Venice
May 1656

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1930

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209-224

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'Venice: May 1656', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 30: 1655-1656 (1930), pp. 209-224. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89819 Date accessed: 16 September 2014.


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May 1656

May 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
301. Domenico Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English fleet is in Portugal, which is the same as saying Spain. It has put in at the port of Tetuval on the Atlantic coast, a short distance from Lisbon and not far from Algarve. Whether Braganza is the attacked or the aggressor is not yet known. The discourses of the bishop of Badajos leave opinion in doubt. But if the Portuguese are moving in accord with Cromwell Castile, nay Madrid itself, is not safe. It is only a few days from Portugal to Castile, only a few hours from Castile to Madrid. There are no obstacles in the way of defences, fortresses or rivers. The chief safety consists in the sterility of the country. They have sent this news to the king, who is at his pleasures at Ranjuez. I cannot say whether it will turn him away from his pastimes. The news has only just arrived so we have no details as yet; only that the English fleet is in Spain, formidable by its numbers and strength and that this heavy thunder cloud is to discharge itself upon these states; that the defences are vastly inferior to the need, and that here they are shaking in their shoes, although they affect not to be afraid.
Madrid, the 3rd May, 1656.
[Italian.]
May 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
302. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After ten days of fever I am sufficiently recovered to perform my duties. Immediately I rose from my bed I sent to ask the secretary of state to procure me audience of his Highness. I expect it any day and hope it will be granted at the beginning of next week.
So far there is no news of the fleet, and they await it with intense feeling, hoping to hear that it has reached the coasts of Spain in good order after a prosperous voyage. The government has been greatly rejoiced by the certainty which comes from Madrid itself, that only three galleons arrived from the Indies, and that two are missing, as they conceive the hope that these may meet the fleet and be forced to surrender. Should this happen the English will obtain a part at least of their intent, which is to injure as much as possible the states of the Catholic king and to begin by depriving him as quickly as possible of strength in his most vital and sensitive parts, namely gold.
I have confirmation that they intend to attack Cadiz. One who knows the condition of the place says they need not fear the fleet as it is well fortified and supplied with everything necessary. He is sure that things will not go as they wish and in any case the English will not succeed in taking it, as they have done before when they found it unprepared and only able to offer a feeble resistance. A landing is unlikely as it does not carry enough troops for such an enterprise. The easiest thing they might find to do would be to try and set fire to the ships in the port, and it is said they have orders to cruise about the coasts of Spain to stop Spanish ships from sailing and capture all they meet, if possible.
The Dutch Vice Admiral Ruiter, returning from the Mediterranean, recently passed near Dover with eight ships of war, escorting four merchantmen, with cargoes worth over two millions, the arrival of which will greatly relieve the marts of Amsterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg, whose merchants are concerned. When they arrived opposite the port, six great English frigates of war came out and went on board the Dutch squadron to make search and see what they were taking to Holland and if they had in company any ship belong to the Spaniards. They even wanted to make Ruiter himself go into Dover to see the governor there. The Vice Admiral replied that he was merely passing through and was only escorting Dutchmen, he carried nothing but what was for them and he had no occasion to visit the governor of Dover. The English were not completely convinced and kept drawing closer to carry out the purpose for which they had put out. Very sharp words passed between the two parties and they began to run out the guns and prepare to fight. But the English being assured that Ruiter's declaration was true and that the Dutch had no intention of doing them injury, they separated amicably, firing their guns in salute. (fn. 1)
The officers charged with enlisting soldiers in Scotland for the king of Sweden move slowly for lack of money. Many of them have come to this city to get some from the ambassador, and not succeeding they protest they will do no more as it is impossible to get soldiers without cash. The ambassador soothes them with smooth words and says he is expecting remittances, but this does not satisfy them as they are not spendable and they complain aloud.
The French ambassador does not seem to be doing anything and does not even start the levies which he is said to have orders to raise here. Colonel Goetart, (fn. 2) destined to be resident in France, as reported, set out for Paris on Monday. So far as one can learn the only object of this mission is to keep up good relations between the king there and the Protector.
