343. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
Parliament continues to discuss the chief articles of the
Government and Cromwell's numerous supporters try to uphold
his present authority, which cannot be done without affecting
that of parliament. So the discussion of these articles proves
both arduous and important and the result may be long delayed
though strong hopes prevail that the house will give its decision
in a few days. As by present arrangements the dissolution is at
hand efforts are being made to put it off 5 or 6 months. From this
the Protector will always be averse, as he fears that protracted
sessions will injure his interests and believes that a speedy
dissolution will consolidate his present sway, so in either case this
country is on the eve of an important event.
From the enclosed sheet your Excellency will see the opinions
of some of the soldiers and that the house contains members who
boldly oppose Cromwell's supremacy. Although parliament
condemns the tone of the speech and Col. Sapcot, who delivers
it, is accused of treason, yet the speech has been published, is
widely known and does not fail to make an impression. (fn. 2) So his
Highness means to suppress it and find out all the parties concerned
in the business. The Colonel himself has so far baffled all
search, though several officers, suspected of being his accomplices,
have been arrested. It is not expected that they will be severely
punished as the experiment would be too hazardous and the
chastisement of one or two would only serve to increase the
number of the Protector's enemies. As they are military men
he holds them in more account and regrets this outbreak the more,
being very apprehensive lest the opposition in parliament receive
support from many of the soldiery. He is therefore obliged to
show great tact in dealing with both parties, but for the maintenance
of his present authority he relies chiefly on the short
time that remains to the parliament and on the support of the
majority of the army.
The person who was sent to the fleet has returned with General
Penn, who has come to assure the Protector of his own allegiance
and that of the whole navy, as all hands, including the commanders,
repented of their insubordination when they received their pay,
and again profess the most implicit obedience to his Highness
and the Commonwealth. Penn presented the thanks of the
fleet to the Protector and parliament for the satisfaction thus
given repeating that the squadron was ready to put to sea and
to carry out any orders, so Cromwell is relieved from anxiety on
this score, though it is still believed that he will prefer to have it
at anchor here rather than to send it to a distance.
The last advices from General Blach announce his passage of
the Strait and that he is off the coast of Spain. He only adds
that he will avail himself of the first fair wind for continuing his
voyage in the Mediterranean.
The Viceroy of Norway, a kinsman of the king of Denmark, (fn. 3)
arrived here recently. He is supposed to have left his post on
bad terms with the king and others and to have come here for a
private conference with Cromwell.
Encloses accounts for October.
London, the 1st December, 1654.
344. Speech delivered in Parliament by Colonel Sapcot on
the 30th October in favour of Charles II.
The last speaker has caused a great sensation by proposing
to settle these three kingdoms on the present Protector and his
adherents, as a reward for his bad services. For his faithful
ones the reward seems scanty. Does he really deserve three
kingdoms for having disserved everybody, for having violated
the laws and privileges of the nation and enacting fresh ones ;
for introducing what may be termed the Spanish Inquisition ;
for having displaced the Presbyterian clergy and substituted
Anabaptists. Is it for the unbearable taxes levied for state
purposes not for the nation, but for his own usurpation of the
government and to enforce that tyranny which he exercises over
us. Is it for having instituted a High Court of Justice in opposition
to the laws and to the destruction of the nobility of the
land though under the pretence of raising up those who were
oppressed and in bondage. If these are deserts requiring three
kingdoms, I consent to his having them. But if we feel that we
again need a king why should we not at once have our legitimate
sovereign and why should he be excluded from his undoubted
right. For what object shall we achieve this. Merely, I
believe because we choose to perpetuate God's judgment on
ourselves and our posterity giving to others what it is not in our
power to dispose of and by this act assenting to all the misdeeds,
perjury and treason of one man, and thus drawing on ourselves
and on the whole nation the just visitations of the Almighty.
|345. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to
the Doge and Senate.
The English seizure of the island of Canada in America is a
great blow to the Parisians, many of whom had established a
large colony there with their own funds. As many as three or
even four caravans used to leave France every year to trade
divers wares with the savages, to the great profit of this city.
