Venice
July 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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37-47

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'Venice: July 1659', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 32: 1659-1661 (1931), pp. 37-47. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90046 Date accessed: 17 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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July 1659

July 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
37. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
From my previous despatches the Senate will have learned the course of events here and there is nothing to add because nothing has happened since and parliament has done nothing of consequence. The days have been spent solely in passing bills for the continuation of the taxes with the addition of some extraordinary ones to enable sufficient money to be collected for the prompt payment of the troops, who clamour and grumble because short of their pay. But it is doubtful if these will realise as much as they wish as the people are too exhausted in meeting the ordinary charges, which are very heavy.
The assembly has been labouring many weeks at an act of indemnity, but is unable to complete and finish it off owing to the differences which crop up about it. Some wish it to be general and extended to all who supported the acts of the late Protectors and to everyone else. Others claim that there ought to be some exceptions, and that they should never grant pardon to Turloe, the late secretary of state, who backed up Oliver in all his actions, being entirely dependent on him, and who has no friends, or to many others, among whom in particular is the lieutenant of the Tower, Barkster, who has committed the cruellest and most barbarous acts imaginable against the prisoners, so that parliament recently drove him out and put another in his place to the intense satisfaction of all London. (fn. 1)
Because all the ministers accredited to foreign princes by the Protectors were the creatures of the Secretary Turloe, raised to those positions out of nothing, and because they do not want any one connected with him to have a share in any sort of office any longer, it is proposed to remove them all. They have already begun to do this as parliament has recalled Douning, the resident in Holland, and directed the council of state to appoint another to succeed him. They will deal with others in the same way and something has been said about bringing back the ambassador at Constantinople and choosing another in his place. It seems that Flemingh the present master of the ceremonies, aspires to that post. I will keep on the watch to secure any advantage for the most serene republic if he is appointed, as if one may trust what he is constantly saying, he is deeply grateful to the Senate and very devoted.
But God knows if they will have time for all that they mean to do, as if the government change, and there is every appearance of it, all will be left immature and unsettled. It is indeed impossible for the present state of affairs to last as there is a universal feeling of disgust and all men express their personal sentiments in an indecent manner in broadsheets without the slightest reserve, and nothing is suppressed. Those who govern, themselves admit the impossibility of going on for long. I myself have heard some members of parliament say that since this people is accustomed to monarchical government, they will have to fall back upon it in the end or else they cannot persist. Everyone is astonished that King Charles delays so long in making a move as the longer he allows these fellows to get a footing the greater the resistance he will encounter when he does venture and if he loses the present favourable opportunity it may be a long time before another equally advantageous presents itself. In such case one would have to believe that this nation has not yet suffered enough for the sins committed and that God will not yet grant this boon to the distressed house of Stuart, for though men propose, it is He who disposes.
The commissioners for Ireland are not yet moving. It is announced that complete quiet prevails in that country, but this delay and the non-appearance of Henry after the orders sent by parliament, although there has been ample time, makes one withhold belief until there is better evidence, especially as the announcement of tranquillity does not give any details, which are necessary before one can credit it.
In Scotland there is certainly some disturbance, but it is impossible to find out definitely whether it is serious or what it amounts to; all private letters from that country are detained and of the public ones they only publish what they like, suppressing the truth and trying by falsehood to keep things hushed up as much as possible for reasons which are well known to everybody.
There is nothing further about Montagu's fleet either, and with the uncertainty about this, with Scotland and Ireland in the balance and England utterly disillusioned the Senate in its wisdom will understand what to expect and how much stability can be looked for in such a state of affairs.
When Colonel Locart was crossing the sea on his way back to Dunkirk he fell in with privateers of Ostend and witnessed the capture of a barque by them, containing many of his household and all his baggage as well as a sum of money. If he had not been on another vessel he himself would have fallen a victim to those pirates.