Some officials of Newcastle, whence comes nearly all the coal consumed in London, met recently and prevented by force the lading of coal for this city upon 300 barques, in the port for that purpose. The reason for this daring step is their objection to paying the new duty on coal, beyond what has been customary in past years. As London might be deprived of this essential commodity in general use the Protector, for the time being has been obliged to give way and exempt them from the increased duty. (fn. 3) Accordingly they are allowing the coal to be laded, and some ships of war are being detached to protect the colliers from the Dunkirkers, who infest these coasts daily. Under this description many Zeelanders using the Spanish flag, give chase to barques sailing from this river to win booty, caring nothing about the agreements with this state, and putting their own interest and advantage before everything else.
All the officials who, up to the time of parliament, were employed to collect divers payments in the country, are now summoned to render account of what they have received, as they are suspected of having converted to their own use the greater part of what belongs to the public exchequer.
In the time of parliament that body sold various lands belonging to bishops, ecclesiastics and others. Now the Protector claims to resell all this, all in order to raise money, no matter how, as he is short of it, and is forced to spend a great deal for the maintenance of so many ships, and such large forces of troops. This decision may easily cause trouble as those who bought the land in good faith and spent their money will make an outcry at losing it all without having done any wrong, inflicting a penalty on them when they are guilty of no fault. But it is all nothing but a device to force these owners to pay cash upon this property to the Protector, and they will do so readily rather than lose altogether what is really their own.
King Charles is now at Bruges and is to proceed to Antwerp to put the finishing touches to his negotiations with Don John of Austria, who is expected there soon, as he reached Cologne on the 19th ult. The king has never treated with the archduke, who would not even see him, solely because he was nearing the end of his charge. But the proposals on both sides have been sent to Spain and a reply is expected thence.
The proximity of his Majesty causes increasing suspicion and uneasiness to the government here. From fear of intelligence with his Majesty persons have been deputed to inspect all letters coming from Flanders and take careful note of the addressees. As names may be changed and written in cipher, they are having them opened and sealed again. This causes a great delay in the distribution of letters; the courier arrived yesterday morning but the letters have not yet been delivered all being at the palace for inspection; even the letters of foreign ministers are not exempt. Thus all are affronted and incensed and stutter their lamentations.
London, the 5th May, 1656.
[Italian.]
May 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
303. To the Resident in England.
Acknowledge his letters of the 14th ult. He should return the courteous offices of Bordeos and employ every means to win his confidence.
Ayes, 139. Noes, 1. Neutral, 4.
[Italian.]
May 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
304. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The third brother of the king of England is making arrangements to leave Cologne and to go and live at Bruges, where the king also will take up his abode. The duke of York stays on at Paris, and although there is a secret agreement with England to dismiss him from the kingdom, yet they keep postponing any intimation on the subject to this prince, who is greatly beloved by his Majesty, in the hope of buying the consent of Cromwell by money.
Paris, the 9th May, 1656.
[Italian.]
May 9.
Venetian
Transcripts.
Public
Record Office.
305. Giovanni Sagredo, late Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate. (fn. 4)
On leaving London, the route through France was undesirable owing to the snow on the Alps, and that through Flanders unsafe owing to parties of Spanish cavalry scouring the country for straw, who pillage travellers. So I came by Zeeland, crossing in one of the best ships of war. Although I had never been exposed to infection I notified the sanitary authority at Augsburg of my readiness to fulfil all requirements for those coming from Zeeland. He told me they had ceased to take measures of precaution as all danger had passed. They also told me that since my baggage was packed in London, a most healthy place, all precautions were superfluous. With a clean bill of health from them I passed through Ispruch and Trento without the least hindrance as far as Primolano where I found an order from the Sanita to stop me from entering the territory of the republic until my bills of health had been reviewed. These have been taken from me at Grigno, in the archduke's jurisdiction, so I await instructions from the state, in the assurance that no further quarantine will be required seeing that even if I had touched at some suspect place in Zeeland it is 38 days since I left that province.
Grigno, the 9th May, 1656.
[Italian.]