The loss is severely felt by more than 200 merchants concerned
in the conquest of that island, where they had set up a good market,
having imported a quantity of horses and so improved the
colony that it yielded them marvellous profits. The English,
having settlements in neighbouring islands and being therefore
stronger, have decided to expel the French altogether before
they take deeper root. The Cardinal cares very little about the
loss because it does not directly affect the king, who was content
with the acknowledgment of his supremacy and left the direction
of everything to the men who originally founded the Company,
in the Dutch fashion.
The Cardinal hopes that Cromwell will ultimately be convinced
by the arguments of M. de Bordeaux and decide to attack the
Spaniards in the Indies and bring their gold fleets to England.
He is constantly urging this and offers to help by keeping Spain
busy in several quarters, so as to weaken her everywhere.
The king of England having discovered that his mother was
inclined to educate the Duke of Gloucester in the Catholic religion,
sent the Marquis of Ormonde here to prevent it, representing to
her that if the report reaches England or if any schism or change
of government should occur the fact would for ever prevent the
return of his family to their hereditary dominions. So it is
supposed that the project will be dropped and the princes of the
House of Stuart, after having been expelled from the kingdoms
of this world, will now submit to banishment from the kingdom
Encloses letter from England.
Paris, the 1st December, 1654.
346. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to
Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 4)
With respect to the constant disputes among the members of
parliament about the reform or the consolidation of the present
government, there have been reports of late, possibly circulated
intentionally, that the Protector intends to dissolve it before its
term. This has promptly changed their tone which has been
almost unanimously on the side of his Highness. With the
help of his supporters, who have brought over some of the
opposition they have finally resolved and published the following :
that the supreme legislative authority of the republic of England,
Scotland and Ireland shall reside in one person and the people
assembled in parliament. That every deliberative act of the
same shall be presented to the Protector for his assent,
failing which after 20 days parliament may proceed with
it, but with a special declaration that these acts shall not contravene
in any point the foundation and constitution of the
present government. This is confirmed in the following form
that Oliver Cromwell, Captain General of the forces of England,
Scotland and Ireland shall be Protector for life, with the consent
of parliament, when sitting, but if not, without, and in this
way he shall have the control of the naval and military forces of
the republic, for its tranquillity and welfare, that he shall be
assisted by a Council by whose advice, and not otherwise he
shall dispose and employ the said forces in the intervals of
parliament, and that all such forces as shall be in existence
at the Protector's death, in the dissolution of parliament, shall
be at the disposition of the Council until parliament meets to
decide what seems good to it.
Such is the essence of their decision, showing clearly that
the Protector's wishes prevail over every other consideration.
As he remains in control of the military he is confirmed in his
absolute authority, with increased obedience and repute among
a great part of the people, with whom he continues to gain
ground. Yet another large section hold him in hatred and aversion
as a usurper, and although he is most vigilant to maintain his seat
his opponents never cease wishing and contriving his fall and
even his death. On this account his body guards are most assiduous
and watchful and he always carries firearms on him.
His mother has died recently at the age of 83 (fn. 5) ; a woman of
ripe wisdom and great prudence. Never a week passed but he
went to see her, treating her with filial affection and great respect.
It is said on good authority that towards the end of her life she
pointed out to her son the danger he ran in having risen so high.
She begged him to reflect seriously upon his state, and she died
admonishing him that if his intentions were good God would protect
him, but otherwise he would be punished and abandoned. Cromwell
answered her with tears in his eyes, his strong spirit overcome by
his feelings at his mother's last wishes. And so he left her full of
sorrow, and that same night she died. The Protector feels the
loss keenly and shows it outwardly. All his court and household
have put on the deepest mourning and the body was buried
in Westminster Abbey among the tombs of the kings and nobles
of England, in the greatest state.
