Venice: July 1651

Pages 190-194

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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July 1651

July 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
503. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Lorraine has sent to Ireland 40,000 doubles and some ships with guns, officers and men, because of the invitation from the people there to purchase some large towns. The greed of this prince occasions deep reflection, because the investment of so much money in a direction where he will certainly have to contend with a powerful enemy is considered merely a device of the Spaniards, who, in order to bring pressure to bear on the English may have persuaded the duke to invest it thus in order to reap a considerable advantage later by selling the places to the English parliament. In London 60 ships are ready to sail in different squadrons against the French, since it seems that the English desire nothing so much as an open rupture with this country. In Amsterdam also they are arming 30 more ships to increase the squadron which has already sailed against the French.
The Duke of York has arrived here this week, it is thought for his usual stay, as the queen is disposed to console him with some annual assignment. But the impoverished state of the finances makes it very doubtful if he will get the benefit he expects from it.
Paris, the 4th July, 1651.
July 4.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
504. The Resident of the King of Great Britain came into the Collegio and spoke as follows :
I heard the other evening, with the greatest distress, of an irregularity which I had not committed or even imagined. As I express myself with difficulty in Italian, the enclosed sheet will show the facts, and he thereupon handed the sheet to the secretary.
After it had been read the doge said, We are sure of your excellent intentions and desire to do what is right. But as the masters of houses are often the last to know what is being done, we wished to let you know the desire of the Senate so that stricter orders may be issued to prevent such scandals in the future, causing general inconvenience and serious loss to the customs.
The Resident replied, I assure your Serenity that you shall have no further occasion to complain on this score. I give my word as a gentleman that such excesses are repugnant to my character and my birth. The doge said they hoped this would be so, and that as a gentleman and in his official capacity he would not give occasion for any further complaints. The Resident repeated what he had said, and without adding more, took leave and went out.
Had no idea of offending the republic or infringing its laws, or of doing anything to cause the least scandal. Considers himself unfortunate that others have abused his livery and committed irregularities in his house of which he was not aware. To prove his sincerity he has dismissed all who have worn his livery up to this day, to prove his intention to have only men of unsullied reputation, and that the republic may see his intention to live as becomes the character he bears.
Venice, the 4th July, 1651.
Thomas Cilegreus, Resident of Great Britain.
July 8.
Senato, Seereta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
505. Pietro Basadonna, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
As no minister has arrived from the parliament, and there is no sign of any, I am unable to fulfil the state's commissions, unless they are amplified. I had the secretary of the murdered resident sounded by a person of discretion about paying me a visit. He at once said he was anxious to come because of the goodwill I showed in refusing to harbour the murderers of his master. He said he had sent particulars of this to London, but having no orders to negotiate with any one he did not venture to take such a liberty for fear of the interpretation that might be put upon it. As he is of small ability and no authority I did not insist further on a step that would not give the desired result.
This person is to leave Madrid in the course of next week and will travel with an escort sufficient to save him from accidents until he gets on board ship. The Council of State wished sentence to be passed on the prisoners before his departure, so that he might inform parliament how it's claims had been favoured by the king. The judges in charge of the case have thus been subjected to grievous pressure, and from day to day the people expected to see the prisoners gibbeted in the market place. But at length the king yielded to the remonstrances of the nuncio in favour of the sanctuary, and rejecting reasons of state, has decided to proceed according to the usual tenor of the law. Now this fierce storm has blown over it seems probable that the prisoners will be released in due course without opposition from the secular arm.
Madrid, the 8th July, 1651.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
July 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
506. Pietro Basadonna, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English secretary went to take leave of Don Luis before starting for Malaga, to embark on a parliament ship for London, His Excellency asked what he thought of Madrid ; he replied that he had lived there rather as a prisoner than a guest, out of regard for his personal safety. He had not even visited the Venetian ambassador, to whom he was indebted for the goodwill shown to parliament and himself. Don Luis told him he need not fear going abroad, as the severity to the murderers of the Resident was a sufficient guarantee, and he recommended a visit to the ambassador. Don Luis told me this and added he spoke thus thinking to do me pleasure, because of the desirability of a good understanding between the republic and parliament. I thanked him and said I should be glad to see the secretary although I had nothing special to say to him. Two days later, i.e. the day before yesterday, he paid his call. He was most effusive about my refusal to harbour the murderers, which he had reported and he would repeat this orally on reaching London. I told him I should greatly value his finding favour for me with the parliament, from respect for the English nation and my wish for perfect correspondence between it and the most serene republic. As he expressed approval I went further and gave him leave to represent all this to parliament, intimating how meet it would be for the first overtures to proceed from the other side, as the junior power. I offered to forward any such intimation that parliament might make. I took the liberty to tell a falsehood for the service of the state, saying I considered myself an excellent medium for the establishment of a result so much to be desired for trade, repute and a thousand things. He assured me he would report what I said and would give a detailed account of my good disposition. He repeated this on the morrow when I went to wish him a good journey.