May 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
306. Domenico Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The suspicions of a union between the Portuguese and Cromwell have finally vanished, because last Sunday the fleet weighed from the port of Tetuval, beat round Cape S. Vincent and passing the whole of the Algarve took position so close to the island of Cadiz that the men of the fortress honoured it with shots from their guns, though without any effect. It still remains in those waters. Whither it intends to go or what it means to attempt is not yet known. The duke of Medina Celi, commander in Andalusia, talks in the most valiant fashion. It seems that he desires and does not dread a landing on those shores, so that he may distinguish himself by some brave defence, for which he says he is well provided. It is none the less true that they cannot dissimulate the danger to which the Spanish ships in the bay and even in the port of Cadiz itself are exposed, because swift fireships can set fire to them with great ease. The guards show no lack of vigilance since they know full well that the perils themselves constitute the first step in making provision for what is foreseen (che il principio della provision nella prevision consiste dei pericoli stessi.) The other thousand infantry who were all ready for Italy remain here.
Madrid, the 10th May, 1656.
[Italian.]
May 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
307. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I hoped in these to report my audience, but in vain owing to the slowness with which they grant access to his Highness. This arises from the multiplicity of affairs that leaves the Court so congested that not a moment is left free for hearing foreign ministers. I make repeated requests to the secretary of state, telling him the reason for the demand and that I am only waiting for a day to be fixed which suits the Protector and when he seems less busy with more pressing affairs. The agent of Bradenburg is also waiting for audience, for which he asked long before me, all in vain, despite his importunity, as they are in no hurry here over matters from which their advantage is not evident.
They received news at the beginning of this week that the fleet had arrived safely in the channel of Lisbon and it is staying there, waiting for the Brasil fleet, to capture it, since that monarch does not seem inclined to ratify the peace with England. But this report is based on others circulated in the city and in everyone's mouth of an adjustment between the Catholic king and Portugal. If this be true it will serve as a greater inducement to the English to engage and capture all ships under Portuguese colours that they meet at sea.
The Court publishes other news of the fleet viz. that it has arrived off Cadiz and at once prepared for some action there. If this is so, a short time will bring more definite news; but all these reports may be spread to flatter and soothe the people who cry out under the numerous impositions they have to bear for the maintenance of these powerful fleets and forces, without the smallest apparent advantage, and so they announce the prospect of some in order that the people may submit more readily and obey the wishes of their ruler. It is indeed true that they have their eye on that quarter, but it will not be easy to take the place which is in a good state of defence, and because the fleet has not enough troops on board to attempt a general landing.
Another remarkable report about this fleet is circulating this week. It is stated that Genoa has promised a port in Italy to the English vessels, and the same is asserted of Florence. But this is improbable since the Genoese would be again subjected to the severity of the king of Spain, and such a rupture is not compatible with their interests and gain. Moreover to draw upon themselves a great force, so perilous and so averse to the religion professed in the whole of our province would be a great risk and would endanger not only their own states but their neighbours as well. Time will show; I prefer to err in reporting things that may not happen rather than omit those that may.
It seems that M. de Bordeos has obtained permission from his Highness to make some levy in Ireland. The Protector agreed to this solely from the desire to be rid of that race, as the most prone to sedition, the most opposed to the present government and professing the Catholic religion, so detested and persecuted by this state. Accordingly the ambassador has already begun to grant patents to colonels to enrol them.
His Excellency is expecting delegates to be appointed to decide and define all claims made by either side for injuries done at sea during the war between the two countries. I am told that he also has instructions to ask the Protector to permit the Most Christian to keep the duke of York with him. His argument is the advantage to the Protector himself, as if York leaves France he will go and join his brother in Flanders, and both will fight against his Highness, whereas if the prince remains with the Most Christian's army, he is fighting against the Spaniards, the enemies of this state, and renders good service to both France and England at the same time. But the real motive for the request is the fear of Cardinal Mazarini that the departure of York will weaken the king's army seriously, as he knows the affection for that generous prince which is cherished by all the Irish in that service and by many Frenchmen as well and he is afraid that the prince's departure will be followed by that of the troops who have given all their respect and obedience to the gentle rule and overflowing courtesy of his Highness, especially as they threaten what I have reported before.
