Venice
October 1655

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1930

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114-131

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'Venice: October 1655', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 30: 1655-1656 (1930), pp. 114-131. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89812 Date accessed: 02 August 2014.


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October 1655

Oct. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
154. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Not the least of the Protector's preoccupations is the process of weakening the party of the Anabaptists, which is very strong in the army. They say they have been ill recompensed by his Highness, although they were the chief authors of his advancement, and the strongest arm in gaining the past victories and defeating the royal forces. The truth is that his Highness, to win the love of all parties, favours all religions, upon principle and has finally supported and joined the Presbyterian, which is the strongest and most popular.
Amid the varied and self contradictory faiths, which confuse men's minds and trouble their consciences, the Catholic faith inclines to make headway, and if it were not persecuted and stripped of its substance, it would grow until it became the principal and most widespread. But with the priests condemned to the extreme penalty and the professors of Catholicism deprived of their goods, this severity lops off the branches which would otherwise increase notably, and stay the fertility of the true religion, which many profess at heart although outwardly they repudiate it. This is certain, that in spite of all the persecution, a fourth part of England is undoubtedly Catholic. The rest are divided into as many faiths as there are heads, and the number of religions equals the number of men.
The chief preoccupation of the government is to find money, and since to raise it involves adding to the burdens on the people, the difficulty is hard to surmount. Without money the troops would mutiny, and upon them the present government depends for its existence. Fresh taxation increases the burden on the people, with consequent grumbling and unpopularity which might one day lead to a universal rising.
It is forbidden under most severe penalties to slander the present government, to misinterpret its intentions, to laud the royal government or to mention the House of Stuart with approval. Yet in spite of this severity men are not prevented from drinking the king's health on their knees in private houses or from showing the most open preference for the king's rule.

The government handed to Paulucci the enclosed deliberation of the Council of State to be forwarded to your Serenity. It contains an appeal for an English ship the Relief (Soccorso), master Thomas Gallilee, who while serving in your Serenity's fleet, was attacked by 27 Turkish galleys. After a brave resistance ths ship was burned and the captain taken prisoner by the Turks. His father has appealed to the government here to support his instances and the raising of some money to ransom his son.
London, the 1st October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.155. Tuesday the 11th September, 1655. (fn. 1)
At the Council at Whitehall.
Whereas the Council heretofore receiving information that the ship Relief, Capt. Galilee commander, being about 3 years since hired into the service of the duke of Venice, was in his attendance thereupon, after a gallant fight with 27 Turkish galleys, fired and the said Capt. Galilee forced to cast himself into the sea, by means whereof he became a prisoner to the Turks, under whom he hath since remained in slavery. They did thereupon, about a year since, recommend the said Capt. Galilee's services and sufferings to the consideration of the resident of the most serene commonwealth of Venice, with their desire that his speedy and effectual endeavours might be improved with the said commonwealth as well for his release as for the satisfaction of what was justly due for freight of the ship and for reparation of losses sustained by the owners. And whereas they have been since informed that the application made by the said resident in pursuance of that desire did produce a liquidation of his accounts and that on the balance thereof there remained due to him from the said commonwealth above 10,000 ducats, whereof it is said no part is yet satisfied, and now being again addressed unto by his aged father's petition, who hath no way to provide for his son's ransom but out of the money so owing, the Council hath thought it meet once more to recommend Captain Galilee's condition to the said resident's consideration and do hereby desire him to renew his endeavours that the money admitted to be owing on the said account may be speedily satisfied, which will be a work of justice becoming the greatness and honour of that commonwealth, the said Galilee's fidelity and courage in their service having rendered him a person of merit as well as of suffering.
W. Jessop, clerk of the Council.
[English.]
Oct. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
156. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the arrival of General Pen from the unsuccessful attempt in the Indies, Commander Venables, who led the landing troops and commanded the attack on shore, came in another ship. It seems that while these two leaders agree in representing the difficulties of the enterprise, each is trying hard to lay on the other the blame for the miscarriage of the landing and the unfortunate issue. As a matter of fact the Spaniards are greatly indebted to the Almighty, who defended the Catholic religion in protecting their cause, for it would have suffered notable harm if the English had been permitted to spread their forces and their dogmas, corrupting the simplicity of the new Christians of the Indies. The truth is that after the landing no more than 80 Spaniards supported by a small number of the inhabitants, threw the first ranks into confusion and spread such terror among the troops that neither the persuasion nor the threats of their officers could arrest their precipitate flight or stay the panic which possessed all the troops alike.