The two envoys extraordinary of Sweden had audience yesterday morning of the council of state, acting for parliament. After the presentation of the new credentials and the usual compliments the younger delivered a very long harangue in Latin upon the affairs of his master, with reflections on the Dutch, the Danes, the Poles, Brandenburg and the house of Austria, endeavouring to win over his hearers to the side of the Swede. (fn. 2)
The Ambassador Bordeos has unquestionably had new credentials, but on some question of punctilio about his reception he puts off presenting them. But his hanging back is attributed to another motive, namely the instability of the present government, especially as there is a universal expectation of change at any moment. So he wants to wait and see what will happen before he takes this step, so that if what is anticipated and what men discuss publicly takes place, to wit, the return of the king, it will not be necessary to recognise the parliament. What amount of truth there is in these suppositions will appear in due time.
To obtain information upon the depositions made in the Admiralty Court in the case against the Captain General Morosini and Admiral Priuli I sent some one incognito on Wednesday at the hour appointed to hear it all and report to me, but nothing was done that day and I cannot find out when it will be taken.
London, the 4th July, 1659.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
38. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Locart has appeared here unexpectedly, but left again after an interview with the Cardinal. The ministers here, though none of them saw him, believe that he is charged by parliament to have England included in the treaty of peace, upon the conditions which he secretly brought with him and which will proceed step by step with the negotiations unfolded with the Cardinal.
Moret, the 8th July, 1659.
[Italian.]
July 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
39. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
As parliament has attended to nothing this week except the act of indemnity without coming to any decision, for the reasons already given, nothing has happened here of the slightest consequence, so I ask the Senate to excuse the brevity of these lines, which is also due to my indifferent health since Monday, caused by the uncertain climate, which does not suit my constitution and is capable of bringing down the most robust quite soon. With care I hope to be free from pain in a few days.
They continue to issue the same reports about Ireland, Scotland and the fleet at the Sound, but nothing definite can be learned. But it is probable that things are not going well and they are apprehensive here as they have ordered fresh levies of men from each of the counties, and to keep the sharpest possible look out to prevent their being taken by surprise. There are extraordinary reports of Dunkirk but I think it better to keep them back for further confirmation, which I cannot obtain in my present condition.
When Locart reached Dunkirk he went on immediately to Paris, and then took the post to find Cardinal Mazarini and confer with him upon some matters with which he was charged by parliament before he started. It is impossible to find out what they are but it is probable that they are concerned with the present peace affairs.
The Dutch ambassador has frequent and intimate conferences with the deputies of parliament to obtain confirmation of the treaty of agreement made between his masters and the late Oliver, and he continues sanguine. The Swedish envoys also are frequently with the commissioners delegated by the assembly, conferring upon the present affairs of the North.
The plenipotentiaries for the Sound, already appointed, are about to start. Their commissions and credentials have been passed in parliament both being signed by the president, the former sealed with the great device of England, the other with that of the council of state, differing only in its size. When I am able to leave the house I will try to find out their contents and inform the Senate.
The French ambassador was to have had audience of parliament one day recently. Everything required for his rank was ready at the appointed hour, but at the moment when he was about to leave his house some question of punctilio arose and he refused to go. It is stated that the point was that parliament only appointed three members to attend him, the same as for Holland. He claimed to have more as there ought to be a difference between Holland and France. But as the arrangement was made on the morning of the day preceding that fixed for the audience everyone is amazed at the point being raised at such a time. It is believed to be a trick behind which other mysteries are hidden. Various opinions are expressed, and time will show which are right.
London, the 11th July, 1659.
[Italian.]
July 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
40. To the Resident in England.
You will keep an eye on the resolution taken with regard to peace between Sweden and Denmark, and on negotiations with Spain also. We shall be glad to have some account of the resolutions taken concerning the person of the late Protector.
A richly laden English ship for Constantinople was stopped at the Dardanelles by the Captain of the Ships, Contarini, but was allowed to continue its voyage out of regard for the nation. The resident at the Porte has expressed great appreciation of this. The information is sent to be used for advices.
Ayes, 99. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
July 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
41. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Having come up with the Cardinal at Poitiers the Ambassador Locart obtained from him a most lengthy audience, the result of which has not yet transpired. He was subsequently dismissed by his Eminence who referred him to the Count of Brienne here for the replies and resolutions, being unwilling to give these at the conference, so as to give the Spaniards no kind of reason for jealousy or suspicion.
Moret, the 15th July, 1659.
[Italian.]