A start should soon be made with the other levy granted to the ambassador of Sweden, in augmentation of a previous one, to be made in this kingdom. But if he doles out the money as slowly as for the Scottish one he will not get much and the harvest he hopes for will not come.
The Swedish envoy should soon be leaving for Poland. He already has his passport from the Protector and a ship of war to land him in Holland, whence he will continue his journey. He received from his Highness a large gold chain and his portrait garnished with ten large diamonds and about 30 small ones, worth 600l. sterling. (fn. 5) This is unusual as he is the first minister to receive a present under the Protector's rule. But it is in order to respond to the courtesy shown by the Swedish monarch to the Protector's gentleman now back here. (fn. 6)
The king of Scotland is still at Bruges. He was expected at Antwerp, to confer with Don John of Austria, who was expected there any day. My correspondent at Antwerp writes that my despatch of a fortnight ago is missing. I have sent to the port here to find if it was left behind through negligence and they replied that they had sent all the letters brought them. Possibly they will reach my correspondent the following week, the delay being due to carelessness here, though they do not admit it, or at Antwerp. In any case I send duplicates, and feel glad that they contain little, so if they have been detained through the curiosity of some smart fellow he will not find much to think over.
London the 12th May, 1656.
[Italian.]
May 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
308. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English envoy to this crown, who calls himself nephew on his wife's side of Cromwell, (fn. 7) has arrived at St. Denis. He has a number of gentlemen and is preparing his entry, awaiting the decision of the Court whether he is to come to Paris or go elsewhere. It is expected that after some time he will produce his credentials as ambassador, observing the same formalities as M. de Bordeos when he first went to London.
The coming of such a minister causes unspeakable offence to the queen of England, the duke of York and to all the people at large; so to avoid any incident that might occur it is thought that his Majesty will receive him outside Paris, especially if this happens naturally. He will certainly wish to see the foreign ministers, but at present I do not know what his pretensions may be. As a gentleman envoy he cannot reasonably ask for any other reception than as resident. But I will keep on the alert, taking care that nothing happens to offend him while sustaining my dignity, following the example of Savoy and Holland, since he cannot meet the nuncio.
Paris, the 16th May, 1656.
[Italian.]
May 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
309. Domenico Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English fleet is stationed near Cadiz and keeps the port blockaded, so that no vessel of any kind can either go out or come in. However the galley which returned from Cartagena laden with powder succeeded in slipping in. If it had fallen into the hands of the English it would have been a great misfortune. Every day numbers of the gentlemen here who have property near the coast, go to prevent a landing, should the enemy attempt it, taking with them a number of men, so that now it seems they are no longer apprehensive, the coasts being henceforth very well provided. But they are very fearful about the island of Eviza, for if Cromwell should take possession of it, Spain would be deprived of its Mediterranean trade, with what tremendous injury your Excellencies may imagine.
Madrid, the 17th May, 1656.
[Italian.]
May 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
310. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I am still awaiting the day to present the ducal missives to the Protector, my audience being postponed merely on account of the numerous and more pressing affairs which constantly agitate the ruler and leave no place for satisfying others quickly. Before the credentials arrived they seemed to take umbrage at my staying here thus; now it is known that they have come and that it only rests with them to permit the presentation they seem to attach no importance to the matter, though I am well received everywhere. But the dilatory way in which they conduct most of their business, even of importance, is extremely painful and tiresome. One must take patience and await their convenience.