The government wishes to hold an enquiry, to find out the truth, the faults of the leaders and to punish the guilty. This will not help much to repair the loss, though it may prove useful as an example and for the sake of military discipline. Meanwhile they hold frequent consultations upon the best way to put right an enterprise, which failed so thoroughly that it cannot be renewed except at great expense and with uncertainty as to the issue. Further, the troops who went only received pay for a month, being promised for the rest a share of the booty to be captured in the Indies. Now these hopes have vanished the soldiers demand their pay and clamour for something on account.
A strange report has come that the Spaniards, throughout the dominions of the Catholic, have sequestrated the goods of the English and have arrested their ships and goods in all their ports. This was bitter news for the Protector, and I cannot yet say definitely what steps they will take in the matter.
By this half measure the Spaniards do not intend a formal rupture, but rather to negotiate an adjustment, as they did with the Genoese, as they have at the same time issued orders to the commanders of their relief fleet for the Indies not to be the first to attack the English, but to stand solely on the defensive, and in every case to repulse attack with energy. But it is true that there is a very great difference between the English and the Genoese and that remedies are not always successful when applied to different constitutions.
If the English take offence and unite with the French the combination would be strong enough to give a formidable shock to the Spanish monarchy. But while Cromwell loves himself and his own interests above those of others, he certainly is no enemy of the Spaniards, and the only consideration which induced him to attack the Indies was to have the money to support so large a force of troops without having recourse to taxation which renders the people discontented and bitter.
A short time will show what they mean to do. If they lean to an open rupture with Spain, they will employ all their forces, and leave very scant hope of the assistance your Excellencies desire. But if they settle with the Spaniards, since the government cannot leave such large forces without food or employment, they might be persuaded to attack the state of the Turks, especially as experience has shown them that expeditions against the Indies are practically impossible on account of the distance, since reliefs cannot arrive until after the event and diminished by one half, while it is most difficult to dislodge the Spaniards, who are acclimatised after so many years, whose states are nearer, whose succour is more at hand and whose force is more vigorous.
London, the 1st October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
157. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
General Blach remains at the Rocca di Cascaes, sending in six ships at a time to be repaired. The energy he shows about getting supplies of food is a strong indication of his intention to persevere in the enterprise. There is a rumour that reinforced by Portuguese craft he is going to attack the Spanish fleet.
General Contreras remains stationary at the Capes, and the abundance of refreshment joined with inaction leads to sickness rather than relief. The customs of Cadiz suffer severely from the loss of trade and the mart of Seville is extremely short of ready money and of business.
Madrid, the 2nd October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zurigo.
Venetian
Archives.
158. Antonio De Negri, Venetian Resident at Zurich, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassadors of the four Protestant Cantons have returned from Savoy where they have made a settlement with the help of the French ambassador Servient. The ambassadors extraordinary of Holland and England did not arrive in time for the negotiations or the conclusion of the matter, much to their disgust. They have been informed of all that has taken place by the Ambassador of Schaffhausen, (fn. 2) who went to Geneva on purpose for this, the town where they are staying. Immediately the English ambassador received the information he set out for London to advise the Protector of everything. The Dutch ambassador is still advocating a diet of the Evangelical Cantons.
Zurich, the 2nd October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
159. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Protector of England wrote letters to the States of Holland in favour of the English merchants, so that some place might be set apart for them in the Provinces where they might set up their company for trade. This has at length been accorded in a courteous reply, a matter that will redound to the reciprocal welfare and common utility of both nations.
Moret, the 4th October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
160. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I wrote of the Protector s intention to enquire into the failure in the Indies and to punish the leaders for their ill behaviour or lack of courage. After consulting the Council he has had the two generals, Pen and Venables arrested, with the intention of making a thorough enquiry. Their case is rendered worse by their own discordant and contradictory statements. Pen, believing that his colleague had perished in the fight, gave his version of the affair almost before he had cast anchor, throwing the blame for all the disorder on the ill considered conduct of his colleague. Venables, who was thought dead, arrived a few days later, and learning from his relations of the other's report to his disadvantage, gave his own account and tried to turn back the charges against Pen. So it comes that both of them are in custody and called upon to clear themselves.
As these two men are among the most deserving, have supported the side of the Protector with great courage and loyalty, and have done their duty thoroughly in the late wars, they feel the blow acutely, and complain of the severity shown them, because of the necessity they were in to abandon an island lacking the necessaries for the support of life. It is easy to fight when glory and fame are in question, but when famine and disease come armies decline and it was these which in large measure destroyed the English forces in the Indies. They contend that in any case the island of Jamaica has at present a force of 5,000 men with 20 ships, and these will hold the place with the support of the relief of 12 large ships which were sent out there recently. The wisest and most experienced believe that the force left behind, under pressure of difficulties and privations will have embarked by now on its way back to London.
