Venice
January 1658

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1931

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149-157

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'Venice: January 1658', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 31: 1657-1659 (1931), pp. 149-157. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90006 Date accessed: 17 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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January 1658

1658.
Jan. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
123. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, the Doge and Senate.
After various changes in the Council of State over the nomination of lords to compose the other house, they have at length made up their minds, and the list of members has been issued publicly. It is observed that the choice has fallen upon those who have no other aspiration than to fall in with the wishes and intentions of the Protector, so it is considered certain that his Highness will assume the title of king at the opening of the two chambers, which is to take place on the 20th inst. The new body is composed of sixty members; the sons, sons-in-law and brothers-in-law of Cromwell have their places in it as well as Sir [William] Locart, ambassador to the Most Christian. The others are all persons who have ever shown complete devotion to this state, and who, on this occasion, wish to consolidate the government and render it durable and permanent.
Although the Protector seemed anxious for Dounin to proceed to Holland with all speed, the usual dilatoriness at this Court has prevailed. He is still here expecting his commissions to be handed to him at any moment. He will have instructions to proceed in unison with the French ambassador now at the Hague, to promote and facilitate an adjustment between Portugal and Holland, in which the Protector wishes to have a share if it takes place. He will take with him the present intended by his Highness for the Ambassador Niuport, which was refused for the reasons given. He is to try and induce the States to release Niuport from his oath and allow him to enjoy the present which is worth more than 1000l. sterling in plate.
The report that the Portuguese Resident Ferreira was to go to Holland seems to be dying out, as his king wishes the adjustment to be managed solely by mediators, the more so because the resident when at the Hague previously did not give satisfaction to the States, so that it would not be advantageous to employ him now.
In the treaty between this state and Portugal there is an article by which the parties are not to receive or shelter in their ports any prizes brought there which have been taken from the other, and in any case that they shall be considered sequestrated. Just now three Portuguese ships laden with sugar, which were captured by the Dutch on their way from Brazil have been driven by a storm into an English port. The Portuguese ambassador immediately had a sequestration placed on them, by virtue of the treaty, with the consent of the Protector and his Council. But the Court of Admiralty claims that by virtue of the municipal laws of the country the ships ought to be handed to the Dutch who brought them to England. The ambassador, Melo, is asking for audience on this question, but it has been postponed owing to the indifferent state of Cromwell's health; the secretary of state, and the master of the ceremonies, who must be present, being also indisposed.
According to the old style observed here this is Christmas day, but against the custom of observing these feasts as they did of old, a decree was issued yesterday that no one should celebrate these days, and that the shops should not be closed. But the people, unable to forget the ancient custom, refused to obey, for no shop is seen open, but all those who went to the churches to perform their devotions were arrested by the soldiers and placed under guard, as the government will not have these holy days celebrated. The houses of Catholics also were searched last night for priests who might be found celebrating the midnight mass. One was arrested and confined with the four now at Whitehall of the eight taken last week. The foreign ministers have also proceeded with caution over the celebration of this day, to avoid trouble, as the government is displaying great animosity at present against the poor Catholics, who are exceedingly afflicted by the harsh treatment and especially because they are not allowed to serve God in a fitting manner.
London, the 4th January, 1658.
[Italian.]
Jan. 6.
Inquisitori
di Stato.
Busta 701.
Venetian
Archives.
Cologne, the 6th January, 1658.
News that Cromwell is treating with the Muscovite about a company for taking of whales in Greenland. Various individuals have come forward, with a capital of 400,000l. sterling; but as this would inflict great injury on the Company of the East Indies in Holland the States manifest great perturbation over it as well as against the king of Sweden.
Four English vessels which left England with rich cargoes from Terra Nova were attacked in the Mediterranean by three Dunkirk ships, each one mounting 28 guns. They sank one and captured the other three, carrying them off on San Sebastian.
[Italian.]
Jan. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
124. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The negotiations of England with France proceed most secretly. I have been told by a leading minister that in the present business the Cardinal takes no one into his confidence and that he has settled everything alone with Locart, and continues to do so day by day.
The Ambassador Locart who sees that he is in the worst possible odour with the entire population of Paris and who realises perfectly that his negotiations are incompatible with the general good and with the principles of the foreign ministers at this Court, keeps himself shut up in his house almost always and neither receives nor pays visits, under the plea of indisposition. As a general rule he goes to the Cardinal by night and without ceremony, all of which adds to the difficulty of finding out what he is doing.
Paris, the 8th January, 1658.
[Italian.]
Jan. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
125. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses a note showing the services of Colonel Finchen, and the offers he makes, upon which he asks for a decision.