News of the progress of the fleet for the Mediterranean is
awaited with impatience. This week the troops were reviewed
and 2,000 men taken from four regiments, by order of his Highness,
to be sent to the fleet, or possibly for other ships which may go
to reinforce General Blach. The latter is the more likely as
I gather that Blach has received definite orders to fight the
French fleet whenever he meets it. Events will show what truth
there is in this. I have discovered that the Spanish ambassador
has been at work with the Protector for this purpose, with
extraordinary application and secrecy. Something of moment
has been arranged, which I will try to find out.
They are still expecting the ambassadors appointed by Spain
and Genoa, but it is supposed they are delayed by the news of
the government crisis here. When this is settled according to
the Protector's wishes, it is expected that the government will
be more firmly established and negotiations will be easier. I
may add that before the arrival of the Genoese ambassador
here the resident of that republic tried to stipulate the manner
of his reception, that it should be the same as observed with
other powers or in any case, as with Venice. But I do not
think that the government will countenance such ridiculous
pretensions, as they know the distinctions between princes,
although they do not always respond to complimentary messages
as they should. They have only just informed the resident
of Tuscany that they will answer the letters of the Grand Duke,
received over 7 months ago. I will try to remind them of the
letter I presented. I will also keep alert to prevent the Genoese
ambassador from prejudicing the rights and honours due to
the most serene republic.
London, the 6th December, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
347. Andrea Rosso, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the
Doge and Senate.
An English ship which arrived in this port with salt fish on
the 2nd inst. reports that until within the Strait it sailed in
company with forty ships of its nation, including 24 ships of
war, the others with merchandise. They were going to the
Mediterranean and it reports them to be off Leghorn at this
moment. The Spaniards announce that it has come to their
assistance to fight the force of Guise, and because of this his
Catholic Majesty has issued orders that they shall receive the
best of treatment at any of his ports that they enter. Others
however contend that their purpose is to settle accounts with
the Grand Duke for the injury which they assert the English
sustained in the ports of his Highness. It will be necessary
to await the issue.
Naples, the 8th December, 1654.
348. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Dutch ships report meeting General Blach in the Strait of
Gibraltar with 24 very powerful ships. He was waiting there
for Neussesses who was on his way to unite with the Duke of
Guise, but on hearing of Blach he turned back at Lisbon. This
chance having been lost Blach is expected here soon. His
Highness is not without apprehension and has sent 200 more
infantry to strengthen the garrison of Leghorn. But the English
traders at this mart say that Blach will first put in at Valencia
to take on board a number of pieces of artillery to strengthen
his force and he may then proceed to Algiers and Tunis to adjust
some claims with those barbarians.
Florence, the 12th December, 1654.
349. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 6)
Since the decision of parliament about the form of the present
government differences seem largely assuaged and a good understanding
now reigns between the Protector and parliament
with mutual satisfaction. With the dissolution of the latter
coming ever nearer the Protector sees his desires approaching
complete realisation as the moment most favourable for the
exercise of absolute rule draws nigh. Everything conspires
to favour this result and he is well aware that once in the exercise
of such authority he is unlikely to suffer from the inconstancy of
Fortune, and the force of envy will find it hard to upset him
from his imperial and authoritative position.
Before dissolving and to win popularity for every future
occasion parliament has made extraordinary efforts to diminish
taxation. It has reduced the 120,000l. levied monthly for the
Dutch war to 60,000l. and appropriated it all to the satisfaction
of the naval and military forces, in conjunction with the ordinary
appropriation. But the relief to the people is not considerable
and one constantly hears grumbling about their present burdens
and about their condition which obliges them to contribute, and
even a little seems a great deal by comparison with the trifle which
they paid in the days of their kings. Their regret is constantly
increasing, but all in vain, as the services call the tune, and they
must have patience and look for the continuance of their burdens
and possibly for heavier ones for the satisfaction of the naval and
It is chiefly for this cause that they are enlisting fresh troops
to replace those taken from the old regiments and embarked
upon the fleet, one squadron for the Mediterranean and another
to start soon for some destination to be determined. They
have recently embarked a number of troops at Portsmouth with
a quantity of firearms and other military equipment. This
action led to reports that the fleet was certainly about to sail,
no one knew whither, it being stated simultaneously, with
intent, that it was going against Spain, against the Dutch partisans
of the Prince of Orange, and, according to the majority, against
France. With the negotiations of M. de Bordeaux at a stand,
the constant reprisals, the secret understanding with Bordeaux
and the French Protestants, the sudden departure of the Prince
of Condé for Flanders indicate the likelihood of some design,
though kept secret, to attack some part of France, not improbably
near Bordeaux or La Rochelle, with the intention of landing
and occupying some important island, and so interrupt trade.
