during his life. It is also trying to regulate the succession,
to prevent confusion in the event of his death. Above all it
watches over the employment of the public money and the
Parliament further intends to exercise its authority in the
election of a new Council of State. To this the Protector does
not dare to object openly and to prevent trouble he employs
address rather than severity, manifesting complete subservience
to the parliament. He recently cajoled them by a state visit
with his retinue, when he communicated various important
matters, chiefly about the navy. He told them that besides the
fleet of Gen. Blach, destined for the Mediterranean, there was
another powerful squadron in a state to keep the sea for a long
term, capable of any great exploit and calculated, if necessary,
to support the Protestant cause. But this squadron should never
act without the previous knowledge and approval of parliament.
All his actions had hitherto been directed to this end and he
meant to pursue the same course for the future. This action
won over the parliament who told him that they knew his zeal
for its service and his goodwill and prudence also. This led them
to confirm his actual command and they could entertain no
doubt about his wielding the military and naval resources of
the country to his own repute and for the advantage of the
people. Accordingly, in view of the secrecy required for great
undertakings, they left everything to his discretion in the confidence
that all his resolves would tend to the glory of the republic
of England and to the advantage of religion.
Both parties were thus satisfied and for the present naval and
military operations will depend on Cromwell and his Council,
though not to the exclusion of that Jus which parliament claims
for itself. If disputes arise between the two powers, as is likely
if the Protector exercises his authority too freely, in general
questions and upon the fleet in particular, it is probable the
members would not keep silence, for the English consider
parliament the soul of their government and may be said to
worship it. They are as jealous as possible of its ascendancy
which they consider the palladium of their liberties and so both
the House and his Highness must use great caution and address
to avoid such extremities as might arise from the fact that one
is the popular favourite while the other enjoys the support of
the military, who will probably always remain paramount.
During this crisis the negotiations with France have remained
in suspense. M. de Bordeaux is waiting to see the government
well established before he puts the finishing touches to the
treaty. Opinion varies about it being signed. News has come
to-day that Belle Isle, whose governor was brother of the fugitive
Cardinal de Retz, (fn. 4) has rebelled and made itself over to the
Spaniards. If this proves true and the treaty is not ratified
in a few hours the English fleet might steer in that direction,
since it has at last put to sea. It has not been possible to
ascertain its real object and the more it is reported to be going
to the Indies the more convinced are many that the report is
false and delusive.
For the better arrangement of affairs in Ireland and to quell
instantly certain disturbances there the Protector's younger son
is preparing to go over there immediately, to examine the true
state of affairs and to deal with them, in the capacity of Viceroy.
There is a general desire to make some regulations on the
important question of religion, reducing the numerous sects
here to a single one which will probably always be the Protestant.
But as this is a matter of great importance and replete with
consequences likely to produce violent agitation, the question
is put off, the present confusion being tolerated from inability
at this moment to apply the desired and necessary remedy.
Acknowledges letter of the 3rd inst.
London, the 12th October, 1654.
325. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to
the Doge and Senate.
The English squadron has appeared in these waters. Don
Luis remarked to me that it might turn into the Mediterranean
and create a great disturbance in the dominions of the Grand
Duke. He could not persuade himself that Cromwell would
make the voyage to the Indies and if he meant to devote his
attention to a foreign war he would be more likely to help
Holland against the other Provinces because of the interests of the
House of Orange. He did not tell me, what I have on good
authority, that Cromwell sets his face steadfastly against signing
the peace with Spain without these two requisites : (1) open
trade and free navigation with the Indies, and (2) that the
Catholic shall satisfy the Irish for the money he owes them for
the levies, in which many English merchants are interested.
They have begun here to make arrangements for dealing with
the second, the amount of the claims having been settled, and
the rest in assignments or monthly according to the custom of
From this one draws the inference that Cromwell is dealing
with all the powers on the basis of hard cash and to the one who
offers most he grants the most profitable bargain. It is already
reported publicly that the peace with Portugal was bought for
a million of crowns.
Madrid, the 14th October, 1654.
326. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Grand Duke is advised of the squadron commanded by
General Blach and destined for the Mediterranean that it has
taken on board a quantity of material to enable it to proceed
to the capture of some port. But his Highness does not believe
that either this or the more powerful squadron of General Pen
will go far away from English waters before the assembling of
the members of the new parliament is completed. In any case,
in order to be ready and provided his Highness has given orders
for 7000 soldiers of the bands here to hold themselves in readiness,
and he has increased the numbers of the bands themselves,
supplying arms to 10,000 more men.