Paris, the 8th January, 1658.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.126. Col. Charles Finchen, an Englishman, when very young served in Flanders as a private soldier, and later as an officer in various grades. He was also Colonel General in the West of England. He served as Colonel in eight separate battles and engaged in many famous sieges both in England and Flanders. He relieved two most important places and has knowledge of all parts of the military art. If the most serene republic consents he will bring twenty officers to serve for sieges and defend towns. He will give pledges at Paris for advances received. He will not come with less than six officers.
[Italian.]
Jan. 11.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
127. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the secretary of state is still in bed with a serious attack of fever the Portuguese ambassador pressed for his audience of his Highness, who has recovered from his chill, and obtained it on Thursday evening, attended by the master of the ceremonies, who has also recovered from his indisposition, caused by the severity of the present most disagreeable season. The ambassador discoursed at length about the Portuguese prizes now in an English port. He pointed out that nothing had been done in the matter except with his Highness's consent, and pressed strongly for the sequestration to be upheld in accordance with the treaty. He denounced the pretensions of the Admiralty Court and asked that resolute orders might be given them not to meddle with the case, as having nothing to do with their authority. The Protector replied courteously, expressing his desire to abide faithfully by the terms of the treaty and to try and strengthen the friendship and confidence with that state. All the same the ambassador is waiting for the issue of the necessary orders, the delay being due to the incorrigible dilatoriness of the country. For the same reason Dounin, who is to go as resident to the Hague, is still tarrying in London.
The opening of the two houses of parliament, not many days off now, is keeping the Protector and Council more than usually busy. Their meetings are devoted to preparing instructions and in digesting material to lay before the houses when they assemble.
They are beating up throughout the kingdom to obtain recruits to reinforce the army, but very few soldiers made their appearance, there being a general reluctance to take service from fear of being sent to Mardich. No one likes the idea of going there as it is observed that the majority of the men sent to those parts have perished of the hardships of the cruel climate, intolerable to those who are not acclimatised.
The coast towns of England and others which were without a garrison have been supplied with garrisons of brave picked troops of adequate strength, thus furnishing all their posts and putting them in a sound state of defence. Orders have also been issued for a muster of the troops of the country and all men capable of bearing arms, and in some cases this has already been done. London itself for some days past has a large force of infantry and cavalry. All the guards, distributed at essential posts have been strengthened and soldiers on horse ride through the city penetrating into every corner, at all hours of the day and night, keeping careful guard and preventing disorders which might arise to disturb the peace they wish to enjoy.
The Protector sent for the mayor of the city of London and when he arrived told him that he wished the city to get together a corps of 500 horse, well mounted and maintained at their own expense, for their own security. The mayor replied in general terms and promised to lay the matter before the council of aldermen, pointing out that without them he could decide nothing, and that he would return and tell his Highness what they had done.
All these activities are designed to prevent any disturbance at the opening of parliament or from the subjects which are to be dealt with there, which may not be entirely agreeable to some. One of the first and most important of these, in the general opinion, will be the coronation of the Protector, which is thought to be certain to happen this time, unless something unforseen crops up to hinder or delay it.
Some apprehension felt here owing to the threats of the Spaniards against the fort of Mardich has disappeared at the news that their only object was the introduction of supplies into Gravelines. They succeeded in introducing a considerable number of carts laden with supplies of every kind, which serve to revictual the place now practically blockaded. Meanwhile they continue to despatch food and munitions of war to Mardich as the government means to leave nothing to chance for the preservation of that most important fort. Having learned that many men have perished for lack of facilities for resting they have laded some barques with beds and clothes to be taken across the sea to make good these defects.
Some of those arrested a week ago for celebrating the festival of Christmas have been released after examination. Others remain in custody under suspicion of some plot against the present government to be carried out on that day. This day also, the first of the year, the same precautions are observed to prevent any kind of disorder which might be caused by assemblies of those who do not love this party and who passionately long to see their natural prince restored to his throne one day.
London, the 11th January, 1658.
[Italian.]
Jan. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
128. To the Resident in England.
The capture of the English ship Amicitia by Tunis ships is likely to arouse resentment. He is to watch and see what is done; inciting them to take action against those who cause such losses. He will perform a suitable office with the Levant Company in particular.
A report has been received from the Secretary Ballarino of warlike preparations by the Turk to invade Dalmatia and Albania. The Turks have announced that they mean to ask the English ambassador not to allow his countrymen's ships to serve the republic, even threatening to dismiss him if he does not promise satisfaction. This renders necessary the fulfilment of the promise made by the Protector and the Secretary of State to send orders to that ambassador in favour of the republic. He is to inform the Protector of the said report and to urge him by every reason to afford this assistance.
The Senate takes note of the arrest of the priest and the request for his release. Giavarina may continue his offices to this end, but with tact and without committing himself.