This could be done the more easily because the French fleet is
engaged in operations down there, and in any case General Blach,
with a strong, well equipped fleet, would not be likely to meet
with much resistance in that quarter. We shall soon know
something more definite, but the embarcation of 10,000 combatants
reported from Portsmouth, which is towards Bordeaux,
and a prompt and prolonged audience recently of the French
ambassador confirm the general belief that there will be an
open rupture with France.
In this connection I may add that I have found out about the
negotiations of the Spanish ambassador here, namely that his
king may supply 3,000l. sterling a month and more to the support
of Blach's fleet. I have been told this but have been unable to
obtain confirmation. Time will show and I will keep my eyes open.
I find that what I wrote about the claims made for the Genoese
ambassador is true. I tried to see Fleming, but without success
because the forms of the present government about audiences
and the treatment of foreign ministers are different from all
the others. Their sole object is prestige and they claim that
all princes must seek their friendship, and that they can respond
as best suits them. They act thus with Spain, France and other
states, so it is unlikely that they will readily send ministers to
other princes, though all depends on the Protector's will. Anyhow
I will try and perform my office so that the dignity of the
most serene republic may be upheld. I must however observe
that they listen here to what you say but when they act afterwards
it is always their own satisfaction that comes first, not
that of others.
Acknowledges receipt of provision for two months.
London, the 14th December, 1654.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
350. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch provinces which used to support the Prince of
Orange are now moderating their zeal. It is said that a threatening
letter of Cromwell has contributed to this change of policy
as well as a monition from the province of Holland, so it is hoped
that ill feeling will subside and the provinces be united as before.
Besides expelling the French from their best colony the English
continue to show their ill will by every now and then seizing
ships, and Cromwell places the plunder as a set off against the
damage which England received from France during the civil
wars. After putting up with everything for the last two years,
to flatter Cromwell and avert war, the Cardinal has at last been
roused by popular clamour to grant letters of marque against
the English flag, though unwillingly, as he knows that this
may easily produce a rupture. On the other hand Servien
denounced the excessive patience of France as pusillanimity,
adding that not to meet aggression by aggression was a sort
of maritime servitude, practically rendering homage to England.
In this way he brought over the other ministers to his
opinion, which they adopted the more readily from the recent
intelligence of the seizure by the English fleet of 30 vessels
laden with salt, involving French subjects in heavy loss. But
in spite of the royal permission French privateers will find it
difficult to fit out with their own funds a squadron capable
of resisting the English, though love of gain and the strong
natural inclination of the French to piracy, may induce them
not to neglect so favourable an opportunity for indulging it.
Encloses Paulucci's letter as usual.
Paris, the 15th December, 1654.
351. Andrea Rosso, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the
Doge and Senate.
There being no news of the English ships in the Mediterranean
it is supposed that they have proceeded to Africa to take vengeance
for the loss of two rich ships of theirs captured by the
Barbary corsairs these last months. In spite of their announcements
to the contrary it appears that the Spaniards would
be glad to have assurance that they mean to be neutral.
Naples, the 15th December, 1654.
352. To the Ambassador Sagredo at the Most Christian
Court. (fn. 7)
We have Pauluzzi's letters of the 14th ult. with yours. We
are quite satisfied with his diligence. As we recognise that
we can no longer put off that to which we are already definitely
pledged, namely the recognition of England by the despatch
of a special minister, we have decided to select one, to show
our regard for that government and conciliate their goodwill
towards the most serene republic. We will inform you of our
choice in our next.