The rest of our conversation tended to an exaltation on his part of the power of parliament. He asserted with arrogance rather than boastfulness, that all princes will seek its friendship, as England combines what no other country possesses, namely military and naval strength united with commercial prosperity, whereby the English have rendered themselves necessary to the whole world. In discussing the relations with Spain he said he relied on their durability, as the king will never dare to sever them. Yet their slackness over the murderers and the connection of Spain with the Duke of Lorraine (who has purchased harbours in Ireland and keeps 20 good ships on purpose to injure the English) will always cause offence and may prevent the Catholic from realising the advantage which he hopes the parliament will give him.
Of France he spoke contemptuously and told me plainly that no friendship exists between that country and the English, who set no store by it. He added laughing, By God's grace we have rid London of the French, who made us as mad as themselves (che facevano pazzi noi altri ancora).
Of the neighbouring powers he thought well only of the Dutch, possibly from similarity of principles and constitution. He said that when united with England, as they must be of necessity one day or other, they would awe the whole world.
This is all I have to report. Time will show the result. The state is not affected as I alone am pledged, although the Englishman may reasonably infer that my language was dictated by something more than my private caprice.
I have also tried to obtain information through the Abate Carleni, a Roman, who served Sig. Contarini at Munster, and is now living here, having recently arrived from London upon business of the Count of Egmont. He said he was convinced of the esteem which several members of parliament had for the republic and of their wish, more than two years ago, to send a minister to Venice. They refrained only because of what happened in Holland and in Denmark. When the Abate asked me why this friendly feeling was not reciprocated I replied, that if the English, whose place it was to make the first advances, had done so, I imagined that the republic would willingly have maintained that intercourse which had existed between Venice and England for so many years. Carleni then asked if I would allow him to write this to a friend of his, a man of influence in the new commonwealth who had spoken to him particularly on the subject, as he passed for a Venetian, a Roman origin being in too bad odour in London. I gave him leave and said I should congratulate myself if I were instrumental in what I considered advantageous for both nations. I did not unbosom myself further, as though the Abate is my friend and devoted to your Excellencies, he may profess goodwill to others also, and so I prefer his interference to be spontaneous, rather then he should act on any suggestions from me. I will report any reply that may reach me, and in the mean time I will not lose sight of the affair.
Madrid, the 15th July, 1651.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
July 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
507. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
When I saw Sig. Gondi on Monday I asked him if his Highness had recognised parliament. He replied in the affirmative and said they had sent orders to the resident there to recognise them in negotiations, but with the utmost reserve until it was seen what France would do. This did not satisfy parliament as they wanted a clear expression from the Grand Duke in letters to his minister. Accordingly special letters of credence were sent, though they had to be repeated because of the title. The last were sent at the beginning of last month. His Highness could not do less though closely related to the king of England, on account of the interests of trade and mutual facilities in the ports of both nations. If the king gains the upper hand they will recognise him afresh. Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and all the circles and states of the empire, which had commenced relations with England, had accommodated themselves to circumstances in this way and France was on the point of doing the same, so his Highness did not wish to be the last. I commended the prudence of his Highness and thanked Gondi for the confidential communication.
Florence, the 15th July, 1651.
July 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispcci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
508. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassadors, after making a long stay at the Hague, have departed thence without concluding anything and indeed with some amount of ill feeling (con poca soddisfatione ancora).
The Ambassador of Savoy has visited the duke of York. The other foreign ministers have not yet seen him. I should be glad of instructions in the matter.
I have received the ducal missives of the 17th ult. I may say that although French merchants have received considerable injury from English corsairs, and from French ones as well, yet they have never come forward as a body to make complaint.
Paris, the 18th July, 1651.
July 29.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
509. The ship Nortumbria was hired by the Magistracy of Oil to fetch oil from the Morea to Venice. It did so, bringing 360 thousand. This oil has been detained at the instance of the Proveditori of the Customs and a suit has been instituted against the owners.
That the Proveditori of the Customs be ordered to release the oil and annul the suit.
Ayes, 64. Noes, 18. Neutral, 69.
Second vote :
Ayes, 46. Noes, 8. Neutral, 92.
That reserving all rights and in the interests of the public service the Proveditori of the Customs be directed to release absolutely the oil aforesaid and not to proceed further with the suit touching the ship Nortumbria.
Ayes, 83. Noes, 4. Neutral, 57. Carried.