Venice
February 1656

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1930

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171-183

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'Venice: February 1656', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 30: 1655-1656 (1930), pp. 171-183. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89816 Date accessed: 31 July 2014.


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February 1656

Feb. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
236. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Sieur de Bordeos stays on in this city and has secret and frequent conferences with the Cardinal, without it being possible so far to find out what he is to take back, on his return to London, about the ratification of the alliance between France and England. I find that by the articles of the peace which are not made public, his Majesty is obliged to pay Cromwell 200,000 crowns for moneys which the Sieur de Sesy, his Majesty's ambassador at Constantinople, had from the English nation. He further promises to pay 500,000 crowns a year until they have fully paid up 14 millions of lire which past kings of England claimed from France. Thus they have desired here to satisfy the Protector in everything, and however disadvantageous the terms and however dear the price they have made up their minds to establish and purchase the adjustment all the same. Yet in spite of this considerable doubt is felt at this Court that the Spaniards may be covertly intriguing to make peace with Cromwell, and a leading minister asked me if Sagredo was staying in London for any such business. I told him certainly not, it was only to recognise the new government as almost all the powers of Europe had done, and I thought that he was leaving soon.
Paris, the 1st February, 1656.
[Italian.]
Feb. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
237. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The first fleet composed of most powerful ships is ready to leave this port and will do so in about 20 days. There will be 40 picked ships, each furnished with 60 pieces of artillery, with a proportionate number of soldiers and sailors. To perfect their complement of troops they have picked 20 of the best soldiers of each company, and it is considered that this is the most complete and flourishing squadron that has ever sailed from these ports.
Although the peace between England and Portugal was signed by the ambassador extraordinary, who came to this Court to promote the treaty, yet the king, his master, considering it derogatory to his dignity, has not as yet cared to ratify it. The English say that he wishes to profit from their rupture with the Spaniards, and they have protested to his resident that when their squadron approaches Lisbon, if it misses the Spanish fleet, it will indemnify itself for the disappointment by taking the Portuguese which usually has abundant supplies of sugar and other more precious drugs. In consequence of this the English commander will have orders, if Portugal does not consign the ratification of the peace to him, to deal with all Portuguese craft he meets as enemies. They desire thus, by fear, to constrain him to good relations with England, since for designs upon the Indies it is very convenient for the fleets to be able to cast anchor in the ports of Portugal.
I have been told that when it was suggested from this quarter that some attack upon the Spanish states in Italy should be made in concert with the French, two reasons prevented the Cardinal from taking it up. First that such a union against Italy would have alarmed the pope and forced him to cling to the Spaniards, and to make frantic efforts to bring to nought any impression of the English arms on our province. Second to avoid irritating the Italian peoples, who from fear that the English invasion might bring with it the infection of heresy, would have come out to meet the danger with extraordinary zeal and fervour.
Some time since we heard of the rupture between the Helvetian Cantons on the score of religion. This is a small fire, but if it is not put out at the start it will lead to a conflagration threatening the most serious consequences. The Protestants want to help their side with more zeal than the Catholics can show for theirs. If the duke of Savoy's ill usage of a few of his rebellious subjects interested the whole Protestant confession and forced him to dole out money and to send ambassadors to bring about an honourable peace for them, your prudence will understand that this second movement of arms in Italy on the score of religion will be a stone of greater scandal, and that those of Protestant beliefs will use all their strength to prevent their side from defeat. Cromwell, who styles himself Protector of the Protestant religion, will not leave it in the lurch, especially as a perfect correspondence exists with the Swiss. I feel sure that the Protestants would not have undertaken this war if they had not previously taken careful stock of all their forces, after secretly obtaining the views and learning what assistance they might count upon from their party. This upset also is unfavourable to the interests of your Serenity, since the greater the movement of arms and of suspicion in that province, the less succour and interest will be left for the East, especially as one may say that the armaments of the Swiss, and those of the Spaniards and French will light a fire in every corner of Italy.
Some beginning of insurrection in Scotland has been suppressed by the arrest of the Earl of Glancarne, imprisoned in Edinburgh castle. (fn. 1) There is no doubt that so long as the English army remains subject and obedient to the commands of this state every insurrection or rebellion will be suppressed by the overwhelming power of arms.
London, the 4th February, 1656.
[Italian.]