Meanwhile Cromwell hesitates what course he shall pursue towards the imprisoned commanders. To satisfy the people and to discharge on their heads the criticism and discredit of the enterprise, he would like to have them severely punished; but he does not feel sure that he can safely take this course for fear of irritating the army, and so render hostile his chief defence and support. It is publicly stated that the ill success of the enterprise was due more to the decision to attempt it, in spite of the distance, than to irregularities in carrying it out. Meanwhile they declare themselves more determined than ever to prosecute the attempt and to overcome the frown of Fortune by force.
London, the 8th October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
161. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish ambassador here is making his preparations to be ready to leave when he receives the order of his king or an intimation from the English government. But although a great deal is said about their preparations here, and although everyone at Court says that the Spaniards will repent of the sequestration of the goods of English merchants in their states, yet no considerable results are apparent as yet. Yet they have appointed General Monch commander of the Indies expedition, in place of the arrested commanders, and selected troops to embark in the fleet, which they pretend will sail soon.
All the merchants whose goods have been seized have met and decided to inform his Highness of the circumstance and appeal for his protection, and he has assured them of strong and effective help. They contemplated the arrest of the goods of Spanish merchants, but this is in suspense as they found there was nothing of value belonging to them, chiefly because the whole of the trade with London is in the hands of the Portuguese, whose ambassador is waiting at this Court to put the finishing touches to the peace. Good relations with Portugal are of the highest consequence to England under existing circumstances as the fleets for the Indies can receive supplies thence and use the ports of that king, without which it would be much more inconvenient to pursue the enterprise. Indeed it is believed that Blach is at present off the coasts of Portugal to make good the dilapidations in his fleet caused by the prolonged rough weather. As they are always sending out to him some ship with fresh provisions or war stores, it is believed that the fleet, with the strong reinforcements sent to him against the Spaniards, is to proceed at once and approach the ports of Spain without peril. The merchants are all opposed to proceeding to a rupture with the Catholic, as they carry on a very rich trade with his states. There is a report, possibly spread by the Spaniards, that if it really comes to a breach they will have the king of Scotland with their forces and will show themselves as formidable as enemies as they have hitherto been complacent friends of the present government.
In my next I hope to inform your Serenity of my public entry into this city and of my first audience. After this I shall sound their disposition here to help our state. As I have intimated, this will become seriously prejudiced if they are involved with Spain, besides the rooted objection of all the merchants of this great city to a rupture with the Turk, which will always constitute the greatest obstacle. I propose to meet this objection by pointing out that a fleet of ships in favour of Christendom might sail under the flag of the state without irritating the Turk and leading him to proceed to the sequestration against their nation, which they fear. I shall conduct myself according to the opposition I encounter and by the existing state of affairs.
London, the 8th October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
162. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
All the meditations of the Council of State are devoted to repairing the disasters in Flanders and to find out some means of securing a safe passage for the fleet against the machinations of the English. As regards the latter, the season favours the Council. Also the great body of this opulent and formidable clergy offers his Majesty 70 well armed vessels but on condition that he allows them to control the collection of the money, in conformity with the bulls issued. The Crucciata makes a similar offer of 30 galleons. In reply the king refuses to bargain with his subjects.
General Blach continues the careening of his fleet in the waters of Cascaris. At Malaga they have imprisoned the few English who happened to be there, on a pretence of civil debts. In all the ports of Lower Andalusia the price of oil, wine and other fruits of the earth is diminished by a half, as the peasants have not received the usual pledges given in advance, since the English have carried off everything to the North in their ships.
Madrid, the 9th October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zurigo.
Venetian
Archives.
163. Antonio di Negri, Venetian Resident at Zurich, to the Doge and Senate.
All the Evangelical Cantons and their colleagues are now holding congress at Payerna in the Bernese to hear the proposals of the ministers of England and Holland. It is said that these aim at establishing on a surer foundation the peace of the Piedmontese Protestants, although it seems likely that there may be some other consideration.
