Venice
April 1659

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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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1-10

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'Venice: April 1659', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 32: 1659-1661 (1931), pp. 1-10. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90043 Date accessed: 18 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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April 1659

1659.
April 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
1. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Parlient continued until Monday its discussions upon the contentious question of the right of the Scottish members, when it was finally decided that they should take part in the deliberations as the English do. After this they immediately took up the question of the Irish, which was decided yesterday, the result being the same as with the Scots, to the extreme delight of the Court, which is now sure of the permanence of these members, numbering 60 in all, every man of them devoted to the Protector and the government. So they are more hopeful of a satisfactory issue on the other points which remain to be digested in the assembly for consolidating the foundations of their rule.
Parliament made haste over these decisions from fear that further delay might lead to a dissolution, which was threatened and discussed as intimated in my last. The same motive might easily lead to the speedy despatch of the question of the upper house. That settled, no other thorny question will remain likely to excite such bitter feelings. But as this question is one of extreme consequence it is believed that some weeks must pass before it is thoroughly matured, especially as it seems that parliament, before granting entire authority to the other chamber, wishes to pass some bills about the militia, about making peace or war and about raising money, so that it may have the glory of everything, because if it sets up the upper chamber first that will decide what it pleases and the deliberations of the lower will have no force. These are all important points, but there is good reason to look for a happy issue in conformity with the wishes of the Protector because it is noteworthy that notwithstanding the disputes and delays his party prevails at every decision, the questions of Scotland and Ireland above having been passed by over 50 votes.
News has come of the arrival of General Montagu at the place designated for the rendezvous of the squadron he is to command. That is still riding at anchor and does not put out from port. It is true that the wind remains contrary, but it is thought that some other motive detains it. This is that since parliament merely passed a decree to send a powerful fleet to sea for the security of this state and to maintain the trade, without specifying what more it was to do or against what power it should act, they are just keeping it in the Channel in order not to go beyond this decree and to show parliament how anxious they are to observe its deliberations. They cause reports to be circulated that it is to sail to the Sound to succour Sweden, to intimidate the Dutch and cause their misgivings to prevent the sending to Denmark of the fleet which is being prepared in Holland for the purpose. It seems that the equipment of this force is proceeding very slowly for many reasons and chiefly from their inability to find crews who are willing to embark for the Baltic. For this reason the Dutch, besides augmenting the pay, are obliged to take the men by force and keep them in the ships like prisoners, with little hope that such violence can be of any use. All the same it is doubtful if this apprehension will be sufficient to prevent the Dutch from sailing or from taking the risk, as the preservation of Denmark is of great importance to them and it is conceivable that their own interest will prevail and drive them to send the fleet. In that case Montagu also will sail in the same direction with all his squadron to oppose the assistance which they propose for the Dane and to help the Swede.
Meanwhile orders have been sent from here to Douning, resident for his Highness at the Hague, to second the proposals made to the States by the French ambassador in the name of the Most Christian for a joint interposition in the differences between the two northern kings and to try and bring about a reconciliation. There is no doubt that the Dutch will co-operate with all their might to procure this boon, as their interests are too deeply concerned in an adjustment and tranquillity in those parts, from which they derive great profit as well as the sustenance of their very lives.
To-day is the date on which letters of reprisal were promised by the Council of State to divers merchants if they did not receive compensation for the serious losses suffered through the insolence of the marshal della Migliare in plundering ships belonging to the mart of London despite the agreements concluded between the Most Christian and this state, amounting to several thousands of pounds sterling, in accordance with numerous sentences obtained in more than one court in France. They are now eagerly soliciting this permission, alleging that they had once again appealed to his Majesty's supreme authority but were told that Migliare was so powerful in Brittany that it was out of the question to offend him and consequently he did not know how to content them. They therefore hope to obtain these letters, though they are not yet granted, and in this way to compel the marshal by force to restore what lawfully belongs to them.
The traders of this mart long to see some mitigation of the hostile feeling between the Catholic crown and England, and urge the government to procure this benefit. Being aware that nothing can be done without parliament taking a hand, they have appealed to it, petitioning for this reconciliation, representing the injury done to the mart of England through the interruption of trade; the misery to which many families, once flourishing, have been reduced by the war; the losses suffered by the public exchequer through the scanty returns of the customs revenue and other taxes paid by the merchandise of Spain. (fn. 1) With these and other powerful arguments they try to lay the foundations of the work they desire and to each of the parliamentarians they are circulating printed sheets containing all these particulars for their information and to promote their cause.