July 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
42. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have been confined to my bed the whole week; the pain over the whole body finally settled in the right knee and turned to gout, so the physicians tell me, causing me much suffering. I am therefore unable to write much and crave the indulgence of the Senate.
The affairs of Ireland are proceeding well for this state as Henry has submitted to the pleasure of parliament, resigning the government of that country into the hands of two of the five commissioners appointed to superintend it, (fn. 3) who are now there. He has returned to England and, appearing in parliament the day before yesterday, gave a full account of the state in which he had left affairs there. Nevertheless their apprehensions persist as nothing definite is heard of Scotland or of Montagu's fleet. They must be greatly afraid of him as these last days they have had his house searched as well as his cabinet, and carried away a lot of papers.
Parliament has spent its time this week also on the act of indemnity without result so far. They are now preparing a most strenuous edict against the royalists and Catholics, being much afraid of some imminent disturbance, since it is published everywhere that the Presbyterians are shortly to attempt some revolution. As these are exceedingly numerous and powerful there is every probability of some disturbance, and as there is no sort of settlement and a greater confusion of opinion prevails than ever, in the expectation of some uproar at almost any moment, parliament is trying to devise ways to prevent disturbances. This will not be easy especially as it is coming out that the military are not altogether satisfied, not only because they are still short of pay, but because of the changes of the officers, which is constantly happening, and for other reasons as well.
As the royalists are standing together with the Presbyterians and other malcontent sectaries, and fearing a sudden and unexpected invasion, the other night (fn. 4) they had search made in all the stables of London and seized a number of horses, making a note of the names of the owners to show whom they had to fear most. Some persons have also been arrested under suspicion, but they say all these precautions will avail nothing and that we shall soon see great changes. It is exceedingly likely but we must wait for time to show.
It being decided to send a squadron of 12 ships to the Channel to secure their coasts, and being unable to get crews to man them, parliament has passed an act to compel the river boatmen and other sailors from merchantmen to supply the need. (fn. 5) They have begun to carry this into effect but meet with great difficulties as the boatmen object to such compulsion, make a great outcry, curse those responsible and beat those who try to take them. This also serves to exasperate the people and makes them eager to escape from their present slavery, and so we hear all the common people crying for the coming of King Charles.
There have been such disturbances between the superior and inferior soldiers at Dunkirk and Mardich because they were not paid that there has been talk here of a mutiny among the troops and the surprise of the places by the Spaniards. The government has been much disturbed and perplexed and immediately sent 4000l. sterling to those parts. We hear that with the payment of a portion of what is due to the troops quiet has been completely restored.
The plenipotentiaries for the Sound left on Monday. Their instructions are to use all their endeavour to bring about the adjustment between Denmark and Sweden. More cannot be known, but it is probable that they also are supplied with some instructions about Montagu's fleet.
Denmark and Holstein have now received new credentials for the parliament which has directed the council of state to give them audience, but this is delayed because of the multiplicity of important affairs that body has in hand.
London, the 18th July, 1659.
[Italian.]
July 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Constantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
43. Giovanni Battista Ballabino, Venetian Secretary at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
Report of peace concluded between the crowns of France and Spain.
The English ambassador proceeds with the utmost circumspection. He says little about the peace, affecting either not to credit it, or to attach no importance to its consequences. He tells the Turks plainly that the arms of the French will never be sincerely united with those of the Spaniards and those of your Serenity; and in short that the Spaniards and French will look after their private advantages; nothing more. He cultivates the most friendly relations with the Grand Vizier, indeed I noticed that immediately this news came from Leghorn and Ragusa, his Excellency went to audience of the Caimecam and Bostangi Pashas. I have not succeeded in finding out exactly what he talked about but from appearances I am persuaded that there was nothing of note upon the carpet except the present matter. The day before yesterday he unexpectedly sent his first dragoman Draperis to Bursia, on the pretext of procuring commands for the consuls at the Turkish marts, but in fact there is no apparent need for this and every one believes that having received letters from Leghorn on this matter of the peace, his excellency sent to communicate it to the Grand Vizier, to show he was not mistrustful.