Ayes, 162. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Jan. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
129. Giovanni Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
There are two things which cause some misgiving in the midst of these negotiations. This union of Brandenburg with the Austrian party causes great jealousy to the rest of the Protestants, and accordingly they are progressing with the negotiations for that league of which there was talk several weeks ago, to form another faction and constitute a counterpoise. The other matter is the holding of a congress at Lubeck between the ministers of Sweden and Denmark with the mediation of the English, to treat for peace.
Prague, the 16th January, 1657. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
130. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
With only a few days before parliament reassembles the Protector and his Council are attending to nothing at present except to arrange the questions which they wish to be laid before it, which will no doubt result in laws which meet with the requirements of his Highness, since both houses are composed of persons whose only desire is to prove to Cromwell their devotion for him and to support what he wishes without diverging a hair's breadth from his desires, which are so much respected and feared.
Because the government is still apprehensive that the malcontents who are now quiescent, may rouse themselves at the opening of the Chamber, and excite disaffection among the people by representations derived from their personal ill feeling, in addition to the precautions mentioned a week ago they are searching all the houses of London suspected of affording a domicile to those who bore arms for the king of Scotland, and all they find are sent to prison. In this way they choke at birth the disturbances which may be contrived against the state, fomented by Charles, who is there across the water under Spanish protection, imploring the favour of the Almighty to restore him to his own. No small number of those whose sympathies are with the king are dispersed in their country houses, to which they are confined as in a prison, and although there is no sign of their making any attempt against the overwhelming force of the present government, yet their houses also are being thoroughly searched by troops of horse and those who are most suspect are arrested. Many leading men who have never mixed themselves in the king's affairs have also been imprisoned on mere suspicion, and when examined they are made to give security to remain loyal to the present government, and give pledges to appear before the magistrate whenever they are called upon, if there is any suspicion, to make sure of their persons; but apart from such precautions they are left at liberty, though they cannot enjoy it fully as they will always be apprehensive that some malicious person may bring an accusation calculated to ruin them, although nothing may ever have entered their heads.
Besides all these precautions to prevent disturbance they are acting with a severity never seen before, which completely deprives the people of the liberty given them by God, arouses their extreme disgust and may easily give birth in their minds to designs of which they would never have dreamed. Orders have been issued throughout the country to the magistrates and other officials appointed for the purpose to keep careful watch and see to it that in the district in their charge there shall be no conventicle or gathering of people whether it be for amusement or anything else, friends even being forbidden to visit each other without first informing the officer and telling him the reason why one must go to the house of another. In case of disobedience the offender is fined a sum of money and has to make it generally known what he did and to exonerate himself from what might be suspected or imputed against him.
The Protector's eldest son Richard has recovered from the fall while hunting last summer. He has been spending all this time in the country to enjoy the quiet without being disturbed by visits and other annoyances which a sick man in town has to put up with. He is now back in London, receiving the congratulations of his relations and friends on his excellent health. The numbers required for his Highness's Privy Council not yet being completed, this young man has been chosen to fill one of the vacant posts. He took the requisite oath at once and has already attended one meeting of the Council. (fn. 1)
Dounin the resident for Holland, has at last been despatched. He started for the Hague this week and it is reckoned that in a few hours he may have arrived there as the wind was favourable for the passage on the day he was expected to embark. He goes furnished with the commissions I have indicated and with others as well, the nature of which cannot be known, but will come out in time as he executes them. I will keep a look out.
Every day some officer of the garrison of Mardich arrives in London, giving the Court an account of the happy position of affairs there, and assuring them that the fort is excellently provided with troops, some 3 to 4000 men being quartered there, French and English, the former without and the latter inside Mardich itself, so that during the winter they need have no fear of attack from the enemy. They also create the impression that in view of the withdrawal of the Spaniards to winter quarters Dunkirk at present may have more reason to fear an attack from the French and English than Mardich has to apprehend the designs of the Spaniards. Yet sickness is so rife there especially among the English, who are less accustomed to the severe climate, that the garrison is greatly weakened, and there is no sign of anything being attempted by either side during the present bitter weather.
Your Excellencies' missives of the 15th December reached me yesterday by way of France; when the letter arrives for the Protector, which I am given to expect next week, I will do as instructed and report.
London, the 18th January, 1658.
[Italian.]
Jan. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
131. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
This dreary season produces little news of consequence owing to the intense cold and the bitter frost which hinders the couriers. Not one has arrived this week from abroad and there is nothing remarkable in the internal affairs of England. All their attention is devoted at present to the approaching session of parliament, which is to begin next Wednesday, the 20th, old style. In it many things will be matured which could not be finished at the last meetings and fresh ones will be proposed for the firmer establishment of the present government.