Florence, the 17th October, 1654.
327. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 5)
I was taking steps to assure them here of the Senate's disposition
to send an ambassador if assured of reciprocity when
an accident has hindered communications with several members
of the government, especially the Secretary of State the only
minister acquainted with everything of whom audience can be
obtained, and there is much difficulty in conferring even with
him as he is seldom apart from the Protector. I managed to say
something in confidence to Sir [Oliver] Fleming, who expressed
satisfaction and a desire to see me before I did more, so I am
expecting him. I shall be careful to keep within the limits of
The negotiations of all the foreign ministers have been delayed
by an accident which endangered the life of the Protector, whose
escape may with good reason be ascribed to one of those strokes
of fortune which of late so constantly befall him, rendering age
less irksome and reviving in him the spirits and buoyancy of
youth. A few days ago (fn. 6) he went out for his pleasure in a coach
drawn by 6 fine spirited horses which he took into his head to
drive himself for a little while. The animals instantly felt the
strange hand and when he merely raised his whip some kicked
over the traces and others became unmanageable. After vain
efforts to stop them the Protector, realising the danger, threw
himself from his seat. The shock caused a pistol in his pocket to
discharge though without hurting him, but it made the horses
wilder than ever, and they dragged the coach where they pleased
together with its inside passengers, who chanced to be the Secretary
of State with two others. They also threw themselves out,
the Secretary dislocating his leg and his companions receiving
The Protector thus had a miraculous escape, but it is said that
on that evening he became speechless and had to be promptly
blooded, which gave him great relief, for he came to himself at
once and as he steadily improves it is hoped that he will soon
be quite well. The others are also convalescent but after this
accident Cromwell will hardly want to drive high mettled horses
again but direct his energies to the government of his subjects.
These fear and obey the more they know him, though many do
not scruple to assert that this adventure should warn his Highness
that bad driving leads to a bad end and that those who meddle
with what does not belong to them experience what they do not
expect or even imagine. His supporters vow that the Divine
grace is manifested by his preservation, the welfare and quiet
of the commonwealth being thus evidently maintained. It
cannot be denied that fresh civil strife and immense confusion
would result from his death, for although the military will always
have the upper hand, yet on any emergency they will be more
inclined to support parliament and submit matters to the voice
of the many rather than to one alone, and for this very reason
many of the soldiers regret seeing the whole army under the
General Blach reports his voyage towards the Strait of
Gibraltar, the wind having blown fair for some days. His
squadron numbers 30 sail of fine men of war, with which he will
exact the salute from any ships he may meet, for which he had
special orders on his departure.
A report circulated that General Penn's large squadron had
put to sea, but it is still ready to set out on some great enterprise
which cannot yet be ascertained. It is still stated that this
fleet will seize Cuba or Hispaniola, to which end a double complement
of hands is to be embarked, as a precaution against the
mortality to be expected from the climate. The ships will
touch at Barbadoes and other English colonies and land their
men, taking others already inured to the hot climate. But as
everything here is conducted with great cunning and secrecy
these facts must wait for confirmation, though the time cannot
I have already reported the expected arrival of an ambassador
extraordinary from Spain. The mission was possibly delayed
by the late crisis, but this reported attack on the Indies may
induce the Spaniards to send him at once, if anything else transpires
on the subject.
Since the disputes between Spain and Genoa a minister has
been accredited here by that republic, (fn. 7) but although he was
appointed a long time ago he has not put in an appearance,
and may also be detained by the reports about the government
here, though it becomes more and more consolidated in the
person of the Protector, 300 members of parliament having
already signed the test required by him.
London, the 19th October, 1654.
328. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Bordeaux, the French ambassador in London, has been charged
to flatter Cromwell more than ever and to urge him not to lose
so favourable an opportunity for making himself master of the
Indies as with the Spaniards being attacked in so many quarters
by France they can only make a feeble defence anywhere.
I have written to Paulucci as instructed in the letters of the
12 September about the state sending an ambassador, but I
cannot send his reply because owing to the stormy weather of
the last fortnight the boats between England and Calais have not
plied, so the mails are overdue.
