Venice: May 1651

Pages 179-181

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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May 1651

May 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
481. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English do not fail to encourage the Bordelais with the most substantial promises of assistance and by pointing out to them the advantage which existing conditions might afford them, in which the city would indeed be considerable, above all the other parliaments of the kingdom.
There is a report from Toulon that 17 English ships have fired heavily on ships at anchor there in sight of the town, and have also captured two French vessels at sea, worth 200,000 crowns, intending in this way to compensate themselves for past injuries, without discussing the matter civilly in this city. (fn. 1)
The fears about an alliance between the English and Dutch are apparently vanishing here. It is true that the Dutch agreed to the first point about a single religion and to the second on freedom of trade, but they definitely declined the third for an offensive and defensive alliance, on the ground of the diversity of interests and the embarrassing position of England before the republic is thoroughly established and generally recognised.
A person of high rank has been to offer on hire five of Prince Rupert's ships, armed with 200 musketeers each and ready to sail. He said he would be ready to sell them in the same condition. I did not accept this offer perceiving that it would only lead to serious trouble between the English and your Serenity, since the English claim that these ships belong to them, and on this assumption they have treated with Portugal, as related before.
Paris, the 2nd May, 1651.
May 6.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
482. To the Ambassador in Spain.
To present letters thanking the king for his instructions to the Ambassador Cardenas about English ships serving the Turks. To try and keep the king in a favourable disposition and to have the orders repeated. The serious importance of the matter requires that no opening or office shall be neglected that is likely to be of use. He will also speak to the ambassadors of the parliament there in the manner and form that may seem proper to the dignity of the republic. He will say that the republic feels sure that their ships will not help the Turks. The religious zeal and piety of their government give that assurance. He will represent that it would be a most serious impropriety to see the forces of England and those of the Turk united and it would amount to a contradiction of the piety which has always been shown by that most noble nation. He will hint, as coming from himself, that the republic will not be averse, always provided that the first move comes from them, to take steps for open expression of the esteem and affection which they feel for the parliament in the same manner as other princes have done the same, with anything more that he considers appropriate.
Ayes, 112. Noes, 2. Neutral, 11.
May 9.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
483. To the Ambassador in Spain.
On the arrival of the new ambassador of that parliament you will have to regulate your behaviour towards him precisely in accordance with the manner in which he is received and treated by the Court. You will do so with the object of leading up to the most perfectly friendly relations, and so that you may be able subsequently to carry out the instructions contained in the preceding despatch.
It is highly important to watch the proceedings of the English parliament ships. You will devote your careful attention to this in the future and report to us.
Ayes, 110. Noes, 1. Neutral, 11.
May 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Zante. Venetian Archives.
484. Andrea Corner, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
There are four English warships in the port. Two of these, according to the captains, are on convoy duty, sent with six others, all belonging to the parliament, to go against the French and to escort their merchantmen. The English merchants here say that the commanders may claim to receive the salute. I shall be glad of instructions.
Zante, the 5th May, 1651, old style.
Enclosure. 485. Deposition of the Board of Health, of the 5th May.
William Ran and Walter Artan, captains of the ships Angelo and Antonio Buonaventura, (fn. 2) from Leghorn, say that they were sent as a convoy with six ships armed by parliament against the French and Prince Rupert, and to serve as a convoy for merchantmen.
May 27.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
486. To the Ambassador in France.
You did well to avoid committing yourself in any way over the offer of the armed ships made on behalf of the Palatine Prince Rupert. It is not consonant with our interests in any respect to give ear to this proposal for reasons which are very well known to your prudence.
Ayes, 113. Noes, 6. Neutral, 7.
May 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Zante. Venetian Archives.
487. Andrea Corner, Venetian Proveditore at Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Great anxiety is still felt lest three English ships now in this port should inflict some harm on certain French tartane which are here, two of them lading foodstuffs for Candia. I have not neglected to make the fullest representations on the subject to the English captains, consul and merchants to prevent any mischief being done, and so far I have explicit promises that no harm shall be done them, so I hope the results will bear this out.
Zante, the 19th May, 1651, old style.


  • 1. Penn's Journal makes no mention of any attack on Toulon, but records the capture on the 19/29 April of the Great Alexander of Toulon. He was cruising off the Balearic Islands at the time. G. Penn : Memorials of Sir William Penn, Vol. I, page 333. His squadron consisted of seven ships of war. Id., page 317.
  • 2. The Angel (William Rand) and Anthony Bonadventure (Walter Hoxton) of 450 tons each were hired for 8 or 12 months' service on the 10th December, 1650. They were commissioned for the Southern service together with the Hopeful Luke. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1650, pages 500, 503.