Feb. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
238. To the Resident in England.
We suppose that the Ambassador Sagredo will be gone. We are confident that you will fulfil expectations. You will take the utmost pains to find out definitely whether the fleet which is designated for the Strait will have commissions to join with the French for some enterprise in this province. Similarly on the return of Bordeos you will keep an attentive ear to find out cautiously what commissions he holds from Mazarini in connection with this same affair. We regret that accident that has befallen Sig. Gambara. You will endeavour to obtain compensation, but without committing yourself as it appears that the laws place difficulties in the way of foreigners getting an advantage.
Ayes, 132. Noes, 1. Neutral, 6.
[Italian.]
Feb. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
239. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
One day recently with the pope a leading minister brought up the question of the league which is being woven, and which they believe here to be quite perfected, between England, Portugal and France, while some talk of the tacit adherence of Holland as well, all against Spain and consequently to the prejudice of religion, particularly from the union of Portugal with the heretics. He intimated to the pope that he saw no other remedy for preventing Portugal from a union with the heretics than to welcome her to the bosom of his Holiness, admitting the ambassador and trying to reconciliate her with Spain. In that case Portugal offers to unite 50 great ships to those of Spain against England and to succour Spain with money and men; if not he protested that she must be thinking of expedients which are as necessary as they are dangerous. He stated in addition that Portugal on her side is on the point of ratifying the treaty already concluded with France.
The Spaniards give the pope to understand they they are able to prevent the union of England with Portugal; they add moreover that some negotiations are on foot between them and England to put a stop to the hostilities now threatened. They offer the English most generous terms both for trade and for other most notable advantages to England. Some say that among these is an article granting liberty for Protestant worship to the English in the ports of Spain, but the Spaniards say nothing about this to the pope although the French chant it loudly enough.
Rome, the 5th February, 1656.
[Italian.]
Feb. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zurigo.
Venetian
Archives.
240. Antonio di Negri, Venetian Resident at Zurich, to the Doge and Senate.
My lords here united with the other Protestants from the beginning of these differences have asked for help from Cromwell and the States of Holland, and now it is announced that those governments have decided to assist them with sums of money and that an instalment should arrive at an early date.
Zurich, the 6th February, 1656.
[Italian.]
Feb. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
241. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A slight catarrh which has settled on his chest has made his Highness take to his bed, with a slightly quickened pulse. Maladies sometimes appear more serious when they attack the great, and this was announced as dangerous, chiefly by those whose private interests would profit by it being so, and many prayers are offered for his Highness's recovery. Yet this slight accident gave rise to the report that the Council of State has essayed several times to choose a successor, owing to differences of opinion no one secured more than two thirds. According to the last law, which obliges them to choose one of the Council by lot, when no selection has been made after several attempts, they drew a ticket and this was shut up in an iron box, without any name being disclosed, which was not to be opened except sede vacante and when the situation required it. But I consider such reports untrustworthy, although much discussed, being circulated designedly in this way in order to find out what the people think. For the rest nothing fresh has happened in this matter.
The Spaniards, fully realising the consequences of this war have temporised so far, and have rather made things easy for the merchants, agents for the English, than shown severity. Various corsairs of Ostend and Dunkirk who have addressed themselves to the archduke to obtain letters of reprisals and permission to attack the merchantment of this nation, have not as yet succeeded in obtaining permission. Even the sequestration of the goods and property of English subjects throughout the Catholic's dominions has been carried out very mildly, and numbers of merchants have been allowed by connivance to lade their cargoes and to carry away their capital to this city. Yet the preparations on this side are vigorous and effective, and I would not venture to promise that they will act with equal courtesy, since they will undoubtedly make every effort to capture the fleet, as that has been a darling project of his Highness for a long time.
The last letters from the Indies report the safe arrival of the succour of 12 ships sent 8 months ago to those parts, and that a squadron of the fleet of 25 ships, which remain at Jamaica, has made a landing near Cartagena and taken a fort called Santa Marta, which offered a feeble resistance. They took the commander prisoner, carried away the guns and destroyed the fortifications. (fn. 2) This news rekindles their hopes of further progress, and inflames their courage to continue the enterprise.
As regards the new fleet, it is now fully equipped at every point as regards armament and warlike material, but suffers from a shortage of sailors, as these folk prefer to embark on merchant ships, where they gain much, rather than on war ships, where they frequently risk life itself, so they hide themselves to avoid being forced to fill up the numbers of the fleet. The government has taken energetic measures, and after pressing forcibly all the sailors found in this city they have armed some barques which board all the ships off the coast, about to enter port and take away all the sailors. They have also forbidden all trading ships to leave the ports here for twenty days to come, intending by this delay to furnish the fleet with sufficient sailors. For this reason many ships recently arrived remain at the mouth of the Thames unable to proceed to London for lack of sailors, and many others, with full cargoes, are floating at anchor in the ports for the same reason.