There is much more likelihood than in the past that the question of the coronation of the Protector will be brought forward and settled. The fact that his Highness has already appointed the officials of the crown and those required by a royal Court makes it appear certain that he will offer no objection to assuming this elevated position, especially as Lambert, the most bitter opponent and the one who stirred up the army to object, is now in disgrace and powerless. So every obstacle is removed and the way is clear, unless his Highness persists in his opinion for reasons known to himself alone, which are beyond the competence of others.
In addition to the measures already reported to avert every evil influence, diligent search has been made this week for King Charles himself in many leading houses. They seized upon this pretext, although it was known beyond question that his Majesty had not left Flanders, to justify the surety they claimed from certain persons for their loyalty to the present government, for there was no suspicion of their actions, seeing that they were living quietly, without meddling in affairs of state or showing any sympathy for either party.
The letters from France and Flanders being delayed, those from Holland are also missing; so that nothing is known about Dounin, who left recently for the Hague. The States are eager to see him to make some proposal, as they resolved in their Council to tie closer the bonds of friendship and confidence with, this state, giving evidence of their esteem and respect at every opportunity; so news of his negotiations is awaited with interest.
The Portuguese Resident Ferriera who had his audience to take leave of his Highness some weeks ago, is now about to go. He is only waiting for the letters which it is customary to give to a minister in reply to the credentials he brings when he comes.
An Italian gentleman appeared here recently in the name of Queen Christina of Sweden, (fn. 2) who is staying at Fontainebleau in France. He brings letters for the Protector, for Vittlock, formerly ambassador to her Majesty at Stockholm, and for the ministers of Sweden here. He has presented the letters to Vittlock and the ministers, but apparently he does not find the Protector very favourable about those for himself. One cannot discover what business he brings and as he bears no title he will not be introduced to audience by the master of the ceremonies in the usual way, but by some one else at Court.
The resident of Denmark has orders from his king to ask the Protector to permit a levy of infantry in these realms, his Majesty having issued patents for raising 11,000 men to strengthen his army in the coming campaign. The execution of these orders has been postponed by the continued indisposition of the secretary of state, who is still in bed, and with the partiality shown here for Sweden and their concern in the interests of that crown, there is not much hope of his getting what he asks. In Scotland they are still beating up for the troops granted by his Highness to the Swedish ministers these last months.
In obedience to the instructions of the 12th November I have been trying to find some one ready to undertake to raise troops to serve the most serene republic in the present war against the Turk. Many have offered themselves and of these I have selected the two following, who seemed the most suitable as individuals, and whose terms were less extravagant. Colonel Cuch has served the parliament, is a connection of his Highness and nephew of Flitud, lieutenant-general of the forces here, so that he can speedily fulfil his promises. I am told that he has permission from his Highness to raise troops for the service of any prince he pleases. In a month or little more he says he will raise and embark the 5000 foot he offers to your Serenity, or less if you wish. The recruiting will take place in Ireland and will take all those Catholics of whom the government wishes to be rid. They are ambitious to distinguish themselves in so just a war against the common enemy. He will form the troops there and with everything in his hands he will get together a corps of picked and seasoned men. He will undertake this for honour and advantage and so he asks for the title of general of these troops. He has a form of agreement arranged in France between your Serenity and the Chevalier de Gremoville, in which 50 ducats per man is allowed for the clothing and transport of the troops, so he claims that his request for 10l. sterling is very moderate. He leaves the pay of the officers to your Serenity. I fancy that if he arranges with your Serenity he will not proceed to the Levant at once but will leave a major-general in charge, who will be a brave and experienced soldier. He will also want to keep all the other officers here to raise the recruits required and serve the most serene republic by his presence at this Court, where he has great influence and is much esteemed. In such case it would be necessary to arrange about his salary as if the Senate decided to accept his terms and give him the title he claims it would not be reasonable for him to enjoy the full pay of general as if he was commanding the troops. He has another proposal to make about the ships and says he will give it me next week to send to your Excellencies.
The other proposal is from Daniel Pudsey, maitre du camp, who offers 3000 foot. He claims the title of Colonel General, and his other terms do not differ greatly from those of Cuch. He is a man of birth and a brave and experienced captain. He served the parliament and in 1646 he was employed in Flanders under the Spaniards, with troops levied in these realms, when he comported himself bravely. He also will raise the men in Ireland and promises the utmost speed after he has obtained the Protector's permission. Both these individuals ask your Serenity for a prompt decision as if their terms are accepted they can begin to collect the men the sooner, and if they are rejected they will not lose an opportunity of negotiating with the other princes who are at present raising levies in these realms.
London, the 25th January, 1658.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Richard Cromwell received his summons to the Council on 10 December, o.s. and took the Councillor's oath on the 31st. Cal. S.P.Dom., 1657–8, pages 210, 239.
2 Filippo Passerini. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. vi, page 713. Whitelock: Memorials, Lond. 1682, page 647. Later on Giavarina calls him Passarelli.