Zurich, the 9th October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
164. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I made ready in a few days for my public entry, and managed that the reception should be in accordance with the dignity of the state and no different from that accorded to the ambassador extraordinary of Spain and the one from Sweden. Fleming came to Greenwich to fetch me, with ten feluccas of the state. He told me that on hearing I was coming he had sent his congratulations and that my reception should leave nothing to be desired in regard for your Serenity and the Senate. He came accompanied by thirty gentlemen, for whom, according to custom, I prepared a sumptuous collation of sweetmeats. I then embarked in the feluccas and proceeded to the Tower. Landing there I found five superb coaches of his Highness, with 50 others of other gentlemen, and two leading members of the Council of State, who came to meet me on the river bank, pay their respects and conduct me in his Highness's coach. Accompanied by these councillors and all the suite I was taken to the house provided and sumptuously entertained. Every day of the three, which end to-morrow, his Highness has sent two councillors of state, by turns, to entertain me at dinner, and always from among the most distinguished. The two to-day were the lord keeper and the commissary general, who showed me the utmost regard, to express the esteem of his Highness for your Serenity. (fn. 3) I have done my part in expressing the regard of the state for his Highness, and I will do so profusely in my first public audience to-morrow.
The most illustrious Luigi Grimani, Paolo Giustiniani, Domenico Morosini, Girolamo Gradenigo and Count Annibale Gambara, very richly attired and with liveries to match, have shown their generosity and zeal for the state's service. I also have considered the public dignity without regard for expense. The secretary Giavarina also has shown his devotion by taking up the new duties of secretary, notwithstanding the expenses incurred in France, and fulfils all the duties of coadjutor to my entire satisfaction.
Before I left France the king was pleased to honour me with a gold chain and his portrait set in diamonds. The queen and Cardinal Mazzarini although away from Paris at the time, and preoccupied with the siege of Condé, were good enough to ask me to name some one to receive two small keepsakes, which the goldsmiths had not yet finished, consisting of a small dial from the Cardinal and her portrait from the queen. I ask the state to allow me these, in compensation for the expenses I have to incur.
London, the 15th October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 15.
Senate,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
165. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
If I might judge by appearances I might hope for some success, from the courtesy shown me by this government. I have been lodge and defrayed for three days, as is done with all the ambassadors extraordinary of crowned heads. Moreover I have been told to-day that my audience will not take place before next Tuesday, so that I shall be entertained and defrayed for eight whole days, a thing not previously known, not even with the Spanish ambassador.
If they give up the enterprise of the Indies, for which there are numerous reasons, as one involving great difficulties, it will not be impossible to direct their forces against the Turk, since the Protector would like to repair his losses and re-establish the prestige of his arms which is tarnished by the late mishap. I will leave nothing undone to serve the state.
If the Spaniards make an effort while the commanders are away, and while the English forces now in the Indies are weak, they might drive them out altogether, and banish all their hopes of conquest in those parts, especially as the voyage is long, the cost immense and conquest difficult.
Meanwhile the negotiations with the French proceed favourably. The ambassador Bordeos does not miss the opportunity of the present embroilment with Spain, but presses on to a conclusion, and after various conferences it is believed that the adjustment will be signed in two days. This is a good stroke for France as it relieves them of fears from England; they can disarm their coasts and reduce the garrisons of the sea towns, employing their troops where the need is pressing, or for designs and attacks on Spain.
It is asserted that some treaty with Sweden also is on the carpet, but I have not yet been able to discover everything about it. I do not believe that any government on earth conducts its affairs with greater secrecy than this one, so much so that their decisions may be better judged by their acts and provisions than by what is learned from the statements of others. Some suspect the negotiation of a secret alliance between France, Sweden and England to the prejudice of the House of Austria. If this proves true it will come out little by little. When I have liberty to go abroad I shall be in a better position to make enquiry and discover their more secret designs.
London, the 15th October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives,
166. To the Ambassador in England.
Satisfaction in the certainty of receiving great advantage from his ability and application and also at the decorous form of his welcome. Paulucci writes of something being said by the ministers about succouring the republic. Sagredo will try to cultivate the idea. It has been decided to pay 600 ducats to Pauluzzi as he will have heard, and the money has already been paid to Pauluzzi's agents.
Ayes, 66. Noes, 3. Neutral, 23.
[Italian.]
Oct. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
167. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Some ships of General Blach have been sighted at the island of Barlenga off Portugal. Some say that they are on the watch for fresh reliefs, others that they en route to return to London, General Pen having already got back to England, although the Spaniards have not the smallest information of what has happened at Jamaica. An English ship from Terra Nova in America, laden with dressed hides and other merchandise, came into San Lucar. The ship was seized and the captain and all the sailors sent to prison.
General Contreras maintains himself at his customary station without profit and without opposition, his greatest enemy being the scarcity of food stuffs.