The Ambassador Bordeos keeps postponing his return. Those of his house say that he is detained by the disorder of his private affairs. Politicians think that the union of arms and interests in France meets with obstacles, which he is staying in order to smoothe away and surmount, and that he will be back here at the end of this or the beginning of next month.
After heavily taxing those who bore arms for the king and then disarming them it has been decided that they shall be banished from the city of London for the next three years, with permission to dwell in their country houses, but not to leave the neighbourhood. This is to render them weaker in the different counties and prevent them forming a body capable of causing trouble to the present government.
Three ships recently arrived from the East Indies with cinnamon, pepper and sugar bring word that the Dutch completely dominate those waters, keeping the Portuguese shut up in their fortresses as if their houses were their prisons. But the Dutch have nevertheless received a serious shock from a report that the king of Sweden in his Council has decreed a most heavy tax of 20 per cent. on all ships that sail the Baltic. This is a mortal blow at Dutch interests since the most considerable part of their navigation tends in that direction, and from thence they obtain the wheat and other foods for the United Provinces. Their general (fn. 3) who sailed six months ago against the Turkish corsairs, who had been very troublesome to their merchantmen, as I reported at the time, has captured and sunk a number of their ships. The corsairs, avoiding the ships of war have gathered into a body and captured three Dutch traders and there will be nothing extraordinary if they become more and more incensed, irritating each other so that some advantage may accrue to your Serenity from this hostility.
It is now four weeks since I received any ducal missives.
London, the 11th February, 1656.
[Italian.]
Feb. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
242. To the Resident in England.
Numbers of Catholics were arrested on coming out of the house of our Ambassador Sagredo, on the score of religion. We note the precise intentions of the Council there, although discountenanced by the Protector, and we realise perfectly that the matter is of the greatest importance. While upholding the privileges of the house of the minister of a Catholic prince, with all reserve and prudence, we desire you to keep constantly in mind the aim of preventing any opening for fresh incidents and in all circumstances to avoid occasions likely to prove compromising or to cause offence.
We hear on good authority that his Highness has offered forty ships to the Swedes. We should like to have particulars of this but you must obtain them with address and without attracting notice. We also desire to know if that government is taking part in the quarrels of the Swiss Protestants, and in what manner they propose to assist them. These points may render the beginning of your service very useful.
Ayes, 107. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.
Feb. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archive.
243. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Bordeos is still in Paris. I have not succeeded in discovering anything special about the secret agreements. I have been told by an individual who has good correspondence with London that the agreement turns on the following points: that for the money which the king promises to pay, as reported, Cromwell has undertaken to keep a good number of ships in the Mediterranean at the disposition of France, which will be commanded by Blach. That in addition, with another squadron, he will support his Majesty's proposed enterprise against Dunkirk and Gravelines. The Most Christian, for his part, undertakes to afford Cromwell assistance with his forces for the capture of Nieuport and Ostend, and that the Protestants in the suburbs of certain sea ports, such as Calais and similar places, may set up temples for the practice of their religion.
Paris, the 15th February, 1656.
[Italian.]
Feb. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
244. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Thanks for permission to return home. Will set out at once in spite of the severe weather. No one remembers so much snow or such intense cold as there has been in this island in the present year. Is leaving the Resident Giavarina in charge.
London, the 18th February, 1656.
[Italian.]
Feb. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
245. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate. (fn. 4)
The ducal missives of this week bring the ambassador the longed for permission to return home, after sustaining both the ordinary and extraordinary embassy with ability and éclat. He did not think it advisable to present me to his Highness in the capacity of his secretary, in order to avoid the obstacles encountered by Sig. Paulucci, whose audience and the presentation of the state letters were delayed six months for that cause. This decision was confirmed by the news which reached him through Flanders of my selection as Resident for your Excellencies at this Court. I submit my own inclination to the will of the state and will endeavour to supply my deficiencies by tireless application and zeal.
The ambassador having asked and obtained audience of his Highness was conducted thither by the palace coaches and by one of the leading councillors, the other having fallen sick just as he was starting for this function. The ambassador stated that having terminated the duties for which he had been sent he had orders to return home. Before going he was charged to assure his Highness of the perfect understanding and excellent relations which the republic desired to cherish and increase with this state. To this end the Senate had chosen me to stay on in London as Resident to go daily to confirm the regard they cherish for his Highness.
