Venice
September 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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238-246

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'Venice: September 1658', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 31: 1657-1659 (1931), pp. 238-246. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90014 Date accessed: 20 August 2014.


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September 1658

Sept. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
213. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Whereas it seemed last week that the gout and stone from which the Protector was suffering were ceasing and the pain growing less indicating a speedy recovery of health, the Court has been grieved to see his illness change to a tertian fever. He is now suffering severely in mind and body, unable to attend to the many affairs which require decision from his ripe and most acute intellect. Meanwhile his Highness returned on Tuesday to this city from Hampton Court. The palace of Whitehall is on the river and as it was feared that the air there generated by the water might be injurious to his health, they are preparing the house of St. James, some distance from the Thames, which in the time of the kings was the residence of the Prince of Wales, and since the change has been a barracks for the soldiers. Cromwell proposes to reside there with his household, to be further away from what might harm him and prevent him from enjoying the health which is such a boon for all.
At the palace they speak of his Highness's illness as a light matter, but some outside, who profess to have authentic information and to know what is passing within, say that it is very dangerous, and some even assert that he has made his will and appointed his eldest son Richard to be generalissimo of the land forces, High Admiral of the sea forces and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, all supreme offices of the highest importance.
If this chief should die, and he is mortal like other men, disturbance and dissension would undoubtedly arise in this country. Neither of his sons is capable of taking the place that he has occupied, and if he nominates one of them before he passes away, as everyone expects, to be his successor, he being obliged to appoint one by act of parliament, there would not be the slightest difficulty in unseating him by others who aspire to this high dignity, especially as neither of the sons is popular with the troops or esteemed by them, while the soldiers retain their affection and respect for Lambert. In such case he would come to life again and might strike an unexpected and telling blow.
The convocation of the new parliament, which was expected to take place at the end of this September, seems likely to be postponed until November. Meanwhile one reads in the gazettes, issued every Monday and Thursday, representations from the counties of England, or very likely issued by someone else in their name, expressing the satisfaction of the people at the success of their arms in Flanders, the satisfaction of the people with the present government, and, what is more remarkable, their hope and desire that the Protector will establish a government in the form that is most natural and agreeable to this nation. It is easy to see that these things are put forth so that when subsequently he has assumed the throne it will be said that he has done so purely to satisfy the people, who besought him earnestly to take it.
Last Saturday news reached London of the fall of Gravelines, which surrendered to the French on the preceding day, under the usual military capitulations. The government rejoices at the news according to the measure of the friendship and good understanding existing between France and England, in virtue of the close alliance between the two powers. As there are still some months before the end of the campaigning season any further efforts of the victorious allies will be closely watched.
Of the troops across the water many have perished by the sickness which prevails at Dunkirk and by the action of the enemy. These made a sudden incursion, and entering their quarters, took some prisoners, slaying others. To fill up the gaps two large companies, one of horse and the other of foot, set out yesterday for the coast, to cross the sea.
Of the two merchants whose money and goods I had seized by order of the Ambassador Giustinian, by reason of his claims against Arson, one, a Frenchman and cousin of Arson, has since fled, and it is not known where he is; so no more can be expected from him. The other, an Englishman, is still here; but he protests that he is a creditor and not a debtor of Arson, so there is little hope that your Serenity will recover anything. Meantime, finding that another merchant has some debt with Dorat, who failed at Venice, I had all his goods seized yesterday, and shall set about to prove the debt. I shall also try and see what else can be recovered on account of Arson and Dorat for the relief of your Serenity.
Signori Pietro and Colomban Zanardi have arrived in this city from Paris. They have come on the private affairs of their house, which cannot be settled as quickly as they would wish, because everything lasts for ever here. But they take delight in observing the customs and manners of foreign countries, so that they may the better serve their own. I am honoured at meeting them, owing to their distinguished qualities, which excite the admiration of this Court, as they have at the other places visited by them.