Madrid, the 16th October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zurigo.
Venetian
Archives
168. Antonio Di Negri, Venetian Resident at Zurich, to the Doge and Senate.
The Evangelical ambassadors are still at Payerna to hear the proposals of those of England and Holland. There is talk of an alliance between these three nations, for all emergencies. The king of England is at Frankfort with the Princess of Orange and the duke of Gloucester, his sister and brother, the princes of Saxony and Rupert of the Palatinate, waiting for the arrival of the queen of Sweden, to pay her their respects on her journey to Italy.
Zurich, the 16th October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives
169. Andrea Rosso, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
The English merchants here who have previously had business with the Court have received an intimation to present their discharges by virtue of which they have obtained money from the royal chamber. From this it is argued that they are beginning to look for pretexts for breaking the friendship with that nation, in conformity with what we hear has taken place in Spain, although it is announced by some that Cromwell has gone mad and by others that he is dead.
Naples, the 19th October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
170. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate. (fn. 4)
I have reported my courteous reception. On the fourth day from my public entry my audience was postponed for three days because his Highness had an attack of colic. The Master of the Ceremonies sent to express his regret at this brief delay, and to assure me that although his Highness had been obliged to take to his bed he would have got up on purpose if I had considered it necessary. I thanked him for the courtesy, but said his health was too important to expose it to the slightest risk. I would wait till he was better and would in no wise regret a delay spent in the restoration of his health.
Three days after he sent his coaches to my house, with two councillors of state, who brought me to Viteal, the former royal palace. In the great king's hall, hung with rich arras and full of people, he rose and advanced two short steps, making me cover. I then spoke to the following effect:
The republic of Venice had shown her esteem for his Highness through the Secretary Pauluzzi, and her desire to continue her ancient friendship with this state. To express this more perfectly I was sent as ambassador extraordinary, to assure his Highness of her content at his elevation, and her desire to confirm and increase friendly relations, which she was ready to prove by deeds.
In reply his Highness expressed his satisfaction at the courteous offices performed by Paulucci in the name of your Serenity and his special obligation to the Senate for my mission. He had always esteemed the republic highly and desired to express his friendship by deeds. He would treat me on a par with the ambassadors of the greatest crowned heads, and would be particularly glad to hear me about strengthening cordial relations. He proceeded to make further courteous remarks.
After I had introduced all the gentlemen, whom his Highness received very graciously, I took leave, when he advanced two short steps to me, hat in hand. I afterwards returned to my quarters in his coaches, always attended by the two councillors. I found him somewhat pulled in appearance with signs that his health is not stable and perfect. I noticed that as he stood uncovered the hand holding his hat trembled. For the rest he is 56 years of age, with a very scanty beard, of sanguine complexion, medium stature, robust, of martial presence. He has a deep and profound expression, wears a large sword at his side, is both soldier and orator and is skilled in both persuasion and action.
London, the 22nd October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
171. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
One who is not only intimate with this government but has a share in it told me that if I had arrived at this Court before the expedition went to the Indies and they were committed against the Spaniards, my negotiations would have resulted favourably. Fleming said the same adding that he had told Paulucci so several times and declared that when an expedition was decided they hesitated a long time whether it should go against the Turk or to make conquests in the Indies. As a fact I believe that matters with the Spaniards are proceeding steadily towards a formal and declared rupture as instructions have reached the Spanish ambassador here to leave this Court and withdraw to Flanders. Before doing so he tried to have audience to take leave, but this has been postponed under various pretexts until to-day. He sent to inform me of his orders to go, and to express his wish to see me before leaving, and snatch a moment from his numerous occupations in the short time left. If audience was delayed longer he would ask for a passport, and even leave without, as he was determined not to transgress his orders in a single point. He was the most experienced in this government, having stayed in this kingdom 18 years on end. He was here at the death of the late king and transmitted to Spain all the richest furnishings of his Majesty, which were sold at the time by the irritated parliament at an extremely low price (a vilissimo prezzo.)
For three days the government have held long and serious debates on this emergency. They consider the ambassador's step an open hostility and a declaration of war. The point is very essential and most embarrassing since on the one hand English honour is committed to the enterprise of the Indies, while on the other the hopes of great conquests diminish while the difficulties of this long, slow, uncomfortable and costly design increase. But if the Spaniards make good use of the present opportunity, when the English force in the Indies is without commanders and the troops weakened by their sufferings, they can drive the English out of Jamaica. They consider this easy here, and it is supposed that owing to their sufferings and lack of food the English left there may be dispersed or on their way home, without any impulse from the Spaniards. In that case the war will be ended and they will try, after the failure of their stroke, to resume the ancient correspondence with the Spaniards. That would be advantageous for your Excellencies also, as this diversion will divert their good intentions, even if they are sincerely minded to injure the Turk.