The Protector replied that his reception of the ambassador from the first had shown the regard he felt for the prince who sent him, and he had given ample proofs of his disposition throughout the ambassador's stay in this city. He could not oppose the republic's decision to recall him. Meanwhile he would welcome the Resident whenever he had anything to communicate in the name of your Excellencies. He had given orders for a ship to be furnished to convey his Excellency to any port he pleased, and he would afford him every other satisfaction. (fn. 5) His Highness then accompanied the ambassador to the door of the room, with the councillor in constant attendance, who conducted his Excellency back, to his own quarters in the coaches.
London, the 18th February, 1656.
[Italian.]
Feb. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
246. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The fleet is still floating at anchor and though they do not relax their zeal and efforts to get it away as soon as possible the quantity of supplies required for the sailors and soldiers and the munitions take up a lot of money and much time. Up to the present Blach and Montagu are destined to command it. The first is a sailor and soldier of repute. The other is an able man, a member of the Council, but not previously employed in such an affair. The one will have supreme command at sea, the other on land. Blach will have charge of all connected with the Admiralty, both for navigation and for any incident or fight at sea. Montagu will command the landing and direct the enterprises on shore.
The Protector has expended 3 million ducats on this fleet, which, for the most part, will steer towards the Strait and the shores of the Mediterranean. Twelve large ships will sail for the Indies, to support and encourage those still holding out in those parts. They are in great need of reinforcements as the latest news reports the death of the commandant there (fn. 6) and the weakness of the remaining troops, wasting under the effects of an unaccustomed climate so different from that of England.
A Spanish merchant who has lived long in London has proceeded secretly to Spain, at the instance of the merchants here to sound their disposition and try and start negotiations with the ministers of his Catholic Majesty.
The ambassador of Sweden here is holding long and secret conferences with some members of the Council. It is not yet possible to discover precisely what is the business they are transacting with such caution and reserve. They confer twice a week and devote many hours to the discussion and digestion of their plans. It is believed that they are negotiating a secret alliance, offensive and defensive. I will try hard to find out the particulars.
There is much discussion over the present Swiss troubles and divisions over religion. They maintain that the king of Sweden in Germany, the Swiss in Italy and the English and Dutch at sea must one day turn the scales in favour of Lutheranism and give the finishing stroke to the Catholic religion. It looks as if the Protector is avoiding any show of zeal and any ostentatious move in favour of the Swiss Protestants from fear of giving alarm to the crowns, forcing them to make peace and join together for the support of their threatened faith. They consider here that this is the real reason for the extraordinary mission from Cardinal Mazarin to the Cantons to inculcate calm and peace (fn. 7) from fear that the conflagration might spread so far as to force the crowns to peace owing to the outcry of the peoples and the universal condemnation.
The fifty ships equipped by the Dutch for the Baltic sea will have instructions to support the pretensions of the States General and to resist the heavy impositions which the king of Sweden intends to put upon all the trading ships of their nation; so there will be no corner of the world just now where some armed conflict is not threatened.
Merchants trading in the Levant have letters from Smyrna dated the 16 December, that the faction of Ipsir Pasha (fn. 8) has attacked Aleppo, overcoming and slaughtering the Turks defending it and carrying off the most valuable property of the foreign traders, and particularly of the English, to a considerable amount of money. The Protector remarked that if this report is confirmed there will be no lack of strength or courage for exacting vengeance.
The ambassador of Sweden, in conversing with his Excellency told him that if the most serene republic should not have arranged a treaty of peace with the Turks during the present winter she will have an opportunity of concluding a more advantageous one in the coming spring, when the king of Sweden will not forget to give a hand to the Cossacks for raiding the Turkish dominions and to kindle a conflagration in the land of others rather than in their own. The same ambassador has shown a letter written by the Sultan to his king in a less arrogant and haughty style than usual, an indication of his fear that this portentous success of the Swedish arms may one day lead to a blow at the very vitals of his dominions.
London, the 18th February, 1656.
[Italian.]
Feb. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian.
Archives.
247. The Resident in England.
To take steps to find out all particulars about the reported alliances of France and Portugal with that power, of which there is talk in more than one place, and report thereon. Forward information about the ship Concordia of which the Protector wrote. He will be able to refer to the matter and bear witness to the desire of the state to do everything to satisfy his Highness, for whom they are prepared to go all possible lengths.
Ayes, 97. Noes, 0. Neutral, 7.
[Italian.]