London, the 6th September, 1658.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
214. To the Resident in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters. The matter of the banker Arzon. Approval of his reply to old Galileo. To assure him again that everything possible will be done. No slaves came to Venice from the ship Angelo, but fresh orders have been sent to the Captain General to try and obtain Galileo's release. He is to tell the father that the delay in the payment of the debt due to him is caused by the most serious emergencies of state, which the Senate is sure that the Protector and others fully understand; but that satisfaction shall be given him in the shortest possible time.
Ayes, 137. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Sept. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
215. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The illness of the Protector keeps the whole Court in anxiety, and suspends business of every kind. Accordingly nothing has happened of importance at the palace and nothing has arrived this week from abroad. Letters from all parts are delayed, as the wind these last days has been contrary and very high, so I have nothing of consequence to communicate. There is only the Protector's illness. On Saturday, Sunday and Monday he was exceedingly bad, and on Tuesday evening he was given up by the doctors. All of a sudden he became better, slept well that night, and the fever, which should have recurred in the morning, was very slight. He has remained in that state since, with little fever but extremely weak; but in spite of this it is hoped that he may soon recover. At the time when he seemed at the last gasp no one at Court showed himself and it was not possible to speak with anyone, but now, since he is better, everyone is visible, they all talk freely, rejoice, and look forward to his recovered health. The improvement has certainly been sudden, unexpected and extraordinary. Many think that it is not altogether a good sign, and recall that his daughter Cleipol, at the height of her illness, had a similar respite, which did not prevent her from succumbing to the violence of the paroxysms and paying the debt of nature.
Last year I reported how the duke of Buckingham, by permission of the government, came to this city, though banished by parliament, and through his father-in-law Farfax, tried to make his peace with the Court. The Protector would not interfere, saying that as the duke was condemned by parliament, that body must absolve him, but he allowed Buckingham to stay in London at his father-in-law's house, on condition of not leaving it, and promised him security and immunity. This has gone on until recently, but these last days the duke wanted to go into the country, and meeting with some cavalry he was arrested and brought prisoner to the Tower of London. There he now lies, and everyone is waiting to see what the government will decide to do with him.
Last week's letters brought news of the irruption of the king of Sweden into Denmark, where he lies under Copenhagen, the capital of Zeeland and these at of the Dane. It causes this state unspeakable joy, and they are waiting for the confirmation with extreme eagerness as well as for other enterprises not unlike them.
In my last I reported the seizure of a credit of Giustin Dorat here. I find this consists of two letters of exchange for 954l. sterling, payable to Arson at Paris and endorsed to Dorat. One falls due to-morrow, the other still has a month. To-morrow the one whom Dorat directed to receive the money will go to the merchant who accepted the bill, for payment, which the seizure will stop. On Thursday I hope to get a sentence in the city court for the money to be paid to your Serenity, upon my word or oath that you are a creditor of Arson and Dorat for a much greater sum. The cause will then be taken to a higher court. I have asked the Ambassador Giustinian to give me the time when Dorat accepted Arson's letter, to help prove his intention to deceive. To avoid the expense required for lawyers and counsel here I asked the council of state to judge the affair, but they told me that they could not meddle with such things and it must pass through the common courts, but if difficulties were raised I could appeal to the supreme magistrate and should receive every favour. In any case, I will do my best to have the money adjudicated to your Serenity.
London, the 13th September, 1658.
[Italian.]
Sept. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
216. To the Resident in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters. Approval of his observations on the pope's alarm at the English preparations in Flanders and the fear of an attack on Porto Longone in conjunction with the French. He will keep his attention on this important business and upon every other deliberation of the government touching the Mediterranean; although it may be that all will be diverted by the apprehension that appears to exist of an approaching rupture with the Dutch, which would be desirable. There is great need for full particulars.
Ayes, 113. Noes, 3. Neutral, 35.
[Italian.]