The government is becoming more and more suspicious of the close negotiations which are taking place with extreme secrecy at the Court of France between Mazarini and Pimentelli about peace between the two crowns. It has therefore sent Sir [William] Locart from Dunkirk to Paris so that he may be nearer to watch the proceedings of his eminence and report on the position of affairs on better authority. But he writes by the last courier that the negotiations are conducted with such circumspection and are so secret that he has not been able to discover anything whatever. This only serves to increase the suspicions of the government which announces that under the terms of the treaty with France and the promise given by the cardinal absolutely nothing can be arranged without the consent of England, which is so closely allied with the Most Christian crown. The result cannot long be delayed, and it is to be hoped, after so many years, that God will permit Christendom to see the ripening of this most sweet and precious fruit.
London, the 4th April, 1659.
[Italian.]
April 4.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Lettere
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
2. Serenissime Dux, Illustrissime Senatus:
Per supplicem libellum nobis exposuerunt exercitores et proprietarii navis the Paramour navem suam praedictam quadringentarum amphorarum capacem, Josepho Ward praefecto, cum sexaginta nautis et tormentis bellicis triginta, a vestro statu anno 1655 ut contra Turcum iret conductam, cum inimico saepius egregie pugnasse, non sine aliquo suo detrimento et sociorum navalium morte, quod in tot conflictibus facile credi potest. Eam tamen per tot annos etiam hiberno tempore hostibus et procellis exponi, nec unquam in tam portuoso mari navem subducendi aut reficiendi copiam dari, mercedem etiam quae jam ad quadraginta ducatorum nullia exurgat, detineri ut navis quidem brevi peritura videatur; miserrimae autem nautarum reliquiae ad omnia extrema redactae fuerint. Rogamus igitur quod ipsa res postulat, ut tam bene de vobis meritis quae pepigistis, stipendia numerare velitis et militiae tam diu continuatae missionem dare navem etiam dimittere. Haec justissimus subditorum nostrorum precibus negare non potuimus quum alias gratias multo et uberius literarum argumentum nobis suppeteret, ut nempe summam vestram humanitatem agnosceremus, qua per Residentem Vestrum Giavarinam de gloriossimi parentis nostri morte nobiscum doluistis, de nostra simul ad eandem digintatem promotione gratulantes. Qua in re uti judicii et affectus vestri luculentissimum testimonium accepimus, ita prima quaque occasione demonstrabimus quanto honore antiquissimam vestram Rempub. tam consiliorum maturitate quam rerum gestarum magnitudine florentissimam prosequamur. Quam interim divinae protectioni studiosissime commendamus.
Dat. e palatio nostro Westmonasterii 25 Martii anno 1658/9.
Serenitatis Vestrae Bonus Amicus
[Signed]: Richardus P.
ex mandato cel … (fn. 2)
[Seal of Oliver as Protector.]
April 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
3. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Nothig further of consequence has happened in parliament. The whole week has been spent in receiving and reading petitions from private persons upon various matters, some asking favours, others complaining of grievances etc. The question of the other chamber was also taken up, but after some discussion was postponed for further consideration later. No one can imagine when this will be, but everyone longs for it in the anxiety to see an end to the business, enabling them to get on with their own affairs and obtain the settlement they desire. In the petition of the merchants upon the quarrel with Spain, in addition to the arguments in favour of peace they ask parliament, supposing the demands of the Spaniards are not considered reasonable, so that this boon cannot yet be obtained, that they will at least absolutely forbid any foreigner or Englishman to bring to this country any sort of Spanish goods, whether it be wine or anything else, under any pretext, thus following the example of the Catholic, who has forbidden the entry into his dominions of all the commodities which come from England or its dependencies. The merchants have taken this step in the hope that such a prohibition will serve to modify the Spanish pretensions and facilitate the peace they desire, as if the Catholic's subjects find that they cannot dispose of the wine, grapes, figs, tobacco and wool, of which a certain quantity enters England every year, notwithstanding the war, they will be made to feel more acutely the results of the war, will beg their monarch for peace and do their utmost to promote it. To this they will never be brought without such a prohibition, as in time of peace these commodities were bought by other goods sent from here, but now any one who desires wine or anything else from Spain has to pay hard cash and at a higher price than before, for the Spaniards know all about the royal decree against English goods, so they keep up their prices and sell as they please, much to their own advantage and to the detriment of the purchaser.