Feb. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
248. To the Resident in England.
Acknowledge receipt of Sagredo's letters of the 4th ult. It is necessary to make careful enquiry as to what orders the fleet may have about lending a hand to enterprises in this province. The peace between that country and the kingdom of Portugal, signed but not ratified, calls for his attentive observation so that he may send opportune advices. He will pay the most careful attention in observing what understanding that government may have with France or the Swiss Protestants. Enclose the sheet of advices.
Ayes, 85. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
Feb. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
249. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Secretary, in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although it is announced and definitely stated that the fleet will leave port in a few days, and there is no lack of energy, yet it is believed that before they weigh anchor and put to sea more than three weeks must pass as they are short of many supplies which are required to complete the munitioning. It will be the finest and stoutest fleet that has ever left these shores. It is composed of 46 most powerful vessels, all picked, and four fireships, the smallest carrying 60 pieces of ordnance and the largest up to 100 and up to 800 men each. Many are going out from this city on purpose to see it, as it is anchored only 25 miles from London, among them the ambassador of Sweden. To equip it they took sailors from all the trading ships entering or leaving England, taking 25, 30 or more from each, in proportion to the numbers on board. On this account many ships are kept idle in the ports here, unable to sail for lack of sailors, with notable loss and prejudice to the merchants concerned. They make a great clamour and manage to get their grievances to reach the ears of the Protector, pointing out the injury and disadvantage to trade of this long delay. His Highness intimates that necessity knows no law and tries to temper their bitter feelings by mild words.
Besides Blach and Montagu, who sail with the fleet as reported, Colonel Desbero is to go on board. He is a member of the Council of State remarkable for his experience and ability, and being a man of mature judgment he is sent to assist equally in arms and with advice.
These preparations are made for the Strait and the Mediterranean. But there are some who maintain that the expedition may be turned against Majorca or Minorca, and there is even suspicion of some design in Italy. It is difficult to find out owing to the secrecy of their proceedings, the more so since the instructions will be consigned to the leaders of the force sealed, to be opened at sea only with distinctions to be observed and carried out in case the Spanish fleet has passed or in case it is arriving in time to be intercepted, as their plans will be changed according to circumstances.
One of the articles of the peace lately concluded with France obliges them to dismiss the House of Stuart from that country. The delay in fulfilling this together with the return here of M. de Bordeos makes some suspect that this is due to the unwillingness of the Cardinal to carry out this article rigorously, as being, in some respects, an offence against the king's dignity and unlikely to be approved by the people.
The conferences between the commissioners and the ambassador of Sweden continue to be frequent and secret. They occasion no little jealousy in the Dutch minister but it is impossible as yet to discover any particulars beyond the universal belief in an offensive and defensive alliance. When the Swede has finished the current negotiations he is to leave. So also is the gentleman envoy from Sweden, who reached London before the ambassador. He is summoned by the king and will travel through Poland, while the secretary of the embassy (fn. 9) will remain here in the capacity of agent or some other title not yet announced.
This envoy, who is to join the king in Poland, came here to bid farewell to the ambassador who impressed upon him the glory which his sovereign would acquire and the universal applause he would win if he should decide to turn his victorious arms against the Turk's dominions. He seemed to think well of the idea and said that as appetite comes with feeding so it was with glory. He added that the accommodation with Brandenburg (fn. 10) assured him complete sovereignty in the kingdom of Poland; his correspondence with the Muscovite and the fealty and obedience rendered to him by Chilminischi, general of the Cossacks, smoothed the way and cleared the road for such designs.
When he arrived in Poland he would not forget to tell his Majesty what the ambassador had suggested; pointing out that circumstances are favourable in the present turmoil among the Turks, their council rendered feeble through the control of the ladies of the Seraglio; the tender age of the Sultan; the scant obedience of the leading Pashas; the revolt of those of Asia, and other considerations which he considers likely to forward such designs.
The Dutch ambassador came to return the ambassador's visit and to wish him a good journey. He said nothing about the title of “Excellency” or the other matters reported, although the reply of the States thereupon have reached him by now. He told them that he always adopted the same style as that used to him by his Excellency, speaking in French in the third person.
When I was presented to his Highness his excellency stated that the letters of credence for me were on the way and would be handed in by me at the first audience to the secretary of state. I am waiting to do this when they reach me.
London, the 25th February, 1656.
[Italian.]