Constantinople, the 18th July, 1659.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
44. To the Resident in England.
Approval of his action in refusing to appear at the Admiralty Court about the ship Angelo. This is a matter which should be dealt with between Prince and Prince. When any one of the government refers to the subject he is to try and get the prejudice stopped.
Ayes, 132. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
July 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
45. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
With regard to the policy of France towards England the troubles of the latter facilitate peace and reports of them are inevitably received with satisfaction. Apart from compliments and generalities they have not committed themselves in the slightest way to the king or queen of England, and they seem to have no inclination to do so, for if France made war on England for the restoration of that king it would involve serious expenditure without the hope of profit therefrom. Secondly the present distracted state of England is more advantageous and safer for France than if they saw her under her king or united among themselves in a republic, as would assuredly happen if they saw themselves attacked from abroad. Moreover the ministers here recall the pretensions and assistance given by the late king to La Rochelle and the Huguenots, and they are not pleased with the behaviour of the present king, declaring that during the war between the two crowns he should have withdrawn to Germany and not to the house of the Spaniards, in fine they calculate that a republic is less apt for enterprises than a king, especially one newly formed for all the above reasons, and in the present state of affairs it is not believed that the king of England will receive the smallest assistance.
Moret, the 22nd July, 1659.
[Italian.]
July 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
46. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Fresh examples occur every day to confirm the inconstancy and instability which are notorious from the remarkable changes that have taken place in the course of a few years. All the commotion made by the military of late to destroy the rule of a single person now seems to be devoted to restoring such a government. A fortnight ago I wrote that parliament had resolved to establish a new militia for each county. (fn. 6) The orders touching London are already issued, and all the others will be like them. Certain persons are nominated as commissioners, who are charged to assemble all the well affected persons of the city and district, considered capable of bearing arms, arm them, form them into companies and regiments, drill them and have them ready for any emergencies that may arise and which are feared to be imminent. As this is to be done in every county of the kingdom they will soon have together a large force capable of resisting any shock and of repelling any hostile force.
The old soldiers interpret the decision to form a new army as an indication of mistrust of themselves and understanding that when this force is an accomplished fact they will be gradually disbanded, they are much incensed and are thinking how they can manage to prevent it happening. All the officers are meeting together and cause parliament great apprehension. From fear of being suddenly dissolved they are hastening over their most important decisions and announce that they will separate in a few days for a short time leaving the council of state in charge of affairs.
The intention of the military is actually to dissolve parliament, but before carrying this out they consider it necessary to decide what form of government to set up. There seems a disposition to entrust it to a single person. Proposals have been made to restore Richard to the post taken from him two months ago, to elevate Lambert to the Protectorate or to recall the king. For three or four days the military have been in consultation and at prayer, hoping for some inspiration to guide them to the best decision. Against recalling the king is the certainty for those officers enriched by the goods of the crown and the royalists, of being at once dispossessed of everything, as well as the consideration that the army will not get the pay that is due to it. For the rest there is not much objection to restoring Richard. They say that being poor spirited he will be more under control and can be directed as the army desires. Lambert is desired by the troops, but it is feared that he would abuse the trust and would presume too much.
All this goes to show how far this government is likely to enjoy stability. The confusion is greater than ever, both from the constant stream of rumours of the king's coming and because they fear and momentarily expect some insurrection in favour of his Majesty contrived by the Presbyterians and fomented and supported by his partisans and by the other malcontents. Thus in addition to the orders issued for the immediate expulsion from the kingdom of those persons suspected of belonging to the royal party, as from next Saturday, one sees nothing but guards at every corner of the city and troops of horse patrolling night and day, to guard against anything happening. But there is bound to be something and it is probable that Charles will make some attempt at this excellent opportunity, though the result can only be known to God. He has a sufficient number of troops with him, he is not without friends here nor is he destitute of funds. I know for certain that
36,000l. sterling, all in gold was recently sent to him from England, which would suffice for the passage. Once he has crossed the sea he can have as much money as he pleases as the nobility satiated with the present tyrannical form of government, would supply him with open arms.