I can assure your Serenity that this accident keeps the government here on tenterhooks, since the Protector counted upon the good fortune which has attended all his past enterprises, and that this affair of the Indies would proceed successfully, and further that the Spaniards would dissemble and allow the war to continue in those parts, without interrupting the peace in the other dominions of his Catholic Majesty. But now the ambassador is going and there is a rumour of the king of England being summoned to Flanders and supplied with money to forward his cause while granting their ports to all nations to make reprisals on the English, and so forth, they wish themselves well rid of this enterprise.

It is stated that Blach, who was thought to be off Portugal on the watch for the Spanish fleet, has suddenly come to anchor in this port. (fn. 5) He maintains that he has been driven to this by lack of supplies, being reduced to extremity after remaining at sea for 14 months on end. What is of more consequence, he still remains on board, not trusting himself on shore, while asking for money, and fearing that he may be placed under arrest as the Commanders Pen and Venables were recently.
The pay of Blach's fleet, the repair and refitting of the ships, the equipment of another armament for the Indies and for defence against the Spaniards, who seem much incensed, requires a very considerable sum of money. When this was asked of the body of this city it met with an absolute refusal. The miscarriage of the foreign expedition, joined with internal disaffection, which increases daily, will either render necessary an accommodation with the Spaniards, or open war will oblige them to raise the money by force and violence, giving rise to disturbances and internal disorders.
A person of great capacity, who understands the present government, told me that if the English now in the Indies are forced to dislodge by the Spanish arms, they will abandon the enterprise, and I may be asked to say a word in favour of peace and an adjustment with Spain. In that case and if their forces here remain without employment, it might be more easy to say something on behalf of your Serenity. Consequently I shall await instructions whether I should mix myself in such an accommodation, and say something to Spain in favour of a reconciliation.

London, the 22nd October, 1655.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
172. To the Ambassador in England.
With respect to the appeal for payment of Captain Galilee we have decided to pay 300 ducats to his agents and the remainder in instalments. This serves to demonstrate our ready disposition to gratify the Protector in reasonable demands.
That 3000 ducats be given to the Depositario in the Mint to be placed in deposit for the lawful agents of Captain Thomas Galilee of the ship Soccorso, in respect of what is due to him for service in the fleet.
Ayes, 95. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Oct. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zurigo.
Venetian
Archives.
173. Antonio di Negri, Venetian Resident at Zurich, to the Doge and Senate.
The deputies of the government here have returned from the congress of Payerna. So far it is not known what has happened with the ministers of Holland and England although it is said that those ministers are not too well pleased with what has been arranged in Piedmont for the people of the Valais of their religion, asserting that it is too prejudicial.
Zurich, the 23rd October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
174. Andrea Rosso, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
Since the arrival of the courier from Genoa with despatches from Spain they have caused a diligent perquisition to be made by the criminal justices in the houses of the English merchants here, taking away from them all their papers and sequestrating all their goods. But as these have been expecting the blow for some time they have only found some 30,000 ducats worth of cloth which arrived recently and was stored in the custom house and in the Lazaretti.
Naples, the 26th October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 28.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
175. The Ambassador of his Catholic Majesty came into the Collegio and spoke to the following effect:
The friendly demonstrations of my master to the Protector of England, Cromwell, are known to all, so that I need not enlarge upon them to your Serenity. But in token of the confidential relations which my master desires with the most serene republic I think it proper to inform you how ill the Protector has responded to this friendliness and the steps which his Majesty has felt obliged to take. Every one knows the orders issued by his Majesty for every favour and assistance to be given to the fleets of Admirals Blach and Pen in all his ports on the Ocean and in the Mediterranean, and these have been carried out beyond the agreements, as instead of receiving 8 or 10 armed ships, as agreed, 20, 30, and up to 40 were admitted. They were allowed to careen where they wished and the food and all other necessaries that Admiral Blach asked for were supplied, especially at Cadiz. England's return for these favours was that Pen introduced himself into the chief port of Hispaniola with 36 armed ships, landed troops and tried to make conquests, but was repulsed by the valour of the defenders with no slight loss, including ships, and was obliged to make a hasty departure, and abandon the enterprise with exceptional disgrace. He went on to another island near by, of slight consequence because it lacked fortresses and other things required to make it valuable.