That on the first day this Council meets choice be made of
a noble of experience and ability, with the title of ambassador
extraordinary to England. He may be taken from any place
etiam continuo and may not refuse, under the penalties of those
who refuse embassies to crowned heads. He shall set out at
the time and with the commissions decided by this Council.
He shall have for salary 600 gold ducats a month, 4 months
being paid in advance without his rendering account ; 1,500
gold ducats for his equipment. For horses, trappings, trunks,
300 ducats of 6, 4 Venetian lire the ducat ; and 300 to spend
in gratuities, rendering account in the usual way. He shall
take with him a secretary from the ranks of the ducal chancery
and a coadjutor of the same, with 200 ducats for the first and
100 to the second for their equipment, and with salaries of 25
and 15 ducats a month respectively, 4 months being paid in
advance. For two couriers who shall accompany him, 30 ducats
each, as usual. For an interpreter and a chaplain 10 crowns
a month each, as usual, 4 months paid in advance.
Ayes, 40. Noes, 69. Neutral, 67.
Second vote :—Ayes, 30. Noes, 75. Neutral, 69.
353. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
It is reported that Blach may be at Majorca but this is not
confirmed. His Highness is far from pleased at having this
commander, who professes himself so deeply injured and affronted,
approaching so near to his shores here.
Florence, the 19th December, 1654.
354. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 8)
As the final session of parliament draws near the form of the
present government becomes more firmly established. They
have sketched out and settled matters between the Protector
and parliament with mutual satisfaction. With regard to the
Protector and his authority he has not objected to the following :
after the dissolution of the present parliament another is to
meet in 1656 and yet another in 1659, and so triennially. The
writs must be issued by the Protector at a date determined.
If it be necessary to summon parliament before the term, the
Protector has power to do so, but must not dissolve it within
a month. Before the dissolution of this parliament it is to
declare who shall serve in the next. 60 shall form a quorum.
The election of Protector shall be made by parliament, when
sitting, by the Council, if the Protector dies when it is not. In
case of disagreement 12 or 13 votes shall suffice, on condition
that the one chosen is worthy, able, faithful, courageous and
God fearing, and not under 25 years of age. Papists and those
married to Papists are excluded expressly, with all the line of
Charles Stuart and all other families who have hereditary claims.
The members of the Council are to be nominated by the Protector
and approved by the Council. It is not to have more than 21,
or less than 11 members. It shall not continue in being more
than 40 days after the opening of each parliament without the
consent of that body.
Such are the enactments of this parliament for the establishment
of the government. One may say with good reason that
these measures have been concerted, sustained, and finally
carried by the majority of the Protector's partisans, under the
threat of an immediate dissolution and because of the force wielded
by the Protector, which is the true basis of this government.
I may say here that the chief officers of the army met lately
and resolved to present another paper to Cromwell containing
6 or 8 articles. The chief ones are, that neither parliament
nor the Protector shall meddle in the matter of religion ; that
no change shall be made in the laws prejudicial to the nation's
rights ; that no enquiry shall be made about purchases made
by virtue of sales ordered by the late parliament ; that tithes
be abolished, this being aimed at the Presbyterian, Lutheran
and Calvinist ministers. Although their numbers are great,
the Anabaptists are more numerous and increasing daily. The
majority of the army consists of them, so it is no wonder if
their demands are excessive. It seems probable that the disorders
originally introduced by the Puritans may one day be
exceeded by the Anabaptists, to the yet greater confusion of
this nation. Since Henry VIII. broke away from the Church
this kingdom has always been in a turmoil over religion and
it seems unlikely that they will find peace unless the present
disorders in religion are reduced to good order. They would
like this, but do not see how. The Protector will answer this
paper, but in a form calculated to conciliate rather than to
inflame the military against him, for they are his prop and his
I can report nothing certain about the movements of the fleet,
upon which there have been so many calculated reports. It
has not yet started but all the officers, sailors and soldiers are
ready and content. All the activities of the Protector and Council
centre about its despatch, which should follow if common
report be true. Although M. de Bordeaux has had repeated
audiences of the Protector of late, nothing favourable to good
relations with France has resulted and an appeal to arms might
easily increase the ill will. Some maintain that Bordeaux's
proposals on behalf of Cardinal Mazarini are holding back the
English and beguiling the Protector and Council and that the
departure of Gen. Pen's fleet is delayed solely on this account.