We hear nothing yet of any move of the fleet in the Downs; no doubt the reasons given last week are holding it back. To tell the truth the government here would prefer to see the differences between Sweden and Denmark settled, so that they need not take any other matters in hand, being sufficiently burdened already, because any assistance rendered to Sweden would arouse the hostility of Denmark and might easily lead eventually to a breach with the Dutch as well. If an adjustment between the two northern powers could be arranged by the mediation of France, England and Holland, Montagu's squadron might be sent elsewhere and a part would go to the Mediterranean. But without such an accommodation and while it is necessary to keep the fleet to observe the proceedings of the Dutch and send it to Sweden in case of need, it seems impossible that they can come to any other decision. Although they are always talking of other forces and of keeping other powerful squadrons in commission, this is all put about with design, since the scarcity of money does not permit such things. It is also well known what difficulty they had in finding crews for this fleet and other requirements, and until parliament passes some measure for raising money we shall hear nothing but words, the public exchequer being utterly exhausted and without cash nothing can be done.
News having arrived recently of the death of their consul at Smyrna, the Levant Company chose another in his place. (fn. 3) Having been confirmed by the Protector he is about to embark for that destination on a merchantman to take up his charge there. The merchants have hopes of great advantage in their trade as he is a man of much experience and prudence and of some repute as well.
Commissions from the count of Oldemburgh have recently arrived from Germany for a certain Philip Frecher, a German, who used to live here several years ago, to act as the count's minister, with no definite character, to offer condolences on the late Protector's death and congratulations on the accession of the present one. He is not known to have any other charge. He is asking for audience, like Poland and so many others, who desire it without hope of obtaining it for the present. Though the late Protector has been dead six months and more the resident of Genoa has never been able to get one for a like office. This dilatoriness is inveterate in this government and there is no remedy for introducing the order which is desirable in the general interest.
London, the 11th April, 1659.
[Italian.]
April 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
4. To the Resident in England.
Approval of his advices. The ambassador writes from Vienna that good hopes are entertained of peace and that the nuncio of Cologne wrote to Monsignor Caraffa that the Protestants have decided to send a plenipotentiary to the congress at Augsburg. He will endeavour to find out all the particulars about this affair.
Ayes, 105. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
April 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
5. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cardinal returned here from Vincennes on Saturday evening. He saw no one but Pimentelli and the Ambassador Locart, with whom he had long conferences. There are various opinions about Locart and it is difficult to find out the truth. After a long absence from the Court he arrived here by the posts on Wednesday from Dunkirk and on Thursday he went to see the Cardinal at Vincennes in the coach of his Eminence, which came to fetch him, his own equipage not having yet arrived. Immediately on his return to Paris he sent word to the foreign ministers of his arrival. I proposed to visit him, but he pleaded indisposition yesterday, so it was put off. There is no doubt that if the peace does not follow he is here to renew and tighten the alliance between the new Protector and this crown, concerting the enterprises for the coming campaign and the reciprocal advantages for both kingdoms in the event of the war continuing in Flanders. If afterwards the peace comes to be concluded he will watch at closer quarters to see that nothing is arranged to the prejudice of his prince, but with safety on his side also.
Paris, the 15th April, 1659.
[Italian.]
April 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
6. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although parliament has proceeded slowly with its deliberations since it first met, yet in spite of the numerous difficulties raised by opponents everything has proceeded in accordance with the Protector's desires. So it was recently with the question of the upper house, when, after all the disputes and discussions, it was decided that the house of Commons shall treat with those now sitting in the other as with a house of parliament during the present session and that those ancient peers of the realm who remained faithful to the long parliament shall not be excluded from the privilege of being summoned to that house and taking part in it as before, a decision which has greatly delighted the Court and all those who are devoted to his Highness.
Since this decision the time of parliament has been spent in hearing and examining the reports of the committee appointed to consider whether the elections of the members of the house were legitimate, without fraud and in conformity with the constitution. Some were found unlawful and annulled, new elections being ordered in all those places where the proper forms had not been observed.