Sept. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
217. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After sealing my last despatch I was informed that his Highness had become so much worse about mid-day that three hours latter he expired, after having governed this country about five years, in the 61st year of his age. I also learned that the Council met at once and directed that no letters of any kind should leave that evening and forbad the sailing of ships about to leave port. I therefore decided not to send my despatch, and in order that your Excellencies might not remain uninformed I sent a few lines telling Sig. di Negri the reason.
Before his death, by virtue of the authority granted him by parliament, the Protector nominated his eldest son Richard as his successor, and this was confirmed by a unanimous vote of the Council, and proclaimed the following morning by trumpet before the President of the Council, various councillors, the mayor and aldermen of the city, in the presence of troops of horse and companies of foot, in the usual places of London and Westminster. There was a great crowd and a good deal of applause from the people, with all the pomp and ceremony usual on such occasions.
The death of Oliver came, one may say, unexpectedly. After a fortnight in his bed, during part of which time he was most seriously ill, he became so much better as to raise hopes of recovery, and his loss is therefore the more deeply felt at Court, especially as it occurred on the 13th September, a glorious date for his Highness, which was always celebrated by a solemn thanksgiving to God for the memorable victories of Dunbar and Worcester gained on that day.
After the proclamation of the new Protector Richard on Saturday morning, the ships, letters, etc., were allowed to go; but my letters will not have reached Antwerp in time to be sent to Venice and I am afraid they will have been held up there and will come with these. It was then ordered that this day should be set apart for fasting and humiliation on the late Protector's death and to implore the blessing of God upon the present government, and this has been observed at Whitehall by all the Court. They also decided to inform all the foreign ministers of the late Protector's death and the accession of the new one. This was done on Tuesday by Sir [Oliver] Fleming, master of the ceremonies, who visited each embassy, asking the ministers to inform their monarchs. I made a suitable response, expressing grief at Oliver's death, and pleasure at the accession of Richard, enlarging on the sincere predilection of the Senate for this government and nation.
In conversation with Fleming I learned that none of the foreign ministers will be admitted to audience of the new Protector or have power to negotiate unless they receive new letters of credence from their masters directed to him. It will be better for your Excellencies to send these by way of Flanders, which is much shorter than that of France. For this reason no one will be able to offer official condolences or congratulations, as they will have to wait for these letters; and France will be the first because he is nearer and can get his letters quickest.
So far as I can gather the government will expect to be treated with the formalities usual among potentates on such occasions, to wit, the sending of ambassadors extraordinary to condole and congratulate. The closest allies, such as France and Sweden, can do this speedily and without difficulty, owing to the community of interests of these three powers. It is also probable that all the other powers will be ready to nominate persons to express their esteem and affection, but they will be more deliberate about sending them off in order to see what will be the fortune of this new government, in charge of one who is not feared like his father, or capable of sustaining the burden with the same ease as his predecessor. Although the proclamation and other matters went off quietly, it may easily happen that this will not continue, and all the omens are not entirely favourable. Monch, in Scotland, might have some pretensions, indicated on previous occasions by his desires and leanings. The new Protector's brother Henry in Ireland also occasions apprehensions of disturbance. Time will show.
At Whitehall they are now preparing for the funeral of the late Protector, which will take place in four or five weeks' time, with extraordinary pomp and magnificence. They are consulting ancient books to see what was done by the kings on such occasions, and say that it will be more splendid than ever before. Besides the Court all the foreign ministers will wear mourning. Following the example of the French ambassador I have ordered it for myself, household, coach and horses, according to the custom of the country. It will cost 100l. sterling, and I hope the state will show me its customary liberality.
London, the 20th September, 1658.
[Italian.]
Sept. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
218. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The letters of Flanders, held back last week, arrived at the beginning of this, but bring no news of that province. According to report among the merchants, the origin of which is not known, the French army is besieging Ipre and has inflicted a severe defeat on the Spaniards before that place, who were advancing to relieve it. The ordinary of this week is most eagerly awaited to learn what truth there is in this news, but it has not yet come.
