Venice: March 1651

Pages 171-176

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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March 1651

March 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
463. Pietro Basadonna, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassadors of the king of England leave Madrid tomorrow. Don Robert Hais, (fn. 1) one of them, is going in haste to Scotland through France to join his master, while the old Lord Cottington will remain at Valladolid, there to end his days in the exercise of the Catholic religion. He has always followed it in secret and has now made open profession to the nuncio and to the king himself, who promised him the aid requested for his maintenance at Valladolid. This confirms that the dismissal was due to the alliance of the Cabinet here with the parliament, as otherwise they might as well have allowed Lord Cottington to live at Madrid. But no result is as yet perceptible from the negotiations, and last week when a courier arrived from London all the private letters were detained for the sake, it is supposed, of concealing the negotiations of the Portuguese minister, which undoubtedly render them very jealous.
Although two sentences have been passed in favour of the prisoners, they are still in the same position, the Fiscal having appealed to the third sentence, which is being studiously delayed, to avoid giving offence either to church or parliament, such as is inevitable the moment it is promulgated.
Madrid, the 4th March, 1651.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 10.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
464. The Resident of the king of England came into the Collegio, and apologising for his imperfect knowledge of Italian handed the following Memorial to the secretary.
The doge said, We rejoice to hear of his Majesty's successes and hope soon to have good news and that God will favour his just cause, giving him the means to destroy all the rebels. The Resident said he had made the communication in the confidence that it would give pleasure to his Serenity and to the republic. After the usual reverences he went out.
The Memorial.
I have not appeared recently because I had nothing of importance to communicate, and with the king's affairs improving insensibly I thought it difficult to communicate his designs before seeing the issue. The Divine favour and his Majesty's ability have overcome all the internal factions of Scotland, which is entirely devoted to him. They have sworn fealty to him at his coronation, he is made general of an army of 50,000 combatants and determined to assume his other crowns, and it would seem that Heaven is beginning to favour his most just cause. In a reconnaissance of cavalry near Edinburgh 1,400 horse and 800 foot of the rebels were slain and taken, including the son of that arch traitor Cromuell. I did not think that such happy events should be concealed from the knowledge of the republic, which has always embraced the interests of my distressed sovereign.
Thomas Chiligreus, Resident.
March 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
465. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch have decided to recognise the English republic, whence a stately embassy extraordinary is being sent to the Hague. (fn. 2) The States are contemplating sending one equally rich and conspicuous to London in reply. Nothing is said here on the subject. We learn that a fleet of ten ships of war has sailed from London to join the Spanish fleet at San Sebastian. It is stated this is to attack Dunkirk, in which case it seems that the English offer to assist the Catholic with 10,000 foot as well.
Paris, the 14th March, 1651.
March 16.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
466. Agreement made with Captain Christopher Page for the hire of his ship the Soldorato, carrying 60 sailors and 24 guns, for war service.
Approved in the Senate on the 16th March.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
March 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
467. Pietro Basadonna, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The delivery of the queen is expected in May, and an apartment is being prepared for the future prince. (fn. 3) One of the Majordomos of his Majesty told me, either confidentially or from inadvertence, that they are expecting considerable presents of linen from England for this occasion.
Madrid, the 17th March, 1651.
468. Pietro Basadonna, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Among the advices from Constantinople supplied to me by Sig. Sagredo, I remarked the negotiations of the ambassador from the parliament with the Turks and their endeavour to obtain ships to reinforce their fleet. Considering this a question of the first importance I mentioned the subject to Don Luis. Knowing the intimate relations between this government and the parliament and the value that one puts upon the offices of the other, I told him I did not have the news from my government or any instructions thereon, indeed I imagined that your Serenity, like myself, would consider so scandalous an outrage impossible, but as a measure of precaution it would well become his Majesty's zeal to notify the report to Don Alonso di Cardenas, his ambassador in London, so that should the necessity arise he might represent how disagreeable such a proceeding would prove to his king and how odious it would render the republican government to all the Christian powers.
Madrid, the 17th March, 1651.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 24.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
469. The Resident of England came into the Collegio and presented two Memorials, which were read. He did not add anything orally.
The doge said they were gratified by the advices and wished the king every success. They would consider the matter of the consul. The Resident made a gesture of assent and after bowing, went out.
Eight months ago I recommended one Pietro Antonio Grillo, a Greek, as English consul for the islands of Zante, Cephalonia and Corfu. On going to take up his charge he was cold shouldered by the nation as being a foreigner and not well informed about his duties. The whole English nation living in those islands has now chosen for consul Henry Campion, an Englishman, (fn. 4) and has asked me to approach your Serenity so that he may be put in possession of that consulship. I therefore ask your Serenity to be pleased to admit him as consul and cause him to be recognised as such by the ministers of the republic.
Thomas Chiligreus, Resident.
Venice, the 23rd March, 1651.
That the Five Savii alia Mercanzia answer upon this memorial and give their opinion on oath, according to the law.
The friendly reception of my news last week encourages me to confirm it and report further events. In Ireland the royalist party has made itself master of the open country, slaying most of the enemy cavalry, capturing several places of great importance and killing in the action three commanders who condemned the late king to death.