Not satisfied with this the English government had also issued orders and made every arrangement so that Blach, who was in Cadiz, should meet the fleet of the Indies and do it all the harm he could. When his Majesty heard of this he considered it due to his service and dignity to issue orders for the prompt arming of 25 to 30 very powerful ships, so that with the assistance of smaller craft, all fully equipped, they might resist this audacious and lawless enterprise. So when the fleets met Blach was obliged to abandon his purpose and withdraw to Lisbon.
To repel these acts of hostility, so contrary to what is right and all good relations, my king subsequently decreed that all the goods of Englishmen throughout his dominions should be sequestrated and that the English should be treated everywhere as open enemies. He also issued instructions to his ministers to inform the foreign powers, in the assurance that all would approve his measures. I am sure that the most serene republic will share these sentiments.
The doge expressed their obligation for the communication and their satisfaction that the attempts made against his Majesty had proved unsuccessful, feeling sure that such a result was to the general interest in the present state of affairs.
The ambassador resumed, With all his love of peace my king could not act differently because of his honour and dignity, after such provocation. It did not become his greatness and dignity to follow the example of the Most Christian king, who, in spite of the injuries inflicted on him by England by detaining French ships and by Cromwell deluding him with the prolonged negotiations, still continues his intercourse with them and tries to establish a solid alliance.
After insisting again on the propriety of the action taken by his king and the usual courtesies, the ambassador went out without entering upon other matters.
[Italian.]
Oct. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
176. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish ambassador presses constantly for an audience of leave, in accordance with his instructions. The government on its side persists in postponing it, and, for the same reason, giving audience to the other ambassadors, using the plea of sickness, on which account his Highness abstains from affairs and from all transactions with the other foreign ministers. Perceiving the uselessness of all his instances the ambassador has written a note to the Protector, saying that he assumes that the difficulty in granting him audience arises from his indisposition or other more pressing affairs of state, and asks him to take his goodwill for the deed and grant him promptly a passport to withdraw to Flanders and obey his very definite instructions. No reply has been given even to this, and so the ambassador is hesitating what he shall do, since he cannot obtain the passport and if he goes without he will be stopped by virtue of a recent order whereby no one can leave London without a note signed by the secretary of state.
The secret of this affair is that the merchants are grumbling at the sequestration of their goods and the interruption of trade while they do not know how matters stand in the Indies, and they want to gain time for an adjustment or a breach with Spain, according to the fate, favourable or otherwise, of the English left behind in those parts, whether it is promising or altogether hopeless. In the interval the ambassador has dismantled his house, packed his furniture, suspended his chapel and the masses and shows his irrevocable determination to go.
Meanwhile over 20 religious who have enjoyed a refuge in his house for a long time past, have come with tears in their eyes to ask my protection, and an asylum at my quarters, so that they may escape the martyrdom and severe punishment to which they would be exposed without such shelter and inclusion in the ambassador's household. I took pity on their state and granted them a large apartment in my house. For these poor Catholics, who have thus in great part fallen into my hands, I afford all the consolation I can, having six masses said every working day and ten on festivals. Such crowds attend that the ample space of the chapel no longer suffices, or the number of masses, for though the present government deprives the Catholics of their goods it allows them to hear as many masses as they wish. Yet with it all they are the best Catholics in the world, as they stand fast to the chapel and to the testing, and while they gladly yield the treasures of earth for those of heaven, they live in voluntary poverty to keep their faith green, amid all the anguish and misery that surround them. It is incredible how the blood of a priest recently martyred (fn. 6) has fertilised the soil of the Church and brought back a great number of heretics to the Catholic faith, so that it seems they have decided to expel from this island for the future the priests or friars, who would be dashed in pieces rather than yield in their constancy under punishment or the firmness with which they suffer the severity of the laws.
Those who profess to penetrate to the marrow of state affairs believe that the Spanish ambassador, while making a great show of leaving, is doing everything under hand to induce the merchants to complain and in other ways to get himself detained, so as to open the way to negotiations and peace. Meanwhile, to give reputation to their own affairs, they announce the equipment of a great fleet, order the repair of the old ships and bespeak the building of new ones, and say they will do great things. Possibly they will if money does not give out; that is the root of war and without it all military preparations languish and wither.
London, the 29th October, 1655.