The Spaniards, on their side, are working their hardest, as the
internal troubles in the Netherlands and the designs of the
French in both Flanders and Italy are of too great importance
to allow them to be on anything but good terms with the English.
So astonishment and amazement increase at the prolonged
burden entailed by keeping up this large force and the indecision
about its employment. But it is due to the prudence and
discernment of the ruler here, who thereby keeps all his neighbours
on tenterhooks, while he reduces the cost by the constant
reprisals at sea upon all the French craft on which they can
lay their hands.
By order of his masters the chief of the two ambassadors of
the Province of Holland left here, recently had audience of the
Protector to take leave, leaving the other one alone. (fn. 9) He is
always drawing closer the understanding between this country
and his province, indeed there is a report that he is asking the
Protector for a force of English for its defence. Undoubtedly
England will always do her utmost to diminish the strength
and spoil the trade of the Dutch to the advantage of her own.
An ambassador from Genoa is expected here, and arriving
he will certainly be received and entertained in a manner different
from that of other princes. I gathered from Fleming that the
claims of that republic will meet with every satisfaction. He
said that when he mentioned the subject to a member of the
Council, because of what I had said to him, he was told that
the Council would not trouble about the matter as this government
paid no attention to forms and ceremonies, and so they
would try to satisfy him without further thought, but that an
ambassador from the most serene republic would always be
received with the forms observed towards those of other kings.
I made a suitable reply to this and caused this to come to the
hands of the Secretary of State so that the Protector and Council
might consider the matter. In my next I will inform your
Excellency of its tenor.
London, the 22nd December, 1654.
|355. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Some alarm is felt at the advance of the English fleet in the
Mediterranean, from the belief that if it falls in with the French
squadron, it will give battle, because it is commanded by MM.
Pol and La Ferrière, noted privateers, against whom the English
have vowed vengeance for acts of piracy. In addition to this
an attack on the French fleet would accord with the arrangements
and understanding between Spain and England.
Encloses Paulucci's letter.
Paris, the 22nd December, 1654.
356. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
At the beginning of the week nine ships of the fleet arrived
at Leghorn and went on to Provence ; so did the duke of Guise
with the rest of the fleet, all so dismantled, ridiculed and humiliated
as to be all but incredible (tutti male trattati, scherniti et mortificati
quanto si puo credere).
General Blach is still expected. The Grand Duke is apprehensive
but takes consolation from the troubles of Cromwell
at home. I recently made enquiries as to whether the English
at Leghorn had been trying to send away the great capital
which they have in the place, as they probably would do if they
knew that Blach contemplated hostilities. I discovered that
the English still have property to the value of a million and a
half stored in the warehouses and that during the last months
they have rather increased than diminished the quantity.
Accordingly his Highness is uncertain about what may happen.
Florence, the 26th December, 1654.
357. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England,
to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 10)
The following is the tenor of my note to the Secretary of State.
I understood that efforts were being made that the reception
of the ambassador expected from Genoa should be on a par
with that of the ambassador of Venice. I had not said more
about these pretensions because of my respect for the Protector
and Council, and because it was well-known what was due to
the ministers of the most serene republic, and I felt sure that
nothing would be allowed to prejudice its ancient privileges.
It was my duty to make this representation because of the
Senate's decision to nominate an ambassador here with the
certainty of a response from this side. I am sure my office
will be imparted to the Protector and Council and it may serve
to make them more careful of the forms observed with the
Genoese ambassador when he comes. But all depends on their
own will, since in a new government all the forms are new, the
old ones being utterly abolished and detested and they think
only of increasing their strength and with it their prestige. As
regards the appointment of ministers to other princes, to make
a response, so far they show little inclination that way. Some
members of the government maintain that it cannot be done
at present for sufficient reasons of state, and they should wait
for a more opportune moment. They believe that the more
promptly ministers appear here from foreign princes and the
longer they delay their response, the more evident will be the
greatness and prestige of England in the sight of the world.