Reports of the invasion of Denmark by Sweden still come in, indeed some say that Copenhagen and the castle of Cronemburgh are already in the hands of the Swedes, so the letters are important for this also. The States, in view of the ruin which would overtake them if the Dane should be completely driven away from the Sound, as it would cut them off from the place whence they derive their substance, have decided to declare openly in favour of Denmark against Sweden, and to assist him vigorously by sea and land. So besides 15 ships of war which they already had guarding the passage of the Sound, they have recently sent 16 more, well found in guns and crews. A ship which cast anchor in the river here yesterday, from Helsenor, reports that a few days out she met this reinforcement near Copenhagen. The Danish minister here hopes to hear of the relief of that city instead of its fall, and that it is in a position to fear nothing from the assaults of the enemy.
As a consequence of the declaration of the States against Sweden and the succour sent to Denmark, there is more reason to predict a rupture between the Dutch and this government, which is so attached to the interests of the Swede. It might also be conjectured from the apparently unfriendly relations between the English and Dutch, sufficiently indicated by the flat refusal of the Council to allow the Ambassador Niuport to send an express to the Hague with news of the Protector's death, as they did not wish the news to leave here before the announcement of the successor. If the peace between the two nations is broken it is expected that the king of Scotland will find employment in the Dutch army. It is already known that his Majesty has left his usual quarters, four leagues from Antwerp and set out for Breda with only six gentlemen of his suite.
The meeting of parliament, which was to have been at the end of this month and then in November, will now be deferred even later, and since the accession of the new Protector nothing has been said about it. In reason it should be called, and the need for money may hasten this and bring it about sooner than expected, especially as the money in the exchequer is expected to be entirely consumed in paying the soldiers, to whom more than one pay is due, to please them at the outset of the new government and encourage them to remain loyal and steadfast in defence of the present rule.
As your Excellencies will have gathered, I expected to have judgment yesterday about the money in the affair of the bankrupts Arson and Dorat, but the inferior court spent the whole day in hearing an important and lengthy case, so I could do nothing. It is all adjourned until to-morrow, and I hope to get a favourable sentence. On Saturday the date for the payment of the first of the two letters of exchange fell due. A London merchant, Nicolo Corselles, claimed payment, and being stopped by the sequestration, produced the letter endorsed by Dorat, as paid to Corselles, changed into 2081 ducats 19 lire at 55 through John Barckmans. The endorsement is dated the 12th July, which is certainly after the acceptation by Dorat of Arson's letter payable to your Serenity. This should help us to win, but if the amount was not paid by Barckmans, but only the letter negotiated by Dorat and the exchange made to receive the money after payment, that would make it certain. I ask your Excellencies to send the information immediately by way of Flanders at once. I may say that Barckmans is nephew of John di Wale, trading at Venice, and living in his uncle's house. It is generally believed that the money is Wale's and that Barckmans passes it under his nephew's name for divers reasons.
London, the 20th September, 1658.
[Italian.]
Sept. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
219. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The progress of the French arms in Flanders and the death of Cromwell oblige the Court to return to Paris, and it is said that they will soon go to the front to seize the opportunity, perhaps, of securing Mardich or Dunkirk by force or negotiation, as if there are disturbances in England those places could hardly continue as at present. The death of Cromwell is extremely distasteful to the government, as after the agreements established and the due consignment of Dunkirk and Mardich they expected to draw therefrom manifold advantages in Flanders and elsewhere, to the great detriment of the Spaniards. The latter cannot fail to profit from the change in affairs, while the French are bound to suffer. It is accordingly believed that they will do everything possible here so that the Protector's son may be confirmed and secured in his father's post, and maintain the same relations, adapting themselves to circumstances later, if changes occur.