[Italian: the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
177. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish ambassador asked me to call, when he showed me every courtesy, congratulated me on my arrival and took leave of accordance with his orders. He told me that I had come to a sea in which a knowledge of the compass and experience of navigation were insufficient for avoiding the rocks. The favours showered by his Majesty on this nation and particularly on the present government had met with patent ingratitude. The Protector had once asked him to write to his king to allow the English to navigate in the Indies and to remove the severity of the Inquisition from the Catholic dominions. He replied that his king had two eyes, and to prefer such claims was to put them both out simultaneously. At the very moment when the English fleet was weighing for the Indies he was assured that it would not go to do any harm to the dominions of the Catholic, and at the same time that Blach was receiving supplies and entertainment at Naples and in Sicily, Pen was sailing to attack the islands subject to his Majesty. They had wisely decided in Spain not to continue so damaging a friendship. They could not expect worse from enemies, when friends laid in wait for their fleets and attacked their dominions. This government, with its insecure foundations, with disaffection at home and open war abroad, might find itself in difficulties and repent of having given cause for the rupture. The Protector, having successfully reduced the royal party and subdued his own country with his victories, conceived such vast ideas that he believed he could make himself master of the world and that there was no obstacle strong enough to thwart his designs or resist the power of his forces, and so forth.
I expressed regret at losing the opportunity of serving him. I could not help wishing that the divisions of Christendom would cease and that her efforts were directed to recovering the numerous provinces which groan under the Turkish yoke, who stand open armed, waiting for the opportunity to throw it off and unfetter their feet.
The ambassador extraordinary of Sweden also came to this house to pay his respects and inform me of the considerable conquests and victories won by his king against the Pole. I expressed satisfaction in your Serenity's name and desired him even greater glory. The correspondence between Sweden and England will grow closer in proportion as they break with Spain. At one in religion and interest they will want to counterpoise the House of Austria. They undoubtedly cherish lofty ideas and if things go on as prosperously as they have begun, their forces will very soon be back again in the empire and there will be a new war of religion.
The French and Dutch ambassadors also paid me the same honour. The latter said that a fleet of Dutch ships had been sent to bridle the corsairs and humble their temerity. It would be a good thing for all the powers to do the same, because it would then be possible to assemble a great united fleet against the Turk. I replied with equal courtesy, commending the generous resolution of their High Mightinesses. I enlarged on the consequences of the Turkish war and the interest of all Christendom therein. I suggested to the Swede that to crown the glories of his king and to render his name and fame immortal by a great and generous enterprise, he need only seize this splendid opportunity, after his numerous victories, to carry the war into the heart of Turkey, which is so enfeebled by the long war that to invade will mean to conquer it.
Signori Luigi Grimani, Polo Giustinian, Domenico Morosini and Girolamo Gradenigo, after a lengthy tour and visiting various countries and seeing different customs, completing their experience, have set out for Venice. They have impressed the French Court and the English also most favourably by their abilities and modesty, making them as highly considered in foreign countries as they are in their own, by their birth.
London, the 29th October, 1655.
[Italian.]
Oct. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
178. To the Ambassador extraordinary in London.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 8th ult. He is to encourage the idea of getting a squadron of English ships to go against the Turks and to elude the practices and the opposition from the merchants interested in the Levant trade.
Ayes, 117. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Oct. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zurigo.
Venetian
Archives.
179. Antonio di Negri, Venetian Resident at Zurich, to the Doge and Senate.
The congress of Payerna being ended the ambassadors of Holland and England, after the necessary support to the Evangelicals by their interposition in the late disturbances between the two nations, have made certain proposals for the establishment of peace upon a more stable and durable foundation for the Protestants of the valleys of Piedmont, so that they may not suffer molestation in the future. But no remedy can be found except at the Court of France, whose ministers have had the chief direction in this affair.
Zurich, the 30th October, 1655.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655, pages 327–8,
2 i.e. John Jacob Stockar. The settlement was made at Pinerolo on 18 August. Morland: Hist. of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of Piedmont, page 665.
3 Sir Gilbert Pickering and Walter Strickland were the Councillors. The house was that of Sir Abraham Williams in Palace Yard. The two for Friday, 5–15 October, were Nathaniel Fiennes, Comissioner of the Great Seal, and Lambert. He probably refers to Lord President Lawrence and John Lisle, Commissioner of the Great Seal, who were to dine with him on Thursday. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655, page 363.
4 The full Italian text of this despatch printed by Barozzi e Berchet: Relazioni. Inghilterra, pages 369–71.
5 Blake anchored in the Downs on 4–14 October, and reached Deptford on 10–20 October. Weale's Journal. Brit. Mus. Sloane MSS. 1431,
6 Presumably John Southworth, who suffered on 9 July, 1654. See the preceding Vol. of this Calendar, page 233.