Venice: December 1650

Pages 162-165

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 28, 1647-1652. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1927.

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December 1650

Dec. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
439. To the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
We enclose advices received from Constantinople this week. You will see that the English ambassador has promised the Turks ships of his nation against us. If this should occur it would be totally contrary to the premises and arrangements made between us and the English Levant Company.
As this affair is of the utmost importance to us we desire you to inform Salvetti, the grand duke's minister in London, and urge him to approach the Levant Company and try to prevent an action so injurious to the interests of the most serene republic, God and all Christendom. You will know how to impress upon Salvetti the uprightness and justice of our intent. You may add in particular that our republic has maintained uninterrupted its good relations with the English nation, a thing which the changes of time have not permitted with any other, and so the nation may rest the more assured of our sincere good will at all times. Salvetti is most friendly towards us, so we look for good results from his offices.
Enclose particulars of the quarrels that have taken place between the English and French ambassadors at Constantinople for his information. He is to watch how these incidents are taken at Court there.
Ayes, 133. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
Dec. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
440. Pietro Basadonna, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Every effort is being made to have a considerable fleet in these seas, both that it may act against Catalonia and also encourage the French malcontents. It will also be sent as far as the Terceras, to meet the Indiamen, lest they be attacked by Prince Rupert, who is said to have given manifest signs of hostility at Malaga and Cartagena, as reported, But well informed people believe that this display of fear of Prince Rupert, whose feats have not been so very dreadful after all, is merely intended to palliate the alliance now on the carpet between Spain and the London parliament. This his gone so far that I know on good authority the ministers here contemplate dismissing the ambassadors of the King on the plea that they are spies in the service of Cardinal Mazarini and they reproach them with the fact that Lord Cottington, the head of the mission, is related to a person much in the Cardinal's intimacy. When the courier sent to England returns it will be easier to ascertain the truth. Some say he will bring a treaty already signed. The question of religion made the king doubtful for a long while, but the doctrines of the divines were easily made to correspond with the maxims of state, and they have convinced his Majesty that any sort of assistance is lawful against his own rebels, while he need not hestitate to abandon the cause of his innocent nephew, the king of England, seeing that he is of a different creed. At the same time, if they adopt this policy, it will not be popular, as there is a universal horror for the regicide parliament and the mere germs of a good understanding between that body and this crown are openly condemned, for the Castilians in particular pride themselves on their loyalty, which amounts to a perfect veneration for the monarch. But I believe that the immediate advantages offered will cause these most essential and delicate points to be overlooked, and will also prevent Spain from thinking of hostilities against the Porte.
Madrid, the 11th December, 1650.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
441. Niccolo Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters from Constantinople report that the English ambassador has distributed considerable presents at the Porte in order to obtain the expulsion of the envoy accredited by the king. To this end he has offered ships against the Venetians, and doing his worst against them as well as against the French, he promised positively to send 200,000 sequins to the coast of Barbary to be employed for chartering and building vessels. Although the royal envoy had credentials from the king of France as well as from his own master, he had to yield before the power of the republicans there, who further seized four royalist merchants and after beating them, sent them in irons to Smyrna. (fn. 2) Other acts of hostility have passed between the two factions, and as the royalists are protected by the French ambassador, the quarrels between his countrymen and the republicans are endless.
Vienna, the 17th December, 1650.
Dec. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
442. Pietro Basadonna, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The storm which threatened the affairs of the king of England and his ambassadors has at length burst, in words and deeds of an even more serious character than had been anticipated. An intimation has been made to the ambassadors, desiring them to quit the Court, and they will depart in a few days. I do not know upon what pretexts this decision was palliated as neither party makes them known. Prince Rupert is to be denied entry into Spanish ports as a common pirate and to be treated as an enemy, The king's brother, the Duke of York, now resident in Flanders, will similarly be expelled from that country, if he has not already taken his departure, for he is supposed even now to be on his way towards France. The five Englishmen in prison for the murder of the minister of parliament are to be considered guilty of high treason, and will be condemned to death, though with a reservation touching the right of sanctuary which is to be decided by the tribunal of the nuncio. The guns and other tackle salved at Cartagena from the two vessels captured by Prince Rupert, are to be considered the property of parliament. All these very important changes took place in one day, and not only prove the alliance between this crown and the parliament but also point to open hostility against King Charles II and his interests, the straight and fair path being deserted for that of profit and advantage.
The articles arranged or to be arranged with the parliament are reported variously. Some believe that the English merely bind themselves to continue the war against Portugal and not to make terms with France, while others say that in the spring 25 of their ships are to come and join the Spanish fleet in aid of all such undertakings as may be agreed upon. Others again maintain that Spain has condescended to the recognition without any hope whatever of profit, but from sheer dread of the insolence of the parliament. Two very striking examples of this have been afforded recently. In the first place they refused to receive the king's letter of excuse about the murder of their minister, and protested to the Ambassador Cardenas that they would take their revenge on him unless they received the satisfaction they claimed within a certain period. In the second the commander of the parliament fleet, when off the port of Cadiz, was invited by the Duke of Medina Celi to enter and avail himself of every convenience. The unusually arrogant answer sent was that he would accept the offer but that he did not mean to lower his flag or salute the fortress. In spite of this the duke made preparations for his reception and treated him with extraordinary marks of esteem and courtesy. (fn. 3) A very short while will suffice to show the real state of affairs as well as what is anticipated from this union, and possibly it will be seen that fear had as great a share as interest in inducing Spain to take this step.
Madrid, the 21st December, 1650.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Dec. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
443. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The king of England fearing that the nobility or the sectaries meant to play him some trick, contemplated escaping from their hands by retiring to the Orkney Islands, but this being discovered, he is at present under guard, although not formally so, the blame for the decision being laid on Buckingham and others of his following, who have been beheaded. The Scots at present have an army of over 25,000 combatants to give battle to the English. Although Cromuell's force is greatly inferior in numbers, they speak in London with such confidence of victory that prudent men fear there must be some agreement with the Scottish nobility to destroy the king utterly. Here the queen, his mother, is in great anxiety and the rest of the Court is very apprehensive about it.
Paris, the 27th December, 1650.
Dec. 31.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
444. To the Ambassador in France.
There are persistent reports that the English parliamentary resident at the Porte is supplying ships and assistance to the Turks. We suppose you have written to Salvetti about seeing that the agreement with the Company is respected. It is desirable also to pass some office with the parliamentarians themselves. There should be, at that Court, some agent or correspondent of the parliament available. We think you could easily find out about this. Through such a person, or through others whom you know to be suitable, you will contrive to convey to parliament itself our most friendly sentiments and also our most legitimate desire to see a stop put to operations which cannot be other than injurious to Christendom, displeasing to Almighty God and contrary to Christian piety and charity. You will try to make this clear to the individual and so facilitate through his means the benefit which we ask with so much reason.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.


  • 1. Printed by Barozzi and Berchet : Relazioni Venete. Inghilterra, page 345.
  • 2. Three persons were sent home with Hyde. See note at page 159 above.
  • 3. No doubt referring to Blake's visit in October.