The Cardinal had a long conference with the queen of England after Cromwell's death. It is said that he proposed to assist the king, her son, to re-enter his kingdom if he finds himself in a condition to make the attempt on good grounds; but I reckon this as all fine words and compliments of the Cardinal, and that at the moment he only really desires the establishment of Cromwell's son, and is disposed to persevere with him in the accord and understanding for the common benefit and to the detriment of the Spaniards.
Paris, the 24th September, 1658.
[Italian.]
Sept. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
220. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The preparations for the late Protector's funeral and the grief which possesses all at the palace for such a loss, keep the Court so preoccupied that since that event nothing of note has occurred, in spite of the frequent meetings of the Council. In these they spend hours in devising and arranging internal affairs so as to preserve the peace without the slightest change. By the Protector's death the authority and power of most of the officials and governors of this nation expire with the death of the sovereign from which they derive. To prevent difficulties that might arise from lack of authority in the holders of offices, disturbing the ordinary course of justice and of affairs of state, his Highness has issued a proclamation by the advice of the Privy Council directing that all who held office, civil or military, at the time of the late Protector's death, shall continue to exercise their functions until further order from his Highness. As some time is required for making a new great seal the commissioners of the seal have been authorised to seal patents, commissions, etc., with the seal used in Oliver's time until a new one is made with the effigy and inscription of Richard.
Bearing out what I wrote about observing the usual formalities, the master of the ceremonies, Fleming, told me recently that he has express orders from the Council to inform the foreign ministers that this government expects the foreign powers to observe the formalities usual on the death of great princes, and he said he felt sure that the most serene republic would act in the way usual with crowned heads. I responded with assurances of the cordial friendship of the Signory for this nation. Although Fleming did not specify what they expect, I gather that besides sending ambassadors extraordinary the friendly powers are to wear mourning, as they do for one another, and whatever else is customary in such cases. There may be formalities customary among Catholic powers, which cannot be observed now owing to the difference in religion, but this government cannot complain about this as they are things in which it has no belief.
So far none of the foreign ministers has had audience of the new Protector, as they are all waiting for new letters of credence from their masters. Even France has not, although there has been time for him to hear, but he has received nothing. Even if he had it may be that no one will be admitted until after the funeral of the deceased. This will not be very soon, as much time is required for arranging everything required for the magnificence and pomp they intend to have.
This government has heard with delight of the capture of Odenarde by the French, (fn. 1) and of a check to the Spaniards under Ipre, which place is believed to be now in the power of the French forces. Their successes in the present campaign are indeed astonishing and of great consequence. The garrison of Dunkirk harasses the enemy with sorties and raids. They raided recently as far as Niuport and returned home with a large haul of cattle, comprising some 500 cows and 30 or 40 horses.
They do not speak quite so confidently this week of the capture of Copenhagen and Cronenburgh by the king of Sweden, as they did last, indeed, they are much more vague and consequently they are waiting with great interest for the arrival of the courier from those parts to get more authentic news.
The king of Scotland, after leaving his usual quarters for Holland, has since returned to Antwerp, after spending some days at the Hague, though his business there has not yet transpired. Meanwhile, the Dutch, for reasons of state and to avoid arousing the jealousy of this government, have ordered all his Majesty's followers who have taken refuge in their country, to leave it and not to visit it so freely as they have been accustomed to do.
Last Saturday I obtained a verdict in favour of the most serene republic in the inferior court of London upon the money in the hands of the merchant Pardini on behalf of the bankrupt Dorat. According to the laws of the country the money will be restored unless within a year and a day Dorat can prove that at the time when I had the sequestration made here he was not indebted to your Serenity. I also obtained execution of the matured letter, and nothing remains but to collect the money. This is hindered by the claims of Corselles to whom the letter was endorsed by Dorat. It will be necessary to go back to court to decide whether his claim or mine is the better. If it is possible to prove what I stated, I have no doubt of winning, otherwise the issue is doubtful.
London, the 27th September, 1658.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 On 9 September.