Feb. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
250. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
According to advices this week from London Cromwell persists in his design to take a port in the Mediterranean on the shores of Italy; that this is the object of the agreement with the crown of France and that the English squadron or rather fleet, for they say it may number as many as forty vessels, will have secret instructions to attack the ports of the Spanish dominions and possibly Porto Longone. If they do not succeed in making this capture they may attack some other of no matter what prince, provided that they are able to take possession, to make themselves arbiters and masters of the trade of all the seas, and one may say of the whole world.
Vienna, the 26th February, 1655. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
251. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Protestant Cantons have written to the emperor justifying their appeal to arms. Their original fears are confirmed that those Cantons have been encouraged by France and England, because it is announced that the chancery of the count of Erlach has fallen into the hands of the Lucerners and from this they have derived enough information to show that the trouble was promoted by the French for the purpose of closing the passes from Germany into Italy.
With regard to the English they have found out here that the Cantons of Zurich and Berne have written to the Elector Palatine to inform him that they have joined themselves with their good brethren, as they call the English, and inciting that Elector to enter this league. To this end they have sent him two preachers to reconcile some dogmas of their religion.
Prince Rupert has written to Cardinal Mazarini to get him to obtain from the financiers there the payment of 12,000 crowns which he claims for a certain privateering ship which was adjudged to him. He received the answer that not only his behaviour to the duke of Modena, so great a friend of the crown of France, but his taking service with the emperor made it impossible for the Cardinal to act in his favour with any success.
L'Isola writes that he has found out on excellent authority that the objects of the union between Sweden and England are two: against the Austrians and especially to take the empire from that house; the other against the United States of Holland, to wear down their forces and to render themselves arbiters of navigation and of commerce. The Dutch are in the greatest distress about this; the Spaniards urge them to make an alliance pointing out the injuries they will have to endure if England and France establish themselves on the coasts of Flanders; but the Dutch government lacks the resolution rather than the will to take this step.
Vienna, the 26th February, 1655. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
252. Gerolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
A hateful and alarming report is current here of the incursion of English ships into the Mediterranean with menace to the coasts of the Church and Tuscany calls for the necessary attention to the sea ports, which are very ill provided. The pope, distracted by so many exigencies can only meet them with great distress of mind. The Swiss Catholics with great importunity and insisting on the obligations of the league with the Holy See ask for assistance. 30,000 crowns have been sent to them. The pope would have liked to send more but he is short of means and every little assistance sent abroad absorbs the marrow of his power. It is most distasteful to his Holiness to see that Cromwell has a hand with the Swiss heretics. He is aware of the intrigue that was devised some time ago and fears that some blow will be delivered against religion. He feels sure that little advantage will come from the efforts to bring about the conclusion of peace between the Cantons.
Rome, the 26th February, 1656.
[Italian.]
Feb. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
253. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I told the nuncio all that I wrote to your Serenity about the reasons for the long stay of M. de Bordeos at the Court. He told me that difficulties had arisen over certain payments in advance of the great sums which Cromwell claims to receive from the crown. For this purpose an agent of his was staying incognito at Paris, who returned to London a few days ago. (fn. 11) God grant that this impediment may serve to prepare the way for the resumption of negotiations for peace and to dissolve a union so prejudicial to the interests of Christendom.
Paris, the 29th February, 1656.
[Italian; deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 Reported by Monk on 25 Dec., 1655 o.s. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. iv., page 342.
2 Probably referring to Vice-Admiral Goodson's letter of the 7th November, published in the Public Intelligencer of Jan. 28 to Feb. 4. The attack on S. Marta was on 24 August. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. iv., page 159.
3 De Ruyter, whose instructions were dated 29 June, 1655. Le Clere: Hist. des Provinces Unies, Vol. ii., page 359.
4 The bulk of this despatch printed by Barozzi e Berchet: Relazioni. Inghilterra, pages 406–7.
5 Sagredo took leave on the 18th. The Drake was suggested to take him, but he did not sail until the end of March and then went by a Dutch warship to Holland. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655–6, page 509. Salvetti on 18 Feb. and 31 March. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 P, ff. 12, 30.
6 Major General Richard Fortescue.
7 The duc de La Rochefoucauld was selected to go, but the mission was put off and finally abandoned. Public Intelligencer, Feb. 11–18; March 3–10. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. iv., page 554.
8 Ipschir Pasha, the Grand Vizier, put to death on 10 May, 1655.
9 Barkman.
10 The treaty of Königsberg, of 17 January, 1656.
11 Probably Hugh Morrel, who took a letter from Cromwell to the king about payment for the ships seized. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. iv., page 524.