The government is certainly very apprehensive of the king making some stroke as I have heard one of the members of the council itself say that they know full well that the present state of affairs cannot possibly go on for long, since it has no foundations of any sort, but they will keep it going as long as they can for appearance sake if for nothing else. But they expect to see it cast down at any moment. Thus they turned out of Whitehall all the persons who were living there, but when parliament offered quarters in the palace to some of its own members and to the council of state, most of them refused to go there with their households, but for the sake of courtesy they take a room and merely put a bed in it to sleep there, saying openly that they will not go there in any other way in order not to be turned out after a few days, after all the trouble and expense.
Such is the present condition of England, and in a little while we shall see what other form it will take. I will keep my eyes open and report faithfully.

London, the 25th July, 1659.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
47. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Colonel Henry Cromwell came from Ireland to London and reported the state of affairs there, obtaining permission to retire to the country. He did so this week in which Mr. Ludlou, M.P. has been appointed and despatched to the island with the title of Lieutenant-General and commander-in-chief of all the forces there. The government remains in the hands of the two commissioners until their three colleagues are ready to proceed to their charge.
By virtue of an order of parliament for evacuating Whitehall palace, the late Protector Richard, who has stayed on there after his fall, has been obliged to leave. Being loaded with debts, his father's as well as his own, and fearing some insult from his creditors, who are on the watch to have him arrested and imprisoned on his leaving Whitehall, he obtained an assurance from parliament that he shall not be molested by anyone for six months. So he has gone and proceeded to the country to resume the life he led before his father's death, that is to say in hunting and in similar diversions which the country allows.
An act of indemnity has been passed at last after a labour of many weeks and came from the press the day before yesterday. It contains a general pardon for all those who supported the late Protectors. No one is excepted apart from the debtors to the state and those who received any sort of title from Cromwell, these being annulled absolutely.
It becomes increasingly difficult to obtain sailors, as the boatmen and others whom they try to press by force object strongly. This causes the government no little annoyance and it is considering how it may supply the need with less noise to avoid irritating the people, already incensed by the taxes demanded of them, which they absolutely refuse to pay.
They are eagerly waiting for some news of the results of the efforts of the plenipotentiaries sent to the Sound, hoping that the adjustment may follow without further delay, unless the decision of Denmark not to agree to any treaty that does not include the allies should delay this result.
The French ambassador, after refusing to go to audience, as reported, has said nothing more on the subject. Yet there has been time since the incident to have heard from his king telling him what to do. It is supposed that his consciousness of the instability of the present government restrains him and prevents him asking for another. The council of state gave audience on Wednesday morning to the deputy extraordinary of Denmark, and parliament yesterday morning to the ambassador of Portugal. These care nothing about a precipitate recognition of the government, because of their own particular interests, and they take no heed to what may happen afterwards.
London, the 25th July, 1659.
[Italian.]
July 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
48. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Locart presented himself to their Majesties last week and was received as the ambassadors of crowned heads are. He presented three letters, from parliament, Flitud and a person unknown. He assured their Majesties of the friendliness of the present government of England, and their desire to continue the alliance. With the ministers he tactfully complained about the intention of the Prince to join himself with the king of England, which he supposed would be without the knowledge of the king and that at the conclusion of the peace his Majesty would prevent him from doing so. He left directly afterwards for Bayonne to confer with the Cardinal and treat with him of the peace, though it is not yet quite clear in what way the English mean to deal with it.
Moret, the 29th July, 1659.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Berkstead was arrested on 7 June o.s. at the suit of Maj.-Gen. Overton. Col. Thomas Fitch was appointed Lieutenant of the Tower on 10 June o.s. Mercurius Politicus, June 2–9, 9–10, Cal. S.P. Dom. 1658–9, page 370.
2 The two envoys were George Fleetwood and John Frederick von Frisendorff, their letters of credence were dated 31 May, 1659. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962P, f. 483d. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1658–9, page 385.
3 Miles Corbett and William Steele. Cal. S.P. Ireland 1647–60, page 862.
4 Salvetti writing on the same date says last night, i.e. 17 July. Brit Mus. Add. MSS. 27962P, f. 191.
5 Act for impressing Seamen of 25 June, o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1658–9, page 389.
6 The Act for settling the Militia was finally passed on 26 July, o.s. Journal of the House of Commons, Vol. vii., page 734. See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1659–60, page 42.


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