Soissons, the 20th October, 1654.
329. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 8)
Neither the Protector nor the Secretary of State is sufficiently
recovered from the accident to give audience, but I have seen
Sir [Oliver] Fleming and told him of the Senate's intention
about nominating an ambassador. He expressed his gratification
which he said would be shared by the whole government.
He confirmed that an ambassador was expected from Spain and
another from Genoa. The Venetian mission would be honoured
as those of other powers had been. The government would now
turn its attention to the despatch of other embassies, the first
foundations of a solid and well regulated state were now beginning
the causes of the recent numerous changes being utterly
annihilated. He approved of my intention to write to the
Secretary, and when he was recovered I could confer with him
or with the Protector himself. I have accordingly written
the letter. On parting Fleming remarked that now a good
understanding was reached the republic might reap very
considerable advantages from here, especially if the war against
the Turks goes on. He told me that General Blach had sailed but
was driven back by contrary winds and had to remain at anchor
for some days. This fleet would furnish matter for speculation,
but the cause was just. Besides the provisions on board it was
furnished with bills of exchange and had liberty to draw for
money, payable in London, from any port it might chance to
make. He admitted that the fleet had been delayed here beyond
all belief, but declared it had lost no time and the same might
be said of General Penn's fleet of 60 sail. Those who thought
differently might have an awakening, as the secrets of this
government were impenetrable, being confided only to a few.
He promised to see me again and if he could not tell me everything
what he did tell would be true. After I had complimented
him he expressed his gratitude and took leave.
Parliament continues to sit daily, offering no opposition to
the present government, but rather seeking to consolidate it,
endeavouring to satisfy the Protector and the people at the same
time, in all its resolves. They may regret its dissolution which
will take place at the height of this popularity and leave Cromwell
the absolute master of all affairs, both at home and abroad.
Hopes of a good result from the prolonged negotiations with
France were recently stronger than ever, but it now seems they
are more embroiled than ever, and almost entirely at an end.
By to-day's report the whole treaty is broken off and there is
small chance of an amicable adjustment, especially as the English
are more determined than ever to seize all the French bottoms
they can meet. The Protector has lately received a list of 12
which have been seized by the English frigates, so that unless
a speedy adjustment is effected an open rupture seems inevitable,
as the irritation caused by these reprisals outweighs the desire
for an understanding.
The third Dutch ambassador, representing Friesland, being
on bad terms with his two colleagues from Holland, is on the eve
of departure. (fn. 9) Friesland has espoused the cause of the Prince
of Orange, who is understood to be prospering. As the secret
articles to his detriment accepted by Holland are resented by
the other Provinces they will provide occupation for some while
for the two representatives of the Province of Holland with whom
the Protector continues to maintain the most confidential relations.
No news of importance has been received lately from either
Scotland or Ireland, nor does the Protector pay much attention
to events there, being firmly convinced that the military are
in sufficient force to stifle any remaining embers of insurrection.
The Resident of Parma who left Paris and arrived here a few
days ago (fn. 10) is negotiating his return. Meanwhile he asks the
honour of an audience of the Protector, which may possibly be
granted when his Highness recovers. He told me that if admitted
he would not forget the most serene republic and being well
acquainted with the Levant he would urge Cromwell to attack
the Turks for his own glory and that of all England.
London, the 26th October, 1654.
330. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
I have transmitted the orders of the 26th September to
Pauluzzi, whose letter is enclosed.
Paris, the 27th October, 1654.
331. To the Ambassador in France.
A report is circulating that the English who are sending ships
into the Mediterranean, propose to take a port in Italy which
will suit them best for the requirements of their ships. You will
write to Pauluzzi to do his utmost to obtain information and
evidence upon this but without displaying jealousy or suspicion,
and to report to us.
Ayes, 99. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
|332. To the Resident at Naples.
It is reported that the Protector Cromwell is sending a squadron
to the Mediterranean. We desire that you shall take note of
what is said about this at Naples and that you try and find out,
with due circumspection, what are their true designs.
Ayes, 118. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.
|333. To the Resident at Florence.
We suppose that the Grand Duke, in his own interests, will
have some information about the plans and proceedings of the
English. You will send a complete report about this as further
evidence of your diligence and zeal.
Ayes, 118. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.