The military of the three kingdoms finding that after all this time parliament has decided nothing about providing money for the pay which is due to them, the officers have held several meetings on the subject and the day before yesterday they presented a petition to the Protector, signed by many of them, showing the plight to which the armies of England, Scotland and Ireland are reduced for lack of their pay, both infantry and cavalry, but especially the latter, as owing to the great mortality among the horses last year the soldiers suffered the loss of many hundreds of them and were obliged to buy new ones. They beseech his Highness to consider their interests and find some means for satisfying an army which is so devoted to him, so that it may joyfully continue to support the present rule. The petition abounds in expressions showing the esteem, affection and regard of the army for the Protector personally and for all the government as well. In receiving it his Highness, with every sign of good will, expressed his esteem for the officers, referring to them touchingly as old friends of his father and faithful servants of the public interests of these nations. With fair words and promises he contrived to send them away well impressed and full of hope. He must now consider how he can satisfy them, so that they may not be led to take some step which further delay of their pay might easily provoke. It is a very important question and it distresses the Protector not a little.
The wind proving favourable for the fleet to start General Montagu immediately spread his sails and steered in the direction of the Sound. It is believed that he will arrive there very soon and accordingly they are waiting for some news of him. He has no instructions to join issue with any one soever, but to co-operate for an adjustment between the kings of Denmark and Sweden and to observe the behaviour of the Dutch. The latter are not at sea yet with the new forces which they intend to send to the Dane. As the English have acted first it is thought that this may hold them back and prevent them doing anything at all. Time will soon show.
Having obtained a favourable sentence in the lower court about the money in the hands of the merchant Pardini on account of Arson and Dorat and claimed from Corselles here, as already reported, I hoped to get the affair settled last term. I consulted many of the most famous lawyers of this city, but as they advised that the matter was hopeless I decided to abandon the case, to avoid the expense of the superior court. To do so at less charge to the state I tried to get Corselles to refund the costs incurred so far, and that he should recover from Pardini. I think he would willingly have consented, in the hope of receiving the money without further delay, but while the negotiations were proceeding Pardini failed for several thousands of pounds sterling. Thus Corselles will not be able to recover the money, while the bankrupt is at present trying to make a settlement with his creditors and I am disappointed of my hopes.
London, the 18th April, 1659.
[Italian.]
April 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
7. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
These last days I have seen the Ambassador Locart twice in visiting him and at his return. After the first compliments had been paid I touched adroitly upon the question of the peace. Although reluctant to unbosom himself on the subject he said that he supposed it would be concluded between France and Spain, while his own prince might come to it readily and promptly, since his father had entered upon war, not at the instance of France but because of offences committed by the Spaniards against the old princes of England and because of the wrong and contemptuous treatment meted out subsequently by the Spaniards to the whole of the nation in connection with the troubles which arose in England itself. He referred to the objection of the Spaniards to permit the English to trade in Mexico, or to enjoy there or in the other ports of Spain the ancient privileges and the liberty to live according to their religion in their own houses, without being subject to the rigours of the Inquisition.
He said nothing about Dunkirk, whether it will be given up in the peace treaty or if they mean to keep it. So from the obscure and succinct talk of Locart it seems to me that the substance merely served to show that France can conclude peace separately from England, which is what the Cardinal has always contended, asserting as he has, so many times that he has no obligation to the English except to advise them of any negotiations, so that they may be able to take their own measures, and for the rest, that the English are not engaged in negotiations of any kind with the Spaniards. As a final remark to the Ambassador Locart I observed that to establish a good and durable peace in Christendom, that would serve to check the common enemy, it was necessary that it should be universal, for otherwise war might easily be kindled again.
Paris, the 22nd April, 1659.
[Italian.]
April 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
8. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Having much at heart the question of the pay of the army, for which the officers are pressing with much determination and boldness, Cromwell communicated their petition to parliament so that it might find a way to satisfy the troops and ensure the punctual payment of what is due in the future. Accordingly parliament resolved that the army should immediately receive three months' pay (fn. 4) to meet its pressing needs from the money received for excise or the new impost paid by all commodities which are sold in the country, and thus secure the fidelity of the troops and their steady support of the present government.