Parliament continues to discuss the foundations of the present
government, and is ever more favourable to the desires and
orders of the Protector. At its dissolution he will have control
of all the affairs of the kingdom, both foreign and domestic.
This is made subject to the consent of the Council, but that is
nominated by him and there is no doubt that everything will
go as he desires. The members also must be approved by
parliament. This is now under consideration as well as the
election and exclusion of those who are to take part in the next
parliament and the form of oath to be submitted to the members
before it meets. This week the articles of government
have been ratified with the addition that the Protector shall
not have the power to pardon in cases of rebellion or treason,
but it shall be submitted to parliament. The Protector made
a mild remonstrance about the reduction of the extraordinary
taxes from 120,000l. to 60,000l. a month, pointing out that
England is obliged at present to maintain a large body of troops
for internal peace and considerable naval forces for the command
of the sea, safety and increase of trade and this cannot be done
without adequate taxes. So he was obliged to draw the attention
of parliament to what the welfare of the state required.
He added that as he was responsible for the troops, if he had not
the means to satisfy them, necessity, which knows no law,
would compel him to give them leave to help themselves. This
could not happen without detriment to the country and would
cause him deep regret. But parliament stood by its decision
although the coast will remain clear for the Protector after
this decision for such extraordinary provisions of money as
may be necessary for the punctual payment of the troops, which
constitute his support, his strong arm and the shield of his
General Blach reports from the Strait of Gibraltar the good
treatment received from the dominions and ministers of his
Catholic Majesty, as well as the courtesies shown by the pirates
of Algiers. He says all the ships they met saluted the English
flag. He confirms meeting with some French craft, which he
seized, and is determined to advance further and further into
the Mediterranean. Yet the privateers of St. Malo and Brest
have recently captured two English ships on their way from
the Canaries to this city, laden with wine and fruit. So the
mutual reprisals go on and one may say that there is nothing
wanting for war with France but the declaration. It is stated
that General Pen's squadron will certainly sail one day next
week, but the positive judgments about its destination are
News has come from Scotland of an encounter between the
government forces and the insurgents in which the latter lost
several killed and over 200 prisoners. This has encouraged the
commanders and the men. A frigate sent on purpose has
reached them with 30,000l. sterling for their pay.
Encloses accounts for the month of November.
London, the 27th December, 1654.
358. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The English continue their attacks on the French flag. News
has come lately of their seizure of some ships laded with salt
fish. If these acts of aggression continue the Cardinal's cherished
designs on Italy will be thwarted.
Fieschi, the Genoese ambassador extraordinary to Cromwell,
has passed through Paris and held some conference with Brienne,
reported to be a suggestion for reconciliation with the Protector
through his mediation.
Paulucci reports his remonstrance against this minister's
reception. He should have waited to see what the other ministers
thought about it. A word to Fleming, with whom he is
intimate, would not have been so bad, but a written paper to
show to the Protector and his Council is an indelible act and
before committing it he should have asked the opinion of your
Serenity, more especially as he believes his protest will be disregarded.
[Paulucci's letter enclosed.]
Paris, the 29th December, 1654.
359. Andrea Rosso, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the
Doge and Senate.
The Viceroy remarked to me in conversation that his role
was merely to show a friendly feeling and to guard against
dangers. He added that these last had been stirred somewhat
by the unexpected appearance yesterday of 28 English ships of
war, which were at that moment in the port, because they took
them to be French. But, said he, this is a squadron with which
I am on good terms. I learn from letters from Cromwell and
from the ambassador of his Catholic Majesty in London that
it has come on purpose to seek out the French and fight them.
He spoke highly of the quality of the ships and of the men who
command them including their commander, General Blach.
He expressed the certainty that when they have received some
reinforcement they will go away.
Naples, the 29th December, 1654.