Authentic news states that the fleet, after a short stay at Lisbon, sailed away to Cadiz for the enterprise reported. Yesterday evening they despatched from this river a caique express with fresh commissions for the fleet. No one can know the contents save he who made the despatch, who keeps it absolutely secret; so time alone will show. They must be of consequence because the caique is to proceed with the utmost possible speed to join the fleet. At the time of their despatch all instructions were delivered to the commandants in writing, under seal, to be opened at a prescribed place. When they reached the spot indicated the Protector's orders were obeyed and rumour says that on reading them Montagu was found to be placed over Blake with supreme authority, although Blake is older and more experienced at sea. This is Montagu's first employment and nothing is known of his sufficiency or the service he can render, whereas Blake's services and experience in long service at sea is known. So they say that the old commander is disgusted and unable to digest so bitter a morsel, so different from his expectations, and has separated from Montagu and gone elsewhere with part of the fleet. It this is true it has been done solely to affront Blake, as there has always been some disposition to do. But this is not the way to serve the state, which might be seriously injured, for it is not improbable that Blake, seeing himself ill used, should go over to the king of Scotland, with his part of the fleet, who would certainly tempt him with large promises and blandishments. But these reports may be spread by the enemies of the present government, who are very numerous in this city, though they dissimulate, to stir up the people to some revolt so that they may fish in troubled waters. This is the more likely as it is difficult to believe that in a time of need they would offend and humiliate one who can undoubtedly render the highest service to exalt another whose achievements are unknown. If they want to humiliate Blake they have the means to do so without injuring themselves.
The resident of Genoa himself has stated that his republic has promised the English one of their ports in our province; Florence says the same, thus confirming what I wrote a week ago. It is true that he says it is only for shelter and renewing supplies; but as this is done in the name of friendship and good relations, the same inducements may make them go further, if they have not thought of the consequences, and that if they want a way out they will not be able to find it. In reason the Genoese should avoid lighting in Italy a fire so prejudicial to them and to all their neighbours, and introducing so pestiferous an infection, being content to preserve their repose without drawing on them the injury which the next actions of these English may bring, not to speak of the wrath of the Catholic, which in the end would be their undoing.
When the Latin secretary reached Portugal to obtain the ratification of the peace, he obtained audience of his Majesty whom he found unwilling to accept various articles, particularly one for the erection in his dominions of a Protestant church where the English merchants might practise their religion freely. His Majesty remarked that he was king of Portugal but not of the Church, intimating that such a concession did not pertain to him, being aware that consent would interfere with his success at Rome. The English minister seeing that he could get no further sent off a gentleman who reached Court last Saturday with the news of what had passed. Three days later he was sent back with the reply, the purport of which no one can discover. It is probable that the English will give up this claim, which is the most difficult to realise, and will ask for the ratification of the other articles. They themselves say that for more than three months Portugal has been treating with the Catholic for an adjustment. If it should come about the Portuguese forces would be joined with the Spanish, to their detriment, so it is only reasonable they should make every effort to prevent this and not propose to Portugal anything likely to prejudice them against confirming friendly relations. It is also probable that the new orders sent to the fleet by the caique are to withdraw the instructions to act against the ships from Brazil to avoid irritating that king further and driving him to so prejudicial an accommodation.
In spite of the assurances of the Dutch Admiral Reuter, reported, that his squadron had nothing belonging to the Spaniards, it took to Holland a quantity of plate to be sent to Flanders. Such behaviour deeply offends this state and makes them very uneasy and afraid that they will have to break the peace with the States, observing that their dealings with this government do not indicate perfect friendship, although they protest the same, with dissimulation. A large Dutch ship was recently wrecked in these waters. Two Spaniards on board who were rescued by English barques admitted that the entire cargo of the lost ship consisted of munitions of war, belonging to Spaniards, who were sending them to Cadiz. (fn. 8) This adds to the fear of trouble and a rupture. One hears it said, however, that the States General should prohibit the export of this plate, claiming it for their own use in satisfaction of money owed them by the Spaniards, if this were done it would dissipate the fear of the Dutch joining the Spaniards against this state.
The ambassador of Sweden after wearing mourning a long while for the queen mother (fn. 9) put it off this week and came out with the richest liveries and stateliest coaches, parading in state through the city in the most conspicuous manner, at the hour of riding and other recreations. He did this to show the falsity of the rumours of the death of his king and of the disasters said to have befallen the Swedish arms in Poland.
Besides the presents reported, and as a further testimony of good will his Highness gave the Swedish envoy the rank of knight. He sent a coach from the palace last Saturday to fetch him, giving him a handsome sword with a rich scabbard, and sending him back in the same fashion, always accompanied by Sir [Oliver] Fleming, Master of the Ceremonies.