Besides the point mentioned the petition of the officers contains other particulars, namely that parliament shall give its approval of all that the army has done from 1648 onwards, declaring it just and necessary to deliver the nation from tyranny and oppression. That divers malignants and officers of the late and present Charles Stuart have come from Flanders and hold meetings in the neighbourhood of London, plotting trouble and dissension in the kingdom to destroy the present rule. For this reason they ought to take steps to prevent disorder before it gets a firmer hold and to forestall any encouragement it might receive from the malcontents at home. Parliament is considering questions of such consequence and in order that nothing shall be known of their deliberations upon these they passed a resolution on Wednesday that no member of the house shall open his mouth upon anything whatsoever that passes in its sittings on any manner of question, upon most severe penalties, and forbidding journalists and other newsmongers and printers to publish or print those things which they may happen to find out about the proceedings of parliament, without a special order of parliament itself. It is believed, however, that while many of the members will object to taking the measures desired by the officers, they will all agree unanimously to take steps to prevent disorder, and accordingly it is expected that some night a sudden search will be made in the houses and other places in London for the suspected persons indicated in the petition of the military and a proclamation issued to cause the Catholics and royalists to leave this metropolis. As these are unarmed they cannot attempt anything unless with their tongues, which are indeed very biting, but cannot bring them any of the fruit for which they sigh.
After the resolution to treat with the other house they have been considering the manner in which this should be done. After some discussion it was decided that in all messages sent to the other house and in all conferences with it, the members of the lower house should observe the same respect as was shown to them by those sitting in the upper, and no more, and that all messages transmitted from one house to the other should be taken and reported by the members themselves of the chamber concerned. Thus when the lower house voted that the 18th May next, old style, should be observed as a solemn fast and humiliation before God in all three kingdoms and other places subject to this republic, the resolution was immediately sent to the upper for its consent.
Having learned from letters written by General Montagu of the safe arrival of the fleet in the neighbourhood of the point of Scau, at some distance from the Sound, it is reckoned that by now he will have got there all right, and so they are eagerly waiting to hear.
The minister of Poland (fn. 5) here is still sighing for an audience which he cannot get, and the deputy extraordinary of Denmark (fn. 6) is in the same case. He arrived this week from Holland, where he has resided for several years in the name of his master. The business he brings has not yet transpired but it is probably nothing more than the present differences between Denmark and Sweden and if possible to prevent the English fleet from actively assisting Sweden, but to maintain its neutrality and assist in forwarding an adjustment between those monarchs.
Your Serenity's missives of the 22nd ult. have reached me this week via France with the decision to grant my request to be relieved of this residence. From more recent private letters via Flanders I hear that your Excellencies have chosen my successor and propose to send me to the Swiss. I bow to the decision and shall never spare myself in the service of my country.
London, the 25th April, 1659.
[Italian.]
April 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti
Venetian
Archives.
9. To the Resident in England.
It is important to know where the squadron of General Montagu may be going, because many and various reports are circulating. Upon the expedition of Locart to Paris to find out what is passing between Mazarini and Pimentelli upon the peace between the crowns, you will keep a close watch, to find out, so far as possible, what he writes.
Ayes, 136. Noes, 2. Neutral, 4.
[Italian.]
April 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
10. Alvise Molin, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
It is incredible that the Electors can have delayed so long the notification of Cromwell's assent to the congress of Augsburg with any other object than to fortify their efforts to prevent the emperor from giving succour for Flanders to the Spaniards, the question of peace and war resolving itself ultimately to this point alone. This much is certain, as shown by the date of the letters themselves, that the consent of Cromwell came to the knowledge of the Electors a long time ago. Yet the letters sent with the secretary who came here these last days to seek the passports to send il Plum (fn. 7) to Spain, pretended to have no knowledge upon this point, and now the deception is made manifest.
Vienna, the 26th April, 1659.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 According to the Mercurius Politicus (March 24–31) a petition to prohibit imports from Spain was presented on 25 March o.s. Salvetti also mentions a petition to prohibit imports, presented on Monday (i.e. 7 April N.S.). Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962P. f. 447. Perhaps an anticipation of the petition actually presented on 26 May. See page 31 below.
2 Torn.
3 Spencer Bretton being dead, William Prideaux was chosen in his place at a Court held on 10 March o.s. S.P. For. Archives, Court Book Vol. 151, f. 352.
4 From 29 March to 21 June; voted on 9–19 April. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. vii., p. 634.
5 Geronimo Pinocci.
6 Henry Wishelme Rosenwing.
7 Heinrich Julius Blum, minister of the elector of Mainz.


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