The king is daily increasing his forces in Scotland, with notable hurt to the rebels, who are menaced by the loyalists in England. I have positive information that 23 Swedish and Danish ships have arrived in Scotland with money, men and munitions of war. From England ships with cargoes are constantly getting away, while many faithful subjects escape by land, so in a little while we hope to see his Majesty in a position to recognise his obligations to your Serenity and this republic.
H. R. H. the Duke of Tore, (fn. 5) the king's brother, has gone to France by his Majesty's order, to sail from there to take command of the armies in Ireland.
Thomas Chiligreus, Resident.
Venice, the 23rd March, 1651.
March 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
470. Pietro Basadonna, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
In conformity with my last I must now add that the king has sent orders to his ambassador in London to use his utmost endeavour to ascertain what arrangements may have been made between the parliament and the Porte, and to obtain the repeal of such instructions as are suspected to have been given for naval assistance to the Turks, by issuing notices at the Turkish harbours forbidding English vessels from serving against Christians, representing to parliament the odium it woidd draw on itself from all Europe, at the outset of its career, when popularity is so desirable.
The Secretary, Girolamo della Torre, read me the letter itself, which runs strongly in this strain, impressing on the ambassador that he must treat the matter as one affecting the Spanish crown itself and not a mere form. A stronger representation could not be desired, and I hope to forward a copy later. Yesterday I thanked Don Luis and reminded him about writing to the Duke of Medina Celi to keep an eye on the parliament squadron, which is expected at Cadiz. (fn. 6) He promised to do so this very day, but added that he had no reason to suspect that those ships were going to the Levant. I asked him to reassure me by telling me something of their projects. He told me he thought they would remain on the coast of Portugal, but he said it in such a way as to give me good reason to believe that there may be some understanding between them on the subject. In any case I keep my correspondents at Cadiz and Seville on the alert to acquaint me with every detail.
Besides this I have now to announce the expected arrival of a minister here who is to take up his residence in ordinary at this Court. (fn. 7) I do not know what character he will assume, though I suppose he means to appear as ambassador, for he is coming in state and with considerable presents. Among these are said to be rich tapestries and very valuable paintings, the property of the unfortunate king, whose furniture is now being sold in London by public auction. Don Luis has made considerable remittances to Cardenas that he may purchase the best pictures, statutes and arras. He has already begun to do so, one exquisite set of hangings having arrived, of incomparable design and delicacy, representing the acts of the Apostles, which were sold as cheaply as if they had been of plain cloth. I shall be glad of the instructions of the Senate to regulate my intercourse with this minister, as I am quite in the dark as to what may have passed between the most serene republic and the parliament or what your Excellencies' intentions may be in the matter. Despatch is necessary, as should he arrive before I get such instructions I should be greatly embarrassed, especially as I can have no help from my colleagues, for the nuncio and the imperial ambassador, who aspires to the red hat, will certainly not associate with him, whereas if I keep aloof also, it will militate against what we are endeavouring to effect in London through the medium of the Spanish ambassador. If the new comer merely has the title of Resident, the difficulty would be less, as persons of that rank may be treated with less ceremony and I might contrive to delay the matter for some days ; but I believe he is coming as ambassador, since Cardenas was received in that capacity at his first audience, when Spain dropped the mask and formally acknowledged the supremacy of the parliament. It seems highly probable that the English will seize this opportunity for assuming equality and returning the compliment in the same form.
Madrid, the 28th March, 1651.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Enclosure. 471. The King of Spain to Don Alonso de Cardenas, his Ambassador in England.
It is understood that an ambassador from the parliament sent to Constantinople proposed an offensive and defensive alliance to the Porte, offering, if required, naval assistance against the republic of Venice. If this be correct it would prove most prejudicial to all the Christian powers and myself in particular, by reason of my long friendship with the Venetians and also because of the extreme advantage which may and does accrue to the general welfare by maintaining them in their grade and prosperity. These considerations, coupled with propriety and my wish for the quiet of Venice, induce me to charge you to represent the matter to the parliament and the Council of State so as to obtain correct information. You will also do your utmost to induce the parliament to maintain a very good understanding with the republic, obtaining the recall of any orders of a contrary nature and recommending the Council of State to forbid English vessels in Turkish harbours from entering the service of the Porte. You will represent these matters to the Council of State in my name, taking heed to inform me of what you may learn about the business, of which you will not lose sight.
Dated the 24th March, 1651.


  • 1. Sir Edward Hyde.
  • 2. Oliver St. John and Walter Strickland ; they received their instructions on the 1/11 February.
  • 3. The child was a girl, Margareta Theresa, born the 12th July.
  • 4. The appointment of Henry Campion to act as factor, not consul, at Zante was approved at a court of the Levant Company held in November, 1651. S.P. For. Archives, Vol. 151.
  • 5. i.e. York.
  • 6. Penn's squadron was there on the 10th March, N.S. G. Penn : Memoirs of William Penn, Vol. I, page 330.
  • 7. The government decided on 24 Feb., O.S., to send an ambassador to Spain, and referred this appointment to the Council of State. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1651, page 58. Salvetti on the 10th March. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS., 27962n. From subsequent references to the matter by Salvetti (on 17th March, etc.) it seems that the resolution was not carried into effect because of the failure of the Spanish government to give satisfaction in the matter of Ascham.