M. de Barriera, agent of the Prince of Condé, after obtaining his passport from his Highness, left on Monday for Flanders to join his master.
London, the 19th May, 1656.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
311. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I have asked repeatedly for the speedy despatch of the galleys. His Holiness told me frankly that they were held up because of the English. I assured him there was no cause because the English fleet had gone to distant parts. The pope rejoined that there was no certainty of this departure of the English, indeed some rumours had reached his ears that a small body of the English fleet is about to proceed to the Adriatic Sea with the intention of making a landing on the shore of Ancona and make some expedition for plundering and insolence in the direction of Loreto so he had some idea of directing the course of his galleys towards Ancona to prevent any landing that the English might attempt. I assured him that such a thing could not be; the defence of the Gulf was the affair of the most serene republic. The pope seemed satisfied and assured me once again that once their suspicions of the English died away he would give orders for the squadron to sail to the Levant.
Rome, the 20th May, 1656.
[Italian.]
May 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
312. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The ministers of England and Sweden, to demonstrate their unity, have with common accord and with similar expressions made request of the States of Holland to withold the despatch of their fleet to the Baltic, affecting not to know what the object of so great a force can be, seeing that they have none but friendly powers about them. The States have countered these offices by a reply in general terms and persist in their determination to send the fleet.
Medlin, the 20th May, 1656.
[Italian.]
May 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
313. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
They are keeping watch here upon Cromwell's fleet now it is known for certain that it has sailed. A list of the ships has arrived of which I enclose a copy. The princes here do not know what to think, but they are taking precautions so that they may be united and have in abundance all the things that they may require. They attach some importance to the negotiations which proceed between the king of Scotland and the Spaniards in Flanders, and think that this will keep the Protector busy and delay the French and that the efforts of the two powers are more likely to be directed chiefly against Flanders.
Florence, the 20th May, 1656.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.314. List of the Ships. (fn. 10)
Ship.Captain.Guns.
NasebyAdmiral74
UnicornClarke56
FairfaxBlay56
LymeSmith52
NouberyBlake52
Entrance (Intrata)Howard46
BristowlPenrose40
MaidstoneAdam40
TantonBrowne40
NantwichJoffer40
CenturionSpachter40
RubyKerby40
KolchesterBlake26
(2) ResolutionR. Bodiley84
Rainbow (Rambero)Stokes54
SpeakerStanner52
PlymouthWitheridge50
TredaghHarmon50
NewcastleCurtesen50
KentisHamon40
ForeseightMortham40
DragonCadducke40
AmityPacke34
GuineySherre32
MermaydFloet26
(3) SwiftsureBeren Bourne56
AndreaYong56
BridgewatterErneing52
LamportCoppin52
WorsterNixston48
WindsbeyAmer40
DiamanteLane40
HamsheirStory36
JerseySimonds40
PheniceWhetstone40
ProvidenceLuise Jhon32
AssuranceHolland34
May 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
315. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France to the Doge and Senate.
The Court understanding that the English envoy was beginning to complain at the delay of his audience, to receive him outside Paris, the king immediately decided to permit him to enter this city publicly. Accordingly on Saturday last he presented himself before their Majesties and the ministers. He was treated with some distinction from the residents, allowing the royal carriages to accompany him to the Louvre, this being accorded to him personally as Cromwell's nephew, not to his present office of a mere gentleman envoy. He shows himself freely everywhere and no unpleasant incident has yet occurred, as many feared. But the ambassador of Savoy has had some very unpleasant experiences. His cook has been arrested as a coiner; and when the ambassador's coach was leaving the drive his coachman got into a quarrel with another coach, upon which he was very roughly handled by a number of lackeys who turned upon him because a report had spread that he was Cromwell's envoy.
Paris, the 23rd May, 1656.
[Italian.]
May 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
316. To the Protector of England, Cromwell.
The regard and affection of the republic for all that most powerful nation and in particular for the merits of his Highness are so full and sincere that we are always extremely delighted to have opportunities for expressing them. With these sentiments we have received your letters in recommendation of the heirs of the captain of the ship Concordia, Giones, for whom we cherish the utmost goodwill in memory of the service rendered. To gratify your Highness, in spite of many difficulties and various oppositions in which the affair was involved, we have arrived at a settlement of the matter for the solace of the interested parties, releasing the ship freely to them. This action of ours will testify to the very high regard that we pay to your requests. In this connection we would further intimate that by the most diligent efforts we have secured the punishment of the felon Gautier, who has paid for his execrable crimes with his life. We confirm to your Highness the desire of our state to continue in the most perfect correspondence, of which we shall always be ready to give proof on every other occasion. Wishing you long and most happy years with all prosperity and content.
Ayes, 112. Noes, 0. Neutral, Neutral, 6.
[Italian.]
May 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
317. Domenico Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
We do not yet know what the English fleet means to attempt. It has now been stationed opposite Cadiz for two months and has not begun any enterprise. The first fears of the people here have been turned into curiosity and now into a jest. They talk of it as something old and of no consequence. It is said that some English landed at Rota to ask the duke of Medina for water for the fleet and the embarking of his peasants. They were told that these last might have gone before if they had wished, and that the water of London was for the English, but the water of that place was reserved for the subjects of the king of Spain. These reports are circulated by the people to exalt the valour of the duke of Medina, in which, indeed, they have good cause to hope for a sound defence if it is necessary to put it to the proof. Meanwhile the Barbary pirates, puffed up by their late victory, are cruising about these waters with most audacious licence.
Madrid, the 24th May, 1656.
[Italian.]
May 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
318. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I am still waiting for audience, which is delayed for the reasons given. They are indeed so fully occupied that they do not know which way to turn, and the Protector has not a moment to call his own. He is forced to hold frequent councils of state to discuss and digest so many matters under the present constitution of England's affairs. His Highness is in great need of money and perceives that the means for providing the necessary sums fail him. He is so disturbed and perplexed that it is said, when speaking recently in the Council and pointing out their difficulties, to consider how they might most readily obtain money, he could not restrain his tears as he spoke, in order to move them to contribute more readily what he wanted. Many methods of raising money are discussed, but they do not know how to put them in force because of the outcry of the people, so excessively afflicted and exhausted by the numerous charges they have to bear. They clamour loudly and demand a parliament, claiming that the Protector cannot do many things which he pretends to do without it, as he always promised and led them to hope. This important point might give rise to some trouble and disturbance, for with fuel constantly added to the fire it might easily flare up so that it would not be easy to put out. It is true that as the ruler holds all the principal forces in his hands he has not much to fear so long as that is so and he can always bring to heel those who try to overthrow and plot against the present government.
No further news has come about the fleet. They say and raise hopes that by this time it will certainly have done something. This is to flatter the people to keep them quiet and bring them with less difficulty to do what they wish. Many say that in the end the Protector will be obliged to recall the fleet to repress the insolence of the Dunkirkers and Ostenders who carry their privateering right into this river capturing all the vessels they can with the greatest ease, many belonging to this mart, the majority belonging to private individuals. With 30 good ships flying the flag of the king of Scotland they have appeared off Dover and hang about there to capture ships on their way to London with provisions and other things necessary for its daily use. For this reason for some little time back everything has gone up in price, as the ships are either taken or delayed in avoiding capture, all inflicting considerable injury on this city. This affords a further stimulus to murmuring and clamour among the people, as the Dunkirkers and Ostenders care nothing for the great ships of war that are stationed off the ports to secure the entry of those who come with provisions to this river. They plunder under their very eyes and get away without being pursued, as they are handy and quick sailers whereas the English are slow and sluggish from their size. The English also make capture of ships, but not so considerable and the prizes are empty, whereas their own are always full of merchandise or other things, which the pirates carry off. Recently at no great effort they captured some Dunkirkers and a frigate of San Sebastiano with 24 pieces of ordnance. The captain, a Spaniard, having sighted six others, gave chase to see if they were English, to make them prizes. (fn. 11)
Remonstrances have reached the Protector from Holland because of the English claim to search the Dutch ships which recently passed by here, as reported. They merely apologise, in reply. Yet there is always the fear of fresh disputes arising between England and the States. That would prove an inducement to bring back the fleet and employ it where the need was most pressing. Time will show.
It seems that the affairs of the Swiss are not proceeding with the tranquillity that would be desirable, and that there is more disposition for a rupture than for the confirmation of the peace. In any case they will be ready here to contribute the money already promised in aid of the Protestants. The amount cannot be stated because in addition to the sum at which this city is taxed and which it is ready to pay at the first intimation, other collections are to be made throughout the kingdom, all for the encouragement and support of heresy, which they want to see established everywhere and the Catholic faith extirpated.
My correspondent at Antwerp writes that he has been two weeks without my despatches. Two have arrived at the same time but the preceding ones are still missing, so that your Excellencies will not have mine of the 28th ult. I cannot tell where the fault lies. At the post here they assure me that they have always sent everything promptly and at Antwerp my correspondent sees that he exercises every care. It is to be feared that as at times they want to look at the letters which arrive here, so they claim to do the like with those going out.
London, the 26th May, 1656.
[Italian.]
May 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
319. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Grand Duke has news that Cromwell's fleet has been sighted off Cape Finisterre, having 10,000 men on board, including 5,000 soldiers, and that he may have designs upon some place of the Catholic king in Africa such as Mamora, Tanger or Oran, to have a port in the neighbourhood of the Strait and to put this bridle upon the Spaniards. That they have some notion of this kind is accredited by the alliance which the English have with those barbarians.
Florence, the 27th May, 1656.
[Italian.]
May 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
320. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Saturday, the affairs of the parliament being arranged, the king left Paris after hearing mass at Notre Dame, and with the queen, the duke of Anjou and the Cardinal reached Compiègne that evening. For the sake of furthering the designs against the Low Countries or Flanders towns the English envoy followed the Court where he is made perfectly welcome. So far he has not visited any of the foreign ministers. I cannot yet state the reason as he says nothing nor does he intimate what his pretensions may be.
Compiègne, the 29th May, 1656.
Italian.]

Footnotes

1 This occurred on 19–29 April. Capt. William Whitehorn in the Gainsborough was in command of the English squadron. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655–6 page 284.
2 Colonel William Lockhart.
3 This seems to be an inversion of the facts. On 17th March 1655/6 the hostmen of Newcastle decided to raise the charge for lighterage from 10d. to 12d. a chaldron. The 300 colliers were detained to pay the higher rate. The mayor and freemen of London petitioned against the charge and the matter came before the Council on 17 April 1656, who decreed that coal should be laded at the usual rates. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1656–6, page 280. Brand: Hist. of Newcastle Vol. ii, page 293.
4 Not in the file of despatches. Text from the Sagredo MSS.
5 Coyet took leave on the 3–13 May. Public Intelligencer, April 28–May 5. He did not cross until 14–24 June being landed at Schevening by the Norwich, Capt. Michael Nutton. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655–6, page 574.
6 Edward Rolt.
7 He had married, the year before, Robina Sewster, daughter of Cromwell's sister Anne. See page 32 above.
8 The City of Amsterdam, 460 tons, 24 guns, wrecked at the mouth of the Tyne, bound for Spain. Mercurius Politicus, May 1–8.
9 Maria Eleanora of Brandenburg widow of Gustavus Adolphus, who died on 28 March.
10 This agrees with the list of the division of the fleet into squadrons, giving names of ships only, dated 7 March, 1655, in the State Papers (I. Vol. cxxxvi. 81), except that the Colchester and Mermaid are there given in the second and first squadrons respectively. Sir Julian Corbett mentions the George (England in the Mediterranean, Vol. i., page 322) but that does not occur in either list.
11 Probably the Nostra Senora del Socorro of San Sebastian, Capt. Miguel de Trebarren, taken by the Constant Warwick, Capt. Richard Potter, and brought into Plymouth on 4th April o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655–6, page 528. Mercurius Politicus, April 3–10.


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